News story

Mitchell calls on EU to keep aid promises

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Andrew Mitchell will push the EU to keep its aid commitments today as he meets with development ministers across Europe.

Joining the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, the Secretary of State for International Development will call on his counterparts and their governments to reaffirm their determination to spend 0.7% of national income on aid by 2015.

The meeting is also a chance for development ministers to discuss the first annual report to the European Council on EU aid targets. The new report clearly shows how each member country is performing on its Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments and targets.

In 2010, European Union ODA reached a historical high of €53.8 billion, confirming the EU’s position as the world’s largest donor. Despite the financial crisis, two thirds of the member countries increased their development spending in 2010.

However, this still falls far short of the commitments made by the EU, which had pledged to achieve 0.56% of national income collectively for 2010. In absolute terms, EU spending stayed €14.5 billion below this commitment.

While in Brussels, Mr. Mitchell will also be meeting Members of the European Parliament to set out his vision for EU development policy, outlining the UK’s top priorities for reforming European aid over the next four years. These are:

  • To improve the focus on results, flexibility and value for money
  • To ensure the EU budget is poverty focused, protecting official development spending levels
  • To promote more joined up EU institutions to achieve greater effectiveness and coherence across its work

To find out more about the UK’s key priorities for EU aid, download our recently published Europe Department operational plan.