EU Development Assistance - International Development Committee Contents

1  Introduction

1.  In 2010 the UK spent £1.23 billion in aid through the European Union (EU)— approximately 16% of the UK's total aid budget. The EU is the UK's largest multilateral partner. Of the money that the UK gave to multinationals in 2009-10, the EU institutions (including the European Commission budget and the European Development Fund) received the largest amount (£1.19 billion, 49%), double the next largest, the World Bank group (£560 million, 23%) and five times more than the United Nations system (£216 million, 9%).

2.  The EU institutions are the world's second largest donor behind the USA. Total European Commission managed aid in 2010 was €11.1 billion of which €10.7 billion was reported as Official Development Assistance (ODA).[1] Combined with its Member States the EU is responsible for 60% of all global development aid (€54 billion in 2010).

3.  Furthermore, the EU has a huge indirect influence on development through its agriculture, trade, fisheries, migration, environment and climate policies, and foreign and security policy.

4.  There have been many complaints about European Commission bureaucracy, its burdensome procurement process and its lack of appropriate staff. However we are aware that changes have been made and that further changes are being negotiated. The Commissioner for Development, Andris Pieblags, has recently published two new policy proposals: an updated development policy An Agenda for Change; and the EU's future approach to budget support. Moreover the European Commission's budget for the next seven years, the Multi Annual Financial Framework, is currently being negotiated. We therefore decided that it was an opportune time to review EU development assistance and to assess the extent to which current EU policies were aligned and complimentary to those of the Department for International Development (DFID).

5.  In response to the call for evidence to this inquiry we received numerous submissions and we would like to thank those organisations who wrote to us. We took oral evidence from NGOs—Christian Aid and BOND—and think-tanks—Open Europe and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) as well as the Minister at DFID with responsibility for EU development assistance, Mr Stephen O'Brien MP. We also took evidence from the EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, whilst on a visit to Brussels where we met with officials, MEPs and NGOS. We would like to thank all of the contributors to our inquiry and especially our thanks go to our specialist adviser Mikaela Gavas.[2]

1   See Box 2 for an explanation of ODA Back

2   Research Associate, Overseas Development Institute Back

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Prepared 27 April 2012