EU development aid should encourage emerging economies to devote more of their revenue to social needs, so that development aid can be gradually reduced, say development committee MEPs in a non-binding resolution adopted on Tuesday in response to the new development agenda presented by the Commission.
The committee notes that 70 % of the world’s poor live in middle-income countries and deplores the fact that, even in the emerging economies, they still lack access to education, healthcare and other benefits of economic growth.
"The Commission should negotiate a roadmap for the gradual reduction of official development assistance with middle-income countries. EU development policy should strive to make countries that still receive development aid more responsible for their own people", said the rapporteur, Charles Goerens (ALDE, LU), after the vote. He added that his committee wanted to see safeguards ensuring that donor resources earmarked for inclusive growth were used to fight poverty.
MEPs fear that the proposed new EU development agenda is too focused on economic growth, when its main purpose should be to eradicate poverty. They warn of “excessive confidence" that the benefits of development will be automatically redistributed in the private sector and that this could lead to unbalanced, non-inclusive growth with no real reduction of poverty or inequality.
The committee points to the growing gap between rich and poor in both developing and emerging countries. It wants EU development policy to favour fair trade, redistribution of wealth and social justice. It calls on the Commission to negotiate a reduction of development assistance with middle-income countries. It also wants an international conference with the BRICS countries to encourage development cooperation between donor, emerging and developing countries.
The EU should consider means of cooperating directly with the regional clusters of poverty in the middle-income countries, say MEPs, who also advocate setting vulnerability criteria for the use of funds in the EU's new Development Cooperation Instrument. This would take account of levels of poverty and human development and inequalities within a country, as well as the country's gross national income.
The committee demands greater transparency in the use of public funds allocated to development aid and specific information on the role played by civil society and regional and local authorities, not only in implementing development programmes but also in designing development policies.
The EU is the world’s leading donor of development aid. The Commission has proposed significant changes to EU development cooperation in its policy paper "Increasing the impact of EU Development Policy: an Agenda for Change" presented last year..
The resolution was adopted by the committee by 19 votes to 3, with no abstentions. The plenary vote is provisionally scheduled for September.
In the chair: Eva Joly (Greens/EFA, FR)
Procedure: own-initiative report