Parliament opposes the drastic cuts to EU development aid for Latin-America proposed by the Commission, in a resolution adopted on Tuesday. It points to the huge problems still faced by countries in the region, despite political and economic advances in recent years.
Commission proposals to reduce EU development aid to 11 middle-income countries in Latin American and the Caribbean under the 2014-2020 budget send the "very troubling" message that the EU does not give Latin America "the importance that it deserves", says Parliament.
"We do not support the radical approach proposed by the Commission, which is based solely on economic criteria and would deprive countries like Ecuador, Colombia and Peru of our help. We believe that the total level of development cooperation support for Latin America should be maintained, with any reallocation of funds benefitting the least developed countries within the region", said the rapporteur, Ricardo Cortés Lastra (S&D, ES), during the debate on Monday.
MEPs point out that Latin America already gets less EU development aid than any other region and that one in three Latin Americans still live below the poverty line. Some of these middle-income countries are the most unequal in the world, they stress, and some are among the most violent, continuing to suffer from drug-trafficking, organised crime, money-laundering, arms-trafficking and corruption.
They point out that poor countries are hit by problems in middle-income countries, which "are a driving force for development and regional integration". They call, therefore, for the specific needs of each Latin American country to be taken into account in allocating development aid, rather than income and gross domestic product.
The resolution was adopted by 640 votes to 17, with 33 abstentions.