Europeans Show Strong Support for EU Foreign Aid

The majority of Europeans support the European Union’s overseas aid program and its strong focus on promoting human rights and good governance in developing countries, a new survey of EU citizen’s perception on aid and development shows.

According to the latest Eurobarometer on development cooperation, 84 percent of EU citizens support sending aid to help lift people out of poverty. The same percentage support promoting good governance and human rights protection, the European Commission said Nov. 23 in a news release.

The survey results send a clear message to EU politicians that the bloc’s citizens remain committed to helping others despite economic hardships, European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs said.

“This generosity has to be matched by political responsibility. We have to be more efficient and transparent to show the results of our aid and prove that the funds make a real difference,” he noted, citing the upcoming Fourth High Level Forum on Effectiveness in South Korea as a key opportunity to make EU aid more effective.

Other key findings of the Eurobarometer survey:

  • 62 percent of EU citizens are in favor of increasing aid to least 0.7 percent of the bloc’s gross national income by 2015.

  • 70 percent regard sub-Saharan Africa as the part of the world that is in most need of aid.

  • 80 percent are in favor of linking development with other EU policies such migration, trade or access to energy.

  • 42 percent believe that effectiveness of EU aid can be increased by working more closely with developing countries themselves.

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About the author

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.