In Europe, Public Backing for Aid, MDGs Soars

Flags of European Council member nations. According to a survey of Eurobarometer, 89 percent of Europeans consider development assistance to poor nations to be important or very important. Photo by: European Commission.

Nine out of 10 Europeans expressed support for development assistance to poor nations, a special Eurobarometer survey reveals.

Of the 26,500 respondents, 89 percent considered development aid to be important or very important. Of that figure, 45 percent deemed development aid is very impotant, up from 39 percent in 2009, while 44 percent said aid was fairly important, down from 49 percent last year. Two in three Europeans believed that the European Union should keep its pledge to increase aid to 0.7 percent of gross national income by 2015, the target year for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Some 42 percent of the respondents cited poverty as the most imminent problem faced by the developing world. Halving poverty by 2015 is the main objective of MDG 1.

EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs said he was “impressed” with the results of the survey.

“The economic mood in Europe obliges us to be accountable and transparent to our citizens,” Piebalgs writes in his blog. “I also understand these results as a strong mandate to go to the UN Summit in New York with a clear message: as the major global donor, EU will continue to support poorest countries, and will encourage our partners from all over the world to increase efforts as fighting against poverty is a shared responsibility.”

The findings of the survey was published Sept. 13, a week before the MDG summit, which will take place in New York from Sept. 20 to Sept. 22.

EU leaders should propose innovative financing mechanisms for development in next week’s gathering, said Emma Seery, who will lead Oxfam’s team at the MDG summit. These may include tax on financial transactions, “which could mobilize hundreds of billions of euros at no cost for the tax payer,” Seery said in a press release.  

Devex News – live breaking news coverage of the Millennium Development Goals and the Sept. 20-22 U.N. MDG summit in New York.

About the author

  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.