Kristalina Georgieva on Planned Merger of EU Humanitarian, Crisis Budgets: 'Over My Dead Body'

Kristalina Georgieva, European commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response, fields questions from reporters during her visit to Yemen in January. The commissioner's recent remarks suggest that she will fight any proposal that will merge the European Union's humanitarian aid and crisis management budgets after 2013. Photo by: European Union

“Over my dead body,” was European Union humanitarian aid chief Kristalina Georgieva’s response to reports on the planned merger of the bloc’s humanitarian aid and crisis management budgets after 2013.

Georgieva made the remark Feb. 17 before an audience of alumni from the London School of Economics in Brussels, EUobserver reports.

The proposed move, which Georgieva described as “a very grave mistake,” will allegedly prompt EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton to call the shots in humanitarian aid spending.

“We are developing the external action service, and there have been some voices saying ‘lets pile up our instruments designed to reach out to others: development cooperation, humanitarian aid, trade, security funding, and then put it under the one big umbrella,’” Georgieva said. “Luckily so far Europeans have been wise to say ‘let’s not do that’. If we politicise humanitarian assistance, we make it much harder to be able to help people. But also it would be a signal to China, Brazil, India and the Gulf countries that humanitarian assistance is not about helping people, it is about pushing your political agenda.”

Aid groups and members of the European Parliament have also criticized the proposal, warning that it would increasingly politicize the bloc’s aid.

>> Planned Merger of EU Humanitarian, Crisis Budgets Draws Flak

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About the author

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    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.