Planned Merger of EU Humanitarian, Crisis Budgets Draws Flak

A refugee camp in Burundi that is supported by the European Commission's humanitarian aid department. Aid groups and members of the European Parliament fear that the proposed merger of the European Union's humanitarian aid and crisis management budgets after 2013 would increasingly politicize the bloc's aid. Photo by: Yves Horent / European Commission / ECHO

Aid groups and members of the European Parliament fear that the proposed merger of the European Union’s humanitarian aid and crisis management budgets after 2013 would increasingly politicize the bloc’s aid.

“There is an idea on the table [to merge the two budgets] which is being considered by some people,” a European Commission official working in the humanitarian aid sector told Euobserver on Feb. 10 on condition of anonymity. “It’s not a formal proposal at the moment and it’s not something we would support.”

The European Commission is expected to propose a blueprint for the EU’s next multiannual budget in June, Euobserver reports.

There have been speculations that the merger of the EU’s humanitarian aid and crisis management budgets will prompt EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton to call the shots in humanitarian aid spending.

“I don’t know where the idea came from or how developed it is. It may be a wrongly interpreted idea of efficiency or part of the inter-institutional power politics currently going on,” Dutch Socialist MEP Thijs Berman told Euobserver.

“If it ends up in the June proposals I will fight it. Humanitarian aid needs to be impartial in order to ensure that all parties in a recipient country accept it as not favouring one side or the other. This is also crucial for the safety of humanitarian aid workers distributing support on the ground,” Berman said.

The EU’s humanitarian aid budget is managed by Bulgarian commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, while crisis management resources are administered by the newly launched European External Action Service, which is led by Ashton.

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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.