With 2018 right around the corner, the European Union is in the process of making budget decisions for the upcoming year. A major area of focus is development and humanitarian aid, however not all are in agreement over how much of the budget should be allotted toward these categories.
The European Parliament is in favor of greater spending in the areas of development and humanitarian aid. Its total proposed budget amounts to 162.6 billion euro for commitments and 146.7 billion euro for payments.
The Parliament wishes to increase external spending by 232 million euro, with the breakdown being 12.5 million euro each for human development and food security, nutrition, and agriculture, 38.1 million euro for humanitarian aid, 119 million euro for the Mediterranean region, 27 million euro for the Eastern Partnership, and 16 million euro for UNRWA, a Palestinian refugee group.
The Parliament feels that humanitarian aid is very necessary to address in 2018. Specific areas of focus will include poverty, gender inequality, girls’ and womens’ rights, education in emergencies, food security, nutrition, and crisis aid. The European Union is currently ranked fourth in terms of largest donation to foreign aid, which the Parliament wishes to uphold.
The European Commission, on the other hand, has set the budget at lower amounts of 160.6 billion euro for commitments and 145.4 billion euro for payments. With this reduction, the areas of humanitarian aid and development will suffer.
The European Commission instead is focused on stopping immigration and protecting its borders, as well as other issues such as job growth and improved security.
The Commission has stated that it is unable to accept the Parliament’s proposed budget. On the contrary, it has proposed a 6.7 percent reduction in foreign aid and a 5.6 percent reduction in ‘EU as a Global Player’ funds.
The European Parliament is supported by NGOs, as well as organizations such as ONE, Save the Children, Oxfam, and Plan International. Meanwhile, the European Union Council and European Commission are in agreement.
As a result of the disagreement, the Council and Parliament will undergo a conciliation period lasting three weeks, which will begin on October 31, 2017. EU Member States will be called upon to voice their opinions.
Come mid-November, a decision should be arrived upon. This is an important debate, as it sets the stage for future budgeting priorities in the European Union.
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