OXFAM IRELAND HAVE warned that proposed cuts to humanitarian and development aid in the EU budget for 2014-2020 will push millions of people closer to the poverty line.
Their concern comes as EU leaders take part in a two-day summit from today, during which they hope to finalise the six-year budget.
At last November’s EU budget summit the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, tabled a proposal which would cut development aid by €6.1 billion.
This figure included a €3.3 billion cut to the European development fund and a €2.8 billion cut to the development cooperation instrument. In addition to the €6.1 billion cut, a further cut of €1.3 billion was proposed in relation to humanitarian aid.
While the European Commission had put forward a budget for 2014-2020 of 1.04 trillion euros, Van Rompuy countered with a total budget of €973 billion.
Oxfam Ireland have said that the €6.1 billion could have lifted more than 4.6 million people out of extreme poverty, with their CEO, Jim Clarken, adding:
It is grossly unfair to balance the books on the backs of the world’s poor who are being hit hardest by financial and economic crises they did not cause. EU leaders should look for smarter options to find their way out of the current crisis, like tackling tax havens.
Speaking of the “human faces behind the budgets they intend to slash”, Clarken said that EU aid was “an act of solidarity” with those who were worse off.
And all this costs less than a weekly cup of coffee for each European citizen.