EU budget summit breakup offers hope of better priorities

23/11/2012 at 6:12 pm 2 comments

23 November 2012

Tonight, as negotiations on the EU’s multiannual budget ended without agreement, Irish NGOs called for a re-think of the proposed changes in the overall size and make-up of the budget proposals.

“We believe the EU should invest in future-oriented areas. The proposals that were on the table in the past two days seemed to be more the result of complicated horse-trading among EU member states than the outcome of a shared vision for the future of European cooperation. This summit was headed in the wrong direction, attempting to shift the burden of cuts to the most vulnerable.  There is now a chance to go back to the drawing board, rebalance the debate and protect the tiny proportion of the budget spent on development aid,” said Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas, the umbrella group of Irish Development NGOs.

Dóchas pointed out that the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize was an important reminder that the EU is a unique project, built on the premise that states can learn to work together peacefully, through a transparent, rules-based system of decision-making and international co-operation.

The Nobel committee noted that internal solidarity within the EU is at risk, and chose to highlight what it called “the EU’s most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights”.

“International co-operation, the bedrock of the EU, is being questioned by politicians in many countries. We must not let the nay-sayers decide on the shape and priorities of Europe for many years to come”, continued Zomer.

“As Ireland prepares to take a leadership role in Europe, we owe it to ourselves that we debate the priorities we want to set for the future of Europe. Now is the time to remind Europe’s leaders of the historic significance of their decisions. And of the opportunities that they have to set a new path for the citizens of Europe, and for the wider world. International cooperation is not about generosity for when times are good, but an investment in the type of fair, rules- based and prosperous world that we ourselves depend on.“

  • report last week by the Overseas Development Institute, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and ONE, shows that EU aid would more than pay for itself by 2020.
  • 85% of EU citizens believe that Europe should continue helping developing countries despite the economic crisis according to the findings of a survey published on 16 October.
  • A Dóchas briefing paper on the EU budget is available here.
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