News / Asia

Report: EU Policies Hurting Efforts to Reduce Poverty in Developing Nations

In Busan, members from Save The Children and World Vision stage a demonstration urging donor countries to fulfill their aid commitments.
In Busan, members from Save The Children and World Vision stage a demonstration urging donor countries to fulfill their aid commitments.
Lisa Bryant

As international officials gather for a key aid meeting in South Korea, relief groups fault the world's biggest donor, the European Union, for policies they claim hurt some of the poorest nations.

A new report claims the European Union's policies on agriculture, trade, energy and migration can hurt African and other poor nations, and work against the EU's own aid objectives.

Blandine Bounioul is policy coordinator for Concord, a Brussels-based confederation of aid agencies that released the study. "In some areas…there are major issues, and with these policies the EU is actually worsening the poverty situation or the human rights situation in some developing nations," she said.

A case in point, Bounioul says, are subsidies for European farmers under the bloc's Common Agricultural Policy. "Local farmers in Africa, they cannot compete with European products which, because of the subsidies that European farmers can have, those products end up being sold to African consumers at far lower prices than the local food products."

European Commission spokeswoman for development Catherine Ray says the EU is taking the report seriously. But she described key reforms in recent years, including axing many agricultural subsidies. The EU is also a leading importer of agricultural products from developing nations, even as it promotes self-sufficiency.

"It's obviously important that these countries are able to export in our markets. But traveling in Africa, what we see is before they are able to export, they have to be able to produce for their own community, for their country. And then to come at the global level," she said.

The concerns raised by the Concord study will likely be taken up at an aid summit in South Korea this week. The goal is to make development assistance more effective.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke with VOA's Victor Beattie about reforming the way aid is given.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair told VOA that is more important than ever, as donor nations struggle to balance their international aid commitments with domestic economic concerns.

"It’s a tough challenge for governments to maintain those now, and as you rightly said, how that aid is then used is a big part of whether you get the public consent to carry on giving it. And that’s why I think this conference is very timely because it is focusing specially on aid effectiveness. In other words, how do we make sure that for every dollar we’re spending we’re getting something out of it," he said.

The EU invests about $71 billion in development programs, making it the world's biggest donor. Despite stagnant growth and the eurozone crisis, Catherine Ray says EU nations are generally making progress in meeting their pledge to earmark 0.7 percent of their income for development assistance by 2015.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid