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

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs