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Listen Up, Leaders: EU Aid More than Pays for Itself

November 12, 2012

Since the important negotiations on the European Union’s next multiannual budget 2014-2020 kicked-off last year, ONE has campaigned tirelessly throughout Europe to protect the €51 billion proposed for development aid to the world’s poorest against cuts. Regular followers of our blog have been reading about EU aid success stories in Africa and the amazing results EU aid has achieved in the past. Countless European ONE members joined us in our “Lifesaver of the Century” campaign by signing our petition, writing and tweeting to their governments, and showing their support for lifesaving EU aid for the next seven years.

To complement all these efforts, today ONE – together with the respected National Institute for Economic and Social Research and the Overseas Development Institutepublished a new report that shows for the very first time how protecting EU aid would not only have a positive impact on millions of lives in developing countries, it would also boost the European economy.

Our analysis shows that the €51 billion in EU aid that targets the poorest countries would give a 20% return on investment for the EU economy by 2020 – equivalent to a €11.5bn net gain for the EU and its citizens. The report – the first such study to quantify the impact of EU aid on donor and recipient countries – shows that the development budget of the EU is actually a smart investment. By 2020 the aid spent will give a 0.1% boost to EU GDP, a 0.2% boost to global GDP, and a very significant 2.5% boost to Sub-Saharan African GDP by the end of the same period.

Expected impact on GDP in donor countries and world, 2020 


As Europe’s leaders prepare for the EU budget summit next week, it’s crucial that development aid champions stand up and fight to protect these lifesaving funds. Cuts must not cost lives. Several countries have pledged to support EU development aid spending in recent weeks, including France, Denmark and the UK. Several countries, including Denmark, Ireland and the UK have also protected development aid from national budget cuts. The European Parliament, in a vote last month, said proposed EU funds for so-called external spending should be considered the ‘bare minimum’.

The full report by the Overseas Development Institute, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and ONE, as well as a two-page summary briefing, can be downloaded from our website.

You can also hear Eloise Todd, our Brussels director, talking about the report this morning on the BBC World Service here.

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