Every seven years, leaders from across the European Union gather to decide what the bloc’s next long-term budget looks like.
It’s typically a fierce fight over over the size of the budget for the next seven-year period and, crucially, where and how the budget will be spent.
Now, that every-seven-years moment is here. On Thursday, leaders will meet in Brussels for a special meeting of the European Council — to hash out how the EU will spend its money from now until 2027.
That’s why we’re calling on Global Citizens to urgently make their voices heard in deciding one particular element of the budget discussions — how much EU leaders will invest in aid over the next seven years.
We want you to tweet leaders across Europe, as they walk into those negotiations on Thursday, to make sure that our leaders prioritise supporting the world’s poorest people by prioritising aid budgets.
Right now, 736 million people are living in extreme poverty — meaning that they survive on less than $1.90 a day. Meanwhile, the combined income of the wealthiest five nations in 2018 was $46 trillion.
This inequality is unacceptable and entirely unnecessary, and international aid is a vital tool in tackling it through building up the infrastructures that empower developing countries to thrive.
In the past, the EU has been a leader in providing basic vaccines, helping girls get a quality education, and enabling smallholders to adapt to climate change.
The internationally-recognised target for each country’s aid spend is 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI).
The 0.7% target actually goes back a long way. In 1969, it was first set as a target to be reached “by 1975 and in no case later than 1980.”
The 0.7% target was then agreed upon in a UN resolution in 1970, and has been repeatedly re-endorsed at the highest level at international aid and development conferences.
In 2017, the EU collectively recommitted to achieving the 0.7% objective. While the target is old, it’s not out of date, as the world today faces new challenges, such as HIV and climate change, that weren’t known in the 70s.
Still, despite those challenges and the promises made, the EU still only spends an average of 0.47% of its GNI on aid.
What’s more, if the EU leaders don’t change the budget proposal currently on the table, the share of GNI they spent on aid could even decrease in the next seven years.
Without the EU’s leadership, we won’t be able to achieve the Global Goals — so the world needs to urgently get back on track.
The negotiations this week will be happening behind closed doors, and will be likely to continue during the night and maybe even over the weekend.
During that time, we can’t let leaders forget the promise they made: to help the poorest countries end extreme poverty.