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Friday, 6 November 2009 10:09

Eurobarometer - Development Aid in times of economic turmoil

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Ειδικά Ευρωβαρόμετρα (313 και 316) Beginning in Autumn 2008, the world experienced the most important financial and economic downturn since the 1930s. The impacts of the crisis intensified in 2009: as the unemployment rate rose in parallel with fiscal constraints, putting more and more pressure on aid budgets for developing countries. Experiencing large falls in GDP, the three Baltic States and Ireland were among those countries most affected. Against this backdrop, the Directorate-General for Development launched a Eurobarometer study to gauge public support for development aid in times of economic turmoil.

Though the impact of the crisis on how Europeans would view the importance of development aid was the trigger, this most recent survey is part of a series exploring  European awareness of development issues since 2004. Comparisons with results of previous studies are made where applicable.

The first part of the report shows that Europeans have a good perception of the big picture, namely the key life-threatening challenges faced by people in developing countries. Against this backdrop, this study shows that though Europeans have little understanding of the workings of development cooperation, they have a genuine interest in knowing more, namely through better press coverage (section 2). Furthermore, Europeans would like to see the European Union take a greater stake in the international debate on development, because they believe that it would bring added value (section 3).

Europeans appear to be staunch supporters of development aid, despite the economic crisis. They would back a strategy aimed at "keeping our promises" as pursued by the European Commission (section 4).

The final section of this report shows a somewhat paradoxical situation. Most Europeans do understand how development cooperation can help serve alternative goals, such as trade or global stability. However, it is hard to say whether they approve this or not. Indeed, despite the "realist interests" that development cooperation helps to pursue, the United Nations is the front-runner in terms of the most relevant organisation to help poor countries. The European Union comes second.

The whole report can be downloaded in english, german and french:

  Development Aid in times of economic turmoil     pdf logo

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