Open Letter: European Union Leaders Must Step Up Funding for Global Action

Open Letter: European Union Leaders Must Step Up Funding for Global Action

For the past months, we have closely followed the negotiations of the revision of the EU long term budget - the Multiannual Financial Framework, or the MFF. We have called the Commission to increase resources for external action as part of its MFF proposal, and issued an analysis of the European Commission revision proposal. The negotiations have now reached the Council, and what we see is alarming. The latest negotiating box proposes €7.6 billion for external action, but exclusively to fund migration priorities. €4.5 billion would be reallocated from various instruments, including the NDICI (the main EU instrument for international cooperation) and from the cushion (an important flexibility instrument). In simple terms, this means that moving forward, the EU will have reduced capacity to respond to unforeseen crises. This is extremely shortsighted, considering the past years we have precisely seen an acceleration of multiple crises. The EU will also have less funding to consolidate critical partnerships, notably with the African continent, and this, after making ambitious announcements such as the mobilization of €150 billion in infrastructure investments for the continent. Funding for the UN and global health initiatives such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria will also be at risk. Our global influence will suffer, especially at a time when China and Russia are reshaping the international order.

Geopolitical tensions, climate change, pandemics, the emergence of disruptive technologies, and economic downturns - the future doesn’t look bright. Cutting programs that allow the EU to forge much-needed partnerships, invest in global public goods, and respond to emerging threats is not the right answer. There is no way that we, Europeans, do not lose out from this. Our partners will suffer, but so will we. If leaders think that this is the way to protect Europe, they are mistaken. We are interdependent, and most threats transcend borders, affecting us all.

The solution is international cooperation, flexible and well-resourced instruments to respond with agility when a crisis hits, and investments in global public goods that protect us all.

This is why we’re joining 50+ NGO directors and thought leaders to urge the Council to reject any cuts to or redeployments within external action and agree on a way forward that does not compromise long-term development and climate goals in favor of short-term political priorities.

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