EU: Big Vision, Empty Wallet


Is the EU on the Verge of Sacrificing its Geopolitical Ambition and Abandoning its Longstanding Partners?

The devastating war in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the escalating climate catastrophes have compelled the EU to assume a more prominent leadership role. The EU has undeniably committed unprecedented levels of funding to address these crises and their far-reaching consequences. A notable example is the EU’s pledge of €715 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria in September 2022, representing a 30% increase compared to the previous pledging period, driven by the impact of COVID-19 on these three diseases. Moreover, the EU has demonstrated its ambition to establish itself as a significant global actor, exemplified by the introduction of the Global Gateway, which serves as the European alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

However, in order for the EU to effectively respond to emerging crises, realize its geopolitical aspirations, fulfill its international commitments, and continue investing in its longstanding partnerships, it is crucial that the EU has a well-funded budget for external action. Unfortunately, the current budget allocation is alarmingly low. Today, together with 23 NGOs and networks from diverse sectors of development cooperation, climate and environmental protection and humanitarian aid, we are raising the alarm: the EU must increase resources for external action during the mid-term review of its 7-year budget known as the multiannual financial framework. Insufficient funding will strain its relationships with partners, weaken the EU’s credibility, and lead to competition for funds that will undermine the effectiveness and impact of EU development programs. This will undoubtedly hinder the EU’s ability to invest in the global HIV/AIDS response. That’s why Aidsfonds is at the forefront of the campaign to increase funding for the EU’s external action budget.