EU go back on pledge to give financial support to LDCs

th3H81AP1ORichard Jones, (devex) 20 May 2015: A decision taken by EU Ministers is likely to reduce funding commitments to LDCs by setting a target for LDCs at 0.15% of GNI by 2020, rather than binding at the member state level. European governments could drop their aid pledge to developing countries — known as the 0.7 percent aid target — as disagreements between member states ahead of the May 26 Foreign Affairs Council threaten to derail the EU’s historic anti-poverty commitment, Devex has learned.

Negotiations among EU ministers on “A New Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015” have stalled, including the recommitment to the 0.7 percent of gross national income target for official development assistance.

According to a Brussels insider who spoke to Devex under condition of anonymity, no consensus has been reached and member state delegations cannot agree on a deadline to reach the 0.7 percent target.

There are a number of sticking points, according to the well-placed source.

Negotiations were originally set to be finalized last week, including agreement on a deadline for achieving the target, country-specific timetables for gradually scaling up official development assistance levels, a target for least-developed countries, and a continent-specific target for Africa.

But — at least for now — timetables are no longer expected to be subject of formal high-level negotiations at the council meeting and a target for LDCs is expected to be EU-wide, rather than being binding at the member state level, at 0.15 percent of GNI by 2020.

Negotiations will continue tomorrow at the so-called COREPER II level — council meetings that consist of heads of mission or ambassadors — but another well-placed source shared with Devex that opinions are “entrenched” and that there is now waning optimism that consensus will be found in advance of the May 26 ministerial-level meeting.

The EU committed to spend 0.7 percent of GNI on ODA at a U.N. General Assembly back in 1970, with this pledge renewed in 2005 when EU member states committed to reaching the target by 2015. Some member states — Sweden, Luxembourg, Denmark and the U.K. — have already met or exceeded the 0.7 percent target, with Britain recently enshrining the target into national law.

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