Brussels, 16 October 2012
Yes to more solidarity towards the poorest countries: broad
support for development aid, new survey reveals
85% of EU citizens believe that Europe should continue
helping developing countries despite the economic crisis.
The findings were announced today by European Commissioner
for Development Andris Piebalgs at the European Development
Days. The new Eurobarometer survey on development shows
that 61% of Europeans are in favour of increasing aid to
help people out of poverty. At the same time, a majority of
55% think that rapidly growing emerging countries should no
longer receive aid. Most people (61%) believe that aid
should focus on fragile countries which have suffered
conflict or natural crises for example.
Europeans see a positive role for private business in
developing countries, mainly in creating jobs (57%) but
also expect that foreign companies adhere to moral and
ethical standards when they invest (81%). A majority of 53%
sees corruption as the main obstacle that blocks
development in poor countries. However, only 44% would be
prepared to personally spend more money on products that
support development (such as fair-trade goods).
EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs commented:
"I am encouraged to see that for most Europeans
solidarity remains a deeply rooted value, even though their
own economic situation may be difficult. The EU is about to
decide the next seven year budget and people are sending a
clear message to their leaders - savings should not be made
at the expense of the poorest on the planet. But they also
demand guarantees that aid goes to the poorest and provide
visible results. This is in full line with my will to focus
aid on countries most in need and to put inclusive growth
and human rights at the heart of development policy.
I'm also committed to better demonstrate the difference
EU aid makes in fighting poverty to further boost the trust
in our actions.
The Eurobarometer "Solidarity that spans the globe -
Europeans and development" was presented at the
European Development Days in Brussels (16-17 October). This
event is bringing together Heads of State and Governments
from Africa with EU institutions, EU ministers,
representatives of UN institutions, civil society, academia
and the private sector. Discussions are focussing on:
agriculture, food security and resilience;
social protection and inequality;
the role of the private sector
Economic crisis does not affect solidarity with the
poor.In Spain the level of support for helping the
poor did not change since last year (88%), in Greece and
Italy the decrease was minimal (-2 percentage points),
while in Ireland the support increased by 3 percentage
points to 88%. Only in Portugal (-10 points) the decline in
opinion more notable.
The personal commitment of Europeans
decreases.Only 44% are willing to pay more for
products (e.g. fair trade) in order to support people in
the developing world (3 points less than in 2011).
Respondents in EU15 countries are much more likely to be
willing to pay more (50% vs. 25% of EU12). In the case of 6
countries, there was minimum 10 percentage points decline
in willingness of the citizens to pay more: Greece (33% are
willing to pay more) Czech Republic (28%), Slovenia (30%),
Spain (35%), Lithuania (24%) and Portugal (12). Not
surprisingly, citizens from the richer countries are more
willing to shop for fair trade goods. The leaders are in:
Sweden (76%), the Netherlands (76%) and Luxembourg (70%).
Increase of development aid funding has more
supporters in North West Europe and less so in South East
Europe.In Sweden, Denmark and Austria a vast
majority of people are in favour of increase to 0.7% of GNI
or beyond (80%, 76% and 74% respectively). The countries
with the biggest amount of people who would like to reduce
aid are: Bulgaria (38%), Slovenia (32%) and Greece (30%).
Support for helping poor people in developing countries is
consistently very high, at 85% (2011: 88%). 37% think it is
'very important', 48% see it as 'fairly
Six out of ten Europeans think that aid to developing
countries should be increased despite the crisis. Half of
the respondents (49%) are of the opinion that the EU should
keep its promise to increase aid to developing countries.
12% think that aid should be increased beyond what has been
promised. At the same time 18% think that aid should be
reduced because Europe can no longer afford it. This figure
has increased by 7 percentage points since 2009 (11%).
61% of Europeans believe that aid should be prioritised for
countries in fragile situations (e.g. caused by conflict or
natural disasters). 30% believe that the EU should help
developing countries, regardless if they are in a fragile
situation or not.
A majority of Europeans believe that countries like Brazil,
India or China should no longer receive aid. Asked if
rapidly growing emerging countries in which some of the
population is still poor, should continue to receive aid,
24% totally disagreed and 31% tended to disagree.
Europeans believe that development aid should focus mainly
on human rights (34%), education (33%), health (32%),
economic growth (29%) and agriculture/food security (29%).
Three answers were possible.
44% would be ready to spend more money on products to help
people in developing countries, a drop from 47% in 2011.
Correspondingly, the number of people unwilling to spend
more increased from 47% to 52%.
Europeans see corruption (53%) as the biggest obstacle to
successful development. This is followed by "bad
policies" of governments in developing countries (41%)
and conflicts (33%). A maximum of three answers was
possible for this question.
Most people see the main role of the private sector as
creating jobs (57%) and providing growth (42%) or
technological exchange and progress (29%). A minority also
sees them as exploiting developing countries (27%) or
involved in corruption (21%). Three answers were possible.
81% agree that private companies have social and ethical
responsibility when investing in developing countries. 87%
think donors like the EU should try to ensure that private
companies adhere to social and ethical standards.
This Eurobarometer was carried out by TNS Opinion & Social
between 2 June and 17 June, 2012. Some 26,622 Europeans
aged 15 or over were interviewed face-to-face in their
For further information
The Special Eurobarometer can be found at:
Country specific results can be found at:
Website of the European Commissioner for Development,
Ray(+32 2 296 99 21)
Talko(+32 2 297 85 51)