Highest support for development aid amongst EU citizens in 6 years
More than half say that promised levels of aid should be delivered by the EU, with a further 16% saying aid should be increased beyond what is already promised.
EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, presented the results from the EU's International Cooperation and Development Eurobarometer survey.
Figures show that the vast majority of Europeans hold a positive view about the benefits of international cooperation and development. Almost three quarters of those participating in the survey agreed that development aid is an effective way to tackle irregular migration (73%) and 80% of Europeans believe that development is in the EU’s own interest.
Following the announcement of the results, Commissioner Mimica said: "Eurobarometer results clearly show that EU citizens know about and value the importance of the EU's international cooperation and development.
"Almost nine out of ten respondents think that helping developing countries is important, while more than seven out of ten agree that tackling poverty in developing countries has a positive influence on EU citizens.
So at a time when Europe is challenged to make the case of its relevance to its citizens, we should seize this opportunity and make sure that we show the results of what we do, the impact it has on the ground, the difference it makes to the lives of people and how it benefits Europe's values and interests."
The survey was held towards the end of 2015, which was the European Year for Development. One of the goals of the European Year for Development was to increase the awareness of citizens about how EU development aid works and where the money is spent.
The survey shows that the campaign achieved its results: almost one in five people who were questioned knew that 2015 was the European Year for Development, an increase of some 50% on 2014's results.
Figures show that increases in the proportion of people who think tackling poverty in developing countries should be one of the main priorities of the EU (up five percentage points to 69%) and of national governments (up five percentage points to 50%).
Almost 70% of respondents supported an increase of development aid delivered by the EU (68%) - a higher percentage than in recent years.
EU citizens see peace and security in developing countries as the most important challenge of the year for development and cooperation (41%) - which perhaps may be due to the fact that it can be seen as an important factor in tackling the root causes of irregular migration. This was followed by health and education (both 34%).
Meanwhile, more than one third of Europeans have heard or read about the Sustainable Development Goals (36%).
This compares with just 22% who said that they had heard about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the 2013 Eurobarometer survey. ■