The European Commission is currently preparing a proposal for its next multiannual budget, which will determine the EU’s annual spending from 2021 to 2027. This is a complex and highly political process, made even more so as the UK prepares to leave the EU, leading to a reduction in the next overall budget. It comes at a time when the hottest political challenges for the EU include border control, migration and security.
Crucially for civil society, this is the first multiannual budget following the adoption of Agenda 2030, the universal global agenda on sustainable development. Its preparation coincides with the negotiation of an important new agreement between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, which means additional reflection on political and budgetary priorities.
With a smaller budget and many competing priorities, where should the EU choose to invest?
IPPF EN believes that gender equality, human rights, development cooperation, democracy, and access to health and education are among the key areas where the EU can add value and help improve people’s lives. This is true within the EU, but also externally, as the EU and its Member States are collectively the greatest aid donor worldwide, and have committed to ensuring that their development cooperation is carried out in line with shared key values for Europe.
IPPF EN is a member of CONCORD, the European NGO confederation for relief and development, as well as the Human Rights and Democracy Network (HRDN). Together with our civil society partners, we are calling for the EU to make sure that its next budget works for people, both within and outside of the EU.
As for specific priorities, gender equality needs to be taken particularly seriously in this process. All too often we see it proclaimed by politicians as a key European value, only to be left out of or sidelined in major EU policy documents in a way that undermines the chances of achieving it. Without a serious approach to gender equality within its budget, the EU will shoot itself in the foot. This is why we are calling with our civil society partners for the Commission to keep delivering on gender equality front of mind as it prepares and negotiates the budget. You can read more in our position on gender budgeting.
EU development cooperation must also have human development at its core. Globally, we have the largest youth generation ever, and it is absolutely critical to respond to their needs and ensure a comprehensive access to health, education and social protection. Of course, this includes ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. You can read more about our position on human development.
The EU’s multiannual budget is about so much more than just figures, and IPPF EN will keep working with our partners to ensure that it delivers for people everywhere.
By Aurore Guieu, IPPF EN