The European Union (EU) is a unique actor in the development cooperation field: it receives large contributions from its 27 Member States, which makes it the biggest multilateral recipient of Official Development Assistance (ODA) worldwide. This puts the EU in the position of third biggest donor globally after the United States and the United Kingdom.
The overall goal of EU external action is poverty eradication, and its regional focus is on Africa. During recent years the EU has made significant political and financial commitments towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5: it participated in the Muskoka Initiative and launched a €1 billion MDG initiative focused on those MDGs most off track. Andris Piebalgs, the Commissioner for Development participated in the Family Planning summit and pledged €23 million.
The EU has been and still is a strong supporter of RH/FP in general; many documents, including the European Parliament’s MDG report and the recently adopted Agenda for Change: the future of EU development make reference to those topics, but due to the complex and often opaque decision-making procedures it is difficult to see how much the EU actually implements RH/FP-related policies. The coming years will be crucial to cement EU support for RH/FP: the two main funding instruments of the EU worth €40 billion (US$57 million) both come to an end in 2013 and will be reviewed in the coming years, and at the same time its development policy is being reviewed in a very fundamental way.
- Annual Report 2012 on the European Community’s Development and External Assistance Policies and their Implementation in 2011