Monday, June 18, 2007

Can Europe lead where G8 failed? One million voices call on European leaders to end poverty now!

As EU leaders gather in Brussels to discuss the future of Europe, campaigners are reminding them of their obligations in the fight against global poverty.

Over the past few months,in a petition coordinated by the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), more than one million people have demanded German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU leaders take urgent action on aid, debt cancellation, trade justice and climate change. Last week, despite intense public pressure, many of these same leaders failed to make any meaningful progress on the issues when they met at the G8 summit in Germany

Alison Marshall, Advocacy Manager at BOND, said:
"Europe is so important in the worldwide battle against global poverty. EU countries currently provide 52% of all development aid. Europe is also the world's largest trade block, so is pivotal to efforts to make trade fair and just for developing countries."

In 2005, European and G8 governments pledged to increase aid dramatically, particularly to Africa, and 80% of this new aid was to come from the EU. Yet overall aid increases have been very slow, and aid volumes to Africa have been static since 2004.

In 2007, Europe aims to conclude trade negotiations with 76 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific - the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) -. A number of countries have made it clear that more time is needed for pro-development trade agreements to be negotiated, and campaigners are asking the European Commission to stop using aggressive negotiation tactics to push unfair trade deals.

Alison Marshall, Advocacy Manager at BOND, added:
"G8 leaders have already responded to campaigners with a disgraceful lack of urgency. For millions of people around the world, giving up the fight against poverty is not an option. In Africa, 6,000 people die of AIDS every day. A woman dies in childbirth every minute. Our message to EU leaders is clear: play your role in the world and act against poverty now."

Source: BOND press release.