With the rise of inward-looking nationalism across Europe, you’d think that approval of funding for international development would be on the decline. But on the contrary, according to a fresh Eurobarometer survey conducted with 27,464 respondents across all 28 EU countries in June 2019, there is a “widespread consensus amongst European citizens on the importance of international cooperation and development.“
The poll found that nearly 90% of EU citizens believe that international development cooperation to support developing countries is important. This means that development cooperation has become one of the EU’s most popular policies. Also though, three in four Europeans feel that the private sector should play a greater role in global development projects, and the same share is for increasing EU investment in aid projects in Africa. European citizens also back the EU's efforts to encourage private investment for the purposes of development.
Moreover, seven in ten think that the targeted use of financial assistance could impact irregular migration (which is slightly less than thought so in 2015.) Such financial support and humanitarian funding, they say, is an effective way to reduce inequality. The EU’s aid to the developing world could favorably increase the Union’s profile and global credibility, they say.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents agree that EU financial assisstance, including that of the member states, which totaled €74 billion in 2018, should either remain steady or increase. 86% believe it is important to help people in developing nations, down from 89% in the past three years. Yet there were also member states that dissented from the consensus: 10% fewer Slovaks, and Czechs, as well as Romanians (9%) believed that aid should actually be increased. In Poland, those who think aid finance should be less rose seven points to 17%.
“This is a solid basis for the Union to maintain its leading global role and address the significant challenges that remain,” concluded Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development.
The survey also found that most EU citizens approve the UN‘s Sustainable Development Goals as a mechanism for international development.