Development Committee MEPs want new funding for the pandemic, and called on Monday for centring Covid-19 recovery in EU development and humanitarian policies.

On Monday, MEPs in the Development Committee adopted a report on the role of the EU’s development and humanitarian assistance in addressing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.                                                                                                                   In the text agreed at committee level, MEPs demanded substantial new EU funds to to help developing countries to fight the direct and indirect consequences of the pandemic – with a primary focus on the swift and equitable global rollout of vaccines. MEPs highlighted that, despite the positive work the EU has delivered as part of the global response to the pandemic, the current funds earmarked for this purpose have been reallocated from existing funding streams.                                                                                                       The report adopted today calls on the EU to focus funding and policy planning on helping partner governments in developing countries rebuild and strengthen their health, education, and economic systems, concentrating essential support on communities badly-affected by the COVID-19 pandemic – refugees, migrant workers, and pastoral farmers.

Two-decades-long decline in poverty reversed

In requesting additional EU investment in the fight against COVID-19, MEPs highlighted the disproportionate effect the pandemic has had on women and young people, pointing to the rise in gender-based violence, pandemic-related restrictions on life-saving sexual and reproductive health and rights services, and the dramatic rise in poverty rates around the world – a reversal of a two-decades-long decline.                                                    Hildegard Bentele (EPP, DE), co-rapporteur, said: “Crises are a litmus test: strengthening the resilience of health, nutrition and education systems should be at the heart of our effort to combat COVID-19. The pandemic has sharpened existing structural problems we need to prioritise – dependence on imports and single economic sectors like tourism, a lack of social protection and of budget possibilities to react to challenges and invest in adequate and appropriate crisis mechanisms.”                                                                                    “The COVID-19 pandemic has confronted the world with unprecedented challenges, hitting developing countries hard. With the gap between development and humanitarian needs and funding growing, and climate change and violent conflicts compromising development efforts, the pandemic is exacerbating the situation. With this report, Team Europe has good guidance on how to build back better and help partner countries tackling pandemic-related hardships,” said Norbert Neuser (S&D, DE), co-rapporteur.                                            The report was adopted by 16 votes in favour; 2 against and 8 abstentions.