Right in front of the European Council Building in Brussels where the European Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation meet today, May 18 2009, in the so-called General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC), Concord organized the first ever Eurovision Aid Contest to illustrate the different degrees in which European countries keep their commitment to provide good quality development aid at levels they agreed upon.
The audience witnessed poor performances by Italy, bringing the evergreen ‘Parole, Parole, Parole’ – also sung in other parts of Europe – and Austria performing ‘Geld oder Leben’. But it also saw encouraging features by Spain with their well known summer hit ‘No tengo dinero’. The contest was won by Sweden who sang good old Abba classic ‘Money, money’. Sweden was awarded ten (10) out of twelve (12) points by jury member Noerine Kaleeba, President of ActionAid International.
Concord’s masters of ceremonies concluded that some EU countries had performed well and some had not. “In a climate of crisis, high quality genuine aid has never been more important. When aid is cut or of bad quality the big losers are people in the developing world whose daily health care, education and sometimes pure survival depend on that aid. Aid is far from dead. People living in poverty are already battling with the effects of the food crisis, the climate crisis and most recently the financial crisis. It is time that European governments lightened their load by sticking to their development aid commitments.”
The European Aid Contest was part of Concord’s 10days4development campaign. As part of this campaign which involves activities in all 27 EU member countries, the Concord AidWatch initiative published its fourth consecutive report on trends and practices in European development cooperation.
Concord urges the European ministers meeting today to reaffirm commitments and set targets individual targets for the volume of development cooperation that will allow Europe to reach the level of 0,7% of GNI by 2015.
For information on the 10days4development campaign and the AidWatch 2009 report see also earlier posts on this blog.