Most of Europeans still strongly support development aid despite the downturn

Ahead of the 4 th European Development Days, a Special Eurobarometer on “Development Aid in time of economic turmoil” shows that the crisis affecting European countries did not affect public support for development aid which still remains high.

Around 90% of Europeans still believe development is important and 72% of Europeans are in favour of honouring or going beyond existing aid commitments to the developing world. Even in the context of the economic crisis, EU Member States should stick to their commitments to increase development aid up to € 69 billion by 2010 to meet the mid term target of the Millennium Development Goals of United Nations.

A large majority of European citizens (61%) feel that Europe can positively contribute to the debate on global development, and it corroborates the fact that the European Union is the largest donor of development aid worldwide.

Interestingly, the economic crisis is not considered as a key challenge for developing countries. One in two Europeans see poverty as the greatest challenge faced by developing countries, placing it above the economic and food crisis (35%). Europeans seem to understand that beyond the economic slump, poverty is the overwhelming structural problem.

Other interesting results:

  • Two out of three Europeans cite self-interested motivations for giving aid (64%), namely trade, terrorism, migration and political relations with third countries.
  • There is no lack of interest, since 42% Europeans argue for more media coverage of development issues.
  • 74% of Europeans have never heard of the Millennium Development Goals, but it is less than in 2007 (80%).


The Special Eurobarometer n°318 on “Development Aid in time of economic turmoil” was conducted in May-June 2009. It was aimed at assessing whether the economic downturn affected public support for development cooperation in European countries. Though the impact of the crisis on how Europeans would view the importance of development aid was the trigger, this most recent survey is part of a series exploring European awareness of development issues since 2004.