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What Europeans think about development aid

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Do you think eradicating poverty around the world is important? …

Do you think eradicating poverty around the world is important?

The European Commission has undertaken a survey to gauge attitudes within the 500-million-strong European Union, the world’s largest aid donor, toward development and the Millennium Development Goals. The special Eurobarometer, conducted between late May and early June this year, gathered the views of 27,680 EU citizens aged 15 and above, aimed at informing EU development policy beyond 2015.

Here are some of the findings from the survey.


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  • 1. What Europeans think about development aid
  • 2. Do you think eradicating poverty around the world is important? The European Commission has undertaken a survey to gauge attitudes within the 500-million-strong European Union, the world’s largest aid donor, toward development and the Millennium Development Goals. The special Eurobarometer, conducted between late May and early June this year, gathered the views of 27,680 EU citizens aged 15 and above, aimed at informing EU development policy beyond 2015. Here are some of the findings from the survey.
  • 3. Most Europeans (83%) think helping people in developing countries is important. Agreement is largest among younger respondents (aged 15-24), students, and those who are financially comfortable.
  • 4. The majority (52%) say yes, individuals have a role to play in fighting poverty in developing countries. The Swedes are the most resounding with their response (90%). In contrast, just a tenth of Bulgarians share the sentiment.
  • 5. Two-thirds think tackling poverty in developing countries should be one of the main priorities of the EU, but barely half (48%) see it as one for their national governments. Estonia is the only country where less than a majority think the global poverty fight should be one of EU’s top priorities.
  • 6. About 7 in 10 Europeans believe fighting poverty in developing countries benefits EU citizens. The level of agreement is highest in Sweden (87%) while disagreement is most pronounced in the Czech Republic and Slovakia (both 39%), though a majority in the two countries nonetheless agree that combating poverty in developing countries has a positive influence on EU citizens.
  • 7. More than 6 in 10 people agree the EU should make good its promise to increase development aid. In all but four countries (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Estonia), at least half support the view. Croatia (86%) has the most people saying yes, followed by Sweden (81%) and Austria (74%).
  • 8. Europeans who are willing to pay more for products from developing countries slightly edge those who are unwilling to do so (48% to 47%), a reversal of the trend recorded a year earlier.
  • 9. Few Europeans (6%) have heard or read about the Millennium Development Goals and know what they are. The Dutch, managers and those who left school at age 20 or after exhibit the highest level of awareness.
  • 10. Employment is the No. 1 choice among Europeans when asked about EU development policy priorities post-2015, followed by education and health. Access to information, gender equality and trade were ranked the least.
  • 11. In all priorities, women and men differ the most on health and energy. Women are more inclined to choose the former (35% vs. 30% of men) and men the latter (17% vs. 12% of women) as an EU development priority post-2015.
  • 12. The level of education influences the choice of EU development priorities post-2015. Europeans who left school at 20 or after are more likely than those who left at 15 or under to select education, environmental protection and democracy and human rights. The latter tend to go for health and employment.
  • 13. Europeans think eradicating extreme poverty and hunger over the next 10 years is the hardest to fully achieve (8%) among six MDGs under study (MDGs 7 & 8 were excluded). Respondents are most buoyant about chances of fully achieving the goal of reducing maternal mortality (19%).
  • 14. Danes are the least optimistic when asked whether extreme poverty and hunger, universal primary education and gender equality over the next decade can be fully or partially achieved. Hungarians, on the other hand, expressed the most confidence on all three goals (tied with Belgians on the latter two).
  • 15. Check out eudevdays.eu for the live-stream of all 20 auditorium sessions from the European Development Days 2013 — the premier European gathering of development luminaries from around the globe — happening Nov. 26-27 in Brussels. Follow the latest from #EDD13 on Twitter and Facebook and share your views on the priorities for a post-2015 development agenda. For the latest news and analysis, stay tuned to Devex, an official media partner of EDD13.

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