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EU gives EUR 53.8bn in overseas aid, missing 2010 target

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EU gives EUR 53.8bn in overseas aid, missing 2010 target


(BRUSSELS) - European Union states spent 53.8 billion euros ($77 billion) in overseas development aid in 2010, the European Commission said Wednesday, but Oxfam slammed a missing 14.5 billion.

The amount spent by the EU and its 27 member states was 4.5 billion more than in 2009, making the bloc "the largest and most generous donor of official development assistance, providing more than half of global official aid," the EU executive said.

However, the commission admitted the EU "missed its target for 2010," with EU aid representing 0.43 percent of bloc-wide Gross National Income.

Charity Oxfam cited the failure to reach an interim target of 0.56 percent in 2010, and said Europe's shortfall was "depriving poor countries of a massive 14.5 billion worth of life-saving aid."

It referred to separate figures also released Wednesday by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Nicolas Mombrial of Oxfam added that "big cuts for the next few years... ultimately will cost lives," saying the missing money could, for example, have "paid the salaries of nearly 800,000 midwives in sub-Saharan Africa, where maternal mortality rates are the highest in the world."

States will have to make a "substantial collective effort" to meet a target of 0.7 percent of annual GNI by 2015, the commission said, with critics pointing the finger primarily at Italy and Germany.

"We must also improve the delivery and quality of the aid we provide," development commissioner Andris Piebalgs added in a statement.

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