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PLATFORMA - Local & regional international action

Budget UE 2016 - 12.10.2015

Cutting “local authorities in development” budget line simply makes no sense!
PLATFORMA calls on the European Parliament’s Budget Committee, in today’s vote on the 2016 EU budget, to reverse the Council’s cut in the “Local authorities in development” line.

Last July, the Council’s position proposed to cut the “Local authorities in development” budget line (- €8,000,000 in commitments; - €4,000,000 in payments). A 13% cut simply makes no sense when the European Union, Member States, the United Nations and the international community as a whole, consistently recognise that local solutions and initiatives are more effective to tackle global issues. Through decentralised cooperation Europe’s local and regional governments deliver efficient, long-term solutions to today’s and tomorrow’s global issues such as climate change, the refugee crisis, widespread inequalities, etc.

Furthermore, at a time of increasing Euroscepticism and growing disenchantment with national politics, decentralised cooperation has the potential to mobilise European citizens in their town or region. The EU budget support to their work is a low-cost way to show them concrete results of the European Union policies for development.

Why cutting local authorities supporting development does not make sense
  • A cut in the annual budget allocated to local authorities will jeopardize the efforts made so far to strengthen their ability to deliver public services and to improve local governance across the world, corner stones in the fight against poverty. Local and regional governments play a prime role on the ground, finding concrete and local answers to cross-cutting and global development challenges such as climate change, rising urbanisation, increasing inequalities and fighting corruption.
  • The “local authorities in development” line includes projects of development education and awareness raising (DEAR). That is, actions taken by European local and regional governments to raise their citizens’ awareness on development issues, and on the necessity of Member States’ and the EU’s development policies.
  • Furthermore, the role played by local and regional governments in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals has been increasingly acknowledged at the EU and at the international level - especially in the framework of current international negotiations on the Post-2015 Agenda on the New Urban Agenda (Habitat III) and on a universal climate agreement (COP 21). The EU budget for development cooperation enables your towns and regions to contribute in these fields.
  • Local and regional governments have demonstrated their absorption capacities since the beginning of the CSO-LA programme in 2007, as they increasingly responded to calls for proposals. Yet the Local authority budget line has already run out of payment appropriations for 2015. Therefore, cutting commitment and payment appropriations for 2016 on the basis that the budget is already too high is irrational. It is precisely because the European Commission recognised the added value of decentralised cooperation that the decision was taken to place greater reliance on local authorities and boost the LA budget line.
  • While such a budgetary cut would have little impact on EU Member States’ direct contributions to the EU budget, its impact on LRGs and their ability to continue delivering concrete solutions to communities in need is potentially huge.
  • The EU committed to supporting local authorities in partner countries[1] to foster more inclusive, sustainable and effective development. It has consistently recognised the expertise and added value of local and regional governments in promoting development cooperation and democratic governance[2], and has endorsed the EU strategy for local and regional governments in partner countries[3]It also reiterated this year the need to include local authorities both in decision-making and in implementation phases of development programmes, especially in the framework of the new Sustainable Development Goals[4]. Therefore, cutting this budgetary line would be inconsistent with all the above mentioned political commitment of the EU.

Reducing the EU’s budget devoted to local authorities on this vital issue sends the wrong signal about the EU’s ambition to play its part in promoting international development.  Therefore, European local and regional governments, their associations and networks call on the EU member states and the members of the European Parliament to preserve the budget proposed by the European Commission to local governments in partner countries.

[1] EC communication “Empowering Local Authorities in partner countries for enhances governance and more effective development outcomes” (2013), and Council conclusions on local authorities in development (2013)
[2] Report on local authorities and development cooperation, Pierre Schapira (2007)
[3] Report on local authorities and civil society: Europe’s engagement in support of sustainable development Corina Creţu (2013)
[4] Report on the role of local authorities in developing countries in development cooperation, (2015)
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