The EU is approaching a crossroads 

Article published on Oct. 13, 2017
Article published on Oct. 13, 2017

[OPINION] Leading up to the 2018 budget, the EU has a choice on the amount of funding they will dedicate to supporting the world’s poorest communities. It is important that they show more ambition and pledge to increase aid.

Leading up to the 2018 budget, the EU has a choice on the amount of funding they will dedicate to supporting the world’s poorest communities. It is important that they show more ambition and pledge to increase aid. As a Youth Ambassador for the ONE Campaign, we have to hold the EU accountable for its international responsibility. This October, ONE is gathering Youth Ambassadors from across Europe who will represent over 33 nationalities from around the world. They will come together for an international summit and stand up for the EU aid budget, showing solidarity for the worlds poorest.

Our collective voice will urge Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to navigate the challenges we face together - famine, insecurity, pandemics – as well as the people fleeing these tragedies. This year, the 2018 budget is an important chance for the EU to deliver a strong, long-term vision for development that brings us closer to an equal and just future for all.

We cannot afford to be unambitious on development spending in a time of global uncertainty. Instead, we must redirect our efforts in order to eradicate extreme poverty. The EU must not take a step away from its role in the world, which has set a leading example by investing essential funds to the world’s poorest.

There is no doubt that the EU is facing its own difficulties, all you have to do is turn on the news to see that is the case. However, global issues affect us all. The challenges affect us all. It is within the EU’s interest to make its mark on global development and continue its leadership in this area.

ONE Campaign Youth Ambassadors around the world have been actively engaged in shining a light on extreme poverty and preventable diseases. In Ireland, for example, we chose to focus on the fact that poverty is sexist. We argue that sexism is global, and therefore our fight against it needs to be global too. The Irish Youth Ambassadors have been calling on their government representatives to work towards global development, in particular measures that alleviate poverty affecting girls and women.

Now, with our European counterparts, we are going to make sure MEPs and world leaders make budget decisions that benefit those who need it most. I hope that the Irish MEPs who I will meet and attempt to persuade share the same ambitions as I do. We have global obligations, and we must use our voice in the European Parliament to show we deserve this affluent reputation.

These issues cannot be solved without investment from global institutions such as the EU. Our message to the EU is that in the face of challenges such as famine, pandemics and the people fleeing these tragedies, the EU 2018 budget is an opportunity we simply cannot turn away from. The EU may be at a crossroads but together we can help them choose the right direction.

Join more than 50,000 European citizens and sign our petition to ask EU leaders to secure and equal and just future for all.

This article was written by Laura Brennan, a Youth Ambassador for ONE Campaign.