The latest Eurobarometer survey on development cooperation shows widespread support for working with countries around the world. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has not diminished citizens’ support for the EU’s work in international development. The results confirm a solid trend over recent years, meaning that cooperation with partner countries remains one of the most positively perceived EU policies.
The EU’s policy on international partnerships and financial commitments to support it remains strong: the EU and its Member States collectively remain the biggest global donor of Official Development Assistance (ODA). Team Europe’s ODA in 2021 increased by 4.3% compared to 2020, from €67.3 billion to €70.2 billion (based on preliminary 2021 data from the OECD). As the world’s leading donor with 43% of global ODA, Team Europe stands firmly by the side of partner countries, in line with citizens’ support for international cooperation.
Peace and Security move to the top of the list of pressing challenges
With Russia’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine, peace and security is clearly present in citizens’ thinking. One of the key findings is the increased concern about peace and security, with four in ten (40%) respondents thinking it is the most pressing challenge for the future of partner countries. This represents an increase of eight percentage points since November-December 2020, when it was the third most mentioned pressing challenge.
The second most pressing challenge mentioned is health (39%), followed by education (37%) and water and sanitation (30%). One quarter (25%) think economic growth and employment is most pressing for the future of partner countries, while 24% mention democracy and human rights and 23% mention food security and agriculture.
Ongoing strong support for the EU’s international engagement and Green Deal policy
Citizens continue to support the EU’s work with international partners. 80% of respondents say that tackling poverty in partner countries should be one of the main priorities of the EU, this is up by 3 points since 2020. There is also widespread support for the EU to tackle climate change in partner countries, with 89% of respondents saying that it is important. This demonstrates clear support for the EU’s Green Deal which underpins its work inside the EU and with partner countries.
Education and digitalisation seen as a priorities
This year’s survey specifically asked citizens about the importance of promoting education and digitalisation in partner countries.
Over nine in ten respondents (91%) agree that promoting education for all should be one of the main priorities of the EU’s action in partner countries. Almost eight in ten (79%) think it is important for the EU to support partner countries in going digital.