Germany 'owes half its foreign aid pledges'
Germany is billions of euros behind in its pledged foreign aid payments, according to a new report issued on Monday which says only about half of what the country is pledging is actually paid.
In order to meet its promised targets for foreign aid by 2015, Germany must increase its payments by €2.35 billion per year, according to the report, issued by the aid organisation One.
Co-founded by rock star Bono, One is an international organisation focusing on fighting poverty and disease, particularly in Africa.
At a 2002 UN conference on development at Monterrey, Mexico, donor countries reiterated a previous UN goal of having aid levels, or official development assistance (ODA), reach 0.7 percent of gross national income by 2015. The European Council later committed to that goal, and set individual targets for member states.
But not all European countries have been making their pledged contributions.
Germany, France, Italy and Spain account for almost 70 percent of the combined gap between pledges and actual payments, and the report says that in order for the EU to meet its collective targets for 2015, these countries must increase what they give.
EU countries as a whole must increase their development assistance by €42.93 billion between 2011 and 2015 to meet their collective target of €93.78 billion.
Five EU countries are on track to reach those targets - Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Britain.
Germany, meanwhile, met only 52 percent of its foreign aid targets in 2011. Germany would also have to increase its investment in Africa by more than €5.5 billion by 2015 in order to meet its targeted goal. This is the largest gap of the European countries studied, according to the report.
Germany is committed to push up its global official development assistance to €19.51 billion by 2015, but Berlin's current budget efforts indicate it won't meet those targets, the report says.
The aid organisation recognizes that reaching the goals in Europe, under the current financial difficulties, won't be easy.
It writes in the report: "Europe's protracted economic crisis has created a multitude of challenges at home, ranging from high unemployment rates to unsustainable fiscal deficits. In response, an increasing number of countries have implemented sharp cuts or have flat-lined budgets for their budgets for the coming years. This growing budget austerity has now spilled over into life-saving aid programmes."
The report praises countries like Ireland, which despite serious economic woes, is committed to meeting its foreign aid pledges.