Special Eurobarometer: Europeans show their clear support for humanitarian aid

When disasters strike, the EU is there to help. The latest Special Eurobarometer on Humanitarian Aid shows EU citizens are aware of the importance of EU humanitarian assistance: 91% are in favour, 82% have positive feelings towards EU’s leading role, and most Europeans agree with the current budget or want to invest even more. These are the main takeaways from the survey.

© UNHCR/Aristophane Ngargoune, 2020.

An overwhelming majority (91%) of Europeans believe that it is important that the EU funds humanitarian aid activities globally. This is an increase of 3 percentage points since 2016 and the largest ever observed (+21pp compared to 2010).

EU citizens are also aware of EU humanitarian aid activities: more than 70% of Europeans know that the EU assists the most vulnerable victims of conflicts and disasters. These actions cover intervention areas such as protection, food, health, water, nutrition, education, and many more.

The European Union, together with its Member States, is the largest donor of humanitarian aid in the world. The EU funds about 36% of global humanitarian assistance. A large majority (82%) of the survey respondents have positive feelings towards EU’s leading role in financing humanitarian aid, of which 55% feel satisfaction, 17% pride, and 10% enthusiasm.

About 74% of EU citizens believe that the EU should act as one when coordinating and providing humanitarian aid, whereas 22% of respondents think aid is more efficient if member countries act separately.

Since 1992, the European Commission has provided humanitarian aid in over 110 countries, reaching millions of people across the globe each year. Aid is delivered in line with the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence.

Almost half of respondents (48%) think that the EU should keep the current level of spending, whereas 41% think that the budget should be increased. Less than 1 in 10 citizens responded that the EU should invest less. The EU has recently adopted its annual humanitarian aid budget of €1.4 billion for 2021, an increase of more than 60% compared to last year.

The European Union has funded various initiatives to support countries all over the world in the battle against COVID-19. For instance, the European Commission put in place the EU Humanitarian Air Bridge, a set of services enabling the delivery of medical equipment, humanitarian cargo and staff. Europeans fully support these initiatives: 9 in 10 respondents either “totally support” or “tend to support” solidarity with countries outside the EU during the pandemic.

European citizens expect the EU to maintain its leadership in providing humanitarian aid when crises strike. In light of this, the EU is giving renewed impetus to its humanitarian aid policy through the adoption of a new Communication.

This is a new strategic vision to strengthen the EU’s humanitarian action. It lays out how the EU and its Member States, together with its partners, can address growing humanitarian needs and support a better delivery of humanitarian aid in the coming years.

· Curious to know more about the Special Eurobarometer? Read the full report and country factsheets here.

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· Visit our website for more information and stories on EU humanitarian aid: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/

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