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Aid groups, political parties slam VVD's development budget plan

Monday 18 June 2012

Suggestions by two prominent VVD members that the aid budget be slashed from €4.4bn to €1.4bn have been condemned by charities, rival parties and VVD members themselves, Nos television reports.

Parliamentary party leader Stef Blok and MP Ingrid de Caluwe said in an opinion piece in Saturday's Volkskrant the results from aid expenditure over the past 60 years have been 'not exactly convincing, to put it mildly'. In many cases, development aid is a 'drastic flop', the MPs write.

The MPs call for an end to direct subsidies to organisations such as Oxfam Novib and Doctors without Borders. 'Their phone numbers are on their websites,' the MPs argue. They also argue there is no need for the Netherlands to meet the internationally-agreed target of spending 0.7% of GDP on aid, pointing out that just four other countries do so.

The call for a €3bn cut in aid spending goes further than the VVD's manifesto at the last general election, which called for the budget to be halved.

Senior VVD party members such as former minister Ed Nijpels described the suggestion as 'too tough' while current aid minister Ben Knapen said the plan would 'effectively end' the Dutch development contribution.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Sorry to say this but considering recent developments here, I really do not think that the majority of Dutch people are interested in helping the less fortunate people in less fortunate areas and countries. I think most people here want things for themselves; they want wealth right now and material objects like cars and IPads much more than they want to be known as a charitible liberal caring type of culture and society. This is clear to me from the choices that the Dutch are making in all sorts of areas of their society.
I would make different choices myself.

By Bill | 18 June 2012 9:48 AM

That's pretty well everywhere, Bill.

But I still wonder what they would prefer: paying for the unfortunate in their homeland or paying for them once they become refugees here? I mean, just because you stop helping them doesn't mean they'll go away. Unless people want them to just die out...

By CW | 18 June 2012 10:47 AM

Sorry Bill, but c'mon.

Before a country should be handing out such large amounts of money in charity they should have their own house in order first.

There is nothing wrong with that... the Dutch have generally worked quite hard and deserve to not have to hand over every penny else where.

By B | 18 June 2012 10:51 AM

Before a country stops handing out money it should take a good look at itself and it's history. Then decide if the damage it caused all those years ago has yet been repaid. Or you could just think about yourselves. Keep calm and carry on everyone.

By ExP | 18 June 2012 2:29 PM

The (us?!)Dutch are one of the highest per capita development aid contributors in the world, both privately and via government. Given the current crisis and hard cuts that are having to be made in the Netherlands, I dont think that it is that unreasonable that the Netherlands cuts its contribution down to levels more consistent with that of the rest of the world.

By Bigoceans | 18 June 2012 4:00 PM

C'mon...we're citizens of the world first, then a particular country. Because if you really think cutting off aid won't affect the Netherlands in the long run, you're seriously naive. Anything that a country does or doesn't do always has ramifications beyond its borders.

By CW | 18 June 2012 5:19 PM

charity begins at home, look after the poor here first and there are a lot who are below the poverty line and (including....before I am condemned) refugees here in holland

By jenny | 18 June 2012 5:32 PM

I don't think NL has its house out of order, so to speak. I think this is very wealthy country; a country where many people are now concerned about becoming overweight for goodness sakes. While in many developing countries, people do not have enough to eat. This made me sick in the USA many years ago, and is one big reason I moved here many years ago.
But things change, and not always for the best. As the world population grows, and resources become more scarce, I expect the developing world to have a tough time. Sad to see NL change so quickly to me.

By Bill | 18 June 2012 5:32 PM

Well said, CW, on both your points. This isolationist view isn't going to work anymore, we're past that point in the human experience.

By Stupid | 18 June 2012 6:20 PM

Very well said, Bill. And the reaction "it is everywhere" is the standard reaction of Dutch people when they cannot handle criticism which is actually always. It stops them from thinking on a subject. I think no development money to the poorest and enriching (taxing them less) the corporations and their CEO's, bank bailouts, EU funds in order to not implode since the euro was introduced in a hurry and not for the public good, is a choice but a rather bad one, and then a crisis which was caused by politicians and international bankers and the poorest have to pay for it? It is just an excuse to get rid of development aid. Slippery slope.

By Abigail | 18 June 2012 7:18 PM

I feel ashamed about my own country, about its level of egotism and its selfcentered attitude. The VVD positin on developmental cooperation is cheap and populistic. Already today all our military missions abroad are paid from the developmental cooperation's budget.

By Herman | 18 June 2012 8:08 PM

In my view all aid should go to a global birth control effort, the planet is running out of resources fast & the global population is rising fast. Green house gas is reaching catastrophic levels & we are reaching peak oil & peak soil. The Earth's population was 3 billion when I was born, is now 6 billion & will probably hit 10 billion before my life ends. Something needs to be done fast or eventually we will see billions die from famine & climate change.

By Phil | 19 June 2012 6:55 AM

CW: good comments. I agree it may be the 'trend' everywhere to be more selfish and materialistic, and care less about poverty and real need - but I will not be following this sad trend.
How often do I hear people complain 'the world is getting harder, more brutal, its all about money, etc. etc.' Yet at any moment we can make the choice to be less materialistic, less selfish, more caring and social.
We make the choice. Things do not happen by themselves.

By Bill | 19 June 2012 7:08 AM

I don't disagree with your conclusions, Phil, but you'll be up against the Catholic Church with this one...and too many developing countries are staunchly Catholic. You can't FORCE birth control down anyone's throats, and I'm sadly pessimistic that education would change some really hardcore beliefs. The more some feel they are being coerced, the more they may consider it a challenge from their god, or a reason to martyr themselves.

They think they are as right as you think you are, simple as that.

By CW | 19 June 2012 5:54 PM

Thing is, Bill...I don't buy into the nostalgic view that the world is getting harder, more brutal, etc...It has always been this way.

I do think we're currently undergoing economically a wave of political thought that is currently prevalent...but fortunately temporary. It may take a generation, but everything is cyclical.

I hope...

By CW | 19 June 2012 5:58 PM

I hope you are right CW. The big and real difference now is that the world is quickly becoming overpopulated and we are very cleraly running out of the essential resources we all need to live as humans. As we run out of these precious resources, there will be more and more conflict and more exploitation of the less educated and less fortunate.
But I do really hope you are right - really.

By Bill | 20 June 2012 6:59 AM

@CW, if you look at a list of countries with the lowest birth rates you'll find that of the 10 lowes birth rates, 5 are primarily catholic countries and 3 others have significant (>10%) catholic populations. Religion doesn't affect birth rates anything like as much as people think. Urbanisation, education levels among women and female employment have a much bigger influence.

By Michael P | 20 June 2012 10:33 AM

@CW- I agree with what you are saying although I wouldn't single out the CATHOLIC church, most religions are the same, Muslim countries have the highest birthrates at the moment. Hopefully Religion will eventually die out.

By Phil | 20 June 2012 12:04 PM

It is just not fair to cut education, research, health care budgets in Netherlands, which greatly affects people already living here, to promote development elsewhere, especially in these days where the geopolitical-social goals of development aid such as to promote Western values, Western morals and else are so much frowned upon as "cultural imperialism".

Any foreign aid should be tied with clearly defined geopolitical aims for NL.

By Andre L. | 20 June 2012 1:36 PM

I think there are some fantastic development programs out there, but government development aid (or 'our taxes' as I like to call it) is currently going to countries with their own space program while buraucracy and internal racism fails the real 'needy'. Do they really need our money? Of course not - we are really talking about trade bribes from a developed to a developing country at best, and 'suitable regime' funding at worst.

It's right to look once again at the development budgets, and send the cash to where it's doing real good for society. I'm afraid that once you apply that filter, the newly proposed aid is just about on the mark.

By osita | 20 June 2012 9:49 PM

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