The EU's Misplaced Foreign Aid

Why It's Spending in the Wrong Places

A large European Union flag, May 9, 2013. Bogdan Cristel / Reuters

Europe, it seems, has little sense of how to prioritize its overseas spending. Although it was faced with civil wars or state failures in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and in parts of the Sahel, the EU did not focus enough on assisting its immediate neighbors, and instead, took on a global development role, even though it currently faces budget constraints.

According to the latest available data and reports from the European Commission, which was for the year 2014, the European Commission has poured vast sums into aid and other projects in developing countries, as well as into integrating its eastern and southern neighbors into the union. It earmarked close to $68 billion to cover such programs between 2014 and 2020. And that's without counting the $32 billion budgeted over that same period by the European Development Fund (EDF), the EU’s main aid arm, and the average of $9 billion in loans and grants that the European

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