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Women in India carrying a package of Covid-19 aid

International development and the next EU budget


The outbreak of Covid-19 has triggered a health, social and economic crisis that exacts its heaviest toll on the marginalised and most vulnerable, further exacerbating existing inequalities. Women are particularly exposed to the virus as they make up the majority of workers in care, social, and frontline health services, and they are also caring for the sick in families. Women are also hit harder economically as many work in the informal economy and small enterprises, which are among the worst impacted by the pandemic.

The pandemic exposes the depth of inequalities within and between countries and the consequences of decades of austerity policies that have undermined public health systems and stifled progress on universal social protection.

The pandemic also exposes systemic weaknesses of the prevailing development model, resulting in climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. A heavy reliance on private finance to deliver public services and public goods has incentivised - and may have even reinforced - these problematic trends.

The EU has responded to these multiple crises by issuing the “Next Generation EU” package, as well as a revised budget for external action as part of the MFF proposal. In this paper we share key concerns and policy recommendations for the ongoing negotiations.