2018 budget for foreign trade and development: extra funds for emergency aid and reception in region

Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, has increased the 2018 budget, which she will be discussing with parliament next week. ‘There is a great need for extra emergency aid and reception in the region. Worldwide, millions of people have fled their countries because of violence. Millions of them in neighbouring countries need support, especially with winter coming,’ the minister said.

The original 2018 budget was submitted in September by Ms Kaag’s predecessor, Lilianne Ploumen. Ms Kaag has now budgeted an additional €140m for emergency aid and an extra €50m in support of more permanent housing of refugees in the region, with a special focus on education and job creation for both refugees and the local population. Currently, some 105m people around the world depend directly on international humanitarian aid, the UN estimates. Around 65m of them have fled violence. This year, there is a $12.3bn shortfall in funding to provide this group with the basic necessities of life and modest prospects for the future. As the minister noted, ‘This is of course a matter for the entire international community to address. The Netherlands is taking its share of the responsibility.’

The minister’s decisions implement a key point in the third Rutte government’s coalition agreement, to raise investment in foreign trade and development cooperation (on average around €400m per year). In the months to come, the minister will draw up a memorandum setting out new policy for all the areas of her mandate and action she plans to take during her term in office. ‘Aid and trade is an effective combination,’ said Ms Kaag. ‘We will of course carry on with this approach, which is working well. At the same time, we’ll examine how we can shape the best possible policies on aid, trade and development.’

Ministry responsible