Graham Charles Lear
6 min readApr 5, 2019
The newsfloor in BBC’s flagship New Broadcasting House in London


Angry? You should be because This is in addition to the UK’s annual ‘net contribution’ payments UK is expected to continue paying into ‘off-the-books’ EU fund for 10 years after Brexit.

Now Please remember that the UK is the second-largest donor of foreign aid in the World, after the USA. No-one can say that the UK isn’t generous. However, the information that follows is about a fund administered by the EU Commission, using UK money.

Yesterday the EU committed an extra €115 million for ‘job creation and migrant protection’ in the Sahel region of Africa.

Today I thought it might be a good time to remind Remain MPs along with EU Remain lovers about the EU’s €30 BILLION ‘off-the-books’ fund, which the UK taxpayer contributes to, but which is never included in official figures for the UK’s annual net contribution to the EU.

The massive ‘European Development Fund’ (EDF)

This ‘off-the-books’ fund stands at €30.5bn euros (and growing)

It is NOT included when the BBC talks about the UK’s net contributions

The UK pays almost 15% of it (£3.8 billion pounds since 2014)

As part of May’s Brexit deal, the UK will still be paying for 10 years after Brexit

It’s called the ‘European Development Fund’ or EDF

It has nothing to do with developing Europe, or the EU

It’s spent outside the EU, mainly to 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.

I must stress again that this fund is NOT included when people talk about the UK’s annual EU contributions. This is extra spending as a result of the UK’s membership of the EU, but it’s never mentioned. There are other such funds but here I focus exclusively on the EDF.

The EU is expecting the UK to pay for this — and continue paying — as part of the ‘financial settlement’ that has been agreed by Theresa May.

This will mean the UK paying billions to the EU until 2030 — and this money is in addition to the UK’s annual contributions to the EU’s main budget. Bizarrely there are no time limits for implementing projects, which can take ‘more than 10 years’.

What is the European Development Fund?

Well, it’s not about developing ‘Europe’. This is what the EU Commission says:

“The European Development Fund (EDF) is the EU’s main instrument for providing development aid to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and to overseas countries and territories (OCTs).

“The EDF funds cooperation activities in the fields of economic development, social and human development as well as regional cooperation and integration.

“It is financed by direct contributions from the EU Member States according to a contribution key and is covered by its own financial rules.

“The 11th EDF was created by an intergovernmental agreement signed in June 2013 — as it is not part of the EU Budget — and entered into force on the 1st March 2015, after ratification by all Member States.

“The European Development Fund (EDF) is the EU’s main instrument for providing development aid to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and to overseas countries and territories (OCTs).

“It is financed by direct contributions from the EU Member States according to a contribution key and is covered by its own financial rules.”

Where does the €30 billion go?

83% of the EDF’s expenditure went to African countries, according to the last breakdown we researched. The balance went to what is called OCTs — the overseas territories of France, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK.

looking at just one report about the EDF’s contribution to the road network in Sub-Saharan Africa, a sector for which total EDF commitments amounted to almost €7.4 billion over the 1995–2011 period.

I am not a road-building expert but given the very low costs in that region, we assume that €7.4 billion euros were enough to tarmac over most of the region.

How much does the UK pay?

This fund is separate from the normal annual EU budget and the proportions are borne by each member state are different. In the case of the EDF, the UK pays a disproportionately high 14.8% of the EU total.

2002— 2007 we British paid 1.50 Billion into this fund

2007–-2014 we British paid 2.87 Billion into this fund

2014–2020 We British paid 3.83 Billion into this fund

This additional EU Fund cost the UK £1/2 billion in 2016 alone.

Source: UK DFID Dept

Who checks where this money is going?

Each year the European Court of Auditors reviews the performance of the EDF. In the case of the EU’s €7.4 billion Sub-Saharan road-building project, the ECA described the results only as “partially effective”.

The ECA samples the hundreds of projects financed by the EDF each year and draws conclusions on how well the money is being spent. In its report, the ECA declared that “27% of EDF expenditure transactions were affected by a material level of error.

In 46% of the errors, expenditure either wasn’t eligible under the Fund or it hadn’t even been incurred.

It’s important to note that whilst the EDF is funded by direct contributions from EU Member States such as the UK, these funds are managed by the EU Commission. Mmmmm.

I am not sure about you, dear reader, but from where I come from €30.5 billion euros is quite a lot of money. It would certainly pay for a few weekly trips to the supermarket.

Spent in Africa, this represents an even greater amount of course as many countries in it are very poor indeed as a Certain Mr Lammy never tiers of telling everyone

The key questions are for Remain MPs

Did you even know of the existence of this massive EU fund?

Did you know that it’s not included in the official EU budget?

Did you know that the British taxpayer’s money is one of the main sources for this EU ‘off-budget’ spending?

And despite the billions being spent, are you happy that you don’t even get to have a ‘meaningful vote’ on it?

Secondary questions to the BBC

Do you not think that this is important?

You have massive resources, I have almost none because like a Numpty I pay a proportion of my income to you the BBC — SO why do you never report these things? Could it be that you are not impartial after all

The UK is the second-most generous donor on the planet when it comes to foreign aid, after the USA. The UK can hold its head up high.

Why on earth do we need to send money to the EU, on top of our massive annual contributions, for it to waste on projects which cannot be voted on by MPs?

And why isn’t the British public told about these things?

Last night the BBC had to refute what a panel member had said on the BBC QT

Charles Moore. just as the program began said. “There’s a panel of five and I’m the only Leave supporter. Again and again on this programme the balance totally fails to reflect the country.

In response, the BBC said this.

In response to the point made by @CharlesHMoore about our panels — we’d point out that since 2016 there’s been a range of competing and different positions on Brexit which #bbcqt has reflected both on the panel and from our audience.

Anyone who has watched this programme over the past three years has seen the BBC that this is far from being true. Far from being impartial, the BBC will always favour the Remain Camp. We see it on the news and on programs such as QT.

It's so blatantly obvious how the BBC views both the EU and Brexit

As I pointed out last night to Question Time. Who the hell do you think you are trying to kid. We have had to watch QT week after week for the past three years with biased Remain panels and biased Remain Audiences. Week after week month after month.

To add further insult to Brexit Leavers the BBCs Question Time has moved their venues for the program from Northern Citys where a high proportion of the population are Brexit Leave supporters to the London Leave bubble.

So it's not surprising that the BBC will not say anything about THE €30 BILLION EU ‘OFF-BUDGET’ FUND WHICH YOU’RE PAYING INTO,



Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.