CHARITY does not necessarily begin at home for most Spaniards, according to a Eurobarometer survey – an incredible 93% of those interviewed believe it is 'very important' to keep providing foreign aid to countries who need it most.
In fact, this is significantly higher than the previous year when 89% said foreign aid was necessary.
And those who believe their government should increase the amount of financial help it gives to countries worse off have risen in number by 16%.
Whilst the EU average is 69%, a total of 78% of Spaniards believe fighting poverty abroad should be one of Europe's main priorities.
Despite the financial crisis which means more than one in five working-age residents in Spain are unemployed, the country's inhabitants still believe there is always somebody worse off who should be helped out first.
Admittedly, the figure drops to 63% when they were asked whether the Spanish government should put third-world aid near the top of the list – but even then, this is above the European average of those who think their own leaders should do so.
Germany and Portugal are very close behind Spain, and Spaniards are the second-most likely to believe their national government should increase spending in this area – 26%, just behind Romania – and a long way ahead of the average for the EU.
For Europe as a whole, 73% believe aid for developing and third-world countries would help reduce illegal immigration, since they are firmly of the opinion that those who try to enter other nations via the back door do so to escape poverty or other forms of hardship, or for a better quality of life.
And 80% of respondents in Europe say giving foreign aid helps the EU as well as destination countries.
EU head of foreign development, Neven Mimica, said the Eurobarometer results 'show clearly' that Europeans 'are aware of and value the importance' of the 28 member States' continued aid programmes in developing and third-world nations.
Mimica adds that although the overwhelming support for global cooperation was pleasantly surprising, it could be increased even more if contributing governments made the results of their funding efforts public, 'showing the difference it makes to people's lives' and 'the impact it has' on the frontline, as well as demonstrating exactly how the EU benefits from it.
Whilst only 24% of Spanish people interviewed believed the general population was able, and morally obliged to, help in the battle against third-world poverty, a further 64% said this was true 'to a certain degree', showing that very few did not believe it to be the case.
Younger Spaniards were more pro-foreign cooperation – 41% of those aged 24 and under said spending on international aid should increase and 81% felt the public should get more involved, compared with 24% and 62% respectively of those aged 25 and above.
When asked for their views on what was the main obstacle to helping the third world out of poverty, a total of 42% of Spaniards interviewed said poor health and limited or no access to medical treatment was the biggest problem, whilst another 36% said armed conflict and lack of security was the greatest barrier to development.