Friday, May 23, 2008

Development aid: 2008 must really be the turning point

Source: Press release by Luis Morgantini, Vice President of the European Parliament, 22 May 2008

"I have many hopes in 2008 and in the commitments undertaken in order to invert the trend and to achieve the Development goals that we promised" affirmed Luisa Morgantini, Vice President of the European Parliament during the Plenary discussion concerning the aid effectiveness for development.

"Considering the two International conferences on development in Accra and Doha"
– explained Vice President Morgantini - "2008 may and must really be the turning point: the two appointments are an extraordinary opportunity for the European Union to show that it is able to face its responsibilities as the number one world donor."

In Strasbourg, Vice President Morgantini mentioned the new annual Report by Concord, the European Confederation of Development NGOs, regarding the promises made by EU Governments. Morgantini declared that "the report shows that in 2007 the quantity of the aid by the 27 EU Member States not only didn't increase as it should have, but it actually decreased, and at the same time it shows that many problems concerning development policies remain: including insufficient transparency and tied aid".

"Therefore it's fundamental" – added the Vice President - "to increase both quantity and quality of aid. Focus on struggle against poverty, coherence of all policies with development goals, priorities identified by recipient countries, more transparency in cooperation programmes, simplified procedures, and untied aid: these are some of the reforms that require urgent notice" according to Luisa Morgantini.

Finally, the Vice President reminded that "in 2007 EU Member States spent about 8 billion Euro, 17% of all the European Aid, in important sectors but that are not development (debt cancellation, expenses for refugees, scholarships for foreign students)" and called her colleagues "to support the amendments asking for excluding these outgoings from the calculation of ODA".

After the debate in plenary, the Vice President also commented on the data concerning Italian aid. "European NGOs Report clearly shows that in 2007 our country went forward in the right direction: not only the genuine aid increased of 40% compared to 2006, but Prodi Government paid Italy's arrears due to the United Nations and it approved a timetable in order to respect the International commitments. I really wish - concluded Luisa Morgantini - that the new Government will follow this path and will not dissipate the successful work performed by former Vice Minister Patrizia Sentinelli".

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