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Monday, April 20, 2009

EU strategy on tackling the crisis in poor countries offers no new money

Concord press release

CONCORD, the European Confederation of Development NGOs welcomes the release of the European Commission’s Spring Package on supporting developing countries to tackle the impact of the financial crisis, but has expressed deep concerns about the genuine levels of commitment being shown by European governments to keep their promises to the poor.

Today’s announcement reveals that there is no fresh money available for developing countries. The Commission has acknowledged in its communication today that US$20 billion more in aid is needed to meet the commitments. Meanwhile, it signals that Italy has abandoned its aid commitments and Germany and France are off-track on meeting theirs.

The strategy details how Europe will provide money upfront from its aid budget, but offers no new funds to tackle the crisis. This comes in the face of a raft of recent aid cuts to European governments’ 2009 aid budgets (Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Estonia). CONCORD warns that these cuts, combined with insufficient rises show that EU member states are not taking seriously the needs of developing countries mired in a crisis not of their own making.

Recent figures have suggested that the impact of the crisis will affect developing countries to the tune of $300bn in 2009, meaning that despite a small rise in aid volumes from Europe in 2008, developing countries will essentially lose out even more than before.

“Less than one week after the G20, the EU has produced a strategy that fails to address the underlying flaws in the system that we know fuel poverty in developing countries.” says Ester Asin-Martinez of CONCORD “Whilst we welcome the EU’s efforts to be the first to act on international development after the G20, this falls far short of what is needed.”

CONCORD calls on European governments to:

• Step up their efforts to deal with the impact of the crisis on developing countries by providing new money without the harmful economic strings attached that have played such a prominent role in leading to the current financial crisis
• Use their leadership role to take steps to reform the flaws in the international financial and economic system
• Provide timetables to show how they will actually deliver the aid they have promised
• Halt any further cuts to 2009 aid budgets
• Implement commitments on aid effectiveness agreed last year at the OECD DAC High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness

In May, CONCORD will release its fourth annual AidWatch report, looking at the genuine aid provided by European governments. For more information on this report, please contact jasmine.burnley@concordeurope.org


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