EU development aid to India drops substantially

April 6th, 2008 - 1:14 pm ICT by admin  

Brussels, April 6 (IANS) Development aid to India from the European Union dropped to 46 billion euros (over $72 billion) in 2007, about $3 billion dollars less than what it was in 2006, according to EuAsiaNews. The European Commission (EC) , the EU’s executive arm in Brussels, sounded the alarm Friday over a fall in the level of development aid provided by the EU countries.

The global aid provided by the 22 biggest donors in the world, has gone down for the second year in a row. This is putting the UN Millennium Development Goals seriously at risk, according to the EC.

EC president Manuel Barroso said: “We are worried about this trend, because we cannot afford to reduce development aid while trying to achieve the UN Millennium Development goals.”

Louis Michel, the commissioner for development and humanitarian aid in the EU, has “strongly urged” the EU countries “to keep their promises and substantially increase aid levels”.

Louis Michel pointed out that as the biggest donor in the world, the EU “should set a good example and lead also in attaining higher aid levels, as we pledged in 2005″.

Over 1,600 European NGOs united under the Global Call for Action against Poverty (GCAP) and the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development (CONCORD) have also criticised the EU governments for their failure to live up to aid promises.

“European governments’ failure to meet aid pledges is nothing short of disgraceful. Europe likes to see itself as a world leader in development assistance but these figures show that governments are taking a step backward on their commitments,” said CONCORD director Olivier Consolo.

Under the EU’s development assistance programmes for the period from 2007 to 2013, the EU’s Commissioner for External Relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, had proposed an aid package of 470 million euros for India, to be disbursed over the 7-year period.

Some 40 percent of the total development aid was for health and another 22 percent for educational projects. The aim was to help India meet its UN Millennium Development Goals in these two key areas.

Another 38 percent of the total aid package was to help finance the action plan for the pro-poor sector.

In a paper, which it will adopt on April 9, the European Commission will ask every EU country to put forward a multi-annual plan, indicating the increases planned for the coming years.

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