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Europe

EU Committed to Boosting Aid Despite Financial Crisis

The European Union said it is committed to increasing aid to developing countries despite the negative effects of the global financial crisis.

An EU flag mirrored in the glasswork of the EU Council

Donor nations will meet in Doha to discuss aid targets

"The financial crisis can't be used as a pretext for cutting development support," Maciej Popowski, director for EU development policy horizontal issues, journalists in a video conference on Monday, Nov. 24.

"We can't force anyone to meet their targets ... but the EU is serious about its commitments."

Developing nations have avoided much of the immediate effects of the financial crisis due to their limited exposure to global markets.

Knock-on effect expected

However, economists are warning there will be a knock-on effect in terms of a reduction in aid inflows as well as remittances, foreign direct investment, and economic growth.

The EU promised to increase development aid to 0.56 percent of its Gross National Income by 2010 and 0.7 percent by 2015 in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals, a series of ambitious UN targets aimed at improving the plight of the world's poorest by 2015.

However, campaigners believe that the EU promises, and those made by other developed nations, are unlikely to be met because of the financial crisis.

Even prior to the crisis, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan warned that at the current rate of progress G8 nations would fall $40 billion short of their promises to double aid to Africa by 2010.

EU will apply pressure

Donor nations are meeting in Doha from Nov. 29, 2008 to Dec. 2, 2008 to discuss aid targets, the first serious opportunity to address the effects the financial crisis will have on aid commitments.

Popowski said the EU, which currently accounts for around 60 percent of global Official Development Assistance, would be putting pressure on other nations, such as the US and Japan, to increase development aid at the meeting.

He warned that a failure to meet the MDGs would result in problems for richer nations through issues such as increased migration.

"We are living in a global world and the cost of not meeting the MDGs will be borne by everyone," he said. "We need to tackle the root causes.... We are all interconnected."

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