12 Oct 2007

EU says Fiji must continue progress to democracy to protect funding

11:41 am on 12 October 2007

The European Union has warned that unless Fiji's interim administration shows signs of a return to democracy, the country could lose future funding for its sugar industry.

Following the military takeover last December, the EU suspended its sugar allocation to Fiji for this year and that money is now lost permanently.

The head of the EU delegation in Suva, Roberto Rudolfi, says for Fiji to receive funding for 2008, it must show credible and timely preparations for elections in line with the commitments already made by the interim government.

Dr Rudolfi says funding in 2009 will depend entirely on an elected government being in place.

He says while money allocated for 2008 and 2009 is still there, it could be taken up by other ACP sugar producing countries if no progress towards elections is made.

Dr Rudolphi has also clarified that there is no provision in EU rules for a retrospective refund of sugar money already spent by the interim administration this year in anticipation of EU funding arriving later.

The EU's humanitarian and education funding will not be affected.