19 Oct 2007

EU keen to maintain budget support in aid to Pacific

5:31 pm on 19 October 2007

The European Union says the ideal for its bilateral aid is to provide it as budget support.

The EU yesterday signed commitments for 320 million euros in bilateral aid with 13 of the 14 ACP countries in the Pacific.

The money is for the period 2008 through to 2013.

The EU's High Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, says budget support is the best way to give aid and he rejects suggestions it could be abused.

It is the best way to have predictable aid and to have absorption capacity.

And Mr Michel says it is true ownership.

"All the donors are always speaking a lot about ownership - that means that the partners have to take in their own hands their destiny. You cannot say that and only work through projects with other actors than the government - NGOs, agencies and all this. You must give the governments a chance."

While Fiji remains a member of the ACP, it is suspended from EU aid programmes.