8 Sep 2011

EU restates conditions for resuming Fiji aid

1:34 pm on 8 September 2011

The European Commission President says Fiji will have to return to democracy before it can start receiving millions of dollars in funding for the sugar industry again.

Jose Manuel Barroso is in Auckland, attending the Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit.

Aid for the struggling sugar industry has been withheld since 2007 as a result of the coup.

Mr Barroso says the EU knows Fiji is an important country in the region.

"First come back to democracy, have free and fair elections. This situation is not acceptable. It is in fact against also the agreements Fiji has with the European Union. Fiji is a member of the ACP group of countries and we have the Cotonou Agreement, and so had to suspend the official co-operation with the regime."

Jose Manuel Barroso says it is a shame that Fiji cannot realise its potential because of the decisions of the current leadership.