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Austria will reduce its development aid by 20 %

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Monday, 26 May 2014

Austria will reduce its development aid by 20 %

Austria intends to reduce its part of the budget towards development, which is angering NGOs. Michael Spindelegger, the Minister of Finance, announced on the 29th of April that only 65.4 million euros would be allocated to development aid and in case of disaster abroad during the 2014-2015 period. Budgetary cuts in Europe will have an impact on current peacekeeping missions in Congo, Darfur, Haiti, Liberia, Somalia, Sudan and the Middle East.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responsible for development cooperation, is extremely disappointed by Michael Spindelegger’s announcement. A spokesperson for the Ministry told the Austrian news agency APA that “the funds for 2014 have been secured, but we still have to fight to ensure the final plan does not include reductions [in terms of budget].”
According to Tanja Windbüchler from the Austrian Green Party, Sebastian Kurz, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is not keeping to his word. She added that the Minister, who comes from the conservative party ÖVP, had promised “not to reduce resources allocated to the direct support of the poorest of the poor.” The new budgetary data contradict the governmental programme measures that are supposed to help the growing numbers of humanitarian crises. Annelies Vilim adds that “aid allocation in case of disaster is at its lowest.”
By criticising governmental decisions, Michael Spindelegger is publicly discrediting the members of his party and his counterpart Sebastian Kurz. Amanda Platzer, the Secretary General for the NGO World Vision, has also called the government’s saving plan a ‘sad’ admission of failure. She adds that while Austria possesses the second best European ration in terms of GDP per capita, saving money on the back of the poor simply shows a complete lack of imagination.
“We can only condemn this type of behaviour. Austria is not even trying to fulfil its commitments on an international level.” In terms of humanitarian aid, Austria “is a disgrace to the international community”, says Annelies Vilim. Johanna Mang, from the Austrian branch of the Lumière pour le monde organisation, is worried about Austria’s reputation.

Source: Euractiv