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Monday, 27 February 2017

UK Ministers want to divert aid from Africa to eastern Europe

Some senior ministers reportedly want to divert aid from “wasteful” projects in Africa and Asia to allies in eastern Europe in a bid to get a better Brexit deal. Downing Street officials and senior cabinet ministers believe part of the Government’s £12bn aid budget should be used to win support for a favourable deal from Brussels. According to The Sunday Times, the proposed plan would see aid money being diverted from projects described as “questionable” in developing countries in Asia and Africa to Poland, Hungary and the Baltic states, which so far have been allies of the UK. The manoeuvre is reportedly designed to persuade eastern European countries to back the demands of the UK, when negotiating its exit from the EU. But the controversial proposal has already started a war between ministers and officials at the Department for International Development (DfID), the newspaper suggests. DfId insists the plan is illegal under international rules since the only countries that qualify for overseas development spending in eastern Europe are Ukraine and Albania, neither of which are members of the EU. Rules over which country is eligible for development spending are set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). One senior government source told The Sunday Times ministers were looking at the aid budget “with hungry eyes”.

Source: The Independent