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Friday, 18 January 2013

In Mali, EU sees need for long-term aid

While France is engaged in a war with jihadists in Mali, EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Thursday 17 January are insisted on the bloc's longer-term role, saying they will unfreeze development aid money as soon as the country commits to an election roadmap. Also, the European Union announced an extra € 50 milions to support the deployment of international military action in Mali.
Some €150 million of EU development aid funds were frozen when the jihadists seized control of the northern part of the country in March 2012. Another €90 million was earmarked for direct support to the state but was also frozen. These sums could be released gradually if there is commitment to a democratic reform process towards elections, diplomats said.
"If you want the EU to step in with considerable sums of money, then you need to show some commitment to that democratic reform process towards elections. And the difficult decision for us would be how much risk we're prepared to bear in supporting a state which has dying humanitarian needs but doesn't really meet the benchmarks in terms of democratisation", said a senior British official in Brussels.
Separately, the EU has pledged €82 million in humanitarian aid for Mali in 2013.
The meeting was also attended the EU's development aid commissioner Andris Piebalgs and his colleague in charge of humanitarian aid, Kristalina Georgieva.


Source: Euractiv

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