Albanian Daily News - Nov 25

Aid Groups Say EU Kosovo Funds Should Not Deprive Poor

Albanian Economic Tribune

BRUSSELS - Aid groups on Tuesday condemned European Union proposals to take cash previously intended for the world’s poorest countries and spend it instead on rebuilding Kosovo. The Brussels-based Liaison Committee of Development NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) said it was concerned the 500 million euros ($515 million) earmarked by the EU for the war-torn province would come from funds originally intended to help Third World nations.

The group said in a statement its members "strongly condemn this proposal as it would amount to funds principally destined for combating poverty in some of the world’s poorest countries and regions being substantially reduced."

"It cannot be acceptable to cut back so dramatically on the EU’s commitment to fight poverty in the Third World in order to reconstruct Kosovo," it said.

The 15-nation bloc’s governments and the European Parliament will try again at a meeting starting on Thursday to resolve differences over the funding for Kosovo. The row, if not resolved, could delay approval of next year’s EU budget.

The EU, which has promised to play a major role reconstructing Kosovo after NATO’s 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, has said it will set aside up to about 500 million euros (515 million) next year for the task. But EU governments want the money raised by making spending cuts in other areas, while the European Parliament is fighting for additional funds to be made available. (Reuters)

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