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European Proposal Will Hike Foreign Aid Levels

Annan Welcomes European Proposal To Hike Foreign Aid In Bid To Meet Development Targets

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed a proposal from the European Union that its members increase their official development assistance (ODA) to a level that will provide an additional $25 billion to developing countries by 2010.

"The Secretary-General warmly welcomes the European Union's strong support for his efforts to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)," said a statement issued by Mr. Annan's spokesman. The goals were designed in 2000 to reduce a host of socio-economic problems by 2015.

He particularly applauded the European Union's targets, laid down by the European Commission, as consistent with his recommendations to next September's UN summit. "These would not only trigger an estimated additional €20 billion (euros) by 2010, they would also bring EU countries closer to the target of ODA amounting to 0.7 per cent of their gross national income (GNI) by 2015," the statement said.

The EU's Commission recommended that old Member States increase their ODA to a new individual baseline of 0.51 per cent of GNI, if they had not yet reached it, and new Member States donate 0.17 per cent of GNI, giving a collective average ODA target for the Union of 0.56 per cent of GNI.

"Both targets – if achieved – could allow the EU to reach 0.7 percent ODA by 2015. This would put the EU, as the world's largest donor, in a position to comply with a basic international aid target," the Commission said.

Mr. Annan also hailed the EU's "increasing emphasis on trade and other non-aid policies as a means of reaching the MDGs and by the decision of the EU to focus on the needs of Africa."

The EU's 25 Member States are 13 per cent of UN membership, account for almost 30 per cent of the world economy and are the biggest trading entity in the world, according to the Commission's website.

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