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EC gives further €9 million for Afghan elections

European Commission gives further €9 million for Afghan parliamentary and provincial elections

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, today announced her intention to make available €9 million in additional funding for the Afghan parliamentary and provincial elections. With elections less than 2 weeks away, the election budget still faces a shortfall and the additional contribution of the European Commission (EC) will cover most of the remaining financing needs for the elections. Closing this gap is essential to ensure that the elections can proceed smoothly, with adequate election staff and security around polling stations as planned.

Speaking in Kabul after meeting the President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner said, “These elections are a milestone in the ongoing efforts to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan and for the completion of the Bonn process. Because they are so crucial I have decided to go the extra mile with a further financial contribution to the elections budget. This is a clear political signal of our commitment to Afghanistan’s future. We have now closed the bulk of the funding gap reported by the UN. I call on other members of the international community to make an extra effort to commit the remaining funds needed.”

This latest contribution will be in addition to €8.5 million which the EC has already provided for the elections. In addition to its contribution to the election budget, EC support for democratisation this year includes €4.1 million for the European Union’s Election Observation Mission (EOM), headed by Emma Bonino, and €3 million for institutional development of the parliament so that it can function properly after the elections. The EU’s EOM is the single largest international observer group in Afghanistan for these elections.

The total budget for the parliamentary and provincial elections is $159 million. Prior to this latest contribution, the combined EU contribution to the budget (EC plus EU member states) was $54 million – i.e. 34% of the total budget. With the additional contribution, the EU will be contributing over 40% of the total cost of the elections.

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