Dutch open to Third World debt relief

16th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

16 February 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands is prepared to discuss cancelling the debts of the world's poorest nations, Overseas Development Minister Agnes van Ardenne said on Tuesday.

16 February 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands is prepared to discuss cancelling the debts of the world's poorest nations, Overseas Development Minister Agnes van Ardenne said on Tuesday.

The Dutch cabinet was originally against moves to cancel Third World debt, but pressure from Britain brought about a change of heart. This change in tack is based on a stipulation that the EU actually offers real help to the world's poorest nations.

Van Ardenne imposed two conditions on cancelling debt, namely a gradual reduction in European Union farm subsidies and the opening of EU markets to products from developing countries.

During a meeting with EU colleagues in Luxembourg, the minister said another condition was that debt restructuring should not happen at the expense of development co-operation, Radio Netherlands reported.

Van Ardenne is concerned that EU states such as Germany and Britain might add debt relief to their overseas development budgets, rather than directly funding aid projects.

This means the two countries could more easily meet an agreement stipulating that 0.51 percent to 0.55 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) should be devoted to Third World aid by 2010.

EU states will eventually be required to donate 0.7 percent of GDP to overseas development, news agency ANP reported.

The Netherlands is already donating 0.7 percent, while Denmark leads the EU with 1 percent. But the Danes have also linked overseas aid to integration policies, stating that aid must also result in fewer refugees entering Europe.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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