12 December 2003
BRUSSELS – Belgium’s NGOs are unhappy with next year’s international development budget, accusing the government of making the budget look much larger than it is.
Some 200 representatives of 50 non-governmental organisations active in the Third World protested outside development Secretary offices in Brussels Thursday.
The group accused the government of window dressing as far as the international development budget was concerned.
NGOs claim that only EUR 850 million will be spent on international development, rather than the promised EUR 1.3 billion, and that there is a lack of transparency to the proposed budget.
Development Secretary Marc Verwilghen denies that budgetary tricks have been used, but admits greater clarity is needed on the budget.
Verwilghen will be increasing Belgium’s development budget by EUR 65 million, some 8 percent, and has pledged to meet the goal of spending 0.7 percent of national output on international development by the year 2010.
Protesters met with the Development Secretary later in the day.
[Copyright Expatica News 2003]
Subject: Belgian news