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Sinn Féin MEP calls for EU Council commitment on Development Aid for poorer nations

16 June, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today called upon European leaders "to make firm commitments on supporting some of the world's poorest nations, by pledging to meet their obligations on Overseas Development Aid".

Ms de Brún made her calls before the European Summit which begins this evening where European leaders are expected to endorse a commitment to pay 0.7 percent of gross domestic product in aid by 2015.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"In 1970 leading EU member states pledged to provide 0.7% of Gross National Income on aid to developing countries by 1980. Today, 25 years later only five of the original 15 member states have met this target. The forthcoming European Summit provides an opportunity to redress these failures.

"It should be clearly understood that this support should be in the context of global justice and not merely a question of giving some money to alleviate hardship but a meaningful long-term commitment to world poverty. If European Member States are prepared to fulfill their obligations, then that is to be welcomed. However, such development aid should not be conditional on any other factors.

"I want to take this opportunity to call on individual nations and in particular the Irish government, to make good its promises. The Irish Government must hold to its original promise of meeting 0.7% of GDP by 2007. Furthermore, the government must look beyond this period by committing to 1% of GDP in future years." ENDS

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