Subject: DN: Portugal asks EU to reconsider proposed cut in Timor aid

also: Portuguese MEP Denounces Planned EU Aid Cuts

Portugal asks EU to reconsider proposed cut in East Timor aid

BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom

Source: Diario de Noticias web site, Lisbon, in Portuguese 20 Feb 02

Portuguese Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Luis Amado is worried about the EU's plan to reduce drastically financial aid to East Timor from 28m euros in 2002 to 7m in 2003. Luis Amado has asked two EU commissioners and the chairman of the cooperation and development committee, the Communist MEP Joaquim Miranda for an explanation for this cut.

In letters sent to Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Chris Patten and Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Poul Nielsen, Amado said "the country's future is only just emerging, there is a very precarious political, social, economic and institutional situation, not found in any other country". Therefore, Amado argues "unless there is continuity in the international community's sustained joint effort, there is a risk of losing all the investment made so far".

Luis Amado called on the EU officials to review the Strategic Document for East Timor, which the EU Commission plans to put to the ALA Committee on 28 February suggesting a drop in aid from 28m to 7m euros...

22 Feb 02 13:00 
East Timor: Portuguese MEP Denounces Planned EU Aid Cuts

Portuguese European Parliament member Joaquim Miranda has blasted European Commission plans to drastically reduce aid to East Timor next year as "absolutely inadmissible".

The Communist MEP lashed out against the intended cut in aid to euros 7 million from euros 28 million last year in a letter sent to EU Commissioner Chris Patten and made public in Brussels Friday.

The commission has justified its planned reduction for 2003 by noting that East Timor would still be getting much more aid than other Asian countries.

Between 1999 and this year, the European Commission has provided Dili with a total of euros 137.5 million in emergency, reconstruction and UN administration aid.

SAS/MCF -Lusa-

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