Dáil Éireann - Volume 602 - 10 May, 2005

Written Answers. - Overseas Development Aid.

  201. Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will actively promote Ireland’s policy of 100% untied aid among all the member states of the EU; and if he will raise this matter at the next meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council. [14881/05]

  Mr. C. Lenihan: Ireland’s policy since the establishment of the aid programme has been that aid should be completely untied. This policy remains. While the EU has made advances in the area of untying of aid in recent years, there is as yet no consensus to move to a policy of fully untying aid among all the member states.

In preparation for the 2002 Monterrey International Conference on Financing for Development, the General Affairs Council concluded that the European Union would implement the OECD Development Assistance Committee recommendation on untying of aid to least developed countries and continue discussions on further untying bilateral aid. The EU also undertook to consider steps towards the further untying of Community aid while maintaining the existing system of price preferences for the EU-African, Caribbean and Pacific framework.

Subsequently, in November 2002, the Commission adopted a Communication entitled — Untying: enhancing the effectiveness of aid. The General Affairs and External Relations Council in May 2003 underlined the need to further untie Community aid and also agreed to the modalities detailed in the Commission Communication. A European Parliament resolution in September 2003 took a similar approach.

Following these developments, a draft regulation on untying aid was submitted by the Commission and has been under consideration by the Council at working group level over the past 18 months. Most recently, on 7 April 2005, the Council working group considered Presidency proposals for compromise amendments which had been drafted on the basis of consultations with the European Parliament rapporteur on the draft regulation. These efforts between the [176] Council Presidency and the Parliament to find common ground remain ongoing. I will avail of every appropriate opportunity to urge fellow EU member states both in the council and elsewhere to follow Ireland’s policy on the complete untying of aid. A complete untying of aid is the best way the international community can serve developing countries.