European Commission promises €200 million for Iraq
The European Commission (EC) has adopted a Communication setting out proposals for the European Union's position at the Madrid Conference on Reconstruction in Iraq. The Communication suggests that Europe should offer a consolidated pledge at Madrid of €200 million, bringing together the contribution of the Community and individual contributions from the member states.
It is proposed that the funds should be made available from the Community budget for reconstruction in Iraq in the initial period up to the end of 2004. Some €100 million in humanitarian assistance from the Community budget is already being deployed in Iraq, stated a press release.
The Communication outlines a common approach, stressing that success will depend on three factors: security, transfer of power to the Iraqi people, and a multilateral framework for reconstruction including the creation of a multi-donor trust fund. It notes the importance of involving Iraq's neighbors in the reconstruction process from the start.
“The Commission's proposal is based on a realistic assessment of resources available for external actions,” said Budget Commissioner, Michaele Schreyer. “The figure compares well with the pledge we made for reconstruction aid for Afghanistan of one billion euros over five years. "
At the European Council in Thessaloniki, the European Union confirmed its readiness to participate in the reconstruction of Iraq within the framework of UN Security Council Resolution 1483, and invited the Commission to submit proposals.
The Madrid Conference will aim to reach a consensus on the framework and priorities for international efforts to boost the reconstruction process and seek financial commitments until the end of 2004. Success will also depend on the involvement of Iraq's neighbors, notably Turkey, Jordan, Syria, the Gulf Cooperation Council States (GCC) and Iran. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)