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Old 06-20-2003, 01:37 PM   #1
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Bono asks EU to match US AIDS funds but...

EU will not match US Aids donation

Press Association
Friday June 20, 2003

Tony Blair conceded today that a European Union donation to help fight Aids, TB and malaria would fall short of the $1bn (600m) pledged by the United States.
The prime minister had made a joint call with French president Jacques Chirac for the EU to match America's commitment to the UN's Global Health Fund, set up to fight the three killer diseases.

But speaking at the EU summit in Greece, he said the smaller of the 15 existing EU members and 10 countries joining next year were not prepared to commit the money for 2004 because of "budget problems".

Rock stars Bono and Sir Bob Geldof, who are behind Data, an organisation that campaigns on issues affecting Africa, have called for the EU to met the US pledge.

Mr Blair said he "totally agreed" with them, adding: "I would like us to commit to matching the $1bn."

But he said: "We have got 25 countries sitting around the table and the decision has got to be unanimous. We may find that some countries, because of their budget problems, aren't prepared to commit to that.

"Britain's commitment to the Global Health Fund has been increased significantly, and also obviously we've got our own Aids programme, bilateral Aids programme, that amounts to hundreds of millions of pounds a year.

"Our own commitment from Britain is very, very clear, and Britain and France would like the European Union here to commit to matching the US completely with $1bn.

"At least if we keep the door open by saying 'up to a billion dollars', then it's a significant advance on what was actually expected."

Mr Blair and Mr Chirac made their appeal this week in a joint letter to Greek prime minister Costas Simitis, who is chairing the summit at Porto Carras.

They urged the EU to make a "secure and predictable financing basis" for the fund, which aims to make more drugs and other products available for the prevention and treatment of Aids, TB and malaria in the world's poorest countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa.

Lucy Matthew, director of Data Europe, said: "Europe's leaders don't want America to dictate the world's agenda, but they're unwilling to pay the price of leadership themselves on this. They can't accept the sheer gravity of the Aids emergency because collectively they don't want to pay the bill.

"Jacques Chirac and Tony Blair have worked hard to force this issue onto the summit agenda, but the cheque is still due. To address the Aids crisis and get the $1bn on offer from the US, the global fund needs at least $1bn from Europe for next year. Europe must come up with this money by the July Aids conference in Paris."

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Old 06-20-2003, 01:44 PM   #2
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I think the money should be pledged, but at the same time I do understand that some of the smaller countries might be in a tough position to pledge large amounts if their budgets are in trouble. I don't know if this is the real reason, though, it's more likely that it's political, people at home are probably not willing to put up with what they see as extracurricular spending. The EU is an organization of member states, while the USA is one country, so it's more difficult to get consensus that way.

The money should be there, and it's sad that there are 101 excuses for why it's not, but I'm not surprised either.

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Old 06-20-2003, 02:44 PM   #3
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I'm disappointed but not surprised. The EU isn't a government; it's a whole slew of different governments. It's tough to get them all to agree on anything.
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Old 06-24-2003, 11:38 AM   #4
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it probably is political but if the people consider this "extracurricular spending" that is just sick.

Get it together!!!!!

Bono needs to get in there and do some PR!
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