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Volume 163: debated on Monday 4 December 1989

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what economic aid is currently given to Hungary.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major) announced assistance of £25 million over five years for Hungary in October. The programme now being planned gets under way substantively next April.

I am grateful to the Minister for that comprehensive reply. Does the Minister envisage neighbouring countries within the eastern bloc applying to Britain for further financial aid? What plan does she have in mind if they do?

The hon. Gentleman may be right. Countries other than Poland and Hungary may in due time want assistance from western European countries. However, it is not solely Britain which should give that assistance. Discussions with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are taking place in Washington. We are aware of the needs developing in eastern Europe as it moves towards democracy, which we hope will happen with all speed.