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European Development Fund

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 15 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what conditions the European Development Fund places on donor recipients; and what conditions his Department places on the same recipients through bilateral agreements with those countries. (126838)

The European Development Fund (EDF) is subject to conditions at different levels, including those of a political and technical nature. At the political level, the EU-ACP Cotonou Agreement identifies a number of “essential” (human rights, democracy and the rule of law) and “fundamental” (governance) elements. A breach of the principles underpinning these elements can lead to consultations between the EU and the ACP state concerned and the imposition of measures aimed at remedying the breach. These measures must be proportional but may, as a last resort, evoke a suspension of community aid.

DFID's bilateral relationships with partner countries, including those funded by the EDF, are covered by the UK policy paper “Partnerships for poverty reduction: rethinking conditionally”. This was published jointly by DFID, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and HM Treasury in March 2005. The UK believes that an effective aid partnership is based on a shared commitment to poverty reduction, human rights and strong financial management. These are similar to those essential and fundamental elements outlined in the aforementioned paragraph. We may interrupt or stop aid if a partner Government breaches these commitments. Any conditions we use will relate to these three commitments and be drawn from our partner's own policies and plans, wherever possible.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when he expects the UK to ratify the 10th European Development Fund; and by when he expects all member states to have ratified the Fund. (126839)

The Government will lay the necessary documentation before Parliament within the next few weeks. We hope it will be possible to complete ratification before the summer recess.

Other member states have indicated that they expect to conclude ratification within the agreed deadline of the end of 2007.