European Union Will Not Match U.S. AIDS Donation
June 20, 2003
The European Union's donation to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria will fall short of the $1 billion pledged by the United States, British Prime Minister Tony Blair conceded today.Adapted from:
Jointly with French President Jacques Chirac, Blair had called for the EU to match America's commitment to the Global Fund. But speaking at the EU summit in Greece, Blair said the smaller of the 15 current EU members and 10 countries joining next year were not prepared to commit the money for 2004 because of "budget problems."
"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," Blair said.
"Britain's commitment to the Global Health Fund has been increased significantly, and also obviously we've got our own AIDS program, bilateral AIDS program, that amounts to hundreds of millions of pounds a year," Blair said. "Our own commitment from Britain is very, very clear, and Britain and France would like the European Union here to commit to matching the U.S. completely with $1 billion. 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."
Blair and 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 called on the EU to make a "secure and predictable financing basis" for the fund.
Lucy Matthew, director of the activist group Data Europe, said: "Europe's leaders don't want America to dictate the world's agenda, but they're unwilling to pay the price for leadership themselves on this. ... To address the AIDS crisis and get the $1 billion on offer from the U.S., the Global Fund needs at least $1 billion from Europe for next year. Europe must come up with this money by the July AIDS conference in Paris."
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