Michael (lancelot10) wrote in u2,

Bono Attacks EU over Broken Aid Pledges

By Victoria Ward, PA News

Rock star Bono today condemned EU governments for failing to keep promises on aid for Africa.

The U2 singer, in Dublin to address development ministers from all 25 EU states, said charity was no longer enough.

“We are after billions, not millions,” he said. “And that’s what it’s going to take to sort out the problems of our next door neighbour.”

Bono is calling on all developed nations to honour pledges to give 0.7% GNP in aid to the world’s most deprived countries.

“There’s a general feeling in some camps that because they are doing well their economies can’t afford the commitment of 0.7% and it’s going to be more money than they thought,” he said.

“A lot of these people are doing some great things, but there are promises being broken and that’s unacceptable. You can’t make promises and not keep them.

“There are some laggards hanging out here and I’m just going to be putting my hand in their wallets. We are getting there, but we just have to hurry them along.”

The star dismissed rumours of plans to stage a Live Aid 2 concert.

“At this point there are no plans for a Live Aid 2,” he said.

“It would help but it wouldn’t fix the problem.

“Continental Africa is bursting into flames right now, there’s an emergency going on and for me it’s not really about charity at this point, it’s about justice.”

He said he did not want to see again the shocking images from Africa that were beamed around the world 20 years ago.

“There are plans being discussed here today that would mean we wouldn’t have to see those awful pictures again,” he added.

“There are bureaucratic bottle-necks going on. People have pledged 14 billion dollars to the EU but the EU haven’t found a way of spending it.

“At a time when 6,500 Africans are dying every day of Aids that’s not the Europe I want to be in.”

The singer said this was a dangerous time and would showcase European governments to the rest of the world.

“This is where we meet the rest of the world outside of the military and trade,” he added.

“This is who we are, who we are as Europeans and do we really believe that giving people 0.7% is too much to ask? I don’t think so.”

Bono was also due to speak to Hilary Benn, International Development Secretary, about imminent decisions on the UK budget which campaigners claim could see increases to overseas aid affected by competition from domestic and defence spending.

Data (Debt, Aids, Trade, Africa), the organisation co-founded by Bono and Sir Bob Geldof, is calling on the UK to announce a large increase for the Department for International Development to tackle the Aids emergency and extreme poverty in Africa.

Activists have also called on the Government to announce a timetable by which the UK will meet the O.7% target.

Bono and Geldof have written to all UK MPs calling on them to urge both Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown to dramatically increase the aid budget beyond 0.4% GNI in the next budget.

The letter highlights Britain’s chairmanship of the G8 next year, describing it as a “a unique opportunity to lead an historic initiative for Africa”.


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