HELSINKI – Urpilainen underlines need for aid to developing countries

Jutta Urpilainen, the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, warns that unless something is done to help developing countries, a second wave of coronavirus will swarm Europe.

The EU has not only a moral obligation to assist countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, it is only in the EU’s own interest, Urpilainen told the Finnish Broadcasting Company in an interview on Tuesday.

“Even if we in Europe could allow ourselves a sigh of relief and start dismantling restrictions, the problem is not going away until it has been dealt with globally,” she said, pointing to the risks, particularly in Africa with its 1.2 billion people.

An aid package of €15.6 billion for developing countries will be re-targeted to cope with the coronavirus. That means postponing less urgent projects, for example in infrastructure, agriculture and energy. “Obviously, these projects remain important. But in this acute situation these are not quite essential,” the Commissioner said.

The idea is to screen the partner countries one by one, with the help of EU embassies, and allocate resources to meet the needs. The EU will offer respirators and support the health care systems in the light of worsening social and economic circumstances, said Urpilainen.

(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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