HC Deb 27 November 2002 vol 395 cc264-5W
Mr. Paul Marsden

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she is taking to press other EU countries to(a) apply the EU Procurement Directive regarding tied aid and (b) increase the proportion of aid given to the poorest countries. [83192]

Clare Short

We support the Commission's efforts to ensure that member states' aid programmes comply with Community law. The Commission has recently presented to the Council of Ministers a Communication on Untying which reiterates member states' obligation to apply the Procurement Directives to their bilateral programmes.

Poverty elimination is the stated objective of EU development programmes. Nine of the fifteen member states provide more than 70 per cent. of their aid to the poorest countries. The record for Commission-managed aid is much less poverty focused and is 45 per cent. We continue to press in the Council and in annual budget discussions with the European Parliament for higher priority to be given to poor countries in allocating EC development funds.