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The European Union (EU) is reassessing its relationship with the Jamaican Government and will be placing more emphasis on providing budgetary support to reduce the debt burden, and crime.
“We should move to a mature relationship being characterized not so much by traditional projects.but more towards the budget support approach. Traditional projects have been cumbersome..we can now move to a more mature relationship, whereby we support directly your government’s agenda, to the extent that we share it and that it gets indeed implemented,” said Newly Appointed Head of the European Union (EU), Marco Mazzocchi Alemanni.
Mr. Alemanni, who was speaking at a media press briefing yesterday (April 30), at the offices of the European Commission in Kingston, explained that under this new approach the EU will set benchmarks for particular government strategies, and once these benchmarks or indicators are met, the Union will disburse the money to the government.
“The budget support does not go directly into funding of that strategy that we would support. We support a strategy by agreeing on benchmarks and conditionalities. Once they are fulfilled then we disburse the finances directly into the treasury,” he informed.
“It is then up to the government to decide how that money will be spent. We don’t attach the money to any specific projects what we attach are benchmarks,” he stressed.
According to the EU Head, “the most crucial aspect of this agenda is those pertaining to debt and to crime. To crime because every Jamaican, especially the poor, is directly or indirectly concerned by this plagued. To debt, because it is the aspiration of every Jamaican and it is your government’s intention to have better hospitals, better schools, better roads, and your country will be able to fully provide them once it has reduced its indebtedness to a less critical level,” he pointed out.
In more than 30 years of cooperation and several successive five-year programmes, the EU has provided the country with more than $665 billion in development cooperation grants, making the Commission overtime, Jamaica’s largest donor of development aid.