Broken promise: The Danish government slashes Development Aid budget

Som frygtet, valgte den Danske regering i sin såkaldte genopretningsstrategi for Dansk økonomi at spare på udviklingsbistanden. Udviklingsbistanden bliver således sat ned til 0,76% af BNP – i dag er den på 0,83 – hvilket er en besparelse på 1,4 milliarder kroner i 2011, eller som regeringen vælge at kalde det, en ”nominel fastholdelse af udviklingsbistanden”. Regeringen havde ellers lovet, at udviklingsbistanden ikke ville komme under 0,8% af BNP i sit eget arbejdsgrundlag. ”Regeringen vil sikre, at Danmark ikke kommer under 0,8 pct. af BNI i udviklingsbistand i de kommende år”, lyder det således i arbejdsgrundlaget.

Udspurgt om det forhold, at besparelsen er i modstrid med regeringsens eget arbejdsgrundlag på området, svarer statsminister Lars Løkke Rasmussen at ”det passer sådan set fint i forhold til, at vi skal være over de 0,7 procent, som er FN’s anbefalinger. Men da vi alle sammen skal bidrage, så har vi også være nødt til at kigge i alle mulige hjørner”.

Et nærmest absurd svar. Statsministeren synes åbenbart  at ville inkludere modtagere af udviklingsbistand i det ”vi”, der skal bidrage til at redde den danske økonomi ud af det morads som regeringens skattelettelser til de rigeste m.v. har skabt. Den Radikale formand, Margrete Vestager, kalder da også nedsæringen et decideret løftebrud. ”De havde lovet, at de fattige lande kunne regne med at Danmark ville give 0,8 procent af BNI i bistand”, udtalte hun tidligere i dag.

Udviklingsminister Søren Pind synes dog ikke at se de store problemer i nedskæringen. “Som minister er man aldrig glad for at afgive penge, men det giver arbejdsro, og jeg mener ikke, man kan pege på egentlige ofre som følge af det her”, udtaler Søren Pind således.

Den væsentligste pointe her, er dog ikke hvorvidt regeringen havde lovet det ene eller andet, men at en nedskæring i udviklingsbistanden i en tid hvor udviklingslandene er mindst lige så hårdt ramt som Danmark, er decideret asocial.

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As was feared, the Danish government chose to cut its Development Aid budget from 0,83% of GDP to 0,76% – an overall cutback of 1,4 billion Danish kroner, or what the Danish government chooses to call ”nominally maintaining the Development Aid budget”. The government had promised that the Development Aid budget would not be slashed in a document  that stated that, ”the government will ensure that Denmark will not spend less than 0,8 per cent of GDP on Development Aid over the next couple of years”.

Asked about the discrepancy between the cutbacks and this statement, Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said that, ”this is in alignment with the recommendations of the UN that state that we should spend over 0,7% of GDP, but as we must all contribute [to government cutbacks], we have had to leave no stones unturned”.

This answer is little short of being absurd. The Prime Minister appears to believe we must include those who presently receive Development Aid from Denmark in the ”we” that is supposed to save the ailing Danish economy from the mess that his own government’s tax breaks for the wealthy has left it in. Margrete Vestager, leader of small opposition party the Danish Social Liberal Party, insists that the government has broken its promise to the recipient countries and the Danish public in cutting back on aid. ”They had promised that the poor countries could count on Denmark spending 0,8% of our GDP on Development Aid”.

Minister for Development, Søren Pind didn’t see the cutbacks as problematic, however. ”As a government minister you are never pleased to receive less money, but at least we now know what to expect. I don’t think that there will be any victims as a result of this”.

The main point to be made here is not what the government has promised or not, however, but that cuts in Development Aid at a time when developing countries are much more severely affected by the crisis than countries like Denmark is unprincipled.

Links:

Poll: PM ratings plummet, Politiken, 26 May 2010

Gov’t savings plan altered to secure majority, Copenhagen Post, 25 May 2010

Aftale mellem regeringen og Dansk Folkeparti om genopretning af dansk økonomi, Danish Ministry of Finance, May 2010

Aftale om genopretning af dansk økonomi, Danish Ministry of Finance, 25 May 2010

Fakta: Sådan ser den endelige spareplan ud, Politiken, 25 May 2010

Presseresume om bl.a udviklingsbistanden, Danish Ministry of Finance, 25 May 2010

Folkekirkens Nødhjælp: Vi bryder vores løfte til verdens fattigste på skammelig vis, U-landsnyt, 25 may 2010

Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke: Sparekniv over bistanden vil underminere års kamp for at få andre til at yde mere, U-landsnyt, 25 May 2010

Jann Sjursen: Solidariteten går fløjten, U-landsnyt, 25 May 2010

Pengene strømmer ud af udviklingslandene, U-landsnyt, 25 May 2010

Regering bryder eget arbejdsgrundlag, Politiken, 25 May 2010

R vil stemme for dagpengereform, Ekstra Bladet, 25 May 2010

Mindre ulandsbistand giver ingen ofre, Ekstra Bladet, 25 May 2010

State freezes welfare payments to save billions, Copenhagen Post, 20 May 2010

Danish NGO: Danish government set to cut back on development aid with new austerity plan, Stiff Kitten’s Blog, 19 May 2010

2 Responses to Broken promise: The Danish government slashes Development Aid budget

  1. Pingback: Something is rotten in the state of Denmark « Stiffkitten's Blog

  2. Pingback: Ngo’s should criticise the basis for the Danish government’s development policies « Stiffkitten's Blog

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