The European Union announced on Wednesday that it is speeding up delivery of development aid to the poorest countries hard hit by the global economic crisis. But, none of the aid funding is new.
The European Union's announcement comes less than a week after G-20 leaders pledged to increase assistance to developing countries through the International Monetary Fund.
In Brussels, Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission - the European Union's executive branch - told reporters that aid the EU has already pledged must be delivered quickly.
"The recession must not, cannot and will not be used as an excuse for going back on our promise on aid," he said. "It is true to say that European Union aid levels were up last year - 49 billion euros in 2008. But this is no reason for complacency. Our figures for 2009 and 2010 will decide whether Europe meets its target of official development of 0.56 percent of gross national income by 2010."
More than $3 billion of the aid will go to African, Pacific and Caribbean countries. Roughly a billion dollars will be targeted to fight hunger.
But none of the aid is new money. And some nongovernmental organizations faulted the EU for not pledging more. Others also criticized protectionist trade policies by European nations that they say hurt the economies of developing countries. The EU says it hopes to increase its aid levels to about seven tenth of one percent of its gross domestic product by 2015.