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Austria to furnish €1.5 million for development projects

AUSTRIA will spend €1.5 million on joint, third-country projects in 2006-2008, under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the officials of the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) on January 25.

The scheme, agreed upon by Foreign Affairs Ministry State Secretary József Berényi and ADA executive director Michael Linhart in Bratislava on January 25, will replace the one currently winding down between Slovakia and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the TASR news wire reported.

The sum will cover projects in Africa (Kenya, Mozambique) and the Western Balkans (Serbia & Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina). The cooperation timetable and guidelines are set for completion in March so that joint activities come on stream this spring.

The Austrian government formed the ADA two years ago and is running 700 projects on a budget of Sk80 million (€2.1 million), Linhart said.

Slovakia spends an annual Sk900 million (€23.8 million) or 0.08 percent of its GDP on development aid, Berényi said. EU newcomers have pledged to increase this aid to 0.17 percent (0.33 percent for old members).

According to Berényi, the Slovak Foreign Ministry will propose to parliament the setting up of a national development agency modelled on the ADA that could be launched this year.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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