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ODA: Slovakia allocated 0.073 percent in 2004

SLOVAKIA allocated more than Sk900 million €(23 million) in official development aid (ODA) last year, representing 0.073 percent of the country's GDP, the Hospodárske Noviny business daily reported.

Representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGO) that deal with ODA, however, point out that of the declared sum, only Sk160 million (€4.1 million) was allocated as direct bilateral aid.

The majority of the ODA goes towards membership fees of international aid organizations and forgiven debts, Maroš Čaučík, a member of NGOs Platform, said.

Even if Slovakia spent the whole of the Sk900 million on direct development aid, it still would be significantly less than the O.17 percent of a country’s GDP proposed by the European Union. The EU’s aim is for all member states to be allocating O.17 percent of GDP to development aid by the year 2010.

However, the Foreign Ministry's State Secretary, József Berényi, considers this sum to be unrealistic. "We have to co-finance other projects and also fulfil further criteria for entering the eurozone," Berényi pointed out. He added that the O.17 percent target is a “moral obligation” and not a compulsory set target.

Compiled by Magdalena MacLeod from press reports
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