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Slovakia not near EU targets on ODA

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 (NGOs) that deal with ODA, however, pointed 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 forgiving 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 0.17 percent of a country's GDP proposed by the European Union. The EU's aim is for all member states to be allocating 0.17 percent of GDP to development aid by the year 2010.

However, State Secretary to the Foreign Ministry József Berényi considers this sum to be unrealistic. "We have to co-finance other projects and also fulfil further criteria to enter the eurozone," Berényi pointed out. He added that the 0.17 percent target is a "moral obligation" and not a compulsory set target.

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