Brown praises EU's pledge to double aid

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The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, has praised a European Union decision to invest an extra $20bn (£11bn) a year into the fight against Third World poverty from 2010, in a landmark move ahead of international meetings with the United States and Japan.

The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, has praised a European Union decision to invest an extra $20bn (£11bn) a year into the fight against Third World poverty from 2010, in a landmark move ahead of international meetings with the United States and Japan.

The breakthrough, made by EU development ministers yesterday, gives Europeans the chance to take the moral high ground and challenge other countries to match efforts to meet the Millennium Goals agreed by the United Nations for combating deprivation.

Mr Brown said: "The EU have decided that they will double aid. We are raising an extra $40bn by doing that, and if all the richest countries that are meeting in Gleneagles in a few weeks' time can agree on a package, that will mean debt relief, aid, trade justice. I praise the European countries, all 25 of them, which deserve support from the rest of the world."

Under the deal, ministers set firm interim targets to help meet a goal of spending 0.7 per cent of gross national income on official development aid by 2015. The 15 richest EU members set a new spending target of at least 0.51 per cent by 2010. The other 10, mostly eastern European states which joined the EU last year, agreed a 0.17 per cent target.

The European development commissioner, Louis Michel, said the deal would put pressure on other rich donors such as Japan and the United States, who lag far behind the most generous European nations.

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