LETTER : EU should help Southern Africa

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From Professor Paulette Pierson Mathy and others

Sir: Last Monday in Luxembourg the foreign ministers of the European Union decided to enter into negotiations towards establishing a new long- term relationship with South Africa. We were especially encouraged to learn that the EU wishes the new agreement with South Africa to

promote economic co-operation in the Southern African region to contribute to its harmonious and sustainable economic and social development.

Yet the prospects for such development are likely to be seriously eroded by the British and German governments, in particular, who wish to reduce their contributions to the European Development Fund (EDF). The EDF is the main instrument through which the EU provides development co-operation to the Southern African Development Community and its member states (except South Africa).

A cutback in real terms of EU aid to Southern Africa through the EDF could seriously undermine the development potential of the region. This is at a time, following the changes in South Africa and elsewhere in Southern Africa, when the prospects for the region have never been greater.

Negotiations over the funding of the EDF for the period 1995-2000 have been stalled since February. It is hoped that the matter will now be finally resolved at next week's European Summit in Cannes. Can we appeal through your columns to the heads of government of the European Union to ensure that agreement is reached on the funding of the EDF, so that Europe as a whole can provide the maximum possible support both to the new South Africa and the Southern African region?

Yours sincerely,

Paulette Pierson Mathy, President, The European Network for Information and Action on Southern Africa (Belgium); Walter Sauer, Dokumentations und Kooperationszentrum Sudliches Afrika (Austria); Gorm Gunnarsen, SydAfrika Kontakt (Denmark); Jacqueline Derens, Rencontre Nationale Avec Le Peuple D'Afrique du Sud (France); Volker Bombien, Afrika Sud Aktions-Bundnis (Germany); Theocharis Papamargaris, Greek Committee for International Democratic Solidarity (Greece); Peter Hermes, Instituut voor Zuidelijk Afrika (The Netherlands) Sietse Bosgra, Komitee Zuidelijk Afrika (The Netherlands) Carmen Victory, Cooperacion con el Africa Austral (Spain); Eva Almered, Afrikagrupperna (Sweden); Joao Corregedor da Fonseca, Movimento Portugues contra o Apartheid (Portugal)); Ettore Masina, Associazione Sudafrica Democratico; Ben Jackson, Action for Southern Africa (United Kingdom)

London, N1

19 June