Sir: In his article on South Africa ("EU aid row threatens to sink South Africa's trade hopes", 29 May), Andrew Marshall describes the current state of play between the European Union and South Africa over the proposed free-trade agreement.
It is crucial that a distinction is made between this agreement and the pounds 100m which the EU has allocated for South Africa's domestic Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP).
The RDP (not any trade agreement) has become the cornerstone of South African development following last year's historic multi-racial elections. If EU member states use it as a bartering tool in order to negotiate a trade agreement that suits them, these funds could be jeopardised.
The EU has messed South Africa around for long enough now. If its fragile democracy is to be maintained and strengthened, we cannot afford to hold them to ransom over the RDP.
MEP for Merseyside East (Lab)
30 MayReuse content