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MEP welcomes EU aid to Pakistan and supports plan to look at debt restructuring

September 2, 2010 2:10 PM
Liz Lynne MEP

MEP Liz Lynne backs calls to look at restructuring Pakistan's debt to stop aid payouts being wasted.

The EU and the international community should look at the benefits of restructuring Pakistan's debt to stop flood aid donations being swallowed up by rising interest payments, says Lib Dem Euro MP Liz Lynne.

Liz Lynne and a number of MEPs discussed the crisis at a meeting of the European Parliament's Friends of Pakistan in Brussels yesterday, a group the West Midlands MEP helped to set up in 2006.

The Pakistan floods, the worst in the world for decades, have seen an area the size of England hit by water up to 20 feet deep. At least 1200 have died and 800,000 have been marooned.

At the meeting, Liz Lynne said: "We should be proud of the response to this devastating disaster by the people of the UK, but European Union funding is essential for the immediate relief and rebuilding of Pakistan in the long term.

"I am pleased to say that the EU has responded well so far but we must make sure that aid continues. We should look at the possibility of restructuring Pakistan 's debt as we don't want the aid eaten up by debt repayments."

Later Liz Lynne added: "The response to this catastrophe from the people of Britain , especially in Birmingham , has been inspiring."

"International co-ordination is vital and this is where the EU can play a further role.

"This disaster is so massive that the economy of Pakistan could be tipped into a Greek-style financial crisis and a collapse of confidence in its debt repayments."

The Parliament's Development Committee also discussed the floods this week. The European Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva told MEPs that the EU had so far offered practical and financial help worth €70 million with a further €160 million pledged by EU governments but she said an urgent need for clean water, food and shelter remained.

The next Plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg from 6-9 September is likely to see a debate and also have a statement by the European Commission on the floods.