Gleneagles/Brussels, 6 July 2005
Speaking today at a press conference in Gleneagles in Scotland before the opening of the G8 Summit, José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, pledged 1 billion Euro per year to support the trading capacity of developing countries. EU aid for trade helps poor countries make use of the export opportunities provided by market opening. President Barroso is representing the EU at the G8 summit along with the UK presidency. Multilateral trade liberalization has the potential to generate significant economic opportunities that could lift many people out of poverty. But many developing countries are ill-equipped to take advantage of new export opportunities. President Barroso, who attends the G8 summit as the “9th man at the G8 table”, announced details of the aid for trade deal and set out his key demands for the G8 summit. He has just returned from visiting South Africa, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Libya where he and Kofi Annan addressed the African Union Summit.
President Barroso said, “I want this announcement today - along with the EU’s agreement last month to get on track to double aid - to send a powerful European message to the G8 table about the level of European ambition in this crucial year for development. The EU is already the biggest aid donor in the world, contributing 55% of overall aid. We are already the world's biggest and most open market for developing countries. But we can and we are determined to do more.”
“What I am proposing - and what I will be bringing to table at Gleneagles – is a significant boost for aid for trade, aimed at helping developing countries help themselves, by enabling them to turn market opportunities into reality. Africa will be an important beneficiary. Europe already offers tariff and quota free access to almost all products from the poorest countries. But we must build Africa’s capacity to seize the opportunities of free and fair trade. If sub Saharan Africa could regain just 1 per cent more of global commerce that would be worth seven times more income every year than the continent currently receives in foreign aid and in debt relief. Yet Africa’s share of global trade is in steady decline. From 6 per cent in 1980, it has fallen to 2 per cent in 2002.”