Geldof says Steinbrück breaking Merkel's aid promise

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14 Jun, 2008 Updated Sat 14 Jun 2008 12:32 CEST
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Sir Bob Geldof has attacked the German government for planning to cut its foreign aid budget, which he said was a broken promise that would damage the country’s reputation.

Speaking in an interview with the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper, the Africa activist said finance minister Peer Steinbrück “Wants to take money from the poorest people in Africa, money which many need simply to survive."

"He cannot take money from their schools or hospitals just for reasons of budgetary prudence. This damages the German reputation – your chancellor signed an agreement.”

Geldof, who has continued fighting for more to be done to help Africa since staging Live Aid in 1984, said he had not spoken to Steinbrück personally, and even said he had some sympathy for the minister.

“See, to a certain degree I can understand his position. Germany, like France and other European countries, have to keep to the Maastricht conditions for a balanced budget. But Germany has a gross domestic product of €2.4 billion, and promised to pay an extra €750 million in aid to Africa.

"That is as if, when you have €100 in your wallet and I ask you, “can you lend me three cents?” What kind of a difference does it make to you? Steinbrück doesn’t want to talk with us. Which is ok. I am not offended.”

But he added that when politicians refuse to meet him to talk about increasing aid budgets, he has to go public.

“When they meet us, we treat them with respect. We are discrete, we discuss, try to convince, and do a deal. And because Steinbrück won’t play ball, I have to use my loudspeaker.”



2008/06/14 12:32

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