Merkel reportedly breaks her foreign aid promise

Merkel reportedly breaks her foreign aid promise
Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul Photo: dpa
German Chancellor Angela Merkel won't keep her word about increased aid spending for poorer countries, according to Munich daily Süddeutsche Zeitung on Friday.

The paper reported that budget pressures are putting the squeeze on spending plans, citing draft legislation for the 2009 federal budget and mid-term economic planning, which the cabinet will release next week.

While the budget for Germany’s Development Ministry – as well as spending for research – will be increased, they will not see the levels of funding that were promised.

Merkel had vowed to spend 0.51 percent of Germany’s gross domestic product on international aid by 2010. Right now, that number stands at 0.37 percent and will stay at that level next year.

Berlin had also promised to spend 3 percent of its GDP on research and development by 2010. Right now, the government allocates 2.5 percent of its budget to research and would need to invest an additional €10 billion to reach the 3 percent goal.

Another reason for the failure to reach the spending goals is due to strong economic growth in Germany – which means it takes more to match a percentage of GDP – and debt relief programmes for developing countries that are expiring.