BRUSSELS, Apr 8 (Reuters) – The European Union will deliver more than 20 billion euros to countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Balkans to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the EU’s top diplomat said on Wednesday, as groups of humanitarian aid pressures rich countries to provide support.
Although G-20 leaders have pledged to inject large sums into the world economy, charities like Oxfam and Caritas say the world’s poorest countries also need emergency aid.
“The global pandemic can only be solved globally, it will not be defeated anywhere until it has been defeated everywhere,” said Josep Borrell, head of the EU’s foreign policy, after a videoconference with foreign and development ministers. of the block.
Much of the money is reallocated from other less urgent EU foreign aid schemes in their common budget, but Borrell said the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Commission and governments are working together to maximize funds.
Borrell said that more than € 5 billion in loans from the European Investment Bank will be available more quickly and that no country will see less development aid.
“This is a first step in the right direction, but it must be complemented by firm and concrete measures,” said Caritas Europe general secretary Maria Nyman. Oxfam has also called for international action to shore up public health systems and make testing for the virus free.
In a separate statement, the European Commission said the money will go toward immediate emergency response, medical research, the health care team, and longer-term budget support.
Borrell also said the EU backed a call this week from charities for the G-20 governments, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to cancel debt payments and thus help the world’s poorest countries overcome the crisis.
(Report by Robin Emmott; edited in Spanish by Manuel Farías)