Conservative MEP Marina Yannakoudakis today condemned EU funding to local governments in totalitarian regimes including Zimbabwe and Belarus. The EU is currently providing €6.48 million (£5.2 million) to support 20 different development projects which benefit local authorities in repressed countries throughout the world.

The EU is providing funding to local authorities in Belarus, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Kazakhstan, Laos and Zimbabwe. All 5 countries are listed as authoritarian regimes in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index.

Local governments in undemocratic countries are usually appointed by the central government or elected in procedurally unsound elections. For example, the majority of rural district councils in Zimbabwe are still controlled but President Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party. The EU is spending €400,000 on rural district councils in Zimbabwe. The situation in Belarus is worse with only 360 opposition candidates allowed to compete for 21,000 council seats at the last local elections in 2010.

Revelations of the scale of EU support to governments of authoritarian regimes was revealed in an answer to a parliamentary question posed by London MEP Marina Yannakoudakis.

Reacting to the figures released to her by EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, Marina said:

“The EU is sending millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to some of the nastiest countries in the world. Worst of all these funds are being used to support local governments which are cogs in the wheel of an authoritarian machine.

“I believe that it is our duty to help the developing world to eradicate poverty, but EU funds are not reaching those who need them most. To use EU aid to subsidise outposts of despotic regimes is an insult and a travesty.

“One of the projects even funds ‘Increasing public confidence towards local authorities in Almaty’. Kazakhstan is an authoritarian regime with a dictator who styles himself the ‘The Leader of the Nation’. The Mayor of Almaty has been unveiling statues of the Kazakh President in the city. Should the EU really be providing funds to the authorities in Almaty, let alone funds which are aimed at increasing public confidence?”

Note:

Question to the Commission by Mrs Yannakoudakis:

Subject:         Funding for ‘non-state actors and local authorities in development’

Can the Commission please provide detailed information on the projects it has funded under the budget line ‘Non-state actors and local authorities in development’? In particular, could it please provide details of projects where beneficiaries or partners have included local authorities from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burma, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Laos, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan or Zimbabwe?

I would like to know the title of each project, the amount of EU funding granted and the name of the local authority partner/beneficiary in the country concerned. I am interested only in projects with local authority (government) partners, not NGOs or other non-state actors. I would appreciate details of funding for the 2007-2010 and 2011-2013 programming periods, with an indication of which projects are ongoing.

Answer from Commissioner Piebalgs:

Since 2007, the Thematic Programme “NSA/LA” co-finances actions led by local authorities (LA) and non-state actors (NSA). It aims at encouraging NSA and LA, both from the EU and developing countries, to get more involved in development issues. Projects led by NSA are supported through the specific budget line 21.03.01 and those led by LA are supported through the budget line 21.03.02.

Amongst the different countries indicated in the written question only Belarus, Cuba, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Laos and Zimbabwe have benefited from an LA allocation.

The annex details the 20 projects about which the Honourable Member has inquired. It should, however, be noted that the list only concerns projects where local authorities or an association of local authorities are leading partners. Numerous other local authorities are also partners in projects financed under both budget lines. The number is too great to be listed in a table.

 

Contract year

Status

Title

Delegation in charge

Contracting party

Geographical zone (LEF)

Planned amount

2010

Ongoing Rendering   community-based services for healthy ageing Ukraine LIETUVOS   SAVIVALDYBIU ASOCIACIJA (LSA) Belarus

€ 179,742

2009

Ongoing Capacity   Building for LA and NSA cooperation on social inclusion and empowerment of  disadvantaged people in Belarus communities Ukraine MINSK CITY   INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATIONDEVELOPMENT Belarus

€ 132,164

2011

Ongoing Appui aux communes dans la gouvernance de la sécurité   urbaine Ivory Coast FORUM IVOIRIEN POUR LA SECURITE URBAINE ASSOCIATION Ivory Coast

€ 399,436

2011

Projet de développement de l’intercommunalité en Côte   d’Ivoire Ivory Coast UNION DES VILLES ET COMMUNES DE COTE D IVOIRE (UVICOCI)   ASSOCIATION Ivory Coast

€ 400,000

2009

Ongoing Renforcement des capacités des collectivités locales du   Burkina Faso et de Côte d’Ivoire dans une logique de dialogue et de   construction de la paix par le développement Ivory Coast ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONALE DES MAIRES ET RESPONSABLES   DES CAPITALES ETMETROPOLES PARTIELLEMENT OU ENTIEREMENT FRANCOPHONES West Africa   Region

€ 832,806

2010

Ongoing Increasing   public confidence towards local authorities in Almaty Kazakhstan CITY OF   ALMATY Kazakhstan

€ 269,100

2011

Ongoing Capacity   building of local authority through implementing waste management strategy   and actions to increase population awareness into environmental problem of   the region. Kazakhstan CENTER FOR   COORDINATION OF PROJECTS OF THE MUNICIPAL HOUSING ECONOMY OF MANGISTAU REGION   LLP Kazakhstan

€ 296,308

2009

Closed Establishment   of a public council as a mechanism for civil society participation in   decision-making in forthcoming improvements in the utility sector in   Mangistau oblast. Kazakhstan CENTER FOR   COORDINATION OF PROJECTS OF THE MUNICIPAL HOUSING ECONOMY OF MANGISTAU REGION   LLP Kazakhstan

€ 133,295

2011

Ongoing Oudomxay   Community Health Development Project Thailand SATHANALAT   PAXATHIPATAI PAXAXON LAO Laos

€ 269,543

2009

Ongoing Pro-Poor   Water Supply Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) for Health Improvements in Priority   Poor Districts, Savanakhet Province, Lao PDR Thailand SATHANALAT   PAXATHIPATAI PAXAXON LAO Laos

€ 241,680

2011

Ongoing Promotion   of Equality, National Healing, Cohesion and Unity in 6 Zimbabwe Rural   District Councils Zimbabwe THE   ASSOCIATION OF RURAL DISTRICT COUNCILS OF ZIMBABWE TRUST Zimbabwe

€ 400,000

2011

Ongoing Managing   political diversity and Community Healing in Urban Local Authorities Zimbabwe URBAN   COUNCILS ASSOCIATION OF ZIMBABWE TRUST Zimbabwe

€ 400,000

2010

Ongoing Strengthening   Transnational Partnerships and Networks for Enhancing Participatory Local   Governance Zimbabwe URBAN   COUNCILS ASSOCIATION OF ZIMBABWE TRUST Zimbabwe

€ 1,350,000

2010

Ongoing The City of   Gweru Senga Community Based Workshops Project Zimbabwe GWERU CITY   COUNCIL Zimbabwe

€ 135,000

2009

Ongoing Community   Enterprises Resource Centre Zimbabwe EPWORTH   LOCAL BOARD Zimbabwe

€ 135,000

2010

Ongoing Community   Development Through Upgrading of Sewer Reticulation System in Ngoni and   Katanga High Density Suburbs Zimbabwe NORTON TOWN   COUNCIL Zimbabwe

€ 105,430

2010

Ongoing Tackling   homelessness and poverty in Kariba Municipality by establishing partnerships   with civil society, the cooperative movement and the private sector for the   purpose of providing infrastructural services to 853 residential stands Zimbabwe MUNICIPALITY   OF KARIBA Zimbabwe

€ 135,000

2009

Ongoing Flea Market   Complex Zimbabwe KAROI TOWN   COUNCIL Zimbabwe

€ 135,000

2009

Ongoing Local   Government Association Capacity Building Programme Zimbabwe URBAN   COUNCILS ASSOCIATION OF ZIMBABWE TRUST Zimbabwe

€ 135,000

2008

Ongoing Enhancing   city diplomacy and decentralised cooperation in Zimbabwe Zimbabwe URBAN   COUNCILS ASSOCIATION OF ZIMBABWE TRUST Zimbabwe

€ 396,000