Reference: IP/05/553 Date: 11/05/2005
HTML: EN FR DE
PDF: EN FR DE
DOC: EN FR DE
Brussels, 11 May 2005
President Barroso meets Afghan President Hamid Karzai – and announces details of Afghan reconstruction programmes for 2005/2006
European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, will meet Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, in Brussels on 12 May. They will review the reconstruction process and the ongoing political transition in Afghanistan. They will also discuss counter-narcotics efforts, priorities for future cooperation between the EU and Afghanistan and forthcoming elections. Presidents Barroso and Karzai will announce details of the Commission’s programme for reconstruction assistance for 2005 and 2006. This programme will complete the delivery of the Commission’s pledge of €1 billion of reconstruction aid for Afghanistan for the period 2002-2006. So far under this reconstruction programme, €657 million has been delivered. This figure does not include an additional €216.5 million in humanitarian assistance over the 2001-2004 period. With 87% of these funds already contracted, the Commission has consistently delivered the money it has pledged to Afghanistan on time.
“Afghanistan has made tremendous progress since 2001,” said President Barroso ahead of the meeting, “I look forward to discussing with President Karzai what has been achieved so far and how we can support Afghanistan as it enters a new phase of the reconstruction and stabilisation process.”
The Presidents will review progress in delivering on the aid pledge which the Commission made at the Tokyo conference in January 2002, and announce details of the reconstruction and development assistance to be provided in 2005 and 2006. Under the assistance programme agreed with the Afghan government for 2005 and 2006, the Commission will provide assistance worth at least €376 million over the next two years. Activities will focus mainly on four key sectors: health; infrastructure; rural development, including promoting alternative livelihoods for farmers currently dependent on poppy cultivation; and public administration reform, including support for the police and for the upcoming elections. Other activities will include demining and support for civil society and human rights. This programme does not include humanitarian assistance in 2005 and 2006, which is subject to the usual criteria.
Barroso and Karzai will also discuss priorities for future development cooperation beyond 2006, as well as issues such as government capacity-building and revenue collection which will permit Afghanistan to stand on its own two feet in the longer term.
President Karzai’s visit takes place at a key point for Afghanistan. The Bonn agreement of December 2001 set out a roadmap leading to elections for a ‘broad-based, gender-sensitive, multi-ethnic and fully representative government’. After the successful Presidential election of 9 October 2004, forthcoming parliamentary and provincial elections on 18 September mark a further decisive step in the Bonn transitional process. President Barroso and President Karzai will discuss preparations for the upcoming elections and possible EU support to the process, including a €11.5 million democratisation package, comprising support for the elections themselves and for the institutional development of the new parliament.
Both Presidents will also review efforts to combat production and trafficking of illicit drugs. Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan increased in 2003 and 2004. Last year, Afghanistan accounted for an estimated 87% of global opium production, much of it destined for Europe in the form of heroin. Working with the UK (lead donor for Afghan counter-narcotics) and other major international donors, the European Commission has provided substantial support to the Afghan government in its fight against the opium economy. Assistance in 2003 and 2004 included around €190 million of funding in support of counter-narcotics efforts.
For complete information on the Commission’s assistance to Afghanistan since 2002 see MEMO/05/156.
For more details: