In February this year, as a result of the United Kingdom seeking to reduce its contribution to the European Development Fund (EDF), EU member states failed to agree on the aid allocation for the 70 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. It was not until the French Presidencys European Summit in Cannes, on 26-27 June, that heads of government finally agreed to allocate 13,307 million ECU to the 8th European Development Fund (EDF) for the second half of Lomé IV (1995-1999).
The final compromise on the size of this eighth EDF falls short of the French proposal of 14,300 million ECU. Once inflation since 1989 has been taken into account and the potential increase in funds which could have resulted from the accession of the three new member states to the Union – Finland, Sweden and Austria, this is a disappointing development. Although the agreed amount is an increase in absolute terms compared with the previous EDF (10,800 million ECU), it represents a shortfall given the above factors.
The now-15 member states together contribute 12,840 million ECU to the new EDF. The remainder comes from resources not allocated in previous EDFs (292 million ECU), from an increase in humanitarian aid from the EU budget (160 million ECU) and a conversion of special loans into grants (15 million ECU).
Britain is the only country which decreased, in absolute terms, its contribution to the Fund.
Because of the delay in agreeing the size of the EDF budget, negotiations of the mid-term review of the Lomé Convention were basically stalled. It was only after the Cannes Summit, on the last day of the French Presidency, that remaining issues, among which the trade provisions, could be resolved and the mid-term review completed. The new Lomé agreement will be signed in Mauritius in November this year.