31 Mar 2006

European Union ready to back Pacific Plan

3:14 pm on 31 March 2006

The European Commission is enthusiastic about the Pacific's move towards regionalism and intends committing additional funding for the Pacific Plan.

The EC's director general for development, Stefano Manservisi, is in New Zealand to assess the impact of past aid spending and to consider new approaches.

He says the countries in the region cannot work in isolation.

Mr Manservisi says the EC wants to work more closely with Australia and New Zealand through the Pacific islands Forum.

He says the EC is particularly interested in channelling money as budget support.

"I think here we have a convergent interest with New Zealand. It is not the same in Australia where they are much more hesitant about this. But I think with New Zealand we can go along with more budget support to these countries. Important, because budget support means to go along with their national policies, so this is an important feature for development."