21 Aug 2007

EU says offer to Fiji sugar industry unchanged

1:38 pm on 21 August 2007

The European Union's Suva office has made it clear there is no change to the EU assistance being offered to Fiji's ailing sugar industry.

Sources at the office say the money that could be paid out later this year is part of an agreement that was made with the Qarase government, but delayed after the coup.

Philippa Tolley has more:

"The four million euros, or 5.4 million US dollars is money arranged in 2006. Those funds could have started arriving early in 2007, but the ousting of the Qarase government meant they were put on hold. The interim regime had to move towards a more normal situation and lift the state of emergency before any money could be paid out. Now, after the final paper work is completed, the funds could be released in about eight weeks. If the elected government was still in power, financial help from the EU might have been available on an annual basis. But now, the rest of the EU funds to help reform the sugar industry won't be available until 2009/2010. They are conditional on credible steps being taken to hold general elections as agreed to in commitments made by Fiji to the EU."