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Finland conditions its development aid on support from Ukraine

Finland wants to cut development aid allocated to countries supporting Russia. Particularly targeted, European countries, put “under surveillance” by the Finnish government.

Other countries were less clear. But for Finland and its new government, led by a coalition including the extreme right, we will not compromise on any support for Russia. This has just been announced by the Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Ville Tavio. This Monday, during a press conference dedicated to development aid intended for the poorest countries, the Finnish leader mentioned a drastic reduction in budgets, which will moreover be redirected, for a few million euros, to Ukraine.

But for the Minister, the novelty is above all that Finland, from now on, will condition its aid on a clear position of the beneficiaries regarding the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. “Finland will not grant development aid to governments or entities that support Russia’s war of aggression,” said Ville Tavio, who expressly points the finger at Africa. “We have seen that African countries support Russia. These countries will be placed under surveillance,” he threatened.

A clear message sent to several partner countries of Finland, such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia and Tanzania. According to Tavio, these “developing countries should focus on their internal development instead of condoning Russia’s war”. The minister assures us “to keep an eye on the countries which receive aid from Finland” but which “choose not to respect the international order based on rules and the sovereignty of the Ukrainian state”.

The sovereignty of African foreign policies, on the other hand, seems to be of little interest to the Finnish minister. For South African Themba Godi, a former member of the National Assembly, the exit of the Finnish minister is “shameful”. The threat from the government of this European country, he says, is “a classic case of coercive diplomacy where threats and blackmail are used to obtain certain positions”. A threat that Godi readily qualifies as “blackmail”.

But what if it was a matter of finding an excuse for Finland to no longer allocate development aid to certain African countries? The European country, which does not respect the recommendations of the UN by allocating much less than 0,7% of its gross national income to financing development, would like to reduce its aid by several hundred million euros. For the Finnish government, reducing its support for Africa also makes sense after the country decided to tighten its immigration laws.

Source: Lejournal de Lafrique

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