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Louis Michel is off to a flying start

Posted by Helen Saturday, August 14, 2004

We ought to have known that Louis Michel would be the first of the new Commissioners (he is not even waiting for the formality of being approved by the European Parliament) to make himself heard. To the delight of various international organizations and quangos he has announced that he will go round all the member states of the EU demanding that the contribution of foreign aid, that is support for corrupt and oppressive governments should be increased.

M Michel has had extensive experience in the former Belgian colonies of Central Africa and has even lectured DR Congo, Rwanda and Burundi on how they should come to an agreement. One obvious solution according to him would be economic integration of the kind Europe tried after the WWII, which has led to the European Union.

One has to say M Michel’s knowledge of European history is not entirely accurate. Perhaps he should read The Great Deception to find out what really happened. Nor does he seem anxious to enumerate the disaster that western interference, particularly on the part of the UN and the EU has led to in those countries.

Rwanda has recently been written about extensively. The combination of UN inefficiency and supineness with French propensity to meddle and use aid to create a “Francophone area” in Africa led to some of the worst mass slaughters in the continent ten years ago.

The war in DR Congo has dragged on for many years with untold suffering and uncounted death toll. The EU’s contribution, apart from periodic sums sent in aid, was a minute military peace keeping force (on what basis exactly?) that stayed in its compound, unable to make any difference one way or another. As I write, news comes through of refugees once again being murdered in Burundi inside a UN camp.

How exactly does Louis Michel think he is going to sort the mess out through more aid and who is the aid going to? And while we are on the subject, Oxfam has supported his statement. Oxfam has been collecting money for all the various emergencies in Central Africa and the Horn of Africa. What we still do not know is how much of that emergency money got through to help the people in need and how many of the supplies are still lying around, waiting for a permission from hostile or dysfunctional governments to be delivered.