ME and Ophelia

Friday, June 04, 2004

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$14 billion is pledged to the EU, but the EU haven't found a way of spending it

Associated Press June 3, 2004, DUBLIN, Ireland -- Bono urged European Union governments to spend more on forgiving debts and combating the spread of AIDS in Africa, causes the frontman for Irish band U2 has championed for the past decade.

Bono, the lunchtime speaker Tuesday at a conference of EU development ministers at Dublin Castle, said most EU states had reneged on a long-standing promise to commit 0.7 percent of their gross domestic product to overseas aid. He called that "renegotiating your deal with God downwards."

He also said EU-run aid programs had dragged their heels.

"There's about $14 billion that people have pledged to the EU, but the EU haven't found a way of spending it. That's not the Europe I want to be in," the 44-year-old singer said.

Bono, responding to a reporter's question, said he didn't expect popular singers to band together soon to mount another Live Aid-style concert. The 1985 concerts led by Bob Geldof raised $22 million for famine relief in Ethiopia and the Sudan.

"At this point there are no plans for a Live Aid II," Bono said. "It's always there in the background but right now, no. Right now we're after billions, not millions. A Live Aid II would help, but it wouldn't fix the problem."

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 6/04/2004
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