BRUSSELS, Belgium: Three Caribbean countries – Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and Haiti – are among 19 countries to benefit from €264 million (US$340 million) from the European Union (EU).
Last week, the European Commission approved the first financing decisions under the 2010 allocation for the Vulnerability FLEX (V-FLEX) mechanism to help the most vulnerable African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries cope with the impact of the global financial crisis and economic downturn.
The mechanism is a short-term instrument which provided for €500 million (US$643.9 million) over two years (2009-2010). Antigua and Barbuda will get €9 million (US$11.5 million), Grenada €3.5 million (US$4.5 million) and Haiti €8.5 million (US$10.9 million).
“Developing countries continue to face important difficulties, including funding gaps in their government’s budgets, as a direct consequence of the global financial crisis. This year, this EU mechanism will help 19 ACP countries maintain their level of public spending in priority areas, and therefore mitigate the social impact of the economic downturn,” said Andris Piebalgs, Commissioner for Development.
The V-FLEX mechanism is the European Union’s response to help countries most affected by the economic downturn due to their poor resilience to external shocks. Apart from the three Caribbean countries, the others that will benefit are: Benin, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Togo, Tonga, Tuvalu and Zimbabwe.
The financing decisions in favour of Grenada and Burkina Faso were adopted last week, while decisions for the other countries will follow later.