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The European Union is blaming Moscow for mis-appropriating the humanitarian aid for Chechnya


Between the European Union and Russia there has been again a Chechen aggravation of relations. The European Union is persuaded that the Russian government is filling the state budget with the funds that EU gave for the reconstruction of Chechnya and the refugees of its republic. As the Swedish newspaper Metro reports, in all, Moscow has appropriated during the last 6 years more than 30 Million Dollars.

Nobody is directly blaming Moscow for stealing. Nevertheless the officials of the European Union assert that the money has been appropriated in the form of taxes added on to the price that are applied to a large portion of the goods and services for Chechnya, purchased with the funds from the EU. Taxes of the Russian government, or NDS, vary from 10 to 20% of the value of the product, and in the opinion of Brussels it is an unjust and gigantic exaction.

This tax transgresses all principles on which our support to other countries is built, - said Amadeus Altafay Tardio, press secretary of Luis Michel, the commissar of EU on questions of foreign aid. - We are worried that the money that is necessary to save and ameliorate lives lies in the pocket of the Russian state.

According to Mr. Tardio, NDS is collected from the goods and services that the EU is buying in Russia. The imported humanitarian aid is not subjected to the taxes. The problem lies in the fact that the European Union sticks to the regulation, after which they buy the maximal part of the essential goods, on the spot. The experience shows that the imported aid is able to destroy the fragile economy of the region in crisis. In the case of Chechnya, most of all medicines are coming from abroad. All the rest, the EU is buying in the South Russia. Amadeus Altafay Tardio said that the problem is that NDS is criticized at each summit between the EU and Russia, but every effort of Brussels goes to convincing their Russian partners to change the practice of taxing humanitarian aid, because it doesnt do any good. The Russian side agrees that the NDS tax should not be taken, but its not possible to change the present regulations. The Russians have a lot of bureaucracy and different requirements - the secretary of the commissar of the EU explains the reason for the trashing of any agreement. - Actually, for the removal of the taxes its necessary that the Russian government be involved in the distribution of the aid. Not one of our partner organizations in the region responds to all criteria presented by Moscow. According to experts, Brussels has decided to come out with the condemnation of Moscow concerning the aid to Chechnya, thereby attempting to turn away the severe criticism against the European Union. Watch-dog organizations have criticised the European Union concerning its harsher politics towards Chechen refugees. Recently a Swedish council responsible for refugees expressed a similar statement. According to the report of Anne Marit Austbu the rich countries of the EU usually send the Chechen refugees to the countries of Eastern Europe, which has become a special filtration camp for the European Union. In those countries they dont have any resources for the reception of refugees. Thats why they prefer to send all unwanted foreigners back to their home countries, even when it is a violation of the Geneva Convention. The leader in strictness, according to the Norwegians, is Slovakia, where, until now, not even one refugee has been able to remain.

[09.07.2005]

Source: Novayagazeta.ru

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