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OECD slams Sweden for using aid for embassies

The Local/pvs · 17 May 2011, 08:30

Published: 17 May 2011 08:30 GMT+02:00

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The OECD is critical that the foreign ministry meets five percent of some embassy costs from the development aid budget, reported by Sveriges Radio's Ekot news programme.

"We have received criticism from OECD, we naturally take that on board and discuss it. But we have been clear that we have introduced this model with full disclosure," said development aid minister Gunilla Carlsson to Ekot on Tuesday.

Despite the fact that embassies in Paris and Madrid do not work directly with development aid, they receive millions of kronor from the development aid budget.

According to OECD regulations, development aid funds may not be used for diplomatic operations.

The criticism concerns a total of 38 million kronor ($6 million), a small part of the Swedish aid development budget.

"We have introduced a model to try and ensure that the aid budget covers its share of the costs, it is a standardised model," Gunilla Carlsson said.

Social Democrat spokesperson Kent Harstedt underlined that the OECD criticism comes after the opposition parties have directed criticism in parliament on several occasions.

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"It is first now when a heavyweight organisation such as the OECD... directs criticism that the aid minister gives ground immediately, this is of course positive but it is serious that it should have to go this far," he said to SR.

Gunilla Carlsson explained that the system has only been in place for a couple of years and the budget calculations will be placed under review.

The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:00 May 17, 2011 by cogito
Wasn't Carlsson's mission to clean up SIDA corruption?
10:20 May 17, 2011 by J. L. Belmar

It was, but has never been. When Gunilla Carlsson was presented by Carl Bildt some five year ago, I asked her during a press briefing: "Mrs. Carlsson: What are you doing to prevent that the money does not fall into the hands of corrupted governments?" sic. She answered (five years ago) that her ministry was already studying measures to prevent and to solve the existing cases.

Now, I read that the money goes also to provide financial assistance to the embassies in Madrid and Paris.

This, in plain words, is nothing more than ineptitude and double standards.

Mrs. Carlsson should clearly explain what is happening; otherwise, she will keep on loosing points in the eyes of the people, and that is not good for her. But, she is the one to decide.

This article is bad press for her and she should have better advisors in her press and public relations staff.
11:53 May 17, 2011 by star10
Development aid is a huge industry. Only a few percent of the aid actually reaches the final beneficiaries. Most of it is paid out to "development officers" such as the embassy staff (and of course Gunilla Carlsson herself). The largest share of development aid money is paid to the "development staff".
15:02 May 17, 2011 by Borilla
You do not understand the system. Measures are put in place to insure that the aid money is properly spent. In order to do this, the necessary embassy personnel (and of course managers here in Sweden) must be paid to distribute the money. Unfortunately, after paying all the personnel, there is no money left to distribute. The problem of insufficient funds will be adrressed if there is no longer enough money to pay the personnel. You simply don't understand higher governmet finance.
23:09 May 17, 2011 by salalah
Some of the development aid Sweden gives away is probably used by other countries to run their embassies in Sweden :)
00:23 May 21, 2011 by cookiemaster
I think, she is still virgin.
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