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High-level EU aid talks

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High-level EU aid talks

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EU foreign, development and health ministers are meeting in Brussels today to co-ordinate efforts to help victims of the Asian tsunami. They will discuss how to improve EU disaster relief and prepare for a U.N. donor meeting in Geneva next week.

This follows a day after related talks held with other countries, in Indonesia. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso gave an outline of the financial effort. “So far we have already decided for emergency aid, an initial amount of 100 million euros. We will add to that 350 million euros. We are working with the European Parliament, so of course it has to be decided through the normal procedure in the European parliament.” Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker of the 25-member EU’s current presiding nation Luxembourg spoke of Europe’s sense of commitment: “We had the duty to come, because we have not only to show European visibility in this part of the world, but also we have to show European solidarity.” Europe is the foremost aid-giver in the region. Both Luxembourg and the biggest donor Germany also support creating reconstruction-oriented partnerships between European and Asian cities.