The European Commission wants the EU to spend more on development aid for Africa.Brussels has been working on a strategy for ensuring European policies in areas such as trade and agriculture work to benefit the world’s poorest nations. In a speech at the European Parliament, EU Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Louis Michel said that Africa as a geo-political partner is going to become more and more important. Forward-looking policy has been on the agenda for some time, he said: “In 2001, the Commission formulated a programme to fight the three main sicknesses which come with poverty, AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. In 2004 the Commission made a progress report which showed contributions had been multiplied by four, contributions which included increased research.” Brussels says that EU states should be spending 0.51 percent of their national income in foreign aid by 2010. This would result in an annual increase of some 20 billion euros. Michel said solidarity was in Europe’s own interest, as investment in development would make for a safer and more stable world.