Thursday, November 27, 2008

European Union to donate up to 30 million euros to Cuba in '09

11/26/2008

By WILL WEISSERT

HAVANA (AP) — The European Union on Wednesday agreed to donate up to 30 million euros ($38.7 million) to Cuba next year for hurricane relief and improvements in food production.

Stefano Manservisi, head of the European Commission's Directorate General for Development, said EU members would send 25 million to 30 million euros ($28.7 million to $32.2 million) to Cuba next year. Much of it would go to repairing homes, power grids and highways ravaged by Hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Paloma, which hit this summer and fall and combined to do more than $10 billion in damage.

"We are not here as a donor, we are here as a partner, as a friend," said Manservisi, who signed an accord with Ricardo Guerrero, Cuba's vice minister of foreign investment.

The new funds also will help Cuba bolster environmental protection, biotechnology, disaster preparedness and food production, which suffered severe damage in the storms.

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