Iceland’s new budget proposal includes cutting back some 400 million ISK in foreign aid, but the country has received more aid than it has given.
RÚV reports that the ruling coalition of the Progressives and Independence Party, as a part of their budget proposal for 2014, intend to cut aid to developing countries and put the money instead into the health care system. The proposal has sparked strong reactions, in particular from those who work with developing countries.
Stefán Ingi Stefánsson, the managing director of UNICEF in Iceland, told reporters that he felt the decision was “unfortunate”, adding, “It means we have to quit some projects or severely cut back on them. If Iceland withdraws from these projects, it will have an effect on our cooperative relationships.”
If passed, the foreign aid cuts will likely end a geothermal power plant project in Africa.
However, Stefán did a little research, and discovered that Iceland has actually received more foreign aid than it has paid out to other countries.
According to his findings, since Iceland’s independence in 1944, the country has received 59,074,000,000 ISK in foreign aid, a great deal of it coming from the post-WW2 Marshall Plan, and from the World Bank. At the same time, Iceland has paid 58,023,000,000 ISK in foreign aid to other countries.
The 2014 budget is still up for debate in parliament.
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