The Dutch development minister, Bert Koenders, announced in a letter to
the House of Representatives, that the Netherlands will be ending its
development relationship with seven countries, including Eritrea.
Koenders’ April 3 letter listed six countries whose aid has
been stopped because they no longer need it. “In the case of Eritrea, however,
the Netherlands decided unilaterally to end the relationship in the short term
because of the human rights situation there, the foreign ministry said in a
press release from the minister’s office.”
Other countries no longer receiving Dutch aid are Albania,
Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Macedonia, and Sri Lanka. Those who
are no longer dependent on aid, the ministry said in the release, can enter
into broad-based relationships, which are developed in close cooperation
between minister for foreign trade, Frank Heemskerk.
In his letter, the development minister emphasized the importance of a
political dimension to the aid relationship. This enables the discussion of
taboos like corruption, the position of women, refugees and abortion’, but he
also noted that ‘the Netherlands, in allocating assistance, considers the
partner country’s needs first.’ Development policy is aimed at the most
effective possible expenditure, not the purchase of influence.
The evaluation describes exit strategies for the countries whose development
relationship with the Netherlands will be ending in the next few years.A different approach is required in each
country, Mr Koenders wrote. Thus the focus of the Dutch relationship with some
of the former Eastern Bloc countries will shift gradually from development to
the economic domain.