Netherlands urged to give a billion euros of support to African nations

The Netherlands must make 1 billion euros in aid available to combat the coronavirus and the crisis around it in developing countries in Africa, among others, the Dutch government's advisory council on international affairs AIV said in advise to the government on Monday, Het Parool reports.

The coronavirus is causing unprecedented problems throughout the world, and especially in poorer, vulnerable countries, the AIV said. The Netherlands and the European Union can and must play a leading role in the fight against this crisis, to ensure that the virus is eradicated as soon as possible.

If the Netherlands and Europe do not take this responsibility, there will be geopolitical consequences, the AIV warned. "Covid-19 is the first global crisis without American leadership and it intensifies the US-China rivalry," the council said. "If the EU claims a geopolitical role, now is the time to live up to it."

The Netherlands being generous on this front is "well-understood self-interest", according to the AIV. As a trading country, the Netherlands benefits from a well-functioning global economy. The coronavirus could also trigger significant refugee flows to the Netherlands if it hits developing countries hard, the council pointed out.

"The AIV recommends that an amount of 1 billion euros be made available for alleviating the most acute needs," the council said. The money must come from general resources, not from ongoing budgets for development aid. The AIV also strongly advises against budget cuts to development aid, even now that the Dutch economy is facing recession.