EU suspends budget support to Nicaragua

December 12, 2008

The European Union has suspended $32 million in budget support to Nicaragua this year to protest the Daniel Ortega government´s failure to comply with the EU´s governability, transparency and human rights requirements.

The European Commission´s spokesman in Nicaragua, Pedro Mucciolo told The Nica Times yesterday the EU will release only about half the $68.2 million in aid it planned on providing for Nicaragua´s government budget this year.

The EU´s aid suspension comes after the U.S. government froze $64 million in aid under its Millennium Challenge Account in Nicaragua because of the impoverished country´s deteriorating democratic freedoms.

U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua Robert Callahan told reporters yesterday that Nicaragua has three months to find a solution to its electoral crisis, in which the polarized country has come to an institutional standstill after allegations that the Nov. 9 mayoral elections were rigged by the ruling Sandinistas. Otherwise, Nicaragua´s frozen Millennium Challenge aid will be cut for good. The United States has backed opposition calls for a vote recount with international observers.

“Nicaraguans are the ones who have to find a solution to this problem,” Callahan said.

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