BRUSSELS, Sept 15 (KUNA) -- President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen Wednesday announced an increase of 100 million euro (USD 118 million) humanitarian aid for Afghanistan which will be part of a new, wider Afghan Support Package.
"We must continue supporting all Afghans in the country and in neighboring countries. We must do everything to avert the real risk of a major famine and humanitarian disaster. And we will do our part. We will increase again humanitarian aid for Afghanistan by 100 million euro," she told the European Parliament in Strasbourg today.
Delivering her State of the European Union address in the European Parliament, she said "this will be part of a new, wider Afghan Support Package that we will present in the next weeks to combine all of our efforts." Von der Leyen said "we are entering a new era of hyper-competitiveness. An era in which some stop at nothing to gain influence: from vaccine promises and high-interest loans, to missiles and misinformation. Recent events in Afghanistan are not the cause of this change - but they are a symptom of it." "And first and foremost, I want to be clear. We stand by the Afghan people. The women and children, prosecutors, journalists and human rights defenders," said von der Leyen, a former German defense minister.
In reference to the swift collapse of the western-supported forces in Afghanistan she said "there are deeply troubling questions that allies will have to tackle within NATO." "This is why we are working with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on a new EU-NATO Joint Declaration to be presented before the end of the year," she said.
However, she stressed that "Europe can - and clearly should - be able and willing to do more on its own. " The President of the EU's executive body put the focus of her speech on Europe's recovery from the coronavirus crisis, migration, climate change and economic issues.
She said that more than 70 per cent of adults in the EU are fully vaccinated against coronavirus and that the EU more than another 700 million vaccine doses to the rest of the world, to more than 130 countries.
Von der Leyen said the EU would give an additional 4 billion euro (USD 4.7 billion) through 2027 on climate financing for countries around the world, adding that "we expect the United States and our partners to step up too." (end) nk.aa