The Foreign Minister of France, Laurent Fabius, has told civil society representatives that France will not reduce its future contributions to the Global Fund. Mr Fabius met with representatives of AIDES, Coalition Plus, Sidaction and Act-Up Paris on 30 April.
A recent GFO article referred to speculation that France might reduce its contribution and that it might use the results of a recently announced evaluation of the French contribution to the Global Fund to justify a reduction.
Mr Fabius told the civil society representatives that France considers the Global Fund to be a priority and that measures had already been taken to ensure that the current economic crisis would not adversely impact France’s contribution to the Fund.
In a statement, Coalition Plus said that it has learned that President François Hollande has decided to increase the rate of France’s solidarity levy on air tickets, which is expected to generate much-needed revenues.
Meanwhile, Coalition Plus said, France’s financial transaction tax (FTT) is also producing revenues, some of which have been used to fund development aid. Specifically, France has decided that for 2013, 10% of the proceeds of the FTT will be allocated to mother and child health programmes, as well as to programmes designed to improve access to water in very poor countries.
Mr Fabius said that now more than ever, France needs the help of HIV/AIDS NGOs to convince other European countries to devote a portion of the proceeds from the FTT to health and development. Recently, 11 European Union countries agreed to implement the FTT (see GFO article). Under EU rules, each country is allowed to decide how the FTT proceeds will be spent. According to Mr Fabius, a majority of these countries appear to prefer to use the proceeds to reduce their deficits.