The EU prepares its emergency and medium-term aid plans for Haiti

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European experts met today in Brussels under the current Spanish Presidency of the EU to prepare the measures for Haiti which the ministers for development will adopt on Monday at an extraordinary session.

The extraordinary Development Council will coordinate European measures to help Haiti.

The conclusions of the ministerial meeting are expected to establish amounts of humanitarian aid to tackle the disaster in Haiti, as well as the EU's medium-term action to support reconstruction and development in the Caribbean country.

The European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, has cancelled travel plans and will therefore be in Brussels on Monday to chair the ministerial session.

This Friday, the EU Council Working Group on Humanitarian Aid and Food Aid (COHAFA) is preparing the document that the ambassadors of the EU-27 will review first thing on Monday morning in order to present it at the ministerial meeting with a view to it being adopted.

The ministers could also deal with other initiatives, such as the French proposal for an international conference of donors for reconstructing Haiti. France has also suggested that the Paris Club creditors cancel Haitian debt.

The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, today predicted that the conference proposal will make headway, because, once the damage from the earthquake has been assessed, it is necessary to 'gather all the international players around a table' and 'get them committed to' reconstruction.

For her part, on Monday, the Spanish Minister of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs, Elena Espinosa, in her capacity as chairman of the EU Council of Agriculture Ministers, will invite the European Commission to put in place 'all the measures within its power' in order to alleviate the 'dramatic' situation in Haiti.

As Spain currently holds the Presidency of the EU, it has been invited to participate in a meeting on the reconstruction of Haiti in the medium- and long-term, by its neighbour, the Dominican Republic.

This meeting, which will be held in the next few days, will be attended by the Spanish First Deputy Prime Minister, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, and the Secretary of State for Cooperation, Soraya Rodríguez.