Bono tells EU governments to keep “deal with God”
DUBLIN, Ireland: Pop star Bono lectured European Union governments Tuesday to spend more on forgiving debts and combating the spread of AIDS in Africa, causes that the U2 frontman has championed for the past decade. Bono, the lunchtime speaker to a conference of EU development ministers at Dublin Castle, said most EU states had reneged on a longstanding promise to commit 0.7 percent of their gross domestic product to overseas aid. He called that “renegotiating your deal with God downwards.”
He also accused EU-run aid programs of dragging their heels. “There’s about 14 billion dollars that people have pledged to the EU, but the EU haven’t found a way of spending it. That’s not the Europe I want to be in,” said Bono, who is one of Ireland’s wealthiest individuals. Bono, responding to a reporter’s question, said he didn’t expect popular singers to band together soon to mount another Live Aid-style concert. The 1985 concerts in London and Philadelphia, led by Bono’s fellow rock crusader Bob Geldof, raised US$22m for famine relief in Ethiopia and Sudan.
“At this point there are no plans for a Live Aid II,” Bono said. “It’s always there in the background but right now, no. Right now we’re after billions, not millions. A Live Aid II would help, but it wouldn’t fix the problem.” Ireland’s Development Minister Tom Kitt said Bono’s speech “added a dynamic dimension to the debate, and his engagement ininternational development helps to boost the profile of these issues with global audiences.”—AP