The European Union ratified a $100 million ( €95 million) trust fund to finalize a peace process in Colombia that seeks to end 52 years of conflict between Marxist FARC guerrillas and the state.
The fund will be in effect until 2020, and will focus primarily on rural development and investment that were agreed in the peace deal between the rebels and the government Juan Manuel Santos, who on Saturday received the Nobel Peace Prize for successfully concluding the talks.
The European Union Trust Fund, through its activities in the area of rural development, aims to foster sustainable economic, social and environmental development in Colombia, with the primary objective of eradicating poverty and securing a sustainable peace.
The trust fund is just the first in approved funds coming Colombia’s way from the EU; their total aid package will reach nearly €600 million, the bulk of which (€400 million) will be realized via loans from the European Investment Bank.
The EU’s aid package had previously been suspended following the unexpected rejection by popular referendum of the initial peace deal in October.
President Juan Manuel Santos signaled his appreciation, stating “this new support from the EU is a sign for us of the confidence that encourages us to move forward in this new stage,” reported local media.
“The European Union will be at your side and alongside the nation and the Colombian people always,” said Federica Mogherini, the EU’s head of diplomacy, according to a statement on the Colombian president’s website.
Over the last 15 years, the EU has provided more than $1.5 billion in support of peace efforts in Colombia, the European countries’ executive body said.