Yesterday Danish daily Jyllands-Posten ran a story explaining how Danida-councillors had brought spouses and children to a seminar on a five-star hotel in Vietnam on the Danish tax-payers expense.
The story was quoted in all the mayor Danish newspapers through out the day and resulted in a reaction from the Minister of Development, Ulla Tørnes (V), who is in charge of Danida.
Ulla Tørnes said yesterday that the tax-payer’s money should no longer automatically be paying for the Danida-councillors families during seminars. Instead she demanded that each seminar is evaluated before money is granted to pay for spouses and children.
The Minister emphasized that there could be work related and reasonable arguments allowing the embassies to invite the councillors’ families.
“In some countries Danida-councillors and their families live isolated and thus with out a social network – in other countries they don’t. For that reason it shouldn’t be the normal procedure to pay for the families.”
“We of course are responsible for the proper use of the tax-payer’s money and I have taken steps to ensure that we from now evaluate every single case – considering the necessarity and relevance of the families participation in the yearly seminars,” Ulla Tørnes said in a statement to the press.
The row started yesterday as Jyllands-Posten described how 100 persons with relation to Danida and their families during May held a seminar at a five-star hotel in Hoi An, Vietnam. The bill totalled between 150,000 – 180,000 DKK and was paid by the Danish Tax-payers.
The seminars – with families – have been held on a yearly basis the last 25-30 years.
Last year Danida-councillors and families held seminars for 565,000 DKK in six different countries including Vietnam.
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