OECD Slams Sweden for Using Aid for Embassies

The OECD has criticised Sweden for using money from the development aid budget to finance embassy operations, in contravention of international regulations.

The OECD is critical that the foreign ministry meets five percent of some embassy costs from the development aid budget, reported by Sveriges Radio’s Ekot news programme.

“We have received criticism from OECD, we naturally take that on board and discuss it. But we have been clear that we have introduced this model with full disclosure,” said development aid minister Gunilla Carlsson to Ekot on Tuesday.

Despite the fact that embassies in Paris and Madrid do not work directly with development aid, they receive millions of kronor from the development aid budget.

According to OECD regulations, development aid funds may not be used for diplomatic operations.

The criticism concerns a total of 38 million kronor ($6 million), a small part of the Swedish aid development budget.

“We have introduced a model to try and ensure that the aid budget covers its share of the costs, it is a standardised model,” Gunilla Carlsson said.

Social Democrat spokesperson Kent Harstedt underlined that the OECD criticism comes after the opposition parties have directed criticism in parliament on several occasions.

“It is first now when a heavyweight organisation such as the OECD… directs criticism that the aid minister gives ground immediately, this is of course positive but it is serious that it should have to go this far,” he said to SR.

Gunilla Carlsson explained that the system has only been in place for a couple of years and the budget calculations will be placed under review.

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