Goals of Aid to Eastern Europe Should Be Specific

The opinion-page article ''In Russia, Don't Tie US Aid to Privatization,'' March 1, is most interesting. As an occasional consultant in Eastern Europe, I found it helpful because it gives an American view of aid and measures results from a different perspective.

Two years ago, I worked on an industry-restructuring project in Eastern Europe and had to contend with the local members of the team who undermined the work, fearing that ''Westerners'' had been hired to sell off the industry. Their fear was groundless because independent consultants for PHARE (the European Commission Aid Programme for Eastern Europe) are not given specific instructions, and in this case the recommendations did suggest a slowing down of the privatization process.

I feel that Western European aid, contrary to what the author says about American aid, is rather vague in its objectives and spends its money on projects that are not always well defined and do not lead to tangible results. I would rather see a World Bank approach, in which the donor and recipient agree to specific, measurable goals (not just the project terms). This is gradually happening in some instances between the World Bank and PHARE.

Bilateral aid programs, between donor and recipient, are better managed because they are specific and have achievable goals.

Philip Beauvais, Congleton, England

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