Together with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations has helped many countries improve their economic management, offered training for government finance officials, and provided financial assistance to countries experiencing temporary balance of payment difficulties.
Since the mid 1980s, the European Commission has diverted money into its poorest countries in order that their economic development should catch up with the rest. By 1999, the four countries in question -- Spain, Portugal, Greece and Ireland -- have all raised their per capita income to an average 77 percent of the EU mean, from 65 percent in 1986.
2. An Oxfam development expert says that the IMF agreements are now like a Christmas tree on which the US Treasury can hang whatever it likes, from reform of a country's civil service to slashing its trade tariffs.