The European Commission resumed aid to Niger on Tuesday, releasing 25 million euros ($35 million) after the west African nation returned to democracy this year following a coup. The funds are aimed at helping the government of President Mahamadou Issoufou combat poverty by focussing on improving education and the health sector, the European Union\'s executive arm said in a statement. \"It is a sign of our confidence in the new government and of our commitment to supporting him in the fight against poverty, in providing support to the most vulnerable sections of the population and in achieving the Millennium Development Goals,\" said EU development commmissioner Andris Piebalgs. The funds were released after an analysis found \"very encouraging progress\" in the areas of macro-economic stability, coherent and sustainable policy for fighting poverty and management of public finances, the commission said. The EU suspended its development cooperation with Niger in 2009 when then president Mamadou Tandja refused to leave power after his term ended. A military junta then took power in February 2010. Brussels decided to revive cooperation in June after the junta handed power over to Issoufou, a longtime opposition leader, following his March presidential election victory.