Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/1999-07-21-Speech-3-056"

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"(PT) Madam President, Mr President of the Commission Romano Prodi, I have just heard your intervention, and I must say that I am none the wiser: politically speaking, nobody knows for sure where you stand. To some, you appear to be a Socialist, others would call you a Christian-Democrat and the latest news paints you as a Liberal. The Italian view is that you are sustaining a left-wing government; the view in Europe is that you are associating yourself with political groupings to the centre and to the right. This ambiguity does nothing to bring clarity and credibility into the political debate in Europe. In any case, Professor Prodi is a Southerner and from a Portuguese point of view, this is something in his favour. I hope therefore that he will understand my questions, which are frank, direct and of a practical nature. They will probably be of no interest to the federalist parties of this House, but they will certainly interest the citizens who voted for me; that is, the workers. Mr President, the Commission"s attitude towards Portuguese farming has been one of real persecution. I will deal with the Portuguese government"s inability to protect us when I am in Portugal, but it is my duty to deal here with the profound injustice of the Commission"s decisions. The first proof of this is mad cow disease. The Commission has just extended the embargo on Portugal by another six months. At the same time, it has partially lifted the embargo on the United Kingdom. Just think about the scientific dishonesty in their decision. Portugal has fewer than two hundred cases per thousand animals whereas the United Kingdom has more than six hundred cases per thousand animals. Since the first outbreak of the disease, there have been no more than five hundred cases in total in Portugal. In the United Kingdom, more than one hundred and seventy thousand cases have occurred. Given these facts, the Commission is punishing Portugal and is seriously threatening the livelihood of one hundred thousand farmers across the country. There is an even more serious side to this! The Commission"s decisions have been nothing but political wheeling and dealing between big States and have no basis in any kind of scientific logic. This is how mad cow disease in a Europe without borders mysteriously disappears at the border with Spain. It is pathetic, Mr President Prodi. The second proof of our persecution is the crisis in pig-farming. We all know about it, because it hit pig-breeders hard in several European countries, and drove them to ruin. My country"s government set up a programme of national assistance, as did others. To our surprise, and probably in order to take revenge for some other matter, the Commission is now saying that this assistance is illegal, and goes even further by saying that pig-breeders are running the risk of having to repay the sums and pay interest on them, which means that those in real difficulty are going to end up bankrupt. In one word, Mr President Prodi, it is pathetic. If I am directing these remarks to you, it is because you decided to keep Commissioner Fischler in the agricultural domain. My question is very simple. Are you prepared to look into the matter of why Commissioner Fischler acts systematically against the interests of the Portuguese state? You see, Mr President, to my mind, the Commission is not a government, and here we have a difference of opinion: a government is what each of us has in his own State. Above all Mr President, I will only accept a Commission made up of impartial scientists, not of biased bureaucrats. I will only accept a Commission which treats big States, medium-sized States and small States equally."@en1
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