Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-09-04-Speech-1-134"

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"What could be more important than humanitarian emergency aid? In other words, saving the lives of numerous human beings by taking swift and effective action, making funds immediately available and ensuring that they are well-spent, whilst eliminating political deliberations and bureaucratic rigmarole. Needless to say, the European Union has its work cut out in this respect. More to the point, it can, and must, take a leading role in this field in view of the added value it offers compared with the individual States. ECHO must become the central coordination platform for all Member States. It must be equipped to this end, so that it can operate to best advantage, for this is about life and death and so only the very best is good enough. This will entail extending and improving the staffing capacity, decentralising competences, formulating quantifiable objectives, systematic monitoring of the results, continuing to learn from past mistakes, and above all, improving coordination with the other offices of the Commission and the Member States. In order to mobilise the necessary public support for emergency aid, it would be a good idea to give greater publicity to what Europe does and why. Moreover, increased transparency would create an additional incentive to meet the highest demands. The relationship between emergency aid, reconstruction and development is the same as that between the seed, the stems, and the leaves of a plant; one evolves naturally from the other. And what this means in terms of ECHO, which is the seed, is that although it does not have to handle all the reconstruction work itself, it does have to make all the necessary preparations. When it comes to the reconstruction and development phases, the Commission needs to bring its own staffing levels up to standard with all haste, and drastically reduce the procedures. A number of speakers have already said as much this evening. Only then will Europe be able to make a virtue of need."@en1

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