Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-01-31-Speech-3-078"

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"Mr President, the Barcelona Process was not lacking in good intentions or financial resources. Despite this, the outcome was meagre, which is very disappointing. There was too much gesture politics going on and too little capacity to carry out the plans. Three quarters of the committed funding never left the kitty. Instead of a reduction in the means, this will now lead to an increase, which is a little bizarre, to say the least. It makes no sense to budget for even higher amounts if the absorption capacity remains restricted and the Commission delegations are understaffed. It would be far more preferable if the European Union were to show its solidarity with the Mediterranean countries by opening up its markets more, not only for products from industry, but also for those from agriculture and horticulture. We have a very long way to go before a free-trade area is established. The economies of the partner countries are still very vulnerable. Their mutual trade is still being restricted and has protectionism written all over it. Additionally, the political distrust which exists between the partners must first be dispelled. The Barcelona Process can only succeed if the Mediterranean partners continue to work on democratisation. The human rights clauses in the Association Agreements should not remain hollow phrases. Any violations should be penalised by a drop in financial support. But if we reduce the amounts which cannot be spent anyway, then this will not make any impact whatsoever. We must bring our ambitions into line with the degree to which they can be implemented. The question is whether the report’s many sound wishes can all be realised at the same time. It is better to do one thing which is slightly inferior than to do a great deal of things which are downright inferior. Fine words and fine budgets are not enough to guarantee stability and welfare. It is about the willingness to carry out true political reform, and this is what the Barcelona Process still lacks."@en1

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