Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-02-12-Speech-4-034"

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"Mr President, democracy and human rights in Mediterranean countries are still in a wretched state, the main cause being that the authorities never relinquish power and do not even want to share it. Autocratic regimes can only maintain their hold on power by means of repression and by restricting freedom. The worst hit are the people who are badly governed and lag behind economically and socially. This forms a breeding ground for radicalism on the part of disaffected people that impacts on not only the region itself, but also the rest of the world. The European Union must do everything in its power to exert a positive influence on the situation, therefore. The partnerships provide a good framework for this; one, however, of which we have up to now made insufficient, and insufficiently binding, use. Financial aid alone, without political conditions, will only lead to a deterioration in the situation, and for that reason I welcome this spur to the reinvigoration of policy wholeheartedly. The Commission communication, with its ten priorities, is truly excellent. Many of the proposed actions are in line with the specific suggestions I made in my report on human rights last year. The intentions and approach are good, but, of course, results are by no means guaranteed. We are ultimately aiming to induce the regimes to make fundamental changes in their behaviour that they would not have been inclined to make of their own accord. The new actions must not lead to bureaucratisation, but rather to specific objectives that are tested systematically. It is very important to give the situation a positive boost. Can the Commissioner tell us how our partners have reacted up to now, apart from Morocco and Jordan, which he has already mentioned? Can he also explain how the EU’s approach relates to the policy of the United States with regard to the region? To what extent is there transatlantic coordination? The proposed spur to action comes not a moment too soon. Further deterioration in the region could have far-reaching consequences. Many regimes say that security is more important than democracy. This contradiction could hardly be more mistaken. It is precisely a lack of democracy that makes the situation hopeless and dangerous. Anyone striving for security and prosperity must first safeguard democracy and human rights. I should like to hear answers from the Commissioner to my questions."@en1

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