Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2005-05-12-Speech-4-016"

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". Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the case under examination very closely affects the existence of thousands of companies and the employment of millions of European citizens, including 570 000 Italians in the textile industry alone. On top of that, there is the footwear industry and other sectors all in line to be hit by the Chinese tsunami effect. The end of import quotas owing to the expiry of the Multifibre Agreement, the entry into force of the EU-China bilateral agreement of 2000 and the counterfeiting of the EC trademark were the subject of three questions that I addressed to the Council and the Commission on 6 January of this year. Concerned by the consequences, I sought to find out what provisions the Commission intended to adopt, given that the principles upon which the WTO rules are based (the environment, work, non-harmful products, counterfeiting) were being violated by China. The replies were of a provisional nature and, even today, the Commission – perhaps a prisoner of a mistaken rigour in interpreting the law – behaves more like a notary than a political, governing body. To all of the above must be added the impact that the REACH Regulation will have on the competitiveness of businesses: Europe is anxious to apply and to export an increasing number of principles and values, which is entirely proper, whilst China and other countries are concerned to produce tights, shoes, knitwear and suchlike at low cost and export them to Europe, with the gratifying outcome for Europe of witnessing the progress and higher levels of employment achieved by exporting countries. The picture would appear almost complete if we consider that relocations favour large European companies, but impoverish Europe, whose white collar workers and capital, together with equipment and machinery, are emigrating elsewhere, leaving thousands of unemployed workers clinging to the dream of social values. The Europe of knowledge, research and innovation cannot be divorced from the Europe of competitive production. It is a matter of cause and effect. A distinguished and most humble monk, Saint Benedict of Nursia, was fond of repeating the words ‘Pray and work’ to each of his brothers, in order that the abstraction of prayer did not distract from the reality of life. We must reflect on the extensive resources that we still possess, on the very many regions addressed in Objective 1, and on the support policies. A new strategy needs to be drawn up, and we need to additionally consider the poverty and needs that exist in Europe itself, including its requirement for harmonious development. We need to assess, moreover, whether vulnerable regions can truly hope for genuine development and whether they can attract European companies to relocate onto their soil. That would perhaps be possible if well-equipped business districts and a modern system of tax breaks were created in those very regions."@en1

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