Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-10-24-Speech-3-355"

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"Madam President, a very important factor in African development policy is trade, and trade, if it is used properly, can of course help to reduce poverty and it can also help to improve health care in Africa. It can help improve education and it can help eliminate illiteracy. However, it cannot do so in the way the Commission sees it. I am very pleased that – either because common sense has prevailed, or because pressure from the African countries has become so intense – since last Monday, the Commission is taking a different approach to the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). As a result, there are no more nonsensical demands for reciprocity in market liberalisation and no more insistence on the inclusion of the Singapore issues. There is now an agreement that individual topics will be taken out so that now the talks will only focus on goods, with other issues being discussed at a later date. If we were to pursue the same approach with the Doha Development Round, then perhaps we might achieve some success there as well, for this is why it has repeatedly failed until now. That is why the WTO has failed and the Doha Development Round has failed, because the Commission always insists on sending out the same message. It says, ‘you need to understand that we only want the best for you, and if you do not grasp that, then we will not get an agreement’. Fortunately, if we look at the report by this Parliament – which in this case was much cleverer than the Commission – that was drafted by my colleague Mr Sturdy back in 2006, it is clear that Commissioner Mandelson could have conceded much earlier on to the demands that he now has to bow to, and perhaps we would not have let things go this far. You yourself appeared before us in committee and we asked you quite specifically about it. What was your response? You said that Commissioner Mandelson is doing a wonderful job! Frankly, the Council also has a responsibility here, given that it will have to endorse the Partnership Agreement at the end of the process. It could get involved in the negotiations once in a while, rather than simply saying, ‘we’ll let the Commissioner get on with it until he finally comes up with something’. No, you have a responsibility and in my view, when it comes to the EPAs, you have not fulfilled this responsibility, at least judging by your statements to our committee."@en1

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