Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-10-24-Speech-3-489"

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"Madam President, I want to begin by congratulating my colleague, Mr Lechner, on the excellent report he has produced: it is both balanced and moderate. Here at this time of the night, I cannot help but think about what attachment means. In practice, in day-to-day life, normally the creditors are large institutions with a great deal of economic power while the debtors are usually people in a much weaker economic situation. Indeed, one of the nicest poems in the Spanish language is dedicated to the attachment of a poor unfortunate worker. It is true that if there are no attachments – if creditors do not have the possibility of recovering their claim – those who need credit will not be able to get it. Since I think we are all a bit bored, I am going to tell you a story about one of the dictatorships we had in Spain, that of General Primo de Rivera. He believed that attachment of the assets of military personnel was an insult to the military profession. He therefore banned the attachments of accounts of military personnel. As a consequence, the banks refused to lend money to the military, and the military then had to ask the General to allow them to be subject to attachments again. That is only a story, however. I believe that Mr Lechner has managed to achieve a balance in terms of the protection of debtors’ rights, but I still have one question, and Mr Frattini will probably be aware of what I want to say in this respect. When it comes down to it, the large debtors, the people who are involved in major financial operations and who end up owing billions to thousands of defenceless people, those large debtors do not usually have their accounts in a bank in Belgium, Brussels or Strasbourg, or even in London. They usually have them in tax havens. This, of course, is not covered by the provisions of the Commission’s Green Paper. However, since I know that Commissioner Frattini has an interest in this matter, I will put the question to him: would it not be advisable to come up with a way of ensuring that these large international criminals who ruin the lives of thousands of families could also have their assets attached? As I said, this is a scenario that is outside the scope of the Green Paper, outside the scope of what we are discussing tonight. However, since the main topics already appear to have been discussed very clearly by the previous speakers and by Commissioner Frattini himself, I think that it is something that we must examine. I am sure that Commissioner Frattini will have something to add in this respect. In conclusion, I just want to reiterate once again my congratulations to Mr Lechner: I think that he has produced a balanced report and that the position of debtors, of poor debtors, which means most citizens, is guaranteed. I hope that the Commission will soon present us with a legislative text that enables the cross-border credit market to continue to function."@en1

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