Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-12-10-Speech-1-186"

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"Mr President, sometimes it is a shame that there is no open debate, then I could reply to Mr Van Orden, but I shall not do so. The worldwide campaign against landmines could be seen as a great success. Thousands of square kilometres of land are now free of landmines thanks to the work of people taking great risks in Bosnia, Angola and many other countries. However, 10 years after the Ottawa Convention, there is still no reason to be cheerful. Although 156 countries have signed the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, and there has been a decrease – a drastic decrease – in trade, there is still investment in the production of landmines, including by financial institutions in Europe. Dutch and other banks and pension funds are guilty of this. It is good to point out to these institutions the consequences of their investment in landmines. After all, since 1975, landmines have been responsible for one million deaths. They claim tens of thousands of lives each year. During this debate they will claim at least three lives, 70 per day. Landmines have made 200 000 square kilometres of land inaccessible, and there are still 250 million of them in circulation. The governments of Burma and Russia still lay mines, and that, Mr Van Orden, is rather different from ‘terrorist clubs’, but then again ... the Russian Government ... There are still 13 countries in the world that either produce them or reserve the right to do so again in future. In the US, companies such as Alliant Techsystems and Textron continue to produce mines undisturbed, with orders from the US Government. Mr President, Commissioner Kuneva, investment in landmines is banned in Belgium, but companies are active in the rest of Europe; one Member referred to Rheinmetall and Thales. This activity has to stop, and that is exactly what our resolution is calling for, or rather is calling for again, as the European Parliament made the same demand back in July 2005. The EU Member States must agree together that there should be not one European company or financial institution still investing in companies that develop and produce landmines in the future. The same must happen in the case of cluster bombs and anti-vehicle mines, which explode as soon as someone comes into the vicinity. The arms industry is not influenced by ethical arguments. The threat of an investment ban has the potential to help. Let the EU take this initiative and make an exception to the rule that politics does not interfere in the investment policy of trade and industry. In respect of matters that are banned under international treaties, political intervention is a moral and political obligation – and this should be incorporated into European and national legislation, in the interests of a world without landmines and without anti-vehicle mines, as Mrs Beer quite rightly said. We should like to hear your opinion on this, Commissioner Kuneva. The European Commission needs to show initiative in this field at long last. Finally, it needs to do more in the way of mine-clearance effort. We have the money, we have the know-how, but the European effort is lagging behind."@en1

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