Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-09-22-Speech-1-175"

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"Mr President, the UN is currently debating the Millennium Goals in New York. Unless things change, we shall not achieve those Goals by 2015. That means that poverty will not have been halved, the maternal mortality ratio will not have been significantly reduced, and not all children will be benefiting from primary education. Here and there we are even hearing calls for the Millennium Goals to be shelved. They are not working. Aid fatigue is the problem. That is another term for cynicism and short-sighted self-interest. Insufficient aid is guaranteed not to produce results. And yes, aid programmes frequently fail. And that is the problem. Too little aid doesn't work. It is as if a football trainer kitted his team out with shoes for their right feet only. After a dozen or so matches he says 'you lose every time, you'll never be any good. I'm out of here – keep the shoes, but you're on your own from now on.' There are plenty of countries where aid does produce results. The scale of the aid is important. In Rwanda substantial aid was given after the genocide. The country has recovered admirably. There are many criticisms one might level against President Kagame – I have plenty myself – but following the terror of 1994 Rwanda offers a lesson in living to the whole world. But without aid its economic growth would have been less impressive. In Mozambique too, aid has produced results; and there are many other examples. Since the Millennium Goals were formulated, 29 million children have been able to benefit from primary schooling. If the world kept its promises, there would not be a food crisis. If every prosperous country spent 0.7% of its GNP on development aid the number of malnourished children would not now be rising again after being in decline for years. So this report constitutes a sharp reminder by the European Parliament to Member States to keep their promises, especially those Member States which are dragging their feet – France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy, to name just those big Member States. They must increase their aid by 2015, within a clear time frame and in equal increments. No backloading, because a late surge after a series of small increases would mean the poor countries losing out on aid worth 17 billion euros between now and 2015. One thing has to be clear: public funds alone are not enough to get development going and keep it going. It takes more than that. The European Union has to go on investing in peace and security, in good governance and respect for human rights. In Kenya that has worked, thanks to pressure from Europe, and Raila Odinga is now prime minister. In Eastern Chad EUFOR is having a far harder time of it. But it is vital to harness private funds for public goals. The ability to borrow money is key here. Loans are rarely available to the poorest, and that must change. With development as the goal, there must be equal access for women as well as men, no punitive rates of interest, investment in opportunities for small employers who are very good at networking, all this in association with local organisations. Private banks do not automatically think about these conditions and are slower to lend to women than to men. The European Union can make an enormous difference here through credit guarantees. And the European Investment Bank must lend a lot more than it does at present to microcredit institutions. These things give people a real chance to show what they are made of and consolidate their own existence as independent, self-sufficient citizens. The poor countries also need to be given more of a say in the IMF. More money is also needed to cope with the consequences of climate change using the carbon emissions trading system. The polluter pays; it is not the poor countries that are responsible for global warming. Aid here must focus on sustainable forms of energy. Development policy is a central concern of the European Union. The European Union must be a strong player on the world stage, each Member State in its own way but standing together and contributing 0.7% of GNP. That is Millennium Goal number 8, and achievement of that eighth goal will bring the other goals a little closer to realisation. In conclusion, in the time it has take for me to deliver this speech, eighty people will have died of starvation and fifty children under the age of five will have died from easily curable illnesses."@en1

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