Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2009-02-18-Speech-3-260"

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"− Mr President, I am not a lawyer, and I am not well versed in law, but I know that one should avoid stretching the interpretation of legal texts. That is my fear if we use Article 181a, because it talks about economic and technical cooperation, whereas we are talking about students who go abroad on exchanges between universities. It is a bit hazardous. I am not against this if the Commission sees it as a way out for the non-ODA activities we all deem necessary and important, and I will go along with it. Perhaps I am concerned because I am a journalist. I like texts and I take words seriously, which is the essence of Europe – its humanism, taking texts seriously and taking language seriously. You have to be very careful when using words, so Article 181a is a maybe, but I am not very happy about it. I was happy, however, with the comment made by Mairead McGuinness, to the effect that she needed to be convinced. She is Irish, she has her convictions and she is firm in her principles, as indeed we all are. If it is impossible tomorrow to reach agreement on the right legal basis, then I would prefer to refer this back to my committee and to take time to decide on a proper legal basis, because we all know that non-ODA actions are necessary. I thank the Commission for its comment that non-ODA actions will, over time, become more and more important in developing countries and in middle-income countries, etc. We all agree on their necessity, and we all agree on the need to find a legal basis. Some of us agree that Article 179 is not the basis we are looking for. If I cannot reach agreement with the PPE-DE Group before we vote tomorrow at noon – which will be a pity – I shall ask for a referral back to my committee. I am ready to do that and I will do so when the amendment is voted on tomorrow. I would be very sorry if this is the position of the PPE-DE Group, because we all agree on the need to maintain development aid at the level it is today, and we all know that it is shrinking with the economic crisis."@en1

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