Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2012-05-09-Speech-3-172-000"

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"Mr President, rapporteur, the revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East are historic: they have given tens of millions of people right across the world the hope and confidence that they can shape history and that they can overthrow even the most brutal dictatorships. But the history of revolution has, of course, more than one chapter, and the first chapter still has to be closed in many countries of the region such as Bahrain and Syria, while in Egypt and Tunisia, the revolution faces new challenges. The new political leaders continue to ignore the interests of the majority of people in those countries, as the recent wave of repression against protestors demonstrates, vindicating the statement by Irish revolutionary Henry Joy McCracken in the 18th century, that the rich always betray the poor. The EU and its Member States failed the people in North Africa and the Middle East through their political support and their economic ties with these brutal dictatorships. They will fail them again if they push ahead with the free trade agenda and the establishment of true market economies. The NGO War on Want has explained that the creation of an EU-Mediterranean free trade area would cause the near collapse of manufacturing sectors in Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia and a massive contraction in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. Whether economic development and trade will deliver for, or will fail, the millions of people who overthrew the tyrants will depend on the nature of the economic and trading system. There needs to be an end to gambling and speculation on food prices, maximum prices on food and other basic goods, and guarantees of a decent return for farmers, in order to guarantee food sovereignty and food security for the countries of the southern Mediterranean. The debts inherited from the dictatorships are odious: they should all be cancelled immediately to give a breathing space so that economies can develop. In addition, the natural resources and major sources of economic wealth in these countries should be taken out of the hands of the multinational corporations and the rich, and taken into democratic public ownership for use as resources to invest in the economy, health care and education, in order to create a society worthy of the heroism shown by those who participated in the revolutions."@en1

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