Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2012-10-22-Speech-1-119-000"

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". Mr President, following Mr Goerens’ excellent report, I should like to make three comments. The Agenda for Change rightly says that there must be a closer link between emergency aid and development policy. In my Member State, the Netherlands, people are saying that we should simply confine ourselves to emergency aid, which is a ridiculous idea. Now, in Mali, for instance, it is disastrous and not in our interests simply to offer emergency aid. Not to look beyond famine amongst the refugees in northern Mali only benefits the Muslim fanatics who are establishing Sharia law there, despite fierce opposition from the local population. That offers Al Qaeda a safe haven, so that northern Mali becomes a hotbed, an Afghanistan close to our borders. If we look away from northern Mali, that is also to the advantage of Latin American criminals who are increasingly free to transport cocaine to Europe across the Sahara, via ports in Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau. Taking action, on the other hand, means supporting the peace initiative and working actively in Mali towards a future for the region, for the Tuareg as well. In 2015, we need to have global talks about how to ensure from then on that everyone has the possibility of escaping poverty. That calls for a public debate. It would be a good idea for the European Union to declare 2015 the year of development cooperation. I should like to ask Commissioner Piebalgs whether he can support us in achieving that. Finally, without open democracy, equal opportunities are an illusion. As long as the poorest have no voice in their capital cities, their interests are not taken into account there. It is, therefore, important to invest in making the voices of the poorest heard, in local and regional parliaments, in social organisations, such as NGOs for minorities and women. The European Commission is opting for that approach, with the backing of the European Parliament. I hope that the Council will also be able to support it."@en1

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