Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2013-05-22-Speech-3-465-000"

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"Madam President, as Commissioner Füle just said, asset recovery cannot be done overnight. But the EU has simply not done enough to help Tunisia, Libya and Egypt recover the billions in assets that their former corrupt regimes stole and stashed away in financial centres in our Member States. Tunisia has launched over 65 legal cases in courts around the world, and until the recovery of USD 29 million from Lebanon in April of this year – a mere drop in the ocean of what the Ben Ali regime is estimated to have looted – Tunisia had yet to recover a single cent. Egypt is in turmoil, and this is exacerbated by the economic crisis in the country, widespread poverty and the expectations of their population that recovery of those assets could help meet. After 42 years of systematic institutional dismantling and a kleptocracy of unprecedented proportions, the Libyan authorities are trying to make sense of the colossal volume of assets Gaddafi spread around the world. These countries are facing layer upon layer of bank secrecy and ambiguous ownership structures that protect dictators’ ill-gotten riches: a seemingly endless queue of obstructions and appeals, often by parties acting erroneously on behalf of the ousted officials. Whereas the Swiss are being heralded for aiding the authorities of these countries, our own Member States are failing to show the political willingness which is crucial to this process. Stable communication channels are also essential here. The G8 created the action plan on asset recovery within the Deauville Partnership which has led to real action. Like the meeting of the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery and the publishing of national guides on seeking assistance, the StAR initiative of the World Bank and UNODC does crucial work in this respect in disseminating information and best practice. Has anyone seen the European Union at work here – despite the fact that alerts were transmitted by the Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean, Mr Bernardino León, to our Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Joint Meeting we had with national parliaments in Cyprus in September last year? For the sake of our credibility in the region – and in our own critical strategic interest – it is critical that the EU now takes action in assisting its partners in this process, as we propose in the resolution to be adopted following this debate. I am proud to have steered this process on behalf of my political group and very much want to thank the other groups for their valuable contributions. I would like to say now that we count on the High Representative and Vice-President to ensure that the external instruments will finance an expert mechanism to begin working as soon as possible on facilitating and advising the authorities of these countries. This is not a flash-in-the-pan concept either; this will be a sustainable mechanism which can evolve into co-financing in the future and serve other partner countries as well."@pt2

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