Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2014-02-24-Speech-1-177-000"

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"Madam President, like everybody else, I am very proud to be taking part in this debate, because this is something very important and new which we are launching – admittedly low-key, and I am not sure the media will report it, because it is good news and so it is not so exciting. But this was a proposal provided for in the Lisbon Treaty so it is an entirely long-term, positive European development which we have been waiting for. The Committee on Development only had one person against. We were overwhelmingly in favour of it under our rapporteur Ms[nbsp ]Striffler. I listened along with her and some other members of the Committee to the youngsters who had been on the pilot schemes. They were full of enthusiasm for the experience they had had, because not only is it helping unfortunate parts of the world where there have been natural disasters – floods, earthquakes or whatever – which allows them to make the world a slightly better place and to help in that, but the youngsters who took part in the pilot trials also said it is a wonderful experience to be working together with other people from different European countries. So it is an entirely positive and beneficial experience. To me it is a very good example rather like the Erasmus programme, allowing students to study in different parts of Europe and learning that we are all human beings together; we may eat spaghetti, or roast beef or whatever, but we are exactly the same – but we are very fortunate and should be helping in other parts of the world. Now I took part also in the trialogue and the attempts to reach agreement with the Council and there was one thing which disappointed me, and I think my colleagues, which is that on Parliamentʼs side we would have liked to have seen the volunteers wearing some identity to say that this is an EU force, perhaps a little badge on their T-shirt or something with the EU flag. However too many Members of the Council thought that this was a bad idea, which, I think, is something that they should be ashamed of, and I hope at least that some of the volunteers will proudly carry the European flag wherever they go. One thing that Ms[nbsp ]Georgieva said was extremely interesting: that Eurobarometer says that 88[nbsp ]% of citizens in Europe are in favour this, and of course they should be and I welcome their warm-heartedness. I just think about my own country with the monster of UKIP which is against everything, is utterly miserable and against foreign aid and against foreigners and against immigrants. They are not here, of course, to take part in this debate – no surprise there at all – but I shall be fascinated tomorrow to see whether UKIP and the other Eurosceptic parties vote against this proposal, because this is something very special and new, and although there are only a small number of us in the Chamber right now, we can all be very proud, as several colleagues have said, to be in at the beginning, launching something which is going to be entirely beneficial to Europe and the world."@en1
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