Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-10-25-Speech-3-061"

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". Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, this is not the first time that Parliament has tackled the issue of anti-personnel landmines. Far from it. In recent years, this issue was one of the driving forces which led to the signing of the Ottawa Convention. A campaign was initiated by certain non-governmental organisations and then taken up by the Red Cross, Europe and the Union as such, and it turned into something approaching a model international campaign. This was one of the most rapid agreements to be signed in the history of international agreements: it is the only agreement to have been ratified within a year by forty parliaments, thus becoming operative. The most recent meeting in Geneva noted considerable progress in the area of de-mining as well as awareness of the issue. Certainly, much remains to be done, and this is why we must all welcome the Commission's proposal as a positive step. Moreover, I hope that this capacity to exert pressure and the speed with which the Union tackled the issue of anti-personnel landmines might serve as an example for the ratification of other agreements which have always been extremely important to Parliament, such as the establishment of the International Tribunal for Crimes Against Humanity, not to mention the moratorium on the use of the death penalty. Turning to our report, I welcome the Commission's proposal as positive, and I have to say that the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy and the Committee on Development and Cooperation have worked extremely hard in order to improve it – if this was possible – on certain points in particular. I would just like to mention a few of these points which, with regard to Parliament's proposal, seem important and, in any case, represent a tangible step forward in this matter. Firstly – and we hope that Parliament will support us in this – we stress the need to destroy the stockpiles of anti-personnel landmines still held by many countries, including signatory countries, because we feel that Parliament often talks about stockpile destruction as preventative action without really knowing what it is referring to. The second point has to do with a whole series of elements – which I hope Parliament will approve – regarding budget lines. Commissioner, in addition to further simplifying your proposal – thereby arriving at three budget lines: one general, one relating to research and one relating to humanitarian landmine clearance – we have further simplified the proposed comitology, and we hope that Parliament will approve this, considering that an advisory committee will suffice instead of a management committee, for the very reason that, in the interests of coherent interpretation, we feel that the Commission is responsible for implementing the budget and must account for it with total transparency. Another important element is that Parliament is not asking for anything general but requests EUR 200 million over the period 2000-2006, plus the funds to be allocated to research, plus the humanitarian heading, for we are indeed – we hope – talking about action and not just a resolution. Experience has taught me, Commissioner, that without funds it is difficult to achieve anything tangible from any point of view. Moreover, precisely because the sum is so large – EUR 200 million – a considerable increase on past provision – we would like the Commission to establish an internal unit for anti-personnel landmine action, precisely in order to increase the transparency and cohesion of this activity. From this perspective, these seem to me to be the characteristic elements facilitating responsible management and transparency. We will come to the political side of the report later. The final point concerns the amendments. I restate my position opposing Amendments Nos 10 and 19, in the interests of budgetary cohesion and, with regard to Amendment No 29, I call for split voting in order to improve the formulation throughout the text, for I feel that it has suffered from some misinterpretation. I would like to thank you, Mr President, Commissioner, and the hope that all these innovative proposals will not only be adopted by Parliament but also taken into consideration by the Council and the Commission."@en1

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