Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-04-06-Speech-4-031"

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". Mr President, I too should like to thank Mr van den Berg for his excellent report. He is going to be showered with praise as a result, which is something at least. It is clear that the fight against corruption is absolutely crucial, in terms not only of the effectiveness of European aid, but also of its credibility. How can we really convince our fellow citizens or the Member States to give more if corruption remains endemic? This is also the condition of the viability of a constitutional State and of an economy. This is therefore a crucial battle that we must fight to the end, one that has become somewhat more complex with the advent of economic globalisation, due to the ease with which capital can be moved and also due to the new budgetary aid process at EU level. The rapporteur does a good job of highlighting all of the questions posed by this new budgetary aid system with regard to the fight against corruption, as well as the heightened problem, in the present context, resulting from the increased pressure put on raw materials and, in particular, on scarce oil supplies. There is therefore also reason to fear both a resurgence of attempts at corruption for the purposes of gaining access to the last remaining fossil fuel reserves and an increase in conflicts linked to the trade and traffic in weapons. Weapons and oil are in fact the two large sectors, in the macroeconomy, in which a high level of corruption is developing. The rapporteur therefore rightly emphasises two issues: transparency and responsibility. Transparency, in actual fact, is a crucial element if one is to have a precise and clear idea of the budgets that are used. In this field, we must be far more enthusiastic in our support of a number of initiatives, such as ‘Publish What You Pay’ or the initiative of the extractive industries, which nevertheless have the disadvantage of being based solely on voluntary participation. We need to make progress in this area of legislation rather than merely to rely on the good will of economic or political actors to publish, if they so wish, the funds or loans that they give to the governments concerned. The budgetisation of the revenue from oil and mining is also a crucial aspect of budgetary transparency but, as far as the European Union is concerned, this must be a requirement so that budgetary aid cannot be granted to a government that does not clearly publish the profits that it makes from the oil, mining or forestry industries. Public opinion cannot understand why the European Union continues helping countries that should, by rights, have a sizeable budget and one that is able to finance the smooth running of a State. Finally, the report points out that a government’s military expenditure must also be published. The role of national parliaments and of civil society simply must be strengthened, in financial terms too, by means of increased support enabling both parliaments and civil society to play their role in this area. My final point concerns transparency with regard to the various donors. The governments of these countries are also helped by towns, regions or States, at all levels, and we lack a database that would indicate what is really paid by a given country to a given State, region or town. We do not have access to that information today, and that also fuels corruption. To conclude, I therefore believe that we need to put matters in order, as has been said, and that corruption cases, too, form part of the current issues facing the European Union. The issue of exercising power and of funding political life is as relevant in the North as it is in the South."@en1

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