Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-10-24-Speech-3-468"

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". Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, the issue addressed by Mr Cappato’s report is extremely delicate and requires careful appraisal by the European Parliament to avoid putting forward misguided and disastrous solutions, albeit motivated by good intentions. I wish to highlight two points. Firstly, to increase the production of opium and its derivatives in Afghanistan could compromise the country’s reconstruction and the already difficult stabilisation of the rule of law in that unfortunate region. Secondly, the increasing production of opium – up by 30% this year – has not been matched by an adequate anti-drugs strategy. For these reasons I think the proposal put forward in the report is absolutely unacceptable, and I would stress that: 1. the necessary quantities of morphine are already being produced in Afghanistan under special licences and subject to supervision by the United Nations drugs agency and the Afghan Government’s Ministry of Counter Narcotics; 2. the International Narcotics Control Board maintains that there is already a worldwide surplus of opiates for medical use; 3. large-scale legal production of morphine would lead to more drugs being produced; these would ultimately meet the demand for drugs on the world market. Once they were placed on the market cheaply they would be available to all. We should instead oppose drugs – always and in every case and by all means – from production, to trafficking, to illegal distribution. Demand should be curbed through a value-based policy and through ongoing, widespread prevention work and information campaigns, especially among young people. In a country like Afghanistan, given the conditions in which it currently finds itself, the solution proposed by this report could be regarded as an indication of surrender and defeat; it could also thwart the efforts being made by the international community, the European Union, the United Nations and the reconstruction agencies in Afghanistan through programmes to diversify away from opium plantations and into other crops, supported by financial incentives. Finally I would just mention that the International Narcotics Control Board has approved the Afghan Government’s decision rejecting the proposal to legalise illicit opium poppy cultivation and reiterating its commitment to comply with its international treaty obligations."@en1

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