Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2010-10-20-Speech-3-732"

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"Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, I think we should all recall, once again, how dramatic the situation was in Pakistan a couple of weeks ago and indeed still is in many places. Whole regions have been flooded, regions that are bigger than many of our Member States. Tens, in fact hundreds, of thousands of people are in major need. The infrastructure has been destroyed: roads, hospitals, universities, nurseries, schools, businesses. Many people’s livelihoods have been destroyed. I do not think we can even imagine what that is like. We all agree that we have to help. The problem, though, as we would say in German, is ‘wash me, but do not get me wet’. What do I mean by that? Well, direct financial aid costs money, which, of course, has to be taken from elsewhere in our budget. Indirect aid – trade facilitation – is what the Commission is now proposing, and there, too, there are, of course, concerns from those who may be affected. That is why we are quite rightly having this debate on this topic today. The Commission has not proposed using the Generalised System of Preferences. That is a good thing, I feel. Fundamentally, I think the current solution of doing this via the WTO, taking this route and really trying to help people help themselves, is a prudent one. There are many unanswered questions, however, such as what will the impact on industries in the European Union really be? When I look at the Commission’s document, the proposal for a regulation, I see that it states in the explanatory memorandum right at the beginning that the working premise is that net imports into the EU would rise by EUR 100 million per year. Is that really major, durable aid to Pakistan? Will it really help to move the major sums that we are actually talking about here? On the other hand, the proposal will entail tariff revenue losses of EUR 80 million from our budget. Does this ratio add up, too? Does it make sense to do without EUR 80 million in customs revenue in order to receive EUR 100 million in increased imports? Are these figures correct? I would like some really head-on information from the Commission on this whole issue. I am firmly convinced that we have to help Pakistan. I am also prepared to explain to the citizens of the European Union, and to those of my electoral district, that we have to do something and that aid for others always has to be paid for by someone. However, I am firmly convinced, Commissioner, that you should use the opportunity this evening and over the coming days and weeks to really convince the 736 Members of the European Parliament that your measures are the right ones to take, that they are sensible. You should also use the opportunity, above all, to highlight ways in which the workers of companies that may be affected in countries like Portugal, Italy and Spain, and in the European Union as a whole, can also find routes forward and prospects for themselves. I believe that these are truly the tasks to be performed in order to achieve a majority for your proposal in this House in a few weeks’ or months’ time. I believe there is a lot of work to be done by all those involved in connection with convincing people and providing information."@en1

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