Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2011-12-14-Speech-3-494-000"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the terrible way that large parts of the cotton harvest are gathered in Uzbekistan has been mentioned many times. As a father of two children, I would find it utterly horrific if my children experienced something similar to what happens to many children in Uzbekistan. However, we all know – and we mention this in our report – that we cannot change everything overnight. Nevertheless, I think that it is legitimate for us as the European Parliament – and fortunately the Commission is in agreement with us here – to demand that something has to change, at least in terms of the approach. What we are demanding, namely, that the International Labour Organisation is genuinely able to move around freely in the country and get a picture of the situation first hand so that we are not always relying on the unconfirmed reports of various non-governmental organisations, but will actually get an objective picture of how things stand, is completely reasonable. We all ought to know that this will be a gradual process. We should not hide behind child labour. Instead, I hope that the European Commission will actually consider how we can help the Uzbek people to overcome this situation. We all know that, if this is a process that has to take its course, then we ought to consider how we can provide very practical assistance to the Uzbek Government and the Uzbek people to increase their use of technology in this regard. That means that it cannot be a solution to completely stop all trade, because if they cannot sell us any more cotton, they will not have any money to invest in technology in order to be able to eradicate child labour. Instead, I would like to see the Commission presenting us with a road map today for how, if the Uzbeks finally allow ILO observers into the country, we can find a realistic way in the coming years, together with the Uzbeks, to help them to improve this situation step by step over the next few years, following a realistic timetable. We should not simply make demands; in this case, we should also make a straightforward and acceptable offer of help."@en1

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