Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2012-02-14-Speech-2-395-000"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I find it fascinating how we continually observe that we are all so pleased with the changes that the Arab Spring has brought to North Africa. In every speech – at least in every sermon – we all say that we have to help the people of this region. In other debates, we track the stream of refugees heading our way from North Africa. Why are they coming here? They are coming here because of the economic and political situation in their homelands, which remains poor in many cases. In every sermon we say that we have to help the people. What is at issue now is tangible help for people in a specific region, in a specific country and suddenly many of us are chickening out and expressing misgivings. The expression of misgivings is actually a good thing, but it is also part of the parliamentary procedure for us to have tackled many of these concerns, for us to have used the time over the last few weeks and months to consider, for example, misgivings expressed by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and to also incorporate elements into our resolution. Our resolution – which, of course, will be voted on on Thursday – clearly sets out a large number of basic conditions. We have also said quite clearly that, should any truly detrimental impact on European agriculture become evident, we will demand appropriate steps and action from the Commission. It would be truly terrible, however, if our first signal to Morocco were to be that we reject this agreement. One illustration of how important this region is for us can be seen from the fact that the Spanish prime minister’s first foreign trip after taking office is not to an EU country, but to the other side of the Mediterranean, to the other side of the Straits of Gibraltar, to hold discussions with the Moroccans. This is also a clear sign that our political leaders have recognised that we do need to enter into dialogue in this area. I am absolutely convinced that this agreement is a small step. The impact on our agriculture should be limited, and that is something that we do need to monitor strictly. I am sure we all agree on that. We should not, however, see the agreement fail on this very issue, and we should support it instead."@en1

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