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Plenardebatten
Mittwoch, 2. Dezember 2015 - Brüssel Überprüfte Ausgabe

18. Schutz des Nationalparks Virunga in der Demokratischen Republik Kongo (Aussprache)
Video der Beiträge
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  Presidente. – L'ordine del giorno reca la discussione sull'interrogazione con richiesta di risposta orale alla Commissione su "Protezione del parco nazionale di Virunga nella Repubblica democratica del Congo" di Linda McAvan, a nome della commissione DEVE (O-000108/2015 - B8-1111/2015) (2015/2728(RSP)).

 
  
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  Paavo Väyrynen, deputising for the author. Mr President, the oral question was adopted by the Committee on Development on 22 September 2015, together with a winding-up resolution on the protection of the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). I am very pleased to present it on behalf of the Committee.

This debate on the protection of Virunga National Park in the North Kivu province of the DRC comes at a critical time, as just three days ago, on Sunday night, the Ugandan rebels of allied democratic forces attacked a military headquarters of the Congolese army in Eringeti and the city itself in the territory of Beni, close to the northern border of the park. This illustrates the violence and insecurity in the whole region of eastern DRC and particularly in the North Kivu province, where the park is located.

On Monday, the Committee on Development organised a joint hearing with the Subcommittee on Security and Defence on the links between development and security. Yesterday, the Committee received the High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission, Mrs Mogherini, who again stressed the link between development and security.

I would also like to stress here, in this debate on the protection of the Virunga National Park, the link between development, ecology and security. The resolution that we will vote on in Strasbourg in two weeks’ time stresses the absolute need to protect the Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It stresses that irreversible damage to the Virunga National Park could occur as the result of exploration and exploitation of oil or other activities.

Currently, fishing in Lake Edward generates an estimated USD 30 million per year to the benefit of the local communities which live near the park. This figure is projected to double as a result of sustainable fisheries created by the Virunga Alliance, the park’s clean energy initiative. Mountain gorilla tourism alone could generate USD 38 million per year and create thousands of jobs. I think we should do more to protect local communities, as well as the endangered species in the park, such as the mountain gorillas and okapi. I recall that oil exploration and exploitation are not compatible with UNESCO World Heritage status.

The message of our resolution is very clear. We call on the Commission and the Member States to further address the root causes of armed conflicts and corruption and to support sustainable development and peace—building strategies in the park and the surrounding region. We also urge the Commission, the Member States, the DRC and any oil company interested in drilling for oil to protect the current boundaries and the neighbouring areas of the Virunga National Park from the exploitation of fossil fuels.

 
  
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  Věra Jourová, Member of the Commission. Mr President, I am grateful to the honourable Member for bringing Parliament’s attention to the situation in Virunga National Park. Virunga illustrates the multi—dimensional challenges faced in the Great Lakes region, where peace—building, stabilisation and state-building need to go hand in hand.

Virunga is a unique World Heritage Site. Sadly, it is also a dangerous place to work and a difficult place to protect. A group of courageous and dedicated individuals have sacrificed their safety and sometimes their lives in the cause of conservation. They deserve our respect and appreciation.

The EU must remind partners, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), of their duties under international agreements, including those which relate to natural resources. At the same time, we recognise the importance of taking into account the needs and the economic aspirations of local populations. This is an important focus within our development assistance to the DRC, designed to incentivise environmental protection and alternatives to illegal activities within parks.

The honourable Member rightly draws attention to an important human rights dimension among the challenges faced by Virunga: serious crimes, including sexual violence and violence against children, stem from conflicts with and between armed groups. Sadly, Virunga is not alone in this respect. Predation by armed groups on the resources of other DRC national parks such as Garamba, the scene of illegal activities by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and groups from as far afield as Sudan, also needs to be urgently addressed. Supporting human rights defenders and civil society around the park needs to remain a priority for the EU.

Our overall approach to Virunga recognises not only the need to protect the park but also to encourage legitimate development. Virunga produces significant renewable and sustainable products and services, including managed fisheries, hydro-electricity and agriculture, and it ensures food security to millions of people.

One goal of our financial support has been to support priority actions defined by mutual agreement with the Government of DRC. We have used European Development Fund and budget resources to boost an ambitious development programme, the ‘Alliance Virunga’.

Under the 10th European Development Fund, the EU supported Virunga with around EUR 10 million. Under the 11th EDF, EUR 40 million is available, triggering other donors to add their resources and, in particular, substantial private funds from the Buffett Foundation.

This support needs to be seen in the broader context of EU support to DRC national conservation policies and management of forests and biodiversity. The regional programme on management of fragile ecosystems of Central Africa (ECOFAC), also supported by the EU, has funded complementary actions. And the Global Climate Change Alliance was allocated EUR 14 million under the Environment budget line for mitigation actions in the region.

Finally, environment and sustainable agriculture is an area of concentration in the 11th EDF, with EUR 120 million allocated across the Democratic Republic of Congo. The impact on the populations living in the vicinity of protected areas will be a key issue in the programme.

I would like now to turn to the remaining specific issues raised by the honourable Member in her question. The first of these concerns the diplomatic response. In partnership with the Member States and other donors present in the DRC, the EU conveys messages on the protection of the park and other World Heritage Sites. Virunga has been raised in meetings with President Kabila and Prime Minister Matata by high-level EU representatives including Commission Vice-President Sefčovič and Commissioner Mimica as well, of course, as the Head of the EU Delegation to the DRC and other EU Heads of Mission. The EU has participated in joint initiatives, including a joint letter to the Prime Minister, expressing concern about oil exploration in Virunga, which was sent earlier this year.

Recognising the integrity of the park is an essential part of the EU position: Lake Edward is part of the ‘universal value’ that grants Virunga World Heritage status, and oil exploration and exploitation are incompatible with the UNESCO Convention.

The question also mentions how the EU can help the DRC Government address armed conflicts and support sustainable development and peace—building. The EU supports the Addis Ababa Peace Security and Cooperation Framework, the principal international agreement focused on peace and stabilisation in the Great Lakes region. This is the only viable roadmap for long-term peace and security in the region. More specifically, the EU assists the DRC in addressing insecurity in Virunga and the surrounding area, and the EU is active in the justice and security sector reform processes.

To give one example, an EU-funded expert has trained the judicial authorities in ballistics examination. This was done in the framework of Investment contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) funded projects in support of military justice. Such expertise has been applied in the investigation into the shooting of the Director of Virunga National Park. The EU also supports conflict resolution initiatives through its Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace. Thus, the IcSP has funded two relevant projects: the ‘security and stabilisation of cross-border areas of the Central Albertine Rift’ and ‘Strengthening of government institutions in management of protected areas’.

The honourable Member also drew attention to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The UN Guiding Principles are a framework conducive to responsible business, forming part of our Strategy on Corporate Social Responsibility. An EU Staff Working Document sets out the EU’s activities in implementing the guidelines and promoting progress in business and human rights. And, of course, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises is also a building block of the Strategy on Corporate Social Responsibility.

More broadly, on natural resources, I would also recall the EU engagement on responsible sourcing of tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold originating from conflict-affected and high-risk areas and, in particular, the EU financial support to the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) initiative on natural resources.

Finally, a word on the strategic environmental assessment of oil exploration and exploitation in the Northern Albertine Rift. The EU and other partners encourage the DRC to wait for the results of the Sustainable Environment Assessment (SEA) before any decision on oil exploration or exploitation is made. For the SEA to be a real decision-making tool, it will be essential to ensure the maximum level of professionalism and transparency in the award of the contract for the next phase. That includes sufficient ownership by the Ministry of the Environment in agreeing the Terms of Reference.

I have tried to address the different aspects of this question. However, I wish to end on a broader conclusion. Ensuring a viable future for parks and protected areas in the DRC means addressing both the root causes of conflict and the root causes of illegal activity. It also means working on state—building, because in the long term only effective governance by the DRC itself will ensure the protection of the parks and their development for sustainable activities. For this reason, the EU’s ongoing focus on security sector reform, governance, anti-corruption and public financial management in the DRC remains as important as the specific support we have given and will continue to give to Virunga.

Also, of course, I cannot ignore the importance of democracy and accountability to the DRC’s stability. The EU will continue to recall the constitutional obligations and the need for a rapid consensus on the electoral cycle between now and November 2016.

 
  
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  Joachim Zeller, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. Herr Präsident! Frau Kommissarin! Liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Der Virunga-Nationalpark am Edwardsee, im Osten der demokratischen Republik Kongo, ist das älteste Naturreservat in Afrika. Berühmt durch seine große Vielfalt an selten gewordenen Pflanzen und Tierarten, vor allem aber, weil er die letzte größere Population an Berggorillas aufweist. Ungefähr 400 dieser imposanten Tiere leben noch in den Bergwäldern der Virunga-Vulkane.

Der Virunga—Nationalpark, der zum Weltnaturerbe gehört, ist aber auch eines der am meisten bedrohten Naturparadiese. In der Umgebung des Parks und auf seinem Gebiet gibt es eine stark anwachsende Bevölkerung. Viele Menschen, die vor dem Genozid in Ruanda geflohen sind, halten sich dort noch auf. Aber marodierende Milizen und Rebellengruppen drangsalieren die Bevölkerung, töten und vergewaltigen die Menschen. Es wird gewildert und wertvolles Holz illegal eingeschlagen. Die größte Bedrohung erfährt dieses einzigartige Naturparadies, zu dessen Schutz sich die Regierung der DR Kongo einst verpflichtet hat, aber dadurch, dass eben diese Regierung der DR Kongo Förderkonzessionen an internationale Energiekonzerne vergibt, da dort im Bereich des Edwardsees Ölvorkommen vermutet werden.

Zwar hat die Firma Total – und vor wenigen Tagen auf internationalen Druck auch die in London ansässige Firma SOCO International – ihre Schürfrechte zurückgegeben, allerdings hält die DR Kongo den Anspruch aufrecht, in diesem Gebiet weiter nach Öl suchen und dort fördern zu lassen. Es wird aber nicht nur Jagd auf die Tiere und die Naturreichtümer des Parks gemacht – in den letzten 20 Jahren mussten auch bereits 140 der Parkschützer den Dienst zur Bewahrung des Parks mit ihrem Leben bezahlen. Die Park Ranger bedürfen unserer dringenden Unterstützung, finanziell und materiell, denn sie üben ihren gefährlichen Dienst für den Erhalt dieses Naturdenkmals für die ganze Menschheit aus. Dazu gehört aber auch, dass keine Rohstoffe aus illegalem Abbau aus diesem Gebiet in die EU eingeführt werden dürfen, auch keine Produkte, die Materialien enthalten, die aus illegalem Abbau stammen oder durch Zwangsarbeit gefördert wurden.

Und es muss Druck ausgeübt werden auf die Regierungen des Kongo und auch von Uganda, dass sie den von ihnen vertraglich zugesicherten Schutz des Weltnaturerbes gewährleisten. Dafür sollten sie unsere Hilfe bei der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung ihrer Länder erfahren. Danke!

 
  
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  Maria Arena, au nom du groupe S&D. Monsieur le Président, le parc des Virunga, on l'a dit, est classé patrimoine de l'Unesco depuis 1979. Ce patrimoine mondial est aujourd'hui menacé. Il est menacé par l'exploration en vue de l'exploitation du pétrole, du gaz, mais aussi des minerais – des richesses qui, on le sait, dans cette région, alimentent toutes les convoitises, qui vont des multinationales aux milices et aux groupes armés, ainsi qu'au niveau local.

Le contexte sécuritaire est également très tendu actuellement en République démocratique du Congo – vous l'avez dit, Madame la Commissaire – à la veille des élections, et dans le parc des Virunga, on l'a dit, plus de 140 personnes y travaillant ont déjà été assassinées.

Et donc, encore une fois, les intérêts économiques, où qu'ils soient, priment sur la protection de la nature, de l'environnement, voire sur des vies entières en République démocratique du Congo.

La résolution pose un certain nombre de questions:

La première, comment encourager le gouvernement congolais à respecter ces richesses?

La deuxième, comment garantir que les entreprises multinationales européennes actives dans des régions fragiles respectent les principes directeurs des Nations unies relatifs aux entreprises et aux droits de l'homme?

 
  
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  Judith Sargentini, namens de Verts/ALE-Fractie. SOCO is een Brits oliebedrijf dat in Virunga National Park naar olie wil boren en hieruit blijkt dat er geen afdoende Europese regels zijn om een Europees bedrijf ervan te weerhouden enorme schade te berokkenen in een natuurgebied dat door Unesco erkend is en dat een uitvalsbasis is, ook voor de lokale bevolking, en waar nog toerisme plaats kan vinden ook. Het laat zien dat wij niet genoeg doen.

U kunt zeggen dat het natuurlijk vooral ligt aan het feit dat Congo een mislukte staat is. Dat is zo. Maar het is ook opnieuw een illustratie van de grondstoffenvloek en daaraan zouden wij meer kunnen doen. U noemde zelf ook al de wetgeving inzake conflictmineralen. Die gaat niet over olie. Die gaat over mineralen, maar dan nog, die ligt in Europa voor. De Europese Commissie heeft slechts een voorstel voor vrijwillige certificering gedaan. Dat kan een stuk harder. Ik denk dat de oplossing voor dit soort grondstoffenvloeken is: echte harde wetgeving.

 
  
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  Bogdan Brunon Wenta (PPE). Panie Przewodniczący! Pani Komisarz! Park Narodowy Wirunga w Demokratycznej Republice Konga to jeden z najbardziej znanych parków w Afryce, wpisany na Listę Światowego Dziedzictwa Unesco. Nieodwracalne szkody dla fauny i flory parku mogą nastąpić w wyniku poszukiwania i wydobycia ropy naftowej, o czym już tu powiedziano. Ponad 80% obszaru parku jest objęte koncesjami na poszukiwanie węglowodorów. Obawy wzbudza fakt, iż przyznawanie koncesji następuje z naruszeniem konwencji międzynarodowych, których Demokratyczna Republika Konga jest sygnatariuszem, a także samego prawa kongijskiego. W dodatku system prawny tego kraju, w oparciu o który odbywa się eksploatacja złóż ropy, jest nieskuteczny. Podejmowane są próby deklasyfikacji części lub całości parku.

Park Wirunga jest także jednym z najniebezpieczniejszych miejsc na świecie: od ponad 20 lat trwa tam konflikt zbrojny między oddziałami rebeliantów a siłami rządowymi, w związku z tym skuteczna ochrona przyrody na tym obszarze jest znacznie utrudniona, a życie pracowników zagrożone. Tylko w ciągu ostatnich 10 lat ponad 240 strażników, o których wspominał mój kolega Zeller, straciło życie, pełniąc swoją służbę. Na terenie parku systematycznie dochodzi do poważnych naruszeń praw człowieka: partyzanci dopuszczają się morderstw, gwałtów na ludności zamieszkującej park, a także niszczą ich wsie.

Unia Europejska powinna wspierać władze Konga w reformie prawa geologicznego, tak aby prawo to w sposób skuteczny zapewniało ochronę unikatowej fauny i flory, a także by inwestorzy chcący prowadzić na terenie Demokratycznej Republiki Konga działalność działali zgodnie z normami krajowymi i międzynarodowymi. Społeczność międzynarodowa powinna wesprzeć ten kraj w działaniach na rzecz zakończenia konfliktu na terenie parku, a także uniemożliwić finansowanie grup rebelianckich z handlu ropą. Kluczowe jest zapewnienie bezpieczeństwa rodzinom, strażnikom tego parku, a także ludności tam zamieszkującej.

 
  
 

Interventi su richiesta

 
  
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  Νότης Μαριάς ( ECR). Κυρία πρόεδρε, το Εθνικό Πάρκο Βιρούγκα της Λαϊκής Δημοκρατίας του Κονγκό θεωρείται ένα από τα σπουδαιότερα πάρκα σε ολόκληρη την Αφρική, με πλούσια βιοποικιλότητα, ενώ θεωρείται επίσης παγκόσμια κληρονομιά από την UΝΕSCΟ καθώς έχει χιλιάδες σπάνια άγρια ζώα. Όμως, στο πάρκο Βιρούγκα, η Λαϊκή Δημοκρατία του Κονγκό, κατά παράβαση των διεθνών συμβάσεων, έχει επιτρέψει τις έρευνες και την εξόρυξη πετρελαίου, φυσικού αερίου, και άλλων ορυκτών, με αποτέλεσμα να τίθεται σε άμεσο κίνδυνο η προστασία του πάρκου και, κατ' επέκταση, η προστασία των άγριων ζώων που ζουν εκεί. Παράλληλα, οι ένοπλες συγκρούσεις και η διαφθορά είναι στην ημερήσια διάταξη με αποτέλεσμα να υπάρχει παραβίαση των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων στην περιοχή, με αποκορύφωμα τον κίνδυνο ζωής που διατρέχουν οι φύλακες του πάρκου, ένας εκ των οποίων πυροβολήθηκε πρόσφατα. Θα πρέπει λοιπόν η Επιτροπή να λάβει άμεσα και πολλαπλά μέτρα για την προστασία της βιοποικιλότητας του πάρκου αλλά και για την προστασία των ζώων τα οποία κινδυνεύουν και, παράλληλα, θα πρέπει να αναλάβει πρωτοβουλίες για να αναγκαστεί η Λαϊκή Δημοκρατία του Κονγκό να συμμορφωθεί προς τις διεθνείς απαιτήσεις.

 
  
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  Ivan Jakovčić (ALDE). Gospodine predsjedniče, zar je moguće da će naša generacija biti svjedokom jednog kulturocida koji smo vidjeli u Palmiri ili jednog ekocida koji ćemo možda vidjeti u Virungi? Pred našim očima dešavaju se veliki zločini prema kulturnoj baštini čovječanstva, prirodnoj baštini koju je proglasio UNESCO i zato sam siguran da svi mi ovdje na neki način moramo preuzeti dio odgovornosti za ono što se zbiva.

Ujedinjeni narodi moraju nešto poduzeti. Europska unija mora biti ta koja će potaknuti Ujedinjene narode pa makar s jedinicama koje će očuvati kulturnu i prirodnu baštinu svijeta u onim dijelovima svijeta u kojima imamo nemire. Mislim da je to jedini put kojim trebamo ići jer sve ostalo značit će uništenje stoljetne kulturne i, naravno, prirodne baštine.

 
  
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  Miguel Viegas (GUE/NGL). Senhor Presidente, dois terços das reservas mundiais de petróleo conhecidas estão no Médio Oriente, mas a dependência desta área é inaceitável do ponto de vista geoestratégico de acordo com as potências imperiais. Assim, as principais companhias multinacionais do petróleo estão claramente envolvidas na busca de novas explorações de petróleo no continente africano. Em 2010 o governo congolês assinou contrato de exploração de petróleo em áreas que cobrem 85% da área do parque Virunga, apesar de a lei do Congo proibir qualquer exploração neste parque que é considerado Património da Humanidade pela UNESCO. Assim, este parque nacional está agora ameaçado, em particular pelas concessões dadas às multinacionais. No respeito pela soberania de todos os países envolvidos, e, em particular, da República Democrática do Congo, é nosso dever procurar garantir políticas de exploração dos recursos ao serviço das populações locais e não ao serviço da acumulação de lucros por parte das multinacionais que não olham a meios para chegar aos seus fins.

 
  
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  Igor Šoltes (Verts/ALE). Torej, gre za enega največjih parkov na svetu, gre za enega od parkov, ki razpolaga skoraj z največjo bio diverziteto, in že pred leti se je opozarjalo na nevarnost črpanja nafte na teh področjih.

In kljub številnim opozorilom in Unescovim smernicam glede delovanja multinacionalk, se je poskušalo, pravzaprav, preko vpliva kapitala doseči prevlado tudi nad nacionalnimi parki.

Hvala bogu, se čisto tako ni zgodilo, je pa vsekakor pustilo posledice. Kljub temu pa mislim, da moramo tudi s tega podiuma sporočiti, da so ti parki lahko tudi ogromna priložnost za tako imenovan vzdržen in trajnostni razvoj, tudi za tako imenovane alternativne vire energije, ki lahko seveda omogočajo tudi nova delovna mesta, v tem primeru več kot 50.000 delovnih mest, kot se je izkazalo v eni od študij.

In pravzaprav naša dolžnost je, da to tudi podpremo.

 
  
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  Janusz Korwin-Mikke (NI). Madam President, I am not a democrat, but if you are a democrat, you must believe that the sovereign Democratic Republic of Congo has the right to drill for oil and for whatever it wants. The sovereign Republic of Hungary can introduce the death penalty or decide not to. That is democracy. That is sovereignty.

I just wanted to ask how one can be wasting European taxpayers’ money on a discussion about the internal situation in the Republic of Congo. Moreover, I think that the European Union must be destroyed.

 
  
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  Ignazio Corrao (EFDD). Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, Commissario, diciamocelo chiaramente: è bene parlare della situazione del parco di Virunga, ma non abbiamo nessuna intenzione di risolvere il problema che c'è lì, perché le multinazionali che vanno a sfruttare le risorse che ci sono – stiamo parlando del petrolio – sono europee: la Soco è inglese, la Total è francese. Le compagnie che dovrebbero occuparsi del progetto di elettrificazione del parco, che è stato autorizzato dal governo congolese, dalla Repubblica democratica del Congo, sono belga e inglese, quindi sono compagnie europee, compagnie su cui noi dovremmo cercare di esercitare pressione o comunque un modus operandi che sia rispettoso di un posto che è il più grande esempio di biodiversità, un parco di 8.000 metri quadrati, un parco in cui sono presenti specie da tutelare, un parco che è patrimonio dell'umanità. Però, dall'altro canto, la nostra priorità è sempre stata quella di tutelare la diplomazia commerciale, quindi, insomma, è un po' difficile riuscire a trovare una soluzione quando con una mano si fa una cosa e con l'altra si fa completamente l'opposto.

 
  
 

(Fine degli interventi su richiesta)

 
  
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  Věra Jourová, Member of the Commission. Mr President, honourable Members, I just want to thank you for a useful discussion.

 
  
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  Presidente. – La discussione è chiusa.

La votazione si svolgerà nel corso della prossima tornata.

Dichiarazioni scritte (articolo 162)

 
  
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  Dominique Bilde (ENF), par écrit. Le parc national des Virunga (PNVi) est le parc africain le plus riche en biodiversité. Il est inscrit sur la liste du patrimoine mondial de l'Unesco depuis 1979 et constitue l'habitat de nombreuses espèces emblématiques (gorilles, okapis, éléphants, etc.). L'exploration et l'exploitation pétrolières, relayées par tout un ensemble d'activités illégales, peuvent causer à ce parc des préjudices irréversibles. Il est menacé par cette exploitation mais aussi par celles du gaz et des minerais qui alimentent toutes les convoitises que cela soit celles des multinationales ou des groupes armés ou terroristes locaux. Actuellement, plus de 140 personnes ont déjà été assassinées en RDC dans le parc des Virunga. On le voit ainsi encore une fois, les intérêts économiques priment sur l'environnement, la nature mais aussi sur l'humain dans son ensemble. Contre le principe d'ingérence, je pense que nous devons coopérer conjointement avec la RDC, l'ONU et tous les acteurs locaux possible pour garantir la sécurité et la préservation de ce parc magnifique et de ses espèces. Nous devons aussi trouver une solution pour faire pression sur les multinationales européennes installées en RDC pour respecter les principes liés aux droits de l'homme ou à la nature dans cette région.

 
  
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  Paloma López Bermejo (GUE/NGL), por escrito. Creo que este debate evidencia la hipocresía de Europa hacia sus antiguas colonias. Después de décadas de injerencia política y explotación económica, de absoluta indiferencia o aun hostilidad hacia el desarrollo soberano de la República Democrática del Congo, de pronto el Parlamento Europeo se lamenta de la destrucción de un patrimonio natural como el de Virunga, sin considerar el origen de esta crisis, sin preguntarse qué intereses representan las multinacionales petrolíferas o el origen de las guerrillas que operan en la región -pues si lo hiciera, debería evaluar el pasado y el presente de espolio económico e intervencionismo político del que es culpable. Más allá de la solución a esta crisis, es necesaria una reevaluación completa de las políticas europeas en esta zona.

 
Rechtlicher Hinweis