La Présidente. - L'ordre du jour appelle une brève présentation du rapport de Geoffrey Van Orden, au nom de la commission des affaires étrangères, sur l'état d'avancement de la lutte contre les mines (2011/2007(INI)) (A7-0211/2011).
Geoffrey Van Orden, rapporteur. − Madam President, I have to say first of all that it is a disappointment that there has not been time for a full debate in plenary of this important matter. It has widespread support from all political groups, and I would like to thank all the shadow rapporteurs for their excellent cooperation.
When many of us set out in the 1990s to bring an end to the use of anti-personnel landmines, we were conscious of the fact that thousands of lives were being lost through them every year and that the lives of thousands more victims were blighted by injury. Our armed forces had agreed that anti-personnel landmines were no longer an essential element in their armouries.
There was an enormous international mobilisation of political will and the resources of governments and NGOs to overcome a scourge that not only costs lives but obstructed development in so many of the poorest countries recovering from armed conflict.
Many of us who contributed to the Ottawa Declaration and were involved in the sponsorship of the original ‘mine actions’ entertained the hope that this great problem could be overcome in a finite period. We have to ask why this has not been the case – although there has been enormous progress.
Fourteen years on, more than 90 countries are still afflicted by anti-personnel landmines and other explosive remnants of war to some degree. Still there are casualties, and still huge resources are being spent on mine action. We therefore thought it appropriate to draw attention once more to the issue, particularly since the European Union institutions are heavily involved in mine action. I pay tribute to the role of the Commission in this, being one of the leading contributors – along with many Member States, the United States, Canada and others.
Our focus throughout the report has been on anti-personnel landmines, while recognising that explosive remnants of war may include cluster munitions as well as other munitions.
In drawing up the report I was very conscious that the Western democracies are on the side of the angels. We try to help. Our motives are good, and nothing is served by unnecessary self-flagellation: the research underpinning the report reflects this. Instead we highlight those governments – Burma and Libya, for example – that have recently laid anti-personnel landmines, and insurgent groups such as the FARC, which are continuing to produce their own devices, and other terrorists and insurgents that have made increasing use of improvised explosive devices, which are a threat not just to our armed forces on operations but to the local civilian population as well.
Our attention therefore needs to focus on those whose actions continue to impact on innocent civilians going about their everyday lives.
We consulted widely in this report. We held a seminar in January, which was attended by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the Geneva Centre for International Humanitarian Demining, the International Committee for the Red Cross, the Slovenian-based International Trust Fund for Demining, HALO Trust and the External Action Service, and we have also had written contributions from many others.
One outcome of the seminar was unanimous agreement that the Commission should revert to a single budget line for mine action. But given the difficulties that we are facing today – the economic difficulties in so many of our countries – a key message of the report is for a more focused approach to mine action, prioritising those states which are most in need of help while encouraging afflicted states that can afford it to commit more of their own resources to combating the scourge of anti-personnel landmines.
Many countries, such as Angola, rely too heavily on international financial assistance and could make a greater national contribution themselves, and there are other states, such as Bosnia, where conflict is over but where there is a massive residue of explosive remnants that is holding back economic progress. Such countries should make greater use of their own armed forces for mine action, training units specifically for humanitarian demining tasks.
In conclusion, I reiterate our belief that, through better international coordination and prioritisation, improved management, survey and demining practices, better reporting and more astute and better use of funds, a world free of the anti-personnel landmine threat to life, livelihood and economic development is a realistic possibility within a finite period.
Elena Băsescu (PPE). - Consider că raportul dlui Van Orden readuce în discuţie unul dintre riscurile de securitate care încă mai afectează Europa. Minele antipersonal au fost utilizate în mod intens în conflicte precum cel din Balcani, continuând să facă victime printre civili. Deminarea fostelor zone de conflict este costisitoare şi îndelungată. Nu toate statele afectate dispun de fondurile necesare unei asemenea activităţi. Din acest motiv, întoarcerea locuitorilor este dificilă şi există riscul producerii de accidente. Consider că o mai bună coordonare între donatorii internaţionali ar asigura un sprijin legal pentru deminarea treptată a zonelor de conflict. De asemenea, este importantă implicarea autorităţilor locale în acest demers, ale cărui beneficiare vor fi. În acest context, fac apel şi la organizaţiile non-guvernamentale specializate, pentru a-şi concentra eforturile şi a pune capăt acestei probleme.
Μαρία-Ελένη Κοππά (S&D). - Κυρία Πρόεδρε, οι Σοσιαλιστές και Δημοκράτες εκφράζουμε ικανοποίηση που δώδεκα χρόνια μετά τη Σύμβαση της Οτάβας μπορούμε να καταγράψουμε σημαντική μείωση των θυμάτων από νάρκες κατά προσωπικού. Και είμαστε περήφανοι που το Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο πρωτοστάτησε και συνεχίζει να πρωτοστατεί στη διεθνή προσπάθεια για έναν κόσμο χωρίς νάρκες. Όμως το έργο δεν έχει ολοκληρωθεί και χιλιάδες άνθρωποι υποφέρουν ακόμη από τις συνέπειες αυτών των όπλων.
Με την έκθεση που συζητάμε σήμερα προσπαθούμε να δούμε πώς θα βελτιώσουμε τη διεθνή μας δράση, προκειμένου να έχουμε ακόμη καλύτερα αποτελέσματα στο μέλλον. Είναι καιρός να ξαναδούμε τη συνολική εικόνα και να επιδιώξουμε μια δράση κατά των ναρκών που να είναι όσο το δυνατόν πληρέστερη, συνεκτική και περισσότερο επικεντρωμένη στο συμφέρον των εμπλεκόμενων πληθυσμών.
Κατά συνέπεια, η διεθνής και επιτόπου δραστηριοποίησή μας δεν πρέπει να καλύπτει μόνο τις νάρκες κατά προσωπικού αλλά και τα άλλα κατάλοιπα του πολέμου, όπως τα πυρομαχικά διασποράς. Ακόμη μεγαλύτερη έμφαση πρέπει δε να αποδίδεται στην εκπαίδευση και ενημέρωση των υποψηφίων θυμάτων που τις περισσότερες φορές είναι ανυποψίαστα παιδιά.
Θέλω να ευχαριστήσω ιδιαίτερα τον εισηγητή, κύριο Van Orden, για την εξαιρετική έκθεση που παρουσίασε αλλά και τη συνεργασία με όλους τους σκιώδεις εισηγητές καθ’ όλη την εκπόνηση της έκθεσης αυτής.
Ulrike Lunacek (Verts/ALE). - Madam President, as one of the shadow rapporteurs, I would also like to thank Mr Van Orden for this very good cooperation and the very good report that has come out. You have included and tried to include most of our amendments, so I think we have a very good report here. I am also very sorry we do not have a wider debate on it.
I would like to draw attention to one issue that came up after we had the debate in the Committee on Foreign Affairs, which is why the topic is not included here. In May, a coalition of several NGOs, including IKV Pax Christi, published a report, which I would like to show you, on worldwide investments in cluster munitions; that is a shared responsibility. It talks about the companies – be it banks, insurance companies or others – who continue to finance the production of land mines and cluster mines; that is an encouragement. This is something that we criticise in our report and which has to be stopped. I would like to call on the Member States, the Commission and Council and national parliaments to support these NGOs’ initiative and ensure that there will be no more financial investment in the production of these cruel arms.
Franz Obermayr (NI). - Frau Präsidentin! 100 Millionen Antipersonenminen sind weltweit im Erdreich verborgen, und die klassischen Opfer sind zu 70 % leider Zivilpersonen. Somit war die Ottawa-Konvention ein Schritt in die richtige Richtung. In der EU sollten wir doch auch einen Blick auf unsere Mitgliedstaaten werfen. 66 Jahre nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg liegen beispielsweise in meiner Heimatstadt, in Linz, ca. 700 nicht detonierte Fliegerbomben unter der Erde. Die Suche und die Bergung verursachen Kosten in Höhe von ca. 200 000 Euro, die die Grundbesitzer tragen müssen.
Meine diesbezügliche Anfrage an die Kommission vom 13.1.2011 wurde mehr als ausweichend behandelt, man nahm Bezug auf Rahmenrichtlinien zur Verhütung berufsbedingter Gefahren und zum Schutz am Arbeitsplatz sowie zur Entfernung von Schiffswracks und Brückentrümmern. In der Schule würde ich sagen: Thema eindeutig verfehlt. Somit ist leider festzustellen, dass für die Beseitigung von Weltkriegsrelikten in mitteleuropäischen Städten der EU ganz offensichtlich ein Problembewusstsein fehlt.
Tunne Kelam (PPE). - Madam President, our colleague Mr Van Orden has produced a timely and excellent report, well prepared by a panel of experts. Progress has been great in the meantime, but it has been uneven. The report points to some big countries which have not yet joined the mine-ban treaty, like Russia, which was removed from the list of users only last year.
The existence of huge stockpiles in some countries is also problematic. For example, China and Russia respectively have 124 million anti-personnel mines in storage.
There is also the problem of clearance of mines, with the report pointing out that some countries are overly reliant on international assistance. It is, above all, up to the countries concerned to take responsibility for the clearance of mines. The last message from this report is assistance for the victims. It is a long-term challenge and it needs a strong sense of international solidarity. EU money must also be provided.
Maria Damanaki, Member of the Commission. − Madam President, we welcome the ‘Progress on Mine Action’ report by Mr Van Orden. We agree that considerable progress has been made on this issue but that there remains, however, much to do, particularly with regard to the most vulnerable countries, which continue to need international support, and in the field of victim assistance.
The EU’s goal is to see the complete eradication of anti-personnel mines, whilst addressing related economic and social problems. The report correctly points out that, while the number of new mine victims is decreasing, there is still a need for assistance to victims. Significant humanitarian and development challenges therefore remain. The report rightly points to the huge effort already made by the international community. As part of this effort, the EU and Member States have collectively provided political, financial and scientific support to mine action worldwide. Financial support amounted to nearly EUR 1.8 billion in the last ten years. This constitutes around half of the world’s financial assistance to mine action.
Our support has taken many forms. Firstly, through common foreign policy joint actions we have provided support to mine clearance, we have promoted implementation of the landmark Ottawa Convention, we have enhanced our efforts to secure greater adherence to the Convention, and we are also now preparing a new Council Decision after the Second Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention held in Cartagena, Colombia in 2009.
Secondly, through the provision of development assistance, the Union budget has contributed around EUR 400 million for the period 2002-2010.
Thirdly, we agree that it will be necessary to review the Guidelines on European Community Action. These aim to ensure the mainstreaming of mine action in national development programmes and to promote links between security and these programmes. This approach requires beneficiary countries to prioritise mine action in their programmes, as called for in the report. We also agreed to focus on developing greater local capacity and that future assistance should be earmarked for those countries least able to help themselves.
Finally, I would like to assure all the Members of Parliament that certain mine action activities have been funded under the crisis response provisions of the Instrument for Stability. Humanitarian aid has also made a contribution, for example in Pakistan, North Sudan, South Sudan and Sri Lanka.
In conclusion, let me underline an important aspect which was not covered by the report. We are concerned about the increasing number of mine victims resulting from mines laid by non-state actors. This is a serious issue which requires further reflection and action by all states that are party to the Ottawa Convention.
Finally, I would like to assure you that EU mine action will remain a prominent element of EU external action and to thank you again for this important report.
La Présidente. - Le point est clos.
Le vote aura lieu aujourd'hui à 12 heures.
(La séance, suspendue à 11 h 45, est reprise à 12 heures)