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 Index 
 Full text 
Procedure : 2015/2220(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0051/2016

Texts tabled :

A8-0051/2016

Debates :

PV 12/04/2016 - 18
CRE 12/04/2016 - 18

Votes :

PV 13/04/2016 - 11.11

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2016)0121

Debates
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 - Strasbourg Revised edition

18. Implementation and review of the EU-Central Asia Strategy (debate)
Video of the speeches
PV
MPphoto
 

  Tamás Meszerics, rapporteur . Mr President, first of all let me thank all of you for being present at this late hour. I especially appreciate the Vice-President/High Representative being present here. Her stamina and perseverance is actually both admirable and indeed exceptional in these long foreign policy debates.

Today we have already discussed a number of pressing problems, deadly crises, complex policy problems and precarious situations around the world. The region that we are going to talk about in the last item on today’s agenda, Central Asia, may not seem to require such urgent attention. It may not produce a pressing demand on our resources, but it is – and this is one of the most important conclusions of the report – a region of increasing strategic importance to the European Union.

As rapporteur on the implementation and review of the EU-Central Asia strategy, the first fact that I have learned from my colleagues is that we all agree on the growing relevance of the region to the European Union. So this debate comes last, but not least, on today’s foreign policy agenda.

First of all, allow me to express my sincere gratitude to the shadow rapporteurs, whose dedication, flexibility and professionalism resulted in the rich – and indeed not very short – text. I am also grateful to the various representatives of the European External Action Service (EEAS), who proved to be very helpful throughout the entire process.

Let me start with the observation that the Central Asia strategy, as formulated nine years ago, had the right level of ambition. The achievements of the implementation were rather less spectacular though. That limited success requires that all parties involved – the EU, the Member States and the five countries of Central Asia – need to make a serious and concerted effort to reach the aims laid down in the various official documents and treaties which we have with the region.

We agree on a number of points within Parliament on the strategy review. For instance, we also see a need for a more differentiated, conditional and incentive—based approach, and it should be applied so that regional programmes are more tailored to the needs of the interested parties within the region, not necessarily comprising the entire set of five countries.

Central Asia has weak interregional links. Some would even doubt whether it is a region in its own right. It would make sense to develop projects aimed at those countries which are willing to participate and willing to foster these kinds of links. We emphasise that the disbursement of EU funds should be incentive- and performance-based and that benchmarks should be developed for each and every country. These need to be formulated to assess their progress. The key areas include, among others (and I am sure my colleagues would list more than these) democratisation, fighting and preventing corruption, free and fair elections, ending drug trafficking, respecting labour laws and so on.

The countries of the region need to develop their human rights records. Some indeed seem to be inhospitable terrain for even the basic political rights. Because of the precariousness of the human rights situation in some countries of the region, we urge the EEAS to base their assessments not on the laws enacted but on the facts established on the ground. For such a strategy to become viable we need a unified approach. This is not the first or the last time that we have said that. We need to speak with one voice, together with the Member States. No bilateral negotiations should undermine our efforts.

 
Last updated: 19 October 2016Legal notice