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L-Erbgħa, 12 ta' Jannar 2005 - Strasburgu Edizzjoni riveduta

4. Għajnuna ta' l-Unjoni Ewropea lill-vittmi tal-maremot fl-Asja
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  El Presidente. De conformidad con el orden del día, se procede a las Declaraciones del Consejo y de la Comisión sobre las consecuencias del tsunami del 26 de diciembre de 2004.

 
  
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  Asselborn, Conseil. Monsieur le Président, Mesdames et Messieurs, Monsieur le Président de la Commission, le désastre sans précédent du 26 décembre dernier a touché douze pays et a, à ce jour, causé la mort de plus 160 000 personnes, sans compter les milliers de disparus, les nombreux blessés et des millions – on parle de cinq – de personnes déplacées ou de sans­abri. Les enfants, aujourd'hui orphelins ou isolés des membres de leur famille, sont particulièrement vulnérables dans ce contexte. La situation sanitaire est très préoccupante et les dégâts matériels sont d'une ampleur qui défie toute possibilité de calcul.

Face à l'ampleur de la catastrophe, la présidence luxembourgeoise en coopération étroite avec la présidence néerlandaise, a réagi dès après le 26 décembre, en se rendant sur place avec la Commission le 1er janvier. Le ministre luxembourgeois de la santé a contacté et rencontré les responsables de l'OMS et de la Croix­Rouge internationale, ce même 1er janvier.

Sur la base de ces premiers contacts avec les Nations unies et les pays concernés, et suite aussi au sommet extraordinaire élargi à Djakarta, la présidence a provoqué un Conseil des affaires générales et des relations extérieures, le 7 janvier, qui a réuni un grand nombre de ministres des affaires étrangères, de ministres de la coopération et de ministres de la santé.

Le Conseil du 7 janvier a réaffirmé la solidarité de l'Union européenne avec les pays touchés ainsi qu'avec les populations de ces pays, qu'il remercie – c'est très important –pour le soutien qu'elles ont apporté aux ressortissants européens sur place au moment de la catastrophe. Le Conseil a aussi rendu hommage à l'élan de solidarité générale manifestée par la société civile et par les citoyens.

Le Conseil a permis de faire le point sur les initiatives, nombreuses, prises tant par la Commission que par les États membres et sur la coordination, si essentielle, de l'aide apportée par l'Union européenne. Ensemble, nous avons réfléchi à la manière de répondre au mieux à l'urgence de la situation sur les plans financier, matériel et sanitaire, et aux moyens financiers et opérationnels nécessaires et suffisants pour les phases successives de réhabilitation et de reconstruction. Des responsables des agences des Nations unies ont été invités à participer à ce Conseil: c'étaient des membres de l'OCHA, de l'OMS et aussi de l'Unicef. Ils ont apporté au Conseil des informations supplémentaires sur la situation sur le terrain, sur les mesures qui ont été prises et sur l'évaluation des besoins à venir. Le rôle premier dévolu aux Nations unies en matière de coordination de l'aide dans ce contexte a été réaffirmé à haute voix à cette occasion.

Les résultats majeurs immédiats de ce Conseil sont les suivants: sur le plan financier, le Conseil a annoncé que l'aide publique combinée de l'Union européenne et des États membres en faveur des victimes du tsunami – aide d'urgence et aide à la reconstruction– s'élève actuellement à environ 1 milliard et demi d'euros. Toutefois, le Conseil n'a pas non plus manqué de rappeler que cet effort ne doit pas faire oublier la problématique générale du développement de l'aide humanitaire et les objectifs de développement du millénaire, notamment en Afrique, ni diminuer les ressources à cet effet.

Sur le plan sanitaire, les États membres ont été invités à conjuguer leurs efforts sous l'égide de l'OMS, et ce, pour prévenir les risques d'épidémies et mettre en place des infrastructures sanitaires par l'envoi de matériel et d'équipes médicales appropriés. L'Union européenne et ses États membres soutiendront l'OMS.

En ce qui concerne maintenant les mesures à plus long terme, le Conseil a souhaité que la capacité de l'Union européenne à faire face à des catastrophes majeures soit renforcée et a indiqué sa volonté de se doter des instruments suivants.

Premièrement, une stratégie de prévention, un système d'alerte précoce et de réaction rapide aux catastrophes, en vue notamment de la conférence mondiale sur la réduction des désastres, qui se tiendra à Kobé, au Japon, du 18 au 22 janvier prochains.

Deuxième point: l'amélioration du mécanisme de protection civile et d'aide humanitaire, ainsi que des capacités d'analyse. Le Conseil souhaite développer les capacités de réponse rapide de l'Union européenne en se dotant de structures appropriées de planification, de coordination et de mobilisation des moyens.

Troisième point: le renforcement de la coopération consulaire.

Quatrième point: il s'agit d'autres mesures que le Conseil devra examiner, notamment le développement d'une capacité de réponse rapide de l'Union européenne, à savoir un système d'alerte précoce rapide. Il s'agira, en deuxième lieu, d'évaluer la mise en place d'un corps volontaire européen d'aide humanitaire et, en troisième lieu, de renforcer la coordination de l'Union européenne dans les domaines des secours, de l'évacuation et de l'acheminement des vivres et des soins médicaux.

Je pense également à des mesures d'appui commercial et à des partenariats bilatéraux, en ce compris des jumelages de villes, hôpitaux, etc. et enfin, à un aménagement du service de la dette des pays touchés qui le désirent. Il conviendrait que ce point soit à l'ordre du jour du conseil Ecofin de la semaine prochaine.

Le Conseil des affaires générales du 31 janvier reviendra sur toutes les mesures et toutes les pistes que l'Union et les États membres ont envisagées pour le moyen et long terme en vue de l'élaboration d'un plan d'action opérationnel de l'Union.

Le soir de ce même 7 janvier, Mme Benita Ferrero­Waldmer, la commissaire européenne compétente, et les ministres compétents de la santé et de la coopération, ainsi que moi­même, avons informé une délégation très importante de votre Parlement.

Cette semaine, la présidence et la Commission continueront à dialoguer intensément avec les instances compétentes du Parlement européen aux fins de la mise en œuvre des engagements financiers de l'Union et j'espère que nous pourrons déjà, au Conseil des affaires générales du 31 janvier, concrétiser quelques­unes des pistes que nous avons dessinées lors du Conseil des affaires générales du 7 janvier.

(Applaudissements)

 
  
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  Barroso, Presidente da Comissão. Senhor Presidente, Senhoras e Senhores Deputados, a dimensão do desastre que teve lugar na Ásia do Sul leva-nos a reflectir seriamente sobre a fragilidade da vida humana diante das forças da natureza e sobre o quão irrelevantes se tornam as outras questões quando comparadas com uma tragédia humana desta dimensão. Põe também em causa a essência da acção política a nível nacional e europeu para lidar com as consequências de catástrofes naturais como esta. E esta é a ocasião apropriada para reflectirmos sobre os nossos instrumentos e as nossas políticas, sobre as formas como coordenamos os nossos esforços e sobre como repartimos as responsabilidades entre autoridades nacionais e instituições europeias.

A minha viagem a Jacarta na passada semana pôs-me em contacto com a real dimensão da tragédia provocada por este terramoto e pelo tsunami que se seguiu. Pude também confirmar que a comunidade internacional, incluindo a União Europeia e a Comissão Europeia, foram capazes de responder com rapidez recolhendo montantes substanciais de ajuda e outros apoios.

O que o Comissário Michel viu quando esteve no terreno foi chocante. A onda gigante varreu completamente a presença humana ao longo de 500 quilómetros de costa, destruindo tudo o que encontrou pelo caminho, chegando mesmo a lugares mais de cinco quilómetros para o interior e o mais trágico é que a maior parte da população vivia exactamente nessa zona costeira que foi completamente arrasada. Histórias igualmente preocupantes nos chegam do Sri Lanka, da Tailândia, da India, das Maldivas, sem esquecer também os estragos em outros países menos acessíveis que só agora começam a ser conhecidos e ainda o facto de esta tragédia ter chegado às costas de África.

Esta enorme catástrofe natural deixa atrás de si 150 mil mortos, mais de cinco milhões de pessoas sem abrigo, traumatizadas, que têm agora que enfrentar o desafio de juntar o que resta das suas famílias devastadas, reconstruir as suas casas, reconstruir as suas actividades económicas, procurar, ao fim e ao cabo, recomeçar a sua vida.

 
  
  

The scale of the disaster and the shocking images plastered on our televisions and newspapers sparked massive sympathy among our European citizens, who widely demanded a very quick and large-scale response. We should be proud of the European response. Europeans have provided a massive demonstration of solidarity, at the level of institutions and at the level of individual citizens. Overall European support for the victims and countries affected is by far the most important worldwide: Europe was the first donor to announce direct assistance; European representatives were among the first on the ground. I want to praise all of those directly and indirectly involved in this enormous effort.

As regards the management of the crisis, I want to highlight the excellent cooperation between the Commission and the Council presidency, in particular the cooperation of Prime Minister Juncker, and the European Parliament. We have shown how crucial it is to ensure sound and effective interinstitutional cooperation.

In other emergency situations the Commission has had more time to discuss and prepare its response beforehand with Parliament and the Council, our budgetary authorities. In this case, we did not have that time. Within nine days of the waves striking the coastlines of Asia and Africa, the heads of government from the affected countries and the major donors were gathering in Jakarta to agree on how we would repair the damage and what funds we would make available.

To prepare the ground within the limited time that we had, I discussed with President Borrell Fontelles and Prime Minister Juncker, before leaving for Jakarta, the Commission's proposal to pledge up to EUR 450 million. They were both very positive and supportive of the approach I proposed. Indeed, at the conference in Jakarta I mentioned a special message that President Borrell Fontelles sent me and asked me to transmit to the heads of state and government gathered there.

Without having had an opportunity for detailed discussion in Parliament's plenary and the Council, I indicated to the pledging conference in Jakarta that the Commission's EUR 450 million pledge was conditional on its approval by the budgetary authorities and that includes you, the European Parliament. The Commission's priority today is to listen to your views, answer your questions and agree on how we can best tackle the two main tasks we now face, namely how to turn our conditional pledge rapidly into concrete money on the budget, and then to turn those funds into effective reconstruction programmes on the ground that will help people rebuild their shattered lives.

While it is still early days, I should like to explain in more detail what I have in mind as to how best to use the Commission's pledge, if you and the Council agree to the funding that we have proposed.

On the humanitarian side, the Commission has responded rapidly and very efficiently. Through our humanitarian assistance office, ECHO, we were one of the first organisations to respond to the disaster by making - EUR 23 million available - EUR 3 million of which were available on the day of the disaster itself - in humanitarian aid to the Red Cross and other partners for meeting essential needs. We reinforced ECHO staff on the ground, and our experts have been working closely with the United Nations and other donors to assess needs and ensure the coordination of the humanitarian aid effort on the ground.

Commissioner Michel travelled to the most affected areas from 1 to 7 January to gather a first-hand impression and gauge needs for relief and rehabilitation. We have also been quick in mobilising civil protection. The European Civil Protection Mechanism, under the responsibility of Commissioner Dimas, has been active since the very first reports of the tsunami.

Throughout the disaster, the European Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre has operated around the clock to mobilise and coordinate civil protection assistance from European Union Member States and neighbouring countries. The mechanism has proved to be a simple and efficient system that allows the targeting of assistance to the specific needs of each affected country. Within 24 hours of the disaster, the Centre sent assessment and coordination experts to Thailand and Sri Lanka. As Mr Kofi Annan has underlined, USD 1 billion will be needed immediately. In answer to this, I proposed, as part of the pledge, that another EUR 100 million be allocated from the emergency reserve to provide humanitarian assistance. I understand your committees have been discussing this proposal favourably and Commissioner Michel indicated our commitment at the United Nation's pledging conference held in Geneva yesterday. This also shows our full support for Parliament's approach of underlining the coordination role of the United Nations.

On the reconstruction side, I proposed that EUR 350 million be made available. I envisage that part of this will come from fresh funds and part from a reprogramming of funds already planned for the affected countries. Although the reconstruction task will take several years, the financing of this reconstruction effort should be provided this year and next year. I understand that the word 'reprogramming' has caused some concern in Parliament. So why is the Commission proposing this? The main reason is speed. The funds for projects planned for 2005 are already on the table and can be used for the urgent and immediate reconstruction work. Waiting for fresh funds to come on stream will take up to six months. We need to move with reconstruction funds now. All donors are responding in the same way, including the World Bank, to mobilise funds for the tsunami relief project as fast as possible. Moreover, I do not believe this approach will have any negative side effects.

We may ask whether this will lead to a cancellation of projects already planned. The answer is no. If, like us, the governments decide that the tsunami-related project takes immediate priority, the originally-planned projects can be taken up in 2006 or 2007 under the new financial perspective; in some cases, the problem is that we cannot go on with the previous project for those regions because the tsunami has affected those regions, so we have to give priority to the tsunami-related projects.

Will this lead to Asia robbing other regions of their funds? The answer is no. Any projects that may be reprioritised and delayed in this way will be within the Asia envelope which, if necessary, will have to be readapted. I count on your support in this regard. Having seen the European Parliament's draft resolution, I can assure you that the 'poor across the world will not pay the price of this disaster'.

Regarding cooperation development aid, the priority of the European Union clearly is, and will continue to be, Africa, on account of its structural needs, of which you are all aware. But this does not mean that we cannot proceed now by giving direct priority to the relief for this disaster.

Let me give you some specific examples of how this reprogramming approach can be of immediate value. In Indonesia, the Commission has a EUR 35 million programme which aims to improve access and quality of healthcare at community level. If the government of Indonesia agrees, this can be extended quickly to help rebuild and strengthen healthcare facilities damaged by the tsunami. In Sri Lanka we are planning to cooperate with the World Bank on a housing programme to assist the resettlement of internally-displaced persons. Similarly, this programme could be broadened quickly to assist with the rehousing of families displaced by the tsunami.

Whatever the level of new funding, I stress that the Commission needs to look at how planned projects can be reprogrammed in this way to ensure that we can respond to reconstruction within the critical first months. But the Commission's pledge was provisional and could be revisited once final costings have been made. We already know that needs are huge and there could be room for an even higher contribution of fresh funds if both Parliament and the Council agree to it.

I fully support the line agreed in Jakarta that the countries must conduct assessments of need and create their own national tsunami reconstruction plans. That would identify the priority projects and the means to implement them. It is a matter of basic principle: allowing the countries to assume their own responsibility and ensuring that they coordinate all the generous commitments made. We should not flood the countries with hundreds of different facilities and instruments drawn up beforehand with donors or international financial institutions.

Let us look at another principle that all donors and countries agreed in Jakarta: to deliver our support rapidly. I emphasised in Jakarta that the Commission would seek to explore all means at its disposal to turn its plans into effective programmes as quickly as possible. The General Affairs Council further lent its support to this commitment. This means accelerating our procedures as much as possible within the confines of the Financial Regulation so that unnecessarily heavy bureaucracy does not slow us down.

I saw how rapidly and efficiently the countries have already moved in helping their citizens. It is impressive! As such, we should provide the bulk of our aid as budget support, giving the countries the tools to rebuild their destroyed infrastructure and to restore the livelihoods of their shattered communities. This approach is the only way in which the affected countries can coordinate the aid efficiently. It would be an impossible task for them if the hundreds of donors gave their aid separately and all demanded that their own procedures be followed.

However, budget support must be properly supervised if we are to have the comfort of sound financial management of our funds. To this end, I support the initiative of the World Bank and the other international financial institutions to develop trust funds with the countries concerned, effectively creating a common pot into which donors can put funds along with a common set of rules for implementing, monitoring and auditing, which will guide the management of the funds.

The Commission will also need to address punctual and particular projects that will be better delivered by direct implementation rather than by passing through the national budgets. For example, some specific work may be started in the humanitarian phase that could usefully be continued under the initial reconstruction phase. Alternatively, there may be specific conditions that prevent easy access for the national budget to certain geographical regions or, indeed, to the poorest communities who must benefit from this reconstruction. Such cases would also warrant the continued channelling of part of our funds through NGOs.

The European Commission has been active from day one on all fronts, from humanitarian aid to civil protection and, increasingly so, to rehabilitation and reconstruction. We will pursue our efforts relentlessly. However, we will also reflect on improvements, new ideas and solutions. We will reply to the Council's requests for proposals and put forward innovative tools. In doing so, our main concern will be to find solutions that provide effectiveness and good use of available capacities in the Member States and European institutions, optimising means and technologies at European level. Creating new structures for the sake of it is not an option; making better use of the vast existing European capacity in a coordinated and articulated manner is the way forward.

We will also be particularly attentive to the European dimension of our initiatives and will be keen to make it more visible to the general public and to the beneficiaries. Solidarity is a trademark of the European Union. Let it be experienced also in times of crisis.

I recognise the importance Parliament places on additional measures beyond aid that the European Union can provide further to help the countries affected by the tsunami. You can rest assured that all Commission departments are mobilised in their particular areas to investigate what can be done in this regard. This includes support for the G8 debt moratorium initiatives, the investigation of possible trade initiatives to ease trade access to the Union for the countries concerned and working with the governments to seek to facilitate the implementation of the European Investment Bank's Indian Ocean Tsunami Facility.

The Member States and Commission agreed in the General Affairs Council to offer direct support to the countries in their efforts to develop early-warning systems so they will be better able to respond to future disasters.

I noted with interest the ideas being floated on the possibility of supplying fishing vessels from the Commission, that is to say, European Union fleets to the fishing communities in the affected countries. The idea is very appealing. We have all seen pictures of boats wrecked by the tsunami, and our own fishing industry is about to destroy boats from its own fleet in line with fishery limits.

(Applause)

My services are currently exploring whether vessels are available, what state of repair they are in, if they meet the need of the fishing communities in the tsunami-affected areas, and how they could be made available to these fishermen. I hope that this initiative will work and we will report back to you with the results of our work.

The Commission is also considering proposals for a new European Union approach to reinforce capacity for disaster prevention and, as discussed in the extraordinary Council meeting last Friday, we intend to look at early-warning mechanisms and preparation for disaster management, the ways to further improve the Commission's humanitarian aid provision, and civil protection, with a view to developing our rapid response to crises in third countries in full respect of the specificity and principles of humanitarian aid. In this context, the Commission is preparing a proposal for the development of a rapid response capacity of the European Union, which will permit it to enhance its assistance in future humanitarian disasters and other crises. We expect to present that proposal at the Council meeting on 31 January 2005.

In every successful emergency programme organised by the Commission, Parliament has played a pivotal role. In this regard, I think of Afghanistan or the Balkans. This role is not simply to agree on funding, but to follow the programme and to lend political weight where needed to ensure that the programme's political goals remain on track. Your attention could also focus on the administrative resources – in headquarters and in delegations – necessary for effective delivery. I am confident that you will play an important role in facilitating the Commission's programme of reconstruction after the tsunami. To this end, I will undertake that the Commission will report to you regularly on progress, both in plenary and in committees.

The College had an extensive discussion yesterday on the Asian crisis and on how we should organise our follow-up to the work done so far. By the end of this month, I expect to present Commission proposals for an improved European crisis response capability. Commissioner Ferrero­Waldner will go to the region in the coming weeks to further assess needs and to put more flesh on this proposal. I will propose that she report to Parliament on her return.

We have set high targets for the European Union's response to the South Asian crisis, both in Jakarta and in United Nations meetings in Geneva. The outpouring of support from our private citizens for this crisis further shows their support for the full commitment of all European Union institutions to deliver on the promises we have made. We must provide answers and I count on your support in helping the Commission to deliver. I give you my promise to work closely with you in the massive task ahead of us.

(Applause)

 
  
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  El Presidente. Agradezco tanto al Consejo como a la Comisión la completa información que nos han suministrado sobre este trágico acontecimiento; en particular, quiero reconocer expresamente la perfecta coordinación que el Presidente de la Comisión ha mantenido con la Presidencia del Parlamento durante las reuniones que han seguido y, en especial, agradecerle también que haya incorporado a la delegación en la Conferencia de Ginebra a dos diputados de este Parlamento, lo que, sin duda, contribuirá a que podamos hacer de forma más coordinada y rápida los trabajos que a cada institución competen.

 
  
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  Deva (PPE-DE), on behalf of the Group. Mr President, I have just returned from Sri Lanka, where I witnessed many of the dreadful sights that we have all seen on television. As a Sri Lankan-born Member of this Parliament, I wish to express my gratitude to all those who have responded so generously to appeals, and especially for the help given by the peoples of Europe; my own country, Britain, in particular; and my constituents in the south-east of England.

The EU and its Member States have together pledged almost EUR 1.5 billion so far. The amount continues to rise. The Commission and Parliament have sanctioned EUR 23 million and promised funds of EUR 350 million, although EUR 150 million of that is not new money, but will be taken from existing long-term developments. This must be reviewed.

I also welcome the proposal for a lending facility of EUR 1 billion from the European Investment Bank. We must deliver the aid which we have promised. In the past the international community has not done so. A rapid reaction civilian corps for aid delivery, as proposed by Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner, is most welcome. Our aid must be visible.

I was embarrassed in Sri Lanka because EU aid was immediately delivered, but was done so invisibly, despite Commissioner Michel being extremely visible and hands-on. The United Nations and NGOs only act as coordinators and do not pretend to be the donors. Our taxpayers demand visibility. Ownership matters.

We must also ensure that aid is not stolen – yes, stolen! Where the appropriate systems do not exist in the recipient countries, aid will be stolen unless we ensure that delivery mechanisms are totally transparent and accountable. There is currently an urgent need for small, suitable boats to be donated. I am glad that President Barroso mentioned that.

Early warning procedures are also needed before the next disaster happens. An authenticated telephone call to CNN and the other broadcast networks could have saved thousands of lives in Sri Lanka, Somalia and Thailand. After all, the Americans evacuated Diego Garcia. However, that telephone call did not come. This does not only apply to Asia. How would people in Europe be warned if, let us say, volcanic activity in the Canary Islands caused a tsunami? Will the Commission prepare an urgent report?

In Sri Lanka I hope that reconstruction will also mean reconciliation and that aid will be consistent with the December 2002 Oslo talks and the Tokyo Donor Conference expectations. We should expect no less for Indonesia, with its Aceh separatists.

We must remember that it is trade and investment, not aid, which will sustain the people in the long term. The devastation is limited to the coastal areas and the countries of south Asia are still open for business.

Let us all work together, not only to repair the destruction, but also to give the victims a hand up and not merely a hand-out.

(Applause)

 
  
  

ΠΡΟΕΔΡΙΑ του κ. ΤΡΑΚΑΤΕΛΛΗ
Αντιπροέδρου

 
  
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  Schulz (PSE), im Namen der Fraktion. Herr Präsident, meine sehr geehrten Damen und Herren! Es gibt den Ausführungen des Ratsvorsitzenden, Herrn Asselborn, und des Kommissionspräsidenten, Herrn Barroso, aus unserer Sicht keine wesentlichen Dinge mehr hinzuzufügen. Die Kommission und auch der Rat haben die wesentlichen notwendigen Schritte beschrieben. Wir können für die Sozialdemokratische Fraktion in diesem Hause sagen: Wir unterstützen alle diese Initiativen; und das, was an finanzieller und organisatorischer Unterstützung notwendig ist, muss dieses Parlament zusagen. Ich glaube, alle – auch mein Vorredner – haben klar gemacht, dass, was die Parlamentsseite angeht, sowohl die wirtschaftlichen Mittel als auch die organisatorischen Maßnahmen garantiert sind.

Deshalb kann ich mich auf einige grundsätzliche Bemerkungen zu dieser Katastrophe beschränken, die deutlich gemacht hat, dass wir im globalen Dorf leben und dass in der globalen Welt, in der wir leben, Solidarität eine Selbstverständlichkeit wird, und zwar Solidarität supranationaler Art. Deshalb ist es wichtig, dass wir noch einmal darüber sprechen und uns darüber klar werden, dass die Union selbst neben den Mitgliedsländern eine entscheidende Rolle hat, denn in der Europäischen Union manifestiert sich die Bereitschaft der Europäerinnen und Europäer zum supranationalen Handeln. Dass dieses internationale Handeln in der Organisationsform Europäische Union auch zum interkontinentalen Handeln führt, ergibt sich notwendigerweise schon daraus, dass eine solche Katastrophe nicht mehr regional begrenzt die dort lebenden Menschen betrifft, sondern alle Menschen aus allen Ländern, eben auch aus der Europäischen Union.

Dies verlangt nach neuen Organisationsformen, und solche sind im Entstehen begriffen. Dazu gehört der Vorschlag, den die Kommission unterbreitet hat. Eine Reaktionseinheit, Reaktionskräfte, technische Reaktionskräfte zu bündeln und unter der Führung der Union zu organisieren, ist ein intelligenter und fördernswerter Vorschlag. Finanzielle Instrumente neben den nationalstaatlichen zu organisieren, ist ein unverzichtbarer Vorschlag. Aber ganz klar ist auch, dass bei der Mobilitätsgesellschaft, wie sie gerade die Europäerinnen und Europäer darstellen, in einer solchen Situation eine konsularische Betreuung unverzichtbar ist. Deshalb ist der Aufbau eines gemeinsamen konsularischen Apparats, der die Vorstufe zu einem gemeinsamen diplomatischen Dienst sein könnte, ein positiver Aspekt in dieser Debatte.

Ich will eine abschließende Bemerkung machen. Aus der Flut von Informationen, die ich in den letzten Tagen erhalten habe, auch über Solidarität und Hilfsbereitschaft, ragt eine Nachricht heraus: Wir haben vor wenigen Monaten in diesem Haus der Opfer des Terroranschlags in Beslan gedacht. Heute Morgen habe ich erfahren, dass die Bürgerinnen und Bürger von Beslan eine Million Rubel, das sind 30 000 Euro, gesammelt haben, um den Opfern des Tsunami ihre Solidarität zu erweisen. Ein größeres Beispiel an menschlicher Haltung, an Solidarität, auch an menschlicher Größe kann es in diesem Zusammenhang nicht geben. Ich finde, wir sollten den Bürgerinnen und Bürgern von Beslan, die selbst Opfer waren, an dieser Stelle unsere außerordentliche Hochachtung bezeugen.

(Beifall)

 
  
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  Watson (ALDE), on behalf of the Group. Mr President, this is a global tragedy requiring a global response. It provides an opportunity to reassert the role and the benefit of multilateral action through the United Nations, but also a challenge to the United Nations to prove itself up to the task. Thus far, its response has been promising. The response of the European Union, too, has put us on to a good start, and I salute the prompt action of Commissioner Michel and the support that his colleagues gave.

European Union aid, both public and private, has been impressive in its generosity. ECHO funds were released rapidly in the aftermath of the disaster. Total pledges now amount to EUR 540 million, plus a EUR 1 billion lending facility. Though, to be honest, one-third of that grant aid is reprogrammed from existing development aid for the region. Let us make sure that these pledges are honoured – only two per cent of the USD 1 billion pledged to the reconstruction of the Iranian city of Bam after the earthquake there has been spent.

Let us not be complacent, for the present ECHO can act as a financier. In the longer term we must have the potential to send troops, ships, floating hospitals and helicopters to assist in disaster relief. More than 150,000 people have lost their lives, whole communities have been wiped out. Five million more people are injured or have lost their homes, livelihoods or families. Many are children at risk of falling prey to child traffickers and others. Goodwill abroad notwithstanding, children from those devastated communities should not be removed from the societies and traditions that they know. Unicef and others must act swiftly to provide the shelter, protection and registration that those children need if they are to rebuild their lives and perhaps, eventually, be traced by relatives.

This tragedy has called forth a major response in donations from individuals a world away, to families of victims they have never met, yet wish to help, reminding us how small our global community is. Let us build on this opportunity to set aside our differences. The stricken countries will pay more this year in trade tariffs than we will grant them in aid. That should give us cause for reflection on our trading policies.

We need close monitoring of the aid to make sure it is not used to fuel regional conflicts and is not diverted by corrupt local officials. Let us have a scoreboard for EU reconstruction efforts, just as the United Nations must have a tracking system for aid channelled through its agencies. And let the Commission extend its lead in coordinating the Union's response. If each Member State contributed an expert in humanitarian aid to ECHO, a central resource would exist with expertise in the response capacity of different national facilities.

Finally, one clear lesson from this is our frailty in the face of the forces of nature. We cannot tame them, but we can collectively mitigate their devastation. We have the technology to detect earthquakes in the world's danger spots. Providing it to regions at risk can be achieved at modest expense and perhaps save hundreds of thousands of lives.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Cohn-Bendit (Verts/ALE), au nom du groupe. Chers collègues, Mesdames et Messieurs, débattre après une catastrophe est toujours difficile, car, d'un côté, il y a l'émotion et, de l'autre, la nécessité de tirer des leçons politiques de ce qui s'est passé.

Est-ce que vous pourriez être un peu tranquilles ou aller boire un café et revenir, quand on aura terminé de discuter de choses importantes? Ce serait possible? Il y a un bar dehors! Vous pouvez aller vous saoûler la gueule autant que vous voulez. Merci. Excusez-moi, Monsieur le Président.

Je voudrais dire que mon groupe soutient la proposition de la Commission et du Conseil de renforcer les capacités d'intervention civile de l'Union européenne. En effet, avec cette catastrophe, nous avons vu que l'intervention nationale, aussi nécessaire soit-elle, était incapable de répondre seule à une catastrophe de cette dimension et que la capacité d'intervention civile devait comprendre l'intervention civile humanitaire mais aussi l'intervention civile politique, c'est-à-dire l'intervention pour la prévention des conflits.

Nous ne pouvons pas intervenir en Indonésie sans intervenir dans le conflit qui a lieu en Indonésie. Nous ne pouvons pas aider le Sri Lanka sans intervenir dans le conflit militaire qui existe au Sri Lanka. Donc, l'intervention pour la prévention des conflits et l'intervention humanitaire sont étroitement liées et nous soutenons la Commission sur ce sujet. Je propose aux collègues de verser l'argent qu'ils recevront pour cette séance à l'aide en faveur des victimes de la catastrophe.

(Applaudissements)

 
  
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  Agnoletto (GUE/NGL), a nome del gruppo. Signor Presidente, ho l'impressione che non si siano ancora spenti i riflettori dei media sulla tragedia dell'Estremo Oriente e già le enfatiche dichiarazioni di solidarietà lasciano il posto a più cinici interessi economici e geopolitici.

Il Presidente Barroso ha cercato di fare un gioco di prestigio, ma non è un bravo prestigiatore. La parola riprogrammazione indica l'utilizzo di fondi che erano già stati destinati agli aiuti, pertanto chiedo che tutti i 350 milioni per la prima fase della ricostruzione rappresentino un nuovo stanziamento e che la totalità del miliardo e mezzo che deve essere versato dall'Unione europea e dai 25 Stati membri sia donata senza nessun tipo di interesse.

In quest'Aula ho sentito inviti a tenere in considerazione il debito estero dei paesi colpiti dal maremoto. Credo che dobbiamo affermare chiaramente che l'unica possibilità praticabile è quella della cancellazione del debito estero. Stiamo parlando di paesi come l'Indonesia che ha oltre 130 miliardi di dollari di debito e ne ha rimborsati 13 nel 2002. A fronte di questi dati, se non cancelliamo il debito, le nostre donazioni non potranno portare nessun aiuto concreto.

Ancora non ho sentito parlare di un tentativo di modificare, almeno temporaneamente, le legislazioni sull'immigrazione: mi riferisco alla possibilità per gli immigrati, che vivono già in Europa, provenienti dalle nazioni colpite di poter rimpatriare, verificare la situazione, ricercare i loro cari e poi poter tornare nell'Unione senza rischiare di perdere il permesso di soggiorno o il posto di lavoro; mi riferisco altresì alla possibilità di offrire un permesso di soggiorno, almeno temporaneo, a tutti coloro che durante questa tragedia sono stati feriti.

(Applausi)

 
  
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  Καρατζαφέρης (IND/DEM), εξ ονόματος της ομάδας. Κύριε Πρόεδρε, τρία θέματα έχουμε να αντιμετωπίσουμε μετά την καταστροφή:

Πρώτον, το πώς θα εκφρασθεί καλύτερα αυτή η αλληλεγγύη, πόσα χρήματα δηλαδή από τον Ευρωπαίο πολίτη θα φτάσουν στον πολίτη της κατεστραμμένης εκείνης περιοχής, χωρίς να ψαλιδιστούν από μεσάζοντες, παρακυβερνητικές οργανώσεις και εργολάβους.

Δεύτερον, πρέπει να απαντήσουμε σε κάποιες αιτιάσεις που υπήρξαν από εφημερίδες της Μέσης Ανατολής, ότι δήθεν είχε προηγηθεί πυρηνική δοκιμή. Δεν πρέπει να επιτρέψουμε να αιωρείται κάτι τέτοιο, έστω και ως αστείο ενδεχόμενο. Να ψάξουμε προηγουμένως εάν είχε γίνει κάποια τέτοια πυρηνική δοκιμή!

Τρίτον, πρέπει να εξετάσουμε σε βάθος τι συμβαίνει στη περιοχή μας. Εδώ, η Επιτροπή κόβει κεφάλαια από τη σεισμική έρευνα και τα δίνει στο διάστημα. Εάν όμως γίνει ένας σεισμός όμοιος εδώ, στη Μεσόγειο, το τσουνάμι θα φτάσει στις Άλπεις και θα ισοπεδωθούν η Ελλάδα, η Ιταλία, η Μάλτα, η Κύπρος, η Γαλλία, η Ισπανία και άλλες χώρες. Να δούμε λοιπόν τι μπορούμε να πράξουμε προς αυτή τη κατεύθυνση. Να γίνει μάθημα το πάθημα της Νοτιοανατολικής Ασίας. Ο Ιπποκράτης έλεγε πριν από 2.500 χρόνια "καλύτερα το προλαμβάνειν παρά το θεραπεύειν", και αυτό έχει λογική. Δεν ξέρω όμως αν υπάρχει λογική στους ανθρώπους της Επιτροπής, που κόβουν χρήματα για την έρευνα για τους σεισμούς και τα δίνουν για έρευνα στο διάστημα. Ας κάνουμε κάτι, πριν να κλάψουμε και εδώ, στη δική μας περιοχή!

(χειροκροτήματα)

 
  
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  Musumeci (UEN), a nome del gruppo. Signor Presidente, l'insegnamento chiave che dobbiamo apprendere dal disastro dell'Oceano Indiano è l'importanza e l'urgenza di dotare l'Unione europea di una protezione civile.

Quanto accaduto nei giorni scorsi deve far riflettere seriamente: l'Europa dei 25 Stati, l'Europa di quasi mezzo miliardo di persone, l'Europa della moneta unica, è rimasta a guardare attonita, sgomenta e impotente mentre le popolazioni sinistrate chiedevano aiuti tempestivi razionali ed efficaci.

Dov'era la protezione civile europea di cui si parla nel programma d'azione istituito nel 1999? Quali effetti ha prodotto il Centro europeo di monitoraggio? Dov'era la task force di protezione civile creata nell'ottobre del 2001 dal Consiglio dell'Unione europea proprio per garantire un rapido intervento anche fuori dall'Europa? Perché durante l'emergenza tsunami la Commissione ha deciso di lasciare a casa i 300 esperti della task force europea dopo averli per anni addestrati e preparati?

Forse non è tempo di polemiche, ma si prenda atto almeno, come noi chiediamo da tre anni, che all'Europa servono non coordinamenti e pool, ma un'agenzia di protezione civile, un organismo autonomo, agile e quindi capace di prevenire e di agire dove e quando serve. Questo dovrebbe proporre il Parlamento, a cominciare dalla risoluzione di domani, se non si vuole continuare a fingere che nulla sia accaduto e se si vuol credere che la solidarietà sia soltanto una scatola vuota.

Applausi

 
  
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  Πρόεδρος. – Η συζήτηση διακόπτεται για την ώρα των ψηφοφοριών. Θα επαναληφθεί στις 3.μ.μ.

 
  
  

PRESIDENCIA DEL SR. BORRELL FONTELLES
Presidente

 
Avviż legali - Politika tal-privatezza