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Postup : 2006/2204(INI)
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Stadia projednávání dokumentu : A6-0325/2006

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PV 31/01/2007 - 24
CRE 31/01/2007 - 24

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PV 01/02/2007 - 7.12
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Doslovný záznam ze zasedání
Středa, 31. ledna 2007 - Brusel Revidované vydání

24. Vztahy EU s tichomořskými ostrovy – strategie pro posílení partnerství (rozprava)

  Presidente. L'ordine del giorno reca in discussione la relazione presentata dall'on. Nirj Deva, a nome della commissione per lo sviluppo, sulle relazioni dell’UE con le isole del Pacifico – Una strategia per un partenariato rafforzato (2006/2204(INI)) (A6-0325/2006).


  Nirj Deva (PPE-DE), rapporteur. – Mr President, it is so hugely flattering to speak to an almost empty Chamber!

The Cook Islands, the Fiji Islands, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu – exotic places, fantastic places, so distant, so far away, so romantic and so on, but actually they are in need. All these countries are part of the Pacific Islands. Historically, Europe has had the strongest influence in the Pacific region through colonial rule. The end of the Second World War hastened the end of European colonialism, but the relationship continued. Through the Lomé Convention and the Cotonou Agreement, the Pacific region is now linked to us and our daily lives through the ACP.

Even if the population of the Pacific Islands is small, we have to bear in mind that the Pacific Ocean itself covers nearly 30% of the planet’s surface. Their location, while bringing huge benefits to the region through fisheries and tourism, means they find themselves isolated through a tyranny of distance. However, advances in technology, air travel and infrastructure have helped to alleviate their economic circumstances.

Another thing they should consider – and I am very pleased to see the Commission in full strength here – is that the English-speaking digital economy may provide another way forward for them to provide business process outsourcing and knowledge process outsourcing services to the United States and Australasia.

The region shows an economic contrast, with annual GDP per capita ranging from EUR 500 to EUR 8000. This is like comparing Somalia to Bulgaria. Therefore, the strategy for the region must have a certain flexibility in order to ensure that the development assistance is channelled according to national and regional parities and to achieve maximum benefit in both the richer and poorer islands.

For many Pacific islanders, agricultural products are their primary exports to international markets, supplying commodities such as sugar, copra, bananas, coconuts and palm oil. However, they face challenges such as global warming, which is a huge challenge for them. We have also given them another interesting problem: economic partnership agreements – EPAs – which they have to contend with. They tell me that they are losing revenue through their intra-regional customs union. What are they to do? Do we help them, support them? Do we create infrastructure so that they can come out of this problem? We need to think about this.

One of the major challenges faced by the region is the sustainable management of fisheries. Tuna is especially abundant in the Pacific, with a third of the world’s catch caught in the Pacific Islands, valued at EUR 2 billion. Are we protecting their catch? Are we making sure that the benefits of their catches go back to their people? I do not know. Maybe the Commission should look at this. I do not know exactly where their catch is going. They should not be as poor as they are if they are getting EUR 2 billion for those catches.

My report stresses that any encouragement of tourism in the region must go hand-in-hand with increased local ownership of the tourist sector. I stress that in the majority of cases only the richer countries, with more developed infrastructure and more frequent air connections, attract significant numbers of tourists each year. In these cases, for the poorer countries, development assistance must continue to be used to finance infrastructure and to encourage sustainable tourism. In this regard, why have we not looked at creating a Pacific hub, a regional hub? We could create a hub, like Dubai. After all, what was Dubai? Dubai was full of sand 20 years ago! Today it is a hub for regional air transport. Sheik Maktoum and those intelligent Arabs have created something quite extraordinary. Why do we not that in the Pacific for these islanders?

My report recommends that the more developed Pacific island countries should continue to deliver local processing, thereby creating more employment. They should explore the possibility of the European Investment Bank giving soft loans to small and medium-sized enterprises, to add value to their exports.

Many of the islands are politically fragile, as we have seen through the many military coups in Fiji. I am sick of hearing about military coups in Fiji, but they need to be able to feel that they are going to have a future as two communities together, and we need to help them with that. They must stop or we should stop the aid. That is a threat, but we need to have some sort of quid pro quo on this issue.

Provision of good governance throughout the Pacific is vital, and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals we must also achieve a certain measure of mutuality. In Papua New Guinea, for example, and the Solomon Islands, they have problems with regard to AIDS. The EU, as a major donor to the region, has an opportunity to create a strategy that will support the island countries of the Pacific in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and bringing their people to realise their full potential. Our report is just the start.


  Ján Figeľ, Member of the Commission. Mr President, I welcome the report on EU relations with the Pacific Islands, and I especially want to congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Deva, on his results.

When my colleague, Commissioner Michel, took the initiative to have the first ever EU strategy for our relations with the Pacific ACP States prepared, he did so because these countries are becoming increasingly important and because they are facing difficult challenges. We can benefit from closer contacts with the Pacific, as the region is of global significance and we can contribute significantly to its development. Parliament’s report clearly reflects this and it points out important avenues forward.

These countries are mostly remote, relatively poor, small and have become independent fairly recently. Most have strong population growth. They have a difficult balancing act to perform between tradition and the pressures of modernity. Globalisation is an opportunity for them, but also carries risks for their cultural heritage.

In many countries in the Pacific, democracy has difficult growth conditions and, at the same time, the Pacific needs high-quality governance to move forward. For this reason, your commitment to their democracies, international exposure and contacts is very important.

They have significant natural resources, such as oil, gas, fish and tropical wood, as well as fantastic biodiversity. The Pacific Ocean is so important that it must be considered as a global public good. This gives the Pacific Island countries opportunities on the international scene and prospects for the future. However, climate change threatens many of the islands, even whole countries.

The overseas countries and territories serve as bridges between Europe and the Pacific and between our cultures. Where the Pacific countries have needs and we have comparative advantages, there we propose to assist. We have identified the ‘blue-green’ theme as the cornerstone of the focus on the sustainable management of the region’s natural resources. In addition, we have committed ourselves to a strengthened political relationship, more focused development action and more efficient aid delivery.

In our communication we foresaw that the Pacific countries would face more problems in the future if a number of significant trends were not reversed. Last year alone there were serious security problems and political crises in the Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga and Fiji. The problems are so difficult and severe than many of the Pacific ACP countries cannot handle them alone. For this reason we are working with our Australian and New Zealand friends and, as Mr Deva said, with stable conditions we can develop tourism further in the Pacific.

Parliament has, of course, noticed the Council conclusions regarding the Pacific strategy, which confirmed that the EU will strengthen its partnership with this region. A number of Member States follow the Pacific closely. The EU has an important role to play in the Pacific. Your report demonstrates this very clearly and we count on your continued support and solidarity for these really extraordinary countries.


  Rosa Miguélez Ramos, en nombre del Grupo del PSE. – Señor Presidente, Señorías, debatimos esta noche el informe del señor Deva sobre las relaciones de la Unión Europea con las Islas del Pacífico - Estrategia para una asociación reforzada.

La Comisión de Pesca emitió y aprobó una opinión sobre este asunto de la que fui ponente. Felicito al señor Deva por el trabajo realizado y me alegro de que, al menos en parte, las propuestas de la Comisión de Pesca vayan a quedar recogidas en el texto de la resolución.

El Pacífico es uno de los caladeros más ricos del mundo, y la flota europea dedicada a la pesca del atún trabaja desde hace tiempo en esas aguas gracias a los acuerdos bilaterales concluidos con los países de la zona.

El estado de los recursos, según indican los estudios científicos, es plenamente satisfactorio, y la ayuda financiera de la Unión Europea representa una importante fuente de ingresos para los países de la zona.

Hay que fortalecer, por tanto, la relación con estos países. El interés es mutuo. Nosotros podemos contribuir a fomentar en esas aguas medidas para la gestión sostenible de los recursos pesqueros, y para los pescadores de la UE que se dedican a la pesca del atún sería muy positivo seguir avanzando, como pedía la Comisión de Pesca en su opinión, en la consecución de una red de acuerdos atuneros similar a la que ya existe en aguas del Índico.

El refuerzo de la asociación con esta región del mundo no puede olvidar, por tanto, el ámbito pesquero.


  Marios Matsakis, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, many thanks to the rapporteur for his hard work. A strategy to strengthen partnerships with the Pacific Islands sounds good at first encounter and inert enough not to cause any measure of suspicion or discontent. After all, the projected aim is to improve relations, mainly trade, for the mutual benefit of EU citizens and the Pacific islanders.

This might be the case for the majority of the Pacific Island countries. But for a significant number there is a hidden truth in the fact that many of the Pacific Islands are not countries at all: they are 21st century colonies, and two of the colonising nations happen to be members of the EU, namely France and Britain.

Take for example New Caledonia. It has an area of about 18 500 km2 and its approximately 250 000 inhabitants are recorded as being merely a ‘sui generis community’. New Caledonia is not a country but an overseas Department of France. On a much smaller scale, the Pitcairn Islands are an overseas territory of Britain administered by a governor appointed by the Queen of England.

So colleagues, apart from the despicably shameful ethics of accepting that France and Britain should continue to have colonies, we seem to be content with going on to form relations with such colonies as though nothing wrong is going on. In fact, nothing about colonisation and consequent democracy deprivation is mentioned in this report.

In conclusion, let me pose the following question. Since some of the islands are in essence parts of the aforementioned EU Member States, then in reality are France and Britain going to form relationships with themselves through this strategy partnership? Perhaps the Commissioner could enlighten us on this exciting but strange prospect.


  Józef Pinior (PSE). – Panie Przewodniczący! Przede wszystkim pragnę pogratulować posłowi Devie bardzo ważnego sprawozdania dotyczącego strategicznego partnerstwa pomiędzy Unią Europejską a wyspami Pacyfiku. Parlament Europejski popiera opinię Komisji Europejskiej o potrzebie intensywniejszego dialogu politycznego z forum wysp Pacyfiku, którego przywódcy przyjęli nowe porozumienie ustanawiające forum jako organizację międzyrządową na mocy prawa międzynarodowego.

Podkreślamy jednocześnie, że wzmocnienie dialogu na szczeblu regionalnym musi także dotyczyć potrzeb najbiedniejszych krajów regionu. Eksploatacja zasobów naturalnych musi przyczyniać się do generowania dochodu dla wszystkich mieszkańców wyspiarskich krajów Pacyfiku, a w szczególności do zmniejszania ubóstwa. Parlament Europejski zwraca uwagę na znaczenie turystyki dla regionu, biorąc pod uwagę fakt, że jednym z największych atutów wysp Pacyfiku jest ich krajobraz. Popieranie turystyki w regionie musi iść w parze ze świadczeniem w większym zakresie usług turystycznych przez samych mieszkańców wysp w celu zapewnienia trwałości sektora turystycznego i maksymalnego zwiększenia korzyści dla lokalnej gospodarki. Pragnę także podkreślić, że sprawozdanie kładzie nacisk na wspieranie w ramach 10. Europejskiego Funduszu Rozwoju systemu szkolnictwa i edukacji technicznej w państwach regionu.

Parlament Europejski podziela opinię Komisji, że niestabilność polityczna i konflikty mogą mieć destruktywny wpływ na rozwój gospodarczy regionu, w szczególności w kontekście utraty dochodów z turystyki i zniszczenia infrastruktury gospodarczej. Zwracamy uwagę na sytuację w Timorze Wschodnim, który w maju i czerwcu 2006 r. został dotknięty problemem przemocy, i wyrażamy nadzieję, że Komisja w ścisłej współpracy ze społecznością międzynarodową pomoże przywódcom Timoru Wschodniego w rozwiązaniu problemów leżących u podstaw kryzysu, z uwzględnieniem potrzeby politycznej stabilizacji, złagodzenia problemu ubóstwa, rozwoju społecznego i zgody między różnymi grupami społecznymi.


  Presidente. La discussione è chiusa.

La votazione si svolgerà giovedì alle 11.30.

Dichiarazioni scritte (articolo 142)


  Margie Sudre (PPE-DE). – Le Parlement européen est consulté cette semaine sur la première stratégie formelle en trente ans de relations entre l'Union européenne et le Pacifique. Cette stratégie vise à renforcer le dialogue politique, à améliorer la coopération et à accroître l'efficacité de l'aide au développement, dont plus du quart est fourni par l'Union européenne.

Pour certains secteurs essentiels, la stratégie met l'accent sur le développement durable, du point de vue écologique, mais aussi économique. Cela concerne notamment le tourisme, les transports, l'exploitation minière, l'agriculture et la pêche.

En commission de la pêche, j'ai fait adopter un amendement demandant que l'Union européenne soutienne les projets de coopération régionale en matière d'évaluation, de suivi, et de gestion de la ressource halieutique, menés avec les États tiers de la zone et les pays et territoires d'Outre-mer associés à l'Union européenne: Polynésie française, Nouvelle Calédonie, Wallis et Futuna, Pitcairn.

Je me réjouis de la volonté de l'Union européenne de mieux s'impliquer dans le Pacifique, en insistant sur le développement économique, la bonne gestion des ressources, ou la stabilité politique, dans le voisinage immédiat de nos pays et territoires d'Outre-mer. Espérons que les moyens financiers seront à la hauteur des ambitions affichée!


  Bogdan Golik (PSE). – Pragnę wyrazić swoje poparcie dla założeń sprawozdania posła Nirji Deva w sprawie stosunków UE z wyspami Pacyfiku – strategia ściślejszego partnerstwa. Mam nadzieję, że ten tak potrzebny dokument zapoczątkuje nową erę kontaktów między UE a wyspami Pacyfiku.

Uwzględniając fakt, że państwa europejskie zaangażowane są od trzydziestu lat w regionie Pacyfiku, będąc dla niego ważnym donatorem, niezwykle istotne jest wypracowanie strategii długofalowej. Obszar ten wciąż bowiem pozostaje ostatnim na świecie, dla którego Unia nie wypracowała ogólnej całościowej strategii.

Przyjęcie takiego dokumentu stwarza doskonałą szansę na stworzenie nowych relacji z tym regionem, zarówno pod względem gospodarczym, jak i politycznym; są to wyspy, które odgrywają niezwykle ważną rolę w stabilizacji klimatu, a także posiadają niezwykłe bogactwo zasobów naturalnych, minerałów i ryb. Byłoby to partnerstwo z regionem, który plasuje się w czołówce świata pod względem połowów tuńczyka i który dokonuje jednej trzeciej światowych połowów.

Moje poparcie dla wyżej wymienionego dokumentu wiąże się również z potrzebą promowania demokracji i stabilności oraz zapobiegania patologiom w regionie Pacyfiku. UE, związana historycznie z wyspami, powinna wspierać je w osiągnięciu milenijnych celów rozwoju.

Przyjmując Strategię Ściślejszego Partnerstwa mamy szanse na ulepszenie celów gospodarczych i społecznych, w realizację których UE może zaangażować się w innym wymiarze niż tylko wsparcie byłych kolonii.

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