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Tuesday, 19 June 2007 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Conclusions of the G8 meeting - MDGs at the Midway Point (debate)

  Gay Mitchell (PPE-DE). – Mr President, at the end of the Second World War, when the concentration camps were liberated, we said, ‘Never again’: there would never again be such an example of man’s inhumanity to man. We in this House, and all those at the G8 last week, know that there are millions of children under the age of five dying each year for want of vaccines that we, in what is called the West, have had for the last 30 years. This is an even greater insult than what happened in those concentration camps, because we know it is happening. It is happening in front of our eyes. And what have we done? We have abdicated leadership. We have abdicated leadership to rock stars – and thank God for them, because if they were not there to apply pressure, who would do so? This is a devastating lack of leadership in Europe.

When we talk about communicating Europe, we think we can talk to people about constitutional treaties and all of that. It is nonsense. As I have said before, people are not talking about constitutional treaties in pubs in Dublin or in restaurants in Germany. But look at the people who went to Gleneagles, who took time off work to march to Gleneagles, who went to all of those rock concerts about the Third World. Why are we not giving those people leadership? Where are the statesmen and stateswomen of Europe? All we have are politicians – and poor politicians at that. No Delors, no Kohl.

This issue needs leadership, and the G8 let us down. They did not give the leadership that this issue deserves, and this House has to insist that sort of standard does not continue. We must insist that politicians in the West, within the European Union and within the G8 take real leadership on this issue. Nothing else is acceptable and you, Mr President, have a part to play in this. You could give us leadership in this House. You could influence those who have the ability to change this. We have the ability to change this. We must not accept these standards. The G8 was a grave disappointment to people. It showed that we are really lacking in statesmen, in stateswomen and in leaders, and I hope that changes.

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