Foreign Affairs
Human Rights

Speech by EP President Buzek to event: 'European Citizens Voices for an ambitious EU-27 plan of action to achieve Millennium Development Goals' - receiving e-card

Strasbourg -
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Helen Clark, the head of the United Nations Development Programme came to the European Parliament last week to speak to the Members of our House about Europe's development policy, our commitments to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, our efforts to combat climate change together with developing countries. She also brought us a UN report entitled "Improving Lives: results of the UN/EU partnership in 2009".

It was yet another opportunity for the European Parliament to send a strong message of solidarity with the developing countries. A message that Europe needs to be ambitious, regardless of short-term challenges, not only in fulfilling its obligations towards developing countries, but in creating a global partnership, partnership based on solidarity, a partnership to eradicate poverty.

But we also heard, in plain terms, something that we all hope for. We heard that, especially today, multilateralism needs a success story. Put in simple terms, it means that we the people, all people of this planet, need a success story. A success story which we all would be a part of.

Perhaps - and I do hope so - we can all imagine a more ambitious success story than finally fulfilling a commitment that we took on ourselves some 40 years ago. The commitment, which Europe repeated in 2005, of dedicating 0,7% of our Gross National Income to Official Development Assistance, and assuring the effectiveness of our development aid.

I know that we can all imagine a more ambitious success story than meeting the Millennium Development Goals, which bring us a step closer to making the world a better place, which bring us closer to fulfilling our pledge of solidarity, but which still leave us far from eradicating poverty in the world.

It is not our imagination that limits our ambitions, and neither are the short-term economic and financial difficulties a justification for being less ambitious.

Our ambitions will be fulfilled only when we show the will to support them with our own efforts. And our political elites have to know that they have the strong support of the public in turning those ambitions into reality - in making solidarity with the developing countries a reality. For that, we need such initiatives as the EU-wide e-card campaign organized by the UN Millennium Campaign together with many NGOs.

The results of this initiative, together with the European Parliament's report on the progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which was adopted in the plenary today, are a strong signal to our heads of governments. They were the addressees of those e-cards, and Prime Minister Zapatero, as the head of the Council's Presidency, has received all the results.

This clearly shows that European citizens still hold dear the values which are an important part of our European heritage - such values as solidarity, responsibility for others' well-being, belief that we have the will and ability to make the world a more peaceful and prosperous place for all.

To stand strong on our commitments, in spite of temporary challenges - we owe that much to our citizens. Standing strong on fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals - we owe that much not only to ourselves, but to those who are our future. We the people, really need this to be a success story, a success on which new ambitions will be build.

Thank you for this initiative.