dimanche 20 janvier 2008

"Report will urge EU engagement with Iraq", says Euro MP.

Ana Gomes, MEP

15/01/2008 - "Report will urge EU engagement with Iraq", says Euro MP.

A European Parliament report is to urge the EU to engage in Iraq after it emerged that the country needs help in spending its 48 billion dollar budget this year.

The call came from Euro MP Ana Gomes, who is now on her way back from a fact-finding visit on Europe's role in the country.

Said Ms Gomes, who will present a report on her visit to the Parliament's foreign affairs committee next week: "There is a strong desire to have a more visible European presence in Iraq — not in military but in financial terms."
This year's 48 billion dollar budget is up six billion on last year and 16 times the budget under Saddam, she said.
"Iraq needs European Union help to build capacity in every institution you can think of — organising the ministries, reorganising the education system, renewing the hospital network, developing the rule of law and justice and everything to do with human rights and women's rights."
She added: "They are eager for Europeans and they want Europeans as a way of balancing the American presence. We in Europe tend to focus on the war — but it is about time we focused on the peace and helped the Iraqis to build their peace."

During her visit, Ms Gomes met the President and Prime Minister, addressed Parliament and held talks with senior military figures as well as visiting schools and hospitals in the regions.
"European business should seize this opportunity to invest in the country," she said. "There are plenty of opportunities."
The European Parliament is expected to vote on the Gomes report on EU involvement in Iraq during its March session in Strasbourg.

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