jeudi 28 février 2008

EU urged to improve aid to IRAQ

Ana Maria Gomes, MEP

Wednesday 27th February 2008

The EU has been urged to "step up the quantity and quality” of its EU support in Iraq. That is the key message of a report on the EU’s role in the war-torn country which was adopted by parliament’s foreign affairs committee on Wednesday.

The own-initiative report, drafted by Portuguese Socialist deputy Ana Maria Gomes highlights several areas in which it believes EU assistance should be concentrated.

Gomes says the EU has an important role to play in efforts to build a "safe, stable, unified, prosperous and democratic Iraq".

This includes "support for the rule of law and justice reforms, amelioration of the electoral process, and capacity-building in the health care sector".

The report also called on member states to ensure that "substantive EU assistance is directed towards improving public finance management and budgetary control”.

It urges the council to press for improvements in the role of women, children and minorities, and in the campaign against torture and the death penalty.

Committee members also emphasised the need for member states to "ensure the transparency and efficiency of EU assistance for Iraq".

The report also advocates "making the EU code of conduct on arms exports legally binding", and urges the council to help the security situation in Iraq.
The report asks the council to "urge the commission to alleviate the plight of Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Syria and in other countries in the region and to improve the possibilities for Iraqi refugees to find refuge in EU member states".
The report was approved with 62 votes in favour, none against and 2 abstentions.

It will be put to a plenary vote on 13 March, during the next plenary session in Strasbourg.

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