Speeches » June 4th 2008 - Generalised Tariff Preferences
Speech to Parliament June 4th 2008 Debate, Generalised Tariff Preferences On the face of it I should be in favour of this report which seeks to help undeveloped nations. After all, Britain's "Commonwealth Preference" system was of enormous benefit to the less well off members of the British Commonwealth. But then, I don't suppose you want to hear how a wicked post imperial power actually helped its poorer neighbours.
The problem is that EU programs always turn out to have the opposite effect to that intended. The CFP, intended to conserve fish stocks, is a disaster, as a result of which the EU, by the votes of this House, have awarded licences to EU fishing fleets to raid the waters of one third world country after another, bringing poverty and starvation where once there were at least subsistence levels.
Excess sugar production was dumped on the third world to which the answer, evidently, is to reduce European production, not put it to better use! Rotten EU tobacco, grown with 80 million euros of our taxpayers money every year, was dumped where it did most harm. Now we are told that this money will go on anti-smoking propaganda rather than third world aid! EU aid programs are a classic case of giving with one hand and taking with the other.
The CAP restricts imports, hampering developing nations, while at the same time dumping the excess in the third world. Poor, local farmers are thus put out of business, pulling the rug from under the very countries that the GSP is meant to help.
Food prices are spiralling so much that former Soviet Union leader, Mikhail Gobachev, is warning of food revolution. While all this is going on the EU is promoting biofuel targets which will impact on food production in the third world more than anywhere. So this house can wax lyrical about how the EU's GSP program will come to the aid of less developed nations but the truth is that EU policies will only help to ensure that the poor stay poor, the hungry stay hungry and the less developed nations stay undeveloped.
Derek Clark MEP Brussels June 5th 2008