ECR group welcomes EU's response to Pakistan floods
8th September 2010
In a debate with EU Crisis Response Commissioner Georgieva on the Pakistan floods, European Conservatives and Reformists group members welcomed the EU's response to the Pakistani tragedy but called on the European Commission to ensure that the money does not go to corrupt officials, and that it does not discriminate against Christians or other minorities in the country.
ECR Netherlands delegation chairman Peter Van Dalen MEP said:
"The international community is right to come to the aid of Pakistan. We cannot leave it to the Taliban.
"Open Doors International has reported that Christians are being discriminated against in the distribution of food and aid. That is shocking and we must pay attention to such allegations. Three Christian workers have also been killed in Pakistan and the Commission should look into the matter. People who assist with the aid effort must be protected by the Pakistani authorities."
Sajjad Karim MEP, who is Chairman of the parliament's Friends of Pakistan Group, spoke in a personal capacity:
"It is very saddening to note that whilst the people of Pakistan were actually facing this catastrophe, their President was in Europe. Fortunately, we in Europe started to mobilise and stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Pakistan. I am very proud that we did that.
"The emergency is still underway as we meet here today. We are doing what we can but we must start to plan our response for the medium to long term. The unprecedented scale of the floods deserves an unprecedented international response. We must start to rebuild Pakistan but we must do it where we are seen to be doing it by the people of Pakistan. Otherwise the consequences that could unfold are really unimaginable. We have a development agenda but we must also fasten into this a trade related agenda to allow the people of Pakistan to rebuild their country for themselves as well."
ECR foreign affairs spokesman Charles Tannock MEP said:
"While Europe's response has been good, the international response to this crisis has been somewhat slow but many donors are concerned about the potential for misuse of financial aid. After an earthquake in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir five years ago, huge sums of aid money were allegedly diverted to corrupt officials and army officers.
"There are also concerns that money could end up in the hands of extremist and terrorist groups. Furthermore, there are worrying reports that the Pakistani government has neglected the relief effort in the regions of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, where separatist sentiment is strong. I hope the Commission will monitor the developing situation closely and scrutinise the disbursement of EU financial aid."