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EU Must Learn From World Social Forum: de Brún

25 February, 2005

Speaking after a debate in the European Parliament on the World Social Forum, Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún said that 'the EU must learn from the example of the World Social Forum and play its part in providing global solutions on issues such as poverty, disease and the need to protect the environment'. The debate was on a cross party resolution welcoming the work of the WSF. Ms de Brun attended the Forum this last month in Porte Alegre, Brazil.

Ms de Brún said:

"The Fifth World Social Forum brought together more than 155 000 people, from 135 countries, to discuss global challenges such as poverty, disease, war, sustainable development and democracy. One of the most striking aspects was the number of young people engaged in debate at a time when other political activities face a high level of apathy.

"Many of these issues need a global response and this debate in the European Parliament is a recognition that the EU has a responsibility in this regard. Many have also recognised that politicians cannot find solutions alone but must work with NGOs, social partners and the social movements.

"The World Social Forum provides a unique open space at global and regional levels for dialogue, networking and action to create a fair and just world and against war. I had some very constructive political engagements with political representatives and NGOs from across the world during the World Social Forum.

"The EU must do more to aid and engage with the solutions being offered by the participants in the Social Forum. The European Commission should bring forward an ambitious and far-reaching European Union position in preparation for the UN Summit later this year. The EU must play a key role in making a success of the UN Summit in terms of stepping up efforts to promote global development and preparing the ground for UN reform conducive to a strengthened, more accountable, more democratic and more effective United Nations;

"The Commission must also develop concrete proposals on how the European Union can best pursue the implementation of the so-called New York Declaration on Action against Hunger and Poverty, which has the support of all the member states of the European Union. Member States should also move to implement the Tobin Tax (a new tax on financial transactions) in order to fund measures against hunger and poverty managed by the United Nations.

"We all have a responsibility to resolve the over-indebtedness of the developing world in a more forceful and ambitious way, and engagement with the World Social Forum will give us a good insight for future European Parliament initiatives. Our objective must be the full cancellation of debt, and the removal of structural barriers that hamper progress in developing countries." ENDS

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