Plenary speech on Common rules and procedures for external action

Marietje Schaake (ALDE) - Madam President, how often have we heard Ministers, the High Representative and others speak about how more for more would frame a more values-based EU policy towards neighbouring countries? After years of interest-based approaches at the expense of people’s rights and after all these speeches and two years of negotiation, one would have expected a better European Neighbourhood Instrument than the one we see today. Financing has a flexibility of 10% up or down and this House wanted more of an incentive. Additionally, the Commission and the Council chose control and the status quo on a bureaucratic level over more flexibility in the programmes so that we can actually ensure that money ends up benefiting people in countries from Egypt to the Ukraine. Transparency and accountability need to be in place to prevent repetitions of the report of the Court of Auditors on Egypt, which raised questions on whether the EU funds accomplish our goals. I believe the people in Europe’s neighbourhood now more than ever need our support based on European values such as democracy, respect for human rights and based on the rule of law. Governments of these countries sadly are not the best interlocutors as they do not have the well-being of their people in mind at all times.