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More co-ordination

Posted by Helen Monday, January 24, 2005

It is good to know that some of our elected (by a minute proportion of the population) representatives in the Toy Parliament in Strasbourg do try to earn their massive salaries and expenses. (Any sign of that promised reform, by the way, Señor Borrell?)

Word reaches us that Nirj Deva, the MEP for the South-Eastern Region, has been exerting himself. He has hosted a conference on the post-tsunami relief and reconstruction. Well, to be quite precise, the co-ordination of the post-tsunami relief and reconstruction. Never let it be said that our boys and girls are backward about coming forward.

So much money was donated across the European Union (in excess of £750 million by the general public) that something had to be done about it, and Mr Deva was the man to do it.

He called together ambassadors of the various countries involved and those bordering on the area and representatives of the larger NGOs to discuss, no doubt, with suitable refreshments provided, what is to be done.

While there is a great deal of self-congratulation (as one would expect) in his press release, and as much praise for various “European” institutions and the wonderful NGOs, who are all co-ordinating something or other as well as keeping an eye on the bundle of money to ensure they get a goodly share of it, a few things are missing.

For instance, there is no mention of the efforts of the American and Australian military in rendering prompt and efficient assistance. No mention of the core group of nation states, swiftly formed, swiftly put into action and just as swiftly disbanded whne no longer needed.

There is precious little discussion of how the countries in question, as opposed to their highly paid ambassadors, are faring in reality and whether overwhelming aid might not undermine their economy.

Nor has Mr Deva, despite being a Conservative and supposedly moderately sceptical MEP, sees fit to refer to the iniquitous trade barriers that prevent these countries from expanding their economy, and whose removal would probably do more to help in the long run than all that co-ordinated aid, that has to pass ever more layers of bureaucracy will.

Still, he managed to get in on the act, and that is what matters.