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Cablegate: European Parliament: The Development

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRUSSELS 004055

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR EUR/ERA, EUR/RPM, INR/B
PASS USAID FOR PPC/DCO

E.O.: 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL SOCI EAID SU EUN USEU BRUSSELS
SUBJECT: EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: THE DEVELOPMENT
COMMITTEE'S NEW LEADERSHIP

REFS: A) BRUSSELS 3320; B) BRUSSELS 4016

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED-PLEASE HANDLE ACCORDINGLY

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Development Committee in the
European Parliament (EP) is responsible for EU
development assistance policy (over which the EP and
the Council share legislative power). Its new
chairperson is Italian Communist EP Deputy (MEP)
Luisa Morgantini. We do not expect its customary
push for increased development assistance funding
nor its traditionally left-wing orientation to
change significantly. The committee speaks out on a
wide range of political issues from Palestine to
Sudan. END SUMMARY.

ROLE AND COMPETENCES
--------------------

2. (U) The Development Committee is responsible for
the promotion, implementation and monitoring of the
development policy of the EU, including political
dialogue and cooperation agreements with developing
countries; the promotion of democratic values, good
governance and human rights; matters relating to the
ACP-EU Partnership Agreement with former EU colonies
in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific region; and
the EP's involvement in election observation
missions. It also speaks out on political affairs
and following a recent visit by the development
committee to Sudan, the EP became the first
Parliament in the EU to support the USG finding on
genocide in Darfur (ref B).

3. (U) The Development Committee enjoys full
legislative responsibilities together with member-
state development ministers (meeting in the Council)
for all European development legislation on issues
under the control of the European Community budgets.
The committee has paid close attention to
reproductive health policies and combating HIV/AIDS.

WHO'S WHO IN THE NEW COMMITTEE
-------------------------------

4. (SBU) The principal committee officers are:

-- Luisa Morgantini (Italy, GUE/NGL), Chairwoman: A
social worker, Morgantini, 63, started her political
career in the Italian Communist Party in the
sixties. She worked in trade unions in the eighties
and nineties while starting her involvement in the
peace movements including the founding of the
Italian branch of the "women in black" anti-war
organization. Elected MEP in 1999, she was the
chairwoman of the EP delegation for relations with
Palestine until 2004. She has been a persistent
opponent of Israeli policy, allegedly once calling
Ariel Sharon a war criminal. She told us that she
believes that U.S. policies are at the root of the
suffering of the Palestinians. In the Development
Committee, she has opposed the Mexico City policy
and other U.S. pro-life stances, such as the USG
suspension of funds for UNFPA. However, British
conservative MEP Nirj Deva told us recently that it
was proving easier to work with her than he had
expected.

-- Max van den Berg (The Netherlands, Party of
European Socialists--PES), Vice-Chairman: A
sociologist and faculty member at Groningen
University, van den Berg, 58, has had a long career
in development as the head of Novib (Oxfam
Netherlands) from 1986 until his election to the EP
in 1999. A Vice President of the Development
Committee in the last term, he was also a member of
the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

-- Michael Gahler (Germany, European Peoples
Party/European Democrats-EPP/ED), Second Vice-
Chairman: A lawyer and member of the German
Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Michael Gahler,
44, is new to the Development Committee. An MEP
since 1999, he has been a member of the Foreign
Affairs Committee where he was responsible for the
report on Estonia's EU accession.

-- Danut Budreikait (Lithuania, Alliance of
f
Liberals and Democrats for Europe--ALDE), third
Vice-Chairwoman: a newcomer in the EP, Budreikait,
51, worked as an economist at the Lithuanian Central
Bank where she specialized in Lithuania's economic
integration into the EU single market. She also was
a member of the Lithuanian Science Academy.

-- Nirj Deva (UK, EPP-ED), EPP-ED coordinator: A UK
citizen born in Sri Lanka, Deva, 56, after degrees
in aeronautical and mechanical engineering, became a
manager and businessman. Elected MEP in 1999, he
has been an active member of the Development
Committee and became in 2000 the rapporteur on the
WTO and development. He has been a close contact of
USEU since the previous parliamentary term. Unlike
most other MEPs, Deva has been supportive of U.S.
population policies.

-- Maria Martens (Netherlands, EPP-ED), second EPP-
ED coordinator: with a degree in theology and
marketing, Martens, 49, worked in the eighties and
nineties in the Association of Catholic
Organizations. She was also the chairwoman of the
Dutch Episcopal committee in 2000 and is a member of
the board of governors of the Utrecht University of
Catholic Theology.

-- Miguel Martinez Martinez (Spain, PES), PES
coordinator: An MEP since 1999, Martinez, 64, was
President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe and Vice-President of the WEU
Assembly earlier in the nineties. A doctor from the
Moscow State Institute for International Relations,
he was also the President of the North-South Center
of the Council of Europe until 2002. As an MEP, he
was Vice President of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary
Assembly in 2002-2004.

-- Thierry Cornillet (France, ALDE), ALDE
coordinator: Cornillet, 53, was elected MEP in
1999. He holds a doctorate in political science and
has done postgraduate studies in environmental law.
He was an active member of the Citizens' Rights
Committee in the previous parliamentary term,
specializing in human rights - Cornillet was
rapporteur on human rights in the EU in 2000.

COMMENT
-------

5. (SBU) The development committee in the European
Parliament will remain a "leftist" committee. The
new committee will keep a communist chairman with
Luisa Morgantini, whom we expect to be more vocal
and activist than the previous, low profile
communist chairman, Joaquim Miranda. For the rest,
the committee has undergone a nearly complete
renewal with many high-profile MEPs from the
previous term not reelected or not assigned to the
development committee. Most of the new MEPs are not
very high-level politicians. In the past, the
committee has pushed consistently for increased
spending on development assistance and generally
advised the EP to grant additional emergency funds
when requested by the Commission. We expect this to
continue, as political groups are behind these
decisions and the EP's general political balance
has not been greatly modified by the latest
elections. END COMMENT.

(DRAFTED:POL:MVANAVERBEKE)
MCKINLEY

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