Asset recovery to Arab Spring countries in transition:
- extracts from the debate
Lieu: Strasbourg, France - European Parliament
End production: 22/05/2013 First transmission: 22/05/2013
MEPs discussed arrangements for recovering assets stashed by the former dictators of Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. The debates took place in the presence of Commissioner Štefan FÜLE. In March, five MEPs asked the Commission, on behalf of the S&D Group, whether asset recovery was a political priority, what the Commission was doing to aid the process, and whether the EU might establish a group of investigators, lawyers and prosecutors to help resolve conflicts between national and international law, e.g. on bank secrecy. In a resolution on the situation in Egypt, the European Parliament stressed out that the return of assets stolen by the former regime, beyond its economic significance, can contribute to delivering justice and accountability to the Egyptian people and is therefore a major political issue of high symbolic importance in relations between the EU and Egypt.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior shot of the EP, Strasbourg.
||SOUNDBITE (English) Štefan FÜLE, Commissioner, for VPC/HR: "Today, as everyone who travels to the region can attest, the return of misappropriated and frozen assets is of great political importance for the people of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. This is a matter of justice and dignity. They want an end to the impunity and corruption of the past, they want the misappropriated assets to be returned and invested in their countries."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Štefan FÜLE, Commissioner, for VPC/HR: "Unfortunately, despite our efforts, progress on assets recovery has not been what we hoped for. The political will is there, but the ownership of these assets has been deliberately obscured and judicial procedures must be followed. Therefore the frozen assets cannot be released just overnight".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Štefan FÜLE, Commissioner, for VPC/HR: "Ownership must rightfully be transferred to the new state structures. This is a complex legal process which must be resolved bilaterally between Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and the individual EU member states concerned. The EU is ready to facilitate this process as much as our competences allow. We must not use the complexity as an excuse for delay".
||SOUNDBITE (Romanian) Cristian Dan PREDA (EPP, RO): "It's a complex process, that's true. In the Philippines for example, not all the funds diverted by the Marcos have been recovered after 25 years! In Tunisia only 28.8 million dollars has been recovered, as they had been blocked in an account. What we can do is to provide with technical and legal aid to accelerate this process of recovery of assets".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Ana GOMES (S&D, PT): "The EU has simply not done enough to help Tunisia, Libya and Egypt recover the billions of assets that their former corrupt regimes stole and stashed away in financial centres around in our member states".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Ana GOMES (S&D, PT): "We count on the High representative and Vice-President to ensure that the EEAS will finance an expert mechanism to begin working as soon as possible in facilitating and advising the authorities of these countries. This is not a flash in the pan concept either. This would be a sustainable mechanism that can evolve to co-financing in the future and serve as well other partner countries".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Annemie NEYTS-UYTTEBROECK (ALDE, BE): "We should not only address the members of the G8 and our own member states and the institutions of the Union and call for help and assistance, but we should also address the Arab League, and the members of the Arab League and the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council. It is highly probable that volumes of assets are there and they should certainly also help and good help to assist the population of Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Isabelle DURANT (Greens-EFA, BE):
||SOUNDBITE (French) Isabelle DURANT (Greens-EFA, BE): "Back in February, Mr Moncef Marzouki asked this to us formally, and I think it is our duty to act swiftly and to make sure that we give a political answer to the situation, but in addition to that, political coordination on asset recovery and on odious debt. It's a sine qua non, it's a right of inventory that counties have and we should be able to offer them that at the very least: the entitlement to draw up these inventories particularly after such long periods of dictatorships".