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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Spain proposal: EU should give Haiti surplus agricultural commodities

The Spanish presidency proposed, during the meeting of Ministers of Agriculture of the European Union, that they send their surplus food products such as milk, to treat victims of the earthquake that has ravaged the Haiti, announced the Minister of Agriculture Elena Espinosa. "We want Haiti to know it not only has the cooperation of Spain but also European solidarity," she told the meeting, who specified what food can be sent. The debate on the situation in Haiti has been added to the agenda at the last minute of the first Council of Ministers of Agriculture of the EU under Spanish presidency. Meanwhile, the Council of Foreign Affairs of the European Union, meeting in Brussels, supports the French initiative of convening an international conference for the reconstruction of the infrastructure. The 27 show that the reconstruction effort must focus on "national priorities", taking into account the risks of disaster, the principle of the "effectiveness" of aid and to take steps to "harden" the Haitian institutions so they can fulfil their basic functions of government. In this sense, the EU wants to examine as soon as possible a "comprehensive response" to the rehabilitation and development needs of Haiti's long-term use of resources, such as expertise and funds from the EU and its member states. This answer must integrate the European partners in development, taking into account the potential impact of this crisis in neighbouring countries and the great effort of the international community for Haiti. "The first priority has been to send rescue teams, including military and civilian workers to provide medical aid, water, medicine, shelter, food and telecommunications". The EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, convened in coordination with the Spanish presidency of the EU and the European Commission this special meeting of the Council as a "gesture" of solidarity with the victims and to emphasize the importance of a "quick and coordinated." humanitarian response.

Source: Barcelona Reporter