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01/28/2015 12:00:00 AM


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Bruton, Richard

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Free Trade Agreements between the European Union and Columbia and Peru

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Motions\Environment\Waste management\regulations

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Motions\Free Trade Agreements between the European Union and Columbia and Peru

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Free Trade Agreements between the European Union and Columbia and Peru\Motion
Environment\Waste management\regulations
Motions\Free Trade Agreements between the European Union and Columbia and Peru
Motions\Environment\regulations\Waste management

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Free Trade Agreements between the European Union and Columbia and Peru

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Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton)

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Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton)

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Richard Bruton

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Snippet Contents:

I thank Deputies for their contributions. Many very genuine concerns were expressed and I understand the nature of those concerns. No one is saying that Colombia is free from abuses of human rights and everyone knows that it is a dangerous country. However, we do not pick and choose the governments we want to rule the different countries with which we trade. We have no say in respect of either the abuses or enforcement of laws in these countries but we can seek to exert influence in this regard. As Deputy Eric Byrne stated, the agreement before the House will give us the opportunity to seek to exert such influence. We can influence matters in many ways and I set these out earlier in the context of how provision is made for them in the agreement. I refer to the fact that meetings can take place with civil society groups, trade unions and NGOs in Colombia in respect of this agreement and its implementation. There is also an arbitration system and there will be open sessions at which citizens will be able to raise issues of concern. The EU Parliament will be represented on a monitoring committee, members of which will visit Colombia regularly. Parliamentarians such as ourselves are exchanging information on and examining the types of issue about which people have expressed concerns. Irish trade unions can be represented on a special committee on sustainable development, which can pursue issues of genuine concern.
We have two choices in respect of the agreement. We can either reject it - and that will be the end of the matter - or we can take up the challenge, difficult though it might well be, and seek to work its terms. I am of the view that this is what those who are saying that we should use the opportunity with which we have been presented are suggesting. There are people with concerns very similar to those that have already been expressed who are stating that we should use the agreement. We should not seek to withdraw from all those avenues of influence that I outlined earlier and that are offered under the agreement.
The concerns of Members of the House will be expressed. I have already submitted the concerns expressed by the joint committee directly to the Commission. However, I do not agree with those who have stated time and again that disengagement will bring about some form of improvement in the position relating to human rights abuses.