Michel Barnier should not be trusted

It was back in 2012, when one of our local MEPs, Sir Graham Watson took my complaint to EU commissioners and commissioner Barnier had responded.

My complaint, that an EU program for social business development plagiarised a proposal I had shared with the EU Citizens Consultation 4 years earlier. It was described as a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine.

Commission Barnier was in denial, claiming the ideas presented in the social business consultation had derived from developments over recent decades. He was not aware of our efforts but wrote of the potential for collaboration in future.

Soon after, his own EPP party, were lobbying for another ‘Marshall Plan’ proposal

The 2007 proposal, based on our people-centered approach to economic development had made a strong case for business which puts people first. concluding:

‘This is a long-term permanently sustainable program, the basis for “people-centered” economic development. Core focus is always on people and their needs, with neediest people having first priority — as contrasted with the eternal chase for financial profit and numbers where people, social benefit, and human well-being are often and routinely overlooked or ignored altogether. This is in keeping with the fundamental objectives of Marshall Plan: policy aimed at hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. This is a bottom-up approach, starting with Ukraine’s poorest and most desperate citizens, rather than a “top-down” approach that might not ever benefit them. They cannot wait, particularly children. Impedance by anyone or any group of people constitutes precisely what the original Marshall Plan was dedicated to opposing. Those who suffer most, and those in greatest need, must be helped first — not secondarily, along the way or by the way. ‘

Within a year of Barnier’s pledge the EU were hosting a conference on people-centered business in supply chains, to which we were not invited.

‘Both Cooperatives Europe and Fair Trade have been actively engaged in promoting enterprises that place people and not profit at the heart of business.

‘Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fair Trade International, explained: “Businesses alone are not enough to tackle poverty; the EU should foster people-centred businesses. Cooperatives and Fair Trade have shown that they put high standards and strict rules on businesses, that they put people first, and still they are successful.” ‘

How many times have we heard what others should do?

It won’t be the last attempt to co-opt our efforts. Another ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine was on the table.

There was no plan. Their aim being to “crowdsource” proposals, yet a price tag of 300 billion Euros had been determined. Who might that benefit, one wonders?

Conceived by oligarch Dmitri Firtash, while held in Vienna pending extradition to the US to face corruption charges, it brought many of our own leaders on board.

Among them, former EU trade commission Lord Mandelson.

According to Sergeii Leshchenko, anti-corruption activist and member of Ukraine’s parliament , this is the Firtash Octopus:

‘Dirty money from the East has become a resource for dozens of European structures and politicians. Sergii Leshchenko reports on some of those that are only too happy to open their doors to a Ukrainian oligarch willing to invest millions in cleaning up his image.’

Our ‘Marshall Plan’ was developed among the grass roots of Ukraine’s democratic activists, has a strong focus on dealing with corruption and in our 2008 letter to USAID we’d called for US support in developing an anti-corruption network with them.

My final appeal to MEPs on this issue was in February 2014, by which time a peaceful revolution had turned towards violence. It was triggered by an EU access agreement which was declined in favour of a 15 billion dollar bribe from Russia.

By then, everyone, including our friends on Maidan were calling for EU support including a ‘Marshall Plan’ . I forwarded their appeal with my letter, reminding them of how many times I’d called for their support.

The world already knows what happened next and it has cost many lives.

Today, Ukraine and a ‘Marshall Plan’ are seen as an EPP priority.

Is anyone surprised at the resemblance with what was shared 8 years ago with their deputy leader, Michel Barnier?

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