An Economic Security Council Is Proposed

Jacques Delors Addresses Meeting on Debt and Justice

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MILAN, Italy, FEB. 4, 2001 ( A leader of French Socialism called for the creation of an economic security council which would give weaker countries a voice and help balance the «pyramidal» structure of the United Nations and the richer nations of the world.

Jacques Delors, a Catholic and the former president of the European Commission, made his novel proposal Saturday at a congress entitled «Indebted to Justice.» It was organized in Milan by the Italian ecclesial commission for reduction of foreign debt, and the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME).

Delors´ objective is to try to control a globalization that daily increases the chasm between economically weak and strong countries. He noted that poor countries´ debt has quadrupled over the last 20 years, a situation he says could put the world´s stability and security at risk.

Delors had decided not to attend this year´s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. During an interval in the Milan meeting, he explained his absence at the meeting where economic leaders gathered.

«I feel like those preachers of the American West who entered saloons with the Bible, while the clients continued drinking, with their mistresses on their arm,» he said.

Delors added: «We are witnessing the loss of legitimacy of the classic economic actors. Hence the urgent need for an Economic Security Council, which includes the presence of representatives of the different states at the highest level, in order to reformulate the rules of the game. By admitting developing countries at its heart, it would place them in a position of responsibility, and not just of being assisted.»

Poverty can be combated, Delors said. But he added that campaigns against poverty are only the first step toward a more committed goal: the construction of a more human development for all.

Asked by his young audience about the «people of Seattle» — meaning the diverse groups that are wary of globalization — Delors answered: «The role of civil society is indispensable in this battle. To rebel against the present international inequality is sacrosanct. However, breaking shop windows is not an alternative. It is time for proposals.»

Thus he proposed the calling of a new meeting, along the lines of Bretton Woods, which he hopes would lead to more-attentive international institutions.

Above all, he insisted, new methods for the creation and distribution of wealth must be studied. «To increase the size of the pie is of no use if the largest portions always go to the same» consumers, he exclaimed.

Nevertheless, Delors referred to current positive signs: «As regards debt reduction — in addition to Italy — Great Britain and the United States have also moved. Norway, Sweden and Australia have decided to cancel the bilateral debt of developing countries totally. Canada and France are moving in the same direction.»

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