Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a honour for me to welcome you at our conference, Poverty Inc.: Developing development. This event is a fruit of a cooperation between the think-tank of our political party ECPM – SALLUX and Acton Institute. Acton Institute is a think-tank promoting a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles. Therefore I would like to welcome all of you, our dear guests. Especially I would like to welcome our friends from Acton institute from Grand Rapids, U.S. and also our honourable speakers:
- Eddie Krooneman, political adviser of Dutch NGO ‘Woord en Daad’.
- Karel Vervoort, former Major-General of the Belgian Air Force, now an independent expert on Defence and International Disaster Relief by Air
- Paul Bonicelli, served in President George W. Bush’s administration at the US Agency for International Development (USAID)
The topic is this event Poverty. Unfortunately, poverty is not just a phrase of political debates but it is the reality that surrounds us and affects everywhere. The fight against poverty is long term ongoing process and it is clear for all of us that there exist no miraculous medicament that could heal it and resolve it on one step. On the other hand we see that in the year 2017, when the world is so connected via technologies and globalization, the process of abating the level of poverty could be much much efficient. Therefore it leads us to a question, why do we not see improvement of the situation. I think that the general answer could be that poverty is a visible proof of mankind’s unrighteousness and selfishness mankind.
From this stage – as a politician on the EU level, I need to tell you that there are numerous events just in this building organized on this issue every week and I am sure that same is happening in all institutions of the ,,western developed world,,. The West has therefore positioned itself as an agent of development. But I think in reality it is, deliberately or unwittingly, creating a multibillion-euro poverty industry.
We are sending to the poorest parts of the world billions of Euros every year already for decades with very vague results. Why do we do this? Whether we confess it or not, the western countries are profiting from the poverty of others. We need a fair relational approach. That means TRADE WITH THEM FAIRLY AND DO NOT EXPLOIT THEIR RESOURCES.
Simultaneously we must put an emphasis on responsibility and transparency of national leaders in developing countries.
Because there needs to be also improvement in the resource management facilitated by the governments of these developing countries.
Here in the European Union, we are still facing the biggest migration crises right now. Especially, very precarious is the problem with economic migrants. I think that righteous approach of business and trade with the countries of origin of these people can help to solve this big problem.
As a Christians, we see also what Bible tells us about unrighteous approach:
4 This is what the Lord says to Israel:
“Seek me and live;
5 do not seek Bethel,
do not go to Gilgal,
do not journey to Beersheba.
For Gilgal will surely go into exile,
and Bethel will be reduced to nothing.[a]”
6 Seek the Lord and live,
or he will sweep through the tribes of Joseph like a fire;
it will devour them,
and Bethel will have no one to quench it.
7 There are those who turn justice into bitterness
and cast righteousness to the ground.
8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
who turns midnight into dawn
and darkens day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out over the face of the land—
the Lord is his name.
9 With a blinding flash he destroys the stronghold
and brings the fortified city to ruin.
10 There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court
and detest the one who tells the truth.
11 You levy a straw tax on the poor
and impose a tax on their grain.
Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,
you will not live in them;
though you have planted lush vineyards,
you will not drink their wine.
12 For I know how many are your offenses
and how great your sins.
There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes
and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
13 Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times,
for the times are evil.
Seek good, not evil,
that you may live.
Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you,
just as you say he is.
15 Hate evil, love good;
maintain justice in the courts.
Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy
on the remnant of Joseph.
“I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!
Therefore I hope that also this film screening followed by discussion can help us bring more light into the darkness of unrighteous approach in the dealing with poverty.