Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Escalation of violence in Mexico

Delivered in Plenary - 11th March 2010

Mr President

Mexico has long been a primary conduit into the world’s largest market for illegal narcotics, the United States. Mexico has therefore been scarred by the brutality and violence that go hand in hand with the drugs trade. Moreover, Mexico itself, as a country of 100 million people and a vital EU strategic partner, has increasingly – and sadly – become an important market for cocaine. The rising consumption by young people is especially worrying.

Drug-related violence in Mexico only seems to be getting worse, with ever more grisly murders and journalists who report on such cases being themselves targeted. The prevalence of unemployment and poverty probably does not help either and induces a climate of lawlessness in parts of Mexico. President Calderón faces enormous challenges but he is determined to meet them head-on, and the EU should support him robustly. Particularly we should support his efforts to reform and restructure the police and criminal justice system in order to break up the corrupt links between the drug cartels and law enforcement. I believe he is also quite justified in the need to use the army as a temporary emergency measure.