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Puheenvuorot
Tiistai 13. syyskuuta 2016 - Strasbourg Lopullinen versio

16. EU:n ja SADC:n talouskumppanuussopimusvaltioiden välinen talouskumppanuussopimus - EU:n ja SADC:n talouskumppanuussopimuksen parlamentaarinen valvonta ja kansalaisyhteiskunnan harjoittama seuranta (keskustelu)
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  Przewodniczący. – Kolejnym punktem porządku dnia jest wspólna debata nad:

– zaleceniem sporządzonym w imieniu Komisji Handlu Międzynarodowego w sprawie projektu decyzji Rady w sprawie zawarcia Umowy o partnerstwie gospodarczym między Unią Europejską i jej państwami członkowskimi, z jednej strony, a państwami Południowoafrykańskiej Wspólnoty Rozwoju (SADC) objętymi umową o partnerstwie gospodarczym, z drugiej strony (10107/2016 - C8-0243/2016 - 2016/0005(NLE)) (sprawozdawca: Alexander Graf Lambsdorff) (A8-0242/2016) oraz

– pytaniem wymagającym odpowiedzi ustnej skierowanym do Komisji przez Bernda Langego i Alexandra Grafa Lambsdorffa w imieniu Komisji Handlu Międzynarodowego w sprawie nadzoru parlamentarnego nad umową o partnerstwie gospodarczym UE-SADC i mechanizmu monitorowania tej umowy przez społeczeństwo obywatelskie (O-000108/2016 - B8-0713/2016).

 
  
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  Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, rapporteur and author. – Mr President, I believe we are discussing a very important agreement. Before coming to the details of this Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Southern African Development Community States, allow me to share a story with you. The SADC EPA may sound extremely technical but it provides real opportunities for our European partner countries. During the signing ceremony that took place in Kasane, the singer Sesame Samantha Marumo performed a poem that inspired everyone in the room. The poem spoke about the hope of the people in the South African region that the Agreement will offer opportunities that are badly needed. Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues, I think this shows that our partners in Africa know about the potential of the EPA. They look forward to the day that the Agreement enters into force and it is high time for that to happen.

Let us look back for a moment. Everything started very early, already at the end of the 1990s when the ACP countries and the European Union came to a common understanding that our trade relations needed a fresh start. As most of you know, the Cotonou Agreement called for changes in longstanding non-reciprocal trade preferences that had governed the economic and political relationship between the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of States, on the one hand, and the European Union, on the other, for the last four decades. It was only on 15 July 2014, after ten years of negotiating, that the European Union and SADC – the SADC EPA Group, more precisely comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland – finally concluded the Agreement. The SADC EPA will foster a smooth and gradual integration of the African partner countries into the world economy. Through trade and investment it contributes to sustainable development and poverty reduction. Let us remember one thing: Africa is the growth continent. African countries are climbing up the ‘doing business’ rankings. New businesses are emerging and African countries are becoming less dependent on commodities. Africa offers something energising. The EPA will only be one instrument to tap into this energy, but it will prove pivotal in re-anchoring the trade bonds between Africa and the European Union.

Let me be very clear about one thing. I do not understand the last minute sudden opposition coming from some Members in this House. Those who are now being lobbied intensely by the citrus fruit lobby should know what the opposition means to the people in the South African States, but also for those European businesses seeking much needed potential for growth. Moreover, they should also know that the arguments brought forward are actually unsubstantiated and that their fears are not borne out by the facts. Imports of citrus fruit have previously not been liberalised during the European Union’s harvesting season and, ladies and gentlemen, this will remain so under this SADC EPA. Let us remember one thing: the EU will benefit as we obtain better access to the Southern African Customs Union markets for a number of products, but what is particularly important is that many geographical indications from the EU will be protected in South Africa under this EPA. There are things that come to mind like Parma ham, Parmiggiano Reggiano, Aceto Balsamico di Modena, things from the very countries where now all of a sudden we have this surprising opposition to what is a really good agreement.

The Agreement does not only help to liberalise trade and foster development but has a number of features which are beneficial for the countries concerned. First, the EPA contains a large number of safeguards, meaning that all EPA countries can activate these and raise import duties if imports from the EU threaten to disrupt the domestic industry. Moreover, should the EU apply a multilateral safeguard on the WTO rules, the EU offers its EPA partners a renewable five-year exemption from its application. Secondly, the rules of origin have been written in such a way that exports of textiles under preferential rates will become much easier. Moreover, the SADC EPA helps to diversify the economies of our partner countries. Thirdly, due to the asymmetric liberalisation, the SADC EPA States do not have to fully reciprocate the market opening. Instead, they can protect sensitive products from liberalisation. To be more precise, it foresees the exclusion of sensitive products, long liberalisation periods, flexible rules of origin and special safeguards and measures for agriculture food security and infant industry protection. This EPA also contains some of the strongest language on rights and sustainable development available in EU agreements. In SADC the first chapter is devoted to sustainable development, which underlines the importance of this aspect to the parties.

Let me thank all of you for the remarks and ideas that we have exchanged during our discussions. We already, as the European Parliament, voted a resolution on the SADC EU interim EPA in March 2009 and our wish list really finds itself in almost all the points in the agreement that we now have. I strongly believe that this EPA has the potential to bring fundamental positive change and contribute to sustainable economic growth and deepened intra-regional trade integration. I hope for your support and thank all the shadows and the Commission for the excellent work.

As Chairman Lange is not here to speak on behalf of the Committee, I am taking his role as the author of the oral question on this particular EPA. I would like to thank my colleague, Joachim Schuster, and the S&D Group, who have played a major role in bringing this up. The question is how we monitor the implementation of this agreement. How do we involve civil society more clearly? Article 4 of the Agreement stipulates that the parties agree to continuously monitor the operation and the impact of this agreement. The Agreement also sets out a review of the Agreement to take place every five years. However, we believe that it is crucial to put flesh on the bones of these provisions and that the practical tools for this monitoring need to be strengthened. We believe that the absence of a joint parliamentary committee and a joint consultative committee, which exist in the Cariforum EPA but are not part of the SADC EPA text, may be felt here unless existing structures can be used. We think that pragmatic solutions are now key in order to maximise the positive impact of the Agreement. Today, therefore, we, as the INTA Committee and as this Parliament, would like to know the following points from the Commission:

1. What specific measures will the Commission take to ensure that the EPA is implemented in a manner which upholds the sustainable development provisions of the SADC EPA, and will it consider setting up a structured civil society monitoring process, such as a Domestic Advisory Group and provisions for parliamentary oversight?

2. Could the Commission elaborate on how any civil society involvement would be financed?

3. How does the Commission intend to take on board civil society reports and recommendations to address cases of infringement of commitments under the EPA?

4. What measures will the Commission undertake to ensure policy coherence for development in the implementation of the Agreement?

Thank you very much for your attention, and I am looking forward to our debate here.

 
  
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  Cecilia Malmström, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, let me start by quoting the Trade for All communication that the Commission adopted last year, which sets out its beliefs on the direction of future trade policy. It says that: ‘as free trade agreements enters into force, the EU will have to make sure that the provisions on trade and sustainable development are implemented and used effectively’. That is exactly what we will be talking about today in relation to the agreement with the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Sustainable development issues are of high importance but they also need to be implemented and monitored and that is why I am very grateful for the opportunity of having this debate and answering the questions here tonight. You will vote tomorrow. As the rapporteur said, and I would like to thank the rapporteur and all the shadow rapporteurs for the work on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), with six countries in southern Africa. I had the pleasure of signing the agreement when I was in Botswana this June.

This agreement will start a new relationship between us in the European Union and these six countries: Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. Why will it do this? Well because, while negotiating this deal, we took full account of the economic and societal differences between the countries involved and that has led us to eliminate much more of our custom duties than we are asking our Southern African partners to do. So the EU is opening up our market much faster and, furthermore, providing free market access to the African countries involved. The markets of the six African countries are going to be only partially and very gradually opened to European products, and their right to vote on protective measures, to protect nascent fragile industries and for future food-security reasons, will remain.

Our trade relations will be based on a predictable business environment, getting rid of customs duties for African exporters, big and small, and by then we will have commonly agreed rules in areas such as customer procedures, future sanitary measures, rules of religion, and technical barriers to trade. This will also contribute to diversifying the economies of many countries in Southern Africa that are seeking to broaden production and include a wider range of products and services, and it will foster regional integration of markets in Southern Africa. This is a powerful tool for prosperity, stability and growth, and all the countries raised this issue with me when I spoke to them in Botswana.

Let me also underline what the rapporteur said, because I have heard that there are some concerns circulating here about this Economic Partnership Agreement and oranges. The agreement has been available online with all its annexes, all 1 300 pages, on our website for more than a year. Nothing has happened since: everybody has been able to read it and we have not heard any of these problems raised before.

Imports of oranges or citrus fruit during the EU season from December to May will not be liberalised. We are talking only about out-of-season imports and that has been the case since the year 2000: imports of oranges from 1 June to 15 October. The SADC EPA adds only six weeks to this period, and that includes the month of November, during which South Africa exports less than 1% of its total production. The duties will remain high, there are specific safeguards and we will monitor the process, so I am happy to tell you that some of the concerns I have been hearing are not really grounded. We will continue to monitor this very closely.

Turning now to the questions that the rapporteur raised on behalf of Parliament and the Committee on International Trade, let me assure you, first of all, that we are obliged to monitor the operation of all the agreements. Like other economic partnership agreements, this SADC agreement requires monitoring to assure that all the objectives of the EPA, including those of sustainable development, are realised, and that the benefits are maximised for all, especially the most vulnerable. EPAs are, furthermore, anchored in the provisions of the Cotonou Agreement and that includes sustainable development objectives, provisions on labour and environment and, very importantly, democratic principles and human rights.

The monitoring we will put in place will contribute to assessing whether our partners respect the essential elements of the Cotonou Agreement and, in the event of breaches of it, appropriate measures can be proposed. The monitoring will also be fed into a review that each EPA undergoes every five years.

So more specifically: I propose to you that the monitoring will be based on three principles: transparency, objectivity, and openness. Transparency in the sense that the results of the monitoring will become accessible to all – to you, of course, but also to a wider audience. Objectivity in the sense that the monitoring will be neutral, systematic, and involve independent expertise. Open in the sense that the monitoring will involve outside stakeholders. I believe it is very important that outside stakeholders are involved in the monitoring. So I am committed, as is the whole Commission, to structural civil-society dialogue, ideally once per year. We will have no problem finding parties, including relevant organisations, to take part in this. We have already started to identify possible civil-society organisations, and we are already planning the first dialogues this month and in October in South Africa.

With regard to parliamentary oversight, I fully support an interparliamentary dialogue between the European Parliament and the parliaments of the six states and I really want to encourage you to establish this already.

How will we finance this? Well, you have my commitment that we will seek to ensure adequate funding is put aside. One route is a project that the Commission’s Directorate-General for Trade, in collaboration with our service for foreign policy instruments, is drawing up to finance the involvement of civil society in trade agreements. The Commission also has other funding possibilities – for instance, under thematic programmes that support specifically the participation of civil society in partner countries and the EU.

How will we then take on board this civil-society input? Well, we will ensure that the results of the dialogues are made available to the ministerial councils established under the EPAs to oversee the monitoring process. In the case of West Africa and East Africa, those EPAs contain provisions for the civil-society dialogue to work in consultation with the EPA institutions. In the case of the SADC EPA, the text requires the parties to undertake the monitoring within their respective participative processes and institutions.

The last question was on policy coherence. We have a long track record of making trade a tool for development. This is done by granting preferential market access, by providing aid for trade and by addressing any coherence issue that arises, and the EPA is, of course, part of this policy. We give full access to our market, but we ask for less in return. We provide for safeguards to make sure that domestic industries are not damaged and we will introduce flexible rules of origin.

We will also accompany our trade partners in meeting the commitments on trade and sustainable development in accordance with the provisions in Article 11 of the agreement, and this includes assistance through EU development cooperation. In addition, we have made available support under the European Development Fund. In Eastern and Southern Africa, regional programmes amount to EUR 1.3 billion and national programmes to around EUR 7.2 billion: these funds are not used entirely for trade-related support, but spending of EUR 600 million on relevant infrastructure gives you an idea of how much this can facilitate trade. Also the EPAs provide the structures in which any coherence issue can be addressed.

So I think we have a good chance of getting this right. Our partners are very keen to start working together as soon as possible under these premises, and we are convinced that the economic partnership and sustainable development can go hand in hand. I am committed to make that happen and I am looking forward to working with you on all these steps.

 
  
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  Pedro Silva Pereira, relator de parecer da Comissão para o Desenvolvimento e a Cooperação. – Senhor Presidente, este acordo de parceria económica com os seis países da África Austral da comunidade CADC percorreu um caminho longo, mas o resultado é globalmente positivo e merece o apoio deste Parlamento, como aliás concluiu a Comissão de Desenvolvimento no parecer de que sou relator.

Em primeiro lugar, este acordo é necessário para cumprir as regras da Organização Mundial de Comércio. Sem ele, os países africanos ficariam menos protegidos no comércio com a Europa.

Em segundo lugar, é um acordo que procura ser justo e é por isso assimétrico e gradual: permite que os países em desenvolvimento protejam os seus setores mais sensíveis e inclui salvaguardas quanto às indústrias, aos mercados agrícolas e à segurança alimentar.

Em terceiro lugar, este acordo tem um capítulo de desenvolvimento sustentável, com compromissos claros em matéria de direitos laborais e direitos ambientais. Nem tudo é perfeito, certamente, mas creio que podemos dizer que o resultado final é, de facto, positivo. O desafio agora está numa boa implementação e numa monitorização eficaz, e essa só existirá com um envolvimento efetivo da sociedade civil.

Saudamos, naturalmente, os compromissos aqui assumidos pela Senhora Comissária, mas este Parlamento espera mais do que palavras e não deixará de, ele próprio, monitorizar este processo e garantir uma boa implementação deste acordo, a bem dos interesses dos países nossos parceiros em África, mas também a bem dos valores da agenda comercial da União Europeia.

 
  
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  Gabriel Mato, en nombre del Grupo PPE. – Señor Presidente, señora Comisaria, debatimos un Acuerdo de Asociación Económica que, como hemos visto, abre una nueva etapa en las relaciones entre la Unión Europea y seis países de la Comunidad para el Desarrollo del África Meridional. Ha sido un acuerdo de difícil y prolongada tramitación, pero estoy seguro de que el resultado final va a ser, en términos generales, beneficioso. De ahí, nuestro apoyo, ya que creamos un marco jurídico claro y logramos, también, ampliar el anterior Acuerdo interino, al haberse sumado Sudáfrica a estas conversaciones.

Dicho esto, no podemos ignorar que, en general, todos los acuerdos de asociación económica siempre tienen algún punto de fricción, y este también los tiene. Como me han oído decir muchas veces, alguien tiene que pagar la factura de estos acuerdos y, desgraciadamente, esta factura la suele pagar el sector agrario. En todo caso, estamos ante un acuerdo importante, ya que es el primero que firmamos en la Unión Europea con una región africana. Espero que sirva de impulso para que pronto se sucedan conversaciones que permitan reforzar la relación entre Europa y África.

En lo positivo, el Acuerdo permite proteger a determinados sectores sensibles, aplicar cláusulas de salvaguardia y medidas para proteger industrias nacientes, además de facilitar la exportación, a la vez que contempla cláusulas sobre protección de derechos humanos y una apuesta por el desarrollo sostenible. Pero no todo es positivo. El Acuerdo puede tener consecuencias negativas para las producciones comunitarias de cítricos, y esto se podía haber evitado a pesar de lo que se ha dicho aquí.

Hay que tener dos aspectos en cuenta. Creo que en la negociación no ha existido la suficiente información sobre las concesiones otorgadas fundamentalmente a Sudáfrica —competidor directo de las producciones de la Unión Europea—, ni tampoco ha existido el estudio de impacto de estas medidas sobre nuestras producciones. Por otra parte, nos preocupa de forma extraordinaria la garantía, o más bien la ausencia de garantía, del control fitosanitario de estas producciones. Las respuestas que, hasta el momento, nos ha dado la Comisión sobre la mancha negra no nos tranquilizan en absoluto.

Apostamos claramente por los acuerdos de asociación económica y también por este, pero también apostamos por el futuro de las naranjas de muchas regiones de España. Ambas cosas no son en absoluto incompatibles.

 
  
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  Joachim Schuster, im Namen der S&D-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, Frau Kommissarin! Seit rund 15 Jahren werden die sogenannten Wirtschaftspartnerschaftsabkommen mit den AKP—Staaten verhandelt, und es ist bis heute umstritten, ob die AKP—Länder wirklich von diesen Abkommen profitieren werden.

Ganz neu ist die Diskussion jetzt über die Zitrusfrüchte, und es ist, glaube ich, schon hinreichend gesagt worden, dass da die Ängste wirklich unbegründet sind und man das darüber nicht machen kann. Aber in der Tat ist eine Frage: Bedroht die Ausdehnung des Freihandels nicht junge Industrien in den afrikanischen Staaten, und führt der Wegfall der Zölle nicht zu einer Schwächung der afrikanischen Staaten? Aber man muss auch sehen, dass die Diskussion darüber häufig sehr pauschal geführt wird, und man darf nicht alle afrikanischen Regionen in einen Topf werfen. Man darf auch nicht die verschiedenen Wirtschaftspartnerschaftsabkommen in einen Topf werfen. Und wenn man das Abkommen für das südliche Afrika sieht, dann, glaube ich, sind die meisten Punkte adressiert.

Das Abkommen enthält ein Nachhaltigkeitskapitel. Es enthält Bezüge zum Cotonou—Abkommen, die auch dann gelten, wenn das Cotonou—Abkommen im Jahr 2020 ausläuft. Es enthält die Verpflichtung, Handel mit Entwicklungszusammenarbeit zu verbinden. Die Handelsliberalisierung ist asymmetrisch. Sollte es Nachteile für Wirtschaften oder Industrien, Branchen oder auch die Landwirtschaft im südlichen Afrika geben, besteht die Möglichkeit, umfassende Handelsschutzinstrumente einzusetzen. Also in dem Abkommen sind alle Potenziale für eine beidseitig vorteilhafte Entwicklung angelegt. Ob diese Potenziale realisiert werden, hängt natürlich davon ab, wie das Abkommen umgesetzt wird.

Deswegen haben wir von der S&D—Fraktion auch auf starke Monitoring—Strukturen unter Einbeziehung der Zivilgesellschaft gedrängt, und die Kommissarin hat ja gerade auch erläutert, was die Kommission dazu zu machen gedenkt. Und wir sollten, glaube ich, als Europäisches Parlament auch zur Kenntnis nehmen, dass die südafrikanischen Staaten in dem Abkommen ebenfalls eine positive Chance für ihre Entwicklung sehen. Deswegen haben nämlich die Regierungen und die Parlamente auch zugestimmt, und zwar auch die der Staaten, die längere Zeit diese Abkommen sehr kritisch begleitet haben. Deswegen: Unterm Strich ist es, glaube ich, sehr verantwortbar, diesem Abkommen mit den südafrikanischen Staaten zuzustimmen.

 
  
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  Helmut Scholz, im Namen der GUE/NGL-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, Frau Kommissarin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Dieses reziproke asymmetrische Abkommen unter dem Namen SADC zur Vorlage zu bringen, ist irreführend. Lediglich sechs der fünfzehn Mitgliedstaaten der Entwicklungsgemeinschaft des südlichen Afrika haben unterzeichnet. Die anderen sind in drei anderen Verhandlungsgruppen oder haben sich gleich gegen ein solches Abkommen entschieden. Warum? Die fünfzehn werden also künftig gegenüber der EU, aber auch untereinander völlig unterschiedliche Handelsbestimmungen haben und das SADC—Sekretariat wird völlig ausgehebelt.

Ist das die in Afrika, in der gemeinsamen Afrikastrategie von EU und AU geforderte Förderung der regionalen Integration? Ist das die Antwort auf die Bedenken der Staats- und Regierungschefs des achten AKP-Gipfeltreffens, die nachdrücklich regionale Integration zum Kernstück und Ziel der Verhandlungen erklärten? Von den Forderungen vieler, zumal noch oft schwacher Gewerkschaften und bürgergesellschaftlicher Initiativen nach durchsetzbaren Arbeits-, Umwelt- und Sozialnormen ganz zu schweigen.

Und – ja: Auch viele afrikanische Regierungen scheuen durchsetzbare Normen und entsprechende Instrumentarien. Wir sind in dieser Lage, weil die EU—Kommission ihren Verhandlungserfolg erzwingen wollte. Es wurde schon gesagt: Cotonou läuft bald aus. Was danach kommt, ist offen.

Neue Mitwettbewerber auf den amerikanischen Märkten sind erschienen. Es geht also auch und gerade um Marktzugang und Positionsbehauptung. Und deshalb ist erfolgreich mit Entzug des Marktzugangs zum EU—Binnenmarkt gedroht worden. Die Partnerregierungen und Parlamente beugten sich dieser Erpressung – nachvollziehbar – sehr rasch. Die Debatten in den Gesellschaften der SADC—Staaten und wirklich neue Strategien werden abgewürgt.

Das, meine ich, ist mehr als gefährlich! Den Beziehungen der EU und aller ihrer Mitgliedstaaten mit unseren afrikanischen Partnern fügt es tiefe Narben zu. Ich glaube, wir müssen noch mal neu nachdenken. Meine Fraktion wird das Abkommen ablehnen. Europa darf sich nicht auf Kosten Afrikas sanieren.

 
  
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  Christofer Fjellner (PPE). – Herr talman! I morgon avgör vi framtiden för ett handelsavtal mellan EU och länderna i södra Afrika. Det är ett väldigt viktigt avtal som avskaffar praktiskt taget alla EU:s tullar mot dessa länder, men låter de afrikanska handelspartnerna avskaffa sina tullar successivt och i de känsliga produktområdena faktiskt inte alls. Detta är väldigt viktigt för regional integration i dessa afrikanska länder. Man förenklar ursprungsreglerna och gör att det blir färre handelshinder mellan afrikanska länder, något som hittills har varit ett av de allra största hindren för utveckling. Detta är viktigt eftersom frihandel i historien har visat sig vara det bästa verktyget för att lyfta människor och länder upp ur fattigdom. Ändå så verkar det som om det finns en risk för att en majoritet av ledamöterna i detta hus röstar nej till avtalet. Det är emellertid inte bara så att man riskerar att gå miste om alla dessa fördelar som avtalet innebär, utan man riskerar dessutom att fattiga länder som Swaziland, Namibia och Botswana ges högre tullar mot EU och att de får möta EU:s fulla tullmur när deras nuvarande handelsordning i EU löper ut i december. Ändå är det många som faktiskt överväger det.

Det är en ohelig allians mellan de som å ena sidan säger att avtalet hotar produktionen i Europa, särskilt på jordbrukssidan, å andra sidan några som säger precis samma sak, men att det hotar jordbruksproduktionen i Afrika. Någon av dem har ju fel.

Jag funderar på vilka som egentligen är värst av dessa grupper av protektionister. Jag har aldrig träffat någon som säger sig vara protektionist här i huset, men jag har träffat många som säger sig vilja skydda det ena eller det andra. Jag har efter moget övervägande kommit fram till att det är nog de som här i kväll och i morgon när de röstar hävdar att de röstar emot avtalet för att skydda afrikanska länder. De ledamöterna säger sig nämligen veta bättre än vad dessa afrikanska länder själva gör. Detta avtal mellan demokratier är godkänt i parlamenten och ratificerat av dessa länder. Ändå så menar man att man här kan sätta sig till doms över och tycka att det är dåligt för dem, trots att de vill ha det. Det är inte bara protektionism, utan det är neoimperialism. Denna gång kommer neoimperialismen från vänster och är som allra farligast. Därför hoppas jag att vi samfällt i morgon röstar för detta avtal. Afrika och Europa behöver det.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D). – Mr President, after receiving the Copa Cogeca letter outlining a so-called threat to our agriculture as a result of this agreement, I went immediately to look at the opinion from the Agricultural Committee on this report, and guess what? There isn’t one, because the Agriculture Committee decided that it was such a threat to our agriculture it was not even worth doing an opinion on this report. This is a ridiculous last minute scare story that has been thrown into the pot here.

On the other side of the coin, some Members think that the Agreement is a threat to SADC countries and to their economies. As we have heard, though, from virtually every speaker, this is an asymmetrical agreement. It contains safeguards for infant industries and it protects sensitive products. As we have just heard, if we reject this agreement the situation is worse for African countries because they will have to revert to GSP or to other less—satisfactory regimes. I welcome what the Commissioner said about the sustainable development chapter. I am glad it is going to have adequate funding and I look forward to civil society being fully involved in monitoring this EPA. I am personally absolutely convinced that a properly implemented EPA with accompanying measures such as aid for trade will be good for Africa. Bear in mind that it will also be good for Europe, because we are more and more focused on trying to deal with the migration flows from Africa. A successful economic partnership between Africa and Europe can benefit Africa economically and benefit Europe by reducing those migration flows. I will be supporting this EPA tomorrow.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, questo accordo è sicuramente un accordo importante per i paesi dell'Africa australe ed è un accordo che necessita di un largo sostegno. Però, dall'altro lato, ogni qual volta si fanno gli accordi tra Unione europea e altri paesi, a pagare è sempre l'agricoltura.

Io vengo dalla Sicilia, cara Commissaria Malmström, e la Sicilia è un'area di produzione di agrumi, un'area nella quale la inviterò a venire e la inviterò il 15 ottobre, perché lei ha appena detto in quest'Aula che questo allungamento di sei settimane non si sovrappone alla produzione europea. Io la inviterò il 15 ottobre ad assaggiare i frutti dei nostri alberi, appunto perché possa vedere che dal 15 ottobre al 30 novembre si producono agrumi in Sicilia, così come in tutti gli altri paesi europei, del Mezzogiorno d'Europa.

Pertanto esiste una sovrapposizione di produzione e le arance che verranno esportate dal Sud Africa entreranno in competizione con quelle del mio territorio. Siccome i prezzi più alti si spuntano all'inizio, con le produzioni più precoci, è evidente che queste esportazioni tardive, in contro-stagione, dall'emisfero Sud, incideranno pesantemente sul reddito degli agricoltori. Per questo la invito a venire in Sicilia per vedere quella che è la situazione reale e quali saranno gli effetti.

Un secondo aspetto, invece, è quello che attiene all'applicazione degli accordi. Sino adesso cinque intercettazioni di frutti infetti da greening avrebbero portato al blocco delle esportazioni da parte del Sud Africa. L'anno scorso le intercettazioni sbagliate o scorrette sono state 70, e nessuna interruzione.

 
  
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  Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández (S&D). – Señor Presidente, creo firmemente que este Acuerdo es un paso adelante en la estrategia de cooperación de desarrollo sostenible para los países de la comunidad del África meridional y para facilitar su integración en la economía mundial, porque ayuda a diversificar sus economías y, desde luego, a facilitar la cooperación y la integración regional entre ellos. Pero, verdaderamente, el Acuerdo contiene concesiones a las exportaciones procedentes de Sudáfrica que sí que afectan a los productores europeos del Mediterráneo.

Lamentablemente, tengo que reconocer que el Gobierno de España no ha hecho su trabajo en defensa de los cítricos españoles, y yo le pido a la Comisión que se preocupe de proteger y defender los intereses de los productores mediterráneos. Por ello creo que es fundamental que se haga un seguimiento mensual de la entrada de volumen y de las ventas de los cítricos de Sudáfrica, aplicando la cláusula de salvaguardia si es necesario, y también medidas compensatorias.

Alargar el periodo de entrada de las exportaciones desde Sudáfrica, de manera que coincida con la campaña de la producción europea, va a tener incidencia, y lo importante es haberlo evaluado antes y medirlo por si es necesario tomar medidas protectoras.

Comercio justo para todos; para los productores de cítricos, también, y para la agricultura del sur, que también cuenta.

 
  
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  Joachim Zeller (PPE). – Herr Präsident, Frau Kommissarin! Mit den Wirtschaftspartnerschaftsabkommen mit den afrikanischen Regionalgruppierungen wird Neuland beschritten. Der Handel mit einem fortgesetzten freien Marktzugang für die AKP—Staaten zum EU—Binnenmarkt soll kombiniert werden mit Anstrengungen für eine nachhaltige Entwicklung in den Partnerländern. Gleichzeitig sollen die Wirtschaftsbeziehungen zwischen den Ländern innerhalb der Partnerregion verbessert werden, zumal sich dort oftmals wie auch bei der südafrikanischen Entwicklungsgemeinschaft – vom Entwicklungsstand und von der wirtschaftlichen Kapazität her sehr unterschiedliche Länder wiederfinden.

Eine seit langem geforderte stärkere Verknüpfung der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit der EU mit der Wirtschaftsentwicklung in den Ländern und den Handelsbeziehungen zu den Ländern im Geltungsbereich des Cotonou—Abkommens ist das Ziel. Noch ist nicht klar, ob oder wie das Cotonou—Abkommen über das Jahr 2020 hinaus fortgesetzt wird. Umso wichtiger ist es, dass mit den Wirtschaftspartnerschaftsabkommen die Zusammenarbeit mit den Regionen Afrikas eine stabile vertragliche Grundlage erhält. Da, wie ich schon sagte, mit den Wirtschaftspartnerschaftsabkommen Neuland betreten wird, sollte gemäß dem Namen der Abkommen der Fortgang der Beziehungen der EU zu den Vertragspartnern auch partnerschaftlich erfolgen – partnerschaftlich, aber auch in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Europäischen Parlament.

 
  
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  Maria Arena (S&D). – Monsieur le Président, Madame la Commissaire, vous avez défendu avec beaucoup d'engagement ces accords qui sont, doit-on le rappeler, des accords qui ont été négociés sous la Commission Barroso et sous le commissaire De Gucht. On voit la difficulté de défendre des accords dont vous connaissez les faiblesses, parce que je sais que vous avez une sensibilité sur la cause, à savoir la cause du développement durable et de la participation de la société civile. Ce sont ces faiblesses-là que nous voulons absolument corriger.

Je comprends également les inquiétudes des agriculteurs européens. C'est un secteur en difficulté. Je comprends aussi les inquiétudes des agriculteurs locaux, ceux qui défendent l'agriculture pour nourrir les populations locales. Je vous donnerai un simple exemple: le Lesotho, pays qui est la réserve d'eau de l'Afrique du Sud. Le Lesotho est en panne d'eau et ne peut plus produire son maïs. Il y a eu une augmentation du prix du maïs au Lesotho de 60 %. Il ne peut plus nourrir sa population.

Alors, Monsieur Lambsdorff, je ne pense pas que la population du Lesotho va acheter du jambon de Parme ou du parmigiano reggiano. Nous devons défendre les populations locales et c'est pour ça que je ne voterai pas pour cet accord.

 
  
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  Adam Szejnfeld (PPE). – Panie Przewodniczący! Kraje Afryki to jedne z najbiedniejszych krajów na świecie, a bieda – doskonale o tym wiemy– wywołuje wiele patologii. Patologie jednak nie dotykają tylko ludzi biednych, one dotykają także tych, którzy są bogaci. Ta bieda, która jest w Afryce, jest biedą, którą znamy i czujemy także w Europie. Jeden z efektów to jest migracja z krajów biedniejszych, także z Afryki, właśnie tu do nas.

Powiem szczerze, ja ze zdumieniem słuchałem tu wywodu jednego z kolegów, który w aspekcie, o którym mówimy, widział tylko problem kilku pomarańczy sycylijskich, a nie widzi problemu 500 milionów Europejczyków i ponad miliarda ludzi mieszkających w Afryce. Umowy międzynarodowe to w dzisiejszych czasach instrument nie tylko działania na rzecz wzrostu wymiany handlowej, nie tylko działania na rzecz wzrostu gospodarczego, ale także niwelowania różnic między społecznościami, ograniczania biedy, a więc jeśli ograniczania biedy, to także ograniczania patologii. Bądźmy przeciwko patologii, bądźmy za tą umową. Popieram ją.

 
  
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  Jude Kirton-Darling (S&D). – Mr President, we expect consistency and policy coherence from the Commission, especially when it comes to our relations with developing countries, but this agreement is not consistent with the EU’s sustainable development goals. The weak sustainable development chapter provides for no mandatory monitoring or enforcement.

We have consistently asked the Commission for improvements, over more than a year, to give civil society a role in the monitoring of this agreement and to empower whistleblowers in the region, but it is only now, on the eve of the vote, that the Commission is responding – not with concrete legal proposals or commitments, but with promises of annual general dialogue without clarifying the follow—up to civil society complaints. I am sorry but this is not enough. This is not a proper sustainable development chapter or monitoring. Therefore, I agree with civil society in the region and with the united trade union movement in the EU and Southern Africa that this agreement currently falls far too short of the mark.

 
  
 

Pytania z sali

 
  
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  Clara Eugenia Aguilera García (S&D). – Señor Presidente, yo quiero hablar en nombre del sector agrícola europeo y, por supuesto, el español. Soy española y soy andaluza, región donde hay muchos cítricos. Los cítricos se empiezan a producir, y empieza la campaña el 15 de octubre. No solo en Sicilia, también en mi tierra, en Andalucía. Y, por tanto, quiero decir en nombre de toda la agricultura —porque no solo el sector citrícola, sino también el sector del vino se está viendo vulnerado— que ha habido una clara falta de transparencia y de conocimiento de los aspectos que más deterioran las exportaciones de un país como Sudáfrica, al que se ha concedido una ampliación del período de exportación de seis semanas, justo en el comienzo de la campaña europea, de la campaña española y de la campaña andaluza. Por tanto, claro que es perjudicial. Además, se ha demostrado que no hay ningún estudio de impacto, y hay que exigir ese estudio de impacto sobre la ampliación del período. Además, Sudáfrica exporta productos citrícolas con la plaga de la mancha negra (black spot), terriblemente lesiva también para las producciones europeas. Por tanto, esos intereses son contradictorios con la agricultura europea.

 
  
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  Νότης Μαριάς ( ECR). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, η Συμφωνία Οικονομικής Εταιρικής Σχέσης μεταξύ της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης και των χωρών της Νοτίου Αφρικής, που ήδη ισχύει προσωρινά από την 1η Ιουνίου, προωθεί τα συμφέροντα των μεγάλων εταιρειών, ενώ, παράλληλα, ο αγροτικός περιβαλλοντικός και κοινωνικός τομέας της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης πλήττονται ανεπανόρθωτα. Ειδικότερα, δύο σημαντικά προϊόντα ονομασίας προέλευσης (ΠΟΠ), όπως η ελληνική φέτα και οι ελιές Καλαμών, βρίσκονται εκτός της λίστας προστασίας. Έτσι, μετά από το ελληνικό γιαούρτι «Made in Czechia» θα έχουμε και «South Africa Feta» αφού από τη συμφωνία προβλέπεται ότι επί πενταετία οι παραγωγοί της Νότιας Αφρικής έχουν δικαίωμα παραγωγής και εμπορίας φέτας με τον τίτλο «Feta-type» ή «South Africa Feta», ενός δηλαδή προϊόντος κλασικά ελληνικού, που αποφέρει 380 εκατομμύρια ευρώ ετησίως λόγω εξαγωγών. Επίσης, το ίδιο θα συμβεί και με τις ελιές Καλαμών που μέχρι πρόσφατα είχαν προστασία εντός της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης. Το ίδιο θα συμβεί και με τα ελληνικά πορτοκάλια και λεμόνια, αφού επιτρέπεται πλέον η αθρόα εισαγωγή εσπεριδοειδών από τη Νότια Αφρική στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση.

 
  
 

(Koniec pytań z sali)

 
  
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  Cecilia Malmström, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, I think that this has been a very good debate and I think we are all committed to try to make this agreement work. It is indeed, not a perfect, but a good agreement and it has a lot of potential and I have promised you that we will do this. Actually, preparations have already started in South Africa for a structured civil society dialogue where we will be monitoring these issues and we will do that in an independent, objective and transparent and open way, and share those results with you. We will encourage – as I think you have already started to plan – parliamentary dialogue between you and the parliaments of these six countries, and we will make sure that there is sufficient funding to make this exercise a real one. I will be happy to report regularly to you on how that goes.

On agriculture: we have made an impact assessment. It has been available and online for months already where we can read that actually we have some very positive effects from the EU that we expect and also that the impact of the SADC EPA on agriculture will be very limited because the SADC EPA liberalises almost no new agricultural products. All new liberalisations are limited in time and in quantity. I hear what you see on the lemons and oranges of Sicily. I would be happy to come to Sicily, maybe not the 15th, but that would be good.

I have spent hours negotiating with the Greek Government on FTA...

(Loud heckling)

... If you let me speak I can tell you. I have spent hours negotiating with the Greek Government and we have found a good solution to this, where the Greek Government is happy with the result, because we protect this FTA as it has never been protected in South Africa and we will monitor the oranges very closely.

There is a system, an early warning system, where we make sure that, if there are any tendencies of market disturbances, we can alert very, very quickly. The black spot disease has indeed been a problem and we have been working very closely with South Africa and with my colleagues in DG SANTE, Commissioner Andriukaitis, and we have not spotted any problems for this season at all. We think that the problem is actually being solved, but of course we will keep a very close eye on this.

Whatever happens to the Cotonou, the EPA references to it remain after 2020. They are enshrined in the Agreement and are also enforceable. Now this can really turn out to be a win-win situation for all of us. All the parliaments, except for Mozambique where the process is in line, have ratified this agreement. Very recently the elected parliament of Lesotho has ratified this and I have spoken with representatives of Lesotho who very much welcome this agreement because they think it is a chance for them to reform, to modernise and to diversify their economies. So again I think the Africans know what is best for them, and we should listen to their voices.

So this is a good agreement. It will be monitored together with you, and with your help and support I am sure we can make it even better and make sure that we also have a very vital parliamentary and civil society dialogue and hopefully contribute to growth, diversity and modernisation and regional integration, which is a very important part of this EPA and which we will monitor closely as well. So thank you for this debate, Mr President, and will be happy to come back regularly and report on how this monitoring is going.

 
  
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  Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, rapporteur. – Mr President, I agree with the Commissioner. It was a very good debate. The majority of the Committee on International Trade recommends that we ratify. I am very happy to hear that the same goes for the Development Committee because I think they have made a very thorough assessment of the impact on the region. I think the number of safeguards, the number of provisions in the agreement protecting our partner countries, is so overwhelming as to make this an agreement that the region can live with.

As we have just heard, all our partners have agreed. One thing I have to say, though, is that I am a bit disappointed by the citrus aspect. We have discussed this for a year in our committee and it has never come up. The issue has not been there. The agricultural industry in Europe is a strong one. It has no threats to face from a rather developing region with few exports.

I am a colleague and I know how it goes. I come from a chemical region in Germany. The car industry lobbies me, the chemical industry lobbies me, and you do not have to come at the last minute and do exactly what they say. Think of the European interest and think of the African interest. I think this is what is at stake here. It is not just one industry. Think of all the agricultural producers whose products are now protected under the geographic indication protection scheme. I have quoted a number of them.

It is not just that some citrus growers who did not notice that there was an agreement until the very last minute and called all of you and made you nervous; no. I think this is a good agreement. The two leading committees in this House recommended that governments in the region ratify it; and we should ratify it too. The discussion has been ongoing for a very long time. Let me conclude by saying one thing: In 1929, in the age of the economic crisis, Kurt Tucholsky, a German left-leaning poet and satirist, said:

concernant l'agriculture régionale, les produits locaux, il a dit aux Allemands de n'acheter que des citrons allemands

„Deutsche, kauft deutsche Zitronen!“

Ich ende auf Deutsch. Man kann es auch übertreiben mit der lokalen Landwirtschaft. Wir haben keine Zitronen in Deutschland. Liebe Maria Arena, ich respektiere Ihre Haltung in der Sache, aber weder belgische noch deutsche Zitronen werden uns glücklich machen. Also ganz lokal geht es nicht. Wir brauchen den Handel, und ich glaube, dieses Abkommen ist eine gute Chance.

 
  
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  Przewodniczący. – Po wystąpieniu sprawozdawcy nie stosujemy już procedury „niebieskiej kartki”.

Zamykam debatę.

Głosowanie odbędzie się w środę 14 września 2016 r.

 
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