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A8-0020/2019

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PV 12/02/2019 - 20
CRE 12/02/2019 - 20

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PV 13/02/2019 - 8.10

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P8_TA(2019)0092

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Úterý, 12. února 2019 - Štrasburk Revidované vydání

20. Dohoda o volném obchodu mezi EU a Singapurem - Dohoda o volném obchodu mezi EU a Singapurem (usnesení) - Dohoda o ochraně investic mezi EU a Singapurem - Dohoda o ochraně investic mezi EU a Singapurem (usnesení) - Dohoda o partnerství a spolupráci mezi EU a Singapurem - Dohoda o partnerství a spolupráci mezi EU a Singapurem (usnesení) (rozprava)
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  Przewodniczący. – Kolejnym punktem porządku dziennego jest wspólna debata nad:

– zaleceniem sporządzonym przez Davida Martina w imieniu Komisji Handlu Międzynarodowego dotyczącym projektu decyzji Rady w sprawie zawarcia Umowy o wolnym handlu między Unią Europejską a Republiką Singapuru (07971/2018 - C8-0446/2018 - 2018/0093(NLE)) (A8-0053/2019),

– sprawozdaniem sporządzonym przez Davida Martina w imieniu Komisji Handlu Międzynarodowego zawierającym projekt rezolucji nieustawodawczej w sprawie projektu decyzji Rady w sprawie zawarcia Umowy o wolnym handlu między Unią Europejską a Republiką Singapuru (2018/0093M(NLE)) (A8-0048/2019),

– zaleceniem sporządzonym przez Davida Martina w imieniu Komisji Handlu Międzynarodowego dotyczącym projektu decyzji Rady w sprawie zawarcia, w imieniu Unii Europejskiej, Umowy o ochronie inwestycji między Unią Europejską i jej państwami członkowskimi, z jednej strony, a Republiką Singapuru, z drugiej strony (07979/2018 - C8-0447/2018 - 2018/0095(NLE)) (A8-0054/2019),

– sprawozdaniem sporządzonym przez Davida Martina w imieniu Komisji Handlu Międzynarodowego zawierającym projekt rezolucji nieustawodawczej w sprawie projektu decyzji Rady w sprawie zawarcia, w imieniu Unii Europejskiej, Umowy o ochronie inwestycji między Unią Europejską i jej państwami członkowskimi, z jednej strony, a Republiką Singapuru, z drugiej strony (2018/0095M(NLE)) (A8-0049/2019),

– zaleceniem sporządzonym przez Antonia Lópeza-Istúriza White'a w imieniu Komisji Spraw Zagranicznych w sprawie projektu decyzji Rady w sprawie zawarcia, w imieniu Unii Europejskiej, Umowy o partnerstwie i współpracy między Unią Europejską i jej państwami członkowskimi, z jednej strony, a Republiką Singapuru, z drugiej strony (15375/2018 - C8-0026/2019 - 2018/0403(NLE)) (A8-0020/2019) oraz

– sprawozdaniem sporządzonym przez Antonia Lópeza-Istúriza White'a w imieniu Komisji Spraw Zagranicznych zawierającym projekt rezolucji nieustawodawczej w sprawie projektu decyzji Rady w sprawie zawarcia, w imieniu Unii Europejskiej, Umowy o partnerstwie i współpracy między Unią Europejską i jej państwami członkowskimi, z jednej strony, a Republiką Singapuru, z drugiej strony (2018/0403M(NLE)) (A8-0023/2019).

 
  
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  David Martin, Rapporteur. – Mr President, well, finally we are here. It’s been over a decade in the making, the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Singapore, but after many twists and turns, we are at last at the final stage.

I’d like to begin by thanking the Government of Singapore for its patience and support, and in particular their Ambassador for his good cooperation. I’d also like to thank the Commissioner and DG Trade for an agreement that I believe we can readily support in this House, and above all, I’d like to thank my shadow rapporteurs for what has been great cooperation.

My question to those who are still sceptical is: frankly, what is not to like about this free trade agreement? It builds on Canada and Japan and sends the message that the EU is committed to a rules-based trading system. While Donald Trump wants to build walls to separate nations, we are tearing them down, keeping fair and free trade alive.

Singapore is a safe harbour for EU trade and investment, and what a harbour! An important market in its own right, thanks to its unshakable commitment to the rule of law, it has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world and now has more than 10 000 EU companies based there. Many of them are looking forward, as a result of this FTA, to expanding their activities and vying for public sector contracts in Singapore.

Singapore is important in its own right, but it’s also of key strategic importance for accessing the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region, one of the fastest growing regions in the world. Singapore is a major hub, through which a large percentage of our exports pass, and, with the entry into force of the Trans-Pacific Partnership of 11 countries, if we do nothing we will lag behind those nations.

So in economic terms this clearly is a win—win trade deal. In addition to the trade benefits, however, I would also argue that the agreement clearly reflects EU values and positions espoused by this Parliament in very many of our resolutions. For example, nothing in this agreement will prevent the application of the precautionary principle or affect the right of governments to regulate in the interest of their citizens. Public services are protected: the agreement uses the positive list for services, always the preferred option of this Parliament. Imports will have to respect EU standards. It contains commitments on the environment, in respect of the management of forests and fisheries, for example, and a commitment to implement multilateral agreements, including the Paris Agreement.

I particularly welcome Singapore’s agreement to the early implementation of the Trade and Sustainable Development chapter and the commitment to take concrete steps to ratify the outstanding three core International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions. They are serious about this. Singapore has already held talks with the social partners, they are already in dialogue with the ILO and they’ve set up an interministerial working group to see how they can bring domestic legislation into line with the three ILO conventions.

Moving on to the Investment Protection Agreement, I believe this is the most progressive investment agreement we have so far negotiated, and it should be a model to build on for future agreements. I want to thank the Commissioner and her team for listening to Parliament’s concerns about the old and toxic investor-state dispute settlement system. This investment court system will have a permanent tribunal composed of judges or jurors of recognised competence, not arbiters. There will be a code of conduct for judges, proceedings will be transparent, the system will have an appeal mechanism, it contains a commitment to joint efforts towards a multilateral investment court, and it protects governments’ right to regulate. It is also worth mentioning that this replaces the existing 13 bilateral investment treaties that Member States already have.

The last point I want to make is that this agreement has one major weakness, which, I believe, should be addressed in future investment agreements. It gives investors rights but it gives them no obligations. We have to look forward to giving them obligations in the future. With that caveat, I’m pleased to commend both of these agreements to this Parliament.

 
  
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  Przewodniczący. – Dziękuję bardzo panu Martinowi. Mam serdeczną prośbę: mamy 50 minut opóźnienia, dlatego proszę o bardzo dokładne przestrzeganie wyznaczonego czasu, ponieważ powinniśmy zakończyć naszą debatę przed północą. Z powyższych względów proszę również o niezadawanie pytań przez podniesienie niebieskiej kartki.

 
  
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  Antonio López-Istúriz White, ponente. – Señor presidente, gracias a mi colega, David Martin, y me uno además con él al agradecimiento al embajador de Singapur, que sin duda ha sido de gran ayuda para todos nosotros en la elaboración de estos informes, presentándonos una imagen transparente y siempre bien informada sobre las realidades de Singapur.

Han pasado ya quince años desde que el Consejo autorizó a la Comisión a negociar un acuerdo con Singapur, y ya era hora de terminar este procedimiento. Mañana damos un paso adelante con el voto de nuestro consentimiento al Acuerdo Marco de Colaboración y Cooperación y a los Acuerdos de Libre Comercio y de Protección de las Inversiones. Hoy, una vez más, enviamos un fuerte mensaje sobre el compromiso de la Unión Europea con la cooperación internacional y el multilateralismo, frente a otros —ya sabemos quiénes—.

En un mundo en el que la cooperación internacional es puesta en duda, la Unión Europea se mantiene firme y señala la importancia de la cooperación internacional. Este Acuerdo con Singapur trata de institucionalizar relaciones que se remontan a hace varias décadas y se basan en una larga historia de amistad y en estrechos vínculos históricos, políticos y económicos.

El nuevo marco jurídico para las relaciones bilaterales proporcionará un refuerzo de la cooperación entre Singapur y la Unión Europea. El objetivo es cooperar en temas como justicia, seguridad, cambio climático, desarrollo; temas a los que están muy atentos nuestros ciudadanos.

Recuerdo la importancia geoestratégica de Singapur. Es un actor imprescindible para asegurar la estabilidad y el equilibrio regional en la región de Asia-Pacífico. Y la seguridad y la estabilidad de la región es importante para Europa, para las empresas europeas y para los europeos. En efecto, Singapur es la puerta para el mercado asiático y una plataforma para las empresas europeas, con una localización estratégica entre las grandes economías que son China, India y Japón. Estos acuerdos mejoran el clima para la inversión y ofrecerán una mayor certidumbre a los inversores europeos.

Quiero destacar que, en el marco de este Acuerdo de Colaboración y Cooperación, vamos a crear un Comité Mixto permanente, un comité integrado por representantes de ambas partes a un alto nivel que tendrá la misión de trabajar a diario en el sentido de cumplir los objetivos establecidos de cooperación. Seremos interlocutores privilegiados a la hora de tomar decisiones en temas como la seguridad internacional, la cooperación científica y tecnológica; en sectores como la energía, el medio ambiente, los recursos naturales y el transporte, en particular, transportes marítimo y aéreo. Cooperaremos en temas de sociedad de la información y, sobre todo, ciberseguridad. Es importante cooperar en estos temas, por ser un campo global que no conoce fronteras, y porque nuestras empresas pierden millones con ataques informáticos, y juntos podemos anticipar ataques y coordinar ese combate. Incrementaremos también —muy importante— los intercambios culturales ya existentes, así como los programas de educación para jóvenes europeos —Erasmus Mundus, entre otros—, y apoyaremos nuevas oportunidades de negocio y de empleo para nuestros jóvenes.

Singapur puede convertirse en esa plataforma para nuestros jóvenes hacia el mercado laboral asiático. Quiero también señalar la importancia de este Acuerdo para la seguridad global y la lucha contra el terrorismo. La única manera de combatir esa lacra que pone en jaque nuestro modelo de bienestar es estableciendo puentes de cooperación con los demás países, intercambiando datos e información, deteniendo la financiación y así imposibilitando los ataques terroristas allá donde se produzcan.

Este Acuerdo significa una ventana abierta a todos los empresarios y empresas europeos para que puedan establecer relaciones comerciales, no solo con Singapur, sino también con otros países asiáticos. Más de 10 000 empresas y empresarios de la Unión Europea están establecidos en Singapur y lo utilizan como un centro para servir a toda la región del Pacífico. Un marco legal estable es la piedra angular de cualquier acuerdo de asociación. Al otorgar a empresarios y empresas europeos seguridad jurídica en sus relaciones con Singapur, estamos abriendo nuevas oportunidades de negocio, estamos promoviendo sus inversiones, su crecimiento y su expansión. Cada vez que nuestros ciudadanos pueden desarrollar de forma libre y segura sus ideas y proyectos de negocio, estamos creando el entorno adecuado para impulsar nuevos empleos.

Ya he mencionado antes temas como el del cambio climático, y quiero hacer hincapié sobre ello. La importancia geopolítica de Singapur a la hora de responder a las catástrofes naturales y humanitarias en Asia Sudoriental es crucial. La Unión Europea tendrá ahora una plataforma privilegiada para cooperar y participar en el proceso de decisión de las políticas de cambio climático adoptadas por Singapur, aportando nuestro know-how en el combate al cambio climático, una política clave de nuestra Unión.

Por último, quiero agradecer en todo este trabajo a todos los ponentes alternativos por su ayuda y colaboración en este informe, y confío en que mañana podremos aprobar con una amplia mayoría este Acuerdo Marco de Colaboración y Cooperación con Singapur. Creo que es un enorme logro para todos nosotros y, desde luego, una fuente de estabilidad, de empleo y de garantía de futuro, también para nuestras relaciones internacionales.

 
  
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  Cecilia Malmström, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, let me start by thanking the two rapporteurs, David Martin and Antonio López-Istúriz White, for the good work they have done and the long journey that we have travelled jointly, which has brought us to where we are today.

Few places symbolise the benefits of trade and investments like Singapore. Singapore’s determination in embracing openness and globalisation has transformed a city state without natural resources into one of the most prosperous countries in the world and has helped its people prosper too. Singapore has become a model of economic transformation and a prime example of how trade, investment and sustainable development can and should go hand in hand.

Embracing openness has served the EU well in the past, too, and still shines a light on the way forward as we discuss the issues facing us today.

Close partners for decades, the EU and Singapore have decided to seal our partnership through the three agreements that we are talking about today and that you will vote on tomorrow. The new EU-Singapore Partnership and Cooperation Agreement will lay down the overall framework for bilateral political cooperation between two like-minded partners. But we are also very close investment and trade partners. Singapore is currently our largest trade and investment partner in south-east Asia and among our top 20 trading partners for goods, our top five for services and our top ten partners for foreign direct investment. The trade and investment agreements between the EU and Singapore will provide a framework for these already strong flows to develop further.

The benefits of the trade agreement are many. Tariffs on bilateral trade will be removed. Non-tariff barriers on EU exports for cars, electronics and renewables we’ll do away with. Access to service procurement markets will be improved, and all this will create opportunities for businesses and for individuals on both sides.

The agreement further contains a comprehensive trade and sustainable development chapter that includes obligations in relation to international conventions on workers’ rights and the environment; covers areas like biodiversity, eco-labelling and corporate and social responsibility; and gives a strong role to EU and Singapore civil society groups in making sure that these commitments are put into practice.

Ratification of, and compliance with, International Labour Organisation (ILO) fundamental conventions will figure among priority items to focus and deliver on. We need to see sustained efforts in this respect, as of the agreement’s entry into force. And here already the Singaporean authorities have shown good engagement in preparing for the implementation of the agreement’s sustainable development provisions.

The trade agreement was also negotiated together with an investment protection agreement that contains the fully reformed investment protection system developed at EU level, which the European Parliament requested and helped to shape – and I would like to thank you for this support.

This system addresses the concerns civil society has expressed about vaguely defined rules, lack of transparency, absence of appeal, lack of independence of adjudicators and lack of accountability in bilateral investment agreements that we have today.

So, delivering on the negotiating mandate, the Commission has presented for consent an agreement that tightens the standards on investment protection so as to prevent abuses, an agreement that fully safeguards a government’s right to make new laws to protect health, the environment and other public interests. It thus establishes a fully transparent investment court system, a system which, in the very recent opinion of the Advocate-General in relation to a trade agreement with Canada, has been considered fully compatible with the EU Treaties.

That is a stepping-stone towards the multilateral investment courts that could potentially cover all 3 000 existing investment agreements worldwide and could play a central role in the future development of investment policy, including a possible evolution to include investors’ obligations, as Mr Martin mentioned.

So these trade and investment agreements negotiated with Singapore are state-of-the-art agreements with a privileged bilateral trade and investment partner to the EU. And, beyond being a partner, Singapore is a beating commercial heart of the south-east Asian region so, in that sense, the agreement will constitute a benchmark for negotiation with other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) partners.

Lastly, on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, this is, of course, a stepping stone towards enhanced political and economic involvement between the EU and Singapore, as well as the whole region. It provides a basis, as the rapporteur mentioned, for effective bilateral engagement with Singapore, strengthening the political dialogue and enhancing cooperation in a variety of areas – human and labour rights, justice, security, connectivity, people-to-people links, the information society, education and cultural exchanges, as well as employment and social affairs. It will enable us to step up scientific and technological cooperation in areas such as energy, environment, the fight against climate change, protection of natural resources, smart cities and transport.

Under this agreement, a joint committee will be established comprising representatives of both sides at an appropriately high level to ensure the proper functioning of the agreement and see that it is implemented. It will also set priorities and make recommendations to promote the agreement’s objectives.

On regional dynamics, Singapore has advocated regional multilateralism in South-east Asia and is currently the country coordinator for EU-ASEAN dialogue relations. We value that partnership very much and we are committed to ensuring that it will become even stronger. The collaboration with Singapore on ASEAN-related matters has been very fruitful so far.

Cooperation between Singapore and the EU is already deep and wide today and, given the challenges that we are jointly facing, the potential for even greater engagement is significant – founded on a shared vision, a rule-based multilateral system and effective multilateralism. So thank you to the European Parliament for the work that has been done here. We are looking forward to strong support in tomorrow’s vote.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, firstly my thanks to rapporteurs David Martin and Antonio López-Istúriz White for their great work and cooperation on this issue, and also to all the shadow rapporteurs. This has been a long time in the making but, thankfully, we’re here at last debating it and hopefully voting on it tomorrow.

The value of trade between Singapore and the European Union is, for the European Union exports, EUR 55 billion, and, for the exports from Singapore to us, EUR 44 billion. That trade is set to grow rapidly and enormously with this very good Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and I compliment Commissioner Malmström for her work in that regard.

Many areas will benefit. I know that, in Ireland, the agricultural sector will benefit hugely, and that will be very important to them, as they are concerned about what might happen with our exports to the United Kingdom post Brexit. This shows that the European Union is working for them and for us, and is planning ahead.

I would also like to say that the removal of tariffs and non-tariff barriers is going to help a whole host of businesses, and the Investment Protection Agreement (IPA), which I must mention briefly, is a wonderful, progressive proposal dealing with the problems around investor-state dispute settlement.

Lastly, if we can agree to a Japan deal and a Canadian deal we should agree by an even greater majority to the Singapore deal. If we do so tomorrow evening, we can have a toast with Irish whiskey to this wonderful agreement.

 
  
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  Alessia Maria Mosca, a nome del gruppo S&D. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, Commissaria, dopo poche settimane dalla votazione in questo Parlamento sull'accordo con il Giappone, ancora una volta ci ritroviamo a discutere della conclusione di un accordo strategico per l'Unione europea, per i suoi cittadini, per i suoi lavoratori e per le sue imprese. L'Unione europea, dopo il vuoto lasciato dagli Stati Uniti, si sta affermando come la protagonista assoluta sullo scenario commerciale globale. La nostra terza via al commercio, antitetica al protezionismo quanto al liberismo sfrenato, non è mai stata così attrattiva. Grazie a questa partnership riusciamo a proiettare i nostri standard e i nostri valori a livello globale. Grazie alle clausole sulla protezione dei lavoratori, dei consumatori e dell'ambiente, riusciamo a proteggere i cittadini dagli effetti collaterali della globalizzazione.

Per citarne alcuni, mi riferisco agli impegni assunti da Singapore per la ratifica delle convenzioni dell'Organizzazione mondiale del lavoro, per il rispetto dell'accordo sul clima di Parigi, ma anche per il riconoscimento delle nostre indicazioni geografiche, come le DOP, le DOC. Non solo: non possiamo dimenticarci che oltre il 90% della crescita economica globale nei prossimi anni avverrà al di fuori dei nostri confini. Questi accordi assicurano quindi uno sbocco fondamentale per sostenere occupazione e crescita. Singapore è la porta d'accesso alla regione dell'ASEAN, nel sud est asiatico, la regione economica più dinamica al mondo: mercati sempre più importanti per le nostre produzioni europee e non mi riferisco alle grandi multinazionali: oltre l'80% delle aziende europee presenti a Singapore sono piccole e medie imprese. L'export verso Singapore ha garantito 33 miliardi di euro di fatturato alle nostre aziende.

L'accordo, incrementando questi numeri, creerà migliaia di posti di lavoro in Europa e a quale costo? Nessuno, l'economia di Singapore è totalmente complementare a quella europea: dal settore industriale a quello agricolo, nessun comparto del nostro sistema economico è in conflitto competitivo con Singapore. Di fronte a questi fatti, a questi numeri, non dobbiamo avere dubbi: questi accordi sono fondamentali per i lavoratori europei, i cui prodotti sono venduti e apprezzati in tutto il mondo e per i cittadini, che riceveranno maggiori tutele contro i possibili effetti negativi collaterali della globalizzazione

.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, the EU—Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is yet another example of the EU’s highly successful global free trade agenda – we’ve just heard about the conclusion of the Japan agreement – that is opening up markets across the world for all of the EU’s current 28 Member States.

As Britain stands just 45 days away from leaving the European Union, I’m reminded once again of all the disingenuous untruths and false promises peddled by the Brexiteers in the Leave campaign. One of those was that Britain needed to leave the European Union in order to strike optimal trade deals with the Commonwealth and the Anglosphere countries that the EU was neither interested in nor capable of concluding in the UK’s bilateral interest. Yet here we are today discussing an EU trade deal with Singapore, a Commonwealth and ASEAN country, following on from the EU’s FTA with Canada whilst talks on FTAs with Australia and New Zealand are now in advanced stages.

Far from the UK needing to leave the EU to improve trading links with the Commonwealth, it seems patently obvious that, following 29 March, the EU—27 will enjoy far better opportunities to trade with the Commonwealth than the UK will for many years to come. James Dyson, the British industrialist and leading Brexiteer, has clearly appreciated these benefits as he embarks on building his electric vehicle production plant in Singapore and has moved the company’s headquarters from Britain to that prosperous city—state. My case rests.

 
  
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  Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, let me start by saying that cooperation between the rapporteur, David Martin, and all the shadow rapporteurs has been very good. The clear vote in favour on the Free Trade Agreement that we had in the Committee on International Trade (INTA) last month reflects this excellent cooperation. I also want to thank the Ambassador of Singapore and his Government for their cooperation and patience.

I strongly support both the Free Trade Agreement and the Investment Protection Agreement. This is a win—win fair deal for both sides and for both consumers and companies. Negotiations between the EU and Singapore were launched in December 2009. Nearly 10 years later, here we are, finally. Singapore is by far the EU’s largest partner in Asia, accounting for almost a third of EU—Asian trade in goods and services. More than 10 000 European companies have their regional offices in Singapore and they operate in a reliable business and regulatory environment. Singapore is also a trade and transport hub to Asia and a gateway to the major growth economies of the world. This agreement can be a model for other Asian countries as it is the first in this region.

With regard to the Investment Protection Agreement (IPA), it replaces 13 old bilateral investment treaties between individual Member States and Singapore. Tomorrow, I hope we will vote in favour of a new and modern investment court system. The IPA protects the parties’ right to regulate and to achieve legitimate policy objectives in areas such as public health, safety and the environment. Moreover, there is no protection of investors’ profit expectation. Furthermore, the Investment Protection Agreement defines fair and equitable treatment, preventing forum shopping and parallel claims, among other things.

Lastly, I want to recognise Commissioner Malmström’s efforts to improve dialogue, accountability and transparency.

Growth in Europe comes with trade and not with more public debt. Given Brexit and Trump, multilateralism today is welcome and we should keep going in this direction.

 
  
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  Anne-Marie Mineur, namens de GUE/NGL-Fractie. – Voorzitter, ik heb drie ernstige bezwaren tegen de investeringsbeschermingsovereenkomst met Singapore.

Deze overeenkomst omvat opnieuw een paragraaf over ISDS, investeerder-staatarbitrage. Ja, ik weet dat u het anders noemt, maar dat is wat het is. We weten dat bedrijven hiermee claims kunnen indienen als regeringen gerechtvaardigde besluiten nemen die hun winsten bedreigen. En de belastingbetaler draait daarvoor op. Dat ondermijnt de rechtsstaat en de democratie.

Ten tweede biedt de overeenkomst exclusieve rechten aan investeerders, maar omvat zij geen afdwingbare regels om de duurzaamheidsdoelen te realiseren. Daarmee komen de belangen van mens, dier en milieu onder druk te staan.

Ten derde biedt de overeenkomst buitenlandse investeerders expliciet de mogelijkheid om staatsobligaties op te kopen. In geval van crisis kunnen die investeerders dan herstructureringen van overheidsschulden blokkeren.

De manier waarop het Parlement en deze Commissie de belangen van multinationals in het algemeen, en de financiële sector in het bijzonder, voorrang geven boven de belangen van burgers, is onacceptabel. Bijna een half miljoen mensen hebben in de afgelopen weken een petitie getekend tegen ISDS om dit soort verdragen te stoppen.

Mijn oproep aan u is: stop ISDS. Stop dit soort handelsverdragen. En stop de klassenjustitie voor multinationals. Dank u wel.

 
  
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  Reinhard Bütikofer, im Namen der Verts/ALE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, Frau Kommissarin, werte Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Was lange währt, wird endlich gut, sagt man in Deutschland. Lange gewährt hat es ja. Ich muss sagen, Singapur war sehr geduldig mit uns. Ich gratuliere Singapur, dass sie jetzt, wo sie gerade die Verantwortung für die Koordination des Dialogs zwischen der EU und ASEAN haben, endlich zum Ziel kommen.

Die Abkommen zeigen, dass Europa zur Verwirklichung unserer Werte und Interessen die verstärkte Kooperation mit Asien sucht. Wir brauchen strategische Partnerschaft. Wir wollen auch mit ASEAN eine strategische Partnerschaft zur Verfolgung von Sicherheit und Entwicklung im indopazifischen Raum. Wir wollen die Konnektivität zwischen der EU und Asien stärken und wir wollen multilateral zusammenarbeiten. Und schließlich wollen wir die volle Anwendung der Menschenrechte, von Meinungs- und Versammlungsfreiheit, bis zur Abschaffung der Todesstrafe, und ökologischen und sozialen Fortschritt.

But I must raise a problem, and I am saying this in English so that the Singaporeans will also understand: public debt titles should not be covered by investment protection agreements (IPAs). Since the financial crisis of 2007, the EU has had standards and procedures if a government defaults on its debt and the debt needs restructuring. Here, the Singapore IPA creates a loophole. As the German business daily Handelsblatt writes today: ‘The IPA increases the threshold for investor consent in debt-restructuring procedures vis—à—vis the level that otherwise exists in the EU.’

Investors that operate under this IPA would be privileged over other investors. That’s unacceptable. That’s why we demand that there should be no vote on the IPA tomorrow until Annex 4 on public debt is removed.

 
  
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  Tiziana Beghin, a nome del gruppo EFDD. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, non si può concedere alle corporation il potere di fare causa gli Stati. Se vi siete candidati a questo Parlamento, è perché, come me, anche voi credete fermamente di poter fare la differenza per i vostri cittadini e se volete continuare a farlo, se volete che le decisioni prese in quest'Aula siano davvero indipendenti, non potete votare a favore dell'accordo sugli investimenti con Singapore. Questo accordo è ancora peggio del CETA e permetterà a grandi corporation di fare causa ai nostri governi, alle nostre regioni, ai nostri comuni. Le leggi che promulgheremo qui non avranno più alcun valore perché potrebbero essere smantellate da corti arbitrali di avvocati senza scrupoli, non appena toccheranno gli interessi dei grandi potenti dell'economia.

Colleghi, io credo nel commercio internazionale e lo sostengo sempre quando porta vantaggi concreti per le nostre imprese: ma qui non parliamo solo di commercio, ma di due accordi differenti e bisogna distinguere bene: c'è un accordo sugli investimenti, che consentirà alle corporation di fare causa agli Stati, e un accordo di libero scambio vero e proprio, che riguarda solo e soltanto esportazioni e importazioni. Quest'ultimo è senz'altro positivo per la nostra economia: ci permetterà di espanderci in un mercato in rapida crescita come quello asiatico e, normalmente, non avrei problemi a sostenere un accordo del genere che è esclusivamente commerciale. Tuttavia, vorrei sottolineare che questi negoziati sono stati portati avanti con una certa mancanza di trasparenza e voglio dire che la Commissione ha informato il Parlamento soltanto a cose fatte dei problemi legati alla tutela di alcune indicazioni geografiche.

Per questo motivo, valuteremo con attenzione come reagire a queste altre mattanze. Ma una cosa è certa: ci opporremo al trattato sugli investimenti, perché contiene quel famigerato tribunale speciale, che consente appunto di portare avanti solo le istanze delle multinazionali, qualcosa a cui noi ci eravamo già opposti fermamente con il CETA e continueremo a combattere anche qui. È questo il motivo per cui i cittadini ci hanno votato.

 
  
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  France Jamet, au nom du groupe ENF. – Monsieur le Président, Madame la Commissaire, mes chers collègues, décidément, le commerce n’a pas d’ennemis, et c’est bien le credo de la Commission, de ses technocrates et des libre-échangistes de tout poil.

Alors que l’Union européenne a déjà largement abandonné ses frontières et éliminé ses droits de douane sur la quasi-totalité de ses lignes tarifaires, ce traité avec Singapour, véritable entrepôt et carrefour du commerce international, s’ajoute à tous les autres accords de libre-échange en cours ou à venir. On ouvre ainsi béantes nos portes aux marchandises d’Asie, du Pacifique, d’Amérique du Nord vers l’Europe, ce qui mettra résolument en péril notre économie.

Et cet accord est d’autant plus dangereux, notamment pour les consommateurs français et européens, que Singapour ne reconnaît pas une grande partie de nos normes européennes. Quant aux valeurs de l’Union européenne, n’en parlons plus, elles s’arrêtent définitivement et systématiquement là où les intérêts financiers des multinationales commencent.

Liberté de la presse, droits de l’homme ou le fait que Singapour soit sur une liste grise des paradis fiscaux, rien de tout cela ne dérange la Commission. Le commerce n’a pas d’ennemi, sauf que ni la France, ni l’Europe ne profitent de ces échanges, quant aux multinationales, oui. Sauf que cette politique ultralibérale du profit, de la chicane et de la procédure, les peuples n’en veulent plus. Ils veulent décider de ce qui rentre sur leur territoire, de ce qui finit sur les étals de leur marché ou dans leur assiette. Ils sont désormais déterminés à se défendre contre cette politique mondialiste d’européistes béats: ce qu’un traité nocif a fait, le peuple finira par le défaire.

 
  
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  Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl (PPE). – Herr Präsident! Ich möchte mich auf einige Punkte beschränken.

Erstens: Es ist das erste Abkommen, das nach dem EuGH-Urteil über die alleinige Zuständigkeit oder die gemischte Zuständigkeit von Freihandelsabkommen verhandelt worden ist. Insofern ist es ein sehr modernes, fortschrittliches Abkommen, über das wir morgen abstimmen werden.

Zweiter Punkt: Der erste Teil des Freihandelsabkommens. Singapur hat sich zu den ILO-Arbeitskonventionen bekannt, hat sich schriftlich verpflichtet, sie zu ratifizieren. Das ist in unserem Sinne. Es ist für uns und für die Frau Kommissarin, die die Verhandlungen geführt hat, eigentlich ein Sieg.

Im Investitionsschutzabkommen haben wir ein bilaterales Gericht mit Berufungsmechanismus vereinbart. Das, was wir seit Jahren hier im Parlament fordern, ist jetzt schriftlich niedergelegt. Singapur hat sich dazu bekannt. Das ist für uns auch positiv.

Singapur wird sich für den Handel mit der gesamten schnell wachsenden ASEAN-Region als Türöffner erweisen. Deshalb wird die EVP dafür stimmen. Vielen Dank für die Zusammenarbeit mit allen Beteiligten.

 
  
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  Karoline Graswander-Hainz (S&D). – Herr Präsident, werte Kommissarin, werte Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Der von der Kommission so oft propagierte Handel für alle lässt weiterhin auf sich warten.

Mit diesem Handelsabkommen wird wieder einmal eine marktradikale Politik fortgeschrieben, von der lediglich große Konzerne profitieren. Nachhaltigkeit, Arbeitnehmerinnen- und Arbeitnehmerrechte und Umweltstandards spielen im Vergleich eine untergeordnete bis gar keine Rolle. Singapur hat nämlich die acht Kernarbeitsnormen nicht ratifiziert und implementiert. Daher braucht es die Möglichkeit von Sanktionen bei Verstößen.

Doch auch diese sucht man in diesem Text vergeblich. Beim Investitionsschutzabkommen stellt ICS zwar eine Verbesserung dar, an der Grundproblematik an sich, hat sich allerdings nichts verändert. Ausländische Investoren haben noch immer privilegierte Sonderklagerechte am nationalen Instanzenzug vorbei.

So sieht für mich kein wertebasierter Handel aus. Deshalb werde ich – wie schon im Handelsausschuss – sowohl gegen das Handelsabkommen als auch gegen das Investitionsschutzabkommen mit Singapur stimmen.

 
  
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  Jan Zahradil (ECR). – Pane předsedající, paní komisařko, já už sedím v tomto Parlamentu třetí volební období, a tak si dobře pamatuji, jak dlouho nám trvalo, než jsme se dostali až sem, protože zejména se Smlouvou o volném obchodu mezi Evropskou unií a Singapurem tady žijeme už od minulého volebního období. Teď jsme konečně úspěšně na konci té cesty, myslím, že si k tomu můžeme všichni pogratulovat. A nejde jenom o to, že Singapur je dnes technologickým a logistickým centrem světa nebo minimálně jihovýchodní Asie, jde také o to, že EU se tak jasně staví do čela liberalizace světového obchodu. Je důležité, že po Japonsku se tady schvaluje další podobná dohoda se Singapurem, a chtěl bych jenom připomenout, že máme ještě jeden dluh, který nás čeká, to je podobná smlouva s Vietnamem. Já chci pevně věřit, že se i tady nám podaří to hlasování ještě před koncem volebního období tohoto Parlamentu.

 
  
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  Marietje Schaake (ALDE). – Mr President, Commissioner Malmström and colleagues, goods have been exchanged for centuries and over greater distances as modes of transportation connect ever further places around the world. And now increasingly also, because of digitisation, services can be offered anywhere. An interpreter from Australia can translate a book written here in France or a software coder in India can design a website for someone in Brazil.

So, clearly, the EU – or we – do not create trade, but what we can and should do is ensure that rules around trade create a level playing field that is predictable and fair, and that we act with the aim of having higher standards and sharing the benefits.

Presidents Xi and Trump show us very clearly what the alternative looks like: with no respect for rules, uncertainty damages markets and people’s livelihoods.

I think it’s a little bit ironic in this context that I hear such harsh criticism from some of my colleagues, not so much about trade, for example – trade with China – but rather about the trade rules and agreements that we’re trying to agree on. So I’m glad to see those who are showing leadership. I’m glad, too, for our Singaporean partners, with whom we’ve been in the process of negotiating for no less than ten years.

Singapore is a major modern open hub for trade services and investment and a strong partner in the south-east Asian region in general. But this agreement will not make the Singaporeans become exactly like us and neither will we copy them. As always, we are responsible for setting our own laws and standards. I’m very happy to see that we have been able to convince the Singaporeans to replace the outdated 13 agreements that included Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) chapters between different Member States of the EU and Singapore and replace them with the Investment Court System. We pushed for that and it’s good to see the results. It guarantees more transparency, maintains our right to regulate and creates an appeals mechanism; a greater role for civil society.

So those who dislike ISDS like I do should actually support this modern agreement with Singapore. I think together we can send a signal – at a time when nationalism and protectionism and populism are rising – that leadership supports openness and that we stand together with partners for fair and rules-based trade.

 
  
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  Emmanuel Maurel (GUE/NGL). – Monsieur le Président, mes chers collègues, Madame la Commissaire, les accords de libre-échange se suivent et se ressemblent. Ils se suivent à un rythme de plus en plus accéléré, c’est la fin du mandat, un rythme presque frénétique. Et ils se ressemblent parce qu’ils obéissent toujours à la même logique, qui consiste à privilégier systématiquement les intérêts des détenteurs du capital ou des méga-entreprises face à ceux des consommateurs et des salariés. Par conséquent, de ce point de vue-là, il n’y a rien de nouveau dans cet accord avec Singapour; pas de contrainte en ce qui concerne les normes environnementales, des tribunaux privés qui vont favoriser les entreprises au détriment des États, pas de normes sociales contraignantes, des droits pour les investisseurs, mais jamais d’obligations.

Je voudrais quand même modérer l’enthousiasme des collègues: il est question de Singapour, et nous entendons que l’Europe partage plein de valeurs communes.

Tout d’abord, il ne s’agit pas d’une paisible démocratie parlementaire, c’est un régime autoritaire.

Ensuite, et c’est aussi important pour nous, je pointe la contradiction: c’est un paradis fiscal reconnu, un des champions du monde de l’opacité financière. Il y a une contradiction de la part de l’Europe à dire: nous traquons l’évasion fiscale et, en même temps, nous contractualisons joyeusement avec un tel État.

Alors, Madame la Commissaire, vous déclarez que c’est le meilleur accord possible, mais je crois qu’il y a encore beaucoup de chemin à faire.

 
  
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  Yannick Jadot (Verts/ALE). – Monsieur le Président, Madame la Commissaire, chers collègues, Madame la Commissaire, vous avez vanté avec raison la dynamique économique de Singapour, mais il y a une chose que vous n’avez pas vantée dans l’exemplarité de Singapour, c’est la liberté de la presse et la démocratie.

Et pour cause, cet accord d’investissement affaisse, mine les systèmes démocratiques. Comment ne voyez-vous pas que le développement des populismes, le développement des nationalismes est poussé, attisé par les transferts de souveraineté que vous organisez en permanence des citoyens vers les multinationales? Ces tribunaux d’arbitrage où des dizaines de milliers de multinationales basées à Singapour vont pouvoir attaquer les États européens sur l’environnement, sur la santé, sur les services publics et maintenant même sur la restructuration des dettes! Cela mine les démocraties! L’Europe, c’est la démocratie, l’Europe, ça doit être les citoyens, ça ne peut pas être les multinationales!

S’il-vous-plaît, chers collègues, rejetez cet accord d’investissement, on ne peut pas en permanence soutenir les multinationales, soutenir les paradis fiscaux, soutenir les régimes autoritaires: ça mine la démocratie, ça tue le projet européen!

 
  
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  William (The Earl of) Dartmouth (EFDD). – Mr President, it is very good that somebody else is passionate about a trade agreement. Anyway, Singapore is a success story. Singapore now has a bigger GDP per capita than Germany, but Singapore is not – repeat, not – part of a very large trading bloc. Perhaps the ill—informed UK Remainers will note that basic fact.

The EU—Singapore deal is a success for free-trade principles and, by the way, to respond to a point made earlier, this agreement has now been signed 45 years after the UK originally joined the EU. The EU’s method of trade agreements is a bit like Strictly Come Dancing: slow, slow, quick, quick, slow. Under the agreement, tariffs will be abolished entirely on a wide range of manufactured goods, and between the EU and Singapore there will be mutual recognition of professional qualifications. But what the agreement does not require is freedom of movement of people. This demonstrates again that free trade and free movement can be – indeed are – entirely separate.

Now to Brexit. The EU grants Singapore the abolition of tariffs but, at the same time, the EU sabre-rattles about a hard tariff border with the UK. For Singapore, the EU liberalises trade in services. At the same time, the EU scaremongers about impeding the existing trade in services between the EU and the UK. One day perhaps, the EU will show the same sound commercial sense towards the UK that it is currently showing towards Singapore. However, I have to say it’s probable that that day will come only when the current President of the Council, Donald Tusk, finds his own special place in hell. For the record, Mr Tusk’s planned and toxic abuse will achieve nothing. It doesn’t befit a senior politician and it is not in the least bit helpful.

So I recommend to the EU authorities – and I see a distinguished representative here – that they sign a treaty on Brexit similar to that entered into with Singapore.

 
  
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  Danilo Oscar Lancini (ENF). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, abbiamo ascoltato quanto bello e vantaggioso possa essere l'accordo di libero scambio tra l'UE e Singapore. A me sembra incredibile: ogniqualvolta l'UE negozia un trattato commerciale di investimenti con qualche partner al di fuori dei nostri confini tutto sembra sempre solo a nostro favore.

La verità è che questo accordo è stato negoziato in un'epoca ormai superata dall'attuale realtà. Singapore, come riportato nella proposta di accordo commerciale, è un hub sito nella regione del Sud-Est asiatico. Il rischio concreto, cari colleghi, è che il vantaggio di questo trattato lo raccolgano altri soggetti che non sono parte dell'Unione europea e che non rispettano i parametri fissati per i trattamenti commerciali. Le statistiche indicano Singapore come il terzo paese di provenienza di prodotti contraffatti al mondo. Non ci sono garanzie di lotta a tale fenomeno, assai presente in Asia, e di cui l'industria italiana è una delle principali vittime. Rischiamo di aprire le porte a prodotti taroccati di basso costo, di origine malese, cinese o indonesiana, che a Singapore vedono solo l'ultima fase della lavorazione.

Molti dubbi permangono anche sulle indicazioni geografiche protette. Il sistema in vigore a Singapore non prevede l'esistenza di un registro. Le nostre indicazioni geografiche non saranno automaticamente tutelate, ma gli operatori europei dovranno attivare autonomamente le procedure.

Singapore è inoltre un centro finanziario globale e la liberalizzazione reciproca dei servizi finanziari è proprio uno dei principali scopi dell'accordo che però potrebbe consentire di aggirare i regolamenti europei in materia. Alcune associazioni dipendenti collocano Singapore in una lista grigia di paradisi fiscali globali e l'accordo fornisce poche garanzie circa l'esclusione fiscale e il trasferimento degli utili delle multinazionali con la sede nell'UE.

 
  
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  David McAllister (PPE). – Herr Präsident, meine sehr geehrten Damen und Herren, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Ich möchte eine Anmerkung zur außenpolitischen Dimension machen. Wie oft haben wir hier im Plenum schon darüber gesprochen: Das über Jahrzehnte gewachsene System einer multilateralen und von regelbasiertem Freihandel geprägten Weltordnung steht unter Druck. Bisherige Partner stellen das gemeinsam Erreichte infrage und arbeiten durch protektionistische Maßnahmen vielmehr daran, das Erreichte zurückzudrehen.

Auch deswegen kommen die Handels- und Investitionsschutzabkommen zwischen der Europäischen Union und Singapur aus meiner Sicht zur richtigen Zeit. Diese Verträge gehen über rein wirtschaftliche Erwägungen hinaus. Sie sind ein starkes Zeichen gleichgesinnter Partner, um unser regelbasiertes internationales System der Zusammenarbeit und des Multilateralismus zu verteidigen und zu fördern.

 
  
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  Joachim Schuster (S&D). – Herr Präsident! In der EU sind wir stolz, dass wir nicht nur für Freihandel, sondern gleichzeitig für einen wertebasierten Handel eintreten. Zu einem wertebasierten Handel gehört es ohne Zweifel, dass wir – wie auch unsere Handelspartner – ein Minimum an Arbeitnehmerrechten garantieren. Deswegen legen wir in allen Verhandlungen immer wieder Wert darauf, dass alle ILO-Kernarbeitsnormen ratifiziert und umgesetzt werden.

Singapur weigert sich beharrlich, dies zu tun. Auch der jüngste Brief des Handelsministers an den Vorsitzenden des Handelsausschusses zeigt, dass Singapur nicht gewillt ist, seine beschäftigtenfeindliche Haltung zu überdenken. Statt konkreter Umsetzungspläne enthält das Schreiben nur Weiße Salbe. Das ist nicht akzeptabel. Wer privilegierte Handelsbeziehungen zur EU anstrebt, muss auch ein Mindestmaß an Arbeitnehmerrechten gewährleisten. Das ist nicht nur wichtig zum Schutz der dortigen Beschäftigten, es geht auch darum auszuschließen, dass Arbeits- und Lohndumping ein Wettbewerbsvorteil wird.

Es ist eine Frage der Glaubwürdigkeit. Wer es mit dem wertebasierten Handel ernst meint, sollte die Abkommen mit Singapur ablehnen.

 
  
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  Bill Etheridge (EFDD). – Mr President, how brilliant to see everyone so excited about doing a trade deal with a dynamic, low-tax, global-facing, island economy! It’s wonderful to see this, and I’ve got good news for you: there’s another one, a hell of a lot closer that you could do a deal with as well, when you finally wake up to reality.

The great thing is, that when the UK leaves the EU, Singapore has already provided the mood music to say they’re ready to do a deal with us, because dynamic island economies that love to trade with the whole world like to get things done quickly. They don’t take 10 years of monolithic plodding to get to a point where they’re just about to put a report forward. What they do is to talk about trade. They talk about ways to make one another wealthier, and to get products and services moving between them. That’s how it works. They don’t try and impose rules and regulations and nonsense on one another that takes a decade.

I’m looking forward to the same kind of excitement about a trade deal with the UK. You’re going to love it!

 
  
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  Jacques Colombier (ENF). – Monsieur le Président, passer un accord avec Singapour, c’est déjà donner un premier blanc-seing à la Chine.

Sorti de la Fédération de Malaisie en 1965, Singapour, du fait de sa composante démographique à 75 % chinoise, constitue une plateforme avancée de la Chine. Aujourd’hui, plus de 65 % des exportations singapouriennes sont en fait constituées de produits en provenance de Chine, qui sont au final réexpédiés.

C’est donc ouvrir l’économie de marché à la Chine, ce qui, sur le principe, n’est pas une mauvaise chose mais ce qui ouvre la porte à un déséquilibre grave, si ce n’est mortel, pour nos économies, tant en terme de quantité que de qualité des produits, dont les normes sont évidemment pratiquement inexistantes par rapport aux nôtres.

De plus, quand on connaît le caractère à la fois dense et opaque des activités bancaires et financières de Singapour, il y a lieu de s’inquiéter particulièrement. Aussi, nous vous invitons avec insistance à rejeter cet accord au nom de la protection économique des nations d’Europe, et de la France en particulier.

 
  
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  José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra (PPE). – Señor presidente, señora comisaria, señorías, quisiera felicitar a los ponentes. Ya se ha subrayado aquí el carácter estratégico de este acuerdo con Singapur, que realmente es el socio comercial más importante de la Asociación de Países del Sudeste Asiático y el tercer exportador, después de China y Japón, de la región.

Pero a mí me interesaría subrayar más todavía la apuesta, como han hecho otros colegas, en favor del libre comercio, en favor de un comercio justo basado en reglas, en estos tiempos de tentaciones proteccionistas. Quiero felicitar a la Comisión por su excelente política comercial. Es verdad que estos acuerdos se podrían haber concluido antes, pero, como dice la comisaria Malmström, muchas veces, en estos tiempos de globalización, no se trata solamente de exportaciones y de importaciones, sino de cadenas de producción cada vez más complejas donde materias primas y componentes se ensamblan en una cadena de producción planetaria.

Por lo tanto, más y mejores puestos de trabajo, mayores oportunidades para nuestros ciudadanos y más oportunidades para nuestras empresas.

 
  
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  Jude Kirton-Darling (S&D). – Mr President, Singapore is a trusted and strategic partner of the EU and it’s right that we seek to deepen our relations. As the first ASEAN country to finalise agreements with the EU, these will be models for the region and so they matter. Trade is a powerful tool for human development, but trade agreements are not per se a public good if the rules of the game they set benefit the few rather than the many and these trade and investment agreements create a framework of rules in which fundamental workers’ rights are dependent on political promises made in the 11th hour, while international investors are guaranteed new legal rights to sue our governments.

I can’t support creating new corporate privileges, especially while labour activists like Jolovan Wham face tough justice when we should be delivering trade justice.

 
  
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  Daniel Caspary (PPE). – Sehr geehrter Herr Präsident, geschätzte Frau Kommissarin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Endlich finden wir bei diesem langen Prozess ein Ende und werden morgen hoffentlich diesem Abkommen als Europäisches Parlament zustimmen. Das Abkommen ist grundsätzlich seit vielen Jahren fertig. Wir haben uns dann entschieden, am Beispiel dieses Abkommens Sachen vor dem Europäischen Gerichtshof klären zu lassen. Es gibt kein Abkommen, das nicht nur von uns, sondern auch vom Europäischen Gerichtshof so intensiv geprüft wurde.

Wir schaffen endlich auch mit Singapur, das zu machen, was wir mit Japan gemacht haben, mit Kanada gemacht haben und mit vielen anderen Ländern machen wollen: nämlich Regeln für den globalen Handel aufstellen, damit sich eben nicht der Größte und Stärkste immer durchsetzt, wie das viele Kollegen angesprochen haben, sondern damit die Macht des Rechts gilt und wir einen klaren Rahmen für die Handelsbeziehungen haben.

Deswegen meine Frage an all die Kolleginnen und Kollegen, die dieses Abkommen ablehnen wollen: Was wird denn besser, wenn wir dieses Abkommen nicht tun? Wir verpassen viele Chancen, wir lassen anderen den Markt, wir verpassen es, unseren Arbeitnehmern Absatzmärkte in der Region zu erschließen.

Wir verbessern gar nichts, wenn wir diesem Abkommen nicht zustimmen. Deswegen bitte ich all die Kollegen, die sich heute kritisch geäußert haben, bis morgen noch mal ihre Position zu überdenken.

 
  
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  Pedro Silva Pereira (S&D). – Senhor Presidente, Senhora Comissária, este Parlamento Europeu deve aprovar, sem mais demora, os três importantes acordos com Singapura que estão finalmente diante de nós.

O acordo de parceria e cooperação, porque faz justiça à importância estratégica da nossa relação com Singapura.

O acordo de proteção do investimento, porque é mais um passo na erradicação dos sistemas de arbitragem privada e porque vai derrogar treze acordos bilaterais obsoletos.

E o acordo comercial, porque facilita as relações comerciais com um parceiro relevante no Sudeste asiático, porque promove o desenvolvimento sustentável e porque contém compromissos claros de Singapura para a ratificação das convenções da Organização Internacional do Trabalho.

Aprovemos também uma resolução progressista, como aquela que nos foi proposta pelo nosso colega David Martin, e votemos a favor sem mais demora.

 
  
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  Christofer Fjellner (PPE). – Herr talman! Äntligen ett frihandelsavtal med Singapore, ett av världens mest frihandelsvänliga länder. Det borde vara tämligen enkelt, ändå har det tagit tio år. Det är inte deras fel, det är vårt fel. Inte minst många mina kollegor i det här huset, som gjort allt de kan för att skicka grus i maskineriet – inte minst kring frågor om investeringar, och det hör man nu att de vill fortsätta att göra. Det här har skadat EU:s handelspolitik. Vi har behandlat Singapore illa. Det gäller att vara ärlig med det.

Men det här är ett bra avtal. Det är mycket bra avtal med en dynamisk ekonomi i Sydostasien. Och i morgon borde vi rösta för det. Enhälligt. Trots det är det många här inne – allt för många – som vill samla de höger- och vänsterextrema tillsammans med många från socialdemokraterna och de gröna till att försöka dra tillbaka europeisk handelspolitik, att lämna utrymme åt Kina, att Europa ska följa USA:s exempel. Det vore det värsta vi kunde göra i dessa tider. Därför hoppas jag att vi får en bred uppslutning och att vi kan restaurera det förtroende den här processen har skadat.

 
  
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  Neena Gill (S&D). – Mr President, I rise as a member of Parliament’s ASEAN delegation and strongly believe in this region’s geo-strategic importance for the EU. I’ve had an opportunity to discuss this Agreement with a variety of stakeholders in Singapore, including NGOs and independent trade union representatives, and they all support a stronger partnership between us and their country. It’s especially important given that global trade is in a state of flux. The US is rewriting the rules and can no longer be relied on as a stable trading partner.

I am fully aware that some of my colleagues have reservations, especially around the ratification of the ILO Conventions and sustainability. I, for one, am thoroughly reassured by my colleague, David Martin, one of the rapporteurs, who has done an outstanding job and has succeeded in getting the Singaporeans to address many of our concerns with a letter on behalf of the Prime Minster making commitments on the ILO Conventions and an inclusion in the Agreement that sets benchmarks on sustainable development which go beyond other agreements. It’s not just a feather in your cap, David, but also one for the S&D Group and this Parliament. Well done to both the rapporteurs. I would urge my colleagues to support ...

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Jarosław Wałęsa (PPE). – Mr President, tomorrow we will vote to enhance free trade and maintain the international competitiveness of European companies. We will vote to promote not only economic growth but also norms and values that will help address today’s complex global value chains, achieving a level playing field while promoting social inclusion and environmental protection.

Even though sometimes it is challenging for European companies, we are proud to set standards and to be an example in the global world. In return, our businesses grow. The trade agreements have contributed to the significant growth of EU exports. We now have the largest web of preferential trade agreements in place worldwide – around 70 in total, spanning five continents – and we have to remember too the European jobs that are created through these agreements.

Once again, trade agreements with countries like Japan, Singapore or Vietnam have an effect and we too benefit from them. We should take advantage of them in the future as well. Tomorrow I hope we will vote in favour of this agreement, and I will encourage everyone to do so.

 
  
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  Francisco Assis (S&D). – Senhor Presidente, estes acordos são essenciais para uma União Europeia que não se pretende fechada sobre si própria, antes procura-se abrir ao mundo e contribuir, assim, de forma ativa e positiva para a regulação do grande fenómeno da globalização.

Este acordo de parceria e cooperação em concreto, que estamos hoje aqui a apreciar, constitui um bom ponto de partida para um maior envolvimento político e económico da União Europeia numa região fulcral do globo como é o Sudeste asiático. Constituirá, certamente, a base para melhorar a relação bilateral por parte da UE e dos seus Estados—Membros com Singapura, reforçando o diálogo político e permitindo uma melhor cooperação numa vasta gama de domínios.

Este acordo abrange as cláusulas políticas padrão da União Europeia em matéria de direitos humanos, no que diz respeito ao Tribunal Penal Internacional, à questão das armas de destruição maciça, armas ligeiras e de pequeno calibre e à luta contra o terrorismo. Abrange também áreas fundamentais como a saúde, o meio ambiente, mudanças climáticas, energia …

(O Presidente retira a palavra ao orador.)

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: PAVEL TELIČKA
Vice-President

President. – I do apologise, colleagues. I have been informed that we are 25 minutes behind schedule, which means that we will have to respect the time allocated. We have no other option. My apologies in advance. We will keep the catch—eye—procedure. We will not allow blue cards, as I understand was the case before I took over.

 
  
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  Alojz Peterle (PPE). – Hvala lepa gospod predsedujoči in hvala kolegu Davidu za odlično poročilo.

Partnerstvo in sodelovanje med Evropsko zvezo in Singapurjem ne zadeva le zaščite trgovine in naložb, ampak vključuje politično partnerstvo, ki bo omogočilo poglobljeno sektorsko sodelovanje na ključnih področjih. Partnerstvo zagotavlja pravni okvir za močnejše in širše sodelovanje, ki se bo osredotočilo na tematike varstva okolja, mednarodne stabilnosti, pravičnosti, varnosti in razvoja.

Sporazum ponuja tudi nove možnosti za sodelovanje, kot so človekove pravice, pravičnost, svoboda in varnost ter omejevanje jedrskega orožja, ter znanstvenega in tehnološkega sodelovanja na ključnih področjih, med katerimi je najprej zdravje.

Ta sporazum bo omogočal, da se bomo skupaj posvetili boju proti raku. In ta sporazum predstavlja precedens za poglobljeno sodelovanje med Evropsko zvezo in Singapurjem in širšo regijo jugovzhodne Azije.

 
  
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  Andrejs Mamikins (S&D). – Mr President, this Agreement is well balanced. As far as I know, the Singapore Trade Minister has promised to ratify the remaining ILO Conventions as soon as possible. But what I find particularly relevant is the monitoring of its application by the EU. While it’s true that Singapore ranks very high on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, paradoxically it also ranks very high on the Financial Secrecy Index.

To prevent Europeans from using Singapore as a bank secrecy paradise, the EU needs to put measures in place and make them applicable to individual Member States. Recently, a protocol on bilateral avoidance of double taxation between Latvia and Singapore entered into force to boost cross—border investment. The question remains as to whether enhanced rights for investors are compatible with human and environmental rights and visa transparency standards. The Agreement has good potential for the European Union, but a lot depends on the EU’s capacity to require its strict application.

 
  
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  Bogdan Andrzej Zdrojewski (PPE). – Panie Przewodniczący! Zaczynaliśmy w 2014 r. od pytań kierowanych do Trybunału Sprawiedliwości. Odpowiedź otrzymaliśmy w 2017 r., jest 2019 r. i do takich państw jak Indonezja, Filipiny, Wietnam dzisiaj nową umową dołączymy – co bardzo cieszy – kolejny kraj z Azji, bardzo istotny dla nas, Singapur. Od razu dodam, że tak samo cieszyłem się z umowy pomiędzy Unią Europejską a Kanadą. Według mojej oceny ochrona inwestycji, likwidacja podwójnego opodatkowania, tych rozmaitych barier celnych służy nie tylko oczywiście naszym partnerom, ale przede wszystkim nam. Z tego należy się cieszyć. Dodam natomiast, że procedury, którymi się posługujemy, są niestety bardzo uciążliwe. Narażają Unię Europejską na zbędną stratę czasu. Warto przy tej okazji zastanowić się, co zrobić, co uczynić, aby te procedury były prostsze, szybsze i transparentne.

 
  
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  Cristian-Silviu Buşoi (PPE). – Mr President, I welcome the EU—Singapore Partnership Agreement and I congratulate both negotiation teams on their sustained efforts during bilateral negotiations. Singapore has, for a long time, been a reliable political and economic friend of the EU, currently hosting more than 10 000 of our companies and sharing our fundamental values on a free and competitive economy and the rule of law.

As Singapore is one of the founding members of ASEAN and a major hub in the region, I personally perceive this partnership as a solid geo—strategic foundation for the future region—to—region relationship between the European Union and ASEAN member states, one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The EU—Singapore Free Trade Agreement will create new opportunities for new businesses to export to Singapore. This Agreement will give an estimated boost to the EU economy of EUR 550 million over the next 10 years.

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  Jiří Pospíšil (PPE). – Pane předsedající, paní komisařko, já Vám chci vyjádřit obrovský obdiv za to, že jste dokončila práci na této smlouvě o volném obchodu. My bychom měli být lídrem, který podporuje v celém světě principy volného obchodu na rozdíl od současné administrativy USA. Jen k tomu dodám jednu věc. Měli bychom být v budoucnu ambicióznější při sjednávání podobných dohod a zkrátka zkrátit dobu vyjednávání. Zde téměř deset let vím, že tam byl posudek Evropského soudního dvora a jiné ještě okolnosti, ale opravdu přemýšlejme, co udělat pro to, abychom do budoucna takovéto dohody sjednávali rychleji. Já osobně doufám, že tato dohoda povede k tomu, že uzavřeme multilaterální dohodu s celým sdružením ASEAN v této oblasti. Takže prosím jen tak dál, volný obchod má být ideologie, kterou EU bude šířit v oblasti mezinárodního obchodu po světě, a přemýšlejme, jak v této věci postupovat efektivněji.

 
  
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  Stanislav Polčák (PPE). – Pane předsedající, rovněž já se chci vyznat ve víru v obchod bez překážek, tzn. volný obchod, který je ovšem založen na společných hodnotách. Myslím si, že se Singapurem sdílíme řadu společných hodnot, ať je to podpora v liberálně konzervativní směřování státu, v právní stát, v obchod, který je založen na férových principech. Zde bych chtěl ocenit zpravodaje, jeho vyjednávací tým. Nesmíme už dále ztrácet čas, myslím si, že vzájemný respekt obou dvou stran nalezl rovnovážnou polohu v té vyjednané dohodě. A myslím, že to jsou příležitosti především pro naše podniky, příležitosti pro naše občany, samozřejmě instituce. Nevím, jaká jiná dohoda by byla na stole, pokud se zde objevují opakované námitky, žádná jiná dohoda na stole není, ten čas ztrácíme jenom díky postupu institucí EU. Já jsem plně pro to tento návrh podpořit.

 
  
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  Nicola Caputo (S&D). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, il rafforzamento delle relazioni con Singapore va visto certamente in chiave favorevole. Apre un'area importante di mercato e offre la possibilità di migliorare il dialogo nelle aree dei diritti umani, dell'ambiente, del cambiamento climatico e in materia fiscale.

Tuttavia, l'accordo di cui discutiamo contiene alcune delle pericolose misure che già evidenziai a suo tempo nel caso del TTIP: una forma di ISDS, uno strumento di diritto pubblico internazionale che garantisce a un investitore straniero il diritto di dare inizio ad un procedimento di risoluzione delle controversie nei confronti di un governo straniero. Offrire alle corporation il potere di fare causa ai governi per aver protetto l'ambiente, la salute e i diritti umani è profondamente sbagliato. Al contrario, dovremmo rimpiazzarlo con un sistema che obblighi le imprese a pagare per le loro violazioni dei diritti e dell'ambiente, e da subito. Il trattato UE-Singapore è soltanto il primo. Sarà un modello per accordi futuri in Cina, Messico e altri grandi economie del mondo.

 
  
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  Νότης Μαριάς (ECR). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, η συμφωνία οικονομικής συνεργασίας Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης-Σινγκαπούρης οδηγεί σε περαιτέρω αύξηση του εμπορίου και αυτό φυσικά σημαίνει αθρόες εισαγωγές φτηνών προϊόντων από τη Σινγκαπούρη στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση. Διότι, στην πράξη, η Σινγκαπούρη είναι το προγεφύρωμα της Κίνας. Εκεί εισάγονται με τον Α ή Β τρόπο κινεζικά προϊόντα, τα οποία εν συνεχεία θα εισάγονται στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση. Αλλά και όσον αφορά τα προϊόντα που κατασκευάζονται στη Σινγκαπούρη, ξέρουμε όλοι ότι εκεί δεν τηρείται η εργατική νομοθεσία. Έχουμε ένα κλασικό μισθολογικό ντάμπινγκ και έχουμε, ουσιαστικά, μια διαδικασία που παραβιάζει οποιαδήποτε έννοια δίκαιου εμπορίου. Η Σινγκαπούρη είναι μια περιοχή που αξιοποιείται από τους μεγάλους επιχειρηματικούς ομίλους της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης και άλλων χωρών για τη δημιουργία υπερκερδών. Είμαι, φυσικά, ενάντια και στη λογική του ISDS που υπάρχει, το οποίο —επί του πρακτέου— προστατεύει τους επενδυτές εις βάρος των κρατών. Τέλος, η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση φαίνεται ότι έχει ξεχάσει ότι στη Σινγκαπούρη δεν τηρούνται τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα, παραβιάζεται το κράτος δικαίου, παραβιάζεται κάθε δημοκρατική έκφραση και ισχύει ακόμη η θανατική ποινή.

 
  
 

(End of catch-the-eye procedure)

 
  
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  Cecilia Malmström, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, let me answer a few questions. Public debt is excluded from this. The Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) is very clear on excluding the EU sovereign debt restructuring from the investment protection, so here you can be calm.

Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) does not exist anymore in the European Union. We have replaced it – very much at your demand and with your help, cooperation and push, and I thank you for that – with a new modern system that the Advocate General declared perfectly compatible with EU laws. It does away with many of the flaws of ISDS. There are full—term arbitrators with a code of conduct, there is full transparency, there is an appeal mechanism, there are very clear limits on what can be brought to the table, and it says that states have the right to regulate.

Singapore is not on the list of non—cooperative jurisdictions for tax evasion.

On geographical indications (GIs), it is true that this still remains to be done. Singapore is about to establish a register to protect the GIs to which the European Union countries can apply for protection of the 196 geographical indications that were on the consulting list and the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will enter into force only when there is satisfactory compliance with this.

It is true that Singapore still has to ratify three ILO Conventions, but hard work is ongoing inside the Government of Singapore and cooperation with the ILO to make sure that legislation is in compliance with these three Conventions and that they are eventually ratified. As was referred to, there has been a letter from the Government of Singapore on this process.

If – and I hope you will – this House votes strongly in favour of these agreements tomorrow, you will vote for an ambitious FTA, which will be a reference for many other upcoming agreements in the ASEAN region. You will vote in favour of an Investment Protection Agreement that follows the approach that you have helped to shape.

You will also help to frame the broader cooperation between the EU and Singapore, giving our relations a solid and broad foundation in areas such as security, people—to—people contact, research etc., through the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and it will be the first agreement that is endorsed by this Parliament following the new modern architecture.

With this we are expanding the circle of friends that we are setting up with like-minded countries, countries who believe in multilateralism, countries who believe in global rules and norms, and countries who believe that we can make mutually beneficial, fair and sustainable trade agreements with friends and with whom we are contributing to shaping globalisation.

Thank you very much for this debate and thank you again to the two rapporteurs.

 
  
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  David Martin, Rapporteur. – Mr President, I won’t take two minutes because firstly, the Commissioner has kindly answered many of the questions, but also as I look around the room I can’t see a single person who made a critical comment still in the room, so there’s nothing to answer.

I just want to repeat that, in terms of the free trade agreement, this is good for jobs, it’s good for investment and one that we should support in terms of investment. This is the most modern investment agreement that we have ever achieved.

And I conclude with the point that the Commissioner made: we are trying to engage with like-minded countries to ensure that in trade the rule of law applies while some other countries want the law of the jungle to apply, and we must stick by the rule of law and continue our work in promoting bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.

 
  
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  President. – My understanding is that those colleagues who were critical and left were probably convinced in the course of the debate. I have no other explanation than that.

The joint debate is closed.

The vote will take place on Wednesday, 13 February 2019.

Written statements (Rule 162)

 
  
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  Urmas Paet (ALDE), kirjalikult. – ELi ja Singapuri vabakaubandusleping on esimene selline kahepoolne kaubandusleping ELi ja ASEANi liikmesriigi vahel. Leping keskendub peamiselt selliste mittetariifsete tõkete eemaldamisele nagu standardite tunnustamine, toodete märgistamine ja juurdepääs riigihangetele; keskendutakse ka töötajate kaitse ja keskkonnakaitse tugevdamisele. Samuti sõlmitakse ELi ja Singapuri vahel investeeringute kaitse leping ning partnerlus- ja koostööleping, mis aitavad kaasa ELi investeeringute kaitsele, arvestades ELi ettevõtjate üha suurenevat majanduslikku huvi sealse piirkonna vastu. Partnerlus- ja koostööleping aitab ka luua soodsama poliitilise ja majandusliku keskkonna nii ELi huve silmas pidades kui ka aidates kaasa teatud valdkondade edendamisele Singapuris.

 
Poslední aktualizace: 28. června 2019Právní upozornění