Elisabetta GARDINI : Written explanations of vote 

Members can submit a written explanation of their vote in plenary. Rule 183

Rules on direct payments and support for rural development in respect of the years 2019 and 2020 (A8-0018/2019 - Czesław Adam Siekierski)  
 

I voted in favour of this legislative resolution on a proposal to amend the current regulations that govern a series of rules on direct payments and support for rural development in respect of the years 2019 and 2020. This initiative is important with regard to ensuring policy continuity in the final years of the programming period and to ensuring a smooth transition to the next programming period for European farmers and rural areas. A key part of this proposal is the insertion of added flexibility into the funding, allowing for the possibility to transfer funds between direct payments and rural development.

Annual report 2017 on the protection of the European Union’s financial interests- fight against fraud (A8-0003/2019 - Marian-Jean Marinescu)  
 

I voted in favour of this resolution on the 2017 report on the fight against fraud and the protection of the financial interests of the Union. Sound financial management and a comprehensive fight against corruption and fraud is fundamental for the legitimacy of the European project; citizens must be able to trust the fact that the institutions are working for their benefit and to show that Europe creates an added value, not just another level of bureaucracy.
It is good that progress in this field has been made and that the total number of irregularities has fallen in recent years, however it is important to underline the need for constant work to improve our practices. As such, one key step also highlighted by the report is to press for closer cooperation between Member States and to improve the exchange of information and data.
The new European Public Prosecutor’s Office will be a helpful addition in this regard and the office can serve to further enhance cooperation. This is especially true when it comes to VAT fraud, which by the Commission is estimated to cost the Union around 50 billion per year. This is unacceptable and further action is much needed to close the existing loopholes in this regard.

Implementation and functioning of the .eu top level domain name (A8-0394/2018 - Fredrick Federley)  
 

. ‒ I voted to support this report on the implementation and functioning of the .eu top-level domain. This important domain was set up in 2002 and is nowadays in wide use by institutions and businesses all over Europe. Since then, however, the legal framework used for the domain has revealed itself to be outdated and in need of amending. The proposal voted on by the Parliament will set to correct this and ensure that the legal framework of the domain is more future proof.
The .eu top-level domain should be a clear label for the Union an serve to support the further development of the digital single market. This will require a flexible and sustainable regulatory environment — one that protects the integrity of the domain name, while ensuring a simple administrative framework for European SMEs and businesses.

Harmonisation of gross national income at market prices (GNI Regulation) (A8-0009/2018 - Roberto Gualtieri)  
 

. ‒ I voted in favour of this report on the harmonisation of gross national income at market prices (GNI Regulation). As gross national income at market prices serves as the basis for large parts of the Union’s general budget, including the own resources of the union. As such, the measuring and the GNI data that the calculations are based on must be on comprehensive, reliable and of overall the best quality. The report importantly outlines that the Commission, through Eurostat, will be able to carry our verification visits so to ensure the proper gathering and handling of the data. The further improvement of GNI data and verification is a key aspect for the well-functioning of the Union and in this sense, I think this report is a good step forward for us all.

Situation in Venezuela (B8-0082/2019, B8-0083/2019, B8-0084/2019, B8-0085/2019, B8-0086/2019, B8-0087/2019)  
 

I fully support this European Parliament resolution on the situation in Venezuela. Venezuela is in a staggering and multifaceted crisis; not only are the Venezuelan people suffering through a self-made economic meltdown, but also a human rights crisis with far reaching human rights violations. Up to 3 million Venezuelans have already left the country, fleeing poverty and repression. Those responsible for these acts must be held accountable and all freedoms and human rights fully respected.
In the midst of this crisis, the democratic opposition won the parliamentary elections in 2015. The response of the Maduro regime was to try to remove the democratic powers of the assembly and later to create a new one through a ‘special election’ in 2017. The May 2018 presidential elections were conducted without complying with any international standards, and they failed to respect democracy, transparency and the rule of law.
Given these developments, the only currently recognised democratic institution in Venezuela is the National Assembly. As such, I fully support this resolution and the European Parliament in recognising Juan Guaidó as the legitimate interim President of Venezuela until free and democratic elections can be held to in order to restore power to the Venezuelan people.

Annual report on competition policy (A8-0474/2018 - Michel Reimon)  
 

A proper and well-developed competition policy is a key fundament for the European economy and society as a whole. We must ensure the effective application of competition rules in the Union for the benefit of all EU citizens. An equal and level playing field in both regional and global terms serves to protect workers, consumers and businesses and must be a fundamental priority in all EU commercial and trade policy.
In this sense, I welcome the report’s call for the Commission to increase its support to European SMEs so that they are able to protect themselves and take action against unfair trade practises. In addition to this, the report also rightly underlines the importance of EU redress mechanisms to compensate affected parties in the face of unfair practices.
In a time of technological and economic transformation, it is key to adapt competition policy and measures to the changing realities. In this sense, the competition aspect of the developing and deepening digital sphere will be a very important issue, one where we must ensure the proper framework and appropriate rules. Lastly, I think it is very important that the report underlines the need for competition policy to take a leading role in trade policy and agreements.

Objection pursuant to Rule 106: Sodium dichromate (B8-0548/2018) IT  
 

Ho votato contro a questa obiezione perché il processo di autorizzazione della sostanza sodio bicromato (già verso la sua finalizzazione) non deve essere bloccato: questa sostanza viene usata in sistemi chiusi e con riduzione a cromo trivalente (NON DANNOSO) del cromo esavalente non reagito, come dimostra il fatto che i valori riscontrati di cromo esavalente sul prodotto finito sono sempre sotto il limite di rilevabilità. L'utilizzo di questa sostanza permette la produzione di articoli di moda di altissima fascia prodotti in Italia. Non esistono alternative al momento. Vietarne l'utilizzo significherebbe mettere in ginocchio un'azienda fiore all'occhiello della produzione tessile italiana.

Interim report on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 – Parliament's position with a view to an agreement (A8-0358/2018 - Jan Olbrycht, Isabelle Thomas, Janusz Lewandowski, Gérard Deprez)  
 

. ‒ I voted to support this report on Parliament’s position on the new MFF for the 2021-2027 period. This is a crucial time for Europe with many new challenges and priorities and we need to have a budget that reflects these priorities. But this must be done in a way that ensures and protects the normal funding areas of the EU such as agriculture. This is important since farmers and rural areas are already in a difficult position; if this support is lowered we risk a severe and negative socio-economic impact on our rural areas.
For this MFF we must focus on the new challenges that we face, such as illegal migration, investments and research. In this sense, I am supportive of the report as it increases the budget for research and innovation, increases the funding for SMEs twofold and triple the current budget for the Erasmus+ Programme. In regard to illegal migration, the budget suggested would significantly strengthen EU capabilities including to act both at the external borders of the EU – such as in the Mediterranean – and in countries of transit, so as to stop the flow of people to North Africa.

European Electronic Communications Code (A8-0318/2017 - Pilar del Castillo Vera)  
 

I supported this report on new rules for telecom companies operating in the EU. This is an important step to make the EU market ready for the future and to create a basis for investment in 5G networks. These new rules are very positive and important, as they will serve to consolidate the EU market by abolishing excessive fees on intra-EU calls and text messages.
Improved connectivity and a more integrated market can serve as the foundations for a Europe that leads the way in new technologies, business-models and digital transformation, leading to increased competitiveness and new jobs and opportunities for European citizens. To facilitate this, I support the report in setting up a regulatory framework that ensures predictability and long-term investment that supports technological development. This is urgently needed as the EU is in need of major investments of around EUR 500-600 billion in the area of connectivity. Mostly, however, these rules will benefit consumers, who will find intra-EU connectivity easier and cheaper while reaping the benefits of a more competitive market.
Lastly, I support the new emergency measures included in the report. This includes, most notably, a warning message to all phones in the geographical area of an emergency.

Energy efficiency (A8-0391/2017 - Miroslav Poche)  
 

. ‒ I voted in favour of this report on Energy Efficiency, a key part of the new Clean Energy Package that will enable a clear and business-friendly framework for the economic transition of the European Union. Increasing energy efficiency will not only lead to less emissions and energy waste, but will also lead to economic savings for households and companies.
In addition, these measures will provide a steppingstone for investment and European innovation in construction and other sectors where energy efficiency is important. These innovations will allow for European companies and technology to be world leading in the coming global energy transformation, bringing new jobs and opportunities to Europe.
In this sense, it is key that the Member States do their part in order to foster and boost innovation and investments in new technologies and materials.
Given the large potential for energy efficiency improvements in the building sector, this will be a key sector to look at – and where we need to see proper implementation and promotion of private investments.

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