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Briefing : 12-05-97(s)



Brussels, 30 April 1997

STRASBOURG BRIEFING

12-16 May 1997

[]    MEPs will be returning to Strasbourg to hear prospects for agreement on a new Treaty at the IGC as the June Amsterdam Summit draws closer and a new government takes office in the UK. An extra informal summit of EU leaders has been convened for 23 May while a draft text will be submitted to Foreign Ministers on 20 May.

        On Wednesday Parliament will debate calls for progress towards a common defence policy. Fisheries will also be in the limelight on Wednesday.

        On Thursday, MEPs will be drawing attention to the absence of progress towards a common energy policy.        

Editor: Roy Worsley LEO 7B/21, Tel: 284.2941, Fax: 2.284.9171

Conversion rates:    1 ECU = £ Sterling 0.70 as at 22.04.1997
                1 ECU = IR£ (punt) 0.74

Abbreviations

PES        Party of European Socialists
EPP        European People's Party
UFE        Union for Europe
ELDR        Group of the European Liberal, Democratic and Reformist Party
EUL/NGL    Confederal Group of the European United Left-Nordic Green Left
Greens        Green Group in the European Parliament
ERA        European Radical Alliance
I-EN        Independent Group of the Nations
Ind        Non-attached

A: Austria; B: Belgium; D: Germany; Dk: Denmark; E: Spain; F: France; Fin: Finland;
Gr: Greece; I: Italy; Irl: Ireland; L: Luxembourg; Nl: Netherlands; P: Portugal; S: Sweden; UK: United Kingdom; EC: European Community, EU: European Union

Mailing list changes

For any deletions, additions or changes of address please contact Penny Bardoni on (2) 284.3461 or write to the address on the front cover, giving label reference number if possible.

EPADES PUBLIC

The Briefing and The Week are available to European Parliament readers on EPADES PUBLIC under Directory BRIEFING.SES\SESSION. The Strasbourg Notebook is also available under Directory BRIEFING.SES\JOURNAL. Document names are as follow:

The Briefing     PREMM.EN        where MM indicates the month - in months with two sessions I or II will be added after MM

The Week    POSTMM.EN         where MM indicates the month - in months with two sessions I or II will be added after MM

Strasbourg    DD-MM-AM.EN        where DD is the date, MM the month, AM the
Notebook    DD-MM-PM.EN        midday edition and PM the evening edition

INTERNET

Please note that details of Parliament's session activities can now be found on the Internet on the European Union EUROPA server: http://www.europarl.europa.eu


C O N T E N T S

Satellite and Cable TV

4

Simple legislation and subsidiarity
4

A Code of conduct for lobbyists
5

Rule change on voting
6

Organic farming
7

Preliminary draft budget - 1998
7

Reducing pollution
7

Health protection and biocides
8

EU environmental law
8

Health and safety at work
9

Telecommunications TENs
9

The WTO and Public contracts
9

Supervising insurance companies
10

Collective redundancies
11

Education and mobility
10

IGC update
12

A common security policy
12

Defence and industry
13

Rebuilding Bosnia
14

International fisheries agreements, conservation, monitoring and Sao Tomé and Principe
14

No common energy policy
17

The future of nuclear power
17

The future of renewables
18

Energy Cooperation with Asia
19

Improving agriculture
19

Regional Policy in Austria, Finland and Sweden
21

Regional Policy, cross-border cooperation and enlargement
21

International Trade Marks
22

Groups


Could readers please note that the agenda is subject to last minute changes. There will not be a pre-session press conference on the Friday before the Strasbourg session in May.


Monday, 12 May 1997, 5pm to 8pm

.     Order of business

.    Announcement of list of subjects for debate on Thursday afternoon

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12.05.97 - Satellite and Cable TV: De-coders and beating the cheats


.    Satellite and Cable TV: De-coders and beating the cheats
    
Commission Green Paper
    
(A4-119/97 - Anastassopoulos)

    The new age of satellite and pay television has brought with it pirates who are adept at forging smart cards and encrypted numbers required to access channels to the detriment of copyright owners, the companies concerned and indeed manufacturers of the technical equipment. In fact, the Commission estimates that unauthorised devices represent 5-20% of the market with a value of several million ECUs.

    Reporting for the legal committee, Georgios Anastassopoulos (Gr, EPP) has identified a weakness in existing European legislation on copyright for cable and satellite productions since it does not cover unauthorised reception of programmes.

    While there are different national provisions the approach varies between countries such as the UK and Ireland where the unauthorised reception of the signal is regarded as theft and others such as France and Sweden , where receiving the programmes as such would not be regarded as illegal although the unauthorised sale of decoders would be. The scale of sanctions or fines also varies enormously.

    Bearing in mind the cross-border nature of satellite TV, Mr Anastassopoulos is therefore tabling a draft resolution which expresses support for bringing national legislation into line through an EU directive which would also provide for mandatory sanctions.

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12.05.97 - Simple legislation and subsidiarity


.    Simple legislation and subsidiarity
    (Palacio Vallelersundi)

    Following the December 1992 Edinburgh Summit agreement on subsidiarity and Commission President Jacques Santer's commitment that Europe "must do less to do better", Ana Palacio Vallelersundi (E, EPP) will be reporting for the legal committee on the Commission's first attempts to implement this principle. Some 48 proposals considered obsolete have been withdrawn and numerous other separate pieces of legislation have been brought together.

    Mrs Palacio Vallelersundi's draft resolution, however, warns against using the subsidiarity principle to call into question EU competence or to revert to an intergovernmental way of reaching decisions. In fact, the draft resolution emphasises the importance of the Commission stressing the advantages of EU action when a joint programme is proposed and, indeed, supports a cost/benefit analysis.

    Concern is also expressed about the Commission's new approach to present general framework directives on such issues as water policy and on the increasing number of consultation documents rather than specific proposals for legislation. Another worry is the tendency of national governments to use broad EU legislation to add on extra details at the implementation stage often leaving the EU to take the blame for any hostile reactions from the media or the public.

    National parliaments have a responsibility here with monitoring and should also be involved in the consultation process.

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12.05.97 - A code of conduct for lobbyists



.    A Code of Conduct for lobbyists
    (A4-107/97 - Ford)

    Following Parliament's vote last July to set up a register of Members' interests and to control the activities of lobbyists and Members' Assistants, MEPs will be considering proposed changes to the Rules recommended by Glyn Ford (Greater Manchester East, PES) on behalf of the rules committee and designed to put in place a Code of Conduct to lay down standards for lobbyists.

    He is proposing to draw a distinction between registered assistants working exclusively for MEPs who would have the same access to parliamentary facilities as Parliament and group staff and those who combine working for an MEP with other interests.

    These would be recorded in the Register of Lobbyists maintained by the Quaestors. Mr Ford is also proposing that, in order to receive a pass granting access to Parliament's buildings and facilities, each lobbyist must:

    -    state the interest or interests they represent;
    -    refrain from any action designed to obtain information dishonestly;
    -    not claim any formal relationship with Parliament in any dealings with third parties;
    -    not circulate for a profit to third parties copies of documents obtained from the European Parliament;
    -    comply strictly with the provisions of Annex I(2) of the Rules, which states that 'Members of Parliament shall refrain from accepting any other gift or benefit in the performance of their duties';
    -    satisfy themselves that any assistance provided in the context of these provisions is declared in the register;
    -    comply, when recruiting former officials of the institutions with the provisions of the Staff Regulations, and observe any rules laid down by Parliament on the rights and responsibilities of former Members;
    -    in order to avoid possible conflicts of interest, obtain the prior consent of the Member or Members concerned as regards any contractual relationship or employment of a Member's assistant, and subsequently satisfy themselves that this is declared in the register provided for in Rule 9(2);
    -    submit each year, with a view to securing the extension of their passes, a report on their activities carried out with the aim of influencing decision-making in the European Parliament.
        It is intended that any breach of these rules could lead to the withdrawal of the access pass.

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12.05.97 - Rule change on voting


.    Rule change on voting
    (A4-89/97 - B. Donnelly)

    Reporting for the rules committee, Brendan Donnelly (Sussex South and Crawley, EPP) will be recommending approval of a rule change designed to put an end to split voting on parts of amendments submitted to plenary. Mr Donnelly argues that while the practice should be allowed to continue in committee where there is ample opportunity for detailed discussion, votes in plenary should be on the entirety of the text which reflects the position of the author of the amendment.

7pm

.    Parliamentary committee meetings

Tuesday, 13 May 1997, 9am to 1pm, 3pm to 7pm and 9pm to midnight

9 - 9.15am

.    Announcement of motions for resolutions tabled for debate on Thursday afternoon

.    Vote on any requests for urgent debate


9.15am to 12 noon, 3pm to 5.30pm and 9pm to midnight

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13.05.97 - Organic farming


.    Organic farming
    Consultation procedure
    (A4-156/97 - Barthet-Mayer)

    In a bid to boost organic farming in the EU, the Commission is proposing to add to a 1991 regulation laying down rules affecting crops, detailed new provisions relating to the rearing of animals. In order to classify meat as "organic" the intention is to ensure that herds are bred largely from other organic units and fed strictly specified natural food with the minimum amount of drugs considered necessary on health grounds. Milk would be the only authorised feed of animal origin. Fixed limits linking the number of animals per category to farmland, such as one hen per 2.5m2 are being proposed.

    Reporting for the agricultural committee, Christine Barthet-Mayer (F, ERA) while welcoming the intentions behind the proposal, considers that there are a number of deficiencies, in particular as regards the detailed provisions. At this stage of the process, she thinks it should be confined to laying down general principles. Nevertheless, numerous amendments governing such issues as the rules on inspection, record keeping, animal welfare and stocking densities are being proposed.

    For example, an amendment seeks to extend the density to one hen per 4m2. One proposed amendment seeks to exclude the use of genetically modified organisms in organic products.

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13.05.97 - 1998 Preliminary draft budget


.    1998 Preliminary draft budget

    The Commission will be presenting a preliminary draft budget for 1998 of ECU 91,307m in commitment appropriations and ECU 84,727m in payment appropriations. The growth rate compared to the 1997 budget has been limited to 2.4% in commitments and less than 2.9% in payments.

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13.05.97 - Reducing pollution


.    Reducing pollution
    Co-decision procedure - second reading. 314 votes required for amendments to be adopted.
    (A4-136/97 - K. Collins)

    Environment committee chairman, Ken Collins (Strathclyde East, PES) will be recommending approval, subject to amendment of a Council common position, designed to reduce emissions from engines used in mobile machinery. The amendments relate to transparency and the use of tax incentives.


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13.05.97 - Health protection and biocides


.    Health protection and biocides
    Co-decision procedure - second reading. 314 votes required for amendments to be adopted.

    (A4-137/97 - Jensen)

    In reaching a common position on a Commission proposal to authorise the use of biocides, i.e. disinfectants, preservatives and pest control products, in the single market, Council took on board some 27 out of 64 amendments adopted by Parliament at first reading concerned with such questions as speeding up the authorisation procedure and labelling. The common position contains a list of substances authorised for use in biocidal products and sets out common principles for national authorisation schemes to be mutually recognised in all the Member States. It also includes a procedure for low risk products.

    Reporting for the environment committee, Kirsten Jensen (Dk, PES) will be tabling more amendments on, for example, testing procedures and advertising, where the intention is to exclude phrases such as "EU authorised active substance."

[Start of Doc] [Previous] [Next]

13.05.97 - EU environmental law - not much respect


.    EU Environmental law - not much respect
    Commission communication     (A4-109/97 - K. Collins)

    Despite an EU Treaty commitment and 200 pieces of legislation designed to ensure respect for the environment, breaches of the law are, unfortunately, occurring far too often. In 1995, for example, there were some 265 suspected infringements of EU environmental legislation.

    Environment committee chairman, Ken Collins (Strathclyde East, PES) takes the view that there is a need for clarification of the legislative process and much more transparency. Some member states, for example, implement legislation through administrative rather than legal means, which makes it less effective and enforcement is also left to the member states.

    Mr Collins is tabling a draft resolution which sets out ways in which the situation can be improved in the future. These include making sure that environmental objectives are respected in programmes financed by the EU's budget, publishing detailed information showing which countries are not respecting the rules and ensuring that there are sufficient staff resources assigned to environmental tasks. Monitoring should also be improved through greater involvement of international bodies such as the European Environment Agency. National civil servants should also become more familiar with EU environmental law, while it should also be made easier for individuals and organisations to bring cases before the courts.

    The Commission too should be much tougher on those member states who systematically fail to respect environmental law.

    Mr Collins also wants all environmental legislation to be subject to the co-decision procedure with an equal role for the European Parliament and for this to be agreed at the IGC.

    

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13.05.97 - Health and safety at work - radiation dangers


.    Health and safety at work - radiation dangers
    Consultation procedure
    (Amadeo)

    The Commission is proposing to update a 1984 directive laying down basic safety standards of radiation protection for workers and members of the public during medical X-rays. The intention is to clarify the terms of the legislation for insurance purposes and to cover volunteers undergoing medical research. In addition there are further technical additions and specific references to pregnant and breast-feeding women.

    Welcoming the proposal on behalf of the environment committee, Amedeo Amadeo (I, Ind) will be tabling several technical amendment designed to ensure the highest possible standards with minimum exposure of patients.

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13.05.97 - Telecommunications TENs


.    Telecommunications TENs
    Co-decision procedure - third reading after conciliation. Simple majority required for joint text to be approved.
    (A4-166/97 - Hoppenstedt)
    Karsten Hoppenstedt (D, EPP) will be recommending approval of a conciliation agreement with Council on procedural arrangements for identifying projects of common interest to be financed under the TENs programme affecting telecommunications. Although Council and Commission initially wanted a free hand to determine the projects to be financed, it has now been agreed that projects of common interest will be specified on the basis of a work programme drawn up by the Commission. Priority is to be given to projects concerning education, cultural heritage, SMEs, transport, the environment and health. Satellite communications have also been added as a new project of common interest.

[Start of Doc] [Previous] [Next]

13.05.97 - The WTO and public contracts


.    The WTO and Public contracts
    Co-decision procedure - second reading. 314 votes required for amendments to be adopted.
    (Langen)

    Following the rejection by Parliament last July of a Commission proposal designed to bring EU rules relating to tendering in the water, energy, transport and telecommunications sectors, into line with international rules as laid down by the WTO after fears were expressed that it could lead to discrimination against European companies, the Commission has revised its proposal to take on board these concerns. Telecommunications have now been excluded.

    The revised proposal was endorsed by Council when reaching its common position.

    Reporting for the economic committee, Werner Langen (D, EPP) will be tabling general amendments designed to ensure SMEs are able to compete on an equal basis and relating to the provision of information.

    Mr Langen will also be recommending approval subject to amendment of a related common position from Council relating to tendering procedures in general for international public contracts, a market worth some ECU 350bn.

[Start of Doc] [Previous] [Next]

13.05.97 - Education and mobility


.    Supervising insurance companies
    Co-decision procedure - first reading. Simple majority required for amendments to be adopted
    (A4-157/97 - Mosiek-Urbahn)

    The Commission is proposing to up-date earlier directives relating to the supervision of insurance companies operating in the internal market. The aim is to reinforce the rules designed to preserve the solvency of companies by excluding certain risky financial transactions.

    This is to be done by allowing the supervisory authorities access to relevant financial information and imposing stricter limits on capital requirements.

    Reporting for the legal committee, Maries Mosiek-Urbahn (D, EPP) will be recommending that, as there was insufficient support in committee for proposed amendments, the proposal should be approved unamended.

.    Education and mobility
    Commission Green Paper
    (Todini)

    Although some 170,000 students benefited from the ERASMUS Programme and were able to study in another Member State in 1996, there are still numerous obstacles to mobility on the education front. The Commission has identified particular problems for low income families and those wanting to pursue a Europe-wide apprenticeship course. An extra problem is the unwillingness of national Ministries for Education to award grants for study in another Member State while a limited knowledge of languages means that most students head for France, the UK or Germany.

    Reporting for the education committee, Luisa Todini (I, UFE) is tabling a draft resolution which supports the idea of setting up a "European area of qualifications" to apply to all higher levels of study and to provide for the transfer of credits between countries.

    The draft resolution also calls for post-qualifications experience to be taken into account when equating qualifications while Council is requested to take up as a matter of urgency the question of providing a legal status for youngsters wanting to take part in a European voluntary service. There is also a need to resolve the question of health care for those working in another Member State.
    Mrs Todini is looking for Council to adopt a binding timetable for the introduction of the measures designed to promote wider acceptance of educational and training qualifications.

    
12 noon

.    Votes on
    - reports under the co-operation, co-decision and assent procedures

Procedure without report:
    

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13.05.97 - Collective redudancies


.    Collective redundancies
        Consultation procedure

        The House will vote on a Commission proposal to consolidate existing EU legislation on collective redundancies into a single text, as part of the 1992 Edinburgh Summit agreement to clarify existing legislation.

    - motions for resolutions on which the debate has closed

.    Announcement of list of motions for resolutions selected for inclusion on Thursday afternoon's agenda

5.30pm to 7pm

.     Question Time

    Questions to the Commission

5.30pm to 7pm

.    Parliamentary committee meetings

7pm to 9pm
.    Political group meetings

Wednesday, 14 May 1997, 9am to 1pm and 3pm to 7pm and 9pm to midnight

9am to 9.15am

.    Any objections to the list of motions for resolutions selected for debate on Thursday afternoon

9.15am to 12 noon

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14.05.97 - IGC update


.    IGC update

    Council and Commission will make statements on progress at the IGC and prospects for agreement of the June Amsterdam Summit, which will be followed by a debate.

[Start of Doc] [Previous] [Next]

14.05.97 - A common security policy


.    A common security policy
    (A4-162/97 - Tindemans)

    In the context of the IGC, Leo Tindemans (B, EPP) will be looking at the prospects for progress towards a common security policy. He points out that at the June 1992 Lisbon Summit, the European Council identified four areas which could be subject to joint action. These include the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) peace process, disarmament in Europe, nuclear non-proliferation, cooperation in weapons manufacturing and arms sales to third countries.

    Moving on from this, Mr Tindeman's draft resolution proposes that security policy is split into external security as defined in the Maastricht Treaty which states, - "the Union shall, in particular, ensure the consistency of its external activities as a whole in the context of its external relations, security, economic and development policies" - and also internal security as laid down under the Third Pillar where cooperation is on the basis of intergovernmental cooperation.

    Mr Tindemans takes the view that the first definition covers guarantees on the territorial integrity of the Union and its Member States, arms controls, ethnic disputes, threats posed by migration and the nuclear impact on the environment

    Matters coming under the Third Pillar, on the other hand, cover threats of terrorism, organised crime, money laundering and the illegal drugs and arms trade. In addition, this would also include social conflicts resulting in racism.

    The draft resolution therefore "strongly urges the Member States to make use of the Intergovernmental Conference to intensify the debate on European security and to reach an agreement so as to provide the European Union with the instruments necessary to implement a credible security policy in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Treaty on European Union"

    As a first step, the Commission and Council are requested to carry out a feasibility study into setting up a European military and civilian unit which would carry out peacekeeping operations.

    The draft resolution also calls on the IGC to provide for a political solidarity clause and a commitment to the territorial integrity of the EU and its Member States. It also calls on all the Member States to support, either financially or physically, joint peacekeeping operations with a decision taken by "qualified majority", but permitting abstentions on the understanding that this would not prevent the other going ahead. Support is also expressed for setting up an "early warning" unit.

    The draft also supports closer cooperation between the EU and the Western European Union and a strengthening of the WEU's military arm as long as this does not lead to a duplication of NATO's structures.

    Other points taken up include the position of Eastern European states, NATO, the Balkans, the Baltic, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

    For the future, Mr Tindemans would like to see a conference convened in 1998 with a view to discussing a common defence policy and relations between the WEU and NATO.

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14.05.97 - Defence and Industry - call for cooperation


.    Defence and Industry - call for cooperation
    Commission Communication
    (A4-76/97-Titley)

    The annual production of defence equipment in the EU accounts for some ECU 50bn and the industry employs 600,000 directly, with a further 400,000 working in the supply and services industries.

    Some 70 percent of military equipment comes from the aerospace and electronics sectors, and 90 percent of production takes place in a small number of states, i.e. mainly Germany, France, Italy, the UK and Sweden. But with defence budgets all around facing cutbacks in the wake of the "peace dividend" and pressure on manufacturers chasing fewer contracts, more and more companies are turning to co-operation.

    Between 1985 and 1994 total military expenditure fell by 5.3 percent. Europe's industry is also faced with fierce competition from US manufacturers.

    In the aeronautics sectors, for example, there are five companies specialising in helicopters and military aircraft in the USA, and five concerned with missiles, while there are double the numbers in Europe. Similarly there are four combat tank programmes in Europe as opposed to just one in the USA, and 16 infantry combat vehicle programmes as against just three in the USA. Furthermore, with giants such as Boeing and McDonnell Douglas merging, European companies are under pressure to go the same way. Yet with the French government excluding the GEC bid for the electronics company Thomson on security grounds, co-operation in this sensitive area is only slowly taking off.

    It is against this background that Gary Titley (Greater Manchester West, PES), reporting for the foreign affairs committee, is tabling a resolution that calls for closer cooperation between Europe's arms manufacturers. This should include setting up a Western European Armaments Organisation (WEAO) to enable joint programmes to be established. He has identified the development of a long haul military transport plane to be used for EU-backed humanitarian missions as a key project where a European consortium could be successful. Satellite systems and anti-missile deterrents are all areas where cooperation is feasible and indeed Mr Titley emphasises the need to continue joint projects with American manufacturers.
    The draft resolution also envisages a re-write of Article 223 of the Treaty which at present allows the Member States to invoke national security reasons to protect the domestic arms industry and to avoid a ban on arms exports. The draft resolution however calls for such exports to be closely monitored.

    Mr Titley argues that if the EU's Common Foreign Security Policy is to be anything more than an aspiration, then it should be based on a strong European armaments sector.

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14.05.97 - Rebuilding Bosnia


.    Rebuilding Bosnia
    (Cohn-Bendit)

    Reporting for the foreign affairs committee, Daniel Cohn-Bendit (D, Greens) questions whether the EU has yet developed a credible foreign policy backed up with sufficient means to promote political economic and social stability in Bosnia. He argues that unless the EU can mount a military force of sufficient strength to guarantee the safe delivery of food convoys then it will gradually lose influence and the ability to shape foreign policy.

    Mr Cohn-Bendit emphasises that the successful transition of Bosnia to a viable democratic state is vital for stability in the region. On a practical level this will involve the construction of new road and rail links from Sarajevo to Zagreb and between other major cities as well as the development of a modern telecommunications network. It is also important to turn the state into an economic free zone as part of a regional free trade market. Unfortunately, the means at the EU's disposal are insufficient to deal with the scale of the problem.

    Mr Cohn-Bendit is therefore tabling a resolution calling, as a matter of urgency, for the reconstruction of a viable Bosnia which should include help in developing democratic political institutions as well as economic assistance.

    In this regard, the draft resolution proposes to set up, with EU backing, a "Foundation for Democracy" with the aim of fostering an independent media, local democracy, a politically educated society and SMEs.

    There is also a call for the EU to sponsor an international pop festival in the summer of 1998.     

[Start of Doc] [Previous] [Next]

14.05.97 - International fisheries agreements - Sao Tomé and Principe


.    International fisheries agreements, conservation, monitoring and Sao Tomé and Principe
    Consultation procedure
    (A4-151/97 -Varela Suanzes-Carpegna, A4-145/97 - Macartney, A4-149/97 -Crampton, A4- 150/97 - Teverson and A4-144/97 - Souchet)

    The House will debate several proposals designed to promote the conservation of fish stocks world-wide through respect for international fisheries agreements backed up with strict enforcement measures.

    Daniel Varela Suanzes-Carpegna (E, EPP) will be recommending approval of a Council decision to ratify an international fisheries agreement concerning the conservation of fisheries stocks which cross from one 200-mile exclusive zone to another. Monitoring is to be the responsibility of the state where the vessels are registered although in areas falling under the responsibility of a regional organisation, such as the EU, inspection can be by any official from any Member State. Inspectors are to get tough on boats fishing without a licence, failing to maintain records of catches, using illegal nets or other gear and fishing during a closed season or taking stocks subject to other restrictions.

    Strict enforcement measures will also be applied if the flag state fails to act against ships registered under its flag which are found to be flouting the rules.

    Recommending approval of a fisheries agreement with Sao Tomé and Principe worth some ECU 2.175m for the 1996-1999 period and mainly concerning tuna, Allan Macartney (North East Scotland, ERA) notes that it is an improvement on an earlier agreement in the sense that it will contribute more to the development of the country concerned since the ECU 3000 per tuna seiner and ECU 500 per tuna vessel will be paid irrespective of the size of the catch. Owners of EU registered boats fishing in the waters concerned are also obliged to make every effort to sign three local seamen per seiner.

    Several amendments have been tabled including one insisting on a report on the implementation of the agreement.
    Against a background of forecasts that worldwide consumer demand for fish will rise to 110-120 million tonnes by the year 2010, with supply forecasts of 70-110 million tonnes, Peter Crampton (Humberside, PES) also looks at international fisheries agreements as a means of conserving stocks for the future.

    In a wide-ranging draft resolution, Mr Crampton is calling on the Commission to draw up a proposal for a regulation to define the EU's position towards international fisheries agreements based on:-

    -     sustainable development and respect for stocks at risk;
    -    ensuring adequate access for EU registered ships;
    -    international cooperation on research;
    -    cooperation with EU regional and social programmes to take account of the employment impact of fisheries policies.

    The draft resolution also confirms Parliament's wish to be involved in the budgetary arrangements of international fisheries agreements and for this to be taken up at the IGC.

    Robin Teverson (Cornwall and West Plymouth, ELDR) will be recommending approval subject to non-binding amendments of two proposals concerning the management of fisheries resources in the Atlantic under the Northwest Atlantic Fishing Organisation (NAFO) agreement. The first introduces an obligation on the part of fisheries vessels to notify the fishing authorities in advance of the species of fish the boat is aiming to catch while the second gives extra powers to on board observers to record and collect data on discards and undersized fish.

    The proposed amendments seek to oblige the Commission to report back on the implementation of the agreement, in particular, with regard to the effectiveness of the control measures and the state of the shrimp stock.

    In another report, Dominique Souchet (F, I-EN) is recommending rejection of a proposal to authorise the Commission to have implementing powers with regard to technical conservation measures negotiated at international agreements. While supporting the aims of such measures he objects to a procedure which excludes Parliament from the negotiations.

12 noon

.     Votes on

    - reports under the co-operation, co-decision and assent procedures
    - motions for resolutions on which the debate has closed

5.30pm to 7pm

.     Question Time
    Questions to the Council

7pm to 9pm

.    Political group meetings

Thursday, 15 May 1997, 10am to 1pm and 3pm to 8pm

Until 10am

    -    political group meetings

10am to 12 noon and 6 to 8pm

[Start of Doc] [Previous] [Next]

15.05.97 - No common energy policy


.    No common energy policy
    Consultation procedure
    (A4-154/97 - Stockmann)

    The Commission has put forward a proposal designed to encourage cooperation in the energy field by defining common objectives such as security of supply, sustainable development and the integration of the internal energy market based on the principle of fair competition. Other objectives include the promotion of renewable energy, efficiency and fair pricing.

    The Commission's role is restricted to "information" and "supervisory" rights which gives rise to the suspicion by Ulrich Stockmann (D, PES) reporting for the energy committee, that the idea of a common energy policy has virtually been abandoned, especially as there is no mention of the need to include a new energy chapter in the Treaty. Council's persistent attempts to whittle away EU funding for key energy saving projects in 1996 and 1997 is further evidence of the lack of political will in the Member States for a common policy.

    Other worrying developments are unilateral national actions which have a distorting effect on the market such as Germany's subsidies for linking power supplied by renewables to the national grid.

    Several amendments are therefore being tabled. These propose setting up a European Climate Agency, the introduction of tax incentives to encourage sustainable development and environmental protection and to ensuring that the Commission has a more pro-active role in proposing specific policies. There is also support for an energy tax and for the Treaty to contain a commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency.

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15.05.97 - The future of nuclear power


.    The future of nuclear power
    Commission communication
    (A4-131/97 - Soulier)

    Reporting on a Commission communication concerning the nuclear industry André Soulier (F, EPP) on behalf of the energy committee, has tabled a draft resolution which calls for the co- decision procedure involving an equal role for the European Parliament to be extended to all energy policy questions, including the nuclear industry, which at present falls under the EURATOM Treaty and virtually excludes participation by MEPs.

    With nuclear power accounting for one-third of electricity generation, there is recognition that it should continue, albeit with more research and investment to promote the highest possible safety standards. The report points to the environmental advantages of nuclear power in the sense that an additional 700 million tonnes of CO2 would be produced if they were replaced by fossil fuel power stations.

    The Commission takes the view that the right to develop nuclear energy is a matter for the Member State with the EU's role confined to promoting cooperation and considering the implications of such developments. The Commission is, however, requested to publish production and investment figures.

    The draft resolution does, however, note that the nuclear fuel supply is based on a monopoly Supply Agency set up under EURATOM.

    Specific concerns of the industry are the need to find suitable disposal sites for high level radioactive waste and the ageing of most European power stations now at the halfway stage of an estimated 25-30 year life span. A decision will have to be taken on replacements, in the context of the new EU directive on the liberalisation of the energy market.

    Other points taken up in the draft resolution include dealing with surplus uranium stocks from the former Republics of the Soviet Union and the dismantling of nuclear missiles.

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15.05.97 - The future of renewables


.    The future of renewables
    Commission Green Paper
    (Rothe)
    
    In an outline strategy paper designed to promote the use of renewable energy sources by the year 2010, the Commission is proposing to double present use so that renewables would account for 12% of total domestic energy consumption. In addition, there should be more cooperation by the Member States and the Commission is to review measures which have an impact on renewables. The Commission recognises a substantial effort will have to be made by the Member States if the goal is to be achieved.

    However, Mechtild Rothe (D, PES), reporting for the energy committee, notes that the Commission is extremely reticent in putting forward concrete proposals for action at an EU level to promote renewables, especially as the share of renewables in the EU has only increased from 5% in 1992 to 5.4% in 1996. Without a much more significant increase, the EU will not achieve the objective of a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions by the year 2010.

    Mrs Rothe is therefore looking for a higher share for renewables by the year 2010 and for increased funding from the EU budget.

    The committee will only adopt its position in Strasbourg but ideas under consideration include a differential tax approach according to fuel, a European Fund for renewables financed through an oil tax and a considerable increase in the use of photovoltaic, wind and biomass sources. More help should also be given to enlisting the support of SMEs in energy projects.


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15.05.97 - Energy cooperation with Asia


.    Energy Cooperation with Asia
    (A4-134/97 - Holm)

    Reporting for the energy committee, Ulf Holm (S, Greens) will be welcoming the Commission's intention to develop links with Asian countries in the energy field. As the region contains some of the world's fastest growing economies, energy consumption too is on the increase with forecasts that the Continent could be consuming some 28% of the world's energy resources by the year 2005 as against just 13% in Europe.

    The Commission's strategy is based on strengthening the security of supply in Asia of a wide range of resources, EU participation in Asian energy markets and encouraging environmental protection.

    Mr Holm wants emphasis to be given to concluding treaties with Asian countries designed to cut CO2 emissions, renewable energy sources and where nuclear power is concerned, taking stricter safety measures. There is also a need to involve the private sector and on hydro-electric schemes to develop small-scale projects with minimum impact on the environment.

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15.05.97 - Improving agriculture


.    Improving agriculture     Consultation procedure
    (A4-132/97 - Redondo Jiménez)

    The Commission is proposing to update three earlier regulations designed to improve agricultural production through better processing, marketing and helping farmers' organisations. The proposal also concerns the definition of less-favoured areas entitled to special payments. Welcoming the proposal and particularly the intention to introduce greater clarity into the legislation, Encarnación Redondo-Jiménez (E, EPP) will be tabling several amendments designed, for example, to improve the definition of direct farm sales, promote water savings and cut out aid for intensive pig farming and products in surplus.

    In future, she warns, more changes in rural policy will be needed to adapt to international rules and enlargement.


.     Votes on

    - reports under the co-operation, co-decision and assent procedures
    - motions for resolutions on which the debate has closed

3pm to 6pm

.    Debates on topical and urgent subjects followed by votes

Friday, 16 May 1997, from 9am

.     Votes on
    
    -     procedures without report
    -    reports without debate
    -    motions for resolutions on which the debate has closed
     -    reports on which Council or the Commission has requested urgent consultation (Rule 97)

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16.05.97 - Regional policy in Austria, Finland and Sweden


.    Regional Policy in Austria, Finland and Sweden
    Commission communication
    (A4-114/97 - Rack)

    EU regional spending in the three new countries will come to around ECU 4.7bn for the 1995- 1999 period with just Burgenland in Austria classified as a priority Objective 1 region.

    In all some 41 programmes have been put into effect with priority being given to job creation, environmental protection and developing equal opportunities. Youth unemployment standing at almost 30% in Finland and nearly 20% in Sweden is a serious problem and should be a priority says Reinhard Rack (A, EPP), reporting for the regional committee.

    For the future, Mr Rack considers that more could be done to involve local authorities in the decision-making process and this draft resolution calls on the Commission and Council to develop the principle of partnership. It also calls for simplification of the rules, a reduction in the administrative burden affecting programmes and a flexible approach to co-financing through the involvement of the private sector.

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16.05.97 - Regional policy, cross-border cooperation and enlargement


.    Regional Policy, cross-border cooperation and enlargement
    (Myller)

    Cross-border regional cooperation is encouraged through the INTERREG programme with a budget of some ECU 2.4bn for the 1995-1999 period and a further ECU 500m for developing joint energy networks. In addition, there is a separate ECU 415m programme to promote regional planning and assistance is also available under other EU regional policy programmes such as the Urban initiative, worth some ECU 600m. The PHARE, TACIS and MEDA Programmes are designed to strengthen links with the EU's neighbours in Eastern Europe and in the Southern flank with the Mediterranean.

    In the run up to enlargement, Riitta Myller (Fin, PES) is tabling a draft resolution on behalf of the regional committee which seeks to strengthen the cross-border element in regional policy both within the EU and with the EU's neighbours. Unfortunately, the INTERREG Programme tends to finance projects on either side of the border drawn up by national authorities.

    Similarly as far as projects with neighbouring states are concerned it is the different national authorities who are primarily responsible for planning. One way of improving the situation would be to set up a single fund designed to finance the long-term development of cross-border enterprise zone to encourage businesses to set up frontier regions.

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16.05.97 - International trade marks


.    International Trade Marks
    Consultation procedure
    (A4-90 and 92/97 - Medina Ortega)
    Manuel Medina Ortega (E, PES), reporting for the legal committee, will be recommending approval of two Commission proposals designed to plug a gap in international trademark law by establishing a link between EU legislation and international rules as laid down in the 1989 Madrid agreement on the international registration of marks. This will enable the Madrid agreement to be applied directly in the EU member states and in view of the wider application of the Madrid agreement, shortly to be extended to eastern Europe, will help to develop harmonious trade relations.
    

POLITICAL GROUPS IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT as at 17.2.97


B DK D GR E F IRL I L NL A P FIN S UK Total
PES 6 4 40 10 21 15 1 18 2 7 6 10 4 7 63 214
EPP 7 3 47 9 30 12 4 15 2 9 7 9 4 5 18 181
UFE 2 17 7 24 2 3 55
ELDR 6 5 2 1 1 4 1 10 1 5 3 2 41
EUL/NGL 4 9 7 5 3 2 3 33
GREENS 2 12 1 2 4 1 1 1 4 28
ERA 1 2 12 2 1 2 20
I-EN 4 11 2 1 18
IND 3 11 15 6 1 36
TOTAL 25 16 99 25 64 87 15 87 6 31 21 25 16 22 87 626

PES        The Party of European Socialists comprising members from all EU states including Britain and Ireland. It is the largest group in the Parliament.

EPP        The European People's Party, once again with members from all EU states and comprising mainly Christian Democrat parties but including British Conservatives, who are affiliated but not full members of the party as such, and Fine Gael members from Ireland.

UFE        Union for Europe comprises representatives of Mr Berlusconi's party with the addition of a 'Lega Nord' and a Social Democrat member, all from Italy, plus French MEPs, seven Irish Fianna Fail members, two Greek members from the 'Political spring' party, three centre party Portuguese MEPs and two Dutch Members who crossed the floor from the PES and EPP Groups.

ELDR        European Liberal, Democratic and Reformist Group, where the largest contingent is from the Netherlands. It includes two British Liberals and one Irish independent, but the 'Lega Nord' members from Italy have now left to sit as independents.

EUL/NGL    Next comes the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left NGL Group made up of representatives of Green/Left parties from Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Spain and Sweden as well as of members of Communist parties from France, Greece and Portugal.

Greens            The Greens, with two members from Ireland, now comprise representatives from nine member states.

ERA            The European Radical Alliance, based on the French Radical Party, is joined by two Scottish Nationalists, two Italian radicals and Spanish and Belgian members from regional parties. It considers itself a 'progressive' left party and supports the idea of a Federal Europe. Its latest recruit is a former member of the Greens from Luxembourg.

I-EN            The Independent Europe of the Nations Group is pledged to defend the nation states and is opposed to further integration. It is composed of French members such as Philippe de Villiers, who led the opposition in France to the Maastricht Treaty, Sir James Goldsmith, Danish anti-marketeers and two Dutch members from smaller parties. It is now joined by Jim Nicholson of the Ulster Unionists.

Ind            The rest of the Parliament is made up of independents, including French and Belgian National Front members, Italian 'Lega Nord' and Ian Paisley.

- 4 -
PE 256.776

 
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