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Procedure : 2010/0251(COD)
Document stages in plenary
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Texts tabled :

A7-0055/2011

Debates :

PV 04/07/2011 - 21
CRE 04/07/2011 - 21

Votes :

PV 05/07/2011 - 7.17
CRE 05/07/2011 - 7.17
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes
PV 15/11/2011 - 7.10
CRE 15/11/2011 - 7.10
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0312
P7_TA(2011)0486

Debates
Tuesday, 5 July 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

8. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
 

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Carlos Coelho (A7-0241/2011)

 
  
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  Jens Rohde (ALDE).(DA) Mr President, establishing an agency for the management of large-scale IT systems – the Schengen Information System, the Visa Information System and Eurodac for the comparison of fingerprints – will achieve good synergy effects. It will create economies of scale and enable the highest possible utilisation rate of capital and human resources. As a representative of a Member State that has reservations with regard to cooperation in legal affairs, I am particularly pleased that we have been able to resolve the legal problems concerning the participation of such Member States in the management of the IT systems and their influence in this regard.

We have clarified the voting rights that the individual Member States are to have in respect of this agency.

Finally, I would like to say how pleased I am that, with the adoption of this regulation, we will also have tightened up the rules on data protection in connection with data security and on data security in connection with the management of personal data.

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE). - (ET) Mr President, I consider the adoption of this report and the creation of the agency to be extremely important, precisely because of their aim to ensure the functioning and security of Europe’s IT systems 24 hours a day. Large-scale IT systems cannot be administered in a haphazard manner, and responsibility for this cannot be granted to those who do not possess the necessary competence. I am naturally very happy about the selection of the new agency’s location, as it was Tallinn, the capital of my home country Estonia, that was selected. Here in little Estonia we have excellent knowledge and experience in this field.

In my opinion it is a good compromise to divide the seat of the agency among two European Union Member States; thus, the headquarters of the agency will be established in Estonia, and the necessary servers will be located in France, here in Strasbourg, where we are today. One of the roles of the nascent agency could certainly be to raise awareness in the area of IT systems and their security through the organisation of training sessions. I supported the adoption of this report, and I have waited for this result for a long time. Thank you.

 
  
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  Morten Messerschmidt (EFD).(DA) Mr President, I regret to say that I do not entirely share the enthusiasm that previous speakers have expressed with regard to the fact that yet another agency is now being set up in the EU system. Firstly, we as parliamentarians are responsible for the way in which taxpayers’ money is used. We are still waiting to see what added value the existing agencies bring, and consequently we do not know what added value the future IT agency will bring either.

Throughout the EU, we have a whole series of competent research institutes, universities and other institutes that would easily be able to carry out the task that the new IT agency is now being assigned – and without the need to establish new facilities, new frameworks and new institutions. I have therefore voted against setting up this new agency, at least until we know what the added value of the new agencies and, in particular, the existing agencies might be.

 
  
  

Report: Sylvana Rapti (A7-0220/2011)

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE). - (ET) Mr President, it is important that universal services should be available to all and that they should be more uniform throughout Europe. It is not acceptable to have large differences in quality and price between Member States, and concrete steps should be taken in order to level out those differences.

There are, for instance, great differences in the area of e-services, Internet quality and price, so that in one Member State there is nearly a complete absence of decent e-services and the Internet is of poor quality and expensive. We must learn from each other’s experiences and achievements, and move towards a more uniform level of services. Despite some quality-related problems, the single European emergency number 112 is a good example in this area. I supported the adoption of this report.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, the 112 service is a key instrument promoting the safety of citizens in an organisation as diverse as the European Union. A single emergency number makes it possible for those needing immediate assistance to contact the appropriate services rapidly, regardless of where they are. I am therefore pleased by this service’s increasing significance, efficiency and availability, and I believe that we need to continue to support it.

Another provision which is worthy of note is that concerning the retention of current emergency numbers, which are deeply ingrained and widely used in some Member States, so as to avoid confusion. I agree that linking political strategies and technologies may contribute to the development of new public services using highly developed and specialist applications, such as e-administration, e-health and e-education. The proposal to involve local and regional authorities in technological investments is also important. I therefore support this report.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). - Mr President, I want to indicate my strong support for the Rapti report. Perhaps my main concern is that, in times of austerity, European citizens look to the EU to help provide a safety net and, while the actions we can take at European level are limited, nonetheless the universal service obligation is a mechanism which can support citizens where market forces have failed. Indeed we have plenty of examples of that happening in recent times, especially where the financial markets have failed European citizens.

As I said, circumstances have changed and therefore, in that context, we do need to re-evaluate how appropriate existing legislative provisions are for universal service. We need to ensure that the real needs of citizens are met.

Finally, 112, the European emergency number; it is a great idea, but we must ensure that Member States provide timely, accurate and reliable location information on the 112 service. If we can do that, then a full-scale promotion of the number, a European emergency number, is warranted. Like the universal service obligation, it can be a safety net for citizens.

 
  
  

Report: Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (A7-0217/2011)

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, we talk with ever increasing frequency about the Single Market Act and the Small Business Act, which are instruments designed to simplify EU legislation regarding small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Their objectives are growth, jobs and consumer protection, not to mention reducing red tape and removing trade barriers.

Unfortunately, there are still significant amounts of red tape seriously hindering the freedom of SMEs. For example, urban planning sometimes creates a lot of problems for itinerant street vendors operating in public areas, who risk seeing trading spots in market areas being considered as natural resources, or it creates problems for the introduction of new criteria for issuing or renewing concessions, which would be damaging for the entire sector.

Instead, it would be appropriate for the renewal criteria to be tied to the development of the areas and the professionalism of the traders, which obviously derives from how long they have held the concession, as well as to an assessment of the investments made over the years.

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE). - Mr President, I am very glad that my report has been voted through with a vast majority. At a time when everybody discusses debt, austerity and economic governance it is important to also put the real economy at the centre of the debate.

With this report we have recognised the dignity of retail as a driver for growth, competitiveness and jobs. I regret, however, that Parliament did not schedule a debate on this report. Only 40 minutes were given for the rapporteur, the Commission and catch-the-eye. It is in contradiction with the fact that we have put on the political map, for the first time, retail as a driver for growth. It is even more regrettable that there was not a single Social Democrat or a Green in the Chamber during the plenary last night, and that no one asked to take the floor. This is a lack of respect for the 20 million people that are employed in the retail sector, for the SMEs that are struggling to survive.

It is a very controversial area. We are talking about market dominance. We are talking about access for consumers in remote areas, in town centres, private labels, lots of things that require a debate between political groups.

 
  
  

Report: Mitro Repo (A7-0201/2011)

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE). - (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the proposed amending regulation aims to update the contents of the text to reflect recent legislative developments in the field of consumer protection.

Since the current results of cross-border cooperation on consumer protection are not always satisfactory, it is a good idea to move ahead with a review that reflects recent legislative developments on protecting these very same consumers. Equally positive is the proposal to include a review clause in the regulation, the purpose of which is to urge the Commission to commit to a substantial revision of the current regulation, including broadening its scope.

 
  
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  Ville Itälä (PPE). - (FI) Mr President, I would like to thank Mr Repo for drafting an excellent report.

The fact that progress is being made in our endeavours to protect the consumer is highly important for improving the internal market. Although this is a case of a single technical issue, it is an important matter of principle as to how we can improve the way in which we deal with complaints and possible judicial proceedings across borders.

It was excellent that Mr Repo succeeded in getting a review clause, so that the Commission can monitor the issue closely and produce its next analysis of the situation in 2014. This was a clear victory.

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE). - (ET) Mr President, it is clear that, in the present situation, the latest developments in consumer protection certainly need to be reflected in the updated regulation, and cross-border cooperation in the area of consumer protection needs to become even more effective. Considering the limited resources available, I think it is extremely important for consumer protection priorities, procedures and other rules, including IT devices, to be harmonised so that the system can function and not become excessively fragmented.

What is most important, however, is our shared objective of ensuring consumer protection as well as fair and honest trade throughout the European Union. I supported the adoption of this regulation, and I would like to thank Mr Repo for the constructive work he has done.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, improvements to consumer protection law are a key tool facilitating a more rigorous enforcement of provisions protecting the interests of the various parties in intra-EU transactions. The obstacles that stand in the way of cross-border cooperation between individual countries need to be abolished, and an analysis needs to be carried out of the additional legislative solutions which are necessary, in order to mount an effective fight against traders engaging in unfair practices which disrupt the efficient functioning of the internal market. This will make it possible to establish clear rules governing the actions of public authorities as regards the identification, monitoring and elimination of violations of consumer protection regulations. In this regard, it is particularly vital to improve the effectiveness of the CPC network’s actions by aiming to eliminate flaws in legislation, for example those which mean that a given activity is prohibited in the consumer’s country, but not in the supplier’s country. Improving the quality of consumer protection laws is one of the most important objectives for the European institutions. We can only develop and extend the EU internal market by increasing consumer confidence. I therefore support measures aimed at enforcing consumer rights more effectively throughout the EU.

 
  
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  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, Regulation (EC) 2006/2004 aims to abolish the barriers to cross-border cooperation between public law enforcement authorities to detect, investigate and bring about the cessation or prohibition of intra-EU infringements of the laws which protect consumers’ interests.

As we know, the regulation proposes to achieve its aims by establishing an EU-wide network of public authorities responsible for enforcing consumer protection laws in the Member States.

In the light of recent legislative developments in the field of consumer protection, I agree on the need to update the legislation. By removing the irrelevant laws, we will ease consumer protection cooperation between the national enforcement authorities. I think the amendments set out in Mr Repo’s report will successfully translate our pre-established objectives into reality and improve legal certainty, so I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, consumer protection laws are important. The information provided to consumers must be appropriate, readily available and objective. The European Union is an economic union, a union of values and, of course, also a union for consumer rights. This means that we must constantly coordinate our consumer legislation to ensure that consumers can access information and that the laws are followed everywhere.

I believe that this evaluation report, in which we acknowledge that we are on the right track, is particularly important. We will also remain in constant contact with the Member States and with consumers in order to investigate whether our coordination measures are appropriate or in need of improvement. For this reason, I believe that the evaluation report in 2014 is an essential part of this report. Therefore, I have voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). - (FI) Mr President, first of all, I want to thank Mr Repo for an excellent, and, if I may say so, quite brilliant report. It goes without saying that this is perhaps a small step for you, Mr Repo, but it is a big step for the European internal market and European consumers.

It is important to remember that, when we speak of consumer protection, we are talking about something by means of which we safeguard people’s living conditions, and about something which really has an influence in civil societies. The objective and principle in the European Union must be to ensure that the public can have good levels of consumer protection and the correct information on different products and commodities, thus allowing them to live a full life, and one in which they feel protected, with regard to this matter too.

It is also very important, as far as the internal market is concerned, to ensure that there is forward development in this way. For the internal market to develop, consumers need to have access to reliable and up-to-date information. The follow-up evaluation in 2014 is a good thing, because, if we have a goal and a target, we will also have to act to ensure that it is achieved.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE). – (SK) Mr President, current cross-border cooperation in the enforcement of laws protecting the consumer – and that is the key word – is unfortunately highly frustrating, unachievable and almost an abstract concept for many European citizens. The creation of a genuinely effective legal mechanism for the enforcement of laws would therefore clearly increase the confidence of European consumers in the single market, and thus boost cross-border commerce.

The companies, consumers and bodies responsible for law enforcement need a clear legal framework and a guarantee of legal security in the cross-border enforcement of the acquis in the area of consumer protection. For this reason, I entirely agree that the cross-border enforcement of consumer interests should be put at the forefront of the EU’s political agenda.

 
  
  

Report: Theodor Dumitru Stolojan (A7-0097/2011)

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, it is one of my longstanding contentions that Shakespeare has something to say about every subject, including our voting list today, starting with our approval of a grant to a steel plant in Denmark.

‘Come hither, my good Hamlet, sit by me’, says the Queen; Act III, Scene II. ‘No, good mother, here’s metal more attractive’, replies the Prince. And here was metal more attractive before we decided to subsidise it; but of course the least attractive metal of all is what is happening to the European currency. Because the result of these repeated interventions, these subsidies, these market distortions is that we are bringing about the same conclusion that we had in the 1970s, when we last pursued these policies. By all means go for the takeover of industry, for the subventions, for the picking of winners, but you will end, as our fathers did, with inflation, with sclerosis, with debt and ultimately in bankruptcy.

 
  
  

Report: Pascal Canfin (A7-0055/2011)

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, permanence is the illusion of every age. One of the things that is most striking when you talk to people in the City of London is their belief that somehow there is an entitlement to the pre-eminence that they enjoy, that it is automatic. I am sure that their equivalents in medieval Bruges, Venice or Amsterdam felt the same thing. I can imagine those people as portrayed by the Old Masters with their luxurious furs and their rich, embroidered cloths and their golden chains saying ‘no, London does not have the infrastructure to take over from us, we are a natural hub, we are obviously going to be the banking centre of the world’. But bit by bit, as a result of these EU regulations, we are losing our pre-eminence.

This particular report is only one small chip into the architecture. I think that credit default swaps are an important hedge for some investors, they help optimise capital. But this report on its own is not going to bring the end of the Square Mile. The trouble is that it is part of a barrage of EU legislation covering almost every aspect of financial regulation, the net result of which will be an epochal shift in wealth from Europe to Asia, to the detriment of London specifically but more widely to that of the whole European Union.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). - Mr President, one of the things that was quite disappointing about the whole debate on short selling was the use of the word ‘morality’. My political opponents were saying that surely it was immoral to sell something that you do not own or that you do not yet own.

On the surface that might strike one to be a compelling argument, but then you have to look at commerce and the way it acts. Farmers and the agricultural sector short sell. They sell the products that they have not yet produced, often seasons ahead. Online companies often do not hold things like books and other products in stock. They sell those products before they have actually got access to them. What is immoral about that short selling as long as there is a reasonable expectation that they can provide that product or service?

At the same time, governments often short sell when it comes to their bonds, yet my opponents wanted to ban that. Fortunately we did not ban it. What we are trying to ban is uncovered sovereign CDSs where these are used as a proxy hedge on investments in countries that are in trouble. Surely, if we want to create jobs, we should not be banning these things.

 
  
  

Report: Olle Schmidt (A7-0167/2011)

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE). - (ET) Mr President, in order to increase the harmonisation of the European market and ensure that it functions in accordance with common values and rules, it is quite certain that we urgently need to adopt the appropriate updated European legislation. Cross-border investors must enjoy the same level of protection across Europe, and harmonising the compensation limit for investors would help to avoid the exploitation of the differences between Member States.

I think that the rapporteur’s recommendation to add the risk principle to the Investor Compensation Scheme Directive is an interesting idea. This would mean that each member’s contribution to a scheme would be determined on the basis of the extent of the risk assumed by that entrepreneur. I supported the adoption of this report. Thank you.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). - Mr President, one of my major concerns about a number of these different compensation schemes is that it almost appears as if we want to regulate away risk. Investors should be practising due diligence so they understand what they are investing in. What worries me about overly prescriptive compensation schemes is that investors will not do their due diligence and will just invest willy-nilly without worrying about the consequences, because they know they will be compensated.

We have to make sure that investors are informed about the risks that they take. You just cannot eliminate risk altogether, you cannot regulate it away. Investors also have different profiles. Some want no risk: let them be aware of the less risky investments. But those who want to, say, have an adventurous growth model and are prepared to invest money that they may lose should also be allowed to do so. If we try and regulate away risk altogether we will end up affecting the whole investment sector in the EU.

 
  
  

Report: Corinne Lepage (A7-0170/2011)

 
  
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  Francesco De Angelis (S&D).(IT) Mr President, I voted in favour of this report because I take the view that the Member States should be equipped with a solid legal basis for deciding on the future of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and especially because it needs to be acknowledged that the agricultural and environmental impact – as well as the socio-economic impact – can justify bans and restrictions.

Indeed, I should like to point out that more than 60% of European citizens are against the development and cultivation of GMOs and that, as it stands, there is still no bedrock of scientific advice capable of dispelling all doubt about their impact on territories, cultures and consumers. Our legislative action must therefore once again be guided by the precautionary principle, because until we are certain that GMOs are not harmful for crops or consumers, we have the duty to protect European citizens from their potential damaging effects.

 
  
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  Giommaria Uggias (ALDE).(IT) Mr President, I should like to congratulate Mrs Lepage for her determined work in bringing this dossier to a positive conclusion. I have been a staunch supporter of this report throughout, partly because I think it gives real legal value to the text we have adopted and also because it fills a legislative vacuum that has given rise to serious legal dispute between enterprises, public bodies and citizens.

This measure avoids the colonisation of the Member States, leaving them free to prohibit or restrict the cultivation of genetically modified organisms. The amendments that this text brings in will therefore allow the individual Member States to ban the cultivation of GMOs due to the impact they may have on the agricultural system, particularly with regard to biodiversity, but also with regard to pesticide resistance, to the invasiveness of certain crops and, therefore, to the protection of our territories.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, I voted in favour of this report because I have always made it clear that I have many doubts about the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Europe. This is particularly so because European agricultural producers have always focussed on traditional, high quality and excellent products, while aiming to protect consumer health through numerous quality controls and transparent traceability mechanisms.

In addition, as stated in the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs, GMOs cannot be thought of in the same way as any other product: they are living organisms capable of reproducing and multiplying and, secondly, they have an impact on EU’s extremely varied systems of production and ecosystems. This is precisely why each Member State must have the right to decide on GMOs.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE).(ES) Mr President, I voted in favour of this report as it will increase environmental, food and legal security for decisions taken in Europe with regard to transgenic crops.

The report improves the Commission's proposal because it adds guarantees and specifies the reasons for justifying restrictions at a local level. Its adoption will make it possible for complementary environmental evaluations at local level, contradictory data between local and Community level studies, or the emergence of new data and scientific evidence since the general evaluation was made to justify new restrictions, on a case by case basis, as well as linked to geographical areas.

Other evaluation factors for authorising these crops, such as soil management, are also incorporated, these factors being closely connected with regulated coexistence between transgenic and non-transgenic crops.

Finally, I believe it is a good move to change the legal basis and to refer the authorisations of the Treaties to the environmental content, instead of to the clause on the internal market, as it improves legal certainty but, also, transmits values.

In these very sensitive issues it is better to regulate from the point of view of the environment rather than trade.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE).(IT) Mr President, personally I have always taken a very cautious stance on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Indeed, I think that in the absence of scientific evidence assuring their absolute harmlessness to health and in light of serious economic criticisms - particularly in countries with a strong focus on quality and tradition – we need to be guided by the precautionary principle on this issue.

We are therefore in favour of research whereby all the facts are brought to light but we reject unrestricted introduction ahead of clear, binding and universal rules on coexistence between traditional, organic and genetically modified crops, and on non-contamination. I should also have liked to have seen greater courage from the Commission in setting out a cautious way forward, but there are positive aspects here that we should welcome. In particular, the Commission has taken the unprecedented step of allowing Member States to prohibit the growth of genetically modified organisms on agricultural and environmental grounds, thereby strengthening our legal position in view of possible disputes before the World Trade Organisation.

That is why I voted in favour of this proposal for legislation.

 
  
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  Horst Schnellhardt (PPE).(DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I have voted against the report, not because I felt that the Commission proposal was wrong, but because I saw an opportunity to get out of the muddle which the Member States currently find themselves in. However, we have decided to do exactly the opposite.

Several years ago we adopted legislation on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This clearly specifies the coexistence of the three forms of cultivation: organic, conventional and genetically modified. Now we have decided that we cannot have coexistence for GMOs. That is the decision that is being made today.

This means that we have taken a decision which contradicts our other previous decisions. Then, on top of that, we say that we need a scientific basis and call the actions of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) into question. After this the Commissioner is asked to restructure the EFSA. Well, my goodness, do we really only believe what we have heard somewhere else about panic and ideological principles? We should stop and think carefully about what we are actually doing here.

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE). - Mr President, I understand that the issue of GMO cultivation may concern Europe’s people, but there is too much emotion in the debate. We have to move from perception and myth to scientific research. It is very important not to undermine the European Safety Agency if it ascertains, on the basis of data and facts, that a specific GMO is safe. It is, of course, necessary to respect the right of Member States to decide how to use their own territory, but I voted against.

If we enable the cultivation of GMOs to be banned for reasons of public order, ethics or public morality we open a Pandora’s box by enabling society to decide what to ban on the basis of what is popular and not what is safe. We need harmonised rules in the European Union based on science.

In the last ten years, over EUR 200 million has been spent on research and risk assessment and so far no evidence has been found to show that GMO crops are harmful. We have to think about feeding 8 billion people in the world and a future generation. Research has to continue. We have to find modern breeds of crops.

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE). - (ET) Mr President, I am convinced that, regardless of the level of monitoring that is applied, it is a fact that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) do not recognise boundaries between fields or national borders, and a small human error is enough to disturb the natural balance, which may already threaten our biological diversity. I voted in favour of the report, because I consider the decision to permit Member States to limit or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs on their territory to be a positive step.

It is simply irresponsible to permit GMOs in a situation where there is no direct need for increased agricultural production and there is no certainty regarding their safety, and, I would like to emphasise once again, it may cause irreversible damage. The use of GMOs may indeed increase the scale of production and primarily benefit merchants, but studies have shown that their nutritional value is low, and the use of GMOs makes agricultural producers dependent on the commercial interests of large corporations.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I do not want to conceal the fact that I take a very critical approach to this report and have therefore voted against it. I am concerned that it will result in a patchwork of different regulations in the individual states. There is no possibility of any countries going it alone because products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are already being sold on the internal market. Therefore, Europe will be turning its back on a technology which has enough potential that it is worth researching into it in more detail.

Genetically modified (GM) crops offer significant opportunities, but also involve risks. This is why we need to have an honest debate on this subject in society and in the business community. For this reason, it is particularly important that we carry out thorough research into this technology and continue to develop it in a responsible way. However, in order to achieve this, we must have permission to do the research. With good reason, Europe has put in place one of the world’s most stringent approval procedures. No products containing GMOs will come onto the European market unless it can be guaranteed that they are completely harmless to human health and the environment, because the safety of people and of the environment are our highest priorities.

 
  
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  Ville Itälä (PPE). - (FI) Mr President, as we have heard here, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) unquestionably have potential and importance, but we do not have enough information on the risks associated with them.

I also think that it is a matter of who decides these things, and what motivates them to do so. I myself would like my country, Finland, to be able to decide on as wide a ban as possible, if it so wishes, and not to have to ask for permission separately for each crop. Because of this, for the most part today, I voted differently from most of the members of my group.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). - Mr President, I too welcome the outcome of the vote on this report. What we are doing here is supporting a proper legal basis whereby Member States, if they choose, can ban the cultivation of GM crops. We are trying to give some legal certainty and it makes no sense if we have one case after another in the Court of Justice. We want to ensure freedom of choice for consumers and farmers and we are trying to do this in a reasonable, practical and workable way.

I was happy to see some amendments carried from my own group, in particular Amendment 44, where it states that the long-term environmental effects of GMO crops, as well as their potential effects on untargeted organisms, should be rigorously assessed. Also paragraph 47, which came from the ALDE Group, was voted through and it allowed grounds such as the maintenance of local biodiversity and the need to ensure seed purity to be used. Today we have applied the precautionary principle and that is wise. Finally, we asked the Council and Commission to ensure that necessary resources for independent researchers on the potential risks of GMO would be in place, and I think that was a good move on our part.

 
  
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  Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL). - Mr President, I voted in favour of the Lepage report because I oppose the spread of genetically modified organisms. The pro-GMO agenda is driven by six major food corporations led by Monsanto. They are backed up by some of the right wing in this Parliament and other parliaments who have opposed here today the support for even the extremely limited requirement for a risk assessment before authorising a new GMO variety.

The companies’ profits are rising dramatically as their stranglehold over agricultural production is increased. As a result of their control over these seeds, farmers are forced to buy the seeds, causing prices to rise dramatically. They are forced to buy them from these same corporations, as they have no other choice. The environment also suffers through the loss of biodiversity and the growth of weed resistance, which leads to the use of even more harmful pesticides and the crushing of sustainable farming.

Finally, consumers also suffer from the bad impact on human health of the increased use of chemicals in farming as well as the unknown impact of GM.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE). - (LT) Mr President, today we voted on the rather controversial issue of the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 61% of Europeans consider that GM food makes them feel uneasy, and the same proportion disagree with the idea that the development of GM food should be encouraged. However, it should be recognised that a significant proportion, 21% of Europeans, welcome GMOs and say they believe that GMOs should not have damaging effects on future generations. Like statements that GMOs will resolve the issue of food shortages, the negative or positive impact has yet to be proven either way scientifically. This means that it is impossible to find a one-size-fits-all solution for Member States. The approach in the Member States also varies, therefore the proposal to allow countries themselves to be given the opportunity to restrict the cultivation of GMOs on their territory is completely correct. I therefore voted in favour of the report by Corinne Lepage.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE). – (SK) Mr President, we have voted for a directive which makes it possible for Member States to restrict or ban genetically modified organisms (GMOs). There are potential long-term cumulative effects, direct and indirect effects, effects on human health and also environmental effects. As we know, there are also three main reasons, or three categories under which we assess GMOs. These are: environmental issues, including pesticide resistance issues; secondly, socio-economic reasons, as there are costs for decontamination; finally, land-use planning and land management as such. It is necessary to assess the safety risks, as well as the rules on the coexistence of different varieties.

I am opposed to wasting land in the controversial effort to sow large areas with GMO organisms in order to produce so-called green fuels for motor vehicles. On the contrary, such activities directly increase the price of other foods, while making no particular contribution to the environment. Incidentally, a majority of citizens are opposed to sowing our land with GMOs, and I would rely on the European Food Safety Authority, which produces expert assessments in this area.

 
  
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  Mario Pirillo (S&D).(IT) Mr President, today we voted on the vexed and controversial issue of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Offering Member States the chance to prohibit or restrict the cultivation of GMOs in their territory means that the European Union will surrender its leading role on this most delicate of issues.

Many questions remain to be answered. Do we know what the long-term effects will be on the ecosystem? Are we reasonably sure that the use of GMOs does not carry serious health risks? Are we sure that consumers whose government has banned their cultivation will not find themselves eating them anyway?

We are a long way from any definitive answers. The only thing I know for sure is that both the Commission and the Member States should guarantee that the necessary resources will be made available for independent research, and that GMOs will not be merely a short-cut to profit.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, this is precisely the kind of sensitive issue that ought to be dealt with through the national democratic mechanisms and procedures of each state. I quite understand why it is an issue on which tempers run high; a number of my constituents feel that there is something intrinsically eerie about, let us say, a tomato that contains anti-freezing genes taken from arctic fish.

Personally I do not share those concerns; we have been practising genetic manipulation since Neolithic times. We have created for our convenience breeds which would not survive a day in the wild without human stewardship. If some cataclysm were to eradicate our species it would be the weeds that we have spent thousands of years fighting that would take over and the crops that we have spent thousands of years protecting that would be wiped out.

For example, we have created cattle that lactate in such quantities that they could not exist without human care; the ancestor of the modern chicken laid something like five eggs a year. But the point is that, wherever I stand on this, it should be up to individual consumers to make the choice themselves or, if we must have regulation, it should be national regulation, answerable through parliaments to people. You would have thought that with what is going on in Europe at the moment we would have had other things to worry about.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution (B7-0379/2011)

 
  
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  Jens Rohde (ALDE). - Mr President, this has been a very sensitive debate. I think it is fair to say that a number of EU Member States had to review and amend their constitutions to ensure accession to the EU.

The European Parliament cannot accept one of the Member States bending its constitution in a way that is not in conformity with EU values and fundamental rights. The Hungarian Constitution is alarming for a number of reasons. In particular, the Constitution contains provisions that could lead to discrimination against certain groups in society, namely ethnic, religious and sexual minorities. I am content that we, the European Parliament, have sent a strong message to the Hungarian authorities. We will not accept a Member State that does not explicitly protect all fundamental rights.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE). – (SK) Mr President, the Hungarian Constitution is a typical example of how the European Parliament should not get involved in the constitution of another Member State, but since we are debating it, I have to say that my fellow Members from Hungary have done something interesting in defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and in talking about respect for life from birth to natural death. On this matter, I agree with what Hungary, as a sovereign country, has put into its own Constitution.

Hungary has failed in other political areas, however, and particularly in terms of demographics, where it needs Hungarians from Slovakia and Romania, and still dreams of rewriting the Treaty of Trianon and promoting the nationalistic dream of a Greater Hungary. The new Hungarian Constitution has strong extra-territorial elements, and it focuses on the promotion of dual citizenship, votes for Hungarians from across the border in elections, the promotion of a specific interpretation of the Kosovo precedent – involving the possibility of violating state and territorial integrity, for example that of the Slovak Republic – and it is anti-European and anti-Slovak, and I have therefore abstained on this issue.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI). - Mr President, as someone who believes in the sovereignty of the nation state, I voted against this motion for a resolution on the revised Hungarian Constitution. Yet again we see the interference of this House in the internal affairs of a Member State, seeking to force its opinion on the Hungarian people. Let us not forget that the democratically-elected parliament of Hungary adopted this new Constitution by more than two-thirds this year. The representatives of the people of Hungary support the Constitution, so what right have we to reject it?

Sadly, what appears to have motivated such angst in this place is that the Hungarian Constitution is clear in matters about marriage and the family. I for one respect the position of Hungary and reject the attempts of this House to interfere in its internal affairs.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). - Mr President, while there are some positive statements in this resolution, I have some concerns and could therefore not support it, in particular recital H, which speaks of ‘unclear wording when defining basic notions such as “family” and the right to life from the moment of conception’. I have not read the wording, which is described as unclear; however, there are many clear references to the term ‘family’ in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and, indeed, in the Charter of Fundamental Rights which we have recently appended to the Treaty of Lisbon.

According to Article 33 of the Charter, ‘the family shall enjoy legal, economic and social protection’. That seems pretty clear to me. Indeed the word ‘family’ appears five times in the Charter and six times in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I know there are many in this House who would like to get rid of the word ‘family’ but I simply do not support that view.

Furthermore, the right to life from the moment of conception or not is a matter for Member States to decide. Time and time again we have this useless debate in this House. Member States have the right to make their own decisions on their own territory – I support that. I do not seek to push my pro-life views on other Member States. I believe citizens of all Member States have the right to make their own decisions in this matter, and I am supported on this by the Treaties.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE). – (SK) Mr President, the European project is made possible by Member States voluntarily surrendering part of their sovereignty to the European Union. We must respect the voluntary nature of the arrangement, and European institutions should not speak out on issues that fall within the competence of nation states.

The socialists do not want Hungary to defend the notion of a family made up of a man and a woman, or to protect the life of the unborn child in its Constitution. Tomorrow, they may want Slovakia, for example, to give up the reference to St Cyril and St Methodius, or to enshrine the right to euthanasia or some of the so-called new human rights in its Constitution.

Some fellow Members call on Hungary to respect the territorial integrity of neighbouring states, although the Hungarian Constitution does not call this into question. Every Member State has the right to adopt the Constitution its citizens consider to be the best. It is the European Court and not the European Parliament that decides on the non-conformity of the laws of a Member State with EU law. I have therefore not supported the resolution.

 
  
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  Zbigniew Ziobro (ECR).(PL) Mr President, the adoption of a new Hungarian Constitution has become an excuse for the left-wing and liberal parties in the European Parliament to mount a highly emotional and often even aggressive attack, lacking any substantive basis, on Hungary under Prime Minister Orbán’s right-wing government. Leaving aside the issue of whether the European Parliament is overstepping its mandate and competencies and its powers under the Treaty of Lisbon by debating the Constitution of a sovereign Member State, there has been a striking lack of understanding for fundamental ideas such as sovereignty, democracy and tolerance during this debate.

After all, no one can forbid a sovereign state from referring to God, Christianity and traditional values in its Constitution. No one can dispute the fact that Hungary chose this Constitution by way of a democratic choice by the majority of its people, in free and democratic elections. Finally, tolerance means respect for the views of others, views which we need not necessarily share. Since we expect tolerance, let us also be tolerant. I am appealing here to the representatives of the left-wing and liberal parties in the European Parliament.

 
  
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  Nicole Sinclaire (NI). - Mr President, once again here we have the European Union trying to interfere on matters concerning a national state. It should be the people and a country’s elected government who decide matters of national importance, together with conscience. For a period of 45 years the Hungarian people were under Communism and the Supreme Soviet and they decided the daily lives of the people of Hungary and yet here we have the European Union doing the same. Let the people be free; let the people decide. The European Union has no right to decide on Member State issues.

 
  
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  Jacek Olgierd Kurski (ECR).(PL) Mr President, in the Chamber today we have witnessed unacceptable interference by the European Parliament in Hungary’s sovereign affairs. The attack on the Hungarian Constitution is being used as an excuse by the proponents of European political correctness to take revenge for the existence of an effective conservatism, and to take revenge on the Fidesz party, which is effectively pulling the country out of the bankruptcy to which it was driven by the socialist and post-Communist governments.

Meanwhile, the Hungarian Constitution represents a return to a world of simple values: marriage is at long last the name given to a union between a man and a woman, the Communist times are at long last called a time of tyranny, and the state is at long last the source of regeneration of the national community. The European Parliament should maybe turn its attention to those countries where democracy is really being violated, such as Poland, for example, where independent journalists who are critical of the authorities are sacked from their jobs, where at 6 o’clock in the morning the special services enter the home of an Internet user who operates a portal which is critical of the authorities, and where the leader of the opposition is ordered to undergo psychiatric tests. Since generations of Hungarians will be proud of their Constitution, it is better for the European Parliament to turn its attention to cases where democracy really is being violated in Europe, such as those in Poland.

 
  
  

Report: Bas Eickhout (A7-0219/2011)

 
  
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  Jens Rohde (ALDE).(DA) Mr President, over the last year and a half, the European Parliament has tabled numerous reports, energy action plans and energy strategies. We have worked towards setting some ambitious goals in order to create a greener world to live in, but also to create innovation and jobs. The vote that we have undertaken today has made Parliament a complete laughing stock, because we have voted against almost everything that we have voted in favour of over the last year and a half. There is therefore only one positive thing to say about this vote and that is that the whole report was rejected. This means, at least, that the objectives that we have set in the various action plans, strategies and reports in the last year will still remain in place. If the report had been adopted today they would have been superseded by the new, far less ambitious objectives, and that would not have been good for Europe. It is certainly not good for Europe, either, that we are unable to find a way to speak with one voice when we negotiate at international level. It was a disheartening vote that we witnessed today.

 
  
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  Ville Itälä (PPE). - (FI) Mr President, as we are discussing here whether the target should be 30% or 25%, I would say that it is probably not difficult to accept that high targets are a good thing. I myself am prepared to accept a 30% target.

We always have to bear in mind, however, how industry will go along with this. This is about European jobs: if industry cannot keep up, the jobs may go to countries where they are not bothered about percentages at all. In other words, we just need to find a balance.

We should also remember that, when we are talking about the financial framework and the budget, we need to invest in innovation, to be able to discover the energy-efficient solutions and new innovations that we could employ to reach this target.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, systematic reductions in carbon dioxide emission levels are having a negative impact on the economies of countries such as Poland, which are based on hard coal combustion. The ongoing decarbonisation of the energy sector, which reflects an ambition to entirely eliminate CO2 emissions, may result in a significant economic recession, both in developing countries and in highly developed countries. An increase in energy prices, resulting from necessary changes to the way in which this energy is obtained and associated investments, may contribute significantly to worsening the economic situation of industrial regions. The ambitious standards already in force for exhaust gas emissions from various types of motor vehicle increase transport costs, and mean that manufacturers need to spend more on innovations. The introduction of high targets for greenhouse gas emission standards will make it necessary to use EU funds to subsidise a significant number of enterprises. I therefore remain sceptical about the possibility of increasing the 20% target for reducing emissions gases.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I have three comments to make about this report. The first is that I think it is highly regrettable that we are claiming that there is one cause of climate change and are only looking at CO2 emissions. Scientific studies show that CO2 is not the sole cause.

Secondly, during the process of reducing CO2 emissions to a minimum, we should also be considering the efficient use of resources and consumption. It is still important to manufacture products using as little energy as possible and not only to focus on CO2 emissions.

Thirdly, I am in favour of setting ambitious objectives, but they must also be realistic. In addition, we must work together because we only have one planet and it belongs to all of us. It will be useless if measures are taken to reduce production in one country or in one industry and the same production then takes place elsewhere with much higher levels of emissions.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). - (FI) Mr President, regarding this report by Mr Eickhout, I want to say that we certainly all agree that we have to do our best to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

We in Europe are committed to the EU’s 20-20-20 target, and this is enough. We need to insist that the rest of the world should be involved in all this. We must remember that Europe’s emissions are around 10% of those for the whole world. If we consider European jobs and industry, we have to ensure that they can be kept here.

If we establish new, tighter targets every year, industry will not be able to respond to them. We have to establish clear targets and objectives, such as the 20-20-20 target, and go with them, instead of jumping from one to another, causing uncertainty. We need European industry: it is committed to the 20-20-20 targets; and we should keep to that and, furthermore, persuade the rest of the world to be involved in environmental cooperation.

 
  
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  Zbigniew Ziobro (ECR). – (PL) Mr President, greenhouse gases know no borders. Although this would appear to be an obvious point, it appears to have been missed by those in favour of a radical reduction in emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

The European Union is striving to achieve a radical reduction in greenhouse gas emissions within its own borders, turning a blind eye to the fact that other countries such as China, India and the former Soviet states do not have the slightest intention of doing the same, and instead are increasing production, and at the same time increasing emissions. Why is the European Union implementing such a policy, and what are the consequences? It is merely resulting in production being transferred from Europe to countries outside the European Union, which means that jobs are transferred and taxes lost. Yet intensive, CO2-emitting production is still going on in China, in India and in South American countries, which means that there is still just as much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as there was before, if not more. This is a road to nowhere.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, the problem with this report can be very simply stated. It is declamatory. I am not a climatologist. I am not qualified to pronounce definitively on sunspots or sea levels or the medieval warm period. Like almost everyone else in this Chamber I am dealing with secondary reports and I am doing my best to weigh up the opinions of people who have done the research themselves.

But I am an elected legislator and I think it would be negligent not to have a view on what constitutes a proportionate response to an identified problem. It is here that this proposal fails the test. The proof of that can be found in the claims that its supporters are making. They do not argue that this reduction, adopted unilaterally in Europe, would have more than a negligible impact on global warming on their own predictions. They say that they have to send a message. They have to show us that they are united. They have to encourage others by their actions. In other words they are using legislation not to achieve an identified outcome but to show what nice chaps we are and to feel good about themselves. If you want to do that, buy the awareness ribbon. Wear the armband or put solar panels on your roof. Do not expect your constituents to pick up the bill for you.

 
  
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  Nicole Sinclaire (NI). Mr President, I am not convinced that the target of a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 is achievable. I would therefore question the wisdom of increasing the budget to 30% and placing substantial extra costs on the industry at a time of economic hardship. Issues of climate change and global warming are of great importance not just to Europe, but to the whole planet and for future generations to come. More than anything we need to increase our understanding of the phenomenon that we are facing. In this respect we still have a long way to go.

I think that bandwagon jumping, and therefore attention-seeking, by politicians eager to please the global warming alarmists, will be no more helpful than dubious pronouncements by the deniers, who may or may not be emissaries of oil-company money. I have therefore not voted on this report, nor do I feel able to report on it, or support it. I think that we need to know more before we commit ourselves to the cost of tampering with the arbitrary targets we therefore cannot meet, in order to grab headlines.

 
  
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  Jacek Olgierd Kurski (ECR).(PL) Mr President, I welcome Parliament’s decision today to reject the proposal to increase the CO2 emissions reduction target to 30%. Even the 20% reduction target is lunacy. There is no scientific evidence that humans have a decisive impact on global warming. Nature itself regulates climate change; sometimes the climate is warmer, and sometimes it is cooler. This is why Greenland is under a layer of ice today, contrary to what one might suppose from its name. One eruption of volcanic ash can in many cases cause more CO2 emissions than the annual emissions of the national economies of several European countries.

Why are we bleeding ourselves dry, when Europe emits only 15% of global CO2, and the rest of the world has no interest in reducing its emissions? For countries such as Poland, where 94% of energy is generated from coal, it would be suicidal to adopt this package. It might mean that the amount Poland has to spend on reducing CO2 emissions exceeds the total net amount it receives from the EU Structural Funds. I hope that today’s decision is a step in the right direction: as we are abandoning the 30% target, we should also abandon the 20% target. This problem should be a priority for the Polish Presidency.

 
  
  

Report: Markus Pieper (A7-0222/2011)

 
  
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  Giommaria Uggias (ALDE).(IT) Mr President, the report by Mr Pieper on the post-2013 cohesion policy reduces the effects of a two-speed Europe. Indeed, only uniform growth can ensure proper cohesion between our territories and overall unity, even in diversity.

I voted in favour of the text because it introduces an intermediate category, which allows may European regions to continue to benefit from the same amount of structural funds as they have done so far. The lack of efficient programming for the use of European funds has unfortunately resulted in many regions being unable to make proper use of the resources made available by the European Union, thereby risking a majority of the funds being left unused. Here, however, Brussels is sending out a positive message. We hope that our regions will know how to interpret and use the funds in the best possible way.

 
  
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  Mario Pirillo (S&D).(IT) Mr President, there is huge anticipation for the legislative proposals on the forthcoming post-2013 cohesion policy, which will be tabled in September. The Commission has already announced that this reform will see the introduction of an intermediate category, which should replace the current system of phasing in and phasing out.

I am left perplexed by the implications that this new category will have, since it will also include – or at least seems to include – the regions that currently are neither converging nor competing. I should like to point out that the priority of the cohesion policy is to assist late-developing regions, and I therefore would not want the reform to damage precisely the poorest regions of Europe, which struggle to put development policies into action.

I hope, however, that the new programming can give European growth a kick-start.

 
  
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  Ville Itälä (PPE). - (FI) Mr President, the cohesion and structural policies are extremely important tools with which to even out disparities in Europe.

One important thing is that, although the number of errors and cases of abuse has fallen, it is still very significant. The money has not been returned, and, in some Member States, the figures are quite staggering. This needs to change, and money has to be used far more efficiently.

The whole notion of structural policy will obviously lose credibility if people are constantly reading about these cases of abuse. There is considerable loss of reputation regarding how all this works, and I therefore hope that we can continue to pay close attention to efficiency and better budgetary control.

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE).(IT) Mr President, the report by Mr Pieper is certainly worthy of praise. I think that many countries such as Italy, which end up being both major contributors and major beneficiaries of the cohesion policy, will see this report and this work as hugely important.

The revision is designed, above all, to improve the assessment of results, controls and conditionalities. This approach is certainly worthy of support and is also significant, as long as the budget structure and above all gross domestic product as the main criterion remain in place.

There are two aspects that I cannot say I agree with. Firstly, there is the surreptitious insertion of the use of additional languages other than those of the proposing or programming entity: I sought an oral amendment to paragraph 5, which makes it mandatory for programmes and projects to be presented not only in the relevant national language but also in English, French and German. This is not acceptable.

My second issue is with the intermediate categories: I do not think that they are useful for helping those countries in the greatest difficulties, which ought to be the main aim of the cohesion policy.

 
  
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  Francesco De Angelis (S&D).(IT) Mr President, this is a good report and one that is very important for the balanced, harmonious and sustainable development of our communities.

Genuine solidarity between Member States allows our regions to be more attractive, more innovative and more competitive. Simplifying access to assistance, more effective controls and quality spending are the objectives for a better functioning of this instrument. We need greater investment in research, knowledge and innovation to boost growth, the development of small and medium-sized enterprises and employment.

I have one final comment: creating a new intermediate category must not result in existing categories being deprived of resources, but must introduce and aim solely and exclusively at the deployment of additional resources.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE). – (SK) Mr President, the current threshold for obtaining assistance between the objectives of convergence and competitiveness is clearly set at 75% of Community GDP. I completely agree with the rapporteur’s view that a new general category based on funding and based on a GDP level of 75% to 90% is contrary to the key philosophy of EU cohesion policy, which ought to support the weakest regions by means of a horizontal approach.

In connection with the introduction of a new category of regions, there is also no plan to increase resources, which could result in a situation where converging regions that are struggling the most with structural, economic and social problems have to make savings after 2013 in favour of more developed regions to which the convergence objective would no longer apply under the current criteria. This would have a negative effect on as many as 50 regions, in which 72 million citizens live, causing inequality between the regions to persist.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). - Mr President, first of all I want to congratulate the rapporteur because I believe that a well-funded cohesion policy sends the right message to European citizens when the word solidarity and the principle of solidarity have certainly been sorely tested right across the EU.

In particular today I am pleased that we supported Amendment 34, which calls for the creation of regions in the intermediate category. This will help to avoid unequal treatment of regions that no longer come under the convergence objective. Given the extremely severe impacts of the economic and the financial crisis on citizens and on regions, it is very important to ensure that we have an appropriate and a proportionate response. Furthermore, in certain regions the impact of the economic and the financial crisis has been particularly severe, for example in my own region, the Border, Midlands and West of Ireland. In that context it is crucial that the most up-to-date information is used so that policies in place from 2013 onwards reflect and react to the actual situation on the ground, not the situation of a few years ago. It makes no sense to use out-of-date information, so we must ensure that we do not do that.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE). - (LT) Mr President, when talking about cohesion policy having greater added value for the European Union and expressing doubts as to whether some projects could be implemented at national or regional levels, we must see the bigger picture. The reality is that a lot of European Union Member States have yet to achieve the European Union average. I come from Lithuania, a country which has been receiving assistance since it first joined the Union in order to eradicate these disparities, and I can see how my country is changing. In Lithuania, it is precisely EU money that is helping to implement a large proportion of new projects that are improving people’s quality of life, whether we are talking about the environment, transport or social affairs. Nevertheless, we still have a long road to travel before we reach the EU development average. However, if we simply rely on our own efforts and money, it will not be possible for us to take this road. A sufficient level of financing must therefore be guaranteed post 2013 for those Member States that recently joined the European Union – only then, by showing solidarity, will we ensure balanced development in the European Union.

 
  
  

Report: Charles Goerens (A7-0206/2011)

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). - Mr President, a few years ago I ran a workshop in the Côte d’Ivoire which was attended by young centre-right African politicians. One of the things that we talked about during this workshop was the whole issue of aid. One of the issues that they were most united in opposing was this idea of direct budgetary support. Many of the young activists there said to me that the problem with direct budgetary support was that it actually kept corrupt governments in power. What they wanted was more accountable aid.

And so we had an interesting discussion about aid. They said that they would in fact rather have less aid so they could help themselves. I explained that the EU and the British Government were insisting on giving more aid and we had a debate about what it should be spent on. They asked for help so that farmers could meet EU sanitary standards, investment in infrastructure, investment in land and property registers, lending capital to entrepreneurs, and mortgage finance so that people could leverage the equity in their home and create a property-owning democracy. The debate should be focused on helping people to help themselves, rather than helping corrupt governments stay in power.

 
  
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  Martin Kastler (PPE).(DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, we have voted today on the report by Mr Goerens and I believe that this report is moving in the right direction. For the first time in the history of the European Union, we have done away with the unquestioning belief in budget support in the field of development aid. This means that for the first time we have stated in a report that we should not simply give money to administrative bodies, to states or to governments without sanctions and without criteria that can be monitored. This is the right way forward.

However, in my opinion one thing is missing. This concerns an amendment which I have tabled and which was unfortunately voted down. The amendment stated that we in the European Union must impose sanctions when a state can be proved to have disregarded the criteria which form the basis for the provision of development aid. We must change this situation so that we can maintain our credibility and make it clear to our voters and our taxpayers what we are spending development aid on.

 
  
  

Report: Francisco Sosa Wagner (A7-0226/011)

 
  
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  Francesco De Angelis (S&D).(IT) Mr President, I voted in favour of the report by Mr Sosa Wagner because it effectively highlights the strengths and weaknesses in the European Commission’s approach to revitalising energy infrastructures: the need to identify the infrastructures required, the criteria for selecting projects of European interest in view of financing that will attract and boost private investment, the urgent need to deal with the dangers in Eastern Europe of relying on a single source which, as we have seen in recent years, can cause serious supply problems, and lastly the opportunity to invest part of the EUR 1 000 billion over 10 years provided for by the Commission for the reduction of pollution, combating climate change and improving supply quality for clean and safe energy.

 
  
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  Jens Rohde (ALDE).(DA) Mr President, the major challenges that we are facing in the field of energy are, of course, fairly familiar to us all: climate and security of supply. The challenge with regard to infrastructure has perhaps not been so prominent in the debate. Our energy infrastructure is outdated and it is simply not designed for supplying green energy from many different energy sources. Without a modern infrastructure we cannot build as many windmills and biogas installations. There is no point if we cannot get the energy out to the end user – that is self-evident.

At the same time, we have the problem that our infrastructure is not linked together across our borders. After 30 years of underinvestment, we need to make a quantum leap – a leap that will require EUR 230 billion by 2020, which the market will have to provide – quite simply because there is not enough public money for it and because it is in fact the market’s responsibility.

 
  
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  Zbigniew Ziobro (ECR).(PL) Mr President, it is to be welcomed that this report has been drafted, but one cannot help but notice its significant shortcomings. The report lacks concrete and tangible incentives for the construction of the Nabucco gas pipeline. This is an extremely important project, which if implemented would provide us with an opportunity to gain independence from Russian energy sources, and which would give us a great deal more certainty as regards Europe’s energy security. Unfortunately, if we do not move from words to deeds, and if the European Union does not involve itself with the development of this project, it may never happen. This could mean that the European Union’s energy security suffers a significant setback, which will also have economic ramifications, since gas which comes from a monopoly holder will be more expensive, and so creating competition is also justified from the point of view of the market.

The report makes no mention of the construction of a Sarmatia pipeline, although this is a good idea, and it makes no mention at all of the huge reserves of shale gas in Europe, for example in Poland, even though their extraction would mean that the European Union gained independence in terms of energy security. It is worth extracting this gas, and it is worth thinking about related infrastructure for the future.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE). - (LT) Mr President, I welcome the balanced and comprehensive report provided by my colleague Sosa Wagner, which reflects important aspects such as the unconditional nature of an assessment of the environmental impact of new projects. In addition, the call to ensure that third countries meet international environmental and other obligations when implementing new energy projects, has not been forgotten. Proposals are put forward on how to move towards an efficient and flexible European super-grid that reduces CO2 emissions.

I would nevertheless underline that in order to establish an integrated and competitive European internal energy market by 2014 at the latest, it is not enough to simply implement legislation and guarantee regulation. An EU internal market cannot function fully or efficiently without the full integration of energy islands into the EU power system through new interconnections in infrastructure.

It is therefore necessary to provide a consistent inventory of existing and lacking infrastructure and to establish measures, facilitating the full implementation, in a physical sense, of an integrated energy market by 2014. Missing infrastructure should be one of the important criteria for determining the hierarchy of projects of European interest.

 
  
  

Report: Proinsias De Rossa (A7-0239/2011)

 
  
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  Jens Rohde (ALDE).(DA) Mr President, it was very interesting in the discussions concerning Hungary to hear various Members here proclaim that the Member States independently have a right to contravene the Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. I have to say that this is very interesting, and I strongly disagree, whereas I could perhaps reach agreement with some of my fellow Members in another area that also concerns sovereignty, namely that of social welfare provision. This De Rossa report is clearly an echo of Radio Tirana: the development of one big European socialist welfare state. As a Liberal, I have to firmly reject that. I therefore also chose to vote against the report today, which – even if the worst of the thistles have been weeded out – in spirit is nevertheless heading in a completely different direction, namely the socialist direction. That has been tried before and it is not to be recommended.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE).(ES) Mr President, I voted in favour of this report because it thoroughly examines the definition of social services of general interest. They are not an expenditure, they are an investment as far as people and distributive justice are concerned. Therefore, Member States are urged to provide universal and standardised access to them, and to ensure that it occurs under the same conditions in boom times and at times of economic downturn.

This is because, in line with the above, this report emphasises the impact that the delivery of these services has on the economy through the jobs they provide, the gross domestic product they generate and the environment they provide in order that other sectors, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), can function. Delivery of these services is essential for equality and to achieve a work-life balance. Lastly, there is the impact created through the commitment to the social economy when liberalisation of these services is the chosen option.

It is better for capital to be simply a tool of social services providers rather than their ultimate goal. In this way, it is guaranteed that the surpluses are reinvested in quality and innovation, and in improving the service.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Election of a Vice-President of the European Parliament (to replace Mrs Koch-Mehrin)

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Following the request for resignation by Mrs Koch-Mehrin, I support the election of Mr Chichester, from the United Kingdom, as the new Vice-President of Parliament. I believe that this is an appropriate choice, given his wide and diverse life experience in positions of great responsibility and at international level, in the areas of business and scientific research, as well as in the area of politics, where, having been a Member of Parliament since 1994 and President of the Nuclear Energy Forum, his activity has spanned two and a half decades..

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The British MEP Giles Chichester is taking on the role of Vice-President of the European Parliament, replacing Silvana Koch-Mehrin, who is stepping down. Giles Chichester is a graduate of Oxford University and has worked at the publishing companies University of London Press and Hodder and Stoughton Ltd, as well as occupying various positions in other companies, including the roles of manager, general manager and managing director. He has also been Chairman of the Hammersmith Conservative Association and of the Conservative London West European Constituency Council. He has worked in many voluntary organisations, for example on the boards of governors of various schools and in charities and clubs, and he is a member of the Royal Geographical Society. In my opinion, based on the necessary qualifications and experience, he is a suitable candidate for the post of Vice-President of the European Parliament.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome the election of Mr Chichester as Vice-President of Parliament in place of Mrs Koch-Mehrin.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. The replacement of Ms Koch-Mehrin was agreed by consensus.

 
  
  

Election of a Vice-President of the European Parliament (to replace Mr Lambrinidis)

 
  
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  Nessa Childers (S&D), in writing. It is essential that the European Parliament chooses the right members for the right portfolios. I wish Anni Podimata the best in her new role.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Following the request for resignation by Mr Lambrinidis, I support the election of Mrs Podimata, from Greece, as the new Vice-President of Parliament. Mrs Podimata is a Member who has shown that she has the experience and ability to communicate, and whose work is notable for the public recognition of her contribution to the greater closeness and fostering of friendly relations between her country and Turkey.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) Anni Podimata is taking on the post of Vice-President of the European Parliament, replacing Stavros Lambrinidis in this role. Mr Lambrinidis will be the new Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, aiming to assist his trouble-stricken country. Anni Podimata graduated from the Philosophy Department of the University of Athens and then worked as a correspondent and foreign policy editor in newspapers and at a radio station. In 2000, she was awarded the Greek-Turkish Friendship prize by the Turkish Association of Radio and Television Journalists for her contribution to rapprochement between the two countries. I firmly believe that Mrs Podimata possesses in full the necessary qualifications for filling the post of Vice-President of the European Parliament.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome the election of Mrs Podimata as Vice-President of Parliament in place of Mr Lambrinidis.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − The replacement of Mr Lambrinidis was agreed by consensus.

 
  
  

Election of a Vice-President of the European Parliament (to replace Mrs Koch-Mehrin) - Election of a Vice-President of the European Parliament (to replace Mr Lambrinidis)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting in favour of maintaining the balance of power between political groups in the vice-presidencies of Parliament.

 
  
  

Request for consultation of the European Economic and Social Committee on the functioning and application of established rights of people travelling by air

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The single market in aviation in the European Union was set up legislatively in such a way that the rights established in the aviation sector would be applied mainly for the benefit of passengers. We now have lower prices and the option of choosing from a greater number of transport providers than at any time in the past. The EU has also taken steps to increase air transport safety, compiling a list of airlines that have been shown to be unsafe and that have been forbidden or restricted in EU countries. It provides passengers with special rights in the event that their flights are disrupted in some way – such as delays or flight cancellations – or where seats have been oversold. EU legislation takes responsibility for lost, delayed or damaged baggage. New rules have also been established for protecting physically disabled people and people with reduced mobility against discrimination, and for providing the necessary in-flight assistance. The EU also undertook these legislative measures in order to ensure the proper treatment of passengers in air transport, for example.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this request for consultation of the European Economic and Social Committee on the functioning and application of established rights of people travelling by air.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. According to Rule 124 of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament (‘Consultation of the European Economic and Social Committee’): ‘1. Where the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides for consultation of the Economic and Social Committee, the President shall initiate the consultation procedure and inform Parliament thereof. 2. A committee may request that the European Economic and Social Committee be consulted on matters of a general nature or on specific points. The committee shall indicate the deadline for delivery by the European Economic and Social Committee of its opinion. A request for consultation of the European Economic and Social Committee shall be approved by Parliament without debate. 3. Opinions forwarded by the Economic and Social Committee shall be referred to the committee responsible.’

 
  
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  Artur Zasada (PPE), in writing. (PL) I was happy to hear the result of this vote. The European Economic and Social Committee very often provides the European Parliament with specialist assistance. I have cooperated with the Committee on many occasions during work on civil aviation documents, and I have always been very favourably impressed by the EESC specialists’ assistance. Today I would like to ask for issues relating to passengers with reduced mobility to be taken into consideration during the consultations.

I need only refer to the recent information campaign by the European Commission on the rights of disabled passengers and passengers with reduced mobility travelling by air; information posters were put up in airports, and an appealing television advertisement was even filmed. Unfortunately, no mention was made of a large group of travellers who belong to the category of passengers with reduced mobility, namely mothers or fathers travelling on their own with small children. This is an inexcusable oversight. I believe that the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Parliament will succeed in demanding that the European Commission respects the rights of all individuals travelling by air who belong to the category of passengers with reduced mobility.

 
  
  

Request for consultation of the European Economic and Social Committee on EU-Chile relations

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) In 2002, the EU signed an Association Agreement with Chile covering politics, trade and cooperation. Chile is an important reference point in relation to the main economic and political changes that have taken place in Latin America in recent years, such as stable economic growth stimulated by the price of raw materials, the coming to power of parties representing the people in a number of states, the increasing international role of Latin American states, changes to the composition of regional groupings such as Mercosur, projects to create large South American networks, a project aiming to create a South American Community of Nations, and so on. Major changes have also taken place in relations with the EU, from the Association Agreement itself to the strong growth of European investments in Chile.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this request for consultation of the European Economic and Social Committee on EU-Chile relations.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. According to Rule 124 of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament (‘Consultation of the European Economic and Social Committee’): ‘1. Where the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides for consultation of the Economic and Social Committee, the President shall initiate the consultation procedure and inform Parliament thereof. 2. A committee may request that the European Economic and Social Committee be consulted on matters of a general nature or on specific points. The committee shall indicate the deadline for delivery by the European Economic and Social Committee of its opinion. A request for consultation of the European Economic and Social Committee shall be approved by Parliament without debate. 3. Opinions forwarded by the Economic and Social Committee shall be referred to the committee responsible.’

 
  
  

Request for consultation of the European Economic and Social Committee on the functioning and application of established rights of people travelling by air - Request for consultation of the European Economic and Social Committee on EU-Chile relations

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting in favour of using this procedure, under Article 124 of the Rules of Procedure, so that the committee responsible understands that an opinion needs to be prepared by the European Economic and Social Committee on the matter in question.

 
  
  

Report: Barbara Matera (A7-0234/011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am in favour of this report as it aims to support the preservation of employment, in this particular case in Denmark. It concerns a financial aid fund that will support about 950 workers with a total amount of EUR 14.18 million.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document. The European Union has set up the appropriate legislative and budgetary instruments to provide additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns and to assist their reintegration into the labour market, and has established the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). Given the enormous impact of the global financial and economic crisis on European industry, in 2009 the scope of the EGF was broadened in order to provide support to workers made redundant as a result of the crisis. In this instance, Denmark has requested assistance in respect of cases concerning 1356 redundancies (of which 950 are targeted for assistance) in the enterprise Odense Steel Shipyard operating in shipyard sector in the municipality of Odense located in southern Denmark. As the application fulfils the criteria, I welcome the call to provide the required assistance to people made redundant as quickly and efficiently as possible.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. – The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created in 2006 in order to provide additional assistance to workers affected by the consequences of significant changes in the structure of international trade, and to assist in their reintegration into the labour market. Since 1 May 2009, the remit of the EGF has been expanded to include support for workers made redundant as a direct consequence of the economic, financial and social crisis.

At this time, when we are facing this severe crisis, one of the principal consequences of which is an increase in unemployment, the EU needs to use all of the means at its disposal to react, particularly with regard to providing support for those who find themselves without a job from one day to the next. I therefore voted for this report on the mobilisation of the EGF in favour of Denmark, with the aim of supporting the 950 workers made redundant from the enterprise Odense Steel Shipyard, operating in the shipbuilding sector.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE), in writing. (ES) I voted in favour of allocating EUR 14 181 901 in aid from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to the Odense Steel Shipyard, in the shipbuilding sector of southern Denmark, as it fulfils the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006. It relates to 1 356 redundancies, for 150 of which aid was requested in order to support reintegration into the labour market.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is an instrument intended to assist in the reintegration of workers who have lost their job due to the ongoing globalisation of world markets.

The fund is for workers and does not aim to benefit the business that made the redundancies in any way. In terms of mobilising the fund for the case in question, I abstained in the vote because I think it presented some critical issues and the eligibility of the request was not all that clear. Indeed, even though the Commission had approved the request, some aspects made me to lean towards abstaining. For instance, it was not a surprise that the workers were made redundant, given that almost a year had passed since the announcement of the closure of the site to the request to mobilise the fund. Furthermore, 750 of the 950 workers who would have been targeted for assistance from the fund had already been hired by a Norwegian firm for offshore activities.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I am pleased with the approach that the Danish authorities have taken in using the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to fund measures that are supplementary and innovative compared to those that are customarily offered by employment agencies. I welcome the professional retraining of workers who have been made redundant in areas of work that are innovative and geared towards the future. I voted in favour of the measure that will offer general education to about a quarter of the eligible workers, preparing them for new jobs in the knowledge society.

 
  
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  Nessa Childers (S&D), in writing. The Globalisation Fund is one of the EU’s greatest resources, and essential to many workers across the Union. It is essential that the fund is used productively and efficiently and implemented to maximum effect.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The structural changes in world trade patterns and the financial crisis that is currently plaguing Europe continue to be felt, and they justify the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). This time, more than 1 300 workers from the Danish shipbuilding sector have been made redundant due to these problems. I regret the frequency with which such situations arise and I believe that policy makers should pay close attention to them and seek to mitigate their impact whenever possible, in such a way as to prevent workers from being left without a modicum of social protection, while also ensuring that this does not preclude, but rather encourages, their reintegration into the labour market. The way in which the personal circumstances of anyone who is made redundant worsen indicates that this additional support should be provided as soon as possible.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is fully reasoned and justified in this case concerning the enterprise Odense Steel Shipyard operating in the shipbuilding sector in the municipality of Odense, located in the Region of Southern Denmark, which has been affected by the phenomenon of globalisation, as it has already lost substantial market shares to Asia, and due to the current financial and economic crisis, which has resulted in cancelled orders and a decrease in new orders. I would like to stress that the total amount of EUR 14 181 901 requested may be vital to the reskilling of many of the 1 356 workers who have been made redundant, with a view to their professional retraining in future-oriented and innovative areas of work that will allow the workers to build on their technical knowledge and work experience, especially in the areas of energy technology, construction and landscaping, and robotics.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Every new application to mobilise this fund increases the urgency of the measures that we have been advocating, which are aimed at fighting unemployment effectively, boosting economic activity, eradicating jobs with no security, and reducing working hours without cutting pay. These measures are the opposite of the policies that have been implemented in the EU, as is happening in Portugal under the European Union and International Monetary Fund plan, the result of which has been more unemployment and the economic recession.

This time, the request for mobilisation is to assist 1 356 workers who have been made redundant from the enterprise Odense Steel Shipyard operating in the shipbuilding sector in the municipality of Odense, located in the Region of Southern Denmark. According to the report, of these workers only 950 are targeted for assistance. It is also worth remembering that hundreds of workers at the shipyards of Viana do Castelo were recently threatened with redundancy, so I welcome their just struggle to keep their jobs. As we approve this mobilisation, I cannot avoid reiterating that what is needed is a clear break with the policies and guidelines that are causing the obvious economic and social disaster seen in several EU countries. Once again, palliatives are needed for the disaster, but the causes must also be addressed.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing.(PT) In this report Parliament gives the green light to another proposal to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), which was also adopted by the Commission on 6 May 2011. Its purpose is to benefit Denmark, and it aims to support the reintegration of workers made redundant as a result of the economic and financial crisis.

This is the fifth application, and concerns 1 356 cases of redundancy, of which 950 are targeted for assistance, from the enterprise Odense Steel Shipyard operating in the shipbuilding sector in the municipality of Odense, located in the Region of Southern Denmark.

Once again, having analysed this proposal by the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, we are giving it our support, although we regret that the Commission did not intervene before the closure in order to protect production and jobs.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was set up with the aim of providing sufficient support to workers feeling the effects of major structural changes in global trade. In May 2011, the Commission adopted a new draft decision to mobilise the EGF to assist Denmark, in order to support the re-entry onto the labour market of workers made redundant due to the financial and economic crisis. This is the fifth request to be reviewed within the framework of the 2011 budget, and relates to the mobilisation of a total sum of EUR 14 181 901 from the EGF for Denmark. It relates to 1 356 workers – of whom the assistance applies to 950 – who were made redundant from the company Odense Steel Shipyard, which operates in the shipbuilding industry in southern Denmark. In accordance with the Commission’s assessment, the request fulfils the entitlement criteria set out in the Regulation on the EGF, and the Commission recommends that the budgetary authority should approve the request. I think it is appropriate to ensure a rapid procedure for adopting decisions on mobilising the fund, with due regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is intended to support and assist in the reintegration of workers who have lost their job due to global market trends. This tendency is more marked at this time of economic crisis. The case in question deals with redundancies in Denmark. Since there are no critical aspects, I confirm my vote in favour.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document, because Denmark has requested assistance in respect of cases concerning 1356 redundancies (of which 950 are targeted for assistance) in the enterprise Odense Steel Shipyard operating in shipyard sector in the municipality of Odense located in southern Denmark. The application fulfils the eligibility criteria set out by the EGF Regulation. The Commission, therefore, proposed to mobilise an amount of EUR 14 181 901.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in favour of Denmark because I consider that instrument to be a valuable resource for supporting workers in difficulties on account of the economic crisis. Today’s vote related to a request for mobilisation in respect of the redundancies in the enterprise Odense Steel Shipyard, for which the Commission has proposed to mobilise EUR 14 181 901. More generally, I should also like to emphasise the important role of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, which over these years has shown that it is a useful and effective resource for combating unemployment resulting from globalisation and the economic crisis.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this application. Case EGF/2010/025 DK/Odense Steel Shipyard from Denmark was submitted to the Commission on 6 October 2010 and supplemented by additional information up to 8 March 2011. It was based on the intervention criterion of Article 2(a) of the EGF Regulation, which requires at least 500 redundancies over a four-month period in an enterprise in a Member State, including workers made redundant in its suppliers and downstream producers, and was submitted within the deadline of 10 weeks.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) We support the Commission’s adoption of a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in favour of Denmark, with a view to supporting the reintegration into the labour market of workers in the enterprise Odense Steel Shipyard, who were made redundant as a result of the global financial and economic crisis.

The fund may not exceed a maximum amount of EUR 500 million per year. We think a number of aspects need to be taken into consideration, including: the link between the redundant workers and major structural changes in international trade patterns or the financial crisis; identification of the dismissing enterprises and of the workers targeted for assistance; the territory concerned with its respective authorities and stakeholders; the impact of the redundancies as regards local, regional or national employment; the coordinated package of personalised services to be funded; dates on which the personalised services to affected workers were started or planned to start; procedures for consulting the social partners; management and control systems.

We believe that the request satisfies the eligibility criteria and that the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs should be involved in the process in order to provide constructive support and assistance in assessing the requests for the mobilisation of the fund.

 
  
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  Barbara Matera (PPE), in writing. (IT) I welcome the approval of the request, which is justified by the loss of market share of European shipping, in favour of 950 redundancies made by the Odense Steel Shipyard, a large company operating in international shipping.

Leaving aside this particular case, I think that in the future revision of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) it will be important to bear in mind the conduct of multinational enterprises, the relocation of which causes redundancies and the consequent intervention of the EGF, while not compromising workers’ access to the support provided.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) I am abstaining because I have in mind the Danish workers who have been sacrificed on the altar of globalisation. In the situation into which they are plunged as a result of the neoliberal policies advocated by the European Union, one could be inclined to vote against, given the pitiful amount of this handout. However, the little that is being given may help to ease their pain. This does not make the rationale of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund any less intolerable.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU is an area of solidarity and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is a part of this. This support is essential for helping the unemployed and those affected by company relocations that occur within a globalised context. More and more companies are relocating, taking advantage of lower labour costs in a number of countries, particularly China and India, which is having a damaging effect on those countries that respect workers’ rights. The EGF aims to help workers who are affected by company relocations, and it is essential for facilitating access to new employment. The EGF has been used by other EU countries in the past, so now it is appropriate to grant this aid to Denmark, which has applied for assistance for 1 356 cases of redundancy, of which 950 are targeted for assistance, at the enterprise Odense Steel Shipyard in the shipbuilding sector in the municipality of Odense, in the Region of Southern Denmark.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − This will be the fifth mobilisation of European Globalisation Adjustment Fund in 2011. A total of EUR 14 181 901 will be mobilised for Denmark, which requested assistance concerning 1356 redundancies (950 of them targeted for assistance) in the enterprise Odense Steel Shipyard, operating in the shipyard sector in the region of Southern Denmark during the four-month reference period from 13 April to 31 July 2010. I voted in favour of Barbara Matera’s report.

However, I wish to point out that certain changes are required in the way that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund works, specifically in relation to the allocation of funding, since small countries such as Latvia and Estonia cannot make use of the opportunities the fund offers because the criteria for allocation are such that only large countries, and thus large companies, can benefit from it.

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing. (ET) The shipbuilding sector has suffered considerably from the economic crisis, as demonstrated by the numerous closed or soon-to-be-closed shipbuilding companies across Europe, including in my home country Estonia. I naturally fully support the altogether justified application from Denmark’s Odense Steel Shipyard, but as we Europeans set new objectives, we should seriously consider whether we truly need such large merchant fleets and ports to transport large quantities of goods from distant Asia, or whether it would instead be more sensible to concentrate on production in Europe, which would increase employment and would also be much more environmentally friendly.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created to provide additional support to workers affected by the consequences of major structural changes in the patterns of world trade. On 6 May 2011, the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the EGF in favour of Denmark. This is the fifth application to be examined under the 2011 budget, and refers to the mobilisation of a total amount of over EUR 14 million. It concerns 1 356 redundancies, of which 950 are targeted for assistance, in the enterprise Odense Steel Shipyard operating in the shipbuilding sector in the municipality of Odense, in the Region of Southern Denmark, during the four-month reference period from 13 April to 31 July 2010. Given that this case has been examined by all the stakeholders, especially the Commission, and that the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and its Working Group on the EGF support the mobilisation of the fund in favour of Denmark, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) On 6 May 2011, the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in favour of Denmark, with the aim of supporting the reintegration to the labour market of workers made redundant due to the global financial and economic crisis. The request in question refers to the mobilisation of the EGF for a total amount of EUR 14 181 901 in favour of Denmark. It relates to 1 356 redundancies (of which 950 targeted for assistance) in the enterprise Odense Steel Shipyard. According to the Commission’s evaluation, the application satisfies the eligibility criteria set up by the EGF Regulation, hence the Commission has advocated its approval to the budgetary authority. The EGF was created in 2006 to provide additional support for workers made redundant as a result of major structural changes in world trade patterns, to assist them with their reintegration into the labour market. Following a review of this Regulation in 2009, the scope of the EGF was broadened to include support for workers made redundant as a direct result of the global financial and economic crisis. For these reasons, I voted in favour of the proposal in question.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The fifth application for assistance from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) has been submitted under the implementation of the 2011 budget. The fund seeks to assist workers who find themselves in a highly vulnerable situation due to the relocation of the companies in which they worked as a result of the phenomenon of global competition. In this instance Denmark has requested the intervention of the fund in the cases of 1 356 redundancies from the enterprise Odense Steel Shipyard. The unforeseen nature of the redundancies and their correlation, or causal link, with the global economic and financial climate has been demonstrated. Indeed, all the criteria for the intervention of the fund, allowing the mobilisation of up to EUR 500 million per year, have been fulfilled. Finally, it should be stressed that there is a need to promote especially rapid procedures for allocating funds, in light of situations where local populations are in need.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. As usual in this type of reports, the EP requests the institutions involved to make the necessary efforts to improve procedural and budgetary arrangements in order to accelerate the mobilisation of the EGF; appreciates in this sense the improved procedure put in place by the Commission, following Parliament’s request for accelerating the release of grants, aimed at presenting to the budgetary authority the Commission’s assessment on the eligibility of an EGF application together with the proposal to mobilise the fund; hopes that further improvements in the procedure will be reached in the framework of the upcoming reviews of the EGF and that greater efficiency, transparency and visibility of the fund will be achieved.

It recalls as well the institutions’ commitment to ensuring a smooth and rapid procedure for the adoption of the decisions on the mobilisation of the EGF, providing one-off, time-limited individual support geared to helping workers who have suffered redundancies as a result of globalisation and the financial and economic crisis; and emphasises the role that the EGF can play in the reintegration of workers made redundant into the labour market.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) On 6 May 2011, the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in favour of Denmark, with a view to supporting the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the global financial and economic crisis.

This is the fifth application to be examined under the 2011 budget and it concerns 1 356 redundancies (of which 950 targeted for assistance) in the enterprise Odense Steel Shipyard operating in the shipyard sector in the region of Southern Denmark, during the four-month reference period from 13 April 2010 to 31 July 2010. I voted in favour of this text in order to allow this financing to be approved.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori, (PPE), in writing. − (IT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created to provide supplementary support to workers who suffer the consequences of the huge structural changes in international trade patterns. I voted in favour of the proposal for a decision of Parliament and of the Council for the mobilisation of the fund because the request submitted by the Danish company Glasfiber seems to satisfy the eligibility criteria established by the EGF Regulation. In addition, the Commission has recommended that the budgetary authority proceed to approve the request, presenting a transfer request from the EGF reserve. I would note, in addition, that the Joint Declaration of Parliament, the Council and the Commission adopted during the conciliation meeting of 17 July 2008 confirmed the importance of ensuring a fast process, in accordance with the Interinstitutional Agreement, for the adoption of decisions relating to the mobilisation of the fund.

 
  
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  Søren Bo Søndergaard (GUE/NGL), in writing. (DA) I voted in favour of the report in respect of those workers who were promised retraining and further training in connection with the mass redundancies at the Lindø shipyard. My vote does not mean that I support the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. On the contrary, I believe that the EU’s subsidy system, whereby rich EU countries give money to the EU so that the EU can then give money back to them, is absurd. The Lindø case illustrates this very clearly. There have been many months between the municipalities affected sending the application to the EU and the money now being on the way to Fyn. In the meantime, some of the redundant workers have found work again. That is a good thing, but the many redundant workers who have not found work have not received a penny for the further training and retraining that they were promised. Everyone knows that the longer it goes on, the harder it becomes to find work again. If this money had been paid out straight away by the Danish State without it having to do a circuit around Brussels, it would have been worth a lot more than it is now.

 
  
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  Csanád Szegedi (NI), in writing. (HU) I definitely supported and voted in favour of the report. The fact that employees of the shipyard mentioned earlier were dismissed is a direct consequence of globalisation. I agree with the proposal that these people receive assistance from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. This action has to establish a precedent; we have to draw the attention of the society to the harmful effects of globalisation this way as well. This case too proves that profit-oriented multinationals and companies expanding all over Europe as a result of globalisation do not serve the interests of society, and their presence on the market eliminates more workplaces than it creates. I hope that Hungarians losing their jobs in massive numbers, particularly those in North-Eastern Hungary, who have been out of work for some time now, will soon receive similar financial assistance.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 established the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) with the aim of supporting workers who lose their jobs due to structural changes in the context of the global economy. In 2011, the EGF has a total budget of EUR 500 million. The Commission considers that EUR 14 181 901 should be allocated to Denmark in order to assist the reintegration into the labour market of the 1 356 workers made redundant from the enterprise Odense Steel Shipyard. I am voting in favour of this report as I believe that the legal conditions set out in the aforementioned regulation are fulfilled, and that there is a direct causal link between the redundancies and the major structural changes that have been seen in the patterns of world trade. I should also like to point out that the EGF should not be a substitute for the legal and financial responsibilities of the enterprise Odense Steel Shipyard, but rather an additional support granted by Europe in order to reduce the social difficulties that these workers will face. In view of this, I believe that the fund should be extended to this shipbuilding company in the municipality of Odense, in the Region of Southern Denmark, as quickly as possible.

 
  
  

Report: Reimer Böge (A7-0238/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report as it proposes mobilisation of the Solidarity Fund to a total amount of EUR 19.54 million for the flooding suffered in Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic in 2010. The EU Solidarity Fund is aimed at overcoming difficulties and assisting states in unforeseen situations, as in the case of the floods suffered in these countries.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I agreed with the proposal to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund in favour of Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic. The Interinstitutional Agreement allows the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund within the annual ceiling of EUR 1 billion. In 2010, these countries were severely hit by natural disasters, which affected a major part of their populations, with lasting repercussions on living conditions and the economic stability of the region.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The aim of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) is to provide swift, effective and flexible assistance to the people of a Member State, or a country negotiating accession, in the event of a major natural disaster. This fund supplements the Member States’ public funds for emergency situations, specifically for urgent infrastructure repairs, temporary shelter and emergency services to cater for the people’s immediate needs, as well as clearing-up in the areas affected by the disaster.

Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic were affected by torrential rains in 2010, which caused serious flooding resulting in huge losses. Following the disasters, the countries in question requested assistance from the EUSF. Since the eligibility criteria laid down in the relevant regulation were met, mobilisation of the EUSF was approved with a view to mitigating the pain, suffering and losses of the people affected by these disasters. For these reasons, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE), in writing. (ES) I voted for the mobilisation of the European Union’s Solidarity Fund for Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic as they fulfil the eligibility criteria set out in Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002, and in order to help them overcome the serious damage caused to infrastructure, agriculture, companies and private homes by the heavy rains and floods recorded in August and September 2010.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) The report concerns the request to mobilise the Solidarity Fund submitted by Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic following the intense rainfall in these three countries during the period August-September 2010.

I voted in favour since the report does not pose any problems from the procedural point of view and the requests of the three countries are in line with the eligibility criteria.

 
  
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  Nessa Childers (S&D), in writing. It is essential that the EU Solidarity Fund is used to help those most in need: families whose access to important resources has been cut off, whose children cannot attend school and businesses which are immobilised by impromptu events.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund for Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic, following the severe rains and flooding that affected these countries in 2010. Once again, this demonstrates the need to revise the new Solidarity Fund regulation so as to make it swifter and more flexible.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The aim of the European Union Solidarity Fund is to assist regions that have been hit by natural disasters. The torrential rainfall of August and September 2010 caused huge losses in Croatia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, and led to an application for the mobilisation of the fund by these three countries, on the basis of what is classed as an ‘extraordinary regional disaster’; in other words, assistance following a disaster that affects the majority of the region’s population and that has serious and lasting repercussions on living conditions and economic stability in the region. I believe that the EU should not cease to offer its support to these three countries and thus seek to mitigate the huge losses that they have suffered. Solidarity and cohesion are essential values in a Europe that expresses a wish to be more than a mere economic free trade area.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) In the context of the solidarity that should govern relations between the Member States of the European Union and the objectives of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF), I have supported the applications for assistance submitted by Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic, for a total amount of EUR 19 546 647. As a result of severe rainfall in August and September of last year, various regions of these countries suffered heavy losses to infrastructure, businesses, homes and farms. These were extraordinary natural disasters which needed to be overcome quickly, so as to minimise the impact on the living conditions of the people affected and on economic stability in the region. In view of this, I would like to highlight the need to ensure greater flexibility and speed in the procedures for implementing the EUSF.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report endorses the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to assist three countries – Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Croatia – which in September 2010 were affected by severe rainfall followed by flooding that caused huge losses. In some cases, this forced people to abandon their homes and resulted in significant damage to public infrastructure, businesses, homes and agriculture. As the total losses remain below the normal threshold for the mobilisation of the EUSF, the request was examined on the basis of the criteria for an ‘extraordinary regional disaster’, set out in the relevant regulation. We recall that only a few months earlier, in May and June 2010, two of these countries, namely the Czech Republic and Croatia, had suffered exactly the same disasters which led to the mobilisation of the EUSF, as the criteria for classifying the event as a ‘major natural disaster’ were fulfilled.

In the face of these disasters and their impact on the land, economy and people of these countries, we of course see the mobilisation of this support as important and necessary, and we are therefore voting for the report. We cannot, however, neglect to stress that much remains to be done in the area of disaster prevention, including the many proposals that we have already made here, and which the Commission is delaying putting into practice.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report endorses the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to assist three countries, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Croatia, which in September 2010 were affected by severe rainfall followed by flooding that caused huge losses. In some cases these forced people to abandon their homes and resulted in significant damage to public infrastructure, businesses, homes and agriculture.

As the total losses remain below the normal threshold for the mobilisation of the EUSF, the request was examined on the basis of the criteria for an ‘extraordinary regional disaster’, set out in the relevant regulation.

In May and June 2010, two of these countries, namely the Czech Republic and Croatia, had suffered exactly the same disasters, which led to the mobilisation of the EUSF, as the criteria for classifying the event as a ‘major natural disaster’ were fulfilled.

In view of these disasters and their impact on the land, the economy and the people of these countries, we of course believe that it is vital and necessary to mobilise this support, and we therefore voted for the report. We cannot, however, neglect to stress that much remains to be done in the area of disaster prevention, including the many proposals that we have submitted here, which the Commission is delaying putting into practice.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) After the severe floods that hit Europe in the summer and autumn of 2010, Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic requested financial assistance from the European Union Solidarity Fund, which will be used to mitigate and remedy the damage caused. The total direct damage caused by these floods in all the countries concerned amounts to more than EUR 700 billion. The Commission has proposed releasing resources totalling EUR 19.54 million from the EU Solidarity Fund. Slovenia requested assistance from the Solidarity Fund in connection with flood damage resulting from the intensive rain, which inundated 137 Slovene villages and caused widespread damage to infrastructure, businesses and private property. Croatia requested assistance from the Solidarity Fund after the intense rainfall lasting from 17 to 22 September 2010 caused major floods. The disaster resulted in considerable damage to infrastructure, agriculture and private property. The Czech Republic requested assistance after unusually heavy rainfall in the north of the country caused rivers to swell at the beginning of August 2010, forcing the inhabitants to abandon their homes and causing damage to infrastructure, private dwellings, agriculture and businesses. Once it had verified that all of the applications met the criteria for entitlement within the meaning of Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002, the Commission proposed mobilising the Solidarity Fund in order to mitigate the destructive consequences of the natural disasters in these countries.

 
  
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  Jiří Havel (S&D), in writing. (CS) In connection with the floods of August 2010, which hit regions including the Liberec and Ústi nad Labem region, Mr Böge has presented a report on the release of additional funds from the European Union Solidarity Fund. I welcome the positive result of today’s vote on support for these regions in my native land affected by the natural disasters. I would also like to end by emphasising the importance of this fund, which is available for assisting Member States in eliminating the consequences of natural disasters. It is an effective expression of solidarity, and genuinely helps EU citizens in times of urgent need. I would like to thank all fellow Members for supporting this report.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing. (PL) The torrential rain which hit Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic in September 2010 caused enormous losses. Many people were left without a roof over their heads and lost their life’s possessions. The economies of these countries also suffered greatly. This is a huge tragedy, and a problem which is not unheard of in my own country, since Poland has also battled floods. Very large outlays are needed to deal with the effects of flooding, and the process often lasts for years. I believe that it is necessary to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund, and that assistance should be provided to countries hit by a natural disaster.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) We agree with the decision to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund, within an annual ceiling of EUR 1 billion, in favour of Croatia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic following the intense rainfall and flooding that affected these three countries last year.

The disaster caused significant damage to infrastructure, to the agriculture sector, to businesses and to private property, forcing the population to abandon their homes. We believe that since this was a natural disaster, the request should be examined on the basis of the so-called ‘extraordinary regional disaster’ criterion. Under this criterion, a region can exceptionally benefit from assistance from the fund where that region has been affected by an extraordinary disaster, mainly a natural one, affecting the majority of its population, with serious and lasting repercussions on living conditions and the economic stability of the region.

 
  
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  Iosif Matula (PPE), in writing. – (RO) The European Union’s Solidarity Fund is an essential financial support instrument for managing the natural disasters caused by flooding in Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic. The natural disasters which struck the three European countries resulted in loss of human life and considerable losses for Europe’s regional economies, which will have an adverse social and economic impact. Unfortunately, the losses of human life are irreplaceable. However, even in this context, it is obvious how important it is to make a commitment at European level to provide a rapid reaction force and guarantee well-coordinated, prompt action from the intervention teams. Information and education campaigns on the preliminary action to take, during and after disasters have occurred, as well as efforts to encourage people to think prevention must feature among the measures for managing disasters at Member State level. I come from Romania where more than 900 000 fellow citizens live in areas at high risk of flooding and which was among the countries badly hit by severe flooding in 2010. As a European and Romanian, I support the policy of solidarity in every area. However, particularly when we are faced with disasters, solidarity is not an option but a necessity.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The mobilisation of this solidarity instrument, which has been used in the past – specifically in my country, with the support sent to Madeira following the heavy rains there in February 2010 – makes complete sense in an attempt to mitigate the effects that natural disasters always have on the populations of the countries they affect.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. Following heavy floods in Eastern Europe in summer and autumn 2010, the Czech, Croatian and Slovenian authorities applied for financial assistance from the EU Solidarity Fund. The Commission proposed mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund to a total amount of EUR 19.54 million. This will be the second mobilisation of the Solidarity Fund in 2011. I fully support the allocation of funding to the countries that have suffered but I am concerned by the fact that Latvia is not receiving more assistance from the EU. In winter 2010-2011 the Latgale region of Latvia suffered power cuts which inflicted heavy damage. Funding ought to be allocated for measures to prevent calamities of this nature.

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing. (ET) If one European country is in difficulty due to a natural disaster or for some other reason, it is extremely important, and elementary, that we should show solidarity towards each other. We can never know in advance when our home country or region may be the next to need help from all of the other Member States. I fully support the granting of this support to Slovenia, the Czech Republic and the future EU Member State Croatia. The allocations in question will not, of course, cover much of the damage caused, but nonetheless they will certainly be of significant assistance to regions that are suffering, and will demonstrate European unity.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) Heavy rainfall caused significant damage in Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic during 2010. Nearly a year later, Parliament finds itself approving the mobilisation of funds in favour of these States. In accordance with the principle of solidarity, which assigns specific funds to those countries affected by natural disasters, Parliament has undertaken through Mr Böge’s report – which I voted in favour of – to provide more than EUR 200 million to the countries that have suffered these floods in order to enable the reconstruction of the damaged areas.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Commission has proposed mobilising the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic in accordance with Point 26 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management. This agreement allows for the mobilisation of the Solidarity Fund within the annual ceiling of EUR 1 billion. Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic have requested the mobilisation of this fund in the wake of natural disasters which resulted in substantial material damage. Indeed, in these countries, a period of unusually heavy rainfall led to flooding and rivers breaking their banks, with severe consequences and damage to the people. The Commission’s services found that all the applications meet the eligibility criteria set out in Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002. Having confirmed these requirements, the Commission has proposed mobilising the EUSF at an amount of EUR 7 459 637 for Slovenia, EUR 1 175 071 for Croatia and EUR 10 911 939 for the Czech Republic, making a total of EUR 19 546 647. For these reasons, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European Union has created a European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to show the its solidarity with regions affected by natural disasters. This agreement allows for the mobilisation of EU solidarity. In the second half of last year, Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic requested the assistance of the European Solidarity Fund following intense rainfall in August and September 2010. Having verified that all the requests were in line with the eligibility criteria, the Commission proposed to mobilise the second Solidarity Fund in 2011.

In parallel to the proposal to mobilise the Solidarity Fund, the Commission has presented a Draft Amending Budget (DAB No 2/2011) in order to enter in the 2011 budget the corresponding commitment and payment appropriations. The Commission has proposed to inject new money into the budget, in line with the joint declaration on payment appropriations annexed to the 2011 budget. The Council, meanwhile, wants the redistribution of payments for the entire amount of the budget lines for the completion of the European Social Fund and regional assistance as part of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), instead of topping up the budget, as proposed by the Commission. I voted in favour of the proposal under scrutiny so that these countries can benefit from the EU Solidarity Fund.

 
  
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  Miguel Portas (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) On 25 March, the Commission presented in parallel Amending Budget No2/2011 and a proposal to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund, following the floods in August and September 2010 in Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic, to a total of EUR 19.55 million. The extent of the damage caused and its impact on the people of these countries justifies the mobilisation of the fund; it is just a pity that this mobilisation has been delayed.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Commission has proposed mobilising the European Union Solidarity Fund to help repair the infrastructure damaged by the flooding of September 2010, which hit Slovenia and was deemed a ‘major natural disaster’. The neighbouring countries, Croatia and the Czech Republic, also subsequently suffered damage due to natural disasters. In the case of Slovenia, 137 of the country’s 210 municipalities were affected by intense rainfall between 17 and 20 September 2010, causing estimated total damage amounting to EUR 251 300 861, which is over the threshold for mobilising the funds. Although Croatia and the Czech Republic do not meet the criteria for assistance in their own right, they can benefit from it as neighbouring countries. All the conditions for applying this solidarity fund have therefore been met.

 
  
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  Zuzana Roithová (PPE) , in writing. – (CS) I was delighted to vote in favour of the report on releasing funds from the EU Solidarity Fund for the rebuilding of infrastructure destroyed by the floods which ravaged areas of Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic in September 2010. The water and landslides claimed human lives and caused immense damage to buildings and agricultural land, destroying road and rail networks and other infrastructure. Although the amount of assistance represents only a few percent of the total quantified damage, it is still a significant help in funding the repairs. The Czech Republic is drawing EUR 11 million from this fund for assistance with the disasters, which is more than twice the initial amount.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. The EP: 1. Approves the decision annexed to this resolution; 2. Recalls that point 26 of the IIA of 17 May 2006 foresees that where there is scope for reallocating appropriations under the heading requiring additional expenditure, the Commission shall take this into account when making the necessary proposal; 3. Notes that the Commission, by calling for additional commitments and payments to cover the needs of the EUSF at this early stage of the year, found no possibility for redeployment nor reallocating within and between headings concerned; 4. Awaiting Council's position, is ready to consider the overall situation of payments in the context of the outturn of the 2010 Budget or in the context of another draft amending budget to be proposed by the Commission in the coming weeks.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Commission has proposed to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund in favour of Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic, which were affected by heavy flooding in 2010 that caused significant damage.

In parallel to this proposal, the Commission has presented a Draft AmendingBbudget in order to enter in the 2011 budget the corresponding commitment and payment appropriations. I voted in favour of this text in order to allow Parliament to approve the relevant funding.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori, (PPE), in writing. – (IT) The report on mobilising the European Union Solidarity Fund in favour of Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic aims to provide funding for these countries following the damage caused by the floods resulting from the intense rainfall during the period from 17 September 2010 to 20 September 2010. As total damage is below the normal threshold for mobilising the Solidarity Fund, the application was examined on the basis of the criteria for so-called ‘extraordinary regional disasters’, setting out the conditions for mobilising the Solidarity Fund ‘under exceptional circumstances’. Under these criteria, a region can exceptionally benefit from assistance from the fund where that region has been affected by an extraordinary disaster, mainly a natural one, affecting the major part of its population, with serious and lasting repercussions on living conditions and the economic stability of the region. I therefore voted in favour of the report because I think funds need to be provided to deal with the damage suffered by Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic.

 
  
  

Report: Sidonia Elżbieta Jędrzejewska (A7-0233/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report as it suggests changing the Council’s position so that, among other matters, it considers covering the needs arising from the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund, drawing upon the negative reserve and reinforcing payment appropriations for the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE), in writing. (ES) In keeping with the Böge report, I voted in favour of Draft amending budget No 2011 for the financial year 2011, the aim of which is to disburse an amount of EUR 19.5 million in commitment and payment appropriations from the European Union’s Solidarity Fund to subsidise aid as a result of the rains that fell in Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic in August and September 2010.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) In order to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund effectively to assist Croatia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, which were affected by heavy rainfall in August and September 2010, the Commission has identified the need for an amendment to the 2011 budget. It is up to Parliament to give its opinion on the value of such an amending budget, along with the aid measure underlying it. I support both, bearing in mind the principles of solidarity, cohesion and transparency, and I hope that the people and the economy of the affected countries will recover more quickly due to EU aid.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Given the justified application of the European Union Solidarity Fund to help mitigate the losses and impact of the extraordinary disasters that have occurred in Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic, I voted for this Draft Amending Budget, as stipulated for unavoidable, exceptional or unforeseen circumstances.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) According to Article 37(1) of the Financial Regulation, the Commission may present draft amending budgets in the event of ‘unavoidable, exceptional or unforeseen circumstances’. The resources from the fund are intended for the repair of infrastructure. As it is a tool for refinancing, it is not to be used for compensating private damages. Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic requested financial assistance from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) after these countries were hit by extensive floods and torrential rain. This natural disaster resulted in serious damage to infrastructure, agriculture and private property. The direct damages have been estimated by the Slovenian, Czech and Croatian authorities at a total of EUR 19 546 647. In the case of Slovenia, the direct damages exceeded the normal threshold of 0.6 % of gross national income (GNI) for mobilising the EUSF, and can be considered a major natural disaster. In the cases of the Czech Republic and Croatia, the direct damages did not exceed the normal threshold, but a country affected by the same major natural disaster as a neighbouring country may exceptionally receive money from the EUSF. Due to its status as a country acceding to the EU, Croatia is eligible for assistance from the EUSF. The total amount of aid proposed in the Draft Amending Budget for all three countries is EUR 19 546 647.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document, because the aim of the 2011 Draft Amending Budget No 2/2011 is to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide EUR 19.5 million in commitment and payment appropriations, following the floods that occurred in Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic, which were caused by heavy rainfall.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) I supported the report by Mrs Jędrzejewska on Draft Amending Budget No 2/2011, which will make it possible to provide funding assistance to Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic following the serious flooding of 2010. The Interinstitutional Agreement (IIA) of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management allows the European Union’s Solidarity Fund to be mobilised within an annual ceiling of EUR 1 billion. However, according to Article 37(1) of the Financial Regulation, the Commission may present draft amending budgets if there are ‘unavoidable, exceptional or unforeseen circumstances’. This is exactly what Mrs Jędrzejewska has proposed in the report voted on today. The direct damage suffered by Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Croatia has been estimated at a total of EUR 19 546 647, which is the amount of the appropriation requested through the Draft Amending Budget adopted today.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this Report to aid Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Croatia following floods this year. The direct damages have been estimated by the Slovenian, Czech and Croatian authorities at a total of EUR 19 546 647. The total amount for aid proposed in Draft Amending Budget No 2/2011 is EUR 19 546 647.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) We think it is a good idea that draft amending budgets may be presented in the case of unavoidable, exceptional or unforeseen circumstances.

The mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) means it can be accessed for a maximum of EUR 1 billion per year for the purpose of repairing infrastructure. Therefore, since it is a tool of refinancing, it cannot be used to compensate private damages.

In the case of Slovenia, the direct damage exceeds the normal threshold of 0.6% of gross national income (GNI) for mobilising the EUSF and can qualify as a ‘major natural disaster’. In the cases of the Czech Republic and Croatia, where direct damage does not exceed the normal threshold, the specific condition set out in Article 2(2) of Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002, whereby a country affected by the same major disaster as a neighbouring country may exceptionally benefit from EUSF, was found to be met. Due to its status as an acceding country to the EU, Croatia is therefore eligible to benefit from the EUSF.

Lastly, we think it is necessary to redeploy under-implemented appropriations from European Economic Recovery Plan, namely: to finance the needs for the mobilisation of EUSF, to draw upon the negative reserve and to reinforce payment appropriation for the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The 2011 EU budget provided for a certain amount to be used in the European Union Solidarity Fund, which has already been used to assist various Member States that have been affected by natural disasters. However, given the events in Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic, it makes complete sense to allocate new funds to assist these countries, despite the fact that this was not provided for in the initial budgeting for the fund.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. The total amount for aid proposed in Draft Amending Budget (DAB) 2/2011 is EUR 19 546 647. The Council has adopted DAB 2/2011 as regards commitment appropriations, but has decided to redeploy payment appropriations for the requested amount from three budget items: budget item 04 02 01 (Completion of ESF/Objective 1, 2000-2006); budget item 04 02 06 (Completion of ESF/Objective 3, 2000-2006); and budget item 22 02 07 01 (Regional and horizontal programmes under IPA). The rapporteur considers this redeployment inappropriate and proposes redeployment under implemented appropriation from ‘European Economic Recovery Plan – Energy Networks’ to finance the needs arising from the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund; to draw upon the negative reserve adopted in Amending budget No 1/2011; and to reinforce payment appropriation for the EGF. I fully agree with the rapporteur. The adopted budget should remain unchanged. We cannot afford to jump from item to item, as such an approach could lead to financial anarchy.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The aim of the amending budget is to allow for the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) in the case of immediate damage caused by the floods last year in Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Croatia. Because of its status as a candidate country, Croatia has the right to support from the EUSF. However, the EU will provide the financial aid from another budget heading than that used for the Member States which have been affected. The objective of the fund is not to provide compensation for private damage, but to pay for the reconstruction of the infrastructure. It is a refinancing instrument and I have taken this into consideration when voting.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mrs Jędrzejewska’s report to allow the definitive appropriation of solidarity funds for the natural disasters that have taken place in Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic. The principle of solidarity towards those affected by disasters is an inviolable principle, but we need to come up with a good solution to locate the necessary funds. In this case, the draft amending budget is the instrument through which Parliament can give the green light to the appropriation of the funds. We were therefore able to find EUR 19.5 million, avoiding increasing Member States’ contributions through issuing additional funds – which the Member States were against – but rather by taking them from energy projects whose execution is so delayed as to necessitate the redistribution of their appropriations.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) According to the Financial Regulation, the Commission may present draft amending budgets ‘if there are unavoidable, exceptional or unforeseen circumstances’. Following Report A7-0238/2011, which detailed the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic, an amendment needs to be adopted for the Community budget. The eligibility conditions for assistance from the fund have been checked. The direct losses were calculated by the Slovenian, Czech and Croatian authorities to total EUR 19.5 million. In the case of Slovenia, the direct damages exceed the normal threshold of 0.6% of gross national income for the mobilisation of the EUSF, and the event can be considered a ‘major natural disaster’. In the cases of the Czech Republic and Croatia, where the direct damages did not exceed the normal threshold, the specific condition whereby a country affected by the same major disaster as a neighbouring country may exceptionally benefit from the EUSF was found to be met. In view of this, I voted for this report, which will allow Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic to address the serious material damages caused by natural disasters.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Commission may present draft amending budgets in the case of unavoidable, exceptional or unforeseen circumstances. On 25 March, the Commission presented Draft Amending Budget No 2/2011 to the 2011 general budget, which aims to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) in order to mitigate the effects of the intense rain in Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Croatia during the summer of 2010. The conditions of eligibility to the fund are detailed in Council Regulation No 2012/2002 establishing the EUSF. Furthermore, it must be noted that the objective of the fund is to repair infrastructure and that since it is a tool of refinancing, it cannot be used to compensate private damages. The direct damages have been estimated by the Slovenian, Czech and Croatian authorities at a total of EUR 19 546 647. In the case of Slovenia, the direct damages exceed the normal threshold for mobilising the EUSF and can qualify as a ‘major natural disaster’. Meanwhile, in the cases of the Czech Republic and Croatia, direct damages do not exceed the normal threshold. I voted in favour of the proposal so that these countries can benefit from EU solidarity.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Commission has proposed mobilising the European Union Solidarity Fund to help repair the infrastructure damaged by the flooding of September 2010, which hit Slovenia, and was deemed a ‘major natural disaster’. Croatia and the Czech Republic, Slovenia’s neighbouring countries, also subsequently suffered damage due to natural disasters. To this end a way of funding assistance needs to be found, and, according to the rapporteur, the European Economic Recovery Plan, in the area of energy, should finance the coverage needed for the mobilised funds.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. It basically considers the redeployments adopted by Council counter to the Joint Statement on payment appropriations, to which it attaches value and feels committed. It also decides to amend the Council’s position as shown in the annex to this resolution, with a view to covering the needs ensuing from the mobilisation of the EUSF; drawing upon the negative reserve and reinforcing payment appropriations for the EGF.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Commission has proposed to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund in favour of Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic, which were affected by heavy flooding in 2010 that caused significant damage.

In parallel to the this proposal, the Commission has presented a Draft Amending Budget in order to enter in the 2011 budget the corresponding commitment and payment appropriations. I voted in favour of this text in order to allow Parliament to approve the relevant funding.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori, (PPE), in writing. – (IT) I voted in favour of the report regarding the Council’s position on the Draft Amending Budget of the European Union for the financial year 2011 since it aims to enter into the budget the amounts left over from 2010, equal to EUR 4 539 394 283. The overall contribution of the Member States to the European Union’s budget for 2011 will therefore be reduced as a result of inevitable, exceptional or unforeseen circumstances, as provided for in Article 37 of the Financial Regulation.

 
  
  

Report: Barbara Matera (A7-0235/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am in favour of this report as it aims to safeguard jobs, in this particular case in Denmark. This is a financial aid fund that will support about 825 workers with a total amount of EUR 6.24 million.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document. The European Union has set up the appropriate legislative and budgetary instruments to provide additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns and to assist their reintegration into the labour market, and has established the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). Given the enormous impact of the global financial and economic crisis on European industry, in 2009, the scope of the EGF was broadened, in order to provide support for workers made redundant as a result of this crisis. In this instance, Denmark has requested assistance in respect of cases concerning 1650 redundancies (of which 825 are targeted for assistance) in the enterprise LM Glasfiber, which is involved in the manufacture of machinery and equipment in three municipalities located in the southern part ofDenmark (Syddanmark). As the application fulfils the criteria, I welcome the call to provide the required assistance to people made redundant as quickly and efficiently as possible.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created in 2006 in order to provide additional assistance to workers affected by the consequences of significant changes in the structure of international trade, and to assist in their reintegration into the labour market. Since 1 May 2009, the remit of the EGF has been expanded to include support for workers made redundant as a direct consequence of the economic, financial and social crisis.

At a time when we are facing this severe crisis, one of the principal consequences of which is an increase in unemployment, the EU should use all of the means at its disposal to react, particularly with regard to providing support to those who find themselves without a job from one day to the next. I therefore voted for this report on the mobilisation of the EGF for Denmark, with the aim of supporting the 825 workers made redundant from the enterprise LM Glasfiber, a manufacturer of machinery and equipment.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE), in writing. (ES) I voted in favour of this report to help 825 of the 1 650 workers made redundant by the enterprise LM Glasfiber, a company specialising in the manufacture of machine tools, specifically wind turbines, to facilitate their integration into the labour market. Companies have been affected by the fall in demand caused by the crisis in combination with increased demand in Asia.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is an instrument intended to assist in the reintegration of workers who have lost their job due to the ongoing globalisation of world markets.

The fund is for workers and does not aim to benefit the business that made the redundancies in any way. In terms of mobilising the fund for the case in question, I voted in favour because it does not present critical issues and because the request meets the established eligibility criteria. Denmark has requested a mobilisation of EUR 6 247 415 in relation to 1 650 redundancies.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome the fact that following repeated requests by Parliament, for the first time the 2011 budget shows payment appropriations of EUR 47 608 950 on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund budget line 04 05 01.

 
  
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  Nessa Childers (S&D), in writing. It is essential that this fund is used in a responsible and efficient manner.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The machinery and equipment manufacturing sector has also seen the reduction of its workforce due to the financial crisis and structural changes in world trade patterns. A total of 1 650 workers have been made redundant, of which 825 can receive assistance. Sectors and workers are continuing to lose work, increasing widespread concerns about the potential of European growth and the sustainability of its socio-economic model. I voted in favour of mobilising the fund, and I hope that the EU and its Member States succeed in reversing this worrying trend and that this will become less necessary in future.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Given the effects of the global economic and financial crisis on the European wind market, causing a sudden reduction in EU demand in favour of Asia, the enterprise LM Glasfiber has closed units that were dedicated to manufacturing machinery and equipment in three municipalities located in the Region of Southern Denmark (Syddanmark), instead developing its business through partnerships in China. As a result, 1 650 workers were made redundant from LM Glasfiber at the start of 2010. Given the importance of retraining these manual workers for local and European production, I voted for the mobilisation of a total amount of EUR 6 247 415 from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for programmes supporting the reintegration of the redundant workers into the labour market.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. − (PT) This is another request for the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. Such requests keep coming, as many thousands of workers have already been made redundant in several Member States since this instrument was established. In this case, it is another request for Denmark, which has submitted a request for assistance for 1 650 redundancies in the enterprise LM Glasfiber, of which 825 are targeted for assistance. Once again, we have voted for this mobilisation, but we would like to reiterate and stress that there should have been intervention before the closure occurred, in order to protect production and jobs.

We need a change of direction and policies in the EU, rather than mere palliatives. It has become increasingly urgent to implement the proposal that we made during the debate on the 2011 budget, in order to create a European programme for employment and sustainable development, to which 1% of EU gross domestic product would be allocated, with additional capital from the Member States. The aim of this would be real convergence, the promotion of each country’s potential, the sustainable use of their resources, investment in production and the creation of jobs with rights. The path that the EU has been following is, unfortunately, a very different and dangerous one, leading only to ever greater unemployment and recession.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was set up with the aim of providing sufficient support to workers feeling the effects of major structural changes in global trade. In May 2011, the Commission adopted a new draft decision to mobilise the EGF to assist Denmark, in order to support the re-entry onto the labour market of workers made redundant due to the financial and economic crisis. This is the fourth request to be reviewed within the framework of the 2011 budget. It involves the mobilisation of a total sum of EUR 6 247 415 from the EGF to assist 1 650 workers – of whom the assistance applies to 825 – who were made redundant, within a four-month reference period between 1 January and 30 April 2010, from the Danish firm LM Glasfiber in southern Denmark (Syddanmark). The Commission’s assessment is based on an evaluation of the link between the redundancies and major structural changes in world trade patterns or the financial crisis, the unforeseeable nature of the redundancies and also evidence of the number of redundancies. In accordance with the Commission’s assessment, the request fulfils the entitlement criteria set out in the Regulation on the EGF, and the Commission recommends that the budgetary authority should approve the request. I also consider it desirable to ensure a rapid procedure for adopting decisions on mobilising the fund, with due regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I welcomed this document, because Denmark has requested assistance in respect of cases concerning 1650 redundancies (of which 825 are targeted for assistance) in the enterprise LM Glasfiber, operating in the NACE Revision 2 Division 28 (manufacture of machinery and equipment) in three municipalities located in the southern part of Denmark (Syddanmark). The application fulfils the eligibility criteria set out by the EGF Regulation. The Commission, therefore, proposes to mobilise an amount of EUR 6 247 415.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in favour of Denmark because I consider that instrument to be a valuable resource for the support of workers in difficulties on account of the economic crisis. Since 2006, the EGF has provided practical support to European workers made redundant either for reasons associated with the relocation of their companies or, following the 2009 amendment, on account of the economic crisis, in order to facilitate their reintegration into the labour market. The report put to the vote today concerned a request for assistance for 1 650 redundancies, 825 of which are targeted for assistance, in the enterprise LM Glasfiber operating in the NACE Revision 2 Division 28 (Manufacture of machinery and equipment) in the southern part of Denmark (Syddanmark), during the four-month reference period, from 1 January to 30 April 2010, amounting to a total of EUR 6 247 415.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this application to mobilise the European Globalisation Fund in the light of 1 356 redundancies at Odense Steel shipyard in Southern Denmark. The Commission proposes to mobilise a total amount of EUR 14 181 901.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) We agree with the adoption of the Commission’s decision to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in favour of Denmark, with a view to supporting the reintegration into the labour market of workers in the enterprise LM Glasfiber, who were made redundant as a result of the global financial and economic crisis.

The fund may not exceed a maximum amount of EUR 500 million per year. We think a number of aspects need to be taken into consideration, including: the link between the redundant workers and major structural changes in international trade patterns or the financial crisis; identification of the dismissing enterprises and of the workers targeted for assistance; the territory concerned with its respective authorities and stakeholders; the impact for the redundancies as regards local, regional or national employment; and the coordinated package of personalised services to be funded; dates on which the personalised services to affected workers were started or planned to start; procedures for consulting the social partners; management and control systems.

We believe that the request satisfies the admissibility criteria and that the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs should be involved in the process in order to provide constructive support and assistance in assessing the requests for the mobilisation of the fund.

 
  
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  Barbara Matera (PPE), in writing. (IT) I welcome the adoption of the request to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund.

The funds requested will provide support for 825 workers made redundant by the enterprise Glasfiber, which operates in the wind turbine manufacturing sector in the Syddanmark region.

The European labour market needs a concerted effort from the European institutions in order to revive employment levels in Europe. The Commission has sent out a clear message on this subject by proposing an amendment to the EGF regulation, designed to extend the fund’s coverage for workers made redundant due to the economic crisis until 2013.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) I am abstaining because I have in mind the Danish workers who have been sacrificed on the altar of globalisation. In the situation into which they are plunged as a result of the neoliberal policies advocated by the European Union, one could be inclined to vote against, given the pitiful amount of this handout. However, the little that is being given may help to ease their pain. This does not make the rationale of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund any less intolerable.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU is an area of solidarity and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is a part of this. This support is essential for helping the unemployed and those affected by the company relocations that occur within a globalised context. More and more companies are relocating, taking advantage of lower labour costs in a number of countries, particularly China and India, with a damaging effect on those countries that respect workers’ rights. The EGF aims to help workers who are affected by the relocation of companies, and it is essential for facilitating access to new employment. The EGF has been used by other EU countries in the past, so now it is appropriate to grant this aid to Denmark, which has applied for assistance with regard to 1 650 cases of redundancy, of which 825 are targeted for assistance, at the enterprise LM Glasfiber operating in the NACE Revision 2 Division 28 (Manufacture of machinery and equipment) in three municipalities in the region of southern Denmark.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) exists to support workers who lose their jobs as a result of changing global trade patterns, helping them to find another job as quickly as possible. This constitutes the fourth mobilisation of the fund in 2011. The application, from Denmark, relates to 1650 redundancies that occurred at LM Glasfiber, a wind turbine manufacturing company, in early 2010. A total of 825 workers will benefit from personalised measures supported by EUR 6.24 million in EGF funding.

I consider it absolutely immoral that we should be in the position of paying money following redundancies in the wind turbine manufacturing industry. Instead of allowing companies to close and workers to be made redundant, we must subsidise this industry to make wind turbines affordable for more EU buyers. I voted against the proposal.

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing. (ET) The assistance provided to the employees made redundant from the Danish wind turbine manufacturing company Glasfiber through the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund is altogether justified, but it is worrying that a company involved in the manufacturing of renewable energy technology is forced to curtail its operations at a time when renewable energy is one of the European Union’s most important priorities. It cannot be considered acceptable to have a situation in which environmentally friendly technology is already largely imported from logistically distant Asia while Europeans remain unemployed. I hope that Germany’s decision to make a transition to renewable energy, along with attempts by other Member States to increase the proportion of renewable energy, will provide a new stimulus for the entire European wind energy sector.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created to provide additional support to workers affected by the consequences of major structural changes in the patterns of world trade. On 6 May 2011, the Commission adopted a new draft decision on the mobilisation of the EGF for Denmark, with the aim of supporting the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the global economic and financial crisis. This is the fourth application to be examined within the framework of the 2011 budget, and relates to the mobilisation of a total sum of EUR 6 247 415 from the EGF for 1 650 cases of redundancy, of which 825 are targeted for assistance, at the enterprise LM Glasfiber operating in the NACE Revision 2 Division 28 (Manufacture of machinery and equipment) in three municipalities located in the region of southern Denmark (Syddanmark), during the four-month reference period from 1 January to 30 April 2010. Once an examination of the case had been carried out by all the stakeholders, especially the Commission, and given that the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and its Working Group on the EGF are in favour of the mobilisation of the fund for Denmark, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was established to provide supplementary support to workers who suffer the consequences of the huge structural changes in international trade patterns. The fund may not exceed a maximum amount of EUR 500 million per year.

On 6 May 2011 the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the EGF in favour of Denmark, with a view to supporting the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the global financial and economic crisis. The request relates to 1 650 redundancies (of which 825 targeted for assistance) in the enterprise LM Glasfiber. The Commission’s assessment was based on the evaluation of the link between the redundancies and major structural changes in world trade patterns, bearing in mind the financial crisis the unforeseen nature of the redundancies concerned, a demonstration of the number of redundancies and compliance with the criteria. According to the evaluation, the application satisfies the eligibility criteria set up by the EGF Regulation, hence the Commission has advocated its approval to the budgetary authority. I voted in favour of the proposal in question in order to ensure a fast procedure, in accordance with the Interinstitutional Agreement, on adopting decisions relating to the mobilisation of the fund.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The fourth application for assistance from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) has been submitted under the implementation of the 2011 budget. The fund seeks to assist workers who find themselves in a highly vulnerable situation due to the relocation of the companies in which they worked as a result of the phenomenon of global competition. In this instance, Denmark has requested the intervention of the fund in the cases of 1 650 redundancies from the enterprise LM Glasfiber. The unforeseen nature of the redundancies and their correlation, or causal link, with the global economic and financial climate has been demonstrated. Indeed, all the criteria for the intervention of the fund, allowing the mobilisation of up to EUR 500 million per year, have been fulfilled. Finally, it should be stressed that there is a need to promote especially rapid procedures for allocating funds, in light of situations where local populations are in need.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. Parliament, firstly, requests that the institutions involved make the necessary efforts to improve procedural and budgetary arrangements in order to accelerate the mobilisation of the EGF; appreciates in this sense the improved procedure put in place by the Commission, following Parliament’s request for accelerating the release of grants, aimed at presenting to the budgetary authority the Commission’s assessment on the eligibility of an EGF application together with the proposal to mobilise the fund; hopes that further improvements in the procedure will be reached in the framework of the upcoming reviews of the EGF and that greater efficiency, transparency and visibility of the fund will be achieved.

Secondly, Parliament recalls the institutions’ commitment to ensuring a smooth and rapid procedure for the adoption of the decisions on the mobilisation of the EGF, providing one-off, time-limited individual support geared to helping workers who have suffered redundancies as a result of globalisation and the financial and economic crisis; emphasises the role that the EGF can play in the reintegration of workers made redundant into the labour market;

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) On 6 May 2011, the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in favour of Denmark, with a view to supporting the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the global financial and economic crisis.

The request relates to 1 650 redundancies (of which 825 targeted for assistance) in the enterprise LM Glasfiber, operating in the region of southern Denmark (Syddanmark). I voted in favour of this text today in order to allow Parliament to approve the relevant funding.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori, (PPE), in writing. − (IT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created to provide supplementary support to workers who suffer the consequences of the huge structural changes in international trade patterns. I voted in favour of the proposal for a decision of Parliament and of the Council for the mobilisation of the fund because the request submitted by the Danish company Steel Shipyard seems to satisfy the eligibility criteria established by the EGF Regulation. In addition, the Commission has recommended that the budgetary authority proceed to approve the request by presenting a transfer request from the EGF reserve. I would note, in addition, that the Joint Declaration of Parliament, the Council and the Commission adopted during the conciliation meeting of 17 July 2008 confirmed the importance of ensuring a fast procedure for the adoption of decisions relating to the mobilisation of the fund, in accordance with the interinstitutional agreement.

 
  
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  Søren Bo Søndergaard (GUE/NGL), in writing. (DA) I voted in favour of the report in respect of those workers who were promised retraining and further training in connection with the mass redundancies at LM Glasfiber. My vote does not mean that I support the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. On the contrary, I believe that the EU’s subsidy system, whereby rich EU countries give money to the EU so that the EU can then give money back to them, is absurd. Everyone knows that the longer someone is out of work, the harder it becomes to find work again. Nevertheless, it takes months – even after approval has been granted – before the money from the EU’s Globalisation Adjustment Fund is paid out. If this money had been paid out straight away by the Danish State without it having to do a circuit around Brussels, it would have been worth a lot more than it is now.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of the European Parliament and the Council of 20 December 2006 established the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) with the aim of supporting workers who lose their jobs due to structural changes in the context of the global economy. The enterprise LM Glasfiber, based in the region of Syddanmark in Denmark, has faced severe difficulties due to changes in the wind turbine market, the economic and financial crisis and the sudden reduction in EU demand in favour of Asia. In view of this, LM Glasfiber deemed it appropriate to reduce its production facilities in Lunderskov and Hammelev and to establish a strategic partnership with a Chinese company. The Commission proposes to allocate EUR 6 247 415 to the enterprise manufacturing machinery and equipment with the aim of providing financial assistance to the 1 650 workers who have been made redundant, of which 825 are targeted for direct assistance. Finally, I should like to stress that the EGF should not be a substitute for the legal and financial responsibilities of the enterprise LM Glasfiber, that the financial aid should be given to the affected workers as quickly as possible, and that the Commission should make every effort to expedite the process of mobilising the EGF for the Member States.

 
  
  

Report: Carlos Coelho (A7-0241/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, as it acknowledges the need for a compromise package for establishing a second-generation Schengen Information System (SIS II), which Parliament advocated back in 2007. Indeed, there needs to be an agency to ensure the workability and security of SIS II, Visa Information System and Eurodac data, while also ensuring a good economy of scale in the management of the three systems, both from a budgetary and human resources perspective.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. I voted in favour of this resolution on the establishment of an agency for the management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice. The new body will be responsible for the operational management of the large-scale IT system used to control EU external borders (Schengen Information System II) and for database-exchange systems to be used in pursuit of a common visa policy (Visa Information System) and the comparison of asylum seekers’ fingerprints to facilitate the examination of asylum applications (Eurodac), as well as other future systems in this field. It will be important that the agency keeps these systems functioning 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ensuring a continuous flow of data exchange. Member States are responsible for entering the data into the systems. The agency will be based in Tallinn (Estonia), and I would like to congratulate Estonia on being able to host this important body.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report, establishing an agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice. There has been an increase in the number of internet-based attacks, and it is therefore particularly important to protect the EU’s information network from various threats and to ensure the security of not just the network itself, but also the data transferred over it. I agreed that, for security and budgetary reasons, the agency should be based in one place and the European Parliament’s role in selecting candidates for the post of executive director should be strengthened.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) In June 2009, the Commission submitted a pair of legislative initiatives with a view to establishing an agency to manage large-scale IT systems within the area of freedom, security, and justice. The establishment of this agency is in response to the request by Parliament in 2007, and is the best solution from a financial, operational and institutional point of view.

This report, for which I voted, maintains that the objectives of the agency relate only to technical matters and operational management, and that it should not have access to data or the capacity to make policy decisions such as, for example, setting up new systems, or the chance to work between the different systems. It also establishes that there should not be any chance of obtaining unauthorised access to the data, and that all data on the network should be encrypted. Furthermore, management of the crypto device can never be made the responsibility of a private company through outsourcing, as happens today. Lastly, I should like to congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Coelho, on having been able to obtain an agreement at the first reading.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE), in writing. (ES) I voted in favour of the proposal to create an agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice because we are left with no other option since the Commission cannot do it. It is a technical and operational management agency. It will be responsible for supervision and security infrastructure, and it should ensure a secure network for data exchange within the legal framework for each of the systems involved.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. – (IT) The challenges that our societies and our countries must face in this day and age – such as terrorism, illegal immigration and cross-border crime – are deserving of our every effort and every effort of Europe.

I agree on the need to establish bodies that facilitate the exchange of data and sharing information between Member States and between public security authorities. I am therefore voting in favour of the report by Mr Coelho, since I agree that that it is worthwhile establishing this new technical – and not political – agency, which should help regulate the exchange of information between Member States.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report, because before establishing an agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice, some important questions in this field need to be answered. Firstly, why do we need to establish this new large-scale agency? There is plainly no other solution. It would be quite wrong to assign the entire responsibility to the Commission, especially in view of the protracted problems that have occurred in recent years regarding the development of the systems. Furthermore, the Commission itself has repeatedly pointed out that its running of Eurodac is merely a stopgap solution and that it does not consider itself equal to assuming direct management responsibility for large-scale IT systems. We therefore need to establish an agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice, because an executive agency would not provide a solution. In that case the legislature would be denied the possibility to shape the agency and exercise its democratic scrutiny. Executive agencies are set up by the Commission entirely under its supervision and responsibility. The Commission lays down their tasks and appoints their managing bodies, including the director. An executive agency has a limited life and would thus be a temporary solution.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. (FR) I did not support the resolution on the Schengen area, because I think it is not appropriate to have a resolution that would refuse, on principle, any expansion of the criteria to enable controls to be set up at internal borders and that would therefore run counter to the conclusions of the European Council and the proposals of the Commission. If we restrict ourselves to the current criteria for ‘public policy and public security’, the Member States will continue to act unilaterally, interpreting these criteria broadly in the case of increased migratory pressures. If this happens, we run the risk of conflating immigration and insecurity when we need to respond to migratory pressures. By contrast, the proposed device aims to create a mechanism enabling controls to be reintroduced at borders only under exceptional circumstances, as a last resort and through a European mechanism. Now we need to strengthen the governance of the Schengen area. The aim of this initiative is precisely to enable us to provide responses to the crisis that the Schengen area is going through at the moment. This crisis is particularly associated with the fact that certain Member States are no longer able to ensure that they respect their obligations under the Schengen acquis when it comes to effectively controlling their sections of the external borders.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. − SIS II claims to help ensure a high level of security within the area of freedom, security and justice of the EU, including maintaining public security and public policy. Parliament states that the VIS enables consulates to exchange visa information in order to facilitate the application procedure, helping to prevent ‘visa shopping’ and fraud, and facilitating checks at external borders to identify third-country nationals. However these controls should be strictly sovereign. I do not believe in the efficacy of the project, it is both expensive and will encompass IS II, VIS and Eurodac, meaning eventually all IT systems in the area of security and justice will merge, raising questions about increased vulnerability to computer hacking and the acquisition and storage of data. I believe this vote represents a step in that direction and thus should be blocked.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report as I believe that establishing this agency for the operational management of SIS II, the Visa Information System, Eurodac and other instruments that are being established in the area of freedom, security and justice, is undoubtedly the best option for the medium- and long-term functioning of the EU. I would also like to congratulate my colleague Mr Coelho on the excellent report that he has presented, the conclusions of which I agree with. The agency will function as a platform that will enable a more effective flow of information, and will therefore allow better results to be achieved.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report as I agree with the establishment of a European agency that will ensure the operational management of the Schengen Information System. This agency will help to improve security in the area of freedom, security and justice in the EU, and will facilitate the sharing of information among the authorities that control the EU’s external borders.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) In principle, I believe that the establishment of European agencies should effectively comply with the criteria of rationality and good operational management. This is clearly one of those cases. The nature of this establishment clearly justifies the emergence of such a body. As the rapporteur says, and I concur, there is a real need to ensure the operational management of the Schengen Information System, the Visa Information System, and Eurodac and parts of the communication infrastructure after the transitional period and potentially of other large-scale information technology systems in the area of freedom, security and justice, subject to the adoption of separate legal instruments. This single management authority can help to improve coordination between systems, enhance European responsiveness to matters of high sensitivity, provide training for technicians and experts with a high level of knowledge about such matters and, last but not least, make better use of resources. Finally, I should like to congratulate the rapporteur on the excellent work that he has done.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report seeks to ensure the establishment of an agency for the operational management of large-scale information technology systems in the area of freedom, security and justice, such as the second-generation Schengen Information System, the Visa Information System and Eurodac for the comparison of fingerprints, as well as parts of the communication infrastructure. This agency has objectives and tasks that are, in theory, solely technical and related to operational management, and does not have the capacity to make policy decisions, for example, on setting up new systems or on the possibility of interoperability between the different systems. This proposal, on which I would like to congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Coelho, and also congratulate him for having been able to reach an agreement at the first reading, reinforces the rules on data protection and the integrity and security of personal data, as well as the role of Parliament in its democratic control.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report is aimed at the establishment of a European agency, based in Tallinn, Estonia, which will ensure the management of the Schengen Information System. The fingerprints of asylum seekers will be stored in a database, and a visa information system will be established. The possibility of establishing other systems in the Schengen acquis is also mentioned.

Our fundamental disagreements with the approach taken by the EU in the areas that are the subject of this report are well known. We believe that the need to preserve rights, freedoms and guarantees, which are vital to the real democratic functioning of the Member States, is not taken sufficiently into account. We reject the idea that databases and information about people should be increased in the name of supposed security. That is a dangerous path. Moreover, in the current economic and social climate, we believe that the establishment of this agency should not be one of the EU’s priorities. That is why we voted against.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The report adopted today is aimed at establishing a European agency based in Tallinn, Estonia, with the objective of ensuring the management of the Schengen Information System through a database, which records the fingerprints of asylum seekers, and of the Visa Information System. The report also mentions the possibility of establishing other systems in the Schengen acquis.

We view this proliferation of European agencies with concern, and believe that the creation of another agency with this kind of aim should not be one of the EU’s priorities, especially at a time of economic and social crisis.

Moreover, we believe that it is crucial to ensure the preservation of rights and freedoms, which are vital to the real democratic functioning of the Member States.

We reject the idea that databases and information about people should be increased in the name of supposed security. We know that this is a dangerous path. We therefore voted against.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) In June 2009, the Commission presented two legislative initiatives on the establishment of an agency for the management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice. The first initiative comprised a draft regulation on first pillar issues relating to the Schengen Information System, the Visa Information System and Eurodac, while the second initiative comprised a draft decision on third pillar issues relating to these systems. With the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, however, these initiatives lost their justification. This is because, although the distinction between the three pillars was removed, the proposal in question possesses a variable geometry relating to various aspects of the area of freedom, security and justice in general, and specifically to aspects of the Schengen area. The legal framework of the systems to be administered by the agency applies to a diverse group of Member States with varying levels of participation, in the case of the United Kingdom, Denmark and Ireland, and associated third countries such as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and, in future, Liechtenstein. The Commission has drawn up an impact assessment in order to determine what would be the best solution from a financial, operational and institutional perspective. The most appropriate solution appears to be to establish a European agency, although it should be emphasised that the aims and tasks of the agency relate exclusively to the technical level of operational management. The agency should not have the power to take political decisions, for example it should not be allowed to set up new systems or take decisions relating to the interaction of systems.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) The objective of the proposal is to establish an agency responsible for various systems in the field of information technology. I agree with the rapporteur, Mr Coelho, about the single site of the agency and about the data protection officer. I therefore confirm my vote in favour.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing. (FR) As a Member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, I voted in favour of this report on the creation of an ‘Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice’, which will make it possible to improve the management of data collected through the three large-scale IT systems used by the European Union: European Dactyloscopy (Eurodac), the second-generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) and the Visa Information System (VIS). This legislative package will allow us to accommodate these three data systems within a single platform in order to enable better continuity in data management, improved exchanges of data and an increased number of synergies. In addition, it will enable us to improve and enhance the European Union’s capacities in relation to judicial and police cooperation. I therefore voted in favour of creating such an agency, which is eventually intended to become a centre of excellence in IT systems management. In addition to that, I want to lay emphasis on the essential principles concerning the protection of personal data, which this agency, and the way it functions, will have to respect strictly.

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. The issues in this report are complex, given that certain Member States, including the United Kingdom, participate only in certain parts of the Schengen aquis. The UK position is further complicated by the fact that security and justice issues operate within independent legal systems governed by separate parliaments and governments. The Scottish Government takes an active role in the implementation of the Schengen aquis in Scots law and I was able to support this report.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I abstained from the vote on this document, because it proposes establishing an agency that will manage the Schengen Information System, the Visa Information System and Eurodac (fingerprint comparison). Clearly we need to find a way to avoid establishing another additional agency, because that would involve additional costs and enlarge the administrative apparatus. It would also be quite wrong to assign the responsibility to the Commission, especially in view of the protracted problems that have occurred in recent years regarding the development of the systems. Furthermore, the Commission itself has repeatedly pointed out that its running of Eurodac is merely a stopgap solution and that it does not consider itself equal to assuming direct management responsibility for large-scale IT systems.

 
  
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  Tunne Kelam (PPE), in writing. I welcome the adoption of this report which finally gives a green light for the establishment of the Agency for the management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice. I thank the rapporteur Carlos Coelho for his efforts in preparing this report and trust in creating this new agency.

In the current situation where the EU and its Member States are facing a rapidly growing number of cyber attacks, which could seriously affect European information, infrastructure and energy systems, where cyber crime is causing enormous costs, we need a European coordinating agency to develop and manage complex information systems to enhance European security.

This agency shall lead the way towards a comprehensive cooperation in this field and will ensure that EU is prepared to face challenges arising in the cyber sphere. I am pleased that the new agency will be situated in Tallinn. I am fully convinced that being a leading force in advancing cyber security in Europe, Estonia is capable of providing the best facilities and services.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this proposal as the least worst option. In June 2009 the Commission presented a package proposal to establish an Agency responsible for the operational management of large-scale information technology systems in the area of freedom, security and justice, consisting of a proposal for a regulation establishing the Agency and a proposal for a Council Decision conferring upon the Agency established by this regulation tasks regarding the operational management of the Second Schengen Information System (SIS II), the Visa Information System (VIS) and the European Dactylscopy (EURODAC) in application of Title VI of the EU Treaty, under the former third pillar.

The Treaty of Lisbon did away with the pillar structure and now virtually all legislation coming within the area of freedom, security and justice has to be adopted under the ordinary legislative procedure. The Commission therefore presented the above amended proposal for a regulation which takes into account the changes resulting from the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and contains the provisions initially proposed as a Council decision.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) We agree with the establishment of an agency for the management of new large-scale IT systems in the context of the area of freedom, security and justice, whose responsibilities will be exclusively technical and for operational management.

In fact, the agency will not have the power to take political decisions concerning, for example, the creation of new systems and interoperability between the various systems. We therefore believe it is necessary to establish rules to prevent the agency’s responsibilities being widened de facto through a proliferation of pilot projects beyond the range of supervision and transparency.

The agency will therefore be responsible for the supervision and the security of communication infrastructures and will guarantee a comprehensive network for the exchange of information. It will therefore be essential to protect the network from any threat as well as to guarantee the security of personal data. The legal framework of the various systems that will be managed by this agency applies to a diverse collection of Member States with varying levels of participation, as well as to an assortment of associated third countries.

Lastly, we believe that the role of Parliament should be clearly defined and strengthened in order to ensure adequate democratic supervision.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The establishment of a European agency, which will ensure the management of the Schengen Information System, the Visa Information System, a database containing the fingerprints of asylum seekers (Eurodac), and other systems in the Schengen acquis, was adopted today by Parliament. The agency, based in Tallinn, Estonia, is due to begin its work in the summer of 2012. Its aim is to ensure secure, rapid and constant communication – that is, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year – between the central services and all the Member States that integrate the different systems.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. I am not confident that the aim of the proposed new agency is to ensure the smooth operability and data security of Schengen Information System II, VIS (the Visa Information System) and Eurodac (the biometric database of asylum seekers) while at the same time ensuring an appropriate economy of scale in the EU’s management of the three systems in both budgetary and human resources terms. There is no clear and understandable provision for the control and interaction of all three systems. The budget has been already adopted and there are no grounds for spending the funds that this proposal requires. There is a lack of transparency and targets and there is no plan of work. Therefore, I have abstained.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) In theory, the new IT agency will link together the visa databases and the digital information on asylum seekers and criminals more effectively than has been done in the past. When we consider the fact that the Schengen Information System (SIS) was originally designed to handle 15 million records and the requirements have now increased to 100 million, not least because of national differences, the scope of this IT project becomes clear. If the data cannot be coordinated within one system without problems, in other words, SIS or SIS II, which must also make the data available to Eurojust and Europol, we need to ask critical questions about whether our own IT agency will be able to link together all the disparate systems. In the light of the proliferation of EU agencies and the existing options available for coordinating IT systems, we need to consider whether introducing our own IT agency will not simply inflate the EU budget unnecessarily without actually bringing greater security. I have abstained from voting because of my doubts on this matter.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report by Mr Coelho because I believe that the large-scale operational management of sensitive personal data and information ought to be supervised by an agency specialised in information technology (IT) systems that ensure freedom, security and justice in the flow of information. The agency will be responsible for the supervision and security of communication infrastructures, will protect IT systems in a transparent and exclusive manner, safeguarding the democratic principles governing the management and flow of published data.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the report on the establishment of the agency for the management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice, because one of the aims of this report is to safeguard the smooth operation of the sector in question and it allows for full utilisation of the potential provided by new technologies. The new agency will be an umbrella agency that will manage the technical aspects of the SIS II, VIS and Eurodac systems. Its priority will be to protect the network and the data exchanged within it. The value of this report lies, among other things, in the important proposals which it contains in order to achieve a high level of security.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) In June 2009, the Commission submitted a pair of legislative initiatives with a view to establishing an agency to manage large-scale information technology systems within the area of freedom, security, and justice. This was a proposal for a regulation on first-pillar matters related to the Schengen Information System, the Visa Information System, and Eurodac, and a proposal for a decision on third-pillar matters related to those systems. However, with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the initiatives were rendered obsolete. On 19 March 2010, the Commission submitted a new proposal amounting essentially to a revised version of the earlier proposal for a regulation in view of Lisbon, incorporating the third-pillar matters. I welcome the work carried out by my colleague Mr Coelho, as several articles attempt to strengthen Parliament’s role and ensure greater transparency. He has likewise sought to tighten up the rules on data protection and the integrity and security of personal data, by strengthening the role of the European Data Protection Supervisor. These are the factors which motivated my vote in favour.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The establishment of an agency for the operational management of large-scale information technology systems in the area of freedom, security and justice, with a view to the management of the second-generation Schengen Information System, the Visa Information System and Eurodac, is aimed at optimising available resources and seeking to achieve economies of scale. Given that this is such a sensitive matter, it should be ensured that the agency is provided with the financial means necessary for its activities, which largely provide the desired autonomy, and that the Member States are linked to its functioning, by acting in a supervisory role. Parliament’s monitoring role must also be ensured, especially because of the particularly sensitive aspects dealt with in these areas, such as the need to protect the personal data of citizens.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. According the rapporteur, whom we supported, we need to establish a new agency. There is plainly no other solution. It would be quite wrong to assign the responsibility to the Commission, especially in view of the protracted problems that have occurred in recent years regarding the development of the systems. Furthermore, the Commission itself has repeatedly pointed out that its running of Eurodac is merely a stopgap solution and that it does not consider itself equal to the task of assuming direct management responsibility for large-scale IT systems.

Why would the solution not lie in an executive agency? Because in that case the legislature would be denied the possibility to shape the agency and exercise its democratic scrutiny. Executive agencies are set up by the Commission entirely under its supervision and responsibility. The Commission lays down their tasks and appoints their managing bodies, including the director. An executive agency has a limited lifespan and would thus be a temporary solution.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this report because I think that the only way to clarify the operational management of information technology systems in the area of freedom, security and justice is to create a brand new European agency.

A European agency with technical and operational data management responsibilities cannot take the form of an executive agency managed by the Commission because, aside from being merely a temporary solution, this would deny the legislature the power to organise it and to exercise democratic control.

Lastly, I think it is essential to steer the regulation establishing the agency towards strengthening Parliament’s role in its creation and management, as well as towards the utmost protection and probity of the personal data.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) I support this report on establishing an agency for the operational management of large-scale information technology systems in the area of freedom, security and justice.

The aim is to set up an agency responsible for the joint operational management of the information systems that enable us to maintain a high level of security, including public security, and a visa information system to support consulates and other relevant authorities. The report also aims at setting up a European information system designed to determine which Member State is responsible for examining asylum requests lodged in a Member State by non-EU citizens.

I agree that the tasks and duties conferred on this agency should be only technical and not political.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the Coelho report, because I agree with the positions taken by the rapporteur, who has amended a series of articles in a bid to strengthen the role of Parliament and improve transparency. At the same time, he has tried to tighten up rules on data protection and the security and integrity of personal data, by strengthening the role of the European Data Protection Supervisor.

 
  
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  Vilja Savisaar-Toomast (ALDE), in writing. (ET) The report on establishing an agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice deals with the creation of the new agency and its scope of activity. In accordance with the rapporteur’s position, the agency’s objectives and tasks are connected solely with the technical level of operational management. The agency must not have the power to take political decisions, for example with regard to setting up new systems or systems interoperability. My Estonian colleagues and I are very glad that Estonia and France were today able to reach the agreement that was also confirmed today, namely that the new agency will be located in Tallinn, Estonia. Since the technical development of the second-generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) and the Visa Information System (VIS), as well as the preparation for their operational management, had already been carried out in Strasbourg, and a backup site for these IT systems had already been established in Sankt Johann im Pongau in Austria, Estonia, France and Austria came to an agreement that they would remain there. I think that the creation of this agency will increase the reliability of the European Union’s IT systems and will lead to the speedier and more effective creation of new systems. There are now several examples of how the development of trans-European systems has been delayed and their quality has not been ideal, and therefore the creation of the new agency is altogether justified. I welcome today’s decision, and I am delighted at the creation of the new agency. Thank you.

 
  
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  Michèle Striffler (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the report on the ‘agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice’, which aims to create an ‘operational agency for large-scale IT systems’. Eventually, this agency will be responsible for the operational management of data collected by the three large-scale IT systems within the European Union: the Visa Information System (VIS), the second-generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) and the European Dactylology (Eurodac) system. It will, moreover, have to respect the conditions and procedures of data exchange among the countries of the European Union and to play the role of ‘facilitator’. It is necessary to create such an agency because it will enable the centralisation of all these data in a single database and thus facilitate cooperation between the judicial and police authorities of the Member States.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The aim of the proposal is to establish an agency for the operational management of second-generation information technology (IT) systems in the area of freedom, justice and security, such as the second-generation Schengen Information System (SIS II), the Visa Information System (VIS) and Eurodac. These systems are currently operated by the Commission, but it is not its task, however, to operate large-scale IT systems. In fact, the legal instruments governing SIS II and the VIS also provide for the long-term need to establish a management authority to ensure the continuity and operational management of the systems and the organisation of the data.

In addition to these operational tasks, the agency, which should work 24 hours per day and seven days per week, also has the power to adopt security measures, draft reports and promote training, as well as to issue and monitor information. I support the rapporteur’s reminder that the agency cannot have the power to make policy decisions or decisions relating to the interoperability of systems. Its aim and its powers should be restricted to the technical side of the operational management of IT systems.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. − (DE) In June 2009 the Commission submitted two initiative proposals on the establishment of an agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice. Together with the reform or, in other words, the strengthening of the Frontex regulation, this agency is intended to guarantee that the EU’s external borders are monitored.

 
  
  

Report: Elie Hoarau (A7-0199/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report as the exemption from or a reduction in customs duties for certain products manufactured in the French overseas departments meets the specific measures required to make up for the insularity, energy dependence, small market size and low level of exports that characterise these regions.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The ultra-peripheral regions (UPRs) of the European Union – Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana and Réunion – suffer from specific handicaps. For example, they are remote, they depend on other countries for raw materials and energy, they have to build up more significant stocks, their local markets are weak, and their export activity is underdeveloped. This justifies specific aid measures. Dock dues, a French tax applied to imports in these overseas regions, favour a certain amount of rebalancing of the markets between local and imported products, and are therefore very much needed. I voted in favour of this report because it enables these rules to be adapted to the specific case of French Guiana, as requested by the French authorities and the European Commission.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE), in writing. (ES) I voted for this initiative as French Guiana, being an outermost region, finds itself in economic and social difficulties, due to its insular nature, which are detrimental to its regional development. France, through dock dues, can establish differentiated taxation for some products that are made in those places. Extending by 50 products the list of those to which differentiated taxation may be applied in French Guiana will enable the promotion or maintenance of local activities and investments in local development and employment.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I am voting in favour of the report on the proposal for a Council decision to grant a special system for certain products in French overseas departments.

I agree with the reasons that led the French authorities to ask for a separate system together with partial or total exemption from dock dues, depending on the product. These territories are what are known as outermost regions, where social and geographical difficulties are combined with economic production that is usually concentrated in certain market areas.

I therefore agree with granting a special system of dock dues, since in cases like these it is fair to resort to such means to ensure the economic and social stability of these regions.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The dock dues system, approved by the European Parliament on 5 July 2011, authorises France, until 1 July 2014, to apply differential rates for dock dues to certain products manufactured in its four overseas departments (ODs). Dock dues are crucial for supporting outermost regions economically and socially disadvantaged by certain permanent factors, such as their small area and insularity, remoteness from major markets, inadequate topography and climate or dependence on a small number of products available on the market. Dock dues are intended to bring stability to the economies of outermost regions, helping them to maintain jobs in areas where the unemployment rate is close to 30% and, by extension, support local production. Furthermore, the revenue obtained from levying these dock dues, which makes up between 37% and 48% of local authority budgets in the overseas departments, is intended and must continue to underpin the policies promoting investment in local development. Consequently, the European Parliament supports the necessary step of making permanent, as of 2014, the exemptions from or reductions in dock dues granted in the case of the French ODs.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Given the added difficulties of outermost regions, which are strongly affected by insularity, remoteness from major markets, difficult topography and climate, small size and heavy economic dependence on a small number of products and activities, I support this initiative, which allows differential rates of tax known as ‘dock dues’ to be applied to certain products manufactured in France’s four overseas departments. Additional stimuli are essential to the economic stability and promotion of employment in these regions, where the rate of employment is close to 30% and the revenue from the ‘dock dues’ makes up between 37% and 48% of local authority budgets. I therefore support the extension of these measures beyond 2014.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted for this report, given the importance of adopting specific measures for the outermost regions and bearing in mind their economic and social situation, and the fact that they are permanently disadvantaged, which hinders their development and fully justifies these types of measures. We therefore support the authorisation of the French authorities to provide for the application of differential rates of tax known as ‘dock dues’ to certain products manufactured in its overseas departments until 1 July 2014, with a view to protecting local production and employment from foreign competition.

We support the rapporteur in advocating that the Commission propose ways of putting the measure on a permanent footing from 2014 onwards, so that the outermost regions in question do not find themselves subject to economic uncertainty at 10-yearly intervals. These systems are extremely important in protecting the outermost regions, in view of their unique characteristics. The same type of measures should be implemented not only in the outermost regions but in all the Member States, especially those with weaker and more vulnerable economies, such as Portugal, in order to enhance and protect their production and employment.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted for this report, given the importance of adopting specific measures for the outermost regions and bearing in mind their economic and social situation, and the fact that they are permanently disadvantaged, which hinders their development and fully justifies these types of measures.

We therefore support the authorisation of the French authorities to provide for the application of differential rates of tax known as ‘dock dues’ to certain products manufactured in its overseas departments until 1 July 2014, with a view to protecting local production and employment from foreign competition. We support the rapporteur in advocating that the Commission propose ways of putting the measure on a permanent footing from 2014 onwards, so that the outermost regions in question do not find themselves subject to economic uncertainty at 10-yearly intervals.

These systems are extremely important in protecting the outermost regions, in view of their specific characteristics. The same type of measures should be implemented not only in the outermost regions but in all the Member States, especially those with weaker and more vulnerable economies, such as Portugal, in order to enhance and protect their production and employment.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union authorises the European Council, on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament, to adopt measures to benefit the outermost regions, taking account of their economic and social situation. The fact that these regions are permanently disadvantaged by their insularity, remoteness from major markets, small size, difficult topography and climate, and their economic dependence on a small number of products, severely hinders their development and fully justifies the implementation of the approved measures.. A system has been established for this purpose, which, until 1 July 2014, will allow France to employ the variable taxation system known as dock dues in its four overseas departments for certain products produced in these overseas departments. This system is of fundamental importance for the economic stability of these highly remote regions, making it possible to retain local production and jobs. At the same time, the dock dues revenues allocated to the regions play an important role in supporting investment policies aimed at local development. In my opinion, it is therefore necessary to retain the dock dues tax exemption or reduction granted to the French overseas departments, and, at the same time, I believe it would be right to consider retaining these measures permanently in order to avoid creating a situation of economic uncertainty in these highly remote regions every 10 years.

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. This report primarily deals with issues of concern to the French overseas departments. I think that the wider general point can be made that the EU has a duty to take decisions designed to ensure the economic well-being of all of Europe’s outlying areas.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document, because Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (formerly Article 229(2) of the EC Treaty) authorises the Council, on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting Parliament, to adopt specific measures for the benefit of the European Union’s outermost regions, taking account of their social and economic situation. The fact that these regions are permanently disadvantaged by their insularity, remoteness from major markets, small size, difficult topography and climate, and their economic dependence on a small number of products, severely hinders their development and fully justifies the implementation of the approved measures. The Commission proposal, accompanied by a proposal for a Council decision, suggests, in the case of French Guiana, extending the list of products to which differentiated tax arrangements for dock dues may be applied by some 50 products. The European Parliament also supports the necessary step of making permanent, as of 2014, the exemptions from or reductions in dock dues granted in the case of the French overseas departments.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (formerly Article 229(2) of the EC Treaty) authorises the Council, on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting Parliament, to adopt specific measures for the benefit of the Union’s outermost regions, taking account of their social and economic situation. The fact that these regions are permanently disadvantaged by their insularity, remoteness from major markets, small size, difficult topography and climate and their economic dependence on a small number of products severely hinders their development and fully justifies the implementation of specially tailored measures. Such is the basis for the so-called ‘dock dues’ system, under which France is authorised, until 1 July 2014, to apply differential rates of the tax known as ‘dock dues’ to certain products manufactured in its four overseas departments (ODs). Given the importance of dock dues to the outermost regions I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) We agree with the Council, which has decided to introduce specific measures for the benefit of the outermost regions, taking account of their particular economic and social situation.

The fact that these regions are permanently disadvantaged by their insularity, remoteness from major markets, small size, difficult topography and climate and their economic dependence on a small number of products severely hinders their development and fully justifies the implementation of specially tailored measures. That is the basis for the ‘dock dues’ system, under which France is authorised, until 1 July 2014, to apply differential rates of the tax known as ‘dock dues’ to certain products manufactured in its four overseas departments.

We believe, in fact, that the ‘dock dues’ system is important for economic stability in the outermost regions, since it enables local production and employment to be maintained and provides valuable support for policies promoting investment in local development. We therefore endorse putting the measure on a permanent footing so that the outermost regions in question do not find themselves subject to economic uncertainty at 10-yearly intervals.

We therefore call for the exemptions from or reductions in ‘dock dues’ granted in the case of the French overseas departments to be maintained beyond 2014.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) Dock dues are relevant in more than one way. They favour local production over imports. They therefore favour short transport routes over long ones. They protect local jobs and allocate the necessary resources to territorial authorities. As Mr Hoarau quite rightly mentions, dock dues must be made permanent in order to ensure stable revenues for local authorities.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) EU treaties authorise the Council, on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting Parliament, to adopt specific measures for the benefit of the Union’s outermost regions, taking account of their social and economic situation. The fact that these regions are permanently disadvantaged by their insularity, remoteness from major markets, small size, difficult topography and climate and their economic dependence on a small number of products severely hinders their development and fully justifies the implementation of specially tailored measures. This type of exemption makes complete sense in order to help these regions to better address their economic challenges. However, we believe that it is important that this type of exemption is made permanent, rather than having to be re-evaluated every 10 years, leaving the outermost regions in a situation of real economic uncertainty.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. The purpose of the proposed Council Decision is to authorise France to apply exemptions from or reductions in the tax known as ‘dock dues’ to certain products manufactured in the French Overseas Departments (DOMs). The annex to the decision contains a list of products to which tax exemptions and reductions may be applied. The reasons for adopting specific measures include isolation, raw material and energy dependence, the obligation to build up stocks, the small size of local markets and the low level of export activity. The measures are thus designed to strengthen local industry by making it more competitive – but why should this apply specifically in France? Could it be because that country has a dominant position in the EU and here in Parliament? I think it makes sense to consider such alleviating measures for all EU Member States. I abstained.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) Having properly evaluated the economic and social situation of the outermost regions, specific measures must be applied. It should be noted that permanent disadvantages such as the regions’ remoteness and isolation increase production costs and the cost price of goods produced, and consequently the goods are not competitive. All of this severely hinders the regions’ industry and development. Reductions in dock dues or exemption from them is one of the measures that promotes and sustains local economic activity and employment, and contributes to economic stability. Consequently, I believe that, in the case of French Guiana, it is advisable to extend the list of products to which differentiated tax arrangements for dock dues may be applied. This will help maintain local production of most goods, enabling such goods to remain on the market. Furthermore, the revenue from the dock dues underpins policies promoting investment in local development.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union authorises the Council, on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting Parliament, to adopt specific measures for the benefit of the Union’s outermost regions, taking account of their social and economic situation. The fact that these regions are permanently disadvantaged by their insularity, a situation all too familiar to the Portuguese residents of the Azores and Madeira, remoteness from major markets, small size, difficult topography and climate and their economic dependence on a small number of products severely hinders their development and fully justifies the implementation of specially tailored measures. Such is the basis for France’s so-called ‘dock dues’ system, which has been found to be broadly positive in view of its goals, especially in terms of its positive impact on preserving employment. The Commission proposal, accompanied by a proposal for a Council decision, suggests, in the case of French Guiana, extending the application of this system to some 50 products. Parliament approves this proposal without amendment. In view of the particular characteristics of the economies of the outermost regions and bearing in mind that the ‘dock dues’ comply with Community law and stimulate these economies, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) The fact that these regions are permanently disadvantaged by their insularity, remoteness from major markets, small size, difficult topography and climate and their economic dependence on a small number of products severely hinders their development and fully justifies the implementation of specially tailored measures. That means it is necessary to introduce specific measures for the benefit of the outermost regions, taking account of their particular economic and social situation. That is the basis for the ‘dock dues’ system, under which France is authorised, until 1 July 2014, to apply differential rates of the tax known as ‘dock dues’ to certain products manufactured in its four overseas departments. The dock dues system is crucially important to the economic stability of the outermost regions concerned. For one thing, it enables local production and employment to be maintained. For another, the revenue from the dock dues makes up almost half of local authority budgets in the overseas departments and is intended, and must continue, to underpin policies promoting investment in local development. I have voted in favour so that these regions can continue to develop further.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The ‘dock dues’ system aims to support the outermost regions, resulting in a system that applies differential rates of tax to certain products manufactured in the French overseas departments. This system supports regions where these types of measures can really drive the local economy, where there are often high rates of unemployment. As the rapporteur suggests, it is also important to consider putting these measures, which are currently uncertain, on a permanent footing as support mechanisms for regions with problems of this nature.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (formerly Article 229(2) of the EC Treaty) authorises the Council, on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting Parliament, to adopt specific measures for the benefit of the Union’s outermost regions, taking account of their social and economic situation. The fact that these regions are permanently disadvantaged by their insularity, remoteness from major markets, small size, difficult topography and climate and their economic dependence on a small number of products severely hinders their development and fully justifies the implementation of specially tailored measures. Such is the basis for the so-called ‘dock dues’ system, under which France is authorised, until 1 July 2014, to apply differential rates of the tax known as ‘dock dues’ to certain products manufactured in its four overseas departments (ODs). This report on the dock dues system follows the submission by France of a mid-term report on its implementation, in accordance with Article 4 of Decision 2004/162/EC.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this proposal because I believe it can help support the development of certain maritime regions that are permanently disadvantaged by their insularity, remoteness from major markets, small size and difficult topography and climate.

The ‘dock dues’ system authorises France, until 1 July 2014, to apply differential rates of the tax known as ‘dock dues’ to certain products manufactured in its four overseas departments.

The report adopted today suggests that French Guiana can extend the list of products to which differentiated taxation may be applied by some 50 products. The Commission now needs to consider how to put the measure on a permanent footing from 2014 onwards so that the outermost regions in question do not find themselves subject to economic uncertainty at 10-yearly intervals.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the Hoarau report, because I consider that dock dues are vital to the stability of the economies of the outermost areas in question. On the one hand, they help to maintain local production and employment in areas in which unemployment is close to 30% and, on the other hand, the revenue from them, which goes to the regions and accounts for between 37% and 48% of local community budgets in overseas departments, is designed to provide important support for investment policies for local growth and must retain that aspect.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The special circumstances of the outermost regions requires the adoption of specific measures, which take due account of their economic and social situation. The constraints and permanent difficulties that such regions face, such as their insularity, remoteness from markets and small size severely hinders their development and justifies measures that can help to reduce the impact of current constraints.

Indeed, this possibility is included in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union itself, which deals with the special status of the outermost regions in Article 349. Such is the basis for the decision on ‘dock dues’ measures, under which France is authorised, until 1 July 2014, to apply differential rates of the tax known as ‘dock dues’ to certain products manufactured in its four overseas departments. I believe that special attention should be given to the needs and difficulties of the outermost regions, provided this applies to the adoption of specific and appropriate measures for all the outermost regions of the EU that contribute to promoting employment there and in other outermost regions, and better integrating them into the European Union’s internal market. I therefore voted for the document in plenary.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) I would like to congratulate my colleague Mr Hoarau, the MEP from the Communist Party of Réunion, for his report on products that could benefit from an exemption from or a reduction in dock dues, which was adopted by the European Parliament by a very large majority: 652 votes in favour, 15 votes against and 4 abstentions.

This report recognises the particular difficulties faced by the ultra-peripheral regions: insularity, distance from large markets, superficial weakness and economic dependence with regard to a small number of products.

Parliament is drawing the consequences from this particular situation and is authorising France to provide, up to 1 July 2014, tax exemptions from dock dues for the four overseas French departments for certain products manufactured in those departments.

The report goes further, though, calling on the Commission to consider extending these exemptions beyond 2014 so that dock dues will continue to favour the competitiveness of local products, jobs and policies for investment in the overseas departments

The vote on this report shows, once again, that, if majorities in the European Parliament can come together on a number of issues, progress is possible.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. − (DE) Taking into consideration the social and economic situation of the European Union’s outermost regions, the measures implemented by the EU to provide them with support have so far been highly successful, including the exemption from or reduction in dock dues. A French interim report confirms the positive impact of these measures, which includes maintaining local businesses and, therefore, preserving jobs. For this reason, I have voted in favour of extending the exemption to a further list of products.

 
  
  

Report: Sylvana Rapti (A7-0220/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, which is the result of complex negotiation among all the political groups, as it emphasises the importance of the universal obligations on social inclusion and calls upon the Commission to provide guidelines on the best way to adopt the revised Universal Service Directive. I would also like to stress the importance given to broadband access for everyone and the creation of the common European emergency number 112.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. − I voted in favour of the resolution on universal service and the 112 emergency number. We MEPs believe that the European emergency number 112 can be a lifesaving number and that it should be smoothly operational throughout the Union. We urge the Commission to ensure that every section of society has access to this service, including people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. To that end, it is important that the Commission and Member States improve the accuracy and reliability of caller location information under the new EU telecoms rules and upgrade the relevant technology with the ultimate goal of mandatory automatic location for all 112 calls. I support the rapporteur’s view that it would be a great achievement to establish a ‘reverse 112 system’, i.e. an EU-wide, universal, multilingual, accessible, simplified and efficient interconnected system of warning and alerting citizens in the event of imminent or developing natural and/or man-made major emergencies and disasters of any type.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Numerous recent disasters have shown that alerting citizens and giving them early warning in the event of imminent major emergencies and disasters is necessary if material losses and the loss of human life are to be reduced. However, a large majority of Europeans are still unaware that the 112 emergency services number exists, even though it was introduced in 1991 to enable citizens to access emergency services such as fire, police and ambulance services, with it being the only emergency service number that can be called in every Member State in the European Union. This is why I encourage Member States to step up their joint efforts to inform the public about the existence of the 112 number and its use, especially by developing a specific, comprehensive communications strategy which deals with citizens’ concerns and questions about how the system works. I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) I supported this own-initiative report, which aims to assess recent changes in relation to the concept of basic universal services enshrined in the Universal Services and Users’ Rights Directive. It examines the possibility of extending universal access to broadband and stresses the need for coordinated approaches and adequate financing, taking account of the specific needs of vulnerable people and disabled consumers. This report also focuses on the single European emergency number 112, particularly on the visibility of this number and on citizens’ awareness of it. It lays the emphasis on improving the efficiency of emergency lines in order to protect public health and ensure civil protection, to promote improvement in how calls are dealt with and to assess the quality of the assistance provided, from the time when the call is made to the time when action is taken.

 
  
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  Liam Aylward (ALDE), in writing. (GA) It is a fundamental right of everyone in the EU to have basic access to telecommunications infrastructure. Everyone in the Union must be able to enjoy the advantages of the digital era. Where there is no financial incentive for the private sector to implement the appropriate infrastructure, the Universal Services Directive ensures that the state will assume responsibility for making a basic service available to everyone. I fully support the ‘Broadband for all’ aim of the Digital Agenda and agree with the report’s contents in relation to providing sufficient funds in order to achieve this. The 112 number is a service with significant rescue potential, but it is manifestly not familiar enough in the EU. If the people of the EU are not well aware of, and used to, this number, it is of little use. Everyone in the EU must have access to this number. A comprehensive review must be set up to improve the service and ensure that the European people have the information and the ability to use the 112 number in case of emergency.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this report. The introduction of the European 112 emergency number was aimed at increasing the protection of EU citizens and providing them with urgent assistance, using the same number in all EU Member States and ensuring the smooth functioning of the 112 emergency number throughout the European Union. However, the European 112 emergency number has not yet reached its full potential. A Eurobarometer survey published in 2011 reveals that barely 26% of EU citizens know that the 112 number can be used to call for emergency services, while 58% of citizens believe there is a lack of information about the existence of the emergency number. I welcome the call for the Commission and the Member States to further step up their information work so that the emergency number 112 reaches all EU citizens and travellers through the media, particularly the print and audiovisual media. During information campaigns, special attention should be paid to practical information, such as stressing that 112 is the European emergency number, reachable from fixed and mobile phones free of charge everywhere in the EU.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The concept of universal service was developed by the European institutions and defines a set of requirements of general benefit to be met by certain activities. The obligations set out are aimed at ensuring everyone has universal access to certain essential services of quality and at an accessible cost.

This report, for which I voted, is aimed at assessing recent developments related to the basic concept of universal service, as enshrined in the Universal Service Directive in the context of universal access to broadband. The report also focuses on the single European emergency number 112, created in 1991 in the context of the single market and the free movement of people, with the aim of enabling access to emergency services using one and the same number throughout the whole of the EU.

It is therefore important to make the emergency number 112 known, and improve the effectiveness of hotlines in order to safeguard public health and ensure effective civil protection. The Commission’s decision to carry out a detailed study of the provision of internet services is equally important.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the own-initiative report by Mrs Rapti because I believe she has produced a critical and constructive assessment of the recent developments in universal service (or the minimum set of services of specified quality to which all end-users have access at an affordable price, including universal broadband access) and the European emergency number 112.

For example, the report emphasises that making broadband availability obligatory will not automatically result in higher take-up, and therefore calls on the Commission and the Member States to reinforce measures to drive demand and stimulate take-up.

Moreover, I have to agree with the initiative to call on the Commission and the Member States to further step up their information work so that the emergency number 112 reaches all EU citizens and travellers through the media, particularly the print and audiovisual media, by means of information campaigns promoting it as the EU-wide emergency number,

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report, because the 112 emergency number must receive the support it needs to become the best means of protecting citizens’ lives. The European Parliament has repeatedly stressed the need to raise awareness of the 112 emergency number and the fact that hitherto a poor quality of service has been provided to citizens through the 112 number. The latest edition of the Consumer Markets Scoreboard shows that, at EU level, the telecommunications market is one of the sectors with the lowest scores. Above all, the telecommunications market is one of the markets in which consumers found it most difficult to compare offers and experienced most problems. It also received the highest number of complaints. Internet access services also show a much greater price divergence across the EU. Internet service provision is actually the third worst ranking market in general and the market where the highest percentage of consumers have experienced problems, and where prices diverge widely across the EU. I therefore welcome the European Parliament’s proposal for the Commission to carry out an in-depth study on internet service provision following the publication of the 4th Consumer Markets Scoreboard.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Twenty years have elapsed since the launch of the famous single European 112 emergency services number, an initiative whose existence has perhaps saved millions of lives. Although it has proved to be useful, the 112 number still has some further progress to make to be really effective. No matter how good an idea is, it must be adapted to the social context it is developing in and be revamped according to the real needs of the citizens it is serving. At the same time, an idea needs to receive the support it deserves for it to work. Both statements are valid in the case of the single 112 emergency number. I know countless people who have called this number when they have been in trouble. Fortunately, in the majority of situations that they can recall, they received the assistance they were expecting. The European Parliament, just like other stakeholders, has repeatedly stressed the need to raise the public’s awareness of the 112 number and the poor quality of the services which have been provided so far to citizens via this number. I also share the sentiments of those stating that, like any good idea, this service needs to receive support so that it can deliver the maximum benefits to those pinning their hopes on it.

 
  
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  Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE), in writing. (RO) I fully endorse this report as it contains particularly important recommendations relating both to universal service and the single European 112 emergency number.

The proper implementation of the 112 emergency number can save many lives. We already emphasised this aspect even when we discussed the Telecom package years ago.

I think that it is absolutely essential for European citizens to be properly informed that this number exists so that they know which number they need to ring in an emergency when they are travelling in another Member State. Furthermore, I am pleased that this report urges Member States to improve the caller location facility as soon as possible to a few seconds after the call has been made. This aspect is of paramount importance as the speed of location determines the effectiveness of the intervention made by the emergency services. This aspect is technically feasible. Therefore, Member States and telecom operators must be willing to do it.

I think that investments need to be made in future-generation technologies to improve the 112 number by creating new applications which will enable data to be transferred by the emergency service so that it has as much information as possible available in real time prior to intervention.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour because I believe that universal service obligations are important as a safety net for social inclusion. I support the Digital Agenda’s ‘broadband for all’ objectives and am convinced that universal access to broadband helps citizens and businesses to reap the full benefits of the Digital Single Market, in particular by improving social inclusion. I believe that the European emergency number 112 can save lives and increase EU citizens’ protection, and that the Commission should ensure that every segment of society has access to this service, including people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.

 
  
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  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report on universal service and the 112 emergency number because I believe it will have a major impact on various aspects of people’s lives.

In particular, the report provides a wide-ranging assessment of the developments in universal service, which first and foremost includes the European emergency number 112. I believe it is extremely important to have a single emergency number that people can call in any country in the Union, especially since summer is approaching, a time when many Europeans visit other countries as tourists and on holiday.

Moreover, the Rapti report examines developments in various other sectors connected with public health and services for citizens. Among these I would like to highlight easier broadband access that takes account of the requirements of more vulnerable people and those with disabilities, by helping them in terms of service provision, equipment and affordable charges.

 
  
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  Nessa Childers (S&D), in writing. The 112 number is a strategic and life-saving resource, and the EU needs to do more to promote this initiative.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) Universal service should provide all citizens, even in the remotest and outermost areas, with access to services essential for their participation in society, at affordable prices and without distorting competition. This will meet the objectives of the Digital Agenda, which aim to bring basic broadband coverage to all Europeans by 2013, allowing them to reap the full benefits of the single digital market.

The creation of the European emergency number 112, in 1991, was of the utmost importance, as it enables citizens to access emergency services using a single number, regardless of the Member State that they are in. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Europeans are still unaware of it, on top of the poor quality of the service that has thus far been provided to citizens through the 112 number, with no significant progress observed since 2000. In view of the fact that several recent disasters have shown that giving the public early warning in the event of emergencies or imminent or developing major disasters is necessary if suffering and the loss of life are to be reduced, it is vital that the quality of implementing this support service in cases of emergency be improved, especially in terms of information, accessibility, interoperability and intervention times.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) According to a survey carried out in February 2011, only 26% of EU citizens can identify spontaneously the 112 number as the number to call for emergency services, while 58% of EU citizens still believe that the public has not been informed about the existence of this number. As a result, access must be improved via new electronic communications technologies or broadband services, including for people with disabilities, the elderly and vulnerable groups. It is also necessary to handle emergency calls in foreign languages more effectively, against the background of EU citizens’ increased mobility.

 
  
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  Rachida Dati (PPE) , in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of this report, which shows a Europe serving its citizens, especially those who have the least. The report by my fellow Member Mrs Rapti makes useful recommendations for improving universal services and the use of the European emergency number 112. I was particularly happy to see in it a request to the European Commission to grant increased financial support to local projects and to communities who are working to facilitate access to digital services, and in particular, free access to the Internet for the most disadvantaged people. Here is a concrete way in which Europe can work for the social integration of all. With respect to 112, this report brings to light the low awareness of this number among European citizens. Only 26% say that they can spontaneously identify it as the European emergency number. The European Commission and the Member States both need to make significant efforts to achieve the desirable objective of 80% spontaneous identification contained in this report.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the universal service and the emergency number 112, as it provides for the development of a communication strategy aimed at increasing public awareness of the existence and use of the 112 number, along with measures to improve the accessibility, quality and efficiency of this service.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) In a society like the West, where there is a proliferation of media and means of communication, and in which the technology associated with them is evolving at a great speed, it is clear that the lack of opportunities in some sectors of the population to use such means, and thus come into contact with others and the information that they provide, is a factor of social exclusion. The establishment of European targets for network coverage, especially broadband, requires coordination between the Union and the Member States, and between the latter and the operators, so as to achieve the desired universal coverage. I was unaware that the European emergency number was not adequately known, since in my country knowledge of it is quite widespread, and I hope that this situation will be reversed, in order to allow more people to have access to it and to the rescue and emergency services that it has available.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European emergency number, 112, was created in 1991 to complement national emergency numbers and make emergency services more accessible for all the EU Member States. However, according to a Eurobarometer survey, currently only 26% of EU citizens can spontaneously identify 112 as the number to call for the police, the fire brigade or the ambulance service in any part of the EU. I understand that this percentage should be at 80% by 2020. This service can save lives, and its universal reach is of the utmost importance for protecting the public, particularly in the context of free movement within the EU. In order to ensure the greatest possible efficiency and a better service for those in need, and to combat fake calls for help, I support the georeferencing of calls, forcing both mobile and fixed telecoms operators to automatically ensure the identification and exact location of the people making the calls. It is also important to promote an inclusive service, ensuring the technical conditions necessary to provide an adequate response to people with disabilities, including with hearing and speech impairments, as well as to citizens of all nationalities, and to cater for all foreign languages.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report evaluates the provision of the European emergency number 112, and analyses developments in relation to universal access to broadband. It advocates the Digital Agenda’s ‘broadband for all’ objectives, taking the view that universal access to broadband will improve social inclusion, create new opportunities for businesses and stimulate employment. The report is also in favour of the emergency number 112. We believe that universal service is important, including the European emergency number 112, which, moreover, has already merited initiatives from us in Parliament. For this to be more efficient, it needs to be more widespread and of better quality. According to the report itself, only 26% of the population is aware of this emergency number.

On the matter of information technology, we would like to call attention to the approximately 100 million people in the EU who are at risk of poverty. One does not need to be reminded of the obvious difficulties that these people will have in accessing the new technologies. Concrete measures and action are therefore necessary so as to enable access for everyone, regardless of circumstance, to the emergency number, broadband and all new information technologies.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. (IT) I welcome Mrs Rapti’s report, which aims at improving accessibility to the European emergency number 112. In a European Union in which people are travelling more and more for work or pleasure, millions of people might find themselves facing an emergency, and having a single, EU-wide number is certainly a great help. Among the aspects that the report seeks to emphasise, two that I consider very important are the coordination of approaches and the financing of universal service, bearing in mind the specific requirements of vulnerable people and consumers with disabilities. Furthermore, the 112 number does not replace the national emergency numbers, but offers a parallel service.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report aims to evaluate both the provision of the European emergency number 112, and developments in relation to universal access to broadband.

The rapporteur supports the Digital Agenda’s ‘broadband for all’ objectives, taking the view that universal access to broadband will improve social inclusion, create new opportunities for businesses and stimulate employment, just as she supports the emergency number and universal service.

We believe that universal service is important, such as the European emergency number 112. However, for this to be more efficient, it needs to be more widespread and of better quality, which requires special measures, as only 26% of the population is aware of this emergency number.

However, as we noted in the debate in plenary, this must not serve to increase social exclusion, as there are about 100 million people at risk of poverty, with poor access to new technology.

Concrete measures and action need to be considered so as to enable access for everyone, regardless of circumstance, to the emergency number, broadband and all new information technologies.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The report assesses recent developments in relation to the conception of a universal service enshrined in the directive, and in the context of new developments in the area of universal access to broadband, coordinating approaches and financing them, taking into account the specific needs of vulnerable people and disabled consumers. The report also focuses on the emergency number 112, which was introduced to allow citizens to contact the emergency services by using a single number. The EU rules place an obligation on the state to ensure that citizens are able to connect to a public telephone landline network, and to have access to public telephone services with functioning Internet access. All States must ensure that consumers have access to information services, registers and public telephones, as well as specific measures for the disabled. The single European emergency number 112 was introduced in 1991 in connection with a directive of the EU Council of Ministers, and attention is also given to it in the Universal Service Directive. The need to raise awareness of the 112 number has been emphasised repeatedly, and the poor quality of the services provided to citizens so far through the 112 number has been pointed out. In my opinion, we should provide more support for the 112 number in order to give citizens the greatest possible benefit, because if we do not, the number will lose its justification.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) Mrs Rapti’s report on the development of the universal service also takes into account the specific requirements of vulnerable people and consumers with disabilities. Given the importance of the subject and the sensitivity with which it has been treated, I confirm my vote in favour.

 
  
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  Pat the Cope Gallagher (ALDE), in writing. – (GA) More must be done at EU level to promote the ‘112’ emergency telephone number. According to a survey recently conducted by Eurobarometer, only 26% of people in the EU understand that ‘112’ is the number to call in an emergency. That number is extremely useful and important for individuals and families while on holiday in Europe during the summer.

 
  
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  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) How many Europeans know that ‘112’ is the European emergency number that they can call without charge from either landlines or mobiles anywhere in the Union?

According to a very recent Eurobarometer survey, only 26% do, while 58% believe people in their country are inadequately informed about it. With today’s vote, Parliament urges the Commission to enhance the service offered by the ‘112’ number so as to ensure that it operates smoothly in all the Member States. It is essential that this number should be really easy to access, even by the most vulnerable groups, particularly those with hearing difficulties, speech impediments or other disabilities.

The Member States, too, should undertake information and communication campaigns, targeting the most appropriate places for promoting awareness, such as schools, universities, pharmacies, outpatients’ departments, stations, airports, etc. In addition, establishing 11 February every year as ‘European 112 Day’ can help promote this emergency number, which will be a real life saver once it is widely adopted.

 
  
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  Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. I voted in favour of this report because the 112 service is key in ensuring affordable access to basic telecoms services, preventing social exclusion, offering social protection guarantees and ultimately acting as a lifeline to all EU citizens irrespective of where they are in the Union. Unfortunately, a recent survey has revealed that this system is not being fully utilised and that European citizens are still largely unaware of the existence of the 112 service: the EU average with regards to the EU citizens’ knowledge of the 112 service as the EU-wide emergency number stands at just 26%, with countries like Malta falling below the average at 20%. Henceforth, Member States should focus on ameliorating this system by increasing the number of dedicated lines at call centres, develop a new software system aimed at monitoring the call handling system and step up efforts in improving and doubling the availability of human resources. On the side of the Commission, there needs to be development of a more targeted and far-reaching communication strategy which addresses the preoccupations and queries that citizens face with regards to the mechanics of the system; any action plan must necessarily take into account persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) An emergency number which can be used anywhere in the European Union is an idea that I believe in. The number 112, which is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whether you are in Lisbon or Ljubljana, allows you to contact the emergency services under any circumstances. Yet despite this, Europeans are unaware of this number, which constitutes one of the most tangible achievements of the European Union. Given this assessment, I voted in favour of this resolution in order to promote the visibility of 112 among European citizens, in particular by displaying this number in all pharmacies and surgeries. Furthermore, the resolution intends to make caller localisation easier, since it is not yet completely reliable. A greater level of awareness among citizens, and improved technology – these two things should in the coming years make 112 an essential tool in the life of Europeans.

 
  
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  Françoise Grossetête (PPE), in writing. (FR) The emergency number 112 needs to be better known by our fellow citizens, as it enables the saving of lives. Today, the European Parliament wanted to improve communication in the Member States concerning this number, and I am glad about that.

Good reflexes can save lives, whether we are talking about an accident or an illness, when we are faced with the unexpected, when we are faced with distress or when we are faced with danger. 112, which is still too little known, is the single European emergency number. Everyone should have this number memorised. 112 is the single number for calling the emergency services – ambulances, firefighters, mobile accident units or police – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, wherever you are in Europe, however you make the call. One aspect of everyday life in Europe is knowing that millions of people can encounter a problem when travelling within a Member State of the Union. It is pointless to memorise the emergency number of every country in the Union; a single one is enough: 112!

 
  
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  Roberto Gualtieri (S&D), in writing. (IT) The single European emergency number 112 is a service that aims to ensure rapid access, free of charge, to emergency services for everyone throughout Europe, thus markedly simplifying access to the service, especially for people who are abroad.

Adoption of the Rapti report is Parliament’s response to Europeans’ scant knowledge and awareness of the potential of this service. This lack of information is certainly worrying.

Among the aims of the European Parliament resolution is in fact to carry out an effective information and awareness-raising campaign in key locations such as doctors’ surgeries, pharmacies, schools, airports and stations, as well as to call for improvements in the quality, efficiency and accessibility of the single service, thus ensuring easy access even for people with disabilities and vulnerable individuals.

By providing the Commission with clear guidelines on how to improve use of the universal service, we have taken a step forwards in protecting people who live and travel in the Union, with particular attention to social and geographical inclusion.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the report by my colleague, because it underlines well how fundamental the duties of universal service are as a safety net for social integration in the case of market dysfunction. The region that I represent is made up of rural and isolated areas. Citizens who live there must never be allowed to become victims of social exclusion; they must be able to benefit from affordable access to essential basic telecommunications services. To ensure this, the Commission must in particular allocate increased financial support to local projects allowing the opening up of such services.

Finally, as the summer holidays approach, it is worth highlighting the existence of a single emergency number which is valid throughout Europe, 112. This number is still too little known, but we still need to ensure that the system that has been introduced is also accessible to the most vulnerable people, disabled people in particular. The Member States have a great responsibility: they must ensure that this system is improved for the purposes of protecting citizens.

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. Given increased mobility throughout the EU for business, work and leisure, it is clear that the 112 emergency number can be an important tool for allowing citizens to contact the emergency services anywhere with minimum fuss. It is equally clear that, for the tool to be effective, citizens must be aware of its existence. However, as the report rightly notes, individual Member States have existing, long-standing emergency numbers, and it is important that the two systems must be allowed to operate in parallel.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document, because the report intends to assess developments related to the basic concept of universal service as enshrined in the Universal Service Directive, taking into account new developments, including universal access to broadband, coordination of approaches and financing, and the specific needs of vulnerable social groups and disabled consumers. The report also focuses on the single European emergency number 112, introduced to enable citizens to call the emergency services by using one and the same number from anywhere in the EU. There is a need to raise awareness of the 112 emergency number and the fact that hitherto a poor quality of service has been provided to citizens through the 112 number. The 112 emergency number must receive the support it needs to become the best means of protecting citizens’ lives, otherwise the results may outweigh all its benefits. However, I believe that internet access services also show a much greater price divergence across the EU, and this must be reduced. I believe that the Member States must take the necessary steps to reduce the number of unsuccessful emergency-call attempts, shorten call set-up and response times and reduce the number of hoax calls.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing. (PL) Access to telecommunications services is essential for the development of modern societies in the EU Member States. The introduction of universal broadband coverage provides us with opportunities to compensate for imbalances between the various regions of Europe. However, I agree with the rapporteur that it cannot be consumers themselves who bear the burden of the measures we take. The report raises the key issue of improvements to the emergency number 112. A uniform system makes the emergency services more effective and has helped to save lives on more than one occasion, and hence it is highly recommended that the EU institutions should support it.

 
  
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  Edvard Kožušník (ECR), in writing. – (CS) The report generally gives an objective description of the current situation regarding universal services in telecommunications. I particularly applaud the fact that Parliament is aware of the importance of retaining a market environment in the area of telecommunications. The report itself demonstrates this in emphasising the need to avoid market disruption when enforcing the revised directive. Despite the fact that the report is on the whole balanced, I am slightly concerned about the call it makes to the Commission and the Member States to strengthen measures in support of demand and the introduction of new services, rather than just providing connectivity. In my opinion, this shows a failure to understand the role of the state in the area of telecommunications and in broadband connectivity policy. If the state is to function transparently and to avoid disrupting competition and market mechanisms, it can only support the natural development of broadband connectivity by providing high-quality e-government, e-health or e-learning services, in other words a high-quality offering. Any other measures to increase demand for broadband connectivity are almost always at the expense of the proper functioning of the market, and they disrupt competition to a lesser or greater extent.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) Since 1991, ‘112’ has been the European emergency number that has enabled many people to get help in situations of dire need.

Voting in favour of Mrs Rapti’s report today means promoting this instrument of assistance, which has helped to save a great many human lives, so that it is known and used in all EU countries as a single number to call to contact the emergency services anywhere in the Union.

To that end we need to strengthen initiatives to ensure that disadvantaged groups have digital access, by providing connections with free Internet access, not least in public buildings. Promoting investment in broadband may be a highly significant factor in achieving full use of the 112 number in all countries and in all areas that are often difficult to reach (mountains, rural areas and islands), so as to protect people by giving them the right to swift, appropriate assistance.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. – (RO) This motion for a European Parliament resolution on universal service and the 112 emergency number is important because its aim is to evaluate the 112 system in order to improve it, which may help save more human lives in emergencies. The European Parliament has repeatedly stressed both the need to educate the public about the importance and role of the 112 emergency number and the poor quality of the services which have been provided to citizens via this number. Therefore, this evaluation will be able to suggest new methods for raising citizens’ awareness and ways of improving the 112 service. This resolution is also intended to facilitate the implementation of this 112 system on broadband (Internet), thereby making it easier for citizens to adapt to current requirements.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this report, which intends to assess recent developments related to the basic concept of universal service as enshrined in the Universal Service Directive and in the context of new developments, including universal access to broadband, coordination of approaches and its financing, taking into account the specific needs of vulnerable people and disabled consumers. The report also focuses on the single European emergency number 112, introduced to enable citizens to call the emergency services by using one and the same number from anywhere in the EU.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) We consider it important to deploy and provide affordable access to basic telecommunications services, in order to promote social inclusion and competitiveness in the European Union.

Our target is to make broadband available to all Europeans by 2013, while taking care not to impose extra burdens on them. We are of the opinion that the following are necessary: creating a digital single market; greater interoperability; boosting Internet trust and security; much faster Internet access; more investment in research and development; enhancing digital literacy skills and inclusion; and applying information and communications technologies to address the challenges facing society.

In 1991, the creation of the single European emergency number ‘112’ enabled Europeans to access all telecommunications services permitting voice calls to national emergency numbers. We believe, however, that we still need a better campaign to inform people and make them aware of the functionality of the 112 number, in view of the poor service that the number has provided until now.

Lastly, we support the Commission’s decision to carry out an in-depth study on Internet service provision.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report is aimed at assessing recent developments related to the basic concept of universal service as enshrined in the Universal Service Directive and in the context of the new developments, including universal access to broadband, coordination of approaches and their financing, taking into account the specific needs of vulnerable people and disabled consumers. The report also focuses on the single European emergency number 112, introduced to enable citizens to call the emergency services by using one and the same number from anywhere in the EU. It is essential that the number 112 is given the support that it deserves, for the good of the public, as otherwise it will become useless.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Wherever you are in the European Union, you can access emergency services by dialling 112, the single European emergency number. However, only 26% of the citizens of the Union can spontaneously identify 112 as the emergency number in the Union.

Starting now, the Commission and the Member States must intensify their information campaigns so that the emergency number 112 is known by all the citizens of the Union and people who travel there, and they must organise and support promotional and public awareness activities. It is also essential to ensure that each segment of society has access to this service, including disabled people.

Significant improvements are required in the precision and reliability of information in relation to caller localisation. The emergency intervention services must ensure better coordination among themselves at national level, across borders and at European level in order to achieve the highest level of efficiency. Performance indicators must also be established concerning the quality of the 112 service, taking account in particular of needs regarding accessibility, multilingualism and high-quality and timely interventions.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE), in writing. (SK) With the development of the European Union and the removal of individual barriers to residence for EU citizens, it is also necessary to secure a single system for citizens and consumers living within the framework of the single market. The European emergency number 112 has a clear justification in this context, since it has great potential for saving lives and for the overall protection of EU citizens. It is therefore necessary to ensure access to this service for all levels of society, including disabled people (people with impaired hearing or speech etc.) and other vulnerable groups. It should therefore be a priority for the EU in the near future to increase awareness of the emergency number 112 and to increase its smooth operation throughout the Union, even in the most remote regions. For the reasons mentioned above, I support the position of the rapporteur.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − The rapporteur suggests that a series of measures be taken to improve public awareness of the 112 number. I fully support the rapporteur but I would like clarification on precisely what measures should be taken.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution, because the single European emergency number must function effectively, even in the remotest corner of Europe, so that, in the event of an accident, it is possible to call the emergency services free of charge. This is a vitally important service which must be of a particularly high quality. This emergency number must become the best means of protecting people’s lives, and consequently needs to receive proper funding. Emergency services in every Member State must receive accurate and reliable caller location information, so that an emergency response can be provided in a timely manner. It is very important to ensure that vulnerable social groups and disabled people have suitable access to these services. Issues relating to technology and coordination need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. The number of unsuccessful emergency-call attempts must be reduced to a minimum, while call set-up and response times need to be lightning fast, because sometimes even a few seconds can mean the difference between life and death. Every European must know this number. Every Member State must increase public awareness, by using the media and other awareness-raising measures. The Member States must also cooperate more effectively with each other, by exchanging information and best practices. In the meantime, the Commission must take steps at EU level to develop a communication strategy, and establish key performance indicators and guidelines.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) Every three years the Commission reviews the scope of the Universal Service Directive to adapt it to new requirements and to the increasingly essential role played by technology in providing people with assistance. The purpose of the universal service and the single European emergency number (112 – a single number for all countries in the Union) is to improve the safety net where basic social services are not guaranteed, to prevent social exclusion by ensuring access to essential services for rural communities and low-income groups, and to improve access to emergency services for people with disabilities. I voted in favour of the resolution because I also believe that the 112 number and the emergency services in general need to be given the prominence and the publicity they deserve for the role they can play in people’s daily lives.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the European Parliament resolution on the emergency number. The 112 number is a number that may save the lives of hundreds of European citizens who fall victim to accidents or illness. However, the problem is that, although this number has existed for several years, only 26% of EU citizens actually know that it exists. If this instrument is to become more flexible and practical, considerable improvements are needed in terms of automatic caller location identification, especially on roaming calls. These improvements call for additional resources, which it is hard for countries in economic difficulty, such as Greece, to find.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, for which I voted, is aimed at assessing recent developments related to the basic concept of universal service as enshrined in the Universal Service Directive and in the context of new developments, including universal access to broadband, coordination of approaches and their financing, taking into account the specific needs of vulnerable people and disabled consumers. The report also focuses on the single European emergency number 112, introduced to enable citizens to call the emergency services by using one and the same number from anywhere in the EU. Parliament and many stakeholders have repeatedly stressed the need to raise awareness about 112. A mention has also been made of the poor quality of service that has thus far been provided to citizens in certain Member States through the 112 number. I agree with the rapporteur that it is essential that the number 112 is given the support that it deserves, for the good of the public, as otherwise this instrument runs the risk of becoming useless.

 
  
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  Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. – (RO) According to the Eurobarometer survey published in February 2011, only 26% of EU citizens can identify spontaneously the 112 number as the number to call for emergency services in the EU. The survey also highlights that 58% of EU citizens still believe that the general public in their country has not been provided with sufficient information about the existence of the 112 emergency call number. This report helps improve access to emergency services for people with disabilities and specifically raise the awareness of travellers, and imposes stricter obligations on caller location information, as well as on accuracy and reliability criteria in order to ensure the same response and treatment as in the case of calls made to national emergency numbers and where there is no access to technological facilities.

I voted for this report because the 112 number must be given the support it deserves to ensure the maximum benefits in terms of protecting citizens’ lives. Otherwise, it would become redundant.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. I welcome this report and the value of the ‘112’ number. I would propose that all EU airports, seaports and border crossings prominently display signs showing that ‘112’ is the phone number for emergency services throughout the EU. These signs should be displayed in arrival and departure areas, and at security points including passport control, to promote awareness of the service. With schools closed for the summer holidays and families heading off on their vacations it is important that people be aware of the ‘112’ European Emergency Number. More must be done to promote awareness of this number and to improve the effectiveness and quality of emergency call systems. With the right technology upgrades dispatchers could be informed within seconds of the location of callers and we should look into this. That the number can be dialled anywhere in the 27 Member States of the EU and gives access to the police, ambulance, coastguard and fire service is an invaluable service and of vital importance to holidaymakers.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Universal Service Directive was aimed at defining a set of universal services which, as the name suggests, should be provided to all citizens according to a good cost-benefit ratio. In the current context, investment is being made in broadband as an instrument supporting a networked economy at the service of European citizens. It is important, however, not to lose sight of other instruments that should be universally accessible. Beyond the mere provision of access to telecoms, this includes investment in the single European emergency number 112, which is especially at the service of those who find themselves in a situation of heightened vulnerability due to a range of reasons, such as a pathology that makes them more vulnerable or an accident when on holiday. A comprehensive reading needs to be carried out in order to fulfil the role of a Europe at the service of its people.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) Awareness and reliability – these are essentially the two messages sent out by the vote at noon on the resolution concerning 112, the European emergency number. The main message is that we need to promote awareness of 112, a free number accessible everywhere in Europe. That is the most important challenge. The task is immense, given that only 26% of Europeans can identify 112 as the emergency number in the Union, with enormous differences depending on the Member State in question. It is precisely these Member States who can make up for this lacuna through global and targeted campaigns focusing on awareness, information and promotion.

The next issue is reliability, particularly in relation to the precise and automatic localisation of the caller. This information is essential for ensuring the best possible reaction time by those who carry out the initial intervention. Everyone is aware of the imperative need for an emergency number which is reliable, both at home and abroad. Much has been done, but much remains to be done to make 112 a reflex response for every European citizen facing an emergency.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Although, since 1991, the European emergency number 112 has enabled the saving of lives and better protection of citizens, most of them are still unaware of this number. This report makes some interesting proposals to ensure broader awareness of 112 among citizens; for example, using airports and stations, as well as surgeries and pharmacies, as privileged points for disseminating information on 112.

The report also calls on the Commission and the Member States to step up their efforts in order to increase awareness of 112 among disabled people using means of communication that are well-adapted to their needs. That is the basic principle behind an idea that I supported through an amendment while the draft report was being scrutinised in the parliamentary committee, and I am pleased that it has been retained in the final report.

The report also calls on the Commission and the Member States to facilitate citizens’ access to this number – in particular by considering the possibility of using text messages – as well as to improve the quality of emergency services – in particular by shortening intervention times and by developing geolocation for callers. I think that this is crucial.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. The report intends to assess recent developments related to the basic concept of universal service, as enshrined in the Universal Service Directive and in the context of the new developments, including universal access to broadband, the coordination of approaches and its financing, taking into account the specific needs of vulnerable people and disabled consumers. The report also focuses on the single European emergency number, 112, introduced to enable citizens to call the emergency services by using one and the same number from anywhere in the EU.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this report because I believe it is useful to encourage policies that provide an opportunity to adapt certain kinds of services to the needs of the times without introducing extra burdens for people to bear.

The single European emergency number ‘112’ must be given the support it deserves so that it can effectively improve people’s lives, and it is also necessary to remedy the poor quality of service that the number has provided so far.

In relation to consumer markets, I welcome the Commission’s decision to carry out an in-depth study on Internet service provision, following publication of the fourth Consumer Markets Scoreboard.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) I support this own-initiative report inasmuch as it has set itself the objective of assessing recent developments in the universal service, including access to broadband, coordination of approaches and its financing, taking into account the needs of people with disabilities.

Furthermore, the report addresses the subject of the single European emergency number ‘112’, for which it sets itself the objective of ensuring accessibility for users with disabilities and improved management of the service with new technology platforms. The promotion of social inclusion and competitiveness are two areas towards which Europe is leaning, in line with the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.

 
  
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  Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid (PPE), in writing. (FR) It was important for me to support this report because it emphasises the importance of 112, the single European emergency number. 112 allows you to call rescue services, ambulances, firefighters, mobile accident units or the police, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, wherever you are in Europe, and whatever means you use to call them: for example, a mobile telephone, a fixed-line telephone or a telephone box. 112 does not replace national emergency numbers, but works in parallel with them. In an emergency, having good reflexes can save lives. Unfortunately, this number is still too little known. The Rapti report allows us to take stock of the current system, and in particular its financing, call management – response time, calls in foreign languages, caller localisation, and so on – and the quality of access to the service for vulnerable or disabled people. 112 is one initiative that shows that Europe can be extremely useful and can simplify the lives of citizens. We must develop and promote this service.

 
  
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  Joanna Senyszyn (S&D), in writing. (PL) I voted in favour of adopting the report on the emergency number 112, which saves Europeans’ lives on a daily basis. I am in favour of the EU continuing to provide support for its increasingly effective operation. Implementing the idea of a single joint European emergency number has been an undoubted success for the EU. The number was introduced almost 20 years ago, but in February 2011, according to Eurobarometer, only 26% of Europeans knew of its existence and were able to name it as the emergency number which makes it possible to contact the police, fire brigade or ambulance service from anywhere in the EU. The Member States should therefore take more effective steps to disseminate information about the 112 number. Early education is of particular importance. I am in favour of greater financial support for educational projects involving the youngest members of society. We must teach children to respond appropriately in dangerous situations, including the proper use of emergency numbers and what information they need to give to the operator.

 
  
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  Laurence J.A.J. Stassen (NI), in writing. (NL) This report aims to ensure that remote rural areas and citizens on a low income have access to basic telecoms services, referred to as the universal services. As the report says, this is necessary in order to promote social inclusion and social integration. As far as the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) is concerned, social policy of this nature should remain a national matter and should not be subject to European policy.

The proposal to lay broadband in every nook and cranny of Europe is also absurd. It would be like connecting every village in Europe via a four-lane motorway. The Netherlands has excellent Internet connections – we do not need a European policy in this area.

Furthermore, the PVV endorses the importance of awareness of the 112 emergency phone number as the European number to call in the event of an emergency. It is the responsibility of the Member States to make this known to the public. The Member States are in the best position to choose for themselves what instruments to use to increase public awareness of the 112 number. For that reason the PVV will not be supporting the proposal for a European policy in this area.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report is about the importance of the single European emergency number 112, with emphasis on its visibility and awareness among citizens. The effectiveness of hotlines, call handling and the quality of care after a call to the 112 number need to be improved. The adopted text was created with the aim of assessing the concept of universal service as enshrined in the Universal Service Directive. The Member States should ensure a universal service for all technologies related to access to broadband. The Commission is called upon to ensure that the 112 number is effectively operational throughout the EU, and accessible to the entire public. It is worth emphasising the need for the number to be accessible to people with different disabilities and vulnerable groups, by providing devices for hearing- or visually-impaired users, text relay or sign language services, or other specific equipment. In view of this, it seems to me to be fitting to improve the reliability of information about the location of the caller. It will also be vital for the new European rules on telecoms to decide on the updating of existing technology in order to improve automatic call localisation.

 
  
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  Rafał Trzaskowski (PPE), in writing. (PL) The 112 number is one of the most useful things we have achieved by working together, and it has meant that EU citizens feel safer, regardless of exactly where they are. However, much remains to be done. Not only do we still need to make people aware of the existence of this number, but it is also necessary to extend its scope and improve its operation, as stated in the resolution adopted today.

 
  
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  Thomas Ulmer (PPE), in writing. − (DE) I have voted in favour of this report. After many years, the fact that the single European emergency number, 112, is now available throughout Europe and on the mobile phone network represents a major success. However, in the long term we still need to ensure that all telecom service providers offer this number free of charge to the Member States. This project has produced significant added value for Europe.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. − (DE) The Consumer Markets Scoreboard shows that the telecom market and Internet service providers receive the most complaints. The provision of the single European emergency number, 112, should allow EU citizens to call the emergency services at any time and from any location, however inaccessible. The review every three years of the Universal Service Directive should also make it clear whether further improvements are needed. The intention of the Europe 2020 strategy is to make broadband services available to every EU citizen by 2013 and faster broadband by 2020, with the aim of improving social inclusion and competitiveness. I have voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Artur Zasada (PPE), in writing. (PL) I supported the motion for a resolution 2010/2274(INI) during today’s vote. After the consultations I held last year with rural homemakers’ clubs, I know how important access to universal services is in rural areas. The directive on universal service will prevent social exclusion, since one of the things guaranteed by its provisions is that citizens of rural areas will have access to basic and essential telecommunications services at favourable prices. This will undoubtedly help to raise awareness of the emergency number 112.

The latest Eurobarometer survey published in early 2011 shows that only 26% of EU citizens know that they should dial 112 if they want to call the emergency services within EU territory, and 58% of EU citizens still believe that the residents of their country have not been properly informed about the existence of the emergency number. This is a very alarming situation. As a rule, EU citizens know the number to call for the police, fire brigade or ambulance service in their own Member State, but if they are abroad and have to call for assistance, they are helpless.

 
  
  

Report: Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (A7-0217/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, and I welcome in particular the agreement that has been reached on consumer access in terms of access, quality and information, and which safeguards the role of traditional trade. The most significant proposed amendments, and those which add to the value of this report, are undoubtedly those of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D Group) in relation to improving working conditions, combating the parallel economy of the retail sector and the implementation of suitable labour and social legislation in the fight against tax evasion and the black market, with the aim of maintaining levels of employment and investing in training for workers.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) Last July, the European Commission published a report on monitoring the retail and distribution market. Its aim was to propose a review of the sector by analysing its economic, social and environmental performance, so that an assessment could then be made of the improvements that needed to be made. Our colleague Mrs Corazza Bildt has prepared a report on behalf of Parliament. It calls, in particular, for an integrated European action plan for the sector in order to encourage retailers and suppliers to engage in an active dialogue that can lead to innovative solutions with the support of the European Union. As I support the general orientation of the report, I voted in favour of it.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this report. EU citizens are as yet unable to exploit all the advantages offered by the single market, such as choosing goods and services at competitive prices. This is particularly true in less economically developed Member States, where people have to pay similar prices for goods and services as those living in countries that have made greater economic progress. This largely happens because the market is focused on wholesale trade, which is able to offer more favourable prices thanks to its large market share. Today we have the problem that divergent interpretations of EU single market legislation are being applied in the Member States, which fundamentally impedes free movement of goods and services in the EU and creates additional costs for consumers and retailers, in particular SMEs, thus limiting the potential usefulness of the single market to European citizens and the business world. I agree that the Commission needs to further analyse price differences in the EU, using adequate statistical tools, in order to ensure greater price transparency and comparability for consumers, without prejudice to national fiscal and labour market rules, thereby promoting more enlightened choices and greater confidence in cross-border trade.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The retail sector represents 20% of Europe’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), generates 4.2% of EU Gross Domestic Product and employs almost 20 million people. This is a key sector for the revival of the single market and for achieving the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy. Despite the progress that has been made in this area, this report, which I voted for, calls for the adoption of measures to strengthen the retail market, namely: opening up markets to businesses and removing the obstacles and difficulties that many businesses face, especially SMEs; exploring the full potential of e-commerce, while strengthening the trust of businesses and consumers, and improving the Single European Payment Area in order to develop a payment service available for all types of cards, thereby increasing transparency in transaction costs and removing unjustified interchange fees; and ensuring faster bank transfers within the EU. Finally, I would like to highlight the idea of the Commission tabling a European Plan of Action for Retail, to define a strategy to address outstanding issues, with recommendations at a sectoral level.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this report on a more efficient and fairer retail market.

The document expresses and advocates many of the principles that the Lega Nord has always put at the heart of its programme, particularly as regards defending small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small retailers.

Among the various aspects highlighted by the report, I particularly welcome the points that express the concern felt by SMEs at the growth of shopping centres and the decline of local shops and markets. Similarly, I particularly welcome the report’s aim of stressing that SMEs constitute the backbone of the European economy and have a unique role to play in creating jobs. I also welcome the rapporteur’s aim of denouncing unfair practices that affect small retailers and, in many cases, consumers themselves. For the reasons given above, my vote was decidedly in favour.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report, because it is about creating jobs by removing borders, barriers and burdens to trade in Europe. The retail sector is a pillar of the European economy, because this market employs almost 20 million people and represents 20% of Europe’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Too often, new national barriers are raised to protect jobs and SMEs. Instead, trade barriers in Europe should be removed to promote jobs and SMEs. Nonetheless, the legitimate concerns of people losing jobs and SMEs losing business have to be taken seriously during the financial and economic crisis. Dialogue must be intensified at all levels to improve understanding, restore confidence and address difficulties. I agree that the time has come to recognise the retail sector’s achievements, specific problems and challenges. I therefore agree with the call made by the European Parliament to develop an integrated European action plan for retail, to establish policy guidelines and provide concrete proposals on the best way of addressing outstanding issues.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) I welcome the spirit of this report, the aim of which is to support the removal of obstacles to the free movement of goods and services.

I voted in favour of this document, which also has the merit of seeking to streamline current legislation and to take action against restrictive national measures, which are often damaging and costly for small and medium-sized enterprises. The European Union must take decisive action to remove the protectionist obstacles that restrict enterprises’ access to the single market. At the same time, it must encourage any initiative that can reduce market dominance by a small number of actors, thus ensuring contractual freedom and protecting consumers.

I agree with the approach suggested by the rapporteur of setting up a system of self-regulation involving retailers and the supply chain, while the EU should focus on public-private partnership measures.

Lastly, we need to increase the penetration of e-commerce, which can reduce the distance between consumers and products, and to introduce policies designed to restore confidence in the economic system by harmonising intra-EU payments and providing businesses with a system that is no longer fragmented and costly.

 
  
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  Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE), in writing. (RO) I think that this is an excellent report because of its conciseness and the quality of the solutions proposed in it. The retail market is particularly important not only in consumers’ everyday lives, but also for jobs in the EU. This is why I believe that making this market more efficient is a priority. I feel that the form of dialogue between all the actors in the distribution chain, suggested by the rapporteur for resolving the current problems affecting the market’s operation, is actually the most suitable and constructive. I support the notion of creating a European payment area in the true sense of the term by harmonising payments within the EU, thereby reducing the commission on these payments. Furthermore, I too think that efforts to offer consumers’ freedom of choice must be stepped up. We need to encourage not only e-commerce but also small local stores which can meet the demands of certain consumers. Last but not least, this report tackles in a logical manner the issue of unfair commercial practices and competition on the retail market. It is very true that sometimes large operators can abuse their market power. However, I believe that we need to look at the bigger picture and not ignore that large operators too are possibly victims of unfair practices.

 
  
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  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report by Mrs Corazza Bildt since it represents a significant step forwards in modernising the retail and distribution sector.

I particularly welcome the non-regulatory line proposed by the rapporteur, which places the emphasis on exploring other means before resorting to new regulation. The report shows, in fact, that appropriate rules exist but inadequate enforcement hinders free movement. At the same time, the interests of European traders and entrepreneurs need to be protected by means of a fully operational single market in which the barriers that prevent it from operating smoothly are removed.

In this respect it is essential to mention two important pieces of legislation that help to stimulate the growth of operators in the sector: the Single Market Act and the Small Business Act. Their aim is to ‘simplify life for small and medium-sized enterprises’ by reducing the administrative burdens they bear. All this must be governed by the principle of subsidiarity.

Lastly, a section that deserves special attention is the one on improving efficiency and sustainability by encouraging the retail sector to invest in innovative solutions for logistics and transport, energy efficiency, packaging and waste disposal.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The retail market undoubtedly functions as a driver of growth, competitiveness and employment in Europe, and it can make a key contribution to achieving the objectives of the EU 2020 strategy. It is essential to build a more efficient, transparent and fairer retail market through an active contribution from the retailers and suppliers themselves, to be complemented at Community level through strengthening of coordination among the different policies and adopting a comprehensive and long-term approach to this sector.

We have to tackle the remaining obstacles to the free movement of goods and services in the EU, especially the existence of more restrictive national rules, divergent interpretations and inadequate enforcement of these rules, which end up limiting the potential of the single market at the service of European citizens and businesses. At the same time, competition rules must be applied properly to prevent abuse of a dominant position or unfair trade practices, and if necessary provide the opportunity for access to simpler, less time-consuming and more transparent infringement procedures. I am in favour of Mrs Bildt’s excellent report, along with its call for the drafting of an integrated European Action Plan for Retail.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The smooth functioning of the internal market is crucial to growth, competitiveness and employment. It is therefore important to remove all obstacles to its smooth operation, particularly at the level of the retail sector, which employs nearly 20 million people, generates 4.2% of the EU’s Gross Domestic Product, and represents 20% of European small and medium-sized enterprises. The report identifies five priority areas for a more efficient retail market: (i) ensuring greater competitiveness and growth, and boosting employment; (ii) removing existing obstacles to the free movement of goods and services; (iii) opening up market access to consumers and businesses; (iv) addressing contractual and commercial practices in business-to-business relations; (v) enhancing efficiency and innovative practices. I believe that it is imperative to remove barriers and ensure that the internal market functions effectively as a way of boosting growth and employment in a post-crisis Europe.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The sector of small and medium-sized enterprises, which includes retail, obviously has a key impact in boosting the economy, especially in terms of promoting employment and the so-called middle class. The retail trade is of paramount importance for economic and social cohesion, so I support the call for the drafting of an integrated European Action Plan on Retail, with a view to defining a framework of action with concrete and pragmatic proposals for resolving outstanding issues. I would therefore like to congratulate the author of this report for her contribution to removing the barriers to the free movement of goods and services, defending the interests of businesses and consumers, promoting their access to the market, and increasing efficiency and sustainable consumption. In this way we are encouraging competitiveness, growth and employment.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report concerns a sector where the problems are all too obvious. Particularly in countries where the fabric of business is made up of a large number of family-like micro and small enterprises, the retail trade is facing the effects of decreased purchasing power among the general public, adding to the overwhelming weight and unfair competition exerted by large distributors.

These are problems and difficulties that threaten the viability and future of a sector which, it is worth remembering, plays an important social role, particularly, but not exclusively, outside the main urban areas. However, the report does not address the root causes of this situation, despite this being necessary in order to remedy it. It ignores the effects of deregulation and the liberalisation of trade that the EU has been actively promoting, the associated impact on the proliferation of supermarkets and the unbridled increase of their power and influence, and it does not address the consequences of liberalisation and privatisation, the reduction in purchasing power among the public, the increase in interest rates and the difficulty of accessing credit. Its route is precisely the opposite: it insists on deepening the single market, which exacerbates the difficulties of small enterprises and the retail trade, as reality shows us only too well.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) This report contains many contradictions. It is true that retail is suffering severe attacks, particularly in countries where this trade is made up of a large number of family-run micro and small enterprises, and where, in certain cases, the purchasing power of the public is decreasing. It is suffering most of all in less urban areas, where these businesses play an important social role, and where they are experiencing a time of turmoil.

However, the report forgets the fundamental cause of this situation and is not sufficiently critical of the liberalisation of trade, the proliferation of supermarkets, the consequences of liberalisation and privatisation, the reduction in purchasing power among the public, the increase in interest rates and the difficulty of accessing credit. Quite the contrary: it insists on the establishment of the internal market, which exacerbates the difficulties of small enterprises and the retail trade. We therefore voted against this report.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The retail sector is a pillar of the European economy. It is a dynamic market, employing almost 20 million people, generating 4.2% of the EU’s GDP, and accounting for 20% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe. Retailers are also service providers, active at the forefront of new sales methods and offering easy access to the labour market. Although the retail sector has fared relatively well in the crisis, trade is becoming more difficult in the EU due to mounting economic nationalism. It is necessary to put the real economy at the centre of political programmes once more, and to work towards opening up the freedom to travel and to take up residence throughout Europe. These freedoms are based on transparent trade relations and sustainable consumption. Too often, new international obstacles are erected in the interests of protecting jobs and SMEs. Instead of this, trade barriers in Europe should be removed in the interests of supporting jobs and SMEs. Despite this, we must take seriously people’s justified concerns about job losses and the concerns of SMEs over the loss of business opportunities seriously during the current public debt crisis. It is right to acknowledge the results achieved to date, as well as the specific problems and challenges of the retail sector. At the same time, I believe it is appropriate to apply a targeted European action plan for the retail sector, creating a political framework with concrete proposals providing pragmatic solutions to outstanding issues.

 
  
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  Pat the Cope Gallagher (ALDE), in writing. (GA) I welcome what the Report says on establishing an integrated European action plan for the retail sector.

 
  
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  Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing. (FR) The rapporteur recognises in principle that it is up to the Member States to define their shop location policy. It is a pity, however, that the rest of the report goes exactly in the opposite direction, and in favour of the recommendations made to France by Brussels in the context of the European semester: namely, there would not be enough competition in the sector, and all regulation on locating retail outlets would be a hindrance to this competition.

Strangely, the oligopolistic way in which purchasing groups are organised, and the abuse of their dominant position, as well as certain commercial practices which can be criticised, do not seem to bring about a reaction. Furthermore, when it comes to putting right the asymmetric and unfair relationships between the different stakeholders in the distribution chain, from production to retail, we are content with having dialogue between the stakeholders, which shows that some people are living on a different planet.

Thus, priority is given to competition, Brussels-style. This will have the kinds of consequences that we are all suffering at the moment: farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) strangled by excessively low prices, consumers hit by excessively high prices and, in the middle, a large number of intermediaries who are doing a lot better because of their often unjustified margins, which are enormous. As is logical, I voted against this report.

 
  
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  Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. − I am in agreement with this report because it highlights the importance of taking a more holistic long-term approach to the EU retail sector, one which is consistent and better coordinated to address the market exigencies which existed prior to and following the financial crisis. The aftermath of the crisis has shown us that the European retail market still holds areas of growth and untapped potential and can serve as an important catalyst to harness growth, competitiveness and job creation within a renewed Single Market. Therefore, the Commission should map out its action plan carefully and base any strategy to improve the Single Market for retail on the basis of ‘ex ante’ and ‘ex post’ consultations with SMEs in order to be able to draw out the effects which measures at EU and national level can have on competitiveness and employment levels of businesses, in particular of micro and small businesses within the EU. In the case of consumer protection, I call on the Commission to consolidate an easily accessible user-friendly mechanism containing data on the economic, social, ethical and environmental performance of retailers operating within the Single Market, so as to enable consumers to enjoy a more integrated retail market within which they are able to make better choices.

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. − The retail sector is a vital economic driver and this report highlights a number of important issues. The retail sector also plays an important role in other areas of the economy such as the food and drinks industry. The Scottish Government has implemented a Retailers’ Charter in conjunction with major retailers, and this is a good example of government working with those in the retail sector.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document, because it is aimed at removing barriers in order to promote the development of the retail market in the EU. The retail sector is a pillar of the European economy. It is a dynamic market that employs almost 20 million people, accounts for 4.2% of the EU’s GDP and represents 20% of Europe’s SMEs. Retailers are also service providers, at the cutting edge of new and diverse ways of shopping, such as direct selling, and offer easy access to labour markets. Member States must fully and correctly implement the internal market rules and legislation, notably the Goods Package, the Services Directive, the Late Payments Directive, the E-Commerce Directive, the Small Business Act and the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. They must also remove overlaps and reduce administrative burdens and regulatory barriers that may limit growth and job creation. Attention must be drawn to the concern expressed by parts of civil society and SMEs about the increase in shopping centres and the decline in local shops and markets in remote areas and town centres. I believe that we must offer incentives to renovate urban building stock, using the Structural Funds, and that this could allow utility rates to be reduced (public-private partnership) and could facilitate the return of businesses, particularly local ones, which are instrumental to economic and social development.

 
  
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  Sandra Kalniete (PPE), in writing (LV) I should like to emphasise once more that the most important task of today’s European politicians is to encourage economic growth and Member States’ recovery from the recession. We must realise that protectionism is not the way to achieve economic growth, because it inhibits the creation of jobs and the free flow of goods between Member States. Protectionism is a short-term measure that can create short-term improvement and have public support, but in the long term it will create new, more serious, economic problems. The report focuses on the retail sector, which has a very important place in Europe’s economy, employing about 20 million people, and accounting for about 4.2% of the European economy. Unfortunately, with the economic crisis this sector in particular has been badly hit, and this has adversely affected people’s living standards and income. For precisely this reason I support the suggestions made in the report, which are aimed at improving the work of the retail sector, which will in turn encourage economic growth and the creation of new jobs. The report focuses on five themes, the most important of which for me is the encouragement of competition and the opening-up of Member States’ markets to cross-border trade. I support the call to supplement existing legislation and to strictly follow up how the Member States implement it in their own law. We have the power to make the necessary changes in order to make Europe’s economy stronger.

 
  
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  Edvard Kožušník (ECR), in writing. – (CS) I support this report because it describes the current shortcomings in the functioning of the internal market very accurately. It particularly focuses on a whole series of administrative obstacles that actually prevent the free movement of goods throughout the Union. I applaud the fact that the report emphasises the need for Commission intervention against any Member State violating the principles of the single market. The report also acknowledges that Member States are responsible for their own policies on business location, and the Union should not intervene in the arrangements which Member States themselves conclude in this area. The main message of the report is, in my opinion, the emphasis on competition law as an instrument for protection against abuse of dominant position or significant market power.

The report is thus free of the modish tendency to favour the creation of new laws for this area, preferring instead to make use of existing legal instruments. I applaud the fact that the report, in contrast to many other reports emanating from the European Parliament, focuses on the essential meaning of European integration, in other words a functioning single market, and respects the fact that contract freedom and consumer protection must form the basis of market relations, while not disrupting market dynamics.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) The retail sector represents a reserve of growth for Europe’s internal market and, at the same time, it can provide consumers with greater transparency and facilitate final price comparisons.

In view of this multifaceted, strategic role, I have given my full support to Mrs Corazza Bildt’s report, since we need to take much-needed action to harmonise legislation in this sector as soon as possible. I would point out that this sector provides access to goods and services in difficult areas (rural, mountainous and sparsely populated areas, and so on) where the presence of small retailers and local markets is a service to the community.

While I hope the comprehensive European action plan for retail will soon be drafted, I look forward to the completion of the process currently taking place in the Member States of implementing those directives (on late payments, e-commerce, services, and so on) that this Parliament has already deemed to be important levers for the European market.

Finally, I believe that by voting in favour I have made an important contribution to the process of simplification and reduction of administrative burdens for European retailers and others, thus removing obstacles and barriers that could slow growth and job creation in the European Union.

 
  
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  Constance Le Grip (PPE) , in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the report by my colleague Mrs Corazza Bildt on retail trade. It is important to coordinate the different policies that have an impact on this sector, which is a genuine motor of growth within the Union, in order to derive its full potential. While there are many shopping centres being developed, the number of local shops is diminishing, which means that we have to have a more global approach in order to facilitate access to trade at all levels.

In the amendments that I tabled, which were incorporated into the report that we voted on today, I also wanted to emphasise the social, cultural and environmental role played by local trade. I also support the global approach taken by our rapporteur, which aims to encourage dialogue between the various players in the retail sector. I do think, though, that legislators must take their responsibilities seriously if that proves necessary. This is the case, in particular, as regards the kinds of unfair practices that can take place in this sector. It is therefore important to strengthen the legal mechanisms that allow small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to ensure that their rights are taken seriously, because these enterprises often have little negotiating power when faced with large shopping centres.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this report which is about creating jobs by removing borders, barriers and burdens to trade in Europe.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) We believe the time has come to focus all our efforts on the free movement and free establishment throughout Europe of fair, balanced and transparent trade relations, in order to encourage more sustainable consumption

We are of the opinion that what needs to be done to inject more efficiency and fairness into the retail supply chain, so that consumers can benefit from a more integrated retail market, is the following: removing obstacles to the free movement of goods and services; building confidence in online trade; facilitating access to judicial systems; and pursuing alternative means of resolving disputes. The sector should also invest further in innovative solutions for logistics and transport, energy efficiency, packaging and waste disposal.

Finally, we believe a European action plan is needed, to develop a policy framework with concrete proposals, a more pragmatic approach, a more constructive dialogue between all concerned and careful monitoring of voluntary initiatives by EU institutions. Firm action is needed against any commercial barriers, any kind of national restrictions and any direct or indirect breach of internal market rules, through the use of penalties and infringement procedures.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. – The retail trade plays a very important role in the development of a sustainable economy, and it should continue to promote sustainable models of consumption, providing easy access to quality products. The retail sector needs to invest more in developing solutions in the areas of logistics, transport and energy efficiency, as well as packaging and waste disposal. It is time to recognise the achievements as well as the specific problems and challenges that the retail sector is facing. We must therefore draft an integrated European Action Plan for Retail, with a view to defining a framework of action with concrete and pragmatic proposals for resolving outstanding issues, and thus make the retail market fairer and more effective.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE), in writing. (SK) The retail sector is a cornerstone of the European economy. This dynamic sector employs almost 20 million people, generating 4.2% of the EU’s GDP, and accounting for 20% of small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe. Retailers are also service providers, offering easy access to the labour market. Free and fair competition, freedom of contract and the rapid application of the relevant legislation are fundamental preconditions for a functioning retail market, and the Commission and the Member States must therefore promote them consistently and fully. In the interests of the proper application of competition rules and the prevention of features associated with a dominant market position – cartel agreements and unfair competition between retailers on regional markets – it is above all necessary to strengthen local bodies monitoring competition and to secure their cooperation with the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition. For the reasons set out above, I am voting in favour of Mrs Corazza Bildt’s report.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. This report deals with the role of the retail market within the single market and stresses the need to develop a comprehensive European action plan for the retail sector in order to foster competitiveness, growth and jobs, to remove obstacles to the free movement of goods and services, and to guarantee access for business and consumers. The report also urges amendments aimed at strengthening consumer rights in terms of access to information, safeguarding the role of local shops, improving working conditions and combating the black economy. I am especially interested in a set of measures to combat the black economy. We must not only announce measures and actions: we must actually take them.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) I have decided to give my full support to this report, since it includes many interesting ideas with which I agree.

Retail is indeed a pillar of the European economy, with strong roots that have enabled it to weather the crisis better than other sectors. However, there are still several problem areas, starting with the difficulty for the smallest retailers to remain in the market, because of the ever-present trend towards encouraging major outlets. The report is therefore right to highlight these problem areas and to call for the protection and development of smaller businesses, which are essential drivers of growth and employment in rural and outlying areas.

I would also like to highlight the fact that the report includes a specific reference to itinerant street vendors, who, like other groups, would be victims of any disastrous enforcement of the Services Directive. The economic, historical and cultural traditions that characterise a country cannot be thrown out at a stroke, thus also depriving consumers of the widest possible freedom of choice.

This same point could equally be extended to seaside businesses, which have also fallen victim to the Bolkestein Directive. Today’s vote, which expresses a concern felt by Parliament as a whole, is certainly a good sign.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) The retail sector is a pillar of the European economy, and we must therefore remove all obstacles hampering the development of an efficient and fair retail market. The Member States in turn must fully and correctly implement the internal market rules and legislation. It should be noted that small and medium-sized enterprises play a major role in the areas of employment and value creation. They are particularly important for life in rural areas and city centres. Consequently, we must make every effort to ensure that large shopping centres do not drive local shops and markets out of city centres and remote areas. Conditions must be created for small retailers to take better advantage of the freedoms of the single market. We must encourage them to develop their services. In order to achieve this, the funding allocated from the Structural Funds must be used more efficiently. Furthermore, we must reduce the administrative burden and remove market access restrictions. We cannot allow large shopping centres to use their powers and influence to ruin small entrepreneurs.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mrs Corazza-Bildt’s report on a more efficient and fairer retail market because I feel there is a need for better regulation in this area. The report supports the retail sector and defends the interests of almost 20 million workers throughout Europe in order to create more job opportunities by removing those bureaucratic obstacles that burden retail trade between the various countries. It seeks to remove trade barriers by simplifying the rules. In addition to giving these small, private businesses – service providers and others – more room for manoeuvre, such a measure would guarantee their survival and promise more job opportunities in future.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report is on job creation through the removal of borders, barriers and burdens that affect trade in Europe. Indeed, the retail sector, as stated in the report, is a pillar of the European economy, a market that represents 4.2 % of EU Gross Domestic Product and 20% of European small and medium-sized enterprises, and which employs almost 20 million people. A sector of this size deserves attention from all of us and the creation of the necessary measures to support and develop it. The growing economic nationalism that we have seen is hindering trade in the EU. While old barriers are still in place, new ones are being created, affecting the business climate as well as investment and job creation by foreign retailers. At a time of crisis and in the face of these difficulties, I believe that it is essential to step up dialogue at all levels in order to improve understanding, restore confidence and respond to the difficulties of small and medium-sized enterprises. The specific problems and challenges that the retail sector is facing need to be addressed. I voted in favour, as I also agree with the call to draft an integrated European Action Plan for Retail.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The retail sector is perhaps the most visible part of the programme for Community action, not only for its emphasis on the economy, but because it is hinged on the moment when trade brings together professionals and consumers and makes the reality of the common area tangible. However, this is an area which features delicate problems that need to be given careful attention. Among these problems is the fact that some national states have put up obstacles – indirectly, such as through the laying down of rules that make specific requirements for packaging – to the marketing of foreign products; private labels have been causing concern among the right holders of reference marks; and on another level, some retailers, often part of distribution networks, have used their strong bargaining power to crush the margins of producers. These are cases that may jeopardise the single, free and competitive market, and endanger one of the fundamental purposes of the Community project. This is one point that should not be left off the agenda, as the rapporteur says.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing. (FR) I am pleased that Parliament is highlighting the need to ensure that prices are more transparent and comparable for European consumers, and, with this in mind, to improve active cooperation among national statistical agencies in the exchange of comparable data. I also amended the report in the committee to reflect this. Furthermore, the report insists that the consumer’s freedom of choice should be preserved, which is why particular attention must be paid to local retailers, who play a role in the accessibility of goods and services to all and in the preservation of jobs, particularly in the most backward regions. This report also reminds us, quite rightly, of the need to expand online trade and to increase consumer confidence in this area, for example by improving access to the Internet in those regions of the Union which need it, as well as improving the security of online payments. Finally, the report proposes developing a global European action plan for retail trade developed by the Commission in cooperation with the retail sector, and I would like to see this European action plan come about. For all these reasons, I have supported this excellent report.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. This INI report aims to analyse barriers to a fair and more efficient retail market, and to make recommendations for an eventual Commission action plan in this area The Rapporteur was advised to keep to IMCO competences and not to digress into other issues such as those covered by José Bové’s AGRI own-initiative report on a fair revenues for farmers. Shadows’ meetings were largely consensual and all groups signed all compromise amendments apart from one which Greens/EFA and S&D could not sign. This amendment which we could not sign relates to collective redress and we wanted text mentioning a possible legislative proposal from the Commission if appropriate. Shadows were not able to come to an agreement so we had a separate vote on our amendments on collective redress (which we lost). Overall, the report was OK for us so Greens/EFA voted in favour.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this report because it seeks to promote employment, small and medium-sized enterprises and freedom of movement and establishment throughout the European Union, in order to remove the trade barriers that exist in the Union.

The retail sector, a pillar of the European economy in that it accounts for 4.2% of the EU’s Gross Domestic Product, needs to be strengthened by means of a European action plan to promote fair and transparent trading relations and sustainable consumption. The fragmentation of rules on movement and restrictive national measures result in unnecessary red tape, which hinders free trade. Similarly, payment systems within the EU also need to be harmonised. Lastly, unleashing the potential of e-commerce would help to bring consumers and producers closer together.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. (EL) This report concerns the creation of jobs, with the abolition of borders and obstacles to trade in Europe. I voted in favour of the report, because I absolutely agree with the position taken by the rapporteur, who has sounded the warning bell as regards protectionism and who calls for the political leadership to put the real economy back at the centre of the political agenda. The report is a call for action to open up to free movement and establishment across Europe, based on fair, balanced and transparent trade relations and on sustainable consumption.

 
  
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  Czesław Adam Siekierski (PPE), in writing. (PL) The proper functioning of the European Union requires a more efficient and fairer retail market. Economic growth is affected not only by large corporations and enterprises, but also by small businesses operating in the retail market. We should not forget that these small businesses are one of the reasons why we can talk about opportunities for new investments and new prospects for the EU. We must therefore put in place solutions which make them more efficient and which ensure that they are treated more fairly. We must support the retail market and strive to improve it, since – as I mentioned above – these businesses make a significant contribution to the growth which is so important for the future of Europe. It has been said, and quite rightly so, that we should concentrate on observing and enforcing the legislation already in force, and not on creating new regulations, in order to avoid yet more bureaucracy.

 
  
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  Thomas Ulmer (PPE), in writing. − (DE) I have voted in favour of this report. A fair, open and honest internal market is one of the growth engines of the European Union. This growth is essential to our survival in a global market. This interesting dossier was unfortunately moved to the evening and only allotted 16 minutes of speaking time by Parliament’s administration. As a result, the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament and the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance did not even appoint speakers, which does not do justice to the importance of the internal market.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) I have voted in favour of the report by Mrs Corazza Bildt about a more efficient and fairer retail market. The retail sector employs 20 million people in the EU, accounts for 4.2% of the EU’s GDP and represents around 20% of Europe’s small and medium-sized enterprises. Unfortunately the number of national barriers which have a negative impact on the free movement of goods and services is continuing to increase. The report calls on the Member States to make these basic freedoms available throughout the entire European Union on the basis of fair, balanced and transparent trading relationships. In addition, they must invest in innovative solutions for transport, logistics, energy efficiency, packaging and waste disposal in order to give the retail sector access to high-quality products.

 
  
  

Report: Sidonia Elżbieta Jędrzejewska (A7-0254/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report as it complies with Article 15 (3) of the Financial Regulation, thus entering the surplus resulting from the implementation of the 2010 budget into the 2011 budget, to the value of EUR 4 539 394 283.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE), in writing. (ES) I have in favour of the report on European Union draft amending budget No 3/2011 as I share the view that income calculated from interest on late payments and fines is not to be considered as a surplus but should be put back and reinvested in the EU budget.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. EU Member States’ contributions to this year’s budget will be cut by a total of EUR 4.54 billion. This decision was made possible because of a surplus from the 2010 financial year. Money not spent on EU programmes in 2010 amounts to a total of EUR 2.72 billion. The rest comes from fines, interest on late payments and surpluses due to exchange rate differences. It clearly reflects that we are paying too much into the budget, and so we welcome the fact that Britain will benefit to the tune of EUR 639 million.

 
  
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  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Draft Amending Budget No 3/2011, which aims to report and enter in the budget the surplus from the 2010 financial year and, consequently, to reduce the overall contribution of the Member States to the EU budget for the next financial year.

A surplus of over EUR 4.5 billion is in fact to be redistributed among the Member States in the form of a reduction in their scheduled contributions for next year. I believe it is worth emphasising that, although a reduction in the national contribution is a help especially at a time of economic crisis, we must not start seeing the crisis as grounds for reducing the overall budget in future.

The surpluses that have made it possible to reduce the contribution for the next financial year stem from enforcement of competition policy and from the proceeds of fines and interest on late payments. Such receipts could therefore have been entered in the Union budget without touching the income from national contributions.

A legal basis needs to be established to allow the EU to regard such surpluses as own resources, so that it can use them in the public-private partnership system to develop priority infrastructure in the telecoms, transport and energy sectors.

 
  
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  Göran Färm, Anna Hedh, Olle Ludvigsson, Marita Ulvskog and Åsa Westlund (S&D), in writing. (SV) We Swedish Social Democrats chose not to support Amendment 2 to the report on the Council’s position on Draft amending budget No 3/2011.

We believe that it is reasonable for income stemming from the enforcement of EU policy, in this case fines and interest on late payments, arising as a direct consequence of EU legislation to stay in the EU budget and be used for other EU expenditure instead of being ‘returned’ to the Member States.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU budget for the financial year 2010 showed a surplus amounting to EUR 4 539 394 283. In order to transfer this to the 2011 budget, the Commission submitted a Draft Amending Budget on 15 April 2011. I have not been informed of anything that prevents this from taking place so, based on the information at my disposal, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) In this Draft Amending Budget, the surplus of EUR 4 539 394 283 from the 2010 financial year is entered into the 2011 budget, and this value allows the overall contribution of the Member States towards the 2011 EU budget to be reduced. I voted for this Draft Amending Budget because it is in accordance with Article 15 of the Financial Regulation. I believe, however, that the EU should take the necessary measures to ensure that, in future, the value of the EU budget surplus no longer makes up credit for the contributing Member States, and instead automatically goes towards strengthening the following year’s budget, thus expanding the capacity for Community intervention on behalf of the European project and socio-economic cohesion.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This Draft Amending Budget seeks to enter in the 2011 budget the surplus from the 2010 financial year, in accordance with Article 15 of the Financial Regulation. The report considers that ‘the part of income calculated from interest on late payments and fines is not to be considered as a surplus and should therefore not be deducted from the Member States’ contributions’ and ‘considers, on the contrary, that such income […] should be directly put back and reinvested in the EU budget’. The Council has shown itself to be critical of this position.

However, Parliament turns its back on what has been said and is adopting the Council’s position without any amendments. The decision therefore comes down to the reduction of this 2010 surplus (EUR 4.54 billion) in accordance with the contributions of the Member States for the 2011 budget. This means that the reductions in question are much larger in countries with stronger economies than in countries with weaker economies. Take the example of Germany, with a reduction of EUR 923 million, compared with Portugal, with a reduction of EUR 59 million, a situation that ends up increasing unfairness in the distribution of the surplus and jeopardises the principle of the Community budget’s redistributive function, which underlies any real cohesion policy.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This Draft Amending Budget seeks to enter in the 2011 budget the surplus from the 2010 financial year, ‘in accordance with Article 15 of the Financial Regulation’.

Parliament has expressed its ‘firm conviction that the part of income calculated from interest on late payments and fines is not to be considered as a surplus and should therefore not be deducted from the Member States' contributions’ and that it ‘considers, on the contrary, that such income […] should be directly put back and reinvested in the EU budget’. The Council has shown itself to be critical of this position.

However, Parliament turns its back on what has been said and is adopting the Council’s position without any amendments.

Given that the EU has decided that this 2010 surplus (EUR 4.54 billion) is to be reduced in accordance with the contributions of the Member States for the 2011 budget, this means that the reductions in question are much larger in countries with stronger economies than in countries with weaker economies; take the example of Germany, with a reduction of EUR 923 million, compared with Portugal, with a reduction of EUR 59 million. This ends up increasing unfairness in the distribution of the surplus, so preventing a real cohesion policy.

We therefore voted against this report.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) According to Article 37 of the Financial Regulation, the Commission may present preliminary draft amending budgets if there are ‘unavoidable, exceptional or unforeseen circumstances’. Paragraph 3 states that ‘the budgetary authority shall discuss them with due account for their urgency’. The Regulation stipulates that the balance from each financial year, whether surplus or deficit, is entered as revenue or expenditure in the budget of the subsequent financial year through an amending budget to be submitted by the Commission within 15 days of the submission of the provisional accounts. By incorporating the surplus into the budget, the overall contribution of Member States towards funding the EU budget is reduced accordingly. The overall reduction for individual Member States will also be affected by an updated forecast of own resources (traditional own resources, value added tax and gross national income), including the updated United Kingdom correction amount. In June, within the framework of a separate Draft Amending Budget, the Commission will present updated forecasts which should lead to further changes in the contributions of individual countries. The aim of the third Amending Budget is to incorporate the surplus from the 2010 budget, amounting to EUR 4 539 394 283, into the new budget. Through this method, the overall contribution of Member States towards the 2011 EU budget will therefore be reduced accordingly.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I welcomed this document, because Draft Amending Budget No 3/2011 aims to enter in the 2011 budget the surplus from the 2010 financial year, amounting to EUR 4 539 394 283. Most of the income (EUR 1.28 billion out of EUR 1.8 billion) comes from interest on late payments and fines. The under-spend of EUR 2.72 billion is the result of under-implementation of programmes, under-implementation of non-mobilised reserves, under-implementation in other sections of the budget, and under-execution of credits carried over from 2009 to 2010. The European Parliament believes that the income calculated from interest on late payments and fines should not be considered as a surplus and should therefore not be deducted from the Member States’ contributions (own resources based on GNI). Such income, stemming from the enforcement of EU competition policy, should be immediately put back and reinvested in the EU budget. I believe that we must promote and defend this principle in the forthcoming negotiations on annual and multiannual budgets.

 
  
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  Cătălin Sorin Ivan (S&D), in writing. – (RO) We should be pleased that at this time of crisis Member States will get this money back, especially as some actually need it. However, at the same time, this amount for EUR 4.54 billion derives partially from the Commission’s underimplementation of the 2010 budget (EUR 2.72 billion), while the remainder comes from the fines levied by the Commission under competition law. While I may agree that the money which was not used should be returned to Member States, as stipulated in the Treaties, I regret that the money generated from fines is not carried over to the next budget year, which would benefit from this money.

Today, our vote is guided by the letter of the Treaty. However, this point must be examined and I believe that fines levied under competition law must be the EU’s own resources and be carried over to subsequent budget years.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this report which deals with the 2010 budget surplus. I welcome the fact that this will result in EUR 639 million being returned to the UK.

 
  
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  Barbara Matera (PPE), in writing. (IT) I am supporting the Council position by voting in favour of Draft Amending Budget No 3/2011.

I hope that in future the surplus stemming from fines and interest can be reinvested in the Union budget. As yet, there is no legal basis for that to happen, but I consider it important to put that requirement forward in the forthcoming negotiations with the Council on the multiannual financial framework.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Due to the surplus from the EU budget for the 2010 financial year, it is now possible to proceed towards an amending budget for 2011, which provides for a reduction in the contributions made by the Member States. The fair distribution of the surplus will allow the majority of the Member States to see a reduction in the values to be transferred to the Community budget for 2011, which is always a positive thing in the times of crisis that we are experiencing.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I believe that the surplus from the 2010 financial year should be entered in the 2011 budget, but without creating an additional administrative or fiscal burden for the Member States. The main portion of income calculated from interest on late payments or fines should not be deducted from the Member States’ contributions, because this would put many Member States on an unequal footing and would create conditions that are possibly discriminatory. I believe that this income should not be considered as a surplus and should therefore not be deducted from the Member States’ contributions. It is very important for such income, stemming from the enforcement of EU competition policy, to be put back and reinvested in the EU budget.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) The EU budget for 2010 closed with a surplus of over EUR 4.5 billion. The surplus from the budget year requires an amending budget to return the excess money to the Member States through a reduction in the scheduled contributions for 2012. I voted for the report on the Draft Amending Budget precisely because there is a need to bring order to the Union’s accounts, which have been in surplus for several years, showing that forecasts have been overestimated. Some Member States believe that the budget should be reduced, whereas the debate in Parliament has brought up the idea of keeping this money.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on the amending budget. According to Article 37 of the Financial Regulation, the Commission may present preliminary draft amending budgets ‘if there are unavoidable, exceptional or unforeseen circumstances’. Paragraph 3 states that ‘the budgetary authority shall discuss them with due account for their urgency’. Article 15 (3), of the Financial Regulation stipulates that the surplus from each financial year, whether surplus or deficit, should be entered as revenue or expenditure in the budget of the subsequent financial year through an amending budget to be submitted by the Commission within 15 days following the submission of the provisional accounts. Draft amending budget No 3/2011 aims at entering into the 2011 budget the surplus resulting from the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2010, for an amount of EUR 4 539 394 283. Consequently, the overall contribution of the Member States to the EU budget 2011 will be reduced accordingly. Portugal will contribute EUR 59 119 421 less.

 
  
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  Miguel Portas (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Amending budget No 3/2011 relates to the surplus of EUR 4.54 billion resulting from the budget for the financial year 2010. It recalls that in 2010 there was already a surplus of EUR 2.25 billion. It should be noted here that delays in the implementation of approved projects and consequent payments have contributed to this surplus, along with the interest accumulated due to delays in implementing projects and the fines charged to the Member States following the non-application or violation of Community standards. It is worth noting that of the aforementioned surplus, EUR 1.8 billion corresponds to penalties and interest gathered during the delay in implementing projects. This annual surplus is deducted proportionally from the contributions made by each Member State to the Union budget. Although the rapporteur and the Committee on Budgets understand that the surplus resulting from interest accumulated due to delays in implementing projects and the fines charged to the Member States should not revert to the Member States, this is revenue from the implementation of EU law. The adoption of this amending budget is essential in order to measure the amount which each Member State should contribute towards the 2011 budget, under penalty of future delays in payment for projects that are being implemented or are about to be implemented.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Given that there has been a surplus in the budget for the financial year 2010, the Commission is proposing a preliminary Draft Amending Budget under Article 37 of the Financial Regulation. In this case, the surplus is approximately EUR 4.54 billion. As a result, the amount stated under the Commission’s proposal will be deducted from the contributions that the Member States are to make towards the Community budget.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. in favour. The EP: 1. Takes note of Draft amending budget No 3/2011 devoted solely to the budgeting of the 2010 surplus, in accordance with Article 15 of the Financial Regulation; 2. Is of the firm conviction that the part of income calculated from interest on late payments and fines is not to be considered as a surplus and should therefore not be deducted from the Member States’ contributions (own resources based on GNI); 3. Considers, on the contrary, that such income, stemming from the enforcement of EU competition policy, should be directly put back and reinvested in the EU budget; is determined to promote and defend this principle in the forthcoming negotiations on annual and multiannual budgets; 4. Approves however the Council’s position on Draft amending budget No 3/2011 as unamended and instructs its President to declare that Amending budget No 3/2011 has been definitively adopted and arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Draft Amending Budget voted on today aims to enter into the 2011 budget the surplus from 2010. The surplus of EUR 4.54 billion is the result of exchange rate differences, the outturn on income and the outturn on expenditure. Under the Financial Regulation, the Commission may present preliminary draft amending budgets, ‘if there are unavoidable, exceptional or unforeseen circumstances’. In this way the overall contribution of the Member States towards the 2011 budget will be reduced by EUR 4.54 billion, as this amount corresponds to the 2010 surplus; it will be ‘returned’ to the States. In this particular case, this proposal, for which I voted and which Parliament is determined to promote and advocate in the upcoming negotiations on annual and multiannual budgets, results in a reduction of EUR 59 million in Portugal’s contribution to the Community budget.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. − (DE) During the financial year 2010, the European Union collected around EUR 4.5 billion in fines and interest on late payments in the field of competition policy. In today’s vote, I agreed with the rapporteur that this money should be invested in this year’s EU projects during 2011. However, at the same time, I have also voted in favour of an amendment to the report which called for a corresponding deduction from the contributions made by the Member States.

 
  
  

Report: Mitro Repo (A7-0201/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am in favour of this report on the application of legislation on consumer protection, and it is worth emphasising that the main difference from the Commission’s initial proposal is the inclusion of a review clause, under which the Commission must make an assessment of the operational mechanisms and, in 2014, submit a legislative proposal with a more substantial revision of this regulation.

 
  
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  Liam Aylward (ALDE), in writing. (GA) Effective consumer protection laws are critically important in regard to the single market. There must be a strong, clear legal framework to ensure that consumers are fully confident when paying for goods or services anywhere in the EU. There are problems with the regulations as they are at present. Differences between national laws add to the delays and high costs which are often involved. In addition, the Consumer Protection Network is not operating at full capacity because of lack of cooperation from the Member States. It is consumers who are adversely affected by this, with rogue traders exploiting the weaknesses within the system to make a profit. A progressive approach is the one recommended in the report in order to amend the directive, allowing the CPC to function correctly and to provide proper protection for European consumers. A comprehensive assessment from the Commission, as recommended in the report, would greatly help to identify the weaknesses in consumer protection laws and to frame responses to those weaknesses. Consumer rights must be at the heart of any legislation proposed in future.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The aim of Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 is to combat illegal cross-border trade, which disturbs the smooth functioning of the internal market and shakes consumer confidence. This regulation establishes a European-wide network, the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network, of public authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection legislation in the Member States. It partially harmonises the authorities’ investigative and enforcement powers by laying down mechanisms for exchanging relevant information and taking measures to stop infringements in cross-border situations. Based on recent legislative developments in the field of consumer protection, this report, which I voted for, focuses on the proposed amendments and updating of the regulation in question. Legislation which is not relevant for consumer protection should be removed, and references to old legislation no longer in force should be updated.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE), in writing. (ES) I supported the report on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws because, in clarifying the existing legal framework and improving coordination, it increases the effectiveness of consumer protection laws and policies, and directly and positively benefits the daily life of European citizens.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) As this report emphasises, cross-border rogue traders continue to threaten the interests of European consumers and retailers.

The objective proposed by the rapporteur is to support the Commission in its efforts to protect consumers and retailers, particularly through the simplification and harmonisation of administrative processes designed to detect and tackle infringements within the European Union. What this document proposes coincides with what the Lega Nord has put forward in its political programme, as it has always regarded the fight against illegal market activities as a top priority. I have therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report, because I agree with its aim – the implementation of an efficient and legitimate mechanism for protecting consumer rights. In 2006 the regulation currently in force established the consumer protection cooperation (CPC) network, the aim of which is to monitor and enforce legislation which protects consumers’ interests. The legislation which falls within the scope of the CPC network is listed in the annex to the regulation. The objective of the proposed amending regulation is to update the contents of the annex to reflect recent legislative developments in the field of consumer protection. The update of the annex will consist of the removal from the annex of legislation which is not relevant for consumer protection cooperation between the national enforcement authorities and the replacement of references to old legislation which is no longer in force with references to new legislation in the field of consumer protection.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) There is a great deal of talk about cross-border cooperation and about its benefits. However, we have seen in practice that, when it comes to trade, we also need to factor the protection of European consumers into the equation. This is especially true where there are sellers or suppliers who illegally evade enforcement of the legislation to the detriment of law-abiding traders. At the moment, there is insufficient information on the operation of Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws. However, until we receive new information about how the system operates, I would like to make a few remarks supporting the inclusion on the political agenda of the subject of cross-border enforcement of consumers’ interests. At the moment, each country sets its own priorities, especially as we do not have a common set of priorities which we can refer to. I believe that, in order to win and retain the confidence of European consumers, the Commission needs to create these reference points. It is vital for us to have laws that protect consumers, which they are familiar with and can refer to in the event of deviations. Consumer confidence is a valuable asset which is both difficult to win and easy to lose during times of crisis.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. – (CS) I agree with the need to review the regulation creating an EU-wide network of competent public bodies for the enforcement of consumer protection law in the Member States (the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) network), which came into operation in December 2006. The review takes the form of an update of the annex in order to reflect the latest legislative developments in the area of consumer protection. The last Commission report from 2009 on the application of the CPC Regulation revealed a series of doubts relating to the system for cross-border promotion of the consumer acquis, consisting, for example, in the fact that a considerable number of registered authorities are not connected to the system, or do not make active use of it. The increasing length of time taken to handle requests is another problem. Apart from this, it is necessary to resolve the continuing fragmentation of procedural rules for enforcing the legislation. The different systems of national legislation and systems for enforcing legislation make it difficult to combat infringements of legislation in the EU effectively. Some public bodies have effective resources to hand for ending infringements of the legislation, while others must turn to the courts and face lengthy procedures. The costs of court proceedings can also cause problems, particularly if the requesting body is not able to cover the possible costs of court proceedings. The fact that requests always take longer than agreed (more than 150 days at present) can partly be explained by the greater complexity of cross-border cases, but it is often a matter of failing to stick to deadlines.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. Although I believe that consumers’ rights should be protected, I do not share the idea of the necessity of EU-wide legislation protecting online shoppers which will also specify rules on delivery and digital downloads. This is another attempt to create new EU legislation where domestic legislation is extant and sufficient; new legislation will create an unnecessary burden on small and medium-sized businesses. Member States’ consumer protection rules must be the prerogative of the Member State.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Consumer rights and protection under Community law is one of the fundamental principles of the workings of the internal market. While I believe that adequate consumer protection and security are fundamental to the proper functioning of the markets and to trade, I also believe that this protection should be as uniform as possible throughout the Union. At a time when many transactions and contracts are made across borders, and online transactions are assuming a new prominence, cooperation between the different public authorities responsible for implementing legislation on consumer protection should be as stringent as possible, in order to ensure a higher level of protection and boost confidence.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) In the context of the internal market and the safeguarding of the European public’s interests, the harmonisation and improvement of consumer protection mechanisms are of the utmost importance for consolidating European integration and boosting confidence in the economic and legislative system. I am therefore in favour of this report, which seeks to update and streamline the current legislation on this matter, especially Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004, which is aimed at combating illegal cross-border trade and establishing an EU-wide network of public authorities responsible for enforcing consumer laws in the Member States. It also aims to harmonise the authorities' investigative and enforcement powers in order to stop infringements of EU legislation that protects the interests of consumers.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The regulation amends the existing Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws, the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation. The network established under this Regulation monitors consumer protection legislation and promotes its implementation. The draft amending regulation has the aim of updating the contents of the Annex so that it reflects the latest developments in consumer protection legislation. As the current results of cross-border cooperation in the enforcement of consumer protection legislation are unsatisfactory, we need to take appropriate measures to correct the situation. A more complex approach to the scope of the regulation is necessary, with the aim of applying it to all EU legislation having an impact on the collective interests of consumers. I believe that the cross-border enforcement of consumer interests should be put at the forefront of the political agenda. The improved cooperation between the national bodies responsible for enforcing legislation should be developed into a highly effective remedy in the hands of European consumers, and should boost their confidence in the single market.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document, because the regulation aims to abolish the barriers to cross-border cooperation between public enforcement authorities to detect, investigate and bring about the cessation or prohibition of intra-EU infringements of the laws which protect consumers’ interests. The regulation is intended to efficiently and effectively tackle cross-border rogue traders who disrupt the smooth functioning of the internal market, and thus increase consumer confidence in taking up cross-border offers, and prevent sellers and suppliers from evading enforcement to the competitive detriment of law-abiding sellers and suppliers. The regulation achieves its aims by establishing an EU-wide network of public authorities responsible for enforcing consumer laws in the Member States (the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network). The network established by the regulation monitors and enforces legislation which protects consumers’ interests. The CPC Regulation partially harmonises the authorities’ investigative and enforcement powers and lays down the mechanisms for exchanging relevant information and/or taking enforcement action to stop infringements in cross-border situations.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing. (PL) In an era of a Europe without borders which grants equal rights and privileges to all of its citizens, consumer protection legislation should guarantee the same rights and opportunities to all customers within the single market. Meanwhile, the large discrepancies between the national legal systems result in a variety of regulatory breaches, and make it more difficult to prevent and eliminate violations. It is essential to ensure the proper coordination of measures at European level, and to improve cooperation in this field between the competent bodies. It is essential to carry out an accurate analysis of the regulations in force and to eliminate legislative loopholes in order to boost consumer confidence and guarantee consumers an appropriate level of legal protection.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. The regulation aims to abolish the barriers to cross-border cooperation between public enforcement authorities to detect, investigate and bring about the cessation or prohibition of intra-EU infringements of the laws which protect consumers’ interests. The regulation is intended to efficiently and effectively tackle cross-border rogue traders which disrupt the smooth functioning of the internal market, and thus increase consumer confidence in taking up cross-border offers, and prevent sellers and suppliers from evading enforcement to the competitive detriment of law-abiding sellers and suppliers.

The regulation achieves its aims by establishing an EU-wide network of public authorities responsible for enforcing consumer laws in the Member States (the ‘CPC Network’), which started operating in December 2006. The CPC Regulation partially harmonises the authorities’ investigative and enforcement powers and lays down the mechanisms for exchanging relevant information and/or taking enforcement action to stop infringements in cross-border situations.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) We agree with this regulation, which aims to abolish the barriers to cross-border cooperation between public enforcement authorities to detect, investigate and bring about the cessation or prohibition of intra-EU infringements of the laws which protect consumers’ interests.

That will increase consumer confidence in taking up cross-border offers, and prevent sellers and suppliers from evading enforcement to the competitive detriment of law-abiding sellers and suppliers. We are of the opinion that the current sector-based approach to consumer policy initiatives does not facilitate coherent enforcement. A greater role for the Commission in coordinating the enforcement of pan-European activities would therefore be necessary.

We also believe that, to foster better consumer protection in Europe, the scope of this regulation should be broadened in order to reflect the body of existing EU legislation in this area in a more holistic and horizontal way.

Lastly, the cross-border enforcement of consumers’ interests should be placed high on the Union’s political agenda. Improved cooperation between national enforcement authorities should develop into a more efficient remedy in the hands of European consumers and boost their confidence in the internal market.

 
  
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  Barbara Matera (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the amendment to Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 since, at this time of international crisis, I believe it is essential to increase consumer confidence in taking up cross-border offers, to the detriment of those rogue traders who evade national and European laws.

It would be highly desirable to have harmonised national legislation in this area so as to protect healthy competition and allow for quick, reliable checks. The Commission plays a crucial role in protecting consumers and the market itself. I therefore agree with the rapporteur on the need for a substantial revision of the regulation as a whole within a short timeframe, not least in light of the major differences that exist between Member States.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. – (PT) This regulation is aimed at removing barriers to cross-border cooperation among the public authorities responsible for implementing legislation in order to detect, investigate and bring about the cessation or prohibition of infringements within the EU of legislation that protects the interests of consumers. Only then will it be possible to effectively tackle cross-border rogue traders which disrupt the smooth functioning of the internal market, and thus increase consumer confidence in taking up cross-border offers, and prevent sellers and suppliers from evading enforcement of the law to the detriment of law-abiding sellers and suppliers.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. This legislative report concerns amendment of the existing Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 (the CPC Regulation) on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws. The aim of the current proposal is to update the contents of the annex to the CPC Regulation to reflect recent legislative developments in the field of consumer protection. This is a very reasonable and timely report and the topic is important.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The regulation aims to abolish the barriers to cooperation between public enforcement authorities to allow them ‘to detect, investigate and bring about the cessation or prohibition of intra-EU infringements of the laws which protect consumers’ interests’. As a result of the removal of the borders, rogue traders have come up with new ideas for defrauding consumers. Examples include advertising trips where consumers are taken over the border in order to allow existing loopholes in consumer protection legislation to be exploited. In addition, there are the problems on the Internet, which have their own report. I have voted in favour of the proposed measures and I hope that they will genuinely improve consumer protection within the EU.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) National authorities responsible for enforcing consumer laws must cooperate actively with each other, making more effective use of the possibilities offered by the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network. Above all, authorities must be provided with more means to effectively detect, investigate and bring about the cessation or prohibition of infringements harming the collective interests of consumers in cross-border situations and stop rogue traders. Furthermore, it is very important for enforcement authorities at EU level to set out general priorities and develop multi-annual plans. Member States must make effective use of the possibilities offered by the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network to exchange information more rapidly and deal with requests for mutual assistance. These measures must be implemented in order for the goals outlined to be achieved and for the public bodies, responsible for enforcing consumer protection laws, to be able to function properly.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on the proposal which amends Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 on cooperation among national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection legislation. This regulation is aimed at removing barriers to cross-border cooperation among the public authorities responsible for implementing legislation in order to detect, investigate and bring about the cessation or prohibition of infringements within the EU of legislation that protects the interests of consumers. Seven years after its entry into force, aspects that should be amended have been identified. However, there is still insufficient information on the functioning of the regulation, and this information can only be obtained through a thorough examination. The Commission is currently preparing a second report on the application of the regulation to be published later this year. In accordance with the report, the Commission has also foreseen to carry out an external evaluation followed by a public consultation among stakeholders. I agree with the need identified by the rapporteur to include a review clause in the regulation. This clause requires the Commission to commit itself to and speed up the review process, and to table a new legislative proposal by the end of 2013.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. The development of cross-border trade in the context of an enlarged internal market offers new opportunities to retailers and consumers but it also brings new challenges. New technologies can hinder the authorities’ ability to enforce consumer laws effectively in the internal market, and rogue traders can hide behind borders to target consumers in another Member State. Providing robust consumer protection and informing consumers about their rights will encourage cross-border shopping, with better choice and value. We must consider removing barriers to cross-border cooperation between enforcement agencies to allow them investigate and detect intra-EU infringements of consumer protection laws.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) As it is the duty of the European area to recognise the economic freedoms of EU citizens, it soon becomes apparent that there is a need to protect consumers from the abuses of these freedoms that often occur. Indeed, the unjustifiable lack of protection would immediately lead to a failure of confidence in the virtues of the European area. That is why this is one of the flagship initiatives of Community action. However, no matter how much a substantive framework is put forward to regulate the situation of consumers, this lacks mechanisms to apply sanctions. It is therefore necessary to ensure cooperation among the different national authorities, which ensure that the provisions for consumer protection are applied; otherwise they can no longer hold those who knowingly flout these rules to account, as they will simply cross the borders.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Behind this technical title and the lack of fuss, through the updating of the annexes, there is an important challenge: the challenge of providing our national authorities that are responsible for ensuring the application of consumer protection law with increased resources for efficiently detecting violations which harm the collective interests of consumers in cross-border situations, investigating these violations and ensuring that they are suppressed or banned. What we need to do here, therefore, is to organise an efficient and effective fight, at European level, against dishonest economic operators and to prevent certain rather unscrupulous buyers and sellers from escaping legislation, to the competitive detriment of buyers and sellers who respect the law. In this report, to which I contributed and which I supported, we are finally calling on the European Commission to examine, in depth, the functioning of the network known as the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Network – the EU-wide network of public authorities responsible for enforcing consumer laws in the Member States – and also, after carrying out a broad consultation, to present to us, as soon as possible, and at the latest by the end of 2014, a report accompanied, if necessary, by a legislative proposal.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. Regulation 2006/2004 (the ‘CPC Regulation’) was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 27 October 2004 and entered into force on 29 December 2006. The regulation aims to abolish the barriers to cross-border cooperation between public enforcement authorities to detect, investigate and bring about the cessation or prohibition of intra-EU infringements of the laws which protect consumers’ interests. The Regulation is intended to efficiently and effectively tackle cross-border rogue traders which disrupt the smooth functioning of the internal market, and thus increase consumer confidence in taking up cross-border offers, and prevent sellers and suppliers from evading enforcement to the competitive detriment of law-abiding sellers and suppliers.

The regulation achieves its aims by establishing an EU-wide network of public authorities responsible for enforcing consumer laws in the Member States (the ‘CPC Network’), which started operating in December 2006. The CPC Regulation partially harmonises the authorities’ investigative and enforcement powers and lays down the mechanisms for exchanging relevant information and/or taking enforcement action to stop infringements in cross-border situations.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this report because I believe that the cross-border enforcement of consumers’ interests should be placed high on the Union’s political agenda.

The current results of cross-border cooperation to enforce the regulation suggest that new measures need to be taken. There is a need to solve the problems that have so far been identified in enforcing the regulation, to accept the Commission’s technical proposal, and to ask the Commission to undertake an assessment of the effectiveness of the operational mechanisms of the regulation.

The Commission also needs to come up, within a plausible timeframe, with a legislative proposal aimed at a more substantial revision of the current regulation, including the broadening of its scope. Lastly, improved cooperation between national enforcement authorities needs to develop into a more efficient remedy in the hands of European consumers, so as to boost their confidence in the internal market.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) I am in favour of the report on the proposal to amend the regulation on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws.

The key political issue is to examine whether the current regulation provides a sufficiently valid framework for the cross-border enforcement of the consumer acquis. The approach selected is to propose a ‘review clause’, asking the Commission to undertake an assessment of the effectiveness of the regulation and come up, within a plausible timeframe, with a legislative proposal aimed at a more substantial revision by 2014.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the Repo report, because I consider that the regulation needs to aim to abolish barriers to cross-border cooperation between public enforcement authorities to detect, investigate and bring about the cessation or prohibition of infringement of laws which protect consumers’ interests. At the same time, the regulation needs to aim to efficiently and effectively tackle cross-border rogue traders who disrupt the smooth functioning of the internal market, and thus increase consumer confidence in taking up cross-border offers, and prevent sellers and suppliers from evading enforcement to the competitive detriment of law-abiding sellers and suppliers.

 
  
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  Laurence J.A.J. Stassen (NI), in writing. − (NL) The Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) supports the initiative for better cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws. In Europe’s internal market, the interests of consumers are increasingly crossing national borders. It is therefore necessary for the national bodies to cooperate with each other effectively whenever consumers are let down by vendors and service-providers in other countries. When consumers end up being conned by mala fide vendors and service-providers in other countries, the alarm must be sounded immediately. In this connection it is necessary for there to be effective information exchange between the bodies in the different Member States.

This report asks the Commission to bring forward proposals to improve operational cooperation between national authorities and thus to better protect consumers making cross-border purchases. The PVV supports this aim, so long as it retains the character of cooperation and information exchange between national bodies.

 
  
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  Rafał Trzaskowski (PPE), in writing. With this resolution we are sending a clear message to the Commission and Member States that we need strong cooperation among consumer agencies. As cross-border trade within the EU grows, we witness more and more complaints from consumers, and there is therefore a need to re-examine the existing EU legislation.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. − (DE) The introduction of the common market has, of course, been accompanied by an influx of rogue traders who are making huge profits from cross-border activities in particular. This is because, in contrast to the trading itself, there are bureaucratic obstacles to the cross-border enforcement of consumers’ rights. We need to pay greater attention to enforcing consumer protection legislation as part of the process of implementing the internal market. For this reason, I have voted in favour of the compromise proposal agreed by the different groups amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 on cooperation between national authorities.

 
  
  

Report: Werner Langen (A7-0223/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am in favour of this proposal as it is in accordance with the position of both the G20 and the Commission on the directive on over-the-counter markets. In addition, the report also makes important changes to the overall system with regard to accessibility of information in all derivative contracts, giving both the European Securities and Markets Authority and the national authorities responsible the right tools to oversee and control the directive on markets.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. − I voted in favour of the resolution on derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories. As MEPs, we are calling for transparency and stability, in particular with regard to those derivatives which are traded on stock exchanges and can cause massive disruption to financial markets. We are also calling for standard procedures, reporting requirements and the use of clearing devices via organised trade platforms. I support the rapporteur’s view that the volume of all transactions has to be transparent in order to ensure maximum financial market stability and enable supervisory authorities to do their work properly. It is important to stress that national supervisory authorities and the European Securities and Markets Agency (ESMA) will be in charge of supervision.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) This draft regulation concerns over-the-counter derivatives, financial products whose value is derived from another asset, and which are traded directly between two parties without passing through an intermediary. In September 2009, there was agreement among the leaders of the G20 that exchanges of over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives should be better regulated. The Commission accordingly brought forward this proposal for a regulation in order to act quickly. The report drafted by my colleague Mr Langen and the amendments adopted in the Commission on Economic and Monetary Affairs give us a good basis for negotiation with the Council. I therefore supported them so that this negotiation could progress.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) The concerns that emerged after the crisis in the financial markets must continue to be followed up in Europe through constant monitoring of stability and risk reduction in the sector of products subject to speculation, such as derivatives.

In light of the responsibilities of covert financial engineering and the decoupling of the real economy from investment, I can only welcome Mr Langen’s report.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The regulation of transactions of this kind, given the risk of certain situations of non-payment, required clearing to be carried out by authorised clearing houses, designed as a necessary measure for preventing chain reactions on these markets. However, non-financial counterparties below a certain threshold, if they are not systemically relevant, do not need to be subject to the regulation, given their non-speculative nature. I know that this exception triggered a sharp response from the US Treasury secretary. However, I believe that this exception is justified in view of the objective of these exceptional transactions: hedging. I hope that Parliament will approve the version of the report voted for in the specialist committees, including the option for the reciprocal clearing of financial counterparties with non-financial counterparties.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the proposal for a regulation as I agree that over-the-counter derivatives lack transparency, as they are privately negotiated contracts and any information concerning them is usually only available to the contracting parties. They create a complex web of interdependence which can make it difficult to identify the nature and level of risks involved. The financial crisis has demonstrated that such characteristics increase uncertainty in times of market stress and consequently pose risks to financial stability. I would therefore welcome this regulation as it lays down conditions for mitigating those risks and improving the transparency of derivative contracts.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report because the supervisory framework needs to be strengthened to reduce the risk of financial crises in the future and prevent them from being so severe. Consequently, far-reaching reforms are required to the supervisory structure of the financial sector in the European Union, including the creation of a European System of Financial Supervisors, comprising three European Supervisory Authorities, one for the banking sector, one for insurance and occupational pensions and the third for the securities and markets sector, as well as the creation of a European Systemic Risk Board.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report as it presents a set of proposals to address existing gaps in the regulatory framework for over-the-counter derivatives. The lack of legislation in this area contributed to the financial crisis and its damaging consequences. The amendments adopted by Parliament will contribute to improving the transparency and risk management of this market.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) This legislative proposal aims to address the lack of regulation at Community level in the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives sector, and at increasing its transparency and mitigating its risks. A set of requirements have now been established for derivatives contracts and the conditions for the authorisation of central counterparties, along with the criteria to examine to ensure appropriate characteristics for central clearing, and the reporting of information on OTC derivatives to trade repositories where the aggregate information can be used, in particular for analysing systemic risk and for calculating compensation. Finally, I should like to urge the Member States in the Council to come to a quick decision on this matter so as to enable this regulation on the Community legal framework to come into force quickly.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) We have a duty to draw all the lessons that we can from the crisis, which is still ongoing. In order to do so, we need smart regulation and effective supervision. The products can be useful by serving the real economy. The issue is not to condemn them, but to regulate them, as the fact is that their use has not been transparent, and this was at the root of the crisis. The regulation on the derivatives market is crucial because it represents EUR 600 billion that was at the heart of the crisis. This regulation will cover the raw materials market in order to avoid price speculation. Over-the-counter derivatives lack transparency as they are privately negotiated contracts and any information concerning them is usually only available to the contracting parties. They create a complex web of interdependence, which can make it difficult to identify the nature and level of risks involved. The financial crisis has demonstrated that such characteristics increase uncertainty in times of market stress and consequently pose risks to financial stability. I am in favour of this regulation as it lays down conditions for mitigating those risks and improving the transparency of derivative contracts.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This is yet another report that reveals how the EU has been dealing with the multifaceted crisis that is affecting the world; a crisis that has been a disruptive and risk-laden factor in the inflation of the financial sphere. It also seeks to regulate the financial market to a certain extent, without going to the root of the problems. The financial sector of the EU trades in derivatives as this is an area that can evade supervision and regulation, and which is carried out without awareness of the overall magnitude of the risks involved, but merely in the knowledge that these are the basis of massive speculative gains and that they therefore, necessarily, have serious systemic implications.

Financial markets derivatives played a prime role in triggering the financial crisis, as they were used for excessive speculation. This regulation proposes the supervision of the EU financial sector with the aim of reducing the risks and the severity of future financial crises, but without tackling the key issue: using this instrument to stop this kind of operation. This crucial matter, which was admitted when the financial crisis was in full swing, has now been put to one side, and the door has been left open for speculation and the consequences thereof, even if we try not to actively invite it in.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This is another report that has been submitted in an attempt to regulate the financial market to a certain extent, without going to the root of the problems. Indeed, the financial sector of the EU trades in derivatives as this is an area that can evade supervision and regulation, and which is carried out without awareness of the overall magnitude of the risks involved, but merely in the knowledge that these are the basis of massive speculative gains and that they therefore, necessarily, have serious systemic implications.

This regulation therefore proposes the supervision of the EU financial sector with the aim of reducing the risks and the severity of future financial crises, but without tackling the key issue: putting a stop to this kind of operation, as we have proposed.

We proposed in plenary that since financial markets derivatives played a prime role in triggering the financial crisis, as they were used for excessive speculation, and given that there are other ways of covering commercial risk, derivatives be abolished. Unfortunately this proposal, which we supported, was rejected. However, the final vote on the report was delayed in order for Parliament to negotiate the approved proposals with the Council. It will then come back to plenary for the final vote.

 
  
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  Roberto Gualtieri (S&D), in writing. (IT) The vote on the Langen report on over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives further reinforces Parliament’s priority of regulating the financial markets and fighting speculation, the main factor in market instability at a time of crisis.

Parliament has defined its position at first reading on the proposal for a regulation in line with what has already been suggested both by the European Commission and by the G20 mandate, which calls for a strengthening of the system within which OTC derivatives work, in order to provide more transparency and greater risk management.

It is necessary, in fact, to provide the relevant European and national authorities with all the tools they need to supervise and control the derivatives market, including more information on the nature of derivative transactions and on the contracts entered into by counterparties.

We now expect the Council to get over the splits between Member States and offer the opening needed in this area, so that the wholesale reform of European financial markets can come to fruition.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document, because the financial crisis has raised concerns regarding the resilience and transparency of the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives market. The G20 agreed that all standardised OTC derivative contracts should be traded on exchanges or electronic trading platforms, where appropriate, and cleared through central counterparties by the end of 2012 at the latest. OTC derivative contracts should be reported to trade repositories. This regulation sets out the conditions for authorising Central Counterparties (CCPs), the criteria for checks to ensure appropriate characteristics for central clearing, and the reporting of derivatives to trade repositories where the aggregate information can be used inter alia for analysis of systemic risk. However, it must be remembered that any regulation should be applied in a carefully measured way. While under-regulation endangers the market, over-regulation leads to increased costs and, in some cases, to increased prices for the end consumers. This would not be a welcome effect in the areas of food commodities and energy products.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − The clearing and reporting of OTC derivatives is an important step in implementing the G20’s recommendation to strengthen the stability of the financial system, and I was therefore happy to support this report

 
  
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  Arlene McCarthy (S&D), in writing. − The unregulated over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives market has been a major source of instability in the financial system. Labour Euro MPs backed the report today to ensure that the European Union follows up on its G20 commitments to regulate this sector, valued at EUR 425 trillion, and ensure it can no longer threaten the health of the global economy. Regulating OTC derivatives will also help address food and commodity price speculation, which has distorted prices and driven millions into hunger and poverty in recent years.

By making the market more transparent it will limit the opportunities for market manipulation and the kind of food price spikes seen in 2007/2008. The Council should follow Parliament’s lead and allow us to conclude this law and proceed with further necessary proposals, including MiFID and the Market Abuse Directive, which will complete the re-regulation of this sector and comprehensively tackle the practice of gambling with the food on people’s plates.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) This report proposes granting a European passport to derivatives. The European Commission and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) will be at the controls. They will be able to ensure respect for equal competition between these toxic financial