Index 
Debates
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition
1. Opening of the sitting
 2. Documents received: see Minutes
 3. Future protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial compensation provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco (motions for resolutions tabled): see Minutes
 4. Implementing measures (Rule 88): see Minutes
 5. Review of the Polish Presidency (debate)
 6. Draft scoreboard for the surveillance of macro-economic imbalances (debate)
 7. Voting time
  7.1. Instrument for pre-accession assistance (A7-0397/2011 - Gabriele Albertini) (vote)
  7.2. Fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption (A7-0224/2011 - Andres Perello Rodriguez) (vote)
  7.3. Use of phosphates and other phosphorus compounds in household laundry detergents (A7-0246/2011 - Bill Newton Dunn) (vote)
  7.4. EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement (A7-0394/2011 - Carl Haglund) (vote)
  7.5. Proposal for a decision on the numerical strength of the standing committees (B7-0619/2011 ) (vote)
  7.6. Proposal for a decision on the numerical strength of the interparliamentary delegations, delegations to joint parliamentary committees and delegations to parliamentary cooperation committees and multilateral parliamentary assemblies (B7-0620/2011 ) (vote)
  7.7. Appointment of a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank: Mr Coeuré (A7-0443/2011 - Sharon Bowles) (vote)
  7.8. Future protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial compensation provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco (B7-0691/2011 ) (vote)
  7.9. Impact of the financial crisis on the defence sector (A7-0428/2011 - Krzysztof Lisek) (vote)
  7.10. EU-Russia Summit (B7-0693/2011 ) (vote)
 8. Award of the Sakharov Prize (formal sitting)
 9. Voting time (continuation)
  9.1. European neighbourhood policy (A7-0400/2011 - Mário David, Marek Siwiec) (vote)
  9.2. EU counter-terrorism policy (A7-0286/2011 - Sophia in ’t Veld) (vote)
 10. Explanations of vote
 11. Corrections to votes and voting intentions: see Minutes
 12. Approval of the minutes of the previous sitting: see Minutes
 13. Composition of political groups: see Minutes
 14. Public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (debate)
 15. European Maritime Safety Agency (debate)
 16. Single European transport area (debate)
 17. Detention conditions in the EU (debate)
 18. EC-Uzbekistan partnership and cooperation agreement and bilateral trade in textiles (debate)
 19. Composition of committees and delegations: see Minutes
 20. Freedom of movement for workers within the European Union (debate)
 21. Budgetary control of EU financial assistance to Afghanistan (short presentation)
 22. EU strategy for Central Asia (short presentation)
 23. Health and safety at work (short presentation)
 24. Agenda of the next sitting: see Minutes
 25. Closure of the sitting


  

IN THE CHAIR: JERZY BUZEK
President

 
1. Opening of the sitting
Video of the speeches
 

(The sitting opened at 09.10)

 
  
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  President. – Firstly, I have two distressing items of information. In Florence yesterday, a gunman shot and killed two people. It is highly likely that the crime was racially motivated. Yet again, people have died just because they wanted to live and work in Europe. This is both distressing and horrifying. We must firmly resist all manifestations of racism and xenophobia.

Yesterday, we also received sad news from Belgium. The tragedy in Liège struck at innocent, random people. On behalf of the European Parliament, I would like to extend condolences to the families of the victims. We are with you in our thoughts and prayers. I think we have with us in the Chamber a fellow Member from Liège, Mathieu Grosch. No, unfortunately he is not here. Once again – we are with you in our thoughts and prayers.

 

2. Documents received: see Minutes

3. Future protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial compensation provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco (motions for resolutions tabled): see Minutes

4. Implementing measures (Rule 88): see Minutes

5. Review of the Polish Presidency (debate)
Video of the speeches
MPphoto
 

  President. – The next item is the statements by the Council and the Commission to begin the debate on the review of the Polish Presidency.

I would like to give a very warm welcome to the Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Poland, who also heads the Presidency – the Presidency of the Council of the European Union – Mr Donald Tusk. Mr Tusk, to begin with, I would like to quote a part of the speech you made here five months ago, in July. It is part of what you said about the European Parliament. You said it is a place which, for ‘all Europeans who treat the idea of Europe seriously, is something special. It is a place which guarantees that the memory of where Europe has come from will be kept alive in our minds. In particular ... it is an institution and a place which has never stopped believing in the reason for having a united Europe’. Nearly six months have passed, and the Polish Presidency is coming to an end. We have been conscious of your conviction that it is possible to work together with the European Parliament in the interests of the people who live in the European Union. We are very interested in your review, and in your opinion on what the past half-year has been like and what lessons the Polish Presidency has learned from this for the future. Mr Tusk, please take the floor.

 
  
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  Donald Tusk, President-in-Office of the Council.(PL) Mr President, honourable Members, six months have passed since we met at the beginning of the Polish Presidency. On that occasion, I gave an assurance of the great importance which Poles attach, and which I personally attach, to the idea of a united Europe. I declared our attachment to the European Union, conscious of the fact that we were assuming the Presidency during a profound crisis. Not just a financial crisis, but – as we could already see then – also a crisis of confidence; while today, and I think we ought to say this unequivocally, it is perhaps also a crisis affecting our politics and the way we are governed.

Despite the fact that we were making our debut in the role of the Presidency, and perhaps precisely because of this, ours has been a Presidency of people determined to carry out their European assignment as well as we can. It is not just goodwill that we have invested in this Presidency, but also the efforts and the abilities of the hundreds of young Poles who have worked here in Strasbourg, in Brussels, in Warsaw and in many other places across Europe, and we have taken up the tasks – mindful of our limitations – which are the routine duty of every Presidency, including work on legislative matters. I will not give a list of everything we have done over these last six months.

I have heard many warm words in the last few days about our commitment and the effectiveness of our work. This may not sound very modest, but I do think the Poles have earned this praise, and they have done so precisely because it was with a belief in the reason for having a united Europe that they took on the challenges which fell to the Polish Presidency. Whether this was work on the ‘six-pack’, the accession of Croatia, the Eastern Partnership, energy security or other legislation, such as the single European patent, in all of these areas we have managed to achieve what we undertook to do and to complete our work. It was mainly because the Polish Presidency has been led by people who really do treat Europe seriously as a community and who – in spite of the crisis, or perhaps I should put that the other way round, precisely because we have been hit by the crisis, including the crisis of confidence – wanted to show that the responsibilities which rest with Europeans at such a time mean their commitment should be even more clear and unwavering.

I want to say that I would like to turn this review into a serious reflection in a political sense, a reflection which is the fruit of these six months of experience of the Polish Presidency, but I am sure that you, too, have reached similar conclusions and have a similar need to talk frankly about what is happening in Europe at the moment. This is because in spite of my satisfaction with the work which has been accomplished, I cannot say that Europe at the end of 2011 is a Europe which is more united than it was six months, a year or five years ago. Today, at the close of the Polish Presidency, I cannot say we have succeeded together in averting what may, in fact, be the most serious crisis to have afflicted our continent in the history of the united Europe. In fact, I would say quite the contrary. Today, we have to say very openly that we are at a parting of the ways. We face a very serious choice: during this crisis, and in looking for ways and means to exit the crisis, should we take the Community approach, and are we going to search for a European way to lift ourselves out of the crisis, or should we take the route of national and state egoism, looking selfishly for a way out on our own and considering the Union to be a burden rather than the best way for Europeans to overcome the crisis?

I want to remind you that the real source of the crisis, the financial crisis, was not the EU institutions. It was not in the European Parliament, the European Commission or other EU institutions that the crisis was born. European integration is not the source of the financial crisis, and so it is not the source of the political crisis either. These six months have shown with full force that it is exactly the opposite – that the crisis is feeding and growing fat on the threat of the Union falling apart, and that if today we cannot say we have succeeded in managing the crisis, it is because when responding to the crisis, Europe has not always acted as a community.

(Applause)

Why are we also talking about a political crisis today? It is because too many people in Europe, too many politicians in Europe, want to persuade us and to persuade Europe that the way out of the crisis is to abandon our work together as a community. I would like to say, however, that in my opinion, and in that of the Polish Presidency, this is a symptom of a kind of illness. The current crisis is undermining the sense of community. If we are hearing opinions in Europe today about how we need to reconsider the bases and the foundations of the Union, this is very clearly a symptom that the crisis exists not just in our banks, but also in our hearts. The last European Council meeting showed very clearly that some of us are searching for tools not only to rescue the euro, but also, in the long term, to strengthen the Union, but that there are others who think that the way to rescue the euro or the financial situation of the Member States and the institutions is a relaxation of the Union, and its eventual destruction. I am not accusing anyone, because these are points of view which are equally entitled to exist. We are all entitled to have our own vision for the future of Europe, but we cannot hide the fact that today, somewhere beneath the surface, there is in fact now a debate going on not about the future of the euro, but about the future of the Union.

At the last European Council meeting, we made decisions which are only a first step. Both in Brussels and in my own country, I have tried to persuade everyone that if we are not fully satisfied with this summit, it is because we have only taken a single step, and that we still continue to lack the single-minded determination necessary to take the next steps quickly and decisively acting as the Union and for the Union. When I hear some of the comments which are being made – they are, I am sure, being made in good faith, I am not accusing anyone of ill will – but when I hear comments full of satisfaction that Great Britain has become an island again and that the English Channel has suddenly become wider in comparison to several weeks ago, I have to say frankly that I do not understand this satisfaction.

(Applause)

We may not accept the decisions of politicians of one or another country, but we must not make a public display of delight that the distance between the Member States is growing before our eyes – in this case, the distance between the United Kingdom and the European Union. However, I would also like to say that other comments have also been made, such as that one capital has won against other capitals. We know that Europe, not only during the current crisis, but also for the future, needs strong political leadership. At the last European Council meeting, and over the last six months, I have witnessed this great European dispute, which has not yet been given a specific title: is the political leadership of Europe going to be the result of cut-throat competition between nation-states, and is the result of this competition going to be the domination of one, two or three capitals over the others, or, on the contrary, is the political leadership of Europe going to be the leadership of the Union and is it going to be working for the good of the whole Union? It is very important that we should be able to sum up each further meeting with the conviction that the Union has won against egoism, and not that someone has won against someone else in a disintegrating Union.

(Applause)

I would also like to say after these six months that Europe needs to examine its conscience together. We must not point the finger today and say: ‘there is the source of the crisis’ or ‘oh, it is that poor country in the south which has made problems for all the rest of us’. We also need a shared responsibility for the future. Northern Europe, which boasts about its discipline, must also come to a better understanding of the need for solidarity. Southern Europe must also understand that shared responsibility also means more discipline. We also have to say very clearly that the source of the crisis, not only the financial crisis, but also the political crisis, is to be found in breaches of our mutual obligations, including those which result from the Treaties, and that these breaches are not a question of the last few months. We should all examine our consciences. Each one of us should think about when we started to violate what had been agreed under the Maastricht Treaty. Each of us should think about whether we are really ready to uphold the Schengen arrangements.

(Applause)

We who are supporters of a truly integrated European Union have to say very clearly today that we need greater determination to protect the foundations of Europe, and not constant discussion of revision of these foundations. Therefore, I would like to conclude the Polish Presidency with an appeal to all the leaders of Europe without exception to undertake this effort to strengthen the Union, starting with themselves, and not to look for a way to break up, exclude or divide Europe. So today, let us say this yet again: we are for integration and against disintegration.

(Applause)

We are against divisions into better and worse, and we want to see increasing political unity in Europe. We are for responsibility, shared responsibility, in the face of selfish irresponsibility. We are against exclusions, because the Union must also be based on solidarity at times when some of us are in a worse situation and others are in a better situation. We need genuine political leadership, because Europe deserves prompt decisions – decisions about the immediate financial crisis, but also about the future. The crisis has proved to be a great test of the EU’s fitness. We have to start a serious debate about greater political fitness for Europe. Other crises and other conflicts will arise in the future. This crisis has shown us – and it is indeed a good thing that this has happened – that the European Union does not always react quickly, because there is a lack of trust – so fundamental a factor – in the institutions we have established. We cannot allow this leadership to be a leadership of one, two or three Member States, not even the strongest of them. Neither can it be a leadership of technocrats, because they do not have a democratic mandate. This leadership has to be political in nature, it has to have a democratic mandate, and it has to be accepted by all, in order to be able to force everyone to meet their responsibilities. It has to be a leadership based on the European institutions.

(Applause)

I would like to say that just as we need swift decisions in the next few hours, days and weeks to rescue the euro and stabilise the euro area, we also need honest and intensive discussion about a new political system for Europe. Not everyone accepts the EU order and we must not pretend any longer – today we do not know how to enforce the rules which we ourselves once set. Today, when it is convenient for us, we evade the responsibilities which the Treaties lay on us. So let us be honest with ourselves: we need a very profound and serious debate about a political system for Europe which will give us EU-based leadership. Therefore, the motto of our Presidency, ‘More Europe in Europe’, does, in fact, also have a political aspect. I think that the European Parliament is exactly the right place for this, and you should not allow anyone to deprive it of this clear historic and political mandate. This is the place that should become Europe’s constituent assembly. Nothing will be the same as it was before the crisis.

(Applause)

The status quo from before the crisis is out of the question. It is certain that Europe will be different after the crisis. The question is only will it be divided or will it be more integrated? It certainly will not be the same. It is you who have the democratic mandate and you, I think, should take on this great responsibility, this great challenge, and therefore the European Parliament should become the modern constituent assembly for this re-emerging Europe – because another Europe, a new Europe, is emerging as we watch. Let us do everything for it to become a united Europe, not a divided Europe.

This profound reflection must not be window dressing, as has been the case in the past. We have had groups of ‘Wise Men’, we have had task groups and committees. Everyone knew this reflection had to be carried out to prepare for the future, but the framework of a new political order has never come into being, and the crisis has made this fully and very forcibly clear. It is not a matter of thousands and tens of thousands of new pieces of legislation; it is about restoring the balance between what belongs to the realm of the Member States and what belongs to that of the Union, and of rebuilding trust based on a number of clear rules – rules which we all accept and which we are able to enforce in the case of those who want to break them. This is a crucial task, and I think it also falls to the European Parliament as the modern constituent assembly which is building the framework of a new political order. It is not a matter of frightening each other – the crisis is frightening people enough already – but if we do not succeed in this task, future generations will curse not only the crisis, but us too. Either today we take up the struggle for the Europe of the future, or tomorrow we grieve for the Europe we have now. Thank you.

(Applause)

 
  
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  President. – Thank you, Mr Tusk, for your speech and for your review of the work of the Polish Presidency, and, in particular, for your presentation of the most important work facing Europe in the future, and also of the work facing the European Parliament as a directly elected body representing 500 million Europeans.

Thank you very much once again, Prime Minister, President-in-Office of the Council.

 
  
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  José Manuel Barroso, President of the Commission. – Mr President, Mr Prime Minister, honourable Members, I would like to begin by saying straight away that the Polish Presidency of the Council has delivered very significant achievements under very difficult circumstances. The Polish Presidency has worked with great professionalism and enthusiasm.

Exactly 30 years after the introduction of martial law, Poland has shown during this Presidency its commitment to Europe, to democracy and to our common values. I am sure that everybody remembers Prime Minister Tusk’s inspiring speech here in this House six months ago. That speech came from the heart: a true act of faith in Europe and a strong appeal for more European integration. What you just said, Prime Minister and dear friend, about the Community spirit and the need to fight narrow national interests and egotism, and your support, without doubt, to strong European institutions is very inspiring and a great source of strength for us in these difficult times.

Six months later, we can say that Poland has lived up to its reputation and the Polish Presidency to our expectations. The Polish Presidency has held up the spirit of partnership between the European institutions and the Member States. Poland has constantly pushed for more Europe to address efficiently a crisis that has not only a financial and economic dimension but also, above all, a political one. There is just, as Prime Minister Tusk mentioned, a problem of confidence and of trust.

Let me highlight some of the concrete points we worked on throughout the Presidency. First, a strong Europe: a more stable Europe that can withstand all kinds of weather. A Europe that can learn from its own mistakes and can also address its weaknesses, building its recovery on sound and sustainable foundations.

We have laid the foundations on which any further reforms will be built. The adoption of the legislative package on strengthening economic governance – the ‘six-pack’ – has significantly reinforced the Stability and Growth Pact. It puts more emphasis on debt limitations and extends the Commission’s surveillance to macro-economic imbalances. Now we need to combine words with actions so that we can reinforce this stability culture.

Yesterday, the ‘six-pack’ entered into force. It will put the Commission at the heart of ensuring fiscal discipline, in line with the position of this Parliament. We will accept this increased responsibility knowing that its democratic legitimacy derives precisely from this House. To complete this set of tools, we have come up with two Article 136 proposals on further strengthening economic governance, and more proposals will come to bring the new fiscal compact as much as possible into our existing Union framework.

A strong Europe is also a Europe that is able to recreate the conditions for growth and job creation; as I said yesterday during the debate, we need stability, but we also need growth. That is why our 2012 Annual Growth Survey puts a strong emphasis on the need for implementation of growth-enhancing actions, and I welcome the support for our fast-track programme for measures with a significant impact on growth and jobs. This includes the proposals on the Single Market Act.

During the Polish Presidency, we have taken key decisions to prepare the relaunch of economic growth, through the development and strengthening of the single market, notably on the e-economy. I would also like to mention the very good progress made in the negotiations on the unitary patent, which showed the energy and constructive approach needed. I call on the Member States quickly to resolve among themselves the one outstanding issue: the seat of the litigation court under the intergovernmental agreement.

Growth is also about green growth, energy security and the fight against climate change, and we are moving forward on all these fronts. The Commission has already tabled proposals on completing the internal energy market, boosting energy efficiency, enhancing the coherence and coordination of our external energy policy and improving nuclear safety. Let me emphasise in particular the commitment of Poland to reinforcing the external dimension of the energy policy that has been adopted by the Energy Council.

On the fight against climate change, Durban was certainly not a perfect agreement, but in the difficult circumstances, we can say that it achieved some important results; in spite of all the scepticism, it was possible to make progress, with all major emitters agreeing for the first time to have a new comprehensive and binding legal instrument, which will include limits on CO2 emissions. This was only possible because of the leadership from the European Union, and I am particularly proud of the role that the Commission has played in this matter.

We will now continue our efforts with our international partners to flesh out a new global climate agreement involving all countries as quickly as possible, and we will no doubt have a strong partner in this Parliament.

The Polish Presidency has also put a lot of energy into defending a united Europe, and you have just heard the inspiring words of Prime Minister Tusk. Together with the Commission, the Polish Presidency has been a strong advocate of the preservation of the coherence and the integrity of the European Union.

What we need is more integration, not fragmentation. What we need is to consolidate our acquis and not to weaken what we have achieved over the last 60 years. What we need to do is to tap the full potential of the single market, not to damage it. What we need is more union, not a désunion .

(Applause)

This is exactly what the Community method guarantees. It enables us to join forces in the general interest. It reinforces our solidarity and our cohesion. Let me tell you very frankly that it was not insignificant that the discussions about the reinforcement of the euro area took place during the Polish Presidency, because Poland, whilst supporting very clearly a stronger economic governance of the eurozone, was also making clear that this stronger governance of the eurozone must not be to the detriment of the overall objectives of our Union. This was particularly important.

I want to say the same thing regarding the next Presidency. We are, I hope, going to continue to conclude the negotiations for this new fiscal compact during the Danish Presidency of the Council. With the very constructive position taken by the Prime Minister of Denmark, I am hopeful that we can conclude these negotiations with a stronger euro area and stronger governance but, at the same time, also with a stronger Union, because that is exactly what we need.

The last point I would like to make before concluding is about open Europe: united but also open Europe. Since the early days of European integration, our openness to the world and our attractiveness to our neighbours and to newcomers has always been one of our greatest strengths. Over these last six months, we have done a lot to advance our relations with our neighbours.

First, good progress has been made with enlargement countries on the European integration of the Western Balkans. Last Friday, we were happy to witness the signature of the Accession Treaty of our 28th Member State – Croatia – which will join in July 2013. This should constitute an incentive for the rest of the region to keep to the path of European reforms.

The successful summit with our Eastern neighbours hosted by the Polish Presidency in Warsaw confirmed our ambition to create the necessary conditions to accelerate political association and further economic integration between the European Union and interested partner countries within our enhanced neighbourhood policy.

Association agreements are being negotiated with four of the six eastern partners and deep and comprehensive free trade areas with three of them. This Monday, we started further negotiations with Georgia and Moldova. I will be travelling to Kiev next Monday, as we seek to conclude an association agreement with Ukraine. This House has called for the conclusion of the negotiations by the end of the year. The Ukrainian authorities need, however, to demonstrate that they abide by the principles and values that underpin this agreement, namely, respect for democracy, the rule of law, human rights and judiciary independence.

The establishment of the European Endowment for Democracy, an innovation also introduced by Poland, will greatly enrich the range of instruments at our disposal to support the process of democratisation and consolidate the aspirations of those fighting for freedom, including in places in our neighbourhood where democracy and rule of law needs to be encouraged.

Finally, I will travel to Warsaw tomorrow – once again – where I will participate in European Development Day, a Commission initiative, this time in cooperation with the Polish Presidency. This shows clearly that, even in times of crisis, the European Union does not forget about the need to show solidarity to developing countries and to the most poor of the world. As you remember, some time ago, when we had this enlargement, there were some suspicions in the developing world that the fact that Europe was enlarging showed that it conferred less interest and importance to the south of our planet. This did not happen; on the contrary, we are reinforcing our commitments to the developing world.

As I said, these were considerable achievements under difficult circumstances. But this crisis is not behind us, and we have a lot of work ahead. As we move forward, I would like all Member States to show the same level of commitment to Europe as Poland has shown.

(Applause)

The Polish Presidency will be a tough act to follow. The challenge ahead will now be with our Danish friends. In conclusion, let me very sincerely thank Prime Minister Tusk, all his team and his government, the team dedicated to the Presidency, for your leadership, your strong European commitment and your political courage. I think this was a great example for all the Member States which are committed to a stronger European union.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Joseph Daul, on behalf of the PPE Group.(FR) Presidents, Mr Tusk, ladies and gentlemen, this morning, rather than speaking myself, I simply wish to subscribe to your speech. At the end of the day, when it comes to speaking about Europe, your discourse is my discourse, it is ours, the discourse of our group, and indeed the discourse of many people within this Parliament.

On 6 July, you gave us your vision of a Europe proud of its values, of its successes, of an inclusive Europe, of a Europe confident in its power to exercise its influence throughout the world. This is a vision that we share. Paradoxically, the current crisis may turn out to be a unique opportunity for Europeans to recover their enthusiasm, to bounce back, providing that we are able to adapt, providing that we are able to change our habits and the way we operate.

Prime Minister, you indeed have suffered, and you know what suffering is. The old Europe no longer knows what it is to suffer.

President-in-Office of the Council, with your government – I shall use just three of the examples that you have mentioned – you have helped to achieve, over your Presidency, the ‘six-pack’ for economic governance. The Polish Presidency, working in close collaboration with the European Parliament on an ambitious package for strong national public finance management, has shown that the Community method can be effective and can sit very well with the euro and the European Union.

Similarly, we can credit to this Presidency progress on the supervision of financial markets. More generally speaking, Poland has been working side by side with the European institutions to advance the notion whereby it is an advantage and a way out of the crisis to share economic sovereignty between the 17, the 17 plus and Poland. As you so rightly said, and as I said yesterday, we must put together a way out of the crisis for our fellow citizens for January/February.

Second example: the neighbourhood policy. The Polish Presidency has worked extremely energetically, both on the Eastern front, with the signing of the accession of Croatia, and with the launch, last September, of the Eastern Partnership, with the preparation of the association agreement with the Ukraine, and on the Mediterranean front, with European support for the current democratic process. I thank it for that.

The third and final example is that in the field of law, the Polish Presidency has enabled considerable progress to be made both on the protection of patents and on European contract law. I hope that we will still be able to carry these through to completion under your Presidency. My group hopes that these efforts will be rewarded and that the final agreement will be signed in the days to come.

President-in-Office of the Council, the Polish Presidency has not just produced legislative texts. It has supported a principle dear to my parliamentary group and to the overwhelming majority of this Parliament, namely, the Community method. Indeed, your country, like all the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, is more aware than any other country in Europe of the price of freedom, and the importance of solidarity. You have made effectiveness and respect for other people’s opinions a priority, without seeking to impose your own point of view. For many of our Member States, this is an example worth following. We are counting on you – for when you stand down from the Presidency, you will remain an influential member of the Council – to ensure that this Community method returns and is implemented.

I shall finish this speech by inviting every one of you in this House to read attentively Minister Radek Sikorski’s Berlin speech. On 28 November, he reminded us that we Europeans are in the uncomfortable position of standing on the edge of a precipice. If we take action, we can emerge from this situation, if not, we shall plunge into the abyss. The Polish Presidency has helped us to take action together. We now need to continue resolutely along this path. I shall repeat a sentence from a very well-known Pole, John Paul II: ‘Have no fear’. Let us work along the lines that you described this morning.

 
  
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  Martin Schulz, on behalf of the S&D Group. (DE) Mr President, I want to keep this brief. The Polish Presidency was, without doubt, one of the best that we have had in recent years. This is the 15th Presidency that I have experienced during my time as chair of my group. Let me repeat that: this was one of the best presidencies by far that I have experienced in these 15 six-month periods.

(Applause)

That applies not only to you, Prime Minister, but, above all, to your government and to the officials that we have got to know here. I would add that there is a high degree of professionalism in this government. I compliment you on this, as do my colleagues. You are so good that you could easily be a Social Democrat, Mr Tusk. Unfortunately, you have chosen a different path.

(Heckling: It is still possible, he is only young)

Historical mistakes can be rectified, Prime Minister, that is not a problem.

There was another development during the Polish Presidency which gives me greater cause for concern and which you touched on. Prime Minister. You said that we are at a crossroads. That is indeed the case. We are at a crossroads, because we are about to lose the confidence of the people in the democratic institutions. Incidentally, this is not only happening in Europe, at European level, but also at national level. People are increasingly losing confidence in the ability of the national institutions to act. Why is that? It is because there is a dramatic process under way that is constantly gaining speed. The power of the financial markets is now so great that even governments of large states are submitting to it instead of endeavouring to use the democratic institutions in such a way as to get the financial markets under their control. However, a nation state cannot manage that because the financial markets operate on a global, supranational level. What has happened is that we are dealing with an economic and financial market system which, in the truest sense of the word, is driving a Ferrari, and the control, where it remains with the nation state, is trailing behind on a bicycle. That is our problem. We therefore need transnational institutions at European level that are capable of getting to grips with this problem.

Defending the Community method involves nothing other than creating an instrument in the 21st century to deal with this economic development of the 21st century using the methods of this century and not those of the 19th century. That is what is meant by the Community method. Therefore, you said that we MEPs are the constituent assembly that has to bring that about. That is exactly how I see it, too. I would like to make it clear in this regard that I am not interested in another Treaty text. For every executive action that, due to the legal situation, reaches a limit in terms of no longer being able to control an economy that is coming apart at the seams, where this is the case, a parliament has to say: in that case, we will employ an alternative procedure for this executive action that is reaching its limits. Therefore, with regard to what we discussed here yesterday, namely, that this Parliament needs to have the courage to develop an alternative concept if the Council reaches its limits due to its complicated unanimity structure, I feel encouraged by you, Prime Minister, that this Parliament really must take exceptional measures, if necessary, even measures that go beyond the Treaty. The Council is also doing this, as we saw last weekend.

Therefore, as regards the comment by Ms Merkel, you and others that we are the strong Parliament, the strong constituent assembly, we take that on board. However, we are also calling on you to make it clear in the Council that, regardless of what we do, it must be given legitimacy by the European Parliament. I then expect you to present what you have announced here to the Council. If the others do not follow you, exercise your right of veto and say that you will not participate until the European Parliament is strengthened.

Mr President, I have greatly exceeded my speaking time. I am aware of that and I apologise. However, I would just like to say two things very briefly. The first is to congratulate my fellow Member, Mr Daul. He was re-elected yesterday with the support of 95% of his group and I am very pleased for him.

(Applause)

The second is that this is almost certainly my last speech here in plenary as chair of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. I know that many will be pleased that this is indeed my last speech as chair of this group. I would like to thank all those who have always listened so attentively to me and apologise to those I have wronged, and to all those who think that I am a good Member of Parliament, I would say: give me your vote for the next term of office! Thank you very much.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Olle Schmidt, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, Prime Minister, I am just an ordinary Member from a country outside the eurozone, but I am a true friend of Poland, Europe and the euro. My congratulations to Mr Daul. Before congratulating you, Mr Schulz, I will wait a bit.

(SV) Mr President, Mr Tusk, when you came to the European Parliament six months ago in your capacity as the Prime Minister of Poland and President-in-Office of the Council, we felt that you brought with you a more positive attitude towards the EU. It was as if someone had opened a window. It became easier to speak well of Europe. You did not mix domestic policy into the way that you managed the Polish Presidency. For that, we in the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe would like to thank you and all of your colleagues, in particular, our friend Mikolaj Dowgielewicz, who is sitting next to you. Many thanks!

Poland has held the presidential baton during a very challenging and demanding six-month period. Europe is still battling the aftermath of the financial crisis. The task of keeping the EU together during this period has not been an easy one. Poland has fulfilled its task in an exemplary fashion. Keeping Europe together over the last few days has been very difficult. The summit last week produced several good results, but not entirely what we had hoped for.

When a Member State – hopefully only one – goes against the grain and demands that the status quo be maintained, it is gratifying that other Member States can and want to move forward, but, at the same time, it means that we now risk having a Europe that will be running in two different gears. The gap between the countries within the Euro Plus Pact and the extended euro area and those countries that are merely spectators is at risk of increasing further. This applies to a great many Member States, including my own.

I hope, Mr President, and here I would also like to address Mr Duff, that the Liberals can convince Mr Cameron and his reluctant colleagues in London that nationalism and isolation are not the way forward. In these circumstances, Poland has shown greater political courage and stronger loyalty to the European cooperation. The ALDE Group welcomes this. Other countries, like my own country of Sweden, could learn from your example.

(Applause)

Let me conclude by saying to the Prime Minister that we should not forget that it was only 30 years ago – as you, Mr President, commented on Monday – that Poland introduced martial law, yet today, Poland is one of the leading countries in a united Europe. I – and we in the Liberal Group – salute you, Prime Minister Tusk.

 
  
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  Bas Eickhout, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group.(NL) Mr President, I should first like to sincerely thank Mr Tusk, on behalf of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, for his efforts during the euro crisis. This crisis has brought hard times, and I think that Mr Tusk, in particular through the speech he gave to this House on 6 July, with its very clearly personal historical perspective, highlighted just how important Europe is and made it clear that it is crucial for everybody that Europe is kept alive.

I also think that Mr Tusk and his government played a very positive role in the euro crisis during the Polish Presidency, and I would particularly stress the speech given by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who, at the right time, called on Germany to take the lead in solving the euro crisis. We are not afraid of a Germany that takes the lead too little; we want a Germany that takes the lead more. That was a very nice gesture, particularly coming from Poland, and it enabled us to see how we in Europe should solve the euro crisis. We strongly thank Mr Tusk and his cabinet for that.

There is another crisis, however: the climate crisis. This gives cause for considerable criticism of the Polish Presidency. It began with a sort of false start at the Environment Council meeting in June, at which a veto from the Polish Environment Minister prevented any conclusion being reached on the future of climate policy. In Durban, too, however, the Polish Presidency unfortunately failed to play a positive role. Its main focus seemed to be on maintaining the level of hot air, the surplus of emissions, instead of considering how we can take steps internationally.

It is, above all, thanks to the Commission, to Ms Hedegaard, that Europe played a positive role in Durban. The Polish Presidency really failed to hit the mark there. The Greens wonder why it is that the Poles do not see that you have to solve the climate crisis in conjunction with the euro crisis. We will not escape the euro crisis simply by making cuts. In order to escape the euro crisis, we must specifically invest in the future and in a green economy, that is, an economy that works again and that also solves the climate crisis.

That is the policy that we would like to have seen from the Polish Presidency. As the Polish Presidency, you called on Germany to take the lead in the euro crisis. Unfortunately, you failed to lead Europeans on the climate crisis. You therefore have our compliments on your handling of the euro crisis, but we have to give you an ‘unsatisfactory’ mark in relation to climate policy.

 
  
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  Tomasz Piotr Poręba, on behalf of the ECR Group.(PL) Mr President, Mr Tusk, I would always like to be able to speak well in this Chamber of the work of the Polish Government and of the foreign policy which it pursues, but unfortunately, these six months of the Polish Presidency simply do not allow me that possibility. In my opinion, it has been a Presidency which was weak, unaspiring and short on ambition; a Presidency which, from the outset, accepted the very wrong assumption that Poland was only going to perform an administrative function in the European Union, and that we were not going to propose any ambitious goals, either for ourselves or for the European Union, such as those related to alignment of direct payments to EU farmers. We know that the disproportions are very great, and Poland, because it is an agricultural country, should have given particular attention to this matter. I regret that this has not happened.

The Polish Presidency was also passive in relation to the crises which arose in recent months – the Arab Spring and the war in Libya. As you know, it was not Poland but France which organised the European summit on this matter. The financial crisis – it was not Poland but Germany which organised the European summit on this. The Eastern Partnership, and the summit about this which was held in Poland – a total disaster. The summit failed to produce a conclusion. Instead of brokering agreement on a conclusion of the Eastern Partnership summit in Poland, Polish diplomacy was engaged in an election campaign.

However, there is something which is the last straw – last week’s European Union summit in Brussels, and Poland’s tacit agreement to proposals which defy common sense and logic and which mean that the poor, weak and cash-strapped Member States are going to contribute to the rescue of the euro area. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Tusk, this is a mistake. It is something which should not have happened. You should not have remained silent on this, Mr Tusk – as the leader of the Polish Presidency, you should have said a firm no. Our neighbours were expecting this, as were the new Member States. What was missing was your voice, a firm voice of opposition on this matter. However, to say no to the European Union requires courage, strength and determination. You need to be strong in defence of Polish interests, but you also need to be strong in defence of the interests of the new Member States. I say this with sadness and regret, but in your case, that determination and that courage were missing. Unfortunately, this is how the Polish Presidency, the last six months, and you, Mr Tusk, will be remembered.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))

 
  
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  Marek Siwiec (S&D ), Blue-card question.(PL) Mr President, I would like to ask Mr Poręba if he has read the document entitled ‘Declaration of Heads of State’, which was agreed in Warsaw on 29-30 September. I know it is a long document and that initially it was made available in a foreign language, so it was a little difficult. It comprises 29 points. It includes a point which says that a road map has been established for the introduction of a visa-free regime for the countries of the Eastern Partnership and, in particular, it mentions Ukraine and Moldova as countries which are leaders on this matter. Does Mr Poręba also consider this to be a failure of the summit?

(Applause)

 
  
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  Tomasz Piotr Poręba (ECR ), Blue-card answer.(PL) Mr President, Mr Siwiec, you have specialised, Mr Siwiec, in making personal attacks, so with respect to you, but also with respect to this House, I am not going to argue at this point, but I assure you that I have read that document and I assure you that when it comes to foreign languages, just like you, I do not have a problem with this.

 
  
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  Georgios Toussas, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group.(EL) Mr President, the Polish Presidency helped to serve the interests of the European groups and to defend the bourgeois political system as the capitalist crisis and infighting between the imperialists within the European Union and in other imperialist centres worsened. It demonstrated merciless hostility towards the interests of the people, with the support of the other governments of the Member States of the European Union. It zealously pushed ahead with all the anti-grassroots decisions by the Council, the Commission, the governments and the political forces of capital: the EU 2020 strategy, reinforced economic governance, recent decisions by the European Council, the Stability Pact, enhanced fiscal austerity, work on the multiannual financial framework and a barrage of capitalist restructurings, causing painful consequences for the people and making their lives a living hell and, on the other hand, it introduced new privileges and a package of subsidies for the European monopolies and the financial system. It turned its back on decisions on the controlled bankruptcy of Greece, for which read the uncontrolled bankruptcy of the Greek working and grassroots classes, at the same time opening a Pandora’s box for bankruptcy to spread among the people of other Member States of the European Union, in order to rescue the profits of the plutocracy.

The Polish Presidency was marked by the imperialist war by the US, the European Union and NATO against Libya. The risk of imperialist war, of a general conflagration at regional level, is gaining ground. The people should not shed their blood in the war for the monopolies’ interests. The Polish Government, with the able assistance of the outgoing President of the European Parliament, strengthened and escalated the anti-communist hysteria spearheaded by the European Union. Hardly a day passed without its organising some sort of outrageous slander against twentieth-century socialism, without its promoting the rewriting of history and the vulgar equation of fascism and communism. It is precisely this aspect of the activities of the Polish Presidency which illustrates the fear of all the bourgeois governments of the European Union …

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos, on behalf of the EFD Group.(EL) Mr President, we are coming to the end of the six-month Polish Presidency of the European Council, the priority of which was European integration as a source of growth which would deepen and complete the single market. The Presidency must be judged against the background of the worsening economic crisis at both global and European level. We all know that the European economy is standing on shifting sands, meaning that economic governance needs to be extended and the so-called markets, which have turned into the exterminators of economic life on this planet, need to be reined in.

Two particularly important events during the Polish Presidency were the summits on 16 October and 8 December. The second has yet to prove if it will result in an intergovernmental compact on tight fiscal austerity in a bid to rescue the euro. Most probably, however, this compact will mark the chaotic breakdown of relations at summit level between the Member States, with disastrous repercussions for the future. The crisis exists, but Europe must also exist after the crisis. To close, I consider that the Polish Presidency was fairly successful.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI ).(DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the Polish Presidency came at a very difficult time. The euro crisis, the problems relating to Greece and the general political and economic climate have created a situation in which the scope for implementing political ideas and desires was, and still is, limited. Despite this, or even because of it, this Presidency has been a successful one. In this regard, I would like to mention the work carried out during the 2012 budget process in particular. As a result of good preparation, knowledge of the facts and the good political judgment that is needed in difficult times, the Polish Presidency has excelled. Even if the result is a compromise that clearly cannot satisfy any side completely, the EU 2012 budget reflects a real policy that is appropriate for the circumstances and thus your achievement that, along with many others, we will remember in a positive light. In the last six months, you have presented yourselves here as Europeans. Thank you very much.

 
  
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  Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (PPE ).(PL) Mr President, Mr Tusk, it was here in the European Parliament – the scene of the visible part of the Polish Presidency – that the Presidency began, was carried on by your ministers, Mr Tusk, and is now coming to a close. It had ambitious priorities: a dynamic economy, a Union which is open to its neighbours and to new members, and a Union which enjoys military and energy security. I think experience has shown that this choice of priorities was correct, but it has also created very difficult conditions for them to be achieved. Changes have taken place in the Southern and Eastern Neighbourhoods and a severe financial crisis has arisen – a debt crisis and an economic crisis – in other words, a positive explosion outside, to the south, and an implosion inside. The Polish Presidency – and you personally, Mr Tusk – have held the helm of the European vessel with a steady hand and have not allowed that vessel to be cut in half.

New dilemmas have arisen – the first being the form of government of the European Union to emerge from the crisis: should there be greater European integration or more examples of intergovernmental egoism? The Polish Presidency has provided pertinent recommendations and the right diagnosis: ‘more Europe’. The second dilemma: how can we avoid divisions and a two-speed Europe? We began the Polish Presidency in a Union of 17 plus 10. We are ending it in a Union of 27 minus one. I think this is the most important outcome at the end of our Presidency. The objective has been to preserve unity and solidarity in the European Union.

The Polish Presidency is ending with the message that the right response to external and internal challenges is more of the Community method, more of the European Union and more responsibility in Europe. I think that in the forum of Europe, too, the motto of your home city of Gdańsk, Mr Tusk, has proved its worth: ‘Neither rashly, nor timidly’.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D ).(PL) Mr President, Mr Tusk, it is true that the Polish Presidency did come at a difficult time, one which could even be described as being full of dramatic moments. Following on from the Hungarian Presidency and your predecessor Mr Orbán, you brought in, Mr Tusk, a fresh atmosphere, belief in the European project and even European enthusiasm. You also brought with you responsibility and an atmosphere of European solidarity. We have to agree that the Polish Presidency has been an active one, and that the Polish Presidency has played the role of a European Presidency. Hundreds of meetings have been held in working groups and committees and at conferences. It can be said quite simply that routine work has progressed with good results. On European matters, you have had the support, Mr Tusk, of the Left in Poland and also of the Left here in the European Parliament, and Mr Schulz’s speech is the best proof of this.

The Presidency was initiated with a promise of great effort to regain confidence, improve cohesion and face up to the most important challenges by electing to adopt the Community approach. As time went on, it became apparent that this was a little less possible than had been expected. It became clear that the obstacle was the selfish attitude of national governments. I share the view of Mr Saryusz-Wolski that the success of the Presidency may turn out to be that we started with a Union of 17 plus 10, but that we will leave a European Union of 27 Member States. However, something which was missing from the Presidency, Mr Tusk, was the introduction of new initiatives to create new jobs, social policy on a European scale to increase the economic security of families, and also progress on the financial transaction tax and Eurobonds. In summary, there was goodwill, great effort has been made, and, as a result, there is much to be done. Could more have been done in six months? I do not think so.

 
  
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  Alexander Alvaro (ALDE ).(DE) Mr President, I am pleased that the Polish Presidency was able to conclude its term in office so successfully. When you receive more praise from all the groups for your Presidency than I, like Mr Schulz, have ever heard in the 15 presidencies that I have had the good fortune to experience, then it is clear that the ‘P’ in Poland stands for ‘professional’. We would like to thank you for the work that you have done in that area. Unfortunately, a lot of what you have achieved in your Presidency has been overshadowed by the general focus of attention on the euro crisis and the debt crisis in Europe.

However, you did something very important that has not yet been mentioned. In the preparations for the multiannual financial framework of the European Union, your Presidency involved Parliament at a very early stage for the first time. I had the pleasure of leading a European Parliament delegation in Sopot. We in Parliament were involved in these discussions at an earlier stage than we have ever been before. That is important to us. We hope that the same thing will happen in future, too. In the areas of justice and home affairs, in which I have also been working for many years, you have achieved a significant amount of success in connection with combating child abuse as well as in other areas. I could say that you are concluding your Presidency with a results sheet of successful action that I would like to see followed in a similar way by other European states and companies. I would like to thank you, and I look forward to our continued cooperation in a different context in the Council.

 
  
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  Jacek Olgierd Kurski (ECR ).(PL) Mr President, Mr Tusk, I am torn, today, between pride and disappointment. Pride at the fact that Poland and someone from Poland have held the Presidency, disappointment at the results of the Presidency. Mr Tusk, you have had an exceptional opportunity to include an effective Presidency for Poland in a framework of effective measures for the whole of Europe, as your predecessors did for their countries. You could have initiated discussion on harmonisation of direct payments to farmers. There is no reason at all why, in future years, Polish farmers are to be given EUR 150 per hectare less than German farmers. Rural areas in Poland will lose billions of euro in coming years because of this. You could have proposed suspension or revocation of the climate package because of the crisis in Europe, a package which, in its present form, means that electricity prices in Poland are going to rise by 100% within eight to ten years. You could have initiated discussion on shale gas and made it the flywheel of European energy solidarity, guaranteeing the development of our country and energy security for Europe. You have not done any of these things. This will result in the loss of billions of euro for our country and the historical responsibility for this will fall on you. Instead of this, you have proposed a change in the architecture of Europe and a change in the rules – a departure from a Union of equal nations in favour of the dictate of the great powers, powers which your minister, in a peculiar expression of homage in Berlin, asked to give leadership in Europe.

I wanted to remember your Presidency as a great success for Poland in an equitable Europe. I will remember that you ordered a whip-round among Poland’s old-age pensioners, other pensioners and workers to rescue the euro area, although your minister was asked to leave its meetings only a couple of months ago.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))

 
  
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  Lena Kolarska-Bobińska (PPE ), Blue-card question.(PL) Mr President, I do not think my fellow Members, Mr Kurski and Mr Poręba of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, understand what the nature of the Presidency has been and still is. The Presidency is not a time for taking care of national affairs and interests. The Presidency is a time in which European interests are settled, and in which efforts are made to bring about effective solutions, to conciliate and to build, and in this role, Poland has come forward with a variety of proposals and has been exceptionally active, which is confirmed by this debate today. I do not think you two gentlemen can hear it, as if you have come here from another planet, the planet of Poland’s Law and Justice Party, or, in Mr Kurski’s case, from the now not Law and Justice planet.

 
  
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  Jacek Olgierd Kurski (ECR ), Blue-card answer.(PL) Mr President, I will very gladly reply to Ms Kolarska-Bobińska. I would be very pleased to recall any creative, new initiatives of the Polish Presidency, but both the ‘six-pack’ and the accession of Croatia were already decided before our Presidency. However, I will remind Ms Kolarska-Bobińska that an effective Presidency, as this was understood by France or Germany, for example, means precisely this: ensuring that measures which are interesting and good for your own country are included in the framework of measures for the whole of Europe. Does Ms Kolarska-Bobińska not remember that when Germany held the Presidency of the EU Council, it took care of one matter in particular – the Lisbon Treaty? Germany settled it then, in 2007. However, it has somehow strangely turned out that it is precisely Germany, as the most populated Member State, which has gained the most from the fact that we have abandoned the Nice rules, under which Germany had 29 votes compared, for example, to Poland’s 27 votes, in favour of the system of double majority voting, under which, as the Member State with the largest population, it has the highest number of votes today. Does Ms Kolarska-Bobińska not remember that when France held the Presidency in 2008, it included as many measures in the climate package as possible? It is, in fact, France which will earn the most from the fact that it is going to sell its nuclear reactors and move away from traditional technologies. In other words, it is possible to take care of your own affairs and include them in the framework of measures for the whole of Europe, and this is what I had expected from Mr Tusk.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL ).(EL) Mr President, Prime Minister, the Polish Presidency was linked with the worst crisis experienced by the European Union, a crisis that is not only embracing the weak countries, but that is also damaging the nucleus of the European Union. A week ago, the leaders of the European Union decided to adopt harsher measures to cut wages and pensions, to cut social spending and to cut spending on education. They decided to build a Europe in which democracy, rights, freedoms and grassroots and national sovereignty will have meaning when there are no elections in Germany, when there are no problems with the German and French banks’ balance sheets. Prime Minister, a short while ago, your Minister for Foreign Affairs stated that he is more scared of German inertia and procrastination than of German might. My question to you is this: the decision is yours; I have listened to your concerns, I have listened to your fears. Can you send out a message of optimism about these decisions to Polish workers, to European workers, so that they do not fear for their children’s present and future?

 
  
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  Jaroslav Paška (EFD ). (SK) Mr President, the past six months, during which the Community has been presided over by a Polish administration, have been extremely difficult. The economic and debt crisis has worsened, and the political bodies of the Union have had to work very hard to respond effectively to the changing situation. The Polish Presidency has worked very reliably and properly in this difficult period, with no administrative or technical slip-ups. The country has, at the same time, gone through parliamentary elections and voted in a new government. These changes have had no unfavourable impact whatsoever on the reliable work of the Polish administration in conducting the EU Presidency. We must thank the entire Polish political establishment for this. That includes the opposition, who did not sink to unfair and unconstructive practices in the election campaign, which would have had an unfavourable impact on implementation of the mandate of the Polish Presidency. I would like to add my voice to those that have been expressing thanks to the Polish Prime Minister and to his country for the extremely professional job they have done work over the past six months in leading the work of the European Community.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI ). – Mr President, firstly, may I acknowledge the work of the Polish Presidency in recent months. However, Prime Minister, it is with no satisfaction that I stand before you now and say that the Polish Presidency will be remembered as one that has overseen the EU on its sickbed, the euro in perhaps terminal decline, and the EU institutions in denial as to the medicine required to cure the ills of its economy and its suffering people.

What has also been alarming has been the sense that in the course of this Presidency, the institutions of the EU have become increasingly anti-British. Actions have been taken with the sole intent of inflicting damage on the UK, and we have witnessed a growing anti-British rhetoric in this House. That is deeply regrettable for democracy and these institutions.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))

 
  
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  Paul Rübig (PPE ), Blue-card question.(DE) Mr President, I would like to ask what influence the British press had here on the decision at short notice not to be involved in the new common structures. Do you think there were influences from outside Europe at work here?

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI ), Blue-card answer. – Mr President, I would like to think that the British press, like the press in the rest of Europe, particularly the press in Germany that has been particularly anti-British over the last number of days, would have had little or no impact on a Prime Minister who had to decide what was right for the United Kingdom.

Can I also say that this House tends to put on its blinkers when someone disagrees with it. Difference can be good; it can be a force for good and can force others to look at other people’s views. It is not the United Kingdom that these institutions have to convince that the agreement that was made last week will work: it is the markets. The markets have so far failed to be impressed and the people of Europe will continue to suffer in the heat of the markets until these institutions show leadership.

 
  
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  Markus Ferber (PPE ).(DE) Mr President, Mr Tusk, Mr Barroso, ladies and gentlemen, I can only agree with all of those who have congratulated the Council Presidency. Not only were you an honest broker during a difficult time; you were also a European broker. That was very nice to see during these difficult times in which we are seeing political trends in a number of Member States that suggest to the people that it would be possible to achieve more alone than together. You focused on what unites us. It was also very refreshing to see that, with this clear European agenda, you also received the support of the people in Poland on domestic policy matters. That was not particularly easy in this context. Therefore, I have the highest respect for what you have achieved.

In this six-month period, we were also able to get a few things under way in the area of financial market regulation. Allow me to highlight just one area in which I was able to join in the negotiations myself, namely, the question of the regulation of short selling and naked credit default swaps in connection with government bonds, where the Commission did not have the confidence to propose a stringent regulation and with regard to which all the Member States said that we would not succeed, and where, thanks to the Polish Presidency, we did succeed in imposing sanctions against a highly speculative instrument and, where necessary, prohibiting it, so that we could help to bring greater stability to the financial markets. I would particularly like to thank your Finance Minister and the Secretary of State, who got this off the ground during a difficult discussion process between Parliament and the Council. That is an example that shows that we can do something together in the interests of security and stability in Europe. I would like to express my sincere thanks for that.

 
  
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  Hannes Swoboda (S&D ).(DE) Mr President, Mr Tusk, I would, of course, like to congratulate you, too, as well as your many colleagues with whom I personally have had very good discussions and have experienced excellent cooperation. However, you have received so much praise that I would also like to say a few words of criticism – beyond the nationalistic and pseudo-revolutionary argument that has been present here.

Prime Minister, you said that many people are living in this Europe as though they were not in a community. You are absolutely right about that. That applies not only to Mr Cameron; we have also noticed this sometimes where Ms Merkel and Mr Sarkozy are concerned, too. I do not know how often you or your colleagues had to wait outside the door because talks were going on behind closed doors in the belief that it is possible for a small group to impose something on the European Union. Perhaps, on occasion, you should have been more forceful and made it clear that Europe is a community and everyone must be involved in the talks, and the euro is also a common currency, even if not everyone has adopted it.

My second point concerns Durban, which has already been mentioned. This disappointed us. All of the Members who came back were disappointed by the position taken by the Polish Presidency. I understand that you were in a difficult position as regards environmental and energy policy. However, I hope that we have a genuinely common environmental policy.

As regards democracy, in some Member States of the European Union, we are seeing developments that are not very democratic. I have seen a picture of you appearing at the party congress with Viktor Orbán. I do not know what you said to Mr Orbán and whether you said that he could take the Polish democracy as an example – also a post-Communist country – and did not necessarily need to follow the Hungarian way of doing things.

The last point I would like to mention concerns the growth strategy. We could perhaps have done with more initiatives in this regard. Nonetheless, I would like to thank you very much for your work. I hope that, as the Polish Prime Minister, you will continue to pursue many of these issues actively in Europe.

 
  
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  Marek Henryk Migalski (ECR ).(PL) Mr President, Mr Tusk, I do not mean to insult you, Mr Tusk, because you do not deserve this. However, I do mean to criticise you, because this is something you do deserve. This is because I do not have the same conviction as you do that this Presidency has been such a good one, and because we know, for example, that the Polish Presidency has been criticised by Amnesty International for not having an effective policy on Belarus. Jacques Delors has said that it is being ignored. In contrast to Mr Siwiec, I consider the results of the Eastern Partnership summit to be insufficient and unsatisfactory. I think, too, that the recent summit in Brussels does not mean we are dealing with a dual-speed Europe but a Europe of two directions, Mr Tusk, and, in my opinion, you have chosen the wrong direction.

You have made a speech today, and Mr Schulz has said that, in fact, it was one which could please everybody, and he also said that you could be enrolled as a social-democrat. That is not a compliment, because you are a liberal conservative. You should have acted like a liberal democrat and you should have defended such values in Europe. I have the impression that the speech which you made was the kind of speech you might make if you were starting the Presidency, and not presenting a review of it. If you had made such a speech five months ago, I would have understood this. However, today you should have come with this document. Mr Tusk, this is the document entitled ‘Priorities of the Polish Presidency’. Three priorities. I thought you were going to give an account of these priorities, and that this is what your speech today was going to be about, and that you would give a presentation of what we have done in the Union.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))

 
  
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  Krzysztof Lisek (PPE ), Blue-card question.(PL) Mr President, Mr Migalski, I would like to ask you, Mr Migalski, why you have not been listening carefully to what is being said about the Eastern Partnership by the leaders of the Eastern Partnership countries? Yesterday, President Saakashvili praised Poland for its initiative in the Eastern Partnership. The leaders of all the Eastern Partnership states have been praising Poland. Why do you say that Poland’s involvement in support for the opposition in Belarus is insufficient, when all opposition leaders in Belarus are saying that Poland is playing a leading role on this in Europe? Why are you criticising the Polish Presidency when all the Members of this Parliament – I mean fellow Members from other countries – are praising it? Perhaps you and your friends do not attend Parliament often enough.

 
  
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  Marek Henryk Migalski (ECR ), Blue-card answer.(PL) Mr President, I will permit myself not to react to that last personal comment, as I think it was just something that slipped out unnecessarily. However, my main response is as follows: I say these things because I think for myself and because I prefer to listen to Amnesty International and its comments on the situation in Belarus. I prefer, too, to have my own opinion about the conclusions of the Eastern Partnership summit, because I can discern diplomatic language, as I did yesterday, for example, at what was actually an extremely pleasant and very successful Christmas reception. Besides, I spoke to President Saakashvili yesterday and I had the impression that we do understand what Georgia should be given and what the European Union should be doing about this. My short answer to your question, Mr Lisek – I think for myself; not everyone here thinks the same way as you.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI ).(DE) Mr President, as we all know, the Polish Presidency started its term of office with grand intentions, and, indeed, Poland has performed its Council Presidency duties impeccably. As a point of criticism, however, we have to say that the last six-month period was dominated by the sovereign debt crisis, and in that respect, Poland has, of course, played a subordinate role simply because it is not part of the euro area. Without a doubt, the course of events was instead steered by France and Germany, whether in relation to the reform of the economic and monetary union or with regard to the stability mechanism. Even in the priority area of energy policy, no major successes could be achieved. Things have instead gone rather quiet with regard, in particular, to the EU-wide nuclear power plant stress test. That is not surprising, as Warsaw is still sticking to its nuclear power plant plans despite the impression left by Fukushima and Germany’s move away from nuclear power.

At the climate change conference in Durban, it was probably also to be expected that a country holding the Presidency that has such a high level of CO2 emissions was unable to put all its efforts into promoting the ambitious EU climate targets. However, there is one area where we can be very thankful that the Polish ambitions did not bear fruit and that is the advancement of the accession of Turkey. Instead, that is once again a long way off.

 
  
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  Jean-Paul Gauzès (PPE ). (FR) Mr President, Mr Tusk, Mr Barroso, of course, I shall say, like most of my fellow Members, that the Polish Presidency has been a success, and has worked effectively over a difficult period. However, contrary to what has just been said, perhaps the high point of this Presidency is the speech looking back over it that you have just given, Prime Minister.

You encouraged us with utmost lucidity and a sense of realism – let me remain within the atmosphere of yesterday evening’s Polish Christmas dinner – to examine our consciences. This is something that we do less and less. Everyone shows their satisfaction, self-satisfaction or indulges in self-praise while you, today, asked some hard questions. However, the European Parliament also needs to examine its conscience. It is not enough to demand greater powers, greater cooperation and greater presence. We, too, have to be capable of a rapid and effective response if we are to survive within our institutional environment.

I think that we shall have the opportunity to do so over the next few days with the growth report. I happen to have been tasked with the own-initiative report and we are going to suggest that Parliament be allowed to intervene and make proposals in relation to the Commission’s proposals, either to support them or to suggest new approaches.

Today, the time has come to have a renewed democracy and Parliament must have a place within it.

 
  
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  Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D ).(PL) Mr President, the logo of the Polish Presidency, which features different coloured upward-pointing arrows, was meant to show Poland as a modern and youthful country able to initiate positive change throughout Europe. In the six months of the Presidency, representatives of the Polish Government have endeavoured to demonstrate those qualities and to show the important role played in Europe by consistent action, solidarity among Member States and persistent pursuit of the objective in view. Comments regarding the Polish Presidency report that it was quiet but effective.

The most important points of the Polish programme to be completed were finalisation of the ‘six-pack’, organisation of the Eastern Partnership summit in Warsaw, salvage of at least two further years of the EU food programme and signing of the Accession Treaty with Croatia. Also completed successfully were talks on the European Protection Order in criminal cases and on the European digital agenda, whose basic priority concerns issues of digitalisation, access and protection of cultural heritage, in particular, in the context of development of the EU’s digital library, Europeana. For me – as rapporteur for the directive on permitted uses of orphan works, which was a priority for the Presidency – these matters were particularly important. In the last six months, it has also been possible to achieve progress on the European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy and the Single European Patent, where negotiations which had been going on for over 30 years were brought to completion.

The Polish Presidency has not just been about political action, because it has also involved cultural activity. Over the last six months, an exceptionally varied cultural programme has been presented in Europe’s largest capitals and elsewhere, in an effort to introduce Europeans to Polish music, art and theatre.

(Applause)

 
  
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  András Gyürk (PPE ).(HU) Mr President, Mr Tusk, ladies and gentlemen, the Polish Presidency deserves praise for having stood its ground. Despite an extraordinary economic situation and, let me point this out as a Hungarian Member, by making good use of the legacy of the Hungarian Presidency, it followed through on its programme. It is a success that the ‘six-pack’ for the reinforcement of common economic governance finally entered into force. It is a success that the Accession Treaty of Croatia was signed a few days ago. And yes, the organisation of the Eastern Partnership summit is also a success. The Polish Presidency also mobilised considerable efforts in the field of energy policy. Granting the Commission an EU negotiating mandate in order to strengthen import competition is a step forward. EU action vis-à-vis third countries can thereby be made more efficient, which is in the common interest of 500 million European consumers.

The commencement of negotiations on the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline is another significant achievement, and could substantially improve supply security for the EU. Finally, we are still working at full intensity on implementing the single market, which could lead to a reduction in the differences between Member States’ energy markets. Ladies and gentlemen, these examples illustrate well that the successive Hungarian and Polish Presidencies have, by strengthening each other, achieved significant results in the past year. Thanks to these, Europe undoubtedly became stronger in 2011 in the areas mentioned.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE ). (IT) Mr President, the Italian delegation to the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) is most grateful to the Polish Presidency for the work which has been carried out.

If I had to sum up this contribution in one word, I would say ‘hope’, because in this Chamber, the Polish finance minister has reminded us that differences left unresolved between us in Europe could lead us to conflict if we are unable to come together in the spirit of European ideals.

The Polish Presidency has done well to grasp the profound sense of the dramatic circumstances which we are currently experiencing, and similarly I thank him for having made every effort to help us overcome our problems in order to be able to provide food relief to those in need.

This was invaluable work, carried out alongside the Commission, which allowed us to come together in a way that our citizens could see was very real: in this way, we remembered that Europe is a real hope, which is to say, the only certain road for our future.

 
  
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  Edit Herczog (S&D ).(HU) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the Polish Presidency chose progress over stagnancy, opening over introversion, efficiency over noise, and Union over defiant separation. We can therefore rightly say that ‘Polska, Europa, dwa bratanki, i do szabli, i do szklanki’.

 
  
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  Andrew Henry William Brons (NI ). – Mr President, the rotating Presidency of the Council since the Lisbon Treaty is not quite the position that it once was. Presiding over the European Councils passed to the president of that body, and presiding over the Foreign Affairs Council has passed to the Vice-President/High Representative. Furthermore, presiding over finance policy has moved out of the hands of the rotating Presidency. It does still retain some function, but it seems that Member States are such unpredictable creatures that they cannot be left to run EU institutions without being guided by a professional. It will be interesting to see how long presiding over the remaining functions will be left in the hands of the Member State holding the rotating Presidency.

The function of the Presidency, of course, is to preside over decisions that were initiated elsewhere and to grant Member State authority to the legislative process, rather than to exercise power, which is exercised by permanent bureaucrats.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE ).(RO) Mr President, just as the Romanian President also stated last night, Romania is among those who appreciate what the Polish Presidency has done during the last six months.

I would therefore like to commend the efforts and efficiency demonstrated by the Polish Presidency and list a few achievements and very important decisions adopted by this Presidency. One of these is the budget increase to EUR 1.9 billion by 2013 for the various Eastern Partnership programmes, which is greatly appreciated. We then have the introduction of Erasmus-type programmes geared towards students from the Eastern Partnership states, which is of paramount importance to the future of young people. Lastly, we have the opening in Warsaw of an Academy of Public Administration intended to provide training for officials in the eastern states.

All these are practical tools which help civil society and the young generation to become more aware of the benefits of integration and of what a European perspective means.

 
  
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  Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D ) . (ES) Mr President, as Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, I, too, want to echo the recognition here for the Polish Presidency because it has achieved a great deal in the area of freedom, justice and security and this has not been sufficiently emphasised in previous speeches.

It has made progress on sensitive issues such as child abuse, sexual exploitation and the right to information in legal proceedings, and it has brought to fruition an initiative of the Spanish Presidency aimed at protecting victims, the European Protection Order.

Above all, however, it has driven forward two extremely complex packages of measures, making a real difference, in which ministers who are no longer in government, such as Minister Miller, were also closely involved: the asylum package and the migration package.

These highly complex issues have received a crucial boost during the Polish Presidency and I hope that their journey through the European Parliament, which is one of the colegislators in the European Union’s ordinary procedure, will be completed during the Danish Presidency.

 
  
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  Giuseppe Gargani (PPE ).(IT) Mr President, I followed this morning’s debate and I have to say to the Polish President that what emerged showed far greater consensus than dissent.

I personally belong to the group of people who expressed consensus and I would like to underline a very important part of the Polish President’s speech which yesterday provoked very lively discussion: You said, with regret, that the intergovernmental approach tends to take precedence over the European Community approach.

The European Community has not seen the kind of development that we imagined for some years now, and the intergovernmental approach – as President Barroso clearly explained yesterday – paralyses the momentum which EU law would otherwise have achieved over the past few years.

The prevalence of EU law is at odds with an intergovernmental approach which fails to give rise to that hope, that potential in Europe, which you, as President for the past six months, have helped to create.

Taking everything into account, we do not think the summit had either negative or positive conclusions, but left us with questions which will find answers in March. I think your Presidency has somehow prevented the fall of Europe, and we hope things will continue to develop in that vein in the year ahead.

 
  
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  José Manuel Barroso, President of the Commission. – Mr President, Prime Minister, honourable Members, the Presidency of the Council is, of course, not just an event: it is a process. By definition, a rotating Presidency has to be integrated into that process, so it is true – as some of you said – that many of the achievements of the Polish Presidency were also the result of work done before, and we should recognise that.

At the same time, it is also important to see what this Presidency of the Council will leave to the next Presidencies. There are important contributions in this direction that I would like to highlight, particularly in connection with the multiannual financial framework.

As you will remember, the Commission presented the multiannual financial framework for 2014-2020 at the end of June, just before the beginning of the Polish Presidency of the Council. The different proposals for a legal basis have now been approved and sent to the legislator.

I would like to underline the contribution given to the debate by the Polish Presidency in advancing the files in the Council through the initiative of the conference on the multiannual financial framework between this Parliament, the national parliaments, the Member States and the Commission, and in keeping this House fully involved through the meetings between President Buzek, Prime Minister Tusk and myself, as well as the follow-up briefings on all meetings of the General Affairs Council. I hope that the next Presidencies will keep the same level of involvement of all the institutions. I want once again to reiterate that the Commission, Commissioner Lewandowski and I will give this file the highest priority.

Another point – which was also highlighted by a Member of this Parliament, Mr Mario Mauro – is the Polish Presidency’s contribution to achieving an acceptable compromise on the programme of aid for the most vulnerable people. While I am not completely happy with this compromise, I think it was important to maintain this support for the most vulnerable people. I continue to think that it is unacceptable – and very hard to understand why – that some governments, given the situation of social emergency that we have today in Europe, are not ready to commit to more solidarity in times of crisis. We need to keep this commitment to the poorest of our continent.

One point that was highlighted – above and beyond the various files – is what the Polish Presidency brought in terms of commitment to Europe. One very important and memorable contribution was its commitment to the European institutions. What we have said today, Prime Minister Tusk, regarding the European institutions and regarding this Parliament, is very important. I wish that all the Heads of Government could recognise the importance of this Parliament, as you do, because in fact, we need to reinforce European democracy, particularly now, when we are taking important decisions that touch upon the very important issue of the sovereignty of the Member States.

For instance, the decisions that are now being taken in terms of fiscal responsibility touch on very sensitive issues of sovereignty. We have to complete those decisions on more integration with more democracy, both at national and at European level. Some people believe that democracy only exists at national level. They have not yet understood that in Europe, we also have a democracy, and that this Parliament is essential for this democracy. If someone believes that in the 21st century, democracy is only national, they have understood nothing about globalisation and about the 21st century.

That is why, to have these decisions in terms of more advanced integration, we need to reinforce democracy and to complete national democracy with European democracy. We must not set national parliaments against the European Parliament but, on the contrary, reinforce the idea of cooperation between the different levels of democracy. That is why, Prime Minister, what you said today regarding the role of the Community institutions, and the role of this Parliament, is very important.

I hope, in the discussions we will be having in the next months, that this message is understood: the need to complete the fiscal compact with this Parliament and with the national parliaments, so that we can indeed have a strong European democracy.

If we do not have a strong European democracy – if some people believe that, because of so-called national sovereignty, we should not accept European democracy – what will happen is that the true sovereignty, the material sovereignty, will be left to the markets, to international priorities that nobody controls, without any kind of democratic scrutiny. That is why we have to create stronger European sovereignty to protect the democratic rights of our peoples.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Donald Tusk, President-in-Office of the Council.(PL) Mr President, honourable Members, I would like once again to express my sincere thanks for six months of work together, and also for this debate today, both for the voices which have focused on the effort and the results of the Polish Presidency, but also for those voices which have expressed criticism. I and my team find satisfaction in being persuaded that the critical voices were in a clear minority, but I hope you will allow me to refer to some of them very explicitly. I would like to stress once again that what is most important is bold thinking and bold action for strengthening the Union. This is important not just from the point of view of the Polish Presidency, because it is a job for the next Presidency – and I have spoken about this with the Prime Minister of Denmark – as well as for future Presidencies and, in particular, for all the European institutions. It is also the most important effect of our debate today. In relation to this, I would like to accentuate very clearly that I do not agree with the words of one of my opponents, Mr Poręba, who said – and this may serve as a symbolic digest of this debate – in commenting on the last European Council, that ‘you need to have courage and a sense of self-respect to say no to the European Union’. That is an exact quotation. Well, I would like to say that today, you need to have courage, a sense of self-respect and imagination to say yes every day to the European Union.

(Applause)

I also want to explain to you, Mr Poręba, that your criticism that the Polish Presidency was not the host of the meeting on Libya in March this year is inaccurate, because the Polish Presidency began on 1 July. It would have been very difficult for me to take the role of initiator and host of such a meeting at that time.

As for the kind but also at a certain point critical words about Durban which we heard from our friend, Mr Eickhout, from the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance: it is no secret that Poland is not at the forefront of the movement for climate protection. It is true that no one is perfect and not everyone is going to be ideal in a particular role, and this is understandable. I would ask for understanding here. In the case of Durban, just as with all other action for climate protection, but particularly when we are talking about matters such as those which were being decided in Durban, the Polish Presidency wanted most of all for Europe not to be isolated in its efforts for the adoption of pro-climate measures. We think – and I will always stress this – that climate protection measures constitute an absolute priority for the European Union, but they should not be naive measures, and they would have been naive if we had taken on challenges which were not global challenges, by which I mean if they were not being taken on by our partners from outside the European Union. This is why I do think we made a step forward in Durban. Once again, it was too small a step, but it was a step nonetheless: we managed to build a collective decision, not only within the Union, but on a global scale, and this was a step forward. You are right, Mr Eickhout, that it was inadequate, but I am hoping that in the future, it will be possible to build an agreement on climate not just within the European Union, but that we will be able to be increasingly effective in encouraging other countries to join us, including Russia, China, Brazil, India and the United States, so that we will not be alone in this effort, because if we try to do this alone, we will perhaps pay a price which is too high, particularly at this critical time.

I am pleased, too, that mention has been made here of things which we have done but which I did not intend to mention. One speaker said I should have given a report on what we had planned to do. That report, please believe me, would be a long one. I think the Polish Presidency – this is testified to by what has been said here – has accomplished the specific tasks to which we committed ourselves, and we have done so in a way which has been truly effective and which has brought truly good results. I did not want to take up your time by giving a day-by-day or month-by-month account of all the efforts which have been crowned with success. I am pleased that one thing has been highlighted which for us, too, was very important – the protection of people who are excluded. Not just the protection of weaker Member States, but also the protection of people who are excluded – the weakest groups of people. Yes, one of our initiatives – and I am very enthusiastic about this issue – was the protection of children, not only from poverty, but the protection of children from violence and sexual abuse. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all those who have helped the Polish Presidency take that further clear step for the protection of children who have been the victims of such violence.

The same applies to the proposal concerning the scheme for food distribution to the most deprived persons. It has been possible, literally in the last few days, to achieve what the Polish Presidency wanted. This scheme is going to be in operation for the next two years, if I remember rightly, and it is something which is very important, too, during a crisis. I would like to thank everyone very warmly once again for their support and cooperation on these specific projects.

(Applause)

Please allow me to do one more thing as I close. I think it is understandable. I would like to thank the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek. Yes, these six months have, in a certain sense, been six Polish months in the European Union. The head of Parliament, the Polish Presidency, but also – I think I can say this – that Polish pro-European optimism, which, in spite of the difficulties, in spite of the crisis, has been in evidence, both here in this Parliament and around us. I hope it will be possible to retain this pro-European optimism and energy, because they are going to be very much needed. They are perhaps the most important tools for a crisis. It may be they seem lightweight and hard to quantify, but they are perhaps the most important: energy, optimism, trust; and I hope everyone can have them. Thank you very much, Jerzy, for your help – we have always been able to count on you. I would also like to thank José Manuel. You have been a great friend of this Presidency, and truly without you, this Presidency would not have ended with such results. Thank you so much. Finally, I wish every success to the Danes, the Danish Prime Minister and the Danish Presidency. We will be at your service and at the service of all those who want to make Europe stronger. In this work, you will always be able to count on the Poles. Thank you.

(Applause)

 
  
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  President. – Thank you, Mr Tusk. The Polish Presidency, as can also be seen from the applause and sympathy it is receiving in the Chamber, has gained the respect of the European Parliament, of many countries and of many representatives of the European Union for precisely the attitude we have just seen expressed – an attitude which is exceptionally worthy of the European Union, one which fosters the further development of the Union and which also fosters the discovery of answers to the most important and most difficult questions which we face in the Union today. We have endeavoured to respond to these difficulties during this Presidency, and the Polish Government and the Polish Representation have helped us effectively in this. Naturally, I would like to thank you for the kind words you addressed to me, but it was the European Parliament which created the atmosphere and it is the European Parliament which gives strength to successive presidencies. It also gave – I am sure of this – great strength and energy to the Polish Presidency.

The debate is closed.

Written statements (Rule 149)

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE ), in writing.(PT) The Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union took place in one of the most critical periods for the EU, when the terms ‘implosion’, ‘disintegration’ and ‘two-speed Europe’ have kept cropping up in the media. The many challenges that emerged demonstrated the commitment and dynamism of the Polish Presidency in deepening European integration in the face of certain Member States relapsing back into nationalism. Targets achieved by the Presidency in the area of transport included new guidelines on trans-European networks, the Connecting Europe Facility and the linking of these instruments with third countries, particularly our partners in the East. The first document on tourism was adopted, in which Parliament extolled the importance of this sector to Europe’s economy. Negotiations on the next financial framework and on post-2013 cohesion policy were also issues debated by this Presidency. However, it is in the economic sphere, in creating genuine European economic governance and in financial supervision, that Poland has played a prominent role during debate and negotiations with the Member States, notably on adopting the ‘six-pack’. In spite of its efforts, many of its objectives were not achieved. Nevertheless, the Polish Government’s efforts should be stressed.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D ), in writing. (SK) When the EU Presidency was held by the first two countries from the Visegrád Group – the Czech Republic and Hungary – I kept my fingers crossed for them. Unfortunately, their presidencies did not avoid problems which tainted their successes. Despite the escalating crisis, however, the Polish Presidency has been an unambiguous success story. Many people were surprised that, in a time of crisis, with national egoisms coming to the fore, the Poles have been demonstrably pro-European. One proof of this was the recent speech by Polish Foreign Minister Radoslav Sikorski in Germany. I believe it will go down in history as the speech of a statesman calling for a federal Europe. He directly addressed German politicians and graphically described to them the danger threatening the EU if it is not united. I would like to applaud the Poles for having the courage to talk about a common budgetary, immigration and foreign policy. Another important point I would like to underline from Mr Sikorski’s speech is that the crisis in the EU was decidedly not caused by the expansion eastwards. Although I do not agree with the Polish minister about the cause of the crisis – in his view, it was the lack of budgetary discipline, and in my view it was macro-economic imbalances – I applaud him for tackling the myths that prevail in certain sections of society in our western neighbours. I believe the Polish Presidency will set an example to all of the ones that follow, and that the Council will thus become a much more pro-European institution. I would once again like to thank the Polish representatives.

 
  
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  Richard Falbr (S&D ), in writing. (CS) I firmly believe that the Polish Presidency has ended in success, and that its results are in sharp contrast with what was achieved by the Czech and Hungarian Presidencies. The Poles have also coped very well with the very challenging situation that has come about in the EU, and what I like best is that, after years of harmony between their erstwhile leaders and Europe’s gravedigger, Václav Klaus, they have transformed into a strikingly pro-European power.

 
  
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  Tunne Kelam (PPE ), in writing. – I am especially grateful to the Polish Presidency for its commitment to the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea region. Probably for the first time, the Polish Government presented, before its Presidency, detailed plans on how to coordinate and enforce further implementation of the EU SBSR. I invite the Polish Presidency to encourage the other two members of the Presidency trio, especially Denmark, to continue their commitment. It is important to better coordinate the implementation of the first EU macro-regional strategy both by the EU Council and the Commission. One other option will be a rotating Presidency, on the basis of which each of the eight Baltic Sea Member States would take responsibility for a certain period for the coordination of the strategy with the aim of achieving added value and concentrating on synergy and regional projects instead of splitting the projects between nationally-orientated shopping lists. Poland has achieved, with honour, one of its major goals, announced in July. The accession negotiations with Croatia have been concluded successfully and on time. Against the background of continuing economic crisis, the prospect of Croatia soon becoming the 28th Member State sends a message of hope to the other Balkan countries as to the continuing enlargement process.

 
  
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  Lena Kolarska-Bobińska (PPE ), in writing.(PL) The Polish Presidency has been efficient, professional and important for Poland and Europe. The crisis in the euro area has now lasted for over 700 days and during our Presidency, we entered one of its most difficult phases. The meeting of Prime Ministers held in December to rescue the euro area ended with moderate success. We still have more questions than answers, but it has proved possible to resist the Franco-German Directory.

Thanks to Polish efforts, too, the Union has not split into the countries of the euro area and the rest. It continues as a structure of ‘27 minus’, or 27 Member States minus the United Kingdom. Before the Presidency, Poland was known in Europe chiefly as a country which was receiving a great deal of money from European funds and was against action to fight climate change. Now, Poland’s European identity has become clear and distinct. Poland supports and will support a strong, united Europe; a Europe which unites, not divides.

 
  
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  Ádám Kósa (PPE ), in writing.(HU) In a speech I gave six months ago at the beginning of the Polish Presidency, I stated that Central Europe has never been so much in the centre of the EU, and that we must prove that the enlargement of the European Union was a success. I believe that we succeeded in this, and that both Hungary and Poland successfully met the challenge, of which we can all be proud. It was also at that time that I requested that the Polish Presidency pay attention to people with disabilities. During the previous Presidency trio (Spain-Belgium-Hungary), this issue had special priority. My concerns were sadly not unfounded, as the Polish Presidency did not continue the work previously started in this field. To me, this is unacceptable. I hope that the Danish Presidency will right this deficiency. I believe that 80 million disabled people deserve to be treated as a special priority by any Presidency.

 
  
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  Jan Kozłowski (PPE ), in writing.(PL) The Polish Presidency came at a very difficult time and posed many challenges. Despite this, and also in spite of the fact that it was Poland’s first Presidency, I consider its results to be very positive. I would like to thank the Presidency in particular for its consistent work to develop the Eastern Partnership, including its organisation of the Partnership’s first summit. Europe today needs stable partners who are united by good relations as neighbours. I hope, too, that one of the Presidency’s initiatives – the Fund for Democracy – will be effective in supporting democratic change both in the East and in the South. In addition, I would like to emphasise the Presidency’s positive contribution in achieving a difficult compromise on the budget for 2012, and also to express my regard for its effectiveness in work on the future of integrated maritime policy and in drafting the Council conclusions on volunteering.

 
  
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  Antonio Masip Hidalgo (S&D ), in writing.(ES) I congratulate the Polish Presidency on its work over the six months. I also congratulate its Foreign Affairs Minister on his significant pro-European speech in Berlin and, as rapporteur for the Observatory on intellectual property, I thank him for his constant support.

I am sorry that my report will not be voted on in plenary until February but I also want to thank the Presidency for striving to overcome severe problems in the area of political asylum.

I wish it every success for 2016, when it will host the Capital of Culture, and I hope, in the same pro-European and cultural spirit that has guided this Presidency and that I would have liked to have shared with Oviedo, my city, that we can build a project of civic unity.

 
  
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  Czesław Adam Siekierski (PPE ), in writing. (PL) It is good that the Polish Presidency came just at this difficult time of crisis and weakening of the unity of the EU, because it is Poland which has the greatest experience in fighting a crisis by making profound political, organisational and structural reforms. This experience, this approach and the courage to make reforms are needed today in Europe. The Community spirit referred to by Mr Barroso is an interesting combination of ideas. Yes, we need spirit and we need a sense of community. It is a formulation which expresses the need of the present time in Europe, but let us remember that this Community spirit is needed most of all by many national governments, because only then will it spread to society in the Member States. Creating unity in Europe is a complex social and economic process, because Europe was and still is characterised by a high degree of differentiation.

For our reforms to be effective, it is necessary to identify accurately the causes of the crisis and analyse the effects of the processes of globalisation and the mistakes we have made at EU and national level. I will give just one example. Why did we not keep to the Stability and Growth Pact, which, after all, has applied to all Member States for many years? Who broke it? Why was the economic system in the Member States not monitored? Who is responsible for these errors?

 
  
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  Joanna Katarzyna Skrzydlewska (PPE ), in writing.(PL) I am pleased to be able to add my voice to the expressions of esteem for the Polish Presidency. Among the many successes to which reference has been made here today, mention must also be made of two events which relate to the area of my closest interests: completion of work and adoption of the directive on the European Protection Order and the directive on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. I commend these achievements, because for many people, the European Protection Order is not just the assurance of a uniform level of security as part of the free movement of people within the European Union, but is, above all, the chance to go to another country and live a normal life without being afraid, while the protection of children – the most vulnerable of people – from that repulsive and highly injurious form of abuse which is of a sexual nature is, I think, a matter of great importance to us all. For this reason, the value of this instrument for legal protection is beyond dispute.

I am also optimistic in relation to the words of Mr Tusk about shared European values. Particularly at such a difficult time, it is important to be clear in declaring support for a shared future for Europe and to take the necessary action which results consistently from this declaration. I think the Polish Presidency has shown the right course for further action and for how the European Union should operate, and I hope that during future presidencies, this course will be continued, thanks to which we will be able to overcome the economic crisis.

 
  
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  Csanád Szegedi (NI ), in writing.(HU) The nations of Poland and Hungary share a centuries old history of friendship. No wonder, as before the most unjust diktat in world history, the tragedy of Trianon, Hungary and Poland were neighbouring countries. With reference to this shared historic legacy, I respectfully ask the Polish Government to do everything within its power in the few days which remain from its term of EU Presidency to ensure that the Hungarians of the Carpathian Basin are free to live out their national identity, and to guarantee especially in Slovakia the free use of the Hungarian language for those Hungarians living in the historic region of Upper Hungary. I wish our Polish friends all the best for their work.

 
  
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  Csaba Sándor Tabajdi (S&D ), in writing.(HU) During the term of the Polish Presidency, we made considerable progress in respect of both the enlargement of the European Union and the deepening of integration. In September, we reached an agreement on the legislative ‘six-pack’ that serves for the deepening of EU economic governance. In December, the Accession Treaty of Croatia was signed, and a decision was adopted on the commencement of accession negotiations with Montenegro in the following year. I hope that in February, we will see a decision granting candidate status to Serbia as well. The Polish Presidency has been able to use the excellent professional preparatory work of the Hungarian EU Presidency as the foundation of its achievements. The Hungarian Presidency managed to reach a consensus on almost every aspect of economic governance, and it was also during the Hungarian Presidency that Croatia’s accession negotiations were concluded. With Hungary, it was the professional work that was successful, whereas the Poles demonstrated a clear commitment to the European Union. They did not make eurosceptic statements as Viktor Orbán did on multiple occasions. While the Polish Government aimed at national consensus in respect of the EU Presidency, a willingness to cooperate that could also be observed at Brussels fora, the Hungarian Government chose its term of EU Presidency to adopt a media law that restricts the freedom of speech and a new one-party basic law that prejudices the rule of law. The deteriorating international reputation of the Hungarian Government cast a shadow on the professional achievements of its Presidency.

 
  
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  Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein (PPE ), in writing. – I have heard words of praise from many quarters for the Polish Presidency which has been characterised by professionalism and enthusiasm. This Presidency, in extremely challenging circumstances, managed to push forward many concrete solutions of immediate benefit to citizens.

The Presidency focused on the positive message of EU integration. Nowhere was this more evident than in the area of the single market. Achieving a truly barrier-free internal market could increase EU GDP by 4%. The Presidency enthusiastically co-organised the first Single Market Forum in Kraków in October with the Commission and Parliament. Over 1 300 citizens attended to discuss the challenges facing the single market and how to overcome them. The information stands on Kraków’s market square were visited by 7 000 people – informing them of the rights and opportunities granted by this, Europe’s single greatest asset.

The Presidency should also be commended for the progress made in negotiations on some very important dossiers which will greatly contribute to the effective functioning of the single market such as the unitary patent and the roaming regulation. I am proud of Poland’s hard work on behalf of the EU’s 500 million citizens and I wish the Danes success for the first half of 2012.

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: RODI KRATSA-TSAGAROPOULOU
Vice-President

 

6. Draft scoreboard for the surveillance of macro-economic imbalances (debate)
Video of the speeches
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  President. – The next item is the oral question to the Commission by Sharon Bowles, on behalf of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs: Draft scoreboard for the surveillance of macro-economic imbalances (Ο-000306/2011 – Β7-0670/2011).

 
  
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  Sharon Bowles, author. – Madam President, I would like to thank the Commission for having given Parliament time to express its views on the draft scoreboard. The relevant recital of the regulation specifies that the Commission should seek comments from the competent committee of the Parliament before adopting the scoreboard. This oral question, with the accompanying motion for a resolution, is the response to this consultation.

As you know, Parliament has been very engaged on this topic. There was a very protracted debate in Parliament, and with the Council, in order to reach the final text in codecision on the ‘six-pack’, so this is a very sensitive subject for us. The scoreboard is an important tool for observing potential imbalances, even though the definitive measures are in any subsequent in-depth studies.

Parliament attached a high importance to the indicators having both upper and lower thresholds where appropriate, and envisaged this form of comparison as useful. In the draft, this is not the case for most of the indicators. Of course, it is not always appropriate to have both thresholds, but the working document does not explain the reasoning why there are not both in the majority of instances, and it would be helpful to have elaboration on that.

The issue of current account surpluses was also a matter contained in the Commission declaration. In particular, it said ‘macro-economic surveillance covers countries with current account deficits and surpluses, with appropriate differentiation as regards the urgency of policy responses and the type of corrective actions required’.

Now of course the EU is not a closed economy – and it is very important that it is not – but, with regard to one another, we need to aim for better balance within a framework of promoting competitiveness. It is also noted that the Commission working document refers to available economic literature, but no references are given. We consider that references, and a more complete explanation of the methodology, are appropriate.

Spill-over effects were also a significant part of our discussion and one of the objectives of budgetary coordination, and so we ask how the Commission intends to deal with spill-over effects in the scoreboard.

I think it is reasonable to consider the scoreboard as a ‘work in progress’, and it is noted that by the end of 2012, it is intended to set a new set of thresholds relating to financial sector indicators. There is clearly a potential relationship here with the European Systemic Risk Board dashboard indicators. For my part, I suggest that domestic SIFIs may be one area to look at for inclusion in the macro-economic scoreboard.

Also with regard to work in progress, not all of the elements specified for economic reading of the scoreboard in Article 4 have yet been taken into account. We look for all of these to be included in the economic reading of the scoreboard, most notably in relation to employment, drivers of productivity and the role of energy.

And now, more generally, how does the Commission intend to implement the scoreboard as part of the agreed regulation on the prevention and correction of macro-economic imbalances? In particular, how does it intend to implement the assessment of Member States showing large account deficits or surpluses as part of the annual alert mechanism report? What measures will the Commission take to make sure that it has timely statistics of the highest quality for inclusion in the scoreboard and its economic reading?

Finally, and as must be evident from what I have said concerning literature references and methodology, I would like to stress that a transparent implementation of this new policy instrument is of utmost importance throughout the procedure. Therefore, I urge in this respect that the Commission ensures that any updates or reports on the functioning of this instrument are formally addressed both to the European Parliament and to the Council, and on an equal basis.

 
  
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  Olli Rehn, Vice-President of the Commission. – Madam President, now that the legislation for reinforced economic governance, the ‘six-pack’, has entered into force – which it did yesterday – we must hasten its implementation. On the fiscal side, this is already a work in rapid and serious progress. On the macro side, we need to move on as well. I therefore welcome your draft resolution on the envisaged design of the scoreboard for the surveillance of macro-economic imbalances as well as your oral question, which in fact consists of nine questions, to which I shall try to respond in my remaining two minutes and seven seconds.

Following your resolution tomorrow, and as the Commission received the views of the Council and the European Systemic Risk Board respectively in November, we can now finalise the design of the scoreboard without any further delay, and in full compliance with democratic principles.

The final scoreboard will become part of the alert mechanism report, which is currently scheduled for adoption by mid-January. It will be discussed in Ecofin and the Euro Group in January/February. Taking due account of these discussions, the Commission will launch in-depth reviews of the Member States for which they are needed. These in-depth reviews will analyse macro-economic imbalances and provide the basis for any recommendations to be addressed to Member States.

Let me underline the key difference between fiscal and macro-economic surveillance, and between the Excessive Deficit Procedure and the Excessive Imbalance Procedure: both are preventive, but macro-economic surveillance is even more preventive than fiscal surveillance and, as such, is necessary for economic stability and fiscal sustainability. This we have seen, for instance, in the cases of Ireland or Spain, both of which had sound public finances prior to the crisis. Once the crisis hit with its full force, however, their serious macro-economic imbalances led to a very serious fiscal crisis which then turned into a recession in the real economy and led to high unemployment, with very serious social and human consequences. Moreover, while fiscal surveillance is highly numerical and quantifiable, macro-economic surveillance requires a thorough economic reading and is much more qualitative.

This means that, when we propose countries for an in-depth study, it will not imply that they face an imminent crisis. Instead, it means that for these countries, there is a risk of imbalances which, if confirmed, would clearly need to be addressed effectively. In other words, it serves as an essential early-warning system and a strong call for pre-emptive action to correct the build up of those imbalances.

This brings me to the further aspects of your oral question, especially the regulation’s equal application to all Member States. The assessment of Member States’ current account balances is an essential element of the economic analysis of the alert mechanism report. The Commission stands fully by its declaration to the European Parliament on 28 September, stating that ‘macro-economic surveillance covers countries with current account deficits and surpluses with appropriate differentiation as regards the urgency of policy responses and the type of corrective actions required’.

To conclude, let me also recall that all 27 Member States will be subject to surveillance. Thus, all Member States will benefit from its findings, both on their own account and jointly for the common good of the European Union. I am certain that the United Kingdom will also want to participate in this work; we, for our part, want to – and indeed will – involve each and every Member State of the European Union. The regulation applies to all and we continue to work for the benefit of each and every Member State and the whole European Union, even though that sometimes seems to be forgotten in the midst of the most heated debates of the day.

 
  
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  Herbert Dorfmann, on behalf of the PPE Group.(DE) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, here in this House, we have been grappling with the subject of economic governance and the ‘six-pack’ for a long time. Yesterday, this legislative package finally entered into force. It provides us with a bundle of measures to enable us to recognise economic aberrations in the Member States at an early stage.

In the area of macro-economic surveillance, the scoreboard has always been at the centre of political discussions here in Parliament. Parliament ultimately decided to lay down the basic elements only in the legislative text and to transfer the task of drawing up the scoreboard to the Commission. The results of the Commission’s work on this are now available. The parameters proposed could be the right way to go about achieving the desired objective.

We have already discussed the symmetrical approach of the ‘six-pack’ in our political debates here in Parliament. However, the same sort of symmetrical approach also results from the somewhat erroneous assumption that the European Union is in a closed and bilateral market. If someone exports too much, does that automatically mean that others are exporting too little? I do not think so. Is the problem faced by those Member States that are currently going through difficult economic times really a result of the fact that, in comparison, other Member States are more successful on the internal market or at a global level? That would, conversely, also mean that it would not be a problem if Member States did not fulfil their economic policy tasks at national level if the main thing is that the other Member States are not doing so either. We would not get very far with that sort of approach.

The scoreboard will evolve. It requires time, and in the next few years, new indicators will be incorporated and the limit values will probably also change with economic developments. Therefore, Parliament has also determined that it is up to us to observe and evaluate these developments. That is exactly what we are doing by putting this question to you, Commissioner. As a starting point, we in the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) consider what the Commission has tabled to be useable and useful. I am certain that it can serve its purpose and can lead to success. Therefore, we will also vote in favour of it.

 
  
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  Anni Podimata, on behalf of the S&D Group.(EL) Madam President, Commissioner Rehn, yesterday’s edition of the Financial Times contained a very interesting article on why the fiscal compact agreed on 8 December will fail. With a series of logical and – I would say – self-evident arguments, many of which have been supported for some time by the European Parliament, especially by the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the newspaper pointed out that unilateral insistence on fiscal austerity is counterproductive because, in its words, proper fiscal behaviour may, in turn, be linked to massive imbalances and economic inefficiency. Citing the example of Germany which, as you know, had a surplus in its balance of payments on current account in the order of 5.7% of GDP, which was greater than China’s surplus, the journalist pointed out that the fiscal compact will fail because it does not provide any explanation whatsoever as to exactly how that German surplus will be recycled, when more and more European countries, especially but not only in the South, will stand devoutly by strict fiscal austerity and orthodoxy. That is why, Commissioner, we consider action to address macro-economic imbalances not as a fragmentary agreement, but as a basic principle which, over and above the economic governance package, must be inextricably bound up with the new fiscal compact or, in the words of the journalist, fiscal union. May I remind you that the key to achieving agreement on the two regulations was the clear statement – by you, by the European Commission – that the procedure will apply both to Member States in surplus and to Member States with a deficit and to upper and lower limits, so that there is symmetry. This is not a dogmatic principle; it is a precondition which will ensure that the procedure has real economic convergence and balance.

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Carl Haglund, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Madam President, I think the Commissioner explained very well why we need this macro-economic surveillance. The economic crisis proved that macro-economic imbalances can also put the European economy at stake, despite sound – or at least fairly sound – public finances.

I also think that we did a fairly thorough job in this House of working on the macro-economic surveillance part. In my view, we achieved a very good overall result, and this is now the practical implementation of that result. Personally, I am convinced by the work done by the Commission (my group is also very supportive) and the initial proposal on the table.

I think it is important to note that this is just the starting point of macro-economic surveillance. Some have wanted to give this scoreboard too large a role in the overall process. We should remember that the scoreboard is designed as an alert mechanism. The actual macro-economic surveillance and assessment will be done through in-depth studies, where we will then assess whether there is a problem that has to be addressed.

Another issue that should be mentioned is the fact that the ownership of this process should not be in the Commission. I have no doubt that the Commission wants to own it, but the fact of the matter is that the ownership should and will be in the Member States. The Member States will be the ones who have the ownership of working with a possible macro-economic imbalance, together, of course, with the good guidance and good advice of the Commission. But the ownership of the process will, and should be, in the Member States. That is the only way for this process to work, and this is something we should emphasise.

Finally, I think we should all be happy with the fact that the ‘six-pack’ legislation, which this was a part of, came into force this week. This is an important step in solving the crisis. We should all be happy about this and about the fact that the Commission is taking this work very seriously.

 
  
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  Philippe Lamberts, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group.(FR) Madam President, Commissioner, as far as I can see, in business, in politics and in life, confidence is the key to everything. I believe that you and your Directorate-General have betrayed this confidence.

You have betrayed it in three ways. First, when we had faith in you and said: ‘Parliament renounces its right to joint decision-making power over the indicators’, we had faith in you on the basis of a road map. One of the elements of this road map was that Parliament would be closely consulted. What happened is that the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), as indeed is its custom, got into bed with the Council, and when they produced their baby together – and I do not wish to know how – they showed this baby to Parliament and asked us: ‘Are you happy?’ That is no way to consult people. I am not one for ménage à trois , but I find that in this case, frankly, you have chosen your partner and I think you have made a bad choice.

The underlying message is: ‘It is not the same thing for a country to be in surplus or in deficit’. That is true. However, to be clearly told: ‘Surplus countries will never be punished’, is tantamount to saying that excessive surpluses are not dangerous. I am very sorry, but by saying that, you ignore the fact that excessive surpluses are as dangerous as excessive deficits. This is the case, and we must deal with it just as vigorously.

Finally, as regards competitiveness, DG ECFIN has shown that, when all is said and done, its obsession has not changed: the only factor standing in the way of the competitiveness of business in Europe is its wages. We must clamp down on wages as if this were the be all and end all.

Europe will never be China. We shall never be top of the low wage league. We must win the battle for value.

 
  
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  Jürgen Klute, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group.(DE) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, the new surveillance mechanism for economic imbalances has been in force since yesterday. The detailed regulations are also now available. What developments does the Commission now see as dangerous and what economic problems do you want to see rectified? Increases in unit labour costs in the euro area countries in excess of 3% per year are considered by the Commission to be a problem. A limit value for falling wages is not provided for, however. I would say to the Commission that ‘cheap’ is not the same thing as ‘good’. It is not enough to condition the Member States to achieve prosperity at the expense of their trading partners. Without investment in education, health and energy efficiency, we can exploit our workers to the bone, but that will not enable us to write an economic success story.

I would like to mention one more example from the scoreboard: the loss of export market share should be examined and penalties imposed. That is nonsense. In the face of increasing world trade, Europe’s share will, statistically speaking, inevitably shrink. Consequently, this indicator will penalise those countries that are already closely involved in world trade. We therefore believe that the Commission should withdraw this scoreboard and subject it to a general overhaul.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti, on behalf of the EFD Group. (IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, we are today discussing rules which are likely to change swiftly, following the treaty reform imposed at the last summit by France and, above all, Germany.

We have been forced into this difficult decision even though regulation was already in place in the past to prevent macro-economic imbalances by way of the Stability and Growth Pact, which was signed way back in 1997, and yet this agreement became wastepaper precisely when France and Germany wanted to move forward, making the whole thing essentially worthless.

I am personally very unhappy that Brussels makes us act like a guard dog, but if there are to be rules in place, then these should apply to everyone and everyone should be treated in the same way, including the two Member States that want to tell us what is what today.

In Europe, all Member States and all peoples should have equal dignity and rules should be decided upon and adhered to by everyone.

 
  
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  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D ).(RO) Madam President, the scoreboard for the surveillance of macro-economic imbalances is needed to coordinate economic and social policies and promote convergence between Member States. This instrument must include a complete analysis of these imbalances, including current-account deficits and surpluses. We must not forget that maintaining significant and sustained current-account surpluses creates barriers for the adjustment policies which economies in deficit need to adopt.

At the same time, the issue of the competitiveness gap between Member States cannot be resolved by cutting salaries and reducing social protection. Such measures only weaken society and promote poverty and economic stagnation.

The European Union needs huge long-term investment in infrastructure and technology, especially green technology, in order to encourage job creation and foster economic growth.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL ).(PT) Madam President, the intention behind the entry into force of the so-called economic governance package is ever deeper capitalist integration, with results that are already well known: increased unemployment, poverty and social inequality. Moreover, what is happening even within this process – and this is being well demonstrated here today – is that the intention is, in fact, to increase the exploitation of workers by reducing real wages and other remuneration for work, to facilitate the accumulation of capital, and to exacerbate social inequalities. Furthermore, the intention is also to jeopardise the interests of countries with weaker economies, by continuously throttling them and even imposing on them fines which will only aggravate the entire existing situation. This is unacceptable interference and contempt for the most fundamental principles of democracy, as this debate in the European Parliament has demonstrated.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI ).(DE) Madam President, I would like to express my strong opposition to subjecting surpluses to the imbalance procedure, let alone imposing sanctions as a result of them. The balance of payments is one of the 10 macro-economic indicators, and it would be perverse to penalise this and to treat it in the same way as deficits. Growth cannot be regulated by a planned economy as in the Soviet Union. Without the economically strong countries, the euro area would probably have collapsed a lot sooner. If the imbalances are too great – and I believe that is the case, too – then we must simply form a hard and a soft currency zone.

A currency must reflect the economic strength of the country. It will not work as a planned economy, however, but only with appropriately structured monetary zones. Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and possibly France form one group, and the other national economies also have to be able to devalue their currencies accordingly.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D ). – Madam President, I can only hope that the unsustainable nature of the path chosen has become as evident as it is ultimately self-defeating for the whole Union.

Stuck with the same currency with no possibility for competitive devaluation, peripheral countries found themselves confined to wage deflation and to growth trends fed by financial credit from the centre, where competitiveness owes a lot to cheap wages as well. Our problems have no easy solutions, but we at the edge of the eurozone have sustained severe economic pain, only to be promised more of it by the recent political developments such as the ‘six-pack’ tightening of the Stability and Growth Pact.

Where is the solidarity side of that grand bargain? Is it just more loans at rates barely below those demanded by extortionate, speculative market players? We need reform that works both ways and serves all of our citizens.

 
  
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  Jaroslav Paška (EFD ). (SK) Madam President, the procedures for countering and correcting macro-economic imbalances should include a mechanism to warn Member States that are reporting a high deficit or current account surplus. A basic precondition for the supervision of macro-economic imbalances should be an assessment table containing the necessary data on the economic management of states. In view of the seriousness of the decisions that will result from the data captured in the assessment reports, it is important for all of the recorded statistical data to be objective and to provide the necessary relevant values. I therefore firmly believe that it is enormously important to choose a method of collecting input data for the assessment table that will rule out the possibility of it being creatively adjusted in the process of collection, so that the Commission can have correct and objective supporting materials for its work. Only on the basis of correct data can correct assessments be made, and that should also be the aim of the Commission.

 
  
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  Olli Rehn, Vice-President of the Commission. – Madam President, I should like to thank the Members for a very serious and substantive debate and for their support for this regulation and for the Commission’s actions in this regard.

Concerning the question posed by Ms Bowles on the literature behind this scoreboard, the Commission is currently working on background papers that will explain the economic rationale underlying the choice of indicators, including the relevant economic literature and the determination of thresholds. I can commit myself, the Commission, and even DG ECFIN to providing you with these background papers concerning the underlying economic rationale.

Ms Podimata referred to a certain British financial media source. I do not think its words are sacrosanct. I recall, for instance, that in that source, the euro area was not described as a small open economy, but I have a feeling that some commentators consider that the euro area is a large, closed economy. It is not a large closed economy. Instead, it is a large open economy that trades a very large share of its GDP with the rest of the world. This has obvious implications for the construction of our analytical mechanism of macro-economic imbalances.

The legislation enshrines the approach of intelligent symmetry, whereby surveillance covers both deficits and surpluses, but clearly underlines that there is greater urgency in tackling large deficits. Moreover, policy responses need to be differentiated. I refer to the alert mechanism report which, in Article 3.2, states ‘The assessment of Member States showing large current account deficits may differ from that of Member States that accumulate large current account surpluses’.

I think the background noise suggests that it is time to close this debate. It is not very conducive to analytical debate on macro-economic imbalances, so I suggest we continue our dialogue in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs shortly.

 
  
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  President. – I have received one motion for a resolution(1) tabled in accordance with Rule 115(5) of the Rules of Procedure.

The debate is closed.

The vote will take place at 11.30 on Thursday, 15 December 2011.

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: GIANNI PITTELLA
Vice-President

 
  

(1)See Minutes


7. Voting time
Video of the speeches
 

- Before the vote:

 
  
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  Leonardo Domenici (S&D ).(IT) Mr President, yesterday in Florence, an extremely serious event took place which has caused horror and anguish: an armed fifty year-old man opened fire on five citizens of Senegalese origin in two markets in Florence – two of these victims have died and three are now in a serious condition in hospital. The murderer then committed suicide. The man was a member of the racist and xenophobic far right, who wanted to kill people who were strangers to him, guilty only of having black skin.

Florence is my city, and before being elected to the European Parliament I was mayor of Florence for ten years. Florence is a civilised and democratic city, with a gold medal for resistance to Nazi fascism. Yet this abominable racist crime took place in Florence, a demonstration of the fact that Nazi fascistic madness can appear anywhere and we must never think that it has been wholly eradicated.

Mr President, I ask you to express the European Parliament’s grief and to repeat this House’s commitment to combating every kind of intolerance and racism and working to improve respect for the dignity and rights of all human beings.

 
  
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  President. – Thank you, thank you, Mr Domenici, thank you very much, and I would like to remind everyone that during the opening of the sitting this morning, Mr Buzek used powerful words to describe not only what took place in Florence, but also what happened in Liège. We can only share in that sentiment and repeat in the strongest terms the condemnation which Mr Buzek has expressed.

The next item is the vote.

 

7.1. Instrument for pre-accession assistance (A7-0397/2011 - Gabriele Albertini) (vote)

7.2. Fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption (A7-0224/2011 - Andres Perello Rodriguez) (vote)

7.3. Use of phosphates and other phosphorus compounds in household laundry detergents (A7-0246/2011 - Bill Newton Dunn) (vote)

7.4. EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement (A7-0394/2011 - Carl Haglund) (vote)
 

- Before the vote:

 
  
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  Carl Haglund, rapporteur. – Mr President, because of this somewhat unusual voting procedure concerning consent reports, I have been urged to clarify the voting procedure. It is as follows.

Voting in favour of the report means giving consent to the extension of the protocol, while voting against means not giving consent. This is because no amendments could be tabled. In other words, following the Committee on Budgets or the Committee on Development would mean voting against, while the Committee on Fisheries overturned a recommendation and wanted to be in favour. I hope this has clarified it for everyone.

 

7.5. Proposal for a decision on the numerical strength of the standing committees (B7-0619/2011 ) (vote)

7.6. Proposal for a decision on the numerical strength of the interparliamentary delegations, delegations to joint parliamentary committees and delegations to parliamentary cooperation committees and multilateral parliamentary assemblies (B7-0620/2011 ) (vote)

7.7. Appointment of a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank: Mr Coeuré (A7-0443/2011 - Sharon Bowles) (vote)

7.8. Future protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial compensation provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco (B7-0691/2011 ) (vote)
 

- Before the vote on paragraph 7:

 
  
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  Guido Milana (S&D ).(IT) Mr President, I am presenting an oral amendment with regard to the introduction of respect for human rights in this resolution.

The text, which should be inserted after paragraph 7, is as follows: ‘calls on the Commission to introduce into the fisheries agreement with Morocco the clause on respect for human rights, as set out in the European Parliament resolution on human rights and social and environmental standards in international trade agreements’.

I believe that this amendment improves the resolution and gives a timely reminder to the Commission, during the negotiation stage, to take into account the international context which often meets division in Parliament, particularly in this area.

 
  
 

(The oral amendment was accepted)

 
  
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  Struan Stevenson (ECR ). – Mr President, my understanding is that respect for human rights is now included in every Fisheries Partnership Agreement and in every trade agreement that this Parliament creates. Is that not the case? Can we be absolutely certain that what Mr Milana is asking for is accurate?

 
  
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  President. – I think that we can proceed and thus the proposal by Mr Milana is not pointless or repetitive. When we are talking about human rights, it is always better to say more than to say less.

 

7.9. Impact of the financial crisis on the defence sector (A7-0428/2011 - Krzysztof Lisek) (vote)
 

- Before the vote:

 
  
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  Krzysztof Lisek, rapporteur.(PL) Mr President, I would just like to say a few words. I would like to thank the shadow rapporteurs for their work on this report, as well as all the other fellow Members who have contributed to its contents. We are living in times of global financial crisis, but let us not lose sight of a matter so fundamental and important as security. I would therefore like to appeal for endorsement of this report.

 

7.10. EU-Russia Summit (B7-0693/2011 ) (vote)
  

IN THE CHAIR: JERZY BUZEK
President

 

8. Award of the Sakharov Prize (formal sitting)
Video of the speeches
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  President. – Dear colleagues, dear Sakharov laureates, our solemn sitting is now open. Today is a very special occasion, as 2011 will go down in history as the year of the Arab Spring. I am honoured to award the European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2011 to five courageous women and men who represent the Arab Spring. The prize goes to:

Ms Asmaa Mahfouz, from Egypt,

(Applause)

Mr Ahmed al-Sanusi, from Libya,

(Applause)

Ms Razan Zaitouneh, from Syria,

(Applause)

Mr Ali Farzat, also from Syria,

(Applause)

and the late Mr Mohamed Bouazizi, from Tunisia.

(Applause)

Dear friends, human rights are universal. We all value human dignity, freedom of thought and expression, as well as responsible and accountable government, and we are all entitled to it. By awarding the Sakharov Prize to the five Arab Spring activists, the European Parliament recognises the efforts of all those who struggle for dignity, basic freedoms and political change in the Arab world.

Looking back at this year’s events following the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, we witnessed the removal of a dictator, and recently free elections. To honour the courage of the Tunisian people, we award the Sakharov Prize to the late Mohamed Bouazizi, a young street salesman. He set himself on fire after his authorities repeatedly denied him the most basic elements of a life of dignity. Since then, history has swept across North Africa and the Arab World, and many lost their lives for basic freedoms and human dignity.

In many places, the struggle is ongoing as we speak. In Syria, protestors’ demands are met by bullets, tear gas, tanks, arbitrary detention and torture. The latest number of deaths reported exceed 5 000, including 300 children. In order to honour and remember Mr Bouazizi and all those who lost their lives in the struggle for freedom and dignity in the Arab World, I would like to ask all of us to observe a minute’s silence.

(The House rose and observed a minute’s silence)

This historical events also remind us of our responsibilities, including the need to support an emerging young and vibrant civil society. Among our prize winners, we have two young ladies, representatives of a new generation, Asmaa Mahfouz, from Egypt and Razan Zaitouneh, from Syria. They deserve not only our admiration and respect, but better prospects for their future. Their nomination represents a tribute to the decisive role played by women during the Arab Spring.

(Applause)

I hope that their courageous involvement is a sign that geopolitical changes will also bring about improvement in women’s rights in this region.

(Applause)

Today, we have the honour to welcome in our Chamber a young and remarkable woman, Asmaa Mahfouz, who mobilised Egyptians to go out to Tahrir Square and demand their rights. She is a shining example and a symbol of how an individual can make a difference, leading by inspiration and by the strongest possible conviction of human rights, despite the risks of intimidation by the authorities. Ms Mahfouz, I would like to invite you to deliver a speech to us from the podium below.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Asmaa Mahfouz. – I would like to thank the President and I would like to thank everybody here today for inviting me here and for awarding me this prize, which is in honour of the Arab Spring and the revolution in Egypt and which has opened up a new relationship between the Arab world and Europe. We need this new dimension, this new approach.

After the Arab Spring, and based on the interest that is now focused on the Arab world, I think that we can be proud of the Arab people because they are very much in favour of universal values of respect for human dignity. This reward pays homage to the heroes of the revolution. This is a prize that goes out to all young Egyptians, people that have sacrificed their lives. They have been more courageous than I have. They have sacrificed their lives in the name of liberty for everybody.

The Egyptian revolution led to the overthrow of the regime. Many European countries and the USA supported the Mubarak regime before that overthrow but still this was achieved and the regime has now changed. The regime now is based on several people, not just a single person, and we want to ensure that we build on this success and build on a pacifist approach with no violence. And we want to ensure that no members of the former regime enjoy any support whatsoever. There are young people who are prepared to sacrifice themselves for the objectives of the revolution and for the birth of a civilised country based on human rights for all.

Each time there is an infringement or an attack on a human life, we need speedy intervention and we should not be waiting any longer. People were killed. Why did we wait so long before we took action? One occasion is enough to see that there has been a violation of human rights. This finally led to the Arab world taking a place of priority in the world.

I would like to tell you about how proud I am of all the martyrs of the Arab revolution. We will not betray them; we will continue along the road that they have entered into and we want to make sure that this dream is fulfilled.

(The House accorded the speaker a standing ovation)

 
  
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  President. – Ms Mahfouz, thank you for your encouraging speech. The second young laureate I mentioned, also a lady, Sakharov laureate Razan Zaitouneh, is forced to live in hiding. She is not with us today but she continues to denounce on her blog human rights violations committed by the Syrian forces. We commend her exceptional courage. She sent a very moving written message to all of us, a message of hope towards a free, democratic and pluralist Syria. This message was circulated to all of you this morning.

But we have another laureate with us. We are honoured to have Mr Ahmed al-Sanusi with us today. He is one of those remarkable individuals who attempted to bring down a dictator a long time ago and paid a very high price for it. He is the longest-serving prisoner of conscience in Libya, having spent 31 years in prison. Mr al-Sanusi is now working with the National Transitional Council and is in charge of the political prisoners. My wish to him is that the suffering he had to endure will be rewarded by national reconciliation in Libya. Mr al-Sanusi’s integrity, wisdom and experience should be greatly valued in this process.

Mr al-Sanusi, our dear guest, I would like to invite you to take the floor at the podium and to give your speech to us.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Ahmed al-Zubair Ahmed al-Sanusi. – Mr President of the European Parliament, honourable Members of the Parliament, guests, let me begin by giving you my warmest greetings and expressing my thanks and gratitude to you for having chosen me as a recipient of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. This prize has huge symbolic and moral value. It is something that the people of Libya appreciate. They have congratulated me on having been awarded the prize.

It also provides further stimulus for the consolidation of the values we have always been in favour of, that is to say, the creation of a democratic, constitutional state based upon the equality of all, a state where women enjoy the freedom to vote and stand in elections, to make their voices heard.

Women have made huge sacrifices in Libya. Women have laid down their lives. They have seen their nearest and dearest, their children die, to try to get rid of this totalitarian regime which we suffered from for more than 42 years – in prisons, with constant humiliation, constant violations of our human dignity. It was these years and years of dictatorship that eventually led young people to lay down their lives, to shed their blood, even though they had no weapons. The only weapon that they had was their commitment, their conviction. That is what won out in the end, thanks to the support from the international community and this European Parliament. I would just like to express my gratitude to you for that.

Now we need to rebuild our country, to do so in a tolerant fashion, showing tolerance even to those who committed crimes, who targeted our sons, our brothers, those who destroyed houses, who violated human dignity. I am sure that you saw these things on television, all the crimes that were committed in Libya. Again, we are grateful for the unambiguous economic, diplomatic and military support that Europe provided.

As I said, we had no weapons and the dictator tried to keep us down by force thanks to the links he had forged with certain countries, countries that supported him for various reasons – economic reasons sometimes, and other reasons. But all of these countries realised that ultimately the people would win. The people always remain. That is why we would like to thank Europe for the position that it adopted and thank of course the whole of the international community.

But we have to say that our European neighbours – our closest neighbours – were the first to support the Libyan people, despite their lack of weapons. Thanks to that support, we managed to get rid of this totalitarian regime that had been in place for 42 years. I myself of course was a prisoner of conscience under Gaddafi. I was in prison for 31 years, including nine years in solitary confinement. I was tortured, I was denied health care, but I did not lose hope. During all of those years, I did not abandon my human dignity.

In Libya now, we want to be treated on the same footing as everybody else; we do not want to be described as a nation of terrorists or people who have no right to life. We love life: our own lives and the lives of others as well. And we hope that the Sakharov Prize will allow us to make progress and allow other states still suffering from dictatorships to make progress too. Please support us, and support us in trying to achieve those goals. We have a long way to go before our goals can be met but, thanks to patience, thanks to persistence, I am sure that we will achieve them. The first step is to set up a parliament and a constitution voted by the people. Thank you once again for listening to me.

(The House accorded the speaker a standing ovation)

 
  
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  President. – Dear colleagues, the Sakharov Prize is awarded for freedom of thought and this can take many forms. Sometimes, a painting speaks more than a thousand words. This is demonstrated by the drawings and cartoons of Mr Ali Farzat. His weapon is the pen. Through his creativity and courage, his cartoons have pushed the boundaries of freedom of expression in Syria and the entire Arab world. His political cartoons reflect his ideals.

Ali Farzat was beaten up by security forces in August. Both his hands were broken, but he sent us a video message, being unable to come to the European Parliament. I would like to invite you to watch his video message.

(The video message was played)

(The House accorded the speaker a standing ovation)

 
  
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  Ali Farzat, Sakharov Prize laureate (video). – (FR) Welcome, dear friends. I should so much have liked to have been with you today to receive this prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and to thank you for this immense honour that you have bestowed upon me. Personal circumstances have meant that I am unable to be with you. However, my sincere wishes and my heart are with you all.

While I am happy to receive this prestigious prize and to be with you, albeit symbolically, I am sad about what is happening at the moment in Syria. Every hour, every minute, every second, someone is killed and this saddens and embitters me.

I believe that the souls of the dead, the wounded, the people in the streets, are all here with us today. They speak to us of the importance and the great value of freedom and they tell us that it is a gift from God.

A short time ago, I asked one of my friends: ‘As you go out and demonstrate in the streets every day, are you not scared of being killed?’ He replied: ‘Of course, I am constantly weighing up the risks and I know that death is round the corner. But you understand, Ali, how precious freedom is. This is the first time in my life that I have managed to make my voice heard. I had not heard my own voice for 50 years, until today. Whatever happens and may happen to me, I will at least have asserted my right to life and to freedom’.

I should like to extend my deepest gratitude to everybody here today and to all those who have contributed to honouring me within the European Parliament – I would like to send best wishes to Mr Geoffrey Harris, Head of the Human Rights Unit, and to Mr Buzek, President of the European Parliament.

(The House accorded the speaker a standing ovation)

 
  
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  President. – I shall now hand over the Sakharov Prize certificates.

(The House accorded the prize-winners a standing ovation)

(The European anthem was played)

– That concludes this item.

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: GIANNI PITTELLA
Vice-President

 

9. Voting time (continuation)
Video of the speeches

9.1. European neighbourhood policy (A7-0400/2011 - Mário David, Marek Siwiec) (vote)

9.2. EU counter-terrorism policy (A7-0286/2011 - Sophia in ’t Veld) (vote)

10. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
 

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Andres Perello Rodriguez (A7-0224/2011 )

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE ).(IT) Mr President, the fruit juice sector, through this report which I supported, is a step further on a route which should lead it to greater transparency and trust in its dealings with consumers.

I therefore applaud any initiative which offers even greater clarity to European consumers through labelling, particularly of the origin of fruit content, compared with what was previously approved.

Finally, European fruit juice consumers will be aware of the origin of the fruit content and this will be advantageous to European farmers, above all, those working in southern Europe, who have not previously been able to take advantage of this opportunity.

It is obvious that the additional information – as well as the banning of terms that create confusion – on the main characteristics of fruit juices is an important issue which will be of benefit to all European consumers.

 
  
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  George Lyon (ALDE ). – Mr President, I, too, welcome the vote today approving a compromise on the Fruit Juices Directive which aims to improve production standards and set rules for the quality and labelling of fruit juices. This will not only help consumers to make healthier choices, but also improve the added value of European products on the international markets. It is a very good deal for both the UK fruit industry and UK consumers.

From now on, there will be clear rules on what aromas and ingredients can be used. As a result, for example, the practice of labelling as ‘strawberry juice’ a product which contains more than 50% apple juice, and of which strawberries are only a minor ingredient, will now be banned. This will bring an end to marketing strategies that mislead consumers.

The practice of adding sugar to fruit juices will also be prohibited. This will ensure that only genuine fruit juices are marketed as such in the EU. Consumers will now be able to buy these products secure in the knowledge that the labelling accurately reflects what is in the can.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR ). – Mr President, when I first worked on this directive, I stopped drinking fruit juice. I stopped trusting what was on the label. One wonders if the labelling of fruit juice has any resemblance to what is in the product.

That is why I am glad the amendments to the Fruit Juice Directive mean that clearer labelling will give consumers more accurate information, not only on the sugar content, but on the actual quantity of fruit in these drinks. Without this directive, manufacturers will be able to label a drink as strawberry juice, for example, when in reality, there is only a touch of strawberry, a lot of flavouring and an apple base.

The public has a right to know what is in the juice: if it is pure, is nectar or is made from concentrate; if it contains added sugar, no sugar, honey or sweeteners. We need to make it easy for customers to make a healthy choice. We need to ensure that there is transparency in the market. I hope the Fruit Juice Directive will result in a high quality of fruit juice as opposed to sugary drinks.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE ). (SK) Mr President, the situation on the market for fruit juices in the EU, where more than 80% of orange juice – the most prevalent raw material – comes from non-European countries and less than 20% from EU countries, requires the laying down of clear rules governing the composition, use of reserved descriptions, manufacturing specifications and labelling of the products concerned. At the general level, I support the idea of bringing the fruit juice sector into line with international law and the Codex Alimentarius. I also agree with retaining the distinction between fruit juices obtained by simply pressing fruit and fruit juices from concentrates, as well as the removal of sugar from the list of authorised ingredients. Unambiguous denomination will particularly help groups of consumers such as, for example, diabetics, children and people with weight problems or obesity to make informed choices when purchasing a product that can influence their health.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE ).(IT) Mr President, the proposal for a directive that we voted on this morning aims to amend Directive 2001/112/EC for the second time, since it has already been voted on in Parliament.

I very much welcome drawing a clear distinction between fruit juices and juices from concentrates, which is one of the aims put forward by the directive: the idea is not to mislead the consumer at the moment of purchase; it instead favours informed purchasing, which will also encourage healthier consumption.

On the subject of benefiting citizens, the text sets out the distinction between juice and nectar as depending on the presence or absence of sugars in such products. The term ‘no added sugar’ should be allowed for category 1 fruit juices. With regard to nectar, it was not considered necessary to specify the mandatory presence of sugar. All in all, this is a directive which will be of benefit to citizens and consumers, enabling them to make informed purchases more easily.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE ).(DE) Mr President, I was unable to support the amendment to the Fruit Juice Directive for reasons relating to its content as well as on formal grounds. Thus, I cannot share the optimism of my fellow Members on this issue. In terms of content, this directive represents a relaxation of the quality requirements for fruit juice products and thus opens the door wide to the possibility of deceiving consumers. On formal grounds, the main reason for my objection is the fact that the current text in no way corresponds to the intentions of the committee responsible. A large part of the report that was agreed on there has not been taken into account in the compromise text that has been tabled. As the amendment to the Fruit Juice Directive therefore entails a reduction in the quality of fruit juices and, moreover, does not adequately reflect the opinion of Parliament, I was forced to reject it.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR ). – Mr President, I voted in favour of the Perello Rodriguez report. The report recommends sensible measures relating to consumer transparency and will allow EU citizens to more easily make informed and healthy choices as regards what they consume. I have to confess an interest here: I am a prolific juice-drinker myself.

Fruit-based beverages which originate from concentrate or have added sugar should be transparently labelled as such so as to prevent them from being mistaken for fresh or pure fruit juices, especially given the sometimes misleading packaging used by some manufacturers. A transitional period of 18 months would allow distributors and retailers to use up current stocks and adjust to the new, tougher guidelines. The report also reiterates the EU’s commitment to maintaining globally recognised labelling standards for fruit juices, which will ensure that EU products remain competitive on the global market.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR ). – Mr President, I have voted in favour of the report on fruit juices and similar products intended for human consumption, as it quite rightly incorporates more of the provisions contained in the international codes, bringing the EU standards in line with other internationally recognised standards and codes of practice concerning food, food production and food safety.

The report’s proposed amendments to the existing directive make the necessary clear distinction between fruit juices and drinks that have been produced from concentrate. There is more clarity in the labelling, which is critical for those of us who want to make a choice based on healthy options and want to know when there has been sugar added to the drink. This is going to lead to greater consumer choice and hopefully, over the longer term, lead to a healthier population, including in my Welsh constituency.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE ).(GA) Mr President, although a lot of people’s minds are focused on the major issues of today, such as the future of the euro and the economic recession, it is important that we continue with the work, especially on behalf of our citizens.

It is difficult to think of an issue closer to our citizens than this, because it is likely that nearly everyone drinks fruit products each day, maybe, or regularly, at any rate. Therefore, it is very important that a distinction is clearly visible between fresh fruit juice and juice from concentrate, and the report assists in achieving that.

It is also important that the label be clear, especially if there is added sugar in the product. And finally, it is very important that the packets themselves be clear and honest. It was shown here last night that many packets were not clear and honest, but they will be so in future.

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE ). – Mr President, I welcome the adoption of a clear definition that distinguishes fruit juice from nectar, as finally the present confusion for consumers is being removed. It is very important for consumers to know if there is added sugar or not and how much real fruit exists in the juices they buy. How many times has it happened to you that you buy fruit juice and then discover that the picture on the package or the name on the package does not really correspond to the quantity of orange, berry or apple juice that you thought was there; you feel cheated.

This directive, therefore, is a very important step forward in our fight against misleading information. It will benefit consumers by giving correct, clear and reliable information. Our task is not to decide for consumers from the top down what they are supposed to eat or drink. Our task is to facilitate free choices by providing correct information. This is very much in line with the fight we had over the Food Labelling Directive.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR ). – Mr President, the whole purpose of a free market is to swap on the back of differences. The purpose of the European Union is to have exchange through comparative advantage, but in this report, we see measures being proposed to protect and stimulate European manufacturers at the expense of those elsewhere.

You would have thought, with everything going on in the world at the moment, that we would be aware of the dangers of repeating the mistakes of the 1930s and adding to a downturn with protectionism. The tragedy is that Europe, by cutting itself off from the bits of the world that are still growing, is not only impoverishing consumers directly but is making itself economically irrelevant. We had an awful lot of talk yesterday about Britain being isolated and standing aside. I would be very happy to rejoin the wider world when it is the EU as a whole which is isolating itself.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR ). – Mr President, when reading this report, the phrase that stood out for me was the phrase ‘this report favours the consumption of local products’. So there we have it: let us favour local products at the expense of open trade and instead of helping producers in other countries to create wealth locally. This protectionist strand runs throughout the whole report and what we are going to see is a situation where we continue to support companies that cannot compete globally. When they get into trouble, what will they then do? They will seek a bailout from the European Globalisation Fund because they did not bother to take advantage of global supply chains and compete globally; they sought protectionism.

Of course, we all need to give more information to consumers and I think there is consensus about this across the House. Let us say ‘yes’ to consumer information, let us say ‘yes’ to open trade and consumer choice, but let us say ‘no’ to European protectionism.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE ).(SK) Mr President, I welcome the compromise and I have voted in favour of the report. I would like to point out, however, that attempts to artificially limit imports and support domestic production always damage consumers most in the end. We must therefore think very carefully about every change to minimum standards of product quality, as every technological change enforced by law means higher prices. I am in favour of high-quality fruit juices and consistent information for consumers. Where there are two producers of equal quality, I always prefer the European one ahead of the foreign one. I am also in favour of us being informed about whether juice comes from concentrate. At the same time, however, I supported the proposal to continue to allow juice from concentrate to be diluted with drinking water. Fruit juices from concentrate will thus continue to be affordable for children from low income families.

 
  
  

Report: Bill Newton Dunn (A7-0246/2011 )

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR ). – Mr President, I believe strongly in free market forces. In order for markets to survive, they must develop and advance their products in line with environmental targets.

In the case of laundry detergents, industry has led the way, with almost all washing powders and liquids already free from phosphates. Whilst I support this directive, I hold concerns on the addition of proposals to include dishwasher detergents. The chemicals used in dishwasher detergents are very different to the laundry detergents. However, small traces of phosphates will still be permitted in dishwasher detergents, with a honeymoon period until 2017.

Whilst we all agree that phosphates would ideally not be included, let me sound a warning. The environmental and health impacts of the new chemicals that will be needed to replace phosphates in dishwasher detergents are not yet fully assessed. We must therefore remain open and flexible until the science catches up with the political will.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE ).(DE) Mr President, I, too, would like to say something with regard to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 648/2004 as regards the use of phosphates and other phosphorus compounds in household laundry detergents. I think that the report, the proposal and the regulation is attempting to find a good compromise here, namely, on the one hand, to eliminate these phosphates permanently and definitively, so to speak, from the environment. We all know that this is a very hazardous environmental toxin. That is, of course, why phosphates will no longer be used in household laundry detergents.

On the other hand, we obviously also have to face up to reality. Firstly, we need effective alternatives, and, secondly, we obviously also need to examine the environmental impact of these effective alternatives, because there is no point in essentially replacing one pollutant with another one.

That is precisely what this proposal is attempting to do. I have therefore voted in favour of the proposal, and I hope that talks will continue and that we can utilise our environment and our detergents in an increasingly sustainable and environmentally sound way.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE ). (LT) Mr President, the regulation on which we voted today is very important for the European Union’s waters. It is also very important news for the Baltic Sea, the water of which is seriously affected by pollution from phosphorus compounds causing algae growth, and this growth is becoming more and more intensive and active every year. According to the Helsinki Commission, if we were to abandon phosphates, algae blooms in the Baltic Sea would be reduced by 24%. Today, we took the first step by setting a limit of 0.5 grams in detergents. The fact that a legal act has been adopted that immediately enters into force will mean that in countries where the use of phosphates is not regulated, people will no longer have to simply rely on the goodwill of manufacturers of maintenance products and consumer awareness, as has been the case until now. The maximum levels of phosphates used in European Union Member States varies considerably and, as a result, approximately 16 000 tonnes of phosphates end up in the Baltic Sea every year. I hope that the Member States will welcome our position and that, following the entry into force of this regulation and the acceleration of waste water treatment, the condition of the Baltic and other seas will improve considerably.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR ). – Mr President, I, too, voted in favour of the Newton Dunn report which deals with the use of phosphates and other phosphorous-based compounds in household laundry detergents. The central purpose of this report was to reduce the often devastating impact of eutrophication on the EU’s rivers, lakes and seas. Eutrophication effectively chokes water of oxygen by encouraging weeds to grow. Phosphates are a kind of fertiliser, thus disrupting the natural biodiversity of bodies of water, and have a huge detrimental effect on aquatic life.

The rapporteur sought to allow legislation effectively to catch up with industrial best practice, as a majority of marketed laundry detergents are now effectively phosphate-free. Despite my initial concerns over the report by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety on this matter, such as the short compliance timeline envisaged for its implementation, following the recent negotiations with the Council, I can now agree that this ban on phosphates usage could also be extended to dishwater detergents, with suitable derogations. Realistic and reasonable limits have now been set at 0.5 grams per dose, paving the way for manufacturers to develop more compact and concentrated products to the benefit of our environment.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE ).(IT) Mr President, phosphates in domestic washing machine detergents end up in our water systems, rivers, streams and lakes.

Phosphorus helps life to flourish and, as a result, algae and other fast-developing plant life proliferate uncontrollably when there is an increased source of phosphorus in water. This excessive growth of algae starves other living organisms of oxygen and can also produce toxins – killing fish, plants, and other species, thereby reducing the quality of the water itself.

I therefore voted in favour of the text put before us today because to clean up Europe’s water, it is desirable to reduce the amount of phosphorus reaching the water of our continent.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR ). – Mr President, Europe has long recognised the necessity of restricting the use of phosphates in domestic laundry and other detergents to reduce the impact of their use on Europe’s water courses – something which we are all concerned about. Whilst the majority of laundry detergents on the market are already phosphate-free, as dictated by the market and consumer choice, I welcome the rapporteur’s proposal to extend the scope of the proposal to the dishwasher detergent market.

With a phosphate limit being set at 0.5 grams per dose, this will give the manufacturers the impetus to develop more compact products through innovation in the industry. Flexibility in its implementation will, however, be necessary to ensure that consumer choice across Europe is not limited in the interim period.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE ). (SK) Mr President, we all want to wear clean clothes and eat from clean plates. That is why we use phosphate detergents. The harder the water, the greater the need for phosphates when washing up or cleaning clothes. We know that the release of phosphates into drains causes excessive growth of algae, thereby also causing the loss of other life forms in our rivers. In other words, phosphate use harms the environment. I would like to ask two questions. Is it possible to wash things clean without phosphates? In principle, yes. Is it possible to stop using phosphates in dishwashers? Not yet. It is therefore right for us to try to limit their use, while at the same time accepting the fact that we need them. I am rather concerned, however, that we cannot even estimate how many jobs are put at risk by the intended harmonisation.

 
  
  

Report: Carl Haglund (A7-0394/2011 )

 
  
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  George Lyon (ALDE ). – Mr President, I very much welcome the way Parliament voted today on the EU-Fisheries Partnership Agreement when it decided to reject the agreement.

I voted against the report, as it is probably the least successful of all the fisheries agreements currently in force. For a number of reasons, I believe that we should have rejected the report and I am glad the Parliament did. For a start, it is a poor deal for European taxpayers, with a return of only 65 cents for every euro the European Union is investing. From a sustainability point of view, the stocks we are accessing are already overfished, so not only are we heavily subsidising jobs, but we are doing so while exporting ecologically unsustainable fishing practices. On top of that, only 15% of the funds allocated for sectoral support in the agreement have been used to date. There is also remaining legal uncertainty on this agreement under international law as far as the rights of the people of Western Sahara are concerned.

I was disappointed that the Committee on Fisheries voted for the agreement, despite opposition from both the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Development, but I am very glad that today, the Parliament took the right decision. I hope we can strike a better agreement when this will be reviewed once again in February 2012.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D ). (FI) Mr President, I voted against the report because the present agreement contravenes international law, the human rights of the Sahrawi people and the decision of the International Court of Justice. At the same time, the agreement violates several basic principles of the European Union. The agreement is worrying from the point of view of the sustainable use of fish stocks. It is questionable whether it will benefit the people of Western Sahara at all. The agreement is also ineffectual economically.

The rejection of the report and the ending of the agreement have great symbolic significance. Support for an agreement of this type would damage the EU’s credibility. The EU must stand up for the principles of international law and the sustainable use of fish stocks worldwide. Furthermore, the European Parliament is responsible for safeguarding these basic principles. We cannot compromise on these values.

I hope that the Commission will draft an agreement that is more satisfactory in economic terms and that takes account of both the ecological perspective and the rights of the Sahrawi people in Western Sahara. At the same time, it is important that cooperation between the EU and Morocco continues.

 
  
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  Bendt Bendtsen (PPE ).(DA) Mr President, I voted against this agreement today because it has proven to be completely ineffective in relation to the development goals. In my view, there is a really compelling argument for this, and that is the dubious nature of this agreement’s validity in relation to international law. That is an ambiguity that we need to have clarified. Western Sahara has the status of a self-governing territory and is not therefore part of Morocco. The people of Western Sahara must not be prevented from benefiting from their own resources on account of an agreement between Morocco and the EU.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE ). (DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I cannot support the extension of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Morocco, because the main objectives of the agreement, namely, stabilisation of the EU market and development of the fisheries sector, have clearly not been achieved. On the contrary, numerous fish stocks have been overfished and the financial contribution by the EU has had no significant effect on the Moroccan budget. The participation of the Sahrawi people in connection with the use of their fish stocks and their receipt of a fair share of the proceeds from the fisheries have also not been guaranteed. I will only be able to support a new agreement if a solution is found that complies with international law and respects human rights. In this regard, the subsequent motion for a resolution, to which I have once again expressly given my support, was an encouraging signal for the future that we will hold further negotiations, that we will draw up a new agreement, and that this new agreement will be significantly better than the current one.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR ). – Mr President, the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco agreed a Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) in May 2006, which came into force in February 2007. The Commission has since conducted negotiations with Morocco in order to renew this FPA by a single initial protocol, which was expiring, and to extend it by one year. A protocol to renew the preceding protocol for the period of 2011 to 2012 has been provisionally applied. However, before it could come into force, it obviously needed Parliament to adopt it.

As it was a time-limited extension to a previous agreement, I could support the Committee on Fisheries’ recommendation. Given the vote, however, we now need to ensure that local people are beneficiaries of all our fisheries policies over the long term and, as such, need to ensure that any agreement on future protocols is subject to stringent criteria as set out in the resolution we agreed and voted on today.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE ).(GA) Mr President, I voted in accordance with my group on this report and although there are difficulties associated with it, we must say that we will have a chance to correct that in future and I hope we accept that opportunity.

This agreement costs EUR 36 million each year and, as mentioned, there are major difficulties with Western Sahara, which must be discussed and corrected.

I also voted in favour of the oral amendment in the other report on Morocco in which civil rights, social and environmental standards are emphasised. It is very important and must also be taken into account in future. We have an opportunity to improve this agreement in future on behalf of Morocco, Western Sahara and the Union. We must seize that opportunity.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR ). – Mr President, the common fisheries policy is being transformed from a European into a global tragedy; having emptied, exhausted and sterilised our seas, we now export the same practices to more vulnerable and poorer countries and we have the same basic flaw, which is lack of ownership rights which would have incentivised conservation.

There are successful fisheries’ conservation schemes around the world in New Zealand, in Norway, in Iceland, in the Falkland Islands, but all of them are based on giving skippers a sense of property so that they treat fisheries as a renewable resource. We tragically suffer from common ownership which makes it impossible to persuade fishermen to tie up their boats knowing that other nations’ vessels are at large in the same seas. Surely having created this ecological catastrophe in our own waters, we should now draw back before we inflict it on others.

 
  
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  Bernd Posselt (PPE ).(DE) Mr President, I am in favour of swift and constructive negotiations with Morocco. Everyone in this House knows that I am a staunch supporter of human rights. However, if we have technical problems with Morocco, we should actually discuss them at a technical level and not misuse the subject of human rights. If there is a country in North Africa where the balance between freedom and stability, between human rights and constitutional development, has, to a certain extent, been achieved, then it is Morocco. We ought to acknowledge this and not bow to the erroneous arguments of a Polisario lobby. We need to be clear on this: Morocco is an ancient, complex country that is showing positive development. As a result of the new elections, this development has gone a step further in the right direction. I would warn against misusing this matter for other purposes.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR ). – Mr President, given the failure of the common fisheries policy in Europe and the way that our seas do not have sufficient fish, what is interesting about this is the way that, as my colleague said earlier, we now seek to make agreements that are unsustainable with other countries. Because of this lack of ownership rights, which led to the failure of the CFP, we are now seeing the lack of ownership rights in other countries and we worry about the future of fish in those areas.

The real problem here is that where there are no ownership rights, a government seeks that ownership on behalf of its citizens, but in the case of Morocco, not only on behalf of its own citizens, but on behalf of the Western Saharan people, too. In this case, what will happen is that they will plunder those seas and local fishermen will lose out. When local fishermen lose out from such deals, what do they seek to do in many cases? They seek a better life in the West, in Europe. What do we then do in this House? We complain about immigration – when we have destroyed their jobs. Let us make sure we look at the full impact of these agreements and let us not destroy the seas of other countries.

 
  
  

Report: Krzysztof Lisek (A7-0428/2011 )

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE ).(IT) Mr President, the text presented today by Mr Lisek analyses the possible measures to be put into place to reduce defence costs which, in a period of financial crisis, weigh heavily on the EU budget.

The principles put forward have regard to better coordination of defence planning, the pooling and sharing of defence capabilities, support on research and technological development.

I therefore agree with the rapporteur’s position that the economic and financial crisis affecting us can be used as an opportunity for the integration of EU defence policies, providing the impetus for creating and finally implementing ambitious reforms which have long been at a stalemate.

These are the reasons why I voted for the report.

 
  
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  Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL ). – Mr President, if anyone is in any doubt about the militarised and big-business nature of the EU, they should read this report. We are in the midst of a very serious economic crisis. Working-class people are being asked to take cuts in their jobs, cuts to their pay, cuts to their public services, and here we have the Parliament agreeing to a report insisting that the so-called defence sector is protected from any cuts.

Let us be absolutely clear. This is a significant amount of European taxpayers’ money that is being funnelled into the coffers of these makers of weapons of mass destruction or weapons of individual destruction. It is fostering the development of the military-industrial complex within Europe. The biggest weapons corporation in Europe, BAE, made almost EUR 3 billion in profit last year selling weapons to the likes of Saudi Arabia and the Israeli army and selling weapons that are used in Iraq, in Afghanistan and elsewhere to kill ordinary people. Instead of pouring money into their coffers, we should be investing, creating jobs, defending public services. We should take these major corporations into democratic public ownership and we should redeploy the capital and the workers to socially useful industries.

 
  
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  Janusz Władysław Zemke (S&D ). (PL) Mr President, I welcome the report on the impact of the financial crisis on the defence sector. I wish, however, to draw attention to the fact that this situation will grow worse, and defence will receive less and less funding in the EU Member States as a result of the crisis. We must therefore concentrate this funding.

I think that it should be focused on two areas. Firstly, the Union’s common defence capabilities should be stepped up. Here, I would stress most emphatically that it is not just about the defence capabilities of individual states, but about the fact that the Union has greater capabilities. Secondly, there must be clear progress in one area, in other words, funding for research and modern technologies. In Europe, we spend a mere EUR 2 billion annually on this, while the United States spends 10 times more. Resources must be increased significantly in this area.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR ). – Mr President, the financial crisis means we need to make cuts to public spending even in the area of defence. In the UK, this was made worse by the fact that the last Labour government left the present coalition with GBP 38 billion of unfunded commitments. However, in the field of defence, as everywhere else, I do not believe the answer is ‘more Europe’. ‘More Europe’ means more costs as EU bureaucrats create super-structures, with super-budgets to match.

We must avoid expensive duplication of NATO structures and ensure that the EU has nothing to do with defence. I am proud of the British armed forces, which are a symbol of our national sovereignty and security. No matter how bad the economic crisis may be, Britain will continue to defend itself, as I would expect all sovereign nations to do.

 
  
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  Gianni Vattimo (ALDE ).(IT) Mr President, despite the serious financial crisis we are bound up in, there are certain economic sectors which are never affected, or rather only minimally affected, by the cuts imposed by the austerity measures adopted by Member States.

For example, the so-called ‘tears and blood’ financial austerity plan put together by the Italian Government is turning out to only be tears and blood for the usual suspects, in other words, workers and pensioners. Military expenditure, on the other hand, seems to be unaffected, ever since the announcement of the purchase of 131 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) bombers, which the Italian Government will still be paying for in 2026 at a total cost of around EUR 15 billion, that is, almost half of the ‘tears and blood’ plan to which we are currently being subjected.

This is just one of the reasons why I voted against the Lisek report. Despite some good ideas aimed at reducing expenditure, it describes cuts to the defence sector as concerning. Ladies and gentlemen, there are many other cuts which should be of greater concern to us at times like this.

I will finish with a rhetorical question: ‘Could it be that tomorrow, we will be forced to use all these weapons we bought today against our citizens in revolt demanding justification for our wicked choices?’

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR ). – Mr President, the report on the impact of the financial crisis on the defence sector rightly notes the trend of cuts in the defence budgets of the majority of EU Member States. It also alludes to the possible negative impact that these measures may have on their military capabilities.

However, I believe that the report itself makes the wrong proposals to address this issue, which is why I have voted against the report. It suggests that the strategic autonomy of the EU should be enhanced by acquiring more synergy in defence planning measures, such as through better coordination of defence planning – a laudable objective but one which would require harmonisation of military requirements and significant measures to increase interoperability.

It continues by proposing other measures to pool and share certain capabilities and support structures through EU institutions, which I am fundamentally opposed to. Member States’ defence policies can, of course, be more coordinated if they so choose, but this should be through choice by national parliaments and not be an EU competence.

 
  
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  Bernd Posselt (PPE ).(DE) Mr President, it is more than 60 years since Winston Churchill, here in Strasbourg, proposed the creation of a common European army. It is high time that we realised his vision. I believe that we urgently need a common European foreign and security policy and, of course, also the goal of a common European army and common European defence system. On our way to achieving this, we will be able to save enormous amounts of money. It is particularly important to highlight this during the financial crisis, because if, like the Americans, we Europeans were to acquire and purchase what we need jointly rather than separately, we would be able to save a fifth of our costs in the defence sector. We could increase our efficiency and, at the same time, free up large sums of money for other areas, for social policy for example. It is therefore high time that we very quickly followed the path towards a common European defence policy.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE ).(RO) Mr President, I voted for the report drafted by Mr Lisek because I think that the current financial crisis has also affected the defence sector in Member States. In these circumstances, there is an even greater need for coordinated planning and complementarity between national policies. This will ensure that an optimum cost-benefit ratio is achieved and will increase the EU’s competitiveness. This is why I think that the challenge posed by the crisis can be turned into an opportunity for giving the necessary impetus to a genuine common defence policy.

I should point out the recommendations made in paragraph 22 concerning practical solutions for pooling and sharing military equipment. I should stress the importance of cooperation with the US and NATO to avoid needless duplication of effort and ensure greater efficiency.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE ).(GA) Mr President although there are a lot of interesting recommendations in this report, I must say that I and my Irish colleagues in the EPP abstained from the vote on the report and from the majority of this morning’s votes. The reason we did so was because Ireland is a neutral country, and usually and regularly when it comes to defence and military affairs, we abstain. That is all, there is nothing else involved.

As parting words – I did not get the chance this morning – I would like to commend Poland for the good job they did on the Presidency for the past six months, especially Prime Minister Donald Tusk for the fine speech he delivered to us this morning.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI ). – Mr President, it is clear that what is intended by this report is a greater role for the EU in defence and security policy, and therefore I am unable to support it. I believe that because in all policy areas, my constituents want less Europe and less interference from Brussels, not more. That is especially so in this case, since much of what is talked about in the report is purely a very poor imitation of what we already have in the NATO structures.

It is inevitable that amongst 27 Member States, there will be significant differences in interest and opinion, and these differences should not be feared when they are fair and reasonable. The place for the formulation and implementation of security policy and defence policy is the Member State, not Brussels, and therefore I could not support the report.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0693/2011

 
  
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  Salvatore Iacolino (PPE ).(IT) Mr President, there is no doubt that a strengthening in bilateral relations between the European Union and a global power such as Russia will require these meetings – profitable in terms of trade – above all, if Russia finally joins the World Trade Organisation as we expect it to. In this way, we could strengthen relations and, at the same time, a host of entrepreneurs who operate in our Member States would have extra opportunities.

Another useful measure would be the liberalisation of short-stay visas to encourage internal movement, whilst the elections – which the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy described as technically well prepared and administered – represented an important step – but the wind of freedom which continues to blow in Russia has to be encouraged and supported in order to guarantee fundamental rights, the freedom of expression and, above all, those high freedoms which are strictly bound to a legal system which we expect Russia will soon be able to demonstrate.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D ). (FI) Mr President, the Strategic Partnership Agreement between the EU and Russia is very important for developing and stepping up cooperation between the two.

Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation in December is also a significant matter for Europe as a whole. It will improve economic relations and promote investment.

Security of energy supply is one of the biggest challenges that Europe faces. We need to cooperate with Russia. The EU must speak with one voice when it negotiates with Russia. The relationship must be based on mutual advantage and common values. European values are represented by democracy and freedom of speech. The Duma elections in Russia have not fulfilled the requirements of democracy, according to observers. Information that has come to light regarding election fraud is extremely worrying.

The European Union is in a difficult situation, because cooperation with Russia in energy and trade is vital for all of Europe, but, at the same time, the distortion of democracy does not fit in with European values. This matter should not be swept under the carpet.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE ).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this resolution because the EU-Russia Summit provides an opportunity to raise openly common interests as well as key differences. I am confident that its potential will be utilised. We must send a strong signal to Russia about the need for it to play a positive, active role in the efforts to settle unresolved conflicts. I welcome, in this regard, the recent resumption of the 5+2 negotiations on Transnistria.

At the same time, consistent and coherent dialogue is required with Russia on the subject of energy. Coordinated action must be taken to address common concerns, such as the proliferation of terrorism and the situation in Afghanistan, while points of agreement also need to be found on Syria and Iran. It is also important for us to stress that we would like Russia to respect the state of law and democratic standards, including in the run-up to and during the elections.

 
  
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  Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL ). – Mr President, on Saturday, a chant echoed right across Russia as people declared ‘Putin is a thief, Putin is a thief’. The regime did its very best to scare people into not attending the protests. There were massive threats of repression, with rumours of extra troops being brought into Moscow. The schools even opened on Saturday to try to prevent people from coming, but nonetheless people courageously came out and protested, in their tens and hundreds of thousands, because of the depth of anger and opposition at the blatant election rigging. One hundred thousand turned up in Moscow and ten thousand in St Petersburg, and there were up to a hundred other significant protests in other cities.

The announcement by President Medvedev of an investigation into election rigging is a very transparent attempt to divert the movement. The same is true of the managed disagreement at the top of society now, supposedly to give the impression of a democratic discussion. In my opinion, these diversions should be rejected by the movement and it should continue to fight for free and fair elections where genuine opposition parties can register and stand.

A real alternative to the parties of the oligarchs and the nationalist and populist forces is needed. That means building a mass workers’ party to fight for the overthrow of the oligarchs and capitalism and for democratic socialist change.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE ). (SK) Mr President, I would like to talk about the continuing growth in cooperation between the EU and Russia. In my opinion, this marks a step in the right direction, and ultimately, we are also, in fact, dependent on this cooperation, bearing in mind the enormous raw materials potential of the Russian Federation, and the fact that, as well as us, individual countries are cooperating with the raw materials giant. On the other hand, I would like to point out that Russia is still not up to scratch, so to speak, when it comes to fulfilling certain criteria which we in Europe consider important and essential. I have in mind the recent elections, where it was clear that a certain deficit still exists in Russia, and I am pleased that … or I would like to call on the EU, I would like to say that it is necessary to point out this dimension of mutual cooperation in talks with Russia, and to call on them to eliminate this democratic deficit.

 
  
  

Report: Mário David, Marek Siwiec (A7-0400/2011 )

 
  
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  Salvatore Iacolino (PPE ).(IT) Mr President, the review on the European Neighbourhood Policy certainly represents a strong point in relations in so far as the southern part of this important area is concerned, which is the border area in southern Europe.

This is an important issue which does not mark the end of the EU’s actions, but currently the focus is on the Mediterranean: the policy of guaranteeing fundamental rights is an absolute priority, as is the importance of encouraging trade agreements with these border regions in the south of Europe, including the regulation of migration flows, decisively tackling irregular immigration and protecting refugees on the other hand, short-stay visas for the citizens of these regions to develop the wealth and opportunities that arise through mobility, greater circular mobility and a better sharing of the experiences of democracy.

This is the aim which does not only affect the south, but the south is currently the focus.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE ).(IT) Mr President, following the Arab Spring and the events in its wake, it has become essential to review European Neighbourhood Policy. It is obvious that in the current state of play, relations with these countries should be based more closely on cooperation in order to guarantee that the focus is on democracy and security on both shores of the Mediterranean.

On this matter, I believe that intercultural and inter-religious dialogue is crucial to enhancing mutual respect and tolerance with and among the neighbourhood partner countries, while helping to combat terrorism and individual forms of extremism at the same time. For these reasons, Mr President, I naturally voted in favour.

 
  
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  Mario Pirillo (S&D ).(IT) Mr President, I can only welcome today’s report on the review of European Neighbourhood Policy and, in particular, the vital proposal to strengthen the EU’s Southern partnership, following the historic events which took place last spring, for the democratic consolidation of the area.

Funds for countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean were allocated before the crisis and, in the light of the concrete needs and modernisation of society in these countries, they seem inadequate; I think we should increase support for the instrument for civil society. I will table Parliament’s proposal to establish Euro-Mediterranean Erasmus and Leonardo programmes to the European Commission again, so as to encourage the mobility and the exchange of best practices amongst young people.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE ). (SK) Mr President, the current period of widespread political unrest and uncertainty in the countries of North Africa requires the European Neighbourhood Policy to redouble its efforts at strengthening democracy and developing the rule of law, justice and compliance with human rights, including the rights of minorities and religious freedom. We know that Christians are persecuted there. More than at any time previously, we must place greater emphasis on the internal democratisation and stabilisation of target countries by strengthening state institutions as well as civil society, which should be an important partner in discussions on the future of a given country. As the neighbouring countries of the EU are so diverse in terms of culture, religion and civilisation, the EU must, in accordance with the principle of differentiation, provide proper targeted assistance in order to increase the actual impact of adopted measures. Apart from supporting reform processes, we must discuss and find common solutions to cross-border issues such as immigration, human trafficking and combating organised crime.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE ).(FR) Mr President, at a time when Europe is in the depths of an unprecedented financial crisis, which testifies to the interdependency of our economies, and while the countries to the south of the Mediterranean are now pursuing a new political approach following the will of their peoples, it is more essential than ever before to consolidate the relationships of the European Union with its neighbours on the Mediterranean rim and in eastern Europe.

Through the European Neighbourhood Policy, the European Union is seizing opportunities to share its democratic values of the rule of law and good governance. It is supporting the reforms carried out by its partners, who are in the midst of unprecedented political transition.

We have a role to play in this historic upheaval, but we must be careful not to impose a model that does not exactly meet the needs of the peoples who have been brave enough to rise up and reject a system that they no longer found acceptable. The Arab revolutions have redefined the contours of the European Neighbourhood Policy. We must be delighted about that.

 
  
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  Eduard Kukan (PPE ). – Mr President, I believe that the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy is timely and necessary. It can become an important tool for the EU to make a difference in our neighbourhood countries. It needs to be oriented towards supporting values such as broad democratic developments and human rights.

I welcome therefore the more-for-more performance-based approach which gives greater political and financial support to the countries that undertake reforms. Coming from a country which went through such transformation, I am sure that this approach is the right one. I am also glad that the report confirmed new tools such as the European Endowment for Democracy. I hope that such flexible, fast and targeted instruments will be able to effectively support the democratic process in the world; that is the reason I voted for the adoption of the report.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR ). – Mr President, the European Neighbourhood Policy review acknowledges the challenges faced by the EU and crucially takes into account the recent events of the Arab Spring uprisings. Recently, we have seen the overthrow of long-standing regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya and continuing violence in Syria, to name a few countries seeking a new democratic structure.

The report sensibly suggests that our approach should be to support further progress towards deep democracy and to support sustainable social and economic development in our neighbouring countries. It also recognises the need to build effective regional partnerships, as this is in the interests of the EU as a whole and best done collectively. It is for these reasons that I have been able to support this report.

 
  
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  Bernd Posselt (PPE ).(DE) Mr President, the report deals very well with all of the major common issues, from democracy and the rule of law to migration issues and the combating of poverty. We ought to make it very clear, however, that what we fought to achieve, namely, the distinction between the Eastern and Mediterranean Partnership, absolutely must be retained. That was achieved by the Czech Presidency under Karel Schwarzenberg. After all, these countries have a lot in common, but there are also differences. In the Mediterranean, we are dealing with important non-European neighbours, while in the East, we are dealing with European countries which, for various reasons, are not able to be granted candidate status at the present time. Both of these need our support.

There is one issue in particular that I would like to highlight. That is the question of energy policy, renewable raw materials, for example, in Ukraine, and solar energy in the Mediterranean, for example. We have a great deal of work to do here in connection with neighbourhood policy and this work is our joint responsibility. However, as I said, this is a major achievement. We should treat things that are different differently.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE ).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report because I regard it as a key element in the current shift in the European Neighbourhood Policy.

I support the implementation of the Human Rights Clause and conditionality in the new approach. Compliance with the terms of the agreements with the EU must be verified every year, as we requested in the amendment made to item 8. Strengthening the bilateral aspect for exchanging good practices is important, as we specified in the amendments tabled for items 11 and 12. This will ensure that the necessary instruments are available to settle the unresolved conflicts in the neighbouring regions.

I should mention at this point the resumption of the 5+2 negotiations between Chişinău and Tiraspol in Vilnius on 30 November. The declaration signed by both sides offers the framework needed to establish the principles for conducting the discussion. This presents Europe with an opportunity to consolidate its position by going from an observer to a fully-fledged negotiator.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI ). – Mr President, whilst I agree with a number of important principles that underpin the European Neighbourhood Policy, such as supporting progress towards a functioning democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law in neighbouring countries, I did not support this report.

Through the European Neighbourhood Policy, the EU hopes to fuel the economic development of bordering areas. However, as we are in the crucial and dangerous stages of our own crisis, we must ask ourselves: is the provision of an additional EUR 1 billion for the ENP until 2013, and a further proposed budget of EUR 18.2 billion for the period from 2014 to 2020, the best way to utilise this money for the benefit of citizens in EU Member States, especially when the money allocated to the previous policy failed to support those who, in the Arab Spring, fought against merciless dictators, many of whom this House and the leaders of EU institutions had fêted and praised?

 
  
  

Report: Sophia in ’t Veld (A7-0286/2011 )

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D ). (FI) Mr President, I voted in favour of this report. Terrorism and the threat of terrorism are blatant crimes against our society. Terrorism aims to undermine our basic values, human rights and the principle of democracy.

The counter-terrorism strategy takes account of human rights and the protection of personal data. We are already bound by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in this. A respect for human rights is already, in itself, an effective counter-terrorism policy. We cannot surrender our values in the face of terrorism.

We need to give more attention to the matter of the preventive fight against terrorism, since radicalisation is one of today’s greatest threats to our society. Racism and exclusion are linked to the emergence of extremism. Resources need to be concentrated on greater tolerance in societies and the prevention of exclusion. I would also call for an open, broad-based debate, involving society as a whole, on our common European values.

 
  
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  Janusz Władysław Zemke (S&D ). (PL) Mr President, I supported the report on EU counter-terrorism policy. I am deeply convinced of the need to support it since, unfortunately, terrorism and organised crime are today the primary threat to security in Europe. Combating this threat requires cooperation between the Union’s Member States and coordination between the different services – here I am thinking of the intelligence services and the police, but also the judiciary. If it is to be effective, this fight must be conducted not just by one country but by all countries. I therefore also believe that the powers of the EU’s Counter-Terrorism Coordinator should be increased. This seems to me to be very important.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI ). – Mr President, as a representative of Northern Ireland, and having lived through a terrorist campaign waged in our Province for over thirty years, effective counter-terrorism strategy remains a priority in my constituency. Sadly, there remains a rump within Republicanism who still cannot comprehend that their objectives cannot be reached through murder and mayhem.

While it is right that we should prioritise the threat of organisations such as al-Qaeda, we should not forget the threat posed in individual Member States. I condemn unreservedly the shooting of a young man in Londonderry this morning, in my constituency.

Effective anti-terrorism measures are a must. Anti-terrorism measures must be coordinated across national borders and in line with a threat-based approach. The sharing of data is important, as long as the necessary safeguards are in place. There is some merit in this report, but I could not support some aspects of it and therefore I abstained.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR ). – Mr President, international pressure and cooperation is an invaluable tool in the fight against global and local terrorism alike. I can therefore see the benefits of Member States working together on counter-terrorism measures and the EU has already made significant progress in counter-terrorism work, such as in the sharing of international banking data and air passenger security.

Whilst the report on the EU’s counter-terrorism policy puts forward some sensible measures to the policy, such as a risk-based approach that is tailored to each Member State and the need to examine the costs and the current allocation of European spending, there are still a number of areas that require clarification.

I am not comfortable with permitting the EU institutions to act as the facilitator of intelligence sharing between Member States, as this should not be an EU competence. Issues concerning national security are a Member State competence and should remain so. Terrorists do not respect borders; they act globally. Counter-terrorism measures need equally to reflect a global, not solely EU, focus.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Gabriele Albertini (A7-0397/2011 )

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D ), in writing.(PT) I am voting for this report because we need to support candidate and potential candidate countries for accession to the European Union, notably Iceland, Montenegro and Turkish Cyprus, to enable them to stay in line with European policy. I also support the Commission proposal to make this instrument compatible with other support instruments, like that of cross-border cooperation. I consider this instrument essential for preparing, in due course, for the possible integration of these candidate and potential candidate countries, given that, in the latter cases, there is serious need for reforms, particularly in terms of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE ), in writing.(IT) The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) offers support for the period 2007-2013 to countries that are committed to the EU’s accession process. This assistance is provided as part of European partnerships with potential candidates and actual candidates for accession, including the Western Balkan States and Iceland. Iceland and Montenegro have been candidate countries for EU entry since 2010. Since the IPA is quite a flexible tool, it is possible to alter support for beneficiary countries based on the requirements which emerge from the Commission’s evaluations and documents. Here we see two different situations: Iceland, for example, has a per capita GDP which is higher than the European average, whilst the administrative and financial management of Montenegro, due to its different national history, has quite different demands and issues in terms of financial transparency. We therefore need to adapt the allocation rules for IPA financing – Cross-border Cooperation (CBC) and the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) – to reflect the new information available on the two candidate countries.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE ), in writing. (FR) Candidate countries for accession to the European Union (Western Balkans, Turkey and Iceland) receive financial aid through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA). Before they are accepted as fully-fledged Member States, the Union prepares them to incorporate the acquis communautaire into their national policies. The IPA is conditional on an obligation to produce results and relates to strengthening institutional capacities, cross-border cooperation, economic and social development and rural development. I voted in favour of the Albertini report which allows Montenegro and Iceland to qualify for assistance under this instrument.

 
  
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  Zoltán Bagó (PPE ), in writing. (HU) I approve of the Commission proposal for the amendment of Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 of 17 July 2006 on three points; these are measures that do not entail additional expenses. The first amendment involves Iceland and Montenegro being moved from the list of potential candidate countries to that of candidate countries. The Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) has always supported the enlargement process in countries of the Western Balkans, while Iceland has already begun accession negotiations as it meets the Copenhagen criteria by far. I agree with the Commission’s second proposal for amendment which would limit participation in the CBC programmes, that is, the cross-border cooperation programmes of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), exclusively to local actors. Being a border country of the European Union, it is particularly important to Hungary that participation in tenders is limited to applicants from countries that are involved in the relevant CBC programmes of the IPA. One potential candidate country remains in the neighbourhood of my country, and that is Serbia. I also endorse the third amendment, which was introduced for the purpose of enabling the PHARE Committee to continue to support the Commission in the management of financial assistance granted to the Turkish community of Cyprus.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D ), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of this because Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 of 17 July 2006 establishing an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) ((2)) offers assistance to candidate and potential candidate countries in aligning themselves gradually to EU standards and policies, including the acquis , if appropriate, with a view to joining. At the same time, the regulation clearly distinguishes between candidate countries and potential candidate countries.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE ), in writing.(PT) The Commission is proposing to the Council and Parliament the amendment of Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 of 17 July 2006, which set up an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, with a view to transferring Iceland and Montenegro from the list of potential candidate countries (Annex II) to the list of candidate countries (Annex I). The purpose of these amendments is to clarify the rules for accessing subsidy agreements financed under the umbrella of the cross-border component, and to ensure compatibility with other external aid instruments, particularly the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument.

I welcome this proposal, which recognises the new status of these two countries, and I hope both of them will be able to continue down the path of further integration with Europe.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE ), in writing.(PT) This report concerns the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 creating the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, whose purpose is guiding the practices of countries wishing to accede to the European Union. With a view to this progressive alignment, the regulation makes a distinction between ‘candidate countries’ and ‘potential candidate countries’; that is, between those nearing accession and those which still have some distance to go. Iceland and Montenegro requested accession to the European Union on 17 June and 17 December 2010, respectively, and the Council decided, on the basis of the Commission’s opinion, that accession negotiations should begin as soon as the conditions set out at the 1993 European Council in Copenhagen were met, when they would merit the status of ‘candidate countries’. I am therefore voting for the amendments to Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 intended to clarify the rules on entering into subsidy agreements under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (cross-border cooperation) and to ensure its compatibility with the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D ), in writing. (SK) In its conclusions of 17 June 2010, the European Council stated that Iceland fulfils the political criteria set out by the Council in Copenhagen in 1993, and welcomed the Commission’s opinion on Iceland’s application for EU membership. For these reasons, the European Council decided to begin negotiations with Iceland. Iceland is therefore a candidate country. Later, in December 2010, the European Council approved the Council’s conclusions of 14 December 2010 on expansion, and also accorded candidate country status to Montenegro. The Commission therefore proposed to the Council and the European Parliament an amendment to Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 of 17 July 2006 establishing an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) in view of the transfer of Iceland and Montenegro from the list of potential candidate countries to the list of candidate countries. Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 draws a clear distinction between candidate countries and potential candidate countries. In relation to the clarification of the rules applying to grant contracts financed under the cross-border cooperation element of the IPA, and ensuring cohesion with the other instruments for external cooperation, in particular, the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument, it is right to propose an amendment to Article 19 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006.

 
  
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  Pat the Cope Gallagher (ALDE ), in writing. – I welcome the adoption of this report on pre-accession assistance in my capacity as the Chairman of the EU-Iceland Joint Parliamentary Committee.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD ), in writing. (LT) The European Council of 17 June 2010, in its conclusions, noted that Iceland meets the political criteria set by the Copenhagen European Council in 1993 and welcomed the Commission’s opinion on Iceland’s application for membership of the EU. On those grounds, the European Council decided to open negotiations with Iceland. Iceland is therefore a candidate country. The European Council of 16-17 December 2010 endorsed the Council’s conclusions of 14 December 2010 on enlargement and agreed to give Montenegro the status of candidate country. I voted in favour of this document because the Commission is proposing to the Council and Parliament that Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 of 17 July 2006 establishing an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance should be amended with a view to transferring Iceland and Montenegro from the list of potential candidate countries to the list of candidate countries.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D ), in writing. – I voted for this resolution, which allows Iceland and Montenegro to be placed on the list of countries qualifying for pre-accession assistance.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL ), in writing. (FR) This report proposes granting Iceland and Montenegro the financial aid offered to candidate countries for accession to the European Union. This assistance aims to support the implementation of the criteria for membership of the Union. Payment is subject to the obligation to achieve results in the implementation of these criteria, including the establishment of a market economy with free and fair competition, as enshrined in the Union, and the implementation of European regulations and directives. The social consequences of implementing conditions such as these are unacceptable.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE ), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour because I think the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) is useful and important. The purpose of the IPA is to grant assistance to candidate countries to meet their needs, on the basis of annual strategy reports on the countries in question issued by the Commission. It makes aid for strengthening institutional capacity, cross-border cooperation and economic and social development more effective and coherent by including it in a single framework. Pre-accession assistance promotes the stabilisation of candidate countries and potential candidate countries, while respecting their particularities.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI ), in writing. (DE) Since 2007, EU pre-accession assistance has been channelled via a standardised instrument which is intended to provide targeted support to candidate countries and potential candidate countries in the areas of support for transition, institution building, cross-border cooperation, regional development, development of human resources and rural development. In the past, there have been frequent occurrences of irregularities. Billions of euro are still going missing because Brussels is not able or willing finally to make lasting changes aimed at putting this instrument in order. With a laissez-faire attitude, Brussels is not even making an effort to demand back the funds that have been wrongly paid out. Again, the will to make changes seems to be lacking. Now we want to include Northern Cyprus as well, even though the Turks there are not even prepared to maintain or renovate the cultural monuments. I therefore voted against the report.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI ), in writing. (DE) The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance serves to provide pre-accession assistance to candidate countries such as Montenegro or Turkey. Every year, the European Court of Auditors once more finds irregularities and errors in the payment of the pre-accession assistance. In addition, the accession process for Turkey should generally be stopped, as Turkey is not a suitable candidate country, and it continues to prove this itself impressively again and again. Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus provides one example of this, where, despite EU aid, churches and other cultural monuments are neglected, destroyed or converted into mosques or other facilities. The report advocates an increase in assistance for the Turkish community in Northern Cyprus, which, in view of the situation described above, I consider to be unacceptable.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD ), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution, the purpose of which is to transfer Iceland and Montenegro from the list of potential candidate countries to the list of candidate countries. I am pleased that both countries have made huge progress towards EU integration and have fulfilled the political requirements, the Copenhagen criteria. It should be noted that the decision to transfer these countries to the list of candidates will have a positive impact on EU enlargement processes, which are one of the EU’s key priorities. Attention is drawn to the fact that the degree of alignment of Iceland with EU legislation through the European Economic Area Agreement and its level of economic and social development make it an exception among candidate countries. Meanwhile, the candidate status granted to Montenegro is a great step forward for this country. However, in order to ensure that further processes and negotiations run smoothly and swiftly, both countries must continue to make every effort to implement domestic reforms and properly fulfil the requirements for and take on the obligations associated with membership of the EU.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE ), in writing. (IT) I agree with the proposal for a regulation for establishing pre-accession assistance for new members of the EU. I think that basic conditions need to be imposed which mean that countries that want to enter the pre-existing Community meet the level of those that are already members so as to avoid too great a distinction, even at the beginning, which could give rise to problems and a more complicated collaboration between these countries.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE ), in writing. (PT) The purpose of this proposal for a regulation amending the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance is to transfer Iceland and Montenegro from the list of potential candidate countries to the list of candidate countries. This amendment is the result of the decisions of the European Council. The Commission proposal was adopted unanimously by the European Parliament at first reading. I voted for this proposal.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE ), in writing. (IT) The amendment addresses the concern, expressed by EU Member States involved in cross-border cooperation (CBC) programmes, with regard to participation in calls for proposals. I agree with the Member States that participation in calls for proposals should be limited to applicants from countries participating in the relevant CBC programme, and I therefore voted in favour of the proposal for a regulation on accession negotiations.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE ), in writing.(PT) The purpose of this Commission proposal is to amend Article 19 of Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006, of the Council, creating an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance. The intention behind this text is to support candidate countries or potential candidate countries in their accession to the European Union, helping them to progress further towards the acquis communautaire . The purpose of amending Article 19 is to resolve a dispute that has emerged in the meantime, and entails no substantial changes. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE ), in writing. – In favour. Having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2011)0446 ); having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 212(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0208/2011 ); having regard to Article 294(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; having regard to Rules 55 and 46(1) of its Rules of Procedure; having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A7-0397/2011 ), the European Parliament has adopted its position at first reading, taking over the Commission proposal; calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend its proposal substantially or replace it with another text; and instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR ), in writing. – I and the ECR Group which I coordinate on the Committee on Foreign Affairs voted today to support the Albertini report on amending the Instrument for Pre-accession. The enlargement of the EU to 27 Member States has been a great success story, although enlargement fatigue has now set in. I am the standing rapporteur of the Parliament for Montenegro and I am pleased that Montenegro and Macedonia have now been moved from potential candidates to candidates for EU membership under IPA. But I deeply regret that at the European Council summit last Friday, in spite of recommendations from the Commission and – in the case of Montenegro – for reasons of domestic politics in a couple of Member States and – in the case of Macedonia – for reasons of the name the country uses to describe itself, which is objected to by Greece, they have still been blocked in Council as candidates from opening negotiations. This is deeply frustrating to their governments and also deeply unfair to their people.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE ), in writing . – (PT) The Commission is proposing to the Council and Parliament three amendments to Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 creating an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance. The purpose of one is to transfer Iceland and Montenegro from the list of potential candidate countries (Annex II) to the list of candidate countries (Annex I), following decisions of the European Council. Another is intended to revise two aspects of Article 19: on the issues of evaluating coherence with Regulation (EC) No 2112/2005 – the ‘Untying Aid Regulation’ – and on the coherence of other foreign aid instruments. The last amends the second paragraph of Article 25(1). The European Parliament adopted these proposals and I voted for them.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI ), in writing. (DE) On 17 June 2010, the European Council decided to grant Montenegro and Iceland candidate country status, which also entailed an amendment to the regulation establishing an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA). In the second amendment, relating to Article 19 on ‘rules of participation and origin, eligibility for grants’, the demands of the Member States to limit participation in calls for proposals to applicants from those countries participating in the relevant IPA cross-border cooperation programmes were taken into account. The third amendment, relating to Article 25, guarantees that the Phare committee can continue to assist the Commission in the management of the financial assistance to the Turkish Cypriot community.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE ), in writing. (IT) The text tabled by Mr Albertini concerns the proposal for an amendment to the regulation establishing an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance for those countries with the prospect of becoming members of the EU. The aim is to provide assistance according to the needs of the countries concerned from the current year’s budget, based on the Commission’s annual strategy reports on the countries in question. Given the usefulness of this Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
  

Report: Andres Perello Rodriguez (A7-0224/2011 )

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D ), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report. We need a new support framework for European producers and processing industries, so as to promote more use being made of what we in the European Union produce, which would give income directly to these producers and industries. By way of example, almost 80% of the orange juice consumed in the European Union comes from the United States and Brazil. This cannot be justified, since we produce excellent citrus fruit: we can produce high-quality fruit juice locally and at European level, although in this case, we also need to stimulate production.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE ), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution relating to fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption. This product sector represents a sufficiently important part of European Union industry. However, to take just one example – orange juice – it is worth noting that over 82% of the orange juice consumed in Europe is mainly produced in Brazil and the United States. In other words, less than 20% of the orange juice consumed in the EU is produced here. I agree with the rapporteur that it is therefore important to support the European sector, by bringing the directive into line with international law and the Codex and establishing the same rules for all products marketed within the territory of the Community. The aim, as stated in the recitals of the directive, is to contribute towards the free movement of these products. The European Union produces high-quality fruit juices, which contribute to a healthy and balanced diet. They are manufactured according to the sustainability standards supported by our laws. Therefore, from the point of view of businesses operating in the EU, the requirement that all products being marketed in the EU should be subject to the same standards of quality is fair. We also have to consider environmental aspects: local products do not have to be transported over vast distances, generating CO2 emissions. It should be underlined that this document is not about European protectionism, but the continued pursuit of sustainability in all sectors of our economy. The overall quality of a product can also be measured by its ethical quality, its ecological quality and quantitative aspects.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE ), in writing. (RO) The amendment of the specific provisions of Directive 2001/112/EC on the labelling of fruit juices and similar products is required to protect the interests of consumers and ensure that fruit juices are labelled as clearly as possible. This labelling will have to reflect the new rules on authorised ingredients, such as those relating to the addition of sugars, which is no longer authorised in fruit juices. Consumers must have the opportunity to distinguish between the types of products which have misleading or ambiguous names. This is why I voted in favour of the Perello Rodriguez report on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 2001/112/EC relating to fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE ), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the new European rules on the ingredients and labelling of fruit juices as laid down in the Perello Rodriguez report. These rules will allow for more accurate information to be provided to consumers on the content of fruit juices. Thus, it will no longer be possible to abuse the claim ‘no added sugars’. Similarly, these new rules will provide protection to the consumer, particularly diabetics, by making a clear difference between fruit juices and nectars which have different sugar content.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D ), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this legislative resolution and welcomed Parliament’s position at first reading. The Commission’s proposal seeks to amend, for the second time, the 2001 Council Directive relating to fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption. The directive lays down rules governing the composition, use of reserved descriptions, manufacturing specifications and labelling of the products concerned, in order to ensure their free movement within the European Union. The proposal reaffirms the distinction between fruit juice and fruit juice from concentrate, simplifies the provisions on the restitution of flavour and aroma, provides for the removal of sugar from the list of authorised ingredients and includes tomatoes in the list of fruits used for fruit juice production. I agree that the Commission and the Member States should carry out targeted information campaigns in order to inform consumers of the different categories of juices and similar products introduced by this directive and to make it easier for them to differentiate between juice and nectar for instance.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE ), in writing. (RO) I voted for this resolution because I realise that it is vital for consumers to have good information, especially when it comes to food products. Through the relevant labelling provisions, the new regulations provide greater clarity and transparency about the content of fruit juices.

I am thinking, in particular, about the rules on the listing of ingredients, the sugar content and the quantity of different fruits in each product. Clear information on this subject makes an important contribution to consumer health. It will be helpful to some groups of people who suffer from specific disorders, such as diabetes. At the same time, it can also prove to be important for promoting a healthy diet, thereby helping reduce the risks of obesity, for instance. I should stress that these aspects are especially necessary for children who form a large group of fruit juice consumers. Last but not least, I welcome the provisions aimed at mentioning the origin of the juices’ main ingredients. I appreciate that they can help promote fruit originating in the EU, thereby providing support to European farmers.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE ) , in writing. (PT) This report makes a second amendment to Council Directive 2001/112/EC of 20 December 2001 relating to fruit juices and certain similar products for human consumption. It lays down new rules on the composition, naming, manufacturing specifications and labelling of fruit juices within the European Union. These new rules reflect new international regulations on permitted ingredients and the addition of sugar, which will no longer be allowed in fruit juices. The new rules, which will apply to all such products sold within the EU, even those imported from third countries, also specify that only juice not containing other fruit juices may be sold as ‘orange juice’. In the case of juices sold as a mixture of two or more juices, the name should also include the proportion of each fruit juice included, in descending order of volume. These measures need to be reinforced by specific information campaigns enabling customers to know exactly what product they are buying. I am therefore voting for this report.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE ), in writing. (FR) New labelling rules for fruit juices and nectars have been adopted by the European Parliament and they offer consumers greater transparency. The goal is indeed to inform consumers, so that they have clear information about what is a genuine fruit juice and what is not. These rules aim to prevent potentially misleading names being given to mixtures of fruit juices and to define clearly the ‘no added sugar’ claims so that consumers are able to quickly and clearly identify the presence of sugars or sweeteners. Henceforth, a mixture of two juices will also have to be named in such a way that fully reflects its contents. Consumers must be provided with accurate information so that they can make informed choices when purchasing food products such as fruit juices.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D ), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because I agree that we have to create the conditions to continue to develop the European Union’s fruit juice (and similar products) sector. The EU directive adopted back in 2001 brought major and important changes to the way the industry is regulated and, most importantly, to consumer protection. That is because, under this directive, producers were obliged to indicate on labels whether the juice was produced from concentrate or whether it is genuine pressed fruit juice. It is proposed that this distinction be maintained in the review phase of the abovementioned directive. Another key feature of the revision is that it brings the directive more closely into line with the Codex Alimentarius and determines whether certain processes applied for juices produced in other regions of the globe can be applied for juices produced in the European Union. Take, for instance, the addition of mandarin juice to orange juice, which the European Parliament does not oppose because this not only intensifies the colour and flavour but, in some cases, responds to the demands of certain categories of consumer. Although Parliament is looking more closely at so-called flavour reconstitution, it agrees with the Commission’s position that flavour, pulp and cells obtained by suitable physical means from the same species of fruit may be restored to the juice, but consumers must be informed of this on the packaging.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE ), in writing. (IT) I voted for Mr Perello Rodriguez’s report. In Europe, fruit juices and certain similar products constitute an industrial sector of considerable size. Nevertheless, taking orange juice as a point of reference, 82% of the juice consumed in the EU comes directly from Brazil and the United States, while less than 20% is produced in Europe.

The European processing industry, unlike that in other countries, is complementary to the fresh produce market and consequently, this results in large-scale importation of fresh produce, leading to high environmental costs in terms of CO2 . We must therefore firmly support the European sector, which offers significant added value, not least in terms of employment and improving the quality of produce, including through more sustainable production processes which can also influence producers in third countries.

Furthermore, I also agree with the importance of using wording such as ‘no added sugar’ on packages, since there is considerable confusion surrounding these kinds of products. At the same time, I believe it is right to launch targeted information campaigns to enable consumers to know exactly what they are buying.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE ), in writing. (CS) Fruit juices produced in the European Union are high-quality products which contribute to a healthy and balanced diet and are manufactured according to the sustainability standards supported by our law. It is therefore important that we should ensure the high quality of all products sold on the European market. Without seeking to undermine any import policy, this report, in my opinion, rightly favours the consumption of local products, which do not have to be transported over vast distances, which are produced under social and labour conditions that are acceptable under Community law, and which are manufactured according to the food safety principles of the EU. This is not a matter of European protectionism, but of reflecting the continued pursuit of sustainability in all sectors of our economy. The overall quality of a product can also be measured by its ethical quality, its ecological quality and its social quality. Although I agree with most of the requirements in the draft revision submitted by the Commission, I have some doubts regarding the role of this body in the future, specifically in relation to the delegated acts. For this reason, I agree with the correction to Article 7a paragraph 1a such that the period for the Commission’s delegated powers is amended from ‘an unfixed period’ to five years. I would also like to add that the tacit renewal mechanism should be used if there are no substantial changes after five years justifying a revision of the rules.

 
  
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  Zuzana Brzobohatá (S&D ), in writing. (CS) The report is devoted mainly to clarifying the legal environment for the labelling of fruit juices. This primarily involves the definition of terms such as ‘fruit juice’, ‘fruit nectar’, ‘fruit drink’ and ‘lemonade’. The terms in question mainly indicate differences in the content of fruit juice, with the term ‘fruit juice’ itself denoting 100% fruit content, while the fruit content in nectar can be as low as 25%, and in a fruit drink less than 25%. The amendment to the directive also introduces a new obligation to indicate on the packaging, in lettering at least half the size of the product name, whether it is a fruit juice, nectar, drink or lemonade. This measure will help to make consumers more aware of the content of these products, and consumers will more easily understand the quality of a given product. The consumer will also not be confused in future as to whether a product is 100% fruit or whether it contains any substitutes. I consider all of the proposed measures to be beneficial to consumers. Older people in particular will be better able to understand what the actual content of a given product is, and I consider this important in relation to the forthcoming Year for Active Ageing.

 
  
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  Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE ), in writing. (RO) The new rules on fruit juices and certain similar products introduce for the first time a clear distinction between natural fruit juices and drinks which contain added sugar. Our aim in adopting this report is not to make a choice for consumers, but only to ensure that they are fully informed at the time of choosing the product. Given that the sector for fruit juices and other similar products is an industry with a considerable market share in the European Union, the revised rules on the composition and labelling of these products and a clear indication of added sugar will ensure the high quality of all products sold throughout the EU and will help improve the internal market.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D ), in writing. (RO) I voted for the proposal for a directive on fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption. It is necessary to support the European sector by bringing the directive into line with international law and the Codex, and establishing the same rules for all products marketed in the EU. The aim is not only to contribute towards the free movement of these products, but also to clarify the legislation on labelling, product classification, authorised ingredients and the admissibility of certain practices.

Therefore, the proposed revision will also benefit imported products already being marketed in the European Union, since the new directive will give producers in third countries the opportunity to improve the quality of their products through more sustainable production processes. The existence of one set of rules for all operators will also prevent fraud and unfair competition and help provide clearer information to consumers.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE ), in writing. (PT) This draft legislative resolution amending Directive 2001/112/EC is basically a technical proposal, designed to clarify and simplify the legal framework for production and labelling of fruit juice for human consumption within the European Union. I agree with the compromise reached in the trialogue, which is reflected in the amendments tabled by the rapporteur, so I voted for this report which has now been adopted at first reading.

 
  
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  Marielle De Sarnez (ALDE ), in writing. (FR) The vote in favour of clearer labelling of fruit juices and nectars will prevent Europeans being misled as regards the ingredients in these products, particularly when they contain a mixture of several different juices. Consumers will now know, when there is a mixture of juices, the precise proportion of each fruit used in producing this mixture. The name given to these mixed juices will also have to better reflect the ingredients actually used to produce the drink, by indicating the different fruits used. Furthermore, clearer information on sugar and sweetener content in these products will also be included on the labels. Specifically, fruit juices will not include by definition any sweetener or added sugar, unlike nectars. Now, Europeans who are diabetic or who are following a diet will be in a better position to choose the right products for their needs.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE ), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report specifying the ingredients of fruit-based beverages in order to provide our fellow citizens with guarantees with regard to the ingredients of the products that they purchase and thus to allow them to make better-informed consumer choices. There must be complete transparency in all exchanges within the single market.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI ), in writing. – Reliable and clear information to consumers is vital and it is welcome that accurate information on fruit juice packaging has been a priority for the rapporteur and those at the negotiating table.

The key factor for me, and I think for many consumers, in this is the clear distinction between a product that is a fruit juice and those that are a fruit juice from concentrate. I am glad this key difference will remain clearly identifiable to the consumer, as indeed the health benefits in terms of vitamin intake can be quite stark between a pure fruit juice and a concentrate. We want fruit juices to be an easy way to reach the recommended five a day of a healthy diet, and that consumers have the information to make an informed choice.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D ), in writing.(PT) I voted for the report on ‘fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption’ because it contains rules on the composition and labelling of these products, which will give consumers clearer information, particularly with regard to added sugar, which is particularly important for people with diabetes.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE ), in writing. (PT) Fruit juices account for 10% of all non-alcoholic drinks consumed in Europe. Only a small percentage of these are produced locally, with 82% imported from Brazil. It is important to stimulate European fruit juice production, so as to support our processing industries and producers. It is also crucial to give consumers the information they need, so that they know exactly what kind of juices they are consuming and can make a conscious and informed choice.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE ), in writing . – (PT) The purpose of the Commission proposal is to introduce a second amendment to Council Directive 2001/112/EC of 20 December 2001 relating to fruit juices and certain similar products for human consumption. The fruit juices produced within the European Union are high-quality products, produced in accordance with sustainability standards, and form part of a healthy and balanced diet. It is therefore crucial to ensure the quality of all products sold within the European Union. Without wishing to jeopardise any type of import policy, this report encourages local production, which should not be transported vast distances because of the resulting CO2 emissions, and which is produced under social and working conditions that comply with EU legislation and EU food safety principles. I believe information for consumers is crucial in alerting them to the danger of misreading information, particularly with regard to removing mentions of ‘no added sugar’, without first effectively clarifying them to the consumer. I agree with the rapporteur that we need to give the industry enough time to communicate with and inform consumers.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL ), in writing . – (PT) We are voting for this report, whose purpose is to clarify issues relating to descriptions, flavourings and improved information to consumers in this area. It also proposes to ban the use of potentially misleading or ambiguous descriptions such as ‘natural fruit juice’, which might lead consumers to think, wrongly, that a juice is extracted directly from the fruit, when, in some cases, it is produced from concentrate. That is why there are currently difficulties with, for example, distinguishing ‘juices’ from ‘nectars’, and why the presence or not of added sugar is important, so that consumers can make choices according to their specific needs and wishes. For these reasons, information campaigns on the different categories of juice would be welcome.

However, there are a number of concerns, also expressed in the report, about the delegation of powers to the European Commission, namely, in relation to changes in permitted ingredients. This was the area which presented the greatest problems during negotiations with the Council and which, for this very reason, should not be amended using delegated acts. The proposal for a directive provides for an 18-month period for introducing the new legislation, which enables the industry to make the necessary changes.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL ), in writing. (PT) The purpose of the report is to clarify issues relating to descriptions, flavourings and improved information to consumers in this area. It also proposes to ban the use of potentially misleading or ambiguous descriptions such as ‘natural fruit juice’, which might lead consumers to think, wrongly, that a juice is extracted directly from the fruit, when, in some cases, it is produced from concentrate. This is why there are currently difficulties with, for example, distinguishing ‘juices’ from ‘nectars’, and why the presence or not of added sugar is important, so that consumers can make choices according to their specific needs and wishes. For these reasons, information campaigns on the different categories of juice would be welcome.

However, there are a number of concerns, also expressed in the report, about the delegation of powers to the European Commission, namely, in relation to changes in permitted ingredients. This was the area which presented the greatest problems during negotiations with the Council and which, for this very reason, should not be amended using delegated acts. The proposal for a directive provides for an 18-month period for introducing the new legislation, which enables the industry to make the necessary changes.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D ), in writing. (SK) The fruit juice market in the EU accounts for 10% of total consumption of non-alcoholic drinks. As far as market breakdown is concerned, output of fruit juices from concentrate is greater than that of juices produced directly. In terms of the global market in fruit juices, a large number of EU countries are primarily supplied by Spain and Brazil. In Council Directive 2001/112/EC of 20 December 2001 relating to fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption, specific provisions are laid down regarding the production, composition and labelling of fruit juices and similar products, in order to enhance their free movement within the EU. In my opinion, those rules should be adapted to technical progress and should take account of developments in the relevant international standards. The ordinary legislative procedure set out in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union will apply to this proposed directive. The redefinition of the powers of the Commission (Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty) will also be taken into account. As a result of this, the submitted draft directive amends Articles 7 and 8 of the current directive by incorporating all of the implementing measures into the category of delegated acts.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD ), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the proposal, in the light of the amendments that were made to it during the trialogue. It is more in line with the recently approved regulation on the provision of food information to consumers, having established that the words ‘no added sugar’ must be written on packaging for a transition period of four and a half years.

 
  
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  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE ), in writing. (IT) Over the last two decades, consumption of fruit juices in Europe has almost doubled, owing in part to European awareness campaigns on what constitutes a proper diet. Thanks to the directive adopted today, fruit juice can at last be defined as such only if it contains 100% fruit without any kind of additive, with an indication of the origin of the raw material used. Moreover, Europe must ensure greater transparency for consumers, not least through the indication of the origin of the raw materials used. This is a fundamental fact considering that 82% of the orange juice consumed in Europe comes from Brazil and the United States. Therefore, from now on, we shall no longer be in danger of finding on our tables juices created from mixtures of unknown fruits which are not indicated on the product. Thanks to this new element of the EU’s Codex Alimentarius, I hope that the new directive will improve the quality of European products and promote more informed purchases by consumers.

 
  
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  Françoise Grossetête (PPE ), in writing. (FR) It was essential to provide more accurate information to consumers on the different kinds of fruit juice on the market (fruit juice, fruit juices made from concentrates, and nectars) and on their ingredients. I am particularly glad that the option to add mandarin/clementine juice to orange juice without mentioning this on the label has not been adopted. Adding mandarin juice to orange juice, without declaring you have done so, was, to my mind, a fraudulent practice and a genuine deception. It would also have resulted in exposing the orange juice market to distortions of competition. Furthermore, the addition of sugar is now banned in the case of all fruit juices and the directive provides for a specific phrase on the label to inform consumers about this change.

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE ), in writing. – I supported this report which will enable European consumers to make more informed decisions.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD ), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this document because it insists on maintaining the dual denomination distinguishing pressed juices from those made from concentrate. Consumers find it hard to distinguish clearly between the different products covered by the directive. Considerable confusion exists, especially with regard to the difference between ‘juice’ and ‘nectar’. It is particularly important to clarify this difference concerning the presence or absence of sugar in these products because this is an issue of particular concern for consumer groups with specific needs (diabetics, children, people with weight problems, etc.). A single set of standards should be applied to all fruit juices and related products marketed in the EU, and particular attention should be drawn to harmless practices. It is important to support the European sector by bringing the directive into line with international law and the Codex Alimentarius and establishing the same rules for all products marketed within the territory of the Community. The new directive will give producers in third countries the opportunity to improve the quality of their products through more sustainable production processes. The existence of one set of rules for everyone will also serve to prevent fraud and unfair competition and help make clearer information available to consumers.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE ), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report, which represents a compromise with the Council and which allows us to clarify the labelling of fruit nectars containing sweeteners, the labelling of fruit juices containing several fruits, and the use of water in fruit juices.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE ), in writing. (RO) I supported the new amendments as they will make juice labelling much clearer in the future. For example, mixtures of juices will feature exactly the proportions making up its composition. Therefore, a mixture of 90% apple juice and 10% orange juice will have to be clearly called ‘apple and orange juice’. At the moment, such mixtures are marketed with the label ‘orange juice’. Labels such as ‘mixture of juices’ will only be used if three or more types of fruit are present. I think that all these clarifications will be extremely helpful to people with diabetes or on a diet.

 
  
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  Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska (PPE ), in writing. (PL) The report by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety on fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption is a document that contains many important parts. I consider the quality of each product to be its ecological, ethical and social quality, and that European products of a high standard are conducive to health and, in particular, balanced nutrition.

We should not forget, however, that 82% of orange juice comes from Brazil and the United States and that the European processing industry is complementary to the fresh produce market. Although many issues still need to be decided, including terminology, I consider Andres Perello Rodriguez’s report to be well-prepared, and I voted in favour of its adoption.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D ), in writing. – The European Union produces high-quality fruit juices which contribute to a healthy and balanced diet and are manufactured according to the sustainability standards supported by our laws. It is therefore fair that we should defend these same high standards of quality for all products being marketed in the EU. Without seeking to question any form of import policy, this report favours the consumption of local products, those which do not have to be transported over vast distances, generating CO2 emissions, which are produced under social and labour conditions which are acceptable under Community law, and which are manufactured according to the food safety principles established by the EU. This is not a matter of European protectionism, but reflects the continued pursuit of sustainability in all sectors of our economy. The overall quality of a product can also be measured by its ethical quality, its ecological quality and its social quality.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE ), in writing. (IT) The highest level of information possible must be provided in a fully transparent, clear manner in order to protect consumers. It is logical that the rules should apply equally to products made in the EU and to imported products. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE ), in writing. – Over 82% of the orange juice consumed in Europe comes mainly from Brazil and the United States, with less than 20% of the orange juice consumed in the EU being produced here. It is therefore important that the European sector is supported by bringing the directive into line with international law and the Codex and establishing the same rules for all products marketed in Community territory. I voted in favour of this report, which aims to contribute towards the free circulation of these products by clarifying rules on labelling, product classification, authorised ingredients and the admissibility of certain practices.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE ), in writing . – (PT) The European Parliament’s adoption of new rules to ensure greater clarity in consumer information will lead to a clearer distinction between fruit juices and nectars for consumers. Given that the fruit juices and similar products sector is a significant industry within the European Union, the revised regulations on the composition and labelling of these products, the banning of certain practices and the indication of added sugar will enable the high quality of all products sold within the Union to be ensured, with the associated benefit of continued improvement of the internal market.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE ), in writing. (FR) This directive aims to prioritise product quality and consumer information. Consequently, the principal product name will have to correspond to the main fruit used and all fruits used must be mentioned in the list of ingredients. Illustrations on the packaging must not mislead the consumer about the real ingredients used in the juice. The most important change with regard to juices is the elimination of sugar from the list of authorised ingredients. Here, the objective is to guarantee the quality of the fruit juices and to promote health. It is also important for consumers to be able to make a clear distinction between different categories of product such as freshly squeezed fruit juice, fruit juices made from concentrates, and nectars. All these measures will need to be accompanied by specific and large-scale information campaigns in order to clear up the confusion that exists at present. Finally, I welcome the fact that the specificity of each national market has been maintained by clear product labelling and that the directive applies as much to products manufactured within the European Union as it does to imported products.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI ), in writing. (DE) The fruit juice sector is a branch of industry which, globally speaking, should not be underestimated. Within the European Union, too, this sector of industry can be considered to be significant in size. However, it is also the case that, with regard to the production of fruit juices, particularly the popular orange juice, 80% of what is consumed in the EU is imported from North America and Brazil. The production process also differs, since in these countries, all fruits are used in juice processing, whereas throughout the EU, only substandard goods that are no longer of use to the trade are used. For consumers, this means that the origin of the juice needs to be indicated particularly clearly in order to be able to inform them, in an unambiguous manner, of where the product has come from.

In general, labelling of the ingredients of the juice is important, particularly where flavourings and the addition of sugar are concerned. Consumers are also frequently confused by the designations ‘juice’ and ‘nectar’. I voted in favour of the report, as I agree with the rapporteur that clear labelling is essential for the good of consumers.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD ), in writing. (IT) I decided to vote in favour of this report on the labelling of fruit juices, since it will undoubtedly help to provide greater clarity in this field. Consumers must be well informed about what they are eating and drinking every day: in the past, the indications of the ingredients used to prepare these drinks did not always reflect the product’s true content. However, from now on, we should rest assured that the labels are ‘real’, that is, that they accurately state the content of fruit juices or nectars. I always support rules that help to combat indications that mislead or deceive consumers, and, for this sector at least, we have managed to secure a fairly satisfactory result.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI ), in writing. (DE) In the fruit juice sector, we import more than 80% of some varieties, from Brazil or the United States, for example. Where citrus fruits are concerned, rather than being made up of large international producers, the European industry is an auxiliary industry supplementing the processing of fresh fruit. Processing frequently involves selling those fruits which, due to their appearance (size, marks), are not marketed as fresh fruits, although they are perfectly suitable for providing high-quality fruit juices. On account of the environmental costs associated with imports (CO2 emissions), it is essential that we increase our support for the European fruit juice industry. This would also avoid fruits that are less suitable for being sold as fresh fruit from being destroyed and prevent unharvested fruit rotting in the field, which can lead to the spread of disease. This would bring socio-economic added value with the creation of jobs and growth. In addition, labelling, classification, approved additives and practices are to be clarified. In this regard, stringent requirements must also apply to imports that are currently already sold in the EU. This will provide an incentive for third countries to improve the quality of their products using sustainable production processes. Another positive element is the retention of the double designation, which distinguishes between pressed juices made from fresh fruit and fruit juices made from concentrate. Since the report takes these aspects into account, I voted in favour of it.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD ), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution because it is appropriate to maintain the dual denomination distinguishing pressed juices from those made from concentrate. The implementation of the provisions of this directive will enable consumers to choose a product that has undergone as little processing and is as natural as possible. The dual classification will ensure that consumers are given accurate information and that pictorial representations on packaging do not mislead the consumer as to the actual composition of the juice. It should be noted that the application of the same rules throughout the territory of the Community will facilitate the free movement of these products and will help prevent fraud and unfair competition. Moreover, on the basis of the provisions of this directive and with a view to the use of more sustainable production processes, producers in third countries will be encouraged to improve the quality of their products.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE ), in writing. (IT) The amendment of the directive on the consumption of fruit juices and their production in Europe is a sensitive, hotly debated issue which concerns many consumers. The text, which I voted for, seeks to improve current products by protecting consumers through better information. Buyers must have the opportunity to know exactly what kind of product they are buying, its quality, and, leaving aside discussions on the preservation of the fruit used, the saccharin or sugar content and the difference between products which are derived from fruit concentrate and those that are not. I think that the most important factor is precisely the opportunity to have a better end product that consumers are able to choose in a clear and informed manner.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE ), in writing. (EL) Fruit juices and similar products form an important industry within the European Union and account for a large part of the European market. This market, however, needs to be strengthened, by adapting the relevant Community directive to international standards and to the Codex and by laying down rules for all products traded in Community territory. Questions of labelling, product categorisation and permissible ingredients need to be clarified and rules need to be adopted that will prevent any attempted fraud or unfair trading and will help to improve the quality of information provided to consumers. This particular proposal to amend the directive, which I supported, is a move in that direction.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE ), in writing . – (PT) The purpose of the Commission proposal is to amend, for the second time, Council Directive 2001/112/EC of 20 December 2001 on fruit juices and certain similar products for human consumption, setting out rules on the composition, use of reserved descriptions, manufacturing specifications and labelling of the products concerned, so as to ensure free movement of these products within the European Union. The European Parliament has striven to ensure that the criteria included in this directive will be applied under the same conditions both to products produced within the Union and to imported products. Since I, too, advocate this position, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE ), in writing. (IT) While the fruit juices and certain similar products sector represents an industry of considerable size in the European Union, it should be stressed that more than three quarters of the products consumed in Europe comes mainly from Brazil and the United States, meaning that a small part of EU consumption is produced in Europe. It is therefore important to support the European sector, by bringing the directive in line with international law and establishing the same rules for all products marketed on EU territory. The aim is to contribute to the free movement of these products. However, it is also important to clarify the rules on labelling, product classification, authorised ingredients and the admissibility of certain practices. In order to support the proposal for a directive, I voted in favour of all the amendments to the directive.

 
  
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  Rovana Plumb (S&D ), in writing. – The aim of this legislative proposal is to amend Council Directive 2001/112/EC by incorporating more of the provisions of the Codex Alimentarius standard. The Parliament’s draft report suggests that the rules arising from adaptation of the directive to the Codex should be equally applicable to all products marketed within the EU, regardless of whether they are produced in the EU or imported.

The Commission and the Member States shall carry out information campaigns to inform consumers of the different categories of juices and similar products. Concerning the issue of flavour reconstitution, I support the Commission’s proposal that it should remain optional. The report suggests limiting the Commission’s powers to adopt the delegated acts from ‘an indeterminate period of time’ to five years with the possibility of proceeding to a tacit renewal. Moreover, an 18-month transition period added to the transposition period would serve to use up stock manufactured according to old standards and to adapt to new rules.

Adapting the directive to the Codex Alimentarius standard will allow the same criteria to be applied to products manufactured in the EU and to imported products. Consequently, consumers will no longer be confused on the safety and quality of juices.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE ), in writing. (PT) It is noteworthy that around 82% of the fruit juice products consumed within the European Union are produced outside the Union. The main reason for this is that, in the European Union, fruit juices are made from surplus fruit crops and not from fruit grown expressly for juice production. In this way, the European productive cycle manages to optimise the available resources, as well as avoid long journeys in distributing the product throughout the common market. These points should be taken into account in regulation of the fruit juice market. These are the main concerns of the report before the European Parliament for approval, and I believe they are legitimate, with the aforementioned caveats, so I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE ), in writing. (FR) Europe really does have difficulty in speaking with one voice, even about fruit juices! Germany has opposed the text from the beginning, preferring to protect the concentrated fruit juice industry. For its part, Spain, the leading European orange juice producer, would be happy to see it mixed with mandarin juice. This is a very attractive market, as Europeans drink 300 million litres of orange juice a year, or half of global consumption. In other words, the agreement reached on the Fruit Juice Directive by the European Parliament delegation, of which I was a member, and the Polish Presidency, was hardly a straightforward matter. Henceforth, it will not be permitted to name a juice or nectar after a minor ingredient. We will not be able to use strawberry juice, for example, for a drink where the main fruit is actually apple. A further key provision, here in terms of health, is the following: the practice of adding sugar to fruit juices is now prohibited. However, this legislation promoting quality products and accurate consumer information will be of no use if the Commission, tomorrow, does not promote the activities of European fruit and vegetable producers who are suffering from the crisis and from global competition.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE ), in writing. (IT) Today in plenary, we adopted Mr Perello Rodriguez’s report, which refers to the need to adopt the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 2001/112/EC relating to fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption.

The rapporteur highlighted the importance of supporting the European fruit juice sector by bringing the directive into line with international law and the Codex Alimentarius in order to contribute towards the free movement of these products, and also to clarify the rules on labelling, classification, authorised ingredients and the admissibility of certain practices.

The directive must improve the dual denomination distinguishing pressed juices from those made from concentrate; indeed in practice, consumers find it hard to distinguish between the different categories. It is important to clarify this difference in terms of the presence or absence of sugar in these products, which is an issue of concern to consumer groups with specific needs. The rapporteur accepts harmless practices, such as the addition of mandarin juice to orange juice, which can intensify its colour and flavour, in order to encourage the marketing of products. It is important to back up these measures with information campaigns enabling consumers to know what they are buying.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE ), in writing. (FR) The European Union must guarantee its citizens access to products which meet high standards of quality, durability and fairness. That is particularly true in the food sector, as consumers are habitually very attentive to their nutrition and health. Therefore, I voted in favour of the report by Andres Perello Rodriguez on the directive on fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption. New rules are indeed necessary. I particularly welcome the measures to clarify the different types of juice, to remove sugar from the list of authorised ingredients, to ensure clear and transparent labelling on the proportions of fruit contained in the juice, and also the rules on the aromas used. Furthermore, it is essential to apply these rules to products manufactured in Europe and to imported products. This report works towards improved information and protection for consumers, seeking the best possible quality in the products that we consume on a daily basis. I am delighted with it.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE ), in writing. – In favour. The ‘fruit juices and certain similar products’ sector represents an industry of considerable size in the European Union. However, to take just one example, it is worth noting that over 82% of the orange juice consumed in Europe comes mainly from Brazil and the United States. In other words, less than 20% of the orange juice consumed in the EU is produced here. The European Union produces high-quality fruit juices which contribute to a healthy and balanced diet and are manufactured according to the sustainability standards supported by our laws. It is therefore fair that we should defend these same high standards of quality for all products being marketed in the EU.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE ), in writing. (IT) By adopting this report, the European Parliament is seeking the introduction of a new set of more consumer-friendly labelling rules for fruit juices and nectars. The new rules aim to prevent potentially misleading names for mixed juices and various indications, such as ‘no added sugar’. Our priority is to offer consumers accurate information so that they know what they are buying. The final document highlights the key role played by this House in banning added sugar in products sold as fruit juices and in clarifying the presence of sugars or sweeteners in similar drinks.

 
  
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  Daciana Octavia Sârbu (S&D ), in writing. – We have had many discussions in the Environment Committee over the last few years about the labelling of food and drink. Broadly speaking, I think that EU legislation is ensuring clearer and more accurate labelling for the consumer and is helping people to make informed choices about what they eat and drink. This directive adds to that, specifically by requiring the labelling of natural sugars in fruit nectar and by clarifying the rules around ‘no added sugar’ claims. Clear and honest labelling is one of the main tools we have to tackle diet-related problems in the EU, and whilst the Food Information to Consumers Regulation and the Health and Nutrition Claims Regulation provide most of the legal framework for this, additions are sometimes necessary. I would like to thank the rapporteur for his efforts to negotiate with the Council and congratulate him on this report.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE ), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Perello Rodriguez’s report, which seeks to improve the quality rules and production standards for fruit juices, products which are purchased on a daily basis by European consumers. The report provides greater product transparency for consumers by indicating the origin of the raw ingredients contained in fruit juices. The report represents a benefit, not only for consumers, who will be able to benefit from more precise information, but also for European farmers, since it will raise the value of European products on the market. I believe that consumers are entitled to know what they are buying and make healthier choices. Indeed, the report requires a distinction to be made between fresh fruit juice and juice made instead from concentrate, or between juice and nectar, depending on the concentration of fruit and sugar that the product contains. We are therefore eliminating the confusion felt by consumers, who will now be able to make informed purchases.

 
  
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  Czesław Adam Siekierski (PPE ), in writing. (PL) The proposed amendments to Council Directive 2001/112/EC adapting methods of fruit juice production to technical progress exclude sugars from the list of ingredients permitted for use in fruit juices, set out provisions on flavours, and also provide clear definitions of finished products and the raw materials and semi-finished products used in their manufacture.

It is important that the amendments to the Fruit Juice Directive should be concerned with health benefits and, above all, regulate the matter of the addition of sweeteners to fruit juice, and that clear labelling of products should make it easier for consumers to distinguish between juice and nectar (for example, as regards the terminology used for blends of juice from two or more fruits). Domestic fruit producers should also be kept in mind. The entry into force of these amendments to the directive will help to improve the quality of fruit juices and nectars which remain on the national market and help harmonise their labelling. The amendments will also enable a harmonisation of quality standards for fruit juices and nectars, which will help improve product quality.

 
  
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  Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu (S&D ), in writing. (RO) I supported this report, primarily because it makes significant improvements for certain groups of consumers, such as people with diabetes, children, or people with health problems due to being overweight.

At a time when diabetes is one of the major health challenges posed in the 21st century, I cannot but be pleased about the improvements made to this directive. In the case of diabetics – I am referring here to people diagnosed with type-II diabetes – blood sugar concentration is of paramount importance. Therefore, I am pleased that after six months of negotiations with the Council, an agreement has been reached which not only improves labelling, but also the quality of fruit juices. The fact that the addition of sugar will be banned from fruit juices marks an achievement not only for those who need to control their body’s sugar intake, but also in terms of improving the health of EU citizens in general.

The measures being proposed benefit both consumers, who will have access to complete information, and juice producers, who have wanted to reinforce the notion that juice is part of a healthy diet and can be consumed as such.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE ), in writing. (PT) The fruit juice market accounts for 10% of non-alcoholic drink consumption and it is clear that we need new measures in order to protect the interests of consumers and give them as much information as is available on the market. Given that a large percentage of the fruit used for fruit juice is produced outside the European Union, it is imperative to apply the same rules to all producers so as to prevent fraud and unfair competition. I am therefore voting for this report, as I believe it is necessary to adopt uniform rules concerning the ingredients used, the categories used for classifying products and common practices for the companies producing them. I also think it is appropriate to distinguish between the different types of drink on the market, particularly between juices and nectars, to enable consumers to choose those best suited to them in terms of their health and wellbeing.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D ), in writing. (RO) I voted for the resolution on the proposal amending Council Directive 2001/112/EC relating to fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption because I think that the implementation of the new provisions will provide better protection for consumer interests and boost the free movement of fruit juices within the EU. The EU fruit juice market accounts for 10% of the total consumption of non-alcoholic beverages, while the production of fruit juice from concentrate predominates compared to direct juice production (87.6% and 12.4% respectively).

The specific provisions and regulations regarding production, composition and labelling of fruit juices laid down by Directive 2001/112/EC must be adapted to technical progress and take account of developments in relevant international standards, in particular, the Codex Standard for fruit juices and nectars (stipulating quality factors and labelling requirements) and the Code of Practice of the European Fruit Juice Association. The amendments made to the directive are aimed at bringing the current situation into line with these standards and reaffirm the distinction between fruit juice and fruit juice obtained from concentrate. They also simplify the provisions on restoring taste and flavour and include tomatoes in the list of fruits and vegetables used to produce fruit juices.

 
  
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  Thomas Ulmer (PPE ), in writing. (DE) I voted in favour of the report because, in my opinion, it entails a clear improvement on the current situation for consumers. Ingredients must be stated clearly and misleading designations must be avoided. The best solution is, of course, the production of our own juices according to our own recipes. I consider a review of efficiency in five years to be reasonable.

 
  
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  Anja Weisgerber (PPE ), in writing. (DE) In the European Parliament, we have been fighting for safe, high-quality foodstuffs for many years. The text that we have voted on today provides anything but this, as it waters down the current standards for the quality of fruit juices in Europe. Therefore, I was unable to vote in favour of the compromise package today. However, I would also like to express my criticism of the negotiation process.

It is unacceptable for the opinion of the lead committee to be disregarded to a large extent in the compromise package. The European Parliament fought long and hard to be given equal legislative powers. We must also exercise this responsibility in the negotiations for the good of the citizens of Europe. In the interests of these citizens, I would have liked the result of the vote to have been different today.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI ), in writing. (DE) Better information for consumers regarding the content of fruit juices, in particular, the sugar content, is urgently needed. Above all, groups of consumers with special requirements (children, diabetics, people with a weight problem) must be given particular protection against potentially erroneous information and from being misled. Furthermore, it is important to support the European citrus fruit processing industry by harmonising the directive with international standards. In addition to economic benefits and the creation of jobs, strengthening the European citrus fruit sector would also reduce the high environmental costs caused by the high levels of CO2 released in connection with the import of these fruits from overseas.

 
  
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  Glenis Willmott (S&D ), in writing. – This report principally concerns updates to the existing legislation for fruit juices. I am nevertheless pleased to have voted for it, as I have worked long and hard for measures to provide greater transparency for consumers in the food and drink that they buy. In order for consumers to be able to make informed choices – on where their food comes from, how it was produced, what it contains or what nutritional or health value it has – they must be given the necessary information in a clear, easy-to-understand way. In this case, that means making sure that what manufacturers label as ‘fruit juice’ is really what consumers understand to be fruit juice and, in particular, distinguishing it from drinks made from concentrate. The updates in this report will provide further clarity for consumers.

 
  
  

Report: Bill Newton Dunn (A7-0246/2011 )

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D ), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report. If we look at the environmental impact of phosphates on European waters, we can see that it is a matter of urgency to make drastic reductions in the amount of phosphates and phosphate-derived products in European waters, which is reducing water quality year by year. As there are alternatives to using this compound, we need more environmental awareness on the part of detergent manufacturers as well as the European public themselves in choosing the products they use.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE ), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this important resolution on the use of phosphates and other phosphorus compounds in household laundry detergents. The aim of the current Commission proposal for a regulation is to reduce the amount of phosphorus used in detergents in domestic washing machines. Phosphates end up in our water systems, rivers, streams, lakes, and notably the Danube Basin, and the Baltic Sea. Phosphorus encourages the excessive growth of algae, which starves other living organisms of oxygen and can also produce toxins, killing fish, plants, and other species, as well as reducing the quality of the water itself. Therefore, in order to clean up Europe’s water, we should reduce the amount of phosphorus entering it, and should do the same throughout the world. I therefore believe that, above all, we need to encourage people to use biological detergents with minimal phosphate content and set a legal limit on the phosphate content of various household laundry detergents. I therefore wish to call on all EU Member States to immediately set about implementing this regulation and to make every effort to stop phosphates being used on an unjustifiably large scale. Otherwise, rather than leaving future generations with a Baltic Sea, a Danube Basin or other waters with varied flora and fauna, we will leave them with swamps.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE ), in writing. (FR) As the use of phosphates is bad for our environment, we must gradually learn how to do without them. This has largely been the case in France since 2007. I have voted in favour of this report because it enables the prohibition of phosphates to be extended to the entire European Union for laundry detergents and dishwasher detergents. Thanks to the European Union, our environment and our health are better protected.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D ), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this legislative resolution and welcomed Parliament’s position at first reading. The purpose of the Commission’s proposal for a regulation, amending Regulation (EC) No 648/2004 as regards the use of phosphates and other phosphorus compounds in household laundry detergents, is to reduce the amount of phosphorus used in detergents in domestic washing machines. There is a particularly large amount of phosphorus in domestic laundry detergents and it ends up in our water systems, rivers, streams, lakes, and notably the Danube Basin, and the Baltic Sea. This results in eutrophication – the excessive growth of algae, which starves other living organisms of oxygen and can also produce toxins, killing fish, plants and other species, as well as reducing the quality of the water itself. The Commission’s proposal is aimed at setting limitations on the amount of phosphates and other phosphorus compounds used in detergents and ensuring that the planned phosphate ban is not easy to circumvent. I agree that it is appropriate to extend the limitations on the use of phosphates and other phosphorus compounds in household laundry detergents to household automatic dishwasher detergents and to include these in the proposal for a regulation.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE ), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report drafted by Mr Newton Dunn because safeguarding water quality is a key element in a healthy living environment. I think that innovation must be encouraged with regard to the chemical substances used in detergents. At the same time, technologies need to be developed on a long-term basis, designed to recover phosphorus from waste water. Given the long life cycle these substances have, measures are needed to mitigate their adverse impact on the water table and marine life. The use of phosphates in detergents must be gradually phased out, supported by progress assessments, as part of an accelerated process of developing green substitutes. I should emphasise the duty to inform consumers properly about the chemical composition of detergents. In this regard, references to recycling and environmental hazards will raise the public’s level of awareness in this area.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE ), in writing. (FR) Detergents represent the third most important source of waste phosphates in surface waters, after agriculture and sewage. Phosphates are used in detergents in order to reduce water hardness and to improve washing. They are extremely harmful to the ecological balance of lake and river water, and particularly harmful to aquatic life. Indeed, these phosphates promote the growth of algae which kill other aquatic species by depriving them of oxygen. Thus, the vote for a directive which aims to limit the use of phosphates represents one step in our struggle to improve water quality and achieve sustainable development. One step only, because this text at the moment only concerns the quantity of phosphates per wash and will not apply to dishwashers until 2015.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE ), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this report, which seeks to reduce the amount of phosphates used mainly in detergents in domestic washing machines. Indeed, phosphates damage the already delicate and precarious balance in our ecosystem.

These substances end up in our water systems, rivers, lakes and streams, helping living organisms, such as algae, to flourish, a process leading to eutrophication, which starves other living organisms of oxygen. This phenomenon produces toxins, partly responsible for killing various species of fish.

However, there cannot be a total ban on phosphates, since many come from humans. Nevertheless, their use can be reduced, for example, by including a smaller amount in domestic laundry detergents and automatic dishwashing machine detergents. Moreover, I support the proposal to encourage the use of alternative detergents containing minimum levels of phosphates which already occupy a broad and growing share of the EU market by means of harmonised legislation which will encourage third countries to reduce the level of phosphorus in water, with a view to a future agreement.

 
  
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  Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE ), in writing. (RO) When we talk about household laundry detergents and those used in dishwashers, there must be a balance struck between the substances used in detergents to ensure their effectiveness and the relevant substances’ environmental impact. The use of phosphates and phosphorus compounds poses a risk of ecosystem degradation and promotes the growth of algae, which is a risk that needs to be managed. The agreement which has been reached strikes such a balance through the restrictions that have been introduced on the content of phosphates in both laundry and dishwasher detergents, especially by imposing a time limit on their use.

The obvious upshot of restricting the phosphate content is to promote innovation and the marketing of detergents which are just as effective, but with a less harmful environmental impact. We must allow the time needed to develop replacement products of this kind. This is why I give my full support to the solution which has been reached for dishwasher detergents, because the restriction comes into force in 2017, which leaves enough time not only to develop new products, but also for the Commission to draft its report so that we can see whether the proposed limit is appropriate.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE ), in writing . – (PT) Phosphates alter the natural cycle of water systems such as rivers, lakes and streams. In Europe, the Baltic and the Danube basin have been worst affected by the increased use of phosphates, particularly from washing machines and dishwashers. With ever-increasing quantities of this element found in waters, fast-growing plants such as algae are tending to proliferate, infesting other living organisms, depriving them of oxygen, producing toxins, killing fish and plants and reducing water quality: eutrophication. Unlike detergents for hand washing, there are no phosphate-free formulae for dishwasher detergents. As the Commission is setting a date for the introduction of limitations on phosphate content, we will see greater investment in innovation which will accelerate the transition to phosphate-free formulae.

At the same time, the Commission will be making sufficient time available in advance to reduce the negative impact this will have on manufacturers, and will also use a regulation to harmonise the various national level rules. I therefore support Mr Newton Dunn’s report on the use of phosphates and related products in detergents.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D ), in writing. (RO) I voted for the amendment to the regulation on the use of phosphates and other phosphorus compounds in household laundry detergents. One of the regulation’s main objectives is to reduce the amount of phosphorus used in detergents in domestic washing machines. The Commission has opted for a regulation instead of a directive to harmonise the various national rules more effectively. The quantity of phosphorus which gets into the water on our continent and even throughout the world should be reduced in order to clean up Europe’s water. Phosphorus from household laundry detergents makes a significant contribution to the direct presence of phosphorus in water channels. This is why I welcome the Commission’s proposal.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D ), in writing. (RO) I think that manufacturers should be prevented from confusing consumers with product attributes which are actually imposed by EU legislation. I believe that the phosphate-free claim should not be allowed for product categories for which the ban on phosphates is already in force.

 
  
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  Marielle De Sarnez (ALDE ), in writing. (FR) The marine environment and the inland waterways of Europe are heavily polluted by the phosphates contained in laundry and dishwasher detergents. Phosphates, when they are unfortunately discharged into waterways or the sea, promote the growth of algae which are harmful for aquatic life. That is why we must reduce as much as possible the amount of phosphorus authorised in washing powders so that we can preserve European marine environments. From 2017, European consumers will benefit from more environmentally friendly cleaning products.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE ), in writing. (FR) I supported the adoption of this report, which will allow a considerable reduction in the use of phosphates in detergents. This measure will contribute to the French environmental ‘Grenelle’, or roundtable, and the European policy for preserving wildlife by encouraging the use of more environmentally friendly products.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE ), in writing. (FR) Today, I voted in favour of this report, which stipulates that detergents used for washing machines should henceforth no longer contain phosphates. It should be remembered that phosphates are used in detergents in order to reduce water hardness and to improve washing. However, when they are discharged into lakes and rivers, they promote the growth of algae which kill other aquatic species by depriving them of oxygen (detergents are the third most important source of phosphates discharged into surface waters, after agriculture and sewage, and washing powder is the greatest source of phosphates in the detergents sector). From January 2013, phosphorus compounds used in detergents for washing machines will no longer be able to exceed 0.5 g per wash. These rules will be extended to dishwashers from 2015. These new rules – and I am delighted – will undoubtedly improve water quality and protect aquatic life, which is attacked by phosphates discharged into wastewater.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D ), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the use of phosphates and other phosphorus compounds in household laundry detergents, since it contains rules that will eliminate phosphates not only from laundry detergents, but also from dishwasher detergents: a great help towards preserving the quality of water and of the environment within the European Union.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE ), in writing. (PT) The European Union is known for its highly detailed legislation regarding the most varied fields of production. The aim of this regulation is often to protect consumers and, at other times, the environment and natural resources, as is the case with this regulation on the use of phosphates in household laundry detergents.

While I recognise that such protection is desirable, I must reiterate that imposing restrictions concerning the use of phosphates on the manufacturers of household laundry detergents will make sense only if the same rules also prevent the entry into the EU of imported detergents that violate these very same rules. We cannot go on demanding more from our manufacturers and industries without imposing similar rules for imported products.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE ), in writing. (PT) The aim of the current Commission proposal for a regulation is to reduce the amount of phosphorus used in detergents for household washing machines. Phosphates affect water systems, rivers, streams and lakes, causing their eutrophication: that is, an excessive growth of algae which starves other living organisms of oxygen and can also produce toxins, killing fish, plants and other species, as well as reducing the quality of the water itself. Alternatives to phosphates in detergents do exist and, particularly with household laundry detergents, the trend is towards phosphate-free formulations. However, there are also technologies using phosphonates (containing phosphorus, but in much smaller amounts), and, at the moment, these stand in the way of a total ban on phosphorus. Even so, it is essential to set a limit for the maximum amounts of phosphorus that can be used without causing the eutrophication of water systems, rivers, streams and lakes. The Commission opted for a regulation instead of a directive, in order to better harmonise different rules at national levels. The harmonisation of the various national rules regarding phosphates and other phosphate compounds will improve the free circulation of household laundry detergents within the internal market.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL ), in writing. (PT) The main focus of this report is on the problem of the excessive amount of phosphates and phosphorus compounds from household detergents, which can result in the eutrophication of water channels, rivers and seas: that is, the excessive growth of algae and other fast-developing plants, which markedly reduces the oxygen dissolved in the water, so killing aquatic life in these areas and having a significant impact on biodiversity, with serious consequences for water quality and public health.

Limits for the phosphorus content of household laundry and dishwasher detergents are set out in the report: a maximum of 0.5 g per wash in both cases, and with effect from 1 January 2013 and 2015, respectively. However, this regulation does not apply to industrial or institutional detergents. Given that there are ways in which to minimise the environmental impact of this element, and bearing in mind that there are already effective household detergents that contain a much lower concentration of phosphorus, this regulation has contributed positively towards improving the environment, living conditions and public health.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL ), in writing. (PT) The main focus of this report is the problem of the excessive amount of phosphates and phosphorus compounds from household detergents, which can result in the eutrophication of water channels, rivers and seas: that is, the excessive growth of algae and other fast-developing plants, which markedly reduces the oxygen dissolved in the water, so killing aquatic life in these areas and having a significant impact on biodiversity, with serious consequences for water quality and for public health. Limits for the phosphorus content of household laundry and dishwasher detergents are set out in the report: a maximum of 0.5 g per wash in both cases, and with effect from 1 January 2013 and 2015, respectively.

However, this regulation does not apply to industrial or institutional detergents. Given that there are ways in which to minimise the environmental impact of this element, and bearing in mind that there are already effective household detergents that contain a much lower concentration of phosphorus, this regulation has made a positive contribution towards improving the environment, living conditions and public health.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D ), in writing. (SK) Phosphates from washing powders have a negative impact on the aquatic environment. They contribute to the faster growth of algae and higher plants, and thus disrupt the ecological balance in our water systems, and particularly in very vulnerable areas such as the Baltic Sea and the Danube basin. In 2010, the Commission submitted an amendment for Regulation (EC) No 648/2004 on detergents introducing a restriction on phosphates and other phosphorus compounds in household washing powders, and the proposal is very welcome. There is, however, another source of phosphates, and that is cleaning products for automatic dishwashers. The general aim of this proposal is, first and foremost, to reduce the negative impacts of these materials on the aquatic environment. At present, however, national legislation in the EU already reflects the trend to move away from using phosphates in detergents, while some Member States are trying to apply restrictions on the use of washing powders, and some states have already introduced restrictions on the use of such products for automatic dishwashers. I welcome the setting of a sensible time period for limits on phosphorous in detergents, which can thereby encourage the necessary innovation, speeding up the transfer to phosphate-free compounds, while at the same time giving enough time to reduce the negative impacts on producers. This will also ensure harmonisation on the internal market.

 
  
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  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE ), in writing. (IT) Thanks to the adoption of the new regulation as regards the use of phosphates in household laundry and dishwasher detergents, the same marketing standards will apply to these products across Europe. By further harmonising this sector, I hope that we shall be able to overcome the fragmentation of the internal market which, until now, has obliged detergent manufacturers to comply with divergent national rules. This is why I believe that with today’s vote, Europe has taken a further step towards the free movement of these goods, while providing, at the same time, greater protection for the environment.

 
  
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  Françoise Grossetête (PPE ), in writing. (FR) Phosphates are used essentially to improve the effectiveness of washing. They are largely responsible, with nitrates, for the growth of algae and the phenomena of green and red ‘tides’.

I am delighted that the revision of the regulation which limits by a considerable extent the use of phosphates and phosphorus compounds in detergents has been adopted by a large majority.

Even though this has already been the case in France since 2007, I am very happy that the prohibition of phosphates in household laundry detergents in the EU is being extended to all Member States from January 2013. This is a dual victory because, under pressure from the European Parliament, the Member States have extended the phosphates ban to include dishwasher detergents.

Let me remind you that in France, there are 20 million washes a day and that 88 kg of household detergents are used annually by every French household.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE ), in writing. (FR) The environment is a precious resource and we must do everything in our power to preserve it. France had already prohibited phosphates in washing powders by 2007, but this measure was not implemented throughout Europe. The phosphates found in wastewater contribute to algae growth which causes green and red tides and harms aquatic life. This measure, which will be extended to dishwasher detergents, will apply from January 2013. I am delighted about this because if we take the example of France alone, there are 20 million washes a day and 88 kg of household products are used per household per year.

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE ), in writing. – I welcome today’s vote on this report which will go some way towards reducing harm to the environment.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD ), in writing. (LT) I welcomed the proposal because it aims to amend Council Regulation (EC) No 648/2004 on detergents, setting limits on the use of phosphates and other phosphorus compounds in household laundry detergents in order to reduce the contribution of detergents to the general eutrophication of the EU’s surface waters, taking into account the evaluations and impact assessment carried out by the Commission under Article 16 of Regulation (EC) No 648/2004.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE ), in writing. (FR) I supported this report which strengthens consumer protection and the preservation of the environment by reducing, to minute quantities, the presence of phosphates in laundry detergents within the European Union. The reduction of the presence of phosphorus compounds in wastewater will help to combat the process of eutrophication (growth of algae) in lakes and rivers.

 
  
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  Constance Le Grip (PPE ) , in writing. (FR) I voted today in favour of Mr Newton Dunn’s report on the use of phosphates and other phosphorus compounds in household laundry detergents.

In future, laundry and dishwasher detergents will have to be virtually free of phosphorus. Parliament and the Council also sought to include dishwasher detergents in this legislation, while providing a satisfactory deadline –until 2017 – to industrialists so that they can adapt their products. The deadline for laundry detergents is set at 2013.

Even though provisions such as these have been in force in France since 2007, I am very happy that the prohibition of phosphates is being extended to all Member States, as their discharge into inland waterways leads, along with nitrates, to the proliferation of green algae which asphyxiate fish and destroy other forms of aquatic life.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D ), in writing. – I voted for tough restrictions on the amount of phosphates that can be used in washing powder, and Socialist MEPs were successful in extending the restrictions to dishwasher detergents. We need to restrict the use of phosphates in detergents because an accumulation of them in the water supply causes excess algae growth. Too much algae causes an imbalance in the ecosystem which can result in ecosystem problems such as dead fish. This has been a big problem in the Baltic Sea, but can affect all rivers, lakes and seas. This is a perfect example of why we need a European Union of twenty-seven nations acting together: you cannot control polluted water in one country if it simply appears in another. We all need the same restrictions. Eutrophication is the unhealthy growth of plants leading to an increase in bacteria and lack of oxygen which results in dead fish and, in certain areas of the UK, has led to dead pets such as dogs. Phosphates are used in varying amounts in laundry and dishwasher detergents. Areas with hard water need them more than areas with soft water.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE ), in writing. (IT) I fully agree with the proposal seeking to reduce the amount of phosphorus used in detergents in domestic washing machines. The Commission rightly opted to submit a proposal for a regulation instead of for a directive, since a regulation enables better harmonisation of the different rules in the Member States. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE ), in writing. – I welcome this Commission regulation to better harmonise different rules at national level in reducing the amount of phosphorus used in detergents in domestic washing machines by banning phosphates from consumer detergents from July 2013, and consumer automatic dishwashing detergents from January 2017. I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE ), in writing. (PT) The aim of this proposal adopted by the European Parliament is to reduce the amount of phosphorus in laundry and dishwashing detergents throughout the European Union. In this way, laundry and dishwashing detergents will become more ecological; this is extremely important for protecting the environment, especially the aquatic environment, and for the proper functioning of the internal market for these products.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI ), in writing. (DE) Phosphorus, particularly from household detergents such as dishwasher detergents and laundry detergents, makes a significant contribution to the pollution of European water bodies. The phosphates that end up in the water create an excellent nutritive medium for algae and other aquatic plants, which then leads to additional oxygen being removed from the water that other organisms, such as fish, need in order to survive. In the long term, this can lead to the extinction of species, which would cause considerable damage to ecosystems.

The Commission is now considering regulatory measures in order to bring about a reduction in the use of the substance by manufacturers of detergents containing phosphorus. I voted in favour of the report, because I agree with the rapporteur that dishwasher detergents should also be included in the proposal, as, like washing machines, dishwashers have now almost become standard appliances in all households.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI ), in writing. (DE) Household agents such as dishwasher or laundry detergents contain phosphorus. This substance softens the water, thus enabling more efficient cleaning. However, phosphorus can have enormous detrimental effects if it ends up in our inland water bodies, such as rivers and lakes. The situation is particularly serious in the Danube Basin. The problem is that phosphorus promotes the growth of algae and other aquatic plants, which, in turn, results in the removal of essential oxygen from the water that is needed by fish and other animals in order to survive. In the medium and long term, many fish species and aquatic organisms are threatened with extinction as a result of the pollution of the water with phosphorus and the ecological balance in the water bodies will be disrupted. The present proposal aims to reduce the amount of phosphorus in household agents, which should, in any case, include dishwasher detergents. I have therefore voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE ), in writing. (IT) I voted for Mr Newton Dunn’s report on the use of phosphates and other phosphorus compounds in household laundry detergents since it reduces the maximum levels of these substances in detergents. Its general aim is to ensure greater consumer safety and environmental protection because these substances can be, and often are, harmful. Pollution of groundwater and various kinds of household accidents are evidence of this. I therefore believe that each Member State must adapt to the new standards as soon as possible by reducing phosphate content as required by the amendment to the regulation in question.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE ), in writing. (PT) This report approves new laws aiming to reduce the amount of phosphorus in laundry and dishwashing detergents throughout the European Union. The aim is to protect the environment, especially the aquatic environment, and the proper functioning of the internal market for these products. In southern Europe, the water is harder and detergents generally contain more phosphates. As the Commission agrees, Portugal is one of the countries that stand to gain most from the change to phosphate-free detergents. For these reasons, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE ), in writing. (IT) The different national legislation across the EU on ending the use of phosphates in detergents has led to piecemeal harmonisation in this area at European level, resulting in fragmentation of the internal market in detergents, with different Member States providing for different policies and laws. On the one hand, the Commission’s proposal for a regulation aims to reduce the use of phosphorus in detergents, thereby limiting pollution of our water systems, rivers, streams and lakes, and, on the other, it aims to put in place harmonised rules for the Member States at EU level. With the ultimate aim of cleaning up Europe’s water and promoting an agreement with third countries on reducing phosphorus content in detergents, and since I agree with all the amendments, I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Rovana Plumb (S&D ), in writing. (RO) Phosphorus helps life, algae and other forms of plant life to flourish, thereby causing eutrophication of the water. Phosphates are used in detergents to counteract hardness in water so as to allow efficient cleaning and enhance the detergents’ cleaning performance.

Some Member States already have restrictions in place for household laundry detergents, with a few also introducing restrictions for ADW (automatic dishwashing machine) detergents. However, legislation is not harmonised at EU level, the internal market for detergents is fragmented, and problems are arising which the EU is tackling in an attempt to sign agreements with Member States on reducing the phosphorus content in household laundry and dishwasher detergents as part of the regional initiatives to clean up water, such as the HELCOM Baltic Sea action plan and the EU strategy for the Danube region.

The inclusion of ADW detergents in the regulation may contribute not only to accelerating the campaign against eutrophication, but also to the loss of jobs in SMEs which make phosphate-rich ADW detergents and do not yet possess the knowledge and technologies required to make them phosphate-free. Since there are no statistics on the number of jobs at risk, I call on the Commission to devise a study for this purpose.

 
  
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  Miguel Portas (GUE/NGL ), in writing. (PT) Phosphates affect water channels and water systems, encouraging the fast development of algae and other plants, leading to their eutrophication, and consequently the death of various native species, by reducing the amount of oxygen available and/or possibly by producing toxins. Detergents are largely responsible for introducing phosphate into the aquatic environment, and there are now alternatives to the use of phosphates in detergents. This report greatly limits the amount of phosphates in household laundry detergents. It even calls for a study to be conducted into the feasibility and potential impacts of a phosphate ban for industrial and institutional detergents. These measures better protect rivers, lakes and marine habitats, as well as the entire ecosystem and all wildlife, and that is why I have voted in favour.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE ), in writing. (PT) In the words of the rapporteur, phosphates, which are used in laundry detergents, ‘help life to flourish’, and speed up the natural growth of plants. As such, some of Europe’s water resources now contain an excessive amount of algae and other organisms, which ultimately use up the resources they share with fish and plants, whose survival depends on these very resources. The Commission proposal for a regulation therefore aims to reduce the legal amount of phosphates used in detergents of this kind. At first glance, this proposal seems to merit approval, since it appears to offer significant environmental benefits for a small sacrifice. I therefore voted in favour, but there are two points that I am bound to emphasise: on the one hand, the need for a study to research the economic impact of this measure and the time required by industry to adapt to the new rules and, on the other, the need to adopt a technical solution that can satisfy the needs of consumers. In this context, as the rapporteur has already mentioned, I would underline that since the water in southern Europe is harder, there is a greater need to resort to phosphates for an effective wash.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE ), in writing.(FR) I am one of the four MEPs who abstained from voting on Mr Newton Dunn’s report on the use of phosphates and other phosphorus compounds in household laundry detergents. Although I agree with the environmental aim of banning phosphates (which are powerful cleaners but also pollutants) in dishwasher detergents from 1 January 2017, I also feel compelled to emphasise the pitfalls contained in this legislation. Let me express my reservations on two points that are symptomatic of the current state of European regulation. The first is that this agreement does not make adequate allowances for SMEs that manufacture phosphates. For example, near my home town, Liège, Prayon employs 780 staff and is, quite rightly, concerned about the negative impact that this legislation will have on its business. My second reservation is based on common sense: 90% of water eutrophication is caused by other products, not by dishwasher detergents. Therefore, the pollution will continue with or without those detergents. Europe needs to make a great leap forward by legislating on the real issues, not tinkering around the edges: applying the Waste Water Directive more effectively, combating intensive farming and reducing food waste, which are the real culprits when it comes to the eutrophication of European waters.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE ), in writing.(IT) In today’s plenary, we voted on Mr Newton Dunn’s report on the use of phosphates in household laundry detergents. A reduction in the percentage of phosphoric acid used in household products is a decisive step on the way to controlling and monitoring the development of methods aimed at curbing toxic and polluting manufacturing processes.

The discharge of phosphorus into the sea leads to the excessive growth of several types of plant life that cause a variety of marine animal and other plant species to die. Fighting the excessive use of phosphates in household laundry detergents, fertilisers and white goods means combating the degenerative cycle that the use of non-environmentally friendly products causes to the environment and people’s health, in an effective and concrete manner.

These objectives can be achieved through the promotion of alternative formulas that reduce phosphate-rich washing and provisions that harmonise the various national regulations on the subject. In addition to this, we should establish agreements with third countries so that Europe pledges, within a set timeframe, to reduce the use of phosphorus substances and to encourage the market’s adaptation to new statutory regulations that are more friendly to the European environment.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE ), in writing.(FR) The harm done by phosphate waste in our seas has been proven. Sadly, the seas are in real danger from the all-too-familiar phenomenon of ‘green tides’. Full of nutrients, the waste basically triggers algal blooms, which release toxins that endanger marine flora and fauna but also alter the water quality. A not insignificant proportion of these phosphates are generated by discharges of the detergents used in washing machines and dishwashers. Given that alternatives to phosphates can be used in cleaning products, action was urgently needed. That is why I supported Mr Newton Dunn’s report. I value his commitment to setting a ceiling for phosphate levels in products and I particularly welcome his efforts to extend the scope of the regulation not only to laundry detergents – as initially proposed by the Commission – but also to detergents for dishwashers. I also support his call for a future evaluation on extending the scope to include industrial and institutional detergents. I will close by saying that it was very wise to opt for a regulation so as to ensure consistent implementation within the single market.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE ), in writing. – In favour. The purpose of the current Commission proposal for a regulation is to reduce the amount of phosphorus used in detergents in domestic washing machines. The Commission opted for a regulation instead of a directive in order to better harmonise different rules at national levels. Phosphates end up in our water systems, rivers, streams, lakes, and notably the Danube Basin, and the Baltic Sea. Phosphorus helps life to flourish. As a result, algae and other fast-developing plant life proliferate where there is an increased source of phosphorus in water. That results in eutrophication – the excessive growth of algae which starves other living organisms of oxygen and can also produce toxins – killing fish, plants and other species, as well as reducing the quality of the water itself. Therefore, to clean up Europe's water, it is desirable to reduce the amount of phosphorus reaching the water of our continent – and indeed throughout the world.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE ), in writing.(IT) We can safeguard European waters not least through small habitual actions. With the adoption of this important report on reducing the amount of phosphorus used in domestic washing machine detergents, we are making a valuable contribution to the reduction of pollution in European water systems. Phosphorus from domestic laundry detergents, used to counteract the hardness of water, is a significant contributor to this type of ecological imbalance. A reduction in the amount of phosphorus used in household products at a European level will therefore help to protect our waters and will facilitate trade agreements with third countries in regional initiatives to clean up water, such as the Baltic Sea action plan and the Danube region strategy. The protection of Europe’s waters is a priority as well as a duty we owe to future generations.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE ), in writing.(IT) I fully support Mr Newton Dunn’s report on the use of phosphates and other phosphorus compounds in household laundry detergents as, despite its highly technical content, I think that it concerns a subject that is part of everyone’s daily life. While these substances are needed in household detergents to ensure a basic standard of hygiene and health safety, if present in too high a quantity, they can be hazardous for the environment and, in particular, can cause the eutrophication of our waters. Eutrophication promotes the excessive growth of algae and other plants, which flourish disproportionately, starving other living organisms of oxygen and producing toxins that are dangerous for our waters. Every year, 16 000 tonnes of phosphates are spilled into the Baltic Sea alone, and the cost of removing the algae that periodically accumulates is fairly high. I think that we must find a solution by looking into substitutes for phosphates that are equally effective but not as harmful to the environment.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE ), in writing.(IT) The protection of the environment and the promotion of sustainable policies feature amongst the European Union’s priorities. Today’s vote aims specifically at reducing the amount of phosphorus used in detergents in domestic washing machines.

Phosphates often end up in our water systems, rivers, streams and lakes, causing the excessive proliferation of algae and other plant species. This excessive growth of algae starves other living organisms of oxygen and can also produce toxins, killing fish and other species, as well as reducing the quality of the water itself. In order to prevent this damage to the environment, we must reduce the amount of phosphorus used in detergents.

At the same time, we must consider the implications for the small and medium-sized enterprises that produce household automatic dishwasher detergents, who do not yet possess the know-how to make them phosphate free, in order to ensure that job losses can be avoided.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE ), in writing. (PT) The aim of the Commission proposal is to reduce the amount of phosphorus used in household laundry detergents and to better harmonise the different rules at national level. Phosphates affect water systems and, in order to clean up Europe’s water, it is desirable to reduce the amount of phosphorus reaching the water of our continent. Fertilisers contain the largest amount of phosphates in the European Union, but they are also found in household dishwasher detergents, in order to combat water hardness and enable efficient cleaning, as well as for other functions to enhance cleaning performance. However, water hardness varies depending on the region, which results in different phosphate formulae among the Member States. It is important to establish rules for reducing the amount of phosphate and to take account of the impact on the different Member States and the various existing conditions, with a view to meeting the targets set.

 
  
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  Thomas Ulmer (PPE ), in writing. (DE) I voted in favour of the report because laundry and dishwasher detergents have to be virtually phosphate-free in future. Phosphates are the main reason for rampant algal growth in water bodies and for the death of fish. Everywhere where phosphates can be replaced, which is in almost all areas, they must actually be replaced. Elsewhere, the quantities must be drastically reduced. A regulation that is now to be applied by all Member States will create certainty for the industry and consumers.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI ), in writing. (DE) This proposal for a regulation is intended to lay down the maximum amount of phosphorus to be contained in household laundry detergents. The background to this is the fact that phosphorus contained in laundry and dishwasher detergents is currently responsible for a large proportion of the pollution of our water bodies. Although there are already phosphate-free liquid laundry detergents, which are increasingly being sold on the market, for dishwashing machines, the market does not currently offer any alternative. Therefore, it is recommended that a specific date be set in the Phosphorus Limitation Regulation in order to create an incentive for the necessary innovation. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Glenis Willmott (S&D ), in writing. – I am very pleased that this report on limiting the use of phosphates in household detergents in order to combat eutrophication of water bodies in the natural environment has been passed by Parliament. Eutrophication, which causes the accelerated growth of bacteria, algae and other plant life in a water body, can be a serious environmental problem, killing higher sea life and plants and upsetting the balance of local ecosystems. When eutrophication affects sources of drinking water, there are also risks to public health. Nevertheless, this can be reduced or avoided by limiting the use of phosphates in the detergents we use and switching to alternative ingredients, and these are the aims of this legislation. I am pleased that, because of the input of my Socialist and Democrat colleagues on the ENVI committee, the report was strengthened to include dishwasher detergents, a significant source of phosphates.

 
  
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  Artur Zasada (PPE ), in writing. (PL) In an increasing number of households, the standard appliances include not only a washing machine, but also a dishwasher. We are therefore using considerably more detergents containing large quantities of phosphates. They are discharged into water courses and then into reservoirs, which contributes to excessive nutrient loading. Rapporteur Bill Newton Dunn rightly points out that we should do all we can to reduce the risk of eutrophication, which is associated with a reduction in water transparency, the formation of algae surface coatings and the large-scale perishing of aquatic fauna due to insufficient oxygen and light. Overgrown reservoirs cause a significant deterioration in water taste and smell, which rules them out not only as places of sport or recreation but also, and above all, as a source of drinking water.

The imposition of weight restrictions on the amount of phosphate that may be contained in a dose of detergent is an effective approach which forces manufacturers to market more concentrated, compact products. A solution worth considering would be the use of detergents containing a quantity of phosphate dependent on the hardness of the water in a given area, or the introduction of the large-scale production of phosphate-free detergents. Member States should also make every effort to introduce technologies and appropriate equipment to recover phosphorus, given the rarity of its occurrence as an element.

 
  
  

Report: Carl Haglund (A7-0394/2011 )

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D ), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because the agreement, which, in practice, is intended to last barely another two months, has opened up Moroccan waters to European fleets and it is important that this agreement should be kept in force, not least for Portuguese fishermen. Naturally, all agreements have room for improvement, and this one is no exception. It will therefore be necessary in future to adapt the agreement in accordance with the work carried out by the European Parliament’s Legal Service, so as to widen the range of its benefits to all those involved.

 
  
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  Marta Andreasen (EFD ), in writing. – I voted against this resolution on the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) because of economic, legal, environmental and moral reasons. The EU and Morocco concluded a FPA on 22 May 2006. An outside consultancy prepared an ex-post evaluation report, on behalf of the European Commission, which evaluates the first four years of the FPA with Morocco. On a general note, it states that ‘the results of this first four-year period of the new Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Morocco are generally rather disappointing’ as the agreement fails to stabilise the EU market and to develop the fisheries sector. Moreover, the population of Western Sahara, the Sahrawi people who suffer under the unlawful and unacceptable occupation of their country by Morocco, does not benefit from this agreement. Morocco has no right to dispose of the natural resources of a territory which does not fall under its sovereignty. For more than 30 years, the Western Sahara’s problem has been dealt with by the United Nations, but without any progress whatsoever. By rejecting the FPA, the European Parliament sent a strong signal to the Moroccan Government that the EU cannot support an agreement with a country which violates human rights.

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D ), in writing. – I voted against the extension of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement for several reasons. The first is that we are facing a clear violation of international law. Morocco is selling the natural resource of an occupied territory. According to the basics of international law, it would be able to do so only if the agreement were in accordance with the benefits and wishes of the local Sahrawi people. The Moroccan Government has failed to show any such benefits or wishes. In addition to that, of all the EU’s ongoing bilateral agreements, the deal with Morocco is the worst.

The rapporteur of the recommendation, along with an independent evaluation produced by the Commission, plus the opinions of the Development and Budget Committees and the assessment of authoritative UN experts, concur that the agreement is a waste of taxpayers’ money, it is ecologically and environmentally unsustainable and it has no significant macro-economic effect on either the EU or Morocco. For all these reasons, I strongly believe that extending this agreement undermines the EU’s credibility as a defender of international law and as an impartial and equal institution.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE ), in writing. (FR) By rejecting the renewal of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Morocco, we are sending a negative signal to our Mediterranean neighbour. Under the agreement, 10 Member States were entitled to fish in Moroccan waters in return for which they paid financial compensation to support Morocco in developing fisheries policies. I concur with my colleague, Mr Cadec, a member of the Committee on Fisheries and responsible for producing the opinion of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), who fears that this will mean the end of any new protocol.

 
  
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  Jean-Pierre Audy (PPE ), in writing. (FR) I regret the European Parliament’s final position on the legislative resolution of 14 December 2011 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial compensation provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco. I also regret the added opposition to the provisional renewal of the agreement, with some objections being purely political in nature and nothing to do with fishing. I recognise the excellent work done by my colleague, Alain Cadec, MEP, who is a member of the Committee on Fisheries.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD ), in writing.(IT) I am opposed to the extension of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco. The European Commission’s assessment of the previous agreement, on which a one-year extension has been proposed, is one of the worst ever made on a fisheries agreement.

When put to the test, the agreement is shown to have low cost effectiveness both in terms of its benefit for the economy and for Moroccan maritime infrastructure. Only a small part of the allocated funds have been used to support the Moroccan fisheries sector and the agreement has been shown to be wasteful and has failed to reach the objective of facilitating economic and social development in this North African country.

Therefore, I voted against the proposal in plenary in line with the negative assessment of the agreement in question.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE ), in writing. (FR) Now more than ever, Morocco needed the European Union’s support, not only in the context of the ongoing Arab Spring, but also, more specifically, because Morocco is one of our closest partners. This agreement was needed because it allowed 10 Member States to fish in Moroccan waters in return for which they paid financial compensation that was used to develop Morocco’s national fisheries policies. The European Parliament cannot and must not abandon the EU’s longstanding partner. Instead, we should now be doing our utmost to consolidate the partnership agreements with Morocco and propose new agreements based on a new approach in order to support the democratic process that is under way.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL ), in writing. (EL) I voted against maintaining the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Morocco for two basic reasons. The agreement conflicts with the rights of the Sahrawi and with international law. The sovereignty of Morocco in the Western Sahara has never been recognised under international law. As, therefore, Morocco is illegally occupying the said area, it has no jurisdiction over its natural resources and, hence, it does not have the right to negotiate agreements against the will and without the opinion of the inhabitants. Moreover, in order for economic activities exploiting natural resources in non-independent territories to be in keeping with international law, said activities must benefit the population of those territories and must be in keeping with its will, which is not the case here. Furthermore, there are serious ecological problems. Many of the marine species in the area are subject to over-exploitation. Some stocks are at risk of complete exhaustion, basically as a result of overfishing by European vessels. Finally, the report evaluating the agreement states that it has not contributed effectively to the development of the fisheries sector and that it does not meet the specific needs of Morocco, either technically or financially. Therefore, not only will suspending it have no serious financial impact; it will also restore the stand that the Union should take.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D ), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the recommendation on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a Protocol between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco setting out the fishing opportunities and financial compensation provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco. The Protocol sets out the fishing opportunities offered to European Union vessels based on the surplus available, as well as the financial contribution paid by the EU for access rights and for support given to the sector. Another function of the Protocol is to provide a general partnership framework between the two parties, within which a sustainable fisheries policy is to be developed. The fishing industry has been an important economic pillar for Morocco for a very long time, with this country being considered the largest fish market in Africa.

 
  
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  Rachida Dati (PPE ) , in writing.(FR) As Morocco has made a commitment to sustainable fisheries, and given that hundreds of European fishermen and thousands of Moroccan workers are dependent on the industry, I voted in favour of extending the Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Morocco. Today’s vote against extending the agreement is highly regrettable. There is a danger that the result will now compromise negotiations on the future agreement that the European Union needs, not to mention the negative signal that it sends to one of our most reliable partners.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE ), in writing. (PT) By refusing its assent to the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement, the European Parliament has done a disservice to our bilateral relations and, more particularly, to the interests of the Iberian fishing industry. The European Parliament has acted irresponsibly towards a friendly country in which His Majesty King Mohammed VI has been promoting a far-reaching and peaceful transition to democracy, broadly supported by a referendum. What is all the more incomprehensible is that this was done in the same week as the plenary adopted a report on the revised European Neighbourhood Policy for which I was rapporteur and which aims to deepen our relations with neighbouring countries. It is all the more shocking that Portuguese members, in voting as they did, put third-party interests before the national economy. I voted in favour, and therefore profoundly and sincerely regret the outcome.

 
  
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  Proinsias De Rossa (S&D ), in writing. – The proposal to extend the current agreement is unacceptable because of its low cost-benefit ratio for the EU, the excessive exploitation of demersal stocks, the very limited contribution of EU funds to the development of local fisheries policy and, very importantly, the failure to demonstrate how it benefits the Sahrawi people. The European Commission should begin the process of negotiating a new economically, environmentally and socially beneficial and sustainable agreement. EU funds for the development of local fisheries policy must be used more efficiently and be more closely monitored. The Commission must guarantee that the new agreement fully respects international law and benefits all affected local populations, including the Sahrawi people.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D ), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because this Fisheries Partnership Agreement is about to expire and to be succeeded by a new agreement more favourable to environmental sustainability, which is already in the process of being drawn up. For this reason, it does not seem right to me that the bilateral relations between these two regions be plunged into crisis and that the rights of European fishermen be put at risk.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE ), in writing. (PT) Once again, some fellow Members have sought to exploit the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement. The irresponsibility of such behaviour, which this House unfortunately backed, is bound to affect the lives of shipowners and fishermen, some of whom are Portuguese, who fish in Moroccan waters and who are about to be prevented from doing so any longer.

At a time when employment is in decline, it is impossible not to condemn this resolution, which does not resolve anything and even creates unnecessary tensions between neighbours and partners who have everything to gain by remaining so. I can only regret this unfortunate incident and hope that the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco will be able to regain the trust that has been lost and initiate new ways to establish a sound, constructive and fruitful relationship.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE ), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Mr Haglund, concerns the draft Council decision on the extension of the Protocol between the European Union (EU) and the Kingdom of Morocco setting out the fishing opportunities in Moroccan waters and the corresponding financial compensations. The rapporteur believes that this draft decision represents a bad bargain for the EU and recommends its rejection on the following grounds: the financial compensations under the previous agreement have not been spent on renovating the Moroccan fishing fleet; the fishing of endangered species has still been allowed; international law has not always been respected; and not all local populations, particularly the Sahrawi people, have equally benefited. Considering that it is a matter only of extending a current partnership agreement up to 27 February 2012, that 119 fishing permits for Community vessels (most of them from the southern Member States, particularly Spain and Portugal) are at stake, that we are dealing with a very fragile sector which needs all the help it can get in order to survive, and that negotiations for a new agreement are in progress, I am voting for this draft resolution, despite the rapporteur’s opposite position.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL ), in writing. (PT) We welcome the rejection of the extension of this agreement. As we have always said, the agreement that the Commission is now proposing to extend is unacceptable. It is unacceptable that an agreement signed between the European Union and Morocco provides for the exploitation of a natural resource of Western Sahara, a territory illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975. Morocco’s sovereignty over the territory of Western Sahara has never been recognised by any country to this day. With this agreement – contrary both to international law and to various UN resolutions on this issue – the EU does implicitly recognise it. This has therefore been the only solution compatible with international law. The Commission ought to take it very seriously. Its attitude has been deplorable throughout the entire process. It should be noted that Parliament can exercise its right of consent only two months before the scheduled expiry date for the end of this extension, which, in practical terms, started in February.

The fact that there is no longer a legal agreement in place to protect fishing activities in that area, as there has been for the past 10 months, now puts us in a difficult position. The Commission is now obliged to rectify the serious issues associated with this agreement, and which we have been denouncing for a long time, in any future agreements.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE ), in writing.(IT) I voted against the one-year extension of the Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Morocco, as this Protocol presents a number of problems in terms of both its benefit to the economy and its ecological implications. I would also like to raise the question of Western Sahara. The agreement gives rise to major ecological concerns: we know that of the 11 demersal stocks fished in Moroccan waters, five appear over-exploited, which casts doubt over the fishing activities of European vessels. This fact causes us to question whether the fisheries agreement limited to surplus stocks is being honoured, considering that these are being almost totally depleted. The last and by no means least important point is the widespread problem of discards, catches of sharks and probable catches of marine mammals by trawlers. Fishing in the waters off Western Sahara is a source of controversy, as Article 73 of the UN Charter defines Western Sahara as a Non-Self-Governing Territory, and Morocco has never been accepted as the official administering power by the UN. Exploitation activities in Western Sahara should, in my opinion, only proceed if they are beneficial for the local population, and it seems that the agreement does not, in its current wording, allow for this.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL ), in writing. (PT) We welcome the rejection of the extension of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement. The rejection highlights the impracticability of this agreement, both from the economic point of view (it is one of the most expensive fisheries agreements that the EU has with a third country) and from the ecological point of view, bearing in mind that the various fish stocks are in a fragile state of conservation. However, we believe the most serious issue raised by this agreement is its implicit recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, over its waters, and over its fishing resources.

From 1975, when the International Court of Justice was established, until the present day, Moroccan sovereignty over the territory of Western Sahara has never been recognised. The EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement is illegal and flouts all the relevant UN General Assembly Resolutions and international law. We therefore believe that any future protocol to be negotiated by the Commission must rectify the serious problems associated with past and present protocols.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D ), in writing. (SK) The Kingdom of Morocco is an African country with almost 32 million inhabitants. Morocco is currently a privileged partner of the EU and the largest recipient of EU funds under the European Neighbourhood Policy. The EU is Morocco’s most important export market, its leading public and private external investor, and its most important tourism market. The fishing industry has been an important economic pillar for Morocco for a long time and the country is considered to be the largest fish market in Africa, with the fishing sector accounting for an estimated 400 000 jobs. The European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco concluded a Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) on 22 May 2006 which entered into force on 28 February 2007. On the basis of a mandate from the Council, the European Commission conducted negotiations with the Kingdom of Morocco on the renewal of the Protocol to the FPA by one year, following the expiry of the initial Protocol. A one-year extension is now provisionally applied, but the Council still needs the consent of the European Parliament to adopt the new Protocol. I firmly believe that it is right for the European Parliament to grant consent and, at the same time, to authorise its President to convey this position to the Council and the Commission, and to the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the Kingdom of Morocco.

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE ), in writing. – Today’s vote sends out two strong messages. This Parliament is no longer willing to sign off fisheries agreements regardless of their impact on citizens in countries outwith the EU. And this House respects the right to self-determination – a right which the Moroccan Government has not given to the people of Western Sahara. Morocco has no right, under international law, to sell the natural resources of Western Sahara. It follows, therefore, that the EU should not be paying Morocco for fishing rights in the waters off Western Sahara.

 
  
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  Sandra Kalniete (PPE ), in writing. (LV) I voted for the extension of the present agreement because up to now, European fishermen have operated successfully in the waters of the Kingdom of Morocco and this practice should be continued. The desire of the Kingdom of Morocco to receive payment for the fact that European fishermen have the right to use the natural resources of Morocco is justified and should be supported. The European Union pays EUR 36.1 million annually for the right to fish in the waters of the Kingdom of Morocco, which constitutes a tiny amount of the total EU budget compared to the jobs gained by European fishing fleets, contributing to the economic development of EU Member States. Unfortunately, Parliament has today rejected the extension of the agreement and asked the Commission to open negotiations on a new agreement. This is alarming, because the current agreement expires in February 2012.

This means that after that date, European fishing fleets, which have relied on being able to continue fishing in Moroccan waters, will have to review their plans. This may also mean job losses, which we need least of all at present, when the EU is struggling with the deepest crisis it has ever experienced. I urge the Commission to reopen negotiations with the Kingdom of Morocco as soon as possible, so that we have a new agreement with the majority support of Parliament.

 
  
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  Krišjānis Kariņš (PPE ), in writing. (LV) I supported the extension of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement because it would allow vessels sailing under the Latvian flag to continue fishing in Moroccan waters and provide jobs and tax revenue. Latvian fishing vessels have been fishing in the Central Eastern Atlantic fishing areas, including the waters belonging to the Kingdom of Morocco, since 2004. In 2009 and 2011, there were two Latvian fishing vessels fishing there, and in 2010 there were even three. The total annual catch obtained was 7 667.5 tonnes in 2009, 8 877 tonnes in 2010, and 5 739 tonnes up to November 2011. Together with the catch in the neighbouring waters of the Mauritanian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), this accounts for more than half of Latvia’s total catch. Therefore, it is crucial that these vessels may continue fishing in Moroccan waters.

 
  
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  Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE ), in writing. (FI) I just voted against the report by Mr Haglund, whom I greatly admire, but then so did he and so did a large number of my fellow Members. Continuing the EU’s Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Morocco would be unthinkable, not just for fish stocks, but also in terms of economics and human rights. The evaluation report ordered by the Commission also came to this conclusion. I do understand the position of some of my fellow Members from Mediterranean countries, where the fishing industry has a financial interest in this matter, but, all the same, the facts do not support the agreement. This is what Parliament and the Committees on Budgets and Development have also said in their statements.

The agreement with Morocco is, in financial terms, the second biggest the EU has (EUR 36.1 million a year). In its evaluation report, the Commission stated, for example, that this agreement is economically the least attractive of all the EU’s trade agreements, as we get back just 65 cents for each euro invested. Fish stocks are, furthermore, fully or overexploited. The agreement is also, in practice, contrary to international law, because the Sahrawi people in Western Sahara will not benefit whatsoever, even though it concerns their territorial waters, rather than those of Morocco, which would not have rights to exploit natural resources in this way.

I would, however, point out that, in voting against the report, I am not voting against Morocco. Cooperation between the EU and Morocco is important in itself, and is engaged in via the neighbourhood policy, as it should be. This is more a matter of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement alone, and about our obligation to examine the extent to which the agreement is in line with sustainable development.

 
  
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  Constance Le Grip (PPE ) , in writing.(FR) I supported the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Morocco. Unfortunately, a large majority of MEPs voted against renewing the protocol on fisheries.

We are sending a very negative signal to Morocco here, at a time when we should be supporting this great country as it has begun the process of democratisation, political and economic reform. Parliament’s no vote is all the more awkward given that the agreement is already in force and is due to expire in February 2012. Under the agreement, 10 Member States were entitled to fish in Moroccan waters in return for which they paid financial compensation that was used to develop Morocco’s national fisheries policies.

In practical terms, this means that 120 European fishing vessels will have to cease their activities in Moroccan waters immediately. At the end of the day, this could mark the end of all partnership agreements with Morocco, which would be a pity, as it would seriously hamper Morocco’s development and the relationship that we have built with the country over the years.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D ), in writing. – I voted for this proposal, which was for a one-year extension of the expired Protocol to the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement, in order to give the Commission time to establish whether Morocco is in compliance with international law by providing evidence that the EU’s financial contribution is used to benefit the people of Western Sahara.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE ), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of Mr Haglund’s report. The disappointing results of the four years in which this fisheries agreement has been in force means it is essential that we rethink the terms set in 2006. I agree with the possibility of not extending the current agreement.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE ), in writing. – This report proposes a one-year extension of the Protocol to the FPA between the European Community and Morocco. I agree with the rapporteur that this extension could lead to the exploitation of fish stocks and would not provide benefits to the territory of Western Sahara, in whose water the majority of the fishing takes place. Any economic activity related to natural resources should be carried out for the benefit of all of the people of such territories. I therefore voted against this proposal to extend the Protocol to the FPA between the European Community and Morocco.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL ), in writing.(FR) The resolution proposes extending the European Union’s access to fishing resources in Moroccan waters for one year. Parliament’s vote comes more or less at the end of the extended access period. We are therefore faced with a fait accompli . I object to this procedure and am calling for an investigation to establish the exact status of the stocks that many organisations claim are over-fished. I am also calling on the European Union to support the development of local fishing, rather than financing European vessels’ exploitation of the resources, which is at odds with the interests of the local population.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE ), in writing. (PT) I voted for this regulation and regret the decision by Parliament to refuse the extension of the fisheries agreement between Portugal and Morocco. Several Portuguese vessels are operating in Moroccan territorial waters, and this is having a serious impact on national interests at a time of profound crisis. What is more is that the decision has come at a time when Morocco has introduced reforms for greater democratic openness, particularly following the approval of a new written constitution. The Portuguese vessels used for fishing in Morocco operated under the protection of an agreement signed in 2007 and extended in the following years, but which expired on 28 February. I now expect that the vessels that have paid for their licences, but cannot now exercise their rights, will be duly compensated for the damage caused.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE ), in writing. (FR) It is a shame that the report on the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Morocco has been rejected, even though it was supported by the Committee on Fisheries. I have to dispute certain people’s claims that the agreement offers limited financial benefits. In fact, the accusations made in the extremely negative ex post evaluation report were duly challenged by the Committee on Fisheries. What about the thousands of jobs that have been created on both shores of the Mediterranean? Morocco is a partner on many levels and our rejection of this agreement sends out a very negative signal. If the renewal had been approved, we would have been able to move on and continue to build cordial relationships with our neighbour in the southern Mediterranean. We have therefore taken a seriously retrograde step.

 
  
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  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE ), in writing. (RO) I voted against extending the agreement for the following reasons:

1. It is not acceptable for this agreement to be debated in Parliament two months prior to its expiry. By voting against it, Parliament has indicated its opposition to this kind of practice.

2. The agreement is not commercially viable for the European Union. I am in favour of signing a fisheries agreement with Morocco, but it must be based on a partnership and beneficial to both sides and, above all, it must be signed in accordance with democratic procedures, in other words, with Parliament’s participation.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI ), in writing. (DE) The Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Morocco is not only expensive and dubious from the point of view of international law; it is also inefficient. Although the principle of sustainability from both a socio-economic and environmental perspective should also apply outside the territorial waters of the Member States or the EU, in reality, the situation is, unfortunately, rather different. Moreover, large EU fisheries organisations do not manage to adequately represent the interests of small fishermen and they curry favour with large international corporations. For these reasons, I have voted against this report.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE ), in writing.(IT) The Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco looks to renew the first fisheries agreement that was reached in 2006 and was valid until February 2011. The agreement allows fishing activities to be undertaken in the waters off the Moroccan coast by a fleet of European fishing vessels, one of which is Italian. In the interests of the European Union, maritime traffic and the fisheries trade, and in view of the importance of relations with non-European countries, I consider it necessary to vote in favour of this partnership agreement.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE ), in writing. (PT) The external dimension of the common fisheries policy (CFP) and, more specifically, the fisheries partnership agreements with third countries, not only allow Europe’s fleet to enter traditionally frequented external fishing grounds, but are also vital for the acquisition of important fishing products, which help to guarantee the food supply to the European Union, as well as for playing a major part in the economies of third countries. In the particular case of the current agreement, the extension of this Protocol is essential for the EU fleets that are fishing there, especially the Portuguese fleet. It should be remembered that Portuguese vessels had been operating in Moroccan waters for many years thanks, in particular, to the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement, which was in force from 1988 to 1999. Portugal was then banned from operating in Moroccan waters, and had to withdraw several dozen vessels, which had irreversible economic and social consequences for many Portuguese fishing communities. In order to prevent such situations from recurring, and taking account of the aims of the external dimension of the CFP, I am voting for this report.

 
  
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  Fiorello Provera (EFD ), in writing.(IT) I am opposed to the conclusion of the agreement with Morocco as it will be beneficial neither for Moroccan fishermen nor for European taxpayers. It will not benefit Moroccan fishermen because it will not create new jobs and it will increase the imbalance that already exists between the local fleet and the fishery potential. It will not benefit European taxpayers because they will spend EUR 13.5 million on subsidising the Moroccan fisheries policy without a guarantee that the money will be used in a worthwhile manner. Furthermore, for every euro invested European taxpayers will only gain back EUR 0.65, which is less than half of the average amount generated by similar agreements.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE ), in writing. (PT) The Kingdom of Morocco is currently the greatest recipient of European Union funds under the European Neighbourhood Policy. This signifies that the link between the two countries goes beyond mere geographical proximity and, to some extent, a shared history: at present, it also includes the economic relations between the two countries. That is the context of the protocol on the fishing opportunities in Moroccan waters and the associated financial compensation. Despite the reservations expressed by the rapporteur on the conclusion of the agreement, I believe, in line with the view of the Committee on Fisheries, that the agreement would offer, on the whole, a positive solution. As such, and taking account of the national interests concerned, I voted for this agreement.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE ), in writing. (FR) The European Parliament has rejected the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Morocco. A technical agreement has been rejected on the basis of specious arguments, yet, above all, this sends a disastrous political signal. Let us start with fishing: apparently, this protocol offers ‘a very low cost-benefit ratio’.

So Morocco should be compared to our partners in Switzerland, Norway and the United States, should it? Nonsense! Ranked 103rd in terms of GDP per capita, Morocco cannot compete with the world’s heavyweights. We should also accept that this protocol constitutes a form of economic development assistance.

Yet this is not the heart of the matter: we are sending a regrettable political message, and doing so on the very day that the European Parliament is awarding the Sakharov Prize to the leaders of the Arab Spring. It is a signal that we distrust Morocco, one of the most stable countries in the region, the only one to have begun the process of democratisation, albeit imperfect and arguably inadequate, yet with no bloodshed. A country where the king has understood what his people want and has rapidly put forward proposals for substantial reforms.

What is worse, this vote constitutes a victory for Morocco’s critics, in particular, its neighbour, Algeria. It is not just fishing that is at stake here: it is democracy.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE ), in writing. (ES) Against. The members of the Greens/European Free Alliance welcome the result of the vote (326 votes against the agreement and 296 in favour). After months of tense and complex negotiations, deliberations and debates, under significant pressure from some governments, such as the governments of Morocco and Spain, Parliament has finally responded coherently and correctly by rejecting this agreement. If we had supported the agreement, we would have infringed international law and trampled all over the rights of the Sahrawi people. We voted against the resolution on three fronts: legal, ecological and economic. Legally, Morocco was negotiating with resources that do not belong to it as Western Sahara is an occupied territory and, consequently, the agreement ignores the rights of the Sahrawi people, thereby infringing international law. Ecologically, fisheries agreements should be based on stocks with surpluses, whereas the stocks in that area suffer from overfishing. Economically, the profitability of this agreement has proven to be the worst of all such agreements and it is a waste of European money.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE ), in writing.(IT) This morning’s vote is fundamental as, without renewal, the expiry of the protocol on 28 February 2012 would otherwise risk bringing the fishing activities of the European fleet covered by the agreement to a standstill.

The difficulties in renewing the agreement are rooted in the fact that, while not ruling out the option of fishing in Western Sahara, it does not expressly involve the Sahrawi people in its benefits. Yet, in spite of this situation, on 21 February 2011, the Council approved a mandate for the European Commission to conduct negotiations for a provisional one-year extension of the agreement, in anticipation of more detailed information on the involvement of the local populations in the relative benefits.

The renewal was signed on 13 July 2011 and we have been asked to give our opinion on this agreement this morning. Personally, I expressed my support for the conclusion of the provisional protocol (for a duration of 12 months) in anticipation of clarification on apportionment of the benefits of the agreement.

 
  
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  Bart Staes (Verts/ALE ), in writing. (NL) I voted against the extension of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement because Western Sahara is not part of Morocco. Fishing in Saharan waters breaches international law. Making use of a bilateral agreement in order to fish in the waters off Western Sahara goes against international law. Moreover, fisheries in occupied Western Sahara are strictly controlled by the Moroccan security services and not by the Sahrawi population. Apart from the indisputable fact that this agreement violates international law, it also emerges from a Commission evaluation report that the agreement constitutes an enormous waste of European taxpayers’ money and contributes to the destruction of fish stocks. It is the most inefficient and wasteful of all the current bilateral fisheries agreements.

Each invested euro of the total of EUR 36 million which the Union pays to Morocco annually gives rise to a negative return of 83%! Moreover, the agreement does not make any contribution whatsoever to the development of the local fishing industry. Finally, the Commission did not consult the European Parliament or sufficiently involve it in the negotiation process. Rejection of this agreement is thus in line with the analysis carried out by the Legal Service of the European Parliament.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR ), in writing. – I have taken a strong interest in the EU Morocco fisheries agreement and, with my political group, voted against the proposal. I believe that EU fisheries agreements are often flawed in that they encourage industrial fishing on a scale which threatens conservation of marine resources, as well as allowing European fishermen to deprive local fishing communities of a livelihood. In theory, the money paid to the governments of countries like Morocco should flow back to the local people to compensate. In the case of Morocco, this is not the case and indeed Morocco does not respect the UN resolutions granting the right of self-determination to the Western Saharan people through a plebiscite and has not compensated the Sahrawi people for their loss of fishing rights in proportion to the size of the Western Saharan coastline. For all these reasons, I reject the proposal.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE ), in writing. (PT) The aim of this recommendation is to extend the protocol relating to the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement for another year. This protocol, signed in May 2006, sets out the fishing opportunities for EU vessels, taking account of the surplus stocks available and, at the same time, the associated financial compensation – the second highest EU tax – and support for the sustainable development of this sector. Despite the various controversial issues relating to the results/consequences of this agreement, not least cost-effectiveness, species sustainability, the environment and the issue of the Western Sahara, I think it is important to extend the agreement for another three months and also to begin negotiating a new protocol to the fisheries agreement, which addresses the aforementioned shortcomings.

 
  
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  Geoffrey Van Orden (ECR ), in writing. – I am sceptical about EU fisheries agreements in general, and am not clear what the benefit to the UK, or indeed to Morocco itself, would be from the proposed EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement. In addition, the scope of this agreement bears particularly on the Western Sahara region, whose international status remains unclear.

However, the Moroccan Government is a friendly government with a helpful counter-terrorism policy and is currently taking steps to improve democratisation in the Kingdom. Therefore, I have very mixed feelings about a number of aspects of a complex issue and I abstained.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI ), in writing. (DE) The Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Morocco, which is intended to make fishing grounds in Moroccan territorial waters accessible to 11 EU Member States, is due to be extended. The assessment of the last four years of the agreement revealed that the objectives have not been met. The attempted stabilisation of the market in the EU fisheries sector was not successful and the large amounts of money given to Morocco by the EU for fishing grounds has only brought about a small improvement in the situation of the fishermen. Furthermore, there are serious concerns about emerging environmental problems and conflict with international law. On account of the large number of serious concerns, I voted against the recommendation.

 
  
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  Glenis Willmott (S&D ), in writing. – One of the principal aims of the European Union is to promote European values in the world and to set an example to the world on issues such as the rule of law, social justice and the environment. It is for this reason that I and my colleagues in the European Parliamentary Labour Party followed Parliament’s Committee on Development and Committee on Budgets in voting against this report. Evaluations of the agreement have shown it to cause a net economic loss to the EU, whilst failing to aid the development of the fisheries sector in Morocco and failing to prevent over-exploitation and promote sustainable fishing. There are also important, and still unresolved, questions over whether the agreement complied with international law in terms of whether it benefits the people of Western Sahara. Rather than extending the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement, we believe that a new agreement must be brought forward urgently to deal with the serious problems we have seen with the current agreement.

 
  
  

Proposal for a decision on the numerical strength of the standing committees B7-0619/2011

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D ), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report. I believe the numerical strength that it proposes for each standing committee is appropriate, in terms of their responsibilities and taking account of the total number of members.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D ), in writing. (PT) I voted for the proposal because the increase in the number of MEPs has made it necessary to adjust the numerical strength of the committees.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE ), in writing. (PT) I agree with the amendment to the numerical strength of the standing committees of this Parliament. This is fully justified by the provisions contained in either a Protocol to the Treaties or in our own Rules of Procedure. It would be a shame if this House proved unable or unwilling to adjust its composition and its way of working to the number of its members and, particularly, if this adjustment did not extend to the number of members who make up its committees, which is a fundamental part of its structure.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE ), in writing. (PT) The proposal for a decision under consideration concerns the numerical strength of the standing committees of the European Parliament and was tabled pursuant to Article 183 of the Rules of Procedure, which reads as follows: ‘On a proposal from the Conference of Presidents, Parliament shall set up standing committees whose powers shall be defined in an annex to these Rules of Procedure. Their members shall be elected during the first part-session following the re-election of Parliament and again two and a half years thereafter’. The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon following Parliament’s elections in 2009, or rather on 1 December 2009, led to only 736 members being elected, in accordance with the Treaty of Nice, and not 751 as had been previously agreed. There were therefore 18 members who found themselves unable to fully exercise their duties, particularly in Parliament’s various committees, since they had to wait for the amendment of Protocol No 36 to the Treaty of Lisbon. Since there is a need to speed up procedures and give continuity to the work carried out by these committees, I am voting for the proposal for a decision on the numerical strength of the standing committees of the European Parliament.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D ), in writing. (SK) The European Parliament, taking into account the proposal of the Conference of Presidents, and also in view of its decision of 15 July 2009 on the number of parliamentary committee members, has decided to amend the number of members of standing parliamentary committees. Following the entry into force of Protocol No 36 to the Lisbon Treaty, the new Members are entitled to sit in the European Parliament and on its bodies in full enjoyment of their rights. The changes to the number of members have affected 20 parliamentary committees and two subcommittees (the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Subcommittee on Security and Defence). Parliament also decided that the chairmanship of committees may be held by up to four Vice-Chairs. Through its President, Parliament has, at the same time, informed the Council and the Commission of the decision to amend the number of members of standing committees.

 
  
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  Louis Grech (S&D ), in writing. – The clause in the Lisbon Treaty for the allocation of the 18 extra seats has taken two years to come into force – an example of the bureaucratic approach which the EU institutions are often criticised for, on the one hand, and a clear lack of initiative on the part of some Member States to push the process for conclusion as quickly as possible, on the other. A decision to amend the number of Members sitting in the various standing committees will mean that constituents from various Member States will start to enjoy a stronger and more broadly-based representation in the House – this being particularly true for smaller Member States like Malta, which has been allocated a further seat in the EP, guaranteeing a louder voice for its citizens within committees. This amelioration of the democratic aspect has come at a particularly difficult but important time for the EU, and the EP must therefore facilitate the realisation of the various economic and social reforms the Union must undergo. Our Members, within the various committees, need to work against this backdrop, be proactive and ensure that the overhaul required with regard to certain aspects of current work practice within committee is effected as soon and as smoothly as possible.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD ), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this proposal for a decision because, in view of the proposal by the Conference of Presidents and its decision of 15 July 2009 on the numerical strength of parliamentary committees and of Rule 183 of the Rules of Procedure, there is a need for continuity in Parliament’s business, and following the entry into force of Protocol No 36 to the Lisbon Treaty, new Members are entitled to sit in the European Parliament and on its bodies in full enjoyment of their rights. Consequently, there is a need to amend the number of members of parliamentary committees and subcommittees.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE ), in writing.(FR) I supported this proposal for a decision on resizing the parliamentary committees in order to allow new MEPs to sit on the committees.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D ), in writing. – I voted for this proposal to alter the numerical strength of the standing committees. Following the entry into force of Protocol No 36 to the Lisbon Treaty, the new Members are entitled to sit in the European Parliament and on its bodies in full enjoyment of their rights.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE ), in writing. (PT) With the increase in the number of Members due to the admission of Croatia, there is now a need to amend the numerical strength of the standing committees. As such, I am voting for the proposed amendment.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE ), in writing. (PT) With this resolution, Parliament is adopting an amendment to the numerical strength of parliamentary committees, so as to accommodate the new members who are taking office following the entry into force of Protocol No 36 to the Treaty of Lisbon. I voted in favour, since the new members are entitled to sit in the European Parliament and on its bodies in full enjoyment of their rights, and to fully participate in the committees. Based on the decision of the Conference of Presidents of 9 July 2009, this resolution states that the committee bureaux may consist of up to four Vice-Chairs.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE ), in writing. – In favour. The European Parliament will amend the number of members of parliamentary committees to adapt itself to the new context.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE ), in writing. (PT) In view of the need to ensure the continuity of the work carried out by the various committees in the European Parliament, and the fact that, following the entry into force of Protocol No 36 to the Treaty of Lisbon, the new members are entitled to sit in the European Parliament and on its bodies in full enjoyment of their rights, I voted for the amendment to the numerical strength of the Parliamentary committees, as proposed by the Conference of Presidents.

 
  
  

Proposal for a decision on the numerical strength of the interparliamentary delegations, delegations to joint parliamentary committees and delegations to parliamentary cooperation committees and multilateral parliamentary assemblies B7-0620/2011

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D ), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report. I believe the numerical strength that it proposes for delegations and multilateral parliamentary assemblies is appropriate, in terms of their responsibilities and taking account of the total number of members.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE ), in writing. (PT) As in the case of standing committees, I agree with the amendment to the numerical strength of the interparliamentary delegations, delegations to joint parliamentary committees and delegations to parliamentary cooperation committees, and multilateral parliamentary assemblies. This is fully justified by the provisions contained in either a Protocol to the Treaties or in our own Rules of Procedure. It would be a shame if this House proved unable or unwilling to adjust its composition and its way of working to the number of its members.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE ), in writing. (PT) The proposal for a decision under consideration concerns the numerical strength of interparliamentary delegations and was tabled pursuant to Article 198 of the Rules of Procedure, which states the following: ‘1. On a proposal from the Conference of Presidents, Parliament shall set up standing interparliamentary delegations and decide on their nature and the number of their members in the light of their duties. The members shall be elected during the first or second part-session following the re-election of Parliament for the duration of the parliamentary term’. The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon following Parliament’s elections in 2009 led to the belated appointment of 18 members who found themselves unable to fully exercise their duties, particularly on the EP’s various bodies. Since there is a need to speed up procedures and give continuity to the work carried out by these delegations in the field of the European Union’s external policy, I am voting for the proposal for the following composition of interparliamentary delegations: 18 members for relations with the Arab Peninsula; 28 members for relations with India; 17 members for relations with the Korean Peninsula; 17 members for relations with South Africa.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D ), in writing. (SK) The European Parliament, taking into consideration Article 198 of the Rules of Procedure, as well as its decision of 14 September 2009 on the number of interparliamentary delegations, delegations to joint parliamentary committees, delegations to parliamentary cooperation committees and multilateral parliamentary assemblies, has decided to amend the number of members in four interparliamentary delegations; specifically, the Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula, the Delegation for relations with India, the Delegation for relations with the Korean Peninsula and the Delegation for relations with South Africa. At the same time, following the entry into force of Protocol No 36 to the Lisbon Treaty, the new Members are entitled to sit in the European Parliament and on its bodies in full enjoyment of their rights. At the same time, the European Parliament, through its President, has informed the Council and the Commission of this decision relating to the amendment to the number of members of interparliamentary delegations, delegations to joint parliamentary committees, delegations to parliamentary cooperation committees and multilateral parliamentary assemblies.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD ), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this proposal for a decision because, in view of the proposal by the Conference of Presidents and its decision of 14 September 2009 on the number of interparliamentary delegations, delegations to joint parliamentary committees, delegations to parliamentary cooperation committees and multilateral parliamentary assemblies, and of Rule 198 of the Rules of Procedure, there is a need for continuity in Parliament’s business, and following the entry into force of Protocol No 36 to the Lisbon Treaty, new Members are entitled to sit in the European Parliament and on its bodies in full enjoyment of their rights. Consequently, there is a need to amend the number of members of interparliamentary delegations.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE ), in writing.(FR) I supported this proposal for a decision on resizing the interparliamentary delegations, delegations to joint parliamentary committees, delegations to parliamentary cooperation committees and multilateral parliamentary assemblies in order to allow new Members to sit on these European Parliament bodies.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D ), in writing. – I voted for this report in order to allow the new members to take their place on delegations.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE ), in writing. (PT) With the increase in the number of Members due to the admission of Croatia, there is now a need to amend the numerical strength of the interparliamentary delegations, delegations to joint parliamentary committees, delegations to parliamentary cooperation committees and multilateral parliamentary assemblies. As such, I am voting for the new composition of these bodies.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE ), in writing. (PT) In line with Resolution B7-0619/2011 , this resolution aims to accommodate the new Members who are taking office following the entry into force of Protocol No 36 to the Treaty of Lisbon. I voted in favour, since the new members are entitled to sit in the European Parliament and on its bodies in full enjoyment of their rights, and to fully participate in the interparliamentary delegations, delegations to joint parliamentary committees, delegations to parliamentary cooperation committees and multilateral parliamentary assemblies.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE ), in writing. – Having regard to the proposal by the Conference of Presidents, having regard to Parliament’s decision of 14 September 2009 on the number of interparliamentary delegations, delegations to joint parliamentary committees, delegations to parliamentary cooperation committees and multilateral parliamentary assemblies, and having regard to Rule 198 of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, the European Parliament has adopted its decision on the numerical strength of delegations.

Whereas there is a need for continuity in its business and whereas, following the entry into force of Protocol No 36 to the Lisbon Treaty, the new Members are entitled to sit in the European Parliament and on its bodies in full enjoyment of their rights, the European Parliament decides to amend the number of Members in the interparliamentary delegations as follows: D13 - Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula (18 members); D23 - Delegation for relations with India (28 members); D27 - Delegation for relations with the Korean Peninsula (17 members); D29 - Delegation for relations with South Africa (17 members). It also instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and Commission, for information.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE ), in writing. (PT) In view of the need to ensure the continuity of the work carried out by the interparliamentary delegations, delegations to joint parliamentary committees, delegations to parliamentary cooperation committees and multilateral parliamentary assemblies of the European Parliament, and the fact that, following the entry into force of Protocol No 36 to the Treaty of Lisbon, the new members are entitled to sit in the European Parliament and on its bodies in full enjoyment of their rights, I voted for the amendment to the numerical strength of the interparliamentary delegations, delegations to joint parliamentary committees, delegations to parliamentary cooperation committees and multilateral parliamentary assemblies, as proposed by the Conference of Presidents.

 
  
  

Proposal for a decision on the numerical strength of the standing committees (B7-0619/2011 ), and proposal for a decision on the numerical strength of the interparliamentary delegations, delegations to joint parliamentary committees and delegations to parliamentary cooperation committees and multilateral parliamentary assemblies (B7-0620/2011 )

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE ), in writing. (PT) With the entry into force of Protocol No 36 to the Treaty of Lisbon, there is now a need to amend the numerical strength of the interparliamentary delegations. Since the proposal tabled here has been agreed upon by the Conference of Presidents, and no objection to it has been raised, I voted in favour.

 
  
  

Report: Sharon Bowles (A7-443/2011 )

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D ), in writing. (PT) Taking account of the nominee’s experience and curriculum vitae , and the fact that standard procedures were followed, I am voting for this appointment.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE ), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the Council recommendation to appoint Benoît Coeuré, a French citizen, as a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank. Mr Coeuré will replace Mr Bini Smaghi, who is Italian. Before the European Parliament voted on this appointment, Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, of which I am a member, voted in favour of appointing Mr Coeuré. The Executive Board is responsible for implementing monetary policy in the euro area.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE ), in writing. (PT) The European Central Bank (ECB), founded on 1 June 1998, is the European Union institution responsible for the monetary policy of the Economic and Monetary Union. Its primary objective is ‘to maintain the euro’s purchasing power and thus price stability in the euro area’. The ECB, situated in Frankfurt in Germany, is governed by an Executive Board consisting of a President, a Vice-President and four Members appointed by the Council of Europe, following consultation with the European Parliament and the Governing Council, for a non-renewable term of eight years. In view of Benoît Coeuré’s experience of monetary matters, as has been shown by the unanimous approval obtained at a sitting of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, I support his appointment as a member of the Executive Board of the ECB. Given the importance of the ECB’s role in maintaining the purchasing power and stability of the euro, I hope that the new Member will serve a good term of office and is aware that it is more essential than ever to keep the euro strong and stable, taking account of the crisis that the EU is currently experiencing.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D ), in writing. (SK) By means of a letter of 1 December 2011, the European Council consulted with the European Parliament on the appointment of Benoît Coeuré as a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank for a term of eight years. The Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs assessed the qualifications of the proposed candidate, particularly in relation to the conditions laid down in Article 286 paragraph 2 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and the requirement for complete independence of the European Central Bank under Article 130 of the Treaty. Within the framework of this review, the candidate presented the Committee with a CV and answers to written questions addressed by the Committee. On the basis of the foregoing, Parliament agreed with the Council’s recommendation to appoint Benoît Coeuré as a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank and, at the same time, authorised its President to forward this resolution to the European Council, the Council and Member State governments.

Benoît Coeuré was Head of the Department of multilateral affairs and development at the French treasury in 2007-2009, and for another two years carried out the role of state deputy to the managing director of the French treasury. Among other things, he was Vice-Chair of the G20 working group for reform of the World Bank and other multilateral development banks (2009), and he was also Vice-Chair of the G20 sub-working group on global liquidity management (2011). In 2005, he was nominated for a prize as the leading young French economist.

 
  
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  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE ), in writing. (FR) I abstained from the vote on the Council recommendation to appoint Mr Coeuré as a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank. The fact is that there is not a single woman among the six Executive Board members.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D ), in writing. – I voted for the appointment of Benoît Coeuré as a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank for a term of office of eight years.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE ), in writing. (PT) European institutions must be served by the best people. In the case under consideration, the nominee, Benoît Coeuré, has a flawless curriculum vitae and has been approved with distinction at a hearing of the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee. I therefore wish him every success in his eight-year term of office.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE ), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of the appointment of Mr Coeuré as a member of the European Central Bank (ECB). With his appointment, the Executive Board of the ECB once again has a representative from every Member State. I believe that at a delicate time such as this, it is important that each Member State, above all, one as important as France, should have its own representative who can contribute their experience and knowledge to the institution’s daily work. Nevertheless, this national representative must not lose sight of or risk undermining the independence that has characterised the work undertaken by the ECB in recent years, and that has been fundamental in managing the crisis, in resisting strong pressures applied by Member States. At the same time, I would like to thank Mr Bini Smaghi for his excellent work during his term of office at the ECB.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE ), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the appointment of Benoît Coeuré as a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank. All the facts that have been presented, on which my decision was based, indicates that the criteria laid down in Article 283(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, specifically, the guarantees of independence, were met, and so I welcome the appointment of Benoît Coeuré to this position.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE ), in writing. (PT) The Council consulted the European Parliament on the appointment of Benoît Coeuré to an eight-year term of office as a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank. Since 2009, Mr Coeuré has been Deputy Director-General of the French Treasury, and has extensive experience of economic and financial government. Previously, for instance, he was Head of Multilateral Affairs and Development and Head of the Foreign Exchange Policy and Economic Policy Unit, in both cases for the French Treasury. He has also represented France at the G7 and G8 summits. In view of the vast amount of experience he has in this area, I voted in favour, and hope that his activity will be governed by the guiding principles of Union law and, in this way, will be crowned with success.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE ), in writing. (PT) By letter of 1 December 2011, the European Council consulted the European Parliament on the appointment of Benoît Coeuré as a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank for a term of office of eight years. Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs then proceeded to evaluate the credentials of the nominee, having received his curriculum vitae as well as his replies to the written questionnaire that was sent to him, and held a one-and-a-half-hour hearing. In view of the favourable opinion of this Committee, I voted for his appointment.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0691/2011

 
  
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  Ole Christensen (S&D ), in writing. (DA) The Danish members of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament abstained from voting on the resolution on a new Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco tabled by the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance and the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left. The reason for this is that the Danish Social Democrats have a general policy not to vote for the political resolutions of other political groups. Moreover, the resolution places far too little emphasis on the economic and environmental shortcomings in the current interim protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Morocco. A new and better protocol must include clear improvements with regard to the economic and environmental aspects. We therefore believe that a resolution that calls on the European Commission to work towards a better protocol should make the Commission more aware of the environmental and economic shortcomings in the previous protocol.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE ), in writing. (PT) Due to its privileged location in North Africa, the Kingdom of Morocco has a vast exclusive sea area, which has been coveted throughout history by various fishing fleets, including European ones. The near continuity of our territories motivated the establishment of privileged economic relations between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco, which became the greatest beneficiary of EU funds under the European Neighbourhood Policy, while Europe became the primary destination for its exports. Sadly, Parliament has just prevented an extension of the Partnership Agreement with Morocco. However, we cannot continue for much longer without a new agreement, otherwise the European fishing fleets that operate in Moroccan waters will go bankrupt and support for Moroccan development will be cancelled. Accordingly, I advocate moving forward with new negotiations to establish a new agreement between the EU and Morocco. I therefore urge the Commission to prepare a new economically, environmentally and socially sustainable agreement with Morocco as soon as possible in order for support to continue to the Moroccan population, which is so dependent on this support, and so that the fishing fleets licensed to fish in that region can resume their operations.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL ), in writing. (PT) Firstly, we consider that any future fisheries agreement between the EU and Morocco must comply with international law, which the one that expired this year, and which Parliament has today refused to consent to extend, did not do. This was one of the reasons why this position was taken.

Since 1975, when the International Court of Justice gave its opinion, until now, the sovereignty of Morocco over Western Sahara has never been recognised. Morocco, whose occupation of this territory has been illegal since then, accordingly has no right under international law to claim the natural resources of the territory, including its fishery resources. It is regrettable, therefore, that the resolution endorsed by the larger political groups – the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament and the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe – simply ignores this question when discussing a future agreement.

We also regret the fact that both our resolution and the two amendments that we tabled, to defend the inalienable sovereign rights of the people of Western Sahara over the natural resources present in their territory, were rejected. It is imperative that the legitimate representatives of the Sahrawi people are heard regarding any agreement involving the exploitation of natural resources in their territory.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE ), in writing.(IT) I think that the remarks already made on the Protocol in force between the Kingdom of Morocco and the European Union are fundamental when considering a future Protocol. In light of the financial compensation provided to the fisheries sector, it is essential that the cost-benefit ratio changes and that greater attention be paid to the economic and ecological consequences of the over-exploitation of depleted stocks. On the basis that bilateral agreements should be advantageous for both partners, and that the European Union should not endorse any exploitation of the waters of Western Sahara or other actions that do not respect the rights of the Sahrawi people, I hope that all of the remarks already highlighted in the external report and those that have come out of Parliament will be considered.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL ), in writing. (PT) We consider that any future fisheries agreement between the EU and Morocco must comply with international law, which the one that expired this year, and which Parliament has today refused to consent to extend, did not do. This was one of the reasons why this position was taken.

Since 1975, when the International Court of Justice gave its opinion, until now, the sovereignty of Morocco over Western Sahara has never been recognised. Morocco, whose occupation of this territory has been illegal since then, accordingly has no right under international law to claim the natural resources of the territory, including its fishery resources. It is therefore regrettable that the resolution endorsed by the larger political groups – the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament and the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe – simply ignores this question when discussing a future agreement.

We also regret the fact that both our resolution and the two amendments that we tabled, to defend the inalienable sovereign rights of the people of Western Sahara over the natural resources present in their territory, were rejected.

It is imperative that the legitimate representatives of the Sahrawi people are heard regarding any agreement involving the exploitation of natural resources in their territory.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D ), in writing. (SK) The Kingdom of Morocco is an African country with almost 32 million inhabitants. Morocco is currently a privileged partner of the EU and the largest recipient of EU funds under the European Neighbourhood Policy. The EU is Morocco’s most important export market, its leading public and private external investor and its most important tourism market. The fishing industry has been an important economic pillar for Morocco for a long time, and the country is considered to be the largest fish market in Africa, with the fishing sector accounting for an estimated 400 000 jobs. The European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco concluded a Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) on 22 May 2006 which entered into force on 28 February 2007. On the basis of a mandate from the Council, the European Commission conducted negotiations with the Kingdom of Morocco on the renewal of the Protocol to the FPA by one year, following the expiry of the initial Protocol.

A one-year extension is now provisionally applied, but the Council still needs the consent of the European Parliament to adopt the new Protocol. I firmly believe that it is right for the European Parliament to grant consent and, at the same time, to authorise its President to convey this position to the Council and the Commission, and to the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the Kingdom of Morocco.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD ), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because, in order to be compatible with international law, economic activities associated with the exploration of natural resources in a non-autonomous territory must benefit the people of that territory and respect their wishes. It is essential that the legitimate representatives of the people of the Western Sahara should be consulted on any agreement that involves the exploitation of the natural resources of that territory. It is necessary to ensure that the future Protocol fully respects international law, benefits the people of the Western Sahara and is in accordance with their wishes. The fisheries partnership agreements should seek to achieve economic and social objectives on the basis of close scientific and technical cooperation in order to ensure the sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources. Any future Protocol has to be economically, ecologically and socially sustainable and mutually beneficial.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D ), in writing. – I voted for this resolution and for Amendment 2 which says that any future protocol should respect the wishes of the people of the Western Sahara.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL ), in writing.(FR) I received the text of this resolution barely one hour before voting began. I must protest. The resolution proposes extending the European Union’s access to fishing resources in Moroccan waters. Parliament’s vote comes more or less at the end of the extended access period. We are therefore faced with a fait accompli . I object to this procedure and am calling for an investigation to establish the exact status of the stocks that many organisations claim are over-fished. I am also calling on the European Union to support the development of local fishing, rather than financing European vessels’ exploitation of the resources, which is at odds with the interests of the local population.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE ), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution with the intention that, in future negotiations for the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with the Kingdom of Morocco, the interests of all fishermen who operate in this area are safeguarded, including the 14 Portuguese vessels that had fishing rights under the previous agreement, and which have suffered serious losses through this not being extended.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE ), in writing. (FR) The various controversies surrounding the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Morocco seem particularly off beam to me. In 2010, the Commission asked Morocco to evaluate the situation and consider what future action could be taken to improve the partnership on fisheries. As a longstanding partner of the European Union, Morocco bent itself to the task and proved that the fisheries agreement had generated benefits in the form of job creation throughout Morocco and for the Sahrawi people. In environmental terms, around 40% of the financial assistance provided under the agreement feeds back into conserving fish stocks and developing the fishing sector. It seems to me that to conclude a protocol using such unflattering terms about our partner, Morocco, is a serious error on the part of the European Union and will impact our bilateral relationship.

 
  
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  Miguel Portas (GUE/NGL ), in writing. (PT) The representatives of Western Sahara were neither heard nor considered in the negotiations and the agreement regarding their waters. The UN and the European Court of Justice have declared that the occupied territories of Western Sahara do not form part of Moroccan territory and so Morocco cannot negotiate about something that does not belong to it. I voted against this protocol as it is my view that the European Union must negotiate a protocol with Morocco that fully respects international law and human rights and provides benefits to all of the local population in question.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE ), in writing. (PT) The tabled motion for a resolution censuring the proposed protocol between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco, which sets out the fishing opportunities and financial compensation provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco, begins with the idea that Morocco does not have the legitimacy to make the agreement because it does not have sovereignty over the territorial waters off Western Sahara. However, irrespective of the underlying position that is eventually taken, I believe this to be a much wider issue that should be considered elsewhere, as soon as possible, so as to address the problem as a whole. Consequently, I voted against the proposal.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE ), in writing. – Against. To us, it is not acceptable to have such a resolution and not to even mention the Western Sahara.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL ), in writing. (FR) I voted against renewing the agreement between the EU and Morocco, which has ultimately been rejected by the European Parliament. The EU-Morocco agreement contains a clause on democracy and human rights, as do all agreements concluded by the EU, but as always, this was not taken into account during the negotiations on extending the agreement. Commercial interests were the main focus of discussions and the question of Western Sahara was not even mentioned. What is more, although one of the few improvements made in the Treaty of Lisbon is that the European Parliament has to give its consent to any international agreements, Parliament has barely been involved in the negotiating process. The European Parliament, the only democratically elected European institution, needs to defend that right.

 
  
  

Report: Krzysztof Lisek (A7-0428/2011 )

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D ), in writing. (PT) I endorse this report, which confirms the fact that Member States are increasingly making cuts in the area of defence and security as a consequence of the economic crisis we are living through. It is important that this situation does not lead to Europe lacking the ability to act on the international stage, particularly in pursuit of its peacekeeping missions. At this time, more than ever, the solution for improving the effectiveness of the defence sector requires close cooperation between Member States, European institutions and international organisations.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE ), in writing. – I voted in favour of this resolution on the impact of the financial crisis on the defence sector in the EU Member States, which calls for increased cooperation in the field of defence. Member States collectively spend about EUR 200 billion a year on defence, which represents only about a third of the US defence budget alone. European countries are already incapable of carrying out military operations (example, recent Libya intervention) without US support, whose share of all defence spending within NATO has risen to 75%. I agree with the rapporteur that the financial crisis is a global phenomenon and it has also touched the defence sector. There is a common tendency to cut spending on defence in the Member States, which is the subject of our concern. It is true that maintaining these expenditures, when we are in a financial crisis, where there are social pressures, is not an easy task. At the same time, it is important to stress, thinking about our future, we simply cannot afford to neglect basic needs such as security and defence in such turbulent times.

 
  
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  Charalampos Angourakis (GUE/NGL ), in writing. (EL) The Greek Communist Party voted against the report because it is based unreservedly on EU aggression and EU imperialist interventions throughout the world. The report, within the framework of the conclusions of the EU Council on the CSDP, calls for the establishment of a general EU military staff and for measures for more direct and effective utilisation of military and non-military resources. The capitalist crisis is using harmonisation of the Member States’ military specifications and resources, alongside coordination with NATO, as a pretext for further strengthening of the European Defence Agency, in order to strengthen the military capabilities of the EU for imperialist wars and interventions. The report calls for the integration of the Member States’ military research programmes within the framework of the EU, the adoption of the Weimar Initiative, the upgrading of battle groups and an increase in the national contribution to spending by EU undertakings via the ATHENA mechanism. It is clear that, against the background of the crisis and alongside support for the NATO anti-missile shield, the EU is preparing for war on an even bigger scale in the Horn of Africa, Africa and Asia.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE ), in writing. (FR) In the midst of the financial crisis, the defence sector has not been spared from national budgetary austerity measures. Although budgetary restraint is needed in the defence sector, it should not jeopardise the Union’s strategic autonomy. I therefore voted in favour of the report by Mr Lisek, which advocates greater cooperation in a number of areas. This cooperation will facilitate more intelligent use of spending and will raise the profile of the common security and defence policy.

 
  
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  Jean-Pierre Audy (PPE ), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the European Parliament resolution of 14 December 2011 on the impact of the financial crisis on the defence sector in the EU Member States. I am committed to defending the notion that a common research policy can, and must, be an essential component in building an industrial base for defence. In the absence of a common European industrial defence policy, the defence market has become very fragmented in terms of demand, supply, regulations and standards. I am pleased that, at my behest, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, having been asked for its opinion on this report, took the view that a European industrial defence policy would be valuable in reinforcing the European Union’s role on the world stage and maintaining Europe’s technological capacity, while also taking into account the specificities in each Member State. Cross-border and transatlantic industrial cooperation can facilitate access to new technologies, promote advanced product development and encourage the adoption of effective measures to reduce costs. The financial crisis means that it is not viable to build a European defence industry at a national level. I welcome the work done by Mr Danjean, as Chair of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D ), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on the impact of the financial crisis on the defence sector in the EU Member States. The Member States collectively spend about EUR 200 billion a year on defence. The spending of most of these funds in the Member States is based on uncoordinated national defence planning decisions, which results not only in persistent capability gaps, but frequently also in wasteful overcapacities and duplications, as well as fragmented industry and markets. In recent times, there have been cuts to the defence budgets of the majority of EU Member States in the wake of the financial, economic and debt crisis. This may have a negative impact on Member States’ military capabilities and on the ability of the EU to fulfil its obligations as regards peacekeeping, conflict prevention and the strengthening of international security. I welcome Parliament’s position that the Member States must seek to compensate for the negative impact of the financial crisis on the defence sector in the EU Member States through increased European cooperation and coordination. Uncoordinated defence budget cuts could result in the complete loss of certain military capabilities in Europe. The Member States should therefore exchange information effectively and enhance transparency on current and forthcoming defence budget cuts. We also need to take advantage of potential economies of scale provided by collaborative projects.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR ), in writing. (PL) Although we are concerned by the growing tendency to make cuts in national defence budgets and the associated risk of a reduction in Member States’ combat force capabilities, I cannot support the report. Activities relating to the coordination of defence planning, combined potential through joint ownership, enhanced cooperation in research and technological development or the optimisation of military contracts already take place under NATO. There is therefore no need to duplicate them within the Union. I am also sceptical about the possibility of implementing these initiatives as a complement to the coordination of the NATO defence planning process. The Member States spend a total of over EUR 200 billion per year on defence, and this is only one third of the defence spending of the United States, which, at the same time, covers three quarters of NATO’s budget. With excessively low expenditure and, above all, the waste of funds, European members of the Alliance could threaten its continued existence, and this, above all, should focus our attention.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD ), in writing. (IT) In the current economic crisis, we need to rein in military spending, with a view to rationalisation on a continent-wide basis. Avoiding costly national duplication in the defence sector, collaborating on scientific research for military purposes, creating a coordinated European system for military action and meeting international commitments in the fight against terrorism and conflict prevention: these are the priorities in a sector, namely defence, which consumes enormous resources every year in Member States and hinders them from acting cohesively and determinedly in crisis sectors. I am therefore voting in favour of the Lisek report.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D ), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because I believe that attention should be drawn to the way in which Member States fund their defence sector during the crisis and economic downturn. This European Parliament own-initiative report was drawn up because there has been a trend in recent times of increasing cuts to the defence budgets of the majority of EU Member States due to the crisis and this is not being coordinated at EU level. As the European Parliament report notes, the security environment both in Europe and worldwide is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable, and it is therefore proposed that European defence capabilities should be maintained at their pre-crisis level and that we should also rely less on the United States to fund defence spending in the North Atlantic Alliance. The latter aspect in particular is stressed in the report because it is felt that a reinforced European defence capability will enhance the strategic autonomy of the EU and provide an important contribution to collective security in the context of NATO and other partnerships.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE ), in writing. (RO) The economic crisis has forced all Member States to reduce their expenditure, and defence has been one of the first areas to be hit. A certain amount of coordination is clearly required at EU level in terms of budget reductions in this area to show the extent of EU military capabilities. On the other hand, the economic crisis is also a good teacher. All European states have learnt fairly important lessons from it. One of these could be that better defence coordination is required at European Union level.

Defence and security are key areas of strategic importance. We can devise common strategies for specific problems relating to the defence industry. We would like to see more cooperation between the EU and NATO, between which we hope to see standardisation and interoperability. I believe that the European Defence Agency should play a more important role in this. I hope that a single European defence market will be established. I am slightly disappointed by the outcome of the last meeting of the Council of Ministers for Defence on 30 November. It did not support the creation of a European general headquarters allowing Europe to act rapidly in cases like the Libyan crisis.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE ), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report tabled by Mr Lisek. Over recent years, due to the continuation of the economic crisis, Member States have cut their defence budgets, leading to changes in their own responsibility as regards peacekeeping.

Member States spend about EUR 200 billion a year on defence: an amount that is about one third of the US defence budget. The unsystematic and uncoordinated management of these funds makes Europe disproportionately reliant upon the United States, and entails persistent capability gaps, overcapacities and duplication, with the result that the Union has neither the resources nor the necessary influence to be regarded as a credible guarantor of peace.

We must gradually integrate EU defence policies by coordinating defence planning, by sharing capabilities, especially in sectors such as logistics, strategy and tactics, medical support, education and training. It would be desirable, finally, to have an EU White Paper on defence that would develop a European security strategy and better define the Union’s objectives, interests and needs in relation to the means and resources available.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL ), in writing. (EL) I voted against the report because it advocates an increase in military spending by the Member States and the European Union, despite the rampant economic crisis and restrictions on social spending and the income and rights of the workers. At a time when the people of Europe are suffering the consequences of the crisis, this specific report helps to serve the interests of the arms industry. By proposing that the arms industry be developed as a way of resolving the unemployment problem, it is endeavouring to intertwine the fate of the people of Europe with the production and export of arms that end up in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and elsewhere, thereby promoting interests foreign to the people. In perfect keeping with the ‘security’ philosophy, the report is in favour, among other things, of upgrading the operation of NATO and of the Union within it. It gives priority to the military side of the Union and encourages the correlation and equation of civil and military resources, regardless of whether they concern technical infrastructures or research or Union action. The Union must channel resources into social spending and public investments and must formulate its foreign policy on the basis of international law and peaceful principles, instead of providing a profit for the mass production of arms.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D ), in writing. (RO) The current economic crisis has had a considerable impact on the defence sector. Numerous armaments programmes are at risk of being cancelled or even have been cancelled. NATO’s recent intervention in Libya has highlighted many of the limitations of EU Member States’ armies. We are obliged to do more, at a faster pace, with the aim of creating a genuine European armaments industry. This would help get rid of a great deal of duplication, avoid wasting resources and ensure better deployment of production capacities.

I believe that more attention is needed on future requirements for equipping the EU countries’ armies, based on the lesson from recent conflicts and the new geopolitical data. In my view, we are aware that our nations will not accept an increase in military spending at a time when swingeing programmes cutting budget expenditure are being implemented. This is why we must spend the money earmarked for defence with the utmost care on well-defined programmes intended to address the challenges which we need to face. With this in mind, the optimum level of military spending needs to be identified, providing us with medium- and long-term security, without wasting human and material resources.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE ), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report, which calls for more pooling and sharing of military capabilities within Europe. Against the backdrop of budgetary austerity, which is also affecting the defence sector, it is imperative that we promote more effective sharing of resources with a view to reinvigorating the European defence sector. In doing so, we will reinforce our military power, an essential factor in keeping our citizens safe and making the Union a force to be reckoned with globally, but, at the same time, we will be supporting an industrial sector that is vital to our economies.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE ), in writing.(FR) In the wake of the economic and financial crisis, the trend among Member States is to reduce defence budgets. What I would like to highlight, although certainly not in a aggressive manner, is that the uncoordinated defence budget cuts in the EU Member States could result in reduced military capabilities in Europe. Consequently, I believe that more integration and pooling of resources could be a solution. Indeed, there are many areas in which Member States could optimise their resources, such as strategic and tactical transport, logistical support, and so on. Therefore, we need more programmes focused on pooling and sharing transport helicopters, air-to-air refuelling, maritime surveillance, drone flights, protection against chemical, biological and nuclear threats, satellite communications, etc. What is more, I also believe that the European Defence Agency should play a greater role, particularly in the context of EU-NATO cooperation.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D ), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because defence is a public good that affects the security of all European citizens, and all Member States need to contribute in a spirit of cooperation, joint sharing of responsibilities and cost-effectiveness.

Due to the financial crisis, unprecedented cuts have been made to defence budgets in most Member States, which may have a negative impact on the EU’s capabilities for peacekeeping, preventing conflicts and consolidating international security. This is why I believe that a reinforced European defence capability will enhance the EU’s strategic autonomy and make an important contribution to collective security in the context of NATO and other partnerships. At the same time, I think that the economic crisis we are currently facing can be used as an opportunity for the integration of EU defence policies since it can provide the impetus required to create and implement ambitious reforms.

I therefore support the call for the development of EU defence policies, leading to sound research and technological and industrial cooperation among Member States, with the aim of enhancing the competitiveness and resilience of the defence industry.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D ), in writing. (PT) The current context of fiscal consolidation has led many Member States to reduce their defence sector expenditure, which may significantly limit the EU’s capacity for military interventions. Accordingly, it is important to strengthen military cooperation between Member States to avoid cost duplication, to provide economies of scale, and to make it easier to develop military technology in the EU. I voted in favour of this report as it meets these requirements.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE ), in writing. (PT) Like other sectors, defence has not escaped successive cuts motivated by the financial crisis ravaging the European Union. However, it must be said that this sector is not the same as the others and that disinvestment here could have serious consequences for the security and defence of Member States. At a time when the United States of America, the primary guarantor of peace and democracy in the world since the Second World War, is aiming to redefine its strategic role at the global level and it is becoming increasingly clear that it needs to count on the involvement of its partners on missions that affect the security of all, reducing European investment in defence will reduce the quantity and quality of Europe’s military capacity.

In truth, it is increasingly clear that the Union must accept its part of burden sharing amongst western democracies if we do not wish to follow a path towards irrelevance. Saying this does not mean encouraging wastefulness or, much less, warmongering. Europe cannot ignore a timeless rule: si vis pacem, para bellum .

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE ), in writing. (PT) The economic and financial crisis that is generally affecting all Member States demands the re-evaluation of the priorities of a system of governance that has to adopt social and environmental protection measures that do not jeopardise the future, without ignoring the need for economic growth. As the European Union is an enlarging community of States (27+1), the principle of subsidiarity is especially applicable and could result in significant savings in human and financial resources. The European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) consists of several areas. If we are to succeed in reducing expenditure without losing effectiveness, we have to identify the most effective projects, such as supervision, maritime surveillance and control of the use of particular weapons, etc. I welcome the adoption of this report by Krzysztof Lisek on the consequences of the austerity imposed by the crisis for the defence sector, on which I voted in favour. Without disregarding the maintenance of the missions in which the EU is involved, such as monitoring in Georgia and the Horn of Africa, protection in humanitarian assistance, protecting ships from hijacking, etc., it calls for agreement among all Member States and better linkage with other organisations and powers, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the United States.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL ), in writing. (PT) It is, at the very least, shocking that the proposals and guidelines contained in this report are being put forward in the current context of profound economic and social crisis, which is a pretext for all types of attacks on the workers and the people and for plundering them. What is under discussion is a militaristic agenda and a resumption of the arms race. In this situation of crisis, this forebodes new and dangerous developments for the people of the world.

The report advocates a qualitative leap in the militarisation of the EU, making it increasingly subordinate to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and its agenda of global domination. Following the path of the Treaty of Lisbon, it aims to increase EU military spending and to assign a policy planning role to the European Defence Agency. The report goes so far as to propose a type of European Semester defining the priorities to be implemented by each country, or group of countries, in a framework that is not for defence of the countries’ sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence, but for their specialisation to strengthen EU interventionism in the world, all of this while simultaneously cutting social expenditure, which is truly putting civilisation into reverse. The military-industrial complex, the war industry, is here speaking through the rapporteur’s words, in order to protect its own interests.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL ), in writing. (PT) There are many reasons that led us to vote against this report. Its main objective is to implement a militaristic agenda and resume the arms race. In the wake of the crisis, it forebodes new and dangerous developments for the peoples and countries of Europe and the world. It advocates a qualitative leap in the militarisation of the EU, making it increasingly subordinate to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and its agenda of global domination. It aims to implement and develop tools created by the Treaty of Lisbon, in particular, the increase in EU military spending within the NATO framework and the assignment of a policy planning role to the European Defence Agency. It aims to implement enhanced cooperation and a type of European Semester, defining the priorities to be implemented by each country, or group of countries, in a framework that is not for defence of the countries’ sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence, but for their specialisation to strengthen EU interventionism in the world.

In a period in which social expenditure is being drastically cut, stealing the crucial rights and conquests of workers and people, the guidelines proposed here aim to finance the military-industrial complex, whether through direct support and purchasing of arms or indirectly by using European funds to finance research.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D ), in writing. (SK) There has recently been a growing trend towards sidelining the defence budgets of most Member States, mainly due to the financial, economic and debt crisis. Such measures then have a negative effect, above all, on the ability of the Union to effectively assume its responsibilities in peacekeeping, conflict prevention and boosting international security, in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter. I consider it important to emphasise that defence is a public asset influencing the security of all European citizens, and all Member States must contribute to it in a spirit of cooperation, burden sharing and cost efficiency. In a more complex and unpredictable security environment, it is desirable for all Member States to cooperate more closely and coordinate their steps against the common threats mentioned in the European security strategy, and to take on their full share of responsibility for peace and security in Europe, the neighbouring regions and the world. Enhanced European defence will contribute to expanding the strategic autonomy of the EU and will be an important contribution to common security within NATO and other partnerships.

The main target of EU efforts in the field of defence in response to the financial crisis should be the European Defence Agency. An increase in its budget, staff numbers, areas of responsibility and overall powers would allow it to work better towards optimising the EU defence sector, and it should also have the task of preventing costly duplications and financially unsustainable defence policies.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE ), in writing. (FR) The European Parliament has called for greater cooperation between the EU Member States within the defence sector. The crisis has revealed weaknesses in the common security and defence policy that require far-reaching reforms. Each year, the Member States collectively spend EUR 200 billion on defence, which represents just one third of the United States’s defence budget. The Member States are on an austerity drive and defence budgets are feeling the pinch. Budgetary constraints are limiting the Member States’ defence capabilities and creating an imbalance in relations with our partners, particularly the US, who are having to pay the price of our withdrawal, as we have seen in the case of Libya. There are high-risk pockets in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa that could constitute a threat to Europe. We therefore need to equip ourselves with an ambitious security and defence policy on both the operational and capabilities sides, a well-funded policy that promotes pooling and sharing certain capabilities with a view to optimising our activities.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD ), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because defence constitutes a public good that affects the security of all European citizens, and all Member States need to contribute to it in a spirit of cooperation, burden sharing and cost-effectiveness. There have been cuts to the defence budgets of the majority of EU Member States in the wake of the financial, economic and debt crisis, and these measures may potentially have a negative impact on the countries’ military capabilities and on the ability of the EU to effectively fulfil its obligations as regards peacekeeping, conflict prevention and the strengthening of international security, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter, should the Member States fail to make up for that negative impact through increased European cooperation and coordination. Member States urgently need to improve the transparency and openness of their defence markets. We need to increase the competitiveness of the European defence industry and also ensure that the interests of the taxpayer are adequately safeguarded.

 
  
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  Cătălin Sorin Ivan (S&D ), in writing. (RO) Significant cuts have been made to defence budgets in most Member States due to the financial crisis. This action may have an adverse impact on the EU’s military capabilities and, therefore, on its ability to take on its peacekeeping responsibilities effectively. I voted in favour of the report drafted by Krzysztof Lisek. An analysis needs to be carried out of the options for giving Member States support in achieving the objectives of the common security and defence policy more cost-effectively. The status quo may result in the loss of certain military capabilities which are vital to European citizens’ security.

 
  
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  Anneli Jäätteenmäki (ALDE ), in writing. (FI) I disagree with the rapporteur, Mr Lisek, on two issues. It is irresponsible of Parliament to call on the Member States to increase their defence budgets, while elsewhere, we insist on making savings and on budgetary discipline. We are in the midst of a severe economic and debt crisis. I would also say that the European Parliament should not adopt a position on funding for NATO or on how much European member countries of NATO should cover the costs of NATO. That is something which the NATO countries can adopt a position on in different forums. NATO and the EU are two separate organisations.

 
  
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  Dan Jørgensen (S&D ), in writing. (DA) The Danish social democratic Members voted in favour of the report on the impact of the financial crisis on the defence sector in the EU Member States, as it contains many good proposals for improving coordination and cooperation across the EU Member States with regard to defence policy. However, the Danish social democratic Members cannot support those parts of the report that call for an increase in defence budget spending.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE ), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report, which proposes measures for more effective use of the resources of the Member States in defence matters in a context of economic and financial crisis and budgetary austerity.

 
  
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  Tunne Kelam (PPE ), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report. This is a most timely and important initiative. The crucial question will be whether the suggestions of the Lisek report will be taken seriously by the EU governments. This is directly connected to the role and credibility of Europe as a guarantor of international peace and security. Continuing cuts in the defence sector might be popular among certain population groups but seriously undermine the common security and defence policy. The biggest problems of the European defence sector are inefficiency, fragmentation and duplication. Member States need to understand the seriousness of this issue and start sharing and pooling their resources. This should result in targeted investments. Enhanced cooperation and coordination of efforts is especially needed in the field of cyber defence. Sharing information and experience is crucial to prevent and react efficiently to potential threats and attacks.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE ), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report by Mr Lisek because I believe that the defence sector has suffered repercussions that must not be underestimated, especially given its importance. From this point of view, as proposed by the report, we must move towards a pan-European defence framework, capable of optimising costs by taking advantage of coordination between countries and, precisely, at the EU level. This kind of framework, endowed with the appropriate institutions, must also serve to make economic measures affecting the defence sector (cost-cutting and new structural models) clearer and more transparent. I am convinced that this sector, strategic as it is for the future of the EU, deserves due attention, not only as regards economic and funding policy, but also for the measures that need to be taken to promote communication between Member States in order to achieve efficiency and productivity gains.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D ), in writing. – I voted for this resolution which recognises bilateral and regional initiatives such as the 2010 UK-French defence agreements, the Nordic Defence Cooperation and the Baltic Defence Cooperation, as important steps for rationalising the use of resources and fill short-term capability gaps; notes the proposals for similar cooperations in other regions, such as among the Visegrád Group countries; takes the view, however, that significant structural gaps remain which need to be addressed in a coordinated fashion at EU level and that, therefore, at a certain point, these bilateral or regional arrangements need to be integrated into the wider European perspective, making sure that they contribute to the development of CSDP and do not, in any way, run counter to it; in this context, believes that the EDA should be given a role in ensuring overall coherence of efforts and encourages further reflection on how the Treaty provisions on the Permanent Structured Cooperation could be used to provide an overall coordination framework.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE ), in writing. (IT) Pooling and sharing of capabilities in the defence sector is not an option any more, but a necessity. The major focus of all EU efforts on defence in reaction to the financial crisis should be the European Defence Agency (EDA). To this end, the agency needs to be restructured. I am voting in favour.