Index 
The Week
20-07-2004(s)
Opening of the Session
Josep Borrell elected President of Parliament
Electoral procedure
Address by newly elected President
Election of Vice-Presidents
Election of the Quaestors
Numerical strength of committees
José Barroso sets out his case for a strong Commission
Group statements on voting intentions for the Commission President-designate
MEPs approve José Manuel Barroso as Commission President
Seven political groups formed
Irish Presidency and the June European Council meetings
Launch of the Dutch Presidency
Membership of Parliamentary Committees

Statements

Opening of the Session
 
Opening of the sitting by the oldest Member
20.07.2004

The opening session of the 6th directly elected European Parliament began under the chairmanship of the oldest member, Giovanni BERLINGUER (PES, IT). He welcomed the newly elected MEPs and drew attention to the fact that this was the first meeting of a fully elected Parliament of an reunited Europe based on democracy and the rule of law, without the dominance of one state or another.

Saluting the arrival in particular of Members from the 10 new Member States, Mr Berlinguer noted that as the borders of Europe had expanded, so the projects undertaken had developed from the Coal and Steel Community to the Common Market and the single currency. The EU was now being strengthened by the Lisbon process and the planned Constitution.

Europe, he said, was based on work, solidarity and social justice. It was a welcoming Europe, open to the world, feeling the suffering of others and understanding the aspirations of different countries round the world.


Constitutional Affairs

Josep Borrell elected President of Parliament
20.07.2004

Vote

The results of the first round of voting were as follows:

Number of votes cast

700

Spoilt/unfulfilled votes

53

Valid votes

647

Absolute majority required

324

Candidates

Votes

Josep BORRELL FONTELLES (PES, ES)

388

Bronislaw GEREMEK (ALDE, PL)

208

Francis WURTZ (EUL/NGL, FR)

51

Josep BORRELL FONTELLES (PES, ES) therefore was elected as President for the next two and half years.

Debate

Mr BERLINGUER announced that he had received three nominations for the presidency of Parliament:

Josep BORRELL FONTELLES (PES, ES)
Bronislaw GEREMEK ( ALDE, PL)
Francis WURTZ (EUL/NGL, FR)

Each of the candidates spoke to the House for five minutes.

Josep BORRELL said that he was part of the generation which had helped Spain to democracy. He had been a trade union activist and shop steward, before being elected to the national Parliament of Spain and serving for 12 years as a minister. He had been a member of the Convention and had represented Spain in various formations of the Council of Ministers, on occasions losing battles in the Council, only to see his position reinstated by Parliament. He understood, he said, how the EU institutions operate.

Mr Borrell said that as a European, a Spaniard and a Catalan, he rejected labels of new and old in Europe. All the Member States had been new at one time. The importance of reunifying Europe was in ending the legacy of Hitler and Stalin. To make this reunification a reality would take hard work, and he said he would make it work in the now more complicated linguistic setting of the European Parliament, so Parliament could carry out its work in transparency, dignity and effectiveness. His first priority would be to work on relations with the Council.

The European project, he said, suffered from a triple problem of size, legitimacy and effectiveness. The Constitution provided answers to some of these difficulties. While it was not perfect, it was a necessary step if Europe was to be anything more than a market. He called on all MEPs to drive forward the ratification of the Constitution, which would help tackle issues of direct concern to citizens: security, terrorism and migration among others. We need, he said, to build institutions based on the citizenship which we represent.

He noted that the President of Parliament was not the leader of a government - he needed the broad support of the House as a whole. He promised to represent the diversity of Parliament and defend its role before the other institutions.

He concluded that Europe was a long term project: its future crises would be no harder to deal with than those overcome in the past. We should, he said, inspire the people of Europe to write a new page in the history of peace.

The second candidate to address the House, Professor GEREMEK underlined that he came from a country that had suffered "all the dramas of the twentieth century", a country which had been the first to start the movement against totalitarianism in central Europe. The fate of Poland, he said, had had an impact on the whole of central Europe.

Poland, after years of oppression was now a free and independent state. Professor Geremek stated that he had many friends in all the political groups and thanked them for their support in Poland's struggle for freedom. Quoting Martin Luther King, he stated, "there is no politics without the initial dream" and said that he planned to build a Europe of solidarity. He stated that he would serve a united Europe and understood that Parliament reflected society with "Eurosceptics, Eurorealists and Euroenthusiasts all present". As the new President of Parliament, he said he would lead a strategic debate on Europe. The nations of Europe represented Europe's richness especially when working together. Professor Geremek ended by saying, "a vote for me, is a vote for Europe".

Francis WURTZ, the last candidate to address the House, said that the European institutions were not considered favourably by the peoples of Europe. His candidacy, he said, was largely symbolic but he strongly disagreed with the "unholy alliance" of the EPP-ED and PES groups and this was the main reason why he was standing.

As for the potential second round of voting, Mr Wurtz said that his group could not support Professor Geremek because of "his orthodox economic and social policy and because of his support for the war in Iraq". Mr Wurtz stated that Professor Geremek had supported the position of the "Vilnius 10" on the Iraq war despite the huge protests across Europe. Politics, he said, needs "coherence and clarity".


Electoral procedure

The election of the President of Parliament is conducted by secret ballot, using ballot boxes rather than the electronic voting system. According to the rules, to be elected a candidate requires an absolute majority of the votes cast in one of the first three rounds of voting. If no-one is elected in the third round, a fourth ballot is held, confined to the two Members who have obtained the highest number of votes in the third ballot. In the event of a tie the elder candidate is declared elected.


Address by newly elected President
20.07.2004

The newly elected President of Parliament, Josep BORRELL FONTELLES said his first words would be of gratitude and of commitment for the future.

He thanked Mr BERLINGUER for managing the opening session. He thanked the other candidates for taking part and looked forward to working with them in a spirit of genuine and positive cooperation to make best use of their experience.

Mr Borrell said he was happy to work with those who had not voted for him, but he thanked those who had given him their support, in particular the Socialist group which had nominated him. He said the large and stable majority he had received was a good sign for the institution. He felt he had the necessary legitimacy to guide Parliament's work.

He paid tribute to the work of his predecessor, Pat COX, who had, he said, had a brilliant presidency, active in representing the whole of Parliament and ensuring it had a salient profile as an institution. The setting up of the Convention reflected in part Pat Cox's efforts to oppose a drift to intergovernmentalism in the EU.

He also gave his thanks to all the MEPs who had taken part in the Convention and in the IGC, before finally giving a particular welcome to the MEPs from the ten new Member States, who, he hoped, would soon be joined by members from Romania and Bulgaria.

This was a moment full of emotion, he said, and his role was a huge responsibility. His tremendous passion for Europe and democracy would be united to meet this one challenge.

The President said he would make a full statement of his plans in September, after time for consultation with the various leaders in Parliament. For now, he mentioned the installation of the new Commission, the plans for the new Financial Perspective, the Stability and Growth Pact, the Euro-Mediterranean relationship and the Middle East as key issues for the future as well as the ratification of the Constitution, which the Parliament would have to follow closely.

Mr Borrell was then congratulated by Commission President Romano PRODI, who called in particular for the Parliament to fulfil its paradigm role in bringing the EU institutions closer to the lives of the citizens of Europe.

Leaders of the political groups, including Hans-Gert POETTERING (EPP-ED, DE), Martin SCHULZ (PES, DE), Graham WATSON (ELDR, South West), Francis WURTZ (EUL/NGL, FR), Monica FRASSONI (Greens/EFA, IT), Cristiana MUSCARDINI (UEN, IT) and Bruno GOLLNISCH (IND, FR), also congratulated the new President on his election. The deal between the EPP-ED group and the PES group on the EP Presidency was, however, criticised by the speakers from the other groups.

Short biography

Josep Borrell (PES) began his political career in 1979 when he was elected as a member of Madrid's regional government and given responsibilities in the area of fiscal policy. In 1982, Josep Borrell was elected General Secretary of Budget and Public Spending within Spain's Finance Ministry. Two years later he was appointed State Secretary of Finances. In 1991, Borrell was appointed Minister of State Construction, Transport and Environment.

In 1999, Josep Borrell was elected Chairman of the Mixed Commission of Congress-Senate for the European Union, and in 2000 he was re-elected to occupy the same post. In 2002, he was elected representative of the Spanish Parliament in the 2004 European Convention to debate the future of the European Union.

More information can be found on the President's website:

http://www.europarl.eu.int/president/home/en/default.htm


Election of Vice-Presidents
Nomination and election of candidates
20.07.2004

The President announced that the following candidates had been nominated for the 14 posts of Vice-President of the European Parliament. Since the number of candidates was the same as the number of posts, the President declared all 14 elected by acclaim. A vote by secret ballot was then held to establish the order of precedence of the Vice-Presidents. The President subsequently announced that the results were as follows:

Members voting

693

Blank/spoiled papers

26

Votes cast

667

1

Alejo VIDAL-QUADRAS ROCA (EPP-ED, ES)

287

2

Antonios TRAKATELLIS (EPP-ED, EL)

253

3

Dagmar ROTH-BEHRENDT (PES, DE)

244

4

Edward McMILLAN-SCOTT (EPP-ED, Yorkshire and the Humber)

241

5

Ingo FRIEDRICH (EPP-ED, DE)

232

6

Mario MAURO (EPP-ED, IT)

229

7

Antonio COSTA (PES, PT)

228

8

Luigi COCILOVO (ALDE, IT)

223

9

Jacek Emil SARYSZ-WOLSKI (EPP/ED, PL)

214

10

Pierre MOSCOVICI (PES, FR)

209

11

Miroslav OUZKY (EPP-ED, CZ)

189

12

Janusz ONYSZKIEWICZ (ALDE, PL)

177

13

Gérard ONESTA (Greens/EFA, FR)

167

14

Sylvia-Yvonne KAUFMANN (EUL/NGL, DE)

121


Election of the Quaestors
Election of Quaestors of Parliament
21.07.2004

The President announced that six candidates had been nominated for the five posts of Quaestor. There was therefore an election by secret ballot, with the following results:

First round

Voting

691

Spoiled votes

17

Valid votes

674

Majority required

338

Result

Jim NICHOLSON (EPP-ED, UK)

389

Elected

Genowefa GRABOWSKA (PES, PL

366

Elected

Anneli JÄÄTTEENMAKI (ALDE, FI)

253

Not elected

Astrid LULLING (EPP-ED, LU)

307

Not elected

Godelieve QUISTHOUDT-ROWOHL (EPP-ED, DE)

333

Not elected

Mia DE VITS (PES, BE)

314

Not elected

Second round

Voting

685

Spoiled votes

20

Valid votes

665

Majority required

333

Result

Anneli JÄÄTTEENMAKI (ALDE, FI)

252

Not elected

Astrid LULLING (EPP-ED, LU)

288

Not elected

Godelieve QUISTHOUDT-ROWOHL (EPP-ED, DE)

289

Not elected

Mia DE VITS (PES, BE)

299

Not elected

Third Round

Voting

680

Spoiled votes

21

Valid votes

659

Majority required

3 highest scoring candidates elected

Result

Astrid LULLING (EPP-ED, LU)

265

Elected

Godelieve QUISTHOUDT-ROWOHL (EPP-ED, DE)

285

Elected

Mia DE VITS (PES, BE)

298

Elected

Anneli JÄÄTTEENMAKI (ALDE, FI)

243

Not elected


Numerical strength of committees
Proposal for a decision, pursuant to Rule 174 of the Rules of Procedure on decision on the numerical strength of the committee
Doc.: B6-0001/2004
Vote : 21.07.2004

Parliament adopted a resolution on the numerical strength of the committees. The committees will therefore be of the following sizes:

Committee on

No of Members

Foreign Affairs

78

Development

34

International Trade

33

Budgets

47

Budgetary Control

35

Economic and Monetary Affairs

49

Employment & Social Affairs

50

Environment, Public Health and Food Safety:

63

Industry, Research and Energy

51

Internal Market and Consumer Protection

40

Transport and Tourism

51

Regional Development

51

Committee on Agriculture

42

Fisheries

35

Culture and Education

35

Legal Affairs

26

Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

53

Constitutional Affairs

28

Women's Rights and Gender Equality

35

Petitions

25

Subcommittee on Human Rights

32

Subcommittee for Security and Defence

32


José Barroso sets out his case for a strong Commission
Statement by the President-designate of the Commission
Debate: 21.07.2004
Vote: 22.07.2004

President-designate of the Commission, José BARROSO started his address by emphasising that the European Parliament now represented some 450 million citizens. He underlined that nation-states are stronger when they work together. He said the European Union was an example to other regions in the world. Mr Barroso also underlined the values of the EU namely: freedom, respect for human rights, the rule of law, equal opportunities, social justice and solidarity. He said that the main role of the Commission President would be to find a consensus on what Europe should do. The Union needs more than ever, he said, a strong and independent Commission.

It is these beliefs, these convictions that led him to launch a challenge, he said. "In building our Partnership for Europe, we must recognise that the biggest challenge we face is not the Euro-scepticism of the few, but the Euro-apathy of the many. We must listen to those that voted in last month’s European elections. But we must also hear the silence of those, who for whatever reason, chose not to vote. Our goals are prosperity, solidarity and security. And for that we must show concrete results. The euro – delivering monetary stability and investment. A single market - fuelling growth, competition and jobs. A unique social model - protecting the weakest in our society and helping people adapt to changing circumstances. Quality public services – offering affordable access for all. A sustainable approach to the environment. And – perhaps of greatest importance - peace and stability in our region and beyond."

On the Constitutional Treaty he stated that "the Treaty consolidates and simplifies the Union. It strengthens our democratic base, by extending this Parliament’s powers, and by finding innovative ways to give a greater voice to national Parliaments and to Europe’s citizens. It will make us more effective in tackling areas where common action is needed. The challenge now is ratification. It will be a crucial moment and lead to a broad discussion on the kind of Europe that people want. The new Commission, this Parliament and the Member States must be ready with answers. We must make the case for Europe and this will be a huge communication challenge. To win that debate we should not have a technocratic approach. We need instead political leadership and courage."

He then set out the challenges facing the EU: "we must meet the challenges of globalisation. This means facing up to competition in open, global markets. It also means spreading prosperity and opportunity around the world. The Union needs to match its political ambition with its financial resources. You cannot have more Europe for less money, especially if we want a similar level of solidarity towards the new Member States as we have shown to the less developed regions in the past. However we must also be able to show to taxpayers that the money they entrust to Europe is prudently spent. We need to ensure that we foster stability and invest for growth. This means sound public finances but also twenty-first century networks and strong services of general interest to knit our economies and continent together. Health and social protection systems need to prepare for an ageing population. And together with education, these services must be more than just a safety net. Our future success will depend on our willingness to take risks, be ready for change and to introduce reforms. Our scientists, universities and companies should keep us at the cutting edge of technology. We must ensure that understandable public fears about new science are properly and democratically addressed. We must deliver a better quality of life. This means taking decisions now to create the right incentives for cleaner energy and cleaner transport.

We must live up to our international agreements in Kyoto and make sure that our partners do the same. We must balance decisions today against their impact on growth, jobs and the environment tomorrow if we are to offer coming generations a truly sustainable future. The construction of an area of freedom, security and justice remains one of our most important strategic objectives. The Commission should remain a driving force, helping to create the conditions needed for the removal of internal borders, and the strengthening of the Union external borders. Taking forward policies on immigration, asylum and on the integration of immigrants in our society are other key elements. In addition we must implement the Counter-Terrorism Action Plan. Terrorism is the biggest threat today to freedom in Europe and in the World. On the world stage, we must spread peace and stability. This applies as much to our nearest neighbours as to the support that we give to the role of international institutions such as the United Nations. We must keep the spotlight on conflict prevention and on the eradication of poverty and disease, particularly in Africa."

The European Union is an audacious experiment without precedent, he remarked. He said he was determined that the new Commission would work as a team. In this context, he stated that he expected that the new Commission would have a larger proportion of women than all the previous ones. This would only occur with the assistance of the Council. One point is clear, he stated, there would be no first or second class Commissioners with different voting rights. If one individual Commissioner does not meet his duties imposed by the Treaty, he said, he would ask the Commissioner to resign. Mr Barroso also gave the assurance that he would act transparently in terms of access documents and working groups, and promised regularly to meet Parliament's Conference of Presidents.

In conclusion, Mr Barroso said his candidacy was as a politician ready to rise up above traditional left-right differences.

Political group speakers

EPP-ED leader Hans-Gert POETTERING (DE) said his group welcomed the unanimous proposal of the European Council that Mr Barroso should be President. He welcomed the fact that Mr Barroso presented himself as a man from Portugal who felt at home in the heart of Europe. We should all, he said, acknowledge the country we come from, Europe is not about giving up our nations, but bringing them together.

If we take Europe's values seriously, he said, we need a Commission President who will unite rather than divide. Whatever arguments we have within the Parliament, we should not forget that our goal is to serve the continent. We want a strong, independent Commission that is not subordinate to the governments. We think, he said, that you, Mr Barroso, are capable of that. But you know you can only be strong with the support of a large majority in the Parliament.

Mr Poettering said he welcomed Mr Barroso's commitment to act as guardian of the treaties and to sack any Commissioner who manifestly failed in his responsibilities. Mr Prodi had made a similar agreement. He had also agreed that he and his Commissioners would come to the Parliament whenever they were requested to do so. We hope you will make the same commitment, he told Mr Barroso.

When the Commission is confirmed, he continued, we will continue our task of control, but beyond party and national considerations, we need a partnership that will offer something real to future generations. We all believe in the future of Europe, he said, so the group would offer its support to Mr Barroso.

Martin SCHULZ (DE), leader of the Socialist group, said much had been written about the candidacy of Mr Barroso, but one thing that was wrong was that he was the EPP candidate. He was not - he was the Council's candidate. The Socialist group would take a neutral and unbiased approach to assessing his suitability for the task of Commission President.

He asked a series of questions. Could Mr Barroso be relied upon to help further the aims of Socialists? Would he be a driving force for integration? Would he help protect the European social model? Could he represent the Commission on the world stage? Was he committed to sustainable development and a sustainable energy policy? No-one, he said would satisfy all our wishes, but these are the criteria the Socialists would use to make their decision, which they would do this evening after the debate. He hoped that in the future a different procedure would select the Commission president, with party programmes and personalities being presented to the electorate together.

ALDE group leader Graham WATSON (UK) noted that Mr Barroso had once described the EU as a plane without a pilot, and was now applying for a pilot's licence. The ALDE group wanted to know what sort of pilot he would be and what were his plans. They had been impressed by his candour and his competence, and recognised that he had treated Parliament with respect. Mr Barroso had described himself as a "reformist of the centre." What, asked Mr Watson, would this leave the ALDE to expect? A commitment to strong democracy, open markets, a society based on solidarity and free and fair trade, to progressing the Lisbon agenda, to a Europe speaking with one voice in international affairs, which is at the same time more accountable and closer to its citizens. He said the Commission's independence and strength were the key. Could Mr Barroso really defend this as he came from the intergovernmental culture of the Council? These were the criteria on which the Liberals and Democrats would make their decision.

Daniel Marc COHN-BENDIT (FR ) for the Greens/EFA group stated that the previous speakers had "painted a very rosy picture where all of the EU's problem would be solved should Mr Barroso be approved". Nobody had made any comment on why the Council had taken so long to agree on his candidacy. The Green/EFA group would be voting no to Mr Barroso's candidacy because of the way the Council had treated and disrespected Parliament. Decisions, he said, had been taken behind closed doors and for once the Parliament should stand up to the Council and reject Mr Barroso.

Francis WURTZ (FR) for the GUE/NGL group stated that he also opposed the candidacy of Mr Barroso but this time due to his policies. In particular, he criticised Mr Barroso's record in Portugal and his choices to reduce public spending. He also condemned the fact that his government had organised the Azores Summit in 2003. He warned that there was not enough critical thinking amongst Europe's leaders to face many of Europe's challenges, including jobs, access to clean water, and combating disease in the world.

Jens-Peter BONDE (DK) for the IND/DEM group stated that when Mr Barroso had answered questions in his group he had failed to provide full and transparent answers to questions on the Commission's many working groups. He called for these to be fully provided and for the "so called whistle-blowers" in the Commission to receive a pardon.

Cristiana MUSCARDINI (IT) for the UEN group said that the June elections had been a historic event, but that she was concerned about the falling turnout. Citizens, she said, saw the EU as too remote from their national reality, and without the support of the citizens the EU might head for oligarchy. She called for funding for an information campaign for citizens, who wanted, she said, Europe to act when nation states alone could not: helping employment and economic recovery, and dealing with globalisation. There needed to be more democracy and respect for the dignity of individuals. The Mediterranean policy also needed to be implemented. She said the UEN group wished Mr Barroso every success.

The non-attached member Jean-Claude MARTINEZ (FR) said that many of Mr Barroso's decisions had already been taken for him, whether on the enlargement of Turkey or the Financial Perspective. He would have to live with these as well as the defects of the Stability and Growth Pact. Could he stand up to the all the lobbies and the US in the WTO negotiations? He hoped nevertheless that Mr Barroso would have favourable winds if elected.

Jonathan EVANS (Wales), speaking for the British Conservatives and their colleagues in the European Democrats wing of the EPP-ED, told Mr Barroso he had a number of qualities which made him suitable for the job of Commission President, notably in his record of economic reform in Portugal. He called for bold reforms in the Commission to restore public confidence, including the appointment of a Commissioner for Budgetary Control, greater protection for whistleblowers and the full independence of OLAF. He also called for a revitalisation of the Lisbon strategy and for all proposals to come with impact assessments and price tags. He concluded by endorsing Mr Barroso's candidacy and calling for Europe to do less, but do it better.

Gary TITLEY (PES, UK) said that after the elections, "we must now prove ourselves worthy of the people's support." This meant an end to debates on process, institutional intricacies and flowery discussions of the meaning of Europe. It meant Europe focussing on what it does rather than how it does it. He wanted a President of the Commission who would be a man of action, not just of fine words and speeches. Above all, he said, the focus should be on jobs, implementing the recommendations from Wim Kok, creating incentives for jobs and making work pay. It meant training and retraining workers, not paying to keep them out of work. It meant investing in people, as there could not be economic efficiency without social justice. He also called for the new Commission to continue Neil Kinnock's work in reforming the Commission to make it a modern, accountable administration with probity at all levels.

Mr BARROSO, responding at the end of the debate on Wednesday, first of all addressed the Iraq dossier by saying that in Portugal, political parties had transcended past divisions by backing the latest UN resolution on the rebuilding of Iraq. As to EU-US relations, Mr Barroso stressed that a strong EU did not contradict strong EU-US ties. He also stated that he wanted to strengthen the European Security and Defence Policies of the Union and recalled that when he was Portugusese Foreign Minister he had approved Portugal's involvement in Eurocorps.

On the Commission-Council-European Parliament institutional triangle, Mr Barroso stated that his priority had always been a strong supranational Commission. He stated that he strongly backed "the Community method" and that a purely intergovernmental approach would lead to the break-up or possible "balkanisation" of the Union. To Mr Cohn-Bendit, he said there were better ways to "punish" the Council than attacking his candidacy. Mr Barosso said he would seek consensus as Commission President and said that before being selected as President-designate he was the only Head of Government to back a socialist candidate for Commission President. He ended by saying that he was a "centrist-reformist" who puts solidarity and social justice ahead of economic reform.

The debate continued on Thursday morning, with further interventions from MEPs.

Robert KILROY-SILK (IND/DEM, UK) said his party could not support the Commission President-designate, because they did not support the institution itself. He said his constituents did not doubt the legitimacy of the European Parliament, but they did not wish to be governed by it. They wanted to be governed by their own Parliament and government -- and he promised that they would be within the term of the present Parliament. His constituents, he continued, also rejected the draft Constitution as a document based on obsolete theories and outdated fears of war and communism from the 1950s. They saw the EU was inward looking, restrictive and bureaucratic -- what they wanted was a flexible and outward looking community. They did not want to be part of a federal state called Europe, he said. Finally, recalling that Margaret Thatcher had demanded the UK's money back in 1984, he said: "We want our country back -- and we are going to get it."

Seán Ó NEACHTAIN (UEN, IE) made an intervention in Irish. Vice President Dagmar ROTH-BEHRENDT (PES, DE), in the chair, indicated that since Irish was not a working language of the EU or of Parliament, this could not be interpreted for MEPs and Mr Barroso to be able to understand it. Mr O'Neachtain said he thought arrangements had been made for his intervention to be interpreted and said he was very disappointed with the way Parliament and its services had handled the matter. He said he used English when necessary, but his own language came first.

Baroness Sarah LUDFORD (ELDR, UK) told Mr Barroso she had initially been prejudiced against him by what she called the squalid intergovernmental bargaining that had led to his nomination, and by the fact that he had supported the Iraq war, which she believed was misguided and illegal. However, she said she had been impressed by his dynamism and communication skills, and by his support for a strong Commission, without 'superCommissioners', which was not beholden to the Member States. For these reasons, she said she would vote for Mr Barroso, but not without concerns. She wanted to know how he would react if the Member States did not nominate enough women to the Commission. She called for the Commission to continue to make up for cuts in US funding to NGOs and family planning bodies based on the Bush administration's opposition to abortion. She said Mr Barroso seemed to be trying to be all things to all people, rather like Tony Blair. She wanted to know how he would deal with hard choices, and on what principles he would not compromise. Finally, she stressed that the Commission should prioritise civil liberties and human rights in its work.

Response to the debate

In his final response to the debate, Mr Barroso stated that he was in favour of a strong Europe capable of tackling major issues in the world including climate change, free and fair trade, the support for multilateral institutions and the fight against disease. In order to achieve all this, he said, the EU would need sufficient financing.

On the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Mr Barroso stated that he was in favour of further developing a European defence identity and had already started working with Javier SOLANA. On Iraq, Mr Barroso underlined that no common EU position could be found. Foreign policy, he stated, is decided on "an intergovernmental basis. The Commission will not decide Member States' Foreign Policy and as yet the EU does not speak with one voice in foreign policy." However, he said, the latest UN Resolution on Iraq was a basis to build a consensus. He stressed that as Commission President he would not be bound by any particular state. As regards EU-US relations, he stressed that the EU should not be primarily defined in opposition to any region. He said he aimed to engage the US constructively, especially in the areas of environment and development policy. On Turkey, Mr Barroso recognised that this would be a key decision and the Parliament would be putting forward its opinion before the end of the year. He stated he could not pre-empt what the Commission was going to say but stressed that the Union was not based on religion. Mr Barroso also said that relations with the EU's near neighbours in the Balkans, the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe would be a priority for the Commission.

On institutional matters, he said he sympathised with those who had criticised the way he was appointed, but he had gone beyond what was laid out in the Treaties by deciding to meet with each political group in the European Parliament. As to the ratification processes, he said that these arguments would have to be made primarily at Member State level but the Commission would provide credible and appropriate information. As to the so-called 'superCommissioners,' he quipped that he wanted 24 of them. He promised a transparent Commission and would be willing to provide the information on the composition of working groups as requested by the Independence and Democracy group. There would also be two separate Commissioners for the budget and budgetary control. On whistleblowers, he pointed out that the Commission had already changed its internal structures. As to gender equality in the Commission composition, he repeated that he would do all he could to ensure that he had the highest number of women Commissioners representing at least one-third of the Commission. On the Stability and Growth Pact, he said that it was not necessary to renegotiate it, but a "more flexible interpretation" may not be unhelpful. On media pluralism, he said that the Commission had examined this in their Green Paper back in the mid 1990s and it would be now necessary to examine whether there was a legal basis to propose legislation. On GMOs, he stated that the Commission's European Authorisation System was one of the best in the world and worked well.

In conclusion, Mr Barroso stated that he was a man of strong convictions but used pragmatism in the implementation of his policies. He offered political leadership but compromise where necessary. He promised to work towards a better and a strong Europe.


Group statements on voting intentions for the Commission President-designate
22.07.2004

After meetings of the political groups, the leaders of the groups set out their positions of the nomination of José Manuel BARROSO as President of the Commission:

For the EPP-ED group, Hans-Gert POETTERING (DE) said MEPs had a great responsibility in making this decision. His group welcomed the unanimous nomination by the European Council of Mr Barroso. Mr Poettering said that he had worked with Mr Barroso in the past and knew he had the qualities required. The way he had spoken in Parliament had been totally convincing - no-one in Parliament had suggested he did not have the necessary personal qualities. He was competent and capable of communicating his convictions. He was keen to work closely with the European Parliament. For these reasons, he would be supported unanimously by the EPP-ED group - though after the vote, they would continue to control and voice criticism of the Commission, as their role required.

Martin SCHULZ (DE) of the Socialist group began by saying he had no doubt that Mr Barroso was a person of integrity. The group had had some difficulty in coming to its decision, he said. They had asked four decisive questions: first, was he a candidate for a strong Commission vis-à-vis the other institutions and the Council in particular? Second, was he the candidate for sustainable environmental, economic and development policies? Third, would he pursue social policies acceptable to Social Democrats? Fourth, was he the candidate to represent the values of Europe in the world, including multilateralism, in the WTO and elsewhere? To all these questions the answer of the majority of the group was no. He said Mr Barroso had shown himself to be intransigent and unwilling to stand up to other powers. He had not proved his case. Some PES members would vote for Mr Barroso for their own reasons, but the majority of the group would not.

For the ALDE group, Graham WATSON (UK) began his statement in German, wondering how the EPP-ED group could have found so unreliable a partner in the Socialist group. He said that if the ALDE group was to vote for Mr Barroso it would not be to bail out the EPP-ED, but as a vote for Europe. Turning to Mr Barroso, he told him he would receive the overwhelming support of the Liberals and Democrats. He had given an assured performance in front of the House. Mr Watson said he could not underestimate the importance of the continued respect Mr Barroso had shown to Parliament. He hoped he was starting as he meant to go on. The ALDE would hold him to his promises - this was a challenge, not a threat, said Mr Watson. They supported an ambitious and independent Commission, and Mr Barroso would have their clear and constructive support in building the Europe that they wanted.

Daniel Marc COHN-BENDIT (FR) for the Greens/EFA group stated that he and Mr Barroso might have shared some common beliefs some 30 years ago. In the European Parliament, he remarked, the left was suffering from "an ideological division" and the right "from moralism, authoritarianism and neo liberalism". Mr Barroso's centrist position, he said, was very "opportunistic". He said the issue was not whether he would be a good Commission President, but rather that Mr Barroso had not shown any doubt over his position on Iraq or on his domestic policies. His group, he said, would be voting against.

Francis WURTZ (FR) for the GUE/NGL group also said that his group would be voting against primarily due to Mr Barroso's position over the Iraq war.

Nigel FARAGE (UK) for the IND/DEM group made reference to Jean Monnet, saying that he would be happy with the way the EU was developing but that Jean Monnet detested Parliamentary democracy and scrutiny. His group would be voting "overwhelmingly against" despite Mr Barroso being an improvement on Romano Prodi. The Commission, he said, had not improved since it resigned in 1999.

Brian CROWLEY (IE) for the UEN group however stated that his group would be voting "overwhelmingly in favour" of Mr Barroso. Now, he said, was the time to rise up above ideology and make a responsible decision.

Bruno GOLLNISCH (FR), a non-attached Member, wondered whether Mr Barroso was the right candidate at the right time. In any case, he said, he would not be voting for him, making allusion to Mr Barroso's position on Turkey.


MEPs approve José Manuel Barroso as Commission President
22.07.2004

Vote

In a vote held by secret ballot, MEPs voted to approve the appointment of José Manuel BARROSO as the new President of the European Commission. The full results are as follows:

Votes cast

711

Spoilt ballots

3

Blank ballots

44

Valid votes

664

Votes in favour

413

Votes against

251

The President therefore declared Mr Barroso approved as Commission President.

Speaking immediately after his approval by the European Parliament, Mr José Barroso stated that he felt proud to be Portuguese and his nation would be proud that a Portuguese citizen had become Commission President. He was "delighted, honoured and proud" to be able to serve the EU. He said he would build bridges beyond the old left-right divides. He said he would build bridges between those who wanted to modernise and those who did not and between the pro and anti-EU as well as between himself and the people that did not vote for him. He underlined his belief in Europe and his strong European convictions.
EP Rules of Procedure


Seven political groups formed
Political groups formed
20.07.2004

At the opening of the session, Mr BERLINGUER announced that seven political groups had been created under the rules of procedure. These were the European People's Party and European Democrats (EPP-ED), the Group of Socialists in the European Parliament (PES), the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), the Greens and European Free Alliance group (Greens/EFA), the Confederal Group of the European United Left and Nordic Green Left (EUL/NGL), the Independence and Democracy group (IND/DEM) and the Union for Europe of the Nations group (UEN). The remaining members would sit as non-attached MEPs, he said. By 23 July 2004, the distribution of MEPs to groups was as follows:

Group

No of MEPs

EPP/ED

268

PES

200

ALDE

88

GREENS/EFA

42

EUL/NGL

41

IND/DEM

37

UEN

27

Non-attached

29


European Council

Irish Presidency and the June European Council meetings
Joint debate - European Council/Irish Presidency
European Council report and Commission statement - European Council of 17/18 June 2004
Statement by the President-in-office of the Council - work of the Irish presidency
21.07.2004

The Taoiseach Bertie AHERN spoke to Parliament on the outcome of the Irish Presidency, which ran from January to June 2004. He began by congratulating MEPs on their recent election and Josep BORRELL (PES, ES) on becoming President of Parliament.

He said that Ireland's presidency had been underpinned by two key principles. The first of these was that Europe must work, and be seen to work, for its people. "Too often," he said, "the debate on European issues can drift into a world of jargon and theory. In doing so it runs a real risk of losing the attention and, in due course, the support of its citizens." This was the reason, he said, for focussing on what united us rather than what divides us, focussing on the key concerns of citizens: jobs, social and environmental protection, peace and security. "These," he said, "have been the ingredients to Europe's success. They must remain the centre of our attention."

The second principle of the presidency had been fairness. For big and small countries alike, rules matter, and they need to be applied fairly, even-handedly and transparently. It was essential for the traditions of equality, fairness and co-operation to be reinforced in the new enlarged Union.

Mr. Ahern set out the five main areas of work for the Irish presidency: the successful conclusion of the IGC, the success of enlargement, revitalising the Lisbon strategy through the spring summit, delivering on commitments made in the Justice and Home Affairs area and to give new coherence and impetus to the EU's external agenda.

Another major issue had been the search for a new Commission President: Mr. Ahern said he was very pleased the European Council had reached consensus on the nomination of José Manuel BARROSO. "I do not believe we could have found a better candidate. He is a man who is prepared to lead, and able to take decisions. He is a committed European and he has a deep understanding of the interests of all Member States, large and small, old and new. I have no hesitation in recommending him to you."

The Taoiseach said that a highlight had been the agreement on a new Constitution on 18 June. He paid particular tribute to the work of Parliament and its representatives in the Convention and at the IGC for their efforts in helping to achieve this. The new Constitution, he said, succeeded in setting down clearly in one single document what the Union is and what the Union does. "It defined a set of values and objectives that we can all share. We have enhanced the democratic legitimacy of the EU by extending the powers of the European Parliament. We have strengthened the role of national parliaments and opened the Council of Ministers to more public scrutiny. The principles of subsidiarity and proportionality have also been strengthened." Incorporating the Charter of Fundamental Rights was, he said, a significant advance in the area of human rights, binding the EU institutions and the Member States in their implementation of EU law and giving citizens legal redress if this was not respected. The Constitution also provided the basis for an effective Commission into the future and enshrined the principle of double majority voting in Council, respecting the concerns of all and enhancing decision making.

Mr. Ahern emphasised that it was the responsibility of everyone to explain what is in the Constitution and why it will be so beneficial for the Union, for the Member States and especially for the citizens, regardless of which method of ratification had been chosen.

On enlargement, he reflected on the historic events of 1 May, but noted that the enlargement process did not end there: there had been substantial progress in negotiations with Bulgaria and Romania, and he hoped both would join the EU in January 2007 if they were ready. He welcomed the progress made by Turkey, and promised that the December decision on whether the political criteria had been met would be taken in an objective and transparent manner, with no delay in starting negotiations if the outcome was positive. The June European Council had also decided that negotiations with Croatia should begin early in 2005.

On Justice and Home Affairs, Mr. Ahern said there had been progress in establishing the European Border Management Agency, and a political agreement on the admission of third country nationals as students. There had been progress too in tackling terrorism, based on the Declaration made in March after the Madrid attacks.

In the field of external relations, he said the Irish presidency had emphasised effective multilateralism, conflict prevention and the development of the European Security and Defence Policy. "Across the range of issues," he said, "be it the transatlantic relationship, the European Union's engagement with Africa or the need to strengthen our relations with Russia and Asia, we can report real and lasting progress."

Concluding his address, Mr. Ahern said that he strongly believed that with the successful enlargement of the Union, the agreement on the European Constitution, the good progress made over the last six months on the Lisbon Agenda and Justice and Home Affairs as well as in its relationships with key partners, the Union has taken a great step forward.

"We must," he said, "all continue to work to communicate better with our citizens so that they can become better informed and engaged in relation to developments within the Union which affect their daily lives in so many positive ways. The experience has left me firmly convinced that, working together co-operatively - both Member States and institutions – we can build a better Europe and contribute to a fairer, more secure and more peaceful world."

President Romano PRODI opened his speech by saying that he was pleased to see Parliament’s new President now properly in harness. He continued by saying that it was also a pleasure to see the newly elected Members from all Member States gathered here in the Parliament.

He congratulated the Irish Presidency "on their skilful diplomacy, their political discernment and their steadfast dedication to the European cause." First and foremost, he said the Irish Presidency had wound up the Intergovernmental Conference and forged an agreement on a Constitution for Europe. As the saying goes, he said, "defeat is an orphan, but victory has a thousand fathers." Many people, he stated, particularly in this House, had worked hard to make the Constitution a reality. The Irish Presidency, he said, had put forward innovative solutions whilst maintaining the overall balance. It had persuaded all sides that the draft is ambitious but also represents a realistic compromise. In other words, the draft Constitution before us is the best compromise possible. He also stated that the EU should not underestimate the impact of the Taoiseach’s personal involvement in overcoming opposition on the most sensitive issues. The Constitution, the President remarked, strengthened democracy, transparency and accountability in the Union. It laid down the Union’s values and principles and provides a comprehensive legal basis for its policies. No one, he stated, claims the Constitution is perfect. The Commission, for one, would have liked stronger Union powers in some areas, such as economic governance. In this connection he welcomed the recent ruling of the European Court of Justice saying that it provides legal clarity on some provisions of the Treaty and the Stability and Growth Pact.

Unanimity, he recalled, is still required for decisions on taxation, own resources and the Financial Perspective, and partially for social policy and the common foreign and security policy. In the next while, the process of ratification will focus attention, he said. In the next few months, he stated, all parties need to explain to people what the Union really is -- and what it is not -- and why citizens need a Union that works properly. "My worry", he said, "is that national concerns might mask the real issues, and short-term partisan advantages may outweigh the long-term benefit of a Constitution for our Union."

He stated he would like to take this opportunity to give his views on a criticism voiced lately - namely, that the Constitution would mean a step backwards for ”Social Europe”. "This is simply not true" he said. "Here are the facts: the Constitution largely preserves the status quo in terms of the Union’s common policies, except as regards external policy and action in the area of freedom, security and justice. In truth the Constitution creates a framework for the institutions to use for the benefit of all."

The Constitution, President Prodi underlined, makes full employment and social progress objectives of the Union. It recognises gender equality and the rights of minorities as values common to the Member States; it requires the Union to promote economic, social and territorial cohesion and solidarity among Member States; the Union formally recognises and promotes the role of the social partners at Union level and facilitates dialogue between the social partners while respecting their autonomy; the Constitution states that the Union’s trade policy must not seriously disrupt the organisation of social, education and health services; it recognises the value of services of general economic interest and their role in promoting social and territorial cohesion.

He called on all to do their utmost to ensure that people understand what is really at stake. Voting ”yes” to the Constitution also means voting for the benefits of ”Social Europe”.

The Macedonian Government too, he recalled, had already presented its membership application, and is pressing ahead resolutely and judiciously to make it succeed. Lastly, he congratulated the Council on deciding to appoint Javier SOLANA as the Union’s Foreign Minister once the Constitution comes into force. He wished José Manuel BARROSO and Javier Solana every success in the future.

Speakers for political groups

Hans-Gert POETTERING (DE) for the EPP-ED group thanked the Irish Presidency for its focussed and friendly attitude throughout its six months. The EU should be something that "citizens can enjoy", he said. Mr. Poettering paid tribute to Pat COX, former President of the European Parliament, present in the Chamber, and to former MEP, Joe McCARTIN (EPP-ED, IE) who received the Robert Schuman Medal for 25 years service to the European Parliament.

He congratulated the Irish Presidency for managing the IGC through a difficult period. For the EPP group, the ratification of European Constitution would be one of the top priorities. Mr. Poettering said he would have preferred to see a more explicit reference to Europe's "Judeo-Christian heritage" in the Constitution. He looked forward to the signing of the document in Rome later this year. He welcomed the proposal of José Barosso as Commission President-Designate and of the appointment of Javier Solana as the EU's first "Foreign Minister". He ended, by saying that the President of Parliament and the President of the Commission should stand in a more central position in the Council's official "family photographs".

For the Socialist group, Klaus HÄNSCH (DE) also congratulated the Irish Presidency for their achievements, but stated that it was impossible to satisfy everyone. In particular, he congratulated the Irish Presidency on their work leading to the agreement on the EU Constitution. Compromises and derogations had to be made, but, he said 90% of the original Convention text had been agreed without amendment. He welcomed the fact that the European Parliament would continue to play, despite threats to the contrary, an important role over the EU's finances. Mr. Hänsch recognised that the EU Constitution was far more complicated and longer than the US Constitution. Nevertheless, he said, it reflected the needs of European society. Finally, he said that the PES group would fully support "this historic Constitution".

Andrew DUFF (UK) for the newly formed ALDE group called the Irish Presidency "canny, courageous and committed". The European Parliament, he said, could also share in its success. He welcomed the Irish Presidency's management of the IGC. European citizens, he said, could now trust more in the European institutions because of the open Convention method and IGC process. If, however, a referendum were to be lost on the Constitution, then the European Parliament and national political parties would have to share the blame.

For the Green group, Monica FRASSONI (IT) thanked the Irish presidency for its elegance and cheerfulness in its dealings with the European Parliament, but said it had never answered the question of why it had accepted various unsatisfactory aspects in the Constitution. There were too many vetoes, too much risk of conflict between Commission and Council Presidencies and the continuing exclusion of Parliament from the treaty ratification process. The Commission President-designate had been chosen in an inappropriate way, she said. The events in Italy with African citizens arriving on a German ship showed that Europe had a long way to go on asylum and immigration.

Sylvia-Yvonne KAUFMANN (DE) spoke for the GUE/NGL group. Reflecting on the difficult backdrop for the Irish presidency with the Constitution, enlargement and the European elections, she said the low turnout at those elections should lead MEPs to learn lessons of how they had lost the sense of trust of the men and women of Europe. More attention should be paid to issues that matter to Europe's people, such as employment. She also called for referendums on the Constitution to be held in all countries, including Germany, so the people could have their say.

For the Independence and Democracy Group, Jens-Peter BONDE (DK) gave ironic thanks to the Irish Presidency for its good technical job in arranging the biggest ever loss of democracy in Europe. The Constitution, he said, moved power from citizens to unelected officials and to Prime Ministers who would, thanks to 'passarelle' clauses, be able to add new powers to the EU without the approval of their citizens. It was also wrong that each Member State would no longer have a Commissioner. We need, he said, to fight for democracy. He urged Member States to hold simultaneous referendums on the Constitution, and called for it to be rejected.

Brian CROWLEY (IE), for the UEN group, congratulated the Irish Presidency, led as it was by a member of his own party, Mr. Ahern. The greatest moment had been the raising of the flags of the new Member States in Dublin on 1 May, ending the artificial separation of the East and West of Europe. He also praised the Presidency's handling of the Constitution negotiations which had led to agreement while respecting the vital interests of each Member State. He paid tribute also to the Irish civil servants for their work on the presidency.

Marek CZARNECKI (PL), one of the non-attached MEPs, said the Irish Presidency would go down in history for the broadest ever enlargement of the EU. He warned, however, that the restrictions and transitional periods imposed on free movement of labour meant the EU was still a group where some were more equal than others. This was a disgrace, he said. He also argued that the EU should never have tax raising powers.

Avril DOYLE (EPP-ED, IE) called the Irish Presidency "truly historic" and congratulated the Irish Permanent Representation as well as the Irish government on its work. She highlighted, in particular, the work done on the transatlantic relationship, on the aftermath of the Madrid bombings and working towards a smooth enlargement. On the Lisbon agenda, Mrs Doyle was more critical, and wanted to know exactly what the Irish Presidency had done to promote the European economy. She feared that they "had simply passed the buck on to the Dutch Presidency". She also criticised the Irish government on its domestic record in terms of transposition and implementation of EU directives. Finally, Mrs Doyle strongly criticised the proposed appointment of Charlie McCREEVY T.D as the next Irish Commissioner.

Proinsias DE ROSSA (PES, IE) said that the Constitution should lead to a more inclusive and democratic Europe. He regretted that more had not be achieved in terms of the Lisbon agenda and criticised the Council and the Commission for opposing the Parliament on transfer of passenger data records to the US. He also strongly opposed the proposal of Charlie McCreevy T.D as next Irish Commissioner saying "that he was one of the most right-wing Finance Ministers in Europe who believed in giving incentives to the rich through tax cuts and punishing the poor."

Marian HARKIN (ALDE, IE) was another speaker to congratulate the Irish Presidency for its work. The most important point now, she said, was to engage the European citizens in all twenty-five Member States and this would mean engaging civil society.

Mary Lou McDONALD (EUL/NGL, IE) spoke of her pride in representing Sinn Fein in the European Parliament. Her party was, she said, committed to the politics of justice, equality and freedom. She said Europe needed a new set of priorities, not seeking to become an economic or military superpower or a superstate. She called for support for public services, employment and also a reform and revitalisation of the UN.

Kathy SINNOTT (IND/DEM, IE) praised the effectiveness of the Irish Presidency, but said she was alarmed at the pushing through of the sweeping and undemocratic changes in the constitution. There was more to do to bring equality and respect for all nations, and to bring transparency and democracy into the EU. She also called for Mr. Ahern to tackle a range of problems on the Irish domestic agenda.

Jim ALLISTER (NI, UK) spoke of his honour at the confidence placed in him by the people of Northern Ireland, to whom he owed his allegiance. He would be fighting to ensure Northern Ireland got its fair share of EU funding. He was pleased, he said, that (as predicted by his predecessor, Ian Paisley) the Irish Presidency had left Mr. Ahern less time to meddle in the affairs of British Northern Ireland. He urged Mr. Ahern to abandon efforts to have Irish adopted as an official EU language, which he said would be a waste of taxpayers' money.

Bairbre de BRÚN (EUL/NGL, UK) said that Sinn Fein was in favour of change for Ireland and the EU. She welcomed EU support for Ireland's peace process, which had made great progress despite now facing great difficulties, with the suspension of the democratic institutions by the British government and with members of her community having once again been penned in to allow the forcing through of sectarian unionist parades.

Jonathan EVANS (Wales), speaking for the European Democrat wing of the EPP-ED group, said he believed the Constitution was a mistake. States had constitutions and the EU was not a state and should not seek to become one. Despite the Laeken Declaration calling for the EU to be brought closer to the citizens, the Constitution moved more power to the centre, he said. It would have been better to limit the exercise to tidying up the existing treaties, giving a greater role to national parliaments and giving an obligation to the EU to tackle fraud and maladministration. He called for a Europe where those who wished to integrate further could do so without forcing the others to join them.
Response to debate

Bertie AHERN noted that the historic agreement on the Constitution was possible only because all sides were willing to compromise.

The EU is about vision, but also about practical issues, he said. There was now a need to continue explaining the EU and the constitution, with its clauses including the respect for human values and human dignity. Concerns about the constitution needed to be addressed - fear without foundation was fear nevertheless, he said, and it must be dealt with.

Mr. Ahern said he would have liked to include a reference to Europe's Christian heritage in the preamble, but there was not a consensus to do this. Nevertheless, there was a clause in Constitution recognising the role of churches, and this was a positive step.

On the process for nominating the Commission President, Mr. Ahern noted that the Irish government had proposed in the Convention that this should be up to the European Parliament and National Parliaments together, but this had received little support from others. He still thought it was a good idea.

On freedom of movement, he reminded MEPs that Ireland had opened its doors without restriction to the citizens of the new Member States and he was proud of this. On the Lisbon Agenda, he acknowledged that much remained to be done, but pointed to progress in particular in the field of financial services. He praised the work of Charlie McCreevy in improving employment opportunities and growth, rejecting the criticism from Mrs Doyle and Mr. De Rossa.

Finally, he repeated his pleasure at having presided over the EU at the time of historic changes: enlargement, the Constitution, progress on Lisbon and improving the EU's global partnerships. He wished MEPs and the Dutch Presidency well in continuing the work ahead.


Launch of the Dutch Presidency
Statement by the President-in-Office of the Council - work programme of the Netherlands presidency
21.07.2004

Prime Minister and President-in-Office of the Council, Jan Peter BALKENENDE started off by congratulating Josep BORRELL (PES, ES) on his election as President of the European Parliament.

The main thing, he said, was a great sense of responsibility: for Europe, for the substantive issues on which we want to make progress and, above all, towards the people of Europe, for whom we are doing all this. He thanked the Irish Presidency for the great job done. Successful enlargement to bring in ten countries, agreement on a new European Constitution and mutually agreed selection of a really top-class nominee as President of the new European Commission, he said, were resounding achievements. The Prime Minister then addressed the European Council’s nomination of José Manuel BARROSO for the position of President of the European Commission. The Council believes, he said, that he is the man to take the Commission forward at this time. Someone who, together with others, can help promote economic growth and increased security. We therefore hope, he said, that the European Parliament will approve his nomination tomorrow.

There are many ways reflect many different ways of looking at Europe, he said. "How do Europe's citizens see it? Some groups are swayed by mistrust and doubts regarding European integration. A critical view is taken of the European project, both within and outside the European Parliament. The Netherlands Presidency can fully understand that. However, critical comment forms part of democracy. It can serve to strengthen democracy. There is no reason to lapse into pessimism. On the contrary, there is a need right now to show Europe's citizens that Europe belongs to them. A work in progress. Not perfect. Open to improvement. Yet worthwhile and, as history teaches us, vital if we are to tackle problems which no country can resolve on its own. "

Like many in this Chamber, he said, the Presidency regrets the failure as yet to resolve the long-running issue of Members' Statute. The Prime Ministers said that the Netherlands Presidency would constantly endeavour not to lose sight of longer-term interests. "If there is one thing we want to bring to the Union," he said, "it is our forward-looking approach. Internally, by working for consolidation of the enlarged Union, for sustainable economic growth, for security and for a sound financial foundation for the years ahead. Externally, by looking ahead, together with our partners elsewhere in the world, and by operating more decisively, as a Union, on the world stage."

On consolidation of the Union, the Prime Minister said that the ten countries which joined on 1 May 2004 need to be able to feel completely at ease within the Union as quickly as possible. "We shall do our level best to ensure that the new Member States can fully participate in all of the Union's proceedings as soon as possible. At the same time, we want to pave the way thoroughly for future enlargements. Membership negotiations with Bulgaria were completed a short while ago. Those with Romania have reached a very advanced stage. Membership negotiations with Croatia are to begin next year."

In December, too he recalled, the European Council is to consider whether Turkey fulfils the Copenhagen political criteria for human rights and democracy. "If so, membership negotiations will be opened with Turkey as well. The decision must be arrived at honestly, under the ground rules to which we previously, in 2002, firmly committed ourselves. That means strict application of the criteria laid down, but without inventing any new criteria. We must not allow ourselves to be guided by fear, e.g. of Islam. Raising barriers to any particular religion does not fit in with Europe's shared values. Our opposition should be directed not against religions but against people and groups misusing their religion to get their way by force. Islam is not the problem. Muslims, Christians and people of other beliefs can live together perfectly well. The problem is not religion but misuse of religion to sow hatred and intolerance and to repress women. The decision concerning Turkey does nonetheless greatly concern and trouble many people. The Presidency wants to make possible a well-founded decision which gains all-round endorsement and will also hold firm in future."

On the economy, the Prime Minister said that the economy is gradually starting to pick up again. "However, recovery is slow and laborious as a result of the underlying weaknesses in our economic structure. Europe's economy has stiff joints and makes too little use of its head. This makes our competitors too quick and too smart for us. Anyone who looks objectively at the developments sees that Europe is losing ground, even in periods of economic recovery. During the Netherlands Presidency preparations are being made for its interim review. A working party chaired by Wim Kok is currently drawing up a report on what we have achieved thus far and what remains to be done. That report will appear at the European Council on 5 November."

The Netherlands Presidency, he said, intends to take active steps to elaborate and implement the proposed action points. "The Netherlands Presidency also attaches priority to a new European drugs strategy for 2005-2012. This will focus on the joint approach to large-scale drug trafficking and also on improved prevention and health care. Tension sometimes exists between freedom and security. Neither can ever be absolute. The important thing is always to strike the proper balance. We must strike the same balance in the area of asylum and migration, which is another part of the follow-up to Tampere that will be on the agenda at the European Council on 5 November. We do not wish to create a Fortress Europe, but we also witness the hectic movement of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants entering and passing through. Facilitators ruthlessly exploit this phenomenon. Furthermore, we know from experience how much it takes in order to provide newcomers with full opportunities in our society. Control of migration flows is therefore necessary, and we can only do that together. In a Union with open internal borders we cannot afford not to have a European policy on asylum, immigration and repatriation. The Agency for the management of external borders is vitally important must become operational in 2005."

"A credible asylum and immigration policy also entails the return of those who are not entitled to stay here. The Netherlands Presidency has the task of forging ahead with repatriation policy before the end of the year. This involves, inter alia, common repatriation procedures and operations and the establishment of repatriation and readmission agreements."

On the new financial perspective, he said negotiations should be concluded in 2005. "This is a delicate matter, which is viewed in many different ways. The Netherlands Presidency considers it its duty to give those highly complex negotiations the best possible structure even before they begin by agreeing this year on the guidelines and principles on which they should be based. This should increase their chances of success."

"The United Nations is at the heart of multilateral co-operation and must remain there. As the President of the European Council, the Netherlands will play an active role in discussions on reforming the United Nations. Extra impetus also needs to be given to the multilateral trade system. Following the failure of the Cancun talks, we have an opportunity this year to achieve real progress in the WTO. Everyone will gain from that. Co-operation with our transatlantic partners, with whom we have such an enormous amount in common, is also extremely important. We must not forget that our values, vision of peace and security and economic ambitions are largely identical. The transatlantic alliance is and will continue to be of special significance. As a result of the most recent enlargement, the EU has gained not only new members, but also new neighbours. We feel closely associated with them and want to strengthen our ties with them. The same applies to countries in the "wider Middle East" and the Mediterranean. The Netherlands Presidency is keen to work towards increasing stability in that region and encouraging reforms in the political, economic and sociocultural arenas. The Barcelona process must be strengthened and intensified."

The Netherlands Presidency will devote a great deal of time to the Middle East peace process. Europe must make a concerted contribution to the future of Iraq. In so doing, he said, it will rely on the pivotal role of the UN and take account of the desires and needs of the Iraqi government and people.

Mr Balkenende said that our economic and political relations with Asia have become much more important in recent years. "The Netherlands Presidency will continue to build on the strategic relationship with our Asian partners at the proposed summits with China, India, South Korea and ASEM. We will also take that opportunity to look specifically at the sensitive issue of human rights."

He said that one in seven of the world's population suffers from chronic hunger. In Africa in particular, poverty, conflicts and epidemics are taking a heavy toll. The European Union would not abandon Africa to its fate. "The situation in Darfur, Sudan, comes most readily to mind in that connection. The EU must remain active there, not only in terms of relief work but also in a political sense. We are exerting pressure on the Sudanese authorities to improve the situation, and will not hesitate to step up that pressure if they fail to take sufficient action."

Apart from Darfur, the EU would continue to devote its energies to combating HIV and AIDS and preventing conflict in Africa.

The Netherlands has decided to take the initiative of organising a debate on the importance of European values in 2004. The fact that such values are enshrined in the Constitution is not enough, he said. They must also live on in people's minds and hearts. Specifically, the Presidency would devote a number of meetings to that subject and develop initiatives to stimulate discussion of European affairs with Europe's citizens.

"Perhaps I can give the final word to just such a citizen. A major newspaper in the Netherlands is currently publishing a series of portraits of ordinary Europeans and their visions of Europe. One of the subjects is Ilma Kaulina, a 39-year-old graphic designer from Riga. Her husband is a bus driver, and they have three children. Ilma Kaulina does not regard Europe as a panacea. Although she is critical of Europe, she does expect certain things of it. She says: 'The European Union can give us a better life. If you overlook the cultural differences, you can see that together we have the prospect of a better social and economic future. All the obstacles will fade away in time.' "That is how I would sum up our approach. Together with you, the Netherlands Presidency will do everything in its power not to disappoint Ilma Kaulina from Riga."

President Romano PRODI said that the start of the Dutch Presidency was an appropriate time to reflect on the Commission's achievements of the last few years and to discuss the very important tasks still to be completed before the end of its term of office.

He wished the President-designate of the new Commission every success in the future, having, he said, worked hard and well in the last five years to leave a renewed, dynamic and strong Commission. The present Commission, he said, was an extraordinary team, one of which every European citizen can be proud.

Mr Prodi said that the greatest achievement of the last five years was enlargement, which had improved the security and the prospects for growth of the entire Union. He looked forward to completing the unification of Europe by opening the door to the Balkans, while the new neighbourhood policy had provided an original and realistic formula for putting forward a new model for our increasingly closer relationship with our new neighbours, creating a ring of friendly countries throughout the region, from Morocco to Russia.

In its five years in office, said Mr Prodi, the Commission also promoted economic and social renewal in the EU through commitments to ensure macroeconomic stability and unstinting efforts to create the conditions for future growth. The most important event was undoubtedly the introduction of the euro: "The single currency has maintained its promise of stability. In these difficult years for the world economy, our economy has shown that it is well able to resist outside shocks. There have been no exchange rate storms, no public finance crises and inflation has remained low. Yet consider what would have happened if we had not had the single currency."

Finally, he said, the Constitution for Europe had seen the light of day while this Commission was in office.

Mr Prodi listed some of the other successes of his time in office, including the work on state aid, the Stability and Growth Pact and the internal market, as well as increased funding for research, education and training in Europe.

On the challenges still ahead, he spoke in particular of the new financial perspective: "Thanks to rigid budgetary discipline and to careful programming we can even increase the number of EU members to 27 without spending more than 1.14% of gross national income. The fact is that Europe can indeed make a difference but if it lacks the financial resources the European added value will remain an empty promise. We have prepared our proposal with the aim of maximising the efficiency of Community spending. We can show that a euro spent at European level yields more than a euro spent at national level."

He also discussed the ongoing enlargement process, where negotiations with Bulgaria were complete and great efforts would be made to make further progress in negotiations with Romania. His Commission would also adopt the report on Turkey’s compliance with the political criteria of Copenhagen and to send a report on this matter to the Council: "I can confirm that we have every intention of seeing this task through and presenting the results of our labours by the beginning of October. It would be premature to reveal the contents of the report, but I can say that we are collecting analyses, facts and evidence at every level. We can thus ensure that our studies are truly exhaustive and absolutely objective. Total impartiality is what we owe our young people, our fellow citizens and the Turkish people who hope to join us."

He concluded by paying tribute to the staff of the Commission: "In Brussels and in the other European Commission offices, I have encountered levels of excellence, competence and dedication that would put many national administrations to shame. And this will be one of the best memories I will take with me of my time at the head of the Commission. We all – Commissioners, officials and all those involved - believe in Europe and believe that the Union is the only means of giving the continent a peaceful future of prosperity and independence in the world."

Political group speakers

Responding for the EPP-ED group, Hans-Gert POETTERING (DE) gave a warm welcome to the Dutch presidency, saying its most important task would be to complete the process of enlargement. If people across Europe were willing to learn from each other, successes could be scored. He said the top priority for his group was the ratification of the Constitution - and the presidency had its part to play. He also welcomed the commitment to increase support for research to prevent young scientists leaving the EU.

Regarding Turkey, he said the criteria must be respected. He argued that if there are to be negotiations, they should also consider the option of a privileged partnership with Turkey. On the Financial Perspective, he reminded Mr BALKENENDE that Parliament was on an equal footing with the Council and would insist on its prerogatives. Finally, he repeated that the Commission and Parliament Presidents should be in the middle of the 'family photographs' taken at EU summits.

The leader of the Socialist group, Martin SCHULZ (DE) noted Mr Balkenende's plans to put the Lisbon process at the heart of his agenda. His group wanted this to be a social process. Economic renewal could only happen if social cohesion was maintained.

Regarding enlargement, he said there was a need for fairness for Bulgaria and Romania, and also for Turkey. The EU needed to live up to its agreements and keep its promises. We must, he said, deliver on our promises and open negotiations when the criteria are met. To be able to reconcile a Muslim society with the EU's values of freedom, democracy and solidarity would refute the theories of Bin Laden - this was a precious prize.

He said his group supported the battle against terrorism, but without trampling on the values of freedom and justice. It was not acceptable, he said, that no senior EU representative had spoken out about Guantanamo Bay. The EU needed to challenge the US on these issues as an equal.

Graham WATSON (UK), for the ALDE group, said that with the summer recess and changes in the Commission ahead the Dutch presidency effectively had three and a half months to achieve what other presidencies could take six months to do. He said that Liberals and Democrats would campaign for the ratification of the Constitution and hoped national governments would lead the campaign. On the Lisbon agenda, he agreed that the need now was for better implementation of the plans, rather than any new regulations. This would allow the single market to be "a tide raising all our boats" in terms of prosperity.

He called for greater integration of migration controls, with the introduction of Qualified Majority Voting and Co-decision on asylum, immigration and judicial co-operation matters. His group supported tackling terrorism but remained suspicious of the use of biometric identifiers. Finally, he called for better gender balance at the Commission, which was a matter for the Council: at least a third of the new Commission should be women, he said. While the Liberals and Democrats shared the realism of the Dutch Presidency, he hope it would be bolstered with vision and enthusiasm.

Monica FRASSONI (IT), for the Greens/EFA group, stated that the two priorities for the Dutch Presidency should be the new financial perspective and assessing Turkey's progress towards opening accession negotiations. On the financial perspective, she said the suggested proposed ceiling of 1.14 per cent of GNP for EU spending was "not helpful". She also regretted the letter from the net contributors to the EU budget which proposed reducing EU spending. She called for sustainable development. She gave a cautious welcome to the Dutch Prime Minister's words on Islam and called on him to repeat them in other European countries.

Francis WURTZ (FR), for the GUE/NGL group, stated that he opposed the proposed directive on the liberalising of services as he said that it would lead to social dumping. Mr Wurtz also stated that it would be difficult for the Stability and Growth Pact to be reformed and that countries which spent large sums on pensions would, he said, be penalised.

Hans BLOKLAND (NL), for the IND/DEM group, stated that the Dutch Presidency was being launched at a time of renewal with a new European Parliament. Mr Blokland was concerned about respecting the rights of minorities mentioning Sri Lanka in particular.

Roberts ZILE (LV), for the UEN group, welcomed the Dutch Presidency and its priority of consolidating the Union following enlargement. He was concerned about the EU's relationship with Russia, in particular on WTO accession and discriminatory rail transport polices with regard to Latvia. Mr Zile was also concerned about the safety of energy supplies across Europe.

Philip CLAEYS (BE), a non-attached Member, strongly opposed Turkey's possible accession to the EU.

Nigel FARAGE (IND/DEM, UK) said the Dutch presidency was proposing a mass of legislation to regulate the financial services industry. This was Britain's biggest and most successful industry, but the package of regulation would be a disaster for the City of London. Business would not go to other European states, but to off-shore centres. He said this was a deliberate policy to cost a large amount of money to Britain. He ridiculed the lack of progress under the Lisbon Agenda, with the EU still suffering from high unemployment and sclerotic growth halfway through the programme. With the latest suggestion of renegotiating the British rebate, this was certain to lead British public opinion to reject the EU Constitution in the referendum - so he gave an ironic welcome to the plans.

Timothy KIRKHOPE (EPP/ED, UK) said that the Lisbon strategy must be properly implemented. Polarised and theoretical debates were turning people off, while socialist governments around Europe were causing businesses to drown in regulation. Economies outside Europe would be quick to exploit our weaknesses. Our response must be urgent, he said: regenerating economies, cutting regulation and the cost of the state and encouraging innovation. We need to show people that Europe is taking action which helps them in their efforts to improve the lives of their families, not smothering them in red tape.

Responses to the debate

In his response to the debate, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende both thanked those who had welcomed the Dutch Presidency but also those who had criticised its priorities as criticism meant that democracy was working. In effect, due to the holidays, the Presidency would only last for some three and a half months and therefore priority would be given to the legislative process. On Turkey, the Prime Minister stated that the Copenhagen Criteria would be applied consistently. He said that he had recently spoken with the Romanian Prime Minister who had acknowledged that further changes to Romanian legislation would be necessary before accession negotiations could be completed. On the Stability and Growth Pact, the Prime Minister stated that the economic objectives were sound, despite criticism. He said he looked forward to the signing of the Constitutional Treaty in Rome on 29 October, and the ratification processes would now take their course. As to the Financial Perspective, Prime Minister Balkenende recognised the sensitive nature of the subject and said that the conciliation between the three institutions later this month would set the initial framework. The Prime Minister also stressed the importance of common EU standards on asylum law and appeal. He too was concerned about the Guantanamo Bay prisoners and stated that the creation of a new category of "hostile combatants" did not clarify the legal situation.

In the end, the EU should aim to improve the daily life of its citizens and only then would people truly engage in the Union.

Romano Prodi made just two points in response to the debate. On the Financial Perspective proposals, he asked the Council presidency in particular to bear in mind that the Commission had made colossal efforts to ask for the minimum possible amount needed to achieve the tasks the Member States had set for it. Regarding the dialogue between different cultures, he reminded the Council that the Mediterranean Foundation had now been set up and invited them to use this tool as a forum for the active dialogue which we now need.


Constitutional Affairs

Membership of Parliamentary Committees
 
22.07.2004

The full membership is available here:
http://www3.europarl.eu.int/omk/omnsapir.so/calendar?APP=PDF&TYPE=PV1&FILE=p004-07-22ena.pdf&LANGUE=EN

The 20 parliamentary committees held their first meetings on Thursday and Friday in Strasbourg to elect their chairs and vice-chairs (the vice-chairs are listed below in order of precedence).

However, at the initiative of Lissy GRÖNER (PES, DE), the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality decided on Friday by 20 votes to 14 to postpone the vote on its chair, because of a disagreement over the proposed candidate, Anna ZABORSKA (EPP-ED, SK). This incident had immediate repercussions at the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, which met next. A motion by Piia-Noora KAUPPI (EPP-ED, FI), calling for a postponement of the Economic Committee's vote by which Pervenche BERES (PES, FR) was due to be appointed as chair of the committee, was approved by 24 votes to 14, with 5 abstentions. Ms Kauppi and her group argued that the agreement of principle between the political groups had been broken at the Women's Committee and they preferred to wait and see how the situation developed next week before taking a decision.

All the committees meet in Brussels the week of 26 July with the main item on their agendas being the drafting of questionnaires for the hearings of the new Commissioners at the end of September.

The number of EP committees has increased from 17 in the 1999-2004 term to 20 in the new Parliament, thus reverting to the previous situation: there will once again be a Committee on International Trade (an area which had been merged with industrial affairs), while the former Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism is split into two separate committees, as is the old Committee on Legal Affairs and the Internal Market.

Here is a list of the committees, with their chairs and vice-chairs.

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS (78 members)

Chair: Elmar BROK (EPP-ED, DE)

Vice-Chairs:
Toomas Hendrik ILVES (PES, EE)
Geoffrey VAN ORDEN (EPP-ED, UK)
Emma NICHOLSON (ALDE, UK)

N.B. Two subcommittees of 32 members each will be set up within the Foreign Affairs Committee. One will deal with security and defence, the other with human rights. Karl VON WOGAU (EPP-ED, DE) is expected to be elected as chair of the former and Hélène FLAUTRE (Greens/EFA, FR) as chair of the latter (subject to votes at the constituent meetings of the subcommittees on Wednesday, 28 July in Brussels).

Other members include:

COVENEY Simon (EPP/ED, IE)
HOWITT Richard (PES, UK)
McMILLAN-SCOTT H.C Edward (EPP/ED, UK)
SUMBERG David (EPP/ED, UK)
TANNOCK Dr. Charles (EPP/ED, UK)

COMMITTEE ON DEVELOPMENT (34 members)

Chair: Luisa MORGANTINI (EUL/NGL, IT)

Vice-Chairs:
Max van den BERG (PES, NL)
Michael GAHLER (EPP-ED, DE)
Danuté BUDREIKAITE (ALDE, LT)

Other members include:

DEVA Nirj (EPP/ED, UK)
KINNOCK Glenys (PES, UK)
MITCHELL Gay (EPP/ED, IE)

COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE (33 members)

Chair: Enrique BARON CRESPO (PES, ES)

Vice-Chairs:
Daniel VARELA SUANZES-CARPEGNA (EPP-ED, ES)
Peter STASTNY (EPP-ED, SK)
Jean-Marie CAVADA (ALDE, FR)

Other members include:

FARAGE Nigel Paul (IND/DEM, UK)
FORD Glyn (PES, UK)
LUCAS Caroline (Greens/EFA, UK)
MARTIN David W. (PES, UK)
STURDY Robert William (EPP/ED, UK)

COMMITTEE ON BUDGETS (47 members)

Chair: Janusz LEWANDOWSKI (EPP-ED, PL)

Vice-Chairs:
Ralf WALTER (PES, DE)
Jan MULDER (ALDE, NL)
Reimer BÖGE (EPP-ED, DE)

Other members include:

DOVER Den (EPP/ED, UK)
GILL Neena (PES, UK)

COMMITTEE ON BUDGETARY CONTROL (35 members)

Chair: Szabolcs FAZAKAS (PES, HU)

Vice-Chairs:
Nils LUNDGREN (IND/DEM, SE)
Herbert BÖSCH (PES, AT)
Petr DUCHOŇ (EPP-ED, CZ)

Other members include:

ELLES James E.M. (EPP/ED, UK)
TITFORD Jeffrey William (IND/DEM, UK)
WYNN Terence (PES, UK)

COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC AND MONETARY AFFAIRS (49 members)

Vote postponed.

Members include:

EVANS Jonathan (EPP/ED, UK)
HUDGHTON Ian Stewart (Greens/EFA, UK)
HUHNE Christopher (ALDE, UK)
MITCHELL Gay (EPP/ED, IE)
PURVIS John (EPP/ED, UK)
RYAN Eoin (UEN, IE)
SKINNER Peter William (PES, UK)
WHITTAKER John (IND/DEM, UK)

COMMITTEE ON EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS (50 members)

Chair: Ottaviano DEL TURCO (PES, IT)

Vice-Chairs:
Ilda FIGUEIREDO (EUL/NGL, PT)
Jan ANDERSSON (PES, SE)
Thomas MANN (EPP-ED, DE)

Other members include:

BUSHILL-MATTHEWS Philip (EPP/ED, UK)
CLARK Derek Ronald (IND/DEM, UK)
DE ROSSA Proinsias (PES, IE)
HELMER Roger (EPP/ED, UK)
HUGHES Stephen (PES, UK)
LAMBERT Jean Denise (Greens/EFA, UK)
LYNNE Elizabeth (ALDE, UK)
McDONALD Mary Lou (GUE/NGL, IE)
STEVENSON Struan (EPP/ED, UK)

COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH AND FOOD SAFETY (63 members)

Chair: Karl-Heinz FLORENZ (EPP-ED, DE)
Vice-Chairs:
Hans BLOKLAND (IND/DEM, NL)
Satu Maijastiina HASSI (Greens/EFA, FI)
Georgs ANDREJEVS (ALDE, LT)

Other members include:

AYLWARD Liam (UEN, IE)
BOWIS John (EPP/ED, UK)
CALLANAN Martin (EPP/ED, UK)
DAVIES Chris (ALDE, UK)
DOYLE Avril (EPP/ED, IE)
HONEYBALL Mary L (PES, UK)
JACKSON Caroline F. (EPP/ED, UK)
McAVAN Linda (PES, UK)
SINNOTT Kathy (IND/DEM, IE)
EVANS Jillian (Greens/EFA, UK)

COMMITTEE ON INDUSTRY, RESEARCH AND ENERGY (51 members)

Chair: Giles CHICHESTER (EPP-ED, UK)

Vice-Chairs:
Miloslav RANSDORF (EUL/NGL, CZ)
Britta THOMSEN (PES, DK)
Renato BRUNETTA (EPP-ED, IT)

Other members include:

ASHWORTH Richard James (EPP/ED, UK)

COMMITTEE ON THE INTERNAL MARKET AND CONSUMER PROTECTION (40 members)

Chair: Philip WHITEHEAD (PES, UK)

Vice-Chairs:
Charlotte CEDERSCHIÖLD (EPP-ED, SE)
Zuzana ROITHOVA (EPP-ED, CZ)
Marco RIZZO (EUL/NGL, IT)

Other members include:

BLOOM Godfrey William (IND/DEM, UK)
CLARK Derek Ronald (IND/DEM, UK)
HARBOUR (Malcolm EPP/ED, UK)
HEATON-HARRIS Christopher (EPP/ED, UK)
McCARTHY Arlene (PES, UK)
NEWTON DUNN Bill (ALDE, UK)

COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORT AND TOURISM (51 members)
Chair: Paolo COSTA (ALDE, IT)

Vice-Chairs:
Luis QUEIRO (EPP-ED, PT)
Sylvester CHRUSZCZ (IND/DEM, PL)
Gilles SAVARY (PES, FR)

Other members include:

ATKINS Sir Robert (EPP/ED, UK)
BRADBOURN Philip Charles (EPP/ED, UK)
EVANS Robert J.E. (PES, UK)
MOTE Ashley (NI, UK)
Ó NEACHTAIN Seán (UEN, IE)
TITLEY Gary (PES, UK)

COMMITTEE ON REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT (51 members)

Chair: Gerardo GALEOTE (EPP-ED, ES)

Vice-Chairs:
Claudio FAVA (PES, IT)
Jan Marian OLBRYCHT (EPP-ED, PL)
Elspeth ATTWOOLL (ALDE, UK)

Other members include:

de BRUN Bairbre (GUE/EVN, UK)
HARKIN Marian (ALDE, IE)
HIGGINS Jim (EPP/ED, IE)
NICHOLSON James (PPE, UK)
SMITH Alyn Edward (Greens/EFA, UK)
STIHLER Catherine (PES, UK)

COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE (42 members)

Chair: Joseph DAUL (EPP-ED, FR)

Vice-Chairs:
Jean-Claude FRUTEAU (PES, FR)
Janusz Czesław WOJCIECHOWSKI (EPP-ED, PL)
Friedrich-Wilhelm GRAEFE zu BARINGDORF (Greens/EFA, DE)

Other members include:

McGUINNESS Mairead (EPP/ED, IE)
PARISH Neil (EPP/ED, UK)
TITFORD Jeffrey William (IND/DEM, UK)
WYNN Terence (PES, UK)

COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES (35 members)

Chair: Philippe MORILLON (ALDE, FR)

Vice-Chairs:
Rosa MIGUELEZ RAMOS (PES, ES)
Antonio DE POLI (EPP-ED, IT)
Philippe de VILLIERS (IND/DEM, FR)

Other members include:

ALLISTER Jim (NI, UK)
ATTWOOLL Elspeth (ALDE, UK)
HUDGHTON Ian Stewart (Greens/EFA, UK)
Ó NEACHTAIN Seán (UEN, IE)
PARISH Neil (EPP/ED, UK)
STEVENSON Struan (EPP/ED, UK)
STIHLER Catherine (PES, UK)

COMMITTEE ON CULTURE AND EDUCATION (35 members)

Chair: Nikolaos SIFOUNAKIS (PES, EL)

Vice-Chairs:
Manolis MAVROMMATIS (EPP-ED, EL)
Pal SCHMITT (EPP-ED, HU)
Helga TRÜPEL (Greens/EFA, DE)

Other members include:

BEAZLEY Christopher J.P. (EPP/ED, UK)

COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AFFAIRS (26 members)

Chair: Giuseppe GARGANI (EPP-ED, IT)

Vice-Chairs:
Andrzej Jan SZEJNA (PES, PL)
Katalin LEVAI (PES, HU)
Rainer WIELAND (EPP-ED, DE)

Other members include:

VILLIERS Theresa (EPP/ED, UK)
WALLIS Diana (ALDE, UK)
WATSON Graham R. (ALDE, UK)

COMMITTEE ON CIVIL LIBERTIES, JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS (53 members)

Chair: Jean-Louis BOURLANGES (ALDE, FR)

Vice-Chairs:
Stefano ZAPPALA (EPP-ED, IT)
Stavros LAMBRINIDIS (PES, EL)
Patrick GAUBERT (EPP-ED, FR)

Other members include:

CASHMAN Michael (PES, UK)
KIRKHOPE Timothy (EPP/ED, UK)
LUDFORD Baroness Sarah (ALDE, UK)
MORAES Claude (PES, UK)

COMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS (28 members)

Chair: Jo LEINEN (PES, DE)

Vice-Chairs:
Johannes VOGGENHUBER (Greens/EFA, AT)
Riccardo VENTRE (EPP-ED, IT)
Ignasi GUARDANS CAMBO (ALDE, ES)

Other members include:

ALLISTER Jim (NI, UK)
CORBETT Richard (PES, UK)
CROWLEY Brian (UEN, IE)
DUFF Andrew Nicholas (ALDE, UK)
HANNAN Daniel J. (EPP/ED, UK)

COMMITTEE ON WOMEN'S RIGHTS AND GENDER EQUALITY (35 members)

Vote postponed.

Members include:

VILLIERS Theresa (EPP/ED, UK)

COMMITTEE ON PETITIONS (25 members)

Chair: Marcin LIBICKI (UEN, PL)

Vice-Chairs:
Michael CASHMAN (PES, UK)
Marie PANAYOTOPOULOS - CASSIOTOU (EPP-ED, EL)
Maria MATSOUKA (PES, EL)

Other members include:

ATKINS Sir Robert (EPP/ED, UK)
DE ROSSA Proinsias (PES, IE)
HELMER Roger (EPP/ED, UK)
WALLIS Diana (ALDE, UK)

SUBCOMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS (32 members)
Members include:

HOWITT Richard (PES, UK)
NICHOLSON OF WINTERBOURNE Baroness Emma (ALDE, UK)
TANNOCK Dr. Charles (EPP/ED, UK)

SUBCOMMITTEE ON SECURITY AND DEFENCE (32 members)

Members include:

VAN ORDEN Geoffrey (EPP/ED, UK)
BATTEN Gerard Joseph (IND/DEM, UK)

Agenda of plenary session Strasbourg 13-16 September 2004

Monday 13 September 2004 (5pm to 7pm)

5-7pm
             ▪ Opening of part-session and order of business

             ▪ Joint debate - Draft amending budgets for the 2004 financial year
                   • Report on the draft amending budget No 7/2004
                   • Report on the draft amending budget No 8/2004
                   • Report on the draft amending budget No 9/2004
                   • Report on the draft amending budget No 10/2004

Tuesday 14 September 2004
(9-12.30pm; 3-5.pm; 5-5.30pm; 5.30pm-7pm)

9-12.30pm

             ▪ Request for urgent procedure - International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

             ▪ Political reports

                   12.30pm

             ▪ Votes

                   • Draft amending budgets No 7 and 8/2004
                   • Texts on which debate is closed

3pm

             ▪ Presentation by the Council of the draft general budget - 2005 budget

5-5.30pm

             ▪ Commission communication - decisions taken at that day's meeting

5.30-7pm

             ▪ Question Time (Commission)

Wednesday 15 September 2004
(9am - 12pm; 3-5.30pm; 5.30pm - 12 midnight)

9am-12 noon

             ▪  Council and Commission statements - Situation in Iraq

12pm
             ▪  Votes on texts on which debate is closed

3-5.30pm

             ▪  Council and Commission statements - Stability Pact
             ▪  (Possibly) Report under Rule 134

5.30-7pm

                   ▪ Question Time (Council)

Thursday 16 September 2004
(10-12noon; 12-1pm; 3-4pm)

10-12noon;

             ▪ Joint debate - Fisheries agreement

*    Report on EU/Mauritius Fishing agreement
*    EU/Madagascar fishing agreement
*    EU/Cape Verde fishing agreement   

3-4pm
             ▪ Debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law (one hour maximum)

4pm (or at the end of the debates)

             ▪ Votes

*    Motions for resolutions concerning debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law (Rule 115)
*    Continuation of votes from 12noon


EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

Editors:

Richard Freedman

Secretariat:

Sarah Donohoe

 

Ralph Pine

 

Annette Kronlins

 

Tel. 41448/42941

 
   

Brussels:

Strasbourg:

PHS 4C87/4C85

IPE3 F02/001

B-1047 Brussels

BP1024, F-67070 Strasbourg

Tel. (32-2) 28 42941/41448

Tel. (33) 3 88 1 74751/73785

Fax (32-2) 28 4 6515

Fax (33) 3 88 1 79355

 

e-mail: presse-en@europarl.eu.int

Internet: http://www.europarl.eu.int/press/index_publi_en.htm

 

Close: Thursday, 22 July 2004 - 1.30pm


Political groups in the European Parliament
Situation as at: 22.07.2004

 

EPP-ED

PES

ALDE

Greens / EFA

EUL / NGL

IND / DEM

UEN

IND

Total

BE

6

7

6

2

     

3

24

CZ

14

2

   

6

1

 

1

24

DK

1

5

4

1

1

1

1

 

14

DE

49

23

7

13

7

     

99

EE

1

3

2

         

6

EL

11

8

   

4

1

   

24

ES

24

24

2

3

1

     

54

FR

17

31

11

6

3

3

 

7

78

IE

5

1

1

 

1

1

4

 

13

IT

24

16

12

2

7

4

9

4

78

CY

3

 

1

 

2

     

6

LV

3

 

1

1

   

4

 

9

LT

2

2

7

     

2

 

13

LU

3

1

1

1

       

6

HU

13

9

2

         

24

MT

2

3

           

5

NL

7

7

5

4

2

2

   

27

AT

6

7

 

2

     

3

18

PL

19

8

4

   

10

7

6

54

PT

9

12

   

3

     

24

SI

4

1

2

         

7

SK

8

3

         

3

14

FI

4

3

5

1

1

     

14

SE

5

5

3

1

2

3

   

19

UK

28

19

12

5

1

11

 

2

78

Total

268

200

88

42

41

37

27

29

732

Political groups

EPP-ED

Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats (includes the British Conservatives, the one Ulster Unionist MEP and Fine Gael from Ireland)

PES

Socialist Group in the European Parliament (includes the British Labour MEPs and the one Irish Labour Party MEP)

ALDE

Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (includes the British Liberal Democrats and one independent MEP from Ireland)

GREENS/EFA

Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance (includes the British Greens, the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru)

EUL/NGL

Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left (includes the two Sinn Fein MEPs)

IND/DEM

Independence and Democracy Group (includes the UKIP MEPs and one independent MEP from Ireland)

UEN

Union for Europe of the Nations Group (includes the Irish Fianna Fail Members)

NI

Non-attached Members

Last updated: 26 July 2004Legal notice