Carlos Coelho (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) Under the rules currently in force, residence permits issued by Switzerland and Liechtenstein cannot be recognised for the purposes of transit into, or short-term stay in, the Schengen area.
This means that third-country nationals obliged to have a visa to enter Schengen territory, even though they have such a residence permit, must apply for a visa.
Given the seasonal mobility of migrant workers and their families, especially at holiday periods – around half a million people from Switzerland in 2003 – consulates in some Member States are hugely overloaded, while these people themselves are faced with lengthy waits and burdensome formalities.
I therefore support the creation of a simplified regime for the transit of these people, firstly, because they do not present any risk of illegal immigration or threat to security, as they were subject to control by the Swiss and Liechtenstein authorities when the residence permits were authorised. I also support it on the grounds of reciprocity, given that since 2000 there has been similar exemption by these countries for holders of residence permits issued by EU Member States.
Jörg Leichtfried (PSE), in writing. (DE) I wish, by means of this statement of vote, to give my support to this proposal, which I believe makes it possible to bring about a substantial improvement in this process. The consequence of the current situation is that there is an enormous amount of work to be done by the Member States’ consulates in Switzerland and in Liechtenstein, and costs are incurred by third-country nationals. This is an unsatisfactory state of affairs and must be changed.
When issuing residence permits, both Switzerland and Liechtenstein carry out exact examinations and inquiries, paying careful attention to security. I would also like to point out that both Switzerland and Liechtenstein apply in every case the same high-quality security standards as the other States, which belong to the EU.
It is important to me that this statement of vote should be supportive of Switzerland and of those in it who are working towards its accession to the European Union. Were Switzerland to join the EU, that would be something I would very much welcome, since Switzerland is a byword for high standards and has distinguished itself, inter alia, by a transport policy that many Member States should take as an example of how these things are to be done.
Special market support measures in the poultry sector
Jan Andersson, Anna Hedh, Ewa Hedkvist Petersen, Inger Segelström and Åsa Westlund (PSE), in writing. (SV) We observe that those countries that have robust animal protection legislation in order to guarantee good conditions for animals, to reduce the risk of infection spreading and thus also to reduce the risk of damage to people’s health have not been hit by reduced sales of chicken meat.
We wish therefore, in the situation that has arisen, to emphasise the need to strengthen animal protection and food safety so that food producers will legitimately be able to earn the confidence of consumers. The EU should therefore take action to bring about this state of affairs.
We do not, however, wish, in this emergency situation, to bring about a scenario in which, for fear of being hit financially, breeders hide infection or otherwise increase the risk of infection spreading. In the situation that has arisen we are, therefore, in favour of its being possible to provide financial compensation to affected breeders.
Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We are disappointed at the rejection of our proposals, which advocated that all Community financing for compensating market measures should be set at 100%, as was the case for swine fever and BSE, given the seriousness of the socio-economic situation in some countries and the difficulty of guaranteeing cofinancing.
We did, however, vote in favour of the amendments, because they propose support for producers and, although they propose 50% Community cofinancing for restrictions on free circulation that may arise from the implementation of measures aimed at fighting the spread of animal diseases, they do propose 100% Community funding for serious market disturbances directly related to a loss of consumer confidence in light of risks to public or animal health.
Accordingly, a fundamental part of what we were proposing has been safeguarded, and we therefore expect the Commission and the Council to endorse Parliament's decision.
Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) We are voting against the European Parliament’s amendments. We believe that it is too early to adopt a position on how badly the poultry meat industry would be hit by an avian flu pandemic. It is typical of this Parliament that, as soon as something unexpected happens, there are calls for financial aid with a view to maintaining stocks, for financial compensation following the destruction of foodstuffs and for the funding of information campaigns designed to win back consumer confidence. We see no reason at this time for meeting these demands.
For how long should the planned economy be allowed to continue within the food industry? Consumers cannot manage without eating and, if they cannot eat poultry, other sectors of the food industry will benefit instead. We believe that the market is perfectly capable of adjusting to the current situation. The poultry sector will have less reason to take preventative measures if it is given promises of compensation in advance.
Richard Seeber (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, speaking on behalf of the delegation of the Austrian People’s Party, I should like to make a statement of vote in relation to the Doyle report. The Austrian delegation's support for it is expressly subject to the condition enunciated by Mrs Doyle and given on the basis of Commissioner Kyprianou’s statement. We denounce in the strongest terms the unilateral statement made by the Commission once the compromise was reached between the Council and Parliament, and, in the light of the statements made today, we presume that, as a consequence of the new legislation, a halt will be called to the infringement proceedings against Denmark and Austria.
Paul Rübig (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, what I will say on the subject of the Doyle report is that it is very important to all of us that the Kyoto targets be achieved.
Edite Estrela (PSE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of the Doyle report on the joint text for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases, as it establishes a legal framework for such gases with high emission levels, some of which are more harmful than CO2, and could remain in the atmosphere within 50 000 years.
In order to meet the Kyoto objectives and to protect the environment, this regulation will guarantee recycling, the regeneration or destruction of equipment that uses fluorinated gases, and better information for European consumers on the global warming potential of these gases.
Duarte Freitas (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The agreement reached in the Conciliation Committee is highly satisfactory and offers major improvements as regards gas emissions into the atmosphere.
The double legal basis laid down is appropriate for this kind of regulation, as it allows certain Member States to maintain tighter environmental legislation without upsetting the balance of the internal market in Europe. Containing emissions and leaks strikes me as the right way of meeting the aim of reducing fluorinated gas emissions into the atmosphere.
The obligation to report the certification of personnel responsible to the Commission every year and the policy of recovery for recycling or recovery of equipment are measures that I warmly welcome.
I therefore agree with the decision taken by the Conciliation Committee.
Karin Scheele (PSE), in writing. (DE) On behalf of the SPÖ delegation and as their representative on the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, I would like to state that Austria and Denmark have imposed overall bans on the utilisation of fluorinated greenhouse gases. This legislation must ensure the possibility of stricter regulations being retained.
The draft produced by the Conciliation Committee provides that Member States may retain stricter national requirements until the end of 2012. This step is possible under Article 95(10) of the Treaty and ensures that Austria and Denmark can retain their stricter measures on a temporary basis. It also means that the scientific evidence pursuant to Article 94(4) need not be provided. Any restrictive interpretation of the safeguard clause must be rejected, since the Member States’ discretion must in no way be impaired.
Kathy Sinnott (IND/DEM), in writing. A new recycling facility opened in Cork in January. I passed it on Saturday evening and noticed an already impressive stack of refrigerators that had accumulated in less than ten weeks. These mountains of ageing refrigerators, and in warmer climates air conditioners, are rusting in every population centre in the EU.
Strong fluorinated greenhouse gases legislation is long overdue to rectify the past and protect our climate into the future. I congratulate all parties in this process in reaching agreement to protect stricter laws in countries like Denmark, and in issues of labelling. Though I note that the Commission had second thoughts, I feel we must hold it to its word. I look forward to the day when the EU will be compliant with its Kyoto obligation on f-gases.
Duarte Freitas (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The agreement reached in the Conciliation Committee is a satisfactory one and offers significant improvements as regards gas emissions into the atmosphere.
Restricting the use of HFC-134a and other gases with high greenhouse effect in new vehicles launched onto the market since 2011 and the extension to cover all vehicles as from 2017 are measures that will bring about a significant reduction in emissions.
As the alternatives to this gas are still at the development stage, the permission to use HFC-152a is appropriate, on the proviso that this is part of a gradual elimination.
I therefore agree with the decision taken by the Conciliation Committee.
Andreas Mölzer (NI). – (DE) Mr President, again and again, we are shocked by reports of tragedies involving refugees and by the accounts given by the victims of unscrupulous gangs of traffickers. Many people have nothing left to lose other than their lives, and even those they very often lose as they journey towards the Europe that they regard as a land of milk and honey. Even if they reach their destination, they are obliged to work endlessly to pay off their debts to the traffickers, under intolerable conditions, and as, among other things, prostitutes. The only way we will break this vicious circle is by a restrictive common immigration policy.
For that, we do of course still need refugee camps outside Europe, since our own camps in Europe are often full to overflowing, with serious violence breaking out between inmates of different cultures. For that reason among others, and also in order to rob refugees of the illusion that they can enter the EU illegally, I have voted against this resolution.
Romano Maria La Russa (UEN). – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, it is certainly a positive development that Parliament has given its verdict on the subject of Malta’s immigration centres and, what is more, only a few days after the visit by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, in which I was able to take part as a delegate.
The resolution adopted, which is the product of the invaluable contribution of all the groups, exposes the seriousness of the situation for the refugees living in inhuman conditions, with virtually no basic sanitation or personal care. The resolution, however, makes it quite clear that Europe is highly responsible for what happens in Malta. It goes without saying that the delegation’s visits to reception centres throughout Europe are not intended for the purposes of rating centres as good or bad. However, the situation in Malta, although a far cry from that of Lampedusa in terms of the occupants’ living conditions, does call to mind that Italian island in terms of its size and reception capacity.
I therefore urge the Council to adopt a clear and strong position so that, in line, of course, with the principle of solidarity, we arrive as quickly as possible at a common and fair immigration policy aimed at preventing the costs of these waves of illegal immigrants from burdening only the budgets of a few States on the periphery of southern Europe, which are totally unable to support themselves financially.
Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) The June List is opposed to a single common European policy on asylum and refugees. We do not therefore believe that this is an issue for the European Parliament. We believe that the Member States themselves should be free to decide what forms their immigration and asylum policies should take, as long as they are in accordance with current international law. Human rights should not be infringed.
We defend a humane policy on refugees and are opposed to asylum seekers being placed in detention camps.
We are voting against the resolution in its entirety.
Zita Pleštinská (PPE-DE) – (SK) – The plenary discussion in the presence of Alexander Milinkevich has provided an expression of the European Parliament’s solidarity with the Belarus people in their struggle against totalitarianism, for freedom and a new tomorrow. In its resolution, the European Parliament speaks in no uncertain terms of the presidential elections having been manipulated. It sounds an alarm bell over the dictator’s armed suppression of a peaceful demonstration by the Belarus people. These people have stopped being afraid, even though they do not know what awaits them.
The European Parliament’s attention is focused on the arrested opposition leaders and we are demanding their immediate release. The resolution acknowledges the immense enthusiasm of the young people who have now been thrown out of universities. It is these young people who need a helping hand, as they will be shaping the future of their country. Slovakia has already joined those countries that have pledged to help such students, and they will now be able to complete their studies in Slovakia. In voting for this resolution, it was my wish also to focus attention on the need for new elections in Belarus as soon as possible. Although Lukashenko has won the elections by rigging the vote, he has not beaten his opponents. The isolation of Lukashenko as a person will lead to his defeat.
In conclusion, I would like to express my conviction that the request I made in the plenary of the European Parliament – that we should light a candle at 4 p.m. on the 16th day of every month in a show of solidarity with the Belarus people – will be heeded, and that everybody will be happy to do this. I believe that the flame of solidarity will never be extinguished in the European Parliament.
Esko Seppänen (GUE/NGL). – Mr President, point 2 of the resolution required us to vote on two separate issues. I had no problem adopting and supporting the first, but the second was problematic and I abstained.
In my opinion, the Belarus elections were not free, but the results were not falsified. On the other hand, the US presidential elections that preceded this – that is, not the most recent ones but the ones before – were free, but in that case the results were falsified. Parliament took no stand on that. I hope that Parliament will also take a stand on the presidential elections in the oil-producing countries of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, and other countries which are not free and where the results have been falsified.
Jean-Claude Martinez (NI), in writing. – (FR) Ukraine had an Orange Revolution but life there remained grey. Moscow had a White Revolution and the result is clear to see: a fall of 10 years in life expectancy, a declining population, crime, destruction of the healthcare systems and pillaging of the country's assets for the benefit of the oligarchs. Just one more push and the crimes of liberalism will equal the crimes of communism.
We must not deprive Belarus of all the delights generated by the market. Belarusians too are entitled to the freedom of the media/military/political oligarchy, with its entourage of unemployment, passive euthanasia of the elderly, cultural degradation, economic stagnation, brutal individualism and social isolation.
It is quite understandable that the European Parliament is delighted with the media-political democracy of the magnates Messrs Berlusconi, Bouygues, Lagardère and Murdoch. Belarus too has a right to national liberal destitution and to degenerate, media-led democracy.
Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL), in writing. (NL) I represented my group in the negotiations on the compromise resolution on Belarus. My advice to co-sign this resolution was not taken up in the end, and nor, in my opinion, was the wording of some sections of it ideal.
It remains of the essence, though, that the re-election of President Lukashenko, brought about by intimidation and deception, should not be recognised by the outside world; that opposition movements and publications deserve external support and that students who flee the country must be offered the option of studying in their own language. I have upheld that position in this House before, as I have in demonstrations outside it. Unfortunately, my group appears unable to give its unanimous backing to a resolution to this effect. Those opposed to this resolution are probably right for the time being when they say that workers and retired people in Belarus enjoy a higher level of social security than do their counterparts in any other former Soviet republics. That will only be the case, though, for as long as Russia thinks it can absorb that country by supplying it with cheap oil. This social security does not justify dictatorships or election frauds. My party, the Socialist Party, detests dictatorship. Socialism only has a future as a democratic movement, in open competition with other opinions, and certainly not as a dictatorship. I stand by my support for the resolution.
Athanasios Pafilis (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (EL) The Kommounistiko Komma Elladas is voting against the joint motion for a resolution by the Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats, the Socialist Group in the European Parliament and the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance and expresses its solidarity with the people of Belarus.
It is blatant intervention in the internal affairs of an independent country, it infringes every concept of international law and it is equivalent to a declaration of war against a people standing up against imperialist barbarity.
The European Parliament, elected by 30% of the citizens of the ΕU, is trying to give lessons in democracy to a people of whom 93% participated in the elections and 80% of whom elected the President. The European Council is prohibiting entry to the elected President Lukashenko, the European Parliament is taking under its wing and lavishly financing Milinkevich, who is making out that he represents the people but who, despite the bundle of money which he received, mustered up a 'surprising' 6% in the elections and 2 000 paid 'demonstrators' in the 'impressive demonstrations'.
The rabid reactions of the political representatives of imperialism are understandable, because abundant financing and interventions failed to create 'orange', 'pink' or 'green and yellow revolutions'. Following the proud response of the people of Belarus, they are trying with terrorism, slander and fascist-type sanctions to isolate the country and its people.
The workers and the grass-roots movement need to condemn the imperialist plans and stand side by side in their struggle and their right to decide on their future and choose their own destiny.
Jonas Sjöstedt and Eva-Britt Svensson (GUE/NGL), in writing. (SV) The Left Party’s delegation to the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left firmly repudiates the Lukashenko regime and its crimes in violation of democratic and human rights.
We believe that the presidential election in Belarus infringed a number of fundamental principles underpinning democratic and fair elections. We are therefore voting in favour of the resolution.
That does not mean that we support every single bit of wording in the resolution. What, however, is crucial to us is to protest against the infringements of democratic and human rights in Belarus.
Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE), in writing. Mr President, the situation in Belarus becomes graver by the day, and we must continue to keep a close eye on developments there. While it is the sovereign right of countries to run themselves as they see fit, that presupposes that there is a fair and free society, and in Belarus this is clearly not the case. It is fitting that today we express our concern and continued support for democracy and dialogue in Belarus, and we must consider stronger action in the future if the repression continues.
Zita Pleštinská (PPE-DE) – (SK) – The parliamentary elections in Ukraine have become a major milestone following the consolidation that began with the Orange Revolution. During the elections, the Ukrainians have shown that they cherish the freedom they gained in taking to the streets. They clearly confirmed their desire to become part of the European Union, on the basis of sharing its fundamental principles and criteria. It is commendable that the European Parliament has not confined itself to merely supporting the Orange Revolution but that it is also constantly monitoring developments in Ukraine through its observers.
Parliamentary democracy must not be taken for granted. It must be gradually established and must be looked after. As an immediate neighbour, Slovakia has a vested interest in Ukraine’s success. Slovakia will be helping Ukraine to get to where it belongs, that is, within the fold of EU Member States. Naturally, this will not happen overnight, and the European Union should therefore offer a form of partnership that would develop Ukraine’s European perspective. The joint resolution demonstrates that the European Parliament is politically mature, capable of reaching political agreement based on a broad consensus, and sending a clear signal to the Ukrainian people. I have therefore voted in favour of the resolution.
Glyn Ford (PSE), in writing. I will vote for this resolution. On Boxing Day 2004 I was in Kiev as one of Parliament’s observers for the re-run presidential elections that saw the Orange revolution sweep all before it. But its promise has not been properly fulfilled as former allies fall out and corruption is found within the ranks of those promising to sweep it away. I can only hope that these new elections teach all of Ukraine’s politicians the lessons that must be learnt if Ukraine is to join Europe’s democratic nations in going forward in partnership.
Athanasios Pafilis (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (EL) It insultingly disdains and does not recognise the results of the elections in Belarus, but considers 'democratic' the elections in Ukraine, which were held in a climate of violence and forgery, targeted specifically at the communist party of Ukraine. The 'international observers' and the representatives of the EU and imperialism failed to see the murders of two communist party cadres, the attacks on its offices, the writing off of 200 000 voters in the Lugansk region who did not vote and the forgeries in the Crimea.
Of course, this was not because the reports on the 'validity and democracy of the elections' were written before the elections. The ΕU and the European Parliament consider countries subjugated to imperialism and occupying governments, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and the political forces that sell off the interests of their workers and countries to capital to be democratic. That is why they welcome the results in Ukraine, even if their chosen representative went under.
'Operation democracy' being promoted by the USA and the EU through their transnational and international organisations is basically the imposition of capitalism and the attaching of countries to the imperialist chariot.
The political forces which support, consent to and tolerate this policy are complicit and jointly responsible towards the people.
Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE), in writing. Mr President, the Orange Revolution was a time of so much hope, yet it is clear that the transition to a functioning democracy remains a painful one for Ukraine. We in this House must play our part, as we did in the Orange Revolution itself, though today we must continue to support the forces of progress and democracy within the Ukraine. The EU is in the best position to play honest broker, adviser and even friend to the Ukrainians; we must continue our engagement with this process and I am pleased to support this resolution today.
Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing. – (FR) This resolution raises the very serious problem that the developed world is siphoning off the educated elites of the developing world, particularly in the medical sector.
Indeed, we are witnessing an absolutely appalling situation. In my country, France, a lack of foresight as to the healthcare needs of an ageing population, uninspiring career prospects and the application of the 35-hour week in public hospitals have led to a major shortage of staff. But a numerus clausus continues to limit access to these professions, and we recruit doctors and nurses from abroad. At the same time, people in the developing countries do not have access to healthcare, and we spend large amounts of money on sending humanitarian missions, often to restricted areas. It is completely crazy, particularly given that access to healthcare is now one of the reasons for mass illegal immigration: the French island of Mayotte, which is being overwhelmed, is a perfect example of this.
I should like to take this opportunity to denounce the immigration law 'chosen' by Mr Sarkozy, which will organise this siphoning off of elites on a grand scale, further compromising the development of the countries from which these elites come, and automatically aggravating emigration, while a bankrupt education system has given up on training a generation condemned to unemployment or dead-end jobs.
Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) The global fight against diseases and poverty is a very important issue demanding large-scale international commitment. We are, however, of the view that the issue should not be handled within the framework of EU cooperation. We believe that the fight against ill health should be conducted by individual EU Member States and within the framework of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The June List seeks limited EU cooperation within this area and would prefer to see aid policy renationalised. We are also opposed to the EU having influence on, and extending its powers in relation to, issues already dealt with by other international organisations. We are therefore voting against this resolution.
Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) The report discusses a crucial issue in relation to EU aid, namely its ineffectiveness. The June List’s position is that aid should not be provided by the EU but by each Member State.
Just as the rapporteur points out, EU aid is ineffective. At the same time as relatively large amounts are invested in conducting a development policy organised by the EU, new EU barriers to trade are added to existing ones, making it impossible for the world’s poor countries to enter the EU market with their products. Moreover, the EU’s common policy on trade and agriculture is very harmful because, with its duties and subsidies, it renders developing countries’ agricultural products uncompetitive.
If the report had been about aid at Member State level, we should naturally have voted in favour of it, because inefficiency and corruption are two great obstacles to constructive and effective development cooperation. What, however, we are concerned with in this case is aid organised by the EU, which is why we have voted against the report in its entirety.
David Martin (PSE), in writing. I welcome this report on aid effectiveness and corruption in developing countries. Corruption is a by-product of weak governance. As corruption often involves an important role for the state, it is sometimes defined as the abuse of public power for private benefit. Weak institutions and administrations with limited accountability often allow for the misuse of public goods by politicians or public officials.
I believe that increasing the role of parliaments is vital to the advancement of reforms in public finance management and that there should be instituting or reinforcing mechanisms within parliament for bringing government to account.
Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE), in writing. Mr President, I would add my voice of congratulation to our Rapporteur on this report, which deals with an issue that is crucial to the aid agenda, yet it is often glossed over. The extent to which aid and development funding, so well meant, encourages corruption is often very disturbing, and to ensure value for money for our taxpayers and the citizens of the recipient countries, we must continue to look into this. I wholeheartedly endorse the recommendations in this report and am happy to support it today.