David Casa (PPE-DE), in writing. The aim of this report is to aid those involved in the sector and to enable them to have the opportunity to run their businesses more smoothly and concentrate their efforts on the direct running of their operations. This applies especially to medium and small enterprises.
This will in no small way simplify legislation and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy.
I am sure that Member States will also welcome this proposal, as it will significantly reduce their work load.
This proposal has acknowledged the fact that all the countries that have an active fisheries sector have different structures and consequently different needs. We will be in a position to ensure a coordinated collation of data, and furthermore this data will be made readily available to all involved.
I agree with the rapporteur that a cost effectiveness analysis of the system should be introduced, together with reports on best practices for lessening the workload for national authorities, thereby enhancing the usefulness and quality of the data.
Zita Pleštinská (PPE-DE). – (SK) Ladies and gentlemen, I am greatly disappointed by the European Parliament’s stance on ethical issues. In particular, I disagree with the funding of research using live human embryos for reproduction purposes – this is prohibited in some Member States and contravenes the protection of human life and dignity from conception to natural death. Despite these reservations, I have voted for the Buzek report on the Seventh Framework Programme, as I realise how important it is for the future of Europe and Europe’s bid to become the most competitive global economy.
I regard this Programme as something like a guide to the Lisbon Strategy. It gives me hope that allocations for R[amp]D will help Europe retain its research brainpower and that it will be put to use to develop high-quality projects aiming to improve EU citizens’ quality of life in the environment, transport, energy and healthcare sectors. Allow me to use my own country as an example. Slovakia is relying on the Seventh Framework Programme, among other things, to complete the construction and deployment of a Cyclotron Therapy Centre. This facility will be used to treat various forms of cancer with in-depth proton irradiation, which happens to be far less invasive than conventional radiotherapy. To date, more than 40 thousand patients have been treated using this highly effective state-of-the-art therapeutic technique.
Cristina Gutiérrez-Cortines (PPE-DE). – (ES) Mr President, I would like to congratulate the European citizens and the researchers on the approval of the Buzek report on the Seventh Framework Programme.
I believe that it offers hope to everybody who believes in basic research, with the creation of the European Research Council, and in the most advanced pioneering research, despite all of the risks it involves.
I also believe that it offers support to small- and medium-sized businesses and also hope to everybody who depends on research in the field of health, something on which great emphasis has been placed and for which the budget in this programme has been increased, and furthermore with the support of the all of the political parties.
I believe that we are in a situation of hope. We must now encourage researchers to join the project, urge the universities and the regions to join in this common task, so that we can thereby work together to benefit everybody.
Furthermore, it is a much more flexible and open programme than previous ones and it has enthusiastically introduced the humanities, historical heritage and other aspects of culture. Congratulations to everybody.
Lapo Pistelli (ALDE). – (IT) Mr President, a broad – practically unanimous – consensus was reached by this House this morning on the Seventh Framework Programme. As we know, Europe is making a significant economic effort in line with the Lisbon Strategy.
My fellow Members will have noted the breadth of the debate stirred up by Article 6 on bioethics, in relation to which the compromise amendment tabled by the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy was accepted by a margin of little more than 40 votes, which is certainly a substantial, but not a majority, margin. At the same time, more stringent amendments on this subject, such as, for example, the amendment tabled by Mrs Niebler on stem cells, which seemed more reasonable to some of us, were rejected by less than 20 votes.
The Italian delegation from the Margherita party supported these amendments. With this explanation of vote, I intend to highlight the fact that the intense debate stirred up by an issue that, in reality, involves less than 1% of our resources should prompt Parliament and the Commission to adopt the precautionary principle, so as not to underestimate the impact of this matter on public opinion, to which we refer when we seek consensus for Europe.
Paul Rübig (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, I would like to state in the clearest possible terms that the members of the Austrian People’s Party support the clear stance adopted by the Federal Government on the Euratom issue, and that their voting is in keeping with the result of the public referendum in Austria. I regret the fact that Mrs Niebler’s proposal on the ethical issues was rejected. The Austrian People’s Party delegation declares itself clearly opposed to destructive embryo research.
Andreas Mölzer (NI). – (DE) Mr President, in my opinion, the nuclear lobby is attempting to worm out further billions for nuclear energy projects by means of untenable promises of a clean, safe and environmentally-friendly energy solution and by withholding the true costs.
Nuclear research budgets are seven to eight times greater than the amount of money spent on renewable energies and renewable energy sources. If the actual costs – for example, those relating to the disposal of nuclear waste and the consequential costs of possible radioactive contamination – are included, it would become clear that nuclear energy is not only extremely dangerous but also unprofitable.
In my opinion, no new money should be allocated to nuclear energy. Instead, this money should be given to extend renewable energy sources and improve energy efficiency.
Jörg Leichtfried (PSE). – (DE) Mr President, as a staunch opponent of nuclear technology and energy production from nuclear technology, it was natural for me to vote against the Buzek report at the end. I also wanted to vote against Amendment 24 but had the impression that the voting device was not working. I would therefore like to reiterate that I voted against Amendment 24.
James Hugh Allister (NI), in writing. I used my vote to endorse Amendments 354 and 352 as a means of opposing funding of research activities aimed at the cloning of human embryos. The proposal from the Committee diminished the safeguards in the original Commission proposal by allowing the funding of research on so-called supernumerary embryos, with no prohibition on funding activities which would be contrary to the Oviedo Convention (i.e. cloning for research and germ-line intervention). I also strongly hold that national standards and legislation must not be overridden or diluted by EU activities, including EU-funded research.
Hiltrud Breyer (Verts/ALE), in writing. (DE) The European Parliament’s decision at first reading is a disaster. Parliament has not succeeded in setting the EU Commission clear, ethical limits regarding research policy. The close nature of the vote result gives cause for hope, however, that this can be rectified in Council and at second reading.
It is a sign of inadequacy that Parliament has not used the opportunity to support ethically straightforward and very promising alternatives. It is unacceptable to lower human embryos to the level of raw material. There is the risk of the commercialisation of human life and the orchestration of women for the purpose of egg donation. Moreover, the funding of research into embryonic stem cells could undermine trust in the EU if values such as human dignity and human rights are so obviously subordinated to financial interests.
It would be outrageous to continue to expect German taxpayers to finance projects prohibited under German law. Already in the current Sixth Framework Programme, six projects are being funded, in contravention of promises made to the European Parliament, which do not comply with German legislation.
The Council is now on the ball in terms of correcting this precarious ethical situation. The Federal German Government must make it clear that it contradicts the principle of subsidiarity and that it is very problematic to cofinance research funding of this nature which is ethically highly emotive, and which is not in accord with Germany’s legal position.
Proinsias De Rossa (PSE), in writing. I endorse the call set out in the Buzek report for the continuation of the INTAS programme and for its activities to be funded from the specific ‘Cooperation’, ‘People’ and ‘Capacities’ programmes. INTAS is the only pan-European, EU-funded programme dedicated to scientific cooperation with the NIS countries, including involving the scientific community in Ireland and Northern Ireland. It should be continued.
The Research and Training Networks should also be continued, particularly the flexible support they have given under FP5 and FP6 to a positive mix of both ‘early-stage researchers’ and ‘experienced researchers’. Early-stage researchers benefit greatly from the practical support and advice from more experienced researchers. Mobility of researchers also tends to be high when there is a mix of such researchers. This approach should also be continued.
Brigitte Douay (PSE), in writing. – (FR) The growth and competitiveness of the Union depend in great measure on its ability to develop research and innovation. In 2000 in Lisbon, the Heads of State or Government promised to promote a knowledge-based Europe and, from 2010, to set aside 3% of GNI for this.
Mr Buzek’s report – that I voted for on Thursday – emphasises the objectives and the challenges of the Seventh Framework Programme for RTD. Two chapters stand out in particular in my mind, concerning regional development: the Regions of Knowledge and the support for SMEs. It is necessary to reinforce the research potential of regions of the Union by encouraging regional research clusters that link universities, research centres, businesses and regional authorities. The report also recommends reinforcing the innovation capacity of SMEs by encouraging them to join networks and by facilitating their access to the Framework Programme.
In this way the report aims at making research a genuine tool for regional development, even if it is deplorable that the resources allocated to this great European ambition have been reduced by the slimming course that the financial perspectives have undergone.
Edite Estrela (PSE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of the Buzek report on the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities (2007 to 2013). I feel that investment in research and technological development is vital to the success of the Lisbon Strategy.
Investment in research into climate change and its impact on natural disasters and into energy sources other than fossil fuels must be stepped up.
I feel that research into embryonic stem cell research – a highly promising area of research that has yielded very encouraging results in terms of treating diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s – should be funded by this Framework Programme following rigorous, case-by-case assessment by the ethical committees.
Glyn Ford (PSE), in writing. I voted for this report. The future of Europe depends on high tech, high skill, high value-added jobs. These will be generated by high levels of research and development spending close to the market. The money available is better but still inadequate, particularly in view of the bizarre wastage of the CAP, where Europe's cows live on more, with two dollars per day, than do 700 million Chinese.
I also welcome the passing of Committee Amendment 66, which will allow funding for stem cell research where it is approved by Member State law and subject to strict controls. We all know people whose lives could be transformed on the basis of stem cell research. I neither wish to deprive them of the political benefits nor drive the research from Europe to the Far East
Duarte Freitas (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) I believe that this document is one of the most important in this legislative period, as it addresses the fundamental issue of funding for research projects relating to technological development in a number of different areas of activity.
In the section on fisheries, I warmly welcome the amendments aimed at providing greater independence in the approach to the sector. Given the crisis facing the sector, these amendments are a positive step.
Only with more and better technology will it be possible to bring profitability and competitiveness to Europe’s fisheries sector.
I wish to lend my unequivocal backing to the establishment of a separate heading for fisheries, sustained exploitation of the oceans under the Seventh Framework Programme, and all of the other measures contained in the report.
Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing. – (FR) For obvious ethical reasons, human cloning must be completely banned. We cannot allow any remaining doubts on this matter. Unfortunately, the Seventh Framework Programme and certain amendments proposed to us today do foster doubt, by only excluding cloning for reproductive purposes from Community funding, and not excluding cloning for therapeutic purposes. This semi-legitimation is dangerous. It is based on the idea that a human being, if not yet developed, may be considered as a simple material, and this is unacceptable.
What is more, this Programme also provides for the possibility of funding research on embryonic stem cells. I know, although I do not approve of it, that certain Member States of the European Union authorise this. It is inappropriate, in the context of a vote on research funding, to make pronouncements on the legislation of Member States. However, countries that forbid these practices should not be forced to finance them using Community funds, and this type of research should, therefore, not benefit from the resources of the Seventh Framework Programme for RTD.
This is why we have voted against these provisions, reserving our approval for other research programmes mentioned in the report.
Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) When we adopt positions on various issues, we must always reflect on whether such matters really should be decided on at EU level, rather than do as we have done in this case and ponder how the EU is to carry through the research that a particular establishment wants to see take place.
No more money is made available for research just because the Member States send such money via EU authorities. What there is, however, is more bureaucracy and increased costs. Institutional competition between countries with a view to discovering sound solutions leads to quicker progress than does central control at higher levels.
The question that should instead have been posed is that of what the EU can do for research in Europe that the Member States themselves cannot successfully do. In theory, EU involvement may be limited to areas such as research networks, freedom of movement for researchers within the EU and large-scale research in areas such as energy derived from fusion. Those are the kinds of area to which the EU’s research policy should be limited in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity.
Thus, we cannot support stem cell research at Community level since it may mean Member States being forced to help fund research that conflicts with national laws in this area. We would, however, point out that we are keen supporters of the laws and rules that apply in Sweden to this type of research.
Because there has manifestly been no thinking in terms of subsidiarity, the June List has voted against the report as a whole.
Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) There is a contradiction in Parliament’s position on the Seventh Framework Programme for 2007-2013 in terms of some of the rhetoric surrounding it and of its level of funding. Although the EU purports to be a society geared towards ‘knowledge, research and technology’ there has in fact been a reduction of some EUR 21 million in EU budgetary funding for implementing these objectives in relation to the Commission’s original proposal.
I also wish to point out that, in the context of the priorities of this Seventh Framework Programme, attempts have been made to view research as yet another ‘product’ to be put on the market, a highly profitable one at that. In other words, in the context of this Seventh Framework Programme we are facing an attempt to commercialise research, to the detriment of public research.
Although there are positive points raised in the proposal before us today, we feel the priorities of such an important instrument should also include public research in the social, environmental, education and health areas. We are therefore very disappointed with the rejection of a number of proposals aimed at safety at work and the prevention of work-related diseases, and the use of ICTs for sustainable development and social and economic inclusion.
Hence our vote against.
Gay Mitchell (PPE-DE), in writing. I totally oppose research on human embryos. I voted for the Gargani/Záborská amendments. These amendments were defeated. Because I believed it served the greater good, I then voted for Mrs Niebler’s amendments as recommended by Mr Gargani (and leading Christian organisations). I did so in the belief that this would have restricted research to stem cells extracted from the human embryo (i.e. the embryo has already been destroyed) prior to 31.12.2003 and that new human embryos could not be created and then destroyed for research purposes.
I did so in particular because the other two sets of amendments (Committee and Purvis) would be next to be voted on and seemed likely at that stage to be carried. This is the most unacceptable position for me. As both the Gargani and Niebler amendments were defeated, the next amendment (Committee) was passed as I feared. I voted against this. I am not at ease with voting for Niebler but it is a better ethical position than creating new embryos for destruction. Killing someone to take their liver for research is murder. Taking the liver of someone already dead for research is different but still raises huge moral/ethical questions.
Tobias Pflüger (GUE/NGL), in writing. (DE) In the EU’s Seventh Research Framework Programme, security and defence research is established as a separate budget item for the first time. Starting from 2007, the EU will undertake massive investment in these problematic research areas. Parts of the research budget allocation will still be coordinated with the European Defence Agency (EDA). Defence companies such as EADS and BAE Systems will be able to have a decisive say in how funds are used.
On the one hand, defence research is designed to establish weapons technology as the leading technology within the Lisbon Strategy. On the other, by means of the massive investment in defence research, a further milestone is achieved in the establishment of the EU rapid reaction corps and EU battle groups.
Moreover, space research has taken on a military bias. Hence, GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security), which was openly established with a view to enabling the European Union to observe its strategic role, is to be funded.
History teaches us that rising defence expenditure and, hence, increased funding for defence research, too, is always a sign of further wars and conflicts. Contrary to all assurances of surgically precise weaponry, the number of war victims and, above all, the proportion of civilian victims of war, have always risen the more technically advanced the weaponry.
José Albino Silva Peneda (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The Community’s research and development framework programme is of pressing importance as it is one of the programmes with the highest EU funding.
Divided into four specific programmes – Cooperation, People, Ideas and Capacities – this framework programme will serve to boost European competitiveness and innovation.
Of these specific programmes, I should like to highlight the 'Capacities’ component, which will enjoy the highest budget and which plans to involve industry in the research and development of new products and in promoting cooperation with research centres and universities.
The report also attaches due importance to SMEs, whose involvement is facilitated in this new framework programme by the support role given to technology platforms.
Lastly, the importance of this programme in the context of regional development comes to the fore, insofar as it provides for involvement with the Structural Funds and refers to the need to take account of the ‘Convergence’ objective regions, which covers almost all of Portuguese territory, when awarding funding. It also provides for local and regional authorities to be involved in the decision-making process as regards the granting of funding for building new infrastructure.
Kathy Sinnott (IND/DEM), in writing. I voted for Amendments 352, 353, 354, 355, 356, 357 by Gargani, Záborská et al because they disallow EU funding for human embryonic stem cell research, leaving it up to the Member States to fund from their national budget if they so decide. These amendments acknowledge the exploitative and ethically controversial nature of embryonic procurement and research and recognise that in order to fully respect the subsidiarity principle, EU funds should not be distributed to research that is illegal in various Member States. Nevertheless, these amendments encourage research on other promising and non-controversial stem cell research such as adult and cord blood. These amendments have already been approved by the JURI and FEMM Committees.
When the Gargani amendments failed to pass, I voted in favour of Amendments 319 and 358 by Niebler et al as a damage-control exercise. These amendments allow EU funding for unethical use of existing embryonic stem cell lines created before 31 December 2003. This is a compromise amendment. It is an attempt at damage control because it removes the incentive to create new embryos for research and would hinder any progression to cloning.
Peter Skinner (PSE), in writing. I am pleased to have voted in favour of including stem cell research, among other things, in this report. Scientific research can mean real progress against chronic conditions unreachable by traditional scientific approaches.
Anyone who has lived with relatives who suffer from debilitating and chronic conditions hopes for progress in treatment. I know from my own personal experience with family members that this vote today can alter the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across the EU.
There is, on an alternative issue, a growing need to link some businesses with the research programmes. Too little effort is still being made to accommodate such businesses – more must be done.
Marc Tarabella (PSE), in writing. – (FR) Aside from the disappointment caused by the decrease in resources, the vote on this report is essential and is a beacon of hope for the world of research, and also for those sufferers who long for progress to be made in such research.
I would like to denounce the obscurantism of certain conservatives who reject embryo research, despite the fact that it is a source of so much hope. In fact, cutting-edge research in this precise sector has already led to great progress in our knowledge of diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Happily, Amendments 352, 354, 319, 356, 357 and 358 by Mr Gargani, Mrs Niebler and Mrs Záborská have been rejected. However, it is very clear that research on embryonic stem cells must take place under very strict ethical conditions.
Finally, I would like to particularly salute – apart from the rapporteur, Mr Buzek – my colleague and head of the Belgian Socialist delegation, Mr Busquin, who, maintaining the dynamism of his impressive work as European Commissioner for Research, continues to work tirelessly to promote research in the heart of our parliamentary district.
Dominique Vlasto (PPE-DE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of this new FPRD because we are substantially improving the Commission’s proposal and adopting a more ambitious stance than the Council.
With a budget to match our ambition – over EUR 50 billion, in other words three times what it was before – we are providing sufficient resources for our researchers to remain in Europe and to attract researchers from third countries.
With the Seventh Framework Programme, and its four specific programmes, it will be possible to structure the European research area around ten main themes. I also supported the creation of a specific security heading, since this is an issue that remains a priority for our citizens. I also welcome the fact that my amendments under the health heading were mostly adopted.
This programme also includes a number of new features, such as joint technology initiatives, which will make it possible to associate businesses, especially the smallest businesses, with research centres in a particular sector. Our ambition is therefore also to relaunch innovation in Europe and thereby to support our businesses and our jobs.
Anna Záborská (PPE-DE), in writing. – (FR) I respect the national legislation of my country, Slovakia, the will of my constituents and my own personal conscience. This is why I did not support the legislative resolution.
Respect for human life and for the integrity of women is sacrosanct. It is irresponsible to provide Research Framework Programme funding for projects that exploit women’s ova or that destroy the human embryo.
The Framework Programme funds research that is banned in several Member States, including Slovakia, with Slovak taxpayers’ money. Is it not a lie to pretend that the EU, and in particular the Commission, respects the diversity and sovereignty of the Member States when it is prepared to fund illegal projects?
Whilst the Community budget is short of meeting our daily needs, why throw taxpayers’ money down the drain on research that will never have any tangible benefit?
This is why the Committee on Legal Affairs, and the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality, of which I am a Member, have called for an end to the funding or cofinancing of research that is illegal in some Member States or that involves destroying human embryos, human cloning, the exploitation of women to obtain their ova, the manipulation of germ lines for the purpose of eugenics and the creation of hybrid cells such as chimeras.
Philip Bradbourn (PPE-DE), in writing. British Conservatives support the principle of a common approach to civil aviation security across the EU. However, we could not support any extension of Commission competence, which could frustrate the overwhelming case for Member States to determine when there is a need for heightened security measures in their own territories. Neither could we support the extension of the scope of this regulation to in-flight security, nor the extension on competence of the European Aviation Safety Agency, at least until it has proven its ability to operate its current safety functions in a competent and efficient manner.
For these reasons, Conservatives abstained on the final vote.
Glyn Ford (PSE), in writing. I voted in favour of those amendments that were designed to protect the interests of my constituents in Gibraltar. It is outrageous that common rules in the field of civil aviation security do not automatically apply to Gibraltar because of the ongoing refusal by Spain to recognise Gibraltar as a full part of the European Union. This continued harassment only entrenches, understandably, hard-line views in Gibraltar. I would recommend that any long-term solution is more likely to follow from carrots and not sticks.
Jörg Leichtfried (PSE), in writing. (DE) I would like to use my explanation of vote to justify my abstention during the vote on Amendments 90 and 91. It should not be the case that the application of rules in the field of civil aviation security is adopted in the first instance for all airports located in Member State sovereign territories while Gibraltar airport is exempted from this regulation in a rider. How can we talk about a Union when generally applicable laws suddenly no longer apply to certain territories?
Both Spain and the United Kingdom belong to the European Union. I would like to say that squabbles of this nature should not be dealt with on the back of the European Union nor, in particular, at the expense of civil aviation security, which this report deals with, and which should apply its measures and rules to prevent acts of unlawful interference in relation to civil aviation to all EU airports so as to safeguard the welfare of all passengers.
Seán Ó Neachtain (UEN), in writing. I very much welcome the proposal on the table today for common rules in the field of civil aviation. I think it is timely after the security experience gained in the aftermath of September 11th that basic principles can be legally set in stone as to what has to be done in order to protect civil aviation against acts of unlawful interference.
All Member States need to be singing from the same hymn sheet regarding common rules on security checks, searches, surveillance, prohibited items and security patrols, to name just a few.
I support the innovative approach taken by the Commission in proposing rules that will cover security measures during flights. However, I am less supportive of amendments put forward to this proposal which call for the compulsory use of armed in-flight security officers or ‘sky marshals’. I believe it is important that Member States are not legally bound to deploy or accept armed in-flight security officers on domestic or foreign aircraft.
Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) This morning, Parliament voted for the Costa report on common rules in the field of civil aviation security. As the holiday season approaches, when millions of passengers get ready to board planes for their dream destinations – some 16 million per year from Brussels National Airport – I feel it is opportune to highlight certain crucial security rules on board aircraft. Whilst some people may grumble about having to observe stringent controls, I would say that this is the price that must be paid. The general flow may suffer, but ultimately this will be to everyone's benefit in security terms.
This report is a series of revisions of a 2002 law that was adopted in the aftermath of the attacks of 11 September 2001. All rhetoric about security should focus on the basic standards governing controls, surveillance, prohibited articles and security agents on board aircraft. There is one sole objective, namely greater consistency in the policies aimed at ‘one-stop security’ throughout the EU.
Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing. – (FR) Slovenia fulfils the Maastricht criteria, which Mr Prodi himself recently described as stupid. As such, the country may adopt the single currency, having applied to do so. It will in fact be the only country in the euro zone to fulfil these famous criteria.
Our abstention on this issue is not a rejection of Slovenia’s application. We will not be voting against Slovenia’s application if that is what the country, and more importantly its people, actually want. We cannot, however, accept the entry of a new country into the least dynamic economic area in the world, which is saddled with a monetary policy that is destroying our already weak growth and with an exchange-rate policy that is harmful by its absence.
Adopting the euro is not a good idea. As Frenchmen we know this. France has done so and is paying a high price.
Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) We have chosen to abstain in the final vote on this report. It is up to the Slovenians to decide, preferably through a referendum, whether they want their country to participate in EMU.
We do not believe that Sweden should participate in it. Nor do we recommend other countries to do so. However, it is, as I say, up to the people of each country to decide on the issue.
John Attard-Montalto (PSE). – Mr President, with regard to the pattern of my voting on the resolutions on Tunisia, I should like to state that I voted through loyalty to my party. However, I believe we should not have two sets of weights and measures, in the sense that when voting on a number of resolutions over a short period of time that are directed against a particular country, perhaps one should either tone down the rate of resolutions and condemnation or use the same weights and balances as for other countries.
Simon Busuttil (PPE-DE). – (MT) Regarding this motion for a resolution, our PPE-DE Group abstained, because it believes that the resolution was unnecessary, and that it does not treat Tunisia fairly.
I would like to remind you that this is the fourth time in the space of a few months that we are singling out Tunisia, whilst there are several other countries where the situation is much worse and about which we have said nothing. We thus abstained because whereas we agree that Tunisia still has a lot to do in order to improve its human rights record, we feel that the message we should be sending to this country needs to be constructive, and not in the form of a 'witch hunt'.
Of equal significance is the fact that whilst the resolution was passed, we had a majority in the room which either abstained or voted against. Thus, the effect of this resolution is certainly doubtful.
Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) We support the joint motion for a resolution from the centre-left groups, in spite of the fact that it really is the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg that should monitor, both politically and legally, whether all the European states without exception comply with the UN Declaration on Human Rights. The Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights are the institutions that should be involved in these cases, especially, for example, with a view to ensuring that it is possible for Gay Pride’s democratic freedom to be upheld in Russia.
It is difficult to draw up a complete list of violent incidents of various kinds that have taken place in different parts of Europe and that have been motivated by racism or homophobia. There are, however, powerful reasons for taking this opportunity to condemn all known statements, as well as expressions of violence, that are to be explained in terms of underlying racism or homophobia.
Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We strongly believe that environmental policy could present a significant economic opportunity for large-scale direct and indirect job creation, provided that innovation and industrial policies focus on promoting sustainable development. Accordingly, there needs to be a macroeconomic framework that supports each country’s sustainable development, strengthening employment, social cohesion and the environment.
The ongoing neoliberal policies, however, run counter to these objectives. The ‘Lisbon Strategy’ and the EU’s monetary and fiscal policies have had a detrimental impact on economic growth, employment and the environment.
We wish to draw attention to the fact that the EU still has high levels of unemployment, poverty, social exclusion and income inequality. We therefore believe that the fight against income inequality and the promotion of genuine convergence should feature among the priorities of the economic and social agenda.
Caroline Jackson (PPE-DE), in writing. British Conservatives support the objectives behind the Sustainable Development Strategy but believe that this resolution is unduly negative as to the progress that is being made.
The European Parliament must recognise that sustainable economic growth is a prerequisite and a catalyst for sustainable development, rather than being a threat or alternative to it.
We welcome the focus that is being placed on meeting our international obligations but believe that the time has come to focus on enforcing and monitoring existing targets and regulation, rather than creating a never-ending stream of legislation that is enforced – at best – inconsistently.
Failure to meet the environmental targets that we have already agreed to would fundamentally undermine Europe’s credibility in the area of sustainable development.
Jean Lambert (Verts/ALE), in writing. I welcome today's very positive vote and hope that its contents will not be forgotten when we come to look at our policies on growth in the future: the emphasis on quality and the decoupling of growth from resource use are very important points. I also welcome the willingness of the Austrian Presidency to listen to the points made in our deliberations in preparing this resolution.
They have made an historic step in their proposal to Council in taking up the need to develop a better training strategy, albeit only in certain sectors at present, to equip the construction sector, architects, etc. with the necessary skills to work in an environmentally positive way. This is something I have been urging the Commission to take on board for some time and I hope for a positive response.
We cannot meet our climate change targets if we do not have a workforce with the necessary skills to deliver. I also welcome the recognition that social cohesion is a necessary part of sustainable development: the poorest people often live and work in the worst environmental circumstances, whether in the EU or Africa. Our policies must deliver for everyone.
Carl Lang (NI), in writing. – (FR) As well as being an ecological necessity, environmental protection is also an economic necessity. Great civilisations such as the Maya in Central America disappeared because they destroyed their natural resources.
In the 20th century, the most destructive system was communism, which not only killed tens of millions of human beings, but also laid waste to the environment. Examples of this include nuclear power stations on the basis of the Chernobyl model and the drying up of the Aral Sea. At the moment, the country that is polluting the world most is communist China.
In Europe, there are two prevailing ideologies in Brussels that are threatening the development of our countries. One is the doctrine of free trade, which is destroying our industrial fabric and which led to the Lisbon Strategy in 2000, and the other is Malthusianism, which has led on the one hand to the destruction of our vines and to our most fertile land being left fallow, and on the other to our demographic decline.
The replacement of missing children with calls for immigration and the relocation of our factories do not represent a solution. The real prerequisites for the genuinely sustainable development of our nations are the reinstatement of our borders and a major policy on the family.
Increase in racist and homophobic violence in Europe (B6-0328/2006)
Carlo Casini (PPE-DE). – (IT) Mr President, I voted against the motion for a resolution because I felt that the attempt made to compare racism with homophobia was unacceptable.
There is no need to point out the horrors of racial discrimination, which is thought through long before it is actually carried out. It is right to condemn every act of mockery and violence towards people of different sexual orientations, but we certainly cannot regard the institutions’ and the Churches’ outlook as inhuman when they defend the family as a structure of great importance for the common good insofar as it is based on the distinction between the sexes and on the coming together of a man and a woman, that is to say, on heterosexuality.
This defence is laid down precisely by the human rights doctrine. Let us not forget Article 16 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights – a document whose secular nature is by no means in doubt – which proclaims the nuclear family as the essence of society and the State, a unit which, as such, must be acknowledged and protected.
We must therefore not only stamp out racism and homophobia, but also reject a comparison of the two which, on closer inspection, constitutes an attempt to overturn a crucial aspect of human rights.
Frank Vanhecke (NI). – (NL) Mr President, since I already explained in yesterday’s debate why this motion for a resolution strikes me as silly and undemocratic, I need not labour this point any further, and I already concur in advance with all the bad things Mr Claeys is about to say on this subject. All I would like to add today is that there is also another, sizeable category of very real victims of very real racism which nobody seems to be bothered about and in respect of whom this institution never lays down any resolutions.
That is the category of very many native people who are no longer able to feel at home in their own street or their own town, and who become the victims of racist, anti-indigenous violence. Those are the older people and women who dare not go out after dark and who are terrorised on public transport. These people, however, are ignored by the politically correct, left-wing, fashionable opinion mafia, who – it is sad to say – monopolise the debates far too often in these institutions too.
Piia-Noora Kauppi (PPE-DE). – Mr President, I voted in favour of the joint resolution by the other political groups. Unfortunately, the PPE-DE Group did not sign the joint resolution as a group. However, as individuals, many colleagues voted in favour of it.
I think that fighting discrimination in all forms is a very important part of the work of an MEP. Even though the joint resolution had some ambiguities and was not 100% perfect, I can support it, based on the fact that it was reasonably balanced for this House.
Alexander Stubb (PPE-DE). – (FR) Mr President, I merely wish to say that I share Mrs Kauppi’s position exactly.
As far as I was concerned, this was a motion for a resolution against racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and homophobia. I voted in favour because I feel it is an extremely important motion for a resolution. Last time, we had a joint motion for a resolution against homophobia on which all of the groups were in agreement. Unfortunately, I feel that the groundwork has not been properly prepared this time. Perhaps next time we will be able to achieve unanimity against homophobia in this Chamber.
Ivo Strejček (PPE-DE). – (CS) Mr President, I too voted against the motion for a resolution in this instance. Allow me to say a few words on it. Although xenophobia and discrimination are shameful things, I consider this to be a rather modish motion, of the kind that passes through our Chamber relatively often in various forms. I voted against it also because I do not think that in such a document there should be direct references to individual Member States and their governments or that they should be exhorted to follow different approaches, since everything rests in the hands of the voters who elected these governments. We should not be handing out marks to them.
Paragraph 2 is clearly a list of very shameful acts, but I do not think that they represent a dominant current of opinion in Europe, and this was another reason why I voted against the motion. In paragraphs 4 and 5 I feel it is not appropriate, I repeat again, for the European Parliament to be involving itself, to my mind somewhat improperly, in the internal affairs of sovereign states such as Poland or Russia. In paragraph 11 there is again an explicit reference to Poland, and for this reason too I opposed the motion.
Philip Claeys (NI). – (NL) Mr President, I have voted against the motion for a resolution on racist and homophobic violence because I find it unacceptable that a goal that is legitimate in itself should be contaminated by party-political considerations. There is, for example, recital E, where political parties are criticised for raising the failure of the multicultural model as an issue and for espousing the protection of national identities in Europe.
Paragraph 11 is inspired by the inability of the Left to accept that right-wing parties win democratic elections and form governments. Paragraph 12, on the other hand, wants to generalise the typically Belgian system whereby parties are robbed of their funding when they denounce failing immigration policy. That is a threat to the right to the free expression of opinion, as is, in fact, recital K that aims to introduce censorship on the Internet.
Nearly all the groups who tabled this motion for a resolution back Turkey’s accession to the European Union. They might want to take a look at what the situation is like over there when it comes to discrimination against minorities and homophobia.
Andreas Mölzer (NI). – (DE) Mr President, I too would like to take this opportunity to explain why I voted against this motion for a resolution against racist and homophobic violence. No sensible human being believes in racist or homophobic violence and everyone will condemn it wherever it actually exists. However, it seems to me that in this motion for a resolution, individuals who stand up for their own culture and national identity are all too quickly and easily suspected of racism. It also appears to me that individuals who stand up for the traditionally Christian, European image of the family are all too quickly suspected of possibly even welcoming homophobic violence. In my opinion, it is absolutely inadmissible when this is also then to be pinned onto individual EU Member States.
James Hugh Allister (NI), in writing. Racist violence, alas, is now prevalent throughout Europe and must be vigorously addressed. I regret though that the resolution on this important subject was misused as a vehicle to attack internal government composition in Member States, which is the product of the democratic process and, frankly, beyond the remit of the European Parliament. Such drove me to vote against the resolution. In terms of the standards and ethics expected of democratic parties I very much regret that in Northern Ireland the Ulster Unionist Party has seen fit to invite into its Stormont Assembly Party the political representative of the UVF, an illegal organisation which has been mired in racist, sectarian and other violence. Such shameful association not only diminishes those who so taint themselves but undermines what should be a united stand by all democratic parties against criminality, whether of the racist or any other variety.
Gerard Batten and Thomas Wise (IND/DEM), in writing. In considering the issues raised in this report, it is necessary to make clear that whilst we are opposed to intolerance, we think that the criticism of the new Polish Government is counterproductive and that it is up to the Poles to democratically resolve these issues.
Manuel António dos Santos (PSE), in writing. (PT) I did not vote in favour of the motion for a resolution against racism and homophobia, even though I warmly welcome the thrust of its content and I consider it politically timely.
My objections – I abstained – revolve solely around the reference to a ‘case’ in Portugal, which is purportedly indicative of a serious culture of homophobia in Portugal.
The Gisberta case, which took place in Oporto, was simply an act of juvenile delinquency, and was judged that way by Portuguese society. It was also properly dealt with by the legal authorities.
There is therefore no reason whatsoever to include this case in such an important motion for a resolution, on an issue of such importance.
Glyn Ford (PSE), in writing. As National Treasurer of the Anti-Nazi League in Britain and a member of the steering committee of Unite Against Fascism, I had the privilege of speaking at the recent 'Love Music, Hate Racism' event in Trafalgar Square to urge opposition to England's home-grown fascist party, the BNP, in the local elections.
In my speech I warned again that there was a rising tide of racism in Europe. All too soon I have been proved right. We have racist and fascist parties in France and Italy, Belgium and Denmark that have been with us for some time. What is most worrying is the sudden regrowth of racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism in Poland, aided and abetted by fellow-travelling colleagues in the current Polish Government and European Parliament. All those opposed to racism in Europe must unite together against this new wave of hatred and intolerance.
Patrick Gaubert (PPE-DE), in writing. – (FR) The EU is founded on a community based on the indivisible and universal values of human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity. By coming together, the 25 Member States decided to uphold and to promote these values.
The numerous racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic and homophobic attacks that have taken place in recent times in Europe are therefore unacceptable and intolerable. It is crucial to condemn them publicly.
This is why I drew up a resolution on behalf of my political group. In it, I have invited the EU institutions, the Member States and all the democratic political parties in Europe to condemn all acts of intolerance and incitement to hatred.
We must remain vigilant, but must not lump everything together by listing examples of individual attacks perpetrated in Member States fighting against racism and homophobia with extreme positions openly adopted by some governments. What is more, the list of tragic examples contained in the joint resolution tabled by the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, the Socialist Group in the European Parliament and the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left is not an exhaustive one.
Let me make one thing clear: the fight against all forms of racism is not a matter of right or left. I therefore voted for the motion for a resolution tabled by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats and for the joint motion for a resolution tabled by the other groups.
Lissy Gröner (PSE), in writing. (DE) Homophobia and racism have no place in Europe. Article 13 of the Treaty establishing the European Community prohibits any discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
Particularly following the scandalous and distressing events in Moscow which took place on the fringes of the Gay Pride rally in May 2006, it is imperative that we send a strong signal regarding tolerance in Europe. Last Saturday in Warsaw at the equality parade, I demonstrated against the increasing homophobic tendencies that are particularly prevalent in Poland, which is an EU Member State. The right of European citizens to sexual self-determination is a human right which is defended by us social democrats here in Parliament, whether in Warsaw, Riga or Frankfurt. I therefore voted for the motion for a resolution.
Françoise Grossetête (PPE-DE), in writing. – (FR) It was a mistake to mix racism and homophobia in the same text.
There are paragraphs in this motion for a resolution that I cannot support, such as the one carrying accusations of police violence, and I reiterate my total opposition to homosexual adoption.
It would be impossible to object to a text that vehemently condemns known acts of racism in Europe.
Let us not forget our values, let us not forget why we made Europe. I am especially concerned at the increase in xenophobia that we have seen recently.
Lívia Járóka (PPE-DE), in writing. I voted in favour of the resolution. Within the European Union, blatant racism is still widespread, and no group suffers more than the Roma. There have been many reported cases of verbal, emotional and physical attacks on the Roma, including several committed by police forces. Although this resolution fails to make sufficient mention of the Roma issue in particular, it is essential that Parliament work to conquer racism in all areas of Europe.
Timothy Kirkhope (PPE-DE), in writing. I and my British Conservative colleagues abhor any actions by individuals, governments or political parties to incite racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia. Any person or organisation perpetrating or inciting such discrimination should be subject to the full force of the law. We believe in liberty and the rights of individuals to live their lives free from fear of persecution and prejudice.
However, we were unable to support the joint motion for a resolution because it undermines the cause of tolerance by arbitrarily listing specific incidents and specific events and organisations. The motivation for the motion appears to be unnecessarily confrontational, rather than a genuine attempt to promote the cause of tolerance and non-discrimination. Consequently, we have abstained on the final vote.
Ewa Klamt (PPE-DE), in writing. (DE) We in the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats condemn racially motivated attacks, assaults and discrimination in every shape and form and firmly repudiate racist tendencies; that was stated in the motion for a resolution on homophobia that was adopted in January, and we have also spelled it out in our latest draft motion for a resolution. We call on the EU institution, the Member States and all political parties in the EU to do likewise.
The joint motion for a resolution tabled by the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance and the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe is not a document we can endorse, on the grounds that it arbitrarily pillories individual Member States and puts a motion for a resolution – a parliamentary instrument – in the service of false statements and insinuations.
To name but two of these:
Paragraph 2 includes reference to: “the brutal assault on a German citizen of Ethiopian origin ... in particular because of its racial motive.” The German Attorney-General, whose remit includes major crimes jeopardising the peace within Germany, sent this case back to the relevant court on the grounds that it was not primarily racially motivated.
The draft motion for a resolution contains generalised presuppositions concerning the Member States’ police forces: ... “Member States should consider whether their police forces and judicial systems suffer from ‘institutional racism’....” These people put their lives and limbs at risk, day in and day out, for the safety of all of us, and I refuse to lump them all together in this way and denounce them as racists.
Roger Knapman, Michael Henry Nattrass and John Whittaker (IND/DEM), in writing. In considering the issues raised in this report it is necessary to make clear that whilst I am opposed to intolerance I do think that the criticism of the new Polish Government is counterproductive and that it is up to the Poles to democratically resolve these issues. In addition it must be understood that Poland is a profoundly Catholic country and the people as a result will reflect their Catholic beliefs in exactly the same manner as Muslims reflect the Islamic view on homosexuality. It is rare that Parliament, if indeed ever, criticises Muslims for holding such views and it only reflects double standards if Catholics are to be treated differently.
Jean Lambert (Verts/ALE), in writing. I welcome this resolution and was proud to vote for it. Yesterday's debate clearly illustrated how far we have still to go in establishing equality of respect within the EU. Many people have expressed their concern at the homophobic feelings voiced in Parliament’s Chamber. Fortunately, the vast majority of this House rejected these statements and has given a strong voice to criticism of at least two Member States and to racist acts in others. This is a welcome step. Politicians have a crucial role in establishing a climate that rejects violence and hate speech: it is part of establishing an inclusive society. As we are confronting politicians who promote prejudice, we must also do the same when this is done by the media and our institutions. We must face up to the human rights abuses in the EU. This positive vote today is part of that process.
Hubert Pirker (PPE-DE), in writing. (DE) The Austrian People’s Party delegation, like the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats, has, in all the resolutions on the subject both this year and in former years, taken a stand against racially motivated violence and xenophobia, as also against discrimination against homosexuals, and in favour of the highest standards in human rights and the outlawing of discrimination. It, too, therefore, has endorsed the motion for a resolution tabled by Mr Gaubert on behalf of the PPE-DE Group.
The ÖVP delegation has also, however, voted against the GUE/NGL, ALDE, Verts/ALE and PSE’s joint motion for a resolution on the grounds that these political groupings made no attempt to join with the PPE-DE group in fashioning a common text; another consideration is that there has been an inflation in this sort of motion for a resolution, and that this example of the genre is a purely political document characterized by many mistakes and generalizations, doing no more than using the themes of racism and intolerance as a pretext for sending out ideological messages.
Anna Záborská (PPE-DE), in writing. – (FR) All forms of human violence must be condemned. The inalienable right to life, freedom and security and respect for people’s dignity apply to every human being. National laws underpin these rights.
To mix discourse on homosexual people and on racism discredits the promotion of human rights. Punishing all violations of these rights is the responsibility of each Member State and falls within the scope of the Council of Europe’s European Convention on Human Rights, which all Member States have signed. As such they are responsible to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Is it the case that a new form of totalitarianism, which runs counter to democratically elected governments, is in the process of emerging? Extremism is on the rise on both left and right, as the established parties merge with one another and accordingly lack the credibility and the political vision that is acceptable to families in the Member States. To reject the kind of manipulation and disinformation that is being peddled in this resolution is to fight against the emergence of extremism and violence, and to refuse to fan the flames of hate against the sections of society to which this resolution relates.
This is why my group decided not to support the motion for a resolution.
Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We are in favour of technological and digital solutions that will help to improve train signalling and protection, with a view to enhancing safety and eliminating traffic congestion on the rail network.
Safety is particularly important in light of the substantial increase in the speed and capacity of railway lines.
We have our doubts, however, as to whether the proposed system, ERTMS, is actually better than existing national systems. What it does deliver is greater cross-border interoperability, although it should be remembered that this proposal also forms part of the strategy of liberalising rail transport and of the internal market concept.
The key question is how the additional costs of the new system for the rail companies will be funded. Who will bear these costs and how will the burden be spread among the Member States at a time of restricted Community budget?
The same thing has happened with the trans-European networks and the European programmes for transport policy, which have seen their funding reduced in the forthcoming financial framework.
We also have our doubts about the condition that the Structural Funds for transport must be used solely for implementing this system.
Duarte Freitas (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) Traditional inshore fishing plays a key role in the local economy of a number of fishing communities.
The lack of a regulatory framework applicable to the inshore sector has affected not only this sector but also the whole industry that revolves around it.
At a time when the fleets need modernisation and the workforce related to the sector needs a boost, solutions must be found to reverse this trend.
I feel that the adoption of this report is a step in the right direction in protecting the interests of fishing communities, not least in Portugal and the Azores.
For these reasons, I voted in favour of the report.
Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We regret the fact that, even though they had the backing of 200 Members, some of the proposals that we tabled were rejected, which were as follows:
- to set up a Community programme for traditional, small-scale inshore fishing;
- to establish emergency transitional compensation to offset the effects of the increase in the price of fuel.
Other proposals, however, were adopted and included in the original report, as confirmed today. Of these I should like to highlight:
- to recognise the specific nature of inshore and traditional fishing in the CFP, and to determine how far the existing instruments are suitable for responding to the sector's needs;
- the new EFP must continue the financing of fleet renewal measures for inshore
- to set up education and training programmes aimed at encouraging young people to enter the sector;
- the funding of projects and activities by representative organisations in the sector and local authorities;
- to encourage fishermen to take part in the trading process and to promote a review of the COM in fisheries products so as to ensure fairer initial sales prices and to promote a better distribution of added value.
- to ensure the participation of inshore fishermen and their representative organisations in the decision-making process of the common fisheries policy, the protection of the marine environment and the recovery of fish stocks, promoting the application of the co-management principle and decentralisation of the CFP.
Fernand Le Rachinel (NI), in writing. – (FR) The report on inshore fishing is an excellent one, as it succeeds in identifying the problems facing fishermen involved in this kind of fishing and puts forward realistic and effective solutions.
If we do not want fishing to disappear as so many other economic sectors have done before it, it is high time for us to take certain measures, such as strengthening the fisheries sector by setting up an inter-branch organisation to promote and develop fishery products from landing to direct sale, including a special heading for 'inshore fishing' in the future European Fisheries Fund, and increasing checks and sanctions in order to avoid unfair competition from third-country vessels that have lower costs and do not comply with the same safety standards.
Paradoxically, consumption of fish is on the increase throughout the European Union, so now is not the time to drop our guard, particularly in view of the fact that inshore fishing is a very environmentally friendly job that consumes very little energy and supplies an important product.
It must be aided and supported as a matter of priority, so as to restore its economic balance and protect maritime jobs.
Carl Schlyter (Verts/ALE), in writing. (SV) The EU is at present giving too much money to large fishing operators and vessels. This should be redistributed for the benefit of small-scale fisheries. I am therefore voting in favour of Amendments 7 and 9. This investment in small-scale fisheries should be made within the existing budget framework. Under no circumstances do I want proposed measures to lead to an increase in the budget.