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Procedure : 2006/2027(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Select a document: :

Texts tabled :

A6-0213/2006

Debates :

PV 05/07/2006 - 11
CRE 05/07/2006 - 11

Votes :

PV 06/07/2006 - 6.14
CRE 06/07/2006 - 6.14
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2006)0316

Debates
Thursday, 6 July 2006 - Strasbourg OJ edition

7. Explanations of vote
PV
  

- Konrad report (A6-0209/2006)

 
  
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  Christoph Konrad (PPE-DE).(DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, by means of my report, we are making an important proposal for the combating of VAT fraud within the European Union, which cheats the European taxpayer out of some EUR 60 billion every year. I see my report as constituting an important step in combating this fraud, including as it does the proposal for the reversed charge procedure, an approach that would also be practicable at the national level. That is something that will need to be discussed, but, right now, it is the turn of the Council and the Commission, now that this House has shown great unanimity in taking this step – for which I am very grateful to it.

 
  
  

- Zimmer report (A6-0211/2006)

 
  
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  Margie Sudre (PPE-DE), in writing. (FR) The EU-Caribbean partnership for growth, stability and development, a mutually beneficial partnership based on shared values, represents an opportunity for the two sides to work together towards democracy and human rights, and to fight against poverty and against threats to peace and stability.

I support the steps proposed by the Commission aimed at helping the countries of the region, which are already on the road to regional integration thanks to CARICOM, CARFORUM and MEUC.

The usually small and economically vulnerable Caribbean countries have made significant attempts at economic diversification, restructuring and reform and should now, with Europe’s help, be able to make the most of the opportunities offered by globalisation and to avoid its pitfalls.

I should like to thank the Members of this House for adopting my amendment calling for the French overseas departments in the region, namely French Guyana, Guadeloupe and Martinique, to be closely involved in the future political dialogue on EU-Caribbean cooperation, on account of their obvious role as 'Europe's bridgehead' in that part of the world.

 
  
  

- Hughes report (A6-0218/2006)

 
  
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  David Martin (PSE), in writing. Needlestick injuries occur when the skin is accidentally punctured with a needle that is potentially contaminated with a patient's blood. Contaminated needles can transmit more than 20 dangerous blood-borne pathogens, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. The majority of these injuries are suffered by nurses and doctors, but other medical staff are also at significant risk, as are auxiliary staff, such as cleaners and laundry staff and other downstream workers.

I welcome this report, which outlines the preventive steps that should be taken in health and veterinary care to protect workers from injuries caused by needles and other medical sharps. This includes written instructions at the workplace and training for all workers, especially those who perform cannulation.

Effective response and follow-up to accidents or incidents is also outlined in the report, including rapid post-exposure prophylaxis. Furthermore, all workers who might come into contact with needles and other medical sharps are to be offered vaccination against hepatitis B.

 
  
  

- Szymanski report (A6-0164/2006)

 
  
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  Jaromír Kohlíček (GUE/NGL).(CS) Mr President, trust is a beautiful thing, but there cannot be unconditional trust. Although we voted today on a number of packages of financial proposals, the stability instrument is the least transparent of them. The complexity is apparent from the very goals of this measure. Such a broad-brush definition is capable of covering practically anything, for example justification for the policy of non-engagement in the case of right-wing coups such as the putsch carried out by General Franco. Two days ago, Mr Giertych indicated that, according to the second part of the objectives of this instrument, it would even have been possible to support General Franco from EU funds. He pointed out that he was merely interested in renewing and consolidating traditional Catholic values in Spain. Although the document does not contain any figures, the Commission has promised that it will provide them soon. For the time being, only one thing can be said. Parliament is completely out of the loop. Ultimately Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs emphasised this in the trialogue between the Council, Parliament and the Commission and called for this state of affairs to be changed. Parliament should not give anyone carte blanche. Some parts of this document are dubious, unclear and manifestly open to possible abuse. I therefore voted against the proposal before us.

 
  
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  Emanuel Jardim Fernandes (PSE), in writing. (PT) Just like the rapporteur, I welcome the Commission’s proposal to simplify the management of the EU’s external aid, by reducing the 30 or so existing instruments to six, including the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). This will lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness, and ‘makes perfect sense’.

I support many of the amendments proposed in the report, including strengthening Parliament’s role in planning and monitoring ENPI programmes; increased involvement of civil society in the consultation process; and a bigger role for partners such as local and regional authorities, and civil society.

I regret, however, that the point relating to the outermost regions in the neighbourhood context, such as Cape Verde, was not brought into the scope of application of the ENPI. A Wider Neighbourhood Action Plan had been proposed, with a view to facilitating cooperation between the outermost regions and their neighbouring countries. This formed part of the sustainable development strategy for the outermost regions proposed by the Commission in order to pursue one of its priority action areas, namely bringing these regions into their own regional environment.

In spite of this, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
  

- Beer report (A6-0157/2006)

 
  
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  David Martin (PSE), in writing. As draftsman for the report from the International Trade Committee on this report on external actions for financial, economic and technical assistance to third countries recovering from crisis I was concerned that this Stability Instrument should provide genuine added value, delivering an effective, immediate and integrated response.

Although there were concerns initially about the legal base of this instrument, it was eventually agreed that it should be based dually on development cooperation and economic, financial and technical cooperation. I support Development Committee colleagues in their concerns that the inclusion of peace-support measures in this instrument should not bleed funds from the development budget.

Most importantly, the agreement between the Council, the Commission and Parliament on this report reflects Parliament’s initiative on a review clause, which will allow for modification and better reporting: an important consideration, since this instrument is new and far-reaching.

 
  
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  Athanasios Pafilis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The so-called stability instrument forms part of the broader package of financing instruments (development and economic cooperation, pre-accession aid, neighbourhood and partnership) which are designed to form an integrated tool for exercising the imperialist policy of the ΕU in candidate countries, in countries in the immediate and wider neighbourhood and on the entire planet. By giving 'economic aid' to third countries, the European Union is acquiring the right to intervene in them, on the pretext of addressing situations of destabilisation, 'crisis' and ‘unfolding crisis', situations which constitute 'threats' to the rule of law, law and order and the protection of human rights and to the promotion of the principles of international law, including support for special national and international criminal courts.

This funding will at the same time be used as a means of coercing third countries into complying with the imperialist ambitions of the ΕU and of open interference in the internal affairs of independent countries, with governments being undermined and the EU's candidates being funded, given that the facility to use financing to support and organise civil society, including to promote independent, pluralistic and professional media, is being introduced.

The Greek Communist Party voted against the report because it is in favour of and at some points formulates in an even more reactionary direction the tenet of the European Commission's proposal for a regulation.

 
  
  

- Corbett report (A6-0237/2006)

 
  
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  Richard Corbett (PSE). – Mr President, against my advice, Parliament adopted the amendment tabled by Mr Radwan, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group, to my report on comitology.

In its statement last night in the debate, the Commission took the view that this amendment effectively undermines and sabotages the agreements that we have negotiated. This may, indeed, have been Mr Radwan’s intention – I do not know – but the amendment refers to a resolution adopted by Parliament, which envisages the adoption of sunset clauses on the delegation of legislation that apply systematically to all legislation that we adopt in the financial services sector.

However, I would urge the Commission not to overreact. The amendment adopted – however much I deplore it – was only an amendment to a recital in which we refer to a past resolution having regard to it. We do not, as a Parliament, reaffirm our endorsement of the resolution. This nuance should enable the Commission to accept our text and to consider that the agreement we have negotiated remains valid.

 
  
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  Ivo Strejček (PPE-DE).(CS) Mr President, I should like to go back to the Corbett report. I can only assume that my request for an explanation of vote went astray in the confusion caused by Members leaving the Chamber. I should like to say a few words on the subject of comitology. Just like my fellow members of the Czech Civil Democratic Party (ODS), I voted against this report. I did so because we believe that this is a controversial issue insofar as it transfers more power from the Member States to the Commission. We feel that the voters of France and the Netherlands told the European institutions quite clearly how they feel about transferring those powers to the Commission. We do not think that their decision should be circumvented through the back door.

 
  
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  David Martin (PSE), in writing. In 1993, under a new codecision procedure, legislative powers were allocated to Parliament and the Council on an (almost) equal footing. Parliament took the view that codecision acts, in which Council and Parliament can jointly delegate implementing measures, implied that they should both be involved in defining the procedures for exercising delegated powers and that they should have equal rights regarding retrieval or call back. The Council, however, argued that Article 202 of the EC Treaty remained unchanged, providing for the Council (alone) to define the system for implementing powers.

The key step forward for Parliament which is possible now as an outcome of negotiations with the Council and the Commission, is that Parliament will be able to block the adoption of ‘quasi-legislative’ implementing measures to which it objects. If it does so, the Commission can make a new proposal or table draft legislation.

I welcome this report´, as it expands the powers of the European Parliament and enables it be an ever more effective and democratic institution.

 
  
  

- Corbett report (A6-0236/2006)

 
  
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  Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing. (FR) Should we be pleased or concerned about the agreement reached between the Council, Parliament and the Commission on the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission?

One might be pleased to see curbs, however few, placed on this disproportionate power, unprecedented for a democracy, that practically enables Brussels officials to amend legislative acts without the legislator.

There are a great many reasons to be concerned, however. The first is that one must once again point out the cardinal sin of the European institutional structure – the Commission is the institution with the least legitimacy but with the most power. The second is that Europe’s body of legislation has not been simplified. The ‘better lawmaking’ initiative, which Parliament debated for the umpteenth time last month – the thorny issue of ‘Eurocracy’ – is clearly nothing but window dressing. The third is that this agreement is the implementation – partial, it is true, but actually happening – of a provision contained in the European Constitution, a document which, as the House is no doubt tired of hearing, is obsolete given that two European populations rejected it by a huge margin in referendums.

The best way to curb the Commission’s powers is to revise the Treaties and to build the Europe of the nations, which could do without this institution in its current form.

 
  
  

- Alvaro report (A6-0196/2006)

 
  
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  Alexander Alvaro (ALDE), in writing. The ALDE group unfortunately feels compelled to abstain from voting on the final vote on this report. ALDE's request to postpone the vote not having been granted, we feel adoption of this report is premature as long as the question marks over the recent SWIFT scandal have not been resolved. The legislative proposal at hand must be adopted on the basis of an international agreement (FATF), to which both the EU and the USA are signatories. The position of the USA must be clarified before the EU should proceed to fulfilling its part of the agreement. Clarification by the ECB and the national central banks is equally precondition for adoption.

In view of growing concerns about civil rights and protection of personal data of EU citizens, ALDE feels further assurances are needed in this area. We note that in recent years a host of security measures has been taken, whereas measures to strengthen civil rights and privacy protection have been stalled, and decision making in this area largely takes place without any meaningful parliamentary scrutiny or judicial review. The case of SWIFT casts doubts on the adequacy of data protection instruments in the EU. A fundamental debate must be held first.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) In the past decade, there has been a huge rise in acts of terrorism around the world. The fight against this scourge has accordingly become one of the key political priorities in Europe and around the world.

This proposal forms part of a range of measures taken by the Union aimed at reducing access for terrorists to financial and other economic resources. Its purpose is to transpose into Community legislation the Financial Action Task Force’s Special Recommendation VII on wire transfers.

It is aimed at the authorities responsible for combating money laundering and terrorist financing, and establishes rules on the requirement to provide information on payers transferring funds.

This will be a useful, effective measure to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute terrorists and other criminals, and to trace their assets.

I agree with the proposed derogations aimed at taking on board the specific nature of the payment systems in the different Member States.

I support Mr Brejc’s position that there must be a sunset clause, whereby this regulation will lapse after five years if it does not prove useful. I also support the compromise reached between Mr Brejc and the rapporteur.

 
  
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  Lena Ek (ALDE), in writing. We abstain from voting on this report, as it presents Parliament with an unsolvable dilemma. On the one hand, it is implementing an international treaty and voting against it would simply reinforce the Commission’s position. On the other hand, we cannot support the introduction of ever more legislation intruding on privacy without further evidence that a massive surveillance of innocent citizens increases safety or is helpful in preventing acts of terror. It has been shown that money flows for the funding of terrorism are increasingly going underground, making use of cash and transferring money using couriers.

Further, no matter what steps are taken to protect privacy, the temptation to use these for other purposes by authorities will be great and so far no-one has created a register that does not leak information.

We are also deeply concerned about the effects on NGOs promoting democracy and human rights in undemocratic regimes. An extensive register, even though we are told it will not be used that way, will undoubtedly impair their activities.

In abstaining, we also urge the Parliament to start discussing a comprehensive policy on protection of privacy and civil liberties. The present course, where liberties are curtailed step by step, must come to an end.

 
  
  

- Grässle report (A6-0057/2006)

 
  
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  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The purpose of the amendment to the financial regulation is to simplify the rules on external contracts and grants and make them more transparent. The text currently lacks clarity and structure and as such is difficult for potential users to read.

This bureaucratic collection of rules, solely in the area of some within the Commission’s DGs, is a very costly procedure for providers and organisations applying for these grants. This excludes many micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as smaller associations, institutes and NGOs.

Furthermore, the Commission has discretionary powers in the process, and there are therefore very few companies and organisations – and it is always the same ones – that are conversant with the mechanics of the process. Ultimately, this may lead to choices being made on the basis of political support or otherwise.

As the Court of Auditors has stated, however, the review that has been submitted is not sufficient to reduce the burden and simplify the procedures for both the Commission and for potential users. Parliament’s proposals improve the situation but fall short of the urgently needed global review of the financial regulation in these matters.

 
  
  

- Gaubert report (A6-0186/2006)

 
  
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  Frank Vanhecke (NI).(NL) Mr President, I have already, during past debates on mutual information procedures relating to asylum and immigration, had cause to put a number of questions to Commissioner Frattini, since I do find myself wondering what the added value is of this system in contending with illegal immigration. I am not saying that it is a bad thing, but I do think that it still amounts to a sticking plaster on a wooden leg.

The real problem is, after all, that the policy of regularisation adopted by Italy, by Spain, and by Belgium, has resulted in an inflow of hundreds of thousands of new economic migrants, whom our open borders policy is enabling to spread themselves throughout Europe without difficulty. If the European Union really does have the intention of addressing the problem of illegal immigration, then it has to begin at the beginning. It goes without saying that the practical repudiation of the pernicious regularisations is the only way in which this policy’s powerful attraction can be neutralised, followed immediately by a consistent policy of sending all illegal and criminal immigrants back whence they came.

 
  
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  Martine Roure (PSE), in writing. – (FR) We need to implement a proper joint asylum and immigration policy. It is crucial for the Union that we put mechanisms in place for the Member States to exchange information.

Indeed, if the Member States can gain a better idea of each other's laws and regularly exchange best practice, they will be better able to identify the areas in which European legislation is needed and in turn reach an agreement that is acceptable to all.

It would be simplistic and inaccurate to say that this instrument could enable the Member States to ban regularisation, which in some national contexts is necessary. Exchange of information on these measures will help them to be better understood. Furthermore, a crackdown on legal immigration could have the effect of diverting flows to another Member State. A crackdown of this nature will therefore also have to be reported.

 
  
  

- Modification of the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities (B6-0275/2006/rev)

 
  
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  Bruno Gollnisch (NI).(FR) Mr President, Mr Gargani is right to ask for Parliament to be consulted on the modification of the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities. He is also right to call, in his report, for Parliament to have the right to appeal to the Court of Justice in the event that Member States fail to respect Members’ immunities, which were established to defend Parliament’s rights and in particular to protect MEPs against action that a hostile executive may decide to bring, via a proxy prosecutor. Particularly so after the act of utter treachery – that is not too strong a word – committed by the French Supreme Court in the case of our erstwhile fellow Member Mr Marchiani.

Mr President, the Committee on Legal Affairs must also uphold the fundamental law not to examine a request for parliamentary immunity protection on manifestly inappropriate grounds, in this case Article 9, when it is Article 10 that applies. It should adopt the same legal stance on defending freedom of expression when there has manifestly been fumus persecutionis, as in my case. Lastly, Parliament’s legal service must not endeavour to water down Parliament resolutions, or rules that the latter has inserted into its own Rules of Procedure, while there is action pending before the Court of Justice

 
  
  

- Economic and social consequences of business restructuring in Europe (B6-0383/2006)

 
  
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  Alexander Alvaro, Wolf Klinz, Silvana Koch-Mehrin, Holger Krahmer, Alexander Lambsdorff and Willem Schuth (ALDE), in writing. (DE) Mr President, the MEPs belonging to the Free Democratic Party have voted against the resolution on the economic and social consequences of business restructuring operations in Europe, being convinced that, in Europe’s market economies, businesses should be free from political pressure in deciding where their production sites should be located. In our single market, competition – including competition between regions – plays a decisive role in terms of the further development of European enterprise and of the way in which it can keep itself fit. The ultimate effect of political pressure is to impede the functioning of the market and it is for that reason that it should not be applied as a means of deterring businesses from acting on their own decisions.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted against for the following reasons:

- there is no mention whatsoever of solidarity with the Opel/GM workers, and in particular the 1 700-plus workers (and their families) of the Opel factory in Azambuja, Portugal, whose jobs are under threat due to the indifference of the GM board to the potential economic, social and regional consequences. This position has been imposed by the Right, with the complicity of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, which signed the joint resolution;

- the defence of the right of companies to take management decisions aimed at delivering their own economic growth, regardless of the potential social consequences;

- there is no mention of the economic and social impact of relocations, which most often take place with the sole purpose of cutting costs and maximising profits, with factors such as economic viability and productivity playing no part in the decision; these relocations often fail to respect contractual obligations, yet in the most mercenary fashion the businesses involved enjoy local, national and Community public aid, leaving behind a trail of unemployment and undermining local economies. Last year alone relocations led to half a million redundancies in the EU;

- the resolution falls well short of the results obtained in the March resolutions on the impact of relocations and restructuring on employment and regional development.

 
  
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  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The spirit of entrepreneurship and the role of business is vital to economic growth and development, and the substantial economic changes that we have seen mean that many companies need to restructure. Yet it is also true that there are two highly pertinent points in this proposal that should not be overlooked. The first of these is the social responsibility of businesses and the duty to honour agreements and contracts, not least when they have received grants and subsidies in respect of a particular activity. The considerations, concerns and proposals contained in this resolution are worthy of my support.

I feel, however, that the proposal to set up a European Globalisation Adjustment Fund is a timely reminder of the scale of the problem, to which we must find far-reaching solutions. The ongoing process of restructuring Europe’s business fabric, not least manufacturing, will hopefully have positive consequences, but will also have a negative social impact, especially in the initial stages. Europe, individual governments and Community institutions have a duty to prepare now for the very near future. In addition to this fund, we need to discuss other solutions and invest in other mechanisms.

 
  
  

- Fava report (A6-0213/2006)

 
  
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  Marco Cappato (ALDE). – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I believe that, in voting in favour of this report, we must pay tribute to what is perhaps a positive development, namely that the European Parliament, rather than constantly laying the blame on the United States, is beginning to look at the way in which the European Union and the Member States comply with the law, because all too often, when faced with illegality and abuses that exist, for example, regarding the transfer of personal data and regarding air passenger traffic, we have actually hidden our own illegality – the inability to comply with our own rules – behind that of the United States.

It is time for us to accept our responsibility, and I believe that the Fava report is a first step in that direction.

 
  
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  Philip Claeys (NI).(NL) Mr President, I voted against the Fava report on the grounds that it is a typical example of Left-wing bias. The temporary committee has already decided everything in advance, so that all that was needed was to find the evidence.

It just so happens that no evidence has come to light of torture or of other illegal activities on the part of the CIA in the European Union, so what this report does is to take what are actually suppositions and indications and systematically put them forward as facts, and that is intellectually dishonest.

That typifies a certain mentality that is present in this House. It can indeed be said, speaking frankly, that there are Members of this House who do not actually want terrorism to be dealt with.

 
  
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  Petr Duchoň (PPE-DE).(CS) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I should like to express my bitter disappointment at the adoption of the Fava report. There are a total of four reasons why I say this. Firstly, the report is based on one-sided, general information, and not on accurately expressed facts verified by various sources.

Secondly, the report is full of contradictions. If there were incontrovertible facts showing that the CIA had used European countries for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners, the word ‘alleged’ should have been taken out of the title. On the other side of that coin, the rapporteur’s use of the word ‘alleged’ in the title of the report, after all the efforts of the members of the Temporary Committee and other interested parties, is tacit acknowledgement that the committee has been unable to prove that any illegal act has taken place.

Thirdly, it is possible that over time, a number of the suspicions that have been voiced will prove to have been violations of the law, or perhaps new cases will come to light. Given the extent and complexity of the fight against terrorism, this should not come as any surprise. The most important thing is that we would be talking about details and not about errors in the system. People who consider that their rights have been curtailed can go through the proper, well-functioning channels to enforce these rights and claim redress.

Fourthly and lastly, we must look carefully into how much time Parliament devotes to investigating an alleged problem and how much time it devotes to the real problem of terrorism. By adopting the report by Mr Fava, we are leaving ourselves open to doubts as to whether we are capable of assessing the relative importance of individual problems and whether we will manage to address those problems appropriately.

 
  
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  Hynek Fajmon (PPE-DE).(CS) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, today in this plenary session, the MEPs from the Czech Civil Democratic Party (ODS) chose not to support the interim report by Mr Fava on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners. The report is, in our view, based on the current trend for anti-Americanism, which does not take account of the serious threat of international terrorism. The United States of America and its allies, including the Czech Republic, have channelled all their efforts over the past five years into combating this terrible threat. Since 2001, we have witnessed terrorist attacks in the USA, the UK, Spain and a host of other countries. This is a very real danger and the Fava report completely ignores the need to combat it. The report also entirely disregards the fact that it is the approach jointly adopted by the USA and its allies from a number of European countries that has enabled us to reduce international terrorism substantially and has thus provided the citizens of Europe with greater security. The report instead focuses on a number of unsubstantiated cases of dubious behaviour by the security services of the USA and its allies, and draws sweeping conclusions from those cases. The MEPs from the Czech ODS cannot support such a position with their votes.

 
  
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  Jas Gawronski (PPE-DE). – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, despite the fact that some of our amendments have been accepted, the Fava report, on which we have voted today, remains biased, one-sided and imbued with preconceptions, as well as being intent on supporting totally groundless theories.

This is a text that is one-sided in terms of its content and that even runs counter to the positions of the Italian Government. It was Prime Minister Prodi himself who, in an official communication, contradicted Mr Fava on the Abu Omar affair. While Mr Fava rejected an amendment of mine, which maintained that there was no evidence of involvement on the part of the government and of the Italian intelligence service, the Prime Minister's office was last night reaffirming its faith in our secret services.

Mr Fava’s attitude demonstrates how much bad faith exists within the Italian left, which does not want to renounce the anti-Americanism of the past or to stop using the European institutions for the purposes of attacking its opponents.

 
  
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  James Hugh Allister (NI), in writing. I voted against extending the mandate of Mr Fava’s committee to continue investigating so-called ‘extraordinary rendition’ because to date it has produced no substantiated evidence such as would justify its continuance. Rather, it is being used as a vehicle for rabid anti-Americanism, willing to trade in selective tittle-tattle while operating on a presumption of guilt by the CIA.

 
  
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  Gerard Batten, Roger Knapman and Thomas Wise (IND/DEM), in writing. UKIP have voted in favour of Amendment 13, because it emphasises that the EU High Commissioner and EU High Representative have no powers to request information in this matter from Member States. UKIP rejects the authority and opposes the creation of both these positions and therefore welcomes the acknowledgement of a limitation to their powers.

 
  
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  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report contains positive elements that confirm what we have known about and have been speaking out about for a long time, namely that the CIS and other US bodies ‘have been directly responsible for the illegal seizure, removal, abduction and detention’ of citizens – euphemistically referred to as ‘extraordinary rendition’ – and the transfer of citizens to third countries to be interrogated and subjected to torture, thereby brutally violating international law and human rights.

Among other important aspects, the report considers it ‘implausible’ that European governments were not aware of these criminal activities and ‘utterly implausible’ that hundreds of flights could have taken place in European airspace without the relevant authorities taking any action.

The report should help to demystify the real meaning of the terms ‘pre-emptive war’ and the ‘fight against terrorism’ with which the USA and its allies have sought to cloak their attacks on the populations and sovereignty of countries, in breach of international law and human rights.

The report should also help to get to the bottom of what happened and to bring those responsible to account, by clarifying the content of the NATO agreements and the agreements between the EU and the USA on this issue. It will, moreover, ensure that national parliaments will carry out their own enquiries.

 
  
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  Jean Lambert (Verts/ALE), in writing. I voted for this report as I consider it is an important practical step forward in the way in which the European Parliament is now willing to confront serious abuses of human rights within its borders and its relationship with the USA. We cannot simply accept assurances from friendly governments concerning the prohibition on torture and cruel and degrading treatment: we have a responsibility to ensure that we and our allies act within international law. In political terms, we now need to examine whether the EU and its Member States have the necessary instruments to pursue the truth about what is happening on our territory and in our name and the appropriate safeguards to protect our citizens and residents. I welcome the parliamentary majority for the continuation of the work of this Temporary Committee.

 
  
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  Astrid Lulling (PPE-DE), in writing. – (FR) I did not vote for the motion for a resolution by the Temporary Committee on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners.

Firstly, I feel that this Temporary Committee should not have been set up in the first place, given that the Council of Europe carried out an inquiry into the matter, under Article 52 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Why duplicate this task? Why impinge upon the powers and responsibilities of the Council of Europe?

Why bother tasking a Prime Minister, regardless of the size of his country, with drawing up a major report on collaboration between Parliament and the Council of Europe if, at the first opportunity, we waste our time creating a new resolution, the only purpose of which seems to be to indulge in rabid anti-Americanism?

I share the minority opinion that this Temporary Committee, which has hitherto failed to find any confirmed evidence of the alleged violations of European law and international law by EU Member States, is surplus to requirements, and that it should not continue its work.

 
  
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  Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL), in writing. (NL) Yesterday’s plenary debate on the Americans’ secret flights and secret prison camps brought out two violently opposed points of view. There are those governments that make people’s rights and freedoms subordinate to the campaign against anyone who dissents and can therefore be suspected of terrorism. Those who think like that are under the illusion that freedom and democracy can be protected by being restricted or even abolished, and tend to have a sense of close ties to the USA, with especial loyalty to the present American administration and its policies, which have resulted in the occupation of Iran and Afghanistan and to the toleration of the unsustainable situation in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

I utterly repudiate this approach. Terrorism cannot be fought by extending, rather than reducing as much as possible, the seedbed from which it springs. Such an approach does no more than prompt more and more desperate people to sympathise with the terrorist hotheads who claim to know the best solution and the best way of improving their living conditions.

What is going on before our very eyes is a gross abuse of human rights. The freedoms of individual human beings evidently no longer count for anything in the fight against terrorism. The EU’s Member States must acknowledge their share in responsibility for this.

 
  
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  Claude Moraes (PSE), in writing. The EPLP will be voting for the Fava report because we believe that it continues to be important for the European Parliament to investigate the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners.

The interim report is important for two reasons. Firstly, unlike members of the Council of Europe, MEPs are directly elected and answerable to our constituents. We investigate all manner of issues on behalf of them and we cannot ignore calls that Member States may have breached their Treaty obligations under Article 6 of the EU Treaty, which outlines the basic principles of democracy, human rights and respect of law. The European Parliament is the only body that can impose sanctions on Member States that breach these Treaty obligations. Parliament's report is also important as, unlike the Council of Europe, the committee was able to call witnesses to testify before it. The committee heard strong personal testimonies, which provided compelling evidence in the report.

 
  
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  Athanasios Pafilis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The interim report on CIA activities, with abductions, transportation, interrogations and torture in European countries confirms the disclosures by organisations and the media.

The resultant outcry forced conservative socialist forces to set up a committee of inquiry to acknowledge known facts, so that they can appear as 'innocent doves' in the eyes of the people, thereby creating a delusion as to the role of the ΕU.

The MEPs of the Greek Communist Party abstained, in a refusal to take part in the theatre of the absurd being played in the European Parliament because: An EU-US agreement was signed in Athens allowing the CIA to act with impunity and now the forces which support it are 'protesting' about its results.

The governments of the Member States, both centre right and centre left, knew about and took part in the CIA orgy and the members of the parties which support them, many of whom knew about it, appear to condemn them. They are mocking the world.

Conservatives and social democrats have sided with the 'anti-terrorist' strategy of the USA and have accepted 'preventive war' and the massacre of grassroots freedoms and democratic rights and are now washing their hands like Pontius Pilate.

No European Parliament report can be used to launder the political responsibilities of the parties that support imperialism or to delude people into believing that US-EU terrorist action will stop. It will increase as the grassroots, anti-imperialist movement grows and shifts the power ratio.

 
  
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  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The subject matter of this report cannot be addressed lightly. Human rights and the fight against terrorism, in tandem with relations with our main ally, require special focus and consideration. What emerges from this interim report is a number of doubts and suspicions that have not been clarified, as well as some contradictory statements from a number of bodies. It is therefore understandable to press ahead with the Commission’s work, but unreasonable to present unproven hypotheses as conclusions.

On a more serious note, the rejection of a number of amendments aimed at including in the report some relevant details counteracting some of the accusations and insinuations is indicative of a desire to behave belligerently towards an ally that is above any desire to discover the truth. I will have no truck with this interpretation of the role of Parliament and the EU’s external relations. I believe that both European countries and our allies are capable of making mistakes and of carrying out acts that break the law. These acts should be acknowledged and punished, but I am not prepared to make accusations without investigation or to condemn without evidence.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (PPE-DE), in writing. My British Conservative colleagues and I are unable to support the Fava report because we believe that the report is heavy on allegations and short on new evidence or proof. We were against this TDIP committee from the beginning and feel that it is a waste of money which duplicates Senator Marty's efforts in the Council of Europe.

Furthermore, there is no proof whatsoever of the existence of CIA detention camps in either Romania or Poland, neither do I believe that there has been a systematic US policy for extraordinary renditions to torture abductees in third countries.

 
  
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  John Whittaker (IND/DEM), in writing. UKIP (the UK delegation in the IND/DEM Group) voted in favour of Amendment 13 because it emphasises that the EU’s High Commissioner and High Representative have no powers to request, from Member-State governments, information of the kind referred to.

UKIP opposed the creation, and does not recognise the authority, of these posts. We welcome Amendment 13, therefore, insofar as it acknowledges some limitation of their powers.

 
  
  

- Interception of bank transfer data from the SWIFT system by the US secret services (B6-0386/2006)

 
  
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  Marco Cappato (ALDE). – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, when bank transfers are carried out in foreign countries, these are actually commercial transactions, and the personal data resulting from these transactions are data that must not be systematically used for security purposes.

In confirming my vote in favour of this resolution, I should like to stress that the problem is not just one of data being illegally transferred to a third country, but is also one of data that has been collected for commercial purposes being used instead for security purposes.

According to the European Court of Human Rights, it is a question, in this case, of blanket surveillance, which runs counter to the European directives and to the legislation of the Member States, and it is also for this last reason that we support the Swift report.

 
  
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  Gérard Deprez and Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) We voted for the resolution tabled by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats, but rejected the joint resolution on the Society for World Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) case, on the grounds of a lack of balance that cannot be rectified by a series of amendments.

We all know the difficulty involved in assessing the level of priority of the fight against terrorism and the similarly fundamental respect for our individual rights. The debate has been regularly affected by the news of detention conditions at Guantánamo, the case of the secret CIA flights, the detention centres in Europe, and now the SWIFT case. It is tricky to know where to draw the line, but this is a crucial debate in a world in which terrorism cuts across national borders.

An inquiry has been launched in Belgium to ascertain whether there are any loopholes in our data protection laws. We do not think that this vindictive resolution – which is virulently anti-American in its form, flawless in its substance (4 and 13: what a brilliant idea – the secret services are to make their operations public!) and often unreadable – improves our image among Europeans. There were other ways in which we could have expressed our determination to shed light on any breaches, whilst reiterating our steadfast commitment to combating those whose ideology flies in the face of our values.

 
  
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  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Although there are some aspects with which we disagree, we feel that this resolution should help to show the so-called ‘fight against terrorism’ in stark relief, and the securitarian trend that characterises it.

Under the ‘Terrorism Finance Monitoring Programme’ the USA has, with the help of a secret agreement, gained access to all financial data stored by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), a cooperative of 8 000 banks and institutions in 200 countries, including the European Central Bank.

The USA has thus gained access to an extraordinary amount of data on bank transfers and transactions carried out by citizens and businesses around the world. Access to this kind of information has been granted in violation of the legal procedures on data protection and without any legal basis. This breaches people’s rights, freedoms and guarantees, and the sovereign responsibility of each country as regards protecting its citizens.

Consequently, the truth must be brought out and those responsible for this unacceptable situation held to account, including the role of the European Central Bank.

This is not an isolated incident, but yet another tip of the iceberg of the true meaning of the securitarian trend that is undermining the citizens’ rights, freedoms and guarantees.

 
  
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  Athanasios Pafilis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The monitoring of movements on the accounts of millions of innocent people by the USA, with the agreement of the ΕU and the governments of the Member States, shows the depth and the objectives of the so-called anti-terrorist strategy. It forms part of the global and integrated strategy of the imperialists to record data in order to control, coerce and terrorise anyone who opposes them.

It reveals the role of the banking system, private companies and public corporations in the capitalist countries and the European Central Bank, which even infringe their own rules in the general interest of the system.

Resolutions and calls for protection of citizens' privacy and for a balance between the fight against terrorism and human rights by the conservative and social democrat parties that predominate in the EU and in the governments are monumental hypocrisy.

They were the ones who signed these agreements. It is equally insulting that, at the same time, at the same meeting, they approved a report and a proposal for a regulation to record the financial banking transactions of all EU citizens.

The MEPs of the Greek Communist Party abstained, in a refusal to take part in the attempt to create false impressions and sanctify the ΕU and the forces that support it. The Greek Communist Party will help to uncover more of the role of the ΕU which, however hard it tries to appear sensitive and democratic, will take harsher anti-grassroots and anti-democratic measures and will feel grassroots resistance growing.

 
  
  

- Lambrinidis report (A6-0190/2006)

 
  
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  Frank Vanhecke (NI). – (NL) Mr President, no matter how much it is claimed in the Lambrinidis report that integration is, in principle, a two-way process, I in fact find in the text as approved little or nothing of the sort; on the contrary, indeed, it was once more the same old tune of plenty of rights and hardly any duties.

Once again, the European Member States are called on to make it their business to discriminate positively in favour of immigrants, the logical consequence of which is that the indigenous population are to be put at a disadvantage or discriminated against. Moreover, immigrants must be accorded all political rights without any questions being asked about their willingness to integrate. It is even claimed at one point that certain cultural and religious customs must not be an obstacle to foreigners enjoying rights or being integrated into society: this even though we all know perfectly well that this is a veiled way of talking about the so-called cultural and religious customs of Islam, which are the real point at issue here and which, in fact, run completely counter to the things our European democracies have achieved and the rights enjoyed in them.

It is for this reason, among many others, that I have, of course, voted against the adoption of this report.

 
  
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  Philip Claeys (NI).(NL) Mr President, I voted against the Lambrinidis report on the grounds that it contains no solution whatsoever to these problems, but, on the contrary, is itself part of the problem. The fact that it speaks, for example of the 40 million foreigners in the European Union being capable of being considered as a twenty-sixth Member States is in itself an adequate demonstration of that. For the umpteenth time, Europe’s voters are being made the scapegoats and a veiled plea is being made for yet another restriction on the right to the free expression of opinion.

The report calls for the introduction of suffrage for aliens and for positive discrimination, which is another way of saying discrimination against Europeans and in favour of aliens. It is not just a matter of practical experiences that unrealistic rules of this sort do not work, but there is also no democratic basis to be found for them. This sort of report is the latest of innumerable examples of the democratic deficit in Europe and of the interference from the European level that can only erode still further Europeans’ confidence in Europe.

 
  
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  Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing. (FR) If proof were needed of the collapse of the pro-European political pseudo-elites, of the mental confusion in which they live, of their loss of reference points and of the topsy-turvy values from which they are suffering, the Lambrinidis report has given us that proof. What he is proposing is tantamount to across-the-board, institutionalised bias towards non-Europeans, and a form of discrimination against Europeans on their own soil, which is accompanied, financially speaking, by a kind of Marshall Plan for what he calls the ‘26th State of the Union’ and, politically speaking, by the unilateral granting of rights that ought only to be for nationals of a State.

Wake up, Mr Lambrinidis. The official admission of 40 million immigrants from outside Europe is the opening of the floodgates. The Member States already set aside hundred of billions of euro every year for so-called integration policies, which are blatantly failing, costly for society and a hindrance for their economies. Do not forget the inter-ethnic conflicts in the United Kingdom. Do not forget why Theo Van Gogh is dead. Do not forget the riots in France, in which young people shouted their hatred of our institutions, our values and everything that we stand for. The multicultural societies that you want to create are powder kegs.

Millions of Europeans are doomed to unemployment, social problems and housing difficulties. They are the ones with whom we should primarily be concerned.

 
  
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  Timothy Kirkhope (PPE-DE), in writing. My British Conservative colleagues and I welcome the broad approach of the Lambrinidis report and support the many positive and balanced elements of this report to promote the integration of immigrants into European society.


However, we should like to restate that great attention needs to be paid to ensuring that the principle of subsidiarity is completely respected in each and every aspect of policy in this important area.

In addition, we believe that asylum policy must remain the competence of national governments and do not believe in a pan-European approach as stated in recital L.

For these reasons, we have decided to abstain on this report.

 
  
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  Carl Lang (NI), in writing. – (FR) Today, there are around 50 million immigrants in Europe, most of them from Africa and Asia, and that figure is increasing by one to two million every year. The explosion in ethnic violence, the islamisation of many of our towns, and the challenges faced by our social security systems, which cannot cope with these new arrivals, are the most serious consequences of this immigration, which is all the more difficult to assimilate because the immigrants come from cultures alien to our civilisation.

Far from solving the problems, the integration proposed by the rapporteur in fact aggravates them. In France, three weeks of rioting in November 2005 reduced to ashes dozens of buildings constructed as part of this policy, including community halls, gymnasia and schools. Other proposals, such as 'encouraging political participation among immigrants', in other words giving them the right to vote, as Mr Sarkozy wants to do in France, will break up our societies still further.

Instead of swallowing up thousands of people in pseudo-integration, our governments should, firstly, establish a true cooperation policy with the countries of origin, based on reciprocity, and, secondly, launch a major pro-family policy in order to ensure the long-term survival of our nations.

 
  
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  Sérgio Marques (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) I wish to congratulate Mr Lambrinidis on his outstanding report on the strategies and means for the integration of immigrants in the EU, to which I lend my full backing.

In this regard I wish to highlight the need to guarantee the effective implementation of the Community directives on the integration of immigrants.

To this end, the EU must monitor the transposition of directives on integration and the effectiveness of administrative practices that implement the relevant legislation in the day-to-day lives of immigrants.

 
  
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  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) Although I share the rapporteur’s concerns, I cannot agree with all of the proposals he puts forward to solve one of the key problems raised by immigration, namely integration.

To cite just a few examples: the rapporteur confuses immigration from accession countries (especially in the past) with immigration from other countries, which is an error of analysis that emerges in his conclusions; he makes the mistaken assertion that the 40 million-plus nationals from third countries make ‘the EU’s 26th Member State (and its fifth largest)’; and lastly the idea, since withdrawn by the Confederal Group of the European United Left, that the Member States must confer citizenship on immigrants, without mentioning that this issue has different regulations and different raisons d’être, is a simplistic approach to a complex matter.

The fact that there is a problem at the moment with integrating some immigrant communities in the EU shows that no European model is currently working fully and effectively. Integration is a two-way process. It needs to be facilitated by the host country (by the authorities and the citizens) and must be something that the immigrants themselves want and put into practice. Failure to acknowledge this is tantamount to handing the initiative to extremist movements on both sides.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Immigration is too serious a subject to simply leave to the polling organisations or to decree it to be an important subject only during national elections. Immigration is a fact of life: more than 40 million people live within the territory of the European Union, which seems to have a great deal of difficulty coordinating its activities. It must act quickly to establish a consistent and effective immigration policy. The Finnish Presidency intends to move this thorny issue forwards by breaking down the barrier of unanimity in the Council of Ministers, which is holding back all progress in the crucial field of judicial and police cooperation, in order to combat human trafficking and illegal immigration.

I very much hope that this Nordic desire will soon be put into practice, through the implementation of a humane joint policy on the right to asylum, or cooperation between the 25 Member States to allocate quotas to each country. Another challenge that needs to be met is the integration of immigrants. As the Lambrinidis report emphasises, there is still much progress to be made in the Europe of 25 Member States if we are to make a success of this integration, particularly in the fields of access to employment, non-discrimination, the education of women, language-learning programmes and political participation. If we can win this bet, we will be one step closer to social peace.

 
  
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  Martine Roure (PSE), in writing. – (FR) European immigration policy cannot be limited to the fight against illegal immigration: we must, as a matter of urgency, establish a European policy on the integration of third-country nationals.

The Commission communication on a common agenda for integration therefore constitutes an important step forwards, and the creation of a European Fund for the integration of third-country nationals is very much in line with this. Immigrants must be able to benefit directly from this fund, and it must therefore allow them to participate more actively at all levels of education, culture and politics.

We need to promote an exchange of best integration policy practice across the Member States, in order to smooth the path for a truly European integration policy.

I also support the rapporteur's proposal that we establish fast and humane procedures to grant long-term resident status, for family reunification and for the naturalisation of long-term resident immigrants.

 
  
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  Georgios Toussas (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (EL) The ΕU addresses the question of immigration solely within the framework of the Lisbon Strategy, in order to increase the competitiveness of its economy; in other words, from the point of view of increasing the profitability of European capital. That is why its pronouncements about the social integration of immigrants are nothing more than a general wish list, without any practical backup to resolve their worsening problems. They are insulting hypocrisy, given that immigrants throughout the EU are subject to the harshest exploitation of capital, in poorly paid, uninsured jobs, with no access to fundamental social and political rights, permanently hostage to the reactionary institutional framework of the Member States and of the ΕU, which illegally keeps millions of immigrants prisoner.

The Greek Communist Party supports the fair applications of immigrants for legal status, the abolition of undeclared, uninsured jobs, increased wages and salaries, equal pay for jobs of equal value, improved, free public education and health services and full political rights for everyone. The way to resolve their problems is through their integration in the workers' class movement, resistance and the development of its struggle against the anti-grassroots policy of the ΕU and the governments, which are responsible for the poverty and misfortune of local and immigrant workers in the ΕU and the entire world.

 
  
  

- Carlotti report (A6-0210/2006)

 
  
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  Nirj Deva (PPE-DE), in writing. I and my British Conservative colleagues welcome the broad approach of the Carlotti report and support the many positive and balanced elements of this report.


However, we are against the idea of integrating the migration issue into EU external policies, as stated in paragraph six. We do not believe that a common strategy is the best way to deal with the issue. We believe that policy in this area must remain within the competence of national governments and do not believe in a pan-European approach to immigration policy.

 
  
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  Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing. (FR) Mrs Carlotti's biggest failing, which can be found in all the European Parliament's reports on this subject, is that she thinks that immigration, rebaptised for the occasion as 'human mobility', is a human right. No, we do not all have the inalienable right to settle permanently in whatever country we choose: the states must be able to decide who can enter their territory, who can stay there and for how long.

The quasi-religious philosophical prejudice held by the rapporteur has therefore led her to the wrong answers. It is quite obvious that there is a link between development and migration: hundreds of thousands of people are forced into emigration by poverty, and it is clear, as the Front National has been saying for years, that development policies are needed that will enable these people to stay in their own countries by giving them the means to live there with dignity.

One element of this is to organise the repatriation of immigrants to their countries of origin, so that those countries can benefit from the experience and the skills they gained during their stay in the European Union. This is the only option that Mrs Carlotti's report completely ignores, and that is why we are going to vote against it.

 
  
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  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We supported this report because it contained a number of points that we welcome. It does not, however, criticise the immigration policy operating in the EU or condemn the underlying causes behind the migration of millions of men and women around the world.

The report fails to criticise the EU’s immigration policy, the prime objective of which is to exploit cheap labour deprived of rights while implementing repressive measures that seek to criminalise immigrants, men and women who simply want to enjoy the right to live – that is to say, access to food, health, water, housing, education and culture – the right to employment and the right to an income.

The report also sidesteps the underlying causes of migration, which are rooted in increasingly deep inequality. This inequality is engendered by the neoliberal, militaristic policies that lie at the root of capitalist globalisation. These policies of liberalisation and privatisation are intended to promote the concentration of wealth and property in the large economic and financial groups and to manipulate the Member States into pandering to their interests, which demonstrates that they do not need interference and war to impose their ideas.

 
  
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  Martine Roure (PSE), in writing. – (FR) On the eve of the Rabat conference, it is vital that we remember that cooperation between the European Union and immigrants' countries of origin must not be limited to helping them to strengthen their borders.

We must engage in dialogue to tackle the fundamental reasons why people risk their lives to cross the oceans in search of a better life in Europe. We must facilitate codevelopment that is more closely focussed on the people, in order to reduce poverty and inequality, which are the primary causes of emigration. The establishment of a European codevelopment fund will perpetuate this principle.

Finally, we need to remember that migration must represent an opportunity for the countries of origin: we can encourage migrants to invest in their countries, in order to optimise their impact on the development of their countries.

 
  
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  Carl Schlyter (Verts/ALE), in writing. (SV) I am voting in favour of this report as it does not set out legislation and does provide many sound proposals. It emphasises equality, rights for asylum-seekers and assistance for integration and cooperation. I am, however, against the proposals contained in the report that provide for greater power for the EU on migration policy since this would have a negative impact both in practical and democratic terms. I am opposed to the inefficient new funds that are proposed and that the EU will be unable to administer successfully. I am further opposed to the cost-ineffective proposal to pay the difference in wages for returning high-earners.

 
  
  

- Schmidt report (A6-0207/2006)

 
  
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  Jean-Claude Fruteau (PSE), in writing. (FR) In Mr Schmidt's report, the European Parliament has tried to make a statement on the need to give fair trade a truly European political framework.

This approach is absolutely vital, because the pressure currently exerted by the increasing openness of the world markets represents a serious threat to the economic, environmental and social viability of the various agricultural models across the world: by forcing farmers to sell their produce for lower and lower prices, it puts them at risk by undermining their income, and is partly responsible for the deteriorating working conditions of agricultural workers and the deterioration of the environment.

Free trade can and must help to provide an alternative to this situation, which, by favouring the lowest common denominator, undermines the Millennium Development Goals. In this light, the Commission now needs to send a strong political signal in favour of a system of trade that provides producers with a decent income and helps to remove any temptations to social and environmental dumping. The growing popularity of free-trade products with European consumers is bound to act as an incentive for an initiative of this kind.

Therefore, even though I find it regrettable that Parliament has not seen fit to advocate special tariff measures (a differentiated approach similar to GSP+) to benefit free-trade products, I will vote in favour of the Schmidt report.

 
  
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  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Although this report has the best of intentions, it ultimately fails to get to the root of the problem.

The producer must of course receive a fair income – so as to cover the costs of production and to ensure a sustainable livelihood – and must, moreover, be involved in the process of placing his products on the market, to name but two of the many positive points in this report.

This must not hide the fact that the broader ideas underpinning so-called fair trade are very much at variance with the policies of liberalisation of world trade, for example in the WTO (not to mention the free trade agreements encouraged by the EU and the USA), which seek to manipulate the production systems of the economically least developed countries to meet the expansion needs of the large economic and financial groups of the ‘northern’ countries.

What is needed is a policy that respects people's right to use the natural resources and to enjoy the production and economic benefits of their country in order to improve their living conditions; a policy that encourages mutually beneficial cooperation and delivers food sovereignty; a policy whereby natural resources and the strategic sectors of the economy remain public property and under public control.

 
  
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  David Martin (PSE), in writing. I welcome this balanced report which explores the ways in which the growing popularity and number of Fair Trade products in the EU could contribute to our attempts to end social injustice and raise the standards of production in developing countries.

I have support for a number of conclusions for this report, namely that there should be adequate consumer information, a fair producer price and transparency throughout the supply chain. I sought to amend the report to make sure that the conditions of production play a full part in the notion of Fair Trade through the need to respect the eight core ILO conventions.

I also submitted an amendment urging the Commission to liaise with the international Fair Trade movement in supporting clear and widely-applicable criteria against which consumer assurance schemes can be assessed, so as to support consumer confidence in such schemes. Given the existence of several national schemes recognised by the consumer I would not at present support an EU-wide Fair Trade mark. However, I think this option should be considered in the event that a proliferation of standards and marks leads to confusion among consumers.

 
  
  

- AIDS, time to deliver (B6-0375/2006)

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) It is well known that more than 65 million people in the world have been infected with HIV, around 25 million people have died and some 15 million children have been orphaned by AIDS. This is especially serious in the developing world, where of the 40 million people currently living with HIV, over 95% live in the developing world, with over 70% in Sub-Saharan Africa alone.

Against this appalling backdrop, I wish to highlight the plight of women, who represent over half of all people living with AIDS and 60% of those living with AIDS in Africa, with women being between two and four times as susceptible to the disease as men.

Although we wish to highlight the declaration of the UN General Assembly Special Session of 2 June 2006, in particular its references to promoting access to medicines for all, which includes production of generic antiretroviral drugs and other essential drugs for AIDS-related infections, it is regrettable that the declaration lacks any global targets or timelines on treatment, resources and prevention, and does not provide a viable action plan to back up the goal of providing universal access for all HIV-affected people by 2010 ...

(Explanation of vote abbreviated in accordance with Rule 163(1) of the Rules of Procedure)

 
Last updated: 1 September 2006Legal notice