Nirj Deva (PPE-DE), in writing. My British Conservative colleagues and I have supported this report, but we fundamentally disagree with paragraph 58 of this report, which calls on Member States to work towards 'a single voting constituency', i.e. one seat representing the EU at the International Monetary Fund. However, as this paragraph is merely a 'recollection' of a previously held position we are able to support the report.
Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) It is well known that the June List opposes aid being placed under the auspices of the EU. There are a number of reasons for this. Aid policy, like foreign policy, is a national matter and, as such, ought not to be delegated to Brussels.
We are opposed to most of the report, including the calls for increased budgets. The rapporteur also involves himself in other strictly national matters, such as the monitoring and supervision of bilateral aid. There is also a proposal for the Commission to carry out strategic planning of aid given by the Member States. That is completely unacceptable.
Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE), in writing. I congratulate our rapporteur on this report, which has a number of excellent initiatives to better target aid. The EU has a great story to tell on international development, often considerably more impressive than most Member States. However, we could do better, much better, and this report has a number of good ideas which I am happy to support.
Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) It is the June List’s fundamental view that matters relating to fishing should be handled within the framework of existing international organisations. This means that the EU should not operate a common fisheries policy or prescribe fishing quotas. Sustainable fishing is a precondition for the continued existence of the fishing industry. Experience shows that the EU does not prioritise sustainable fishing. As an example, the fishing quotas prescribed for cod in the Baltic Sea have been subject to extensive criticism by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, amongst others.
David Martin (PSE), in writing. I welcome this detailed report on the possibilities and challenges which face the EU and India in seeking closer bilateral trade relations. I fully agree with the rapporteur’s call to stress the strategic importance of trade relations with India, given its impressive economic development and its status as a leader of the G20 at the World Trade Organisation.
As the country prospers internationally, the gap between the rich and the poor within its borders is widening and I therefore support this report’s emphasis on tackling trade and development issues together. India has a responsibility to its citizens to enforce core labour standards and meet environmental standards. At the same time, the EU as a global leader and a principle trading partner of India must work with the Indian authorities to ensure that the Generalised System of Preferences can continue to support Indian industry and that a delicate balance can be found between the need to enforce international rules on intellectual property and making sure that traditional knowledge and access to medicines for poverty-related diseases can be maintained.
Glenis Willmott (PSE), in writing. Whilst voting for the report, the EPLP wishes to record that it welcomes the role of the North Sea Regional Advisory Council as a provider of advice and an important element in consultation under the CFP. The EPLP also regrets that the report did not more closely acknowledge the link between actions taken in managing plaice and sole stocks in the North Sea and the scope of the cod recovery plan. North Sea cod stock recovery levels are poor and it is vital that all aspects of fisheries that impact upon it remain under the scope of the cod recovery plan.
Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The Commission is seeking to amend Regulation EEC No 2092/91, currently in force, which lays down rules on the import of organic products, with a view to tightening up the procedure for the recognition of imported organic products. It falls short, however, of what is required.
Hence the series of amendments tabled by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development with the aim of protecting both consumers and producers at national level. Consequently, emphasis has been placed on the need to control products imported from third countries, in order to ensure that the product has been obtained in accordance with production standards equivalent to those applied to organic production in the Community, and that this is reciprocated.
It would not be fair for EU farmers and consumers if third country produce did not have to undergo the same checks as those faced by EU farmers. The competent national authorities, moreover, must at least be involved in the process of recognising third-country control bodies. The fight against fraud will only be effective if there is control and recognition on the part of the national authorities of the importing countries.
Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) The June List understands that there is a need to set identical requirements for organic products from third countries, as for those produced within the EU. However, the monitoring systems for this must not generate unduly high costs, and account needs to be taken of the subsidies received by EU producers in order to produce their organic products.
We are sceptical about the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development’s proposal for an amendment, advancing the idea of stricter requirements applying to organic products from third countries and wonder whether there are hidden protectionist motives behind the committee’s amendment to the proposal for a regulation.
We are not, therefore, prepared to support the committee and have thus voted against its amendment and motion for a resolution.
Diamanto Manolakou (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (EL) Seventy per cent of organic products imported are imported under 'import licences'.
Controls are carried out on the basis of documents and not by on-site sampling. This procedure is considered fair.
It is therefore essential to ensure that organic products put onto the market with the EU-wide organic label should be produced, without exception, in accordance with the principles and conditions set out in Regulation (ΕEC) No 2092/91.
This being so, the amendments proposed by the rapporteur improve the conditions and controls of imports of organic products into the ΕU from third countries, so that imports will be more or less the same as domestic products, because the Community regulation setting out the conditions of production of organic products in the countries of the ΕU is much stricter than the Codex Alimentarius.
We also agree with the proposed regulation on the production, labelling and importation of organic products. However, we disagree on the point which states that certification may be done by accredited agencies in return for reasonable certification fees.
We believe that the public interest cannot be effectively protected by private agencies, even if they are accredited by the corresponding government agencies and spot checked by them. The public interest is effectively protected by government agencies which provide free certification to organic farmers, constituting a free service and development incentive for organic farming.
Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE), in writing. I am delighted to congratulate my group colleague on this report. Organic food is a growth market in Scotland but confidence in the standards applied in the sector is of paramount importance if we are to see the sector develop. This report goes in the right direction, but we as the EU need to go further and officially underline support for organic farming and ways to protect it and promote it.
Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) When it is used for non-military purposes and is not forming part of the trend towards oppressive security, the Galileo programme – the European satellite and radio navigation programme – is an important instrument aimed at delivering a public service. Accordingly, it should be a great opportunity for cooperation, scientific and technical progress, and for the exchange of, and access to, information, without affecting the citizens’ rights, guarantees and freedoms.
Galileo could help put an end to dependence on the US-controlled GPS system, which is administered by the US military. The latter in fact blocks access and use when they carry out their military attacks on peoples and countries.
We therefore regret that the majority in Parliament voted against the amendments tabled by our group, which were aimed at condemning the use of Galileo for military purposes and which emphasised that the programme should enable equal access for all users. Furthermore, the public should have access to the information available free of charge.
Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) Galileo is the ideal Community project for meeting the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy.
The European satellite and radio navigation programme is a fresh technological challenge that is set to bring more growth for the European economy and business opportunities. It is therefore up to us to ensure that it is not just another mere project. This first European infrastructure, which is to be managed by the Community, is a crucial factor in achieving the Lisbon Strategy.
Given that Europe is full of SMEs, this is a time of great opportunity.
The Community’s institutions must therefore guarantee their good governance, must ensure transparent, effective rules for public-private partnerships and must make sure that we derive the maximum benefit from this project.
Consequently, we must take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the project and this can only be done if we realise that this is the right way forward.
Koenraad Dillen (NI). – (NL) Mr President, I voted against this joint motion for a resolution on the grounds that it is an example of politically correct discourse about immigration, political correctness being a dogma that holds sway in this institution and questioning of which is as prohibited as was that of religious dogma in the Middle Ages.
At a time when our Mediterranean borders – one thinks of Lampedusa and the Canary Islands – cannot hold back the floods of economic migrants, Europe is still unwilling to admit that we cannot – and it was a Socialist Prime Minister who put this so aptly – bear the misery of all the world on our shoulders. Although we in Europe are willing to accept those immigrants who are prepared to assimilate, we have to tell those who are not that they must go back to their countries of origin.
We must also call an absolute halt to immigration, while at the same time putting in place an ambitious development policy aimed at reducing the pressure on people to leave the developing world, and making it clear that there is no room in Europe for Islamic fundamentalism.
Last Sunday, in a referendum, the people of Switzerland overwhelmingly opted to retain their own identity. The Swiss are a free and independent people, and Europe would do better to follow their example than to bow the knee to the intellectual terrorism of the immigration lobby.
Charlotte Cederschiöld (PPE-DE), in writing. (SV) The Swedish Conservative delegation has chosen to vote against the resolution by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats as we are stout opponents of the minimum common list of safe countries of origin as referred to in the last sentence of paragraph 9.
We also believe that this version of the resolution places too little emphasis on the fact that any measures to combat illegal immigration must be compatible with the safeguards and the fundamental rights of the individual laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
We do not entirely oppose paragraph 4 (on an obligation to inform other parties when applying more liberal rules), but we are sceptical towards it, as it could be a first step towards total supranationalisation of the asylum and immigration sphere.
Maria da Assunção Esteves (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The Tampere Council set out an ambitious political programme for Europe, namely to build a common European area in which issues of freedom, security and justice would be addressed on a perfectly level playing field. The balance that was sought at the time, however, remains too fragile today. What we are seeing is a trend towards placing security concerns ahead of human rights. The fight against terrorism and against illegal immigration have clearly dominated the Justice and Home Affairs agenda.
The new Hague Programme of 2004 lacks a vision for the future. The issue of immigration is crying out for Community decision-making – that is to say, the legitimacy that comes from Parliament’s intervention in the codecision process – and needs a binding Charter of Fundamental Rights. Immigration policy must be a Union policy based on humanitarian concerns, prevention and cooperation with countries of origin. What is needed is commitment and solidarity between the Member States, based on shared responsibilities. Otherwise the policy will not be a fair one.
Edite Estrela (PSE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of the joint motion for a resolution on the EU common immigration policy (RC-B6-0508/2006), given the need for the Union to adopt a proper common immigration policy and to remove all obstacles to the kind of European asylum system in which shared rules on protecting the fundamental rights of immigrants and asylum seekers in the EU could be defined.
The EU must take a cross-cutting approach that opens up channels for legal immigration, and encourages the integration of migrants into the host society. This approach must be based on legal integration into the labour market, the right to education and training, access to social services and healthcare and the effective involvement of immigrants in the social, cultural and political life of the host country. It is also vital to support the development of countries of origin in order to address the underlying causes of migration.
Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) In the opinion of the June List, the EU’s common immigration policy is one of the primary causes of the tragic situation to which many migrants expose themselves when, in the hope of a better life, they embark on what can quite properly be called a life-threatening journey to the EU. It is absolutely right for it to be pointed out in this resolution that the Dublin II Regulation has been, and continues to be, a failure. The Regulation has meant that countries in the southern and eastern parts of the EU, primarily, have been given the ability to decide the fate of migrants without taking any account of the immigration policies and needs of the other Member States. It is highly peculiar, as well as unacceptable, that the EU should have been experimenting with a common migration policy for a decade. All these political experiments have undermined the Member States’ right of self-determination in relation to migration whilst at the same time causing great suffering amongst migrants. The solution to the situation we face today is not to give the EU even more powers in the area of immigration so that it can continue its failed immigration policy, but to give back to the Member States their right of self-determination.
Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The resolution contains some points that we welcome. For example, it acknowledges the unfolding tragedy and points out the need to open up channels of legal migration, along with the need for effective integration and for development plans in the countries of ‘origin’.
We feel, however, that it fails to condemn the EU’s repressive, securitarian policy, which criminalises illegal immigration, whereby measures are taken to seal off borders, to set up detention centres and to expel immigrants.
We are also opposed to the creation of a common immigration policy, as this is not the right response to the questions and problems at hand, as evidenced by the results of other common policies. The reality of migration varies across EU Member States and any decision on this policy should take account of the sovereignty of each individual country, although this of course does not stop countries from cooperating on this issue.
Rather than a common policy, what is needed is a different policy and other measures that effectively protect the rights of immigrants – such as the ratification of, and compliance with, the UN Convention on the ‘Protection of all migrant workers and their families’ – and that address the underlying causes of immigration.
Timothy Kirkhope (PPE-DE), in writing. Although this motion is on the topic of a common approach to immigration in Europe, it can be supported because of its strong reaffirmation of the competences and responsibilities of individual Member States and because it underlines the need for cooperation not harmonisation.
Carl Lang (NI), in writing. – (FR) Every day, the number of dugouts and makeshift boats from Senegal, Mali, Mauritania or The Gambia beaching on the coasts of the Canary Islands is that little bit greater.
A total of some 300 000 Africans appear secretly to enter the EU each year. European leaders are necessarily having to wake up to the extent of this phenomenon and are beginning to get worried about the disastrous consequences – which they do not, for all that, condemn - of the iniquitous Schengen agreements and of the way in which the mass regularisation in Spain and Italy of the status of undocumented immigrants (more than 1 150 000 foreigners have had their status regularised by Spain since 1985) has acted as an extraordinary incentive to other potential immigrants.
For the moment, the European Union is confining itself to lecturing Spain for having been, in its view, unduly ‘lax’ in regularising the status of immigrants. There is obviously no question of changing the laws on immigration and the right of asylum on the model of Switzerland, where 68% of those who went to the polls have just voted in favour of a new law on immigration and more stringent conditions of access to the right of asylum, so equipping themselves with one of the most restrictive sets of laws in Europe.
The time of submission and passivity must come to an end. The way, now, to stem this tide of immigration is to re-establish the borders, introduce zero immigration and put a stop to naturalisations.
Marine Le Pen (NI), in writing. – (FR) It would seem that European leaders are concerned about illegal immigration. About time too! True, it is only since 1995 and the disastrous Schengen agreements that the Front National has unceasingly exposed, and warned against, the inevitable harm caused by the abolition of the EU’s internal border controls.
It was not until Spain had seen a record number of more than 25 000 African immigrants land in the Canary Islands since January and not until Italian coastguards had, over a period of nine months, taken more than 12 000 immigrants to refugee camps on the small island of Lampedusa to the south of Sicily that all the European governments and Europe’s municipal worthies began to worry about the irresistible and exponentially increasing upsurge in migration.
Europe is openly revealed as being powerless to manage its land and maritime borders. It is not, moreover, Europe’s token Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders, conspicuously slow and lacking in staff and resources as it is, that will offer an effective response to the flood of immigration.
Let us re-establish Europe’s internal borders and stop regularising the status of illegal workers in a way that only encourages further immigration. Those are the essential preconditions for putting an immediate stop to this tidal wave of immigration.
Patrick Louis and Philippe de Villiers (IND/DEM), in writing. – (FR) We voted against the two resolutions proposed to us. They outlined, with certain nuances, the difficulty in controlling the entry and movement of illegal immigrants, but never mentioned the fact that this difficulty stems precisely from the abolition of national borders.
The resolutions take up the idea, shared by Mr Sarkozy, of the complete abolition of unanimous voting in the field of justice and home affairs, that is to say the complete abolition of the Member States’ sovereignty on their own soil. This is one more example of European integration being used as a solution to the problem it presents. Those who, like the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats, are trying today in this Parliament to contain immigration are in reality creating more problems than they solve. We should not have accepted the Schengen Agreement with the abolition of permanent controls at internal borders and we should not have accepted the Treaty of Amsterdam or, rather, the communitisation of the bulk of the policies on asylum, visas and immigration, including the fight against illegal immigration. We have opened the floodgates to uncontrolled immigration and, at the same time, deprived the Member States of their powers, only to transfer them to an inevitably paralysed Union.
Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) Immigration is a sign of economic vitality, and plays a role in bringing in active, resourceful people. Illegal immigration, on the other hand, is organised crime, which threatens the lives of applicants and feeds a parallel, inhumane labour market.
For this reason, the idea of extraordinary legalisation is a case of good intentions and a bad outcome. This is a small prize for illegal immigrants and a major triumph for smuggling rings.
We must accept the key issue of how much the market can take in, if we want immigration with a positive impact. This will only be achieved, however, with clear, practical rules that facilitate legal immigration and prevent illegal immigration, which is a Europe-wide problem. I should therefore like to take this opportunity to say that the element of protecting the external borders that we share must be taken on board when the armed forces are re-equipped.
Lastly, I wish to say that I do not believe that the solution lies simply in stepping up implementation of the law. The path of fighting unbridled immigration, poverty and the terrorist threat involves exporting wealth, economic prosperity and our model of liberal democracy.
Margie Sudre (PPE-DE), in writing. – (FR) The massive influx of illegal migrants into the Canary Islands has reminded the public and the governments of the serious and complex problems presented by illegal immigration.
I should like to point out to my fellow European Members that this is not a new phenomenon as far as the French overseas departments, and particularly Mayotte, Guyana, Martinique and Guadeloupe are concerned, because they are near to some of the poorest countries on the planet. Mayotte is only a few nautical miles from the Comoros, and the Guyanese border is an area of equatorial forest that is difficult to control. The outermost regions, which include the Canaries and the French overseas departments, would therefore gain significantly from there being a common immigration policy.
It is vital, in my view, that the European Parliament emphasise five aspects of this future policy: better targeted development aid; the development of partnerships with the countries of origin; the securing of borders and the fight against human trafficking; the strengthening of the return policy; and the more effective integration of legal migrants into their host countries.
We need legislation that is clear and that identifies specific and operational priorities. The European Union can no longer make do with declarations of intent.
Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE), in writing. The situation in Darfur deteriorates before our eyes, and it is heartbreaking how powerless we are in the face of such aggression. I have followed closely the negotiation of this resolution, and do support it, albeit I would like to see us do more.
Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) The June List is strongly in favour of the realisation of the internal market. In order to bring this about, the EU has to have a common trade policy towards other states. Nevertheless, it is not the job of the EU to raise objections to India’s domestic political affairs.
The rapporteur finds fault, inter alia, with the Indian bureaucracy, with the structure of the public sector and with the regional policy of the Indian central government.
The June List champions the cause of national self-determination and sovereignty, irrespective of whether the state in question is in the EU or anywhere else in the world. We have therefore voted against this report.
Furthermore, we also do not rule out the idea of India having views on the EU’s trade and agriculture policies.
Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This important report on the EU’s relations with India covers a great many points, some of which we do not accept.
Although there are some concerns expressed in the report that we share, it forms part of a strategy of liberalising world trade within the framework of the WTO or via the proliferation of bilateral or multilateral agreements on free trade, within the framework of competition and ties with the USA, to which we are firmly opposed.
The report promotes the so-called 'Doha Development Agenda' and the pursuit of negotiations, which are currently deadlocked, on liberalising trade and markets around the world.
The report, once again, emphasises the need for the EU to urge India and the G20 to ‘realise’ (???) that ‘the European offer on agriculture must be followed by a reasonable offer by the G20 on non-agricultural market access and services’, which is unacceptable.
Hence our vote against.
Jörg Leichtfried (PSE), in writing. (DE) I voted in favour of Mr Karim's report on the EU's economic and trade relations with India. As I see it, the very important social aspects have been included, and there is also a focus on the social chasm between rich and poor, and between the south and west and the north and east. I should particularly like to emphasise the importance of the International Labour Organization (ILO) for all Indian workers. Although the report calls on foreign investors to discharge their political responsibilities, by applying the International Labour Organization's core labour standards, I should like to stress that this should, of course, also apply to Indian employers, in order to create consistent structures within India so that inequalities can be addressed and work quality can be improved.
Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The own-initiative report before us has the considerable merit of reminding us of the importance to our future of an appropriate strategy towards relations with India. The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are a key factor in understanding the current state of play in world trade, although we should not be considering drawing up identical strategies as regards Brazil, Russia, China or India. Far from it, in fact.
Our relations with the BRIC countries should be pursued in such a way that globalisation, economic development and the growth in world trade should be factors in prosperity for all, or at least for the maximum number of people, and this means employing separate strategies. Democratic, populous India is different from non-democratic, populous China and our neighbour Russia.
If we want to be a successful project, one of our priorities should consist, on the one hand, of seeing our future in relation to the development of these countries and, on the other, of drawing up appropriate strategies for relations with each of them. India is of major importance, and in geographical, political and economic terms, the country’s situation requires special attention, as we expect it to be an important ally in the future.
Hynek Fajmon (PPE-DE). – (CS) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the MEPs from the Czech ODS party refused to back the report by Mrs Breyer on perspectives of women in international trade. This report is a piece of left-wing, feminist agitation that cannot bring any positive results. We are completely opposed to the theory of gender equality and to all of the requirements based on this mistaken approach to human society. We look upon people as individual citizens with individual rights and freedoms guaranteed by the State and not as collective groups pre-determined by gender and with collective rights. Equality before the law has long been a reality in all countries. In the EU Members States all men and women enjoy freedom and make use of it in various ways as they see fit, and an example of this would be the way that women devote more time to looking after children more than men do. The requirement for equality between men and women conflicts with the idea of freedom. Consequently, we cannot under any circumstances support quotas for women in the boardrooms of public companies, as proposed in the report. I also disagree with the rapporteur’s belief that the liberalisation of world trade will bring men and women the world over fresh opportunities for fulfilment and greater wealth. We therefore voted against the report.
Charlotte Cederschiöld, Christofer Fjellner, Gunnar Hökmark and Anna Ibrisagic (PPE-DE), in writing. (SV) We have voted against the report on perspectives of women in international trade.
Free trade increases wealth and reduces poverty. In recent decades, globalisation has led to dramatic improvements in standards of living, not least amongst women and children. Free trade creates a larger number of formal employment positions whilst also, in contrast to what is claimed in the report, providing women in informal employment with increased security and a route out of poverty.
In this report, the focus is on form instead of substance. Equality is important, especially in terms of the working world, where a situation in which women receive their own wages contributes considerably to their becoming independent and gaining control over their own lives. More globalisation, and not expanded EU institutions, is the correct way to increase the autonomy of women.
Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted in favour of this resolution because, in spite of some areas to which we had objections, it takes a positive view of the role of women and of the fight against discrimination, namely in the field of international trade.
We must point out, however, that the report ought to go further in that it failed to criticise the liberalisation of international trade and the detrimental impact that this has on the people of less developed countries, and in particular on women. It should also have criticised the efforts of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats to block a more progressive view of the fight for women's rights.
Furthermore, it should have condemned the disgraceful actions of multinationals, which use women's work in one country until they find another country in which they can make bigger profits, turning a blind eye to the impact on women of increased unemployment and worsening living conditions.
Robert Goebbels (PSE), in writing. – (FR) I refused to take part in the vote on the Breyer report which, taking as its basis the necessary promotion of women in all areas of the economy, has become a hotchpotch of ideas that mixes up the best and, above all, the worst.
David Martin (PSE), in writing. I voted in favour of this report, as it recognises the vital yet often overlooked role of women in supporting economies across the world. It finds that inequality continues to exist between women and men both within and outside the European Union in terms of their opportunities to pursue education and work. At the same time, the report draws attention to the important fact that so-called 'women’s work', including caring for the family and providing social care, has been traditionally unrecognised and unremunerated.
The fact is that women already contribute significantly in economic terms in both the public and private spheres. Many international trade and development policies have in the past failed to recognise the extent to which women in developing countries engage in income-related activities and control the household budget. I therefore welcome and support calls for policies to encourage greater economic participation by women with the aim of further improving their status and boosting their income and assets. I also support the report’s recommendation that EU Member States should follow Norway’s example in providing for a 40% quota in female representation on the boards of its joint-stock companies.
Cristiana Muscardini (UEN), in writing. (IT) The relationship that exists between gender issues and trade is not only economically important, but also sadly reflects a culture found in various parts of the world, where women are still on the margins of society.
The report maintains that the growth of trade has made it easier for women to enter the modern industrial economy and to do so more quickly than before. Allow me to make an observation: all too often statements of principle do not correspond to reality; in fact, female entrepreneurs continue to encounter huge problems, partly because they often represent small and medium-sized enterprises or distributors and the craft industry, sectors that are being increasingly affected by the globalisation of markets, a process that all too often lacks clear and common rules.
What is in fact required is not only more economic aid, but also more structural aid, in order to support women in the world of work and enterprise and to take a firm stand against this pseudoculture that sees women’s social and economic rights – as sanctioned by the Beijing Platform for Action – ignored or even labelled obstacles.
Despite our vote in favour of the report, I must point out that the Union’s political and practical task is to tackle, with courageous proposals, the negative aspects that penalise a broad cross-section of women, especially in the poorest countries, but also in the EU Member States.
Lydia Schenardi (NI), in writing. – (FR) I must congratulate my fellow Member, Mrs Breyer, on her report. Indeed, I can only endorse its conclusions, which recommend, and I quote: ‘radically changing the European Union’s trade policies’. It has taken a report by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality for the rights not just of women, but of all workers, to at last be taken into account in the current globalisation process sought and undergone by Brussels.
The rapporteur is almost naïve in her apparent discovery that competitive pressure in an increasingly globalised economy leads to a reduction in salaries and operating costs, to unemployment, to relocations and to the closure of businesses. The figures are in fact very worrying: 70% of the 1.3 billion people who live in poverty worldwide are women.
However, I must admit that it is worth stressing here that gender inequality, particularly in Asia and Africa, where women are humiliated, scorned and considered inferior to men, obviously creates difficulties in the economic, commercial, social and political fields. Above all, it is quite clear that it is the very status of women that needs to be reviewed immediately in all of those countries in which Islamic law very often prevails.
Marie-Arlette Carlotti (PSE), in writing. – (FR) Between economic difficulties, the exhaustion of stocks and finicky controls, European fishing is in a bad way. Mediterranean fishermen are being hit hard. It is high time the European Union learnt its lessons from this finding.
This report includes several positive guidelines, which represent the fruits both of our joining forces with the fishermen from my region and of the support of my political group. Firstly, it calls on the European Commission to review its work and to formulate more specific and more ambitious proposals in order to respond to the seriousness of the crisis hitting the sector. Secondly, it supports the professional fishermen’s organisations and their role (co-management) in applying the CFP and in improving the management of the resources. Finally, it integrates several of our amendments aimed at safeguarding small-scale fishing in the Mediterranean.
With this in mind, I shall vote in favour of this report, as it constitutes a strong political signal paving the way for an ambitious EU policy.
I would, however, have liked the European Parliament to have gone further in terms of demanding a specific programme for Mediterranean fisheries. Our amendment on this subject has been rejected. We will not stop there. We will continue the fight alongside the fishermen from my region.
Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) With this vote, Parliament has ratified the main proposals adopted unanimously in the Committee on Fisheries, aimed at improving the economic situation in the fisheries sector, and this is something we welcome.
These proposals from representatives of the fisheries sector have been on the table for a long time and were designed to tackle the current economic and social crisis, which has been exacerbated by the steep rise in fuel costs.
We welcome the inclusion in the final text, on the basis of our proposal, of the definition of clear priorities for fisheries resources and fishing, with adequate funding from the Seventh Community Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration activities.
We also welcome the fact that, in spite of pressure from the main countries known as ‘net contributors’, such as Germany, the call to increase funding for the European Fisheries Fund has been retained; this against a backdrop, noted in the resolution before us, of insufficient resources to fund the instruments of the common fisheries policy.
It is now up to the Commission to table initiatives aimed at putting those funds in place.
We regret, however, that the call to set up a public insurance policy for the fisheries sector to deal with unexpected events was removed. This is especially disappointing given that Parliament has called for such a policy for other sectors such as agriculture.
Diamanto Manolakou (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (EL) The fishing industry is important both to the food chain and to local economic development. In remote areas especially, such as the Aegean Islands in Greece, survival depends on fishing, which also helps to maintain local cultural traditions.
Over recent years there have been numerous problems, in coastal fisheries in particular, partly caused by the COM, vessel scrapping programmes, the reduction in first-sale prices to fishermen, with no concomitant reduction for consumers, and increased costs due to increased fuel prices. As a result, the industry is in crisis, incomes are falling drastically and areas are being abandoned.
The Commission communication identifies the difficulties in the industry, but the solutions it proposes are not viable. They not only fail to resolve the problems; they also create more. In addition, no provision whatsoever is made for the subsidies needed for the industry, as the rapporteur rightly points out.
On the contrary, it proposes a reduction of fishing effort and fleet adjustment; in other words, a cessation of activity resulting in unemployment for a large number of small and medium-sized fishing undertakings and the concentration of the fleet among a few large undertakings. This policy of the ΕU and the governments is condemnable, because it creates a cartel in several industries, which exploit producers and consumers.
Jan Mulder (ALDE), in writing. (NL) The VVD delegation has voted to adopt the Guerreiro report on the grounds that our party wants to see the economic position of the fisheries sector improve. We are aware that many involved in the fisheries sector have faced economic insecurity over recent years as a consequence of rises in the price of fuel. We are also, however, advocates of a sustainable fisheries sector, and so we oppose the renewal and modernisation of the fisheries fleet except in so far as it is done on the basis of sustainability. We are also opposed to the payment of compensation on the grounds that this would constitute an artificial subsidy to the fisheries sector.
Seán Ó Neachtain (UEN), in writing. I welcome this Commission communication, which recognises the tough economic climate that the EU fishing industry has to contend with.
It is very well to say that the scrapping of vessels and the removal of extra capacity will lead to increased profitability, whereas in reality many a coastal community has been devastated by such a move. This is as true for the coastal community of the Algarve in Portugal, which we visited a few weeks ago, as it is for traditional fishing communities on the island of Ireland.
I accept that a balance between fish resources and fleet numbers needs to be gained, but I do not accept that this should be at the expense of small fishing fleets, which account for over 80% of the European fleet. We need a level playing field for conservation measures taken against small fishing fleets and those taken against deep-sea fishing.
I believe the CFP has not been successful as a Community instrument in protecting those traditional fishing fleets and the communities to which they belong, and it is time to change the policy to achieve a better balance.
Glenis Willmott (PSE), in writing. The report acknowledges the economic difficulties facing the sector. However, to maintain a consistent position on the major problems facing the fishing industry – over-capacity and over-fishing – the EPLP wishes to record its disagreement with the position adopted by the report on four issues:
1. Scrapping and decommissioning – the EPLP believes that this should be an option within strategies to deal with fisheries over-capacity.
2. Proposed increase in de minimis aid, payments that can be paid to the fishing industry for measures that would otherwise be deemed to distort competition or increase capacity – the report called for an increase to raise the level to EUR 100 000. The Commission suggested EUR 30 000 and the EPLP advocates a more cautious approach.
3. Engine replacement and the European Fisheries Fund – the report has been overtaken by the compromise agreement on the EFF but the EPLP maintains its view that there should not be subsidy for vessels or engine replacement.
4. Subsidy/compensation mechanisms – the report suggests these but does not acknowledge the role this plays in fuelling over-capacity in fishing.
Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report calls on the Commission to match the rules on shark fishing with what is actually happening in the Community, as regards the ratio of fin weight, currently 5%, to dressed weight of catch.
This limit has been transferred directly from the reality of the USA and is not appropriate for the species fished by EU Member States, for example, the blue shark, which is caught mainly by Portuguese fleets in the waters off the Azores.
As such, we agree with the rapporteur that this limit should be raised to 6.5%, in accordance with existing scientific studies and with requests from various Member States, whose fleets have been affected by the current deadlock in the Commission. This situation was mentioned in the report by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.
In the case of Portugal, 11 surface longliners for catching swordfish and pelagic species, to which the 5% ratio applies, are in jeopardy.
In view of the fact that, even in amendments that have been tabled, there is a degree of contradiction between scientific and technical findings, we feel that a technical forum involving scientists and people working in the sector should be held, with a view to reaching a scientific consensus and to clarifying whether the limit needs to be changed and by how much.
Glenis Willmott (PSE), in writing. The EPLP warmly welcomed Council Regulation (EC) No 1185/2003 on the removal of shark fins on vessels as important for fish conservation purposes. The regulation is designed to prevent shark finning where shark carcasses are thrown overboard after high-value shark fins have been removed. The practice of shark finning is known to endanger the survival of several shark species.
Against this background the EPLP is appalled and disappointed that the Miguélez Ramos report before us threatens to increase shark finning. Paragraph 5 of the report requests an increase of the 5% fin to live weight ratio to 6.5%, particularly for blue sharks. Paragraph 5 of the report incorrectly implies that ICES and ICATT support an increase in the fins to live weight ratio for the blue shark. A paper was submitted to ICES in 2005, but ICES has not considered this paper or issued an opinion. Likewise in ICATT where scientists have reviewed fin to carcass ratios but have not recommended an increase of the fin to carcass ratio.
The EPLP supported those amendments which would help to get rid of the barbaric practice of shark finning.
- Amendment 1 which would suspend any change in the fin to carcass ratio pending a review; (…)
(Abbreviated in accordance with Rule 163(1) of the Rules of Procedure)
Robert Goebbels (PSE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of the Ransdorf report because it highlights the importance of nanosciences and nanotechnologies in fields as diverse as medicine, surgery, energy, electronics, metallurgy, and so on. However, I voted against the amendments tabled by the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance and against certain paragraphs that, using the precautionary principle as a pretext, are aimed at making people think that nanotechnologies are dangerous, because they manipulate the smallest particles - atoms and molecules. That is ridiculous. Where the Americans see opportunities, Europeans want first to protect themselves against any risk imaginable!
Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) The emergence of new sciences always brings its share of enthusiasm, hope, questioning and even opposition, and nanotechnologies, as sciences that relate to atom-sized objects, are no exception to the rule.
As a member of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, I am naturally inclined to support the work of researchers on nanosciences and on the control of the assembly of atoms. Theirs is revolutionary work that conceals a huge potential of technological applications in areas as diverse as vehicles, foodstuffs, medicines and regenerative medicine.
We need to strengthen Europe’s position on nanotechnologies in the face of global competition. More than EUR 610 million in funds must be released each year from the 7th FPRD. It is also vital that we give clear answers to the citizens, who are worried about the possibility of nanoparticles being toxic to the environment, the food chain and the body.
The public’s support is not given as a matter of course; it is earned and it requires education, patience and transparency. That is why the Union and the Member States must avoid making the same mistakes on this issue that they made on the GMO issue, where unclear information and measures led to a large number of Europeans becoming suspicious of, and rejecting, a science that was nonetheless promising.