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Eljárás : 2007/2664(RSP)
A dokumentum állapota a plenáris ülésen
Válasszon egy dokumentumot :

Előterjesztett szövegek :

B6-0496/2007

Viták :

PV 13/12/2007 - 4
CRE 13/12/2007 - 4

Szavazatok :

PV 13/12/2007 - 6.14
CRE 13/12/2007 - 6.14

Elfogadott szövegek :

P6_TA(2007)0628

Viták
2007. december 13., csütörtök - Strasbourg Lektorált változat

4. Textilek (vita)
PV
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  Presidente. L'ordine del giorno reca la discussione su:

– l'interrogazione orale alla Commissione sulla scadenza del cosiddetto "memorandum d'intesa" tra l'UE e la Cina riguardante l'importazione di determinati prodotti del tessile e dell'abbigliamento, di Pedro Guerreiro, Jacky Hénin, Roberto Musacchio, Marco Rizzo, Ilda Figueiredo, Helmuth Markov, a nome del gruppo GUE/NGL (O-0077/2007 - B6-0388/2007);

– l'interrogazione orale alla Commissione sui prodotti tessili, Gianluca Susta, Ignasi Guardans Cambó e Johan Van Hecke, a nome del gruppo ALDE, Robert Sturdy, Tokia Saïfi, Georgios Papastamkos e Vasco Graça Moura, a nome del gruppo PPE-DE, Erika Mann, Glyn Ford, Kader Arif e Elisa Ferreira, a nome del gruppo PSE, Cristiana Muscardini e Eugenijus Maldeikis, a nome del gruppo UEN, Caroline Lucas e Alain Lipietz, a nome del gruppo Verts/ALE (O-0074/2007 - B6-0383/2007).

 
  
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  Patrizia Toia (ALDE), Autore supplente. Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, intervengo anche a nome del collega Gianluca Susta, primo firmatario dell'interrogazione, oggi assente per sopraggiunti importanti impegni in Italia. Ancora una volta, il Parlamento vuole affrontare la complessa situazione dell'industria tessile, chiedendo alla Commissione interventi più decisi e adeguati.

Il settore impiega in Europa milioni di lavoratori, rappresenta un fatturato significativo in molti paesi e fa dell'Europa il secondo grande esportatore al mondo, dando dunque un rilevantissimo contributo all'export europeo. E' un settore che è sbagliato, a mio avviso, considerare maturo, perché può in molti casi avere opportunità di modernizzazione attraverso innovazioni tecnologiche, ricerca per nuovi materiali e ha un forte legame con quegli ambiti della moda, dello styling e quelle altre specializzazioni che in molti paesi europei hanno delle vere e proprie eccellenze riconosciute in tutto il mondo.

Naturalmente, ciò comporta un forte sostegno al settore attraverso politiche industriali che lo mettano in grado davvero di affrontare la competitività mondiale. Questi sono anche i suggerimenti del gruppo di alto livello, a suo tempo insediato e per il quale chiediamo alla Commissione quali sono stati esattamente i seguiti e le attuazioni. Nell'immediato, i problemi urgenti riguardano le misure da affrontare per la fatidica data dell'inizio 2008.

Cito solo tre problemi: la necessità di controlli attentissimi, ma come intende la Commissione attuare il sistema di sorveglianza perché ci siano forti garanzie; come affrontare il rischio di triangolazioni e dunque il problema del doppio controllo delle licenze? Insomma, per tutti gli strumenti, ottimi sulla carta, il problema è il come saranno però realizzati. Infine, la garanzia dell'autenticità dei prodotti e quindi la necessità di proseguire la lotta alla contraffazione, alla pirateria, alle prassi commerciali sleali e auspichiamo che il Consiglio – oggi è assente – ma noi auspichiamo che il Consiglio adotti il regolamento del "made in" che è veramente necessario e sarebbe una vera misura di garanzia.

Problema della protezione dei consumatori anche sotto il profilo della sicurezza e della salute. Dobbiamo applicare ai prodotti importati le stesse misure che noi attuiamo per i prodotti di garanzia e della sicurezza della salute per la fabbricazione dei prodotti all'interno del nostro mercato europeo.

Infine, c'è un problema – e chiediamo questo alla Commissione – di disponibilità. Se all'inizio del 2008 ci fossero ancora boom di importazioni, ci fossero ancora, diciamo, picchi, come si sono verificati in passato, chiediamo che ci sia una vera disponibilità ad affrontare anche nuovi strumenti ed eventualmente anche nuove misure e clausole di salvaguardia.

 
  
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  Tokia Saïfi (PPE-DE), auteur. – Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Commissaire, il y a deux ans, suite à la levée des quotas, le secteur du textile connaissait un véritable big bang. Pour tenter de remédier à cette crise, vous prôniez, Monsieur le Commissaire européen, des mesures transitoires mais palliatives, avec l'ambition de contrôler et de limiter les importations de certains textiles chinois. Dans quelques jours, ces garde-fous n'existeront plus et les échanges commerciaux textiles seront soumis à la surveillance d'un regard croisé Union européenne-Chine, que j'espère attentif et vigilant.

En effet, aujourd'hui, notre inquiétude repose sur la façon dont sera mis en place ce système de surveillance conjointe. Quels sont les gages dont nous disposons pour nous assurer que ce double contrôle sera adéquat et efficace? Le textile est un secteur qui a été de tout temps mondialiste tant en termes de production que de consommation, mais qui a fait les frais d'une certaine mondialisation.

Or, cette mondialisation peut s'anticiper et se réguler. Pour cela, il faut avoir la volonté politique de créer un cadre compétitif pour nos industries textiles européennes. Nous devons progresser vers des conditions d'accès au marché équitables et réciproques. Nous devons continuer à utiliser sans crainte les instruments de défense commerciale dont l'Union européenne dispose, car être protecteur n'est pas être protectionniste. Nous devons faire de la lutte contre la contrefaçon notre priorité. L'Europe de demain n'aura plus d'industrie si on ne défend pas ses droits de propriété intellectuelle et son savoir-faire. Une application des mêmes règles du jeu par tous et pour tous est la seule manière d'offrir à toutes les parties concernées un scénario gagnant-gagnant.

Je fais donc le vœu pour 2008, Monsieur Mandelson, que nous puissions envisager ensemble et dans un climat plus serein l'avenir prometteur du secteur "textiles".

 
  
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  Kader Arif (PSE), auteur. – Monsieur le Président, chers collègues, à quelques semaines de la fin des négociations du Protocole d'accord prévoyant des restrictions sur les importations de textiles chinois, il est indispensable que le Parlement européen adopte une position forte sur l'avenir de son secteur textile, dont les structures et les modes d'organisation sont menacés par une mise en concurrence brutale avec la Chine.

La résolution conjointe que nous proposons aujourd'hui demande un engagement clair de la part de la Commission européenne et des États membres, et ce sur plusieurs points.

Tout d'abord, pour que les entreprises et les travailleurs du secteur, qui doivent faire face à des risques de restructuration importante, soient pleinement accompagnés par des mesures sociales adéquates et par l'octroi de fonds européens à l'appui de la modernisation de leurs structures de production.

Ensuite, nous devons nous attacher à renforcer la compétitivité du secteur européen du textile dans le cadre plus global d'une politique européenne industrielle forte et ambitieuse. Cet objectif ne pourra être atteint tant que les paroles ne se traduiront pas par des actes et tant que nous n'investirons pas massivement dans la recherche et le développement.

Par ailleurs, face à la concurrence déloyale de certains de nos concurrents, qui fondent leurs avantages comparatifs sur du dumping social ou environnemental voire les deux, l'Europe a besoin d'instruments de défense commerciale efficaces. Cette meilleure efficacité ne sera pas atteinte par une réforme précipitée, qui affaiblirait les moyens de protection de l'Union, mais par une utilisation plus transparente et plus prévisible des instruments existants.

Enfin, l'Europe doit faire du partenariat euro-méditerranéen le socle d'une zone de production intégrée tirant parti de la proximité des pays méditerranéens pour être plus compétitive sur le marché international du textile. Le développement des pays méditerranéens avec lesquels nous souhaitons créer un partenariat renforcé dépend en effet de notre capacité à leur proposer des engagements concrets, sur des politiques et des secteurs d'activités d'intérêt commun.

 
  
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  Cristiana Muscardini (UEN), Autore. – Signor Presidente, signor Commissario, onorevoli colleghi, a pochi giorni dalla fatidica scadenza del 31 dicembre 2007, quando il sistema delle quote sui tessili dalla Cina sarà definitivamente abolito, crescono le preoccupazioni dell'industria europea.

La Cina è entrata da tempo nell'Organizzazione mondiale del commercio e ne ha tratto molti benefici, a cominciare dal divieto di reintrodurre le quote sulle sue esportazioni tessili. A fronte di tali vantaggi avrebbe dovuto corrispondere a degli adempimenti definiti e sanciti nell'ambito dell'Organizzazione mondiale del commercio. Non ci sembra che questo sia accaduto, a discapito di una concorrenza internazionale che è ancora lontana dall'essere equa e con regole uguali per tutti.

Non mi riferisco a quei vantaggi comparativi di natura sociale ed ambientale che ancora purtroppo sfuggono ad un inquadramento giuridico nei negoziati commerciali multilaterali e che un giorno, spero molto presto, dovranno riconciliarsi invece nel quadro di un commercio che possa definirsi veramente equo. Mi riferisco oggi alle regole che presiedono a una lotta seria alle contraffazioni, agli standard di sicurezza di molti prodotti, dai giocattoli alle medicine, all'accesso per le nostre imprese in un mercato come quello cinese che non è il solo dove ancora esistono, per il tessile, ma anche per altri settori, barriere tariffarie e soprattutto non tariffarie che rendono difficoltoso all'industria europea e alle piccole e medie imprese del settore l'ingresso nel mercato cinese.

Di fronte a situazioni di questo tipo negli scambi internazionali non bisogna avere paura ad utilizzare, se ne ricorrono i presupposti legali ed economici, quegli strumenti legittimi esistenti e che gli accordi internazionali multilaterali hanno posto a tutela e salvaguardia dell'industria tessile, proprio per bilanciare i possibili effetti negativi della caduta delle quote. Mi riferisco alla funzione e all'efficienza dell'alto gruppo di sorveglianza del mercato del tessile che avrà il compito di monitorare l'andamento del mercato in Europa attraverso il sistema del doppio controllo delle licenze all'export e all'import, un modo che dovrebbe permettere di individuare triangolazioni commerciali e dare indicazioni sul flusso di importazioni.

Poi però, bisogna avere il coraggio e la forza di attivare la clausola di salvaguardia in base alle regole del WTO e ripristinare le quote, almeno temporaneamente, se si creassero pregiudizi seri per la nostra industria a causa di flussi abnormi di importazione. Penso all'utilizzo costante degli strumenti di difesa commerciale come l'antidumping e l'antisovvenzione e, più in generale, al mantenimento di un canale di confronto costantemente aperto tra la Cina e l'Unione europea.

La nostra industria tessile non teme la concorrenza, ma va messa in condizioni di poterla affrontare. Di conseguenza, occorre agire su due piani diversi, da un lato l'importanza di favorire quel processo di modernizzazione e di ristrutturazione che rende più competitivo il settore con ammortizzatori sociali per far fronte ai possibili contraccolpi, dall'altro la necessità di garantire al settore di giocare ad armi pari e con regole uguali per tutti.

Signor Presidente, signor Commissario, anche per questo noi invitiamo la Commissione e il Consiglio a dare un avvio più forte e più incisivo per l'identificazione dell'origine del prodotto.

 
  
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  Caroline Lucas (Verts/ALE), author. – Mr President, I should like to emphasise that the Greens are very aware that the consequences of a totally liberalised textile and apparel market for EU-based producers is still a very pressing issue, particularly for certain production zones within the EU in which the industry is highly concentrated. Several hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost since the beginning of 2005, albeit fewer than some of the worst predictions.

The Greens have from the start flagged our concern about the impact of competition on European producers. I think we need to monitor the situation carefully and be ready to apply import restrictions if import surges in the next year overwhelm the capacity of EU-based apparel industries to adapt, as well, of course, as channelling research and development resources to that sector.

However, we need to be aware that the problem is very much harder for certain poor countries in the South, like Bangladesh and the Philippines, which have been induced by the World Bank and other donors to invest heavily in exporting clothing and apparel products and now find themselves with shrinking export opportunities, a continuous debt burden, no financial means for adjustment of the sector, and misery – especially for millions of women who work for almost nothing in nightshifts in order to undercut the cheapest offer on the market with an even cheaper one.

It is, in fact, that latter perspective that emphasises that in certain sectors, where too many producers produce too many products, some kind of management tools to control supply are necessary and in the interests of the majority. That is why I urge colleagues to support the amendment that the Greens and Socialists have filed together, which reads: ‘Calls on the Commission to evaluate the usefulness of supply-side management tools for the clothing sector, in order to level off global competition and prevent a lowest-common-denominator approach to social and environmental standards.’

A completely liberalised market in sectors characterised by overproduction capacities brings misery to all but a few. In that respect I think we should use the example of the apparel industry to press for new thinking about the way in which policy ought to regulate markets for the benefit of all. The reintroduction of some kind of quotas should be considered in this evaluation of supply-side management tools.

Another option mentioned in the joint resolution which deserves a more comprehensive evaluation is the creation of a Euromed production zone of the clothing and apparel industry. Indeed, that option not only points towards the improvement of opportunities for development in the southern Mediterranean rim states, but also gives opportunities to the southern European textile and apparel producers who would profit from shorter transportation times to EU markets. It is one of the good examples of how a Euromed economic zone could be sensitively managed without dragging the whole of the Mediterranean region in all-out liberalisation through a free trade agreement. From my Group’s perspective, we regard this proposal as an option in its own right that should be fostered independently of the contested 2010 Euromed free-trade-agreement project, which, according to the sustainability impact assessments done by DG Trade in the Commission, would involve a significant number of quite negative social and environmental consequences.

 
  
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  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), Autor. – Valorizamos a realização deste debate para o qual o meu grupo parlamentar muito contribuiu. Trata-se de um debate que queremos que contribua para defender o emprego e a actividade do sector têxtil e do vestuário, um sector que é estratégico para a União Europeia e que tanto tem sido desprotegido e menosprezado.

Quanto às perguntas à Comissão, nada mais temos a acrescentar, elas estão colocadas. Relativamente à proposta de resolução comum, que deverá ser hoje adoptada pelo Parlamento Europeu, gostaríamos de sublinhar que, embora contenha um conjunto de pontos que, a serem concretizados, poderão defender e valorizar o sector do têxtil e do vestuário na União Europeia, outros tem que merecem as nossas reservas.

Apenas três exemplos: o denominado fundo de ajustamento à globalização não deverá ser utilizado como almofada momentânea para os inaceitáveis custos sociais e económicos do encerramento e da deslocalização de empresas, com a consequente destruição de postos de trabalho. Ou seja, há que intervir nas causas e não nos efeitos. Há que inverter as actuais políticas de liberalização e disponibilizar meios financeiros que contribuam de forma efectiva para a defesa do emprego, para a modernização do sector e para promover, igualmente, a implantação de outros sectores industriais, incluindo ligados ao têxtil e ao vestuário que permitam a diversificação industrial das regiões onde este se concentra actualmente.

Pouco sentido terá incitar também a União Europeia a encorajar outros a rever as suas políticas monetárias se esta não reavaliar primeiro e, criticamente, a política de euro forte e o seu impacto nas exportações de alguns países da União Europeia. Tão pouco fará sentido apelar a medidas de defesa comercial relativamente à China, quando ao mesmo tempo se apoia o estabelecimento de uma zona de livre comércio euromediterrânica.

Não caberá nesta intervenção recapitular as nossas propostas quanto ao têxtil e o vestuário na União Europeia. Elas estão expressas na nossa proposta de resolução. No entanto, gostaríamos de referir algumas das propostas de alteração que apresentámos à resolução comum.

Propostas que visam colmatar a inexistência de qualquer referência às graves consequências da liberalização do têxtil e do vestuário ao nível mundial, com o encerramento e a deslocalização de numerosas empresas, em particular para o Norte de África e a Ásia, deixando atrás de si um rasto de desemprego e de grave crise socioeconómica, que frisam que o denominado "mecanismo de vigilância", de duplo controlo, só fará sentido se assegurar, efectivamente, que não volta a ocorrer a situação de 2005, salientando que são necessárias novas medidas de salvaguarda de modo a manter e a promover o emprego e a actividade do sector na União Europeia. Propostas que sublinham que alguns países adoptaram medidas de salvaguarda até final de 2008, não se compreendendo porque é que a União Europeia também não o fez.

Propostas que expressam preocupação relativamente às intenções da Comissão no sentido de rever os instrumentos de defesa comercial, segundo, consideramos nós, os interesses das empresas que deslocalizam a sua produção para países onde são menores os baixos salários e praticados baixos critérios sociais e ambientais. Propostas que propõem a criação de um programa comunitário para apoiar o têxtil e o vestuário particularmente dirigido às regiões mais desfavorecidas, actualmente dependentes deste sector e ao apoio às pequenas e médias empresas. Propostas que insistem na necessidade da criação de um quadro regulamentar para penalizar as deslocalizações, condicionando a concessão de ajudas públicas às empresas, a compromissos de longo prazo em termos de desenvolvimento regional e emprego, incluindo a restituição das ajudas em caso de incumprimento. Propostas, por fim, que solicitam o reforço do poder dos representantes dos trabalhadores no Conselho de Administração das empresas e na tomada de decisões de gestão de carácter estrutural. Propostas que esperamos tenham o apoio do Parlamento Europeu.

 
  
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  Peter Mandelson, Member of the Commission. Mr President, as Members of this House know, back in 2005 the EU and China agreed a memorandum of understanding that included a two-and-a-half-year transition arrangement designed to give some extra breathing space to EU textile producers following the liberalisation of global trade in textiles and clothing.

The arrangement capped growth each year for 10 particularly sensitive textile and clothing products. These caps expire on 31 December 2007, although the memorandum itself remains valid until the end of 2008, and it commits industry and government on both sides to work for a stable transition to free trade in textiles.

It was always my intention to hold China to that responsibility. The Commission negotiated with China a double-checking surveillance system for 2008 that will cover eight textile-product categories with particular sensitivities.

What this means is that China will issue an export licence for all exports and, in parallel, the EU licensing offices in the Member States will issue an import licence. It is a familiar system, and manufacturers, importers and retailers have all welcomed it. Its value lies in allowing us to monitor textile import patterns and, because imports have to be licensed before they leave the dock in China, it allows us to see likely developments in advance.

I am the first to acknowledge the fact that the textile and clothing industry is going through a long period of structural change. This started long before the dismantling of quotas. Successful European companies are not taking the mass producers head on but are investing in technology and in quality. We remain – it is always worth saying it – the second biggest textile exporter in the world. We have more fashion and quality brands than the rest of the world put together. It is a sign of the European textile producers’ confidence and resilience that they have not called for quotas to be further extended. They have argued that their competitiveness depends more now on effective action on counterfeiting and market access in China.

It goes without saying that I intend to throw the entire weight of our trade policy behind these two problems. On market access, we will be seeking new access for textile goods in the Doha Round and in all our new FTAs. We have also set up a specific working group for textiles as part of the renewed market access strategy. Europe is well poised to exploit huge new markets for consumer goods in the emerging economies and we will not simply be sitting back and hoping that these trends go our way.

Counterfeiting is, if anything, an even greater problem. Protecting trademarks and design rights is absolutely central to the textile industry and I raise these issues with the Chinese in every single meeting I have with them.

We have done some useful collaborative work with the Chinese customs service and trade fair organisers, and the Chinese patent office. But, on balance, China remains a huge problem for intellectual property rights holders. The counterfeit markets are cleared out one day and the traders creep back in the next. As I have said in the past, we have not ruled out the prospect of using the WTO if the situation does not improve. Ms Toia mentioned the ‘Made in’ proposal to assist textiles: I made this proposal, I presented it to the Commission, it was agreed by the Commission but it has not been agreed, I am afraid, by the majority of Member States. In view of this, I cannot press the proposal further or do more than I have done.

Last month, at the EU-China summit in Beijing, I was very careful to pass on some frank messages, and they apply in the textile sector as much as anywhere. The EU-China trade relationship has been transformed in the last two decades. Both sides have benefited from it immensely but it has become badly imbalanced. While China dominates our import markets, our businesses are losing out in China because of counterfeiting and market-access barriers amounting to EUR 55 million a day in lost business opportunities. Our spiralling trade deficit reflects both these things.

This is not because of a lack of competitiveness by European producers. We have a surplus in goods trade with the rest of the world and, where we are allowed to compete freely, we are a match for anyone. This is not the case in China. Instead of a level playing field, it is seriously tilted against us. We face trade and investment restrictions, rampant counterfeiting and regulatory barriers in virtually every sector. China’s WTO obligations six years after it became a member are still too often unmet.

I see the textiles problems as emblematic of the broader problems we face in China. We are China’s largest client for clothing and textiles. We have respected China’s comparative advantage in labour and production costs. We are focusing on our own comparative advantages. We are moving up the value chain in what we produce. We expect the same sort of equal opportunity and fair treatment in China’s market that Chinese producers receive in ours.

At the recent summit, the Premier of China, Wen Jiabao, appeared to hear and understand our strong concern and offered to create a high-level strategic mechanism with the EU to focus on rebalancing our trade deficit with China.

I welcome this, with one obvious caveat: it is not one more dialogue or one more roadmap we need, it is action – on the ground, in the markets, in the courts, where it matters to European exporters. And action not just by the Ministry of Commerce but across the board by the regulating agencies and ministries which restrict market access and law enforcement in all parts of China’s economy. The openness of Europe’s own markets to China will not be politically sustainable if this action does not occur.

I talk of textiles and clothing products, but also all sectors where Europe has export interests. The practical delivery of real change by the new high-level trade deficit mechanism, which I and my trade counterpart are charged with designing and launching, will be the definitive test of China’s sincerity. I hope their sincerity matches our own in wishing to resolve the issues before us without resorting to avoidable confrontation.

 
  
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  Robert Sturdy, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group. – Mr President, I should like to say to the Commissioner that I find myself almost speechless for once. Congratulations! I think it is exactly what this House wanted to hear and I certainly hope he continues with the points that he has raised today in his negotiations with China. It is encouraging, and it looks to me as though he has a total and utter grasp of the situation. He would not expect me to say that, but I am saying it because I think he has done exactly what is wanted.

I would just say one thing, or two or three things, very briefly. Yesterday, I heard in this House one of the best speeches that I have ever heard any head of state give, and that was by the King of Jordan. One of the things that he mentioned was the situation with Euromed, which has a specific relevance to textiles and, of course, is very important for the stability of the whole European/Mediterranean region. Perhaps the Commissioner could just add his comments on that, because it is coming up for negotiations. I think it is particularly important, particularly as we have Turkey on one side and Morocco on the other; all would be particularly affected by our relationships with China.

Secondly, as one who does not believe in trade defence instruments and believes more in a free market, but in a free and fair market where competition is equal, I am pleased to hear that he is following those lines.

Thirdly, what exactly will happen after the Commission’s double checking finishes – I believe the Commissioner said at the end of 2008 – bearing in mind the United States has just put in place very strict import conditions? Will this mean more products coming on to the European market than we already have?

Finally, Commissioner, may I take this opportunity of wishing yourself, Renate and the rest of your staff a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

 
  
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  Harald Ettl, im Namen der PSE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident! Was wird das Jahr 2008 der Textilindustrie in der Europäischen Union bringen? Sicher nichts Gutes. China entwickelte sich zur aggressivsten Textilmacht der Welt, und allein 2006 wurden 50 bis 60% der Textilhochtechnologie im Ringspinn-, Weberei- und Texturiermaschinenbereich für China gekauft. Die Kapazitäten stehen nun bereit.

Europäische Händler und Weiterverarbeiter ordern nicht mehr, sondern warten auf bessere Angebote aus China. Weiter Insolvenzen stehen bevor. Die europäische Fokussierung auf den Handel wird uns noch größere Probleme auch in anderen Bereichen schaffen, nicht nur im Textilbereich.

Das Mengenangebot bei uns wird natürlich steigen. Die textile Vielfalt aber wird reduziert werden. Wenn die Anfrage noch Sinn haben soll, dann den, dass die weitere Restrukturierung der Industrie in der Europäischen Union flankiert und besser sozial abgefedert werden muss. Nur einige wenige Nischenerzeuger werden übrig bleiben.

Diese Entwicklung hat aber auch eine zusätzliche Dimension. In China sind die Arbeits- und Lohnbedingungen für Textil-, Bekleidungs- und Lederarbeiterinnen nach wie vor katastrophal. Europäische Händler und Investoren drücken auch in China zusätzlich auf die Preise. Neben allen Wettbewerbsvorteilen in China wird durch starke europäische Mithilfe der verbliebenen europäischen Textilindustrie die Existenz erschwert. Schnelles Geld machen geht immer auf Kosten der Kleinsten.

Als Gewerkschafter würde ich mir wünschen, dass die Sportwirtschaft, die Olympia in China inszeniert, einen Blick darauf wirft, wie es den Arbeitnehmerinnen dort geht. Heute schon sterben täglich 350 bis 400 Menschen in Chinas Textilfabriken. Bis zu 100 erleiden täglich Verstümmelungen an den Händen. Neun von zehn chinesischen Herstellern missachten internationale Arbeitsnormen und Arbeitsnormen der chinesischen Gesetze!

Aber bei uns im Handel gehen die Geschäfte gut. Ich sage Ihnen als Gewerkschafter, als Vizepräsident der Internationalen Textil-, Bekleidungs- und Lederarbeitervereinigung: Es ist zu spät, aber nicht zu spät für soziale Maßnahmen bei uns.

 
  
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  Ignasi Guardans Cambó, en nombre del Grupo ALDE. – Señor Presidente, creo que las intervenciones que se están oyendo van todas en la misma línea. En pocos debates, recientemente, hemos oído a gente de distintos puntos de la Cámara representando sensibilidades políticas distintas y todos batiendo exactamente el mismo clavo, todos golpeando exactamente en la misma dirección.

Sostenemos la libertad de comercio, sin ninguna duda, y la sostenemos como un principio muy claro. Por tanto, no se trata de crear barreras: se trata de garantizar que las reglas del juego son las mismas para todos y asumir que la competencia desleal por parte de China, tanto por la vía de la imposición de restricciones al acceso al mercado como por la vía de violaciones gravísimas y permanentes y sistemáticas de la propiedad intelectual e industrial; o las faltas de control en la importación; o la cuestión de la diferencia de cambio —que obviamente no afecta sólo al textil sino a tantos otros ámbitos de nuestra relacion comercial—; u otras medidas por parte de China, ponen en una situación gravísima y muy delicada a una industria que sigue existiendo y que sigue defendiéndose por sobrevivir y que no pide protección, como ha dicho muy bien el Comisario Mandelson en su intervención —por la que por cierto le felicito—, no pide barreras; pide reglas de juego iguales para todos, pide poder jugar en igualdad de condiciones.

Efectivamente, la situación cambia del todo a partir de fin de año, y la Comisión no puede estar comprobando esto, observándolo como si fuera un fenómeno meteorológico, sino que tiene una gran cantidad de armas, de instrumentos a su disposición —empezando por el control en las importaciones— para garantizar que efectivamente las reglas del juego son iguales y la utilización de los mecanismos de defensa que tiene a su disposición.

 
  
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  Ryszard Czarnecki, w imieniu grupy UEN. – Panie Przewodniczący! Komisarz Mandelson, jak brytyjski dżentelmen, chce grać w szachy, tyle że jego przeciwnik, partner chiński, tak naprawdę chce grać w zupełnie inną grę, której reguły są kompletnie inne.

My oczywiście możemy tutaj mówić o monitorowaniu, o kontroli importu z Chin, ale nie zapominajmy o czymś, co nazywa się reeksport. Reeksport, czyli że Chiny wysyłają do krajów na przykład afrykańskich pewne rzeczy, które potem do nas przychodzą jako wyroby afrykańskie, a tak naprawdę są to wyroby z chińskich fabryk tam zlokalizowanych lub wręcz produkowane w Chinach.

Chciałbym podkreślić, o czym tu mówiono za mało, kwestię sztucznego zaniżania wartości chińskiego pieniądza. To oczywiście ułatwia eksport do Europy. Jest to poważne zagrożenie.

 
  
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  Bastiaan Belder, namens de IND/DEM-Fractie. – Voorzitter, een opmerking vooraf: ik wil commissaris Mandelson hartelijk danken voor zijn heldere betoog. Ik had er al uitvoerig kennis van genomen in de Europese pers.

Dan mijn bijdrage: in dit debat staat de toekomst van de textielsector in Europa centraal in het licht van de economische opkomst van China. Keer op keer blijkt de Unie niet in staat om op adequate wijze op de ontwikkeling van China in te spelen. De oorzaak hiervan is het onvermogen van de Unie een eenduidig handelsbeleid te ontwikkelen. De Europese Unie is verdeeld in een noordelijk en een zuidelijk kamp, of het nu quota voor textielproducten betreft of de hervorming van de handelsdefensie-instrumenten.

Het is daarom hoog tijd dat de lidstaten verder leren zien dan hun eigen belangen alleen. Een eerste stap daarvoor is de erkenning door het noordelijke kamp dat de bescherming van de eigen industrie tegen piraterij en illegale staatssteun geen protectionisme is, en dat voor die bescherming een adequaat instrumentarium nodig is. Het zuidelijke kamp moet inzien dat de opkomst van China consequenties heeft.

De Unie mag zich niet langer laten verrassen, zoals in 2005 gebeurd is na afloop van het Multivezelakkoord. De industrieën in Europa moeten tijdig op zoek gaan naar nichemarkten. De mogelijkheden voor herintroductie van quota zijn immers beperkt tot het einde van 2008.

 
  
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  Luca Romagnoli (NI). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, nell'imminente scadenza del memorandum d'intesa tra Unione europea e Cina, mi sembra si colgano con evidenza nelle interrogazioni presentate le giuste inquietudini dell'industria e degli addetti al settore alla luce dell'impatto che vi ha comunque avuto e ha l'importazione – sarebbe meglio dire la dilagante invasione – dei prodotti cinesi negli Stati europei.

Più volte, io ho avuto modo di sottolineare – e la mia voce non è stata in proposito isolata – che la vera concorrenza e la competitività nel mercato interno, ancor più che in quello esterno, delle nostre produzioni si assicura non solo e non tanto con il sistema delle quote, ma essenzialmente difendendo il settore dalla concorrenza sleale. Sleale, perché si fonda su condizioni di costo e di produzione immensamente inferiori. Il valore aggiunto delle produzioni cinesi a tale costo è sproporzionato grazie ai noti fattori incongruenti di produzione rispetto a quelli che vigono nel nostro civilissimo continente.

Come si può pensare di competere con produzioni realizzate con costi infinitivamente più bassi e che anche in termini di qualità comparata potremmo dire sono ormai pressoché in equilibrio con molti prodotti europei? Credo che la possibilità sia essenzialmente una, l'unica per ristabilire un po' di quella che voglio definire giustizia commerciale e sostenibile concorrenza: un sistema di sorveglianza sulle importazioni della Cina deve basarsi, a mio giudizio, sull'accertamento di condizioni di produzione non troppo lontane da quello che supportano le nostre industrie. Non si può pretendere che i costi del lavoro siano gli stessi? Bene, si deve pretendere che i prodotti siano certamente realizzati senza l'utilizzo di manodopera infantile o in condizioni vergognose o paraschiavistiche e ancora che siano realizzate senza arrecare disastrosi danni all'ambiente oltre che alle non sufficientemente verificate dannosità, sicurezza per i consumatori e qualità certificata.

Una politica diversa andrebbe anche applicata alle industrie europee che delocalizzano e svolgono una concorrenza sleale rispetto alle industrie che continuano a produrre i nostri Stati, magari attraverso misure fiscali che riequilibrano il vantaggio rispetto alle imprese che non delocalizzano.

Concludo: anche le condizioni di distribuzione in Europa dovrebbero essere meglio monitorate, visto quello che sicuramente accade almeno in Italia, ove si maschera la distribuzione al dettaglio quella che invece è commercializzazione all'ingrosso.

 
  
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  Γεώργιος Παπαστάμκος (PPE-DE). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, ως Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, καλούμεθα να ανασυντάξουμε -έστω και τώρα- τη στρατηγική μας ως προς το σημαντικό κλάδο της κλωστοϋφαντουργίας και της ένδυσης.

Οι κατευθύνσεις μιας συνολικής ευρωπαϊκής στρατηγικής θα μπορούσαν να σχηματοποιηθούν ως ακολούθως: πρώτον, να διασφαλίσουμε τη βελτιωμένη πρόσβαση των ευρωπαϊκών προϊόντων στις ξένες αγορές, μέσω της μέγιστης δυνατής σύγκλισης σε παγκόσμια κλίμακα των δασμών σε χαμηλά επίπεδα και την εξάλειψη των μη δασμολογικών φραγμών.

Δεύτερον, να επιτύχουμε την αποτελεσματική εφαρμογή των κανόνων προέλευσης στις εισαγωγές.

Τρίτον, να στηρίξουμε ουσιωδώς, μέσω του Ταμείου Προσαρμογής στην Παγκοσμιοποίηση, τις θιγόμενες από την απελευθέρωση μικρομεσαίες επιχειρήσεις. Χρήσιμη θεωρώ επίσης τη δημιουργία κοινοτικού προγράμματος για τη στήριξη του κλάδου, ιδιαίτερα στις πλέον μειονεκτικές περιοχές της Ένωσης.

Τέταρτον, να εξασφαλίσουμε την αποτελεσματική αντιμετώπιση των φαινομένων της πειρατείας και της παραχάραξης, δεδομένου ότι ο κλάδος της κλωστοϋφαντουργίας και της ένδυσης καταλαμβάνει άνω του 50% των καταγεγραμμένων υποθέσεων.

Πέμπτον, να διατηρήσουμε και να ενισχύσουμε τα μέσα εμπορικής άμυνας, τα οποία είναι απολύτως απαραίτητα για την αντιμετώπιση αθέμιτων πρακτικών που νοθεύουν τον ανταγωνισμό.

Έκτον, να εγγυηθούμε την υπαγωγή των εισαγόμενων στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση προϊόντων σε ταυτόσημους κανόνες ασφάλειας και προστασίας του καταναλωτή.

Εν σχέσει προς την Κίνα, εκφράζουμε την ανησυχία μας για την εφαρμογή του συστήματος διπλού ελέγχου, αντί της παράτασης των ποσοτικών περιορισμών στις δέκα κατηγορίες προϊόντων. Σε κάθε περίπτωση ζητούμε από την Επιτροπή, από εσάς δηλαδή Επίτροπε, κύριε Mandelson, την αυστηρή και αποτελεσματική εφαρμογή αυτού του συστήματος. Εξάλλου, υπενθυμίζω το ultimum remedium των μέτρων διασφάλισης τα οποία δικαιούται να ενεργοποιήσει η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση.

Τελειώνοντας, κύριε Πρόεδρε, απελευθέρωση του παγκόσμιου εμπορικού συστήματος δεν σημαίνει ανοχή στον αθέμιτο ανταγωνισμό σε παράνομες εμπορικές τακτικές και, εν τέλει, στην απορρύθμιση του οικονομικού και κοινωνικού μοντέλου.

 
  
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  Joan Calabuig Rull (PSE). – Señor Presidente, permítame felicitarle, señor Comisario, por su firmeza y por el acuerdo alcanzado el pasado mes de octubre con China en relación con el sistema de doble control de las exportaciones textiles a la Unión Europea.

Ante la supresión del sistema de cuotas que concluye este año, el compromiso servirá para garantizar —o debe servir, al menos— que la transición hacia un mercado libre a lo largo de 2008 se haga adecuadamente. Ello es esencial para las empresas manufactureras europeas, que ya han tenido que afrontar enormes desafíos como otros intervinientes han señalado. La industria y las autoridades tendrán que trabajar conjuntamente para seguir de cerca la evolución de los flujos comerciales con China y prevenir la repetición de la situación que se dio en el año 2005.

Lamentamos, sin embargo, que las categorías objeto del acuerdo de junio de 2005 sólo incluyan ocho de los diez productos que están sujetos a limitaciones hasta el 31 de diciembre de este año y, a este respecto, quisiera que me aclarara cuál va a ser la estrategia de la Comisión para el seguimiento de las dos categorías de productos que han quedado excluidas del sistema de doble control acordado, es decir, los tejidos de algodón y la ropa de mesa y cocina.

Pero, sin duda, además de este acuerdo, será necesario seguir actuando en otros frentes para garantizar que la industria europea pueda competir en condiciones de justicia y reciprocidad, por ejemplo, avanzando en la indicación de la marca de origen —aunque existan las dificultades que usted ha señalado— o promoviendo en la negociación de los acuerdos comerciales condiciones laborales, sociales y medioambientales.

Todas las instituciones y las empresas han de insistir en la I+D, utilizando las amplias posibilidades que nos da el Séptimo Programa Marco, y hemos de adelantarnos a los cambios y, a la vez, tener en cuenta los efectos de las reestructuraciones adoptando las medidas sociales necesarias para apoyar a los trabajadores.

Por último, querría saludar el acuerdo alcanzado con ocasión de la Décima Cumbre Unión Europea-China, que usted ha citado, y por el cual se creará un grupo de trabajo de alto nivel para abordar temas clave como el déficit comercial, las dificultades de acceso al mercado chino y los derechos de propiedad intelectual.

Éste es otro paso en la buena dirección para mejorar nuestras relaciones con China y promover un contexto ventajoso para ambas partes.

 
  
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  Johan Van Hecke (ALDE). – Voorzitter, collega's, heeft de Europese textielindustrie nog een toekomst? Het antwoord ligt in belangrijke mate bij de Europese Commissie. Vorige maand heeft commissaris Mandelson in Beijing de gebrekkige productveiligheid, de enorme toevloed van namaakproducten en de dumping van Chinese exportgoederen scherp aan de kaak gesteld. Volkomen terecht heeft hij gedreigd met een klacht bij de WTO. Dagelijks importeert Europa voor een half miljard goederen uit China, en acht op de tien onderschepte namaakproducten zijn van dat land afkomstig.

Maar naast namaak kreunt de Europese textielsector vandaag ook onder de lage dollarkoers. De zwakke dollar hypothekeert niet alleen onze export, maar geeft landen die de dollar als valutamunt blijven gebruiken, een artificieel voordeel. Toevallig situeren die landen zich vooral in Azië, en, minder toevallig, houdt China vast aan de dollar. Voor de textielsector, waar gewerkt wordt met grote volumes en lage winstmarges, is dit onhoudbaar.

Onze industrie kan en mag niet het slachtoffer worden van een sterke Europese munt. Vandaar de noodzaak om meer en meer de euro te gebruiken in onze handelsrelaties. Dat was, dacht ik, toch een van de redenen waarom we vijf jaar geleden onze gemeenschappelijke munt hebben ingevoerd.

 
  
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  Vasco Graça Moura (PPE-DE). – A globalização tem como consequência no espaço europeu que as empresas produtoras perdem e as empresas que exportam tecnologia ganham. Tudo isto tem reflexos evidentes na coesão interna. No caso da indústria têxtil, a dimensão de pequena e média empresa de muito do tecido empresarial do sector é uma desvantagem no mercado que representa 6% de todo o comércio mundial e um volume de negócio estimado em 566 mil milhões de euros. E muitas regiões produtoras sofrem as consequências dos processos de reestruturação económica, tornando difícil a sustentabilidade do sector.

A produção europeia vê-se forçada a competir com a de países que desvalorizam artificialmente a moeda, não respeitam as regras de protecção ambiental nem suportam os custos dela, violam com frequência os direitos de propriedade intelectual e, o que é ainda mais grave, no plano sócio-laboral, além de terem custos salariais muito mais baixos, não aplicam medidas de protecção dos trabalhadores tão rigorosas quanto as europeias. Isto torna ainda mais premente serem respeitadas as regras da OMC e que a Comissão seja capaz de monitorizar as importações, não permitindo, como já sucedeu, que se passe artificialmente uma esponja sobre os excessos que na prática se verificaram com a China em relação à entrada de produtos têxteis.

A Comissão deve adoptar todas as medidas de salvaguarda dos interesses da União, incluindo, se necessário, a imposição de cotas à China, possível até ao final de 2008, no quadro legal da OMC e, também, a exigência do respeito integral das regras de um jogo justo. Os produtores europeus carecem de incentivos à investigação e desenvolvimento e à qualificação da mão-de-obra, carecem de um bom acesso aos mercados externos e de um bloqueamento eficaz das contrafacções. A propriedade intelectual é fundamento da mais-valia do sector e deve ser defendida a todo o custo para encorajar uma produção de alto valor acrescentado. Enfim, Senhor Presidente, Senhor Comissário, a segurança do consumidor não pode ser esquecida. Incumbe à Comissão impedir que qualquer produto nocivo para a segurança das nossas famílias entre em casa dos cidadãos.

 
  
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  Σταύρος Αρναουτάκης (PSE). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, στην Ευρώπη και ιδιαίτερα στην Ελλάδα ο κλάδος της κλωστοϋφαντουργίας αποτελείται κυρίως από μικρομεσαίες επιχειρήσεις. Πολλές από τις επιχειρήσεις αυτές αναπτύσσονται στην περιφέρεια. Ως Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση έχουμε την υποχρέωση να εξασφαλίσουμε τη βιωσιμότητα του κλάδου εντός των συνόρων μας και να εγγυηθούμε την προστασία των επιχειρήσεών μας από τον αθέμιτο ανταγωνισμό και το παράνομο εμπόριο.

Ο ευρωπαϊκός κλάδος της κλωστοϋφαντουργίας πρέπει να γίνει πιο ανταγωνιστικός σε διεθνές επίπεδο. Χρειάζεται να υποστηρίξουμε μέτρα για τον εκσυγχρονισμό των επιχειρήσεών μας, την καινοτομία, την έρευνα και την ανάπτυξη. Βεβαίως, θα πρέπει να μας απασχολήσει σοβαρά το γεγονός ότι την 1η Ιανουαρίου 2008 εκπνέει η μεταβατική περίοδος σχετικά με τους περιορισμούς σε εισαγωγές κλωστοϋφαντουργικών προϊόντων από την Κίνα. Σε γενικότερο πλαίσιο όμως και χάριν των Eυρωπαίων καταναλωτών θα πρέπει εξίσου να διασφαλίσουμε την εφαρμογή δεσμευτικών κανόνων σχετικά με το σήμα ένδειξης προέλευσης στα κλωστοϋφαντουργικά προϊόντα, καθώς και την αποτελεσματική εφαρμογή του συστήματος επιτήρησης των εισαγωγών από τρίτες χώρες.

 
  
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  Anne Laperrouze (ALDE). – Monsieur le Président, lorsque j'avais pris la parole dans cet hémicycle sur ce même sujet, en juillet 2005, j'avais dit que les enseignements que nous tirerions de la crise du textile nous aideraient à terme à maintenir et à développer d'autres secteurs de l'économie européenne. Je pense que nous avons avancé, mais peu. Nous en sommes toujours à demander plus de recherche et de développement et à demander que la Commission veille au respect de la propriété intellectuelle. Ce sont des facteurs déterminants mais non suffisants. J'en viens à penser qu'au lieu d'être un facteur d'accroissement des échanges et du développement économique, l'OMC et ses règles sont un frein. Les échanges sont évidemment source de croissance mais, pour ce faire, ils doivent aller dans les deux sens. Cette question du textile reflète en fait deux problèmes fondamentaux: l'absence de politique industrielle de l'Union et la question de l'intérêt européen.

En ce qui concerne l'intérêt européen, j'accueille avec satisfaction la communication de la Commission intitulée "L'intérêt européen: réussir le défi de la mondialisation" et publiée début octobre, dans laquelle on peut lire: "nos règles de base ne doivent pas compromettre notre capacité à protéger nos intérêts ni notre capacité à préserver les normes rigoureuses que nous appliquons aux produits pour assurer la protection de la santé, de la sécurité, de l'environnement et des consommateurs". Nous ne tolérerons pas que des pays tiers souhaitant opérer dans l'Union européenne contournent les règles appliquées sur le marché intérieur.

Monsieur le Commissaire, commençons par appliquer ces principes à l'industrie textile!

 
  
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  Ivo Belet (PPE-DE). – Voorzitter, commissaris, bedankt voor uw duidelijke tussenkomst. Ik heb toch twee bemerkingen die ik u zou willen meegeven. De textielindustrie is niet alleen belangrijk voor Zuid-Europa, ook een land als België heeft nog een heel florissante textielindustrie, die vandaag nog altijd goed is voor 25.000 banen.

Als de quota voor de tien afgewerkte producten, commissaris, op 1 januari verdwijnen, dan dreigt dat niet alleen andermaal zware gevolgen te hebben voor de betrokken sectoren, maar ook voor de bedrijven stroomopwaarts. Neem de sector van de jeansbroeken bijvoorbeeld. Als die wordt overspoeld door Chinese producten, al dan niet tegen dumpingprijzen, dan worden ook de producenten van de jeansstoffen en van de garens rechtstreeks getroffen. De effecten zijn uiteraard dus veel breder vertakt dan op het eerste gezicht lijkt.

Een tweede bemerking, commissaris, in het zogenaamde monitoringsysteem is voorlopig alleen sprake van monitoring van de volumes van de geïmporteerde producten. Het zou veel efficiënter zijn om óók te controleren op basis van de prijzen, en wel a priori, ik bedoel op het ogenblik dat de vergunningen worden afgeleverd. Alleen zó is een echt proactieve en preventieve aanpak mogelijk.

En overigens zouden we, meneer Mandelson, ook graag van u vernemen wanneer de Commissie tot actie zal overgaan. Dat is nu een beetje confuus en mistig. Met andere woorden, vanaf welke groei van de import uit China, enerzijds, en vanaf welke prijsdaling van de geïmporteerde producten uit China, anderzijds, zult u daadwerkelijk tot actie overgaan? Het lijkt ons, commissaris, niet meer dan logisch dat we ook daarover vooraf duidelijkheid krijgen.

 
  
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  Peter Mandelson, Member of the Commission. Mr President, I find myself in broad agreement with most of the sentiments that have been expressed during this debate. However, I would at the outset reject Mr Belder’s view that we do not have a common trade policy in the EU, and that the Member States are so divided that we cannot pursue a policy on, for example, textiles.

Our experience in textiles demonstrates only too clearly that we do, in fact, have a common trade policy, through which we have been able to bring together Member States with different emphases and different orientations, to weld together their views and to produce a common trade policy in textiles that has been consistently pursued. There may be differences on the use of trade defence instruments, but through the review and anticipated reform I want to build fresh consensus and solidarity amongst Member States on the use of those trade defence instruments, and notably on their greater use by SMEs, for which I want to bring forward proposals.

Some specific points have been made, for example about the double-checking surveillance which will be in operation in 2008. The Commission will monitor textile imports from China in as close to real time as possible. This includes double-checking surveillance and any other monitoring means at the Commission’s disposal, such as the TAXUD surveillance, which provides trade data on the basis of actual trade. In the face of a sudden surge of Chinese textiles, the Commission stands ready to use all the instruments at its disposal, should the situation so require.

However, I would stress that the 2005 deal was a once-and-for-all deal, and the Commission does not intend to make proposals for the extension of the levels agreed. As such, it is not opposed to more trade, and an increase could be expected. Should the upsurge, however, take such dimensions that action is justified, this will be based on existing requirements and criteria. We do rely on the co-responsibility of China for this smooth transition. China is well aware that it is not in its interests to repeat what happened in 2005. We also rely on the economic operators’ self-interest to avoid a recurrence of 2005. Textiles are now moving into the same category as any other product, so the usual instruments – including trade defence instruments – apply, with the usual standards.

The issue of EU assistance for the textiles industry has been raised. Let me make two last points on this. At the EU level, the Commission has committed over EUR 70 million, for research and development under the sixth framework programme, to textile and clothing projects, while two innovation project proposals have acquired funding within the Europe Innova framework.

As far as the Globalisation Fund is concerned, it is as open to the textile sector as to other sectors. There have, so far, been eight formal applications for a contribution from the European Globalisation Fund, of which four concern textiles. None of these textile cases have yet been approved by the budgetary authority. They are all still being assessed by the Commission services.

Lastly, I turn to the issue of the Euro-Mediterranean, raised by Mr Sturdy. The Commission has set up a formal Euro-Mediterranean dialogue on the future of the textile and clothing industry, in order to define common strategies towards achieving better competitiveness of the industry in the Euro-Mediterranean zone. The objective of the dialogue is to bring Euro-Mediterranean countries and candidate countries together, in order to find common solutions for improving their competitiveness. I look forward to receiving proposals emerging from that dialogue.

 
  
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  Presidente. Comunico di aver ricevuto sei proposte di risoluzione(1) a norma dell'articolo 108, paragrafo 5, del regolamento.

La discussione è chiusa.

La votazione si svolgerà oggi alle 11.30.

 
  

(1)Vedasi processo verbale

Utolsó frissítés: 2008. január 10.Jogi nyilatkozat