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Procedure : 2008/0249(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Select a document: :

Texts tabled :

A7-0028/2011

Debates :

PV 04/04/2011 - 15
CRE 04/04/2011 - 15

Votes :

PV 05/04/2011 - 4.6
CRE 05/04/2011 - 4.6
Explanations of votes
PV 27/09/2011 - 8.11
CRE 27/09/2011 - 8.11
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0125
P7_TA(2011)0406

Debates
Tuesday, 27 September 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

9. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
  

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Recommendation: Maria Eleni Koppa (A7-0300/2011)

 
  
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  Guido Milana (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, Ms Koppa’s report is exceptionally current in what it really implies, and it comes at a time when the debate on Palestine is particularly important.

Initiating this trade highlights the fact that we can no longer use this country just as a potential market, since until now, our exports to Palestine have been worth EUR 50 million and our imports from there only EUR 6 million. Instead, away from Israeli control, the country is preparing itself to play a role as an exporter to Europe, which we hope can truly help to change the fortunes of the Palestinian people in particular.

I therefore voted wholeheartedly in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL). – I welcome this agreement which, if implemented, could provide a level of assistance for the Palestinian people. However, we have to recognise reality here and the reality is that its impact will be extremely limited because the problem is not simply goods entering the European markets but goods exiting the occupied territories in the first place.

The collective punishment of the blockade of Gaza has inflicted a humanitarian catastrophe on the people of Gaza. Eighty per cent of people now are reliant on food aid. Unemployment is at 45% and 300 000 people are forced to try and survive on less than one dollar a day.

Also, the economy has been deliberately destroyed by Israeli actions. Before the blockade, over 700 trucks used to leave Gaza with exports on a daily basis; today, less than 2% of the pre-blockade level of exports exist and simply tonnes and tonnes of fruit and flour are rotting and so, if the EU is serious about assisting the Palestinian people, gestures like this are simply not enough. It must end its complicity with the Israeli occupation.

 
  
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  Ashley Fox (ECR). – I strongly support the revision of the EU-Palestine Association Agreement regarding agricultural and fisheries products. The liberalisation of trade is extremely welcome, bringing opportunities and wealth to both the EU and the Palestinian territories on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Palestine is one of our smallest trading partners and granting them duty-free and mostly quota-free access will go some way to improving the lives of their citizens whilst having little or no impact on our own agricultural market.

I believe this agreement is a good example of how the EU can do a little bit of good in the world and make a small difference to the condition of the Palestinian people. I would urge the Israeli Government to do rather more to improve the condition of the Palestinian people as well, and encourage them to allow freer trade with the territories.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI). – Mr President, having read this recommendation, I am happy to support the liberalisation of trade in general. In the current context, of course, the eyes of the world are focused on the Palestinian territories. However, I do believe that this House should have the issue of balance, fairness and equality uppermost in its mind.

At present, the ACCA agreement between the European Union and Israel, signed in May 2010, has come to a standstill as a result of this institution’s reluctance to approve it. It is common knowledge that Israel is one of the most advanced countries in the fields of medicine and technology. In postponing approval for this agreement, we are denying European consumers access to a wider range of high-quality medication, and blocking the possibility of lower prices for these products as well as the introduction of innovative technology into the European market.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE). – Mr President, like others, I am very happy to support this report on trade in agriculture and fishery products between the European Union and Palestine. It is a very timely report, given that Palestine is very much on the global agenda.

When we look at the problems that Palestinian farmers face, we know there are problems for many farmers around the globe, but in Palestine, there are particular difficulties – simple but huge difficulties – in accessing water, land and, of course, accessing markets, which is why this agreement is hugely significant. It means that we can help development through trade and – as others have said – it will not have any negative impacts for European Union agriculture.

There is also the issue of standards. While the Palestinians are very keen to meet our standards, they also have to meet Israeli standards that are not the same as European Union ones. We need to see some progress in this area.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). (FI) Mr President, I gave the report my support. The proposed agreement will allow Palestinian agricultural products, fish and fish products to access the EU market.

The agreement, however, has a more profound objective than commercial interests, as Europe will benefit very little from trade with Palestine. With this agreement, we will help the economic development of the Palestinian territories; we will reduce poverty in the area and be instrumental in promoting its political stability. Trade can help facilitate the development of the economy and social issues in the Palestinian territories in Gaza and on the West Bank.

In future, the European Union must have a strong role to play in foreign policy, and particularly with regard to its neighbouring states. Trade is our strongest political tool. The European Union always needs to consider its trade policies as a whole, in conjunction with European values and democratic principles.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, if you were badly in debt, if you were overdrawn on your credit card, if you were struggling to meet your mortgage payments, what would you do: spend more, or spend less? The European Union has not hesitated to answer that question collectively. It has responded to the debt crisis by a massive increase in debt, forcing additional liabilities on to countries that could not meet their existing liabilities.

Rather than correcting the malinvestments of the decade of cheap credit, we have rewarded those malinvestments, bailing out, first, banks and then entire countries. And now, that ‘bailout-and-borrow’ policy has reached is apogee. If reports are to be believed, the European Stabilisation Fund is going to be quadrupled – with yet more borrowing – into a EUR 2 million fund: a sum that our minds are not designed to comprehend.

That is the logical end of the policy we began on when we started borrowing. And who, ultimately, is going to stand behind this fund? Why, the taxpayers of the eurozone: in other words, the taxpayers of, among other places, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy. ‘My masters, are you mad?’

 
  
  

Report: Marisa Matias (A7-0302/2011)

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, we welcome the adoption of this report because it has the great merit of combining European programmes for research, competitiveness and technological innovation with the structural and cohesion funding allocated for these sectors.

It is a necessary step in the right direction in its attempt to reorganise the existing schemes and programmes, with a view to producing a new long-term strategic policy. Strengthening convergence, consolidation and the EU’s global competitiveness – the last of which should be based on a cooperation model – are among the ways to achieve economic recovery and bring about a development model based on sustainable growth and job creation.

Proposing a common framework, notwithstanding the obvious differences that exist in the European context, offers an opportunity to strengthen the European Research Area and devise a clear-cut convergence strategy. The outcome of all that will be to restore a proper balance in terms of access and participation.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I have fully endorsed the Matias report because it combines the multiple factors that should promote and implement innovative processes in future.

Scientific research must play the strategic role of finding cures and solutions to the problems experienced by Europeans, and innovation must transform those results into more accessible operational reality. That is particularly true for agriculture.

In fact, as rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, I sought to highlight the role that research should play in the farming sector, where it should aim not only at achieving results in the laboratory, but, in particular, at transferring their effects to the field as well, to the benefit of farmers and all farming stakeholders.

We must also invest in human resources, since distribution, training and consultancy services are crucial for promoting the knowledge-based growth of agricultural and agri-food businesses.

 
  
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  Jens Rohde (ALDE). – In Europe, we are actually great at research. The problem is that we are lousy at innovation. US companies obtain more than twice as many patents per year as European companies. We cannot afford to spend millions of euro and not get full use from them. Therefore, we need a much more focused and result-driven research programme. We need a direct route from research to retail. We need industry to participate, especially SMEs. Finally, we need the Commission to dramatically simplify its grant procedures. The ideas and talents are out there; it is time for Europe to move.

 
  
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  Francesco De Angelis (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, this report is an important step in the right direction.

Research and innovation are both vital for development and economic growth. It is therefore urgent to propose a common framework for reorganising the existing schemes and programmes. Although Europe is the richest macro-region in the world, it has not actually invested properly in research, development and innovation. Suffice it to say that investment in these areas has been appreciably higher in the United States and Japan.

We therefore have to act quickly to remove the inequalities that remain between the various countries of Europe. That will be the only possible way to prevent the scientifically or technologically more advanced countries from continuing to benefit more from existing European programmes. I therefore reiterate the need to reorganise the existing schemes and programmes and provide for new schemes with a view to producing a sustainable and inclusive growth strategy, while bearing in mind the objectives of stability, economic convergence and employment.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE). – Mr President, I am very happy with this report but wish to bring to the attention of this House an event that I was involved in recently in the Commission on food safety research and innovation spending, a conference that was not just telling us the results but seeing how it could be put into practice.

While we are often very critical of ourselves, and indeed the Commission, it was noteworthy that the Chinese delegation that spoke at this event put on screen its plans for food safety legislation and it looked like a mirror of what the European Union has already in place. So we do sometimes lead very much from the front and therefore what we do is positive.

My last comment is to pick up on my colleague, Mr La Via, in relation to agriculture research. We need to refocus on productivity because the world has to start being able to produce more from less and, in particular around food security, that must be a priority in our future research.

 
  
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  Tunne Kelam (PPE). – Mr President, having supported this report, I would like to draw attention to the need to create top-level scientific centres in the less developed and disadvantaged regions of Europe on the basis of competition. It is competition that provides the best incentives for the creativity and dynamism that will result in early future-oriented jobs, even in structurally weaker regions of Europe.

At the same time, the key element of the framework programme has to be its scientific quality. Only scientific excellence provides for credibility, which should become the main criterion for scientific funding.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Mr President, I was pleased to vote for this report, which contains many good suggestions. I would like to focus on one aspect, that is, the health of our people.

Now Mr Rohde made a very interesting point. He said that Europe was good at research but not in innovation. This came home very clearly to me recently when I chaired here in Parliament a hearing on IT and the future of medicine, where many billions have been spent on research and medicine but the prevalence of the major disease continues to rise. Therefore, there is a need for a change of tactics and, hopefully, with this programme, which will be coming before the Commission in due course, research and innovation will produce a different approach where we can deal with the patient as the virtual patient with specific diagnosis and specific remedies as opposed to the generic which we have at present.

 
  
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  Patrizia Toia (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the preparation of the common strategic framework for research and innovation funding represents a huge opportunity for the development and economy of Europe.

It is a matter of pulling the lever that can truly usher in a period of growth and also of new skilled employment, such as that done by researchers and young people who devote themselves precisely to the new opportunities in innovation and technology and associated professions.

One observation in particular emerges from this work, which is that we in Europe must put increasing emphasis on the kinds of research and innovation that find practical application, originate new companies, result in new patents and do not remain pure basic research or pure knowledge, which is certainly important, but not to the extent that it actually triggers development.

The second observation is the relationship with local bodies, regions and territories, which are an important tool for territorial planning and for bringing together research, universities, centres of excellence and businesses.

 
  
  

Report: Jean-Marie Cavada (A7-0293/2011)

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to express my appreciation for Mr Cavada’s report, and I think it tackles a highly important and highly topical subject: the ability to make selective decisions when faced with the need to reduce budget expenditure.

At times of crisis, unfortunately, there is always a tendency to cut spending almost across the board on culture, education and social matters, and there is especially a tendency to take a conservative approach, something that should certainly not be supported. This report highlights a concern expressed by a large group of representatives of parents whose children attend European Schools, who also turned to the Committee on Petitions because they had the feeling that the budgetary changes would not include a commitment to the new programme for European Schools.

This report certainly presents an intelligent plan to try to respond positively to the concerns expressed by the people in question and, at the same time, to give some substance to the European institutions’ policy. The European Schools are a new frontier that this Parliament and the European institutions have provided for everyone. The policy that has been adopted, however, is liable to put an end to the prospect of a European education for all.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I, too, have with great pleasure voted in favour of this report on the problems relating to the European Schools’ system, also because, as the previous speaker, Ms Mazzoni, has already mentioned, we are also dealing with this problem in the Committee on Petitions in the context of an urgent petition. In committee we found that, firstly, the European Schools’ system exists, secondly, it is a success story and, thirdly, we obviously need to carry out structural adjustments, but these must not be at the expense of the European Schools or the concept of European Schools.

I am therefore particularly pleased that the essence of the debate in the Committee on Petitions has also been expressed in this report. I was therefore able to vote in favour of it, and I would be very pleased if what is stated in this report were to be implemented immediately and – to put it nicely – promptly.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE) . – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the European Schools were set up with the aim of ensuring that the children of the European institutions’ staff who are required to live and work abroad in a different cultural environment from their own have access to education in their mother tongue.

The first European School was founded in Luxembourg as long ago as 1953 at the instigation of a group of officials. As this form of teaching was considered successful, 14 European Schools were founded in various Member States over the years. Although I recognise that the European Schools system is a necessity rather than a luxury, it is clear that, more than 50 years on from the founding of the first European School, the system may include some obsolete aspects and, in any case, needs to be brought into line with and adapted to the economic and social requirements of today.

I have therefore voted in favour of Mr Cavada’s report, which calls for greater involvement by the European Union to support and coordinate the actions of the Member States, which are expected to work towards developing and improving the European Schools system. As we know, investing in education means investing in the future of our young Europeans.

 
  
  

Report: Michael Theurer (A7-0287/2011)

 
  
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  Ramona Nicole Mănescu (ALDE).(RO) Mr President, … the report on the absorption of EU funds because we need to have an objective analysis of both the problems and the definite successes from the current programming period. The lessons learnt from this will therefore play a key role in drawing up a more effective cohesion policy in the future. The problems facing Member States at the moment with regard to regulation, eligibility, public procurement, and incompatibility between EU and national requirements, compounded by excessive, inefficient control and a severe lack of the necessary technical assistance, especially in new Member States, have the immediate effect of putting beneficiaries off.

In order to increase the absorption rate, cut down on the errors, encourage private sector involvement and boost efficiency, we need, first and foremost, to simplify current regulations and procedures. We need a common set of rules for using EU funds which are applicable to all Member States, so as to remove the excessive red tape imposed at national level. We must also ensure that local and regional authorities will be actively involved in the decision-making process.

 
  
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  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, what clearly emerges from this report is that many European regions find it difficult to administer the Structural Funds made available by the Union through its cohesion policies.

They often find themselves caught in a maze in which, if the regions succeed in organising the administration of these funds, it is often the national governments that then find it difficult to activate the cofinancing funds. Sometimes it is like a dog chasing its own tail: the money that we consider fundamental for growth and cohesion in Europe cannot then be spent, as it now appears is happening in my own country, Italy, as well.

I have therefore voted in favour of this report, but I believe that, on the one hand, we should speed up the adoption of the new economic programming period 2014-2020 to enable the individual Member States and regions of Europe to prepare themselves in time and, on the other, that the cofinancing mechanism should perhaps be reviewed. That could be a way forward and so I have voted in favour, but I think a lot more needs to be done to ensure that European funds can actually be spent to benefit the people.

 
  
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  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE). (SK) Mr President, as far as the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund are concerned, in the first programming period 2004-2006, disbursements reached a level of 99% in Slovakia, amounting in total to EUR 1.2 billion.

In the second programming period from 2007-2013, disbursement had reached the level of 18.5% by the end of June, which, in absolute terms, represents EUR 2.1 billion. At the same time, it is assumed that there will be full disbursement of the revised commitment for 2008, i.e. of the resources that can be disbursed up to the end of this year.

I agree that the problems with disbursement are mainly caused by the Member States, especially in the excessively bureaucratic procedures for approving projects, and in changes to national strategies related to changes of government.

 
  
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  Markus Pieper (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I voted in favour of the Theurer report, but I would nevertheless like to emphasise a couple of points. Many EU States do not absorb the European structural policy funds. They cannot absorb them because they lack the expertise needed to use them and because they themselves are unable to pay the small cofinancing amounts. Of course, the European response must now be to send European teams of experts to Greece, and perhaps to Romania, too. However, I also believe that in future, we must tailor the programmes more closely to the most important needs of the weaker countries. Furthermore, large parts of the Europe 2020 strategy simply fail to meet the needs of the less development regions. They are too ambitious and too complex. Therefore, we must, in future, take more action to improve the expertise in these regions and we should not treat them like developing countries.

Furthermore, it needs to be much easier to use private funds for the cofinancing of projects. That is also something for which we need greater flexibility in the next programming period.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I, too, voted in favour of the report. I would like to make three additional comments. I, too, am of the opinion that we must, of course, monitor the programmes according to the objective criteria, but that when setting out the objective criteria, we must ensure that the criteria are not too ambitious, that they, quite simply, are possible for the countries to implement, and that the bureaucracy associated with the monitoring is also tolerable and feasible.

I also believe that cohesion funding should always be provided according to the principle of ‘helping people to help themselves’; that is to say, we should not forget to carry out an evaluation of the objective criteria and to check whether the objectives that were intended to be achieved with the money have actually been achieved. After all, cohesion is intended to have a beginning and an end.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE). – Mr President, cohesion and structural funds are very much a sign of European solidarity, so it is important that this funding is properly used and used in the best possible way. But, as this report points out, there are huge problems in relation to Member States accessing this funding and coming up with the necessary cofinancing that is required.

One of the problems this creates is in the public mindset. When we hear announcements of major funding being made available from the European Union budget and the public read these stories, later to read that some of this funding has not been accessed, there is a delay in getting access to it, or they themselves have problems in trying to access funding, that creates a negative attitude towards the European Union. We do need to make these funds work for the betterment of citizens and therefore, the recommendations of this report should be implemented.

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I have voted for this report because I believe it is an excellent piece of work. What Mr Theurer has produced is an assessment that will certainly also be useful for the imminent legislative work that the Committee on Regional Development is about to tackle in relation to the new funding regulations.

The problems that have been revealed are many and varied, just as the individual Member States’ absorption capacities are varied – as the rapporteur points out – because each one performs differently regarding the volume of spending and, hence, its efficiency and effectiveness. Out of all the problems highlighted in this report, I think the two that we ought to focus our attention on most are, first, the programming periods, as Mr Antoniozzi has already mentioned, and secondly, the issue of control, insofar as control requirements lead the Member States to focus more on the procedures than on the objectives.

We should, however, concentrate on the objectives in order to perform effectively and efficiently. To that end, I reiterate the proposal that I make to this House on every possible occasion, which concerns the possibility of replacing contributions with taxation. I believe that tax exemptions could help to reduce the number of control regulations without going against the Treaty requirements, and could focus attention more on fulfilling the objectives and achieving results.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE). (LT) Mr President, I voted in favour of this report because it mentions specific problems that are faced when implementing projects financed by the Cohesion Fund, and indicates means of addressing those problems.

First of all, we have the complicated rules surrounding the application of financial instruments and the need to simplify them, taking into account the specific characteristics of each Member State. Secondly, there is a need for greater synergy and complementarity between all the funds (the European Regional Development Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Social Fund and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) and flexibility. This is required to facilitate the financing of integrated projects. For example, the potential of cross-financing, which is not yet being fully exploited. Thirdly, the Commission and the Member States must give priority to the integrated approach for local and regional development projects, encouraging the development of bottom-up local initiatives, and must also ensure that there is an opportunity to finance as many small and individual projects as possible.

I hope that this time, the European Parliament’s opinion will be heard, and that its proposals will be taken into account, thus promoting more rapid absorption of Cohesion Funds.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). – Mr President, I supported this report, but there are two issues I would like to draw attention to. First of all, there are the over-complicated and over-strict procedures that are often involved. I have community and voluntary groups coming to me all the time, talking about the complexity and also the inconsistency of the rules – then the changes in the rules and, furthermore, the interpretation of the changes in the rules. People are tearing their hair out with frustration.

Another issue that a lot of community groups have a problem with is late payments. I know many community groups that are going to the wall because they are awaiting payments from European funds.

There is another very important issue that we need to look at, and that is the issue of intermediate regions. When we are determining eligibility, it is important that we use the most up-to-date figures. It looks as if we might end up using 2008 GDP figures to determine eligibility for cohesion funding post 2013. That is simply not acceptable in the current situation. Up to now, a lot of regions’ GDP was increasing but, of course, now, because of the economic crisis, a number of regions’ GDP is decreasing and we will find that in 2010 and 2011, it will be lower than it was in 2007 and 2008. So, it is crucial that we use the most up-to-date figures to ensure that the regions that need cohesion funding are those that get it.

 
  
  

Report: Elisabetta Gardini (A7-0283/2011)

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, in view of the dramatic increase in natural disasters both inside and outside the European Union, we increasingly often have to intervene and guarantee a rapid and effective response, as provided for by the new legal basis introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon.

We should, however, be able to concentrate on pre-identification of the assets available in the Member States that are placed at the disposal of the European Civil Protection Mechanism on a voluntary basis. This would be a significant move away from the current ad hoc response to disasters towards advance planning through the development of reference scenarios, mapping of Member States’ assets and contingency planning.

We therefore advocate greater simplification of the European Civil Protection Mechanism, which so far has proved to be too bureaucratic, and support the creation of a 24/7 European emergency response centre which, in agreement with the Member States, would make decisions on the assets to be deployed in the event of a disaster in order to ensure immediate and effective assistance to the victims.

 
  
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  Guido Milana (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, many thousands of people die every year due to natural disasters and tens of billions of euro are lost. These are dramatic figures, and disasters are not always avoidable.

Ms Gardini’s report is right on the mark in this respect, because it essentially identifies the two fundamental points in the new European civil protection strategy. The first is a thorough prevention plan, which can no longer be just the sum of the national prevention plans, and proper rules concerning prevention procedures. The second is the real, concrete idea of European civil protection, which cannot result from mere coordination but must be based on a genuine network.

We have to move on from an emergency response requested by a country in relation to a disaster and the subsequent intervention, seen almost as a concession by another country, to a genuine strategy. With this hope in mind, I think the resolution adopted today is a useful one for the people of Europe.

 
  
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  Jens Rohde (ALDE).(DA) Mr President, the earthquake in Haiti, the floods in Pakistan and, in particular, the events in Japan last spring, have shown us that we need to have a common European approach and strategy for dealing with disasters.

It is no good us sending multiple, uncoordinated civil protection teams from the different Member States which then arrive in the disaster zones at completely different times. As Mr Mastella said a moment ago, the Treaty of Lisbon provides us with a new legal basis on which to take the right decisions and on which to coordinate our response. However, let us use this new instrument in an active way.

 
  
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  Mario Pirillo (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to congratulate the rapporteur, Ms Gardini¸ and our colleagues in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, in which we adopted this report almost unanimously.

That shows how our different political ideologies have been overcome on important issues, such as this one of humanitarian aid. The principle of European solidarity among Member States in the event of a disaster is the central pillar of this report, supported by liaison and interaction initiatives within the European Union. The merging of the humanitarian aid crisis rooms is a step in that direction.

The 24/7 European emergency response centre will act as a planning and operational coordination platform and will become the central hub for requests for assistance relating to all types of disasters.

 
  
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  Paolo Bartolozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, over recent years, we have seen an increase in the number and intensity of natural disasters, which have become increasingly global in scale, with disastrous consequences.

A genuinely European response to such disasters that involves, and is binding on, all the various levels of government in which the European Union is structured is crucial to address this scenario. Ms Gardini’s valuable report, which I voted for, highlights the importance of a simplified and rationalised Civil Protection Mechanism that is more extensively and effectively coordinated at a political and operational level and is not encumbered by red tape. It must allow for the pooling of resources and skills and the optimisation of existing assets without increasing the financial burden in times of austerity.

Greater attention to cross-border and geographically vulnerable areas and implementation of a culture of prevention will complement this new approach to ensure a rapid, speedy and effective response to any future needs.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE).(FR) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, today is a great day since the European Parliament has just expressed its desire to create a European civil protection force.

Obviously, this European force will enable EU Member States to be more effective in the event of major disasters occurring inside or outside of the EU, and we must welcome that. However, in reality, I do not think that this is the most important thing. The most important thing is that if we want to build Europe, we must do great things together. We must make Europeans proud of their Union. The fact that Europeans have done great things together in the present or the past will mean that they will be prepared to do even greater things together in the future.

Let us not be mistaken, Europe cannot only be seen by our fellow citizens as an accumulation of legislation, no matter how useful that legislation may be. Europe must have a soul. This European Civil Protection Mechanism that we are going to create will be a part of this soul. It is one of the tools which can create this European soul. If we give Europeans a sense of pride from knowing they are acting together, this will make the usefulness of legislation seem weak in comparison. That is why we must build this European civil protection force together.

 
  
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  Christa Klaß (PPE).(DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, every disaster, irrespective of whether it is caused by a storm, fire or an accident, poses new challenges for us. We are currently living in a highly mechanised, highly sensitive and specialised world, and we are increasingly reliant on experts.

Within Europe, it must now be a foregone conclusion that we should help each other across our borders and that the Member States should support one another. Cross-border drills by the fire service and civil protection force must be in the utmost interests of the Member States and must also be well funded. We need to make effective logistics arrangements in advance.

The common 112 emergency number within Europe is a positive step towards simplification. However, this number must be communicated repeatedly so that it becomes fixed in people’s minds.

With all the good equipment and the good organisation, however, the most important thing we need is the people who, with considerable personal commitment, get involved in dealing with the disasters. I would also like to take this opportunity to say a very big thank you to them.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE) . – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the exponential rise in the number of natural disasters in recent decades has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people in various parts of the world.

Last year, in the Committee on Development, I followed the work on the report on the European Union’s disaster response capacity, which revealed just how much still needed to be done to guarantee a coordinated EU response in view of the increase in earthquakes, floods and tsunamis. The EU’s response to the earthquake in Haiti, for example, clearly illustrated the complexity of the existing instruments and procedures.

Even though the Member States and EU institutions acted promptly in terms of sending humanitarian aid, the management of the crisis raised a series of issues regarding efficiency, coordination and transparency. That is why I voted in favour of Ms Gardini’s report, which calls for greater efficiency in all stages of disaster management, better coordination among all actors and simplification aimed at avoiding pointless overlaps and wasted time, which impede the rapid and effective provision of help.

 
  
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  Oldřich Vlasák (ECR). (CS) Mr President, I voted in favour of Ms Gardini’s report because it strengthens coordination in the area of preparation, capacity planning and implementation, in respect of both civil protection and humanitarian assistance. In the case of humanitarian assistance in particular, this means even closer cooperation with the non-governmental organisations that are often present in a disaster location. In the rapid and common response to a crisis, logistics are a particularly acute problem where I would welcome concrete proposals for improvement. I also see a solution in the interlinking of existing monitoring centres and the mapping of Member State capacities for individual types of crisis.

At the same time, I firmly believe that greater coordination on the part of the EU does not have to ‘compete’ with the global coordinating role of the UN, but, on the contrary, should support it. The responsibility of the Member States should also be emphasised, particularly in external humanitarian assistance. I therefore consider it important for European emergency response capacities to be led exclusively by the contributing Member State or the affected state for now, and not by a European emergency response centre.

Regarding the visibility of EU symbols when providing assistance, I just want this to be kept within sensible limits, and not to use up a significant portion of the allocated resources.

 
  
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  Tunne Kelam (PPE). – Mr President, this is a really comprehensive and important report. I have two observations.

Firstly, the prevention of disasters has to be seen as being equally important as the response to them. Therefore, enhancing the EU emergency reaction capacity has to be linked with the Commission preparing an efficient EU strategy to reduce the risk of disasters and ensure their early identification.

Secondly, I support the European Parliament’s call for the Commission to come forward with proposals for an EU civil protection force based on the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. That would better combine the resources necessary to provide both civilian protection and immediate emergency aid to the victims.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE). – Mr President, it seems to me that it is in times of calm that we should prepare for the next crisis. We are doing this with regret on the economy. We need to do it equally when there are disasters, which this report deals with. Yes, prevention is our priority – as it should be – in order to minimise problems in all Member States.

Just a word in relation to voluntary effort: very often, when there is a disaster in a Member State, it is the local community itself which responds most rapidly. We need to better coordinate the national and EU response, working on the ground with local communities.

Finally, we need to make the emergency response number 112 more widely known to our citizens, so that it is used.

 
  
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  Anneli Jäätteenmäki (ALDE). (FI) Mr President, the EU’s readiness to respond to natural disasters is not presently at the level that the public has the right to expect.

The European Parliament has proposed that an EU civil protection force be set up. It would deliver emergency assistance within 24 hours in response to any disaster taking place at that time. It would require coordination and cooperation between the Member States. This would be just the sort of cooperation that would bring added value to the European partnership.

I shall await a proposal from the Commission concerning the establishment of the civil protection force, and particularly at the civilian level. This is not a military matter: it is a civilian one.

 
  
  

Report: Carlo Fidanza (A7-0265/2011)

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE). (GA) Mr President, I voted for this report as it seems to me that the industry is so important for the economy in the European Union. On account of Article 195 of the Treaty of Lisbon, this matter is a new development and I welcome this.

I am certain that this report is a good start to ensuring the future of this industry. This industry has a central role in creating jobs locally, and in helping with economic growth. In Ireland, for example, the industry is worth ten per cent of our gross national product, and more than twelve per cent of the workforce are employed in the tourism industry, or in a dependent industry.

An integrated approach is needed in relation to the industry in the European Union. The European Union is not doing enough in my opinion about the problem of red tape in relation to visa applications and there is a great need for a simplified system of getting tourist visas throughout the European Union.

 
  
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  Guido Milana (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, this is just a good initiative, but I think we will later have to develop a European policy on tourism.

The European framework is a good idea, but I would like to focus on two issues. There is no sea or coastal tourism, we might say, but a coastal planning policy. I think the time has come for Europe to protect this important sector by producing an initiative in which ideas about the sea and coastline are not limited to a kind of town planning that ends at the foreshore and does not involve the sea as a whole.

I think it will be useful to have an integrated policy on this, just as there will be a need to develop everything that lies behind the claims about rural tourism: rural tourism can be an excellent source of income for disadvantaged areas and areas where there is no work any more, where it is important to stop depopulation and instead encourage people to settle.

For that, it is not enough just to make claims. We would need to suggest that Europe and the Member States take action on taxation. Perhaps developing tourism in rural areas could mean paying less tax; maybe that would create a real opportunity for tourism as a resource and for the people living in those areas.

 
  
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  Mario Pirillo (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank Mr Fidanza for the excellent report he has drafted. Parliament has today voted in favour of setting up a new common framework for European tourism in line with the new powers introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon.

Emphasising the importance of the quality of the tourist services offered as a decisive variable in the choices made by tourists was an appropriate decision to increase the competitiveness of Europe’s tourism industry. Niche tourism – religious, spa, mountain, rural, etc. – should be encouraged through measures to improve it in terms of quality and quantity.

Lastly, I hope that the harmonisation of the hospitality industry classification systems will continue so as to define unequivocal quality standards for all Member States.

 
  
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  Paolo Bartolozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to congratulate Mr Fidanza on the report he has drafted, which fits logically into the framework of actions undertaken and promoted at Union level relating to tourism, now that the Treaty of Lisbon has given the European Union new powers in this field.

I must stress the fact that I endorse the statement about the importance of Europe as a single destination for certified, quality tourism, as well as the intention to promote this idea by turning it into actions in terms of structures, allocation of resources, funding, and coordination of actions among the various levels of government in the countries of the Union. This is an approach to be valued and rewarded, given that the sector in question – with its implications in terms of the percentage of GDP produced, employment and new opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises, and emphasis on environmental protection and enhancement – is in a position to develop and thus to respond to the major challenges of today.

For all these reasons, I believe this report is positive, as it sends out an important signal for the promotion of a European tourism policy.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). (GA) Mr President, the Treaty of Lisbon now gives us a chance to establish a policy for the benefit of the tourism industry and we see in this report a strategy for doing so. The European Union is the world’s primary tourist destination and we must keep it this way. Tourists come to certain places naturally. In the South, they have the sun, they have the sea and so forth. I, myself, was in Rome during the summer and it was clear why tourists were coming there on holiday. In other parts of Europe, however, especially in the North, they do not have the same advantages. They do not have much sun and they do not have the sea. Therefore, we must help those countries especially to extend the season and we must emphasise events that are based around sport. We have a great chance to do this in future.

 
  
  

Report: Dieter-Lebrecht Koch (A7-0264/2011)

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE). (GA) Mr President, we must understand that 38 000 people are killed annually as a result of road accidents in the European Union. This figure is terrible and it appears to me that it is extremely important to reduce the incidence of fatal and serious injuries and to improve safety on our roads.

We, as Europeans, must work together to reduce the number of deaths on our roads. We must admit that we have a huge problem in relation to the amount of drivers that use text messaging while driving on the roads of the European Union.

The possibility of an accident increases twenty-three times when the driver watches the screen of his mobile phone. I am extremely grateful to my colleague, Mr Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, for the great work he has done and for presenting this report to us.

We want to protect road users, if there is the political will to do so, and I firmly believe that there is, because this report shows, for example, that we will be able to improve road safety.

 
  
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  Giommaria Uggias (ALDE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I have voted overall in favour of Mr Koch’s report because I agree with its targeted approach inasmuch as it asks the Commission for a concrete, circumstantiated commitment to road safety, including the development of the proposed models into a fully-fledged new action plan.

The plan must incorporate a set of detailed measures, with clear timetables and monitoring instruments to assess the progress made, as well as a mid-term review. Conversely, I did not wish to support the idea of appointing an EU road safety coordinator, which, in my view, would be likely to duplicate powers and generate an excessively bureaucratic mechanism.

Of course, it seems obvious that achieving the target of halving road accident victims by 2020 would also require a financial commitment that currently appears to be difficult to achieve. In conclusion, however, I regret the fact that the Committee on Transport and Tourism was not bold or ambitious enough to accept a complete harmonisation of important road safety rules, such as standardising the EU direction of travel in the United Kingdom and Malta as well, as I proposed in an amendment which the committee chose not to accept.

 
  
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  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the report shows that the social cost of road accidents is enormous, standing at an estimated EUR 130 billion per year. Mr Koch’s proposals are along the right lines and I particularly support the idea of creating the role of EU road safety coordinator.

However, I think that we do need to come up with targets and measures that are far more ambitious than those put forward by the Commission thus far; above all, I think that Parliament ought to make its presence felt to the Commission. We cannot accept the fact that in recent years, the European Union’s budget for road safety measures has been slashed. We are therefore duty-bound to ensure that this trend is reversed as soon as possible and that road safety receives greater funding.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE).(ES) Mr President, all the measures we have just approved will help to reduce the number of injuries and deaths, two in particular: zero tolerance in drink-driving checks and the use of alcolock devices.

However, I am sorry that the first of these will only apply on a permanent basis to professional drivers, and the second only to industrial passenger and goods vehicles, and additionally with a small margin of tolerance.

We must work in future to extend both these measures to all drivers and all circumstances, because we can all cause accidents, and we should work to achieve coherence too and eliminate the margin of tolerance with the alcolocks.

We are all capable of causing accidents, and this is why we should not criminalise people in the transport sector.

 
  
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  Christa Klaß (PPE).(DE) Mr President, every year, there are 35 000 deaths and serious injuries and economic damage amounting to EUR 130 billion on our roads. These figures are a call to action for us. The Member States, but also the responsible parties at regional and municipal level, businesses and every individual road user are involved in many individual activities and measures. In order to recognise both positive and negative synergies, we need coordination of the activities of the Directorates-General for Transport, Economic and Financial Affairs, the Environment, Health and Consumers, Communication and the Internal Market and Services. Coordination of this kind helps to spread knowledge, and bring about the application, of the best experience, the latest technology and innovative approaches. The Member States will evaluate the experiences gained and then draw the best conclusions. This applies to speed limits just as it does to alcolocks, sight tests, tests on fitness to drive and to the transport of infants. Such decisions should be left to the Member States.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE). – Mr President, this is a very positive report. It is interesting that we are debating it following the protests over the weekend by European Union motorcyclists. Many came out in protest – certainly in Ireland and in other Member States – over what we would describe as positive initiatives regarding road safety for that particular sector of the commuting community.

It is interesting to note that, in Ireland, a motorcyclist is 12 times more likely to be killed than any other road user. There is clearly a problem in relation to the safety of this section of road users. I think we should try to work better with stakeholders, so that we do not have protests over something which we believe is important for overall road safety. Some of the issues that were raised by the protestors may not be true, but we can address others when we move forward. Let us involve those that we are trying to legislate for.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). (GA) Mr President, this is a very important matter and it is terrible the amount of people that are killed and injured on European roads, not only every year but every day. It is appropriate to do something about it.

Mr President, regarding the support, there are just two points I just want to make.

One is that right across the European Union, when it comes to speed limits, there is a complete variance from country to country. There should be coordination whereby the same quality of road, on the same motorway, would have the same speed limit right across Europe.

Secondly, I find it very difficult to understand how there is no tapering system. I have seen places where you are expected to go from a 120 mile limit or a 120 kilometre limit to 60 automatically. I have seen people pulled over for going over the speed limit just inside the 60 sign. I think there should be a tapering system where you go from 100 to 90, to 80, to 70, to 60.

 
  
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  Olga Sehnalová (S&D). (CS) Mr President, I voted in favour of Mr Koch’s report on a European strategy for road safety during the period 2011-2020 because the situation in the area of safety on Europe’s roads is still critical, requiring a solution that is rapid and, in particular, thorough. More than 35 000 people die every year on Europe’s roads, and 1.5 million are seriously injured. I therefore support this own-initiative report, and I call on the Commission to submit specific legislative proposals in this area as soon as possible. We should aim to improve safety on Europe's secondary roads, where, on average, more than 70% of accidents take place every year. I also support the rapporteur’s so-called Vision Zero objective, or an end to fatal accidents on Europe’s roads. If we cannot prevent accidents from happening, we should at least prevent them from being fatal. Vision Zero applies in both air and rail transport, and I therefore fully support implementing this target in road transport as well.

 
  
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  Guido Milana (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I have just three small points I should like to make, all centred on the fact that we need ‘more Europe’ in this area. I think it is an inescapable fact that on certain issues, we must not merely hope for more Europe, but actually set about building it.

For example, more Europe means starting to really think about common traffic police and uniform safety rules. More Europe means having a European policy on training, not simply delegating it to the individual Member States, but instead putting together a proper training policy for schools, for young people and for slightly more at-risk categories, among whom motorcyclists were mentioned a moment ago, but we could talk about lorry drivers as well.

More Europe means everyone having the same devices in their cars to improve safety conditions, such as alcolocks and anti-tiredness devices. This, in my view, would be a strategy well worth pursuing with businesses in the sector and European carmakers. Indeed, if all this was incorporated in a common policy, then I really think that conditions would, perhaps, improve.

 
  
  

Report: Gabriele Zimmer (A7-0284/2011)

 
  
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  Patrizia Toia (S&D). (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, this report looks at global food security. This means that what is at stake here is not only hunger in the world or in the very poorest countries, but that the subject of food supply affects all communities, including those in the most developed countries.

I would like to pick out a few key points of consistency between European policies and this target of global food security, because we in Parliament are quite accomplished at preaching, but often we are not consistent in our decisions. I only wish to highlight three innovative areas, which I think we ought to develop further.

Firstly: food supply is currently jeopardised by price volatility, caused by speculation in food markets – through derivatives and so forth – that must be contained, if not banned outright.

Secondly: the subject of land grabbing, which I think needs to be addressed in some form of treaty or negotiation, because democracy and the survival of many populations are at risk.

Thirdly: consistency between food supply and energy policies. In our efforts to produce new energy, we must not make it impossible to produce food for the people of the world.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE). – The Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that there were 925 million hungry people in the world in 2010. This is a terrible figure. While this represents a reduction of 1 023 million on the 2009 figure, there is strong evidence that food price increases during the last few months have already augmented that number for this year. Meanwhile, in Europe, about 89 million tonnes of food is wasted every year. That is 179 kg per person. Without any prevention measures, it is expected that the total amount of wasted food will reach 126 million tonnes by the end of this decade. Our colossal wastage of food represents an inefficient use and management of our food resources. Successful commitments to fight poverty and hunger worldwide must begin by addressing our terrible wastage of food. Our right to food must be accompanied by a duty not to waste food.

In conclusion, I would say that I disagree totally with paragraph 63 of the report which calls for a complete phasing out of export subsidies. This flies in the face of the rapporteur’s arguments that she wants local production for local use.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). – Mr President, I support a lot of what is in this report on global food security. I think it is very important to remember that, as technology and innovation leap forward, we sometimes lose sight of the basics. Of course, one of the basics that we need to remember is our need for food or food security, not just in developing countries but in the EU as well.

One of the issues that we face at a global level is the financial speculation and trade in agricultural commodities. This simply worsens volatility; it means, at the end of the day, that many people go hungry. We also need to ensure greater transparency in the food chain to ensure a fair revenue for farmers. The primary producers are being squeezed; their share of the cake is getting smaller, and that cannot continue.

My final comment – and, I think, a very important one – is that the right to food must always take precedence over energy security. In many countries, but particularly in Africa, food security is being jeopardised by the development of agrofuels. We in the EU often clap ourselves on the back about our alternative energy targets, but we must recognise the price that others may pay for the targets that we set.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE). – Mr President, as someone who has authored a report on food security and the common agricultural policy and worked hard on this issue for seven years, I very much welcome the renewed emphasis on food security. Those of us who can afford to buy food have taken for granted that there will always be a supply of food. Of course we are targeting those parts of the world where there is real hunger, but there is also hunger within the European Union. We have to tackle it at every significant level.

I want to repeat a point I made in another explanation of vote. We are in a very serious situation, where agricultural productivity is declining because of a lack of focus on research and innovation and on transferring the knowledge gained to farmers on the ground. This is a problem within Europe, but it is a particular problem for the developing world. We need to target research there, and we need to make sure that people get the knowledge gained by research and put it into practice in food production.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI). – Mr President, today’s vote on food security was very important. I think that political institutions in the developed world that ignore the problems in less-developed regions do so in grave error and show a lack of compassion.

However, sometimes I think we in this House miss the point completely. It is important that we assist in food security in developing countries, but it is also important that we actually provide food security for the people that we represent. The National Farmers Union in the United Kingdom has indicated that the United Kingdom will be less than 50% self-sufficient in staple food types by 2026 unless production is increased. We in this House talk endlessly about the increase in world population, the effects of climate change, increase in biofuel demand and the increasing demand for western eating habits, yet we have decreased agricultural output and, due to decoupling, provide no incentive to produce food.

I urge the Commission and Parliament to look at these issues, but I am not hopeful. The recent leak from the Commission in relation to a 7% regulation for set-aside in the new CAP proposals will only restrict food production further.

 
  
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  Salvatore Caronna (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I had no hesitation in voting in favour of the report by Ms Zimmer, above all, for one purely political reason: I think we need to bring this major issue of food security right back to the core of all European Union initiatives.

It is not only a matter of helping developing countries to tackle this issue more effectively. Rather, since the demand for agricultural products is set to increase by more than 70% between now and 2050, the food crisis is a key issue that must be dealt with quickly and decisively. Otherwise, it may become one of the main threats – if not the main threat - to stability, peace and, as we have seen, even democracy.

I think it is therefore incumbent upon the European Union and the Member States to take the required steps to properly tackle this important issue, beginning with adequate investment, as the report proposes.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE). (SK) Mr President, hunger and malnutrition are the main causes of human mortality in developing countries. According to the latest estimates of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the number of people suffering from hunger reached 925 million last year.

The global food crisis is becoming not only a pressing humanitarian issue, but is also exacerbating poverty and posing a threat to world peace and security. The effective interlinking of humanitarian and development assistance is beginning to look essential, in the interests of a long-term solution to food security. The international community and all interested parties must show genuine political will to ensure food security and stability, and adopt additional steps aimed at fulfilling their international obligations. In addressing these issues, we must clearly take care that there is no repeat of the disproportionate increase in food prices caused by speculation in food commodities, as happened in 2008. It is also necessary to take measures to limit the competitive threat to food production from so-called agri-foods and agrofuels.

 
  
  

Report: Daniel Caspary (A7-0255/2011)

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE). (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, global trade has genuinely increased over recent years thanks to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and numerous multilateral and bilateral initiatives.

However, although the European Union accounted for 25% of global GDP when the Lisbon strategy was adopted in the year 2000, it is now estimated that it will account for no more than 18% in 2020. At the same time, an ever increasing number of developing countries and emerging economies have become involved in world trade and developed into the new engines of the world economy. This was particularly evident during the 2008-2009 crisis, when it was, above all, the emerging economies that played a stabilising role at a time of widespread financial turmoil.

The European Union cannot ignore the fact that the pattern of population growth is being reversed in the EU. The population of developing countries continues to increase rapidly and this will also have repercussions for their economies.

We therefore urge the Commission to carry out a more careful analysis and to develop forecasts that incorporate both the current situation in the global and EU economy, as well as probable future changes.

 
  
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  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE). (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the forecasts in Mr Caspary’s report on gross domestic product and export growth in the European Union are truly disheartening. We cannot continue to plan our commercial strategy on the premise that the current situation in international trade will remain.

The Global Europe strategy has been a failure and I think that the Commission ought to investigate the reasons behind this. We need critical and detailed analysis, but especially an overview of how to deal with future economic challenges. The commercial policy must be coordinated with the European Union’s other economic policies, but, above all, it needs to be accompanied by a parallel policy to combat the phenomenon of population decline.

 
  
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  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE). (SK) Mr President, the new involvement of third countries is dramatically changing world trade. The share of EU and US exporters in world exports in 1999 was 37%. In 2009, it was just 29%. The share of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) has risen from 9% to 20%. In 2015, 90% of worldwide economic growth will take place outside the EU.

The importance of drawing up and promoting a long-term EU foreign trade strategy is clear from this. In the EU, 36 million jobs, or 18% of the total, depend on foreign trade. In my opinion, however, the further development of the internal market and the strengthening of its parameters are also important, because this can form the basis for further economic growth in the EU.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE). – Mr President, it may well be a coincidence that we are speaking on our trade policy following our explanation of vote on the Zimmer report on food security, but there is a link, and those of us who have concerns about agriculture and food security would equally be concerned about the direction of Europe’s trade policy.

The inclusion of agriculture in the WTO is of concern, and some of us are battling to have that looked at again in the light of our concerns over how the world will provide security of food supply to its citizens. We now have the emergence of bilateral trade agreements. They are second best to a global trade agreement and we must, in each and every one of the bilateral trade agreements, look beforehand at the likely impacts it will have, particularly on Europe’s food security concerns. That is why, while we do look to the future and the issues around this report, I want to stress, in particular, my concerns around food security and trade.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI). – Mr President, over the past number of months, the Commission has been negotiating with the Mercosur bloc to agree a trade policy which would apparently benefit both regions. DG AGRI has put forward its impact assessments to Member States.

In the toughest scenario, the EU’s beef sector could see production levels drop by over 150 000 tonnes, with the producer price for beef falling by over 8%. EU meat production value could fall by almost 3 billion, whilst overall EU agricultural income could drop by 3.2%. The best case scenario is also damaging. There is, unfortunately, no good news story from these impact assessments.

I have voiced this opinion since the very beginning of this process, along with other MEPs and farming organisations. I have spoken to the Commission and highlighted the impact that these decisions would have on Northern Ireland. Now that the Commission has carried out this impact assessment, it is important that this is taken on board during the negotiations. However, my fear is that the Commission will look at other possible gains. While these are impressive and good for the EU in a time of global recession, EU agriculture must not be sacrificed in this way.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Recommendation: Maria Eleni Koppa (A7-0300/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this recommendation, as I agree with the rapporteur’s view that the April 2011 agreement, providing for the duty-free access of Palestinian imports of agricultural products to the European market and of EU exports of processed agricultural products to Palestine, will help strengthen the poverty- and crisis-scarred Palestinian economy. However, I also agree with the rapporteur that we need to know the exact origin of products, so it is necessary to ban products from any settlement in the territory occupied by Israel, as there is still no solution to the control imposed by Israel on exports from the Palestinian Territories.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of this important recommendation on trade in agricultural and fishery products between the EU and Palestine. This agreement comes at a very important and highly symbolic moment, when we are dealing with the issue of Palestinian statehood. Currently, the level of trade between the EU and the Palestinian territories is extremely low. The EU imports are worth around EUR 7 million of Palestinian goods, of which 72% consists of agricultural products. We, Members of the European Parliament, can therefore expect that the agreement will have a substantial impact on the Palestinian economy. However, we should also think about other ways to increase our bilateral trade, especially by improving the conditions for market access of Palestinian exports to the EU, which would certainly be beneficial to all parties concerned. Regardless of whether the Palestinian people obtain their legitimate statehood in the coming months or some years later, the state of their economy will be a crucial factor which will determine whether there can be sustainable peace between Palestine and Israel.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted against this document on liberalising access to the European Union for Palestinian agricultural products.

Firstly, the document specifies that the primary aim of the agreement between the EU and the Palestinian Authority is to support the development of the Palestinian economy. Since, in recent years, the Palestinian territories have become a place of increasing discrimination and violence against Palestinian Christians, I think that any EU aid for the Palestinian economy could only be acceptable if it was tied to an unbending conditionality mechanism that makes the aid subject to proper protection for the rights of the Christian minority.

Furthermore, trade in Palestinian agricultural products would also probably lead to health risks, given the difficulties in establishing what methods were used to produce them. I therefore decided to vote against this document.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) By giving its green light to a trade agreement with Palestine, the European Parliament has sought to send a strong political message of support and cooperation to the people and authorities of these territories. At present, trade between our two entities is non-existent. By abolishing customs duty on numerous imports, the EU is helping to boost the Palestinian economy as, aside from diplomatic negotiations, the consolidation of peace also hinges on the raising of local people’s living standards.

 
  
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  Robert Dušek (S&D), in writing. (CS) The recommendation on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement between the EU and the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on liberalisation in the area of trade in agricultural products, processed agricultural products, and fish and fishery products, will introduce customs-free and quota-free access of these products imported from the territory of the Palestinian Authority to the European market. In return, some products from the EU will have customs-free access to the Palestinian market, but an upper limit will be set on imports of these products. I understand that the main aim of this agreement is to support the development of the Palestinian economy and facilitate the export of Palestinian products to the EU, and thus to help boost the economic development of the region. I therefore accept the unequal terms.

Since European citizens want to know the origin of the products they consume, it is essential to ensure in this context that the application of the agreement does not lead to abuse of the rules on product country of origin. The European Court of Justice, in its decisions, considers the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to be Palestinian territory; in other words, Israel cannot market the products of Israeli settlements in this area as Israeli goods. We surely cannot hope to solve the Palestinian-Israeli issue in this report, as its main aim is to help farmers and fishermen to export and sell products within the law. The report is, on the whole, beneficial, and I will therefore vote for its adoption.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this recommendation because I argue that increasing Palestinian exports of its products to the EU constitutes crucial support for the development of the Palestinian economy, whilst not harming the European markets in these sectors. The implementation of this agreement could be the first step in building a Palestinian state, in line with the two-state solution, given the beneficial impact it will have on the political stability of the region.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Irrespective of the political considerations surrounding the current state of relations between Israel and Palestine and their future development, I consider it undeniable that the populations of both states should be deserving of European support, particularly those worst off. I believe this latter group will be the greatest beneficiaries of the agreement under consideration, and I am voting for its conclusion with their needs in mind. Greater liberalisation of trade could be an effective means of promoting the normalisation of life in the Palestinian Territories, the strengthening of the local economy and the improvement of the inhabitants’ living conditions. I hope that our partner in this agreement will make good use of it, and that this use will be of sufficient benefit to the Palestinian people.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This recommendation concerns an agreement in the form of an exchange of letters between the European Union and the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and aims to provide further liberalisation of agricultural products, processed agricultural products, and fish and fishery products, so amending the Euro-Mediterranean Interim Association Agreement on trade and cooperation between the European Community and the Palestine Liberation Organisation for the benefit of the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The purpose of this agreement, concluded in April 2011, is to support the development of the Palestinian economy, which is undergoing a very serious crisis due to poverty and unemployment, through the duty-free export of agricultural and fishery products to the EU. Although the Palestinian Authority is the EU’s smallest trade partner, I am voting for this recommendation aiming to free exports from the Palestinian Territories from the control of Israeli customs, and I hope it will be the first step in building a Palestinian state, whose right to self-determination must be respected by Israel.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The end of the blockade imposed by Israel on Palestine and its people is indispensable to the development of the Palestinian economy. By proposing increased exports of Palestinian products to the EU and facilitating imports to Palestine, this agreement represents, in the current context, a contribution to the achievement of this aim. Nevertheless, the scope of this agreement is severely limited by the specific situation facing those living in the occupied territories today, which is characterised by violent and persistent attacks on the Palestinian people’s most basic rights. Amongst numerous other things, this brutal and illegal occupation leads to countless obstacles for Palestinian exports and imports, not to mention the day-to-day barriers and constraints on the movement of people and goods. This problem urgently needs to be solved, most immediately by supporting the request made to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly by the Palestinian National Authority for recognition of Palestine as a full member of the UN.

The problem of the EU’s economic relations with the State of Israel still persists. In other words, the EU’s unacceptable complacency and connivance with regard to the clear and repeated human rights violations perpetrated by Israel in the occupied territories: these are an insult to the Association Agreement’s own human rights provisions, which we have always said are almost worthless.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted for this report because we believe the adoption of this agreement could aid the development of the Palestinian economy and facilitate the possibility of exports of Palestinian products to the EU. However, it is important to stress the urgent need to bring an end to Israel’s blockade of Palestine. The Commission cannot, with the conclusion of this report, ignore the slow torment of the Palestinian people as a result of the Israeli occupation of its territory. This brutal and illegal occupation leads to countless obstacles for Palestinian exports and imports, not to mention the day-to-day barriers and constraints on the movement of people and goods.

Although the Commission decreed in 1998 that ‘no settlement in the occupied territories should be regarded as Israeli territory’, it has washed its hands of its obligations, leaving the duty of monitoring any irregularities regarding the origin of products up to the Member States. We therefore support the Palestinian people’s demand for, and right to, recognition of a sovereign and independent state of Palestine, on the pre-1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. –?? (SK)? In 2005, in accordance with the Rabat Road Map, the Council authorised the Commission to conduct negotiations with several Mediterranean countries in order to establish the conditions for the liberalisation of trade in agricultural and fishery products. The Palestinian Authority was also included on the list. Negotiations were initiated in May 2010 and were concluded in December 2010. The agreement, in the form of an exchange of letters, was signed in April 2011. It provides for duty-free (and mostly also quota-free) access to the European market of Palestinian imports of agricultural products, processed agricultural products, and fish and fishery products. The ultimate aim of the agreement is to help the development of the Palestinian economy and to facilitate the possibility of exports of Palestinian products into the EU.

I believe that this agreement will help, to a certain degree, to strengthen the Palestinian economy, which is currently in crisis, and will help to deal with the situation in the Palestinian territories, which is dire because of severe poverty and unemployment. The future of the region depends on improving economic development and trade can also serve as a development mechanism that contributes to the reduction of poverty and the establishment of political stability.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because this agreement provides for duty-free (and mostly also quota-free) access for Palestinian imports to the European market of agricultural products, processed agricultural products, and fish and fishery products. Several products of the same nature originating in the EU will have duty-free (but not quota-free) access to Palestine, with some exceptions. The ultimate aim of the agreement, however, is to help the development of the Palestinian economy and thus to facilitate the possibility of exports of Palestinian products into the EU.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE), in writing. – (DE) The EU has given itself the task of improving the economic situation in Palestine and, hence, the living conditions of the Palestinians living there. Trade has an important part to play in this regard. With this agreement, the EU is ensuring that Palestine can have tariff-free access to the European market in agricultural and fishery products and is thus sending an important signal for the sustainable development of the region. In this connection, it is important, however, that the preferential customs treatment should only benefit those concerned and that it is not abused. Safeguard clauses are supposed to guarantee this. In 2010, the import of goods into the EU from Palestine amounted to a trade value of just EUR 9.3 million. That thus precludes any major impact on the EU market.

 
  
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  Vladimir Maňka (S&D), in writing. (SK) The situation in the Palestinian territories is dire because of severe poverty and unemployment. The aim of the agreement is to help the development of the Palestinian economy and to facilitate exports of Palestinian products into the EU. The agreement provides for duty-free (and mostly also quota-free) access to the European market of Palestinian imports of agricultural products, processed agricultural products, and fish and fishery products. Several products of the same nature originating in the EU will have duty-free (but not quota-free) access to Palestine, with some exceptions. Opening the European market directly to Palestinian products is only the first stage in the construction of a Palestinian state, in line with the two-state solution and Palestine’s economic development. It then needs to be ensured that all stakeholders in the process of Palestine’s economic development are provided with the necessary resources. In other words, farmers must have access to water, the Palestinians must have the right to obtain a building permit in the Jordan Valley, etc. Matters are not made any easier by the fact that it is very complicated for foreign investors to obtain visas. The Commission should submit a detailed report on all these factors to try and prevent this kind of risk in future.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this report. It is an economic opportunity for the region that may bring prosperity and growth. Easier access to our market will help to cut poverty. I hope it will bring confidence for the future and more political stability to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) In 2005, in accordance with the Rabat Road Map, the Council authorised the Commission to conduct negotiations with several Mediterranean countries, including the Palestinian Authority, in order to establish conditions for the liberalisation of trade in agricultural and fishery products. More specifically, the agreement provides for duty-free – and mostly also quota-free – access to the European market of Palestinian imports of agricultural products, processed agricultural products, and fish and fishery products. Several products of the same nature originating in the EU will have duty-free, but not quota-free, access to Palestine, with some exceptions. However, the ultimate aim of the agreement is to support the development of the Palestinian economy and, hence, to facilitate the possibility of exports of Palestinian products into the EU. The future of the region depends on improved economic development. Trade can also serve as a development mechanism contributing to the reduction of poverty and the establishment of political stability.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) European consumers have a right to know the provenance of the products they buy. Equally, Palestinian products must be recognised as such in order to facilitate Palestine’s economic development as, while there cannot be sustainable development without peace and security, there cannot be lasting peace without economic development and without the eradication of poverty. A comprehensive approach based on economic development, governance, security and respect for human rights is the only way to help Palestine progress towards political stability. Liberalising trade between the EU and Palestine is a vital ‘step’ which will contribute to Palestine’s economic development. By opening the doors of the European market to Palestinian products, we are making progress towards the creation of a Palestinian state.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The Palestinian Authority is the EU’s smallest trading partner: exports from the two territories to the EU totalled EUR 6.1 million in 2009. The proposed agreement would allow Palestinian agricultural products, processed agricultural products, as well as fish and other fisheries products, duty-free access to the European market. The proposed agreement is more of a political nature than a trade deal per se. The rapporteur believes that it should help the region to develop economically, reduce its poverty and contribute to some political stability. I voted against, because I am not confident that profit from the trade will not be used for financing terrorist objectives. I am ‘against’.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I support the draft agreement with Palestine to liberalise trade in agricultural products and fish. Ever since the initial establishment of the European Union, we have tried to create open markets without barriers to movement so that everyone – or nearly everyone – could enjoy different products. This exemption from customs duties is designed to support the development of the Palestinian economy and will lead us ever closer towards a state of interconnection, which will surely have beneficial outcomes. I hope this agreement can contribute to the peace process. Peaceful cohabitation in the area is essential and I hope that the revenues that the Palestinians will gain thanks to this agreement will be used to support the local economy and to benefit the people through the construction of social facilities that will favour the peace and democratisation process.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The basis of this report is the agreement with the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip providing further liberalisation of agricultural products, processed agricultural products, and fish and fishery products. Negotiations were initiated in May 2010 and concluded in December 2010. The agreement, in the form of an exchange of letters, was concluded in April 2011. The agreement provides for duty-free – and mostly also quota-free – access to the European market of Palestinian imports of agricultural products, processed agricultural products, and fish and fishery products. Several products of the same nature originating in the EU will have duty-free, but not quota-free, access to Palestine, with some exceptions. I voted in favour because I agree with the ultimate aim of this agreement of supporting the development of the Palestinian economy.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. – I support this resolution and the recognition of Palestine as a formal trade partner and a distinct entity to our trade relations with Israel. The Palestinian economy is currently in crisis, something we in the EU understand all too well, and we must do all we can to assist them. By recognising Palestine as a trading partner and opening our markets to its products, we will be helping to ensure the economic future of the region and will boost the Palestinian economy. Allowing Palestinian imports duty-free access to our markets will provide much needed support to producers and may help to tackle the widespread poverty and unemployment levels in the territory.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The ultimate goal of this report, whose immediate purpose is the liberalisation of trade between the EU and the Palestinian Territory, is supporting the economic development of Palestine. Indeed, as well as offering a new avenue for trade, the creation of economic bridges between the EU and Palestine aids the development of local production and strengthens the ties between their peoples. Despite the political issues always raised by an approach of this nature, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing.(IT) I should like to offer my congratulations on the excellent work carried out by Ms Koppa.

The trade agreements between the European Union and the Palestinian Authority will help to strengthen the Palestinian economy, allowing the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to export agricultural products and fish to the EU from 2012 onwards. In fact, this agreement guarantees direct, duty-free and largely quota-free access to the European market for agricultural and fishery products from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as access to Palestinian markets for some European products.

The agreement represents an opportunity for the Palestinian people and the first step towards the development of a nation. Giving Palestinian products direct access to European markets, which, until now, took place under the direct control of the Israeli authorities, will contribute to the development of Palestinian trade and the expansion of their economy.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The present revision of the existing EU-Palestinian Association Agreement from 2005 provides for the removal of essentially all duties and quotas for Palestinian agricultural and fisheries products originating in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The revision was negotiated between May and December 2010. The result was signed in April 2011, in the form of an exchange of letters. The EP had to give its consent. The trade volume of products from Palestine entering the EU is rather limited (in 2009, the amount of imports was EUR 6.1 million, with an increase of 32.6% in 2010). The elimination of tariffs and quotas would not significantly change the EU import landscape. Accordingly, the INTA battle was around the political approach.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) In 2005, in accordance with the Rabat Road Map, the Council authorised the Commission to conduct negotiations with several Mediterranean countries in order to establish the conditions for the liberalisation of trade in agricultural and fishery products. The Palestinian Authority was included on the list.

Negotiations were initiated in May 2010 and were concluded in December 2010, while the final agreement was signed in April 2011. The agreement will certainly help to strengthen the Palestinian economy, which is currently in crisis. The future of the region depends on improvements in economic growth and trade can serve as a development mechanism to help reduce poverty and build political stability.

Opening the European market directly to Palestinian products is only the first stage in the construction of a Palestinian state, in line with the two-state solution and Palestine’s economic development.

 
  
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  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing. (IT) I should like to explain why I voted against this report, highlighting the fact that our delegation has always opposed the use of trade policy for humanitarian purposes and has a marked preference for tangible aid involving a number of economic sectors and all Member States. Our reservations on liberalising trade in agricultural products and fish from Palestine has nothing to do with a possible reduction in trade flows in economic terms. Rather, it is borne from concern over plant health requirements and the procedures for producing and selecting traditional products from the area.

 
  
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  Søren Bo Søndergaard (GUE/NGL), in writing. (DA) I voted in favour of this report on the basis of my general support for Palestinian autonomy and the opportunity for Palestine to trade with the Member States of the EU. This should not be taken to mean that I support the liberalisation of trade in general in the forms and on the conditions mapped out by the EU. In this case, however, I consider support that will enable the Palestinians to sell their products and thereby strengthen their own independent economy to be more important than the criticisms that I have in general of the EU’s trade policy.

 
  
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  Thomas Ulmer (PPE), in writing. (DE) I voted in favour of this report as it will mean a further improvement in the quality of life in the Palestinian territories. All in all, it represents a further step on the road to normalising relations between the EU and Palestine, while at the same time guaranteeing the existence of Israel.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) At a time when the Palestinian issue has been greatly debated, including in the European Parliament, this legislative resolution has been somewhat overlooked. It represents, however, a new and positive chapter in EU-Palestine relations. It will indeed strengthen economic cooperation with Palestine for whom access to the European market is vital owing to the obstacles which the Israeli Government imposes on any Palestinian economic activity.

Through this resolution, the European Parliament is agreeing to give a number of Palestinian imports, mainly agricultural products, free access to the European market.

Ms Koppa, the rapporteur, also took the opportunity to point out that the Union and Parliament are committed to ensuring stringent compliance with the rules of origin, or, in other words, to the fact that products originating from Israeli settlements in occupied territories cannot be considered as Israeli products. I wholeheartedly endorse that.

Member States must therefore, as the Court of Justice of the European Union highlighted in February 2010, do everything within their means to check the origin of imports so that European consumers can genuinely exercise choice. Member States’ tax and customs authorities must not be bound by Israel’s position on this matter.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – (DE) An agreement between the European Union and the Palestinian Authorities providing liberalisation of agricultural and fishery products was signed in April 2011 in the form of an exchange of letters. According to the case-law of the European Court of Justice, the Palestinian Territories are legally not regarded as Israeli territories – and that means that such products cannot be granted tariff preferences under the EU-Israeli agreement. At the same time, this report also calls on the EU to observe the rules of origin. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) At a time of huge historical and political significance for the Middle East, with the United Nations engaged in discussions over the possible recognition of the Palestinian state, I welcomed the report by Ms Koppa on trade in agricultural products and fish between the European Union and Palestine.

The agreement excludes some products, such as fruit and flowers, and is designed to facilitate greater trade in European markets of agricultural and fisheries products from the Palestinian territories. It should also enable the development of these economic sectors, which are so important for this troubled geopolitical area.

 
  
  

Report: Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (A7-0298/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this recommendation, since agreements in the field of civil aviation that have been regulated by bilateral agreements have to be replaced with a general agreement between the European Union – which includes all the Member States – and third countries, so as to prevent discrimination as regards free competition. This agreement is also particularly important because it relates to Mexico, which is an important partner in the market for European carriers, with approximately 2.5 million passengers and 90 000 tonnes of cargo in 2009.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this document. International aviation relations between Member States and third countries have traditionally been governed by bilateral air services agreements. In 2002, the EU Court of Justice ruled that traditional designation clauses in Member States’ bilateral air services agreements infringe EU law because they allow a third country to reject, withdraw or suspend the permissions or authorisations of an air carrier that has been designated by a Member State but that is not substantially owned and effectively controlled by that Member State or its nationals. This is contrary to Article 49 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which guarantees nationals of Member States who have exercised their freedom of establishment the same treatment in the host Member State as that accorded to nationals of that Member State. Mexico is an important market for EU carriers with approximately 2.5 million passengers and 90 000 tonnes of cargo in 2009. In view of the size and importance of the EU-Mexico aviation market, the new agreement aims to guarantee all EU air carriers non-discriminatory access to routes between EU Member States and Mexico.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU Court of Justice ruled in 2002 that traditional designation clauses included in Member States’ bilateral air services agreements infringe EU law. Following this judgment, the Commission has negotiated an agreement which replaces certain provisions of the 13 existing bilateral air services agreements between the Member States and the United Mexican States. The horizontal agreement with Mexico will restore a sound legal basis for the EU’s aviation relations with Mexico. Mexico, which registered approximately 2.5 million passengers and 90 000 tonnes of cargo in 2009, is an important market for EU carriers. In view of the size and importance of the EU-Mexico aviation market, this report, for which I voted, advocates the conclusion of a more comprehensive air transport agreement, thereby contributing to the enhancement of EU-Mexico cooperation on aviation matters, and to the fostering of opportunities and benefits for industry and consumers, in both the EU and Mexico.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because, in order improve and consolidate aviation relations between the European Union and the United Mexican States, certain provisions on air services agreements must be amended. The Mexican market is very important for European Union carriers, and more agreements relating to air transport must therefore be concluded in order to expand benefits for consumers in Mexico and the European Union. The new agreements and amendments must provide better access to the market and help to strengthen trade links with Mexico. At present, the European Commission has set out 13 existing bilateral air services agreements concluded between EU Member States and the United Mexican States. According to several of the key points of the agreement, anti-competitive practices are strictly prohibited, and all consumers who wish to travel from the European Union and Mexico must not face discrimination. However, as I mentioned, Mexico is an important market for European Union carriers, and more aviation agreements therefore need to be concluded in order to further improve cooperation between these parties.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – International aviation relations between Member States and third countries have traditionally been governed by bilateral air services agreements, yet the Court of Justice ruled in 2002 that many bilateral air services agreements infringe EU law as they allow a third country to reject or suspend permissions of an air carrier designated by a Member State but that is not substantially owned and controlled by that Member State. I have voted against the implementation of this agreement as an unnecessary infringement into another area of domestic sovereignty.

The air space over a country, operation of its airports and, thus, bilateral air services agreements should be the provision of the Member State and related third country alone. Creeping jurisdiction in this area of legislation will lead to the Commission assuming judicial priority in air services as a whole and open up the floodgates to a raft of laws which may dissuade foreign carriers from utilising UK airports as principal departure hubs.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that the traditional designation clauses included in bilateral air services agreements concluded by Member States infringe Union law because they allow a third country to reject, withdraw or suspend the permissions or authorisations of an air carrier that has been designated by a Member State but that is not substantially owned and effectively controlled by that Member State or its nationals. This has been found to constitute obvious discrimination, violating Article 49 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which guarantees the nationals of Member States who have exercised their freedom of establishment the same treatment in the host Member State as that accorded to nationals of that Member State.

This new agreement negotiated by the Commission, in addition to correcting a discriminatory situation, brings obvious benefits in that it replaces provisions in the existing 13 bilateral agreements with a horizontal agreement that restores a solid legal basis for EU-Mexico relations.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this recommendation because, as a member of the Delegation to the EU-Mexico Joint Parliamentary Committee, I am delighted that the economic ties between the two economies are becoming ever tighter. The roughly 2.5 million people and 90 000 tonnes of cargo that travel each year between these two areas are a sign of a significant economic relationship, which is now also expressed through a number of sectors where problems existed previously. I am referring, in particular, to the parts of the recommendation that extend the agreements which formerly related only to the individual Member State, such as on safety and designations, to the whole of the EU. I therefore offer my congratulations to Ms Ţicău.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report, which will help to enhance EU-Mexico cooperation on aviation matters while also eliminating anti-competitive practices. With the signing of this agreement, both parties will be able to trade freely on a sound legal basis and I welcome that.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Ensuring aviation safety and harmonised rules for the various market players is the main objective of this agreement between the European Union and the United Mexican States on civil aviation safety. This agreement will prevent the duplication of procedures, including tests, evaluations and certifications. It should also be noted that the rule of mutual acceptance and joint inspections, investigations and exchange of safety data allow improved efficiency for all stakeholders. Moreover, the agreement guarantees all EU carriers non-discriminatory access to routes between any EU Member State that is party to a bilateral agreement and Mexico. Last but not least, the agreement will ensure not only significant savings for the aviation industry, but also improved efficiency for the airlines themselves.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Ms Ţicău, concerns the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement on certain aspects of air services between the European Union and the United Mexican States. The Mexican market, which recorded approximately 2.5 million passengers and 90 000 tonnes of cargo in 2009, is important for EU air carriers. International relations in the field of aviation between the Member States and third countries were regulated by bilateral agreements until the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009, which makes it necessary for Parliament to give its consent to agreements on air services. Although this agreement was signed on 15 December 2010, Parliament needs to adopt it before it can be concluded. I welcome the establishment of another agreement whose purpose is to give all EU air carriers non-discriminatory access to routes with Mexico as their destination, which represents an important step in strengthening EU-Mexico relations in the aviation sector.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) As we mentioned with regard to previous agreements covering the same area, in the specific context in which civil aviation operates, this draft agreement raises serious concerns about its scope and possible consequences. Moves to ‘avoid discrimination between EU air carriers’ with the supposed creation of a level playing field for the various European companies could contribute to facilitating the monopolistic concentration within the sector, which is already under way.

The reference to the primacy of free competition in Article 4 comes under this heading, seeking to reduce the Member States’ ability to defend their flag carriers, in a sector that is strategic in terms of safeguarding national interests for a number of reasons. Although the possible implications for Portugal are comparatively less than in those of previous agreements already concluded with Brazil, the United States and Canada, we voted against this report for the sake of consistency with the reasons that we have put forward previously.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) As we mentioned with regard to previous agreements covering the same area, in the specific context in which civil aviation operates, this draft agreement raises serious concerns about its scope and possible consequences. As the report says, moves to ‘avoid discrimination between EU air carriers’ with the supposed creation of a level playing field for the various European companies could contribute to facilitating the monopolistic concentration within the sector, which is already under way.

The reference to the primacy of free competition in Article 4 comes under this heading, seeking to reduce the Member States’ ability to defend their flag carriers, in a sector that is strategic in terms of safeguarding national interests for a number of reasons. It is true that the possible implications for Portugal are comparatively less than in those of previous agreements already concluded with Brazil, the United States and Canada. However, we voted against this report for the sake of consistency with the reasons that we have put forward previously.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) International aviation relations between Member States and third countries have traditionally been governed by bilateral air services agreements. The EU Court of Justice ruled in 2002 that traditional designation clauses in Member States’ bilateral air services agreements infringe EU law. They allow a third country to reject, withdraw or suspend the permissions or authorisations of an air carrier that has been designated by a Member State but that is not substantially owned and effectively controlled by that Member State or its nationals. The Commission has negotiated an agreement that replaces certain provisions in the existing 13 bilateral air services agreements concluded between EU Member States and the United Mexican States. Mexico is an important market for EU carriers with approximately 2.5 million passengers and 90 000 tonnes of cargo in 2009.

In view of the size and importance of the EU-Mexico aviation market, the potential for a more comprehensive EU-Mexico air transport agreement should be explored. Such an agreement could enhance EU-Mexico cooperation on aviation matters and expand the opportunities and benefits for industry and consumers both in Mexico and the EU. On the basis of the above, I therefore support the conclusion of this agreement.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE), in writing. – I very much welcome this latest in a series of agreements as a result of the Lisbon Treaty. This should hopefully make air services more efficient, thus improving the environment and, at the same time, lowering the cost of air services for consumers.

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. – I supported this report and welcome the restoration of a sound legal basis for EU-Mexican aviation links. Mexico is an important market for the EU and this is a welcome addition to the existing agreements with Canada, the US and Brazil.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because I believe that certain aspects of this agreement are important. For instance, to avoid discrimination between EU air carriers, the traditional designation clauses, referring to air carriers of the Member State party to the bilateral agreement, are replaced by an EU designation clause, referring to all EU carriers. The aim is to guarantee all EU air carriers non-discriminatory access to routes between European Union Member States and Mexico. Safety provisions in bilateral agreements would be applicable to situations in which regulatory control over an air carrier is exercised by a Member State other than the Member State that designated that air carrier. Anti-competitive practices are also prohibited.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of the report by Ms Ţicău on the agreement on certain aspects of air transport between the European Union and Mexico. Mexico represents a significant economic and future investment opportunity for the Member States. In 2009, nearly 2.5 million European passengers chose to travel to Mexico. That is why an agreement on air transport is particularly important, including in view of the conclusion of the agreements with other countries in the Americas. This agreement represents an important first step ahead of the strengthening of trade policies designed to increase exchanges between the Member States and Mexico.

 
  
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  Vladimir Maňka (S&D), in writing. (SK) Mexico is an important market for EU carriers with approximately 2.5 million passengers and 90 000 tonnes of cargo annually. In view of the size and importance of the EU-Mexico aviation market, the potential for a more comprehensive EU-Mexico air transport agreement should be explored. Such an agreement could enhance EU-Mexico cooperation on aviation matters and expand the opportunities and benefits for industry and consumers both in Mexico and the EU. Moreover, it would complete the EU-Americas open aviation area following the comprehensive agreements already reached with the US, Canada and, most recently, with Brazil. The objective is to give all EU air carriers non-discriminatory access to routes between the EU Member State which is party to the bilateral agreement and Mexico. Safety provisions in bilateral agreements are applicable to situations when regulatory control over an air carrier is exercised by an EU Member State other than the Member State that designated that air carrier. Anti-competitive practices are prohibited. The agreement with Mexico will restore a sound legal basis for the EU’s aviation relations with the country. This is an important first step in strengthening EU-Mexico aviation relations.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report. The horizontal agreement with Mexico will restore a sound legal basis for the EU’s aviation relations with Mexico. This is an important first step in strengthening EU-Mexico aviation relations. Mexico is an important market for EU carriers with approximately 2.5 million passengers and 90 000 tonnes of cargo in 2009. In view of the size and importance of the EU-Mexico aviation market, the potential for a more comprehensive EU-Mexico air transport agreement should be explored. Such an agreement could enhance EU-Mexico cooperation on aviation matters and expand the opportunities and benefits for industry and consumers both in Mexico and the EU. Moreover, it would complete the EU-Americas open aviation area after the comprehensive agreements already reached with the US, Canada and, most recently, with Brazil.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) It seems to me that the text of the recommendation on the draft Council decision on the Agreement on certain aspects of air services between the European Union and the United Mexican States is certainly an important way to strengthen EU-Mexico relations in this sector.

I therefore voted in favour of the report by Ms Ţicău.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU-Mexico air agreement is very important for the future of relations between both sides. As such, and following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, Parliament needs to be fully informed and consulted about the work carried out by the joint committee and all the entities involved. Any agreement that is to be concluded must be adopted by Parliament, which will therefore need to be kept up to date with all negotiations, and it will even be important, in the future, for regular meetings to be held between Members of this House and members of the US Congress in order to debate all issues relating to aviation policy between the EU and Mexico. This agreement is therefore an important step towards opening up the market to airlines from the EU and Mexico, without any discrimination. This opening up of the market will contribute to improving the services provided to passengers.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – I know that Mexico is an important trade partner and aviation market for EU carriers, with approximately 2.5 million passengers per year. The committee unanimously recommended concluding the agreement. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) Given what we have just voted on, I think it is quite right to re-examine the relationships between airlines from the European Union and those from the United Mexican States. I say this because Mexico is an important market for EU air carriers and, given time, I would not bet against a further, more binding agreement being signed on this issue. The fact that previously there was no clause binding the bilateral agreements between Member States and Mexico caused blockages and breaches of European regulations, specifically Article 49 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Hence, I think this decision is both right and necessary.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Under the terms presented in this report, the horizontal agreement with Mexico will restore a sound legal basis for the EU’s aviation relations with the country. This is an important first step in strengthening EU-Mexico relations in the aviation sector. Mexico, which recorded approximately 2.5 million passengers and 90 000 tonnes of cargo in 2009, is an important market for EU carriers. In view of the size and importance of the EU-Mexico aviation market, a comprehensive agreement should be explored, like those already reached with other countries in the Americas, specifically, the US, Canada and, most recently, Brazil. I voted in favour of this report because it represents a positive step in that direction.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Following the conclusion of agreements with the United States, Canada and Brazil, the EU-Mexico agreement represents another open door to relations between the Union and the Americas. In this case, it is an agreement concluded with an important trade partner – around 2.5 million passengers and 90 000 tonnes of cargo in 2009 – which will most probably lead to closer relations. I voted in favour because I agree with this course of action.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. International aviation relations between Member States and third countries have traditionally been governed by bilateral air services agreements. The EU Court of Justice ruled in 2002 that traditional designation clauses in Member States’ bilateral air services agreements infringe EU law. They allow a third country to reject, withdraw or suspend the permissions or authorisations of an air carrier that has been designated by a Member State but that is not substantially owned and effectively controlled by that Member State or its nationals. This has been found to constitute discrimination against EU carriers established in the territory of a Member State but owned and controlled by nationals of other Member States.

This is contrary to Article 49 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which guarantees nationals of Member States who have exercised their freedom of establishment the same treatment in the host Member State as that accorded to nationals of that Member State. There are also further issues, such as competition, where compliance with EU law should be ensured through amending or complementing existing provisions in bilateral air services agreements between Member States and third countries.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this text because I think that, in order to avoid discrimination between the various European air carriers, it is essential for there to be a single designation clause, replacing the traditional clauses of each individual Member State.

Indeed, the aim is to grant all European airlines equal access to routes between the Member State that signed the bilateral agreement and Mexico, which is a strategic market for the EU in this sense. This horizontal agreement will make it possible to establish a sound legal basis for aviation relations with Mexico.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Commission has negotiated an agreement that will replace the 13 existing bilateral agreements between EU Member States and the United Mexican States. This agreement, known as the horizontal agreement, like the many others in the area of civil aviation that the European Union has negotiated and concluded with various international partners, will serve as a common legal framework for the relationships of the various Member States of the European Union with the United Mexican States, and constitutes a first step in strengthening their relations in this area. The scale and importance of the Mexican aviation market for the European Union justify moving towards an agreement that is more comprehensive and able to benefit the civil aviation industry and both EU and Mexican consumers. Furthermore, the agreement is the last in a series of agreements concluded with other countries of the Americas, such as those recently reached with the United States, Canada and Brazil.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) The Agreement on certain aspects of air services between the European Union and the United Mexican States marks an important first step in strengthening EU-Mexico aviation relations. This replaces certain provisions in the existing 13 bilateral agreements with an EU agreement on air services concluded between EU Member States and the United Mexican States. The purpose of the agreement is to provide non-discriminatory access to air routes between EU Member States and the United Mexican States, with a ban on anti-competitive practices.

Mexico is an important market for EU carriers with a total of 2.5 million passengers and 90 000 tonnes of cargo in 2009. In view of the size and importance of the EU-Mexico aviation market, the potential for a more comprehensive EU-Mexico air transport agreement must be explored. Such an agreement would enhance EU-Mexico cooperation on aviation matters and generate more opportunities and benefits for this sector and for Mexican and EU citizens. Moreover, it would allow the EU-Americas open aviation area to be expanded, supplementing the comprehensive agreements already reached with the US, Canada and Brazil.

 
  
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  Niki Tzavela (EFD), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the Ţicău report on the strengthening of air services between the EU and Mexico. This will safeguard non-discriminatory access to flights between the EU and Mexico and will also improve the level of flight safety.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) The bilateral air service agreement with Mexico has been brought into line with the case-law of the European Court of Justice in respect of the designation clause (Article 2), safety (Article 3) and compatibility with EU competition rules (Article 4). I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) Following the ruling of the EU Court of Justice in 2002 that traditional designation clauses in Member States’ bilateral agreements in the international air transport sector infringe EU law, the Commission has negotiated a series of agreements in order to restore a valid legal basis for relations on air services between the EU and third countries.

Mexico is an important market for EU air carriers, with around 2.5 million passengers travelling from Europe to this central American country. I have therefore voted in favour of this agreement which, following those already signed with the United States, Canada and Brazil, among other things, helps towards the completion of the series of agreements on the EU-Americas open aviation area.

 
  
  

Report: Pat the Cope Gallagher (A7-0299/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this recommendation, since I consider it very advantageous to the EU. The new protocol permits 5 000 tonnes per year and an EU contribution to Cape Verde of EUR 435 000, thereby presenting new fishing opportunities for Portuguese, Spanish and French ships. This agreement is of the greatest importance, given that fishing represents 2% of Cape Verde’s gross domestic product, that this is an African country that has been achieving good results in political, social and economic development, and that Cape Verde has a special partnership with the outermost regions of the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands. This agreement will enhance these relations.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I welcomed the conclusion of this agreement. Based on a mandate from the Council, the European Commission has negotiated with the Republic of Cape Verde to renew the Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Cape Verde, dated 19 December 2006. The aim of this protocol is to continue the cooperation between the European Union and the Republic of Cape Verde, thereby creating a partnership framework within which to develop a sustainable fisheries policy and sound exploitation of fishery resources in the Cape Verde fishing zone, in the interests of both parties.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE), in writing. (ES) I voted in favour of the report on the fishing agreement with Cape Verde because it is an improvement on the previous one, for various reasons. To start with, it maintains the levies imposed on ship owners for each tonne caught (these do not increase), reduces advances and improves the fishing capacity of tuna seiners, although this is offset by the reduction in surface longliners, calculated in line with the observed use in the previous agreement. The clauses maintaining the agreement on respect for human rights in the region are also more stringent. Lastly, it increases support for the Cape Verde sector and insists on responsible fishing by obliging the local authorities to install a satellite tracking system to monitor boats.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I decided to vote in favour of this document on the renewal of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Cape Verde, which allows EU vessels to carry out fishing activities in Cape Verdean waters.

The document underlines the need to maintain transparency and clarity on the implementation of the agreement, particularly through controls on the management of financial contributions to the Republic of Cape Verde and by periodically updating Parliament on relevant developments. Accordingly, I think this document is worthy of support and hence, decided to vote in favour.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because a new protocol must be concluded in order to improve and reinforce the fight against illegal, undeclared and unregulated fishing in Cape Verde. Cape Verde is a small island state with 465 000 inhabitants located in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 500 km west of Senegal in West Africa. Cape Verde is considered one of the African countries that has achieved the best results in terms of political, economic and social development. The conclusion of the new protocol will have a significant impact on the political and financial stability of Cape Verde because the annual financial compensation is EUR 435 000, of which EUR 110 000 will be earmarked to support the fisheries sector of Cape Verde (EUR 50 000 more than in the previous protocol). In order to contribute to the viability of European enterprises, the new protocol must maintain access for the European Union to the fishing zones in the West African region and improve the partnership between both parties.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report by Mr Gallagher because I am a strong believer in partnership agreements in the fisheries sector. One of their advantages is that they ensure the sustainability of fish stocks and guarantee jobs.

In the particular case of the text voted upon today, Cape Verde is among those African countries with which the best results have been seen in terms of political, economic and social development. Even if its fishery resources are not considerable, they do include commercially important species of migratory fish such as tunas, small pelagic fish and lobsters. In particular, catches of tuna no longer account for more than 0.2% of all catches from the fish stocks concerned and the impact of the tuna fishing opportunities on sustainability is therefore minimal.

The agreement has had a positive impact on building Cape Verdean institutional capacity, providing facilities for fishing and 113 jobs. I therefore agree with the rapporteur, Mr Gallagher, that it is well worth renewing it. Furthermore, for Europe, the conclusion of the new protocol will help maintain continuity in the fishing zones covered by agreements and contribute to the vitality of European industries.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – I voted against the conclusion of a new protocol governing a Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Cape Verde. Imports of foreign fish undermine domestic markets but also usurp vital industries in third countries upon which whole communities depend. European waters have been grossly mismanaged by the Commission so I morally cannot support the EU now seeking to fish in foreign waters. It is extremely important that if third countries wish to trade with European nations, it is done on a Member State basis and with competitive freedoms to ensure the best deals are secured for both parties. In the UK, it should be up to the government to decide, with respect to British freedom of choice, how to create and develop fisheries and with whom negotiations on fisheries agreements should take place.

 
  
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  Ole Christensen, Dan Jørgensen, Christel Schaldemose and Britta Thomsen (S&D), in writing. (DA) We voted against the recommendation. The proposed new Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with the Republic of Cape Verde contains a reference quota of 5 000 tonnes of fish. However, this reference quota can be increased against a payment of EUR 65 for each additional tonne of fish caught, thus precluding a definite ceiling on the catch quantity. In light of the relatively low cost of each additional tonne of fish caught – in relation to the value of the fish – a financial incentive for EU fishermen to catch more than the reference quota could easily arise, thus contributing to the over-exploitation of fish stocks in Cape Verde’s waters.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) This legislative resolution concerns the draft decision regarding a new protocol for the EU-Cape Verde Fisheries Partnership Agreement. The goal is to promote cooperation between the EU and the Republic of Cape Verde, so as to develop a policy of sustainable fishing and ensure rational exploitation of the resources in Cape Verde’s fishing zone. This partnership ensures the sustainability of resources, and clearly benefits both parties. I am voting for this report, as I believe the agreement promotes a privileged relationship between the EU and an important region, thereby promoting the Atlantic dimension of the EU’s integrated maritime policy. I also believe this report to be consistent with EU fisheries, maritime and development policy. By way of example, I should like to highlight the case of Portugal, which is guaranteed an increase in the number of its longliner licences from seven to nine with this protocol. In a wider context, I also await a strengthening of the EU-Cape Verde special partnership agreement, which has made significant progress over recent years, and has undeniably contributed to the desirable process of EU-Cape Verde dialogue and convergence.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I believe that the agreement promotes the development of a sustainable fishing policy and the responsible exploitation of fishery resources in the Republic of Cape Verde’s fishing zone. It should be stressed that the new protocol now authorises 35 EU surface longliners to fish in Cape Verde waters, including nine Portuguese vessels, which is two more than under the previous protocol.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) With particularly close ties in terms of population, history and culture to the European Union, Cape Verde has embarked upon a process of moving increasingly closer to Europe, which has culminated in the conclusion of the special partnership, in which the country’s specific characteristics have been clearly acknowledged, as well as the notable progress it has made, which constitutes a positive example for developing countries. I hope the partnership established in the fishing sector will complement the other areas of privileged cooperation with the Union, and that they will all be fruitful for both parties. I hope that, in the area of fisheries too, Cape Verde will again set an example and demonstrate that, even with scant resources, it is possible to make progress and construct a stable, democratic country. Like the rapporteur, I believe that, in the future, the agreement could complement a future Atlantic dimension to the EU’s integrated maritime policy.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This recommendation on a draft Council decision concerns the conclusion of a new fisheries partnership agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Cape Verde, which sets out the fishing possibilities and financial contribution. The fisheries protocol concluded between the European Community and Cape Verde came to an end on 31 August, after having been in force for five years. Last December, a new protocol was negotiated, which will be in force between 1 September 2011 and 31 August 2014. However, pursuant to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, conclusion of the new protocol requires the consent of Parliament. Given that this is a country with very privileged relations with the EU, and with which the EU even concluded a special partnership in 2007, and taking account of the fact that it also has very close ties with the European outermost regions of the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands, I welcome the conclusion of this protocol. It will not only enable the fishing fleets of Portugal, Spain and France to continue fishing in Cape Verde waters, but will also contribute to the sustainable economic development of a country lacking abundant financial resources.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This fisheries protocol guarantees fishing opportunities off Cape Verde for the Member States’ fleets until 31 August 2014. The islands’ volcanic origins mean that the continental shelves around Cape Verde are generally narrow, thus limiting the productivity of fisheries. Cape Verde fishery resources are not considerable, but they do include commercially important migratory species such as tunas, along with small pelagic fish, and some demersal fish and lobsters. Overall employment in the fisheries sub-sectors and related public administrative activities accounted for around 10 400 jobs in 2008, about 5% of the total workforce.

We share the concerns expressed by the rapporteur when he calls on the Commission to provide Parliament with all the relevant documentation and information relating to the conclusions of the meetings of the joint committee, as well as the multiannual sectoral programme and the outcome of the corresponding annual evaluations; to facilitate the participation of Parliament’s representatives as observers in the meetings of the joint committee; and to submit to Parliament, within the final year of application of the new protocol and before the opening of negotiations for its renewal, a full evaluation report on its implementation, without imposing unnecessary restrictions on access to this document.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report concerns the fisheries protocol, which guarantees fishing opportunities off Cape Verde for the Member States’ fleets until 31 August 2014. It is an important agreement for tuna fishing, where Portugal’s licences for surface longliners have increased from seven to nine. As is the case with other fishing agreements with third countries, this agreement raises important issues with regard to the economic viability of EU countries’ long-distance fishing fleets and the actual fishing opportunities granted under them, to the development of third countries, and to the support for development actually granted.

These agreements remain commercial in nature, although their partnership and development aspect has been stepped up: this agreement is an example of that, with the annual financial contribution having increased to EUR 435 000, with EUR 110 000 earmarked for supporting the development of the sectoral fisheries policy of the Republic of Cape Verde. Let us hope it will be enough to support the fishers and people of Cape Verde.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) On 19 December 2006, the Council adopted Regulation (EC) No 2027/2006 on the conclusion of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Cape Verde. This agreement, which is applicable for a period of five years and automatically renewable unless terminated by one of the parties, repeals and replaces the first agreement between the EC and the Republic of Cape Verde, which was concluded in 1990. The current protocol expired on 31 August 2011. In order to allow EU vessels to carry out fishing activities pending the completion of the procedures for the conclusion of the protocol, Article 15 of the new protocol provides for it to be applied on a provisional basis as from 1 September 2011. Cape Verde is an archipelagic island state situated in the Eastern Atlantic, 375 miles to the west of Senegal and Mauritania, with around 465 000 inhabitants. It has limited natural resources and fresh water and ranks 121 out of 182 countries in the UN Human Development Index.

Cape Verde is considered as one of the best performing countries in Africa in terms of political, economic and social development. I therefore express my belief that the new protocol will contribute to the strengthening of the capacity of the Republic of Cape Verde to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, will help to maintain continuity in the fishing zones in the western African region, and will bring an additional dimension to the special partnership between the EU and the Republic of Cape Verde.

 
  
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  Pat the Cope Gallagher (ALDE), in writing. – The current protocol expires after 4½ years. The European Commission started negotiations in December 2010 on a new protocol to cover a period of another 3 years. The conclusion of the protocol by the Council is subject to the prior consent of the European Parliament. Cape Verde can be considered as one of the best performing countries in Africa in terms of political, economic and social development. The fishery resources are not considerable, but they do include commercially important species of migratory fish such as tunas, small pelagic fish, and some demersal fish and lobsters. According to the evaluation report, the impact of the tuna fishing opportunities on sustainability is minimal. As the rapporteur, I recommend to give consent to the conclusion of the new protocol to the agreement.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report, and I want to congratulate my constituency colleague Pat the Cope Gallagher. Some of the main elements of the new protocol which I am pleased with include specific payments for support for the development of the sectoral fisheries policy of the Republic of Cape Verde. This is something I welcome. This new agreement also provides for fishing opportunities for 28 tuna seiners, 35 surface longliners and 11 pole-and-line vessels and advances and fees payable by shipowners are also set out.

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. – I voted against this report. As we begin our work on the vital reform of the CFP, it is apparent that certain Member States have fleets which exceed their national waters’ fishing capacity. We should not resolve that issue by exporting this over-capacity to other countries.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because 28 tuna seiners, 35 surface longliners and 11 pole-and-line vessels will be authorised to fish, with an annual reference tonnage of 5 000 tonnes. On the basis of the annual assessments of the state of stocks, these fishing opportunities could be revised upwards or downwards, which would lead to a corresponding review of the financial contribution. Annual financial compensation: EUR 435 000 (a total of EUR 1 305 000 over the whole period), on the basis of: a) an annual payment for access to the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Cape Verde of EUR 325 000; b) a specific payment of EUR 110 000 per year in support for the development of the sectoral fisheries policy of the Republic of Cape Verde. The allocation of these fishing opportunities among the Member States concerned will be the subject of a proposal for a specific Council Regulation.

 
  
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  Vladimir Maňka (S&D), in writing. (SK) The validity of the Protocol to the Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Cape Verde in the fishing sector expired on 31 August 2011. A new protocol was negotiated and initialled on 22 December 2010, covering a period of 3 years starting from 1 September 2011. Its conclusion by the Council was subject to the prior consent of the EP.

When voting, I therefore supported the financial compensation for support for the development of the sectoral fisheries policy of the Republic of Cape Verde, as well as fishing opportunities and advances and fees payable by shipowners which correspond to the annual reference catches.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this proposal and applaud the fact that this protocol introduces new provisions whereby the payment of the financial contribution or even the implementation of the protocol can be suspended in cases of violation of human rights and democratic principles.

 
  
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  Iosif Matula (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of renewing the Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Cape Verde starting from 1 September 2011 for a duration of three years. The partnership seeks to ensure EU access to Cape Verde’s fertile waters and that this access is carried out in the most sustainable manner. As its fishery resources account for 2% of Cape Verde’s economy, it is reasonable to suggest that EU access to its waters does not encroach on the nation’s means of development. The fact that a 13% increase in funding will be given to Cape Verde attests to the EU’s desire to fuel its partner’s economy in return for the use of its waters.

I would like to draw attention to a problem which has arisen in my own country. Romania receives funding from the EU to enhance regional development, and fisheries is one sector that benefits from this funding. However, due to the regulations upholding sustainable fishing practices, a large decrease in employment has resulted. It is likewise my recommendation that the jobs of Cape Verdean nationals employed in the fishing industry be protected under this new agreement.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing.(IT) I am in favour of the recommendation on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a new protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for by the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Cape Verde.

The protocol intensifies the partnership with an important peripheral region nation and fully meets the European Union’s fishing needs and the need to maintain the activities of our industries whose ships cross the region of West Africa.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) I am convinced that this new protocol will help strengthen Cape Verde’s capacity for combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, in particular, by improving its infrastructure for monitoring and controlling fishing activities in its exclusive economic zone. It will also have a major impact on the country’s budgetary and political stability. For the European Union, the conclusion of the new protocol will help maintain continuity in the fishing zones covered by agreements in the western Africa region, and contribute to the viability of European industries by offering EU vessels and the industries that depend on them a stable legal environment and medium-term predictability. Moreover, the agreement provides an additional dimension to the special partnership between the EU and an important peripheral region nation, and could complement a future Atlantic dimension to the EU’s integrated maritime policy.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – As is known, the new protocol, which will cover the period of November 2011-August 2014, leaves the reference tonnage of 5 000 t/year unchanged, and increases the financial contribution to EUR 435 000 (of which EUR 110 000 will be earmarked for sectoral support). The new protocol provides fishing opportunities for Spanish, French and Portuguese vessels. But where are Latvian, British, Netherlands vessels? I am against the report.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the agreement on the fishing sector and the relations between the EU and Cape Verde since I believe that the agreement we have ended up with is a beneficial one that could have positive results for both parties. The renewal of the old agreement, which expired in August 2011, can only confirm the theory that it creates favourable and profitable conditions that benefit both parties, including in the area of illegal fishing, through the improvement of surveillance infrastructure to ensure responsible and sustainable fishing activities.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The conclusion of this agreement is of great importance to the European Union, as it is a key means of pursuing the foreign policy objectives of the common fisheries policy, specifically in the western Africa region. In addition to providing the EU fleet, including the Portuguese fleet, with interesting fishing opportunities, this agreement will help strengthen Cape Verde’s capacity for combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, in particular, by improving its infrastructure for monitoring and controlling fishing activities in its exclusive economic zone. It will also have a major impact on the country’s budgetary and political stability. Moreover, the agreement provides an additional dimension to the special partnership between the EU and an important peripheral region nation, whilst strengthening important aspects of the EU’s integrated maritime policy.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Regulation (EC) No 2027/2006 on the conclusion of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Cape Verde was accompanied by a protocol setting out the fishing possibilities and financial contribution. This protocol expired on 31 August 2011, and the intention is to adopt a new protocol, which was signed on 27 July 2011. From the point of view of the Republic of Cape Verde, the agreement with the EU is the closest that it has concluded with any trade partner as regards fisheries as, besides the financial compensation aspect, it has already led to an increase in the instruments available to local fishers. On the other hand, this is a fishing area of great importance for the sustainability of EU operators. I voted in favour because I agree with the balance achieved.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Against. On 19 December 2006, the Council adopted Regulation (EC) No 2027/2006 on the conclusion of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) between the European Community and the Republic of Cape Verde. This FPA, which is applicable for periods of 5 years, tacitly renewable unless either party terminates it, entailed the repeal and replacement of the first agreement between the EC and Cape Verde, concluded in 1990. The FPA was accompanied by a protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and the financial compensation originally for a 5 year period (from 1 September 2006 to 31 August 2011).

However, the agreement and the protocol only entered into force on 30 March 2007. The current protocol expires on 31 August 2011, after a duration of 4 years and 5 months. A new protocol was meanwhile negotiated and initialled on 22 December 2010, covering a period of 3 years starting from 1 September 2011. Its conclusion by the Council is subject to the prior consent of the EP under Articles 43(2) and 218(6) (a) of the TFEU.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this agreement because it updates guidelines on fishing and Member States’ financial compensation in the national waters of Cape Verde.

I am also pleased to see that the new protocol includes specific clauses that could also lead to the suspension of any form of financial compensation in the event of violations of fundamental human rights.

This document will also bolster Cape Verde’s ability to fight illegal fishing, in particular, by improving infrastructure for monitoring and controlling fishing activities, which will have an important impact on the financial and political stability of the country.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The new protocol to the EU-Cape Verde Fisheries Partnership Agreement contributes to maintaining the continuity of fishing opportunities, in the interests of both parties. The special partnership was concluded in 2007, taking into account Cape Verde’s status as a peripheral region nation and how much it has in common with the EU’s outermost regions of Madeira and the Azores. Their proximity in terms of geography and challenges faced contribute to an increasingly close relationship, complementing a future Atlantic dimension to the EU’s integrated maritime policy. With a view to creating a framework of partnership for the development of a sustainable fisheries policy, the protocol provides for an annual contribution of EUR 1 305 000. In addition, it will be desirable to foster synergies with various regional development programmes, and for the agreement to have been developed in line with the EU’s common fisheries policy (CFP) and development policies. I voted for the document for the reasons that I have given.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) The Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Cape Verde is classified as important for the EU’s fishing activities, yet at the same time, the fishing activities of the EU in Cape Verde’s waters – according to the evaluation report – will have a minimum impact on sustainability in those waters. The new protocol contains explicit clauses concerning the suspension and revision of the financial compensation in the event of the breach of fundamental human rights or democratic principles. Furthermore, the new protocol is expected to make a significant contribution to Cape Verde’s fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of the text presented by Mr Gallagher on the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Cape Verde.

In addition to being Vice-Chair of the Committee on Development, I am a member of the Delegation for Relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries, and therefore am aware of the significance that signing such agreements has for developing countries. In the specific case in question, the European Union undertakes, with immediate effect, to pay annual financial compensation of EUR 1 305 000 over three years, in exchange for the right to fish tuna, of which there are abundant stocks in the waters of Cape Verde.

 
  
  

Report: Herbert Reul (A7-0301/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this recommendation as I see no reason not to.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this document. On 30 March 2009, the Council asked the Commission to take all necessary action to achieve the highest level of interoperability between the European air traffic management (ATM) modernisation programme, SESAR, and the corresponding programme in the USA, NextGen, as well as other regional projects in ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) regions. Based on the Commission’s recommendation, on 9 October 2009, the Council adopted a decision that mandated the Commission to open negotiations on behalf of the EU with the FAA for a memorandum of cooperation for research and development in the field of civil aviation. The Council also asked the Commission to develop, in parallel, an Annex addressing SESAR-NextGen interoperability. The proposed draft memorandum defines the terms and conditions for mutual cooperation between the EU and the USA for the promotion and development of civil aviation research and development. It constitutes an important instrument that will allow the parties to jointly pursue their common objective of ensuring greener and more efficient air transport systems. The draft memorandum will allow the two parties to establish cooperative research and development activities in relation to any civil aviation issue.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for this recommendation because I am in favour of greater integration on a practical level between the economies of Europe and the United States. We are talking about two of the world’s largest markets, which have very high trading levels and share several fundamental values. These values mean that it is both convenient and useful to share policies underlying a further increase in trade and direct investment between the two. In an industry like that of civil aviation, in which the United States and the EU account for a significant proportion of global traffic, and international cooperation is a crucial requirement for maintaining services, it does not make sense to erect barriers. On the contrary, the Council is to be commended for focusing on cooperation, especially in an area like that of research and development, which benefits from spillovers.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) The memorandum of cooperation before us today proposes terms and conditions for collaboration between the EU and the United States to encourage research and development in the field of civil aviation. This cooperation could take place through exchanges of information on programmes and projects, research results or publications, and of specific equipment, software, and systems for research activities and compatibility studies. It could also include the coordination of research and development projects, as well as their implementation. I voted for this report, since I believe it promotes solidarity and transatlantic cooperation, thereby establishing new opportunities for future cooperation in other areas. This memorandum removes technical barriers, by enabling shared research structures and so creating synergies with a view to achieving scientific results that are faster and more rigorous. The conclusion of this agreement strengthens mutual trust, shared research, and economic and scientific growth and development. I am, therefore, fairly pleased at the increasing closeness of the two sides, and would stress the importance of this continuing, not just in the field of civil aviation, but also in any other areas where there are synergies to be achieved.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Cooperation between the EU and the United States on civil aviation research and development is all the more important because of the significance of the aviation industries of these two areas, since the adoption of common rules secures efficiency gains for all concerned.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The issue of international air traffic management is extremely important, not just because of its exponential growth, but also owing to the security problems that have become more acute than could have been expected since the attacks of 11 September 2001. This recommendation, drafted by Mr Reul, concerns Memorandum of Cooperation NAT-I-9406 between the European Union and the United States of America on research and development in the field of civil aviation. The memorandum in question is a result of the Council’s 2009 request to the Commission to obtain the greatest possible degree of interoperability between the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research programme and the equivalent programme in the United States, known as NextGen, as well as other regional programmes of the International Civil Aviation Organisation. I am voting for this memorandum, since, as well as promoting technological innovation and increasing research in the field of civil aviation, it constitutes an instrument that will enable the parties to secure air transport systems that are more environmentally friendly and more efficient, whilst boosting the global competitiveness of European industry.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The memorandum of cooperation in question establishes the terms and conditions for mutual cooperation on promoting and increasing research and development in the field of civil aviation. To that end, the parties – the United States and the EU – can, provided that adequate funding and the other necessary resources are available, provide related personnel, resources and services, with a view to cooperation to the extent provided for in its annexes and appendices. This cooperation could take place through exchanges of information on programmes and projects, research results or publications; of scientific and technical personnel; and of specific equipment, software, and systems for research activities and compatibility studies. It could also include the coordination of research and development projects and their implementation on the basis of a division of labour.

Unless otherwise indicated in an annex or appendix to this memorandum, the parties will share any intellectual property rights that they develop jointly in the context of this memorandum and its annexes or appendices. With respect to this issue, it will be important to monitor its developments and consistency with the stated objectives in the future, and to evaluate its implementation.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This memorandum of cooperation, including its annexes and appendices, establishes the terms and conditions for mutual cooperation on promoting and increasing research and development in the field of civil aviation. To that end, the parties can, provided that adequate funding and the other necessary resources are available, provide related personnel, resources and services, with a view to cooperation to the extent provided for in its annexes and appendices. Cooperation could take place through exchanges of information on programmes and projects, research results or publications; of scientific and technical personnel; and of specific equipment, software, and systems for research activities and compatibility studies. It could also include the coordination of research and development projects and their implementation on the basis of a division of labour. Unless otherwise indicated in an annex or appendix of this memorandum, the parties will share any intellectual property rights that they develop jointly in the context of this memorandum and its annexes or appendices. We will see how well it is implemented.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) European civil aviation industry expects that through the implementation of reciprocity principles underlying the memorandum, it will be able to take advantage of comparable opportunities to engage in cooperative activities with the USA on the basis of transparency, mutual benefits, and equitable and fair treatment. The memorandum of cooperation between the EU and the USA provides a sound legal basis that allows for an in-depth technical and operational cooperation, leading to the early development of common standards in civil aviation. It is an efficient binding legal instrument that fosters technical cooperation between the two parties.

It establishes a general framework that allows setting up cooperative activities ensuring both parties comparable opportunities for participation in their research and development activities in any field of civil aviation. The proposed memorandum of cooperation with the USA also provides a sound and legally binding basis for establishing cooperative research and development activities. In addition, it has the potential to set the international standards in aviation, providing the European civil aviation industry with wider market opportunities.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because it defines the terms and conditions for mutual cooperation between the EU and the USA for the promotion and development of civil aviation research and development. It constitutes an important instrument that, through a legally binding framework and respecting commonly agreed reciprocity principles, will allow the parties to jointly pursue their common objective of ensuring greener and more efficient air transport systems. The draft memorandum will allow the two parties to establish cooperative research and development activities in relation to any civil aviation issue. The memorandum of cooperation with the USA provides a sound and legally binding basis for establishing cooperative research and development activities, while duly addressing sensitive issues such as liability, intellectual property rights and reciprocity. In addition, the memorandum has the potential to set international standards in aviation providing worldwide interoperability in response to aviation stakeholders’ expectations, and providing the European industry with wider market opportunities.

 
  
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  Bogdan Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz (PPE), in writing.(PL) I voted in favour, since in my opinion, the EU-US Memorandum of Cooperation on civil aviation research and development creates an opportunity for stronger cooperation and exchange of experience in this field. It is my belief that it will have a direct impact on the establishment of a more efficient and environmentally-friendly air transport system, and will assist in the standardisation of the industry at international level.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Memorandum of Cooperation NAT-I-9406 between the United States of America and the European Union.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The adoption of this memorandum of cooperation, with all its annexes and appendices, establishes the terms and conditions for mutual cooperation on promoting and increasing research and development in the field of civil aviation between the EU and the United States.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) We have a string of cooperation agreements with the United States. Within the oft-cited trans-European partnership, and given the fiasco of the air passenger data agreement, you cannot help but get the impression that the EU regularly allows itself to be outmuscled at the negotiating table. As experienced Europeans, it is only natural for us to be cautious about each agreement that has been negotiated with the United States. I decided to abstain from the vote, as there are no clear advantages for the EU or signs of equality of treatment like true partners.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. – (IT) Research and development are the cornerstones of the future, and in the civil aviation industry, too, ensuring greater passenger safety, comfort and rapid transport links with countries outside Europe. In this case, the memorandum of cooperation between the United States and the European Union, which I voted in favour of, allows designs, research and innovative projects to be shared and exchanged. In addition to these, coordinated research also produces new technical instrumentation and qualified personnel.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) This memorandum of cooperation, for which I voted, on the basis of the detailed opinion of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, establishes the terms and conditions for mutual cooperation on promoting and increasing research and development in the field of civil aviation. The envisaged cooperation could take place through exchanges of information on programmes and projects, research results or publications; of scientific and technical personnel; and of specific equipment, software, and systems for research activities and compatibility studies. Cooperation could also include the coordination of research and development projects and their implementation on the basis of a division of labour. Everything indicates that the foundations are being laid for better and more productive cooperation.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU-US Memorandum of Cooperation concerns cooperation on civil aviation research and development between the two areas. As set out in the text, it is a model that aids EU-US cooperation, whether in the form of knowledge sharing, of exchanges of researchers, of launching joint research programmes, or of reciprocal enquiries with a view to harmonising the positions of the relevant international authorities. I voted in favour because I agree with the aim of this agreement.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The European Parliament, – having regard to the draft Council decision (09390/2011), – having regard to the draft Memorandum of Cooperation Nat-I-9406 between the United States of America and the European Union (06458/2011), – having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Articles 100(2) and 218(7) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C7-0141/2011), – having regard to Rules 81, 90(8) and 46(1) of its Rules of Procedure, – having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A7-0301/2011), 1. Consents to conclusion of the agreement; 2. Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the United States of America.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Article 216 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) states that ‘the Union may conclude an agreement with one or more third countries or international organisations where the Treaties so provide or where the conclusion of an agreement is necessary in order to achieve, within the framework of the Union’s policies, one of the objectives referred to in the Treaties’. Pursuant to Article 100(2) and Article 218(6a) of the TFEU, the Council has asked the Commission to take the necessary measures to establish a framework for cooperation with the US Federal Aviation Administration on civil aviation research and development. I am voting for this recommendation, because I believe it is positive for both regions to pursue common goals as regards designing new systems of air transport that are more environmentally friendly and efficient. I also consider it crucial to implement this agreement quickly, since the European industry will be able to cooperate on new activities with the United States on the basis of transparency, mutual benefit, and equal and fair treatment. I would also stress the need for European civil aviation companies to have access to new markets, which will enable them to increase their productive capacity and create new jobs.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the European Parliament recommendation on the Council decision on the conclusion of the memorandum of cooperation between the US and the EU in the area of civil aviation research and development (R&D). The memorandum sets out the terms and conditions for cooperation between the parties, with the aim of ensuring global interoperability between their programmes for modernising air traffic management (ATM), NextGen and SESAR, taking into account the interests of civilian and military air space users.

The memorandum’s objectives can be achieved through cooperation in the following areas: exchanging information on programmes and projects, research results or publications; conducting joint analyses; coordinating R&D projects and programmes, based on joint efforts; exchanging scientific and technical personnel; exchanging hardware, software and specific research systems for research activities and compatibility studies; jointly organising symposiums or conferences, and mutual consultation with a view to defining concerted action by the relevant international bodies.

Producing joint aviation R&D programmes will promote and develop cooperation in this sphere, as well as help enhance civil aviation safety in the United States and the European Union.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of Mr Reul’s report on the memorandum of cooperation between the United States and the European Union which, after lengthy negotiations, sets out the conditions for mutual cooperation in the promotion of research and development in civil aviation.

Coordinating research programmes and projects, exchanging technical and scientific personnel (and information useful to both sides, such as the results of research and publications), and carrying out shared analysis work are the tools that will ensure fruitful cooperation and deliver the memorandum’s underlying objectives.

 
  
  

Recommendation: Sophie Auconie (A7-0077/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this recommendation, since its simplification of regulatory constraints will be of benefit, by enabling euro cash to move more freely between euro area Member States, whilst ensuring a high level of professionalism and security. Moreover, this regulation facilitates transport to Member States about to introduce the euro, since the change in currency normally increases the need to transport euro cash. However, it is regrettable that the Commission wanted to unilaterally amend the text, without taking into account the opinion of social partners, as the European Parliament requested.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) The measure is the logical complement to the regulation on the cross-border transport of euro cash.

It is right to ensure that countries about to join the euro area, not only those which are already part of it, include in their laws regulatory measures and specific provisions governing the professional qualities of personnel responsible for the cross-border transportation of euro cash, the security of euro cash transportation, and deterrents against raids and robberies during all stages of transportation.

The period before a Member State joins the euro is a particularly vulnerable time for euro cash transportation security, given the large quantity of cash that needs to be transported in the country about to adopt the euro as its national currency, and the measures proposed seem both necessary and appropriate. I therefore voted in favour of Parliament’s recommendation.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – I am against extending the scope of the proposal for a regulation on the cross-border transportation of euro cash by road between euro area Member States (the main proposal) to the territory of Member States that are about to introduce the euro. Maybe in certain eurozone countries, there is an increased need for euro cash transportation in the run-up to the changeover, but, bearing in mind the potential of a future collapse of the common currency and the eurozone, this report is ill timed when focus needs to be on whether or not to maintain the currency and, if so, how to keep it afloat.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) I agree with the rapporteur as regards the extension of the provisions in her initial report on the professional cross-border transport of euro cash to the territory of Member States that are about to introduce the euro.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The recommendation tabled by Ms Auconie relates to a draft Council regulation on the extension of the scope of the EU Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the professional cross-border transport of euro cash by road between euro area Member States. The proposal, which falls within the framework of Article 352 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, was unanimously adopted by the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, so it just requires Parliament’s consent. There is nothing to prevent this proposal’s adoption, given that it will facilitate the circulation of euro cash within the European Union; in other words, its transport between euro area Member States and those that are about to introduce the euro.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The introduction of the euro has considerably increased the need for cross-border transportation of cash by road. Within the euro area, banks, the large retail sector and other professional cash handlers should be able to enter into a contract with the cash-in-transit (‘CIT’) company and to take advantage of the cash services of the nearest national central bank (NCB) branch or CIT cash centre, even if it is located in another Member State.

The purpose of the present proposal is to extend the scope of the proposal for a regulation on the cross-border transportation of euro cash by road between euro area Member States to the territory of a Member State that is about to introduce the euro, since there will normally be an increased need for cross-border euro cash transportation in the run-up to the changeover. The extension of the regulation should be automatic and take effect as from the date when the Council decides to lift the derogation of a Member State from its participation in the euro area.

The applied measures are appropriate and are necessary in order to facilitate a smooth changeover to the euro. The Regulation (EU) of the European Parliament and of the Council applies to the territory of those Member States which have adopted the euro as their single currency. There is a need for transportation of euro cash in the run-up to the euro changeover since the euro banknotes needed for the changeover are usually transported from existing euro area stocks and since euro coins are often fully or partly minted abroad.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this regulation because the purpose of this document is to extend the scope of the proposal for a regulation on the cross-border transportation of euro cash by road between euro area Member States (the main proposal) to the territory of Member States that are about to introduce the euro, since there is normally an increased need for euro cash transportation in the run-up to the changeover.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this proposal, the purpose of which is to extend the scope of the proposal for a regulation on the cross-border transportation of euro cash by road between euro area Member States (the main proposal) to the territory of Member States that are about to introduce the euro, since there is normally an increased need for euro cash transportation in the run-up to the changeover.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) The aim of this report is to simplify the circulation of coins and banknotes between Member States in the euro area.

We believe the proposal is quite evenly balanced, because it underlines the fact that Member States are directly responsible for implementing the security regulations review. However, we will all have to work to make sure that levels of transportation security and the experience of cross-border transporters improve in Europe.

We also support the adoption of an intelligent banknote neutralisation system. Finally, we ask the Commission to consult the social parties once again.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) It is evident that expansion of the euro area requires an extension of the scope of this regulation in order to meet the greater euro transportation requirements in the period before expansion takes place. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) It makes complete sense to extend the scope of the regulation on the professional cross-border transport of euro cash by road between euro area Member States and those about to introduce the euro.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The purpose of this regulation is to simplify the regulatory constraints so that euro notes and coins can circulate more easily among the Member States of the euro area, ensuring a high level of professionalism and safety. The amendments adopted in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs concern the involvement of EU institutions and social partners, reference periods and professional training. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. – (IT) I voted in favour of the text on extending the scope of the regulation on the professional cross-border transport of euro cash by road between Member States because it encourages monetary exchange. It is also a hope that countries that are members of the European Union but have not joined the single currency will do so in the future. The single currency has shown that it is strong, and that in the current crisis, it is the only weapon against further speculation.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The purpose of this regulation is to extend the scope of the proposal for a regulation on the cross-border transport of euro cash by road between euro area Member States – the main proposal – to Member States that are about to introduce the euro. There is an increased need for euro cash transport in the run-up to the changeover. The report was adopted in committee and I welcome the extension of its scope. I voted in favour of the report for these reasons.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The scope of the regulation on the professional cross-border transport of euro cash is limited to Member States that have adopted the euro as their currency. However, its subjective scope of application needs to be extended to countries in the process of joining the single currency for the same reasons, since there is already a need for the cross-border transfer of cash in these cases. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The purpose of the present proposal is to extend the scope of the proposal for a regulation on the cross-border transportation of euro cash by road between euro area Member States (the main proposal) to the territory of Member States that are about to introduce the euro, since there is normally an increased need for euro cash transportation in the run-up to the changeover.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) The scope of the draft regulation concerning the cross-border transport of euro cash by road between euro area Member States should be extended to those Member States that are on the verge of introducing the euro. That would ensure continuity while also taking account of the fact that, in the run-up to a currency changeover, there is, as a rule, a greater need for euro cash to be transported. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
  

Report: Marisa Matias (A7-0302/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report on the Commission’s initiative to create a common strategic framework for research and innovation funding after 2013, combining the European programmes – namely, the Research Framework Programme, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, and the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme – with the structural and cohesion funding allocated to research and innovation. However, I would make specific demands, namely, regarding the need to separate research funding from the Structural Funds, which is crucial to the implementation of the 2020 strategy and of new means of assisting regions that are performing poorly in this area.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution on EU research and innovation funding since it deals with crucial sectors that need investment for sustainable development and the growth of our European economy. Europe is among the richest regions in the world, but despite increased investment in research, development and innovation over recent years, this has not led to an actual increase in cohesion between the Member States. Inequalities persist and are at their sharpest between the most scientifically and technologically advanced countries and those countries that recently joined the EU and the peripheral economies, which currently benefit less from the existing European programmes. We therefore need to activate a reorganisation of the existing programmes and financing in order to create a strategy that works effectively at all levels, without forgetting the fundamental importance that research and innovation have for our small and medium-sized enterprises, for reducing poverty, and for promoting our image in the world.

 
  
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  Liam Aylward (ALDE), in writing. (GA) The Seventh Framework Programme is the largest funded research programme in the world with more than EUR 53 million of funding available for the period 2007-2013. Ireland has gained greatly from the programme, with EUR 300 million allocated to researchers, universities and the Irish private sector up to now, and that amount is likely to be EUR 600 million by the end of the programme. That investment is of great assistance in terms of job creation and encouraging viable growth, and with the help of that same funding, Ireland and the EU will remain at the forefront in terms of research and innovation. The good work of this framework programme must be continued and a common strategic framework must be established to provide funding for research and innovation after 2013.

I support what is in the report in terms of small and medium-sized enterprises, and that it should be easier for them to obtain funding. A European Bank for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, as is proposed in the report, would greatly help with this. Measures must be taken according to the words of the report to develop the research and innovation system and to improve access to the programme.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. In February 2011, the European Commission approved a Green Paper that seeks to lay down a strategic framework for research and innovation funding after 2013. The EU has set itself the objective of increasing spending on research and development (R&D) to 3% of EU GDP by 2020. Given that many countries are still a long way from achieving this goal, increased public and private investment in R&D is particularly important. The EU is currently experiencing an economic, social and environmental crisis, and research, education and innovation are crucial instruments for both economic recovery and job creation. I agree that Europe must make better use of its huge potential in research, technology and innovation and help address global challenges such as demographic changes, the sustainable management of resources and the creation of a stable and strong economic base.

 
  
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  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing. (IT) As has been stated on several occasions, research and innovation should be considered a sine qua non for consolidating any growth strategy seeking to be sustainable and inclusive. This statement is particularly important in view of the present prolonged economic and social crisis.

Europe’s aggregate investment in research, development, and innovation has not been commensurate with its status as the richest region in the world. The United States, Japan, and, for that matter, the BRIC countries, have been investing on a much larger scale. The Commission has published a Green Paper defining a common strategic framework for research and innovation funding for the post-2013 period, which integrates EU programmes and the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme with the Structural Funds for research and innovation.

Proposing a common framework encompassing all of the funding schemes and programmes, notwithstanding the inequalities in terms of financing and the firmness of their position within the European context is, to my mind, an opportunity to strengthen the European Research Area. However, I believe that progress towards excellence of research will be impossible unless the necessary resources are earmarked and resolute steps are taken to simplify the procedures and cut the cost of the related red tape and administrative overheads.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the European Commission plans to adopt a Green Paper aimed at strengthening the European Research Area and investing more in research, encouraging industrial investment and development, improving overall EU competitive capacity and promoting innovations. The Commission plans to launch a strategic framework after 2013. These strategies will try to address many existing problems in Europe relating to unsuitable programmes. The aim is to establish new instruments for various stakeholders that would guarantee a favourable programme. In order to take action relating to research and innovation systems, the European Union must ensure better conditions and opportunities for obtaining funding for small and medium-sized enterprises. It is also important to encourage and involve more citizens in this process, so that they are more active, and it is crucial to acquaint them with the new programme rules.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The European Union has failed to confirm its status as the richest region in the world, based on funds allocated to research and innovation. This state of affairs is also attributable to the states which have recently joined the EU, which find themselves in the position of making significant efforts to manage revenues restricted by the economic crisis in areas with a short-term social impact.

Research and innovation produce results which are not seen immediately, but which make an impact on the future when they are carried out in an efficient environment. The total volume of European investments in research and innovation has actually grown in recent years, but has not made Europe more cohesive.

The level of investment varies hugely between countries. Only six countries currently invest more than 2% of GDP in research and innovation, 10 countries invest less than 1% of GDP, and the figure varies between 1% and 2% in the other 11 countries. Unfortunately, Romania features among the states which allocate less than 1% of GDP to research. I hope that the initiative of publishing a Green Paper on establishing a common EU strategic framework for research and innovation will boost this sector.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) I firmly believe that the common strategic framework should not be limited to focusing on research-driven or technology-based innovation alone, but that it should support different sources of innovation. Many companies – especially small and medium-sized enterprises – use other sources of innovation such as clients, markets, users and, not least, employees, and that this form of innovation is often of a more practical nature and is focused on solving specific problematic issues related to processes, services or products. Proposed solutions are often found by the employees that are closest to the production process, markets and clients. The EU should therefore strengthen practise-oriented, employee-driven innovation. The funding of collaborative research should have greater thematic flexibility (broader calls) and user-friendly funding arrangements in order to attract outstanding scientists and to respond to the needs of both large consortia and smaller groups. The whole innovation chain from exploratory research to large-scale pilot projects and demonstrations should be covered. I would like, at the same time, to voice scepticism about the effectiveness of utilising the funds for creating research networks of excellence and organising conferences and events, and to call for a strengthening of electronic networking measures for research and innovation and the dissemination of research results via the Internet.

 
  
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  Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE), in writing. (RO) Lack of research and innovation is one of the principal reasons for the gap between the EU and other advanced economies, like the US, in terms of economic growth. This is why we need a coherent strategy for streamlining research and innovation and facilitating market access for innovative products, in order to ensure strong, sustainable growth.

I think that a partnership is needed between research centres, universities, businesses, civil society and public authorities so that research and innovation address the needs of society to the maximum possible extent and to ensure the coherence and convergence of the actions taken by those involved in this process. Furthermore, it would also be desirable for the objectives of research and innovation to be consistent, as far as possible, with industrial policy.

Last but not least, I believe that efforts need to be made to make the rules for participating in the various research projects simpler, as universities and SMEs do not have the staff and time available to deal with excessively complicated administrative procedures. Consequently, a balance must be struck between the need to control expenditure and the administrative burden which the control process generates. This simplification would make it easier for SMEs to get involved in research projects, which is imperative, given the potential for innovation they offer.

 
  
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  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for Ms Matias’ report on research and innovation funding because I am profoundly convinced that these two aspects are essential and fundamental objectives for the European Union if we wish to remain competitive on the international scene. I believe it is important that Parliament has been able to express itself in such a coordinated manner on a document responding to the Green Paper, and I hope that the European Commission will take serious note of this input in the legislative proposal that it will present before the end of the year.

I think that the reference to simplifying bureaucratic procedures is important as it is necessary to make the measures we wish to adopt truly effective and efficient, and it is only in this way that they will be truly useful for citizens.

I also appreciate the reference to the importance of involving the industrial sector, in particular, small and medium-sized enterprises, perhaps by developing public-private partnerships, promoting funding for research projects which will then have concrete repercussions in terms of their usefulness. Finally, I agree with the recognition of the role of local authorities, particularly regional governments, as a focal point and stimulus for the various parties involved in research and innovation.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome Parliament’s main proposals in this report: • increasing the research and innovation budget in the next Framework Programme; • coordinating the budget with the Structural Funds; • including the ‘stairways to excellence’ concept; • creating conditions for substantial involvement on the part of industry, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises; • promoting young researchers’ participation; • administrative and financial simplification. Research and innovation are the two key pillars of economic development and job creation in Europe. It is crucial to increase the funding allocated to research and innovation within the overall EU budget. The first objective of the Framework Programme is to promote excellence. However, it is also important to create conditions for the participation of small research groups and innovative businesses. The Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) is proposing the ‘stairways to excellence’ concept with a view to this goal. Finally, there is an urgent need to simplify access to funds for research, developing a culture of trust between all those involved, so as to strengthen research and innovation in Europe.

 
  
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  Françoise Castex (S&D), in writing.(FR) The European Parliament today adopted the Matias report which aims to establish a new strategy for research and innovation. As someone committed to the idea of progress, I believe that investment in research and innovation is fundamental to improving each of our lives. While I am delighted that there are several European programmes in this area, I, like my socialist colleagues, am convinced that numerous aspects could be improved upon: excessive bureaucracy, barriers to risk-taking by researchers, complexity, etc. All of this makes participating in these programmes difficult, particularly for SMEs.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I fully support the objectives of the report. It is important to consider the coordination of research and innovation programmes, strengthening the role of regional and local governments, along with simplification of the procedures for updating policy priorities, allocation of part of the budget to small and medium-sized enterprises run by young people and businesswomen, and the link to the system for creating standards. Personally, I would like to focus in particular on the vouchers for innovation (and look at testing based on the credit/voucher principle) because they bring companies closer to the issues of technological development and innovation, creating a system in which the various parties – companies, universities, research centres and institutions – actively participate in the creation and implementation of innovative processes. This mechanism could provide innovative businesses with vouchers to spend at research centres or accredited public or private bodies, supporting the development of innovation. The vouchers would not be subject to cost reporting by the beneficiaries because their use would be certified by the centres using them. This would simplify procedures, supporting small and innovative enterprises. The centres could be accredited on a national or regional basis, and validated by a European body (such as the Joint Research Centre) which would strengthen their role, functions and cooperation with the industrial world.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) As a member of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, I think that the European Commission should adopt an approach that maximises the relevant synergies from the Common Strategic Framework for research and innovation, the European Fund for Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Structural Funds. A strategy must be adopted based on as many additional funds as possible which is aimed at research and innovation at regional level and which supports the development of the institutional capacity of the regions targeted by policies promoting research and innovation in agriculture.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing.(FR) The report calls for the Common Strategic Framework (CSF) budget to be doubled and for large-scale projects (such as ITER, Galileo and GMES) to be financed outside the CSF from autonomous budget lines. The report also highlights the need for greater involvement by SMEs as well as young and female researchers.

Finally, it reminds us of the role of innovation and encourages broader cooperation between universities, businesses and research institutes. The report fully endorses a set of priorities which include increasing the next budget for research and development, building ‘stairways to excellence’, establishing synergies between research and development and Structural Funds and enhancing EU competitiveness through greater involvement on the part of industry and SMEs. It was important to vote in favour of it.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report on EU research and innovation funding because I support the creation of the Common Strategic Framework for research and innovation funding after 2013. This can strengthen the European research area and may contribute to the development of an effective convergence strategy. However, there are currently numerous disparities in Europe in terms of research and development capacity and the industrial structure of the various Member States.

This is why we need to step up cooperation at EU level, and cohesion funding must supplement the future framework programme so that the countries lagging behind have increased access to the funds available and can develop effective projects. Improving convergence and regional balance at EU level will strengthen Europe’s global competitiveness, generate economic growth and create numerous jobs and sustainability from a research perspective.

I support the rapporteur’s position in emphasising the need to simplify procedures and increase transparency in order to reduce the costs incurred by red tape and facilitate wider access to the funding programmes.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the ‘Green Paper: From challenges to opportunities: towards a common strategic framework for EU research and innovation funding’, because investment in research, education and innovation, specifically through the flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy, are key to economic recovery and job creation, as well as to setting out a model for sustainable and inclusive growth.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Commission has published a Green Paper on a common strategic framework for EU research and innovation funding after 2013. The purpose of this common strategic framework is to group together the already existing funding schemes and programmes for the development of research and innovation. I believe commitment to research and innovation will be key to the Union’s future, to economic recovery, and to competitiveness. I am pleased to see that the rapporteur, my colleague Ms Matias, whom I should like to congratulate on her work, is proposing project bonds here as a means of promoting research and innovation in Europe; it is an idea that I have been advocating and one I believe should be taken forward.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Ms Matias, concerns the Green Paper ‘From challenges to opportunities: towards a common strategic framework for EU research and innovation funding’, for the post-2013 period. Although the European Commission has proposed the merger of all research-related funds – specifically, the Structural Funds – the rapporteur believes they should remain separate, so as to prevent the exacerbation of inequalities between the various Member States. It would also be desirable to double the sum allocated to EU research and innovation programmes from 2014. I voted for this report, since I agree with the rapporteur that keeping the Structural Funds separate enables them to be put to better use, and prevents resources from being diverted into areas with greater capacity for absorption – like cohesion funding – to the detriment of the innovation and technological development that could create sustained employment, and the training that fosters competitiveness by giving workers new skills.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report includes positive aspects, which we value. Some of these are ideas that are relatively consensual, but which need to be put into practice, such as making research and development (R&D) funding more efficient at regional, national and European level. In the face of the clear failure to meet the R&D investment targets of 10 years ago, a new deadline is now being set for us to achieve 3% of gross domestic product invested in R&D: 2020, or rather two decades after this target was set. However, it is easy to see that it will be hard to hit this target, even in 2020, without a profound change in the overall political and macro-economic framework. Many Member States are frankly a long way off that goal and, even worse, are moving further away from it rather than closer to it.

In the crisis situation we are experiencing, research, education and innovation are key instruments of economic recovery and job creation, as well as of setting out a model for sustainable and inclusive growth – commonplace in speeches but necessary in practice, having been trampled on by existing policies. The rapporteur gives a timely warning of the extremely precarious situation faced by many science workers. However, the report does contain some contradictions, which reflect the majority in this House, such as the importance it gives to the market.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Europe’s aggregate investment in research, development and innovation has not been commensurate with its status as the richest region in the world. The total volume of European investment has admittedly risen in recent years, but that fact has not made Europe more cohesive. There are still very substantial inequalities among the Member States, and I therefore believe that the aim must be to move closer to those in a stronger position and intensify cooperation. To that end, cohesion funding must play a complementary role within the common framework while still being treated as a separate entity. The social dimension and impacts of research and innovation also need to be taken into account, and studied, given that we cannot bring effective action to bear when we are not familiar with the societies at which it is aimed.

This report is attempting to reorganise the existing schemes and programmes and provide for new schemes with a view to producing a strategy to benefit stakeholders in overall terms. An appropriate level of commitment is particularly important in view of the present economic and social crisis. In today’s Europe, there are many differences. For this reason, I believe that it is important to provide a basis on which to link together the resources available with a view to producing a framework making for coherence in the relationships established between the sources of financing and the nature and scale of the projects.

 
  
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  Pat the Cope Gallagher (ALDE), in writing. (GA) I voted in favour of this important report because it asks Member States to encourage research and innovation for the purposes of developing an up-to-date competitive sustainable fishing sector. It is an incentive for small and medium-sized enterprises to take part in the EU’s research programmes, too, because there is a proposal in it in relation to simplifying the system as it is and to reducing bureaucracy.

 
  
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  Françoise Grossetête (PPE), in writing.(FR) I support this report because, without confidence in scientific and technological progress, there will be no future for industry. In Europe, the low level of direct investment during the very early stages in the development of innovative businesses is limiting the pool of high-potential projects. Furthermore, I recently met some managers of SMEs who told me that they would need a research grant just to understand how European documents are put together! The red tape involved in answering calls for projects is discouraging them.

There will be no more innovation unless the European Union converts the quality of its research into growth. It is no longer possible to innovate by oneself; the Framework Programmes for Research and Development must offer more effective financing solutions to networks and partnerships.

We should be ‘champions of innovation’, not ‘followers of innovation’. We should look at the United States, which is launching a ‘Made in USA’ federal programme relating to energy efficiency, robotics, advanced materials, and so on. Europe must identify the ‘Ariane’ and the ‘Airbus’ of 2050 and adapt outdated regulations to reflect the current economic climate. Finally, Europe is suffering from technology transfer. Let us not create a gap between know-how and the act of actually bringing that know-how to market. Our innovations will not create new jobs if we outsource them to Asia!

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. – It is important that Europe takes a lead role in research and innovation. In this regard, the Scottish Government is playing its part – and initiatives such as the Saltire Prize should be commended to this House.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this proposal because it aims to promote the reorganisation of existing schemes and programmes, coordinating them with new schemes in order to establish a strategy to benefit various stakeholders. Research and innovation should be considered a sine qua non for consolidating any growth strategy which aims to be sustainable and inclusive. This is all the more important given the present economic and social crisis.

 
  
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  Cătălin Sorin Ivan (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I support the Matias report because it sets out clearly the objectives which we need to have in this area, with pride of place given to researchers. European institutions must work together to achieve common objectives. This will enable them to help us offer opportunities to those who want to focus on research so that the results of this activity generates added value. We must also recognise that local authorities have an important role to play in revitalising research. I think that this report marks an important step in strengthening research and innovation and can give Europe the chance to take on the United States in this area.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) Research, development and innovation require enormous financial expenditure. The European Union is perceived as a land of prosperity, a place where people live in affluence, with EU funds ensuring sustainable economic, social and scientific development. Nonetheless, as is emphasised by the rapporteur, the total funds that we allocate to scientific research and innovation are less than the amount allocated by countries in Asia or even South America. Are we not heirs to an impressive cultural legacy? Do we not count our education systems as amongst the best in the world?

Has Europe not been the home of many outstanding inventors, a pioneer in the development of solutions which benefit us all and improve the quality of our lives? In order to support the growth of our continent, we should consolidate all our efforts in the field of innovation, intensify cooperation between Member States, and standardise the procedures which regulate scientific research. In this way, we will guarantee permanent and sustainable growth in Europe.

 
  
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  Krzysztof Lisek (PPE), in writing.(PL) I am in favour of adopting the report of our Portuguese colleague, Marisa Matias. The report discusses a crucial issue, as scientific research and innovation represent our future and we are obliged to provide the necessary funding for this. Adopting an appropriate strategy and setting specific objectives will enable the EU to maintain its role as a major global player. We should pay particular attention to the need to establish and intensify cooperation between Member States. This will allow us to benefit from the effects of scale and achieve synergies in the field of scientific research and development. We should remember that the defence sector also has to focus on achieving these objectives, and it is my hope that this goal will be achieved within a reasonable timeframe.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing.(RO) Echoing the view we have expressed so far about the role played by SMEs in promoting economic development and increasing the European Union’s competitiveness, I think that the funding allocated to research and innovation must go to private companies, in particular, SMEs. They need funds, new products and services to create new jobs. This is why the cohesion policy and research and innovation policy in the forthcoming programming period must be accompanied by common objectives and activities.

I think that SMEs need access to research and innovation services, especially when the services provided to public sector customers include added value. Health care is one of the areas in need of new solutions to enable the elderly and other sections of the population to face the problems caused by any illness.

Furthermore, the infrastructures which can be created at local and regional level using cohesion policy funding will need state-of-the-art technological equipment to be able, for instance, to continue anti-cancer research, an area which you are already aware that I support.

 
  
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  Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska (PPE), in writing.(PL) In shaping the future of Europe, we have to focus on developing scientific research and investing in innovation, since these two fields contribute to increased employment, on the one hand, and to improved quality of life for its citizens, on the other. The advanced technologies and innovative solutions available to small and medium-sized enterprises increase their global competitiveness and also allow additional jobs to be created. It was for these reasons that I voted in favour of adopting the Matias report on EU research and innovation funding.

 
  
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  Vladimir Maňka (S&D), in writing. (SK) No joint strategy will stand a chance of succeeding if we keep on ‘moving the goalposts’ at every turn. Investment in research, development and innovation cannot be considered a certainty for as long as access to the European funding available remains beset by inequalities and intrinsically skewed.

Europe’s aggregate investment in research, development and innovation has not been commensurate with its status as the richest region in the world. There are very substantial inequalities among the Member States Scientifically and technologically more advanced countries are continuing to derive greatest benefit from the Europe-wide programmes. The new Member States and outlying economies again rank near the bottom.

We must attempt to reorganise the existing schemes and programmes and provide for new schemes with a view to producing a strategy to benefit stakeholders in overall terms. Research and innovation should be considered a sine qua non for consolidating any growth strategy seeking to be sustainable and inclusive. A commitment along those lines is particularly important in view of the present economic and social crisis.

We need the coherence and comprehensiveness of the European research and innovation system, covering every sphere from universities to the market, while making for the more effective involvement of citizens and those who have traditionally remained outside the process, transparency, and defining clear rules.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – Coherence and comprehensiveness of the European research and innovation system, covering every sphere from universities to the market, while making for the more effective involvement of citizens and those who have traditionally remained outside the process, transparency, and defining clear rules: those are the words that could sum up the proposals contained in this report.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the resolution on the Green Paper on EU research and innovation funding. It opens the debate on the forthcoming ‘Common Strategic Framework’ (CSF), which will replace the current Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7). The European Union must plan for the future and invest in fundamental research right up to the point at which innovative products and services are placed on the market. In order to improve the functioning of this programme, the rules must be simplified so as to facilitate participation by a greater number of Member States and under-represented regions. The report draws attention to the role played by innovation and underlines the need to establish more cooperation between universities, businesses and research institutes.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) A common framework encompassing all of the funding schemes and programmes, notwithstanding the inequalities in terms of financing and the firmness of their position within the European context, offers, to my mind, an opportunity to strengthen the European Research Area and devise an approach enabling this consolidation to be effectively dovetailed into a clear-cut convergence strategy. This report proposes that the existing schemes and programmes be reorganised with a view to tackling the challenges that Europe is facing. Moreover, to deal with specific cases, I believe that a new agency should be set up – a European Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Investment Bank – and that project bonds should be used to complement the framework put forward by the Commission. The approach set out here is aimed, first and foremost, at stability and convergence. No joint strategy will stand a chance of succeeding if we keep on ‘moving the goalposts’ at every turn, and investment in research, development and innovation cannot be considered a certainty for any strategy for as long as access to the European funding available remains beset by inequalities and intrinsically skewed.

 
  
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  Alajos Mészáros (PPE), in writing. (HU) Europe is among the wealthiest regions in the world, and yet this is not reflected in terms of investment in research, development and innovation. Although, without doubt, there has been an overall increase in investments in recent years, this did not result in greater cohesion between individual countries; there are still considerable differences. One of the goals of the European Union is that its total investments in research and development reach 3% of GDP by 2020. We must ensure that other Member States can catch up with those better off, and that we follow a path of increasingly strong cooperation. In order for this to actually happen, it is crucial for the Cohesion Funds to supplement the common framework while retaining their independence. Research and innovation are fundamental means of solidifying a sustainable and inclusive growth strategy. I believe it is very important that in the course of preparing for the post-2013 financial period, we should try to establish the next package by collecting proposals from sectoral stakeholders in innovation and research. Existing means and programmes will therefore need to be reorganised in line with new means so as to allow for the creation of a strategy that is favourable overall for individual stakeholders.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – This report encompasses all areas related to the successor of the Seventh R&D Framework Programme: the need to keep separate EU research funds and programmes and the Structural and Cohesion Funds; demanding new approaches to assist underperforming regions and Member States to achieve excellence and smart regional specialisation; asking Member States to consider funding ERC, Marie Curie or collaborative projects proposals that have met the criteria of excellence, but which cannot be funded owing to a lack of European funds; in the light of the future gearing of cohesion policy to the Europe 2020 strategy, calling for the ‘innovation’ priority to be binding and for that priority to be reflected in the funding allocated at all levels; recommending that the Commission analyse the possibility of setting up an all-European common fund financed by the Structural Funds to promote collaborative European research. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) Research and development (R&D) is a very important issue for European growth and progress, and efforts to facilitate participation in R&D programmes and to ensure that money is used more efficiently are therefore essential. The Common Strategic Framework (CSF) proposed by the European Commission and set out in the Green Paper is a very important instrument for achieving the goals of the European Research Area (ERA). We should welcome the fact that the Green Paper underlines the complexity of financing R&D and innovations and compatibility with the financial instruments of the cohesion policy, but this programme must also be more focused on the important challenges facing the EU, such as climate change, energy efficiency and the development of green technologies. It is also important for the programme to underline and strengthen regional cooperation, and as for human resources, more attention should be paid to young researchers, involving them more actively, both in calls for proposals and in the project assessment process, as well as finding means of establishing separate instruments aimed at young researchers or groups of them. This would not only increase the competence of young researchers and the attractiveness of EU research programmes, but would also help rejuvenate the human potential of R&D throughout the entire EU. Having studied the Commission’s vision published in the Green Paper, I must draw attention to the fact that there is insufficient emphasis on certain issues. One such issue is that of a ‘two-speed Europe’, because it is clear that the EU-12 lag far behind the older Member States. The new framework should find means of closing the gap and ending the new Member States’ isolation from the most important EU research processes.

 
  
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  Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because it sets out a long-term strategy for research and innovation in the European Union for the years 2014-2020. Over this period, the EU plans to invest EUR 80 billion in research. On the initiative of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, money has been earmarked to remedy certain injustices. Currently, 60% of young graduates in the EU are women, but most university professors are men. Some universities have more funds so they can attract top lecturers and researchers, while others cannot even provide their lecturers with computers. I welcome the rapporteur’s proposal for the EU to set up ‘Regions of Knowledge’ and establish a better system for distributing EU money to universities. There is also a significant proposal to cancel debts for those researchers who are able to achieve particularly important results. I believe that this comprehensive document will help the EU, including Lithuania, to implement the 2020 objectives: to increase the importance of research in Europe and reduce the concentration of researchers in just a few regions.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report by Ms Matias on research and innovation funding because the need for a common strategic framework for funding research and development is one of the Europe 2020 strategy objectives. The report makes specific proposals for increasing funding levels and improving the systems for allocating funding. A practical example is the creation of specific accreditations, which, depending on the research project, would offer different levels of funding for allocation and completion in specific research centres. Public or private bodies with a valid project would be able to access such funding.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) Despite the economic crisis which it faces, Europe is the wealthiest region on the planet. However, overall spending on research, development and innovation (less than 2% of EU GDP at present) is much lower than the level of investment in other developed countries, such as the US and Japan. Consequently, development prospects and, of course, our leading position in terms of high living standards, are not safeguarded. On the contrary, given the circumstances, we need a common and bold strategic framework for funding research and technology in the EU that will encourage entrepreneurship, innovation and growth sectors. We need to strengthen the European Research Area and reorganise existing bodies and programmes and we need bold policies, such as funding via the European Investment Bank for small and medium-sized enterprises that promote innovation. The own-initiative report contains such proposals, which is why I voted in favour of it.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Commission has taken the initiative to publish a Green Paper that seeks to lay down a common strategic framework for research and innovation funding after 2013. This common strategic framework combines the European programmes – in this case, the Research Framework Programme, the European Institute of Technology, and the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme – with the structural/cohesion funding allocated for research and innovation. In this report, the rapporteur – whom I would congratulate – is attempting to reorganise the existing schemes and programmes, and provide for new instruments, with a view to producing a strategy to benefit stakeholders in overall terms. Indeed, this report’s starting point is the supposition that research and innovation are important for economic growth, which is essentially to be expected, so I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this Green Paper on the challenges and opportunities in moving towards a common strategic framework for EU research and innovation funding. In particular, I welcome the three-layered approach which this paper adopts. The first layer, which is infrastructural in nature, establishes a credible formula for building a capacity to research and innovate. The second layer provides a broad framework for the types of research in which we should invest. The final layer attempts to create a link between research undertaken, and the potential market for that research. Furthermore, I welcome this paper’s focus on including SMEs in research and innovation programmes. As the backbone of our economy, it is important that this sector is adequately represented in all relevant research projects. The advocacy for soft loans and comprehensive financing models for research and development in the SME sector is also to be welcomed.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Union’s sustainability depends, to a large extent, on its capacity for research and innovation. However, the figures show differences in the incentives awarded for undertaking these activities in the various Member States, which prevent them from developing evenly throughout the EU. Moreover, funding for supporting these activities indeed ends up being channelled into entities with higher levels of development, exacerbating the gap in relation to smaller-scale organisations, such as small and medium-sized enterprises. As such, Union action should seek to ensure a solution that enables robust incentives for research and innovation throughout the EU by seeking to distribute resources as well as possible. I therefore voted for this report.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Only six Member States – Germany, France, Austria, Denmark, Finland and Sweden – currently invest more than 2% of their GDP in research and innovation. We are clearly a long way from fulfilling the Europe 2020 strategy objective of investing 3% of European GDP in research and development. This is also the conclusion reached in the Matias report adopted this lunchtime.

I would like to draw special attention to our desire, as clearly expressed in our resolution, to support innovation by creating a European Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME) Investment Bank and financing arrangements for innovative projects – even though, in many cases, European funding is actually in place, but scientific projects are not completed. As the Head of the Aalto Centre for Entrepreneurship quite rightly said, too often, European universities adhere to the traditional, but outdated, distinction between scientific research, on the one side, and management training on the other. As he also said, we need a new model; our researchers and students must become entrepreneurs. This represents a genuine plea for a change in attitude and for a coming together of universities and businesses throughout the European Union which I support and which will enable us to get the Europe of research truly up and running.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Abstention. Some of the points were very good; others were a bit dubious or confusing.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) In recent months, the European Commission published a Green Paper defining a common strategic framework for research and innovation funding for the post-2013 period.

The document integrates EU programmes with the structural and cohesion funds for research and innovation. Proposing a common framework encompassing all of the funding schemes and programmes is an opportunity to strengthen the European Research Area and devise an approach allowing this consolidation to be effectively dovetailed into a clear-cut convergence strategy.

Whatever strategy we adopt in response to our current economic and social situation, investment in research, development and innovation cannot be considered a certainty for as long as access to the European funding available remains beset by inequalities and intrinsically skewed. The text adopted today aims to stimulate an effort to reorganise existing instruments and programmes, and create new instruments, and aims to define a positive strategy for the various stakeholders involved.

Research and innovation should be considered a sine qua non for consolidating any growth strategy seeking to be sustainable and inclusive.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD) , in writing. (IT) I am in favour of the report as it recognises that research, education and innovation are crucial instruments for both economic recovery and job creation.

In order to tackle the challenges of the future, Europe must be committed to reorganising existing financial schemes and programmes in order to make them more effective on a regional, national and European level. Simplification of research and innovation funding management and a reduction in procedural bureaucracy are a necessary condition for increasing the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises, which are a driving force of the European economy.

We need to have the courage to channel unused funds from some regions to other virtuous regions which have requested more funds than those available.

 
  
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  Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid (PPE), in writing.(FR) While the priority is to find ways of containing the current crisis in Europe, we must also think of the future and the vital tools that will ensure the return of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Thus, the European Commission has proposed, in the Europe 2020 strategy, that 3% of EU GDP be invested in research and innovation. I can only support this objective, particularly in view of the fact that only six countries, including France, currently dedicate more than 2% of their GDP to these areas. Europe must provide itself with the means to meet the 3% target. I am delighted to see that the Commission has put forward ambitious proposals to that end. The news that EUR 80 billion will be dedicated to research in the next multiannual financial framework is particularly welcome.

However, it is essential that the forthcoming Common Strategic Framework for Research simplifies its procedures and speeds up the decision-making process in comparison with the current Framework Programme for Research and Development, and that it enables SMEs to participate more. It must also be more consistent with other instruments for investing in innovation, in particular, the Structural Funds, which devote more than EUR 86 billion to innovation.

 
  
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  Joanna Senyszyn (S&D), in writing.(PL) I voted in favour of the report on EU research and innovation funding. As a member of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, I would like to focus on two issues. Firstly, the need to increase the number of women in leading positions in research institutes and in research projects. The format here is always the same: the higher the position in the scientific hierarchy, the lower the number of women involved. I, therefore, support the initiative for universities to appoint at least one female professor to their decision-making bodies, especially the staff appointments committees. Moreover, I am in favour of increased support for female scientists returning to work after maternity leave, as well as those who have to combine work with family life.

I propose that a share of all grants, scholarships and research programmes be offered exclusively to women. Furthermore, I appeal to the Commission to increase the number of female entrepreneurs within the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme. I also support the Commission’s initiative aimed at promoting women’s entrepreneurship and the creation of an environment that is conducive to the development of female-led enterprises – the European Network of Female Entrepreneurship Ambassadors.

 
  
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  Czesław Adam Siekierski (PPE), in writing.(PL) In my view, the use of multidimensional efforts is vitally important to the development of industry and research. In a time of increasing globalisation, and faced with the current economic crisis, maintaining competitiveness is a great challenge in which scientific research and innovation play a key role.

The funding of scientific research and innovation at national level leads to duplication of procedures. The management of funding at a higher level, the Union level, would result in increased efficiency. The integration and provision of a common financing framework are essential to ensuring the effectiveness of decisions aimed at safeguarding our common future. Ensuring equal opportunities is a major factor in the consolidation of Europe, but is not the only factor. Increased investment, particularly in the case of new Member States, should be one of our fundamental objectives. These States, as mentioned in the report, require significant assistance in order to increase their level of investment to the required 3% of GDP, including investment in both short-term and long-term objectives. It is essential to engage the regions and countries which are not benefiting from the relevant European programmes, and to provide support to small and medium-sized enterprises.

We should also take note of the social aspect of scientific research and innovation. There is an emerging need for direct communication with the general public through education or the promotion of science in order to encourage and, if you like, awaken European potential. Moreover, the simplification of procedures is essential, for this will not only facilitate participation in programmes, but will also provide further financial opportunities.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Commission has published the Green Paper entitled ‘From challenges to opportunities: towards a common strategic framework for EU research and innovation funding’, with the objective of launching a public debate on defining innovation funding in the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020. I agree with this report when it argues that EU research funding should not be directly related to the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund, and that it is the responsibility of the Commission to develop a multi-fund approach that fosters the creation of synergies among all existing programmes. I am voting for this report, since I consider the doubling of the EU research and innovation programmes’ budget extremely positive, along with the guarantee of greater equality, transparency in the management of funds, increased administrative simplification, and the adoption of the ‘stairways to excellence’ idea. I believe that only the involvement of all actors in creating regional poles of excellence will enable us to achieve a culture of innovation and make the EU more competitive internationally. Finally, I should also like to raise the Commission’s awareness of the need to pay particular attention to the outermost regions, since they have to bear location-related costs that make it hard to perform well in this field.

 
  
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  Georgios Toussas (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The Greek Communist Party voted against the report because it harmonises scientific research within the framework of the anti-grassroots EU 2020 strategy, which views scientific research as a basic pillar subjugated to capital. The report proposes greater funding for ‘centres of excellence’ and funding for the industrial sector. It urges researchers to set up in business and to seek funding, so that scientific research can be used to generate profit for capital. It calls on the EU to create supervision and financing cells for research activities at local and European level. In the capitalist crisis, the research sector is important, on the ground, as part of the strategy of euro-unifying capital to increase its profits and compete with major and emerging imperialist states.

The aim of these euro-unifying cells is to invest large amounts in research based solely on the criterion of producing ‘competitive products, technologies and services’ (such as the Galileo satellite programme), via researcher mobility programmes (Marie Curie programme), centres of ‘excellence’ of researchers and institutes, public-private partnerships and grants for undertakings, so that research by universities and research centres can adapt more organically to the strategy of capital. It is now more urgent and necessary than ever before that research should be uncoupled from the laws of personal property and monopoly profit.

 
  
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  Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE), in writing. (LT) Research and innovations are important for ensuring sustainable and inclusive growth in Lithuania. Unfortunately, according to data from the European Innovation Scoreboard, Lithuania is well below the EU-27 average – Lithuania’s Summary Innovation Index is 0.23%, whereas the EU-27 average is 0.52%. This is partly down to inadequate funding for research and development and the lack of an innovation-friendly environment in Lithuania. As the rapporteur observes, we urgently need better coordination of research projects and cofinancing within the Union. In my country, corporate funding of research and development is less than a quarter of the EU norm, and public funding for research and development is 15% less than the EU figure. Other data from the European Innovation Scoreboard is also worrying: in Lithuania, for example, 39% fewer people work in jobs requiring intensive knowledge than in other EU Member States. Lithuania needs a more attractive and more dynamic research environment. Lithuanian scientists who have obtained their academic degrees at foreign universities rarely return to Lithuanian institutions due to a lack of competitive funding, poor career prospects, complicated administrative procedures and closed hierarchical structures. It should not be this way. A new report by the World Bank notes that Lithuania has great potential to become a vibrant knowledge-based economy if it improves its level of governance, regulation and management.

 
  
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  Inese Vaidere (PPE), in writing. (LV) When considering the current situation in the EU Member States, and especially in the euro area, special attention must be paid to sustainable economic development and increasing productivity and global competitiveness. Increasing the practical contribution of innovation and research forms the platform for achieving this goal. This is precisely why the EU must secure a much larger budget for research projects and a strategically better thought-out and simplified mechanism for delivering it. We must also look after small and medium-sized enterprises, which are the leading players in the EU’s industry and business environment, by ensuring that they can play a more active and better-informed role in innovation projects.

The Matias report on the Green Paper ‘From challenges to opportunities: towards a common strategic framework for EU research and innovation funding’ quite rightly supports the Commission’s proposals to create a Common Strategic Framework for funding in research and innovation after 2013, combining the existing European programmes – namely, the Research Framework Programme, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme and the European Institute of Technology – with the structural/cohesion funding allocated for research and innovation.

In addition to the Commission’s proposals, the report recommends the creation of a European Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Investment Bank and the issue of project bonds, stresses the need to fund large-scale projects (such as Galileo) outside the budget for other innovation projects (FP), suggests an appropriately new organisational model based on three different layers of funding corresponding to the already defined innovation goals, and calls for the EU research and innovation programmes budget to be doubled as of 2014 (with funding that is available from Structural Funds, loans of over EUR 50 million from the European Investment Bank, etc.).

I fully support the proposals set out in the report.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) Today, the Members of the European Parliament have shown themselves to be more demanding than the Commission by defining the priorities of the future Common Strategic Framework for Research and Innovation in view of the alarming state of the sector within the EU.

The principal objective of this report, presented by my colleague and friend, Marisa Matias, is to increase the funding dedicated to scientific research and development to 3% of EU GDP by 2020. Doing so would allow for considerable improvements in financing capacity and infrastructure in the sector. It would help to combat the precarious situation faced by researchers and to replace the competition between regions or establishments with enhanced collaborative structures.

When questioned about the pursuit of excellence as a principal criterion of research funding, as repeated ad nauseam by the Commission, Ms Matias responded that, since the nature of excellence is as varied as the nature of the projects and the establishments or businesses that carry them out, other criteria, such as technological improvements and the contribution made to society, must be placed on an equal footing, so that we end up not with the pursuit of excellence but with excellence in research.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) Introducing a common strategic framework and enhanced coordination of the existing financial instruments cuts a new path towards achieving the current target of an overall investment volume of 3% of GDP for research and innovation by 2020. In this connection, particular attention should be given to small and medium-sized enterprises. Ultimately, they make up the largest share of the economy and the highest number of employees in every single Member State. I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE), in writing. (SK) The Commission has initiated the publishing of a Green Paper that seeks to lay down a common strategic framework for research funding after 2013. This framework combines European programmes – namely, the Research Framework Programme (FP), the European Institute of Technology (EIT), and the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) – with the structural funding allocated for research and innovation. It is an opportunity to strengthen the European Research Area and, at the same time, to dovetail it into a clear-cut convergence strategy for the Member States. The report proposes that the existing schemes and programmes be reorganised with a view to tackling the challenges that Europe has to face. It also creates a plan for a long-term stable model for the funding of research and innovation. This should consist of a new European Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Bank, support for which will be accompanied by a new financial instrument – project bonds. I supported the report. However, I am anticipating that, in the near future, there will be a clarification on whether or not the project bonds are in the form of EU borrowing, which is expressly prohibited under the Lisbon Treaty.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for the report presented by Ms Matias, which aims to reorganise the existing schemes and programmes with a view to tackling the challenges, new and old, that Europe is having to face.

Improving the efficiency of research and innovation funding, simplifying procedures for access to funding, reducing administrative costs, and evaluating the use of innovative financial instruments: these are the main proposals for improving the current research and innovation funding system and for guaranteeing greater stability and convergence. No strategy can be a rapid and effective response to our current economic and social situation for as long as access to the European funding available remains beset by inequalities and intrinsically skewed.

 
  
  

Report: Jean-Marie Cavada (A7-0293/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) This own-initiative report, which serves as a response to the 2010 Commission report to Parliament on the European Schools system in 2009, attempts to stress certain fundamental problems that they are currently encountering and set out a route to follow. It is important to stress the amendments proposed by the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, which demand that any student having completed a European baccalaureate have equal access to European universities under the same conditions as nationals of the education systems of each Member State, which call for adequate funding to be ensured for children with learning difficulties, and which request more attention for students who are held back a year or drop out of school.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on the European Schools system. As we know, the European Schools were set up in 1953. Their purpose is to ensure that the children of the European institutions’ staff who are required to live abroad have access to education in their mother tongue. The children must be guaranteed this opportunity so that they can be reintegrated into a school in their country of origin at any time. I agree with the rapporteur’s position that these schools are a necessity and not a luxury. In the face of the financial crisis, the question of budget cuts is becoming increasingly relevant, but when discussing the European Schools, we must analyse the situation by thinking more about the future of young Europeans than costs. Savings should not weaken the fundamental principles on which the European Schools system is based, i.e. that teachers in these schools should continue to provide education in their mother tongue. I agree with the rapporteur that, if it is difficult for schools to find native speakers, the recruitment policy should be reformed, not that we should limit or abandon the European Schools.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for the report by Mr Cavada on the European Schools’ system because, ever since the first European School was founded in Luxembourg, they have represented an excellent educational and training system.

They are the only way to allow the children of European officials to study in their own language and to learn about other EU languages and culture in a multilingual, multicultural environment. However, the system needs to be reformed to make it more compatible with national education systems and, at the same time, there needs to be greater commitment from Member States to fulfil their obligations in terms of financial support and the recruitment of mother-tongue teachers. With regard to the latter, many states are partly failing to meet their obligations, which consequently adds to the financial burden on the Commission and on some Member States.

I believe it is important that these schools take on children with special educational needs and improve their capacity for educating students with disabilities to ensure their full integration.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The European Union contributes to the development of quality education by encouraging cooperation between Member States and by supporting and supplementing their action, while fully respecting Member States’ responsibility for teaching content, the organisation of the education system, and their cultural and linguistic diversity.

The statute states that the European Schools system is sui generis and provides a form of cooperation between Member States and between them and the European Union, while fully acknowledging Member States’ responsibility for teaching content, the organisation of their education system and their cultural and linguistic diversity.

The European Schools were set up to provide an education for the children of staff from European institutions who live and work abroad in a different cultural environment. They give pupils the chance to affirm their cultural identity and attain a high level of knowledge in at least two languages, including their mother tongue, which they are encouraged to learn from an extremely early age, highlighting the importance of cultural diversity and fostering mutual understanding and respect.

The way in which the European Schools are run is assessed positively. This concept is clearly a model of inspiration for national school systems and for raising the profile of European citizenship.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this important report. The aim of the European Schools is to provide mother-tongue education for students whose parents may be required to change their place of work or return to their country of origin, as well as to develop the European dimension in education. The economic crisis has had repercussions on the financing of the European Schools, and the Commission has therefore called for reforms to rationalise the costs associated with them, but this should not be allowed to affect the education of vulnerable children with learning difficulties and special needs, and should not affect teaching in the mother tongue or bring about a reduction in the teaching of languages other than French, German and English. I believe that the proposed cuts to the budgets of the European Schools constitute a serious threat to the quality of education and the Schools’ proper functioning, and I therefore oppose such cuts.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because we must bring together within the same educational system – geared solely towards the European baccalaureate examination – students from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, who may have very different talents and capabilities.

The task of the European Schools is to provide mother-tongue education for students whose parents may be required to change their place of work or return to their country of origin, as well as to develop the European dimension in education. Multiculturalism and multilingualism should also be fostered in the European Schools. Furthermore, they should set an example in promoting less widely spoken languages worldwide.

Attention must be drawn to the fact that the European Schools’ syllabus should be made more compatible with national education systems in order to facilitate the swift reintegration of pupils returning to their countries of origin.

The European Parliament thus urges the Member States to ensure that all their universities and higher education institutions apply the same requirements when recognising the education of students from European Schools as for students from national schools, and that these students are subject to the same system of assessment so that they are guaranteed equal opportunities when applying for higher education.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European School, which was first founded in Luxembourg in 1953, is a unique educational experiment offering students with different mother tongues the chance to study according to a single educational curriculum.

The European Schools, which, in 2010, had over 22 000 pupils, allow children whose parents work abroad to study a varied educational curriculum in their mother tongue, so that they can be reintegrated into a school in their country of origin at any time. It is therefore important to assess the importance of this project, which is clearly an investment in the future of young Europeans, even if the economic crisis requires inevitable cuts.

I hope, therefore, that adequate funding will be looked into so that teaching will continue to be entrusted to mother-tongue teachers, despite the costs. Furthermore, I invite Member States to work not only for the conservation of this system, but also for the expansion of this unique and exceptional model of education in Europe, which opens up stimulating prospects for providing a framework for a European educational system. These are the reasons I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Zuzana Brzobohatá (S&D), in writing. (CS) The report attempts to outline the current problems of the European Schools, which were established to provide an education to the children of EU officials. This specific system of education enables pupils to study all subjects in a multicultural, multilingual environment, with qualified teachers, while retaining their mother tongues. European Schools are an excellent educational showcase, based on a tried and tested teaching approach, and are an example of one of the best possible forms of schooling in Europe, based on the dissemination of European culture, values and languages. One of the current problems is the need to make the European Schools’ syllabus more compatible with national education systems in order to facilitate the swift reintegration of pupils returning to their countries of origin. The report also tries to make an appeal regarding the difficult situation of the European Schools, which are currently in a legal limbo, manifesting itself in the unclear legal and jurisdictional status of acts adopted by the Schools’ bodies, insufficient possibilities to challenge those acts before national courts, and no possibility of recourse to the European Ombudsman. For the reasons mentioned above, I have supported the report.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – I voted against the European Schools, which were created using taxpayers’ money for children of EU officials. I cannot understand why these children are being educated in a system that, on one hand, is luxuriant and, on another, equips them with a baccalaureate that is not widely recognised elsewhere, rather than following the education systems in their own countries. I do not think it is correct to bring the next generation up with a wholly one-sided view of the European Union, when nobody under the age of 54 has had the opportunity to vote for or against UK membership. When I read about a request to national states to promote the inclusion of a specific subject on the background, goals and functioning of the European Union and its institutions, to encourage young people to feel more involved in the process of European integration, I was extremely disturbed. I also strongly oppose the fact that these schools will be protected from austerity measures when school children in Wales are watching schools close and merge and are being educated in dilapidated buildings with overcrowding in classrooms while the children of privileged Eurocrats are given better resources and opportunities.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the Cavada report on the European Schools. The report insists on the dissemination of European culture, values, integration and languages. The recognition of the European baccalaureate by every Member State is a real development; it is accompanied by the introduction of a school-leaving certificate other than the baccalaureate for students wishing to specialise in vocational courses.

Better monitoring of students with special educational needs will also be guaranteed thanks, in particular, to the improved integration of such students in classes. Finally, the report proposes that the European Schools’ financing model be reviewed in order to ease the burden on certain Member States during this crisis period. In particular, it proposes that the working languages be used for non-fundamental subjects. I support this proposal.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Schools play a precious role in their communities, since they function as promoters of multiculturalism and multilingualism, and as models for the protection and promotion of the languages used less at international level. The economic crisis has had an impact on the funding of the European Schools, so their costs need to be rationalised. However, that must not affect the children’s education. The budgetary restrictions that the schools will have to accept must be accompanied by a real increase in their management autonomy. Giving each European School a greater level of budgetary autonomy, following an assessment ensuring that it will be of benefit to them, could constitute an effective means of improving the management of the resources assigned to them.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for this report because I believe strongly that education plays a role of primary importance in the growth of each individual. I fully agree with the wish to push for an integrated education system using the European Schools as a vehicle for an education aiming to promote greater mobility of students between Member States, as well as greater multilingualism and multiculturalism. I would also like to focus on the need to ensure that all students receive equivalent levels of education, in order to quash the idea that the European Schools constitute an elitist system that is not accessible to all. To this end, it is important for Member States to come to an agreement about the organisation of the educational system and the teaching content in order to safeguard the cultural and linguistic identity of the various students.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report by my colleague, Jean-Marie Cavada, as it aims to improve the European Schools concept and establishes very specific policy priorities in order to do so. The European Schools system must adapt to new economic and social demands, whilst remaining an inspirational model for national school systems, promoting European citizenship and encouraging the development of mobility and foreign language learning.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because it argues that budget cuts must take into account the particular situation of the children and young Europeans attending the European Schools. Savings cannot compromise the fundamental principles on which the system is based; specifically, teaching in the student’s mother tongue, and the education of children who are vulnerable, or have learning difficulties or special needs. The European Schools are not elitist schools, but rather a necessity. Their mission is to provide students whose parents could be forced to move or return to their country of origin with an education in their mother tongue.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) There are currently 14 European Schools, with 22 778 students, 14 292 of whom attend the schools in Brussels and Luxembourg, which corresponds to some 63% of the total number of students. As the father of children who attend the European Schools, I am well aware of their importance, but I also know about their problems. I will admit that it is tempting in the current economic climate to cut the budget for the European Schools, but, as I have always argued, any cut concerning the education of our children is a cut to our future capacity for competitiveness. It is therefore a cut that is wrong. I would argue that the European Schools should maintain their multicultural stamp without losing sight of the real reason for their creation: to allow the children of officials working abroad access to education in their mother tongue, in conditions as close as possible to those they would have in their country of origin.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) We are always hearing that ‘children are the best thing in the world’. However, it is we who are responsible for preparing their future. It is therefore crucial that we be aware that investing in education is investing in the future of our children and in an increasingly globalised world. This report is on the system of European Schools, which have been operating for more than 50 years. The first European School was founded in Luxembourg in October 1953. They are now attended by around 23 000 students, with 63% – around 14 500 students – attending the schools in Brussels and Luxembourg. The initial purpose of creating these schools was to guarantee the children of officials of the European institutions access to an education in their mother tongue when living abroad. The system is unique, based on cooperation between the Member States and the European Union, and values and promotes multiculturalism. Given that these schools are in great demand, partly because of the expansion of the EU, it is crucial that they continue to meet the objectives for which they were founded. I therefore voted for Mr Cavada’s report.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The European Schools resulted from the intention of developing a network of schools at the service of the children of officials of the European institutions, who may be forced to move or to return to their country of origin, and providing them with an education in their mother tongue. The report includes positive aspects, which we value. Examples include the defence of the schools’ fundamental principles, such as teaching in the mother tongue; the guarantee of equivalent teaching conditions for children from all language communities; and the clear and unequivocal statement that ‘the proposed cuts in the budgets of the European Schools constitute a serious threat to the quality of education and the proper functioning of the European Schools’ and therefore opposes ‘any budgetary cuts’. This position is all the more important since, as we have already had occasion to report, the Portuguese Section of the European School of Brussels II (Woluwe) is preparing measures that jeopardise the quality of teaching, under the pretext of budgetary restrictions, which is unacceptable.

However, the report also includes a number of contradictions, such as advocating the use of so-called ‘working’ languages, and unsubstantiated positions that we do not support, like the statement that ‘the current intergovernmental legal status of the European Schools has reached its limits and requires profound change’.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The European Schools resulted from the intention of developing a network of schools at the service of the children of officials of the European institutions, who may be forced to move or to return to their country of origin, and providing them with an education in their mother tongue. The report includes positive aspects, which we value. Examples include the defence of the schools’ fundamental principles, such as teaching in the mother tongue; the guarantee of equivalent teaching conditions for children from all language communities; and the clear and unequivocal statement that ‘the proposed cuts in the budgets of the European Schools constitute a serious threat to the quality of education and the proper functioning of the European Schools’, coupled with opposition to ‘any budgetary cuts’.

This position is all the more important since, under the pretext of budgetary restrictions, measures are being prepared that jeopardise the quality of teaching, which is unacceptable. However, the report also includes a number of contradictions, such as advocating the use of so-called ‘working’ languages, and unsubstantiated positions that we do not support, like the statement that ‘the current intergovernmental legal status of the European Schools has reached its limits’.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The first European school was founded in Luxembourg in October 1953 and this educational experiment, which brought together children with different mother tongues, was speedily judged to be successful. The educational organisation of the European Schools requires basic teaching in the pupil’s mother tongue. Each school has several language sections, in which the breakdown and content of courses are the same and, in order to encourage genuine multicultural education, stress is placed on the use of foreign languages. The European Schools were set up to ensure that the children of the European institutions’ staff who are required to live and work abroad in a different cultural environment have access to education in their mother tongue so these children can be reintegrated into a school in their country of origin at any time. Over 50 years after the creation of the first European School, it is clear that the concept must change and adapt to new economic and social requirements. It must nevertheless remain a model of inspiration for national school systems, in developing European citizenship and encouraging mobility.

The evaluation of the running of the European Schools is positive and this system opens up stimulating prospects for providing a framework for a European educational system. I firmly believe that it is desirable that Member States work not only for the conservation of this system but also for the expansion of this unique and exceptional model of education in Europe.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing.(FR) The European Schools have developed over the last 50-odd years in order to ensure that children whose parents, mainly European civil servants, are unable to work in their country of origin are taught fundamental subjects in their mother tongue. This is not a luxury, but a requirement.

Today, these Schools provide quality education and disseminate European culture and values, the merits of which are plain to see.

The report, which was adopted almost unanimously, calls for the promotion of this model in national education systems, whilst guaranteeing respect for the competences of Member States.

These Schools contribute to the development of a European identity that is based on the strong educational principles of multilingualism and mobility. I support the idea of these successful models, which can certainly still be improved upon, being able to inspire national education systems.

That is why I welcome the adoption of this report, which will allow us to further reflect on the performance and relevance of existing education systems.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) The European Schools are often wrongly considered to be elitist schools, a luxury rather than a necessity, when their mission is, in fact, to provide mother-tongue education for students whose parents may be required to change their place of work or return to their country of origin. I welcomed this document because the European Schools constitute an excellent educational showcase based on a tried and tested teaching approach, which should become an example of one of the best possible forms of schooling in Europe, based on the dissemination of European culture, values and languages, and because incorporating certain elements of this model, such as the emphasis on foreign language knowledge, into the national and regional education systems would assist professional mobility and help to foster multilingualism and European integration. The European Schools’ syllabus must be made more compatible with national education systems in order to facilitate the swift reintegration of pupils returning to their countries of origin. I believe that we must provide access to European studies and the European baccalaureate throughout the Member States. The Member States must cooperate when developing their national syllabuses by preparing common syllabuses for all European Union schools so as to bring the national systems and the European Schools system closer together. The European Schools must be financed on a sound and adequate basis so that the quality of the education provided, as well as equal and equivalent teaching conditions for children of all language communities in the European Schools, can be guaranteed.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing. – (PL) Above all else, the European Schools represent a project that makes it possible to educate children whose parents have left their native land through their mother tongue. These schools are also charged with promoting multiculturalism where the teaching is conducted in several languages concurrently, as well as with disseminating a mobile and dynamic system of education that will facilitate the readjustment of children to the educational system of their own country when the family decides to return from emigration.

Such establishments should be properly cofinanced by the Member States who must also provide teachers for their respective language sections. The systems of financing should be sufficiently flexible so as to ensure that, notwithstanding the emerging financial difficulties, the cuts caused by the financial crisis will not be allowed to impede the development of young Europeans.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European Schools are a resource for the international education system and an investment for the future of the whole European Community. It is with an eye to the future and an absolute conviction of the need to take action on this issue as soon as possible that I voted for the report by Mr Cavada. The current crisis often forces us to make difficult choices in important areas when re-launching economic growth. Education and the European Schools system are among the areas that it is our duty to defend and safeguard even during difficult times. This is why, because of the principles of preserving one’s identity while opening up to European cultures, which symbolise the unity in diversity that represents us, I believe that this report will make the education of young Europeans less complicated.

 
  
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  Morten Løkkegaard (ALDE), in writing. (DA) The purpose of and basic idea behind European Schools – that pupils could receive instruction in their mother tongue – are positive and merit our support. It has not always proven to be that easy, and certain groups of pupils will continue to lose out when it comes to receiving instruction in their mother tongue. I would like to call for attempts to be made in future to accommodate all groups, so that students without a language section (SWALS) can also be taught in their mother tongue. At the same time, the multicultural element is also important within the European Schools, and we ought also to focus on the importance of pupils who speak several languages. Pupils with strong language skills will be in a strong position in a global jobs market. There is currently a European School in the planning stage in my own country, and I hope that the plans will come to fruition. There is a need to offer attractive conditions for foreign workers, and that does not just apply to Denmark. Overall, the provision of international schools throughout the Member States is key. I have voted in favour of this report on European Schools, as I believe it to be sound and well-balanced, and I look forward to continuing to follow the important work being carried out with regard to these European Schools.

 
  
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  Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska (PPE), in writing. – (PL) The premises on which the European Union is based should include contributing towards the development of high-quality education and, first and foremost, the promotion of cooperation between the Member States. I believe it is important to encourage Member States and regional authorities vested with legislative powers in the educational sphere to promote the concept of the European Schools on their territory by organising awareness-raising campaigns on the subject of European education. We should make additional investments in young people our priority, which is why I voted in favour of the Cavada report on the European Schools system.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report. The European Schools were set up to ensure that the children of the European institutions’ staff – who are required to live and work abroad, in a different cultural environment – have access to education in their mother tongue, so that these children can be reintegrated into a school in their country of origin at any time. These schools are therefore a necessity and not a luxury. It should be borne in mind that education is free in all the Member States. The institutions’ staff have no other option than to enrol their children in these schools if they want them to be taught in their mother tongue.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the report on the European Schools system. At a time when a petition concerning the European Schools has been presented by several European citizens, and was even the subject of an urgent procedure for the first time before the Committee on Petitions, it is essential that the whole of Parliament take up this topic in order to respond to their concerns. The European Schools make it possible to build Europe on a daily basis, by educating European citizens who are familiar with multiculturalism having mastered several languages. The report calls for greater budgetary autonomy for the European Schools and for a change to their legal status. It promotes developing the European Schools, providing them with greater infrastructure and making them better understood and less elitist. It also stresses the importance of the European baccalaureate being recognised in every Member State. It rightly criticises the reduction in the budget for the European Schools and the disengagement of the European Union. Finally, it draws attention to pupils with special needs and to the need to offer qualifications other than the baccalaureate to enable reorientation.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Schools are essential to the proper integration of the children of those needing to move abroad to work in the European institutions. These schools were created to guarantee the children of employees of the European institutions called on to work abroad in a different cultural environment access to education in their mother tongue, in such a way that these children could, at any time, integrate into an educational establishment in their country of origin. It should not be forgotten that education is free in all the Member States and that employees of the institutions only have the opportunity to enrol their children in these specific establishments if they intend to guarantee them teaching in their mother tongue. Clearly, the system needs to evolve and adapt to the new economic and social requirements, as 50 years have passed since the first European School was founded. However, it should continue to be an inspirational model for national educational systems, as it values European citizenship and encourages the development of mobility.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) There is no alternative to education if we want to offer the children of the world a better life and a more promising future. It is a moral and ethical imperative. Education is the basis of prosperity. There will be no economic, social or human progress without access to universal learning. The European Schools were created out of a concern to offer children who are not resident in their country of origin an education in their mother tongue. More than 50 years after the creation of the first European School, the added value of this project is well proven. Children leaving these institutions are not only multilingual; they are also open to other cultures and equipped to pursue studies in line with their aspirations in an increasingly interdependent and globalised world. Countries which do not provide teachers, who are essential for the proper functioning of these schools, should be aware that they are penalising the children of their citizens. Let us not forget that we live in the age of knowledge. The articulation between education, vocational training, the quality of education, research, innovation and the business world will be crucial in the coming years.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The report suggests that the European School model be exported to the national school systems, developing schools that can welcome children whose parents are not agents of the institutions, creating new schools at the initiative of Member States and encouraging multilingual and multicultural schooling at national level. In terms of budgeting, the report calls for budgets to be preserved, if not increased, so that the fundamental principles forming the basis of the European School concept – such as mother-tongue teaching by native speakers – are not compromised. It also points out that some Member States are not meeting their obligations regarding the secondment of teachers and proposes that those Member States who do not contribute financially by seconding teachers might pay an equivalent financial contribution to the Schools’ budget. Adopted S&D amendments sought to ensure that students who have successfully completed the European Baccalaureate have equal access to European universities under the same conditions as students coming from national education systems. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) First of all, I am pleased that over many years, we have established a truly unique educational model which enables children living abroad in a multicultural environment to not only acquire a quality education, but also learn their native language. I am therefore certain that, when assessing the importance of these schools, the European Union must pay due attention to the funding of these schools from the Union’s budget. At the same time, in addition to clearer regulation of the sources of funding for these schools, we must pay suitable attention to managing these schools more efficiently. I am therefore sure that the resolution drawn up may be a significant stimulus for further developing this education system that is important for Europe.

 
  
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  Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. – European Schools were created so that the children of the European Institutions’ staff who are required to live and work in a different cultural environment can receive education in their mother tongue. The existence of these schools is not a luxury but a right belonging to the children of these officials due to the standards upheld by the European Union. The schools build into the students the concept of what it means to be a European citizen and promotes both the EU and its institutions. These schools have existed for over 50 years, and thus this educational system requires some updating. I voted for this report because it calls for the system to be opened up to other students in the European Union. It is also deemed necessary that these European Schools would become examples to schools throughout Europe, representing the distribution of culture, values and languages. The reform of the schools also calls for an EU-wide recognition of the baccalaureate awarded by these schools so that students may achieve high education in any Member State they choose.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Cavada’s report, which not only outlines the current situation of European education, but also has the more far-reaching and decidedly noble objective of creating a European education system. The current reforms to the European Schools’ system involve simplifying access to education between countries. Increasing access to education between different countries promotes mobility, interculturalism, a European identity and solidarity. In summary, the current assessment of the European Schools’ system within Member States is positive and is capable of laying the foundations for a European School that would define a European identity for citizens of the future.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The first European School was founded in Luxembourg in October 1953 at the instigation of a group of officials. This educational experiment, which brought together children with different mother tongues, was soon considered a success and, over the years, 14 European Schools were founded in various towns; these correspond to the present Type I Schools. At a time of crisis and generalised cuts, it is crucial to create exceptions for areas like education, in which the principle should be to invest more and reap the rewards in the next economic cycle. Indeed, the fundamental principles on which the European Schools system is based must be maintained, with education continuing to be provided by teachers in their mother tongue and the necessary mechanisms being explored in order for the quality of the education provided by these institutions not to be neglected. I therefore voted for this report.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I agree that, while they are rather limited in reach, the European Schools – which are essentially aimed, as is well known, at the children of officials and employees of the EU institutions – represent a commitment to the area of education by the European project. As a result of the particular circumstances that led to their foundation, these are educational models founded on a compromise between respect for the mother tongues of students who could have to return to their country of origin at any time, on the one hand, and an education for multilingualism, on the other. The need for the active cooperation of the Member States should be stressed, however, as without them, these schools would find it extremely difficult to operate.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The EP: (...) 3. Believes that this specific system of education enables pupils to study all subjects in a multicultural, multilingual environment, with qualified teachers, while retaining their mother tongues; 4. Takes the view that the European Schools, which constitute an excellent educational showcase based on a tried and tested teaching approach, should become an example of one of the best possible forms of schooling in Europe, based on the dissemination of European culture, values and languages, and whereas incorporating certain elements of this model, such as the emphasis on foreign language knowledge, into the national and regional education systems would assist professional mobility and help to foster multilingualism and European integration; 5. Believes that European Schools play a valuable role in their communities.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European Schools were set up to ensure that the children of the European institutions’ staff who are required to live and work abroad in a different cultural environment have access to education in their mother tongue so these children can be reintegrated into a school in their country of origin at any time. These Schools are therefore a necessity and not a luxury

Over 50 years after the creation of the first European School, it is clear that the concept must change and adapt to new economic and social requirements. It must nevertheless remain a model of inspiration for national school systems, in developing European citizenship and encouraging mobility.

Although the financial crisis requires some budget cuts, it is essential to consider the situation more from the angle of investment in the future of young Europeans rather than from the point of view of costs.

 
  
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  Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE), in writing. (LT) How best to reform school systems so that they can adapt to the new economic and social demands – this question is particularly important for Lithuania. I am glad that the rapporteur examines this problem, but the report does not draw attention to certain important matters such as reducing school drop-out rates. In Lithuania, the school drop-out rate is now 8.1%, whereas in 2008 it was 7.4%. Even more worrying is the huge gap between urban and rural areas (3.7% and 15.7% respectively) and boys and girls (9.9% and 6.2%). The main reasons for such regional differences are the inadequate school network, undeveloped infrastructure for supporting education and insufficient qualified and competent teachers. In order to address these issues, it is absolutely essential for Lithuania to take a few specific actions. Firstly, the infrastructure supporting training and education must be adapted to socially vulnerable groups. Secondly, we must reduce regional differences in the quality of pre-school and primary education. Thirdly, we must encourage young people to continue to study in professional educational establishments and to acquire a professional qualification according to the needs of the labour market.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) The first European School was founded in Luxembourg in 1953. It is a special characteristic of a European School that, after the initial primary education, which takes place in the pupil’s mother tongue, teaching in either English, French or German is compulsory from the first year of primary school onwards. As the rapporteur calls, in this report, for there to be a stronger focus on Type II and III institutions in future, and as that would mean that this exceptional model of education would be made available to considerably more children, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Artur Zasada (PPE), in writing. (PL) I have voted, with satisfaction, for the adoption of this document. The system of European Schools has been in existence in Europe for over 50 years and it presents an inspiring model. More and more educational establishments are striving to meet the demands of today by giving their children and young people a full and well-rounded education aimed at enhancing their talents and skills. This must constitute the main objective of contemporary education. Implementation of this objective requires specific legal solutions and a clear system of financing. In Poland, classes offering a European profile in education whereby students are taught within a system similar to that in university are becoming increasingly popular. Quite a few higher educational establishments already offer courses where tuition is conducted in a foreign language. Some of these establishments are even running certain courses (specialising in advanced philological studies) which can only be followed by students with a sufficient command of a foreign language. We are, therefore, at the beginning of a road that signifies important changes in the European system of education from which future pupils and students stand to benefit.

 
  
  

Report: Michael Theurer (A7-0287/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) In line with what the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament is advocating, I believe the exchange of good practices to be absolutely essential. It is also important to note that too much time is spent on managing and controlling the complexity of compliance rules and the number of errors. There is a need for a suitable balance between simplification and stability of rules and procedures, and the emphasis should be put on payments for delivery of results rather than checking inputs. Furthermore, a stronger focus should be given to fraud rather than formal irregularities and on a more differentiated treatment of irregularities, allowing for flexibility depending on the seriousness of the irregularity identified.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this important resolution on absorption of the EU Structural and Cohesion Funds. What have we learnt by implementing the EU cohesion policy and using money from the EU Structural Funds for that purpose? Firstly, it should be noted that many Member States have faced difficulties in absorbing the Structural and Cohesion Funds from the EU budget, especially during the early post-accession years. Furthermore, many problems have been caused by the global economic downturn and different regulatory, legislative and organisational requirements in various Member States. It is also true that the rules relating to the Structural and Cohesion Funds are complex and, therefore, it is difficult to avoid errors. I agree with the rapporteur that rules and procedures should be simplified in order to improve the absorption of money from EU funds and increase efficiency. The timely adoption of the multiannual financial framework and of clear rules and guidance on the absorption of EU money is of paramount importance. In turn, the Member States must make every effort to ensure that they help their citizens to properly implement EU-supported projects and do not create additional bureaucratic obstacles and restrictions. Only by working in this way can we expect to improve outcomes, increase the effectiveness of the EU funds, and help citizens understand and accept the EU’s cohesion policy.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report by Mr Theurer on absorption of structural and cohesion funds.

The capacity of a Member State to spend the financial resources allocated to it in an effective and efficient manner is necessary for making a maximum contribution to economic and social cohesion with the resources available from the EU funds.

I think that coordination between the various Structural and Cohesion Funds should be strengthened, improving the exchange of best practices between Member States in the management and implementation of projects, and optimising the allocation of funds. Furthermore, a simplification of the rules and procedures is essential to ensuring small and medium-sized enterprises’ access to structural funds.

Therefore, the Small Business Act principles should be applied at all levels of decision making to define investment priorities and the design of management, audit and control procedures in order to ensure better absorption of the funds.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. Many Member States have faced difficulties in absorbing the Structural and Cohesion Funds from the EU budget, especially during the early post-accession years. This report therefore focuses on the problems, their cause and the best practices gained during the 2007-2013 programming period, with a view to learning from this in the future when implementing EU cohesion policy. I agree with the proposals set out in the European Parliament’s resolution, particularly as regards strengthening the proportionality between the volume of support and control requirements, adopting clear and definitive rules and guidance for the Member States, and establishing a cooperation programme among the Member States with the aim of exchanging best practices.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. (FR) During these times of crisis in the European Union, it has to be said that the cohesion policy is one of the greatest achievements of European integration. It is the very embodiment of solidarity between Member States and the European regions. However, the absorption capacity of Structural Funds by the States and competent authorities poses a problem: there are many disparities within the Union, but, on the whole, funding is inadequate and misused. Each year, some of the money remains unallocated.

The report that we have adopted lists the various causes for this, underlines the need for simplifying access to funds, and highlights the need for greater coordination between the various levels of governance. Structural Funds provide vital tools during this current period which help us to deal with the consequences of the crisis (with the European Social Fund (ESF) in particular funding training and/or retraining, for example) and move forward with the development of infrastructure projects through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). What we really need to do, however, is maximise their potential.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the European Union’s cohesion policy is the most important means of promoting the harmonious development of the EU but, despite the progress achieved in reducing inequalities in development between regions, there remain major differences in terms of their level of economic, social and regional development.

Currently, the rules relating to Structural and Cohesion Funds are, by their very nature, complex and therefore difficult to transpose properly into national law and to comply with, and are liable to lead to errors, so that Member States spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to manage and control those errors. Consequently, there is an urgent need to simplify the rules and procedures on the implementation of financial instruments at both EU and national level and to make them more flexible in order to facilitate access to EU funds for project organisers and to promote sound management of those funds by the administrative services, without creating major difficulties for the beneficiaries.

Furthermore, simplification will contribute to the speedy allocation of funds, higher absorption rates, increased efficiency and transparency, fewer implementation errors and reduced payment periods.

The European Parliament regrets that, owing to lengthy administrative procedures and complicated rules, especially in some Member States, implementation of the European Social Fund (ESF) is slower than foreseen and that this discourages many potential beneficiaries from applying for funding. The ESF objectives should therefore be brought into line with the real requirements of the labour market so that there is investment in vocational retraining and in the protection of workers.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) In connection with the future form of the Cohesion Policy, attention should be focused, among other things, on public-private partnerships (PPP) at regional and local level which, due to their flexibility, might resolve difficulties over cofinancing. The Commission must verify the existence and examine the efficiency of the legislative bases for the implementation of PPP projects and, where appropriate, recommend to those Member States which have not adopted such legislative measures that they prepare and adopt as soon as possible, with a view to permitting the mobilisation of resources from the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund for PPP projects in the next programming period, procedures for efficient implementation of these projects at regional and local level. I am concerned that most small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) cannot themselves access resources from the Structural Funds due to the current bureaucratic and financial constraints, and that they therefore need support and advice from their representative organisations. A simplification of the rules and procedures is essential to ensuring the access of SMEs to Structural Funds. The initiative in support of SMEs, the Small Business Act, and its ‘think small first’ and ‘only once’ principles, together with the proportionality principle, should be applied at all levels of decision making to define investment priorities and the design of management, audit and control procedures in order to ensure better absorption of the funds.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. (FR) Mr Theurer’s report calls for improving the use and management of Structural Funds to meet the requirements of budgetary discipline. This commitment is particularly important as we are currently going through a crisis period which demands rigorous measures to put an end to mismanagement and the risks of fraud. Despite accelerated absorption of funds for the period 2007-2013, absorption rates remain low in certain EU Member States.

We must simplify procedures, without radically overhauling the existing system, in order to remove the red tape and facilitate access to European funding for small businesses.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) European regional policy is a key instrument in promoting economic and social cohesion, so enabling the Union to reduce regional disparities. As such, EU cohesion policy is crucial to promoting real convergence and fostering development, quality jobs and social progress, whilst also serving to benefit the less developed regions. However, there needs to be greater synergy and complementarity between all the shared management funds. Flexibility between the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund should be encouraged, so as to facilitate the financing of integrated projects, while taking into account the specific nature and objectives of each of these funds. Greater harmonisation of rules and procedures is also essential, as is a simplified delivery system, which would encourage participation by potential beneficiaries.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) Within the framework of regional development, the utilisation and proper deployment of funds is crucial in eliminating economic, social and regional inequalities, especially in less developed and disadvantaged regions. The inability to absorb funds is exacerbated at present in light of the economic crisis and austerity policies chosen to address it. The report makes a number of correct assumptions about the importance of absorption of structural and cohesion funds by the EU regions and identifies several of the problems with the procedure. I abstained, because the report suggests the method of ‘public-private partnerships’ as the solution in terms of increasing absorption and proposes that national legislation should be amended in order to improve and simplify its adoption, with a view to further facilitating such partnerships. Experience to date has shown that PPPs, at both regional and local level, serve private profit; they do not maximise social benefits. The cost of implementing them is demonstrably higher, they are less efficient economically and their standard is low. Finally, the benefits are not channelled directly to local economies and communities; on the contrary, they create additional nuisance and charges.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) The proper use of the European Social Fund (ESF) can support the efforts of local, regional and national authorities in implementing the Europe 2020 strategy more effectively in the area of employment and social inclusion. This action will help develop human capital in an appropriate manner. However, the closest possible correlation must also be established with the specific features and needs of the Member States and regions. I think it is useful to identify a limited number of priorities to ensure the successful implementation of the projects financed by the EU, as well as to give the programme the appropriate media coverage with the aim of increasing the number of beneficiaries, and to create new jobs.

 
  
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  Luigi Ciriaco De Mita (PPE), in writing. (IT) Economic, social and territorial cohesion policy is one of the fundamental pillars on which our coexistence within the EU is based, as it promotes growth in areas struggling to develop in order to enable them to converge and compete fairly against more developed areas. The experience acquired also during the current programming period shows that delays in development are effectively recouped on the one hand by simplifying rules and procedures, while maintaining a rigorous pursuit of objectives, and, on the other, by strengthening the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of management and control systems. All this has to take place within the context of the broad and effective involvement of all the institutional, economic and social partnerships at the various local levels in order to identify the strategies and specific and operational objectives to be pursued. In addition to this, there needs to be effective programming and unified implementation by the different EU (structural, agricultural and neighbourhood policy funds) and national funds, recognising in project funding the capacity for integration of the various areas and production and the different private and public entities, including in a cross-border, inter- and intra-regional context. I believe that the report that I helped to approve contains these suggestions.

 
  
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  Marielle De Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Many Member States fail to take full advantage of the financial resources available through Structural and Cohesion Funds. These funds represent around 37% of the EU budget and enable the regions to invest in major infrastructure projects which can create jobs and economic growth. We should therefore help and encourage these States to make better use of these funds. If we want these funds to be an effective tool for regional development, we need to simplify procedures, enable local and regional authorities to independently manage the use of subsidies and relax the barriers to cofinancing projects. The action plan soon to be presented by the Commission should be based on the sharing of best practices and ultimately enable optimum use of these funds.

 
  
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  Lena Ek, Marit Paulsen, Olle Schmidt and Cecilia Wikström (ALDE), in writing. (SV) Europe is in the midst of a severe economic crisis in which every little bit counts. It is therefore particularly regrettable that the Member States – particularly the former Eastern and Central European countries – for administrative and economic reasons, are not able to fully utilise the resources made available by European cohesion policy at this time. This report lists a number of important measures, such as the need to simplify the rules and to increase the use of innovative financial instruments, in order to improve the situation. Regrettably, the report also contains an unfortunate and inappropriate claim that the funding for the European Social Fund ‘needs to be considerably stepped up’, something that we cannot support, but unfortunately, did not have the opportunity to vote on separately. We have therefore chosen nevertheless to vote in favour of the report as a whole.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report as I regard the absorption of the Structural and Cohesion Funds as one of the main priorities for implementing the EU’s cohesion policy. Absorption capacity is vital so that the maximum possible contribution can be made to the EU’s economic and social cohesion using the resources available from the funds. Achieving the aim of absorbing this absolutely necessary financial support requires both continuous efforts from Member States and the involvement of local and regional levels of administration at every stage of the process.

I support the rapporteur’s position on the need to simplify regulations and procedures in order to achieve higher absorption rates, cut down on the errors and boost efficiency. I agree that a balance should be struck between simplifying the regulations and procedures and ensuring their stability.

Last but not least, one aspect of paramount importance which is highlighted in this report is the large disparities that exist in terms of Member States’ absorption capacities. This is why greater attention must be focused on setting up cooperation programmes between Member States, aimed at exchanging good practices.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the future cohesion policy of the EU because I consider it necessary to find a balance between the simplification and stability of rules and procedures, and the identification and dissemination of good practices, with a view to optimising the funds available.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Mr Theurer, is on the European Union’s future cohesion policy, taking into account the experience of absorbing structural and cohesion funds in the contexts of previous EU aid frameworks. The principle underlying the uses to which structural funding is put is improving the lives of the public. However, the Member States have encountered many problems putting it to use. From delays with the transfer of funds – obliging institutions to turn to banks, whose interest is not covered, to cover their commitments to companies – to excessive bureaucracy, with complex, incoherent procedures, rule changes, etc., and insufficient funds to cover the national contribution, the process is made more difficult. The EU should support those countries that do not manage to absorb the sums set aside for them owing to a lack of knowledge by sending a team of experts. I therefore welcome the adoption of this report and hope it will contribute to these funds being put to better use by simplifying the rules, since they are fundamental in helping disadvantaged countries to develop and contribute to alleviating the regional asymmetries within the EU.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This is about measuring what a Member State and its regions are capable of spending in the way of structural and cohesion funding, so putting EU funding to better use as regards economic and social cohesion. Despite improvements in the reduction of regional inequalities, the report acknowledges that there are some cases where ‘there remain major differences in terms of their level of economic, social and regional development’. We have been condemning the contradictions and limitations relating to the absorption of these funds for a long time. The Member States are well aware of them, particularly those that suffer most from the effects of regional inequalities. The levels of national cofinancing have been one of the main barriers to better absorption, so it is crucial to create conditions whereby the Member States are able to fully absorb Union funds and put them to good use.

The report acknowledges the effect of so-called austerity measures on the ability to cofinance projects, principally in Member States with higher numbers of disadvantaged regions, which represents a serious limitation to accessing these funds. It should also be stressed that the concern given to the need for national regulation, and for eliminating bureaucracy and complex procedures for accessing funds, is understandable.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This is a report that seeks to measure what a Member State and its regions are capable of spending in the way of structural and cohesion funding, so putting EU funding to better use as regards economic and social cohesion. Despite improvements in the reduction of regional inequalities, the report acknowledges that there are some cases where ‘there remain major differences in terms of their level of economic, social and regional development’. We have been condemning the contradictions and limitations relating to the absorption of these funds, of which the Member States are well aware, particularly those that suffer most from the effects of regional inequalities.

The levels of national cofinancing have been one of the main barriers to better absorption, so it is crucial to create conditions whereby the Member States are able to fully absorb Union funds and put them to good use. The report acknowledges the negative effect of so-called austerity measures on the ability to cofinance projects, principally in Member States with higher numbers of disadvantaged regions, which represents a serious limitation to accessing these funds. The concern given to the need for national regulation, and for eliminating bureaucracy and complex procedures for accessing funds, is understandable.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Since the late 1990s, absorption of structural and cohesion funds has been recognised as a principal concern in relation to the implementation of the EU cohesion policy. Many Member States have faced difficulties in absorbing the structural and cohesion funds from the EU budget during the early post-accession years, especially shortly following accession, which resulted mainly from the global economic recession. The consequences included problems in terms of the delivery of projects, changes in expected demands and growing restrictions in national or local public financing. It became even more difficult to obtain sufficient resources to cofinance projects. Further problems were caused by delays with the establishment and introduction of EU and national rules, or with related guidance and gaps in the rules, or rules which were not clear. I believe that some regulatory requirements should be further adapted to take account of implementation experience. The rules relating to the Structural and Cohesion Funds are often complex.

For this reason, they are difficult to comply with, causing errors. Member States therefore spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to manage and control these errors. It is my view that rules and procedures should be simplified in order to reach higher absorption rates, reduce errors and increase efficiency. At the same time, a right balance should be found between simplification and stability of rules and procedures. Finally, multi-level governance and the partnership principle play an important role in the management of the Structural and Cohesion Funds.

 
  
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  Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing. (FR) The problem is not whether Member States manage to spend all the regional funds allocated to them by the Union, but why they fail to do so most of the time. It has not escaped the rapporteur’s notice that one of the reasons for this under-use was that these funds can only be cofinanced: the Union is all generosity with other people’s money. Some other local authority, or the State, has to put their hands in their pocket to access partial funding from Brussels, which, in current times of tight budgetary control, is becoming increasingly complicated.

Another reason is the complicated award and control procedures. These are massively time consuming, involve reams of paperwork, take up hours of time of those on the public payroll, and are therefore a massive financial burden on States. However, the question of how relevant these funds are is not raised, nor whether finding national or local projects which can offer access to Structural Funds caused a few headaches, nor whether those projects that actually received funding were of limited use in relation to the objectives set out and, in particular, to what the regions actually need. By not asking the right questions, Mr Theurer’s report does not provide the right answers.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I wholeheartedly support this report as it perfectly illustrates the paradoxical situation in which we find ourselves with an abundance of Structural Funds which go largely underused for a variety of reasons: poor administrative capacity, extremely complicated national procedures which are too strict, especially for small businesses, or even the lack of involvement by local partners in programming measures.

Something else that is largely responsible for this situation is the obsession with austerity, which has led to a reduction in cofinancing, just when we need a more ambitious effort from the European public powers to get us out of the economic and social crisis. We must therefore bemoan the fact that, due to lengthy administrative procedures and complicated rules, implementation of the ESF is slower than expected and, therefore, many potential beneficiaries refrain from applying for funds. Structural Funds are, however, essential tools in supporting numerous projects for inclusion, training, fighting discrimination and, in general, back-to-work projects, which, in this period of crisis, is worth a mention.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. (FR) Regional policy currently accounts for 35.7% of the EU budget. This funding is vital for the development of European regions. However, what we are seeing is that, despite the accelerated absorption of Structural and Cohesion Funds for the period 2007-2013, rates remain low in certain Member States.

The President of the Commission, Mr Barroso, highlighted this during his State of the Union Address to MEPs on Wednesday, 28 September: growth also entails improving the absorption capacity of Structural and Cohesion Funds.

We are currently going through a particularly turbulent economic and financial crisis. All good management practices must be encouraged. That is why I welcome the adoption of this report, which shows how keen Parliament is to ensure optimum use of European funds and to remove all those obstacles that often lead to the impression that Europe’s money is being thrown down the drain.

We are about to begin negotiations on the next financial perspective 2014-2020. With this report, we are sending a clear signal to the Commission and to the Council. As a budgetary authority, Parliament will be intent on guaranteeing sound management and proper implementation of EU finances.

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. – The Theurer report rightly emphasises the importance of dialogue at regional and local level. These are the levels at which cohesion policy has its main impact and accordingly, these are the levels at which decision making must remain.

 
  
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  Filiz Hakaeva Hyusmenovа (ALDE), in writing. (BG) I supported this motion for a European Parliament resolution because I share the rapporteur’s position on the problems with the absorption of Structural and Cohesion Funds and the lessons learnt from them for the EU’s future cohesion policy. I fully concur that one of the main reasons for the low absorption rate during the current programming period is down to the over-complicated rules and procedures for submitting applications, executing and reporting on projects, and the frequent changes made to them. The prompt provision of clear instructions and guidelines by the European Commission to the managing authorities on how to apply European legislation is an important condition for reducing the risks of errors and delay. Striking the balance between ensuring legality and transparency and the need to achieve greater effectiveness is of key importance to fulfilling the cohesion policy’s objectives. I support the view that the regulatory framework should allow greater flexibility for operational programmes in order to be able to reflect better the specific features and development processes in the various regions. Strengthening the administrative capacity of the units involved in managing the Structural Funds is of paramount importance, especially to the new Member States. The exchange of experience and good practices is an important tool for achieving this objective.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because there is a need to simplify the rules and procedures on the implementation of financial instruments at both EU and national level and to make them more flexible in order to facilitate access to EU funds for project organisers and to promote sound management of those funds by the administrative services, without creating major difficulties for the beneficiaries. There should be a stronger focus on punishing fraud rather than formal irregularities; I believe there should be a more flexible approach that takes into account the seriousness of the irregularity identified. Application of the proportionality principle, under which control procedures are determined by the scale of the project, should be strengthened by simplifying the requirements governing the supply of information and monitoring when implementing small-scale projects and programmes, but simplified rules must not in any way have a negative impact on transparency and responsibility. Efforts need to be concentrated on a limited number of priorities – the most urgent being to reduce record levels of unemployment in the internal market, with special reference to jobs for young people and women – in order to ensure that EU-wide projects are implemented more efficiently and that the impact and potential of the ESF are maximised, thus supporting the Europe 2020 strategy. We also need to take into account the different situations in the Member States, strengthen ESF financial autonomy and foster its flexibility. I also agree with the opinion that the simplification of rules and procedures is necessary to ensure that SMEs are able to benefit from money from the Structural Funds.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) We have all had lessons to learn during the current programming period. The management and control system clearly raises serious issues concerning the operation of some Member States which need to apply as much as possible the lessons that have been learnt.

The first evidence of this will be the involvement of all the local and regional stakeholders in the programming phase. It is imperative that future potential applicants or beneficiaries are involved in drawing up the operational programmes, thereby making them more relevant and suitable to their needs. Furthermore, we must pay greater attention to the administrative capacity and human resources available at local, regional and national level.

I think that the process for attracting and retaining well-qualified staff can be improved. As a result, it is useful for Member States to realise that even funds from technical assistance or the European Social Fund (ESF) can be utilised to this end, and I firmly believe that this will happen.

 
  
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  Vladimir Maňka (S&D), in writing. (SK) The capacity to absorb resources from the Structural and Cohesion Funds differs widely in the various Member States. It will be necessary to establish a cooperation programme among the Member States with the aim of exchanging best practices. The aim to absorb as much financial support as possible requires the involvement of the local and regional level of administration in every stage of the process. Difficulties were caused by frequent changes of national requirements and inconsistency in EC guidance as EU institutions changed their interpretation of the regulations during the financial perspective. Staff rotation in both the Commission and the Member States causes changes in the interpretation of certain rules during operational programme implementation. Rules and procedures should be simplified in order to achieve higher absorption rates, reduce errors and increase efficiency. Harmonisation of rules and procedures may lead to simplified delivery systems.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – The rules relating to structural and cohesion funds are complex and therefore difficult to comply with. This causes errors. Member States therefore spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to manage and control these errors. The rapporteur takes the view that rules and procedures should be simplified in order to reach higher absorption rates, reduce errors and increase efficiency. At the same time, the right balance should be found between simplification and stability of rules and procedures. I agree with him.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Since the late 1990s, the absorption of structural and cohesion funding has been recognised as a main concern in relation to the implementation of EU cohesion policy. Many Member States have faced difficulties in absorbing the structural and cohesion funding from the EU budget, especially during the early post-accession years. The rules relating to the Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund are complex and therefore difficult to comply with, which causes errors. Rules and procedures should therefore be simplified in order to achieve higher absorption rates, reduce errors and increase efficiency. At the same time, the right balance should be found between the simplification and stability of rules and procedures. I consider it more appropriate to give a stronger focus to fraud rather than formal irregularities, and a more flexible and differentiated approach to irregularities depending on the seriousness of the irregularity identified. There needs to be more balance between the rules and procedures required to guarantee the legality and regularity of EU expenditure, on the one hand, and making cohesion policy more geared towards performance and more cost effective, on the other.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – There is a need of a right balance to be found between simplification and stability of rules and procedures. Furthermore a stronger focus is needed on fraud rather than on formal irregularities and on a more differentiated treatment of irregularities, allowing for flexibility depending on the seriousness of the identified irregularity. Therefore, I am in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) The absorption of Structural Funds has been a principal concern of EU cohesion policy for the last 20 years. The rules relating to Structural and Cohesion Funds involved procedures that were too lengthy and difficult to comply with, and it was often easy to make mistakes, so it was difficult first to allocate and then to implement them. I think that the simplification proposal, for which I voted, could lead to greater absorption, improving the actual effectiveness of the funds allocated and leading to an EU cohesion policy focused on the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) One of the most widely discussed political issues, both in Greece and in the other Member States, is the absorption rate of EU finance provided by the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund. The low absorption rate does not always signal an inability on the part of the Member States; in numerous instances, it is due to problems inherent in the funds themselves (for example, highly specialised, unmanageable or hard-to-operate programmes which make absorption difficult). In any event, there is no correlation between the absorption of funds and the ability or adequacy of central and local authorities to prepare programmes and suitable projects and to monitor the implementation of such programmes and prevent possible irregularities. In addition to its findings, however, the report identifies one point which is common to all the Member States, including Greece. It recognises that the economic crisis is making it hard for the Member States to find the national contribution needed in order to participate in cofinanced projects and proposes flexible practices, so that EU funds can be released more quickly and invested more efficiently.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) This own-initiative report looks at the problems and the reasons behind them, and the good practices during the current programming period (2007-2013). It also draws lessons for future EU cohesion policy. It tables a range of measures to improve capacity for absorption of funds: in other words, to improve the Member States’ ability to use the financial resources assigned to them by the Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund effectively and efficiently. It proposes a commitment to simplification combined with increased Member State investment in project preparation and project pipelines in order to successfully manage structural and cohesion funding. I voted in favour of the report for these reasons.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. – The Structural and Cohesion Funds are of immense use in tackling inequalities between Member States and in assisting poorer regions to catch up with more affluent ones. However, there are a number of difficulties in the current economic climate in relation to finding resources at national and local level to cofinance projects under these schemes. This is something which must be addressed in order to ensure Member States can continue to draw upon these funds. We must help poorer regions catch up with more affluent ones. It is also important for the EU to be flexible and capable of adapting its plans in light of the current economic situation. The report highlights the difficulties facing Member States in accessing these funds, from difficulties in cofinancing, to structural difficulties in accessing the funds and adhering to regulatory frameworks. We must ensure that these processes are simplified and that Member States can continue to draw down these funds as required.

 
  
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  Franck Proust (PPE), in writing.(FR) This report gives us the chance to further discuss what we are doing as regards the cohesion policy. Over and above the broad principles that we identify every seven years, regional policy is experienced day by day in our regions. In the forthcoming discussions, it is important that Parliament takes up this matter. That is why I voted for this text. This report provides an excellent opportunity to take stock of how Structural Funds are managed by the newcomers. It also demonstrates how cohesion policy instruments differ and are not used uniformly across Europe. The newcomers have encountered a wide range of problems in implementing them. It is crucial that open dialogue on good management practices is maintained with all national and local authorities in order to improve our tools. Nothing is set in stone and our resources are continuously changing. Proof of this is the fact that a new category of intermediate regions is more than likely to be created. We started with the premise that the distribution of funds needed to be reconsidered on the basis of experiences on the ground.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund constitute a singular instrument for the balanced economic development of the European Union. It is necessary to analyse the true impact of how the Member States spend these funds and assess their ability to meet the purposes for which they were spent in order to develop future policy that is more effective and less wasteful of resources. Particularly important in this type of approach is the need to find quicker, more effective decision-making processes, seeking to adapt the level of monitoring to the funding awarded and, in this context, to combat true instances of fraud. These points are given the proper emphasis by the rapporteur, so I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – I voted in favour. Parliament highlights the efforts made to ensure an acceleration in absorption capacities and budgetary implementation of cohesion policy during 2010, despite the problems mentioned, and acknowledges the positive effect of the cohesion policy-related interventions by the European Economic Recovery Plan in speeding up implementation of programmes and accelerating provision of financing to beneficiaries. It also asks the Commission to continue these interventions in the period 2014-2020.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for this report because since the late 1990s, the absorption of Structural Funds has been one of the main concerns standing in the way of implementing EU cohesion policy.

We must take immediate steps to make sure that the rules governing the provision of these funds can be simplified, in order to obtain higher absorption percentages, reduce errors and increase efficiency.

To ensure the legality and transparency of EU expenditure, we need firstly to find a better balance between rules and procedures, in order to make cohesion policy more performance-oriented and cost-efficient.

 
  
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  Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid (PPE), in writing.(FR) For the 2007-2013 period, the cohesion policy has EUR 347 billion, in other words, 35.7% of the EU budget. These funds account for 25% of public investment in Europe and are essential for ensuring economic, social and territorial cohesion within the European Union. However, numerous delays are blamed for their uptake. For example, Greece, which could benefit from a total of EUR 20.3 billion, has only used 4.9 billion as of mid-2011, and has another 15.4 billion to spend by 2013. That takes the biscuit, at a time when that country is going through one of the most serious budgetary crises seen in Europe for decades. The reasons for these delays are clearly set out in this report: slow implementation of new management systems, global economic recession, public finances in crisis, highly complicated rules, procedures changed during programming, a lack of qualified staff, inadequate project preparation ...

There are solutions to improve take-up of these funds: we just need to have the courage to apply them. We need to be brave and make reforms, simplify procedures, empower and support those involved. The cohesion policy will be legitimate and help heal the crisis if, and only if, these funds are actually taken up.

 
  
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  Joanna Senyszyn (S&D), in writing. (PL) I voted in favour of adopting the report on future EU cohesion policy. I insist that it is imperative to simplify EU and national regulations and procedures for obtaining funding and to make the former more flexible. The current degree of complexity of the management programme does not provide for efficient control over expenditure. In particular, I would like to draw attention to the need to provide permanent, free and easy access to information, advice and training for the beneficiaries of the EU funding. I support the proposal to develop a common EU programme of information exchange between regions with a high level of absorption of the funds and regions with a low level of absorption, to facilitate dissemination of practices proved through experience. I also support the idea of creating an Internet platform for the exchange of good practice to be used by the beneficiaries, local and regional entities and authorities.

It is also essential that future funds, especially the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund and the Social Fund, take into account the current socio-economic challenges, in particular, the economic crisis. The Member States should provide better information on the resources available through the funds and simplify national procedures for gaining access to those. With this in mind, I am in favour of creating something like ‘European One-Stop Shops’ whose purpose would be to assist in preparing applications to obtain financing through the funds and which would service both local authorities and the citizens of the EU.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The absorption of structural funding is a major concern in the implementation of cohesion policy, and there is a need to analyse the problems the Member States are experiencing in making effective use of funding, in order to learn lessons for the future. The Committee on Regional Development, of which I am a member, has approved a series of proposals based on analysis of the underlying reasons for absorption problems, such as initial problems at the start of a programming period; financial problems resulting from the crisis; new regulatory, organisational and control requirements; the issue of insufficiently qualified human resources; and the problem of delays with information technology systems. The proposals tabled in the document adopted today by Parliament stress the need to simplify rules and procedures, and to focus on payments that produce results, on greater balance between rules and procedures, and on cohesion policy that is more geared towards performance and is more efficient. However, they do not forget the significant differences in absorption capacity among Member States, and suggest the creation of an exchange programme for good practices, whilst stressing the importance of multi-level governance.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – This report calls on the Commission to bring forward proposals that will allow Member States to ensure that the European funds they receive are spent in the most effective way possible. The report emphasises the need for a balance to be struck between the simplification of the rules and ensuring that money is spent correctly, and calls for a more integrated approach to the funding streams available. The Commission must now look at how they will take Parliament’s suggestions into account to streamline the often onerous funding rules, whilst ensuring the legality and regularity of EU expenditure.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) This report on Structural and Cohesion Funds calls on Member States to improve access to European funding.

Every effort should be made to ensure that all local partners can make better use of these funds. The complicated rules, however, lead to errors, delays and even difficulties in accessing the funds.

Parliament demands, in particular: a stronger focus on controlling actual fraud rather than checking formal irregularities, simplifying procedures on the basis of the amount of funding, reducing cofinancing limits, transposing European regulations more rapidly and the means to make them more accessible.

We could have gone further and asked the States to remove any cofinancing condition.

Nevertheless, this report is heading in the right direction, especially given the blocking tactics employed by the French Government. That is why I voted for it, along with all the members of my group.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) This report deals with the existing problems with the use of the Structural and Cohesion Funds and recommends a simplification of the rules and procedures. Specifically, it calls for the focus to be placed on rewarding the results achieved rather than on checking inputs and for there to be a differentiated approach to dealing with irregularities. It is furthermore recommended that the involvement of the Member States should be further locked in by means of deepening the partnership in funds administration. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Hermann Winkler (PPE), in writing. (DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, it goes without saying that I voted in favour of Mr Theurer’s report. The question of how, in future, we can further increase the absorption rates in cohesion policy is of major importance to our regions. The difficult situation for public finances, which does not always lend itself to cofinancing, is evident. We could provide assistance in this connection through more flexible cofinancing, although it would, of course, be necessary to ensure in such a situation that this was not abused. The basic problem, however – namely, the difficult financial situation – is not so easy to change. What we, the legislators, really do have in our gift, though, is the matter of how quickly we can implement the new regulations so that the onset of the new subsidy period does not replicate the cumbersome arrangements of the early days of 2007. The report makes clear that late decision making was a major cause of the delays. We must thus take responsibility and ensure, together with the Member States, that this time we get everything under way more quickly. Of course, that also means that the Member States need to agree on the EU budget quickly, as without such an agreement in respect of the multiannual financial framework, we will also not be able to agree on the details of the new structural fund period.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) In the past, the absorption of Structural and Cohesion Funds has created problems as regards implementing cohesion policy within the European Union, as many Member States have difficulties with the procedure, particularly in the early years after accession.

The report by Mr Theurer, for which I voted today, analyses the problems and their causes and tries to propose useful suggestions and proposals for positively developing the EU’s future cohesion policy. I especially share the opinion that Member States should pay more attention to the preparation of projects and try to manage Structural and Cohesion Funds appropriately.

There should also be more active cooperation to promote the exchange of best practices between Member States, as well as harmonisation of rules and procedures, with simplified delivery systems compared with the existing ones.

 
  
  

Report: Elisabetta Gardini (A7-0283/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) The report quite rightly welcomes the creation of a 24/7 European emergency response centre and the simplification of the European Civil Protection Mechanism, requests a proposal on an EU civil protection force from the Commission as soon as possible, and calls for better coordination between all actors. I would highlight the need for more simplification and transparency, better use of current monitoring and prevention tools, and the development of a capacity for telecommunications and a comprehensive communication strategy, so making the distinction between humanitarian aid and military action clearer. The Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament also quite rightly stresses that humanitarian aid is not a crisis-management tool, so it should be provided irrespective of any political considerations.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on European disaster response and the role of civil protection and humanitarian assistance. Last year, there were a number of very severe disasters in Europe and throughout the world, including flash and large-scale floods, heavy storms and forest fires, causing a high number of deaths and huge damage. I am talking about the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland, the earthquake in Haiti and the Pakistan floods. Given the recent dramatic increase in natural and man-made disasters both inside and outside the European Union, the EU must aim to make existing instruments work more efficiently at all stages of the European disaster management cycle. Here, I have in mind prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, as well as optimising the use of all resources. It is also very important to simplify the European Civil Protection Mechanism, which is too bureaucratic. However, the most important thing is for all Member States to contribute to the European disaster response in the spirit of European solidarity. The use of resources available in Member States should be optimised, avoiding duplication of structures, efforts or expenses, and unnecessary or even disruptive bureaucracy.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of the report by Ms Gardini and the invitation to the Commission to improve the European disaster response.

The increasing rate of climate change and depletion of natural capital continue to affect different countries and regions around the world, and the European Union is certainly not exempt from the many related risks. Fortunately, the European Union has the main tools for responding to disasters, although these are still limited to systematic scenarios or protocols which make their deployment inflexible in other circumstances.

I hope that the possibility of creating a European emergency response centre that would be a central hub for prompt and effective coordination of assistance and of creating an EU civil protection force to bring together the resources and capabilities of all the Member States will be given serious consideration.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The European Union and its Member States are faced with many risks, such as earthquakes, fires, flooding, landslides, industrial and nuclear accidents, terrorist attacks, natural disasters and major pandemics.

There has recently been a dramatic rise in the number and severity of these natural or man-made disasters affecting people all over the world, with a corresponding increase in the number of human fatalities, the economic, social and environmental losses, and the damage to cultural heritage. We cannot exclude the possibility of such extreme events of an unpredictable magnitude happening at any time, in which case the European disaster response would prove to be extremely useful, as national capacities could be challenged to their limits.

Consequently, I think that the relevant scientific research needs to be developed, with a view to improving risk assessment mechanisms, prevention systems and the methods for combating these phenomena. The most effective disaster management strategy involves an integrated all-hazards approach, aimed at responding to crises at every stage in their cycle, which should link disaster prevention with the level of preparedness, response capacity and recovery, within the broad context of sustainable development.

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution because it underlines the vital need to reinforce the coordination of the response to disasters affecting the European Union, both within and outside its borders. Unfortunately, in the past years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number and severity of these natural and man-made disasters affecting the Union and its citizens, as well as other countries and regions around the world. This text highlights the need to rationalise and simplify the functioning of current European disaster response and reassert that disaster preparation, prevention and response cannot be dissociated from each other. I also would like to stress that preventing disasters is often more cost-effective than combating them. For this reason, it is fundamental to complement the policy for enhancing the EU’s emergency reaction capacity by stepping up the EU’s and Member States’ risk prediction and prevention policies. In order to do so, the Commission should prepare a comprehensive and innovative EU strategy on disaster risk reduction.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) In the last 35 years, the number of disasters per year has risen fivefold. In Europe alone, in the last 20 years, disasters have caused the deaths of almost 90 000 people, affected the lives of more than 29 million people and caused damage totalling EUR 211 billion. The Treaty of Lisbon has introduced new legal bases for both civil protection and humanitarian aid, with the objective of ensuring a rapid and effective response to disasters happening inside and outside Europe. This report calls for more efficiency at all stages of the European disaster management cycle, including prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, as well as optimisation of economic resources during times of austerity. It stresses the creation of a genuine and permanent emergency response centre that cooperates with the Member States, making decisions about what resources to mobilise in the case of a disaster, with a view to ensuring immediate and effective assistance for victims. It calls for better coordination among all actors to avoid overlapping and duplication of efforts. It also advocates the simplification of the European Civil Protection Mechanism. That is why I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing. (IT) We are living in a time when more and more disasters occur. Last year, Europe had to face a number of very serious disasters, including flash floods and exceptionally widespread forest fires.

Recorded disasters within Europe over the past 20 years have affected more than 29 million people and caused EUR 211 billion in economic losses. Against the background of the dramatic increase in natural disasters, I share the rapporteur’s request for more efficiency in all stages of the European disaster management cycle, including prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, while optimising economic resources.

The Lisbon Treaty introduces new legal bases for civil protection in order to ensure a rapid response to disasters happening inside and outside the EU. I also hope that there will be a simplification of the European Civil Protection Mechanism which, in my view, is too bureaucratic.

I welcome the creation of a 24/7 emergency response centre which, in agreement with the Member States, would take decisions on the assets to be deployed in the event of a disaster in order to ensure immediate and effective assistance to the victims.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I believe that the issue of a stronger European disaster response is certainly to be welcomed and therefore I voted in favour of it.

The natural disasters that have recently affected the north and, in particular, the Veneto region, have underlined the need for urgent improvement to European civil protection mechanisms and assistance to the victims of such events, and the need to ensure that such mechanisms are rapidly implemented and not impeded by excessive bureaucratic procedures.

These priorities have been well interpreted by the document in question, which specifically asks for a considerable reduction in the bureaucratic procedures relating to the management of assistance to victims. Therefore, I fully support the report and voted in favour of it.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because, in the space of just a few decades, there has been a fivefold increase in the number of disasters worldwide – up to 400 disasters a year. Therefore, in order to prevent a high number of casualties, it is necessary to improve the European Union’s disaster response.

The main disasters faced in the European Union’s Member States include major forest fires, drought, tidal waves and earthquakes, floods, nuclear accidents, terrorist attacks, natural disasters and pandemics. Over the past 20 years, these disasters have killed almost 90 000 people in Europe and affected tens of millions of others. Furthermore, the economic losses are estimated at EUR 211 billion. In future, these disasters may only increase as a consequence of climate change and the depletion of natural resources, and it is therefore necessary to take specific action as a matter of urgency.

Improved actor coordination, a protection system, a 24 hour European emergency response centre and accurate information during a crisis are some of the main measures that might reduce the number of casualties in the future.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) First of all, I would like to thank the rapporteur Ms Gardini for this important report, which presented a very topical issue to the House and for which I voted.

Europe has had to face an unremitting increase in natural disasters, including severe ones. These include flash and increasingly frequent floods, heavy storms and forest fires which, over the past 20 years, have killed more than 90 000 people, affected more than 29 million and caused EUR 211 billion in economic losses. Faced with these numbers, the EU must respond more efficiently in all stages of disaster management, including prevention, preparedness and response, as well as implementing pre-identification of the assets available in the Member States that are placed at the disposal of the European Civil Protection Mechanism on a voluntary basis.

I also share the rapporteur’s hope for simplification of the European Civil Protection Mechanism and the creation of a 24/7 European emergency response centre which, in agreement with the Member States, would take decisions on the assets to be deployed in the event of a disaster in order to ensure immediate and effective assistance to the victims.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) In my opinion, we should first and foremost build on the existing monitoring and prevention tools (especially in-situ observation devices) such as those provided by the European Union’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme or the INSPIRE and GALILEO programmes, which could monitor areas potentially at risk and thus prepare more effectively for providing disaster relief to the victims. The Commission should explore the possibility of equipping the EU with a dedicated and secure telecommunications capacity and integrated crisis management solutions ranging from prevention to recovery. In my opinion, there is considerable potential in the use of the existing capacity provided by telecommunications satellites in order to facilitate the development of services for citizens in the fields of public security and emergency response, in collaboration with the European Space Agency, Member States and stakeholders such as private operators and industry. The Commission’s role is to develop a communication and information network, exploring, in particular, the use of telecommunications capacity, including satellites, in order to give rescue teams access to rapid and detailed information facilitating effective disaster relief. In view of the fact that preventing disasters is often more cost-effective than combating them, we need to prepare a comprehensive and innovative EU strategy on disaster risk reduction and to dedicate sufficient resources to early identification of possible disasters.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – I do not support any new legislation from the Commission to create a new EU civil protection force based on the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. I dispute that it would be better to combine resources to provide both civilian protection and immediate emergency aid in times of crisis and view such efforts by the EU as attempting to commandeer crisis management, which, based upon the situation in the eurozone, is not their strength. Most concerning is the statement that the Commission calls for the need for better coordination among all actors to avoid overlapping and duplication of efforts both on the political and on the operational side – which each should function autonomously in order not to impede the rapid and effective help for the victims of the disaster. This implies that independent charities and nation states will be overruled by the EU who would have final say in how the crisis is managed, under the EU banner, both at home and abroad. Voluntary efforts of Member States should be a priority and thus, the Union does not need a 24/7 emergency response centre as a planning and operational coordination platform.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) I welcome the adoption of the Gardini report, which calls for the creation of a European civil protection force. It echoes the proposals set out in a communication from the Commission and paves the way for legislative proposals expected in late 2011. The proposed multiannual financial framework for 2014-2020 already intends to allocate a budget of EUR 455 million to the civil protection financial instrument. I now call on the Commission to be ambitious in its legislative proposals planned for late 2011, so that we can create a genuine European civil protection force.

 
  
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  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted for the report by Ms Gardini on the European disaster response because it is an important step towards improving speed and efficiency in crisis situations. To do so, it is necessary to move away from a system of an ad hoc response, once the emergency has already taken place, towards an advance planning in which the EU pre-identifies the assets the Member States will be able to make available so that efforts can be coordinated.

I believe the wish to strengthen cooperation between Member States is positive and underlines the importance of solidarity within the EU and the exchange of experience and capabilities in the various areas. The EU budget needs to include funding for disaster planning, in order to avoid being caught unawares and to facilitate rescue and recovery operations.

I also appreciate the decision to set up an operational centre to link and coordinate existing national units, because often, disasters require a broader response than that which can be provided by individual Member States.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) Although the report on ‘Towards a stronger European disaster response’ states that its basic aim is to strengthen and improve the European response to major disasters, it contains several ambiguities in connection with basic questions of ethics and social freedoms. Firstly, the provision to activate the ‘solidarity clause’, as set out in the Treaty of Lisbon, allows terms such as terrorism and man-made disaster to be interpreted subjectively. Furthermore, the report makes provision for the use of military means under civil protection in order to address disasters, again without carefully clarifying the type of disaster. Finally, the provision for extended use of obscure satellite monitoring systems, such as Galileo, harbours the risk of such systems being used for the purpose of monitoring action by social and political groups. That is why I voted against the report.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) There has been a dramatic increase in the number and seriousness of natural and man-made disasters across the world; that is, forest fires, floods and landslides, earthquakes, industrial and nuclear accidents, terrorist attacks, etc. Unfortunately, the EU and its Member States are no strangers to this type of disaster. Therefore, given the increasing pace of climate change and the increased probability of natural disasters that are more frequent and intense, there is an urgent need to strengthen the EU’s capacity for response, both inside and outside its borders, so as to increase its effectiveness, efficiency, consistency and visibility. There is a need to change to a predictable system within the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, and to introduce a system for monitoring, supervising and developing EU action in disaster relief operations.

It is important to develop a protection system based on sharing and rationalising the existing resources, avoiding duplications and overlaps, thereby gaining in terms of consistency, effectiveness, rapidity of aid, and reduced costs. There is also an urgent need to introduce the necessary amendments to the regulation establishing the Solidarity Fund, which is characterised by rigid deadlines and procedures, and contains prior conditions which hinder and delay its mobilisation.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for this report because I believe it is essential to make the role of civil protection and humanitarian assistance more efficient at a time when there has been a dramatic increase in the number of natural disasters. I fully support the call for greater integration in the stages of natural disaster management, such as identification of the resources required for a rapid and efficient response to such events, and redefinition of the systems for preventing and protecting against such disasters. It is also important to encourage cooperation between EU Member States in order to strengthen the ability to respond jointly in the future. Coordination is, in fact, essential in the event that there are insufficient resources available in the Member States affected and limited spending capacity in individual Member States following the recent economic crisis. I also hope that there will be a joint effort towards an integrated resource sharing system, a simplification of processes, and preparation and prevention on the ground.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) I must remind you that Romania received financial support from the European Union for the projects implemented in the areas affected by flooding. However, the fund’s resources were released late in relation to the time when maximum effectiveness would have been achieved. With this in mind, I think that the possibility of assistance being granted in the form of an advance payment scheme, based on an initial estimate of the direct losses, to a country affected by a disaster, at its request, would be a facility greatly appreciated by the affected areas, immediately after a disaster has occurred.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) There is no doubt that greater European coordination and cooperation in the area of civil protection and humanitarian aid will tend to promote the capacity for collective response to any problems that could arise for the various Member States, specifically as regards the use of scattered human and material resources by each of these. My country, which is regularly scourged by the phenomenon of forest fires, has already repeatedly confronted the limitations of these resources and felt the need to be able to count on outside help. I believe situations of humanitarian disaster and emergency test European solidarity and the capacity for finding swift and effective responses for extreme situations, which often go beyond the borders of one single state. Without these last renouncing the responsibilities which they cannot abandon, I welcome this initiative and hope it will meet the specific expectations and needs of Europe’s peoples.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Ms Gardini, concerns the need to reinforce Europe’s capability in disaster situations, particularly as regards civil protection and humanitarian assistance. In recent times, we have witnessed a great increase in the number of disasters, such as those in Haiti and Japan. In Europe, we have had fires on a large scale, the ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano, and landslides and floods resulting from heavy rains. Indeed, in the last 20 years, the number of disasters has risen fivefold, and resulted in some 100 000 victims. These are large-scale phenomena that require effective and properly coordinated responses. The European Union needs to adopt preventative measures, such as combating climate change, and also play the role of coordinating all the Member States, to which responsibility for this area falls; if not, we will become tangled up in a web of responsibilities that make a quick and effective response more difficult. I welcome the adoption of this report, which focuses on the most vulnerable areas, such as mountain, island and coastal regions, so demonstrating great human and financial concern, and I welcome the creation of a European civil protection force.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Preparation, response and restoration constitute stages in the disaster management cycle on which there could and should be cooperation between Member States, because of both the cross-border nature that disasters can have, and of the complexity, scale and cost of the materials that need to be mobilised when large-scale disasters occur. This cooperation should be based on solidarity and mutual aid, and could also involve resource sharing. Whatever the case, countries’ sovereignty must be respected and there must be no duplication or overlapping of chains of command, which must rest with the competent national or regional authorities.

Disaster response cannot be a pretext for external intervention, for asserting economic and geostrategic interests, or for military intervention and occupation hidden beneath a cloak of humanitarian intervention. There are already sad examples of this situation and, furthermore, worrying signs that it could be exacerbated in the future. A good example would be the recent changes to the strategic conception of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which have illegitimately and unacceptably expanded this military organisation’s scope for intervention; in other words, war. We do not believe that the framework for disaster response proposed in this report guards against all these issues, which we consider essential.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report does not give enough weight to prevention policies; in other words, those that could prevent, in some cases, or minimise, in others, the effects of disasters. Prevention involves policies on the environment, agriculture, energy, industry, water resources, and the organisation and management of territories. How many forest fires could have been prevented if the common agricultural policy had not contributed to desertification of our inland areas, and to harming our agriculture, our agro-agriculture and our rural life? Europe urgently needs to have more means of funding policies that are actually preventative, and for prevention and warning measures. Increasing Europe’s response capability must involve preservation of the environment, changes to common policies, education and awareness-raising about the environment, increasing each Member State’s capacity for response, and planned cooperation between neighbouring countries, including comprehensive declarations of risk and mechanisms for warning and taking action.

The idea of a special unit for combating forest fires seems neither useful nor feasible. Greater mutual aid and cooperation is possible and desirable. When mention is made of the usefulness of the European Space Policy and the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme, there is a danger that security concerns are being given greater emphasis than the environment.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D) , in writing. (SK) Last year, Europe had to face a number of severe natural disasters, including flash and large-scale floods, heavy storms and forest fires, and also the ash cloud following the eruption of an Icelandic volcano. Some very severe disasters occurred outside Europe, too, causing an enormous number of casualties and huge destruction, notably the earthquake in Haiti and the Pakistan floods, and the most damaging oil spill ever in the Gulf of Mexico after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling well. Now the world is struck by the dramatic happenings in Japan, hit by a combination of a strong earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear catastrophe. Disasters within Europe over the past 20 years have killed almost 90 000 people, affected more than 29 million and caused EUR 211 billion in economic losses. Approximately 90% of European citizens expect the EU to do more to help their country when struck by a disaster.

I am of the view that the European response needs to be enhanced through pre-identification of the assets available in the Member States that are placed at the disposal of the European Civil Protection Mechanism on a voluntary basis. This would be an important move towards advance planning through the development of reference scenarios, mapping of Member States’ assets, and contingency planning. It is also important that all Member States contribute, in the spirit of European solidarity, to the European disaster response.

 
  
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  Gaston Franco (PPE), in writing.(FR) Given the extent of the European and international disasters that we have faced, such as the tsunami in 2004, Haiti in 2010 and Fukushima in 2011, it is high time that Europe had an effective system to ensure a rapid response to disasters. That is why I welcome the adoption of this report, which is the first step towards a harmonised, organised and united response from the European Union.

I tabled a number of amendments, which were adopted in the final report, to emphasise the importance of prevention in crisis management and the organisation of this prevention through operational tools, which I welcome. Until more thought has been given to the establishment of any real future European civil protection force, I think that the creation of a European emergency response centre will simplify the current European Civil Protection Mechanism. I called for this European centre to be equipped with two Community tools to protect forests from forest fires, EFFIS and EFFICS, which was adopted in the final report.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The question of European cooperation in matters of civil protection is not even raised and it is obvious that natural disasters, fires, tsunamis and so on have no respect for borders. Over 373 natural disasters were counted worldwide in 2010, resulting in nearly 300 000 victims and affecting 207 million people. These figures are a powerful reminder of the EU’s urgent need to organise itself better to provide a large-scale, rapid and effective operational response. They urgently call for systematic action at European level, both inside and outside the EU (as proposed in the Commission’s communication and approved in our report). The current Community Civil Protection Mechanism is undoubtedly effective, but it is inadequate. I will wholeheartedly support any proposal that goes along these lines to provide greater visibility to European action in matters of civil protection, but also to all voluntary action taken in the service of civil protection. In addition, I even believe that this visibility should involve the creation of a genuine European civil protection force, together with a common logo, a European flag and a common uniform.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE), in writing. – I welcome this slim, concise report which epitomises EU solidarity and efficiency. This report is not about taking powers from Member States but rather attempts to assist Member States in disaster by information sharing and coordination of resources in order to act swiftly to save lives. There has been a huge increase in the number of disasters in the last 20 years: more than 90 000 people have died in disasters, over 29 million people have been affected by disasters, with an economic cost in excess of EUR 211 billion. In 1975, 78 disasters occurred; currently, almost 400 disasters occur worldwide per annum. Therefore, we need a more organised response to disasters in order to save lives. Disaster reduction is key to EU development and I sincerely welcome the attention which this report has drawn to this crucial area.

 
  
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  Filiz Hakaeva Hyusmenovа (ALDE), in writing. (BG) I supported the report on strengthening the European Union’s disaster response because I think that the basic action guidelines presented in it are important for the future and safety of Europe’s citizens. As a former minister who was responsible for these matters in Bulgaria, I firmly believe that good coordination and coherence, both within the EU and with international partners, are key requirements when crisis situations arise. Unfortunately, in recent years, we have witnessed severe disasters caused both by nature and man, which resulted in heavy human casualties and in social, economic and environmental damage. I think that we should be more consistent and active in taking preventive measures to avert the adverse consequences of such events. We must also improve our preparedness for a coordinated response at European, national and regional level when disasters occur. At the same time, I think that the assistance mechanisms should ensure greater flexibility and rapid response capabilities. I also fully support the need outlined in the report for a clear communication strategy and for better access to information because this would make the policy being pursued more effective.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because I believe that we need to rationalise and simplify the functioning of the current European disaster response and optimise the resources available for common benefit, whilst encouraging all Member States to contribute and thus guarantee European solidarity. The Solidarity Fund Regulation needs to be revised so as to adapt the eligibility criteria to the characteristics of each region and each disaster, including slowly evolving disasters such as drought, and enable mobilisation to be more flexible and timely. There needs to be a qualitative shift from the current ad hoc coordination to a predictable and pre-planned system within the EU Civil Protection Mechanism based on pre-identified resources available for immediate deployment in EU disaster relief operations and on any other means and resources which Member States may consider appropriate for deployment. We need to introduce a system for monitoring, supervising and developing EU action in disaster relief operations. The cross-border nature of disasters implies that the EU should coordinate its resources and cooperate, and there must be a coherent EU response.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing. – (PL) In response to the natural disasters as well as man-made catastrophes haunting Europe and the entire world, the European Union must coordinate the activities of its relevant institutions in order to facilitate the most efficient provision of relief to victims.

A good step in this direction is the setting up of the crisis response centre that will, I hope, improve and accelerate response by the relevant agencies in crisis situations. Solidarity is the fundamental principle underpinning the existence of the Community and, with this in mind, we must provide help to those who need it. For our efforts to be effective, it is essential for all institutions and Member States to cooperate with each other. Since our organisation is one of the richest in the world, we must remember those regions that are amongst the most overlooked and poorest in the world and that are unable to cope on their own with the disasters that plague them.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) The natural disasters that have continued to affect our planet in recent years are forcing us to take careful stock of the methods of response and their effectiveness and methods of prevention. The text presented by Ms Gardini, which I fully support, moves towards greater coordination of operations for preventing and protecting people against natural disasters. A properly coordinated EU civil protection service would not only make it possible to collaborate efficiently when dealing with humanitarian crises, but also to redesign the investment of resources for the sector which are often wasted because of a lack of coordination in emergency response procedures. The intrinsic value of this proposal is to finally redefine the European situation also in its model of response to emergencies caused by natural disasters. This must involve all levels of the European institutions in preventing or tackling the kind of disasters that have marred and, unfortunately, continue to feature in the history of various EU Member States.

 
  
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  Sabine Lösing (GUE/NGL), in writing. (DE) I voted against this report as I reject the notion that, if in doubt, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief should be tackled from within the framework of the common security and defence policy (CSDP). What is more, there must not be any mixing of civilian and military activities, something that this report would make possible. I furthermore strongly reject the introduction of security policy elements into the areas of civil protection and humanitarian assistance on the strength of any purported threat of terrorism.

I advocate civilian disaster relief independent of security policy concerns and argue for the build-up of the necessary logistical capabilities, which must be independent of the military. Moreover, I would point out that the report refers to the solidarity clause in a positive light, a clause which, for example, also makes military intervention against striking workers possible.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) I believe, just as I have asserted already in countless speeches, that the European Commission should take measures enabling the EU’s Solidarity Fund to increase its flexibility and simplify its administrative rules, as simplifying the administrative procedures would speed up payments and ensure that those in need of support receive payments immediately. Another observation that has been made over time within the Committee on Regional Development is that European regions situated at the EU’s borders may be affected by disasters occurring in regions located in third countries, thereby making intervention even more difficult. It is therefore crucial that specific measures are developed to support these regions, while also taking into account disasters caused by people or industrial accidents, which require different strategies. Last but not least, the Commission must ensure that, in future, Member States involve their regional and local authorities in disaster response operations right from the outset, based on the multilevel governance model applied in the cohesion policy, through a win-win communication strategy for all the actors involved in the response mechanism.

 
  
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  Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska (PPE), in writing. (PL) Today, we voted on a very important and very good report by Ms Gardini on European disaster response and the role of civil protection and humanitarian assistance. I sit on the Committee on Regional Development, and I believe that implementation of all the provisions contained in the report will enable us to improve coordination and response generated at regional or national level and employ our efforts and resources to maximum effect. Only in this way will we be able to minimise the aftermath of catastrophes and natural disasters. It is also a splendid idea to merge the Monitoring and Information Centre and the ECHO humanitarian aid crisis room into one consolidated entity, namely, an emergency response centre that will expedite the information flow and improve cooperation. This is why, together with others, I voted in favour of adopting the report in its entirety.

 
  
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  Vladimir Maňka (S&D), in writing. (SK) The number of disasters has increased fivefold over the past 35 years. Disasters within Europe over the past 20 years have killed almost 90 000 people, affected more than 29 million, and caused EUR 211 billion in economic losses.

Disaster response measures need to be enhanced. It would mean a move away from the current ad hoc response to disasters, towards advance planning through the development of reference scenarios, mapping of Member States’ assets and contingency planning. The European Civil Protection Mechanism is bureaucratic in nature. The merging of the MIC and Echo crisis room and the creation of a genuine 24/7 emergency response centre which, in agreement with the Member States, would take decisions on the assets to be deployed in the event of a disaster in order to ensure an immediate and effective assistance to the victims, should be welcomed. The Commission should submit a proposal for an EU civil protection force based on the emergency response centre. The use of resources that are available in the Member States should be optimised for the common benefit. At the same time, the duplication of structures, effort or expenses should be avoided.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – We are living at a time when more and more disasters occur. Last year, Europe had to face a number of very severe disasters, including flash and large-scale floods, heavy storms and forest fires – not to mention the ash cloud after the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland. Outside Europe, some very severe disasters struck, causing an enormous number of casualties and huge destruction, namely, the Haiti earthquake and the Pakistan floods. The most damaging oil spill ever happened in the Gulf of Mexico after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling well, and the Sahel was hit by severe droughts. Now the world is struck by the dramatic happenings in Japan, which was hit by a combination of a strong earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear catastrophe. Against the background of the recent dramatic increase in natural and man-made disasters both inside and outside the European Union, we need more efficiency at all stages of the European disaster management cycle, including prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, while optimising economic resources during times of austerity.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the resolution to give the Union a genuine rapid disaster response mechanism. There are many examples of when Member States have had to call on the solidarity of their European partners to tackle natural disasters that have struck a number of regions such as Madeira, western France and various regions in Spain in early 2010. The human and material consequences caused by these violent meteorological phenomena affect me deeply as an elected representative. European institutions can make progress in this field, and that of humanitarian assistance, by shifting from simple coordination towards a predictable and pre-planned system of EU civil protection. The EU will then be able to carry out disaster relief operations thanks to immediate deployment. Obviously, this system should not replace the action of Member States, who are competent at national, regional and local level, but should complement this action with European solidarity.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) We are living at a time when more and more disasters are occurring. Worldwide, the recorded number of disasters in one year has risen fivefold during the last 35 years to nearly 400 today. Recorded disasters within Europe over the past 20 years have killed almost 90 000 people, affected more than 29 million and caused EUR 211 billion in economic losses. To enhance European disaster response even more, the Commission needs to table a proposal as soon as possible on an EU civil protection force based on the emergency response centre. Another crucial point is the need for better coordination between all actors to avoid overlapping and duplication of efforts, on both the political and the operational side; each of these should function autonomously, in order not to impede rapid and effective help for the victims of the disaster.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Showing solidarity with the most vulnerable on our planet is one of the European Union’s fundamental values. The creation of a stronger European disaster response capability is a concrete expression of this solidarity. The creation of a unique crisis management centre was essential for improving the response to emergencies while providing better European coordination and by cutting red tape and duplication as much as possible. As I have already said on many occasions, particularly during the floods in Pakistan, or again during the earthquake in Haiti, the Barnier report was a perfect source of inspiration, which helped establish this mechanism. The current resolution is echoed in the 2014-2020 financial perspective which outlines the need for systematic action against a background of increasing natural and man-made disasters. Humanitarian assistance and civil protection are therefore stepped up in response to the actual needs of people in danger and to the demands of European citizens.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – In its communication, the Commission proposes to improve and reinforce European disaster response capacity by proposing a two-fold approach: to set up a European emergency response capacity, based on Members States’ assets and expertise, and to establish a European emergency response centre and civil protection as a new platform for collecting real-time information on disasters, monitor hazards, alert Member States, and coordinate the EU’s disaster response actions. The report welcomes the creation of a genuine 24/7 emergency response centre as a simplification of the current Civil Protection Mechanism, which is considered too bureaucratic. It also highlights that better coordination among all actors is essential to avoid overlapping and duplication of efforts, on both the political and operational sides.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) Natural and man-made disasters and their after-effects often cross a country’s borders. Therefore, when saving people’s lives, property and the environment, there not only needs to be a rapid response to these disasters, but excellent coordination of the work done by forces from neighbouring countries. I would like to congratulate the rapporteur for drawing attention to this problem in the report and I would like to add my voice to the calls for both the European Commission and individual Member States to take stronger action to ensure that work is better coordinated among national bodies, that problems relating to the provision of logistical, technical and other types of assistance are addressed and that a more pro-active EU publicity campaign is launched. We would thereby not only guarantee more effective use of funds allocated to the civil protection sector, but also more effective protection of our environment, citizens and their property.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) Over the last 35 years, the number of disasters around the world each year has risen by a factor of five. In light of this, it is important to increase the efficiency of disaster response in the European Union. Clearly, this requires better coordination between all the parties involved in order to achieve synergy effects, plus an enhanced exchange of proven procedures between the various Member States. However, a standing EU civil protection force is something that I reject. There is a need to provide mutual assistance where necessary but, as a rule, the principle of helping people to help themselves should apply. In addition, I find the report to be lacking a fundamental discussion of particularly risky technologies such as nuclear power and deep-sea oil drilling. If we find ways to avoid these, we will ultimately also avoid disasters like Fukushima or the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Having weighed up the issues above, I abstained from voting.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for the report by Ms Gardini on the European response to natural disasters because I believe the role of civil protection is truly important and I hope it will be possible to create a European civil protection force capable of providing humanitarian aid and assistance like the Italian civil protection force. The rapid response to the growing number of devastating natural disasters must be well organised and coordinated at a European level. Simplifying the relevant rules is undoubtedly the way towards achieving greater efficiency in the field as far as both assistance and reconstruction and the return to normality are concerned.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) Europe, like the rest of the planet, is experiencing more frequent and more extreme disasters, both natural and man-made. The fatal fires, especially of Mediterranean forests, which plague Greece nearly every summer, are just one form of disaster. Disasters have cost Europe a total of over EUR 210 billion in the last twenty years. This growing trend needs two main strategies. Firstly, we need to organise at European level, given that natural disasters know no borders, and secondly, we need to develop a fully operational European Civil Protection Mechanism. The Treaty of Lisbon satisfies both these preconditions, by establishing new legal bases for civil protection, on the one hand, and for humanitarian aid, on the other, in order to guarantee a fast and effective response to disasters both inside and outside the EU. A European Civil Protection Mechanism, backed by appropriate resources and the necessary expertise to guarantee its success, is in everyone’s interest. These points are addressed in this report, which is why I voted in favour of it.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, which tables a range of solutions to optimise coordinated action when disasters occur. The rapporteur calls for more efficiency in prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, while optimising economic resources during times of austerity. In fact, studies show that approximately 90% of European citizens expect the EU to do more to help their country when struck by a disaster. This concern is also reflected in the Treaty of Lisbon, which introduces new legal bases for both civil protection and humanitarian aid, in order to ensure a rapid and effective response to disasters happening inside and outside the EU. To add weight to these proposals, I join the rapporteur in calling on the Commission to table, as soon as possible, a project on the establishment of an EU civil protection force based on the emergency response centre.

 
  
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  Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. (RO) We are living at a time when the number of disasters is steadily rising. The number of disasters recorded worldwide in one year has risen fivefold during the last 35 years to nearly 400 today. The disasters experienced in Europe over the past 20 years have resulted in almost 90 000 deaths, affected more than 29 million people, and caused economic losses to the tune of EUR 211 billion.

I voted for this report to create a mechanism for making every stage of the European disaster management cycle more efficient, including prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, while making the most cost-effective use of economic resources during times of austerity. This approach is supported overwhelmingly by approximately 90% of European citizens, who expect the EU to do more to help their country when struck by a disaster, while a similar proportion endorses EU humanitarian actions outside the EU.

I should stress that it is important that all Member States contribute, in the spirit of European solidarity, to the European disaster response.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this report on developing a stronger European disaster response. The need to move away from what this report describes as an ad hoc policy towards emergency situations to a more premeditated and planned approach is obvious. In particular, I support two things. First, I support the establishment of the European emergency response centre, which would act as a first port of call through a programme of monitoring potential disaster situations and alerting the relevant authorities about any potential threats. Secondly, I welcome the creation of a European emergency response capacity whereby the emergency relief assets of Member States are pooled on a voluntary basis, which would enable more effective and certain pre-emergency planning. It would also facilitate a more thorough response in the event of an emergency.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The frequency of the occurrence of natural disasters points to the need to provide for reactive mechanisms that enable aid for affected populations within a short space of time. This applies, not just to the most unpredictable volcanic eruptions, but also to the increasingly frequent floods, storms, earthquakes and forest fires. In this context, there is a need for coordination of the resources made available by the various Member States, as well as for a central coordinating authority, which will increase the efficiency of any EU action. To this end, the merger of the Monitoring and Information Centre and the ECHO humanitarian aid crisis room to create the European emergency response centre is particularly important. In general, these are instruments that not only enable direct aid for Europeans, but also make it possible for the EU to act internationally in a capable and responsible way. I voted in favour for these reasons.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – I voted in favour. Parliament welcomes the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘Towards a stronger European disaster response: the role of civil protection and humanitarian assistance’ and its objectives. It emphasises that the proposals outlined in the communication should be further examined to fulfil the expectations for an enhanced, coordinated, consistent, effective, cost-efficient and visible cohesive and comprehensive European response. It underlines the need to rationalise and simplify the functioning of current European disaster response and to optimise the resources available for common benefit, whilst encouraging all Member States to contribute and thus guarantee European solidarity. It considers, accordingly, that the EU’s reaction capacity should form part of an integrated multi-risk approach. Moreover, it highlights the need to carry out ‘bottom-up’ delegated resources and information management. In other words, the initiative should come from the Member States, which can provide voluntary resources and expertise;

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) The climate change of recent years has led to increasingly frequent disasters.

Last year, Europe had to face a number of very severe disasters, including flash and large-scale floods, heavy storms and exceptionally widespread forest fires, not to mention the ash cloud after the eruption of the volcano in Iceland.

Outside Europe as well, some very severe disasters struck, causing an enormous number of casualties and huge destruction. Worldwide, the recorded number of disasters in one year has risen fivefold during the last 35 years to nearly 400 today. 90% of European citizens expect the EU to do more to help their country when struck by a disaster.

With the adoption today of this important document, Parliament is asking for more efficiency in all stages of the European disaster management cycle, including prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, while optimising economic resources during times of austerity. The response needs to be enhanced through pre-identification of the assets available in the Member States that are placed at the disposal of the European Civil Protection Mechanism on a voluntary basis, while avoiding overlapping and duplication of efforts both on the political and on the operational side.

 
  
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  Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid (PPE), in writing.(FR) Between 1975 and 2010, the number of disasters recorded annually has increased fivefold, from 78 26 years ago to almost 400 today. The earthquake that shook Japan in March 2011 is just the latest example. In Europe alone, over the last 20 years, various disasters have killed almost 90 000 people and caused economic losses amounting to EUR 211 billion. Climate change, population growth coupled with urbanisation, industrialisation and environmental damage are all causes that can explain this increase.

Faced with these tragedies, what is Europe doing? Does it take advantage of these events to demonstrate its added value in terms of coordination, pooling of resources and solidarity? Unfortunately not. In 2006, Michel Barnier proposed a certain number of urgent reforms, which we have only begun to discuss seriously today, and which are echoed in the Gardini report. The Treaty of Lisbon gives the European Union a legal basis on which to develop its response capability to this type of tragedy. It is now up to the Member States to play along and to pool certain prevention and response resources so that European solidarity is finally visible and effective.

 
  
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  Joanna Senyszyn (S&D), in writing. (PL) I supported the report entitled ‘Towards a stronger European disaster response: the role of civil protection and humanitarian assistance’. At present, when catastrophes or disasters strike, EU procedure does not provide for adequate and sufficient aid to Member States. Urgent action must be taken to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, coherence and clarity of the procedure. More efficient use of available resources will make it possible to avoid additional financial and administrative procedures, especially as concerns regional and local authorities. A more effective and timely response is a much more economical solution than simply dealing with the effects. Cohesive use of the available funds for this purpose will guarantee effective aid at each level. I refer to human resources and infrastructure. The provision of adequate aid will enable better identification of where resources are lacking and of the specific role played by the EU in the provision of aid to the Member States.

I would also like to draw your attention to the need to amend the regulation establishing the Solidarity Fund. The criteria for seeking help from this fund must be adapted to the specific nature of individual regions, disasters and calamities. In addition, like in the case of other funds, it is also important to make it possible to mobilise resources in a flexible way and depending on the needs arising.

 
  
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  Czesław Adam Siekierski (PPE), in writing. (PL) Unfortunately, we most often cast our mind to problems relating to the lack of good and smoothly operating systems of response to various disasters only after the event. On a number of occasions recently, we have had to deal with tragic natural disasters in Europe and in the rest of the world. Torrential rains are regularly causing floods, and we have experienced storms, forest fires and the eruption of an Icelandic volcano. All these events result in a huge financial cost and paralyse communications. In addition, events outside Europe, in Haiti, Pakistan, Japan, and the explosion of the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico have caused the deaths of thousands of people and had a negative impact on the European economy. In times of crisis, we cannot afford duplication of efforts by several European States, as that means duplication of costs and of the efforts made by entities and agencies responsible for providing a response in each of the Member States. Accordingly, we must work out a cohesive, comprehensive and well-coordinated system for the entire European Union, one that would be not only effective but also rational.

Furthermore, I would like to emphasise the importance of cooperation with third countries and countries that adjoin the EU, for it is with such states that we should seek to cooperate and coordinate actions and the use of resources in a way that would allow most effective use of their potential. We should always keep in mind that various disasters and calamities do not recognise the existence of territorial borders.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Natural disasters occurring within Europe over the past 20 years have killed more than 90 000 people, affected more than 29 million, and caused about EUR 211 billion in economic losses. The purpose of this report, tabled by Parliament, is to serve as a basis for the Commission’s legislative proposal, which will also be tabled this autumn. I therefore support the Commission’s proposal to improve and strengthen the EU’s response capability, through the creation of a European emergency response capacity based on the Member States’ specialised assets, as well as the creation of a European emergency response centre, as a simplification of the current Civil Protection Mechanism. The system’s red tape also needs to be cut, by creating a European civil protection force to coordinate all the actors involved at European, national, regional and local level, so as to speed up processes and avoid the duplication of efforts. I come from Madeira, a region whose situation means it is overly exposed to natural disasters, as was the case with the storm of February 2010, so I support the taking of political, but particularly operational, measures to minimise their effects.

 
  
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  Georgios Toussas (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The European Parliament’s report and the Commission communication are anything but innocent. The euro-unifying legislative framework of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has already been extended to include action to ‘combat terrorism’. Within that framework, it proposes the establishment of a civil protection force based on an ‘all-hazards approach’ with ‘synergies among the various existing tools and instruments’. It proposes the activation and implementation of the ‘solidarity clause’ introduced in the Treaty of Lisbon and provides the facility for intervention by the EU in the internal political affairs and developments of a Member State, including for the purpose of dealing with risks to public policy and security.

The sweet-sounding calls for action to deal with forest fires and other environmental dangers or natural disasters conceal plans to use military means and existing monitoring systems, such as the GMES and Galileo satellite systems. In other words, infrastructures and preconditions are put in place for close coordination and mutual support between military and civil mechanisms, in order to establish an enhanced EU civil protection system with even more militarised features and structures.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) This report on the creation of a European Civil Protection Mechanism respects the notion of solidarity in emergencies, at both European and international level, with the emphasis on prevention and coordinated and effective disaster management.

In my opinion, the proposals seem quite positive, such as the dissemination of information and expertise and good practices, pre-identification of the assets available in the Member States, simplification of bureaucratic procedures, the references to climate change and also the responsibility of private operators and the provision of humanitarian assistance and aid regardless of political considerations.

Yet some aspects remain controversial, in particular, including references to bioterrorism, the glowing report given to its response to the Haitian disaster, the use of a highly centralised Civil Protection Mechanism with many powers, and the steps to train young people at a time when budgetary margins for manoeuvre are extremely tight.

However, due to the fact that the emphasis is placed on the principle of solidarity and subsidiarity and on international standards for humanitarian assistance, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Dominique Vlasto (PPE), in writing. (FR) In recent years, disasters have increased in number and in gravity. It was important that our Parliament reiterated its call for the creation of a European civil protection force, capable of immediate deployment, inside and outside the Union. The shocking images of the earthquake in Haiti, the floods in Pakistan, the forest fires in southern Europe, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, not to mention Fukushima, shook the planet and underlined the desperate need to optimise European action, at all stages of disaster management. On each occasion, I have supported Parliament’s calls for the Commission to make proposals that move towards a pooling of material and human resources available in Member States and towards improved coordination between them to support a European civil protection force, which unfortunately has been a long time in coming. Each disaster brings its share of human tragedy and destruction. It is therefore essential to support Europe’s capacity to intervene in the areas of prevention, response, recovery and humanitarian action. In this area, we need to ensure that the principle of European solidarity is put into action.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) Given the continuous rise in the numbers of natural disasters over recent years, the citizens of Europe are understandably demanding the best possible civil protection. The report calls on the Commission to bring forward a proposal without delay for EU-level disaster protection that should include a more efficient EU disaster management cycle and a 24/7 emergency response centre.

 
  
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  Artur Zasada (PPE), in writing. (PL) The numerous disasters that have recently affected EU countries and other parts of the world make it imperative to take all measures possible in order to enhance Europe’s capacity to respond to disasters and catastrophes. In my role as Vice-Chair of the Delegation for relations with Japan, I followed the development of the situation in that country with particular attention, after Japan was affected by a major disaster in March of this year. This was brought about by the concurrence of an earthquake, a tsunami and a dangerous failure at a nuclear power station. Being aware of the fact that it is impossible to rule out occurrences of natural disasters or of catastrophes brought about by human beings, it is imperative for us to work out in advance various scenarios based on the use of existing mechanisms and taking into account the previously identified pool of resources. A cohesive strategy incorporating action plans, an integrated monitoring system with access to satellite information, measures to improve the flow of information and coordinated cooperation among Member States will most certainly curtail the damage to the environment, society and the economy in the event of a disaster.

 
  
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  Janusz Władysław Zemke (S&D), in writing. (PL) I voted in favour of adopting the present report. It is gratifying that the European Parliament is paying increased attention to the Union’s capacity to provide aid in cases of disasters and catastrophes. It is necessary to emphasise the fact that over the last 30 years, the number of different kinds of disasters recorded the world over, including in Europe, has increased fivefold. This means that we should work out considerably more efficient methods for dealing with the consequences of this growing number of disasters. In my view, while the European Union is allocating more and more resources to this objective, its actual capacity remains far from sufficient. The latter should not be based on the use of resources offered – voluntarily – by individual Member States of the European Union. The Union should be building its own resources at pan-Union level. These would include, for example, a fleet of transport aircraft to be immediately available whenever humanitarian assistance has to be provided following a catastrophe or disaster.

 
  
  

Report: Sophie Auconie (A7-0076/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, which stresses the new benefits of simplifying regulatory constraints, since it will enable euro cash to move more freely between euro area Member States, whilst ensuring a high level of professionalism and security. However, it is regrettable that the Commission wanted to unilaterally amend the text, without taking into account the opinion of social partners, as the European Parliament requested.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Although euro notes and coins were introduced in 2002, the market for transporting euro cash is still highly fragmented. This is due to widely-diverging national rules which make it extremely difficult for cash-in-transit (CIT) companies to provide cross-border services. The purpose of this regulation is therefore to simplify these regulatory constraints so that euro notes and coins can circulate more easily among the Member States in the euro area.

Due to the particular dangers involved in cash transportation, this regulation must help reinforce the safety requirements for both CIT staff and the public. With regard to the range of cash transportation methods, Member States must be able to select as many options as they wish from the five transportation methods available for notes and the two for coins, which are set out in the regulation.

I voted for this report because I think that it is important to ensure that the rules are sufficiently clear and workable for the CIT companies and national authorities.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) Euro banknotes and coins were introduced in 2002 and are a pan-European means of payment, allowing European citizens to settle their debts in euro throughout the euro area, currently consisting of 17 Member States. The very principle of a single currency implies the freedom to move cash between the participating Member States. However, due to incompatibilities between national legislations, it is, in most cases, very difficult for professional cash transporters to move euro cash between euro area Member States, and very little cross-border land transportation therefore takes place. Regulatory differences concern a wide range of issues, such as the possession and carrying of firearms by the cash-in-transit (CIT) staff, the authorised modes of transport, the armouring and equipping of the CIT vehicles and the number of staff in those vehicles. The current regulatory obstacles imply a fragmentation of the single market in this sector. These constraints on professional euro cash transportation have an impact on the cash cycle and, ultimately, on the cost of cash for firms and citizens. I agreed that it is necessary to take action to remove existing regulatory barriers to cross-border transportation of euro cash by road and thereby facilitate the free circulation of the euro.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) The proposal for a regulation has the merit of taking action to make the cross-border transportation of euro cash less fragmented.

The aim of simplifying national rules governing cross-border euro cash transportation services is an objective that will make the professional job of cash-in-transit companies and the circulation of euro notes and coins easier.

The report by Parliament integrates the text from the Commission into important points of the regulatory measure. I approve of the efforts to make cash transportation safer with the safety systems specified in the amendments approved by our colleagues during its submission to the Commission. I therefore voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – I have nothing against eurozone countries defining what kind of CIT companies may be granted a cross-border licence by a Member State, nor have I anything against using the intelligent banknote neutralisation system (IBNS). However, the fact that the EU wishes to harmonise the IBNS among the participating Member States at a time when the euro is failing, the very production of the report, which aims solely to sustain what is, in essence, the collapsing myth of the euro, is a sheer waste of taxpayers’ money.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the adoption of this report by our fellow Member, Ms Auconie, which will facilitate the transport of funds between EU Member States. I therefore voted for this report, as it will further enhance the safety of people and funds transported while safeguarding employees’ social conditions.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Given the continued fragmentation of the market for transporting euro cash, there was a need to review and simplify the national regulations, so as to enable quicker, more effective circulation between the Member States that have adopted the single currency. However, as well as greater simplification, there is also a need to be careful with the provisions in force regarding the transportation of cash in each Member State. I believe the agreement reached here strikes this balance both in terms of the choice of transport, and the public safety rules required and the employment conditions achieved for the sector’s workers.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by our fellow Member, Ms Auconie, concerns a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the professional cross-border transportation of euro cash by road between euro area Member States. The purpose of this proposal is to facilitate the cross-border transportation of euro cash between Member States that have adopted the euro as their currency by establishing clear operational rules. As such, the proposal for a regulation provides for the existence of five transportation methods for notes and two for coins, from which each Member State chooses those best suited to its situation. The issue of the safety of this type of transportation has not been forgotten for cash-in-transit (CIT) workers or the general public: it encourages the use of the intelligent banknote neutralisation system to discourage attacks on CIT vehicles. I am voting for the report for the above reasons, and I hope it will contribute to facilitating the transportation of cash between Member States, so conferring greater security on the European public and its cash.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The purpose of this proposal for a regulation of the European Commission is to facilitate the cross-border transportation of euro cash, but without prejudice to the Member States’ various chosen approaches to regulation of the cash-in-transit (CIT) sector.

According to the rapporteur, this regulation will simplify regulatory limitations, with a view to facilitating better circulation of euro coins and banknotes between the Member States that have adopted the single currency, whilst also taking into account their contribution to reinforcing the imperative of public safety for both CIT staff and the public. As the report says, ‘although euro notes and coins were introduced as long ago as 2002, the market for transporting euro cash is still highly fragmented. Widely diverging national rules make it very difficult for [CIT] companies to provide cross-border services’.

Adequate consideration is given to the need, in future, to encourage application of the intelligent banknote neutralisation system to prevent any worsening of the violence that characterises attacks on CIT vehicles.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) As the report states, ‘although euro notes and coins were introduced as long ago as 2002, the market for transporting euro cash is still highly fragmented. Widely diverging national rules make it very difficult for cash-in-transit (CIT) sector companies to provide cross-border services’. According to the rapporteur, the Commission’s proposal should facilitate the cross-border transportation of euro cash, but without prejudice to the Member States’ various chosen approaches to regulation of the CIT sector.

The purpose of this regulation is to simplify regulatory limitations, with a view to facilitating better circulation of euro coins and banknotes between the Member States that have adopted the single currency, whilst also taking into account their contribution to reinforcing the imperative of public safety for both CIT staff and the public.

The rapporteur therefore considers that, in order to do cross-border work, companies must have an adequate minimum level of experience, and stresses the need, in future, to encourage the use of the intelligent banknote neutralisation system to prevent any worsening of the violence that characterises attacks on CIT vehicles.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) Although euro notes and coins were introduced as long ago as 2002, the market for transporting euro cash is still highly fragmented. Widely diverging national rules make it very difficult for cash-in-transit (CIT) companies to provide cross-border services. The purpose of this regulation is therefore to simplify the regulatory constraints so that euro notes and coins can circulate more easily among the Member States that have adopted the currency.

 
  
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  Vladimir Maňka (S&D), in writing. (SK) The purpose of this regulation is to simplify regulatory constraints so that euro notes and coins can circulate more easily among the Member States that have adopted the currency. This proposal will serve to facilitate the cross-border transportation of euro cash without prejudice to the Member States’ various chosen approaches to regulation of the CIT sector. Member States must be able to select as many options as they wish from the five transportation methods for notes and the two for coins which are set out in the regulation.

The regulation must help to reinforce the imperative of safety for both CIT staff and the public. In order to do cross-border work, companies must have an adequate minimum level of experience. The regulation will not result in an erosion of employment conditions for CIT staff.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this proposal. Although euro notes and coins were introduced as long ago as 2002, the market for transporting euro cash is still highly fragmented. Widely diverging national rules make it very difficult for cash-in-transit (CIT) companies to provide cross-border services. The purpose of this regulation is therefore to simplify the regulatory constraints so that euro notes and coins can circulate more easily among the Member States that have adopted the currency.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) The market for transporting euro cash in the EU is still highly fragmented due to widely diverging national rules that make it very difficult for cash-in-transit (CIT) companies to provide cross-border services.

Therefore, we believe that it is necessary to simplify the regulatory constraints so that euro notes and coins can circulate more easily among the Member States. In our view, in order to achieve this, it is important firstly to ensure that the rules established are sufficiently clear and workable for the CIT companies and national authorities.

With regard to cash transportation methods, Member States must be able to select as many options as they wish from the five transportation methods for notes and two for coins which are set out in the regulation. Given the particular dangers involved in cash transportation, the regulation must help to reinforce the imperative of safety for both CIT staff and the public. Use of the intelligent banknote neutralisation system should be encouraged to prevent attacks on CIT vehicles.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Although euro notes and coins were introduced as long ago as 2002, the market for transporting euro cash is still highly fragmented. Widely diverging national rules make it very difficult for cash-in-transit (CIT) companies to provide cross-border services. The purpose of this regulation is therefore to simplify the regulatory constraints so that euro notes and coins can circulate more easily among the Member States that have adopted the currency. The cross-border transportation of euro cash should be facilitated, but without prejudice to the Member States’ various chosen approaches to regulation of the CIT sector.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The purpose of this regulation is to simplify the regulatory constraints so that euro notes and coins can circulate more easily among the Member States of the euro area, ensuring a high level of professionalism and safety. The amendments adopted in the Committee on Economic Affairs concern the involvement of EU institutions and social partners, reference periods and professional training. Moreover, the scope of the regulation is extended – by Recommendation APP/2010/0206 – to the territory of Member States that are about to introduce the euro, since there is normally an increased need for euro cash transportation in the run-up to the changeover.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, which is based on the European Commission proposal resulting from a long consultation process, which seems balanced to me. Its purpose is to facilitate the cross-border transportation of euro cash, but without prejudice to the Member States’ various chosen approaches to regulation of the cash-in-transit (CIT) sector. It presents various types of transport, and changes the rules of the sector, but without resulting in an erosion of employment conditions for CIT staff.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) From the technical point of view, regulation of the cash-in-transit (CIT) sector should involve a clear regulatory framework adapted to the particular characteristics of the transport operators. That is the only way it will be able to preclude distortions of its role because of artificial barriers to competition. Moreover, legislation must always use the safety of operators as a reference, since the CIT sector is undeniably dangerous. These issues are covered in the proposal for a regulation, so I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – I voted in favour. Although euro notes and coins were introduced as long ago as 2002, the market for transporting euro cash is still highly fragmented. Widely diverging national rules make it very difficult for cash-in-transit (CIT) companies to provide cross-border services. The purpose of this regulation is therefore to simplify the regulatory constraints so that euro notes and coins can circulate more easily between the Member States that have adopted the currency.

 
  
  

Report: Jörg Leichtfried (A7-0028/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) Since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, Parliament has had to decide on proposals tabled by the Commission on dual-use technology; in other words, goods that can be used for civilian or military purposes. The thinking is that controlling this type of export prevents the proliferation of weapons. It is crucial to reflect on the most effective way for the European Union to offer leadership in the movement against the proliferation of weapons, which is particularly important, given its geopolitical and geographic characteristics, especially following its successive eastward expansions.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this document. In the European Union, there are licences for dual-use items (these are defined as items, including software and technology, which can be used for both civil and military purposes, and include all goods which can be used for assisting in any way in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other explosive nuclear devices). The regulation lays down a list of dual-use items and it is regularly updated to reflect the Member States’ international commitments and rapid technological development. The updating of this list, on which we voted, will enable us to guarantee the application of the commitments made throughout the entire EU and will give EU exporters legal clarity as regards the items that require an export licence.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) In the delicate context of exports of dual-use items and technology, there was a need for a legislative measure at EU level to make the legislative and, above all, the procedural framework clearer, simpler and more harmonised.

The proposed amendment we voted on today is important also for manufacturers, as dual-use items account for 10% of goods exported by EU Member States.

Thanks to the proposal put to the vote, the European Parliament will also see more involvement, which will make future procedures regarding the exporting of dual-use items more democratic and give greater control over them to our House. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because, in order to guarantee human security, strengthen the control of exports in the European Union, and strengthen and tighten rules on the global issuing of arms export licences, it is necessary to amend and supplement several points in the old regulation. The amendments to this regulation set up a Community regime for dual-use items and technology. The supplement to the regulation takes account of the regime for the control of exports in order to establish a reliable system for the collection, transmission and storage of notifications. A lot of attention is also paid to enhancing the European Union’s reputation, and representation in international regimes for the control of exports should also be improved. The granting of authorisation for the export of dual-use items is decided under four international export control regimes. Firstly, the Australia Group endeavours to prevent the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons. Secondly, the Nuclear Suppliers Group aims to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons and controls exports. The Missile Technology Control Regime aims to curb the spread of unmanned delivery systems for nuclear weapons, and the Wassenaar Arrangement focuses on the transparency of national export control regimes. Their most important task is to update the lists of goods to be controlled with a view to cooperating and guaranteeing security.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The issue of dual-use items – goods which can be used for both civil and military purposes, such as chemicals that can be used in fertilisers or to prepare bombs and information technology for computers that can also be used to guide missiles – is currently a highly sensitive one. European-level export controls for dual-use items and technologies aim to ensure respect for the international commitments of the EU and its Member States as regards the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and conventional weapons. The main function of these international regimes for the control of exports is updating the lists of items subject to control.

To date, these lists have been almost automatically transposed into EU law, without any participation, or with minimal participation, from the European Parliament. I welcome the adoption of a joint interpretation by Parliament and the Commission within the new framework agreement, which will be crucial for a more transparent and democratic organisation of the EU’s dual-use regime.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted for this amendment to the regulation on exports of dual-use items and technology. This proposal for a regulation should help increase transparency in the export of items and technologies that can be used for civil and military purposes.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, since I believe that Parliament’s amendments to Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 make the regime for dual-use items – that is, goods that can be used for both civil and military purposes – more democratic, transparent and secure. The amended regulation will also contribute to reinforcing the image of the Union in international export control regimes, which constitute an important model for the devising and practical implementation of EU legislation in this area.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) All products, software and technologies that can be used for both civil and military purposes are considered dual-use items. As I have already had the opportunity to say, there is good reason for particular requirements and care to be attached to the way that the type of goods in question circulate and are used, as well as for rigorous respect for the international conventions applicable to them and for the list of items classified as such to be constantly updated. The purpose of the proposal in question is to create an EU regime for controlling the export of items and technologies of this type, so we cannot fail to prioritise transparency and security, even if the items covered by the proposed amendment of the regulation are destined for countries that, at least initially, do not pose a particular threat.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Mr Leichtfried, concerns a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1334/2000 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports of dual-use items and technology. This is a very sensitive issue, since we are talking about items that can enable the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction, thereby compromising the security of goods and people. This process dates to December 2008, when the Commission submitted its first draft amendment to Regulation (EC) No 1334/2000, with a view to adding six new annexes. The amendments now being introduced step up the security and control of exports of these dual-use items. I welcome the adoption of this report, which constitutes a step towards a more transparent organisation of the EU’s dual-use regime and preventing the unauthorised use of dual-use items, in order to guarantee the safety of the European public.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. ?? (SK)? Export controls of dual-use items, meaning goods which can be used for both civil and military purposes, have been the subject of EU level actions for around 15 years. Controlling the export of dual-use goods is a key for the non-proliferation of arms, including weapons of mass destruction. The main EU export control tool is the Dual-use Regulation 428/2009 of 5 May 2009, which entered into force on 27 August 2009, and introduces a number of significant changes to the scope of dual-use export controls. Several additional amendments have been proposed to help to make the EU’s dual-use regime more democratic and transparent. The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and its clarification concerning the EU’s competences in the area of international trade provide a good opportunity to reaffirm the EU’s role in these formations and the European Parliament’s role, powers and responsibilities within the EU’s institutional framework for decision making.

The EU’s dual-use regime should be organised in a more transparent and democratic manner. I believe that full European Parliament involvement, through the application of the Lisbon Treaty’s obligations and its joint interpretation agreed by the European Parliament and the European Commission within the new framework agreement, would be crucial to achieving this objective.

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. – I voted against this report. The EU has a duty to ensure that dual-use items do not get into the hands of oppressive regimes which can then use them against their own citizens. Whilst the report offers support for human rights, democratic principles and freedom of speech, the controls contained within its provisions do not go far enough.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) Export controls on dual-use items, meaning goods which can be used for both civil and military purposes, have been the subject of action at EU level for around 15 years. I welcomed this document because controlling the export of dual-use goods is key to the non-proliferation of arms, including weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

 
  
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  Vladimír Maňka (S&D), in writing. (SK) The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, which clarifies EU powers in the area of international trade, provides a good opportunity to reconfirm the EU role in these groupings and the role, powers and responsibilities of the European Parliament in the institutional decision-making framework of the European Union.

The EU regime applying to dual-use items should be more transparent and democratic. Full involvement of the European Parliament, through the performance of duties arising from the Lisbon Treaty and its common interpretation agreed by the European Parliament and the European Commission on the basis of a new framework agreement, will be crucial in achieving that objective.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this proposal. Export controls of dual-use items, meaning goods which can be used for both civil and military purposes, have been the subject of EU-level actions for around 15 years. Controlling the export of dual-use goods is a key for the non-proliferation of arms, including weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Given the high volume of trade across the borders of the European Union (EU), the enforcement of EU export controls on dual-use goods relies on preventive measures such as the imposition of export licensing requirements and customs registration procedures. Export controls have a high impact on the EU’s trade policy as they can affect more than 10% of all EU exports. The main EU export control tool is the Dual-use Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 of 5 May 2009, which entered into force on 27 August 2009. This new regulation introduced a number of significant changes to the scope of dual-use export controls in the European Union. These include the introduction of controls on brokering activities and transit with regard to dual-use items.

 
  
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  Jiří Maštálka (GUE/NGL), in writing. (CS) Setting criteria and establishing mechanisms for improving the control of dual-use goods is one part of this issue. I would therefore like to call for the better awareness and training of dealers in these goods not to be forgotten, for sufficient up-to-date and intelligible information to be available, based on high-quality legislation, and for there to be clear procedures for all of the stakeholders: control bodies, dealers and others. In conclusion, I would like to add that this should be based on transparency, sound planning and practicality.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for the report by Mr Leichtfried because I believe it is right to interpret the Lisbon Treaty in order to increase transparency with regard to dual-use items and technologies by making list updates increasingly precise and by other actions to strengthen the EU’s image and presence in international export control regimes.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Dual-use technological items are all those products – including software and technologies – that can be used for both civil and military purposes. The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and its clarification of the EU’s competences in the area of international trade provide a good occasion to reaffirm the EU’s role in this area, as well as the decision-making role, competences and responsibilities of Parliament within the institutional framework of the EU. The EU dual-use regime should be organised in a more transparent and democratic manner: the full participation of Parliament, through the implementation of the obligations resulting from the Treaty of Lisbon and the adoption of a joint interpretation by Parliament and the Commission within the context of the new framework agreement, will be crucial in achieving that objective.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – I think that following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, it is necessary to decide on proposals presented by the Commission on dual-use items and technology: a Community regime for the control of exports. Dual-use items are goods which can be used for both civil and military purposes. Controlling the export of dual-use goods is necessary. I am in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The controls on goods, technologies and associated services that could be used for both civil and military purposes that have been in place for the last 15 years are of particular relevance when it comes to weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, they need to be in line with the obligations entered into by the Member States at multilateral level. Furthermore, sanctions are to be imposed for transporting dual-use items illegally when this takes place in connection with a weapons of mass destruction programme. A database of rejected export authorisations would surely facilitate these controls. In light of experiences with SIS I and SIS II, expectations in this regard should not be set too high. Seeking to impose sanctions at EU level runs counter to the principle of subsidiarity, for which reason I voted against this report.