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Procedure : 2010/0281(COD)
Document stages in plenary
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Texts tabled :

A7-0183/2011

Debates :

PV 22/06/2011 - 16
PV 22/06/2011 - 18
CRE 22/06/2011 - 15

Votes :

PV 23/06/2011 - 12.13
CRE 23/06/2011 - 12.13
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes
PV 28/09/2011 - 4.11
CRE 28/09/2011 - 4.11
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0287
P7_TA(2011)0424

Debates
Wednesday, 28 September 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

5. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
  

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Corien Wortmann-Kool (A7-0178/2011)

 
  
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  Ramona Nicole Mănescu (ALDE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for the economic governance reform package as we are facing a tough time and this set of measures marks a very important step in the process of consolidating macroeconomic supervision and financial discipline.

We must take on much more ambitious and tangible commitments to enable us to achieve objectives in the future, such as boosting competitiveness, promoting employment, consolidating financial stability or improving the state of public finances. The experience acquired during the first decade of the functioning of the Economic and Monetary Union has highlighted the urgent need for better economic governance, entailing both a real commitment at national level and a much sounder framework for monitoring national economic policies at EU level.

Defining a set of minimum requirements for national frameworks means that we will encourage both the assumption of budgetary responsibility and an efficient deficit procedure. Last but not least, Member States’ budget planning must be based on realistic forecasts, while focusing suitable attention on the sustainability of their social protection systems.

 
  
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  Gianluca Susta (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in favour of this package, despite the instructions of my group.

I believe that in a seriously critical moment like this, the most important thing that Europe can do is to react with urgency to a demand that comes from its citizens. I therefore believe that this package does not go far enough, but it is absolutely necessary to continue down this road, strengthening the instruments of growth but bringing budgets under control and increasing regulation in order to enable development to be managed.

Consequently, I think tomorrow is an important day for focusing on what has made the European Union the most important democratic institution at this time. Certainly, much remains to be done, but this is an important initial response, and we could not miss the opportunity, after years of discussion in which we failed to tackle the greatest crisis in our lifetime with the necessary urgency and firmness.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, the headline in one German newspaper today read: ‘Stability tiger now has teeth, EU Commission is given more power to control the euro’. For this reason, I have been able to vote in favour of all the reports with a clear conscience, because that is exactly what has happened, with regard to compliance with the deficits and the transgressions. The fact that we now have a semi-automatic sanction mechanism and that from 2012 we will be able to monitor imbalances on a macroeconomic basis are important steps in the right direction. It is also possible to put it in another way, which is that the European Parliament has now done its homework, together with the Commission, on stabilising the eurozone and the European Union. What is now missing is the active involvement of the Member States. I would like to ask the Member States to join in this concerted campaign and to take decisions which move in the same direction.

 
  
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  Barbara Matera (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the experience of these last years and the current extremely difficult situation that some countries in the eurozone are experiencing have demonstrated the need for improved economic governance in the Union, which should be built on a more robust surveillance framework at the Union level of national economic policies.

This is in order to establish macroeconomic stability and the sustainability of public finances, allowing for durable output and employment growth. I therefore consider it to be vital that we approve this package of six legislative acts, which will allow us to avoid a future reoccurrence of the conditions that have seriously compromised the stability of our economy.

 
  
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  Giommaria Uggias (ALDE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in favour of the whole package of six measures, this one therefore included, because they represent a fundamental transition towards true European governance.

We are doing this in order to take responsibility and bring budgets under control, even where national governments, the governments of Member States, have failed to do so. This is, moreover, the moment at which the credibility of our institutions, of European institutions, is at stake. Europe is taking upon itself the duty of making its citizens’ demands its own and of securing that stability, that government in order to create the conditions for growth, without which there would not have been and could not now be a future for our citizens and especially for new generations.

 
  
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  Salvatore Iacolino (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I too have lent my support to this measure as well as to the other measures comprising the ‘six pack’, because I am convinced that at a time of extraordinary crisis, the response of the European Parliament as a whole and of the European institutions must be strong, decisive and above all prompt as regards both governance and strong cohesion within the European institutions, and as regards a preventive check of policies coordinating Member State budgets.

It is precisely here that there is a need for intervention. We are waiting for all Member States to put in place concrete measures that have been requested for an extraordinary plan to reinvigorate competition and real jobs, while keeping an eye on the poor, on marginalisation and on social inclusion. Those are the issues on which we must concentrate in the coming months.

 
  
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  Salvatore Caronna (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, we are currently living through a period that is decisive for the future of the euro and with it of the whole European project. Being aware of this would mean abandoning a short-sighted logic that subordinates everything to an ideological balance of payments straitjacket.

We all want various countries’ books to be in order. We all want to reduce debt. Nevertheless, it is clear that without a sensible policy of investment capable of breathing life into the economy, there will be no possibility of growth. The one clear outcome of this approach is that the greatest price will, as usual, be paid by the least well-off. That is why we in the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament have voted against this report. In fact, it continues down a one-way street that is one of austerity without growth, a direction that has so far proved to be the wrong one.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). - Mr President, yesterday many of us saw the YouTube video of a trader describing how to make money out of default, out of collapse, out of people’s misery as they see their savings, their pensions, their hopes and their dreams fade in front of their eyes. That trader happily told us that Goldman Sachs rules the world. Not governments, he says. It is Goldman Sachs; it is the market.

Well one of the reasons I voted for today’s report is to say, no, it is not the markets that determine our future. It is a civilised, rules-based approach to economic governance. I refuse, I refuse on my own behalf and on behalf of Irish and European citizens, to cede power to the markets and to bow to the madness that is fuelled by profit. I do not have all the answers and yes, we are part of an unstable and badly constructed currency, but I will do all I can to ensure that past mistakes do not influence future outcomes.

The report gives us a roadmap to prevent the next crisis. It does not solve the current problems and yes, phrases like ‘horses bolted’ and ‘stable door’ come to mind. But if you believe the euro, which is on life support, has a chance of surviving, then this report represents another cylinder of oxygen. It is not the cure but it provides us with hope.

 
  
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  Krišjānis Kariņš (PPE). - (LV) Mr President, we are well aware that a big storm is raging all over the world and in Europe. That is a financial storm, a storm of lost confidence. The reason why the financial markets have lost confidence in our Member States is that they do not believe that our Member States will be able to repay the money that they already owe. Today’s legislative package, that is, the legislative package on financial surveillance that we have jointly developed and adopted, is a very important step towards weathering this storm, towards restoring the financial markets’ confidence in our national economies and our governments, which ultimately means the well-being of our people. However, ladies and gentlemen, I call on you to remember that this legislation will solve and prevent the problems of the future. We still have much to do today and I believe that it is now the Commission’s turn to develop clearer proposals for eliminating today’s problems, and not only those of the future. Thank you for your attention.

 
  
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  Andreas Schwab (PPE).(DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I am firmly convinced that we must now draw the necessary conclusions for a strategy which will ultimately make Europe as a whole stronger after the crisis than it was before the crisis began. The decisive question will be whether the instruments adopted in the context of the ‘six pack’, in particular with regard to Ms Wortmann-Kool’s and Mr Feio’s reports, can really guarantee controls of this kind.

The compromise which we have now reached on the preventative part of the Stability and Growth Pact involves two steps. On the one hand, the Council will vote with a qualified majority on a recommendation by the Commission for corrective measures to be taken in a Member State’s budget. If this recommendation is not accepted or is not even processed, the Commission can resubmit it within a month. The proposal will be deemed to have been accepted if the Council has not rejected it within 10 days with a reversed simple majority vote.

Against the background of this regulation, I am of the opinion that this is a step in the right direction. However, we must wait and see whether the Member States really submit to these rigid requirements or whether they attempt to circumvent the rules, as they did in 2003. We in Parliament must make every effort to ensure that the Community method really takes precedence and that we can ultimately implement these rules effectively.

 
  
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  Alajos Mészáros (PPE).(HU) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the coordination of economic policies signifies strengthened faith in the community of the European Union. It is the EU’s long-term answer to the current financial, economic and confidence crisis. This surveillance is the first to introduce international macro-prudential mechanisms based on general rules, and with reversed qualified majority voting it strengthens the Commission, while acknowledging that balance needs to be supervised at international level but managed at Member State level. The compromise we make today represents a commitment to our common values and goals. I voted in favour of preserving the integrity of the EU. It is through this that the EU guarantees its own competitiveness and that of its Member States, as well as its internal convergence, a strong monetary union and a sustainable social market economy, and prevents the emergence of future crises. This ensures the present and future welfare of our citizens and societies. I am thankful that we stood side by side in this compromise. I would like to thank the Polish, but especially the Hungarian Presidency for their work towards this goal.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, since the financial crisis hit, the EU has responded with more spending and more debt. It has emptied the treasuries, it has exhausted its credit, it has turned the ECB into a bad bank and now where does it go for funds? Well, the financial transaction tax.

Let us leave aside for a second the idea that we can impose such a tax in isolation in Europe; let us leave aside the bankers having to pass on the cost to their customers. Ask ourselves and say where do most financial transactions in the EU take place? They take place in the city of London. In other words, yet again Britain is being sent the bill in order to prop up a currency which we declined to join. This has been the unhappy story of our association with the EU these past four decades. It is just like the common fisheries policy. We are expected to put more into the common pot from which others will be drawing and those are the two bookends. This has a somewhat manic fin-de-siècle feel about it, these unconstrained ambitions of so many European leaders expecting the peoples to pay, again and again. ‘There be many Caesars, ere such another Julius’ wrote Shakespeare in Cymbeline, ‘Britain is a world by itself and we will nothing pay for wearing our own noses’.

 
  
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  President. − I am sorry to interrupt Shakespeare but you see time is time.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). (GA) Mr President, I will only give one speech on this subject and I was delighted to help with the ‘six pack’.

I think one of the down sides in democracy is that governments and opposition parties tend to by-elections if they can get away with it. Of course people respond in kind, the attitude being ‘never pay today what you can put off until tomorrow’. That excessive approach has led us in part, at least, to problems we find ourselves in at the minute. Thankfully, we are beginning to address it and get on top of the situation and, as my colleague Marian Harkin said, politicians are supposed to be in control, not the markets or agencies. This certainly goes a step, or hopefully six steps, in the right direction so that we can have more responsibility in the future.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, we also voted in favour of the ‘six pack’.

I strongly believe in a course of action that promotes stronger common economic governance. We are going through a decisive period, a period beset with difficulties; in which we cannot but be aware of the number of opportunities Europe has lost. Let us recall that on 16 June, the President of the European Council, Mr Van Rompuy, came here and dwelt at great length on the need to refer to ‘Euroland’ rather than to the eurozone. In June, the problems seemed to be more ones of lexicology and terminology rather than of substance.

Then recall that President Barroso, whose determination and the resolute way in which he delivered his speech I greatly admired today, assured us in 2008 that there was no rational motive to fear a recession. Today, we are living through a time in which a new pride in Europe and of being pro-European brings with it a great taking on of responsibility, including in the measures approved by this Parliament. Stronger economic governance is also a policy that takes responsibility for steering growth and development and not leaving the economy to be managed by market speculation.

 
  
  

Report: Sylvie Goulard (A7-0180/2011)

 
  
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  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the current crisis has shown that the Stability and Growth Pact is not working as it should.

Six Member States, three of which are in the euro area, are having budgetary problems and risk defaulting on their debt. This is a situation that we must urgently put an end to. It is important, however, that this be done in a way that is sustainable and with a view to the future. That is why I voted in favour of the Goulard report, whose approach of using sanctions I approve of, particularly with respect to manipulation of financial data, falsified statistics or misleading information on the part of a Member State.

At the same time, however, future efforts must be directed at what is the heart of the problem, namely the insufficient degree of economic integration within the European Union. Sanctions will have a merely cursory dissuasive effect if we do not reinforce the bonds forged by single economic policies by increasing the number of surveillance missions by the Commission, and in the medium term, the use of Eurobonds.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, in adopting the ‘six pack’, the European Parliament has finally given the green light to a concrete strategy for tackling the crisis.

The key words are stability, austerity, budget transparency and debt reduction. However, as Mr Juncker said yesterday, and Mr Barroso reiterated today, we also need to invest in development and employment and think of young people, who expect a great deal from us.

Today, Mr Barroso has set out the next steps of what is a truly courageous strategy. The important points include the presentation of a series of proposals on Eurobonds and particularly the financial transactions tax, which would bring in revenue of EUR 56 billion per year, because it is fair that banks too, perhaps especially banks, and not just businesses and individuals, help bear the cost of the crisis.

 
  
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  Janusz Władysław Zemke (S&D).(PL) Mr President, thank you for giving me the floor. This regulation is not only important for those Member States whose currency is the euro, but it is also important for the whole of the Union. It seems to me that the most important problem is permanent and real interest, and very strong instruments, to put pressure on Member States which are not making progress in terms of budgetary consolidation. This is because tolerance in this area leads to major crises, which take a long time to escape from and for which a high price has to be paid.

The measures which our Parliament has adopted seem to me, personally, to be just the first step. It is a good start, but I want to stress as strongly as I can that it is only the first step. What will be needed is continued determination, continued consistency and a very strict policy followed by individual Member States.

 
  
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  Giommaria Uggias (ALDE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I should like to congratulate Ms Goulard on having tackled and completed such a difficult text: it too is a fundamental step in the direction of European governance.

It is also a practical move on the part of Parliament to take forward the statements we have heard again today in plenary, but which are often not acted on. This is the specific call, I repeat, that we are also making to President Barroso, because everyone agrees when a statement of principle is made. There was agreement when the Commission’s programme was adopted in this House, but it needs to be implemented. This report is a specific step towards the implementation of that programme.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). - Mr President, I supported the report by Sylvie Goulard. As with other reports encompassing the six pack this morning, it does not purport to solve our current problems. Part of that roadmap was articulated by President Barroso this morning. I think, for the first time, we had some hope injected into the debate and some reality, but of course now what we need is action and we are still waiting for it.

As far as this report is concerned, I was happy to see that Article 9 of TFEU is included, under which the Union will take into account requirements linked to the promotion of a high level of employment, the guarantee of adequate social protection and the fight against social exclusion. These are fine words of course, but we have a responsibility in this Parliament to do all we can to translate them into reality.

I was also very pleased to see flexibility in this report, where it states that a possibility will be provided by the Council to reduce or cancel the sanctions imposed on a Member State on the basis of a Commission proposal following a reasoned request by the Member State concerned. That kind of flexibility will be very important for Member States and, in this context, I would like to specifically mention my own country, Ireland.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, in the debate this morning, President Barroso declared that he was going to raise the number of people of working age in employment from 67% to 75% by 2020. Who knew it was that easy? Why not just declare that we are going to raise it to 90% or 100%. This has been the story of the euro all along: this belief that communiqués from politicians trump any other reality; that wonderful moment just before the summer when there was a summit and the crisis was declared to be over, but the markets did not get the message and then President Van Rompuy wrote a very huffy article in the Guardian in London saying he was astonished by the behaviour of these markets: how could they be widening the bond spreads in Spain and Italy when they had obviously not been listening to what the EU leaders had said?

That has been the story of the euro all along, and people are entitled to make their own mistakes. Britain is not a member of the single currency – we should be looking on helpfully, but we should not be dragged into it. The problem with these six-pack votes that we have just voted through is that they do not distinguish between the eurozone and the EU as a whole. We are, as Winston Churchill said, ‘interested and associated but not absorbed’. We have our own dream and our own task, and ‘should European statesmen address us in the words that were used of old: “Shall I speak for thee to the King or the Captain of the Host”, we should reply with the Shunamite woman, “Nay sir, for we dwell among our own people”’.

 
  
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  Sirpa Pietikäinen (PPE). - (FI) Mr President, firstly, I am very pleased with Commission President Barroso’s speech, which demonstrated clear leadership and which made reference to the further measures needed to stabilise the markets and for the future of Europe.

I am also very pleased that Parliament will itself adopt the ‘six-pack’ in this present sitting, and, thanks to Parliament’s action, that clear steps were taken in a direction that will guarantee a more robust Community method, a stronger sense of responsibility, greater transparency and better control in financial management.

As we heard from Mr Barroso, and in earlier positions stated by the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, these measures in themselves will still not be enough. We need follow-up packages for the financial markets and, in addition, further steps need to be taken with regard to measures to stabilise the economy.

 
  
  

Report: Carl Haglund (A7-0182/2011)

 
  
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  Francesco De Angelis (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the experience of recent years tells us that we need a more robust economic governance framework, just as we need to broaden and strengthen the surveillance framework, making it credible and effective, and to introduce penalties, which will be an effective deterrent only if they are applied in practice.

Ultimately I believe that Europe cannot solve the economic and financial crisis with austerity plans alone. The books need to be balanced, but it takes more than all that. We can do more and better, especially where fairness, development and employment are concerned, and that is why I felt I had to abstain on the Haglund report.

 
  
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  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, with this report we have been able to establish which new and important powers have been granted to the European Parliament by the Treaty of Lisbon.

The Commission’s proposals for improved economic governance are crucially important for our economic growth and, in particular, for that of the countries in the euro area. The improvements made by the European Parliament with a view to the creation of a robust and coherent legislative framework are clear. I support the general approach of this report, and accordingly voted in favour of it. We have new responsibilities to shoulder; the package of measures must be further improved and enhanced.

I believe that we should focus more on preventing unsustainable fiscal and macroeconomic policies, but above all that Parliament should be given a prominent role in the surveillance process, with regular, systematic debates and public hearings held in Parliament itself.

 
  
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  Giommaria Uggias (ALDE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I should like to congratulate Mr Haglund again here on the work he has done. I voted in favour of it, and in fact I welcome the entire package.

The report introduces penalties for macroeconomic imbalances, but it should be said that those penalties are to be imposed only if Member States demonstrate an unwillingness to adopt the necessary corrective policies, because, if the finance situation does not improve, Mr De Angelis, there can be no prospect of growth, or no prospect of satisfactory and meaningful growth, anyway.

For that reason I believe that the package that has been adopted today will serve as a basis for the growth that the Member States as a whole must in fact aim for. If we stop here, we will definitely not have achieved the objectives that we are setting ourselves, but in taking this step we will certainly be able to achieve that other objective.

 
  
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  Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL). - Mr President, the six-pack plan that has just been passed by Parliament represents the institutionalisation of an austerity shock doctrine at the heart of the European Union.

With the surveillance programme, the Commission has now effectively been appointed as a policeman for austerity right across Europe. Fines of hundreds of millions of euros face countries that break with neo-liberal orthodoxy or are deemed to have acted imprudently. In reality they will be placed into a category of miscreant states.

This is all about making working class people pay, through austerity policies, for an economic crisis that they are not responsible for. We do not need to look very far to see what the result of those austerity policies will be. The policies have already failed. Look at Greece – the collapse of its economy, shrunk 7% year on year in the second quarter of 2011 – look at Ireland, look at Spain, look at Portugal: austerity policies have already failed and they will fail again.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). - Mr President, I supported the report by Carl Haglund which tells us that experience gained and mistakes made over the last decade show the need for improved economic governance. That governance needs to be based on commonly agreed rules and policies and, indeed, stronger surveillance. But of course that is not all it needs: whether it be eurobonds or stability bonds or a transfer union or the ECB becoming the lender of last resort, other mechanisms are certainly needed to support the euro.

We cannot say that what we have here today will solve our problems but it is part of an overall solution. Today I have mixed feelings. As we vote on these reports, on one level I feel irrelevant, in the sense that we are not actually working to find solutions to the current crisis and that is what concerns citizens. However, citizens also expect systems to work and we are trying to fix a broken system. It is not headline-grabbing stuff but it matters.

 
  
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  Gerard Batten (EFD). - Mr President, the so-called ‘six pack’ imposes economic rule on the Member States via the European Union. The English Parliament established in the reign of King Edward I that its key reason for existing was control of the public finances. In 1642 the English fought a Civil War and then cut off a King’s head precisely in order to establish its sole right to levy taxes.

Now, not by means of an Act of Parliament, but by means of a regulation from the European Union, the British Government is expected to meekly accept financial control by the European Union. If it does, there can no longer be any pretence that Britain is a sovereign nation or a democracy. The British Government should reject and repudiate these regulations and defend the rights of Parliament. To do otherwise is abject surrender.

 
  
  

Report: Elisa Ferreira (A7-0183/2011)

 
  
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  Herbert Dorfmann (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I have voted in favour of Ms Ferreira’s report, in the same way as I have voted for the entire package. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms Ferreira, the rapporteur, very warmly for her cooperation over the whole of the last year and to congratulate her on the result of the vote.

I am convinced that the Ferreira report and the accompanying macroeconomic supervision represent a real innovation. In the area of the Stability and Growth Pact, all that we have done is to tighten up the regulations which were already in place. We have not introduced any new criteria and when one part of this House says that we are nipping growth in the bud, then conversely I have to ask: Was there growth in the countries which did not comply with the Stability and Growth Pact? Did the countries which were least compliant with the Stability and Growth Pact have the highest growth? I believe that the analysis of the results in the Member States in recent days shows that exactly the opposite is the case.

However, the contents of Ms Ferreira’s report represent a genuine innovation. It should help us in future to identify at an early stage if something is going wrong in a country, which I believe is fundamental. If we had identified the problems early, we would have been spared the situation in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and perhaps also Italy. We would have realised perhaps years ago that something in these countries was not going in the way we thought it should.

All I would like to see now is this instrument being implemented effectively by the Commission. I would like it to achieve its objective, which is to function for the benefit of the Union and of the people who live there.

 
  
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  Francesco De Angelis (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, it is important for the Stability and Growth Pact and the complete economic governance framework to support and be compatible with EU strategies for growth and jobs, with the aim of increasing competitiveness and social stability.

We therefore need to introduce penalties for punishing fraud, pay the fines into a central fund for the permanent crisis mechanism and regulate the financial markets more. Ultimately I believe that the austerity measures being discussed today are in danger of weakening social justice policies.

This is not the case with the Ferreira report, which I endorsed and which includes some valuable points in relation to social balance. It is the rest of the package that is wrong, because it focuses solely and exclusively on rigour and austerity and fails to promote growth. Europe will have a future only if we are able to marry fiscal discipline with the objectives of development, growth and employment.

 
  
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  Cristiana Muscardini (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the global crisis has caused instability among small and micro enterprises, which make up a large part of Europe’s business fabric, and has made it impossible for them to survive.

The measures adopted today with the approval of the ‘six pack’ will help to prevent macroeconomic imbalances, but support must be given to small and micro enterprises straight away. To achieve this, we and our colleagues from various political groups have tabled a motion for a resolution calling for Europe to enact a measure to bring in a three-year tax-free allowance for micro enterprises of up to EUR 30 000 of their annual profits, and a bonus equal to the value of social security contributions if they recruit a young person on an open-ended contract.

In this way we will be able to prevent many companies that guarantee jobs and development from leaving the market, and we will reduce unemployment, which has reached excessive levels, at the expense of social stability. We would also remind the Council of the need to start the trialogue with Parliament on the regulation on origin marking.

 
  
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  Giommaria Uggias (ALDE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the regulation that we have adopted on the prevention of macroeconomic imbalances among the 27 countries is certainly a departure from the previous situation. It establishes rules and checks and, in particular, it introduces the concept of symmetry, which means that the Commission must assess not only deficits, but also surpluses.

In practice, contrary to the commonly held view that there a few bad countries, such as Greece or Italy, countries such as Germany and the Netherlands are also being placed under supervision due to their overly low levels of domestic consumption. Furthermore, the regulation has an essentially federalist outlook and hence stresses the notion of fairness, which we believe is one of the positive elements that characterise the future of Europe and of the Member States – fairness and solidarity, which will be the preconditions for European growth.

 
  
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  Salvatore Caronna (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I am very appreciative of the work done by Ms Ferreira in this report.

In fact, this was the only one of the package’s six legislative proposals devoted to economic governance for which my group and I voted. We did so because it includes, among other things, a clause on the protection of social rights, starting with collective bargaining, and because it also strengthens Parliament’s role in the adoption of delegated acts.

Therefore, although we cannot change the overall balance of the six-pack, with this report we are definitely making progress towards, among other things, a surveillance system that takes account of fundamental rights. In this context, then, although a vision based solely on a policy of austerity does not, in our view, produce positive results, this positive report certainly bucks that trend.

 
  
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  Alajos Mészáros (PPE).(HU) Mr President, on 29 September 2010 the Commission put forward a legislative package to strengthen economic governance in the EU and the euro area. The package comprises six proposals, four of which address budgetary issues, such as the reform of the Stability and Growth Pact, while the other two new regulations deal with the identification and management of macroeconomic imbalances within the EU and the euro area.

The latter two proposals introduce new elements. The preventive aspect of these elements includes a regular assessment of the risk of imbalances based on a scoreboard of indicators, as well as in-depth country analyses. The corrective branch foresees proceedings against any euro area Member States that fail to comply properly with recommendations that concern them and accumulate excessive deficit, which can ultimately result in sanctions to be imposed in the form of annual penalty payments. The system for correcting imbalances must contain not only sanctions but incentives as well. Fines collected from defaulting Member States should be used to further the EU’s long-term investment and labour goals. I, too, gladly voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). - Mr President, I supported this report as part of the economic governance package and I was particularly pleased to see in Article 1 that the coordination of economic policies in the Union will, among other things, aim at achieving sustainable growth and social cohesion. This is crucially important for all of us because our policies should in the final analysis achieve growth and social cohesion, otherwise we are wasting our time.

I support the proposals on the European Monetary Fund. They certainly go further than what is being accepted by the Council and I think finally begin to address the elephant in the room. It is crucial that we do this, otherwise we are just seen as irrelevant and we are just not dealing with the reality of the situation.

It is also important that in all of these proposals deliberations will take place in public and that citizens will have an opportunity to scrutinise what is happening and be aware of decisions taken in their name.

Finally, I agree with my colleague Mr Uggias, when he talks about fairness. This is not just about deficits, it is also about surpluses. If we are to be part of a common currency, then we have common responsibilities.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, we also voted in favour of the Goulard report, because it introduces mechanisms for preventing macroeconomic imbalances that ultimately consist of rules and guarantees, of those rules and guarantees that have been lacking until now and that have been said to be lacking so many times during this crisis.

We have begun a new phase of budgetary responsibility, control, and also surveillance within the euro area, with mechanisms that are indeed semi-automatic – and this is one of the main criticisms that have been made – but also with penalties that will ultimately be imposed should any macroeconomic imbalances occur.

This is a decisive step that, if I might make the analogy, will be supplemented by those subsequent steps that President Barroso has today, by a happy but important coincidence, sought to announce: the introduction of the Tobin tax – the financial transactions tax – will ensure that families are not the only ones who have to pay for these times of crisis and difficulty, and that producers of material goods are not always the only ones who have to pay for crisis prevention, but that financial market operators pay for it, too.

 
  
  

Report: Diogo Feio (A7-0179/2011)

 
  
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  Giommaria Uggias (ALDE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I should like to point out, now that we have reached the conclusion a year after the proposal was first tabled, that the Feio report reviews the Stability and Growth Pact and hence finally establishes a check requiring States with a debt/GDP ratio of more than 60% to achieve a 5% reduction. It does so by laying down and clarifying the debt criterion and the procedures on the pace that has to be followed.

The Commission will have to consider a range of factors in this global economic context before assessing and making its recommendations to the Member State concerned. The report introduces the fundamental principle that reducing one’s debt means paying less interest and therefore being able to spend more on investment and growth, which is the real objective on which we will have to focus over the next few months.

 
  
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  Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL). - Mr President, one of the purposes of this Parliament from the point of view of the establishment in Europe is to act as a democratic facade on what is in reality a European Union dominated by big business interests and dominated institutionally by the Commission and the Council. But I think that facade may be beginning to crumble today when you look at what Parliament has passed.

It has passed a series of measures, the six pack, that is purely neo-liberal and austerity-driven in content. It has opted to give more power to the Commission to act as an austerity policeman and it has used the notion of reverse qualified majority voting to mean that a simple majority in the Council will not be enough to vote against sanctions applied by the Commission to a miscreant Member State.

The limited democracy that exists within the European Union is now being trampled upon in the race to impose austerity. What is the European Union establishment afraid of? They are afraid of the working class, they are afraid of the movements of ordinary people, they are afraid of the general strike in Greece, the protests in Portugal on Saturday, the moves within Spain – and I think they are correct to be afraid. I think the movements have to link up and build a European-wide movement against austerity.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). - Mr President, I supported this report and I particularly agreed with point 4a, where it states that this regulation does not address the current situation in the short term, but rather is a more structural approach for the medium to long term.

I also support the statement that we need a more integrated and social approach. Several times here today I have said that we are not putting forward solutions to the current crisis, but indeed one possibility that is contained in this report that could improve the situation is the achieving and maintaining of a dynamic internal market. I know this could generate significant growth across the EU and particularly in my own country, Ireland, where this has a significant impact.

Speaking of Ireland, I was pleased to see the statement that the medium-term growth and primary balanced targets of the catching-up countries will be taken into consideration. It also states that measures proposed to a given Member State for correcting imbalances should take into account the Union strategy for growth and jobs. This is certainly an instrument for achieving internal cohesion and also supporting recommendations to respect the Charter of Fundamental Rights and collective bargaining between social partners in Member States. I think all of these issues are important.

 
  
  

Report: Vicky Ford (A7-0184/2011)

 
  
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  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, having regular access to up-to-date and reliable budgetary data is the key to regulating public spending and enabling the swift adoption of corrective measures in times of crisis.

I therefore agree on the need to allow the Commission to monitor, with the help of a fiscal body, individual Member States’ compliance with budgetary rules. Having said that, I must point out that, under the Treaty, the establishment of a medium-term financial framework leaves the way clear for newly elected governments to amend the programming decisions that were previously taken.

This directive must therefore be applied to the letter, and the Commission must constantly monitor its application. This is to ensure that intervention has a tangible rather than superficial effect and that it helps to achieve the directive’s primary objective: uniform compliance with budgetary discipline as stipulated by the Treaty.

 
  
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  Giommaria Uggias (ALDE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, more than a year ago now, when the initial problems in the Greek economy, and then in the economies of other countries, began to emerge, I was interviewed by the European channel. One of the points I raised was precisely the attention paid to the statistical data that allowed some countries to fiddle their accounts.

The Ford report, which we have voted on and approved today, by contrast lays down criteria on the transparency and independence of national statistical authorities, with penalties for those who commit forgery and fraud. It is a fundamental report, in that it aims to prevent a lack of transparency in the compilation of statistical data and ensures that those data are uniform. This will enable the European institutions and the governments of all the countries to proceed uniformly, in other words to have criteria that are not only based on knowledge but which are also uniform in terms of the actions carried out.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). - Mr President, I supported this report and I certainly re-echo its sentiments when it says that a comprehensive and integrated solution to the euro area debt crisis is needed, because the piecemeal efforts that we have put in place so far have certainly not worked.

I think what we did today was to put in place one piece of the jigsaw. President Barroso proposed other pieces, among them the financial transaction tax and the beefing-up of the Europe Investment Bank so that it can offer greater assistance to SMEs. He also proposed, as did Commissioner Rehn, solidarity bonds or eurobonds. We need further clarification on this; such bonds may or may not require Treaty change, and I believe the details need to be spelled out.

As far as the flexibility within this report is concerned, we can see that the adoption of the multiannual fiscal planning does not deprive any newly elected governments within the time frame covered by the planning of the chance to modify previous policy options so that they can reflect their own priorities.

My final comment is that these reports are addressing a situation where 17 states are members of the eurozone. If one Member State threatens the stability of the currency and other Member States, we cannot ignore that; we have to try and deal with it in a fair and equitable way.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0523/2011

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, this motion for a resolution refers to the statement made by Vice-President Ashton to mark the International Day against Homophobia.

In that statement Baroness Ashton reiterated the European institutions’ strong commitment to all measures to combat violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. I am pleased that this Parliament has decided to do the same, with the resolution we have adopted.

However, I wished to point out that my vote in favour of the resolution has one negative aspect to it, namely the opposition that I wanted and had to express to paragraph 11, where, once again, certain political groups have tried to surreptitiously include inconsistent topics, making a mistake in terms of both method and substance: in terms of method, because including the recognition of rights that relate to the family sphere is a mistake, since that sphere is not the responsibility of this institution, and in terms of substance, because, when our aim is to combat, to fight against all forms of violence, we cannot talk about introducing other kinds of factors.

 
  
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  Andrea Češková (ECR). - (CS) Mr President, I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution, perhaps for all the reasons mentioned just now by Ms Mazzoni. Sexual orientation and gender identity is still a cause of serious human rights violations in many countries. People belonging to this minority are more likely to be victims of discrimination and ill-treatment. In many countries, sexual orientation and gender identity is a reason not only for criminal prosecution, but also for inhuman treatment, torture or even the imposition of the death penalty, which is totally unacceptable for us. Such a violation of human rights is incompatible with the fundamental principles of the European Union and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, according to which every person should have the same rights without any discrimination. I therefore also welcome the UN resolution, which is the first of its kind in general to be devoted specifically to violations of human rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and which thus demonstrates the universality of human rights. It supports open dialogue in this area, and I firmly believe that the EU should take a unified approach to the application of human rights when carrying out both its external and its internal activities.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I am one of the slightly more than 100 MEPs who voted against this motion for a resolution. I did so not because I do not support the complete and utter condemnation of homophobia, or because I do not agree that the European Union should be the first to abide by its Charter of Fundamental Rights. Rather, it is because I believe that that which has been included in paragraph 11, as Ms Mazzoni also said, is a surreptitious attempt – it is a film that we see over and over again.

For every time we talk about topics that broadly or roughly relate to the issue of gender recognition, there is always someone who, for political ends or to push through a law on the recognition of non-male or non-female genders that he or she thinks Europe should impose on the Member States, introduces points that have nothing to do with what is being discussed.

I believe that this Europe that is trying to introduce legislation on something that departs from the laws of nature that created men and women is a Europe that should seek to re-examine its position and that should do more to safeguard everyone’s civil and sexual rights rather than take advantage of items such as this to introduce points that are completely extraneous to this issue.

It was with a heavy heart, therefore, that I voted against this resolution.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Sidonia Elżbieta Jędrzejewska (A7-0312/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report and would draw attention to the need for consistency and coherence in the appropriations allocated to Union instruments: these are essential conditions for effective and optimised usage, which are very desirable attributes in a tense and restrictive budgetary environment.

 
  
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  Marta Andreasen (EFD), in writing. − I voted against amending budget 2011 number 4 because I oppose the non-transparent way in which the transfer is completed. The payments are taken from an unused EERP energy project budget line which is unrelated to the funding required for management of migration flows. This money should come from reserves that are set aside for this purpose. It makes the EERP energy project line look like a hidden reserve intended for other purposes and in an audit would set alarm bells ringing.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing. (IT) On 13 September we voted on the amendment of the FRONTEX Regulation calling on the Commission to create an operational plan that would increase the Agency’s efficiency and grant it an adequate budget, to fund not only human resources but also monitoring and intervention equipment.

A few days later, we are now voting on the motion for a resolution that will finally increase the commitment appropriations for the management of migration and refugee flows to around EUR 41.1 million, with these funds being earmarked for the Frontex Agency, the External Borders Fund, the European Return Fund and the European Refugee Fund respectively.

I further applaud the motion because, in line with the principles of logic and consistency in ensuring an optimal allocation with no wastage of EU funds, the new resources will come from the under-implemented payments from the ‘European Economic Recovery Plan (EERP) energy projects’ line.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) Given current events, managing migrant and refugee flows represents a challenge which the European Union must solve swiftly. The Jędrzejewska draft report, which I endorsed, is a step in the right direction. The European countries of the Mediterranean, including France, are most exposed to the issue. Moreover, in a spirit of solidarity, the European Union pledged to release additional funds to the tune of EUR 43.5 million to help those Member States most exposed to these flows. Thus, the European agency for managing operational cooperation at the external borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) and the European Refugee Fund will be the main beneficiaries.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I welcomed the Council position, under which commitment appropriations are to be reinforced by nearly EUR 41.1 million for the management of migration and refugee flows (through the Frontex Agency, the External Borders Fund, the European Return Fund and the European Refugee Fund). This increase is part of a multi-pronged response by the Union to the political developments in Southern Mediterranean countries.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted resolutely in favour of this report, because I believe that it directly relates to one of the most important issues for the political activity of the Lega Nord, namely the management of illegal immigration.

The report refers in particular to the redistribution and reinforcement of European funds for the management of this phenomenon, while also taking account of the recent developments in North Africa and of the impact they are having on the EU specifically in terms of illegal immigration.

The report sets the objective of financially strengthening the Frontex Agency and the European Return Fund, the EU’s main instruments for tackling immigration, to the tune of EUR 41.1 million. The motion therefore interprets the demands and priorities of our political group with regard to immigration, and that is why I decided to vote in favour.

 
  
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  David Casa (PPE), in writing. − The aim of draft amending budget No 4/2011 to the general budget 2011 is twofold: 1. add a reinforcement of Budget 2011 in commitment to manage refugees and migration flows further to recent developments in Northern Africa and 2. revise the forecast of traditional own resources, VAT and GNI bases, the budgeting of the corrections of UK rebate for the years 2006, 2007 and 2010. The reinforcement of commitment appropriations for the management of refugees and migration flows is crucial as it is a form of response from the EU to the political developments in Southern Mediterranean countries.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) I voted against this specific report because, in essence, it concerns the financing of mechanisms which systematically undermine human rights. Once again, with the same hypocrisy, we are supposedly increasing the funding needed to deal with the problems of refugees, immigrants and local communities whereas, in fact, we are providing more funding for military and repressive mechanisms and unacceptable charter flights crammed with immigrants and refugees being sent back to war zones and wretched living conditions. This hypocritical and delusional action has to stop. With our fences, armies and trenches, not only do we not have democratic Member States and a democratic EU, not only are we undermining international aquis, agreements and human rights; we are also failing to provide a solution to the problem. The aim of financing must be to secure a dignified and equitable standard of living for everyone, by protecting rights and strengthening social cohesion. The aim of financing must be to provide real assistance to developing countries and to combine it with the responsibilities and international role of a peaceable and democratic EU foreign policy because, wherever centres of war, absolutism and poverty are created in the world, refugees and immigrants will leave home.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The purpose of this EUR 43.9 million reinforcement of the management of migratory and refugee flows is to equip the existing agencies and support instruments in this area with the resources necessary in order for them to be able to support the multifaceted response that the EU is attempting to give to recent events in the southern Mediterranean. The high migratory pressure felt in this region has led to the need to step up Union action taken through the External Borders Fund, the European Return Fund and the European Refugee Fund. Support for the efforts of the Member States most directly involved should be increased, so as to alleviate the considerable burden falling on them, so giving expression to the fundamental principle of solidarity. The capabilities of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) should also be improved, specifically so that it can undertake maritime security activities on the Mediterranean.

I am voting for this report which enables clarification of the Council’s contradictory positions: on the one hand, during its reading of the draft EU budget for 2012, it proposed a cut in the funding allocated to managing migratory and refugee flows and, on the other, it has approved the stepping up of a number of actions and programmes to be undertaken by Frontex, as well as other instruments in this area.

 
  
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  Marielle De Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The EU’s 2011 budget was increased by an additional EUR 52.2 million to help manage migratory flows and refugee flows more effectively. These additional funds will be used to help the Member States most affected by these flows and to step up sea border controls carried out by Frontex, the European agency for managing operational cooperation at the external borders. This increased funding results from the consequences of the Arab Spring in terms of migration and from European leaders who demanded it. Beyond this increase, if we really want to help the countries both within the European Union and south of the Mediterranean, then we will have to finally draw up a proper immigration policy. This is the only calm and responsible way of addressing the issue of migration.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. − (PT) I voted for this report because I advocate the need to step up European Union support for managing migratory and refugee flows. The natural increase in migratory flows requires a multifaceted response from the EU. Given the political developments in the countries of the southern Mediterranean, it is crucial to reinforce the budgetary appropriation of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex), the External Borders Fund, the European Return Fund and the European Refugee Fund.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The purpose of this draft amending budget is to respond to refugee and migration flows further to recent developments in North Africa, and it is being funded through redeployments and/or additional funds. Given the exceptional situation being faced by the southern Member States, I am voting for this proposal.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The 2011 EU budget was definitively adopted on 15 December 2010. Throughout the first six months of 2011, the EU helped the political changes of the Arab Spring in several countries of the southern Mediterranean, where a number of peoples, supported by the EU, overthrew decades-old totalitarian regimes. These events sparked significant migratory flows towards other countries, specifically in southern Europe. As this extraordinary expenditure had not been foreseen, on 17 July 2011, pursuant to Article 314 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the Commission tabled Draft amending budget No 4, which the Council adopted on 12 September 2011. This draft amending budget includes a reinforcement of EUR 41.1 million in commitment appropriations and payment appropriations for the External Borders Fund, the European Return Fund and the European Refugee Fund, so as to finance transnational actions in emergency situations, to which can be added a EUR 54 million reinforcement of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) for maritime security. I welcome the adoption of this draft amending budget, since the EU has to honour its commitments, especially where human rights are at stake.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The amending budget voted on today represents reinforcement of the budget heading corresponding to ‘management of migration and refugee flows’, increasing and/or extending maritime security operations in the Mediterranean, which are said to be ‘required to cover the additional needs arising from the exceptional and unforeseen increase of migratory flows from Northern Africa’.

A substantial proportion of the sum now being mobilised − EUR 30 million in commitments − is for the ‘operational expenditure’ of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex), which is the body responsible for implementing the European Union’s repressive, security-based policy against immigration. This policy obscures the real causes of immigration. The report does not mention, although it should, that the ‘exceptional and unforeseen increase of migratory flows from Northern Africa’ is inextricably linked to the military aggression of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and a number of EU countries in the region, sowing war, destruction and chaos.

At a time when the EU’s economic and social crisis is deepening, it is significant and symbolic that this stepping up of support for ‘fortress Europe’ is coming from funds not used on the European Economic Recovery Plan.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The amending budget voted on today represents reinforcement of the budget heading corresponding to ‘management of migration and refugee flows’, increasing and/or extending maritime security operations in the Mediterranean, which are said to be ‘required to cover the additional needs arising from the exceptional and unforeseen increase of migratory flows from Northern Africa’.

A substantial proportion of the sum now being mobilised – EUR 30 million in commitments – is for the ‘operational expenditure’ of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex), which is the body responsible for implementing the European Union’s repressive, security-based policy against immigration, obscuring the phenomenon’s real causes. That is why the report does not mention, although it should, that the ‘exceptional and unforeseen increase of migratory flows from Northern Africa’ is inextricably linked to the military aggression of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and a number of EU countries in the region, sowing war, destruction and chaos.

At a time when the EU’s economic and social crisis is deepening, it is significant and symbolic that this stepping up of support for ‘fortress Europe’ is coming from funds not used on the European Economic Recovery Plan.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The most recent developments in the southern Mediterranean have brought huge migratory pressure on the region. Under the March 2011 resolutions of the European Council, the proposed strengthening of EU measures within the External Borders Fund, the European Return Fund and the European Refugee Fund will make it possible to bolster the immediate efforts of the most affected Member States and to strengthen the capacity of Frontex to carry out marine surveillance in the Mediterranean. The basic documents of the External Borders Fund, the European Return Fund and the European Refugee Fund assume that out of their total funding package, a certain percentage is allocated for Community measures to fund supra-national measures or measures that are in the interest of the Community as a whole, particularly in the case of emergency situations where quick action is needed. The extraordinary nature of the current events in the southern Mediterranean constitute an emergency for the Member States affected, which is why the Commission has proposed increasing the quota allocated for Community measures to the maximum amounts set out in the relevant basic documents. Maximising this quota involves increasing the budgetary funds for all three funds and these funds should be released above all for Italy, Greece Malta and Cyprus to help them deal with the current situation.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I welcomed this document because it is a reinforcement of Budget 2011 in commitment under heading 3a to manage refugees and migration flows following recent developments in Northern Africa. This is financed through redeployments and/or additional funds in commitments, and full redeployment in payments.

 
  
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  Vladimír Maňka (S&D), in writing. (SK) Increasing the budgetary funds allocated for managing migratory flows and flows of refugees (by Frontex, the External Borders Fund, the European Return Fund and the European Refugee Fund) is part of the EU’s response to political developments in the southern Mediterranean countries and the developments in North Africa. The concomitant reinforcement of payment appropriations is rendered possible by redeployments from under-implemented appropriations.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this proposal for the reinforcement of commitment appropriations by nearly EUR 41.1 million for the management of migration and refugee flows (through the Frontex Agency, the External Borders Fund, the European Return Fund and the European Refugee Fund) as part of a multiform response of the EU to the political developments in Southern Mediterranean countries.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted for the report on the Council’s position on the draft amending budget. The report approves the Council’s position. This budget amendment enables more resources to be allocated to Frontex, the External Borders Fund, the European Return Fund and the European Refugee Fund. Frontex carries out a fundamental role and it is right that we give it the means to fulfil its mission. The importance of these various funds should not be overlooked either. This amendment allows us to take into account the recent events in North Africa and to deal appropriately with the resultant migration and refugee flows. The allotted funds come from the item in the budget earmarked for the energy networks within the European Economic Recovery Plan, where there were surpluses.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) The draft budget amendment that the Commission is asking us to endorse shamefully lumps together funds for hunting down immigrants and funds for welcoming refugees. I cannot vote against it, since I back the second part. I cannot vote for it, since I reject the first part. I am forced to abstain.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The purpose of this amending budget is to find funds to respond to refugee and migration flows further to recent developments in North Africa. This exceptional situation can and must be financed through redeployments and/or additional funds.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing.(ES) I voted against this report because it proposes to increase the budget for the Frontex Agency by EUR 41.1 million. The Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left has always been critical of the EU’s migratory policy. Frontex is one of the main instruments of this ‘Fortress Europe’ based on the persecution and even criminalisation of immigrants, rather than working towards their integration. That is why increasing the budget for Frontex would mean putting up even higher walls to prevent immigrants from entering. Under no circumstances can we support that kind of policy, and I therefore voted against.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − After studying the report it became clear that the European Parliament in its resolution approves the position of the Council on the strengthening of some budgetary programmes and a decrease in financial appropriations for the 2012 financial year. I support these changes.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The constant influx of asylum seekers, in particular from North Africa, is resulting in a dramatic increase in asylum costs. The majority of the Member States are not even in the position of explaining adequately what their actual costs are. The planned redistribution of unused payment appropriations in fact means nothing more than that the EU Member States are receiving a smaller refund from the EU budget. It is unacceptable that the Member States are cutting social services for their own citizens, while at an EU level the commitment appropriations for migration and refugees are growing and, at the same time, savings are being made on preventing and combating crime. In addition, all of this is being achieved with funding which is being reallocated at the expense of the economic programme for energy networks. I have voted against this plan.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) I believe that this report is extremely precise and entirely worthy of support. The European Union should be able to redeploy its appropriations, especially in order to address the acute crisis in the countries of North Africa, which is having a serious impact on Italy’s coastlines and territory in particular.

Adequate funds are needed so that Europe can play its part, as it must, in safeguarding the continent’s southern borders. In the light of the confirmed need for funds, the recent position adopted by the Council, which is proposing a number of cuts in the area of external border defence and protection for the forthcoming 2012 budget, is even more misguided.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I can only support the resolution we have just adopted on the increase in the draft budget for the management of migration and refugee flows following the events in North Africa. Precisely because this is one of the everyday problems we are facing at present, there is an acute need for strong and determined action that sees the whole of Europe united in its development and support and that rules out any other approach. In future, we should prevent situations such as those which occurred in Italy a few months ago, when the country was confronted with an uncontrollable situation, with an island such as Lampedusa being invaded by men, women and children fleeing a disastrous, war-torn environment. In those few days, the concept of European solidarity wavered, when it should instead be one of our priorities. Common, concerted action, with EU resources to manage migration flows, will not only benefit the coastal regions of the Mediterranean, but will also be an effective means of helping all the Member States.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on an amendment to the Union budget with a view to reinforcing commitment appropriations under sub-heading 3a of the 2011 budget, in order to manage refugees and migration flows further to recent developments in North Africa, and to revise the forecast of traditional own resources, value added tax and gross national income bases, the budgeting of the corrections of the UK rebate for the years 2006, 2007 and 2010. These amendments were adopted with a broad majority in the Committee on Budgets.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The purpose of this draft amending budget is, firstly, to reinforce commitment appropriations intended for managing refugees and migration flows further to recent developments in North Africa – an issue that has become important again because of recent political events – and, secondly, to revise a series of headings relating to Member State contributions to the joint budget. Given the timeliness of the proposed amendments, I voted in favour, although I am bound to lay great stress on the need to adopt clear and predictable political principles.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing.(IT) I should like to congratulate Ms Jędrzejewska on the excellent work she has done.

The adoption of the amending budget earmarking an additional EUR 43.9 million for the management of migration and refugee flows shows that the European Parliament is united when it comes to the political developments in the countries of the southern Mediterranean.

The additional funds will be used to assist the Member States most affected by these flows and to reinforce sea patrols carried out by the European border agency, Frontex, which will receive a further EUR 24 million of funding. The rest will go to the European Refugee Fund (EUR 12.2 million), the External Borders Fund (EUR 4.9 million) and the European Return Fund (EUR 2.8 million).

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − Against. We firmly oppose the ever increasing funding for Frontex.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this text because I believe that more resources should be allocated to cope with the exceptional migration and refugee flow caused by the recent events in the countries of the southern Mediterranean.

In particular, I agree that these additional funds should be used to assist the Member States most affected by this phenomenon, especially for the sea patrols carried out by the European agency for the management of external borders, Frontex.

 
  
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  Rafał Trzaskowski (PPE), in writing. − This report grants additional funds for the management of migration and refugee flows via agencies such as Frontex. The European Parliament has shown that it is united when it comes to the political developments in Southern Mediterranean countries.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) Following the democratic revolutions of the Arab countries, the Union decided to increase its budget for managing migration flows and refugees (Heading 3a) for 2011.

With this measure, the Union is taking one of the first practical decisions in response to the Arab uprising, in spite of the fact that its support, the history of which is well known, was late and weak, excluding humanitarian aid. Promises of financial assistance, especially to Tunisia, are taking a long time to turn into reality and remain for the most part fine talk

This decision is all the more questionable as this increase is taken from the ‘Energy networks of the European Economic Recovery Plan’ budget, which could have been used differently.

This decision is about strengthening Frontex and therefore increasing border controls and assistance to refugees, which we know is struggling to materialise. This decision exemplifies the Union’s contradictions. Consequently, I preferred to abstain.

 
  
  

Report: Barbara Matera (A7-0309/2011)

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of allocating financial assistance to Denmark. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was created in order to provide additional assistance to workers suffering the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns. Denmark has requested assistance in respect of 813 workers made redundant from six enterprises involved in the manufacture of machinery and equipment. This application complies with the requirements for determining financial contributions, and I therefore welcome the mobilisation of an amount of EUR 3 944 606.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created in 2006 in order to provide additional assistance for workers affected by the consequences of significant changes in the structure of international trade and to assist in their reintegration into the labour market. Since 1 May 2009, the scope of the EGF has been expanded to include support for workers made redundant as a direct consequence of the economic, financial and social crisis. At a time of severe crisis, one of the principal consequences of which is an increase in unemployment, the EU needs to use all the means at its disposal to respond, particularly with regard to providing support for those who find themselves without a job from one day to the next. That is why I voted for this report relating to mobilising EUR 3 944 606 from the EGF in favour of Denmark, with the objective of supporting the workers made redundant by six companies of Division 28 ‘Manufacture of machinery and equipment’ in the region of Midtjylland.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. − Although I have great sympathy for redundant workers wherever they are in the world, I believe that UK taxpayers’ money, which provides a significant contribution to the EU and thus Global Adjustment Fund budget, is better concentrated on providing jobs for unemployed workers in the UK. Unemployment in the UK continues to rise to unexpected levels. Many of our heavy industries have shut down and our workforce is inundated with EU migrants. It is a slap in the face to hardworking Brits who have lost their jobs in industries that have relocated to other EU countries under EU law to then find that their contributions as taxpayers are being spent by the EU in assisting unemployed people in Denmark. Increasingly the UK is becoming a hub for people who have fled their own EU Member States to try to earn more money or claim benefits in the UK, which they often send large proportions of back home rather than inject it into the local economy. As unemployment continues to rise in the UK, particularly blighting some of the former mining towns in Wales, I cannot justify assenting to aid newly unemployed workers abroad when long-term unemployed people continue to suffer in communities in my constituency.

 
  
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  David Casa (PPE), in writing. The European Union has set up the appropriate legislative and budgetary instruments to provide additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns and to assist their reintegration into the labour market. This proposal requests the institutions involved to make the necessary efforts to improve procedural and budgetary arrangements in order to accelerate the mobilisation of the EGF. I support the rapporteur in this initiative, in hopes for greater efficiency, transparency, and visibility of the Fund.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Many European industries have been experiencing difficulties in recent years as a result of globalisation, exacerbated by the economic and financial crisis threatening the majority of countries in the world. In the case in question, six companies operating in the area of manufacture of machinery and equipment in the region of Midtjylland have made 813 workers redundant, who are eligible for support from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. I regret that these workers are suffering from the impact of the recent paradigm shift in international trade and the current crisis, and I hope that the European economy will be able to find another path to prosperity.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Having seen the severe social impact of the current economic and financial crisis, the European Union created the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to provide additional assistance to workers affected by changes in the structure of global trade. This report concerns a proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and the Council on the mobilisation of EUR 3 944 606 from the EGF, with the aim of supporting the reintegration of Danish workers made redundant as a result of the current economic and financial crisis. This application, the 14th to be examined within the framework of the 2011 EU budget, was submitted by Denmark on 11 May 2010, and concerns 813 redundancies from six companies operating in the NACE Revision 2 Division 28 (Manufacture of machinery and equipment) in the region of Midtjylland (DK04), Denmark. Given that this involves a specific budgetary instrument, and that the amount requested is legally acceptable and complies with the proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the EGF for Denmark, I am voting for this proposal, and hope that it contributes to alleviating the economic difficulties of the region’s inhabitants, and to revitalising the local economy.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE), in writing. − I support this application from Denmark to access Globalisation Funds of EUR 3.9 million from the redundant workers in Midtjylland Machinery. This submission was based on Article 2b and once again shows the need to ensure the continuation of the derogation on the crisis. It is crucial that the Council can reach agreement on this and allow redundant workers to access personalised packages that will give them an opportunity to find their way back to employment.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE), in writing. − (GA). I voted in favour of the report in relation to the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund to support the people of Denmark. With the globalisation of markets, it is important that the fund be available to the people of this area. In Ireland, I am happy with the EUR 35 million that is available now from the Commission for those that were employed in the construction sector. We must provide retraining for these people.

In the long term in terms of money, it is cheaper for society to provide this money now, to attract new companies quicker and to provide employment. I am happy that the Members of this House are indicating their understanding through this vote in favour of the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council in relation to using the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was created in order to provide additional assistance to workers suffering the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns. On 11 May 2010, Denmark submitted an application to mobilise the EGF in respect of 813 workers made redundant from six enterprises involved in the manufacture of machinery and equipment in the region of Midtjylland. One of the Commission’s assessment criteria is the existence of a link between the redundancies and major structural changes in world trade patterns or the financial crisis. This particular case relates to the serious effect of the structural changes brought about by globalisation on the wind turbine manufacturing industry in the EU. Furthermore, according to the Danish authorities, the reduction of employment in Midtjylland was unforeseen because of the rapid expansion of the global wind energy sector. The coordinated package of personalised services to be funded, including its compatibility with actions funded by the Structural Funds, includes measures for clarification and reorientation (in order to determine the goals and plans of the workers), supplementary support for further education and training, an innovation laboratory (focussed on upgrading workers’ skills to enable them to take part in clean-tech based prototype work in existing companies), a mentoring scheme, a qualification hotline, job-seeking allowances and mobility allowances.

 
  
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  Vladimír Maňka (S&D), in writing. − (SK) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was set up to provide additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns. The application relates to 813 workers (325 of whom need assistance) made redundant from six enterprises. The job losses in the region of Midtjylland could not be foreseen because of the rapid developments in the global wind energy sector. The coordinated package of personalised services to be funded, including its compatibility with actions funded by the Structural Funds, includes measures for clarification and reorientation (in order to determine the goals and plans of the workers), supplementary support for further education and training, innovation laboratory (focus on upgrading workers' skills to enable them to take part in clean-tech based prototype work in existing companies), a mentoring scheme, a qualification hotline, job-seeking allowances and mobility allowances.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I support this proposal which meets the criteria for the mobalisation of the Globalisation Adjustment Fund. One of the criteria for the Commission’s assessment was the evaluation of the link between the redundancies and major structural changes in world trade patterns or the financial crisis, which in this particular case is related to the serious effect of the structural changes brought about by globalisation on the wind turbine manufacturing industry in the EU.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The EU is an area of solidarity and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is a part of that. This support is essential for helping the unemployed and victims of company relocations that occur within a globalised context. More and more companies are relocating, taking advantage of lower labour costs in a number of countries, particularly China and India, with a damaging effect on those countries that respect workers’ rights. The EGF aims to help workers who are victims of the relocation of companies, and it is essential for facilitating access to new employment. The EGF has been used by other EU countries in the past, so now it is appropriate to grant this aid to Denmark, which has applied for assistance with regard to 813 cases of redundancy, 325 of which are eligible to receive support, at six companies operating in the NACE Revision 2 Division 28 (‘Manufacture of machinery and equipment’) in the NUTS II region of Midtjylland (DK04).

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing.(ES) I voted in favour of this report on using funds from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), specifically for the 325 redundancies that have taken place in six enterprises operating within Division 28 (‘Manufacture of machinery and equipment’) in Denmark. The EGF provides additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns and assists their reintegration into the labour market. Denmark has submitted an application for EGF funds for redundancies in the automotive sector, which fulfil the eligibility criteria set up by the EGF Regulation. Now it must be ensured that the EGF supports the reintegration of redundant workers into employment, despite the fact that assistance from the EGF must not replace actions which are the responsibility of companies by virtue of national law or collective agreements, nor measures restructuring companies or sectors.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. In order to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant due to the global financial and economic crisis it is offered to mobilise a total amount of EUR 3 944 606 from the European Globalisation Fund for Denmark. It concerns 813 redundancies, of which 325 are targeted for assistance, in six enterprises during the nine-month reference period from 6 June 2009 to 6 March 2010. I support the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Fund.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created to provide additional support to workers affected by the consequences of major structural changes in the patterns of world trade. On 11 July 2011, the Commission adopted a new draft decision on the mobilisation of the EGF in favour of Denmark, with the aim of supporting the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the global economic and financial crisis. This is the 14th application to be examined within the framework of the 2011 budget, and relates to the mobilisation of the total sum of EUR 3 944 606 from the EGF for 813 redundancies, 325 of which are targeted for assistance, from the six companies in Denmark’s NUTS II level region of Midtjylland, during the nine-month reference period between 6 June 2009 and 1 March 2010. Following an analysis of the process by all of the stakeholders, including the Commission, and given that the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the EGF Working Group approve of the mobilisation of the EGF in favour of Denmark, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The request submitted by Denmark for assistance from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) concerns 813 redundancies (325 of which are eligible to receive support) at six companies operating in NACE Revision 2 Division 28 ‘Manufacture of machinery and equipment’ in the NUTS II region of Midtjylland. According to the Commission’s assessment, this application meets all of the legally established eligibility criteria. In effect, under Regulation (EC) No 546/2009 of Parliament and the Council, on 18 June 2009, which amended Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of Parliament and the Council on 20 December 2006 establishing the EGF, the scope of the EGF was temporarily widened as it was expected to be able to intervene in situations like this, as a direct result of the global financial and economic crisis, where there are ‘at least 500 redundancies over a period of nine months, particularly in small or medium-sized enterprises, in a NACE 2 sector in one region or two contiguous regions at NUTS II level’. I therefore voted for this resolution, in the hope that the assistance will be made available to the workers who have been made redundant swiftly and efficiently.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of Parliament and the Council of 20 December 2006 established the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, with the purpose of supporting workers who lose their jobs due to structural changes in the context of the global economy. I am voting for the report in question, since I am sensitive to the 813 cases of redundancy in six companies operating in the area of manufacture of machinery and equipment in the Danish region of Midtjylland. This situation occurred because of the rapid expansion of the wind energy sector and because wind turbines are being made all over the world and not just in the European Union. The sum of EUR 3 944 606 is being used to finance professional assistance for individual workers and is not being used to restructure the company or replace measures that are the sole responsibility of the companies by virtue of national law or collective agreements. Finally, I believe all procedures should be sped up, in order that the redundant workers might have quick access to professional training that will enable their quick and effective reintegration into the labour market.

 
  
  

Report: Barbara Matera (A7-0311/2011)

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of allocating financial assistance to Germany. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was created in order to provide additional assistance to workers suffering the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns. Germany has requested assistance in respect of 778 workers made redundant from five enterprises involved in the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers. This application complies with the requirements for determining financial contributions, and I therefore welcome the mobilisation of an amount of EUR 4 347 868.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created in 2006 in order to provide additional assistance for workers affected by the consequences of significant changes in the structure of international trade and to assist in their reintegration into the labour market. Since 1 May 2009, the scope of the EGF has been expanded to include support for workers made redundant as a direct consequence of the economic, financial and social crisis. At a time of severe crisis, one of the principal consequences of which is an increase in unemployment, the EU needs to use all the means at its disposal to respond, particularly with regard to providing support for those who find themselves without a job from one day to the next. That is why I voted for this report concerning the mobilisation of EUR 4 347 868 for Germany, with the objective of supporting the workers made redundant from two companies of Division 29 ‘Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers’ in Arnsberg and Düsseldorf.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. Although I have great sympathy for redundant workers wherever they are in the world, I believe that UK taxpayers’ money, which provides a significant contribution to the EU and thus Global Adjustment Fund budget, is better concentrated on providing jobs for unemployed workers in the UK. Unemployment in the UK continues to rise to unexpected levels. Many of our heavy industries have shut down and our workforce is inundated with EU migrants. It is a slap in the face to hardworking Brits who have lost their jobs in industries that have relocated to other EU countries under EU law to then find that their contributions as taxpayers are being spent by the EU in assisting unemployed people in Germany. Increasingly the UK is becoming a hub for people who have fled their own EU Member States to try to earn more money or claim benefits in the UK, which they often send large proportions of back home rather than inject it into the local economy. As unemployment continues to rise in the UK, particularly blighting some of the former mining towns in Wales, I cannot justify assenting to aid newly unemployed workers abroad when long-term unemployed people continue to suffer in communities in my constituency.

 
  
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  David Casa (PPE), in writing. This proposal requests making the necessary efforts to improve procedural and budgetary arrangements in order to accelerate the mobilisation of the EGF. It should be ensured that the EGF supports the reintegration of individual redundant workers into employment and it should be stressed that the EGF-financed measures should lead to long-term employment. I, along with the rapporteur, urge the President to sign the decision and to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The 15th application to be submitted under the 2011 budget concerns the mobilisation of EUR 4 347 868 from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund to help 778 workers made redundant from the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers sector in the regions of Arnsberg and Düsseldorf. This is yet another example of the structural changes in the patterns of world trade observed over recent years.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Ms Matera, concerns the proposal for a decision of Parliament and the Council on mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), in accordance with point 28 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management (application EGF/2010/003 DE/Arnsberg and Düsseldorf automotive from Germany). In July 2011, the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the EGF for Germany in order to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant owing to the global financial and economic crisis, following the aforementioned application, submitted on 9 February 2010. This is the 15th proposal for the mobilisation of the EGF submitted under the 2011 EU budget, mobilising EUR 4 347 868, and its purpose is to mitigate the social impact of the redundancies of 778 workers from five ‘Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers’ companies in the NUTS II level regions of Arnsberg (DEA5) and Düsseldorf (DEA1) in Germany, already hit very hard by the redundancies from Nokia (Bochum) and the closure of General Motors. I welcome the approval of this aid and hope the German automotive industry will recover quickly.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Another plenary sitting, another application for the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. This time the application has been made by Germany to help reintegrate into the labour market 778 workers made redundant from five companies in Division 29 in Germany, during the nine-month reference period of 1 March 2010 to 1 December 2010. It refers to the mobilisation of a total sum of EUR 4 347 868.

This application reminds us that no country’s workers are protected from the effects of the crisis of capitalism. We voted for this application for mobilisation so that the redundant workers do not lack the proper support. However, we would criticise once again the fact that recourse to this instrument has been necessary. Furthermore, we are bound to point out another issue in this case. The sum approved is disproportionately larger than that mobilised for Portugal, where many hundreds of workers were also made redundant from Rohde.

This confirms that the criticisms we have always made of the profoundly unfair criteria of the EGF and its regulation are justified, as it is harmful in relative terms to the more vulnerable countries that are currently facing the greatest difficulties.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The application, EGF/2011/003 DE/Arnsberg and Düsseldorf automotive from Germany, was submitted to the Commission on 9 February 2011 and supplemented with additional information until 28 April 2011. When we assessed this proposal by the Working Group of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, of which I am a member, I stressed the unfairness of this mobilisation of EUR 4.3 million for Germany, when EUR 1.4 million was mobilised for Portugal for the similar situation of the workers made redundant from Rohde. As such, although we are voting in favour in both cases so as not to harm the workers involved, we would once again flag up the deeply unfair criteria of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE), in writing. I support the application from the German government to access funds for redundant workers in the automotive industry. This is a very significant sum of money – EUR 4.3 million – and it will help to support the 778 redundant workers. Many of the personalised services, such as training courses leading to qualifications, in-depth guidance for business start-ups and short-term job seekers allowances will assist redundant workers in their re-integration into employment. Given that 10% of redundant workers across the EU received assistance from the EGF in 2010, it indicates the need for the continuation of this fund and, indeed, its expansion.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created in order to provide additional assistance to workers suffering the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns. On 9 February 2011, Germany submitted an application to mobilise the EGF in respect of 778 workers made redundant from five enterprises involved in the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers in the regions of Arnsberg and Düsseldorf. One of the Commission’s assessment criteria is the existence of a link between the redundancies and major structural changes in world trade patterns or the financial crisis. This particular case involves decreased demand for new motor vehicles in the European Union as a result of the global financial and economic crisis. According to the German authorities, the 778 redundancies covered by this application will further add to the high level of unemployment in the regions of Arnsberg and Düsseldorf, already seriously affected by the end of operations at the Nokia plant in Bochum and the closure of General Motors. The coordinated package of personalised services to be funded, including its compatibility with actions funded by the Structural Funds, includes measures for short-term job search allowances, training courses, in-depth guidance for business start-up, workshops and peer group seminars, labour market guidance, stimulation of activity, and placement research, and so on.

 
  
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  Vladimír Maňka (S&D), in writing. (SK) This application concerns 778 workers made redundant from five plants operating in the Arnsberg and Düsseldorf regions. The 778 redundant workers will add to the high levels of unemployment in the Arnsberg and Düsseldorf regions, which have already been considerably affected by redundancies from the Nokia plant in Bochum and the closure of the General Motors plant.

The coordinated package of personalised services to be funded, including its compatibility with actions funded by the Structural Funds, will cover primarily the following measures:

• short-term job search allowance - for periods within which the workers are participating in active labour market policy measures;

• training courses leading to qualifications - targeted at redundant workers without recognised or with obsolete training qualifications, and industrial workers;

• in-depth guidance for business start-up - guidance and support for implementing and financing of a business start-up;

• workshops and peer groups - coaching and exchange of experience in small groups of workers with a similar vocational background.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I supported this application which meets the criteria for using the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. One of the criteria for the Commission’s assessment was the evaluation of the link between the redundancies and major structural changes in world trade patterns or the financial crisis, which in this particular case is related to the decreased demand for new motor vehicles in the European Union as a result of the global financial and economic crisis. As a consequence, the production of motor vehicles in Germany dropped by 13.8% in 2009 as compared to 2008 and by 14% in 2010 as compared to 2008.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU is an area of solidarity and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is a part of that. This support is essential for helping the unemployed and victims of company relocations that occur within a globalised context. More and more companies are relocating, taking advantage of lower labour costs in a number of countries, particularly China and India, with a damaging effect on those countries that respect workers’ rights. The EGF aims to help workers who are victims of the relocation of companies, and it is essential for facilitating access to new employment. The EGF has been used by other EU countries in the past, so now it is appropriate to grant this aid to Germany, which has applied for assistance with regard to 778 cases of redundancy, all of which are eligible to receive support, at five companies operating in the NACE Revision 2 Division 29 ‘Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers’ in the NUTS II regions of Arnsberg (DEA5) and Düsseldorf (DEA1).

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing.(ES) I voted in favour of this report on mobilising funds from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) specifically for the 778 redundancies in five enterprises operating in Division 29 (‘Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers’) in Arnsberg (DEA5) and Düsseldorf (DEA1) in Germany. The EGF provides additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns and assists their reintegration into the labour market. Germany has submitted an application for EGF funds for redundancies in the automotive sector, which fulfil the eligibility criteria set up by the EGF Regulation. Now it should be ensured that the EGF supports the reintegration of individual redundant workers into employment, despite the fact that assistance from the EGF must not replace actions which are the responsibility of companies by virtue of national law or collective agreements, nor measures restructuring companies or sectors.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − According to the German authorities, the sudden and drastic crisis related to a reduction in demand for motor vehicles, which could not have been foreseen, resulted in a significant reduction in production capacity utilisation as well as in a significant drop in revenue for suppliers in the automotive industry. The German authorities think that the 778 redundancies covered by this application will further contribute to the rising rate of unemployment in the regions of Arnsberg and Düsseldorf, already seriously affected by the dismissals by Nokia in Bochum and the closing down of General Motors. I agree with such an approach.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) receives annual funding of EUR 500 million with the aim of providing financial support to workers affected by major structural changes in world trade patterns. Estimates indicate that between 35 000 and 50 000 employees could benefit from this support each year. The money can be used to pay for help in finding new jobs, tailor-made training, assistance in becoming self-employed or starting a business, mobility and support for disadvantaged or older workers.

The application for Germany amounts to EUR 4 347 868, because we need to respond to a total of 778 redundancies across five companies. I have voted in favour of the report, because this is precisely the purpose of the fund and spending the money is a sensible way of supporting the economy.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created to provide additional support to workers affected by the consequences of major structural changes in the patterns of world trade. On 20 July 2011, the Commission adopted a new draft decision on the mobilisation of the EGF for Germany, with the aim of supporting the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the global economic and financial crisis. This is the 15th application to be examined within the framework of the 2011 budget, and relates to the mobilisation of the total sum of EUR 4 347 868 from the EGF for 778 redundancies, all of which are targeted for assistance, from five companies in Germany’s NUTS II level regions of Arnsberg and Düsseldorf, during the nine-month reference period between 1 March 2010 and 1 December 2010. Following an analysis of the process by all of the stakeholders, including the Commission, and given that the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the EGF Working Group approve of the mobilisation of the EGF for Germany, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The request submitted by Germany for assistance from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) concerns 778 redundancies at five companies operating in NACE Revision 2 Division 29 ‘Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers’ in the NUTS II regions of Arnsberg and Düsseldorf. According to the Commission’s assessment, this application meets all of the legally established eligibility criteria. In effect, under Regulation (EC) No 546/2009 of Parliament and the Council, on 18 June 2009, which amended Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of Parliament and the Council on 20 December 2006 establishing the EGF, the scope of the EGF was temporarily widened as it was expected to be able to intervene in situations like this, as a direct result of the global financial and economic crisis, where there are ‘at least 500 redundancies over a period of nine months, particularly in small or medium-sized enterprises, in a NACE 2 sector in one region or two contiguous regions at NUTS II level’. I therefore voted for this resolution, in the hope that the assistance will be made available to the workers who have been made redundant swiftly and efficiently.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of Parliament and the Council of 20 December 2006 established the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), with the purpose of supporting workers who lose their jobs due to structural changes in the context of the global economy. I am voting for this report on mobilising the EGF for Germany, which enables the award of a sum of EUR 4 347 868 to help the 778 people made redundant from two companies in the area of manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers in the regions of Arnsberg and Düsseldorf reintegrate into the labour market It is important to stress that the purpose of the sum in question is to fund personalised services in the area of professional training and not to replace the legal responsibilities of the companies in question. I would also like to stress that the involved institutions should make every effort to make the procedural and budgetary arrangements more efficient, so as to speed up mobilisation of the EGF.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted for the report on the application submitted by Germany to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for the automotive industry in the regions of Arnsberg and Düsseldorf. This request concerns 778 redundancies made in five companies operating in the automotive construction sector, in the Arnsberg and Düsseldorf regions of Germany, between March and December 2010. These 778 redundancies will increase the unemployment rate in the Arnsberg and Düsseldorf regions, which have already been seriously affected by the redundancies made by Nokia in Bochum and the closing down of the General Motors plant.

The German authorities maintain that these redundancies were caused by the sharp reduction in the demand for new cars in Europe, which has had dramatic repercussions for the car industry in Germany.

Car production in the EU for the first three quarters of 2010 was 14% down on the same period in 2008, while car production in Germany in 2009 dropped by 13.8% compared to 2008 and by 16.1% compared to 2007.

I call on the Commission and Member States to make the necessary efforts to improve the budgetary and procedural mechanisms with the aim of mobilising the EGF more quickly. I also call on the Commission to collect and publish data concerning the EGF beneficiaries who have been reintegrated into the labour market.

 
  
  

Report: Barbara Matera (A7-0310/2011)

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of allocating financial assistance to Portugal. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was created in order to provide additional assistance to workers suffering the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns. Portugal has requested assistance in respect of 974 workers made redundant from one enterprise, but the redundancies have also affected a neighbouring municipality. This application complies with the requirements for determining financial contributions, and I therefore welcome the mobilisation of an amount of EUR 1 449 500.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created in 2006 in order to provide additional assistance for workers affected by the consequences of significant changes in the structure of international trade and to assist in their reintegration into the labour market. Since 1 May 2009, the scope of the EGF has been expanded to include support for workers made redundant as a direct consequence of the economic, financial and social crisis. At a time of severe crisis, one of the principal consequences of which is an increase in unemployment, the EU needs to use all the means at its disposal to respond, particularly with regard to providing support for those who find themselves without a job from one day to the next. I therefore voted for this report concerning the mobilisation of EUR 1 449 500 from the EGF for Portugal, with the objective of supporting workers made redundant from the company Rohde in Santa Maria da Feira.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. − Although I have great sympathy for redundant workers wherever they are in the world, I believe that UK taxpayers’ money, which provides a significant contribution to the EU and thus Global Adjustment Fund budget, is better concentrated on providing jobs for unemployed workers in the UK. Unemployment in the UK continues to rise to unexpected levels. Many of our heavy industries have shut down and our workforce is inundated with EU migrants. It is a slap in the face to hardworking Brits who have lost their jobs in industries that have relocated to other EU countries under EU law to then find that their contributions as taxpayers are being spent by the EU in assisting unemployed people in Portugal. Increasingly the UK is becoming a hub for people who have fled their own EU Member States to try to earn more money or claim benefits in the UK, which they often send large proportions of back home rather than inject it into the local economy. As unemployment continues to rise in the UK, particularly blighting some of the former mining towns in Wales, I cannot justify assenting to aid newly unemployed workers abroad when long-term unemployed people continue to suffer in communities in my constituency.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome Parliament’s approval of the mobilisation of EUR 1.4 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for Portugal, intended to support 680 workers made redundant from the Rohde footwear factory in Santa Maria da Feira. It is the fourth time Portugal has had recourse to the EGF, created to help reintegrate people made redundant from the labour market as a result of globalisation or the global economic and financial crisis. Portugal applied to the EGF on 26 November 2010, following the 974 redundancies from Rohde (Sociedade Industrial de Calçado Luso-Alemã, Lda.). Of the 974 workers made redundant, 680 are eligible for support. The assistance package will include recognition of skills, professional training, grants for training at personal initiative, training and support aimed at creating jobs, support for self placement and incentives for recruitment. The estimated total cost of this package is EUR 2.23 million, EUR 1.4 million of which was requested from the EGF, or 65% of the total cost.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) With the expansion of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) from 2009 to cover applications requiring assistance for workers made redundant as a direct result of the global financial and economic crisis, the application submitted by Portugal in relation to the workers made redundant from Rohde became eligible.

The application for the mobilisation of the EGF was submitted on 26 November 2010, after the company Rohde, based in Santa Maria da Feira, made 974 workers redundant. Financial assistance should be dynamic and provided as quickly and efficiently as possible, given the primary objective of the individual reintegration of the redundant workers into the labour market. Furthermore, the measures adopted should lead to the creation of more jobs in the long run.

I welcome the fact that the 2011 budget has been reinforced with the necessary appropriations, so enabling this application to be covered: around EUR 1 449 500. I regret that it has taken so long for these workers to be able to receive the necessary aid and I hope that it will be possible to review the EGF, introducing the improvements needed to attain greater efficiency, transparency and visibility in the future.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report as I believe the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund will be important for the 974 workers made redundant in the municipalities of Santa Maria da Feira and Ovar. In addition to providing individualised, isolated and temporary aid, the sum to be transferred should contribute to programmes that promote the reinsertion of these workers into the labour market; more specifically, to recognition of skills, professional training, and training or support with a view to setting up micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Rohde has become one of the largest manufacturers of shoes in Portugal and an important source of jobs for the populations of the municipalities of Santa Maria da Feira and Ovar. Its closure, resulting from foreign competition and declining orders from its parent company in Germany has had serious social consequences – not least, long-term unemployment – that are still being felt in the aforementioned municipalities today. As a Portuguese, I am bound to support this proposal for a decision and I hope the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund will be mobilised as swiftly as possible, so as to help those eligible for its aid quickly. I hope they will be able to integrate into the labour market and will manage to overcome this difficult period.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report concerns the proposal for a decision of Parliament and of the Council on mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), in accordance with point 28 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management (application EGF/2010/026 PT/Rohde from Portugal). On 17 August 2011, the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the EGF for Portugal, with the aim of supporting the reintegration of workers made redundant due to the global crisis. This is the 16th application under the EU budget for 2011, submitted to the Commission on 26 November 2010. It relates to the mobilisation of a sum of EUR 1 449 500 to mitigate the social impact of the redundancy of 974 workers from a company in the footwear industry located in Santa Maria da Feira, but that also affected the municipality of Ovar of the NUTS II regions Norte and Centro in Portugal. I welcome the adoption of this report and hope that it will alleviate the social effects caused by redundancies from Rohde and will help reintegrate these workers into the labour market.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This is another request for the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). Once again, it is Portugal making the request. This request is aimed at supporting the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant from Rohde; a total of 974 redundancies, 680 of whom are targeted for assistance. The total amount is EUR 1 449 500. The story behind these redundancies is, sadly, like many others.

The report mentions that the company was bought by a joint venture between Square Four and the merchant bank Morgan Stanley in an attempt to save Rohde and its level of production. The factory in Portugal was planned to remain in production. However, as in so many similar cases, workers began to be made redundant. In addition to these circumstances, orders from the parent enterprise declined, which affected the situation of the Rohde factory in Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal, and as a result, insolvency proceedings started in September 2009, leading to the eventual closure of the factory and the dismissal of the workers.

Once again, I would denounce the unfair criteria of this fund and its regulation. Germany has submitted an application for a similar number of workers, and has been granted the mobilisation of an amount approximately three times greater than that mobilised for Portugal.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The decision to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for Portugal is aimed at supporting the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant, at a total amount of EUR 1 449 500, for 974 redundancies, 680 of whom are targeted for assistance.

The Portuguese Government submitted the application to the Commission at the end of 2010. The document mentions that the company was bought in an attempt to save Rohde, and the factory in Portugal was supposed to remain in production. However, workers began to be made redundant, and orders from the parent company declined, which affected the situation of the Rohde factory based in Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal, and as a result, insolvency proceedings started in September 2009, leading to the eventual closure of the factory and the dismissal of the workers.

When we assessed this proposal in the Working Group of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, of which I am a member, I highlighted the injustice of the fact that this mobilisation for Portugal amounts to only EUR 1.4 million, whereas in identical situations EUR 3.9 million were mobilised for Denmark, and approximately EUR 4.4 million for Germany.

Although we are voting in favour of all of them so as not to harm the workers involved, we have once again flagged up the deeply unfair criteria of the EGF.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE), in writing. − I support the mobilisation of the EGAF for the 680 redundant workers in Portugal. This application was based on Article 2a of the EGAF Regulation which establishes the link between redundancies and globalisation. The package of measures proposed include personalised services and I am particularly pleased to see that the recognition, validation and certification of competences including knowledge and skills acquired in formal and informal situations is reflected in the package. This is an important tool as is the training available for entrepreneurs. In particular the technical support offered is important. Finally, the financial support for the creation of a business up to EUR 20 000 Euro per job created is an important incentive.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE), in writing. (GA) I voted in favour of the report in relation to the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund to support the people of Portugal, and especially to help those now unemployed as a result of the closing of the “Rohde” shoe factory. With the globalisation of markets, it is important that the fund be available to the people of this area. We are talking about 974 people who have lost their jobs. We must provide retraining for these people.

In the long term in terms of money, it is cheaper for society to provide this money now, to attract new companies quicker and to provide employment. I am happy that the Members of this House are indicating their understanding through this vote in favour of the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council in relation to using the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was created in order to provide additional assistance to workers suffering the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns. On 17 August 2011, the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the EGF in favour of Portugal in order to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the global financial and economic crisis. One of the Commission’s assessment criteria is the existence of a link between the redundancies and major structural changes in world trade patterns or the financial crisis. In this particular case, Portugal argues that the clothing and footwear industries have been strongly hit by the crisis. These sectors are very vulnerable to external factors such as the loss of consumer purchasing power. The economic recession has had a negative impact on the labour market, unemployment levels have risen, and this has affected consumer confidence. The coordinated package of personalised services to be funded, including its compatibility with actions funded by the Structural Funds, includes measures for re-integrating the workers into the labour market: information and guidance, recognition, validation and certification of competences, vocational training, grants for training at personal initiative, support for self-placement, entrepreneurial support, support for business start-up, and integration plans, and so forth.

 
  
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  Vladimír Maňka (S&D), in writing. − (SK) This request concerns 974 redundant workers (the assistance applies to 680 of them) in a footwear industry enterprise operating primarily in the municipality of Santa Maria Da Feira, as well as in the neighbouring affected municipality of Ovar, with both of these municipalities situated in the NUTS II regions of Santa Maria Da Feira in the Norte region and Ovar in the Centro region of Portugal within the four-month reference period from 19 May 2010 and 19 September 2010. Like the two previous requests, they meet all the eligibility criteria for assistance.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. One of the criteria for the Commission’s assessment was the evaluation of the link between the redundancies and major structural changes in world trade patterns or the financial crisis, and in this particular case, Portugal argues that the clothing and footwear industries were strongly hit by the crisis. These sectors are very vulnerable to external factors such as loss of consumer purchasing power. The economic recession had a negative impact on the labour market, unemployment levels rose, and this affected consumer confidence. As a consequence, manufacturing industries experienced a sharp drop in sales and production. The Portuguese authorities report that Portugal recorded a decline in GDP over the last two quarters of 2008 and in 2009 (a 4% decrease according to the Banco de Portugal). Both clothing and footwear industries recorded a decrease in exports (EUR 24 million in clothing, EUR 6 million in footwear). Portuguese footwear exports declined in 2009 to EUR 1 207 million, representing 6.4 % less than those of the previous year.

 
  
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  Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Parliament has approved the mobilisation of EUR 1.4 million in order to support the workers made redundant from Rohde, a footwear company based in Santa Maria da Feira, a region with an unemployment level above the national average. Following bankruptcy proceedings that were doubtful, to say the least, 974 workers, 87% of them women, were targeted for mass redundancy. I voted in favour.

The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund cannot prevent redundancies or bankruptcy, but it does enable greater support to be given to the victims of mass redundancies. Approving this support is an important sign of the opposition to policies that seek to eliminate social rights and facilitate redundancies.

However, I regret the slowness of the whole process. The aid will finally be released 17 months after the first redundancies. I also wish that the programme had covered more measures in the areas of education and training, as 78.5% of the workers are poorly qualified, since they did not complete compulsory education.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU is an area of solidarity and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is a part of that. This support is essential for helping the unemployed and victims of company relocations that occur within a globalised context. More and more companies are relocating, taking advantage of lower labour costs in a number of countries, particularly China and India, with a damaging effect on those countries that respect workers’ rights. The EGF aims to help workers who are victims of the relocation of companies, and it is essential for facilitating access to new employment. The EGF has been used by other EU countries in the past, so now it is appropriate to grant this aid to Portugal, which has requested assistance with regard to 974 redundancies, 680 of which are targeted for assistance, at a company located mainly in the municipality of Santa Maria da Feira, and which has also affected the contiguous municipality of Ovar, both located respectively within the two NUTS II regions of Norte and Centro, in Portugal.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing.(ES) I voted in favour of this report on using funds from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) specifically for the 680 redundancies in six enterprises located mainly in the municipality of Santa Maria Da Feira, but which also affected the contiguous municipality of Ovar, in Portugal. The EGF provides additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns and assists their reintegration into the labour market. Portugal has submitted an application for EGF funds for redundancies in the automotive sector, which fulfil the eligibility criteria set up by the EGF Regulation. Now it should be ensured that the EGF supports the reintegration of redundant workers into employment, despite the fact that assistance from the EGF must not replace actions which are the responsibility of companies by virtue of national law or collective agreements, nor measures restructuring companies or sectors.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. On 17 August 2011, the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the EGF in favour of Portugal in order to support the reintegration in the labour market of workers made redundant due to the global financial and economic crisis. Good stuff, Barroso, very beautiful lobbying of Portugal. By the way, the conditions of the European Globalisation Fund are adjusted in a way to prevent other countries, such as Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, from participating in the mobilisation.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Portugal submitted an application for the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) on 26 November of last year, following 974 redundancies from Rohde – Sociedade Industrial de Calçado Luso-Alemã, Lda., a footwear manufacturing company. Of the 974 workers made redundant, 680 are targeted for assistance, and the Portuguese authorities estimate that approximately 70% of the workers made redundant will participate in the measures cofinanced by the EGF, although the others will find another job, move abroad, retire or participate in other actions that are supplementary to those cofinanced by the EGF. The assistance package will include recognition of skills, professional training, training, grants for training at personal initiative, training and support aimed at creating jobs, support for self-placement and incentives for recruitment. For all of the above reasons I voted in favour of this report, which will promote the reintegration of these Portuguese workers into the labour market.

 
  
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  Miguel Portas (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Parliament has approved the mobilisation of EUR 1.4 million in order to support the workers made redundant from Rohde, a footwear company based in Santa Maria da Feira, a region with an unemployment level above the national average. Following bankruptcy proceedings that were dubious, to say the least, 974 workers, 87% of them women, were targeted for mass redundancy. I voted in favour.

The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund cannot prevent redundancies or bankruptcy, but it does enable greater support to be given to the victims of mass redundancies. Approving this support is an important sign of the opposition to policies that seek to eliminate social rights and facilitate redundancies.

However, I regret the slowness of the whole process. The aid will finally be released 17 months after the first redundancies. I also wish that the programme had covered more measures in the areas of education and training, as 78.5% of the workers are poorly qualified, since they did not complete compulsory education.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The application submitted by Portugal for the intervention of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) relates to 974 cases of redundancy, 680 of which are targeted for assistance, at Rohde, and fulfils all of the legally established eligibility criteria. In effect, under Regulation (EC) No 546/2009 of Parliament and the Council, of 18 June 2009, which amended Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of Parliament and the Council on 20 December 2006 establishing the EGF, the scope of the EGF was temporarily widened, as it was expected that EGF funds would be required in situations like this, as a direct result of the global financial and economic crisis, if there were found to be ‘at least 500 redundancies over a period of four months in an enterprise in a Member State, including workers made redundant in its suppliers or downstream producers’. I therefore welcome the adoption of this proposal, and I hope that the assistance can be made available to the workers made redundant quickly and effectively, so that the mobilisation of the EGF can contribute to the effective reintegration of these workers into the labour market.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of Parliament and the Council of 20 December 2006 established the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) with the aim of supporting workers who lose their jobs due to structural changes in the context of the global economy. Rohde – Sociedade Industrial de Calçado Luso-Alemã, Lda – is a footwear manufacturing company which decided to cease trading, resulting in 974 workers being made redundant. On 26 November 2010, Portugal submitted an application for the mobilisation of the EGF in order to obtain funding to execute a training programme aimed at 680 workers made redundant from the company, based in Santa Maria da Feira. I am voting for this report as I believe that the funds granted to Portugal, to a total of EUR 1.4 million, or 65% of the total budgeted value, will make a key contribution to the professional reintegration of the workers. The intention is for them to participate in vocational training and recognition of competences, and that they will have access to grants for entrepreneurial support. It is worth pointing out that the EGF should not be a substitute for the legal and financial responsibilities of Rohde, but rather an additional support granted by the EU in order to alleviate the social difficulties of the Portuguese workers.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) As always, I abstained on this vote for further mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund.

I cannot oppose funding by the European Union of measures aimed at individual training for laid-off workers, in this instance workers employed by shoe factories in Portugal.

Nonetheless, I cannot support the very principle of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund which, through sporadic interventions on specific companies and regions, and using strict criteria, serves to fund redundancy plans.

By doing this, it seems to me that the European Union is easing its conscience on the cheap, thereby justifying ipso facto the social consequences of its economic policy of deregulation.

Many workers across Europe have been hit hard by the crisis; they all deserve the European Union’s support and they are waiting for a social Europe to be created, one that ensures that workers’ rights are finally put before shareholders’ interests.

The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund is of no use whatsoever and is by no means an appropriate solution to the crisis.

 
  
  

Reports: Barbara Matera (A7-0309/2011), (A7-0310/2011), (A7-0311/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report as I am strongly in favour of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund acting as an EU instrument of solidarity towards workers affected by the negative effects of globalisation and the current crisis.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created to provide additional assistance to workers made redundant as a result of the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns due to globalisation and to help them return to the jobs market. In the case of requests submitted after 1 May 2009, the scope of the EGF has been enlarged to include support for workers made redundant as a direct consequence of the world financial and economic crisis. On 11 May 2010, Denmark submitted an EGF mobilisation request because of redundancies in six enterprises operating in NACE Revision 2 division 28 (Manufacture of machinery and equipment) in the NUTS II Midtjylland (DK04) region, which was supplemented with additional information by 21 March 2011. As the request meets all the eligibility requirement the Commission proposes that EUR 3 944 606 be released. I am also of the view that the EGF should be mobilised to secure a financial contribution for the Danish request.

 
  
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  Marta Andreasen (EFD), in writing. I voted against the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund because its real function is to make the people of the nations of Europe feel that the EU is taking care of them in the ongoing economic crisis. It gives most money to workers, not in the countries worst affected but in those who are doing better. Not alone that, but it gives money to workers who are in receipt of redundancy packages and are eligible for unemployment benefits. I would like to find out how many workers that have benefited from the fund have found jobs in the field where they been retrained.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund has been created in order to provide additional assistance to workers suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns. According to the provisions of point 28 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management (1) and of Article 12 of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 (2), the Fund may not exceed a maximum amount of EUR 500 million, drawn from the margin under the global expenditure ceiling from the previous year, and / or from the cancelled commitment appropriations from the previous two years, excluding those related to Heading 1b. The appropriate amounts are entered into the budget as a provision as soon as the sufficient margins and/or cancelled commitments have been identified. Concerning the procedure, in order to activate the fund, the Commission, in the event of a positive assessment of an application, presents to the budgetary authority a proposal for mobilisation of the fund and, at the same time, a corresponding request for transfer. In parallel, a trialogue could be organised in order to find an agreement on the use of the fund and the amounts required. The trialogue could take a simplified form.

 
  
  

Report: Vital Moreira (A7-0297/2011)

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing.(LT) The draft Council decision on the conclusion of the agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Argentine Republic pursuant to Article XXIV:6 and Article XXVIII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 relating to the modification of concessions in the schedules of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania in the course of their accession to the European Union.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union has meant the enlargement of the customs union between the Member States, making it necessary to negotiate compensatory adjustments with any World Trade Organisation members that had rights over the acceding countries. Such adjustment is proper if the adoption of the EU’s external tariff regime results in a reduction of benefits for the third countries. That was the case with Argentina, which, as the rapporteur advocates, should now be compensated for this loss, because, as stated in Article XXIV:4 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the purpose of a customs union or of a free-trade area should be to facilitate trade between the constituent territories and not to raise barriers to the trade of other contracting parties with such territories.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This recommendation by Mr Moreira concerns the draft Council decision on the conclusion of an agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Argentine Republic pursuant to Article XXIV:6 and Article XXVIII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade of 1994, relating to the modification of concessions in the schedules of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania in the course of their accession to the European Union. The aim of this agreement, concluded in April 2011, is to carry out a compensatory adjustment in order to offset the increase in bound duties and meet World Trade Organisation requirements. The products concerned in this agreement are boneless meat of bovine animals (Argentina), boneless buffalo meat (Argentina), as well as erga omnes increases in the tariff rate quota on common wheat, malting barley and maize. Given that Argentina’s trading rights have been harmed by the enlargement of the EU customs union to Romania and Bulgaria, I welcome the adoption of this agreement and the restoration of Argentina’s trading rights.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) As a result of accession to the European Union, the Member States are obliged to harmonise their trade policies with Union rules. A good example of that is this report. In view of the agreements established between the EU and various countries with regard to tariffs and trade, countries applying for EU membership must modify the concessions provided for in their schedules. Upon the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, the tariff concessions of these two countries to Argentina were lower than those set out at EU level. It is therefore argued that, in order to comply with World Trade Organisation requirements, these two countries should open their markets to Argentine products.

We view this coercion and obligation as an attack on the sovereign right of each country to decide which bilateral trade relations it establishes internationally, according to its interests and the needs of its people. This modification to the concessions in the schedules of Bulgaria and Romania will not change the volume of imports of Argentine products to the EU, so the impact on other countries, such as Portugal, will be nonexistent.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Following their accession to the European Union, the Member States are obliged to harmonise their trade policies with Union rules. A good example of that is this report. Based on the agreements established between the EU and various countries in regard to tariffs and trade, countries applying for EU membership must modify the concessions provided for in their schedules. Upon the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, the tariff concessions of these two countries to Argentina were lower than those set out at EU level. It is therefore argued that, in order to comply with World Trade Organisation requirements, these two countries should open their markets to Argentine products. This coercion and obligation is an attack on the sovereign right of each country to decide which bilateral trade relations it establishes internationally, according to its interests and the needs of its people. This modification to the concessions in the schedules of Bulgaria and Romania will not change the volume of imports of Argentine products to the EU, so the impact on other countries, such as Portugal, will be nonexistent.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because its objective is to conclude an agreement with Argentina including Bulgaria and Romania. In order to meet WTO requirements two issues are addressed in the agreements. Firstly, the compensation of higher tariffs which are to be compensated. The method most often used is to open country allocated tariff rate quota or increase existing ones. Secondly, the pre accession erga omnes tariff rate quota for Bulgaria and Romania (not country-allocated but open to the whole world) also needs to be added to the existing erga omnes tariff rate quota for the EU. This agreement concerns boneless meat of bovine animals (Argentina), boneless buffalo meat (Argentina), as well as erga omnes increases in the tariff rate quota for common wheat, barley, malting barley and maize. Argentina is entitled to a restoration of its trading rights, which were eroded slightly due to the enlargement of the EU customs union to include Romania and Bulgaria. The purpose of a customs union or free-trade area should be to facilitate trade between the constituent territories and not to raise barriers to trade with other countries that have concluded agreements with these territories. This agreement is another sign that the EU wishes to respect the rules of the multilateral trading regime. I believe that the Commission was right to choose an increase of the tariff rate quota for Argentina for the products involved because it is the most appropriate instrument for compensating a country that deserves compensation.

 
  
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  Vladimír Maňka (S&D), in writing. (SK) Argentina is entitled to renew its trading rules as these were substantially distorted as a result of the expansion of the EU Customs Union to include Romania and Bulgaria. The EU wants to observe the multilateral trading rules and take collective preparatory measures to achieve the comprehensive agreement made at the Doha Development Round. EU enlargement is, generally speaking, of benefit to the members of the WTO. If the acceding countries had higher customs tariffs than the EU tariffs, this was because the WTO required them. Otherwise, where they had lower tariffs than the EU tariffs and they now have to increase them, the EU will make up the difference. That is a general requirement of WTO membership.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I welcome the agreement with Argentina and voted to give it consent. Argentina has the right to have its trading rights, which were slightly eroded due to the enlargement of the EU customs union with Romania and Bulgaria, restored.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) My vote on the Moreira report on the EU-Argentina Agreement. The key points that require an agreement to be reached, in full compliance with the rules of the multilateral trading regime, have been clearly identified.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Article XXIV:4 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade stresses that ‘the purpose of a customs union or of a free-trade area should be to facilitate trade between the constituent territories and not to raise barriers to the trade of other contracting parties with such territories’. In view of this, I welcome the adoption of this agreement, as Argentina has the right to have its trading rights, which were slightly eroded due to the enlargement of the EU customs union to Romania and Bulgaria, restored. This type of agreement shows that the EU wants to respect the rules of the multilateral trading regime, in the hope of contributing to a collective willingness to reach a comprehensive deal in the Doha Development Round.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing.(ES) With the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, the EU has enlarged its customs union. Consequently, the EU was obliged under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Article XXIV:6) to enter into negotiations with WTO Members having negotiating rights in the schedules of any of the acceding Members in order to agree on compensatory adjustment. I therefore voted in favour, so that this situation with Argentina can be regularised.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. The EU was obliged under WTO rules (GATT Article XXIV:6) to enter into negotiations with WTO members having negotiating rights in the schedules of any of the acceding members in order to agree on compensatory adjustment. Such adjustment is due if the adoption of the EU’s external tariff regime results in an increase in tariff beyond the level for which the acceding country has bound itself at the WTO. I abstained.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Argentina’s trading rights were slightly eroded due to the enlargement of the EU customs union to Romania and Bulgaria, with their accession resulting in lower tariffs for Argentina. This agreement is testament to the fact that the EU wants to respect the rules of the multilateral trading regime, hoping to contribute to a collective willingness to reach a comprehensive deal in the Doha Development Round. The research and dialogue carried out with stakeholders have confirmed that this agreement does not harm the EU’s agricultural interests, which were my main concern, because it only restores the previously existing rights of Argentina. I voted for the report for these reasons.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) With the enlargement of the EU to Bulgaria and Romania, it has become necessary, in terms of external policy, to reformulate agreements on tariff arrangements concluded with third countries. According to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, ‘the purpose of a customs union or of a free-trade area should be to facilitate trade between the constituent territories and not to raise barriers to the trade of other contracting parties with such territories’. The aim of the agreement in the form of an exchange of letters between the European Union and the Argentine Republic falls within the context of renegotiation, with a view to rebalancing the range of rights of both contracting parties, within the framework of the common tariff quota. In concrete terms, the agreement relates to the boneless meat of bovine animals, boneless buffalo meat, as well as increases in the tariff rate quota on common wheat, barley, malting barley and maize. 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. With the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, the EU has enlarged its customs union. Consequently, the EU was obliged under WTO rules (GATT Article XXIV:6) to enter into negotiations with WTO Members having negotiating rights in the schedules of any of the acceding Members in order to agree on compensatory adjustment.

Such adjustment is due if the adoption of the EU’s external tariff regime results in a tariff increase beyond the level for which the acceding country has bound itself at the WTO, whilst taking ‘due account of reductions of duties on the same tariff line made by other constituents of the customs union upon its formation’. The procedure set forth in Article XXVIII GATT(1), as elaborated in the guidelines adopted on 10 November 1980 (BISD 27S/26-28)(2) and in the Understanding on the Interpretation of Article XVIII of 1994(3) are to be followed.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. − (DE) After the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the EU and to its customs union, amendments had to be made under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. The agreement with Argentina concerns common wheat, barley, malting barley and maize. The tariff rate quota for each of these has been increased without the fear that the agricultural interests of the EU may be affected. I have voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) EU enlargement policy has meant that the European Union has also enlarged its customs union, albeit in compliance with WTO rules. This has resulted in its entering into negotiations with WTO Members having negotiating rights in the schedules of any of the acceding Members in order to agree on compensatory adjustment.

The agreement reached with Argentina, for which I voted today, will see the South American country’s trading rights, which were slightly eroded due to the enlargement of the EU customs union with the accession of Romania and Bulgaria, restored.

This agreement is further proof of the fact that the European Union intends to respect the rules of the multilateral trading regime, in the hope of contributing to the common effort to reach a global agreement fairly soon.

 
  
  

Report: Vital Moreira (A7-0296/2011)

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I welcomed the Council’s decision. With the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, the EU has enlarged its customs union. Consequently, the EU is obliged under WTO rules to enter into negotiations with WTO Members having negotiating rights in the schedules of any of the acceding Members States in order to agree on compensatory adjustment. Such adjustment is due if the adoption of the EU’s external tariff regime results in an increase in tariffs beyond the level of the acceding country’s commitment in the WTO. This agreement concerns lamb and goat meat. Australia is entitled to a restoration of its trading rights, which were eroded slightly due to the enlargement of the EU customs union to include Romania and Bulgaria. The Commission has proposed an increase of the tariff rate quota for the products in question as the most appropriate instrument of compensation.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Australia may come to have increasing importance in a multipolar world, owing to its historical and cultural ties with Europe. Like Argentina, Brazil, China, Cuba and the US, Australia has also been harmed in respect of customs duties on the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU, and it should be compensated for the enlargement of the tariff rate quota for products affected.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This recommendation by Mr Moreira concerns the draft Council decision on the conclusion of an agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and Australia pursuant to Article XXIV:6 and Article XXVIII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade of 1994, relating to the modification of concessions in the schedules of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania in the course of their accession to the EU. The aim of this agreement is to carry out a compensatory adjustment in order to offset the increase in bound duties and meet World Trade Organisation (WTO) requirements. Although the Council authorised the Commission to open negotiations in January 2007, the agreement was only signed on 24 May 2011. The products covered by this agreement are the meat of sheep or goats. In general, enlargement of the EU has been positive for the WTO members. However, given that Australia’s trading rights have been harmed by the enlargement of the EU customs union to Romania and Bulgaria, I welcome the adoption of this agreement and the restoration of Australia’s trading rights.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because its objective is to conclude an agreement with Australia including Bulgaria and Romania. In order to meet WTO requirements, two issues are addressed in the agreements. Firstly, the compensation of higher tariffs to be compensated. The method most often used is to open a country allocated tariff rate quota or increase existing ones. Secondly, the pre accession erga omnes tariff rate quota for Bulgaria and Romania (not country-allocated but open to the whole world) also needs to be added to the existing erga omnes tariff rate quota for the EU. This agreement concerns sheep and goat meat. Australia is entitled to a restoration of its trading rights, which were eroded slightly due to the enlargement of the EU customs union to include Romania and Bulgaria. The purpose of a customs union or free-trade area should be to facilitate trade between the constituent territories and not to raise barriers to trade with other countries that have concluded agreements with those territories. This agreement is another sign that the EU wishes to respect the rules of the multilateral trading regime. I believe that the Commission was right to choose an increase of the tariff rate quota for Australia for the products in question because it is the most appropriate instrument for compensating a country that deserves compensation.

 
  
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  Vladimír Maňka (S&D), in writing. (SK) Australia is entitled to renew its trading rules as these were substantially distorted as a result of the enlargement of the EU customs union to include Romania and Bulgaria. The aim of customs union and the free trade area agreement was to facilitate trade between the areas involved rather than to set up barriers to trade with the other signatory countries in these areas. The agreement is further demonstration of the EU’s desire to maintain the multilateral trade system and to share the collective preparedness to achieve the comprehensive agreement in the Doha Round of development talks. The Commission has rightly chosen the enlargement of the tariff rate quota for products from Australia, since this is the most targeted way of compensating those countries which need compensation. Although the Commission has not carried out an official impact assessment, research and dialogue with stakeholders have confirmed that this agreement does not harm EU agricultural interests, because it only restores the existing rights of Australia.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I welcome the agreement with Australia and believe the European Parliament is right to give its consent. Australia has the right to have its trading rights, which were slightly eroded due to the enlargement of the EU customs union with Romania and Bulgaria, restored.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) In this case too I voted in favour. I agree with the rapporteur that Australia has the right to have its trading rights, which were slightly eroded due to the enlargement of the EU customs union with the accession of Romania and Bulgaria, restored.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Article XXIV:4 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade stresses that ‘the purpose of a customs union or of a free-trade area should be to facilitate trade between the constituent territories and not to raise barriers to the trade of other contracting parties with such territories’. In view of this, I welcome the adoption of this agreement, as Australia has the right to have its trading rights, which were slightly eroded due to the enlargement of the EU customs union to Romania and Bulgaria, restored. This type of agreement shows that the EU wants to respect the rules of the multilateral trading regime, in the hope of contributing to a collective willingness to reach a comprehensive deal in the Doha Development Round.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing.(ES) With the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, the EU has enlarged its customs union. Consequently, the EU was obliged under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Article XXIV:6) to enter into negotiations with WTO Members having negotiating rights in the schedules of any of the acceding Members in order to agree on compensatory adjustment. I therefore voted in favour, so that this situation with Australia can be regularised.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. Since this report concerns the European Parliament’s assent to an agreement between the European Union and Australia in the course of Bulgaria and Romania’s accession to the European Union I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. – (PT) With the enlargement of the EU to Bulgaria and Romania, it has become necessary, in terms of external policy, to reformulate agreements on tariff arrangements concluded with third countries. According to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, ‘the purpose of a customs union or of a free-trade area should be to facilitate trade between the constituent territories and not to raise barriers to the trade of other contracting parties with such territories’. The aim of the agreement in the form of an exchange of letters between the European Union and Australia falls within the context of renegotiation, with a view to rebalancing the range of rights of both contracting parties, within the framework of the common tariff quota. The products covered by this agreement are the meat of sheep or goats. I voted in favour because I agree with the aim of this agreement.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. − (DE) After the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the EU and to its customs union, amendments had to be made under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. The agreement with Australia concerns sheep and goat meat. There is no likelihood of the agricultural interests of the EU being affected. For this reason, I have voted in favour.

 
  
  

Report: Vital Moreira (A7-0295/2011)

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I welcomed the Council’s decision. With the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, the EU has enlarged its customs union. Consequently, the EU is obliged under WTO rules to enter into negotiations with WTO Members having negotiating rights in the schedules of any of the acceding Members States in order to agree on compensatory adjustment. Such adjustment is due if the adoption of the EU’s external tariff regime results in an increase in tariff beyond the level of the acceding country’s commitment in the WTO. This agreement concerns sheep, goat meat and high-quality beef. New Zealand is entitled to a restoration of its trading rights, which were eroded slightly due to the enlargement of the EU customs union to include Romania and Bulgaria. The Commission has proposed an increase of the tariff rate quota for the products in question as the most appropriate instrument of compensation.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) New Zealand will be compensated for reductions of duties following the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU, through an increase in tariff quotas affected by that reduction. By supporting this compensation, the EU is acting fairly and seeking to respect the spirit of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, in order to contribute to ever fairer and freer international trade.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This recommendation by Mr Moreira concerns the draft Council decision on the conclusion of an agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and New Zealand pursuant to Article XXIV:6 and Article XXVIII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade of 1994, relating to the modification of concessions in the schedules of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania in the course of their accession to the European Union. The aim of this agreement, concluded on 28 April 2011, is to carry out a compensatory adjustment in order to offset the increase in bound duties and meet World Trade Organisation (WTO) requirements. The products concerned in this agreement are the meat of sheep or goats, and high-quality beef. In general, enlargement of the EU has been positive for the WTO members. However, given that New Zealand’s trading rights have been harmed by the enlargement of the EU customs union to Romania and Bulgaria, I welcome the adoption of this agreement and the restoration of New Zealand’s trading rights.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because its objective is to conclude an agreement with New Zealand including Bulgaria and Romania. In order to meet WTO requirements, two issues are addressed in the agreements. Firstly, the compensation of higher tariffs which are to be compensated. The method most often used is to open a country allocated tariff rate quota or increase existing ones. Secondly, the pre accession erga omnes tariff rate quota for Bulgaria and Romania (not country-allocated but open to the whole world) also needs to be added to the existing erga omnes tariff rate quota for the EU. This agreement concerns sheep and goat meat (for Australia and New Zealand) and high-quality beef. New Zealand is entitled to a restoration of its trading rights, which were eroded slightly due to the enlargement of the EU customs union to include Romania and Bulgaria. The purpose of a customs union or free-trade area should be to facilitate trade between the constituent territories and not to raise barriers to trade with other countries that have concluded agreements with these territories. This agreement is another sign that the EU wishes to respect the rules of the multilateral trading regime. I believe that the Commission was right to choose an increase of the tariff rate quota for New Zealand for the products in question because it is the most appropriate instrument for compensating a country that deserves compensation.

 
  
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  Vladimír Maňka (S&D), in writing. (SK) The Commission has rightly chosen the enlargement of the tariff rate quota for New Zealand for the products involved, since it is the most targeted way of compensating those countries which need compensation. Although the Commission has not carried out an official impact assessment, research and dialogue with stakeholders have confirmed that this agreement does not harm EU agricultural interests, because it only restores the existing rights of New Zealand. The EU and New Zealand will notify each other of the completion of their internal procedures for the entry into force of the agreement. We hope that our partner country will also complete its internal procedures without delay so that producers will benefit from market access as soon as possible.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I welcome the agreement with New Zealand and believe the European Parliament is right to give its consent. New Zealand has the right to have its trading rights, which were slightly eroded due to the enlargement of the EU customs union with Romania and Bulgaria, restored.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) The agreement with New Zealand is also necessary, especially to offset the increase in bound duties.

I voted in favour of the report on the EU-New Zealand Agreement relating to the modification of concessions in the schedules of Bulgaria and Romania in the course of their accession to the European Union.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Article XXIV:4 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade stresses that ‘the purpose of a customs union or of a free-trade area should be to facilitate trade between the constituent territories and not to raise barriers to the trade of other contracting parties with such territories’. In view of this, I welcome the adoption of this agreement, as New Zealand has the right to have its trading rights, which were slightly eroded due to the enlargement of the EU customs union to Romania and Bulgaria, restored. This type of agreement shows that the EU wants to respect the rules of the multilateral trading regime, in the hope of contributing to a collective willingness to reach a comprehensive deal in the Doha Development Round.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing.(ES) With the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, the EU has enlarged its customs union. Consequently, the EU was obliged under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Article XXIV:6) to enter into negotiations with WTO Members having negotiating rights in the schedules of any of the acceding Members in order to agree on compensatory adjustment. I therefore voted in favour, so that this situation with New Zealand can be regularised.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − Since this report concerns the European Parliament’s assent to an agreement between the European Union and New Zealand in the course of Bulgaria and Romania’s accession to the European Union I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) New Zealand’s trading rights were slightly eroded due to the enlargement of the EU customs union to Romania and Bulgaria, with their accession resulting in lower tariffs for Argentina. This agreement is another example of the fact that the EU wants to respect the rules of the multilateral trading regime, in the hope of contributing to a collective willingness to reach a comprehensive deal in the Doha Development Round. The research and dialogue carried out with stakeholders have confirmed that this agreement does not harm the EU’s agricultural interests, which were my main concern, because it only restores the previously existing rights of New Zealand. I voted for the report for these reasons.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) With the enlargement of the EU to Bulgaria and Romania, it has become necessary, in terms of external policy, to reformulate agreements on tariff arrangements concluded with third countries. According to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, ‘the purpose of a customs union or of a free-trade area should be to facilitate trade between the constituent territories and not to raise barriers to the trade of other contracting parties with such territories’. The aim of the agreement in the form of an exchange of letters between the European Union and New Zealand falls within the context of renegotiation, with a view to rebalancing the range of rights of both contracting parties, within the framework of the common tariff quota. The products concerned in this agreement are the meat of sheep or goats, and high-quality beef. I voted in favour because I agree with the aim of this agreement.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. − (DE) Following the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the EU and to its customs union, amendments had to be made under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. The increase in the tariff rate quota for New Zealand concerns sheep and goat meat and high-quality beef. It is generally believed that there is no reason to fear that the agricultural interests of the EU will be affected. Therefore, I have voted in favour of this agreement.

 
  
  

Reports: Vital Moreira (A7-0295/2011), (A7-0296/2011), (A7-0297/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, as I agree with Article XXIV and Article XXVIII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade of 1994 on matters concerning the modification of concessions in the schedules of Bulgaria and Romania in the course of their accession to the European Union.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) With the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, the EU has enlarged its customs union. Consequently, the EU was obliged under WTO rules to enter into negotiations with WTO Members with negotiating rights in the schedules of any of the acceding Members in order to agree on compensatory adjustment. The aim is to agree on a mutually satisfactory compensatory adjustment in order to offset the increase in bound duties. Both parties have an interest in reaching agreement. On 29 January 2007, the Council authorised the Commission to open negotiations under Article XXIV(6) of GATT with countries eligible for compensation. The Council initialled the agreement with New Zealand on 7 September 2010. On 11 April 2011, the Council authorised the signature. The signing of the agreement with New Zealand took place on 28 April 2011. To meet WTO requirements, two issues are addressed in the agreements. Firstly, the compensation of higher tariffs which are to be compensated while secondly, the pre-accession tariff rate quota of Bulgaria and Romania also needs to be added to the existing erga omnes tariff rate quota of the EU. I welcome the agreement with New Zealand and am of the opinion that the European Parliament should approve it. New Zealand is entitled to renew the rules of its trading regime as this was substantially distorted as a result of the enlargement of the European customs union to include Romania and Bulgaria.

 
  
  

Report: Corien Wortmann-Kool (A7-0178/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting against this report. In particular, I would draw attention to the fact that the identification, prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances must take into consideration the weaknesses of each country or region, as in the case of the more outlying regions and countries, whose resources and geographical location are an asset to the European economy. However, I must stress the utmost importance of the inclusion of Article 5(a) in this regulation, which advocates that the Commission play a greater part in limiting the role of the Council in issuing warnings and sanctions to Member States.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) Confronted with the economic and financial crisis, the European Union must show determination and ambition. Parliament is giving its opinion here on the said ‘six pack or ‘governance package’, which contains six legislative proposals aimed at strengthening European economic governance. The Wortmann-Kool report sets out to amend and strengthen the Stability and Growth Pact which, in its current form, has proved inadequate. This report includes preventive measures which should make it possible to anticipate any future crisis. Thus, it seeks to enhance budgetary discipline by monitoring increases in State expenditure, by introducing a ‘European Semester’ where European and national politicians will meet to discuss economic issues. The European Commission will also be able to issue recommendations to the Member States. Convinced that economic and budgetary coordination between European countries should be deeply enhanced, I voted in favour of Korien Wortmann-Kool’s report.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The coordination of the Member States’ economic policies, in line with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, involves observance of the following guiding principles: stable prices, robust public finances and monetary conditions, and a sustainable balance of payments. The aim is to lay down rules regulating the content, presentation, examination and monitoring of stability programmes and convergence programmes, as part of the multilateral surveillance that the Commission and Council want to carry out. The intention is to prevent budget deficits and excessive debt at an early stage, and to promote the surveillance and coordination of economic policy, thus helping the Union hit its growth and jobs targets. Parliament will be involved in the European Semester, in order to increase the transparency, ownership and accountability of the decisions taken, specifically through economic dialogue. The Council will be obliged to publicly justify its reasoning in Parliament whenever it does not follow the Commission’s recommendations in relation to situations where the Stability and Growth Pact has been contravened. The inclusion of reversed majority voting throughout the package is particularly important, not least in the preventive part of the Stability and Growth Pact. I voted for this report for these reasons.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The economic governance package has been adopted. I voted against the large majority of reports for I believe we have come too late with these reports. There is a huge gap between this package and the current crisis we are in. Europe’s crisis is such that there is urgency, but urgency to do something else: such a package could make sense in a period of stability, but that now seems a long way off.

Focusing on stricter sanctions and harsher rules without proposing a large-scale project for economic, environmental and social investment is a mistake. Austerity is already a reality for everyone in Europe; what we need is a positive vision for the future.

The Eurobonds project, which is mentioned in Ms Goulard’s report, is one of the conduits for getting us out of the crisis. It should be noted that these European bonds should not just be used to repay the debt, but also to promote investment. To fund future projects in the energy sector, transport, research and innovation, it is now that we need these ‘project bonds’, as they are called, not in three or five years’ time.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Adopting the package featuring the six regulatory acts on economic governance will plug a legislative gap in the functioning of the European Union. The current budget deficit crisis has highlighted that the EU cannot function properly only on the basis of trust. In fact, solidarity without any supervision and control mechanisms can destroy the trust of citizens in some Member States in European integration.

The balance struck between the financial adjustment mechanisms and social aspects ought to have resulted in all the political groups voting in favour. However, this did not happen, with the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament abstaining or voting against some of articles, after they tried to send back the laws to the specialist parliamentary committee (Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs). However, the compromise made by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and the European Conservatives and Reformists Group prevailed and enabled the package to be referred and adopted in plenary.

I would like this package and the mechanisms provided in it to work so that no one can ever say again, in future, that they did not have the proper instruments available to stop a Member State taking the wrong path. It goes without saying that the legislative package addresses future challenges, with the EU still trying to find or apply a solution for the current crisis.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. (FR) The adoption of the ‘economic governance’ package is a historic step for the euro area and the Union as a whole. The Greek sovereign debt crisis brings us proof on a daily basis that genuine European economic governance is necessary, as well as a Stability and Growth Pact that is strong, credible and adhered to. We will only come out of this crisis by consolidating our public finances permanently.

The measures that we have adopted today will strengthen the Stability and Growth Pact and will improve the monitoring mechanisms that are meant to prevent and correct macroeconomic imbalances which could lead to contagion. Strong and bold measures are required to address all the elements that contributed to worsening the crisis.

I welcome the announcement by the President of the Commission, José Manuel Barroso, of the creation of a tax on financial transactions. I have been campaigning for several months in favour of creating such a tax, which President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel have been hoping and praying for. Back in March, the European Parliament called on the European Commission to submit proposals in this regard. I am glad that this call has at last been heard.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this legislative resolution as I agree that stability and convergence programmes should be submitted and assessed before key decisions are taken on national budgets for the years to come. A specific deadline should therefore be set for the submission of these programmes. The Stability and Growth Pact and the entire framework for economic governance complement and support the Union’s growth and jobs strategy.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) I voted against the report and the economic governance package as a whole, because this particular package is the wrong response to the crisis. The neoliberal interpretation that excessive public debt and failure to adhere to the Stability and Growth Pact are responsible for the crisis in the European Union is perpetuating the same antisocial, anti-growth policies. Thus, new policies for reducing government spending on social policies and cutting back on labour and social rights are being promoted. The Commission’s absolute control over fiscal policies and sanctions of an economic and political nature are maximising the democratic deficit in the European Union. The application of the package will exacerbate the recession, increase unemployment and extend social and regional inequalities.

 
  
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  Philip Claeys (NI) , in writing. – (NL) The federalists in the European Parliament are taking advantage of the problems in some Member States of the euro area in order to force a centralised economic policy on all other Member States. In so doing, we are once again robbing the voters of their democratic right to express their opinion. The sovereignty of the Member States is being further eroded, the democratic deficit is again becoming much larger and there can hardly be any talk of the subsidiarity principle any more.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The current economic, financial and social crisis has demonstrated that the economic governance model in force in the European Union has not worked: the surveillance framework has shown itself to be very weak and the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) have not been respected.

I therefore agree with the package of measures that the Commission has tabled on economic governance, which should have a key role in preventing future crises, and in strengthening European competitiveness and economic growth. I am voting for Ms Wortmann-Kool’s report on strengthening budgetary surveillance and the coordination of economic policies. I agree with the inclusion of reversed majority voting throughout the package, and in particular in the preventive part of the SGP. This reinforces the role of the Commission by requiring a qualified majority in the Council in order to reject the Commission’s decision.

I think the ‘economic dialogue’ provided for here, which ensures greater transparency and accountability, is very important, as is the clear and necessary link with the European Semester. I welcome the strengthening of the SGP rules, as they allow for greater surveillance in order to prevent, at an early stage, budget deficits and also excessive debts, with a view to sustainable growth.

 
  
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  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. (RO) The European Parliament has held the final vote today on the economic governance legislative package. This is a package of six proposals relating to the coordination of economic policies in the European Union.

I chose to vote against the majority of these proposals as I think that the solution to the current economic crisis cannot consist exclusively of austerity measures. The European Union needs fiscal adjustment measures. However, they also have to be combined with elements fostering investment, job creation and economic growth. The austerity package voted on today in the European Parliament could fuel economic stagnation and exacerbate the precarious situation which numerous European Union citizens are in.

However, I welcome the announcement made today by Mr Barroso and reinforced by Mr Olli Rehn, the EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, about the proposals which the European executive is preparing on introducing a tax on financial transactions and issuing common Eurobonds. Implementing the second initiative would help reduce Member States’ debts and increase liquidity on the European market, encouraging the much-awaited prospect of economic recovery.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted against the majority of the proposals included in this report as they are likely to exacerbate the tough economic situation the European Union is in. I chose to vote against most of these proposals as I think that the solution to the current economic crisis cannot consist exclusively of austerity measures.

The European Union needs fiscal adjustment measures. However, they also have to be combined with elements fostering investment, job creation and economic growth.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report forms one of the six proposals for legislation by Parliament and the Council on the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances within the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). It is worth highlighting the importance that the report ascribes to the criteria set out in the SGP and the need for their incorporation in the Member States’ jurisdictions, whilst ensuring that the Member States take these criteria into account in their annual deficit and public debt estimates. I am voting for this report, as I believe it forms part of a necessary plan for restructuring the effectiveness and rigour of European economic policy, and adds value to the entire legislative pact at issue. I believe good economic governance is achieved with better political coordination through a strengthened surveillance framework that ensures the national transposition of Union legislation. However, I am bound to criticise the fact that the proposals made by the Commission on 15 September 2010 have only received the Council’s assent over a year later.

 
  
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  Proinsias De Rossa (S&D), in writing. I opposed four of the so-called ‘six pack’ because they are economically misguided, and will reinforce the EU austerity programme driving us into recession. Austerity measures which fail to protect investment will kill growth, destroy jobs and derail economic recovery. Without growth a return to sound public finances will be simply impossible. I welcome today’s adoption of the regulation establishing a system for detecting and correcting macroeconomic imbalances. It contains important measures protecting social rights, ensuring that a wide range of potential economic imbalances will be monitored. There is a clear alternative to brute austerity. We need a broader and more ambitious agenda for the euro zone. We need an alternative economic governance scheme that includes: 1. A European Growth and Jobs Pact to promote investment, recovery, growth and jobs as well as restoring public finances. 2. Stronger and more democratic decision-making arrangements, so that Europe can respond promptly and effectively. 3. A strong system of eurobonds to stabilise markets and lower interest rates. 4. A tax on financial transactions, to raise new revenue and limit harmful forms of speculation 5. A larger European budget to support European-wide policies and financed through own resources.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted against the report on the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and coordination of economic policies, as it forms part of a legislative package on economic governance whose measures concentrate almost exclusively on austerity and sanctions, which will have extremely negative consequences for the European economy and the European public. Austerity alone will not solve the crisis in the euro area. There is a need for policies to consolidate public finances which promote smart growth, social cohesion and jobs, and which provide, specifically, for the creation of a system of Eurobonds and a financial transaction tax.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) We can draw two important conclusions from the crisis: the need for organised public finances, and the urgent need to work towards the increased coordination of economic policy between Member States, with an emphasis on prevention. This report concerns those exact points. I would first of all stress the importance of including the European Semester in this legislative text, increasingly providing an effective platform for joint political discussion of the budgetary policies adopted by all the Member States, which will favour a robust and balanced economic union. I would stress the crucial importance of EU Member States’ public finances being in order, as well as the need to adopt increasingly responsible economic policies that ensure stability and growth. We need to adopt policies that save money, principally when times are good, so that we are better able to face the harder times. I consider this report to be crucial if we, as a Union, are to achieve more coordination and increasingly better prevention and correction of incorrect policies. Finally, I would like to thank my colleague from my group, Ms Wortmann-Kool, for her exemplary work in putting together and concluding this package.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Ms Wortmann-Kool, concerns the proposal for a regulation of Parliament and the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1466/97 on the strengthening of the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and coordination of economic policies. The global economic and financial crisis has shown there to be a certain weakness at the heart of the European Union, making it necessary for us to have a complete framework of economic governance consistent with the EU strategy for growth and employment. The current economic situation is very complicated, so we need a robust and sustained response. As it has become necessary to stabilise the economic sustainability of the euro area, I voted for this report, since I believe that it establishes a set of rigorous yet realistic principles, especially the preventive coordination of all European finances and the creation of stability conditions so that the difficulties that some EU countries are undergoing at present will not be passed on to future generations; in short, the transition to true economic governance in the EU.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This is another part of the package of six legislative texts on so-called economic governance, which aims to strengthen surveillance of budgetary positions, and the surveillance and coordination of economic policies. This regulation lays down the rules regulating the content, presentation, examination and monitoring of stability programmes and convergence programmes, as part of the multilateral surveillance that the Commission and Council want to carry out at an early stage; the argument being to prevent budget deficits and excessive debt, and to promote the surveillance and coordination of economic policy. This is an unacceptable draining away of competences from the political structures that are close to, and controlled by, the public.

They always argue that the objective is growth and employment, but, as they have forgotten policies of solidarity, and of economic and social cohesion, committing only to monetarist and neoliberal policies in the interests of guaranteeing greater profits for large companies and financial institutions, what we will have is more social inequality, more unemployment and more poverty, as the cases of Greece, Ireland and Portugal have already shown. With these texts we will therefore witness a deterioration of the economic, social and political situation, which will inevitably cause further social tension and more conflicts, with unforeseeable consequences.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted against this report, which forms part of the package of six legislative texts on economic governance and aims to strengthen surveillance of budgetary positions, and the surveillance and coordination of economic policies. This regulation lays down the rules regulating the content, presentation, examination and monitoring of stability programmes and convergence programmes, as part of the multilateral surveillance that the Commission and Council want to carry out at an early stage; the argument being to prevent budget deficits and excessive debt, and to promote the surveillance and coordination of economic policy.

They always argue that the objective is growth and employment, but, as they have forgotten policies of solidarity, and of economic and social cohesion, committing only to monetarist and neoliberal policies in the interests of guaranteeing greater profits for large companies and financial institutions, what we will have is more social inequality, more unemployment and more poverty, as the cases of Greece, Ireland and Portugal have already shown. With these texts we will therefore witness a deterioration of the economic, social and political situation, which will inevitably cause further social tension and more conflicts, with unforeseeable consequences.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) Coordinating the economic policies of Member States within the EU should entail compliance with the guiding principles of stable prices, sound public finances and monetary conditions and a sustainable balance of payments. The Stability and Growth Pact is based on the objective of sound public finances as a means of strengthening the conditions for price stability and sustainable growth and leading to the creation of new jobs. The preventive part of the Stability and Growth Pact requires that Member States should achieve and maintain a medium-term budgetary objective and submit stability and convergence programmes to that effect. Adherence to the medium-term budgetary objective should allow Member States to have a safety margin with respect to the 3% of GDP reference value in order to ensure a rapid progress towards stability and to have room for budgetary manoeuvre, in particular taking into account the need for public investment. The obligation to achieve and maintain the medium-term budgetary objective needs to be put into operation through the specification of principles of prudent fiscal policy-making. In order to ensure compliance with the fiscal surveillance framework a specific enforcement mechanism should be established for cases where a persistent and significant deviation from prudent fiscal policy-making prevails. The recommendations of Regulation (EC) No 1466/97 must take into account the renumbering of the articles in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which is why I believe that the Regulation should be appropriately amended.

 
  
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  Vicky Ford (ECR), in writing. I abstain as the main effect of this report will be within the eurozone and for countries committed to joining the eurozone. Whilst I welcome measures to enforce stronger fiscal discipline, I also respect the rights of Members from those countries to make their own decisions on this report. Despite the text here, the UK cannot be forced to act on recommendations under SGP due to TFEU Protocol 15.

 
  
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  Robert Goebbels (S&D), in writing. (FR) Along with a large majority of socialists, I voted against the ‘economic governance’ package. Budgetary discipline is simply necessary. The Member States must accept being subject to control and, in the event of overspending, being called to order. However, I am against what are called ‘automatic’ sanctions, taken at the level of senior civil servants, be they Commissioners. Those elected by the people, Members of Parliament and Ministers should face up to their responsibilities.

That is called democracy. What is more, I do not believe that the markets will be impressed by the economic ‘six pack’. Most traders’ mindset is so limited by financial greed that an economic ‘six pack’ would at best make them think of six cans of beer. Instead of self-flagellating on its fiscal policy, the European Union should put pressure on the markets by imposing restrictions on speculative transactions and by imposing transparency in all financial transactions.

 
  
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  Mathieu Grosch (PPE), in writing. − (DE) In the context of the current financial and economic crisis, it is relatively hard to understand how the Council can act as the sum of the different national interests in the financial debates, instead of finally coming to a decision on a joint position. Budgetary discipline is one of these sensitive subjects. In good times the countries call for this type of discipline and in bad times they want to avoid it.

Therefore, this report clearly states Parliament’s intention of achieving the necessary stability.

 
  
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  Roberto Gualtieri (S&D), in writing. (IT) In voting against the Wortmann-Kool report, and in fact against the entire ‘governance package’, the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament is not saying ‘no’ to more robust and stringent European rules on the fiscal policies of the Member States, but is expressing its opposition to a specific line of economic policy: a line focused solely on budgetary discipline, and therefore an inadequate response to the current serious economic and financial crisis. As a condition of its support for the package, the S&D Group had requested the introduction of a golden rule to ‘save’ productive investment from swingeing cuts. The alliance between the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and the Euro-sceptic conservatives of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, backed by the Council, has made it inevitable that we would vote against by rejecting this potential compromise, which opposes a line that is destined to exacerbate the sovereign debt crisis and to hit both social cohesion and growth prospects in Europe hard.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I voted against the Wortmann-Kool report as it does not provide in any way for a sustainable exit from the financial, economic and social crisis. By restricting itself to a punitive approach alone, the economic governance package straitjackets the Member States into austerity policies.

Instead of guaranteeing policies for recovery, that support consumption and investment for the future, this package is making the people pay for the crisis, by stifling growth and destroying jobs, and will consequently prevent any return to balanced budgets. The consolidation of public finances must be accompanied by a policy for growth and recovery, and this economic governance package is nothing other than an abdication in the face of the all-powerful financial markets and credit-rating agencies. There is another way forward; the European right will have to accept the heavy responsibility for not having chosen it.

 
  
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  Gerald Häfner (Verts/ALE), in writing. (DE) We adopt regulations which are binding on the Member States and on taxpayers, on citizens and on society. Despite the fact that this may seem necessary in terms of fiscal and economic policy in a monetary union, at the same time it involves a dramatic restriction of freedom and democracy. The decisions made in this way will have a major impact on hundreds of millions of people over the next few years. They will result in cuts in social security spending, wages and pensions and they will put a stop to necessary investment in the future of our countries. As far as sustainability, intergenerational justice and cooperation in financial and economic policy are concerned, this should be welcomed. However, as long as we regard these savings as the response to the financial crisis of the last few years and do not tackle its real causes, this will be a fatal solution that affects the wrong people and continues to expose our community and the public budgets to the world of financial speculation, which is still not adequately regulated. On their own, the measures which have been decided on do not yet represent the treatment. Instead, they are continuing the scandalous situation which is leading to a huge reallocation from the taxpayers to the banks, from the public to the private sector, from the funding for investment, culture and social services into the pockets of irresponsible financial agencies, from the real economy, from the productively employed and the service providers to the investors who do not provide a service, from the future to the past. As a result, we are putting our community at risk.

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. I abstained on the six reports on economic governance as they relate primarily to the eurozone of which my country is not a part.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because the economic and financial crisis has exposed the need to review the framework for the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) with a view to enforcing existing instruments and broadening the procedures for coordination and multilateral surveillance. The economic governance package comprises six proposals aimed at reinforcing the coordination and surveillance of economic policies in the EMU, taking into account the Europe 2020 strategy and the European Semester, which is a new surveillance cycle under the Stability and Growth Pact and the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines. Two of the proposals in question are concerned with the excessive deficit procedure. The other four concern the multilateral surveillance procedure. This proposal for a regulation sets out provisions ensuring the pursuit of prudent fiscal policies and the sustainability of public finance in the Member States. Despite this precise framework, the current economic context shows that progress towards achieving medium-term budgetary objectives has generally been insufficient. Moreover, the structural balance has in practice proved an insufficient measure of a country`s underlying fiscal position. Consequently, the proposed regulation provides for detailed rules to ensure the coordination of the economic policies and economic performance of Member States.

 
  
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  Cătălin Sorin Ivan (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted against this report because I think that in recession it defies economic logic to call for measures which will definitely prevent economic growth even more. In addition, I think that this report clearly runs counter to the Europe 2020 strategy. There are other options: the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament has suggested a much more coherent policy whose main objective is economic growth and job creation.

 
  
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  Filip Kaczmarek (PPE), in writing.(PL) I endorsed the Wortmann-Kool report. I also endorsed the whole set, or the ‘six pack’, as we call it. It is a very important package. I am surprised that some fellow Members do not understand it is our duty to tackle the crisis. I am proud that it has been possible to achieve interinstitutional agreement during the Polish Presidency. I am proud that although Poland is not a member of the euro area, it has taken an active part in the search for solutions and agreement. It is characteristic that the opposition in different countries is trying to deprecate the provisions of the ‘six pack’. Party interests are winning over judicious concern for the common good – what a pity. The socialists voted against, which means they voted against the people. Failure to react to the crisis will hit at ordinary citizens. This is not socially-minded action – quite the contrary. Tackling the crisis should be our shared objective. I hope that in future even the socialists will understand the importance of this area of our work.

 
  
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  Tunne Kelam (PPE), in writing. − I congratulate Parliament and my political group the EPP for the adoption of the economic governance package. The very fact that majority of this House supports the framework of urgent legislative measures to prevent further financial crisis, introducing necessary fiscal discipline, provides hope that the crisis can be overcome. Especially important is introducing the automatic sanctions mechanism, which could lead us to relying more on the Community method. The Commission has to take the lead in this issue, with Member States who are unable to fulfil the necessary economic criteria taking responsibility.

The speed of the EU as a whole cannot be dictated by the slowest ones. Continued domination of the intergovernmental method will turn the EU backward. The only way to restore confidence and boost economic growth will be moving from financial union toward an economic union while bringing the single market to its completion in all sectors, including the services and digital market sectors.

 
  
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  Marine Le Pen (NI), in writing. (FR) After one year of debating, we are voting on the package of measures for the Union’s new economic governance. This package is about forcing the Member States to keep their deficit under 3% of GDP and their public debt under 60% of GDP. As a result, national budgets will be monitored and assessed early on by the Commission and the Member States; this is what is referred to as the European Semester.

Then, recommendations will be given if debt reduction policies are not complied with. And if there is no improvement, the ‘bad pupils’ will be threatened with a demand to deposit funds equivalent to 0.2% of their GDP, and this deposit will turn into a fine if the ‘bad pupil’ refuses to follow the rules.

Monitoring, assessment, recommendations then sanctions: that is what the sovereign nations of Europe will have to endure from a Commission that has no democratic legitimacy. This economic governance package is nothing short of imposing oversight, an unacceptable attack on the sovereignty and freedom of the nations to decide their future. Worse still, all this will be in vain because the austerity plans that will be imposed will stifle growth and will dramatically and irreversibly accentuate the crisis and then bankruptcy.

 
  
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  Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D), in writing.(PL) I voted against four of the regulations, as did the entire Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, I abstained in one case and I endorsed the Ferreira report. The reason for this has been clear for many months. We support increasing budgetary discipline, and we support the Community approach as against the renationalisation of economic and financial policy. While these have been written into the ‘six pack’, this has been done without great conviction. Our only point of disagreement is with the cuts and sacrifices themselves. The sacrifices and cuts are going to affect public employees, people working as hired labourers, business people and, indirectly, people living on old age and disability pensions. Along with my political group I want a new economic and financial policy for the Union – including taxation of financial transactions and the issue of EU project and stabilisation bonds. Only today did we hear unequivocal declarations from Mr Barroso. Recovery from the crisis is possible with an active investment policy, including the creation of new jobs and of the conditions necessary for increasing the competitiveness of the economy.

 
  
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  Astrid Lulling (PPE), in writing. (FR) The vote on the economic governance package, and especially on the Wortmann-Cool report, is an important although late step in addressing the crisis of the eurozone. It is fortunate that the Council has given in on a few critical points that will strengthen the Stability and Growth Pact, of which the repeated violations have led to the current deadlock.

The Stability and Growth Pact will be a means of preventing characterised overspending. However, it will only be applied once we have come out of the systemic euro crisis. The current situation demands urgent solutions, which the institutions have a duty to implement quickly.

Given what is at stake, I regret the deplorable attitude of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, which has immured itself in futile opposition instead of joining the strongly pro-Europeans in order to strengthen the Stability and Growth Pact. One hour after the Chairman of the S&D Group, Mr Schulz, said that resolving the crisis required stronger Community institutions, by saving the Community method, his group chose politicking by rejecting the agreement on economic governance. Ill-advised, the S&D Group did itself the worst disservice possible at this time.

 
  
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  Vladimír Maňka (S&D), in writing. − (SK) Experience gained and mistakes made during the first decade of functioning of the Economic and Monetary Union show a need for improved economic governance in the Union, which should be built on stronger national responsibility for commonly agreed rules and policies and on a more robust surveillance framework of national economic policies at Union level. This regulation makes it possible to issue recommendations and demand contributions from Member States who fail to stick to their medium-term fiscal consolidation targets, including if their results are in compliance with the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact (3% deficit, 60% of GDP). I have not supported the regulation because:

1) it fails to analyse whether this management of economic policy will contribute to meeting the Europe 2020; these rules would mean that the aims of long-term growth, development and sustainability will be subordinated to short-term budgetary and market pressure;

2) the rules are not supported by economic theory and will tie the hands of politicians;

3) the regulation favours cutting expenditure rather than increasing revenue; this will obstruct growth and employment and contribute to dismantling the state.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I welcome this proposal establishing a legal framework for the surveillance of the national reform programmes. I would have liked a stronger emphasis on growth and jobs.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) The recent financial crisis has exposed the need to review and strengthen the existing instruments for coordination and multilateral surveillance of the various Member States’ economic policies. This is the ambitious objective of the economic governance package adopted here today.

The Stability and Growth Pact is based on the objective of sound government finances as a means of strengthening the conditions for price stability, strong and sustainable growth, and employment. We would therefore benefit from more stringent forms of surveillance in order to ensure Member States’ consistency and compliance with the Union’s budgetary coordination framework.

This new strategy should focus on development and the strengthening of the internal market, and should foster international trade and competitiveness, in order to prevent and correct excessive budgetary positions.

The Council and the Commission should make public their positions and decisions at the appropriate stages of the coordination procedures. We also consider it of utmost importance that the strengthening of economic governance goes hand in hand with reinforcing the democratic legitimacy of European governance. In this respect, the role of the European Parliament should be strengthened in the whole surveillance process.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) Having carefully examined the legal basis used and the objections voiced by the Commission, I believe that Ms Wortmann-Kool’s report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1466/97 on the strengthening of the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and coordination of economic policies should be endorsed.

Clearly, the Stability and Growth Pact must be reformed based on the experience of the last few years. Above all, I agree that a temporary departure from fiscal policy-making as defined in the Regulation should be allowed in the event of a severe economic but also social downturn.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. I voted in favour of this report which is one part of the economic governance package. Experience has shown that more robust and timely actions are required to tackle budgetary imbalances in Member States. By updating the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact’s preventative arm, this proposal on strengthening the surveillance of national budgets achieves this. Member States will be required to undertake corrective actions at the earliest opportunity and can no longer ignore Commission recommendations regarding imbalances. I believe the time allowed to undertake these corrective actions is both realistic and achievable.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) This text orchestrates the Commission’s control over all aspects of national budgets within the framework of the European Semester. It distinguishes between the ‘good students’, that is, those countries that keep their budgetary deficit under 2% of GDP, and the ‘bad students’, that is, those who do not.

Sanctions will be applied. Those Member States which reform their pension system will be exempted. Enhanced austerity plans will be imposed on countries whose debt is more than 60% of GDP or whose debt is exposed to more risk than other countries. Meagre positive point: the stability and convergence plans must mention whether or not national parliaments have been able to debate them. I am voting against this text and I condemn its unacceptable aggression against the nations’ popular sovereignty.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The experience gained and mistakes made during the first decade of functioning of the Economic and Monetary Union shows a need for improved economic governance in the Union, which should be built on a stronger national ownership of jointly agreed rules and policies, and on a more robust framework for EU-level surveillance of national economic policies. In line with the laws and policies of each Member State, the national parliaments should be properly involved in the European Semester and in the drafting of stability and convergence programmes, and of national reform programmes, in order to increase the transparency, ownership and accountability of the decisions taken. The Economic and Financial Committee, the Economic Policy Committee, the Employment Committee and the Social Protection Committee, will be consulted during the European Semester, whenever this is deemed appropriate. The relevant stakeholders, in particular the social partners, will be involved in the European Semester as regards the main political issues, wherever appropriate, in accordance with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, with the legal provisions and with national policies.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing.(ES) This report proposes to solve the problem of the increased public deficit by controlling and limiting government expenditure, as has already been done in Spain through major reforms. The report also increases the European Commission’s powers by granting it the capacity to impose sanctions on those Member States that do not comply with the deficit control objectives. That is clearly unacceptable. This report presents the main solution that the EU is proposing in order to emerge from the crisis; that is, austerity measures and cuts that are going to achieve the opposite of what is expected: greater poverty, exclusion and inequality. These measures go further with the very same policies that got us into this crisis. Controlling government expenditure will lead to degrowth and recession, rather than stimulating measures, as they should, in order to generate economic development and protect the most disadvantaged who, even though they are not responsible for this crisis, are paying for it and will continue to do so. The people who are responsible for this crisis should pay for it, not the workers. I obviously voted emphatically against this report.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) I decided to abstain on this and the other reports on the implementation of Europe’s new economic governance.

They include measures that, although useful, have come too late in the day, and which succeed in demonstrating the failure of EU economic policy ever since the euro was introduced. Criteria for preventing dangerous situations had already been laid down in the Maastricht Treaty and in the subsequent Stability and Growth Pact, and we saw how miserably they failed: in 1999 Greece did not meet any of the criteria, and only two years later it was already in the euro; and Portugal, another country in dire straits today, was the first to receive warnings in 2002 regarding its deficit situation.

All those rules laid down in the past had no effect at all: we will now see whether these new initiatives are of any use in salvaging what can be salvaged, at least.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) Enhanced surveillance of the Member States’ budgetary policies and the transfer of the right of scrutiny and of initiative from the Council to the Commission: those are the two salient points of the Wortmann-Kool report, which I fully support. It is important for the Commission to assess the Member States’ annual stability programmes, to provide an opinion and to be able to address to States that are in danger of defaulting a formal warning outlining the steps they must take. I also agree with the compromise solution regarding the failure to adopt measures to stop infringement of the rules under the preventive part of the Stability and Growth Pact, which occurs in a ‘two-stage’ voting procedure. I am therefore in favour of the possibility for the European Parliament to invite a Member State to which the Council has made recommendations to explain its policies before Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the rapporteur.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Within the legislative package aimed at reinforcing the economic governance in the EU and the euro area, there has also been a vote on this draft opinion on the strengthening of the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and coordination of economic policies. I voted for this report because I essentially share the rapporteur’s concerns, particularly as regards amendments pertaining to the following key issues: 1) the EU’s framework for budgetary surveillance should be broadened so as to include employment and social aspects; 2) the guidelines for Member States’ employment policies should be taken into account when they present their respective stability and convergence programmes, as well as during the examination of those programmes; 3) stability and convergence programmes for the Member States should be conducted as part of the European Semester; and 4) the stability and convergence programmes of the Member States should include information on the consistency of the Member States’ budgetary objectives with the EU’s growth and jobs strategy, such as the Europe 2020 strategy, and in particular with the broad economic policy guidelines and the employment policy guidelines. I would like to highlight the inclusion of reversed majority voting throughout the package, and in particular in the preventive part of the Stability and Growth Pact.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The success of EU economic policy stems, to a large degree, from the vitality of all those who, to a greater or lesser extent, have been involved in its implementation. In view of this, it is worth emphasising the need for the Commission, as the EU’s real executive, to play an active role in surveillance and monitoring, in order to ensure economic governance that is able to meet the challenges it faces. It is also worth emphasising the need to link Union bodies with national parliaments.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing.(IT) Today’s vote came two weeks after certain Member States, led by France, had given up asking for the Commission’s recommendations to be approved by the Council.

We MEPs were afraid that such a measure would have encouraged governments to do deals behind closed doors. Instead, the agreement adopted will oblige the eurozone countries to reach a majority in order to reject the Commission’s warnings, which will otherwise be directly applicable. Thus the eurozone States will no longer be able to ignore the Commission’s warnings on budgetary policies.

Furthermore, the economic governance legislation should push national governments to correct problematic economic situations more quickly, ensure greater transparency and democracy in decision-making and improve the quality and reliability of statistics.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. Against. The text downgrades some counter-cyclical waivers contained in the original Commission proposal by introducing a more restrictive definition of what has to be understood as an ‘economic downturn’, allowing for a less stringent adjustment path in such situations.

 
  
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  Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid (PPE), in writing. (FR) The European Parliament has today passed a historic milestone in tackling the crisis that is shaking Europe and dangerously threatening the euro area. The vote on the governance package, which has been debated for over a year, is an important step forward that we should welcome. The six texts contained in this package reflect a subtle balance between national sovereignty and necessary European coordination in budgetary matters. It will at last ensure the viability of the single currency and restore the markets’ confidence. The sanctions imposed on irresponsible Member States will no longer be left to the vagaries of the Council’s horse-trading, but will instead be the focus of transparent measures implemented under the auspices of the European Commission, comprising a preventive aspect and a curative aspect, and designed to restore sound management of public deficit.

We must nevertheless remain lucid: these measures are crucial, but they will not be enough. Two conditions are intrinsically linked to the system’s success: a real investment in growth on the one hand, and further integration and solidarity of the European economies on the other hand, thanks in particular to the creation of a European Finance Ministry and the introduction of Eurobonds. Let us not shrink from this historic opportunity.

 
  
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  Czesław Adam Siekierski (PPE), in writing.(PL) I would like to express my satisfaction in connection with today’s adoption by Parliament of the ‘six pack’. The economic crisis, the effects of which we are still feeling, has demonstrated that the current system for the financial discipline of the Member States has been a complete failure. The Stability and Growth Pact, which was intended to guarantee that the countries of the euro area would continue to meet the convergence criteria, has proved in reality to be just wishful thinking. The way the European Commission turned a blind eye to the violation of the pact over many years has ultimately led to the greatest crisis in the history of the single currency. The package of legislative measures adopted today creates a new quality in the coordination of the EU’s economies. In my opinion, a key question is that of giving the EU an instrument which allows it to react to the excessive debt of a Member State. As we know, in accordance with the Treaty of Maastricht the level of public debt of a country in the euro area should not exceed 60% of GDP. However, in the case of Greece, for example, this indicator currently stands at nearly 150%. The establishment of a framework for controlling Member States’ budgetary expenses is also a very good measure – in accordance with the package it will be possible to increase these limits only in proportion to growth in GDP. This should prevent situations in which Member States are living on credit. The one thing which may cause dissatisfaction in the ‘six pack’ we have adopted is the none-too rigorous system of sanctions and control over Member States which do not maintain fiscal discipline.

 
  
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  Francisco Sosa Wagner (NI), in writing.(ES) This ‘economic governance package’ closes some of the gaps that exist in the area of real economic governance in the EU.

Although it is late in coming, Parliament believes it to be necessary, and it is a step in the direction that I support as a Europeanist and federalist. All the same, while the package does resolve some issues, it is still a timid solution, bearing in mind the scope of the crisis we are facing.

In that respect, I regret the slow progress made in the areas of financial market regulation (sovereign debt speculation, credit default swaps, controlling bank bonuses and hedge funds, and so on); European fiscal policy that harmonises corporation tax at the very least; and a policy that stimulates job creation.

We also regret the shy glance cast at the lost revenue that would be considerably higher if a serious attempt were made to combat tax evasion and fraud, and if the tax havens that still remain among us were closed. The report also fails to tackle the organisation of an independent European credit rating service.

In short, the European Parliament needs to play a greater role in the mechanism for budgetary surveillance and correction that we are adopting today.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR), in writing. The ECR has always supported the eurozone’s efforts to find a way out of the crisis and to ensure that it does not happen again. It is regrettable, however, that the chosen way of doing so requires that the whole of the EU, and not just the eurozone, must be subject to the new and intrusive powers that have been handed to the Commission through the economic governance package. The ECR cooperated fully to make the new system as effective, accountable and transparent as possible and to reduce its impact on the Member States outside the eurozone. It is a shame that governmental profligacy and contempt for the Stability and Growth Pact has required such a system to be put in place, and we hope that all Member States have now learnt that fiscal prudence is essential at all times, and not just when times are bad. Even though we have not been able to support this report, we hope that Parliament’s vote will go some way towards restoring the faith of the markets that proper action is being taken. But from now on, it is for the eurozone to sort out the mess in which it finds itself.

 
  
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  Konrad Szymański (ECR), in writing.(PL) At today’s vote, MEPs from the Polish Law and Justice party endorsed the six legislative acts which are intended to tighten control over the budgetary and economic policies of the Member States in order to provide better protection against macroeconomic upheavals and also to make the procedure for the control of excessive budget deficit more effective.

It should be pointed out that the new instruments do not represent a complete prescription for the crisis in the euro area. Furthermore, there is a risk that the new powers could be used in a way which will mean that Europe’s competitiveness, instead of benefiting, will suffer. The Member States must above all avoid the spread of inappropriate measures across the whole of the EU in the area of labour, budgetary or fiscal policy. For Poland, the next few years must be a period of careful investigation as to whether the new mechanisms are having a beneficial effect on the competitiveness of our economies. Only the outcome of this crisis test of the euro area will determine the route for Poland’s adoption of the single currency.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The final vote on the so-called ‘six pack’ is a clear signal that the European Union is seeking to avoid future sovereign debt through preventive and corrective mechanisms, and in particular to avoid budget deficits and excessive debt. A single currency area requires the application of concerted economic and financial policies, namely the creation of European economic governance. This report therefore aims to strengthen the instruments of the Stability and Growth Pact, giving greater emphasis to the criterion of public debt with a specific limit of 60% of gross domestic product. The changes include the institutionalisation of the European Semester, with the strengthening of the economic dialogue between the institutions and the Member States, and the inclusion of the objectives set out by the EU in the national reform programmes. The objective of including the mechanism of reversed qualified majority voting in the Council in all stages of assessment process has not been possible. Parliament has nevertheless insisted on the need for this procedure in cases where the Member State does not take appropriate measures to combat its debt and deficit. This report is therefore the first of many steps that the EU needs to take towards making itself a strong and cohesive economic bloc that is capable of responding to economic and financial shocks.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted against the report on the strengthening of the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and coordination of economic policies because the whole economic governance package only introduces austerity measures and does not give Member States the chance to invest in economic growth and job creation measures.

The Commission’s proposal stipulates that each Member State should submit its national reform programme annually by 30 April. The Council assesses, based on the Commission’s recommendation, whether the planned policy actions and the economic assumptions on which the national reform programmes are based are plausible. In the case of Member States outside the euro area, the Commission and Council monitor the implementation of the convergence programmes to identify significant discrepancies between the budgetary position and the medium-term budgetary objective. In the event of a significant deviation from the adjustment path towards achieving the medium-term objective, the Commission issues a warning to the relevant Member State, while the Council adopts a recommendation for policy measures within a month, whereby a deadline is set of five months for rectifying the deviation.

I think that these austerity measures limit Member States’ flexibility to devise their own set of measures to provide economic and social development and, by extension, help achieve the medium-term objective.

 
  
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  Rafał Trzaskowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) For the first time since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Parliament has used its new powers in the field of macroeconomics and has acted as a co-legislator on equal terms with the EU Council. This is a double success in negotiations for both the European Parliament and the Polish Presidency.

 
  
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  Thomas Ulmer (PPE), in writing. − (DE) I have voted in favour of the report, because it does a much better job of recording the mechanisms and control functions governing the countries with budget deficits and ultimately allows sanctions to be imposed. As part of the so-called ‘six pack’, Parliament is going in the right direction and this will in principle also force the Council and the Commission to act.

 
  
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  Peter van Dalen (ECR), in writing. − (NL) I support the proposals from the ‘six pack’. It is absolutely essential that Member States put and keep their budgetary discipline in order, and that monitoring be strengthened. The Wortmann-Kool report is part of the ‘six pack’. This report is heading in the right direction, but it does not go far enough. What it does, ultimately, is give the politicians the possibility of imposing sanctions on euro sinners. That is undesirable, in my opinion: we should be able to impose sanctions automatically without any interference from the politicians. However, it is essential that the six pack is adopted in its entirety. In the unlikely event of it being rejected, the euro crisis will peak before long. I do not want that and that is why I am in favour of the Wortmann-Kool report, nonetheless.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. The austerity-only approach approved by Parliament today is not the answer to the economic difficulties faced by countries across Europe. Short-term deficit cuts are not what we need. If we want to deal with debts and deficits, we need to boost growth and employment. These austerity measures will fail to protect investment, will kill growth, will provide no new jobs and will seriously compromise the road to economic recovery. Those countries, including the UK, that are already implementing right wing austerity plans have demonstrated that this approach is simply not working.

 
  
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  Dominique Vlasto (PPE), in writing.(FR) Prevention is better than cure. The serious difficulties that most Member States are experiencing at present were revealed directly by the 2008 crisis. Let us stop taking decisions when it is too late and when we no longer have the choice. It is easier and less costly to anticipate and deal thoroughly with the problems early on than to address them superficially afterwards. That is the whole point of this directive, the aim of which is to ensure transparency, responsibility and budgetary coordination within the euro area. To avoid the errors of the past, we are taking our responsibilities by introducing a preventive aspect to the monitoring process, which appears to me as the necessary complement to the corrective aspect. The Commission will have the legitimacy to carry out this monitoring and will consequently be able to warn the countries that are not complying with the rules they accepted. The objective remains to take the bull by the horns while there is still time, before the sovereign debt crisis reaches the scale it did in Greece. In my opinion, these measures are an indispensable step towards shoring up our single currency and getting back on the path to growth and stability.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. − (DE) The report on strengthening the surveillance of budgetary positions and coordinating economic policies covers the need for the economic policies of the Member States to be harmonised by means of stability and convergence programmes, continuous evaluation, the introduction of more stringent forms of surveillance and an effective enforcement mechanism, at the same time as ensuring a stronger sense of national ownership. Consistently linking related policies will safeguard growth in the long term and subject the financial markets to increased regulation and surveillance. By involving the national parliaments and the European Parliament throughout the entire coordination process, it will be possible to guarantee democratic legitimacy and transparency (because the stability and convergence programmes will be made public). I have voted in favour of this.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE), in writing. − (SK) The legislative 'six pack' designed to prevent situations like the current financial crisis from arising in future should have been in place right from the start of the single currency. It is now abundantly clear that the measures it contains should be part of the Stability and Growth Pact. It was an illusion to think that the single currency and single market could go hand in hand with national approaches to economic and budgetary policy. This means we are on the verge of economic and fiscal union. However, when Slovakia joined the euro area, nobody mentioned the loss of sovereignty in budgetary, taxation and economic policy matters. That is why simply adding these latest measures is not enough in itself. If we want to avoid similar mistakes in the future we will first have to admit that we were wrong. Otherwise it won’t be long before we slip up again. The result will be not the United States of Europe, but only the ‘United Wallet of Europe’, which everybody will pay for but for which nobody will take responsibility.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing.(IT) At a time of extraordinary and severe economic crisis, Europe must tackle the problems of its own citizens.

I voted in favour of this report because as things stand, there is a need for more effective governance within the EU area, in order to achieve greater stability and to ensure future economic growth.

Through the commitment of the EU institutions and all the Member States, we aim to achieve greater competitiveness for European enterprises and more job opportunities, and to combat increasing poverty, in order to enable the European Union to emerge from this crisis and not delegate economic growth to the speculations of the financial markets.

 
  
  

Report: Sylvie Goulard (A7-0180/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting against this report. The European Union needs to make a decision on economic governance as a matter of urgency, as the diagnosis is clear. Moreover, we cannot decide to do the bare minimum. In the outlying parts of Europe, in particular, young people, the poor and the unemployed are paying for the crisis, which has stemmed both from a lack of foresight and from a lack of responsiveness. The budgetary controls required by certain Member States should not take precedence over the possibility of growth in the most vulnerable Member States, or else the euro area could suffer severe consequences. The emphasis should be on growth and employment, as well as on providing the most vulnerable Member States with the necessary funding.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Budgetary surveillance allows Member States to benefit from early coordination at EU level and enables enhanced surveillance and a simultaneous assessment of both budgetary measures and structural reforms fostering growth and employment. The budgetary surveillance framework should be accompanied, especially during economic downturns, by effective efforts to stimulate sustainable growth, protect social cohesion and create jobs, while meeting the specific priorities and needs of every Member State. I think that additional incentives and sanctions are required to make the enforcement of budgetary surveillance more effective. These sanctions should enhance the credibility of the European Union’s budgetary surveillance framework, and the incentives should reinforce compliance with the legislation. This regulation sets out a system of incentives and sanctions for enhancing the enforcement of the preventive and corrective aspects of the Stability and Growth Pact, for strengthening the coordination and surveillance of budgetary discipline in the euro area and for preserving financial stability in this area. I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) If we wish to prevent an economic and financial crisis of the euro area, it is important to put in place effective budgetary monitoring. That is why I voted in favour of the Goulard report, which puts forward a series of sanctions for those Member States that depart from the Stability and Growth Pact. The Member States meeting in the Council will thus be able to penalise ‘bad pupils’ through recommendations or by requiring them to make a deposit, with or without interest, aimed at correcting their excessive deficit. If these measures prove insufficient, they will have to pay a fine. The interest on the deposits and the revenue from the fines will be allocated to the European Financial Stability Facility and then to the European Stability Mechanism, which is due to replace it in 2013. The European Parliament is involved with these budgetary monitoring measures in the context of the ‘economic dialogue’. In this way, the Member State affected by the sanctions will be able to have its say before Parliament over its budgetary situation. Finally, in the context of strengthening economic governance, the European Commission will draft a report on Eurobonds by the end of the year.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of the Goulard report, which has the virtue of establishing control and surveillance of budgets and macroeconomic imbalances in European countries, making the Stability and Growth Pact more robust.

In fact I voted in favour of the whole ‘six-pack’ package. Thanks to the texts adopted today, the European Parliament has finally given the green light to a European strategy based on rigour and stability. The proposals presented by President Barroso in this Chamber today also tend in the right direction, although, in my opinion, a short, defined time frame is needed.

Indeed, we have a duty to send out clear and encouraging signals to the financial markets and, before that, to our citizens. The package of measures that we have adopted today therefore needs to be further improved and developed. For that reason, I hope, as soon as possible, to see European action to combat poverty, financial speculation and speculation on raw materials, a clear fiscal convergence policy and a specific regulation on pensions, working hours and public spending cuts.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. - (CS) Member States whose currency is the euro should conduct economic policies that promote the proper functioning of economic and monetary union, and should avoid policies that jeopardise it. To ensure the proper functioning of economic and monetary union, the Treaty allows the adoption of specific measures in the euro area which go beyond the provisions applicable to all Member States. In my opinion, additional sanctions are necessary to make the enforcement of budgetary surveillance more effective in the euro area. These sanctions should enhance the credibility of the fiscal surveillance framework of the Union. Sanctions for Member States whose currency is the euro in the preventive part of the Stability and Growth Pact should provide incentives for prudent fiscal policy-making. Such policy-making should ensure that the growth rate of government expenditure does not normally exceed a prudent medium-term growth rate of gross domestic product. I applaud the fact that, in the corrective part of the Stability and Growth Pact, sanctions for Member States whose currency is the euro should take the form of an obligation to lodge a non-interest-bearing deposit linked to a Council decision establishing the existence of an excessive deficit and an obligation to pay a fine in the event of non-compliance with a Council recommendation to correct an excessive government deficit. I think it is beneficial that, where the Commission decides to impose a penalty, such a decision may be overturned only by a majority of Member States.

 
  
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  Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE), in writing. (RO) The euro area is going through a deep crisis at the moment due to the deficient foundations on which the euro area has been built. The Stability and Growth Pact is a particularly useful instrument for maintaining budgetary discipline. However, it has been applied inappropriately, resulting in the appearance of the current macroeconomic imbalances. In order not only to avoid such situations in the future, but also to regain the confidence of the financial markets in the single currency, a series of structural reforms needs to be carried out to remedy the weaknesses in the budgetary surveillance system in the euro area.

I think that the agreement which has been reached provides such improvements. One area where the biggest progress has been made is the use of reversed qualified majority voting when sanctions are imposed for failure to comply with the Stability and Growth Pact. This will strengthen the position of the European Commission, which is the independent body that ought to be tasked with applying the sanctions since it is unlikely that Member States will impose sanctions on each other by qualified majority, as has been seen from previous experience.

I welcome the reference to Eurobonds as they may provide a solution to the sovereign debt crisis, facilitating financing on the financial markets at lower interest rates. Eurobonds must obviously cover only a proportion of the public debt and contain elements discouraging free-rider behaviour.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the legislative resolution, as I agree that the strengthening of economic governance should include greater involvement by the European Parliament and the national parliaments. The Commission should play a stronger coordination role in the enhanced surveillance procedures, mainly as regards Member State-specific assessments, monitoring, in situ missions, recommendations and early warnings. In order to ensure continuous dialogue with the Member States, with a view to achieving the objectives of this regulation, the Commission should carry out surveillance visits.

 
  
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  Philip Claeys (NI) , in writing. – (NL) In contrast to the other reports on which we have voted today and which are forcing a centralised economic policy on all Member States of the euro area, I have abstained from voting on this report because it explicitly states the principle that Member States which manipulate and distort budget figures, as Greece has done, must be sanctioned. Instead of always merely choosing to press ahead regardless, we would be better advised to give a warning to Member States which fail to observe their obligations and take them to task.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The current economic, financial and social crisis has demonstrated that the European Union’s current economic governance model has not worked: the surveillance framework has shown itself to be very weak and the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact have not been respected.

I therefore agree with the package of measures that the Commission has submitted on economic governance, which should have a key role in the prevention of future crises and in strengthening European competitiveness and economic growth. I am voting for Ms Goulard’s report on the effective enforcement of budgetary surveillance. It is important to establish common parameters to ensure a proper and independent compilation of statistics, which are essential for outlining budgetary strategies, as well as their monitoring. I welcome the provision for fines, up to a maximum of 0.2% of gross domestic product, in the case of falsified statistics, so as to penalise fraud relating to the calculation of the deficit and government debt, both inside and outside the euro area. I agree that it should be possible for countries outside the euro to be part of this system.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted against the package of economic initiatives because they are aimed solely at making the austerity measures more extreme, while completely ignoring their social impact. The failure to stimulate economic growth and investment poses the risk of the crisis deadlock continuing. Austerity measures are not a ‘cure all’ solution, as highlighted by the drastic case of Greece. Fiscal discipline must be backed up by measures to counter economic stagnation. We will not achieve economic recovery without stimulating consumption, creating jobs and making major public investments.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) In general, this report supports the Commission’s position, but it presents some new proposals aimed at the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances within the Member States. I would like to highlight the enhancement of the economic dialogue between the Member States, the Commission, Parliament and the Council, along with the establishment of fines for the submission of falsified statistics, both inside and outside the euro area. I am voting for this report, as I believe that it strengthens the rules on budgetary discipline, and thus objectively strengthens EU institutions and is in line with the founding principles of our Union. However, once again I regret that the proposals made by the Commission on 15 September 2010 have only received the Council’s assent over a year later.

 
  
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  Marielle De Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The ‘six pack’ gives more weight to the current Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), thanks to better quality monitoring and to a previous stage of the deficit and of the debt. It breaks new ground by forcing the political decision-makers to act swiftly to restore the health of economies threatened by macroeconomic imbalances, such as bubbles in the housing market or a decrease in competitiveness. Finally, its purpose is to ensure that the statistics, essential for taking sound budgetary decisions and monitoring the budget, are more precise, particularly thanks to a more independent data collection. However, this text is only one of the stones for this structure. Other decisions will have to be taken to strengthen economic governance (creation of a European monetary fund and a bond market, pooling of part of the debt, and so on). Similarly, resolute action in favour of education, innovation and competitiveness will be needed.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted against the report on the surveillance of budgetary positions in the euro area, as it forms part of a legislative package on economic governance, whose measures concentrate almost exclusively on austerity and sanctions, which will have extremely negative consequences for the European economy and the European public. Austerity alone will not solve the crisis in the euro area. There is a need for policies to consolidate public finances which promote smart growth, social cohesion and jobs, and which provide, specifically, for the creation of a system of Eurobonds and a financial transaction tax.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) I should like to emphasise what I consider to be this report’s most significant step forward: the possibility of creating a system that is not just based on the sanctions aspect of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), but that, by contrast, enables the introduction of real incentives that lead to and develop a genuine will in the governments of the Member States to comply with the rules laid down in the SGP. In this sense, I would highlight the future tabling of a report by the Commission on the issuance of sovereign bonds under joint and several liability. I should also like to stress the extraordinary work undertaken here, with the institutionalisation of economic dialogue between the various European institutions, as well as the promotion of participation by national parliaments and governments in a genuine democratic debate about economic policy. Finally, I should like to congratulate my colleague, Ms Goulard, on her work and commitment in getting the most out of this package.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Ms Goulard, concerns the proposal for a regulation of Parliament and the Council on the effective enforcement of budgetary surveillance in the euro area. The current economic and financial situation of various Member States demonstrates the ineffectiveness of plans for the Stability and Growth Pact, so besides the need for rigorous monitoring of the public deficit within the principles defined by the Treaty of Maastricht, it has become vital to monitor the public and private debt. The European institutions have been doing everything they can to help Member States out of the crisis. However, they have to be more rigorous with their public finances. It is unacceptable that some countries are falsifying their statistics in order to deceive the EU. I therefore welcome the strengthening of coordination and surveillance mechanisms that increase the oversight of budgets of the Member States – so as to prevent them from making major errors in their budgetary policy that could jeopardise the very economic and monetary union – and especially monitoring agencies, as well as the introduction of a set of sanctions for all Member States with budgetary imbalances. This is the only way we will successfully achieve greater development and economic growth.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report acknowledges some of the difficulties and mistakes made during the first decade of the functioning of the Economic and Monetary Union. However, having done so it then forges blindly ahead, calling for a ‘more robust’ framework for surveillance by the Commission and Council of the same economic policies that are at the root of these errors and difficulties. Meanwhile, it adds that such policies should have a ‘particular focus upon development and strengthening of the internal market’. This means they want more neoliberal policies, more privatisations, more divergence- and inequality-generating free competition, and more policies that favour the strongest over the weakest.

In other words, it ends up calling for the same type of monetarist and neoliberal policies, further tightening the veritable stranglehold imposed on the Member States, without a care for the causes of the problems, or for alternative policies that would take into account economies’ different levels of development. It also calls for the payment of fines by Member States that do not meet the requirements imposed on them by the enhanced Stability and Growth Pact.

As with the other legislative texts of the so-called economic governance package, we also voted against this report.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We also voted against this report from the package of six legislative texts on economic governance. This is one of the key pieces of legislation in the economic governance package. This is the regulation on the effective enforcement of budgetary surveillance in the euro area. Whilst it acknowledges the problems and mistakes during the first decade of the Economic and Monetary Union, it pushes blindly ahead, calling for a ‘more robust’ framework for surveillance of national economic policies by the Commission and Council. However, it keeps maintaining that such policies should have a ‘particular focus upon development and strengthening of the internal market’.

This means that they want more neoliberal policies, more privatisations, more free competition and more policies that favour the strongest over the weakest. In other words, it ends up calling for the same type of monetarist and neoliberal policies and criteria, tightening the veritable stranglehold imposed on the Member States, without a care for the causes of the problems, or for alternative policies that would take into account economies’ different levels of development. It also calls for the payment of fines by Member States that do not meet the requirements imposed on them by the enhanced Stability and Growth Pact.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) The global financial and economic crisis has highlighted and strengthened the need for closer coordination and better surveillance of economic policy in the Economic and Monetary Union. The present tools and methods for coordination and surveillance have allowed the EU to deal with a crisis that no Member State would have been able to manage on its own. Europe’s institutions and Member States responded swiftly and are continuing with their joint efforts to recover from a crisis, the likes of which our generation has not seen before. Member States which use the euro have a special interest in and responsibility for implementing an economic policy that supports the proper functioning of the Economic and Monetary Union and preventing politicians who oppose it. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 136 in conjunction with Article 121( 6) allows the adoption of specific measures in the euro area which go beyond the provisions applicable to all Member States for the purpose of ensuring the proper functioning of economic and monetary union. Additional sanctions are necessary to make the enforcement of budgetary surveillance more effective in the euro area. These sanctions should encourage prudence in fiscal policy-making. This would make it possible to achieve and maintain a medium-term budgetary objective and ensure rapid progress towards fiscal sustainability, while allowing room for budgetary manoeuvre, in particular for public investment.

 
  
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  Vicky Ford (ECR), in writing. I abstain as the effect of this report will be within the eurozone. Whilst I welcome measures to enforce stronger fiscal discipline, I also respect the rights of Members from those countries to make their own decisions on this report.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the six reports of the legislative package on reforming economic governance, because this package brings a number of solutions to the serious crisis currently affecting the European Union, but also and above all because, with the great instability that we are currently experiencing, we need to restore confidence. These measures alone will certainly not solve Europe’s problems once and for all, but they provide the first bases of what we should be aiming for. I especially have in mind the creation of real economic governance for the euro area, the pooling of the debt, the introduction of Eurobonds and the creation of a tax on financial transactions, all ‘measures’ that I have been calling for for many months.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I voted against the Goulard report as it does not provide in any way for a sustainable exit from the financial, economic and social crisis. By restricting itself to a punitive approach alone, the economic governance package straitjackets the Member States into austerity policies.

Instead of guaranteeing policies for recovery that support consumption and investment for the future, this package is making the people pay for the crisis, by stifling growth and destroying jobs, and will consequently prevent any return to balanced budgets. The consolidation of public finances must be accompanied by a policy for growth and recovery, and this economic governance package is nothing other than an abdication in the face of the all-powerful financial markets and credit-rating agencies. There is another way forward; the European right will have to accept the heavy responsibility for not having chosen it.

 
  
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  Gerald Häfner (Verts/ALE), in writing. (DE) The analyses on which this report and the entire ‘six pack’ are based do not go far enough. The same applies to the measures that have been taken. It is correct that a monetary union is not viable without a solid fiscal policy and sufficient economic convergence between the member countries. However, it is also correct that the current crisis was triggered when the EU Member States and the European Central Bank began supporting banks and financial institutions which had become unstable as a result of irresponsible speculation using hundreds of billions of euros of taxpayers’ money. In my opinion, this will not bring the crisis to an end or curtail the speculation. Instead, it will just fan the flames. The state guarantees will result in the speculation continuing at a low risk and with obscene profit margins. In the meantime, this speculation is now mainly directed against the states themselves. We cannot and will not win the race that has been started in this way, unless we put in place new and fair rules. These will definitely not include pocketing the profits of speculation while burdening taxpayers with losses of billions of euros. Instead, they will include, among other things, restructuring debt with a pro rata write-off by creditors, linking risk and liability, separating commercial and investment banks and only rescuing the commercial banks (which do not need rescuing anyway), but letting the casino banks go bankrupt, raising the capital requirements, limiting leverage, stricter regulation of the financial markets and a financial transaction tax.

 
  
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  Filiz Hakaeva Hyusmenovа (ALDE), in writing. (BG) I supported this report because budgetary surveillance in the euro area is fundamental to strengthening and improving economic governance in the European Union and will help reinforce a national commitment to European economic governance.

I support appropriate regulation and supervision of financial markets, setting minimum requirements for Member States’ budgetary frameworks and creating a credible, permanent crisis resolution mechanism, as I believe that this would help enhance the policy for sustainable growth and jobs and encourage competitiveness in the EU and international trade. I think that creating the European Semester for policy coordination and carrying out enhanced surveillance and a simultaneous assessment of the budgetary measures are requirements for improving the budgetary surveillance framework in Europe.

I feel that the report is particularly valuable in creating a robust and credible excessive debt prevention and resolution mechanism for the euro area. I think that the proposed system of incentives and sanctions would help increase the guarantees of compliance with the Stability and Growth Pact.

 
  
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  Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE), in writing. (FI) The European debt crisis has been a reminder to us of what happens if people do not keep to common rules. The Stability and Growth Pact, which was drawn up to prop up the euro, has been neglected – recklessly, and even with relish. When we have left the current maelstrom behind us, with or without style points, we will hopefully have learned something from what happened.

The legislative package before us indicates a healthy change in our way of thinking. Especially welcome, I think, are the default position by the Council of Ministers on the passing of sanctions as a result of breaches and the decision requiring a qualified majority to abrogate them.

Financial sanctions for poor management of finances, however, are not the best possible approach. They basically make it harder for the renegade country to reach the permitted limit values, besides which the loopholes intended to lighten the burden reduce the likelihood that sanctions will be put into effect, to the extent that the real deterrent effect of sanctions is questionable. That is why I think it is a worthwhile option for a Member State to lose its right to vote in the Council, either partially or fully, in situations in which financial sanctions would not be an effective solution.

Although Ms Goulard’s report is largely a step in the right direction, I must vote against it, because it shows support for the so-called Eurobonds. I would like to remind everyone that it is laid down at Treaty level, and for a good reason, that Member States are not liable for each other’s commitments, nor will they assume responsibility for them. The deployment of supranational bonds would be a glaring contradiction of this point in the Treaty. Ultimately, each Member State must earn the trust of the markets by being responsible for its own solvency and by bringing its economy into balance.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I would like to congratulate the rapporteur for the following provisions included in the document resulting from the negotiations: the fine (amounting to 0.2% of GDP) for submitting fraudulent deficit and debt statistics; increased powers granted to the Commission, enabling it to ask for more information to be supplied than was previously the case, and through setting up surveillance missions in Member States; a detailed assessment of the economic governance system to be carried out regularly by the Commission, regarding in particular the effectiveness and suitability of sanctions; the opportunity for the relevant European Parliament committee to issue invitations to the Commission, the President of the Council and, if applicable, the President of the European Council or the President of the Euro Group to discuss the adopted decisions.

I also welcome the opportunity for the relevant European Parliament committee to invite the Member State affected by the relevant decisions to take part in an exchange of views.

 
  
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  Vladimír Maňka (S&D), in writing. − (SK) This report specifies the levels of non-interest-bearing deposits, interest-bearing deposits and fines. I oppose it because I do not support the regulations on surveillance or the excessive deficit procedure, nor am I able to support the related system of sanctions. Compliance with the reformed Stability and Growth Pact should not be motivated only by fines, but also by positive measures. The right-wing majority, on top of the previous proposals, has dropped the undertaking to introduce Eurobonds.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I welcome the fact that Parliament has won the right to invite finance ministers from countries that have received a warning to hearings, with Member States having long insisted that this should not be the case.

 
  
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  Marisa Matias and Miguel Portas (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We are voting against the report, but we voted for Amendment 10, on the issue of Eurobonds. These represent an important and necessary step towards finding joint solutions between the Member States, in order to resolve the sovereign debt crisis.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. − (IT) I voted in favour. Above all, I support the fact that the Commission’s annual policy recommendations should be discussed within the European Parliament before they are examined by the Council.

Furthermore, the improved economic governance framework should rely on several interlinked policies for sustainable growth and jobs, which need to be coherent with each other, in particular a Union strategy for growth and jobs, with particular focus upon development and strengthening of the internal market.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) This report makes it clear what kind of sanctions await those Member States which do not submit to the European Commission’s orders. Not for one second does it show any concern about the consequences that such sanctions will have on the people, nor about the Commission’s legitimacy in imposing sanctions on elected governments. The only concession that is made is on public debates that will take place in the European Parliament, if proposed by the latter. Not in the country in question. In other words, the people should not interfere in the machinations of a process of which they are the victims. I will never allow the Commission to attack France. I voted against.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The strengthening of economic governance should include greater participation by the European Parliament and the national parliaments. Making the single market dynamic and keeping it that way should be seen as an element of the smooth functioning of the Economic and Monetary Union. The Commission should have a more forceful coordination role in the enhanced surveillance procedure, in particular as regards Member State-specific assessments, monitoring, in situ missions, recommendations and warnings. More specifically, there is a need to limit the role of the Council in decision-making processes for sanctions, and to use reversed qualified majority voting in the Council.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing.(ES) This report supports that of Ms Wortmann-Kool and focuses on pressing Member States to comply with the budgetary discipline required by the EU. In the event that they do not do so, and do not comply with these European requirements, the report gives the list of sanctions to apply. Once again, I voted with an emphatic ‘no’.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I would like to congratulate Ms Goulard on her rigorous technical report. The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) would not make sense if it were not supported by a system of financial sanctions. Moreover, I agree with the gradual modus operandi (first an interest-bearing deposit, then a non-interest-bearing deposit and finally a fine) for countries that do not meet the obligations of either the ‘preventive’ or ‘corrective’ part of the SGP. I also support the reference to Eurobonds. These can be a good form of financing for Europe, but it is important to have a specific, in-depth discussion on the subject and for this to be contained in a separate proposal, which the Commission has undertaken to present.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) This is also part of the legislative package aimed at reinforcing the economic governance in the EU and the euro area, and there has been a vote on this draft opinion on the effective enforcement of budgetary surveillance in the euro area. I voted for this report because I essentially share the rapporteur’s concerns, particularly as regards amendments pertaining to the following key issues: 1) the enforcement of budgetary surveillance should always be subject to requirements related to the promotion of a high level of employment; 2) the guarantee of adequate social protection and the fight against social exclusion; 3) enhanced budgetary surveillance through an enforcement system should be composed not only of fines – sanctions – but also incentives; 4) a strengthened role for the European Parliament, as well as that of national parliaments throughout the surveillance process. I would like to highlight the fact that the Council will be obliged to publicly justify its reasoning in Parliament whenever it does not follow the recommendations of the Commission in relation to situations where the Stability and Growth Pact has been contravened.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Budgetary surveillance within the euro area by the Union institutions is essential in order to ensure the stability of the single currency. The Commission should therefore adopt an active stance of surveillance, coordinating its operations with the executive authorities of the Member States and the national parliaments, and carrying out surveillance visits to the various Member States. In this way, by strengthening the monitoring of budgetary implementation, it is possible to ensure that additional difficulties affecting the entire EU can be pre-empted.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) I voted for the excellent report by my colleague Sylvie Goulard on budgetary surveillance in the euro area. It is a crucial component of the legislative package on reforming economic governance, known as the ‘six-pack’ in European jargon. The report’s key proposal is worded as follows: ‘Member States whose currency is the euro should pool up to [...] per cent of the sovereign debt under joint and several liabilities (Eurosecurities).’

This key idea has been advocated for months by the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, and calls for the creation of Eurobonds, in other words a pooling of the debt and the ability for countries currently undergoing austerity to borrow at reasonable rates on the markets. Of course, pooling the debt will not get rid of it. It goes without saying that Greece, like the other countries at risk, must first start stabilising their public finances.

However, beyond the Member States having to bear reduced financial costs, the greatest strength of Eurobonds certainly lies in promoting the euro as a safe-haven currency. This is a credible alternative to the dollar since 25% of Chinese foreign exchange reserves are already in the European currency.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Given the Greek crisis and the worrying situation of several other Member States with large deficits, it is essential to ensure that, in future, compliance to budgetary discipline is a reality. I am relieved that the long months of fierce negotiations on the ‘governance package’ between Parliament and the Council have finally succeeded, even though I would have preferred this to happen sooner, of course. This regulation, relating to budgetary surveillance in the euro area, establishes a system of sanctions – a deposit of 0.2% of GDP of the Member State at fault, with or without interest – with a view to ensuring better compliance with the preventive and corrective aspects of the Stability and Growth Pact. It is also aimed at combating false information provided by the Member States regarding their public deficit or their public debt, with a range of fines for those who are found out. It should also be noted that the text asks the Commission to submit to Parliament and to the Council, by the end of 2011, a report on the possibility of issuing Eurobonds. I eagerly await the Commission’s next moves on this matter.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. Against. Given the fact that there is a ‘mechanical’ link between the Wortmann-Cool report and the Goulard report and given that the trialogue outcome deletes most of the good elements of the latter, including the review clause on Eurobonds, it was logical to maintain the vote against of the ECON committee. As a matter of consistency, Green ECON MEPs decided to table 6 amendments co-signed with S&D particularly on Eurobonds, fiscal convergence, capping of the total amount of financial sanctions and other incentives for compliance.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of this text because, beginning with the European Commission’s proposals, I believe it is vital to create an improved economic governance package, in the interest of all the Member States. Particularly at a time when the public debts incurred seem to jeopardise the very existence of the single currency, we must adopt a more robust and effective European framework for surveillance of economic policies.

This vast reform of Union governance should provide for a stronger role for the European Commission as the independent guardian of the guidelines and economic policies of the Member States.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR), in writing. The ECR has always supported the eurozone’s efforts to find a way out of the crisis and to ensure that it does not happen again. We abstained on this report as, since our Group to a large extent represents non-eurozone Member States, it would not be appropriate to interfere with legislation that only concerns the eurozone. The ECR cooperated fully to make the new system as effective, accountable and transparent as possible and, even though this report does not concern the non-eurozone members, we were very happy to contribute. It is a shame that governmental profligacy and contempt for the Stability and Growth Pact has required such a system to be put in place, and we hope that all Member States have now learnt that fiscal prudence is essential at all times, and not just when times are bad. We hope that Parliament’s vote will go some way towards restoring the faith of the markets that proper action is being taken. But from now on, it is for the eurozone to sort out the mess in which it finds itself.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted against the report on the proposal for a regulation on the effective enforcement of budgetary surveillance in the euro area because the whole economic governance package only introduces austerity measures and does not give Member States the chance to invest in economic growth and job creation measures.

The Commission should play a more important coordination role in the enhanced surveillance procedures. However, I think that we cannot stipulate in the text of a regulation that countries in a weaker economic or budgetary position should pay a premium/higher interest rate or be entitled to borrow a lower proportion of GDP in Eurosecurities.

Furthermore, I think that making a Member State with an excessive deficit lodge a non-interest-bearing deposit amounting to 0.2% of GDP or even imposing a fine of 0.2% of GDP on a Member State with an excessive deficit, where the Council considers that this state has not taken effective action in response to its recommendations within the stipulated period, are merely extremely harsh austerity measures which will not foster economic growth and job creation in that Member State.

 
  
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  Inese Vaidere (PPE), in writing. − (LV) Along with the report on implementation of the excessive deficit procedure, the report on budgetary surveillance in the euro area supplements the economic governance package with several significant requirements.

The Stability and Growth Pact provides that correction and observance of the medium-term budgetary objective should be ensured through an obligation to lodge an interest-bearing deposit temporarily imposed on a Member State whose currency is the euro and which is making insufficient progress with budgetary consolidation.

The case of Greece shows that falsification of the financial statistics of one state can have disastrous consequences all over the European Union. Therefore, it is vitally necessary to improve both statistical data gathering and verification of the submitted information without delay, and to introduce serious sanctions on the offending Member States.

The report on budgetary surveillance in the euro area provides for the imposition of exactly this kind of fine on Member States, namely for falsifying statistics or submitting incorrect information as a result of gross negligence. The fine to be imposed would be up to 0.2% of the GDP of the relevant Member State.

In spite of my sceptical view of the requirement for the Commission to prepare proposals on the creation of Eurobonds, I consider that approval of the requirements I have referred to would be expedient.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. − (DE) I am in favour of significantly strengthening the Stability and Growth Pact in the euro area. It is only possible to ensure that obligations of this kind are fulfilled by effectively enforcing far-reaching sanctions. A deposit or fine of up to 0.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) is a considerable penalty. The long-term effect of this sanction mechanism will be that those Member States which for years have failed to manage their budgets effectively will have to make use of the bail-out option as a result and this is funded (although at least not exclusively) by money from taxpayers who have complied with the rules. This will understandably be regarded as unfair by the majority of European citizens. Because of one lesson that has so far been learnt from the Stability and Growth Pact, considerable financial penalties will be applied in future if the statistics are manipulated.

 
  
  

Report: Carl Haglund (A7-0182/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am abstaining in the vote on this report. I cannot vote in favour of this report because it is still clinging to the idea that austerity measures should deal with the crisis and that barriers to the necessary public investment should be put in place as a means of recovery.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The current crisis has proved that the Member States are passively enduring its effects rather than being proactive in finding a way out. As a result, the European Union has decided to implement a package of six proposals aimed at strengthening European economic governance. Thus I am supportive of Europe being more involved and more ambitious in this respect, so that it can anticipate any new crisis. For that to happen, the European Union has decided to put in place a new system that is able to prevent macroeconomic imbalances, especially in terms of trade. Detailed in the Haglund report, this system will introduce a series of measures that will supplement those found in the Ferreira report. In this way, if a Member State has not been able to address its imbalances by following the Council’s recommendations, it will have to gather a deposit and eventually pay a fine, the proceeds of which will be allocated to the European Financial Stability Facility and then to the European Stability Mechanism, which is due to replace it in 2013. Being in favour of enhanced economic surveillance, I voted in favour of the Haglund report.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances are an important instrument in addressing the weaknesses that stem, in particular, from medium and long-term structural trends, growing divergence within the EU, and the collateral effects of the policies of different Member States. It is important to extend the scope of surveillance, with a view to avoiding harmful macroeconomic imbalances. The framework for the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances should place emphasis on early detection and prevention of potential imbalances. I voted for this report for the above reasons.

 
  
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  Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE), in writing. (RO) The euro area needs now more than ever the confidence of the financial markets. To achieve this, we need to adopt measures which make Member States keep to the commitments they made through the Stability and Growth Pact. As we have seen from previous experience, Member States have failed to impose budgetary discipline effectively, thereby contributing to the public debt crisis which has had a severe impact on the credibility of the single currency.

Reliable statistics are needed to provide effective surveillance and detect macroeconomic imbalances in time. Having the option to impose fines if false macroeconomic data is submitted, especially when the intention is to hide the fact that the targets provided for in the Stability and Growth Pact have been exceeded, will discourage unfair practices.

Just as in the case of the other legislative package reports, a sterling contribution is made to the implementation of the measures for adjusting excessive macroeconomic imbalances by having the option to adopt sanctions by reversed qualified majority and publicising the Council’s deliberations on sanctions. This will help avoid vague agreements between Member States, which result in leniency when imposing sanctions and end up triggering crises like the one we are going through at the moment.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. – (PT) I voted in favour of the legislative resolution as I agree that the improved economic governance framework should rely on several interlinked policies for sustainable growth and jobs, which need to be mutually coherent. I am especially in favour of a Union strategy for growth and jobs, with particular focus on developing and strengthening the internal market, of fostering international trade and competitiveness, of an effective framework for preventing and correcting excessive government deficits (the Stability and Growth Pact), of a robust framework for preventing and correcting macroeconomic imbalances, of minimum requirements for national budgetary frameworks, and of enhanced financial market regulation and supervision.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The current economic, financial and social crisis has demonstrated that the European Union’s current economic governance model has not worked: the surveillance framework has shown itself to be very weak and the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact have not been respected.

I therefore agree with the package of measures that the Commission has submitted on economic governance, which should have a key role in the prevention of future crises and in strengthening European competitiveness and economic growth.

I am voting for Mr Haglund’s report on the application of measures to correct excessive macroeconomic imbalances, which lays down a system of sanctions for the effective correction of these imbalances. I support the increased use of automatic procedures, whereby warning and sanctions can only be blocked by the Council through a qualified majority.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) The regulation ascribes greater importance to the scoreboard of macroeconomic indicators for the Member States, as an instrument for detecting and monitoring imbalances in an early warning system, which will lead to a more in-depth study aimed at understanding the real causes of these imbalances. I am voting for this report as I believe the new surveillance mechanisms that have been created, or existing mechanisms that have been improved, will allow imbalances to be identified and corrected more easily when they are still at a very early stage, and that this will allow corrective action to be taken in a more efficient and effective manner. I would, however, have like to see the role of Parliament stepped up under this process, particularly as regards its inclusion in the decision-making process. I know that I am repeating myself, but I am compelled to criticise the fact that the proposals made by the Commission on 15 September 2010 have only received the Council’s assent over a year later.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I abstained from the vote on the report on implementing measures to correct excessive macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area, as it forms part of a legislative package on economic governance, whose measures concentrate almost exclusively on austerity and sanctions, which will have extremely negative consequences for the European economy and the European public. Austerity alone will not solve the crisis in the euro area. There is a need for policies to consolidate public finances which promote smart growth, social cohesion and jobs, and which provide, specifically, for the creation of a system of Eurobonds and a financial transaction tax.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome the introduction of a joint mechanism for sanctions in order to correct macroeconomic imbalances, alongside what is happening now, in the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact. The procedure provided for in this report is totally new to the framework of Union law, and I believe it will go on to play an indispensible role in the Member States’ future macroeconomic policies. It will enable not only greater coordination, but also greater accountability by governments at national and EU level. I would also stress the introduction of the reversed qualified majority rule in the Council when decisions are being taken that are essential to the proper functioning of this package. Finally, I should like to congratulate my colleague, Mr Haglund, on his excellent work and dedication.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The finance ministers of the Member States met on 16 September in Wrocław, Poland, under the Polish Presidency of the Council, to assess a package of six legislative acts, comprising five regulations and a directive, aimed at improving the economic governance of the EU, which has been the focus of intense negotiations between the Council and Parliament, which has tabled 2 000 proposed amendments. This report, drafted by Mr Haglund, is part of this strategy, and looks at implementing measures that are aimed at correcting macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area. In April 2011 the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs adopted a set of measures aimed at strengthening the Stability and Growth Pact, as well as budgetary surveillance. I also welcome the adoption of this regulation, which, besides avoiding excessive deficit and debt, will enhance the early detection of harmful budgetary deviations and macroeconomic imbalances, so that the competent authorities can take the necessary corrective measures in good time. In addition, the new legislative framework will consider a set of sanctions to discourage failures by the Member States.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We believe that this resolution is a positive step in terms of rights based on gender and sexual orientation, and that it counters discrimination. We therefore voted in favour. However, there are some comments that we need to make. Human rights are indeed indivisible. However, the European Union, at the same time as it is taking this positive step, is involved in the process of the accelerated denial and even destruction of social rights, which are human rights, and even economic and political rights. This is happening in countless Member States under the pretext of so-called austerity, but it is particularly prevalent in countries, such as Portugal, which are subject to programmes of veritable aggression from the EU and International Monetary Fund. These attacks affect everyone, including the social groups mentioned most in this resolution.

At the same time, several EU countries and the EU itself are involved in operations of intervention and aggression, as in the case of Libya, or of condoning crimes, as in the case of Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people, or, in the past, involvement in acts of profound disrespect for human rights, such as the flights of the US Central Intelligence Agency and secret prisons, which undermine the principles set out in this resolution. In other words, the EU lacks credibility when it talks about ‘universal and indivisible’ human rights.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) I voted against this report, which essentially supports the Commission proposal on the regulation relating to implementing measures to correct excessive macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area. This is another of the key legislative texts of the package on economic governance. It is concerned, above all, with a system of sanctions and the application of fines to any Member State not fulfilling the requirements imposed by the Commission on the basis of the delegated acts. Parliament is seeking its application to any Member State that has notified the Commission that it wishes to apply this regulation, even if it is not a member of the euro area.

This is yet another interventionist measure that calls for the application of the same type of monetarist and neoliberal policies and criteria, tightening the veritable stranglehold imposed on the Member States, without a care for the causes of the problems, or for alternative policies that take into account economies’ different levels of development.

What it does is extend the application of sanctions and the payment of fines for any Member State that has not complied with the requirements imposed on it, placing them in a genuinely submissive position with regard to the European institutions, just so as to serve the interests of big business and the financial sector, and this is unacceptable.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) The Commission’s proposals to improve economic governance are of great importance to the future of the EU and economic growth, particularly in the euro area. The experience gained during the first decade of the Economic and Monetary Union shows the need for an improved framework for economic governance based on greater responsibility on the part of individual Member States. I am in favour of an extensive reform of the governance framework based on the community method and a strong and independent Commission as overseeing and giving directions in the new deeper and wider economic policy surveillance framework. The framework on the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances needs to emphasise early detection and prevention of potentially harmful macroeconomic imbalances. Macroeconomic surveillance cannot be based on a static and simplistic framework. It is crucial to ensure that it is based on thorough economic analysis through in-depth reviews investigating a broad range of economic factors while taking due account of country-specific circumstances. Economic governance and national economic policy should be more a matter of common concern of all parties involved. That is why I believe that there needs to be a closer involvement of national parliaments both at national and at EU level. In addition, Member States should establish national rules and institutions which are in line with the objectives of the Stability and Growth Pact.

 
  
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  Vicky Ford (ECR), in writing. I abstain as the effect of this report will be within the eurozone. Whilst I welcome measures to enforce stronger fiscal discipline, I also respect the rights of Members from those countries to make their own decisions on this report.

 
  
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  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing. (FR) I abstained from voting on this report. Indeed, it sets out sanctions for Member States in the event of macroeconomic imbalances, but it does not provide, nor does the legislative package of which it is part, the structures of economic governance that Europe so desperately needs. At a time when the crisis is hitting the people of Europe hard, the European Parliament cannot send out the austerity message, a message that would be incomprehensible and inexplicable to our fellow citizens, and detrimental to the European project. Furthermore, this report is not ambitious enough. Of course, we must tighten our belts to avoid public deficit, but not to the detriment of social justice and future investment, since these are needed if we are to build a sustainable economy. In other words, we need more Europe if we are to face up to the crisis: a closer fiscal, social and political union and a European budget with own resources.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I abstained on the Haglund report, in order not to compromise the proper implementation of the provisions advocated in the Ferreira report, concerning the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances. That being said, the economic governance package straitjackets States into austerity policies.

This package, instead of providing policies for recovery that support consumption and investment for the future, makes the people pay for the crisis by stifling growth and destroying jobs. This package is quite simply an abdication in the face of the all-powerful financial markets and credit-rating agencies. There is another way forward; the European right will have to accept the heavy responsibility for not having chosen it.

 
  
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  Jiří Havel (S&D), in writing. - (CS) In June this year, the European Parliament approved a package of measures containing six proposals for creating a better framework for the administration of the EU’s economic affairs, which should lead to greater macroeconomic stability for Member States in the long term. This should be achieved also through the greater involvement of the European Parliament and national parliaments in the procedures for coordinating economic policy. A sophisticated and enforceable system of penalties for the effective correction of excessive macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area should constitute an integral prerequisite for achieving such an ambitious plan, as we also see in the report of Ms Ferreira. The system should be designed in such a way so as to avoid the emergence of asymmetric shocks, contribute to sustainable growth and job creation, and comply with the Europe 2020 strategy.

Although the final determination of the level of a fine may sometimes be problematic, the levels and method of enforcement should be established on the basis of a sensitive general political consensus. I nonetheless have reservations over the proposed method of potentially imposing an interest-bearing deposit before an actual penalty is handed down. In general, it can be said overall that the submitted report of Carl Haglund, which relates to the implementation of Ms Ferreira’s report, is a step in the right direction, but the interest-bearing deposit looks problematic and deserves further discussion. For this reason, I have abstained from the vote.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on enforcement measures to correct excessive macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area extends the economic surveillance process partially set out in the Stability and Growth Pact. Consequently, budgetary surveillance and fiscal surveillance are supplemented by a mechanism suited to identifying, preventing and correcting macroeconomic imbalances. The EU needs stronger economic surveillance, which should cover all relevant economic areas. Thus, macroeconomic imbalances should be looked at jointly with fiscal policy and growth-enhancing structural reforms. The mechanism for the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances is made up of two sets of draft proposals. The first set of measures is outlined by the proposal for a regulation on the excessive imbalance procedure, which sets out to provide a framework for identifying and addressing macroeconomic imbalances. The second draft proposal focuses on the enforcement of measures to correct excessive macroeconomic imbalances. It is only applicable to euro-area Member States and constitutes an incentive for Member States to address macroeconomic imbalances at an early stage and to ensure appropriate corrective measures where necessary.

 
  
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  Cătălin Sorin Ivan (S&D), in writing. – (RO) This report implements the measures for adjusting the macroeconomic imbalances detected using the mechanisms presented in the Ferreira report. However, I think that an intermediate phase was required involving an interest-bearing security being deposited prior to imposing the sanction of 0.1% of GDP. If these measures had been considered, the European Union would have had a set of more flexible measures available.

 
  
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  Vladimír Maňka (S&D), in writing. (SK) The regulation defines the system of sanctions to more effectively deal with excessive macroeconomic imbalances as defined by the Ferreira report. The fine is set at 0.1% of the GDP of the Member State in question. The main reservation against the final compromise is the possibility that Member States can be punished with the interest-bearing deposit before the fine is imposed. I have abstained from the voting because despite my criticism of the report, it is also closely related to the implementation of the Ferreira report which I have supported.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I agree with this report that strengthening economic governance should go hand in hand with reinforcing the democratic legitimacy of economic governance in the Union, which should be achieved through a closer and more timely involvement of the European Parliament and the national parliaments throughout the economic policy coordination procedures.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing.(IT) We must base the improved economic governance framework on several interlinked policies for sustainable growth and jobs, which need to be coherent with each other, based on a robust Union strategy for growth and jobs.

If we are to ensure that the existing imbalances are mitigated we cannot do otherwise. In my view, the Haglund report is a step in that direction.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. − I support this report which proposes that all Member States will be subject to macroeconomic surveillance. Early detection of a macroeconomic imbalance is crucial to ensure the proper functioning of the Economic and Monetary Union. Provisions are laid down for a Commission scoreboard to examine the economic, financial and structural factors in individual Member States, indicating any imbalance. While this proposal forms just one part of the overall governance package, its role as an effective alert system will be key.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) This regulation will enable the Commission to impose annual fines on Member States that challenge its authority. The sums thus obtained will be allocated to the EU-IMF Stability Facility, the effects of which are being suffered by the Greek, Irish and Portuguese people. The only concession made by the Council is some flexibility regarding the deposit, the interest and the sanctions, but this does not change the heart of the matter. I voted against this text.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The improved economic governance framework should rely on several interlinked policies for sustainable growth and jobs, which need to be coherent with each other, in particular a Union strategy for growth and jobs, with particular focus upon the development and strengthening of the internal market, fostering international trade and competitiveness, an effective framework for preventing and correcting excessive government deficit (the Stability and Growth Pact), a robust framework for preventing and correcting macroeconomic imbalances, minimum requirements for national budgetary frameworks, and enhanced financial market regulation and supervision. It is vital that this procedure fall within the annual cycle of multilateral surveillance. The existence of reliable statistical data is crucial for the surveillance of macroeconomic imbalances. In order to ensure the existence of sound and independent statistics, the Member States should ensure the professional independence of national statistics authorities, in line with the European Statistics Code of Practice established in Regulation (EC) No 223/2009. In addition, the availability of sound budgetary data is also important for the surveillance of macroeconomic imbalances. This requirement must be safeguarded by the relevant rules set out in Regulation (EU) No [.../...] on the effective implementation of budgetary surveillance in the euro area, and in Article 6(a) in particular.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing.(ES) In order to correct macroeconomic imbalances, the Commission’s proposal consists of sanctions. I already explained with regard to the Goulard report why I do not believe that the way out of the crisis lies in constraints intended to control government expenditure, and certainly not punishments and sanctions in the event that this requirement should not be met. The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) can in no way serve as the basis for creating employment policies, because it is based on those very principles that have made jobs disappear. The European Semester cannot be part of the solution to the crisis, because it constitutes a loss of sovereignty for Member States to the benefit of the Commission and its neoliberal dictates. Once again, I voted against.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. Experience gained during the first decade of the Economic and Monetary Union shows a clear need for an improved economic governance framework, which should be built on stronger national ownership of commonly agreed rules and policies and on a more robust surveillance framework at the European level of national economic policies. I completely favour an extensive reform of the governance framework based on the Community (Union) method and a strong and independent Commission overseeing and giving directions in the new deeper and wider economic policy surveillance framework.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) Like Ms Goulard’s report, the report drawn up by Mr Haglund is the important and fundamental corollary to implement effective surveillance of macroeconomic imbalances. Indeed, without a significant dissuasion tool, the establishment of the excessive imbalances procedure could come to nothing. Specifically, I welcome the fact that if the alert mechanism signals the presence of excessive imbalances it will trigger the corrective procedure and the Commission can address a warning to the State in question. Above all, if the State does not take appropriate measures, financial sanctions will apply (equal to 0.1% of GDP).

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on enforcement measures to correct excessive macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area, which is part of the legislative package aimed at strengthening economic governance in the EU and the euro area. The Commission proposals for improving economic governance are of the greatest importance for the future of the EU and for economic growth, particularly in the euro area. The crucial importance of these measures meant that Parliament’s rapporteurs decided to examine the Commission proposals exhaustively as a package, and to improve them so as to establish a robust and coherent framework for the coming decades. The rapporteurs have taken the Commission’s proposals as a starting point for their work. This is the first time that Parliament is making a codecision on the macroeconomic development of the Union alongside the Council. I would stress the inclusion in the regulation on macroeconomic imbalances of the Commission’s obligation to assess both countries with a deficit problem and those with a surplus, in order to gain a realistic overview of the European macroeconomic framework.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Integrated economic governance, linking the action of the EU institutions with national authorities as part of a network, is vital in order to correct macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area. Given the existence of a shared monetary area, failure on the part of one of the Member States to comply with the common regulatory framework will have repercussions on the situation of all the others, leading to the need for sanctions which ensure that the entire area works properly. Moreover, it is impossible to dispense with a secure basis for decision making, based on reliable data on the situation of the EU economy. This means that there is a need to promote accurate statistics that act as an aid to policy makers.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) At present, defending the European Union is to call for more economic and budgetary governance and to advocate the sacred Union. The Haglund report adopted today by 395 votes to 64, with 201 abstentions coming mainly from the parties on the left, shows the latter’s aversion to discipline and sanctions, because that is what this regulation is about, by seeking to provide solutions to the excessive macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area.

Indeed, the European Parliament has wisely decided to include flexible sanctions, should the Member States fail to comply with the recommendations of the Commission and Council on the main economic aggregates that are income, investment, consumption, unemployment and inflation.

For my part, I welcome this sweeping reform of the governance framework, based on the Community method, which goes well beyond traditional budgetary surveillance, and which grants more independence to the Commission in monitoring the economic policies of the Member States. Only if the 27 macroeconomic policies are coherent and if fiscal and social competition is reduced, will the European Union be able to get back on the road to sustainable growth and employment.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. Against. Very much concerned with the measures in case of non-compliance with the excessive imbalance procedure a sanction of 0.1% of GDP due every year until compliance.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The adoption of this report, included in the ‘six pack’, aims to anticipate, identify and correct macroeconomic imbalances before they become real problems for national economies. It is therefore important to identify the risks, find out whether they are the country’s responsibility or whether they result from external impacts, and make appropriate and timely recommendations. The strengthening of the Commission’s role as watchdog and supervisor of policies relating to the Stability and Growth Pact is crucial to the implementation of genuine European economic governance, as it strengthens the Community method. In addition to the establishment of a smart and balanced system, with the inclusion of more macroeconomic and structural data in the range of statistical indicators, I would stress the new procedure on excessive imbalances, about which the Commission will be able to warn the Member State in advance. If the Member State ignores the warning, the Commission will be able to draft a recommendation for the Council, to the effect that this country should adopt corrective measures, using what is known as reversed qualified majority voting. However, at this point it is more important to take the measures that are needed to prevent future crises than to impose sanctions. The strengthening of the role of the Commission throughout the prevention and surveillance process once again underlines the need to centralise decisions in the Community pillar of the EU.

 
  
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  Inese Vaidere (PPE), in writing. − (LV) I wish to congratulate Mr Haglund on his successful work on the report concerning the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on enforcement measures to correct excessive macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area.

The report thoroughly considers the proposals of the European Commission on how to improve economic governance, so as to reinforce the existing system.

Although the Commission’s initial draft proposal should be viewed positively, a stronger focus must be placed on the prevention of inefficient fiscal and macroeconomic policies.

The European Parliament has supplemented the proposal on enforcement measures to correct excessive macroeconomic imbalances with requirements for all Member States to integrate the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact in their budgetary procedures, to give a greater and more independent surveillance role to the Commission, as well as a stronger surveillance role for Parliament.

In order to provide greater transparency and accountability, as well as to stop political ‘bargaining’ in the Council or between the Member States and the Commission, the Commission and the Council must undertake to motivate and make public their position and decisions in all stages of the procedure.

At the same time, the report contains certain elements of economic governance such as an interest-bearing deposit or yearly fine of 0.1% of the GDP of the Member State concerned in the preceding year, if it has not taken corrective action after it has been the subject of a negative macroeconomic assessment.

 
  
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  Dominique Vlasto (PPE), in writing. (FR) We cannot enjoy a single currency on the one hand while managing the public purse in a non-coordinated fashion on the other. Current events show us that the lack of convergence and the imbalance between European public accounts are so many breaches into which are stepping the speculators who are looking to take advantage of the euro area’s difficulties.

Today, we are acting so that the financial markets are no longer given this opportunity. To this end, my political side had the boldness to enable the development of preventive and curative instruments that will strengthen the Stability and Growth Pact. Whereas until now the method for controlling deficits depended on the Member States’ goodwill, the Commission now has the possibility of recommending financial sanctions, ranging from a deposit to a fine, for countries that do not fulfil their obligations. By adopting these measures aimed at limiting public deficit, the Union is avoiding the devastating knee-jerk reaction of countries turning in on themselves and is showing its determination to come out of the crisis on top; above all we are reminded that sharing a single currency requires maximum solidarity but also shared responsibilities.

 
  
  

Reports: Sylvie Goulard (A7-0180/2011), Carl Haglund (A7-0182/2011)

 
  
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  Rafał Trzaskowski (PPE), in writing. From the beginning, I have strongly supported the six Economic Governance Regulations, designed to prevent future budgetary and economic crises in the Member States. I welcome now adoption of the package and wish to congratulate the rapporteurs and both the Hungarian and Polish Presidencies.

 
  
  

Report: Elisa Ferreira (A7-0183/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting in favour, as the agreements most important to the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament have been reached. The report promotes greater participation by Parliament in decisions on macroeconomic imbalances. It requires that these be considered the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, and Article 1 mentions the need to pay attention to social rights, in line with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The enhanced economic governance framework must be based on a European Union strategy for economic growth and employment, on an effective framework for preventing and correcting excessive budgetary positions, on a robust framework for preventing and correcting macroeconomic imbalances and on enhanced financial market regulation and supervision. The coordination of Member States’ economic policies must take place in the context of the broad economic policy guidelines and the employment guidelines, and must entail compliance with guiding principles such as stable prices, sound and sustainable public finances and monetary conditions. The aim of strong economic coordination must be to establish a stable economic and social union based on the principles of the Community procedure.

The internal market must contribute to the EU’s sustainable development, based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social cohesion, and a high level of protection for and improvement in the quality of the environment. I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) In favour of strengthening the European Union’s economic and monetary policy, I voted for the Ferreira report. This report contains two aspects: a preventive aspect and a corrective aspect. On the preventive side, the European Commission will be charged with monitoring these imbalances. As soon as an excessive imbalance is identified with a Member State, it will have to remedy it by applying the Council’s recommendations. This report is in the spirit of the Haglund report, which supplements the measures taken to address excessive imbalances.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 29 September 2010, the Commission tabled a legislative package aimed at strengthening economic governance in the European Union and the euro area. The strengthening of economic governance must be linked to a strengthening of the democratic legitimacy of decisions made. In other words, it requires closer and more timely involvement of the interested parties, as well as of national parliaments and the European Parliament. This report, for which I voted, sets out detailed rules on the detection of macroeconomic imbalances, as well as the prevention and correction of excessive macroeconomic imbalances in the Union. The aim is a warning mechanism to facilitate the early identification and monitoring of imbalances. If the measures taken or provided for in the programme of corrective measures or the relevant schedule for implementation are considered inadequate, the Council adopts, on a recommendation from the Commission, a recommendation for the Member States to submit a new corrective action plan within two months. The Commission’s recommendation on non-compliance is to be considered adopted by the Council unless the Council decides to reject the recommendation by a qualified majority within 10 days of its adoption by the Commission. The Member States may request that a meeting of the Council be convened to vote on the decision.

 
  
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  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing.(IT) The report we are discussing today is particularly important as it concerns the adoption of the package of legislative proposals on economic governance aimed at establishing a robust framework for the next decades, guaranteeing compatibility between fiscal discipline and the economic growth of the European Union.

The comprehensive economic governance framework should support and be compatible with both the EU strategy for growth and jobs and the goal of improving the competitiveness of the Member States and social stability in every region of the Union.

Experience gained during the first decade of functioning of the Economic and Monetary Union shows the need for an improved economic governance framework which should, in my opinion, be built on two main elements: stronger national ownership of commonly agreed rules and policies and a more robust EU national economic policy surveillance system.

Moreover, I welcome the provision of sanctions to punish fraud or unwillingness to act on the basis of agreed recommendations without a reasonable explanation. Lastly, I would argue that the improvement of the economic governance framework must be accompanied by greater regulation and surveillance of the financial markets.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing.(IT) I abstained from the vote on this report on the new regulation on the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances.

On the one hand, the report’s aim is certainly commendable, insofar as it proposes the adoption of measures aimed at preventing financial crises such as the Greek problem from reoccurring. However, such measures would entail substantial EU intervention in national budgets, which could result in excessive EU interference in the economic affairs of Member States.

I therefore prefer to abstain from voting on measures of this kind so long as it is impossible to assess in detail what impact they will have on Member States.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. - (CS) In my opinion, coordination of the economic policies of EU Member States, as laid down by the Treaty, should encompass compliance with the main principles, which include stable prices, healthy public finances and currency conditions and a sustainable balance of payments. It is appropriate to supplement the multilateral surveillance referred to in Article 121(3) and (4) of the Treaty with specific rules for the detection, prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances. I agree that this approach will depend on an early warning mechanism which will detect emerging macroeconomic imbalances early on and will be based on the use of a transparent guidance scoreboard, in combination with economic judgment. The procedure for monitoring and correcting unfavourable macroeconomic imbalances with preventative and corrective measures requires stronger control instruments based on the approach employed in the multilateral surveillance procedure. It may involve, for example, an enhanced control mission implemented by the Commission in the Member States and the submission of further reports by Member States in the event of a serious imbalance or imbalances jeopardising the proper functioning of economic and monetary union.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this legislative resolution, since I agree that the coordination of the economic policies of the Member States within the Union should be developed in the context of the general guidelines for economic policy and employment, and that this should require compliance with the guiding principles of price stability, of robustness and sustainability in public finances and monetary conditions, and of balance of payments sustainability. The Commission and the Council should cooperate closely on drawing up the scoreboard and the set of macroeconomic and macrofinancial indicators for the Member States. The indicators and thresholds should be established and adjusted as necessary so that they adapt to the changing nature of macroeconomic imbalances, which is due, among other things, to the development of risks that threaten macroeconomic stability or improvement in the availability of relevant statistics. The Commission should submit suggestions on plans for establishing and adapting the indicators and thresholds for consideration by the competent committees of the Council and Parliament. The Commission should inform the Council and Parliament of changes to the indicators and thresholds, and explain their reasoning for making such changes.

 
  
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  Françoise Castex (S&D), in writing. – (FR) Today the European Parliament adopted the ‘economic governance’ package, after lengthy negotiations. For us, French and European socialists, it represents an austerity pact that prevents the Member States from kick-starting the economy and protecting themselves from the markets. In the end, only the proposals made by our colleague Elisa Ferreira will enable us to deliver specific solutions to the macroeconomic imbalances that undermine the sustainability and social bases of the euro area. We refuse to accept that Greece should be made solely responsible for the worsening of the economic divergences within the euro area.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The current economic, financial and social crisis has demonstrated that the European Union’s current economic governance model has not worked: the surveillance framework has shown itself to be very weak and the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact have not been respected.

I therefore agree with the package of measures that the Commission has submitted on economic governance, which should have a key role in the prevention of future crises and in strengthening European competitiveness and economic growth.

I am voting for Ms Ferreira’s report, which establishes detailed rules on the detection of macroeconomic imbalances, as well as the prevention and correction of excessive macroeconomic imbalances in the EU. I am in favour of the creation of a warning system designed to facilitate the early identification and surveillance of imbalances, both in the short term and as the result of long-term structural trends.

I would like to congratulate the Commission on devising the scoreboard, which is made up of a small number of relevant, practical, simple, measureable and available macroeconomic and macrofinancial indicators for the Member States. I also believe that inclusion in the regulation of the Commission’s obligation to assess both countries with deficit problems and countries that have a surplus is important, in order to gain a realistic overview of the European macroeconomic framework.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of this important regulation because, as the report shows, the assessments and related figures are considered reliable. The articles have been drawn up with care and precision, never departing from the fundamental objectives we set ourselves: stable prices, sound public finances and monetary conditions and a sustainable balance of payments. We must use this time of crisis and uncertainty to reform our legislation, drawing on our past and present experience. For this reason it is essential for the European Parliament to continue to take a leading role in the surveillance of Member States’ economic policies. While the adoption of the regulation is an important result, its transposition into national law is in fact an even more important objective in ensuring that the legislation is properly implemented by the Member States and that no obstacles or barriers to the single market are created.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of preventing and correcting macroeconomic imbalances because we need a powerful instrument, just like the regulation that has been tabled, to address the issue of the delicate balance arising, in particular, from medium- and long-term structural trends, the ever-growing disparities within the European Union (and euro area in particular), and from the spillover effects of Member States’ individual policies.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report by Ms Ferreira, as it sets out important measures for preventing future crises, such as devising a scoreboard aimed at identifying and correcting macroeconomic imbalances that emerge in the EU and the euro area.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) It is crucial to stress the importance of this regulation. While it is completely new within the EU legal framework, it is absolutely innovative in its content and in what it proposes, which is to identify and correct macroeconomic imbalances in the Union. In light of the lessons that can be drawn from the recent crisis, this report sets itself apart with its willingness to strive for surveillance and the coordination of economic policies adopted in the various Member States in the interests of a strong and balanced economy, and in particular by emphasising the need to oversee both countries with deficits and those with surpluses, in order to obtain a realistic overview. It aims to set up a warning mechanism for possible future imbalances that may occur in a given Member State, so that they can be immediately and effectively rectified. Lastly, I should like to congratulate my compatriot, Ms Ferreira, on all her commitment and dedication, which has not always been easy but is clearly commendable.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The finance ministers of the Member States met on 16 September in Wrocław, Poland, under the Polish Presidency of the Council, to assess a package of six legislative acts, comprising five regulations and a directive, aimed at improving the economic governance of the EU. It has been the focus of intense negotiations between the Council and Parliament, which has tabled 2 000 proposed amendments. This report, drafted by Ms Ferreira, forms part of this strategy and advocates a regulation intended to prevent and correct macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area, in particular at a time when the EU is undergoing an extremely complicated stage owing to the potential bankruptcy of one of its Member States. I welcome the agreement reached by the ministers of finance as I am aware that this is a very positive sign for investors and financial markets, as well as proof of the EU’s ability to overcome its problems. I am also pleased that this report has been adopted, as it will be a response that will help to prevent future crises. To this end, it is based on an approach geared towards austerity and on the strengthening of sanctions for countries that do not respect the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report is an integral part of the so-called economic governance package. Like the others that formed part of this package, we voted against this report.

It is not enough to identify macroeconomic imbalances in the Member States if there are no alternative EU policies based on convergence and economic and social cohesion to rectify the imbalances. Moreover, in identifying the imbalances it is essential to state their causes. From the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) to the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, they have always been unable to do this. In particular, they should acknowledge that the creation of the single currency in the image of the German mark was based on false assumptions, which only served the interests of powerful economic and financial groups. That is the fundamental cause of the exacerbation of the crises in the weakest economies.

It is not enough, therefore, to make declarations of good intentions about protecting jobs and workers’ and social rights if, afterwards, they do not put an end to the Stability and Growth Pact and the Euro Plus Pact, but prefer to impose broader demands and tougher penalties on countries with weakest economies and their people, which have fallen victim to neoliberal policies.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted against this report as it is part of the package of six pieces of legislation on economic governance and reveals the contradictions that exist in the European Union. It is not enough to identify macroeconomic imbalances in the Member States if there are no alternative EU policies based on solidarity and economic and social cohesion to remedy the imbalances. It is not enough, therefore, to make declarations of good intentions about protecting jobs and workers’ and social rights if, afterwards, they do not put an end to the Stability and Growth Pact and the Euro Pact, replacing them with a genuine Progress and Social Development Pact, but prefer to impose broader demands and tougher sanctions on countries and peoples that have fallen victim to neoliberal policies.

Until Europe’s leaders acknowledge that their policies are the fundamental cause of the crises that persist, we will witness a deterioration of the economic, social and political situation, which will inevitably cause further social tension and more conflicts, with unforeseeable consequences. That will happen until they recognise that the creation of the single currency in the image of the German mark was based on false assumptions, which only served the interests of powerful economic and financial groups. That is the fundamental cause of the exacerbation of the crises in the weakest economies.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) The legislative 'six-pack' adopted by the Commission in September last year to ensure the cohesion of the legislative texts is exceptionally important for the future of the EU and particularly the euro area. Parliament’s intention is to improve the Commission’s proposals to secure a strong and robust framework for the coming decades which will guarantee the compatibility of fiscal discipline with the aims of economic growth and employment in the EU and in all Member States. Only this condition will ensure the stability and sustainability of the EU and the euro. This challenge comes at a particularly difficult time for the EU and the euro area, faced with growth, employment and internal divergences tensions, seriously aggravated by a major international crisis, but this is also the right time to amend, complete and correct the existing model in the light of past and present evidence. This is the first time that Parliament codeciding with the Council on macroeconomic development and fiscal discipline in the EU. Strengthening economic governance must go hand in hand with strengthening the democratic legitimacy of the decisions taken, which requires closer and more timely involvement not just of relevant stakeholders, but in particular of national parliaments and the European Parliament throughout the process in order to achieve sustainable and balanced growth of the European Union as a whole. That is why I am in favour of the extensive reform of the administrative framework based on the community method.

 
  
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  Vicky Ford (ECR), in writing. I am opposed to this report. Although it is important to monitor and take action to correct imbalances this report potentially goes much further, especially with regard to symmetry and the wide list of indicators. The powers given to the Commission are vague and very widely worded and, in my view, this could lead to significant dilution of subsidiarity.

 
  
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  Estelle Grelier (S&D), in writing. (FR) Along with the majority of members in the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, I voted against four of the six reports from the economic governance package. I voted in favour of the report on the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances and abstained on the report on the enforcement measures to correct macroeconomic imbalances. Most of the new measures, which follow multiple negotiations conducted in Brussels, merely impose austerity on citizens without taking account of the economic recovery that we need if we are to get back on the path to growth and employment. The Ferreira report was alone in offering persuasive solutions in this area. Indeed, this report provides for the guaranteed protection of social rights and the introduction of a very wide range of economic indicators which allow the situation in each country to be properly taken into account. It also advocates a symmetrical approach, pointing the finger at those Member States with huge trade surpluses as being responsible for developing macroeconomic imbalances. I abstained on the Haglund report, although I do not agree with its punitive content, as it had to be adopted if the measures advocated in the Ferreira report were to be implemented.

 
  
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  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing. (FR) I abstained from voting on this report. Indeed, it provides for a plan of enhanced supervision of Member States in the event of excessive macroeconomic imbalances, although neither the report nor the legislative package of which it is part provides the structures of economic governance that Europe so desperately needs. At a time when the crisis is severely affecting the people of Europe, the European Parliament cannot send out a message of austerity which citizens will not understand nor be able to explain, and which is detrimental to the European project. Furthermore, this report is not ambitious enough. We must tighten our belts to avoid public deficits, but not to the detriment of social justice and the future investment that is needed if we are to build a sustainable economy. In other words, we need more Europe if we are to face up to the crisis: a more successful fiscal, social and political union and a European budget with own resources.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the Ferreira report, as the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament has made important progress with this text. Indeed, budgetary surveillance will not only apply to countries in deficit, but also to those with substantial surpluses, so that they support domestic demand. In this way, it will be possible to address imbalances internal to the euro area. That said, the economic governance package straitjackets Member States into austerity policies.

This package, instead of guaranteeing policies that support economic recovery, consumption and investment for the future, makes the people pay for the crisis by stifling growth and destroying jobs. This package is quite simply an abdication in the face of the all-powerful financial markets and credit-rating agencies. There was another way forward, and the European right will have to accept the heavy responsibility for not having chosen it.

 
  
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  Gerald Häfner (Verts/ALE), in writing. (DE) The measures in the ‘six pack’ do not go far enough. We do not currently have a lack of money. We have more money than we know what to do with, but it is in the wrong place. By allowing unregulated casino banks to do business, we have created incentives which have contributed to the fact that around 98% of the money now in circulation throughout the world does not serve a productive or consumptive purpose, but purely a speculative purpose. These destructive ‘financial markets’ – the term is in fact a perversion in itself, because money cannot be a product, instead its value is determined only by its link with an actual value such as a human ability, a product or service – have long since dominated the real, value-added economy and are increasingly holding states in the palm of their hands. This does not mean that we should allow them to dictate to us which measures we must take. Reducing public debt is a sensible and necessary move. Strangling the economy and society without tackling the problem that has been described is not. Otherwise the measures taken will increase the threat rather than counteracting it. Every debt has a corresponding credit and every interest payment has a corresponding interest gain. The unimaginable profits of this irresponsible speculation are being pocketed privately, while the costs are a burden on society. Unlimited debt guarantees are making the spiral of speculation even worse. Without linking risk and liability, without debt reduction, without the realisation of losses made by banks and investors, we will not be able to emerge from the crisis.

 
  
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  Filiz Hakaeva Hyusmenovа (ALDE), in writing. (BG) I feel that it is absolutely imperative to adopt the regulation on the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances in the European Union’s Member States. This is why I support the European Parliament’s legislative resolution on this matter.

The Member States’ economic and financial data categorically shows that many countries are not complying with the rules and policies which they have been involved in adopting. We cannot continue like this because it is compromising our democratic values, undermining our joint efforts and dooming them to failure.

It is more than necessary for this situation to change because the hard-going crisis is threatening the EU’s political foundations and the EU cannot be a global player if it does not improve its macroeconomics.

I regard associating the monitoring of the countries’ economies with nominal, financial and structural indicators, and the Commission’s monitoring of the corrective measures implemented by Member States as strong practical steps. I feel that the intention expressed in the document to make actions public will make a further contribution to achieving its objectives and that it will make it possible to monitor the extent to which the new mechanism will contribute to the implementation of the strategy for growth and jobs.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because the proposal on the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances complements the multilateral surveillance procedure provided for under the Europe 2020 strategy by introducing a completely new element, the excessive imbalance procedure. This proposal sets out to provide a framework for identifying and addressing macroeconomic imbalances. The proposal should be analysed together with the Regulation on enforcement measures to correct macroeconomic imbalances. The two acts a fully-fledged mechanism on the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances. The EU needs stronger economic surveillance, which should cover all relevant economic areas. Thus, macroeconomic imbalances should be looked at jointly with fiscal policy and growth-enhancing structural reforms. It is possible to identify a trend characterised, on the one hand, by the broadening of economic surveillance beyond budgetary surveillance in order to prevent excessive macroeconomic imbalances and, on the other hand, by the deepening of fiscal surveillance. This procedure should put in place an alert mechanism for the early detection of emerging macroeconomic imbalances. It should be based on the use of an indicative and transparent scoreboard, comprising indicative thresholds combined with economic judgment. This evaluation should take into account, inter alia, nominal and real convergence in the euro area and beyond.

 
  
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  Cătălin Sorin Ivan (S&D), in writing. – (RO) Ms Ferreira’s report is the only one out of this entire package, referred to as the ‘six pack’, which takes into account the social realities and introduces measures which will allow us in the future to identify as soon as possible any economic imbalance in Member States. If these measures had been in place, the problem with Greece would have been noticed much earlier and we could have taken much simpler measures to save both the Greek and European economy.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) The prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances will certainly serve to strengthen economic governance in the European Union and the euro area, as this has been adversely affected by the financial crisis which is engulfing Europe. Improving the mechanisms for monitoring the situation and the means for enforcing corrective measures to imbalances which do occur will be effective in preventing the occurrence of divergences between the positions of the Member States. A very important role in this matter should be played by indicators for the early detection of such imbalances, which will give effective warning and allow more time for essential corrective action. On the other hand, however, it is necessary to call particular attention to the fact that the instruments which are used – which include among others the excessive deficit procedure and annual fines – should not adversely affect relations and public attitudes in the Member States to the question of closer European integration.

 
  
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  Vladimír Maňka (S&D), in writing. − (SK) This regulation introduces a system for detecting and correcting macroeconomic imbalances.

Thanks to the good work of Ms Ferreira of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the regulation has been a major success, particularly in the sphere of social rights. It covers a comprehensive range of macroeconomic imbalances (including unemployment and indicators of the real economy) which have to be monitored and do not focus only on the originally proposed selective and politically motivated indicators (deficit, debt, and so on). I believe not only deficits, but chronic surpluses can also be a potential source of imbalances for countries.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this report as a constructive measure to help tackle the financial crisis.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. – (IT) I voted in favour of the report by Ms Ferreira on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances.

The improvement of the economic governance framework cannot be disassociated from greater regulation and surveillance of the financial markets.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. − I supported the Ferreira report on the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances. The report suggests that the current economic and financial crisis can be explained partly by economic imbalances between Member States and within the private sector. To prevent and correct those imbalances at an earlier stage, this report proposes a new early warning mechanism as part of the package on economic governance. Requiring Member States to address their macroeconomic imbalances is not about imposing measures that hurt countries or their citizens or punishing those already under a lot of pressure. The report concludes it is more harmful if excessive macroeconomic imbalances are not dealt with, as they can have a drastic effect on the economy as a whole.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) The Commission will now be able to dole out good and bad marks at will. It will itself introduce the indicators that will allow it to rate Member States and to impose sanctions on them almost automatically. All this has been validated by the Council, which accepts the logic of limited sovereignty imposed by reversed qualified majority voting.

The only piece of progress made by Parliament on this text is flimsy to the extreme. The Commission and the Council are to undertake to honour the role of social partners and national parliaments as well all national wage-setting systems. This is the very least that should happen. Nonetheless, this commitment is negated by the Euro Plus Pact and the European Semester. This is a trick. I voted against this text.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The coordination of the economic policies of the Member States within the Union should be developed in the context of the general guidelines for economic policy and employment, and that this should require compliance with the guiding principles of price stability, of robustness and sustainability in public finances and monetary conditions, and of balance of payments sustainability. A procedure to monitor and correct adverse macroeconomic imbalances, with preventive and corrective elements, will require enhanced surveillance instruments based on those used in the multilateral surveillance procedure. This procedure can include enhanced surveillance missions by the Commission to Member States in liaison with the European Central Bank for Member States participating in second exchange rate mechanism, and additional reporting by the Member States in the case of severe imbalances, including imbalances that jeopardise the proper functioning of economic and monetary union. Social partners and other national stakeholders should, therefore, take part in the dialogue, where appropriate.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing.(ES) This report forms the ‘preventive’ part of the overall structure; in other words, being able to anticipate potential future situations like the current one. This means creating alert mechanisms that go off when a Member State is getting close to a level of public deficit that is too high for the thresholds established by the EU. All of this so as to be able to extend the adjustment and austerity plans before the problem explodes. I voted against, of course.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. The prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances is a powerful instrument to address fragilities arising, namely, from medium- and long-term structural trends, from the enlarging divergences within the Union (and euro area in particular) and the spillover effects of individual Member States’ policies. The complexity and novelty of this approach will require the construction of a scoreboard with a limited but adequate set of indicators (to be agreed between Council and Parliament) and with the definition of upper and lower thresholds; the scoreboard should not be interpreted automatically but rather be complemented by thorough economic analysis and ‘in loco’ dialogue and surveillance missions. I support the report of Elisa Ferreira.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) Ms Ferreira’s report is important, because although it does not directly affect the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), it broadens the scope of factors to be taken into account in order to achieve a clear and wide-ranging framework and to be able to conduct a comprehensive analysis of Member States. The procedure for identifying macroeconomic imbalances is fundamental, and I welcome the creation of the list of both quantitative and qualitative indicators. In the same way as the SGP, the Excessive Imbalance Procedure (EIP), is the condicio sine qua non to ensure that the Commission really is seen as a guardian of rigour and stability.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 29 September 2010, the Commission tabled a legislative package aimed at reinforcing economic governance in the EU and the euro area. The package is made up of six proposals: four of them deal with budgetary issues, including a reform of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), while two new regulations aim at detecting and addressing emerging macroeconomic imbalances within the EU and the euro area. This draft opinion is on the proposal, tabled by the Commission, for a Council regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1466/97 on the ‘strengthening of the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and coordination of economic policies’. It is generally agreed that the SGP has failed in terms of both prevention and correction, and needs to be reformed. I agree with the amendments to the proposal initially tabled by the Commission, which were adopted in Parliament by a broad majority. I would argue that it is important to take the experience acquired during the years when the old SGP existed into account, along with the fact that economic governance has become more democratic through Parliament’s involvement throughout the surveillance process. I therefore voted for this report.

 
  
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  Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. – (RO) In September 2010, the Commission presented a legislative package aimed at reinforcing economic governance in the EU and euro area, with the need to develop a new structured procedure for preventing and correcting adverse macroeconomic imbalances in every Member State.

In order to develop a coordinated employment strategy, Member States and the European Union should act in compliance with the guiding principles of promoting a skilled and trained workforce and labour markets responsive to economic change. The internal market should contribute to the EU’s sustainable development, based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social cohesion, and a high level of protection for and improvement in the quality of the environment.

Measures proposed to a given Member State for correcting imbalances should take into account the objectives of an EU strategy for growth and jobs and the need to use such a strategy as an instrument for ensuring sustainable internal cohesion.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances should be based on joint action by all Union operators. The joint approach of the Commission and the Council is emphasised in this regard from the time when the relevant macroeconomic indicators are identified for the establishment of a scoreboard showing the situation of the Member States, and thus providing indexes that act as a basis for gauging the macroeconomic situation of the Member States. Moreover, it is important to highlight the need for a collaborative approach by the Member States in the search for shared political courses of action.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. Abstention. The Commission acknowledges that ‘in the years preceding the crisis large internal and external debt positions were built up in some member States on the back of unsustainable levels of consumption and housing bubbles. At the same time persistent weaknesses in domestic demand nourished rendered some member States particularly vulnerable to external developments (...) These accumulated imbalances and divergences in competitiveness trends weakened the EU and the euro area response to the crisis and make economic adjustment more painful’. In order to prevent and correct such imbalances so far ignored in the current Stability and Growth Pact, on the negative side the EP lost the demand to have the list of the scoreboard indicators to be defined by delegated acts.

Also and very unfortunately under the pressure of Germany, the Council disavowed the compromise on symmetry reached with the Hungarian Presidency and in its last version came back to a version without the word. In the end the word 'symmetry' got lost in the last negotiations. Even though the symmetric rationale is still present in the text is has been weakened by the trialogues given that in the final text action is deemed more urgent and pressing in deficit Member States than in surplus Member States.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR), in writing. − The ECR has always supported the eurozone’s efforts to find a way out of the crisis and to ensure that it does not happen again. It is regrettable, however, that the chosen way of doing so requires that the whole of the EU, and not just the eurozone, must be subject to the new and intrusive powers that have been handed to the Commission through the economic governance package. The ECR cooperated fully to make the new system as effective, accountable and transparent as possible and to reduce its impact on the Member States outside the eurozone. It is a shame that governmental profligacy and contempt for the Stability and Growth Pact has required such a system to be put in place, and we hope that all Member States have now learnt that fiscal prudence is essential at all times, and not just when times are bad. We have voted against this report as it does not inspire confidence that the lessons of the crisis have been learnt, and in this case we doubt that Parliament’s vote will assure the markets that proper action is being taken.

 
  
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  Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu (S&D), in writing. I supported this report as it establishes a system for detecting and correcting macroeconomic imbalances, while, at the same time, protecting social rights and having a symmetrical approach in monitoring both surplus and deficit countries. Furthermore, the regulation ensures the monitoring of a wide range of potential sources of imbalances, including the monitoring of social indicators such as unemployment.

 
  
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  Georgios Toussas (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The agreement between the political spokesmen of capital on the so-called ‘economic governance package’ adopted today by the political forces of capital is a sign of the determination of monopolies to step up their attack on the working and grassroots classes throughout the EU. The political face of capital has, yet again, played out the farce of apparent disagreement between the EU Council of bourgeois governments and the Commission and European Parliament that we have seen a thousand times before, in order to arrive at a reactionary agreement that spells hell for the working classes and was, in any case, a foregone conclusion. It introduces a drastic cut in wages, pensions, social benefits and workers’ rights in the name of ‘fiscal stability’ and ‘competitiveness’, for which read in order to safeguard the profitability of the monopolies. It has raised strong-arm tactics to force the people to accept the decimation of their rights to the status of EU law, by making provision for and imposing automatic sanctions on the Member States – for which read on the working and grassroots classes – if they fail to effectively serve the ‘competitiveness’ of the monopolies. The euro-unifying legislation on so-called ‘reinforced economic governance’, together with the ‘European Semester’ (preventive control of Member States’ budgets), the anti-grassroots ‘competitiveness pact’ and the ‘controlled bankruptcy’ European support mechanism, are the iron rod being wielded against the working and grassroots classes in all the Member States.

 
  
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  Inese Vaidere (PPE), in writing. (LV) The experience gained from the functioning of the Economic and Monetary Union hitherto leads us to conclude that improved economic governance, introduction of an effective system to prevent excessive national budget deficits and stronger financial market regulation and supervision are among the primary tasks of European States, especially of those in the euro area.

In this report the European Parliament provides for the introduction of a special alert mechanism for early detection of the risks of macroeconomic imbalances in the Union. Such an alert mechanism would be based on regular Commission assessments of the fiscal and macroeconomic situation in Member States.

For this purpose, the report provides for the creation by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission acting jointly of a specific indicative and transparent scoreboard including nominal and real convergence, both internal and external national imbalances, changes in productivity and its constituents, for example, as regards research and development, foreign and domestic investment, as well as changes in those sectors, such as energy, influencing GDP and the current account. The indicators must also be reviewed and renewed at least once a year in order to prevent in future situations such as arose in Ireland where out-of-date indicators made early detection of the approaching crisis impossible.

Where a macroeconomic imbalance is found to exist in a Member State, recommendations would be drawn up for that state to fulfil within a given deadline, involving interested persons, including social partners, where necessary.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. − (DE) At the time of the tenth anniversary of the Economic and Monetary Union, before the crisis, it became clear that there was increasing divergence between the Member States. The system for correcting these imbalances is intended to prevent Europe in future from ending up in an extreme situation like the one which we have found ourselves in since 2008.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing.(IT) The prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances represents an important means with which to tackle the weaknesses arising from the crisis in the eurozone and in the financial markets.

Ms Ferreira’s text, for which I voted, is part of the ‘six-pack’, which forms a solid foundation to strengthen European economic policies. However, only if we view the approval of the economic governance package as a starting point – and not as a finishing line – can it constitute a strong platform from which to emerge from the crisis and revive hopes of new economic growth for the EU area.

 
  
  

Report: Diogo Feio (A7-0179/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I abstained from the vote on this report. Although it is necessary to cut the public deficit, the report could go further, because the ideology that it puts across is that an austerity agenda – with procedures, incentives, penalties, and so on – solves everything, and does not take into consideration the fact that social factors, such as unemployment, could exacerbate the social crisis.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The current crisis shows that the Member States in the euro area will no longer be able to live beyond their means. I therefore voted in favour of the report by Mr Feio, because it is high time that Member States faced up to their responsibilities. The European Union, as part of the ‘economic governance package’, is now calling on Member States to correct their excessive deficits quickly. In order to do so, the Union, in the aforementioned report, has laid out a detailed procedure to be followed. This procedure will afford the European Union enhanced rights in examining a Member State’s deficit and debt. The aim of this is to get a Member State’s finances back on track more quickly. The European Commission will now be able to act much more quickly and exert greater pressure by increasing the number of in situ visits it makes. It will be possible to impose a fine on any Member State that does not meet its commitments, and the sum levied will go to the European Financial Stability Facility and then the European Stability Mechanism which is due to replace it in 2013.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The economic and financial crisis has exposed the need for coordination and improved surveillance of economic policies within the Economic and Monetary Union. These recent experiences have also revealed failings and shortcomings in the current system of coordination and in existing surveillance procedures. This report, for which I voted, sets out provisions to speed up and clarify the implementation of the excessive deficit procedure. The aim of the excessive deficit procedure is to prevent excessive budget deficits, and, if these occur, to correct them swiftly, in which case compliance with budgetary discipline is assessed on the basis of the budget deficit and public debt criteria. In order to strengthen dialogue between the EU institutions, particularly Parliament, the Council and the Commission, and to ensure greater transparency and accountability, the relevant parliamentary committee may invite the President of the Council, the Commission and, where appropriate, the President of the European Council or of the Euro Group to appear before the committee to discuss the Council’s decision. The relevant parliamentary committee may give the Member State that is the subject of the aforementioned recommendations, information and decisions the opportunity to participate in an exchange of views.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. - (CS) The Stability and Growth Pact is based on the objective of sound public finances as a means of strengthening the conditions for price stability and for strong sustainable growth underpinned by financial stability and conducive to employment creation. In my opinion, the rules on budgetary discipline should be strengthened in particular by giving a more prominent role to the level and evolution of debt and overall sustainability. Establishment of the existence of an excessive deficit based on the deficit criterion and the steps leading to it should not, in my opinion, focus exclusively on non-compliance with the recommended numerical values, but should always take into account all the key factors covered by the Commission report under Article 126(3) of the Treaty. The Commission report under Article 126(3) of the Treaty should give appropriate consideration to the quality of the national fiscal framework, as it plays a crucial role in supporting fiscal consolidation and sustainable public finances. In order to support the monitoring of compliance with Council recommendations and notices for the correction of situations of excessive deficit, there is, in my view, a need that these specify annual budgetary targets consistent with the required fiscal improvement in cyclically adjusted terms, net of one-offs and other temporary measures.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this legislative resolution as I agree that the common EU framework for economic governance needs to be improved, particularly as regards the strengthening of budgetary surveillance, in line with the high level of integration that has been achieved between the economies of the EU Member States, especially in the euro area. Rules on budgetary discipline should be strengthened, giving a much more significant role to levels and growth of debt, and to sustainability in general. The mechanisms aimed at ensuring compliance with these rules and their application should also be strengthened.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The current economic, financial and social crisis has demonstrated that the European Union’s current economic governance model has not worked: the surveillance framework has shown itself to be very weak and the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact have not been respected.

I therefore agree with the package of measures that the Commission has submitted on economic governance, which should have a key role in the prevention of future crises and in strengthening European competitiveness and economic growth. I am voting for the excellent report by Mr Feio on speeding up and clarifying the implementation of the excessive deficit procedure. The aim of the excessive deficit procedure is to avoid excessive budget deficits, and, if these occur, to correct them swiftly. I welcome the call for the process by which the Commission publishes its recommendations to be sped up.

I believe that it is important for the Commission to maintain constant dialogue with the authorities of the Member States, and there should also be the possibility of carrying out missions aimed at assessing the actual economic situation of the Member State and identifying potential risks or difficulties that it may have in meeting the objectives of this regulation. I am in favour of the Commission being given the opportunity to carry out additional surveillance, and the European Central Bank being able to play a part in those visits.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) Particularly important in this report is the proposal for reducing sovereign debt on the basis of a three-year average, as opposed to a fixed annual rate for the same period, which was previously advocated by the Commission. I am voting for these changes, as I believe that they represent an important legislative instrument for the development of corrective action to ensure the Member States’ fiscal sustainability. I would stress that, with the adoption of this document, the Commission will now have coordination and supervision responsibilities, taking a more active role in assessing and monitoring the performance of each Member State. This is an important step towards restructuring, strengthening and greater dynamism in Europe’s stability and growth policies. Finally, I would like to emphasise that only effective economic coordination can lead to a more cohesive and competitive EU, and I am bound to criticise the fact that the proposals made by the Commission on 15 September 2010 have only received the Council’s assent over a year later.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of this report because I think that preventing and correcting macroeconomic imbalances is a powerful instrument for addressing the issue of the delicate balance arising, in particular, from medium- and long-term structural trends, the ever-growing disparities within the European Union, and from the spillover effects of individual Member States’ policies. The current process of strengthening economic governance must go hand in hand with reinforcing the democratic legitimacy of the decisions made, which requires the direct involvement not only of the relevant stakeholders, but also of national parliaments and the European Parliament throughout the process. The experience acquired during the first decade of the Economic and Monetary Union’s operation has highlighted the definite need for a better economic governance framework, which should be based on a stronger commitment at national level to the regulations and policies agreed by common consent and on a more robust system for monitoring national economic policies at EU level.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I abstained from the vote on the report on the implementation of the excessive deficit procedure, as it forms part of a legislative package on economic governance, whose measures concentrate almost exclusively on penalties, which will have negative consequences for the European economy and the European public. Austerity alone will not solve the crisis in the euro area. There is a need for policies to consolidate public finances which promote smart growth, social cohesion and jobs.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Mr Feio, concerns a proposal for a regulation of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1467/97 on speeding up and clarifying the implementation of the excessive deficit procedure, and it forms part of the legislative package on economic governance, on which Parliament is voting during this sitting. The global economic and financial crisis, which is taking so long to show signs of easing, has shown the need for better EU coordination and improved surveillance of the economic policies of the Economic and Monetary Union. The situations that have attracted the attention of economists and politicians include the monitoring of excessive deficits and the macroeconomic imbalances of the Member States. The dilemma that we are debating is this: how can we monitor excessive deficits and ensure economic growth? The new legislative package has an answer to this question: much stronger surveillance in the Stability and Growth Pact, and increased accountability and transparency are needed so that we can have sustainable public finances in the Member States. I am therefore voting for this report, as its proposals are part of a broader reform under the Europe 2020 strategy, and I hope that they contribute to the creation of a stronger and more sustainable economy.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report, which forms part of the so-called economic governance package, follows the same line of thinking as the other parts. Under the pretext of giving the European Union the necessary means to prevent future crises, they reinforce the policies and orientations that are largely at the root of the current crisis.

However, because this is not easy to do, at least with the public’s consent, it seeks to strengthen the directorate that determines the fate of the EU, concentrating ever more economic and political power upon it, taking decision making away from the public and the structures closest to and controlled by them. It tightens the stranglehold on the Member States even more, in particular on the countries with the weakest economies, and on their people. These new rules strengthen the surveillance role of the Commission, increasing its interference in economic, social, budgetary and fiscal policy, in the name of avoiding excessive budgetary deficits and debt, and enabling penalties to be applied to the most vulnerable Member States.

This set of six legal texts also regulates the European Semester, which is an annual review of national budgets, provides for hearings of the finance ministers of the Member States in Parliament, and establishes a faster mechanism for penalties, including steep fines. Instead of attending to the problems of the weakest, this creates more problems for them.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Today Parliament adopted the so-called economic governance legislative package, arguing that it aims to give the EU the necessary means to prevent future crises. In reality, however, it is about strengthening the economic and political powers that dominate the EU and putting a stranglehold on Member States and their peoples, particularly the countries with the weakest economies.

These new rules strengthen the surveillance role of the Commission and its interference in economic, social, budgetary and fiscal policy, in the name of preventing excessive budgetary deficits and debt, enabling the application of penalties to the most vulnerable Member States and of new indicators to detect supposed macroeconomic imbalances.

This set of six legal texts also regulates the European Semester, which is an annual review of national budgets, provides for hearings of the finance ministers of the Member States in Parliament, and establishes a faster mechanism for penalties, including steep fines.

Some of the legislative texts have been adopted by a small majority, with Members from the left and centre left voting against or abstaining from voting on several parts of the package, as they believe that the legislation is too heavily based on budgetary discipline and austerity, to the detriment of economic growth and employment. We therefore voted against.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) Coordination of the economic policies of the countries of the European Union as set out in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union should denote observance of the main principles aimed at stable prices, sound public finances and monetary conditions, and a sustainable balance of payments. The Stability and Growth Pact is based on the objective of sound government finances as a means of strengthening the conditions for price stability and strong sustainable growth underpinned by financial stability and conducive to creating employment. The common framework for the administration of economic governance must be improved in line with the high degree of integration between Member State economies within the European Union, and particularly in the euro area. The rules on financial discipline need to be strengthened. Implementing the existing excessive deficit procedure on the basis of both the deficit criterion and the debt criterion requires a numerical benchmark that takes into account the business cycle against which to assess whether the ratio of government debt to GDP is sufficiently diminishing and approaching the reference value at a satisfactory pace. References contained Regulation (EC) No 1467/97 should take account of the new Article numbering of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and to the replacement of Council Regulation (EC) No 3625/93 by Regulation (EC) No 479/2009 of 25 May 2009 on the application of the Protocol on the excessive deficit procedure annexed to the Treaty establishing the European Community. I therefore believe that Regulation (EC) No 1467/97 should be amended accordingly.

 
  
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  Vicky Ford (ECR), in writing. I abstain as the effect of this report will be within the eurozone. Whilst I welcome measures to enforce stronger fiscal discipline, I also respect the rights of Members from those countries to make their own decisions on this report.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I voted against the Feio report because it in no way provides for a sustainable way out of the financial, economic and social crisis. The economic governance package, by restricting itself to a merely punitive approach, straitjackets Member States into austerity policies.

This package, instead of guaranteeing policies to support recovery, consumption and investment for the future, makes the people pay for the crisis by stifling growth and destroying jobs, and will consequently prevent any return to balanced budgets. The consolidation of public finances must be accompanied by a policy for growth and recovery. However, this economic governance package is merely an abdication in the face of the all-powerful financial markets and credit-rating agencies. There is another way forward, and the European right will have to accept the heavy responsibility for not having chosen it.

 
  
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  Gerald Häfner (Verts/ALE), in writing. (DE) Our approach is cowardly and we are too paralysed to act. We are mesmerised by the ‘financial markets’ like a rabbit by a snake. We are allowing the ‘markets’ to dictate our actions, without understanding that these are imaginary giants which have acquired their power from us. They have borrowed it from the legislators who have not taken their duties seriously or been brave enough to fulfil their obligations to regulate the monetary and financial system effectively by enacting appropriate laws. All the measures are intended to ‘regain the confidence of the markets’. At the same time, we are gambling away something much more important: the confidence of the citizens, whose money we are pouring into a bottomless pit, while constantly making new promises, whom we are bleeding dry to allow multinational speculators to make exorbitant profits and whom we regularly pass over in the course of making all of these decisions. Behind the backs of the citizens and without a fundamental, open public debate, we are making major changes in course which will have dramatic consequences for decades to come for every individual person. The citizens are being downgraded to the status of powerless observers. This situation will inevitably have consequences. We are fostering a culture of anger, frustration and disillusionment with politics and with Europe, which is undermining our society. This is why I find decisions like this one increasingly difficult. It is not because I have no opinion on the subject. I have a clear position, but that is not the benchmark. Instead, we should be considering what the citizens of Europe want and we should finally ask them.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I welcomed this document because the regulation is meant to avoid gross error in budgetary policies, which could put at risk the sustainability of public finances. This translates into an obligation for Member States to avoid excessive government deficits, which are established according two main criteria: deficit and debt. The excessive deficit procedure (EDP), which implements a ban on excessive deficits, provides a sequence of steps to be followed. This system is backed by an enforcement mechanism involving financial sanctions for non-compliance with the provisions set out by the regulation. A reform of the corrective part of the Stability and Growth Pact is necessary as a response to a number of shortcomings highlighted by the economic and financial crisis. Consequently, the proposal focuses on the following measures: making the debt criteria of the EDP operational - this measure comes as a response to the marginal role hitherto played by debt, although the two criteria (deficit and debt) are in principle on an equal footing; the introduction of a new set of financial sanctions for euro-area Member States in order to deter excessive general deficits and, if they occur, to encourage their prompt correction; and a clearer and a more flexible framework for the Commission to submit possible recommendations. It follows that the main purpose of this proposal is to deter and correct excessive deficits, to avoid gross error in budgetary policies and to set out the detailed rules to be followed when applying the excessive deficit procedure.

 
  
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  Cătălin Sorin Ivan (S&D), in writing. – (RO) This report is virtually a continuation and extension of the flawed logic featuring in the Wortmann-Kool report on the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and coordination of economic policies. This is why I chose to vote against this report.

 
  
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  Vladimír Maňka (S&D), in writing. (SK) This regulation sets out the recommendations, warnings and ultimately the fines for the Member States of the euro area which do not keep to the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact of a 3 percent deficit and 60 percent debt. The thrust of the regulation is the same as that of the report on the preventive instrument of the Pact (Wortmann-Kool), which is why it has the same shortcomings. It means that the objectives of long-term growth, modernisation and sustainability will be subordinated to short-term budgetary and market pressures. The regulation is based on a politically skewed concept of budgetary consolidation which prefers cuts in spending over increasing budgetary revenue. This contributes towards dismantling the State and that is why I voted against.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I welcome the view that the Commission should have a stronger and more independent role in the enhanced surveillance procedure. This concerns Member-State-specific assessments, monitoring, missions, recommendations and warnings. In addition, the role of the Council needs to be reduced in the steps leading to potential sanctions and the reversed qualified majority voting in the Council needs to be used wherever possible in accordance with the TFEU. The member of the Council representing the Member State concerned and those that are not complying with the Council recommendations to take corrective action under the Stability and Growth Pact or to address excessive macroeconomic imbalances should not participate in the vote.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing.(IT) A comprehensive and integrated solution to the euro area debt crisis is needed since a piecemeal approach has not worked so far. Parliament was right to clarify this point. I also welcome the fact that the Commission is to take a stronger and more independent role.

Serious action to recover the euro’s stability is a priority. The permanent crisis resolution mechanism must be adopted using the ordinary legislative procedure and be inspired by the Union method. For these reasons, I voted in favour of Mr Feio’s report.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) This text provides for speeding up the procedures for correcting Member States’ deficits. There will be an expedited procedure in the case of a ‘deliberately planned deficit’. In the event of non-compliance with the Commission and the Council’s recommendations, sanctions will immediately be imposed on the Member State. The only derogation for which it provides, other than in the event of economic disaster, is the introduction of a capital-funded pension system. Thus, it introduces a kind of authoritarian and arbitrary federalism which will put paid to the European idea and will spoil any idea of a federal Europe. I voted against.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU economic governance framework needs to be improved, particularly as regards the strengthening of budgetary surveillance, in line with the high level of integration that has been achieved between the economies of the EU Member States, and especially in the euro area. Taking into account systemic pension reforms among the relevant factors, the central consideration should be whether these reforms will enhance the long-term sustainability of the overall pension system, while not increasing risks for the medium-term budgetary position. In order to facilitate compliance with the recommendations and warnings issued by the Council in relation to the correction of excessive deficit situations, there is a need that these specify annual budgetary targets consistent with the required fiscal improvement in cyclically adjusted terms, net of one-off and temporary measures. In this context, the 0.5% of gross domestic product annual benchmark should be understood as an annual average basis.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing.(ES) This report lists the steps to follow and the time frame for reducing the public deficit; of course, this is still based on austerity measures and cuts. For three consecutive years, the public debt will be have to be reduced by 5% in those Member States where it exceeds 60% of their gross domestic product (GDP), including those Member States whose deficit is under the threshold of 3% of their GDP. Once again, this report proposes limiting government expenditure in order to stimulate economic growth and development. In my view and that of the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left, this is a contradiction. I therefore voted resolutely against this report.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I wholeheartedly support Mr Feio’s report. It is crucial that the assessment should include not only deficit but also debt. This explains the insertion of the numerical criterion for the reduction of public debt at the ‘satisfactory pace’ required by the Treaty, on the basis of which the difference between current public debt and the reference value of 60% must be reduced at an average rate of one-twentieth over a three-year period. Another crucial factor concerns the fact that, when applying the regulation on government debt, the Commission will have to take into account ‘all other relevant factors’, (including private debt and the characteristics of the banking system), which is fundamental for countries with significant private savings.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) As part of the legislative package aimed at reinforcing the economic governance in the EU and the euro area, there has also been a vote on this draft opinion on the Commission’s proposal amending the regulation on speeding up and clarifying the implementation of the excessive deficit procedure. I voted for this report because I essentially share the rapporteur’s concerns, particularly with regard to the following points: 1) the enforcement of budgetary surveillance should be subject to the overarching objectives of the EU; 2) in monitoring the compliance with the rules on budgetary discipline and in taking decisions in that respect, consideration should be given not only to severe economic downturns, but also to social crises that may have an impact on the financial position of governments; 3) fines collected from Member States failing to comply with their respective recommendations should be used in support of the EU’s long-term investment and job targets, and not distributed only to the Member States that are not subject to any procedure relating to deficits, as the Commission proposed; 4) regular consultation of the social partners and a stronger involvement of national parliaments are necessary preconditions of a credible and transparent surveillance framework.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The budgetary discipline of the different Member States is a prerequisite for the balance of the EU as a whole. In this context, it is well known that effective monitoring is better than severe penalties. The concern with ensuring that excessive deficit procedures are applied swiftly is therefore justified. However, any change to the regulatory framework cannot ignore the current situation nor the need to ensure that the Member States have a transition period that allows them to adapt to the limits set out in EU law.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Today we voted during the plenary sitting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the report on the implementation of the excessive deficit procedure.

Mr Feio’s report essentially supports the Commission’s approach, albeit with some changes. The major change is the call for debt reduction at an average amount over a three-year period rather than considering a fixed amount for each individual year.

Furthermore, the list of relevant factors taken into consideration during the assessments has been modified and updated. Lastly, Member States with derogations will be able to apply the regulations if they wish.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. Against both amended proposal and legislative resolution. Even though the Council accepted the EP wording (Green suggestion) that due account should be taken of the influence of the cycle on the pace of debt reduction and that other relevant factors should be taken into account in the EDP, the rule in itself remains pro-cyclical and as such is hardly credible.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR), in writing. The ECR has always supported the eurozone’s efforts to find a way out of the crisis and to ensure that it does not happen again. It is regrettable, however, that the chosen way of doing so requires that the whole of the EU, and not just the eurozone, must be subject to the new and intrusive powers that have been handed to the Commission through the economic governance package. The ECR cooperated fully to make the new system as effective, accountable and transparent as possible and to reduce its impact on the Member States outside the eurozone. It is a shame that governmental profligacy and contempt for the Stability and Growth Pact has required such a system to be put in place, and we hope that all Member States have now learnt that fiscal prudence is essential at all times, and not just when times are bad. Even though we have not been able to support this report, we hope that Parliament’s vote will go some way towards restoring the faith of the markets that proper action is being taken. But from now on, it is for the eurozone to sort out the mess in which it finds itself.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The economic governance legislative package should be affirmed as a fundamental instrument of the European Union for preventing future crises and promoting economic competitiveness. A proper regulatory framework is necessary to achieve key objectives such as European economic recovery and the consolidation of the internal market, the sustainability of pension systems, and structural reforms which stimulate employment and ensure the flexibility and security of the labour market. In this context, speeding up and clarifying the implementation of the excessive deficit procedure is crucial to measuring and controlling the dynamics of debt in the euro area, and the existing rules should also be revised in order to prevent the worsening of current situations, as well as to allow for a clearer and more flexible framework for future recommendations by the Commission. European economic governance with a stronger Community method should be of common concern to all the Member States. In order for this European governance to be successful, the Member States and their national parliaments need take more responsibility, and national reform programmes should contribute to an integrated approach that is aimed at growth and the creation of employment. I voted for the report for those reasons.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted against the report on the implementation of the excessive deficit procedure because the economic governance package only introduces austerity measures and does not give Member States the chance to invest in economic growth and job creation measures.

The aim of the excessive budget deficit procedure is to prevent excessive public deficits and boost their correction. Compliance with budgetary discipline is examined on the basis of the public deficit and public debt criteria. The Council decides whether there is an excessive deficit within two months and makes recommendations to the relevant Member State. The Council recommendation sets a deadline of six months for the relevant Member State to take specific action and a deadline for correcting the excessive deficit, which must be achieved within the year after it was identified. The Council requests the Member State to achieve annual budgetary targets which allow a deficit reduction of at least 0.5% of GDP as a benchmark, in order to ensure the correction of the excessive deficit within the deadline set in the recommendation.

I think that these austerity measures limit the flexibility of Member States to devise their own set of measures to provide economic and social development and, by extension, help reduce the excessive deficit in the medium and long term.

 
  
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  Inese Vaidere (PPE), in writing. (LV) An improved system of economic governance in the EU must be based on mutually coordinated policy approaches aimed at sustainable growth and improved employment, and based on the guiding principles of the Stability and Growth Pact.

Special attention must be drawn to both developing the internal market and fostering international trade and competitiveness, as well as to effective regulation of national budgetary positions, prevention of macroeconomic fluctuations, and more effective supervision and regulation of the financial market.

In order to achieve this, we must, first of all, approve certain requirements to be imposed on national budgets along with sanctions in the event of persistent non-compliance with these requirements. The report provides that where there is judged to be an inappropriate budgetary framework or an excessive budget deficit, the Member State will have imposed on it certain requirements that must be fulfilled within a deadline of six months. In a particularly serious situation, the Member State may be required to act within three months in order to reduce its budget deficit within a year.

In order to provide the necessary discipline among the euro-area Member States, agreement has been reached on an enhanced surveillance role for the Commission, which will henceforth not only carry out an assessment of the economic situation in Member States but also undertake special surveillance missions in those Member States, accompanied by the European Central Bank where necessary.

Sanctions are also envisaged — a fine of up to 0.5% of GDP, which would be allocated to the European Financial Stability Facility.

These are all essential steps towards a coordinated monetary policy without which a single currency union cannot exist.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. − (DE) The long-term sustainability of public finances is a key means of preventing a situation of the kind which we find ourselves in today. The decision that a Member State has an excessive deficit will be made by the Council, taking into consideration developments in the medium-term economic situation, including contributions on the basis of work, the accumulation of capital and productivity, developments in the medium-term budgetary position and in the medium-term government debt position, together with its dynamics and sustainability. In evaluating a Member State’s compliance with the deficit and debt position criteria, the implementation of pension reforms will also be considered in the light of future challenges, as an anticipatory measure. I have voted in favour of this report.

 
  
  

Report: Vicky Ford (A7-0184/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting against this report. The coordination of the economic policies of the EU Member States should be primarily focused on job creation and combating social exclusion, not only on balancing prices and finances.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) In several countries the seemingly sound budgetary positions during the pre-crisis period covered up the strong dependence on exceptional revenues for funding expenses. The decline in these revenues has contributed to the steep rise in budget deficits.

In order to tackle these shortcomings, budget policy needs to be coordinated and monitored with the aim of consolidating the Stability and Growth Pact by providing it with more effective implementation instruments and supplementing the pact with provisions relating to national budgetary frameworks. The budgetary framework is intended to guarantee that Member States apply prudent budget policies, so that it is not necessary to adopt stricter forms of coordination to avoid jeopardising the sustainability of public finances and the potential adverse consequences for the entire Economic and Monetary Union.

Consequently, Member States are called on to submit stability and convergence programmes in which they set out their plans for achieving the medium-term budgetary targets, which are defined as a percentage of GDP in structural terms.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) Minimum requirements must be introduced in budgetary matters if we are to have better economic governance. These requirements will not only enable us to avoid excessive deficits but also to be better prepared in the event of an economic recession. That is why the European Union, under the six proposals contained in the economic governance package, has decided to introduce measures, including the publication of macroeconomic forecasts and the independence of statistical mechanisms, which will render the budgetary policies of the Member States more transparent and better regulated. These measures have been taken up by the Ford report which advocates greater independence for statistical mechanisms. As I am in favour of strengthening the budgetary frameworks of the Member States, I voted in favour of the Ford report.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Commission’s proposals on improving economic governance are of the highest importance for the future of the EU and for economic growth. This report, for which I voted, lays down specific rules applying to the budgetary frameworks of the Member States, which are necessary to ensure that the Member States meet their obligations in terms of avoiding excessive budget deficits. It advocates the need for the Member States to create accounting systems that cover all government sectors in a full and consistent way, and it adds that the Member States should ensure that their budget plan is based on realistic macroeconomic and budgetary assumptions, and that they use the most up-to-date information to determine whether this is the case. All government bodies and funds not forming part of the ordinary budgets at sub-sector level should be identified and submitted, along with other relevant information, as part of the annual budgetary procedure. Budgetary planning should be based on the most likely macro-fiscal scenario or on a more prudent scenario. In order to help the Member States prepare their budgetary forecasts, the Commission should provide forecasts of EU spending, based on the level of expenditure planned in the Multiannual Financial Framework.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this legislative resolution as I agree that transparency is a vital factor in ensuring the use of realistic forecasts for the conduct of budgetary policy. This means the publication not only of the official macroeconomic and budgetary forecast drawn up for fiscal planning, but also of the methodologies, assumptions and parameters on which such forecasts are based, in view of the interdependence between Member States’ budgets and the Union budget. In order to support the Member States in preparing their budgetary forecasts, the Commission should provide forecasts for EU expenditure, based on the level of spending set out in the Multiannual Financial Framework.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The current economic, financial and social crisis has demonstrated that the European Union’s current economic governance model has not worked: the surveillance framework has shown itself to be very weak and the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact have not been respected.

I therefore agree with the package of measures that the Commission has submitted on economic governance, which should have a key role in the prevention of future crises and in strengthening European competitiveness and economic growth. I am voting for the report by Ms Ford on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States. I welcome the fact that the regulation is applicable to all the EU Member States, establishing a legal framework that is necessary for the effective and timely monitoring of compliance with the rules, based on reliable and independent analysis.

It should thus contribute to greater transparency in the decision-making process, as well as greater accountability among policy makers. I am in favour of the opportunity for governments to update their budgetary framework in the medium term to reflect new political priorities, although this should clearly highlight the differences with the previous budgetary framework.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) In general, this report supports the Commission’s position. However, it particularly stresses the need for national statistical and fiscal authorities to be independent. I am voting for this report, as I believe that greater coordination of the budgets of the Member States, whether they are in the euro or not, is always preferable to the opposite situation, although it could have gone further in this coordination. At the risk of repeating myself, I regret that the proposals made by the Commission on 15 September 2010 have only received the Council’s assent over a year later.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted against the report on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States, as it forms part of a legislative package on economic governance, whose measures concentrate almost exclusively on austerity and penalties, which will have extremely negative consequences for the European economy and the European public. Austerity alone will not solve the crisis in the euro area. There is a need for policies to consolidate public finances which promote smart growth, social cohesion and jobs, and which provide, specifically, for the creation of a system of Eurobonds and a financial transaction tax.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) If we really want to prevent future crises; if we want to create a cohesive and responsible economic Union; if we want to be guided by a perspective of prevention and correction; if we want to commit to sustainable growth; if, then, we want this package to be complete, it is essential that we have this directive. In this directive we find a series of fundamental premises whose application by national governments will make their budgetary policy rules more transparent, not least as regards the publication of budgetary forecasts and performance. I believe that, with everything we are achieving here, the Union will be increasingly prepared to coordinate and to prevent potential problems, shortcomings and imbalances in a unified way. Finally, I should like to thank my colleague, Ms Ford, for all her efforts and commitment towards concluding this report.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Ms Ford, concerns a proposal for a directive on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the EU Member States. This proposal for a directive, which forms part of a package of six proposals for legislation – five regulations and one directive – is aimed at improving EU economic governance. It has been the subject of intense negotiations between the Council and Parliament, which has tabledmore than 2 000 proposed amendments, having been adopted by the finance ministers of the EU Member States, under the Polish Presidency of the Council, on 16 September.

This directive must be implemented faithfully and rigorously, as it will allow the EU to monitor and penalise the Member States. It cannot, as often happens, have a merely cosmetic effect. It must be effective and force countries to provide suitable statistical data that allows a correct diagnosis to be made of the financial situation of each Member State. I welcome the adoption of this directive, which represents a comprehensive, integrated solution for combating the crisis, introduces transparency criteria and penalties for those supplying incorrect data, and encourages fiscal responsibility by establishing minimum requirements for national budgets.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted against this report, which relates to the proposal for a Council directive on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States, as it constitutes one of the most serious attacks on their sovereignty, and this situation will be even worse for any in the euro area considered to have an excessive deficit, which, in addition to continuous surveillance by the European Commission, could be subject to penalties.

This is a directive which is part of the legislative package on so-called ‘economic governance’, which is made up of six legislative texts, and which is a veritable attack on social and labour rights. It is also part of the European Union’s crusade against national independence and sovereignty, which is clear in the final agreement between the three institutions: Parliament, the Council and the Commission.

The postponement of the vote has only served to confirm what had already been decided. The intended outcome is an unprecedented attack on the rights of the national parliaments and on the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, the members of whose Parliament are governed by guidelines from the European Union on their countries’ budgets; these guidelines are increasingly neoliberal.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) We need to draw on the experience of the first decade of the Economic and Monetary Union. Recent economic developments have posed new challenges to the conduct of fiscal policy across the Union and have in particular highlighted the need for uniform requirements as regards the rules and procedures for establishing the budgetary frameworks of the Member States. Member State governments and government sub-sectors maintain accounting systems which include elements such as bookkeeping, internal control, financial reporting and audits. These should be distinguished from statistical data which relate to the results of public finances based on statistical methodologies, and from forecasts or budgeting actions which relate to future public finances. Complete and reliable public accounting practices for all sectors of general government are a precondition for the production of high quality statistics that are comparable across Member States. The availability of fiscal data is crucial to the proper functioning of the budgetary surveillance framework of the Union. Regular availability of timely and reliable fiscal data is the key to proper and well-timed monitoring. In my view a fundamental element in ensuring the quality of these data is transparency, which should incorporate their regular availability.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I voted against the Ford report as it does not, in any way, provide for a sustainable exit from the financial, economic and social crisis. The economic governance package, by restricting itself to a merely punitive approach, straitjackets States into austerity policies.

This package, instead of guaranteeing policies that support economic recovery, consumption and investment for the future, makes the people pay for the crisis by stifling growth and destroying jobs, and consequently prevents any return to balanced budgets. The consolidation of public finances must be accompanied by a policy for growth and recovery. However, this economic governance package is merely an abdication in the face of the all-powerful financial markets and credit-rating agencies. There was another way forward, and the European right will have to accept the heavy responsibility for not having chosen it.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because the main purpose of this proposal is to encourage fiscal responsibility by setting minimum requirements for national frameworks and to ensure the effectiveness of the excessive deficit procedure. It aims to set out detailed rules to be followed when applying the excessive deficit procedure.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) Sound budgetary planning and governance is the basis for stabilising public finances. The financial crisis which has hit the euro area and the other Member States has made us aware of the need to introduce changes on questions both of budgetary and surveillance structures. These changes will help restore market confidence in the European Union’s Member States – confidence which we lost by poor control of the size of national deficits. It needs to be said that this must not be done at the cost of support for sustainable growth, which is the basis of raising the level of employment as well as efficiency and social cohesion.

 
  
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  Vladimír Maňka (S&D), in writing. (SK) This Council directive implements the requirements for the budgetary frameworks of the Member States in terms of their observance of their undertakings before the EU, particularly with regard to deficits. It also introduces budgetary planning rules for the Member States.

The report does not regard budgets as an instrument for improving the economic situation of the Member States. Reducing the debt and balancing the budgets are regarded as ends in themselves and ignore the option of using budgetary policies to correct macroeconomic imbalances. The directive reduces the ability of national governments to respond to economic shocks. That is why I voted against it.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I welcome the fact that this report says: The Stability and Growth Pact and the complete economic governance framework should complement and be compatible with a Union strategy for growth and jobs.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing.(IT) I agree that a comprehensive and integrated solution to the euro area debt crisis is needed since a piecemeal approach has not worked so far.

Achieving and maintaining a dynamic internal market should be considered an element of the proper and smooth functioning of the Economic and Monetary Union. I voted in favour of Ms Ford’s report on the proposal for a Council directive on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) This report introduces a ‘European Semester’ by organising the monitoring of the Member States’ multiannual budgetary frameworks. It requires each Member State’s levels of debt and deficit to be published on a quarterly basis, as well as detailed accounts for all its administrative bodies, both central and local, in the same way as companies are obliged to do within the liberal model. It provides what the credit rating agencies want on a plate. I voted against this text. The French people will abolish it.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Incorrect and unrealistic macroeconomic and budgetary forecasts can seriously undermine the effectiveness of fiscal planning, and can compromise commitment to budgetary discipline, while transparency and debating methods of forecasting can significantly increase the quality of the macroeconomic and budgetary forecasts that are needed for budgetary planning.

One crucial element in ensuring the use of realistic forecasts for the conduct of budgetary policy is transparency, which entails the publication not only of the official macroeconomic and budgetary forecasts, but also of the methodologies, assumptions and parameters on which such forecasts are based.

In order to facilitate the preparation of the forecasts used in budgetary planning and to clarify the differences between the forecasts of the Commission and those of the Member States, every year each Member State should have the opportunity to discuss the assumptions underlying the preparation of its macroeconomic and budgetary forecasts with the Commission.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing.(ES) This report deals with the national and European authorities that will oversee budgetary discipline in the national budgets, ensuring that they are in line with that of the EU. While it may seem harmless, this report is once again based on creating mechanisms to ensure that Member States comply with the requirements for controlling the public deficit by cutting government expenditure. I therefore voted against once again.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. The resolution is meant to contribute to stronger economic and budgetary coordination for the EU as a whole and for the euro area in particular. As a result, the EU’s interdependent economies will be better placed to chart a path to growth and job creation. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Vital Moreira (S&D), in writing. (PT) Despite having abstained from voting on some of the reports of the so-called ‘economic governance package’, I believe that this body of legislation represents notable progress in the integration of the budgetary policies and economic policies of the Member States, with the aim of strengthening budgetary discipline and reducing macroeconomic imbalances and asymmetries in competitiveness, which are conditions for the stability of the euro, economic recovery and the external competitiveness of the European economy.

This legislative package corrects some of the key weaknesses which have long been identified in the structure of the euro and the monetary union. If this new system had been established at the beginning of the monetary union, it is very likely that the EU would have resisted the 2008 banking crisis and the subsequent economic crisis differently, and could have been spared the current public debt crisis.

If we could not prevent the crisis, at least let us draw lessons from it in order to prevent other crises in the future. Moreover, the adoption of this legislative package sends a strong message of confidence to the financial markets and economic agents as regards guarantees of the stability of the euro. The adoption of this comprehensive reform is therefore to be welcomed.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) National budgets are at the centre of the Commission’s surveillance and are the starting point from which to achieve sound and sustainable financial policies. We must therefore start with minimum requirements to be met by public budgetary procedures at both central and local level, in order to ensure that set parameters are respected and above all to allow for data comparability and analysis. In addition, in order to save time and to avoid legislative differences, I welcome the fact that the transposition of the directive at national level will not necessarily require new laws, but that administrative measures will be sufficient.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) This draft opinion on the establishment of requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States has been voted on, and forms part of the legislative package aimed at reinforcing economic governance in the EU and the euro area. I voted for this report because I essentially share the rapporteur’s concerns, particularly as regards amendments pertaining to the following key issues:

1) the general aim of this proposal should be clearly linked to the promotion of a high level of employment, the guarantee of adequate social protection and the fight against social exclusion;

2) rules put forward to ensure improvements in national fiscal frameworks should be established in the context of the European Semester of policy coordination;

3) the requirements for national budgetary frameworks should not only ensure that Member States’ fiscal planning is based on realistic forecasts, but should also ensure that appropriate attention is given to the sustainability of their respective social protection systems, including pension and healthcare systems;

4) and, finally, the requirements for national budgetary frameworks should also be designed in such a way that they encourage Member States to achieve the EU’s growth and jobs objectives.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Economic governance, as the adoption of political measures aimed at achieving certain practical results, is only able to meet its objectives using reliable data on the situation of the Member States. That is, the less reliable the data, the less certain the success or failure of economic intervention in the Member States. Transparent and reliable macroeconomic and budgetary forecasts from the Member States are thus a precondition for the success of economic governance measures. This area therefore requires cooperation between the Member States and the Commission, guided by a criterion of seeking the accuracy of data, in order to encourage effective political action.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. Abstention. The Commission’s legislative package released last September has in this perspective the explicit aim of strengthening surveillance of economic policies and ensuring effective compliance with fiscal consolidation on the one hand, as well as taking proper account of macrofinancial imbalances such as excessive levels of private debt or weakness of internal demand on the other hand. These macrofinancial imbalances have been largely ignored in the framework of the current Stability and Growth Pact, which solely focuses on public deficits and public debt ratios. Although the report as it stands increases transparency and accountability of the budgetary process at the Member State level, still many question marks remain on how Member States are going to interpret it.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) I am delighted at the adoption, this lunchtime, of the report on the economic governance package, now referred to, in European jargon, as the ‘six pack’. It represents a decisive vote and a move towards European economic governance and also a more federal Europe. However, this package of measures will not save the euro from its current difficulties.

These structural measures do, nonetheless, draw lessons from the current crisis and from the laxity of budgetary policies over the last 20 years. The Ford report on the strengthening of the Member States’ budgetary frameworks helps to put things back on an even keel and draws lessons, in particular, from the case of Greece.

In essence, it consists in imposing more demanding and more binding rules on Member States when they draft their national budgets. It also requires national statistical institutes to be independent, and provides for penalties in the event of there being any falsification of the figures submitted to the European institutions. This is an urgent requirement, given that we now know the extent to which Greece falsified its statistics when it was joining the euro area in 2001.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted against the report on the proposal for a directive on the requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States because the whole economic governance package only introduces austerity measures and does not give Member States the chance to invest in economic growth and job creation measures.

To ensure the smooth operation of the EU’s budget surveillance framework, it is important to have available publicly the fiscal data, official macroeconomic and budget forecasts, as well as the methodologies, assumptions and parameters on which these forecasts are based. Other requirements include adopting the international public sector accounting standards and the professional independence of the national statistics authorities and national courts of auditors.

It is important that the methodologies, assumptions and parameters which underpin the Commission’s macroeconomic and budget forecasts are made public, and that the level of Member States’ debts and deficits, along with their progress, is published at least every quarter by Eurostat. However, I think that the Commission’s role is to coordinate Member States’ macroeconomic and budgetary policies so that they comply with the Stability and Growth Pact. The Commission may, using the tools it has available, make improvements to the national statistics authorities’ operation, but must not replace them.

 
  
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  Inese Vaidere (PPE), in writing. (LV) A large part of the blame for the crisis in the euro area and our existing difficulties must be borne not only by the lack of a common monetary policy but also the imprecise and easily falsifiable system for production and collection of statistics.

I therefore wish to support the report on the proposal for a Council directive on requirements for Member States’ budgetary frameworks, which is applicable to all Member States of the EU and draws special attention to the need to ensure reliable public accounting practices and high-quality statistics, as well as independent audit of national budgetary issues, which are elements essential to an EU fiscal surveillance system and its effective functioning.

The Council has encouraged Member States to prepare and publish data that comply as precisely as possible with this directive and national implementing measures, both for their own needs and in the interests of the European Union.

Based on the advice of the Commission and the Council, the report contains all the significant elements for comprehensive transparency and assessment of national financial and budgetary frameworks, to be reflected in annual assessments and progress reports by the Commission.

 
  
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  Dominique Vlasto (PPE), in writing. – (FR) Everyone can remember the shockwave caused by the discovery of the massaging of the Greek debt. This accounting fraud unleashed an unprecedented crisis for the euro area.

One year after this was discovered, the Council and Parliament have learnt lessons from this failure by adopting a directive designed to harmonise our methods for monitoring public accounts. This directive will ensure that there is greater transparency and a clearer identification of national accounting systems, and that these will be subject to independent audits. What is more, national budget forecasts will be monitored and regularly compared with Eurostat budgetary forecasts and, in the event of significant disparities, Member States will be called upon to provide convincing explanations. Some lament the loss of sovereignty that follows from the adoption of this text, but on this score, the bankruptcy of Member States is likely to cause considerably more harm than the efforts that we have just made towards convergence and transparency. I welcome these efforts.

In my view, this is an unavoidable change: it was no longer possible for us continue to enjoy a single currency while managing the public purse irresponsibly. That would have worked to the detriment of monetary union and future generations. That is something I cannot accept.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) On the basis of the experiences and the lessons learnt from the crisis, the provisions of the Stability and Growth Pact must be amended and improved. The necessary additions must also be made to the provisions on the national budgetary frameworks. The directive on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States includes provisions on the transparency of budget data, on planning and on monitoring medium-term goals. I have voted in favour of it.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of Ms Ford’s report, which points out the national nature of fiscal regulations and insists on the independence of statistical and fiscal institutions.

Whilst broadly following the European Commission’s approach, the text puts forward interesting amendments, concerning in particular Member States outside of the euro area and those not joining the euro in the immediate future.

 
  
  

Reports: Corien Wortman-Kool (A7-0178/2011), Diogo Feio (A7-0179/2011), Sylvie Goulard (A7-0180/2011), Carl Haglund (A7-0182/2011), Elisa Ferreira (A7-0183/2011), Vicky Ford (A7-0184/2011)

 
  
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  Franck Proust (PPE), in writing. – (FR) We have introduced new ground rules which will strengthen the Stability and Growth Pact. In specific terms, we have given Europe the means to monitor and penalise, where necessary, those States that are the most spendthrift. We have provided an outline of European economic governance, in partnership with all the countries. The voting of this legislative package was a matter of political responsibility towards our fellow citizens and our economies. It also sent a strong message to the financial markets. I welcome the announcement made in advance of this vote by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, to introduce a tax on financial transactions, something that President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel have been wanting for some considerable time. We, unlike the French socialist MEPs, assume our responsibilities. All Member States have gone beyond partisan divisions to support these principles. Furthermore, I can observe the extent of the divisions within the European left between those who are in office in their countries and who are realistic, and those who still look at the world through party-political glasses.

 
  
  

Reports: Diogo Feio (A7-0179/2011), Sylvie Goulard (A7-0180/2011), Carl Haglund (A7-0182/2011), Elisa Ferreira (A7-0183/2011), Vicky Ford (A7-0184/2011)

 
  
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  Marta Andreasen (EFD), in writing. I voted against this so called six pack of regulations on economic governance. This is an attempt to use this crisis to further integrate the member states into a federal union by taking away from them the ability to set their own budgets. This is the most fundamental power a nation has. The six pack is being held out as part of the cure for those heavily indebted countries who are now said to be a threat to the euro and the EU itself, but it is already too late. Instead these countries should be allowed to exit the euro and save themselves.

 
  
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  Proinsias De Rossa (S&D), in writing. I opposed four of the so-called ‘six pack’ because they are economically misguided, and will reinforce the EU austerity programme driving us into recession. Austerity measures which fail to protect investment, will kill growth, destroy jobs and derail economic recovery. Without growth a return to sound public finances will be simply impossible. I welcom