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Procedure : 2011/2828(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
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Texts tabled :

B7-0525/2011

Debates :

PV 27/09/2011 - 13
CRE 27/09/2011 - 13

Votes :

PV 29/09/2011 - 10.2
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0429

Debates
Thursday, 29 September 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

13. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
  

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Pervenche Berès (A7-0308/2011)

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I would like to make two comments regarding the European Parliament resolution on the future of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. My first comment is this: I am an enthusiastic supporter of this European fund because when we have problems adjusting to globalisation, it can be used to provide help where it is needed and can also serve to restore people’s faith in globalisation by evening out economic disadvantages that arise as a result of globalisation.

My second comment, however, is as follows: on the other hand, I am not among the sceptics when it comes to adding a specific budget line for this fund because, in my opinion, disasters cannot be planned. I see a very great risk that if we have planned a budget line and the funds have not been exhausted, then money will be distributed and the disaster will more or less be self-organised.

That is why I am in favour but, on the other hand, I feel that an appropriate degree of scepticism is the appropriate middle way.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, so this is how it ends. We are responding to the debt crisis by borrowing an almost literally unimaginable sum: two trillion euros, if the report is to be believed. Our minds are not designed to comprehend figures on that scale. This goes completely off the chart.

Two questions immediately arise. First of all, who is going to stand as a guarantor to such a loan? Ultimately, the loan is supposed to be guaranteed by the European Central Bank, but the ECB has been buying what is normally classified as junk debt from various eurozone countries to the extent that it is, in effect, already a bad bank. So when we talk about the guarantors, we really mean the taxpayers, including the taxpayers of Spain, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Greece.

Second question: From whom are we going to borrow? If somebody had two trillion euros lying around, do you not think they would have used it by now, given the circumstances of the past three years? The truth is we are borrowing from future generations. As the poet said, ‘God omnipotent is mustering (...) in his clouds armies of pestilence and they shall strike your children yet unborn and unbegot’. We are freighting future generations with an unprecedented level of debt. Prevent it, resist it, let it not be so, lest child, child’s children cry against you woe!

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). (GA) Mr President, this report is very important because it relates to the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, and it is important on two levels. On the first level, it gives practical assistance to people who are unemployed to get a job as soon as possible. On the second level, it gives a boost of morale to people who are depressed because they are unemployed. That is very important indeed; I saw that in Dell, I saw that in Waterford Crystal, and recently in TalkTalk – that there is someone happy to listen to the employees and to help them.

Without a doubt, there are faults associated with the fund; there are reforms here and reforms will be needed again after 2013, because this fund will be needed for a long time to come, unfortunately.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0525/2011

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). (FI) Mr President, I wish to give an explanation of vote on the resolution on Palestine, as it often happens that votes such as these, which concern core European values, are taken in this House by a show of hands. I noticed that I was not the only one who voted against this resolution: there were so many here who want to support democracy, human rights, freedom of speech and the rule of law.

We all know that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and, for that reason, it should also deserve the broad support of the European Union. We should be true to our own values, our own foundations. In this respect, it is regrettable that the signal going out from here, albeit by a small majority, was otherwise.

In any case, I was pleased that there were so many who voted with me against this unsatisfactory resolution, who want to stand by Israel and who also understand that Jerusalem is Israel’s indivisible capital city.

We must work together with democratic countries like Israel, and try to take democracy to Israel’s neighbouring countries, to those states that still do not have it.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I feel that most members of the European Parliament are somewhere in the middle on this issue, which means that they are on the side of the people. Naturally, one can dispute whether it is beneficial that Palestine has applied to the UN to be recognised as an independent nation at precisely this point in time.

On the other hand, I can understand the prevailing concern there that negotiations have been going on for years with no result. The main thing we need now is confidence-building measures, and those are never one-sided; rather, they must come from both sides. In my view, we are also awaiting clear signals from Israel itself. Let us not be under any illusions: the present settlement policy in Israel is neither helpful nor expedient in this respect.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). (FI) Mr President, the Middle East peace process has progressed far too slowly, and that is why I supported the resolution. The Palestinians’ right to autonomy and right to their own state are incontestable, just as Israel, too, obviously has a right to an existence within secure borders. President Abbas’ sense of frustration is understandable: 20 years of peace negotiations is a long, long time. In international politics, however, timeliness is always of the essence.

The ability of the EU to speak with one voice on foreign policy, however, seems once again to be hanging in the balance, which is unfortunate. I hope that the European Union and its Member States will find a common position with regard to the conflict in the Middle East and a peaceful solution to it. That is what is required of us.

The only way to achieve lasting peace in the region is through proper political dialogue. The negotiating parties must therefore get round the table and talk. It is now time to cast a glance at what is going to happen after this UN process.

 
  
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  Sari Essayah (PPE). (FI) Mr President, I also want to give an explanation of vote, because the resolution on Palestine was agreed by a show of hands, and so my own position was not recorded in the minutes.

I am unable to support this resolution. I cannot support the way it is worded because, although it urges the parties concerned to return to the negotiating table, which, in itself, is a positive move, it has already started to determine the borders of the states involved and, for example, the status of Jerusalem.

We have to remember that a precondition for lasting peace and an increase in trust between the parties is that the terms of the peace agreement are not dictated externally: that is to say, the parties should agree on them among themselves. Consequently, the resolution has failed in this respect. If the Member States of the EU recognise a Palestinian state not built on agreement between Israel and the Palestinian administration, it will be a particularly irresponsible and biased act and will not lead to constructive development in the region.

 
  
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  David Campbell Bannermann (ECR). – Mr President, I am a friend of Israel but I am a critical friend of Israel. I myself worked with the British Government on the Northern Ireland peace process and it is illusory to believe in a military solution; it has to be a political solution, and that involves negotiation.

Legal settlements do not help that process. I do feel for the Palestinian people who have been very badly treated; I do believe that they need a state living in peace with Israel, side by side. However, I am not sure that this measure – which is a good negotiating tactic – of going straight to the UN to create a state is the right way forward, so I abstained on this vote. However, I do wish that the peace process moves forward. I think that is essential. But only painstaking negotiation, as we saw in the Northern Ireland peace process, can bring a political solution of benefit to everyone.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0522/2011

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I think that the development of a green European economy offers an alternative to the overexploitation of fossil fuels. I voted against paragraph 46 of the resolution because its application may cause social problems due to the rise in the price of electricity for end consumers.

Increasing human activities with an impact on the biosphere can upset the ecological balance. My country has unique biodiversity and has been constantly involved in drafting international environmental policy. Romania supports sustainable development and promotes green technologies. This is why I disagree with removing nuclear energy from Europe’s energy mix. It offers a high level of efficiency, while also keeping production costs low. Stopping new nuclear power plants from being built and introducing technologies that have not been adequately tested damage the environment by increasing carbon emissions.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D).(FI) Mr President, I agreed with the resolution, with certain reservations. It is important at the Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio that the European Union should present a united front there and propose consistent objectives. One of the most important objectives of all would be to safeguard equal access to natural resources for the current generation and the generations to come. This is also a precondition for sustainable development and reducing poverty in the world.

For my part, I would like to see the notion of sustainable consumption and production promoted at Rio, and solutions to be sought there for a greener economy and for greener forms of energy. In general, there needs to be encouragement for measures to take us towards a society based on social inclusion, one that maintains people’s health, and which is safe and fair. A sustainable and environmentally friendly society must also always respect fundamental rights and cultural and religious diversity, and must guarantee equality.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). – Mr President, I was very pleased to have an opportunity to support this report. There are a significant number of very important issues here, but I shall just deal briefly with three.

First of all, we must ensure the sustainable management of water and it must always remain a public good. I fully support the call to ensure that the right to water and sanitation is globally achieved.

I am also fully supportive of the call to ensure secure access to seeds for all segments of the population and I think regardless of your views on GMOs – and mine are pretty clear, I voted on paragraph 48 – I believe everybody should support secure access to seeds.

Finally, I would like to mention paragraphs 59 and 60 where we overwhelmingly, about 98%, expressed our concern regarding the forest code that will exacerbate deforestation in the Amazonian forest. As we do this, our Commissioner, Mr De Gucht, is still pushing ahead for a Mercosur deal including the implications of the significant amounts of beef imported into the EU and the deforestation of the Amazon will simply exacerbate that problem.

So, one arm of the European institutions is expressing one view and the other arm is completely ignoring it.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). – Mr President, I attended this debate in its entirety yesterday afternoon but unfortunately, I did not get a chance to say a few words. It is a major issue, Rio+20, and the issues facing the world globally are probably more severe than ever: deforestation, desertification, overfishing, clean water supply and climate change. But they need to be tackled globally and it is no use that the European Union is playing its part, and probably disadvantaging itself, turning more people into poverty, while the rest of the world goes about its merry way.

Global problems need global solutions and I hope they will come from the next summit. As the Commissioner said yesterday, the policy of ‘growth first, clean-up later’ is no longer acceptable, not in the European Union and not globally.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE). (LT) Mr President, I voted in favour of this resolution, which more or less reflects the European Union’s common and realistic approach to sustainable development. I am particularly pleased that, in paragraph 46, it was possible to tone down the position on the complete rejection of nuclear energy. Such calls do not reflect the capacities of many Member States, and I am pleased that the European Parliament understands this. We all want a cleaner environment, but if we rejected nuclear energy entirely, it goes without saying that CO2 emissions would increase, along with the threat to energy independence. The energy mix is a matter for the Member States themselves; it is just important to ensure high safety standards since we are also talking about nuclear energy in this case. Of course, sources of renewable energy are very important and they must be developed not just for today, but for the future, and it is disappointing that the European Parliament has been rather critical of the development of unusual sources of energy.

 
  
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  Anneli Jäätteenmäki (ALDE).(FI) Mr President, I voted in favour of this resolution. The UN Conference on Sustainable Development may be an important meeting and show the way ahead, but only if it can achieve concrete results and produce proposals that are also implemented. Declarations of goodwill alone will not be enough.

I would also hope that the European Union and those representing Europe, including NGOs, will present a united front and have a constructive role to play at this meeting. When we look back, it is perhaps worth seeing if we are so clever that we do not listen to others at all but just keep to ourselves. Nothing good can come of that. Surely constructive cooperation is important for the European Union as well.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0521/2011

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). – Mr President, I just want to say that I fully support this resolution and, in particular, the call by Parliament to continue the EGF beyond the current MFF. I think this is a clear signal from Parliament of both the need for the fund and the value of the fund, and I certainly hope that the Council is listening carefully to what we are saying. Yes, the resolution also says that we need to make changes and we can improve the functioning of the fund. We certainly can improve its timeliness and look at its cofinancing rates. We also need to ensure that the fund responds properly to the needs of workers, but also deals with issues like skill mismatches.

In the debate this morning, there were some issues about absolving businesses of their responsibilities. There is no real evidence of this. The Commission goes through all the applications very carefully, as we do in the working group as well. Certainly we can tighten up, but I think that is sometimes used by Members as an excuse not to support the fund.

Finally, we await the Commission mid-term evaluation of the fund in November and the Commission proposals in October but, from what I know of what is contained in the Commission proposals, I have to say I welcome them, in particular, their proposal to include farmers and the self-employed within the fund.

 
  
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  Hynek Fajmon (ECR). (CS) Mr President, we voted against the report on the future of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. I believe that this fund is completely unnecessary and should be scrapped. Helping people affected by globalisation is, and should continue to be, implemented at national rather than European level. The operation of this fund in the European Union creates inequality between people, as only large companies are able to get money from it. Small businesses and sole traders must also contend with the results of globalisation, and the fund is unable to help them. I therefore do not support the operation of this fund.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0519/2011

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). (FI) Mr President, I voted in favour of this resolution, as this vote was actually a conscience vote. The European Union is a community of values that bases its existence and activities on universal principles of human rights and democracy. The EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement must be in compliance with the rules of international law and human rights.

It would be totally unacceptable if the Union entered into trade partnerships whilst ignoring its own basic values. Since it is not at all clear whether the Fisheries Partnership Agreement will benefit the people of Western Sahara and generally be in accordance with their wishes, I believe that it will be a much better solution to ask for a clear legal opinion on the matter.

The European Union and the European External Action Service must support a peaceful solution to the conflict in Western Sahara. That must be found on the basis of UN resolutions and an understanding between the people of Western Sahara and the international community.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE).(ES) Mr President, once again, I wish to show my surprise at the fact that pressure and blackmailing by the Moroccan regime have had an impact on many of my fellow Members in this House. We were not asking our colleagues to vote in favour of or against a government or cause, but rather in favour of legal rigour and international law.

The European Commission rushed to negotiate an extension to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco without consulting the European Parliament, although the Treaty of Lisbon required consultation. In practice, the current agreement permits the EU fleet to fish in waters of the Western Sahara, which, according to the United Nations, is autonomous territory. Many people consider this to be illegal.

Furthermore, various legal opinions, including some issued by the legal services of this House, serve, at least, to endorse this legal uncertainty. Therefore, it was our understanding that it was necessary to raise this matter with the Court of Justice in order to obtain its opinion and that this should help us to take the right decision in relation to a subject that has important political consequences, but also economic, ecological and social repercussions.

Accordingly, I regret the fact that the majority of our fellow Members have not understood the issue in this way and that, with their negative vote, they are contributing to dragging out a politically unsustainable and legally unacceptable situation.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Pervenche Berès (A7-0308/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I endorse the present report because it is important to update an instrument like the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, which is essential for defending the weakest, particularly at the present time.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I am in favour of amending the Regulation establishing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, with regard to which a temporary derogation was introduced in 2009 to extend its scope and increase the level of EU cofinancing from the original 50% to 65%.

The derogation must be further extended in this climate of serious economic instability where great sacrifices are being demanded of the public and businesses, not least because this fund is one of the few genuinely supportive instruments implemented by the European Union to rescue a great many workers who have lost their jobs and SMEs that are on the verge of bankruptcy.

Hence, this fund should not be weakened in this crisis situation, given also that the annual growth report offers no prospects of economic growth or labour market recovery in 2011 and 2012, but only from 2013.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Conscious as I am of the concerns felt by European workers in this crisis situation, I voted in favour of the Berès report, which recommends that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund be extended. This fund is needed to assist people who have lost their jobs, and it helps to strengthen European solidarity.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was established in 2006 in order to demonstrate solidarity with workers made redundant as a result of changes in world trade patterns and to provide them with assistance. By cofinancing active labour market policy measures, the EGF aimed to facilitate the re-integration into employment of workers in areas, sectors, territories, or labour market regions suffering the shock of serious economic disruption. In light of the scale and speed of development of the financial and economic crisis in 2008, the Commission, in its European Economic Recovery Plan, provided for the revision of the EGF Regulation to widen the scope of the EGF as part of Europe’s crisis response and to turn it into an early, more effective crisis intervention instrument. The amendments to the regulation included the reduction from 1 000 to 500 of the required number of redundancies to trigger an application for EGF support and an extension from 12 to 24 months of the implementation period for EGF supported measures. The temporary derogation expires on 30 December 2011, and this proposal therefore suggests extending it until 31 December 2013.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this report on the amendment of the Regulation establishing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. On account of the serious financial crisis that, for three years now, has been affecting almost all of the world’s economies, supporting and protecting workers from all of the worst hit sectors should be made an absolute priority. Thanks to the new amendment, it will be possible to use the fund for a broader cross section of workers than was initially envisaged. For that reason, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was set up with the aim of showing the EU’s solidarity with workers affected by mass redundancies caused by globalisation. It was extended in 2009, via the recovery plan, to cover redundancies caused by the economic and financial crisis as well.

Although the fund is criticised for its fairly slow response, one thing for certain is that 10% of all workers made redundant in the EU in 2009 and 2010 received support from it, while 40% of these were successfully reintegrated into the labour market, in spite of the economic crisis. Extending the life of the fund would certainly help at a time when there are signs of the economic crisis returning. However, the EGF’s focus should shift towards effectively supporting the provision of training and retraining for those affected by mass redundancies so that they can be reintegrated into the labour market as quickly as possible.

The main challenge during an extremely tough economic climate is to introduce intervention procedures to enable the EGF to be mobilised quickly and efficiently. In these circumstances, I welcome the Commission’s aim to reduce the duration of the procedure for applications to, and mobilisation of, the EGF to a maximum of six months between submitting the application and transferring the funds to the relevant EU Member State.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The widespread utilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) demonstrates the extent to which European companies and workers have been affected by globalisation and the current economic and financial crisis. Since its creation, it has been found that there are elements that affect its capacity to respond and which need to be improved. The Commission’s proposal aims to address these weaknesses and introduce a more lasting framework for this type of support. I hope that the proposed changes will achieve the intended objective and allow the EGF to be mobilised more quickly and effectively by whoever really needs it in all of the Member States.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report by Pervenche Berès relates to a proposal to amend Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 establishing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) – which is intended to support workers who have been made redundant as a consequence of significant structural changes in world trade – with the aim of extending the derogation period for this fund until 30 December 2013.

In 2008, noting the significant increase in company closures and, consequently, the thousands more people being made redundant, the EU decided to temporarily amend the EGF Regulation, reducing the number of redundancies from 1 000 to 500, extending the period of operation from 12 to 24 months, including workers made redundant as a consequence of the economic and financial crisis, and increasing the cofinancing rate from 50% to 65%. The derogation period, which began on 1 May 2009, comes to an end on 30 December 2011, since it was thought in 2008 that the crisis would be over by this date. I welcome the approval of this proposal to extend the temporary derogation period, since, unfortunately, we are mistaken if we believe the end of the economic and financial crisis is in sight.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted in favour of this report, which agrees to continue the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for an additional period. However, we must also raise some questions of principle regarding this instrument. Fundamentally, the EGF is not the required response to the problems of company restructuring, nor are its funding criteria fair, as we have previously reported. The EGF is primarily a damper for the negative structural policies of the European Union, reducing the effect of some unemployment without going to the root of the problem. On the other hand, in the context of the deepening economic and financial crisis, which demands austerity measures from Member States, unemployment is continuing to grow, due also to the increase in bankruptcies in the industrial sector, and access to this funding is limited by the high cofinancing rate demanded of Member States, at 35% of the specified global sum. Accordingly, we proposed that the cofinancing rate be reduced to 5%, in particular, for countries with fragile economies, such as Portugal. Unfortunately, this proposal was not approved. Once again, we insist that what the situation requires, rather than the palliative measure of the EGF, are measures that aim to prevent unemployment and provide incentives for job creation.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Despite our vote in favour of this report, which agrees to extend the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in this phase, we have to raise some questions with regard to the EGF, given that it is not the required response to the problems of company restructuring, nor are its funding criteria fair, as we have previously reported. The EGF is primarily a damper for the negative structural policies of the European Union, reducing the effect of some unemployment without going to the root of the problem. On the other hand, in the context of the deepening economic and financial crisis, which demands austerity measures from Member States, unemployment is continuing to grow, due also to the increase in bankruptcies in the industrial sector, and access to this funding is limited by the high cofinancing rate demanded of Member States, at 35% of the specified global sum. Accordingly, we proposed that the cofinancing rate be reduced to 5%, in particular, for countries with fragile economies, such as Portugal. Unfortunately, this proposal was not approved. Once again, we insist that what the situation requires, rather than the palliative measure of the EGF, are measures that aim to prevent unemployment and provide incentives for job creation.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was set up in 2006 under Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 with the main aim of showing solidarity and providing support to workers losing their jobs as a result of changes in global trade. In response to the extent and rapid development of the financial and economic crisis, the Commission planned a revision of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 in its European Economic Recovery Plan. Within the framework of the European response to the crisis, the aim of this revision was to broaden the scope of the fund and make it a more effective intervention instrument in a time of crisis, in accordance with the basic principles of solidarity and social justice. In view of the expected continuing impact of the crisis, leading to the closure of businesses and to the need for fiscal consolidation in the Member States, there is clearly a case for extending the validity of the crisis-related exemption under Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006. The proposal is therefore to extend the validity of the temporary crisis-related exemption from 30 December 2011 until 31 December 2013, in other words, up to the end of the implementation period for Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006. This will allow the Member States to continue submitting applications for support from the EGF to help workers who are still being laid off as a result of the financial and economic crisis. In my opinion, Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 should therefore be amended accordingly.

 
  
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  Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D), in writing. – The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was established in 2006 with the objective of showing solidarity and support to workers who were affected by the financial crisis. The fund provides a strategic, long-term perspective which allows for reintegration of workers back into the labour market. Job-search assistance, tailor-made training and re-training IT skills and certification of acquired experience, entrepreneurship promotion and aid for self-employment; these examples merely demonstrate the work of the EGF. In times of financial instability, the existence of the EGF is of the highest importance. Therefore, I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution to support the EGF. With this resolution, we support the fund and its own budget line beyond the current MFF but, most importantly, we continue to show the EU’s solidarity with workers who are negatively affected by the crisis.

 
  
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  Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the Berès report, which seeks to extend the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund until the end of 2013. This extension is intended to help workers who have been made redundant as a result of the current crisis. I am more sceptical about the resolution on the future of this fund. Admittedly, its existence proves that the Union may be aware that globalisation destroys jobs in Europe, even though it underestimates the problem and does so for propaganda reasons.

I regularly vote in favour of granting aid from this fund because it is intended for workers rather than businesses, and because it is, in a way, nothing less than a fitting, albeit insufficient, contribution by the Union towards repairing the damage that it causes.

However, the fund should only be a temporary form of aid while we await radical changes in policy objectives, and in the objectives of EU trade policy in particular. The fact is, this is not the case; if anything, it is the opposite. This being so, the proposal to make the fund permanent, whether in the form of a new structural fund or in the form of a dedicated budget line, is, in my view, both absurd and demagogic.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The economic and financial crisis that is severely affecting jobs within the European Union requires a strong European response adapted to the variety of situations in the various Member States of the European Union. The creation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) responded to that very requirement and to the difficulties that thousands of Europeans, as victims of the crisis, unfortunately may and do face. Moreover, in the current, enduring economic conditions, which unfortunately could endure for several months yet, the continuation of this European fund appears to be an absolute necessity. I therefore voted in favour of extending the EGF until the end of 2013. I also endorsed the creation of its own specific budget line. Lastly, I supported the alignment of the EGF cofinancing rate with the rate applicable to the Structural Funds. The EGF is one of the best examples of social solidarity that Europe can use to combat the global crisis, and it is therefore essential to make it permanent.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE), in writing. – I strongly support the amending of the EGF to ensure the continuation of the derogation, which allows the current economic crisis to be used as a criterion for access to EGF funds. The European Parliament has strongly supported this call and it is essential that the Council takes our views and those of the Commission on board.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because the Commission is proposing to extend until the end of 2013 the temporary derogation allowing the EGF to be used to support workers made redundant as a result of the global financial and economic crisis. In light of the scale and speed of development of the financial and economic crisis in 2008, the Commission, in its European Economic Recovery Plan, envisaged the revision of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006. The aim of this revision was to extend the scope of the EGF as part of Europe’s crisis response and to turn it into an early, more effective crisis intervention instrument. Amendments include the reduction from 1 000 to 500 of the required number of redundancies to trigger an application for EGF support and an extension from 12 to 24 months of the implementation period for EGF supported measures. A temporary derogation was introduced in order (1) to widen the scope of the EGF to cover support in favour of workers made redundant as a direct consequence of the financial and economic crisis and (2) to increase the rate of EGF cofinancing from 50 to 65%. The temporary derogation expires on 30 December 2011.

 
  
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  Krzysztof Lisek (PPE), in writing. (PL) I voted for the adoption of the European Parliament legislative resolution of 29 September 2011 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 establishing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, due to the fact that the current situation requires the application of this fund to be extended. I hope that it is permanently placed in the budget in order to provide funds for those who have lost or who will lose their jobs as a result of the financial crisis. In particular, I hope that in the event of a restructuring of the defence sector, those who have to retrain will receive appropriate help.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report, but very much regret that the UK is one of the few Member States which does not use this fund to help redundant workers get back into employment.

 
  
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  Iosif Matula (PPE), in writing. (RO) Globalisation and, more recently, the economic crisis have had an unprecedented impact on companies of every size and, by extension, on their workers. Adapting to change to maintain a competitive pace in the European economic environment is the main challenge currently facing European companies. Objectives such as employability and equipping with skills and expertise aimed at supporting those made redundant following company relocations or changes in the structure of the global economy must be a priority at the moment and in the future programming period.

In order to keep pace with globalisation, companies have been obliged to set up in regions that are attractive for the labour market. However, the advantage that these regions enjoy lasts for a limited period. Their development entails making them less attractive, which then means future relocations. While there are currently regions which fully benefit from investors, according to the forecasts, once the basic infrastructure has been developed, these investors will continue their move east towards more attractive third countries.

I support extending the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) and the increase in the level of cofinancing up to 2013 and even in the future programming period. We must support the implementation of the structural reforms in order to increase employability, while the EGF must be a key instrument for achieving the set objectives.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) This report proposes to extend the financing of return-to-work measures under the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund until 2013 in response to collective redundancies made as a result of the economic and financial crisis. We do not need a paltry EUR 500 million quick fix to tackle the crisis and its instigators, but a change of policy.

What we need to do is to stop relocations, relocalise the economy, strip rating agencies of their powers and forbid the Commission from penalising governments that use budget margins to revive their economy – in other words, the total opposite of what the European Union, which takes decisions day after day, is doing. I am abstaining on account of the blackmail regarding the granting of aid to workers that this arrangement involves.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The way in which Member States have applied to use the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund shows the importance of this instrument in combating the problems arising from the financial and economic crisis. However, this instrument has some faults that we hope will now be addressed with the approval of this amendment to the present regulation, so it can be used more quickly and effectively.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The European Commission has proposed to extend the temporary crisis-related derogation that allows the European Globalisation Fund (EGF) to be used for workers made redundant as a result of the current financial and economic crisis in addition to those losing their jobs because of changes in global trade patterns. This derogation is currently due to expire on 30 December 2011, but the Commission’s proposal would extend it until 31 December 2013, i.e. until the end of the implementation period of the EGF Regulation. The proposal reflects the fact that a large number of workers across the EU have been badly affected by the consequences of the current crisis. The aim is to improve the use of the EGF by offering job support measures to those most in need. The Commission proposal will be submitted to the EU’s Council of Ministers and the European Parliament for approval.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The purpose of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, which was established in 2006, is to cofinance active labour measures for workers who have lost their jobs as a result of the structural changes in global trade patterns. Within the context of the economic and financial crisis, the scope of the fund was extended in 2008 so that it could also be used as an instrument for early effective measures to overcome the crisis. An interim review has now shown that most of the applications submitted by the Member States in respect of the crisis could not have been made without this temporary derogation. Whilst a slight economic recovery is discernible for 2011, the situation in the labour market remains problematic. To provide some relief for public finances in the Member States, the increased European Globalisation Adjustment Fund cofinancing rate of 65% is to be extended in time. This measure is to be welcomed. I voted in favour of this extension.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. ?(PT) I voted in favour of this report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 establishing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. This fund provides supplementary support to workers affected by significant structural changes in the patterns of world trade. The European Parliament has given its approval for its use in all cases, by voting for a report with an exhaustive study of the situation that led to the fund being mobilised.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 established the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund with the aim of supporting workers who suffered mass redundancy as a result of the relocation of the companies where they worked on account of global competition. The scope was expanded by Regulation (EC) No 546/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009, introducing a derogation relating to redundancies arising from the financial and economic crisis, as well as increasing the cofinancing rate for the fund. This derogation was due to come to an end on 30 December 2011. However, in response to the fact that the causes of the crisis have still not been eradicated, I voted in favour of the proposed amendment to the regulation, to extend its application until 31 December 2013.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 establishing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. The global economic crisis that we have been experiencing since 2008 is having an even greater impact on our industries and our fellow citizens than globalisation. The European Union therefore had a duty to act as quickly as possible; it has done so by temporarily extending the scope of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund to address the consequences of the crisis. I welcome this. Three-quarters of the applications for assistance currently relate to the re-entry into employment or retraining of workers made redundant as a result of the crisis. Forty-five thousand workers have been able to receive this precious assistance. We could not conceive of stopping these efforts after 31 December 2011 as the current regulation envisaged. The economic crisis is continuing, it is affecting different countries and different people, and the European Union cannot and must not deprive them of support. In the hope, therefore, that the fund derogation measures will be maintained until 2013, we have sent a strong message aimed at a social Europe. Hence, I welcome the vote on Ms Berès’s resolution.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The European Parliament, – having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2011)0336), – having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 175, third paragraph, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0161/2011), – having regard to Article 294(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, – having regard to Rule 55 and 46(1) of its Rules of Procedure, – having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0308/2011), 1. Adopts its position at first reading, taking over the Commission proposal; 2. Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend its proposal substantially or replace it with another text; 3. Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European Commission’s recent economic forecasts, published in spring, indicate that the economic growth and labour market recovery prospects for 2011 and 2012 are decidedly less optimistic than those of autumn 2008, which were used to establish the content and duration of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) derogation.

In short, a substantial recovery in EU labour market conditions is not expected before 2013. These assessments, together with the consideration that the Member States’ budgets are under strain due to the fiscal consolidation efforts, are the reason for my vote in favour of the report, and for my extremely enthusiastic reception of the Commission’s proposal to extend the EGF in the next multiannual financial framework also.

At a time when we are experiencing serious economic instability and citizens are being forced to make great sacrifices, it would be a serious mistake to substantially weaken the fund, which the public, too, recognises is one of the few genuinely supportive instruments implemented by the Union during the crisis.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was created in 2006 with the objective of supporting and showing solidarity with workers made redundant as a result of significant structural changes to the patterns of world trade. The EGF aims to facilitate the professional reintegration of workers in areas, sectors and territories affected by economic disturbances by cofinancing active measures in the employment market.

In view of the scale of the economic and financial crisis and the rate at which it has spread, the Commission provided in the European Economic Recovery Plan for a review of the EGF Regulation. In this context, a temporary derogation was created to expand the scope of the EGF to include workers made redundant as a direct consequence of the economic and financial crisis and to increase the EGF cofinancing rate from 50 to 65%, and this comes to an end on 30 December 2011. With a significant increase in the number of requests for intervention, the expected continuation of the effects of the crisis on the closure of companies, and the need for budget consolidation in the Member States, it is justified to continue the temporary derogation, and I voted in favour of it in the European Parliament plenary session.

 
  
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  Peter van Dalen (ECR), in writing. (NL) The Globalisation Fund is an entirely unnecessary reaction by Europe to the crisis. If companies are to be helped in difficult times, and that question is a separate debate, let that be done by national or regional authorities. They are generally well versed with the specific situation on the ground. There is also another reason not to support the extension of the fund: it represents the circulation of money between the capitals and Brussels and thus the expansion of European bureaucracy. Bringing the fund to an end is the only correct course. Moreover, many in the European Parliament are hypocritically granting requests for funds. Many of my fellow Dutch Members did not support these requests in previous votes but, at the beginning of September, when several requests from the Netherlands were being voted on, many of them nonetheless voted in favour. Clearly, they did so in order to appease voters in their own country or region. Moreover, the fund does not help; in fact, the opposite is true. While countries such as China and other emerging economies are focusing on new products and markets, Europe is choosing to adopt a defensive position with such a fund and is failing to link it to a growth strategy. I therefore do not support the extension of the fund.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, with its expanded scope established in 2009, is currently used to support workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own as a result of the financial and economic crisis. The 2009 amendment also changed two of the criteria: the required number of redundancies was reduced from 1 000 to 500 and the cofinancing rate was increased from 50% to 65%. The present amendment renews an unconditional extension without looking at aspects of its content and shortcomings. For this reason, I did not vote in favour.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the Bères report, which seeks to amend the Regulation establishing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in respect of the temporary derogation introduced in 2009 to broaden the scope of the fund and to increase its level of EU cofinancing from 50% to 65%.

The proposal, which is an extremely interesting one in my view, aims to introduce a new derogation (lasting until 31 December 2013, instead of 2011) to allow Member States to continue to present applications for support in favour of workers made redundant as a consequence of the serious economic crisis and to benefit from an EGF cofinancing rate of 65%.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0525/2011

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. – I hope that this resolution will have unanimous consensus, as the right of Palestinians to self-determination and to have their own state is unquestionable. The EU has repeatedly confirmed its support for the two-state solution, on the basis of the 1967 borders. For this reason, the EU and its Member States must be united in addressing the legitimate demand of the Palestinians to be represented as a state at the United Nations. This text clearly asks the EU to play a more active role, also within the Quartet, in the efforts aimed at achieving a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The ‘Arab Spring’ made even more urgent the necessity to find a solution to the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. In order to do so, the Israeli Government must immediately stop all constructions and extensions of the settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. At the same time, a cessation of rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip is imperative. I strongly believe that Palestine is ready for sovereign statehood and that the success of state-building efforts of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad must be recognised without any delay.

 
  
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  John Attard-Montalto (S&D), in writing. – Everyone talks about peace, the main players and the global powers. It appears, however, that no one wants to compromise to achieve peace. It is this compromise which is elusive. In both Israel and Palestine, there are factions which desire peace and want to generally find a solution by compromising on the major points. There are other factions which do not allow the negotiators to find a compromise. Jerusalem, return of refugees, building of new settlements, frontiers and borders are all hurdles which can only be overcome through compromise. There is nothing too hard which cannot be addressed. We have got nowhere with previous suggestions; a completely new approach may be a way forward. This can take various forms but it needs creative thinking and sensitivity to come up with completely new ideas. At the end of the day, only one element is essential: that is the WILL to find a solution.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution. On the occasion of the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, asked for recognition of Palestinian statehood and membership of the UN. In its Resolution 181 of 29 November 1947, the UN General Assembly called for the creation of two states on the territory of the former British Mandate for Palestine. At the informal meeting on 2 and 3 September 2011, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of EU Member States presented different positions when discussing the Middle East peace process and the relevant diplomatic initiatives envisaged during the September Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I welcome the resolution’s call for the EU and its Member States to present a united position and to continue to play a more active role, including within the Quartet, in efforts aimed at achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR), in writing. (PL) The current turbulence in the Middle East peace process shows the huge extent of the diplomatic work which still remains to be done. The speeches made last week by the leaders of Israel and Palestine have fundamentally reinforced and radicalised the positions of the feuding parties. That is why our full commitment to initiating new talks and working out a schedule for action with the objective of entering into a concrete peace treaty is so incredibly important. I am particularly concerned, however, about the progressive isolation of Israel in the Middle East. I regret the collapse of its relationship with Turkey. I am counting on the intensification of actions of European diplomacy to end this crisis and accelerate a return to cooperation on the part of both countries. We also cannot tolerate a situation where Israel’s territory is constantly being attacked by radical Palestinian groups, and the constant threat to the life of its inhabitants which this entails. A Palestinian state can only be established when there is a permanent guarantee of security and peace. I abstained from voting.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Initiating steps on a unilateral basis to recognise the State of Palestine is likely to create a new source of conflict in the Middle East. The international community is in a difficult situation, as tipping the balance towards one side or other would give rise to new tensions whose impact is difficult to predict.

The European Union has shown its receptiveness to the Palestinian Authority by approving in Parliament an agreement allowing agricultural and fisheries products originating from the West Bank and Gaza Strip to have duty-free access to the European market and ensuring access for European products to the market in the territories under Palestinian jurisdiction. The European Union is certainly the largest donor to the Palestinian Authority in terms of responding to the humanitarian cause involving people who are faced with severe problems.

Deregulating EU markets for Palestinian products, which have hitherto been under the direct control of the Israeli customs authorities, will help the Palestinian people develop their economy. A people’s independence starts with a prosperous economy and better living conditions. The EU has always been receptive to the Palestinians’ problems and supported them. However, the issue of recognising the State of Palestine is a matter for negotiations because we cannot risk causing tension in such an unstable region.

 
  
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  Proinsias De Rossa (S&D), in writing. – Today’s vote is a strong endorsement of the Palestinian democratic strategy to seek UN recognition for their state. This clear support of peaceful political means in seeking Palestinian independence strengthens President Abbas and, at the same time, weakens extremism in the region. Europe and our Member States must be consistent in how we respond to the legitimate democratic aspirations unleashed by the Arab Spring. Today’s vote reinforces the established EU policy of support for a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 frontier with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security, with Jerusalem as capital of both states. Recognition of the Palestinian state does not in any way contradict the need for final status negotiations. Unfortunately, Prime Minister Netanyahu, while beseeching the Palestinians to resume peace talks, has effectively blocked a return to negotiations by approving the construction of over 1 100 new housing units in Israeli-occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem, which he knows President Abbas cannot accept.

 
  
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  Marielle De Sarnez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The European Parliament urges the Member States to adopt a common position in response to the Palestinian Authority’s application for United Nations membership as a state. This is a crucial time for the Middle East peace process. Europe has a key role to play with regard to the issue of an enhanced status for Palestine in the UN, and in supporting the two-state solution. The EU must not settle for playing a donor role, and the Member States must speak with one voice. This is the virtually unanimous position of our Parliament.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I have voted in favour of this resolution since I consider the request for the recognition of Palestine as a state and its admission to the UN to be legitimate and pertinent. The negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians towards a two-state solution must be restarted immediately. The right of the Palestinians to self-determination and to their own state is unquestionable, as is Israel’s right to exist within secure borders.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) There has recently been a development in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict following the proposal to recognise the independence of the Palestinian state and the request by the President of the Palestinian Authority for its admission to the United Nations. The long duration and the complexity of this problem should be a warning against what look like easy solutions. Since the EU Member States are bound to differ among themselves over this matter, we must make a serious collective effort to reach a common position.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This joint motion for a resolution, which has arisen in the wake of a declaration by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure, concerns the political situation in Palestine.

During the last few months, a whole range of motions and draft resolutions have been approved in various international organisations regarding the political situation in the Middle East, with particular reference to the right of Palestine to be recognised as a sovereign state. The EU, as a Community which is a friend to both parties (Israel and Palestine) and much respected in the region, is in an ideal position to assist in this process and encourage the parties to return to the negotiating table with a view to reaching a border agreement that will allow people to continue to live where they have always lived. In view of the EU’s repeated expression of support for a two-state solution, with an independent, democratic and viable State of Palestine beside the State of Israel, I am voting in favour of this resolution, hoping that peace may soon come to the Middle East and that we may see a democratic Palestine based on values.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The Palestinian people has been waiting for decades for the fulfilment of its legitimate and inalienable right to an independent, sovereign and viable state within the pre-1967 borders, including East Jerusalem, and to be a full member of the United Nations. It was as long ago as 1947 that the United Nations General Assembly established the principle of two coexisting states – Palestine and Israel. This principle has been reaffirmed in various decisions of the constituent bodies of the United Nations over more than six decades.

But, however unequivocal this decision may be in the light of the principles of the United Nations Charter, the situation in the territory itself is very different. Throughout the last decades, political, economic and military intervention by Israel, with the support of successive US administrations and the connivance of the EU, has done its best to invalidate and obstruct the existence of a Palestinian state in reality, subjecting the Palestinian people to violence and oppression in the most diverse forms, which continue to the present day.

Therefore, at a moment when what is needed are justice, clarity and unconditional support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, this resolution is ambiguous and can only help to disguise the further imposition of conditions which have been maintaining the status quo for decades.

We therefore cannot vote in favour.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) On the occasion of the 66th sitting of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas requested the recognition of Palestinian statehood and membership of the UN. At an informal meeting on 2 and 3 September, however, during a discussion on the Middle East peace process, EU Member State foreign affairs ministers presented varying – not unified – positions and diplomatic initiatives concerning the Palestinian Authority’s application for UN membership. The position of Jerusalem is an equally sensitive issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians have an inalienable right to self-determination and their own state, and the right of Israel to exist within secure borders is also beyond question. The achievement of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, particularly between the Israelis and Palestinians, is of enormous importance. Both parties should therefore resume direct negotiations without delay in an effort to achieve a comprehensive agreement based on the existence of two democratic, sovereign and viable states, enabling their inhabitants to live within the framework of secure and internationally recognised borders, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.

 
  
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  Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. – I support the joint motion for a resolution on Palestine, which reiterates our strong support for the creation of a Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel as part of a peaceful two-state solution. Years have passed without any real progress towards a Palestinian state, leaving President Abbas with little option but to seek international recognition at the UN. Although it may be vetoed, I believe it deserves our support because it may succeed in highlighting that the process has been disrupted and needs to be restarted. However, without constructive negotiations, the horrific human rights situation in the West Bank and particularly the Gaza Strip will persist. The EU-backed state-building efforts of Palestinian President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad have been largely successful, thus laying the keystone of a Palestinian state. I would urge Israel to support these initiatives and to halt the settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. A peaceful two-state solution is in the long-term interest of both Israelis and Palestinians. Finally, I call on High Representative Ashton and the Member States to reach a common, unified position to help facilitate negotiations and move towards resolving this most protracted of conflicts.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing.(FR) On 23 September, we witnessed the official request for the recognition of Palestine being submitted to the United Nations General Assembly, despite the United States’ veto, the protests by Israel and the prevarication of Europe’s leaders. Faced with this confusion, I decided to vote in favour of this resolution, which recognises the legitimacy of Palestine’s request to be recognised as a state in its own right. At the same time, the resolution reaffirms the right of Israel to exist within safe borders and calls for a cessation of rocket attacks. Furthermore, even though the negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis have been at a standstill for several months following the resumption of the illegal settlement building by the State of Israel, we call for direct negotiations between the two sides to be resumed without delay, because the conflict will not be resolved without a negotiated solution.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE), in writing. – I fully support the resolution on the situation in Palestine, in particular paragraph 2, which calls on all Member States to be united in addressing the legitimate demand of the Palestinians to be represented as a state at the UN following the conclusion of negotiations at the UN General Assembly. The resolution is balanced because paragraph 3 calls on the international community to reconfirm its strong commitment to the security of the State of Israel. This resolution, which is balanced, stresses that peaceful and non-violent means are the only way to achieve a sustainable solution to the conflict and, in this context, I believe it is important that Israel stops any further construction or extension of settlements.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed the document because it encourages the Commission’s Vice-President/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the governments of the EU Member States to continue their efforts to adopt a common EU position on the request by the Palestinian Authority to become a UN member and prevent division among the Member States. All Member States should join forces and support the legitimate aspiration of the Palestinian nation to be represented as a state in the United Nations after talks at the 66th session of the UN Generally Assembly have ended. The international community, including the EU and its Member States, must again confirm their firm commitment to the security of the State of Israel. Peaceful and non-violent means are the only way of achieving a sustainable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The solution reached should not violate the dignity of either side.

 
  
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  Ioannis Kasoulides (PPE), in writing. – The PPE Group has voted in favour of the resolution, which contains the word ‘contiguous’. For us, the word ‘contiguous’ concerns the territory of the West Bank within the borders to be agreed by the two sides on the basis of the 1967 borders, which will be contiguous without fragmentations. It does not concern a contiguous space between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution, in which the European Parliament recognises the legitimate demand of the Palestinians to become a Member State of the United Nations. We reaffirm our commitment to a two-state solution with the State of Israel and an independent State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of the European Parliament resolution on the situation in Palestine. Ireland has always been committed to upholding the UN Charter and has long been an advocate of Palestine’s attempts to become a sovereign, independent nation within borders based on those of 1967. The EU has repeatedly confirmed its support for the two-state solution with the State of Israel and an independent State of Palestine. The recognition of statehood for Palestine would give its people dignity and support in their ongoing struggle to achieve their right to self-determination. It is imperative that a resolution is reached, particularly in the context of the Arab Spring.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) The fundamental right of the Palestinian people to have a state must be confirmed by the United Nations. The European Union must do what many countries have done and recognise this state within the 1967 borders. The Union must also punish the unacceptable decisions of the Israeli Government, which, only three days after Mahmoud Abbas’s speech at the UN, launched a new settlement-building project in East Jerusalem.

The EU-Israel Association Agreement must be suspended. The peace process starts with respect for international law. It is high time the Israeli Government and its US ally respected it. This is what it takes to achieve a just and lasting peace for both states, Palestine and Israel, which will have to coexist as neighbours in the future.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) I consider it very important that negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel should be reopened. However, it seems to me wrong that the Palestinian Authority should demand a priori conditions for its sitting down at the negotiating table. Even less reasonable do I find the Palestinian Authority’s wish that Palestine be officially recognised as a state under the rule of law when, at the same time, it denies such recognition to the State of Israel. We still have a long way to go before both parties reach an agreement, yet I feel that, with good faith on all sides, a solution will, sooner or later, be found to this difficult matter.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The Palestinian and Israeli peoples aspire to peace. Both have the right to live in their own state, in a land that belongs to them, in order to develop their country and give their children a future. This conflict has been going on for decades. The feelings of desperation, humiliation and revolt have been engraved on many hearts and minds. Yet everyone is fully aware that this situation cannot continue. Political courage is what is needed because, while poverty fuels despair, injustice and humiliation fuel violence. We are at a critical juncture, which may dictate that the situation is moved forward. People must now prepare themselves for compromise and must reach a negotiated solution – for the good of the countries and their populations. When there is humanity, there is the possibility of building a relationship, a dialogue that opens the door to compromises while respecting mutual interests. ‘In giving rights to others which belong to them, we give rights to ourselves’. Those words by John Fitzgerald Kennedy resonate more deeply today than ever before in that part of the world.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The S&D Group supports calling for the immediate resumption of direct and serious peace talks, based on the internationally recognised parameters and a timetable agreed by both parties, as only a negotiated agreement between the two sides can bring lasting peace and security to Israelis and Palestinians. In the resolution, the European Parliament stresses again that all steps that may undermine the prospects of a negotiated agreement, with special regard to settlement building in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, should be avoided and that no changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties, should be accepted. It considers, in this context, the new initiative made by the Middle East Quartet on 23 September 2011 an encouraging contribution to peace efforts.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) After two decades of unsuccessful peace efforts, it is entirely understandable that Palestine’s President Abbas has applied to the UN for recognition and membership of the United Nations. The postponement of the talks on the application in the Security Council now provides the Middle East Quartet, and the two parties that are in conflict in particular, with an opportunity to begin serious negotiations on a rapid solution to the conflict in the Middle East. In the end, only a clear result that delivers a secure Israel and a viable Palestinian state will be acceptable. Further stalling is no longer sustainable. Even an upgraded observer status in the UN will probably be perceived by Palestinians as a defeat, which could, in turn, lead to undesirable reactions.

As a significant investor in the region, the EU has an obligation to exert its influence on both sides, not least in order to avoid reciprocal provocation in this situation. Further plans to build settlements must be condemned just as severely as the constant missile attacks on Israel. Only by showing a united front can the EU live up to its desired position as an important player in foreign policy. I voted in favour of the resolution because it is very balanced.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) The international community has an interest in peace in the Middle East. A peaceful and secure coexistence between the State of Israel and the Palestinian state can only be achieved through bilateral negotiation. The question of the Palestinian territory’s membership of the United Nations does not in any way replace the need for bilateral dialogue. I hope that both sides will soon sit down at the negotiating table in line with the Quartet plan.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) The motion for a resolution takes into account the situation of both sides within the framework of a two-state solution: it acknowledges the legitimate security concerns of Israel, but also the necessity of a viable Palestinian state. The EU’s foreign policy efforts should now be directed in precisely this direction. The postponement of the debate on the application to the UN Security Council creates room that the EU should use to drive forward the peace process in the Middle East with a strong voice. I therefore voted in favour of this motion for a resolution.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I support this resolution by the European Parliament on the situation in Palestine, which considers the request for recognition of Palestine as a state and for membership of the UN to be legitimate. I join in the appeal addressed to the Member States of the EU to remain united in this matter, and in the request that direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians towards a two-state solution should be resumed without delay.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Today, we voted during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the motion for a resolution on the situation in Palestine. In accordance with its vote, Parliament deems the request for recognition of the State of Palestine to be legitimate, and calls on the governments of the EU Member States to adopt a common position in this regard. We also call for this recognition to be the result of negotiations within the UN General Assembly. The adopted text states that ‘the right of Palestinians to self-determination and to have their own state is unquestionable, as is the right of Israel to exist within safe borders’.

Parliament calls on the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Ashton, and on the Member States to reach a common position on Palestine’s request in order to avoid divisions, while also pointing out that the international community should confirm its commitment to guarantee the security of Israel.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is crucially important for the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, who have been living in an unbearable situation for far too long. It is also crucially important for the peoples of the region as a whole, and for the international community. Europe must step up its efforts and do everything it can to ensure that a peaceful, just and lasting resolution to this conflict is finally achieved. However, Europe will not be able to play its rightful role unless it speaks with one voice. I support the text of this resolution, in which Parliament urges the European Union and the Member States to adopt a common position and to continue to play an active role, including within the Quartet, to ensure the resolution of this conflict. As regards the Palestinian Authority’s application for United Nations membership, the text calls on the EU High Representative and the governments to continue their efforts to find a common EU position and to avoid divisions among Member States. By speaking with one voice, Europe will be able to make itself heard on the international stage. We need to move in that direction.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour because, among other things, Parliament calls on the High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission and the governments of the EU Member States to continue their efforts to find a common EU position on the request by the Palestinian Authority for UN membership, and to avoid divisions among Member States; Parliament supports and calls on Member States to be united in addressing the legitimate demand of the Palestinians to be represented as a state at the United Nations as a result of negotiations to be concluded during the current 66th session of the UN General Assembly; Parliament calls, at the same time, on the international community, including the EU and its Member States, to reconfirm their strong commitment to the security of the State of Israel; and Parliament reiterates its strong support for the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as capital of both states, with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security.

 
  
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  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing.(FR) I co-signed this resolution and endorsed it during the vote in plenary because the European Parliament must send a signal today. The situation that has persisted for many years in the Middle East is no longer acceptable and must end. We now need to call for a real solution, namely, the immediate resumption of negotiations with a strict timetable and based on the 1967 agreement.

Despite the efforts of the EU’s High Representative, despite the huge support of Europe’s citizens, and despite the current situation marked by the Arab Spring, the Member States are still not able to speak with one voice: the voice of peace. This resolution, which will be sent to them, urges them to unite and work together, including within the Quartet, to achieve a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians without delay.

 
  
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  Marek Siwiec (S&D), in writing. – I abstained from voting on the joint motion for a resolution on the situation in Palestine during the plenary. As well as the authors of this resolution, I believe in the justness of the Palestinian cause but, on the other hand, I am convinced that only the negotiated two-state solution can end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A unilateral move of Palestinians seeking UN recognition of a unilaterally declared state will not bring neither stability nor peace. Just in February 2011, The Quartet, which includes the EU, said that it ‘strongly reaffirms that unilateral actions by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognised by the international community’. I personally believe that only an immediate return to negotiations can bring peace both to Israelis and to Palestinians.

 
  
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  Søren Bo Søndergaard (GUE/NGL), in writing. (DA) We support the motion for a resolution on the situation in Palestine, but the desire to achieve a common position at EU level must not stand in the way of those Member States that so wish, following Parliament’s recommendation, to recognise the Palestinian’s legitimate demand to receive recognition as a state at the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR), in writing. – The common text of the resolution contains many provisions supported by the ECR Group, including the text on the two-state solution, commitment to the security of Israel, as well as calls for a cessation of rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza strip and for stopping the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The ECR Group has repeatedly reiterated its support for the creation of an independent State of Palestine and eventual full representation of the Palestinian people in the United Nations. However, this should be an outcome of direct negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel, conducted under the supervision of the Quartet, and not of any unilateral steps taken by either side.

We disagree with setting a fixed and rather unrealistic rushed timeframe of the 66th session of the UN General Assembly to come up with a ready solution. The final text is also missing any reference to Hamas, which remains on the EU’s list of banned terrorist organisations and continuously rejects the Quartet principles.

This is the reason for which the ECR Group abstained during the vote on the joint motion for a resolution on the situation in Palestine.

 
  
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  Georgios Toussas (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The Greek Communist Party voted against the joint motion for a resolution on the situation in Palestine because it is an unacceptable insult to the Palestinian people. Bearing in mind the recent developments at the UN and the contents of the joint motion for a resolution by the European Parliament on Palestine, we consider that positions are stated and practices are expressed which will not help to achieve the recognition of an independent, sovereign Palestinian Member State of the UN. Not only does the joint motion for a resolution offer nothing in the way of a fair solution to the Palestinian problem; on the contrary, it creates more problems, because it supports the position of the attacker, namely Israel, to the detriment of the victim, namely the Palestinian people. Under these circumstances, the popular fight to lift the pressure being exerted on the Palestinian people by the US, the EU, Israel and its other allies needs to be stepped up. Governments need to be asked to take up a clear position, in their stand and in their vote at the Security Council and at the UN General Assembly, in favour of the immediate unconditional recognition of an independent, sovereign, viable Palestinian state within the 1967 borders and with its capital in East Jerusalem, which is a full member of the UN. We resolutely support the position in favour of the immediate departure of Israeli occupying forces from all Palestinian territories, an immediate halt to the settlements and the departure of settlers and the immediate recognition of an independent Palestinian Member State of the UN.

 
  
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  Geoffrey Van Orden (ECR), in writing. – I am strongly supportive of a two-state solution to the Israel/Palestine question, but this has to be reached through negotiation, not provocation. I therefore abstained on Parliament’s resolution on the situation in Palestine specifically because, at paragraph 2, it supports the unilateral Palestinian action at the UN. This is a deliberate provocation and will not bring Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) any closer. Israel has said that she is willing to resume negotiations, but the PA has refused. Every time Israel has made a major concession in the peace process, this has been seen as a sign of weakness and the response has been further violence.

For the security and prosperity of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, the PA must resume negotiations with the Israeli Government immediately. The EU, as one of the PA’s largest financial backers, should be using its influence to insist that the PA returns to the negotiating table.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – I have supported the calls made in this important resolution as I strongly believe that a two-state solution is the only way to achieve a sustainable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The EU must speak with one voice on this issue and we should support the Palestinians in their attempt to be recognised at the UN, whilst ensuring the safety of everyone living in the region. We must ensure that all EU governments play an active role and continue to give the strongest support to the Quartet and the High Representatives in their efforts to re-launch the peace process to reach a sustainable conclusion regarding this conflict.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) I have, of course, voted in favour of the European Parliament resolution on Palestine, even though it does not go as far as we would have liked, because it is a step in the right direction.

With this resolution, the European Parliament is calling on the Member States to speak with one voice in order to support the Palestinian people’s legitimate request to be represented as a state at the United Nations. The resolution does, however, endorse the idea of negotiations, and calls for them to be concluded during the current 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Although the European Parliament could have taken a stronger stance, for example, on the request for the settlements to be withdrawn, the legitimacy of a Palestinian state at the forthcoming session of the United Nations has been clearly affirmed.

This is one more thing in the Palestinian people’s favour. Now that they have experienced the Arab Spring, they are more determined than ever to defend their rights and freedoms.

 
  
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  Dominique Vlasto (PPE), in writing.(FR) Regrettably, the situation on the ground is not improving and the absence of any sign of openness on either side does not allow for optimism. The solution is, however, clear: a State of Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace, safety and prosperity, within the 1967 borders and with Jerusalem as the shared capital. Our resolution, adopted by a large majority, makes a clear call: the negotiations must be resumed immediately, or else the situation will continue to worsen. The fact that the Israeli-Palestinian crisis is increasing the tensions between Israel and the Arab states is another cause for concern. In an environment that has already been turned upside down by the Arab revolutions, it seems more necessary than ever to step up diplomatic efforts as much as possible and to make the protagonists face up to their historic responsibilities. I therefore welcome the initiative of President Sarkozy, who has proposed a road map to ensure the recognition of Palestine by the end of 2012. The United States has used its leadership to monopolise the negotiations for too long. It is time for Europe, the main provider of funds to the Palestinian Authority, to take matters in hand again.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0522/2011

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing. (IT) The aim of the measures that will be discussed and adopted during the Rio+20 Summit in June 2012 is to set realistic and achievable medium- and long-term objectives.

Twenty years have passed since the first summit, and the world is still confronted with two major challenges: improving the lives of people worldwide and relieving the pressure on the environment. It is becoming increasingly difficult to meet those challenges, given that there seems to have been more and more natural disasters in recent years. Many of them can be attributed to human activities that have no regard for the surrounding environment.

Let us consider, for example, the drought and desertification in the Horn of Africa, and the malnutrition that is currently affecting more than 13 million people. Taking action and upholding the political commitment to support sustainable development and the green economy is, and must continue to be, the political line followed by the European Union, to stop the climate problems that are following each other at an alarming rate from getting worse, and to help lift some 1.4 billion people out of a situation of extreme poverty.

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. – I sustained this resolution because the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 represents a unique opportunity for world leaders to set the sustainability agenda for the next 10 years. The Rio+20 Summit represents a crucial occasion to reinforce the political commitment for sustainable development at global level and to discuss an integrated approach to address the multiple challenges such as poverty eradication, health, food, employment, gender equality, climate change and energy supply. I want to highlight that those problems cannot be solved in isolation. For this reason, with this resolution, we call the Commission and the Council to ensure a strong and unified EU position is submitted to the UN before 1 November 2011, as input to negotiations starting early in 2012.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Sustainable development is becoming a way of life slightly more each day. I welcome this resolution, which calls on the European Union to play a leading role in the June 2012 negotiations in Rio. However, I found one point in the motion for a resolution to be particularly concerning. Whereas Article 194 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU stipulates that the choice of ‘energy mix’ is a national competence, the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance wanted the EU suddenly to call on the entire world to phase out nuclear power … even though some EU countries produce it and others consume large quantities of it! What right does the European Parliament have to preach in this way? Let us not forget that nuclear energy directly contributes to sustainable development by emitting very little CO2. I am therefore delighted that the amendment that we tabled calling for ‘the highest level of nuclear safety’ and for this requirement to be promoted at international level has been adopted by a very large majority, and that the idea of a general phasing out of nuclear energy has, on the contrary, been rejected. What we need, in fact, are higher safety standards that are monitored in a more effective and completely transparent way.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution. Despite the progress made in the area of sustainable development since the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Summit and the 2002 Johannesburg Summit, there remain many unresolved global development issues, and many of the international community’s undertakings have still not been fully met. Approximately 1.4 billion people still live in extreme poverty, and challenges such as climate change and world population growth pose a major threat to poverty reduction, human rights, peace, security and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in many developing countries. The UN General Assembly has decided to convene a United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development at the highest possible level in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 at which world leaders will have the opportunity to determine the sustainability agenda for the next ten years, reaffirming the need for universal solidarity. I support the call made for countries to be represented at the level of Heads of State and (or) Government, and the summit should establish specific and concrete goals and the means by which they will be assessed and monitored.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing.(FR) In anticipation of the forthcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which will take place in June 2012 in Rio, Brazil, the European Parliament is today affirming its full commitment to sustainable development as a priority in national policy making; the concept of a green economy is complementary to sustainable development.

In this resolution, we are expressing our belief that a road map should be adopted so that the economy becomes the servant of sustainable development again. Rio+20 must result in concrete measures in the areas of water – which we consider to be a public good; energy – we draw attention to the fact that fossil fuels contribute to the greenhouse effect and that we need to develop renewable energy sources; and agriculture – which should be organic, sustainable and small scale.

Another important point concerns the creation of the World Environment Organisation, which we have been discussing for too long and which should have an international criminal court attached to it to try serious environmental crimes.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) In the decade which has elapsed since the last global summit on sustainable development, the international community has faced a number of huge challenges, from the food crisis and oil price fluctuations to natural disasters and the unprecedented economic crisis. The current pattern of consumption can obviously no longer continue.

Therefore, this meeting provides a necessary opportunity for identifying innovative solutions aimed at changing the current development paradigm. We need to find the way to provide a reasonable standard of living for a growing population, while halting ecosystem degradation and conserving the planet’s resources. In this respect, I think that consolidation of the institutional framework for sustainable development, in line with the UN resolution of 24 December 2009, is paramount. I hope that the European Union will be a successful driving force in obtaining a global consensus on this matter.

 
  
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  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the resolution on the Rio+20 Summit because the European Union needs to come up with a united stance on sustainable development. I think that sustainable development policies do not need to be restricted to environmental aspects. Environmental, economic and social policies are interdependent. We are facing a number of challenges to which we need to find solutions: global warming, food insecurity, the ever-rising global unemployment rate and a high level of poverty. The responsibility for this is shared: industrialised and developing countries must adopt specific objectives as part of the UN conference to be held in June 2012. By adopting this resolution today, we are sending a powerful message in this regard. The European Parliament would like the Rio Summit to result in global measures promoting sustainable development, not in political declarations of intent.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) Given that the political decisions made on Europe’s energy mix should take into account the stage of development of new low-carbon technologies, I think that forcing the implementation of schemes supporting undeveloped technologies may distort the energy market and push up the price of electricity.

It is vital that new energy technologies are not developed and the energy market not operated to the detriment of the expectations of consumers, who would like safe, stable and affordable electricity. These aspects must be considered and examined properly before any decision is made concerning the role of nuclear energy in Europe’s energy mix.

 
  
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  William (The Earl of) Dartmouth (EFD), in writing. – In general, we oppose the EU green agenda of climate alarmism and global governance by environmentalism. Specifically, we oppose: Rio+20 and the EU deciding UK water policy; Rio+20 and the EU negotiating on the UK’s behalf over pollution of the ocean, maritime biodiversity, etc.; the EU dictating rules of Arctic oil exploration, or development of tar sands or oil shale; the EU dictating rules of global targets on renewable energy; the EU dictating rules of nuclear policy; the EU dictating rules of organic farming policy for anyone; concurring with the IMF, World Bank, UN HLTF, etc.; the EU impinging on the sovereign state of Brazil in management of its own resources; the ‘tax on financial transactions’ via UNFCCC or any other route; EU tax policy or its shift from labour to ‘resource use’; large-scale geo-engineering by the EU; the EU’s view on patents on life forms and living processes; the EU’s view on an international environmental court; the EU’s view on procedures for environmental disaster or with international status for climate refugees.

 
  
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  Marielle De Sarnez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Twenty years have elapsed since the first Earth Summit, and the comment ‘can do better’ could be applied to the European policies conducted to reduce our ecological footprint: research and development in the field of renewable energies is still not receiving the investment it requires, European industrial policy is not innovative enough where recycling activities are concerned, and the energy mix must be developed still further throughout Europe. It is time that the governments took strong measures to enable the world’s growing population to share its natural resources in a fair and sustainable way. We need a ‘Green Economy Road Map’ with new measures and quantified objectives to achieve sustainable growth. Industrialised countries also have a responsibility to promote sustainable development and the preservation of biodiversity in developing countries. The Rio de Janeiro Summit in June 2012 must not be a missed opportunity. The European Union must speak with one voice and strongly defend its quantified objectives in relation to renewable energies and energy efficiency.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) The European Parliament wanted to use its vote to support the use of nuclear energy in the future. I voted in favour of this resolution, which is a step in the right direction. Nuclear decommissioning would actually lead to a huge increase in energy prices for private consumers. It would also destroy the research and innovation efforts in a sector whose excellence is universally recognised worldwide. In the light of these facts, I was unable to support the request made by my colleagues. While the closure of power stations that fail to meet the stress test criteria should, of course, be envisaged, we must have the courage to begin the transition to safer fourth-generation power stations.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The goals of the Rio+20 Summit are: (i) to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development; (ii) to assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development; and (iii) to address new and emerging challenges. These are noble aims, and I wish the summit all success in its endeavours. However, I find here once again a resolution on sustainable development which pronounces on the financial markets and calls for the introduction of new taxes, which, in this context, I cannot bring myself to approve. The financial transaction tax will be discussed in its proper place – it was proposed by the Commission yesterday – and the same goes for the regulation of financial markets.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This motion for a resolution, tabled following the oral questions pursuant to Rule 115(5) of the Rules of Procedure, concerns the forthcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, better known as the Rio+20 Summit, which is to take place on 2-4 June next year in Rio de Janeiro. Specifically, it concerns the principal goals that the European Union would like to recommend for this conference. Twenty years ago, when the first environmental summit was held in Rio de Janeiro, the world had great hopes for the future. Two decades later, now that the global economy has revealed its immense fragility, it is time for us to reflect on the exploitation of natural resources and its negative impact on many of our ecosystems. We are all worried about the health of the planet, and the greatest challenge confronting us is that of sustainable development. I welcome the adoption of this motion for a resolution, urging the EU to defend a strong position regarding the adoption of measures to reduce the risk of natural disasters and mitigate the effects of climate change.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The objectives of the earth summits include securing political commitments on economic and social development that is compatible with the balance of nature and protection of the environment.

This resolution does not escape the contradictions typical of all such resolutions, owing to the make-up of this Parliament and the resultant compromises. That said, it has a number of positive features. It keeps a certain distance from the Commission’s communication. In clarifying the concept of a green economy, it acknowledges that this will not automatically make the poor prosperous or realise the Millennium Development Goals. It draws attention to the inequalities and iniquities that exist at global and national level on account of the present economic model. It refuses to commercialise natural systems. It advocates increased support for developing countries, stressing the importance of Official Development Aid (ODA). It looks on water as a public good and calls for a universal guaranteed right to water and hygiene. It sets great store by international cooperation, and by the UN as the best forum for achieving this. It points out the need to guarantee the food sovereignty of developing countries, investment in small-scale agriculture and access to seeds. It advocates measures that will put an end to financial speculation based on the volatility of food prices.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) As we know, the objectives of the earth summits include securing political commitments on economic and social development that is compatible with the balance of nature and protection of the environment.

This resolution does not escape the contradictions typical of all such resolutions, owing to the make-up of Parliament and the resultant compromises. That said, it has a number of positive features, as follows. It keeps a certain distance from the Commission’s communication, clarifying the concept of a green economy and acknowledging that this will not automatically make the poor prosperous or realise the Millennium Development Goals. It draws attention to the inequalities and iniquities that exist at global and national level on account of the present economic model and refuses to commercialise natural systems. It advocates increased support for developing countries and looks on water as a public good. It sets great store by international cooperation, and by the UN as the best forum for achieving this. It points out the need to guarantee the food sovereignty of developing countries, investment in small-scale agriculture and access to seeds. It advocates measures that will put an end to financial speculation based on the volatility of food prices.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) In June 2012, all eyes will be on Rio de Janeiro, where Heads of State or Government will gather for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, 20 years after the first ‘Earth Summit’. Rio+20 will be built on the foundations of the previous global summits: the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm (1972), the Conference on Environment and Development (the Earth Summit) in Rio de Janeiro (1992) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg (2002). It offers a unique opportunity to confirm political commitments in the area of sustainable development. It may be the start of an accelerated, profound and worldwide transition to an environmentally sustainable economy – an economy generating growth, creating jobs and eliminating poverty by investing in and protecting the natural capital on which the long-term survival of our planet depends. At the same time, it could kick off a necessary reform of international governance of sustainable development. We still face global environmental, economic and social challenges on a massive scale. Rio+20 is an important opportunity to promote sustainable development throughout the world. The conference should not only bring about declarations of good intent – only through concrete steps will Rio+20 become a significant milestone in the transition to an environmentally sustainable economy and to better governance. I take the view that, through a common effort, we can ensure concrete, effective steps that will have a real impact on the whole world.

 
  
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  Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing.(FR) As human beings, we have a particular responsibility to protect our environment and the planet on which we live. Therefore, the fact that we should be reflecting on these issues together is not necessarily unusual.

As ever, though, the ideological assumptions hidden behind Parliament’s resolutions are difficult to accept. They include the culpability of man, especially in the West; the alleged need for proper international governance; the aspiration to reduce growth; and the encouragement of international migration through the creation of the concept of ‘climate refugees’. Those assumptions are, strangely, at times incompatible with other dogmas or principles that you also defend: for example, the complete liberalisation of world trade, which, by definition, results in a huge increase in international transport, with all that that entails in terms of increased pollution and fuel consumption. We never hear anything about relocalising production, creating short supply chains, protecting European countries’ food self-sufficiency and industrial autonomy, and so on.

It is clear that a globalised, finance-dominated ultraliberal economic trade system is incompatible with any concerns other than purely economic and financial ones.

 
  
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  Mathieu Grosch (PPE), in writing. (DE) Although the EU is interested in speaking with a single voice when formulating its visions for protecting nature and, thus, human beings, this very wide-ranging issue has seldom resulted in a major EU consensus. It is hardly any wonder, then, that the EU carries scarcely any weight at a global level for putting forward its ideas, and it is almost absurd for Europe to demand the highest standards of protection and the greatest reductions in greenhouse gases, among other things. We need to treat these issues as being just as important as the issues in the economic agreements; in other words, we need to see environmental standards and social standards as a central part of all international agreements, not as a subsidiary issue. This will only be possible, however, if all the Member States demand the same in their bilateral agreements with non-EU countries.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) will take place in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, focusing on two topics: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development. Despite the progress made in the field of sustainable development, considerable implementation gaps and challenges still remain, and many of the international community’s undertakings have still not been fully met. The Rio Summit will be an excellent opportunity to strengthen political commitment to sustainable development at global level and consolidate the partnership between industrialised and developing countries. The Rio+20 Summit should not only result in statements of good intent but also concrete action and measurable goals and the means of assessing them. Equity is the basis for the fundamental changes that are needed, and they should be implemented at global level, allowing less and the least developed countries, with the help of developed countries, to shorten the normal road to development and achieve a higher level of human wellbeing. The Rio+20 Summit should also discuss an integrated approach to resolving various issues, for example, the eradication of poverty, health, food, employment, gender equality and energy supply. These problems cannot be solved separately, and cooperation is therefore even more important. There is an urgent need to achieve rapid progress in ensuring that the existing international legal framework relating to environmental protection is effective.

 
  
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  Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE), in writing. (FI) The Rio+20 resolution that we have just voted on is an important element in the development of a common EU position ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio in June 2012. It is, however, a pity that when the resolution was being drafted, many of us succumbed to the temptation to confuse issues that are part of EU internal policy, and regarding which there is no common EU position.

Perhaps the most glaring example of this was Article 46, which reminds people of the risks related to nuclear energy, mentioning the accident at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima in March as an example. There is nothing wrong in this: the facts have to be acknowledged. The text, however, then called for the phasing out of existing nuclear power plants and opposed the building of new nuclear power stations around the world generally. Such statements are likely to reduce the European Parliament’s credibility dramatically. Fortunately, Parliament did not accept this sort of total ban, and my thanks go to my fellow Members for that.

Although the accident at Fukushima was very regrettable, I would like to point out that, with modern technology and know-how, nuclear power is of enormous help in the fight against climate change. If nuclear power were now to be banned entirely, in a hurry and with enormous fuss, the effects of using fossil fuels would increase exponentially, since there would still be no credible, fossil-free form of energy that would compete with nuclear power.

The actual number of victims of the accident at Fukushima will only be seen after many years have passed, when estimates will be made of how the increase in fossil fuels that resulted from abandoning the use of nuclear power in such a hurry has impacted on such phenomena as increased air pollution and deaths from fine particles.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) Sustainable development is, and must remain, at the forefront in all European Union programmes and policies. The Rio+20 Summit must result in tangible actions and quantifiable targets, along with ways of assessing them, which are needed to create synergy among the elements of sustainable development. This summit provides a crucial opportunity to reinforce the political commitments to sustainable development at a global level and the partnerships between industrialised and developing countries.

Due to the relatively slow progress that has been made, it is imperative to inject greater urgency and dynamism into the implementation and governance of sustainable development policies in order to achieve the anticipated results.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this resolution on the Rio Earth Summit, which urges the host nation Brazil to make a clear commitment to protect the Amazon forest and stem criminal harassment of representatives of civil society pursuing environmental protection.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – I welcome the report on developing a common EU position ahead of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). 1.4 billion people across the world are still living in extreme poverty and one sixth of the world's population is undernourished. I welcome the recognition in this report that sustainable development must be at the forefront in all EU processes and policies. I voted in favour of this report but there were some amendments which, in my opinion, are outside of its remit and I did not support those.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) This text calls for a phasing out of nuclear power plants and opposes the building of any new plants. It stresses the fact that water is a public good and that access to water and sanitation are fundamental rights as laid down by the United Nations General Assembly. It even advocates the establishment of an international status for climate and environmental refugees and the creation of an international environmental court. These are all concessions to our demands that I welcome.

Despite some weaknesses concerning biofuels, the failure to denounce shale gas extraction, which should have been denounced in the text, and the inability to demand that a binding agreement be reached at the Rio Summit, I voted for this text and welcome the undeniable advances that it contains. I hope that this House will not cut out the majority of them.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) has set itself various goals, among which I would single out securing renewed political commitment for sustainable development; assessing the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development; and addressing new and emerging challenges. These are ambitious aims, and I live in hope that they can be fulfilled.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – I agree that biodiversity and natural resources – such as water, soil and forests – must be properly valued and accounted for. In the report, Parliament supports the European Commission’s call for a ‘Green Economy road map’ and stresses that sustainable growth needs new measures and ‘accountable targets’, including global goals to increase renewable energy and energy efficiency. The resolution calls for an end to environmentally harmful subsidies by 2020. I also agree that there should be an international tax on financial transactions – as proposed at EU level by the European Commission – to support climate and biodiversity protection in developing countries.

 
  
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  Sławomir Witold Nitras (PPE), in writing. (PL) Nuclear energy is the most stable and effective source of obtaining energy. Countries such as the US, France and Japan have made good use of the benefits of the atom, developing this sector within their own countries. The emerging economic giants of the world, such as China and India, are also following in their footsteps. This is happening because demand for energy is increasing quickly, and discoveries of more gas, oil or coal deposits cannot keep up with this demand. Adequate time and financial means are also required in order to utilise such deposits. In the light of this, these countries are endeavouring to diversify their energy sources by developing atomic energy.

I support the proposals being made by the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance calling for the development of green energy. However, despite its benefits, it is not able to become an alternative to nuclear energy, due to the high costs and low effectiveness of green energy. I am therefore opposed to the idea that the development of nuclear energy should be restricted.

 
  
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  Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. – The Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development will meet in June 2012. Although the past twenty years since the founding of this conference have seen some achievement, broader trends show the world headed away from truly sustainable development. In the last twenty years, the world has seen terrible poverty, a greater chasm between the rich and the poor, worsening soils, and an overall negative footprint of humanity on the earth. The world cannot continue on in this way. I voted in favour of this resolution because it states that the wild capitalist economy must be determined as one that destroys the environment and endangers people which is not acceptable. A sustainable economy must be developed. Sustainability requires commitment from a local level all the way to the global level. A framework needs to be developed that will help economies of European countries encourage management of natural resources so they are not over-exploited. Additionally, there is the issue of intergenerational justice and fairness; future generations should not have to pay the costs of the current generation.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). The conference, which will focus on ‘a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication’, and on ‘the institutional framework for sustainable development’, is being urged to be more effective and ambitious than similar conferences in the past (Rio 1992 and Johannesburg 2002). The developed states have a moral duty not to rest on their laurels at a time when 1.4 billion people are still living in conditions of extreme poverty and when one sixth of the world’s population is undernourished. Climate change poses a serious risk to efforts to combat poverty and safeguard the standard of living of future generations. The European Parliament urgently calls on both the Commission and the Council to ensure that the new conference culminates not simply in statements of good intention, but in tangible action, targets and quantifiable results.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I have voted in favour of this resolution, and I add my voice to the request that the Rio+20 Summit should strengthen the commitment of the principal parties, including the private sector. Indeed, business concerns, civil society and, especially, non-governmental organisations, social movements and indigenous communities must all play prominent parts in these areas.

 
  
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  Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. – The three main objectives of the Rio+20 Summit will be to secure renewed political commitment to sustainable development, to assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of past commitments, and to address new and emerging challenges. The resolution stresses that, in order to enable the transition towards the green economy in the context of poverty eradication and to strengthen and improve the institutional framework for sustainable development, three interlinked policy dimensions need to be addressed while respecting human rights and ensuring environmental protection: investing in sustainable management of key resources and natural capital through R&D; establishing the right market and regulatory conditions abiding by the principle of equity; improving governance and involving civil society and the private sectors. Fair and equitable access to natural resources for present and future generations is a crucial precondition for sustainable development and poverty eradication; these are the aspects I voted for.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which will take place in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, will, of course, be an ideal theatre for the debate on environmental, economic and social sustainability in a globalised world. In this context, the EU must be willing to negotiate and to show a commitment to the wellbeing of future generations, endeavouring to strengthen its ties with other key participants (not only states, but also non-governmental organisations and international public law organisations) in the search for concrete solutions to the question of sustainable development. Since I can see these concerns reflected in the resolution that has been tabled, I have voted in favour of its adoption.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Today, we voted during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the motion for a resolution on the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, in Rio de Janeiro, should achieve specific objectives, including that relating to renewable energy and energy efficiency, in line with what was approved today in Parliament.

Parliament supports the European Commission’s request for a Green Economy Road Map, while emphasising that sustainable growth requires new measures and concrete goals. The resolution accordingly calls for an end to environmentally harmful subsidies and for an international tax on financial transactions to support the climate and protect biodiversity.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Today, 1.4 billion people live in conditions of extreme poverty and a sixth of the world’s population suffers from malnutrition. In 2050, in other words tomorrow, the planet is expected to have at least 9 billion inhabitants. That will put more pressure on our limited supply of natural resources and the management of the waste flows that we produce. Furthermore, even though climate change poses a serious threat to the world’s population, greenhouse gas emissions unfortunately continue to increase. We urgently need to change our lifestyles and our development models, by finally moving in the direction of sustainability. The text of this resolution calls for sustainable development to be at the forefront of all the EU’s processes and policies. I can only support this motion. It also calls on both the Commission and the Council to ensure that a strong and unified EU position is submitted to the UN as input to the negotiations starting early in 2012 in Rio, and to ensure that the Rio+20 Summit results not only in statements of goodwill, but also in tangible actions and quantifiable and measurable objectives.

 
  
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  Zuzana Roithová (PPE), in writing. (CS) I voted against paragraph 46, which was inserted into the resolution by members of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, and even supported by Czech MEP Miroslav Ouzký. They anticipate in this paragraph an end to the use of nuclear energy, and the phasing out of existing nuclear power plants, and make a call, overstepping the powers of the EU, to halt the construction of new power plants. I have long been committed to the highest safety standards in nuclear power. However I reject the anti-nuclear hysteria, which ‘green’ politicians in particular whip up in relation to the Fukushima disaster. This hysteria completely ignores the impact of the anti-nuclear proposals. I consider it populist and hypocritical that countries blocking the production of nuclear energy on their own territory are dependent on supplies of exactly this type of energy from neighbouring countries.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing.(FR) I am in favour. The conservatives’ desire to weaken the text aside, I welcome the excellent resolution adopted today by Parliament. This ambitious, purposeful and responsible position is the impetus needed to end the environmental and social crisis. I welcome the signal sent by Parliament concerning the ‘green economy’ concept on which the Earth Summit will focus: ‘no’ to the commercialisation and privatisation of public goods, ‘no’ to the reproduction of models that have led us to where we are today, and ‘yes’ to an economy that consumes fewer resources, is fairer and is rooted in environmental sustainability and social justice.

As Sandrine Bélier, a member of the Committee on the Environment, said: ‘20 years on, what will we say to Severn Suzuki? What response will we give if another child takes the floor in Rio in 2012 and informs us of his or her fear for the future, of his or her failure to understand the inequalities that exist on the planet, and urges us to act before it is too late?’ The resolution that we have adopted today is an initial response; Parliament has risen to the challenges.

 
  
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  Peter Skinner (S&D), in writing. – This resolution has used the example of the recent incident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant to call for a phasing out of existing nuclear power plants and opposing the building of any new nuclear power stations. Only one Member State has proposed a phasing out of nuclear reactors since the incident at Fukushima and I cannot support any policy that would see this implemented across the EU while nuclear power currently provides around 30% of the EU’s energy supply and employs thousands of workers across Europe. I also note that the declaration also warns against any offshore oil exploration in the Arctic zone. As I was shadow rapporteur on a recent report dealing with this issue, I feel this is a conflicting motion.

 
  
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  Søren Bo Søndergaard (GUE/NGL), in writing. (DA) In general, we are able to endorse the concern in relation to oil extraction in environmentally fragile areas. However, we are unable to vote in favour of the specific proposal (paragraph 39), because it does not mention compensation for the countries under development that it will affect, for example, Greenland.

 
  
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  Bogusław Sonik (PPE), in writing. (PL) The vote on the European Parliament resolution on a common EU position ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) is an important statement before the approaching conference. The Union should concentrate on striving to achieve a global agreement on renewable energy sources and on taking appropriate steps towards the sustainable development of energy. The Rio+20 summit should not be used to realise particular political and ideological matters. Only a judicious compromise will allow the Rio+20 objectives to be combined with the necessity of sustainable access to energy. We should strive for solutions which will allow economic growth and, at the same time, satisfy the needs of society and the environment.

 
  
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  Konrad Szymański (ECR), in writing. (PL) I could not support this resolution, because it contained proposals which have nothing to do with sustainable global development, such as introducing a tax on financial transactions and withdrawing from nuclear energy and the use of fossil fuels in the energy industry.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the resolution on developing a common EU position ahead of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

The Rio+20 Summit can reinforce the political commitment to sustainable development at a global level and the partnerships between industrialised and developing countries.

I voted for paragraph 29 so as to renew, as part of the Rio+20 Summit, the commitments towards promoting the protection of water resources and the sustainable management of water as a public good.

I voted for Amendment 24 because I think that we need to encourage the use of all low-carbon energy sources, including nuclear energy.

Furthermore, the importance of investments in renewable energy sources and in measures for increasing energy efficiency is steadily growing. Paragraph 54 of the resolution calls on states to remove provisions in current national policies that subsidise or mandate biofuels production or consumption, at least until guarantees for removing the competition with food production, biodiversity and climate protection are implemented. I voted for paragraph 71 because I think that the revenues which can be raised by introducing a tax on financial transactions globally may provide considerable resources for supporting biodiversity and climate protection.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) I voted for this resolution in which the European Parliament clearly supports the adoption of an offensive EU position in favour of sustainable development. As well as making many observations, the European Parliament mentions a number of proposals that I unreservedly support, such as taking action on a global and local scale; linking sustainable development with the reduction of inequalities and respect for fundamental rights as a matter of importance; and public ownership, without which the policy shift towards a proper environmental policy is not possible. While the European Parliament has once again called for a tax on financial transactions, a large majority has also voted in favour of the requirement to ensure the highest level of nuclear safety as a positive development in this area. Let us be under no illusions, however: grand statements, useful as they are, are not always translated into the action that they recommend. Many governments and MEPs forget their green pledges when a decision displeases the financial sector and major economic decision makers. I hope that this Rio Summit in June 2012 will result in strong decisions, unlike the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit, the results of which were no match for the challenges faced.

 
  
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  Dominique Vlasto (PPE), in writing.(FR) I welcome the adoption of this resolution, which appeals to the Council and the Commission to obtain, among other things, a specific, quantifiable commitment from third countries that they will reduce emissions and combat deforestation, overfishing and all environmentally harmful human activity. Although the EU has decided to set an example with the energy and climate package, it must not be the only one to combat global warming. Emerging countries must contribute to a global effort if they do not want to ruin our work. The credibility of the EU’s leadership in this race against the climate change clock therefore depends upon the Member States reaching an ambitious common position. Every day, we see proof of the increasingly obvious and urgent need for action. If we want to maintain our quality of life, we can no longer delay our efforts to adopt environmentally friendly lifestyles and production methods. Our Parliament’s appeal is along these lines, and I will be paying close attention to the preparatory acts and the conclusions of this summit. The Earth is our common home and the legacy we will leave our children. They will not forgive us if we fail.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) The sustainable use of natural resources is imperative on account of climate change and the effects of disasters. A partnership between industrial and developing countries is of central importance if we want to achieve our objectives. Many countries are today at the point that Europe long ago reached as regards the exploitation of minerals and natural resources, and it would be irresponsible to deprive developing countries of our current, more developed technology for the extraction of these resources. Not least, sustainable extraction in those countries would also benefit our latitudes.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0521/2011

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I support this resolution, since I consider that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, given its important social role, must continue to adapt to the needs of the moment.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was established to support measures for those workers who are most affected by massive job losses due to globalisation or the economic and financial crisis in the European Union and to help them reintegrate into the labour market. The EGF was intended to be a measure for rapid intervention in the event of mass redundancy in order to prevent long-term unemployment in difficult labour market conditions. Under the 2009 Economic Recovery Plan, its scope was extended to cover layoffs resulting from the financial and economic crisis. The greatest added value of the renewed EGF would be effective assistance for the training and retraining of workers with a view to helping them find work again in the difficult labour market situation resulting from the unforeseen restructuring of companies or sectors, resulting in or exacerbating a mismatch in vocational skills. Such an instrument would be a useful supplement to the measures funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) aimed primarily at helping with the adjustment to global challenges, and would contribute to sustainable economic growth. This instrument would ensure EU solidarity with workers affected by the negative consequences of restructuring and, on the other hand, would also enable all Member States to take advantage of timely, targeted and tailored help so as to avoid long-term unemployment.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) has proven, since its creation in 2006, and particularly since the revision and relaxation of its rules in 2009, that it is both useful and relevant in the economic and social crisis that we are currently experiencing. By assisting workers who are suffering as a result of the crisis, it is the expression of European solidarity. True, it is a crisis management instrument that can be rather slow, but its added value is plain to see. We must therefore maintain it, and that is why we are in favour of extending the derogation until the end of 2013.

Like the majority of Parliament, I am also in favour of the EGF continuing after 2013.

Lastly, I believe that this fund should have its own budget and hence a budget line; I find it regrettable that, in the present circumstances, this idea should have been rejected by the majority of the European Parliament during the vote on the resolution.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) I consider it satisfactory that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was able to support about 10% of all dismissed workers in the EU during the 2009-2010 period, and that 40% of workers targeted for assistance by the EGF in 2009 were successfully reintegrated into the labour market, despite the negative effects of the financial and economic crisis on labour markets. However, I do not share the Commission’s desire to continue the EGF beyond the current multiannual financial framework. The EGF should be closely linked to the European framework for restructuring, in order to increase its contribution to effective support for the training and retraining of workers, with a view to reintegrating them into employment in the difficult labour market situations that result from unexpected company or sectoral restructuring, which creates or aggravates skills mismatches. Such an instrument would provide a valuable complement to those measures financed by the European Social Fund which are aimed predominantly at adapting to global challenges, with a view to sustainable economic growth. On the one hand, this instrument would ensure EU solidarity with workers adversely affected by restructuring and, on the other, all Member States could benefit from its timely, targeted and tailored intervention, the aim of which is to prevent long-term unemployment.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I have voted in favour of this resolution since it advocates a renewed European Globalisation Adjustment Fund which will provide effective support for the training and retraining of workers with a view to their reintegration into the labour market. This instrument can make an important contribution to strengthening solidarity within the EU, insofar as all Member States will be able to benefit from its timely, targeted and tailored intervention, in order to prevent long-term unemployment.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The seriousness of the economic and financial situation in Europe is embodied by large-scale job losses which threaten the personal and family circumstances of a great number of workers. The European Union has tried to help address this serious problem by broadening the scope of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund so as to include the cases of workers who have lost their jobs as a result of the present crisis. The continuation of the crisis calls for this broadening of the fund to be maintained and for the procedures for mobilising it to be tailored to the actual predicament of the workers and regions concerned. I hope that the recommended changes will fulfil their purpose of bringing help to those who need it most and reacting quickly to the instances of deprivation that affect them. I sincerely hope that the European economy will recover sooner rather than later and that the need to resort to the fund will appreciably diminish. Until that happens, it should be ready and able to help alleviate the social problems arising from the redundancies and to help reintegrate workers into the labour market.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) In 2006, the European Union adopted Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 establishing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), whose purpose is to provide help to workers who have lost their jobs owing to significant structural changes in world trade. The regulation became law in January 2007, benefiting tens of thousands of workers in almost all the Member States.

Globalisation threatens people’s livelihoods by taking work away to another place where labour is cheaper. We cannot forget that in the EU, there are 23 million unemployed and 123 million people living in difficult conditions. It is consequently vital that the EGF should continue into the new multiannual financial framework and, if possible, that the funds available should be increased. It would be just as important to broaden the terms of the fund to include young people, agricultural workers and the self-employed. I therefore welcome the adoption of this resolution, for which I voted, since I am aware that the fund will contribute towards fulfilling the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, thereby allowing the EU to emerge stronger and more cohesive from the economic and financial crisis in which it is mired, with its mind set on an intelligent, sustainable and inclusive programme of growth.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The resolution is marred by a vision of the Europe 2020 strategy that we do not share. In addition, we have condemned the fact that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is a merely palliative measure in the context of worsening unemployment as a result of EU structural policies that jeopardise European industry and make life easier for multinationals, which do not accept any social responsibility. Furthermore, the EGF uses funding criteria that are deeply unfair and lead to situations like the ones we have already experienced in this plenary session, in which, for a similar number of workers, we have approved about EUR 4.4 million in EGF aid to Germany, almost EUR 3.9 million to Denmark and only EUR 1.4 million to Portugal, despite the fact that Portugal is in the worst state. However, there is also a positive side to the resolution: the proposal to amend the cofinancing rate required of Member States, which is 35% of the total amount provided. In order to mitigate this situation, let us hope that the Commission bears in mind the need to reduce the national cofinancing rate and converges on our proposal to reduce it to only 5%, especially for countries that are in a fragile state financially, like Portugal. That is why we voted in favour.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted for this resolution, although we disagree with certain points, especially regarding its vision of the Europe 2020 strategy. In addition, we know that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) has emerged as a merely palliative measure in a time of worsening employment as a result of EU structural policies that jeopardise Europe’s industry and make life easier for multinationals, which do not accept any social responsibility. Furthermore, the EGF uses funding criteria that are deeply unfair and lead to situations like the ones we have already experienced in this plenary session, in which, for a similar number of workers, we have approved EUR 4.4 million in EGF aid to Germany, almost EUR 3.9 million to Denmark and only EUR 1.4 million to Portugal, despite the fact that Portugal is in the worst state. We should like to highlight the positive aspect of the resolution, which aims to amend the high cofinancing rate required of Member States, which is 35% of the total amount provided. In order to mitigate this situation, we hope the European Commission takes account of the need to change the national cofinancing rate and converges on our proposal to reduce it to only 5%, particularly for countries that are in a fragile state financially, like Portugal. That is why we voted in favour.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was established in order to support measures for the workers worst affected by mass redundancies in the EU caused by globalisation or the financial and economic crisis, with the aim of supporting their return to the labour market. It was designed as a rapid intervention instrument for cases of mass redundancy, with the aim of avoiding long-term unemployment in difficult labour market conditions. Its original aim as an instrument was to mitigate as quickly as possible the pressing and unforeseen problems on the labour market caused by the laying off of large numbers of workers, whether from big firms or from small enterprises operating in a specific sector and a specific region. I also consider it important to emphasise that, in future, most of the attention should go to sustainable labour market measures, and that we should endeavour to create the conditions for Member States to make use of the EGF to fulfil European objectives and promote new skills, including skills connected with new, sustainable and high-quality ‘green’ jobs. The EGF should also continue to finance only those active labour market measures which supplement the measures under national legislation for cases of mass redundancy, and it would be a good idea, in my opinion, for the Commission to follow the implementation process more closely, in order to ensure that the measures are equally useful to all workers.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this resolution in order to emphasise the importance of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) as a tool, while acknowledging the necessary reforms that it will have to undergo over the next few years. While, in 2009, the EGF was able to help some 40% of the workers concerned to re-enter the labour market, in a difficult economic climate, we should consider the fact that it is, in a way, a very convenient remedy for the lack of a European industrial strategy and for the social damage caused by the relocation of large multinationals which, in the end, often emerge from the difficulties they encounter in a very strong position. That being the case, we must insist that the social partners and the local authorities be closely involved in the application procedure and play a part in monitoring the implementation and assessment of the results on behalf of workers. Lastly, in the future, the EGF should be integrated into a European framework for anticipating and managing restructuring exercises and should emphasise the social responsibility of multinational companies, which seldom fail to exploit this type of instrument in order to reduce the costs of a restructuring exercise that they alone have decided.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed the document because the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was established to support measures for those workers who are most affected by the massive job losses due to globalisation and the economic or financial crisis in the European Union and to help them reintegrate into the labour market. In the large majority of cases, EGF funds have been used to eliminate the consequences of redundancy due to the financial and economic crisis. I support the Commission’s proposal to extend until the end of 2013 a temporary derogation to support workers made redundant as a result of the global financial and economic crisis. I also think that Member States must actively make use of the EGF to implement European goals and promote new skills, including the skills necessary to create new, sustainable, high-quality green jobs. The EGF should also continue to finance only those active labour market measures which, in the event of mass redundancy, complement measures provided for under national legislation. In future, the payments supported by the EGF should always be coupled with training and retraining measures also funded by the EGF and not replace payments provided for under national or Community law or collective agreements.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) The relevant institutions must make the necessary efforts to improve the budget processes and procedures with the aim of mobilising the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) more quickly. In this regard, the improvement procedure implemented by the Commission, at the European Parliament’s request, for speeding up the issuing of grants marks an important step.

I should mention the importance of the commitment made by the institutions to provide a quick, simple procedure for adopting decisions on mobilising the EGF. I also think that measures financed by the EGF should lead to long-term employment. However, the assistance provided by the EGF must not replace the actions which companies are responsible for taking, in accordance with national legislation or collective agreements.

 
  
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  Vladimír Maňka (S&D), in writing. (SK) Within the framework of the European response to the crisis, the aim of this revision was to broaden the scope of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) and make it a timely and more effective intervention instrument in a time of crisis, in accordance with the basic principles of solidarity and social justice. The amendments include, for example, a reduction in the number of workers laid off that is required when submitting an application for support from the EGF from 1 000 to 500, and extending the implementation period for measures supported from the EGF from 12 to 24 months. It has introduced a temporary exemption, with the aim: 1. of expanding the scope of the EGF so that it includes support for workers made redundant as a direct consequence of the financial and economic crisis; 2. of increasing the level of cofinancing of the EGF from 50% to 65%. The validity of the temporary exemption expires on 30 December 2011. During the consultation carried out by the Commission, the Member States stated that, without the temporary exemption, it would be impossible to submit most of the applications relating to the crisis, and that nearly 45 000 workers suffering the negative effects of the economic and financial crisis would remain without support from the EGF.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report and strongly support the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund as a tool to show practical solidarity with workers who have lost their jobs due to globalisation-related restructuring.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) This resolution has the merit of calling for European Globalisation Adjustment Fund appropriations not to indirectly benefit multinationals. It insists that both sides of industry be involved in a range of tasks, from granting appropriations to assessing the measures taken and designing the services offered.

That is a good thing. However, this text revels in the logic of the Europe 2020 strategy, which is compounding the crisis – a crisis affecting the workers targeted by this fund more than anyone else. Repairing a fraction of the damage caused, moreover, is ineffective. This fund is nothing but a poor stopgap. I therefore abstained.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created with the purpose of demonstrating the EU’s solidarity with workers affected by mass redundancies as a result of globalisation and was extended in 2009, as part of the European Economic Recovery Plan, to redundancies also caused by the financial and economic crisis. The way in which the Member States have applied for mobilisation of the EGF demonstrates the importance of this instrument in overcoming the problems that have arisen as a result of the economic and financial crisis. However, there are some shortcomings associated with this instrument, but we hope that these have been addressed, following the adoption of this amendment to the present regulation, so as to make it faster to use and more effective. It therefore makes sense to retain this instrument so that we can continue to support workers who, today, are still suffering from the consequences of the ongoing crisis.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – I support the renewal of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund after 2013. In a draft resolution presented by Pervenche Berès (S&D, France) and Marian Harkin (ALDE, Ireland), it is proposed to establish an own-budget line for the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. Currently, the sum reserved for the EGF (EUR 500 million per year) comes from Community funds initially earmarked for other purposes. The aim of a separate budget line is to provide for a faster and more effective procedure allowing for advances to be paid to applicant Member States within a period of two months from the registration of their application. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) The motion for a resolution on the future of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, which I supported, proposes methods for flexible action by the fund and for consistent funding of it, in order to meet the increased demands placed on it. The EGF was designed as a mechanism for immediate intervention in the event of mass redundancies, in order to prevent long-term unemployment at times of difficult conditions on the labour market. As such, that it should exist and be strengthened in times of global economic instability is of particular interest to Greece. I would remind the House that the EGF was activated on one occasion in Greece just recently, when a large multinational pulled out, resulting in hundreds of lost jobs. However, the procedures for activating it should be simplified and the fund’s future resources should be secured, so that it is able to respond to unforeseen developments, primarily by supporting efforts to quickly reintegrate workers who lose their jobs into the labour market.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this resolution as I agree with its content, particularly that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) must continue to fund only active labour market measures that supplement the measures provided for under national law in the event of mass redundancies. I also agree with the proposal that future allowances supported by the EGF should always be coupled with training or retraining measures also financed by the fund, and that they should not replace allowances provided for under national or EU law, or collective agreements.

 
  
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  Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. – The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was set up to show Europe’s solidarity with workers concerned by mass redundancies resulting from globalisation. It was extended in 2009 in the framework of the recovery plan to cover dismissals caused by the financial and economic crisis. The best added value of a renewed fund would be effective support for training and retraining of workers with a view to reintegrating them into employment in difficult labour market situations caused by unforeseen events of restructuring of enterprises or sectors that entail or aggravate skills mismatches. This instrument would ensure, on the one hand, the EU’s solidarity with workers affected by negative effects of restructuring and, on the other hand, that all Member States could benefit from its timely, targeted and tailored interventions in order to avoid long-term unemployment. The social partners, as well as local authorities, should be closely involved in the application procedure, and, above all, the design of the coordinated package of measures. The social partners should participate in the monitoring of the implementation and in the evaluation of the outcomes for workers.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. – I wholeheartedly support the Commission’s proposals to extend the derogation which allows us to mobilise EGF funds to assist workers made redundant due to the global economic crisis until 2013. The European Globalisation Fund has been essential to assist European workers who found themselves on the losing side of globalisation, especially since the behaviour of market speculators triggered the severe financial and economic crisis we find ourselves in. There is a need to address serious issues, such as the slow and cumbersome nature of the EGF procedures and the problems we face to secure national funding to match the EU’s share. The deadline for availing of EGF funds must not count from the start of such complex and lengthy procedures, as this results in lost funding opportunities for workers in need of assistance. In the Dell workers’ case in Ireland, the EGF fund helped contribute to start new enterprises which created 240 jobs and retrained or up-skilled many hundreds more. We need to reflect on ways to preserve the knowledge accumulated by the workers assisted by EGF funds so as to support and hasten future applications. The workers made redundant by TalkTalk in Waterford can benefit from that know-how.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) As the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) approaches its fifth anniversary, we must learn from the period that has passed in order to shape the future of this instrument. First, I should like to stress the importance of its objectives, which aim at improving the situation of workers affected by mass redundancies, in the short term, with a view to reintegrating them into the labour market as quickly as possible. This is a purpose that is still of great relevance today and, as such, I believe it is one we should continue to pursue.

However, for the fund to be effective, the length of the allocation procedure for funding must be reduced in the short term and, in the long term, it must be integrated with EU policy as a whole. Therefore, it will be important, for example, to reconcile this support instrument with the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, with a view to promoting the development of innovation activities that may contribute to the creation of jobs and wealth, while reintegrating workers into the labour market.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. Especially because of the adoption of one amendment which deletes the call for a separate budget line.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – I welcome the result of today's resolution to extend the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund crisis measures until the end of 2013, but am disappointed that the proposal to give the EGAF its own budget line was rejected. Now, more than ever, we need this fund to help find new jobs for workers who have been made redundant as a result of the economic crisis.

This fund has proved vital since it came in to being in 2007, providing assistance for workers all across Europe, affected by both globalisation and the crisis. However, some Member States, like the UK, have not yet used the EGAF and I welcome the position taken today in the resolution to urge the Commission to investigate the reasons for this. Finally, I agree that the Commission needs to clarify its plans for extending the scope of the EGAF to agricultural sectors before any decisions can be taken.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) I abstained from the vote on this report, which amends the criteria of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund.

This fund is used to finance a number of social plans, with the specific aim of helping to train workers who have been made redundant and of facilitating their return to work. It is therefore difficult to vote against, but the very name of the fund already covers an entire programme, and I refuse to back a scheme that encourages social dumping, among other things, within the European Union. Worse, it is the redundancies made from large multinationals as a result of stock market developments that are the specific targets of this fund, when multinationals are the ones who should be paying for the reintegration of their employees.

The European peoples hit hard by this crisis do not expect the European Union to give them handouts or to replace the Member States in their role as guarantors of national solidarity. Rather, they expect it to finally build a social Europe that ensures that workers’ rights are put before shareholders’ interests.

I note, however, that the European Parliament is seeking further guarantees to ensure that the appropriations cannot be used indirectly to benefit multinationals that lay people off, as it has already done in the past with Unilever in particular. The Fralib workers expect better.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) The current derogation for the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund expires in December 2011. For the subsequent period, the European Parliament is calling for changes to its content in order to learn the necessary lessons from practice to date and to adapt the legal regulation appropriately. A central weakness of the current regulation is the lack of differentiation as regards the enterprises making applications. We need to ensure that money from the fund is not misused to finance corporate restructuring towards low-wage countries for companies showing a net profit.

These companies must not be allowed to offload their social responsibilities at the taxpayers’ expense and must be held financially accountable for measures to put people back into work. I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution because it incorporates these demands.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0519/2011

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting against this report, despite the importance of making sure that the EU’s financial contribution is also being used to benefit the people of Western Sahara.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) The European Parliament has tabled a motion for a resolution requesting an opinion from the Court of Justice on the compatibility with the Treaties of the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial compensation provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco. In supporting this motion for a resolution I pledge to enforce the Treaty of Lisbon, which stipulates that the European Parliament must give its consent to any international agreement concluded by the Member States.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) I welcome the European Parliament’s rejection of the motion for a resolution requesting an opinion from the Court of Justice to verify the compatibility of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement with the Treaties. This interim Fisheries Partnership Agreement is an extension of the old fisheries agreement and will come to an end on 27 February 2012. We must approve the interim agreement without delay. A referral would entail a lengthy procedure and could suspend fishing opportunities from February 2012.

This agreement is important for the European fleet given its significance in terms of trade. It enables ships flying the flags of 10 Member States to access Moroccan waters under favourable conditions. It is also important for the Moroccans, who have honoured their commitments regarding, in particular, support for small-scale fishing along the entire coastline for which they are responsible, including the coast of Western Sahara. A new agreement will be negotiated between Morocco and the European Commission for the period after 27 February 2012.

 
  
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  Ole Christensen (S&D), in writing. (DA) On behalf of the Danish Social Democrats (Dan Jørgensen, Christel Schaldemose, Britta Thomsen and Ole Christensen). We voted in favour of the motion for a resolution. There is legal uncertainty as to whether the new Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Morocco complies with international law. Since the EU Treaties state that the EU must comply with international law, the lack of compliance of the Protocol with international law will mean that we are not complying with our own Treaties. We therefore believe that it is important to seek a legal assessment from the Court of Justice with a view to determining the legality of this Protocol.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted against referring to the Court of Justice to verify the compatibility of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement with the Treaties because there is the risk of a fishing embargo commencing in February 2012, and the arguments for referring the matter are political and can be discussed.

The Western Sahara issue must not have an adverse impact on the European fleet, sailing under the flag of 10 Member States, having the opportunity to access Moroccan waters.

 
  
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  Marielle De Sarnez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The Court of Justice of the European Union will not be required to give an opinion on the new Protocol to the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement. Admittedly, its opinion may have helped to eliminate the legal uncertainty surrounding the inclusion of Western Sahara in the Protocol, but equally it would have slowed down the agreements being negotiated with Morocco, which would not have been a good message to send. Nevertheless, efforts will have to be made in the coming weeks to improve these agreements and the agreement on agriculture in particular. Our Parliament must demand that the future agreement be balanced and protect both small farmers in Morocco and fruit and vegetable producers in Europe. By the same token, only those agricultural imports that comply with Europe’s consumer protection, animal welfare and environmental protection standards, as well as minimum social standards, should be admitted to the European Union.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted against the motion for a resolution on the opinion requested from the Court of Justice on the compatibility with the Treaties of the Protocol to the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement. I believe that the negotiations must continue in order to improve the existing agreement, as the Kingdom of Morocco has collaborated with the European Commission to prove that this agreement, which encompasses economic activities relating to the natural resources of the Non-Self-Governing Territory of Western Sahara, has benefited the local population. Parliament should already have given its opinion on the political issue concerning the Sahrawi people, which does not fall within the scope of this agreement.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Several fellow Members are seeking to use the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco as a pretext for taking the issue of the legality of Morocco’s presence in Western Sahara to the Court of Justice. Despite Parliament’s new powers under the Treaty of Lisbon to obtain the Court’s opinion on the validity of international agreements, I believe that agreements such as those underlying the motion for a resolution should not be used to pursue objectives that clearly go far beyond them, and whose particular sensitivity merits suitable caution. The attempt to judicialise the foreign policy of the EU and its Member States is a dangerous route to go down, and one that must be avoided by all responsible political decision makers.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This motion for a resolution, tabled pursuant to Rule 90(2) of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, concerns an opinion requested from the Court of Justice on the compatibility with the Treaties of the Protocol to the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement. The EU has maintained trade relations with Morocco for several years now, particularly in the context of the Euro-Mediterranean region and, on 7 March 2010, the first EU-Morocco Summit was held. Since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, and as far as codecision is concerned, no agreement can be concluded without first being approved by Parliament.

Taking account of the fact that this protocol is extending its scope to cover the waters of the Western Sahara, the population of which, despite retaliation from the Moroccan Government, is calling for the right to self-determination, the EU, as a community of values standing for democracy and respect for human rights, cannot sign protocols that violate international law, as is the case with this new Protocol as regards the socio-economic interests of the Non-Self-Governing Territory of Western Sahara and the exploitation of its natural resources. In view of this, I am voting for this request for an opinion from the Court of Justice.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The first Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco expired on 28 February 2011, and the new Protocol was signed on 13 July 2011. The conclusion of the new Protocol requires the consent of the European Parliament, however, before it can be finally adopted by the Council. The application of the new Protocol extends, however, to the waters off the coast of Western Sahara, which has been on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories since 1963. In order to comply with international law, however, economic activities relating to the natural resources of a Non-Self-Governing Territory must be carried out for the benefit of the people of such a territory, and in accordance with their wishes. Since it has not been demonstrated that the Union’s financial contribution is used for the benefit of the people of Western Sahara, there is legal uncertainty as to whether the new Protocol complies with international law as regards the socio-economic interests of the Non-Self-Governing Territory of Western Sahara and the exploitation of its natural resources. In my opinion, the European Parliament has therefore taken the right approach in deciding to seek an opinion from the Court of Justice on the compatibility of the abovementioned Protocol with the Treaties, and in instructing its President to take the necessary measures to obtain such an opinion from the Court of Justice.

 
  
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  Estelle Grelier (S&D), in writing.(FR) I abstained on this resolution because, as the Commission has confirmed to us, referral to the Court of Justice of the European Union would block the parliamentary consent procedure, when the period of validity of the Protocol to the Fisheries Agreement with Morocco is due to expire at the end of February. In order to prevent Parliament, which unfortunately has been consulted far too late, from having its decision-making powers blocked, I chose to abstain by taking the view that the debate should focus not on this resolution but on the Protocol. Furthermore, since the fishermen are already fishing off the Moroccan coast, Parliament’s vote will only have a retroactive effect. If we want to obtain proper guarantees from the Commission and the Moroccan Government regarding the benefits of these activities for all the populations concerned and regarding the economic importance that they represent for the EU, then it is on the future agreement, which will replace the previous agreement from February onwards, that we will have to focus all our efforts. I am confident that the Commission will be able to negotiate a new agreement that lives up to expectations and that it will involve Parliament, so that it is not in danger of having its powers blocked again.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I approved the document because the First Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco expired on 28 February 2011, and a new Protocol was signed on 13 July 2011 laying down the fishing opportunities and financial compensation provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and the Kingdom of Morocco. The conclusion of the new Protocol requires European Parliament approval for it to be finally adopted by the Council. The new Protocol is also applicable to the waters off the coast of Western Sahara, which has been included in the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories since 1963. In order to comply with international law, the economic activities of a non-self-governing territory relating to natural resources must be carried out in the interests of the people living in that territory and in accordance with their wishes. There is therefore legal uncertainty as to whether the new Protocol complies with international law as regards the socio-economic interests of the Non-Self-Governing Territory of Western Sahara and the use of its natural resources and, consequently, whether this Protocol is compatible with the Treaties in this respect. I believe that the Court of Justice should issue an opinion on the Protocol’s compatibility with the Treaties.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report in order to give the Court a chance to comment on the legality of this agreement.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) I voted against this request for an opinion because, if there is one country that is making an effort today to move towards democracy, it is Morocco. Voting for this request for an opinion from the Court of Justice would have sent a very negative political signal on the eve of the legislative elections that are scheduled for 7 October 2011 and aimed at implementing the reforms launched by the King of Morocco. These elections are vitally important for the future of the country, its economy and the credibility of its government. This request was futile on more than one account: • it undermined the previous legal opinions issued by the European institutions and the United Nations; • it risked setting a precedent; • it involved the Court of Justice of the European Union in an issue concerning the Member States’ sovereignty; • it represented insensitive political interference when we know that the dispute between Morocco and Western Sahara is still not over; • it concerned a one-year agreement, with the risk that the Court would address the issue even though the agreement was no longer in force; • it involved the suspension of all discussions within the European Parliament.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The fisheries agreement between the European Union and Morocco has already expired on 28 February 2011. A resumption of the agreement is now to be brought about. Fishing boats from the EU have been active for years off the coast of Western Sahara, to which the new agreement is to be extended; something that was clearly ruled out until now. According to an opinion issued by the European Parliament’s legal service published in 2010, the fisheries activities off the coast of Western Sahara are illegal – particularly in view of the status of Western Sahara as a Non-Self-Governing Territory under Article 73 of the UN Charter. I did not vote in favour of the report because the Moroccan Government – ignoring numerous UN Security Council decisions and an opinion issued by the International Court of Justice – regards Western Sahara as its territory, but actually has no sovereign rights over it. Consequently, by extending the agreement, the EU would be endorsing Morocco’s illegal territorial claims.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The relevant services of the European Commission confirm that the agreement between the EU and the Kingdom of Morocco respects international law. As this is a fisheries agreement that benefits the EU fisheries sector and constitutes a significant part of EU-Morocco trade relations, I voted against this resolution. Furthermore, the interruption of fishing activity will have drastic social and economic consequences for the Portuguese fishing fleet, which is currently licensed. It will also have drastic economic and social consequences for the respective local communities because, for the time being, there are no alternative fishing grounds with identical characteristics, either in terms of their geographical proximity to Portugal or in terms of the type of fishing gear authorised for use and the target species (demersal species). I also believe that the process for the renewal of the agreement should move forward as quickly as possible.

 
  
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  Evelyn Regner (S&D), in writing. (DE) I voted in favour of the resolution requesting an opinion from the Court of Justice on the compatibility with the Treaties of the Protocol to the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement because I consider this request to be necessary if the matter is to be clarified once and for all. What this involves is asking the European Court of Justice to examine the compatibility of the fisheries agreement with the EU Treaties and, thus, its conformity with international law. The European Parliament fears that international law will be infringed by the new fisheries protocol due to the exploitation of the natural resources of the Non-Self-Governing Territory of Western Sahara. I feel that the European Court of Justice could create legal certainty here and that this could also provide an opportunity to get a step closer to resolving the Western Sahara issue. With the adoption of the resolution, the Committee on Fisheries would also be given the freedom to go into the issues closely linked to the agreement, such as economic, environmental or development policy aspects. I feel it is important to find a solution once and for all to this unresolved issue.

 
  
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  Britta Reimers (ALDE), in writing. (DE) I am 100% behind Mr Duff’s resolution. It is right and important to draw attention to the situation of the population of Western Sahara. The Moroccan authorities must provide information on the extent to which its economic activities relating to the natural resources in the territory of Western Sahara are for the benefit of the population of the territory and in accordance with their wishes. The status of the region under international law must be clarified. A court ruling on the territory of Western Sahara would bring about clarity in respect of relations between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco. Nonetheless, this resolution comes at the wrong time. Had it been passed, the resolution would have de facto blocked the EU’s fisheries agreement with Morocco, since this expires on 28 February 2012, and it is unlikely that the European Court of Justice would have passed a ruling by this date. Had this resolution been passed, it would have sent out the wrong signal to our Moroccan partners. Morocco is the only country in North Africa to have succeeded in initiating reforms to bring about democracy by peaceful means. This process should not be disrupted.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Today’s vote represents a sorry chapter for the European Parliament. A centre-right led majority has voted to muzzle the democratic process by blocking the referral of this controversial agreement to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The consent of the European Parliament is required to conclude this agreement and, given the considerable concerns with the legality of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement, exercising this new power of the EP to refer the agreement to the ECJ was a common-sense step to take. The failure to do so reflects badly on the European Parliament and its role to defend democracy and basic rights.

Politically, the agreement is a blot on the EU’s foreign policy, but its compatibility with international law is also highly questionable. It is nothing short of scandalous that the EU is wilfully seeking to extend this agreement, under which the Moroccan Government grants fishing rights to the EU fishing fleet to fish in the waters of Western Sahara, where it has no right to do so.

Ultimately, the only responsible course of action for the Commission is to revise this agreement with a view to excluding the waters of Western Sahara for which the government of Morocco has no responsibility.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted against the resolution requesting an opinion from the Court of Justice on the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement because I believe that, in order to justify this motion, the Western Sahara issue has been used inappropriately and in a way that clearly contradicts the position of the EU and the Member States.

The text sends some extremely negative political signals to Morocco, when the EU – and I can confirm this as a member of the Euromed delegation – actually intends to support those of its Mediterranean neighbours that have chosen to consolidate democracy and the rule of law.

The compatibility of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement with international law has been established by legislative opinions issued not only by the United Nations but also by the EU institutions, including the European Parliament. The motion for a resolution is trying to reopen an issue that has been fully clarified by these legislative opinions when there is no justification for doing so, unless some people want to compromise the EU’s relations with its strategic partner Morocco.

 
  
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  Geoffrey Van Orden (ECR), in writing. – I have received conflicting advice and information, which I have been unable to reconcile before the vote, on the merits of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement and on the effects of referral to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Many issues are implicitly raised – the status of Western Sahara; the relationship with the Kingdom of Morocco, including its support for the Middle East Peace Process and help in combating shared threats such as illegal migration and terrorism; the extent to which the United Kingdom, its fishermen and consumers, benefit from such EU Partnership Agreements; and whether Sahrawians have more to gain than lose from such agreements. I therefore abstained.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution requesting the opinion of the Court of Justice of the European Union on the compatibility with international law of the Protocol to the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement.

This is not just a legal formality designed to slow down the implementation of a trade agreement. It is a show of support for the Sahrawi people’s struggle and for their right to decide their own future.

The problem with this agreement is that it concerns the territorial waters not only of Morocco but also of Western Sahara, which the UN has regarded since 1963 as a ‘non-self-governing’, or colonised, territory.

With my vote, I therefore chose to defend the right of individuals to live freely before defending any particular economic interest.

I therefore regret that this motion has been rejected by a large majority of MEPs, who were no doubt afraid that the Court of Justice’s opinion would be compatible with international law.

At a time when the European Union and Nicolas Sarkozy are restricting their policy to the signing of contracts with Mohammed VI, I prefer to campaign for the rights of the Sahrawi people.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) Since the end of Spanish colonial rule, the Kingdom of Morocco has laid claim to the territory of Western Sahara; this has been the subject of human rights debates in plenary on numerous occasions. After the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Morocco expired in February 2011, a new protocol was signed on 13 July 2011. As far back as 2009, Parliament’s legal service recommended a legal review of the fisheries agreement because the scope of the agreement also includes the waters of Western Sahara. That is why I voted in favour of obtaining such an opinion from the Court of Justice.

 
  
 

(That concludes the vote)

 
Last updated: 5 January 2012Legal notice