Index 
 Previous 
 Next 
 Full text 
Procedure : 2010/2272(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Select a document: :

Texts tabled :

A7-0263/2011

Debates :

PV 24/10/2011 - 13
CRE 24/10/2011 - 13

Votes :

PV 25/10/2011 - 8.9
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0453

Debates
Tuesday, 25 October 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

9. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
  

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Diana Wallis (A7-0343/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, ADR (alternative dispute resolution) in civil, commercial and family matters is a valid alternative to the traditional confrontational approach between parties, offering an effective, inexpensive solution to disputes. I therefore support Ms Wallis’s horizontal approach, which extends the benefits of ADR to business-to-business civil and commercial transactions and to family disputes.

That said, I hope that the Commission’s forthcoming legislative proposal will satisfy the key points highlighted by this Parliament: above all, the need to ensure a high level of impartiality and transparency of the systems, the application of ADR to electronic commerce by means of an online multilingual platform, and the promotion of ADR as a valid, cost-effective alternative to forms of collective redress.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, I would like to thank the rapporteur for her excellent work. Indeed, wherever possible, alternative dispute resolution is an excellent solution which reduces the length of proceedings and cuts administrative costs with full respect for the wishes of the parties to the dispute.

With regard to family law, too, where both parties are willing, mediation may be helpful in finding amicable common ground and points of agreement, in order to avoid, especially for children, upset and frustration caused by the uncertainty and slowness of proceedings, which, unfortunately, do not always take the best interests of the child into account.

As European Parliament Mediator for International Parental Child Abduction, I can testify that when the parents are willing to find a solution, this guarantees a swift resolution that respects all the parties.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, I voted in favour of Ms Wallis’s report. Although it does not prejudice the usual means to access justice, I am persuaded that alternative dispute resolution (ADR) constitutes a quick and cost-effective alternative to litigation.

Apart from being an effective instrument for small and medium-sized enterprises, ADR has considerable development potential, including in an online context, when it comes to the settlement of smaller claims. Therefore, through a joint action with the Member States, we need to encourage the creation of a harmonised legal framework which, by strengthening citizens’ faith in the internal market, can help boost Europe’s economy.

 
  
  

Report: Crescenzio Rivellini (A7-0328/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Jens Geier (S&D).(DE) Mr President, I would like to issue an explanation of vote on behalf of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. The question of the granting of discharge for the Council by the European Parliament has been an institutional bone of contention for years. The Council and Parliament have not yet managed to resolve this issue amicably.

The European Parliament bases its argument for its right to grant discharge on Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and the corresponding articles in the Financial Regulation. It goes without saying that the S&D Group shares this position. We insist on Parliament’s right to monitor and evaluate the proper use of taxpayers’ money by the Council.

So far, the Council has not been in agreement with this view. At present, the Council argues that it is granted discharge along with the Commission budget. The S&D Group does not share this view. We want to see a clear and balanced procedure that has been negotiated with the Council and that sets out the rights and obligations of the institutions. We are convinced that we should take the negotiated route first. This is because the non-granting of discharge to the Council will have no impact, as the EU Treaty does not provide for any consequences for such an occurrence. However, since the non-granting of discharge remains legally without consequence, the S&D Group decided to abstain.

 
  
  

Report: Salvatore Tatarella (A7-0282/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Mario Pirillo (S&D).(IT) Mr President, I voted for Mr Tatarella’s report, which seeks to postpone by three years the entry into force of Stage IIIB for the placing on the market of more efficient tractors for the reduction of CO2 and pollutant gases.

In the case of tractors, a number of reasons led to the parameters laid down by Directive 2005/13/EC being revised: the sudden fall in sales caused by the current economic crisis and the lack of technical solutions capable of limiting CO2 emissions. It will be particularly important to transpose the amended directive rapidly so that it may be applied without delay.

I hope that the European Commission will take into account the European Parliament’s call for it to examine in advance whether the technology available will be capable of meeting the requirements of Stage IV, scheduled for 2014.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Paolo Bartolozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the report on provisions for tractors placed on the market under the flexibility scheme, for which we voted in favour, is based on a measured, realistic approach which, on the one hand, has refrained from laying down impractical requirements that are impossible to meet, and on the other, has provided for a so-called flexibility scheme. By laying down stages and corresponding quantitative limits of permitted emissions, this scheme provides for the placing on the market of a pre-established annual quota of tractors meeting certain characteristics, and thereby enables the manufacturing and industrial sectors concerned to adapt to the pre-established standards gradually, without causing them disruption.

Mr Tatarella has produced an important piece of work and has managed to strike a careful balance between the requirements arising from the major challenges which the EU needs to tackle at this time, and the requirements relating to environmental protection and the present economic crisis.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I, too, voted in favour of this motion and believe that this is also a typical example of the fact that there is often a major difference between having good intentions and actually achieving or – as the saying beautifully puts it – between theory and practice. We should seize the opportunity to re-consider whether, in this field, we really need such a depth of regulation, or whether normal scientific and technical progress would not, in any case, offer methods of resolution without the distress and without the time pressure. Therefore, I will reiterate that we should reconsider whether we will not still find a solution for this area. Furthermore, it would also be a small help to the population, to the people of the European Union, to put in place a confidence-building measure and not to regulate everything that can be regulated at European level, but only what is necessary.

 
  
  

Report: Sirpa Pietikäinen (A7-0080/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, although it is important to reduce the emission of gaseous pollutants and pollutants produced by internal combustion engines in non-road mobile machinery, we cannot turn a blind eye to the current situation in which manufacturers find themselves.

Since 2008, the financial and economic crisis has hit the non-road mobile machinery sector hard. It was essential for us to further extend the flexibility scheme for the transition from Stage III A to Stage III B. The increase in the number of engines used for application in land-based machines under the flexibility scheme, from 20% to 37.5%, is, in my opinion, an unsatisfactory result for European industry in this sector.

However, given the situation and Parliament’s continual delays, manufacturers were demanding a rapid response. I would like to specify that it is for this reason alone that I decided to support the report with my vote.

 
  
  

Report: Ádám Kósa (A7-0263/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Sergio Gutiérrez Prieto (S&D). (ES) Mr President, today we adopted the report on the way this Parliament believes we should work within the European Disability Strategy. This is great news because it represents the first effort towards coordination and approval of actions to bring about equality for people with disabilities within the European Union. We adopted it with its three goals: to bring about full social inclusion through education and the labour market integration of people with disabilities; to combat the double discrimination faced by those who are young and disabled, female and disabled, or disabled in a rural or urban environment; and to move towards Europe-wide approval of what should be the fourth pillar of the welfare state, at a time when we are debating the sustainability of the welfare state as a whole.

However, what is most important is that we are calling upon all countries to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and, especially, to unblock the directive on discrimination within the Commission itself, because Europe cannot employ, and it cannot apply, a piecemeal policy on discrimination against people who are today on the fringes of public efforts: what we need is a comprehensive and integrated policy.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Carlo Fidanza (PPE).(IT) Mr President, in order for people with disabilities to be fully included in society, the Member States must, in accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, invest in accessibility – both in terms of means of transport and modern, state-of-the-art infrastructure – to provide mobility that will guarantee the full and effective inclusion and participation of people with disabilities, on a footing of equal dignity.

In the context of a new European disability strategy, with particular reference to the tourism sector, it is important to provide people with disabilities with access not only to means of transport, but also to accommodation, catering and to all tourist services in general.

Moreover, we should remember that it is vital to provide information in formats accessible to people with sensory disabilities, an aspect which must be given increasing importance in rules on the rights of passengers and tourists. This is even more important in view of Europe’s 80 million or so potential disabled tourists – and the resulting economic activities – who must be put in a position to travel and must be considered tourists for all intents and purposes. This is why I voted in favour of the Kósa report.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Giommaria Uggias (ALDE).(IT) Mr President, in order to evaluate the report adopted today, we need to start by extrapolating two fundamental facts: the fact that the number of dependent people with disabilities will supposedly double by 2050, and the fact that, at the moment, we do not have a sufficient amount of data to gauge the severity of the problem.

The challenge being addressed by means of this Disability Strategy 2010-2020 is to allow people with disabilities not only to enjoy human rights, just like everyone else, but also to ensure that those rights can be put into practice effectively. It is therefore essential to bring out disabled people’s full potential by encouraging them to train, providing them with freedom of movement and enabling them to access the labour market: by so doing, we will also be able to combat one of the biggest problems that adds to the misfortune of these people, namely, poverty.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Mario Pirillo (S&D).(IT) Mr President, there are still many obstacles hindering the full social inclusion of the 80 million people with disabilities. I hope that the Member States and the Commission will heed the call to prepare legislative acts that facilitate their inclusion.

The Member States have not yet signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Despite this time of economic crisis, I hope that the national governments will prove capable of protecting them by putting in place policies in line with the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020.

I welcome and endorse the report tabled by Mr Kósa, who, by drawing on his own experience, has managed to give heartfelt, practical suggestions in order to offer people with disabilities non-discriminatory access to social protection and to health and education services.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, we are already familiar with the statistics, but perhaps it is worthwhile recalling them: 80 million people in the European Union have disabilities – over 15% of the population – and one European in four has a disabled relative.

People with disabilities are three to four times more likely to be unemployed than the rest of the population. People with disabilities have 50% less chance of reaching university-level education than able-bodied people. Half of disabled people have never taken part in leisure activities or a sport, and one third of all people with disabilities have never travelled abroad, or even been on a day trip, owing to the inaccessibility of structures and services.

Europe must genuinely commit to doing more to eliminate the discrimination which, unfortunately, creates first and second class citizens. I would therefore like to sincerely thank the rapporteur for his work.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Jim Higgins (PPE). – Mr President, it gave me great pleasure to vote for this report today and I want to say that I totally support the Commission’s 10-year European Disability Strategy. It aims to increase to 75% the proportion of working-age people across Europe in employment by 2020. This increase simply cannot be achieved without inclusive and specially adapted training programmes. Last week, you and I hosted the signing of the Microsoft and Workability International Education Alliance. This is an exciting initiative and an example of a step towards realising our common vision of changing public and industrial perceptions of people with disabilities.

This partnership will help people with disabilities to break out of their previous confinement to blue-collar jobs and to realise their full potential through the provision of technology courses aligned with industry and industry’s hiring needs. The technologies are practical and they will be made to work, but ultimately, they will work only if Member States adopt and implement them.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE).(ES) Mr President, many initiatives have been undertaken, but hitherto, we have not been able to achieve equality of treatment for people with disabilities. We have only to look at the statistics on unemployment, poverty, work and education.

It also seems to me regrettable that the Communication on the European Disability Strategy does not include a women’s perspective, when women are doubly discriminated against within this group. Integrating them will give them an independent life and dignity, but it will bring innovation and quality new jobs to the European Union.

In order to go forward, we need to apply existing legislation and I thought that the only way to do this was to take action against those States which do not comply with this legislation. That is why I voted for Amendment 1, which was not adopted.

That was what people with disabilities were expecting from us. I think we have failed them, but we must continue our work in the future.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Licia Ronzulli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, not only do I wish to congratulate Mr Kósa, but I would like to thank him for his work and for this splendid report. Each of us carries with them their life baggage, made up of different personal experiences and lifestyles; every person is unique and special, and therefore different. This is how we should view diversity: as a resource in terms of growth and enrichment for society as a whole, and a heritage of culture and skills.

Acknowledging a disability does not mean doing a good deed, but recognising the true value of a person’s being. Unfortunately, the barriers still in place today are not just architectural, but mainly mental. We must eliminate all the obstacles which society continues to put up so that we can finally move from a culture of handicap to one of normality. While on the one hand, the States intervene with specific laws, on the other, society is not always ready to accept them fully and spontaneously apply them. With this report, the European Parliament is sending its own message: people with disabilities are one of society’s resources and must play an active part in society on an equal footing with the rest of us.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Csaba Sógor (PPE). (HU) Mr President, the report by my colleague, Mr Ádám Kósa, has many valid points. I would like to focus on one of these points, namely, the issue of equal opportunities. The report states that equal opportunities do not mean that we provide the same opportunities for everyone, because opportunities can be considered equal if the same amount of effort leads to similar results for everyone.

For example, in the case of indigenous ethnic minorities, whose language is different from the official language of their Member State, we can only speak of equal opportunities if they have the same conditions as the majority ethnic group, meaning that they can study in their mother tongue and also use it to succeed later in life.

Women with disabilities and the elderly suffer from multiple disadvantages, but the same goes for people with disabilities who belong to one of the indigenous ethnic minorities. Equal opportunities therefore also mean positive discrimination for those who would suffer disadvantages under equal conditions.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Peter Jahr (PPE). (DE) Mr President, the rapporteur has come to grips with an important problem in this report. It goes without saying that people with disabilities in the European Union should have the same opportunities as everyone else. It is true that we have a lot of catching up to do in this area and the rapporteur has rightly recognised and explained this.

Nevertheless, against the background of proportionality, I would like us to consider how we can clarify and resolve the situation, naturally while making efficient use of funding. What do I mean by this? I have one bad example from Germany. Over recent years, we have made a huge effort, and rightly so, to give disabled people barrier-free access to public buildings. No one disputes that this is the right thing to do. However, it has resulted in small primary schools with fewer than 100 pupils having to install a lift at a cost of EUR 150 000, despite the fact that these schools have never had a disabled pupil since they were established. This is not going to change. I do not regard this as proportionality. I am sure that the rapporteur also sees things in the same way and will take this into consideration.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE). (LT) Mr President, last year saw the adoption of the European Disability Strategy. Accessibility and health are among this strategy’s priority strands. Every time, we adopt new measures giving disabled people more opportunities to use general infrastructure. However, the tempo of work being carried out by Member States to improve infrastructure is still too slow for disabled people to be sufficiently included in the labour market and for them to obtain the health care services they need. Above all, the Member States must therefore take more intensive measures and, by enhancing and implementing various infrastructure projects, ensure that when new infrastructure is built and existing infrastructure is renovated, disabled people are guaranteed real opportunities to use that infrastructure, regardless of whether the builder is a private or public entity.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). (FI) Mr President, I naturally voted in favour of Mr Kósa’s report. It is very important that we discuss the mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities in Europe, and that there should be a specific strategy for that issue.

Of course, we in the European Union have already agreed on common rules for disabled people, so that they enjoy the same rights as everyone else. That was ten years ago when Directive 2000/78/EC was passed. The basic principle must be that human rights apply to everyone. Unfortunately, not all Member States of the European Union have applied this fine principle. Instead, we have various measures in place which allow us to discriminate against the disabled. That is evident with employment, for example.

I hope that this strategy does not simply remain a strategy, left to gather dust on a bookshelf or in an archive, but that it is also put into practice at grassroots level. In this way, we can actually show that we are acting in accordance with this strategy and that we are treating our fellow disabled human beings as genuine fellow human beings, conferring on them all human rights.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Seán Kelly (PPE). (GA) Mr President, I was also delighted to support this report and I would like to praise my friend, Mr Kósa, who is sitting in front of me, for the good work he has done as rapporteur.

It is, of course, very important that we treat all people equally. Unfortunately, people with disabilities have suffered more than most as a result of the economic recession, especially in terms of employment opportunities. Hopefully, that can be addressed as we come out of recession.

In relation to facilities, I think we should be utilising particularly the structural funds to ensure that facilities are up to the required standard so that everybody can have access to buildings, etc.

Thirdly, I would like to highlight the role that sport is playing in helping people with disabilities, particularly movements like the Paralympics and the Special Olympics, which are helping to highlight people’s abilities – as opposed to their disabilities – and giving them a new lease of life.

 
  
  

Report: Heide Rühle (A7-0326/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE).(IT) Mr President, public procurement can play a decisive role for the EU budget: indeed, public expenditure on works, goods and services accounts for roughly 17% of EU GDP and almost a fifth of this expenditure – approximately EUR 420 billion – falls within the scope of the EU directives on public procurement.

I would therefore congratulate Ms Rühle for setting out what I believe to be the red lines of the forthcoming reform of the directive on public procurement: in particular, I am referring to the criterion of lowest price, which can no longer be the determining one for the award of contracts and should be replaced by the criterion of most economically advantageous tender in terms of economic, social and environmental benefits.

Similarly, I agree entirely with the urgent need to simplify the rules in order to make procurement procedures simpler, less cumbersome and more in line with the needs of SMEs and small contracting authorities.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, I, too, fully agree with the general approach of Ms Rühle’s report, and I therefore voted in favour. I am convinced that the measures adopted will provide legal certainty, on the one hand, and clearer rules and more flexible procedures for public procurement, on the other.

I endorse Ms Rühle’s view that it is the public procurement directives themselves which are the main impediment to involving public contracting authorities in the pursuit of general social aims: the criterion of the lowest price cannot carry the same weight as that of the most economically advantageous tender. It must be stipulated that contracts are to be awarded to the most economically advantageous tender. Only then will the criteria for selecting what is most economically advantageous be easier to implement.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Giommaria Uggias (ALDE).(IT) Mr President, I voted in favour of the report on the Green Paper on the modernisation of public procurement policy for two reasons in particular.

Firstly, identification of the most economically advantageous tender which takes into account the entire life-cycle costs of the relevant goods, works or services and therefore not just the lowest price – a common, widespread consideration in all countries and all contracting authorities – which will improve quality, and, at the same time, place greater emphasis on the environmental and social sustainability of goods and services.

Secondly, simplification, which will be achieved through greater flexibility, and which will allow for simpler procedures and offer small and medium-sized enterprises greater opportunities in the awarding of contracts. I would add, in particular, that in this regard, we should promote electronic procurement, which currently accounts for less than five per cent of all public procurement in the EU, and that the publication of calls for tender, divided into lots, will enable greater transparency when it comes to participation in tenders.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Salvatore Iacolino (PPE).(IT) Mr President, there is no question that this text on the modernisation of public procurement is an important element in order to strengthen the efficiency and sustainability of the economic system. Indeed, the existence of streamlined, flexible and simplified procedures undoubtedly offers an objective yardstick for gauging the efficiency and practicality of public procurement.

The passage on the economically most advantageous tender being used to select the contractor is important and recourse to online procedures and to electronic procurement is appropriate, while simplified access for small and medium-sized enterprises will undoubtedly provide an opportunity to make the most of such an important sector.

Within the Committee on International Trade, we envisaged and specified that businesses and firms convicted of mafia association by a final court judgment should be excluded, whichever Member State they were convicted in. We hope that this measure will be included in the revision of the resulting directive.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Marek Józef Gróbarczyk (ECR).(PL) Mr President, the European Union’s policy in the field of public procurement must be something which stimulates economic growth, especially in the case of small businesses. However, no growth will occur unless the principle of competitiveness, which forms the basis for economic development, is observed. In a time of crisis and mass bankruptcy, only a public procurement policy that is simple, clear and unambiguous can bring about the intended effect. Any other action will increase bureaucracy which will, in turn, stifle business activity. The only way to maintain this process is to provide the general public with full access to the relevant information. Therefore, reform of the system must come from within the Council and the Commission themselves, as they are blocking access to information and are even contravening the Treaty of Lisbon.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Mario Pirillo (S&D).(IT) Mr President, with today’s vote, we have laid the foundations for the future revision of the Procurement Directive. Simpler bureaucratic procedures and principles for participation in public tenders are a fundamental means of speeding up implementation processes and ensuring the full realisation of contracts between public authorities and the private sector. The increased use of information and communication technologies would allow businesses and public authorities to save money and time, and would provide greater transparency and accessibility.

I would like to stress that the criterion of the lowest price should no longer be the determining factor when awarding contracts: it should really be replaced by the criterion of the most economically advantageous tender, in order to draw economic, social and environmental benefits.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I wanted to speak yesterday during the catch-the-eye procedure, but unfortunately, there was no opportunity to do so. The debate yesterday and the resolution today on the report have strongly encouraged me to believe that we are on the right track. A huge amount of trouble is being caused in two respects. Firstly, we are increasingly hearing complaints from medium-sized companies that the amount of red tape involved in public procurement is so great that they are no longer taking part in the process for that very reason. This is why it is very important to reduce the levels of bureaucracy.

Secondly, it is essential that the organisations which issue the calls for tenders are not obliged to choose the cheapest quotation. Instead, they should be allowed to select the most cost-effective quotation. I would like to suggest that there should be a precise definition of what the most cost-effective quotation is, because it is important to remember that the other party, which fails to win the contract, can submit a complaint. For this reason, we need clear guidelines and clear definitions.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE). (LT) Mr President, the modernisation and harmonisation of the current public procurement system throughout the European Union is an integral part of the future of a proper European Union. The modernisation challenges put forward by the Commission include increasing transparency and administrative clarity, thereby opening up opportunities for small business and increasing the efficiency of procurement and saving time and money. Then there is also the environment and the more widespread use of energy-efficient measures. I welcome this complex approach and call on the Member States to prepare to implement the amendments proposed by the Commission now, without waiting for the completion of the reform, and to begin to apply the principles of modern public procurement.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, the simplification of European law on public procurement is undoubtedly in the interests of all Member States. It will be conducive to the sustained growth of employment, to innovation and to the development of research projects. The economic crisis has, to a large extent, resulted in the prioritisation of financial criteria over quality criteria during the process of selecting offers.

An interesting solution, therefore, could be the proposal to introduce an obligation to award contracts to the most economically advantageous offers, thus ensuring the optimum use of funds. The guarantee of transparency, non-discrimination and competitiveness is a core principle underlying public procurement regulations. The Commission’s support for the process of awarding public contracts by way of promoting tried and tested procedures and methods and organising the exchange of experience and training programmes could also contribute to increasing the quality of public contracts. Worthy of note are the proposals to simplify the procedures in the case of small and medium-sized enterprises, such as the rule which will require original documents from successful tenderers only. Assuming that online public procurement will also increase, I have voted to adopt the report.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Glenis Willmott (S&D). – Mr President, I am happy to have voted for this report, as it gives us the opportunity to make sure that greater emphasis is put on social and environmental standards when Member States award contracts under public procurement rules. In my constituency of the East Midlands, the UK Government has recently chosen to award a major train-building contract to the lowest cost supplier, using the procurement rules to justify this.

The decision means that 1 400 people at the Bombardier site in my constituency will become redundant. Indirectly, many thousands more will lose their jobs. This is a clear illustration of why the directive needs reform. We want all procurement rules to drive up standards and encourage sustainable, inclusive growth. To achieve that, the lowest-cost-only option needs to be the exception to the rule and social, economic and environmental criteria must become the norm. New legislation alone is not enough.

The Commission is failing to make sure that public authorities make full use of this legislation. I have asked the Commission to confirm that EU rules did not oblige the UK Government to make the choice that it did and they have failed to reply to me, although the deadline for response was over two weeks ago. The Commission must do more to make public authorities aware of the full extent of what they can do under EU legislation.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Seán Kelly (PPE). (GA) Mr President, we had a very good debate on this subject last night and again this morning, it came up in the questions to the Commissioners. And it is a good thing that we adopted the report in the voting this morning.

There are just two points I want to emphasise. Firstly, I think the emphasis on SMEs is absolutely vital. They are the future of Europe to a large degree and, particularly in relation to public procurement, we can do a great deal to make matters easier for them. I look forward in particular to my proposal regarding the procurement passport for SMEs becoming a reality as soon as possible.

Secondly, as has been mentioned by the previous speaker and others, it is absolutely vital that we get away from the lowest cost tender. This has come up in many discussions I have had in this regard – only this morning with some American business people – because we have to put the 2020 strategy first. Particular issues, like energy conservation and also the overall aspect of employment, etc. have to be taken into consideration when we are looking into these matters.

 
  
  

Report: Traian Ungureanu (A7-0258/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I wholeheartedly supported Mr Ungureanu’s report and voted for it because, as I also stated during the hearing which we organised last week on this subject, the free movement of workers from the Member States which joined in 2004 and 2007 has not caused imbalances on the labour market at the end of the first stage of the transition, according to the European Commission communication in 2008. This is why there are no economic grounds for some Member States to maintain the restrictions; this is based purely on political reasons.

There is a variety of obstacles currently preventing mobility, ranging from psychological and cultural barriers, sometimes caused by stereotypes, to red tape. While the former are more difficult to deal with, the latter group can be re-examined and resolved.

Another barrier preventing mobility is recognition of professional qualifications.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE). (ES) Mr President, I have once again voted in favour, but we are confronted with constant infringement of the directive by certain Member States, and this affects workers’ ability to move freely.

The Commission must enforce compliance with this legislation, but it needs to back this up with a long-term and comprehensive strategy, and also with coherent and effective policies, in order to be able to eliminate all the legal and practical obstacles. It also needs coordination at European, state, regional and local levels.

I believe that these measures would enable us to see the positive effects of free movement, to eliminate continuing discrimination and the stereotypes that still exist, and thereby integrate these people into their host countries.

This is the challenge that confronts us, and I hope we are ready to face up to it.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE). (LT) Mr President, recently, the proper functioning of the free movement of workers as one of the fundamental principles of the European Union has unfortunately been having a negative impact on the demographic situation in certain economically weaker Member States such as Lithuania. While respecting this principle and our citizens who have decided to exploit its benefits, we must ensure that in the European Union, there is no discrimination against workers from any of the Member States. Workers arriving in some Member States still face disproportionate and often discriminatory interference, both when accessing the labour market and when it comes to them or their family members taking advantage of social guarantees. I am convinced that if they have chosen to work somewhere other than in their native Member State, European Union citizens must be treated equally in all EU Member States. Both the Commission and the Member States therefore still have a lot to do to truly guarantee such equality.

 
  
  

Report: Małgorzata Handzlik (A7-0324/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, the Services Directive plays a leading role in the formation and operation of the single market in services in the European Union. The freedom to provide services remains one of its chief principles. As practice shows, the provision of cross-border services continues to be an enormous problem. It is therefore important to intensify cooperation between the Commission and individual Member States in order to establish an efficient operating mechanism for this aspect of the Services Directive.

The European Parliament must also be informed in full about the progress of this work. The mutual evaluation process itself seems to be playing a positive role. I agree, however, with the need to make the provisions more precise, and with the call for the mutual evaluation to take place following full implementation of the directive. I also regard as beneficial the proposal to extend the use of the mutual evaluation method to other framework directives. It could prove to be an important tool for monitoring the implementation of provisions in individual Member States. I therefore support the report.

 
  
  

Report: Gunnar Hökmark (A7-0323/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Paolo Bartolozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, in recent years, the current global economic crisis, which is even worse than the Great Depression, has caused unsustainable imbalances in international economies. The commercial disparities between countries, financial markets lacking common rules, and the instability of the banking system all constitute a potential threat to financial and economic stability.

This resolution, which I support, stresses the urgent need for total reform, with new rules and global economic coordination. The economy needs a system of global governance, open markets, high economic and social standards, a more responsible monetary policy and more stringent supervisory policies; decision-making bodies and international economic bodies must be the main stakeholders driving this new approach.

In particular, Europe needs a clear and transparent framework to reduce the instability that has been aggravated by, among other things, globalisation, and to guarantee wide-ranging reforms aimed at fostering growth and reducing the debt of individual Member States. This is the demand that the current resolution highlights to all the countries.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Seán Kelly (PPE). – Mr President, many of our problems today in the world are global, not local, and the solutions therefore need to be global as well. There is not much point in Europe introducing measures which may be right in themselves but which are actually going to disadvantage the eurozone area or the European Union. They have to be global solutions, particularly in relation to things like transaction tax. I think, too, that we, as the European Union, need to demand a seat on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund governing bodies.

The IMF needs to be far more democratic than it is currently. Its managing director needs to be elected on a merit-based system, and transitional developing countries also need greater voting rights. These measures are worth aiming for, and if we can get them, we will have a better system for dealing with the problems we face at the moment and ensuring those problems do not occur again in the future.

 
  
  

Report: Barbara Matera (A7-0317/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, five per cent of women are single mothers, and they make up 85% of single-parent families: this is truly alarming data, not least because it is a trend that is, worryingly, on the increase, and because it concerns a social group at high risk of poverty.

The situation of single mothers with dependent children often forces these women to make choices in which they have no say, to work part-time, interrupt their studies, be underpaid, live in poverty and suffer unacceptable discrimination. Furthermore, let us not forget that there are also many women, single mothers, with disabled, dependent children. For this reason, we need to adopt concrete and effective measures in support of these single mothers, and thus I thank the rapporteur for her insight and for the excellent work she has done.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE). (ES) Mr President, nowadays, the idea of the family has changed. More and more women are deciding to be single mothers, but this group is broader because it includes widows and very young women. Therefore, some of them are more vulnerable and at risk of poverty and social exclusion. This requires improved conditions to encourage them all into the labour market and into training, as well setting up good-quality services to help them find a balance between work and family life.

I regret that the report does not include the amendments which referred to the situation of men who may find themselves in similar positions, particularly in view of the fact that the law in many Member States allows people of the same sex to marry and adopt children; this would be a response to the existence of such groups and to equality of treatment within Europe.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Dimitar Stoyanov (NI).(BG) Mr President, I voted for Ms Matera’s report on the situation of single mothers, but I want to make a few very significant points which I believe are important to consider for the future.

First of all, a common definition must be found for the concept of a single mother because, at the moment, I think that there are many cases where women who are not married live with the fathers of their children. However, as the definition of a single mother is based on marriage, these women acquire this status and obtain social rights.

This is why I very much agree with the idea suggested in Ms Matera’s report, which was aimed rather at acquiring more social rights, providing greater protection in labour legislation and getting rid of discrimination. I am going to state my position clearly: I am firmly against granting direct financial or material assistance as an incentive to commit fraud and describe women as single mothers who essentially are not.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Licia Ronzulli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, with the adoption of this report, the European Parliament is once again demonstrating its support for women who find themselves alone in the delicate task of raising a child. All too often, in fact, these mothers are forgotten by institutions and hastily labelled as a minority of irresponsible young people, forced to pay a high price for their mistakes.

However, the reality is much different and, as my colleague, Ms Angelilli, has also just underlined, single mothers today make up five per cent of Europe’s entire female population. It is therefore essential to explode the myth about their average age once and for all: 85% are, in fact, between the ages of 25 and 64. Continuing to ignore this fact only worsens their situation.

I am particularly in favour of the adoption of paragraph 29, which seeks to promote a better work-life balance, encouraging flexible working hours and creating workplace child care facilities. I do hope, however, that all of these are not just empty promises but concrete undertakings that will soon be put into practice.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, I voted in favour of Ms Matera’s report reviewing the situation of single mothers, who today make up more than five per cent of the EU population, as others have said. Thus, the EU has a moral obligation to protect them, and the text approved today advocates policies that can provide genuine support to these women in the shape of, for example, health-care benefits, flexible working arrangements that allow for a better work-life balance, priority access to affordable housing, and special unemployment benefits.

Only by adopting these measures can we respond to the needs of a group which is continuing to grow across all developed and industrialised countries.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Oreste Rossi (EFD).(IT) Mr President, the report, which is based on a principle with which I fully agree, namely, that single mothers are at a disadvantage compared with mothers in a normal family situation, does not anticipate how to prevent fraudulent behaviour.

Allow me to explain: if a woman in a cohabitating couple declares herself to be a single mother, she gains de facto advantages compared with other women who are legally married or who declare that they are cohabiting. In Italy, and I think it is also the case in other Member States, there is no legal requirement to register cohabitation, even if the set-up is the same as that of a normal family. Thus, it is clear that laws favourable to women who declare themselves single mothers could encourage a couple to choose not to register their cohabitation, going against the creation of stable families.

For these reasons, we abstained from the vote on this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Seán Kelly (PPE). (GA) Mr President, last night, when this debate was taking place, I was there and it was said that it was a pity that no man spoke. Since the title applies to women or mothers, and not to fathers, I suppose that was the reason. But now, three men have spoken – I and two others – to support this report.

So in relation to this topic, obviously where there are genuine situations of single mothers, or indeed single fathers, they have to be treated with respect and given every opportunity to further both themselves and their child. Especially we have to ensure that they do not fall into the poverty trap or suffer from social exclusion. They are measures that I think we would certainly support. I think it should also be established whether they are genuine cases and that they are supported when they are genuine. When they are not, obviously this causes a dilemma.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Christa Klaß (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I have voted in favour of the report and also of recital M, because I believe it is right that young women should be informed about the law and about how to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Families in which every member takes responsibility for the others represent the ideal framework for all generations.

However, we are not here today to discuss the pros and cons of single parenthood. It is a fact that single-parent households in Europe are at risk of falling into poverty and that 85% of single parents are women. Ms Matera’s report lists the positive measures: the introduction of flexitime or working from home, the provision of child care centres and nurseries, and the necessary financial support.

Alongside all the measures, campaigns and financial support, we must continue to promote social acceptance and recognise and respect single parents. Children are precious both in themselves and to society. They must not put the people who bring them up at risk of poverty.

 
  
  

Report: Sonia Alfano (A7-0333/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Mario Pirillo (S&D).(IT) Mr President, today, Europe has taken an important step in recognising the fact that organised crime is a European problem that has been underestimated for too long and traced back to local situations or individual Member States.

I fully support the content of the report and hope that a legislative proposal will soon be presented, one which leads to the creation of a European anti-mafia committee able to expertly review and fight the phenomenon of organised crime through the institutions. Culture, education, development and work in Europe are defences capable of preventing criminal organisations from recruiting young people.

I would like to thank Mr Crocetta, shadow rapporteur of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, who has always been at the forefront of the fight against the Mafia and who made a significant contribution to the improvement of the text.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, it is important for Europe to spearhead the fight against all forms of organised crime and against all mafias. I would really like to thank the rapporteur for the excellent work she has done. I wish to mention some of the key points in this report: more stringent rules to impede access to public funds and to criminal organisations or mafia-style groups; new laws to prevent companies linked to organised crime from taking part in public tenders; seizure and confiscation of goods; and the adoption of new rules to ensure persons convicted of offences relating to organised crime are unable to stand for election to the European Parliament.

We must continue our work to ensure that a European area of freedom and justice is finally established. We owe it to our citizens and also to the many victims of organised crime and their families.

 
  
  

Report: Cristian Dan Preda (A7-0313/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, Europe is one of the main providers of development funds and we must maintain this characteristic despite the crisis, because no country in difficulty would be able to recover were it not for the help of the international community.

However, this assistance must follow a strategic development plan, especially in view of the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, promoting the democratic ownership of development aid policies and policies to assist with development projects and measures through constant engagement with, and also accountability to, all development stakeholders. It is important to reiterate that this assistance is only a temporary measure, a source of inclusive and sustainable growth, albeit achieved through clear and measurable objectives aimed at fostering a sense of responsibility amongst recipient countries.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Helga Trüpel (A7-0346/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because an institution can seek the approval of an amending budget during the financial year every time there is a new high-level post created or appointment made. I agree that some changes should be requested through this amending budget, so as to facilitate recruitment by the Member States and to achieve the goal set out in the Council decision that personnel from the Member States should represent at least one third of the total at grade AD in the European External Action Service (EEAS), and that temporary posts should be converted into permanent ones. In fact, the European Parliament has consistently supported the adequate financing of the EEAS. Its personnel policy, however, raises a series of questions, especially concerning the significant number of high-ranking posts created: it should show a level of restraint in this area.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Its importance means that the European External Action Service (EEAS) deserves to be allocated an adequate budget that enables it to carry out its activities satisfactorily. Unless that is properly secured, the smooth working of European foreign policy and the Union’s actual ability to have a presence in various parts of the world will come under threat. However, doubts persist as to the suitability of its organisational structure to the challenges that it faces. I hope that this situation can be changed in the future, and that the EEAS will be able to become an effective service that is increasingly suited to doing what is required of it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Ms Trüpel, concerns Draft amending budget No 5/2011 of the European Union (EU) for the financial year 2011, Section IX – European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) and Section X – European External Action Service (EEAS). Given that what is at stake is the mobility of an EU official, whose appointment represents ‘an exceptional circumstance for the EDPS’, I am voting for this draft amending budget, since I agree with the rapporteur’s recommendation that the Council’s position should be amended by restoring the 2011 establishment plan of the EDPS. The purpose of this would be to make it possible to appoint an official to the level immediately above, so complying with the Staff Regulations of Officials and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We know that creating the European External Action Service (EEAS) was a key element of deepening the capitalist, federalist and militarist integration of the European Union. The EEAS includes embassies in more than 120 countries and almost 6 000 officials. However, despite our opposition to the existence of this institution, the labour rights of its officials should be protected. This report raises the issue of correcting the EEAS budget with the purpose of facilitating recruitment, professional reclassification and the conversion of temporary jobs into permanent ones.

We cannot oppose the allocation of different categories and posts to jobs currently being carried out if all the legal requirements are met. In this case, the majority of jobs are being reclassified into a higher category. We welcome the conversion of 40 temporary posts into permanent ones. The EU should set an example by promoting job stability and should avoid taking on officials on temporary contracts.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) Draft amending budget No 5/2011 to the general budget for 2011 covers the modification of the establishment plans of two institutions – the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) and the European External Action Service (EEAS). The establishment of the EEAS in 2010 was guided by the principles of budget neutrality and sound and efficient management, while fully taking into account the impact of the economic crisis on public finances and the need for budgetary stringency. It has been clear from the start that a gradual build-up of the service will be called for, and that resources should be made available according to the progress of the institution’s set-up and current absorption capacity. According to the Commission’s proposal, the EDPS Budget shall be amended by deleting an AD 14 post and creating an AD 15 post in the establishment plan of Section IX.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – Parliament has consistently supported adequate financing of the European External Action Service (EEAS). The personnel policy of the EEAS, however, raises a series of questions, notably that of the significant creation of high-ranking posts. The main concern – that this approach was a result of Member States’ pressure on the EEAS to create sufficiently high-ranking posts for national civil servants within it – proved, following reception of detailed information from the EEAS on its personnel policy, to be unfounded. I therefore followed the rapporteur’s recommendation of approving the Council’s position with regard to the EEAS establishment plan but calling, at the same time, on the EEAS to show restraint in relation to possible future plans for creating additional high-ranking posts.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I wholeheartedly agree with the reasons set out by the rapporteur regarding the amendments to the Council’s position, both with reference to the European Data Protection Supervisor and with reference to the European External Action Service.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – I welcome the recommendations for improving the Council’s position with regard to the European External Action Service (EEAS) establishment plan, and the calls on the EEAS to show restraint in relation to possible future plans for the creation of additional high-ranking posts. I supported this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) This report already states that it is in favour of providing the sum of EUR 1.4 million in 2012 to the imperialist service headed by Baroness Ashton, but is against the appointment of an official at a higher grade during the year in the service responsible for protecting personal data within the Union. I do not share this sense of priority. I voted against.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – It is known that Draft amending budget (DAB) 5/2011 covers the modifications to the establishment plans of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) and the European External Action Service (EEAS), both without any additional budgetary requests. The Council adopted its position on DAB 5/2011on 12 September 2011. The purpose of the change to the EEAS establishment plan is to allow the EEAS to comply in 2011 with the statutory promotion rates set out in the Staff Regulations and to permit further progress towards the objective that staff from national diplomatic services should represent at least one third of the Service’s staff at AD level. The purpose of the change to the EDPS establishment plan is to delete an AD 14 post and to create an AD 15 post (upgrading) to fulfil obligations under the Staff Regulations in relation to the promotion of a newly appointed director. I support the rapporteur on both issues and I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour. The European External Action Service (EEAS) has been operational for less than a year, and it is understandable that there may be unforeseen cases that require an amending budget. Although we hear criticisms in the press about difficult working conditions in the EEAS, I believe that the European Parliament, having actively supported the idea and setting-up of the EEAS, should support it through this period, particularly because the proposed modifications to the establishment plan will not require additional spending, but will facilitate the implementation of the obligation of at least one third of the staff at Administrator (AD) level coming from the Member States at any given time. As for the amending budget requested by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), it is rather odd that the European Parliament had to decide to establish a higher category of post in order to promote a specific person. I believe that the solution proposed by the rapporteur is appropriate at this stage. I trust that the Commission and the relevant institutions will answer all the questions raised by this case.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The report, adopted by an overwhelming majority in the Committee on Budgets, concludes that the personnel policy of the European External Action Service (EEAS) as regards nominating a large number of high-level posts was not determined by pressure from the Member States to create excessive numbers of high-level posts simply so as to promote officials from national governments. That issue was the main concern associated with this report and, as it has been resolved, I voted in favour. I agree with the rapporteur’s call to the EEAS to seek restraint in creating new high-level posts.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) The amendment to the establishment plans for the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) and the European External Action Service (EEAS) is a significant staff adjustment and an admirable response to the improved financial management of these bodies. It is in this regard that I confidently voted in favour of this proposal.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The purpose of Draft amending budget No 5 is firstly to modify the establishment plan of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) and secondly of the European External Action Service (EEAS). The intention as far as the first point is concerned is to appoint a new member of the EDPS. As far as this is concerned, we should follow the rapporteur’s position that to consider the appointment of a new member under the definition of an exceptional circumstance, which justifies the request for an amending budget, is excessive. As regards the EEAS, a reformulation of its establishment plan has also been requested. Following the European Parliament’s consultations, the information collected has not confirmed the suspicion that high-level posts were being created for members from national administrations. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. This Draft amending budget (DAB) No 5 for the year 2011 covers the following: a modification to the establishment plan of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS); a modification to the establishment plan of the European External Action Service (EEAS). Concerning the two points of Draft amending budget No 5/2010 and the Council’s position on it, Parliament considers that, if the appointment represented ‘an exceptional circumstance for the EDPS’, then an institution could seek the adoption of an amending budget during the course of the budget year every time that a new post is being created or an appointment has been made in a higher grade. Therefore, your rapporteur recommends to amend the Council’s position by restoring the 2011 establishment plan of the EDPS.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Commission’s draft amending budgets for the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) and the European External Action Service (EEAS) have been adopted by the Council, which thought changes necessary with regard to recruitment, to jobs and to promotions in the EEAS. This will have an annual cost implication of EUR 1.4 million. However, given that this will only be in force during part of 2011, there will be no need for additional appropriations for the purpose, since the draft budget will already take this situation into account from 2012. These proposals have been accepted by the European Parliament committee, which recommends a level of restraint when creating new posts in future. The required changes for the EDPS proposed by the Council in order to promote a post for a higher level on the basis of ‘an exceptional circumstance’ have been rejected by the European Parliament, with the intention of preventing such changes being possible every year purely and simply on the basis of this reason. I voted for the European Parliament proposal for the reasons that I have given.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) I have voted in favour of the two proposals made by Ms Trüpel in the cases of the modification of the establishment plans of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) and of the European External Action Service (EEAS). According to the Commission proposal, the EDPS budget should be amended by deleting an AD 14 post and, at the same time, creating an AD 15 post in the establishment plan of Section IX. At a time when the EU budget is overstretched and far-reaching austerity measures have been introduced in the Member States, it was important for us to oppose this proposal. In the case of the EEAS, there has been a request to turn 40 temporary posts into permanent posts over time.

This is the implementation of a Council Decision which requires staff from Member States to represent at least one third of all EEAS staff and temporary posts to be gradually transformed into permanent posts. The Committee on Budgets monitors increases in the staffing levels of the EEAS very closely and always takes a highly critical approach. However, it is worth noting that the creation of a completely new organisation of this size within the EU will result in changes to the establishment plan which need to be taken into consideration. Therefore, I have also voted in favour of this proposal.

 
  
  

Report: Georgios Stravrakakis (A7-0330/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this draft report as I support the discharge procedures.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report, in which the European Parliament approved granting discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Police College for the financial year 2009 and the closure of the accounts of the College for the financial year 2009. According to information provided to the European Parliament, since Parliament decided on 10 May 2011 to postpone its decision on granting the College discharge in respect of the implementation of its 2009 budget, one positive point is that the new administration and management of the College have taken measures to eliminate its deficiencies in response to Parliament’s request for action over the serious irregularities in the implementation of the 2009 budget. Since 2010, the College has increased its financial discipline and internal control. The College has developed and implemented its procurement manual for internal use as requested by Parliament in previous discharges in respect of the implementation of the budget. The College has also established an organisational risk register as part of its ongoing budget management to mitigate its risk of under-spending. In its report on the College’s Multiannual Action Plan (MAP) for 2010-2014, the Court of Auditors stated that the College is progressing according to the milestones established in its MAP.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report granting discharge to the European Police College (CEPOL). The appointment of the new director and the recent measures taken at the request of the European Parliament have highlighted the efforts made by the new CEPOL administration to get its situation sorted out.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Following the delay in discharge of the accounts of the European Police College in April, Parliament is now discharging them, in recognition of the measures taken to correct the deficiencies and severe irregularities found in the implementation of the 2009 budget.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Mr Stavrakakis, concerns discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Police College (CEPOL) for the financial year 2009. This process was submitted to the European Parliament in April 2010, but its discharge was postponed because serious deficiencies and irregularities were detected. Since the doubts raised have been satisfactorily cleared up by CEPOL’s new management and governance, I am voting for closure of CEPOL’s annual accounts for the financial year 2009. I also welcome the revision of the Financial Regulation of the College and the efforts to reduce CEPOL’s financial costs.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The College was set up in 2001 and, with effect from 1 January 2006, was transformed into a Community body within the meaning of Article 185 of the Financial Regulation, thus coming under the provisions of the framework Financial Regulation for agencies. The Court of Auditors, in its report on the annual accounts of the College for the financial year 2009, qualified its opinion on the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions, and the European Parliament subsequently decided to postpone its decision on granting the Director of the College discharge in respect of the implementation of its budget for 2009. However, the new report submitted now proposes granting the discharge, and there are no motions for amendment preventing this. Despite the fact that the description in the progress report on the implementation of the College’s Multiannual Action Plan remains fairly general, it gives a clear overview of the status of the different milestones and should thereby serve as a satisfactory basis for informing different stakeholders. The enhanced transparency provided by the current Director and his management team has led to an improved understanding of the challenges the College is facing and has fostered the necessary changes.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) In its Decision of 10 May 2011, Parliament decided to postpone its decision on granting the Director of the European Police College discharge in respect of the implementation of its budget for 2009. The new administration and management of the College have taken measures to tackle its deficiencies in response to Parliament’s request for action, following the serious irregularities in the implementation of the budget for 2009. Action was taken in time to respond to Parliament’s requests. I therefore approved the closure of the accounts of the European Police College for the financial year 2009.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE), in writing. (DE) Since the refusal to grant discharge for the 2008 financial year, several restructuring measures have been implemented within the European Police College. The regular debates in the Committee on Budgetary Control, to which the new Director and representatives of the College have been invited, and the reports on the progress of the measures taken, leave me optimistic. However, it is essential that further developments are followed very closely. I therefore voted in favour of the discharge.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jan Kozłowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) I would like to explain why I voted in favour of granting discharge to the European Police College (CEPOL). As a Member of the Committee on Budgets and a shadow rapporteur with responsibility for agencies, I welcome the solutions proposed by CEPOL’s new management, which contribute to the effective implementation of the Multiannual Action Plan, increasing transparency and lowering the cost of managing the College. In my opinion, the correct approach has been taken with the introduction of procedural changes, such as the exclusion for tender with regard to the selection of educational experts, as they contribute to the improved execution of the agency’s tasks as well as the rationalisation of expenditure. I hope that the evaluation of the Court of Auditors regarding the application of the Procurement Manual will be positive, and that the management of CEPOL will do their utmost to respond positively to the expectations of the European Parliament.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) Following the assessment of the measures adopted by the new management and governance of the European Police College, Parliament decided today to grant discharge in respect of the 2009 financial year, a matter on which, in May, it had postponed its decision following the qualified opinion expressed by the Court of Auditors. I believe that we can indeed be satisfied by the timely provisions taken by the College to meet Parliament’s demands in May upon the first application for discharge, which was refused.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE), in writing. – There were serious irregularities in the implementation of the European Police College budget for the financial year 2009. However, I voted in favour of granting it discharge, primarily due to the new management and governance of the College, which displayed a commitment to tackle its deficiencies and to implement measures required by the European Parliament, in particular, the revision of the Financial Regulation of the College, the application of the procurement manual and the decision of its governing board to grant voting rights to the Commission. The fulfilment of these commitments will be closely monitored during the 2010 discharge procedure. I call for CEPOL to be merged into Europol in order to reduce expenditure and increase efficiency.

This is why I called on the Court of Auditors to prepare a special report, during 2012, setting out the costs and benefits in financial and operational terms of merging the College’s responsibilities with those of Europol. As rapporteur for the 2010 discharge of the EU agencies, I strongly believe that the rationalisation of EU agencies is both necessary and relevant.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report on the European Police College, which acknowledges the measures taken by the new management and governance of the College to tackle its deficiencies.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the proposal to grant budgetary discharge to the European Police College (CEPOL) for I believe the information received and the actions undertaken are enough to grant discharge to its Executive Director and approve the closing of the accounts for the 2009 financial year. In October 2010, I proposed that Parliament refuse to grant CEPOL discharge for the 2008 financial year because of significant and repeated failings on the part of the College. At the same time that Parliament was working on the 2008 and 2009 discharges, Mr Banfi was appointed as College director in February 2010. He has actively sought to correct the shortcomings and irregularities in the finances and the budget and to refocus the College’s management so that it is more effective. His work seems to be bearing fruit and I welcome, in particular, the structural efforts adopted by the College, such as the decision to abolish all the committees of the Governing Board by 2012 and to analyse in a critical way all the working groups of the Board.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report for discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Police College’s general budget for the 2009 financial year. My colleague, Mr Stavrakakis, has carefully and thoroughly analysed the measures taken by the new management and governance of the College in order to tackle its deficiencies.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – I welcome the measures taken by the new management and governance of the College, in response to Parliament’s previous requests for action, to tackle its deficiencies. In the light of the improvements made, I support Parliament’s decision to grant discharge to the College in respect of the agency’s budget for the 2009 financial year.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – After postponement earlier this year of the 2009 budget discharge for the European Police College, the new draft report proposes to grant discharge, and there are no amendments tabled to refuse it. The draft report generally recognises the big improvements made in the college’s management over the past two years. Two amendments were passed, asking for the College’s relocation and for its merger with Europol in The Hague for efficiency reasons – going beyond the remit of the Committee on Budgetary Control, as decisions on the location of agencies and other bodies are made by the Member States. I agree with the rapporteur and I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Katarína Neveďalová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The modernisation and, in particular, the improved efficiency of public procurement is a key issue at present, especially as we are in a period of crisis. It is clear that price should not be the only determining factor – social aspects and the issue of sustainable job creation are now extremely important. In the Slovak Republic, for example, unemployment is now at a six year high. The unemployment rate in Slovakia has risen to 13.73%, and the situation will probably not improve next year, due to the expected slowdown in economic growth. One of the problems of public procurement is the large number of subcontractors, which ultimately causes confusion and a lack of transparency. It is therefore necessary for procurement bodies to be notified in advance of all details relating to the use of subcontractors. We must therefore approach this modernisation in a systematic way, putting the emphasis on sustainable development.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report is based on another by the Committee on Budgetary Control, a majority of which has adopted the closure of the accounts of the European Police College for the financial year 2009, despite having a number of observations regarding expenditure. The aforementioned committee concludes that there are serious signs of a spending restraint. In fact, efforts to cut spending were demonstrated by CEPOL at its 25th governing board meeting in June 2011, during which it was decided to abolish all its committees by 2012 and to critically analyse all its working groups. I voted for this report for these reasons.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) I am satisfied with the work that has been carried out and with the results obtained; I therefore voted in favour of granting the Director of the European Police College discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget for the 2009 financial year and approval of the European Police College end-of-year accounts for the 2009 financial year.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) After certain reservations were expressed about the accounts of the European Police College in previous financial years, its efforts to strengthen mechanisms guaranteeing the transparency of its activities should be stressed. This is a point that the European Parliament has always considered crucial when exercising the budgetary oversight activities assigned to it under the Treaties. In this light, given the efforts made recently, I voted to grant discharge to the implementation of the 2009 budget.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Abstention. The report now states that the College has improved its accounting system and that the new rules on procurement and the procurement manual are now finalised. There is a better internal control system compared to 2009. In short, progress has been made, illegal contracts have been terminated, and recovery of unduly paid private expenditure has been finalised. But we are still very critical of the way in which the Police College handles its finances and would prefer to attach the whole agency, which is providing police training on a European level, to a larger and better run entity, namely Europol.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Police College (CEPOL) was set up in 2001 and, with effect from 1 January 2006, was transformed into a Community body within the meaning of Article 185 of the Financial Regulation, thus coming under the provisions of the Framework Financial Regulation for Agencies. In the report on CEPOL’s accounts for the period 2008-2009, the Court of Auditors expressed reservations about the legality and regularity of transactions, leading the European Parliament to postpone the decision to discharge the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2009. In response to the request drafted by Parliament, CEPOL’s management adopted new measures with a view to correcting its budgetary deficiencies, thereby bringing it into line with this decision to grant the Director of CEPOL discharge for its budget for the financial year 2009. I should also like to take this opportunity to stress that the new procurement procedures, the rules governing expenditure on courses, and the analysis of appropriations used to finance private expenditure, will make the management of the CEPOL budget more rigorous.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) On 10 May 2011, the European Parliament decided to postpone the discharge decision for the financial year 2009 and called for further investigations and answers on the budget management of the European Police College. Comprehensive investigations have since been carried out, with some external help. The European Police College has now largely fulfilled Parliament’s specific requirements and its ongoing compliance will be constantly monitored. The previous management team of the College has also been replaced.

For these reasons, Mr Stavrakakis is now proposing to grant the new Director of the European Police College discharge in respect of the implementation of the college’s budget for the financial year 2009. The future development of the college will be subject to strict requirements. It will be constantly monitored and Parliament will be kept permanently informed of the situation. I have voted in favour of this.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Janusz Władysław Zemke (S&D), in writing.(PL) I would like to comment on budget implementation by the European Police College. The College was set up in 2001 and, with effect from 1 January 2006, was transformed into a Community body. This gave Parliament and the Court of Auditors additional powers to assess the College’s budget. In their analyses, the Court of Auditors and Parliament qualify their opinion with regard to implementation of the budget by the Police College, the College tries to take account of this, and the same happens every year. I think the key lies in another solution. The Police College should be amalgamated with Europol. Only this solution would give tangible operational effects, reduce costs and bring financial benefits.

 
  
  

Report: Georgios Stravrakakis (A7-0329/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this draft report as I support the discharge procedures.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report, in which the European Parliament granted discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Medicines Agency for the financial year 2009 and approved the closure of the agency’s accounts for the financial year 2009. On the basis of information provided to the European Parliament, one positive point is that the agency has taken actions to address its serious weaknesses disclosed by the reports for 2009 from both the Court of Auditors and the Internal Audit Service, as a result of which, on 10 May 2011, Parliament decided to postpone its decision on granting discharge in respect of the implementation of the agency’s budget for the financial year 2009. In the second half of 2011, the agency submitted a report to Parliament on the level of implementation of the IAS recommendations, stating that, a significant proportion of the ‘very important’ recommendations on human resources management, administrative procedures relating to selection and internal control standards had already been implemented or were being implemented. Moreover, the agency has begun to develop an action plan on improving procurement procedures. It has also rectified the deficiencies identified by the IAS concerning contract agent selection. I agree with the rapporteur that Parliament must continue to carefully monitor the level of implementation of the measures undertaken to address the agency’s serious weaknesses.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report, which recommends granting discharge to the Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency in respect of the 2009 financial year. I support the rapporteur’s approach, which entails introducing the need to inform the discharge authority every three months of the measures taken to remedy the shortcomings previously identified.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Following the delay in discharge of the accounts of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in April, Parliament is now discharging them, in recognition of the measures taken to correct the deficiencies of 2009, and in accordance with the letter from the Chair of the EMA’s Management Board of 17 June 2011. I re-emphasise, in any case, that persistent breaches of the Financial Regulation should and shall not be tolerated. Previous resolutions that accompanied other postponement decisions and the resulting adoption of discharges urgently need to be respected.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Medicines Agency (EMA) was established by Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 726/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 31 March 2004, and is covered by the Framework Financial Regulation created by Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of the Commission, of 19 November 2002. This report, by Mr Stavrakakis, concerns discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the EMA for the financial year 2009. On 10 May 2011, Parliament agreed to postpone the decision to grant the Executive Director of the EMA discharge for the financial year 2009, since the report by the Court of Auditors expressed reservations about the legality and regularity of compliance with the Financial Regulation as regards underlying transactions. Given that the Management Board of the EMA sent a letter to the European Parliament on 17 June 2011 on the measures taken to correct the irregularities, and in view of the 10 August 2011 letter from the Executive Director, following the questions raised during the debate on discharge to the EMA for 2009 at the 13 July 2011 meeting of Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control, I am voting for the report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) Since the Court of Auditors, in its report on the annual accounts of the European Medicines Agency for the financial year 2009, qualified its opinion on the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions, Parliament decided, in its decision of 10 May 2011, to postpone its decision on granting the Executive Director of the agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the agency’s budget for the financial year 2009. The discharge authority subsequently received replies from the agency following Parliament’s resolution of 10 May 2011, and in its replies, the agency provided updated information on the implementation of recommendations. In light of the second report of the Committee on Budgetary Control, the Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency was granted discharge in respect of the implementation of the agency’s budget for the financial year 2009

The discharge authority shall continue to carefully monitor, during the upcoming discharge procedures, the level of implementation of the measures undertaken to address the agency’s serious weaknesses disclosed by the reports from both the Court of Auditors and the Internal Audit Service. It is therefore desirable for the agency to continue informing the discharge authority of the measures implemented and their results, and always to submit the requested documents on time.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) In its decision of 10 May 2011, Parliament decided to postpone its decision on granting discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Medicines Agency for the financial year 2009. The European Parliament received replies from the agency following the abovementioned decision and the agency provided updated information on the level of implementation of the IAS recommendations, which, according to the information given, is improving. I believe that the agency should continue to inform the discharge authority on the results of the actions requested by the discharge authority. I welcomed the European Parliament’s position to grant the Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the agency’s budget for the financial year 2009.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jan Kozłowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) In my statement, I would like to refer to one aspect of the document drafted by Mr Stavrakakis, namely, the building of a positive image for this agency, as well as for other agencies. The problems experienced by CEPOL and the European Medicines Agency in obtaining discharge have had a decidedly negative impact on the way that these agencies are perceived by us, the Members of the European Parliament, and also by European citizens. In my opinion, in order to regain public confidence, the European Medicines Agency should comply with all of the recommendations of the Court of Auditors.

At the same time, I would like to congratulate the agency on the efforts that it has made to improve its operations, namely, the implementation of the three recommendations resulting from the 2009 audit by the Internal Audit Service on Human Resources Management. These examples of the agency’s actions convinced me to vote in favour of the adoption of the report, and thus to grant discharge to the European Medicines Agency.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing.(IT) With today’s vote, Parliament has granted the European Medicines Agency discharge in respect of the financial year 2009. The decision follows on from the first postponement, which was essentially due to concerns expressed by the Court of Auditors mainly relating to the management of procurement processes and the criteria applied when hiring staff. Today, following the letter from the Chair of the agency’s Management Board of 17 June 2011, in which it is stated that the agency has taken actions to address the 2009 shortcomings, and other documents received by the agency in response to questions raised by the resolution voted on in May, we grant discharge, despite the fact that not all the information requested has yet been submitted.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE), in writing. – The discharge for 2009 was granted today to the European Medicines Agency. However, I would like to point out that the agency failed to provide Parliament with the action plan on public procurement, its timetable for implementation and the updated documents on the management and prevention of conflicts of interests, as requested in May 2011 when the discharge was postponed. These areas will be closely monitored. These were part of the amendments which I tabled and were adopted during the vote in the Committee on Budgetary Control and integrated in the final report voted on today by the Plenary. As Parliament’s rapporteur for the 2010 discharge of the EU Agencies’ budgets, I will closely monitor the European Medicines Agency and look, in particular, at conflicts of interests and cost-efficiency criteria in each and every EU agency. These issues will bear considerable weight in the decision on discharge.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report which insists, but also warns the European Medicines Agency, that all the actions mentioned in the respective audit reports, including the one for the year 2010, should be fully implemented before the start of the next discharge procedure.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of granting discharge to the European Medicines Agency (EMEA), although I regret that some of the requested information was not provided. As a result, we are expecting the agency to inform the discharge authority of the actions implemented and their results, in particular, with a view to overcoming deficiencies in public procurement and managing conflicts of interest which its personnel and experts are exposed to. On this last point, the agency undertook to adopt an approach based on risk and to concentrate verifications on staff members who declare interest. Furthermore, we are asking the agency to be willing to act with regard to carryovers, and we expect to receive confirmation on this from the Court of Auditors. With regard to revenue from fees, the report notes that the agency has invested in software in order to clear the backlog with the recovery orders. Finally, we acknowledge the fact that the agency has revised its cash-flow policy so as to limit risks resulting from fluctuating exchange rates.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I also voted for Mr Stavrakakis’s second report. I agree with the observations contained in the resolutions concerning the granting of discharge to the European Medicines Agency in respect of the financial year 2009. It is very important that the agency should continue to inform the discharge authority every three months on the results of the actions requested by the latter.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – I support this report and welcome the measures taken by the European Medicines Agency to address its shortcomings in 2009. I support calls for the agency to continue to inform the discharge authority, on a three-monthly basis, about the results of actions requested. The agency is also called upon to proceed promptly with the adoption of an action plan to remedy the shortcomings in procurement procedures.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) The European Medicines Agency bears a heavy responsibility in the Mediator tragedy. A few electronic forms are not going to assure us that this agency will no longer endanger the health of our fellow citizens through negligence or conflicts of interest. It needs a complete overhaul and to be open to public debate. I refuse to vote for a report which endorses unfocused and dangerous management by an agency that is still not meeting all the demands of this Parliament.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – Budget discharge for the European Medicines Agency for 2009 had been postponed because considerable concern had been expressed about weaknesses in the agency’s procurement systems and also in relation to the prevention of conflicts of interest. The committee voted to grant discharge and close the accounts, approving our rapporteur’s amendments (members of the ENVI Committee from all groups had been active in securing support for this position). A number of quite critical amendments were passed, including some calling for very detailed reporting to Parliament in future, so these issues are likely to be discussed again in the discharge procedures for future years. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report in which the European Parliament grants discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) budget for the financial year 2009. I agree with the rapporteur’s warning to the EMA that all points mentioned in the auditor’s report should be entirely corrected prior to the start of the next discharge procedure, including that relating to 2010.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) I am satisfied with the work carried out and the result achieved, and I voted in favour of discharge being granted to the director of the European Medicines Agency in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2009 and of closure of the accounts of the European Medicines Agency for the financial year 2009.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted to grant the Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) discharge in respect of the implementation of its budget for the financial year 2009 because I believe the various prerequisites have been met. I am, however, bound to stress the need for all the EMA’s activities to be guided by the principle of transparency, particularly public procurement processes. Indeed, the observation of the Court of Auditors that the EMA did not undertake the necessary checks to reduce the risk of error relating to calls for proposals under a given range of circumstances elicits a degree of suspicion. As such, I hope that, from now on, the necessary efforts will be made to reduce conflict of interest situations so that, at the very least, guarantees of consumer protection will not be threatened.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Against. An important issue which caused the postponement of the 2009 discharge was the fact that experts and staff were not checked on their independence or on possible conflicts of interest, which led to a lack of impartiality. They have improved on paper (for the time being) the procedures on compliance with the respective codes of conduct. A large majority on the Committee on Budgetary Control is in favour of granting discharge. But we have tabled in committee a number of amendments (which were adopted) to ensure that, if they receive discharge for 2009, the Committee on Budgetary Control will keep a close eye on developments, and also to take full account of the lack of progress made in the decision on next year’s discharge. We should not grant discharge to this agency, and we should make it clear that a lot still has to be done to tackle problems which might also harm the health of European citizens.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Founded in 1995, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is a decentralised European body whose purpose is to protect and promote human and animal health, by evaluating and supervising medicines for human and veterinary use. The EMA is the agency responsible for the scientific analysis of requests to authorise the bringing onto the market of medicines introduced at EU level. In 2009, the EMA budget was EUR 194 million, with 18.52% financed by the European Union and the remainder obtained through fees paid by pharmaceutical companies for services provided. In the report on the EMA’s accounts for the 2009 period, the Court of Auditors expressed reservations about the legality and regularity of transactions, leading the European Parliament to postpone the decision to discharge the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2009. I agree with the decision to grant the Director of the EMA discharge on the implementation of its budget for the financial year 2009, and I support the closure of the accounts for the financial year 2009, given that the EMA has provided the discharge authority with up-to-date information on the level of application of the Internal Audit Service’s recommendations.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) The discharge decision for the European Medicines Agency for the financial year 2009 was also postponed in May. The agency is partially financed from the Union’s annual budget, but the contribution decreased by 9.2% between 2008 and 2009. On 17 May, the agency informed Parliament about the actions it had taken to address the problems identified in 2009 and the Court of Auditors qualified its opinion. I have voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR), in writing. – The European Medicines Agency, which is based in my home constituency of London, does valuable work in helping to protect public health across the European Union. However, there are concerns about a lack of transparency in the agency, which sometimes keeps doctors and patients in the dark.

On the issue of the budget, regretfully, I had to vote against the discharge today. My constituents are feeling the pinch of the economic crisis and I therefore cannot countenance suspect procurement procedures which may have cost the taxpayer EUR 30 million. Conflicts of interest also need to be eliminated. It is wholly unacceptable that the agency’s former director took up well-paid consultancy jobs advising pharmaceutical companies within weeks of leaving his post.

 
  
  

Report: Antonio López-Istúriz White (A7-0349/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report. Taking into account the interinstitutional agreement of 20 December 1994 on an accelerated working method for the official codification of legislative texts and, in particular, point 4 thereof, the Consultative Working Party, consisting of the respective legal services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, has stated without dissent that this proposal is limited to the straightforward codification of the texts in question without any change in their substance, and I agree.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the López-Istúriz White report on the draft directive relating to tyres for motor vehicles and their trailers and to the fitting thereof. Tyres are subject to European rules that are part of a process to harmonise national approval procedures.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because, in the current directives of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to tyres for motor vehicles and their trailers and to their fitting, a few minor errors were made in the text. The main errors are to be found in Annex II and Annex V. In Annex II in the English language version, the figure ‘330’ should have been used instead of the figure ‘305’ and some acronyms should also be added. In Annex V, there were several errors as regards the marking of expressions – they should have been identified with markers. The Consultative Working Party of the Legal Services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission has agreed that these proposed corrections do not in any way change the substance of the existing text, but only make it more accurate and precise. I believe that it is important to take such errors into account, because even a single word or figure can change an awful lot and give those to whom legislation is addressed a lot of additional concerns.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The acquis communautaire is often complex, is hard to interpret, and is not always easy to fully grasp. The intelligibility of legislation is a constant concern of the various European institutions, which I, as a lawyer, am bound to share. This resolution concerns the codification of pieces of legislation without amending any of them, so there are no reservations or controversy about it. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The interinstitutional agreement concluded on 20 December 1994 recommended the use of an accelerated method of working for the official codification of the legislative texts of the European Community. This report, drafted by Mr López-Istúriz White, concerns a proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to tyres for motor vehicles and their trailers, and to their fitting. Given that this proposal exclusively concerns the straightforward codification of the texts in question, without any change in their substance – which is of legal value and has been adopted by various European institutions – in line with the recommendations of the Consultative Working Party of the Legal Services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, I fully support this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The submitted proposal follows the codification of Council Directive 92/23/EEC of 31 March 1992 relating to tyres for motor vehicles and their trailers and to their fitting. The new directive replaces a number of legal acts comprising the subject of the codification; the proposal retains the full content of the codified legal acts and focuses exclusively on simplifying them into one legal act, with the formal amendments not going beyond the essential purpose of codification. The directive in question has repeatedly been amended in a fundamental way. I firmly believe that this directive should be codified, in the interests of clarity and transparency. It is one of the independent directives of the EC type approval system established by Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 September 2007 establishing a framework for the approval of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles and laying down the technical regulations which motor vehicles and their trailers must fulfil, and also applying, among other things, to tyres.

These technical requirements relate to the approximation of Member State legislation in order to allow the application of the EC type approval process laid down by the directive in question for every type of motor vehicle and trailer. The directive should not, however, affect the obligations of Member States regarding the deadline for transposition into national law.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because, according to the Consultative Working Party of the Legal Services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, the proposal in question contains a straightforward codification of the existing texts without any change in their substance.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution codifying the legislation on tyres for motor vehicles and their trailers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report, which calls on Parliament and the Council to issue a directive relating to tyres for motor vehicles and their trailers, and to the fitting thereof.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The purpose of this proposal is to undertake a codification of Council Directive 92/23/EEC of 31 March 1992 relating to tyres for motor vehicles and their trailers and to their fitting. The new directive will supersede the various acts now incorporated into it. This proposal fully preserves the content of the acts being codified and hence does no more than bring them together, with only such formal amendments as are required by the codification exercise itself. Therefore, I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the proposal presented because it contains a straightforward codification of the existing texts without any change in their substance. The provisions of the directive will thus be clear and transparent, as well as more accessible to citizens.

It should be noted that the common requirements laid down in the rules applying to tyres should concern not only their characteristics but also the fitting of tyres and should be adapted to the development of scientific and technical knowledge.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) According to the opinion of the Consultative Working Party of the Legal Services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, the purpose of this report is the straightforward codification of existing texts, without any change in their substance, which is why I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) Since the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council codifying Council Directive 92/23/EEC of 31 March 1992 relating to tyres for motor vehicles and their trailers and to their fitting contains some inaccuracies, such as the absence of appropriate adaptation markers for acronyms, expressions and introductory wording, I voted in favour of a re-codification of existing texts.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Given that the purpose of this directive is the codification of various earlier texts, with benefits in terms of the accessibility and comprehensibility of the legislation, without any changes to their substance, I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The European Parliament, A. whereas, according to the Consultative Working Party of the Legal Services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, the proposal in question contains a straightforward codification of the existing texts without any change in their substance, 1. Adopts its position at first reading, taking over the Commission proposal as adapted to the recommendations of the Consultative Working Party of the Legal Services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission; 2. Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report relating to tyres for motor vehicles and their trailers, and to their fitting, is in line with the goal of codifying European Union legislative texts in order to simplify EU law, and to ensure it is clear and transparent. This report brings together the various texts on this issue in their entirety, fully preserving the content of the codified acts. As such, the purpose of the techniques imposed on the tyres of motor vehicles and their trailers is to bring the laws of the Member States relating to approval processes closer together. This makes Union law more accessible and comprehensible to the European public, enabling them to make full use of their rights.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) The proposal is simply a codification of the existing acts, without any changes to their content. For this reason, I have voted in favour.

 
  
  

Report: Diana Wallis (A7-0343/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because an area of freedom, security and justice, as laid down in the Treaties, must meet the needs of citizens and businesses, for example, by creating clearer and simpler procedures, whilst enhancing access to justice. This will suitably safeguard individuals’ substantive rights and settle disputes between parties. I would stress that any approach to alternative dispute resolution should go beyond consumer disputes so as to include business-to-business civil and commercial transactions, irrespective of whether they are carried out between private or public undertakings, family disputes, defamation cases and other general interest disputes or ones involving parties with different legal statuses.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of the resolution on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in civil, commercial and family matters.

I welcome the recent Commission consultation on ADR. Compared to courts, ADR schemes are cheaper, quicker and less formal, offering practical solutions. As ADR forms part of a general ‘justice-for-growth’ agenda across sectors, we, Members of the European Parliament, believe that any approach to ADR should go beyond consumer disputes so as to include disputes about business-to-business, civil and commercial transactions, irrespective of whether they are carried out between private or public undertakings, as well as family disputes and cases of defamation or cases involving parties whose legal status differs.

Moreover, on-line shopping is increasing and ADR could play a more relevant role here because the scope for judicial action is sometimes limited when dealing with new technologies. Parliament stresses the need to ensure that European consumers can access ADR systems for transnational as well as national disputes, especially in the on-line market, which is growing rapidly in the EU. I support the rapporteur’s position that the use of ADR systems affords a higher level of protection of consumer rights, while also promoting cross-border trade and increased prosperity for all operators in the EU market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a mechanism for reaching out-of-court settlements by helping consumers and traders to settle their disputes through the intervention of a mediator or arbitrator.

I welcome the Commission’s intention to encourage the use of alternative means of dispute resolution that are accessible, swift and effective, do not incur high costs, and offer the possibility of establishing and maintaining high-quality commercial, economic, social and neighbourly relations on the basis of mutual trust. The aim is to help raise the level of consumer protection in a ‘win-win’ situation, offering more benefits to both sides than current judicial practice.

I think that existing shortcomings with regard to the geographical coverage of ADR methods in Europe must be urgently rectified. I encourage the introduction of an effective out-of-court dispute settlement system for consumer contracts to operate across the European Union.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) Sensitive to the issue of the protection of consumers and their rights, I voted in favour of the Wallis report. This report advocates establishing alternative methods of dispute settlement outside the traditional judicial system. For the consumer, these alternative methods have the advantage of being less costly and faster, whilst respecting the principles of impartiality, transparency and effectiveness.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) Alternative dispute resolution methods avoid recourse to the courts, so helping consumers and traders to resolve conflicts through the intervention of a third party, mediator or arbitrator, and constituting a quick and economically advantageous alternative to legal action. This report calls on the Commission to run, in cooperation with the Member States, information campaigns intended to raise awareness of the benefits of using alternative dispute resolution methods amongst consumers and businesses. It also suggests that the Commission create a multilingual European portal for alternative dispute resolution methods on the Internet, in which consumers can find out about how it works, their rights, and their responsibilities. Finally, it stresses the crucial role that they play in family disputes, since they can help the parties to resume dialogue by reducing psychological damage, thereby helping to ensure the protection of children. I voted for this report for the above reasons.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE), in writing. (RO) Having alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms available is one of the key factors for increasing the confidence not only of consumers but also of European companies in the single market. At present, a huge number of consumers and companies are hesitating about carrying out cross-border transactions due to being afraid that they will not be able to resolve adequately any disputes they have. However, this reluctance to carry out cross-border transactions is depriving consumers and companies of the benefits of a competitive internal market. We need dispute resolution mechanisms to be quick, efficient, independent and, most of all, as cost-effective as possible. This would give them a real advantage over judicial proceedings, which are long and costly. Furthermore, promoting ADR will also help streamline the operation of the judicial system as some cases will be resolved through mediation or arbitration. The prerequisite for achieving this is obviously that these alternative mechanisms are promoted in the appropriate manner by informing consumers and companies about them, so that they are used more widely. Therefore, I think that it would be desirable for us to have a legislative proposal from the Commission as soon as possible which complies with the guidelines in this report, so that all EU citizens can have access to ADR mechanisms.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) There can only be a genuine area of freedom, security and justice if the fundamental right of access to justice is properly safeguarded, specifically through clear and simple procedures that are accessible to all. It seems to me that alternative dispute resolution methods could constitute a rapid and economically advantageous alternative to current legal practice. It is important to reinforce public confidence in the internal market, and in the application of laws in case of international dispute, by adopting the necessary legislative measures for ensuring the uniform development of these systems throughout the EU. An approach that balances the use and flexibility of alternative dispute resolution systems must be ensured, on the one hand, and the guarantee of protection of consumer rights and their access to fair, confidential, impartial, transparent, quick and effective procedures, on the other: this will undoubtedly bring benefits to the EU economy. It is also important to ensure periodic monitoring and assessment of alternative dispute resolution bodies by independent evaluators. At the same time, public information campaigns and pilot projects must also be undertaken, ensuring that businesses and consumers in general are provided with adequate information.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) At a time when, in some Member States such as Romania, the courts are overwhelmed by the volume of cases pending, I support the European Commission’s intention to encourage the use of alternative dispute resolution methods.

There are more than 138 500 cases pending in the Romanian courts dating back more than a year, according to the monitoring report from the Judicial Inspection attached to the Superior Council of Magistracy. Of these, 4 001 cases are 5-10 years old and 586 are more than 10 years old.

Therefore, I believe that a set of rules is required to regulate dispute resolution by a mediator or arbitrator. However, when these people are being appointed, the possibility of conflicts of interest arising must be avoided, and the experts in this area must have the necessary professional expertise and impartiality. The general public also needs to be given more information about how the mechanism works and about the advantages of resorting to alternative dispute resolution.

Last but not least, this mechanism for achieving an amicable, out-of-court settlement must remain optional so as not to prejudice access to justice.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marielle De Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The European Parliament supported the European Commission in its desire to ensure European consumers have access to justice by developing and promoting alternative methods of settling disputes for national cases, but also cross-border ones. With these new alternative methods of dispute settlement, the enforcement of rights in civil, commercial and family matters will be swifter, cheaper and more conciliatory, since the independence and impartiality of the mediators obviously need to be ensured. For this new right to mediation to become effective, all consumers will need to know who to contact in practice. It will therefore be the responsibility of the Member States to organise information campaigns.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I supported the adoption of this own-initiative report for, at a time when we are using a wider range of purchasing methods within the single market, it is essential to strengthen consumer protection in the event of litigation. The use of new methods for settling disputes should make it possible to avoid placing an additional burden on the judicial authorities as a result of the increasing number of disputes, and should prove to be simpler, faster and cheaper for consumers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Anyone who knows the courts in the Member States knows about the increasing difficulties they have been having in ensuring the timely resolution of disputes that come before them. The complexity of procedural law and the number of cases being heard has been overloading judges, magistrates, lawyers and legal officials who, despite their skill and dedication, are finding it impossible to deal with all the disputes within the proper timeframe. Many of these issues presently inundating the courts are of no particular legal complexity or financial significance, and could be settled using alternative dispute resolution methods that are more effective and less complex. There are various examples of these types of methods in operation throughout the Union. I believe we should not seek to impose models on the Member States as regards these mechanisms, but instead provide them with information about each country’s practices and experiences, so that they might improve their own mechanisms.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Sustainable economic growth that brings an end to the economic and financial crisis with which the European Union is struggling has been one of the Commission’s main goals. In response to Parliament’s request that it table a legislative proposal on the use of alternative dispute resolution in the European Union by the end of 2011, the Commission has included it in its Work Programme 2011 and in the 13 April 2011 communication as ‘one of the twelve levers to boost growth and strengthen confidence, with the aim of consumer empowerment’. This report on alternative dispute resolution in civil, commercial and family matters includes a series of proposals whose purpose is for European citizens to be able to access a faster, more accessible and cheaper form of justice by means of a conciliation process. In addition to their cross-border nature, alternative methods of dispute resolution should be undertaken on-line, since Internet purchases are increasing exponentially. I am pleased to note the prospect of extending alternative methods of dispute resolution to small and medium-sized enterprises. I welcome the adoption of this report, and hope that all the Member States will very soon be able to transpose the framework directives on alternative dispute resolution into national law.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The report voted on today on alternative dispute resolution in civil, commercial and family matters includes an analysis of alternative dispute resolution methods, especially at cross-border level, which we welcome, given the scarce information on types of legal intervention in this area. These alternative methods could enable the parties to avoid drawn-out and generally costly recourse to the courts. They are means of mediation and arbitration that, in many cases, are related to commercial, consumer and environmental matters, or family disputes.

As such, they can include processes and methods involving another party – a mediator or arbitrator – that are quick and beneficial alternatives to legal action for conflict resolution. Given that in many countries, the public authorities, including ombudsmen and regulatory authorities, play an important role in encouraging the resolution of disputes without recourse to legal means, this seems like a positive way forward to us.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) Access to justice is a fundamental right. The concepts of freedom, security and justice also need to meet the requirements of citizens and businesses through a simpler and more comprehensible form of application, thereby also improving access to justice. The aim of alternative means of dispute resolution is to strive for the restoration of legal peace or the resolution of disputes between parties. Alternative dispute resolution helps consumers and businesses to resolve conflicts through a third party by an out-of-court route, and thus becomes an effective alternative to the judicial process, particularly in terms of cost. It is a sad fact, however, that Member State citizens are relatively unaware of the existence of alternative systems for dispute resolution. Moreover, only a small percentage of citizens know how to submit an actual complaint to an alternative dispute resolution body.

In my opinion, we must try to educate and inform the public about the possibility of resolving disputes through alternative mechanisms to judicial proceedings. These also offer the possibility of avoiding a directly confrontational approach and, at the same time, provide a possibility for dispute resolution that is advantageous to both parties. However, we absolutely must strive for an approach which takes account of the scope of alternative dispute resolution system powers, on the one hand, and of fair procedures and proceedings in relation to the parties involved, on the other.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D), in writing.(PL) I am pleased that the European Parliament has adopted yet another initiative regarding alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in civil, commercial and family matters. During the September part-session, I emphasised the benefits arising from the directive on mediation, and today, I would once again like to stress the importance of these undervalued, but very effective, tools in the out-of-court settlement of disputes. Citizens should have guaranteed access to justice, but, at the same time, they have to be properly informed and encouraged to use alternative solutions, which are not only much cheaper, but also significantly faster.

Great Britain is currently the European leader in the use of ADR methods. Since March 2001, all government agencies have been required to use ADR in all relevant matters, if the other party agrees to take part. In its published report for 2002-2003, the Department for Constitutional Affairs states that the use of ADR by government agencies rose by over 1 200%.

Therefore, I encourage the Member States to follow the example of Great Britain. At the same time, I appeal for clear steps to be taken in order to evaluate ADR bodies, to improve information programmes, and to conduct campaigns promoting this method of dispute settlement to consumers. I agree with the rapporteur’s position regarding the minimum standards of ADR and the use of best practice models, as well as greater transparency of proceedings and their promotion by European Union information bodies.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. – I agree with the Wallis report because the creation of a more streamlined system of ADR across the board has never been more important in order to ensure that citizens are provided with affordable, expedient and accessible out-of-court mechanisms through which they can seek redress and safeguard their rights. It is a fact that ADR systems like the SOLVIT network have proven successful in solving problems affecting citizens. Nevertheless, the ADR landscape of Europe remains largely fragmented. I am convinced that any future Commission action plan in this respect should secure a new citizen-based ADR structure built on the principles of transparency and proportionality. It is also possible for us to work with the existing structures we currently have at our disposal, such as the ECC-Network and FIN-Network centres. Additionally, the usage of small claims tribunals in various Member States remains significantly low and therefore, this aspect must be taken into account by the Commission when formulating its proposal on ADR. It is vital to note that for any final EU-wide ADR package to be endorsed by the European citizen, this must factor in the existence of an EU-wide collective redress system, and therefore I urge the Commission to firmly put in place this mechanism by 2012.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Filiz Hakaeva Hyusmenovа (ALDE), in writing. (BG) I supported this resolution because, in recent decades, a trend has been identified globally, which is how difficult it is to have access to justice, caused by the steady rise in the number of court cases and their exorbitant cost, by serious regulatory shortcomings and the limitations of legal proceedings, as well as by the difficulty in implementing constantly changing legislation.

In view of this, there has been renewed interest in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) triggered, on the one hand, by the crisis and, on the other, by the benefits of these methods for resolving conflicts on an out-of-court basis and, above, all, for their consensual nature. I share the view that the use of ADR mechanisms needs to extend beyond consumer disputes to include civil and commercial agreements between companies, as well as family disputes and defamation cases. I support the need for legislative measures with this objective.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because judicial procedures for resolving such disputes are more complex, expensive and lengthy. I believe that legislative measures adopted at EU level will facilitate the implementation of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and encourage natural and legal persons to use it more often, especially in relation to cross-border disputes. The Commission is therefore urged to submit a legislative proposal on the use of ADR in the EU by the end of 2011 and it is emphasised that it is important to adopt this proposal swiftly. I am convinced that it is necessary to encourage the use of alternative means of dispute resolution which are accessible, easy to use, effective and cheap, and which make it possible to establish and maintain quality and trust-based commercial, economic, social and neighbourly relations and to contribute to a high level of consumer protection in a win-win situation, with benefits for both sides as compared to current judicial practice. On the basis of the data collected and a solid impact assessment in compliance with the improved regulation rules, the Commission must explore laying down minimum standards of ADR across sectors, while developing existing schemes and encouraging Member States to also increase funding in sectors covered by schemes, bearing in mind that, although it provides parties with a low cost alternative, ADR must not be ‘justice on the cheap’.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I welcome the recent Commission consultation on ADR which, despite its wide-ranging title, is exclusively targeted at consumer transactions. However, I believe that ADR forms part of a general ‘justice-for-growth’ agenda across sectors and take the view that any approach to ADR should go beyond consumer disputes so as to include business-to-business civil and commercial transactions, irrespective of whether they are carried out between private or public undertakings, family disputes, defamation cases and other general interest disputes or ones involving parties with different legal statuses.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing.(IT) Access to justice is a fundamental right: our task must be to create simpler and clearer procedures to meet the needs of European citizens and businesses. The judicial process and alternative means of dispute settlement seek to restore legal peace between parties in dispute, to suitably safeguard individuals’ substantive rights, and to settle disputes between parties.

Alternative dispute resolution, which helps parties avoid traditional adjudicative procedures, is certainly capable of constituting a quick and cost-effective alternative, a mechanism for reaching out-of-court settlements by helping consumers and traders to resolve conflicts through the intervention of a third party (mediator or arbitrator). We have seen that in many countries, public authorities (ombudsmen and regulatory authorities) play an important role in encouraging the resolution of disputes, thus helping to strengthen citizens’ confidence and trust in the enforcement of law.

Therefore, we think it appropriate to take legislative measures aimed at raising awareness and encouraging the use of alternative dispute resolution systems in civil, commercial and family matters, especially in relation to cross-border disputes, bearing in mind that judicial procedures for resolving such disputes are more complex, expensive and lengthy.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) The lack of even development of alternative means of dispute resolution throughout the EU is a major obstacle to their use. I therefore agree fully with the rapporteur on the fact that there is the need for a system which is operational across the EU.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – Consumer protection and confidence have become increasingly important for the effective functioning of the single market, which can be strengthened through adequate law enforcement and by paving the way for more effective alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ADR schemes are quicker and more informal and offer practical solutions. It is vital that these schemes go beyond consumer disputes, that they are completely transparent, and that they are independently monitored. I support this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – This report, prepared in enhanced cooperation with the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, examines options for alternative dispute resolution (i.e. resolving disputes out of court) in advance of the Commission’s proposal on the subject, which is expected in the next month. Whilst people’s access to justice must continue to be guaranteed, there are many types of dispute that can be resolved easily and relatively cheaply out of court – for example, customer complaints, divorce proceedings, etc. – and this report looks at ways to encourage that. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the proposal presented because it is essential to develop the scope of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Above all, this method must be used to resolve civil, commercial and family matters. Consequently, I welcome the proposal calling on the Commission to submit a legislative proposal on the use of ADR in the EU by the end of 2011 and to also set out minimum standards of ADR across sectors.

It should be noted that ADR must be used as a flexible, effective and, at the same time, relatively fair means of settling disputes, and sufficient funding should therefore be allocated to the implementation of this method across sectors, so that such dispute resolution does not become ‘justice on the cheap’.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) Having practised as a lawyer and having faced encumbrances and delays in the dispensation of justice in almost all civil and commercial cases brought before the Greek courts, I cannot but vote in favour of the present report. Civil and commercial law are governed by the principle of private initiative, by the initiative of the litigants, meaning that these sectors are ideal for alternative dispute resolution, given that parties want a fast resolution to their dispute for the sake of security of law, planning and competitiveness. Alternative dispute resolution, in the way in which and for the disputes for which it is proposed, aims to optimise the efficient dispensation of justice, harmonise the rules of alternative dispute resolution in the common market, for the benefit of parties at European level, and speed up proceedings. Of course, as the proposed changes are implemented and national rules converge, the specificities of each Member State’s legal system will need to be taken into account and particular attention will need to be paid to technical details during their application and to ensuring that the results are transparent. However, the report is a step in the right direction.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I believe that alternative dispute resolution methods enabling the parties to avoid traditional means of arbitration could constitute a rapid and economically advantageous alternative to legal action, so I voted in favour. I support the Commission’s intention of encouraging the use of alternative means of dispute resolution that are accessible, swift, effective and cheap, with benefits for both sides as compared to current judicial practice.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) I agree with the principle that access to justice is a fundamental right, and I therefore consider that the promotion and knowledge by EU citizens of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) schemes is an essential priority in order to guarantee adequate protection in disputes between interested parties, and to ensure that citizens have faith in the internal market, thus boosting its economy. I voted in favour of the motion tabled in committee with the aim of facilitating the application of ADR and encouraging natural and legal persons to use it more often.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this report on alternative dispute resolution in civil, commercial and family matters. Out-of-court dispute settlement is an effective, accessible and simple means of restoring legal peace between parties, and it can be more widely used if we promote better awareness and understanding of the relevant mechanisms.

Justice is a fundamental right, and expedient access to it across the EU Member States’ borders is essential in order to consolidate undertakings’ and consumers’ trust in the internal market as a safe environment in which to do business and to shop. However, in contrast to the approach taken in the Commission’s consultation, our contention is that the scope of alternative dispute resolution should not be confined to commercial matters. Our constituents are citizens, not merely consumers. Other civil matters, including family disputes, increasingly extend beyond the borders of individual Member States, as our citizens enjoy the dividends of European integration. Common standards for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, especially as regards impartiality, transparency, fairness and confidentiality, are key to establishing easy and trusted access to justice across the EU, and they need to be underpinned by cross-border enforceability.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) From the EU’s point of view, it is indispensable that the institutions of justice work properly if the public is to have confidence in the single market. As such, the EU has been seeking for a long time to prevent the emergence of cases of accountability vacuum resulting from the existence of legal systems that are very different from each other: such vacuums contribute, in the end, to exacerbating the lack of trust between the citizens of the various Member States. These problems have also been exacerbated by the volume of cases passing through the courts in all the Member States. Put simply, in addition to our being confronted with very different legal systems, on the one hand, the legal systems themselves have been functioning increasingly less efficiently, on the other. Alternative means of dispute resolution could therefore play an important role: at a time when court involvement is resulting from such diverse demands, it is right that the public justice system should offer means that manage to ensure the stability and security of the various relationships and legal peace between stakeholders on a case-by-case basis. I believe these dispute resolution methods contribute to public confidence in the justice system, so I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Today in the House, we voted on Ms Wallis’s report on alternative dispute resolution in civil, commercial and family matters. The report is a response to the consultation process carried out by the European Commission into the possibility of introducing a common legislative measure on alternative dispute resolution (ADR), a mechanism for reaching out-of-court settlements by helping consumers and traders to resolve conflicts through the intervention of a third party (mediator or arbitrator).

More specifically, the text adopted highlights some basic prerequisites for ADR procedures, such as the impartiality of third parties and the need to safeguard the diverse nature of procedures. Finally, it emphasises the importance of ADR as a preventive tool for resolving multiple disputes, and a useful tool for avoiding collective redress action before the courts.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing. (FR) By adopting this report, the European Parliament is sending a strong message to the European Commission in favour of supporting improvement to cross-border access to justice for European citizens and companies, by developing and promoting alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods in the EU. Two elements of this report seem essential to me. Firstly, the text issues guiding principles to be respected in the area of the ADR systems introduced in Europe. Among them, the independence and impartiality of the mediators, their competence, as well as the guarantee of a very reasonable cost – or even no cost at all – for the consumer who uses this system, are fundamental points in my view. Furthermore, the development of these systems only has meaning if, at the same time, citizens are more aware of their existence. The report also stresses the need to devise communication campaigns around ADR. To my mind, this is vital. Finally, the text points out that ADR and collective redress, far from being mutually exclusive, complement each other. Given how committed I am to the implementation of collective redress at European level, I am glad that this idea is mentioned in the report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. Non-controversial issue. It is simply a call for improving information about rights and their enforcement and information on alternative dispute resolution schemes targeted, in particular, at citizens and SMEs.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Olga Sehnalová (S&D), in writing. (CS) I voted for the adoption of the report. The advantages of alternative dispute resolution are clear, consisting mainly of simplicity, low cost and shorter time compared to court proceedings. For the entire system to be fit for purpose, however, we must not only guarantee European citizens access to this option, but above all – and this is absolutely vital, in my view – inform them sufficiently about the actual essence and possibilities of out-of-court dispute resolution. Lack of awareness among citizens, consumers and businesses is one of the main reasons behind the frequent shortfalls in the use and efficiency of this instrument in various EU Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Parliament has voted today on the report on alternative dispute resolution in civil, commercial and family matters, in response to the consultation launched by the European Commission on this issue to analyse the possibility of developing a harmonised legal framework for these areas, whilst retaining the currently existing structures. I believe that alternative models for dispute resolution are an option to be considered and that their potential has still not been fully explored. In addition, on-line transactions demand effective and adequate dispute resolution, so they deserve particular attention in the implementation of alternative methods. Such dispute resolution alternatives are less costly, are quicker, and offer practical solutions with fewer formalities, making them more attractive to the public. Such measures are of enormous importance to the smooth operation of the European internal market, specifically as regards consumer protection, since they enable rules to be properly implemented, so earning the confidence of consumers and businesses.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) The aim of creating simple, clear procedures is to meet the needs of citizens and businesses. Since the citizens of the EU are not fully aware of the alternative dispute resolution procedures, they are, unfortunately, not being used to their full extent, despite the fact that this is often the most cost-effective option. Therefore, it is essential to publicise these procedures more widely. Some measures also need to be taken with regard to the legislation. The main obstacle to the use of the procedures is that the existing mechanisms have become distorted because of a lack of even development. These loopholes must be closed as quickly as possible. I have voted in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tadeusz Zwiefka (PPE), in writing.(PL) The report on alternative dispute resolution is another document on alternative dispute resolution methods, following the document on the implementation of the directive on mediation that we voted on during the last part-session. It is a step in the direction of suggesting non-judicial alternatives for claiming rights and resolving conflicts. Notwithstanding the existence of various instruments in the legal systems of the Members States, which often enable a dispute to be resolved in a less costly, more timely and less stressful manner for both parties, European citizens and businesses have no confidence in these mechanisms. Arbitration, mediation and all types of out-of-court negotiation are still not very well known, and therefore do not enjoy the confidence of the public. The opinion that a settlement reached in this way will not be legally binding is widespread, which also mitigates against more extensive use of these instruments. Consensual dispute resolution is, in my opinion, an appropriate alternative for a whole variety of conflicts, including the very sensitive area of family law.

I agree with the proposal included in the report regarding the setting out of minimum standards which would provide the framework for alternative dispute resolution in the Member States. These proposals, however, cannot undermine the diversity of the system and the need to safeguard the principle of flexibility in responding to citizens’ problems. This flexibility is the greatest benefit of all methods of consensual dispute resolution.

 
  
  

Report: Crescenzio Rivellini (A7-0328/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this draft report as I support the discharge procedures.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The EU is an institutional triangle. Each of the institutions has its own interest. The Council must learn to respect Parliament, the only institution elected by universal suffrage and which has the responsibility of representing the European people. Consequently, it is up to Parliament to grant budgetary discharge to the Council. The latter should therefore play along and provide the necessary information for this procedure to run smoothly. Today, we are rejecting the Council’s discharge, for we believe that the ground rules are not being abided by. Indeed, the Council is refusing to respond to questions and therefore to provide the information that the budgetary authority is asking for.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the European Parliament report refusing discharge to the Council in respect of the implementation of the 2009 budget. As the only elected institution of the European Union, the European Parliament has the powers to verify and, if it deems appropriate, to grant discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union and, hence, of all its individual bodies, with the aim of providing comprehensive and fully transparent information to European citizens and of guaranteeing democratic scrutiny and political appraisal of its fiscal management. The important documents submitted by the Council are a constructive step towards ensuring the democratic accountability of the Council’s administrative budget.

However, Parliament feels that it has not received satisfactory replies to outstanding questions and the administration of the Council has refused to meet with the competent parliamentary committee. The report therefore rightly refuses discharge in respect of the implementation of the Council budget until such time as Parliament has been provided with all the necessary documents and has performed the corresponding checks.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marielle De Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The Council was refused the vote of its discharge for implementing its 2009 budget. According to the Treaty, the European Parliament is the budgetary control authority and has sole authority to grant discharge. Thus, the Council must provide Parliament with any information it deems necessary. By refusing to answer our questions, the Council is, in fact, refusing to inform the European citizens on the way it manages the money that European taxpayers have entrusted to it. To grant discharge, we must have access to the accounts. As long as the Council refuses to comply, the European Parliament will not be able to grant discharge. This is the very principle of democratic control that our Parliament must exercise.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I supported Ms Rivellini’s position, which is to refuse the 2009 discharge, for it is up to the European Parliament to control the European budget in complete transparency. As the rapporteur points out, discharge to the Council cannot be granted unless there is transparency over how the allotted budget is used. What is at stake is our citizens’ confidence in the European institutions and ensuring that public funds are being well spent.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the proposal on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2009, Section II – Council. I regret the fact that Parliament, as the institution responsible for deciding on the discharge of the implementation of the European Union general budget, has not received all the necessary information, and I think there is a need to step up interinstitutional cooperation in this area if we are to have greater transparency of the public accounts.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Once again, Parliament is forced to refuse the Secretary-General of the Council discharge of the implementation of the Council budget for the 2009 financial year. The decision that has just been adopted once again reflects the Council’s persistent failure to cooperate as regards the implementation and transparency of its budget. In the name of transparency and rigour, which the public needs, I do not consider the Council exonerated from its responsibility to publicly account for the funds made available to it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) According to the European Transparency Initiative, European citizens have the right to know how taxpayers’ money is being spent and how the power entrusted to political authorities is exercised. Under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Parliament exercises political oversight on the institutions of the European Union, by granting discharge according to reports drafted by the Court of Auditors. This report, drafted by Mr Rivellini, concerns discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2009, Section II – Council, and its tabling has already been postponed once because Parliament had not received a series of answers to previously asked questions. As the requested issues have been clarified and the Council’s spending examined in the same way as that of the other European institutions, I am voting for this motion for a resolution of the European Parliament, which includes observations forming an integral part of its decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the EU general budget for the financial year 2009, Section II – Council.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) For the second time, Parliament is refusing to grant the Secretary-General of the Council discharge in respect of the implementation of the Council budget for the financial year 2009. The basis for this refusal is a dispute between the Council and Parliament, in which Parliament has repeatedly blamed the Council for not receiving the information necessary for fully exercising its power of overseeing budgetary implementation. Parliament believes the Council’s spending should be examined in the same way as that of the other institutions, but the Council has not provided the elements necessary for a rigorous examination, so the necessary transparency of budgetary implementation is at risk.

At the time of the first debate in plenary, the Council submitted the additional documents requested by Parliament, and the Presidency of the Council participated in the debate on discharge in respect of implementation for the financial year 2009. However, the decision on discharge was postponed because Parliament had not received answers to certain unresolved issues. Following this formal refusal, it is to be hoped that the Council will now agree to provide all the information and supply all the requested documents.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The Council administration should bow to democratic accountability and the EU’s citizens as far as use of the EU’s financial resources is concerned. Parliament is the only directly elected institution of the EU, and it grants discharge for fulfilment of the EU’s general budget. It is pleasing that the Council submitted the requested documents to Parliament, and that the Presidency of the Council then took part in the discussion in the plenary on granting discharge for 2009. Parliament postponed the discharge, however, as it had not received any responses to a number of pending issues concerning the 2009 Council discharge.

In my opinion, a distinction must be maintained in respect of the different roles of Parliament and the Council in the discharge procedure and the Council administration (its General Secretariat), as with the other administrations of Union institutions, including the Parliament administration itself, should be subject to the control of the Court of Auditors and, via the discharge procedure set out in the TFEU, should be fully accountable to Union citizens for the implementation of their respective budgets. In light of the other two reports, among other things, the Committee on Budgetary Control refuses to grant the Secretary-General of the Council discharge in respect of the implementation of the Council budget for the financial year 2009.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed the position of the European Parliament not to grant the Secretary-General of the Council discharge in respect of the implementation of the Council budget for the financial year 2009 because there are a number of outstanding questions. The discharge was postponed as Parliament had not received any responses to a number of these. The Council administration has not accepted any invitation to meet the Parliament Committee responsible for the discharge procedure in order to discuss matters concerning execution of the Council budget for 2009. Parliament has not received from the Council administration the information and documents requested, the main elements of the Council’s discharge. I am convinced and agree that the expenditure of the Council must be scrutinised in the same way as that of the other institutions, and the fundamental elements of such scrutiny should include a formal meeting to be held between representatives of the Council and the Parliament Committee responsible for the discharge procedure, possibly ‘in camera’, in order to answer committee members’ questions. In addition, as indicated in its resolution of 16 June 2010 concerning the 2008 Council discharge procedure, the discharge should be based on the following written documents submitted by all institutions: accounts of the preceding financial year relating to the implementation of their budgets, a financial statement of their assets and liabilities, the Annual Activity Report on their budget and financial management, and the annual report of their internal auditor.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing.(IT) Today, we are refusing to grant the Secretary-General of the Council discharge in respect of the implementation of the Council budget for the financial year 2009. The decision has been made necessary in view of the difficulties encountered in the discharge procedures for the financial years 2007-2009. The purpose of Parliament having the right to grant discharge is to submit the entire budget of the European Union to Parliamentary control, without exception. This Parliament has expressed its concerns about the behaviour of the Council in several resolutions. Despite some progress towards democratic accountability having been made, in particular, through the receipt of a letter from the Secretary-General of the Council containing a series of documents relating to the discharge procedure for the financial year 2009, we cannot yet grant discharge while information required to make the decision has still not been received.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report, which reminds the Court of Auditors of Parliament’s suggestion to perform an in-depth assessment of supervisory and control systems in the Council, similar to the assessments it performed on the Court of Justice, the European Ombudsman and the European Data Protection Supervisor, in the course of preparing the Court of Auditors’ annual report concerning the financial year 2010.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the European Parliament’s second report, which refuses to grant budgetary discharge to the Council for implementing the 2009 budget. Indeed, Parliament is the only institution authorised to grant budgetary discharge and has not received from the Council all the documents and information it requested. Neither did Council representatives accept the invitation from members of the Committee on Budgetary Control to the Committee meeting of 22 September 2011. Since they have the discharge authority, it is incumbent on MEPs to be accountable to citizens for the way in which taxpayers’ money is spent. If we do not have sufficient information from the Council to ensure that its budget is properly managed, then we should not grant discharge to that institution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2009, Section II – Council. I agree, in particular, with the clarifications regarding Parliament’s right to grant discharge.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The Council asserts that it received budget discharge when the Commission budget discharge was granted in May 2011: it bases this on the Treaty specification that only the Commission has to be granted budget discharge. The Council considers that ‘separate negotiations on the Council discharge 2009 after closure of the accounts had no legal basis’. On the other hand, Parliament’s legal view is that ‘closure of accounts does not mean that discharge is granted’. Parliament, in its role as budget discharge authority, has to be satisfied that EU funds have been correctly used by all institutions, including the Council. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The right to parliamentary control and scrutiny of the sections of the EU budget is enshrined in the EU Treaties. We need to put a stop to the practice of transferring individual discharge decisions to all institutions. The responsibility for implementing the budget rests with the institution concerned and should not be shifted onto the Commission. In particular, outstanding questions that are raised by the European Parliament during the discharge procedure – as was the case in the procedure for 2009 – should actually be answered by the Council. Moreover, the refusal of the Council to answer these questions contravenes the agreed reciprocity with regard to the transmission of documents and the answering of questions.

Control by the Court of Auditors is also separated from those institutions by the Commission, and discharge can only be granted by the European Parliament. It is precisely this democratic accountability that must be retained in the interests of the citizens, all the more so since there has, for many years, been a trend to outsource responsibilities to EU agencies. I voted against the report on account of this outsourcing trend.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, in which Parliament refuses to grant the Secretary-General of the Council discharge in respect of the implementation of the Council budget for the financial year 2009, since there are still documents that need to be submitted. I agree with the need to improve transparency in the implementation of Union legislation, and with the right of European citizens to be better informed. I agree with the desire expressed by the European Parliament to reach an agreement with the Council as quickly as possible on the frameworks for correspondence when discharging implementation of the European Union general budget. Scrutiny of the accounts of all the European institutions is crucial to the credibility of all of its bodies.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The implementation of the EU budget is, as it should be, subject to the oversight of the European Parliament, as the assembly of the representatives of the European public. This requires more than merely a passive posture from the European institutions; quite the contrary. It presupposes a climate of cooperation, in which the European Parliament assumes a leading role because of its direct democratic legitimacy. Failure to grant discharge is therefore justified until a series of questions judged essential to the granting of discharge have been answered. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Today in the House, we voted on the refusal to grant discharge to the Council of the European Union. The impossibility of obtaining the necessary documentation, the lack of cooperation shown by the Council to Parliament, and the decision not to acknowledge the latter’s legitimacy as discharge authority, are the main reasons justifying the extremely negative opinion of the expenditure of the institution that brings together the Heads of State or Government of the 27 Member States.

According to the Treaties, Parliament has the right and duty to check the expenditure of the European Union institutions, in order to guarantee its legitimacy and control on behalf of citizens. In recent months, there has been all kinds of pressure claiming lese-majestie to a gentlemen’s agreement whereby Parliament was reduced to being a ‘spare wheel’ for the other institutions. Parliament is a representative institution, not a self-referential one. It is the expression of the will of European citizens, and has the right to check the accounts of the other institutions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. In fact, it has almost the same content as the first report, but with some stronger formulations because the Council did not move at all in providing the requested information and refused to show up at meetings of the Committee on Budgetary Control. Furthermore, it is updated, taking account of the opinions of the Parliament and Council Legal Services. A large majority of the Committee on Budgetary Control are in favour of not granting discharge. The non-cooperative attitude of the Council leaves us and all other groups no other choice than to refuse discharge.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Transparency Initiative stresses that ‘citizens have the right to know how their taxes are being spent and how the power entrusted to political bodies is handled’, so it is clear that the European institutions should improve transparency in the implementation of Union legislation. Pursuant to Articles 316, 317 and 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Parliament has granted discharge in respect of all the Union accounts for the financial year 2009, including those of the Council. I agree with the proposal to refuse to grant the Secretary-General of the Council discharge in respect of the implementation of the Council budget for the financial year 2009, since a formal meeting needs to be held between the representatives of the Council and the parliamentary committee responsible for the discharge process. The Council must also send all the documentation required by the European Parliament, since that is the only way it will be possible to undertake a rigorous and transparent analysis of the aforementioned accounts. I also believe the European Parliament should carry out a political assessment of the institution’s financial management during the year under examination, thereby guaranteeing the public that public money is properly managed and spent.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Thomas Ulmer (PPE), in writing. (DE) I was pleased to vote in favour of this proposal for a decision. As the Council has constantly refused to disclose its budget for 2009, Parliament has rightly refused to grant discharge in respect of the budget. As the body responsible for monitoring budgets, Parliament must be able to investigate whether the Council’s spending is legitimate, in the interests of the citizens of Europe. In its role of budget authority, Parliament is also responsible for the Council budget. The ongoing refusal of the Council to disclose details of its budget is damaging the reputation of the whole of Europe. It gives rise to the suspicion that the Council has something to hide.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Geoffrey Van Orden (ECR), in writing. – By voting in favour of the Rivellini report, I voted against granting discharge to the Council’s 2009 budget. I felt this should not be signed off until Parliament received all the budgetary information it had requested. Only in this way can MEPs properly scrutinise the expenditure. I believe that the overall EU budget should be reduced and therefore the budgets of all the EU institutions need to be cut. Our think-tank, New Direction, has, for example, just published a report on cutting the costs of Parliament. Similar strictures need to be imposed on the Council secretariat.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) The European Parliament has refused to grant discharge in respect of the Council budget for 2009, as too many of Parliament’s questions have still not been answered by the Council. It must be possible to inform citizens about the use to which their taxes are being put and the Council is obliged to follow the same rules as other EU bodies. I have voted in favour of this report.

 
  
  

Report: Salvatore Tatarella (A7-0282/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) Mr Tatarella’s report relates to the reduction in emissions of gaseous and particulate pollutants by narrow-track tractors. These reductions are governed by a system of stages. At each stage, there is a maximum emission level that must not be exceeded and the installation of more efficient technological systems. Although the reduction in emissions of gaseous and particulate pollutants is vital, I agree with Mr Tatarella, who highlights the difficulties manufacturers will have in complying with the technological requirements, despite the introduction date of the various stages being postponed. Sometimes, it is better to let well alone.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) This proposal is aimed at amending Directive 2000/25/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2000 on action to be taken against the emission of gaseous and particulate pollutants by engines intended to power agricultural or forestry tractors. The objective of this directive is to guarantee the free movement of agricultural and forestry tractors whilst reducing permissible exhaust emission levels of engines in order to protect the health and wellbeing of citizens and the environment. The directive sets emission limit values which are gradually reduced. Independent experts and stakeholders concur that the limits for the agricultural tractor types covered by the proposed amendment are not technically feasible. Severe disruption to the internal market and to the agricultural sectors using those tractors would thus result if entry into force were not delayed. I welcome the Commission’s proposal to postpone by three years the date of the introduction of the requirements for tractors in the relevant categories.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing. (IT) Directive 2000/25/EC lays down the conditions for the commissioning of tractors with regard to harmful exhaust emissions and sets increasingly ambitious objectives via progressive stages which limit exhaust emissions. The report in question looks at the application of specific emission stages for narrow-track tractors, that is to say, those used in orchards and vineyards. Given that the size and manoeuvrability of these tractors are determined by the layout of the crops, an increase in their size or reduction in their manoeuvrability would, in my view, risk depriving the most advanced and productive area of European farming of its main mechanisation tool.

I therefore agree with this report when it recognises the technical impossibility of installing compliant engines in narrow-track tractors, especially in stages IIIB and IV of Directive 2000/25/EC, because this would alter their operational functionality. I furthermore welcome the rapporteur’s request that the industry should be given more time to bring itself into line with the new engine standards. Finally, I hope the directive being debated will be swiftly adopted in order to clarify the mandatory machinery requirements for the industry in question.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because transport and emissions from transport are some of the main sources of air pollution. There are limits on emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulates and, in future, this will be regulated by several directives which will enter into force on 1 January 2012 and on 1 January 2014. The directives on emissions limitations apply to agricultural tractor engines as regards limiting the amount of emissions they produce. Currently, one of the biggest problems is the fact that if tractor manufacturers installed after-treatment systems in engines, then they would not be able to ensure that the vehicles would meet the operational requirements in terms of size and manoeuvrability. This document therefore requests that narrow-track tractors be either completely exempted from the scope of the requirements of the new directives or that their entry into force be postponed for at least five years. The consolidation of an exemption would be a better solution because the directive on limitations on transport emissions that will come into force would thus help to reduce atmospheric and noise pollution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andrea Cozzolino (S&D), in writing. (IT) The exhaust emission limits for agricultural and forestry tractors were changed in 2005. When that change was introduced, the requirements were also applied in full to agricultural tractor engines without any specific impact assessment concerning the technical feasibility of doing so. However, there have clearly been difficulties in applying the measure to tractors – generically called ‘narrow-track tractors’ – used for automated cultivation procedures on terrain which presents certain distinctive features, such as orchards and vineyards.

The technical impossibility of installing compliant engines, whilst maintaining the tractors’ operational functionality and manoeuvrability, if not corrected, would cause serious difficulties to some of the most advanced and productive agricultural sectors, further exacerbating the effects of the ongoing economic crisis. In complete compliance with the European policy to fight for emission reduction, which needs to be developed, the current unusual situation in the economy in general, and the sector in particular, fully justifies the decision to postpone the application of the standards for three years. This will allow the parallel development of the essential design and technology necessary for the application, also to narrow-track tractors, of after-treatment systems able to guarantee compliance with emission restrictions, without compromising operational requirements.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the application of emission stages for narrow-track tractors, since independent studies and Commission statistics show that more time is needed to enable manufacturers to develop systems that meet the requirements of Directive 2000/25/EC. I welcome the introduction of a requirement that the Commission must submit annual progress reports to the European Parliament and the Council regarding the development of technical solutions, with a view to compliance with the EU’s policy of reducing emissions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Everyone is responsible for protecting the environment, and any political agenda wishing to be responsible has to prioritise it. I support reducing emissions of toxic gases into the atmosphere wherever possible, and I want us to be able to move towards industrial production, and the use of vehicles, technologies and machines that pollute ever less. However, changes that are too rapid and requirements that are too stringent in relation to how machines and vehicles are operated could threaten jobs and the viability of numerous companies and farms. We therefore need to seek a fair balance between conflicting interests, bearing in mind that people and the continuation of their activities cannot be taken in isolation from their surroundings. In this case, this balance has been sought by granting manufacturers more time to develop systems that are more environmentally adequate.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report concerns a Commission proposal to postpone deadlines included in Directive 2000/52/EC on compression ignition engines with a power range between 18 kW and 560 kW intended for installation on agricultural or forestry tractors. This directive sets the limits for emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulates. The directive lays down progressively lower limit values for the successive stages corresponding to the various dates set for the adaptation of maximum emission levels for exhaust gases and particulates. The next stages laid down are Stage IIIB, which begins on 1 January 2011, and Stage IV, which begins on 1 January 2014. In light of independent studies and statistics compiled by the Commission showing that more time is needed to enable manufacturers to develop systems that comply with Stage IV, I understand the need to postpone by three years the date for the entry into force of Stages IIIB and IV for tractors in categories T2, C2 and T4.1. I am also bound to express my support for the EU’s policy of reducing emissions and for Directive 2000/25/EC.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This directive concerns compression ignition engines with a power range between 18 kW and 560 kW intended for installation on agricultural or forestry tractors. Its purpose is to set limits for emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulates, which were changed in 2005 without any specific impact assessment concerning the technical feasibility of doing so. In order to comply with these limits, after-treatment systems need to be installed in the engine compartment, which occupy a large amount of space in comparison to the size of the engine itself, meaning that they cause technical problems and that there is no guarantee of the tractor working properly. The Commission believes more time is needed to enable manufacturers to develop systems that comply, so it is proposing to postpone for three years the obligation to comply with Stage IIIB and Stage IV requirements for tractors in categories T2, C2 and T4.1. The proposal is reasonable. There is no doubt that reducing air emission levels so as to improve air quality is an important ambition, and one for which we have fought. Measures for achieving this involve technological research and development, but also incentives for the agricultural sector to change to and acquire up-to-date technologies as regards lower emissions, in particular, small and medium-sized farmers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The directive that is the subject of this report concerns compression ignition engines with a power range between 18 kW and 560 kW intended for installation on agricultural or forestry tractors. Its purpose is to set limits for emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulates, which were changed in 2005 without any specific impact assessment concerning the technical feasibility of doing so. In order to comply with these limits, after-treatment systems need to be installed in the engine compartment, which occupy a large amount of space in comparison to the size of the engine itself, meaning that they pose technical problems and that there is no guarantee of the tractor working properly. As such, the Commission believes more time is needed to enable manufacturers to develop systems that comply, so it is suggesting the postponement by three years of the obligation to comply with the proposed requirements.

The proposal is reasonable. There is no doubt that reducing air emission levels into the atmosphere so as to improve air quality is an important ambition, and one for which we have fought. Measures for achieving this involve technological research and development, but also incentives for the agricultural sector to change to and acquire up-to-date technologies relating to lower emissions, in particular, small and medium-sized farmers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The proposal includes an amendment to the directive on action to be taken against the emission of gaseous and particulate pollutants by engines intended to power agricultural or forestry tractors. Its aim is to ensure the free movement of this farm machinery, while, at the same time, reducing the permitted level of engine exhaust gas emissions in order to protect the health and quality of life of people and the environment. The directive lays down progressively lower limit values for the successive stages corresponding to the various dates set for adaptation to maximum emission levels for exhaust gases and particulates. Technical studies carried out in 2007, 2009 and 2010, and confirmed by an impact assessment carried out by the Commission, showed that it was not technically feasible for tractors in categories T2, C2 and T4.1 to meet the requirements of stages IIIB and IV within the set deadlines.

In order to prevent the establishment, through Union legislation, of technical requirements that cannot be met, and to prevent a situation where tractors in the previously mentioned category could not be type approved and placed on the market or put into service, it is necessary to establish a transitional period of three years, within which these tractors can still be type approved and placed on the market or put into service. In my opinion, Directive 2000/25/EC should therefore be amended accordingly.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Françoise Grossetête (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this proposal for a directive, which was approved at first reading. The action taken against the emission of gaseous and particulate pollutants by engines intended to power agricultural or forestry tractors has been very satisfactory.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because this proposal to amend Directive 2000/25/EC would postpone for three years the obligation to comply with Stage IIIB and Stage IV requirements for tractors in categories T2, C2 and T4.1. This directive concerns compression ignition engines intended for agricultural or forestry tractors. The directive sets limits for emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulates. The directive lays down progressively lower limit values for the successive stages corresponding to the various dates set for the adaptation of maximum emission levels for exhaust gases and particulates. The stringent requirements laid down for Stages IIIB and IV include the installation in the engine compartment of after-treatment systems which occupy a large amount of space in comparison to the size of the engine itself. Furthermore, the possibility of installing such systems is seriously restricted by the engine’s operational requirements. While the same kind of engines are used for narrow-track tractors as for other tractors, there is one major difference: the small size of the engine compartment, and the restricted space around it. Tractor manufacturers cannot install engines equipped with after-treatment systems while, at the same time, ensuring the vehicles meet the operational requirements, in terms of size and manoeuvrability, which are the essential elements of such vehicles’ design. It should be noted that such were also the conclusions reached in various studies commissioned by the Commission, which recommended either that narrow-track tractors should be completely exempted from the obligation to comply with Stage IIIB and Stage IV requirements, or that the obligation to comply be postponed for at least five years.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) As a farmer, I fully appreciate how important – and indeed essential – a tractor is as a tool in the day-to-day work of a farm. In recent decades, development of the motor industry has allowed the production of increasingly advanced models of these vehicles, as well as the manufacture of special-purpose tractors intended for work with specific crops on specific terrain, such as vineyards, for example. Tractors in these categories – T2, C2 and T4.1 – are called narrow-track tractors. In view of their construction, the installation of after-treatment systems in the engine compartment is made particularly difficult. Manufacturers need more time to develop new technological solutions which will allow the use of exhaust-reduction systems without affecting the safety and efficiency of these tractors. In relation to this, I fully endorse the proposal of the European Commission to postpone the date of the introduction of Stage IIIB and Stage IV of Directive 2000/25/EC for narrow-track tractors.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I fully endorse the EU’s policy of reducing emissions and support Directive 2000/25/EC. However, independent studies and the data compiled by the Commission show that more time is required to enable manufacturers to develop Stage IIIB-compliant systems. I therefore support the Commission’s proposal to postpone by three years the date of the introduction of Stage IIIB and Stage IV for tractors in categories T2, T4.1, C2.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) In 2005, emission limits were applied to agricultural tractor engines without any specific impact assessment concerning the technical feasibility of doing so. Therefore, it is right that the Commission has granted a three-year delay. I voted in favour of Mr Tatarella’s report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted against this resolution because I believe that it is appropriate to apply stringent requirements to the installation of after-treatment systems in the engine compartment of narrow-track tractors.

Above all, we must set out requirements that would promote the reduction of emissions from engines intended for agricultural and forestry tractors in order to guarantee a high level of environmental protection and wellbeing for European citizens.

It should be noted that narrow-track tractors currently used cause heavy pollution and pose a risk to the safety of workers. Consequently, the industrial sector should endeavour to replace old polluting tractors with modern technology as soon as possible, as this would guarantee lower emissions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this report on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the application of emission stages for narrow-track tractors. I support the EU’s policy of reducing emissions. However, in light of independent studies and statistics compiled by the Commission showing that more time is needed to enable manufacturers to develop new systems, I agree with the Commission proposal of postponing by three years the date for the entry into force of the new obligations regarding emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulates.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) The proposal for a directive amending Directive 2000/25/EC concerning the emissions of agricultural tractors with compression ignition engines with a power range between 18 kW and 560 kW provides for the gradual, phased reduction of emissions, laying down progressively lower limit values for the various stages. The next stages, already laid down, are for 1 January 2011 (Stage IIIB) and 1 January 2014 (Stage IV) and will involve the installation in the engine compartment of after-treatment systems which occupy a large amount of space in comparison to the size of the engine itself. This will make it impossible to ensure that the tractors classified as category T2, C2 and T4.1 (under the generic name of ‘narrow-track tractors’) meet the operational requirements, in terms of size and manoeuvrability. The restricted possibility of installing such systems does not guarantee the engine’s operational requirements as proven by various studies carried out or commissioned by the Commission, and, as a result, narrow-track tractors should be exempted from the obligation to comply with Stage IIIB and Stage IV requirements, or the obligation to comply should be postponed for at least five years.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. – Directive 2000/25/EC reduces the permissible levels of exhaust (gaseous and particle) emissions from engines in agricultural and forestry tractors. An amendment in 2005 introducing ambitious reduction targets in PM and NOx values provided for a possibility for the Commission to conduct a technical review in order to examine the available technology, with a view to confirming Stage IIIB and IV limit values, and evaluate the possible need for additional flexibilities, exemptions or later introduction dates for certain types of equipment or engines. The Commission conducted this review and came to the conclusion that for engine categories T2, C2, and T4.1, it was appropriate to postpone for 3 years the introduction of Category IIIB and IV for narrow-track tractors with a maximum width of 1.15 m, as relevant data confirmed that more time is required to enable manufacturers to develop Stage IIIB-compliant systems. I strongly support the proposal, which asks the Commission to present the EP, on a yearly basis, with a progress report on the development of technical solutions for Stage IV.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Directive 2000/52/EC sets the limits for emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulates from compression ignition engines with a power range between 18 kW and 560 kW intended for installation on agricultural or forestry tractors. However, following the process of implementing the directive itself, it has emerged that the tractor manufacturers are still not able to meet all the requirements for Stages IIIB and IV. The extension of the deadline for adaptation by three years is therefore justified. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The Commission proposal amends existing legislation on limits to pollutant emissions from engines intended to power agricultural and forestry tractors. The existing legislation provides for current Stage III A limits to be replaced by more stringent Stage IIIB limits, entering into force progressively from 1 January 2011 with regard to placing on the market, and from 1 January 2010 as regards the type approval for those engines. Directive 2000/25/EC provides for a review clause in order to take into account the specificities of tractors of categories T2, T4.1 and C.2 called narrow-track tractors (maximum width less than 1.15 m). As a result of technical studies carried out in 2007, 2009 and 2010, the Commission has established that it is not technically feasible for tractors classified within the categories T2, C2 and T4.1 to meet the requirements of stages IIIB and IV by the dates set out in the directive. A delay of 3 years for Stage IIIB and Stage IV requirements is proposed by the Commission.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for this text because it sets new limits for emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulates for agricultural and forestry ‘narrow-track’ tractors. This is a natural choice, which aims to step up the reduction in pollutant emissions for this particular category of vehicle as well. Furthermore, in order to accommodate the needs of the main manufacturers, who are requesting more time to be able to develop systems able to meet these objectives, I consider the Commission’s proposal to postpone the date for introducing the last two most restrictive maximum emission levels to be a balanced one.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) The Commission has proposed to exempt 50% of the tractors manufactured in the EU in the last five years because of the technological development time lag, which makes it impossible – unless an enormous amount of money is spent – to carry out the mechanical modifications necessary to move on the next stage, and hence because of the economic crisis affecting the tractor market, which has seen a 20% annual fall in its turnover since 2008. We expressed our support for the exemption and the rapporteur was also in favour, since the impact on emissions is truly negligible.

Unfortunately, the European left wing took the opposite view due purely to matters of principle, completely ignoring the risk that would be run if this exemption was rejected: our factories would close down and jobs would be lost as a result.

Following the trialogues, the first reading agreement is for a 40% exemption for the tractors. It should be borne in mind that the new common agricultural policy (CAP) includes funding for farmers who reduce emissions on their farms. I hope that many farmers will use this opportunity to buy new, low emission, agricultural machinery.

While we may not be satisfied, we will vote in favour of the directive on account of the extremely tight deadlines: exceeding them would render the directives meaningless.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Directive 2000/52/EC sets, by stages, the limits for emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulates for agricultural and/or forestry tractors. However, this imposition should take into account the specific nature of each model of tractor. The requirements laid down for Stages IIB and IV call into question the size of the vehicle and, consequently, its ability to be operational. This report, therefore, meets the need to postpone the implementation of these two stages over three years, so as to give time for a more in-depth evaluation of this directive’s impact, as well as of technological development in this area. Clarity and adjustment in European Union law will mean that there is better quality legislation when it is transposed by the Member States, that it will be better implemented, and also that the European public will understand it better.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) While I support the ambitious objectives on exhaust emissions set out in Directive 2000/25/EC on the commissioning of tractors with regard to harmful exhaust emissions, it is important not to underestimate the incredible economic crisis afflicting the European Union.

At this particular moment in time, an increase in the size or reduction in the manoeuvrability of tractors through implementation of the aforementioned directive would deprive European farming of its main mechanisation tool. I therefore voted in favour of the text by Mr Tatarella, which not only postpones application by three years, but also expresses hope for another technical review on the possibility of installing stage III-compliant engines to narrow-track tractors.

 
  
  

Report: Sirpa Pietikäinen (A7-0080/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) In the context of the European policy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Union saw fit to set emission limits for engines of non-road mobile machinery (locomotives, boats, heavy vehicles, etc.) along with implementation stages, and to introduce a ‘flexibility scheme’. This scheme allows for the temporary marketing of non-road mobile machinery that does not comply with these limits in order to ensure greater flexibility in the implementation, particularly in the current context of the crisis. I voted in favour of Sirpa Pietikäinen’s report, which recommends increasing the flexibility scheme percentage from 20% to nearly 40% of annual sales in order to ease the burden on businesses.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because I agree that emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulates must be limited in vehicles. The directive on emissions currently in force and the procedures it sets out will be tightened from 2012 (with a transition period until 2013). These limitations will apply to around 1 500 companies in the European Union, and the machinery covered by them includes various kinds of land-based machinery intended for construction, forestry and agriculture, for example. The purpose of this directive is to reduce emissions in vehicles whose benchmarks are very high. This directive would also enable us to combat unfair competition with manufacturers in third countries whose manufacturing processes are not yet subject to such strict limitations.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I fully support the objectives laid down by the directive. Talking about flexibility for engines placed on the market means introducing a necessary, though not entirely sufficient, condition for improving our collective wellbeing. This is an issue on which we cannot improvise. The reference regarding emission limits for atmospheric pollutants, for example, shows the importance of organising ourselves and following the approach that we adopted when we defined our policies in relation to human health and the environment. At the same time, we need alignment of Member State legislation to harmonise emission limits and type approval procedures as far as possible.

That is why I also welcomed approval of the priorities identified by the amendment on Original Equipment Manufacturers, especially the reference to the economic estimates, because I believe they are crucial to optimising market flexibility. Given the long-term strategic importance of this matter, the decision not to burden small and medium-sized enterprises excessively, thus giving major manufacturers too much of an advantage, and hence to pursue our general interests, is crucial.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on engines placed on the market under the flexibility scheme, which provides for a temporary increase in this scheme, because I believe environmental legislation should be consistent with the EU’s medium- and long-term environmental goals, but that the activities of small and medium-sized enterprises and recovery from the economic crisis should also be supported in the short term.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The use of non-road mobile machinery with engines involves the emission of gaseous pollutants that should be reduced, so as to protect the environment and ensure better living conditions for the citizens of the Member States. Despite this objective, we must take into account the needs of their manufacturers, particularly those of these machines’ engines. We must also seek to increase the flexibility of transition schemes that threaten the survival of businesses and jobs by being too demanding. This flexibility must keep in mind the specific situation of the sector.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report concerns a Commission proposal to increase the flexibility of Directive 97/68/EC, setting the maximum exhaust emissions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and particulates from diesel engines of non-road mobile machinery. This report contests the Commission’s idea that manufacturers lose their competitiveness should they need to comply with stricter environmental legislation. Green innovations and low emission technologies can only spring up with the help of a supportive legislative framework. That is the only way to hit the Europe 2020 strategy’s targets and enable the move towards a low-carbon society. Steps must be taken forwards, not backwards. As such, I agree that ‘A global financial and economic crisis cannot serve as a reason to water down environmental standards. Investments in environmentally friendly technologies are important for the promotion of future growth, jobs and health security’. I therefore think that this report takes account of the protection of the environment, and of the safeguarding, the development and the competitiveness of industry, and that it constitutes a balanced proposal intended to alleviate, as far as is possible, the impact of the current economic crisis on manufacturers of engines and machinery.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The directive in question (97/68/EC) sets the maximum exhaust emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulates (PM) from diesel engines of non-road mobile machinery. Machinery covered by the directive includes various kinds of land-based machinery intended, inter alia, for construction, for forestry and agriculture, for rail transport, including locomotives and railcars, and for inland waterway vessels. It should be recalled that PM and NOx emissions from this type of machine represent 7% and 16% of the total, respectively. With a view to compliance in stages with the limits laid down in this directive, a flexibility scheme has been created enabling manufacturers to replace engines gradually. As the rapporteur says, the engines in question are only produced by a small number of large companies.

The European Commission is now proposing to extend the flexibility scheme, giving these companies more time to make the necessary replacements. The rapporteur completely opposes this, citing environmental and public health reasons, and has proposed a much stricter scheme. It has been possible to reach a consensus in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety which, while more flexible than the rapporteur’s initial position, is close to it, restricting the room for manoeuvre created by the European Commission. We think this is a fair solution, so we voted for it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This directive sets the maximum exhaust emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulates (PM) from diesel engines of non-road mobile machinery. Machinery covered by the directive includes various kinds of land-based machinery intended, inter alia, for construction, for forestry and agriculture, for rail transport, including locomotives and railcars, and for inland waterway vessels. It should be recalled that PM and NOx emissions from this type of machine represent 7% and 16% of the total, respectively. In order to enable compliance in stages with the limits laid down in this directive, a flexibility scheme has been created enabling manufacturers to replace engines gradually. As the rapporteur says, the engines in question are only produced by a small number of large companies. The European Commission is now proposing to extend the flexibility scheme, giving these companies more time to make the necessary replacements. The rapporteur completely opposes this, citing environmental and public health reasons, and has proposed a much stricter scheme. The consensus reached in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety is more flexible than the rapporteur’s initial position, restricting the room for manoeuvre created by the European Commission. We therefore voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The maximum exhaust emissions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and particulates from non-road mobile machinery diesel engines are set out in Directive 97/68/EC. A revision of the directive in 2004 (2004/26/EC) introduced the current limits for exhaust emissions for the current stage, and set deadlines and limit values for the next stage. Application of these stricter limits began in January 2011. The machinery to which the directive applies includes various types of machinery used, for example, in construction, forestry and agriculture. It also applies, however, to locomotives, railway vehicles and inland waterway transport vessels. The 2004 directive also introduced a flexible system allowing producers to place on the market, between two consecutive stages of exhaust gas emission limit values, a limited number of machines fitted with engines which still conform to the exhaust gas emission limits of the previous stage.

The limit is established either as 20% of the machines from the total annual sales of a producer, calculated on the basis of a five-year average of the producer’s total sales, or as a fixed set number of machines. The option of a fixed set number is intended for smaller producers. The directive is an important component of the EU’s current environmental legislation, is of major benefit in terms of emission reduction, and in revising the directive, we should try, in my opinion, to achieve a balance between the relevant requirements and the legislation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Thanks to today’s vote, it will be possible to reduce the costs to Europe’s industries of adapting engines to the new exhaust emission limits imposed by the entry into force of Stage IIIB of Directive 97/68/EC.

At a particularly critical time for the industry, the legislation on emissions – and Stage IIIB in particular – makes it mandatory for non-road mobile machinery manufacturers to partly or completely redesign their products in order to accommodate the new engines.

We have had to deal with an emergency situation in order to give planning guarantees to around 1 500 manufacturers of these machines, which vary considerably, and which have to meet specific technical requirements in order to comply with European legislation on the subject.

Therefore, greater flexibility will not only allow manufacturers a gentler transition towards the stringent Stage IIIB limits, avoiding excessive costs, but also allow them to spread the necessary investments in research and development over a longer period of time, without compromising any of the environmental objectives of the basic directive.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Françoise Grossetête (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this proposal for a directive, which was approved at first reading. It sets the maximum exhaust emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulates (PM) from diesel engines installed in construction, agricultural and forestry machinery, railcars and locomotives, inland waterway vessels, constant-speed engines and small petrol engines used in different types of machinery. The agreement reached is fair.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) The maximum exhaust emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulates (PM) from diesel engines of non-road mobile machinery are regulated in Directive 97/68/EC. The 2004 revision of Directive 2004/26/EC introduced the current emission limits of stage IIIA, and set the deadlines and limit values for the subsequent stage IIIB. The application of these more stringent limits will start progressively from January 2011 onwards, depending on the power category. Machinery covered by the directive includes various kinds of land-based machinery intended for construction, forestry and agriculture, for example. The directive also applies to locomotives, railcars and inland waterway vessels. It covers a great variety of machinery manufacturers (an estimated 1 500 companies), many of which do not produce the engines used in these machines. The engines are only produced by a few large companies. I believe that, as a result of the crisis, companies will be unable to implement the requirements, hence the proposal to permit the manufacture of engines until 2014 by increasing the percentage under the flexibility scheme, i.e. the Commission proposes increasing the percentage from the current 20% to 50%. I welcomed these proposed flexibility measures, which would remain in force until 13 December 2013.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) The increase in flexibility from 20% to 37.5% in the non-road mobile machinery sector is certainly an initial, mandatory step in providing a prompt response to manufacturers. I think that at the time of a global crisis such as the one we are currently experiencing, which has also affected the non-road mobile machinery sector in particular, it was important to have a rapid response to the extension of flexibility from Stage IIIA to Stage IIIB. A complex issue such as reconciling the need for a lower environmental impact and lower carbon dioxide emissions with a real understanding of manufacturers’ needs has to be managed with efforts at concrete cooperation, including in legislation, between Member States. I voted for the report because, despite the difficulties ensuing from the requests for a more flexible system and the duty to provide an answer that would not invalidate efforts in this direction, I believe that, on the whole, it is a good compromise.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – The justification given by the Commission for the proposal is largely based on the economic crisis. From autumn 2008 onwards, most of the EU-based industry producing non-road mobile machinery has been affected by the crisis, and especially the construction and agricultural sectors have suffered from steep decreases in sales. The Commission argues that the compliance costs required to reach the new stage IIIB are too high to bear for an industry severely hit by the crisis. The economic crisis is a reality, but there are already signs of recovery. As the sales are picking up, the rationale for the Commission proposal is diminishing. As for some of the bigger producers, for whom the data is more readily available, the sales seem to be smaller when compared to the years which could be called a sort of a boom for the industry – the current sales numbers are, however, not much smaller when compared to years preceding the boom. All in all, as the legislation and the limit values for new stage IIIB has been in place since 2004, followed by some considerably strong years for the industry, the claim of lacking resources for development loses ground.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) With her report, Ms Pietikäinen has quite rightly reined in the Commission’s proposal to overly enlarge the flexibility regime. Thanks also to the excellent work of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, today, Parliament voted on a more balanced and far-sighted text that takes into account the current economic situation without losing sight of the EU objectives regarding the emission of pollutants. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – It is known that the Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) Directive (97/68/EC) aims to control emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulates (CO2 emissions are not covered by this legislation) from a variety of engines in, for example, excavators, bulldozers, front loaders, back loaders and compressors. The directive was amended in 2004 to introduce new emissions limits and, in addition, the flexibility scheme allowing manufacturers to place on the market a limited number of engines belonging to the older category (with higher maximum permitted exhaust emissions). The proposed amendment provides for the possibility of enlarging the flexibility scheme, from 20% to 50% of annual sales of equipment, and extending it to include engines for railcars and locomotives, with a flexibility rate of 20% of annual sales of machinery fitted with engines in the specified category.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution because it is appropriate to extend the scope of the flexibility scheme. Most companies in the industrial sector have, above all, been badly hit by the global economic and financial crisis. Consequently, it will be particularly difficult for companies to implement the requirements provided for in the directive and which are currently being applied.

To ensure that industry continues to develop and remains competitive, and in order to protect the environment, it is appropriate to apply flexibility measures until 2014 and facilitate market access for a set number of engines under the flexibility scheme. The implementation of these measures will mitigate the consequences of the current economic crisis as far as possible for engine and vehicle manufacturers and will maintain competitiveness and employment in this sector.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) This proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 97/68/EC concerns the provisions for engines placed on the market under the flexible scheme. Directive 97/68/EC constitutes an important part of the Union’s environmental legislation, and its contribution is considerable, especially to meeting emission reduction targets. Emissions of particulates and nitrogen oxides represent the main sources of air pollution caused by the sector. As such, and because I share the rapporteur’s concerns regarding the Commission proposal to extend the flexibility scheme and postpone emission reductions, I voted for this report, which waters down these intentions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) With regard to Directive 2004/26/EC and the Commission’s proposal concerning expansion of the flexibility scheme for transition between the different stages of the emission reduction programme, I consider a gradual transition necessary in order to ensure manufacturers can adapt more easily and to a greater extent, taking into account the sharp drop in sales that has affected construction machinery with the economic crisis. However, I believe that the Commission’s proposal risks slowing down environmental legislation as well as not rewarding those who have made efforts to comply. Considering the above to be the correct response in environmental terms, I voted in favour of Ms Pietikäinen’s report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. – The Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) Directive (97/68/EC) aims to control carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulates emissions (CO2 emissions are not covered by this legislation) from a variety of engines such as excavators, bulldozers, front loaders, back loaders and compressors. The directive was amended in 2004 to introduce new emission limits and, with that, the flexibility scheme. The flexibility scheme allows manufacturers to place on the market a limited number of engines belonging to the older category (with higher maximum permitted exhaust emissions).

I support the following compromises: the flexibility scheme to be increased to 37.5% of the annual quantity of equipment placed on the market for the duration of the stage IIIB or up to three years when no subsequent stage exists; 16 engines for locomotives to be compliant with the previous stage standards and additionally 10 engines for locomotives that can be used in the UK due to specific rail conditions. Environmental legislation should always be consistent with our medium-term and long-term environmental goals, but, in the short run, we are making efforts to support the recovery of SMEs from the economic crisis.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Directive 97/68/EC set out the maximum exhaust emissions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and particulates from diesel engines of non-road mobile machinery, which has resulted in a series of measures in Union law intended to protect the environment and increase sustainability in the European Union. Taking account of the technical adaptation efforts involved in a regulation of this kind, a flexibility scheme was introduced, seeking to reconcile the goal of meeting the proposed targets with the need to offer companies a period in which to reshape their production processes. Meanwhile, the European Commission has proposed an expansion of the flexibility scheme, alluding, in particular, to the problems being experienced by the industry as a result of the economic crisis. In accordance with the rapporteur’s explanatory statement, I believe that we should not abandon the envisaged model, notwithstanding the possibility of expanding the scope of the flexibility scheme in some special cases. The model should broadly continue along the same lines, following the trend towards reduced carbon emissions. Moreover, this means that companies that have invested in technological adaptation are quite rightly rewarded. I voted in favour for these reasons.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Against. The Commission proposal weakens existing legislation on limits to pollutant emissions from diesel engines installed in construction, agricultural and forestry machinery, railcars and locomotives, inland waterway vessels, constant speed engines and small petrol engines used in different types of machinery. The existing directive provides for emission limit stages of increasing stringency with corresponding compliance dates. The current applicable stage of emission limits for the majority of diesel engines referred to as Stage IIIA will be replaced by the more stringent Stage IIIB limits progressively as of 1 January 2011, and the type approval period for these engines started on 1 January 2010. The Commission proposes increasing the already permitted flexibility for manufacturers to place on the market 20% of engines that do not comply with the emission limit values to 50% in order to mitigate further the economic costs on the grounds of the economic recession. In addition, the flexibility is extended to railcars and locomotives. Expiry of the measure is proposed for 31 December 2013.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I believe that reducing the emissions of non-road mobile machinery can improve the already effective EU environmental legislation. The legislation on the provisions for engines placed on the market under the flexibility scheme should provide certainty for the industry of a level playing field and of all the actors abiding by the rules. The legislative framework should also improve the interplay between health, environment and the economic conditions of businesses. Finally, in view of the fact that the Commission is preparing a review of Directive 97/68/EC on the subject, I believe it is best to wait for it to complete this, in order to avoid fragmentary, damaging regulations.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) The Commission has proposed to exempt 50% of the tractors manufactured in the EU in the last five years because of the technological development time lag, which makes it impossible – unless an enormous amount of money is spent – to carry out the mechanical modifications necessary to move on the next stage, and because of the economic crisis affecting the tractor market.

Our position was to support the proposal to the Commission, since the impact on emissions is truly negligible. It is regrettable that the ‘no’ stance of the left-wing groups and Ms Pietikäinen is due purely to matters of principle and completely ignores the risk that would be run if these exemptions were rejected: our factories would close down and jobs would be lost as a result.

The final compromise reached following the trialogues has resulted in a first-reading agreement of 37.5% for non-road mobile machinery. While we may not be satisfied, we will vote in favour of the directive on account of the extremely tight deadlines: exceeding them would render the directive meaningless.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Olga Sehnalová (S&D), in writing. (CS) The legislation with which we are responding to the situation arising from the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009 in the off-road vehicle manufacturing sector has now been submitted for approval in the autumn of 2011. For almost one year, representatives of the affected firms have been asking me when they would finally know about the changes to which they would have to adapt their manufacturing processes. In my opinion, legislation must be timely if it is to provide effective assistance. Otherwise, it brings uncertainty and chaos rather than assistance. I also supported the report as the rapporteur of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, although I regret the fact it has taken so long for it to be approved in the plenary of the European Parliament.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I supported this report because it forms an important part of EU legislation governing the environment and public health. The report envisages protection for human health, especially for workers and people who are often exposed to emissions from engines installed in non-road mobile machinery.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Directive 97/68/EC is an important element in the field of the environment, since it sets out the maximum exhaust emissions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulates (PM) from diesel engines of non-road mobile machinery. As NOx and PM emissions are the main sources of air pollution, it is important to take action in this sector. This directive was amended in 2004 to allow engine manufacturers a flexibility scheme in stages. This means manufacturers have the option of bringing onto the market a limited number of engines complying with the limits set at the previous stage: 20% of the manufacturer’s annual sales or a fixed number of machines, with this last being for small producers.

As a result, the purpose of this report is to approve the expansion of flexibility approved by the Commission. Therefore, the 20% limit will change to 50% by December 2013, and the fixed number will also be increased. I am voting for this report, since I believe we should support small and medium-sized producers at this time of crisis, which is affecting the non-road mobile machinery industry, particularly the construction and agriculture sectors. On the other hand, technological development has not accompanied this directive, so we should provide for the necessary increases in flexibility.

 
  
  

Report: Ádám Kósa (A7-0263/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since I agree with the rapporteur’s position supporting measures intended to achieve a sustainable society founded on an approach that respects human rights. First and foremost, the Member States should not just sign and ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and related additional protocols, but should also develop national policies and strategies in line with the European Disability Strategy, which has been adopted by the European Commission and is provided for in the Europe 2020 strategy. The Commission’s action plan up to 2015, linked to the European Disability Strategy, constitutes a step in the right direction.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. – I am strongly in favour of increased long-term investment and support for people with disabilities, as it is imperative that they are provided with the necessary means to enjoy equal rights, equal treatment and full participation in education, employment, social life and public life, in particular, in relation to the right to vote.

Parliament has adopted significant decisions for the recognition and protection of the rights of people with disabilities, calling for legal standards and legislation at EU level. However, it is important that the new generation of human rights of people with disabilities be upheld through active and targeted policies ensuring the practical application of all human rights and guaranteeing equal opportunities and full access to services and products.

One of the most important objectives is to improve the level of employment among the almost 80 million people with disabilities who live in the EU. An increased rate of poverty results in limited access to employment, training, health care and appropriate treatment, so disability benefits must therefore be guaranteed to those in need. States must develop national policies and strategies on disability, in harmony with the European Disability Strategy (EDS), while, at the same time, introducing detailed deadlines and mechanisms for the implementation of the EDS, particularly with regard to strengthening the role of Parliament.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) People with disabilities must have the right to community-based services conducive to independent living, to personal assistance, to economic and social independence, and to full participation in society and the labour market. As fully-fledged citizens, people with disabilities have equal rights and are entitled to absolute dignity, equal treatment, an independent life and full participation in society.

I would like to highlight the fact that many people with disabilities continue to suffer discrimination in terms of equal recognition before the law and justice. I call on Member States to remedy these shortcomings with measures including the provision of effective access to justice for people with disabilities and appropriate training for those involved in the administration of justice. I should also stress the importance of guaranteeing and ensuring equal terms for participating in political and public life.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The European Parliament voted this week in favour of a wider inclusion of people with disabilities in the labour market and for further provisions in fighting against discrimination. People with disabilities are often victims of social exclusion and need our support and our action. Let us not forget that 16% of the total EU population live with a disability. The fact is, over 60% of people with disabilities are jobless and a quarter of them live in poverty. Thankfully, progress is being made. I voted in favour of the report by Ádám Kósa, who is the first and only Member of the European Parliament to be hard of hearing.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Liam Aylward and Pat the Cope Gallagher (ALDE), in writing. (GA) We recently met Irish members of the Centre for Independent Living who were in Strasbourg for the annual ‘Freedom Drive’. That same group directed the Members’ attention to the difficulties experienced by people with disabilities in the EU. One of the most significant difficulties mentioned was the obstacles to free movement, and this in a Union in which free movement is supposed to be a basic right for everyone.

We voted in favour of this important report but more attention needs to be paid to the basic importance of mobile personal aid services to improve the free movement of people with disabilities.

At present, personal aid services are not mobile and when someone with a disability moves to another Member State – for personal or professional reasons – this essential service is often not available to him or her immediately, and he or she must submit a new application to the new Member State without any certainty that the new service will be provided to him or her in the new country.

It would be to the advantage of all the people of Europe and to the advantage of the principle of free movement if the Commission and the Member States together ensured that this service would be mobile.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. Over 80 million people, or around 16% of the European Union’s total population, are living with disabilities, and their rate of unemployment is twice as high as that of people without disabilities. People with disabilities constitute a vulnerable group, among whom the rate of poverty is more than 70% higher than average. In some Member States, funding for measures and benefits for the disabled has been reduced as a result of the economic crisis, which has exacerbated the exclusion of this group of people in society even more. I believe that the problems of the recession cannot be held up as an excuse for public austerity measures which include unjustified cuts to services for persons with disabilities or to projects for their social inclusion. I agree that better use needs to be made of the European Structural Funds, particularly the European Regional Development Fund, to improve accessibility to goods and services for disabled people, to reduce the discrimination and exclusion they face and guarantee the right to a dignified and full life.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because I think that the obstacles hampering people with disabilities from exercising their fundamental rights must be removed. Europe needs to provide people with disabilities with the wherewithal to enjoy their full rights and participate in Europe’s social and economic life. In light of this, the EU should encourage Member States towards harmonising their policies and strategies for people with disabilities. I must mention that these people are one of the groups hit hardest by the financial crisis in Europe. In my country, creating an effective model for integrating people with disabilities is the main goal of the National Organisation of the Disabled. At the moment, three projects financed by European funds are basically aimed at integrating people with disabilities into the labour market in Romania.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. (FR) More exposed to social exclusion and discrimination, people with disabilities are a vulnerable group in our societies. The differences in terms of employment and poverty between people with a disability and those without are very marked and remain unacceptable: only 30% to 40% of them are in employment, and 70% live in poverty. The own-initiative report by Ádám Kósa has the merit of focusing on the situation of these people in the EU. Much remains to be done. Although 2010 was the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, poverty was clearly on the rise, and social exclusion potentially affects a larger section of the population than before in the EU. We must therefore remain alert: progress, in terms of social inclusion of people with disabilities, will first require the adoption of the ‘horizontal’ directive on combating discrimination. This is what we are asking for in this report: the Commission must continue to work towards the swift adoption of this directive, which is currently being held up by the Council.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing. (IT) Parliament has, on various occasions, turned its attention to the situation of people with disabilities, recognising and safeguarding their rights. In line with the recent EU 2020 strategy, one of the most important objectives is increasing the employment level for the nearly 80 million people with disabilities living in the EU. Currently, their employment level is low throughout the EU, at 30-40%, compared with an ambitious target of 75%. According to Eurostat figures, the number of dependent people will double by 2050. From 2010 to 2050, the working-age population will decrease by some 50 million, whilst the proportion of people over 65 with disabilities will increase by 77%. Therefore, in the future, employment protection and safety at work will play an increasing role in the definition of national policies and strategies for people with disabilities in Member States.

The principle of freedom of movement is a fundamental citizens’ right. I agree with the rapporteur that the introduction of a unified European mobility card for reciprocal recognition of care for people with disabilities could make an important contribution in terms of protecting their rights.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report on the mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities because it covers many challenges for disabled people, such as education, employment, integration, proper adaptation of surroundings and assistance for family members. In my opinion, the report aptly identifies the importance of increasing the mobility of people with disabilities by eliminating physical and social obstacles which prevent disabled people from using public buildings and public services, such as public transport, information technology and other measures and services. I also agree with the idea raised by the report that we should collect specific data on disability issues and disability-related services in the Member States, including data on residential institutions and the quality of the services they provide. I would like to draw attention to the fact that the high level of unemployment is the greatest obstacle to the inclusion of disabled people in society, and that unemployment among disabled people arises because of insufficient preparation for the labour market. In every Member State, it is also necessary to evaluate the situation faced by people with disabilities in the labour market (explaining the reasons why they lose incentives to take up employment), to help them to integrate into the labour market by using the European Social Fund (ESF), and to enable employers to create jobs for people with disabilities. This report stresses that the Member States should provide general information for families raising children with disabilities, guarantee financial assistance, social and health care services, psychological support and more flexible working conditions for parents (or one of them) with children with disabilities.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) One of the main objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy is to increase the number of jobs intended for the nearly 80 million people with disabilities living in the EU. The employment level among people with disabilities and those whose fitness for work is impaired is generally low throughout the EU, with only 30-40% of them in work. The situation is starker in the Member States which recently joined. For example, according to the latest statistics, only four per cent of the 631 000 people with disabilities in Romania are in employment. A job obviously means a chance for these people to lead a normal life.

New labour legislation in Romania makes it compulsory for large companies with more than 50 employees to have people with disabilities make up four per cent of their staff. More precisely, out of 50 employees, two must be people with various disabilities, while out of 100 employees, four must be people with disabilities, and so on. There is currently a government scheme operating in Romania whereby any company employing people with disabilities for at least two years receives RON 500 (approximately EUR 120) per person per month.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. – (CS) The principle of free movement is a fundamental right in the EU. We must make public and private transport sufficiently accessible, which includes the harmonisation of parking permits in Member States and the drafting of a unified catalogue of passenger rights, so that suitable transport by various means is accessible to all. We must also set up websites which can be used by visually impaired people, and electronically accessible online services in sign language. Small and medium-sized enterprises play a particularly important role in improving social inclusion, both through the provision of information on employing people with disabilities, and through participating in public procurement, manufacturing products and providing services with the help of disabled people. There is also considerable unused potential in the general and specialist education systems, which are not sufficiently well prepared for devoting attention to the needs of disabled people, and the number of disabled students terminating courses prematurely still remains high. For example, in Denmark, which is one of the most progressive Member States, 44% of disabled young people commenced secondary school studies in 2007, while in the case of people without disabilities, the proportion was 75%. About five per cent of disabled people have a university education, which is a tiny fraction of the total number.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for the report by Mr Kósa as it deals with various aspects to which I have also decided to give my personal commitment in order to help safeguard the rights of people with disabilities, even more so now that I have seen and witnessed their needs at first hand.

Generally speaking, I agree with the rapporteur’s approach, which is to propose the adoption of various concrete measures with the aim of achieving a sustainable society based on an approach rooted in the defence of human rights. However, at the same time, I believe that we need precise dates and deadlines in order to allow national implementation of the conventions adopted by the United Nations (Convention on the Rights of the Disabled and its additional protocols) and the European Union (European Disability Strategy and the EU 2020 strategy).

More specifically, among the key issues tackled in the report, I would like to underline the results achieved in the following areas: the production of vehicles compatible with the needs of people of reduced mobility; the production of electronic interfaces allowing better communication for disabled people; and help for families with a view to enabling the inclusion of children and young people with disabilities in the education system.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The inclusion of the European Union’s 80 million disabled people is of the greatest importance in creating a society that is more active and sustainable in relation to the ageing phenomenon in Europe. Inclusion, in both society and the labour market, offers new opportunities for the future of employability in Europe. Disabled people and older people could be the real answer to the future of employability in Europe. The difficulty of movement and communication solutions mean that disabled people are often unable to find opportunities for training, education or work. I voted for this report because I believe disability should be approached differently. I also believe there is a need to remove barriers to accessibility, to promote special communication techniques for deaf people and those with impaired hearing, and to create new, inclusive education systems.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) One in six EU citizens has a disability, that ranges from mild to severe. There is an urgent need to implement active and specific policies to combat the serious risks of unemployment, poverty and social exclusion to which these people are subjected: the rate of poverty amongst disabled people is 70% higher than average.

It is important to continue with the targets of the Europe 2020 strategy, so as to ensure smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe. This will necessarily include structural improvements as regards the mobility and inclusion of disabled people. In the majority of cases, social policies relating to disabled people fall under the competences of the Member States, so it is crucial that they support the adoption of measures and instruments suited to the needs of the disabled in order to ensure that these people enjoy a greater level of autonomy, equality of opportunity and an active life.

I believe it is important to set out a new, effective approach to disability and to the promotion of initiatives geared towards accessibility, equality, employment, education and training, social protection, and health needs in relation to these people. I also support the creation of a more effective mechanism ...

(Declaration abbreviated in accordance with Rule 170 of the Rules of Procedure)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of this report because I believe in the joint effort of European Union Member States to ensure the inclusion of people with physical and communication disabilities in society. The social exclusion of the disabled, together with the associated lower rates of employment, to my mind cause serious prejudices to the civil and human rights that should be guaranteed to all citizens without distinction. In this regard, it is necessary, on the one hand, to remove the barriers that cause the exclusion of people with disabilities, and, on the other, to adopt measures that will help them enter the job market. The protection of their rights is an important step towards a better implementation of the European Disability Strategy, and towards the employment objective laid down by the EU 2020 strategy.

Encouraging the mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities is an important weapon in the battle against the poverty many of them experience due to the lack of employment. I trust in the sensitivity of all the Member States to be able to put an end to discrimination against people with disabilities, supporting their full inclusion in the community.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) One person in four with disabilities in Europe is facing the risk of poverty at a time when many European Union governments have resorted to making outrageous cuts to social benefits. People with disabilities are also facing serious discrimination, from the fall in the number of those attending secondary school or university to the problems they have getting a job and gaining access to medical care.

One of the foreseeable consequences of the failure to integrate the working population with disabilities will be to miss the Europe 2020 strategy objective of achieving an employment rate of 75% of the total working population aged between 20 and 64.

Last but not least, I would like to stress that more than one third of Europeans over the age of 75 have a disability, and the proportion of elderly people is on the rise. Investing in adapting education systems and in preventing disabilities and their resulting consequences may provide some relief for social budgets and would improve the prospects of integrating our fellow citizens with disabilities. These are the reasons why I support the resolution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) I think that all Member States must review and improve their social policies specifically aimed at people with disabilities, so as to provide them with normal social and economic circumstances.

I believe that the European Commission must take action in cooperation with Member States and develop strategies for removing the various obstacles and problems encountered by men, women and children with disabilities, so as to ensure that they can participate effectively in society with the same dignity.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Proinsias De Rossa (S&D), in writing. – I support this Report on the Mobility and Inclusion of People with Disabilities, which aims to empower persons with disabilities so that they can enjoy their full rights and fully participate in society and in the European economy, and identifies eight main areas for action: accessibility, participation, equality, employment, education and training, social protection, health, and external action. Anti-discrimination policy is key to promoting social inclusion and employment for people with disabilities. The Member States should not only sign and ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Disabled and its additional protocols; they should also develop national policies and strategies on disabilities in harmony with the European Commission’s European Disability Strategy (EDS) and the EU 2020 strategy. They should also review the existing national-level documents on this matter. The Commission’s action plan for the period until 2015, linked to the EDS, is a step in the right direction, but support should also be given to measures with specific deadlines and programme elements which would improve implementation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marielle De Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Over 80 million people, or roughly 16% of the total population of the EU, live with a disability. The employment rate of disabled people in the EU is only 45%, and they are one of the groups most affected by the financial crisis. The austerity measures should not be used as a pretext for an unjustified cut to services offered to disabled people or projects aimed at enhancing their social inclusion. Thus, we must quickly reach an agreement on the proposal for a Council directive implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion, belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. The Commission must reinforce the provisions taken with regard to combating discrimination and with regard to accessibility within the framework of the 2014-2020 cohesion policy. It should also put on the table a proposal for a European legislative act on accessibility, with firm and binding measures at European Union level to improve access to goods and services for disabled people.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted for this report, which puts forward practical measures in order to tackle the exclusion of people with disabilities in our societies. With this report, we should be able to put an end to all the barriers that contribute to discrimination as regards recruitment by promoting access to education and training and by raising awareness among employers about disabled people.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Karima Delli (Verts/ALE), in writing.(FR) There are currently 80 million people living with a disability in Europe. Almost 70% of them are unemployed and 25% live in poverty. The European Union has a few aces up its sleeve to help these people and ensure greater equality of rights: raising more European funding, conducting widespread awareness campaigns, and compiling pan-European statistics in order to make public policies more effective. Above all, however, it is time to release the draft anti-discrimination directive, which has been blocked for over 10 years by Europe’s Heads of State or Government.

I am pleased that my fellow MEPs have rallied behind us to ensure that the following message is heard loud and clear: the next stage in the fight for equal rights is an agreement between the EU Member States on this directive. Backed into a corner, the governments can no longer evade their responsibilities. We also call on the Commission to propose a major EU directive on accessibility for people with disabilities.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because I think that it is the European Parliament’s duty to focus attention on the situation of people with disabilities. In fact, they must be included as part of any strategies devised relating to the EU’s future, in order to comply with both the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and equal opportunities for all citizens.

I support a long-term approach being adopted to deal with the situation of people with disabilities in terms of social investments. I think that their active involvement in public life must be increased.

As a member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, I believe that it is important to support research and development in technologies for people with disabilities, with the aim of bridging social disparities. Greater importance must also be attached to creating accessible websites and effective communication channels for all European citizens disadvantaged in this way.

Last but not least, I support the rapporteur’s position that education and training systems are not adequately prepared for taking into account the needs of young people with disabilities. I think that the Europe 2020 strategy must consider these aspects and address them accordingly.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because it argues that financial investment in people with disabilities is a medium- and long-term return investment that is absolutely necessary for the wellbeing of all in a sustainable society where people can work more efficiently under better conditions. It is unacceptable that, in the context of public austerity measures, unjustified cuts should be made to services for people with disabilities, or to projects whose purpose is their social inclusion.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) According to data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, 80 million disabled people are potentially in poverty, and one in four disabled people already live in poverty: these figures are set to increase over the next few years, as a result of the economic and financial crisis. Disabled people also end up being excluded from education systems: in Denmark, which is one of the most advanced Member States in this area, only 44% of young disabled people have entered the secondary education system. This weak investment in their education and training ends up being responsible for their poor level of inclusion in the world of work. There is an urgent need to remove barriers and for the Member States to pursue inclusive and non-discriminatory policies in relation to disabled people, providing them with the necessary framework for their full participation in professional, working and family life.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Mr Kósa, concerns the mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities and the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020. The problems experienced by disabled people, as well as the defence of the rights of children and all vulnerable people, have merited particular attention from the European institutions, in general, and particularly the European Parliament. What is really at stake here is improving their quality of life. Many are victims of social exclusion and employment rates amongst disabled people are very low. Some countries have been implementing a range of best practices which urgently need to be disseminated to and reproduced in other Member States. Fundamentally, we need to improve their access to the labour market and their mobility conditions. There is a need to invest in their education and professional training, making use of the structural funds available. I would congratulate my colleague, Mr Kósa, on his excellent report, for which I voted, and on the concrete measures proposed. I am sure that, in the very near future, disabled people will participate in society more actively and with full rights. That is the only way we will fully meet the Europe 2020 strategy targets.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report indisputably includes fairly positive proposals: firstly, in the area of including disabled people in active, civic and social life, and secondly, in the area of including a gender perspective in the new European Disability Strategy, which I support. Nevertheless, there is a need to avoid the usual declarations of good intentions without practical consequences, and action plans and strategies without the means for implementing them. There is a need for set timetables, adequate financial resources, and practical measures to promote the social inclusion of disabled people. In addition to a general framework of policies that makes all this possible, there is also a need to support organisations representing disabled people and the important social role that many play. In other words, we need a framework very different from current so-called austerity policies, and from the neoliberal measures violating the most basic rights of disabled people, thereby threatening access to key public services such as, inter alia, health care, education, transportation and energy. Regrettably, all this is ignored by the report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We believe this report, which attempts to set goals for inclusion in the new European Disability Strategy, contains some fairly positive proposals, both in terms of the proposals to include disabled people in active, civic and social life, and of the idea to include a gender perspective in the new European Disability Strategy. However, there is also a need to develop EU and national policies and strategies in the area of disability. These must not just stop at a vague European Commission action plan without fixed timetables, without adequate financial support, without practical measures, and without coherent policies that facilitate the social inclusion of disabled people, that properly support their organisations, and that take account of the enormous difficulties faced by many of the families of disabled people.

The report does not, therefore, go into depth about the real consequences that austerity programmes and neoliberal policies have for the most basic rights of disabled people, which threatens access to key public services like health care, education, transportation and energy. We also welcome the rejection of the draft amendment tabled by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), which distorted the positive elements of the report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) European institutions and the European Parliament itself have focused a number of times in the past on the issue of people with disability, and have always tried to promote laws ensuring protection of the rights of disabled people. I firmly believe that preference should currently be given to long-term investments benefiting the disabled, rather than short-term, one-off expenditure. I personally believe it is essential to provide the disabled (regardless of their degree of disability) with help according to their individual needs. At the same time, it is essential to try and create the conditions for there to be as little need as possible for individually-tailored assistance in a truly barrier-free environment. Even though we talk about integration in the sense of integration into society, these people are already fully-fledged members of society. We must strive, however, for their integration through acceptance.

Opportunities are equal if the same efforts lead to similar results given appropriate, specified conditions and means. It may not be entirely possible to apply some kind of unified model for all Member States as far as the possibilities for study, employment, freedom of movement or various activities are concerned, as the barriers facing disabled people vary in individual cases. One aspect, however, should be common: the provision of adequate arrangements and guarantees relating to disability, helping towards a full role within society.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. – I fully support the approach of the Kósa report on mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities. People living with disabilities represent more than 16% of the European Union’s total population and are one of the most excluded and vulnerable groups in society, with a poverty rate higher than 70%. The new European Disability Strategy advocates that people with disabilities should be active participants in European society and should fully enjoy their rights.

It is regrettable that, despite all the Commission’s and the Member States’ efforts, people with disabilities continue to face barriers and have limited access to goods and services in everyday life. With this in mind, the EU and its Member States should not underestimate the magnitude of the problem – especially in the current economic situation, which compounds the negative impact on people’s lives, in particular, among marginalised groups. The EU and the Member States, taking into account the needs of people with disabilities, should purposefully promote anti-discrimination policies and active social inclusion, in order to guarantee that people with disabilities enjoy universal, effective, equal and non-discriminatory access to high-quality public services by facilitating their mobility and their access to employment, health care, education, training and other tools for independent living.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) In the European Union, there are 80 million people who suffer from a disability, which is 16% of the total population. Unfortunately, their employment rate is currently only 45%. In addition, their poverty rate is 70% above the average. I therefore voted in favour of this own-initiative report, which forms part of the 2010-2020 European strategy, one of the objectives of which is to reach an employment rate of 75% of the working population, because it calls on the Member States and the Commission to promote the inclusion of disabled people, in particular, by facilitating access to the job market. This report also highlights the need to ensure in a universal, effective and non-discriminatory way that disabled people have access to social protection, social benefits, health care and education, since being part of the working population and having financial autonomy are important factors for social integration. Finally, other measures are also put forward: the creation of a ‘European Disability Board’ in order to assess progress of the European strategy, the adoption by the Member States of sign language as an official language, the adoption of a European mobility card so as to reduce the obstacles to freedom of movement (to study, work, travel, etc.).

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. – This report contains a great number of important points. With the Europe 2020 strategy targeting a 75% employment rate amongst Europe’s citizens aged 20-64, it is clear that increased employment amongst those with disabilities is essential. Increasing mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities involves fundamental human rights issues – and is a requirement for invigorating Europe’s economic wellbeing.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because over 80 million people, or around 16% of the European Union’s total population, are living with disabilities – including people with mental health problems, above all, those suffering from autism – and their rate of unemployment is twice as high as that of people without disabilities. People with disabilities constitute a vulnerable group, among whom the rate of poverty is 70% higher than average. The rate of employment for people with disabilities is only around 45%, and we know very well that high-quality jobs ensure economic independence and foster personal achievement. As is known, unemployment increases the risk of poverty and social exclusion because at least a quarter of the population suffers from mental health problems at least once during their lifetime, and for 10%, these can turn into chronic mental health problems. We should underline the need for active and targeted policies to combat this persistent situation. The higher risk of poverty experienced is often the result of limited access not only to employment and training but also to health care and appropriate treatment. The Europe 2020 strategy target of achieving a 75% rate of employment among people of working age between 20 and 64 cannot possibly be achieved unless this includes people with disabilities.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) In accordance with the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, we are making efforts to increase employment among people with disabilities and people with partial work capacity. In order to achieve this, it is essential to adopt specific measures and make long-term investments. We must increase the share of disabled people in public life, guaranteeing them not just the right to vote, but also the right to stand in elections and to hold office. We must guarantee them mobility and thus freedom and ease of movement within the EU, and we must facilitate access to services adapted to the degree of their disability, such as web pages for the blind, as well as guarantee appropriate access to education and eliminate the increased risk of living in poverty. To achieve these objectives, it is also essential to improve the system of communication and exchange of data between Member States, because according to consultations carried out by the European Commission, we still have too little information about the disabled people who live in the European Union.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) Around 80 million people are living with disabilities in the European Union, about 16% of the total population. These figures must therefore make us consider the importance of a policy to benefit them, concerning the work-related and, hence, the social aspects which affect all areas of their lives. The report by Mr Kósa, which I supported, commendably focuses on the problem of the need for disabled people to find work, with particular reference to the EU 2020 strategy.

Considering that the employment rate of disabled people is only 45% and that, at a time of crisis like the one we are currently experiencing, unemployment among people with disabilities is around twice that of people without disabilities, it seems clear that work policy processes to increase employment among disabled people need to be put in place. Employment is, in fact, the starting point for investing in people with disabilities in order to improve the road to social cohesion and personal relationships. As Mr Kósa observed in his text, it is not a matter of equal opportunities, but of specific measures to encourage the integration of people with disabilities, first and foremost in employment.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) People with disabilities are a vulnerable group whose poverty rate is 70% above the average. This increased exposure to the risk of poverty is very often the result of limited access to employment, vocational training and health care. This is precisely why it is important that more people with disabilities and workers suffering from disabling diseases have a job.

In light of this, Member States should be encouraged to introduce specific employment quotas or measures to adapt jobs to the needs of people with disabilities.

The European Parliament and European Commission could start to employ people with disabilities, thereby setting an example to Member States as well.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska (PPE), in writing. (PL) I am in favour of the new efficient approach to the issue of people with disabilities as proposed by the Member States. In my opinion, we should counter all forms of discrimination against people with disabilities and we should aim to improve not only their day-to-day life situation, but also their work circumstances. We should aim to introduce a uniform law concerning people with disabilities across the entire European Union. I would like to express my support for the idea of creating a European Disability Board, which was one of the reasons why I voted in favour of Mr Kósa’s report on mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution, which points out that ‘the 80 million people with disabilities have a greater chance of falling into poverty (according to the OECD, roughly every fourth person with disabilities lives in poverty)’, and adds that: ‘The threat of poverty is, at the same time, a stigma, and disability benefits and entitlements must be guaranteed to those in need’.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) With this report we want to encourage the adoption of a series of specific measures with the aim of achieving a sustainable society, based on an approach founded on fundamental human rights. Therefore, we invite all the Member States not only to sign and ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Disabled and its additional protocols, but also to develop national policies and strategies on disabilities in harmony with the European Commission’s European Disability Strategy (EDS) and the EU 2020 strategy.

We agree with the rapporteur when he considers it important to show that the mobility of people with disabilities – including access to communications as a means of mobilising ideas and self-expression – and social inclusion are not two separate things, nor two mutually-reinforcing factors, but two fully-fledged foundations of a human rights-based approach in the field of improving equal opportunities for people with disabilities in all the European Union Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted for the report on the mobility and integration of people with disabilities, which addresses a problem that is often overlooked. While 80 million Europeans suffer from a disability, few measures succeed in making them participate fully in our societies. This is about improving disabled people’s access to goods and services so that they are not faced with additional barriers. Access to new technology, for instance, could be enhanced, so that people affected by a disability find it easier to use. The report calls on the Member States to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It advocates establishing a European Disability Board. It calls for improved design of urban space and of transport, greater consideration in education, and generally in the policies relating to the specific needs of those with disabilities. It emphasises how important it is for disabled people to access employment as well as the importance of the fight against poverty, which hits this section of the population particularly hard. This text was much needed and reminds us that equal treatment must apply to all, and that disabled people must not be left out.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Iosif Matula (PPE), in writing. (RO) The provision of access to jobs, the attitude of employers and the specific or related legislation in some EU countries discourage employing people with disabilities, while little attention is paid to programmes for preventing the occurrence of disability in newborn babies or preventing people from becoming disabled during their life by identifying the causes and eliminating them or reducing their impact. Given these facts, I think that it is vital to transfer good practices between EU Member States and to step up cooperation at EU level through working groups. I should mention how important it is to carry out a relevant assessment of the situation of people with disabilities and to set national priorities for avoiding transferring people with disabilities from their family environment to residential centres due to poverty.

I should stress the importance of providing access in all Member States to the 112 emergency service or to other services intended to rescue people with disabilities or members of their families, including people who are deaf/deaf mute.

I must point out the importance of correlating labour market demand with the development of new schools focused on acquiring trades and establishing the period between the ages of 16 and 18 as a time of training and preparation for accessing the labour market and increasing the chance of success in holding down a job and of sustainability.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) In Europe, there is clearly still a need to put in place measures tailored to people with disabilities, also in terms of the various degrees and types of disability. I fully agree with the rapporteur’s approach to such an important topic, and therefore I voted in favour of the report. I would like to emphasise once more that joining the world of work and finding financial independence are extremely important factors for the social integration of people with disabilities.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – The mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities, in terms of both employment and social inclusion, are still not as good as they ought to be. I voted in favour of this report, which is specifically about people with disabilities; however, I voted against the original paragraph 53 because it seeks to broaden the scope of the report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) Any one of us could find ourselves with a disability at some point in our lives. Infrastructure of all kinds, transport, local health care, education, media, culture – it all has to be well thought out so that it is accessible to all citizens. The notions of Design for All and Universal Design must prevail in all areas.

The austerity measures currently being imposed on the European people by the European Union do not allow for the implementation of ambitious polices that the public interest, and therefore that of people with disabilities, needs. What is worse, the vulnerability felt by all as a result of these austerity measures exacerbates the situation of disabled people. This text proposes ambitious objectives, but does not offer the means to deliver them. I have abstained, as I have no wish to endorse this hypocritical text.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Currently, people with disabilities make up roughly 15% of the European population, or between 80 and 120 million people. This just shows the huge potential of a workforce that wants to be considered part of the country’s lifeblood. This number is not likely to drop any time soon, with rising life expectancy and medical progress.

One of the five principal targets of the Europe 2020 strategy is to make the employment rate for 20 to 64 year-olds rise from 69% to over 75% by 2020. To reach this target, the integration of disabled people in the world of work is necessary. The adoption of a first European directive requiring employers to undertake ‘reasonable adjustments’ is proof that European involvement can achieve something, especially in countries where disability is not yet properly taken into account. The inclusion of people suffering from a disability also requires the recognition of sign language as an official language.

Europe must lead by example in the area of employing people with disabilities. It must help fight against the prejudices that deter business owners and it must encourage head-hunters to ‘dare’ to hire disabled people. This is a sign of openness and respect for universal values.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE), in writing. (SK) At present, over 80 million people in the European Union, or around 16% of the EU’s total population, suffer from physical or mental disabilities. People with any kind of disability are full citizens, and therefore have the right to equal treatment and full participation in society, which has a duty to create appropriate conditions for the systematic and consistent integration of the more vulnerable citizens into social activities. The priority of EU policies must be to integrate these marginalised citizens into working and social life by creating high-quality jobs.

Financial independence not only helps to increase a sense of satisfaction and self-reliance, but also greatly reduces the risk of poverty and social exclusion that disabled people are exposed to. For the reasons mentioned, I support the use of resources from the European Structural Funds for creating a barrier-free environment, and I will be voting for the adoption of the report on mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The Council has adopted conclusions on the new European Disability Strategy 2010-2020. The strategy aims to empower persons with disabilities so that they can enjoy their full rights and participate fully in society and in the European economy. It identifies eight main areas for action: accessibility, participation, equality, employment, education and training, social protection, health, and external action.

I particularly welcome the call to the Council to adopt the proposed directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. I also support the emphasis on the need to guarantee universal, effective, non-discriminatory access for persons with disabilities to social protection, social advantages, health care and education, and on the fact that integration into working life and economic independence are extremely important factors for the social integration of people with disabilities. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) In this generally difficult situation, some sections of the population who already suffer more than others must certainly not be abandoned; in fact, they need to receive more help than usual. Disabled people, unfortunately, still have numerous difficulties accessing the labour market, which is the basis for achieving a full and independent life.

It is also necessary to encourage their mobility as much as possible. The simple example of the European mobility card is very important. It does not seem to me too difficult a project to implement, but the European Union would have to insist in order to definitively resolve the issue. Finally, I believe the explicit reference to sign language as an official EU language is very important. Let us hope that this sends a strong message to the Member States, so that they begin to move in this direction. This report touches on these and many other important issues, which is why I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing. (ET) In order to bring more persons with disabilities into employment and to promote a sustainable society, Member States should develop a corresponding disability policy and also implement it. This should begin with all Member States acceding to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and taking the established objectives seriously. In contemporary society, it is possible to employ persons with disabilities in various positions, and considering our ageing society and the rapid increase in the ranks of the disadvantaged, the employment of persons with disabilities as fully-fledged members of society is extremely important. I fully support this report and hope that equal opportunities for persons with disabilities to participate in and shape community life will not remain just words, but that concrete steps will be taken.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution because the disabled are one of the most vulnerable groups of people, to whom particular attention must be paid through targeted and active policies.

Every effort must be made to involve this social group in public life, guaranteeing high-quality jobs, protection from discrimination, independence and freedom of choice.

We must enable disabled people to choose for themselves what they want and are capable of doing, and it is society’s duty to help them achieve this.

In order to reduce the difference between ‘healthy’ and ‘disabled’ and to guarantee respect for the human rights and freedoms of people in residential institutions, there should be a control mechanism in every Member State to provide services and legal protection for victims. Furthermore, we need to promote the transition from an institutional to a community-based care model.

In order to implement the objectives set, I believe that greater funding should be allocated to organisations for people with disabilities and the development of social integration.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) The report on mobility of people with disabilities, which I voted in favour of, refocuses the debate on the targets of the EU 2020 strategy for people with disabilities. However, I disagreed with paragraph 53 and voted in favour of the amendment urging the Member States to approve the proposal for a directive against discrimination. The Member States continue to make minimal efforts in supporting this specific social group (many have not signed or ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) and, as a result of the financial crisis, numerous Member States, including Greece, have made unacceptable cutbacks in public spending in this sector.

The much higher target set for the integration of people with disabilities into the job market (from 30% today to 75% by 2020) is at risk and there is no sign of any improvement in the current ratio of one to four people with disabilities living in poverty. Clearly, the EU and the individual Member States need a new, more ambitious and obviously more generous strategy. Every developed society has an obligation to provide equal opportunities and to safeguard the right of all citizens, without exception, to enjoy the same rights.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities and the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 because I agree with the majority of the concerns expressed by the European Parliament. It should be pointed out that financial expenditure and investment made in an attempt to establish dignified conditions for the social lives of disabled people constitute a fundamental issue of justice and human rights, as well as a long-term return investment in the wellbeing of all in a sustainable society where people can live longer and work more efficiently under better conditions. As such, I am totally opposed to unjustified cuts being made in the context of public austerity measures to services for people with disabilities, or to projects whose purpose is their social inclusion, since that would represent a failure to guarantee the basic and inalienable rights of the disabled person.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) The integration of people with disabilities and recognition of their rights are crucial for the creation of a sustainable society founded on a human-rights-based approach. The Member States should therefore not only ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, but also develop national policies and strategies on disability in order to ensure equal opportunities, focusing on factors such as increasing the employment rate, education and training systems and the movement of people without barriers. I am pleased with the motion for a resolution on a topic of primary importance in the area of human rights. I therefore feel that it is a duty as well as a necessity to vote in favour, in order to move in the direction of a human rights-based approach that will improve equal opportunities for people with disabilities.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. – The employment level for people with disabilities and whose work capacity has changed is generally low throughout the EU, with 30-40% of them working; the situation is even worse in the poorer Member States, whilst the employment level needs to rise by approximately one per cent per year if the 75% level set out in EU 2020 is to be met. Meanwhile, 12 million jobs suitable for low qualified workers will disappear by 2020. In this respect, employers should allow people with disabilities to take up a position, if qualified, advance in it and to support them by training. The European Commission and the Member States should support the flexibility in the labour market combined with an adequate social security system by creating flexible and secure contractual arrangements and work organisations, effective active labour market policies, and reliable and responsive lifelong learning systems.

Member States should review their provision of health services for people with disabilities, such as measures relating to physical accessibility to services, training and medical staff, information provided in accessible formats, customised counselling services, including translation into various languages, and health services customised to the needs of people with disabilities.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tomasz Piotr Poręba (ECR), in writing.(PL) People with disabilities represent a large percentage of society in the European Union, but they frequently encounter marginalisation, difficulties in finding work and restricted opportunities to meet their basic needs. Many of them live on the poverty line, suffer discrimination and are excluded from participating in education and society.

In the report adopted by the European Parliament today on mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities, many measures have been proposed which will contribute to the development of more specific measures intended to improve the situation in which disabled people live. We must not, however, forget two important matters: the necessity of including disabled people themselves in the process of making decisions which directly affect them and the fact that in many cases, it is actually at the level of Member States and not the level of EU institutions that solutions can be found which are best adapted to the needs of disabled people living in those Member States. However, the report which has been adopted today lays great emphasis on creating new legislation at EU level, and this legislation is also to move away from the matter of disabled people themselves and be applied to much broader social groups. Therefore, despite the many good measures which have been included in the report, I abstained from voting.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Disabled citizens are not generally viewed as ready labour, creating undeniable problems for their social inclusion. Indeed, access to a job equates to a singular route to personal achievement and to independent involvement in social life, and cannot be ignored in any strategy whose purpose is the social inclusion of disabled citizens. Although it is a section of the population whose characteristics vary greatly within itself, it shares the capacity for work and the possibility of contributing to the common good using this means. As such, there is a need for an inclusive, comprehensive strategy, which is set out in this report, for which I voted.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Considering the impact of an ageing European population alone, the number of so-called ‘dependant’ people is liable to double between now and 2050, according to Eurostat forecasts. The Kósa report voted on this afternoon therefore highlights the need to improve the living conditions of people with disabilities. More than anything, this is a matter of human rights, of respect for people who are doubly disadvantaged, firstly by their disability, and secondly by the too numerous obstacles that they face on a daily basis. Disabled people, being more vulnerable, face physical difficulties (such as restricted access to goods and services, and to public transport) as well as social problems (such as minimal employment opportunities and limited access to communication tools).

The adoption of this report helps establish a number of objectives to be met by Member States in terms of equal opportunities. They include increasing disabled people’s rate of employment, mobility and participation in public life. The creation of a European mobility card for providing uniform care to people with disabilities or access to services and communication tools for the visually impaired or the hard of hearing would be a significant step forward in this regard.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Eighty million European citizens are currently living with a disability – that means more than one European in six. Often the victims of discrimination, these people are severely affected by exclusion, unemployment and insecurity – only 30 to 40% of them have a job and the rate of poverty among them is 70% higher than average. This report deals with two major difficulties faced by people with disabilities: mobility on the one hand, and social inclusion on the other. Ambitious policies must be undertaken as soon as possible at European level to give them access to the labour market and real freedom of movement. Mr Kósa’s proposals on improving physical access to public places and on the creation of a European mobility card, introducing disability entitlements and specific support for parents of disabled children, are all on the right track, which I welcome. I also welcome the report’s reference to the challenges posed by an ageing population – the number of people over the age of 65 with a disability will increase over the coming years by 77%. This increase in the numbers of vulnerable people means that we must act now to find a more inclusive social model.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. It was crucial that Amendment 1 on paragraph 53 was rejected, and that the original text remains as follows:

53. Notes that the Member States should, as a priority, agree and adopt as soon as possible the proposal for a Council directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (COM(2008)0426); calls on the Commission to continue to support the overcoming of technical difficulties within the Council in order to ensure that a swift agreement is reached; notes that anti-discrimination policy plays a key role in promoting social inclusion and employment for people with disabilities;

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Joanna Senyszyn (S&D), in writing.(PL) I supported the European Parliament’s resolution on mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities and the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020. As a member of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, I would like to draw particular attention to the need for considering gender issues in the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020.

Nearly 80% of women with disabilities fall victim to violence. The risk of sexual violence is higher in their case due to their physical, economic, social or mental dependence on other people. In the case of domestic violence, women with disabilities remain with the perpetrator nearly twice as long as people with no disabilities. Women with disabilities suffer double discrimination on the grounds of their gender and on the grounds of their disability. Therefore, public campaigns concerning the situation of people with disabilities and, in particular, of women with disabilities, as well as activities aimed at raising awareness of their situation, are essential.

Moreover, it is important to optimise the use of structural funds in these areas and to increase funding possibilities for such actions in post-2013 programmes. I support the European Parliament’s call for the Commission to assess whether further measures taken in the context of the European Structural Funds with special regard to the Rural Development Fund help people with disabilities to be active citizens living in rural areas in Europe.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Debora Serracchiani (S&D), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report by Mr Kósa, which highlighted the physical and social obstacles that unfortunately still exist in many Member States and that restrict the lives of 80 million disabled people living all over Europe. To date, however, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has not yet been ratified by all the EU countries. Out of 27 Member States, 11 still have to sign, and even where ratified, implementation is still deficient precisely in accessibility to spaces and buildings.

According to the EU 2020 strategy, one of the most important objectives is to increase the rate of employment. This requires removing all the barriers that hinder the access of disabled people to the labour market and developing national policies in line with the European Commission’s European Disability Strategy, including simple access to public and private transport. Social inclusion and employment must also play a bigger part in strategies and in European funding.

Finally, I agree with the rapporteur on the need for a European mobility card for reciprocal recognition of care for people with disabilities, which would guarantee travel on any means of transport for all.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because I think that it is imperative to increase equal opportunities for people with disabilities. This means granting these people the right to health care and education, social protection and suitable means of communication, while also ensuring that they are integrated into society and facilitating their access to suitable jobs.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union stress that disabled citizens must have access to the same goods and services as other citizens, and that existing physical or social barriers must be removed. I am voting for this report because it provides for the adoption of national policies and strategies directed at those 80 million people – in other words, some 16% of the total population of the European Union – that are in line with the European Disability Strategy and the targets of the Europe 2020 strategy. I believe that the civil and human rights of disabled people should be respected, and that it is appropriate to involve them in the consultation procedures launched by the European Commission, to encourage exchanges on the measures already adopted by the various Member States, to strengthen inter-generational solidarity amongst young people, and to facilitate free movement without barriers. The intention is to provide society with a sustainable vision based on an approach that respects human rights. Finally, I believe the new measures should be accompanied by a precise and strict timetable that enables the implementation of the aforementioned programme to be monitored, and the necessary corrective measures to be adopted wherever justified.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Thomas Ulmer (PPE), in writing. (DE) Congratulations to Mr Kósa, who has produced a good report. The entry into force of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is useful and necessary and will bring benefits for everyone involved. Disabled employees are reliable, hardworking and highly motivated and they love their work. This is a very positive situation. Inclusion in daily life is important. It is true that there are limits in practical terms where society can no longer guarantee inclusion, for example, when there is no funding for converting buildings. However, these cases will remain an exception. It is equally important to respect the wishes of disabled people who do not want to be included and who, for example, want to remain living in a home for the disabled or another type of institution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE), in writing. (LT) This is a very important issue. According to Lithuania’s Union of Disabled Social Enterprises, there are approximately 270 000 people with disabilities in Lithuania, 29% of whom are people of retirement age, while six per cent are children. Only 16% of people with disabilities work. I agree with the rapporteur that one of the most important objectives of the European Disability Strategy should be to provide more employment for more than 65 million people living in Europe with disabilities. We need to involve them in general economic and social development, otherwise they will remain disadvantaged. The latest study by the International Labour Organisation shows that workers with disabilities would be able to achieve better results if their work was adapted to their competences and opportunities. We cannot discriminate against people with disabilities. The reports of most non-governmental organisations reveal that today’s education and training systems are not adapted to the needs of people with disabilities, and there continues to be a high drop-out rate among students with disabilities. In Lithuania, 52% of all schools lack specialist teachers or speech therapists. There is also a lack of social enterprises for people with disabilities who live in rural areas.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this important report, which is Parliament’s response to the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and is a positive step towards a more inclusive society. I also support Parliament’s call for the Council to adopt the directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment for citizens irrespective of religion, disability, age or sexual orientation. Providing social protection, health care and education to persons with disabilities is vital in order to boost the social integration of 80 million people living with a disability in the EU. In addition to this, there is no doubt that access to the labour market for persons with disabilities is limited; only 30 to 40% are in employment. The integration into working life, and the economic independence, of persons with disabilities is extremely important for their general social integration, and is becoming even more important in this time of financial austerity.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) The objective of the report is to sign and ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, including the optional protocol. People with disabilities are exposed to an increased risk of poverty. For this reason, we have a social obligation to guarantee them the best possible care. Their existing rights must at last be implemented and all the problems of social barriers and poor access to products and services must be resolved.

Support during early childhood is particularly important in this respect. The commitment to and efforts made on behalf of people must be seen as a lasting investment in society. The support measures must be tailored to individuals and their disabilities. I have voted in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Anna Záborská (PPE), in writing. (SK) I very much regret the fact that people with disabilities have become hostages in the game played by certain groups for the wholesale promotion of so-called new human rights. A solution to their actual problems regarding integration is being postponed indefinitely, because the rapporteur’s proposal to secure the rights of people with disabilities as a matter of priority did not pass the vote. Instead of this, the original text approved in committee was adopted. This includes the requirement for a directive on equal treatment to be implemented as soon as possible. That is highly controversial, and many Member States reject it. I am surprised that the cynical opportunism of some organisations has gone so far as to suppress our natural humanity and solidarity in this case.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Artur Zasada (PPE), in writing.(PL) I would like to thank the rapporteur for reminding us of the challenges related to the integration of people with disabilities. Mr Kósa rightly emphasises the importance of respecting the rights of disabled people, which, as a result of many different barriers, are not properly upheld. Disabled people are more at risk of poverty, so we must endeavour to create conditions which are as helpful as possible in enabling disabled people to play an active role in life at work and in society in all Member States. In my work in the Committee on Transport and Tourism, I am reminded daily of the fact that disabled people do not know their rights.

At every railway station and airport in the European Union, disabled people have the right to receive assistance – which is specified in EU law – because of their reduced mobility. Unfortunately, most disabled travellers simply do not know this, and the staff of railway stations and airports do not inform them of the rights to which they are entitled. We should therefore promote the removal of all barriers as well as tolerance towards disabled people as we strive for a fair European society.

 
  
  

Report: Heide Rühle (A7-0326/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, essentially because of its component intended to guarantee transparency and non-discrimination, and safeguard competition in the area of EU public procurement law. The Commission should also table a separate regulation for service concessions, and such legislation should, in accordance with the most recent case-law of the Court of Justice, be confined to the bare essentials. Its field of application should be defined in a manner consistent with the Services Directive, and it should be considered by Parliament alongside the revision of the public procurement directives, in order to avoid any further fragmentation of the law and to ensure consistency. In this area, legal certainty for public-private partnerships would also need to be clarified.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing. (IT) An open and regulated policy is crucial in making public procurement more transparent, non-discriminatory and competitive, and in avoiding the traps of nepotism and corruption.

I agree with the rapporteur, Ms Rühle, when she says that the award should no longer be made based on the criterion of lowest price alone. Today, with a view to compliance with many of the objectives contained in the EU 2020 strategy, quality and innovation are also important and, furthermore, are criteria offered by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

SMEs currently win a smaller percentage of public procurement contracts compared with larger companies because the procedures for accessing procurement contracts are too complex and costly. Therefore, I agree that there is a need for clearer rules, simplification of European law and better access to flexible instruments, not only for SMEs, but also for non-governmental organisations offering social services.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Highlighted in the Europe 2020 strategy, the European Union policy on public procurement is central to achieving the targets relating to innovation, competitiveness and the environment. The fact is, this policy needs to be modernised. The Rühle report, which I endorse, makes a number of recommendations: a clearer legal framework; developing the full potential of public procurement, for example, by putting the emphasis on the most advantageous bids in the long term (economic, social and environmental benefits) rather than on the criterion of lowest price; and allowing more flexible procedures to improve access to public procurement, particularly for SMEs.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing. (IT) This year marks the 40th anniversary of European public procurement law. Council Directive 71/305/EEC concerning the coordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts came into force in 1971. In my view, the anniversary offers an occasion for taking stock and examining where European public procurement policy has succeeded and where it has failed. On the plus side, I believe that European public procurement law has been crucial in making public procurement more transparent and in combating corruption. By contrast, a disproportionate emphasis on legal considerations has meant transaction costs and the expense incurred for external consultancy services have risen. This is a particularly problematic development in times of economic crisis when public budgets are squeezed. In addition, I would like to mention that there are many hurdles for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in accessing public contracts, particularly of a bureaucratic nature.

Therefore, I welcome a review of European public procurement law. I would like to take the opportunity of asking the Commission to consider looking at the introduction of measures to reduce transaction costs for SMEs and, in addition, of simpler, more flexible public procurement rules.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because I agree with the objectives set by the European Commission to modernise the public procurement system in the European Union. The directive currently in force was adopted relatively recently in 2004, and although, at that time, many innovations were introduced into the public procurement system previously in force, the situation has changed again in the last six years.

One of the main issues surrounding the public procurement system was always the simplification of procedures so that they could be used effectively even by buyers with limited resources, and also the regulation of the issue of service concessions at EU level, the mandatory inclusion of social criteria in procurement procedures, and transaction thresholds above which the EU directive would automatically be triggered. With this document, the European Parliament has once again reaffirmed its position that the current regulation of services concessions at EU level is not necessary, while the inclusion of social criteria in procurement procedures should always remain voluntary, but it recognises that the European Commission should draw up improved procurement manuals on this issue.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. – (CS) I applaud the fact that the Commission has decided on the basis of a review to amend EU legislation on public procurement, in order to make it simpler and more flexible. The submitted Green Paper, however, also contains discrepancies. On the one hand, the scope and details of the questions give the impression that implementation of a kind of ‘micro-declaration’ on public procurement is involved, while, on the other hand, many of the questions or submitted proposals are contradictory. For example, quotas or binding targets in public procurement would conflict with the stated aim of simplifying and ensuring greater legal certainty, and would also contribute to greater bureaucracy and the creation of new legislation.

I firmly believe that the review of public procurement directives should be based on the need to slim down public procurement legislation and return it to its original essence, so that it guarantees transparency and non-discrimination, while ensuring competition. The main focus should, in my opinion, be devoted to the tendency of public bodies to rely on bureaucratic procedures in the event of legal uncertainty, which leads to risk aversion and, in contentious cases, to the awarding of contracts to the cheapest product or service rather than the most innovative or the best overall bid. This development is particularly problematic in a time of economic crisis and limited public budgets.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report presented by Ms Rühle on the modernisation of public procurement, as I think a review of the matter is appropriate, in order to bring it more up to date. It was initially necessary to establish strict standards to ensure a uniform framework within Member States, based on criteria of transparency and free competition. Now that these principles have become rooted in the Union, I share her opinion that it is appropriate to revise the rules in order to make them more flexible and modern.

Public procurement plays a significant role in the Europe 2020 strategy, which is why we must ensure that this discipline helps to guarantee efficient use of public funds. In particular, through the appropriate use of this financial instrument, support can be provided for energy efficiency, innovation and environmental protection.

I appreciate the call for the prevention and suppression of corruption, to be implemented through the use of more transparent and controlled selection procedures, in cooperation with Member States. I also share the desire to make it easier for SMEs to access the public procurement market, which would thereby also enable small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in this significant economic sector.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for this own-initiative report drawn up by Parliament in response to the European Commission’s Green Paper. Public procurement could be a real driver for the European market in promoting jobs and developing skills and innovation. I believe it is crucial to up the stakes in the fight against the corruption and favouritism that is rife in public administration.

The existing laws must also be improved by simplifying the rules, especially through the use of information and communication technology and suitable standards. This would result in wider participation, and therefore a reduction in costs: optimum efficiency in public expenditure. I agree with the fact that the criterion of ‘lowest price’ should no longer be the determining one, and that it should be replaced by the criterion of ‘most economically advantageous tender’.

This would undoubtedly stimulate innovation and efforts to obtain the best quality and value. Furthermore, improving access for small and medium-sized enterprises to public procurement contracts is a crucial issue, because they need to be able to participate on a more equal footing, bearing in mind the hindrances they encounter as a result of their smaller size.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the modernisation of the EU’s public procurement policy. Public procurement accounts for approximately 17% of the EU’s GDP and can play an important role in ensuring sustainable employment, in encouraging innovation and sustainable working conditions and, particularly for businesses, in promoting social inclusion. The public procurement legal framework must also reflect the particular nature of social services and the economic and innovative potential of SMEs and, last but not least, guarantee that the applicable principles are observed concerning competition, transparency, non-discrimination and efficiency.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) At a time when Europe is looking for solutions to exit the crisis and achieve economic growth, I regard the proposal to review the public procurement criteria as beneficial for taking into account the life-cycle costs of the relevant goods, services or works, and not only the lowest price. It has transpired that sometimes, this criterion has incurred further additional costs simply because the post-contracting services required while goods or services purchased at the lowest price are used were not taken into account.

This principle should be taken into consideration, especially in areas such as food or health, with the aim of providing access on the basis of the quality/price ratio and not only of the cheapest bid available to consumers such as hospitals, elderly care homes, schools or nurseries, so as to provide equal access to healthy food.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marielle De Sarnez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Public procurement accounts for approximately 17% of the European Union’s GDP. This shows the importance of good policy in this area in times of crisis. The current rules on public procurement should be amended to better support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. Contracts should be awarded not just to the lowest bidder but also to the most innovative bidder or the one that offers the most interesting environmental or social benefits. It would also be useful to secure the inclusion in the Government Procurement Agreement of a clause allowing the EU to give preference to European producers, especially SMEs.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Harlem Désir (S&D), in writing.(FR) In the resolution on public procurement, the European Parliament has strengthened the Commission’s proposal towards a social Europe: the most significant step forward is that authorities should no longer opt for the lowest bid, but for the most economically advantageous tender – one which includes, for example, environmental aspects. Likewise, the issue of subcontractors is taken into account in order to prevent abuse in relation to working conditions and workers’ safety. Nevertheless, there is still progress to be made where European public procurement policy is concerned.

In particular, the Commission must impose the principle of reciprocity on its trading partners: if the Union agrees to open up its public procurement markets to third-country operators, then European companies should also have access to markets and public works in these countries outside the EU. European companies and employment in Europe must be a priority when business opportunities are looked at. The Commission must ensure that its forthcoming Public Procurement Directive serves the dual purpose of providing more quality jobs and offering quality services to users.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on ‘modernisation of public procurement’ because it proposes a reformulation of the criteria for awarding contracts so as to encourage proposals that are more advantageous, not just in economic terms, but also in social and environmental terms, taking into account costs throughout the life cycle of the goods, services and works in question. I believe public contracts should drive the transition to a more sustainable economy and to achieving the Europe 2020 strategy’s targets.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Given that public procurement represents millions of euro every year, its economic importance is in no doubt. For this very reason, although there is a long tradition of EU legislation on such contracts, it will never be going too far to call for better, more effective laws that guarantee the total transparency of procedures; that prevent all forms of corruption or manipulation of proposals to benefit one candidate; that put a ceiling in terms of numbers and of value on the number of awards without a call for proposals or without negotiation; and that guarantee proper competition in the internal market between candidate companies, irrespective of their country of origin. It should also be stressed that Portugal now sets a good example regarding e-procurement, with all the gains that it represents in terms of simplified procedures, of cost and time efficiency and savings – both for businesses and for public authorities – and of transparency and accessibility.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report on modernisation of public procurement emerges at the time of the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the Buildings Directive, which was the first European legislation on public procurement. While the benefits of the application of this legislation in terms of transparency and reducing the price of work done are indisputable, we cannot say that every aspect of it is positive. Indeed, transaction and external consultation costs have increased. At this time of crisis, we need clear rules and transparency in processes, qualification systems, and electronic passes that make companies’ lives easier, cut costs and constitute an incentive for modernisation. The target of 50% of public contracts being awarded electronically by 2010 failed, except in Portugal. There is no justification for companies having to submit around 20 original documents for each call for proposals. There is a need to increase efficiency through the use of e-mail and electronic models. I therefore welcome this initiative to make public procurement policy simpler, more flexible and more modern, and I hope that it will be of benefit to small and medium-sized enterprises by cutting transaction costs and enabling them to access calls for proposals that they do not currently have.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report cannot be dissociated from the specific conditions in which the European integration process is taking place, its nature, its fundamental characteristics, and its objectives. The debate on this issue in the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection – which is responsible for the subject matter – is enlightening as regards its intention: to primarily clear the way to a market worth around 17% of overall EU gross domestic product for large European companies – the public procurement market. All the rest is not enough to hide that intention, including all the rhetoric about the social and environmental principles to take into account in public procurement.

While it is true that public procurement should fully take into account these principles of maximising social wellbeing and protecting the environment – if we are talking about the use of public money, pursuit of the common good should certainly be of paramount importance – we cannot be unaware, as we stated in the debate in plenary, that the prospect of trade opening set out in this report is not the best way to ensure observance of these principles. The suggestion and challenge that we set in motion during the debate remain: to give preference to national companies in public procurement, particularly in the Member States currently facing the greatest difficulties.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Public procurement should, across the board, include principles like maximising social wellbeing or protecting the environment, so the purchase of goods and services by the public authorities, using public funds, should effectively meet the needs of the public in each Member State and should do so whilst safeguarding respect for criteria of economic, social and environmental sustainability. However, the creation and development of a European public procurement market, under the specific conditions in which the European integration process is currently taking place, does not safeguard these objectives. At bottom, what is intended with this initiative is to clear the way towards a market worth around 17% of EU GDP for large companies. With the imbalances currently existing within the EU, and the extremely serious situation faced by the weaker economies, public procurement could be geared towards the national preference in those Member States. This would stimulate national production, the activity of small and medium-sized enterprises, and shorter supply chains that are more socially and environmentally sustainable. It would therefore constitute an important instrument for economic recovery for the growth and development that is essential, and would enable the deficits and obstacles faced today to be overcome.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The European directive on the coordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts entered into force 40 years ago. European public procurement law has been a contributory factor in making public procurement more transparent, combating corruption, encouraging greater professionalism on the part of public contracting authorities and reducing prices, but, on the other hand, the fall in prices has come at the expense of quality and innovation, and an increase in other costs. The Commission’s effort to make public procurement law simpler and more flexible in the EU Member States by means of this revision is therefore to be welcomed. I firmly believe, however, that it should be done in such a way that tried and tested procedures are not undermined. At the same time, I believe we should try to reach a compromise over the resolution of issues such as, for example, the environmental and social challenges in the area of public procurement policy, the quality of the work performed, including appropriate wages, equality and social cohesion, all in the interests of achieving optimal conditions for citizens, businesses, employees and also taxpayers.

In terms of the general principle of public procurement, the lowest price should not be the deciding factor for awarding contracts. The bid that is economically the most advantageous from the perspective of the costs of the services or goods in question should be a more decisive factor. It is necessary to simplify public procurement law again so as to return it to its original essence – guaranteeing transparency and non-discrimination, and ensuring competition.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) My colleague’s report aims to provide an analysis of European policy on public procurement. I find that the report contains some very significant indications, such as flexibility in its procedures, and greater transparency in its implementing rules. The report calls on the Commission to take the road towards simplification. One aspect that I find very important is the encouragement of tenders which stimulate innovation. For that reason, I shall vote in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) In a period of budget restrictions throughout the world, the public procurement policy must ensure a more efficient use of Member State money in order to help revive the economy.

Currently, in Europe, spending in this sector makes up a significant proportion of the budget, that is, about 17% of EU GDP, but needs further simplification to enable our companies to gain easier access to tenders.

That is why I agree with the rapporteur on the choice of criteria for awarding contracts. These relate to criteria capable of selecting the most advantageous tender in terms of both economic and social benefits, taking into account the entire production cycle for the goods or services we are seeking to guarantee, such as contracts relating to the food sector.

The new provisions, provided for in the Green Paper on public procurement, therefore need to ensure that even passive consumers, such as patients in hospitals or nursing homes, can gain access to healthy foods with the best quality-price ratio and not simply to the cheapest products available.

It is my hope, finally, that with the introduction of these new measures, public procurement may increasingly act as an engine of innovation and encouragement for companies to come up with solutions that can benefit the whole of Europe.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Małgorzata Handzlik (PPE), in writing.(PL) Far too often, the cheapest offers come first in public tenders. At times, the price stated is so low that it raises the suspicion that it has been lowered intentionally, and in prevailing market conditions, successful tenderers may find it difficult to fulfil their obligations. The issue of tenders based on excessively low prices is often raised in conversations with entrepreneurs from my country. They stress that price is an important factor that cannot be excluded, but that there are limits to the economic profitability of offers, in particular, when tenders are submitted which deviate significantly from the calculations carried out by the bodies responsible for the preparation of tenders and the awarding of contracts. Therefore, I agree with the principles of the resolution which state that we should be using the criterion of the most economically advantageous offer, encompassing the entire life-cycle costs of goods, services and works which are the subject of public procurement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. – I wish to congratulate my colleague, Ms Rühle, for her excellent work on this report. I welcome her calls to make public procurement procedures simpler and more flexible as well as calls for better access to the process for SMEs. I also support replacing the ‘lowest price’ with the ‘most economically advantageous tender’.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Filiz Hakaeva Hyusmenovа (ALDE), in writing. (BG) Public procurement makes a considerable contribution to increasing the transparency of public expenditure and to combating corruption. However, it needs to be modernised in order to improve its effectiveness.

I supported this resolution because I share the view that the EU’s rules for conducting public procurement must be simplified to provide a greater opportunity for small and medium-sized firms to take part in bids. I think that wider use of the opportunities provided by e-government will result in reducing the duration of procedures and streamlining administrative and business expenses. Therefore, I feel that more European e-procurement initiatives are required.

I also share the view that the lowest price should not be the determining factor when selecting a supplier so that other criteria can also be focused on, such as economic, social and environmental benefits, and the entire life-cycle costs of the relevant goods and services can be taken into account. Measures also need to be taken to promote innovative proposals and ensure a higher quality of performance.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because it is aimed at improving public procurement by simplifying procedures and giving small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) more opportunities. With regard to the scope of the directives, it should be made clear that the field to which they apply is that of public procurement – a concept defined, according to the most recent European Court of Justice rulings, by the existence of a direct benefit to the contracting authority. I warmly welcome the European Commission’s efforts to involve public contracting authorities more effectively in the pursuit of general social aims, but should point out that the public procurement directives themselves are the main impediment here. Given the major economic problems that public contracting authorities face, there will be little change so long as the criterion of the lowest price carries the same weight in the directives as that of the most economically advantageous tender. Change will come about only if it is stipulated that contracts are to be awarded to the most economically advantageous tender (for example, using the ‘apply or explain’ principle) and if the criteria for selecting what is most economically advantageous are made easier to implement. Simplifying the European Union’s public procurement rules and improving access to flexible procedures will help to promote sustainable and innovative procurement. There are various possibilities, including systematic market monitoring, better use of the negotiated procedure with prior announcement and additional complementary measures to improve transparency, and the systematic admission of alternative bids, with bids being considered particularly from a sustainable development standpoint.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) The issue touched on by Ms Rühle’s report is significant as well as delicate for the world of business and public administration. This year, as outlined in the text, the European law on procurement turns forty, with reference, in particular, to Directive 71/305/EEC. Implementing a process of public procurement modernisation, including the computerisation of the system, is a complex procedure and requires attention to issues relating to the protection of firms, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the competition system and a level of operational transparency that will give the procedure a legal basis.

I am convinced that reconciling the various aspects of what is a sensitive area (that is, public procurement) is a mechanism that requires careful attention towards all those involved, so as to ensure that rights and obligations are guaranteed. We cannot, indeed, draw up a procurement modernisation plan simply because we are dazzled by the efficacy of words such as ‘sustainability’ and ‘computerisation’.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Morten Løkkegaard (ALDE), in writing. (DA) I look forward to this report serving as an input for the Commission’s work to modernise the public procurement directives. The public procurement directives are in need of modernisation in order to ensure that they focus on the core tasks, which are to ensure transparency, non-discrimination and competition on the market. However, it is important for me to emphasise the fact that more streamlined procurement rules and greater flexibility must not be at the expense of the equal treatment of the tenderers. European procurement law has made procurement procedures more transparent and it has reduced corruption and nepotism and lowered prices, so there is a great deal to be grateful for. So far, so good. On the other hand, the procurement rules have also resulted in a significant rise in transaction costs, one reason for this being that the rules are so complex. These are costs, which, unfortunately in some cases, exceed the savings which can be recovered on tenders for a particular task, and that, of course, is not the intention here.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution, which, in the field of public procurement, calls on the Commission to assess the problems associated with exceptionally low bids and to propose appropriate solutions; recommends that contracting authorities provide, in the event of abnormally low bids being received, for early and sufficient information to other bidders, in order to allow them to assess whether there are grounds for initiating a review procedure; and asks for greater consistency between the EU’s common external trade policy and the practices in Member States where exceptionally low bids are accepted.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Iosif Matula (PPE), in writing. (RO) The aim of European public procurement legislation has mainly been to implement transparent measures for awarding public contracts by tackling irregularities, cutting red tape and simplifying the application procedures. Current practice in this area indicates the need for national criteria to be better aligned with European legislation. The new provisions may create a legislative framework conducive to increasing the access that SMEs have to public procurement by avoiding the introduction of further bureaucratic procedures. I should emphasise how important it is to establish additional criteria for awarding public contracts. The introduction of the ‘most economically advantageous’ criterion will take into account objectives providing economic and social benefits and with less of an environmental impact. Only 50% of public procurement transactions in the EU are carried out online. However, even in this area, there are many flaws in the implementation of an effective e-procurement system.

I think that a common framework is needed to establish the procedures for appealing the outcomes of tenders. In some Member States, appeals are the main obstacle to kick-starting investment. I voted for this report because I think that the future of public procurement may provide an important source for creating jobs and developing skills in the areas of research and innovation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) Modernising public procurement means increasing transparency and equality of treatment and therefore combating corruption. I agree with the rapporteur on the objectives and how to achieve them, as well as the objections to the Commission’s proposal: a review of public procurement directives should proceed from the recognition that there is now considerable experience with EU public procurement law in Europe. I vote in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) This text includes a number of ecological considerations and a concern to see collective agreements complied with, which I welcome. However, it focuses on respect for the sacrosanct principle of free competition. It also commends the Green Paper that the Commission drafted last January, which advocates, among other things, public authorities lowering their requirements in order to encourage more competition. The general interest is once again being sacrificed at the altar of liberalism. I voted against.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE), in writing. (SK) The proper functioning of the public procurement market throughout the EU is of fundamental importance for stimulating economic competition and innovation in the single market. I support the idea of supranational public procurement. Unified European public procurement rules are making a big contribution towards increasing transparency and equal treatment, but additional simplification of the rules and elimination of unnecessary bureaucracy is needed, so that small and medium-sized enterprises can also gain access. The challenge for Member States is still to transpose European rules into national legislation, and to provide sufficient professional training, as public procurement requires a high level of professionalism. Public procurement must not lead to a lowering of environmental and social standards.

I take the view that the criterion of lowest price should no longer be the determining one for the award of contracts, and that it should, in general, be replaced by the criterion of most economically advantageous tender, in terms of economic, social and environmental benefits – taking into account the entire life-cycle costs of the relevant goods, services or works. The submitted report presents the main principles by which public procurement should be governed in future, and which I am happy to support with my vote.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – This report highlights ‘environmental and social public policy challenges, as well as quality-of-work issues including adequate pay, equality, social cohesion and inclusion, while achieving optimal value for citizens, businesses, employees and taxpayers’ and, with regard to the general principles for awarding contracts, states clearly that the lowest price should no longer be the determining factor and that ‘it should, in general, be replaced by the criterion of most economically advantageous tender, in terms of economic, social and environmental benefits – taking into account the entire life-cycle costs of the relevant goods, services or works’. I therefore believe that the report is a very important document and I support it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) Public procurement contracts, particularly during a period of general economic stagnation, can undoubtedly be a driver for recovery. This report proposes a clearer definition of the rules and tender procedures, as well as their simplification. Ample space is dedicated to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), so it is necessary to have laws which are as simple as possible. One proposal, in particular, is to make it easier to split larger contracts into lots, in order to allow far greater participation by SMEs in a larger number of tenders.

I would also like to emphasise the need to increase the electronic awarding of public contracts. This system would greatly reduce costs and charges, as well as saving significant amounts of time. Finally, I believe that the report was very well put together and is a move in the right direction. This is why I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution because public procurement must provide contracting authorities with a direct economic benefit, not the opposite. In order to achieve sustainable and modern procurement, we must provide for simpler public procurement rules and more flexible procedures.

I do not feel that it is appropriate for public procurement authorities to include environmental costs in their assessment of the most economically advantageous offer. Consequently, I welcome the proposal that the decision to use criteria which are not procurement-related must be reserved for decision-making bodies.

Attention should be drawn to the fact that the current provisions on subcontracting should be strengthened so that public authorities are informed of all details relating to the use of subcontractors before a contract is concluded. Furthermore, we must ensure that SME subcontractors are not subject to conditions worse than those applicable to the main contractor.

We should raise the level of thresholds for supply and services contracts so as to facilitate access to public procurement by not-for-profit and social-economy operators, as well as SMEs.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) The Public Procurement Directive first entered into force forty years ago (Directive 71/305/EEC). Despite its important contribution over all these years, the directive has reached its limits. It needs to be revised so that it responds to modern requirements (simplified procedures that prevent bureaucracy) and challenges (problems of corruption and legal insecurity).

In fact, in the present financial crisis in Europe, bureaucracy may well cause delays in preparing important development initiatives, while corruption and convolutedness appear to be on the increase. The debate on public procurement has thus been re-opened at the right moment in time and I therefore support it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on modernisation of public procurement. In fact, European legislation on public procurement is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. I think this is an appropriate time to draw up an inventory and analyse where the successes and failures of European procurement policy have been. The new rules should be based on the original essence of the first text: the guarantee of transparency, non-discrimination and safeguarding competition.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) The forty years of European law on procurement (Directive 71/305/EEC on public works contracts first entered into force on 26 July 1971) have enabled the legislator to gain considerable experience, such that it has achieved great successes, on the one hand, and failures, on the other: the lack of legal certainty that has led to contradictions and confusion, for example. I therefore regard it as essential that a review of European law on public procurement should take place in order to simplify it and make it more flexible, providing guarantees on issues such as transparency, non-discrimination and competition guarantees. I therefore welcome the following motion for a resolution, and shall vote in favour of it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. – The report on the modernisation of public procurement (PP) is based on the Green Paper preceding the imminent legislative proposals from the Commission on PP (due to come in December 2011), its content being relevant to the future legislative report. I voted for this report because PP could be a real driver in promoting quality jobs, wages and conditions, and equality, developing skills and training, promoting environmental policies, and providing incentives for research and innovation. I fully support the request to the Commission to encourage governments and contracting authorities to increase the use of sustainable public procurement supporting and promoting good quality employment, and providing quality services and goods in Europe. I consider there are good provisions relating to SMEs, to the fight against corruption and to e-public procurement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this report on the modernisation of public procurement rules.

European rules on tendering procedures must not undermine workers’ rights and social conditions. When public authorities purchase goods and services to meet our citizens’ various needs, we must not – for the sake of securing the cheapest price at any price – ignore the needs of the workers who provide them. The ‘cheapest tender’ principle needs to be reviewed so as to cover social and environmental criteria, taking into account the full costs of each option presented.

Decent work standards have to be upheld. Otherwise, when pursuing public interest goals, we risk undermining social conditions. Fair and equal pay and proper working conditions, which safeguard health and safety, are not incompatible with sound financial management. Tender applicants must not be allowed to evade their obligations by hiding behind a chain of subcontractors which can render them unaccountable.

We also need to consider changes to the current thresholds for supply and services contracts, so as to ensure that charities, NGOs and small local operators are not deprived of access to these markets as a result of legal and administrative burdens which are unjustified in the environments where such organisations operate, and which paralyse them, to nobody’s benefit.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Public procurement legislation is one of the areas where Union law intervention is felt most, and where it has the longest tradition, since it is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its first legislative intervention this year. This is an area where any intervention capable of Union law could have results beneficial to the economy. It benefits not just freedom of competition, but also the taxpayer in general, since it makes the central framework for processing public procurement transparent. However, the highly technical nature of this field has been increasing so-called ‘transaction costs’; in other words, the costs that applicants have to bear in a public procurement process – for example, legal advice – in order to submit an application. The future of this legislation must, therefore, involve simplification. In relation to another area, this path is also justified since it ensures a greater increase in flexibility: instead of the primacy of the best price, the best solution will win. I voted in favour because I agree with this vision.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Public procurement – which accounts for 17% of GDP in the European Union – is a major instrument for bolstering economic growth, innovation, employment, environmental protection, and even the efficiency of public spending in Europe. Making sure that it works optimally is therefore crucial to the European economy. This report, which I support, sets out six priority tasks for reforming current legislation which the Commission should propose in the coming months. One such task is improving SME access to public procurement. With this in mind, Parliament proposes modernising the Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) website, supporting the division of public contracts into lots, or promoting the ‘electronic procurement passport’ – which would prove that the economic operator fulfils the conditions required under EU legislation on public contracts. I am very much in favour of this. Among the other objectives, we should also point out that of achieving the best value for money, in particular, by replacing the criterion of lowest price by the criterion of most economically advantageous tender, taking into account the entire life-cycle costs of the relevant goods.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – I voted in favour. This year marks the 40th anniversary of European public procurement law. The entry into force on 26 July 1971 of Council Directive 71/305/EEC concerning the coordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts is an event seldom recalled. The Commission Green Paper on the modernisation of EU public procurement policy mentions the directive only once.

Nonetheless, the anniversary offers an occasion for taking stock and examining where European public procurement policy has succeeded and where it has failed. The EP position is that any revision of the public procurement directives should proceed from the recognition that there is now considerable experience with EU public procurement law in Europe: whereas, in the early days, strictly formalised procedures were necessary in order to bring a certain degree of professionalism to public procurement practice and to accustom the contracting authorities to the principles of transparency, non-discrimination and competition, these things are nowadays common practice. What is required today is a slimming down of public procurement law to refocus it on the core task of guaranteeing transparency and non-discrimination and safeguarding competition.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Lucia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this document because the European public procurement rules must be simplified in order to provide small and medium-sized enterprises with easier access to tenders. In addition, contracts should not necessarily be awarded to the lowest bidder, but also to the most innovative bid or to the one with a more advantageous environmental impact. Finally, in order to simplify the procedures for awarding a contract, a true electronic passport should be brought in, certifying compliance with Community rules by the firm participating in the tender.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing.(FR) This report marks a significant step ahead of the European Commission’s formal proposal due at the end of the year, and that is why I voted in favour of it. In particular, the rapporteur argues that the lowest price criterion is no longer suited to current circumstances, and I support this idea. Indeed, driving down the price of tenders with no regard for basic social or environmental standards comes at a cost, a cost that is borne by citizens and not by the company awarded the contract. This is no longer acceptable, and we must change this rule.

Likewise, we need to put a stop to commercial naivety: when they apply for non-European contracts, our companies are nearly always sidelined. On the other hand, it is easy for foreign companies to tender for, or even win, European public contracts. The Union must use all the instruments at its disposal to open up our partners’ public procurement markets on a reciprocal basis. This will enable European companies, when trying their luck abroad, to benefit from a level playing field.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing.(IT) I should like to congratulate the rapporteur for having made such a complex subject and report accessible to everyone. I welcome the document, as it invites the Commission to simplify and safeguard the different legal practices in the various Member States, as well as the refusal to introduce new rules for tenders below European thresholds.

Furthermore, the report dedicates a lot of space to the protection of small and medium-sized enterprises in respect of their ability to access European contract tenders. Finally, I would like to underline that simplifying legislative procedures not only offers many advantages to local administrators; it also helps to eradicate the wasting of funds. I therefore invite the Commission to continue along this route towards improving legal clarity.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Laurence J. A. J. Stassen (NI), in writing. (NL) The Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) voted against this motion for a resolution. The present resolution claims to want to simplify administrative and judicial procedures for public procurement, yet then adds in extra criteria instead. By stipulating which criteria governments must adhere to in public procurement, the European Parliament is playing the national governments’ role. This makes sure that the lowest price can no longer be the decisive criteria in public procurement. Instead, we are to have sustainable, environmentally friendly and carbon-neutral procurement and government contracts that promote what is known as the ‘European social model’. The PVV believes that it is up to the Member States themselves to set the criteria for public procurement, not the European Union. That is why the PVV voted against this resolution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Commission Green Paper on the modernisation of EU public procurement policy, entitled ‘Towards a more efficient European market’, argues that public contracts should play a key role in the Europe 2020 strategy and ensure public funds are used as efficiently as possible. I am voting for this report because I believe the European public procurement market should remain open throughout the EU, contribute to Europe’s new challenges, promote competition, and stimulate business investment. I would argue that the Member States should make extra effort to increase the number of transactions through e-public procurement. I consider it important to adopt measures to prevent and combat corruption, and that certain legal concepts remain ambiguous and need to be clarified. The rules should be simplified so as to make public procurement procedures more flexible. I also believe the criterion of price should not be the most important factor in awarding contracts, with the criterion of the most economically beneficial proposal in economic, social and environmental terms being adopted. I therefore intend to ensure better use of public funds and investments with a high long-term return for new generations.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE), in writing. (LT) I agree with the rapporteur that EU rules should be simplified in order to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to offer a price bid for a contract. SMEs are the backbone of the Lithuanian economy. These companies account for 76% of labour market employment in the business economy, which is as much as nine per cent higher than the EU average. Despite this, according to statistics from the European Commission, compared with the EU average (28% as opposed to 21%), a large proportion of Lithuania’s SMEs experience difficulties in the area of funding. In Lithuania, small enterprises receive a smaller proportion of public procurement contracts than they should if we take into account the share of the economy they represent. This is because today’s public procurement rules make tenders for contracts complicated and expensive. Much more needs to be done to establish a fair and transparent EU regulatory framework which would regulate public procurement and help SMEs obtain better access to public procurement contracts, both in the EU and third countries. I agree with my colleagues in the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe that the ‘once only’ principle should be applied, according to which authorities should not request the resubmission of proof that has already been submitted during other procedures. Cumbersome bureaucratic barriers should thus be avoided.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – The report, which I fully support, states the importance of ensuring that taxpayers’ money is used effectively to boost the economy and enhance job creation. This must be done by creating clear, simple rules to encourage public authorities as they look to boost innovation and growth. The proposals outlined in the report highlight the need to establish an EU-wide electronic procurement passport to give evidence that EU public procurement rules are complied with. This would be effective in reducing the currently costly and inefficient administrative burden linked to tendering for contracts. I also fully support the proposed changes to the criteria for tenders, which will benefit SMEs. Compared to their share in the economy, SMEs are struggling to secure public procurement contracts. A contract should be awarded to the proposal offering the most advantageous economic, social and environmental terms, rather than being based solely on the ‘lowest price’ criterion. I support this because it will undoubtedly be beneficial in terms of generating more innovative bids in line with EU 2020 strategy goals.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) Since Directive 71/305/EEC came into force, there have been a number of successful developments in the field of public procurement. However, the regulations on public procurement must be improved, in accordance with the judgments of the European Court of Justice. The low price processes that take little account of quality, innovation and sustainability represent a problem. In addition, the technical production process is of crucial importance with regard to sustainability. Access must be made easier for small and medium-sized businesses by removing existing obstacles and guaranteeing equal conditions. I have voted in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Hermann Winkler (PPE), in writing. (DE) The subject of public procurement law is a crucial one for our businesses. However, I do not believe that we need to review the EU procurement regulations again only a short time after they came into force. Ms Rühle’s report represents a good compromise. Unfortunately, the EU Commission has already decided to submit its proposal for a revision in December. Therefore, it is important for us to express our concerns during the legislative procedure that will follow. Businesses, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises, need practical rules which give them the easiest possible access to public contracts. As a result, I do not want to see EU procurement law being overburdened with regulations. We should not be making the rules unnecessarily complex and we should not be introducing large numbers of criteria that are not related to procurement. Involvement in the manufacturing process, as the EU Commission is currently planning, is totally excessive and puts too great a burden on companies.

The most cost-effective tender should win the contract, not the cheapest or the most politically correct. During the process of procuring services from self-employed engineers and architects, the threshold should be increased to EUR 1 million to correspond with the procurement threshold for building services of EUR 5 million. The formal documentation requirements must be simplified and the period of validity of the references must be increased to at least 10 years.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for the text presented by Ms Rühle on the modernisation of public procurement, also in view of the upcoming debate on the proposal to review the so-called procurement directives. While I wholeheartedly support a general simplification of procurement rules and procedures, which would undoubtedly help to speed up the awarding process, I believe there need to be more controls on self-declaration. On the one hand, this is a useful tool for simplifying the participation of companies in tenders, but, on the other, a database of the legal documents and administrative procedures needs to be created in order to provide proof that they have the necessary requisites and combat the presentation of fake certificates or documentary proof.

 
  
  

Report: Traian Ungureanu (A7-0258/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because, in order to acquire a thorough understanding of the current situation and of future developments in the labour market, the positive efforts of the European Commission towards effective application and in support of workers’ mobility need to be stepped up. To achieve this, more in-depth analysis with respect to infringement procedures targeted towards the non-compliant Member States, trends of labour mobility in terms of skills, sectors and geographical area, and the tabling of a long-term, comprehensive, multidisciplinary, mobility strategy aimed at analysing and removing all existing legal, administrative and practical barriers to free movement of workers, is required. The economic reasoning for opening the labour markets becomes as clear as ever in the current times. I should like to stress that excessive protectionism in terms of labour mobility will induce a growing separation among Member States and a mistrust that could affect the European Union’s performance as a world player and weaken its position on a competitive scale. This is the moment when the European Member States need to work and grow together.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. – I support this report, which aims to reaffirm the European commitment to reinforcing the right of free movement for workers.

Member States must facilitate the exercise of this right, implementing existing legislation fully, whilst bringing national legislation into line with the European provisions, in order to eliminate possible direct or indirect barriers, notably with regard to discriminatory behaviour based on nationality, refusal of rights for family members, and social security scheme rules, as well as other barriers that can prevent workers from moving freely in search of a job or can create disincentives to their doing so.

In an era of globalised markets, the free movement of workers can address the problem of finding a profitable fit between labour demand and supply. The Commission must strengthen its efforts in enforcing and supporting labour mobility, must conduct more in-depth analysis in relation to infringement procedures for non-compliant Member States, and must present a long-term, comprehensive, multidisciplinary mobility strategy for analysing and removing all existing legal, administrative and practical barriers to the free movement of workers. Over-protectionism in terms of labour mobility will induce a mistrust that could affect the EU’s performance as a world player. Member States need to work and grow together.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Union is an area of freedom and security, where freedom of movement means the freedom to move to another Member State to find work or to respond to a job offer. However, statistics show that few citizens exercise this right, and only 2.3% of EU citizens are resident in a Member State other than their own.

In the context of an economic crisis, the current rate of mobility is not sufficient to enhance the efficiency of the labour market; we therefore need to encourage worker mobility.

The most recent studies have shown that exercising the right to freedom of movement for workers has no negative effects on labour markets; therefore, Member States should facilitate this by adapting national legislation in order to remove potential direct or indirect obstacles, in particular, those relating to discriminatory treatment based on nationality.

In order to achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy and to support the economy during this current crisis, concrete joint actions are needed on the part of Member States in order to strengthen mutual trust and thus support workers and markets.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Although the right to live and work in any country in the European Union is a basic aspect of European citizenship, recognised by the Treaties, the statistics show, nevertheless, that there are still too few people who exercise this right. In times of economic crisis, professional and geographical mobility of workers can help reduce unemployment by matching labour supply with demand, provide job creation opportunities, get the economy, society and demography to adapt to structural changes, as well as promote economic growth and the EU’s competitiveness. These barriers and restrictions infringe a fundamental right of workers, make it more difficult for EU economies to recover, and can generate counterproductive effects, such as illegal work and worker exploitation.

I think that the free movement of workers needs to be encouraged because it offers a positive socio-economic model for both the European Union and Member States, marking a milestone for integration which contributes to economic growth, social cohesion, personal professional development, tackling prejudices, racism and xenophobia, thereby also counteracting the adverse impact of the economic crisis.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Mindful of the fundamental right that each and every European worker has to move freely within the European Union, I voted for the resolution presented by Mr Ungureanu. This resolution encourages the integration of workers from new members of the Union, in particular, from Bulgaria and Romania, into the European market, and denounces prejudice. We must fight discrimination against workers on the basis of their nationality: one of the cornerstones of the European project.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) The right to live and work in another country of the European Union is one of the EU’s fundamental freedoms, a basic component of EU citizenship recognised by the Treaties. However, in some EU Member States, there still remain administrative and bureaucratic barriers which prevent EU citizens from fully exercising their rights, and not enough effort is being made to combat discrimination against, and abuse of, migrant workers. I welcome the calls for Member States to simplify administrative procedures relating to the right of workers to move freely in order to avoid unjustified, unnecessary or complicated administrative procedures restricting the opportunity to exercise this right. The Commission should carry out in-depth research to identify barriers faced by European Union workers who wish to exercise their right to move freely and evaluate the Member States’ actions in this area. The Commission should also evaluate the current economic situation in the Member States with regard to the labour market and monitor the Member States so that they balance migration policies and labour aspects better, address issues of labour shortages more effectively and boost domestic production and economic growth.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The right to live and work in a different Member State is one of the Union’s fundamental freedoms, and is a basic element of Union citizenship recognised by the Treaties. In fact, there is a need for better transposition and implementation of current directives on free movement of workers, given that there remain legal, administrative and practical obstacles to the full implementation of this fundamental freedom. I therefore voted for this report, which stresses the need to promote information strategies about the rights of migrant workers, and to simplify administrative procedures relating to the free movement of workers. There is also a need for better coordination among social protection systems, in order that previously acquired social rights might be recognised. It is essential to strengthen the current legal framework regarding recognition of academic and professional qualifications. The geographic mobility of young people should be promoted through mobility programmes for the purposes of learning, and the teaching of foreign languages should be actively promoted. Finally, I would stress the importance of the European Employment Services network in promoting the mobility of workers within the European Union, by making available information on job offers, information on education and professional training opportunities, and on living and working conditions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing.(FR) We all know the figures. Mobility among Europeans is still extremely low: only 2.3% of people in the European Union reside in a Member State other than their own. However, 17% intend to work in another Member State, and almost half would consider looking for work in another Member State if they were made redundant. These figures show the discrepancy that exists between a so-called integrated single market and a European area of free movement of people and workers where barriers actually still exist. There are many reasons explaining this state of affairs: the barriers are social, linguistic, cultural, legal or even administrative in nature. The objective of enabling people in the EU to take full advantage of the free movement granted to them under the Treaties is yet to be achieved. It hinges on improving the coordination of national systems, whether this is in terms of social security and pensions or in terms of recognition of diplomas and professional qualifications. Too many people in Europe are still hampered in their plans for the future by the lack of coordination and recognition of national rules.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because I was appointed the principal rapporteur for the opinion, and I believe that the text put to the vote in the plenary session reflects the main idea I proposed – that workers’ mobility must be promoted, but that this must be done in a responsible manner. In other words, when encouraging people to move, we must offer them a guarantee that their rights as workers will not be violated and that they will not be exploited in a foreign country. We must also ensure that people leaving to work in other countries are not forced to waste the education, qualifications and work experience they have acquired and take lower qualified jobs, even if these are better paid. Finally, I called for an evaluation of the situation in countries where, particularly in recent times, the scale of emigration is very significant due to exceptional economic reasons, with many educated and highly skilled work forces leaving such countries. Such mass emigration might cost these ‘donor countries’ very dear in the future, not just in an economic, but also in a social sense. The Commission and the Member States should therefore begin to seek solutions to this problem now.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The call from the European legislative to Member States to allow Romanians and Bulgarians to have access to their labour markets by the end of 2011 is actually a call for normality. This is especially the case as the analyses clearly show that the integration of both states in 2007 has not had an adverse impact on the labour market in any of the Member States.

The official figures, including those from the European Commission, indicate that workers from Eastern Europe have not caused unemployment and have not put a strain on social protection systems. On the contrary, their arrival has led to economic growth in the destination countries, assessed at one per cent of GDP. It is becoming absolutely vital for all Member States to review their rules on the transitional periods before providing access to their labour markets.

We hope that the countries still imposing restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians will lift them by the end of 2011, in other words, before the final deadline of 2013 stipulated in the EU Accession Treaty. These restrictions may have an adverse impact in the long term on the fundamental values and rights enshrined in the EU Treaties, such as the freedom of movement, non-discrimination, solidarity and equal rights. Europe does not have first-class or second-class citizens.

I congratulate Mr Ungureanu on his report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for this report because I believe that, despite the fact that the right to live and work in another EU country is one of the fundamental freedoms enshrined by the Treaties, the specific initiatives undertaken to support mobility are not yet sufficient to ensure its full implementation. A word of caution, however: mobility must be seen in a positive light and as an opportunity.

I think that exercising the right to free movement of workers is essential for reviving economic performance in the EU and for achieving the EU 2020 strategy employment objectives. European commitment to this aim needs to be further emphasised. We need to support full harmonisation between national and European law, in order to ensure the elimination of potential barriers to mobility, and greater convergence with other existing policies and strategies, in order to facilitate the movement of workers between one Member State and another.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. – (CS) It should be added that the mobility of workers is not only reflected in the provisions in the area of employment policy, but is linked to measures adopted in the area of completing the internal market, coordinating social security systems, rights to pension schemes, protection of workers, education and vocational training, language requirements and tax measures, as well as measures for limiting dual taxation. I also consider it important to harmonise the impact of worker migration with existing strategies at European level, especially the EU 2020 strategy, and also with strengthening the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The involvement of SMEs will ensure job growth, and dynamic progress here may enable a cyclical migration of workers that will mainly entail improving skills through training, within which new skills will be acquired or existing skills expanded, and also through the maintenance of a competitive environment, leading to better end products. The current situation and the lessons from the financial crisis have brought a new set of opportunities on how to strengthen economic performance again and increase the level of employment. To this end, worker mobility is a very important benefit because it contributes to greater social and economic convergence, and brings lasting shared experience that is beneficial both to employers and employees. The objectives in the area of job creation will also be better achieved if worker mobility is fully implemented.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I believe the labour market restrictions being imposed by some Member States on Romanian and Bulgarian nationals should be lifted by the end of 2011. I believe these barriers are counterproductive and constitute discriminatory measures against European citizens. As long as there are no negative effects registered from labour mobility, there is no socio-economic justification for maintaining the barriers for entry into a new job market. Official figures, including those from the Commission, show that workers from Eastern Europe have neither caused unemployment nor put pressure on social security systems. Instead, the influx of these workers has generated economic growth in their destination countries, estimated at approximately one per cent of gross domestic product. I voted for this report, as I regret the recent legislative proposals in certain Member States aimed at weakening the rights of workers from countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007, and I call on the Commission to investigate whether such policies are in breach of EU law.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The basic argument in this report is that the best way of addressing unemployment is to promote worker mobility. It takes the view that workers who lose their job as a result of the crisis and of the austerity policies imposed throughout the EU, and to an even greater degree in countries such as Greece, Portugal and Ireland, simply need to migrate. Despite the fact that there are currently too few jobs available at European level, the report fails to understand that promoting worker mobility at all costs conflicts with regional policy and cohesion policy. The purpose of cohesion policy is to support endogenous economic and social development in the poorer regions of Europe, so that people can stay and find work there.

The only way to address unemployment in Europe is to reverse the current policies being applied, which are the cause of mediaeval practices and flexible forms of employment and which are putting wages and pensions at risk. As this particular report has failed to properly map the true causes of unemployment and propose radical and fair ways of reducing it, I voted against today’s motion for a resolution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ole Christensen (S&D), in writing. (DA) The Danish Social Democrats in the European Parliament (Dan Jørgensen, Christel Schaldemose, Britta Thomsen and Ole Christensen) voted against a separate vote on paragraph 31. This is because we do not believe that there is any need for this paragraph. Firstly, account must always be taken of current EU legislation when the Member States draw up new draft laws. Secondly, we believe that the wording places the right to free movement above social rights. In our view, these rights should be considered of equal importance.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) European citizens and their families have the right to move and reside freely in the territory of the Member States. Living and working in another Member State is a fundamental right of any European citizen, although the figures show that few people – 2.3% – make use of it at the moment. Worker mobility is socio-economically important, for both the EU and the Member States, and also makes a positive contribution to pursuit of the employment targets set in the Europe 2020 strategy. Several obstacles to, and restrictions on, the full implementation of this fundamental freedom still remain, which violate this right and also make it difficult for the EU’s economies to recover. Moreover, they can have counterproductive effects, such as increased illegal work, the exploitation of workers and the expansion of the parallel economy.

I support the promotion of professional mobility on the basis of a comprehensive, multidisciplinary and long-term strategy prohibiting all existing legal, administrative and practical obstacles to the free movement of workers. I would stress the need to develop a consistent, efficient and transparent policy focused on the needs of the labour market and on economic trends; to step up solidarity and responsibility sharing among Member States; and to set out a clear legal system regarding legal migration.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the resolution on promoting workers’ mobility within the European Union in the hope of abolishing the discriminatory barriers imposed on Romanians and Bulgarians after joining the EU. Apart from these restrictions being unfair, it has transpired that exercising the right to free movement does not have an adverse impact on the labour market. It is also concerning that gender differences in terms of workers’ mobility within the EU are detrimental to women. This is why better monitoring of this is required. A large proportion of women who go abroad to find a job work for private individuals as baby-sitters, often illegally. Consequently, they are not eligible for social security, medical care and protection against abuse from their employers. Greater attention and involvement in this matter are required. Last but not least, lifting the counter-productive restrictions within the European Union may help kick-start economic recovery and the achievement of the Europe 2020 strategy objectives.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) As the ageing process of Europe’s population continues, I think that workers’ mobility in the EU market is a beneficial process, but all current restrictions must be lifted for workers from the new Member States. To ensure that the EU meets its economic growth targets and Europe 2020 strategy objectives for creating new jobs, I think that it is beneficial to carry out regular evaluations of the professions where there is a need for staff and of the sectors facing difficulties recruiting staff. These evaluations must be correlated with European educational programmes and measures for using the experience acquired by older workers at the end of their career, so as to pass on the baton as efficiently as possible to young workers. Last but not least, there must be a correlation between the professional retraining programmes for the unemployed, so as to reduce their number and meet the labour requirements for those professions experiencing shortages.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) The principle of freedom of movement has been one of the great achievements of the European Union as a Union of states and peoples. It translates ideas of freedom of movement for workers, of establishment and of provision of services across the various Member States. These concepts strengthen notions of cooperation, solidarity and progress, so they should be further developed and constantly improved. I believe the free movement of European citizens, when motivated by labour issues, is a right which helps us as Europeans. I therefore believe policies should be devised to protect Europeans who choose to move. If legislative frameworks for labour mobility are well implemented, citizens benefit from the easier conditions they encounter, on the one hand, and the host country benefits from simplified integration with its national labour force, on the other. I voted for this own-initiative report, owing to its pertinence and the ideas that it presents.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Proinsias De Rossa (S&D), in writing. – I support this report, which calls for the mobility of workers in an EU free of barriers, with strong integration policies and guaranteeing the respect of social and labour rights, including the right to strike, collective representation and equal pay for work of equal value. The Commission should promote labour mobility by presenting a long-term, comprehensive, multidisciplinary mobility strategy to remove all existing legal, administrative and practical barriers to the free movement of workers, and the Member States should create mechanisms of cooperation aimed at preventing the negative effects of mobility, mainly on families. The equal treatment of workers is the way to prevent social dumping. For adequate protection of labour rights, the principle of ‘equal pay for the same work in the same place’ must be applied in both national legislation and collective agreements. Labour inspection services and their coordination at EU level should be increased, not least in order to counteract both the direct and indirect discrimination and exploitation of migrant workers and false self-employment among mobile workers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the adoption of these measures which should allow for better implementation of European legislation on the matter. These measures for harmonisation and for combating discrimination within the Union provide a real opportunity for our people, and allow provisional barriers to be maintained when opening up markets in our territories to the citizens of new Member States. With these measures, we should regularise the current status of European workers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report as I think that the free movement of workers is a vital step towards achieving the single market and reinforcing a strong European identity. Even though some Member States are maintaining restrictions on providing the new Member States with access to their labour markets, labour migration has had a positive impact on the EU as a whole.

Through the amendments made to this report, we have highlighted the fact that labour mobility within the European Union is vital to economic recovery and to achieving the Europe 2020 strategy objectives. We have called on Member States maintaining the labour market restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian citizens to lift them by the end of 2011.

Furthermore, I believe that there are no sound socio-economic arguments to support these labour market restrictions being maintained.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report as I believe certain Member States should lift the labour market restrictions that they are imposing on Romanian and Bulgarian nationals by the end of 2011. These barriers are counterproductive and represent discriminatory measures against European citizens.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Mobility is increasingly a value that needs to be taken into account in contemporary economies and, in particular, in an area in which freedom of movement is in force for people and goods, such as the European Union. Despite this fundamental freedom, there are still few Europeans that benefit from it, truly exercising their professions in Member States other than their country of origin. There are some well known obstacles to Europeans’ mobility, which urgently need to be removed. Solidarity makes the European Union and the Member States responsible for seeking to promote the mobility of workers and businesses within Europe, and for removing the obstacles that still remain. Given the crisis that the Union is currently experiencing, European workers and their families, as well as the host countries, will have much to gain if they are not overloaded with administrative requirements and are able, instead, to enjoy freedom of movement, of establishment and of the exercising of their professions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) When the EU expanded to incorporate peoples in the east, many citizens of these countries wanted to head west in search of better living conditions, particularly higher wages. However, some Member States, fearing increased insecurity, closed their borders to these EU citizens. This own-initiative report, drafted by Mr Ungureanu, concerns the mobility of workers within the EU and is based on the principle, agreed by all the Member States, that the freedom of movement of people and goods is an unalienable right. Every EU citizen has the right to seek work in the west. There is also a need to debunk the idea that the influx of such workers is something negative, not only because they contribute to European integration, especially at a time when there is a shortage of skilled labour in certain sectors, but also because they account for a one per cent increase in gross domestic product for the host Member State. I am therefore voting for this report, which calls for an end to legislative proposals undermining the rights of EU citizens.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report proposes a range of measures to encourage the mobility of workers throughout the EU. Its perspective in doing so is not neutral, however. This movement of skilled labour is encouraged, with a view to forcing the workforces of different countries to compete with one another, leading to their devaluation and a levelling down of working conditions. It is no wonder, therefore, that along with mobility measures, the report stresses the need to strengthen the implementation of ‘flexicurity’. The report does not cover key issues such as collective bargaining and the issue of wages in the countries of origin and the host countries, neither does it properly address issues relating to the ‘brain drain’ phenomenon, which is increasing due to the profound crisis in the weaker EU economies.

Therefore, mobility cannot, as this report claims, be regarded as the most effective solution for resolving the unemployment problem. The vision underlying the entire report is that of using the EU’s 25 million unemployed to impose a further devaluation of the workforce on other workers, making the lack of job security, intermittent employment, and structural unemployment widespread.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report contains measures which not only seek to strengthen the conditions for implementing ‘flexicurity’, but also encourage and give the green light to the distribution of workers throughout Europe, while constantly advocating a position that is of greater benefit to capitalism than to the workers, who are placed in competition with one another. Generally speaking, what we are therefore seeing here is social dumping and other negative consequences of these unwanted migrations. Despite some positive measures which, in general, are nothing more than mere palliatives, the report does not once consider the problem of unemployment and migration as a result of the neoliberal system and the policies which have been followed, nor the issue of collective bargaining and wages in the host countries. Instead, it deems the mobility of workers to be the most effective solution for solving the unemployment problem.

The old policies are justified and made viable under the influence of the Europe 2020 strategy and its instruments, with well known consequences: labour flexibility and deregulation, and the priority given to deepening the internal market through the liberalisation and privatisation of even more economic sectors. The approximately 25 million unemployed are being used to impose a further devaluation of the workforce on other workers, making the lack of job security, intermittent employment, and structural unemployment widespread, and this report seeks to go further down that wrong track.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) Labour migration within the EU has long been perceived as a potential problem in terms of shortages of labour supply, and as having a negative effect on collective bargaining and wages within host countries. The free movement of persons is enshrined in the Treaty in order to strengthen a European identity and as a guarantee for the completion of the single market. Member States have the right, however, to retain barriers for a transitional period, in relation to access to the labour market for the new EU Member States. However, concerns from the past related mainly to the fear of a large influx of immigrants, job losses in respect of host country nationals or pay erosion have not come to fruition. On the contrary, there is an evident and clear added value to the benefit of the entire EU. No jobs have remained unfilled, productivity in the Member States has not fallen, and the income of workers who have chosen to provide their services in another Member State has risen.

I therefore firmly consider it very important to encourage worker mobility, and to remove all remaining legal, administrative and practical obstacles to the free movement of workers. Attention should be focused as a matter of priority on creating cooperation mechanisms aimed at preventing the negative impacts of mobility, protecting families with children in particular. Today, as we confront the consequences of the economic and financial crisis, it is more necessary than ever for Member States to support each other, and to grow and progress together.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mathieu Grosch (PPE), in writing. (DE) The mobility of workers is one of the pillars of European policy and it is important that administrative obstacles, in particular, are removed. Increased mobility should also lead to the recognition of qualifications and especially to the gradual harmonisation of social and wage conditions. As this latter aim has still not been achieved, we must ensure that mobility is not transformed into its opposite, in other words, social dumping, where low wage countries are used to undermine existing social and collective agreements.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing.(FR) I supported this report which calls on the European Commission to find ways to make workers’ mobility and equal rights a reality throughout the European Union. The main point in this text is our final demand to end the transitional arrangements, introduced by some Member States, imposing labour market restrictions in respect of some European citizens. France, as well as others, therefore needs to lift these restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals as soon as possible. This would be a great step forward, among others, for the social inclusion of the Roma. I would also point out the inclusion of the ‘equal pay for equal work’ principle which combats social dumping and fights direct or indirect discrimination against migrant workers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. – The right to workers’ mobility is one of the fundamental freedoms of the EU. The economic, social and cultural benefits of this freedom are felt across the EU and this report rightly calls for the ending of various restrictions to this right.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because living and working in a different Member State is one of the European Union’s fundamental freedoms, irrespective of a person’s ethnic origin, a basic component of Union citizenship and recognised by the Treaties, yet statistics show that still too few people take advantage of this right despite the specific initiatives taken to support workers’ mobility. The free movement of workers represents a positive socio-economic example for both the EU and the Member States because it is a milestone for EU integration, economic development, social cohesion, self-improvement at a professional level, combating prejudices, racism and xenophobia, and can help counteract the negative effects of the economic crisis and better prepare us to address the challenges of global change, by engaging all decision-making stakeholders and civil society in dialogue. The Commission must continue to promote labour mobility and present a long-term, comprehensive, multidisciplinary mobility strategy to eliminate all existing legal, administrative and practical barriers to the free movement of workers. There needs to be a consistent, efficient and transparent policy focused on the requirements of the labour market and economic trends. It should be noted that mobility should remain voluntary and that the negative side effects of increased mobility, leading to brain drain and youth drain, as well as the negative impact on family life and children when one or both parents are working abroad, should be better mitigated at EU level.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) The free movement of workers within the European Union has always been a very special subject. As a fundamental requirement for achieving a single market in Europe, the unrestricted movement of workers threatened to destabilise the economy of more than one Member State. For this reason, some Member States introduced transitional periods before opening their labour markets to workers from new Member States. It turned out, however, that open migration ultimately had a positive impact on the Union’s economic results. It is, of course, true that measures are needed which regulate and monitor the flow of workers in EU Member States and the fact that they start work. However, it is necessary to move towards the removal of all barriers which make it difficult for Europeans to take up work in their home continent.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) At this particular historical moment, marked by an overall strength which forces us to rethink the labour market model, I find Mr Ungureanu’s proposal relevant and determined to resolve crucial issues regarding the role played by mobility of workers within the EU. I therefore voted in favour. Worker mobility must be encouraged in two ways: firstly, by working for the removal of bureaucratic barriers that limit a correct approach to the free market, and secondly, by encouraging the workers of Member States at a cultural and social level and properly informing them of the opportunities provided by worker mobility.

Among the proposals in the report, there is one on the recognition of diplomas and qualifications acquired in the worker’s home country. Streamlining a step in the bureaucratic process, which is often an obstacle to worker mobility and therefore to a process of economic and social growth, is an outcome that must be supported by similar initiatives for the future on the part of Europe, both politically and institutionally.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D), in writing.(PL) I endorsed the European Parliament resolution on promoting workers’ mobility within the European Union. I think this initiative will improve the legal situation of workers in the Member States of the Union. The free movement of workers is a strategy being pursued as part of the single market, which is why support for further initiatives in this area is so important.

In transitional periods, Member States were granted the right to apply temporary restrictions on opening their labour markets to the new Member States. This was because Member States were afraid of an influx of immigrants from the poorer Member States, the loss of work by citizens of the receiving countries and a reduction in the level of earnings brought about by the influx of cheaper labour. However, none of these kinds of danger have yet materialised. Therefore, I think our objective should be to support a policy of developing the movement of workers. It is necessary to strengthen the law affecting workers throughout the European Union.

I also think it is necessary to adapt legislation within Member States to ensure that it does not hinder the employment of workers from other Member States. It is essential to monitor and support employment policy at national level. Issues such as discrimination, granting social rights or the rights granted to family members are very important matters which require support and also cooperation at national and European level.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) We are familiar with the studies highlighting the positive impact of the mobility of workers from the new Member States on the overall GDP, the moderate impact on per capita GDP and the minor impact of labour mobility after enlargement on local workers’ wages.

I supported this resolution drafted by my colleague, Traian Ungureanu, because the reasons for the restrictions introduced by some Member States cannot be economic, as Romanians are sought after in highly skilled professions. By this I mean engineers, doctors, teachers and IT specialists. The latest statistics highlight new trends showing mobility among the highly skilled, a situation which is also becoming more prevalent against the background of the economic crisis.

Given these factors, I hope that the European Commission will encourage Member States by the end of this year to lift the barriers imposed on Romanian and Bulgarian workers accessing the labour market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska (PPE), in writing.(PL) As we know, the movement of workers within the European Union is anchored in the European Treaties. Member States have been granted the right to maintain provisional barriers for transitional periods with respect to employment policy; however, in my opinion, labour migration has a positive effect on the European Union as a whole, because it stimulates the economy, which quickly responds to needs and new challenges. Furthermore, the free movement of workers is the right of European citizens, and governmental, local and regional authorities should implement the principles of promoting workers’ mobility on a large scale. I therefore voted in favour of the report by Traian Ungureanu on promoting workers’ mobility.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report. The issue of labour migration within the EU has long been perceived as a potential problem for disbalances at national level in terms of shortages of labour supply, as well as affecting collective bargaining and wages within host countries. Although the notion of ‘free movement of workers’ has been present in the Treaties as a guarantee for the completion of the single market, and for the strengthening of a true European identity, Member States have been granted the right to maintain provisional barriers for transitional periods in terms of opening the labour market for new Member States. Historically, fears have always been focused on two main aspects: numerous inflows of immigrants from poorer countries coming into the more prosperous ones and losses of jobs for the nationals of the host countries or, in a better scenario, a drop in the level of salaries. However, recent studies have shown that these fears have never been justified and that, on the contrary, labour migration has had a beneficial effect for the EU as a whole

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) The issue of labour migration within the EU has long been perceived as a potential problem for imbalances at national level in terms of shortages of labour supply. However, labour migration has registered a beneficial effect for the EU as a whole, often having the merit of restoring the balance between labour demand and supply.

The notion of ‘free movement of workers’ has been present in the Treaties as a guarantee for the completion of the single market, and for the strengthening of a true European identity, but Member States have been granted the right to maintain provisional barriers for transitional periods with regard to opening the labour market for new Member States. Free movement of workers is a right that citizens have, and by exercising this right, there are no negative effects registered on the labour markets.

The Member States, together with their local and regional authorities, therefore play a crucial role. They need to work together to assure the elimination of possible direct or indirect barriers, especially the ones related to discriminatory behaviour based on nationality, refusal to grant rights to family members, social security schemes and other barriers that can prevent or provide disincentives for workers to move freely in search of a job.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted for the report on promoting workers’ mobility within the European Union. The mobility of our citizens enables day-to-day exchange and construction of Europe. Workers’ mobility is particularly key as it balances out supply and demand in the labour markets by filling in any gaps in the workforce. It therefore helps enhance market efficiency. There are still many barriers on the path to mobility. We need to knock them down. The report calls for a lifting of restrictions that prevent some European citizens from working in another Member State. Another pillar of the report is the call for greater recognition of diplomas so that everyone can put their training to good avail wherever they are in Europe. To facilitate mobility, social security systems and pension schemes need to be coordinated so that workers’ rights are easily transferable. The principle of non-discrimination is also clearly upheld. Lastly, information about the various opportunities for mobility that exist and related rights must be made more accessible.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I shall vote in favour of the report on encouraging worker mobility within the European Union. Freedom of movement for workers is one of the greatest achievements of the European Union. I agree with the rapporteur that this right must not have any negative effects on the labour market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – Paragraph 31 of the motion for a resolution calls for an examination of Member States’ legislation in relation to social security, the care system and taxation. It is important that such legislation should remain within the remit of the Member States. Taxation is, and should remain, a Member State competence. For this reason, I did not support paragraph 31.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) This report reduces European workers’ status to that of an internal market adjustment variable. It only just concedes that mobility should remain voluntary. It also advocates the liberalisation of the regulated professions. I abstained because it enshrines the right of all European citizens and members of their families to work in another Member State. Citizens are not commodities. The right to free movement must not end up forcing people to become nomads for the sake of their work.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The free movement of people and workers has become one of the symbols of European integration, and Europeans view it as the most positive outcome of this integration. However, too few people take advantage of this right. Despite the initiatives taken to support workers’ mobility, there are still too many social, linguistic, cultural, legal and administrative barriers. The Member States must play a crucial role in encouraging people to exercise this right. Consequently, there is a need for greater cooperation so as to eliminate the barriers preventing workers from moving freely in search of a job.

SMEs are one of the primary sources for job creation and can act as a trigger for economic recovery and development. They therefore need to be supported and involved in the process. Improved mobility allows for experiences to be shared, which is beneficial for employers and employees alike, and the job creation target will be more easily achieved if labour mobility is fully implemented. Priority must also be given to investing in education and vocational training, as well as to exchanges of professional experience.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE), in writing. (SK) The free movement of workers is one of the fundamental principles of the EU. Its aim is to enable Member State citizens to pursue their professions or engage in business freely in any EU Member State they decide on, with no barriers or restrictions whatsoever. In contrast to current misguided impressions, worker mobility does not harm national labour markets in terms of pay erosion or higher unemployment among the local workforce. On the contrary, mobility has a positive impact on productivity growth, which is hugely important in a period of economic crisis. Worker mobility also creates relatively little direct competition with local workers, since it involves jobs in sectors where local workers are either not qualified for the work in question, or do not want to do it. Worker mobility is an extremely important topic for the future, and it is necessary to create a common policy aimed at ensuring support for the effective management of mobility, with the aim of gradually increasing employment, and I therefore fully support this motion.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – Since our group fights for the mobility of workers in an EU free of barriers, with strong integration policies and guaranteeing the observance of social and labour rights, including the right to strike, collective representation and equal pay for work of equal value, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) It would be preferable for the problems that are still outstanding with regard to the coordination of the systems, such as supplementary pension rights, double taxation and so on, to be eradicated. However, in the interests of democratic development in particular, it remains open to question whether the measures to promote worker mobility, which also go hand in hand with the loosening of family ties, are sensible at all if we look at the bigger picture. In the process of accepting new Member States with low wage levels, transitional periods for the labour market were agreed. Ultimately, a large flow of immigrants from poorer countries into more prosperous regions goes hand in hand with falling wages and job losses.

When a study reaches the conclusion that, on account of a convergence of labour demand and supply, immigration from low wage countries has no negative effects, but is actually beneficial, I have to ask myself whether this study was only carried out for the labour areas where there has already been massive pressure on prices for a long time on account of (illegal) immigration. The extent to which this study included ostensible self-employment and ‘mac-jobs’, which are only recent phenomena, is also open to question. I voted against the report on account of the labour market problem.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) The issue of the mobility of workers within the EU is undoubtedly an important one. The report underlines the fact that little has been done to provide incentives for this practice which essentially, according to the rapporteur, benefits all. I would like to disagree on this point, because it is not true that complete freedom of movement only has positive results. In a period of major growth, it may be that inflows of workers compensate for gaps in production, but this is now a situation that belongs in the past. The present is made up of enormous difficulties for everyone, and it will certainly not be greater mobility that solves the problems; in fact, it could exacerbate them.

The arrival of foreign workers en masse in areas where there are problems could, for example, cause numerous problems, perhaps also leading to cases of racism and xenophobia. History has taught us this: if there is widespread prosperity, then there may be mobility, but otherwise it is better for everyone to stay in their own country. At this point in time, I do not believe that the conditions are in place for full European mobility, and therefore I decided to vote against the report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing. (ET) I consider it regrettable that in the conditions of the present economic crisis, the free movement of labour has not been sufficiently implemented, while barriers still exist to participation in the European labour market for the citizens of several Member States that acceded to the EU in 2004 and 2007. Recent experience has demonstrated a solely positive influence on the European economy, since Member States with ageing populations need new labour, and people living in countries with high unemployment need work. In other words, demand and supply are essentially in equilibrium, and we should not establish barriers to this, because to do so would violate the fundamental principles of the European Union. Of course, the arrival of a large number of immigrants can create problems with integration, especially in smaller societies, but free language instruction and the provision of necessary information are extremely important for their solution. I support this report, which draws attention to the abovementioned problem, and I hope that our European decision makers and those of the Member States also understand that the free movement of labour is the key to success in achieving a strong European economy, and not merely an issue of integration.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution because the remaining barriers to the right of workers to move freely must be removed throughout the European Union and favourable conditions must be created for integration into a new social and cultural environment.

A uniform approach to workers must be properly implemented in all Member States, adequate protection of labour rights must be guaranteed and a programme of active labour market policies promoting mobility must be drawn up. We must also strengthen EU policy, which would help to combat direct and indirect discrimination and would eliminate legal and administrative barriers.

Attention should be drawn to the fact that, in order to create favourable conditions for worker mobility, we must ensure that this right is not abused with a view to unequal treatment, wage and social dumping.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. – The free movement of workers is a very sensitive issue. It will shape the economic and social future of the EU. The free movement of workers is a right that all Member States agreed upon, yet many Member States have introduced or reintroduced restrictions. Approximately one third of workers in the EU are in precarious job situations, and this leads to an increase in workers seeking jobs in other countries.

The Commission provided figures proving that Eastern European workers, in particular, did not hinder the economy, but, in fact, brought economic growth. There is a single market for capital and goods, but there are still limitations on the single labour market. Western companies can operate without restrictions in Eastern Europe, and do so with varying degrees of success, but Eastern European workers face restrictions in Western Europe. This is economically, politically and morally wrong. People have a right to jobs: a right that is granted by the EU.

I voted in favour of this report because it emphasises that the EU must guarantee European values, including freedom and mobility, for all. Comprehensive mobility for workers must be promoted, the rights of workers in foreign countries must be protected, and such workers must not be exploited. It is vital to reaffirm the principle of job mobility and to promote geographic mobility.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) At times of economic crisis, worker mobility is crucial to growth and this is therefore a very topical debate. Despite the fact that the EU is an area of freedom of movement of its citizens, only 2.3% of citizens have declared that they are living in a different country from their country of nationality. There are numerous reasons for this, such as language barriers, culture, emotional ties with their country and so on. Be that as it may, the Member States have important responsibilities at national, local and regional level to facilitate the exercise of the right of worker mobility by eliminating all direct and indirect obstacles.

This applies, in particular, to obstacles in the form of discrimination based on nationality, refusal of the right to family unification, social insurance systems and any other obstacles that might act as a deterrent or dissuade workers from seeking work in another Member State. The report seeks to provide specific answers to the above problems and is a step in the right direction, and I therefore voted in favour of it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report concerns promoting workers’ mobility. I agree with the conclusions presented, in particular, with regard to the need to boost the positive efforts of the Commission towards effective implementation and support for workers’ mobility. Given the current situation, the economic rationale for opening up the markets has never been clearer. Over-protectionism in terms of labour mobility will engender a growing separation between Member States and a mistrust that could affect the EU’s performance as a global player and weaken its competitive position. I agree with the rapporteur’s statement that the time has come for the European Member States to work and grow together.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) Based on the premise that the right to live and work in another EU country is one of the fundamental freedoms of the Union, there are still too few citizens who have exercised this right, despite the numerous efforts that have been undertaken to promote and support the mobility of workers. However, it should be considered that mobility of workers contributes positively towards achieving the employment targets set by the Europe 2020 strategy; additionally, at times of economic crisis, the occupational and geographical mobility of workers can help to reduce unemployment. Despite legal acts and EU programmes designed to encourage the freedom of movement for workers, I would argue that there are still obstacles to the full implementation of this freedom. I am voting in favour of the proposal.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. – Labour migration within the EU has long been perceived as a potential problem, causing imbalances at national level in terms of shortages of labour supply and affecting collective bargaining and wages within host countries. It has, though, had a beneficial effect on the EU as a whole. According to the November 2008 Commission Communication, mobility flows have had a major positive impact on economic growth in the European Union. However, if we focus on details, we notice problems related to changing cultures, adjusting to new languages and alienation from the family, to which there are also other barriers related to enjoying the full exercise of free movement.

The Member States should improve the situation of the children left behind by their parents and help them develop normally, benefiting from education and an appropriate social life. The Member States should create mechanisms of cooperation aimed at preventing such devastating effects on families, especially on children, caused by separation from their parents and the distance between them. The Member States and the European Commission should determine the social partners and the NGOs which will be more involved in such actions aimed at improving the situation of migrants’ children.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The free movement of workers is one of the great flagship issues of EU law. The experience that the Member States have gained shows that initial fears that freedom of movement would jeopardise nationals’ access to jobs are unfounded. In fact, it has been a major factor in balancing supply and demand; in other words, it has made the common market work better. In view of this statement, that freedom of movement offers value for the single market, it is, first of all, necessary to reduce the artificial barriers it faces. Firstly, it is justifiable, a priori, to increase the information available to EU citizens about the Member State to which they wish to emigrate, and secondly, a posteriori, to ensure that the host Member State makes adequate instruments to immigrants to ensure their successful integration. I voted in favour because I agree with these ideas.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Evelyn Regner (S&D), in writing. (DE) The report promoting workers’ mobility includes a number of good points, such as the principle of equal pay for the same work in the same place. The equal treatment of employees on the European labour market is one of the most important principles that I support in my role as a Member of the European Parliament. People in the European Union should be able to move to wherever they want, so that they can work wherever they find a job. In the same way, it should not be possible to force people to leave their home country. This is often the downside of workers’ mobility. In Austria, where I come from, a good solution has been found for the labour market and the concept of a gradual flow of workers based on the needs of the labour market has been put into practice.

Since, alongside the many positive points, the report proposes abolishing the possibility for Member States to establish transitional periods for workers from Romania and Bulgaria, I have abstained during the vote on the resolution. Despite the relatively good position of the labour market in Austria, the Member States should have sufficient options available to them for controlling their labour markets, in particular, in the light of the financial crisis.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing.(FR) To live and work in any Member State of the European Union is one of the fundamental freedoms of European citizens. However, only 2.3% of them actually reside in a Member State other than the one from which they originate. On the other hand, when asked about their intentions to take advantage of this freedom in the future, 17% of Europeans respond positively. Solutions need to be provided to the problems encountered by European citizens in this area, particularly with the current economic climate as it is. That is the logic behind the report by Mr Ungureanu, which I endorse. To determine the nature and extent of these problems, the text calls on the Commission to produce a scoreboard presenting the obstacles faced by workers wanting to settle in another Member State. I think that this is an excellent idea. As for what solutions can be provided, better recognition of professional qualification in the EU is absolutely vital. I am also looking forward to the Commission’s forthcoming legislative proposal on this matter. Equally, enabling migrant workers to enjoy portable social security rights is essential in ensuring that they effectively benefit from the prerogatives they have acquired.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. I am glad that Article 21 has been kept: ‘Calls on the Commission to ensure that Member States implement Directive 2004/38/EC without any discrimination, including on grounds of sexual orientation; reminds the Commission of previous calls to ensure freedom of movement for all EU citizens and their families, regardless of their sexual orientation’.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for this text because I believe it is crucial that citizens from other EU countries, including citizens from countries that only joined the EU in 2004, should not be discriminated against in the labour market. Any restrictions should be removed by the end of the year, as they are counterproductive and against the EU values of freedom of movement, non-discrimination, solidarity and equal rights. In this regard, the Commission should initiate infringement procedures against non-compliant governments as soon as possible.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) The report holds that the lack of mobility of workers between Member States is an obstacle to the functioning of the internal market. It therefore presents and promotes a complex framework of migrant workers’ rights with a view to concrete implementation of the principle of free movement.

We oppose the report, as its application would result in a considerable burden on Member State budgets for costs of training, learning, language support, health care and education for migrant workers and their families. Furthermore, we believe that workers coming from countries where the cost of living is lower would create situations of unfair competition compared with workers in countries with different living standards.

For example, a building firm coming from Romania to Italy in order to find work would be happy to accept 35-40% less than local firms, thus resulting in market distortion. Free and complete movement of workers between Member States can only take place when the cost of living and working is the same throughout the European Union.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report. The proposals it contains will allow for real progress to be made on behalf of all European citizens. Forty-eight per cent of citizens would consider looking for a job in another EU country, but only two per cent have actually carried out this plan. This discrepancy shows that there are still too many obstacles of every description (excessive red tape, problems with recognition of diplomas, discrimination, lack of information, and so on), which are putting off potential applicants. The fact is, in the current economic climate, workers’ professional and geographical mobility helps to balance the supply of and demand for jobs, thus reducing unemployment. What is more, it limits wage and social dumping.

A long-term, large-scale work programme that includes European education systems (language teaching, harmonisation of diplomas, exchanges), national employment agencies and companies is a necessity. The Union must play two roles: it must act as a driving force and as a policy coordinator so that citizens can take full advantage of all the opportunities offered by freedom of movement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Joanna Senyszyn (S&D), in writing. (PL) I voted in favour of the resolution on promoting worker mobility within the European Union. The mobility of workers represents an effective tool in combating unemployment, since it makes it easier to find a job. The increasing transnational geographical and occupational mobility of workers is particularly important at a time of economic crisis, which has led to increasing unemployment, particularly among young people.

Free movement of labour is one of the most important achievements of the single European market. However, despite the EU legislation and programmes aimed at its promotion, the number of Europeans using their right to take up work outside their country is still low. Only 11.3 million Europeans live outside their country. It is about four million more than 10 years ago, but still only 2.3% of the EU population. As a member of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality I wish to draw your attention to two issues: support for women and wage inequality.

It is necessary to provide relevant services to women who follow their husbands or partners to another Member State, such as courses facilitating integration into the new social and cultural environment (including language and professional or vocational training). Women in the EU earn, on average, 17.5% less than men. It is necessary to develop national policies aimed at eliminating the disparities in accordance with the directive on equal pay for women and men.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Freedom of movement for workers is one of the fundamental principles in the history of the European internal market. This principle has been gradually evolving over the last 40 years, and is today enshrined in Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In its communication on reaffirming workers’ freedom of movement, the Commission refers to all nationals of the 27 Member States working in a Member State other than the one in which they were born, including the members of their families. However, some categories of worker such as posted workers, workers from third countries, unsalaried workers and volunteers, are not included. The issue of labour migration in the EU is seen as a potential source of imbalances in national labour markets, so, although it is considered a right, it is possible for Member States to maintain barriers to the free movement of workers on a temporary basis, as regards opening their labour markets to citizens of the new Member States. Although, in general, the movement of workers is positive for the whole EU, it is vital that additional measures such as adapting to new languages, recognition of diplomas, better information and more administrative simplification be adopted.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – I supported this report as it includes many important steps to promote labour mobility across the EU. MEPs have today called on the Commission to implement a long-term, comprehensive strategy which will remove all legal, administrative and practical barriers to the free movement of workers. However, I remain concerned that this report removes a Member State’s ability to put in place transitional measures that overcome potential distortions in their domestic labour market. We need to look at solutions to deal with this problem and we need further research into the effects on labour markets across the EU before we make a decision on this.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) According to studies carried out on behalf of the European Union, labour migration has always had a positive effect. As some jobs are not attractive to European citizens, labour migration has made it possible to meet the demands of the labour market.

In order for workers to take jobs in other countries, measures to harmonise social security, the protection of workers, language requirements and taxation are needed. As a result of the changing structure of the labour market, it is important to coordinate the improvement of qualifications and to speed up the process of recognising them. The report calls for a comprehensive mobility strategy to be drawn up and I agree with this.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Anna Záborská (PPE), in writing. (SK) Worker mobility is one of the fundamental freedoms underpinning the idea of European integration. In this sense, I support any initiative simplifying the free movement of workers in the EU for the purposes of work. I do not agree, however, with European institutions and legislation meddling in the area of family policy under the pretext of greater labour market flexibility.

The definition of the family and family policy falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Member States. It concerns me that the rapporteur for this otherwise inspiring report has decided to exceed his remit. Section 21 interferes with Member States definitions of the family, which includes sexual orientation. I cannot, on principle, agree to this attempt to prescribe to Member States indirectly what different forms of cohabitation they should consider a family or a marriage.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Artur Zasada (PPE), in writing.(PL) I endorsed the document with conviction. I am pleased that in the report, the rapporteur has raised many very important problems. The promotion of workers’ mobility throughout the Union is of considerable importance for its function and cohesion. The right of European Union citizens to work in any of the Member States should be a part of yet greater integration between different EU Member States. Therefore, I hope that the European Commission will carefully consider the matter of the need to simplify administrative procedures related to exercising the right to the free movement of workers and that it will also give consideration to the comment in the document which talks about promoting the streamlining of administrative practices and administrative cooperation so as to allow synergy between national authorities.

I am profoundly convinced that promoting workers’ mobility in the European Union will greatly help slow down the growth of unemployment in the Union, which at present stands at 10%, and that in the future, it will perhaps even help bring about a reduction in that figure.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Gabriele Zimmer (GUE/NGL), in writing. – I recommended to my group to vote against this report. The report advocates promoting mobility of workers as a major strategy to overcome unemployment, which is a flawed approach: current Member States’ austerity policies contributing to persistent unemployment, promoting mobility by way of temporary emigration of workers from poorer regions to the richer ones, will not overcome unemployment. Such a strategy could instead lead to a process of workers undercutting each other in terms of wages and working conditions. Promoting labour mobility at any cost contradicts regional and cohesion policy aiming at socio-economic development in poorer European regions. The report does not have much to say on improving workers rights under existing policies on free movement of workers. The most severe problems concerning workers’ mobility are currently to be observed under the freedom to provide services and the posting of workers. On these issues, the report has nothing to say. We deplore that the report does not address areas where the real problems occur. We do support some issues addressed, such as ending the transition periods on free movement of workers for Romania and Bulgaria, the need to combat social dumping and undeclared work, and a greater role for labour inspectorates.

 
  
  

Report: Małgorzata Handzlik (A7-0324/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report. ‘Cluster sessions’ should continue to be used in mutual evaluation processes. However, the composition of the clusters should be debated more thoroughly with the Member States, taking into account their expectations and, in particular, their impact on the single market. The rapporteur also believes, as do I, that the process should be made more transparent. Some degree of confidentially seems to be necessary in order to foster debate between the Member States’ administrations, but regular reports should be made available to stakeholders.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) The single market in services in the European Union is an ongoing process. Convinced that its effectiveness is key to generating growth and increasing competitiveness in Europe, I voted in favour of the report by Ms Handzlik. An assessment has been made to establish those areas that remain problematic for integration of the European internal market. In particular, this report advocates the setting up of fully operational Points of Single Contact under the Services Directive. These points of contact enable European service providers to do their paperwork electronically. The report also deplores the delays in the implementation of the directive in some Member States. However, it welcomes the European Commission’s initiative to conduct a mutual evaluation of the single market in services and invites it to go into more detail in this evaluation for cross-border services.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) The Services Directive was adopted in 2006 and remains a vital tool for the establishment of a fully functioning single market in services. Member States have made a significant effort towards implementation. Nevertheless, efforts should be stepped up for the full and correct implementation of the Services Directive and the setting up of fully operational Points of Single Contact. A functioning single market in services is a prerequisite for generating growth, decent employment and innovation in Europe and for maintaining Europe’s competitive role on the world stage. The mutual evaluation process in the Services Directive is an important instrument for identifying further initiatives aimed at improving the functioning of the internal market for services. I agree that the Commission should continue and step up work with Member States on an individual basis so as to achieve a complete and correct transposition and implementation of the Services Directive in all Member States and to eliminate the remaining barriers faced by business to fully reaping the benefits of the internal market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Services Directive, adopted in 2006, remains a vital instrument for the establishment of a fully operational single market in services. The mutual evaluation process, set out in Article 39 of the Services Directive, is new. Its aim is to assess the state of the single market in services following implementation of the directive. This report urges the Commission to ensure maximum transparency when carrying out this assessment and calls on the Commission to present its findings to Parliament as soon as they are available. It calls on the Commission to raise awareness among the Member States, so as to ensure the complete and correct transposition and implementation of the Services Directive at national level. Finally, it calls on the Commission to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the provision of cross-border services in the EU. I voted for this report for these reasons.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing. (IT) The transposition of the Services Directive has been the most long and complicated transposition ever in Europe, in terms of both complexity and scope. Services in fact account for over 40% of EU GDP. The main provision of the directive concerns the setting up of Points of Single Contact throughout Europe, which, objectively, is still a long way from being complete and operational. Therefore, I would like to underline the importance of implementing fully operational Points of Single Contact in the EU, and I share the hope that the information will always be available in English too.

Furthermore, before going ahead with a review of the directive, I agree with the suggestion to conduct a quantitative study into its impact on economic growth and employment. My hope is that a review of the Services Directive will aim, first of all, to remove the legal and bureaucratic obstacles that still persist and which, in my view, are responsible for slowing down the free movement of services within the EU.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because in it, the European Parliament presents its evaluation of the functioning of the mutual evaluation process, one of the mechanisms consolidated in the Services Directive adopted in 2006. This is a novel instrument used for the first time in EU law, and its main objective is to evaluate the state of the internal market for services following implementation of this directive. Consequently, the report not only examines results but puts forward proposals on how to improve this process in the future, above all, giving Parliament an opportunity to evaluate the application of such an instrument in other policy areas. The mutual evaluation process only covered those provisions of the directive which left a certain degree of discretion to the Member States, such as certain provisions concerning the establishment of businesses and the cross-border provision of services. The European Parliament believes that the objectives of mutual evaluation are not yet defined clearly enough, leading to misunderstandings among the Member States, and that more effort is required to make the process transparent. After all, although a certain degree of confidentiality is an important condition for creating mutual trust among Members States, the report proposes ensuring that stakeholders receive regular feedback on the ongoing process.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. – (CS) In view of the vagueness regarding the precise objectives of mutual evaluation in Article 39 of the Services Directive, there is confusion over mutual evaluation in the work on implementation and transposition of the Services Directive. It is therefore necessary to clarify that mutual evaluation takes place only after implementation. In my opinion, this sequence is justified, as it was during the mutual evaluation that Member States discussed the changes to their regulatory framework and the requirements maintained, abolished or amended as a result of the implementation of the Services Directive. Thanks to this, the discussions led to a better understanding of the situation in each Member State, and the remaining barriers still in place following implementation of the Services Directive. I consider this a great contribution towards the better assessment of the current state of the single market in services. However, mutual evaluation raised questions as to the transparency of the process and as to whether, or to what extent, stakeholders should be involved in a process that directly affects them. The full and correct transposition of the Services Directive remains the urgent priority, in my opinion. Bilateral meetings between the Commission and the Members States on the implementation of the directive are already taking place, and the Commission should not hesitate to take enforcement measures, where necessary.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on the Services Directive’s mutual evaluation process as I believe that implementation of this directive is very important. Transposition of the Services Directive could bring the EU economic benefits worth EUR 140 billion, along with a 1.5% increase in gross domestic product. For this reason, and given the economic climate that Europe is currently experiencing, I believe its implementation is crucial for economic growth in the EU.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The mutual evaluation process applied by the Member States for the purpose of assessing the operation of the single market is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a neutral practice, as it comes within the European Services Directive and basically takes its cue from it. Apart from its own shortcomings, such as the selection and composition of working parties solely by the European Commission, the mutual evaluation process is a basic means of applying the Services Directive, the reference point for which is the failed EU 2020 strategy and the Single Market Act.

The application of the Services Directive, also known as the Bolkestein Directive, will not bring about an increase in jobs and the development of SMEs, as it purports to do. By making even more cuts to labour and social rights, as a result of the liberalisation of the services market throughout Europe, it is strengthening the predominance of big business and, at the same time, exacerbating the impact of the crisis on European workers. That is why I voted against this particular report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for this report because it highlights the main aspects to be considered during the current stage of transposing the Services Directive into national legislation. The overall potential of the common market in services has not yet been fully exploited, and the correct implementation of this directive is undoubtedly a prerequisite for completion of the internal market.

Therefore, it is necessary to ensure coherence of the implementation of the different pieces of legislation of central relevance to service activities, such as, for example, the new rules for European standardisation, on which I am the rapporteur, which, among other things, will look at the subject of applying standards to the services sector. However, I would like to point out that proper transposition of the directive must not threaten the safeguarding of characteristic national business activities mainly carried out by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

In my opinion, the Commission should assess whether the Services Directive may have negative repercussions on SMEs in certain industries – for example, SMEs in the Italian seaside services business – and propose measures to mitigate such repercussions and to ensure that the specific characteristics of certain professional categories are borne in mind when applying the directive.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of this, given the need to stimulate the mutual evaluation process of the Services Directive. The experiences and results of the mutual evaluation are useful and valuable and, therefore, the report proposes to extend its use to other policy areas. The Services Directive was adopted in 2006 and remains a vital tool for creating a fully functioning single market in services. Member States have made significant efforts towards implementing it. Nevertheless, efforts should be stepped up with the aim of transposing the Services Directive fully and correctly and of setting up fully operational Points of Single Contact.