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Procedure : 2011/2866(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
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Texts tabled :

B7-0572/2011

Debates :

PV 16/11/2011 - 12
CRE 16/11/2011 - 12

Votes :

OJ 17/11/2011 - 86
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0511

Debates
Thursday, 17 November 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

7. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
  

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Wolfgang Kreissl-Dörfler (A7-0368/011)

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, we know that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is the first permanent international judicial body capable of trying individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Over the years, the ICC has made a major contribution to the creation of a high-level system for the protection of fundamental human rights, intervening in cases where highly damaging crimes, in terms of both the crime and the number of victims, have gone unpunished.

Unfortunately, the ICC currently finds itself at a critical juncture, for political and financial reasons. This is why Parliament has spoken today in order to emphasise strongly the need for complete and immediate cooperation between the Member States, and not just some of them. Each Member State must be ready to make its contribution to the judicial body. Only this way, I believe, will it be possible to make the fight against impunity for these terrible crimes more effective.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, we all know the importance of the role of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which pursues perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Unfortunately, the ICC has recently increasingly come under unfair, politically motivated attacks. Its arrest warrants are frequently disregarded, and therefore its current budget is not adequate to its great efforts and commitments.

I therefore voted for the text approved today because it is the duty of the EU to take all political, diplomatic and logistical actions to support the ICC and to ensure its independence and proper and effective functioning.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D).(FI) Mr President, I also voted in favour of what is, in principle, a very important resolution. Sustainable peace, human rights and fundamental freedoms can only be guaranteed in the world by promoting justice, the rule of law and zero tolerance where crime is concerned.

Universal justice implies its even application, free of exceptions and double standards. The most appalling human rights violations of all, however, have not gone away. Genocide, crimes against humanity, extrajudicial executions, war crimes, torture, mass rape and forced disappearances are taking place in the world.

Even if these abominations cannot be prevented, the existence of the International Criminal Court is a message that there is no escape for Heads of State, or for the soldiers in their armies or for clan leaders who are guilty of crimes. The Court is a universal guardian of morals.

 
  
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  Anneli Jäätteenmäki (ALDE).(FI) Mr President, those guilty of genocide, war crimes and torture must be brought to justice and made to answer for what they have done. No nation should grant them asylum.

The International Criminal Court has been doing its important work since 2002. It is nevertheless regrettable that big countries such as China, India, the United States, Russia and Turkey have not become members of this Court. It is important that much effort is made to encourage these countries to sign the Court Statute.

In addition, significant efforts must be made to promote the enforcement of the Court’s decisions and the protection of witnesses and victims should be made more effective.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, the past 20 years have witnessed a juridical revolution. It has been carried out stealthily in plush conference venues, out from under the private eye, but it is a revolution. It has shifted power permanently and substantively away from elected national representatives to a global corpus of lawyers and human rights activists.

The tried and clearly understood precept that we have had since the Treaty of Westphalia – the idea that every state is responsible for its domestic affairs and that crimes are the responsibility of the state on whose territory they were committed – has been cast aside not only for cross-border issues, but also for domestic questions: gender equality, the rights of minorities, labour laws and so on.

One might say, well how else are we going to bring to trial the Al-Bashirs and the Miloševićs and the Gaddafis and so on, but here one runs up against the brute reality: dictators ignore these conventions. They are applied only by liberal democracies.

Thus, having spent 300 years in Europe clawing our slow and gruelling way towards the principle that laws ought to be made only by the people’s elected representatives, we are now, in a fit of absent-mindedness, discarding it.

 
  
  

Report: Georgios Koumoutsakos (A7-0163/2011)

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in favour of this report because I believe that the structural framework of maritime policy should be strengthened through integrated and cooperative development, in harmony with the spirit that unites European policies.

It is important to clarify the objectives of maritime policy and to identify the appropriate strategies to be adopted in order to give a substantive reply to a sector that accounts for a significant share of the European Union’s gross domestic product and to all those entrepreneurs who operate in it. As always, we have the interests of the fisheries sector at heart, and we agree on the need to combine these interests with the demand for greater transparency and a greater focus on sustainability, arising from climate, economic and social change. The EUR 40 million appropriation envisaged by the resolution constitutes the first step towards reshaping the new strategic landscape of maritime policy.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the integrated maritime policy has the great virtue of promoting the integration of all sea-related policies in the European Union. For this reason, I voted in favour. Indeed, I believe it is vital to continue the work that was started in 2007, encouraging the sustainable exploitation of marine resources, combating illegal fishing activities and making the maritime transport system more efficient.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report as the EU needs to continue to develop the integrated maritime policy. A global strategy has to be devised for oceans, seas and coastal regions. As one of the biggest fish markets in the world, Europe must use efficient technologies for traceability purposes. Global sales from illegal fishing are rising to EUR 10 billion a year. I must point out that illegal fishing in the Black Sea is jeopardising high-value species which typically have a long lifecycle. According to the statistics, more than 90 dolphins have been found stranded on the Romanian shoreline this year, which is largely attributable to poaching. Protection measures taken include 50 acoustic devices which have been positioned to keep them away from the fishing tackle.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Mr President, it stands to reason that there should be cooperation between all countries on the major issues of today and especially those that relate to the sea. Therefore, I was delighted that this report was put before us and that it was adopted with a large majority.

Not only did we pass this proposal here today, but also we have put EUR 50 million, which is not an insignificant sum, behind it. As the Commissioner said here when we debated the matter this morning, it will help to ensure that some pilot projects which might have to end in midstream can now continue in this area, and that is important.

There are major challenges regarding the sea. Obviously, climate change is one and that will probably affect coastal areas and islands more than other areas. It is important that there should be an integrated approach to that. On the other end of the scale, we have the opportunity for renewable energies, and again it makes sense to have cooperation in that area.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Mr President, in principle, there seems to be some merit in developing an integrated EU maritime policy, but this report is not one that I could support in plenary today. I have reservations about the tone and the details contained in the report. In particular, it raises issues with respect to subsidiarity.

I hope that when an integrated maritime policy comes before this Parliament again, it will contain more value-added measures which will allow Member States to make decisions where appropriate, with EU-wide policy being applied only where it offers real cross-border maritime solutions.

 
  
  

Report: Jan Březina (A7-0360/2011)

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the Fukushima disaster last March has inevitably called the reliability of nuclear energy into question. Looking beyond the initial response, which was driven by the emotional impact, it is now right and timely to think about the investment needed to make this energy source safer.

Under the Seventh Framework Programme for nuclear research, Europe is required to make a contribution, alongside its international partners, to fund the ITER project, and to demonstrate the ambition and importance of an approach that is safe and that promotes economic development for the wellbeing of European citizens.

I voted in favour of this report because I am firmly convinced that the way to overcome the fears surrounding nuclear energy is not to stop research or hastily propose alternative options, but to continue to invest in testing in order to make this technology ever more secure and innovative.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, one of the founding treaties of the Community was the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). Tragic consequences of the Japanese catastrophe notwithstanding, nowadays, it is highly important to carry out the ongoing research furthering the development of the nuclear energy sector, especially where it concerns the safety of nuclear fission. On account of this, nuclear energy facilities in the Member States must adhere to the highest international standards. An increased allocation of resources to this end is, therefore, a must.

As regards the effective management of resources, as well as using nuclear technologies in other branches of industry and in medicine, there is yet another reason of key importance for research projects being financed through Euratom – in view of their relevance to the objectives of the Europe 2020 and Energy 2020 strategies. Common European research and training enhance competitiveness, economic growth and further professional training. Creation of a new industry based on modern technologies shall bring about a faster growth rate and creation of jobs in many economic sectors, which is why I support the resolution.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE).(FI) Mr President, it is very important that we ensure that the nuclear power produced in Europe and further afield – though, obviously, we in the European Parliament are focusing on Europe – is safe. It is also very important to ensure that ever better systems are developed in the future.

At present, we are able to say that nuclear power is quite safe, compared to many other energy forms. When we look to the future, it is important that we can also obtain investment in nuclear energy for Europe, because nuclear power is clean, safe and, therefore, also climate- and user-friendly. In this way, we will truly be able to provide industry with the economical and inexpensive energy that we need.

It is very important that this research work continues and that we also achieve better and better results in the areas of nuclear safety and nuclear power technology in Europe.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0577/2011

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Mr President, when we look at the EU-US relationship, it is actually the world’s largest trade relationship. Some estimates have got it at about USD 4 trillion in trade investment and sales. Given that, in this time when we are all struggling around looking for ideas for growth, surely it would be a good idea if our two economies moved towards the idea that has been put forward by people on both sides of the Atlantic – a transatlantic zero initiative, eliminating those tariff barriers in goods, and which has been estimated to add trade value of USD 120 billion and new economic growth of about USD 180 billion.

But let us not stop there. Let us now take the moral leadership in the world and show the rest of the world how trade can benefit citizens of all countries and ensure that we tackle the problems that we have in the global economy. Let us tear down those barriers to trade. Let us make sure that we can free the enterprises and have freedom of entrepreneurs across the world. Let us make sure that we create jobs and growth for our citizens.

 
  
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  David Campbell Bannerman (ECR). – Mr President, this vote reflects on the similarities and differences between the United States of America and the aspirate United States of Europe, or USE.

The US is democratic, free-trading, entrepreneurial and capitalist; the USE is corporatist, protectionist, statist and interventionist. The US are states of a federal country with one prevailing culture and speaking one language; the USE is made up of nation states, very different to just states, and has a multitude of cultures and languages.

The US has the dollar, a single currency that is still strong despite a debt of USD 12 trillion. The USE has a single currency on the point of collapse. And when Americans have frequent referenda and elect even insurance commissioners and registers of deeds; the USE puts Soviet-style placemen, little Honeckers at the head of its nation states.

This statement may accentuate the similarities, but in truth, the differences are plain to see.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for the resolution because the EU-US partnership is strategically important and must be supported by an ambitious agenda. The summit on 28 November provides an opportunity to identify common approaches for tackling current challenges. I am confident that it will be utilised. Economically, a strong signal is needed about implementing the G20 decisions. Promoting trade and avoiding protectionist trends are important factors for exiting the crisis and achieving sustainable economic recovery. However, I do not support the adoption of a global financial transaction tax.

Particular attention must still be focused on security aspects. The recent IAEA report on Iran highlights that joint efforts on nuclear non-proliferation need to be stepped up.

At the same time, I hope that the summit will allow progress to be made on waiving US visas for citizens in all EU Member States.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D).(FI) Mr President, we urgently need employment and growth. These are the two issues that have united Europe and the United States in recent years. Without growth, there is no stability either. Common action and transatlantic cooperation are needed to respond to global challenges.

The European Union and the US are still the world’s two leading economies. These continents are also united by a common economic crisis. In cooperation also lies strength, and together we should also establish a transatlantic employment and growth initiative that incorporates a clear plan to promote trade and investment.

In addition to the economy, we also need to promote peace, stability and the development of open democracies. We need cooperation, especially in the Middle East, and we must support the emerging democracies in North Africa. We always have to avoid double standards in foreign and human rights policy.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, while supporting the resolution, I wish to express appreciation of the effective actions undertaken, on the whole, by the US and NATO in Libya. At the same time, I call for full support of the process of this country’s democratisation. Our involvement in Northern Africa is essential for safeguarding the achievements resulting from democratic change. I am also placing my hopes in a proposal to stabilise the situation fraught with constantly increasing tension in connection with Iran’s nuclear programme, which requires urgent coordinated measures. I am also waiting for concrete solutions in the struggle against the debt crisis. A huge potential for economic growth for both partners through unimpeded trade exchange may reduce the likelihood of a recession. A good example of mutual benefit stemming from a more comprehensive cooperation is the agreement on promoting interoperability of navigation systems.

Since, in this House, I am representing Poland, I cannot accept the discrimination my country is facing on the issue of visas. I demand that EU diplomacy be more decisive where it is dealing with visa waivers for all residents of the European Community.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE).(FI) Mr President, I am a strong supporter of transatlantic relations. The United States and Europe share the same traditional values, the same value base – and they unite us. Democracy, human rights, freedom of speech and the rule of law: these are worth adhering to. This also provides a natural basis for strengthening our partnership in the areas of both sustainable economic growth and employment, and ensuring, thereby, that our citizens can also derive sustainable material and financial wellbeing as a counterweight to these intellectual values.

I cannot agree with everything in this statement that has now been issued by the European Parliament in relation to this summit. Point 11, for example, in which the EU and the US are urged to push for a resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine in compliance with international law, is worthy of our support. I think, however, that we should not impose preconditions – as people are trying to here – regarding what form these talks should take and what limits should be set. Instead, the negotiators should be given the opportunity and the talks should be supported. In this respect, whenever peace talks are initiated, the basic approach should be that we show respect for the negotiators and support them, and not, as it were, dictate terms from Europe concerning how the talks should be managed and what outcomes there ought to be.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Mr President, the opportunity for transatlantic dialogue at the summit on 28 November 2011 needs to be utilised to the full. In today’s turmoil, the EU must be talking at all levels to its key partners around the world – never more so than with respect to regulating the financial markets and derivative products post the financial crisis of 2008, and implementing the decisions taken by G20.

The summit dialogue needs to ensure that US politicians and regulators respect the need for parity in our financial services legislation. We need to make sure that, in the attempt to make our financial markets more secure, we do not begin to limit access on the flow of capital. Likewise, the Dodd-Frank Act needs to be interpreted in a non-protectionist way. Extra-territoriality, equivalence and reciprocity are not essential, but recognition of comparable systems of regulation is, and we need to seek ways of acknowledging this. We must work to ensure the Dodd-Frank Act and the EU’s European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) and Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) fit together. Closer cooperation between the EU and the US on financial services needs to continue, but the spirit of equals to prevent extra-territoriality battles needs to endure.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, it is instructive to compare the American and European constitutions.

The US Constitution is 7 200 words long. The European, in the form of the Lisbon Treaty, is 78 000 words long. The US Constitution is concerned with broad principles, such as the balance between federal and state jurisdictions; the European equivalent busies itself with such minutiae as policy on space exploration and the status of refugees.

The American Declaration of Independence holds out the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The European equivalent – the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms – guarantees our right to strike action, affordable housing and free healthcare. The one is about the freedom of the individual, the other about the power of the state.

All nations, all unions, grow according to the DNA that was encoded at their conception. It was the good fortune of the American Republic to be founded in a popular revolt against a remote government and therefore to impregnate its institutions with a sympathy for the maximum dispersal of power.

The European Union’s tragedy is that it was founded from the opposite imperative. Line 1 of Article 1 of the Treaty of Rome commits us to establish an ever closer Union. Our present doom was ordained from the first.

 
  
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  Peter Skinner (S&D). – Mr President, I can agree with Syed Kamall and Kay Swinburne on the issues that they discussed and, in fact, I would add that EU-US relations are just vital. They are essential if we are to do anything about fighting global regulatory arbitrage. We are each other’s biggest investors, and if we use the OECD study of May 2005 as a basis for lifting the non-tariff barriers that Mr Kamall talked about, and apply best regulatory practices, we could see our economies grow by as much as 3-6% GNI year on year. That is still something very much worth going for – a growth agenda not just on the supply side, but that also has to look at jobs and how to create them. We forget this at our peril.

The Bruce Stokes paper recently produced on growth and jobs also helps to promote this philosophy of backing industry not just on competitiveness but also, vitally, on attracting investment. Governments at EU level and the Commission, along with the US, need not just to manage debt reduction but also investment policy and incentives to job creation. This should not be done artificially but with the support of, and in line with, commercial and scientific research and development, specifically in the SME market. This is perhaps our route forward.

 
  
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  Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL).(beginning without microphone) … of capitalism that exists in both Europe and the US. Working people on both sides of the Atlantic increasingly face the same issues: mass unemployment, attacks on workers’ wages and conditions, and drastic cutbacks in the public sector.

In response to these attacks, the Occupy movement, which started in Wall Street, has gained an echo right around the world. Its key message is that the 99% must not pay for the greed and the speculation of the 1%. Now you have occupations taking place in basically every European city, including throughout Ireland.

Precisely because that movement challenges the rule of the 1%, the police have now brutally moved against occupations in the US, in Zuccotti Park and Oakland.

I salute the response of the movement in Oakland where 20 000 people have demonstrated to defend their right to protest. They have not just demonstrated: teachers have come out of their workplaces, public sector workers have gone on sick leave, the ports have been shut down through workers’ action, and Occupy Oakland has launched a call for a general strike.

Here you can see the massive potential. If we can bring the Occupy movement – the anger, the energy and the ideas – together with the power of the organised labour movement, society could be fundamentally transformed.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0572/2011

 
  
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  Bendt Bendtsen (PPE).(DA) Mr President, economic growth and the establishment of new undertakings and jobs is unthinkable without access to a stable and fast Internet connection. Without the Internet, it is difficult to imagine how public administration, citizens’ services and retail trade could be made more efficient. I voted ‘yes’ today, and I am pleased that Parliament has adopted a resolution on an open Internet and net neutrality. On account of the Internet’s central role in all aspects of society, it has become an important political matter.

It is also a political matter to ensure that all citizens have equal access to the Internet. We are opposed to creating an A team and a B team where citizens are concerned. We are also opposed to political decision makers deciding how the content should be prioritised. So far, so good, but we must also recognise the fact that we are facing some enormous challenges when it comes to creating adequate infrastructure, particularly with regard to mobile platforms. We are finding it difficult to expand the capacity quickly enough to cope with the explosive growth among citizens. This is therefore something that we must prioritise in future.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE).(SK) Mr President, net and Internet neutrality contribute to the development of democracy by allowing freedom of individual expression, giving easy access to information and encouraging public debate. However, many internal barriers on the digital market of the European Union persist and these barriers prevent its potential from being fully exploited, restricting freedom of choice for both individuals and businesses.

Achieving effective financial support to stimulate innovation and to bring a wide range of benefits to Internet users therefore requires appropriate and clearly conceived regulation that will preserve net neutrality and protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of the public. For this reason, I support the appeal that the Commission should secure the consistent reinforcement and implementation of the current telecommunications framework and check whether any additional measures are required to this end.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Mr President, the Internet has become a vital medium for rural and urban citizens alike. In rural Wales it is important that broadband speeds be improved, as it is for the whole of the nation. However, just as important will be ensuring that no artificial blocks on download speeds are imposed by service providers. I look forward to the report by BEREC, analysing net neutrality and its advice to national regulators on dealing with anti-competitive Internet traffic management. Enabling rural Wales to benefit from net access for TV, telephony and video downloads will have a major effect on our citizens.

I also welcome in this report the additions by the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection concerning transparency requirements, quality of service and information on actual delivery speeds. I welcome this resolution and hope that the full benefits of the net can be experienced by all EU citizens.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0588/2011

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D).(FI) Mr President, the protection of the civilian population is one of the key principles of international law, and the irresponsible and indiscriminate use of mines causes hardship for civilians and puts their lives at risk, especially in the wake of conflicts. The reality concerning both anti-personnel mines and cluster weapons is that they kill and maim civilians in particular. That is why we need a shared change in attitude as to what sort of warfare countries should prepare themselves for.

Many countries still consider cluster munitions to be vitally important for their security and defence. Finland is also acceding to the Ottawa Treaty, which prohibits the use of anti-personnel mines. In Finland, in connection with this debate, the possibility of replacing such mines with cluster weapons was also mentioned. Finland, however, does not intend to do this, but will look for other substitute methods, which is a positive step forward.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE).(SK) Mr President, the use of cluster munitions can be regarded as excessively inhumane due to the disproportionate suffering it causes its victims – often civilians and particularly children. That is why I am surprised that many countries, including some Member States of the European Union, still refuse to sign or ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

I firmly believe that demanding respect for the undertakings made under this agreement belongs to the European Union’s new human rights programme and any Member States that have still not ratified the convention should quickly remedy this situation. Rejecting this important convention would damage the European Union’s reputation as a champion of human rights around the world and reflects badly on the coherence of its foreign policy in the international field.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I am naturally aware that there can be no such thing as a humane war or humane weapons. A minimum of decency and humanity must prevail, however, and cluster munitions are an excellent example of this. Cluster munitions will never decide the outcome of a war. They are often used to target civilians and cause a huge amount of damage and injury, particularly to children.

However, this is a way of making money, legal custom is established, and sometimes the opinion also prevails that what is alright for one person is also alright for another. For this reason, I am very pleased with this motion for a resolution and would urge all Member States of the European Union to sign and support this convention. After all, I can see no reasonable grounds for not doing so. In the final analysis, what we need is a ban that is signed up to by the Member States of the European Union and by the world at large.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, although I support the efforts on disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation, I did not vote for this resolution.

My country has a strong tradition of active commitment in the areas mentioned. It is a signatory to the main multilateral instruments, including the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and its additional protocols. Romania has advocated, and continues to advocate, that this UN instrument is the most suitable framework for regulating the issue of cluster munitions. This is why it is taking part in the negotiations of the group of government experts to agree on a protocol on cluster munitions. This framework allows every aspect of the subject to be tackled: humanitarian, technical, legal, military and defence, in the presence of the main global manufacturers in this field. These are the reasons why Romania did not support the political statements featuring in the Oslo Process and did not sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

 
  
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  Norica Nicolai (ALDE).(RO) Mr President, I believe, in principle, that cluster munitions must be banned, not because this would be beneficial during conflict, but because they provide a source for illegal post-conflict arms trafficking.

In my view, which goes beyond the position of my country Romania, which, as Ms Băsescu said, has not signed this convention, the Ottawa Convention must be ratified by all European states. This is a ratification in principle, because this process of giving up cluster munitions and replacing them with weapons which may be less harmful – if you can say that a weapon used in war can be less harmful – must be undertaken.

However, we too believe that this recommendation is only enough to give the negotiations taking place under the aegis of the UN a boost. In light of this, I decided to abstain from voting on this resolution.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0608/2011

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, clearly, we all want a common internal market and this has also brought us many benefits in the European Union. That is one side of the coin. On the other side, however, we also want the Member States to continue to levy taxes on an autonomous basis at particular intervals. This is where I start to feel pulled in two directions, as the one should not preclude the other. In relation to value added tax and sales tax in particular, we have the special principle of reduced tax rates, which is interpreted in different ways within the European Union. Several problems arise in relation to the issue of digital trading in written material, such as electronic books, for example, the fact that the reduced tax rate is applied in one country but not in another. The main problem is that accounting is very difficult in this area.

I am pleased that the problem is being addressed with this motion for a resolution and that we want to help ensure that the common internal market also works to the benefit of our citizens in this sector, too.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, I am conscious that these sessions have been growing longer in the last couple of months, so I wish to thank you and the staff and interpreters, on behalf of all the Members, for your patience.

During the last Commission, Commissioner Verheugen conducted a survey of the costs of European regulation. This found that the net impact was EUR 600 billion per year. According to the Commission’s own figures, the benefits of the single market are EUR 120 billion a year. So, according to the Commission – and it should know if anybody does – the single market is five times more expensive to business than the benefits it generates.

Of course, the way to reverse that balance is to scrap regulations and to cut tax, but one cannot cut tax as long as one harmonises it. Tax harmonisation will always be upwards for the most basic of reasons, which is that the main constraint fiscally on a government is external competition. One can raise tax rates up to a certain point, and then the money starts going abroad. But if one finds, through the EU, a mechanism to get around that by exporting one’s costs to one’s competitors then, of course, tax rates as a whole will rise and the continent as a whole will fall further and further behind in the world.

The one thing we could be doing is moving the rocks aside so that the grass can grow.

 
  
  

Report: Krzysztof Lisek (A7-0374/2011)

 
  
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  Norica Nicolai (ALDE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report, along with the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, for several reasons. I believe that, apart from the progress made by Georgia and the enthusiasm with which this country has intended to embrace European values by accepting the association agreement, we must acknowledge that European values are viable in the Caucasus region, and in Central Asia for that matter. Since Georgia has followed the way that European democracy has been formed, it has adopted good practices from Europe and clearly intends to embark on a European path. I would like to stress that this very brave and objective report shows that Georgia is still an occupied country, but it also underlines Georgia’s European destiny, including within the limits stipulated in Article 49 of the Treaty.

This is why I believe that the negotiations, which Georgia is going to have to start on the Free Trade Agreement, are crucial. I welcomed the decision made by Georgia, which, although it is involved in a conflict with Russia, supports Russia gaining access to the World Trade Organisation, thereby proving that Georgia’s inclination is towards peace and seeking solutions aimed at resolving the serious problems in the unresolved conflict in Ossetia and Abkhazia.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D).(FI) Mr President, I, too, voted in favour of this resolution because Georgia is a European country which must have the right to a European perspective. Maintaining that European perspective is a vitally important way to promote the implementation of reforms in Georgia as well as persuading all Georgians to support them.

Georgia is one of the best performing partners of the Eastern Partnership, but it still has a long way to go towards genuine democracy, the rule of law and a market economy. Georgia must definitely demonstrate a genuine commitment to shared values, democracy, the rule of law, human rights and good governance. Its challenges are the reform of the justice system, labour rights, women’s rights and, in particular, the integration of minorities into society.

 
  
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  Janusz Władysław Zemke (S&D).(PL) Mr President, I welcome the fact that our Parliament has so unequivocally approved the recommendations on negotiations of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement. I would stress emphatically that Georgia is a country with a very clear European perspective. In my capacity as Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, I am of the opinion that Georgia is showing progress in this sphere.

However, there are still issues that should cause us concern. Repeated attacks on lawyers who defend human rights in Georgia, regrettably, are still taking place. There is also a need for a more constructive dialogue between the government and the opposition and for ensuring that the opposition has access to mass media. Therefore, where it concerns democratic reforms, progress has been achieved, although there is still a long way to go.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, relations with Georgia form part of a wider policy towards European neighbours carried out within the framework of the Eastern Partnership. In voting for the resolution, I am expressing my support for the speedy rate of negotiations and for implementation by the Georgian authorities of a range of reforms in various spheres, and advocate the territorial integrity of this country. I welcome the declaration by President Mikheil Saakashvili on non-use of violence with regard to restoring control in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Simultaneously, I support provisions of the resolution whereby these regions are defined as occupied territories and appeal to Russia to revoke its decision of recognising their secession. I call upon the Russian authorities to guarantee the EU observation mission full and unlimited access to these regions.

It is in the interests of the European Union to conclude the negotiations as soon as possible and sign the association agreement that shall define a comprehensive long-term framework for furthering relations with Georgia in the years to come.

 
  
  

Report: Isabella Lövin (A7-0362/2011)

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the fisheries sector is an economic tool of paramount importance for Europe, and it needs safeguards and guarantees that stem from joint action at European level, with the needs of individual Member States taken into account.

The volume of illegal fishing is estimated at between 11 and 26 million tonnes per year, equivalent to approximately 15% of catches. These are shocking statistics that require our institution to adopt measures aimed at curbing this phenomenon, which harms consumers and businesses alike.

I therefore voted in favour of this report because, while, on the one hand, it is good to thoroughly consider any steps taken to combat illegal practices, on the other, we must not increase the bureaucratic barriers that restrict business activities and the development of businesses themselves, especially during a period of crisis such as this.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, because fishing is a major economic factor and because it also represents a source of employment and income for many people, we need to put an end to illegal fishing. After all, we naturally want future generations also to be able to continue to catch fish.

Prevention of illegal fishing no longer just involves fishing per se, as truly criminal activities have also grown up around the industry. It is also high time that other measures were taken, as proposed in the report.

It is also important for us to deal with the problem together with our partners in the US and Asia, as otherwise, we will simply end up shifting the problem back and forth around the world. Fish stocks in the world’s oceans are an indivisible quantity. That is why we need to address this problem on a global basis.

I was a little shocked to learn that even the European Union estimates that, although we support sustainable fishing on the one hand, nonetheless, we also import approximately 500 000 tonnes of illegal fish. This is unacceptable, which is why I voted in favour of the motion.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Mr President, I was pleased to vote for this report and especially for the actions in it. Without any doubt, we must do everything to put an end to illegal fishing in order to preserve fish stocks in the oceans and, especially, to be fair to good, honest fishermen.

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries, IUU as they are called, at a conservative estimate make up 15% of the marine catches.

Throw in the practice of discards which has been going on for far too long and the rape of the sea has been going on unabated.

Thankfully, the forthcoming CFP is hoping to deal with the question of discards and today’s proposals may help to at least combat illegal fishing.

The illegal operators will have to be named and shamed and put out of business, and non-compliant states equally so.

 
  
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  Robert Sturdy (ECR). – Mr President, fish stocks are depleting, our fishing ports are closing, fish markets are closing, stocks of fish are getting smaller, the fish themselves that we catch are getting smaller and therefore it is vitally important this report goes through and the Commission accept it and act on it, and that was why I voted in favour of it.

If we allow illegal fishing to continue, then of course it is a global issue. The seas are depleting right across the world and therefore all actions must be taken in a global manner. I follow my fellow colleague, Mr Kelly, who talked about discards – a huge and utter waste of a valuable material. Why on earth are we allowing this to continue? I think the Commission must look seriously at the whole common fisheries policy. We must put in draconian measures to stop those who buy the illegal fish and then sell them on the market.

Finally, I would just like to thank the rapporteur for mentioning the GSP. As vice-Chair of the International Trade Committee, GSP is a big issue; it does affect fishing and it affects all trade agreements throughout the European Union. I look forward to following that report and looking at the fishing.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Wolfgang Kreissl-Dörfler (A7-0368/011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing.(PT) I am voting for this report. I also call on the European Union and its Member States to comply, in a timely manner, with all requests by the International Criminal Court for assistance and cooperation, so as to ensure, inter alia, the execution of pending arrest warrants and the provision of information, including requests aimed at helping to identify, freeze and seize the financial assets of suspects. I should also like to urge all the EU Member States that have not yet done so to enact national legislation on cooperation and to conclude framework agreements with the ICC for the enforcement of its sentences and on matters of investigation, of collecting evidence, of finding, protecting and relocating witnesses, of arresting, extraditing, holding in custody and hosting indicted persons when released on bail, and of imprisoning sentenced persons. It is also important that the Member States mutually cooperate through their police, judicial and other relevant mechanisms, so as to ensure adequate support for the ICC.

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution because I agree with the intention to express our support for the ICC, the Rome Statute and the international criminal justice system, whose primary objective is the fight against impunity for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. For this reason, the EEAS, the EU Member States and the Commission should continue their vigorous efforts to promote universal ratification of the Rome Statute and to guarantee the independence of the ICC. I strongly believe that a stronger ICC is a step toward the main goal of the Schuman declaration: building a lasting peace on the European continent and, more generally, to ‘make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible’. However, I would like to express my concern about the fact that so far the ICC has only investigated cases located in Africa. In order to avoid the legitimate criticism that this conduct has raised concerning the Court, the ICC Prosecutor should balance the geographical scope of the Court.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) As the sole international judicial body capable of trying individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, the International Criminal Court (ICC) ensures that human rights are respected and helps to maintain security throughout the world and to combat impunity. The issuance of arrest warrants against Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, one of the sons of the former Libyan dictator, and the former head of the Libyan intelligence service, has borne fruit: both are due to be tried by the ICC and Libya. This shows the importance of the Court. I therefore voted in favour of the Kreissl-Dörfler report.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing.(IT) The report proposes a greater commitment from the European Union to promoting the role and the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the international judicial body which considers cases involving crimes against humanity and genocide. It deals with a relatively new subject and with an international body tasked with carrying out a very delicate and important role. Therefore, it is only right that the EU should provide as much political and diplomatic support as possible in order to strengthen the ICC’s functioning and powers, as well as to extend its territorial jurisdiction. Another positive aspect is the European Parliament’s proposal for Member States to make every effort, through diplomatic routes in their bilateral and multilateral relations, to persuade major countries such as the United States, Russia and Turkey to adhere to the Statute of the International Criminal Court. I therefore voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the universal nature of justice implies its even application, free of exceptions and double standards. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the first permanent international judicial body which is able to try individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, thus making a decisive contribution to the upholding of human rights and to international law by combating impunity, playing a crucial deterrent role and sending a clear signal that impunity for these crimes will not be tolerated. Moreover, nowhere should there be a safe haven for those who have committed genocide, crimes against humanity, extrajudicial executions, war crimes, torture, mass rape or forced disappearances. The European Parliament stresses the need for the ICC to expand its focus beyond situations of armed conflict and, more proactively, to investigate human rights emergencies that escalate to the level of crimes against humanity, as well as situations where domestic authorities are demonstrably unwilling to investigate, prosecute and punish alleged offenders. Despite the strong level of support provided by the EU and its Member States to the Court, much remains to be done on a political and diplomatic level, as well as a practical level, to help the Court overcome the challenges and difficulties it currently faces.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing.(RO) The International Criminal Court (ICC) is currently going through a difficult period due to political and financial circumstances beyond its control. It increasingly comes under unfair, politically motivated attacks, its arrest warrants are frequently disregarded, and its current budget is not adequate for its needs. As the EU has been, and continues to be, a staunch supporter of the ICC, the European Union must assist the Court to a greater extent in facing both the political and financial challenges and difficulties.

No one can deny the importance of such an international court which investigates serious cases involving breaches of human rights, genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Consequently, it is important that an ever increasing number of states acknowledge the authority of the ICC. It has taken 83 years to reach an international agreement and set up the ICC. At the moment, states which have ratified the ICC’s Rome Statute must also regulate the Court’s right to investigate crimes of aggression. Signatory states must harmonise their national legislation with the provisions of the Rome Statute, in keeping with the commitment they have made.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing.(EL) It goes without saying that we condemn any criminal act committed against humanity. At the same time, however, we maintain that justice should be dispensed at national level and within the framework of the UN, and always on the basis of international law. Unfortunately, the way in which the ICC is organised and operates cannot safeguard political impartiality; on the contrary, it reinforces the risk of developing ‘justice’ which is pre-determined by those who dispense it. This motion for a resolution has no hesitation in calling for pressure to be exerted on the Member States to make a financial contribution to the ICC, to apply national legislation on cooperation with the ICC and to conclude framework agreements for the enforcement of the Court’s sentences. These proposals target the sovereign rights of the Member States; at the same time, they harbour the risk of marginalising both the UN and UN Security Council and the EU Council by promoting the concentration of authority in the ICC and the special representatives appointed by the High Representative. What is particularly worrying is the intention to give the ICC the right to intervene in the internal affairs of states based solely on certain ‘suspicions’ and to develop ‘preventive action’, which, of course, harbours the risk of promoting foreign interests. It is for these reasons that I abstained from voting.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the resolution on the support given to the ICC by the EU for ensuring further financial and logistical assistance for the Court and enhancing the support for the Court through political and diplomatic action. I am concerned that most of the 17 arrest warrants issued by the ICC have not been implemented yet, thereby ensuring impunity and allowing brutal human rights violations to persist. It is also vital for enhancing the ICC’s role that EU Member States which have not yet done so enact national legislation on cooperation with the ICC and conclude framework agreements with the Court for enforcing its sentences.

 
  
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  Cornelis de Jong (GUE/NGL), in writing. – I support the functioning of the ICC in the fight against impunity and the prosecution of the worst crimes against humanity. I also agree with the majority of conclusions laid down in the Kreissl-Dörfler report. However, I strongly disagree with the wording of §12. The competence for criminal law lies with the Member States and not the EU and I strongly oppose any transfer of competences in criminal law matters. Therefore, I have abstained on the vote on the Kreissl-Dörfler report.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I believe the current threats to security and human life highlight the need for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to be fairly active and interventionist. In order for this to happen, the ICC needs greater funding and political solidarity from its Member States. That is the only way the ICC will be able to respond to the increasing number of cases in which it is involved, to ensure effective protection of its witnesses, and to include the crime of aggression in its jurisdiction from 2017 onwards.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The International Criminal Court (ICC) has been unanimously supported by the European Union and its Member States. Their efforts have been helping to spread the concept of the universality of human rights, and to increase the visibility of the increasingly widespread belief that even the worst criminals deserve a fair and transparent trial. Several important members of the international community still do not recognise its jurisdiction because they have yet to ratify the Rome Statute. However, on balance, I consider it undeniable that the role of the ICC in combating genocide and other crimes against humanity, and in asserting international criminal law, has been a positive one. I hope that the Union will continue to increase its support for the ICC. I also hope that it will help it to reinforce its authority and improve the quality of its decisions, so that it becomes, over time, a well respected and effective international court.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing.(PT) The purpose of the International Criminal Court (ICC), created on 1 July 2002, is to prosecute the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. In order to discourage crime, it is crucial that criminals be aware of how difficult it is to escape trial for atrocities they have committed. However, at a time when the ICC should be working full-time, it is suffering from a lack of financial support to sustain its activity. This report, drafted by Mr Kreissl-Dörfler, concerns the European Union’s support for the ICC, particularly following the growing number of trials that need to be held in the countries of the southern Mediterranean, if the Arab Spring is to be a reality after thousands of people have given their lives for it. The ICC must extend its activities to all countries in which crimes against humanity take place. However, in order to achieve this, the European Union and its Member States – or rather, its supporting pillars – need to establish conditions for it to work, and to successfully motivate other countries, such as China and the United States, to fully adopt the legislation implementing the ICC. I therefore voted for this report.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) With the adoption of this report, the majority in Parliament are being duplicitous. Domineering and arrogant, on the one hand, they are exerting pressure on the Member States with regard to enacting legislation and concluding agreements with the International Criminal Court (ICC), and on third countries with regard to ‘arresting’ individuals who are the subject of arrest warrants or to ‘supporting an arrest operation’. They talk meekly, on the other hand, as regards the United States – which is not an ICC State Party – and welcome its participation in the Assembly of States Parties as, it should be noted, an ‘observer’; they merely express their ‘hope’ that the United States will become a State Party. The United States has adopted legislation that bars the country’s authorities from cooperating with the ICC in the case of American citizens, but that also authorises military operations to free US military personnel. However, bilateral agreements have been drafted, including with EU Member States, so as to ensure that North American military personnel are not surrendered to the ICC in third countries. The – unfortunately common – duplicitous hypocrisy of the majority in Parliament is well suited to the interventionist role of the ICC, which acts according to the political interests of the major powers: a court in the hands of those who impose the rule of brute force, intervention, militarism and war.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The majority in Parliament have taken on a domineering role in exerting pressure on the Member States to enact legislation and conclude agreements with the International Criminal Court (ICC). At the same time, they are exerting pressure on third countries prepared to allow individuals who are the subject of an ICC arrest warrant to visit their territories to arrest them or to support their arrest operation.

However, as regards the United States, which is not an ICC State Party, they welcome its participation in the Assembly of States Parties as, it should be noted, observers. They simply express their ‘hope’ that the United States will become a State Party.

The United States has adopted legislation that bars the country’s authorities from cooperating with the ICC in the case of American citizens, but that also authorises military operations to free US military personnel. Moreover, bilateral agreements have been established, including with EU Member States, so as to ensure that North American military personnel are not surrendered to the ICC in third countries.

The – unfortunately common – duplicitous hypocrisy of the majority in Parliament is well suited to the interventionist role of the ICC, which acts according to the political interests of the major powers: a court in the hands of those who impose the rule of brute force, intervention, militarism and war.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) Since its establishment on 1 July 2002, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has had an exclusive worldwide mandate for prosecuting the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. In spite of its efforts, professionalism and resolve, it has now reached a critical point with regard to its political and financial situation. It is being subjected to unfair, politically motivated attacks with increasing frequency, its arrest warrants are often ignored, and its current budget is inadequate for its requirements.

The European Union is a constant champion of the ICC: ever since its establishment, the EU has provided it with political, diplomatic, financial and logistical support and, at the moment, is helping to implement the universality and integrity of the Rome Statute by helping the court to be independent and to function effectively. It is our endeavour and one of our priorities to help the court resolve some pressing issues and to overcome the political and financial pressures it currently faces. Freedom, the rule of law and the fight against impunity are the pillars of sustainable peace as they guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms. I believe that justice should be regarded as an indispensable element in sustaining peace and resolving conflicts. Therefore, in this case too, full and prompt cooperation between the interested parties, including the EU Member States, and the Court are essential to the effectiveness and success of the international criminal justice system.

 
  
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  Mikael Gustafsson (GUE/NGL), in writing. – I support the functioning of the ICC in the fight against impunity and the prosecution of the worst crimes against humanity. I also agree with the majority of conclusions laid down in the Kreissl-Dörfler report. However, I strongly disagree with the wording of §12. The competence for criminal law lies with the Member States and not the EU and I strongly oppose any transfer of competences in criminal law matters. Therefore, I have abstained on the vote on the Kreissl-Dörfler report.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because, since its inception on 1 July 2002, the day when the Rome Statute entered into force, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been successfully implementing its unique global mandate of pursuing perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. From the ICC’s inception, the EU has supported this Court through a variety of political, diplomatic, financial and logistical actions, whilst helping to promote the universality and integrity of the Rome Statute and contributing to the independence and effective functioning of the Court. In addition to the political and diplomatic challenges the Court is currently facing, inadequate funding continues to be the main impediment to its effectiveness. While it is constantly dealing with new cases, the opening of them is not accompanied by an increase in funding. It is very important for EU Member States to continue to provide the Court with sufficient resources to fulfil its mandate. Current forms of financial and logistical support could be further reinforced in order to ensure that the current funding gap the Court is experiencing is successfully bridged. The EU and its Member States should ensure adequate financial support for the Court’s budget.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) This report has been adopted by the Committee on Foreign Affairs. It presents two fundamental ideas. Firstly, the report points out that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is the first permanent international judicial body capable of trying individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and that it accordingly makes a decisive contribution to the upholding of human rights and international law by combating impunity. Secondly, the report points out that the fight against impunity can only succeed when all States Parties cooperate fully with the ICC and when non-parties also provide assistance to the judicial institution. I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Kartika Tamara Liotard (GUE/NGL), in writing. – I support the functioning of the ICC in the fight against impunity and the prosecution of the worst crimes against humanity. I also agree with the majority of conclusions laid down in the Kreissl-Dörfler report. However, I strongly disagree with the wording of paragraph 12. The competence for criminal law lies with the Member States and not with the EU, and I strongly oppose any transfer of competences in criminal law matters. I therefore abstained on the vote on the Kreissl-Dörfler report.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this report on the ICC. Despite the strong level of support provided by the EU and its Member States to the Court, much remains to be done on the political and diplomatic level, as well as on a practical level to help the Court overcome the current challenges and difficulties it currently faces. Closer monitoring of the constant implementation of ICC clauses in agreements with third countries, as well as the impact of its political statements and declarations, would undoubtedly strengthen the EU’s messages and standpoints on the ICC issues vis-à-vis the EU partner countries and organisations, notably the African Union. The EU’s political and human rights dialogues have to consequently raise the ICC and international justice issues in general whenever appropriate. The EU and its Member States should have timely and well-coordinated joint responses to react to instances of non-cooperation with the Court, possibly through agreeing on an internal code of conduct in such cases.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing.(IT) Over the years, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has proved to be a very important body for upholding human rights and international law. I am pleased with the financial and logistical support provided to the ICC thus far by the European Union and the individual Member States. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The International Criminal Court (ICC) continues to have the support of the European Union and its Member States. Its efforts have been focused primarily on advocating the universality of human rights and on ensuring that even the worst criminals are entitled to a fair and transparent trial. Despite the fact that several important members of the international community still fail to recognise the ICC because they have yet to ratify the Rome Statute, the role it has to play today is crucial in combating genocide and other crimes against humanity, and in asserting international criminal law.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – I am confident that in order to adequately support the Criminal Court politically, the EU has to ensure a high-level political and diplomatic presence in the regions and countries. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I believe that the EU must afford greater assistance to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which, as a permanent international judicial body that tries individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, is making a significant contribution to the proper implementation of human rights and international law, as well as the preservation of peace and the strengthening of international security. The serious crimes over which the ICC has jurisdiction are a concern for all Member States. Consequently, every effort must be made to ensure the promotion of more active cooperation in order to stop these crimes and overcome the impunity of the criminals who have committed them. Furthermore, it is very important for the ICC to be protected from possible political pressure so that it can properly implement the principle of impartiality and administer justice based on laws, not political motives.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this report on the International Criminal Court. In particular, I wish to speak on two elements. First, I call for greater cooperation between Member States and the Asset Recovery Office, and greater cooperation between Member States and the Camden Asset Recover Inter-Agency Network. Such practical collaboration would, in a similar vein to national asset recovery offices like the Criminal Assets Bureau in Ireland, prevent organised and sophisticated criminals getting access to the capital they need to implement their plans. This is all the more true in the context of individuals wishing to perpetrate crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Secondly, I call on Member States to give further financial and practical assistance to the Court, in order for it to carry out its mandate more effectively. In particular I would appeal for continued and enhanced support for programmes such as the ICC Trust for Victims and the ICC Special Fund for Relocations. The former of these two programmes is invaluable in ensuring that Court-ordered reparations are followed through on the ground, and also in coordinating donations given by third parties such as the European Union for the rehabilitation of victims of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was a very important step in guaranteeing safety, justice and peace worldwide. Today, the ICC plays a crucial role in combating crimes against humanity and in ensuring compliance with the fundamentals of public international law, especially what is known as ius cogens. The European Union, which is committed to upholding the rule of law in regulating relations between peoples and states, was quick to demonstrate its support for the ICC, which is facing new challenges today: firstly, the issue of funding; secondly, the criticism that has been seeking to shoot down its credibility. In a situation like this, it is vital that Europe step up its commitment to this international conflict-resolution body, both in symbolic terms and in terms of material support. I voted in favour for these reasons.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The International Criminal Court (ICC), since its inception on 1 July 2002, the day when the Rome Statute entered into force, has been successfully implementing its unique global mandate of pursuing perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Using the principle of ‘complementarity’ which stipulates that the Court would act only if the national courts in question are unable or unwilling to do so, the Court opened investigations into the situations in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Darfur (Sudan) and the Central African Republic (CAR), Kenya, and Libya, and Côte d’Ivoire. Despite its efforts, professionalism and commitment, ICC currently finds itself in a critical time juncture, due to political and financial circumstances beyond its control. It increasingly comes under unfair, politically-motivated attacks, its arrest warrants are frequently disregarded, and its current budget is not adequate to its needs. As the EU has been a staunch supporter of the ICC, the purpose of this report is to evaluate how it could further assist the Court in facing the challenges and overcome the difficulties of both political and financial nature it faces.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of this document so that the International Criminal Court (ICC) can continue to effectively fulfil its unique ‘global mandate’ of pursuing perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Unfortunately, the ICC increasingly comes under unfair, politically motivated attacks, and its arrest warrants are frequently disregarded. For this reason, the European Union must continue to support its activities with ever greater commitment, through a variety of political, diplomatic, financial and logistical actions, and must contribute, in the same way, to promoting its independence and functioning.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) The Rome Statute marks a key step in the international protection of human rights. In fact, it represents a key turning point. For the first time, it is possible to prosecute individuals who are found guilty of certain international crimes.

Until now, the main judicial body at supranational level was the United Nations’ International Court of Justice in The Hague, created expressly to guarantee the ‘peaceful settlement of international disputes’, and hence disputes between states. Consequently, the subjects implicated were countries, and there was still no clear definition of the notion of international individual responsibility.

Under the Rome Statute, however, the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction with respect to war crimes, crimes against humanity and cases of genocide for which individuals are held and may be sentenced. With the creation of the International Criminal Court, the international community seems to be moving towards the acquisition of greater responsibility, through the gradual abandonment of a culture of impunity. The fact that an international body has the opportunity, through the application of the aut dedere aut judicare principle, to systematically and automatically override national courts’ criminal jurisdiction, a fundamental expression of national sovereignty par excellence, is therefore revolutionary.

 
  
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  Søren Bo Søndergaard (GUE/NGL), in writing. – I fully support the functioning of the ICC in the fight against impunity and the prosecution of the worst crimes against humanity. I also agree with the majority of conclusions laid down in the Kreissl-Dörfler report. Therefore, I voted in favour. However, I strongly disagree with the wording of paragraph 12. The competence for criminal law lies with the Member States, and not the EU, and I strongly oppose any transfer of competences in criminal law matters.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The intention behind the emergence of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was to protect human safety through its unique global mandate of pursuing perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, using the principle of complementarity. The ICC is currently facing a series of political, technical and financial difficulties, which have been hindering its activity. The European Union and its Member States have emerged as its main donors. However, current funding is not sufficient. This report calls for the Commission and its Member States to increase their contributions, in order to cover important areas, not least raising awareness, victims’ services and the presence of the ICC on the ground. At the same time, it calls for the Member States to fully adopt ICC legislation and for the European Union to raise awareness among non-States Parties, particularly those on the United Nations Security Council: Russia, China and the United States. All kinds of atrocity against human life must be avoided. Violations must be condemned worldwide. This requires States Parties to coordinate their efforts in the event of non-cooperation with the ICC.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – (DE) Born as an idea in the direct aftermath of the Second World War, the International Criminal Court was finally established in 2002, its key mandate being the investigation of war crimes. As the US continues to maintain a consistent boycott of the ICC, it is all the more important that the EU and its Member States should support the Court in accordance with the original principle upon which our Union is based. This is why I have voted in favour of the report.

 
  
  

Report: Georgios Koumoutsakos (A7-0163/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because it provides the integrated maritime policy with a stable financial framework for the period 2011-2013, so as to consolidate former projects in the areas of policy, governance, sustainability and security. However, I believe the sums involved continue to cast doubt on whether there is a strong commitment to designing a European maritime policy with the future in mind.

 
  
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  Charalampos Angourakis (GUE/NGL), in writing.(EL) The regulation establishing a programme to support the EU integrated maritime policy and the European Parliament report on it are designed to strengthen the competitiveness of shipping capital and to step up the exploitation of seafarers. Mass unemployment, poverty, drastic cuts to wages and pensions, the dissolution of insurance funds for seafarers, rocketing passenger and freight prices, the exclusion of thousands of workers resident in outermost island regions and the destruction of the environment are the harsh reality experienced by workers in Greece. It is for these reasons that the Greek Communist Party voted against the European Parliament report on the further development of an integrated maritime policy. We call on the workers to join with the Greek Communist Party and the class trade union movement to fight to overturn the power of the monopolies and break away from the EU, with power to the people and a grassroots economy, so that ships are owned by the people and used for the prosperity of the people.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) As I am in favour of an integrated maritime policy at European level, I voted for the Koumoutsakos report. Indeed, an integrated maritime policy would allow for the joint management and governance of our oceans, seas and coasts. Since the Member States have to rise to common challenges (climate change, technological innovation, illegal fishing, the creation of a common maritime area, and so on), the EU must take common measures in the areas concerned (sustainable exploitation of maritime waters, pooling of knowledge) while remaining competitive and effective.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The EU has 320 000 km of coastline. A third of Europeans live on the coast. Our marine and coastal economic activities produce 40% of the EU’s GDP, and all the forecasts suggest that the potential for growth remains strong. What is more, some 40% of the trade in goods within Europe is carried out by sea. These figures clearly show the importance of our coasts, seas and oceans for the Union, and that is why this programme is aimed at an integrated approach to the management and governance of these areas and at strengthening the link between all sea-related policies in the European Union. I gave my support to this programme so that, with this regulation, the EU integrated maritime policy will have a specific line in the EU budget, one that will rise to EUR 40 million following the negotiations with the Council. Promoting the protection of the marine environment, in particular its biodiversity, while supporting sustainable ‘blue’ economic growth in terms of employment and technological development in all sectors of the maritime economy and in coastal, island and outermost regions: that is what we need to use this programme for.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted for the Koumoutsakos report on the integrated maritime policy. This regulation will help ensure that the maritime policy initiatives are properly funded in 2012 and 2013. Post-2013, maritime policy will be integrated into the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), for which I am the rapporteur.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I think that it is important and necessary to produce a European integrated maritime policy so that Europe’s maritime areas, as well as its coastal areas and outermost regions, enjoy healthy, green economic development and environmental protection. I strongly support the promotion of an integrated maritime policy at EU level and I regard the harmonious development of a European maritime space of paramount importance. Furthermore, I believe that both regional cooperation and the exchange of good practices are excellent tools for achieving this policy’s objectives. The European Union and Member States involved must promote their leading policy on international maritime matters as it allows better global management of maritime matters and achievement of the EU’s priorities. This aspect is absolutely crucial for preparing joint projects, given the global nature of the problems the maritime sector is facing.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) It always gives me great satisfaction to vote for measures that further develop the European integrated maritime policy. Portugal has the largest exclusive economic zone of the European Union and the European Maritime Safety Agency is based in Lisbon. That is why it gives me great pleasure, from a personal as well as a political perspective, to see that funding for this further development programme has been increased and that all the political groups have come together to reinforce the Union’s commitment to the sea. I cannot stress enough that the bottom of the ocean and outer space are the ‘last great frontiers’. Therefore, if the European Union wishes to continue to be a leader at global level, it cannot neglect the obvious commitment it has to the sea virtually everywhere in Europe; on the contrary, it should deepen it significantly.

 
  
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  Marielle De Sarnez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) With 5 million Europeans living off the activities generated by the sea – shipyards, maritime transport, port services, fishing, energy production, coastal tourism – the interaction with the sea is intense, varied and enriching. Therefore, we need to adopt an integrated approach to the governance of these areas and hence strengthen the interaction between all sea-related policies in the European Union. The EU integrated maritime policy should also have a specific line in the EU budget. We have a duty to promote the protection of the marine environment, in particular its biodiversity, while supporting sustainable ‘blue’ economic growth.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on further developing the integrated maritime policy (IMP) because I believe that the agreement reached with the Council to set aside EUR 40 million in financial support to implement the IMP’s objectives over the next two years is a positive one, particularly with regard to carrying out projects in the areas of governance, sustainability and security

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Union’s coastline extends for 320 000 km, and economic activities at sea and on the coast account for 40% of our gross domestic product. In addition to this, 40% of trade within Europe and 95% of exports to outside Europe are carried out by sea. These figures amply demonstrate the importance of the sea and, consequently, the importance of a maritime policy that is cross-cutting and integrated, and that enables us to make full use of the sea’s potential as an economic and energy resource, as a creator of employment and wealth, and as an engine for competitiveness and innovation. As a Portuguese, I am naturally an advocate of the sea and I recognise its huge potential during this time of crisis. Portugal has always looked to the sea during difficult times. For that very reason, and in these difficult times, I believe that a clear and decisive commitment to the sea and to its full strategic and economic potential is vital.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing.(PT) This report, drafted by Mr Koumoutsakos, concerns a proposal for a regulation of Parliament and of the Council establishing a programme to support the further development of an integrated maritime policy (IMP). In 2007, the Commission, advocating an integrated approach to the management of the oceans, seas and coasts, tabled a Green Paper on the IMP and the communication ‘An integrated maritime policy for the European Union’, which formed the basis of European policy in this area. In the years that followed – from 2008 to 2010 – Parliament adopted some resolutions in this regard, and various initiatives were funded through preparatory actions and pilot projects. Despite the financial crisis, the European Union must continue to fund the IMP, as laid down in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Water Framework Directive. Furthermore, the Member States must assemble synergies so as to share information and work together, while taking account of the sustainable use and protection of marine and coastal resources. For these reasons, I am voting for this report, which has resulted from Parliament’s support, on 21 October 2010, for the Commission’s intention to spend EUR 50 million on funding the IMP over the next two years.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) As the integrated maritime policy (IMP) has been tabled by the Commission and supported by the majority in this House, it is marked by a federalist, mercantilist and geostrategic vision of how the exclusive economic zones of the Member States should be used. The report states that the strategic objectives of the IMP include integrated maritime governance at every level, and it is well known that we cannot agree with some of this policy’s objectives, from border control and the liberalisation of maritime transport to the security-related issues and the European coastguard. This report attempts to regulate a programme supporting the further development of the IMP, even though, at this stage, its content does not reflect the dangerous and negative aspects that we have pointed out. However, these aspects cannot be ignored.

What is important at this stage is facilitating the funding of studies on aspects such as protecting and preserving the marine environment, or on supporting the outlining of policies concerning the sea or coastal areas, particularly in the areas of economic development, employment, environmental protection, research, maritime safety, energy and developing green maritime technologies. Naturally, we are bound to agree with these objectives.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing.(PT) The nature and characteristics of the marine environment, the vast range of activities increasingly being carried out within it today and the need to regulate these activities, resolving potential conflicts in a socially and environmentally sustainable way, mean that the establishment of an integrated maritime policy for this purpose is recommended. Of course, the objectives, guiding principles and resources available for this policy will not be without impact. We have serious reservations about and disagreements with the way in which the EU’s integrated maritime policy (IMP) has been set out. A federalist approach is often taken to the IMP that does not respect the sovereignty and jurisdiction of each Member State with regard to the management of its territorial waters and exclusive economic zones, as well as linking it with the EU’s ‘foreign policy objectives’. A maritime policy that were, instead, based on cooperation among the Member States, respecting their sovereignty and jurisdiction, that promoted synergies, that increased added value, and that encouraged the sustainable use and conservation of marine resources, could undoubtedly have a positive impact.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) European coastal regions are important to Europe’s wellbeing and prosperity. They are European trade routes, climatic regulators, sources of food, energy and resources and are favourite places for living and recreation. Our technology and knowledge allow us to derive even more capital from the sea, with growing numbers of people visiting the European coastal areas to benefit from this capital, but, at the same time, the cumulative effect of these activities has led to imbalances in the use of the marine environment on which everything else depends and resulted in deterioration in its quality. In view of the speed of globalisation and climate change, Europe has to respond promptly to this situation.

The Commission proposes the integration of maritime policy which will strengthen Europe’s ability to face the problems of globalisation and competitiveness, climate change, marine pollution, safety and protection at sea, energy security and sustainability. In order for it to be effective, I believe we will need to rely on high levels of marine research, technology and innovation. The main problem areas which the draft report addresses are better clarification of the objectives of the programme, a clear position on its financing and more involvement of legislators in further decision making. The foundations of an integrated maritime policy have already been laid. Our aim should be to continue to support it over the years 2011-2013.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE), in writing. – Further research is needed in the maritime sector and EUR 40 million would be a good start to develop a comprehensive strategy for Europe.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour because the primary objective of the programme is to maximise the sustainable development, economic growth and social cohesion of EU coastal, island and outermost regions through coherent and coordinated maritime-related policies and relevant international cooperation. The programme supports the sustainable use of the seas and oceans, and the expansion of scientific knowledge. The main issues addressed in this draft report are better defining the objectives of the programme, providing a clear position on its financing (the purpose of the EUR 50 million is to continue the work undertaken since 2007) and involving the legislators more in further decision making through delegated acts and reporting.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) The aim of this regulation is to establish a programme to support the further development of an integrated maritime policy. The Committee on Transport and Tourism has adopted this report, the main objectives of which are to support the development and implementation of sea-basin strategies, to promote the protection of the marine environment, in particular its biodiversity, and to support sustainable ‘blue’ economic growth. I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing. (PL) It takes skilful and prudent use of marine resources to ensure that these riches were available for the future generations. It is, therefore, necessary to create such a modern strategy and to finance research that would be instrumental in bringing down to a minimum the damage caused by the exploitation of marine resources. When developing a new maritime policy, we must take into account human activities both at sea and on land. Investments into research would bring about a most efficient use and modern development of those economic sectors that are operating already, such as tourism, trade, transport, processing or port services – at a minimum cost for biodiversity.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. – (RO) The integrated maritime policy promotes a sectoral approach to maritime governance, by helping identify and utilise areas of synergy between all EU policies relating to seas, oceans and coastal regions. We must continue to coordinate maritime matters, and I think that Europe’s sea basin strategies need to be implemented quickly and adapted to the needs of each coastal region. Furthermore, in order to achieve tangible results at European Union level, I think that we need to promote the global aspect of the International Maritime Policy better. We can do this by improving and stimulating dialogue and through cooperation and coordination with third countries, especially with those sharing a border with a European sea basin.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report. The integrated maritime policy advocates an integrated approach to the management and governance of the oceans, seas and coasts, and fosters interaction between all sea-related policies in the EU. The purpose of the proposed funding, EUR 50 million, is to continue the work undertaken since 2007.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing.(IT) Given the importance of the sector for the economic growth of the European Union, I agree with the rapporteur on the need to guarantee sufficient and continued funding in the next multiannual financial framework, which will be implemented in 2014. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The approval of EUR 40 million for the further development of the integrated maritime policy (IMP) is very important for achieving the objectives already set. The IMP, created in 2007, advocates an integrated approach to the management and governance of the oceans, seas, and coastal, island and outermost regions, and encourages interaction between all sea-related policies in the EU, such as transport, fisheries, tourism, environmental protection and biodiversity. This regulation provides for a programme aiming to supply a stable framework for financing a set of projects and initiatives for the period from 2011 to 2013, the year in which the financial perspective ends, according to the EU’s multiannual financial framework.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – It is clear that the integrated maritime policy is a new policy supporting cross-sectoral and cross-policy actions in relation to the sea, coastal and island regions. Instead of the EUR 50 million in the original Commission proposal, EUR 40 million could be achieved which is satisfactory given the economic circumstances. I am for being economical and I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The EU has a coastline measuring almost 70 000 km and is surrounded by two oceans and four seas. A full 90% of EU external trade and over 40% of internal trade involves sea transport. That is why maritime business is a factor for the EU that cannot be neglected. In future, we can actually expect an increase in its economic significance because the seas are a source of food and energy, provide important trade and transport routes, and are also a key factor in tourist areas of our coastal regions. In addition, the various uses need to be planned in an orderly way, so as to ensure the necessary environmental protection. I have abstained from voting because I would like to see better clarity on the objectives of the programme, as also mentioned by the rapporteur.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing.(IT) The integrated maritime policy may well be beneficial, but it still needs proper resources and instruments. The report is a step in the right direction in that it provides a better idea of the objectives and goals of this programme. European seas can also help create new employment opportunities, and maritime and coastal tourism still has great scope for development. It is true that the European continent has many sea basins, which can vary significantly. However, an integrated approach with shared methods and objectives would be very useful, in particular, for adjacent and neighbouring areas. Therefore, subject to the necessary guarantees and special circumstances for Member States, I consider the creation of a common basis for European maritime governance to be a positive initiative, and it is for this reason that I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution, which is aimed at producing a programme to support the further development of an integrated maritime policy, properly defining the goals of this programme, setting out clear funding conditions, and strengthening the involvement of legislators through delegated acts and reporting. I believe that it continues to be very important to maximise the sustainable development, economic growth and social cohesion of the EU’s coastal, island and outermost regions. To achieve these objectives, it is necessary to implement coherent and coordinated maritime-related policies and develop international cooperation. Furthermore, adequate and proper funding must be allocated to this programme.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing.(PT) The integrated maritime policy for the management and governance of the oceans, seas and coasts enables the aggregation of all EU policies with a maritime dimension, contributing to the adoption of comprehensive strategies. On such a wide-ranging issue, a programme to support the further development of the policy should set out clear objectives, establish transparent rules for financing and involve all EU actors in the decision-making process, particularly given that the proposed funding amounts to EUR 50 million for the period from 2011 to 2013. In general, this is a worthwhile strategy which sees the sea as a source of economic and environmental wealth, and as an area that requires specific responses. As such, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing.(IT) I would like to congratulate Mr Koumoutsakos on the excellent work he has done. The purpose of the current proposal is to provide the integrated maritime policy with a stable financial framework for the period 2011-2013, via a financial envelope of EUR 50 million. The amount proposed, while on the low side, is a reasonable starting point and should be regarded as the minimum required.

Furthermore, I believe that it is essential to allocate specific and adequate funding to the development and further strengthening of the integrated maritime policy in the next budgetary period, which will commence in 2014. This is vital in order to achieve the goals that have been set and to ensure that all the progress and investments already made were not made in vain. The process of defining the next financial perspective has already begun and, given that the integrated maritime policy is one of the European Union’s priorities, consistency demands that the policy be awarded adequate funds sufficiently in advance. This multiannual awarding of funds should not be to the detriment of other EU policies that have already been consolidated.

I also believe that the EU’s primary objective with regard to strengthening the integrated maritime policy should be to promote the sustainable exploitation of the oceans and seas, whilst at the same time facilitating the development of the maritime sectors and of coastal regions.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The integrated maritime policy advocates an integrated approach to the management and governance of the oceans, seas and coasts, and fosters interaction between all sea-related policies in the EU. The purpose of the proposed funding, EUR 50 million, is to continue the work undertaken since 2007. The foundations for the integrated maritime policy have been set. The European Parliament adopted resolutions in 2007(1), 2008(2) and 2010(3) in reaction to the Commission’s Green Paper(4) and its Communication on an integrated maritime policy for the European Union (COM(2007)0575). Several initiatives were financed through preparatory actions and pilot projects, which had a time limit of two or three years, by their very nature.

The regulation foresees a programme for a stable framework to keep supporting them from 2011 to 2013. The main issues addressed in this draft report are: - Better clarifying the objectives of the programme, - A clear position on its financing, - More involvement of the legislators in further decision making through delegated acts and reporting.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of this text because I consider it important to allocate a budget of EUR 40 million for programmes and pilot projects relating to the integrated maritime policy for the period 2011-2013. In this way, there will be more scope to create synergies to support economic growth, innovation, employment, social cohesion and environmental protection. However, this should be considered as merely the first stage in the development of proper, genuinely integrated maritime governance, in full cooperation with third countries.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing.(EL) I voted in favour of the report by Mr Koumoutsakos because I believe that it is a move in the right direction and that it helps to achieve a comprehensive and balanced proposal for a regulation on the integrated maritime policy. We need a holistic approach to the sea, in conjunction with an integrated approach to maritime activities, with the fundamental objective of maximising the viable exploitation of the sea, without jeopardising the development of the maritime economy and coastal areas or the preservation of maritime ecosystems.

 
  
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  Vilja Savisaar-Toomast (ALDE), in writing.(ET) In today’s vote, I supported the regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a programme to support the further development of an integrated maritime policy. The integrated maritime policy emphasises an integrated approach to the management and administration of oceans, seas and coastal areas, and promotes the integration of all areas of EU policy connected with maritime affairs. This regulation elaborates upon the programme’s framework, use and grounds for funding. The following main topics are examined in said report: the more precise elaboration of programme objectives, a clear position concerning funding and the closer involvement of legislators in further decision making using delegated legislation and reporting. In addition, it was resolved that EUR 40 million would be allocated for the implementation of the programme in the years 2011-2013. The broader inclusion of legislators and different levels of government in the elaboration of maritime policy can be seen as one of the most significant amendments in this report. It is also specifically noted that cross-sectoral cooperation platforms and networks that include government institutions, regional and local bodies, branches of industry, research-oriented stakeholders, citizens, representatives of civil society organisations and social partners must be promoted.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The text proposes a set of sectoral actions in all areas of intervention relating to the sea, including transport, fisheries, the environment, energy, industry, employment, research and external relations, and stresses the need to promote synergies by means of an integrated approach to the different sectoral policies.

The EU institutions, the Member States and the regions have therefore embarked on a process of creating structures of governance with a view to ensuring that maritime policy is developed on the basis of a dynamic interrelation with other areas of political intervention. At the same time, trans-sectoral instruments such as maritime spatial planning, integrated monitoring and the study of the marine environment have been promoted and implemented, and it is hoped that these will contribute to a substantial improvement in the management of the seas and coasts.

The action plan provides for pilot projects and preparatory actions, but for which financing is only available up to the end of 2010. The proposal for a regulation will ensure the necessary legal basis for financing activities relating to the implementation of the integrated maritime policy in the period 2011-2013, so as to guarantee, until the next financial framework is applied, the financing needed to continue the works and to complete projects considered to be especially important.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing.(PT) A European integrated maritime policy requires an approach to the management and governance of the oceans, seas and coasts of the EU that provides for more interaction between all EU policies with a maritime dimension. Several initiatives have already been carried out through preparatory actions and pilot projects, which had a time limit of two or three years. The purpose of the proposal by Parliament is the drafting of the programme within a stable framework for the 2011-2013 period. The agreement reached ensures that Parliament’s concerns are addressed by keeping the programme in place, with sufficient funding to guarantee EUR 50 million for the current programming period.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the proposal for a regulation establishing a programme to support the further development of an integrated maritime policy. I voted for the programme, as part of the growth, employment and innovation objective, to promote initiatives for growth and employment in the maritime sector; to support training, education and career opportunities in maritime professions, such as vocational training for those responsible for ships and shipping; to support the actions to make the maritime professions more attractive and encourage the mobility of young people in the maritime sectors. We support the encouragement of research, development and the promotion of green technologies, marine renewable energy sources and green shipping, as well as the measures for the development and promotion of a coastal, maritime and island tourism strategy. I voted for the amendment calling for funding for different objectives, including: integrated maritime governance and sea basin-related activities; tools for the development of an integrated maritime policy; promotion of the international dimension of the integrated maritime policy and raising the profile of maritime Europe; definition of sustainability limits in respect of maritime activities through the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, as well as sustainable economic growth, job creation and innovation.

 
  
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  Oldřich Vlasák (ECR), in writing. – (CS) I abstained from the vote on the report on the further development of the integrated maritime policy. As an MEP from a landlocked country, the following reason led me to my decision. The integrated maritime policy has, to date, been paid out of funds enabling the financing of pilot and preparatory projects and has been supported using resources from the Cohesion Fund, the European Regional Development Fund, the European Fisheries Fund, the Seventh Framework Programme for Research, the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument, and other related programmes. Now, the activities of coastal States should be financed from special funds. The Commission has proposed that EUR 50 million be allocated for 2011 to 2013. Although I support the Commission’s efforts to coordinate the activities of coastal States relating to the sea, with regard to the need for the effective spending of funds, I do not consider it appropriate to create additional budgetary commitments for this area. However, as I am an inhabitant of a landlocked country, I do not have a direct interest in this area, and so I decided to abstain.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – (DE) The integrated maritime policy (IMP) is intended to support the coordination of maritime policy making within the EU. Several pilot projects were financed between 2007 and 2010 in this context. Given that the IMP has proven itself an effective concept for Europe’s maritime and coastal regions, achieving successes in maintaining maritime diversity and securing sustainable energy and food supplies for Europe, a stable framework should now secure future measures up to 2013. I have voted in favour.

 
  
  

Report: Jan Březina (A7-0360/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing.(PT) I am voting for the report, and I would stress that the ITER research project is valuable as one of the possible future energy sources for Europe and because it offers added value for the EU. Therefore, it deserves adequate funding.

 
  
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  Marta Andreasen (EFD), in writing. – I could not support amendments 34, 35D, 36, 31, 32, 33 to the Březina report on the Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community for nuclear research and training activities, because while these amendments appear to represent a budget cut of EUR 2.46 billion from spending on nuclear programmes, in fact the money is already budgeted and the amendments would merely redirect the money away from nuclear research to the green agenda. Instead of limiting the waste of taxpayers’ money, this amendment would simply waste it elsewhere. I abstained also in the final vote on the legislative resolution as, in the context of the ongoing budget negotiations, the financing of ITER has not yet been confirmed.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. (FR) How, and to what extent, should we finance the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)? The subject regularly appears on the agenda of the European Parliament. It is now being discussed again, as part of the vote on the extension of the Euratom Framework Programme. Pursuing nuclear research is all well and good, but the research budget should not be devoted exclusively to nuclear energy. Diversification is all the more necessary because, with the exponential increase in the cost of the ITER project since its launch in 2006 – from EUR 6 billion to EUR 16 billion – I believe that the project should continue from now on with the resources it has been given. While research – into both fusion and fission – is a good thing (even if it should be diversified), I deeply regret the increase in appropriations (an additional EUR 700 000 for 2012) and the financial tinkering planned, as it would mean using part of the EU research budget on funding for ITER alone. This is without mentioning the planned budget cuts in the field of research, which will only make the imbalance between spending on research devoted to nuclear energy and on that into renewable energies worse. For these reasons, I voted against the Březina reports on the Euratom Research Framework Programme.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing.(PT) The aim of the ITER project is to develop fusion energy. It will be a clean and sustainable form of energy, and will contribute to combating climate change, and to security of supply. ITER is the biggest international cooperation project led by Europe, involving research centres and universities, and it is of the utmost importance for the development of scientific research. Europe should continue to support this project, but I would draw attention to several management mistakes that have been made in the past. It is necessary to ensure careful and responsible management in the future. It is important to find solutions and means of funding that allow the project to be continued. However, I am opposed to solutions that make use of the funding allocated to the Framework Programme for Research, as this puts the rest of the programme’s priorities at risk.

 
  
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  Derek Roland Clark (EFD), in writing. – I could not support amendments 34, 35D, 36, to the Březina report on the Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community for nuclear research and training activities, because while these amendments appear to represent a budget cut of EUR 2.46 billion from spending on nuclear programmes, in fact the money is already budgeted and the amendments would merely redirect the money away from nuclear research to the green agenda. Instead of limiting the waste of taxpayers’ money, this amendment would simply waste it elsewhere. I abstained also in the final vote on the legislative resolution as, in the context of the ongoing budget negotiations, the financing of ITER has not yet been confirmed

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) The Fukushima disaster highlighted the need to increase nuclear research and reinforce the safety of existing installations. The gradual abandoning by some EU countries of the use of nuclear energy highlights the concerns there still are about it and the EU’s decision to make public safety a priority. At the same time, it must not be overlooked that joint nuclear research and training in Europe plays a vital role in promoting competitiveness, economic growth and European scientific excellence. Avoiding accidents, managing waste and increasing the safety of nuclear fission are challenges which the EU needs to address as appropriately and quickly as possible, against the backdrop of the expanding nuclear industries market since the rapid growth of the emerging economies. These are the reasons why I voted in favour of the resolution.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing.(RO) I voted for this report because the proposals for the Euratom Framework Programme are directly linked to the Europe 2020 and Energy 2020 strategy objectives. I support the contribution which the programme will make to the ‘Innovation Union’ flagship initiative by supporting pre-commercial research and facilitating the technology transfer process between academia and business, and to the ‘Resource-efficient Europe’ flagship initiative by greatly increasing the overall sustainability of nuclear energy. I think that by focusing on training in all its activities, boosting competitiveness in the current nuclear industry and creating a new high-tech sector for fusion energy in particular, the Euratom programme will lead to growth and create new jobs in a wide range of disciplines. Last but not least, research cofunded by Euratom plays an important role in enhancing the safety, resource efficiency and cost-effectiveness of nuclear fission and other uses of radiation in industry and medicine, with some of the research projects playing a key initiating role in the recently launched European Sustainable Nuclear Industrial Initiative (ESNII).

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report as I believe that it is important to continue the nuclear research and training activities under the Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community for 2012-2013, particularly as regards radiation protection, the non-proliferation of nuclear material, and scientific applications, including in medicine, as well as in the sphere of nuclear fusion.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The safety of nuclear energy has been central to European concerns, particularly in the wake of the recent events in Fukushima. I believe that research should continue, particularly in order to enhance the safety of nuclear fission, of waste management processes, of the dismantling and decommissioning processes, and of other uses of radiation in industry and medicine, as well as to improve nuclear security through nuclear safeguards, non-proliferation, combating illicit trafficking and nuclear forensics. Research into these areas must continue after the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community, which ends this year.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) In March this year, the Commission came up with a package of legislative proposals on nuclear research and training activities on the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) in 2012 and 2013. Amongst other things, research cofunded by Euratom plays an important role in enhancing the safety, resource efficiency and cost-effectiveness of nuclear fission and other uses of radiation in industry and medicine, and some of the research projects have played a key role in the European industrial initiatives started under the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET plan) last year.

The proposals for the Euratom Framework Programme are clearly linked to the objectives of the EU 2020 and Energy 2020 strategies. The programme is expected to contribute to achieving the objectives of the Innovation Union flagship initiative by supporting pre-commercial research and facilitating technology transfer processes between academia and industry, and to achieving the objectives of the resource-efficient Europe flagship initiative by greatly increasing the overall sustainability of nuclear energy. By putting emphasis on training in all its activities, boosting competitiveness in the current nuclear industry and creating a new sector of high-tech industry for fusion energy in particular, the Euratom programme will lead to growth and new jobs in a wide range of disciplines.

The countries of Europe have recently been exposed to risks associated with the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. And in striving to prevent such disasters from repeating themselves, I firmly believe that it is important for Europe to have stronger nuclear research at its disposal to help it progress in matters of atomic energy.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report in which the rapporteur is of the opinion that in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster Europe needs more nuclear research and development (R&D), not less. Regardless of the fact that some Member States have decided to phase out the use of nuclear energy, it is important to continue nuclear R&D at European level in order to enhance the safety of nuclear fission, to operate existing facilities, waste management, dismantling and decommissioning processes and other uses of radiation in industry and medicine, as well as to enhance nuclear security (nuclear safeguards, non-proliferation, combating illicit trafficking and nuclear forensics).

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – I support the calls in this text for the enhancement of the safety, performance, resource efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Ireland, though not a nuclear nation, likely derives some of its energy from nuclear sources through the UK/Ireland interconnector. I support initiatives in respect of improved nuclear safety and in this report the calls for the enhancement of collaboration with IAEA on Safety Standards applicable to all nuclear facilities and activities.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) In times of crisis, we need to ensure that the framework programmes of the various EU bodies are properly implemented. In the specific case of the European Atomic Energy Community, it is important that funds be properly allocated to safeguarding against potential safety risks, as well as to research on discovering a cleaner form of atomic energy with fewer risks to the environment. It is important that we continue investing in nuclear research and training activities so that we can achieve safer nuclear energy.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The legislative package aims to continue supporting R&D actions in the nuclear field carried out under the Seventh Euratom Framework Programme (2007-2011). The proposals will only cover two years (2012-13), in accordance with the current financial perspectives (2007-2013) and in line with the timeframe of the EU Seventh Framework Programme(2007-2013).

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) In theory, it may be that we now have greater nuclear safety, thanks to research. However, nuclear power stations that are safe on paper may not, in fact, be safe in reality. In this context, it is also necessary to investigate whether there is good reason to suspect that nuclear power station operators are outsourcing technical maintenance and safety checks, placing massive pressure on the relevant personnel to cover up deficiencies. In general, I am opposed to this extremely risky technology. Instead of promoting this technology to the tune of several billion euro, effectively keeping it on life support despite all the safety risks and profitability concerns, we should spend this money on developing alternative, forward-looking energy forms. For this reason, I have voted against the report.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this proposal because it is necessary to continue supporting research and development activities in the nuclear field carried out under the Seventh Euratom Framework Programme, paying particular attention to nuclear fission and fusion research. It should be noted that such research plays an important role in enhancing the safety, resource efficiency and cost-effectiveness of nuclear fission and other uses of radiation in industry and medicine. I believe that the provisions of the Euratom Treaty should be reviewed to facilitate future budgetary procedures and increase funding for European research. As nuclear energy plays a major role in power generation in many Member States, I do not welcome the proposal urging the EU to take decisive action to move towards a non-nuclear economy.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The use of nuclear energy is currently on the agenda. Notwithstanding the choices that individual Member States may make, the fact is that, at present, nuclear energy is one of the main sources of energy supply available to us, so it is necessary to keep up research in this area. Research is essential in order to be able to develop techniques for obtaining energy, and it is the only available means of reducing the risks associated with the use of this energy source. As such, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the Březina report on the Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community for nuclear research and training activities (2012-2013). The text mainly focuses on the research aspect (which still accounts for more than EUR 2 billion), but it will not end the controversy over nuclear energy. The disagreement among Member States with regard to energy choices rumbles on and has even taken on a new dimension with the Fukushima disaster of 11 March. The research programme clearly must place particular emphasis on the nuclear safety, security and radiation protection standards applied throughout Europe. It is likewise important to focus on the funding of geological disposal projects and to create synergies between the worlds of fission and fusion. Lastly, in view of the need to ensure Europe’s energy independence while diversifying the energy sources used, it is essential for the Euratom Treaty to be reformed and, at the same time, for the European Parliament to be involved in the various aspects of the nuclear issue. It should be borne in mind that nuclear fission still accounts for one-third of the electricity supplied in Europe.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Against. All four amendments concerning the call to the EU to move resolutely towards a non-nuclear economy and against ITER have been rejected.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The most authoritative international organisations have predicted that, given the expected tripling of worldwide demand for electricity by 2050, installed nuclear capacity will also have to increase threefold by 2050. Hence, the need to design and build, straight away, third-generation plants to address the scenario predicted over the coming decades.

This also means that nuclear research must be stepped up. I believe that the concrete development of research in all scientific fields, through the commitment of a large number of researchers inspired by a burning passion, is an absolute priority and one in which the institutions should invest with courage, in the knowledge that this is the field on which much of Europe’s future, as well as the security of supply of future energy sources in general, and nuclear energy in particular, at global level, depends. A Europe that fails to invest in research is a Europe that fails to invest in the future.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing.(PT) According to Article 293(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, ‘as long as the Council has not acted, the Commission may alter its proposal at any time during the procedures leading to the adoption of a Union act’. It is important to stress that the prime reference amount set out in the legislative proposal is not compatible with the ceiling set in Heading 1a of the multiannual financial framework currently in force for the 2007-2013 period, so the Commission needs to amend its proposal. This report is aimed at stimulating the development of three major European cooperative initiatives in nuclear science and technology established under the framework programme for the 2012-2013 period. These are the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform, the Implementing Geological Disposal Technology Platform and the Multidisciplinary European Low Dose Initiative. I am voting for this report, as it is aimed at adopting new simplifying mechanisms and promoting greater public safety, particularly following the incident at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted in favour of the proposal for a Council decision concerning the Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community for nuclear research and training activities (2012-2013). The Euratom Framework Programme for the 2012-2013 period is aimed at research activities in the areas of nuclear energy (fission and fusion) and radiological protection, and creates financing instruments and the relevant budget for direct and indirect actions involving research and development activities in this field. Nuclear energy will continue to play a strategic role in the EU’s energy mix, helping achieve the EU’s objective on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy security and diversifying the EU’s energy supply sources. Nuclear energy must be used subject to accepting strict commitments concerning the responsible use of nuclear energy, while taking into account the safety and physical and radiological protection aspects. I think that the objective of the European Sustainable Nuclear Industrial Initiative (ESNII), which is the deployment of Generation IV Fast Neutron Reactors with a closed fuel cycle between 2035 and 2040, can help diversify the EU’s energy supply sources and ensure that nuclear energy is used in future under conditions of maximum safety.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) In March 2011, the European Commission presented a package of legislative proposals for research and training in the nuclear sector (2012-2013). This legislative package is intended to provide further support for research and development measures in the area of nuclear technology already implemented in the Seventh European Framework Programme 2007-2011. As part of this vote, I voted in favour of a reform of the Euratom Treaty in order to strengthen information rights and to establish democratic controls on the part of the European Parliament. I also voted in favour of the amendment calling for a move away from nuclear power. I rejected the report as such because it favours continued funding for projects such as ITER and the research and development programme, including the JET system at the Culham research facility in the United Kingdom.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) This legislative package aims to continue supporting research and development actions in the nuclear field carried out under the Seventh Euratom Framework Programme (2007-2011). It will cover the two-year period 2012-2013, in line with the timeframe of the Seventh EU Framework Programme (2007-2013) and with the objectives of the Europe 2020 and Energy 2020 strategies. In particular, I believe that the rapporteur’s position regarding nuclear research should be underlined. Following the tragic events in Fukushima, the EU should increase rather than reduce nuclear research, not least to improve the safety of nuclear power stations and the management of existing plants, waste and the processes for disposing of that waste. That is why I voted in favour of Mr Březina’s text.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0577/2011

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing.(PT) I am voting for this report. I would stress that these two transatlantic partners represent half the global economy, and are the main engines of global economic prosperity. I would like to emphasise the recommendation in this declaration on the importance of launching a transatlantic growth and jobs initiative, including a road map for promoting trade and investment; at this time, there is an urgent need to implement this initiative.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing. (IT) On 28 November, discussions will be held on issues which have a significant bearing on the current economic crisis in Europe. The European Union will have to speak with one voice on those issues, showing confidence and the ability to overcome the current situation. Sacrifices will doubtlessly have to be made, but they must be made through concrete efforts shared by all the parties concerned so as not to undermine the commitment required at all political, administrative and social levels. The United States is the European Union’s main partner when it comes to advancing the most important common projects concerning economic relations, growth and the environment. For this reason, the EU must adopt a practical and unified position at the forthcoming meeting.

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. – The EU and the US should increase their cooperation in order to promote peace, in particular in the Middle East, and to support emerging democracies in North Africa. It is of primary importance for the EU and US to push for a resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in full compliance with international law, leading to a two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders and with Jerusalem as capital of both states. The legitimate demand of the Palestinians to be represented as a state at the United Nations should be addressed by Member States and the US. Moreover, I want to stress that the human rights dossier and the nuclear energy dossier for Iran should be kept clearly separate, and that no action should be taken by any State that could risk leading to a military attack against Iran.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the European Parliament resolution on the EU-US Summit, to be held in Washington on 28 November. This summit will be an opportunity for the United States and the EU to discuss the global crisis and the euro area crisis, climate change with a view to preparing for the Durban conference, and the Arab Spring and their support for the democratic transition. The European Parliament also calls on the EU and the United States to ‘launch a transatlantic initiative for jobs and growth’.

 
  
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  Rachida Dati (PPE) , in writing.(FR) Cooperation between the EU and the United States is that of two economic giants, and it should be strengthened, particularly at a time of crisis. The resolution, adopted with a view to the Summit of 28 November, calls on the European Union and the United States to work together to honour the commitments made by the G20, in particular, with regard to jobs and growth. It stresses the importance of our cooperation in the field of energy. It further welcomes the progress made with regard to freedom and security, especially where personal data protection is concerned. That is why I voted in favour of this resolution.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing.(PT) I voted for the motions for resolutions as I believe that the stabilisation of the international monetary system, the promotion of economic growth and job creation are fundamental issues, on which the EU and the US need to cooperate. I would also stress the importance given to the energy efficiency issue, which should continue to be on the agenda in spite of the crisis.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) EU-US relations are bound to be a central concern for all policy makers on both sides of the Atlantic. The upcoming summit represents another opportunity to strengthen transatlantic ties and step up EU-US cooperation, in view of the need for both parties to revitalise their respective economies and give a consistent and ambitious response to the crisis plaguing them at present. A divided West which forsakes the very values of its civilisation is precisely what cannot happen, especially at this time, when it is exceptionally vulnerable. The leaders of the EU and the US are therefore called on to show strategic vision, ambition and decisiveness.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing.(PT) This resolution fails to tackle what was essential, which relates to the root causes of the crisis. It does not make any serious effort to curb speculation on the price of food; it calls for measures aimed at liberalising international trade; and it lacks a firm position on solving the Palestine problem, while also ignoring other crucial issues, such as the inhumane embargo on Cuba. At the same time, the process that led to recent foreign intervention in Libya is repeating itself, taking a familiar form and having familiar consequences, and opening the way for the possibility of new wars in Syria and Iran, with the danger that the conflict will spread throughout the Middle East.

Capitalism is increasingly revealing its true nature and deep contradictions, as it is a system that does not solve humanity’s problems, but rather exacerbates them, fuelling inequality, injustice and poverty. This summit represents an attempt by these two hubs of imperialism, as their hegemony is being challenged, to coordinate strategies to perpetuate something that is unsustainable: the continued existence of this system. In view of all this, we voted against this resolution.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing.(PT) With regard to this resolution, we can say that capitalism is increasingly revealing its true nature and deep contradictions, as it is a system that does not solve humanity’s problems, but rather exacerbates them, fuelling inequality, injustice and poverty.

As the imperialist hegemony is being challenged, its powers are seeking to ‘coordinate’ strategies for perpetuating something that is unsustainable: the maintenance of the system and the neoliberal policies that cyclically engender crises like the ones we are currently experiencing.

This joint motion for a resolution is an example of this, as it fails in the essential task of investigating the reasons for the crisis: it does not make any serious effort to curb speculation on the price of food, it calls for measures aimed at liberalising international trade, and it lacks a firm position on solving the Palestine problem, while also ignoring other crucial issues, such as the call for the immediate and permanent release of the Cuban Five. At the same time, the process that led to the recent foreign intervention in Libya is repeating itself, taking a familiar form and having familiar consequences, and opening the way for the possibility of new wars in Syria and Iran, with the danger that the conflict will spread throughout the Middle East.

We are therefore voting against this resolution.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) Many global challenges in the sphere of foreign policy, security, development and the environment require a joint approach and transatlantic cooperation, but at present, the economic crisis has taken priority as one of the main challenges facing us. Although the EU and the US are still the largest world economies, they face fundamental challenges as a result of the financial crisis and the growing competition from the developing economies. In my view, we need to establish and contribute to the effective functioning of a common transatlantic initiative to create jobs, including a plan to support trade and investment. It would be good if the EU and the US continued to develop existing mechanisms of cooperation and tried to intensify their efforts in dialogue on regulation, raising customs barriers, removing unjustified non-customs barriers and establishing joint standards which would remove the technical barriers to free and equitable trade.

Finally, the necessity to secure freedom and security in one’s own country should not have the consequence of renouncing fundamental principles of civic freedoms and support for the norms of human rights. To this end, and in order to put joint efforts into overcoming the crisis, the need for closer cooperation between Europe and the US has never been more relevant or necessary.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this resolution because I feel it is important to strengthen transatlantic cooperation against the backdrop of economic and social crisis that is affecting our two continents. On the more specific matter of security and the fight against terrorism, I believe that we should try to convince our US partner of the merits of a proportionate approach that leaves no room for arbitrariness and which is more respectful of individual freedoms, unlike the approach championed thus far by the United States. In particular, this is the kind of approach that we should adopt in order to tackle the ongoing negotiations on an EU-US Passenger Name Record agreement.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) Together, the EU and the US account for half the global economy, and their USD 4.28 trillion partnership is the largest, most integrated and longest lasting economic relationship in the world and a key driver of global economic prosperity. I welcomed this document because, both in Europe and in the United States, the ongoing financial and economic crisis is threatening the stability and prosperity of the European and US economies and the welfare of our citizens, and the need for closer economic cooperation between Europe and the United States in order to combat this crisis has never been more pressing. The imperative of safeguarding freedom and security at home should not be met at the cost of sacrificing core principles relating to civil liberties and the need to uphold common standards on human rights. It should be noted that the transatlantic partnership is founded on shared core values, such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and on common goals, such as social progress and inclusiveness, open and integrated economies, sustainable development and the peaceful resolution of conflicts, and is the cornerstone of security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution which calls on the EU and the US Administration to develop and launch a joint transatlantic initiative for jobs and growth, including a road map for promoting trade and investment.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I support the adoption of the text. The most important point is, without doubt, the need to push for a resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine in full compliance with international law, leading to a two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders and with Jerusalem as capital of both states, with a secure State of Israel and an independent, democratic and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) This summit is another good opportunity for the US and the EU to strengthen and improve their relations. We cannot lose sight of the fact that together, these two transatlantic partners represent half of the global economy, making their USD 4.28 trillion partnership the largest, most integrated and longest-lived economic relationship in the world, and the main engine of global economic prosperity. Given that the economic and financial crisis currently plaguing both the EU and the US is threatening the stability and prosperity of our economies and the wellbeing of our citizens, close economic cooperation between the EU and the US has never been more urgently required in order to combat this crisis. I hope that this summit will achieve the proposed objectives.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – Although the resolution contains several recommendations addressed to the EU-US Summit regarding foreign affairs issues, such as the demand for a Palestinian State, Libya, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kosovo, Guantánamo, as well as to the Transatlantic economic council for trade, transport, civil liberties, industry and internal market issues, it is necessary to continue working towards the coordination of common actions between the EU and the US. I am in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) In view of the fact that together, the EU and US account for 50% of the global economy, a coordinated approach is essential, particularly in relation to the resolution of the current economic crisis. Given the links between our economic systems, it will only be possible to restore stability and secure prosperity in both regions through even closer economic cooperation. For this reason, I also favour the planned development of a joint transatlantic initiative for growth and jobs as outlined in the resolution. I am, however, critical of the planned agreement on passenger data records between the EU and the US. Before further steps are taken in this direction, the security of the personal data of European citizens must first be assured by excluding beyond all doubt the possibility of future abuse. In general, however, the resolution marks a step in the right direction, which is why I am supporting it.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) The EU and the US have the longest lasting economic relationship in the world and account for half the global economy. Their partnership is a key driver of global economic prosperity. Consequently, issues relating to economic growth and employment, global governance, foreign policy, development, strengthening cooperation in the field of research and innovations and safeguarding freedom and security globally should be discussed in detail at the EU-US Summit. I believe that the EU and the US should cooperate more closely in promoting renewables and high nuclear safety standards worldwide. Particular attention should be paid to Iran, whose level of progress in designing and creating a nuclear weapon is growing constantly and poses a threat to the stability and security of the whole world. Only through joint efforts and close cooperation between the EU and US, using all political, diplomatic and economic means possible, can we put strong and constant pressure on Iran so that it meets its international non-proliferation obligations.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing.(EL) I voted in favour of the joint resolution. The EU-US Summit within the framework of the G20 summit confirmed the commitment on both sides to make a joint effort to address challenges such as the economic crisis, employment and growth, and to reach agreement on peace and security issues. The European Parliament calls on both sides to take a leading role on the world stage in order to put specific commitments into practice. In the growth and employment sector, which is of particular importance to Greece, the resolution expressly emphasises the need for a road map for improving employment and getting economic growth back to satisfactory rates.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this resolution ahead of the EU-US Summit of 28 November 2011. The combined potential of the strengths of the transatlantic markets is self-evident. I believe that, together with the US, we have the ability to shape international regulatory regimes, to spur growth and to act as one of the engines of global recovery. Exploiting the potential for such synergies means that we need to avoid resorting to protectionist measures and competing in an austerity drive with hopes of balancing budgets through exports to partners which are actually mirroring that same strategy. Rather than falling prey to common weaknesses, the US and the EU need to engage in a transatlantic strategy for jobs and growth, to invest in sustainable infrastructure, while strengthening upstream regulatory cooperation to prevent needless obstacles to business across the Atlantic.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The economies of the US and the EU represent half of the global economy and are closely linked. Moreover, the two areas have strong cultural ties. These two considerations should form the basis for the EU’s approach to the next EU-US Summit, which will take place on 28 November 2011, and which is expected to promote the strengthening of ties between the EU and the US, enabling both parties to continue treating each other as privileged partners in the global context. In fact, cooperation between the US and the EU contributes to strengthening their respective positions in the global economic context, which is of the utmost importance not only in the economic sphere, but also in terms of foreign aid and development policy, and of the defence of human rights. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Abstention. A very weak and sometimes contradictory resolution.

 
  
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  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted for this resolution in plenary because the transatlantic partnership is a driving force for the global economy as a whole. I find it regrettable, however, that no mention has been made of international trade. Indeed, one notes an increase in protectionism on the US side, an example being the adoption, a few months ago, of the ‘Buy American Act’. That piece of US legislation calls on businesses tendering for a public contract to use only US materials. However, the United States and the European Union are both parties to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, which forbids these kinds of practices. Together with other colleagues, we have recently asked the US authorities to tell us how much of an impact this legislation will have on European businesses. We are expecting a clear and comprehensive response, and we shall remain vigilant with regard to the adoption of any other measure of this nature. The transatlantic partnership works well; it is important and beneficial for both economies. We will not allow this period of crisis to damage the good relations they maintain.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) I am pleased that the motion for a resolution on the EU-US Summit takes up what I consider to be a fundamental issue, and one that was also raised during the G20 talks in Cannes: an action plan for growth and jobs with particular emphasis on young people. This plan involves short- and medium-term measures.

Youth unemployment is, in fact, the most serious economic emergency of recent times. It shows no sign of improvement and has reached levels more than twice as high as the overall unemployment figure. Young adults are being forced to accept badly paid positions offering little job satisfaction or training. Recent research shows that generations starting work in periods of recession remain penalised for the rest of their lives: they experience slower career progression, carry out less fulfilling work and earn significantly lower salaries even many years after their first job.

What is more, young people who have found it much harder to enter the world of work also develop a greater aversion to risk that they carry with them throughout their career, making them less ambitious and more reluctant to change jobs. This has an impact not only on the future of these individuals, but also on the community as a whole.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing.(PT) The EU and the US should continue to cooperate on joint efforts towards generating more growth and jobs for both parties. It is also essential that their partnership be promoted in terms of global governance, of foreign policy, with a particular focus on international conflicts, and of development aid. In the areas of freedom and security, it is also important to stress the need for joint efforts towards the conclusion of balanced bilateral agreements safeguarding the interests and values of both parties. As I believe that these priorities must be taken into account during the summit on 28 November, I voted for the European Parliament resolution.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted for the resolution on the EU-US Summit of 28 November 2011. Parliament is using this resolution to advocate that the EU must continue to raise in its dialogue with the US, both at a political and technical level, the importance it attaches to admitting the four EU Member States which are still excluded to the visa waiver programme as soon as possible. In light of the EU-US Summit, I think that topics such as the agreement on the protection of personal data, standardisation, space policy and IT security are of paramount importance to EU-US cooperation. In the area of IT security, I think that cooperation is vital between the EU and US on combating cybercrime, standardisation and mutual recognition of electronic signatures. I welcome the launch in March of this year of the negotiations on concluding an EU-US agreement on the protection of personal data. This agreement is necessary to ensure the smooth implementation of an EU-US agreement on Passenger Name Record data. Such an agreement will also have to take into account the process of adopting the proposal for a directive on Passenger Name Record data, which is currently being debated in Parliament, and to which all agreements of this kind that have been signed between the EU and third countries will subsequently have to be adapted.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) I voted against this resolution because it makes cooperation and the relationship between the European Union and the United States the be-all and end-all of international relations.

This resolution vacillates between good intentions and pious hopes; it is out of step or at odds with the declarations made by the EU and the United States and, above all, with the much publicised principles and values that are forever being contradicted in practice.

This resolution truly surpasses itself with regard to the EU’s and the US’ responses to the financial crisis, by welcoming the recent G20, and likewise with regard to data protection and the Passenger Name Record (PNR) Agreement, which rides roughshod over European legislation and principles in this area. No mention is made of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), nor of the Durban Conference on climate change.

If transatlantic relations are to be credible, they must be built on new political foundations and, above all, must reject a bilateral approach that sees the West governing the world, imposing its choices and being incapable of applying on its own soil the values of human rights and freedoms that it wants to impose on the world, including through the use of military force.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) Discussions are due to be held in Washington on 28 November on economic policy, support for current developments in the Middle East and North Africa and the position in relation to the once again deteriorating political situation in relation to Iran. Since 40% of the world’s trade and 50% of GDP are accounted for by the EU and the US, a joint financial regulatory framework between the two partners would be ideal. Alternatively, the European Parliament supports the prospect of the EU supervisory authorities taking a leading role in international cooperation. As part of the ‘Arab Spring’, the EU and US must take a concerted approach or, at the very least, should coordinate their efforts. It will be necessary to deploy every political, diplomatic and economic means in relation to Iran. I have voted in favour.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0572/2011

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing.(PT) I am voting for this report. Consumers have the right to make informed choices and to actually be able to use a provider that meets their needs in relation to the speed and volume of downloads and services. The promotion of these services should be clear in terms of information on all commercial practices, with equivalent effect on the mobile Internet.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing. (IT) The telecoms sector must be reformed as a matter of priority if we are to facilitate the development of the internal market and promote effective competition, openness and neutrality in relation to the Internet.

However, I would like to remind Members of the Council and my colleagues that new information technology has a variety of user profiles and, in particular, is easily accessible to the most vulnerable members of society, such as children, who should be protected from possible risks of online grooming and child pornography. I would mention, in this regard, that the directive on combating sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, which the Member States must transpose within two years, was approved during the last part-session. Hence, I would point out that, under Article 24 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, protecting the rights of the child is one of the EU’s main priorities and should be treated as a matter of the utmost importance in all European legislation.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) There are many obstacles in relation to the Internet, such as traffic ranking by price. These obstacles are often created by operators themselves for commercial reasons. Indeed, Parliament has adopted a resolution in favour of an open Internet and net neutrality, which I endorsed. In accordance with the principle of competition, consumers must be free to choose their operator at a reasonable price. Personal data protection must also be guaranteed.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing.(PT) The open and neutral character of the Internet has been a driver of competitiveness, economic growth and innovation which has led to spectacular levels of development in online applications, content and services. In this context, the EU regulatory framework for telecommunications of 2009 safeguards the principles of Internet neutrality and openness and promotes the ability of consumers to access and distribute information, without discrimination regarding the content, applications and services of their choice. Unhappily, some abusive commercial practices in traffic management, the blocking of access to Skype being an example, may undermine this principle of net neutrality. It is fundamental, in this context, to defend the minimum necessary conditions for net neutrality, such as effective competition in electronic communications, transparency in traffic management and quality of services, as well as the possibility for consumers to switch easily to a new provider that can best meet their needs and preferences. I have voted in favour of this resolution, so that the Internet can continue to provide high-quality services in a framework that promotes and respects fundamental rights.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing.(RO) It is vital to preserve the open and neutral character of the Internet as a key driver of innovation and consumer demand. The Commission must ensure that Internet service providers do not block, discriminate against, impair or degrade the ability of any person to use a service and access, use, send, post, receive or offer any content, application or service of their choice, irrespective of source or target, as it says in the text. Equal treatment of Internet data traffic (video, audio or text) is known as net neutrality. EU guidelines are required to ensure that the provisions of the telecoms package on net neutrality are properly and consistently applied. It is worth highlighting the potential for anti-competitive and discriminatory behaviour in traffic management, in particular, by vertically integrated companies.

The European executive must assess whether further regulatory measures are needed to ensure freedom of expression, freedom of access to information, freedom of choice for consumers and media pluralism. The Commission, together with the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, and in cooperation with Member States, must monitor the development of traffic management practices and interconnection contracts.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) I call on the Commission to ensure the consistent application and implementation of the existing EU regulatory framework in the area of telecommunications and, within six months from the publication of the findings from the BEREC investigation, to assess whether further regulatory measures are necessary in order to ensure freedom of expression, freedom of access to information, freedom of choice for consumers, and media pluralism, as well as to achieve effective competition and innovation and to facilitate extensive benefits for citizens, businesses and public authorities using the Internet. The Commission should ensure that Internet service providers do not block, discriminate against, restrict or reduce the ability of any person to use a service to access, use, send, publish, receive or offer any content, application or service of their choice, regardless of the source or destination. The Commission must provide Parliament with information about the current Internet traffic management procedures, the interconnection market and network congestion, as well as any connection with inadequate investment, and analyse further the issue of ‘device neutrality’.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution because I think it strikes a reasonable balance between the needs of the various parties in this sector. I think that, when such innovative subjects are involved, Parliament’s position should not be based on positions adopted in the past, but should always look to the future. This means evaluating every problem on a case-by-case basis, because over the past 16 years, from the extension of Internet access to all citizens up to the present time, we have witnessed a series of completely different developments with completely different political implications. The second important requirement is never to set boundaries that could be restrictive in the future. However, I would like to emphasise two aspects that should always be borne in mind: transparency and protecting consumers/users. These two aspects are not unrelated, as consumers must be able to learn about the instrument they are using, and to use it knowledgeably. Consumers must never be turned into uninformed users, or worse, Internet victims, nor should technology be allowed to impose choices that the market would be justified in rejecting.

 
  
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  Marielle De Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The Internet plays a major role in the everyday lives of Europeans. Therefore, it is only natural that it should be regulated in accordance with the principles of neutrality and openness, in the same way as the telecommunications sector. Healthy competition should apply in this area so that European consumers receive the best services available. The Commission should also pay attention to the quality of traffic management on the Internet and ensure that connectivity is not disrupted by network congestion. In order to enforce fundamental rights, the Commission will have to ensure that Internet service providers do not block, discriminate against, impair or degrade the ability of any person to use a service to access, use, send, post, receive or offer any content, application or service of their choice – with the exception, of course, of child pornography websites.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing.(RO) I voted for this resolution because the principle of net neutrality is fundamental to preserving the Internet’s innovative nature and free competition and to respecting human rights. In Europe, we need to have net neutrality which allows users not to have conditions restricting their access to applications or services. By the same token, it must allow anyone who develops an application on the Internet not to be subject to decisions made by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). I think that providers of electronic communication networks and Internet access services should not hamper or delay traffic running on their networks, except for certain cases where this action is necessary, for example, to enforce a legal obligation in this respect. I advocated that Member States should launch effective communication programmes to highlight to the general public the issue of net neutrality, as they need to be informed about their rights to be able to report any abuses. At the same time, I think that the proposals contained in the Commission communication need to be supplemented by programmes developed to monitor ISPs and by sanctions to be implemented if irregularities are detected.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of the proposed resolution because I believe that an open and neutral Internet contributes to innovation in our economy, to more active civil society participation, and to strengthening our democracy. Accordingly, it is essential to avoid the interests of a few coming before the general interest by safeguarding the rights of European Internet users and preventing any anti-competitive practices or discriminatory traffic management.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing.(PT) The Internet is now irreplaceable as a means of communication and a vehicle for transmitting information and knowledge. It is also indispensable as a logistics platform for economic and commercial activities of great importance. In addition, it is a platform where ease of access and anonymity make illicit practices easier and more appealing, whether they are minor offences or organised crime, paedophilia and child abuse. Hence, today, the Internet is a reality with immense potential, which we must take advantage of, but one that comes with some dangers, which the state has a responsibility to regulate and mitigate. That does not undermine the principle, which I uphold, that the Internet should be free and open to all, but in the name of freedom, we cannot allow the net to be used for the practice of illicit and criminal activities that should be repressed and punished.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing.(PT) We support the vision expressed in the report of an open Internet, accessible to all, based on the principle of neutrality in the handling of content, without discriminating against information, and on the use of broadband. We are concerned that some of the large multinationals in the sector are imposing programme and software content. These companies trample over this principle by giving priority to information and software patents that favour their interests and objectives. We know that the Internet is dominated by these big businesses that hold monopolies on the net and the associated software. This is a matter of strategic importance to Member States. We advocate a free, neutral Internet with open software that allows access to information for all, so simplifying the life of public authorities, small and medium-sized enterprises and the general public.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We agree with an open Internet that is accessible to all, based on the principle of neutrality in content handling, and without discrimination against information and in the use of broadband. We are concerned at the way large companies impose programme and software content, given that, for competitive reasons and, in particular, to increase profits, they trample over this principle by giving priority to information and software patents that favour their interests and objectives. We know that the Internet is dominated by these big businesses that hold monopolies on the net and the associated software. This is a matter of strategic importance to Member States. We advocate a free, neutral Internet with open software that allows access to information for all, so simplifying the life of public authorities, small and medium-sized enterprises and the general public.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The open nature of the Internet is a key driving force for competition, growth, social development and innovation which have led to huge developments in online applications, content and services, which, in turn, has led to an increase in the availability of, and demand for, content and services. It is thanks to this openness that the Internet has become a powerful force in the free spread of knowledge, ideas and information, including in countries where access to independent media is restricted. Internet services are offered on a cross-border basis and the Internet is the basis for the global economy and, if we refer to the Digital Agenda for Europe, broadband Internet connections are a major motor of economic growth, job creation and European competitiveness at world level.

In my opinion, Europe will only be capable of fully using the potential of the digital economy by stimulating a properly functioning internal digital market. The solutions proposed for resolving the problem of web neutrality can only be effective if there is a consistent European approach. For this reason, we need to carefully monitor internal national regulations on web neutrality for their effect on individual internal markets and the European internal market. Cooperation and coordination between the Member States and, in particular, between the national regulatory authorities, as well as cooperation and coordination with the Commission, is therefore the only way in which the Union will be able to fully utilise the potential of the Internet.

 
  
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  Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D ), in writing. (PL) Since it is free and open, the Internet presents an important tool for propelling global competitiveness, economic growth and innovations. The free flow of knowledge, access to information and especially service applications – they all have a huge bearing on the consumer society and economic activities. The European Parliament has made a political commitment to ensure net neutrality by adopting on 20 October of this year the report to this effect drafted by Herbert Reul. The text adopted today, while confirming our commitment, simultaneously draws attention to the exigency of providing a decisive response to attempts undertaken by some operators of telecommunication networks and other agencies to limit access to the Internet.

Though pleased with the proposal put forward by the Commission to the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) – the EU regulator of telecommunications – to investigate possible cases of anti-neutrality, I still join those who urge the European Commission to submit, as quickly as possible, a proposal for a regulation on openness of the Internet and network neutrality. We must take every effort so as to ensure the free flow of information for all Internet users.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because, in the Digital Agenda for Europe, broadband and the Internet are particularly important drivers for economic growth, job creation and European competitiveness at global level. Europe will only be able to fully exploit the potential of the digital economy once an environment for a well-functioning internal market has been created. I believe that transparency, the quality of services and ease of switching operators are preconditions for net neutrality, guaranteeing freedom of choice for end consumers. It is important to stress that we need to safeguard an open Internet and, at the same time, provide high quality services, upholding legislation which would promote and respect fundamental rights, such as intellectual property rights, free speech and the freedom to conduct business. We need to overcome the barriers faced when trying to switch operators. We must eradicate the practices of blocking and throttling, as well as discriminatory practices on the part of dominant players.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the resolution on net neutrality because it is a balanced text that reiterates the commitments made under the Telecoms package and which emphasises consumer protection, in particular, with regard to switching operators and accessing information.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Internet plays a fundamental role in global and European society. It is being used more and more, and in many aspects of our citizens’ lives, and thus has a bearing on basic social issues such as free competition and freedom of information and expression. That is why I believe that we should encourage its openness and neutrality, but that we should also bear in mind the many implications that the world of the Internet, a world that is often difficult to interpret, can have. Risks and dangers are, in fact, commonplace, especially where personal privacy and child protection are concerned. The commercial aspect also offers a further incentive to improve legislation in this field, in order to enhance entrepreneurial opportunities. Due consideration should, however, be given to measures to combat dominant market positions. Freedom and neutrality of the Internet should also take account of potential distortions, such as those highlighted in the report, so that they can be applied in full and can become genuinely useful instruments for citizens and entrepreneurs who use the Internet.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution which calls on the Commission, together with BEREC in cooperation with Member States, closely to monitor the development of traffic-management practices and interconnection agreements, in particular in relation to blocking and throttling of, or excessive pricing for, VoIP and file sharing, as well as anti-competitive behaviour and excessive degradation of quality, as required by the EU ‘Telecoms’ regulatory framework. It calls further on the Commission to ensure that Internet service providers do not block, discriminate against, impair or degrade the ability of any person to use a service to access, use, send, post, receive or offer any content, application or service of their choice, irrespective of source or target.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing.(PT) Today, the Internet is a medium for communication and transmission of information and knowledge that is undoubtedly irreplaceable. It is also a place where diverse economic and commercial activities take place. Ease of access and the possibility of anonymity also make it an ideal place to practise particular types of crime, such as organised crime, paedophilia and child abuse. Faced with this reality, we need to take steps for the Member States to regulate so as to reduce its dangers.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) In a globalised world, the Internet has become an essential tool both for entrepreneurs and for private individuals. Moreover, the development of high technology and broadband Internet access should no longer be the preserve of industrialised nations. Developing countries should be able to use high-quality tools so that they are on an equal footing where globalisation is concerned. Uncensored and unfiltered Internet access is a reflection of press freedom and freedom of expression. I believe, however, that a European strategy should be developed with regard to Internet access and data and information protection.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The report draws attention to the serious risks of departing from network neutrality – such as anti-competitive behaviour, the blocking of innovation, restrictions on freedom of expression and media pluralism, lack of consumer awareness and infringement of privacy – which will be detrimental to businesses, consumers and democratic society as a whole, and considers the principle of net neutrality as a significant prerequisite for enabling an innovative Internet ecosystem and for securing a level playing field at the service of European citizens and entrepreneurs. I am in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The open nature of the Internet is a central element for competitiveness, economic growth, social development and the development of new innovations. In addition, it also promotes the free exchange of views and access to new knowledge. The exchange of information has become significantly faster thanks to global networking. As a consequence, it can be stated that the Internet is of vital importance for the global economy. Furthermore, more and more jobs can be created through the Internet. A smoothly functioning internal market is essential if the full potential of the Internet is to be exploited. I abstained from voting because I believe that end users still do not have sufficient control over their shared content and are too dependent on the providers.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing.(IT) The last few years have seen extraordinary developments in the Internet and the new digital environment. It is therefore only right that we analyse the current situation and try to understand the current issues and future challenges. The adopted resolution, which I supported, sets out some basic tenets: firstly, net neutrality must be maintained, and the net must be opened up to more and more competing operators. In order to fully exploit the potential of the net, we must also insist on the development of broadband: only when this has been fully completed will we be able to look more closely at the additional opportunities that the Internet can offer us, with enormous advantages from an economic point of view. Finally, consumers must be properly informed about all the conditions of their contracts, and be helped and protected if they decide to switch providers. All too often, we see false advertising, and today, switching providers, at least in Italy, is an extremely lengthy, bureaucratic and inefficient process.

 
  
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  Katarína Neveďalová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Net and Internet neutrality in the European Union is very important. This neutrality presupposes that Internet operators and service providers, as well as governments, do not themselves impose restrictions on consumers. In cooperation with the Member States and the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, the Commission faces the difficult task of a common approach to the open Internet and neutrality throughout the EU, because only such a common approach will bring tangible results. Consumers must be able to freely choose what service they want and which provider to use. The telecoms community must therefore provide clear, coherent and comparable information to its customers. These measures, together with EU-wide coordination, are needed mainly to avoid potential discriminatory practices by providers, such as manipulating prices for Voice over Internet Protocol or sharing data via File Transfer Protocol or Peer-to-Peer networks. This kind of behaviour not only harms consumers, but also distorts competition.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution because every consumer must have non-discriminatory access to the Internet and enjoy adequate protection. Attention should be drawn to the fact that the Internet’s open nature has been a key driver of competitiveness, economic growth, social development and innovation. It is one of the key accelerators in the free circulation of knowledge, ideas and information, particularly in countries where the freedom of the independent media is restricted. I believe that the Commission must provide EU-wide guidelines to ensure that the provisions of the Telecoms package on net neutrality are properly and consistently applied and enforced. The Member States must also unreservedly enforce the ban on misleading advertising and otherwise enhance citizens’ confidence in the online environment.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing.(EL) The Member States had until 25 May 2011 to comply with the EU telecommunications reform package. The next step provided for in this resolution, which I supported, is to maintain an open and neutral Internet, in order to safeguard free access to information, which is an important source of innovation and consumer requirements. However, this specific report also underlines the delicate issue of consumer protection on the Internet, by calling for all comparable information to be provided to citizens in clear detail, so that they are in a position to select the best provider for their needs.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing.(PT) Access to the Internet has provided a new medium that has revolutionised the way that people interact. Nevertheless, a large part of this success stems from what is called ‘net neutrality’, that is, the absence of manipulation or abusive control of the information searched for by users. Although, as the rapporteur stresses, no additional legislative intervention is justified, this matter does deserve the attention of policy makers. In truth, without this principal, instead of establishing itself as an instrument enabling dynamism, freedom of expression and creativity, access to knowledge and competitiveness, the Internet becomes an instrument of control and power. To the extent that I agree with the analysis presented, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing.(IT) Today, we voted in plenary on the motion for a Parliamentary resolution calling for the Internet to remain open and neutral, thereby ensuring that EU telecommunications rules are adequately strengthened. Moreover, we would stress the need to strengthen the telecoms regulatory framework and to closely monitor Internet traffic management practices, in order to preserve the Internet’s openness and neutrality, while also ensuring that individual user connectivity is not disrupted by network congestion and that Internet service providers do not block, discriminate against or impair the ability of any person to use or offer any service, content or application of their choice, irrespective of source or target. Furthermore, I think that reasonable traffic management is required, and is very useful for preventing network congestion and for ensuring the proper functioning of applications and services.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. 1. Welcomes the Commission’s communication and agrees with its analysis, in particular on the necessity of preserving the open and neutral character of the Internet as a key driver of innovation and consumer demand, while ensuring that the Internet can continue to provide high-quality services in a framework that promotes and respects fundamental rights; 2. Notes that the conclusions of the Commission’s communication indicate there is, at this stage, no clear need for additional European-level regulatory intervention on net neutrality.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of this text because I believe that maintaining an open and neutral Internet, and hence ensuring compliance with EU telecommunications rules, is one of the keys to boosting growth and development in the Member States. It would help everyone if the Commission were to provide more precise telecommunications guidelines for the euro area. The development of Internet traffic management practices also requires close monitoring, to ensure that individual user connectivity is not disrupted by network congestion and that Internet service providers do not block, discriminate against or impair the ability of any person to use or offer any service.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) By 25 May 2011, Member States had to comply with the telecoms reform package adopted by the EU in 2009, and the Commission has already taken steps to ensure that the principles of the Treaty on European Union are respected. Member States must therefore ensure a consistent approach to net neutrality and effective implementation of the revised EU telecoms package.

Any departure from net neutrality could result in, for example, anti-competitive behaviour, the blocking of innovation, restrictions on freedom of expression, lack of consumer awareness and infringement of the right to privacy. Transparency, quality of service and ease of switching must therefore feature among the necessary conditions for net neutrality, as elements which guarantee that end users have the freedom to make choices and requests. Finally, the Commission will have to assess whether there is a need for further guidelines on net neutrality for the purposes of competition and consumer freedom of choice.

 
  
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  Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu (S&D), in writing.(RO) I voted in favour of this resolution. I think that excessive regulation of the Internet needs to be avoided so as not to hold back the development of this sector. At the same time, transparency must be ensured when Internet service providers manage traffic so that consumers benefit from real, useful information when they come to make decisions.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing.(PT) The openness and neutrality of the Internet are fundamental drivers of innovation and access to it occurs on a cross-border scale, on which the world economy is based. Its multiplier effects on job creation and competition, as expressed in the Digital Agenda initiative, and on the promotion of fundamental rights, must be safeguarded. I completely agree with this report, since it seeks, on the one hand, to safeguard consumers and, on the other, to promote the European economy. The provision of high-quality services and the negative impact of violating the principles of net neutrality must be regulated. Furthermore, service providers must inform consumers in a transparent and clear way. The importance of the Internet is undeniable. On account of this, the skills of European citizens in matters of information and communication technologies must be increased and digital exclusion reduced.

 
  
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  Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE), in writing. (LT) I agree with the rapporteur that an open and neutral Internet which ensures broad access to unbiased information is vitally important. The rapporteur is right in saying that the Internet and the media can encourage democratic reforms and social change. Unfortunately, when the subject turns to unrestricted access to information, it should be noted that in Lithuania, there are problems with media freedom and objectivity. I am sad to say that the Lithuanian Government is able to manipulate Lithuanian journalists and the media. Of course, the financial crisis has also undermined the ethical conduct of the media in Lithuania. Two years ago, the Lithuanian media’s tax exemption was abolished. Currently, the media must pay 21% tax like other businesses. It is said that this factor has contributed to the spread of corruption in the Lithuanian media. New press laws that were introduced in the middle of the 1990s were inspired by the press laws of the Scandinavian countries. However, we still lack the will and integrity to enforce these laws.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – By voting in favour of this resolution, the European Parliament took a positive step towards ensuring that EU telecoms rules are properly enforced to keep the Internet open and neutral. I am in favour of the resolution’s proposals to monitor Internet traffic management practices, which would contribute to a more open and neutral Internet. The resolution calls on the Commission to provide EU-wide guidelines that will have a positive effect on ensuring that EU telecoms rules are properly enforced. The Commission, along with Member States and the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, must be called on to closely monitor the development of traffic management practices. This will ensure that traffic management practices are not used for anti-competitive purposes.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this resolution. The text is positive overall, as it reaffirms its strong position in favour of net neutrality and the guarantee of an open Internet, and specifically calls on the Commission to quickly assess the need for any new European legislation to guarantee such neutrality.

Nevertheless, I regret the resolution’s economics-based approach, its failure to refer to the negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and, above all, its ambiguity regarding the possible interpretation of restrictions by operators on mobile Internet access in the event of network congestion.

The resolution reaffirms various principles, such as freedom of expression and the protection of privacy, and warns against the risks threatening the promotion of, and respect for, human rights in the field of Internet access and use more generally.

Together with NGOs, we must be vigilant and ensure that any new European legislation is assessed quickly and that the European Commission legislates if the conclusions of that assessment call for it. Together, we have a duty to uphold and enforce this political commitment of the European Parliament to a free, neutral and democratic Internet.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) The question of net neutrality is still relatively unknown to the public at large, a situation that is likely to change quickly in the coming years as society becomes increasingly dependent on Internet services. Accordingly, it makes sense to establish a common framework to secure net neutrality into the future and to prevent anti-competitive practices, thereby upholding freedom of information, consumer interests and pluralism. The resolution calls on the Commission to ensure the consistent implementation of the existing legal framework and to take net neutrality as the basis for EU Internet governance. I have voted in favour.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0588/2011

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing.(PT) I approve of the report and express my abhorrence at the fact that there is still the need to propose resolutions about the use of munitions that are proven to have caused indiscriminate suffering and injury. The devastating humanitarian consequences of the use of this type of weapon must, therefore, oblige all the Member States to not ratify any draft Protocol to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), to be debated at the Fourth CCW Review Conference in Geneva, that might allow this type of weapon to be used.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing.(IT) Today, we adopted the resolution on banning cluster munitions, thus taking a further step forward in the protection of civilians and soldiers during and after periods of conflict. Following the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in August 2010, Parliament has made further progress in addressing the humanitarian problems that this type of weapon poses to civilians at the time of, and after, its detonation. In applying the provisions of the abovementioned convention and of this resolution, States should improve victim assistance by establishing new common humanitarian standards, and should cooperate with third countries by promoting a clause banning such munitions in agreements and by helping those countries to comply with the objectives of the 1998 Ottawa Convention on anti-personnel mines.

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution because our Parliament must take a clear position against the use of cluster munitions. With this text we call on the Council and the Commission to include the ban on cluster munitions as a standard clause in agreements with third countries. Cluster munitions represent serious risks to civilians and, in post-conflict settings, the use of these munitions has caused many tragic injuries to, and deaths of, civilians. As we unfortunately know, unexploded sub-munitions left behind are often found by children and other unsuspecting innocents. For this reason, Member States should not endorse the draft text of Protocol VI on Cluster Munitions to the Convention on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons. This draft protocol would only ban pre-1980 cluster munitions and threatens to undermine the clear and robust international humanitarian law standard established by the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), ratified by 22 EU Member States, which comprehensively bans cluster munitions.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this resolution, in which the European Parliament reiterates its support for the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which forbids States Parties from using weapons of this kind due to the irreversible impact they have, first and foremost, on civilians. The European Parliament calls, in particular, for the European Commission and the Council to introduce a clause prohibiting their use, such as already exists for weapons of mass destruction, in agreements concluded with third countries.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution because it calls for a ban on the use of cluster munitions, which cause many tragic injuries and deaths among civilians in post-conflict settings when unexploded submunitions left behind are found by children and other unsuspecting innocent parties. Cluster munitions are receptacles launched from the air or ground containing anything from several dozen to several hundred submunitions which are thrown over an area roughly the size of a football pitch. The United Nations Convention on Cluster Munitions, under which it is prohibited to use, develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain, or transfer cluster munitions to anyone, came into force in 2010 but has not yet been signed by all EU Member States. The aim of this resolution is to focus attention and call on all EU Member States not to adopt or ratify the Protocol to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) drawn up recently, which is not in line with the Convention on Cluster Munitions because it permits the use of cluster munitions.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing.(RO) Cluster munitions pose serious risks to civilians due to the lethal impact that they can have. In post-conflict settings, the use of these munitions has caused, on many occasions, serious injury to and even the death of civilians due to unexploded munitions left behind, which end up being found by children or other innocent people. There are many countries which still use cluster munitions against civilians: Cambodia, Thailand and Libya are just some examples.

For this reason, urgent measures must be implemented to ensure that unexploded cluster munitions are removed, so as to prevent other people from getting killed or injured. We now have a Convention on Cluster Munitions, which came into force a little over a year ago, approved by 111 states. However, all the Member States which have not yet joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions need to adopt stringent and transparent national measures pending accession. This process also entails adopting a moratorium on the use, production and transfer of cluster munitions and initiating the procedures for destroying existing munitions stockpiles as a matter of urgency. I welcome the call made by the European Parliament to the Council and Commission to include the ban on cluster munitions as a standard clause in agreements with third countries.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing.(PT) I voted in favour of the motions for resolutions because they aim to eradicate this type of weapon. Cluster munitions are truly calamitous for the populations of the countries that have used them, claiming a large number of civilian victims, many of whom are children. Accordingly, it is essential that the Convention on Cluster Munitions is implemented ever more widely.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing.(PT) Cluster munitions have a devastating effect on combatants and today, there is a certain consensus for their eradication. I can only support this, although I am sure that this effort is unlikely to achieve the desired result. Sadly, despite all of the international conventions that seek to limit the impact of armed conflicts, they rarely stay within set limits and, as their purpose is the physical elimination of enemies, violations of the rules that should regulate them are commonplace. Human nature is capable of the worst under these circumstances and cluster munitions are one of the main examples of what we are capable of when driven by this destructive spirit. The definitive abolition of these munitions will be an important civilising step.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing.(PT) We consider it positive that the following paragraphs of this resolution have been approved: Calls on all EU Member States not to adopt, endorse or subsequently ratify any Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) protocol allowing for the use of cluster munitions which are prohibited under the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM); Calls on all EU Member States and candidate countries that are not Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions to accede to the CCM as a matter of urgency, and the States signatories to the CCM to ratify it as soon as possible; Calls on all EU Member States which have not yet joined the CCM but wish to reduce the humanitarian impact of cluster munitions to take strong and transparent measures pending accession, including adoption of a moratorium on the use, production and transfer of cluster munitions, and also to make a start on destroying cluster munitions stockpiles as a matter of urgency; Urges all EU Member States that have signed the CCM to take every opportunity to encourage all States that are not party to the CCM – including the EU candidate countries that are not Parties to the CCM – to accede to the convention as soon as possible.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) On 1 August 2010, the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) came into effect which imposed a number of obligations on the European Union. The CCM bans the use, manufacture, storage and transportation of cluster munitions as an entire category of weapons and requires signatory states to destroy their stockpiles of cluster munitions. The Treaty has resulted in significant and fundamental changes compared with previous times, when cluster munitions were considered necessary to guarantee military security. 22 Member States signed and 15 ratified the CCM. However, five Member States have failed to do either.

In my view, Member States should make efforts to comply with the convention and to eliminate their stockpiles of cluster munitions, provide victims with the necessary assistance and to help other states to implement the CCM in various ways. Last but not least, I believe that one of the great positive aspects of the Convention on Cluster Munitions is that no Member State may use, develop, manufacture and acquire, stockpile, store or trans-ship cluster munitions anywhere and under any circumstances.

 
  
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  Richard Howitt (S&D), in writing. – I am proud to have co-sponsored this resolution which calls unequivocally on EU countries to oppose the draft protocol which seeks to weaken the ban on cluster munitions. Less than 2 years after the Convention was passed and with 16 000 civilian victims this year – including in Libya – there is no case to weaken the ban and every reason not to do so. Allowing the use of cluster munitions produced after 1980 will not save the lives of the 98% of civilians who are the victims of these weapons. Under Labour, Britain was a leading proponent worldwide of the ban. I have seen the destruction of the munitions myself at Shoeburyness in my constituency. And I am ashamed that Britain, under a Conservative-led Government, is seeking to reverse this position.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because cluster munitions pose serious risks to civilians owing to their typically large lethal footprint, and in post-conflict settings, the use of these munitions has caused many tragic injuries and deaths among civilians as unexploded submunitions left behind are often found by children and other unsuspecting innocent parties. The support of EU Member States relating to parliamentary initiatives and the work of civil society organisations have been decisive in the successful conclusion of the Oslo Process resulting in the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). The CCM prohibits States Parties from using, developing, producing, otherwise acquiring, stockpiling, retaining or transferring cluster munitions to anyone, directly or indirectly, and from helping, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any activity prohibited under the convention. The CCM establishes a new humanitarian standard for the assistance of victims, who include those persons directly affected by cluster munitions and their families and communities. This document therefore calls on the EU Member States and candidate countries which are not States Parties to the CCM to accede to it and calls on the states which are signatories to the CCM to ratify it as soon as possible.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution, which calls on the Member States not to adopt, endorse or subsequently ratify any protocol to the CCW allowing for the use of cluster munitions, which are prohibited under the CCM, and calls on the Council and the Member States to act accordingly at the Fourth CCW Review Conference to be held from 14 to 25 November 2011 in Geneva.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing.(PT) Cluster munitions pose serious risks to civilians owing to their large lethal footprint. In post-conflict settings, the use of these munitions has caused many tragic injuries to and deaths of civilians, as unexploded submunitions left behind are often found by children and other unsuspecting innocents. The support of most EU Member States for parliamentary initiatives and the work of civil society organisations was decisive in the successful conclusion of the Oslo Process, which led to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) coming into force; 22 EU Member States are States Parties to the CCM and 15 EU Member States have neither signed nor ratified the CCM. The CCM prohibits States Parties from using, developing, producing, otherwise acquiring, stockpiling, retaining, or transferring to anyone, directly or indirectly, and from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under the convention. We are thus on the right path to eliminating cluster munitions.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Cluster munitions constitute a serious threat and cause excessive suffering for civilian populations and especially children, both during and long after the end of military conflicts. The draft text on Protocol VI to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons is incompatible with the Convention on Cluster Munitions. This draft protocol prohibits only cluster munitions produced before 1980, provides for a lengthy transition period, and permits the use of cluster munitions that are equipped with a single self-destruction mechanism and those that result in no more than 1% unexploded ordnance. This protocol will therefore undermine the clear and robust international standard laid down by the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits these weapons outright. I fully support the request for all EU Member States not to adopt, endorse or ratify any protocol allowing for the use of cluster munitions, which are prohibited by the convention. It is important for Member States and candidate countries not party to the convention to accede to it as a matter of urgency, and for Signatory States to ratify it as soon as possible.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – Finally, there is a report calling on Member States which wish to reduce the humanitarian impact of cluster munitions to take strong and transparent national measures pending accession, including the adoption of a moratorium on the use, production and transfer of cluster munitions, and to make a start on destroying cluster munitions stockpiles as a matter of urgency. I am in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) At the instigation of Norway, 46 states signed up to the Oslo Declaration in February 2007 with the declared aim of achieving a worldwide ban on cluster munitions by the end of 2008. The Convention on Cluster Munitions, or CCM, has been in force since 1 August 2010 and has already been ratified by 38 countries, with a further 70 countries in the process of ratification. On the one hand, the CCM prohibits the use and trading of cluster munitions and calls on countries to destroy their existing stockpiles of cluster munitions. Many of the countries that are the main producers of these weapons have not yet signed the agreement, among them, Brazil, India, Pakistan, China, Russia and the US. Cluster bombs mainly pose a threat to civilians, as unexploded munitions are often discovered and detonated by innocent bystanders. I voted in favour of this resolution because I believe that every loophole, however small, must be closed to prevent the stockpiling and deployment of these deadly munitions.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution aimed at prohibiting the use of cluster munitions in their entirety because these munitions pose a lethal risk to civilians. The Member States must strictly uphold their commitment not to adopt or ratify the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) protocol, which would permit the use of cluster munitions. It should be noted that this protocol is not legally compatible with the provisions of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. I also believe that the Commission should include a reference to the ban on cluster munitions as a standard clause in agreements with third countries.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing.(EL) I voted in favour of the joint resolution. The debate on the addition of Protocol VI to the Convention on Cluster Munitions represents a serious threat to joint efforts being made by the 111 states of the UN to limit the dissemination of particular munitions. The European Parliament calls on the EU and the Member States in its resolution not to adopt, endorse or ratify either this specific or any other protocol allowing the use of cluster munitions, which are banned under the convention. It reminds us that cluster munitions represent a serious threat to civilians, owing to their typically large lethal footprint. Unfortunately, they are still used in conflicts, the most recent case reported being that of Libya.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this report on the banning of cluster munitions. I wish to speak about two elements. First, I call on member states not to sign or ratify the draft text of Protocol VI to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons. This Protocol represents a substantial departure from, and watering down of, the protections contained in the convention itself in a number of important aspects, such as banning pre-1980 cluster munitions, and allowing states with such munitions with a failure rate of less than 1%. If the ban is weakened like this such crude munitions will undoubtedly endanger the lives of civilians in already dangerous parts of the world. Secondly, I endorse the call for the Commission to include, as a basic clause in all of its agreements with third part countries and in all of its external assistance programs, a ban on cluster munitions. Such a strong statement of intent by the Commission would without doubt further highlight the risks associated with cluster munitions and the reasons for their being banned.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing.(PT) Cluster munitions have repeatedly caused serious injuries and deaths amongst civilians and children, when they find them in an unexploded state. A weapon of war that puts populations permanently at risk – purely collateral damage in conflicts – demands to be completely banned. Accordingly, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The European Parliament’s vote this afternoon on the resolution on banning cluster munitions was a fine example of unanimity. Alongside the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCW), which has been signed by 110 countries to date, the European Parliament is calling on the Member States not to deviate from the convention and, in particular, to reject Protocol VI, which will be discussed in Geneva this month during the Fourth Review Conference of the CCW. This Protocol VI could permit the use, subject to conditions, of cluster munitions produced after 1980. This is an opportunity to point out the considerable human damage these weapons can cause: 98% of their recorded victims are civilians, and 5% to 40% of cluster munitions fail to explode on impact, thereby turning into anti-personnel mines.

Millions of mines and explosive remnants of war are lying dormant in fields and along roads in more than 100 countries today. This is particularly true in Cambodia, Afghanistan, Angola and Vietnam. They kill or maim many years after the end of a conflict and also create another kind of handicap, that of not being able to work the land. Development in countries that often desperately need it is therefore ruled out.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The EP: 1. Calls on the Member States not to adopt, endorse or subsequently ratify any protocol to the CCW allowing for the use of cluster munitions, which are prohibited under the CCM, and calls on the Council and the Member States to act accordingly at the Fourth CCW Review Conference to be held from 14 to 25 November 2011 in Geneva; 2. Deeply regrets the fact that the draft text of Protocol VI to be discussed at that conference threatens to undermine the clear and robust international humanitarian law standard established by the CCM, which comprehensively bans cluster munitions, and would also weaken the protection of civilians; 3. Urges states to acknowledge the humanitarian consequences and high political cost of supporting this proposed draft protocol, which is full of exceptions and loopholes that would allow cluster munitions to be used; 4. Calls on the Member States and candidate countries which are not States Parties to the CCM to accede to it and on the States Signatories to the CCM to ratify it as soon as possible;

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of this text because I believe that Member States should not even conceive of adopting, endorsing or ratifying the draft text of Protocol VI, which will shortly be discussed in Geneva. Its adoption threatens to weaken the protection of civilians from these terrible weapons of destruction, not least by undermining the clear and robust international humanitarian law standard which comprehensively bans cluster munitions.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) Cluster munitions are a major and growing problem. If this type of weapon should come into more widespread use, it will be an even greater humanitarian and development challenge than anti-personnel mines were in the nineties. Cluster munitions are designed to explode on impact with the ground. The percentage of unexploded munitions, however, is related not only to technical factors but also to soil conditions and to the height from which the munitions are launched. Therefore, if the submunitions do not work as expected, they become lodged in the ground, which makes them particularly treacherous, since they can explode at the slightest touch or movement. Indeed, unexploded submunitions behave like anti-personnel mines. For a long time, the key issue was whether the production and use of cluster munitions constituted a violation of international law. I am pleased that, through the resolution adopted this morning, the European Parliament has answered that question: there should be a blanket ban on this type of munitions, which I believe is highly dangerous and illegal.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing.(PT) Cluster munitions pose serious risks to civilians owing to their large lethal footprint and the use of this type of munitions has caused many serious injuries to and deaths of civilians in post-conflict settings. I support the appeal to Member States not to adopt, endorse or ratify any Protocol to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) that would allow the use of cluster munitions, which are prohibited by the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and to act accordingly at the Fourth Review Conference of the CCW to be held from 14 to 25 November 2011 in Geneva. For these reasons, I voted in favour of the European Parliament document.

 
  
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  Geoffrey Van Orden (ECR), in writing. – I am explaining the vote on behalf of the ECR Group. We support the work that has led to the successful conclusion of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), just as we have fully supported the Ottawa process on banning anti-personnel landmines, balancing the operational requirements of our armed forces with humanitarian concerns. However, the resolution is misleading (e.g. it does not make clear that the use of cluster munitions in Libya was by Gaddafi’s forces against Misrata), exaggerates the effect of a proposed Protocol VI and seeks to endorse the federalising impact of the Treaty of Lisbon and ignore the rights of sovereign national governments by calling for EU accession to the CCM. The ECR therefore abstained.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of this resolution, which calls on EU Member States to oppose the draft protocol that seeks to weaken the ban on cluster munitions. Since the convention was passed in 2008 there has been no case at all to weaken the ban on cluster munitions. These weapons have had a severe impact on civilians, causing a large number of deaths and serious injuries and long-lasting socio-economic problems. 16 000 civilians were victims of these weapons this year and allowing the use of cluster munitions produced after 1980 will not save the lives of 98% of the civilians killed.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) The EU has long been involved in third countries in the active clearance of landmines, as these can pose an obstacle to reconstruction after conflict has come to an end. Appropriate educational programmes are run to provide care for children, many of whom have been injured by the explosive munitions that have been left behind in war zones. The motion for a resolution once again emphasises the serious dangers posed by cluster munitions and consistently favours continued support and the implementation of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention. I have voted in favour.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0608/2011

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) In the spirit of the OECD principles of e-commerce taxation adopted at the Ottawa Conference in 1998, I support the present resolution. According to these principles, rules governing consumption taxes such as VAT should result in these taxes being levied in the jurisdiction where consumption takes place.

As provided for in Directive 2008/8/EC, the OECD principles will apply to the European Union as from 1 January 2015. I feel that a review of VAT legislation to give more flexibility to Member States in the application of reduced VAT rates should take place in parallel with application of the principles set down in Directive 2008/8/EC. Let me emphasise, however, that if all Member States are to benefit on an equal footing from the digital single market, the principle of taxation in the buyer’s Member State should be applied as soon as possible.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Digital technology is a key sector for the European economy and one which contributes to the achievement of the Europe 2020 strategy objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. In the European Parliament resolution on the modernisation of VAT legislation, which was presented by my colleague, Marielle Gallo, and which I endorsed, provision is made to adopt measures to boost the digital single market, such as a VAT reduction for cultural goods. For example, e-books should benefit from the same reduced rate as printed books.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing.(RO) A digital single market could improve competitiveness and stimulate economic growth in the EU. This is vital for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe. Confidence in online transactions needs to be strengthened. At the moment, only 54% of Internet users in Europe buy or sell goods in the virtual marketplace. At the same time, e-commerce has a role to play in supporting cross-border trade. It is important to remove all the barriers preventing the use of e-commerce. Fiscal obstacles, in particular, must be removed. Discrimination must be avoided between the provision of online services and the provision of goods. For example, the same VAT rate must be applied to both printed books and e-books. My country is 10th in the world based on the ratio of connection quality to Internet access. A series of projects targeting coverage in broadband white areas is due to be launched, with EUR 84 million in European funding being allocated in total.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution because the financial and economic crisis has severely damaged economic growth opportunities, and the digital economy has the potential to contribute significantly to the prosperity of Europe in the years to come. The European Union must fulfil the potential of the single market by facilitating online and cross-border trade among Member States. The European Parliament calls on the Commission to consider the possibility of reviewing Directive 2008/8/EC before 1 January 2015 in order to provide for payment of VAT in the customer’s Member State. Furthermore, a review of VAT legislation, giving more flexibility to Member States on reduced VAT rates, should go hand in hand with the application of the principles laid down in Directive 2008/8/EC. In order to enable all Member States to benefit equally from the digital single market, the principle of taxation in the customer’s Member State should apply as soon as possible. The European Union must therefore be ambitious and go beyond remedying the inconsistencies of the current legal framework. Encouraging companies to develop and offer new pan-European online services should also be a priority in the review of VAT rules.

 
  
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  Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE), in writing.(RO) I initiated this resolution, together with other colleagues from other political groups, to raise the issue of inconsistency between the VAT regulations applied to products with cultural content sold on physical media and in electronic format. The EU has adopted the Digital Agenda and it is our ambition to develop a digital single market. I welcome this step, which is in keeping with the behaviour trends among European consumers who are increasingly buying products with cultural content (music, newspapers and magazines, books and so on) from the Internet. At a time when Member States have the chance to apply a lower VAT rate to cultural products on physical media, the aim being to promote access to these products, I do not see why the same products sold online would be treated differently, given that the aim is exactly the same. Therefore, we are dealing with an aspect of the VAT Directive which is obsolete, in view of the new consumption trends. This is why I support the review of the directive so as to introduce equal fiscal treatment for these products, regardless of how they are sold. Such a move, along with copyright reform and facilitating the free movement of online audio-visual content, will help create a genuine digital single market.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing.(EL) I abstained in the vote on the joint resolution, firstly because the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left was more or less excluded from negotiations on the final motion for a resolution, even though it, too, initially tabled a motion for a resolution. It is, however, clear from the final result that the GUE/NGL Group was absent from the negotiations, given that, unfortunately, the resolution does not propose a reduction in VAT, even though art and culture, in any form, are public goods which need to be accessible to all citizens. In essence, therefore, although the resolution maintains that the Member States could be allowed to apply reduced VAT rates on a temporary basis to online cultural services, it focuses on the need to develop and strengthen the common market and the common digital market.

 
  
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  Marielle De Sarnez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) I did not vote in favour of the modernisation of VAT legislation when applied to digital cultural goods. At this time of economic difficulty, the priority is to eliminate deficits, and a reduction in VAT on all categories of goods will not achieve this. Digital cultural goods differ from ‘traditional’ cultural goods, particularly where books are concerned: the production costs (equipment, employees) of e-books are much lower than those of printed books. Lastly, a reduction in the VAT rate on cultural goods could lead to a further reduction in the number of printed books purchased, when that sector is already experiencing great difficulties.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing.(RO) I voted for this resolution because we are currently facing at EU level certain problems in the process of creating a digital single market. These are due to technological, legislative, cultural and linguistic barriers, as well as to consumption taxes which are applied to goods and services. All of this generates an increasingly fragmented market at Member State level, which may jeopardise achieving our common objectives. I think that the European Union must allow, at least temporarily, for a lower VAT rate to be applied to services with cultural content supplied electronically. This means that European citizens will enjoy more affordable prices for certain online products and services, which would bolster this sector and increase the EU’s competitiveness in this area. At the same time, providing easier access to cultural products available online would help reduce the high levels of piracy noted in this sector, as well as the financial losses suffered by certain producers or providers.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I have voted for this resolution since I feel that it is time for the European Union to review VAT regulations so as to encourage firms to develop and offer new pan-European services to stimulate the digital single market. The inconsistencies in the present legislative framework must be eliminated, particularly in Directive 2006/112/EC. It has become an obstacle to the development of new digital services and may compromise the objectives outlined in the European Digital Agenda.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) I fully subscribe to the present resolution, which was tabled following the report on modernising VAT. It proposes one more innovative measure in the area of taxation. In particular, it focuses on the paradigmatic case that still exists in the book industry; namely, the difference between the VAT rates applicable to physical books and those applicable to e-books. At present, e-books do not benefit from the same reduced VAT rates as physical books with the result that a negative differential exists between the two, producing a distortion in the market on which they compete, with all the consequences flowing therefrom. What is more, this negative differential does not arise on the other side of the Atlantic, which effectively hamstrings the European book industry, making its growth impossible.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) There are various contradictions in the broad substance of this resolution, which is to create a digital single market for the distribution of items of cultural, journalistic and creative content.

In order for this market to develop as broadly and as rapidly as possible, the Commission is proposing a temporary lower VAT on these goods and services of cultural content provided on an electronic platform. We uphold the principle of subsidiarity in that it is our view that the Commission must not encroach upon the powers of the Member States, and these include matters of indirect taxation and particularly the setting of VAT rates. Indeed, this is exactly what is being done through the so-called ‘financial assistance’ programmes, which, in fact, are authentic programmes of aggression instituted – with the IMF-EU seal of approval – in countries like Portugal.

All kinds of pressure, direct and indirect, are being applied to generalise and eternalise this interference on the pretext, so many times, of so-called ‘fiscal harmonisation’, of which so much is said even as the core questions are pushed aside: namely, harmonised by whom, in what way and in whose interests? Each Member State must be able to decide on its own whether to apply VAT and at what rate, nor must this reduced tax be a temporary measure but a permanent one for the kinds of content specified in the foregoing.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) There are various contradictions in the broad substance of this resolution, which is to create a digital single market for the distribution of items of cultural, journalistic and creative content. In order for this market to develop as broadly and as rapidly as possible, the Commission is proposing a temporary lower VAT on these goods and services of cultural content provided on an electronic platform.

We uphold the principle of subsidiarity in that it is our view that the Commission must not encroach upon the powers of the Member States, and these include matters of indirect taxation and, in particular, the setting of VAT rates. Each Member State must be able to decide on its own whether to apply VAT and at what rate, nor must said reduced tax be a temporary measure but a permanent one for the kinds of content specified in the foregoing.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The digital single market is highly fragmented in the European Union, in part due to the tax system and, in particular, as a result of the tax payable on goods and services. The economic crisis may have significantly damaged and had a negative impact on the economy, but the digital economy harbours the potential to contribute significantly to Europe’s prosperity in the future. In my opinion, the EU should also strive to develop the potential of the single market by facilitating on-line and cross-border trade between individual Member States. In this regard, we should exercise caution and update the VAT regulations in such a way as to support the digital single market. VAT rates applicable to books illustrate the shortcomings of current legislation. While Member States may apply reduced VAT rates to the supply of books on all physical media, e-books are subject to a standard rate of no less than 15% This kind of discrimination is untenable, given the potential for growth in this segment of the market.

I believe that the EU must be ambitious and go beyond merely remedying the inconsistencies of the current legal framework. Encouraging companies to develop and offer new pan-European online services should be a priority in the review of VAT rules.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because digital distribution of cultural, journalistic and creative content enables authors and content providers to reach new and larger audiences. I believe that the EU needs to push ahead with the creation, production and distribution (on all platforms) of digital content and that the application of a reduced VAT rate to online cultural content could certainly boost growth. There needs to be a review of VAT legislation, giving more flexibility to Member States on reduced VAT rates, and this should go hand in hand with the application of the principles laid down in Directive 2008/8/EC. In order to enable all Member States to benefit equally from the digital single market, the principle of taxation in the consumer’s Member State should apply as soon as possible. Finally, any review should lead to the simplification of the VAT system, with, for example, a one-stop shop for VAT and the elimination of double taxation.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the resolution on the modernisation of VAT legislation because the text stresses the need to strengthen the digital single market and to eliminate the observed shortcomings that are hindering its growth. One particularly important point, in my view, is the possibility of reducing the VAT rate for online cultural services (TV, books, magazines, music, newspapers) so that they are subject to more beneficial tax arrangements that are similar to those of their ‘paper’ versions, thereby ensuring that the choice of medium (electronic or print) is no longer used as a reason for discriminating against services.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution which considers that the VAT rates applicable to books illustrate the shortcomings of the current legislation; while Member States may apply reduced VAT rates for the supply of books on all physical means, e-books are subject to a standard rate of at least 15%. This discrimination is untenable given the potential growth of this segment of the market.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – I firmly support the boosting of the digital agenda; however there are some aspects in this report that could have a significant budgetary impact on Ireland. For this reason, I abstained in the vote on this motion for resolution.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The inconsistencies in the VAT rules applicable to physical products of cultural content sold in electronic format have long been a matter of concern to the EU. Since the Member States may levy a reduced VAT on cultural products in a physical medium to make these products more affordable, I do not think it right that the same products sold online should be treated differently. We are speaking, that is, of a particular aspect of the VAT Directive that has become completely obsolete in the face of new consumer trends.

Hence, it is important that this point be reviewed so that there is no different VAT solely because the same products are sold via different distribution channels. This development, together with the reform of authors’ rights, will facilitate the free circulation of audiovisual material online, thereby helping to create and stimulate a genuine internal market for digital products.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – VAT rates applicable to books illustrate the shortcomings of current legislation in that, while Member States should apply reduced VAT rates to the supply of books on all physical media. I voted ‘in favour’.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution because the digital market is very important and vital for modern business and EU citizens. This market makes a major contribution to the further development of e-commerce services, and the remaining barriers to the digital single market must therefore be eliminated as quickly as possible. The different value added tax rates applied to digital and physical goods are a serious problem today, preventing the potential for growth and the wide range of goods and services that the digital market can provide from being fully exploited. This also leads to discriminatory treatment where the benefits of the single market only apply to physical goods.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing.(PT) Everyone is aware of the potential of the digital market. Easier contact between buyers and sellers makes for a much more dynamic market. In this context, efforts must be made both to prevent such market activity from taking place outside the Member States’ taxation systems and also to ensure that it is not subject to a particularly onerous tax burden. As I believe these concerns are duly reflected in this report, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Abstention. At the end of the process, the Greens have not been included in the negotiation. A bit of confusion on what is the intention of the global text.

 
  
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  Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid (PPE), in writing. (FR) The digital revolution, linked to globalisation and growing trade, compels us to rethink our cultural and economic model. Cultural works can benefit from marvellous communication tools, in the Internet and digital technology, if we succeed in adapting the regulatory framework of the single market. However, when it comes to the development of e-books, for example, we Europeans are clearly lagging behind our international competitors. Indeed, European legislation prohibits reduced VAT rates for electronic services. The minimum VAT rate is 15%, whereas printed books can benefit from rates as low as 5%. We are faced with a system in which transaction methods are more important than content. A book is a book, though! Disparities in taxation create distortions that, without exception, undermine the competitiveness of European companies. The Americans have long had a competitive advantage. Is Europe going to do something about it? I am aware that public funds are scarce. However, if we do nothing, not only will the digital future pass us by; we will also deprive ourselves of a tool for creating growth, competitiveness, cultural diversity and employment.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) Directive 2009/47/EC permits the optional application (for Member States) of a reduced rate for printed cultural publications (books, newspapers, periodicals and other publications). Directive 2009/47/EC (amended) extended, among other things, the possibility of applying reduced rates to publications on other physical media (DVDs, CDs, etc.) as well. Under the directive, however, reduced VAT may not be applied to publications purchased electronically (via downloading).

The object of the motion for a resolution that we are discussing today in the House is to ask the Commission what its intentions are regarding possible legislative initiatives to extend the option of applying reduced VAT to electronic publications, which are currently discriminated against compared to printed publications. My opinion on this issue is that we should also consider a reduction for texts that can be purchased on the Internet and which are therefore increasingly widely available on it. In calling for discrimination of this kind to be eliminated, we demand greater dissemination of culture, especially for young people who, as we know, are increasingly using electronic media to obtain information.

 
  
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  Francisco Sosa Wagner (NI), in writing. – (ES) The reason for my abstention is not the content of the resolution presented by the three political groups but a criticism, because this resolution was only made available to Members a few hours before the vote.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Consumption taxes applicable to goods and services have fragmented the digital single market, as in the case of physical books, to which a reduced tax is applied, and e-books, to which a normal tax is applied. I agree with the present resolution since I understand that it is one of the European Commission’s fundamental tasks to analyse any proposals that may come up with regard to creating a uniform VAT to be applied to articles that are identical but for their platforms, in accordance with the stipulations of the Europe 2020 strategy.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted for the resolution on modernisation of the VAT legislation in order to boost the digital single market. In July 2010, the Council adopted Directive 2010/45/EU on the common system of value added tax as regards the rules on invoicing. This directive, which will be transposed by 1 January 2013, sets out new VAT rules for e-invoicing, thereby creating equal treatment for paper and e-invoices. Without VAT legislation, e-invoicing involves a set of legal requirements which include accounting, audit, personal data protection, archiving and customs regulations. It is reckoned that applying the same VAT rules to both paper invoices and e-invoices will reduce the administrative burden on companies by up to EUR 18 billion in the medium term. To ensure the interoperability of e-invoices and the interconnection between e-invoicing models, commercial partners and service providers should veer towards aligning certain elements such as risk management, addressing and routing, roaming agreements, standards, communication tools and security requirements. By the end of the year, CEN should propose procedures for interoperable addressing and routing in the area of e-invoicing.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) I abstained on the resolution on the modernisation of VAT legislation in order to boost the digital single market. Such modernisation is based exclusively on a reduction in VAT on digital cultural goods, of which there are few consumers.

Unfortunately, this proposal is based neither on a desire to disseminate works as a public service, to allow as many people as possible to access them, nor even on the principle that VAT is an unfair tax that should be reduced in order to have less of an impact on the income of the poorest.

Rather, this resolution is based on the desire to boost the digital single market, with cultural goods being viewed as a commodity like any other. Moreover, the negotiators who put this compromise together did not even deign to address our political group.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) Unfortunately, I had to abstain from the vote on the joint motion for a resolution tabled by several groups as the wording of the resolution was not made generally available.

 
  
  

Report: Krzysztof Lisek (A7-0374/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I endorse the present report. I think that Georgia has progressed notably in its pro-European journey. As the report underscores, however, it needs to accelerate the reform of its judicial system, protect media freedom more robustly, improve the rights of workers and women and more actively promote the integration of ethnic and religious minorities.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) As I am convinced that European neighbourhood policy helps strengthen democratic principles, the principle of good governance and stability among our closest neighbours, I voted in favour of the Lisek report. Under the European neighbourhood policy, the EU is linked to a number of countries, including Georgia, through action plans. Association agreements are the first stage of their alignment. The European Parliament recommends that the negotiations be based, in particular, on the establishment of the rule of law, the gradual introduction of a free trade area, the preservation of the country’s territorial integrity, and the unfreezing of Russian-Georgian relations.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing.(IT) I voted against the report on the negotiations of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement. In itself, an association agreement could bring advantages, since it has the scope to consider regulatory aspects of the neighbouring country and therefore bring about changes to its legislation such that the risk of social and economic dumping to the detriment of European enterprises would be reduced. However, there are at least two aspects that convinced me to vote against the report. Firstly, the possibility, hinted at in a passage of the report, of a ‘European’ perspective being opened up in the future to Georgia, a country that has, for years, been in an extremely delicate domestic and international situation, having within it two small republics that are essentially autonomous, but not recognised as such by most of the international community. Secondly, the possibility that the association agreement could smooth the way for negotiations on visa liberalisation is of some concern. For these two reasons, which are anything but minor, I voted against the report.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because it is important to recognise Georgia as a European state and base the EU’s commitment and ongoing negotiations with Georgia on a European perspective. It is also important to ensure that there is public support for reforms which could further strengthen Georgia’s commitment to shared values and the principles of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and good governance. We should emphasise the importance of inter-ethnic and religious tolerance. We should also welcome the recent law adopted by the Georgian Parliament on the registration of religious organisations and positive measures adopted by the Georgian Government in the area of education aimed at better integration of national minorities. Georgia has also made clear progress in the area of reforms, including strengthening local institutions, particularly the Georgian Ombudsman’s Office, the fight against corruption, the reform of the judiciary, as well as economic reforms and liberalisation. We should also call on the Georgian Government to promote free media, freedom of expression and media pluralism. It is important to allow the media to report independently and objectively without political and economic pressure. We also have to ensure credible and efficient implementation of measures to protect journalists, the transparency of media ownership, particularly as regards broadcast media, and free access to public information.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) I support the launching of negotiations on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area as soon as possible – as soon as Georgia meets the key recommendations made by the Commission and approved by the EU Member States – so that the country can be more closely integrated with its largest trading partner, which is necessary in order to sustain economic growth in Georgia and to overcome the economic crisis and damage caused by the war with Russia in 2008. It should be borne in mind that the Georgian Government has made considerable efforts in recent years to open the country’s economy internationally through the introduction of very low industrial tariffs, the adoption of a legal and administrative framework facilitating trade and investment, and the enforcement of the rule of law. They highlight the progress made by Georgia in improving its legislation, improving the efficiency of its institutions and ensuring strict quality control standards for Georgian products in order to meet the requirements set by the European Commission. The EU should provide financial and technical support to Georgia to ensure the continuation of the legislative and institutional reforms needed to adapt to the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area and to accelerate the process of implementation of the key recommendations set out in the EU-Georgia Action Plan. It is important that Georgia guarantees the proper disposal of toxic and radioactive waste on its territory as an essential prerequisite for facilitating trade, particularly with regard to agriculture, in order to ensure food safety.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report because I think the association agreement will enhance relations between the EU and Georgia. Georgia’s commitment to the values and principles of the EU as regards democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights is fundamental if the association agreement is to be successfully implemented, while also guaranteeing a sustainable influence on the country’s development.

 
  
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  Diego Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Georgia has been trying to institute reforms to facilitate convergence with the European Union that would permit her to entertain the hope of membership at some future date, notwithstanding the unlikely prospect of membership in the short term. That being so, the negotiation of an association agreement between the EU and Georgia will provide one more framework for forging closer relations that may eventually be of benefit to both peoples. I hope that negotiations move forward briskly and that they will culminate in a fair and balanced agreement.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report offers a blinkered view of the problems between Russia and Georgia, still focusing on the 2008 conflict, and of the territorial dispute and sovereignty issue as regards South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It attempts to formulate a political justification for taking sides in order to continue to defend the economic and geopolitical interests of the EU in the Caucasus region.

As on other occasions in other parts of the globe, here, too, the issue is the affirmation of these interests with a view to securing energy supplies as well as access to major resources in the region as a whole. That is why the conclusion of this agreement is important. The majority in Parliament would like to go further and open the door to negotiations on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area eliminating all barriers to big business from the EU and Georgia. It is in light of these interests that we are to understand support for and, at the same time, interference in the internal affairs of Georgia. These interests will also help to explain and to understand the various inconsistencies, contradictions and hypocritical stances. The EU in this case puts itself forward as a defender of international law and of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries even though it has promoted and supported – and continues to support – processes of secession in Europe and in other regions of the world. Kosovo is a case in point.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report continues to put forward a blinkered view still focused on the 2008 conflict between Russia and Georgia and issues of territorial disputes and sovereignty over South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and attempts to create some political justification for taking sides in order to pursue the EU’s economic and geopolitical interests in the Caucasus. At stake are access to major resources in the whole region and guaranteed energy supplies, which is why it is important to conclude this agreement.

A majority in Parliament wants to go even further, opening the door to negotiations over a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area and breaking down all barriers to large capitalist interests from the EU and Georgia. These interests should be seen as underlying the EU’s support, and indeed interference, in Georgia’s internal affairs. The EU thus reveals which side it is on in the power struggle between the United States, NATO and Russia, appointing itself as the defender of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states and of international law, when it comes to Georgia. However, it has promoted, supported and still supports secessionary movements in Europe and in other parts of the world.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The Eastern Partnership has created a meaningful political framework for strengthening relations, accelerating political association and enhancing economic integration between the EU and Georgia. New association agreements enable relations to be strengthened, while taking into account the specific situation and ambitions of each partner country and its ability to meet the resulting obligations. Georgia’s active engagement and commitment to respecting shared values and principles, including democracy, the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights, are of fundamental importance in making progress in the association agreement implementation process. Georgia is one of the most successful Eastern Partnership countries in the adoption of reforms, although problems persist with their implementation. It is also necessary to strive for further improvement in judicial reform, labour rights, women’s rights and the integration of minorities.

In my opinion, it is reasonable to provide Georgia with targeted financial and technical support in order to ensure that the country can meet its obligations arising from the negotiations on the association agreement and its full implementation. It is pleasing that the negotiations with Georgia on the association agreement are progressing rapidly, and it must also be ensured that this agreement is a comprehensive and long-term framework for the further development of relations between the EU and Georgia in the coming years.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this proposal because we must ensure that negotiations with Georgia continue at a steady pace and that the association agreement is a comprehensive and forward-looking framework for the further development of relations with Georgia in coming years. I believe that we need to base the EU’s commitment and ongoing negotiations with Georgia on a European perspective, which is considered a valuable lever for the implementation of reforms and a necessary catalyst for public support for these reforms, which could further strengthen Georgia’s commitment to shared values and the principles of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and good governance. It is important for the European Union that Georgia guarantee the proper disposal of toxic and radioactive waste on its territory as a prerequisite for facilitating trade, especially, with regard to agriculture, in order to protect food safety.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) This report has been adopted by the Committee on Foreign Affairs. It reiterates Georgia’s commitment to democratic values, key elements for ensuring the success of the negotiations and the proper implementation of the association agreement. Nevertheless, Georgia must continue its efforts, in particular with regard to good governance and respect for human rights. This is a good report and one which I decided to endorse.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution and encourage Georgia to pursue reforms that improve the business climate, its tax collection capacity and its contractual dispute settlement mechanism, while promoting corporate social responsibility and sustainable development. It encourages Georgia to invest in its infrastructure, especially with regard to public services, and to fight existing inequalities, particularly in rural areas. It also encourages cooperation between experts from the EU Member States and their counterparts in Georgia in order to foster the implementation of reforms in the country and to share on a daily basis the best practices of EU governance.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Georgia has made the efforts required to bring about reforms for convergence with the European Union which may open the door to accession in the future. Hence, the ongoing negotiations for an EU-Georgia Association Agreement may make a positive contribution to a strengthening of relations which could be beneficial for both countries.

 
  
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  Alajos Mészáros (PPE), in writing. (HU) The European Union must do everything it can to prevail upon Russia to withdraw its forces as soon as possible from the provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, ensuring that negotiations take place peacefully and without violence. What is needed are direct talks, without preconditions. Georgia’s significant progress with democratic reforms can be seen as a step in the right direction. It has strengthened its institutions, implemented reform of the judicial system, and has managed to reduce its serious crime rate. However, further progress and further support are needed, and we must therefore provide Georgia with European Union financial and technical assistance. Sustainable development is important, taking into account EU climate change targets and development of the Southern Corridor. Georgia plays a key role in improving EU energy security. I, too, therefore voted in favour of adopting this report.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) As a partner of the EU for the last 20 years, Georgia has made considerable efforts, drawing inspiration from the democratic practices of the 27 EU Member States. Its support is beyond doubt. I strongly encourage the conclusion of this association agreement, which will mark the beginning of an ever closer relationship between the two partners. Steps will have to be taken to consolidate the democratic process. Democracy involves complex requirements that go beyond the right to vote and respect for elections. Democracy demands the protection of rights and freedom, respect for due process, the guarantee of open discussion and the encouragement to debate. Above all, democracy is freedom of opinion. It is constructive opposition, a free and conscious civil society, and an independent press.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – Georgia has not achieved progress in its pro-European path, and it needs to accelerate reforms in the judiciary system, ensure better protection of the freedom of media, improve labour and women’s rights, as well as the integration of ethnic and religious minorities. Also Georgia should apologise for genocide against the South Ossetians. I am against the resolution.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) It is important that relations between the EU and Georgia should be further developed through the Eastern Partnership, speeding up political association and pressing forward with economic integration. In the interests of good relations with Georgia, the EU should continue to work on a rapprochement. However, it should not be forgotten that the events associated with the violent conflict with the Russian Federation must also be thoroughly investigated by Georgia. Likewise, however friendly relations may be, it must not be forgotten that corruption continues to exist on many levels in Georgia, posing a major problem. In this respect, the report is a little too uncritical. Likewise, it should have emphasised that the aim is not just to achieve good relations between Georgia and the EU but also with Russia. Because the report does not pay sufficient attention to these critical points, I abstained from the vote.

 
  
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  Kristiina Ojuland (ALDE), in writing. – I welcome the adoption of the report on the negotiations of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement as it marks another milestone on Georgia’s way to Europe. I would use this opportunity to point out the progress that Georgia has made in enforcing democratic and economic reforms and fighting corruption. The firm support of the European Union has surely helped the country to stay on track of democratic transition even under enormous pressure in the form of foreign invasion. I endorse the position of the rapporteur on calling Russia to reverse its recognition of the separation of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and end the occupation of those territories. Russia must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia as well as the inviolability of its internationally-recognized borders as provided for by international law, the UN Charter, the Final Act of the Helsinki Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing.(ET) I support the recommendations made in this report, as I consider it necessary to continually recognise Georgian territorial integrity and condemn the occupation of the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions and Southern Ossetia by the Russian Federation. I consider it regrettable that the latter is seeking to destabilise the region, exploiting Ossetians and Abkhazians in the interests of the superpower. If the Russian Federation truly cared about small nations’ desire for self-determination, they should also for instance support the independence of North Ossetia (which is inhabited by c. 24 times more Ossetians than South Ossetia) and Chechnya. Georgia must also, of course, guarantee the inclusion of various ethnic groups in society, considering the importance of religious tolerance. I am encouraged by the fact that a law on the registration of religious organisations was passed in the Georgian parliament, and the government has implemented several measures in the area of education that aim to improve the integration and protection of ethnic minorities.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) We should welcome the fact that an agreement between the Russian and Georgian Governments has finally been reached on Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which also covers the procedure for monitoring mutual trade between the two countries. However, this is only a small step towards developing negotiations with Georgia on a European perspective. I believe that in order for us to cooperate fully with Georgia, the latter must strengthen its commitment to shared values and the principles of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and good governance. Georgia must cooperate more actively with the International Criminal Court, which is currently conducting an initial inspection, and provide answers to the questions raised by the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia as soon as possible. It is also very important for the Georgian authorities to stop exerting political pressure on political opponents.

 
  
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  Tomasz Piotr Poręba (ECR), in writing. (PL) Georgia is one of the five countries taking an active part in the Eastern Partnership Programme. It is also a country that is introducing, with huge determination and a lot of success, a range of democratic reforms, especially in the sphere of combating corruption, changes in the judicial system and liberalisation of the economy whereby an important emphasis is placed on making life easier for enterprises. This process has not been inhibited even when the Russian army invaded the Georgian territory; it has not been impeded by what amounts to occupation of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Under these circumstances the Georgians managed to adopt their own peaceful strategy towards the occupied regions and have unilaterally undertaken a commitment to refrain from the use of violence regarding this issue. Moreover, Georgia – despite an absence of direct diplomatic relations with Russia – completed negotiations on the latter’s accession to the World Trade Organisation and did not block its access. Georgia is an important partner for the European Union in the South Caucasus. Recommendations have been adopted today with all this in mind and will certainly serve to expedite the completion of negotiations on the association agreement and a more comprehensive trade agreement. That is why I voted in favour of these recommendations.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Georgia is currently in negotiations with the Council, the Commission, and the European External Action Service over conclusion of an association agreement. In this context, it is praiseworthy that Georgia has taken steps to consolidate the rule of law by strengthening the public administration of justice, and has adopted measures in the social arena to integrate ethnic and religious minorities, while seeking to respect citizens’ basic rights in its public actions. Considering Georgia’s difficult geostrategic situation – including the Russian occupation of two parts of its territory – it is imperative that the European Union increases its efforts to defuse the currently rather tense relations between Georgia and Russia, while ensuring that Georgia does not sacrifice the progress it has made up until now in the process. Therefore, I voted in favour, in the hope that the negotiations will come to a successful conclusion.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The text addresses, in the context of the ongoing negotiations on the association agreement, the following recommendations to the Council, the Commission and the EEAS: (a) ensure that the negotiations with Georgia continue at a steady pace; (b) ensure as well that the association agreement is a comprehensive and forward-looking framework for the further development of relations with Georgia in upcoming years;

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing.(PT) Negotiations on the association agreement between the EU and Georgia began on 15 July 2010. To date there have been six plenary meetings, and the process is progressing well. However, with regard to the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), negotiations have not yet begun, which is why this report aims to move forward by making various recommendations on the future relations between the EU and Georgia in order to foster and accelerate the conditions for launching negotiations on this area.

 
  
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  Rafał Trzaskowski (PPE), in writing. (PL) We appeal to the EU institutions to start as soon as possible negotiations to reach agreement on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with Georgia, whereby Georgia shall be able to conduct free trade exchanges with the EU Member States. Among the countries taking part in the Eastern Partnership, Georgia is one of the most committed partners demonstrating one of the best examples of carrying out reforms in their country.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Eastern Partnership provides for the strengthening of bilateral relations by means of new association agreements, taking into account the specific situation and ambition of each partner country and its ability to comply with the resulting commitments. Georgia is without doubt one of the partners of the Eastern Partnership that has achieved the best results in terms of adopting reforms, although there are still problems regarding their implementation, particularly where judicial reform and the fight against corruption are concerned. Although the unresolved conflict between Russia and Georgia involves problems of political stability, I voted in favour of Mr Lisek’s text, in view of the commitment shown by the Georgian Government to the issue of respect for human rights and its active efforts to promote shared values and principles.

 
  
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  Zbigniew Ziobro (ECR), in writing. (PL) Georgia provides a key to the geo-political jigsaw of the Caucasus. Across its territory run the most important routes for transporting gas and oil from the Caspian Sea to Europe and from Russia to Armenia. It is also a key element in quite a few of the EU projects: the pipelines Nabucco and AGRI or the gas pipeline White Stream. It is therefore even more valuable that ever since the times of the Rose Revolution the Tbilisi authorities have embarked on the road of democratic and free market reforms, thus associating their future with the European Union and NATO. In 2009, this work got interrupted by a violent conflict with Russia, the outcome of which was loss of control over Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Sadly, we must admit that despite the bloody occupation and exodus of thousands of Georgian refugees, certain European countries have quickly accepted the situation whereby Russia violates the independence of those regions. I am therefore happy that the resolution under discussion provides a clear definition of their status. Moreover, recognising them as occupied territories and confirming the territorial integrity of Georgia within the pre-2009 borders must be binding for the entire European Community. I also hope that its provisions shall determine a course of action taken by the High Representative while the issue of the withdrawal of Russian troops and return of refugees shall be addressed in the course of the upcoming EU-Russia meeting.

 
  
  

Report: Mikael Gustafsson (A7-0351/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) In following up the work on increasing awareness of gender equality that the EU, and in particular the European Parliament, have undertaken, it is important to incorporate this perspective into all EP policies and activities in a real and concrete way. I believe that, in the final analysis, integrating it into these policies will help to change the character of the institution for the better, in keeping with society’s aspirations.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing.(IT) Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union includes equality between men and women among the values on which the Union is founded. In addition, Article 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union firmly establishes gender mainstreaming as a priority for the Union in order to eliminate inequalities. Nevertheless, a policy plan for gender mainstreaming in Parliament’s policies and activities needs to be implemented, in order to promote equality between men and women, with a greater effort made by all to integrate and safeguard women and the added value they bring to the future growth of the Union, at an economic, political and social level. I therefore strongly support Mr Gustafsson’s report and I voted in favour of it.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Gender equality, as enshrined by Article 2 of the Treaty of Lisbon, is a fundamental principle. In his report Mikael Gustafsson calls on the European Parliament to promote this principle in all of its policies and activities. Increasing the representation of women on Parliament’s governing bodies is one of the priorities highlighted in this report. As Chair of the Femmes au Centre (Women at the Centre) Association, I am firmly committed to respect for gender equality. I therefore voted in favour of this resolution.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing.(IT) I voted against the report, since the motion would involve a constant evaluation of the implementation of gender policies, achieved through highly complicated budgetary procedures. The reasoning behind this motion is not in itself bad, but it is the very cut-and-dried and, indeed, heavy-handed approach in terms of the budget and the lengthening of procedures that I cannot endorse. I therefore voted against.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because gender mainstreaming means more than simply promoting equality through the implementation of specific measures, but rather involves mobilising all general policies and measures for the specific purpose of achieving gender equality. The ultimate goal of gender mainstreaming is to change habits and institutions in order to be more reflective of the needs, aspirations and experiences of all of society, both women and men. I am pleased that not just the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, but many other European Parliament committees have launched initiatives in various areas, including the own-initiative report on the role of women in agriculture and rural areas drawn up by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the public hearing on the role of women in the sustainable development of fisheries areas organised by the Committee on Fisheries. I would like to draw attention to the fact that close cooperation is required with the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) in its role of disseminating accurate methodological tools and with a view to better evaluating gender mainstreaming in Parliament’s work. The European Parliament also calls on the Commission to address and prioritise gender inequalities in a more consistent and systematic manner when programming and implementing all policies. It also insists that the mainstreaming of gender issues through all policies must be improved in order to achieve the goals of gender equality.

 
  
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  Zuzana Brzobohatá (S&D), in writing. (CS) The plenary of 17 November approved the report on gender mainstreaming in the work of the European Parliament. The principal aim of gender mainstreaming is to change the nature and institutions of traditional politics so that they take more account of the needs, aspirations and experiences of society as a whole, both women and men. With this report, Parliament undertakes to adopt and implement on a regular basis a policy plan for gender mainstreaming in the European Parliament, the overall objective of which is to promote equality between women and men through a real and effective gender perspective in all policies and activities in order to assess the different impact of measures on women and men, to coordinate existing initiatives, and to identify goals and priorities as well as the means of achieving them. Personally, I consider a very important commitment to be the incorporation of an analysis of the equality of men and women into all stages of the budgetary process in order to ensure that the needs and priorities of women and men are given equal consideration and that the impact of the allocation of EU resources to women and men is assessed. I consider this approach to budget preparation to be key in the context of the gender equality struggle, and I therefore supported the report.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing.(EL) Non-discrimination, justice, solidarity and equality between men and women must be the primary values for the European construct. The basic objective must be to promote equality between men and women by properly and effectively mainstreaming the gender dimension in all EU policies and activities. I voted in favour of the Gustafsson report, because it promotes a more holistic and cohesive approach to the mainstreaming of the gender dimension in EU policies. It also calls for a practical undertaking to carry out gender impact assessments and evaluations of current and planned policies. Finally, my vote is also intended as a mark of respect for Eva-Britt Svensson, the original rapporteur who had to resign on health grounds. I should also like to comment on the very worthwhile work of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and its fundamental contribution in highlighting gender equality issues in the European Parliament.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing.(FR) I have always advocated gender mainstreaming in most of the reports or resolutions on which I have voted in the European Parliament (for example, gender mainstreaming in the Europe 2020 strategy). What is more, the practical commitment to furthering gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment must be strengthened at all costs, because progress with the implementation of the existing policy documents is modest and the budgetary resources for gender issues are truly insufficient. I also voted in favour of the paragraph stressing the fact that an effective press and information policy that systematically takes gender equality into account must avoid gender stereotypes. In short, there is still work to be done!

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this report to press for the adoption and application of an action plan to include a gender perspective in the European Parliament’s various actions and policies. This action plan should also contribute to a better balance between women and men in the decision-making process, through increasing the number of women in Parliament’s organs of governance and increasing men’s representation in areas where they are under-represented.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) As I have said on numerous occasions in this Chamber, we need to treat men and women with equity, granting them the same rights, while having regard to their special needs, which in the case of women is most obvious in terms of maternity protection and the balance between working and family life, etc. Having said this, I naturally consider it important for the European Parliament to promote equality between men and women in its work and it should strive for greater female representation. Note that eight of the 22 committees are chaired by women, and there are six women among the 14 vice-chairs. These figures reflect women’s importance within the European Parliament, and I could name here countless women Members whose exemplary work has done much for women’s representation, without the need for quotas or such supposedly egalitarian measures.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing.(PT) This report on gender mainstreaming in the work of the European Parliament rightly states that gender equality implies deep and wide-ranging action to incorporate this perspective into all policies and activities in a concrete and effective way. It also involves evaluating at various levels how policy measures affect men and women, coordinating existing initiatives and setting goals and priorities, as well as providing the necessary means to bring them about. Finance programmes and specific funds are needed. This is a very welcome and much-needed report which of course we support. The crisis must not be used as a pretext for downplaying our focus on gender issues and the fight against inequality. This problem is especially acute in relation to working and social rights, an area in which unfortunately there have been clear and worrying reversals, which must be vigorously challenged, because, in many cases, they constitute a real retreat from the principles of our civilisation.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing.(PT) This report on gender mainstreaming in the work of the European Parliament focuses on the issue of gender inequality, stating that this issue involves more than just promoting equality, needing concrete policies on equality to be put in place.

In order to do this financing programmes and specific funds are indispensable. The issue of equality must not suffer under the pretext of the crisis, especially when it comes to respect for working and social rights.

We therefore support the report which among other things asserts the following:

It commits itself to the adoption and regular implementation of an action plan for gender mainstreaming in Parliament, with the overall aim of promoting equality between men and women through real and effective incorporation of this perspective into all its policies and actions, in order to assess the different consequences of political measures for men and for women, coordinate existing initiatives and establish goals and priorities, as well as providing the necessary means for attaining them.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The principle of gender mainstreaming is laid down in Article 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which states that, in all its activities, the Union shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality, between men and women. The TFEU also refers to the fact that ‘the Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities’ and that ‘these values are common to the Member States in a society characterised by pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men’. I believe that the incorporation of a gender perspective into the legislative and political work of Parliament can be achieved most effectively through specifically-targeted amendments to draft reports that respond to gender mainstreaming. The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) strives to support the incorporation of gender equality into all EU policies and to promote gender mainstreaming in all its institutions and bodies. Gender mainstreaming is of much greater significance than its actual assertion through the implementation of specific measures to help women or in certain cases of sex under-representation. An essential and important part of this effort is also the mobilisation of all general policies and measures aiming to achieve gender equality through concrete steps.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE), in writing. – I voted to support this report as gender mainstreaming is a very important issue. I think that it is important that we focus on the overall purpose of the report, gender equality. The Parliament needs to lead by example and must truly reflect the needs, aspirations and experiences of all society. Gender mainstreaming is firmly established in Article 8 of the Lisbon Treaty and this report is an essential first step towards the mainstreaming of the institutions. I welcome the endorsement of this report and look forward to further legislative measures on the subject.

 
  
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  Lívia Járóka (PPE), in writing. – As one of the shadow rapporteurs, I would like to congratulate Ms Svensson and Mr Gustafsson on the acceptance of the report on gender mainstreaming in the work of the European Parliament. Gender mainstreaming is a strategy that has been actively pursued in the European Parliament for many years. This report which is the first GM report in this legislature, aims to follow the progress and summarise the different tools available in order to help other political bodies of the EP to integrate the gender perspective into their work. I believe that the objective of gender equality needs to be explicitly integrated into all social and economic policy, rather than being handled in isolation. It is important to keep in place what has already been achieved and keep the gender mainstreaming network active. But we also need to move forward and transform the procedure of adopting gender mainstreaming amendments so that it becomes a formally recognised working method of the Parliament. Looking back at the GM reports adopted by the plenary in the past it is reassuring to see that even if the strategy of mainstreaming is not a quick fix solution a steady progress has been made during the years.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE), in writing. – (DE) The European Union is committed to promoting gender mainstreaming and, in its policies, takes a clear stand against discrimination and in favour of equality. This report promotes gender mainstreaming in the work of the European Parliament. I support the basic substance of the report and I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Astrid Lulling (PPE), in writing.(FR) I was unable to vote for the report on gender mainstreaming in the work of the European Parliament. Naturally, I am in favour of equal treatment and equal opportunities for men and women; I have been campaigning for these things from a young age, and since 1965, as a national member of parliament and as an MEP.

Unfortunately, however, extremists in the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality have, as always, taken advantage of this report in order to include in it demands that have nothing to do with the subject at hand and which concern transgender people, against whom no one wishes to discriminate.

Parliament has neither the means nor the human resources to assess how policies and activities affect transgender people. At the most, this is something that could be requested of the European Commission. However, the Commission is called on to consider ‘gender identity’ – a concept that appears neither in the Treaties nor in the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union – in all of its activities, and not just those in the field of gender equality.

I will not vote for such reports, because no one can achieve the impossible.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution which promotes gender mainstreaming. The ultimate goal of gender mainstreaming is to change the nature and institutions of the mainstream to be more reflective of the needs, aspirations and experiences of all society, both women and men. Gender mainstreaming can be said to question the gender neutrality of institutions since they may reproduce and contribute to gender inequality through their internal assumptions, working procedures and activities.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted against the report on gender mainstreaming in the work of the European Parliament. Throughout my political career, I have always campaigned for gender equality. This report puts forward some interesting ideas, and it is essential to carry on affirming the importance of gender mainstreaming in public policies so as to ensure gender equality. Nevertheless, I could not reasonably support paragraph 12, which pays a disproportionate amount of attention to transgender people in European policies. I am all for tolerance, but that does not mean that the European Parliament should allocate human and financial resources to assessing European policies on transgender people at the present time. I therefore had to oppose the report.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing.(PT) Equality of treatment between men and women is a cause that has always been dear to me and one that I continue to support. We all have the same rights, but we should not forget that there are differences, more obviously for women in terms of maternity protection and combining working and family life. The European Parliament demonstrates the equality of men and women, as there are many women in this Chamber who have distinguished themselves by the quality of their work, and for this reason I should like to say once more that I see no need to bring in some artificial mechanism for achieving equality. Ability should always have the last word.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – Gender mainstreaming is aimed at better reflection of expectations, aspirations and experience of all society, both men and women, by governmental institutions. I am wholeheartedly in favour.

 
  
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  Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. – (RO) According to the Treaty on European Union, the EU is based on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, as well as respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail. We need a gender balance in decision-making processes, which is achieved by increasing the representation of women on Parliament’s governing bodies, in the bureaux of political groups, committees and delegations, in the composition of delegations and other missions, such as election observation missions, and by increasing the representation of men in areas where they are under-represented.

At the same time, the European Parliament’s committees responsible for the multiannual financial framework (MFF) and the Structural Funds must assess the gender impact of the proposed spending priorities, sources of revenue and governance tools before the MFF is adopted, so as to ensure that the post-2013 MFF is gender-sensitive and that all EU financing programmes include gender equality targets in their basic regulations and allocate specific funding for measures to achieve these targets.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. – Gender mainstreaming is important to assess the impact and different implications of policy action for women and men. It helps us to be sure that any proposed legislation will guarantee equality for women and men. It is important, not just in the context of legislation which is seen as being traditionally a “women’s issue” but in terms of all legislation. It helps ensure that women’s concerns are taken into account when legislation is being considered. In this regard, I would like to commend the work of the FEMM committee and their commitment to ensuring gender equality in all legislation passed by the European Parliament. Every effort must be made to improve women’s participation at all levels of politics and decision-making as this represents the most effective way of ensuring the mainstreaming of gender issues and concerns in future.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The ultimate goal of gender mainstreaming is to change the nature and institutions of the mainstream to be more reflective of the needs, aspirations and experiences of all society, both women and men. Gender mainstreaming can be said to question the gender neutrality of institutions since they may reproduce and contribute to gender inequality through their internal assumptions, working procedures and activities. The concept of gender mainstreaming effectively entered the mainstream of international public policy in September of 1995, when it featured in the Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, which defined the term broadly and committed the institutions of the UN system to the systematic incorporation of a gender perspective into policymaking. In 1997, the United Nations defined gender mainstreaming as: ‘… the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes, in all areas and at all levels. It is a strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated.’

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of this text because I believe it is very important to integrate a gender perspective, including within the European Parliament itself. Although women often follow longer and more in-depth study programmes than men do, they continue to struggle to realise their full potential in the working environment. Women are still under-represented at the top of the social, economic and political ladder. I therefore applaud the decision by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality to make gender mainstreaming the focus of all future parliamentary activities and documentation.

 
  
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  Joanna Senyszyn (S&D), in writing. – (PL) I voted in favour of the report on gender mainstreaming in the work of the European Parliament. As an advocate of gender equality wherein the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality is conducting its excellent work, Parliament must present an example where it concerns promoting gender equality in its agencies or the administrative structure. I am happy that this is already reflected in the work of many parliamentary committees. It is necessary to make sure that this practice should be not just a nice exception but an ongoing normal mode of operation. With this in mind I also support dual leadership in the political groups, equal gender distribution in the EP governing bodies and at the highest level of the parliamentary administration. I should like to draw your attention, in particular, to paragraph 10 of the adopted resolution whereby the Parliament is calling upon the Commission to address, in a consistent and systematic manner, the issue of gender inequality where it concerns the development and implementation of all political strategies and to ascribe this issue a high priority.

Gender equality must be at the core of all political strategies and must be implemented consistently. Good legislation notwithstanding, an expressed disproportion with respect to gender equality still persists within the European Union – from pay to involvement in management. In each area of life women are separated from men by a gulf. The Commission must unequivocally enforce compliance in this area.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) A clear distinction continues to be made between men and women with regard to work, working hours, seniority, industry, employer and certain types of contractual status. Women are more often hired to fill lower-paid positions, and this explains, from an economic point of view, why they bear greater responsibility for unpaid domestic work and why they are exposed to a higher risk of poverty than men.

In order to identify gender differences in working conditions, it is essential that we bear in mind the extremely rigid employment model for men and women. There should also be an assessment of the impact of gender-based policies, in order to ensure that any measures introduced do not exacerbate gender inequalities, but rather promote equality between men and women.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing.(PT) Article 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that ‘in all its activities, the Union shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality, between men and women’. Gender mainstreaming is thus one of the EU’s principles, and there should be no type of discrimination between men and women in the course of the Union’s activities. This report is intended to show that the European Parliament should do more to integrate a gender perspective, and that all its policies should reflect the needs, aspirations and experiences of all members of society. The Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality is adopting numerous initiatives to implement and develop a gender perspective, particularly by the process of taking a gender perspective into account in amendments, and by appointing a Member responsible for the issue on every committee. In this way, the way in which gender is taken into account in Parliament’s law-making process can be monitored.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted for the resolution on gender mainstreaming in the work of the European Parliament. As Vice-Chair responsible for gender mainstreaming in the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism, I think that an effective information policy is needed which systematically takes gender equality into account and avoids gender stereotypes. We call on Parliament’s committees responsible for the multiannual financial framework (MFF) and the Structural Funds to assess the gender impact of the proposed spending priorities, sources of revenue and governance tools before the MFF is adopted. This will ensure that the MFF for the 2014-2020 period is gender-sensitive and that all EU financing programmes include gender equality targets in their basic regulations and allocate specific funds for achieving these targets We call on the Commission to address and prioritise gender inequalities in a more consistent and systematic manner when planning and implementing all policies, and insist that the mainstreaming of gender issues in all policies must be improved in order to be able to achieve the European Union’s gender equality targets.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) The aim of gender mainstreaming is to achieve gender equality on all social levels. After the term had established itself in international politics in 1995, the Union committed itself, in the Treaty of Lisbon, to ensure that the principle of gender equality was considered and supported in all of its activities. I have voted in favour.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR), in writing. – The Gustafsson report focuses on the gender balance within this institution; I believe it sends out a positive message about equality. I have always made it clear that I do not believe in prescriptive and patronising targets and quotas for women that come from Europe, we women deserve better than that. But I and the ECR Group are fully committed to raising the problem of the lack of women in the top posts in this parliament. As elected members we are law makers, our staff both, political and non-political are involved in the policies we make; it is right that we have women in the top positions of this Parliament. Two days ago the British Prime Minister announced that he was going to appoint a senior female adviser to assess the impact of every Government policy on women. This appointment highlights just how committed the British Government is to ensuring gender equality throughout all policies made by the UK Government. The ECR Group is strongly opposed to any budget increase at this delicate time for Europe’s economy, therefore we asked for split votes on paragraphs 2G, 4 and 6 – we voted against those references to the budget and funding.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE), in writing. (SK) As Chair of the FEMM committee (2004-2009), I had occasion to encounter politically sensitive reports. Thanks to the cooperation of all political groups, FEMM enjoyed a positive image. I was twice the rapporteur for such a report. For this reason, I think that I know this problem, and I am thus compelled to vote against this resolution. In fact, it extends beyond the original resolution. Transgender issues are taken out of their political and institutional context. The recommendations referred to in paragraph 2 are unrealistic. Their introduction would require a special DG. I quote our distinguished colleague, Astrid Lulling: ‘Everything that is exaggerated is insignificant’. The issue of equal opportunities between women and men is an important issue that is close to my heart. It must therefore be handled with sensitivity and foresight. So that we move forward in equal opportunities in the form of the vision of sustainable development of European nations and in the work of the committees, I support the introduction of family mainstreaming in order to achieve real and sustainable equal opportunities for all citizens. Because we really cannot avoid the issue of the demographic future of Europe’s nations. And this is despite the fact that demography is key to the future of society.

 
  
  

Report: Isabella Lövin (A7-0362/011)

 
  
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  Charalampos Angourakis (GUE/NGL), in writing.(EL) Unregulated fishing by large fleets in the maritime territory of the EU Member States and third countries included in the common fisheries policy is seriously undermining fish stocks, food security and environmental protection, with painful consequences for the people. Unregulated fishing goes hand in glove with the capitalist system, the aim being to maximise the profits of large business groups. ‘Illegal’ fishing is being used as a pretext to hound poor fishermen en masse, destroy fishing vessels ‘for a bowl of pottage’ and strengthen large business groups active in fisheries, aquaculture and fish processing and marketing. Strengthening repressive instruments, such as a European Coastguard and the Safe Sea Net, will not eliminate illegal fishing; they will be used against poor fishermen, immigrants and the working movement in general. The Greek Communist Party voted against the report on combating illegal fishing at the global level – the role of the EU. Poor fishermen in the EU have nothing to expect except repression and elimination, poverty and destitution, for the benefit of the monopolies.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) As the world’s largest market for fisheries products, the EU is the first to be affected by illegal fishing. Fifteen per cent of world marine catches are said to be illegal. However, at a time when marine fish stocks are falling and the marine ecosystem is gradually deteriorating, it is important for the EU to assume a leadership role in international debates and to propose robust measures for combating illegal fishing. These measures include improving transparency so as to better detect unreported vessels. It is imperative for the EU to abide by its own rules (compliance with fishing quotas) if it is to set an example and ensure the alignment of best practices at international level.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a serious and growing problem all over the world. It undermines efforts to conserve and manage fish stocks in all capture fisheries, and it leads to the loss of both short- and medium-term economic and social opportunities and to negative effects on food security and environmental protection. The European Union has a special responsibility when it comes to combating IUU fishing, since it constitutes the world's largest market for fish, and it is one of the major fishing powers. Thus, its aim should be to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. This report presents the following recommendations for achieving that goal: improve the investigative capacity into organised criminal activities at sea; improve transparency and traceability of fish to expose criminal activities and reduce their profits; monitor or, preferably prohibit, the sale of used fishing vessels to companies with untraceable beneficial owners; and improve monitoring of fishing vessel activities and their interactions with merchant vessels. For these reasons, I supported this report.

 
  
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  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing.(IT) Illegal fishing is a widespread phenomenon: a recent study estimates that it accounts for between 11 and 26 million tonnes per year. In 2011, the FAO adopted a plan of action to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, which is a priority of the international community. Some progress has been made in specific fisheries. Nonetheless, in many places the statement is still valid.

In my opinion, the EU has a special responsibility when it comes to combating illegal fishing. It is, in fact, the world’s largest market for fish products. Since approximately two-thirds of the world’s oceans are beyond areas of national jurisdiction, it is clear that national efforts and regional cooperation are not enough to combat lawlessness.

I therefore agree with the rapporteur on the need to establish new regional fisheries management organisations or to extend the mandate of existing ones, to cover areas and/or species not currently regulated. Moreover, since illegal fishing is facilitated by a lack of access to information, I believe it is a priority to introduce measures aimed precisely at increasing transparency in the market.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) The own-initiative report concerns a very important issue for the conservation of biodiversity and the health of marine fauna. All the statistics worldwide show us that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a growing problem on a worldwide scale. In addition, IUU fishing is increasingly linked to other activities threatening peace and the stability of civil coexistence between people. An increasing number of ships conceal criminal and terrorist activities and drug smuggling, and criminal organisations use the vast tracts of the sea where IUU fishing takes place precisely because these areas are difficult to monitor by the national and regional public authorities. Therefore I approve wholeheartedly of this report, and others on the same topic, because the EU must contribute to the international community’s efforts to combat IUU fishing, and ask itself and the other Member States to do everything possible to eradicate this criminal activity, which encourages crime and puts the survival of the marine ecosystem at risk and, indirectly, threatens national security.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the European Union is the world’s largest importer of fisheries products and one of the world’s major fishing powers. It therefore has a major responsibility to play a key role in mobilising the international community in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. IUU fishing is unfortunately a major environmental and economic problem worldwide, in both marine and freshwater fisheries, undermining fisheries management efforts and threatening the sustainability of fish stocks and food security. It also distorts the market, with incalculable social and economic repercussions on society as a whole, including developing countries. IUU fishing and associated commercial activities constitute unfair competition for fishermen and others who operate in a law-abiding fashion and create economic difficulties for fishing communities, consumers and the entire sector. In combating illegal fishing we therefore need to increase coordination between the Commission, the Community Fisheries Control Agency and the Member States in order to improve information gathering and exchange and assist in the rigorous and transparent application of Union fisheries legislation. Moreover, the Member States and the Commission should ensure that illegal fishing is combated at sea and in inland waters.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the Lövin report on combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. This report makes some concrete proposals for combating this scourge at international level, in particular within international organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation. The report also suggests improving the traceability of marine products, including through the use of catch certificates for fish sold on the world market.

 
  
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  Ole Christensen, Dan Jørgensen, Christel Schaldemose and Britta Thomsen (S&D), in writing. (DA) We, the four Danish Social Democrats in the European Parliament, voted against the proposal to create a European coastguard in order to boost common monitoring and inspection capacity (second half of paragraph 12) and the proposal to harmonise coastguard services at European level (second half of paragraph 13). The reason for this is that, in our view, powers relating to coastguard services in the EU should continue to rest with the Member States.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) Unfortunately, illegal fishing exists, and it also produces quite negative and harmful effects for the formal economy throughout the world, as well as for the sustainable preservation of our natural resources. Because of the nature of unreported fishing, it is impossible to assess accurately the volume caught and its economic value. However, it is thought to account for at least 15% of total catches. In light of this fact, and because we all want to continue to eat wild fish in the future, I consider it crucial that the Union, as the largest world market for fish and one of the major world fishing powers, should set an example for the rest of the world to follow. It is therefore imperative to ensure that the right to fish should be subject to objective criteria of transparency as regards the ownership of operations and catches. It is also essential that Member States that do not comply with their obligations should lose their fishing rights. There is still a lot to be done. The report takes this into account. I therefore believe that, whether through better cooperation among Member States or at European level, it is possible to combat organised and sporadic crime in the fisheries sector and to promote the formal, transparent and sustainable development of this activity.

 
  
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  Cornelis de Jong (GUE/NGL), in writing. – I support the main context of the report on combating illegal fishing at the global level and I voted in favour even though I strongly disagree with the wording of § 12 about the creation of a European coastguard in order to boost common monitoring and inspection capacity and to effectively combat current or future dangers at sea such as terrorism and piracy.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing.(FR) Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing today accounts for between 11 and 26 million tonnes a year, equivalent to at least 15% of world catches, making the economically, socially and environmentally sustainable management of the world’s marine resources impossible. What is more, illegal fishing undermines fisheries management efforts, threatens the sustainability of fish stocks and food security, and distorts the market, with major economic and social repercussions for society as a whole, including in developing countries. The report adopted today is therefore important in that it calls on the Member States and the Commission to ensure that illegal fishing is combated at sea and underlines the need to review the sufficiency of control mechanisms and the actual implementation thereof. Furthermore, the report calls for the creation of a ‘European coastguard’ in order to boost common monitoring and inspection capacity and hence combat illegal fishing.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of the report on combating illegal fishing at the global level – the role of the EU, because illegal fishing will only be effectively combated by enhancing international cooperation. The EU must make every effort to mobilise the international community in terms of developing legal provisions, specifically through the World Trade Organisation, which will make it possible to deter and punish illegal fishing, which represents around 15% of the overall annual catches, that is, an estimated 11 to 26 million tonnes of fish a year.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Illegal fishing threatens all the actions which the international community and the European Union in particular have taken to balance a strong and dynamic fishing industry against the necessary replenishment of fish stocks. Although, by its illegal nature, it is not possible to obtain precise data, the fact is that recent studies suggest 11 to 26 million tonnes of fish a year, with 11 million representing 15% of total marine catches. As Portugal is a maritime and fishing country, it is extremely important for me that the EU should take every step to protect fishing and prevent illegal catches, which harm everyone, especially communities that rely on fishing as their principal source of revenue.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) In essence, the report takes an approach we consider to be appropriate to the problem of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Enhancing the role of multilateral organisations, such as the United Nations (UN) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), in combating a practice that is very damaging to marine ecosystems is, in our opinion, appropriate, as is enhancing the role of the regional fisheries management organisations. In addition to the environmental consequences, this is a practice that also has economic and social consequences that are extremely harmful, in some cases with extensions and links to organised crime. Without prejudice to aspects that require further clarification with regard to combating IUU fishing inside the EU, an area where we will certainly have some differences of opinion with the rapporteur, we welcome a number of proposals presented in the report, some of which are innovative (such as those relating to market states, amongst others). We must, however, highlight the profoundly negative amendments proposed by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), which have been approved, on the creation of a ‘European Coastguard’ with the job of monitoring, inspecting and combating what are deemed to be ‘future dangers at sea’, such as ‘terrorism’ and ‘piracy’. These regrettable changes clearly go beyond the scope of the report and undo the consensus which essentially had been achieved during the work in committee.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Fishing is a global activity, as inevitably is the illegal part of it. Illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing causes significant harm to a common heritage of humankind, of which the oceans and their immense but finite resources form a part. It is estimated that it accounts for at least 15% of the total volume of catches, although it may in fact account for a much higher percentage. Preserving this heritage is undoubtedly a task and a responsibility for all humankind. For this reason, it is a priority that we take into account the fight against illegal fishing in the context of the international cooperation established among multilateral organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Thus, of particular importance are the FAO agreement on measures to be implemented by port states, the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement, the FAO Compliance Agreement and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. We disagree, however, on the creation of a European coastguard, as proposed by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats). These amendments clearly go beyond the scope of the report and the debate that took place when it was being prepared. In addition, these amendments are, as is well known, far from consensual, unlike most of the other measures proposed in the report, some of which are innovative.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Union is the world’s largest importer of fishery products and one of the world’s major fishing powers. It is therefore justified in playing a crucial role in mobilising the international community in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing). Such fishing is one of the most serious threats to the biodiversity of the world’s oceans. It is also a significant environmental and economic problem worldwide in marine and freshwater fishing and undermines efforts to manage fishing. It also threatens the sustainability of fish stocks and food security and distorts the market, which has an incalculable social and economic effect, and in particular a negative impact on society as a whole. Through its new wide-ranging and comprehensive set of measures relating to controls, the EU has taken on a leading role in the fight against IUU fishing.

However, I also firmly believe that it is still necessary to seek to intensify coordination between the Commission, the Community Fisheries Control Agency and the Member States in order to improve the gathering and exchange of information and to assist in the consistent and transparent application of EU legislation relating to fisheries. The EU should set an example and should adopt and enforce a policy of transparency in decision-making in the management of this sector in international bodies and in third countries.

 
  
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  Estelle Grelier (S&D), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report on illegal fishing at the global level, because its aim is beyond dispute. Illegal fishing unfairly competes with legal fishing and also often goes hand in hand with serious social conditions. There is no international framework today in which to share common standards. It is therefore vital for the European Union to become a proactive force in the bodies to which it belongs. During the forthcoming debates on the common fisheries policy, I will, however, be keeping a close eye on the issue of sanctions, which is raised in this report. Indeed, the resolution recommends withdrawing European subsidies for those who breach the rules. This proposal will need to be discussed with local players before it is taken any further. The entry into force of the point-based licence is also welcomed; I am unable to support this given the state of the current implementing arrangements. Furthermore, and in view of the UK Government’s recent decision to stop subsidising safety in the Channel, I made sure that it was spelt out in the report that the Union needs to improve its own operations, in particular, by creating a European coastguard, so as to ensure that our actions are more coordinated and effective.

 
  
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  Mikael Gustafsson (GUE/NGL), in writing. – I generally support this very important report on combating illegal fishing at the global level, but in the final vote I abstained because I strongly disagree with the wording of paragraph 12 concerning the creation of a European coastguard in order to boost common monitoring and inspection capacity and to effectively combat current or future dangers at sea such as terrorism and piracy.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE), in writing. – I very much welcome this report in IUU fisheries, as highlighted in my intervention on the debate in Plenary today. This is an issue which needs to be dealt with to protect our seas and ensure fish for the future.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) Fishing is a global industry, as is, inevitably, the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) component. As we know, global cooperation is needed to combat IUU fishing. The oceans of the world are the common heritage of humanity, and their conservation is the common responsibility of humanity. I agree that a system of global ocean governance is essential for managing fisheries, especially on the high seas, and that the current approach is a clear failure. International agreements must be negotiated to ensure that the right to fish is conditional on minimum criteria relating to transparency of ownership, operations and catches and traceability of the product, etc., and that States not fulfilling their responsibilities lose their fishing rights. As a final note, many of the above recommendations would require significant resources to implement. Many developing countries would have difficulty in finding such resources, so means must be found for providing assistance. This is a common situation these days. However, such assistance should not be unconditional – failure on the part of countries receiving assistance should give rise to the same consequences as for other countries, such as a ban on exports.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) This report has been adopted by the Committee on Fisheries. It is an important report insofar as illegal fishing is one of the most serious threats to biodiversity. The report calls on the European Union and the control authorities in the Member States to provide themselves with sufficient resources (human, financial and technical) so as to be able to combat illegal fishing to the greatest possible extent. Furthermore, the report calls on the Commission to identify and sanction operators who violate EU legislation, to create a ‘European coastguard’, to ensure full, effective traceability of fish products and to increase the resources allocated to the fight against corruption and organised crime. I endorsed this report during the vote in plenary.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing. (PL) We can see from the report that illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is producing an estimated annual volume of 11-26 million tonnes. In view of the fact that marine resources are shrinking, these figures inspire serious concerns, for the situation is threatening not only the economy but also the environment and global food security. We, as the European Union, are trying to counteract these types of impact, reinstate depleted resources and ensure a balanced control over catches through enforcing relevant laws in the sphere of fisheries, through interstate cooperation, effective controls, transparency of information and access thereto. We also should present a good example for third countries and encourage them to take effective measures aimed at curtailing damaging practices.

 
  
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  Jacek Olgierd Kurski (ECR), in writing. – I was born and raised on the coast and even now spend a large part of my life within sight and smell of the sea. Those who make their living in difficult and dangerous conditions on the ocean waves cannot but be close to my heart, and I am keen for European solidarity to extend far beyond the borders of the Union. Nevertheless, I am concerned by the subtle assumptions present in the language of the motion. I remind colleagues and the Commission that we are in a time of economic crisis, where tax revenues and thus public resources are severely stretched. I would remind colleagues of the need for budgetary discipline and the desirability of a critical eye in all that we do. I do not doubt the good intentions of the motion, but I consider it irresponsible of colleagues to call for an increase in spending without identifying from where the resources should come.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. IUU fishing undermines efforts to conserve and manage fish stocks in all capture fisheries. When confronted with IUU fishing, national and regional fisheries management organisations can fail to achieve management goals. This situation leads to the loss of both short and long-term social and economic opportunities and to negative effects on food security and environmental protection. IUU fishing can lead to the collapse of a fishery or seriously impair efforts to rebuild stocks that have already been depleted. Existing international instruments addressing IUU fishing have not been effective due to a lack of political will, priority, capacity and resources to ratify or accede to and implement them.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Combating illegal fishing is of major importance as this activity represents one of the gravest threats facing the biodiversity of the oceans, and it constitutes unfair competition for fishermen who abide by the rules in force. In adopting this report, the European Parliament is calling for coordinated international action to combat this type of fishing, by proposing that inspections at sea be enhanced, that the marketing of these products be banned and that penalties be imposed on negligent states. The volume of catches from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing has been estimated at between 11 and 26 million tonnes a year, equivalent to 15% of the overall catches. This makes it impossible to manage the world's marine resources sustainably from an economic, social or environmental point of view. In order for the fight against IUU fishing to be effective, there is a need for international cooperation and a comprehensive exchange of information on fishing vessels, their activities and their catches.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The report stresses that, in order to close markets to illegal seafood, new measures are needed, such as compulsory registration of fishing vessels above 10GT (gross tonnage), a global catch certification scheme, international exchange of information on vessels’ activities, import controls, etc. I am in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is a problem whose world-wide aspects have been ignored for far too long. We need comprehensive, joint measures to ensure that there is no repetition of the example of the Somali fishermen, who switched to piracy following illegal over-fishing, and who now pose a huge threat to the safety of shipping in these waters. We must also consider the negative consequences for food security and environmental protection. Illegal fishing can lead to the collapse of a fish stock or seriously impede efforts to replenish already decimated stocks. As the report correctly points out, the EU cannot put a stop to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing on its own. A coordinated, approach on an international level supported by multinational agreements would be more sensible. For this reason, I have abstained from voting.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is very harmful to the entire system. Various studies have shown alarming figures, with no less than 15% of catches worldwide coming from illegal fishing. This figure easily demonstrates how the situation has become unsustainable, also from an economic point of view. Legal fishing also helps compliance with and maintenance of maritime environmental sustainability criteria. It is not hard to understand that it is difficult to pin down illegal fishing within the maritime borders of a single state, as it is often far more widespread, and therefore requires joint action and increasing levels of cooperation. Furthermore, I believe that setting up a ‘European coastguard’, as suggested in the report, could make it possible to boost common monitoring and inspection capacity and to effectively combat current or future dangers at sea such as illegal fishing, as well as terrorism, piracy, trafficking or marine pollution. This report touches on all of these and many other important issues, which is why I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL), in writing. – I fully support efforts to eliminate IUU fishing due to its negative impact on the environment and therefore support most of the contents of this report. However, I abstained due to paragraphs 12 and 13, which call for greater cooperation and harmonisation between European coastguards. This would include greater exchange of information and integrated surveillance. I see the need to have a monitoring and enforcement force on the seas and coast to combat illegal fishing and other undesirable practices such as pollution and piracy, but I oppose those paragraphs as the increased powers that this would give to coastguards would not just be used against these practices but also against the civil liberties and rights of others, in particular asylum seekers and immigrants. I therefore abstained in the vote on the report.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution because both the EU and each individual Member State must make every effort to stop the global spread of illegal fishing. In order to boost common monitoring and inspection capacity, there must be coordinated cooperation, particularly with a view to coordinating a European coastguard. I believe that it is appropriate to call on the Commission to increase the financial envelope for the fisheries sector in the agreements that it signs with developing countries. Furthermore, both the Commission and the Council must intensify their fight against corruption and organised crime in this area and allocate increased funding to the implementation of preventative measures.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The greater part of the surface area of the oceans (two thirds) is not subject to the jurisdiction of any states. That is why problems like those relating to global fishing demand integrated responses from the different states, because they do not have the capacity to react alone. In this context, the European Union must take a leading role by providing itself with the instruments needed to combat illegal fishing and by strengthening cooperation with international organisations capable of carrying out control and monitoring activities with broad underlying support. Fisheries regulation is essential not only for a fair, competitive market, but also, and above all, for the very sustainability of some fish species and the balance of the ecosystem. That is why I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Today, at the plenary session in Strasbourg, we voted on the report by Ms Lövin, which proposes strengthening inspections, closing illegal fish markets and sanctions for states that do not comply with the rules in force. I believe that action at international level is necessary, because two thirds of the world’s waters are outside any jurisdiction and fleets of fishing vessels are mobile and often do not respect the rules. In its capacity as a major world fishing power, the EU should take responsibility for mobilising the international community to this end.

It is estimated that around 15% of world catches, between 11 and 26 million tonnes a year, comes from illegal fishing. Therefore, as the resolution claims, it is impossible to defend marine resources unless illegal fishing is tackled. The new measures should include the compulsory registration of fishing vessels over 10 GT, the development of catch documentation schemes, the compulsory use of fishing vessel monitoring systems (VMS), the exchange of information on the activity of ships, importation controls and an agreement on the closure of markets for illegal catches.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The FAO adopted a Plan of Action to combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in 2001, which has since been a declared priority of the international community. IUU fishing undermines efforts to conserve and manage fish stocks in all capture fisheries. When confronted with IUU fishing, national and regional fisheries management organizations can fail to achieve management goals. This situation leads to the loss of both short and long-term social and economic opportunities and to negative effects on food security and environmental protection. IUU fishing can lead to the collapse of a fishery or seriously impair efforts to rebuild stocks that have already been depleted. Existing international instruments addressing IUU fishing have not been effective due to a lack of political will, priority, capacity and resources to ratify or accede to and implement them. (FAO 2001 Plan of Action, first paragraph) By its very nature, the extent of IUU fishing is impossible to estimate with any precision, but it is known to be very large. One recent study suggested it accounted for between 11 and 26 million tonnes per year. Even the low end of that range is equivalent to 15% of marine catches.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for this measure because international illegal fishing undermines efforts to conserve and manage fish stocks in all the world’s seas. This situation not only leads to serious effects on food security and environmental protection, but also to the loss of both short and long-term social and economic opportunities. Illegal fishing can in fact lead to the collapse of a fishery, seriously impairing efforts to rebuild stocks that have already been depleted. Existing international instruments addressing the phenomenon have not been effective due to a lack of political will, priority, capacity and resources to ratify them. The European Union has a very important specific responsibility, since it constitutes the world’s largest market for fish and is one of the major fishing powers.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing.(EL) I voted in favour of the report by Ms Lövin because it deals with the very important issue of illegal fishing. The European Union (EU) has a particular responsibility when it comes to combating illegal fishing, given that it is the biggest fisheries product market in the world and one of the biggest fisheries powers. I congratulate Ms Lövin on the importance that she has attached to the fact that there is a lack of access to information and a lack of transparency as regards the names of vessels and the identity of their real owners, as this provision is necessary in order to address the problem and the Member States need to take a broad range of measures to improve transparency.

 
  
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  Antolín Sánchez Presedo (S&D), in writing. (ES) The seas and oceans together form more than 90% of available living space; they cover 71% of our planet and are the heritage of all humanity.

Preserving their biodiversity and managing their resources responsibly is an international priority which needs a global management system. Illegal fishing, which accounts for 15% of total catch according to some estimates, undermines these aims; it also represents a loss of economic and social opportunities and has repercussions on food security and the environment.

The European Union, which has regulations covering this issue, has a special responsibility since it is a leading actor in the sector and the main world market. I congratulate the rapporteur for a report containing many initiatives aimed at bringing transparency to ships, licences and catches, and to planning and managing fishing activities in the high seas, coastal waters, ports and markets.

I thank you for accepting my amendments asking for an organisation within the United Nations system to carry out independent evaluation of flagged states’ compliance with the regulations, to seek international legal instruments for prosecuting and punishing the illegal fishing trade and to support the FAO’s efforts to do away with ports of convenience that are gateways for the trade in illegal catches.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) Illegal fishing undermines efforts to conserve and manage fish stocks in all capture fisheries. When confronted with this phenomenon, national and regional fisheries management organisations can fail to achieve management goals. This situation leads to the loss of both short- and long-term social and economic opportunities and to negative effects on food security and environmental protection.

With its new legislation, the EU has armed itself with tools to combat illegal fishing. If the EU is to persuade other States to act as well, then the EU must itself be above reproach. The existing Regional Fishers Management Organisations (RFMOs) vary widely in their approach to illegal fishing and the legal measures, including sanctions, that they employ to combat it. Most of the ideas to combat the phenomenon need to be implemented among RFMOs. Finally, the EU could simultaneously support current global initiatives as well as proposing new ones.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixera (PPE), in writing. (PT) The issue of illegal fishing is one of the European Union’s major concerns in the context of fisheries policy. Despite the difficulty in determining the volume of illegal fishing, it has been assessed at between 11 and 26 million tonnes a year. The European Union has a special responsibility in this area, as it is one of the major fishing powers and the world’s largest market. Parliament has therefore supported a series of proposals relating to initiatives in international organisations, the enhancement of transparency and the role of the EU in this area, as well as cooperation among Member States and combating organised crime in order to help solve the problem of illegal fishing.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted for the report on the EU’s role in combating illegal fishing at global level because the Commission and Member States must cooperate with a view to setting up a European coastguard service in order to boost the monitoring and inspection capacity and effectively combat dangers at sea such as terrorism, piracy, illegal fishing, trafficking or even marine pollution. I voted for the amendment which urges the Commission to continue its efforts to promote the exchange of information in order to integrate maritime surveillance and, in particular, information aimed at harmonising coastguard services at European level. Maintaining and developing the European fisheries sector depend, to a certain extent, on strict monitoring of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) activities involving fishery products traded on European and global markets. We should stress the importance of this sector for regional planning, food safety and preserving jobs and resources in EU waters. Past limitations with regard to monitoring, control and surveillance of fishing activities have been largely overcome by technological advances, including developments in space and satellite communication technologies. Indeed, the solution for combating IUU fishing lies primarily with governments finding the political will to act effectively and responsibly.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – I welcome today’s report which calls for the EU to lead the fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing. The only way to deal with this issue is by taking international action, and the EU needs to take an active role in order to protect EU fishermen and fishing industries. Illegal fishing is extremely difficult to regulate. I welcome calls to close markets to illegal seafood and to impose sanctions on states that do not meet international obligations. Putting a stop to illegal fishing now is vital – fish stocks are dangerously low and the threat of illegal fishing could prove disastrous for many people who make their living in this industry. I fully support proposals for better coordination between countries and believe that the EU needs to work with big players such as Japan, the US and China to see how this can be stamped out on a global level.

 
  
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  Dominique Vlasto (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report, which reaffirms our desire to make the Union a leader in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. I am convinced that, as the largest importer of fisheries products and the owner of one of the largest fleets in the world, the Union must set an example so as to mobilise the entire international community. Given that two-thirds of marine spaces are located on the high seas and do not come under any national jurisdiction, only a joint solution at global level can be effective. IUU fishing accounts for more than 15% of catches and threatens not only the sustainable management of marine resources but also the sector as a whole. However, the tools for combating this scourge already exist within the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the EU. I find it regrettable, therefore, that the only thing that should be missing today is the political will to apply these tools universally and responsibly. It is up to us alone to take action today to preserve our oceans. Everyone needs to contribute to this effort: the member countries of the FAO by honouring their commitments, but also the public by consuming these dwindling resources responsibly.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) The world’s oceans are a collective asset and their preservation is our shared responsibility. Although a nine-figure sum was provided each year under the common fisheries policy in the 2007-2013 financial framework, European fish stocks are now in a terrible state. It is obvious that the money was not correctly spent. Thus, in the belief that the midnight hour is about to strike for our oceans, I have voted in favour of a European coastguard service also being financed from these EU funds in the future. Most of these proposals mentioned relate to good fisheries management. In respect of the prevention of illegal fishing, which is estimated at 15%, a package of measures for greater transparency will be presented. I am certain that mandatory transparency requirements and effective prevention mechanisms are essential elements in a successful campaign to prevent illegal fishing. I have voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) Twenty-six million tonnes a year is an enormous number. The volume of illegal fishing has reached extremely high levels, equivalent to 15% of catches, and now constitutes the biggest market of fish products in the world. It is therefore clear that the European Union must take the necessary diplomatic actions to introduce measures that will improve transparency and stem the proliferation of illegal fishing. For these reasons, I voted in favour of the text by Ms Lövin.

 
  
 

(The sitting was suspended at 13.30 and resumed at 15.00)

 
Last updated: 19 March 2012Legal notice