Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. − (PT) I support the House’s decision on the new numerical strength of its committees and I hope that this will contribute to making their work more effective, to improving debate and extending the democracy that should always underlie their workings. I hope that, in the second half of this session, Parliament’s committees will continue to be up to the job assigned to them and that they will, at least, maintain the same level of skill in analysing the issues brought before them and be just as committed when it comes to reaching a decision.
José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The proposal for a decision under consideration concerns the numerical strength of the standing committees of the European Parliament and has been tabled pursuant to Rule 183 of the Rules of Procedure, according to which ‘On a proposal from the Conference of Presidents, Parliament shall set up standing committees whose powers shall be defined in an annex to these Rules of Procedure. Their members shall be elected during the first part-session following the re-election of Parliament and again two and a half years thereafter’. As two and a half years have passed since this Parliament was elected, the second period of part-sessions is starting now. In view of the decisions of 15 July 2009 and 14 December 2011 on the numerical strength of the parliamentary committees, I am voting for this decision.
Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. − (PT) With the entry into force of Protocol 36 of the Treaty of Lisbon, it has become necessary to reorganise the numerical strength of Parliament’s committees. The proposal tabled is the result of an agreement reached in the Conference of Committee Chairs. As such, and in view of the decisions reached on 15 July 2009 and 14 December 2009, I voted for this proposal for a decision, tabled pursuant to Rule 183 of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament.
Damien Abad (PPE) , in writing. – (FR) While the Member States, under the dynamic of the Franco-German pair, redouble their efforts to bring Europe out of the crisis and put in place true economic governance, I regret the European Parliament’s position which expresses doubts with regard to the need for the governmental agreement reached in December. Yet, this agreement is aimed at creating a ‘Fiscal Stability Union’ both to reduce debt and to strengthen financial stability in the euro area. No longer able to live beyond their means, the Member States must bring their budgets into line as quickly as possible. Fiscal discipline is the golden rule. I am convinced that this agreement represents a decisive step in European integration, and I have therefore voted against this resolution.
Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. − (PT) I am voting for this joint motion for a resolution, since, through it, the European Parliament is arguing with a single voice that EU law in its current form is sufficient to respond adequately to the economic crisis. This should be done on the basis of the Community method, since – it cannot be said often enough – the EU is a political project founded on common values, on strong common institutions and on respect for common rules, meaning that any agreement between the Member States should be based on solidarity. I would also stress the importance of leading role played by the national parliaments and the European Parliament in setting out and monitoring all the measures that have been adopted to combat the crisis, because that will mean we have economic governance that is better coordinated and more effective.
Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this motion for a resolution because it sends out a strong signal from the European Parliament regarding the principles which must provide the basis for drawing up an international agreement on a Fiscal Stability Union. In order to ensure that this new treaty has a positive impact and helps strengthen economic governance, it is vital to avoid divisions within the European Union, both between Member States and between institutions. In this regard, I think that the provisions concerning the attendance of all the states party to the future agreement at Euro Summit meetings are of paramount importance. At the same time, I should point out the need to increase Parliament’s involvement in the aspects relating to European economic governance as a guarantee of democratic control in this area. I should mention that measures aimed at guaranteeing growth and competitiveness are vital to ensuring a genuine, lasting economic recovery. I too call on Europe’s leaders to assume their specific commitments in this area.
Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. − (PT) The current draft of the agreement has raised a number of questions about its effectiveness in the European Parliament. Firstly, the objectives pursued in this agreement could be achieved more effectively by using the Community method. Secondly, the Member States express their desire to increase fiscal discipline in this text, but the crisis will not be overcome with just measures in this area. There is a need to ensure that the governments of the Member States will adopt measures promoting economic recovery and competitiveness, and that they will table proposals for the creation of a bailout fund, for the issue of project bonds, for a financial transaction tax and for stability bonds.
I would emphasise that this agreement should be compatible with EU legislation, and that democratic responsibility should also be respected by increasing the participation of the European Parliament and the national parliaments. For the above reasons, I voted for the European Parliament’s position on the draft international agreement on a Fiscal Stability Union that the Member States want to adopt following the European Council of December 2011.
Bastiaan Belder (EFD), in writing. − (NL) I do not support the motion for a resolution on the draft agreement, because it refers to evolution towards an economic and budgetary union. While agreements are necessary to greatly increase the competitive ethos of weak Member States, talking of an economic and budgetary union is taking things a step further. In addition, the European Parliament has called for a roadmap for Eurobonds. I can support that even less. This reduces the incentive for budgetary discipline, because it allows countries in difficulty to continue financing themselves at too low an interest rate. In Greece, interest rates that are too low have contributed to an influx of money which has proved impossible to repay, because of a lack of competitive ethos. That is why I am not in favour of the Eurobond. Moreover, it would be very expensive for countries that are currently able to lend at a low rate because of their strong budgetary discipline.
Incidentally, I welcome the new agreement which is intended to help strengthen budgetary discipline. This is a step in the right direction, for two reasons: in their national laws, participating countries will commit themselves to balancing their budgets or producing a surplus and, eventually, the discipline will be tightened, thanks to a standard of 0.5% of gross domestic product for the budget deficit in the medium term.
Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) What I would like to say today about the new treaty, which must from now on be called the intergovernmental treaty under negotiation, goes further than mere doubts. We do not need a new treaty, especially not this one. Let us use the one we have. Of course, we must concentrate on debt but we must go beyond budgetary austerity: in a previous resolution, Parliament asked for a road map including a plan for growth, investment and employment to be put in place. This is what we should work towards. Unfortunately, Parliament was not taken into consideration in these negotiations. What legitimacy would an agreement negotiated during this period of deep crisis for the EU have without full collaboration with the European Parliament and also the national parliaments?
Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. − (IT) I voted against the joint motion for a resolution on the conclusions of the Council at the beginning of January because the essential vision of the text reflects a pro-European stance that embraces the Community method, which is, however, largely responsible for the current crisis. The Community method means a gradual and progressive centralisation of powers in Brussels; it means taking increasingly important and invasive decisions passing over people’s heads; and it means less democracy, given the composition of the Commission in particular, a non-elected body made up of high-level bureaucrats who every day take decisions affecting the lives of half a billion people in Europe. Today we do not need more Europe, we need a Europe that is more flexible, more democratic and closer to the people, exactly the opposite of what we read in this resolution.
Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) The planned fiscal agreement (treaty) decided on at the last Council meeting comprises a mixture of proposals which attempt to resolve a crisis triggered by the lack of some of the measures proposed prior to its occurrence. Unfortunately, the provisions on containing public deficits are not strong enough to resolve the current crisis which is evident through an increased lack of confidence in the bonds issued by EU Member States. I think that this stalemate can only by overcome by measures for stimulating economic growth, targeted primarily at SMEs (for instance, by partially subsidising the interest levied on bank loans). An excessive public deficit must obviously be avoided. However, any new deviation is unrealistic, which makes me think what good these constraints are now.
Otherwise, I believe that Member States must retain total control over their tax rate and that competition between them in this area cannot be damaging, just as competition between companies benefits consumers. On the subject of a financial transaction tax, the example of Hungary speaks for itself regarding the impact: a fall in capital exposure to this country and a reduction in lending activity, which is also expected to be the impact across the whole EU, albeit perhaps at a slower rate than in Hungary’s case.
Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE), in writing. – (RO) We all agree that urgent and bold measures need to be taken to tackle the economic and sovereign debt crisis largely caused by the euro area’s structural weaknesses. What is actually needed is sound governance of the euro area and a greater degree of budgetary discipline at Member State level. However, I am not aware whether, in its current form, the intergovernmental agreement addresses this essential requirement. I have some reservations regarding this new treaty which risks duplicating regulations and creating a split between the euro area and the remaining Member States without actually being needed at all. The structural deficit criterion of 0.5% of GDP can be included very well in the Stability and Growth Pact which is directly applicable in Member States. On the other hand, to ensure the democratic legitimacy of the decisions implementing the agreement’s provisions, the ideal solution would be for them to be adopted using the Community method, thereby remaining consistent with existing European law. Last but not least, I think that the provisions concerning fiscal union are vague at the moment and that too much emphasis is placed on austerity without offsetting this with some measures aimed at stimulating economic recovery and returning to economic growth, which is needed so much in order to defuse social tensions.
Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (EL) The Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union which is being promoted consists of measures that follow on from and step up the same failed neoliberal policies; by no stretch of the imagination do they constitute drastic action to combat the main causes of the crisis. I voted against today’s joint resolution by the political parties (Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance). Despite the fact that it expresses doubts about the need for the Treaty, the resolution avoids highlighting its basic drawbacks and criticising the policies being applied at European level. The ‘Treaty’ basically institutionalises austerity policies, reduces the quality of life for the majority of European citizens, increases inequalities between the Member States and creates a multi-speed Europe. Its main concern is fiscal prudence at any cost (for example wage, pension and benefit cuts), without in any way limiting the catastrophic profiteering of financial markets and credit rating agencies. Furthermore, the provisions of the ‘Treaty’ undermine the democratic rights of Europeans by minimising their facility to exercise an alternative economic and fiscal policy via their elected governments. The GUE/NGL Group highlighted the above issues and the need for extensive public consultation (for example referenda) on possible changes in an alternative motion for a resolution.
Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Gunnar Hökmark and Anna Ibrisagic (PPE), in writing. − (SV) We voted in favour of the resolution on the December European Council today. We voted in favour because the resolution clearly states that the agreement that is now being negotiated between the Member States shall be subordinate to current EU legislation. It also states that all Member States, irrespective of whether or not they have introduced the euro, shall have the right to participate in the meetings with the Heads of State or Government that will be held by the parties to the agreement, which is an important issue as far as we are concerned. We are, however, opposed to the demands for a financial transaction tax and the introduction of Eurobonds.
Mário David (PPE), in writing. − (PT) First of all, I should like to express my enormous satisfaction with the fact that this resolution has been widely supported in this House: it was supported by four parliamentary groups and 75% of Members voted in favour. This stance is a good demonstration of the relevance of the resolution’s content, as well as of the extreme importance of the issues tackled. This is, firstly, because of the importance given to absolute respect for democratic accountability by ‘strengthening the involvement of both the European Parliament and the national parliaments, at their respective levels, in all aspects of European economic coordination and governance’, as can be read in the resolution and, obviously, in the European Treaties. It is also, however, because of the focus given to ‘a Union of both stability and sustainable growth’; that is, it emphasises the need to promote, starting with the fiscal discipline that must be the indisputable foundation of the future agreement, measures whose purpose is growth that is sustainable over the long term. This will enable greater convergence between the Member States, make our economy more competitive and, obviously, create jobs. Finally, it is also because it introduces concrete measures, of which I would stress the issuing of project bonds, a financial transaction tax and a roadmap to stability.
Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I did not vote in favour of the resolution criticising the conclusions of the European Council of 8 and 9 December 2011. The agreement reached under the impetus of Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel represents a timely foundation on which to strengthen fiscal discipline thanks to a mechanism of automatic sanctions, and the inclusion of a fiscal golden rule in each constitution. I would add that Parliament’s resolution implicitly and inopportunely defends the European Court of Justice’s right to exercise control over the level of deficit in national budgets. Furthermore, it provides for the possibility of the States not participating in the strengthened economic union participating in negotiations on the final text.
Philippe de Villiers (EFD), in writing. – (FR) This resolution is once again irrelevant. To recover from the crisis, which is as much economic as institutional, Parliament is proposing only the strengthening of the ‘Community method’, that is, the construction of a Europe without its peoples.
As far as content is concerned, the draft intergovernmental treaty proposes ‘ever closer’ economic governance and semi-automatic sanctions for the Member States.
While affirming that it ‘fully respects the responsibilities of national parliaments’, the text marginalises the representatives of the people a little more, places the European Court of Justice above national constitutions and restricts States to running an externally defined economic policy (the policy of restraint and deflation).
Neither the lack of an optimum monetary area nor the overexposure of the European market to social and ecological dumping involving low-cost countries have been taken into account.
With a poor diagnosis of the crisis as well as ill-advised ways of recovering from it, the European economies will not have the freedom they need to rediscover dynamism and growth.
Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I welcome the adoption of this very critical resolution on the draft treaty on stability, coordination and governance in the economic and monetary union which is currently being negotiated by the Member States. The resolution voted through reflects the European Parliament’s common position (for once). It is important to reiterate that, in this pact, all the measures to be put in place must respect Community rules and procedures. This should be written in black and white, including Parliament’s right of codecision. The resolution also insists on respect for the revised Stability Pact and cooperation with national parliaments. These are fundamental matters.
Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. − (PT) Apart from the United Kingdom’s choice, the only important thing to mention about this European Council is the decision by the Heads of State or Government to conclude an international agreement between the Member States of the Union.
Unfortunately, however, the much hoped-for response or responses – or even progress towards the solution of the European sovereign debt crisis – did not arrive. It did not arrive because, at bottom, this agreement mirrors everything already adopted in the economic governance package and offers absolutely nothing new; if anything, its failing is lack of ambition. However, instead of opting for consistent Community-method solution based on democratic principles, it opted to regress; to return to a period before the Treaty of Lisbon. As such, I fully support the motion for a resolution adopted here today, and I would reiterate the urgent need to seek a solution based on the Community pillar, whether through the possibility of issuing joint debt, of creating a common bailout fund or of any other option that deals directly with the crisis in which we are mired.
José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. − (PT) This joint motion for a resolution concerns the conclusions of the European Council of 8-9 December 2011 on a draft international agreement on a Fiscal Stability Union, and has been tabled instead of the motions for resolutions by the following groups: the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance and the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. Although it was impossible to conclude an intergovernmental treaty between the 27 Member States because the United Kingdom refused to sign it, I consider the conclusions of this Council regarding increased economic and fiscal supervision positive; in conjunction with the package of six economic governance proposals in the ‘six pack’, this will boost the economic growth that we need so badly. I therefore voted for this joint motion for a resolution and I hope the European Union, as guardian of the Treaties in the European Union, will do all it can to ensure that they are scrupulously observed and that they will contribute to the implementation of the Community method, so as to transform the monetary union into a true economic and fiscal union.
João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. − (PT) Although not surprising, the debate and vote on this motion for a resolution are illuminating. Whilst expressing greater or lesser levels of indignation at the clear illegality and illegitimacy of this agreement and the way in which Parliament has been held in contempt throughout the process, the main political groups are now preparing to back it, demanding nothing more than pious guarantees that what has just been disrespected will be respected in future. The emphasis given to reservations about or disagreements with how the agreement was reached does not obscure the acceptance of its intolerable content. This is a veritable coup d’état, through which the intention is to permanently enshrine in the constitutions of countries like Portugal the policies of outright rolling back of civilisation that have been implemented there. The President of the Commission and, with natural but minor differences, the main political groups – the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance and the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament – have come here to defend the content of this agreement that reproduces the discourse of Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy. It is enlightening that the objectives of the agreement are advocated immediately in the first item, with only the way in which they are to be achieved in doubt.
The Commission and this Parliament are essentially devoting themselves to their role as a mere adornment to the institutional architecture of the EU; as echo chambers for the guidelines emanating from those who are truly in charge: the Franco-German directorate, ever more dominated by Germany.
Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The European Union finds itself in what is probably the deepest crisis in its history. Under pressure from Germany, European leaders have agreed on a new treaty to tighten fiscal discipline in the euro area and deepen economic integration. These steps should help to solve the debt crisis. The form of the new treaty, agreed at the European summit, was vetoed by the United Kingdom, however, which sought concessions in exchange for supporting the changes to existing EU treaties. Bypassing the British veto, leading EU representatives, led by France and Germany, are promoting a new treaty outside the legal framework of the EU. The crisis in the monetary union is a result of macroeconomic imbalances. It was not caused by irresponsible management, and if we are insufficiently aware of this fact, then the recipes based on this logic will not work either, of course. France and Germany basically announced their own decision without consulting the standard methods or the other Member States. If the EU is to work on this principle, and if the Franco-German proposal is to be promoted from the institutional perspective, in my opinion in an absolutely undemocratic manner and contrary to the fundamental values of the Union, then the democratic legitimacy of the process is really questionable in this case. I firmly believe that if we sacrifice democracy in favour of the power games of the strongest European nations, it will literally be civilisation that loses.
Ashley Fox (ECR), in writing. − The ECR Group would like to express its support to the Member States involved in developing the intergovernmental treaty. The intergovernmental approach is one that we should fully support. It is right that democratically elected governments are free to enter into such agreements. We delude ourselves if we think that the European Parliament is the only institution with a democratic mandate. The community method that so many in the European Parliament adore is a time-consuming process and not one that is well suited to resolving the current crisis. The Parliament is not only wrong about the process of this agreement, but also the content. The introduction of a financial transaction tax will do nothing to solve the current crisis. Indeed, the Commission’s own impact assessment demonstrates that its introduction will make all our constituents poorer. The solution to this crisis is not, as many in this house believe, more Europe.
Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. − (HU) Though with varying degrees of intensity and using different arguments, everyone who spoke during the brief debate prior to the vote criticised the fiscal pact. This resolution’s main grievance lies with the European Parliament being ignored, and it also stresses Parliament’s concerns that the fiscal pact could serve as a basis for the creation of a ‘two-speed’ Europe, therefore seeing a necessity for all agreements over the next five years to be incorporated into EU law. According to the resolution, we need not only austerity measures, but also the promotion of economic growth, the levying of taxes on financial transactions, and bonds to alleviate the present shortage of funds. Personally I am missing from this draft, which has been recast several times now and still does not represent a final version, guarantees that would ensure that in the implementation of its measures the European Union will follow the EU method of decision-making which ensures democratic transparency and accountability. For these reasons I consider all points of this motion for a resolution important, and gave them my full support.
Robert Goebbels (S&D), in writing. – (FR) I voted with the vast majority of MEPs in favour of the resolution on the European Council’s conclusions of 8-9 December 2011. The European Council is proposing an intergovernmental agreement on stability, coordination and governance of the economic and monetary union. This represents an abandonment of the Community method and the elimination of the European Parliament from the decision-making process in the Union. This agreement, which is placed outside of the proven structures of Europe, will not resolve anything and will not impress the markets. I have nevertheless given my support to the resolution so that my voice is not confused with that of notorious anti-Europeans.
Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing. – (FR) I was surprised by the absence of Mr Peterson from the Chamber, since he is now a more than interested party in your policies. The problem is not whether the new so-called ‘fiscal’ treaty is purely intergovernmental or whether it conforms to the Community method. It is another straightjacket for national policies, a new bar in the prison which the European Union is increasingly resembling. It is aimed at speeding up the process of keeping tabs on budgets, which already appears in the ‘six pack’, and sanctuarising it. Of course, it is also aimed at reassuring international finance, an objective which has become the be all and end all.
We know how much credibility your actions have with the small financial oligarchy which claims to rule the world: the loss of more than one ‘A’, States first, then all of the collectives, companies and entities which benefit from their guarantee. The banks’ refusal to respect their promise to help resolve the crisis, in spite of the EUR 500 billion placed at their disposal by Mr Draghi. All of this is a guarantee of new financial and economic difficulties, which themselves will lead to further deterioration in an endless vicious circle where the losers will always be the impoverished, insecure and pressurised European peoples.
Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. − At several recent summits, and again at the December European Council meeting, Member States have tried to address the present crisis with intergovernmental approaches, which merely patch-up the patient. Given the profound nature of Europe’s current difficulties, comprehensive, concerted action at EU level is the only real cure. Better involving national parliaments and the European Parliament in these decisions could also help to improve the democratic accountability of these decisions and improve their credibility for citizens. The specific policy proposals that emerged from the summit are also disappointing. While fiscal discipline is a necessary part of a stable and sustainable economy, it cannot alone bring about a return to growth. The EU should pursue a holistic response focusing on reforging a stronger, better-integrated European Single Market through the removal of the many remaining ‘gaps’, which would both offer consumers better protection and improve competitiveness, thus fostering growth and job creation.
Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing. – (FR) I abstained from the vote on the joint motion for a resolution on the European Council’s conclusions (8-9 December 2011) on a draft international agreement on a Fiscal Stability Union. In fact, even if this resolution emphasises both form, namely that only the Community method can allow us to put in place a true economic and budgetary union, and content, by insisting on the fact that budgetary discipline will not be enough to resolve the European economic and financial crisis by itself, the terms of this text do not sufficiently call into question the substance of the draft agreement. What is needed is to tackle the root causes of the crisis by calling neo-liberal policies into question; to denounce the restrictive austerity mechanism which will be applied to current and future governments of Member States and therefore to European citizens – thereby removing any possibility of budgetary choice for the future –; to underline the ultra-technocracy coming into play in the agreement, which will in fact widen the gap between the European institutions and European citizens and aggravate the European democratic crisis; and finally, to recall that the draft agreement will institutionalise a Europe of double standards, the Member States who are part of the agreement and those who are not.
Françoise Grossetête (PPE), in writing. – (FR) Contrary to what the resolution says, I have no doubts with regard to the need for an intergovernmental agreement for fiscal stability in Europe. On the contrary, it is a significant step towards an energetic, immediate and sustainable response to the financial, economic and social crises hitting several of the Union’s Member States. It would be irresponsible and unrealistic, as the French Socialist Party underlines, to renegotiate such an agreement.
I abstained on the final vote on this resolution as the text also stipulates that all Member States, including countries which do not use the euro, should participate in euro area summits. This is economic and political nonsense, as the euro area Member States wish to strengthen economic governance and fiscal coordination.
Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. – (FR) The draft treaty currently under negotiation is unacceptable, both in content and form. In terms of content, it is exclusively punitive and consists only in constitutionalising ‘golden rules’ for reducing deficits and promoting austerity, ignoring the absolute necessity of investing to encourage growth and boost employment. This treaty traps Europe in the recession, and we cannot accept it. In terms of form, it was negotiated on the sly by the Heads of State or Government, completely ignoring the European Parliament’s role as co-legislator as well as the role of national parliaments. The negotiation group granted to the European Parliament is a far cry from allowing fair representation of European citizens in this discussion. The resolution voted through may have voiced some criticisms and reservations as regards the draft treaty, but it is too timid on these points and that is why I abstained.
Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted against this motion for a resolution. It calls into question all of the involvement and determination of President Sarkozy, who, alongside the German Chancellor, has relentlessly endeavoured to combat the financial and economic crisis and to strengthen European economic governance. This resolution is devoid of any encouragement and consideration for the efforts undertaken since the beginning of the crisis and is nothing more than a legalism which is far too pernickety. However, this is, above all, a question of policy. This resolution was adopted by 521 votes to 124. I find this deeply regrettable. The votes in favour are the result of a disparate group of anti-Europeans, nationalists, federalists and other diehard supporters of the Community method.
Sandra Kalniete (PPE), in writing. − (LV) I voted for this motion for a resolution because I believe that the current draft fiscal stability agreement needs to be improved. The legal status of the agreement within the framework of the existing system of EU law must be clearly defined. It is important to ensure that this agreement does not conflict with the EU Treaties, and it must be incorporated within the EU Treaties as quickly as possible, thus maintaining EU unity. Parallel institutions should not be created that might give rise to competition between the EU-27 and the Member States that will be parties to this intergovernmental agreement. In view of the fact that many EU Member States, when joining the EU, undertook to introduce the euro and have not yet done so, an opportunity should be provided for these states to choose when the agreement shall be binding upon them, either after they have fully joined the euro area or earlier. In implementing the European Commission’s proposals for eliminating excessive budget deficits the principle of a voluntary commitment to comply with them should be retained, and support for them should not be mandatory. Similarly, an accurate explanation is needed of the qualified majority of votes required to reject the Commission’s proposals.
Tunne Kelam (PPE), in writing. − I voted in favour of this resolution. EU needs to find a solution to the euro zone problems and to implement measures ensuring full fiscal discipline in the future. This can effectively only be done through Community Method and acknowledging the primacy of EU law. Only this will guarantee the credibility of the actions and tangible results. I reiterate the EP call to the Council that the agreement must be in conformity with EU law, in particular as regards the figures in the Stability and Growth Pact, following EU legal procedures and excluding any double standards. Democratic accountability must be guaranteed by strengthening the involvement of both the European Parliament and the national parliaments, at their respective levels, in all aspects of European economic coordination and governance. The most important concern is not to split the EU 27. The non-euro zone members need to participate in the meetings of 17. The other need is to avoid as much as possible creation of new institutions and mechanisms. The third challenge is to promote parallel to financial discipline closer convergence and stronger competitiveness.
Jean Lambert (Verts/ALE), in writing. − I have voted for this resolution, not because I am enamoured of the content of the so-called six-pack (I voted against much of it) or because the euro is the way forward for all – it is not. I am supporting it because I want decision making on matters of direct interest to the EU to be taken within a clear legal framework and on a clear legal basis.
I regret the British Government’s refusal to support concerted EU action and thus assist a push towards this new arrangement. An intergovernmental agreement can inhabit a grey zone, out of clear parliamentary oversight. We need clear parliamentary oversight: from both the EP and national parliaments, and this resolution states that clearly. The proposed intergovernmental agreement also sees governments stepping back from decisions made a few weeks ago, and this does not increase confidence or legal certainty. As the resolution clearly states, we need investment, not just austerity. We need a change of direction – towards a different future, based on reducing the gap between rich and poor and on new investment to help us work within environmental limits. The intergovernmental agreement is a distraction and provides no real solutions.
Constance Le Grip (PPE) , in writing. – (FR) I wanted to vote against the joint motion for a resolution on the conclusions of the European Council meeting (8-9 December 2011) on a draft international agreement on a Fiscal Stability Union. During the European Council of 9 December 2011, 26 Member States of the European Union committed to strengthening fiscal and economic cooperation and laid the foundations for a new interinstitutional treaty to organise this European economic governance. I regret that the European Parliament, through this resolution, has expressed its doubts regarding the relevance of this draft intergovernmental treaty, which constitutes strong political action, towards greater European integration and cohesion. I regard it as extremely wise that the resolution calls on all States, including States which are not members of the euro area, to participate in euro area summits.
Patrick Le Hyaric (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (FR) I am strongly opposed to the approach taken to establish a new treaty imposing austerity on the European people. The representatives who were directly elected by European citizens are being excluded from the current negotiations which are limited to the inner sanctum of governments and exclude national parliaments and the European Parliament. By taking on the appearance of a negotiation between States, the most democratic bodies are only being granted the role of approving what is already a done deal. This denial of democracy is even more intolerable as it puts the very future of the European project at stake, swapping European solidarity for calls for austerity from the European Central Bank and the Commission. The surveillance and sanctioning mechanisms provided for are a way of bringing States’ economic policy to heel, preventing them from restarting their economies through consumption and investment. The Union must, on the contrary, completely overhaul its economic foundations and move towards a new pact of social progress which puts human beings as its priority. A European Central Bank, at the service of the people, must be the instrument for this ambition by rewarding creators of wealth and public goods with investments in education, training, research, infrastructure and public services.
Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D), in writing. – (PL) I endorsed the motion for a resolution on the outcome of the European Council of 8-9 December 2011. I am aware that there are still profound imperfections in the intergovernmental agreement which is being drafted. Reservations are caused in particular by the fact that this agreement is to operate alongside the present structure and constitutional documents of the European Union. It is still not clear how this agreement can work or how it will relate to the Treaty of Lisbon. I would like to express the hope that this agreement will not undermine the Treaty, that it will ensure the right role for the European Parliament and that it will not discriminate against Member States which are not part of the euro area, including Poland. The agreement must not undermine the internal democracy of the EU and must not replace the Commission, Parliament or the Council with other entities.
Isabella Lövin (Verts/ALE), in writing. − (SV) The agreement on a Fiscal Stability Union will give rise to parallel structures, which causes us concern on account of the problems that this could create, such as insufficient democratic control, legal uncertainty and a proliferation of supranational structures. Quick decisions taken over people’s heads without establishing a basis for them or debating them in Parliament or with the people will not relieve the crisis. Instead they will increase the gap between the people and their politicians. However, despite the fact that we agree with some of the criticism of the international agreement put forward in the resolution, we cannot support the resolution as a whole, as we cannot support the solutions that are proposed, such as closer economic convergence, stability bonds and a fiscal union. The crisis is bigger than the euro. It is a crisis affecting the whole of the economic system on which the EU is based, and these proposals will not solve the fundamental problems with this system. At best they can simply defer the problems to sometime in the future. Growth-promoting measures based on borrowed money will result in a constant spiral of increased borrowing, increased interest payments and thus an even greater requirement for growth in order to pay the interest and create jobs. This will inevitably lead to recurring crises and collapses, with the collapses having serious social consequences and the periods of economic growth causing increased consumption of resources. We are therefore abstaining from the vote.
David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I supported this resolution and the call for proper democratic oversight of those measures agreed by EU governments in response to the current eurozone crisis. However, I do not support the ‘austerity only’ approach in the conclusions of the European Council of 8/9 December. We need more action for jobs and growth. I do not support the current right-wing Council’s flawed economic approach being integrated into the EU Treaties. The most appropriate and democratic method to tackle the crisis is through legislation under existing EU Treaties. It is clear that any measures concerning the European Monetary Union under the EU Treaties will only apply to the eurozone and those countries opting in. It is important to insist that any proposals put forward by the European Commission should undergo scrutiny by the European Parliament.
Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. – (IT) I voted in favour of the joint motion for a resolution. The criteria for repayment of the public debt need to be explicitly reworked and Eurobonds need to be introduced. This is the only way we will put our contribution to a united and strong Europe useful to everyone back on track.
Arlene McCarthy (S&D), in writing. − Labour MEPs supported the call for proper democratic oversight of those measures agreed by EU governments in response to the current Eurozone crisis. However, we do not support the ‘austerity only’ approach in the conclusions of the European Council of 8/9 December 2011 and we also need to see more action for jobs and growth. We therefore could not support the current right-wing council’s flawed economic approach being integrated into the EU Treaties. The most appropriate and democratic method to tackle the crisis is through legislation under the existing EU Treaties. It is clear that any measures concerning European Monetary Union under the EU Treaties will apply only to the eurozone and those countries opting in. We insist that any proposals put forward by the European Commission should undergo scrutiny by the European Parliament and would only support measures that are well designed and in the interests of British and EU citizens.
Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. − I support the resolution on the European Council, in particular the concerns expressed therein about the need for such an intergovernmental agreement and the need to reflect the proposals of the European Parliament. The resolution stresses the need to reinforce the community method as a way to ensure greater stability in the eurozone. Paragraph 5 is important in stressing the need for sustainable growth. Fiscal discipline alone will not bring about recovery and that action is needed on both fronts.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (FR) This joint motion for a resolution by the right, the social democrats and the Greens signals their agreement with the basis of the draft international agreement currently under negotiation, which amounts to the imposition of a reinforced ‘balanced budget rule’. This rule compels States to keep their budgets balanced or in surplus, working to a reference structural deficit figure of approximately 0.5% of nominal GDP. It obliges them to carve this diktat into the stone of their national legislation, preferably their constitutions. It demands that they put automatic mechanisms in place to ‘correct’ their budgetary policies in line with the Commission’s guidelines.
Far from being concerned about such measures, the four groups who tabled this motion have confined themselves to insisting on their right to play a part in the process of creating the new agreement and incorporating it into EU law within five years. They are not even insisting on the people’s right to have their say on this latest turn of the ‘austerity’ screw through a referendum. I voted against.
Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − Since the measures put forward by the national governments and Heads of State are considered to be a continuation of unsuccessful policy, do not resolve the causes of the global financial and economic crisis, and especially not the insufficient regulation of key economic sectors and the increasing macro-economical imbalances in the euro area, I think that the European Council measures will deepen the global capital crisis. I voted in favour of the resolution.
Vital Moreira (S&D), in writing. − (PT) I voted for the resolution on the conclusions of the European Council of 8-9 December on the new intergovernmental treaty being drafted. However, I have reservations about three issues.
Firstly, I do not agree with the doubts about the need for the treaty. Its main objectives – including that of incorporating the golden rule of balanced budgets in the domestic law of the Member States – could not be achieved within the framework of the EU Treaties.
Secondly, I completely agree that implementation of the new treaty at Union level should fall to the institutions themselves in line with the Community method. However, I cannot leave one side the constitutional problem resulting from using the EU institutions to implement a treaty that falls outside the Treaties that created them and by which not all the Member States are bound.
Thirdly, I entirely agree with the idea that the treaty should provide for a true ‘economic and fiscal union’, but I believe that, in addition to a redemption fund, project bonds, a financial transaction tax and a roadmap for stability bonds, mention should have been included of a minimum level of tax harmonisation, without which there can be no level playing field in the internal market.
Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. − (IT) The results of the last European meeting in December were rather disappointing.
Leaving aside the debate as to whether the Community method is preferable to the intergovernmental method, as indicated in this resolution, it would be more important to underline how the ‘EU method’ itself is failing miserably. In its best manifestation, the European Union and the euro should have been able to guarantee more prosperity and security for all, in a climate of reciprocal advantages. None of this has happened, and the benefits, which have been marginal, have been limited to a few Member States, first and foremost to Germany.
Therefore I appreciated and share the position of Mr Cameron, who at least defended the interests of his people, and did not accept once again having to submit to the decisions of the others, which always only benefit the same few. At such a delicate time Member States have a duty to defend their prerogatives and their specific natures, and therefore I do not believe the line emerging from this resolution is sustainable, as it seems to wish to persist along the path of strengthening the EU in the name of utopian ideals that, in actual fact, have turned out to be totally unachievable.
Jan Mulder (ALDE), in writing. − (NL) My final vote on this report was in the affirmative. However, this does not alter the fact that I have great reservations about the idea of a tax on financial transactions.
Sławomir Witold Nitras (PPE), in writing. – (PL) The current version of the draftraises many doubts of a legal nature, and these issues will determine how effectively the compact is enforced. Signing and ratifying the agreement in the form proposed will lead to the emergence of an alternative legal order, whose relation with European law in many areas remains undefined. Unresolved issues include those concerning the primacy of EU law, the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the competences of the other European institutions. Another unresolved but important issue is the question of insufficient democratic legitimacy, because democratic legitimacy can be achieved only by greater involvement of the European Parliament and the national parliaments. From the point of view of economic governance, it should however be noted that most of the provisions of the proposed intergovernmental agreement can be put into effect more quickly and effectively by using the Community method and the Stability and Growth Pact, which was amended in December. The approach followed by the Community method also makes it possible for countries which are not part of the euro area to be included in the decision-making process, and this in turn allows the need for additional EU institutions to be avoided. In relation to this, notice should be taken of the European Parliament’s proposal that all parties to the agreement, including both present and future members of the euro area, should have the right to participate in Euro Group summits, because it should be remembered that the euro area does not operate on an opt-in basis, and the countries which do not belong to the euro area are the subject of what is only a temporary derogation. Inclusiveness in the process for making decisions on economic governance is therefore in the interest of all, because the majority of the Member States have committed themselves to join the euro area.
Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. − (DE) The most recent Council Summit on 8 and 9 December once again showed that the Heads of State or Government obviously prefer to rush ahead blindly, rather than thinking about the fundamental mistakes that they have made. A centralised, planned economy which abolishes the national sovereignty of the Member States and prevents the smaller countries from having their say is definitely a mistake of this kind. We need to understand the consequences of the euro crisis before the situation becomes even worse. We must return to a common Europe made up of independent nations. Only states which have equally strong economies and the same level of stability can share a common currency. Therefore, I have voted against the motion for a resolution on the most recent EU Summit.
Franck Proust (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I am not in the habit of going against the wishes of my political group, especially when it is a question of expressing our opinion on decisions of such critical importance for the future of our Union. However, the resolution that has been tabled undermines all the work and all the effort that our governments have put in. As Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel, the initiators of the agreement, have said many times: this agreement represents ‘the highest common denominator’. This is no game. This is not the time to be entering a plea of non-admissibility in the interminable battle between the ‘bad intergovernmental method’ and ‘good federalism’. Any level of willingness is a positive thing. The agreement is so far-reaching that we will be losing a significant player in the process: the United Kingdom. Of course I am in favour of a strong European Parliament. We bear the weighty responsibility of representing half a billion people. However, let us not go beyond our remit. The issue on the table was to resolve the debt crisis affecting sovereign states. It is therefore up to the States alone to find a solution. They have done so, as we Members of the European Parliament have been asking them to do for a long time. All we needed to do was to emphasise this point. I am sorry that this motion has been passed.
Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. − (PT) The pressure that has been making itself felt on the euro area means there is an urgent need to adopt measures enabling a firm, urgent and sustainable response to the current financial, economic and social crisis. As such, it is crucial to find solutions that are able to restore market confidence and, at the same time, that safeguard the values, principles and institutional framework on which the European project is founded. From this perspective, it is important to recognise that the new treaty for stability, coordination and governance in the economic and monetary union – which should be agreed on 30 January and involve the leaders of all the Member States, with the exception of the United Kingdom – is far from the ideal solution, since it represents a strengthening of intergovernmentalism at the expense of the Community method. Whatever the case, it is important to maintain a constructive position here: the European Parliament should do everything to seek to deepen the Union framework of this treaty and to expand its scope so that, as well as budgetary discipline, it also covers an agenda for growth and for solidarity between the Member States. I voted in favour of this resolution for all these reasons.
Mitro Repo (S&D), in writing. − (FI) I am amazed at the efforts that are being made in the chambers and corridors of Brussels to modify the economic agreement that was so grandly launched at the summit in December. The agreement, however, is becoming totally meaningless as regards the current crisis. Its name has already been changed several times along the way.
I have to correct my fellow Member: Finland has not as yet adopted an official position on the economic agreement. Our Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Tuomioja, and not Prime Minister Katainen, made his position known earlier in the week, and suggested that Finland should boycott the agreement. The biggest problem in Finland was seen to be that the agreement might clash with the constitution. Talks on the agreement, however, are still continuing. In the end, I do not believe that the United Kingdom will be the only Member State to remain outside the agreement.
It is certainly not the content of the agreement that presents the greatest problem. The content is a very welcome addition to the rules on finance and budgetary discipline that were agreed back in the 1990s, rules which not even the biggest countries in the EU have been able to, bothered to or wanted to keep to. The problem is the bypassing of the parliamentary system. Europe’s only directly elected institution, the European Parliament, has been completely ignored in the attempts to find a solution to the economic crisis. In my opinion, the European Parliament should not be disregarded. Perhaps, after this, we will be able to concentrate on the issue itself, that is, remedying the current economic situation and restoring the confidence of the public and the markets.
Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. − (IT) Today in plenary we voted on the joint motion for a resolution on the conclusions of the European Council meeting (8-9 December 2011) on a draft international agreement on a Fiscal Stability Union.
According to the resolution, the new agreement should acknowledge the primacy of EU law over its provisions, and all measures to implement the agreement should be taken in accordance with the relevant procedures provided for in the EU Treaties.
The agreement must be in conformity with EU law, in particular as regards the figures in the Stability and Growth Pact, and if contracting parties wish to commit to targets at variance with EU law, this must be done through the applicable EU legal procedures and must not give rise to double standards.
Democratic accountability must be guaranteed by strengthening parliamentary involvement in all aspects of European economic coordination and governance. Cooperation between national parliaments and the European Parliament must take place in a manner consistent with the EU Treaties.
The new agreement must enshrine, in legally binding form, a commitment by the contracting parties to take all necessary steps to ensure that the substance of the agreement is incorporated into the Treaty within five years.
Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − In favour. As our Co-Chairman, Mr Cohn-Bendit, stated during the debate, I feel that the proposed intergovernmental agreement has created more questions than it answers in terms of responding to the euro crisis. The agreement is useless and is not needed for the EU to be equipped with tools to deal with the financial and sovereign debt crises, as the drafting process for this agreement and the markets’ response have underlined. The draft agreement, with its one-dimensional focus on fiscal contraction, fails to deliver a convincing economic response to the immediate crisis. We will only draw a line under this crisis through a comprehensive response. This means accompanying measures on fiscal restraint with measures to guarantee the long-term economic viability of the euro area and its members. More specifically, it implies providing an effective firewall in the short-run and introducing eurobonds, a financial transaction tax and a meaningful sustainable growth and employment strategy as soon as possible.
Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I abstained from voting for this motion for a resolution, as I do not share all the arguments it puts forward. I find it inappropriate to criticise the efforts made by the German Chancellor and the French President to achieve genuine economic governance through an agreement that will lead to the rapid adoption of some courageous measures. Instead, we should welcome the fact that a political will is emerging within the countries of the euro area to go further and faster to integrate their economies and to put the Stability and Growth Pact into practice. We should nonetheless take care not to create a two-track legal system, and to make sure we bring on board the States that have not yet adopted the euro. Lastly, we must match this budgetary stability policy with a strong policy for sustainable growth and employment, to ensure that we do not get stuck in a downward spiral of recession. The Structural Funds will be a vital instrument from this point of view.
Carl Schlyter (Verts/ALE), in writing. − (SV) The agreement on a Fiscal Stability Union will give rise to parallel structures, which causes us concern on account of the problems that this could create, such as insufficient democratic control, legal uncertainty and a proliferation of supranational structures. Quick decisions taken over people’s heads without establishing a basis for them or debating them in Parliament or with the people will not relieve the crisis. Instead they will increase the gap between the people and their politicians. However, despite the fact that we agree with some of the criticism of the international agreement put forward in the resolution, we cannot support the resolution as a whole, as we cannot support the solutions that are proposed, such as closer economic convergence, stability bonds and a fiscal union. The crisis is bigger than the euro. It is a crisis affecting the whole of the economic system on which the EU is based, and these proposals will not solve the fundamental problems with this system. At best they can simply defer the problems to sometime in the future. Growth-promoting measures based on borrowed money will result in a constant spiral of increased borrowing, increased interest payments and thus an even greater requirement for growth in order to pay the interest and create jobs. This will inevitably lead to recurring crises and collapses, with the collapses having serious social consequences and the periods of economic growth causing increased consumption of resources. We are therefore abstaining from the vote.
Czesław Adam Siekierski (PPE), in writing. – (PL) We are conscious that the current economic situation in the euro area requires immediate action. Despite the fact that the fiscal compact contains many positive measures which impose financial discipline on participating countries, many doubts have also emerged over its operation. Firstly, we have to answer the question about how the compact will affect the transparency of decision-making processes in the Union, because under the terms of the compact a parallel system of cooperation is created, and the precise date of its incorporation into the Treaties is difficult to specify. Will this not weaken European Union integration? Secondly, critics point out that the fiscal compact duplicates many of the measures contained, for example, in the ‘six-pack’ and the Stability and Growth Pact. Will this fact not create confusion in the interpretation of certain acts of EU law? Thirdly, there is a risk that the compact will create divisions within the Union, the consequences of which are difficult to foresee. Very worrying aspects include plans not to allow participation in Eurosummit meetings by countries which have announced a desire to be part of the compact and which want to adopt the common currency. Fourthly, recent changes in the draft of the document lead to marginalisation of the role of the EU institutions. The European Commission is deprived of the possibility of lodging complaints about Member States to the Court of Justice of the European Union, which was always its area of responsibility, and the European Parliament’s participation in Eurosummit meetings is being greatly marginalised.
Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE), in writing. − Mr President! I find myself in agreement with much of the text, especially the references to the need for the 27 different states of the EU to work together to resolve this aspect of the financial crisis. The Government of my own Member State, the UK, has been uniquely unconstructive: achieving nothing other than undermining the efforts of the others to resolve a difficult situation.
Sadly, the motion also included extraneous references to additional taxes, a redemption fund and eurobonds. While these may well be worth exploring, I do not believe we know enough about the implications of present proposals to back them actively as part of the solution. So I abstained, with some regret, on the final vote.
Alf Svensson (PPE), in writing. − (SV) I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution on the conclusions of the December European Council meeting today, because the resolution clearly states that the agreement that is now being negotiated between the Member States will be subordinate to current EU legislation. It also states that all Member States, irrespective of whether or not they have introduced the euro, will have the right to participate in the meetings with the Heads of State or Government that will be held by the parties to the agreement. However, I voted against the demands for a financial transaction tax and the introduction of Eurobonds.
Keith Taylor (Verts/ALE), in writing. − I voted for this joint resolution concerning the 8-9 December 2011 Summit as it: suggested that financial and economic consolidation could be achieved through EU law, not Intergovernmental Agreements (IA) or EU treaties; recognised the draft IA did not reflect European Parliament (EP) priorities; supported a stronger role for democratic input from the EP and welcomed inclusion of a parliamentary working group and gave all EU members (including the UK) participation rights in discussions.
The draft IA is still being developed, and already there are moves from Member States to dilute the fiscal requirements identified at the December summit (including the so-called ‘golden rule’). For the Single Currency to work there needs to be strong economic and fiscal union between Eurozone (EZ) members. I am not yet convinced that the EZ states will finally agree to necessary strict controls, and I am glad the UK is not part of it. I believe it is in the UK’s best interests to have a strong and stable euro, given that 40% of our trade is with EZ countries. For that reason, and the fact it was the only option achievable at this stage, I supported the resolution.
Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. − (PT) I voted for the joint resolution of the European Parliament, in which this institution expresses its doubts about the need for an intergovernmental agreement on a Fiscal Stability Union, most of the main objectives of which could be better and more effectively achieved by means of measures under EU law, in order to provide a firm, urgent and sustainable response to the current economic crisis. In this document, Parliament declares that it remains ready to work towards a constructive solution, and supports the proposal made to the ad hoc working group by the Members appointed by the Conference of Presidents to represent Parliament.
Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein (PPE), in writing. – (PL) I voted in favour of the resolution which criticises the current draft intergovernmental fiscal compact. The new agreement should not reduce the role in ongoing negotiations of the European Parliament or of Member States which are not part of the euro area. The new agreement must include an amendment to the effect that countries which will only join the euro area in the future also have the right to participate in Eurosummit meetings. Discussion should take place between all of the European Union’s Member States. I share the opinion of the European Commission, and think that the unity of the Union should be the overriding objective here.
Secondly, we should try to ensure that the new draft includes a clear provision about the primacy of EU law over the agreement which is being drafted. I am convinced that only the Community method is able to turn the Monetary Union into a truly strong economic and fiscal union. We are willing to hold further negotiations, and we are going to strive for the drafting of a constructive and solid agreement which includes our most important proposals.
Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted for the European Parliament resolution on the conclusions of the European Council meeting (8-9 December 2011) on a draft international agreement on a Fiscal Stability Union. We regret that, so far, the draft international agreement of January 2012 does not reflect Parliament’s proposals expressed by the Members appointed by the Conference of Presidents to represent Parliament as part of an ad hoc working group. The agreement should also include a commitment from the contracting parties to measures aimed at increasing the employment rate, convergence and EU competitiveness. The EU is a political project, based on strong common values and institutions and on respect for common rules. This is why monetary union can evolve into a real economic and fiscal union only through the Community method. All the contracting parties to the agreement, Member States which are or will be part of the euro area, must enjoy the same right to attend euro area summit meetings. I call for the draft international agreement on a Fiscal Stability Union to be debated publicly in every Member State and for democratic accountability to be guaranteed by strengthening parliamentary involvement both at EU and national level in every aspect of European economic coordination and governance.
Rafał Trzaskowski (PPE), in writing. – (PL) In Parliament we advocate making the agreement as EU-oriented as possible, even though in view of the opposition of the United Kingdom it could not be brought fully under EU structures. The markets want firm action, and what is needed is a prompt commitment of the members of the euro area to accept greater financial discipline. However, this does not mean this is to take place at the cost of the unity of the Union and its institutions. Hence my support for Parliament’s proposal to implement a compact which supports EU legislation, a central role for the European Commission, the involvement of Parliament and, most important of all for Poland, full support for the participation in Eurosummit meetings of countries which still do not have the common currency.
Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE), in writing. − (LT) 2012 is a very important year for Europe, during which a credible and sustainable solution to the sovereign debt crisis needs to be proposed. I believe that the proposed fiscal treaty is a step in the right direction, but we should not lower our guard. It is true that no treaty can stop the crisis. If EU legislation currently in force had been properly implemented and had been properly upheld, we would not need additional legislation or more stringent agreements. Our prospects nevertheless remain bleak. According to data from Business Monitor International, this year Lithuania’s public debt is expected to reach 43% of GDP (as compared to 15.6% in 2008). I really hope that non-euro area Member States will be able to participate in negotiations on equal terms. The majority of Lithuanians are sceptical about the introduction of the euro against the backdrop of the debt crisis, which threatens the survival of the euro area. A survey carried out last month showed that 49% of Lithuanians are against the introduction of the euro and just 43% are in favour of it. This long-term Treaty is not enough for Lithuanians. They also need specific and urgent measures for combating the crisis in the immediate future.
Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR), in writing. − I believe that we need an effective and long-lasting solution to Europe’s financial crisis. However, I voted against this resolution because of the federalist nature of its proposals and its resolute yet ultimately futile attempts to push for an EU-wide financial transaction tax (FTT). This resolution calls for the use of the ‘Community method’ to create a fiscal and economic union. I am glad that the UK remains outside the eurozone. Giving up your national currency is bad enough, but I cannot imagine giving Brussels the power to scrutinise every penny the British Government spends. The financial crisis in Europe is serious; I cannot understand why Parliament is wasting its time in recommending an EU FTT. Taxation requires the unanimous approval of all 27 Member States and the UK has made it unambiguously clear that it will block such a tax as it would disproportionately affect my home constituency of London. The Commission’s own statistics reveal that the FTT would cost long-term growth in the EU EUR 220 billion with a 90 % decline in derivatives trading. Members of the European Parliament must dismount both their high horse and their hobbyhorse and realise that the FTT is a complete non-starter.
Anna Záborská (PPE), in writing. – (SK) I could not vote in favour of the joint motion for a resolution on the conclusion of the last meeting of the European Council. I do not agree that Parliament should deny Member States the right to agree among themselves, as equal partners, on resolving pressing economic problems. If Europe is to overcome the crisis successfully, the Member States must regain the trust of the financial markets. The only proper way to regain trust is to take responsibility. Seeking other means, such as borrowing money for ineffective national and European projects, is precisely the type of thinking that led us into the crisis. It is a road to new public debts, a road to hell. I cannot therefore support a resolution that promotes the establishment of project bonds, the introduction of a financial transaction tax and stabilisation bonds. It is true that, if we are to overcome the crisis, it is not enough to reassess the level of well-being guaranteed by the State. It is necessary to create conditions that motivate the initiative of citizens, simplify their business and increase labour productivity. However, Europe is diverse and centralisation creates more problems than it solves. Even if we call it the ‘community method’.
Roberts Zīle, (ECR), in writing. − (LV) I believe that Parliament’s resolution on the conclusions of the European Council meeting (8-9 December 2011) on a draft international agreement on a Fiscal Stability Union cannot be endorsed, since many of the objectives laid down in it cannot be achieved in the foreseeable future for political reasons. Firstly, the call in paragraph 5 of the resolution to introduce such measures as a Europe-wide financial transaction tax and so-called stability bonds conflicts with the political positions of the majority of EU Member States. Agreement at intergovernmental level on these items has not yet been reached. Secondly, the scepticism expressed in paragraph 1 of the resolution regarding an intergovernmental agreement as a form for achieving the EU’s fiscal goals is not justified. The Council decided upon an intergovernmental agreement (a fiscal compact) precisely in order to avoid the long and complicated procedure of amending the EU Treaties, which would run counter to the current main task of convincing the financial markets that the euro area and the EU as a whole is determined to resolve this enormous crisis with speed and certainty. Thirdly, I cannot support the call to use the Community method to transform monetary union into ‘true economic and fiscal union’, which the majority of Member States wishing to retain their sovereignty may find unacceptable. At the same time, I welcome the fact that the majority of Members supported the proposal by Mr Brok to include in the resolution a call to give all the EU Member States, not just those that have joined the euro area, the right to participate in all euro summits.
Inês Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. − (PT) The debate and vote on this motion for a resolution have clearly revealed the contradictions existing within the current process of capitalist integration in Europe. The same political groups that expressed their supposed indignation at the method used to reach the international agreement, during which Parliament was completely ignored, are accepting and supporting its content. By implementing this agreement, we will be supporting one of the largest attacks on the sovereignty of nations and peoples, on democracy, and on the ability to make decisions about budgets, one of the main instruments of national policy. Once again, it is being proven that the European Commission and the majority of the political groups do nothing more than reproduce and support the guidelines issued by the Franco-German directorate.
President. − That concludes the explanations of vote.