President. – The next item is the report by Regina Bastos, on behalf of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, on the Daphne programme: achievements and future prospects (2011/2273(INI)) (A7-0006/2012).
Regina Bastos, rapporteur. – (PT) Mr President, the Daphne programme is the only EU programme intended to contribute to protecting children, young people and women from all forms of violence.
This programme has been a genuine success since its launch in 1997, both in terms of its stakeholders and in terms of the effectiveness of the projects funded by the programme. The report that we are now discussing, on the progress made and the future prospects for the Daphne programme, was adopted almost unanimously in the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, with only one abstention.
Work with the other political groups has been very fruitful, so I would like to thank all the shadow rapporteurs for the very positive contributions that they made to this report.
Combating violence against children, young people and women remains a priority and is, unfortunately, still necessary. This is clear from the new forms of violence that have emerged recently with the growing use of social media, violence at day nurseries, ill-treatment of the elderly and sexual assault among teenagers. Moreover, in the current situation of economic crisis and budgetary austerity, there is a need to avoid the direct financial impact which this type of crime has on the judiciary and on health and social services.
The costs of domestic violence in the EU have been estimated at EUR 16 billion per year, including all direct medical costs, court and police costs, social costs and economic costs.
Last November, the Commission announced that from 2014, the Daphne programme will be incorporated into the rights and citizenship programme. We must admit that we would have preferred this programme to remain independent and autonomous. As this is not an option, I would point out three concerns: firstly, safeguarding the aims of the programme for the 2014-2020 period; secondly, keeping its funding at the same level as that of previous programmes; and, thirdly, ensuring its visibility within the future rights and citizenship programme.
If this programme is to remain effective, it is vital to ensure that its beneficiaries, public authorities and non-governmental organisations continue to be kept properly informed about how it is funded and conditions for accessing it. Small organisations, which, by their nature, have more direct contact with phenomena of violence, often have administrative problems, and should be able to participate fully, as they play a vital role in detecting these problems and coming up with innovative ways of tackling them.
The balanced sharing out of projects between all the Member States should be taken into account. Moreover, the collection of comparable data on different types of violence in the EU is very useful in ascertaining the real level of the problem and finding appropriate solutions.
I shall conclude by stressing the importance of using the media to raise awareness of violence in the fields of education and health, and among the police and the judiciary.
Norica Nicolai (ALDE). – (RO) Mr President, I wish to congratulate the rapporteur, and I believe that Parliament must support this programme to become independent right from 2014. This is because this problem persists, is getting worse and is becoming increasingly sinister and subtle, and I believe that the scale and costs, especially in social terms, which have not been clearly assessed at the moment, may have an impact on civilised standards in Europe.
Elena Băsescu (PPE). – (RO) Mr President, I, too, would like to congratulate Ms Bastos for drafting this report. The Daphne programme must receive sufficient funding. This will provide the necessary means for combating violence in its wide variety of forms, both in the private and public setting.
I should emphasise the importance of paragraph G. The economic crisis is making women more vulnerable to abuse. In my country, the Open Doors programme is currently being run, cofinanced by the European Commission through the Daphne III programme. It is part of a partnership with Austria, the UK, the Czech Republic, Greece and Slovenia. It is aimed at immigrant women who have been victims of violence. This initiative offers them the chance to become integrated into Romanian society, while also being community leaders in this area.
Sylvie Guillaume (S&D). – (FR) Mr President, now it is my turn to congratulate Ms Bastos on her report, which, I believe, is very comprehensive and tackles all the questions raised in the Commission’s interim evaluation report. Clearly, this report focuses on the involvement of NGOs and small entities, on improved management, and on anything which effectively allows the objectives of the programme to be maintained.
Obviously, I do have some regrets. Firstly, I regret that a debate has not really been organised today on this report, as that would have allowed us to bring the focus back to the violence which still affects young people, women and children everywhere. I particularly regret this because, if I have understood correctly, there is a certain desire to remove several references to prostitution and the violation of women’s rights in terms of sexual and reproductive health. Clearly, there are therefore things which have still to be resolved, which are not totally clear from various people’s remarks.
I have run out of time to talk about prevention and education about stereotypes.
I should like to finish with two issues we must be vigilant about: firstly, maintaining the amount allocated to the Daphne programme and, secondly, ensuring that the name of this programme, which is widely known, will be kept in the future.
Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE). – (ES) Mr President, the crisis should, indeed, not be an excuse for a lack of investment in a solution to one of the main problems faced by the European Union as a whole. Furthermore, it is increasingly clear that the crisis is also an excuse, in many respects, to reinforce certain aspects that lead to even more violence against women. For me, this is, in fact, one of the fundamental debates that we have to tackle in this House, and not simply from an economic standpoint.
It has been said, and it is true, that the violence also generates a significant economic cost. Beyond the economic cost generated by the violence and the obvious consequences, however, we are also going to debate this in depth, as has been proposed.
This debate cannot be used for issues of an ideological nature, which can even result in the generation of a dynamic for the stigmatisation of women, which, in turn, will also obviously place them in a vulnerable situation and therefore make them more susceptible to violent situations, if that were possible.
I insist that this is a good opportunity to continue debating what currently needs to be discussed, but without forgetting the underlying issue, which is the fundamental discrimination that women suffer in many parts of our society.
Andrea Češková (ECR). – (CS) Mr President, I very much support this European Parliament own-initiative report, and I take the view that it is still necessary to continue this important and, at the same time, highly successful programme. Small non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are the driving force in combating violence against women and children, but they often have problems with financing projects aimed at combating violence.
The important thing is for the victims to be provided with professional care in such difficult situations. I therefore take the view that these NGOs should have access to small but clearly targeted grants. I also often encounter the view that small organisations lack the specialists who could draw up the sort of high-quality project plans that would succeed in a tender, and the expertise. I therefore agree with some of the important measures contained in this report. At this point, I would particularly like to mention the equal distribution of programmes throughout the Member States, a reduction in the administrative burden, and simplification of the submission of applications for financial support and funding of the national projects that these small non-profit organisations are involved in.
Anna Záborská (PPE). – (SK) Mr President, I would like to thank Ms Bastos for drafting this report. At a time when future priorities are being discussed, it is important to remember initiatives that have brought results. The Daphne programme is certainly one of them. The Daphne programme is extraordinary because it is able to reach those victims of violence that have been beyond the reach of other institutions.
I mean women and children and adolescents who are exposed to violence due to social exclusion. However, violence is not always a physical blow. It can also be threats, psychological pressure, harassment or the dissemination of images depicting the sexual abuse of children. In particular, these forms of violence threaten the mental integrity of a person. Daphne enables projects to be funded that address the use of Internet networks for new forms of violence. More attention should be paid to prevention and also the financing of small organisations that tackle this issue.
Phil Prendergast (S&D). – Mr President, I think it is important, as part of the Daphne programme’s incorporation into the rights and citizenship programme, that future initiatives receive a level of focus and funding similar to that provided throughout the previous three Daphne programmes.
I particularly agree that renewed emphasis should be placed on small NGOs and non-profit organisations, whose participation is invaluable if we are to meet the programme’s aims. In my own home country, a number of organisations have participated in Daphne projects and Daphne-funded initiatives that have contributed to the prevention of violence against women, children and young people. These projects range from the Dignity initiative – in which the Dublin Employment Pact and the Immigration Council of Ireland worked with European partners to attempt to raise the quality of services delivered to victims of sex trafficking – to helping establish and promote the pan-European 116000 Hotline for Missing Children. It is vital that the Union continues to support the good work carried out by these organisations and similar organisations all around Europe.
End of the catch-the-eye procedure
Kristalina Georgieva, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, I wish to thank the rapporteur, Ms Bastos, and the members of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, for drafting a very sound report and for their ongoing support for the Daphne programme.
Under the new multiannual financial framework, the Commission proposed to cover all the activities currently being supported and carried out by the Daphne programme with the future rights and citizenship programme. Let me answer directly the question that has been posed: under the new programme, all the current Daphne objectives and activities will be supported, and the budget in this new programme is compatible with the budget that was available up to now.
The approach of the Commission under the multiannual financial framework focuses on simplification, flexibility and EU added value. Under the approach outlined, the Commission aims to develop the best possible synergies between three activities: combating violence, gender equality and the rights of the child. They are now brought under one programme, which will address emerging and innovative challenges, many of which are outlined in Ms Bastos’ report.
I want to stress that the new programme remains open to all entities, all Member States and third countries, and all types of projects and activities that have been supported and are receiving funding under the Daphne III programme. The new structure of the programme will help the Commission to improve the programme’s management and to address more efficiently deficiencies as identified in the mid-term evaluation of the Daphne III programme, which are also noted in the report. This includes, for example, the need to improve dissemination of results and the geographic spread of projects. Participants will benefit directly from improved management of the programme because procedures will be easier, faster, less bureaucratic, more uniform. Something which required two procedures would now need one.
Lastly, in 2012, the Commission will update the Daphne toolkit. This database of projects to combat violence will facilitate the wider dissemination of news of project outcomes by European and national stakeholders. The intention is to maintain this database under the new multiannual financial framework programme and to use it as a model for the dissemination of project results in all areas.
Let me finally stress, as the Commissioner for humanitarian aid, that we would have no foot to stand on morally if we assisted other countries to fight gender violence when we were not doing a good job at home. In this sense, I personally strongly support the report and the actions we take in this area. May I also say I am returning the two minutes that I took from our previous segment.
President. – The debate is closed.
The vote will take place today at 12.00.
Written statements (Rule 149)
Liam Aylward (ALDE), in writing. – (GA) The aim of the Daphne programme is to protect children, young people and women from violence and to encourage health protection, wellness and social inclusion. The Daphne programme has succeeded in informing the public of those issues and in drawing attention to violence against women and children. The programme supports relevant organisations in progressing and also in achieving definite aims with the aid of practical policies such as recognising and sharing good practices, training and running information campaigns. However, I would like to draw attention to the Commission’s failure to implement across the Union the 116000 Hotline for Missing Children. Children are being put in danger as a result of that failure and the Daphne programme’s work is being undermined in relation to protecting children in all Member States. The hotline is a vitally important tool in protecting children. Currently, the service is not being implemented properly and I urge the Commission to address the operation of the hotline and its role in the Daphne programme.
Robert Dušek (S&D), in writing. – (CS) The aim of the Daphne programme is to combat violence towards women, children and young people. In 2000, the Daphne initiative was transformed into a multiannual programme covering the period 2000-2003, and was allocated funding of EUR 20 million. The Daphne II and Daphne III programmes were launched in 2004 and 2007 respectively, with an average annual budget of EUR 10 million for Daphne II and EUR 16.7 million for Daphne III. Over 500 projects have been implemented since 1997 in a variety of fields, such as sexual, psychological or physical violence in families, schools and other institutions. I have to say, unfortunately, that the new Member States have so far accounted for only a negligible percentage of applications for funding from the Daphne programme. This might, of course, be also due to a lack of awareness among professionals regarding this programme. I would like to urge non-profit organisations, research institutes, public offices, schools and media, as well as all other bodies whose cooperation could be useful in combating violence against women, children and young people, to find out about this EU programme and push for it to be spread, and, in particular, made use of, more widely.
Filiz Hakaeva Hyusmenovа (ALDE), in writing. – (BG) The Daphne programme is an important instrument for preventing and combating all forms of violence, as well as for encouraging international action within this area. During the past year I implemented a massive campaign promoting European programmes in Bulgaria including Daphne. I noticed that the lack of information in accessible language and of experience in implementing partner projects influences how active stakeholders are.
Given that Daphne targets one of our society’s serious problems – violence against women, children and young persons – I am of the opinion that the programme’s results have to be made public and used more widely, also with respect to the new risks associated with Internet usage. Violence against children and young people can cause deep psychological and physical trauma impacting their overall development, and we cannot remain indifferent and inactive. The distribution and exchange of information, experience and good practices, the creation of activity networks, campaigns for promoting public awareness and the setting up of hotlines for victims of violence are key measures that have to continue to receive support at European level.