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Procedure : 2012/2577(RSO)
Document stages in plenary
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Texts tabled :

B7-0151/2012

Debates :

Votes :

PV 14/03/2012 - 9.5
CRE 14/03/2012 - 9.5
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2012)0078

Debates
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition

10. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
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  President. – The next item is the explanations of vote.

 
  
  

Report: João Ferreira (A7-0447/2011)

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). - Mr President, the fishing industry, although diminished in size in recent years, remains of great importance to my constituents in Wales in terms of its contribution to employment and to the wider economy, which is why I welcome the report on the European Fisheries Fund.

This fund is one of the financial tools at the EU’s disposal that can be used to help contribute to regional development and also deliver the aims of the common fisheries policy, such as ensuring the conservation and sustainability of fish stocks and the long-term viability of the fishing sector. Given the added pressures on national financial resources as a result of the current economic difficulties, the report sensibly recommends using the European Fisheries Fund to inject funds into the economy to ensure projects can continue.

Fishing in Welsh waters also makes a major contribution to the tourism sector. Particularly in West Wales, therefore, which is in receipt of cohesion funds, we need to ensure that access to this European Fisheries Fund is encouraged by the more needy regions to enhance the prospects of our local fishermen, to protect our maritime parks, and to promote diversification, including boosting tourism across our coastal areas in Wales.

 
  
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  Anna Rosbach (ECR).(DA) Mr President, granting state support to a particular industry runs fundamentally counter to the free market. The fishing industry must not be dependent on such support. The proposal is a definite improvement on the previous arrangement. It has become easier to redirect resources from the fund to use them for green objectives.

I would have preferred the fund to have been discontinued, but as that is not possible, it is preferable for as many resources as possible to be used to speed up initiatives rather than as direct support for a particular industry. In the long term, I hope that we can eradicate the many support arrangements that, unfortunately, make up the majority of the EU budget. Let us strengthen the free market. That is what is best for taxpayers and for industry.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, at a time of widespread economic crisis that is also affecting Europe’s coastal communities, I think the commitment to make better use of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) is an important one.

Taking into account the fact that appropriations in this area have often been allocated to the scrapping of vessels and therefore have not contributed to the growth of fishing-related activities, I welcome the proposal to review the priorities of the EFF and to encourage easier access to European funds. Despite the fact that the text contained some limitations, I voted for Mr Ferreira’s text, which aims to ensure that Member States can continue to implement EFF programmes.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, other Members before me have already said that there is a general situation of crisis that comes on top of years of decline and disintegration in many areas of the economy, including the fishing industry. For some countries like Italy, but also Greece, the fishing industry is an important source of revenue, as well as an added value for many regions falling under the convergence objective.

Therefore, I wished to support the Commission’s proposal to allow a top-up of ten percentage points to be applied to the cofinancing rates applicable to the priority axis of the programmes coming under the European Fisheries Fund (EFF), even as a temporary measure, in order to encourage public and private investment and make better use of the funds provided by the EU.

 
  
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  Mario Pirillo (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in favour of the report on the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) because I believe it is necessary and should not be delayed, in order to align EFF expenditure in all the EU countries as a matter of urgency. Therefore, I agree with Mr Ferreira in asking for its application at first reading.

Ms Damanaki did well to propose an urgent measure for countries with little investment capacity, as this has often been reduced to historic lows as the report shows. The debate about the reform of the common fisheries policy has already begun and therefore, EFF expenditure needs to be accelerated also by increasing the cofinancing threshold by 10%, in order to avoid there being resources from the old programming period still to be spent from the time the new reform applies. It is important to avoid overlapping between the EFF and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I was also very pleased to be able to vote in favour of this motion because in my view, it is the right response to the problems that the Member States are currently facing. We all want to stimulate the economy and there are two fundamental problems.

One concerns the fact that the countries cannot come up with the cofinancing funds and the other is that the advance financing of many programmes is simply not working. We are in the process of resolving these problems. The situation with regard to advance financing will improve because the European Union will make the necessary funds available.

I think that we could use this as an example for other funds and I would like us to evaluate the results of this process in order to see whether this mechanism could be applied to other programmes and funds.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, I voted alongside my group, the ECR, in favour of the Ferreira report on the European Fisheries Fund. We consider programmes such as the EFF to be useful tools but note that in the Member States that have suffered most in the financial crisis, the implementation of these projects is difficult due to pressures on the budget to cofinance. The report foresees a Commission proposal that would allow increased payments to be made to those countries that are suffering most from the global financial crisis, namely those that are currently benefiting from support mechanisms in order to ensure the continuation of the EFF programmes on the ground.

We welcome the fact that, despite this, the amount that the EU contributes to these programmes will be no higher than the amount put forward in the Commission’s original decision, i.e. a budget freeze. Given that no change has been made to the overall budget, on this occasion, we voted in favour.

 
  
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  James Nicholson (ECR). - Mr President, I also voted in favour of this report. In the current economic and financial crisis that is engulfing the EU zone, it is imperative that we pave the way for a smooth implementation of cohesion programmes like the European Fisheries Fund by voting in favour of this report today. This will hopefully lead to funds being injected into local rural fishing-oriented economies.

I also support the mechanisms that have been put in place that will allow provision for increased payments to be made to Member States that may have financial difficulty in implementing the programmes in question, including the Republic of Ireland, a close neighbour of my home country and constituency of Northern Ireland. We need all to do our bit to help Member States that are witnessing the side effects of financial downturn and aspire to meet the EFF aspirations.

The proposed monetary top-ups will do just this while not exceeding 10% of the maximum ceilings set in the articles of the EFF regulation.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I endorsed the resolution on the European Fisheries Fund with complete conviction because I think the fishing industry is a very important branch of the economy in the European Union, and our approach and that of the Commission to this matter shows that the European institutions are being flexible in their response to the crisis which has struck our continent. On the one hand, we are meeting the justified expectations of interest groups and all of the fishing industry and, on the other, we are being rational in our approach to the way money is spent by the European Union. I want to stress that the fishing sector is not just a matter of economics, because it also has a health aspect. We have been talking at this parliamentary part-session about the diabetes epidemic. A healthy diet, which includes fish, is an important factor in helping us protect the health of our citizens in the European Union.

 
  
  

Report: Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl (A7-0025/2012)

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). - Mr President, following the EU’s ban on imports of beef and beef products from the US and Canada that have been treated with growth-promoting hormones, the US and Canada were subsequently authorised by the WTO to authorise and impose trade sanctions on EU agricultural products.

This had a high impact on farmers and producers across the EU. I am therefore pleased that a resolution has now been found to this trade dispute. The agreement to gradually lift sanctions placed on EU agricultural products in exchange for an autonomous tariff quota on high-quality beef which has not been treated with the hormones will benefit both sides of the Atlantic and will help, hopefully, to rebuild and strengthen trade relations in this sector.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, 40 years ago, the United Kingdom voted to join a common market. I am not sure that we understood then and I am not sure even now, after 40 years, that we fully appreciate the distinction between a free market and a customs union.

A free trade area means that goods and services and capital circulate without restrictions. It is the kind of deal that Switzerland enjoys with the European Union and one cannot help noticing that the Swiss seem to be doing pretty well with it. In a customs union, of course, you are dragged into a common commercial policy and a common external tariff.

It has been particularly disastrous to the United Kingdom, the country which did the highest percentage of its trade, without the EU, to non-European markets. We are linked into a market of similar industrialised economies, having cut ourselves off from our natural hinterland of producers. I never tire of pointing out to this House that we have confined ourselves in a cramped and declining customs union, while standing aside from the bits of the world where the growth still is, not least the wider community of English-speaking democracies. Truly our fathers made a wretched decision.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE) . – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in favour of this report, which aims to align some commercial policy legislative acts, including the anti-dumping regulation, with the new comitology procedures. The text voted on today supports the claims of European industry, of which Italian manufacturing is an example of excellence even at a time of crisis, by vigorously defending the trade defence instruments, which are the only way to protect European businesses and combat the anti-competitive trade practices of third-country competitors.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, given the difficult history of transatlantic trade relations in animal products that was started by the dispute on beef hormones and chlorine-dipped chicken, the adoption of the regulation put forward today in this report is important and my ECR Group voted in favour. We believe that the regulation reinforces the vital trade links that are already in existence across the Atlantic and will also improve access to the market on both sides, leading to more confidence.

Though the products initially affected by the ban on hormone-treated beef were few and accounted for a small volume of trade, those products affected by the subsequent retaliatory EU sanctions were far more numerous, and we hope that these sanctions will steadily be lifted and trade barriers broken down as a result of ongoing negotiations.

The regulation proposed therefore will, we believe, strengthen the long-standing transatlantic economic relationship in terms of trade, and bring economic benefits to both sides. USA-EU political and trade relations must be our number one priority, due to our shared common democratic values.

 
  
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  James Nicholson (ECR). - Mr President, I voted in favour of this report – although I had some concerns initially – because I believe, in the long term, this report has the ability to create a win-win situation for both the EU and Canada and the United States.

The report creates a way past some of the destructive dynamics of trade sanctions and tariffs that were founded back in the 1980s and as a result of the bans on imports of beef and beef products that had been treated by hormones into the EU from the US and Canada.

These tariffs have amounted to USD 116 million every year in the US. Canada and the US recently lifted their sanctions in the hope of creating an autonomous zero duty and tariff quota for imports of high-quality beef not treated with hormones.

To create the win-win situation for all involved, the EU needed the support of MEPs and this report will provide initially some 20 000 tonnes of high-quality beef annually. The final settlement of the beef hormone dispute will create further momentum towards greater economic and commercial integration between the EU and the US.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I hope we will make a great step today towards resolving a conflict which began as far back as 1988. As a result of this conflict, European exporters are losing around USD 116 million every year because of import bans on European products in the US market imposed by the United States as a reprisal for bans introduced by the European Union.

In principle, I am a supporter of free trade, but I also think that just as the United States should have confidence in the plant health procedures in force in Europe, we too should have confidence in food safety procedures in the United States. So it seems that what we have done today is a step in a very good direction. I hope that the United States will respond positively to this gesture of goodwill on the part of the European Union.

 
  
  

Report: Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl (A7-0028/2012)

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). - Mr President, while this is a technical report which updates procedures to take into account the new scrutiny regime contained in the Lisbon Treaty, it will have important consequences for the future content of these regulations. The new role the Parliament now has under delegated acts means that we must take this scrutiny role seriously. In the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, we spend a lot of time deciding whether something is a truly technical measure that should be dealt with under implementing measures or whether it should be a delegated act in relation to which we then have the right of recall.

On the issue of commercial policy, I am certain that this balance is just as difficult as it is on financial services issues, and I am positive that this report, as it stands, has achieved the right balance.

 
  
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  Cristiana Muscardini (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the anti-dumping regulation has a particularly important role in the rationalisation that is currently ongoing with the proposal known as Omnibus I. It is important to remember that in order to be effective and not damage the EU manufacturing sectors, a common commercial policy must fight for rules to be respected, as these do not apply only to a part, but to all the players.

One of the fundamental rules is correct pricing, and this means tackling dumping practices effectively and energetically. When defining the extension of trade defence procedures, the Committee on International Trade was right to confirm that the time limit in anti-dumping cases must not exceed the current time limit of 15 months when defining the extension of trade defence procedures.

We must not weaken the defence instruments, as the Commission was prepared to do after the Treaty of Lisbon came into force. Defence instruments are therefore indispensable for guaranteeing competition, safeguarding rules and protecting consumers. I am therefore voting for the resolution and would like to thank Ms Quisthoudt-Rowohl for her excellent work.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, fully aware of the responsibility involved, I voted in favour, together with my group. That responsibility firstly, of course, concerns the technical side and our decisions on technical matters. These decisions are, however, related to the fact that the European Parliament is gradually implementing the recommendations and gradually adapting to the increased role which our Parliament plays in European structures today in relation to the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. Naturally, I think it is very good that as part of the examination procedure, Member States which constitute a qualified majority can block a Commission proposal on commercial policy by a simple majority. This is important – as the previous speaker said – among other things, in matters concerning definitive anti-dumping measures. It is to be welcomed that we are establishing mechanisms which can protect the European market and which can protect our consumers.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, despite certain fears related to the failure to carry out detailed consultations with the Member States, I decided to endorse the report. The regulation enables certain regulations relating to the common commercial policy to be adapted to the requirements of the Treaty of Lisbon. In particular, this concerns the implementing acts dealing with the uniform transposition of European law in this area in all Member States and replacing the current comitology procedure.

An important tool here will be introduction of the advisory and examination procedures provided for in the Treaty. Application of the concept of delegated acts will also enable proper supervision of Parliament in this area. Inclusion in the regulation of key demands made by the European Parliament, such as the adoption of provisions concerning the reduction and abolition of the Common Customs Tariff duties on the products of some tariff headings, for example, is a good sign.

I hope that these regulations will allow for improved commercial exchange between the EU’s Member States and third countries, and that this will deliver benefits to the citizens.

 
  
  

Report: Giovanni La Via (A7-0040/2012)

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). - Mr President, along with my political group, the European Conservatives and Reformists, I would like to see a significant reduction of the EU budget. I therefore cannot support this report, as it defends the size of a proposed, larger EU budget, which, at this time, I cannot justify to my constituents in Wales.

A number of EU Member States are implementing harsh austerity measures which have had a devastating impact on people’s livelihoods. In this light, therefore, it would be completely unjustifiable to defend any increase in the EU budget. All EU institutions need to demonstrate the ability to tighten budgets at this difficult economic time. The 2013 budget should reflect this.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, three things are certain in life: death, taxes and constant rises in the EU budget. Our gross and net contributions as a country are shooting up, and it is not just us. At a time when all 27 Member States are looking to find cuts in their domestic spending, all of those savings are being swallowed up in their higher contributions to Brussels.

Now we are told that all this money is being used to create jobs and stimulate prosperity. Those Members who do not read English might like to look at Frédéric Bastiat on the question of creating jobs, the question of seen and unseen costs. Every euro that we take out of the private sector to create jobs is a euro that would have otherwise been spent on creating actual wealth. The only jobs we are creating here are the jobs of people whose job is to destroy genuine job creation: the licensors, the inspectors, the clerks, the compliance officers, the whole regulatory machine of EU enforcement.

How can we carry on in a system where, in order to pay for these constantly rising budgets, simply in the time that I have been speaking, my constituents have handed over something like GBP 120 000? So I am going to stop speaking and sit down.

 
  
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  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, before my explanation of vote, I would like to explain that I am wearing this T-shirt because I would like to ask the European Union to take decisive steps to secure the liberation of the two Italian soldiers, Captain Massimiliano Latorre and Sergeant Salvatore Girone, who have been unjustly detained for doing their duty against piracy.

Mr President, the new general guidelines of the European Parliament on the 2013 budget will define the guidelines, objectives and strategies to be followed by the Commission when preparing the draft budget. The report in question sets out the key points for reviving the European economy in the light of the effects of, and the issues caused by, the ongoing nature of the economic crisis. I welcome the initiative not just because it makes the EU budget an ideal vehicle for encouraging cohesion between Member States, but also because it embodies an opportunity to review and adapt the new budget to the needs of the economic crisis that has hit the euro area.

The initiative proposed by Mr La Via has my full support, and I especially welcome the request made to the Council not to make artificial cuts that do not take into account the effective absorption capacity of the programmes and consequently delay the implementation of cohesion policies.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR). - Mr President, this report calls for collective efforts to help the European economy. What it means in practice is more Europe and more money. I am totally committed to an agenda of growth and jobs. However, I do not believe that the way to achieve it is with more Europe. We need less red tape and fewer regulations, which will leave businesses free to flourish.

This Parliament has squandered its opportunity to send out a strong signal. We should have called on the Commission to deliver more for less money. We should have reflected the will of our citizens and called for a freeze on the European budget, but, as usual, we chickened out, and that is why I cannot support this report.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI). - Mr President, I voted against this report.

Once again, further political integration is cited as a prerequisite for dealing with the economic and social woes of the EU. I would contend that, rather than being the firm foundation or the cornerstone of any future recovery, the desire for political integration is the sinking sand that has led to the EU facing economic collapse. Yet ideology still blinds reality, and while that remains the case, the much-needed recovery will not occur at a satisfactory pace.

The report states that austerity being imposed in Member States should not be replicated in the EU budget. What arrogance! Indeed, the report demands yet more money from Member States to the EU. ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ seems to be the message that emanates from this Parliament so often.

It is time to cut the waste from the EU budget. Target resources effectively to promote growth and, importantly, lead by example.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I have voted in favour of this report because the rapporteur, Mr La Via, has done a good job and has reached the necessary compromise. We know that there are no quick solutions to the problems of achieving our strategic goals, reducing red tape and ensuring that our bureaucracy, in other words, the administration and the Commission, spends less money. These issues need careful consideration. Ultimately, we must start by adopting the necessary legislation and regulations which will ensure that we have less red tape and fewer controls.

I would like to mention one small problem. I would have liked us to have voted in favour of the amendment by the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, which called for 2013 to be devoted to economic recovery after the financial consolidation. This is the only problem, but I was able to vote in favour of the report as a whole.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). - (FI) Mr President, firstly, I would like to say that I voted in favour of this report. It contains a lot of good things, and we could say that it is a step in the right direction, although it is perhaps unsatisfactory in some respects.

In any case, I think it is now important to recognise that we in Europe are facing challenging times economically, and, during such times, we must have the courage to make additional cuts, though not do so for its own sake. We have to make the priority in the budget one that would enable growth. This means that if we want to achieve recovery and growth in the European economy, we must invest in research, development and innovation, and we must invest in education. In other words, these are the basis and foundation on which to build new growth in Europe.

It is very important in this respect to realise that we need more investment in these sectors. We can cut bureaucracy and such unnecessary extras, but we need investment in education, innovation and research and development for the European economy to recover and embark on a path to growth.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, as with all the Poles who are members of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, I voted in a different way from our group and endorsed this report. I do see the arguments of all those who are talking about the need for savings in the EU budget and the need to fight bureaucracy. They are good and commendable principles and they should be supported but, all the same, it should be remembered that those who will lose most over cuts in the EU budget are principally the new Member States, and it is these Member States which today need support from the European Union to make up the distance in terms of their economy and infrastructure which separates them from the wealthy countries of the old Europe. In Poland, we had already opened our market to goods from the European Union at the beginning of the 1990s – we did not protect our market. British, Italian and Dutch firms made huge sums from the opportunities afforded by the Polish market. Today, the moment has come in which our citizens are entitled to demand that Europe help them – Europe is helping, but we do not want it to stop.

 
  
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  Anneli Jäätteenmäki (ALDE). - (FI) Mr President, I voted for freezing the EU budget. In fact, I am in favour of the EU making savings in its budget.

The Member States of the EU are living on credit. They accrue debt in their everyday expenditure and in their EU membership contributions also. In addition, the Member States are having to make major cuts to their national budgets.

In such a situation, the EU has to set an example. It must also be innovative and find areas where the EU itself can save money. It cannot order its Member States to make savings. Those Member States that do not save enough are penalised, but the EU itself is not prepared to look for areas where savings can be made. We must be able to find areas in the EU budget where savings can be made in Parliament, the Commission and the Council, and the EU should use the money for growth and employment.

 
  
  

Proposal for a decision: B7-0150/2012

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). - Mr President, whilst, in principle, I can support measures which enhance cross-border coordination and the sharing of best practice across the EU in the field of civil law, I am unable, however, to support this resolution on judicial training. At present, there are already a number of online tools and initiatives available which aim to resolve cross-border legal problems that may be encountered. It seems, therefore, that this would duplicate initiatives which already exist.

Moreover, the proposal for the establishment of ‘Erasmus of judges’ networks seems to be wholly unnecessary and a complete waste of EU resources. This resolution does not respect the principle of subsidiarity and, as judicial systems are firmly matters for Member States, we should refrain from harmonising or centralising such issues.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Mr President, I endorsed this resolution. I think the role of the European institutions and the European Parliament is to help the citizens. We have many legal systems in the European Union, and I am glad we do, because I support diversity in the Union. The Member States differ significantly from each other and we do, of course, support the fact that interpersonal, economic and cultural contacts between EU citizens from different Member States are increasing. This naturally gives rise to the need for a better knowledge of the legal systems which will affect EU citizens when travelling or involved in professional, cultural or any other kind of activity in different countries.

I think, therefore, that this type of coordination is needed, although, of course, it should be kept within the bounds of common sense and it should, of course, respect the money of European taxpayers.

 
  
  

Proposal for a decision: B7-0126/2012

 
  
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  Emma McClarkin (ECR). - Mr President, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child makes clear the importance of education; in particular, it states that parties shall make primary education compulsory and freely available to all. I do not need to spell out the importance of this in the development of young children into responsible literate adults who can play active roles in society. So it is with the utmost urgency that we must assist in tackling the problem that is the 215 million children across the world who continue to engage in labour activities which should be abolished.

By its very nature – a labour intensive, often family-run enterprise – cocoa farming can, in some instances, pose a major problem. West Africa, where 70% of the world’s cocoa is cultivated, is the obvious example. Progress in abolishing the use of child labour is hampered by ongoing conflict in the region and it is also difficult to change attitudes amongst families and communities.

I recognise that there are work activities which are acceptable for children to participate in, as long as the opportunity remains for educational activity. However, cocoa farming has been shown to pose major risks for child labourers often without the opportunity for education. I therefore support the resolution voted on today opposing the use of forced child labour in the cocoa industry.

 
  
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  Andrea Zanoni (ALDE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, 215 million children worldwide used as child labour, 152 million child workers under the age of 15, 115 million children involved in dangerous activities – these are shocking figures that we can no longer tolerate. I voted in favour of the resolution on child labour in the cocoa sector, with absolute conviction, because the European Union has to play a fundamental role in stopping this form of modern slavery.

The Commission must do its utmost to include effective provisions that will guarantee dignified employment and prevent forced child labour in all trade agreements with cocoa producing countries such as Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. We need a traceability mechanism to identify goods produced using child labour. The European Union has always defended the rights of the world’s most vulnerable people, and children working in the harvesting of cocoa beans deserve our full attention.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). - Mr President, child labour in any sector is something that the EU should play a part in eradicating around the world. By refusing to sign trade agreements with Uzbekistan, which continues to use child labour in cotton picking, it will make other regions in the world realise that, in order to continue trading with the EU, they do have to reach basic minimum standards of rights.

This report cites the statistic that 215 million children across the world are currently engaged in child labour, a shocking figure in this day and age. Ultimately, we must continue to use our trading power to eradicate these abuses and, hopefully, show other countries that educating their children, instead of putting them to work at such a young age, is the real way to achieve growth and a more vibrant and intelligent economy in the future.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, we are often unaware of the ways and means by which some products we use on a daily basis are made, and do not know that in some cases, these products are made through the work of more than 200 million children. Of these, 150 million are under the age of 15 and are involved in highly dangerous work. Unfortunately, the cocoa industry is one of those involved in this system of exploitation.

Stamping out child labour is a duty and a responsibility for all those countries and multinationals involved, which sometimes refuse to disclose their financial flows. In compliance with the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child and International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions, I hope that the possibility of setting up a body to monitor production chains in order to combat child abuse and exploitation and to introduce a cocoa product traceability system will be taken into consideration.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). - (FI) Mr President, I supported the report because the chocolate purchased by us European consumers is frequently produced in questionable ways, using child labour. We know that the cocoa plantations in West Africa, in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, produce almost all the world’s cocoa, which is the main raw material for chocolate. The European Commission and the European External Action Service should monitor developments in these countries very carefully and ensure that the EU does not establish trade relations with countries that engage in the worst forms of child labour.

The use of child labour in the cocoa sector is also an indication of the huge socio-economic and political challenges that we still face. This is not just a matter of the social responsibility of European companies: the European Union is a community of values based on human rights, and that is why we cannot accept the flagrant use of child labour – in the cultivation and harvesting of cocoa beans, for example.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI). - Mr President, it is estimated that approximately 250 000 children, many against their will, work in the cocoa plantations in West Africa. In recent years, there has been some progress through programmes and initiatives aimed at combating the worst forms of child labour. However, there is still much work to be done.

The Ivory Coast exports nearly half the world’s cocoa. This is a country ravaged by years of civil war with the majority of its citizens in extreme poverty. As a result, cocoa farms have traditionally been worked by the family unit, children included, in order to reduce labour costs.

Therefore, I believe that the only way to break the cycle of child labour is through combating such poverty. This is the only way that countries such as the Ivory Coast can progress – through the building of roads, hospitals, social centres and, in particular, schools – to give the children and their parents a chance of a better future.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE). - (RO) Mr President, I voted in favour of this resolution because child labour in West African agriculture is a highly sensitive topic, the proportions of the phenomenon being difficult to estimate in figures. Widespread poverty, conflicts and poor harvests in recent years have aggravated the situation. Last year, tensions in Côte d’Ivoire led to 200 000 tonnes being blocked in production and increased prices by up to 9% per day on the Euronext Paris stock exchange.

Now, the EU is dependent on cocoa imports from countries such as Ghana or Côte d’Ivoire, but trade relations should not be an obstacle to cooperation with Interpol in this area, particularly regarding trafficking of minors. Moreover, large-scale implementation of the concept of fair trade would ensure a decent standard of living for parents and the chance of an education for children.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I did, of course, endorse this document. I think that these are important moments in the history and the work of our Parliament, moments when, in spite of the differences which do very clearly exist between us, we are able, for the sake of the values which have brought us together here, to rise above those divisions and vote the same way – as is the case with this problem, a problem which, as we say in Poland, is ‘crying to heaven for vengeance’. A situation in which millions of children, tens of millions of children across the world, are abused, forced to work, deprived of their childhood and deprived of their own future, is a situation which must not be tolerated. It is to be greatly welcomed that the European Parliament is taking up this question and that we are trying to get to the heart of the matter. We want to investigate the channels by which these products are moved and by which they reach the European market. We in Europe are a major buyer of many products, and this includes cocoa, and we have the resources to find out if products which reach the European market and which are paid for by European consumers are illegal products – illegal in the eyes of international law – since the producers utilise child labour.

 
  
  

Recommendation: Vital Moreira (A7-0024/2012)

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Mr President, it goes without saying that I endorsed the document on the International Cocoa Agreement – this document, is of course, related to what we were talking about just now. The International Cocoa Agreement 2010 replaces the 2001 agreement, to which the EU is a party. It is a step in the right direction and, among other things, it appeals specifically for transparency in the production of cocoa, because – as we were saying a moment ago – there is a huge problem with the illegal use of child labour. However, we are also talking here about reducing trade barriers, we are talking about improved access to the European market for this product, for cocoa, which – as we have also said here – is an important export product of countries that are very poor. On condition that child labour will not be used in the production of cocoa, we should most definitely support a situation in which a wealthy Europe promotes the development of poor countries by buying this product from them.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). - (FI) Mr President, I think that it is very important now to ensure that the European Union adheres to its values. Central to these is the matter of human rights and also the rights of children associated with them. Consequently, we must be very careful not to expose children to dangers of this kind in any circumstances. Instead, we should ensure that they continue to develop holistically and that we consider their physical, motor, cognitive and intellectual development, and do everything possible to bring that about.

That being the case, we must dissociate ourselves very determinedly and clearly from the use of child labour, and when we conclude agreements on cocoa and other commodities, we also need to ensure that our partners do not expose children to such dangers to save costs. Children must have the right to a childhood and children’s rights, which are human rights.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). - Mr President, removing trade barriers and involving both producer and consumer countries alongside the private sector is the way in which the global market ought to operate and is what we should be striving to facilitate in more sectors.

One of the most important aspects of this report relates to its requirement to produce more analysis, statistics and impact assessments on what the causes of trade barriers are in this particular sector. I hope this will inform the decisions of global bodies as they look to better regulate the commodities markets more widely.

We need to ensure we have specific data on every asset class in order to provide a highly sophisticated mechanism for our commodities and agricultural derivative products that will not curb the activities of the producers and consumers whose trade we are encouraging with this cocoa agreement.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0150/2012

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). - Mr President, at present, it is thought that almost 10% of the EU population is affected in some form by diabetes. With the increase in obesity and an ageing population, this number has been projected to increase dramatically over the coming years. Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are treatable and, as Type 2 is linked to lifestyle factors, it can be addressed by effective preventative strategies such as increasing exercise and making adjustments to diet.

Whilst health care is a national competence, it is sensible that a joined-up approach is taken and that sharing best practice and enhanced cooperation between Member States, particularly in research and in the development of new tools to diagnose diabetes at an earlier stage, are put into place. It would be equally beneficial for Member States to share their knowledge on disease management and treatment guidelines so that the best preventative and treatment regimes can be adopted.

I therefore support the joint resolution, which seeks to address the EU diabetes epidemic, as I believe that an EU strategy would be beneficial in this instance, particularly with the additional strain this disease is putting on the Welsh health care budget in current economically difficult times.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR). - Mr President, across the UK, nearly 3 million people suffer from diabetes. With obesity on the rise and an ageing population, the estimated cost of diabetes on the health care system is expected to increase to nearly 10% of our annual health care budget.

This is not isolated to the UK. Figures show that approximately one in ten people in the EU are affected by this. While health care is a Member State competency and responsibility, I believe the sharing of best practice will be hugely beneficial. The concept of an EU strategy which aims to improve cooperation, share research and spread best practice is an opportunity to utilise the knowledge and resources the EU has available. This is an epidemic we can take control of if we act together. I therefore supported this report.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the statistics on diabetes are disturbing. It has become a problem of epidemic proportions that claims more than 300 000 lives each year. It is a chronic illness that accounts for between 10% and 20% of national health expenditure. At present, there is still no treatment capable of bringing the illness under control, and whilst it has luckily been declared a non-communicable disease, it will inevitably spread as a result of ageing populations and unhealthy lifestyles.

The European Union must continue to direct its efforts towards preventing diabetes and obesity, alongside strategies on healthy lifestyles and early diagnosis. The European Union must also implement an effective and innovative targeted strategy at national level and guarantee constant financial support to research projects.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). - (FI) Mr President, I voted in favour of this report, since diabetes not only causes human suffering but also results in substantial costs to the economy as the number of people with diabetes in Europe is still growing at an alarming rate.

Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease, and one way to prevent it is to provide people with adequate and comprehensible information on food that is good for the health. The labelling on food packaging should not be misleading: consumers must be able to make the best choices for their health themselves. The right diet and exercise can prevent people from contracting diabetes. Health affects a person’s whole life in every way, and it is therefore important to do everything possible to support the prevention of diabetes. That is why I am strongly in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI). - Mr President, recent figures show that 2.9 million people in the United Kingdom have been diagnosed with diabetes. This figure includes those diagnosed in my own constituency of Northern Ireland with an estimated 73 500 people currently living with this illness. There are thought to be thousands more who have the condition but do not yet know it.

Diabetes is on the increase in Northern Ireland, as it is across Europe. Over the last six years, the number of people in my own constituency diagnosed with this condition has increased by almost 41%. A recent report entitled ‘Diabetes in the National Health Service’ estimated a total cost of GBP 3.5 billion per annum. That is over GBP 9.6 million per day to treat this illness.

With 100 000 people in the UK diagnosed every year, health costs are spiralling and placing an increased strain on government resources. It is therefore vital that we become more proactive in combating this condition through education and increased awareness, with an emphasis on healthy diet and exercise as a means of prevention.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE). - (RO) Mr President, I voted in favour of this resolution because I believe that the fight against diabetes must be intensified by all means. I refer here, first of all, to prevention. Given that, by 2030, over 16% of European citizens will be affected by this disease, it is necessary to educate the population in this regard. Unfortunately, diabetes is an incurable disease, but there are plenty of ways to prevent its onset. Therefore, Europe must invest more in promoting sports and encouraging a healthy lifestyle.

Precise and rapid diagnosis of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is another important element. This would ensure the appropriate treatment of patients and reduced costs resulting from subsequent complications.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, I voted in favour of the Council and Commission statements on addressing the EU diabetes epidemic. Health care provision is primarily a Member State responsibility, but the modest proposals put forward would have a positive impact in the field of diabetes research.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects almost 10% of the total EU population and accounts for over 10% of expenditure across the EU in health care. With an ageing European population, these figures are expected to increase.

We believe that an EU strategy at the level of consensus on the public health aspects would help to improve cooperation between the Member States and provide a mechanism to share best medical practice between health care professionals from across the European Union in primary prevention diagnosis management and monitoring. I support the calls for continued research funding under the European framework programmes.

I declare a personal interest, being both a medical doctor and a middle-aged man and being overweight with a strong family history of diabetes, so I am at a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which actually – very sadly – killed my late grandfather.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). - (FI) Mr President, I voted in favour of this report. It is very important that we try to do all we can at EU level to prevent the growth in the number of diabetes cases. As has been said, diabetes is now an epidemic of sorts, and the number of cases has increased dramatically, especially those relating to Type 2 diabetes, which is very largely the consequence of changes in lifestyle and the role that diet and exercise play in people’s health.

While health care issues mainly fall within the competence of the Member States under the principle of subsidiarity, in my view, it is nevertheless a good thing that people are being made aware of these matters of public health and this risk at EU level. It is also good that an attempt is being made to encourage Member States to act to ensure that children and young people are told about the effects of healthy eating and healthy lifestyle while still at school, and that everything possible is being done to try to prevent any further increase in cases of Type 2 diabetes and to bring it under control.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, 10% of the European Union’s population are suffering from diabetes. Changes in the development of civilisation, changing lifestyles and the ageing of European society mean that the problem of diabetes is going to affect an increasing number of our citizens. This is why I endorsed this document at today’s vote. I think the scale of the diabetes problem is so great today that all institutions – both at the level of national governments and as indeed we have done today at the level of the entire Union – should tackle this problem both by promoting a healthy lifestyle and good diet and by increasing spending on specific medical research into this problem. I am pleased that the European Parliament has adopted this document by such a large majority today.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Mr President, it was to be expected that a large majority would be in favour of this short article today as everyone wants to cure this disease or, better still, to prevent it.

As regards prevention, I came across a staggering statistic recently at a health forum in Brussels, where it said that 97% of health expenses in the European Union were spent on trying to treat various ailments and only 3% was invested in trying to find cures and, particularly, on prevention.

Therefore, I agree completely with Kay Swinburne, who says that in research, there should be huge emphasis on prevention. There is too much on trying to find cures and not enough on prevention. For instance, many people would like to change their behavioural pattern and to have a better lifestyle but they struggle to do so. That is an example of where we should do some research. Also Ms Băsescu mentioned the importance of sport. I certainly agree with that, and particularly in the next multiannual financial framework, there should be a budget for health-related sport and various activities.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0127/2012

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). - Mr President, I welcome the positive statements in the enlargement report for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. I feel that many other accession countries, including Serbia – which was accepted last week by the European Council for EU candidate status – could look to the example that has been set by Macedonia’s engagement with the EU over the last few years.

The two countries have faced similar problems in their recent history and need to come to terms with both their own population’s problems and their ongoing disputes with their neighbours. Macedonia’s dispute over its name with Greece should not be directly compared to the situation between Belgrade and Priština. However, the sensible way that Macedonia is dealing with its neighbours, and the EU as a whole, in order to overcome that dispute, can provide a good starting point on which others, including Serbia, could model their approaches over the next few years.

 
  
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  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I travelled personally to Macedonia during the last presidential elections as an envoy of the Group of the European People’s Party (PPE) in order to support Prime Minister Gruevski’s electoral campaign. Having met thousands of people, I was able to observe personally that it is not just the institutions but also the people who are decisively in favour of joining the European Union.

This is why I believe we cannot put off starting negotiations, which have been suspended, for much longer, and should resume them as a matter of urgency. The 2011 progress report presented by the Commission shows that for the third consecutive year, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has managed to maintain positive progress in line with European standards in terms of political criteria and the development of a market economy. Therefore, I am confident that FYROM will manage to overcome the political and structural limitations that are still holding it back, and give my full support to the resumption of negotiations.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). - (FI) Mr President, it is extremely regrettable that the dispute over its name continues to obstruct Macedonia’s membership of the EU and prevent the enlargement process from going forward. The European Union has promised all the Balkan countries an opportunity to be part of the enlargement process. Macedonia was one of the first countries in the region to be granted EU candidate status. Besides, the Macedonians are very much in favour of the EU – at least they are for now.

For three years in succession, the European Commission has issued a recommendation for the start of EU accession talks with Macedonia, but the Council has simply not as yet reached agreement on the matter. The Commission has also succumbed to linguistic censorship; it does not use the terms Macedonia or Macedonian. The UN does not act in this way.

The EU would do well to take a look in the mirror. It has a responsibility for ensuring that no country is left behind. The credibility of the entire EU accession process may be jeopardised, simply because of this dispute over a name. Macedonia’s progress, of course, is primarily dependent on Macedonia itself, but the EU should not have the right to close the door in its face because of such a political dispute over its name.

 
  
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  Mario Pirillo (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the progress made by the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia shows its strong desire to join the European Union. It is a strategic country in the Balkan region, is involved in several European initiatives, and is giving proof of cooperation and openness.

The reforms of the judicial system, administrative decentralisation and initial, if weak, signs of a willingness to discuss freedom of expression are very hopeful signs for the future. However, the following issues are still worrying: respect for human rights, corruption levels and the lack of pluralism in the media. This country still has a long way to go, and the years leading up to its entry must act as a stimulus to speed up the necessary reforms for the country’s democracy to develop. I believe in an enlarged, strong Europe, and therefore I voted in favour of the resolution.

 
  
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  Dimitar Stoyanov (NI).(BG) Mr President, for the first time in the five years that I have been in the European Parliament, I voted against the report on Macedonia’s accession to the European Union. Why? I previously voted in favour because, in spite of all the problems, I thought that doing this might give some encouragement to the country to carry out reforms.

The five-year period that I have been an MEP is more or less equivalent to half the time the process takes for a country to join the Union at the normal rate of progress. This is a long time, yet all the while people who consider themselves Bulgarian continue to be persecuted in Macedonia and the hate talk continues in the media, schoolbooks, films and in any way sponsored by the State.

I find such actions unacceptable and I can no longer continue to support a country which, in my view, does not meet the political criteria, undertaking such actions against a neighbouring country and even against its own citizens, especially as we have also seen that freedom of speech is being affected, which is a change for the worse and not the better.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I voted in favour of this report because I wish to see stability in the Balkans and relations with the European Union contribute to ensuring it. Skopje has made some progress in terms of democratic reforms. They must, however, continue, especially in areas such as the judicial system and the fight against corruption. I also emphasise the need for more transparency on public expenditure and the financing of political parties.

Nevertheless, I appreciate the position of the Macedonian authorities in considering multiculturalism to be the social and political model of the country. The Romanian minority is recognised and enjoys fair treatment. I wish to point out the progress made towards Roma integration in the education system and their representation in the public sector. Still, I draw attention to the fact that continued efforts are needed to improve the situation of this community.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, the ECR supported the Howitt report on Macedonia. The text calls on the Council to confirm the Commission’s call for a priority date now to be set for EU accession negotiations to commence, and I back this call.

The persistent Greek veto over the name issue has gone on far too long. I believe that bilateral issues should not be an obstacle to Macedonia’s further EU integration as they have been since the country was given candidate status as far back as 2005. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Gruevski, Macedonia has made progress in the fields of parliamentary cooperation, economic development, inter-ethnic reconciliation, decentralisation, human rights and public administration.

The responsible and measured way in which the government has dealt with the recent ethnic tensions between the Albanian community and the Macedonian Slavs in the country is testimony to Macedonia’s progress. The recent International Court of Justice verdict against Greece over Macedonia’s accession to NATO needs to be listened to by the whole of the European Union and respected.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, enlargement in the Balkans is the next stage in the development of European integration. The Republic of Macedonia is already an important and close economic partner of the EU. I think therefore that it is a priority in our relations with Macedonia to set a date for the start of accession negotiations without further delay. In endorsing the resolution, I would like to express my full approval, both for the pro-European policy of the government in Skopje and the Euro-Atlantic aspirations seen in Macedonia’s status as a candidate for NATO membership – questions of European security should go hand in hand with the idea of enlargement.

Also worthy of note is the progress Macedonia has made in economic development, gaining recognition in the World Bank report as the third most successful country over the past five years in undertaking regulatory reforms. Another success is Macedonia’s strategy for tackling corruption, which is reflected in its significantly improved position in the Transparency International anti-corruption index. I am sure that the country’s economic potential and the increasing stability of its domestic politics will be its strength in the negotiation process.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, for many years, the Balkans were a dangerous trouble spot in the history and politics of Europe. Today, we should greatly welcome the fact that successive Balkan countries are declaring, and declaring sincerely, that they have European aspirations. They want to become part of our Union, which, from the moment of its establishment, in a way which was without precedent in the history of our continent, has been an area of economic growth, rising prosperity and, above all, peace. It is no surprise therefore that countries which have seen so much unrest, countries which have been through wars, want to be together with us. Therefore, I support Macedonia’s aspirations to be in the European Union, and I would also like to appeal from here to our Greek friends to stop raising the problem of the name ‘Republic of Macedonia’. I think that in today’s Europe, there should be no room for this kind of narrow, chauvinistic approach. We should all share our continent with each other in a spirit of friendship and understanding.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0125/2012

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). - Mr President, when discussing the enlargement process in relation to Iceland, it is very hard to do so solely on the technical level of the Copenhagen criteria and acquis, as the situation is very different from that of those Member States that have joined the EU since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Communism in Europe.

Yet we must be very careful to be even-handed in our approach and ensure that Iceland genuinely does fulfil all of the EU criteria before joining. In the area of financial services, we need to be very careful to ensure that Iceland’s reformed banking system is now truly following all of the necessary EU regulations in this field.

The issue of Icesave is still of huge concern in the UK, where many individuals and local authorities lost significant amounts of money because of the lax system of regulation previously in force in Iceland. While separating this specific issue out from the accession process might be a sensible approach, I believe we must ensure the issue is resolved as soon as possible and appropriate measures are taken to avoid it happening again.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, there was some rather ugly Schadenfreude in this Chamber following the collapse of the Icelandic Banks. A number of federalist colleagues, British and continental, were coming up to me saying, ‘Ah, Hannan, how are your Icelanders doing now. This is what happens to you if you remain standoffish about Europe’.

Well, who is laughing now? Iceland, having devalued because it was not in the euro, has exported its way to growth and enjoys a rate of growth which is the envy of the eurozone stricken economies and, because it did not make this terrible mistake of assuming the bad debts of private institutions, it will begin, once this Icesave dispute is cleared, with a debt-to-GDP ratio which is the envy of Europe. 67% of Icelanders in the last poll are now against EU membership because they understand what it would mean: their resources plundered, their seas emptied, their democracy vitiated, the oldest parliament in the world turned into a local authority chamber.

Icelanders are a shrewd and canny people with wisdom bred in the bone by hundreds of years of struggling in difficult conditions. They know far better than to throw away their freedom.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR). - Mr President, I voted against this resolution, not because I believe Iceland should not become a member of the EU, but because the resolution states that money owed by Iceland’s Landsbanki after the collapse of Icesave must not be an obstacle to accession. As a Conservative MEP for London, I cannot possibly agree to these terms.

Local authorities in London are suffering from painful cuts after the economic downturn and thirteen years of wasteful Labour government. Six London councils had a total of GBP 120 million invested in Icesave; Transport for London invested a further GBP 40 million and London’s Metropolitan Police, GBP 30 million. These councils and organisations have not seen a penny of their money back since the Bank’s collapse in October 2008.

The Icelandic Government is dodging its legal obligation to pay minimum compensation to these and other British debtors. Margaret Thatcher once said: we are simply asking to have our own money back. That is what we are asking of Iceland. Until they pay up, I cannot support their membership.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). - (FI) Mr President, in the midst of the European economic crisis, even we politicians have all too often forgotten how much stability, prosperity and well-being the European Union has also produced for its Member States.

Iceland’s economy and financial sector are recovering. In Iceland, the European Union will be getting a Member State with a history that goes back a long way, strong democratic traditions, and an active civil society. Iceland will function in the EU as a strategic bridgehead in the Arctic region. At the same time, it also has a good deal of know-how in the area of renewable energy.

Iceland already meets the Copenhagen criteria and is thus eligible for EU membership. Nevertheless, Iceland’s accession to the EU should not be taken for granted. For example, a threshold issue is the ending of whaling. The EU accession process proceeds on the basis of each country’s achievements. We can, however, congratulate ourselves on the fact that the Icelander’s eagerness to join us shows that the EU is still an attractive prospect.

 
  
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  David Campbell Bannerman (ECR). - Mr President, I voted against Iceland joining the EU because I think, as two-thirds of Icelandic people thought in a poll just last month, that Iceland would be mad to join the EU.

Mad because membership would destroy Iceland’s key industry – fishing – through the disastrous common fisheries policy, just as it has destroyed 100 000 jobs in the UK in fishing and nearly all the fishing in my own constituency of the East of England. Mad because they would have to join the disastrous euro as well and abandon the free floating króna, which has brought a boom in exports. Mad, too, because its economy would be weighed down with a barrage of EU red tape. Its growth rate is currently 3.1%, whereas the EU’s GDP forecast is 0 for this year. Why risk it?

As for Icesave, there are other legal mechanisms outside the EU, such as the EFTA court, which has already ruled that Iceland must pay up.

So we must stop kidding ourselves in the EU that Iceland wants to join. Iceland’s sane option, as I believe Britain’s is too, is to stay proud, independent and self-governing.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI). - Mr President, there is a constituency within the United Kingdom whose advice to Iceland would be to learn from the UK’s mistake and stay out of the EU. Another opinion this Parliament should consider is that, if you apply for membership of any club, you usually precede your application with a clear demonstration of your eligibility for membership by complying with the existing rules of the club.

In respect of fisheries management, specifically regarding mackerel, Iceland has ignored such a commitment and wants to rewrite the rules before it joins the club. If this Parliament has any principles, it should send a clear message to Iceland that its behaviour in respect of mackerel is unacceptable and sets a dangerous precedent in terms of how Iceland might flout the EU’s plethora of other regulations.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE). - (RO) Mr President, I voted in favour of the report of Mr Cristian Preda because it offers a balanced assessment of the status of accession negotiations with Iceland. This country could become an enlargement success story. Its integration can bring economic benefits, but it can also strengthen the EU's foreign policy, with regard as well to the transatlantic relationship. It would also help develop the Arctic dimension of regional policy. Moreover, Iceland's progress can have beneficial effects in terms of stimulating the other candidate countries. At the same time, due attention should be paid to public information and communication, given the existing differences in Iceland regarding the European integration project.

Finally, I wish to welcome Iceland’s decision to lift labour market restrictions for Romanian workers. I believe it contributes to strengthening the European Economic Area.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Mr President, I endorsed this report because I think that the European Union should enlarge, and that it should enlarge to include all countries which share our values – countries which are democratic, which respect human rights and which respect the conditions necessary for a free economy and free management of the economy. This is certainly true in the case of Iceland.

In my opinion, what has happened in Iceland in recent years should be instructive – for us in the European Union too. I am thinking of the very serious crisis – the unprecedented financial and political crisis – and also of the ways in which Iceland is recovering from this crisis. I think there are very many reasons why it would be good if the European Union enlarged to include Iceland, but, of course, we have to remember that it takes two to tango. For Iceland to become a member of the European Union, the will of Iceland’s voters and citizens is needed as well.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0129/2012

 
  
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  Eduard Kukan (PPE). - Mr President, I voted in favour of the resolution on Bosnia and Herzegovina. I hope that it will send a message for reflection to the politicians in the country and that it will stimulate them to engage with the reforms which the country urgently needs. I would also like to stress in this connection that it is of the upmost importance that the politicians in Bosnia and Herzegovina find the courage and political will to work together.

Culture of compromise and constructive dialogue is the key for the future progress of the country. Major issues such as constitutional reform, reform of the judiciary and further economic and social reforms would not be possible without common effort. I believe that progress of the country in the future development and integration processes is in the interests of our security and stability of the region but, most importantly, in the interests of European citizens and the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE). - (RO) Mr President, I voted in favour of this report because the prolonged political deadlock has affected the progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its European course. I hope that the formation of government will allow the pursuit of necessary reforms to strengthen democracy, the rule of law and economic development. The positive internal climate gives this country the opportunity to move forward in its relationship with the EU. I hope this opportunity will be utilised.

The EU has an important role in this respect: to identify ways to encourage positive developments. However, it must avoid taking positions that could cause internal tensions in this country. I welcome the progress made by Sarajevo in improving the situation of the Roma, but it must be continued. I reiterate the importance of full implementation of the mining sector strategy, the subject matter of an amendment I tabled, for ensuring complete security of all citizens.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, I voted along with the ECR in favour of the enlargement report on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We believe that the report highlights some important issues in this complex and divided country. Particularly important is the need for the central state and its institutions in Sarajevo to be strengthened and respected before it can progress further, and we support the proposition that EU presence in the country should be increased.

The fight against corruption in the country must also be continued robustly and the report calls for reform in many areas, particularly of the judiciary and education systems and in the protection of minorities, which, of course, are extremely important topics.

The BiH Government must also address the rise of imported Wahhabi extremism in the region and must investigate the security threat that it poses. The report is right to highlight this, as radicalising one section of the community against another confession does not augur well for the future, for peace or for nation-building in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, Bosnia and Herzegovina is the country which suffered most as a result of the long war in the Balkans. It is still regularly troubled by domestic unrest, such as that caused by the intensification of Wahhabi extremism throughout the region. In view of the complicated power structure, the formation of a new government should be seen as grounds for optimism, while we should also encourage full implementation of the agreement made by political party leaders, including dialogue to ensure that budgetary procedures and essential reforms are carried out efficiently. In addition, Brussels’ commitment, as seen in its extension of the role of the Special Representative, allows us to help in efforts for progress on issues related to acceleration of the process of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s accession to the Union. I would also like to express the hope that matters related to charges of war crimes and the elimination of terrorist threats will be settled. I also welcome the intensified efforts of the governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia to resolve outstanding issues, including the extension of regional cooperation in the field of security. This is why I voted for adoption of the resolution.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Mr President, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a place which has special significance, and I have no hesitation in saying that Bosnia and Herzegovina is the guilty conscience of Europe today. Almost 20 years ago, this former Yugoslav republic witnessed the most horrific crimes to be committed in Europe since the Second World War. At the time, a helpless West looked on at it all and did not help – something I think we still regret today – and we and the majority of all the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina who lost fathers and children still find this a cause for weeping.

Therefore, it seems today that help given to Bosnia and Herzegovina in its European aspirations represents the payment of a specific kind of moral debt which Europe has to this special place. We can see a great many problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the coexistence in one country of people of different faiths and nationalities also presents many opportunities. Let us hope that the peaceful development of Bosnia and Herzegovina will continue, and that the country will find a place in the European Union.

 
  
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  Ewald Stadler (NI).(DE) Mr President, I acknowledge that Ms Pack’s report contains some important elements, including warnings against Islamic fundamentalism and Wahhabism. I also share the report’s fundamental scepticism. Nevertheless, I have voted against the report because it is based on the wrong European Union policy towards Bosnia and Herzegovina. We cannot turn the country into a single unified state from the outside. Many speakers have recognised that fact. I was surprised to hear statements of this kind from the Greens and the Liberals. Even the European Union cannot create a single unified state from the outside and, most importantly, it cannot make Bosnia and Herzegovina into a permanent protectorate of the EU. That is precisely what we are trying to do at the moment. Over the last 20 years, this country has not been able to establish the structures of a unified state. It is not even in a position to draw up a budget for 2012. It is not able to appoint directors of public agencies. Therefore, we cannot assume that this country will be capable of becoming a single unified state in the decades to come. The EU’s policy is wrong and, therefore, I have voted against this report.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: João Ferreira (A7-0447/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because it is important to continue supporting the economies most affected by the economic crisis. This report explains well the need to increase the allocations from the European Fisheries Fund to Hungary, Romania, Latvia, Portugal, Greece and Ireland, as well as to others that may need to be bailed out in future. The Commission should retain this measure throughout the period in which these countries are in receipt of financial assistance.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. I voted in favour of this resolution concerning the additional measures for EFF programmes in order to facilitate the management of EU funding, to help accelerate investments in Member States and regions and to improve the availability of funding to the economy. The previously adopted measures under the 2008 regulation were not sufficient any more though the additional advance payments made to the Member States have provided an immediate cash injection of EUR 293 million, within the financial envelope agreed for each Member State for the 2007-2013 period. I agree with the Commission proposal to allow an increase in interim payments from the European Fisheries Fund by an amount corresponding to 10% above the actual cofinancing rate for each priority axis for the Member States which are facing serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability. This increase will not impose additional financial requirements on the overall budget but will facilitate the implementation of the programmes and will minimise the burden on the national budgets.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The global economic and financial crisis has had a significant impact on European states. The citizens' income level has decreased considerably, while many others are faced with the unfortunate situation of losing their jobs at a time when the signals coming from the economic environment are not necessarily promising, and the creation of new jobs does not seem to accelerate. In these circumstances, I believe it is essential to provide European sectoral support to economies in difficulty.

Improving cooperation between European countries and authorities, alongside launching concrete actions to improve the absorption capacity of Member States may be one of the solutions that help overcome the effects of the economic and financial crisis. Sectoral financing, together with the possibility of ad hoc, temporary and limited derogation from European regulations, are suitable solutions to the challenges currently faced by EU citizens and economies. I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The European Fisheries Fund (EFF) entered into force in January 2007. It aimed to improve the sector’s competitiveness and help make it viable from an environmental, social and economic standpoint. To achieve this objective, it was granted a budget of EUR 3.8 billion for the period 2007-2013. However, some countries are experiencing difficulties and have been particularly affected by the sovereign debt crisis. Since it is the spirit of EU solidarity that makes Europe great, I have approved the Commission proposal to increase Union cofinancing for the countries facing the greatest difficulties, with a corresponding reduction in the national effort required in order to take up funding.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. As the financial and economic crisis continues, the Member States are applying budgetary constraints and reducing national budgets and, consequently, there is a risk that cohesion programmes will not be properly implemented on time. The implementation of these programmes can have a positive impact on the Member States’ recovery from the recession and their future economic and social development. This proposal is aimed at ensuring additional pre-financing for the European Fisheries Fund programmes for six Member States (Hungary, Romania, Latvia, Portugal, Greece and Ireland), which receive EU financial support under the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism and the Balance of Payments Mechanism. Given that this proposal will not have an impact on the EU budget because it is only the ceiling for pre-financing payments that is being increased and not the financial package envisaged for these Member States for fisheries fund programmes over the period 2007-2013, I welcome this proposal so that we can help these Member States overcome the financial crisis by guaranteeing the money required to support projects and economic recovery.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because I think that the measures being proposed in this document must be implemented as soon as possible. The prolonged economic crisis has increased the disparities in terms of productivity in the fisheries sector throughout the European Union. This is why I welcomed the funds being topped up to encourage investment, especially as part of regional projects. However, specific measures are required to facilitate rapid absorption of the funds provided by the Commission at national level.

My country is one of the beneficiaries of this fund, both for sea and inland fishing. Thanks to the report, the financial measures proposed in it will be applied retrospectively from 1 January 2010. The reduction in red tape brought about by these initiatives will encourage the modernisation of the fisheries sector and diversification of the activities carried out by the fishing communities.

 
  
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  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing. (IT) The sustained financial and economic crisis has put increasing pressure on national financial resources. In this context, ensuring a smooth implementation of cohesion programmes takes on particular importance as a tool for injecting funds into the economy. Nonetheless, the liquidity problems resulting from budget constraints are making it difficult to implement the programmes, particularly in the Member States which have been most affected by the crisis. In order to ensure that the Member States continue the implementation of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) programmes on the ground and disburse funds to projects, the Commission proposes to increase Community cofinancing for the countries facing the greatest difficulties, with a corresponding reduction in the national effort required in order to take up funding. I welcome the Commission’s proposal, although I do share Mr Ferreira’s concerns over some parts of it. The Commission should assess the extent to which this measure will indeed ‘provide the Member States concerned with the funds necessary to support projects and the recovery of the economy’. Moreover, I think that the Commission needs to reconfigure the priorities of the EFF so that they are primarily focused on supporting productive activity and the development of coastal communities.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament report because alongside measures designed to encourage greater take-up of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) appropriations by the Member States, the priorities of the EFF itself also need to be reconfigured. Money from the fund should, above all, be focused on supporting productive activity, such as fleet renewal and modernisation, increased sustainability, improved selectivity of fishing gear and the development of coastal communities. The European Commission should assess the extent to which this measure will indeed provide the Member States concerned with the funds necessary to support projects and revive the economy. It should be pointed out that, even under the new conditions, the restrictions on investment imposed by the so-called assistance programmes may still make it difficult to mobilise the national effort required. The Commission will therefore have to consider both the need to lift these restrictions on investment and the possibility of further reducing national cofinancing. The Commission proposal does not increase the budget available for each of the countries that are experiencing difficulties. The practical result of reducing the national effort will be that a comparatively lower overall amount of appropriations will be channelled into investment in the sector. The growth prospects opened up by the investment made will thus also be reduced. The cohesion principle itself is again being called into question, and the Commission should therefore look into the possibility of increasing the funds available to these countries.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The economic and financial crisis has had, and continues to have, an impact in different EU Member States. The Romanian fish market is small compared to EU countries, the total turnover of the sector being estimated at around EUR 40 million. Currently, there are around 340 000 fish farms and 48 trout farms in Romania. Private beneficiaries of funding from the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) were seriously affected by the credit crunch also in their country of origin, which led to a low rate of take-up of the available funding.

Alongside measures designed to encourage greater take-up of EFF appropriations by the Member States, I think the priorities of the EFF itself need to be reconfigured so that they are primarily focused on supporting productive activity and the development of coastal communities. For these reasons, I welcome the Commission’s proposal to increase Community cofinancing for the countries facing the greatest difficulties, with a corresponding reduction in the national effort required in order to take up funding.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. (FR) I am pleased that Mr Ferreira’s report was adopted at first reading. Indeed, the current economic environment made it necessary to reach a quick agreement on the crisis measures proposed by the Commission to address the lack of cofinancing by some Member States experiencing financial difficulties. I approve of the proposal to increase the maximum rate of cofinancing by ten percentage points. This is an additional guarantee of the European Fisheries Fund’s successful implementation. This agreement shows that European solidarity means more than just words. It is important to remember that the new mechanisms put in place will have no impact on the next budgetary programming period.

 
  
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  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the joint motion for a resolution amending Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006 on the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) because I share its real sense of urgency, given the crisis that is gnawing away at the fisheries sector and, hence, the Member States involved.

I therefore find the Commission’s proposal on this subject more than worthy of support. The measures included would genuinely accelerate Member States’ investments in the affected regions, simplify the management of EU funding and increase the availability of funds for the economy. Another reason why I decided to vote in favour of the proposal is that, under the rules put forward, one of the plusses of the increase in EFF payments will be that it will not impose any burden on the general budget and will be applied to all future expenses incurred by the affected Member States.

Ergo, I wanted to declare my most sincere interest in the adoption of the reform on funding for the fisheries sector, which will certainly improve the current state of penury, in which small-scale fishing businesses are hampered by the effects of the current economic crisis and current measures in this area.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) In 2008, the Council adopted a regulation, based on a Commission proposal, in response to the crisis and its socio-economic consequences. In the context of this package, the regulation provides for a series of legislative changes intended to provide additional pre-financing through payments advanced for European Fisheries Fund (EFF) programmes. The anticipated additional payments made to Member States will immediately inject EUR 293 million, as part of the funding agreed for the 2007-2013 period. The Commission believes there is now a need to take additional measures to facilitate the management of EU funds, so as to aid and accelerate investment in the Member States and regions and to improve the availability of finance for the economy, and is proposing an increase in intermediate payments from the EFF. This increase will not impose additional financial requirements on the overall budget, since the total financial allocation to the EFF for countries and programmes during the period at issue will not change. The amendments proposed by the rapporteur mean that this proposal will help the Member States to make better use of the EFF, so I am voting for this report.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) Although it is late in coming, I welcome the Commission’s proposal on the European Fisheries Fund. Given the urgency of the matter, I think that its approval at first reading, in the form presented by the Commission, bodes well, in spite of the limitations it has.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report recommending further assistance for fishing activities in those Member States experiencing serious economic difficulties, particularly south-west France, following the crisis. This temporary assistance should provide Member States with more resources with which to support their fishermen and safeguard their level of fish production.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) because I am in favour of the European Commission’s proposal to support the Member States most affected by the crisis, so as to enable the continuation of EFF programmes.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Member States in serious financial difficulties, including Portugal, need particular help from the EU, in order for there to be a response to problems they are experiencing that is based not just on the determination of the affected peoples and governments, but on European cohesion and solidarity. To this end, and bearing in mind the particularly difficult and demanding situation of those Member States, the Commission has proposed amendments to Council Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006, intended to facilitate their access to funding. The urgent nature of this measure and the need for support that the Member States are demonstrating justify their immediate adoption. I hope that this support will be able to breathe new life into the sector.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Mr Ferreira, concerns the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006 on the European Fisheries Fund, as regards certain provisions relating to financial management for certain Member States experiencing or threatened with serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability. The economic and financial crisis that we are experiencing has disproportionately hit coastal communities dedicated to fishing. Although I am convinced we could have gone further, it is not possible to increase the available funds, so I agree with the 10% increase in cofinancing rates for countries in difficulties, as well as the other measures provided for. This is an instrument that, as well as improving the previous regulation in environmental terms, will help consolidate the regional economy and preserve fisheries resources. I therefore welcome the adoption of this report, since it constitutes an instrument for helping fishing communities that are undergoing periods of major difficulties and which are located in regions that benefit from convergence funding, thereby contributing to minimising the negative effects of the present economic and financial crisis.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) As with other EU funds such as the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund (ESF), this proposed amendment to the regulation on the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) does not constitute proof of EU solidarity. It only constitutes a sign of flexibility; necessary, certainly, but too little too late. The Commission must therefore consider and respond to the reservations and suggestions that we set out in the report, in particular, those regarding the need to increase the funding available to the countries in question. In addition to measures facilitating increased take-up of EFF funds by Member States, the priorities of the EFF itself must be rethought, gearing it primarily towards support for the productive activity and development of coastal communities, for the rejuvenation of the sector, for employment and vocational training, and for the renovation and modernisation of the fleet and of the infrastructure that support the fishing industry. The amendments proposed by the Council under pressure from certain countries, such as Germany, which will eventually also be included in this report owing to the proposal by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), seem to us both superfluous and inappropriate. However, we believe that, in the present situation, it is urgent that this proposal be passed at first reading, despite its obvious limitations.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the proposal because it increases Community cofinancing for the countries facing the greatest difficulties, with a corresponding reduction in the national effort required in order to take up funding. This whole issue is very important and today’s vote finally takes stock of that fact. We must remember that the coastal communities most heavily dependent on fisheries have not escaped the current crisis, on top of which we must unfortunately consider the problems caused by years of decline and disintegration.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The global financial crisis and economic downturn have seriously damaged economic growth and financial stability, leading to a substantial deterioration in financial and economic conditions in several Member States. In spite of the actions that have already been taken to counterbalance the negative effects of the crisis, its impact on the real economy, labour market and citizens can still be clearly seen.

The aim of the submitted proposal is to provide increased support from the European Fisheries Fund to the Member States that have serious problems (or face the threat of such problems) relating, in particular, to economic growth and financial stability and to worsening deficits and debt. The proposal represents an attempt to help Member States in their efforts to overcome the financial crisis, and aims to provide the Member States affected with the resources necessary for supporting projects and economic recovery.

The current situation requires a rapid response to mitigate the negative impact not only on fisheries as such, but also on the economy as a whole, and I therefore believe that the regulation before us should enter into force as soon as possible and apply retroactively to the period during which Member States received financial assistance from the EU or other euro area Member States, in order to address the serious difficulties concerning their financial stability.

 
  
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  Mikael Gustafsson (GUE/NGL), in writing. (SV) I voted in favour of the report. However, I support the agreement reached at the UN conference on biological diversity (in October 2010 in Nagoya), which, among other things, established that all subsidies that threaten fish stocks and the environment should be abolished. The economic crisis in Europe was caused by the dysfunction of the euro and financial speculation. It is important that we abandon this neoliberal policy. I am, however, able to support short-term proposals involving the easing of the austerity policy in countries that are hard hit, provided this will not contribute to overfishing or have negative consequences for the environment.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the global financial crisis and the unprecedented economic downturn have seriously damaged economic growth and financial stability and provoked a strong deterioration of financial and economic conditions in several Member States. Certain Member States are experiencing, or are threatened with, serious difficulties, notably, those connected with problems in terms of economic growth and financial stability and a deterioration in their deficit and debt position, due to the international economic and financial environment. Whilst important actions to counterbalance the negative effects of the crisis have already been taken, including amendments to the legislative framework, the impact of the financial crisis on the real economy, the labour market and citizens is being widely felt. The pressure on national financial resources is increasing and further steps should now be taken to alleviate that pressure through the maximum and optimal use of the funding from the European Fisheries Fund. This proposal is aimed at ensuring additional pre-financing for European Fisheries Fund programmes for Hungary, Romania, Latvia, Portugal, Greece and Ireland, which receive EU financial support under the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism and the Balance of Payments Mechanism. It is also worth mentioning that this proposal will have no effect on the EU budget.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) In 2008, the Council adopted a regulation in response to the crisis and its socio-economic consequences. The Commission felt it was necessary to take further action to facilitate the management of Union funding, to help accelerate investments in Member States and regions, and to improve the availability of funding to the economy. Mr Ferreira’s report supports the Commission’s proposals. I voted in favour of this report during the vote in plenary.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) The sustained economic crisis is causing enormous disruption in many of the Member States, particularly in the implementation of EU cohesion programmes. The European Commission is proposing a 10% increase in cofinancing under the European Fisheries Fund, which will not affect the overall budget, because the allocation of funds from the European Development Fund will not change in this period.

The changes which have taken place in the fisheries sector during the crisis have principally affected coastal communities, where, for some time now, a fall in investment has been observable which has resulted in imbalances within the EU. Therefore, we need stronger targeting of the European Fisheries Fund than exists at present to support production and guarantee the development of local communities. The proposal to increase assistance for the countries with the greatest problems is very definitely worthy of support. The Commission proposal does not, however, concern Regulation (EC) No 861/2006, which talks about financial measures for the implementation of the common fisheries policy, something which is surely crucial for the sustainable development of this sector.

 
  
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  Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D), in writing.(PL) I endorsed this report. The European Fisheries Fund will help improve the availability of funding granted in this sector and ensure its sustainable use, and it is also intended to ensure better design of this funding. Poland wants to use the EFF to be able to modernise the sector and make good use of money which is awarded. I hope that with efficient administration, the fund will serve these purposes. Once again, by endorsing the report, I have expressed the conviction that the fund will not be used to close down Poland’s Baltic fishing industry, but to contribute to its modernisation and development.

 
  
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  Kartika Tamara Liotard (GUE/NGL), in writing. I have voted in favour of this report. However, I support the agreement on biodiversity from the UN meeting held in Nagoya in October 2010, which stated that all subsidies that threaten fish stocks should be abolished. The economic crisis in Europe was created by the dysfunctionality of the euro and by financial speculation. It is important that those neoliberal policies are changed. I can support short-term proposals to ensure that austerity policies are eased in countries that are very badly affected, but only when this does not contribute to overfishing or negative environmental impacts.

 
  
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  Ramona Nicole Mănescu (ALDE), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the report on the European Fisheries Fund because I think it is important to have a sustainable fishing strategy and because any regulation amendment meant to facilitate rapid implementation of EU funded programmes will have an immediate and real impact on the economies of the Member States most affected by the crisis. With the financial and economic crisis increasingly reducing national financial resources, I believe it is vital to take appropriate measures to ensure a smooth implementation of operational programmes. Unfortunately, austerity measures imposed at national level had the immediate effect of significantly reducing the national cofinancing capacity, seriously affecting beneficiaries and citizens in the first instance and leading to a low rate of take-up of available funding.

Therefore, the Commission proposal is welcome because we need to help local, regional and national authorities to access as much of their share of European funding as possible. However, at the same time, the Commission should call upon national governments to submit regular reports on the use of this money, so as to make sure it is used most effectively.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this proposal. The Commission recognises that the sustained financial and economic crisis is increasing the pressure on national financial resources. In this context, it considers ensuring a smooth implementation of cohesion programmes to be of particular importance as a tool for injecting funds into the economy. Nonetheless, the liquidity problems resulting from budget constraints are making it difficult to implement the programmes, particularly in the Member States which have been most affected by the crisis. In order to ensure that these Member States continue the implementation of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) programmes on the ground and disburse funds to projects, the Commission proposal contains provisions that would allow increased payments to be made to these countries for the period they are under the support mechanisms. This increase will not impose any additional financial burden on the overall budget.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) In order to ensure that Member States continue the implementation of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) programmes on the ground and disburse funds to projects, even at a time of financial crisis like the present, we believe that a top-up of ten percentage points should be applied to the cofinancing rates applicable to the priority axis of the programmes for newly certified expenditure submitted during the period in question.

This increase will not involve additional financial costs on the EU budget, since the total financial allocation for the period from the EFF to the countries and the programmes in question will not change. This Commission proposal, to increase Community cofinancing for the countries facing the greatest difficulties, has long been necessary and comes unjustifiably late. Bearing in mind the urgency of the situation, we agree with the rapporteur that it should be adopted at first reading as it stands, notwithstanding a number of limitations that it presents.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report by Mr Ferreira. The Commission proposal to increase Community cofinancing for the countries facing the greatest difficulties, with a corresponding reduction in the national effort required in order to take up funding, has long been a necessity for many people and I, like Mr Ferreira, fear it has come rather late. Accordingly, it should be approved with great urgency.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The sustained financial and economic crisis is increasing the pressure on national financial resources. In this context, I consider ensuring a smooth implementation of cohesion programmes to be of particular importance as a tool for injecting funds into the economy. Nonetheless, the liquidity problems resulting from budget constraints are making it difficult to implement the programmes, particularly in the Member States which have been most affected by the crisis. In order to ensure that these Member States continue the implementation of the European Fisheries Fund programmes on the ground and disburse funds to projects, the Commission proposal contains provisions that would allow increased payments to be made to these countries for the period they are under the support mechanisms. More specifically, it is proposed that a top-up of ten percentage points will be applied to the cofinancing rates applicable to the priority axis of the programmes for newly certified expenditure submitted during the period in question.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. I agree if the objective is to help those Member States most affected by the financial crisis to continue their programmes on the ground funded by the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) so as to inject funds into the economy. To date, six countries have financial assistance under these mechanisms and have agreed with the Commission a macro-economic adjustment programme: Hungary, Romania, Latvia, Portugal, Greece and Ireland. These Member States (and indeed any other Member State which may be concerned in the future by such assistance programmes) should receive help to continue the implementation of the programmes funded by the EFF by increasing the sums allocated to the countries concerned for the period for which they are under the support mechanisms. In order to ensure that these Member States continue the implementation of the EFF programmes on the ground and disburse funds to projects, the current proposal contains provisions that would allow the Commission to make increased payments to these countries, for the period they are under the support mechanisms. Bearing in mind that its approval is a matter of urgency, I am in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The European Fisheries Fund (EFF) is the subsidy programme for fisheries policy in the EU. The goals of the EFF include promoting sustainable development in the fisheries industry, increasing the competitiveness of the businesses and establishing economically viable companies in the fisheries sector. It also aims to provide better protection for the environment. One important objective is to put an end to overfishing in many European waters and secure the future of the European fisheries industry. Around EUR 3.9 billion in funding is available for the period from 2007 to 2013. Almost EUR 3 billion of this is destined for areas with below-average economic growth. The remaining funding will be distributed across the other EU Member States, together with a small amount which will be administered directly by the European Commission. I did not vote in favour of the report because, as the rapporteur noted, the Commission should, first of all, determine to what extent funding must be made available to support projects and stimulate economic recovery. In addition, there is a concern that the money could be distributed unfairly.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report to lend my support to the proposal made by the Commission, which now feels it necessary to take further action to facilitate the management of Union funding, to help accelerate investments in Member States and regions, and to improve the availability of funding to the economy. Above all, however, the Commission proposes increasing interim payments from the European Fisheries Fund by an amount corresponding to ten percentage points above the actual cofinancing rate for each priority axis for Member States which are facing serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability. This is another response to the economic and social consequences of the crisis, in addition to that of the Council in 2008, which led to the adoption of a Council decision granting assistance to a Member State through support mechanisms.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing.(LT) Historically, fisheries policy is one of the most important EU policies. It is therefore to be welcomed that the European Commission is taking the implementation and funding of this policy seriously. As certain EU Member States face economic difficulties, it is important to ensure that the funding of the common fisheries policy does not suffer as a result. In particular, given the fact that in the new financial programming period, we will move towards common fisheries policy sustainability and stock conservation, it is important for the sector itself to be protected and ready for change.

 
  
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  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the report, which allows for the implementation of an important Commission proposal to unblock the use of European funds in the fishing industry. Due to the lack of liquidity it has generated, the financial crisis has caused additional difficulties in securing cofinancing in some Member States. This is the most important obstacle to effective use of all types of European funding, along with the impossibility of ensuring, in many cases, private cofinancing of investments.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) According to the Commission proposal, the budget available for each of the countries that are experiencing difficulties in the area of fisheries policy will not be increased. The consequence is that, because of the smaller national contribution, an even lower overall amount will be invested in the fisheries industry. The cohesion principle itself is being called into question and, therefore, the Commission should look into the possibility of increasing the funds available to those countries with problems. The rules on clearing public account deficits should separate investment spending from other public spending. Investment should not be included in the calculations in order to prevent budgetary consolidation from taking priority over economic growth. Subsidies for projects to promote economic growth in the industry are urgently needed. Until these are made available, the consolidation process cannot be stabilised and, therefore, I have voted against the report.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution, which proposes increasing assistance from the European Fisheries Fund by ten percentage points for Member States facing financial difficulties. Attention is drawn to the fact that the economic and financial crisis has manifested itself in different ways in different Member States and will continue to do so. Consequently, it is appropriate for those countries hit particularly hard by the crisis to be allocated greater payments so that they can continue to implement European Fisheries Fund programmes without interruption. It should be noted that increased payments would only be paid for a certain period until the country overcomes specific difficulties.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) In order to ensure that the Member States continue the implementation of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) programmes on the ground and disburse funds to projects, the Commission proposal contains provisions that would allow increased payments to be made to these countries for the period they are under the support mechanisms. This increase will not impose any additional financial burden on the overall budget, since the total financial allocation for the period from the EFF to the countries and the programmes in question will not change. Accordingly, I am voting in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The present economic and financial crisis means that increased EU cofinancing for the countries facing the worst difficulties, with the corresponding reduction in national contributions in order to be able to make use of funds, has been urgently needed for a long time. The coastal communities most dependent on fishing are therefore facing a difficult situation, which results in both a lack of capacity for private investment, particularly by small and medium-sized enterprises, and a lack of public investment. As such, I welcome the Commission proposal, since it ensures that these Member States continue the implementation of the European Fisheries Fund programmes and provides for the possibility of increasing payments to be made to the countries facing greatest difficulties. I voted in favour for these reasons.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. The Commission recognises that the sustained financial and economic crisis is increasing the pressure on national financial resources. In this context, it considers ensuring the smooth implementation of cohesion programmes to be of particular importance as a tool for injecting funds into the economy. Nonetheless, the liquidity problems resulting from budget constraints are making it difficult to implement the programmes, particularly in the Member States which have been most affected by the crisis. In order to ensure that these Member States continue the implementation of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) programmes on the ground and disburse funds to projects, the Commission proposal contains provisions that would allow increased payments to be made to these countries for the period they are under the support mechanisms. More specifically, it is proposed that a top-up of ten percentage points will be applied to the cofinancing rates applicable to the priority axis of the programmes for newly certified expenditure submitted during the period in question. In applying the top-up, the cofinancing rate of the programme cannot exceed by more than ten percentage points the maximum ceilings set in Article 53(3) of the EFF Regulation (75% and 50% respectively for eligible and non-eligible regions under the Convergence Objective).

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this text because I am convinced of the importance of the Commission’s proposal to increase Community cofinancing for the countries facing the greatest difficulties on this front. The sustained financial and economic crisis is actually increasing the pressure on national financial resources. In order to ensure that the Member States continue the implementation of the European Fisheries Fund, we need to increase the payments to be made to these countries for the period they are under the support mechanisms.

 
  
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  Kārlis Šadurskis (PPE), in writing.(LV) The sustained financial and economic crisis in Europe has greatly increased the pressure on national financial resources and has limited the injection of funds into the economy with the aid of cohesion programmes. The proposal, which has been adopted as a matter of urgency, for a regulation on the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) as regards financial management for certain Member States experiencing serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability, will enable the European Commission to make increased payments to, for example, Ireland, Hungary, Latvia, Portugal, Romania and Greece, for the period they are under the support mechanisms. This temporary top-up will amount to 10% of the cofinancing rates applicable to the priority axis of EFF programmes. This proposal drew considerable support from the European Parliament, including my vote, regardless of the deficiencies to which Parliament drew the European Commission’s attention.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of Mr Ferreira’s report because I consider that, as a result of the economic and credit crisis in Europe, we need to speed up and facilitate funding by the European Fisheries Fund, especially for the economically weaker countries which have been hard hit by the crisis. We need to help in this direction for the sake of growth and jobs in this sector.

 
  
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  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of these amendments to the European Fisheries Fund. The measure will involve no cost to the EU because the funds advanced to Member States in economic difficulties will be offset before the end of the programme. It is right to pay these funds in advance because otherwise, countries that have suffered more than others in the economic crisis will not be able to implement the projects for funding a delicate area like the fishing industry. It is a rightful act of solidarity.

 
  
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  Antolín Sánchez Presedo (S&D), in writing. (ES) The economic crisis and budgetary restrictions are having an impact on the European Fisheries Fund, particularly in those Member States with macro-economic adjustment programmes: Hungary, Romania, Latvia, Portugal, Greece and Ireland. The third report on the EFF (2009) noted that austerity measures had constrained national cofinancing and the credit crunch had affected private beneficiaries, reducing their ability to access and use these funds, and compromising the aims of cohesion. I support the amendment to Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006 so that, while such support mechanisms exist, the Commission can address increases in payments to the affected countries. For newly certified expenditure submitted during the period in question, it is proposed that a top-up of ten percentage points will be applied to the priority axis of the programmes, with no increase in the total financial allocation. The new cofinancing conditions of 15% and 40% respectively for eligible and non-eligible regions under the Convergence Objective could, however, present an obstacle to this mobilisation. We need to consider whether it needs to be reduced further. Furthermore, it would be appropriate to reconfigure the possibilities of the EFF itself and incorporate the financial instrument established in Regulation (EC) No 861/2006.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The sustained financial and economic crisis is exercising increasing pressure on national financial resources, in different ways depending on the Member State. Particularly over the past decade, we have seen an accentuation of the disparities and imbalances within the EU: the consequences of these imbalances take many forms. One is the capacity to access and utilise Community funds. Bearing this in mind, the priorities of the European Fisheries Fund need to be reconfigured so that they are primarily focused on supporting productive activity – such as fleet renewal and modernisation, increased sustainability, improved selectivity of fishing gear, and engine replacement – and the development of coastal communities. This vote therefore provides a stimulus for the implementation of the common fisheries policy and in the area of the Law of the Sea.

 
  
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  Søren Bo Søndergaard (GUE/NGL), in writing. (DA) I voted in favour of the report, but I support the biodiversity agreement reached at the UN summit in Nagoya in October 2010, which declared that all subsidy arrangements which threaten fish stocks should be abolished. The economic crisis in the EU is a result of financial speculation and the inherently defective way in which the euro was set up. It is important that this policy is amended. I am, however, able to support interim proposals that will ensure that the consequences of austerity policies are alleviated in countries that have been hard hit, but only if this does not contribute to overfishing or have a negative impact on the environment.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) In order to ensure that the Member States continue the implementation of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) programmes on the ground and disburse funds to projects, the Commission has proposed provisions that would allow increased payments to be made to these countries relating to their financial stability for the period they are under the support mechanisms. It is therefore proposed that a top-up of ten percentage points will be applied to the cofinancing rates applicable to the priority axis of the programmes for newly certified expenditure submitted during the period in question. This increase will not lead to additional financial burdens on the overall budget, since the total financial allocation to the EFF for the countries in question during the period at issue will not be changed. Since I consider this measure important and urgently needed, I voted for Parliament’s position, which results from the amendments tabled by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), to which I belong.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing.(RO) I voted for the proposal for a regulation on the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) as regards certain provisions relating to financial management for certain Member States experiencing or threatened with serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability. The pressure that national financial resources are exposed to is increasing all the time, necessitating additional measures to ease this pressure, by making the best and maximum use of EFF funding. I voted for the proposal to increase EU cofinancing for the countries facing financial difficulties, with a corresponding reduction in the national contribution required in order to use the funds during the period when these Member States (Ireland, Hungary, Latvia, Portugal and Romania) benefit from the support mechanisms to guarantee that they will continue to implement the EFF programmes.

The regulation proposes a 10% top-up of the cofinancing rates applicable to the priority axis of the programmes for newly certified expenditure submitted during the period in question. In applying the top-up, the programme’s cofinancing rate cannot exceed the maximum ceilings set in Article 53(3) of the EFF Regulation by more than ten percentage points (75% and 50% for eligible and non-eligible regions respectively under the Convergence Objective).

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. The report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006 on the European Fisheries Fund points out that some elements are missing from the proposal. Even if more funds are to be allocated, a more precise and detailed proposal should be presented. Neither the report nor the proposal specifies the source of the financial support for the continuation of cohesion programmes. As the rapporteur calls for more details to be added to the Commission’s proposal, I have voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We agree with the measures proposed in the report: greater take-up of European Fisheries Fund (EFF) appropriations by the Member States; reconfiguration of the priorities of the EFF itself, so that they are primarily focused on supporting productive activity and the development of coastal communities; support for bringing young people back into the sector, and for jobs and professional training; and renewal and modernisation of the fleet and of support infrastructure for fishing. Despite some of the report’s limitations, we believe the measures therein to be urgently needed and conclusive, so we voted in favour.

 
  
  

Report: Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl (A7-0025/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) The proposed solution to the dispute on hormones in beef is in line with the thinking of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, since it enables the suspension of sanctions on European Union products, whilst guaranteeing that meat imported into the European Union meets European standards. This solution is beneficial to European meat producers, who can produce high-quality meat without unfair competition, whilst also increasing their potential market.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. I voted in favour of this proposal to amend an existing European Parliament and Council regulation opening an autonomous tariff quota for imports of high-quality beef from the United States and Canada. It will implement the steps set out in the Memoranda of Understanding signed with the US and Canada regarding the importation of Beef from Animals Not Treated with Certain Growth-Promoting Hormones and Increased Duties Applied to Certain Products of the European Communities. The EU will progressively increase to a total of 48 200 tonnes the tariff-rate quota for high-quality beef not treated with growth hormones, and the US and Canada will adequately reduce or suspend sanctions on EU products. I support the position that the settlement of the dispute will guarantee that beef imports will be in line with EU requirements.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) As you know, the export of European veal and beef to the United States was banned for a decade due to US restrictions relating to BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy). The United States has suspended sanctions on some EU products and the European Union is offering significant access to its market for hormone-free beef. We have finally put an end to this dispute. This agreement makes it possible for the Union to keep its ban on hormone-treated beef, in exchange for increased import quotas for high-quality beef from the United States and Canada. As Ms Le Brun and Ms Saïfi of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) said, ‘This is a victory for European diplomacy but, above all, a victory for European consumers. The United States and Canada failed to impose hormone-treated beef on Europeans, who did not want it. Sanctions were not enough to make us change our mind’.

 
  
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  Liam Aylward (ALDE), in writing. I welcome the resolution of the long running trade dispute between the USA and the EU on access for USA and Canadian beef to the EU market. However, I am disappointed that no efforts were made with this Memorandum of Understanding to introduce some reciprocity to the deal. The imminent publication of the US BSE rule, as announced at the weekend, is a significant show of good faith on the part of the US authorities. However, this is the start of a long process, and the EU must ensure that this is not used as a delaying tactic and that all market opportunities are secured for European farmers. As the USA now has the same OIE BSE status as Ireland, the reasons behind the original ban have been eliminated. At present, only 1% of Irish beef is exported to non-EU markets. Given the importance of agriculture to the European economy, we cannot afford not to push for access to large markets such as the USA, and we should take every opportunity for reciprocal deals for our farmers.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. The dispute between the EU and the US and Canada over the EU ban on beef imports, where the cattle have been fed growth-promoting hormones, has lasted for more than two decades and is having a negative impact on EU producers. Following the ban on imports of such beef into the EU, the US and Canada began to impose trade sanctions on agricultural products imported from the EU, such as beef and pork products, cheese, chocolate, juice, etc., and EU producers have consequently lost a significant share of the market, respectively worth USD 116.8 million and CAD 11.3 million a year. In 2009, during bilateral negotiations, an agreement was reached on the gradual lifting of sanctions imposed on EU agricultural products by the US and Canada, in exchange for an autonomous, zero-duty, tariff-rate quota for high-quality beef not treated with hormones. I welcome this proposal increasing US and Canadian quotas for high-quality beef and dismantling barriers to give EU producers access to the markets in these countries.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament report because the final settlement of the beef hormone dispute should create further momentum towards greater economic and commercial integration between the EU and the US and Canada. Notwithstanding possible differences in opinion, the aim should always be to reach a compromise rather than disrupt bilateral trade. By further dismantling trade barriers with its major trading partners, the European Union is demonstrating its commitment to strengthening this long-standing economic relationship in terms of trade. The Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) and their implementation therefore clearly constitute a win-win situation for the trading partners on both sides of the Atlantic. As the US and Canada have already suspended all retaliatory sanctions in the course of 2011, failure to honour the deal on the European side could have very negative political consequences and would damage the transatlantic trade relationship. The conclusion of the legislative procedure will permit the EU to comply with commitments undertaken towards resolving the dispute. Naturally, the Memorandum of Understanding ensures that all beef products shipped under this quota will continue to comply with stringent food safety requirements set out in EU legislation. In particular, doors will not be opened to hormone-treated beef from the US or Canada, or from any other country.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) I approve the report on amending Council Regulation (EC) No 617/2009 opening an autonomous tariff quota for imports of high-quality beef from North America. The political value of this measure is of primary importance. It not only puts an end to a tariff war which began with the mad cow scare in the 1990s; it also makes an important contribution to the integration of transatlantic markets, maintaining the EU’s commitment to a rigorous consumer protection and food safety policy.

The expected benefits of the measure reach beyond the calculations presented in the report, due to the well-known interdependence of the markets and market sectors, exceeding the impact of the quota on the specific sector several times over. Furthermore, it is important not to underestimate the significance of the measure as a sign of the effectiveness and dynamism of the institutions, including by putting in place concrete measures to tackle recurring isolationist and insular pressures which, as the crisis continues, may sometimes seem to be attractive placebo solutions for economies and societies riven by tensions and widespread difficulties.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. (FR) Twenty years of commercial disputes between the EU and North America have come to an end. During this beef hormone war, the WTO condemned the European Union for always refusing to give up its principles, claiming that European consumers could be mistaken about the quality of the imported meat. This agreement makes it possible for the sanctions to be definitively lifted, in exchange for import quotas for guaranteed hormone-free, high-quality beef from the United States and Canada. This solution should satisfy farmers and consumers, both European and North American, and rewards the EU’s dedication to ensuring high-quality food for its citizens.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The purpose of the proposal is to amend a proposal for a regulation opening an autonomous tariff quota for imports of high-quality beef originating in the United States and Canada, so as to bring an end to the long transatlantic dispute on beef hormones. The proposal for a regulation implements the measures provided for in the Memoranda of Understanding signed with the US and Canada regarding imports of meat from animals not treated with certain growth-promoting hormones. The solution to the trade dispute consists of the EU progressively increasing the tariff quota for high-quality beef that has not been treated with growth hormones, while the US and Canada will progressively reduce or suspend sanctions on products coming from the EU. I am voting for this report, since the adoption of this regulation by the European Parliament and the Council will be of mutual benefit, will strengthen transatlantic trade links, and will re-establish confidence by improving market access on both sides of the Atlantic.

 
  
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  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the Commission’s proposal on opening an autonomous tariff quota for imports of high-quality beef. I have followed this proposal for a regulation closely as shadow rapporteur for my political group, the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. I think that it is beneficial to reach a Memorandum of Understanding between the EU and US and between the EU and Canada regarding beef imports. At the same time, the European Union must remain vigilant and defend European consumers’ rights. This is why the European executive must suspend the annual tariff quota if the agreement is not implemented or maintained by the US or Canada. We must be certain that hormone-treated beef imports do not enter the European market.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I supported this text, which will put an end to the trade dispute that has affected the cross-Atlantic export of products from our land since 1998. The compromise proposed here makes it possible to maintain European health protection requirements, while opening the door to a resurgence of exports of our artisanal products. This is good news for high-quality products.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) In 1988, Europe banned the import of beef from animals treated with growth hormones. In 1999, in retaliation, the United States and Canada, with the approval of the WTO, imposed duties on several European products (such as chocolate). Today, the European Parliament has adopted a regulation increasing by 20 000 tonnes (to 48 200 tonnes) the annual Union import tariff quota for high-quality beef from the United States and Canada, from cattle not treated with growth hormones. This agreement makes it possible for the Union to keep its ban on hormone-treated beef, in exchange for increased import quotas for high-quality beef from the United States and Canada and the suspension of sanctions against some European products. This is therefore a crucial step towards ending a dispute that has lasted more than a decade. I welcome this move, which is a victory for European diplomacy but, above all, a victory for European consumers. The United States and Canada failed to impose hormone-treated beef on Europeans, who did not want it.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on ‘an autonomous tariff quota for imports of high-quality beef’, since it includes proposals to bring an end to the disagreement between the EU and US, and to suspend the sanctions imposed on products originating in the EU, whilst guaranteeing that beef imports will meet the EU’s strict standards.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The conflict between the European Union and the United States and Canada on hormone-treated beef demonstrates that two trading blocs with similar standards and concerns regarding food quality and safety can have lasting disagreements that are counterproductive for both. The length of this conflict and the robustness of the sanctions adopted demonstrate that there is benefit in seeking a negotiated solution before taking stances that are too extreme. The unilateral suspension of the sanctions applied to the European Union by the United States and Canada constitutes a positive signal, worthy of a suitable response with the adoption by the EU of an autonomous tariff quota for imports of high-quality beef. That said, I believe that the EU should not yield while it believes the safety of its citizens to be at risk and should seek to raise awareness amongst its partners of the need for them to adopt procedures and types of consumer information enabling them to be adequately and fully informed about the nature of the products that they consume. I want the European Union and the two North American countries to continue their efforts to integrate increasingly their economies, which would benefit companies and consumers greatly.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) For more than 20 years, the European Union, on one side, and the United States and Canada, on the other, have been in dispute over beef hormones, which has negatively affected transatlantic trade relations. The US and Canada responded to the EU’s ban on imports of beef and beef products treated with certain growth-promoting hormones for reasons of consumer protection and food safety, due to the need to protect consumers in food-safety terms, by imposing customs duties on various European products. The aforementioned dispute has been brought to a conclusion with the adoption of the report drafted by Ms Quisthoudt-Rowohl and the consequent passing of the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 617/2009 opening an autonomous tariff quota for imports of high-quality beef. As such, and in view of the opinion of the Committee on International Trade and the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, I voted for this report, which not only deepens transatlantic trade relations, but also suspends all sanctions against the EU imposed on European products in trade terms.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The basis of this report is the dispute over the ban, for good reasons of consumer protection and food safety, on imports of beef from the United States and Canada which had been treated with certain growth-promoting hormones. In order to end the dispute, an agreement has been reached which provides for a gradual lifting of the sanctions imposed by the US and Canada on EU agricultural products in exchange for an autonomous zero-duty tariff quota for high-quality beef not treated with hormones. This opening up of the European market to hormone-free beef, which may have positive consequences for the export of various EU products, such as beef and pork products, thereby benefiting the major exporting countries, is due, above all, to economic and commercial pressure and threats from the US and Canada. The sanctions imposed on European products are clear evidence of this. In addition to our ongoing concern as to the quality and safety of meat from the US and Canada, bearing in mind what is known about the intensive and very intensive production methods used in those countries, we also have reservations about the effect of the tariff quota on production in countries like Portugal.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) A dispute over beef treated with hormones adversely affected transatlantic trade relations in the area of agricultural products for more than two decades. In 1988, for reasons of consumer protection and food safety, the EU banned imports of beef and meat products that had been treated with certain growth hormones. Although the dispute over beef treated with hormones concerned a relatively small volume of trade, it led to a reduction in trade and had significant consequences on both sides of the Atlantic. Close trading partners entered into a long-running trade dispute. Continued application of retaliatory tariffs on certain European products hampered exports and EU producers subsequently suffered a loss of market share.

Through bilateral negotiations between the EU, the USA and Canada, however, a pragmatic way was eventually found of avoiding the destructive dynamics of trade sanctions. The negotiations have resulted in ‘Memoranda of Understanding’ that will see the gradual lifting of sanctions imposed on EU agricultural products by the USA and Canada, in exchange for an autonomous, zero-duty, tariff-rate quota for high-quality beef not treated with hormones. The Memoranda of Understanding and their application clearly create a situation that is mutually beneficial to the trade partners. I firmly believe that the rapid and smooth adoption of the submitted regulation will help to restore and strengthen mutual trust and overcome the existing differences in transatlantic trade relations in this sector.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) The long-standing controversy over meat products treated with growth-promoting hormones has, over the last 20 years, both damaged the parties involved and caused a significant drop in European exports. This agreement aims to resolve the problem gradually, enabling the retaliatory sanctions imposed by Canada and the United States to be lifted. This will have just a 0.36% negative effect on the European beef products market, while providing economic benefits for various Member States, including Italy. Since the other party has already met its obligations during 2011, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Mikael Gustafsson (GUE/NGL), in writing. (SV) I abstained in the vote on this report. I believe that the EU’s decision in 1988 to ban imports of beef that had been treated with growth-promoting hormones was absolutely right. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute settlement system ruled in 1996 that the United States and Canada should have the right to impose trade sanctions against the EU on a number of products as a legitimate response to the EU’s decision. This did indeed happen and it led to a dispute resolution process and a Memorandum of Understanding. I believe that the WTO’s original ruling against the EU was based on a free trade principle that fails to take into consideration either environmental or social consequences. This entire so-called dispute settlement system is therefore absurd and I thus choose to abstain.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. (FR) I welcome the adoption of this report on imports of high-quality beef, which puts an end to a trade dispute with the United States and Canada that has lasted more than 20 years. The agreement reached will make it possible to increase imports of high-quality beef from North America while keeping the embargo on hormone-treated beef. This increase should correspond to only 0.36% of the total EU beef and veal market, which constitutes a limited competitive risk to our farmers. This is a happy outcome for trade relations between our two continents, which I wholeheartedly welcome. Indeed, thanks to this agreement, the United States and Canada plan to lift duties that have been imposed since 1999 on our products, including Roquefort cheese, fresh truffles, mustard and chocolate.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because although the conflict over hormone-treated beef involved a relatively small amount of trade, it led to a reduction in trade and had significant repercussions on both sides of the Atlantic. The United States and Canada were authorised to impose trade sanctions on agricultural products imported from the EU. Close trading partners got entrenched in a lengthy and unconstructive trade dispute. The Memorandum of Understanding with the United States and the Memorandum of Understanding with Canada provide for three-phased arrangements, which gradually abolish the sanctions imposed by the United States and Canada on certain Union products. The agreement provides for the gradual lifting of sanctions imposed on EU agricultural products by the US and Canada, in exchange for an autonomous, zero-duty, tariff-rate quota for high-quality beef not treated with hormones. The quick and smooth adoption of the present regulation will help to re-build and strengthen good faith and bridge existing gaps in transatlantic trade relations in this sector. The final settlement of the beef hormone dispute should create further momentum towards greater economic and commercial integration between the EU and the US and Canada. Notwithstanding possible differences in opinion, the aim should always be to reach a compromise rather than disrupt bilateral trade. By further dismantling trade barriers with its major trading partners, the EU is demonstrating its commitment to strengthening this long-standing economic relationship in terms of trade.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE), in writing. (DE) The decision today to increase the import tariff quota for beef brings an end at last to a long trade dispute. From April onwards, beef from the US and Canada can be imported into Europe, provided that it has not been treated with hormones. I welcome this decision because it ends a long-standing conflict and, at the same time, ensures that no hormone-treated meat can be imported into Europe. As the US and Canada are lifting their trade restrictions in return, from an overall perspective, this is a successful solution.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) I supported this report amending a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on opening an autonomous tariff quota for imports of high-quality beef. By adopting this report, we have put an end to a trade dispute with the United States and Canada that has lasted more than 20 years. This report will oblige the European Union to increase imports of high-quality beef in exchange for keeping its ban on hormone-treated beef.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE), in writing. (DE) I welcome the fact that the European Parliament has agreed to continue the ban on imports of hormone-treated beef into the EU and, at the same time, to introduce higher tariff quotas for high-quality beef from the US and Canada. Adopting this report brings an end to a trade dispute between the EU and the US that has had a negative impact on many areas of foreign trade and caused great damage. We are now in a position that ensures the safety of European consumers and exporters. This report results in a clear win-win situation. The Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development has spoken out in favour of the report in its statement. I would like to make it clear how important it is to put an end to trade disputes and to devote our energies to other tasks. The European Union must focus on competitiveness, innovation and growth. Trade disputes do not help us in these areas.

 
  
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  Patrick Le Hyaric (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) The report that is being put to the vote has come about because we are giving in to blackmail by the US and Canadian authorities. While the European Union has legitimately put in place measures to ban imports of hormone-treated meat, the United States and Canada have used this to their advantage to put in place trade retaliation measures which have hit several European agricultural sectors.

With this agreement that we are being urged to ratify in the name of returning to normality for the benefit of these sectors, beef production will be put under pressure from competition by substantially increasing import quotas without tariffs. That is why I voted against this text, which gives in to blackmail that is harmful for our agriculture.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this proposal. The dispute concerning beef hormones negatively affected transatlantic trade relations in agricultural products for more than two decades. In 1988, the EU banned imports of beef and beef products treated with certain growth-promoting hormones for reasons of consumer protection and food safety. In 1996, the United States and Canada challenged the ban in the WTO dispute settlement system and were subsequently authorised to impose trade sanctions on agricultural products imported from the EU. Since 1999, the US and Canada have imposed retaliatory tariffs on a wide range of European products, respectively worth USD 116.8 million and CAD 11.3 million a year.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) The regulation in question must be adopted as quickly as possible. Now, particularly in the light of the recent disputes, we need to strengthen good faith and bridge the gap that exists in this area of transatlantic trade relations. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. The decision of the US authorities to publish a draft law aimed at aligning its rules on bovine imports with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) standards on BSE is a welcome one and could pave the way for the reopening of the market for EU beef to the US. While this move is not directly linked with the report voted today in plenary, it nevertheless demonstrates the goodwill of the US. For this reason, I supported this report.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The dispute on beef hormones negatively affected transatlantic trade relations in agricultural products for more than two decades. In 1988, the EU banned imports of beef and beef products treated with certain growth-promoting hormones, for reasons of consumer protection and food safety. In 1996, the United States and Canada challenged the ban in the World Trade Organisation dispute settlement system and were subsequently authorised to impose trade sanctions on agricultural products imported from the EU. Since 1999, the US and Canada have imposed retaliatory tariffs on a wide range of European products, respectively worth USD 116.8 million and CAD 11.3 million a year. It should be stressed that the final settlement of the beef hormone dispute should create further momentum towards greater economic and commercial integration between the EU, on the one side, and the US and Canada, on the other. The adoption of this regulation by the European Parliament and the Council will lead to mutual benefits, will strengthen transatlantic trade links, and will rebuild confidence by improving market access.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. The proposed solution for the long-standing beef hormones dispute is in line with the request of the Parliament about finding a satisfactory settlement of this dispute. It allows for the suspension of the sanctions on EU products, while guaranteeing that beef imports to the EU will be in line with EU requirements. I totally support the rapporteur.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The United States and Canada are important trading partners of the EU. Nevertheless, there are definitely some products from these countries that violate European health directives and, consequently, are not imported into the EU. This includes beef that has been treated with growth-promoting hormones. In order to protect consumers, the EU banned the import of this meat, whereupon Canada and the United States imposed trade sanctions on agricultural products imported from the EU. This conflict caused a reduction in trade. Following lengthy negotiations, the sanctions imposed by the US and Canada were gradually lifted and a zero-duty tariff quota for high-quality beef not treated with hormones was introduced. The tariff quota is now to be increased, as a result of which Canada and the US have, in return, suspended their retaliatory sanctions. I abstained from the vote, as it is not clear from the report whether a further increase in the tariff quota could not be detrimental to the European meat industry.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (PPE), in writing. (FR) I decided to vote in favour of this report regulating high-quality beef imports. Let us not forget, the dispute on beef hormones negatively affected transatlantic trade relations in agricultural products for more than two decades. In 1988, the EU banned imports of beef and beef products from animals treated with certain growth-promoting hormones for reasons of consumer protection and food safety. In 1996, the United States and Canada challenged the ban through the WTO dispute settlement system and were subsequently authorised to impose trade sanctions on agricultural products imported from the EU. Since 1999, the US and Canada have imposed retaliatory duties on a wide range of European products. This proposal sets out memoranda that I consider to be decisive and which will be implemented in several phases in order to meet US and Canadian criteria. There will certainly be a limited impact on the European market, but a failure to adopt this regulation would run the risk of new trade sanctions against our Union.

 
  
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  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the report, taking into account the obligation imposed on exporters in the United States and Canada not to treat with hormones the cattle whose meat they want to sell on the European market. In the interest of consumers, but also in order to enhance the competitiveness of European agriculture, I support free trade, but only provided that exporters in partner countries are bound by the same high quality, environmental and food safety conditions with which European producers comply. This principle should be considered upon conclusion of any trade agreement and with regard to all aspects of European agricultural and environmental legislation.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution because establishing an autonomous tariff quota for imports of high-quality beef is part of the compromise reached between the EU and the US over the beef hormone dispute. It should be noted that this is an appropriate means of improving and developing trade relations between the US and the EU and excellent proof of how the EU is ready to improve dispute settlement resolutions in the WTO, by embracing a more pragmatic, more efficient and less politically damaging way forward on difficult issues.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on the EU-US agreement because it enables the US blockade on European exports such as mineral water, pork, canned and prepared fruits, chocolate, juices, oats, chewing gum, jams, Roquefort cheese and fresh truffles to be lifted. A very important aspect of this report is that it encourages the production of European beef for export, thereby contributing significantly to the agricultural sector whilst protecting consumers, since imports of US beef will be increased without recourse to beef produced using hormones. The United States gave their support to completely suspending the sanctions against the EU in May 2011, provided that we honour our side of the agreement in a timely manner. If the European Union does not reciprocally implement the agreement, we run the risk of additional retaliatory measures from the United States, which will have to be compensated for damages incurred by the failure to comply with World Trade Organisation rules.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) The conflict over hormone-treated beef has led to trade reduction and had significant repercussions on both sides of the Atlantic, with close trading partners getting entrenched in a lengthy and unconstructive trade dispute. As a result, I would like to declare my vote in favour of the adoption of this regulation by the European Parliament and the Council. It will lead to mutual benefits, will strengthen transatlantic trade links, and will build confidence by improving market access on both sides of the Atlantic.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) This commitment made by the EU, the United States and Canada provides for the gradual raising of sanctions imposed on EU agricultural products by the US and Canada, in exchange for an autonomous tariff quota, exempt from duties, for high-quality beef that has not been hormone treated. This is an agreement that will contribute to strengthening transatlantic trade links and to rebuilding confidence by improving market access on both sides of the Atlantic. I therefore voted for this report.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing.(FR) This afternoon, we have voted in favour of the report on an autonomous tariff quota for imports of high-quality beef. While the jargon may be slightly evocative at first glance, it is essential in that it – finally – puts an end to the war on hormone-treated beef. This will come as a relief to European consumers, farmers and distributors, putting an end to 20 years of trade disputes between the old and new continent. Condemned by the World Trade Organisation for refusing to import hormone-treated beef from the United States and Canada, and subjected to trade retaliation measures costing millions of euro each year, the European Union has always refused to abandon its principles, believing that European consumers should not be misled about the quality of imported meat.

Thanks to this agreement, the sanctions will be lifted once and for all in exchange for import quotas for guaranteed hormone-free, high-quality US and Canadian beef. This is a win-win solution for both European and US farmers and consumers and will remove hormone-treated beef from our plates for good.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Today, during the plenary session, we voted on the report by Ms Quisthoudt-Rowohl, which put an end to the dispute with the United States and Canada on the sale of hormone-treated meat that has been going on for 20 years. The agreement will increase the European Union import tariff quota to 48 200 tonnes. In return, the United States and Canada have already suspended the retaliatory sanctions applied to products originating from 26 Member States (except the United Kingdom) amounting to over USD 250 million in current trade terms. One of the main beneficiaries that stands to gain from the lifting of sanctions is Italy, with over USD 99 million worth of trade. The resolution will lead to mutual benefits. Parliament has taken a step that will allow the European agricultural industry to plan for the future once again and will strengthen transatlantic trade links.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. For Greens, the important point is that the EU has managed to maintain its own food standards and keep the EU market free from imports of hormone-treated beef. All beef shipped in from the US and Canada under this quota will need to comply with the stringent food safety requirements set out in the EU legislation. It is also a victory with regard to the (often) perceived pre-eminence of WTO rulings: it shows that you can apply your standards even in the face of WTO rulings.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this text because I think it will help strengthen good faith between the European Union, on one side, and the United States and Canada, on the other, bridging existing gaps in transatlantic trade relations in this sector. The conclusion of this agreement will permit the EU to comply with commitments undertaken towards resolving the dispute over hormone-treated beef, providing further momentum towards greater economic and commercial integration.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) This report ends the dispute between the EU and the US over the application of retaliatory measures brought in by the US and Canada on agricultural products from Europe, following the EU’s decision, which I wholeheartedly support, to ban imports of meat containing prohibited hormones into the EU. The US and Canada had applied heavy duties to a number of agricultural products and derivatives from the EU, causing serious economic damage to our producers. Thanks to mediation by the Commission, a Memorandum of Understanding that resolves the long-running dispute, while maintaining the ban on importing meat treated with prohibited hormones into Europe, has finally been reached. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing. (FR) At the end of the 1980s, when the European Union decided to ban meat treated with growth hormones, the United States and Canada successfully argued their case at the WTO, which authorised them to impose trade sanctions against the EU. The economies of these two regions being so closely linked, these sanctions have had negative effects on both. That is why an amicable solution was sought and is now about to be implemented. I voted in favour of this report because its adoption will put an end to 20 years or more of trade wars with two of our most important trading partners, while keeping a high level of protection for European consumers without seeing too much of a serious impact on the agricultural sector. Indeed, the high-quality meat referred to in this report is simply meat that has not been treated with growth hormones, and is of inferior quality compared to beef produced in Europe. The quotas authorising the import of this meat are limited, so the impact on the European sector will be extremely small.

 
  
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  Matteo Salvini (EFD) , in writing. (IT) I totally support this measure, which definitively ends a trade war that has been ongoing for many years between the EU, on the one hand, and the US and Canada, on the other. The sanctions imposed by the US and Canada will finally be lifted, which will deliver considerable benefits to the European agricultural and food industry, especially Italy, which has important trade links with the transatlantic market.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The proposal we voted on this morning seeks to amend an existing regulation of the European Parliament opening an autonomous tariff quota for imports of high-quality beef from the United States and Canada, which puts an end to the long transatlantic dispute on the use of hormones in beef products. I support the proposed solution to the trade dispute and am voting in favour of the text. Specifically, the EU will progressively increase its tariff-rate quota for imports of hormone-free high-quality beef to a total of 21 500 tonnes in the first phase, and thereafter to 48 200 tonnes. This will inevitably result in a gradual reduction or suspension of the sanctions imposed on EU products by the United States and Canada. In order to make the implementation process more effective, the timetables for the first and second phases are the same for both the United States protocol and the Canada protocol: the second phase will begin on 1 August 2012 under the terms of both protocols. What we are asking the Commission to do is to ensure that the solution to the dispute will guarantee that imports of beef products will be in line with EU requirements.

 
  
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  Bart Staes (Verts/ALE), in writing. (NL) The European Parliament is today formally putting an end to one of the most serious trade conflicts ever between the EU and the United States and Canada. This trade dispute arose as a result of the total European ban on the use of hormones in livestock production. From now on, the United States and Canada will, on an annual basis, be allowed to export 48 200 tonnes of high-quality beef which has not been treated with hormones to the EU. In return, the agricultural trade sanctions which have been levied annually on agricultural products, totalling nearly EUR 100 million, will disappear for good. This agreement is of great political significance. The EU has maintained the hormone ban and its own food standards. Despite condemnation by the WTO, the EU market will not be supplied with hormone-treated beef from the US and Canada. All meat imports will be fattened on farms under the supervision of EU inspectors who will ensure that no hormones are administered. The agreement proves that you can consistently apply your own standards on imported agricultural products, even if they are formally in conflict with WTO rulings. In addition, increasing the amount of beef imported from the US and Canada from 21 500 tonnes to 48 200 tonnes per year will not have any negative impact on the European beef market, given that the import quota accounts for only 0.36% of the total EU beef and veal market.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Over recent years, the European Union has banned the import of beef and derived products, with the United States and Canada retaliating by introducing trade sanctions on agricultural products imported from Europe. In 2009, the bilateral negotiations established between the EU, the US and Canada enabled a solution to be reached to remove the barriers and sanctions that had been adopted. The talks eventually resulted in the conclusion of two Memoranda of Understanding. I am voting for this report, which will enable the European Union to respect the commitments it has made to resolve the dispute with the countries in question. The Memorandum of Understanding will ensure that beef products imported under this quota will continue to meet the strict food-safety requirements provided for in EU legislation. It is also important to stress that the rapid adoption and entry into force of this regulation will contribute to improving transatlantic trade relations in this area of economic activity.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) I voted against the decision to allow the United States and Canada to export more beef to the European Union in exchange for the lifting of duties on certain imports from EU Member States. The United States will be able to double their beef exports.

Adopting this report has put an end to the beef hormone dispute which has lasted for close to 20 years. However, one wonders if this is not at the cost of food safety and the health of European citizens. I am concerned that this undermines the European sanctions imposed in 1988 prohibiting the utilisation of growth hormones in meat livestock.

With this vote, the European Parliament is also giving in to the WTO, which, in 1999, condemned the EU for hindering free trade. The EU did not provide any evidence of the dangers of the hormones being used. The WTO forced the EU to renegotiate both these agreements with the United States and Canada.

This decision is bound to affect European meat production. Already making a loss and in decline for several years (a 31% drop over 15 years in France), the European agricultural sector will not see a resurgence in meat production, contrary to what the European Parliament is claiming to justify with this vote.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The aim of this report is to put an end to two decades in which trade relations in agricultural products between Europe and the US had been affected by the late-1980s dispute on beef hormones. The agreement reached with the US, and subsequently with Canada, involves a zero-duty quota for US beef not treated with hormones in exchange for the lifting of trade restrictions. A quick and smooth adoption of the present regulation will therefore deliver mutual benefits, helping to re-build and strengthen trade relations on both sides of the Atlantic.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We remain concerned as to the quality and safety of meat from the United States and Canada, bearing in mind what is known about the intensive and very intensive production methods used in those countries, but we are also concerned about the possible effects of the tariff quota on production in countries like Portugal. We know that allowing beef imports may have positive consequences for exports of various EU products, such as beef and pork products, but this will benefit chiefly the major exporting countries.

 
  
  

Report: Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl (A7-0028/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since the purpose of Omnibus I and Omnibus II – documents related to the new systems of delegated acts and implementing acts that this report tackles – is to bring the European Union’s common commercial policy into line with the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon. This issue is important because it reinforces the powers of the European Parliament which should, therefore, be respected; meanwhile, from the political point of view, it is important to keep Parliament united around this aim.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. The Lisbon Treaty has led to many institutional changes. Under this Treaty, the European Parliament becomes one of the legislators in trade policy and its consent is essential when concluding agreements. Given the legislative changes, this proposal is therefore intended to bring 26 trade policy regulations into line with the primary-law provisions of the Lisbon Treaty. This will enable the Commission’s implementing powers to be applied more efficiently and effectively and will allow a more efficient and effective common trade policy to be pursued. The harmonisation of standard procedures will make trade policy clearer and will increase its transparency.

 
  
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  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing. (IT) The report under scrutiny today is especially important since it sets out to amend some basic regulations on the common commercial policy so that their compatibility with the new provisions brought in by the Treaty of Lisbon can be guaranteed. The goal is to ensure that EU trade policy safeguard instruments are not weakened by the introduction of procedural changes which, even though they are necessary following the entry into force of the Treaty, risked having significant consequences on important aspects of the trade safeguard procedures. Bearing this in mind, one of the objectives of the regulation put forward by the Commission in March 2009 is to ensure that its own implementing powers are not monitored by either the Council or by Parliament, but rather by the EU Member States. I welcome this report and I hope that the text can be tightened up even more during the forthcoming negotiations with the Council. This would reiterate the importance of the EU’s trade policy safeguard instruments, which offer a practical way for European enterprises to protect themselves against the anti-competitive practices of third-country competitors.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Trade policy is one of the main pillars of EU relations with third countries. The achievement of a common commercial policy was part of the original plan for European economic integration, so that EU (initially EEC) trade policy has been broadly common with regard to the rest of the world since 1968, when the Customs Union was established. This Commission proposal for a regulation has the purpose of replacing the decision-making procedures for the various implementing measures laid down by 26 regulations with delegated acts or implementing acts. With regard to the regulations concerned, they contain mainly provisions allowing the use of trade policy safeguard measures. The Commission is proposing changes only where the Council decisions specifically provided for have previously applied. The Commission does not propose altering the references to the old comitology procedures pursuant to Council Decision 1999/468/EC. On this subject, the Commission has repeatedly stated that these adjustments are to be provided for in a second proposal for a regulation, namely, the proposal for a European Parliament and Council regulation amending certain regulations relating to the common commercial policy as regards the granting of delegated powers for the adoption of certain measures (Omnibus II).

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of amending the regulations relating to commercial policy, bearing in mind the values of rationalisation, legislative coordination and adaptation to the changes in international trade conditions, in the light of the experience gained in the years since the Treaty of Lisbon. More specifically, the proposed amendments respond to requirements of transparency and effectiveness from a practical and executive point of view, making it possible to adopt immediately applicable measures. The delegation to the Commission has been proposed in balanced terms that meet Parliament’s prerogatives, with adequate guarantees with regard to the necessary provision of information about how the delegation is exercised, its renewal and the reserved power of revocation.

I believe that the inclusion of the provision for assistance to the Commission from the Member States in the issuance and implementation of urgent executive measures is also realistic and balanced. Inclusion of the new Council Regulation (EC) No 1236/2005 within the new discipline indicates a commendable appreciation for legislative action that does not lose sight of the cultural horizons of our time and the guiding light of European values when defining regulatory detail.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. – (CS) The Commission proposal, amending certain regulations relating to the common commercial policy, introduces changes only where the Council decisions specifically provided for have previously applied. The proposal does not suggest altering individual references to the old comitology procedures pursuant to Council Decision 1999/468/EC, which are contained in the regulations. On this subject, the Commission has repeatedly stated that these adjustments are to be provided for in another proposal for a regulation, the proposal for a European Parliament and Council regulation amending certain regulations relating to the common commercial policy as regards the granting of delegated powers for the adoption of certain measures (Omnibus II). In this context, it should be said that the European Parliament reached a ‘common understanding’ with the Commission and Council, making the use of delegated acts and of implementing provisions subject to a uniform model. To my surprise, the Commission proposal deviates considerably from these provisions, and this is unacceptable. The report rightly corrects the Commission proposal by applying the ‘common understanding’ criteria. This makes it possible to ensure consistency in the wording of all future European law relating to the use of delegated acts and implementing provisions.

 
  
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  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. (RO) The vote in favour of the report on the common commercial policy was necessary in order to establish a common denominator for Europe’s commercial policies. Once the Lisbon Treaty came into force on 1 December 2009, commercial policy became an area under the exclusive remit of the European Union. Thanks to the report, 26 regulations are being adapted to the provisions of the Treaty by granting delegated powers to the European Commission and by EU Member States establishing control procedures. These regulations include, for example, one laying down the trade arrangements applicable to certain goods resulting from the processing of agricultural products, and one concerning trade in certain articles which are likely to be used for capital punishment, torture or other punishments and forms of inhumane treatment.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) This is a fairly technical report that reflects the application of the Treaty of Lisbon to the EU’s common commercial policy, seeking to amend certain regulations as regards the procedures for the adoption of certain measures. There was no great division between the parliamentary groups on the report hereby being adopted at first reading, as attested by its being voted for with only 1 vote against and 2 abstentions in the Committee on International Trade. It is now being submitted to the European Commission for analysis. The amendments proposed herein seek to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the common commercial policy of the European Union – which originated when it was just the European Economic Community – and I, as a convinced Europhile, am bound to support this report strongly.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I believe the amendments adopted by the European Parliament contribute to a position balanced between the various legal instruments of the common commercial policy, taking into account the provisions imposed by the Treaty of Lisbon and the interests of the three European institutions.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) This proposal amends certain regulations relating to the common commercial policy as regards the procedures for the adoption of certain measures (Omnibus I) and is intended to adapt 26 trade policy regulations to the Treaty of Lisbon. The purpose of this Commission proposal for a regulation is to replace the decision-making procedures regarding implementing measures set out in 26 regulations using delegated acts or implementing acts. The regulations in question are mainly regulations enabling the adoption of measures to safeguard trade policy. These amendments are intended to make the exercise of implementing competences more effective and efficient, and to contribute to improving the common commercial policy.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Ms Quisthoudt-Rowohl, concerns the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending certain regulations relating to the common commercial policy as regards the procedures for the adoption of certain measures. It concerns the adaptation of 26 regulations to the new primary-law provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon, with regard to the legal concept of delegated acts. Until now, trade policy was outside the comitology procedure and was under the exclusive authority of Council decisions. I welcome the progress made in this area, specifically as regards the codecision procedure, since it is not acceptable for the Council and the Commission to be able to make decisions without the prior agreement of the European Parliament, which has the authority to monitor these acts. As regards implementing acts, I agree that the Member States cannot have a veto right that is generalised, but rather one that is exceptional. I regret that the United Kingdom and Ireland have not approved this regulation, for which I voted, which would have contributed to the truly free movement of persons and goods throughout the EU and to the more effective combating of dumping.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The purpose of this report is to adapt to the terms of the Treaty of Lisbon 26 regulations relating to the common commercial policy (CCP). It is laid down in the Treaty that trade policy is an exclusive EU competence. Since it came into force, and since the adoption of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011, the Commission now has sole authority to implement the rules relating to trade policy. Choosing trade partners, what to trade and the objectives that should govern trade represents an important instrument of economic sovereignty. In the case of Portugal, for example, loss of this instrument of sovereignty led to very grave harm to countless sectors of the economy and to the country as a whole. Trade policy has become directed towards maximising the profits of big business in the EU’s major powers, to the clear detriment of countries like Portugal and of the weaker economic sectors, which have found themselves exposed to ruthless, destructive competition. Free trade has been one of the pillars of the CCP, gearing it towards capitalist competition rather than cooperation and mutual benefit. Our profound disagreement with the CCP is therefore a given, which is bound to influence our analysis of this report.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the proposal because it aims to bring 26 trade policy regulations into line with the new primary-law provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon. For example, the legislature will be able to delegate non-essential legislative acts to the executive, while retaining the power to revoke the delegation at any time. The affected measures are mostly designed to allow the use of trade safeguard regulations, apart from the regulation on protection against dumped imports from countries not members of the European Community. The Commission is proposing changes only where the Council decisions specifically provided for have previously applied. As a result of these specific decision-making procedures, European trade policy has hitherto, essentially, been explicitly excluded from the comitology procedures. With the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and the adoption of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011, these special arrangements have now been terminated.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The submitted proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amends certain regulations relating to common commercial policy. As regards the procedures for the adoption of certain measures, it is intended to bring 26 trade policy regulations into line with the new primary-law provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon. Specifically, it serves to align the regulations with Articles 290 and 291 TFEU and with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers, which was prompted by Article 291(3) TFEU. Article 290 TFEU introduces, for the first time, the legal arrangement of delegated acts into European law. The legislature may therefore delegate non-essential legislative acts to the executive. The legislature retains the power to revoke the delegation at any time and thus take the relevant decision itself. In addition, any decision taken in the form of a delegated act may be vetoed by the legislature. It is sufficient for either the Council or Parliament to object to a Commission proposal for a decision. Article 291 TFEU, on the other hand, is concerned with the adoption of implementing provisions. The implementing acts are intended to ensure that European law is transposed uniformly in all Member States. The majority of the regulations concerned thus enable the adoption of measures for the protection of commercial policy.

 
  
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  Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. Omnibus I and II will bring trade policy making into line with the Lisbon Treaty and, by giving increased powers to the European Parliament, will improve democratic legitimacy and accountability. As such, this report recognises the important role Parliament should have in EU trade policy. I welcome the fact that the Parliament will, in future, be informed about the EU’s bilateral trade relations and that the Commission will also make annual reports about their activities in this area available to the public. This report’s approach is to look at the pros and cons of each regulation by analysing delegated acts and implementing provisions while comparing procedures. This method is inclusive for all parties and takes a fair and democratic stance on such policies.

 
  
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  Małgorzata Handzlik (PPE), in writing.(PL) The provisions of the Lisbon Treaty have given Parliament the role of colegislator in the area of commercial policy, and Parliament’s consent is essential for any agreement to be made. In view of the changes which came into effect with the entry into force of the Treaty, it is essential to review and align all the important procedures in the common commercial policy, thanks to which it will be more efficient and effective. The transparency of commercial policy is a very important question, and this is reflected in the proposal, because it brings a number of regulations in the field of common commercial policy into line with the new provisions of primary legislation.

The Treaty of Lisbon introduced a new instrument in the form of delegated acts, thanks to which legislative acts of lesser importance may be delegated to executive bodies. An important role is played here by Parliament and the Council, because these institutions retain the right to revoke or object to every decision concerning the delegation of legislative acts.

The Treaty also speaks of implementing acts, which, together with delegated acts, replace the comitology procedure. Introduction of these important changes to decision-making processes and implementing measures urgently requires the adaptation of existing legal acts, and so I am pleased that Parliament has adopted a report today which allows these innovative measures to be introduced to these regulations on the common commercial policy.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because this proposal amending certain regulations relating to the common commercial policy is intended to bring 26 trade policy regulations into line with the new primary-law provisions of the Lisbon Treaty. The report is based on the changes brought about by the Lisbon Treaty and by the adoption of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011, and which systematically incorporates those changes into the secondary law of the common commercial policy. The report fleshes out the provisions of the Commission proposal in relation to the substance of all 26 regulations. It weighs up the pros and cons of using delegated acts and implementing provisions, and compares the advisory and examination procedures. The result is a balanced relationship among the various legal instruments, which takes into account the substantive and legal interests of all parties concerned, the legislation in force since 1 December 2009, and the institutional interests of the three European institutions.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE), in writing. (DE) The report on common commercial policy is an important dossier which regulates and redefines the way that the European Parliament works with European foreign trade policy. The adoption of the report makes the use and implementation of delegating acts much simpler. I welcome the time savings that result from the removal of the consultation procedure and the specification of time limits because, in my view, a rapid and efficient process is in the interests of all stakeholders. I believe that always linking the final decisions on implementation to an examination procedure is the right approach which will guarantee more security for trading partners.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) The proposal for the Omnibus I Regulation is intended to bring 26 Council regulations on the EU common commercial policy into line with the post-Lisbon system of delegated acts and implementing acts. I voted in favour of this report during the vote in plenary.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this report on amending the trade policy regulation. The proposal for a regulation – the so-called Omnibus – aims to adapt 26 legislative acts of the Council in the field of the EU’s common commercial policy to the post-Lisbon system on delegated acts and implementing acts. In contrast to the text voted on in committee, the report adopted today puts forward several amendments designed to strengthen anti-dumping rules. Bearing in mind, furthermore, the need to come into line with the new comitology rules, the regulation on trade policies allows for greater transparency while, at the same time, affording greater protection for the trademarks of industrial products, which benefits both consumers and operators in the sector.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) The Commission proposal for a regulation aims at replacing the decision-making procedures for the various implementing measures laid down by 26 regulations with delegated acts or implementing acts. As a result of these specific decision-making procedures, European trade policy has hitherto, essentially, been explicitly excluded from the existing comitology procedure. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, these special arrangements have been terminated, executive decisions on trade policy now being taken exclusively by the Commission. The objective of this proposal is the integration of Commission responsibilities in all regulations in the field of the common commercial policy. I think this report is a balanced, well prepared document, meeting the economic and legal interests of all stakeholders, as well as the institutional interests of the three European institutions.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this proposal in which the rapporteur is tabling a report which is based on the changes brought about by the Treaty of Lisbon and by the adoption of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011, and which systematically incorporates those changes into the secondary law of the common commercial policy. The report fleshes out the provisions of the Commission proposal in relation to the substance of all 26 regulations. It weighs up the pros and cons of using delegated acts and implementing provisions and compares the advisory and examination procedures. The result is a balanced relationship among the various legal instruments which takes into account the substantive and legal interests of all parties concerned, the legislation which has been in force since 1 December 2009, and the institutional interests of the three European institutions.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) This proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending certain regulations relating to the common commercial policy as regards the procedures for the adoption of certain measures (Omnibus I) is intended to bring 26 trade policy regulations into line with the new primary-law provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon. More specifically, it serves to align the regulations with Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers, which was prompted by Article 291(3) TFEU. The report fleshes out the provisions of the Commission proposal in relation to the substance of all 26 regulations. It weighs up the pros and cons of using delegated acts and implementing provisions, and compares the advisory and examination procedures. The result is a balanced relationship among the various legal instruments which takes into account the substantive and legal interests of all parties concerned, the legislation which has been in force since 1 December 2009, and the institutional interests of the three European institutions.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. Articles 290 and 291 of the Lisbon Treaty replace the old comitology procedure with a hybrid system of delegated acts and implementing acts. As existing pieces of legislation related to the EU’s commercial policy need to be aligned to this new system of delegated acts and implementing acts, the Commission has come up with two proposals, Omnibus I and Omnibus II. Both reports are aimed at bringing trade policy making into line with the Lisbon Treaty, which has granted greater powers to the Parliament. Parliament’s powers with regard to trade should be respected.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The Treaty of Lisbon also gave rise to amendments with regard to the framework conditions for the adoption of delegated acts and implementing acts and for the formulation of trade policy. The regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers puts in place special procedures for the introduction of definitive anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties. Although some amendments are certainly called for, I must, unfortunately, reject the report as a whole.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. – (LT) I welcome this resolution, which is intended to bring 26 trade policy regulations into line with the new primary-law provisions of the Lisbon Treaty. Consequently, the decision-making procedures currently applied for the various implementing measures should therefore be replaced with the procedures for delegated acts or implementing acts. I believe that it is advisable to empower the Commission to adopt delegated acts for an unlimited period. Attention should be drawn to the fact that the advisory procedure should be used in all cases where it is necessary for the Commission to consult the Member States before taking a decision. In exceptional and critical circumstances, the Commission must be enabled to take immediate measures as quickly as possible. In cases of urgency, the application of the advisory procedure would allow applicable implementing acts to be adopted immediately. The Member States should play an active part and express their position in all stages of decision making on trade policy safeguard measures. Furthermore, the Commission should publish reports in order to keep the European Parliament and citizens properly informed about all aspects of EU trade relations.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending certain regulations relating to the common commercial policy. Specifically, it concerns adapting the regulation laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States over the Commission’s implementing powers. The intention is to introduce the changes that the Treaty of Lisbon has introduced in this regard, taking into account the substantive and legal interests of all parties concerned and the institutional interests of the three European institutions.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) The proposal for a regulation under discussion is intended to bring 26 trade policy regulations into line with the new primary-law provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon. More specifically, it serves to align these regulations with the provisions of Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers. In order to include European commercial policy in the comitology procedure, I am voting in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. Abstention. When work on the understanding between the institutions started in 2010, the Greens agreed to give the Council an extra 18-month transition period on trade policy measures, under the premise that the Commission would propose a reform of the basic anti-dumping regulation. For the Greens, this is a field in which we hope to establish criteria for ecological dumping. Nothing happened, however, in those 18 months and DG Trade says quite clearly that it does not intend to propose a substantive reform of the anti-dumping regulation. Consequently, in the vote on the Omnibus I proposal in committee, the Greens rejected all amendments proposing a shift to the advisory procedure in anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures. We did not receive support and, in the end, abstained in the final vote. The reason why we abstained and did not vote against is that, of course – in general terms – we do not favour giving the Council powers which the Parliament does not have, thus creating inequality between the legislators.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) The report deals with a series of amendments to regulations relating to commercial policy mainly on the use of safeguard measures. The special nature of these measures and the sometimes necessarily rapid amendments are precisely why the instrument of the delegated act has been used, as this allows the Commission to take action when necessary. The responsible committee also expressed its full support for the necessity of restoring the 15-month time limit for the introduction of duty tariffs and anti-dumping measures. I gave my full support and voted in favour.

 
  
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  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing. (IT) I would like to congratulate the rapporteur for her success in proposing numerous amendments within the Committee on International Trade to a proposal from the Commission that contained some highly unacceptable passages such as the extension of time limits for reaching the decision to introduce trade duties. These actions are necessary in order to safeguard our production system and therefore require speed, not more bureaucracy or time-wasting. I voted in favour of this very technical measure, also because it was necessary to bring these regulations in line with the new comitology procedure.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) We are being called upon today to approve at first reading the report by Ms Quisthoudt-Rowohl on the regulation referred to as ‘Omnibus I’, which aims to align certain commercial policy legislative acts, including the anti-dumping regulation, with the new ‘comitology’ procedures. I am pleased that the proposal has been approved by a large majority, so as to make sure that the wording will not be watered down, but perhaps strengthened further in the course of subsequent negotiations with the Council, and to confirm the importance of trade defence instruments, which represent the only possibility of protecting European businesses against anti-competitive practices followed by competitors outside Europe.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and the adoption of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 means that, as in other areas of EU policy, executive decisions on trade policy are the sole responsibility of the Commission, using delegated acts and implementing acts. The purpose of this document, therefore, is to modify all the regulations in relation to this policy, so as to promote the adaptation of the regulation to the primary-law provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon, specifically Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. For these reasons, I voted for this European Union document.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the resolution on the proposal for a regulation amending certain regulations relating to the common commercial policy as regards the procedures for the adoption of certain measures. The purpose of the regulation is to replace the decision-making procedures for the implementing measures laid down by 26 regulations with delegated acts or implementing acts. With regard to the regulations concerned, they contain mainly provisions allowing the use of trade policy safeguard measures. The report recommends using delegated acts as part of the relevant regulations in the following cases: to amend or adapt one or more annexes to the regulation concerned and to adopt detailed provisions for the specific transposition of individual articles. In all these cases, the delegated acts are generally applicable acts of a non-legislative character, supplementing or amending certain non-essential provisions of the relevant legislative act pursuant to Article 290(1) TFEU.

Only the delegation instrument guarantees that the Commission’s actions are scrutinised by Parliament and the Council. The report calls on the Commission to present a biannual report on the application and implementation of the agreements to the European Parliament, including information about the activities of the various bodies responsible for monitoring the implementation of the agreements and the fulfilment of the obligations arising from them, including obligations relating to trade barriers.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. The draft regulation adapts these 26 regulations to Regulation No 182/2011. This regulation establishes two procedures for Member States to exercise such control over implementing acts: the advisory procedure and the examination procedure. In the first one, the Commission only takes the opinion of the Member States into account, whereas this opinion is binding in the second one.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of this report which aims to align some commercial policy legislative acts, including the anti-dumping regulation, with the new comitology procedures. The text voted on today supports the claims of European industry, of which Italian manufacturing is an example of excellence even at a time of crisis, by vigorously defending the trade defence instruments, which are the only way to protect European businesses against the anti-competitive trade practices of third-country competitors.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We believe that the definition of trade partners, of trade relations and of the objectives to which trade should be subject constitutes an important instrument of economic sovereignty. In the case of Portugal, not having this instrument of sovereignty has resulted in profound damage to innumerable sectors of economic activity and to the country in general. Trade policy has become geared towards maximising the profits of big business and of the EU’s major powers, to the clear detriment of countries like Portugal and of weaker economic sectors, which have been exposed to ferocious and destructive competition. We argue that trade relations should be based on the principle of complementarity and mutual benefit. This report ties in with the trade policy that the EU has been implementing, with which we completely disagree.

 
  
  

Report: Giovanni La Via (A7-0040/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report. However, I would once again express my view that the European Union budget should be focused on growth and not austerity. The Commission proposal keeps the European economy under harsh austerity measures, but what we should be concerned about is economic development, growth promotion and job creation. The Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament has managed to introduce some of these objectives. However, it is always important to stress that, if the Commission does not have an ambitious budget, it cannot intend to implement the Europe 2020 strategy.

 
  
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  Marta Andreasen (EFD), in writing. My position on the budget of the European Union is very clear: I consider it to be an added tax on the Member States. In particular, the UK is taxed more heavily because it is a net contributor with an increasing contribution. I want to see the budget completely eliminated, with a 10% reduction each year, starting this year. For this reason, I could not support the ECR amendment number 25, which is inadequate as it only calls for a freeze.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The general guidelines for the budget include several future priorities. What strikes me the most is that every effort must be made to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and young people because they represent the true potential for growth in the European economy. As Mr Lamassoure of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) has pointed out, efforts must ‘promote long-term sustainable industrial policy’ by supporting SMEs. Finally, we must be more vigilant, stop Member States spending recklessly and enforce the ‘golden rule’, which I have actively defended, even though our Members on the left have thought it unnecessary.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. The EU budget is, above all, intended to create added value for the entire EU and its citizens. As the economic and social crisis continues, Member States are often imposing particularly severe economic and budgetary constraints, accompanied by reduced employment, a slowdown in economic growth, and a reduction in social and other guarantees, which essentially means that it will take even longer for the Member States and the whole of the EU to overcome the crisis. As a solidarity mechanism, the EU budget should not be reduced in 2013 because EU-funded programmes and instruments are intended to contribute to the long-term and sustainable growth of all EU Member States, stimulation of employment and further development of the Member States themselves. I therefore agree that the 2013 budget must be oriented towards the Member States’ economic recovery policies, particularly by investing more in the creation of new jobs, by increasing youth employment, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises and other areas referred to in the Europe 2020 strategy.

 
  
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  Gerard Batten, Derek Roland Clark and Nigel Farage (EFD), in writing. My position on the budget of the European Union is very clear: I consider it to be an added tax on the Member States. In particular, the UK is taxed more heavily because it is a net contributor with an increasing contribution. I want to see the budget completely eliminated, with a 10% reduction each year, starting this year. For this reason, I could not support the ECR amendment number 25, which is inadequate as it only calls for a freeze.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing.(IT) Even though, for now, this is only a declaration of intent, I support the guidelines for the new 2013 Union Budget mentioned by Mr La Via. I welcome, in particular, the call for prudence in framing new spending commitments, the rigour with regard to human resources and the appeal for a more sensible and targeted use of European funds to make them as useful and effective as possible.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing.(IT) I would like to congratulate Mr La Via on his report, for which I voted in favour. The guidelines are the first step in the annual budgetary procedure. Therefore, the 2013 budget forecast must be well coordinated and responsible, and the measures to combat the economic crisis adopted thus far must now stimulate stable and lasting growth, including by means of targeted investments resulting in sustainable economic development.

The 2013 budget must therefore aim to fulfil the Union’s programmes and priorities and catch up on late payments, especially as we are nearing the end of the current period of the multiannual financial framework. The European Union’s budget is one of the most important instruments for demonstrating solidarity between Member States and between the generations and, given the financial crisis, it is also an important added value. Now more than ever, the collective efforts made at EU level must be strengthened in order to ensure that our actions deliver results.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. (FR) Mr La Via’s report naturally has my full support, since it aims to ensure funding for the different programmes of the European Union. I think it is our responsibility, within the framework of preparing the Commission’s draft budget for 2013, to acknowledge the general fiscal consolidation efforts undertaken. However, the current austerity must not undermine support for economic growth and jobs. I note that the compromise reached between the different political groups has made it possible to include these two objectives.

 
  
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  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of the proposal for a resolution of the European Parliament on general guidelines for the preparation of the 2013 budget because, firstly, I agree with the statement that the EU Budget is an instrument that demonstrates solidarity between Member States and between the generations and represents a clear common saving for the well-being of all.

Secondly, I believe that this is absolutely the right time to promote the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which have become the backbone of economic growth in Europe, having created 85% of the new jobs in the European Union between 2002 and 2012. We must therefore channel adequate resources into promoting an entrepreneurial mind-set and business start-ups, as well as simplifying the application procedure for EU-funded programmes.

Thirdly, I agree that we must urgently cut the delays in terms of payments and commitments, which are close to EUR 152 million for 2013, in order to respect the financial programming amounts and so as not to come into conflict with the zero debt policy of the EU. Finally, I welcome the agreement on financing the additional costs of the ITER project, which will not impair the successful implementation of EU policies during the final year of the current programming period.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the resolution on the guidelines for the 2013 budget. 2013 represents a decisive moment in Europe’s path to economic recovery and, following the necessary austerity measures, the time has finally come to encourage growth. Also as a result of the economic circumstances that we have to face, the European Parliament therefore has the responsibility clearly to identify the strategies that it considers to be more consistent and the priority points for overcoming the current economic crisis and its depressive effects on the real economy, especially the unemployment that it has caused. For this reason, I agree wholeheartedly with the principles expressed in this resolution. In particular, I should like to stress the importance of encouraging growth by promoting youth employment and the special measures for small and medium-sized enterprises, which are aims in line with the objectives set out in the Europe 2020 strategy. In congratulating the rapporteur, Mr La Via, I join him in emphasising the need to achieve adequate funding in order to honour the commitments made in previous years without affecting next year’s budget.

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE), in writing. (SV) We voted in favour of the report on general guidelines for the preparation of the 2013 budget as we are able to support the general priorities and objectives focusing on attaining a budget for economic recovery and growth. However, we cannot accept the report’s position concerning the size of the budget as such. Contrary to what is stated in the report, budgetary discipline and priorities are what is needed. This applies to the whole of the EU, not just the Member States. Against this background, we voted in favour of the amendments that seek to provide clearer priorities in the budget, control of payments, evaluation of programmes, efficiency, monitoring and a freezing of the budget where, instead of larger budget lines, we focus on reprioritisation and transfers.

 
  
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  Andrea Cozzolino (S&D), in writing.(IT) Since it marks only the first step in the long and tortuous route to the adoption of the 2013 EU Budget, the adoption of the ‘general guidelines’ has to be the occasion for strongly emphasising the role of Parliament in future negotiations, especially with the Council, with the powerful aim of influencing the guidelines to be adopted by the Commission in its draft budget. It must be clear here and now that the budget approach cannot avoid the urgency of restarting sustainable growth and quality employment, in line with the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. The European Commission and the Council cannot continue down the path of austerity that leaves no margin for the requirements of economic growth capable of generating new jobs. We have the duty to identify measures supportive of growth and employment and finally go beyond the mere requirement of balancing investment and austerity. For our part, moreover, there is a pressing need to draw attention to the worrying payment situation: we must not allow a repetition of what happened in 2011 and 2012, and the Council can no longer purport to decide a priori the level of payments based on political considerations, without taking into account the repercussions on past commitments.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this text, which supports the efforts undertaken and financial instruments used by Member States and calls for a ‘responsible’ EU Budget for 2013. It also seems right to focus our efforts on the areas most affected by the crisis, that is to say, jobs for young people and small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as on investment in future projects with strong growth potential.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report sets out the general guidelines for the 2013 EU budget in relation to the Commission. This report has eminently political content relating to stepping up the promotion of growth and employment, laying particular stress on the role of young people and small and medium-sized enterprises. The intention is also to recognise the economic potential of the Europe 2020 strategy for growth, jobs and innovation. Parliament is hereby sending an important political message to the European institutions and the Member States about its firm commitment to meeting the growth and employment targets that have been set, and to adequate funding for the EU’s political parties. Finally, I call on the EU to demonstrate the same moderation and rigour demanded of the Member States in drawing up and observing their 2013 budgets.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The present economic and financial crisis requires great efforts at budgetary consolidation, not just by the majority of Member States, but also by the European Parliament and the other institutions of the European Union. This report on general guidelines for the preparation of the 2013 budget – Section III – Commission reflects this concern; specifically, the Commission’s desire for a 1% cut in the number of posts in its establishment plans as early as 2013, as well as a 5% cut in the staffing level in EU institutions and bodies by 2018. Although a reduction in administrative spending is being considered so as to free up funds intended for investment funds to boost economic growth and job creation, this reduction cannot jeopardise financial commitments regarding payment appropriations. I welcome the adoption of this report, which points towards a budget of rigour for 2013, but also a budget of growth and cohesion. I hope it will be possible to free up funds from heading 5 so as to increase the sums intended for youth employment and support for small and medium-sized enterprises.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report proposes general guidelines for preparation of the 2013 budget. Despite some mild criticism of the Council’s performance in budgetary matters, the document begins by praising ‘the fiscal consolidation efforts undertaken by most Member States because of the financial and budgetary crisis’ that are now being reinforced by the illegitimate International Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union, whose purpose is nothing more than to exacerbate and prolong indefinitely the so-called austerity measures that, as I have mentioned, this report welcomes. It is also significant that it advocates greater political integration and the application of automatic sanctions to Member States. Whatever positive aspects the report may contain cannot remove or hide these profoundly negative ones. Needless to say, we voted against.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of the general guidelines for the 2013 budget, since they take note of the economic crisis afflicting Europe and propose serious and decisive measures for our future, such as the need for reinforcing the collective effort to carry out the actions already undertaken, specific actions and greater budgetary efforts to promote growth and employment. It is vital to support competitiveness with investments that would create jobs, above all, for young people, whose education, mobility and IT skills make them the main actors in achieving the future results we hope to obtain with the Europe 2020 strategy.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Parliament, noting the Commission’s updated financial programming for 2007-2013 and the fiscal consolidation efforts undertaken by most Member States because of the financial and budgetary crisis, recalls that the European Union’s budget is one of the most important instruments where solidarity between Member States and between generations is being demonstrated, and that it provides a clear added value, given its extraordinary impact on the real economy and on the daily lives of European citizens. If the EU’s policies were to be financed solely by Member States, their costs would skyrocket. In this light, and if used in a synergetic manner, the European budget would genuinely represent a clear common saving for the well-being of all.

I also take the view, however, that austerity measures undertaken at national level should not lead to an equivalent decrease at EU level, since one euro spent at this level can generate savings in the 27 Member States. All the measures taken so far to combat the crisis should help to return to the path of growth. The tailor-made austerity measures already taken need to be accompanied by targeted investments resulting in sustainable economic development. I firmly believe that the EU budget has a decisive role to play in this context as a tool to ensure prompt and well-coordinated action in all fields.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing.(IT) I believe that we need, first of all, to find an effective solution to the delicate issue of payments, bearing in mind, above all, that 2013 will be the last year of the current multiannual financial framework, during which a significant amount of payments currently in suspense will have to be made. In addition, I consider it fundamentally important to use the Union’s budget to kick-start the economy and come out of the crisis by encouraging growth and especially youth employment and small and medium-sized enterprises, which, it is as well not to forget, are the backbone of the European economy. That is why I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing. (FR) At a time when all the Member States are undertaking austerity measures, of which their citizens are the main victims, being hit with higher taxes and seeing beneficial public spending cut, the budget guidelines in Mr La Via’s report are heartbreaking.

For Europe, there is no question of a reduction in spending! There is no question of an end to spreading resources thinly or clientelism or the many useless and costly agencies. No examination of conscience over the usefulness, relevance or effectiveness of spending. No cost-effectiveness analysis. No decrease in budget lines, even those that have been under-utilised for several years.

Rigour seems not to feature in the programming of appropriations. When the whole world is treading water and tightening its belt, the European Union seems financially at ease over its own priorities and programmes due to the fact that it is unable to fall into deficit and has the right to draw to a limited but very real extent on national budgets. In other words, Europe has the right to put its hands into our pockets. In France, each year, this little game costs us a staggering EUR 7 billion. That is more than the social security pension fund deficit.

 
  
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  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing.(FR) With regard to the general guidelines for Section III of the 2013 budget, I had no choice but to vote against such a text. This text, which refers directly to the financing of ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), and which is sorely lacking in ecological considerations, is unacceptable.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I abstained from voting on the European Parliament resolution on general guidelines for the preparation of the 2013 budget because, as the economic and social crisis continues, Member States are imposing severe budgetary constraints, which are causing unemployment, a reduction in employment, a slowdown in countries’ economic growth and other negative social consequences. This is exacerbating the crisis in the EU Member States. We need to be more determined to achieve long-term and sustainable growth for all EU Member States, EU added value, employment and the creation of jobs. I believe that there must be a greater focus on Member States’ economic recovery policies, and that we need to invest more in the creation of new jobs, boost youth employment in particular and offer greater support to small and medium-sized enterprises because they are the main engine of the economy, and pay special attention to other areas referred to in the Europe 2020 strategy. I believe that we are still not paying enough attention to the current crisis and are combating the consequences but not the causes, and the situation in some countries is only getting worse.

 
  
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  Jan Kozłowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) I endorsed the La Via report because I fully support the position of the rapporteur that the 2013 budget should be an instrument which, by supporting coordinated action, will allow the European Union to return to the path of economic growth and mitigate the effects of the crisis. I think the greatest threat to the EU is the alarming rate of unemployment among young people, which now exceeds 20% and, in some countries, is even over 40%. Furthermore, unemployment is now not just a problem for people who are not very well educated, because it is also affecting young people who hold the highest qualifications. This situation has an economic as well as a social aspect, and is a threat to the future social capital of Europe. Therefore, I think it is necessary to stress the funding of action aimed at achieving a rapid improvement of the situation of young people and creating conditions which foster the establishment and growth of small and medium-sized enterprises.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing.(IT) I am very pleased with the result of today’s vote on the guidelines for the EU’s 2013 budget. As you all know, speaking of budgets in times of crisis is not a straightforward activity, especially if we consider the measures taken in every single Member State. Finding a balance between austerity and rigour, on the one hand, and targeted investments with ambitious aims, on the other, is not easy. However, the message that I wanted to send by the report that has just been adopted by a large majority in this Chamber is that we must use the demonstrable added value of the Union budget, as a budget for investment, to propel Europe out of the crisis and promote growth, development and employment, with particular reference to youth employment. These are the aims of our policy measures, these are the answers we wish to give to our citizens, showing them that European resources, used in an efficient and coordinated way, are capable of having a tangible effect on their everyday lives.

 
  
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  Olle Ludvigsson, Jens Nilsson, Marita Ulvskog and Åsa Westlund (S&D), in writing. (SV) We Swedish Social Democrats chose today to abstain in the final vote on the report on general guidelines for the preparation of the 2013 budget.

We believe that it is important for a reasonable investment rate to be maintained, so that Europe remains competitive in the future, too. Now more than ever we need to invest for jobs and growth – in research, development, climate change and training. The EU budget must also be given sufficient resources to be able to finance the commitments that have previously been decided upon. At the same time, however, we would like to emphasise that the EU ought, as far as possible, to have an attitude of restraint and provide these resources by means of redistribution within the existing EU budget. We therefore supported amendments that were moving in that direction, and we welcome the passages stating that the EU should also identify negative priorities. We would prefer to see the agricultural budget reduced in favour of the priorities set out in the Europe 2020 strategy, that is to say, research and development, conversion to green energy, regional growth, and so on.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted against this report because Amendment 25, which called for a freeze in the EU budget for 2013, was rejected.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) In order to respond properly to the current economic and social crisis and prevent future crises, the EU must adopt new integration measures and common instruments, such as automatic sanctions in the context of the deficit procedure. Its annual budget must be able to support Member States’ recovery policies and the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs. The promotion of growth and jobs requires specific actions and enhanced budgetary efforts to support competitiveness, innovation and small and medium-sized enterprises. The tailor-made austerity measures already taken need to be accompanied by targeted investments, resulting in sustainable economic development. The EU budget has a decisive role to play in this context as a tool to ensure prompt and well-coordinated action in all fields in order to mitigate the effects of the crisis on the real economy and to act as a catalyst to boost investment, growth and jobs in Europe. Therefore, we call for the adoption of a responsible and results-oriented budget for 2013, based on good-quality spending and optimal and timely use of existing EU financing.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. I voted in favour of this report outlining the guidelines for the preparation of the 2013 budget. The report focuses on strengthening efforts, made at EU level, in order to ensure that Member States’ recovery policies are aligned with and get the most from the Europe 2020 strategy for Growth and Jobs.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) I acknowledge the fiscal consolidation efforts undertaken by most Member States because of the financial and budgetary crisis. However, the EU will never be able to respond properly to the current economic and social crisis or prevent future crises without further political integration, without instruments like automatic sanctions, and without the Commission having the right to take legal action in a deficit procedure, but also common EU-funded programmes and the resources to make them work. Economic recovery requires measures to strengthen solidarity and boost sustainable growth and employment. The European Council’s acknowledgement in its statement of 30 January 2012 is therefore important, but it must be stressed that there is a need for concrete measures to be taken, notably by making use of the EU budget as a common instrument. I think that the priorities singled out in the abovementioned statement are precisely the ones defended by Parliament in previous budgetary procedures. That is why I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. The EU budget 2013 should boost growth, high-quality employment and start implementing the EU 2020 objectives. I think that the objective should be ‘jobs and growth’ rather than ‘austerity’. I fully support the rapporteur.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) A one-off measure in the form of the provision of EUR 82 billion to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is not enough. Firstly, there needs to be a re-think in connection with the Basel directives and we need to give SMEs permanent access to EU subsidies, and, secondly, we need finally to implement the cuts in red tape. If the economic heavyweight Spain is not willing to make additional savings in light of the increasing hole in the budget and yet this continues to have no consequences, while Hungary, on account of its alleged failure to meet budgetary objectives, is having its funding stopped, then it seems an example is to be made of Hungary because the right-wing Prime Minister, Mr Orbán, has contravened the prevailing dogmas of political correctness. We must finally put an end to the division into first and second class – in other words, politically undesirable right-wing democratic – Member States. I therefore voted against the report.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) I have, on several occasions, highlighted the fact that the preparation of the EU budget is, on the one hand, an excellent opportunity to genuinely solve the problems tormenting Europe – unemployment and the economic downturn. On the other hand, it is an opportunity to demonstrate that austerity measures need to begin at home. I therefore welcome the provision that next year’s EU budget must focus on combating the crisis, boosting the creation of new jobs (particularly for young people), scientific and technological progress and the efficient use of resources, but should, at the same time, also focus on increasing the efficiency of the administrative apparatus and reducing costs.

 
  
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  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the report, but I regret the wording in Article 9, where the question is wrongly put. This article states that Parliament ‘takes note’ of the Commission proposal to redirect appropriations worth EUR 82 billion ‘still to be programmed’. In actual fact, these are funds not yet allocated to concrete projects, but which have already been committed in accordance with the priorities and programmes of Member States.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. – (DE) Studying this report has further increased my concerns about the unprecedented global crisis which has caused serious damage to economic growth and financial stability. The Basel directives need further discussion, particularly with regard to the bureaucratic obstacles faced by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In many countries in Europe, SMEs are still being held back, which makes economic recovery more difficult. We need to stimulate growth and job creation and take specific measures, including increased budgetary efforts, to promote competitiveness, innovation and SMEs, because the EU’s greatest economic potential lies with SMEs. Recent studies have shown that between 2002 and 2010, they created around 85% of all the new jobs in the EU. This demonstrates that they are the backbone of economic growth. Stepping up support for SMEs will also help to create jobs and increase vocational training opportunities, in particular, for young people. As the report does not put sufficient emphasis on SMEs, I have voted against it.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution. I believe that with the existing monetary union, it is difficult to respond properly to the current or any future economic and social crisis. It should be noted that the budget is not flexible enough. It cannot be increased and made more effective without weakening democracy in all Member States. Effective economic recovery therefore requires measures to restore sovereignty. Europe urgently needs to solve the problems of unemployment and increasing poverty. I believe that it is very important for both the Commission and the Member States to make these problems a priority. Above all, it is crucial for adequate EU funding to continue to be provided to support growth efforts. Specific actions need to be established that would help reduce poverty, and boost growth and jobs, as well as means of supplementing measures and programmes at Member State level from the EU budget. Furthermore, when applying more stringent EU funding standards, we must, above all, support those companies that do not move their operations outside the EU. Specific action must be taken in the area of the budget that would help to support sustainable and long-term industrial policy, competitiveness and SMEs. European Investment Bank support for SMEs and infrastructure should be considered the top priority.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for these general guidelines for the preparation of the 2013 budget. I would highlight the adoption of a responsible and results-oriented budget, based on good-quality spending and optimal and timely use of existing EU funds, as well as a well-coordinated and responsible budget for 2013.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) I accept that the EU budget must play a decisive role as a tool to ensure prompt and well-coordinated action in all fields in order to mitigate the effects of the crisis on the real economy and to act as a catalyst to boost investment, growth and jobs in Europe. As I agree with the importance of implementing priorities and policy commitments shared at the national and EU level in a way that is well-coordinated, coherent and timely. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. Abstention. From a Green point of view, the main messages of the report (importance of EU budget for investments and recovery in Europe, need for adequate payment appropriations, refusal to apply austerity policies to the EU budget) are perfectly acceptable to us. However, when it comes to some details of policy orientation, we very much regret that greening of the budget, despite two minor references to it in the text, is clearly not among the priorities of the rapporteur. We believe, to the contrary, that greener policies, e.g. in the field of structural policies, agricultural policies and R&D would lead to faster job creation and more growth than is currently the case for the very traditional EU budget. The group therefore decided to abstain, leaving the possibility open to vote against the EU budget at a later stage.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing.(IT) The European Union budget is a strategic instrument demonstrating solidarity between the Member States and between the generations. Given its extraordinary impact on the real economy and the daily lives of European citizens, the 2013 budget must have an impact on growth and employment, encouraging investment, creating stability at a European level and helping the European Union to come out of the current economic and financial crisis.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) With the adoption of the budget guidelines, we have shown our spending priorities for 2013, seeking in this way to make our weight felt as colegislators with the Council, and affirm the need for this Parliament. As was also stated in the wording of the guidelines, what we are asking the governments and, hence, the Council, is to refrain from making artificial cuts in the Union’s 2013 budget, which would otherwise jeopardise settlement of real needs and suspended payments. We wish to avoid a repetition of the situation we experienced last December, when the European Commission was unable to honour the contractual commitments that had been made. The topics on which the 2013 budget focuses will be youth employment and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Without denying the importance of these two subjects, I should nevertheless like to make it clear how the issue of agriculture remains key to the development of Europe’s spending policy, where, for a long time now, operators in this sector have been asking for simplification and transparency of the paying agencies, as well as for clarity, above all, as regards the penalties applicable to those who fail to honour the commitments undertaken in the common agricultural policy (CAP). A budget that is at least equal to or greater than last year’s is therefore essential for keeping alive a sector that is so essential for the whole of the EU.

 
  
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  Alf Svensson (PPE), in writing. (SV) When, on 14 March, the European Parliament voted on guidelines for the preparation of the 2013 budget in respect of the Commission, I chose to vote in favour because I support the overarching aims of a restrained budget with the focus on sustainability and growth. However, the report contains elements that go against the general guidelines. Restraint is to be encouraged. In cases where more money is demanded, I voted in favour of amendments intended to prevent this and in favour of clear, measurable targets for payments for specific purposes. Additional resources must not be provided unnecessarily, and increased costs can be dealt with by means of reprioritisations within the budget through transfers.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) At a time when the Member States are making huge efforts to pursue fiscal consolidation and to resolve the economic and financial crisis in Europe, the 2013 EU budget is particularly important. I am voting for this report, as I consider it fundamental for the European Union budget to be geared towards fulfilling the Union’s programmes and priorities, as set out in the multiannual financial framework, 2007-2013. There must also be regular budgetary adjustments in the final year of the programming period, in order to catch up in terms of payments made. I believe that the austerity measures that have been devised and already implemented must be accompanied by targeted investments which lead to higher value added at European level, to sustainable economic development, and to an improvement in the public’s quality of life. Finally, I agree with the continued concerns put forward in the statement by the members of the European Council on 30 January 2012, emphasising the need to invest in growth and jobs, particularly in relation to small and medium-sized enterprises and young people.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the resolution on general guidelines for the preparation of the 2013 budget - Section III - Commission. I voted against Amendment 1 because I think that economic recovery requires measures to strengthen solidarity and boost sustainable growth and employment. We should insist on the need for concrete measures to be taken, especially by using the EU budget as a common instrument. I voted against Amendment 3 because I think that promoting the spirit of enterprise and business start-ups through concrete actions is particularly important, and the necessary resources should be provided for this purpose. I voted for Amendment 23 because I think that strengthening EIB support for SMEs and infrastructure should be considered a key priority. I voted for Amendment 15 because I think that there is a need to address urgently the challenges of rising unemployment and the growing level of poverty in the EU in the spirit of the ‘European Platform against poverty and social exclusion’. I voted for Amendment 13 because I think that automatic sanctions and the instigation of legal action by the Commission in the event of an excessive deficit procedure will not help us emerge from the crisis, failing the adoption of measures aimed at economic growth and job creation.

 
  
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  Thomas Ulmer (PPE), in writing. (DE) I voted in favour of this report. Moreover, I see no problem in potentially restricting the Union’s budget appropriations. It would be very nice to tell German taxpayers that. In any case, what Europe, and the euro area in particular, does with their money will always remain inexplicable to them. The principles of economy and accurate budget management are surely not wrong. Let us surprise ourselves.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. The general guidelines for the 2013 budget stress the importance of measures to strengthen solidarity and to boost sustainable growth and employment. This is reflected by a focus on SMEs and by the action to redirect an additional EUR 82 billion out of Structural Funds to support SMEs and to combat youth unemployment in the European Union. Therefore, this report should be supported.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The measures taken so far by the European Union to combat the crisis have aimed for a return to growth and to targeted investments resulting in sustainable economic development and the creation of new jobs. Therefore, the 2013 budget must be responsible and results-oriented, based on good-quality spending and optimal and timely use of existing EU financing, with investment in growth and jobs, especially in terms of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and opportunities for young people in the world of work. These are the reasons I voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This document supports the so-called ‘budgetary consolidation’ efforts undertaken by most Member States because of the crisis. These are now being reinforced by the treaty, entitled ‘stability, coordination and governance’, which was decided on in contravention of the rules concerning the functioning of the EU. This seeks to compound and perpetuate these so-called austerity measures, which are currently forcing workers and peoples into poverty. It calls for greater political integration and the application of automatic sanctions on Member States, which goes completely against the spirit of solidarity. These aspects are unacceptable, so we voted against the report.

 
  
  

Proposal for a decision: B7-0151/2012

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this decision. Organised crime, corruption and money laundering merit more concentrated monitoring by governments and, given the times we are living in, also merit further attention. It is important to assess the impact that these activities have on the European Union and on each Member State. I hope that this special committee will be able to advise the EU effectively on the best way of preventing and combating these threats.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) A special parliamentary committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering has been set up by the European Parliament. It will have a year to investigate the infiltration of the EU’s legal economy, the public sector and financial systems by organised crime, including by mafias, and to recommend means to combat it. The misappropriation of public funds, the infiltration of the public sector and the contamination of the legal economy and financial system are the main threats posed by criminal organisations in the European Union. During its term in office, the committee will evaluate the extent of the impact of organised crime on the EU economy and society and will recommend legislative and other measures to enable the EU to respond to these threats at national, European and international levels. In short, Europe is sending a clear message to criminal organisations and gangs. In the next part-session, we shall vote on the composition of this committee, which will then be able to start its work by the end of April.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I welcomed the setting up of a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering. This interim committee will analyse and evaluate the extent of organised crime, corruption and money laundering and its impact on the European Union and its Member States, and will make proposals in these areas to enable the EU to forestall and counter these threats more effectively.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) Organised crime constitutes a threat to society and the European economy. The European Union’s struggle must adapt to the complexities of this phenomenon, targeting human trafficking, drugs and arms trafficking, as well as economic and financial crime, money laundering and corruption. The threats posed by criminal organisations in the EU range from the embezzlement of public funds to the contamination of the legal economy and the financial system, and so on. This motion for a resolution proposes the creation of a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering. This committee will have a one-year mandate to investigate the contamination of the legal economy, the civil service and the EU financial system by organised crime, and to propose ways of combating it. On these grounds, I voted for this proposal for a decision.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE), in writing. (ES) I voted in favour of setting up this committee because it is necessary due to the impact that money laundering companies and organised crime have on the EU and the Member States, and because we must analyse the implementation of legislation in this area and its compatibility with fundamental rights.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament decision on setting up a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering, which will analyse and evaluate the extent of organised crime, corruption and money laundering and its impact on the European Union and its Member States. The committee will have to propose appropriate measures to enable the European Union to forestall and counter these threats, at international, European and national level. This committee will also analyse and evaluate the current implementation of European Union legislation on organised crime, corruption and money laundering. Furthermore, it will examine and scrutinise the role and activities of European Union home affairs agencies (such as Europol, COSI and Eurojust) addressing matters relating to organised crime, corruption and money laundering, and related security policies. The special committee will have to make visits and hold hearings with the European Union institutions and with international, European and national institutions, the national parliaments and governments of the Member States and of third countries, and representatives of the scientific community, business and civil society, as well as grassroots actors, victims’ organisations, and officials involved in the daily fight against organised crime, corruption and money laundering, such as law enforcement agencies, judges and magistrates.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) A true area of freedom, security and justice can only exist if citizens are able to enjoy freedom of movement with the best security conditions. This presupposes the existence of effective measures for preventing and combating crime, as well as coordination and cooperation between the competent police and judicial authorities. The growing activity of criminal organisations has been spreading into numerous areas, from drug trafficking and human trafficking to, inter alia, financial crime, cybercrime, fraud, extortion and environmental crime. Organised crime constitutes one of the main threats to internal security and the public’s freedoms. As such, I believe that combating this scourge should be a high political priority for the EU and its Member States. I therefore support the creation of a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering, which will, I hope, be able to carry out analysis and propose appropriate measures enabling the EU to prevent and combat these threats, thereby sending a clear message at EU and international level, in order to curb all forms of organised crime, which is not confined to Italy.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, as it advocates the creation of a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering. During its mandate, this special committee is intended to assess the impact of organised crime on the EU economy and society, and to table legislative recommendations for a response to these threats at international, European and national level.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) In light of the centrality of the issues of organised crime, corruption and money laundering, I believe that the creation of a special committee with the powers set out in the proposal by the Conference of Presidents is pertinent. I would express my hope to the committee and its members that good, fruitful work will be carried out.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The existence of a single market with freedom of movement for persons and goods, with unquestionable benefits for European citizens, at times also enables the existence of criminal organisations, corruption and/or money laundering. In view of this situation, on 25 October 2011, Parliament adopted a resolution on organised crime in the EU, in which it expressed its intention to set up a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering. On 16 February 2012, the Conference of Presidents adopted the decision to set up a special committee, having set out its powers and numerical composition. Since this concerns the creation of a body which facilitates the full functioning of the rule of law throughout the EU, from which European citizens only stand to gain, I voted for this special committee. Its aims are to analyse and evaluate the extent of organised crime, corruption and money laundering and their impact on the Union and its Member States, and to propose appropriate measures to enable the Union to forestall and counter these threats at national, international and European level.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Parliament has decided to set up a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering, with the following remit: to analyse and evaluate the extent of organised crime, corruption and money laundering and their impact on the EU and its Member States, and to propose appropriate measures to enable the EU to forestall and counter these threats, including at international, European and national level, and to analyse and evaluate the current implementation of EU legislation on organised crime, corruption and money laundering, and related policies, in order to ensure that EU law and policies are evidence-based.

The European Parliament has also decided that the powers of Parliament’s standing committees with responsibility for matters concerning the adoption, monitoring and implementation of EU legislation relating to this area remain unchanged, and that the special committee may make recommendations regarding the measures and initiatives to be taken, in close collaboration with the standing committees.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing. (FR) This week, our Parliament approved the setting up of a special parliamentary committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering and I welcome it. I am convinced that this committee will provide an effective tool in analysing and evaluating these complex transnational phenomena, in preventing them and, most particularly, in combating them. This committee will be able to establish contacts, make visits, hold hearings, act with civil society and grassroots actors who are fighting on a daily basis against these scourges and, consequently, will be able to recommend measures to enable the European Union to combat these threats.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because it establishes a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering. The objective of this special committee is to analyse and evaluate the current implementation of Union legislation on organised crime, corruption and money laundering, and related policies, in order to ensure that Union law and policies are evidence-based and supported by the best available threat assessments, as well as to monitor their compatibility with fundamental rights. I believe that we must take all action possible to prevent these threats and I therefore welcome the setting up of this special committee.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) This is an important resolution, which will help strengthen the fight against organised crime, corruption and money laundering. I endorsed this resolution during the vote in plenary.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) The proposal for a regulation to enhance the fight against organised crime is extremely important for the security and safety of European citizens and supports one of the main objectives of the European Union, namely, to create an area of freedom, security and justice without internal borders, in which crime is prevented and combated.

For this reason precisely, I believe that setting up a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering will enable the European Union to forestall and counter these threats, including at national and international level. The responsibilities of this committee will include the analysis and evaluation of current implementation of Union legislation in this field in order to ensure that Union law and policies are evidence-based and supported by the best available threat assessments. This committee will also be responsible for examining and scrutinising the activities of the Union home affairs agencies working on matters relating to organised crime, corruption and money laundering, and related security policies.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of setting up the special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering. Its establishment also responds to the requests contained in the resolution on the EU’s efforts to combat corruption, initiated by myself and adopted by the European Parliament on 15 September 2011. Organised crime and financial fraud cannot exist without corruption. Organised crime structures use corruption as a tool to gain access to undue resources and information and to make sure that criminal acts cannot be detected and proven. Money laundering acts provide the ‘fuel’ that organised crime structures use to perpetuate corruption. It is obvious that these three types of criminal acts can only be tackled simultaneously. European citizens want to see concrete measures to fight crime in Europe.

The committee will examine the extent of organised crime, corruption and money laundering and its impact on the Union, the efficiency of EU home affairs agencies (such as Europol, COSI and Eurojust) in achieving their goals, and will propose measures to tackle these acts simultaneously. I hope the committee’s activity will have concrete and visible effects for citizens, reducing the number of criminal acts and imposing effective penalties.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted to set up a new parliamentary committee specifically to investigate the extent of organised crime, corruption and money laundering, to look at its impact on the European Union and its Member States, and to propose appropriate measures to fight these threats.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) I support the creation of a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering, whose powers have been set out here. Given that the powers of Parliament’s standing committees with responsibility for matters concerning the adoption, monitoring and implementation of Union legislation relating to this area remain unchanged, we should grant the special committee the ability to make recommendations regarding the measures and initiatives to be taken, working closely with the standing committees.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) By deciding to set up a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering, the MEPs have realised that the problem of the mafia, criminality and money laundering must be dealt with not only at the level of the State, but also at European and international levels.

A strong message has been sent to criminal organisations. We live in a Europe which strives for the respect of human rights and we must combat this type of unacceptable mediaeval practices which wreak havoc in Europe. It was time that we took effective measures to prevent mafia organisations from gaining access to circuits of the legal economy and/or infiltrating political circles. The new committee, which has the remit of evaluating the extent of organised crime, corruption and money laundering, as well as its consequences on the European Union and its Member States, will take such measures as to enable the European Union to prevent these crimes going unpunished or remaining beyond its control.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. The report is about the decision to set up a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering. I voted in favour and I am ready to engage actively in the work of committee.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Organised crime has been a widespread problem within the EU, particularly since the opening up of its eastern borders. People and drugs trafficking are also included in this, as are corruption, money counterfeiting and money laundering. As it is difficult for the individual Member States to overcome this problem, European cooperation in the area of combating crime makes perfect sense. The existing agency Frontex should also be strengthened in this regard in order to be able to stop criminals at the borders and prevent a further influx into the EU. I abstained from voting, as setting up a new internal parliamentary special committee will, in my view, have no real effect on combating crime.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) I decided to vote for this proposal to set up a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering as there is no denying that these problems have a cross-border dimension affecting all EU countries, and therefore it would be better to propose solutions to combat these common problems that are acceptable to all.

From this point of view, Italy can be considered a positive role model, especially thanks to the measures introduced in recent years by the former Minister for the Interior, Mr Maroni, that have delivered excellent results on a level never before achieved. Therefore, there needs to be a clear political intention behind any serious fight against organised crime, and illegal activities in general. Let us hope that Europe can demonstrate the same political will. We of Lega Nord are committed to bringing our ideas and initiatives, which have had proven positive results in Italy, to Brussels and Strasbourg as well.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I believe that it is appropriate to set up a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering. Organised crime is invariably linked to corruption and therefore poses a serious threat not just to a country’s system of government, but the political security of the entire EU. It is an ongoing problem for society and the whole of the EU, the solution of which requires adequate measures. This special committee will help to establish radical measures for preventing crime and corruption, applied at international, national and European level, which will stop threats from spreading and enable the cause of these phenomena to be eradicated in an integrated manner. Furthermore, the functions assigned to the committee when it is set up will help to establish and enhance a prevention base of data analysis and scientific methodology.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) According to the European Commission’s recent reply to a question raised by me, over 1% of GDP of the EU Member States (5% globally) is ‘lost’ as a result of corruption and fraud. In Greece, that equates to over EUR 3 billion. However, corruption is not confined to the economy. It runs through various sector of society, such as sport – we need only remember recent events in Germany, Italy and Greece – and justice, to name but two. Therefore, combating and eliminating corruption is not just a moral duty; it is a financial necessity in these difficult times. The decision to set up a European Parliament select committee proves that the European Parliament is committed to examining, legislating and stepping up its efforts to combat organised crime, such as money laundering and corruption. The European Parliament’s ambitious initiative, which I supported, must be accompanied by fast, tangible and, above all, quantifiable results.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing.(PT) I voted for this European Parliament decision on the creation of a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering, in view of the fact that its purpose is to analyse and evaluate the extent of organised crime, corruption and money laundering and its impact on the Union and its Member States, with the aim of proposing appropriate measures that enable the Union to forestall and counter these threats, including at international, European and national level.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome the creation of this special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering, and I hope that it will carry out its mandate with zeal and determination so that, under its aegis, measures and initiatives can be identified enabling these threats to be combated effectively.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. I believe this is going to be a major tool to analyse and evaluate the extent of organised crime, corruption and money laundering and its impact on the Union and its Member States and to propose appropriate measures to enable the Union to forestall and counter these threats, including at international, European and national level; as well as to analysing and evaluating the current implementation of Union legislation on organised crime, corruption and money laundering, and related policies, in order to ensure that Union law and policies are evidence-based and supported by the best available threat assessments, as well as monitoring their compatibility with fundamental rights in accordance with Articles 2 and 6 of the Treaty on the European Union, in particular, the rights set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and the principles underpinning the Union’s external action, in particular, those set out in Article 21 of the Treaty.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) With this vote, we are deciding on the constitution of a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering, which will have various tasks. First of all, the committee, which will have 45 members, must examine and evaluate the current implementation of EU legislation on corruption and monitor its compatibility with fundamental rights. In order to establish the necessary contacts, it will have to make visits and hold hearings with the European Union institutions and with the international, European and national institutions, the national parliaments and governments of the Member States and of third countries, representatives of the scientific community, and business and civil society. The term of office of the special committee shall be 12 months, counting from its establishment, with the possibility of extension.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) I am voting for the decision by the Conference of Presidents to set up a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering for a 12-month period with the possibility of extension, with the power to analyse and evaluate the extent of organised crime, corruption and money laundering and its impact on the Union and its Member States, and to propose appropriate measures that enable the Union to forestall and counter these threats, including at international, European and national level. Among other tasks, this committee should analyse and evaluate the current implementation of Union legislation on these issues and examine and scrutinise the implementation of the role and activities of EU agencies in the context of these issues.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the mandate for the special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering. The special committee will have the following remit: to analyse and evaluate the extent of organised crime, corruption and money laundering and their impact on the European Union and its Member States; to propose appropriate measures to enable the EU to anticipate and counter these threats at international, European and national level; to analyse and evaluate the implementation of EU legislation on organised crime, corruption and money laundering, and related policies; to examine and scrutinise the implementation of the role and activities of the EU home affairs agencies (such as Europol, COSI and Eurojust) working on matters relating to organised crime, corruption and money laundering, and related security policies. The committee will have 45 members and a 12-month mandate commencing 1 April 2012, with the opportunity to extend it. The committee will present to Parliament a mid-term report and a report at the end of its mandate, containing recommendations concerning the measures or initiatives to be taken.

 
  
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  Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE), in writing. (LT) This report is very important for Lithuania. The Lithuanian economy and society continue to be dogged by corruption. According to the latest data from the Corruption Perceptions Index, of all the European Union Member States, Lithuania is at the bottom of the table, in 19th place. Lithuania scored 4.8 points out of 10 (10 points are given to countries with great transparency). According to data in the report, nine out of ten Lithuanians believe that corruption is the greatest problem facing their country. During a recent visit to Lithuania, the Director of Transparency International stated that lawyers and business people welcome Lithuania’s anti-corruption laws and other legislation, but that the laws themselves are not working. It is right. We urgently need an appropriate guarantee that laws will be enforced. The rapporteur also mentions the problem of organised crime, which sadly is continuing to poison Lithuania. At the beginning of the year, Europol listed Lithuania as one of five organised crime hotspots in Europe, one particularly active in moving narcotics and contraband cigarettes into and out of Russia. The situation will get even worse unless action is taken in the near future. According to data in the international media, it is expected that Lithuania’s shadow economy will account for more than 20% of its GDP by 2015.

 
  
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  Geoffrey Van Orden (ECR), in writing. I wholly object to the content of the website in question. However, I object in principle to efforts to close down discussion on certain areas of public policy, in particular, on immigration and ‘multiculturalism’. These are matters of enormous public concern, which successive governments in many countries, as well as the EU, have failed properly to address and which can now barely be discussed. Equally, the Netherlands Government must remain free to determine its own European policy and should not be criticised by the European Parliament for expressing doubts about Schengen. Finally, it is not within the remit of the European Parliament to instruct a sitting European Prime Minister on the course of action that he should take on a domestic political question. I therefore abstained in the vote on the resolution.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. I voted in favour of the creation of a special parliamentary committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering. The committee has a year to evaluate the extent of organised crime’s impact on the EU economy and society and recommend legislative and other measures to enable the EU to respond to these threats at international, European and national levels. Misappropriation of public funds, infiltration of the public sector and contamination of the legal economy and financial system are some of the key threats posed by criminal organisations in the EU. The special committee is to start work by the end of April 2012, and will have the power to hold hearings with EU and national institutions from all over the world. I believe that the formation of this committee reflects the institutions’ persistence that they will not back down to organised crime.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this resolution for setting up this new special parliamentary committee, the so-called ‘anti-mafia’ committee. With the adoption of this decision, MEPs have shown their political will to comprehend and combat the complex phenomenon of organised crime and its opaque financial activities using the globalised neoliberal market, with dramatic consequences not only for the economy, but also for European society as a whole. I especially hope that the commitment to involve both the civil society organisations working on the matter and the victims of these crimes will be respected in the work of this committee.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0150/2012

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this resolution, as I believe that the creation of a European Law Academy, the adoption of a Council decision setting up a European judicial training network, reflection on the role of national judges in the European judicial system, and the development of an EU criminal justice area can only benefit the European public. Everything which contributes to improving Europeans’ trust in the area of justice is welcome.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of a report aimed at harmonising and coordinating existing judicial training in Europe and promoting dialogue and professional contacts. Today, it is essential to have cooperation in judicial matters and this starts at the training stage. If it is to be effective, judicial cooperation must cross borders. We must therefore now promote multilingual training. I approved a report which, amongst other things, allows judges, legal practitioners, professional bodies, academics and law students to go abroad with Erasmus or, more generally speaking, to participate in training courses abroad. With a view to encouraging cooperation, the Commission will hold an annual forum at which judges of all levels of seniority in areas of law where domestic and cross-border issues frequently arise can hold discussions on a recent area or areas of legal controversy or difficulty.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution. In its previous resolutions, the European Parliament has expressed the opinion that the European judicial area must be built on a shared judicial culture among practitioners, the judiciary and prosecutors. Discussion fora should be encouraged, which would discuss the identification of principles of common professional ethics, the rule of law and principles for the appointment and selection of judges, and would avoid the politicisation of the judiciary and promote mutual trust. I believe that the pilot project launched in 2012 will provide an effective basis to further establish and develop cooperation and the exchange of information between legal professionals. I welcome the resolution’s call for an annual forum to be held at which judges of all levels of seniority would give their opinions on the legal system’s existing problems, which would help encourage more detailed discussions and contribute to the development of specific proposals and to improving legal education in Europe.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing.(RO) I voted for this resolution because I think that it is vital for judicial staff to have ongoing professional training to ensure the operation of Member State institutions. The aim of the pilot project launched by the European Parliament is to strengthen the network of training providers and institutions in this area. The intention, in keeping with the Stockholm Programme, is to create a fully independent and impartial judicial system. The separation of powers of state – especially the political from the judiciary – is one of its aims.

Public confidence must also be strengthened in judges and the public prosecutor’s department, as well as free access to justice. I would like to mention at this point the training programmes developed by the National Union of Notaries Public in Romania in cooperation with the European Council of the Liberal Professions, of which it is a founding member. This is the only possible way of guaranteeing the fair administration of justice and its role as a moderator in society. The national judicial system is the guarantor of basic rights closest to their beneficiaries. Cooperation on organised crime is happening for the first time in this area and needs to be supported as part of the proposed project.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament resolution because the European Commission’s target of guaranteeing training for half of the EU’s legal professionals is far from being reached. According to the study, language barriers, a lack of timely information on existing programmes, the fact that programmes are not always adapted to judges’ needs, together with judges’ heavy workloads and the lack of relevant funding are among the reasons for the relatively low level of respondents receiving training in EU law (53%, and only one third of them within the last three years). The European judicial area must be built on a shared judicial culture among practitioners, the judiciary and prosecutors which is not only based on EU law but developed through mutual knowledge and understanding of the national judicial systems, a root-and-branch revamping of university curricula, organisation of exchanges, study visits and common training with the active support of the Academy of European Law, the European Judicial Training Network and the European Law Institute. A further aim would be to coordinate the training provided by existing judicial training schools and facilitate and promote dialogue and professional contacts. The European Parliament proposes that the Commission hold an annual forum at which judges of all levels of seniority in areas of law can hold discussions on recent areas of legal controversy or difficulty.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. – (CS) In my opinion, one of the objectives that the EU should set is to coordinate the judicial training provided by existing judicial training schools and to facilitate and promote dialogue and professional contacts. In this context, I believe that multilingual training is important, as the study shows that only a relatively small number of judges speak a foreign language well enough to be able to participate actively in judicial training in other Member States. One way of resolving the problems (costs, language training, cost-effectiveness) is to utilise modern technology and finance the creation of on-line applications prepared by the national schools, the Academy of European Law, universities and other trainers, which would consist of training courses with video material, including language training (with particular emphasis on legal terminology) and instructions about national legal systems, particular legal procedures and so on. The applications would be provided free of charge to members of the judiciary. Successful participation in such courses could constitute a gateway to Erasmus for judges, and to participation in training courses abroad.

 
  
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  Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE), in writing.(RO) Ongoing professional legal training is of paramount importance to ensuring that not only national but also the European legal system functions efficiently. The benefits which European cooperation in this area could bring are far from insignificant. The exchange of experience among law practitioners has an extremely important role as it is open to interpretation, and the views held by practitioners may differ, even though the subject is the same. Another consideration in addition to this aspect is that legal doctrine is dynamic, and practitioners’ knowledge of the law must be constantly updated.

Establishing a ‘European legal culture’ by organising internships at European level, using new ‘apps’ (applications intended for legal training) and by moderating annual forums where judges and prosecutors can exchange their experiences would facilitate the spread of information at European level. This step helps remove existing barriers in the internal market in this area, which will make it easier for lawyers/judges to access legal posts in the EU, while also helping them obtain training at national level. We deserve to have the best lawyers and judges. To achieve this, we need to offer them the opportunity to have training at European level.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Professional and training networks are increasingly important in all sectors. Notwithstanding the national circumstances, the justice sectors in the Member States should not be left out of this trend. On the contrary, they should employ the many technological tools currently available, in order to be able to make contact more easily and mutually enrich one another. Closer contact between judges and other justice-sector professionals from different countries is a fair and important objective, which could have a positive effect on the way justice is administered. Nonetheless, it is important to recognise the pivotal role played by national legislation, which should not be replaced by a single European legal system. The Member States’ legal traditions and the way in which their systems have evolved to fit their specific peoples constitute an important asset which should not give way to a temptation to standardise and centralise.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This motion for a resolution follows the oral questions submitted by Mr Lehne and Mr López Aguilar on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, pursuant to Rule 115(5) of the Rules of Procedure. The European Union’s continued and systematic adoption of legislation which is, at times, at odds with national legislation, forces the judiciary and legal professionals to undergo thorough and continuous training. Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provide for the adoption of measures aimed at ensuring support for the training of justice sector professionals. It is therefore essential to create the conditions for judicial training for all those who must combine European law with national judicial systems, which is an absolute prerequisite for the proper functioning of a European judicial area. I therefore welcome the adopted resolution, for which I voted, and I hope that its aims of providing training for approximately 700 000 justice professionals by 2020 will be achieved.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) This report includes certain specific issues regarding changes in judicial training. It should be read in the context of recent legal developments as part of the integration process, and particularly those taking place or otherwise included in the Stockholm Programme. As we have already said, this programme as a whole constitutes ‘a violent attack on an issue as central to state sovereignty as justice’. The inanity, and even ludicrousness, of some of the report’s proposals, such as the development of applications – ‘apps’ – as interactive and accessible as Apple’s iTunes, should not make us forget what underlies it. The intention is to coordinate the training of judges with a view to legal harmonisation for the purpose of creating a ‘European area of justice’ based on the principles of the Stockholm Programme. For these reasons, we did not vote for this report.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Parliament has pointed out that the European judicial area must be built on a shared judicial culture among practising lawyers, the judiciary and prosecutors. This culture was based not only on EU law, but also developed through mutual knowledge and understanding of the national judicial systems, a root-and-branch revamping of university curricula, exchanges, study visits and common training with the active support of the Academy of European Law, the European Judicial Training Network and the European Law Institute.

Judicial training should be linked to a debate on the traditional role of the judiciary and its modernisation. I believe that a common judicial culture also needs to be created among members of the judiciary in order to promote the core values of the judicial profession by discussing and promulgating common professional ethics, the principles of the rule of law and the principles for the appointment and selection of judges, thereby promoting the mutual trust necessary to make the common judicial area a reality.

A further aim would be an effort to coordinate the training provided by existing judicial training schools and to promote dialogue and professional contacts. I also think that multilingual training is no less important, as a study has shown that only a relatively small number of judges speak a foreign language well enough to be able to participate actively in judicial training in other Member States.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Language difficulties, lack of understanding of neighbouring judicial systems, infrequent contacts and exchanges between institutions: these are all obstacles to the construction of a European judicial area. The challenges of judicial training at the level of the European Union are therefore considerable as there can be no construction of a European judicial area if we do not provide appropriate training for those who are the actors within it. Therefore, we must really take this issue in hand and make considerable efforts in relation to judicial training, not only of judges, but also of all other legal practitioners: lawyers, notaries, ombudsmen … in other words, all legal practitioners. There is a clear need today to build a European judicial culture and to do everything in our power to achieve this. We must promote contacts, exchanges and, in particular, I would like to point out the importance of setting up a genuine ‘Erasmus for judges’.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) The progress that Europe is making in building a common European judicial culture is still too slow.

If we want to go further in constructing mutual confidence within the European judicial area, we must, in particular, set up networks between judges of different cultures and improve coordination of existing networks in order to create ‘circles of coherence’. New technologies do indeed enable us to get round budgetary constraints on the organisation of direct contacts which involves considerable movement on the part of judges, but electronic communication is not enough. The creation of a forum at which judges can meet each other is essential, as is the involvement of judges from the Luxembourg and Strasbourg Courts.

Finally, it is necessary to improve the coordination of the training provided by the existing judicial training schools and to facilitate and promote dialogue and contacts between practitioners in this sector. Without this, we will find ourselves again in a few years’ time lamenting that we have made too little progress.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution because the European judicial area must be built on a shared judicial culture among practitioners, the judiciary and prosecutors which is not only based on EU law, but developed through mutual knowledge and understanding of the national judicial systems, a root-and-branch revamping of university curricula, organisation of exchanges, study visits and common training with the active support of the Academy of European Law, the European Judicial Training Network and the European Law Institute. A common judicial culture also needs to be created among members of the judiciary using the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the work of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission to promote the core values of the judicial profession by discussing and promulgating common professional ethics, the rule of law and the principles for the appointment and selection of judges, while avoiding the politicisation of the judiciary and, at the same time, promoting the mutual trust necessary to make the common judicial area a reality. Finally, it is proposed that the Commission should hold an annual forum at which judges of all levels of seniority in areas of law where domestic and cross-border issues frequently arise can hold discussions on a recent area or areas of legal controversy or difficulty, in order to encourage discussion, build contacts, create channels of communication and build mutual confidence and understanding.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this resolution, which, among other things, proposes that the Commission hold an annual forum at which judges of all levels of seniority in areas of law where domestic and cross-border issues frequently arise can hold discussions on a recent area or areas of legal controversy or difficulty, in order to encourage discussion, build contacts, create channels of communication and build mutual confidence and understanding. The resolution also states that such a forum could also afford an opportunity for the competent authorities, training providers and experts, including the universities and the professional bodies, to discuss judicial training policy and the future of legal education in Europe

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing.(IT) The European judicial area must be built on a shared judicial culture among practitioners, the judiciary and prosecutors, which is not only based on EU law, but developed through mutual knowledge and understanding of the national judicial systems. For this reason, I agree with the proposals contained in this resolution, especially as regards the future of the pilot project presented by Ms Mazzoni and Mr Berlinguer. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome the adoption of this European Parliament resolution on judicial training. Identifying needs and suggesting improvements in legal training practices in the EU, creating a common judicial culture among members of the judiciary, promoting the core values of the profession, discussing common professional ethics, avoiding the politicisation of the judiciary and thereby promoting mutual trust are the factors key to realising the common judicial area. I applaud the pilot projects presented in the context of this resolution and am certain that, in future, standards of legal education in Europe will be increasingly demanding.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. The report states that the European Parliament believes that direct contacts are the best option, that in view of the budgetary constraints, as well as the responses given by judges in the study, such training and advice could also be provided via the Internet (video-conferencing, on-line courses, webstreaming) as well as by means of exchanges; it notes that judges call for further assessment and adaptation of training programmes to their needs, while they seem to prefer interactive training where they can exchange experiences and discuss case studies rather than ‘classic’ (top-down) training formulae. What is more, I think that special attention should be paid to Latvian judges; they should be trained to make objective decisions without emotions or despite exposure to other factors.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) In order to keep up to date with the increasingly rapid developments in the judicial sphere, further training may be essential. However, it would be desirable if long-standing problems in connection with the rights of minorities and restitution issues, not to mention unlawful legislation like the Beneš decrees, were finally resolved in a satisfactory manner for those victims who have been discriminated against. The EU would do well to finally deal with these problems instead of washing its hands of them by claiming a lack of competence. After all, there is always a little loophole if a particular matter is important to the Commission. For this reason, I have abstained from voting.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution. It should be noted that it is very complicated to organise courses for judges, given their heavy workloads and the need to ensure the independence of the judiciary. It is therefore crucial for training to be properly coordinated and allocated adequate financial support. Training is aimed at developing a European judicial culture. Furthermore, it is very important for training to meet the special demands of judges and to examine current legal problems. I believe that it would be very practical and effective to use the latest technologies for judicial training, which would facilitate savings and would make it easier to absorb information. Training should also be provided in different languages, thus enabling judges to participate in training in other Member States. Exchange programmes should thereby be encouraged.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this European Parliament resolution on judicial training as, among other proposals, it adopts the initiative to hold an annual forum at which judges of all seniority levels in areas of law where domestic and cross-border issues frequently arise can hold discussions, network, create channels of communication, and build mutual trust and understanding. This forum could also afford an opportunity for the competent authorities, training providers and experts, including universities and professional bodies, to discuss judicial training policy and the future of legal education in Europe.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report aims to create a common judicial area through broader and better training in the area of EU law. In spite of all the difficulties, particularly linguistic and financial, this project has immense potential which can be realised by making use of new technologies and by promoting the study of comparative law and international law, as well as through better language training for the judiciary. I voted for this report, as it may well prove to be a very important step towards creating a European legal culture

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. We believe – while acknowledging that direct contacts are the best option – that in view of budgetary constraints, as well as the responses given by judges in the study, such training and advice could also be provided via the Internet (video-conferencing, on-line courses, webstreaming) as well as by means of exchanges. We also note that judges call for training programmes to be further assessed and adapted to their needs, while they seem to prefer interactive training, where they can exchange experiences and discuss case studies, to ‘classic’ (top-down) training formulae.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) Currently, according to the latest statistics, the judicial training on offer is far from meeting the Commission’s target, namely, that it should be available to half of EU legal professionals. For this reason, the training supplied by the existing judicial training schools must be coordinated, while a further aim must be to facilitate and promote dialogue and professional contacts. With this vote, it may also be possible to allow judges to take part in Erasmus exchanges and training courses abroad. Moreover, the foundations are being laid for organising an annual forum, in which judges at all levels of seniority may be able to hold discussions on topics that have recently given rise to legal controversies or difficulties. In this way, discussion is encouraged, contacts are established and channels of communication are opened. This forum could also provide the competent authorities, training providers and other experts, including the universities and the professional bodies, with the opportunity to discuss judicial training policy and the future of legal education in Europe.

 
  
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  József Szájer (PPE), in writing. (HU) I would like to remind the honourable Members that the question of judicial training cooperation arose at EU level as a Hungarian initiative, and was a priority in the programme of the Hungarian Presidency. In this field, the problem is that although European Union legislation is gaining pace, a significant proportion of the national judges in the Member States know very little about EU sources of law and do not speak foreign languages to the extent of being familiar with the legal terminology of the other Member States. The first step should involve making training accessible to European Union legal experts and creating a system that ensures multilingual training. In the absence of the establishment of new institutions, a starting point could be to establish cooperation between existing national training institutions and to place greater emphasis on comparative and international legal studies. The European justice area needs to build on a common judicial culture, which, in my view, is founded on both European Union law and common knowledge of the national justice systems.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European judicial area should be built on a shared judicial culture among legal professionals, the judiciary and prosecutors, and not just on EU law. Moreover, this culture should also be developed through mutual knowledge and understanding of the national judicial systems, a root-and-branch revamping of university curricula, exchanges, study visits and common training. I believe that it is necessary to create networks between judges of different cultures and to improve coordination of the existing networks. It is also essential to coordinate the training provided by existing judicial training schools and to facilitate and promote dialogue and professional contacts. I therefore voted for this report.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing.(RO) I voted for the resolution on judicial training, because I think that the European judicial area must be built on a shared European judicial culture among practitioners, judges and prosecutors, which is not only based on EU law but developed through mutual knowledge and understanding of national judicial systems, a root-and-branch revamping of university curricula, as well as through exchanges, study visits and common training. In this respect, the active support of the Academy of European Law, the European Judicial Training Network and the European Law Institute is vital. The comparative study on judicial training in Member States, commissioned by Parliament and carried out by the Academy of European Law in collaboration with the European Judicial Training Network, has highlighted the existence of linguistic barriers and the lack of information (available in good time) regarding existing programmes, and the fact that programmes are not always adapted to judges’ needs. I think that the use of ICT, video-conferencing, online courses and web streaming, as well as organising exchanges of experience, facilitating and promoting dialogue and professional contacts, can help improve the legal training process.

 
  
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  Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE), in writing. (LT) As the rapporteur observes, reducing the politicisation of the legal system is essential for the strength and well-being of Lithuanian democracy. Unfortunately, this area is much neglected in Lithuania. Public confidence in the Lithuanian legal system remains very low. According to the latest data from the Freedom House organisation, in 2011, public distrust of courts grew dramatically in Lithuania, reaching 44%. The report stresses the need for judicial reform. The small changes that have slowly been achieved are not enough. Suspects arrested are not always given legal assistance in a timely manner, and lengthy periods of detention on remand remain a problem. Freedom House notes that there are still reports of illegal police actions against detainees, including minors, and the response of judges and prosecutors to such actions is inadequate. The deficiencies of the Lithuanian legal system are a crucial part of a greater problem. According to the latest studies carried out by Bertelsmann, only 50% of Lithuanians believe that they live in a state where all political rights are granted. I agree with the rapporteur and believe that we should try to strengthen the core values of the judicial profession and create a judicial culture. This is crucial for creating mutual trust between the state and its citizens.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report on judicial training is part of the Stockholm Programme, intended to create a ‘European area of justice’, which we consider a violent attack on one of the central issues of state sovereignty: justice. The intention of legal harmonisation is very clear in the text. The expansion of common actions in relation to cooperation between police forces and judicial authorities, and cooperation between secret services, together with the introduction of an internal security strategy and of new means for exchanging data within the EU, are taking place at the expense of the rights, freedoms and legal guarantees enjoyed by all residents of EU countries. Matters referring to law and justice should be unconditionally linked to the history, the reality and the wishes of each Member State, so we cannot accept any attempt to standardise them.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0126/2012

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this resolution, since it is necessary to continue combating the exploitation of child labour worldwide. As such, I welcome all multi-stakeholder initiatives – involving governments, industry, producers and civil society – aimed at eradicating child labour, improving the lives of children and adults on cocoa farms, and ensuring that cocoa is grown responsibly. Indeed, this aim is in line with the recent regional initiative by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Secretariat of the Sahel and West Africa Club, and the International Cocoa Initiative to promote best practice in combating the worst forms of child labour on West African cocoa farms. It is important that these initiatives be followed up appropriately, in order to ensure genuine progress.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing.(RO) At a time when the European Union is both the biggest producer of chocolate worldwide and the main importer of cocoa, I think that the European authorities cannot shirk their responsibility with regard to working conditions in this sector. European institutions have a duty to intervene and send a clear message, emphasising that human trafficking and child exploitation in this sector are not tolerated or encouraged by the authorities and European consumers. I voted in favour of this resolution.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) I strongly defended the resolution aiming to combat child labour in the cocoa sector. Indeed, this sector requires a sizeable workforce, and a large part of this is made up of children. I have come back from Burkina Faso where many children are sold to work in the cocoa plantations, and this is outrageous and unacceptable. While the resolution recognises that producers face strong pressures to keep labour costs down, it calls on cocoa growers and processors, governments, traders, producers, and us as consumers of chocolate, to live up to their responsibilities in combating forced child labour and trafficking in this sector. In order to effectively combat cocoa-based products derived from child labour, we have sought to encourage those countries that are signatories to the agreement reached at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to act to guarantee traceability along the entire supply chain.

 
  
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  Zoltán Bagó (PPE), in writing. (HU) I supported the motion for a resolution on child labour in the cocoa sector, since the protection of children is of prime importance not only in Europe, but throughout the world. It is precisely for that reason that the European Union needs to use all possible means at its disposal, whether that be concluding an international agreement, working out economic alternatives for the countries concerned or, if all else fails, exercising economic pressure. In my opinion, governments need to use legal means to put pressure on the public to ensure that a child’s main commitment is school, since education is one of the foundation stones of development. Where governments fail to do so of their own accord, it is the duty of the international community to exert pressure on governments. For that reason, I regard the withdrawal of trade preferences during the review of the European Union’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) and the use of legally binding clauses in trade agreements, including measures to be applied in the event of infringements, as referred to in the motion for a resolution, as appropriate.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution. Forced child labour and child exploitation remains one of the greatest problems, particularly in less developed countries. Poverty, outdated farming techniques and child labour are widespread in cocoa cultivation. The European Parliament has, on many occasions, voiced concern over the exploitation of children in this sector. I agree that the EU must step up its efforts to combat this phenomenon, particularly by including provisions banning the exploitation of children in all trade agreements. We also need to guarantee that the EU consistently takes this position in all areas, particularly trade and development, in order to ensure the proper enforcement of human rights, and social and environmental standards, and that, if necessary, it imposes appropriate sanctions for failure to meet these standards.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) According to International Labour Organisation estimates, more than 215 million children worldwide are victims of child labour, engaged in activities that should be abolished. Children who are victims of child labour, on top of not having access to education, are often victims of ill-treatment, physical and psychological violence, and abuse by supervisors, work colleagues and others. Although programmes and initiatives to combat the worst forms of child labour on West African cocoa farms have made significant progress in recent years, much remains to be done. This motion for a resolution, for which I voted, strongly condemns the use of child labour on cocoa fields.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of this resolution, which openly condemns an abuse which, in the cocoa sector as in all others, we must resist and fight: the exploitation of child labour. Although cultures and economic realities different from ours may tolerate or even see child labour as a source of support, there is no child alive that does not have the right to childhood, and I shall continue to fight for this.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament resolution because we must strongly condemn the use of child labour in cocoa fields. The use of the worst forms of child labour in the growing and harvesting of cocoa beans is unacceptable. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has estimated that more than 215 million children worldwide are child labourers engaged in activities that should be abolished. The European Parliament calls on all stakeholders involved in growing and processing cocoa beans and their derivative products – namely, governments, global industry, cocoa producers, trade unions, non-governmental organisations and consumers – to live up to their respective responsibilities in terms of combating all forms of forced child labour and trafficking, to share expertise and to collaborate towards a sustainable cocoa supply chain free from child labour. The European Commission should ensure that all trade agreements include effective provisions on poverty reduction and the promotion of decent work and safe working conditions, along with legally binding clauses on internationally agreed human rights, social and environmental standards and their enforcement, accompanied by measures to be applied in the event of infringements.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. (FR) The world cocoa economy should not be subject to unbridled speculation. We must ensure that fair prices are established both for producers and consumers. However, first and foremost, we cannot turn a blind eye to European values, particularly human rights and children’s rights. Children must not, under any circumstances, be exploited as forced labour on cocoa plantations. The European Union has a duty to promote responsible development and a smart economy by combating all forms of child exploitation.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. – (CS) I consider it important to strongly condemn the use of child labour on cocoa fields. All stakeholders involved in growing and processing cocoa beans and their derivative products – namely, governments, global industry, cocoa producers, organised labour, non-governmental organisations and consumers – must live up to their respective responsibilities in terms of combating all forms of forced child labour and trafficking, share expertise and collaborate towards a sustainable cocoa supply chain free from child labour. Real changes can be delivered only through global cooperation addressing the root causes of child labour. The Commission must ensure policy coherence in all its initiatives, namely, those related to trade, development (in particular, as regards children’s access to education), human rights, public procurement and corporate social responsibility, and to encourage the exchange of best practices between the different economic sectors in which child labour occurs. The Commission must ensure that all trade agreements include effective provisions on poverty reduction and the promotion of decent work and safe working conditions, along with legally binding clauses on internationally agreed human rights, social and environmental standards and the enforcement of those standards, accompanied by measures to be applied in the event of infringements.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) It is intolerable that, in the 21st century, there are still more than 200 million children who are victims of child labour, more than 100 million of whom are subject to the worst forms of child labour; some of these are under five years old and the vast majority are under 15 years old. Employing children means easy money and it leads to sick, malnourished children living in precarious conditions, disadvantaged in their intellectual development and their right to education; in short, denied their right to be children. There is no doubt that the exploitation and trafficking of children in cocoa plantations are worrying and must be duly taken into account in Parliament’s decision on the adoption of the International Cocoa Agreement. The EU has a huge responsibility to ensure that all trade agreements include effective provisions on poverty reduction, and the promotion of decent work and safe working conditions, along with legally binding clauses on internationally agreed human rights, and provision for effective and dissuasive sanctions. It is also important to involve all stakeholders, governments, industry, producers and civil society in the adoption of measures and actions necessary for eradicating child labour, and ensuring that cocoa is grown responsibly and in a dignified manner.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing.(RO) Since, in recent years, programmes and initiatives to combat the worst forms of child labour on West African cocoa farms have made significant progress, and renewed conflict situations in the region, in particular in Côte d’Ivoire, have again exacerbated the situation facing children, I think that the use of forced child labour on cocoa farms is an extremely serious matter and that it should no longer be tolerated.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this resolution, which enables us to combat a type of exploitation that, unfortunately, is still a reality. Globalisation must not make us forget to respect fundamental rights such as the prohibition of human trafficking and children’s rights.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this resolution, as it advocates the creation of suitable legislation which enables a response to the underlying causes of child labour, and which analyses these and other related issues. Child labour is not an isolated issue: it stems from tradition, poverty, a lack of alternative forms of income, a lack of opportunities for young people and, essentially, inadequate legal protection for children’s rights.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU recognises that the general characteristics of the cocoa sector are poverty and obsolete agricultural practices, but also, and most importantly, child labour. Since the EU is the largest importer and consumer of cocoa in the world, as well as the headquarters of the largest chocolate processors and manufacturers, it must take responsibility for making the sector more sustainable. Many reports reveal that cocoa farmers continue to use child labour. In spite of a great deal of child labour taking place within a family context, the situation is worrying, and it is vital to address this problem.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) According to International Labour Organisation data, more than 215 million children worldwide are child labourers, 115 million of them engaging in dangerous activities. The majority of these situations occur in so-called developing countries. As such, in order to put an end to this scourge, it is essential to eradicate the situations of poverty that drive it. This motion for a resolution, pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure, tabled by our fellow Member, Mr Moreira, on behalf of the Committee on International Trade, deals with child labour in the cocoa sector. West Africa accounts for 70% of global cocoa production and about 7.5 million people work in cocoa production in that region, almost exclusively on family smallholdings. This facilitates recourse to child labour in a society in which there are neither alternatives for wealth creation nor opportunities for young people once they have finished school. I voted for this resolution, since I believe that children’s right to education and a place in school must be prioritised. This is the only way to end poverty in societies which consider child labour an additional source of income.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The main purpose of this resolution is to warn of the use of child labour in the cocoa fields and to condemn it, along with all other such exploitation of children. The resolution comprises a whole list of good intentions and best practices in the struggle against child labour. Whilst proposing aims such as ‘to ensure that all trade agreements include effective provisions on poverty reduction and the promotion of decent work and safe working conditions, along with legally binding clauses on internationally agreed human rights’, it ‘calls on the Commission to ensure policy coherence in all its initiatives’.

What this ignores, however, is that many of the clauses demanded are already written into certain agreements, but are dead letters, never being implemented in practice; however, they are always, always being subordinated to business and profit. There is no focus here on the real reasons for the use of child labour, specifically, the socio-economic conditions of farmers and workers on these cocoa plantations.

The resolution makes some pertinent observations on the pressure to reduce labour costs in the cocoa fields. Lamentably, however, no solutions are proposed to counter these pressures and bring about the necessary wage increases for these workers.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that more than 215 million children worldwide are engaged in activities that should be abolished. Of these children, 152 million are under the age of 15, and 115 million engage in dangerous activities.

Parliament has to give its consent to the conclusion of the International Cocoa Agreement 2010. Stakeholders have, however, raised strong concerns about the use of child labour in the growing and harvesting of cocoa beans. Any use of the worst forms of child labour in the growing and harvesting of cocoa beans is unacceptable. In recent years, programmes and initiatives to combat the worst forms of child labour on West African cocoa farms have made significant progress, although much work remains to be done on account of the vast scale of this sector.

I profoundly believe that the use of child labour on cocoa plantations should be strongly condemned. I feel that it is important that all stakeholders involved in growing and processing cocoa beans and their derivative products – governments, global industry, cocoa producers, organised labour, non-governmental organisations and consumers – should live up to their responsibilities in the fight against all forms of forced child labour and trafficking, share expertise with each other, and collaborate towards the creation of a sustainable cocoa supply chain free from child labour.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The European Union is the world’s principal consumer of chocolate, 70% of global cocoa production is cultivated in West Africa and approximately 18 million children throughout the world are estimated to work on cocoa plantations. The European Union cannot turn a blind eye to this utterly unacceptable situation which is dreadful in human terms. These children work in extremely dangerous conditions, they are frequently exposed to pesticides, and many are victims of human trafficking. I therefore strongly voted in favour of the annex to this resolution, which follows Parliament’s consent to the renewal of the International Cocoa Agreement in terms of production and commerce. This resolution is aimed at focusing on the issue of child labour in cocoa plantations and, in particular, it strongly condemns the use of child labour (and unacceptable types of work) in the growing and harvesting of cocoa beans.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) According to some studies, it is estimated that more than 250 000 children work in the West African cocoa plantations. They handle pesticides without protection and, on a daily basis, use tools which are very dangerous for their age.

As the main importer of cocoa beans, the European Union shoulders a heavy responsibility for combating child labour, most particularly in the cocoa sector, and must establish a sustainable supply chain for cocoa in which children play no part. The place of children is not in the cocoa plantations but rather at school, and actions must be supported to promote this change.

In short, and in more general terms, all trade agreements should include provisions to reduce poverty and promote decent work and safe working conditions, along with legally binding clauses on respect for human rights, social and environmental standards, as well as penalties for infringement.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution because it calls on all stakeholders involved in growing and processing cocoa beans and their derivative products – namely, governments, global industry, cocoa producers, trade unions, non-governmental organisations and consumers – to live up to their respective responsibilities in terms of combating all forms of forced child labour and trafficking, to share expertise, and to collaborate towards a sustainable cocoa supply chain free from child labour. Only a holistic and coordinated framework that addresses the root causes of child labour and which is implemented on a long-term basis by governments, industry, traders, producers and civil society can deliver significant changes. I welcome the provision that the Commission must ensure that all trade agreements include effective provisions on poverty reduction and the promotion of decent work and safe working conditions, along with legally binding clauses on internationally agreed human rights, social and environmental standards and the enforcement of those standards, accompanied by measures to be applied in the event of infringements.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE), in writing. (DE) The European Union is the world’s largest consumer of chocolate and home to many leading chocolate manufacturers. Therefore, the EU must ensure that the necessary raw materials can be produced sustainably and without the exploitative use of child labour. The new version of the International Cocoa Agreement is an important step in the collaboration between the cocoa producing and cocoa consuming countries. We are responsible for ensuring that producers can continue to develop their businesses in future under fair conditions. We must focus our attention on exploitative child labour which harms children’s health and we must use all the resources at our disposal to combat it. I believe that this resolution highlights the concerns of the European Parliament in a targeted and balanced way.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. 70% of the world’s cocoa is produced in West Africa, where many farms employ children that are trafficked and forced to work in conditions akin to slavery. Progress in eradicating child labour is now in the hands of the chocolate industry, which must use its power and its profits to end this shameful practice. We all enjoy giving our children Easter Eggs, but if one thinks of the conditions of the West African children in the cocoa regions, it takes away the fun of Easter. Ten years ago, the big chocolate companies promised to get rid of child trafficking in the cocoa industry in West Africa, but there is still only a tiny amount of ‘Traffick Free’ chocolate. According to the charity, Stop the Traffik, in these ten years, the cocoa industry has earned GBP 600 billion. Only 0.0075% of this has been invested in improving working conditions in West Africa. I always recommend Fair Trade chocolate wherever possible.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing.(IT) First of all, I agree on the call for countries that have still not done so to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Labour Organisation’s conventions Nos 138 and 182 and to implement them swiftly. This must be the first step towards fostering awareness across the globe of the scourge of child labour. Governments should pay particular attention to the risks to the health of children made to work in cocoa plantations. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) In the wake of the International Cocoa Agreement, Parliament, while taking account of the importance of this sector, does not overlook one of the major problems associated with it: the exploitation of children. Since the European Union is the largest consumer of chocolate in the world, this resolution is of major importance and aims to implement measures enabling greater sustainability in the sector and raising awareness among stakeholders of the issue of child labour, which, unfortunately, continues to exist in this and other sectors.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing.(FR) While it is important to promote international cooperation in the world cocoa economy, to strengthen the economies of the Member countries, and to ensure fair prices for both producers and consumers, we cannot overlook European values, particularly human rights and, therefore, children’s rights. Children must not, under any circumstances, be exploited as forced labour on cocoa plantations. The European Union must promote responsible development and an intelligent economy by supporting education for children.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. Children working in cocoa fields are exposed to different health risks and this is unacceptable. It is important that different actors involved in the fight against child labour develop a holistic strategy that touches upon the root causes of the problem. The Commission should look into the possibility of developing an effective system to trace goods that are produced by means of child labour. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report which, over and above the decision taken on the International Cocoa Agreement, condemns the problem of child labour in the cocoa sector. The cocoa sector currently employs thousands of children and this is unacceptable. During the debates, one of the main questions raised by MEPs during the examination of this agreement was the use of child labour in the cocoa fields. Even though much of this child labour is carried out within the family framework, this is a disturbing situation. I therefore think that the problem of the worst forms of child labour needs to be resolved urgently. The resolution does indeed recognise that producers face strong pressures to keep labour costs down, but calls on cocoa producers, EU political leaders, and consumers to live up to their responsibilities in combating child labour. From now on, it is the European Commission’s duty to ensure the coordination of its various policies, and to ensure that all bilateral agreements do indeed include a ‘human rights’ clause.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing.(LT) I voted in favour of this resolution because child labour poses an unacceptable risk to children’s health and development. Furthermore, only through joint efforts can we combat child labour in cocoa plantations, particularly in Western Africa, where child labour on farms is most widespread. A holistic and coordinated plan must therefore be applied, removing the root causes of child labour. Given the scale of the problems, sufficient resources must be allocated to achieve this objective. I believe that any work carried out by children should be considered child labour and the aim is to eliminate it. The Commission should provide more active support for measures that would increase assistance for fair trade networks in the cocoa sector and village cooperatives and would enable them to obtain a fair price for their production. Companies would thus be encouraged to give greater assistance to initiatives combating child exploitation on cocoa plantations.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) It is estimated that approximately 215 million children work in activities that involve abuse of their rights, are bad for their health and undermine their dignity. International resolutions and conventions create a clear framework governing the minimum age on the labour market and working conditions. The cocoa sector is, unfortunately, one of the many sectors that employ millions of children, demanding labour intensive work for minimal pay and abusing almost all their rights. Clearly, the western world bears its share of the responsibility for the extensive use of forced child labour on cocoa plantations. This resolution, which I supported, calls on the Member States and, more importantly, the European Commission, which enters into bilateral agreements with cocoa producing countries, especially in Africa, to ensure, among other things, that all trade agreements include effective provisions and legally binding clauses on internationally recognised human rights and social and environmental standards and their application and make provision for measures to be taken if they are infringed.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this resolution on child labour, as it strongly condemns the use of child labour in cocoa fields. Child labour is one of the most tragic forms of abuse of children’s rights, affecting not only the future of the children, but also the future of the community to which they belong.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) At a time when Parliament is being called on to adopt the International Cocoa Agreement 2010, it is only right to assess the initiatives to combat the worst forms of child labour on West African cocoa farms. With this in mind, it is important to recognise that, despite the progress that has been made, much remains to be done. There is a need to insist on the need for authorities to assume their responsibilities as regards combating child trafficking and all forms of forced child labour, and to promote full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Labour Organisation’s conventions on this matter. In the same way, it is important to welcome multi-stakeholder initiatives – involving governments, industry, producers and civil society – aimed at eradicating child labour, at improving the lives of children and adults on cocoa farms, and at ensuring that cocoa is grown responsibly.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Today, at the plenary session in Strasbourg, we voted on a resolution on child labour in the cocoa sector and Parliament gave its consent to a new international agreement on cocoa production and trade that will also provide effective tools for tackling the problem. Many children working in the cocoa fields in fact are engaged in dangerous activities, such as exposure to pesticides and child trafficking.

The agreement should also introduce accredited third party-audited traceability and require signatories to collect and analyse data through appropriate studies in order to provide clear statistics about the exploitation of minors in the cocoa production sector. As the world’s leading consumer of cocoa and host to many chocolate manufacturers, the EU cannot ignore such injustice and has to take steps to ensure that production is lawful.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. This text urges states which have yet to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child or ILO conventions Nos 138 and 182 to ratify and implement these conventions swiftly; expresses the view, moreover, that states should implement all appropriate policies to foster awareness of child abuse in the labour market and of the need to comply with existing national and international rules; and strongly condemns the use of child labour on cocoa plantations.

 
  
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  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing. (FR) This resolution accompanies the approval of the International Cocoa Agreement by the European Parliament. While I am in favour of the agreement, I must reiterate the concerns expressed by my colleagues from the International Trade Committee during our debates. Indeed, this sector is still seriously affected by the problem of child labour and the European Union has a double responsibility in this respect: on the one hand, it is the main importer and main consumer of cocoa; on the other, it has a duty to promote its fundamental values in all areas. That is why I voted for this resolution, which represents the position of the European Parliament in this area and which will enable us to ascertain how our demands are implemented. The resolution will also serve as a basic text for the European Commission in its dealings with the other members of the International Cocoa Organisation.

 
  
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  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this resolution because it is always necessary to underline the fact that trade with our international partners must always take place in a context of respect for human rights. In this case, the Committee on International Trade has prepared a text that precisely underlines the details of the serious issue of child labour in cocoa production. It will be difficult to eradicate such phenomena, but it is the duty of the European institutions to try and do so, including with resolutions such as this.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) Estimates suggest that there are 215 million child labourers worldwide compelled to engage in activities that should be abolished, 152 million of whom are even under the age of 15, whereas 115 million are engaged in dangerous activities. While 70% of the world cocoa production is cultivated in West Africa and about 7.5 million people work in cocoa production in that region, children and young people must be protected from exploitation. With this vote, all stakeholders involved in growing and processing cocoa beans and their derivative products – namely, governments, global industry, cocoa producers, organised labour, non-governmental organisations and consumers – are urged to live up to their respective responsibilities in terms of combating all forms of forced child labour and trafficking, to share expertise, and to collaborate towards a sustainable cocoa supply chain free from child labour.

 
  
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  Thomas Ulmer (PPE), in writing. (DE) Training instead of exploitation must be the top priority for the future of the 215 million children who regularly have to work instead of attending school. It is certainly problematic, but only by raising awareness, issuing warnings and exercising our trading power and consumer power can we give these children any prospects for the future. All of us ought to consider this when we eat or drink cocoa products.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted to adopt the International Cocoa Agreement 2010 as I am fully aware of the agreement’s importance for countries which produce cocoa. Nonetheless, I would like to mention my concern about reports on the use of child labour involving inhumane conditions in the production and harvest of cocoa beans. As such, this issue needs to be seriously discussed in the International Cocoa Organisation and responses found in order to combat it. All stakeholders should be involved in the process, from national governments to industry, civil society, exporter countries and non-governmental organisations, so as to raise awareness of the issue. Finally, in the case of a systematic practice by a company or a country, we should not dismiss the possibility of imposing sanctions.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing.(RO) I voted for the report on child labour in the cocoa sector. The International Labour Organisation estimates that more than 215 million children worldwide are engaged in child labour. West Africa accounts for 70% of global cocoa production, with approximately 7.5 million people working in cocoa production in this region. Cocoa farming is very labour intensive during harvest seasons and producers face strong pressures to keep labour costs down. At peak times, all family members, including children, are involved in this process. Studies carried out in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire highlight that children working on cocoa farms are exposed to different types of danger. I urge the Commission to ensure that all trade agreements include effective provisions on poverty reduction and the promotion of decent work and safe working conditions, along with legally binding clauses on internationally agreed human rights and social standards, and that these standards are enforced, accompanied by measures to be applied in the event of infringements.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. Tackling forced child labour is a large ongoing task. I supported this report to help enable the eradication of child labour in the cocoa industry. The production of chocolate is very labour intensive and can include exposure to pesticides. Furthermore, studies suggest children have been trafficked to work in this sector, which causes great concern. This report will encourage everyone in the chain of production – from growers to governments – to play their part in combating forced child labour, and is a starting point for further action.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. This motion for a resolution takes into account the fact that the ILO estimates that more than 215 million children worldwide are child labourers; that 70% of world cocoa production is cultivated in West Africa and all family members, including children, are involved in this work; that children working in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire are exposed to different types of danger; and that there are many programmes and initiatives to combat such child exploitation. Having regard to all this information, the Parliament urges those states which have yet to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child or ILO conventions Nos 138 or 182 to ratify them urgently; urges all stakeholders to live up to their responsibilities in terms of combating all forms of forced child labour and trafficking; urges the Commission to ensure that all trade agreements include effective provisions on poverty reduction and the promotion of decent work and safe working conditions, along with legally binding clauses on internationally agreed human rights; welcomes all initiatives to promote best practice and calls on the International Cocoa Agreement partners to look into the possibility of introducing accredited, third party-audited traceability for the cocoa supply chain.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE), in writing. – (SK) According to the International Labour Organisation, it is necessary to distinguish between two forms of child labour. Nothing should preclude children or adolescents from engaging in work that does not harm their health and personal development and does not overlap with their schoolwork. The problem is not who works, but under what conditions.

Forced child labour on cocoa plantations in Africa is as bad as the modern slavery of adults in factories producing mobile phones and computers. By purchasing chocolate without a certificate of origin, we support inhumane treatment just as much as if we buy electronics with components that are made in China. We hurt people who have no choice, but we also harm ourselves, because in the unfair battle to reduce production costs, Europe cannot – and I hope, does not want to – win.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This resolution makes some important observations on the pressure to reduce labour costs in the cocoa fields, but does not propose any solutions to counter these pressures and bring about the necessary wage increases for these workers. The main reasons for the use of child labour lie in the difficult socio-economic conditions of the farmers and workers on these cocoa plantations. However, we consider it vital to warn people about the use of child labour in the cocoa fields and condemn it, along with all other such exploitation of children.

 
  
  

Recommendation: Vital Moreira (A7-0024/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, as I believe that the International Cocoa Agreement can be an opportunity to address the issue of child labour. It is important for the various actors in the fight against child labour to develop a strategy enabling them to identify the root causes of this problem. The European Union can and should play a vital role, as when it adopts policies, it will also be able to use them to deal with the problem. One of the immediate solutions is for the Commission to try to carry out a survey of goods produced using child labour.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. I voted in favour of this resolution on the text of the new 2010 International Cocoa Agreement, which will replace the International Cocoa Agreement 2001, as extended. I support the objectives of this agreement. It will lead to the strengthening of the global cocoa sector, supporting its sustainable development and increasing the benefits to all stakeholders, will provide an appropriate framework for discussion on all cocoa matters among governments and, with the private sector, will strive towards obtaining fair prices, will promote a sustainable cocoa economy in economic, social and environmental terms, will promote transparency in the world cocoa economy, and, in particular, in the cocoa trade, through the collection, analysis and dissemination of relevant statistics and the undertaking of appropriate studies, and will also promote the elimination of trade barriers.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I welcome the conclusion of the new International Cocoa Agreement, which will replace the former legislative framework dating to 2001. The new agreement meets the requirements of business transparency, creating prerequisites for sustainable development and a fairer distribution of financial resources resulting from transactions.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The cocoa sector accounts for a large workforce and is a major source of income for millions of people if we consider all those involved in the sector. I therefore voted in favour of the international agreement, which seeks to strengthen cooperation between producing and importing countries. This resolution will also facilitate the role of the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO), a structure which provides information on the global market and promotes cooperation between its member countries, as well as making global trade in cocoa fairer and more sustainable. While the new agreement aims to strengthen social and environmental responsibility, it does not, however, explicitly tackle the problem of child labour, which is dealt with in another report.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I welcomed the conclusion of this agreement. The cocoa sector is a crucial source of livelihoods for 50 million people worldwide. Africa is the world’s largest cocoa producing region, from which the EU imports approximately 80% of cocoa consumed. This agreement is very important for the EU, which has the world’s largest chocolate industry, and, being the world’s principal importer of cocoa, the EU must bear a certain amount of responsibility for promoting the sustainability of this sector. I support this agreement’s objectives, which are intended to ensure greater transparency in the cocoa sector and economic sustainability, and to ensure fair and transparent cocoa prices and incomes for cocoa producers, which would translate into significant benefits for small-scale farmers and communities in cocoa growing countries. I believe that given the concern over child exploitation in this sector, the EU must take the initiative and address this issue with the main cocoa producing countries in order to ban the exploitation of minors.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) Since the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty, all agreements covering fields to which the ordinary legislative procedure applies are subject to Parliament’s consent. This includes the EU’s common commercial policy, of which the Cocoa Agreement 2010 forms part. This International Cocoa Agreement 2010 replaces the existing 2001 agreement and aims to create conditions for a fairer and more sustainable global cocoa trade by stepping up international cooperation between producers and consumers within the framework of the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO). It improves market transparency by enhancing the role of the ICCO in collecting, processing and distributing data, and its cooperation with industry and non-governmental organisations. This new agreement sets out clear objectives for a sustainable cocoa economy, recognising the importance of economic viability and of social and environmental responsibility at all stages of the value chain. It also recognises the need to ensure fair cocoa prices and equitable returns, as well as to promote the quality of cocoa and develop food safety procedures. For these reasons, I voted for this recommendation that Parliament approve this agreement.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament recommendation because the new agreement intends to bring more transparency and sustainability into a sector on which 50 million livelihoods depend throughout the world. The International Cocoa Agreement 2010 will replace the existing 2001 agreement to which the EU is a party. The new agreement will promote international cooperation in the world cocoa economy. This agreement should contribute to the strengthening of the national cocoa economies of Member countries, strive towards obtaining fair prices leading to equitable economic returns for both producers and consumers, and promote a sustainable cocoa economy in economic, social and environmental terms. The 2010 agreement will improve market transparency by enhancing the role of the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) in collecting, processing and distributing data and its cooperation with industry and NGOs. The new agreement will reinforce the ICCO’s mandate for projects aimed at strengthening national cocoa economies’ capacity and responsiveness to evolving demand. The new pact elaborates clear objectives for a sustainable cocoa economy, recognising the importance of economic viability and of social and environmental responsibility throughout all stages of the value chain.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for the report on the International Cocoa Agreement 2010. In 2010, the United Nations cocoa conference agreed on the new text, which effectively replaced the agreement of 2001. It represents an important step forwards as it proposes to bring more transparency and sustainability into a sector on which 50 million livelihoods depend throughout the world.

The agreement specifically aims to promote international cooperation in the global cocoa economy; to provide an appropriate framework for discussion on all cocoa matters among governments and with the private sector; to contribute to the strengthening of the national cocoa economies of Member States; to strive towards obtaining fair prices leading to equitable economic returns for both producers and consumers; to promote a sustainable cocoa economy in economic, social and environmental terms; and to promote transparency in the world cocoa economy and the elimination of trade barriers. The International Cocoa Agreement 2010 will therefore have a positive impact on all actors participating in the cocoa economy and I hope that it will also translate into tangible long-term benefits for smallholders and their communities.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing.(IT) I decided to vote in favour of the report on the approval of the International Cocoa Agreement 2010. I believe that Europe must act responsibly in order to ensure that the global market in cocoa should be fair and sustainable, both socially and environmentally, and guarantee an end product of high quality, not least for the reason that we Europeans are the major consumers of chocolate in the world. I also believe that encouraging small, local businesses to produce cocoa is worthwhile, and I consider that this would lead to a quality product and, at the same time, present many countries with an opportunity for sustainable development. I should finally like to emphasise the importance of promoting greater international cooperation and more dialogue between all stakeholders.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this International Cocoa Agreement as it establishes rules of transparency in the exploitation of cocoa and focuses on strengthening the capacity of small local producers with the aim of reducing poverty.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. I voted in favour of the European Parliament consent to the International Cocoa Agreement 2010 because it defines improvements to the social and market sustainability of the cocoa production industry, establishing a fair balance between prices for consumers and producers. The European Union is one of the main importers of cocoa beans: therefore, we both have the need and the responsibility to get involved in the multilateral process of international market regulation. I very positively welcomed the decision to link the adoption of the agreement to a resolution and a Commission statement on child labour in the cocoa sector: the issue certainly merits separate treatment, given its crucial relevance in the field of children’s rights. We urgently must take the direction of a total ban on child labour in trade.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The International Cocoa Agreement 2010 is of the greatest importance in the context of the international cocoa trade and the world cocoa economy. Since the agreement is valid for 10 years, it is therefore essential that there be a suitable forum for debating all matters relating to cocoa among the signatory governments, as well as with the private sector. The International Cocoa Agreement 2010 is key to the viability and development of cocoa producing countries, contributing to the sustainability of their economies by facilitating fair prices which enable equitable revenue for producers and consumers and, ultimately, promoting transparency in the world cocoa economy.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This recommendation, drafted by Mr Moreira, deals with the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the International Cocoa Agreement 2010 by the EU. Conclusion of this agreement has been delayed, owing to the widespread use of child labour in this sector. West Africa produces 70% of the world’s cocoa and about 7.5 million people work in cocoa production in that region, almost exclusively on family smallholdings. This facilitates recourse to child labour, in a society in which there are neither alternatives for wealth creation nor opportunities for young people once they have finished school. The majority of chocolate consumed in Europe is produced using child labour. Since defending values, namely, human rights and, in particular, children’s rights, is one of the core values of the EU, it cannot establish commercial ties with organisations or countries which exploit child labour. I voted for this report because not only does it strongly condemn the use of child labour in cocoa fields, but it also urges the governments of the countries involved in this issue to ratify and/or comply with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the conventions of the International Labour Organisation.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The International Cocoa Agreement 2010 will replace the existing 2001 agreement, which, in turn, replaced that of 1993; the first was established in 1972. The EU is a party to this agreement. Among the stated aims of the new agreement are: to promote international cooperation in the world cocoa economy; to contribute to strengthening the national cocoa economies of member countries; to strive towards obtaining fair prices, leading to equitable economic returns for both producers and consumers; to advocate the abolition of trade barriers; to promote and to encourage consumption of chocolate and cocoa-based products; and to encourage members to enhance cocoa quality.

Notwithstanding the positive aspects of this multilateral forum, it is important to emphasise a fundamental observation. In the various forms that this agreement has taken over the years, underlying it, there has always been a vision – and a reality – founded on an international division of labour that is deeply disadvantageous to developing countries, which are considered mere producers and exporters of cheap raw materials and prevented from rising up the sector’s value chain, and whose economies remain heavily dependent and lacking in diversity. That the objectives of this agreement advocate free trade does nothing to change this fundamental viewpoint, but rather reinforces it.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The International Cocoa Agreement 2010 will replace the existing 2001 agreement. The new agreement’s objectives are to promote international cooperation in the world cocoa economy, to provide an appropriate framework for discussion among governments and with the private sector on all matters relating to cocoa, to contribute to the strengthening of the national cocoa economies of Member countries, and to strive towards obtaining fair prices that lead to equitable economic returns for both producers and consumers. Overall, the agreement intends to bring more transparency and sustainability into a sector on which 50 million livelihoods depend throughout the world. The International Cocoa Organisation will administer the provisions and supervise the operation of this agreement.

Cocoa as a crop is farmed on over 8 million hectares of tropical land in 40 countries, and travels through a long and complex global supply chain from producers via traders, exporters, processors, chocolate manufacturers and retailers to consumers. Being the world’s main importer and consumer of cocoa and home to its largest processors and chocolate manufacturers, the EU bears a large share of responsibility for increasing the sustainability of this sector.

I believe that the International Cocoa Agreement 2010 will have a positive impact on all actors participating in the cocoa economy. I therefore think that Parliament should give its consent to its conclusion.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing.(IT) This agreement will promote greater transparency in a continuously expanding market with continuously growing demand and provide more room for projects aimed at supporting national cocoa economies and their capacity to meet this demand. It also contains proposals to pursue the objectives of a sustainable cocoa economy and to promote the quality of cocoa, and highlights the need to develop food safety procedures as well as to secure fair prices and equitable returns. That is why I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. Accepting the International Cocoa Agreement is a positive step towards providing more fair and sustainable global trade in cocoa. This agreement will support efforts to achieve this goal by working towards abolishing the exploitation of children in the cocoa sector. Unfortunately, children play a large role in the harvesting of cocoa beans and are put under hazardous health conditions while doing so. I want to see an end to the use of child labour, child slavery and all forms of child abuse. Since the EU is one of the largest importers of cocoa, we have the ability to help make just changes in the global community. Moving forward, we will need a strong coherence between EU policies and a holistic approach that can eliminate the causes of child labour in the cocoa sector.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) I supported this report, which intends to bring more transparency and sustainability into a sector on which 50 million livelihoods depend throughout the world.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) I would like to support the consent granted to the Cocoa Agreement. Europe is dependent on imports of this product, which cannot be grown in Europe itself, and cocoa is not something which is so necessary to us that we have to change this situation.

However, the conditions under which cocoa is produced are disturbing. This is nothing to do with health conditions or quality issues, but is about the way in which the work of children is used. Minors are being made to work too hard in relation to their capabilities, not to mention the fact that they are doing this instead of going to school or playing, activities which are normal for their European peers. It is difficult, but not impossible, to change this situation. Importers could force their suppliers to use workers of a more appropriate age, and could inspect cocoa fields and make continued trade conditional on respect for these rules. The European Union is a guardian of human rights throughout the world. We cannot forget this, and we must protect those who are weakest.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report by Mr Moreira on the new International Cocoa Agreement 2010, which replaces the previous agreement ratified in 2001. With the new agreement, the intention is to have a more collaborative relationship between producers and consumers so as to enable an agreement to be reached on greater production and market guarantees for producers. Bearing in mind that the sector in question employs more than 50 million people, it was necessary to reach a new agreement that took into timely consideration the changed international arrangements affecting the structure of cocoa supply to a greater or lesser degree. Consequently, the concern over the use of child labour is equally important. In this sector, as in others, we must combat child labour ever more decisively. This is an issue that ought to have been examined properly in a report of its own.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this agreement. The 2010 International Cocoa Agreement will replace the existing 2001 agreement, to which the EU is a party. The new agreement’s objectives are to promote international cooperation in the world cocoa economy; provide an appropriate framework for discussion on all cocoa matters among governments and with the private sector; contribute to the strengthening of the national cocoa economies of member countries; strive towards obtaining fair prices, leading to equitable economic returns for both producers and consumers; promote a sustainable cocoa economy in economic, social and environmental terms; promote transparency in the world cocoa economy through the collection, analysis and dissemination of relevant statistics and the undertaking of appropriate studies; strive for the elimination of trade barriers; promote and encourage the consumption of chocolate and cocoa-based products; and encourage members to enhance cocoa quality. Overall, the agreement intends to bring more transparency and sustainability into a sector on which 50 million livelihoods throughout the world depend.

 
  
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  Iosif Matula (PPE), in writing. As the cocoa trade is vulnerable to exploitation in various forms, having a framework in place that protects both producers and consumers is important. Therefore, I am in favour of the renewal of the International Cocoa Agreement. Cocoa consumption in developed countries, especially in Europe, is higher than in the developing countries where it is grown. In return for the privilege of reaping the economic benefits of selling this commodity, Europe must be prepared to abide by certain standards. In order for this market to sustain itself, efforts dedicated to environmental protection need to be maintained. Responsible growing and harvesting practices must be respected. In addition, cocoa producers need to be adequately remunerated. It is much too easy in a system like this to ensure that the majority of the profits wind up in the hands of the people who simply market the product, not in the hands of those who actually produce it. Certainly, in order for these and other standards not mentioned here to be met, transparency is key. Consumers are more than ever concerned with the weight of their spending power. This agreement has the potential to respond to the needs of the globalised world.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing.(IT) Greater efficiency, but also more transparency and sustainability are an absolute priority for a sector on which more than 50 million livelihoods depend throughout the world. I am in favour of the text and the objectives of the agreement, from which a great number of actors participating in the cocoa sector will benefit.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) This new agreement, which will replace the 2001 agreement, has the following objectives: to promote international cooperation in the world cocoa economy; to provide an appropriate framework for discussion on all cocoa matters among governments and with the private sector; to contribute to strengthening the national cocoa economies of member countries; to strive to obtain fair prices, leading to equitable economic returns for both producers and consumers; to promote a sustainable cocoa economy in economic, social and environmental terms; to promote transparency in the world cocoa economy through the collection, analysis and dissemination of relevant statistics and the undertaking of appropriate studies; to strive for the elimination of trade barriers; to promote and to encourage consumption of chocolate and cocoa-based products; and to encourage members to enhance cocoa quality. Since the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty, all agreements covering areas to which the ordinary legislative procedure applies are subject to Parliament’s consent. This includes the EU’s common commercial policy, of which the International Cocoa Agreement 2010 forms part.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. In 2010, the United Nations cocoa conference concluded the negotiations of a new International Cocoa Agreement, which will replace the agreement signed in 2001. The European Union, being one of the largest importers of cocoa beans, is one of the main partners to this agreement. This agreement needs to be ratified by the European Parliament.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (PPE), in writing. (FR) In addition to my previous comments in support of the report on the conclusion of the International Cocoa Agreement and the resolution on child labour in the cocoa sector, I would stress that the extraction of cocoa seeds remains a labour intensive activity as the mechanical cutting often damages the seeds. I supported this report on the International Cocoa Agreement 2010, but we have to remain vigilant because numerous reports have highlighted the fact that cocoa farmers continue to use child labour on cocoa farms. Moreover, the International Labour Organisation estimates that more than 215 million children around the world are child labourers.

 
  
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  Katarína Neveďalová (S&D), in writing.(SK) Since the European Parliament carries weight in the negotiations on the new International Cocoa Agreement thanks to the status of the EU as the largest importer of cocoa and one of the main partners in the agreement, under no circumstances must we allow minors to participate in work in the agriculture sector, including the cultivation of cocoa. It is physically dangerous work for children in an environment and under conditions that are totally unsuitable, when they should be going to school. Forced labour, slavery and human trafficking cannot be forgiven under any circumstances.

I therefore support the rapporteur and congratulate him on this marvellous initiative in which our consent to the international agreement would be conditional upon the ending of child labour in this sector. It is also necessary to view this issue from a broader perspective and to seek ways of monitoring the child labour situation worldwide. I therefore urge the Commission to take up this initiative.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) The cocoa industry provides a living for 50 million people worldwide. Therefore, we must promote increased transparency and sustainability in this sector of the economy. The International Cocoa Agreement supports fair prices which enable producers and consumers in the cocoa value chain to earn a reasonable income. In addition, we must guarantee more transparency in the world cocoa economy by compiling and analysing the relevant statistics and studies. On 25 June 2010, the United Nations cocoa conference, which is made up of the main cocoa producing and cocoa consuming countries, drew up the International Cocoa Agreement 2010 as a replacement for the 2001 version. The new agreement is valid for 10 years and can be extended twice for a period of two years. The 2010 agreement aims to lay the foundations for fairer and more sustainable cocoa trading worldwide. Therefore, I have voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution. I believe that this International Cocoa Agreement will be beneficial to the EU because the EU is a single contracting party, holding over half of importing members’ votes in the International Cocoa Organisation. Above all, this agreement will promote a sustainable cocoa economy in economic, social and environmental terms. It will also create conditions for fairer and more sustainable global trade in cocoa by strengthening international cooperation between producers and consumers. The provisions of the agreement will improve market transparency, will ensure fair cocoa prices, equitable returns and a good balance between cocoa supply and demand and will promote the quality of cocoa.

 
  
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  Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. I voted in favour of the report because it marks an important step towards sustainable, fair, child labour-free cocoa production. The EU is the world’s biggest cocoa consumer, accounting for 40% of global cocoa consumption in 2010, which gives us particular responsibility in this issue. By trading with cocoa producing countries, we bear a responsibility for millions of people for whom the industry is their livelihood. We provide them with jobs and allow minimum social standards. In Ghana and Ivory Coast, 90% of the farmers rely on cocoa for their primary income. However, by trading with these countries we are also responsible for child slavery. The situation of children in cocoa producing countries is horrifying. In the Ivory Coast alone, it is estimated that 100 000 children are put to work in the cocoa industry. The EU has an obligation to ensure child labour-free cocoa production. I welcome the promotion of fair-trade standards for cocoa, which include no forced labour of any kind, including child labour. I hope countries all over the world – in particular, the US, the second biggest cocoa consumer – will take the same approach.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing.(PT) I voted for this new agreement on cocoa, the main objectives of which are to promote international cooperation in the world cocoa economy through an appropriate framework for discussion on all cocoa matters among governments and with the private sector, thus contributing to strengthening the national cocoa economies of the member countries. The aim of these measures is to strive to obtain fair prices, leading to equitable economic returns for both producers and consumers; to promote a sustainable cocoa economy in economic, social and environmental terms; and to promote transparency in the world cocoa economy.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. – (IT) The International Cocoa Agreement 2010 will replace the existing 2001 agreement, to which the EU is a party. Since the 2010 agreement aims to create conditions for fairer and more sustainable global trade in cocoa by strengthening international cooperation between producers and consumers within the framework of the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) and improves transparency and sustainability in a sector on which 50 million people throughout the world rely for their livelihoods, I am voting in favour of the agreement.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Forming part of the EU’s common commercial policy, the agreement aims to make the cocoa sector fairer, more transparent and more sustainable. This sector, on which 50 million livelihoods throughout the world depend, is essential to the EU’s own economy, since the European chocolate industry is the largest in the world. The promotion of international cooperation in the world cocoa economy, the elimination of trade barriers, and the promotion of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable cocoa economy are some of the objectives sought in this agreement, for which I voted.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) I applaud Mr Moreira for his work. Having regard to the draft Council decision (09771/2011) and the draft International Cocoa Agreement 2010 (08134/2011), the recommendation approved today represents Parliament’s firm conviction that the International Cocoa Agreement 2010 will have a positive impact on all the players involved in the cocoa industry. It is also to be hoped that this agreement will translate into effective and long-term benefits for smallholders and their communities. By approving it, Parliament has also highlighted the issue of child labour in cocoa production, another problem that urgently needs be brought to the attention of the European Union, and which requires decisive action.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. The 2010 International Cocoa Agreement will replace the existing 2001 agreement, to which the EU is a party. The new agreement’s objectives are to promote international cooperation in the world cocoa economy; to provide an appropriate framework for discussion on all cocoa matters among governments and with the private sector; to contribute to the strengthening of the national cocoa economies of member countries; to strive to obtain fair prices leading to equitable economic returns for both producers and consumers; to promote an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable cocoa economy; to promote transparency in the world cocoa economy through the collection, analysis and dissemination of relevant statistics and the undertaking of appropriate studies; to strive to eliminate trade barriers; to promote and to encourage the consumption of chocolate and cocoa-based products; to encourage members to enhance cocoa quality. Overall, the agreement aims to bring more transparency and sustainability into a sector on which 50 million livelihoods depend throughout the world. The International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO), established in 1973 and located in London, UK, will administer the provisions and supervise the operation of this agreement. All parties to the agreement are members of the ICCO.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of this text because I consider it essential to achieve the objectives of the new International Cocoa Agreement 2010 and to encourage cooperation within the global economy on this raw material in particular. The objective must be to create conditions for fairer and more sustainable global trade by strengthening international cooperation between producers and consumers within the framework of the International Cocoa Organisation. It should also bring more transparency and sustainability into a sector on which 50 million livelihoods depend throughout the world.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) I am in favour of the recommendation on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the International Cocoa Agreement 2010, an important and significant step for international trade that aims to strengthen the national cocoa economies of Member States, including on a global level. The merits of this agreement include recognition of the need to ensure fair prices and equitable economic returns, while complying with sustainable policies in environmental, economic and social terms and transparency requirements, in order to enhance cocoa quality and develop food safety procedures that protect the final consumer. I also believe that the focus on child labour in cocoa fields is important, as this is a significant problem that deserves adequate recognition and protection in a special resolution.

 
  
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  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing. (FR) The agreement adopted today replaces and improves the agreement in place since 2001. I supported its adoption because it will help to improve the sector’s transparency and sustainability. It will provide for a more efficient and inclusive governing structure of the ICCO, the International Cocoa Organisation, on which the EU sits. The European Union is the world’s main importer and consumer of cocoa, and home to its major processors and chocolate manufacturers. It has a considerable responsibility to improve the sustainability of the cocoa sector. This issue has been debated several times in this House, which is why we decided to adopt at the same time a resolution on the sector’s recurring problem: child labour. This text will form a working basis for the members of the ICCO and will act as a point of reference for monitoring the progress made by the parties involved.

 
  
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  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing. (IT) The International Cocoa Agreement 2010 seems to take into due account both the interests of producer countries and the equally legitimate interests of the countries where the product is transformed and used in the food industry. This is why I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The aims of the new International Cocoa Agreement are to promote international cooperation in the world cocoa economy, to provide an appropriate framework for discussion on all cocoa matters among governments and with the private sector, and to contribute to the strengthening of the national cocoa economies of member countries. With this vote, we are striving to obtain fair prices leading to equitable economic returns for producers and consumers. For this to happen, we need to promote a sustainable cocoa economy in economic, social and environmental terms. It will also eliminate trade barriers to promoting and encouraging the consumption of chocolate and cocoa-based products. The International Cocoa Agreement 2010 will have a positive impact on all actors participating in the cocoa economy and it is to be hoped that it will also translate into tangible long-term benefits for small-scale farmers and their communities.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The International Cocoa Agreement 2010, which will replace the 2001 Cocoa Agreement and was adopted at the 2010 UN cocoa conference, brings together the world’s leading cocoa producing and cocoa consuming countries, including the EU. This agreement aims to create conditions for fairer and more sustainable global trade in cocoa, by stepping up international cooperation within the framework of the International Cocoa Organisation, whose powers this agreement strengthens. I am voting to approve this agreement as I consider it important to establish rules and rethink strategies for this sector, upon which the livelihoods of 50 million people depend.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the recommendation on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the International Cocoa Agreement 2010. Being the main importer and consumer of cocoa, the EU bears a large share of responsibility for increasing the sustainability of the cocoa production sector. The 2010 agreement aims to create the conditions required for fairer global trade in cocoa, which is more sustainable economically, socially and environmentally. The new agreement’s objectives are to promote international cooperation in the world cocoa production sector; to provide an appropriate framework for discussion on all cocoa matters among governments and with the private sector; to strengthen the national cocoa production sectors in member countries; to strive towards obtaining fair prices leading to equitable returns for both producers and consumers. The agreement is aimed at introducing greater transparency and sustainability into a sector on which 50 million livelihoods depend throughout the world. I think that the agreement will have a positive impact on all the actors participating in the cocoa production sector and will translate into tangible long-term benefits for both smallholder farmers and their communities.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) I voted for the Moreira recommendation approving the conclusion of the International Cocoa Agreement 2010. The conclusion in question talks about an agreement with the three biggest cocoa producers in the world and reinforces the mandate of the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) with a view to enabling cooperation between all the actors, as well as collecting, processing and distributing data.

The agreement does not forget the economic and social needs of these countries, recognising the need to ensure fair prices and promote improvements in terms of development. Allowing the European Union to influence the development conditions of Southern countries as a key importer could enable it to take action against the impoverishment of the populations, against child labour, and in favour of social development.

The European Parliament’s position is a step in the right direction. We can only hope that this will not be another great declaration of intent that the actors, starting with the Member States, completely fail to take into account. The gap between talk and action is becoming increasingly unbearable, particularly in terms of North/South relations.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The main objectives of the text on the new International Cocoa Agreement are to promote international cooperation in the world cocoa economy, and to contribute to the strengthening of the national cocoa economies of member countries. Overall, I believe the agreement will bring greater transparency and sustainability into a sector on which 50 million livelihoods depend throughout the world. Cocoa growing provides revenue for growing, processing and consumer countries and it is important to remember that the European chocolate industry is the largest worldwide. I voted in favour of Mr Moreira’s report for these reasons.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) While we believe that there are a number of positive aspects of this international agreement, which is already several years old, we wish to emphasise that it has always been based on the reality of an international division of labour that is deeply disadvantageous to developing countries, which are considered mere producers and exporters of cheap raw materials and prevented from rising up the sector’s value chain, and whose economies remain heavily dependent and lacking in diversity. In order to counter rather than reinforce this state of affairs, it was important not to include – as has been done – a defence of free trade in the objectives of the agreement.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0126/2012 and Recommendation: Vital Moreira (A7-0024/2012)

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted for the International Cocoa Agreement 2010. I am pleased with the improvements that it brings to the previous agreement in respect of health and working condition standards. The conclusion of this agreement by the European Union represents a real step forward for the cocoa industry. It is a balanced agreement which takes into account the interests of producers and consumers. It favours international cooperation, increases transparency in the sector and, ultimately, ensures that it has a sustainable future. Furthermore, I welcome the adoption of the resolution on child labour in the cocoa sector.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) The International Cocoa Agreement, the main agreement on basic commodities between exporters and importers of cocoa, aims to make global trade in cocoa fairer and more sustainable. Nonetheless, the new agreement did not, however, tackle the problem of child labour. That is why Parliament adopted a resolution calling for measures against the use of child labour in this sector. Cocoa cultivation is a highly labour intensive activity: 90% of world cocoa is cultivated by 5.5 million smallholders, and 14 million rural workers directly depend on its production, including children. The resolution calls on all parties in the cocoa value chain to live up to their responsibilities in combating forced child labour and trafficking in the sector. Furthermore, Parliament calls on the Commission to come up with a legislative proposal to combat effectively cocoa-based products derived from child labour and to encourage those countries that are signatories to the agreement reached at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to act to guarantee traceability along the entire supply chain.

 
  
  

Motions for resolutions: RC - B7-0145/2012, B7-0146/2012, B7-0147/2012, B7-0148/2012

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this motion for a resolution, which makes provision, inter alia, for an EU diabetes strategy. I believe that this is of great importance, as it enables the collection and management of data on the epidemiology of diabetes, the coordination of European research on diabetes, and progress in the fields of diagnosis, education and prevention. Such an initiative makes a great deal of sense, especially considering that approximately 32 million Europeans suffer from the illness, while this number is continuing to grow, including in younger generations.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Diabetes is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases affecting European citizens, thus putting health care and health insurance systems in European Union Member States under serious pressure. According to World Health Organisation data, the number of people living with diabetes in Europe has already exceeded 35 million and is expected to reach the critical level of 50 million by 2030. The sustained efforts of national health authorities and the improvement of the cooperation framework at EU level are essential for reversing these trends representing an extremely serious public health concern. Given that more than one third of newly detected cases of diabetes could have been prevented by regular medical checks, coupled with healthy lifestyle and diet habits, I think that special emphasis should be laid on organising European awareness campaigns regarding factors facilitating or determining the onset of diabetes. For this reason, I voted in favour of the resolution.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) Today, 32 million Europeans between the ages of 20 and 79 suffer from diabetes and that figure is constantly growing. I followed closely the preparation of this report, which seeks to increase prevention, diagnosis, treatment and research. As a member of the EP’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, I felt that it was crucial to develop a targeted European strategy to combat this disease. In addition, as a member of the new National Sports Council (CNS), created by the French Sports Minister, David Douillet, I believe that sport should form an integral part of the public policies to prevent diabetes and obesity. Several studies have revealed that Type 2 diabetes could be combated by effective prevention strategies focusing on the risk factors (such as poor and unbalanced diet, obesity, lack of physical activity and alcohol consumption). The European Commission has already set up an EU Platform on Diet, Physical Activity and Health and it has drawn up a strategy on diet and physical activity, but we need to go further in order to protect our children and ourselves from these diseases.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this resolution. Almost 33 million EU citizens suffer from diabetes and it is estimated that the number of people with this disease will increase significantly in the decade ahead. In many Member States, spending on people suffering from the illness already accounts for more than 10% of all health care expenditure and, on average, treatment costs approximately EUR 2 100 per patient. Although the growing number of people with diabetes represents a serious threat to the Member States’ health care systems and significantly increases their expenditure, only 14 EU Member States have national programmes to tackle diabetes. I welcome the resolution’s call for the Commission to present an EU diabetes strategy and ensure its implementation in the Member States. The Member States must also take active steps to develop national diabetes programmes, which would promote healthy lifestyles, risk factor reduction, prevention, early diagnosis and methods of treating diabetes, and would provide the population, particularly people in high-risk groups, with detailed information.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) Diabetes is the most common non-communicable disease, affecting more than 32 million people in the European Union, representing nearly 10% of the total EU population. Particularly worrying in the case of Portugal is the significant increase in the incidence of the illness among children and young people. Type 2 diabetes decreases life expectancy by five to 10 years, while Type 1 diabetes decreases life expectancy by around 20 years. Overall, 325 000 deaths per year are attributed to diabetes in the EU. In most Member States, diabetes is responsible for over 10% of health care expenditure. The reduction of risk factors, notably lifestyle habits, is increasingly recognised as a key prevention strategy for achieving reduced diabetes rates. I voted for this motion for a resolution because I believe the measures therein will make a positive contribution to diabetes prevention and to a reduction in the incidence of the disease among the public.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament resolution because diabetes is one of the most common non-communicable diseases. It is estimated that it affects more than 32 million EU citizens, representing nearly 10% of the total EU population, with an additional 32 million citizens suffering from impaired glucose tolerance and with a very high probability of progressing to clinically manifest diabetes. Diabetes is a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes, blindness, amputation and kidney failure, if poorly managed or diagnosed too late. Unfortunately, there is a lack of funding and infrastructure to coordinate diabetes research in the EU, impacting negatively on the competitiveness of EU diabetes research and preventing people with diabetes in Europe from benefiting fully from research. The European Parliament therefore calls on the Commission to develop and implement a targeted EU diabetes strategy on diabetes prevention, diagnosis, management, education and research. The Member States should develop, implement and monitor national diabetes programmes, aimed at health promotion, risk factor reduction, improved prediction, prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of diabetes, targeting both the population at large and high-risk groups, and aimed at reducing inequalities and optimising health care resources.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) Unhealthy lifestyle has led, in recent years, to a real ‘diabetes epidemic’, the number of new cases increasing from month to month. Worldwide, it is estimated that the number of patients will increase from 194 million at present to 333 million by 2025. In the European Union, 31 million people, representing 8.6% of the population aged between 20 and 79 years, are suffering from diabetes. In Romania, there are 370 000 registered diabetics, their number increasing by 50 000 every year. However, diabetes specialists state that the real number of diabetics in Romania is double that. Diabetes is the leading cause of death in Europe, given that 80% of diabetics die from cardiovascular complications. Considering the above, I believe that an EU diabetes strategy with clear objectives regarding the prevention, diagnosis and management of the disease, along with education and research in this area, would be required.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. – (CS) In view of the fact that there is currently no European strategy for addressing diabetes, despite the Austrian Presidency Council Conclusions on ‘Promotion of healthy lifestyles and prevention of Type 2 diabetes’, I believe the Commission should draw up and introduce a targeted EU strategy in the area of diabetes, aimed at the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, and education and research in this area. In this context, the Commission should draw up common standardised criteria and methods for collecting data on diabetes and, in cooperation with Member States, coordinate and collect, register, monitor and manage comprehensive diabetes epidemiological data and economic data based on the direct and indirect costs of diabetes prevention and treatment. The role of the Member States, on the other hand, should be to develop, implement and monitor national diabetes programmes, aimed at health promotion, reduction of risk factors, prediction, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, targeting both the population at large and high-risk groups in particular. An important part of national strategies should be to promote prevention of the occurrence of Type 2 diabetes and obesity, particularly through healthy lifestyle training and physical activity at school from an early age.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) Diabetes is the most common non-communicable disease, affecting more than 32 million people in the European Union, representing nearly 10% of the total EU population. Particularly worrying, in the case of Portugal, is the increase in the incidence of the illness among children and young people. Type 2 diabetes decreases life expectancy by five to 10 years, while Type 1 diabetes decreases life expectancy by around 20 years. Overall, 325 000 deaths per year are attributed to diabetes in the EU. People living with diabetes must provide 95% of their own care, which has psycho-social consequences and an impact on the quality of life of their families. The reduction of risk factors, notably lifestyle habits, is increasingly crucial to reducing diabetes rates. I am voting for this motion for a resolution, because I believe the measures therein will make a positive contribution to diabetes prevention and the reduction of the incidence of the disease among the public.

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE), in writing. (SV) I voted in favour of the joint motion for a resolution on diabetes because it is important for us to raise awareness of one of the most widespread, chronic health problems that currently affects 32 million people in Europe. We need to tackle this problem by means of more knowledge, education, research and prevention. Health issues should preferably be dealt with at national level, but it is also a matter of increasing awareness of the consequences of diabetes throughout the EU. It is therefore important to improve cooperation between the Member States and encourage the creation of a strategy for diabetes in order to find more effective solutions for a disease that does not recognise borders. I particularly welcome the fact that the Danish Presidency has prioritised this issue.

 
  
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  Emer Costello (S&D), in writing. I welcome the call on the Commission to prepare an EU-wide diabetes strategy, in the form of a Council recommendation. Diabetes is the leading cause of heart attacks and other serious illnesses and affects 32 million people between the ages of 20 and 79 in Europe. This number is expected to grow to over 16% of the total population by 2030 due to Europe’s ageing population. Every year, 325 000 deaths in the EU are attributed to diabetes, or one every two minutes. Half of all people with diabetes are not aware that they have it. An EU strategy should focus on prevention, diagnosis, treatment and research. I would point out, as the Diabetes Federation of Ireland has done, that children with diabetes require supervision to maintain their diabetes management and to remain healthy. The need for diabetes management does not end while the child is at school. Any EU-wide strategy has to take account of this fact. I welcome the fact that the EU has spent over EUR 200 million on research into diabetes and obesity since 2007. We need to continue EU diabetes research, especially to identify the risk factors for Type 1 diabetes.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) Diabetes is the most common non-communicable disease, affecting more than 32 million people in the European Union, representing nearly 10% of the total EU population. Particularly worrying is the way in which it is currently spreading. In the case of Portugal, the incidence of the illness among children and young people is increasing significantly. Unfortunately, 95% of people with diabetes provide their own care, which has psycho-social consequences and an impact on the quality of life of their families. As a doctor and a law maker, I believe that prevention is of the utmost importance, as is stepping up research. This is not only true for diabetes, but also for other illnesses of the same kind, like high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. It is therefore essential that the Member States, with support from the Commission, develop, implement and monitor national diabetes programmes, aimed at health promotion, risk factor reduction, prediction, prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of diabetes, as well as at reducing inequalities and optimising resources. I voted for this motion for a resolution because I believe the measures therein will be able to make a positive contribution to reducing the incidence of diabetes in the EU.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this resolution, which raises our awareness of the new blights on the health of our fellow citizens. The European Union must help to ensure the well-being of Europeans by developing all possible mechanisms to combat these diseases. Prevention, greater awareness among high-risk groups and increased research are just some of the actions that could be reinforced through the introduction of a real European strategy.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this resolution on addressing the EU diabetes epidemic since it argues that the EU needs to develop a strategy to address diabetes, which includes, inter alia, the collection and management of epidemiological data, cooperation on research, early diagnosis and prevention campaigns.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) According to the World Health Organisation, 86% of deaths in Europe are caused by non-communicable diseases, diabetes being among the most common. Although it cannot be dismissed as a behavioural illness, the truth is that it is associated with unhealthy lifestyle habits: tobacco, poor diet, lack of physical activity and alcohol. As such, there is an urgent need to develop policy areas that contribute to diabetes prevention, and to preventing its complications and economic and social costs. Countries must reduce the mortality rates associated with diabetes, if not its prevalence, and the Union can play an important role in this. This reduction must be achieved, not only through prevention hand in hand with campaigns promoting healthier lifestyles, but also through a very strong emphasis on the early diagnosis, detection and treatment of diabetes, factors known to be crucial in cutting mortality rates.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This joint motion for a resolution, pursuant to Rule 110(4) of the Rules of Procedure, replacing the motions for resolutions of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left, deals with urgently needed measures for reducing the diabetes epidemic in the European Union. The increase in life expectancy witnessed in recent decades has meant that there are more people with chronic illnesses, constituting a huge challenge for sufferers, their families and society. Diabetes is the fourth most common illness and accounts for around 10% of national health budgets. More than 30 million Europeans suffer from diabetes. Nonetheless, current therapies do not halt its progress, and their modus operandi has to involve early diagnosis and prevention, as well as a commitment to research, obviously. In fact, Type 2 diabetes can be avoided by maintaining a balanced diet and doing physical exercise. I voted for this joint motion for a resolution, since I believe that the measures proposed will enable a significant reduction in diabetes rates, improving the public’s quality of life and significantly reducing their treatment costs.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing.(PT) Diabetes is one of the most common non-communicable diseases, estimated to affect more than 32 million people in the European Union, and this is expected to increase by about 16.6% by 2030 as a result of the obesity epidemic and the ageing of the European population.

This resolution presents important data for characterising the reality of this disease in the EU and indicates ways forward with which we agree, specifically with regard to prevention at different levels, the improvement and promotion of research and the collection of data about diabetes. However, in this context, we believe it is necessary to uphold the importance of public health services in the fight against, and prevention of, this and many other diseases, particularly at the primary care level. Unfortunately, this resolution does not do this, as was called for. The resolution suggests it is necessary to collect ‘economic data based on the direct and indirect costs of diabetes prevention and management’, an approach which, in the context of the known and real growing pressure for privatisation in the area of health, cannot fail to arouse some concern.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Diabetes is one of the most common non-communicable diseases, estimated to affect more than 32 million EU citizens, with an additional 32 million citizens suffering from impaired glucose tolerance and highly likely to progress to clinically manifest diabetes. According to estimates, the number of people living with diabetes in Europe will increase by 16.6% by 2030, in particular, as a result of the obesity epidemic and the ageing of the European population.

No cures are currently available for diabetes. The complications associated with Type 2 diabetes can be prevented through the promotion of a healthy lifestyle and, above all, early diagnosis, since often, up to 50% of all people with diabetes are unaware of their condition.

In this context, I believe that it would be justified for Member States to develop, implement and monitor national diabetes programmes aimed at health promotion, the reduction of risk factors, and the prediction, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, targeting both the population at large and high-risk groups in particular. With a view to achieving objectives relating to non-communicable diseases and addressing problems in the area of public health, social issues and the economy, it is no less important for the EU and the Member States to further integrate prevention and risk-factor reduction into all relevant legislative and policy fields.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the European Parliament’s resolution on addressing the European Union’s diabetes epidemic, which calls on the Commission to develop and implement a targeted European strategy on diabetes prevention, diagnosis, education and research, and calls on the Member States to implement national diabetes programmes, focusing on prevention. Diabetes affects almost 10% of Europe’s population and this figure is expected to increase by 16.6% by 2030. It is therefore necessary for the EU to adopt a European strategy to complement the national efforts in order to provide ongoing financial support for research and encourage early diagnosis of the disease.

 
  
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  Françoise Grossetête (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this resolution, which emphasises diabetes prevention, diagnosis and research. Diabetes is one of the most common non-communicable diseases, affecting more than 32 million EU citizens.

It is important to distinguish between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes as distinct diseases. Research is still needed to clearly identify risk factors and genetic predisposition for Type 1 diabetes.

With regard to Type 2 diabetes, the causes have been identified. Up to 80% of Type 2 diabetes could, however, be avoided by eliminating the risk factors for these diseases (smoking, poor diet, lack of physical activity, alcohol abuse). The resolution goes on to recommend strategies to be implemented from an early age through education about healthy dietary and physical activity habits in schools.

Significant progress in terms of health care, along with a healthier lifestyle, will ensure improved quality of life for people with an early diagnosis of diabetes.

 
  
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  Małgorzata Handzlik (PPE), in writing.(PL) For many years, I have been involved in work in my region on behalf of people living with diabetes. So I am all the more pleased that this problem, which is growing so rapidly, has become the subject of discussion in the European Parliament. Not only are very many of the EU’s citizens affected by this disease, but also the number of people at risk of developing it is significant and increasing, so it is very important to raise awareness of this disease. We must tackle this problem, and methods of fighting diabetes which are more innovative will definitely be needed.

It will be important to develop a suitable strategy on diabetes, and this will include early diagnosis and research in this area. It is essential to analyse data on the disease and those who live with it so that we can understand the problem and be able to find a solution or reduce it significantly. This will need action not only from the EU institutions, but chiefly from the Member States, in particular, when developing programmes to combat diabetes. Furthermore, the Member States should include preventative measures to enable the control of chronic diseases. Diabetes should be seen as a priority social challenge, and the strategy for combating this disease should be supported with appropriate funding.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this resolution because almost 75% of all people with diabetes are not in good control of their condition, leading to an increased risk of complications, productivity loss and greater costs for society. These costs will inevitably increase given the rising number of people with diabetes, the ageing of the population and the associated rise in multiple comorbidities. Only 16 out of 27 Member States have a national framework or programme in place to tackle diabetes, and there are no clear criteria with regard to what constitutes a good programme or which countries have the best practices. There are considerable differences and inequalities in the quality of diabetes treatment within the EU. The Member States must develop, implement and monitor national diabetes programmes aimed at health promotion, risk factor reduction and the prediction, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, targeting both the population at large and high-risk groups, and designed to reduce inequalities and optimise health care resources. In order to achieve non-communicable disease-related objectives and address public health, social and economic challenges, it is important for the EU and the Member States to further integrate prevention and risk-factor reduction into all relevant legislative and policy fields and, in particular, into their environmental, food and consumer policies

 
  
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  Lívia Járóka (PPE), in writing. Diabetes, one of the most common of non-communicable diseases, is directly responsible for the death of 325 000 EU-citizens every year and the shocking decrease by 5-20 years of the life expectancy for 32 million people, earning its nickname as the silent assassin. Diabetes and the related impaired glucose intolerance demands more than 10% of total national health care expenditures and researchers expect a 16.6% increase in the number of people living with diabetes by 2030 and consequently a growing burden on health care systems. Despite these alarming figures, however, only 14 of the 27 EU Member States have developed their national programmes to tackle the disease and its consequences and, despite the initiatives of the Austrian Presidency in 2006, the European Parliament and the UN, there is still no EU level strategy to address the issue. The Commission must develop a targeted strategy for the effective prevention, diagnosis, management and research of diabetes and to present specific recommendations for Member States to support the development of national diabetes programmes. Reliable data collection, standardised criteria for data processing and health education are also necessary, since diabetes can be effectively addressed by identifying the risk factors and promoting prevention strategies.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I supported the joint resolution on addressing the diabetes epidemic in the European Union. This resolution was supported by a large majority in the European Parliament and I welcome that.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) Diabetes is one of the most widespread and commonest threats to EU citizens in terms of non-communicable diseases. According to estimates, one tenth of the EU population is now affected by the disease. Given the progressive ageing of the population, we have also got to remember that this figure is set to rise, with predictions as high as 16% in 2030. As a result, I think we need to take practical steps to respond to this threat and that one of the priority actions should be the decision to focus on prevention and education. EU citizens need to be even better informed about the possible consequences that their lifestyle, dietary and social choices can have on their lives, as well as the simple rules to follow in order to avoid the onset of diabetes. Meanwhile, aside from prevention, greater information is also required during the management of the disease. Indeed, some studies show that 75% of sufferers are not treating themselves as they should. Investing in research and focusing on prevention and a widespread education campaign are the initiatives that we need to put in place as soon as possible in order to reduce the impact of this disease on the European population.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) According to statistics, almost 285 million people are diagnosed with this disease worldwide, of which approximately 55.2 million are in Europe. Worldwide estimates for 2030 indicate 438 million patients. However, treatment involves high levels of expenditure – in the US alone, this figure was USD 210 billion in one year, an amount anticipated to exceed USD 300 billion by 2025, given that the solution for diabetes is not medical but social.

Diet and lifestyle play an essential role in preventing chronic degenerative diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. The prevention of this misleading disease should begin from an early age. We have clear studies proving that it is enough to lose 3-4 kg in weight by fast walking for 30 minutes a day to reduce the incidence of diabetes by nearly two thirds. Considering all this, Member States should promote Type 2 diabetes prevention through education about healthy eating and exercise habits in schools. There is also a need to align food-related policies in order to promote a healthy diet and to allow consumers to opt for healthy products.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this resolution, which calls on the Commission to develop and implement a targeted EU diabetes strategy in the form of a Council recommendation on diabetes prevention, diagnosis, management, education and research and to draw up common, standardised criteria and methods for data collection on diabetes, and, in collaboration with the Member States, to coordinate, collect, register, monitor and manage comprehensive epidemiological data on diabetes and economic data on the direct and indirect costs of diabetes prevention and management.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. Nearly 10% of the total EU population – an estimated 32 million citizens – are affected by diabetes in the EU. The number of people living with diabetes in Europe is expected to increase by 16.6% by 2030. I voted in favour of this joint motion for a resolution calling for a targeted EU-wide diabetes strategy to address these worrying statistics.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Diabetes is the most common non-communicable disease, affecting more than 32 million people in the European Union, according to estimates, representing nearly 10% of the total EU population. On top of this, the same number of citizens suffer from impaired glucose tolerance and have a very high probability of progressing to clinically manifest diabetes. Unfortunately, a 16% increase in the number of people living with diabetes in Europe is expected by 2030, as a result of the obesity epidemic, the ageing of the European population and other factors yet to be determined. It is known that Type 2 diabetes decreases life expectancy by five to 10 years and that Type 1 diabetes decreases life expectancy by around 20 years. Overall, 325 000 deaths per year are attributed to diabetes in the EU; that is, one European every two minutes. The reduction of identified risk factors, notably, lifestyle habits, is increasingly being recognised as a key prevention strategy able to reduce the incidence, prevalence and complications for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. As such, the factors mentioned in this motion for a resolution are key to effectively combating the diabetes epidemic.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Diabetes is one of the most common non-communicable diseases and affects more than 32 million EU citizens. Diabetes is a major issue for our society. In one decade, the number of people living with diabetes has skyrocketed. Unfortunately, there is currently no treatment to cure diabetes. In addition, many diabetic patients are the victims of discrimination and prejudice is still rife in schools, employment agencies and workplaces, and also in terms of insurance policies, for which the premiums for an appropriate level of cover are often exorbitant. The Commission must urgently define and implement a targeted EU diabetes strategy and support the actions of Member States. Member States must develop national diabetes programmes and promote Type 2 diabetes and obesity prevention through strategies to be implemented from an early age through education about healthy dietary and physical activity habits in schools. Patients must have access to health care and diabetes treatments.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. Diabetes is one of the most common non-communicable diseases, estimated to affect more than 32 million EU citizens. The resolution asks for a targeted EU diabetes strategy, collection and management of diabetes epidemiological data, coordination of European diabetes research, and early diagnosis and education-based prevention campaigns. We also should draw up a financial plan to fight diabetes. In favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Diabetes is one of the most widespread non-communicable diseases in Europe. According to estimates, more than 32 million EU citizens, constituting nearly 10% of the European population, are affected by it. The main reasons for this are, on the one hand, the ageing population, which is why we can expect an increase of 16% by 2030, and, on the other, unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as poor nutrition and too little exercise. Since we still do not have a cure for diabetes, people need to reconsider their lifestyles and eat more healthily and participate in more sport. By these means, it would be possible to prevent at least some people from acquiring the disease. I abstained from voting because I believe that each Member State should find national solutions to diabetes according to its means in the health and insurance sector.

 
  
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  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the resolution and I would like to mention the five priority actions identified by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food for placing nutrition at the heart of food systems in the developed and developing world: taxing unhealthy products; regulating foods high in saturated fats, salt and sugar; cracking down on junk food advertising; overhauling misguided agricultural subsidies that make certain ingredients cheaper than others; and supporting local food production so that consumers have access to healthy, fresh and nutritious foods.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution because only through joint efforts can we effectively combat the diabetes epidemic which is constantly spreading at a rapid rate. Consequently, an EU-wide diabetes strategy must be developed and implemented. Furthermore, all Member States must develop and implement their own national diabetes programmes and effectively implement Type 2 diabetes and obesity prevention, as well as diabetes management guidelines based on best practices and evidence-based treatment guidelines. As the number of people with diabetes is continually on the increase, I believe that the Commission should draw up common standardised criteria and methods for data collection on diabetes. It is also very important for the Commission, in constructive collaboration with the Member States, to manage comprehensive epidemiological data on diabetes as well as economic data on the direct and indirect costs of diabetes prevention and management. It is also crucial for sufficient funding to be allocated to the fight against diabetes.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Diabetes is the most common non-communicable disease, affecting more than 32 million people in the European Union, representing nearly 10% of the total EU population. It also accounts for over 10% of health care expenditure. Particularly worrying in the case of Portugal is the significant increase in the incidence of the illness among children and young people. I voted for this motion for a resolution, as I believe that the measures proposed will make a positive contribution to prevention and the reduction of diabetes rates, particularly through a policy of reducing risk factors, including a change in lifestyle.

 
  
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  Alojz Peterle (PPE), in writing. (SL) I voted in favour of this proposal for a joint resolution because I firmly believe that we need to pay more attention to the increasing incidence of this disease both within Member States and at the level of the whole European Union. I also voted in the hope that in the future, we will be more dedicated to addressing the broader causes of the thus far uncontrolled spread of this disease.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Diabetes is the most common non-communicable disease, affecting more than 32 million people in the European Union, according to estimates, representing nearly 10% of the total EU population. As such, in order to reduce the incidence of the disease, it is necessary to adopt a strategy of prevention, diagnosis and management, and to make use of new technologies in the field of research. However, the most important role must be carried out by the people themselves, in that they must behave responsibly. Better eating habits and increased physical exercise are essential in this area.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing.(FR) On 29 February, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety unanimously adopted my report on the new regulation on specific foods. This was an opportunity to mention one obvious fact: the 32 million EU citizens affected by diabetes must receive our full attention, but this does not necessarily require specific food standards.

However, we must establish an EU strategy to combat diabetes which is expected to increase by 16% by 2030 as a result of the obesity epidemic and the ageing of the European population. The resolution adopted this afternoon on this non-communicable disease, which is responsible for 325 000 deaths per year in Europe, is a welcome one. Or perhaps it would be more appropriate to talk about two diseases. While the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, such as poor and unbalanced diet, obesity, lack of physical activity and alcohol consumption have been clearly identified, we still have a long way to go to do the same for Type 1 diabetes. However, there do seem to be certain common factors: genetic predisposition and early appearance and diagnosis of the disease particularly between the ages of five and 15. That is reason enough for us to continue to provide more funding for research and collect data on diabetes.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. Abstention. We Greens/EFA have not tabled any resolution on the diabetes epidemic, and as such are not participating in the joint resolution, for the following