Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR). - (PL) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, clearly the objectives described in this report are lofty, and not just in appearance, as protection of the environment is without doubt an issue that should unite us. Nevertheless it is worth noting that in recent times the European Union has displayed a tendency to impose highly restrictive ecological solutions on itself even though the world’s greatest polluters, such economies as India and China, do not share EU objectives. One can also not ignore the fact that within the European Union itself, the highest price imposed by these – I emphasise – lofty ideals, which are being adopted by our organisation, the highest price is to be paid by the relatively poorly developed economies. For this reason, while agreeing with everything that underlies our document, I was unable to vote for it.
Francesco De Angelis (S&D). – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, passing this measure will necessarily help to increase the level of investment and thus secure the European Union’s industrial future. We need to give industry the stimuli it needs to encourage investment capable of favouring economic growth and reducing CO2 emissions at the same time. A low-carbon economy must not therefore in any way reduce the competitiveness of the European Union; quite the reverse, it must increase it.
Finally, it is important to maintain the investment needed to encourage the development of renewable energy sources in order to guarantee savings and clean energy. On this issue Europe must speed up if it does not want to remain behind. Deeds and not words are what is needed for the ambition of having a genuine green economy capable of driving growth and sustainable development. Thank you.
Bogusław Sonik (PPE). - (PL) Mr President, with reference to the Commission communication and the report by Mr Davies on the transition to a low-emission economy by 2050, I would like to emphasise two things. First of all it is essential to have a clear idea of the costs of raising reduction targets. Secondly, the proposal to reduce the number of permits introduces uncertainty into the business sector.
The document states that industry needs clear signals in order to make investments, but the same document proposes a change to agreements made just two to three years ago concerning the number of CO2 emission permits. It was on the basis of those agreements that companies planned their investments for the period to 2020. Can such a measure be called regulatory certainty and does it provide a clear picture of the European low-emissions strategy? Not all Union agreements from 2008 have come into force and we do not yet know the effects of the package agreed, so I think that it is premature to be setting new targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. For this reason I voted against this document.
Adam Bielan (ECR). - (PL) Mr President, I voted in favour of rejecting this report. The strategy for moving to a low-emissions economy over the next 40 years is highly damaging. The Polish Government vetoed the Commission’s proposal, arguing that new agreements should be made after the completion of global climate negotiations, which will take place at the earliest in three years’ time. At the present moment it is not possible to determine what will be the condition of the European economy in the next decade.
Setting regulations aimed at the total elimination of coal and gas from power generation would seriously harm the economy of my country, which is based on these raw materials. Taking into account the present economic situation of Polish society, a drastic rise in prices associated with introducing these regulations would result in a significant decrease in the standard of living of the average Polish citizen. I do, however, agree with the proposal to authorise the Commission to establish legally binding objectives for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as well as the proposed cancellation of the right to sell surplus CO2.
Peter Jahr (PPE). – (DE) Mr President, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is an important climate protection goal, however I believe that concentrating on one single key figure, namely the reduction of CO2 emissions, is misguided. This establishes incorrect incentives. Instead, we should be concentrating in particular on the protection and sparing use of our natural resources. In addition, CO2 reduction must not be at the expense of individual sectors. The targets are not only too high for the agricultural sector, they also have no scientific basis, particularly in view of the continuously increasing need for food and, from my point of view, agriculture is not part of the problem, but rather part of the solution because closed materials cycles are perfectly possible in agriculture. It is for that reason that I could only abstain from voting on this motion.
Elena Băsescu (PPE). – (RO) Mr President, I voted for this report as I support the contribution made by the European Union to the continuity of the international climate treaties. I think that Europe needed this long-term plan as part of the Europe 2020 strategy, thereby ensuring sustainable economic growth and a green energy strategy. My country supports the principles advocated in this document. However, I should point out that it is important to retain the 1989 milestone for the future framework in the case of both Romania and the other Eastern European states. This will make it possible to highlight the progress achieved by this group of countries in terms of reducing their carbon dioxide emissions. I also think that the issue of transferring the credit surplus from the Kyoto system needs to be clarified. All the options in this area which Member States would consent to must be considered.
Seán Kelly (PPE). – (GA) Mr President, there were many good proposals in this report, but there were also some controversial ones. At the end of the day, most of them were rejected and I think we reached a satisfactory result.
In relation to this, the key word is the first word ‘competitive’ because we are in an economic crisis and, if we are to get out of it and for the European economy to grow, we need jobs, we need new industries and we need to be competitive in the world. We have to try and balance that with our concerns about the environment. Some of the proposals would actually harm our economy – and some were rejected, maybe others were not.
But the real key for Europe is to try and get other countries, particularly the likes of China and India and indeed all countries on a worldwide basis, to act globally to deal with a global problem. This is our challenge.
Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, along with the rest of the ECR Group I abstained on the report on the competitive low-carbon economy for 2050.
As an idea in itself this is a good one for many reasons, such as combating climate change and sparing our finite hydrocarbon resources.
Unfortunately the report asks for the Commission to bring forward the measures necessary to achieve the 2030 objectives rather too quickly and also calls upon the Commission to use somewhat radical interventionist measures in order to address the market failings of the emissions trading system. Some of these measures included putting aside a significant amount of carbon allowances and including air transport in emissions trading.
The controversial content was subsequently watered down, and, while as a group we felt that what was finally proposed in the compromise package rendered it more acceptable than before, we still do not feel that we could accept the report’s climate mainstreaming provisions, particularly in the agricultural sphere and in the area of regional funding, which is why overall we abstained.
Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR). - (PL) Mr President, what has recently been happening in the Netherlands, where a political party, unfortunately one that supports the Dutch Government, has, for cynical political ends, been inciting hatred and opposition against migrants from Central and Eastern Europe who are supporting the Dutch economy with their work, is something that we must strongly oppose. I am very pleased that what is happening in the Netherlands has met with such sharp and decisive condemnation from the European Parliament.
Unfortunately – and I am very sad to be saying this – the type of incidents that we have been discussing do not only happen in the Netherlands. There are also voices speaking against Polish migrants in the United Kingdom and such comments are said by Members of Parliament from parties represented in this House. I appeal to the Poles in the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group to call on their British colleagues to abandon their anti-Polish rhetoric.
Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, this Chamber is obsessed with declamatory votes, with legislation and resolutions designed to show what very civilised and humane people we are, rather than to effect any outcome in the real world.
The worse the crisis becomes outside, the more we engage in this displacement activity. Greece is in default, the crisis is spreading across the Mediterranean and we are obsessing about a website in the Netherlands.
And we are not even condemning the authors of the website, although we have given those boneheads far more publicity than they could have dreamed of. We are not even condemning the party associated with it. We are condemning an unrelated party of the Dutch Prime Minister.
Well, I think he might very reasonably protest but, if he were to spend every moment responding to things in other parties with which he disagrees, he would be up dawn till dusk doing that and he has actually got a country to run.
But of course the real reason this is happening is a sort of tit for tat because one group is condemned, therefore another one has to move a resolution. You know what? Instead of escalating, we would gain far more credibility and respect if we dropped this kind of self-indulgent and self-righteous resolution and we concentrated on the issues that actually have effects on the real world.
Csaba Sógor (PPE). – (HU) Mr President, a curious situation has developed in an EU Member State which is among the founders of European integration. In the Netherlands, a country with extremely strong democratic traditions but traditionally liberal social views, an openly xenophobic and discriminative website is inciting citizens’ hostility against other nations under the tacit approval of the government and the authorities. Even if it was about the incitement of tension between non-EU citizens this practice would be condemnable, but in this form it is detrimental not only to Dutch society but also to the whole of the European Community. I request the Dutch and European political decision-makers to not permit certain people to attempt to divide citizens into old and new or good and bad Europeans. In these difficult times we need even more solidarity and even more Europe instead of tension-mongering between nations.
Norica Nicolai (ALDE). – (RO) Mr President, this motion for a resolution marks the first of a kind. It is the first resolution to sanction an Internet-based communication, a website which promotes a xenophobic attitude against European citizens. It is also the first resolution to sanction a government. What I too deplore is that this action is being tolerated. I also want to stress that we are talking about a coalition government formed by Christian Democrats and Liberals. However, I would not like us to use this political matter to stir up a hostile debate between groups. If there is a certain degree of responsibility, I would point out that it is shared between Christian Democrats and Liberals. I believe that we are going to have to use civic education and profile campaigns to attempt to avoid such tactics which are wrong, especially during a crisis, and which can exacerbate deviations from democratic behaviour in relation to European Union standards.
Zuzana Roithová (PPE). - (CS) Mr President, it is a slap in the face of democracy when the government of a democratic country fails to issue a clear condemnation of a portal inciting xenophobia and hatred between nations within the EU. The second step might be to label the shops and the third to visibly label the clothing of all citizens from Central and Eastern Europe. We should not be satisfied just with today’s motion for a resolution. We must keep up our pressure until Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has condemned these shameful sites and taken legal steps to close them down. In my opinion, they are discriminatory and contrary to the freedoms of the Union. They also incite hatred and divide European society. It is wrong of the Dutch Government and media not to confront xenophobic tendencies with clear arguments. For 20 years, the Dutch have profited from post-communist Eastern Europe, investing EUR 23 billion in Poland alone. Hundreds of Dutch people have built second homes in the Czech Republic. Now, thanks to the EU, hundreds of thousands of labourers and other workers are helping the further development of the Dutch economy directly in the Netherlands. We expect that the majority of Dutch society is unequivocally opposed to the xenophobic tendencies.
Ewald Stadler (NI). – (DE) Mr President, I voted against this motion for a resolution today simply because I believe that it must be the right of all citizens of the European Union and beyond to choose for themselves the way they lodge their complaints and how their complaints are channelled. They can do this via the Internet or using the mass media; in the old days they could also do it using the newspapers without being nannied by the need for political correctness.
However – and on this point I agree with Mr Kamiński – I believe it is absolutely wrong to name countries, irrespective of whether or not these countries are Members of the European Union. In particular, I believe it is quite wrong to name the Poles on this website. My experiences with the Polish community in Austria are quite different and do not justify such characterisation. Criminality is not the preserve of particular nations; in fact it is the one thing that would seem to be undisputedly international.
Salvatore Iacolino (PPE). – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, a joint motion for a resolution on a subject of particular importance – that of discrimination, of aversion to those who must in fact be integrated and welcomed where there is clearly a chance of work or reuniting a family – is undoubtedly helpful.
European citizenship is a subject of extraordinary value. We certainly need to be conscious of it; we need to give new life to the theme of reception and integration; we need to bear in mind that there are directives – Directive 2004/38/EC, which is essential in this respect – and while we are working on celebrations for 2013, the designated European Year of Citizens, all this is why we need to remove every obstacle that hitherto has specifically caused these difficulties. In the meantime, the Internet, while it is a key means of knowledge, must definitely be linked to a series of essential requirements to which its users should adhere. Thank you.
Elena Băsescu (PPE). – (RO) Mr President, I had to take the floor during this procedure because the Conference of Presidents has decided that only Chairs of the political groups are entitled to express their views during the debate, thereby restricting the freedom of expression of those MEPs among us without any post. We cannot stand for any xenophobic insults because we were born in Eastern Europe. During the last century, negative stereotypes resulted in the Holocaust and the massacre at Srebrenica, as well as the massacre in Norway during this century.
It is embarrassing and shows cowardice that the Netherlands Government, which my colleagues in the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) are also part of, has not distanced itself from the PVV’s position. Electoral reasons are no excuse because no one can justify extremism, discrimination, xenophobia and the participation of such a group in government. This attitude is a continuation of other abuses carried out by the Netherlands against my country: blocking access to the Schengen area and restricting access to the labour market.
Adam Bielan (ECR). - (PL) Mr President, I agree with the standpoint of Commissioner Reding. The portal launched by the Dutch Freedom Party, on which citizens make accusations against workers from other European countries, and principally Poland, is, in my view, a violation of all of the EU’s achievements. As a Polish citizen and a Member of the European Parliament I am appalled by this type of development, which is a symptom of racially based intolerance.
I am, however, particularly astonished and concerned by the lack of reaction to this, shall we say, embarrassing development by the authorities in the Netherlands, a country that for many years has been viewed with great positivity and trust by Polish society. At the same time it is enormously heartening to see the reaction of Dutch citizens, a decisive majority of whom are opposed to the activities of Geert Wilders’ party. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all these people and to assure them of Polish citizens’ best intentions, both of those in Poland and abroad. I hope that such a sorry political development finds no echoes in other Member States.
Mitro Repo (S&D). - (FI) Mr President, I voted in favour of the motion for resolution, because it is important that Parliament clearly expresses its disapproval of all forms of intolerance.
The prohibition of discrimination based on ethnicity is one of the most fundamental of all principles in the EU. The website of the Dutch Freedom Party is an open invitation for discrimination, which cannot be in any way acceptable. It is especially important to express disapproval, because there is a risk that similar activities will also spread to other Member States. Stirring up prejudice can easily lead to ethnic divisions and the notions that what is western is good and what is eastern is bad, and that people are lazy in the south and hard-working in the north. Parliament needs consistently to prevent such ethnic divisions from arising.
Frank Vanhecke (EFD). – (NL) Mr President, this is much ado about nothing. It seems to me that this Shakespearean reference is still the most fitting commentary on the predictable theatrics in this House in relation to ochgottekes, a Dutch website.
To be absolutely clear, I personally find this website a rather unfortunate initiative, and I endorse what Mr Stadler just had to say in that connection. I do believe, however, that if there is a party in the Netherlands that has constantly opposed unrestrained legal or illegal immigration, including from Eastern Europe, if there is such a party, that that party is also fully within its rights to sound out the opinions and the experiences of the voters and the citizens.
Ultimately, this is not something that the European Parliament should be concerning itself with. We need to watch out any time that we put freedom of expression at risk. This is a sinister sign of political correctness with which we are once again living up to our reputation as a progressive and ultimately useless talking shop.
Bernd Posselt (PPE). – (DE) Mr President, Mr Wilders, his party and his website – all of them expressions of distasteful right-wing extremism – are tolerated by the Dutch Government. It angers me to see how double standards are applied here. The Hungarian Government takes action against right-wing extremists and finds itself constantly painted in a false light, despite the energy with which it is acting. The Dutch Government is content to garner support from such forces, which is why I believe it was high time to send out a clear message here. I would like to contradict Ms Nicolai on one point, however. The Christian Democrats in our group have spoken out clearly against this website, for which I am grateful, however I believe that the Dutch Government as a whole should do likewise, contrary to its increasingly euro-sceptical stance, which is also a consequence of this tolerance. I hope that conditions will soon be restored in the Netherlands that will enable us to feel pride once again in this founding Member State of the EU.
Philip Claeys (NI). – (NL) Mr President, I in no way approve of Poles or any other fellow Europeans being singled out because of who they are. A great many of them are upright, hard-working people, but the question is whether the specific aim of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV)’s website was to sow hatred, as has been all-too-easily asserted here.
We are talking about a website used to record problems. It seems to me that the chamber of this Parliament is probably the only place where you can find people who think there are no problems with Schengen. Schengen, and the opening-up of internal borders, was a godsend for organised crime. Instead of behaving like some kind of court of political correctness and of pseudo-moral added value, we would do better to acknowledge the problems and then tackle them. That is precisely the kind of attitude that could improve the collaboration and mutual respect between all the peoples of Europe.
Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR). - (PL) Mr President, it is difficult to describe what we have seen in Russia as elections. Of course, technically speaking, there were different candidates on the ballots and voters could go to polling stations to vote.
Today we are receiving ever more reports of many irregularities during vote counting, but it is not just for this reason that it is difficult to speak of free elections. Firstly, all of the candidates that constituted a real threat for the authorities – and it must be stated clearly that those whose names were on the ballot did not constitute any such threat – were quite simply excluded from participation in the elections. For this reason I believe – and unfortunately I could not vote in favour of the European Parliament resolution, which has many true and critical statements about what took place in Russia – that this motion for a resolution did not, in my opinion, go far enough. We should speak out much more strongly in defence of democracy in Russia.
Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, every contiguous country has felt the pressure of Putinite revanchism and energy diplomacy: the Baltic States, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldavia, Georgia – most spectacularly in 2008 – and Azerbaijan.
In fact you do not need to be a neighbour of Russia to be on the receiving end of it. We have had problems with our ambassador being harassed, expulsion of diplomatic personnel from the United Kingdom and, of course, the Litvinenko affair.
Why? What does the Kremlin have to gain from this kind of behaviour? I think the answer lies in what German historians used to call ‘Primat der Innenpolitik’, what colleagues on the left of this House might think of as, in Leninist terms, exporting your internal contradictions.
It suits a basically insecure regime to keep fomenting troubles on its border, and that is why the development of a pluralist, liberal, multi-party regime in Russia is not simply a good objective in itself but ought for us to be an imperative of Western foreign policy.
Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE) . – (LT) Mr President, I abstained from voting on this motion for a resolution for two reasons. Firstly, I myself was an observer in the Duma and Presidential elections. I spoke with representatives of all the candidates and none of them made any claims. It is not true to say that the elections were illegal and it is greatly misleading for those MEPs who were not there. Secondly, I am convinced that the European Parliament does not have the moral right to teach others when it has even worse human rights violations and even crimes in its own Union, when people are handcuffed, thrown into a cell, held under house arrest during elections, prevented from meeting voters, and when illegal searches are carried out, funds seized, parties’ activities blocked and people are slandered on state television. The worst thing is that the European Parliament is failing to draw attention to and is even concealing crimes perpetrated by European Union Member States against opponents. Cases are falsified and the opposition is being drawn into legal trials; year after year people are being hauled before the courts. A mechanism has been created that only allows you to prove your case after 10-15 years, once your political career is already over.
Ewald Stadler (NI). – (DE) Mr President, I am very pleased that Mr Uspaskich spoke before me, because, as an election observer in Russia myself, I can confirm what he witnessed. Ms Gardini also reported the same thing. The course taken by the debate was significant. Anyone who failed to join in the chorus criticising Russia was immediately branded as stupid, as my Czech colleague has characterised me, or accused of talking nonsense, as Mr Brok has described Ms Gardini’s contribution.
The same people who want to give Russia a lesson in freedom of opinion and pluralism are not prepared to tolerate freedom of opinion in this House; the fact that they are not even aware of this contradiction is particularly dramatic. The Russians are not children. They know how they wish to organise their own democracy and they wanted stability from these elections. They never want a return to those thieving times under Mr Yeltsin, when many of those who now live in the West shamelessly profiteered on Russia’s assets. That is the background to this electoral result.
Adam Bielan (ECR). - (PL) Mr President, I think that the two previous speeches have shown how effective today’s Russia is in creating a network of influence. The basic problem of Russia today is an ever more obvious lack of political pluralism together with restrictions on media freedom. The results of the current presidential elections cannot be considered to be representative, if one takes just the example of the exclusion of candidates that wished to stand for election. The irregularities in the election process, particularly the reports of breaches of electoral law, also require thorough investigation.
The increased involvement of Russian society was however a considerable achievement of the last election campaign; its involvement and clear ambition to decide on the nation’s future must translate into a change in the way Vladimir Putin’s regime governs the country. I would therefore support the appeal by the Russian authorities to start a substantive dialogue with pro-democracy demonstrators and the opposition and to reduce restrictions and tone down rhetoric. A simplification in the rules for registering political parties, freedom for them to act as well as guarantees of civil liberties, these are all measures that Brussels should make a pre-condition for continued cooperation with Russia. For this reason I support this motion for a resolution.
Mitro Repo (S&D). - (FI) Mr President, although the situation in Russia continues to give cause for concern, we need to recognise the huge progress that Russia has made since communism. There would not have been any need for double-dealing in the presidential elections, because Putin did not have any rival candidate worth considering. The political opposition in Russia should unite and work together more. A candidate representing all factions would be bound to do a lot better in elections.
The social media has achieved change. Since the Duma elections last December, Russian civil society has been active in a whole new way, and Putin has, furthermore, allowed it to happen. President Putin should realise that Russia in this decade is no longer the same country in which he came to power 12 years ago. I do not suppose that we will see a revolution in Russia like the Arab Spring. Russia must introduce democratic reforms itself, but the European Parliament has an important role to play in this as an institution that supports this process.
Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE). – (LT) Mr President, I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution; although, I do not believe that it fully assesses the results of the Presidential elections in Russia. What is important is that with this resolution the European Parliament assessed the Presidential elections in Russia, and that assessment is unambiguous. The Presidential elections were not free and they were not fair. This means that the results of both the State Duma elections held last December and the Presidential elections held this month are questionable, and the legitimacy of those who declared victory is also questionable. Logically some colleagues have suggested that this resolution should also include a proposal that Russia should not only amend certain laws, but also hold early elections to the State Duma soon. Russia is already different after these elections, and both the European Union and the Russian authorities will have to treat that different Russia with care and respect. It cannot be what we call business as usual.
Kristiina Ojuland (ALDE). - (ET) Mr President, I also voted in favour of this motion for a resolution, primarily because a great many important amendments were included in the resolution that was passed today. The leader of our group, Guy Verhofstadt, and I together tabled a very important amendment, in which we emphasised that the presidential elections were neither free nor fair. As a result, the European Union as a whole must draw conclusions regarding the legitimacy of these elections and also the legitimacy of the elected president. This raises serious questions about relations between the European Union and Russia. As in the discussion that took place here a few days ago, which was attended by both Mr Kasyanov and Mr Kasparov, a great number of our colleagues raised the question of whether the European Union can continue to pursue relations with Russia on the assumption of ‘business as usual’, as the English expression goes. That is also in doubt.
Bernd Posselt (PPE). – (DE) Mr President, Mr Putin is a dyed-in-the-wool opponent of democracy, which is why this motion for a resolution could have been much more strongly worded. I would, however, call for the following points for the future, which are of some importance. Firstly, the immediate and absolute right to demonstrate for the opposition. Secondly, the release of all members of the opposition still imprisoned. Thirdly, the establishment of free, independent media, which is vital for truly free elections. Fourthly, the establishment of a new registration process for genuinely democratic parties and corresponding party plurality and a re-run of last year’s Duma elections on this basis. Only then will we have a democratic system in Russia as an alternative to Mr Putin’s tyranny.
Hannu Takkula (ALDE). - (FI) Mr President, I voted in favour of this motion for resolution. As members of the European Parliament and of the European Union, we must act in accordance with our values, and we must promote political reform in Russia and make efforts to ensure that a free electoral system in Russia is a possibility. That is not the case at present, of course, and if we examine the situation closely, with reference to European values and our concepts of justice, neither the Russian Parliament nor the President have been legally elected, and this, of course, poses a problem. We should engage in cooperation with the Russians and encourage them to proceed along the path of democracy, but, to my mind, the European Union should call for new elections.
Furthermore, as we are here in Strasbourg, it is worth remembering that the Council of Europe, which is located right next door, has certain obligations concerning Russia, and now Russia should also fulfil them for its part. In fact, they relate to questions of human rights, and Putin could do a lot about that.
To conclude, we should now take steps to ensure that Russia has new elections very quickly. This is also in Putin’s interests, as the current mood in Russia suggests that Putin will not last the full six years in power if there are no new elections. Unfortunately, that is the situation, and the European Union should press for new elections.
Anna Záborská (PPE). - (SK) Mr President, I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution, but I do not think it goes far enough. It mentions shortcomings and discrepancies in the preparation and implementation of the elections. I firmly believe, however, that these elections were manipulated. I grew up under communism, and I know what it means when voter turnout comes close to 100%. Such a turnout was recorded in many regions of Russia.
The EU can be a strong global player only if it refuses to be blackmailed. We may be dependent on Russian gas and oil, but Russia is also dependent on the billions that we pay for these raw materials. I would therefore like to say to Mr Putin that this Parliament will be keeping a close eye on his next steps, and if he proceeds to repress peacefully demonstrating citizens, we are prepared to take concrete measures, as in the case of Belarus.
Vytautas Landsbergis (PPE). - Mr President, I voted in favour of the whole resolution despite the fact that the text could have made a clearer evaluation of 4 March’s fraudulent events in Russia for election to the office of President.
Therefore, I wish to announce here at least one amendment, which was tabled as Aa among the recitals and should have been seen as essential to the event but it did not pass the procedure.
So it reads, ‘whereas, if it were taken seriously, the procedure of selecting a candidate to be President of Russia could not be considered to be a competitive and true election’.
Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR). - (PL) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, geopolitically Kazakhstan plays an enormously important role, not only in its own region of the world but also in the whole area that we call Eurasia. So far, Kazakhstan has been a country that has been able to escape the national and regional conflicts that are common in that part of the world. We should certainly give appreciation for the religious and racial tolerance that exists in Kazakhstan. It is with all the more concern therefore that we observed the events that took place in that country in December of last year – demonstrators being killed, events that aroused concern in Kazakhstan and throughout the world. It is therefore all the more satisfying to hear that the Kazakh authorities, according to reports that have reached us, have taken a hard line as regards dealing with those responsible for these events. From our side, that of the European Parliament, an organisation that is supportive of Kazakh nationalities, there should come a clear message: democracy should apply everywhere, no one is above the law and therefore those responsible for these events should be brought to justice.
Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL). - Mr President, my group, the European United Left, proposed a number of amendments to strengthen this important resolution.
I condemn the brutal massacre by the Kazakh state forces of oil workers and their supporters last December, and I condemn the arrest of the political opposition and the continuous clampdown against and harassment of opposition media, independent trade unions and journalists.
I supported the oil workers’ strike right from the start, as I believe that all their demands are fully justified, and I salute the courage of all the Kazakh workers, journalists and opposition activities that I have met and who have dared to speak out, despite the huge repression that they face.
In the end I had to abstain on the final vote on this resolution because, despite all the correct concerns that it raises about the alarming, serious deterioration in terms of human rights, the resolution ultimately gives in to the window-dressing attempts of the Kazakh state to suggest that they have learned lessons and that the situation on the ground is improving, when in fact the situation on the ground continues to worsen.
Kristiina Ojuland (ALDE). - (ET) Mr President, I also voted in favour of the Kazakhstan resolution today. Yesterday there was a very thorough and serious debate in this chamber over what we have seen taking place in Kazakhstan. The events of last December are naturally the type of events that cannot in any circumstances be approved of, and all those who were responsible for those events and those who are guilty of the killings must be brought to justice. If Kazakhstan has taken steps to that end, then that it is truly commendable. On the other hand, Kazakhstan is definitely a very important state, large and powerful due to its resources. It is certainly also in the interest of the European Union to cooperate with Kazakhstan, but the precondition for that cooperation is that Kazakhstan should move towards democracy and democratic values.
President Nazarbayev truly has a great opportunity to lead his country and people towards a better future and also towards democratic principles.
Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, the ECR abstained on this motion. The part that Kazakhstan plays in the development of the political stability of Central Asia cannot be underestimated.
Kazakhstan and the EU already have a good relationship but cooperation should be strengthened, particularly in the areas of dialogue on democracy, human rights and trade as well as fighting terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking.
We welcome the release of Evgeniy Zhovtis and fully support the calls for the Kazakh authorities to make every effort to improve the human rights situation in their country and investigate fully the December police shootings against oil workers and improve their respect for the freedom of assembly and expression of religion in line with OSC recommendations.
We await the FBI-led investigation on the police shootings in December so as a group we felt that the motion was actually too biased against the government and, until all the facts are known, we have abstained. It is rather bizarre that actually we have the same position as the GUE/NGL Group but for completely different reasons.
Ewald Stadler (NI). – (DE) Mr President, I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution, but I wish to state that this is just one of the problem areas confronting us. We need to recognise that there have been widespread attacks against Christians and Christian communities in Muslim countries, for example against the Copts in Egypt. The problem has been exacerbated since the so-called Arab Spring. The same is true in Syria, where the rebels also lead attacks on Christians, and in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Since Iraq’s so-called liberation, Iraqi Christians have shrunk to a very small minority. I myself know a number of Iraqi refugees in Austria. When the Danish Minister spoke yesterday on behalf of the Presidency of the Council, saying that this should not be allowed to become a religious conflict, he displayed a great deal of naivety. This is already a religious conflict and, as a religious conflict, it threatens our Christian brothers in these countries, which is why we need to do much more for these Christian communities.
Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR). - (PL) Mr President, in today’s world Christians are the religious group that is subject to the greatest persecution. This is happening on many continents and it also unfortunately happening in Nigeria. We as Christians, as well as many people in this Chamber, feel solidarity, as believers in Christ, with our persecuted brothers in Nigeria. It is good that the European Parliament has spoken on this matter. A situation cannot be permitted to continue where, in the 21st century, those who are bringing Good News, the Christian message, a message of love for one’s neighbour, a message bringing all the goodness of our Christian faith, should be persecuted, killed and deprived of their rights. I would like to say today that it is not just our prayers but also our actions that are with our Christian brothers in Nigeria.
Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL). - Mr President, together with my sister party in Nigeria, the Democratic Socialist Movement, I condemn the violence of Boko Haram. This organisation has absolutely nothing to offer the workers and poor of Nigeria other than deeper religious and ethnic violence. Violence and extortion by state forces and between rival corrupt politicians is also common.
For Socialists, the answer to communal, ethnic, religious division and violence lies in mass movements which can unify the working class and poor in a struggle against their common enemies, in this case the corrupt elite and the big business which literally steal the vast wealth that exists in Nigeria: just 1% of the population taking 95% of the oil wealth, while over 80% of the population lives in poverty.
January’s general strike, the biggest ever in Nigeria, was not just against the fuel price hike but increasingly called for regime change. That is exactly what is needed in Nigeria, a struggle for a government of working people and poor that can use the tremendous resources that exist in the interests of the majority and point the way forward beyond division.
Bernd Posselt (PPE). – (DE) Mr President, in the eighth largest oil-producing country in the world with a population of 150 million, Christians are being persecuted by an extremist group in the most brutal possible manner, as the attack on the Catholic church and the people there has proven. If we, the European Union, do not state clearly that we are the protectors of the Christians in the world, then this type of problem will continue to arise. We are generally in favour of religious freedom and inter-faith dialogue on a fair basis. However, we also need to state quite clearly: if we do not look after Christians, then who will? I am grateful that the European Parliament has clearly chosen this course and would like to witness some clearer words and actions from Baroness Ashton in this direction.
Ewald Stadler (NI). – (DE) Mr President, we have had a very interesting and positive debate today in relation to the motion for a resolution to be presented to the 6th World Water Forum. I believe it was important that the Commissioner should have announced the Commission’s intention to impose sanctions on countries that dragged their heels in implementing the Water Framework Directive. This should also send a signal to countries outside the area of validity of the Water Framework Directive that the European Union itself is serious about the sparing and correct use of water. However, we should consider seriously whether it would be worthwhile establishing separate water cycles in future. We must draw a general distinction between drinking water and process water. This needs to become standard practice worldwide because we cannot stand by and watch as people in developing countries are forced to live with poor quality drinking water that was previously used as service water and process water in industry. We need to make sure that there are separate water cycles for the public.
Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR). - (PL) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, in the time that we have gathered here in Strasbourg, from 12-17 March, in other words precisely during this week, the 6th World Water Forum has met in Marseille. This is a very honourable group that has gathered in Marseille to debate issues that have an enormous significance for a large part of the citizens of our planet. There are areas in the world, particularly in Africa, where access to water is very difficult, and where there is no access to water whatsoever. For this reason I am completely in favour of the statement that access to water is a fundamental human right. Water is quite simply essential for life. It is a very good thing, therefore, that our Parliament is speaking constructively on this matter and that the European Commission is also speaking constructively on this matter and I would like, speaking from this place, to wish the participants of the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille the greatest success with their deliberations.
Elena Băsescu (PPE). – (RO) Mr President, I voted for this resolution because improving access to water helps enhance people’s quality of life. It is important that it is managed efficiently, especially in the context of reducing poverty. I think that more consideration should be given to environmental and climate aspects during the debate on eradicating poverty. I support the need to protect water resources and the inclusion of this issue on the Rio+20 Conference agenda.
The efficient use of water is not only important for the environment, but also from an economic perspective. I support the idea of devising water management plans at a global level. At the same time, the finances available need to be reassessed in order to increase the population’s access to these services. In Romania water quality features among the priority measures for implementing the EU’s environmental acquis.
Bernd Posselt (PPE). – (DE) Mr President, I was in Rome last week and had the opportunity to study how intensively the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Juistitia et Pax Pontifical Council and others prepared for this World Water Forum. The issue at stake here is a truly decisive matter for the future of the human race, which is why I welcome this motion for a resolution, even though I believe that we need to consider this issue far more intensively. Water is not just a source of life, but also a source of death, triggering wars or murderous conflicts if supplies run short. That is why it is urgently necessary for us to ensure, as Ms Băsescu has said, that appropriate water management is introduced. Above all, however much I favour a social market economy, I believe that limits must be imposed on the fantasies associated with the privatisation of water. This is truly a public asset that belongs to all of the human race. That is why I voted in favour of a corresponding amendment. We need to take care to ensure that water does not become an asset to be used for speculation or blackmail.
Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, I voted alongside my group, the ECR, in favour of the motion for a resolution on the sixth World Water Forum.
Given that almost half the developing world’s population does not have access to basic sanitation facilities and that 800 million people still use unsafe drinking water, the work of the Forum is extremely valuable internationally.
While public health and environmental protection are put forward by the report as the main priorities for water management policy, and rightly so, we welcome the fact that the report also recognises the role that access to clean water plays in securing peace and cooperation in conflict zones, and we support strongly the call for the implementation of international agreements for the shared management of surface waters and ground water that cross international boundaries.
This is particularly relevant in the Middle East Peace Process, where adequate water access is a vital political consideration for all the parties concerned.
Damien Abad (PPE) , in writing. – (FR) Last year, the European Commission adopted a Road map for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050, aimed at reducing CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050. In order to achieve this, several action plans have been developed in various fields (transport, energy, climate change, and so on). Parliament, in an own-initiative report, has proposed a range of measures to complement these action plans. This report emphasises the shortcomings of the Emissions Trading System (ETS) and energy efficiency. With regard to the ETS, I am in favour of a step-by-step approach rather than restrictive objectives.
Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. – (PT) I am voting for this report. The objective of achieving a low-carbon economy in 2050 will help to tackle the main problems posed by climate change. Moreover, it represents an opportunity for the economy, as it benefits the EU to focus on a knowledge economy that is efficient and innovative at global level, thereby meeting the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.
Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. − I voted in favour of this resolution on the competitive low-carbon economy in 2050. I believe that our future lies in the development of clean technologies and sustainable rural development. Our common European climate change policy strategies and the global race for the efficient use of resources need to be seen as opportunities. In the context of the current economic crisis, the existing targets for 2020 are sufficiently ambitious. Therefore, it is important to indicate clear guidelines for the period after 2020 and to encourage investments in sustainable technologies. It will be important to give incentives for the development of low-carbon technologies, particularly in the context of the European funding programme for research and innovation, Horizon 2020.
Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I am particularly invested in the Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050. There is no doubt in my mind about the need to work towards a Europe with lower CO2 emissions. In this regard, the Roadmap suggests strategies for the transport, electricity and agricultural sectors, aimed at progressively reducing CO2 emissions while maintaining a competitive economy within the global market. However, I will make no secret of the fact that this text has also been at the heart of a deep political disagreement. As is often the case, the left wanted to do more for the climate without taking into consideration the economic reality. They were calling for a revision of the Emissions Trading System so as to make it even more restrictive. This idea would leave our companies in a vulnerable position and I am firmly opposed to it. I am in favour of a more realistic long-term vision than the one our socialist and green comrades are advocating. In the short term, such a revision would make it even more difficult to restart our economy. I believe we need to do more to encourage our companies rather than constantly stigmatising and sanctioning them.
Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this report. The European Parliament and the European Council are aiming to reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050. However, it is now clear that this target will be difficult to achieve because there has been no agreement on specific measures and measures for emission reductions. I welcome the European Parliament’s proposal to set interim greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for 2030 and 2040, including objectives for specific sectors, set timetables and measures taking into account the specific characteristics of Member States, national capacities and potential. It is also necessary to ensure maximum energy efficiency, to promote the development of renewable energy and adopt decisions on energy storage, increasing energy efficiency and the development of infrastructure for efficient energy transmission. The EU must also play a more active role in international fora and negotiations mobilising other countries in order to establish an ambitious, comprehensive and legally binding agreement on climate change as soon as possible.
Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) Moving to a low-carbon economy is an absolute and unavoidable necessity in Europe today. It is a great undertaking that calls for ambitious objectives in all areas. The report by our colleague, Chris Davies, has the merit of covering a wide range of issues: from energy efficiency to reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP), from the Emissions Trading System to intelligent energy networks and even rail corridors, the areas for action leave no stone unturned so that, by 2050, we should be well and truly committed to a low-carbon economy. We can discuss the objectives and percentages but I believe that this report lays the foundation for what needs to be done. However, I abstained, not because I disagree with the content, but because I think that we should not lead people to believe that nuclear energy is a green energy solution. By including it in the list of low-carbon energy sources in the same category as renewable energy, we are turning a blind eye to the danger and the many risks posed by nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is nothing more than a transitional energy source; it is by no means the energy of the future.
Phil Bennion (ALDE), in writing. − I should like to commend my British Lib Dem colleague Chris Davies on his extensive work on this report.
Tackling climate change and promoting technological innovation are key priorities for Liberal Democrats in the UK, and this report serves to emphasise the potential for economic growth that can be unlocked by making the transition to a low-carbon economy.
It is crucial that we face the challenges of climate change, rising oil prices, and political instability in oil-producing countries head on; making the investments in energy efficiency and renewables in Europe will help stimulate our economy, reduce energy prices for ordinary citizens, and develop the economic and environmentally sustainable economy which we desperately need.
Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing. – (IT) In 2011, the Commission tabled a strategy document outlining an ambitious European pathway for reducing greenhouse gas emissions after 2020: reducing emissions by 40% by 2030, and by 60% by 2040, with the aim of achieving a 80-95% reduction by 2050. This document, in defining a European strategy for the environment, has a major impact on Member States’ industrial policies. The report under discussion proposes yet more stringent requirements than those set out by the Commission, with more ambitious climate targets for 2020 and binding European targets beyond 2030, quite apart from reaching a global climate agreement. I am opposed to any amendment of the commitments that have already been made to reduce emissions by 2020, principally because the commitments to reduce emissions made as part of the ‘Climate and Energy Package’ adopted in 2008 are the outcome of long and difficult political negotiations, which led to a compromise between the Member States on balanced effort-sharing and preserving the competitiveness of the respective sectors involved. Moreover, it is essential for the European Union, in pursuing its climate targets, not to alter the regulatory framework already in place, thereby incurring the risk of further penalising European businesses vis-à-vis their global partners.
Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament report because it is necessary to assess and act against the risk that, in the absence of sufficient global efforts, domestic action will lead to a shift in market share towards less efficient installations elsewhere, thereby resulting in increased emissions globally, i.e. in carbon leakage. The European Parliament therefore invites the Commission to bring forward within the next two years the measures necessary to achieve the 2030 objectives taking into account particular national capacities and potential, as well as international progress on climate action. Such measures should be implemented in a coordinated, cost-efficient and effective way. The European Commission should also present a cost-benefit analysis of meeting the proposed pathway at Member State level, taking into account national circumstances stemming from different technological development, as well as the necessary investments (and the attendant social acceptability) and the existence of a wider range of possible global conditions. It is important to note that moving to a low-carbon economy would have significant potential for creating additional jobs, while securing economic growth and providing a competitive advantage for European industry.
Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) The EU published the Low-carbon Roadmap in March, which applies to all economic sectors. At the moment, detailed plans are being drawn up separately for each sector, with the most recent being the document called ‘Energy Roadmap 2050’. Given that it is difficult to estimate the trend in supply and demand, the plan presents several scenarios, along with an analysis of the possible effects, challenges and opportunities produced by modernising the energy system. Other factors taken into account include the possible changes in terms of infrastructure, technology and the price of fossil fuels.
It is estimated that the price of electricity will rise by 2030. This is why we must invest in ‘smart’ electricity grids and in enhanced technologies for energy production, transport and storage. These measures, combined with the completion of the single energy market, should ensure that prices fall in the long term. The costs will be offset by the long-term nature of the investments, the jobs created and the reduction in the level of dependence on imports.
Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. – (FR) We must promote a low-carbon economy and take all possible measures to follow the Roadmap aimed at reducing CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030, 60% by 2040 and 80% by 2050. The Emissions Trading System must be improved and the transport and agriculture sectors must also play their part in this effort to reduce emissions. Member States must be encouraged to take legislative measures to include air transport emissions in the Emissions Trading System without giving in to commercial pressures from non-EU states which are opposed to this system. The EU must continue to promote investments and encourage technological innovation so as to remain competitive and exemplary at international level.
Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. - (CS) The report on the Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050 is guided by good intentions, but contains some undesirable or unrealistic targets and appeals. I do not agree, for example, with the stated notion that 30% of the environmental element of direct payments from the common agricultural policy should be used for an EU-wide regime of incentives aimed at the development of carbon sequestration in the soil. If European agriculture is to be successful on a global scale and as self-sufficient as possible, agricultural land must be used for production, and we must place high demands on it in terms of safety and quality, of course. In relation to the idea of a low-carbon economy, I do not consider the call for an EU commitment to total elimination of CO2 from the energy sector by 2050 to be realistic. Along with reducing emissions of CO2, it is necessary to bear in mind other targets, such as preserving and increasing EU industrial competitiveness and energy security by being as independent as possible in terms of third country energy supplies. I would like to point out in this context that the existing 20% target for renewables is based on the contribution of nuclear power to the energy mix in many Member States, while the world energy outlook from 2011 drawn up by the International Energy Agency includes a scenario based on a smaller contribution from nuclear energy. The EU should therefore take a critical attitude to this.
Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this report because the debate on greenhouse gas emissions is increasingly important, not only from the global warming aspect, but also as a result of our dependence on non-renewable resources. There is an urgent need for alternative energy resources which are greener and just as reliable. Through utilising the EU 2020 strategy, Europe is obliged to find innovative methods which can foster economic growth, but without impacting on the environment.
According to the data from 2010, there was a 6% rise in carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere. However, we must not ignore that Europe is responsible for just 11% of global CO2 emissions. This is no excuse, but the actions we have taken are not enough to halt the rise in CO2 emissions. However, I do not believe that we can afford to have a very stringent deadline at a time when we are facing a financial crisis, which increases the need to develop industries, while maintaining a competitive economy.
Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing. – (IT) I voted for the report drafted by Mr Davies on the Roadmap for a low-carbon economy by 2050 because I believe that the issues linked to protecting the environment must not be underestimated and instead must be among the issues of principal concern for the European Union. Indeed, without reducing our dependence on fossil fuels we cannot hope to safeguard the climate and contain pollution, thereby protecting our global environmental heritage and human health itself.
The benefits of these choices will also be felt in the economic and commercial sphere, by reducing our sizeable imports of oil from third countries. We must nevertheless take care not to be alone in imposing such strict regulations and limits: these rules must result from an international agreement among all leading countries. Only uniform regulations can be effective in the battle against pollution and global warming. If this is not the case, not only will our returns be meagre but we also risk laying ourselves open to ruthless competition from economies basing their success precisely on the absence of strict environmental and social regulations like ours.
Andrea Cozzolino (S&D), in writing. – (IT) The necessity for the international economy to orient itself increasingly towards a system of production based on the reduction of carbon emissions is one that is being imposed on us by the ever more imminent risk of irreparable climate change, as well as by the need to move our system of production gradually away from the consumption of finite resources. Given all that, the obstinacy with which the forces of the right have wanted to put forward the nuclear option again seems simply incomprehensible, and in many ways also outside time and history. It is outside time and history, as are all recommendations on the safety of nuclear power stations, which have several times been served up to us and promptly been refuted by the facts. It is still more unthinkable in a country such as Italy, where almost 30 years after power stations were decommissioned, we still have waste heaps that have not been disposed of and where, not long ago, a new referendum firmly rejected the reintroduction of nuclear power. We therefore demand that a correct objective, the reduction of emissions and the transition to an economy based on renewable sources, should not become the pretext for allowing a means that has proved to be unsafe and dangerous, and one which Europeans have for this reason chosen to replace, creep in again by the back door.
George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted against Amendments 4, 23 and 24 of the report on a Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050, on the basis that they were calling for the use of nuclear energy to be abandoned. I think that European Union Member States cannot afford at the moment to give up this form of energy. Nuclear energy must continue to be part of a diverse energy mix so that the EU’s energy requirements can be met.
Robert Dušek (S&D), in writing. - (CS) The Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050 should help create a framework for new legislation that will shape the nature of investment. The system of allowances has proven to be insufficient for reducing CO2, as a surplus of allowances has reduced their price and they can no longer fulfil their role in terms of investment in a low-carbon and sustainable economy. There was, moreover, further emission growth of 6% in 2010. Global producers such as China and India are now preparing for a massive transition to sustainable green technologies. Europe, if it wants to remain competitive, should push for the quickest and most effective possible reduction in CO2, and support technologies and processes that make much more effective use of energy and resources. Progress has been achieved, for example, in the car industry, but the aerospace industry is still lagging behind and remains one of the main problem areas. In this context, it is absolutely essential to emphasise the role of trees and forests in capturing CO2. Trees and forests tie up CO2 in the most natural way possible, without the need for large investments. It is vital to limit the massive looting of forests for profit, which is happening on a greater scale day after day in most EU Member States. I welcome the report on the whole, and I will be voting in favour of it.
Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. – (PT) I voted for the report on a ‘competitive low-carbon economy in 2050’, as the development of an economy with a low level of greenhouse gas emissions is vital in order to respond to the challenges posed by climate change, as well as in order to enhance the very competitiveness of the European economy and create more jobs.
Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. – (PT) At a time when debate on pollutant gas emissions has become unavoidable and maintaining the current energy dependency on oil and its derivatives is unsustainable, it is important to find alternative energy sources that are more environmentally friendly and equally reliable. It is also crucial that Europe find innovative ways of promoting growth that is sustainable and ‘greener’, in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy. However, the 2010 data are not encouraging, with a 6% increase in CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. As the rapporteur points out, we cannot forget that, despite this increase, the EU is responsible for only 11% of global CO2 emissions, and that our actions alone will not be enough to halt the process of global warming caused by an excess of CO2 in the atmosphere. It is therefore crucial to ensure the development of a low-carbon economy that is still competitive and does not harm the European economy, which is already fragile. We cannot set ourselves such high emissions targets that they create conditions of unfair competition with the rest of the world, thus damaging European competitiveness.
Elisa Ferreira (S&D), in writing. – (PT) This legislative initiative should correct three fundamental problems.
Firstly, it should adapt the climate objectives to the economic crisis that we are currently experiencing.
Secondly, it should correct the errors in how the emissions trading system works, particularly as a result of its misappropriation and distortion by the financial system.
Thirdly, it should draw the proper conclusions from the terrible experience of Fukushima about the uncontrollable risks of the nuclear option; namely, that this should not be the easy way out of combating CO2 emissions.
In my view, the final result of the vote cannot fulfil any of these objectives, so I am voting against.
João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) This report is indicative of the market-facing approach that has dominated the so-called transition to a low-carbon economy. The shortcomings and weaknesses evident in this report include the reaffirmation of belief in emissions trading, despite its widely demonstrated perversity and ineffectiveness, and the excessive focus on the issue of energy sources, without paying due attention to patterns of consumption and the economic model that underlies them. Given energy consumption and the flows and patterns thereof, issues such as the production and trading models currently in force, as well as free trade and its impact on the relocation of production, are insufficiently addressed. In the area of transport, for example, the advocating a modern and efficient public transport system with wide coverage and low prices for the public – all of which contrasts with what is currently being done at present in Portugal, for example, under the IMF/EU programme – equates to paving the way for the market, liberalisation and charging on various forms of transport. Focusing on private transport, which no doubt meets with the approval of the automotive industry, advocating a Single European Sky, and including this sector in the emissions trading system are telling examples of the approach that is behind the whole report.
Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. - (SK) Investment levels must be increased very significantly if Europe is to secure its industrial future. The energy sector in particular demands the greatest possible level of clarity and certainty. Endorsement of the European Commission’s Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050 as the basis for policy-making will help to provide this. It will create the framework for new legislative acts and other measures that will shape the form of investment. To combat global warming, CO2 emissions must be reduced on a worldwide basis. The latest signs are not encouraging: emissions increased by 6% during 2010. CO2 is accumulating in the atmosphere at an accelerating rate. The EU is currently responsible for just 11% of global CO2 emissions, and our actions alone will not curb the warming process. It can be expected that investing in the development of a low-carbon economy will not weaken Europe’s competitive position, but strengthen it.
In my opinion, Europe must develop a sense of urgency, or risk losing the race to maintain a competitive economy. Decisive action is essential if the EU is not to get left behind. Adoption of the Roadmap, and the setting of ambitious goals for the development of a low-carbon economy, provide an opportunity to stimulate progress.
Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. – (IT) The emissions game is no longer played under the same rules for everyone. The EU’s Climate and Energy Package was adopted on the assurance that the other large-emitter countries would also be making similar commitments, but this has not happened, and some large economies have already announced that it will not happen in the near future. Moreover, bearing in mind that from the time the package entered into force the Union’s GDP growth has been practically static, in contrast to the situation in other countries that do not apply such measures, I consider that our current climate strategy is putting a brake on economic recovery and that, consequently, adopting new and more stringent limits far into the future, such as those proposed in this report, would put Europe at risk of losing the competitiveness contest in the global market. That is why I voted against the report.
Adam Gierek (S&D), in writing. − (PL) Measures leading to a low-emission economy should be based on realistic assumptions and not on the ambitions of European bureaucrats or declarations forced on us by lobby groups. This resolution is a typical example of such a negative approach.
It is one thing to force people to use sustainable energy, which I support, or to force through clean and safe nuclear energy, which I also support. However, to speak of a low or nil-emission economy without any economic vision for the EU countries between now and 2050, without any ideas for the use of readily-available and cheap alternative energy sources and also without any idea of future consumption models is naïve and simplistic.
I would suggest that the Commission employ science fiction writers for this purpose and not the European Parliament. This ridiculous proposal has no practical future, unless one includes throughout it some climatic equity, meaning a breakdown of the climate burden on the level of the world and the Union based on a per capita CO2 emission limit. Since this is not the case, I voted ‘no’. Thank you.
Robert Goebbels (S&D), in writing. – (FR) I did not vote for the Davies report. It is unrealistic to want to define technological development and its impact on the economy and employment until 2050. This is actually irresponsible, painting in glowing colours a near-perfect world in some 40 years’ time.
Europe will have trouble achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy by 2020. Only by unilaterally setting more ambitious objectives in terms of reducing emissions will we see results more quickly. In any case, the proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions coming from the EU is decreasing. Europe will not be able to carry the burden alone. In this context, the pious hopes of the Davies report will remain nothing more than a pipe dream.
Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing. – (FR) The message that the European Parliament is trying to send by adopting this report is that we are all prepared to endorse the Commission’s major long-term commitments in the area of climate policy. I clearly support the EU’s strong ambition and hope that Parliament sends a positive signal about the climate. I cannot, however, support instruments which are bad for climate, social and economic policy While I am well aware that we have a different way of making policy at European level compared with national level, as there is often the need to seek compromises, I cannot bring myself to vote in favour of a text that peddles the myth of nuclear energy and clean coal. The lesson we learned from the Copenhagen Resolution, which we all remember, is still at the forefront of our minds. That is why I did not vote in favour of this Roadmap which mentions nuclear energy as an instrument for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050.
Mathieu Grosch (PPE), in writing. − (DE) I expressly favour the ambitious targets that Europe has set itself in relation to environmental and energy issues. However, Europe should not allow itself to become isolated as a result of its pioneering role.
It is absolutely vital that greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced and appropriate rules must also be established beyond European borders; after all air does not respect Europe’s boundaries. However, the targets should be negotiated in consultation and agreement with the third countries, particularly if these targets impact upon them directly. The European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) is a good example of how an arrangement agreed at European level can encounter international resistance just before coming into force.
Europe should hold fast to its agreed policies, while at the same time seeking international dialogue. In relation to the ETS, a compromise should be found at the level of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) that will enable third countries also to accept the ETS.
Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. – (FR) On Thursday 15 March 2012, the European Parliament approved the Roadmap for moving to a low-carbon economy in 2050. With this text, the European Union is defining its long-term vision and continuing to reflect on what will be the outline for a green economy. I am pleased with the adoption of this report which will give greater visibility to the economic and institutional actors over the coming decades with a step-by-step approach for 2030, 2040 and 2050. It is true that deep divides have emerged on the subject of the functioning of the Emissions Trading System (ETS) as the price of carbon is currently very low. The proposal from the parliamentary left to artificially inflate the price of carbon per tonne was unacceptable as it did not take into account the particularly difficult economic and social context of these last few years. In truth, the left has completely failed to take into account the reality of the situation and the difficulties facing our entrepreneurs. Rather than imposing restrictions and ending up out of our depth because we are ignoring the consequences of our actions, we have instead chosen an approach based on prudence and discernment by calling on the European Commission to evaluate the situation and make proposals where appropriate.
Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I abstained from voting on this document because I believe that the adoption of the Roadmap, together with the emissions reduction trajectory and milestones it proposes, will handicap European competitiveness and be of little value. The EU is currently only responsible for 11% of global CO2 emissions and our actions alone will not curb the warming process. I agree with the provision that we urgently need to back the technologies that will win and invest in the processes that use energy and resources much more efficiently. However, we must not forget that China is still 70% dependent upon coal as a source of electricity and there are no guarantees that the objectives of its current five-year plan, which gives priority to low-carbon ‘green’ investments, will be achieved, even though these investments are on a scale that dwarfs those of Europe. I am convinced that there are genuine grounds to believe that there is a threat of ‘carbon leakage’, of business moving out of Europe to avoid higher costs resulting from the measures being taken to reduce CO2 emissions. Such developments would not be good for Europe’s economy and would do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally. If such instances could be proven measures should be taken to protect or compensate the industries concerned. I therefore believe that measures must be adequate and logical.
Karin Kadenbach (S&D), in writing. − (DE) It is with a heavy heart that I decided to vote against this report, which contains several positive and necessary proposals for combating climate change at European level, without threatening the competitiveness of European businesses, by bundling together a package of measures. However, despite several commitments from the EU to a withdrawal from nuclear energy generation, this report contains a number of indirect and explicit statements that portray nuclear power as a solution for carbon-free or low-carbon energy production. I find this an anathema, both personally and politically.
Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. – (IT) The environmental challenges that our planet is posing us are urgent and demand immediate action. As the European Union, we can do much to reduce carbon emissions, with the international target of arriving at an 80% reduction in emission levels compared to 1990. In the context of such a difficult challenge, all sectors of production and industrial processing contribute to the 2050 target and the intermediate targets of 2030 and 2040, as required by the report. We are all being called on to play our part, at the European level, so that our contribution to reducing the amount of carbon emissions in the atmosphere can be a positive and achievable target.
Jörg Leichtfried (S&D), in writing. − (DE) I decided to vote against this report, which contains several positive and necessary proposals for combating climate change at European level, without threatening the competitiveness of European businesses, by bundling together a package of measures. However, despite several commitments from the EU to a withdrawal from nuclear energy generation, this report contains a number of indirect and explicit statements that portray nuclear power as a solution for carbon-free or low-carbon energy production. I find this an anathema, both personally and politically.
Marian-Jean Marinescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) Today’s vote on the Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050 has confirmed that the future will involve the development of high energy-efficiency technologies, sustainable rural development and efficient energy use. However, we must not forget that the target for the 20% increase in energy efficiency will be difficult to meet by 2020. We must remain realistic and bear in mind the current financial and economic climate. Moreover, a reduction in nuclear energy will mean an increase in the level of use of fossil fuels and, therefore, of carbon dioxide emissions. Europe must take specific measures: incentives encouraging public and private investments aimed at designing and developing sustainable technologies, creating a smart electricity grid and improving pan-European energy interconnections.
David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I supported this Report. To combat global warming, CO2 emissions must be reduced on a worldwide basis. The latest indicators are not encouraging: emissions increased by 6 per cent during 2010. CO2 is accumulating in the atmosphere at an accelerating rate. A recent assessment by scientists who had voiced doubts about the evidence of global warming concluded that temperatures were indeed rising at a rate very close to that estimated by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. EU Member States were amongst the first in the world to industrialise and greatly increase their use of fossil fuels; we have a responsibility now to exercise leadership by reducing our CO2 emissions.
Iosif Matula (PPE), in writing. – (RO) The European Union’s targets for reducing CO2 emissions by 80-95% by 2050 can only be achieved through efficiently coordinated EU actions and local practical implementation. The conclusions from the climate change meeting in Durban and the stance of third countries on the air carbon tax indicate little interest in rapid actions and political commitment for reducing carbon emissions. The development of low-carbon economies at local and regional level, along with investments in these areas, makes a considerable contribution to creating new jobs and boosting the regions’ competitiveness. Waste management, energy efficiency in buildings and the creation of standardised infrastructures for electric and low-emission vehicles are priorities which can produce immediate results locally. The future of sustainable investments will take into account the reduction in dependence on external energy suppliers outside the EU. Developing an integrated system of cross-border energy markets helps establish the energy balance between Member States and increases internal generation capacity.
Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. − This report endorses the European Commission’s roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050. The EU is responsible now only for 11% of global CO2 emissions. I had concerns about the possible negative impact of paragraphs 2, 98, 104 and 110 on agriculture; these have been addressed by way of adopted amendments. I abstained on part 2 of the vote on paragraph 72 since Member States are free to choose their own energy mix. Ireland, though not a nuclear nation, likely derives some of its energy from nuclear sources through the UK/Ireland interconnector.
Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The debate about pollutant gas emissions is increasingly important, and we cannot continue to be held hostage to energy dependence on oil and its derivatives. We must therefore find alternative energy sources that are more environmentally friendly yet equally reliable. Through the Europe 2020 strategy, Europe must find innovative ways of promoting economic growth without continuing to affect the environment. However, the 2010 data show that there was a 6% increase in CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Nevertheless, as mentioned in this report, Europe is responsible for only 11% of global CO2 emissions, and our actions alone will not be enough to halt the process of increasing CO2 emissions. This must be a joint effort by all powers, particularly Brazil, Russia, India and China, which are becoming increasingly responsible for CO2 emissions. What is required of everyone is to ensure the development of a low-carbon economy that is still competitive and does not harm the European economy, which is already very fragile as a result of the global crisis. Moreover, we cannot make demands of ourselves that are not also met by others, leading to a loss of our competitiveness in global markets.
Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) Europe must consolidate the future of the industrial sector by investing more in this area. In fact, large energy-intensive companies are worried about the possibility of companies leaving Europe in order to avoid the increased costs represented by the measures taken to reduce CO2 in the air.
Such measures will have a negative impact on the European economy and will do nothing to reduce the dangers of greenhouse gas emissions. That is why the adoption of this Roadmap moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050 must serve as the basis for taking political decisions. Europe must take appropriate measures in order to preserve the competitiveness of its economy.
Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − According to the rapporteur, moving towards a low-carbon economy by 2050 will not only help address the major threats and challenges posed by climate change but will also significantly contribute into turning the European economy into an competitive, efficient and innovative economy able to stay at the forefront of global developments. I disagree with that statement since financial investments do not correspond to the objectives set.
Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. − (DE) Trade in emissions certificates is a dubious environmental policy instrument that aims to reduce pollutant emissions. EU trading in carbon dioxide emissions was introduced in the European Union through legislation in 2005. Emissions trading links the emission of greenhouse gases to the possession of licences: anyone producing greenhouse gases is only permitted to release the volume of pollutants for which they have emission rights. If a lower level of pollutants is released than permitted, then the surplus rights can be sold on to others. On the other hand, those who produce too many greenhouse gases can purchase additional emissions rights. In addition, there are also generous free limits allowed by the state. All of this opens up opportunities for speculation and bypasses the actual purpose of the scheme, namely the reduction of CO2 emissions. Busy trading in emissions certificates thus does nothing to encourage investment in the establishment of a low-carbon economy. Because, according to several well-known scientists, it has not been proven that human CO2 emissions are the main cause of the greenhouse effect, I have voted against this report.
Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. – (IT) Europe cannot bear the burden of the entire world’s climatic and environmental problems alone. In fact, I find it absurd that the European Union wishes to go it alone, proposing more stringent limitations on carbon emissions. I am aware that we must move in that direction, but this must certainly not happen at the expense of the competitiveness of the entire economic system. Indeed, our businesses must already comply with far stricter regulations in a whole multitude of sectors than their direct competitors in other countries. Adding further to the burden would be difficult to tolerate. The new emerging countries, which have staggering growth levels compared to the stagnant European economy, pay absolutely no regard to these problems, just like the United States itself among the rest, which has also never agreed to meet the obligations that all other developed countries have already undertaken for some time. The European Union can set an example by overcoming the challenge of climate change, but definitely not in this self-mutilating manner. Instead, it should use its weight, assuming that it counts for something, to convince all the large economies to proceed together to take reasonable steps in common in this direction, to protect our planet and our own future.
Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. – (LT) I want to draw attention to several aspects of this report. Firstly, I am convinced that we should not set specific CO2 reduction targets. Setting such binding targets would lead both to a reduction in the EU’s competitiveness and would be a burden on smaller EU Member States. Secondly, I want to stress the need to promote increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy (together with the development of ‘smart networks’). Efficient use of energy (like other resources) would not only contribute to reducing CO2 emissions but would also have positive economic results – it would save raw materials that are becoming increasingly expensive.
Sławomir Witold Nitras (PPE), in writing. − (PL) Considering the ambitious provisions in this document, which unfortunately are damaging to Poland and the European Union, I had to vote against the report. If the transition to a low-carbon economy were to take place in accordance with this plan, this would result in enormous costs for European industry, high energy costs for households and significant levels of unemployment. I do not need to mention that it is the poorest EU countries that would bear the highest cost for this type of policy.
We are all aware of the value of a low-carbon economy but, especially in times of economic uncertainty, we should focus on areas that do not involve such high costs for industry and ordinary citizens. Furthermore, placing such an ambitious burden on our economy in a context of ever increasing global competition does not seem to be the most sensible solution, even if it were to bring about certain benefits.
Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. − (DE) In principle, trading in emissions certificates means first of all setting upper limits for greenhouse gases. Certificates are then issued in line with these upper limits that entitle the bearer to produce a particular amount of gas. Countries whose emissions are below the upper limit can sell on their surplus rights. On the other hand, countries that produce greenhouse gases in excess of the upper limit can purchase these emissions rights. Because the certificates can be traded in the open market, the price is determined by supply and demand. Trade in emissions certificates presents a number of problems: the market is not transparent and speculators manipulate prices on the trading platforms. In addition, supposed environmental projects in emerging countries are supported, although the effect of these projects on climate change is systematically over-estimated and many of them are actually counterproductive. Finally, I do not believe that busy trade in emissions encourages investment in low-carbon technologies. However this would be urgently necessary in order to reduce the greenhouse effect. For that reason, I voted against this report.
Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. – (EL) Low-carbon emissions require new, alternative forms of energy. Clearly, Europe’s energy dependency and the damage that the exploitation of hydrocarbons has caused to the global ecosystem are such that we need a common 40-year European strategy for the energy future of Europe. That is the subject of this particular report, which I voted in favour of. For Greece, this debate is vitally important. In the new technological revolution taking place, especially in the western world, my country, with its rich sun and wind resources, can take the vanguard. The economic crisis gripping Greece at present should not disorientate us; on the contrary, it should encourage us to make haste and make use – and not a moment too soon – of our comparative advantages in the alternative energy sector, for the benefit of Greece, for the benefit of society and for the benefit of the environment. In addition to its huge environmental benefits, this is a sector that, according to all the signs, will be the new driving force for growth.
Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. – (PT) I voted for this report on a Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050, as it is aimed at achieving a Europe with a cutting edge, high-tech industry, and with highly skilled professionals creating the products that we need, using fewer resources and emitting less CO2 in the process. The measures set out in this report contribute towards a genuine ‘green economy’.
Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. – (RO) Around 90 parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, including emerging economies, which are collectively responsible for more than 80% (EU 11%) of global emissions, have made unilateral declarations concerning quantified economy-wide emission reduction targets, albeit not legally binding. If these targets were to become binding, it is vital for national circumstances to be taken into account, along with the pressure which may come to be exerted on the budget. I call on the European Commission to carry out an in-depth assessment at the level of each Member State of the impact of the new carbon reduction targets on the economy, competitiveness and the European labour market, as well as an assessment of the equivalence of the measures adopted by other developed countries, in the context of international negotiations.
Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. – (PT) I would congratulate the Commission on the ‘Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050’ that it has presented. Despite requiring major investment in sectors such as technology and green transport, infrastructure such as smart electricity grids and environmental protection, this programme is set to be an asset in the long term. It is our responsibility to show leadership by reducing CO2 emissions, even if our actions alone are not enough to halt the process of global warming. We should therefore aspire for Europe to have cutting-edge, high-tech industry, with highly skilled professionals creating the products that we need, using fewer resources and emitting less CO2 in the process. Finally, it should be noted that there is a need to revise the emissions trading system, so that prices recover to the levels set out when the legislation was adopted, and in order to avoid so-called ‘carbon leakage’ or the possibility that some companies may leave Europe in order to avoid higher costs resulting from the measures taken to reduce CO2 emissions.
Evelyn Regner (S&D), in writing. − (DE) I decided to vote against this report, which contains several positive and necessary proposals for combating climate change at European level, without threatening the competitiveness of European businesses, by bundling together a package of measures. However, despite several commitments from the EU to a withdrawal from nuclear energy generation, this report contains a number of indirect and explicit statements that portray nuclear power as a solution for carbon-free or low-carbon energy production. I find this an anathema, both personally and politically.
Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − Abstention. Although some good things were saved in the text, that is; endorses the Commission’s Roadmap together with its trajectory, the specific milestones for domestic emission reductions of 40 %, 60 % and 80 % for 2030, 2040 and 2050 respectively, and the ranges for sector-specific milestones, as the basis for proposing legislative and other initiatives on economic and climate policy; [trajectory implies 25% domestic reductions for 2020; acknowledges that 20 % energy efficiency would mean internal reduction of 25 % or more by 2020, and that, according to the RM, less ambitious approach would result in significantly higher costs; or recognises current 20 % climate target is not on a cost-effective pathway towards 2050; among others) it also kept very bad aspects, being the most damaging the no explicit call for move to a 30% (RCV AM1/2: 232/383/15), or 25% domestic (RCV AM1/1: 241/378/11) EU target for 2020 and the fact that Member States should have widest possible means of achieving low-carbon electricity generation (including renewable energy sources, nuclear power, use of carbon capture and storage technology, and sustainably produced biomass) RCVpara72/2: 357/238/x).
Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. – (IT) With this vote, the European Union will be in a position to continue investing in processes that use energy and resources in a much more efficient way. Europe must proceed down the path of the competitive economy, even if its decision-making process is often too slow. The European Union can develop and exercise enduring leadership that is destined to endure only by reducing CO2 emissions and substantially increasing investment to create a cutting-edge industrial sector.
Andreas Schwab (PPE), in writing. − (DE) The common trade policy of the European Union must recognise the interests of workers in all Member States: this group makes a decisive contribution to the prosperity and welfare of Europeans. Against this background, the latest developments at the level of the World Trade Organisation are very much to be welcomed for all Europeans. Europe, India, China and the USA and all of South America can only cooperate in a spirit of partnership in this one world if we have open markets. This is why the forthcoming proposal for implementing the Government Procurement Agreement must serve the objective of open markets – based on the principle of independence.
Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. – (IT) Although we are discussing an own-initiative document, the report is responding to a strategy document issued by the Commission in March 2011, in which it set out an ambitious European course for reducing greenhouse gas emissions after 2020: to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030 and by 60% by 2040, in order to arrive at a reduction of 80-95% by 2050. The draft report by Mr Davies proposes to put forward requirements more stringent than those outlined by the Commission; in particular a 25% climate target for 2020 and binding European targets for 2030 and beyond, quite apart from a global climate agreement. Moreover, the report maintains that the Commission must intervene in the current regulatory arrangements of the Emissions Trading System from now until 2020, by withdrawing emissions allowances from the market or increasing the annual linear reduction requirement for emissions at the European level. Both measures, if introduced, would in fact involve an amendment of the decisions taken by Member States regarding Europe’s commitments in the battle against climate change from now to 2020. With this explanation of vote, I wish to express my opposition to amendments that are more stringent than the commitments already entered into as regards reducing emissions by 2020.
Catherine Stihler (S&D), in writing. − I voted this way because I believe that unspent carbon capture and storage (CCS) funds from the European Economic Recovery Programme should be reallocated to other CCS projects. Furthermore I am not convinced by the environmental benefits of incorporating nuclear into our low-carbon energy future.
Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The Commission has issued a communication entitled ‘Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050’, which is aimed at new public policies enabling specific targets to be hit as regards 40%, 60% and 80% cuts in domestic energy emissions by 2030, 2040 and 2050 respectively. I am voting for this report because I believe that climate change is a key long-term issue for economic and social well-being, and that it therefore requires the adoption of coherent measures at EU level and in terms of international policy. In order to take an integrated approach to the area of renewable energy and climate change for the 2014-2020 period, I consider it vital to establish a strong synergy between the Structural Funds that stem from cohesion policy and the new research and innovation programme, called ‘Horizon 2020’. I would also like to stress that financial attention should be given to the outermost regions, as they need to invest heavily in order to achieve greater energy efficiency.
Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted in favour of the Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050. I voted to set interim greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for 2030 and 2040, but voted against the call for them to follow a linear trajectory as these reductions involve medium- and long-term investments, and the effect is not linear. I voted to introduce a long-term target for reducing the energy consumption of EU building stock by 2050 and to continue to give support for investments in other forms of low-carbon energy generation. I voted against paragraph 24 (item b) which calls for the 1.74% annual linear reduction rate, envisaged by the ETS Directive, to be modified in order to meet the requirements of the CO2 reduction target by 2050. I voted for Amendment 10 which calls for the assurance that none of the measures proposed will reduce the level of allowances for sectors that may be prone to carbon dioxide leakage according to Decision 2011/278/EU. I voted for Amendment 24 which removes the recognition of the contribution made by nuclear energy to meeting the current 20% reduction target for CO2 emissions by 2020.
Rafał Trzaskowski (PPE), in writing. − (PL) I voted against the report because, although the objectives were very ambitious, they were extremely unrealistic. We should move towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions, but not in a way that imposes very high costs on a few Member States. In addition, the EU’s climate obligations after 2020 should be dependent on a legally binding global agreement; otherwise we are in danger of creating consequences that are very different from those that were intended.
Dominique Vlasto (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted for this report establishing an ambitious and realistic Roadmap to reconcile competitiveness with the fight against global warming. In terms of decarbonising the economy, Europe is setting a good example but it cannot act alone. The emissions generated by one country have an impact on all mankind. There are no barriers to stop pollution and action must urgently be taken on a global scale. This concerns various fields: energy, transport, industry, housing, agriculture. An integrated approach is therefore needed in order to create the conditions for true green growth. The fight against global warming is dependent on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy transition with a view to progressively eliminating the use of fossil fuels and more responsible behaviour. We will not achieve all of this in a matter of years, but I believe that, in the long term, sustained efforts are required, as we will pay a greater price if we wait, and we cannot compromise when it comes to protecting our planet and our environment. In my view, we must rely on innovation and research to produce alternative energy sources and support companies and households in this crusade against global warming.
Josef Weidenholzer (S&D), in writing. − (DE) I decided to vote against this report because it contains a number of indirect and explicit statements that portray nuclear power as a solution for carbon-free or low-carbon energy production. I find this an anathema, both personally and politically. The EU should commit itself to a withdrawal from nuclear energy production and reduce greenhouse gases by promoting renewable energies. Until now, market fundamentalists have had the upper hand in determining European climate policy. This has meant that necessary developments in the energy sector have been hampered and neglected for far too long. This situation has to change. Renewable energy should be at the centre of European climate policy. We need to be more courageous!
Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) Once again, we are facing a market-facing approach in the so-called transition to a low-carbon economy. Given energy consumption and the flows and patterns thereof, issues such as the production and trading models currently in force, as well as free trade and its impact on the relocation of production, are insufficiently addressed in this report. Some examples of this market-facing approach are that it focuses on private transport, advocates a Single European Sky and includes this sector in the emissions trading system.
Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. – (PT) I am voting for this report in view of the recent events in the Netherlands, where the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) has created a website encouraging citizens to complain about immigrants, and I urge the Prime Minister, Mr Rutte to condemn this deplorable initiative on behalf of the Dutch Government and to distance himself from it. This situation should now be used to emphasise the obligation of all EU governments to guarantee the rights of free movement and non-discrimination, so it is important that the Council also formally condemn this initiative by the PVV, since it is an affront to European values and principles. EU enlargement has had a very positive impact on European economies and has made an important contribution to sustained economic growth in the EU, including the Netherlands.
Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. − I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution on discriminatory Internet sites and government reactions. At the beginning of February, the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) launched an Internet site calling on people to report complaints arising from the ‘massive labour migration’ of ‘Central or Eastern European citizens’, in particular Poles, Romanians and Bulgarians and asking people whether they have experienced any problems in terms of anti-social behaviour and whether they have lost their jobs to one of those citizens. This attitude is not acceptable; it represents clear discrimination against European citizens and goes against fundamental freedoms, European values of human dignity, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights and risks destroying the very basis of the Union, which is pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and freedom of movement. I support the European Parliament’s call on the Commission and the Council to do their utmost to stop the spread of xenophobic attitudes such as those expressed on this website and to ensure the effective implementation of the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia in all Member States.
Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) The Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) has caused controversy over these last few weeks because of its xenophobic remarks. The party’s website encouraged the Dutch people to complain about Eastern Europeans living in their country. In this resolution, we have strongly condemned the remarks on this site as we believe it undermines the free movement of persons and openly incites discrimination against European Union workers from Central and Eastern European countries. I have firmly and without hesitating taken a position against the PVV hotline, which places online clearly ill-intentioned remarks and goes against our fundamental European values of human dignity, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.
Zoltán Bagó (PPE), in writing. − (HU) I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution on discriminatory Internet sites and government reactions submitted by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) because I find all forms of discrimination and xenophobia condemnable. The Dutch complaint website openly incites hostility within Europe and encourages negative opinions about people on the basis of their nationality. This is incompatible with the values and goals of the European Union. Furthermore, I agree with and would like to highlight the idea in the resolution that such an initiative could set a precedent across Europe and could even give rise to similar initiatives in response. It is, therefore, very important that the website’s operation is stopped as soon as possible. The institutions of the European Union, Member State governments and civil organisations must jointly respond to the economic, political and social challenges presented by migration within the EU. Citizens must be made aware of the advantages of migration between Member States and that even though each nation has its own unique culture and history we still all represent European principles and values.
Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution. The free movement of EU citizens is one of the main freedoms enshrined in the EU Treaties, and EU Member States have made a commitment not to discriminate against people who have come from other Member States and are living and working in their countries. The online hotline set up by the Dutch Freedom Party for complaints about workers that have come from Central and Eastern European countries is fundamentally contrary to basic EU values and violates human dignity, freedom and the principles of equality on which the European Union is based. From the debates that have taken place in plenary and the condemnation of this initiative expressed in solidarity by the leaders of the political groups, it is clear that actions that encourage setting the people of the EU against one another and the promotion of hatred will not be tolerated in the Union. I believe that the citizens of certain EU Member States must not be considered an underclass and the governments of the Member States must ensure that any actions promoting racist or xenophobic manifestations are strictly forbidden.
Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. – (PT) European integration is based on the principles of freedom of movement of citizens, including the free movement of workers, who enjoy protection from discrimination on the grounds of nationality, race or ethnic origin. The Member States therefore have an obligation to ensure that all EU citizens can live and work in Europe, without being discriminated against in any way. At the beginning of February, the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) in the Netherlands launched an Internet hotline calling on people to report complaints arising from the ‘massive labour migration’ of ‘Central or Eastern European citizens’, thereby openly urging discrimination against EU workers from the countries of central and eastern Europe, and attacking their freedom of movement. This resolution, for which I voted, calls on the Netherlands Prime Minister to condemn and distance himself from this initiative, and calls on the Council to formally condemn the PVV hotline, since it is an affront to European values and principles. It calls on the Commission and the Council to do their utmost to stop the spread of xenophobic attitudes, and to ensure the effective implementation of the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia in all Member States.
Bastiaan Belder (EFD), in writing. – (NL) I abstained from the vote on the motion for a resolution concerning the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV)’s website for reporting nuisance caused by Central and Eastern Europeans. I did so because it is not up to the European Parliament to pronounce a legal judgment on the reporting website, as the resolution seems to want to do. The European Parliament cannot just appoint itself to the bench. I am no fan of this website. It is good for nuisance problems to be tackled, but that is a matter for the police and the justice system. Making a distinction by nationality or ethnic background when dealing with such matters is not good. People are equal before the law. This can also give the impression that Eastern Europeans are predominantly responsible for nuisance. That is a one-sided impression, and it is one that is unjust on these, our fellow European Union citizens, who more often than not work very hard on conditions less favourable than those of Dutch workers. However, I do not endorse the European Parliament’s resolution because it is neither balanced nor nuanced.
Ivo Belet (PPE), in writing. – (NL) The purpose of this ‘reporting’ website is doubtless to stir up a row and pour scorn on people in order to gain attention or to distract attention from other issues. We all know that the originators of this website are anti-European and that they do not shrink from using whatever resources it takes to give a bad impression of the European integration project. This website is reprehensible, as it encourages xenophobia and is therefore in contravention of the Treaty. As Commissioner Reding correctly said, the Commission and the Dutch Government must investigate whether the instigators of this website have broken the law as a result. For the rest, I would suggest that we completely ignore all future (contemptuous) initiatives by this party, as that is the only way to deny them the media attention that they are currently so thoroughly enjoying.
Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) This is a simply scandalous website that we have no choice but to condemn. At the beginning of February 2012 the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) launched an Internet hotline openly calling on people to report complaints arising from the ‘massive labour migration’ of ‘Central or Eastern European citizens’. In contempt of the most fundamental rights and with a clearly discriminatory aim, this site is quite simply unacceptable. In order to combat this kind of dangerous drift in democracy and to reaffirm our fight against racism and xenophobia, we have adopted a political resolution condemning this website. Blatant undermining of the free movement of persons and open incitement to discrimination have no place in the European Union. The Prime Minister must also disassociate himself clearly and swiftly from this deplorable initiative. The Commission and the Council, for their part, must immediately cooperate to curb the propagation of this kind of behaviour, which tarnishes our values and the European project.
Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament resolution because we must stop the creation of websites or hotlines discriminating against workers in other EU Member States. We must defend the free movement of workers and we cannot allow the creation in the European Union labour market of an underclass of workers that faces discrimination. The actions of the Dutch Freedom Party – establishing a website discriminating against workers from Central and Eastern Europe – are deplorable. Official data clearly shows that workers who have come from Central and Eastern Europe contribute to the growth of the Dutch economy through their work and contribute to this country’s budget through the taxes that they pay. Both the Netherlands and all other EU Member States must respect the free movement of workers because this freedom brings benefits for citizens of all EU Member States. The free movement of workers is one of the most important European Union values and therefore all workers must have the same rights, must be ensured the same pay for the same work and enjoy the same working conditions. We must not allow the creation of an underclass of workers that faces discrimination and does not enjoy any rights or guarantees. If we do, we will be trampling on all the social standards we gained previously.
Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) This website obviously provides a platform for instigating discrimination and even hatred based on nationality. I believe that Articles 18 and 19 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union have been violated. These articles stipulate that any form of discrimination based on citizenship or ethnic origin is prohibited. Furthermore, according to the second paragraph of Article 4(3) of the Treaty on European Union, Member States must take any general or particular measure to ensure fulfilment of the obligations arising out of the Treaties or resulting from the acts of the institutions of the Union (such as the Framework Directive concerning racism and xenophobia). I think that we are faced with blatant discrimination which institutions in the Netherlands are doing nothing about. In addition, the discrimination has the tacit approval of the Dutch Government. This is why the situation is unacceptable. In fact, the European Commission should adopt a very clear stance on initiating infringement proceedings and send a strong message indicating that such acts are not tolerated and that the Treaties must be respected, regardless of the colour of the national flag or the political hue of the government. Otherwise, we will only encourage this kind of behaviour, and governments will be able to hide behind someone else. That is when the Commission will start to lose control of the situation.
Arkadiusz Tomasz Bratkowski (PPE), in writing. − (PL) A great deal of controversy has been caused by the initiative of 8 February 2012 of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV). Its highly negative and discriminatory nature stems from the possibility to post anonymous complaints against citizens of Central and Eastern European states who are working in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This initiative is the work of a political party with an aggressively populist programme, but the present minority government is dependent on its support in parliament and has concluded an agreement regarding support for the cabinet. The PVV initiative itself precludes any constructive dialogue about the migration of workers from Central and Eastern Europe and fails to resolve any underlying problems such as widespread bad practice in short-term employment agencies. There are already, within the Dutch administrative system, appropriate institutions that are examining all reports and complaints in an impartial manner, without focusing on any ethnic group. In this light, there is no justification for the PVV to usurp these rights and to duplicate the activities of existing state structures. The Netherlands is a beneficiary of the free movement of people, goods and services throughout the European Union. The PVV initiative is strengthening stereotypes of Polish workers in the Netherlands, which are contradicted by the facts – the Dutch economy gains real benefit from their work. For this reason I am counting on EU institutions to come forward with specific measures and on a public and critical response by the Dutch Government to the PVV action, which would demonstrate its constructive approach to developing bilateral relations with Poland.
Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. - (CS) I would like to add my voice to the majority in the European Parliament condemning the website set up by the PVV party, as it contradicts the fundamental European values of human dignity, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, and threatens the very essence of the Union, which is comprised of non-discriminatory treatment and freedom of movement. The PVV website has the clear intention of dividing society and achieving political gain at the expense of workers from Central and Eastern Europe. The Dutch Government must clearly condemn and distance itself from this regrettable initiative. We, however, must emphasise the duty of all EU governments to uphold the right to free movement and the right to non-discriminatory treatment. In my opinion, there should be an investigation into whether this initiative amounts to an incitement of hatred. There can be no doubt that workers from the countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007 had a positive impact on the economies of Member States and did not cause any fundamental disruption to their labour markets, but on the contrary contributed to the long-term economic growth of the EU. The Commission and the Council should do their utmost to halt the spread of xenophobic ideas such as those expressed on this website, and to ensure effective implementation of the framework agreement on racism and xenophobia in all Member States.
Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The Internet hotline launched by the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) openly incites discrimination against EU workers from central and eastern European countries. I believe that this website jeopardises the fundamental European values of human dignity, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. I do not understand why the Dutch Government has remained silent, when it should already have condemned this initiative, thereby enabling it to live up to its role as one of the founding Member States of the EU, underpinned by a set of fundamental values, including the protection of human dignity, non-discrimination, tolerance, pluralism, solidarity and justice. The economic and political climate of recent years cannot serve as an excuse for fuelling the growing resurgence of xenophobic radicalisation and extremism that have been gathering strength in western Europe over the last decade. This has taken shape in speeches against immigration and multiculturalism, inter alia, using social networks, the Internet and online tools – in what is called digital populism – as means of fostering hatred and racist feeling.
Corina Crețu (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted in favour of the resolution because this website targeted against East European workers is symptomatic of the anti-European direction the Netherlands is going in. This also includes the zealous refusal to allow Romania and Bulgaria to join the Schengen area and the efforts being made by the Dutch minister for asylum and immigration to obtain support from other Member States in favour of tightening European immigration legislation. The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte refers to the fact that this site is an initiative launched by a political party and not by his government. However, tolerance of such actions is a clear indication that his government is tacitly encouraging them and accepting views which are contrary to the spirit of European integration and the values which the European Union has been built on. It cannot be said that this is an internal matter for the Netherlands as long as there is a clear sign of hostility involved against the citizens of 10 EU countries.
Cornelis de Jong (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (NL) Today I voted against the resolution on discriminatory Internet sites and government reactions. Although I profoundly disapprove of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV)’s website due to its discriminatory nature, the resolution as a whole is one-sided. Of course, the influx of migrant workers from Central and Eastern Europe is a tricky business. That was also shown by the investigation by the Lower Chamber of the Dutch parliament’s temporary commission Lessen uit recente arbeidsmigratie [Lessons from recent labour migration]. The resolution fails to mention these problems and therefore also fails to provide any solutions, while it is precisely at European level that cooperation is needed in order to face these problems.
Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. – (PT) I voted for this resolution as it strongly condemns the content of the website launched by the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV). I believe that the information on this website runs counter to the fundamental European values of human dignity, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, and seeks to denigrate the principles underpinning the EU itself.
Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. – (PT) It is an indisputable fact that the Internet now has a public role, influencing not only daily life but also mass movements, political initiatives and communication strategies. Although I recognise that the use and ongoing management of the Internet should be kept private, I believe that the Member States cannot opt out of a present and active regulatory role, particularly with a view to avoiding abuses and violations of the rights of citizens, as may be the case with the aforementioned Dutch sites, which urge discrimination on the grounds of nationality.
João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) The far-right Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), which is part of the coalition government in the Netherlands, has created a website which calls for citizens to make complaints about the ‘massive labour migration’ of ‘Central or Eastern European citizens’, in particular Poles, Romanians and Bulgarians.
This resolution condemns this attitude and calls upon the Dutch Prime Minister to condemn and distance himself from this act. It also calls on the Council to formally condemn the website, and urges the Netherlands authorities ‘not to turn a blind eye to the policies of the [PVV]’, which it believes ‘are in contradiction with fundamental EU values’.
The fact is that we are facing something very serious: namely, the growth of xenophobic forces and the far right in the EU. This is inextricably linked to the crisis of capitalism, to the failure of EU policies and to their tragic social consequences. While criticism and condemnation are vital, we should not forget that this should also apply to the policies creating the breeding ground for this type of ideology. Some of these should definitely be consigned to the dustbin of history.
Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. - (SK) At the beginning of February, the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) set up the hotline ‘Meldpunt Midden en Oost Europeanen’ and called on people to report complaints relating to ‘mass immigration from Central or Eastern Europe’, especially of Poles, Romanians and Bulgarians. The hotline is particularly interested in whether people have encountered problems of antisocial behaviour, or have lost jobs due to these people.
Article 21 of the TFEU, however, enshrines the free movement of citizens in the EU, whilst the free movement of workers is enshrined in Article 45 of the TFEU. The EU is based on the values of democracy and the principles of the rule of law and unconditional respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, as set out in the Charter of Fundamental rights of the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights.
The PVV hotline, however, openly incites discrimination against workers from EU Member States in Central and Eastern Europe, and creates barriers between the communities in Dutch society. I firmly believe that such behaviour is reprehensible, as it violates the basic European values of human dignity, liberty, equality, the principles of the rule of law and respect for human rights, and risks destroying the very essence of the Union, which is comprised of plurality, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and freedom of movement. With this fact in mind, it is the duty of all EU Member State governments to guarantee the rights of freedom of movement and non-discrimination.
Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D), in writing. − (PL) In the Netherlands in February, the anti-immigration party of Geert Wilders – the PVV – launched an Internet portal on which complaints and denunciations can be posted regarding the behaviour of economic migrants from Central and Eastern Europe, particularly against Poles. This is an exceptionally disturbing development. The creators of the portal claim that this is just a tool against negative behaviour such as crime, alcoholism, drug addiction or littering which have allegedly increased since May 2007, when the Netherlands opened its labour market to the new EU Member States, including Poland. The portal strikes at one of the pillars of the EU, which is the free movement of people, and it is discriminatory, since it is directed exclusively against specific nations. It is also potentially dangerous as it encourages hostile behaviour and provokes fear among the Dutch population. Mark Rutte, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, has refused to comment on this matter, stating that the portal arose as the expression of the views of a single political party and that the minority government has not entered into a coalition with that party as regards European issues.
Europe is a region of freedom where every citizen should feel safe and equal irrespective of their place of residence. Openly encouraging intolerance and mutual hatred on the basis of subjective views posted on a website is unacceptable in a free Europe. I would therefore ask for practical measures to be taken quickly to outlaw the existing portal and to ban the creation of similar initiatives in the future.
Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing. – (FR) Why is the title of this resolution in the plural? This text is aimed at only one Internet site, that of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), and only one government, the Dutch Government, which is refusing to condemn it. The PVV is trying to prove today that, after having campaigned against EU enlargement in its time, its analysis was correct by calling for concrete testimonies from citizens. This is being hailed as a site for denunciation. It exposes discrimination against Eastern European citizens. However, let us say this straight away: for all your talk of promoting freedom of expression and freedom of opinion in Russia or in Africa, you are quick to put up barriers to it in Europe. Here, the only opinions we are allowed to express are that the European Union is wonderful, that the single currency is a source of prosperity, that the accession of Turkey, Morocco and Uzbekistan is an exciting prospect and that immigration is, invariably, an opportunity, even if it ruins the host countries and destroys the competences of the countries of origin. The one-thought police are watching. Its chief of police, Mr Verhofstadt, even has a foolproof solution to ensure that we all conform to political correctness: banning opposition parties. He did it in his own country. Well, that is indeed democracy!
Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. – (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament resolution because the European Union is founded on the values of democracy and the rule of law, and on unequivocal respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, as enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and in the ECHR. The Member States have an obligation to all EU citizens to ensure that they are not discriminated against or stigmatised when living and working across Europe. The PVV hotline openly incites discrimination against European Union workers from Central and Eastern European countries and is creating divisions between communities in Dutch society, and this cannot be tolerated. This website undermines the free movement of persons and the right to non-discrimination. We must nurture the fundamental European values of human dignity, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. The website risks destroying the very basis of the Union, which is pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and freedom of movement.
Filip Kaczmarek (PPE), in writing. − (PL) I voted in favour of the resolution on discriminatory Internet sites and government reactions. I believe that the Dutch Government should act in a decisive manner and condemn the website created by the Freedom Party (PVV). This portal encourages the posting of complaints and denunciations against citizens from Central and Eastern Europe living in that country. Such action is openly discriminatory. Acting in accordance with the resolution, the Dutch Government should consider whether an invitation to post complaints does not in fact lead to hatred and discrimination. It is right that we recognised in the text of the resolution that this website breaches fundamental European values such as human dignity, freedom and equality as well as respect for the rule of law and human rights. The Dutch Government should not turn a blind eye to the populist games of the Freedom Party. They are contrary to the fundamental values of the European Union. In the resolution we call on the European Commission and the Council to become seriously involved in halting xenophobic attitudes like those instigated by the Dutch Freedom Party. Both institutions should focus on ensuring that the framework decision on combating racism and xenophobia should be properly implemented in all Member States.
Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. – (IT) The case of the Dutch Freedom Party (PPV) not only represents a grave violation of the rights enshrined in our Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union but also requires us to reflect on those political actions that run contrary to European principles. The strong condemnation of the PPV’s initiative, which invited people to post complaints about immigrants from central and eastern Europe on a website specially created for the purpose, is a sign that Parliament wants to take action against those who do not respect the values of democracy, solidarity and transparency on which our Union is founded. This educational and cultural programme aimed at transmitting European values must therefore be carried through if such actions are not to happen again.
Marian-Jean Marinescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) Today’s vote in Parliament allowed a firm attitude to be adopted, condemning the initiative of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), which has launched a xenophobic website where Dutch citizens are encouraged to make complaints against East European citizens in the Netherlands, especially against Romanians, Bulgarians and Poles. The responses from the Commission and Council have been muted so far. I hope that this resolution will spur these institutions on to take all the necessary steps to stop such attitudes being promoted, which flagrantly contravene the EU’s fundamental values. We have used this resolution to call on the Netherlands Government to distance itself from this discriminatory action which is creating a serious precedent.
This discriminatory attitude is backed up by the refusal to allow Romania and Bulgaria to join the Schengen area. In this context, the Netherlands Government must reconsider immediately its attitude to the accession of both states to Schengen and bear in mind the conclusions from the European Council meetings held on 24 June 2011 and 1-2 March 2012, which reaffirm that Romania and Bulgaria have met all the Schengen acquis criteria. Similarly, the Commission, as the guardian of the Treaties, must verify the compatibility of the Netherlands’ legislation with the relevant European legislation relating to acts which instigate xenophobia and intolerance.
David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this Resolution, which strongly condemns the website launched by the PVV, as it goes against the fundamental European values of human dignity, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights and risks destroying the very basis of the Union, which is pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and freedom of movement, and considers the PVV hotline as an ill-intentioned initiative aimed at creating divisions within society and obtaining political gain to the detriment of workers from Central and Eastern Europe. I also call on Prime Minister Mark Rutte, on behalf of the Dutch Government, to condemn and distance himself from this deplorable initiative.
Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. – (FR) We are facing not only the simple undermining of free movement but also unacceptable stigmatisation. The website set up by Geert Wilders’ party allowing citizens to anonymously denounce foreign workers by explicitly targeting Central and Eastern European workers encourages confusion. It encourages the rejection of others. Intolerance is hidden behind the mask of anonymity. I am extremely surprised and shocked by the lack of reaction from Mark Rutte. Has he forgotten Article 1 of the Dutch constitution which bans discrimination and declares equality for all citizens living on Dutch soil? Has he forgotten the European values of tolerance? Or is he so afraid of losing the support of Geert Wilders’ party that he would turn a blind eye and a deaf ear? Has he forgotten that as a politician his role is precisely to promote living together? Has he forgotten that it is his duty to guarantee European citizens their right to live and work peacefully in the Netherlands? Or is he hiding behind strategic political considerations to the detriment of the common good? To not condemn this degrading initiative is to support it. It is his duty to react.
Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. – (PT) I voted for this resolution, as it condemns the website launched by the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), which goes against the fundamental values upon which Europe was founded. The incitement of hatred and racist sentiments is something that should be rejected. The silence of the Dutch Government is incomprehensible, and demonstrates the need for the Member States to play an active regulatory role, in order to prevent violations of fundamental values such as human dignity, freedom and equality. They should also impose respect for fundamental rights and ensure compliance with the very values upon which the EU was founded: pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice and solidarity.
Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − At the beginning of February, the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) launched an Internet hotline ‘Meldpunt Midden en Oost Europeanen’, calling on people to report complaints arising from the ‘massive labour migration’ of ‘Central or Eastern European citizens’, in particular Poles, Romanians and Bulgarians; people are asked, in particular, whether they have experienced any problems in terms of anti-social behaviour and whether they have lost their jobs to one of those citizens. I strongly disagree with such practices as they go against the fundamental European values of human dignity, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights and risk destroying the very basis of the Union, which is pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and freedom of movement.
Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. − (DE) In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party (PVV) recently launched a website that is intended as a ‘forum’ for Dutch people to discuss their experiences, both positive and negative, with Eastern Europeans in a professional capacity. This is intended to offer citizens a way to pass on this information directly to their public representatives, specifically those from the PVV, who can then incorporate this information in their work. Because the opening up of the labour markets in Western European Member States has led to a dramatic influx of Eastern European workers, it is easy to understand the thought behind this step by the PVV. However, the website should not be used to name and shame individual citizens. Privacy must be respected. I did not vote in favour of the report, as I believe that the question of how to deal with this website is purely a national issue and should be examined within the Netherlands.
Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. − (LT) I come from Lithuania, which has been a member of the European Union for eight years. Unfortunately to Western Europe we are still ‘new Member States’ and our citizens are considered second-class Europeans. It is a shame that political parties in EU Member States are also doing this and that the countries’ governments do not oppose it. We declare that the European Union’s values are pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance and solidarity. Unfortunately, for many it is more convenient not to promote these values and to ensure compliance with them, but to play to the gallery, promoting hatred on grounds of nationality. I condemn such a policy and call on the Dutch Government to stop the rhetoric, which is becoming increasingly bitter and may grow into real violence at any time.
Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. – (PT) This European Parliament resolution on discriminatory websites and government measures represents Parliament’s reaction to a website launched by the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), containing xenophobic statements. I voted for this resolution, as I too consider it necessary to stop the spread of xenophobic attitudes such as those expressed on this website. I support the call for the Council to ensure the effective implementation of the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia in all Member States.
Franck Proust (PPE), in writing. – (FR) We have built the European Union on a foundation of values. They may be called into question at any time. As MEPs, it is our duty to defend them. I therefore voted in favour of this resolution because it is inconceivable that in Europe a government would fail to take measures against private initiatives aimed at inciting racial hatred and xenophobia. That is what is happening in the Netherlands. The government must quickly condemn the websites put in place by their partners in the Freedom Party (PVV). Furthermore, this extreme-right party is openly claiming ownership of these websites. Many questions will need to be asked.
Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The launch of an Internet hotline calling on people to report complaints arising from the ‘massive labour migration’ of ‘Central or Eastern European citizens’, promoted by the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) in the Netherlands, represents a direct affront to the values and principles upon which the EU is founded, and should therefore be firmly repudiated and publicly condemned. I therefore voted for this resolution, supporting the call for the Netherlands Government to formally condemn this deplorable and malicious initiative.
Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − In favour of the resolution. As my colleague Cornelissen stated before, this opprobrious website, which actively promotes discrimination and xenophobic attitudes against EU citizens who are exercising their right under EU law to live and work in another member state, should be roundly condemned, particularly by the Dutch government. The EP has today spoken up in favour of core EU values but all EU governments should also do so. It is regrettable that Dutch prime minister Rutte lacks the gumption to condemn this website and defend the rights and values on which the European Union is founded. EU citizens have the right to move, live, study and work wherever in the EU they like and should be welcomed, not discriminated against.
Joanna Senyszyn (S&D), in writing. − (PL) I voted in favour of the resolution concerning discrimination against workers from Central and Eastern Europe in the Netherlands. As co-author of the resolution, I would like to thank those Dutch people who have criticised the actions of the Dutch Freedom Party as going too far in their xenophobic ambitions and who are looking forward to the closure of the website, and also my fellow Members in Parliament for condemning the anti-immigration portal. In this Parliament we are united by the idea that all people are equal. We do not agree with expressions of hatred, intolerance, discrimination and exclusion spoken under populist banners. The facts show that at present the principal place where discrimination is disseminated is the media, particularly the Internet, which provides anonymity. The Internet has become a very important channel of communication which makes it possible to plan and carry out actions in the real world. We must turn this situation to our advantage. For this reason our governments must take practical steps: to ensure that national laws make it possible to prosecute when crimes are committed on-line; to create or extend educational programmes in schools, so that they cover these issues, including a European community/education campaign aimed at encouraging social openness to immigrants as well as assurances that actions aimed at combating crime do not threaten freedom of speech.
Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. – (IT) At the beginning of February, the Dutch Freedom Party (PPV) launched an Internet hotline for complaints, called Meldpunt Midden en Oost Europeanen, calling on people to report complaints arising from the ‘massive labour migration’ of ‘Central and Eastern European citizens’. All this is in defiance of the free movement of citizens in the European Union. With this vote, we strongly condemn the website launched by the PVV, as it goes against the fundamental European values of human dignity, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, and risks destroying the very basis of the Union, which is pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and freedom of movement. It is also important that the Dutch Government take action and investigate whether this initiative has resulted in an incitement to hatred.
Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) has launched a website with the aim of inciting citizens to complain about the ‘massive labour migration’ of people from central or eastern Europe, in particular Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. However, according to Article 21 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, ‘Every citizen of the Union shall have the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States, subject to the limitations and conditions laid down in the Treaties and by the measures adopted to give them effect’. I agree with this statement, and I strongly condemn the actions of the PVV and demand that the Dutch Government and the Commission intervene to tackle this xenophobic attitude voiced by a political party.
Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted for the resolution on discriminatory Internet sites and government reactions because the right to protection against discrimination on the grounds of nationality and against discrimination on the grounds of race or ethnic origin is stipulated in Articles 18 and 10 respectively of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In addition, Article 21 of TFEU is devoted to the free movement of citizens in the EU, while Article 45 of TFEU is devoted to the free movement of workers in the EU. We should point out that workers from the countries which joined the EU in 2004 and 2007 have had a positive impact on the economies of Member States, making a substantial contribution to the sustained economic growth in the EU, and have not caused any upset on the labour markets. We call on the Netherlands Government to reply promptly to the letters sent by the Commission concerning the relevant legislation, which could breach Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of Union citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States, and to comply with the requests expressed by the European Parliament in its resolutions. We call on the Commission and Council to make every effort to halt the spread of xenophobic attitudes like those expressed on the website being discussed, and to ensure that the Framework Directive concerning racism and xenophobia is implemented in every Member State.
Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE), in writing. − One of the fundamental pillars of the EU is freedom of movement of all EU citizens. Another is tolerance of cultural diversity, as ours is a continent with a very rich history. This is why it is the duty of the EP to condemn actions like the webpage created by the Freedom Party in the Netherlands. This webpage may be a catalyst for increasing xenophobia against other EU citizens, and it should be condemned by the government of the Netherlands and by the European Council.
Rafał Trzaskowski (PPE), in writing. − (PL) There is no doubt that the portal in question breaches the fundamental values on which the Europe of today is founded and recalls history’s most negative memories. The Dutch Government should immediately distance itself from and condemn all these practices. Its failure to do so is causing enormous damage to the image of its own country.
Johannes Cornelis van Baalen (ALDE), in writing. – (NL) The Dutch People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) rejects this resolution, which condemns the Netherlands on the basis of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV)’s website. The head of the VVD delegation, Hans van Baalen, has announced a double ‘no’. We are saying ‘no’ to the stigmatising and polarising PVV website, which sends a negative signal to willing workers from Central and Eastern Europe that harms the Netherlands and relations within the EU. The VVD groups in both this House and in the Lower Chamber of the Dutch parliament have therefore spoken out specifically against this website. Furthermore, the heads of the delegations of the VVD and Democrats 66 (D66), together with the chair of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, issued a statement as far back as 13 February this year. Problems need to be recognised and tackled, but this is not the way to do so. There thus cannot be any misunderstanding about the VVD’s position. We are also saying ‘no’ to this Parliament’s resolution RC7-0152/2012, which is completely disproportionate and also unfairly takes the Dutch Government to task. It is not up to the European Parliament to call the Dutch Government to order about a website for which it has no responsibility. That is a fundamental difference with the Hungarian legislation, which represents a violation of EU Treaties. That is not the issue here.
Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. − I voted in favour for a resolution that calls for an investigation by the Dutch authorities to condemn a Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) website which invites complaints against citizens from Central and Eastern Europe living in the Netherlands, because I believe it openly incites discrimination. This resolution demonstrates that the European Parliament does not tolerate any form of discrimination and calls on the European Commission and the Council to do their utmost to stop the spread of xenophobic attitudes like those expressed on this website. The resolution also calls for the Commission to ensure that the EU Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia is properly enforced in all EU countries.
Josef Weidenholzer (S&D), in writing. − (DE) Websites such as those of the right-wing populist Dutch Freedom Party are alarming indicators of the mood in Europe. We need to work together on a Europe based on tolerance and respect rather than exclusion and denunciations. Accordingly, such websites are to be clearly rejected and condemned. At the same time, it also shows how important it is to actively oppose discrimination – even on the Internet.
Roberts Zīle, (ECR), in writing. − (LV) The resolution on discriminatory internet sites and government reactions should definitely be supported, because a situation in which a political party on which the ruling coalition relies on for its majority in an EU Member State is openly opposed to the values on the basis of which the EU was created is unacceptable. Free movement of people and workers is one of the pillars of the EU Treaty, and in addition studies clearly show that the arrival of labour from the new EU Member States has had a positive influence on the economies of the ‘old’ Member States. I fully agree with the call in the resolution upon the Government of the Netherlands to condemn and distance itself from the actions of its partner party in setting up and maintaining an Internet site directed against the citizens of other EU Member States. In this context I was particularly concerned about the ever-increasing intolerance and lack of solidarity between EU Member States. The EU’s inability to subscribe to common values as a united bloc is reducing its influence in the world, and particularly in Eastern Europe, where Russia is trying to exploit the EU’s weakness in order to retain and increase its economic and political influence. Unfortunately, the response of the EU and its Member States to the real economic problems is, essentially, aimed in two fundamentally opposing directions: on the one hand, rapid federalisation of the EU is being promoted, all too often without taking into account the interests of the Member States, and on the other hand an anti-EU attitude, motivated by a narrow nationalism, is gathering strength in the Member States.
Zbigniew Ziobro (EFD), in writing. − (PL) The PVV’s xenophobic website deserves unequivocal and general condemnation. We cannot permit such behaviour in the European Union. The debate on this reprehensible idea is also a debate on the boundaries of free speech. Boundaries that, in this instance, have been brutally transgressed by prejudices stemming from fear. Unfortunately, the Dutch authorities too are unable to rid themselves of this fear. There is no clear condemnation of this website and its creators. This is even more serious since this is a breach of the statements adopted as part of EQUINET. This was created in order to strengthen measures supporting equal treatment on a European level. Today the Netherlands, a member of EQUINET, has quickly forgotten its obligations.
In Europe there is a certain dangerous tendency to restrict access to the common market by citizens of the new Member States. Truly awful ideas to suspend the Schengen area, to introduce limits on economic migrants from Central Europe or racist Internet websites; all of these are symptoms of the rotten mentality of their creators. Our reaction is therefore key. Commissioners Viviane Reding and Cecilia Malmström should have intervened in this matter long ago and should have considered the compliance of the translations and entries on the website with European Union law. It is my hope that the European Parliament will adopt the resolution condemning the website’s creators and will ask for it to be closed down. I also hope that our debate today will encourage the Prime Minister of Holland to rebuke his coalition partner.
Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) Europe has experienced the tragic consequences for its peoples of the rise and history of Nazism and fascism. Those who do not accept freedom cannot be tolerated, and the resurgence of xenophobic, racist, discriminatory and pro-fascist policies cannot be accepted, as they jeopardise democratic freedoms and rights. In view of this, we believe that it is vital to condemn the website created by the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), on which it urges public condemnation of what it calls ‘massive labour migration’. It is vital that we defend liberty and democracy, and that we do not return to the times when fascism promoted ethnic and xenophobic discrimination to explain the crisis of capitalism.
Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. – (PT) I am voting for this motion for a resolution. It is President Medvedev’s duty to ensure that his deeds match his words, and ensure the adoption of the necessary reforms of the political system. Moving in this direction means, for example, making the necessary simplifications to the rules governing the registration of political parties, and making a serious commitment to addressing the problems of media freedom and freedom of assembly and expression. In these areas, the EU should show its readiness to cooperate with Russia, in order to improve respect for human and fundamental rights. In order for this to happen, first and foremost, there needs to be constructive dialogue between the Russian authorities and the political parties represented in the State Duma and the pro-democracy opposition, in the interests of a comprehensive reform, transparency and democracy. In view of this, it would be advisable for the president-elect, Vladimir Putin, to tone down his rhetoric against the protestors and engage with them in genuine dialogue on the future of the country.
Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. − I support the aim of this motion for a resolution because it reiterates once again our concerns for the State Duma elections of last December and for the presidential elections held on 4 March. The OSCE preliminary conclusion of 5 March states that the electoral process had been distorted through shortcomings in the registration process for candidates and unequal and biased media coverage. The Russian Federation is a full member of the Council of Europe and the OSCE and has therefore committed itself to the principles of democracy. Therefore we ask for comprehensive analyses of all irregularities with a view to strengthening democratic rules for future elections. I also believe that President Vladimir Putin should engage with protestors in a sincere dialogue on the future of the country.
Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) After the events which took place in Russia, the fraud reported by the European observers on the ground during the presidential elections, we wanted to inform the Russian authorities that it would be more than desirable for them to change their electoral system. According to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, ‘the electoral process had been deeply skewed in favour of one candidate through shortcomings in the registration process for candidates, unequal and biased media coverage and the use of State resources in favour of one candidate’. The international observers attested to ballot stuffing and irregularities in one-third of the voting offices that were checked. We are calling, on the one hand, for the new Russian President to simplify the registration rules for political parties and, on the other, I think it is time for Vladimir Putin to engage in a ‘sincere dialogue’ with the protesters.
Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution. Russia has always been and continues to be a strategic partner and direct neighbour of the EU. As a member of the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Russia has therefore committed itself to respecting the universally accepted principles of democracy and the protection of human rights. The OSCE has expressed concern over the organisation and conduct of the Presidential elections held in Russia, particularly with regard to the cumbersome registration process for political parties and the limited number of candidates. I welcome the resolution’s call for the new Russian President to cooperate more closely with the EU in implementing the most important reforms and increasing the protection of human rights.
Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The EU, as Russia’s strategic partner and neighbour, has followed the election process and public debate with particular interest, as well as the widespread and ongoing protests relating to the presidential elections held on 4 March. Through demonstrations, the Russian people have expressed their will for more democracy and reform of the electoral system. The existence of shortcomings and irregularities in the preparation and conduct of these elections and the fact that voters’ choices were limited deserve criticism. It is therefore important to ensure the commitment of the Russian authorities to adopting the necessary reforms of the political system, welcoming the much-needed simplification of the rules governing the registration of political parties, as well as a serious commitment to respecting media freedom and freedom of expression. In view of this, the EU is expressing its readiness to cooperate with Russia, in order to improve respect for human and fundamental rights, as well as the effectiveness of an independent system of rule of law in Russia. I voted for this motion for a resolution because I believe that the measures therein will contribute to greater transparency and respect for democratic principles.
Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) Vladimir Putin’s victory in the first round of the presidential elections on 4 March signalling his return to the Kremlin after four years as Head of Government came as a surprise to no one. This vote, which was once again marred by fraud in spite of the installation of webcams that were supposed to ensure its smooth running, was a mockery of an election. The massive protest movement that has spread across Russia since the controversial legislative elections in December means that Vladimir Putin can no longer act as if the opposition did not exist. Twenty years after the fall of the Soviet regime, Vladimir Putin must listen to the opposition and implement the reforms needed for the transition to democracy and respect for human rights. It is for all of these reasons that I supported Parliament’s motion for a resolution on this subject, in which the European Union is calling on Russia to implement deep reforms to its political system and put in place a true rule of law.
Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The EU, as Russia’s strategic partner and direct neighbour, has been following the election process and the public debate, as well as the widespread protests that took place during the elections of last December and the presidential elections held on 4 March. The protestors have expressed their will for more democracy and a comprehensive reform of the electoral system. The existence of shortcomings and irregularities in the preparation and conduct of the presidential elections and the fact that voters’ choice was limited should be subject to strong criticism. It is therefore important to ensure the commitment of the Russian authorities to the adoption of the necessary reforms of the political system, including welcoming the much-needed simplification of rules governing the registration of political parties, as well as a serious commitment to respecting media freedom and freedom of expression. In view of this, the EU is expressing its readiness to cooperate with Russia, in order to improve respect for human and fundamental rights, as well as the effectiveness of an independent rule-of-law system in Russia. I am voting for this motion for a resolution because I believe that the measures therein will contribute to greater transparency and respect for all democratic principles.
Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Unlike the Council, Parliament is not hiding behind its own interests and what is convenient, while it is clear what has happened in Russia. The existence of shortcomings and irregularities in the preparation and conduct of the presidential elections and the fact that voters’ choice was limited should be subject to strong criticism. All of the international observers have indicated as much beyond any doubt. Through demonstrations, the Russian people have expressed their will for more democracy and a comprehensive reform of the electoral system. It is therefore important to ensure the commitment of the Russian authorities to adopting the necessary reforms of the political system, including welcoming the much-needed simplification of rules governing the registration of political parties, as well as a serious commitment to respecting media freedom and freedom of expression. The fact that the Russian authorities are violently repressing all protests against electoral fraud is also a matter for criticism.
Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. – (FR) Parliament’s motion for a resolution on the situation in Russia after the elections mentions concerns about the developments in the country with regard to respect for and the protection of human rights and respect for commonly agreed democratic principles, electoral rules and procedures. We must not forget that the Russian Federation is a completely separate member of the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and, as a result, it is committed to respecting the principles of democracy and respect for human rights. The OSCE and the Council of Europe have stated in a joint statement that the electoral process was clearly skewed in favour of one candidate. I strongly condemn this state of affairs and I am asking the Russian authorities and political parties represented in the State Duma to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the pro-democracy protesters and opposition in the interests of a comprehensive reform, transparency and democracy.
Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. – (PT) I voted for this motion for a resolution, as I believe that the Russian authorities and the political parties represented in the State Duma should engage in constructive dialogue with the pro-democracy protestors and opposition in the interests of comprehensive reform, transparency and democracy in the Russian Federation.
Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The presidential elections in Russia have highlighted the central role of Vladimir Putin in driving the destiny of his country, confirming the secondary role that had been attributed by many observers to the former president, Mr Medvedev. Like those that preceded them, these elections were marked by the international community’s doubts about the whole process and, while it is not likely that they have cast the winner into doubt, they may at least cast doubt on the scale of Mr Putin’s victory. Unequivocal compliance with better international standards is therefore required. Russia is facing a significant strategic challenge, and it is to be expected that it will have to choose between its recent alignment with China and closeness to Europe. Despite the recent partnership between Russia and China in support of the Syrian regime, I believe that, in the medium and long term, Russia is bound to recognise that its interests will be better served if it opts for increased closeness with the West. I hope that this will indeed happen and that it will seek to adopt Western models and practices that are in line with this hoped-for future closeness.
João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) Despite the serious suspicions of electoral fraud in the presidential elections of 1996, neither the EU nor the US refrained from praising Russian democracy and the election of the candidate who suited them at the time: namely Boris Yeltsin. The criticism being levelled today, including that which underlies this resolution, demonstrates the EU’s famous policy of double standards. The EU, like the US in fact, has already realised that the Russian Government is not prepared to submit entirely to its interests. Since it is impossible to conceal its role of serving the national plutocracy, the Russian Government has blocked the interests of these two regions, while preserving its national resources from foreign interests, particularly in terms of energy. More recently, Russia’s veto in the UN Security Council on military intervention in Syria meant that the US and the EU saw their expansionist aims blocked. In short, what is worrying the EU and the US is not the defence of democracy, but their desire for Russia to have a government that is more open to satisfying their undisguisable interests and ambitions for imperial domination.
Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. – (IT) I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution calling on Russia, as an important partner of the European Union, to open substantial dialogue with the demonstrators in defence of the principles of democracy and transparency. President Medvedev should match deeds to words and guarantee the adoption of the necessary reforms of the political system and make a serious commitment to address the numerous problems of media freedom and freedom of assembly and expression. Parliament supports this improvement and, should it be necessary, offers its cooperation, especially as regards respect for, and the reinforcement and protection of, fundamental human rights.
Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The EU is a strategic partner and direct neighbour of Russia, and we followed with particular interest the election process and public debate in Russia, and the large and lengthy protests in relation to last year’s December elections to the State Duma, and the presidential elections at the beginning of March. Concerns persist over developments in the Russian Federation regarding the observance and protection of human rights and adherence to commonly agreed democratic principles, election rules and procedures. The Russian Federation, however, is a full member of the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and therefore has an obligation to defend the principles of democracy and respect for human rights.
In my opinion, it is essential to adopt a critical attitude to Russia, but it is also right to fully support the modernisation programme, which includes dialogue on economic and political reform. This is the way to achieve the introduction and implementation of reforms targeting existing deficiencies. The criticisms of discrepancies in the preparation and organisation of the elections are justified, but at the same time it is necessary to make an effort to strengthen democratic rules for future elections. It is important for President Medvedev to secure adoption of essential reforms to the political system, and it is also necessary for the new Russian president to be ready to continue with these reforms.
Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament motion for a resolution on the outcome of the presidential elections in Russia because there remains great concern about developments in the Russian Federation with regard to respect for and the protection of human rights and respect for commonly agreed democratic principles, electoral rules and procedures. The Russian Federation is a full member of the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and has therefore committed itself to the principles of democracy and respect for human rights. President Medvedev should be true to his word and guarantee the adoption of the necessary reforms of the political system. The new Russian President must be ready to take the reforms forward, including the much-needed simplification of rules governing the registration of political parties. The problems of media freedom and freedom of assembly and expression must be addressed, and respect for human and fundamental rights (here the crucial question is releasing political prisoners) and the effectiveness of an independent rule-of-law system in Russia must be improved.
Sandra Kalniete (PPE), in writing. − (LV) I voted for this motion for a resolution because I believe that the European Parliament has a duty to give a crystal-clear assessment of the elections in Russia, which were neither free nor fair. I believe that the principles underlying fair elections were grossly contravened. These principles are: even-handed registration of candidates, free and equal access to the media by candidates, and equality between voters (one citizen, one vote). Serious contraventions were also observed in the vote-counting process. I hope that, following the ‘election’ of Mr Putin, the various democratic opposition groups in Russia will rally around a programme of positive political reforms and will offer an alternative to Russian citizens, one with a possibility of becoming a reality in free and fair elections at some point in the foreseeable future.
Krišjānis Kariņš (PPE), in writing. − (LV) In the European Parliament’s part-session in Strasbourg I supported the motion for a resolution on the outcome of the presidential elections in Russia. The motion for a resolution criticises the election process and recommends that the necessary reforms of the political system be implemented. I voted for the resolution because I believe that the principles of democracy are extremely important and that failure to respect human rights and general electoral standards is unacceptable. We cannot allow a situation to arise where the mass media deliberately disseminate unequal and biased information about the presidential candidates, allowing one of them to obtain significant advantages. Changes to the political system must be encouraged, among them the amendment of the electoral law and the simplification of the rules on registering political parties, giving them a greater chance of participating in elections, in order to prevent restrictions on political competition and, thus, democracy.
David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this resolution, which strongly criticises the shortcomings and irregularities in the preparation and conduct of the Presidential elections in Russia, and the fact that voters’ choice was limited; welcomes the significant civic engagement in the campaign; and calls for comprehensive and transparent analyses of all irregularities with a view to strengthening the democratic rules for future elections.
Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Enhanced cooperation and good neighbourly relations between the EU and Russia are key to Europe’s stability, security and prosperity. The development of a strategic partnership between the EU and the Russian Federation can only be founded on shared values. However, concerns remain about developments in the Russian Federation with regard to respect for and the protection of human rights and respect for commonly agreed democratic principles, rules and procedures. The Russian Federation is a full member of the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and has therefore committed itself to respecting the principles of democracy and human rights. On 12 April 2011, the European Court of Human Rights condemned the cumbersome registration procedures for political parties in Russia, which do not meet the electoral standards set by the Council of Europe and the OSCE, and ruled that the limitations on the registration of political parties and candidates restrict political competition and pluralism in Russia. We must continue to encourage Russia’s leaders to adopt more democratic practices towards the opposition parties.
Marek Henryk Migalski (ECR), in writing. − (PL) I supported the motion for a resolution on the results of the presidential elections in Russia for reasons that included the fact that important amendments were included in the resolution concerning the situation of political prisoners. Amendment 17 tabled by the European Conservatives and Reformists Group calls for a review of the investigation in the Sergei Magnitsky case. The amendment gives a positive assessment of the instructions to the Prosecutor General to review 32 criminal cases including that relating to Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Additional calls for a review of the Sergei Magnitsky case are very important for the promotion of democracy and rule of law in the Russian Federation and are an important symbol for Magnitsky’s family.
Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − The European Parliament takes note of the results of the presidential elections in the light of the preliminary conclusions of the OSCE/ODIHR; stresses, in full support of the modernisation agenda, which covers dialogue on both economic and political reforms with a view to introducing and implementing reforms addressing existing deficiencies, the necessity of a critical engagement with Russia; strongly criticises the shortcomings and irregularities in the preparation and conduct of these elections and the fact that voters’ choice was limited; welcomes the significant civic engagement in the campaign, and calls for comprehensive and transparent analyses of all irregularities with a view to strengthening democratic rules for future elections; it also invites President Medvedev to match the deed to the word and to guarantee the adoption of the necessary reforms of the political system. However, I abstained.
Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. − (DE) Even if everything had been completely fair, the opposition would have been able to achieve very little in view of the co-existence of completely different political goals, the lack of shared concepts and of a credible leader. Russia cannot be measured by Western standards. The journey of a post-communist country to open democracy is a long one, as the various colourful revolutions have demonstrated. The EU should refrain from trying to teach Russia lessons in democratic politics and should instead work on its own democratic deficit, putting an end to the leftist authoritarian pressure on Hungary. I therefore voted against this motion for a resolution.
James Nicholson (ECR), in writing. − I believe that the elections in Russia were unfair, unjust and riddled with irregularities. This should be investigated. We as a grouping call for free, fair and independent elections in Russia – with all political parties represented. This is what the people of Russia want. We will work closely with the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee to consistently raise the issue of democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law with the Russian counterparts. We also note President Medvedev’s announcement of comprehensive changes to the political system. We await these changes with anticipation. We in the ECR totally and unreservedly condemn the crackdown by police on peaceful demonstrations held in protest at election irregularities. Fraud has been widely reported by independent election monitors and observers in the country in both last year’s parliamentary and the recent presidential election. The Russian authorities need to engage in dialogue with the opposition. We in the ECR regret that the Putin-led administration decided to deny registration for the presidential election campaign of Grigory Yavlinsky, opposition leader of the Liberals. This stance also prevented Mr Yavlinsky’s party from sending observers to polling stations to monitor events.
Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution. The outcome of the elections did not surprise anyone, nor, unfortunately, have the events that have followed. I would like to ask rhetorically whether the European Union is satisfied with its strategic partnership with Russia and whether the EU believes that current formats, such as the dialogue on human rights, are producing any tangible results? The EU and Russia are mutually dependent but the EU’s strategic partner is not afraid of exploiting the disadvantages EU Member States face in energy for instance. Sometimes there is the impression that, as far as Russia is concerned, the EU is either wearing rose-tinted spectacles or is being purely pragmatic, which is dangerous for the EU. Friendship is highly desirable, but only if it is genuine. In the second Putin era, which has only just begun, heavy-handed rule and politics without compromise will only intensify, and the European Parliament will frequently have to return to the issue of human rights and democracy in Russia.
Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. − (LT) When observing the Presidential elections in St Petersburg I did not see anyone attempting to advise or tell people which candidate to vote for, but I did notice that some loopholes created in voting procedures would make it very easy to do so. On the other hand, the 100 million invested by the Kremlin in modernising the elections has discouraged potential fraudsters. I would agree with the experts that many Russians were scared of noisy opposition rallies, and demands to change the government and organise repeat elections to the Duma. Vladimir Putin’s twelve years in power are associated with stability, a steady if slight improvement in living conditions and the softening of the impact of the crisis. It is the opposite of the Gorbachev and Yeltsin eras of street politics when reforms had a severe impact on ordinary people. I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution, which highlights that the significant activity by citizens recently should continue and turn into a social movement forcing the government to completely reform the political system and also simplify the rules governing the procedures for the registration of political parties and candidates in Presidential elections and their participation in elections. Only with a reformed Russia will it be possible to continue to develop productive and dynamic relations and create prosperity for Europe and Russia.
Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Political dialogue between the EU and Russia is extremely important for both parties. This motion for a resolution sets out Parliament’s observations on the presidential elections in Russia. I voted in favour, as I believe that the observations made are constructive and support the wishes of the Russian people, who have demanded more reforms through frequent, peaceful demonstrations bringing together a staggering number of citizens.
Alojz Peterle (PPE), in writing. − (SL) I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution, because I believe that in our desire to strengthen our partnership with Russia, Parliament and the whole European Union should be clear about the basic pre-requisites for such a development.
Franck Proust (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution, which shows our concern with regard to the political situation in Russia. Mr Putin is turning democracy into Tsarist oligarchy; he is brushing aside freedom and civic rights. I want to show my complete solidarity and support for the opponents of this system but also to express my greatest respect for peaceful struggle.
Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The allegations of irregularity in the elections to the State Duma and the recent presidential elections are likely to elicit major concerns with regard to Russia’s respect for human rights and democratic principles. It is therefore vital that Russian policy makers engage in meaningful dialogue with the opposition, and that they adopt the reforms needed to ensure effective political competition and pluralism by promoting the simplification of rules governing the registration of political parties, by tackling the problems of media freedom and freedom of assembly and expression, and by deepening the rule of law and democratic transparency.
Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) Following the Duma elections on 4 December 2011 and the presidential elections on 4 March 2012, the Russian people have expressed, by means of a number of demonstrations, their will for more democracy and a comprehensive reform of the electoral system. Despite the Russian authorities’ recent limited initiatives to improve election laws, the general rules remain overly complex and in some cases vague, leading to inconsistent application of the legal basis. The text of this motion for a resolution strongly criticises the shortcomings and irregularities in the preparation and conduct of these elections, highlighting in particular the unequal treatment of the Russian broadcast media towards candidates during the electoral campaign and condemning the arrest of dozens of protestors during the demonstrations. Furthermore, it stresses, in full support of the political modernisation agenda, the necessity of a critical engagement with Russia on the part of the EU. The text invites President Medvedev to guarantee the adoption of the necessary reforms of the political system and encourages the different democratic opposition groups to unite more closely around a positive programme of political reforms. As I am convinced of the usefulness of this text, I have supported it.
Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing. – (FR) On 4 March, the Russian citizens went to the ballots to elect their Head of State and it was Vladimir Putin, already President of the Russia Federation from 2000 to 2008, who won the election with more than 63% of the votes. The report by the international observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is worrying. Serious shortcomings and many irregularities have been revealed. In the context of the not-so-transparent legislative elections in December, the result of these latest elections is a cause of great concern for the European Union. Indeed, this confirms the undemocratic nature of the Russian electoral system. That is why I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution through which Parliament is inviting the Russian authorities to investigate this latest missed election opportunity. Above all else we have stressed respect for freedom of expression and encouraged the Kremlin to open dialogue with civil society as soon as possible.
Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The cooperation agreement between the European Union and the Russian Federation was signed in 1997 and extended until 2010, when it was replaced by a new agreement establishing a comprehensive framework for bilateral relations. Notwithstanding the agreements that were signed, the EU continues to have major concerns with regard to the protection of human rights, and to respect for the democratic and electoral principles in force in Russia. I am voting for this report, as I agree with the electoral observation mission, which found irregularities in the preparation and conduct of the elections, and in the fact that voters’ choices were limited, making it important to reform the current political system. Finally, I also believe that the growing civic participation in the electoral campaign is extremely positive, as this should enable a comprehensive and transparent analysis of all irregularities, with a view to strengthening the democratic rules for future elections.
Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein (PPE), in writing. − (PL) I decided to support the European Parliament motion for a resolution criticising the course of the presidential elections in Russia because there are clear signals that they were not organised in accordance with democratic standards. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and GOLOS, which is an independent non-governmental organisation that monitors the transparency of elections in Russia, have flagged up that during the recent presidential elections there were irregularities both during voting and during vote-counting in one in three polling stations. According to independent observers, the results of the elections were manipulated by so-called ‘carousel’ voting, which involves transporting voters to different polling stations so that the same people can vote many times. There were also reports of bribery and ballot stuffing.
Many opposition candidates were not allowed to register to take part in the elections. During the election campaign there was unequal access to the media, to Vladimir Putin’s considerable advantage. At the same time, however, I am pleased to see the increasing involvement of Russian citizens, whose voices, demanding democracy in their country, are becoming ever louder. I am also hoping that the pre-election promises by the Russian authorities, particularly those concerning strengthening of the rule of law, respect for human rights, independence of the judiciary, as well as steps to combat corruption, will be kept.
Vladimir Urutchev (PPE), in writing. – (BG) I support the motion for a resolution on the presidential elections held in Russia. In spite of the numerous infringements in the electoral process, we must acknowledge that Russians would have elected Putin as president according to the country’s current legislation, regardless of whether it was in the first or second round. The next six years mean the need for cooperation with Russia under this president, the continuation of negotiations on a new partnership, the expansion of mutually beneficial economic relations and for progress to be achieved in reaching consensus on values and the protection of human rights.
One matter of particular concern is the difficult and extremely restrictive process for smaller parties, especially opposition parties, to register to participate in elections. This is an area where the EU must be very insistent on using all its leverage to ensure that the procedures are eased and more parties are allowed to take part in public and political life. The strong, unprecedented wave of protests in the wake of the Russian parliamentary elections in December and the presidential elections in March are evidence of an awakening and change in Russian society.
Although we are currently witnessing hostile rhetoric from the newly-elected president towards the opposition movements and protests, the strong central authorities will not be able not to take account of this new reality in Russia. Let us contribute in a considerate, uncompromising manner to getting rid of the policies promoting restriction and repression in public and political life in Russia.
Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. − This motion for a resolution assesses the results of the Russian Presidential elections held in March. It is recalled that, although the results of the elections have been accepted, they have generated many complaints and thousands of citizens are unhappy. The OSCE/ODIHR and other agencies have developed conclusions which reveal the existence of irregularities. That is why it asks the new government to raise awareness of the need to modernise its democratic institutions and ensure respect for human rights, which are today in question.
Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR), in writing. − A saying by former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin is a favourite among Russians. When an attempted monetary reform by the Central Bank ended disastrously, Chernomyrdin said: ‘we hoped for the best but it turned out as usual’. Nowadays, Russians laconically use Chernomyrdin’s fatalistic phrase to describe their everyday situation. When it comes to democracy in Russia we are still hoping for the best and yet tragically things turn out as usual. In December, this house passed a resolution on the Duma elections urging Moscow to hold ‘free and democratic presidential elections’ and yet the March vote too turned out as usual. The OSCE stated that the presidential elections were ‘clearly skewed’ in favour of Putin and that overly-prescriptive rules on registration limited competition. Russia is an important partner for the EU and it is vital for our mutual prosperity that we boost trade ties. However it is difficult to build commercial links when Russia is crying out for democratic reform. European companies are also put off by the level of corruption and the lack of respect for the rule of law. We must see real and lasting change in Russia if it is to become a meaningful partner for the EU.
Roberts Zīle, (ECR), in writing. − (LV) I believe that the motion for a resolution on the outcome of the presidential elections in Russia should certainly be supported, since it criticises the shortcomings and irregularities in the preparation and conduct of the elections held on 4 March this year, including the fact that voters’ choice was limited. The general election rules in Russia remain overly complex and unclear and are applied inconsistently. The resolution also calls for a transparent analysis of the electoral irregularities, so that in the future the election system may be improved. The retention of the existing system in Russia is unfortunately a precondition for it to continue to also maintain its existing conception of foreign policy, which is based on empire-building ambitions and dreams of keeping hold of and increasing power and influence in Russia’s neighbouring states. It makes me anxious that the not altogether legitimate results of the Russian presidential elections will now serve for many years as the basis for the policy implemented towards Latvia by our neighbour state in attempts both to destabilise the domestic political situation and to gain economic influence, particularly in the transport and energy sectors.
Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) The criticisms implicit in this motion for a resolution on the results of the presidential elections in Russia merely demonstrate, once again, that the EU has double standards. It is a fact that when there were suspicions of electoral fraud in the presidential elections of 1996, neither the EU nor the US refrained from praising Russian democracy and the election of the candidate who suited them at the time: namely Boris Yeltsin. The US and the EU have already realised that the Russian Government is not prepared to submit entirely to their imperialist interests. The Russian Government has been demonstrating this through a certain economic and political independence, as well as defending its national resources, particularly in terms of energy, and advocating the role of the state in certain strategic sectors. More recently, Russia’s veto in the United Nations Security Council on military intervention in Syria meant that the US and the EU saw their expansionist aims blocked. The issue worrying the EU and the US, therefore, is not the defence of democracy, but their desire for Russia to have a government that better serves their interests.
Damien Abad (PPE) , in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of a motion for a resolution condemning the ruthless repression of a social protest movement in Kazakhstan in December 2011 and calling for the government to undertake further political reforms in light of the negotiations for the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union.
Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. – (PT) I am voting for this report because I believe the human rights situation has been deteriorating over recent months. Kazakhstan needs to give a clear signal that it respects human rights. Moreover, we must be very critical of the election of President Nazarbayev, which was clearly fraudulent and has been strongly challenged by international bodies.
Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. − I support this resolution because the past months have been marked by a deterioration of the human rights situation in Kazakhstan. The violent crackdown by the police forces on demonstrators in Zhanaozen in December must be condemned and an independent investigation of the events is necessary. In addition to that, in the OSCE/ODIHR-led international delegation, several observers found that the 15 January 2012 parliamentary elections did not meet fundamental principles of democratic elections. For these reasons, with this text we ask the Kazakh Government to rapidly improve respect for freedom of expression and to respect international election standards.
Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) Always with the aim of transmitting our democratic values to our neighbours, I voted in favour of a report dealing with the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and Kazakhstan. This agreement must depend on the progress of political reform and human rights in the country and I actively encourage Kazakhstan to strengthen dialogue with the European Union on these issues. Our cooperation is conditional: economic cooperation will not take place without political cooperation. Pluralistic elections and the freedom of all political prisoners are two examples of the prerequisites needed to strengthen any economic cooperation.
Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution. Relations between the EU and Kazakhstan are based on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement signed in 1999. Negotiations on a new EU-Kazakhstan agreement, which would replace the agreement currently in force, were launched in 2011. Recently there has been increasing unrest in Kazakhstan, which is claiming people’s lives. Repressive measures have also been taken against trade union activities in the country, aggressive attacks against the independent media are continuing and the human rights situation in the country is rapidly worsening. I welcome the resolution’s calls for the Government of Kazakhstan to ensure an independent international investigation into the events in western Kazakhstan and to guarantee that those who organised these violent attacks will be punished.
Adam Bielan (ECR), in writing. − (PL) The Republic of Kazakhstan plays an important role for the security and stability of Central Asia. This country has also become an important partner for Europe because of its economic potential and its natural resources. The continuation of our cooperation, as well as political dialogue with Astana, require the negotiation of a new understanding to replace the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement which is now reaching its term. The need to make economic and political relations both closer and deeper would appear to be fully justified. Unfortunately the recent events involving the brutal repression of striking oil workers in Zhanaozen have cast a shadow over the reliability of this country. While the involvement of the President in investigating the circumstances of this heinous act is encouraging, the authorities are still a long way at present from starting a constructive social dialogue. Instances of breaches of freedom of speech as well as arrests of representatives of the media and the opposition are also worrying. With the above in mind I abstained from voting.
Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament motion for a resolution because the European Union and Kazakhstan could derive important benefits from closer cooperation. The European Parliament supports this objective while stressing that economic cooperation must go hand in hand with political cooperation and must be based on the political will to implement and uphold common values. It should be noted that Kazakhstan plays a crucial role for the socio-economic development of Central Asia and the stability and security of the region. The European Parliament expresses its deep concern and its condolences regarding the events that took place on 16 December 2011 in the Zhanaozen district of Kazakhstan, when 17 people died and 110 others were injured. It also strongly condemns the violent crackdown by the police against demonstrators in Zhanaozen, and calls for an independent and credible investigation into the events, with an international component. It is very important to continue to strengthen relations between the EU and Kazakhstan and political and economic cooperation, including in strategic areas such as democracy, human rights, the environment, energy, trade and transport, as well as combating terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking.
Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. – (RO) The events which took place in Kazakhstan prior to and in the wake of the elections held on 15 January are just one case which leads us again to the same dilemma: profitable stability for European interests or respect for human rights? It is becoming increasingly evident that the regime of President Nursultan Nazarbayev is moving increasingly further away from any democratic standard. This is highlighted by the Head of State’s re-election with 95% of the votes in April last year, having been in office since the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Not to mention his party winning the parliamentary elections in January with 81% of the vote, along with the brutal suppression of the strikes by oil workers and of the pro-democratic demonstrations expressing solidarity with the victims of the bloody repression of the workers’ protests.
However, the special importance enjoyed by Kazakhstan in the balance of stability in Central Asia and of the global oil and gas supply cannot be used indefinitely as an excuse for restricting basic rights. I believe that it is appropriate to draw the attention of our Kazakh partners to the fact that the battle against extremism, separatism and terrorism, in the name of which the regime in Astana says that it is acting, is likely to become a battle against democratic rights and fundamental freedoms, including religious.
Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. – (FR) Parliament has adopted an essential resolution on Kazakhstan following the violent repression of protesters in December which led to the deaths of many people. Following these events, the Kazakh authorities called a state of emergency and the independent media suffered aggressions and intimidations which are still stopping them from shedding light on the events. Generally speaking, respect for human rights has been deteriorating in the country for some time. It is important that Parliament makes it voice heard and strongly condemns the current drifts. We are therefore urging the Kazakh authorities to make every effort to improve the human rights situation in their country and underlining that progress in the negotiation of the new enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Kazakhstan must depend on the progress of political reform and the sensitive improvement of the human rights situation in the country.
Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. – (PT) I voted for this motion for a resolution, as I believe that EU-Kazakhstan relations have been improved, including in strategic sectors such as democracy, human rights, the environment, energy, trade and transport, as well as in the fight against organised crime and drug trafficking. Despite this progress, it is important to stress that the Kazakhstan authorities should make more efforts to improve the human rights situation in their country.
Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Kazakhstan has given mixed signals in terms of its adoption of freer and fairer political and judicial systems, and the killings that occurred in Zhanaozen last December are deeply regrettable. It is worth acknowledging the slowness with which Central Asia has been developing in terms of democracy and human rights, and the way in which the countries comprising it have not shown very encouraging results in this area. Nevertheless, in the case of Kazakhstan, it should also be stressed that some positive reforms have been undertaken, and it remains for us to hope that the government and the people will persevere with implementing them. I hope that the EU will continue to support change in Kazakhstan, that it will support the sectors of civil society that want change the most, and that it will maintain its regular contact with the country’s authorities.
João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) The repression of striking workers in Kazakhstan has taken on brutal dimensions. We condemn it in the strongest possible terms, along with the attacks on workers’ rights, and changes to the labour code enabling workers who go on strike to be dismissed; abolishing restrictions on dismissing trade union representatives in negotiations during strikes; legalising lock-outs; and enabling courts to declare any strike illegal. This repression is taking place in a context in which Kazakhstan is the subject of geostrategic interests aimed at controlling and appropriating its natural resources, in particular hydrocarbons. The interests of multinationals also come together here, and they see this country’s joining the World Trade Organisation as a unique opportunity to satisfy their insatiable desire for domination. This perspective should be taken into account in the judgments that the EU itself has been making on the situation in the country and its development. This resolution illustrates this.
Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) Both the EU and Kazakhstan could derive important benefits from deeper cooperation. The European Parliament supports this objective, while stressing that economic cooperation must go hand in hand with political cooperation and must be based on the political will to implement and uphold common values. Negotiations were launched in June 2011 for a new, enhanced EU-Kazakhstan agreement to replace the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement currently in force. In February this year the President of Kazakhstan signed several laws aimed at improving the legal basis for labour relations, workers’ rights and social dialogue and strengthening the independence of the judiciary. Proper relations between the Union and Kazakhstan are of fundamental importance, as is the strengthening of political and economic cooperation, including strategic areas such as human rights, the environment, energy, trade and transport, as well as the fight against terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking.
I firmly believe that, both for the Kazakh leadership and the wider public, there is a major justification and a benefit in adopting these measures, which will help to restore stability and security, and to revive the country’s international standing.
Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament motion for a resolution because the European Union and Kazakhstan should cooperate more closely and this would be mutually beneficial. Economic cooperation must go hand in hand with political cooperation and must be based on the political will to implement and uphold common and universally accepted values. Kazakhstan plays a crucial role in the socio-economic development of Central Asia and the stability and security of the region. The European Parliament expresses its deep concern and its condolences regarding the events that took place in the Zhanaozen district of Kazakhstan, when there was a violent crackdown by the police against demonstrators in Zhanaozen. I believe that there must be an independent, credible and unbiased investigation into these events. There should also be an international component to this investigation. The European Union and Kazakhstan must aim to strengthen political and economic cooperation, including in areas such as democracy, respect for human rights, the environment, energy, trade and transport, as well as combating terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking.
Bogdan Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz (PPE), in writing. − (PL) When voting today on the motion for a resolution on Kazakhstan, I was guided by the nature of the clarifications following investigation of the Zhanaozen incident. Also, I wanted to emphasise the importance of relations between the European Union and Kazakhstan in, among other areas, economic cooperation. It is particularly important that mutual benefits accruing from greater cooperation must go hand in hand with a political and social dimension. I would also like to point out that Kazakhstan is the most effective country in Central Asia in terms of introducing European standards.
David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this Resolution, which stresses the importance of the relations between the EU and Kazakhstan and the strengthening of political and economic cooperation, including in strategic areas such as democracy, human rights, the environment, energy, trade and transport and in addition to the fight against terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking; underlines that last year was marked by increased cooperation, frequent high-level meetings and the start of negotiations for a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. However, it also rightly expresses its deep concern and its condolences regarding the events that took place on 16 December 2011 in the Zhanozen district of Kazakhstan, when 17 people died and 110 others were injured, and also strongly condemns the violent crackdown by the police against demonstrators in Zhanozen and calls for an independent and credible investigation into the events, with an international component.
Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Kazakhstan has not shown the necessary signs of adopting freer and fairer political and judicial systems. In addition, we must express our deep regret at the killings that occurred in Zhanaozen last December. The countries of Central Asia have not been successfully developing in terms of democracy and human rights. In spite of everything, however, some positive reforms have been achieved in Kazakhstan. It is important that the EU continue to support change in Kazakhstan, that it support the sectors of civil society that want change the most, and that it maintain regular contact with the country’s authorities.
Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − The European Parliament stresses the importance of the relations between the EU and Kazakhstan and strengthening economic and political cooperation in all areas; it welcomes the start of the negotiations for a new agreement to replace the expired Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. It is also necessary to take into account the national mentality and a special transitional period, including results achieved in politics and economics. I do not want the screenplay of Bishkek; we should have the strongest dialogue with the Kazakh authorities.
Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution drawing attention to worrying recent events and the worsening human rights situation in Kazakhstan, as negotiations are held on the new enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is an important EU partner in Central Asia, but the deepening of relations must be conditional upon specific action. The Government of Kazakhstan should take further steps to implement the recommendations of the OSCE/ODHIR, find those guilty of killing the demonstrators and guarantee freedom of assembly, religion and media. Cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan should be enhanced in the areas mentioned in the resolution. At the same time I believe that there should be a particular focus on preventing radicalisation, especially through promoting employment, education and non-formal learning among young people.
Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. − (DE) The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement that came into effect between Kazakhstan and the EU in 1999 has been under renegotiation since June 2011 and is to be replaced with an optimised agreement. Closer economic cooperation must go hand-in-hand with an improvement in the human rights situation. Although we have seen the first positive signals in this regard from the Kazakh Government, recent events in Kazakhstan give cause for concern, particularly in relation to the human rights situation and compliance with the principles of the rule of law and democracy. The important economic and political position of Kazakhstan in Central Asia requires the implementation of shared values and standards in order to promote economic progress and stability. For these fundamental reasons, I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution.
Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. – (PT) This motion for a resolution on Kazakhstan expresses Parliament’s support for closer EU-Kazakhstan cooperation, which could greatly benefit both parties. However, such economic cooperation must go hand-in-hand with political cooperation, and must be based on the will to implement and uphold common values. I voted in favour not only because of this, but in view of Kazakhstan’s crucial role in Central Asia’s socioeconomic development, and in the region’s stability and security.
Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Over recent years, the EU and Kazakhstan have established deeper cooperation both at economic and political level. However, a series of events has taken place that go against the most fundamental principles of democracy and the rule of law. Religious intolerance, political repression, restrictions on freedom of expression and demonstration, and intimidation and violent attacks against independent media have brought about a climate of fear amongst the public. It is hoped that Kazakhstan’s politicians will change their attitude, as this country has taken on an important role in the socioeconomic development of Central Asia, and in the region’s stability and security.
Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − In favour. This important text came after the very much welcomed released of the human rights defender Evgeniy Zhovtis, director of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law and the ‘Vremya’ journalist Tokhniyaz Kuchukov, who were granted an amnesty by a court decision of 2 February 2012 after having been sentenced to four years in a labour camp in September 2009.
Vilja Savisaar-Toomast (ALDE), in writing. − (ET) In its motion for a resolution on Kazakhstan, the European Union emphasises the need to strengthen political and economic cooperation, including in the fields of democracy, human rights, the environment, energy, transport and trade, and also in combating terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking. The human rights situation in Kazakhstan has long been deteriorating, and has recently become particularly serious. Here I refer not only to the tragic events that took place in the Zhanaozen district, but also to the arrest and imprisonment of opposition leaders and journalists. Therefore it is important that the European Union should from now on very attentively monitor developments in these areas, and the next steps in partnership and cooperation negotiations with Kazakhstan should be dependent on the progress of political reforms. Since the European Parliament report strongly emphasises these principles, I also supported this report in the final vote.
Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. – (IT) The European Union and Kazakhstan could derive important benefits from deeper cooperation. Indeed, economic cooperation must go hand-in-hand with political cooperation, and must be based on the political will to implement and uphold common values, given the crucial role played by Kazakhstan in the socio-economic development of central Asia and the stability and security of the region. However, the events that took place on 16 December 2011 in the Zhanaozen district of Kazakhstan, in which 17 people lost their lives and 110 others were injured, are of concern. With this vote, we strongly condemn the violent crackdown by the police against the demonstrators in Zhanaozen, and call for an independent and credible investigation into the events, complete with international participation.
Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. – (PT) There have been several reports of constant human rights violations in Kazakhstan, eliciting doubts as to the implementation of the political reforms being undertaken by the country’s government. The reports have included the abuse of power; the detention of political opponents, journalists and activists present at the demonstration in the town of Zhanaozen last December; religious repression; and violation of freedom of the press and the basic principles of the rule of law. I believe that it is important to clarify the way in which the government acted towards the protesters in Zhanaozen, and to wait for the investigation by the national commission that has been established, with UN monitoring. Moreover, along with the negotiations for a stronger EU-Kazakhstan agreement, the EU must show its concern about the watering down of fundamental and democratic rights, and must warn the authorities of the need for reforms. The stability and development of Kazakhstan are vital for the socioeconomic growth of Central Asia, and for international relations with the region as a whole.
Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. − The government of President Nursultan Nazarbayev has been in office since 1991 and its contribution to improving its citizens’ conditions is declared to be insignificant. The stability of Kazakhstan is essential for the economic and diplomatic balance in Central Asia. Therefore, the EU should urge the Kazakh government to improve its protection of human rights, fundamental freedoms and media independence. In view of the possible accession of the country to the WTO, the motion envisages the possibility of a close monitoring of the EEAS to support Nazarbayev’s government in addressing these issues. All in all, I voted in favour of this joint motion as it represents a step forward in the democratization process of a country, which is intensifying its relations with the EU.
Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) The EU, which is imperialist in nature and practice, is cultivating a hypocritical stance in several areas, especially in terms of foreign relations, as it often adopts positions on the basis of the prominence given to economic and political gains that can be derived from them, at the expense of honest analysis of the facts, the actual reality and the situation of peoples and workers. We reject this drift towards constant attempts at foreign interference which, curiously enough, does not apply to countries whose governments sing from the same hymn sheet. We strongly condemn the brutal repression of workers’ rights and their struggle, in particular through the changes to the labour code enabling workers who go on strike to be dismissed; abolishing restrictions on dismissing trade union representatives in negotiations during strikes; legalising lock-outs; and enabling courts to declare any strike illegal. However, we would distance ourselves from those who seek to demonise Kazakhstan through interference that creates the preconditions for the appropriation of its natural resources, in particular hydrocarbons, by multinationals, which will be facilitated by the country’s membership of the World Trade Organisation.
Damien Abad (PPE) , in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of a motion for a resolution strongly condemning the recent terrorist attacks carried out by Islamists against Christians in Nigeria. In this resolution, we are also calling for a better distribution of the revenues which currently only benefit a minority of the population, with 60% of the population living on less than USD 1 per day.
Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. – (PT) I am voting for this report, as it is important to insist on the need for the Nigerian Constitution to guarantee religious freedom, and to reject the imposition of any law that contradicts this principle. Human rights and freedom of expression for Nigerian citizens have been put at risk, so international actors should take action in order to try to prevent any atrocities from taking place in the future.
Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this resolution because the recent violence in Nigeria, carried out by the Boko Haram criminal cartel must be strongly condemned by the international community. Boko Haram is blamed for the deaths of more than 900 people in roughly 160 separate attacks since July 2009. A contribution to put a definitive end to this awful situation is a wider examination of the root causes of the conflict. It is essential to avoid simplistic explanations based only on the label ‘terrorism’ or ‘religion’. Although Nigeria is the world’s eighth largest oil producer, the majority of its 148 million inhabitants live below the poverty line. A peaceful resolution of conflicts implies fair access to resources and a redistribution of revenues from the oil market. In addition to that, we must reaffirm the importance of an independent, impartial and accessible judiciary system to stop the impunity and to enhance respect for the rule of law and the fundamental rights of the population. For all these reasons, with this text we called upon the Federal Government of Nigeria to fight corruption, poverty and inequality and to push for reforms aimed at creating a democratic, stable, free state which takes into account human rights.
Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) The history of Nigeria is marked by tensions between Muslims and Christians. However, the chaos caused by Boko Haram is unprecedented. I therefore voted in favour of the motion for a resolution strongly condemning the recent violence – in particular the attacks carried out by the terrorist Islamist sect Boko Haram – and the tragic loss of human life in the stricken regions of Nigeria. We must seek peaceful means and urge all communities to work towards a dialogue in order to put an end to the violence. However, the Nigerian Government must also promote inter-religious dialogue in order to guarantee the security and protection of its population and respect for human rights.
Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution. According to available data more than 935 people have been killed in violent attacks in Nigeria since 2009. Many of the problems in the country are rooted in decades of tension between local ethnic groups, which sparks ethnic, religious and political strife affecting thousands of people. This situation in the country is preventing its economic development. Nigeria is the world’s eighth-largest oil producer, but the majority of its inhabitants live below the poverty line. I welcome the resolution’s call for the Nigerian authorities to encourage effective inter-religious dialogue and to encourage freedom of thought, conscience and religion. There is also a need to combat poverty and inequality more effectively, particularly by combating the corruption that is rife in the country and the exploitation of Nigeria’s natural resources by foreign companies. The European External Action Service should also play a more active role in establishing long-term development cooperation measures in order to contribute to peace, security and the safeguarding of human rights in this country.
Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament motion for a resolution because many of the problems in Nigeria stem from a lack of economic development and the tension is rooted in decades of resentment between indigenous groups vying for control of fertile farmlands with migrants and settlers from the Hausa-speaking Muslim north. Peaceful resolution of conflicts implies respect for human rights, access to justice and an end to impunity, as well as fair access to resources and redistribution of revenues in an oil-rich Nigeria. In its resolution, the European Parliament strongly condemns the recent violence (in particular the attacks carried out by the terrorist Islamist sect Boko Haram) and the tragic loss of life in the affected regions of Nigeria, and extends its sympathies to the bereaved and the injured. Parliament thus urges the Government of Nigeria to end the violence as quickly as possible, and to guarantee the security and protection of its population and respect for human rights. It also calls upon the President of Nigeria to encourage inter-religious and inter-convictional dialogue and to enhance freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The Government of Nigeria should examine more widely the root causes of the conflict, including social, economic and ethnic tensions, and avoid broad and simplistic explanations based only on religion that will not provide the basis for a long-term, lasting solution to the problems of the region.
Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. – (PT) I voted for this motion for a resolution, as it strongly condemns the recent wave of violence in Nigeria. The Nigerian authorities should put a stop to this situation and ensure full respect for human rights. A firm message should be sent to all communities to highlight the need for restraint and to seek peaceful means for resolving disputes between different religious and ethnic groups in Nigeria.
Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Brutal terrorist actions by radical sectors of the country’s Islamic communities have swept through the Christian communities in Nigeria. Unfortunately, the whole international community remembers the savage attack on a church on Christmas Day last year, which was preceded and succeeded by many other attacks. The adoption of Sharia law in areas of Nigeria has led to fears of an increase in the repression of Christian minorities, and requires the federal government to carry out a thorough assessment of and a timely clampdown on all judicial and extrajudicial abuses which undermine human dignity, freedom of expression, assembly and association, and the right to profess a religion. As a community which has historical ties with Nigeria and which has been an important donor, the EU cannot fail to press the Nigerian Government to ensure basic rights for its citizens and to help to put an end to their repression.
João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) This motion for a resolution is an example of the way in which the approach taken by Parliament can be completely differentiated, treating countries whose political leadership is favourable to the interests of big capital in the major EU powers one way, while taking an arrogant and openly interventionist approach towards countries that do not submit to its orders.
The language used in this resolution is intentionally soft in the face of an extremely serious situation, as it seeks to focus attention on what is essentially a consequence – the strengthening of terrorist organisations – and ignores the roots of the whole problem: namely, the unbridled exploitation of the country’s natural resources, in particular oil and natural gas; corruption and violence fuelled by the major multinational oil companies; and massive poverty. It is not enough to ask the oil companies to contribute and take more responsibility when we are talking about companies that have committed the greatest crimes against the Nigerian people and have caused irreparable environmental damage. Environmental crimes against humanity have been committed in the Niger delta, leaving no source of income for coastal communities.
Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The freedoms of religion, belief, conscience and thought are fundamental and universal values and are essential elements of democracy. The EU has repeatedly expressed its commitment to defend the freedoms of religion, belief, conscience and thought, and has stressed that governments have a duty to guarantee these freedoms all over the world. I firmly believe that all the forms of violence in Nigeria are reprehensible, and that the threat of continuing ethnic, religious and political tension is also a cause for concern, leading to further suffering for thousands of people.
It is essential for the Nigerian government to find a way to end the violence as quickly as possible, and to ensure the safety and protection of the Nigerian people, as well as respect for human rights. The President should also make the necessary effort and encourage dialogue between representatives of different religions and beliefs, and in this way strengthen freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The country’s leading figures should make an effort to fight poverty and inequality, and to promote social, political and economic reforms with the aim of building a democratic, stable and free state which respects human rights.
Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. – (FR) Nigeria is a complex country both from a socio-economic point of view and in terms of its geopolitical situation. Although the country is the world’s eighth-largest oil producer, the majority of its inhabitants live below the poverty line. The events of these last few months with the increased violence against the religious communities, in particular the persecution of Christians in the north of the country by the Boko Haram sect and the execution of European hostages on 8 March, called for greater public awareness. That is why Parliament, echoing the High Representative’s statements, has strongly condemned this violence and reiterated that religious freedom is a fundamental and unquestionable right. However, the causes of these attacks cannot be put down to mere inter-religious or inter-ethnic tensions. They are very often the result of exploiting poverty and manipulating fears. The Nigerian authorities are already taking various measures to combat insecurity and I welcome this. Nonetheless, the efforts in terms of governance and development with the help of EU support must be accentuated so as to stabilise the north of the country. For security is inextricably linked to development.
Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. – (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament motion for a resolution on the situation in Nigeria because the freedoms of religion, belief, conscience and thought are fundamental and universal values and are essential elements of democracy. The European Union has repeatedly expressed its commitment to protect the freedoms of religion, belief, conscience and thought, and has stressed that governments have a duty to guarantee these freedoms all over the world. Many of the problems in Nigeria stem from a lack of economic development and the tension is rooted in decades of resentment between indigenous groups vying for control of fertile farmlands with migrants and settlers from the Hausa-speaking Muslim north. Peaceful resolution of conflicts implies respect for human rights, access to justice and an end to impunity, as well as fair access to resources and redistribution of revenues in an oil-rich Nigeria.
Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. – (IT) The fresh outbreaks that have been taking place in Nigeria for over two months now required strong condemnation by the European Union. The situation in this African country is very worrying as it concerns the protection of both human and religious rights. The massacre of 185 Christians on 20 January is a cruel testimony to a climate of violence that shows no signs of letting up in its hatred and is based on religious discrimination. Among the other events, I just want to highlight the kidnapping, followed by the killing, of the Italian engineer, Franco Lamolinara, to whose relatives I extend my sincere condolences. It is our duty to put in place all the measures of cooperation needed to return the situation in Nigeria to normal as soon as possible, through the encouragement of inter-religious dialogue and, above all, of freedom of thought.
David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this resolution, which strongly condemns the killing of British citizen Christopher McManus and Italian national Franco Lamolinara – two engineers working for an Italian construction company who had been held hostage by AQMI for 10 months in northern Nigeria – during a failed rescue attempt on 8 March, and extends its condolences to the families of the victims.
Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The events in Nigeria, in which Christian communities have faced brutal terrorist actions perpetrated by radical sectors of the country’s Islamic communities, cannot continue. We all still remember the unspeakable attack on a church on Christmas Day last year, which was preceded by other similar attacks, which have unfortunately continued to take place. The adoption of Sharia law in areas of Nigeria has led to fears that these attacks will go on indefinitely if the federal government authorities do not take concrete measures to combat them. Fundamental principles are at stake here, in particular attacks on human dignity, on freedom of expression, assembly and association, and on the right to profess a religion. The EU cannot distance itself from this process, and must put pressure on the Nigerian Government to ensure basic rights for its citizens, and thus help to put an end to their repression.
Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − The European Parliament strongly condemns the terrorist attacks on Christian communities, their belongings and symbols and the violent clashes and the resulting tragic loss of lives. I think that it is an unacceptable crime. I voted in favour.
Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. – (IT) In recent months, the situation in Nigeria has deteriorated dramatically: in last week’s news we heard of the murder of two European civilian hostages, including Italian Franco Lamolinara, after they had been kidnapped by the terrorist Islamic group Boko Haram. This is unfortunately only the latest in a long series of violent acts perpetrated by this sect, which includes the profoundly significant attacks which they organised on Christmas Day last year against various Christian churches, in which dozens of people were killed. I had already expressed my concern about the situation in Nigeria earlier this year, in a question to High Representative Baroness Ashton, who assured me that the EU would take suitable action. I do not think this has yet happened, but we hope that this joint resolution, which I supported, may be helpful in trying to bring the necessary stability to Nigeria.
Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. – (PT) I support Parliament’s call for all communities to exercise restraint and to seek peaceful means for resolving disputes between religious and ethnic groups.
Alojz Peterle (PPE), in writing. − (SL) As co-rapporteur I voted in favour of this joint motion for a resolution in the belief that, as a very important strategic partner of the European Union, Nigeria needs both to improve the quality and efficiency of its government, devoting much more attention to the sources of the conflict, and to be considered more of a partner by the European Union, especially in the fight against terrorism.
Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. – (PT) It is regrettable that, in one of the countries with the greatest economic potential in Africa, most of the population lives below the poverty line. Many situations are causing this instability in Nigeria: the corruption and promiscuity that exist in the state apparatus, the mismanagement of oil revenues, the environmental chaos, the sexual intolerance, and the existence of terrorist Islamist groups that are sowing panic among Christian populations. In view of this, as the resolution states, it is proper that the EU combine diplomacy with development cooperation in the long term, with the aim of helping Nigeria achieve peace, security, good governance and respect for human rights.
Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) Already faced with various societal, economic, ethnic and religious difficulties, Nigeria has experienced serious violence for several weeks now at the hands of the terrorist Islamist sect Boko Haram. Targeting Christians in particular in their fight for an ‘Islamist regime’, this group is held responsible for the deaths of over 900 people to date. As I am extremely opposed to such a situation, I voted in favour of this resolution in which we strongly condemn this violence. We are calling for the implementation of peaceful means to resolve the differences between communities and we are stressing the importance of respect for the principles of freedom of religion, faith, conscience and thought. Furthermore, we recall in this text the need to monitor the possible connection between Boko Haram and Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI) which, if it is established, would be particularly dangerous for the region’s security and stability. The Union has designated Baroness Ashton High Representative for its foreign affairs. It is high time for Baroness Ashton to work for this region combining diplomacy and long-term development cooperation in order to try to bring peace, security, good governance and respect for human rights to Nigeria.
Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. – (IT) In Nigeria, the latest wave of gun and bomb attacks committed by the terrorist Islamist sect Boko Haram, killed at least 185 people in Kano on 20 January. Boko Haram warned Kano residents, in a leaflet distributed around the city overnight, that their strikes against security services would continue and urged perseverance as the group fights to install an ‘Islamic system’. This vote emphasises the importance of regional cooperation to address the threat posed by a possible connection between Boko Haram and AQMI (Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb). Indeed, the countries in the region should deepen their cooperation, including through the relevant regional organisations, in order to prevent synergies between the two groups.
Charles Tannock (ECR), in writing. − The ECR Group supports the Nigerian Government in its fight against terrorism and violent crimes perpetrated by the Islamic extremist sect Boko Haram against Christian communities. It roundly condemns the acts of terrorism perpetrated by Boko Haram as well as the instigators of this violence, which come both from within and outside Nigeria. It is deeply concerned about the institution, since 1999, of shari’ah law in 12 northern states, creating a de facto state religion in contradiction with the national secular constitution. It calls upon the Nigerian Government to address the root causes of the violence, ranging from corruption to age-old sectarian strife and on the EU and its High Representative for Foreign Affairs to assist in this effort.
Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram has carried out a series of attacks in Nigeria, with the aim of establishing an Islamic state. The latest attack took place in the town of Kano, killing about 185 people, and was largely targeted at the police. In response, the national authorities took extrajudicial measures against members of the Islamist group. This escalation of violence and conflict between different religious and ethnic groups has led to economic, social and political stagnation in the country. Although Nigeria is a country that is extremely rich in natural resources, and the eighth-largest oil producer in the world, it is facing a social scourge whereby the majority of its 148 million inhabitants live below the poverty line. I support dialogue and cooperation with the Nigerian authorities, in order to carry out the reforms that are essential for the country, so as to stimulate growth and economic development.
Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) This is another example of a completely differentiated approach, treating countries whose political leadership is favourable to the interests of big capital in the major EU powers one way, while taking an arrogant and openly interventionist approach towards countries that do not submit to its orders. The language used in this motion for a resolution is intentionally soft in the face of an extremely serious situation, as it seeks to focus attention on what is essentially a consequence – the strengthening of terrorist organisations – in order to ignore the roots of the whole problem: namely, the unbridled exploitation of the country’s natural resources; corruption and violence fuelled by the major multinational oil companies; and massive poverty. It is not enough to ask the oil companies to contribute and take more responsibility when we are talking about companies that have committed the greatest crimes against the Nigerian people and caused irreparable environmental damage, as in the Niger delta. It is certainly telling that the government of one of Africa’s biggest oil producers has suspended fuel subsidies. We understand this hypocrisy when we discover that the EU is dependent on the import of hydrocarbons and that 20% of Nigeria’s fuel is exported to the EU.
Damien Abad (PPE) , in writing. – (FR) Alongside the 6th World Water Forum, we have debated issues related to water and called for sustainable solutions, particularly in terms of access to drinking water. Water is a vital resource but it is also a strategic one. Only 2.5% of the Earth’s water may be used. The issues related to water (climate change, the growing demand for energy and agricultural products, and so on) are not exclusive to developing countries. The issue of water requires a global response.
Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. – (PT) I am voting for this motion for a resolution, as it reinforces the message that water is a precious resource and a public good, and that it should be accessible to everyone. The EU should therefore focus on promoting free access to water for everyone in effort to conserve and manage it, taking account of the threats posed by climate change, and with a view to greater coordination at regional, national, European and global level in relation to water quality.
Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. − I voted in favour of the resolution on the 6th World Water Forum. Water is becoming ever more precious and scarce. Therefore we need to handle it with more care and to find ways at both European and international levels of how to deal with our water resources sustainably. Climate change and population growth amplify the problems. This is why the EU must develop a strategic and long-term water policy in close cooperation with the international community. The health and living conditions of billions of people depend on water. I support the statement in the resolution that water is a shared resource of humankind and, therefore, should not be a source of profit and that access to water should constitute a fundamental and universal right. In this regard the Commission and Member States have to reinforce their commitment to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in the field of water and sanitation.
Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing. – (IT) Water is the key to life, a key factor for economic growth and prosperity, through activities such as agriculture, commercial fishing, energy production, manufacturing, transport and tourism. Not only that, water has since the very beginning been the critical factor on which human settlement has depended, as well as the source of many geopolitical conflicts. Today, we face a true imbalance in our ecosystems, posing a risk not only for regulation of the climate system that enables the planet to function, but a serious danger to human health and quality of life. I hope that in the next few days, during the Sixth World Water Forum to be held in Marseille, tangible proposals will be debated using a multilevel governance approach aiming to halve poverty and hunger levels and aid environmental sustainability. Preserving water resources, ensuring their quality and availability, is a responsibility that each one of us must take.
Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I presented the draft resolution on the World Water Forum, an event which, every three years, brings together the political, economic and community actors concerned by the problems related to water at global level. In my view, access to water and sanitation is an essential issue because it concerns the health of billions of people. Firstly, in spite of the progress made, we must achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals and continue in our fight, particularly to improve access to sanitation. Secondly, we must ensure water management through drainage basins and deal with the problems of pollution at source. Finally, I would like to mention the idea of ‘1% solidarity for water’, a principle that has been applied in France and that allows for the collection of funds to improve access to water and sanitation in developing countries. Following the adoption of this text by my colleagues in the European Parliament, I presented a broad overview of it on Friday morning to the 35 000 participants at the World Water Forum. The European Union, developed countries and humanitarian aid organisations must now step up their efforts both in terms of financial assistance and technical support.
Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution. Population growth, deforestation, biological and chemical pollution and climate change are also threatening the availability of safe and secure water resources. Currently over 800 million people still use unsafe drinking water sources, and poor hygiene practices cause the death of more than 2.5 million children every year. In the past the European Parliament has on several occasions called on the Commission and the Council to take specific actions aimed at ensuring access to drinking water and sanitation for the poorest people, but such calls have been ignored. I agree that we must step up efforts internationally and adopt an agreement and specific obligations on the management of water resources globally at the forthcoming Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development. It is also very important to introduce the latest technologies and support investment in developing research, which would maximise water efficiency.
Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) In December 2010, along with Danielle Mitterrand and several of my fellow MEPs, I took part in the ‘porteurs d’eau’ (drawers of water) group’s action for water to be recognised as a shared resource of humankind but also for public water management. While the World Water Forum is taking place in Marseille as we speak, the European Parliament has declared in the resolution that we have just adopted that water, a shared resource of humankind, must be accessible for all. Access to drinking water and sanitation, but also preserving water resources and guaranteeing water quality are among the challenges we must face up to, and we have recognised them in this text. What the text does not include, however, is the need for public water management. In fact, in my view, water is too precious and essential to the survival of both mankind and ecosystems to be left to private interests. Although, for some uses, water may at times be considered as a commodity, it is most certainly not a commodity like any other. That is why, in terms of access to drinking water, sanitation and maintaining affordable water prices, water should be publicly managed.
Phil Bennion (ALDE), in writing. − I was happy to fully support my Liberal group on this report. Whilst highlighting the importance of access to clean water, it is also crucial to recognise the need to properly manage and conserve our limited water resources, and avoid the temptation to see water as something to be wasted or undervalued. In this context we resisted cumulative amendments from the far left, which sought to bring all water into public ownership, whilst ignoring the practical challenges of developing and investing in water supply infrastructure in Member States.
Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament motion for a resolution because new technological developments have the potential to achieve increased water efficiency and sustainability, and can be used in particular to the advantage of developing countries. Water is a shared resource of humankind and, therefore, should not be a source of profit. Access to water should constitute a fundamental and universal right. The United Nations recognises the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, as derived from the right to an adequate standard of living, and it is therefore essential for all necessary efforts to be made to guarantee access to water for the most deprived populations by 2015. We need to balance water uses to satisfy water demand and ensure availability as well as quality, in particular in developing countries. Water is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which could lead to a decline in the quantity and quality of water available, particularly drinking water, as well as to a rise in the frequency and intensity of floods and droughts. Risk prevention, mitigation and response strategies to prevent water-related extreme phenomena are thus crucial.
Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) On 28 July 2010, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on the basic right of every human being to drinking water. Access to drinking water is restricted around the world. According to the data provided by the UN Environment Programme, 884 million people do not have access to clean water, while approximately 2.3 billion people do not have the opportunity to use even the most basic sanitation facilities. The problems of dwindling drinking water resources and expanding deserts, which were more likely in the past to be issues affecting Africa and Asia, are knocking at Europe’s door. In southern Spain the desert is extending by one kilometre every year. Oltenia in Romania is exposed to a similar process, but it is progressing at a slower rate, while drinking water resources in other regions of the world have become grounds for conflict between states. Last but not least, there is the well-known official statement from Yemen that by 2017 it will become the first state in the world not to have its own natural water source. In view of the above-mentioned problems, I think that the sustainable use of water is as much an economic as an environmental necessity, which would require more transparent water pricing schemes.
Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. – (FR) We urgently need to make concrete commitments towards the promotion and protection of water resources, for although access to drinking water and sanitation was recognised as a human right by the UN in 2010, the fact remains that water has become a geostrategic issue for some regions of the world, such as the Middle East, China and Latin America. We are therefore calling for access to drinking water to be better taken into consideration in regional development policies. In Europe too, access to water for all users must be ensured and decentralised action must be taken quickly at regional and local level. Parliament was keen to remind Member States of their obligations under the Water Framework Directive to achieve good water status by 2015. The dialogue and debates in Marseille during the 6th World Water Forum should encourage the implementation of ‘water governance’ and thereby allow for commitments to be made at global level during the Rio+20 conference in June in Brazil.
Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. – (CS) In connection with the resolution adopted on the 6th World Water Forum, I agree with the call to create a common body of knowledge in the area of water management, which could be used both on a global scale and within the EU. Hand in hand with this should be the drafting of the main global indicators of quality, quantity, achievability and affordability of water and indicators for the effective use of water resources at river basin level. In this context, I support the development of unified river basin plans at a global level, and I would like to emphasise the primary role of river basin plans in applying EU policy in the area of water management in line with the Water Framework Directive. Regional and local bodies must also play an important role in economic solutions to global water problems, and in preventing bribery. The Commission should accede to the UN Convention on International Water Courses on behalf of the EU, and encourage the entry into force of amendments to the Helsinki Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Water Courses and International Lakes of 1992 with the aim of extending the scope of this instrument to countries that are not members of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The EU should also encourage broader ratification of the Protocol on Water and Health to the Helsinki Convention of 1992, in the interests of coordinated and equitable management of water in national and international river basins.
Françoise Castex (S&D), in writing. – (FR) I voted for this motion for a resolution. Water is a ‘shared resource’ and access to water should constitute a fundamental and universal right. All local authorities must be able to use the management method of their choice. On this subject, many people are strongly criticising the European Union, its institutions and in particular the Commission for being responsible for privatisations, but we must remember that, at present, there is no compulsory European ‘internal market’ directive, as is the case for other public service networks. We will ensure that the European Union does not commit to liberalisation policies and, on the contrary, guarantees free democratic choice for all public authorities in terms of their organisation and management methods.
Corina Crețu (S&D), in writing. – (RO) We are clearly moving towards turning water into an ordinary commodity with everything that this entails: discrimination on the basis of income with regard to water access instead of universal access, the intensive use of sources with the risk of them running out, the intensive use of the infrastructure in the event of distribution being privatised, and a lack of investment. The consequences of climate change can only be managed jointly and only at state level. Its impact extends beyond borders, thereby making international cooperation a necessity.
The zones at greatest risk in this area are those which are the most unstable, hit by conflict, both between states and within states. Pollution is another problem which, likewise, must be managed jointly by several states. Cooperation in this area is not working as well yet as we would like. There is also the aspect relating to investments in research and development aimed at obtaining new wastewater recycling technologies or optimising the consumption of water in agriculture, not to mention making affordable, in economic terms, the desalination of seawater. We must not believe that these issues will be resolved more easily by leaving them up to the markets and removing states from the equation. The financial system crisis shows us how wrong this kind of approach is.
Rachida Dati (PPE) , in writing. – (FR) The question of access to a sufficient quantity and quality of water is a priority issue in terms of the environment, health and the economy. This resolution encourages the development of measures with a view to resolving some of the most crucial aspects of this issue. That is why I obviously voted in favour of this text. It promotes both local and global solutions, as the issue concerns farmers in our developed countries as well as citizens in developing countries, and puts this issue back into the wider context of climate change. It encourages significant investment in research and development, and the development of efficient usage of resources.
Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Although we all take drinking water for granted, it is not available to everyone in the world. However, it plays a key role in public health and environmental protection, so these should be priority areas for any adequate water-management policy. This is why adequate protection of drinking water resources is so important for human health and the fight against water pollution, limiting the amount of hazardous substances that enter the environment and drinking water-resource zones. In this new millennium, drinking water should be seen as a genuine fundamental right for all, so it deserves adequate protection in national, European and international legislation.
João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) This motion for a resolution is an amalgam of commonplaces about water, and includes incorrect generalisations that create a backdrop for a set of very serious trade-based objectives. This document distorts the text of the UN resolution on the human right to water and sanitation, as it does not reproduce its content faithfully, although this was an extremely important decision by the UN General Assembly. Moreover, it does not make any clear or unequivocal defence of the public ownership and management of water, as was necessary, creating ambiguity which favours business and privatisation. The rejection of the amendments that we have tabled in this regard shows the intentions of the majority in this House.
Other negative aspects of the resolution include the recommendation of the ‘polluter pays’ principle; the launch of another tax on people for the supply of water and sanitation, which is intended to be obligatory in the EU; and the fact that the whole document is underpinned by the procurement of funds, which are to be made available to EU-based transnational companies, in particular those involved in supplying water and sanitation, and related service providers.
This model is well known. The funds are made available to developing countries as ‘aid’, which is then taken up by those transnational companies and considered ‘debt’ owed by these countries, linked to the privatisation process.
Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The Sixth World Water Forum, which takes place in Marseille on 12-17 March 2012, provides a unique platform where the water community and policy and decision makers from all regions of the world can come together, debate and attempt to find solutions to water issues. The EU should also support solutions in the area of water in order to secure further progress at global, national, regional and local levels, while also setting the objective of combating poverty and climate change.
With regard to the Commission’s future plan for protecting European water sources and the report on application of EU legislation in the area of water, I take the view that it is essential to solve the problems which Europe and the world must face in the 21st century, in particular the developing countries, in order to protect water sources and ensure the quality and accessibility of water throughout the world. Water management impacts directly on human health, energy production, agriculture and food security. I also believe that it is right to conclude and implement international agreements for the shared management of transboundary surface waters and groundwater, which would draw populations and administrations together to ensure the sustainable management of water resources and act as a safeguard against local and international conflicts
Elisabetta Gardini (PPE), in writing. – (IT) Despite the international community’s efforts in recent decades, the figures which illustrate the global situation regarding the use and quality of water describe a scenario that is still unacceptable, both from a health and from an ethical point of view. According to the latest data, more than 800 million people drink from unsafe sources and no less than 2.5 million children die each year due to poor water supply and quality. These figures require us to take a clear stand. For this reason, I think it is vital that at the next World Water Forum to be held in Marseille from 12 to 17 March, the European Union come up with a strong common vision where the issues that the EU has long has at the top of its agenda are clearly outlined, namely the protection of water resources and better water use efficiency (and consequently a reduction in wastage).
Françoise Grossetête (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution which proposes concrete measures to address the challenges facing Europe and the world in order to preserve water resources, guarantee water quality and access to water for the whole planet.
I hope that the Forum in Marseille will, as our resolution calls for, be a step towards recognising water use as a right, which was not the case in Istanbul in 2009, where it was recognised only as a ‘fundamental human need’.
Dirty water kills over 3.6 million people every year. We must speed up the implementation of major technological solutions: desalinating seawater, building large weirs, partnerships between the public and private sectors. Today, techniques for harnessing and developing water sources have been well mastered and these must be quickly put in place in cooperation with the populations.
Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. – (FR) This week the 6th World Water Forum is taking place in Marseille, giving us the opportunity to recall that water is a precious resource for which we have a duty of responsibility. According to a study by the WHO and Unicef, the rate of access to water for the global population stood at 89% in 2010. This is remarkable progress. However, 2.5 billion people still do not have access to clean water. Water is a development issue, an ecological issue and an issue of health and food security within the context of population growth and climate change. More than ever, we must return this problem to the heart of our policies and develop a comprehensive EU water strategy. We must make access to water universal by 2030 and make sanitation a priority by leading actions of solidarity with developing countries. We must develop sustainable water management by fighting against waste and relying on innovation and green technologies. There are many issues to be dealt with and we are being very ambitious. I am now waiting for the conclusions from this strategic forum to be translated into concrete commitments during the Rio conference next June.
Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. – (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament resolution on the 6th World Water Forum taking place in Marseille on 12-17 March 2012 because almost half of the developing world’s population lacks sanitation facilities, over 800 million people still use unsafe drinking water sources, and inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services and poor hygiene practices cause the death of more than 2.5 million children every year. Water management impacts directly on human health, energy production, agriculture and food security, and effective water management is a fundamental precondition for poverty reduction. New technological developments have the potential to achieve increased water efficiency and sustainability, and can be used in particular to the advantage of developing countries. The World Water Forum, which meets every three years, provides a unique platform where the water community and policy and decision makers from all regions of the world can come together, debate and attempt to find solutions to achieve water security.
Peter Jahr (PPE), in writing. − (DE) Water is the basis for all life on this planet and it is set to become even more important in the future. I therefore welcome the fact that we are also focusing on this important issue with the World Water Forum in France. Experts predict that future wars will be fought not for oil or territory, but rather for water as a precious commodity. Thus in order to ensure future peace, we must learn to handle water in a considered and sparing way. Water is a public good and should be available to everyone. That is why it is our duty to use it as carefully as possible.
Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. – (RO) Roughly half of the developing world’s population lacks sanitation facilities, and inadequate access to sanitation services and poor hygiene cause the death of more than 2.5 million children every year. Furthermore, only 60% of the world’s population has access to clean drinking water, with even regions in Europe affected by this problem.
Therefore, the delegations from more than 180 countries due to attend the World Water Forum, taking place in Marseille, are going to endeavour to find solutions to ensure access to water, since this is a basic right that must be guaranteed and enforced everywhere and for everyone. The European Union must take on specific commitments with the aim of promoting and protecting water resources. In addition, Member States, along with the Commission, must strengthen their commitment to meet the development targets set by the UN for water and sanitation services.
David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this resolution, which calls on the Commission and Member States to reinforce their commitment to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in the field of water and sanitation, and also to take into account the relevant outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, and stresses that the World Water Forum debate should aim at strategies and solutions for agricultural and economic development that can guarantee a high level of water availability and quality.
Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution on the 6th World Water Forum, intended to contribute to the debates held in Marseille on 12 to 17 March. As water management has a direct impact on human health, solutions must be found to renovate water infrastructure systems in developed countries and bring them up to standard in developing countries. Thus, water should not be a source of profit and access to water should constitute a fundamental and universal right. If we want to make progress in the field of health, we must invest in the protection of drinking water resources. We must encourage research in order to develop innovative technologies for water in all fields and, at the same time, use water in the most rational and efficient way possible. We must, from now on, commit to a long-term policy.
Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Contrary to appearances, drinking water is not available to everyone in the world, despite the fact that we take it for granted. However, water is vital for public health and environmental protection, and as such an adequate policy on water resources should be a priority for everyone. Proper protection of drinking water resources and combating of water pollution are essential in order to safeguard drinking water-resource zones. Drinking water should be accessible to everyone, as this is a fundamental right, and as such it deserves to receive adequate protection in national, European and international legislation.
Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − The oral question adopted in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety focuses on the Commission’s role in the political process leading to the 6th World Water Forum as well as the concrete actions the Commission will propose in order to address the challenges that Europe and the world, in particular developing countries, have to face in the 21st century, in order to safeguard water resources, guarantee water quality and availability worldwide and improve the communication and implementation of water goals. The draft resolution ascertains that water is a shared resource of the humankind and that access to water should constitute a fundamental and universal right. Furthermore, it stresses that public health and environmental protection should be priorities for any water management policy, while addressing the role of water in economic development. As climate change and chemical and biological pollution are major contributors to the decline in the quantity and quality of water worldwide, coordinated action is needed at national, European and global level to address these challenges. I am in favour.
Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. − (DE) Water conservation technologies and an increasing environmental awareness have reduced consumption of drinking water enormously. The resulting longer storage periods mean that chlorine needs to be used to prevent bacterial contamination and sulphur tends to build up in waste water pipes. Thus anyone seeking to encourage people to save water by increasing water costs is not thinking with sufficient foresight. If groundwater consumption has increased threefold within 50 years, this is mainly because surface water has been rendered unsuitable or too expensive for producing drinking water due to fertilisers or pollutants. EU development aid will therefore not only have to deal with reducing population growth, but also increasingly with the disposal of waste water. As well as exploiting potential savings in agriculture in southern Member States, it is also necessary to reduce the volume of fertilisers and pollutants. This motion for a resolution contains a number of good ideas, which is why I have voted in favour of it.
Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. − (LT) Water is the essence of life and the most abundant natural resource on our planet. Unfortunately, many of our planet’s inhabitants still do not have full access to safe drinking water. On the other hand, the seas washing the shores of the EU (above all I have the Baltic Sea in mind) are also becoming more and more polluted. I therefore welcome the provisions that maximum attention should be paid to all measures aimed at conserving water resources of all types and improving their quality. These measures should be broadly included in other EU policies, above all agriculture.
James Nicholson (ECR), in writing. − Along with my ECR colleagues, I voted in favour of the motion for resolution about the 6th World Water Forum. The World Water Forum only meets once every three years so we need to make sure that we make the most out of this platform to discuss aspects of water policy. At the end of the day, we need to ensure that the human right of access to water as a basis to ensure wellbeing is upheld. We need to bring the World Water Forum into our fight against climate change and poverty, both of which are linked with water access. We need to make sure that regional and local roles are clearly defined, as this is where the bulk of the work is being and will be done. We need to continue with the good work outlined in the ‘Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources’ report.
Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. − (DE) In the developing and emerging countries in particular, significant portions of the population still do not have secure access to clean water. More than half a billion people are forced to drink contaminated water and over 2.5 million children die every year because of a lack of access to clean, hygienically safe water. I believe that secure access to clean water is a basic right for everyone and regard a secure water supply as being of particular importance in ensuring peace on both a domestic and international level. For this reason, steps must be taken on all levels to make the consumption and treatment of water more efficient, particularly in the sectors with the greatest potential for savings. On the one hand, suitable steps must be taken here within the EU. On the other hand, it is also necessary to permit the transfer of know-how for the efficient use and recovery of water in developing countries. Last but not least, it is also necessary to reduce the contamination of water by chemicals, for example. I therefore voted in favour of the motion for a resolution.
Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. – (EL) The UN Millennium Declaration of 8 September 2000, which set out the Millennium Development Goals, made provision, among other things, for a 50% reduction in the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, an objective which we appear to be far from achieving. Today, nearly half the world’s population has no sanitation and over 800 million people are still using unsafe sources of drinking water. The European Parliament states in this motion for a resolution, which I supported, that, as a shared resource of mankind, water should not be a source of profit. Access to it must be a fundamental and universal right. As such, it calls on the Commission and the Member States to reinforce their commitment to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals and, among other things, for integrated water resource management plans to be adopted together with land planning at the international, national and local scale.
Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Water is a resource that belongs to all humanity, so access to it should be universal and should be a fundamental right. I voted for this motion for a resolution, in which Parliament welcomes UN recognition that access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation is a human right, derived from the right to an adequate standard of living. I support the call for every effort to be made in order to ensure that the most disadvantaged populations have access to water by 2015.
Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. – (RO) Water is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which could lead to a decline in the quantity and quality of water available, particularly drinking water, as well as to a rise in the frequency and intensity of floods and droughts. I voted for this motion for a resolution in order to get all the actors together so that we can draft policies for mitigating and adapting to climate change, giving due consideration to the impact on water resources and addressing the risks relating to the prevention of extreme water-related events.
Franck Proust (PPE), in writing. – (FR) Water is a precious but rare commodity. It is, however, the source of all life. We must fight to preserve it for the benefit of future generations. I would like to commend the initiative taken by France to host this world forum. For dialogue must of course be opened at global level. Only by giving states greater responsibility for their day-to-day water management will we be able to avoid a catastrophe that would cost us dearly. That is why I am voting in favour of this text. However, aside from preservation, I would like to specify that water supply is another major problem. It is the cause of many diplomatic tensions, territorial disputes and unfortunately sometimes even armed conflicts. Water must be given the same recognition in the collective consciousness as climate change. Of that I am sure.
Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Water is a resource that is increasingly under threat, in view of current demographic growth, urbanisation and all kinds of pollution. To make matters worse, not everyone has access to this resource. As a result, every year, millions of people die and suffer from diseases related to a lack of access to water, as well as to poor sanitation infrastructure. In order to ensure the well-being of all, water should be seen as a common good for all humanity, not as a source of profit. Access to water should therefore be a fundamental and universal right. In addition, the aim is for all countries to set, by 2015, a quantitative target for reducing chemical and biological pollution from urban wastewater and land-based activities, in order to protect and restore water quality and to support the sustainability of water resources and ecosystems. Finally, in economic terms, it is vital to urge public and private investment in research into and development of innovative technologies for water in all fields.
Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) The declaration made today by the European Parliament on the occasion of the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille is symbolically important: water is a shared resource of humankind and should not be a source of illegitimate profit.
I am pleased about the following aspects: one of the eight Millennium Development Goals has been achieved (ensuring a sustainable environment). Eighty-nine per cent of the global population now has access to water, meaning that over six billion human beings are connected to a drinking water network or have access to clean wells.
However, I do have some concerns. Almost 800 million people are still unable to drink clean water. Where is Europe in all this? In view of the scarcity of water resources and the repeated droughts, Europe must obviously secure its supply of water through efficient use in agriculture and the urban environment. There are also other paths to explore: on the one hand, developing woodland areas with a view to protecting soils and water, on the other, turning to good agricultural practices in order to fight against abusive use of water contaminants (nitrogen, phosphorus and pesticides) which have harmful effects on human health and the environment.
Jean Roatta (PPE), in writing. – (FR) Water is a resource for humankind and access to water is fundamental. Due to climate change, there are fears of a decline in the quantity and quality of water available, particularly drinking water, as well as a rise in the frequency and intensity of floods and droughts. It is therefore necessary to rationalise water use and the European Parliament’s motion for a resolution calls for more efficient water usage especially in the sectors where most water is used, such as the agriculture sector. Also, the resolution underlines the need to make concrete commitments towards the promotion and protection of water resources, especially in light of the upcoming Rio+20 conference. That is why I voted for this resolution during the very week when the World Water Forum was taking place in Marseille.
Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) Deforestation, population growth, and even climate change put increased pressure on the availability and quality of water resources, and water infrastructure systems are often inadequate in developing countries and outdated in developed countries. The 6th World Water Forum – a unique platform where the water community and policy and decision makers from all over the world worked to draw up solutions to achieve water security – was a crucial meeting, and I am pleased with the adoption of this resolution by the European Parliament. The text recognises – and I strongly supported this idea during the vote – water a shared resource for humankind. Therefore, it should not be a source of illegitimate profit: access to water should constitute a fundamental and universal right. We are therefore calling on the Commission and on Member States to reinforce their commitment to achieve fully the Millennium Development Goals in the field of water and sanitation. Finally, we must increase public and private investment in research and development for water in all fields.
Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – (FR) I am in favour. Water is a source of life and not of profit. It is the only essential resource for which there is no substitute. We must therefore do all we can to ensure both the quality and the quantity of water available for each human being and for maintaining ecosystems. Water does not belong to anyone; it is not a commodity but a universal shared resource.
In addition, as my colleague Ms Rivasi said earlier, access to drinking water has been recognised as a fundamental right since 2010, but we must do more. We must constitutionalise this right and promote comprehensive management of water as a global shared resource. In order to do so, we cannot allow private companies to hold the reins of the water market. In France, the delegation of public services has again been called into question and we are seeing an increase in local authorities taking back control of water management, which ecologists are delighted about.
Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. – (IT) Efficient management of global water resources directly affects human health, energy production, agriculture, and food security, constituting a fundamental prerequisite for reducing poverty. The World Water Forum is a platform where the water community politicians and decision-makers from all around the world come together to seek solutions, in order to achieve water security. It is my hope that tangible commitments will be made during the Forum to take action on the key priorities for action which have b been identified in this area, ensuring the welfare of all and contributing to global economic development.
Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. – (EL) I voted in favour of the European Parliament’s motion for a resolution on the World Water Forum, because I consider that water is a shared resource to which all populations should have access without discrimination. Protection of the environment, including drinking water resources, and protection of public health must continue to be priorities in all water management policies. Finally, I consider that water plays an important part in sectors such as peace, cooperation and economic development and in keeping our planet blue.
Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. – (IT) Almost half the population living in developing countries does not have sanitation facilities, over 800 million people still drink from unsafe water sources and have inadequate access to safe water and sanitation. A situation that is critical and at times dramatic for millions of people. This vote will attempt to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in the field of water and sanitation as soon as possible, taking into account the results of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development. The debate at the World Water Forum, indeed, should aim to come up with agricultural and economic development strategies and solutions capable of ensuring good access to water resources and good water quality.
Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu (S&D), in writing. – (RO) The quality of drinking water in the European Union is increasingly affected not only by climate change, but also by people discharging certain substances into the water. I think that the EU must take an active role in ensuring that water resources are managed efficiently at global level through compliance with public health and environmental protection regulations. Adopting this motion for a resolution marks an important step towards this.
Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Many developing countries do not have basic sanitation-infrastructure systems that enable the effective management of water resources, which are a key prerequisite for reducing poverty. It should be noted that over 800 million people use unsafe water sources every year, leading to the death of approximately 2.5 million children. In view of this, I am voting for this report, as it is necessary to ensure that access to water is a fundamental and universal right; it should not be a source of profit, but rather should help to improve people’s quality of life. I therefore believe that public and private organisations should increasingly invest financial resources in research into and development of innovative technologies for water in all fields, encouraging the use of new technologies in agriculture, to produce sufficient and safe food. I believe that it is vital for the Member States to reinforce their commitment to achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and also to take into account the relevant outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.
Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted for the motion for a resolution on the 6th World Water Forum taking place in Marseille on 12-17 March 2012 because water is a resource shared by humankind which should not be a source of profit but a fundamental, universal right. Water management impacts directly on human health, energy production, agriculture and food security, and efficient water management is a fundamental prerequisite for reducing poverty. I should emphasise the importance of transferring knowledge and technology relating to water conservation, water collection, irrigation techniques, groundwater management and wastewater treatment. Climate change, deforestation, urbanisation, population growth and biological and chemical pollution place ever-increasing pressure on the availability and quality of safe and healthy water resources, as well as causing increased risks of extreme water-related events occurring, with poor populations being affected the most. I urge the Commission to devise policies for mitigating and adapting to climate change, giving due consideration to the impact on water resources.
Dominique Vlasto (PPE), in writing. – (FR) Our water consumption is constantly increasing. Today it takes 11 000 litres of water to make a pair of jeans and 15 000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of beef. We tend to forget that water is the source of everything. With the coming rise in the global population, it will become an even more precious resource. In some parts of the world, satisfying a need as basic as drinking can be an impossible task. The terrible drought that hit the Horn of Africa last year, forcing women and children into a veritable exodus, reminds us of the urgent need for global coordination in order to face up to this challenge. In my constituency, we are also feeling the need to better preserve this gift of nature. The water shortages facing our farmers and the pollution of rivers and coastal regions are problems to which the EU must respond. This issue is all at once global, European, national and local. I therefore voted for this motion for a resolution which proposes solutions which take into account the different levels of the water management challenge and will stimulate the debates that will take place at the World Water Forum in Marseille.
Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) This document distorts the text of the United Nations resolution on the human right to water and sanitation, as it does not reproduce its content faithfully, although this was an extremely important decision by the UN General Assembly. Moreover, it does not make any clear or unequivocal defence of the public ownership and management of water, creating ambiguity which favours business and privatisation. Other aspects which we do not accept are the recommendation of the ‘polluter pays’ principle; the prospect of another tax on people for the supply of water and sanitation; the procurement of funds to be made available to EU-based transnational companies, in particular those involved in the supply of water and sanitation, and related service providers.