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Procedure : 2011/2885(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
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Texts tabled :

B7-0187/2012

Debates :

PV 28/03/2012 - 17
CRE 28/03/2012 - 17

Votes :

PV 29/03/2012 - 9.12
CRE 29/03/2012 - 9.12
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2012)0115

Debates
Thursday, 29 March 2012 - Brussels OJ edition

12. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
 

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Recommendation for second reading: Rui Tavares (A7-0063/2012)

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Madam President, both the asylum issue and the immigration issue are unique to each Member State, so I fundamentally oppose any move towards creating any form of common European asylum system. A one-size-fits-all measure as suggested in the report on the European Refugee Fund is not the answer as it cannot possibly take into account the specificity which each Member State faces with asylum and immigration. I would like to highlight that some Member States, my own in particular, already have a number of measures to assist asylum seekers and those fleeing persecution.

 
  
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  Daniël van der Stoep (NI). (NL) Madam President, I voted against the report on the European Refugee Fund because I disagree with the arbitrary decision of Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs to invalidate Article 80 of the Treaty of Lisbon. In my view, the committee should have yielded on this matter, too. By failing to do so, we now have a situation where the legislator has sat in the chair of judicial authority. And that is wrong in any democracy.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Madam President, an obvious point about immigration is that people do not lightly uproot themselves and cross the world in order to settle in another country without having chosen that country with some care. The experience of countries which have run proper immigration policies is that new settlers are grateful and patriotic and happy to be there, which is why they came in the first place. The difficulty of a system which forces economic migrants into the category of claiming refugee status bogusly is that they begin the relationship with a new state on the basis of a lie. The experience of getting in under false pretences is bound to teach them to despise the authorities of the country in which they have arrived.

It seems to me crazy at a time when we are admitting a certain amount of labour that we are doing so through a route which is based on falsehood on both sides, rather than having, as Canada, Australia, and a number of other countries do, a points-based system where people are chosen on the basis of their skills.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Madam President, when we talk about refugees, I have the impression that too often we go to extremes on both sides of the argument. I say this because all those who say that very often, the right to political asylum is abused by people who are actually migrating for economic reasons are, of course, correct. On the other hand, however, it should be remembered that we must not – as we sometimes say – throw the baby out with the bathwater. For example, I come from a country from which, over the centuries, very many people had to flee for political reasons, and they found a welcome in other countries. Europe is attractive because it is a place of freedom, and it should welcome all those who have defended freedom in their own countries but cannot live there.

 
  
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  James Nicholson (ECR). – Madam President, I voted against this report, which I see as an attempt to move towards a common European asylum system, which I am opposed to. Although cooperation between EU Member States regarding refugees and their resettlement is necessary, I do not wish to see a growing EU competence in this area. While we have the responsibility to deal with genuine asylum seekers, a one-size-fits-all approach does not work.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Madam President, I voted against the report on the European Refugee Fund as I strongly believe that both asylum and immigration should be individual Member State national responsibilities. I would therefore oppose any move towards creating a common European asylum system. Any such attempt at a one-size-fits-all measure created to cover all EU Member States would, I believe, end in failure. On top of this, in many Member States, including my own, the United Kingdom, which has already taken a disproportionate number of refugees in recent decades, this would not work. The UK has actually done much to help asylum seekers and refugees who already find themselves within its borders.

I accept that as much as possible must be done to help those who genuinely seek political refugee status, but the measures that this report proposes are not the best way of going about trying to improve matters.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). (FI) Madam President, I voted in favour of establishing the European Refugee Fund, even though each Member State is individually responsible for its own refugee policy. Furthermore, Member States should continue to be responsible in this way, but we also need European-wide coordination, as, in many respects, the influx of refugees has been uncontrolled. We need the system of resettlement that is mentioned in this proposal. Above all, however, the basis of our actions must be that we, as Europeans, support countries from which those people are arriving, in their efforts to establish democracy, because it is not good for anyone to have to leave their homeland and their roots. The basic approach should be that we work towards the resettlement in their home districts of people arriving from these countries under threat, building democracy there, and exporting European values there. As I said, however, in this situation, in which we have an uncontrolled immigration policy at European Union level, we need coordination. Nevertheless, Member States must retain their own decision-making powers regarding the number of immigrants each country admits.

 
  
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  David Campbell Bannerman (ECR). – Madam President, at a time of economic difficulty across the world, and particularly in the eurozone, and with the EU budget itself under enormous pressure, I cannot see the justification for shelling out huge amounts of cash this way. The report talks of up to EUR 6 000 per head per refugee, and a minimum of EUR 4 000. Britain has a noble history of providing shelter to genuine asylum seekers and takes more than its fair share of the load, but these common EU priorities of ‘resettlement’ are unwelcome, unhelpful and unaffordable. That is why I voted against this fund.

 
  
  

Report: Werner Langen (A7-0223/2011)

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Madam President, this is one small step towards the creation of a pan-European policy on financial services. The direction, however, is clear when you put them all together. We are moving invigilatory power from national authorities to the new regulatory institutions which we have set up in Brussels, and the result of that shift is a move away from the successful model that we have seen – which has made London the most successful financial centre in the world – to something far more government run and restricted.

I was talking to an Italian friend in the EPP just before the vote and he said, ‘What are you complaining about, you British? You will still have the most free market system in Europe,’ and I said, ‘Yes, well, that is rather like saying that we will have the best cricket team in Europe. It is not really where the competition is’. The competition is on other continents and it is a competition that we are losing.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Madam President, I endorsed the report because while I am fundamentally sceptical and cautious when it comes to adopting new legislation, I think that in this specific area, we are talking about something very complicated, and the cooperation and regulation introduced by this regulation can be effective in reducing the risks involved in the financial markets. I would like to say that these risks are one reason why the citizens of Europe and investors do not have the same confidence in our continent today as was once the case, and that this is aggravating the crisis we are all having to face.

 
  
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  James Nicholson (ECR). – Madam President, I voted in favour of this report, which aims to reduce the risks posed by the derivatives market through increased transparency. This would fulfil the G20 commitment that all OTC derivative contracts should be cleared through CCPs at the end of 2012. When dealing with legislation which affects financial services, we should aim to find a balance between preventing unnecessary risky practices and still allowing the financial services sector to grow and do business in a competitive way.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I voted for this report because I support establishing a wider scope of application for standardised OTC derivative contracts. These provisions are needed to improve transparency and the management of systemic risks on the OTC derivatives market.

At the same time, standard requirements need to be introduced so that central counterparty and trade repository operations can be carried out in proper conditions. I endorse the need to create more powerful instruments so that companies can support better the risks they have assumed. A definite sense of proportion must be retained when applying regulations so as to avoid high costs and increased prices for consumers.

The clearing obligation also needs to be applied consistently in all Member States so that payment is made under normal terms.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Madam President, there are a number of lessons to be learnt from the financial crisis. One of the lessons is that governments should stop spending more money than they actually collect in taxes, and be more responsible. That is one of the reasons we find the levels of debt we do right across the EU. Actually, one of the problems with the whole eurozone crisis at the moment is that governments are simply spending more money than they have.

The other issue we should tackle is the balance sheets of banks. For far too long, these derivatives have sat on banks’ balance sheets and have not been properly accounted for. The directors of those banks often do not know what is on the balance sheets, and one of the problems is that the IFRS standards, which the Commission has been so keen to promote, actually give an inaccurate picture.

Another problem is that when one of these contracts blows up, the counterparties should have enough capital to make sure that they can pay out. Those are issues which we saw during the crisis when CDOs and CDSs blew up and not enough provision had been made. We need more transparency in banking and more transparency on the balance sheet, to make sure we learn the lessons of the crisis.

 
  
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  Mario Borghezio (EFD).(IT) Madam President, I will use my explanation of vote – having voted for this report – to draw the attention of the House, or at least what remains of the House, to a very important statement, the statement by the Nobel prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, who – we read in the periodical of the University of Columbia, where he lectures in economics – has revealed that the decisions of the European Central Bank (ECB) are made according to instructions from a little-known organisation called the International Swaps and Derivatives Association.

These statements are, at the very least, worrying. Does the European Union intend to find out whether these significant and weighty statements are true? Because of all the things we find out about derivatives, one thing is certain, and that is that there is an organisation and a mysterious trafficking that allows the system of major international speculation to decide on the policies which then affect actual people, working men and women who are responsible for producing in Member States, and this does not correspond to our vision of a Europe which needs to be a Europe of people and regions, not of bankers.

 
  
  

Report: Derek Vaughan (A7-0062/2012)

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Madam President, I welcome the fact that the report on revenue and expenditure for 2013 authored by a Welsh colleague, Derek Vaughan, suggests a more modest increase – of 1.9% – to the 2013 budget. Nevertheless, I would still maintain that there should be no increase in the budget, particularly due to the increased pressure and stress that national budgets are currently facing.

Within the report there are, however, many positive examples of how Parliament can reduce its expenditure for next year. In particular, I supported the proposal that the European Parliament should have a single seat. This would make substantial savings, as illustrated in a number of publicly available reports, and would further help to avoid the wasteful duplication of office space and the unnecessary journey to Strasbourg every month. It is high time that we demonstrate that we truly understand the necessity of making cost savings, especially when Member States themselves are having to significantly tighten their belts.

 
  
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  Daniël van der Stoep (NI). (NL) Madam President, the estimates for the 2013 budget show no evidence of any substantial savings. Even just the insistence that Parliament be given a single seat would be a step in the right direction to slim down this costly project. I will, therefore, vote against this report.

Madam President, the best form of saving would, of course, be to dissolve this Mickey Mouse parliament. All Member States already have excellent parliaments and they are represented in the Council through their democratically elected officials. If we were to do this, I predict we would save in the region of EUR 2 billion.

In the meantime, it is, of course, ridiculous that we should be spending huge amounts on licensing fees by using archaic Microsoft software whereas we should, of course, be using open-source software. Open-source software not only ensures that we do not have to pay licensing costs; it also means a significant reduction in IT support.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Madam President, in 2012, the UK contribution to the EU budget will be just over EUR 19 billion according to the Treasury’s Pink Book. To put that figure in context, all of the savings that we have made in our domestic spending – changes in child benefit, changes in housing benefit, the cut in local government grants – all of those things put together come to 8.6 billion. In other words, all of our austerity measures have saved only a third of our contributions to the EU budget. And where is that money going? If anyone is watching me on EuroparlTV at the moment, they may be the single most subsidised square yard in discovered space. EuroparlTV costs EUR 67 000 per hour of emission and attracts at peak 900 viewers. Or maybe some of the money is going to the House of European History at the cost of GBP 131 million. Maybe it is going on the 6.6 million of entertainment allowances that the Commission had last year.

It cannot be morally right, and it is surely economically indefensible at a time when all 27 Member States are struggling to make administrative savings, that every euro they spend is sent here to be squandered by the Brussels authorities.

 
  
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  Emma McClarkin (ECR). – Madam President, the report on estimates of revenue and expenditure for 2013 contains a number of cost-saving measures which I am happy to support in order to reflect the struggle of our own Member States, which they continue to face and have done on a year-to-year basis in their own budgets since the financial crisis in 2008.

I welcome efforts to change working methods in Parliament, which I feel can be done in very many ways. Perhaps the most important measure, however, is that a single seat for the European Parliament could lead to very substantial savings. The general public are rightly outraged at the staggering figure of over EUR 450 million per year it takes to maintain the Strasbourg seat. It is unacceptable and must be stopped, and I urge colleagues from all Member States to support this cause.

I look forward to upcoming reports detailing avenues for savings in Parliament’s budget for 2013 and I hope that they will find further possibilities for efficiency. In recognising the calls for savings and the importance of the paragraph on the Strasbourg seat, I have decided to vote in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Madam President, nothing the European Parliament can say, no call we make for savings, no amount of tilting at windmills – nothing we might do to persuade the citizens to have greater faith in the European institutions – will be sincere or effective if we do not, once and for all, carry out effective reforms which result in a single seat for the European Parliament. I would not like to say which seat – Brussels or Strasbourg – should be chosen, but the European Parliament should have a single seat. I do think, however, that all the arguments which were originally used, which were used in the early days of our Union to justify having two seats, are no longer valid today. Today, the great objective of achieving reconciliation between Germany and France – a very important objective – has now been accomplished, but today the European Parliament’s two seats very clearly symbolise the way in which our institutions have become distanced from the aspirations of the European Union’s ordinary citizens.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE). - (SK) Madam President, I was unable to support the submitted report as it contains misleading information on Parliament’s one seat. The European Parliament has had one seat since it was founded, and that is Strasbourg. I fully support cutting costs in a time of belt-tightening. Let us get rid of the expensive buildings in Brussels and cancel the unnecessary mini plenaries. We should also discuss whether the idea of one seat is compatible with construction of the Konrad Adenauer complex in Luxembourg. None of the supporters of the single seat have yet questioned this. Parliament’s budget for next year also includes funding for the House of European History. If we do not want this history to be trampled on and robbed of its meaning, we must stop questioning Strasbourg’s place as the seat of the European Parliament. The EU is about more than just money.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). – Madam President, this report on the budget by Derek Vaughan is certainly a step in the right direction. I was very pleased to see such a large majority in this House vote in favour of one seat, but we in Parliament have already taken some concrete steps in that direction by combining the August and September plenary sittings in Strasbourg into one instead of two trips in September. Next year, we could look at doing the same thing for a number of other months, so that we end up with bi-monthly visits rather than two per month, which would have the effect of cutting the budget.

I also voted for the procedure to verify all expenditure from the general expenditure allowance. I do not actually think that would save a great deal of money because we would probably need to employ a lot of staff to verify what was happening, but it would contribute significantly to accountability and greater transparency.

Finally, I believe that the establishing of a working group to take a full look at Parliament’s budget and to look into travel and other costs is a positive recommendation. We must then, of course, act on the recommendations that it makes.

 
  
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  Bernd Posselt (PPE).(DE) Madam President, like Ms Záborská, I fail to understand why the Brussels supporters are so pleased about Article 2, because we have had one seat for a long time now. The Treaty states: the seat of the European Parliament is in Strasbourg. We simply need to implement this appropriately, as President Schulz has stated in his most welcome initiative, which we should support. I want to make one thing very plain: if we had dispensed with today’s nonsensical mini plenary sitting – as we could have done without any change to the Treaty – and if we had voted on all this business in the normal plenary in Strasbourg, then we would have taken a first step to save money. However, this was prevented by the same people who tell us that we need to save money. This is therefore nothing more than hypocrisy and propaganda.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Madam President, at a time when governments not just across the EU, but, in fact, across the world, are having to tighten their belts and look at every penny spent, it is shocking that here in the EU, we have actually increased the budget.

The budget should not even have been frozen – it should simply have been cut to reflect what national governments are having to do, which is to tighten their belts and act more responsibly. When you look at government expenditure, it is about time we had more transparency in all government expenditure, be it at EU level, national level, or across the world. It is time more governments published not only what they take in, but also what they pay out, so that citizens in the respective countries can hold those governments and politicians to account.

Therefore, I would welcome, as many people would, more transparency concerning revenue and expenditure under the EU budget, particularly with reference to Parliament. That would clearly show that having more than one seat for the European Parliament is costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of euro. It is a disastrous waste and it sets a bad example to our citizens.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Madam President, regarding the individual situation, I voted against my group and in favour of what was proposed here. I have three reasons for this.

Firstly, in a time of economic crisis all over Europe, we cannot spend EUR 880 million per year travelling to Strasbourg.

Secondly, it is becoming more difficult to travel to Strasbourg every month. It takes me, for example, 13 hours to travel there.

Thirdly, prices are increased when the MEPs travel to Strasbourg; the cost of accommodation and even the prices in Parliament. For example, it costs EUR 1.60 to buy a glass of orange juice here. In Parliament in Strasbourg, it costs – as far as I can remember – EUR 3.20. This makes no sense. Therefore, the sooner we have one location, the better for us, the European Union and its citizens.

 
  
  

Joint motion for a resolution: RC-B7-0178/2012

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Madam President, I find the situation in Belarus of great concern. Over the past 15 years, we have watched from the EU as the situation for people’s personal rights, as well as their living standards, has gradually deteriorated in that country. Given that the Lukashenko government has returned to a system of repression and control, I welcome this latest round of EU sanctions and join the international condemnation of this regime. I hope that the EU is now working on a more long-term plan for helping the people of Belarus reform their own country and, over time, enabling them to rejoin the rest of Europe in a world of democracy and freedom.

 
  
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  Daniël van der Stoep (NI). (NL) Madam President, Belarus is also known as the Soviet Museum. President Lukashenko is doing his utmost to keep his collection of Soviet legacies in good condition. Given the flagrant violations of democratic principles and human rights by the regime, I agree with this report. However, I would like to comment briefly on the call for the 2014 Ice Hockey World Championships to be moved. In my opinion, this is an unnecessary form of gesture politics and, moreover, it comes a little too late in the day. This situation reminds me of the pointless controversy which arose about the Olympic Games in China.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Madam President, we often use excessive superlatives when talking about dictatorial regimes, but it is difficult to do so in the case of Belarus. Here is a Caligulan tyranny in the heart of Europe and on the borders of the European Union. A lot of this report today focused on the application of the death penalty. I am more concerned by the naked autocracy of a system where, to give one example, at the last presidential election, there were nine candidates, one of whom was elected, one of whom was left alone and the other seven of whom were imprisoned. It is extraordinary that we have a situation where people are habitually incarcerated for saying inconvenient things.

I am a souverainiste, I believe in the national independence of countries, but we also are sovereign countries and we have our own right to take a position on the democratisation of neighbouring countries. Belarus is also in our ‘near-abroad’. I think we should be proud of the fact that in this Parliament, and particularly in our group, colleagues from the PIS in Poland, colleagues like Mr Migalski, and British Conservatives have been in the front line pushing for the democratisation and freedom of that country. Those who believe in a pluralist multi-party system there should know that they have friends.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Madam President, the two highly dubious executions carried out recently in Belarus are yet another example of how much the Belarusian nation is suffering today under the yoke of the cruel dictator, Aleksandr Lukashenko. It has to be said today that the trial of the alleged perpetrators of the terrorist attack on the Minsk metro was a show trial and, unfortunately, what happened at the trial does not engender confidence in the justice system in Belarus. However, in the light of what has happened following these terrible executions, and the complaint made by the mother of one of the men who were executed that she and her family have not been allowed to bury her son, it also has to be said that in our civilisation, this is something which has been respected even by the worst of dictators. Today, Lukashenko does not even care about the pain of a mother who has lost her son. Finally, I would like to say that unfortunately, this arrogance demonstrated by Lukashenko would not be possible if it were not for the help this dictator is continually being given by the Kremlin.

 
  
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  Andrzej Grzyb (PPE).(PL) Madam President, we sometimes feel a little helpless when talking about Belarus because after all, this House has already seen a great many resolutions on the subject. However, we must not close our eyes to the fact that the situation there, instead of getting better, is getting worse. Worst of all, many opposition political activists have been cut off from contact with Europe and the world. They have been told they cannot leave the country, and many of those who would like to modernise and change the country have been put in prison. On the other hand, the recent executions already referred to by Mr Kamiński arouse our worst fears as to the direction in which Belarus is moving, for while it is difficult to accept executions, it is much more difficult to accept a lack of respect for the minimum standard of decency and the right of the family to bury the body of a loved one, even if it was someone who had been sentenced to death. It is the duty of the European Parliament to call for the release of all political prisoners and for greater democracy, even if we are sometimes in doubt as to whether the calls we make are effective.

 
  
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  James Nicholson (ECR). – Madam President, this resolution draws attention to the current situation in Belarus and the present diplomatic row between the European Union and Belarus, which has escalated with the expulsion of both the EU and the Polish ambassadors. I support the EU stance on this issue. It has to be a very tough stance, including the introduction of sanctions and the publication of lists of people involved in the Belarusian regime who are responsible for human rights violations; this regime, of course, must be strongly condemned at this time.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Madam President, I, too, voted in favour of the statement made on the situation in Belarus. The current human rights and political situation in Belarus is extremely worrying. Also of concern is the fact that the economic standard of living of its citizens over recent years under the Lukashenko dictatorship has deteriorated. The increasingly repressive regime, which is basically a dictatorship, is really a deplorable one, so I welcome the extension of the EU targeted travel sanctions against representatives of the regime who are responsible for the violent repression of its citizens. Repression has also been intensified recently against civil society activists, democratic opposition and the freedom of the media.

Of course, we must all give out a strong signal that such repression today is not going to be tolerated in Europe by the European Union. I believe that targeted sanctions, as proposed, will serve to give a very strong signal to that effect to the last dictatorship in Europe. Belarusians, in my view, deserve much better.

 
  
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  Bernd Posselt (PPE).(DE) Madam President, we have heard the relocation of sporting competitions described as ‘gesture politics’. However, to hold such competitions in a brutal dictatorship where people are randomly murdered would also entail gesture politics, by which I mean bad gesture politics. The decision to hold the Olympic Games in Nazi Germany was bad gesture politics. When it came to the Olympics Games in Beijing, people said that they would promote democracy and the rule of law. Exactly the opposite was true. The regime used the Games to enhance its profile. That was a case of bad gesture politics. That is why I am in favour of good gesture politics and of the relocation of the championship.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0188/2012

 
  
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  Daniël van der Stoep (NI). (NL) Madam President, as far as I am concerned, enlargement of the European Union is not at all in order, certainly not at this time, when a major crisis is storming through Member States and the European Union is faltering. Although the report recommends Serbia be nominated as a candidate country, it lists all kinds of problems which, more than anything, mean that Serbia should not be recommended for promotion as a candidate country. All this shows that a country like Serbia is lagging miles behind the old Member States of the Union on all fronts, in the fields of economy, governance, human rights and crime.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Madam President, the Serbs will never be able to complain, as my constituents in the United Kingdom do, that the implications for national sovereignty were not clear when the European Union offered them membership, and I say the implications for national sovereignty in the fullest sense.

When Ratko Mladić was arrested and handed over, President Sarkozy made a statement on behalf of the European Union saying that Serbia had thereby proved its fitness to join. If you stop and think about it, the opposite really should be true: a country would have proved its democratic and liberal fitness when such a man could get justice in Belgrade or could be fairly extradited to Bosnia. But, of course, what we are doing is stepping in and saying, ‘we do not allow you even your internal domestic legal system’, something that has not happened in Serbia since the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum of 1914. That, of course, was the point that was rejected. We have to be fair in how we apply the rules to all of the applicant states. If Serbs vote in favour of joining, I will, of course, support them, but they should be in no doubt as to what the implications for their democracy are.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Madam President, Serbia has made significant progress over the past year. There are a lot of positive items in this report and I am therefore happy to support the continued progress that the country is making and hope that the government of Serbia will continue to do the hard work of reforming the judicial system and civil administration, as well as ensuring the continued fight against corruption and organised crime. It is attention to these fundamental issues that will really benefit the lives of Serbian citizens, whether or not they ultimately decide to join us here in the EU.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Madam President, the Serbs deserve to be a political part of our European Union because they have already been a part of European culture and society for a very long time. I voted in favour of this report because I support Serbia’s aspirations to be in the European Union. I think the Serbs’ respect for values – their attachment to their national and cultural values – will strengthen the hand of all those in the European Union who, while they enjoy the benefits of European integration, point out that the nations of Europe should retain their identity and work together in peace for the common good. So, while I also note the progress which is being made in Serbia in many important areas, I would like to appeal to the authorities in Belgrade to make their pro-European stance even stronger, but also to fight hard against corruption and organised crime, so that the people of Serbia can benefit as quickly as possible from the same privileges enjoyed by all the European Union’s Member States.

 
  
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  Andrzej Grzyb (PPE).(PL) Madam President, Serbia has made great progress, and we have stressed this in this report. I voted for its adoption because I think Serbia’s place is among the Member States of the European Union. I also welcomed the decision to grant Serbia EU candidate status. This will intensify the efforts of all who support this option.

I would also like to mention a certain personal experience I had when I was a Council of Europe observer at the constitutional referendum. At the time – it was several years ago – many young Serbs did not believe that the possibility of European Union membership lay open to them. We tried to persuade them that it did. It seems to me that today’s report and the granting of EU candidate status are, in fact, the answer to the doubts they had then. I am profoundly convinced that their efforts will not be wasted and that at some point, we will be able to receive them into membership of the European Union. I sincerely hope this will be the case.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). (FI) Madam President, I supported the report. The future of the Serbs lies in Europe. This is also a question of stability in Europe. Serbia’s rapprochement with the European Union will benefit the entire Western Balkans region. The wars that were waged when Yugoslavia broke up still haunt Serbian society, but the youngest generation has grown up during a time of peace and wants a Serbia that is close to Europe.

The EU’s policy of unconditionality may, in the worst case, lead to dampening enthusiasm for Europe among the Serbians, and Europe cannot afford this. The Council should grant Serbia candidate country status. Serbia is well on the way towards European integration, both politically and economically, and it is leading the way in the whole of the Western Balkans region. As with the other Balkan countries, Serbia’s gradual integration into the European Union is the surest guarantee of peace in that region and in the future, and, at this critical time, this would also reinforce the Union’s own identity, one that has got lost, as a harbinger of peace and social justice.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Madam President, I, too, voted in favour of the resolution on the European integration process for Serbia. Since Parliament adopted its report last year, Serbia has made good progress in the reform process and the present report calls on the Council to grant candidate status this month, which I back and so does my group.

This judicial authority has surrendered the last two remaining wanted fugitives so Serbia, in my view, has satisfactorily cooperated with the ICTY, which was one of the main requirements set by the Commission. I am still concerned with the tensions that remain in North Kosovo, particularly following developments last year, and I believe it is important that the Serbian Government looks for ways of alleviating and ultimately solving the problems in that region. Personally, I support a land-for-peace deal over Kosovo, which would settle the question once and for all.

There are also other serious outstanding issues, particularly where there will be requirements for further measures to be taken in ensuring the independence of the Serbian judiciary and the fight against corruption and organised crime. Also, as rapporteur for Montenegro, I welcome the good relations that now exist bilaterally between Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I voted for this resolution because I would like stability to be established in the Balkans. However, in order to progress on its European course, Serbia must meet the Copenhagen criteria fully, including with regard to the protection of minorities. I should emphasise in this regard the need for the rights of the Vlachs in the Timoc Valley to be respected. I am thinking, in particular, of their right to self-identification and preserving their ethnic and cultural identity, including through the provision of education in Romanian.

I should point out the protocol signed by Romania and Serbia on the protection of minorities. I urge the authorities in Belgrade to make every effort to ensure that this document is implemented according to a suitable timeframe.

I should also mention the importance of cross-border cooperation for regional prosperity, including as part of the EU strategy for the Danube region.

 
  
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  Bernd Posselt (PPE).(DE) Madam President, naturally, I am in favour of clear compliance with the criteria, particularly in relation to minority rights and the rule of law. I would also call on Serbia finally to sign and implement the agreement with Kosovo. I nonetheless wish to use this explanation of vote to express my fundamental extraordinary sympathy for the Serbian people. I was in Belgrade on Sunday, when I met the Serbian-Orthodox Patriarch and the Catholic Archbishop and also attended the Congress of the Paneuropean Union. These people find themselves caught up in the middle of European change and our aim is to support them with all the resources at our disposal. We need to be clear that a people must never be abandoned to the abuses of a dictator like Milošević. The Serbian people are a great, freedom-loving European nation and will be an enrichment for us all when they are finally part of our Community.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0187/2012

 
  
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  Daniël van der Stoep (NI). (NL) Madam President, as I said earlier, as far as I am concerned, enlargement of the European Union is not at all in order and certainly not at this time, when a major crisis is storming through Member States and the European Union is faltering. As in the case of Serbia, I wish to point out that Kosovo is lagging miles behind the old Member States of the Union on all fronts, in the fields of economy, governance, human rights and crime. I therefore voted against the report.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Madam President, if we want a picture of the culmination of the post-national dream which actuates so many people in this House, look at the provinces that the EU runs as colonies: Bosnia and, above all, Kosovo. Even in its trappings and its symbolism, you see the post-national nature of the state. Its flag is a version of the EU flag with stars on a blue background; its national anthem when it was first independent was Beethoven’s Ninth and then, when they eventually came up with their own, it was a wordless tune called Europe.

The whole thing has been put together in order to prevent the national principle. I favoured the right of the Albanians of Kosovo to determine their own future however they wanted: if they wanted independence, good luck to them. If they wanted union with Albania or confederation with Serbia, that was for them to decide. Of course, the flipside of that is that the Serbs in Kosovo have their own right of self-determination. In fact, we have a de facto border now. But accepting the validity de jure of that border would call into question the intellectual foundation of the European project, built as it is on the presumption that national loyalties are transient, arbitrary and discreditable. God help us when, like so many past empires, the EU applies the lessons learnt in its colonies to its metropolitan core.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Madam President, Kosovo still has many internal issues to face before it can really be seen as on the path to joining the EU. Its troubled history means it has a long way to go in order to meet the many criteria of EU accession. The continued problems over the return of internally displaced people, as well as the treatment of Roma and minority groups more generally, should be addressed as a matter of priority. Basic freedoms are still not the norm in Kosovo and the international community still has a large part to play in helping it establish the basic principles of independent statehood.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Madam President, I have a huge problem with voting on enlargement of the European Union to include Kosovo because I think Kosovo should join the European Union as part of Serbia. This is because I do not acknowledge and cannot in good conscience countenance any argument which supports the terrible violation of the Serbian nation by a forced secession of this Serbian province from the country which gave it birth – a secession which, unfortunately, has received international support from some or even a majority of the European Union’s Member States. I would like to say that Kosovo today is not just a centre of organised crime, but is also a place in which persecution is being used against the ethnic Serbs who live there, and in which religious persecution is being used against Orthodox Christians, for whom the province has special and considerable significance. I would therefore like to say I am completely convinced that Kosovo is part of Serbia, and that it is as part of Serbia that Kosovo should become part of the European Union.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). (FI) Madam President, the European Union’s most powerful tool of foreign policy is the prospect of EU membership. For it to achieve real change and reform, Kosovo should be offered the prospect of membership in a genuine, credible way. The European Union is committed to the defence of the multi-ethnic and multi-religious countries of the Western Balkans. This has to be based on democratic values, tolerance and multiculturalism.

Regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations are the main condition for countries wanting to join the EU. Good neighbourly relations are also uniquely crucial for stability and security in the powder keg that is the Western Balkans. President Ahtisaari’s plan is an excellent framework for the resolution of the conflict in northern Kosovo. Kosovo’s territorial and political inviolability must be respected and upheld. True democracy and a viable market economy can only ripen in a country that respects the rule of law. The main priority of the Kosovo Government, and of the EULEX operation that supports it, must therefore be to fight corruption and organised crime.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I voted against this resolution because it does not reflect the actual situation and does not respect my country’s official position. There are five Member States, including Romania, which do not recognise the independence of Kosovo. They have a sovereign right to do this because recognising a state is a national prerogative, and the European Parliament should not get involved in this issue.

In the Committee on Foreign Affairs, I proposed several amendments along with my colleague, Cristian Preda. They proposed neutral wording regarding Kosovo’s status so that the text of the resolution could obtain everyone’s support. I regret that this pragmatic approach was not supported.

I should remind you that the European Parliament’s objective must be to bring stability to the region and not to attempt to exert pressure on Member States regarding matters which come under national sovereignty.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0189/2012

 
  
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  Daniël van der Stoep (NI). (NL) Madam President, as far as I am concerned, enlargement of the European Union is not at all in order and certainly not at this time, when a major crisis is storming through Member States and the European Union is faltering. Putting to one side the question of whether Turkey should be part of the European Union at all for geographic reasons, we ought to remember that we would be dragging in a Muslim country with a population of 80 million, which means that it will be able to assert great power inside the European Union. In addition, Turkey meets virtually none of the conditions required for it to be regarded as a serious democracy. I assume that we cannot welcome such a country with enthusiasm, can we?

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Madam President, a Turk watching the debate on this report would get a very partial and imperfect view of the real opinions of this Chamber. People say one thing when they are speaking on the record and they say a very different thing when chatting in the corridors. The real objection that a number of Members have to Turkish accession is based on numbers and based on voting weights. The last thing that committed euro federalists want is the admission of a populous, proud and patriotic Muslim country but, rather than saying that, we have played this game where we have enticed Turkey with a promise that we have no intention of fulfilling. In treating them in this way, we risk creating the very thing which we purport to fear, namely, an alienated and anti-Western state on our doorstep.

Turks are as entitled to their dignity as any other people. We have asked them in the past to safeguard Europe’s flank against the Bolshevist tyranny; we may one day ask them to do the same against the Islamic hegemony and the Islamist Jihadi hegemony. I think that they deserve better than the way they have been treated.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Madam President, although I welcome the moderate progress that has been made by Turkey since accession negotiations opened in 2005, further work on reform does still need to be carried out, as highlighted by this resolution. This is particularly pertinent in the reformation of its judiciary, ensuring there is a free press, freedom of expression for its citizens, and, importantly, the protection of minorities. Turkey is likely to be a vital ally to the EU in terms of security and ensuring prosperity in the longer term. It is therefore imperative that the EU continues to support measures to ensure lasting peace and stability.

Turkey is considered to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Given that its economy has tripled in size over the past decade, with 80% of foreign direct investment in Turkey coming from the EU and it being one of the largest trading partners for us, we should not underestimate its economic importance and value going forwards.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR). – Madam President, Turkey is a modern secular state with a rapidly expanding economy. However, as the progress report shows, Turkey still has a long way to go before it meets the criteria to become an EU member. There are three main areas where I feel Turkey needs to make considerable improvements. Firstly, Turkey is still lagging behind when it comes to equality between men and women. Secondly, Turkey must do more to protect the rights of minority communities, especially the Kurds. Kurds must be allowed to be educated in their own language. Thirdly, the country’s Foreign Minister has indicated that Turkey will refuse to work with the Cypriot Presidency from 1 July. Any country that does not recognise one of the 27 EU Member States is a questionable candidate.

I call on Ankara to engage with the Cypriot Presidency. I also call on Ankara to prove it holds EU values and, as a sign of goodwill, withdraw its troops from the occupied part of Cyprus. Turkey needs to show statesmanship if it wishes to join the EU.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Madam President, I have a problem, or rather two problems, with Turkey. Turkey’s membership of the European Union does not present me with any difficulties. This is on condition, however, that a solution is found to a problem which is, for me, an egregious violation of European solidarity: how can we propose membership of the European Union to Turkey in a situation in which Turkey supports the occupation of the sovereign territory of Cyprus – one of the European Union’s Member States? In addition to this, Turkey is still having huge problems with implementing the rights of national and religious minorities. On the one hand, we have the huge Kurdish issue, while, on the other, there are still instances of the persecution of Christians in Turkey. Without resolution of the two problems to which I have referred – the problem of the occupation of Cyprus and the problem of national and religious minorities – there can be no talk of European Union membership for Turkey.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). (FI) Madam President, I supported the report. The European Union and all its Member States and Turkey are already dependent on one another. Turkey has not reformed in the manner and according to the timetable agreed, and, unfortunately, negotiations have made sluggish progress. At the same time, Turkey is the only candidate country without visa waiver status. Access to the European Union should be made easier for researchers, students and members of civil society. Border control is Turkey’s stumbling block. The number of illegal immigrants entering the EU through the Greek-Turkish bottleneck is huge.

Turkey also has a role to play in achieving lasting peace, democratic progress, stability and prosperity, both in the Balkans and in the Middle East. Turkey needs to find a political solution to the Kurdish question. More effective political dialogue is required. There have to be greater opportunities for citizens of Kurdish origin to participate politically, culturally, socially and economically, and for them to feel that they are included. Children must also have the right to learn their own mother tongue in school.

 
  
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  Antonio Masip Hidalgo (S&D).(ES) Madam President, I have found this debate on Turkey very interesting. It is a great country, and undoubtedly impressive, but it must, however, make steps towards democracy, and one democratic step would be to bring the military occupation of Cyprus to an end.

One of our colleagues referred to the division in Nicosia yesterday. I once paid a visit there when I was the mayor of Oviedo, an ancient capital city of Europe, and I felt the same pain as with Berlin years ago. A foreign power cannot occupy the territory of a sovereign state. What I am saying in relation to Cyprus also applies to Gibraltar in my country, which is Spanish and should not be occupied, a fact that we Spanish will never forget.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I voted for this resolution because relations with Turkey are strategically significant in economic, energy, foreign policy and security terms.

The events taking place in the Southern Neighbourhood have highlighted even more the positive role that Ankara can play at a regional level. This is why I call on the High Representative and the Council to step up dialogue and cooperation with Turkey, especially regarding the areas in the EU’s immediate vicinity. At the same time, I call on the Turkish authorities to support and make an active contribution to implementing EU policies and programmes in the Black Sea region.

I should mention that Romania and Turkey signed a strategic partnership in December 2011 based on the following priority areas: strengthening economic cooperation, energy, foreign and security policy, and anti-terrorism.

 
  
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  Bendt Bendtsen (PPE).(DA) Madam President, I abstained from the vote on this report today. It is good that there is progress in the dialogue with Turkey. We need to have close relations with Turkey, but we also need to realise that Turkey lacks European values. There is suppression of minorities, including religious minorities, imprisonment of trade unionists and there are huge problems with regard to the freedom of expression. The country’s relations with Cyprus speak for themselves.

I think that it would be more honest for the EU to say to Turkey that we would like to have very close cooperation with the country, but that membership of the EU is out of the question. It is like being engaged to a woman for a great many years, but never offering her marriage. It would be better to be frank and honest straight away.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0190/2012

 
  
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  Daniël van der Stoep (NI). (NL) Madam President, the same goes for Montenegro that they are nowhere near ready to join the EU. The countries of the Balkans have a long way to go before they can measure up to the old Member States in the fields of economy, governance, human rights and crime prevention. For that matter, I am of the opinion that the European Union should no longer allow any other country in.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Madam President, Montenegro has made significant progress in making a number of reforms, in particular, to its national parliament, improving its electoral framework and working towards an independent judiciary, which is why I welcome the Council decision to begin accession negotiations. Moreover, I welcome the adoption of the anti-corruption legislation by the country and sincerely hope that these moves will encourage other accession countries to follow its example. Further progress still needs to be made, notably in combating organised crime. However, we are confident that these demands will be met and, in light of this, we would welcome Montenegro’s accession to the EU as a positive development to the country, should they choose to do so.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Madam President, the Balkans need stability. There is no doubt that wherever enlargement of the European Union has taken place – from the Union’s very inception, when it was founded in Western Europe – it has always been a region of practically uninterrupted growth. Even though we are in the midst of a crisis today, the European Union has always enjoyed uninterrupted growth and, above all else, peace. I think the Balkans also need this growth and this peace – benefits brought by the European Union wherever it operates. I welcome the successes which have been achieved in the face of many difficulties in the Republic of Montenegro in the fight against corruption and in establishing a standard of government which is simply better, and I endorse this report and voted in favour of its adoption.

 
  
  

Report: Sebastian Valentin Bodu (A7-0051/2012)

 
  
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  Daniël van der Stoep (NI). (NL) Madam President, once again, we have here an initiative where Europe wants to take on the role of national governments. The simple fact that the Commission only takes into account a one tier board speaks volumes. The differences between countries in terms of corporation tax legislation are such that it is much more effective to regulate on this at national level. It so happens that many countries have already regulated on this through self-regulation in the form of codes. I am simply against additional regulation in this area and definitely against any regulation by Europe. I therefore voted against this report.

 
  
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  Bendt Bendtsen (PPE).(DA) Madam President, I voted against the Bodu report on a corporate governance framework for European companies. I could have accepted Mr Bodu’s original version, which emphasises the value of voluntary targets, but I am firmly opposed to specific legislation forcing companies to introduce quotas for women on their boards.

We have seen Norway do this, and it seems that companies are starting to de-list in order to avoid a 40% limit. Thus, it should be the shareholders who decide who is to sit on their boards, as it is their money after all. It is as if we politicians are now sitting in a bubble wanting to do something for companies without knowing what it is that the individual companies want to do.

I think it is disappointing when a matter ends with the vote that we obtained today. I think it is good for more women to sit on company boards. On a number of the boards on which I sit, for example, we have benefited greatly from the presence of women. However, women should not be given seats on the board on the basis of quotas. This is not a good solution and it is bad for the shareholders. We have already seen in the case of Norway that it causes problems.

 
  
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  Emma McClarkin (ECR). – Madam President, the report on the corporate governance framework for European companies can be supported due to its respect for national governance rules and its lack of a top-down, rules-based approach. The Anglo-Saxon ‘comply or explain’ model has been recognised in the report as an important tool and I fully agree that deviation away from the code of conduct within the Member States should be explained by the company in question. Better functioning of existing governance rules and recommendations is preferred to a new European strict rules-based system and I applaud the efforts of this report to maintain Member State jurisdiction in this area while having belief in the sharing of best practice.

I was, however, unable to support amendments tabled relating to the gender quotas. The gender imbalance is, without doubt, a major problem, but we should allow Member States and companies to address this issue without imposition of quotas from a European level. I voted in favour of this report and congratulate the rapporteur for his efforts, but I voted against measures on quotas from a European level.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Madam President, while I fully support access for women in politics and employment, I also always have doubts about quota solutions if this is in some sense an attempt to force achievement of the legitimate demand that all genders be treated equally. The history of our civilisation shows that wherever we attempt a kind of social engineering, we very often achieve the opposite effect to the one intended. This also explains why I voted against this principle. However, I did endorse this report, despite having initial doubts that it will take us in the direction of excessive regulation and of bureaucratic institutions interfering in business – and I think that nothing good comes of interference of this kind. I consider the report to be a good compromise and, accordingly, I endorsed it.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I voted for this report as I think that it is timely in the context of the warnings about a new recession in the euro area. The European business sector needs a clear, predictable legal framework. Corporate social responsibility must be a priority in companies’ policy. I should mention the importance of rules governing the independent auditing of European companies. A higher degree of transparency is also required in order to avoid the mistakes which triggered the current crisis.

I also think that the dual administration model must be promoted, which is just as widely used in Europe as the unitary system. Incorporating both versions in the new legal framework will ensure consistency in the commercial chain.

As shadow rapporteur for corporate governance in financial institutions, I should mention how important stringent minimum standards are for good governance in the EU’s financial sector.

 
  
  

Report: Iliana Ivanova (A7-0058/2012)

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Madam President, over the past few years, the role of the EIB has extended beyond simply providing loans and assistance to countries’ businesses and projects within the EU. As the EIB begins to use more risk-based instruments and more complex types of leverage, we need to be very careful that the scrutiny of the EIB keeps pace with this change. While projects like Jeremie, in my own constituency in Wales, have been very effective in adding value to the initial capital provided by the EIB, thereby making money seem to go further, we must remember that more complex financial instruments can bring with them new risks. As the financial crisis has shown us, transparency is crucial to understanding the systemic importance and interconnectedness of financial products and institutions, yet I am concerned that there may not be sufficient financial supervision taking place over the operations and the balance sheet of the EIB itself.

 
  
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  Daniël van der Stoep (NI). (NL) Madam President, why is it that I can no longer read virtually any report these days which is not about climate change? It is climate change this and climate change that. How can we take ourselves seriously in policy development when we continue to base our judgment on scientifically questionable assumptions? This was enough of a reason for my vote against the annual report on the European Investment Bank.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR). – Madam President, I welcome the work of the European Investment Bank, especially the funding it provides to small and medium-sized enterprises. Nevertheless, I abstained on the vote because, while the report calls for more funding for SMEs, this funding comes with too many strings attached. SMEs are the life blood of the European economy. If they are left to flourish, they can promote economic growth and create jobs. However, this report places too much emphasis on the greening of the economy. By deprioritising projects which fail to meet these exact criteria, the EIB is placing an unnecessary burden on small businesses. Loans should be made to companies which are most likely to boost the European economy, not just firms that meet idealistic environmental standards.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Madam President, I abstained from voting on this report, although I rate the successes of the European Investment Bank’s work to date very highly. However, in my opinion, the basic criteria for appraising the work of the bank should be economic and financial ones, because banks exist – and I suppose this is how it should be – to make money from giving loans, but in the case of a bank like the European Investment Bank, it also exists simply to support economic growth in our continent. I am opposed to imposing on banks, and on business in general, even the most legitimate of ideological measures. I lived 18 years of my life in a country in which economics was not important apart from its ideological significance, and the people of Poland and of many other countries in Central Europe and in Europe in general found out personally that it is a very bad thing when ideology gets in the way of economics.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I voted for this report because I support the EIB continuing to pursue policies aimed at supporting the real economy at European level. I applaud the achievements of the EIB in 2010, which were aimed at Europe’s economic recovery against the background of the economic and monetary crisis. The efforts in this direction must be continued further mainly through support for the Europe 2020 strategy. The EIB’s financing operations are needed to carry out the EU’s activities.

I, too, endorse the position of the rapporteur, Ms Ivanova, on providing greater support to SMEs via the EIB. I also welcome the EIB’s initiative of coming into line with the EU’s climate change objectives.

In 2010, the EIB funded projects in Romania with a total value of EUR 410 million, with the energy and services sectors being the main beneficiaries of these resources.

 
  
  

Report: Adina-Ioana Vălean (A7-0047/2012)

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Madam President, whilst I fully agree with the EU’s principle of free movement of EU citizens across the EU, I have voted against this report as it proposes a number of measures to which I am opposed, including the harmonisation of national security schemes and the convergence of tax rules. Although I could support some of the other proposals put forward, I reject many others.

In particular, the report criticises the citizenship test which is currently used in the UK to grant citizenship. I reject that criticism and would argue that the test utilised is proportionate and fair, especially given the subsequent social benefits that are enjoyed by all UK citizens. The report claims that such issues are obstacles to EU citizens’ rights. However, given the very large inward mobility of EU citizens to the UK, particularly amongst younger EU citizens, this would seem to suggest that existing processes are not a barrier to the free movement of individuals into my country. The EU should be a welcoming place for all European citizens and I would suggest that the UK is the destination of choice for many of our young because of such a welcome.

 
  
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  Daniël van der Stoep (NI). (NL) Madam President, in keeping with the policy of the Dutch Government, I take the view that Romania and Bulgaria should not be admitted to the Schengen area. In the present report, the Netherlands is being called upon, amongst other things, to drop this blockade. I disagree with that, quite apart from the fact that the Netherlands is simply a sovereign country. What is more, I believe that the Schengen Agreement should be extensively revised in order to combat the influx of illegal immigrants and crime.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR). – Madam President, I appreciate the work of the Committee on Petitions and I believe in the right of citizens to petition Parliament. Nevertheless, this report is a mess. It reads like a hastily compiled shopping list scribbled down on the back of an envelope. I am pleased that the report deals with the unacceptable Spanish coastal law. I hear regularly from my constituents who have been left homeless and penniless with no compensation. Yet the report also notes that property law does not fall within the EU’s area of competence.

The UK was not afforded the same courtesy when the report criticised our social security system, another area which clearly lies outside EU competence. I cannot support a report which wants the UK to ban the right-to-reside test on EU nationals before they take advantage of the generous British welfare system. We have a right to protect our taxpayers from the burden of benefit tourism.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Madam President, I had a big problem with this report. This is because, on the one hand, it contains things which simply have to be supported. Generally speaking, the very fact that we are dealing with the rights of the European Union’s citizens is something which should be regarded very highly. However, I voted against the report because I think that too often, alongside things in it which are absolutely legitimate, we also address matters about which I do not even want to say whether or not they are legitimate, but they should be the exclusive competence of the Member States. I do not think it is either safe or good if the degree of harmonisation of our routes of development in the Member States of the European Union is to be greater that in the United States, where I think individual states have greater freedom in certain matters than this Parliament would like to allow the European Union’s Member States.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). (FI) Madam President, I voted in favour of the report. Unfortunately, citizens’ rights are not always implemented in practice, even though they are clearly provided for in EU legislation. This only makes Europeans even more disillusioned with Europe’s integration process. To remove obstacles to citizens’ rights, it is important to stress the importance of mobility and education. The European Union should also emphasise the significance of lifelong learning, vocational training and further training. Education is the main way to reduce inequality and poverty. The Commission should take active steps to guarantee all citizens of the European Union the right to a high-quality basic and vocational education.

The Commission should also take account of those especially vulnerable groups that are at risk of exclusion, such as the Roma and people from third countries. They also have the same citizens’ rights as others. Furthermore, if citizens’ rights are to be implemented, it is also important to give greater importance to the culture, language, history and value of the various minorities – indigenous groups – living in the European Union, both within the groups themselves and among the rest of the population.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Madam President, I voted against the 2010 EU citizenship report. Whilst, of course, the fundamental freedom of movement for EU citizens across the whole of the EU is something I support entirely, along with the three other fundamental freedoms, this report is far too prescriptive on the Member States, including ridiculous ideas like harmonising tax rules and these are, in my view, completely unjustified.

I do not support the idea of allowing extra funding for the publicising of the European Year of Citizens, nor do I want to see more money given to Euronews from the EU taxpayers’ pockets. Euronews is a great news channel – I watch it myself – but it should be self-funding on a commercial basis. Furthermore, I do not feel that I can support a report which specifically criticises the United Kingdom – i.e. my own country – for its right-to-reside test, which is currently used to test candidates before they are granted welfare rights. I believe this to be an entirely fair process, especially given the benefits that can be received, once a test is passed, by all UK citizens equally.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I voted for Ms Vălean’s report because it presents very timely proposals for dismantling the obstacles to European citizens’ rights. As a member of the Committee on Petitions, I am au fait with the main concerns citizens have regarding compliance with EU legislation.

I should point out the references to the promotion of the Roma minority’s rights in Europe, confirming this document’s endorsement of the European Union’s strategy in this area. I also welcome the resolution’s mention of the free movement of Romanian workers, which I initiated along with Mr Ungureanu and Mr Marinescu. I think that this matter needed to be included in this report, in view also of recent developments concerning the Schengen area and the PVV’s anti-immigrant website. I call on European decision makers to take into account the conclusions of this report and adopt suitable measures.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). – Madam President, I think this report dismantling the obstacles to EU citizens’ rights is a very worthwhile report and it could prove useful to citizens. I do not agree with everything that is in it but certainly, as a member of the Committee on Petitions, and indeed in my own general work as an MEP, I am very conscious of the problems and obstacles that are faced by citizens when they are trying to exercise their right to free movement and, indeed, that of their families as well.

Now in this context, I voted for the first part of Amendment 1 on freedom of movement for citizens, but the second part of Amendment 1 gave me some problems because I had some concerns about its wording when it asked that we recognise freedom of movement for all EU citizens, etc. on the basis of mutual recognition. I am very happy to support Directive 2004/38/EC, where freedom of movement for family members is guaranteed on the basis of legislation of the host Member State but not on any other basis. I also support that this directive should be strictly applied, as that will eliminate some of the obstacles I spoke of, when people are trying to exercise their rights to free movement, but I am not prepared to go beyond that.

 
  
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  David Campbell Bannerman (ECR). – Madam President, I voted against this report because it shows all so clearly that the British people were lied to about the true intention of the European Union project. It is about take-over, not about trade. This Vălean report wants harmonised tax, social security, state benefits, pensions, even divorce laws right across the EU. What is this to do with trade? What is this to do with the common market? It is about harmonising arrangements to create a single European state.

Well, I am not an EU citizen and I will not be an EU citizen. I am a loyal subject of Her Majesty The Queen, in her 60th year of rule, and this Vălean report is an insult to that loyalty.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Recommendation: Vital Moreira (A7-0060/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) According to the contacts made by the rapporteur, the constitution and rules of procedure of the International Rubber Study Group seem to meet all the requirements. That being the case, Parliament should accept the Council’s proposal, while also suggesting that it would be important to try to bring all the world’s major rubber producers into this group.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report, which plans to revise the constitution of the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) and which recognises the importance of this organisation. We need to revitalise cooperation between rubber producing and importing countries. As the rapporteur points out, the IRSG is an intergovernmental organisation first established in 1944 in the United Kingdom, and relocated in 2008 to Singapore. It offers a platform for discussion between rubber producing and consuming countries on all aspects of the rubber supply chain. This structure provides statistical information on the global market and promotes cooperation between its members. Currently, nine countries plus the European Union are contributing members: the Republic of Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, India, Japan, Malaysia, Nigeria, the Russian Federation, Singapore and Sri Lanka. Some 120 industry representatives are members through a Panel of Associates. Despite the fact that, in the past few years, major price rises and high volatility have impacted a number of commodities, including natural rubber, I thought it was necessary to reaffirm this international cooperation.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this recommendation because I think that it is vital to clarify the EU’s legal status within international organisations. The amendments being proposed to the group’s constitution allow the European Union to participate effectively in the decision-making process within it. I should also emphasise the particularly important role played by the group in tackling the volatility of commodity prices in this industry. In the current economic climate, the transparency of both the primary market and derivatives market must be guaranteed. Another factor which must be taken into account is the environmental conditions, which have deteriorated significantly in the areas where the commodity is harvested. I would also like to mention the importance of providing free and affordable access to the international rubber market. In fact, enhanced cooperation between the main producers and the biggest consumers is vital with this aim in mind.

 
  
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  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing. (IT) In the past few years, major price rises and high price volatility have impacted a number of commodities, including natural rubber. For the European Union, which is dependent on imports and is, at the same time, the world’s second largest consumer of natural rubber, it becomes key to ensure fair, predictable and affordable access to this commodity. The International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) is an intergovernmental organisation that aims to collect and disseminate comprehensive statistical information on the global rubber industry. I believe that this activity plays an important role in improving transparency in rubber markets and market trends, a necessary condition for better understanding and, hence, taming price volatility for this commodity. However, I note that the fact that some of the world’s largest rubber producing and consuming countries are not members of the IRSG – Thailand, the United States and China – weakens the authority of this organisation and calls into question its purpose and, above all, its representativeness. Therefore, I am taking the opportunity to draw the Commission’s attention to the importance of making every effort to increase the membership of this group by engaging with the main rubber producing and consuming countries as a prerequisite for its long-term effectiveness on the market.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because I agree that the European Union should continue to participate in the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG). Recently, there have been serious doubts over the future of the IRSG because important countries like the US, Thailand and Malaysia have pulled out of the group. However, the International Rubber Study Group is an intergovernmental organisation whose principal function is to be a forum for discussion for all countries involved in the production, supply and consumption of rubber. Today, it is the only inclusive platform grouping both rubber producing and consuming countries, and, in spite of the organisation’s shortcomings, it still is the most appropriate body to work on increasing transparency, and one of the organisation’s most important objectives is to ensure fair, predictable and affordable access to rubber on the global market. The European Union is the world’s second biggest consumer of natural rubber and the organisation’s members also include Russia and Japan.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) is the only inclusive international platform grouping both rubber producing and rubber consuming countries. In addition, the IRSG is still the most appropriate body to increase market transparency and to ensure fair, predictable and affordable access to rubber all around the world. The fact that some of the world’s largest rubber producers and consumers are not members of the IRSG weakens the authority of this organisation and calls into question its purpose, its credibility and its representativeness. The United States, the third biggest consumer, and Thailand, the main rubber producer, pulled out of the IRSG in mid-2011.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) I think that in the past few years, major price rises and their increased volatility have had an impact on a number of commodities, including natural rubber. This is why the analysis of this situation has demonstrated that the source of these developments is the ever-growing demand, particularly from China. I think that a restricted short-term supply, fewer rubber trees planted and heavy rains in the major producing countries have put the global supply of rubber under pressure.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) is an intergovernmental organisation first established in 1944 in the United Kingdom, the purpose of which is discussion between rubber producing and consuming countries on all aspects of the supply chain. The IRSG aims to collect and disseminate comprehensive statistical information on the world rubber industry. This activity is fundamental for improving transparency in rubber markets, and for better understanding and eventually taming price volatility for this commodity. It makes sense, therefore, for Parliament to consent to the conclusion by the Council, on behalf of the European Union, of the amended constitution and rules of procedure of the International Rubber Study Group.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This recommendation, drafted by Mr Moreira, addresses the draft Council decision on the conclusion by the European Union of the amended constitution and rules of procedure of the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG). The IRSG is an international organisation established in the United Kingdom in 1944 (relocating to Singapore in 2008) which offers a platform for discussion between rubber producing and rubber consuming countries. The effectiveness of this organisation has been weakened because some of the largest rubber producing countries have pulled out of it, and major consumers such as China and the United States do not participate in the platform, either. In recent years, increased demand, especially from China, and falling production due to natural disasters and the low numbers of rubber trees planted have pushed up prices for this commodity. I voted in favour of this recommendation because the European Union is the world’s second largest rubber consumer and, despite its shortcomings, the IRSG is, in my view, the only forum in which the Member States, through their representatives, can demand greater transparency in this market and ensure fair, predictable and affordable access.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) is an intergovernmental organisation that seeks to offer a platform for discussion between rubber producing and consuming countries on all aspects of the rubber supply chain. The IRSG aims to collect and disseminate comprehensive statistical information on the world rubber industry. This activity is widely acknowledged as being fundamental for improving transparency in rubber markets and market trends, a prerequisite for better understanding and eventually taming price volatility for this commodity. The rapporteur expresses his concern at the shrinking membership of the IRSG and the fact that China, the largest rubber consumer, and Indonesia, one of the main producers, show no interest in participating in the group. The IRSG’s aims are laudable: to prepare current estimates and analyse future supply and demand trends, while undertaking statistical and economic studies on specific aspects of the industry. It should be mentioned, however, that the IRSG Panel of Associates, which is open to organisations involved in the rubber industry, will inevitably be exposed to the interests and influence of multinationals, which may even extend to the group itself. Such a relationship can only be pernicious, and it may undermine the group’s overall objectives.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) In October 2011, the European Parliament was asked to approve a Council proposal to adopt, on behalf of the EU, the amended constitution and amended rules of procedure of the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG). The IRSG is an international organisation which has been based in Singapore since 2008. The group is a platform enabling discussion between countries which produce and consume rubber, and on all aspects of the rubber supply chain. Governments of individual states may become IRSG members. At present, the contributing members include the EU and nine countries: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, India, Japan, Malaysia, Nigeria, the Russian Federation, Singapore and Sri Lanka. Almost 120 representatives of this sector have membership through the panel of affiliated members. The aim of the group is to collect and mediate comprehensive statistical information on the global rubber sector. It is generally considered that this activity is of fundamental importance in terms of increasing the transparency of the rubber market and market trends in this sector. In my opinion, it is right to try and take the necessary steps to expand the basic membership group, first and foremost, by negotiating with the states that are the largest producers and consumers of rubber. A strong membership basis is also a basic precondition for the long-term viability and effective functioning of the IRSG as an authoritative body.

 
  
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  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) In the past few years, there has been a significant increase in the prices of natural rubber. Studies have shown these increases are caused by constrained short-term supply, rising demand (particularly from China), few rubber trees planted and heavy rains in the major producing countries. Such far-reaching problems need to be dealt with and resolved within the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), the intergovernmental organisation of which the European Union is a member, the aim of which is to collect and disseminate comprehensive statistical information on the world rubber industry. The recent amendment of the constitution and rules of procedure will put the IRSG in a better position than ever to act as a forum for discussion in which to find shared solutions in order to deal more effectively with future problems in the rubber industry.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this document because Parliament consents to the draft Council decision on the conclusion by the European Union of the amended constitution and rules of procedure of the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG). It should be noted that the IRSG’s membership has been weakened by recent developments, and that the IRSG is the only inclusive platform grouping both rubber producing and consuming countries. Furthermore, in spite of its shortcomings, the IRSG is still the most appropriate body to work on increasing the transparency, which is lacking on the physical market, and also a body that is badly needed to ensure fair, predictable and affordable access to rubber all around the world. The revision of the constitution and rules of procedure of the IRSG can also provide an impetus for relaunching the group as an essential multi-stakeholder forum. All efforts possible must be made to increase the membership of this group, in particular, by engaging with the main rubber producing and consuming countries. A strong membership base remains a prerequisite for the long-term viability and effectiveness of the IRSG as an authoritative body. This will undoubtedly have an impact on greater sustainability in the industry and the development of quality standards, as well as alternative rubbers.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) The European Union is a member of the International Rubber Study Group, pursuant to Council Decision 2002/651 of 22 July 2002. On 14 July 2011, following several rounds of negotiations, the heads of delegation of the International Group approved the text amending its constitution and its rules of procedure. The adoption of the Moreira report allowed this new constitution and these new rules of procedure to be approved, a precondition for confirming the installation of the group in its new headquarters, its budget contributions and its decision-making procedures.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report. While noting that the membership of the International Rubber Study Group has been weakened by recent developments, I am also aware that the IRSG is the only inclusive platform grouping both rubber producing and rubber consuming countries. Furthermore, the IRSG still is, in spite of its shortcomings, the most appropriate body to work on increasing transparency – something that is lacking on the physical market and is badly needed to ensure fair, predictable and affordable access to rubber all around the world.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I am in favour of approving the amended text. I am also in favour of increasing the number of members of the International Rubber Study Group. The major rubber producing and consuming countries need to be involved.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) is an intergovernmental organisation first established in 1944 in the United Kingdom and relocated to Singapore in 2008. It offers a platform for discussion between rubber producing and consuming countries on all aspects of the rubber supply chain. The IRSG aims to collect and disseminate comprehensive statistical information on the world rubber industry. This activity is widely acknowledged as being fundamental for improving transparency in rubber markets and market trends, a prerequisite for better understanding and eventually taming price volatility for this commodity. I believe that the revision of the constitution and rules of procedure of the IRSG can provide an impetus for relaunching the group as an essential multi-stakeholder forum. I am therefore in favour of consenting to this draft Council decision on the conclusion by the European Union of the amended constitution and rules of procedure of the International Rubber Study Group.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – Since this report is aimed at giving the assent of Parliament to the amended constitution and rules of procedure of the International Rubber Study Group, of which the EU has been a member since 2002, we should support it. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  James Nicholson (ECR), in writing. – My ECR colleagues and I decided to vote in favour of the report relating to the International Rubber Study Group. We believe that the report is key to ensuring fair, predictable and affordable access to rubber. We support the aims of the IRSG in wanting to collect comprehensive statistical information on the world rubber industry. This action will hopefully lead to increased transparency in rubber markets and market trends – a condition for better understanding and eventually taming price volatility for this commodity. We hope that, in time, we can combat the major price rises that we have witnessed impacting on commodities including natural rubber. We need the study group to identify ways to combat rising demand for rubber in the world, particularly in China. We need to see where else rubber trees can be planted, and how we can best address the problem of heavy rains that affect stock in producing countries.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) The amendments that were made to the rules of procedure of the International Rubber Study Group in July 2011 take into account the developments and new legal status of the European Union within this worldwide organisation that was established in 1944. Over the years, membership numbers have fallen and some countries have left, despite its central role in market transparency and in fighting market abuse. The changes made seem to be effective and, as the rapporteur has specified, Parliament as an institution must support and approve the conclusions.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) In October 2011, the European Parliament was asked to give its consent to the Council’s conclusion on behalf of the European Union of the amended constitution and rules of procedure of the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG). The rapporteur for this file convened a number of stakeholders for an exchange of views, which took place at the meeting of the Committee on International Trade on 20 December 2011. It was clear from this meeting that the IRSG is the only inclusive platform grouping both rubber producing and rubber consuming countries. Furthermore, the IRSG still is, in spite of its shortcomings, the most appropriate body to work on increasing the transparency that is lacking in the physical market and is badly needed to ensure fair, predictable and affordable access to rubber all around the world. For all these reasons, and in line with the rapporteur’s conclusions, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this document because I believe it is vital to make every effort to increase the membership of the International Rubber Study Group by engaging with the main rubber producing and consuming countries. The fact that some of the world’s largest rubber producing and consuming countries are not members of the group weakens the authority of this organisation and its function as a platform for discussion. The revision of the constitution and rules of procedure of the group could ensure that it is relaunched as an essential forum for improving transparency in rubber markets and market trends, and hence for taming price volatility for this commodity.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) The International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), founded in 1944, has suffered a loss of credibility in recent years since Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia no longer belong to it. China and the United States, the world’s largest and third largest rubber consumers respectively, have also pulled out. Individual European countries are now represented in the IRSG by the European Commission. I am in favour of this report because the supply of rubber is a problem that affects Europe’s industry and is closely connected to the wider debate on raw materials. The risk that market supply will be constrained, as is occurring with rare earths, could cause problems for our industries and favour those in rubber producing third countries.

 
  
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  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing. (IT) I am, of course, voting in favour of this measure. The amendments to the rules of procedure of the International Rubber Study Group are a mere formality. I hope, however, that this vote will be an opportunity to take stock and decide whether it makes sense to remain in an organisation such as this, given that the largest producing countries and some of the largest consuming countries pulled out of the group some time ago or are doing so now.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) In the past few years, major price rises and high volatility have impacted a number of commodities, including natural rubber. Analysis has demonstrated that at the origin of these developments are: rising demand, particularly from China; constrained short-term supply; few rubber trees planted; and heavy rains in the major producing countries. These factors combined have placed the global supply of rubber under pressure. Greater transparency in rubber markets is therefore required. This vote strengthens the International Rubber Study Group, which is the most appropriate body to ensure fair, predictable and affordable access to rubber all around the world. Every effort should also be made to increase the membership of the group by engaging with the principal rubber producing and consuming countries.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of the European Parliament decision consenting to the conclusion of the amended constitution and rules of procedure of the International Rubber Study Group. I believe it is important to expand the membership of this international group to attract the main rubber producing and consuming countries, in particular. The workings of the group must be closely monitored, and any relevant developments must be reported back to Parliament within two years of the entry into force of the group’s amended constitution and rules of procedure.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) aims to collect and disseminate comprehensive statistical information on the world rubber industry, which is an important and commendable activity. We believe it is important that the participation of organisations involved in the rubber industry should not leave the group exposed to the interests and influence of multinationals, which would undermine the group’s objectives.

 
  
  

Report: Keith Taylor (A7-0053/2012)

 
  
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  Damien Abad (PPE), in writing. (FR) I welcome the adoption of the Taylor report, which advocates a clarification of air passengers’ rights. Airline companies have a duty to provide information and assistance, particularly in the event of long delays and flight cancellations. They are also required to make their price-setting practices more transparent and to indicate the environmental impact of the trip on the air ticket.

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) This report provides access to full, intelligible and accessible information, including information on CO2 emissions in particular. I would highlight the fact that the report also calls for price transparency, guarantees in the event of airline bankruptcy, and contact personnel or services at airports. It also advocates another very important point, which is barrier-free access for people with reduced mobility or disabilities. I am voting in favour for all these reasons.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on the functioning and application of established rights of people travelling by air. This resolution is the European Parliament’s response to the recently published communication from the Commission on the regulation on common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights. I agree with the rapporteur that information on passenger rights should be communicated in a simple, appropriate and understandable way throughout key stages of the journey. I believe that there must be qualified staff at airports who can be contacted and who can take immediate decisions in the event of disruption, with regard to assistance, reimbursement, re-routing and other issues. In the event of disruption to travel, passengers should be provided in a timely manner with information covering reasons for the delay or cancellation, the expected duration of the delay and alternative travel options, including other modes of transport if possible. The triple choice for the passenger between refunding, re-routing and rebooking, as a basic right, should also be highlighted. I believe that the European Parliament has adopted this resolution at just the right time because next year, the Commission intends to review legislation in this area. I call on the Commission to take this resolution into account in future when reviewing the Package Travel Directive and the Airport Package.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I welcome the Commission’s decision to amend the regulations governing air passenger transport, intended to enhance one of the most important services which makes the free movement of Member States’ citizens within Europe a reality. The amendments targeted by this legislative proposal outline a clear, consistent framework for protecting passengers’ interests and rights without, however, omitting the responsibilities incumbent upon them as beneficiaries of transport services. It is important for European passengers to be able to enjoy services provided in good time and have the means for disputing and obtaining redress for any losses caused as a result of interactions with airlines.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) We introduced, several years ago, European legislation to regulate the practices of airline companies and to protect us from their abuse. However, our rights as air passengers continue to be flouted on a regular basis and that is why I supported Mr Taylor’s report. Air passenger rights in the event of delay, cancellation and overbooking must be respected and it is our duty to act as spokespersons for citizens on these issues. The rules will be more precise, particularly regarding the notions of ‘extraordinary circumstances’ and ‘cancellation’. This lack of precision gives room for manoeuvre which still allows airline companies to misleadingly describe a plane which takes off 24 hours after the scheduled time as ‘delayed’ in order to avoid compensating the passenger. I also supported the idea of blacklisting unfair terms: for example, non-transferability of tickets, or the prohibition to use the ongoing part of a return ticket.

 
  
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  Liam Aylward (ALDE), in writing. (GA) Efforts must be made to make air travel easier, safer and more efficient for all people of the EU. I fully support what is in the report regarding harmonising practices on complaints and providing redress mechanisms for the benefit of air passengers who have difficulties or problems with complaints, delays and cancelled flights.

I commend the rapporteur for his proposals on trade practices for the harmonisation of restrictions on cabin baggage so that air passengers are protected from unfair and excessive restrictions, in particular, in the case of cabin baggage and goods bought in airport shops. I welcome what is in the report on focusing attention on the case of disabled passengers or passengers with mobility disabilities and I support the provisions for affording better protection to the rights of those passengers.

EU air travel rights must be strengthened and the air travel sector in Europe should implement very high service standards when serving air passengers in the EU.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because I welcome the fact that the rights of passengers travelling by air need to be given adequate protection. I should emphasise how important it is for all the information about the terms of travel to be accessible to passengers right from the time when they have bought their ticket, in the language in which the booking was made and in the easiest possible format to understand. I am also thinking about ensuring transparency regarding the ticket’s final price and all the extra charges and costs which can be applied. It is of paramount importance for passengers to be able to receive information and assistance quickly in the case of unforeseen events affecting the flight, such as cancellations or huge delays. In this situation, I support the proposals for having contact persons or services available at airports and setting up accessible and efficient telephone assistance centres by airlines. I should mention that simpler procedures are required for lodging potential complaints or submitting claims for compensation or refunds. I welcome the idea of introducing a European award for the most consumer-friendly airline. I think that this will boost competition and allow best practices to be fostered.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) Knowledge of rights is essential in ensuring that passengers can access them. This information should therefore be communicated in a simple, appropriate and understandable way from the time the ticket is booked. This report, for which I voted, calls for contact personnel at airports who can take immediate decisions in relation to providing assistance, reimbursement or re-routing as a result of flight disruptions. It considers efficient, transparent and independent enforcement bodies to deal with passenger complaints, to help resolve disputes between passengers and air carriers, and to ultimately impose sanctions if necessary, to be vital. Equally important is the need for passengers to be fully covered in the event of bankruptcy or insolvency of the airline. Lastly, I would emphasise that one of the most basic rights of passengers is to a safe journey. The report therefore considers it essential that all passengers, including children younger than two years, are ensured a safe seat on the plane.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) Reinforcing the rights of air passengers: that certainly is a job for the European Union! Over the last few years, the EU has already taken action to strengthen passengers’ rights; however, there is still more work to be done. This is especially true in situations where passengers are stranded or delayed, in which case air carriers have a duty to provide information and assistance, simplify claims and pay compensation. Rules on hand luggage are another bone of contention. Each carrier now has its own criteria on weight and size, and passengers find this very confusing. The rules should therefore be harmonised in order to make them more transparent. Lastly, it is essential that booking systems be made more flexible, with more facility for cancellations and alterations. In short, in this resolution, we have diagnosed the problem and are calling for action.

 
  
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  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing. (IT) There are currently many European laws on air passengers’ rights, but I would highlight the need for enhanced legal certainty, more interpretative clarity and uniform application of the regulations across the EU. I believe that information on passenger rights should be communicated in a simple, appropriate and understandable way throughout key stages of the journey, starting from when the passenger is considering whether to purchase a ticket. In my view, to help ensure that rights are upheld, there should be contact personnel at airports who can take immediate decisions in relation to providing assistance, reimbursement, re-routing and other issues that arise when flight disruptions occur. I agree with the rapporteur in calling for formalisation of a European network of efficient, independent bodies, coordinated by the Commission, and for these bodies to publish information on the complaints they receive from passengers. Lastly, I believe that passengers should enjoy the right to change the details on their ticket in case of a mistake without incurring a fee for doing so, thus counteracting the general proliferation of unfair terms in air carrier contracts, which is a widespread practice among many air carriers.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because I agree that the rights of people travelling by air should be improved. Air transport is a principal means of transport for people today and passenger routes at airports are only increasing. It is therefore particularly important to ensure that basic passenger rights are properly enforced in order to prevent possible abuse by airlines. The report adopted today by the European Parliament proposes that in future, passengers should be fully covered in the event of bankruptcy or insolvency of an airline and that price transparency should be ensured. It is also proposed that in future, passengers should have the right to change their details, if they have made an error when purchasing tickets, without incurring a fee. Finally, the report calls for passengers to be allowed access to the Passenger Name Record held on them by the air carrier, and which is later used by security services in different countries to combat terrorism.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Any person travelling by air needs to know their rights. This is why I think that information on passenger rights should be communicated in a simple, appropriate and understandable way throughout key stages of the journey, starting from when the passenger is considering purchasing a ticket. In case of disruption to travel, passengers should be informed promptly about the reasons for the delay or cancellation, the estimated duration of the delay and alternative travel options, including other modes of transport where applicable. I also think that the three options available for passengers to choose from, namely refund, re-routing or rebooking, should also be highlighted as a basic right. Last but not least, passengers with lost or delayed baggage should be entitled to rights equivalent to those enjoyed by passengers who are actually delayed.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. – (CS) In revising Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, the Commission should clarify the concept of ‘extraordinary circumstances’ and define the concept of ‘flight cancellation’, and also adopt rules governing the provision of assistance and the right to financial compensation and damages. At the same time, I think it is a good idea to take account of the level of protection provided to passengers by the European Court of Justice, and also the Court’s interpretation of the concept of ‘extraordinary circumstances’. At present, there is some uncertainty over the rules on compensation, and the differing approaches to enforcement of these rules at Member State level cannot be considered acceptable in view of events such as the crisis in 2010 caused by volcanic ash. In this context, the Commission should create a unified, complete and detailed system for assessing the probative value of evidence presented by the airline companies for the purposes of demonstrating ‘extraordinary circumstances’. In this context, I believe there is an urgent need to establish clear rules regarding the content, accessibility, timing and accuracy of information provided to air passengers which might have a bearing on the reasons for flight delays or cancellations, the expected duration of flight problems and alternative means of travel that are available to passengers.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The number of passengers travelling by air has been increasing by an average of 4.5% every year. The number of passenger complaints has also been rising. Some 39 000 complaints were registered in 2009, 41% of them resulting from flight cancellations and 25% from delays. Spain was the Member State that received most complaints. Portugal had the second-highest number of complaints. I am voting for this motion for a resolution because I believe clarifying and strengthening the rules and rights concerning air passengers is extremely important to people with disabilities or reduced mobility who travel by air.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) Given that the number of passengers travelling by air has been increasing by an average of 4.5% every year, it is important to analyse and revise the existing rules on air passenger rights so as to make them clearer to interpret. At the same time, it is essential to raise the current level of legal certainty and ensure that there is more uniform application of the regulations across the EU. Uniform handling of complaints in the Member States is necessary, as their numbers have been rising considerably. Some 39 000 complaints were registered in 2009, 41% of them resulting from flight cancellations and 25% from delays. Spain received most complaints, with Portugal in second place. The most important passenger right is the right to services provided as scheduled. If they are not, there should be fast, simple and effective complaint systems, delivered by efficient and independent complaint-handling bodies. I am voting for this report, which seeks to increase accountability and transparency, to clarify and strengthen existing rights, and to make sure these rights are made clear to consumers. Special protection should also be provided for vulnerable groups of consumers, who need additional guarantees when exercising their rights.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE) , in writing. (IT) I find the European Parliament’s initiative on the application of the rights of air passengers laudable, and I have therefore voted in favour of the own-initiative report that has been tabled. I believe the air transport sector needs stricter rules to protect consumer rights. In particular, I think it is essential to pay greater attention to the rights of disabled passengers, who must be guaranteed access to a barrier-free environment, and to the safety of infants, who currently do not have seats suited to their physical characteristics. I also find the current legislation lacking with regard to the measures that air carriers must adopt in the event of flight cancellations or severe delays, and therefore I am fully in favour of requiring them to provide information on alternative travel options and temporary accommodation in such cases. Lastly, I would stress the need for greater transparency regarding CO2 emissions and better information on passenger rights, because a right can only be called a right, in my view, if it is recognised as such by everyone involved.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) I think that the European Commission must look into measures that would provide protection for both arriving and departing passengers in terms of ensuring that they are properly compensated in the event of their luggage getting lost or being subject to excessively long delays.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report, which proposes stronger and more uniform European legislation on air passenger rights. It will provide passengers with better price information, clarify the rules on compensation for lost or delayed baggage and protect passengers against the unfair commercial practices that they have to face today, such as additional charges for online reservations, unilateral rescheduling of flights or price discrimination against passengers on the basis of their country of residence. I have fought for these measures to be adopted. Passengers must not be left behind in the rapid development of the aviation industry and I believe all operators are well aware of this. I shall ensure that my proposals are taken up in future legislation.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) By adopting this report, we really hoped to draw the Commission’s attention to the large number of grey areas that still exist in air passenger rights. The report has the merit of examining everything that really needs improving for people who travel by air, and the list of measures to be adopted is very long. The fact is that air passengers are all too often tricked when they book their flight tickets. For example, in the case of online bookings, I deplore the fact that some companies raise the stated price for a whole variety of reasons. Fares should therefore be more transparent, and purchasers should subsequently be able to change their reservations or correct minor errors at no additional cost. Another example relating to families is that children under the age of two years should be entitled to a seat and not have to spend the whole flight on their parents’ laps. People with reduced mobility should be able to travel with the equipment they need without being charged extra. The Commission would do well to draw on this report in its forthcoming revision of the regulation on air passengers’ rights (Regulation (EC) No 261/2004).

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution on the functioning and application of established rights of people travelling by air because it represents a very positive step forward in terms of protecting passengers’ rights, in particular, paying due attention to people with reduced mobility.

This document contains significant improvements on the previous EU Regulation No 261/2004 in terms of consumer-rights’ safeguards, security, transparency and privacy of the passengers, and pays attention to flight safety conditions and to complaint handling – introducing standards that companies will therefore have to comply with. In addition, further cooperation, collaboration, exchanges of practice, and a more uniform application of the EU rules by the Member States’ enforcement bodies will be called for. This will surely provide stronger guarantees, not only in terms of compliance with rules, but also in terms of delivering higher levels of protection for passengers – whose rights are often not respected and who have lacked information.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Irrespective of the means of transport they use, passengers are entitled to a good-quality, safe service. That is why I believe introducing harmonised rules on air passenger rights throughout the EU and strengthening passengers’ right of access to information are positive steps.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The number of flights in Europe every year runs into hundreds of millions. For a wide variety of reasons, such as strikes, weather conditions, breakdowns, etc., passengers often find their flights cancelled or considerably delayed, or they are prevented from boarding, causing them serious disruption and loss. This report, by Mr Taylor, addresses the functioning and application of established rights of people travelling by air, subsequent to the communication from the Commission on the application of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to such passengers. I voted for this report because I believe it is vital for all passengers to be provided with essential information, which should be communicated in a simple, understandable way from the time a passenger decides to book a ticket. In addition, it is essential to have efficient, independent bodies responsible for enforcing European rules on the right to complain, as well as on dispute resolution and/or guaranteed assistance, reimbursement or compensation. Lastly, I would mention the need to guarantee the right of people with disabilities or reduced mobility to travel safely and in comfort.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report reflects general concerns about air passenger rights. We believe these concerns are fair, albeit framed in the competitive context of this sector’s liberalisation, which, in itself, threatens one of the fundamental rights of these passengers: the right to safe, high-quality, public transport. We welcome the safeguarding of passengers’ rights, in particular, in relation to compensation and reimbursement for lost, delayed or damaged baggage, as well as for delayed or cancelled flights. We also welcome the reference to the rights of passengers with reduced mobility, pregnant women and children. On the other hand, we are concerned by the report’s attempt to impose uniformity in a number of services in order to create a ‘level playing field’, namely, by creating an official European network of national enforcement bodies with a clear mandate to improve cooperation on exchanging information, best practices and their databases. Moreover, we have further concerns about current security trends, such as the use of body scanners and behavioural profiling, amongst other techniques, which do not comply with passenger data protection or respect a passenger’s right to privacy, non-discrimination and public health.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report because it points out the need for enhanced legal certainty, more interpretative clarity and uniform application of the regulations across the EU regarding the rights of air passengers, including those with reduced mobility. Greater and more effective cooperation among the different actors must be secured so as to ensure that passenger rights are protected and to clarify their various responsibilities. It is also important to clarify and strengthen existing rights and to ensure that consumers are made aware of them. Knowledge of rights is essential in ensuring that passengers can access them. That is why information on passenger rights should be communicated in a simple, appropriate and understandable way throughout key stages of the journey, starting from when the passenger is considering whether to purchase a ticket. To help ensure that rights are upheld, there should be contact personnel at airports who can take immediate decisions in relation to providing assistance, reimbursement, re-routing and other issues that arise when flight disruptions occur.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) The submitted report sets out to address the recent Commission communication on ‘the application of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights’ and the report from the Commission on ‘the functioning and effects of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air’. Knowledge of rights is essential to ensuring that passengers can access these rights. That is why information on passenger rights should be communicated in a simple, appropriate and understandable way throughout the key stages of a journey. Efficient, transparent and independent enforcement bodies are vital for dealing with passenger complaints, helping to resolve disputes between passengers and air carriers and ultimately imposing sanctions if necessary. There is a need to ensure consistency between the different legislations on air passenger rights, and thus follow travel market trends whereby consumers increasingly arrange their travel themselves. Concerning the rights of disabled air passengers and passengers with reduced mobility, I believe it is necessary to secure equal travel opportunities for these people and non-discrimination guaranteeing equal access and unrestricted services.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) The rapporteur’s intention of encouraging greater transparency and effectiveness with regard to passengers’ rights by revising the 2004 regulation on the subject is commendable. It has been made necessary both by rapid changes in commercial practices and by the risks of unexpected natural phenomena, which, in recent years, have laid bare the many gaps in the system of passenger protection, particularly in relation to delays and cancellations. However, some of the proposals put forward in the report are contradictory and would prove inadequate in addressing the priorities in question. The rules designed to strengthen the Commission’s role in this field, for example, run the risk of introducing excessive interference in companies’ commercial practices, contrary to free-market principles, and increasing costly and pointless red tape. For these reasons, I decided to abstain.

 
  
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  Pat the Cope Gallagher (ALDE), in writing. (GA) I fully support this report on air passengers’ rights. The report is calling on airlines to provide better information and immediate on-the-spot assistance to air passengers who are seriously affected by delayed or cancelled flights. Moreover, the report requests that the European Commission harmonise cabin baggage rules.

 
  
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  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. (HU) Today, we adopted a report that will have an incredibly beneficial effect on the more than 800 million people travelling by air in the airspace of the European Union each year. This is a major step forward considering that the relevant regulations have hardly changed over the past few years and that, at the time of their adoption, the volume of air transport was lower than today. It is welcome that the report makes it clear that there is a need for enhanced legal certainty, more interpretative clarity and uniform application of the regulations across the EU. This is also relevant because the Commission is planning to review Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 next year. One of the most important measures is to provide passengers with information about their rights in a clear and appropriate manner and in a readily comprehensible language throughout key stages of the journey, starting from when the passenger is considering whether to book a ticket. The report is also notable for facilitating the future revision of other laws, such as the Package Travel Directive and the Airport Package.

 
  
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  Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. – Air passengers lose time and money when their flights are delayed, overbooked or cancelled, but they are not always aware of their rights under EU law. In addition to the problem of awareness, passengers also struggle with drawn-out complaint procedures which delay access to redress. Therefore, I support a number of clauses in this report which call on Member States to ensure that passengers’ rights are enforced in a uniform way and within reasonable deadlines. Furthermore, I agree that passengers should be properly protected in the event of airline insolvency, bankruptcy or withdrawal of an operating licence, although I would point out that national authorities are already tasked with assessing the financial fitness of carriers licensed in their territory.

However, I would like to have seen more acknowledgement of the unique realities faced by small-island Member States on the periphery of the Union. When reviewing transport policy, the Commission should be aware that one size does not fit all. While providing an even playing field and ample competition, the Commission should also properly consider the individual particularities of airlines requiring State aid, for example, those that provide necessary transport services for citizens, or the cargo services that are fundamental to economic activity.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Cancelled flights, lost baggage, delays, overbooking, etc. are all dysfunctions that are currently poorly addressed by the regulations in force. What was needed, therefore, was a new framework and new instruments to guarantee air passengers’ rights in all circumstances. That has now been achieved through this resolution, which, above all, provides greater transparency both in the information given when flights are delayed or cancelled and also in the prices that airlines advertise. Together with this need for transparency, there was also a need to improve the assistance given to passengers. Accordingly, this resolution states that passengers in difficulty should be able to talk directly to contact personnel who can provide immediate solutions and answers. In addition, the report considers that, if luggage is delayed by more than six hours, compensation should be offered that is proportionate to passengers’ needs so that they have the items they need while waiting for their luggage to arrive. Lastly, the resolution stresses that persons with reduced mobility should be given easier access to aircraft.

 
  
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  Mathieu Grosch (PPE), in writing. (DE) This report strengthens the rights of airline passengers in relation to compensation and assistance to passengers (in the event of cancellations or delays) and the rights of passengers with reduced mobility. In addition, it also contains important requirements in terms of price transparency, which is why I am expressly in favour of it.

Above all, I welcome the fact that it emphasises the need for greater legal certainty. We cannot have a situation where passengers need a lawyer in order to enforce their passenger rights. The regulations must include clear definitions and be subject to uniform interpretation, so that passengers receive information that is complete, easy to understand and transparent.

In addition, passengers must also be able to exercise their rights as quickly as possible, which is why I welcome the calls for effective enforcement bodies.

 
  
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  Françoise Grossetête (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report, which is a positive step forward in terms of protecting air passenger rights. There is a need to enhance their legal certainty, enforce sufficient and simple means of redress and provide passengers with accurate information. However, the measures soon to be applied must not serve to add unjustified and excessive costs to the fares currently charged, to the detriment of consumers.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE), in writing. – I welcome this report, which provides a first step towards ensuring fairer arrangements for air passengers who are stranded or delayed. The inadequate nature of existing legislation was highlighted by the volcano ash crisis in 2010, and today’s vote begins the process of rectifying the shortcomings. I hope the Commission will incorporate this report’s very logical approach when updating the relevant regulation later this year.

This report also proposes other new measures which will benefit EU citizens, such as the right to amend Internet bookings free of charge and the harmonisation of hand-luggage rules. Finally, the report calls for highly desirable new rules on accessibility for people with disabilities and reduced mobility.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. (FR) On Thursday, 29 March, the European Parliament adopted by a very large majority the report on the functioning and application of established rights of people travelling by air. This report proposes concrete measures in favour of air passengers which should influence the version that will be presented by the European Commission in 2013 during the revision of the legislation on air passengers’ rights. Faced with regular delays and a lack of information, Parliament has drawn up recommendations guaranteeing full recognition of passengers’ rights. Among its demands, Parliament has called for better provision of information for passengers with contact personnel from each company to be present at airports, price transparency, a clamp-down on the proliferation of abusive clauses, clarification of passenger compensation criteria and improvements in the handling of persons with reduced mobility.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this report because it is aimed at enhancing the legal certainty of the regulations, as well as interpreting them more clearly and applying them uniformly across the EU. This report looks at the broader context of air passenger rights, including several current proposals for better protection of the rights of people travelling by air, ensuring greater clarity and certainty for passengers with regard to their rights, as well as increasing the liability of airlines. I agree that passengers need to be fully covered in the event of bankruptcy or insolvency of the airline and that price transparency should be ensured and existing legislation on price transparency effectively implemented and enforced, so that the advertised price on airline websites is a fair reflection of the final price.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) The Taylor report on the rules protecting air passengers was adopted by 509 votes to 20, with 53 abstentions. I welcome that. First of all, the report deals with common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights. It also addresses the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air. It also identifies the need for enhanced legal certainty, more interpretative clarity and uniform application of the regulations across the EU. Lastly, the report seeks to increase accountability and transparency, to clarify and strengthen existing rights, and to make sure they are made clear to consumers. The European Parliament is once again flying to the aid of air passengers!

 
  
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  Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D), in writing.(PL) I endorsed this report because it will make a contribution to harmonisation of the law in this area. Passengers’ rights are currently governed by Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 and Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006, and also on the grounds of judgments handed down in this area by the Court of Justice of the European Union. Our objective is to achieve the greatest degree of transparency in applicable legislation and to improve the rights of passengers travelling by air. Common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delays of flights are very important to guarantee that passengers who use air transport in the Union have the right level of insurance and to safeguard respect for their rights. I am therefore convinced that further action in this area will help ensure that passengers travelling by air have the rights they need.

 
  
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  George Lyon (ALDE), in writing. – I supported the Taylor report on air passengers’ rights. I believe it is of paramount importance that EU passengers are better aware of their rights when faced with flight cancellations, long delays or sudden announcements of airline bankruptcy. EU regulations must be equally and uniformly enforced across Europe, with clear rules which do not place a disproportionate burden on airlines in the event of force majeure or exceptional circumstances, while offering adequate, transparent and consistent guarantees for the protection of passengers’ rights.

All airlines operating in the EU must inform passengers of their rights and respect the rules in good faith. We cannot continue with the present chaotic situation in respect of enforcement, where levels of protection vary widely depending on the Member State of departure and the operating company involved. Passengers are also affected by the proliferation of unfair terms when purchasing their tickets and by air carrier contracts: the Commission, when reviewing the current legislation, must provide appropriate solutions to these concerns.

 
  
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  Bogdan Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz (PPE), in writing.(PL) In view of the fact that increasing numbers of European Union citizens are giving considerable importance to their mobility in terms of both work and recreation, it is extremely important from our point of view to ensure the highest possible quality of travel. Air travel, because of the much shorter journey times and greater convenience involved, attracts a considerable amount of interest from our citizens. It is therefore extremely important to ensure that people travelling by air have a full range of rights. The European Parliament has already used its law-making powers to bring in several pieces of legislation which protect people travelling by air.

As we all know, carriers have repeatedly taken advantage of gaps in the law, manipulating the final price of tickets, for example. I, too, am a passenger, and because I think we should all have the right to reliable service in connection with the air tickets we buy, I will always support such proposals, and in this case too, I endorsed the report.

 
  
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  Marian-Jean Marinescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report on the rights of passengers travelling by air because I think that it is important not only for us to guarantee passenger rights through legislation, but also to ensure that they are effective and, in particular, that they are properly enforced. The role of enforcement bodies has been increased, and the demand for merging them into a European network will help improve cooperation between them and, therefore, the results achieved. I voted in favour of increasing transparency and accountability, and for improving the process for resolving complaints. On this point, I called for a single complaints form to be introduced at European level. I called for operators and airlines to provide regular reports with the aim of making the enforcement bodies more efficient and boosting competition. Clarification and enhancement of existing rights, along with explaining them to consumers, have encouraged Parliament to call for the passenger information campaign launched by the Commission in 2010 to continue. I also voted for a clear interpretation and consistent enforcement of the regulations on passenger rights in the European Union.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution, which says that airlines should give stranded passengers better information and immediate help. It also calls on the Commission to tighten the rules on help and compensation for flight cancellations or delays, including luggage delays of longer than six hours.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the report on the functioning and application of established rights of people travelling by air, so as to provide the basis for future common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of flight cancellations or long delays, and concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air. We hope that air carriers will ensure that there is an immediate, simple, accessible way, at no extra cost, for passengers to lodge complaints in writing, as well as the opportunity to make a complaint via other electronic means. It is also essential to provide passengers with full, comprehensible and accessible information, including on CO2 emissions.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I fully agree with Parliament’s report, which welcomes the Commission’s commitment to analyse and revise the existing regulations on air passenger rights with a view to improving the situation of passengers, especially in cases of long delay or cancellation. Member States and air carriers need to apply the existing rules properly. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report sets out to address the recent Commission communication on the application of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights and the report from the Commission on the functioning and effects of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air. Furthermore, because passenger rights are touched upon in many different EU laws, this draft report also looks at the broader context of air passenger rights at a European level. It seeks to achieve accountability and transparency, to clarify and strengthen existing rights, and to make sure they are made clear to consumers.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) There needs to be more uniform application of regulations throughout the European Union, and it is essential to make sure that consumers are well informed about them. Indeed, citizens have to become aware of their rights before they can assert them. Passengers must be informed of their rights in a simple and accurate way. Independent, transparent bodies should be established to enforce these regulations. Disputes between air carriers and passengers, as well as passenger complaints, could be settled in this way. Lastly, it is vital that passengers enjoy appropriate safety conditions, especially safe seats.

 
  
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  Ana Miranda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – (PT) I am voting for this report, drafted by Mr Taylor, on rights for passengers travelling by air, as it calls for enhanced legal certainty in the interpretation and application of EU regulations. Air travel has greatly increased in Europe, but there has not been a policy to increase information along with it, and there are still major shortcomings in observing passengers’ rights. The most important passenger right is the right to services provided as scheduled, based on the contractual obligation which arises from selling a ticket. It is vital that passengers are aware of their rights in order to ensure that they can exercise them. I am voting in favour as I agree that people with reduced mobility should benefit from greater accessibility and be aware of their rights. I agree that passenger rights should be communicated in the language used during the booking of the ticket, throughout key stages of the journey. It is important to ensure the rights of passengers with children, enabling them to board easily with pushchairs, and to board and disembark first. It is also vital to ensure the triple choice for the passenger between refunding, re-routing and rebooking in the event of a disrupted journey as a basic right, as this report advocates.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The report calls for price transparency, guarantees in the event of airline bankruptcy, the presence of contact personnel or a contact service at airports, time limits for handling passengers’ complaints and clarification of definitions such as ‘extraordinary circumstance’ and ‘cancellation of a flight’. For people with reduced mobility and disabilities, it advocates ensuring barrier-free access and the right to be accompanied by a recognised guide or service dog. Complete, understandable and accessible information, including on CO2 emissions, is also of key importance for passengers. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) In principle, the EU has strengthened the rights of travellers in recent years. Although corresponding arrangements for airline passengers already exist, the question of whether airlines have to offer general compensation to their passengers in the event of major delays is still the subject of dispute. A landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice is also pending in this regard. Airlines are refusing to pay financial compensation if ‘exceptional circumstances’ arise, referring to an obligation under international law whereby they may be required to provide their passengers with hotel accommodation and food in the event of a delay, but not compensation. Also in dispute is the question of whether an airline has to compensate passengers if they miss their connecting flight due to a delay. It is therefore important that the EU should deal with this issue again, although a number of issues nevertheless remain unresolved, such as the rigorous security provisions. I took this into consideration when voting.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) Not so long ago, we supported guaranteeing the rights of people with disabilities when travelling by bus or waterway transport. The natural next step is to guarantee the same rights when travelling by air transport. I therefore congratulate the rapporteur who has included provisions in his report, indicating the need to ensure appropriate travel conditions for people with disabilities, above all, with regard to accompanying persons, assistive devices, access to information and airport infrastructure.

 
  
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  James Nicholson (ECR), in writing. – The report has many positive points which aim to improve the experience of air travel for all. It calls for transparency, which is urgently required with regard to the pricing of fares. It is all too common for the price of a flight to escalate as you go through the different stages of a booking process, and tax and other charges are added. These charges should be made clear at the very beginning of booking, and in advertising, in order to avoid unnecessary confusion.

The report also calls for guarantees to be put in place to support passengers when travel companies file for bankruptcy. This has become an increasingly common phenomenon, leaving passengers stranded and sometimes with little prospect of compensation. There are further positive aspects in the report in relation to disabled passengers and those with reduced mobility.

However, some areas of the report proved problematic for my group. We believe that the section of the report which would allow bookings to be cancelled up to two hours after the original reservation could be problematic for airlines and travel companies.

 
  
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  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I welcome the adoption of this resolution, especially some of the requirements expressed in it, such as harmonising the rules on hand luggage or bans on displaying prices which are not transparent or on additional charges at the time of booking. Other important measures include establishing rules against the unilateral rescheduling of flights and discouraging price discrimination against passengers based on countries of residence. I think that such measures are beneficial to citizens travelling in ever increasing numbers every year.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) The regulation on the application of air passengers’ rights establishes a uniform level of assistance that should certainly mitigate the difficulties that are often caused by cancellations, long delays or denied boarding. It is essential that passengers can be made aware of their rights in a simple and understandable way; that they are able to change the details on their tickets at no extra cost; that they are informed promptly in the event of cancellation or breakdown of the aircraft; and that they can choose from the options of refunding, re-routing and rebooking. Another requirement that deserves to be highlighted and with which I agree is barrier-free access and equal travel opportunities for persons with reduced mobility. The lack of trained staff and facilities to overcome the obstacles that these people often encounter is an urgent problem that must be addressed.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report sets out to address the recent Commission communication on the application of the regulation establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights and the report from the Commission on the functioning and effects of the regulation concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air. This report identifies the need for enhanced legal certainty, for more interpretative clarity and uniform application of the regulations across the EU. There is also a need for judgments of the European Court of Justice to be incorporated into the upcoming revision of the regulation. I voted for this report as it aims to increase accountability and transparency, to promote the clarification and strengthening of existing rights, and to make sure these rights are made clear to consumers.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D), in writing. (FI) I voted in favour of this report because it is important that high standards of consumer protection are also ensured in the area of air transport. Transport by air raises several matters of concern from the perspective of consumer protection. One example is the unfair contract terms generally in use and relating to the transferability and cancellation of tickets. I welcome the call for measures that would make it possible to correct minor booking errors free of charge and without having to engage in laborious procedures. In the matter of air travellers’ rights, the main focus needs to be on the importance of informing passengers of their rights and on simplifying processes. Many travellers do not exercise their rights, either because they do not know of their existence in general, or because they worry about the awkward complaints procedures involved. For this reason, the information given must be timely and comprehensive. The importance of announcements is all the greater when services are disrupted, as they were in the flight chaos caused by the ash cloud.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Mr Taylor’s report was put to the vote today during the Brussels plenary session. His report seeks to strengthen the rules on assistance and reimbursement in the event of flight cancellations or delays, including baggage delays of more than six hours. EU legislation has done a great deal to enhance air passengers’ rights, but it needs to do more to ensure that they are treated fairly and that all travellers are afforded more extensive rights. The salient points of the resolution include calling on the Commission to draw up a standard complaints form, translated into all EU languages; to harmonise the rules on hand luggage; to put an end to unfair commercial practices, unilateral rescheduling of flights and price discrimination on the basis of a passenger’s country of residence; and to detail the environmental impact of travel on air tickets. In addition, passengers should have the right to cancel or change a reservation free of charge within two hours of the time of booking. The resolution also seeks to focus attention on passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility, who should have barrier-free access to air transport services, including the right to use mobility devices.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this report because I believe the existing rules on air passenger rights need revising in order to improve the situation of passengers, especially in the event of long delays or cancellations. I would argue that proper application of the existing rules by Member States and air carriers, enforcement of sufficient and simple means of redress, and providing passengers with accurate information concerning their rights should be the cornerstones of regaining passengers’ trust. Lastly, there is a need for a better definition of the role of the enforcement bodies set up by the Member States, since they do not always ensure effective protection of passenger rights.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of Mr Taylor’s report because I consider that his proposals will help to improve services to passengers and safeguard their rights. In my opinion, the proposal that equal opportunities should be provided for people with reduced mobility is important, as is the need for a supervisory body responsible for managing complaints and helping to serve passengers.

 
  
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  Andreas Schwab (PPE), in writing. (DE) Consumers and passengers are often one and the same. That is why I expressly welcome the call for compensation and assistance for delays and cancellations, as well as rights for passengers with reduced mobility. I welcome not only price transparency – as already stated in my report – but also the establishment of a simplified conflict resolution procedure. Airline passengers and passengers in general must be able to exercise their rights effectively.

 
  
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  Olga Sehnalová (S&D), in writing. – (CS) In today’s vote, I supported the own-initiative report of the rapporteur, Keith Taylor, on the functioning and application of the established rights of people travelling by air, as this involves an important challenge to the Commission to submit proposals as quickly as possible for addressing the ever increasing number of complaints by European air travellers. It is not acceptable that, according to statistics, 57% of the total number of 44 000 transport complaints in 2010 concerned passenger rights in air transport. Airline companies must start treating their customers more fairly, providing them with clear information in a language they understand, and in case of problems or of their own bankruptcy, organise their payment-free and rapid transport back home. The Commission must submit amendments to Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 along these lines, as a result of which, the obligation incumbent upon airline companies, above all, to fulfil their obligations vis-à-vis passengers will also be more enforceable in the event of bankruptcy, insolvency or loss of licence. I also support the creation of a unified system for assessing the evidence demonstrating ‘exceptional circumstances’. This is the excuse most often put forward by airline companies unwilling to compensate passengers for damages. The demand for passengers to be entitled to comprehensive information on their rights in the language in which the reservation was made is also an important challenge.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) On the subject of air passenger rights, the concept of ‘extraordinary circumstances’ and the definition of ‘cancellation’ both need clarification. The lack of uniformity in the Member States’ regulations and the behaviour of the various airlines make it necessary to develop a unified, complete and detailed system to assess the value of evidence submitted by airlines in order to demonstrate the existence of ‘exceptional circumstances’. With this vote, we are, in fact, seeking to harmonise the field and guarantee passengers all their rights and the greatest possible transparency. There is a need for timing and accuracy in the information communicated to air passengers, which should cover the reason for any delay or cancellation, the expected duration of disruptions and what happens in the event of overbooking, not forgetting the alternative travel options available to passengers.

 
  
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  Keith Taylor (Verts/ALE), in writing. – I am extremely pleased that this report has been adopted, as it strengthens passenger rights across the board. However, in my original draft report, I urged the Commission to propose an obligation on air carriers to provide a final guarantee covering their liabilities towards passengers in the event of insolvency, bankruptcy or removal of an operating licence. The reference to a final guarantee was weakened at the vote in the Transport and Tourism Committee, confining the proposal to support for stranded passengers to be repatriated in the event of insolvency, bankruptcy, ceased operations or removal of an operating licence. Although I welcome this measure, it is not as strong as the original wording, and I call on the Commission to look into the possibility of proposing a final guarantee to protect passengers when they revise Regulation No 261/2004.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) This own-initiative report is aimed at serving as a basis for the revision of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights. It also seeks to provide greater legal certainty and interpretive clarity of the legislation, as well as its full and uniform application in the Member States. Finally, it puts particular emphasis on the rights of people with reduced mobility, including families with children and disabled persons. Price transparency and compensation if airlines go bankrupt should be uniform rights across the various Member States. In the event of disruption to travel, the triple choice between refunding, re-routing and rebooking should be offered to all passengers immediately. Moreover, information should be accessible and a permanent point of contact should be available for any changes after booking. In addition, I believe that it is important to consider protective measures in relation to lost and delayed baggage, as well as allowing the consumer to correct booking details free of charge or cancel an online reservation within two hours.

 
  
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  Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein (PPE), in writing.(PL) I decided to endorse the report on the review of two regulations: on establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and on the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air.

In view of the continually rising number of people travelling by air, it is essential that we urgently adopt regulations allowing passengers’ rights to be protected more effectively. In this regard, the report contains a proposal that information on passenger rights be communicated in a more transparent and understandable way throughout key stages of the journey. Passengers should have the opportunity to correct obvious mistakes made when making a booking or even to withdraw completely from a reservation within two hours of booking. Airlines should be banned from collecting excessive fees when passengers make payments by credit card and we should be uncompromising in enforcing the rights of parents travelling with young children. Furthermore, carriers must be required to consider all passenger complaints within a maximum of two months.

The European Commission should also establish a central Internet site on passenger rights, accessible in all the official languages of the European Union. I am certain that delivery on the proposals contained in the report which has been adopted will help improve the situation at airports.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the resolution on the functioning and application of established rights of people travelling by air because it is vital for both air carriers and tourism operators to provide passengers with complete, comprehensible, accurate and timely information. We call on air carriers to ensure that they have at every airport from which they operate contact personnel or a service that can make immediate decisions, in particular, with regard to assistance, reimbursement, re-routing, lost or delayed luggage and rebooking, and with whom complaints can be lodged. We call on the Commission to implement and enforce the existing legislation on price transparency effectively in order to ensure that the advertised price is an accurate reflection of the final price. We call for passengers to be protected against unfair contractual terms, such as contractual issues related to damaged/delayed/mishandled luggage, the transferability of tickets, force majeure circumstances, the unilateral rescheduling of flights, the ban on using the ongoing part of a return ticket, and excessive hand luggage restrictions. We support putting an end to abusive practices whereby persons with reduced mobility (PRMs) are required to sign a document waiving the air carrier’s liability for any damage caused to their mobility equipment.

 
  
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  Giommaria Uggias (ALDE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Taylor’s own-initiative report because it calls on the Commission to intervene both to enforce existing legislation and to promote and simplify the use of the instruments that protect air passenger rights. This report emphasises the legal certainty of passengers’ rights, their right to information, and the independence and operational transparency of the independent enforcement bodies that can impose penalties for infringements and resolve disputes between passengers and the industry. All too often, passengers find that they are the victims of the abusive practices of air carriers, which take advantage of passengers’ lack of information about their own rights in order to delay or cancel flights arbitrarily without accepting the liability that they should accept by law. I hope, therefore, that this report can provide useful suggestions for the revision of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, which is expected to take place next year.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – I believe further legislative measures to protect air passengers’ rights are necessary, particularly in cases of long delays or cancellation. That is why I voted in favour of the report on the functioning and application of established rights of people travelling by air. Airlines should give stranded passengers better information and immediate help, and this can be achieved if the Commission tightens the rules on help and compensation for flight cancellations or delays, including luggage delays of longer than six hours. I believe, along with fellow MEPs, that passengers with reduced mobility or with disabilities must be granted barrier-free access to air travel, including the right to use mobility devices. More needs to be done to ensure a fair deal and broader rights for all travellers.

 
  
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  Oldřich Vlasák (ECR), in writing.(CS) I did not vote in favour of the report. This is not because I am opposed to passenger rights. It is not because I am opposed to the demand for unified complaint handling. It is not even because I am opposed to greater awareness and more information for passengers. When Wizzair left 180 Czech passengers in Barcelona in February this year, announcing that it would not refund their money, I realised how toothless a right can be in the real world, and how powerless passengers are in reality. However, we need to understand that nothing is for free. If wonderful rights are defined for passengers in relation to delayed flights, delayed baggage, assistance for people with disabilities and so on, we need to understand that someone will have to pay for it. The demand for financial costs to be borne only by carriers and not by passengers, as the report proposes, is unrealistic in my view. When we buy a ticket for EUR 1 from a low-cost airline, we should not expect that if the flight is two hours late, we have an automatic entitlement to refreshments, telephone calls or another form of compensation exceeding the original price of the ticket. In this regard, we should create a dual system in the future, enabling passengers to choose when it comes to the price of the ticket and the related comfort and certainty of travel. We cannot simply protect passengers regardless of the cost.

 
  
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  Dominique Vlasto (PPE), in writing. (FR) Air traffic has expanded hugely in Europe with the increased competition in the sector, new and shorter routes and cheaper fares. Slashing prices, however, is no justification for trampling on passengers’ rights. I therefore welcome the adoption of this report, in which I have invested a great deal of effort and which sets out our demands for the revision of the rules protecting passengers. Following this vote, what I expect from the Commission most of all is that it guarantees the right to board an aircraft with purchases made at the airport without incurring abusive charges. In my view, the restrictive commercial practices in this field are actually a step back in time for passengers and create a form of unfair competition for ground-based duty-free shops. I also believe the Commission should come up with concrete proposals to curb the practice of overbooking, which leaves thousands of passengers waiting every year. It is vital to find a better way of reconciling this technique for filling planes with provision of the service according to the conditions stated when the ticket was purchased, which is the most basic right there is.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – Passengers’ rights are touched upon in many different EU laws, and this report also looks at the broader context of air passengers’ rights at a European level. The rapporteur identifies the need for enhanced legal certainty, for more interpretative clarity, and for uniform application of the regulations across the EU. Greater accountability and transparency are needed in order to clarify and strengthen existing rights and to ensure they are made clear to consumers. Therefore, I voted in favour of the report. Its adoption will improve passengers’ rights.

 
  
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  Artur Zasada (PPE), in writing.(PL) I welcome the adoption of this document, for which I served as shadow rapporteur for the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats). This review afforded us the opportunity to call the attention of the European Commission to the numerous irregularities which occur at European airports. We want the Commission’s new proposals to include solutions to these problems. We should take care to ensure that all passengers travelling by air in Europe have better, safer and cheaper journeys.

For passengers, the most important issues covered in the document are the opportunity to correct obvious mistakes made when making a booking or even to withdraw completely from a reservation within two hours of booking, a ban preventing airlines from collecting excessive fees when passengers make payments by credit card and enforcing the rights of parents travelling with young children. I am sure the European Commission will show understanding in its response to Parliament’s proposals.

 
  
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  Roberts Zīle (ECR), in writing. (LV) As regards air passengers’ rights, many EU legislative requirements are no longer new; they are well-known, and the situation has improved in recent years. However, the charges made by airlines for payment administration and for the use of bank cards, especially credit cards, for example, are still problematic and confusing. These extra payments are not included in the price of the ticket, and when buying their ticket, passengers are not informed on time: they see these extra charges only when they have already chosen the ticket and are making the purchase. That is why airlines are being asked, especially with respect to credit cards, to recoup only what it really costs them to service the credit card or other card. The second topical issue is the wide variation in weight restrictions currently applied to hand luggage by airlines. Passengers find it difficult to navigate their way around these, which is why these rules should be harmonised. The EU should likewise simplify the method for investigating complaints, and it should be uniform. Currently, both the procedures and the time limits for investigating complaints differ from country to country. Although many of the proposals contained in the report, including the review of various definitions, have already been appropriately solved at an international level in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), on the whole, nevertheless, the leitmotiv of the report on the functioning and application of the established rights of people travelling by air – that it is still necessary both to monitor airlines even more closely and to develop clearer and stricter regulations – is right and needs to be supported.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The liberalisation of the aviation sector calls into question the right to good-quality and safe public transport. This is a vital issue that has not been considered in this report. However, the report does have some positive aspects, such as safeguarding passengers’ rights, in particular, in relation to compensation and reimbursement for lost, delayed or damaged baggage, as well as for delayed or cancelled flights. However, we are concerned that it seeks to standardise a range of services in order to create ‘a level playing field’ relating to the exchange of information and data, as this could jeopardise passengers’ rights to privacy and non-discrimination.

 
  
  

Report: Bernhard Rapkay (A7-0070/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for the report, which defends the parliamentary immunity of Mr de Magistris, who has made allegedly defamatory statements which have a direct and obvious connection with the performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, by Mr Rapkay, concerns the request for defence of the privileges of the Italian Member of the European Parliament, Luigi de Magistris. Mr de Magistris, who was elected as a Member in 2009, was summoned before the Court of Catanzaro, Italy, by Maurizio Mottola di Amato in connection with two legal documents that Mr de Magistris had published on his website in early 2011, which formed part of a criminal case from the time when Mr de Magistris was a public prosecutor. Mr di Amato accuses Mr de Magistris of making ‘false and libellous accusations against him and his wife’, who worked as a judge at the Court of Catanzaro. Mr de Magistris submits that in his role as Member of the European Parliament, he had a duty to inform Italian citizens about what was happening at the court of Catanzaro, and that the documents, which have since been removed from his website, were not of a confidential nature. Given that the facts of the case demonstrate that the details published ‘have a direct, obvious connection with Luigi de Magistris’s performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament’, and in view of the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs, I am voting in favour of defending the privileges and immunities of Mr de Magistris.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted to defend the immunity of Luigi de Magistris in this case. The statements made by Luigi de Magistris related to an investigation into the use of EU funds and he held the position of Chair of the Committee on Budgetary Control when he made them. The statements were therefore directly and obviously linked with a general interest of concern to citizens and they thus constituted an opinion expressed in the performance of his parliamentary duties. Against this background, the committee considered that the facts of the case, as manifested in the writ of summons and in Luigi de Magistris’s written submissions and oral presentations to it, indicate that the statements made do have a direct, obvious connection with Luigi de Magistris’s performance of his duties as an MEP. The committee therefore considered that, in publishing the articles in question, Luigi de Magistris was acting in the performance of his duties.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Defending the independence of the mandate of Members of this House is the responsibility of Parliament, and that independence cannot be jeopardised. According to Article 8 of the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, Members of the European Parliament shall not be subject to any form of inquiry, detention or legal proceedings in respect of opinions expressed or votes cast by them in the performance of their duties. The request by Luigi de Magistris relates to a writ of summons filed against him before the Court of Catanzaro on behalf of Mr Maurizio Mottola di Amato in connection with two articles that Mr de Magistris published on his website in early 2011. The articles were published on the website at a time when Mr de Magistris was a Member of the European Parliament, following his election at the 2009 European Parliament elections. In publishing the articles in question, Mr de Magistris was acting in the performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament. I therefore support defending the immunity and privileges of Mr de Magistris.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – In this report, Parliament decides to defend the immunity of Mr Luigi de Magistris. I think MEPs’ immunity should not be waived until a serious crime has been committed. Mr de Magistris is accused of libel. I think we need him to be able to work effectively in the European Parliament. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Luigi de Magistris, a Member of the European Parliament, was summoned before the Court of Catanzaro by Mr Maurizio Mottola di Amato in connection with two articles that Mr de Magistris had published on his website in early 2011, which featured copies of legal documents. Mr de Magistris considers it altogether proper to inform Italian citizens about court documents and, in this case, the documents were not covered by any confidentiality provisions. This happened after Mr de Magistris had become a Member of the European Parliament. The Committee on Legal Affairs concluded that Mr de Magistris was acting in the performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament, and has therefore decided to defend the privileges and immunities of Mr de Magistris. I voted for this report for the above reasons.

 
  
  

Report: Bernhard Rapkay (A7-0073/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting in favour of not defending the immunity of the Member, as in this case, in which he is accused of libel through publishing a book, Mr de Magistris was not acting in the performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – In this case, the Committee on Legal Affairs recommends that Parliament should not defend the parliamentary immunity of Luigi de Magistris and I have supported them.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Defending the independence of the mandate of Members of this House is the responsibility of Parliament, and that independence cannot be jeopardised. According to Article 8 of the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, Members of the European Parliament shall not be subject to any form of inquiry, detention or legal proceedings in respect of opinions expressed or votes cast by them in the performance of their duties. The request by Luigi de Magistris relates to a writ of summons filed against him before the Court of Cosenza on behalf of Dr Vincenza Bruno Bossio in connection with statements made by Mr de Magistris in his book Assalto al PM, storia di un cattivo magistrato (‘Attack on the public prosecutor – the story of a bad magistrate’), which was published in April 2010. The facts of the case, as manifested in the writ of summons and in Mr de Magistris’s written submissions to the Committee on Legal Affairs, indicate that the statements made do not have a direct, obvious connection with Mr de Magistris’s performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament. In publishing the book in question, Mr de Magistris was not acting in the performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament. I therefore support not defending the immunity and privileges of Mr de Magistris.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) This case relates to a writ of summons filed against Luigi de Magistris before the Court of Cosenza on behalf of Dr Vincenza Bruno Bossio in connection with statements made by Mr de Magistris in his book Assalto al PM, storia di un cattivo magistrato (‘Attack on the public prosecutor – the story of a bad magistrate’), which was published in April 2010. Given that the facts of the case, as manifested in the writ of summons and in Mr de Magistris’s written submissions to the Committee on Legal Affairs, indicate that the statements made do not have a direct, obvious connection with Mr de Magistris’s performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament and therefore, he was not acting in the performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament, it was decided in this case not to defend his privileges and immunities. I voted for this report because I agree with this line of reasoning.

 
  
  

Report: Bernhard Rapkay (A7-0074/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) There is a case against Luigi de Magistris in relation to allegedly defamatory statements issued by him in his book Assalto al PM, storia di un cattivo magistrato (‘Attack on the public prosecutor – the story of a bad magistrate’). I am voting for the report, which advocates not defending the Member’s parliamentary immunity, as in making these statements, he was not acting in the performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, by Mr Rapkay, concerns the request for the defence of the parliamentary immunity of the Italian Member of the European Parliament, Luigi de Magistris. Mr de Magistris, who was elected a Member in 2009, was summoned before the Court of Milan, Italy, on behalf of Giancarlo Pittelli, due to the fact that in April 2010, he published a book called Assalto al PM, storia di un cattivo magistrato (‘Attack on the public prosecutor – the story of a bad magistrate’), in which, on pages 27, 58-60, 88-90 and 113-114, he questions Mr Pittelli’s ability to act as legal counsel for a defendant in the ‘Shock’ criminal case. Mr Pittelli considers the statements to be ‘very offensive to him’, since he is presented therein ‘as a member of a white-collar mafia, upholding inappropriately close relationships with the judiciary, businessmen and politicians’. Mr de Magistris maintains that he merely expressed his opinion ‘on important matters relating to the public interest’, and that the book is ‘an expression of the political activity of an MEP’. Given that the statements contained in the book do not ‘have a direct, obvious connection with Luigi de Magistris’s performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament’, and in view of the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs, I am voting in favour of not defending the privileges and immunities of Mr de Magistris.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report, which proposes not to defend the immunity and privileges of Luigi de Magistris, as in publishing the book in question, he was not acting in the performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Defending the independence of the mandate of Members of this House is the responsibility of Parliament, and that independence cannot be jeopardised. According to Article 8 of the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, Members of the European Parliament shall not be subject to any form of inquiry, detention or legal proceedings in respect of opinions expressed or votes cast by them in the performance of their duties. The request by Luigi de Magistris relates to a writ of summons filed against him before the Court of Milan on behalf of Dr Giancarlo Pittelli in connection with statements made by Mr de Magistris in his book Assalto al PM, storia di un cattivo magistrato (‘Attack on the public prosecutor – the story of a bad magistrate’), which was published in April 2010. The facts of the case, as manifested in the writ of summons and in Mr de Magistris’s written submissions to the Committee on Legal Affairs, indicate that the statements made do not have a direct, obvious connection with Mr de Magistris’s performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament. In publishing the book in question, Mr de Magistris was not acting in the performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament. I therefore support not defending the immunity and privileges of Mr de Magistris.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) This case relates to the writ of summons filed against Luigi de Magistris before the Court of Cosenza on behalf of Dr Giancarlo Pittelli in connection with statements made by Mr de Magistris in his book Assalto al PM, storia di un cattivo magistrato (‘Attack on the public prosecutor – the story of a bad magistrate’), which was published in April 2010. Given that the facts of the case, as manifested in the writ of summons and in Mr de Magistris’s written submissions to the Committee on Legal Affairs, indicate that the statements made do not have a direct, obvious connection with Mr de Magistris’s performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament and therefore, he was not acting in the performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament, it was decided in this case not to defend his privileges and immunities. I voted for this report because I agree with this line of reasoning.

 
  
  

Report: Bernhard Rapkay (A7-0075/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) The request by Luigi de Magistris for the defence of his immunity, which relates to a writ of summons filed against him before the Court of Lamezia, in connection with allegedly libellous statements made by him, should not be granted, as in making these statements, he was not acting in the performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament. I therefore voted for this report.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, by Mr Rapkay, concerns the request for the defence of the parliamentary immunity of the Italian Member of the European Parliament, Luigi de Magistris. Mr de Magistris, who was elected to the European Parliament in 2009, was summoned before the Court of Lamezia, Italy, on behalf of Mr Antonio Saladino following an interview published in the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano on 9 March 2011. Mr Saladino, the main defendant in the ‘Why not’ criminal case, conducted by Mr de Magistris when he was a public prosecutor, accuses the Member of claiming that he had unlawfully interfered in this case ‘by membership in a secret network set up for this purpose’. Mr de Magistris maintains that he merely expressed his opinion ‘on matters of legitimate public interest’, and that he did so as part of his political activity as a Member of the European Parliament. Although he gave the interview in his capacity as a Member of the European Parliament, the issues addressed in it are not related to his parliamentary activity. As such, and in view of the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs, I am voting for this report and for not defending the privileges and immunities of Mr de Magistris.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – The statements made by Luigi de Magistris in this case relate to allegations of improper conduct of third parties in connection with criminal investigations which he was conducting before he became a Member of the European Parliament. The statements therefore appear to be rather far removed from the duties of an MEP and hardly capable, therefore, of presenting a direct link with a general interest of concern to citizens, and even if such a link could be demonstrated, it would not be obvious. I have therefore backed the committee in not defending Luigi de Magistris’s immunity.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Defending the independence of the mandate of Members of this House is the responsibility of Parliament, and that independence cannot be jeopardised. According to Article 8 of the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, Members of the European Parliament shall not be subject to any form of inquiry, detention or legal proceedings in respect of opinions expressed or votes cast by them in the performance of their duties. The request by Luigi de Magistris relates to a writ of summons filed against him before the Court of Lamezia on behalf of Mr Antonio Saladino in connection with statements made by Mr de Magistris in an interview published in the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano on 9 March 2011. The facts of the case, as manifested in the writ of summons and in Mr de Magistris’s written submissions to the Committee on Legal Affairs, indicate that the statements made do not have a direct, obvious connection with Mr de Magistris’s performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament. In making the statements in question, Mr de Magistris was not acting in the performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament. I therefore support not defending the immunity and privileges of Mr de Magistris.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) This case relates to a writ of summons filed against Luigi de Magistris by the Court of Lamezia on behalf of Mr Antonio Saladino in connection with statements made by Mr de Magistris in an interview published in the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano on 9 March 2011. Given that the facts of the case, as manifested in the writ of summons and in Mr de Magistris’s written submissions to the Committee on Legal Affairs, indicate that the statements made do not have a direct, obvious connection with Mr de Magistris’s performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament and therefore, he was not acting in the performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament, it was decided in this case not to defend his privileges and immunities. I voted for this report because I agree with this line of reasoning.

 
  
  

Reports: Bernhard Rapkay (A7-0073/2012, 0074/2012; 0075/2012)

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – This report is on Parliament’s decision not to defend the immunity of Mr Luigi de Magistris. I abstained.

 
  
  

Reports: Bernhard Rapkay (A7-0070/2012, 0073/2012, 0074/2012; 0075/2012)

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The veil of hypocrisy that has, until now, characterised Mr de Magistris’s presence in Europe has been lifted. The former public prosecutor first played the critic, pontificating against class privileges in the television talk shows that he organised himself. Then, having become an MEP, he repeatedly claimed immunity so as not to have to appear in court to answer the complaints made against him. Now a mayor, he still claims immunity to avoid being prosecuted. With this vote, we have said ‘no’ in relation to three sets of proceedings against him. Now Mr de Magistris will have to defend himself in court.

 
  
  

Recommendation for second reading: Rui Tavares (A7-0063/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I agree with the proposal to amend the decision on the European Refugee Fund in order to allow the Member States to resettle refugees in line with the categories set out by the EU. In order to be able to forecast these resettlement movements, the Member States should provide the Commission with an estimate of the number of people that they will resettle over the course of the next calendar year.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of the resolution on the European Refugee Fund 2008-2013 at second reading. I support the proposal to set up a list of priority refugees (independently of annual priorities with respect to geographic regions and nationalities): children and women, unaccompanied minors, persons with serious medical needs, survivors of violence and torture, etc. We, Members of the European Parliament, endorsed the idea that in order to encourage more Member States to take part in resettlement activity, additional financial support should be given to those participating in the resettlement programme for the first time. I support the proposal that the fixed amount for each resettled person shall be EUR 6 000 in the first calendar year, EUR 5 000 in the second and EUR 4 000 in subsequent years – the funding to be invested in the development of a sustainable resettlement programme. I urge the Council to continue the process of adoption of this important legal act.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the new European programme for the resettlement of third-country refugees, which will provide additional funding for Member States that wish to resettle refugees fleeing from war, famine or persecution. I supported this programme, which, in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, seeks to strengthen the European Union’s role in providing international protection. Consequently, in 2013, the ‘priorities’ will be Iraqi refugees in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, Afghan refugees in Turkey, Pakistan and Iran, Congolese refugees in Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia, Somali refugees in Ethiopia, Burmese refugees in Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand, and Eritrean refugees in Eastern Sudan. The Europe I defend is also the Europe that protects vulnerable people, children and women at risk, unaccompanied minors and people with serious medical needs.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on the European Refugee Fund, which should deliver funding for actions in the interests of the European Union as a whole, but also actions at international or merely national level, with a view to creating a joint European Union resettlement programme. The reception and protection systems of a number of Member States have been drastically put to the test, owing to the unexpected arrival of a large number of people requiring international protection, particularly from countries like Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Tunisia and Côte d’Ivoire. The statistics show the urgency of the situation: there was a 15% increase in 2011 compared with the previous year. The 27 EU Member States as a whole received around 280 000 applications for asylum. It is therefore crucial that the Member States be able to make use of EU funds to improve their reception systems and to encourage resettlement.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Managing migratory flows is one of the great challenges of our time. The European Union has struggled to build a common migration policy that is progressive and ambitious, so I welcome the adoption of a new joint programme for refugee resettlement. According to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 200 000 people are forced to flee their country every year. It is our responsibility to support them. This new programme strengthens the European Union’s role in terms of international protection and encourages the Member States to step up their refugee resettlement efforts and to focus on the most vulnerable groups, such as women and children. To date, 13 European countries have set up resettlement programmes. Finally, thanks to the adoption of this new programme, the Member States will receive additional funding from the European Union to enable them to resettle refugees in their territory, by way of the European Refugee Fund, set up in 2000.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I consider it of the greatest importance to toughen up EU rules protecting refugees and to maximise the strategic impact of resettlement, by gearing it more towards the people in the greatest need of resettling. It is crucial to formulate common priorities for resettlement at EU level on a regular basis. The modification of the decision establishing the European Refugee Fund in the light of the establishment of a joint EU resettlement programme, contained in this resolution, has been duly weighed up by the Committee on Legal Affairs. I am voting for this motion for a resolution for the above reasons.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) Congratulations to my fellow Member, Mr Tavares, on his excellent work. Finally, an agreement has been reached with the Council, a process that was too long, owing to the inexplicable deadlock in the Council. The thousands of refugees living through humanitarian tragedy needed greater speed from the Council, as they waited in camps, the majority of which are in sub-human conditions, and ran the risk of feeding human trafficking networks. The European Refugee Fund should deliver funding for actions in the interests of the EU as a whole, but also actions at international or merely national level. The reception and protection systems of a number of Member States have been drastically put to the test, owing to the unexpected arrival of a large number of people requiring international protection, particularly from countries like Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Tunisia and Côte d’Ivoire. It is crucial that the Member States be able to make use of EU funds to improve their reception systems and to encourage resettlement by the Member States. At a time when the lack of solidarity between the Member States has been notorious, it is crucial to adopt measures to ensure that effort is shared between them in a balanced way with regard to receiving refugees and displaced persons, and to bearing the consequences of this reception.

 
  
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  Emer Costello (S&D), in writing. – I welcome Parliament’s approval of the proposal to amend the 2007 decision establishing the European Refugee Fund (ERF). The UNCHR estimates that over 170 000 people will need to be resettled in 2012, whereas the EU at present resettles fewer than 5 000 annually, compared to over 80 000 in the US. Ireland is one of the EU Member States that already takes part on a voluntary basis in resettlement programmes for refugees who have been granted refugee status in third countries. The revised decision should encourage more Member States to take part in resettling refugees next year, the final year of the current ERF, by increasing the amount of financial support Member States receive from the ERF for resettlements and by enlarging the list of those whose resettlement will be financed by the ERF next year to include vulnerable people such as children, women at risk, unaccompanied minors, persons with serious medical needs, etc. I would encourage all Member States to notify the Commission by the agreed deadline of 1 May of the number of refugees they will resettle next year.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) The new European programme for the resettlement of third-country refugees, adopted today, will provide additional funding for Member States that wish to resettle in their territory people fleeing from war, famine or persecution. This programme, implemented by the Member States on a voluntary basis, is aimed at resettling in the EU people who have been given refugee status in third countries (such as the Libyan refugees in Tunisia in 2011). For 2013, the list of people whose resettlement will be funded by the European Refugee Fund (ERF) has been extended to include vulnerable people (children and women at risk, unaccompanied minors, etc.). The programme will also establish a series of annual geographical priorities. For example, the priorities for 2013 will be Iraqi refugees in Syria, Afghan refugees in Turkey, Pakistan and Iran, Somali refugees in Ethiopia, etc. The EU will also provide additional financial support for the resettlement of refugees. The Member States will receive EUR 6 000 per person for the first year, EUR 5 000 for the second year and EUR 4 000 for subsequent years (compared with the current amount of EUR 4 000 in total per person resettled).

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of this draft legislative resolution because I firmly believe there is an urgent need for a Europe-wide system based on enhanced solidarity, which also has to be extended to third-country nationals as well as citizens of Europe.

A crucial point, in my opinion, must be highlighted: the European Union should help those Member States willing to undertake reform of refugees’ resettlement by providing them with sufficient funds. EU policy in this regard should also follow a more efficient and rationalised pathway, in particular, by pursuing a set of key priorities. I strongly believe that the first of these priorities should be to provide help and assistance to the most vulnerable people, who face traumatic and precarious living and social conditions. In conclusion, I positively welcome this document, which constitutes an important step towards greater solidarity in the management of migration flows.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report to encourage the Member States of the European Union to resettle more refugees, enlarging the list of beneficiaries and the size of the European Refugee Fund for the period 2008 to 2013.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Solidarity between EU Member States has been the fundamental principle of the Union since its creation. The extension of the European Refugee Fund to a joint EU resettlement programme for the period until 2013 is based on this principle and on Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The European Parliament acknowledges the need to establish a list of priority people, particularly women and children, who should be resettled in places that ensure them the most basic fundamental rights. This list should go beyond the number of refugees protected by each Member State.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Refugees are normal people who find themselves in difficult situations for political, racial or socio-economic reasons. Around 200 000 people need to be resettled every year. Although the ideal situation would be repatriation, the truth is that they cannot return to their country of origin the majority of the time. This recommendation for second reading, by Mr Tavares, concerns the Council position at first reading with a view to the adoption of a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No 573/2007/EC establishing the European Refugee Fund for the period 2008 to 2013 as part of the General programme ‘Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows’. In the past, Europe was a desirable destination for many refugees, who sought security and the chance of a new life in the EU. As solidarity is one of the EU’s oldest values, it is crucial that the Union continue to practise it, despite the present economic and financial crisis. I voted for this recommendation because it confirms a programme that will enable many more people at risk to enter the EU, thereby giving them a new opportunity.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The involvement of the EU in the asylum area is based on the need for solidarity between Member States in solving the challenges which individual Member States cannot address effectively in an EU without internal borders. The creation of a common EU programme for resettlement will ensure that a greater number of EU Member States participate in resettlement, which, at the same time, will help to show greater EU solidarity with third countries in the reception of refugees. With regard to the creation of a joint EU resettlement programme aimed at boosting the success of EU efforts in the area of resettlement, by providing protection to refugees and maximising the strategic impacts of resettlement through better targeting of those persons who are in greatest need of resettlement, common priorities should be formulated in the area of resettlement at EU level on a regular basis. It is therefore right that the Commission has decided on common annual priorities of the EU, taking into account specific geographic regions, specific nationalities and specific categories of refugees who must be resettled. Bearing in mind what is needed in the area of resettlement, I take the view that it is also essential to provide people with additional financial support (when resettlement is considered the most appropriate solution to their personal needs) in connection with specific geographical regions, specific nationalities and specific categories of refugee who must be resettled.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing. (FR) In the negotiations with the Council, Parliament succeeded in securing a number of key points: the explicit reference to regional protection programmes, especially the visibility of North Africa, the addition of ‘survivors of violence and/or torture’ to the vulnerable persons category and a reference to refugees from Iraq. I therefore voted in favour of this agreement at second reading. In addition, the negotiations on this text, aimed at amending the decision establishing the European Refugee Fund in the light of the establishment of a joint EU resettlement programme, have been going on for nearly two years. We cannot allow this situation to continue when there are thousands of refugees who could benefit from this programme. Indeed, resettlement is the only viable and safe solution as these people are often in an extremely vulnerable situation. The European Union must step up its resettlement efforts in order to protect refugees and maximise the impact of resettlement by focusing, where possible, on those most in need, in accordance with the common priorities established at EU level.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this proposal because the objective of this document is to increase the impact of the EU resettlement efforts in providing protection to refugees and to maximise the strategic impact of resettlement through better targeting of those persons who are in greatest need of resettlement, and to formulate common priorities of resettlement at EU level on a regular basis. The proposal aims to amend the decision establishing the European Refugee Fund in light of the establishment of a joint EU resettlement programme. Priorities for resettlement are identified, including annual common EU resettlement priorities (specified in an Annex for 2013, i.e. the only remaining year covered by this decision). Member States will receive additional financial assistance for each person to be resettled according to these priorities.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I supported the Tavares report, which was aimed at amending the decision establishing the European Refugee Fund in the light of the establishment of a joint EU resettlement programme. Resettling means transferring refugees from an initial third country of asylum to an EU Member State where they can receive permanent protection. The Tavares report recommends, in particular, financial support for the Member States who participate in resettlement and the establishment of a list of priority refugees.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution. The proposal aims to amend the decision establishing the European Refugee Fund in the light of the establishment of a joint EU resettlement programme. In the explanatory memorandum and the accompanying communication, the Commission explains that the efforts to establish a joint EU resettlement programme are a response to requests by the Council to come forward with such a programme to remedy current shortcomings. The idea is to increase the impact of EU resettlement efforts in protecting refugees, to maximise the strategic impact of resettlement through better targeting of those persons in greatest need of resettlement, and to formulate at EU level common priorities for resettlement on a regular basis.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) This new programme provides financial support for the resettlement of refugees, especially resettlement by Member States participating in the programme for the first time, and in doing so, it encourages more countries to show solidarity. Only 10 Member States, including France, currently take part in the programme, and that figure is too low. The resettlement programmes are necessary: they enable refugees who cannot return to their country of origin or stay in the country where they have been granted international protection to be resettled in a country where their lives are not at risk. Moreover, this new framework identifies vulnerable persons, such as unaccompanied minors and the victims of torture, to whom special attention should be paid.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Only 10 EU Member States – one of which is Portugal – currently accept refugees for resettlement. The resettlement of refugees is a procedure whereby, at the request of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees based on a person’s need for international protection, third-country nationals or stateless persons are transferred from a third country to a Member State. The purpose of adopting this recommendation is to increase the number of Member States that resettle refugees, to which end those that do so for the first time will benefit from increased financial assistance for the first two years. The resettlement of the following must take priority, irrespective of any geographical priorities that the EU may have set for a given period: children and women at risk of violence or psychological, physical or sexual exploitation; unaccompanied minors; persons with special medical needs; survivors of violence and torture; and persons who need emergency resettlement for legal and protection reasons. The creation of the European Refugee Fund is essential in order to increase the number of countries that accommodate refugees. That is why I voted as I did.

 
  
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  Ana Miranda (Verts/ALE), in writing. (PT) The history of Europe is a history of emigration. For centuries, millions of Europeans have left seeking refuge, better living conditions or hope. Many travelled within Europe, but many more left for other continents. What country has not, at points in its history, had very difficult times when many of its nationals had to seek refuge outside its borders? People fleeing wars, democrats persecuted by fascist regimes, and economic emigrants from Ireland, Poland, Galicia, Italy, etc. It is therefore a moral imperative for Europe to create a European Refugee Fund that helps people in situations of extreme vulnerability to actually integrate. That is why I voted for this report. However, there is a need to go much further. Every day, children are arrested for being illegal immigrants. This practice is, unfortunately, widespread in countries like Malta, Greece, Italy and Hungary. These are children of only eight years’ old who are detained alone in reception centres or prisons. The Commission, Parliament and Council should take urgent steps to bring an end to this horrendous human rights violation quickly.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – At present, only 10 Member States take part in resettlement (the transfer of refugees from outside the EU to a Member State). The aim is to get more Member States involved in the resettlement effort as well as to increase the amount Member States receive per resettled refugee. It is therefore proposed that the ERF Decision should be amended, so that Member States which resettle according to the common EU annual priorities would receive financial assistance if they pledge to resettle refugees who fall within the specific categories. In favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The European Commission established the European Refugee Fund (ERF) for the period 2008-2013. It totals EUR 628 million. Among other things, the fund is to be used to support the resettlement of refugees from third countries. ‘Resettlement’ means the process whereby, on a request from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) based on a person’s need for international protection, third-country nationals or stateless persons are transferred from a third country to a Member State whereby they are permitted to a) reside as a refugee or b) be given a status which offers them the same rights and benefits under national and Community law as refugee status. I did not vote in favour of the report because there is a danger that the proposed changes to resettlement provisions could make European countries even more attractive to migrants, resulting in a massive influx.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) The European Union is ploughing vast sums of money into image campaigns aiming to highlight the benefits of the Union to its citizens. Any wise businessman knows that good products need no advertising. The precise nature of the EU’s error is made implicitly clear when it comes to the ‘expansion of the resettlement programme’: the discrepancy between the everyday reality for the citizens of the older EU Member States at least and the pathological mania for change among many Eurocrats. Despite the huge integration problems experienced by many immigrants from completely different cultural backgrounds, resettlement programmes are to be expanded and granted even more funding. Anyone looking to bring refugees from safe third countries into the EU is demonstrating stupidity rather than solidarity. The most effective assistance would be to support third countries that are taking in refugees in both financial and structural terms and to back projects that promote peace and democracy, as well as humanitarian causes. The crazy idea that it is possible to offer every displaced person in the world a cosy refuge in the EU is simply self-destructive. It is only possible to offer sustainable aid at local level. The idea of aiding refugees is taken to absurd levels by permanently identifying certain groups as victims of persecution and pursuing this policy of resettlement. Anyone forced to leave their homeland because of the horror of war must be able to find sanctuary in a safe country. However, this should not involve permanent resettlement with a guarantee of prosperity. That is why I am voting against this report.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) The continual incidents along the Greek-Turkish border and in the southern Mediterranean, particularly following the Arab Spring last year, show how important it is for the EU to have a global approach to immigration covering a wide range of aspects, including strengthened border management and better governance of the Schengen Agreement, dissemination of integration practices and a common European asylum system. Our policies on the area of freedom, security and justice have been developing on an ongoing basis for several years now. Their importance is confirmed by the Stockholm Programme and its Action Plan, the implementation of which is a strategic priority for the next five years, involving sectors such as migration, security and external border management. For these reasons, I have voted in favour of establishing the European Refugee Fund for the period 2008-2013 as part of the general programme ‘Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows’.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The reception and protection systems of a number of Member States have been put to the test, owing to the unexpected arrival of a large number of people requiring international protection, particularly from countries like Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Tunisia and Côte d’Ivoire. It is therefore crucial that the Member States be able to make use of EU funds to improve their reception systems and to encourage resettlement. The only problem with the agreement finally reached on this matter is that it has come so late. The urgency is borne out by the statistics: there was a 15% increase in 2011 compared with the previous year. The 27 EU Member States as a whole received around 280 000 applications for asylum. The European Refugee Fund should deliver funding for actions in the interests of the European Union as a whole, but also actions at international or merely national level, with a view to creating a joint European Union resettlement programme. I would congratulate my fellow countryman, Mr Tavares, on his commitment and the results he has achieved. For all the above reasons, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this proposal because I consider it a priority to amend the decision establishing the European Refugee Fund in light of the establishment of a joint EU resettlement programme. I am of the opinion that we need to increase the impact of our efforts in providing protection to refugees and to maximise the strategic impact of resettlement.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) I am strongly opposed to the Council proposal amending Decision No 573/2007/EC establishing the European Refugee Fund for the period 2008 to 2013. I find it unacceptable to link the resettlement procedure to the use of this European fund. Since resettlement allows persons from a third country to be transferred with refugee status to a Member State, this would bring about illegal immigration and facilitate organised crime. I do not think we need to encourage yet more desperate people to come to Europe, especially at a time of crisis such as we have been experiencing for the last two years, which has led to job losses and higher unemployment, especially among young people.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report on the European Refugee Fund this morning because I believe this fund provides essential support for the Member States that are subject to particularly intense migratory pressures, such as Italy, Malta and the southern European countries in general. In line with the Hague Programme’s objective of setting up a common European asylum system, this fund has the noble aim of financing capacity-building projects to create durable reception conditions for beneficiaries. Unlike other funds, the European Refugee Fund has already gone through two previous phases, with ERF I from 2001 to 2004 and ERF II from 2005 to 2007. I hope, therefore, that approval of the new fund for 2008-2013 will impart further momentum to the objective of establishing a common asylum system – one that is based on the principle of equality of treatment, so as to provide persons genuinely in need with a high degree of protection under the same conditions in all Member States.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Parliament already adopted the joint EU resettlement programme by a large majority in May 2010 and it has now reached second reading. Using financial incentives, and logistical and technical support, this programme is intended to resettle in the Member States a growing number of refugees considered from a priority list made up of children and women at risk, unaccompanied minors, survivors of violence and torture and people with severe health problems, so that they can be treated, as well as people with legal or physical reasons. As well as the vulnerability criterion, the Commission and Council are also imposing annual geographical priorities. To encourage the Member States to participate, there is an additional financial contribution of EUR 6 000 per person resettled in the first year, with the sum decreasing in subsequent years. The problem of refugees is an issue on which the EU should focus. There should be solidarity between Member States, but, above all, compassion and respect for the human dignity of people who are in deplorable situations. Let us hope that the Member States will sign up to this programme and resettle the maximum number of refugees possible.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the Parliament legislative resolution amending Decision No 573/2007/EC establishing the European Refugee Fund for the period 2008 to 2013. This regulation establishes the Asylum and Migration Fund with the assistance of the European Refugee Fund, the European Fund for the integration of third-country nationals and the European Return Fund. The regulation extends this process to cover more comprehensively different aspects of the common EU asylum and immigration policy, including actions in third countries. The Commission’s proposal envisages an allocation of EUR 3 869 million to the Asylum and Migration Fund for the period 2014-2020. More than 80% of this amount should be used for national programmes in Member States, while EUR 637 million should be managed by the Commission to fund EU actions, emergency assistance, the European Migration Network, technical assistance and the implementation of specific operational tasks by EU agencies. I think that a well organised legal immigration policy, in line with the Stockholm Programme, and supported by the EU’s legal instruments, has a key role to play in ensuring the EU’s long-term competitiveness and its social model.

 
  
  

Recommendation for second reading: Vital Moreira (A7-0078/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting in favour. I agree with the rapporteur’s belief that it is important for the European Parliament to adopt the Council position at second reading, so as to make rapid progress with implementing the agreed amendments and delivering on our security obligations, whilst simultaneously ensuring that European exporters are competitive.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) I supported the new European rules on the export of dual use items, with both civil and military uses, such as chemical products and telecommunications apparatus and software. More precisely, they aim to combat interception technologies and digital data transfer devices for monitoring mobile phones and text messages and targeted surveillance of Internet use. Today, with our vote, we are opposing the export of those technologies that could be used for purposes that put our human rights at risk when exported to countries ruled by authoritarian regimes. Finally, the list of dual use items requiring export authorisation in other countries has been updated.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this motion for a resolution on the ‘Council position at first reading with a view to the adoption of a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual use items’ because I agree with the proposal’s general objective and I agree that there are no doubts about the majority of its elements.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The issue of dual use products – goods which can be used for both civilian and military purposes, such as chemicals that can be used as fertilisers or to prepare bombs, and information technology for computers that can also be used to guide missiles – remains a highly sensitive one. European-level export controls for dual use products and technologies aim to ensure respect for the international commitments of the EU and its Member States as regards the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the proliferation of conventional weapons. Examples include the Nuclear Suppliers Group, against the proliferation of nuclear items and technology, and the Australia Group, against the proliferation of chemical and biological items and technology. I am voting for this report again, as I did at first reading. I would highlight the need to update Annex I to Regulation 428/2009 and I consider the Council’s amendments regarding definitions to be positive; some are now more up to date and some have been added that were not a part of the original Commission proposal.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this recommendation because I believe the amendments set out in the European Commission’s proposed revision of Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 need to be introduced. These amendments will ensure that the commitments made by the Member States regarding these regimes will be uniformly applied throughout the EU and that exporters will have greater legal certainty with respect to products needing an export licence.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Technological products considered to be of dual use are those products – including software and technologies – that can be used for both civilian and military purposes, meaning that particular care is needed with regard to their export, to prevent the proliferation of weapons and, most especially, of weapons of mass destruction. It is essential for international security that there be control of these products, and that the regulations establishing the relevant control mechanisms be constantly updated, in line with technological developments. It is also clear that, in states under the rule of law, these controls should be transparent and democratic, as is the Commission’s intention.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, by Mr Moreira, concerns a recommendation for second reading on the Council position at first reading with a view to the adoption of a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual use items. Dual use products and technologies – that is, those whose use is not only civilian but also military – should be treated in a very particular way by the European Union, since they can enable the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction, thereby compromising the security of people and property. I welcome the adoption of this report, which constitutes a step towards a more transparent organisation of the EU’s dual use regime, and which prevents their unauthorised use by individuals and/or organisations, in order to guarantee the safety of the European public.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) As we said at the time of the vote at first reading, the problem with using civilian products and technologies for military purposes is that there is no approach to it that does not become tied up with controlling exports of what are known as dual use products and related services. There is no doubt that this is important. It is also important to increase the transparency of the relevant processes and to enable democratic scrutiny of them. However, it is the very consistency of other EU policies with the objectives of this regulation that are at stake. In addition to our continued disagreement with the regulation, we would highlight, for example, the joint research projects financed by the Seventh Framework Research Programme, especially those that took place with the participation of Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd., manufacturer of the unmanned aircraft that continue to be used as veritable machines of death. There is also a need for rigorous assessment of the possible dual civilian/military use of the results of these programmes.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 of 5 May 2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual use items requires these items (including software and technology) to be subject to effective control when they are exported from the EU or during transit via EU territory, or if they are supplied to a third country on the basis of brokering services provided by a broker resident or established in the EU. In order that the Member States and the European Union can meet their international commitments, Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 establishes a common list of dual use items and technologies referred to in Article 3 of the regulation, which implements internationally agreed controls on these items and technologies. Technical progress in today’s world brings with it the need to regularly update the list of controlled items. Annex I to the regulation was last updated on 5 May 2009, when Regulation No 428/2009 was adopted. Since them, all international regimes for controlling exports have taken the decision to amend and update their own control lists. It is therefore necessary to make the necessary changes to ensure that the commitments made by EU Member States under these regimes will be fully applied throughout the EU.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because these decisions are taken in order to limit the risk of dual use items being used for military purposes and/or in proliferation programmes. With a view to making such controls as effective as possible, the international export control regimes bring together the major suppliers of dual use items. By agreeing to control trade in specific items, they effectively work together to limit the proliferation risk, while ensuring that legitimate trade is not hindered.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I supported this recommendation, which seeks to limit further the risk of sensitive dual use items being used for military purposes and/or in proliferation programmes, while ensuring that legitimate trade is not hampered.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution on setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual use items.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon clarifies EU competences regarding international trade, thereby providing a good occasion to reassert the EU’s role in this area, as well as Parliament’s decision-making role, competences and responsibilities within the institutional framework of the EU. The EU’s dual use regime should be organised in a more transparent and democratic way. Parliament’s full participation, through the application of the obligations resulting from the Treaty of Lisbon and the adoption of a joint interpretation by Parliament and the Commission within the context of the new framework agreement, will be crucial to achieving that objective. I therefore welcome the Council position and am voting in favour.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – I believe it is important to move ahead swiftly with the agreed changes in order to both implement international security obligations and ensure the competitiveness of European exporters. Therefore, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this recommendation to begin second reading – the second stage of the legislative process, when agreement was not reached at first reading – on the Council position at first reading with a view to the adoption of a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual use items.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) I am in favour of the recommendation for second reading of the document, since controlling dual use products is essential for preventing weapons proliferation and is realised through preventive measures such as mandatory export authorisations and customs registration procedures. In light of the EU’s new competences in the area of international trade, which were obtained following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, this could be a significant step towards regulating the export market for dual use items, making it more transparent and democratic, and preventing materials sold for one specific purpose from then in fact being used for other purposes.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Commission proposal is intended to adapt the present regulation on the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual use items, taking into account the recent developments in the regime for the control of international exports. As such, there is a need to modify the list included in Annex I to this regulation, since the Council has made other amendments reflecting changes agreed even more recently in this regard, which were therefore not included in the initial Commission proposal. I voted for the European Parliament position, which takes on board the Council position, for the reasons that I have given.

 
  
  

Report: Werner Langen (A7-0223/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting in favour, since compromises have been reached to create a robust and comprehensive text, whose mentions of companies in the world of finance are balanced with mentions of other types of company and pension funds. I share the opinion of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, which believes that more could be done regarding the role of the European Securities and Markets Authority, since its increased involvement – hand-in-hand with other European supervisory authorities for banking, insurance and pensions – would increase the integrity, transparency and effectiveness of the markets.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) I supported the new regulation on over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives. In this context of economic crisis, I believe that it is essential to reform our economy. Unlike stock market transactions, OTC derivative contracts are often less standardised and take place within a more flexible regulatory framework. I therefore voted in favour of this regulation on European market infrastructures, which obliges traders to report all transactions involving derivatives to trade repositories within 24 hours of the transaction. However, because I am an active supporter of small and medium-sized enterprises, which are the heart of our economic fabric, I felt that it was important to protect them. The clearance requirement has been suspended, notably for development banks, cooperative banks, small banks, pension funds, EU bailout funds and transactions between members of the same group of companies.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) As over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives are contracts negotiated privately between the two parties involved without passing through any intermediary, identifying the nature and level of risk involved in these transactions is more complicated. This regulation is intended to lay down conditions for limiting the risks and to make these contracts more transparent. The regulation proposes concrete measures in this regard; specifically, the use of central counterparties, the guarantee that OTC derivatives are subject to compensation and the obligation to record them in trade repositories. Stress is given to the need to standardise requirements for derivative contracts, and stipulations for central counterparties and for trade repositories. This is an area that has been completely unregulated until now. This is the response to the call made by the G20 leaders in 2009, which contributes to increased stability in the financial markets. I voted for this report for those reasons.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) This initiative features among a wider series of actions carried out globally with the aim of bringing greater stability to the financial system in general, and to the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives market in particular. As far as non-financial (corporatist) counterparties are concerned, in theory, they will not come under the provisions of this regulation, except when their positions on OTC derivatives reach a threshold regarded as being systemically important. Since it is assumed that, generally speaking, their operations with derivatives have a direct link more with commercial than speculative activities, the relevant positions will not be subject to this regulation. I think that the relevant national authorities should retain responsibility for granting authorisation (which also means rescinding authorisation that has been granted) and for supervision, since they are best placed to examine how central counterparties (CCPs) operate on a daily basis, to carry out regular reviews and to take appropriate action, where necessary. Given the systemic importance of CCPs and the cross-border aspect of their activities, it is important for the European Securities and Markets Authority to play a key role in authorising them.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) According to recent studies, global spending on technology for managing over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives alone increased from a little more than USD 1 billion in 2008 to USD 3.5 billion in 2009. These instruments are negotiated between private counterparties on a numerical scale unimaginable until a few years ago, on mainframe systems capable of carrying out thousands of transactions on the international market in a few seconds. The entire derivatives market continues substantially to lack guarantees against the risks generated and the systemic repercussions on the world’s productive fabric, which have escalated dramatically with the crisis that broke out in 2008, with what are called undertakings for collective investment in securities (UCITS) as the main players. In line with the resolutions of the G20 in Pittsburgh (2009) and Toronto (2010), the regulation lays the foundations for governance of the system based on the principles of risk mitigation, greater transparency of the market and operator responsibility, built on the strengthening and reforming of central counterparties in accordance with the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) guidelines. That is why I am voting in favour of the report on the regulation, which, moreover, enacts the principles adopted by this Parliament in its resolution of June 2010 on derivatives markets.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) It is crucial to make financial instruments more transparent and to limit associated risks. This text contributes to this by stipulating that all important information on over-the-counter derivative transactions should be communicated to trade repositories and the competent authorities. I voted for this motion for a resolution for these reasons.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The current credit crisis has proven how dangerous derivatives and swaps are, given that their use for purely speculative purposes helped to cause it. I abstained in the vote on the report on derivatives because, although it makes provision for certain measures which improve market structures and limit certain risks to a degree, it basically does not address the problem. It does not ban the use of derivatives or the involvement of so-called ‘middlemen’. However much we regulate and however much we tighten up supervision, the source of the problem remains, because we are talking about the effects, not the causes. In times of crisis, the role of the banking system is absolutely crucial, as it can mitigate the consequences of the crisis, provided that it puts the real needs of society first. As long as the existing system reproduces the philosophy of maximising profits and bonuses and continues to function on a speculative basis, to the detriment of society and the people of Europe, the problem will get worse and there will be no way out of the crisis.

 
  
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  Emer Costello (S&D), in writing. – I endorse the new regulation on the over-the-counter derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories. Derivatives are contracts that derive their value from price fluctuations on linked stocks, bonds, exchange or interest rates. These contracts, negotiated over the counter, were one of the main causes of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, with 80% traded bilaterally, off-exchange and with no clearing. By requiring all standardised derivates contracts to be centrally cleared, this regulation is a step forward in terms of transparency and stability in financial markets. It fills a regulatory gap and, after the recent agreement on the short-selling of credit default swaps, adds another brick to the wall of better financial regulation. All relevant information on derivative contracts will be reported to national and European authorities, thereby giving regulators a full picture of derivate markets traded both on- and off-exchange. I am disappointed that the Council refused the EP’s proposal to give a stronger role to the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) in authorising clearing houses, but I would hope this could be revisited in the planned review after three years.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) Since over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives are negotiated directly between the parties and not traded on the financial markets, the competent authorities find it difficult to control these instruments. Given the lack of legislation on this matter, the need for regulation is pressing. I consider that derivatives, if used properly as a means of insurance, contribute to growth and global economic stability, but the recent financial crisis has made the risks underlying that market evident, and the danger is that a single operator’s insolvency may trigger a chain reaction throughout the entire system. This regulation contributes to financial stability by introducing mandatory central clearing for the majority of contracts, making capital requirements more stringent for those contracts that do not fall within that category, guaranteeing greater dialogue between the national competent authorities and ESMA, and requiring greater transparency from all counterparties. The approach that has been adopted is, moreover, consonant with the guidelines laid down by the G20 as regards financial stability. Consequently, and in the conviction that the new measures represent a significant step towards a financial market that is more sound and serves the real economy, I voted in favour of the regulation on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories (EMIR).

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of this text on the rules governing derivatives in order to obtain more transparency on this market, the lack of which was seriously called into question in the financial crisis that affected the world in 2008. This legislation will allow all derivatives contracts to be compiled in databases monitored by the European Securities and Markets Authority.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) Today, the European Parliament adopted the interinstitutional political agreement on the proposal for a regulation aimed at providing a framework for derivative products. This is one of the cornerstones of Europe’s financial regulations in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. According to the Bank for International Settlements, the derivatives market was worth more than USD 700 000 billion in 2011, the lion’s share represented by foreign exchange derivatives, interest rate derivatives and issuer default risk contracts. The future regulation, which will enter into force at the end of 2012, aims to shed light on this market, where products have, to date, been traded primarily over the counter, thereby lacking any transparency. It requires the vast majority of standardised derivatives to be cleared in central clearing houses. All transactions involving derivatives, irrespective of whether they are carried out via regulated platforms or over the counter, will have to be reported to national registers, to which the national and European supervisors will have access. This information will be published. With these rules, the EP hopes that many of these products will be more expensive for the companies that use them and less profitable for the banks.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report as it introduces changes intended to make the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives market more secure and transparent. OTC derivatives still lack transparency. The financial crisis has demonstrated that such characteristics increase uncertainty in times of market stress and, consequently, present risks to financial and economic stability.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report is intended to improve the transparency and regulatory oversight of the over-the-counter (OTC) market, and is coming out in the context of increased supervision of Europe’s financial sector. It stipulates that all information on OTC derivative transactions should be communicated to trade repositories and the competent supervisory authorities, including the European Securities and Markets Authority, so as to ensure that these authorities will have a comprehensive view of this specific market. In this way, the intention is to increase considerably the stability of the financial markets and prevent future disturbances therein. I agree with the rapporteur, Mr Langen, whom I would congratulate on his conclusions.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Mr Langen, concerns the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories. According to the report, OTC derivatives lack transparency as they are privately negotiated contracts and the conditions of the deal are not public, making it difficult to identify the nature and level of risks involved, as the present financial crisis has demonstrated. As such, there is a need to create mechanisms making this entire process more transparent and limiting the risks of this business, thereby making the public safer and the economy more stable. They should therefore be compensated through central counterparties and communicated to trade repositories, with companies taking responsibility for the risks that they take. Therefore, in view of the report by the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, as well as the opinions of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the Committee on Legal Affairs, I am voting for this proposal.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This legislative report on over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives is enlightening with regard to the path followed up until the outbreak in 2008 of the profound economic and social crisis in which Europe is now mired. This crisis is the expression of the current stage of development of capitalism, characterised by a bloated financial sector resulting from the over-accumulation of capital whose expected profitability in the real economy is declining, as the law of diminishing returns is borne out. In 2008, a number of voices could be heard, even here in the European Parliament, demanding an end to financial derivatives, particularly OTC derivatives. These instruments were also at the root of the speculation on foodstuffs, which is inseparable from the savage instability in the prices of these goods that led to the food crises of 2007 and 2008. They are now back-pedalling across the board, as can be seen from the content of this report, which goes even less far in a number of respects than the initial Commission proposal. Financial derivatives currently represent an astronomical sum, equivalent to 10 times global GDP. This is a sign of the time bomb still ticking underneath the global economy which, following the warning in 2008, they still want to ignore.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The financial crisis has brought over-the-counter derivatives to the forefront of regulatory attention. The near-collapse of Bear Sterns in March 2008, the default of Lehman Brothers on 15 September 2008, and the bail-out of AIG the following day highlighted the shortcomings in the functioning of the over-the-counter derivatives market. Within that market, the regulatory authorities devoted particular attention to the role that credit default swaps (CDS) played during the crisis. In its broad communication of 4 March 2009 – ‘Driving European Recovery’, – the Commission committed to deliver, on the basis of a report on derivatives and other complex structured products, appropriate initiatives to increase transparency and to address financial stability concerns. All subsequent steps taken have been part of a larger international effort to increase the stability of the financial system in general, and the over-the-counter derivatives market in particular. Given the global nature of the over-the-counter derivatives market, an approach that is coordinated at the international level is crucial. It is therefore important that this proposal takes into account what other jurisdictions are planning to do, or what has already been done in the regulation of over-the-counter derivatives in order to avoid the risk of regulatory arbitrage.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) Legislative action in this area is welcome, especially in the light of the responsibility that the derivatives market bears in triggering the economic and financial crisis that we are still experiencing. Improving regulation in this sector means bringing transparency, clarity and stability to the financial markets, in addition to reducing the numerous risks that this market entails. By introducing uniform requirements for acting as central counterparties and trade repositories, this proposal fulfils that function. For these reasons, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. (HU) In order to be able to ensure better and stricter regulation of derivatives markets, account must be taken of the particular situation of enterprises that are dependent on continuing to cover their financial and operational risks through favourable, tailor-made derivatives. As already pointed out by the Commission earlier, it is especially over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives that contribute to the emergence of financial disturbances, seeing as how they enabled the increase in leverage and have led to increased dependency between market participants. This is one of the reasons why I support the guiding principle of the report that future legislative proposals concerning derivatives should follow a functional approach. It must therefore be emphasised that there is a necessity for European regulation in respect of derivatives. This is why we call on the Commission to coordinate the procedure as much as possible with Europe’s partners in order to ensure that regulation is as uniform and internationally coherent as possible. All this must, of course, be implemented in such a way as to avoid regulatory arbitrage resulting from inappropriate coordination. Finally, I would like to congratulate the rapporteur and thank him for his thorough work and open-mindedness. I believe that this work has resulted in an excellent report.

 
  
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  Estelle Grelier (S&D), in writing. (FR) After 18 long months of negotiations with the Council, Parliament has finally been able to agree to the new regulation on over-the-counter derivatives. Traders are now required to clear these contracts through central counterparties and to report all derivatives, even those not negotiated over the counter. Moreover, the powers of intervention of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) have been increased in terms of settling disputes between national regulators. These decisions were considered essential in order to improve the transparency of the financial markets, given that derivatives had a large part to play in aggravating the volatility of the markets during the 2008 crisis. However, this is only a first step in regulating the financial sector: others, which Parliament could not support because of the Council’s opposition, will have to be examined in the future, in particular, enhancing the role of ESMA.

 
  
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  Mikael Gustafsson (GUE/NGL), in writing. (SV) I voted in favour of the report. It will result in some restrictions on trading in derivatives and a certain amount of regulation in this area. I believe that considerably more forceful measures are needed. After all, this speculative trading is one of the main causes of the financial crisis. Very strict regulation and taxation of the financial markets is needed in future. However, since the report nevertheless takes a step in the right direction, I am choosing to vote in favour of it.

 
  
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  Constance Le Grip (PPE), in writing. (FR) I supported the report by Werner Langen on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories. By supporting the agreement reached with the Council, the European Parliament is adopting a new European regulation laying down a strict framework for highly sophisticated financial products, which forms part of a policy to combat the deviations of financial capitalism and excesses of speculation; a policy that is applied tirelessly by the European Union and reflects specifically the G20 guidelines, particularly those adopted in Pittsburgh and subsequently reaffirmed.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report. On 23 September 2009, the Commission adopted proposals for three regulations establishing the European System of Financial Supervision, including the creation of three European supervisory authorities (ESAs) to contribute to consistent application of Union legislation and to the establishment of high-quality, common regulatory and supervisory standards and practices. The three ESAs are the European Supervisory Authority (European Banking Authority) established by Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council (EBA), the European Supervisory Authority (European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority) established by Regulation (EU) No 1094/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council (EIOPA), and the European Supervisory Authority (European Securities and Markets Authority) established by Regulation (EU) No 1095/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council (ESMA). These authorities have a crucial role to play in safeguarding the stability of the financial sector. It is therefore essential to keep ensuring that the development of their work is a matter of high political priority and that they are adequately resourced.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The financial products that financial institutions have created over the years have not been properly regulated, and this contributed to the severe financial crisis that they triggered in the past. The absence of a regulatory framework for over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives also contributed to the financial crisis and its consequences. In view of this, and in order to address concerns about financial stability, in September of last year, the Commission tabled a proposal for regulating this market. The amendments that have been adopted by Parliament today are principally aimed at improving transparency and managing risk in the OTC derivatives market, so that the same mistakes are not repeated in future, with the severe consequences of which we are all aware. That is why I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – This is a very timely report, since the regulation is solid and exhaustive towards financial firms and well calibrated in relation to non-financial firms and pension funds. I am in favour.

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing. (ET) I supported the adoption of this important report, which aims to increase the transparency and regulatory supervision of over-the-counter derivatives in an internationally uniform manner. In order to ensure the stability of the financial sector, companies must also bear responsibility for the risks they take, and for that purpose, supervision over them must become more effective. For that reason, I consider it important to develop the work of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and to provide sufficient funds for that purpose.

As concerns the position of Commissioner Barnier that Article 67(3) of the report is at variance with current legislation (for instance, Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), I disagree, because the ESMA is an independent institution that consists of experts and does not belong to the Member States.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I am happy with the document approved in the trialogue. The European Union needed to have a complete and single set of regulations for all derivatives traded on both regulated and unregulated markets and greater powers for ESMA, the European Securities and Markets Authority. I am satisfied that despite the pressure brought to bear by certain states, the compromise we have reached has not introduced too many exemptions from the application of the rules and that ESMA’s supervisory powers have not been watered down. The document has included many of the amendments that were proposed, and which I supported, in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. These were, in particular, those relating to extending the scope to cover all derivatives, whether over-the-counter or not, and introducing some different rules for non-financial counterparties having recourse to derivatives to finance certain activities and to hedge against risks, and for financial counterparties not indulging in speculation.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) As over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives are contracts negotiated privately between the two involved parties without passing through any intermediary, identifying the nature and level of risk involved in these transactions is more complicated. This regulation is intended to lay down conditions for limiting the risks and making these contracts more transparent. The regulation proposes concrete measures in this regard; specifically, the use of central counterparties, the guarantee that OTC derivatives are subject to compensation and the obligation to record them in trade repositories. This report stresses the need to standardise requirements for derivative contracts, stipulations for central counterparties and trade repositories. I voted for this report, since this has been an area without any kind of regulation hitherto, and because it responds to the call made by the leaders of the G20 in 2009 while clearly contributing to financial market stability.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Financial derivatives are broadly held to be one of the causes of the global financial crisis. The regulation adopted today addresses that by imposing transparency and requiring data to be made available to the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), supervisory authorities and central banks. This represents a mainstay of financial market regulation. This approach will offer consumers and investors greater choice and more efficient services. ESMA will monitor the operation of these ‘repositories’ and will be able to authorise their registration or deny them registration. ESMA will also intervene in disputes between national authorities as regards authorisation of central counterparties. Pension funds will become subject to mandatory clearing only after three years, with a possible extension to five. Central counterparties from third countries will be recognised and allowed to operate only if the legal system of the countries in question provides for an equivalent recognition system.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this report because I support extending its application to standardised over-the-counter (OTC) derivative contracts. These measures are necessary to improve transparency and the management of systemic risk in the OTC derivatives market. At the same time, I believe the time is right to introduce uniform rules in order to ensure that the activities of central counterparties take place under the right conditions. This vote affirms the importance of a stronger instrument for businesses. Finally, it is necessary to preserve proper proportionality at the regulatory level so as to avoid raising prices to the detriment of consumers.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR), in writing. – The European market infrastructure regulation (EMIR) that we have voted overwhelmingly in favour of today is a crucial step not just in fulfilling our international obligations as agreed at the G20 Pittsburgh Summit, but also in ensuring that we have learned one of the crucial lessons of the crisis. Over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives are more than an integral part of the modern financial system: they play a crucial role in the functioning of an efficient and competitive market. The final agreement on the regulation has taken into account key ECR concerns, including allowing for strong exemptions for non-financial players and appropriate treatment of pension funds. It has also provided for the key ECR objective of international convergence on exemptions for the FX derivatives markets that are so important for the functioning of global financial markets. I am confident that the system, if implemented correctly by ESMA, will enable our financial services industry to work well for participants at all levels, while at the same time ensuring the system security which was so lacking in the events of 2007-2008.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Commission has submitted a proposal to the European Parliament and the Council setting out the standardised requirements for the financial and non-financial parties to over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives, and for all classes of OTC derivative contracts. I am voting for this regulation because it sets out the conditions for authorising the central counterparties and the criteria for determining eligibility for the clearing obligation of a class of derivatives, with the main objective of reducing systemic risk. I would also take this opportunity to mention my support for the rules laid down by the European Commission and supported by the European Parliament on penalties applicable to breaches of the procedures set out in the report, and for the measures necessary in order to ensure their implementation.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the proposal for a regulation on over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives, central counterparties (CCPs) and trade repositories. The regulation sets out the conditions for authorising CCPs, the criteria for examination to ensure appropriate characteristics for central clearing, and the registration of derivatives in trade repositories where the aggregate information can be used to analyse systemic risks, amongst other things. CCPs are regulated by bank prudential regulators in most Member States, while, at European level, it is the European Banking Authority (EBA) that has the most expertise, making it essential for the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the EBA to work closely together. The amendments being proposed by the regulation make some definitions clearer; facilitate certain procedures; help avoid ‘clearing shocks’ and other disproportionate burdens to businesses; suggest the cancellation of the information threshold, given that the clearing threshold provides sufficient assurance; introduce coherent and transparent criteria for regulatory decisions, and clarify the procedures when classifying OTC derivatives and CCPs as eligible for clearing. While promoting the resilience and transparency of derivatives markets, the regulation also intends to maintain the efficiency of these markets for hedging by end-users, whether financial or non-financial. Maintaining the international nature of this market promotes both these objectives when underpinned by cooperation between supervisory authorities and convergent international standards.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) Against the background of the continuing economic and financial crisis, there is an urgent need to expand the provisions in relation to financial instruments. In particular, it is important to make over-the-counter (OTC) trading in financial derivatives more transparent, so as to minimise the systemic risk in this area. OTC trading should therefore only be transacted through central counterparties that are subject to stringent equity capital requirements. Furthermore, mandatory reporting to central transaction registers is necessary in order to guarantee a sufficient degree of transparency.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Since 2008, we have been living through a crisis which is the expression of the current stage in capitalism’s development, characterised by a bloated financial sector resulting from the over-accumulation of capital whose expected profitability in the ‘real economy’ is declining, as the law of diminishing returns is borne out. In 2008, there were calls – supported by a number of Members of the European Parliament – for an end to financial derivatives, particularly over-the-counter derivatives, which are nothing more than the instruments also at the root of the speculation on foodstuffs, inseparable from the savage instability in the prices of these goods in 2007 and 2008, leading to the food crises. They are now moving drastically away from this position and this report is a perfect example of such back-pedalling. Naturally, we voted against.

 
  
  

Report: Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (A7-0042/2012)

 
  
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  Damien Abad (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the report by Ms Morin-Chartier, calling for an extension of the deadline for transposing the 2004 directive, which expires on 30 April 2012. This directive lays down minimum requirements for the protection of workers from the risks arising from exposure to electromagnetic fields. A new directive is planned to enhance the health and safety of workers. However, the question of exposure limit values must be resolved in a proportional manner and must not be an obstacle to the use of medical techniques such as MR. An extension of the transposition deadline has therefore been requested in order to allow the time needed to discuss this.

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting to extend the Electromagnetic Fields Directive because it has been proven that there are risks inherent to exposure to such physical agents and because the current legislation expires on 30 April 2012. In order to protect workers from this risk, there is a need to retain tough legislation and to pressure the Council to accept suggestions that Parliament might make in this regard.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report with its proposal to postpone until 30 April 2014 the deadline for transposition of Directive 2004/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields). There are many concerns about implementing the directive, especially that exposure limit values would place disproportionate limitations on the use and development of medical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) applications, considered today to be a vital tool for the diagnosis and treatment of a number of diseases.

Given the complexity of the matter, the Commission proposed extending the deadline for transposition of Directive 2004/40/EC. However, I agree with the rapporteur that there should be an extension of 18 months, rather than 24 months as proposed by the Commission.

 
  
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  Charalampos Angourakis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The Greek Communist Party voted against the report and the Commission’s report, which postpones application of the directive on minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from electromagnetic fields for another two years, until 30 April 2014. The capitalists regard even these inadequate measures to protect workers from exposure to electromagnetic fields as an obstacle to the unaccountable exploitation of the workforce. That is why the EU and the European Parliament hastened to satisfy their demand that the application of measures to protect the health of workers should be postponed indefinitely. This particular instance again proves the real purpose of the EU, as an imperialist union of the monopolies, in safeguarding their profitability and protecting their power. For the EU, the political spokesmen of capital in the European Parliament and the bourgeois governments of the Member States, protection for the health and life of workers represents a cost to capital and has no value whatsoever compared with the profits and the ‘competitiveness’ of companies, which are built on the blood and lives of the working class. The reversal of capitalist barbarity and the demolition of the euro-unifying construct and the power of the monopolies by the working class and its allies is a major duty in terms of their life and their future.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The deadline for transposing the directive adopted in 2004, aimed at putting in place measures to protect workers from the risks arising from exposure to electromagnetic fields, was set for 30 April 2012. It is, in fact, proving to be very difficult to transpose this text into our national legislation, especially when it comes to the medical community. The maximum exposure values laid down in that directive could place disproportionate limitations on the use and development of medical magnetic resonance applications, considered to be a vital tool for the diagnosis and treatment of numerous diseases. I therefore supported the decision to postpone by 18 months the deadline for transposing the directive on the protection of workers exposed to electromagnetic fields. As the rapporteur, Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, pointed out, this postponement gives us the breathing space we needed to reach an agreement with the Council of Ministers on the new proposal for a directive currently on the table. However, our objective is to adopt new legislation before 2014 that takes into account the special characteristics of the various sectors of activity.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) In 2006, the medical community informed the European Commission of its concerns about implementing Directive 2004/40/EC on minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields), claiming that the ceilings for exposure therein would limit or place disproportionate limits on using and developing medical magnetic resonance applications, which are currently considered key to diagnosing and treating a range of illnesses. I am therefore voting for this report intended to extend until 31 October 2013 the deadline for transposing this directive, so as to protect workers whilst guaranteeing the use of medical magnetic resonance applications.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) Today, we voted not on the substance of the issue but on the date of transposition. The directive, which lays down minimum health and safety requirements for workers exposed to the risks arising from electromagnetic fields, was adopted in 2004. Its transposition has posed numerous problems in certain Member States, resulting in the transposition deadline having already been postponed once. Apparently, the exposure limit values laid down in the directive risked placing disproportionate limitations on the use and development of medical magnetic resonance applications (MR). The European Commission therefore decided to conduct an in-depth impact analysis and now wishes to postpone the transposition deadline for a second time. It proposed 30 April 2014, but we decided, first of all in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, and then in plenary today, to set the date for 31 October 2013 so as to ensure that this unsatisfactory situation does not continue for too long.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of postponing the transposition deadline for Directive 2004/40/EC on minimum health and safety requirements. I believe that it is necessary to extend the transposition deadline by 18 months to enable us to find appropriate responses to the questions raised by the new draft directive. The report clearly shows that this is a technical issue that needs time to be dealt with appropriately.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this motion for a resolution for the extension of the deadline for transposing the 2004 directive on minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) because I believe there are still considerable doubts about the ceilings for exposure to electromagnetic fields laid down in the directive.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I am voting for the proposal to again extend the transposition deadline for the 2004 directive on minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields). The first extension was justified by concerns that the ceilings for exposure to electromagnetic fields laid down in the directive could disproportionately limit the use and development of medical magnetic resonance applications, which play a key role in diagnosing and treating a range of illnesses.

Following in-depth analysis, the technical complexity of the issue prevents an agreement from being reached that ensures a high level of protection for workers’ health and safety, without disproportionately limiting the pursuit and development of medical activities. This means that delaying for a further two years is the only way of avoiding a situation of legal uncertainty and negative legal consequences for the Member States after April 2012, which was the deadline for transposing the directive. This should therefore buy enough time for the negotiations to reach an agreement.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) Given the concerns expressed by stakeholders, I am in favour of postponing the deadline for the transposition of Directive 2004/40/EC on minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) by two years in order to undertake a more thorough evaluation of the subject to arrive at a more considered definition of exposure limits. Whereas, on the one hand, it is certainly necessary to ensure worker safety in the sectors involved, it is fundamental, on the other hand, not to impose excessive and unjustified restrictions on the use of technology, especially in the health sector, where imposing disproportionately low exposure limits would have direct repercussions on patients’ rights by restricting the medical practitioner’s ability to use magnetic resonance technologies. I believe that the entry into force of the directive in question without sufficient evaluation could lead to its non-transposition by Member States and the inevitable infringement procedures. In order to avoid this disagreeable situation, I believe it is therefore necessary to delay this directive’s entry into force.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this text on the exposure of workers to electromagnetic fields because it proposes a further postponement before the introduction of the limit values laid down by the European Union. These exposure limit values could, according to the medical community, jeopardise the use and development of medical magnetic resonance applications (MR), considered today to be vital for the diagnosis and treatment of a number of diseases. This postponement will allow the discussions with the experts to continue so that we can agree on a fair balance for the protection of workers.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because it advocates extending the deadline for transposing Directive 2004/40/EC on minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) from 30 April 2012 to 31 October 2013. Extending the transposition deadline will allow a new proposal for a directive to be drafted that is in line with new international recommendations on the exposure of workers and the public to electromagnetic fields, which only came out in December 2010, and not in 2009, as initially envisaged.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Ms Morin-Chartier, concerns the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2004/40/EC on minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) (18th individual guideline within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC). Occupational illnesses and workplace accidents cost the European taxpayer many millions of euro every year. Anything that improves this situation is therefore positive. It is not just the public’s quality of life that is at stake, but also the financial sustainability of the Member States’ benefits systems. I therefore welcome the adoption of this proposal, for which I voted. Since it is in line with the concerns expressed by the medical community, this proposal will deliver a higher level of protection for workers as regards both the health and the safety of those whose work requires exposure to electromagnetic fields.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) In 2004, Parliament and the Council adopted Directive 2004/40/EC on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields), which should have been transposed into national law by the Member States by 30 April 2008. However, there was a strong campaign by manufacturers of magnetic resonance equipment and associations of radiologists to exclude the medical sector and magnetic resonance imaging scanners from the scope of the directive. It was alleged that magnetic resonance equipment could not comply with the ceilings provided for in the directive, meaning that patients would be deprived of the early detection of various diseases, such as cancer. In this context, in 2007, the Commission proposed extending the deadline for transposing the directive by four years. It is now making an identical proposal, thereby delaying the matter until 2014. Our group voted against putting back transposition until 2012 and our stance now is consistent with the stance we took back then. This is because we believe that many workers are being deprived of the workplace health and safety protection to which they are entitled as regards electromagnetic fields. This right should be guaranteed and realised.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) After the entry into force of Directive 2004/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields), serious concerns were expressed by stakeholders, in particular in the medical community, about the impact of transposition of that directive on the use of medical procedures based on medical imaging. They also expressed concerns as to the impact of the directive on certain industrial activities. The Commission examined the arguments put forward by stakeholders and decided to reconsider some provisions of Directive 2004/40/EC on the basis of new scientific evidence. On 14 June 2011, the Commission adopted a proposal for a new directive to replace the original directive. The new directive should ensure both a high level of health and safety protection for workers and the continuation and development of medical and other industrial activities using electromagnetic fields. In view of the very short period of time left before the deadline set for transposition of 30 April 2012, I firmly believe that it must be ensured that this directive is adopted by the European Parliament and the Council as a matter of urgency and that it enters into force without delay.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) Since the concerns expressed by the European Commission regarding the excessively low permissible levels of electromagnetic radiation from medical devices concur with the critical comments from the medical community and businesses based on the use of radiation-emitting machinery, I believe that we must support the new directive amending Directive 2004/40/EC and therefore postpone the latter’s entry into force, scheduled for April 2012. As regards the period of postponement, I believe that postponement to 2013 would be more sensible. The definition of clear limits for electromagnetic fields is, in fact, indispensable for business operations and the swift transposition of the directive will benefit not only those businesses but also workers and the medical community. For these reasons, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Françoise Grossetête (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this directive, which seeks to reduce the proposed deadline for the transposition of Directive 2004/40/EC on minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields). Transposition should take place by 31 October 2013 instead of 30 April 2014, which was the date initially proposed. The aim is to limit as far as possible the short-term adverse health effects on workers exposed to electromagnetic fields during their work. No workers may be exposed to values exceeding these limits, which are based on health impact and biological considerations. These values are directly measurable and indicate thresholds above which employers must take one or more of the measures provided for in the directive.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. (FR) The European Parliament, meeting in Brussels, has just approved an 18-month extension of the deadline for transposing the directive on the protection of workers exposed to electromagnetic fields. The transposition deadline was 30 April 2012. However, Parliament had been alerted by the medical community to the fact that the maximum exposure values set by the directive placed disproportionate limitations on the use and development of medical magnetic resonance applications (MR), so it therefore decided to extend the deadline in order to continue the consultations and take the most appropriate decision. The challenge will be to find a fair balance between the protection of workers and the effective monitoring of patients when diagnosing and treating diseases.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour because the aim of this proposal is to postpone until 30 April 2014 the deadline for the transposition of Directive 2004/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) (18th individual guideline within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) Parliament has drawn up two reports on the protection of workers exposed to electromagnetic fields. The first report relates to the revision of Directive 2004/40/EC, which lays down maximum values for the exposure of workers to electromagnetic fields. The second report, which we adopted today, relates to the postponement of the transposition deadline for that directive. The aim is to postpone the deadline from 30 April 2012 to 31 October 2013 so that the directive can be properly revised. The 2004 directive has not been transposed in all of the Member States because the maximum exposure values are disproportionate and would have placed excessive limitations on the use and development of medical magnetic resonance applications, such as MR. MR is considered to be a vital tool for the diagnosis and treatment of a number of diseases. The report by Elisabeth Morin-Chartier was adopted with 610 votes in favour and I am pleased about that. As rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, I call on the Member States to give consideration to the impasse in which the medical community could find itself if MR technologies were not given an exemption from the exposure limit values recommended by the Commission in its proposal for a directive.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this legislative resolution setting out minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields).

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The technical complexity of the issue necessitates long debates with national experts regarding extremely divergent points of view on some key provisions of the proposal. It is therefore unlikely that the European Parliament and the Council will finalise the adoption process before 30 April 2012, as initially envisaged. Under these circumstances, there will be a need for a new directive extending the transposition deadline for Directive 2004/40/EC for a second time. Unless new steps are taken, there will be great legal uncertainty following 30 April 2012, which is the deadline for the Member States to transpose Directive 2004/40/EC; this situation should be avoided. I therefore support the new deadline of 31 October 2013 for the Member States’ transposition of Directive 2004/40/EC.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The report concerns only the Commission proposal on the extension of the transposition deadline of the 2004 directive on electromagnetic fields, which expires on 30 April 2012. It does not deal with the new directive on minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields). As progress in Council on the new directive is slow, the existing deadline for the 2004 directive had to be prolonged. I am in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Uniform European minimum standards for exposure to electromagnetic fields would help protect the working population. The primary assessment criterion for personal protection is the impact of electromagnetic radiation on the human body. Since health is the most important asset in our society, it is advisable to ensure that workers who are exposed to higher levels of radiation in their workplace are protected. I voted in favour of the report because, in my opinion, the directive has already brought benefits to the affected employers and employees and will continue to do so.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) Electromagnetic fields pose a significant risk to workers exposed to the action fields of these physical agents. However, practice shows that the medical sector and the procedures applied in it, above all, magnetic resonance tests, require a different type of legal regulation. There is not yet full agreement on the derogations to be applied in the medical sector, and I therefore agree that the application of the current regulation should be postponed.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) Since Directive 2004/40/EC came into force in 2004, aiming to establish minimum requirements to protect workers from fields of electromagnetic radiation, affected groups have been expressing serious reservations. The deadline needs to be extended to enable us to draw up a long-term solution based on the requirements and technical options available and to avoid breaches by states that have not yet implemented the directive, which is anyway in need of improvement. For this reason, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I fully support amending this directive on workers’ health and safety. We are now living in an era in which we are aware of all the risks to which many sectors of society are exposed. It is therefore necessary for there to be specific safeguards and that we try to avoid the situation where exposure, in this case to electromagnetic fields, is so dangerous that it leads to permanent disability or death that could have been avoided.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2004/40/EC on minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields). This process only changes the deadline for transposition of the 2004 directive. In fact, in-depth analysis has shown that the technical complexity of the issue prevents an agreement from being reached that ensures a high level of protection for workers’ health and safety, without disproportionately limiting the pursuit and development of medical activities that use electromagnetic fields. This means that delaying for a further two years is the only way of avoiding a situation of legal uncertainty and negative legal consequences for the Member States after April 2012, which was the deadline for transposing the directive. This should therefore buy enough time for the negotiations to reach an agreement.

 
  
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  Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. (RO) This directive sets out minimum requirements, providing Member States with the opportunity to retain or adopt more favourable provisions for protecting workers, in particular, to set lower guideline values and limit values for exposure to electromagnetic fields. A system intended to provide protection against electromagnetic fields must be restricted to defining the objectives which must be achieved, the principles which must be observed and the fundamental values which need to be applied. Protecting workers exposed to electromagnetic fields requires an effective and efficient risk assessment to be carried out. This obligation must be commensurate with the situation encountered in the workplace. This makes it important to define a protection system establishing a progressive scale of risks which is easy to understand. Employers must adapt to technological progress and scientific knowledge regarding the risks from exposure to electromagnetic fields, with a view to offering workers better health and safety protection. In view of the scientific progress made and the increasingly widespread use in different areas of equipment generating electromagnetic fields with a clearly defined aim, which is also beneficial to society, I call on Member States to allocate the necessary funds for research into detecting as precisely as possible the adverse effects caused to the human body from exposure to electromagnetic fields.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The protection of workers from electromagnetic fields will, for a number of years, continue to be the missing link in terms of Europe’s safety standards in the workplace. An eight-year procedure has not sufficed to finalise an agreement between the European Parliament and the Council on this issue and complete the legal arsenal. Workers are already protected by three European directives: noise, optical radiation and mechanical vibration. I previously expressed my doubts in 2008 when the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (Anderson report) supported the European Commission’s strategy of putting this directive ‘on ice’, when I believed that it would make more sense to make minor amendments to it and provide for a derogation for medical magnetic resonance applications (MR). The Commission has provided for such a derogation in its new proposal, but it is not enough and the legal-institutional mess persists. It is, of course, regrettable that European workers are not yet protected by common safety standards in the area of electromagnetic fields. However, we should still welcome the ‘respite’ granted to the European MR sector, which is extremely important for a whole range of patients, who undergo more than 30 million medical exams involving MR every year in Europe.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) I support the report, as it is important to prescribe minimum health and safety requirements relating to the exposure of workers to risks from electromagnetic fields. The medical community has expressed its concerns regarding the entry into force of Directive 2004/40/EC, which prescribes permissible levels of exposure to electromagnetic radiation from medical devices, namely, that these limits are too low both for operators and for industries whose operations are based on the use of radiation-emitting machinery. The only point of dispute concerns the date for transposition of this directive, which was originally due to take effect in 2012, but which the European Commission wishes to ‘delay’ by two years. I believe that, for the sake of protecting workers and securing a healthy environment for them which complies with tolerance levels, in this case as regards radiation, it is important not to accede to the Commission’s request for a two-year deferment period to allow for an evaluation of the problems linked to levels that are considered too low, but to opt instead for one year only.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Commission has tabled a proposal amending Directive 2004/40/EC on minimum health and safety requirements regarding workers’ exposure to electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields in the workplace; the frequencies thereof should be between 0 and 300 GHz. I am voting for this regulation, since it is crucial to protect all workers affected by such electric fields, thereby observing the limits laid down in the 1998 recommendations by the International Commission on Non-ionising Radiation Protection, which is the internationally recognised organisation with the authority to assess the effects of this type of radiation. Finally, I should like to stress that the purpose of the amendments introduced is to clarify the definitions in question, to include reference values, and to set out indicators to facilitate measurements and calculations made with the proper limited flexibility.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report on amending Directive 2004/40/EC on minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields). In 2011, the Commission adopted a proposal for a directive replacing Directive 2004/40/EC. The purpose of the new directive is to provide a high level of protection for workers’ health and safety, while making it possible to continue and develop medical and industrial activities that use electromagnetic fields. Proposal COM(2011)0348 is intended to update and improve a considerable number of provisions in Directive 2004/40/EC, including by introducing mechanisms which make it easier for employers, especially small enterprises, to implement the measures. The amendment tabled by the Commission through COM(2012)0015 only affects the Member States’ obligation to transpose Directive 2004/40/EC by 30 April 2012, with the deadline being extended until 31 October 2013. The amendment does not affect the substance of the directive in question, thereby avoiding additional obligations being imposed on businesses. Extending the transposition deadline to 31 October 2013 will give Parliament and the Council sufficient time to have a debate and reach a compromise, based on Commission proposal COM(2011)0348, on a new directive, which will update and enhance the provisions of Directive 2004/40/EC, while repealing and replacing the previous directive.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR), in writing. – The Electromagnetic Fields Directive has been a long time in the making and it is incredibly important that we get it right. The 2004 directive, as it stands, is unworkable because it does not include an exemption for magnetic resonance imaging scanners. MRI scanners can produce clear and accurate pictures of the human anatomy. They are indispensable in the fight against cancer and in diagnosing illnesses in children, who are particularly susceptible to harmful X-rays. I am pleased that Parliament has agreed to postpone the transposition of the directive until 2013. This will allow time for the introduction of new legislation which is fit for purpose. We need to protect workers from over-exposure to electromagnetic fields, while ensuring that patients across Europe receive the highest standard of care – including access to this important imaging technique. Over-zealous health and safety rules must not mean a return to the medical dark ages.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) In 2004, Parliament and the Council adopted Directive 2004/40/EC on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields), which should have been transposed into national law by the Member States by 30 April 2008. In 2007, the Commission proposed extending by four years the deadline for transposing the directive, until 30 April 2012. At the same time, it started a review process based on updated scientific evidence, principally regarding magnetic resonance imaging scanners. This decision has meant that a huge number of workers are deprived of workplace health and safety protection as regards electromagnetic fields. The Commission has now used an ‘emergency procedure’ to propose putting back the transposition of this directive by a further two years, to 30 April 2014. We believe there can be no further delays with measures that safeguard the health and safety of workers in this sector.

 
  
  

Report: David Casa (A7-0044/2012)

 
  
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  Damien Abad (PPE), in writing. – (FR) In 2004 the EU adopted a legal framework for cooperation in the field of excise duties. Excise duties are indirect taxes on the consumption of specific products (alcoholic drinks, tobacco products and energy products). Today, we need to revise the provisions of the 2004 regulation in order to take into account the introduction of the computerised Excise Movement and Control System. The Casa report, which I supported, calls for a VAT and excise duties forum to be established to allow European businesses to debate the issue and express any differences of opinion.

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for the report as it introduces very important changes aimed at simplifying bureaucratic procedures, and because it seeks to facilitate the exchange of information by electronic means on everything related to the payment system for excise duties, in particular, in order to try to prevent tax evasion.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report on Regulation (EC) No 2073/2004 laying down a legal framework for administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties. These provisions need to be revised to take into account the introduction of the computerised Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS). EMCS has been introduced on the basis of Decision No 1152/2003/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on computerising the movement and surveillance of excisable products. I agree with the rapporteur’s suggestion that the Commission establish a new VAT and excise duties forum, similar to the Joint Transfer Pricing Forum, within which companies can address issues relating to corporate VAT and disputes between Member States. Processing of personal data relating to offences, criminal convictions or security measures is to be carried out in accordance with Directive 95/46/EC or Regulation (EC) No 45/2001.

 
  
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  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The current economic and financial crisis in Europe calls for the adoption of robust, decisive measures to stimulate economic growth. Of course, tax revenue is one of the most important tools with which the Member States can tackle the problems associated with the crisis. I warmly welcome the proposal put forward by Mr Casa. I think that it is essential to create a European fiscal union that includes a comprehensive, rapid, efficient and user friendly exchange of information among Member States in order to improve the fight against tax evasion and to optimise the revenue paid into Member States’ coffers. I hope that we can rise above partisan positions and that common sense will prevail at this difficult time. We must come to an agreement and find new resources in order to deal with the crisis.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) You know how important I find the harmonisation of the internal market. Therefore, I found it perfectly natural to vote in favour of the new rules on administrative cooperation which should enable Member States to accelerate the levying and collection of excise duties on products such as alcohol, tobacco and energy products and to improve control over their revenues. The idea is to make information exchange automatic, particularly by using a standard form, and thereby to simplify procedures for a great many of our fellow citizens who sell these products on a daily basis.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Taxes are levied on three categories of products in the EU in the form of excise duties: alcohol and alcoholic beverages, manufactured tobacco and energy products. These excise duties play an important role in trying to influence public behaviour and in contributing to the public budgets of Member States and the EU. The European Union has developed and gradually rolled out a new, state-of-the-art system for monitoring the movement of goods under suspension of excise within the internal market – the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS). More importantly, the new system should allow the relevant authorities to track the goods’ movement in real time and compare information immediately, which will enable a more rapid and in-depth analysis of it. Much of the proposal concerns the legal rules covering how administrative cooperation should take place under the new system. I think that the proposal is a balanced approach that will allow Member States to take advantage of the inherent benefits of the new system, without increasing the administrative burden for themselves or for economic operators.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) The report contains the basic structure of the Commission’s proposal to the Council. Technological advances, now at the disposal of the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS), mean that we need to adjust the legal framework in order to facilitate administrative cooperation between the States on the application of legislation in the field of excise duties. Now more than ever, economic operators are asking for quality of service and legal certainty. In this regard, the growing automation of the system will significantly reduce administrative burdens and streamline procedures. This must be supported by initiatives for regulatory alignment which seek to promote enhanced cooperation between Member States on VAT and direct taxation, and on fraud prevention and the fight against fraud, by means of automatic exchange protocols that allow for various, gradual options, to which the States are free to adhere. It is, however, important to highlight the lack of alternatives: Member States are unlikely to be able to create a network of bilateral agreements across Europe, capable of supporting a coherent system of information exchange and administrative cooperation. Distinguishing features of the framework proposed, which is supported by the report, are efficiency, rationalisation of resources, legal and operational coordination and increased legal certainty in tax matters: characteristic elements of an ordered and free civil framework. Therefore, I cannot but give a favourable opinion.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. (FR) The use of new information systems for monitoring products subject to excise duty required the amendment of Regulation (EC) No 2073/2004. I therefore voted in favour of the Casa report. I have always supported proposals which aim to encourage the exchange of information between Member States. It is an essential precondition for creating budgetary union. The fight against tax evasion and fraud, as well as measures relating to VAT, should be subject to a common approach. I note the request to the Commission for a report on fraud in the field of excise duties.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the motion for a resolution on the Council regulation on administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties, as I believe that it contributes towards strengthening cooperation between the Member States on combating fraud and tax evasion in the field of excise duties, and as it also addresses the simplification of certain administrative procedures.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The report tries to support administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties in order to address problems of fraud. The Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) is already up and running and the new regulation simply imposes a permanent obligation on the Member States and the Commission to ensure that it and related services are maintained. I abstained because, although controls over movements of products subject to excise duties are faster and more comprehensive using the automated system, which is a step towards combating tax fraud and tax evasion, I consider that they are not enough and do not resolve the problem of tax evasion and tax avoidance. Also, it is based on focusing Union policy on the socially unfair indirect taxes borne by citizens, at a time when direct taxes on all sources of wealth are being reduced. I therefore believe that the problem needs to be set on the right footing and a socially fair tax policy needs to be applied, which plays a development and redistributive role and can combat the serious problem of tax competition, of effective controls, of taxation of offshore companies and of the tax havens flourishing in the Union.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) This regulation seeks to reinforce the need for further cooperation between the different authorities of the Member States in relation to combating fraud and tax evasion in the field of excise duties, and considers this form of cooperation to be essential in order to move towards creating a European fiscal union. I would congratulate the rapporteur, and I support his conclusions.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The strengthening of further cooperation between all bodies in the Member States dedicated to combating fraud and tax evasion is the aim of the proposal for a Council regulation in question, which relates to administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties, and for which the rapporteur is Mr Casa. The existence of different levels of excise duties creates cross-border problems for Member States and means extra work for customs authorities. Obviously, the ideal would be to have a fiscal union in Europe. Until that becomes possible, good administrative cooperation is vital in order to avoid evasion of these duties. I voted for this report and I hope that its implementation will contribute to improving the fight against fraud and tax evasion.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This proposal by the Commission is aimed at modernising the current common framework for administrative cooperation between the Member States in the field of excise duties. The regulation focuses on the importance of, and need for, administrative cooperation, in particular, in the case of cross-border irregularities, and is not aimed at harmonising national laws on the management of excise movements or the taxation of consumer goods, as both of these are covered by other legal acts. The Commission proposal properly addresses certain important aspects such as the simplification of certain bureaucratic procedures, while also rightly taking account of the fact that the handling of personal data should be the responsibility of each Member State. Unfortunately, the rapporteur is somehow seeking to undermine respect for national laws, competences and sovereignty in this field. We are therefore unhappy with Amendment 1 tabled by the rapporteur, which calls for the creation of a European fiscal union. Similarly, we also reject the unwarranted references to the internal market and the promotion thereof.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Regulation (EC) No 2073/2004 of 16 November 2004 on administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties provides for a common system whereby, in order to ensure the correct application of excise legislation and, on the other hand, combat excise duty evasion and the ensuing distortions in the internal market, Member States assist each other and cooperate with the Commission. The completion of the internal market continues to require a system of administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties. The exchange of information in excise matters is necessary to a very wide extent in order to establish a true picture of the excise affairs of some persons. For the purposes of a proper coordination of information flows, it is necessary to maintain the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 2073/2004 on a single point of contact in each Member State. Since more direct contacts between the authorities and officials may be needed to ensure efficiency, the provisions on delegation and the designation of competent officials should also be maintained. For the effective monitoring of procedures relating to excise in cross-border movement, it is also necessary to continue to provide for the possibility of simultaneous controls by Member States and for the presence of officials of one Member State in the territory of another Member State within the framework of administrative cooperation. I further believe that feedback is an appropriate means of ensuring continual improvement of the quality of the information exchanged. A framework for the provision of feedback should therefore be put in place.

 
  
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  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. (HU) I voted in favour of clarifying and enhancing the legal framework for administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties because I am convinced that it is not enough for Member States to simply be committed to information exchange, as without well-designed, automated and uniform information technology systems, data is exposed to loss and other risks. This law and the computerised control system (EMCS) it includes greatly contribute to the accomplishment of Member State economic goals because this harmonised data provision system allows for comparison and comprehensive analysis of excise duties based on a uniform methodology. Furthermore, it must be noted that the report mentions that information exchange can take place in any language, which, in addition to facilitating the fulfilment of Member State administrative obligations, also makes a definite contribution to diversity and equality between Member States. By submitting motions for amendment, I, too, contributed to the creation of a data provision system that does not impose further bureaucratic burdens on enterprises and Member States but promotes transparency and a smoother operation of the internal market in accordance with EU data protection regulations.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed the report on the proposal for a Council regulation on administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties because the creation of a European fiscal union should include an extended, rapid, efficient, user friendly and, as far as possible, automatic exchange of information among Member States in order to improve the fight against tax evasion. The Commission proposes adopting a new regulation on administrative cooperation in the field of excise duty, which will replace the existing regulation. The aim is to align legislation in this field with the possibilities created by the development of the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) and to provide a more clearly defined legal base, allowing for the replacement of existing manual and semi-automated procedures. The scope of the regulation will be widened so that it covers administrative cooperation to ensure the enforcement of all excise legislation, not just the correct assessment of excise duties. A secondary aim is to more clearly define the rights and obligations of Member States and the Commission in this field, both within the scope of EMCS and more generally. The legislation leads to administrative simplification, as it comprises common measures, which are easy to interpret and apply. Public authorities will be able to use common tools and instruments in a pre-defined organisational framework. This set of measures will simplify recourse to European international administrative cooperation.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) It was necessary to review the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 2073/2004 on administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties to take into account the introduction of the information system on movements and controls of products subject to excise duty, the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS). This fairly technical report broadly supports the Commission’s initial proposal. I supported the Casa report. It was adopted by a large majority by 584 votes to 39 with 32 abstentions. I welcome this.

 
  
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  Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D), in writing.(PL) I endorsed this report because administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties can help in the fight against tax evasion in the European Union. In my opinion, work of this kind is very important for the European economy and so also for EU citizens. In the long term, preventing tax evasion may mean people will have more money in their pocket, in which case cooperation between Member States is both essential and desirable. In addition, the move towards achieving an efficiently operating fiscal union in the EU is causing a reduction in differences between prices of goods, which, in turn, means greater prosperity for all the Union’s citizens.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution, which states that the creation of a European fiscal union should include an extended, rapid, efficient, user friendly and, insofar as possible, automatic exchange of information among Member States in order to step up the fight against tax evasion.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for the report on the proposal for a Council regulation on administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties. The creation of a European fiscal union should include an extended, rapid, efficient, user friendly and, as far as possible, automatic exchange of information among Member States in order to improve the fight against tax evasion.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The creation of a European fiscal union should include an extended, rapid, efficient, user friendly and, as far as possible, automatic exchange of information among Member States in order to improve the fight against tax evasion. Administrative cooperation between Member States in the field of excise duties is therefore vital. I believe that this motion for a resolution is a step in that direction. That is why I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – This is a very technical report which aims to increase administrative simplification and replace the manual and semi-automated exchange of information by a fully computerised system. The proposal should help the aim of limiting tax avoidance. In favour.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) The idea of improving and enhancing cooperation in this area is, in itself, highly desirable: the regulation presented by the European Commission headed in this very direction; namely, it envisaged faster systems for the exchange of information, tighter controls and a serious fight against fraud and evasion. Nevertheless, during the parliamentary process, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs thought it right to include a clear reference to the creation of a European fiscal union in the text. This reference was, and is, completely inappropriate, since greater administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties is quite different to the significance, including in political terms, of a European fiscal union. I tabled an amendment to remove this reference, but unfortunately, the majority of this House voted against it. Therefore, although I support the objectives and much of the substance of the text, I voted against the resolution since I do not believe it right to include clear political indications in what is, first and foremost, an administrative agreement.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for Mr Casa’s report as I believe it is important to try to work on an EU regulation on excise duties. The objective is the creation of a European fiscal union, an ambitious project that is difficult to achieve, but which we can already discuss with regard to specific areas of application. The administrative cooperation should include an extended, rapid, automatic and user friendly exchange of information among Member States in order to improve the fight against tax evasion, with a particular focus on financial transactions and the internal market. The Council will propose specific measures to determine the conditions under which these policies can be applied, taking into account the special conditions and features of the tax system of each Member State, as well as the particular constraints of the outermost regions of the European Union.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Regulation (EC) No 2073/2004 establishes a legal framework for administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties. Its revision is necessitated by the introduction of the computerised Excise Movement and Control System. The new regulation will act as a legal basis for the introduction of a new system with new statistical functions that may reduce the administrative burden borne by Member State administrations and improve the quality of reports on this issue at the same time. I voted for this report, as it deals with regulation aimed at greater efficiency and transparency in the EU.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) This report is in favour of the European Commission implementing administrative cooperation for the automatic exchange of information since it reduces burdens and costs for businesses. The introduction of a common VAT authority and the establishment of an excise duties forum where companies can discuss related issues and where disputes between Member States can be resolved would also be welcome. Indeed, I think that excise duties and VAT should be harmonised at EU level so that companies operating in countries where they are more costly do not suffer unfair competition from companies operating in countries where they are low. I do not agree with the creation of a European fiscal union as there is a danger of creating a higher-level tax authority which would overlap national tax authorities. I voted against for the above reasons.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the proposal for a regulation on administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties because the creation of a European fiscal union should include an extensive, rapid, efficient, user friendly and, as far as possible, automatic exchange of information among Member States in order to combat tax evasion more effectively. The provisions of Regulation (EC) No 2073/2004 set out a legal framework for administrative cooperation on excise duties. These provisions need to be revised to take into account the introduction of the Excise Movement and Control System. Other amendments being proposed by the regulation concern: deleting provisions which are no longer relevant; giving the text a more logical structure; taking into account the new procedures for administrative cooperation on excise duties and in other areas in order to provide a more efficient and less cumbersome regulatory framework, both for the authorities responsible for excise duties and for economic operators. I voted for the amendment calling for the Commission to establish a new VAT and excise duties forum, based on the Joint Transfer Pricing Forum, where companies can address issues relating to corporate VAT and disputes between Member States. The Commission must present to Parliament and the Council a report on excise duty fraud by 2013.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Article 113 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that Parliament should give its opinion on provisions for the harmonisation of legislation on excise duties as it is vital to ensure the establishment and functioning of the internal market and to avoid distortions of competition. I am voting for this regulation as it aims to enhance the exchange of information between Member States, improve the fight against tax evasion and lay down specific provisions for the collection of statistics. I also believe that it is vital to improve feedback in order to ensure effective, continual improvement in the quality of information exchanged and to simplify bureaucratic procedures. Finally, I believe that it is important to create a forum on VAT and excise duties in order to analyse and discuss the advances that have been made in the process. The Commission should also submit a report to Parliament and the Council on the application of the current regulation.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The provisions of Regulation (EC) No 2073/2004 establish a legal framework for administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties. Those provisions need to be revised in order to take into account the introduction of the computerised Excise Movement and Control System. This proposal will repeal Regulation (EC) No 2073/2004. This proposal by the Commission states that it is aimed at modernising the current common framework for administrative cooperation between Member States in the field of excise duties. The regulation focuses on the importance of, and need for, administrative cooperation, in particular, in the case of cross-border irregularities, and is not aimed at harmonising national laws on the management of excise movements or the taxation of consumer goods, as both of these are covered by other legal acts. Although these are positive objectives, we do not support the rapporteur in advocating a European fiscal union, which would exacerbate the federalist nature of the EU.

 
  
  

Report: Derek Vaughan (A7-0062/2012)

 
  
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  Damien Abad (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the Vaughan report, which provides for freezing Parliament’s 2013 budget in real terms. In addition to a responsible budget, we hope that those political parties that do not uphold the democratic principles do not receive any funding from Parliament.

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting in favour. In times of restraint and efforts to consolidate public accounts, Parliament should show budgetary responsibility and self-restraint. By freezing their own allowances and travel expenses and reorganising their working methods, Members of Parliament should also make an active contribution to maintaining budgetary discipline and keeping the general evolution of Parliament’s administrative budget for 2013 beneath the rate of inflation.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) In these times of crisis, it seems to me that monitoring the spending of the institutions, including that of Parliament, is a perfectly natural attitude. I therefore voted in favour of freezing Parliament’s budget in real terms for next year. Furthermore, as you know, Croatia will join the European Union on 1 July 2013. We will therefore be welcoming new MEPs and the budget has been adapted accordingly. Finally, Parliament wanted to recall its principles and its values, insisting that the granting of European Parliament funding should only go to those parties that rigorously uphold the founding democratic principles of the EU and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Freezing the budget for 2013 is the least we can do. In all European countries, we are seeking to reduce spending in order to reduce public debt. Today, we are voting along those lines to freeze our budget in 2013, even though the effort is still, I admit, a modest one. Moreover, we will continue to look for ways to make savings to step up the rationalisation efforts over the coming months. We are also remaining vigilant with regard to defending the major democratic principles during this difficult period so that those political parties that do not uphold the basic principles of freedom, the rule of law and democracy may not receive funding from the institution: that, in itself, is the least we can do.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I supported and voted for Mr Vaughan’s report which sets out the 2013 budget for the European Parliament’s expenditure. In fact, in line with the need for austerity and moderation, the report concentrates on identifying areas where savings can be made: freezing MEPs’ travel expenses and allowances at 2012 levels; new organisational arrangements for committee and delegation meetings in order to save on interpreting costs; and a 2.36% reduction in travel expenses between the three places of work, despite an increase in the number of staff. It is vitally important to continue to show that EU institutions are acting responsibly during this current crisis.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted for the Vaughan report on Parliament’s estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2013. I regret, however, that the original version of paragraph 2, which calls for a single place of work for the Members and officials of the European Parliament, has been maintained. The report deliberately avoids specifying which city should become Parliament’s single place of work, causing confusion. I also regret the lack of lucidity on the part of some journalists who have stated that MEPs wanted to move their Parliament to Brussels. I should like to point out that Strasbourg is the only seat of the European Parliament recognised by the Treaty. This seat should remain in the capital of Alsace, a city which symbolises reconciliation between European nations.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The budget estimates for 2013 seem to me to be realistic and made in such a way as to encourage savings, along with the efficient and prudent management of resources. This is what European citizens want from the European institutions and, in particular, from Parliament. I therefore voted in favour of the motion for a resolution on Parliament’s estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2013.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I believe that the EU should contribute to the process of rationalising public spending to help Member States weather the current unfavourable economic climate. For this reason, Parliament has decided to cut its expenditure in real terms, a cut that must clearly be part of a wider waste-cutting exercise, as by itself it only marks a small step in the right direction. I therefore decided to vote in favour of the report in question. I think that its approach is fully in line with the Member States’ general aim of consolidating their national budgets, and I would take this opportunity to stress the need to move towards reducing the number of plenary sessions held in Strasbourg in order to reduce the cost of having two seats of the European Parliament.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this text, which freezes Parliament’s operational budget for the financial year 2013. While our fellow citizens have been hard hit by the crisis and are still suffering the consequences of unemployment and weak growth in Europe, the European institutions must also play their part in the effort for budgetary discipline agreed upon by our Heads of State. We must all tighten our belts together to overcome this difficult period.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) I welcome the adoption of this report and, in particular, the vote on paragraph 2: ‘believes that the Parliament’s places of work should be limited to a single seat for Members and officials; calls on the Council to take into account the demands expressed already on several occasions by the Parliament and EU citizens concerning the need to fix a single seat for the Members and officials, further reiterated in paragraph 7 of the resolution of the European Parliament of 16 February 2012 on the guidelines for the 2013 budget procedure’. Adopted by 429 votes to 184 with 37 abstentions, this paragraph shows the will of MEPs who have declared themselves clearly in favour of a single seat for the European Parliament.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report as I believe that in the current crisis, it is vital to reduce unnecessary costs in the budget allocated to Parliament. Given the conclusions of several financial impact studies on the cost of holding plenary sessions in Strasbourg, it is incomprehensible that the seat of the European Parliament should not be confined to Brussels.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The 2013 budget is still a budget for a time of crisis, so it should employ rigorous budgetary management processes in order to make savings and set a good example to the other institutions and the Member States. In fact, the European public would not understand it if the EU did not show restraint and efficiency in managing its own resources, when they are being asked to make sacrifices in their countries. The public is therefore asking us to manage the resources allocated to us properly and to make savings whenever possible. Once again, I will vote for the request for a single seat for the European Parliament, a proposal which would lead to substantial savings and more effective management of both financial and human resources.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, which was drafted by Mr Vaughan, examines the estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2013 - Section I - Parliament. The economic crisis that is affecting most of the Member States requires us to exercise restraint in our own budget. I therefore welcome this proposal for a modest budget which has grown by only 1.9%, below the forecast rate of inflation, thus meeting the Commission’s request. The cuts that have been introduced seek not to jeopardise either the quality of services or the effectiveness of the work carried out by Members. I voted for this report, as I agree with the need to rationalise resources and implement greater institutional cooperation in terms of both buildings and human resources.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report on Parliament’s estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2013 focuses on the idea of making savings, in other words, on the reduction of the budget at various levels. However, it advocates cuts where cuts should not be made, and says nothing about areas that could and should be called into question. We therefore voted for the proposed amendments tabled by our group, which were aimed at clarifying some of these issues. We agree that it is important to reduce excessive and disproportionate spending by Parliament, but it is important to ensure that such ‘savings’ are not made at the expense of making workers redundant, job insecurity or principles such as multilingualism. The defence of this principle made in the report is, at the very least, hypocritical, as it ignores existing limitations and shortfalls and advocates cuts in the field of translation and interpretation. Moreover, as a result of its own parameters, which it adopts in other areas, the report is too soft when it comes to the financing of the European parties. We do not agree with this as a matter of principle. Furthermore, using the rhetoric of frugality, several areas of the report seek nothing more than to legitimise and justify the brutal, so-called ‘austerity’ measures which are being imposed by governments and by the EU.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The ceiling for heading 5 of the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the EU budget in 2013 is EUR 9 181 million at current prices. I firmly believe that the goal of any budget negotiation should be to achieve maximum efficiency. In accordance with the agreement reached by the Bureau and the Committee on Budgets at the conciliation meeting of 13 March 2012, the overall level of the draft estimates for 2013 is set at EUR 1 759 391 671. At the same time, strict budgetary control, close cooperation with the Committee on Budgets and the identification of further possible savings during this budgetary procedure are needed. Taking note of the increased involvement of Members of Parliament in non-legislative work as laid down in the Rules of Procedure, which mobilises a considerable amount of Parliament’s resources and those of other EU institutions, it is necessary to analyse this fact and to present options on how to reduce this increased burden. I am of the opinion that further reorganisation of Parliament’s working methods should be considered; substantial savings could be achieved by establishing a single seat for Parliament. With regard to the conditions set out in the regulation concerning the financing of political parties, it is a cause for concern that the principles on which the EU is founded, namely, the principles of liberty, democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, are not being fully respected. Parliament should provide funding only to those parties that rigorously uphold the founding principles of the EU and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) Having already stressed, on other occasions, that the European institutions must set a responsible example with regard to their budgets and expenditure forecasts in this current climate of austerity, I support this report. Despite certain issues that remain to be resolved, I believe that it is an acceptable compromise. I voted in favour for these reasons.

 
  
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  Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. – Given the heavy burden of debt in many Member States, it is only right that Parliament carefully review its expenditure and ensure that it is providing value for money. A number of positive measures have already been taken; I agree with the freeze in MEPs’ allowances and travel expenses. The House of European History represents a good idea which would inform citizens of the diverse range of perspectives on the history of Europe. However, we must ensure that expenditure is managed carefully, and that cost estimates are strictly adhered to. With regard to the amendment on the verification of office expenditure, the wording needs clarification. Evidently, MEPs should be able to provide the Bureau with proper justification for their expenses, but this needs to be done in a pragmatic and reasonable way. As a result of the Parliament’s ongoing drive to continuously improve the use of its finances, Parliament’s spending for 2013 should be more efficient and the small increase in its budget will be below the European rate of inflation. It is more than ever important that citizens believe that the EU is spending money on projects that ultimately provide value to citizens.

 
  
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  Estelle Grelier (S&D), in writing. (FR) While the debates on the general budget for the European Union for 2013 are already showing signs of becoming strained between Parliament and the Council, we, the MEPs, are in the process of drawing up the next operational budget for our institution. Aware of certain budgetary constraints, we have evaluated the change in our funding requirements at + 1.9% in comparison with 2012, an increase below the level of inflation. Some budget lines will be subject to freezing in order to achieve this target, such as Members’ allowances, transport costs, etc. Other areas will also need to be studied closely in order to avoid any overspending: this is the case for costs relating to building maintenance or the establishment of the House of European History. Over the course of the year, we will also need to be more vigilant about some additional necessary loans, such as those relating to the accession of Croatia, which have still not been included in the budget’s provisions. Parliament must be exemplary in establishing its budget to ensure that it has the means to fully guarantee its democratically received powers while controlling its spending within reasonable limits.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing. (FR) I voted against the Vaughan report on the draft budget for the European Parliament for the financial year 2013. I do fully support the measures and guidelines contained in this report, such as freezing our Parliament’s budget in real terms, freezing Members’ allowances, the cuts made in the budget relating to travel, the various savings that have been made, etc. However, this report contains three provisions/paragraphs that are clearly anti-Strasbourg. That is why I voted against it. The debate and attacks on the location of the seat of the European Parliament are coming up more and more often and I am very aware of that. Of course, for a long time, it was a question of symbolism; but today, and above all, it is a legal and political matter. I remain firmly committed to this ongoing fight to keep the European Parliament’s seat in our beautiful European capital.

 
  
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  Mikael Gustafsson (GUE/NGL), in writing. (SV) The European Parliament is, for the first time, presenting proposals that involve measures of restraint in connection with Parliament’s own, often far too high, expenditure. The proposal to have a single seat for the European Parliament is a particularly positive one. The proposal to freeze the far too generous contributions to MEPs is also positive. However, if Parliament is ever to be able to gain the trust of European citizens, one of the things that is required is for further restraint measures to be implemented in respect of both Parliament’s general costs and the benefits granted to elected MEPs. I therefore chose to abstain.

 
  
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  Jiří Havel (S&D), in writing. (CS) In his report, Derek Vaughan proposes substantial savings in the European Parliament’s budget, and therefore reflects the current economic situation in Europe. The Secretariat-General originally proposed an increase of 2.96% to the Presidency of the European Parliament. Mr Vaughan, however, has managed to identify potential savings, resulting in an increase of just 1.9% – not including the costs associated with Croatia’s accession – which is well below the level of inflation. The savings relate to travel costs, for example, and a reorganisation of the translation and interpreting services. The report emphasises maximum efficiency in the management of the European Parliament, and I completely agree with this and therefore wish to vote in favour of it.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing.(FR) Once again, some MEPs have chosen to re-open the debate on the single seat of the European Parliament during the vote on the report on Parliament’s estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2013. If that is their ambition, then let us talk about it! Furthermore, I would therefore invite them to re-read the treaties that regulate our institutional system: the official seat of the European Parliament is in Strasbourg and although, for the sake of convenience, we have transferred some activities to Brussels and Luxembourg, we cannot dispute the legal basis that brings us together. Strasbourg is, first and foremost, a symbolic referent, the will of the founding fathers to wipe clean the marks of war and bring France and Germany together based on joint ambitions. I am surprised today by the determination of some of my more recent colleagues to want to contest this symbol of Europe, even though by joining the European Community and then the European Union, the nations they represent have recognised in their entirety the principles and symbols that unite citizens across the European project.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) The Vaughan report was adopted by 548 votes to 69. It marks the beginning of the budget procedure for Parliament, which, like the other institutions, must draw up estimates of its revenue and expenditure for its 2013 budget. The Commission will use these estimates to present its draft budget for 2013 in April.

 
  
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  Sandra Kalniete (PPE), in writing. (LV) I voted for this resolution and I strongly support its expression of Parliament’s firm stance that Parliament’s places of work should be limited to a single seat for Members and officials. The Council must take into account the demands expressed already on several occasions by Parliament and EU citizens concerning the need to fix a single seat for Members and officials. Strasbourg is the symbol of reconciliation between European nations. It must not, however, become the symbol of EU institutions’ extravagance, especially at a time when one of the most important tasks facing the whole of Europe is to balance expenditure with income. The EUR 200 million needed each year for Parliament to maintain several seats constitute expenditure that can neither be justified nor explained to the citizens of Europe.

 
  
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  Constance Le Grip (PPE) , in writing.(FR) I wanted to abstain on the report by Mr Vaughan on Parliament’s estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2013 in which, on three occasions, he ambiguously takes a stand against maintaining the current organisational structure of the European Parliament: three places of work and one seat. Let us remember that under Protocol 6 of the Treaty on the location of the seats of the institutions and of certain bodies and departments of the European Union, the European Parliament’s seat is in Strasbourg. Not wanting to support the vague guidelines set out in the Vaughan report, which could jeopardise the seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, I abstained.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this vote where MEPs have voted by an enormous majority (429-184 with 37 abstentions) for a single seat, the highest majority ever recorded. This reflects the economic and environmental costs of the controversial Brussels-Strasbourg arrangement.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) In order to effectively support the seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, I voted against paragraph 2, which calls for Parliament’s places of work to be ‘limited to a single seat for Members and officials’. Indeed, according to the Treaty, ‘the European Parliament shall have its seat in Strasbourg, where the 12 periods of monthly plenary sessions, including the budget session, shall be held. The periods of additional plenary sessions shall be held in Brussels. The committees of the European Parliament shall meet in Brussels. The General Secretariat of the European Parliament and its departments shall remain in Luxembourg’. Furthermore, the official figures relating to the annual cost of Parliament’s seat in Strasbourg were published recently and were shown to be well below the estimates that had previously been put forward. The costs came to exactly EUR 51.5 million in 2010. Finally, I am pleased to note that energy consumption for Parliament’s seat in Strasbourg fell by 74% between 2006 and 2010. For these reasons, I can support Parliament’s seat in Strasbourg.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – This report outlines several possible means by which savings can be made in Parliament’s expenditure for 2013. I supported this report.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) In the ongoing challenging economic circumstances, the institutions should freeze their administrative budgets. However, there is a need to respect legally binding obligations and possible subsequent increases. The institutions should reinforce their interinstitutional cooperation, with a view to sharing best practices, looking for savings and thus modernising their policies on human resources, organisation, technology and buildings. All institutions should therefore look for further savings to maintain budgetary discipline and to freeze their budgets, whilst bearing in mind legal obligations and new financial challenges, such as Croatia’s accession.

 
  
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  Ana Miranda (Verts/ALE), in writing. (PT) I am voting in favour. This report recognises the need for Parliament to have a single seat, as has already been expressed by various political groups, such as the one that I represent. The aim of having a single seat is not merely an economic necessity, but also relates to the image that we want to project to the public. Some effective and democratic European institutions are also subject to efficient and responsible management. It is therefore necessary to set an example, and this is perhaps particularly true now in a time of economic crisis. It is necessary to make more effort to reduce costs, and when travelling by air, Members of Parliament should only do so in economy class. I would also like to emphasise paragraph 7, on plans for an information campaign for the 2014 elections. Enhancing communication with the public is vital, along with defining objectives clearly and opening the institutions’ doors to everyone.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – I believe that, in the light of the heavy burden of public debt and restraint in times of ongoing national consolidation efforts, Parliament should show budgetary responsibility and self-restraint. We wish to contribute actively to maintaining budgetary discipline and keeping the overall evolution of Parliament’s administrative budget for 2013 below that of the inflation rate. In favour.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) We are an EU institution elected by European Union citizens. I therefore agree entirely with the view expressed in this report that, as we are accountable before our electorates, during this difficult economic period, we must show how savings can be made. While, constitutionally, we perhaps cannot give up the regular trips to Strasbourg that exhaust both us and the EU budget, I agree with the provision that we must find other means of opting out of these trips. At the same time, I welcome the fact that the European Parliament understands the need to continue the House of European History project. While welcoming the need to maintain budgetary discipline, I nevertheless call for this project to be implemented as soon as possible.

 
  
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  Tiziano Motti (PPE), in writing. (IT) The fact that the European Parliament has two seats: one where the committees meet and one where votes are taken in plenary is, frankly, anachronistic. The monthly move from one seat to the other is extremely expensive, and Europeans foot the bill without realising it. At a time when the global economic situation requires everyone to adopt austerity plans, the expenses involved in moving MEPs, assistants, translators, interpreters and officials, together with documents and technical equipment of all kinds, are completely unjustified. The economic waste stems from maintaining two practically identical seats which are both used by MEPs on a part-time basis. I am referring, in particular, to the seat in Strasbourg, which is kept active and operational so that it can be used just five days a month. In terms of the impact on the environment, in line with the importance that Parliament attaches to protecting the ecosystem while carrying out its activities, transporting all the equipment in lorries once a month from Brussels to Strasbourg and back to Brussels, and transferring thousands of people, undoubtedly produces CO2 emissions which Europeans could be spared. For these reasons, I voted in favour of establishing a single seat of the European Parliament.

 
  
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  Wojciech Michał Olejniczak (S&D), in writing.(PL) At the vote, I endorsed the next important step towards having a single seat for the European Parliament, as did most of my fellow Members. This is a further step towards bringing an end to the expensive problem of the European Parliament having three seats. Now the ball is in the Council’s court or, in other words, the governments of the Member States. It is high time to begin renegotiation of the Treaties, which will make it possible to concentrate on closing two of the European Parliament’s three seats. During a crisis and at a time of widespread budget cuts, this is absolutely essential. Neither the citizens nor the Members of the European Parliament accept the current situation. It is high time the situation also became intolerable to the leaders of the Member States.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on Parliament’s estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2013, which, inter alia, calls for a report on the savings made during the financial year 2012 and, taking into account the outturn levels and the budgetary restraint necessary in times of crisis, establishes that all appropriations should be subject to strict budgetary control.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) Given the heavy burden of public debt and efforts to consolidate the national budgets, I believe it is vital that the European Parliament undertakes to show budgetary responsibility and self-restraint, and that the goal of any budget negotiation should be to achieve maximum efficiency. There must also be strict budgetary control and close collaboration with the Committee on Budgets in order to identify further possible savings during this budgetary procedure.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) By voting in favour of paragraph 2, I wanted to show my support for having a single seat of the European Parliament. During this profound crisis that we have been experiencing since 2008, and with the constant calls for budget cuts, I believe that it is right to revise the position of the European Treaties on the three seats of the European Parliament. It would, in fact, be difficult to explain to the European public a position other than the one I have decided to take. Having voted for the report on the revision of Parliament’s expenditure, I hope that our resolution (adopted by a majority of 429 votes to just 184) can unblock this situation, which, after all these years, is no longer sustainable.

 
  
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  Francisco Sosa Wagner (NI), in writing. (ES) I abstained from voting on Amendment 3 because, while I agree with the essence of the amendment, it has some anti-European connotations with which I do not agree.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Article 314 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that Parliament and the Council shall draw up an annual budget for the EU, as it is the responsibility of each institution to submit estimates of revenue and expenditure for the year in question. I support this report as it shows that economic rationality is enshrined in several initiatives that stipulate greater savings in Parliament’s spending, as can be seen by the EUR 3.5 million cut in connection with parliamentary assistance, the freezing of appropriations relating to representation expenses, the reorganisation of translation and interpretation activities, and the adoption of greater budgetary control. I also believe that the ceiling for Heading 5 of the multiannual financial framework for the Union budget, which is EUR 9 181 million, should be kept in place.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report on Parliament’s estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2013. In paragraph 8, Parliament defends the principle of multilingualism and highlights the unique nature of the European Parliament in terms of interpretation and translation requirements. In paragraph 16, Parliament insists that funding should only be granted to those parties which rigorously uphold the founding principles of the EU and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Similarly, paragraph 11 highlights Parliament’s willingness to help maintain budgetary discipline by freezing all budget lines relating to travel and not indexing any of the MEPs’ individual allowances until the end of the legislature. I voted against paragraph 2 of the resolution which states that Parliament’s places of work should be limited to a single seat for MEPs and officials since they cannot be limited without amending the EU Treaties accordingly. I voted against Amendment 2, which considers unnecessary the information campaign for the 2014 elections, which the Bureau includes in its estimates. I also voted against Amendment 8, which calls for the European Prize for Journalism to be abolished, and against Amendments 9 and 6, which call for an end to the funding for the House of European History and for the project to be cancelled.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) For the second time in several weeks, a majority of MEPs have voted in favour of a single seat for the European Parliament and therefore against the seat in Strasbourg. I deeply regret that once again, this subject has been introduced almost on the sly through a report on another issue. This time, it is through this report on the European Parliament’s budget by recalling the need to make savings. Changing the seat of the European Parliament, which is enshrined in the European Treaties, does, however, merit a real debate, allowing us to address all of the consequences of such a decision and taking into account the complex historical circumstances that have made Strasbourg the seat of the only European institution whose members are directly elected by the citizens of the Member States. As for the rest of the budget, Parliament’s priorities for 2013 may be summed up in several proposals to freeze various budget lines relating to administrative operation, but with a logic of rationalisation that could jeopardise the defence of multilingualism or funding for projects aimed particularly at raising citizens’ awareness of European history or issues relating to the European elections.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) Eurostat has forecast an inflation rate of 2.7% for this year, so that the European Parliament’s proposed budget for 2013 can be judged appropriate. However, it must be considered that the reduction in spending on maintenance measures, languages services or other services will have a negative effect on the substance, capacity for action and quality of Parliament’s work and infrastructures in the medium term and an excessive cap on investment should not be allowed to result in disproportionately higher costs at a later stage. The ‘single seat’ issue was clearly supported by an overwhelming majority (429 - 184, with 37 abstentions). This decision by the European Parliament points in the right direction, representing a saving of EUR 200 million. I have voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR), in writing. – At a time of austerity, we need to cut the bloated EU budget. As a Member of the European Parliament, I believe that this House should be the first to tighten its belt. The estimate for the cost of the European Parliament for 2013 is EUR 1.8 billion. This is a staggering amount which sticks in the craw of EU citizens, not least my London constituents. We need to make savings in the translation and interpretation services. We must do away with the costly ‘European House of History’ which is a boondoggle, a vanity project and an insult to every EU taxpayer. But the most obvious saving is staring us firmly in the face. We need to scrap the Strasbourg seat. We are wasting nearly half a billion euro each year shuttling backwards and forwards between Brussels and Strasbourg. This travelling circus is making a mockery of the European Parliament and it is time to bring down the curtain on this absurd waste of money.

 
  
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  Janusz Władysław Zemke (S&D), in writing.(PL) We have completed our discussion of the European Parliament’s budget for 2013. Parliament’s expenditure is expected to be EUR 1.759 billion, which will mean a rise of 1.9% in comparison to 2012. By far the largest part of this expenditure is related to Parliament’s staff, of whom there are going to be 6 713 employees, and the maintenance of Parliament’s buildings in Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg. In my opinion, there are ways of reducing this budget and of being more radical in the search for savings.

Firstly, the appropriate authorities of Parliament and the Council should cut the number of places where Parliament meets so that it has a single seat, not just for the Members of Parliament, but also for Parliament’s officials. The current situation generates additional costs of several hundred million annually, and this cannot continue.

Secondly, I cannot understand why, with the present scale of movement of parliamentarians and officials – tens of thousands of flights are made in any one year – Parliament is not able to negotiate reductions on air tickets with Europe’s largest carriers. We pay more for our tickets than tickets bought on an individual basis, using the Internet, for example. I think radical change is needed here.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report on Parliament’s estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2013 seeks to make cuts to the budget at various levels. While it is important to reduce unjustified spending, we are vehemently against ‘savings’ which are made at the expense of making workers redundant, job insecurity or principles such as multilingualism. We reject cuts in the field of translation and interpretation, an area which is already seeing various shortfalls. Moreover, we do not accept talk about ‘saving’ that merely seeks to legitimise the so-called austerity measures which are imposing poverty on thousands of workers and people.

 
  
  

Report: Barbara Matera (A7-0066/2012)

 
  
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  Damien Abad (PPE), in writing.(FR) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was created to support European workers who have lost their jobs. It enables them to reintegrate into the labour market. Exceptionally, the financial and economic crisis has been deemed sufficient grounds for a Member State to submit an application for assistance. The crisis-hit construction sector in Spain has seen one wave of redundancies after another. In an effort of solidarity towards it, we have released aid of EUR 1.6 million.

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report as it represents another grant of essential aid from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). In this case, the situation in Spain, which has led to 1 138 redundancies, requires a response from the EU, since it fits within the objectives of the EGF, which is mobilising EUR 1.64 million, as is appropriate in this instance. This is the first application for the EGF in 2012, and it is necessary to use cases such as the one being experienced in the area of civil construction in Spain to show what is continuing to happen due to the crisis, in order to act as a reminder that the derogation of this instrument is still in the hands of the Council, even after Parliament’s calls for it to be implemented as a matter of urgency.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was established to provide additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns. In these difficult times, it is our responsibility to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant. The European Union has launched an Economic Recovery Plan and recognised that the crisis has had a very negative impact on the construction sector in particular, where demand has plummeted. In order to remedy the downturn in this sector and contribute to minimising the harmful effects of the economic crisis that has seriously affected us, I voted in favour of this report, which allows the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund to be used, in this particular case, in favour of Spain.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created in 2006 in order to provide additional assistance to workers affected by the consequences of major structural changes in international trade and to assist in their reintegration into the labour market. Since 1 May 2009, the scope of the EGF has been expanded to include support for workers made redundant as a direct consequence of the economic, financial and social crisis. At a time of severe financial, economic and social crisis, one of the principal consequences of which has been an increase in unemployment, the EU needs to use all the means at its disposal to respond, particularly as regards providing support for those who have lost their jobs. I therefore voted for this report on the mobilisation of EUR 1 642 030 from the EGF in favour of Spain, with the aim of supporting the 1 138 workers made redundant from 513 companies operating in the construction sector in Comunidad Valenciana.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing.(FR) EUR 1.6 million to help more than 1 000 Spanish workers to retrain and find a new job: aid has been granted at the last minute. The cause: workers made redundant as a result of the economic crisis. This just does not make sense. I shall explain what I mean by this: the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was established in 2006 to help towards the retraining of workers made redundant because of globalisation. Then the economic crisis hit and a derogation was introduced so that workers made redundant because of the crisis could also benefit from the fund; this derogation ended on 31 December 2011. In spite of Parliament’s vote to extend the derogation, the Council of Ministers decided against it. The result is that, although the effects of the economic crisis are, at times, still being felt very severely in the Member States, workers will be deprived of EGF support. From now on, this fund may only provide support for redundancies linked directly to globalisation. This is an aberration and a completely incomprehensible situation for our fellow citizens. The EGF will once again be under-used because of this pathetic decision taken by the ministers who represent us.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report relates to the mobilisation of EUR 1 642 030 from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in favour of a Member State, Spain, with the aim of supporting the 1 138 construction workers made redundant from 513 companies operating in Comunidad Valenciana. The aim of the EGF is precisely to provide assistance to workers affected by structural changes in international trade, helping them to reintegrate into the labour market, and to workers made redundant as a result of the economic, financial and social crisis that is affecting Europe. I believe that the EU should use all of the means at its disposal, of which the EGF is one of the most important, to give assistance to citizens who become jobless. I therefore voted for the motion for a resolution on the mobilisation of the EGF.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of mobilising the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for the 1 138 construction sector workers who have found themselves out of a job. This fund, which has an annual budget of EUR 500 million, allows additional support to be provided to our fellow citizens hit hardest by the economic and financial crisis by helping them to find a new job and acquire new skills.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing.(FR) I am delighted that this report has been adopted. I should like to make it clear that I also voted in favour of the amendment calling for the scope of the fund to be extended to self-employed workers in accordance with the Commission’s proposal to revise the regulation on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for 2014-2020.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The construction sector has been particularly hard hit by the recent economic and financial crisis: the drop in demand has resulted in a reduction in the number of contracts and put the viability of many construction companies and large numbers of jobs at risk. In this case, 1 138 workers from 513 companies operating in the region of Comunidad Valenciana lost their jobs and are eligible to receive EU support from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. I agree with the mobilisation of the fund, and I hope that the sector succeeds in recovering in a responsible and sustainable way, and that the workers who are now being supported will soon succeed in rejoining the labour market.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report by Ms Matera concerns the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), in accordance with point 28 of the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management (application EGF/2011/006 ES/Comunidad Valenciana – Construction of Buildings/Spain). On 5 February 2012, the Commission adopted a new draft decision on the mobilisation of the EGF for Spain, with the aim of supporting the reintegration of workers made redundant as a result of the global economic and financial crisis. This is the first application to be examined under the 2012 EU budget and was submitted to the Commission on 1 July 2011. It concerns the mobilisation of EUR 1 642 030, aimed at mitigating the social impact of the redundancies of 1 138 workers from 513 enterprises in the civil construction sector in the NUTS II region of Comunidad Valenciana (ES52). I am voting for this proposal, as the application fulfils the conditions for the mobilisation of the EGF, and I hope that the economic fabric of the Valencian region will recover rapidly.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report approves the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), the purpose of which is to benefit Spain by supporting the reintegration in the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the economic and financial crisis. This case concerns the mobilisation of EUR 1 642 030 in order to provide assistance to more than 1 100 civil construction workers made redundant in more than 500 companies in Comunidad Valenciana. There have been requests for the mobilisation of the EGF in cases of mass redundancies of workers across Europe due to the worsening of the crisis. We can therefore only regret the Council’s decision not to extend the crisis derogation, which increased the rate of EU cofinancing to 65%, beyond 31 December 2011. This means that the countries with the greatest economic and social difficulties – those where the most companies have gone bankrupt and where there is the most unemployment – are those that will least be able to make use of the EGF. We will continue to insist on the increase in EGF cofinancing, especially for countries that are in a fragile state financially, like Portugal, in order to ensure that the national contribution does not exceed 5% of the total financing planned.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was established to provide additional support for workers made redundant as a result of major structural changes in world trade patterns caused by globalisation, and to assist them with their reintegration into the labour market. The interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 allows the mobilisation of the EGF within an annual ceiling of EUR 500 million. On 1 July 2011, Spain submitted an application to mobilise the EGF in respect of redundancies in 513 enterprises operating in the NACE Revision 2 Division 41 (‘Construction of buildings’) in the NUTS II region of Comunidad Valenciana (ES52), and supplemented the application with additional information up to 25 November 2011. The submitted application complies with the requirements for determining the financial contributions as laid down in Article 10 of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006, and the Commission therefore proposed the release of funds in the amount of EUR 1 642 030. Since the country meets the set requirements, I share the view that the EGF should be mobilised in order to provide the financial contribution requested by Spain.

 
  
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  Mikael Gustafsson (GUE/NGL), in writing. (SV) I voted in favour of the report. The crisis in the construction sector in Spain is primarily a result of the failure of the euro and is only, to a very limited extent, to do with globalisation. The structure of the euro resulted in the same level of interest rates throughout the whole of the euro area. In Spain, as in Ireland, the interest rates should have been significantly higher in order to counteract the overheating in the economies of these countries. Instead, the level of interest rates set by the European Central Bank helped to create housing bubbles in both countries. The bubbles burst when the financial crisis struck. It created mass unemployment in both countries, and the construction sector has been particularly hard hit. Thus, the fundamental problem lies in the functioning of the euro and finance capitalism. However, I obviously believe that the workers affected must be given as much support as possible in order to alleviate their vulnerable situation. I have therefore voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE), in writing. – I voted for this report due to the use of the crisis derogation in the application. I believe this derogation is very useful when helping workers mitigate the effects of the crisis. I also believe this money will be well used in the construction sector in Spain which has experienced a fall in production in eight consecutive quarters from 2009 to 2011.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this report on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in favour of Spain. The EGF has been created in order to provide additional assistance to workers suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns. The Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the EGF in favour of Spain in order to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the global financial and economic crisis. Spain’s application concerns 1 138 redundancies, all targeted for assistance, in 513 enterprises operating in the construction sector in the Valenciana region. One of the criteria for the Commission’s assessment was the evaluation of the link between the redundancies and major structural changes in world trade patterns or the financial crisis. In this respect, the Spanish authorities argue that the construction sector has been severely affected by the crisis. Loans to the construction sector and to individuals have been drastically reduced and the demand for new houses has decreased due to declining consumer confidence and the lack of cash. According to the Spanish authorities, the employment situation in the affected area seems particularly fragile, given the impact of the crisis on traditional sectors such as the textile sector, or on sectors related to construction, such as the ceramic sector and the stone cutting, shaping and finishing sectors, as these sectors are very important for the region’s economy.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) I supported the Matera report, which responds favourably to an application submitted by Spain to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. Like my colleagues in the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), I am pleased to see that this report was adopted by 567 votes.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I supported this proposal. On 15 February 2012, the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in favour of Spain in order to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant due to the global financial and economic crisis. This is the first application to be examined under the 2012 budget and refers to the mobilisation of a total amount of EUR 1 642 030 from the EGF for Spain. It concerns 1 138 redundancies, all targeted for assistance, in 513 enterprises operating in the NACE Revision 2 Division 41 (‘Construction of buildings’) in the NUTS II region of Comunidad Valenciana (ES52) during the nine-month reference period from 25 July 2010 to 25 April 2011. Of these 1 138 redundancies, 747 were calculated in accordance with the second indent of the second paragraph of Article 2 of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006. A further 391 redundancies were calculated in accordance with the third indent of the same paragraph. The Commission has received the confirmation required under the third indent of the second paragraph of Article 2(2) that this is the actual number of redundancies effected.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – I support the assistance this report will provide, to mobilise a total amount of EUR 1 642 030 from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for the construction sector in Spain.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU is an area of solidarity and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is a part of that. This support is essential for helping the unemployed and victims of company relocations that occur in the context of globalisation. More and more companies are relocating, taking advantage of lower labour costs in a number of countries, particularly China and India, with a damaging effect on those countries that respect workers’ rights. The EGF aims to help workers who are victims of company relocations, and it is essential for facilitating their access to new jobs. The EGF has been used by other EU countries in the past, so now it is appropriate to grant this aid to Spain, which has applied for assistance in relation to 1 138 redundancies, all targeted for assistance, in 513 enterprises in NACE Revision 2 Division 41 (‘Construction of buildings’) in the NUTS II region of Comunidad Valenciana (ES52) in Spain.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The application relates to 1 138 redundancies that occurred in Spain in 513 small and medium-sized enterprises in the construction industry between July 2010 and March 2010. In favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) receives annual funding of EUR 500 million with the aim of providing financial support to workers affected by major structural changes in world trade patterns. Estimates indicate that between 35 000 and 50 000 employees could benefit from this support each year. The money can be used to pay for help in finding new jobs, tailor-made training, assistance in becoming self-employed or starting up a company, mobility and support for disadvantaged or older workers. The first application of 2012 amounts to EUR 1 642 030 for Spain, because we need to respond to a total of 1 138 redundancies across 513 companies. I have voted in favour of the report because this is precisely the purpose of the fund and spending the money is a sensible way of supporting the economy.

 
  
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  James Nicholson (ECR), in writing. – I voted against this report which aimed to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for construction workers in Spain. A significant portion of the EGF budget is dedicated to this fund but I do not believe that it offers value for money or indeed makes a genuine difference to people who have, unfortunately, lost their jobs due to the current economic crisis. More generally, I also have serious concerns about the Commission’s proposals to extend the fund to the agricultural sector in order to compensate farmers for the potential negative effects of trade deals with third countries.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) The economic crisis is taking a particularly heavy toll in Spain. The construction industry is particularly hard hit, as are all its ancillary suppliers. This has led to high levels of unemployment. Thus, in the period from 2007, the year before the crisis, to 2010, unemployment levels in Comunidad Valenciana rose by a total of 309%. In such cases, the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is supposed to help those workers who have clearly lost their jobs as a result of the crisis to return to work and to cushion social hardship. For this reason, I have voted in favour.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I think that the EU should continue to fund those sectors and companies that require economic support to reintegrate into the labour market workers made redundant as a result of the global economic and financial crisis. I therefore voted in favour of Ms Matera’s report on mobilisation of the fund for the construction of buildings in the region of Comunidad Valenciana. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund is necessary to reintegrate workers into the labour market or to safeguard workers in companies with an uncertain future. Furthermore, it is an essential tool for many small local businesses to receive the assistance that they need from the European Union.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created in 2006 in order to provide additional assistance to workers affected by the consequences of major structural changes in international trade and to assist in their reintegration into the labour market. Since 1 May 2009, the scope of the EGF has been expanded to include support for workers made redundant as a direct consequence of the economic, financial and social crisis. I voted for this report on the mobilisation of EUR 1 642 030 from the EGF in favour of Spain, with the aim of supporting the 1 138 workers made redundant from 513 enterprises operating in the construction sector in Comunidad Valenciana.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this report because I believe that it is crucial to provide additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns. I therefore welcome the proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in favour of Spain in order to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant due to the global financial and economic crisis.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 established the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) with the aim of supporting workers who lost their jobs due to structural changes in the global economy. I agree with the request for mobilisation of the EGF made by Spain in relation to 1 138 redundancies at 511 enterprises located in the NUTS II region of Comunidad Valenciana (ES52). I believe that the Commission should mobilise EUR 1 642 030 to help these workers from Spanish civil construction enterprises back into work. The financial package that has now been adopted should be channelled towards supporting measures of assistance in the areas of vocational guidance, individual training and general information provision through specific employment channels.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report on the application submitted by Spain to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for the building construction sector in the Valencia region. The scope of the EGF was broadened from 1 May 2009 to include support for workers affected by the economic and financial crisis and to assist their reintegration into the labour market. The relevant application concerns 1 138 redundancies which were made in 513 enterprises in the building construction sector in the Valencia region of Spain, between July and November 2011. Spain highlighted the fact that unemployment in the region increased in 2010 by 12.2% compared to 2009, and by 309% compared to the pre-crisis year of 2007. In 2010, workers laid off in the construction sector accounted for 28.18% of all redundancies in the region, while in 2007, they only accounted for 6.3%. We call on the Commission and Member States to ensure a rapid, smooth procedure for adopting decisions on the mobilisation of the EGF, with the aim of helping workers who have been made redundant as a result of globalisation and the financial and economic crisis. We call on the Commission and Member States to monitor the integration into the labour market of those benefiting from this application to mobilise the EGF.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) This application for support from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) demonstrates the direct impact of the speculation bubble on the Spanish construction industry. Unbridled lending within the financial market and risky speculation on a continued rise in property prices have led to a collapse in the entire national market. As a consequence, countless small and medium-sized construction companies and suppliers have been ruined, resulting in widespread job losses among construction workers. The people, who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, need this support. I have voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report approves the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), with the aim of supporting the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the economic and financial crisis – in this case, Spanish workers. It concerns the mobilisation of EUR 1 642 030 in order to provide assistance to more than 1 100 civil construction workers made redundant in more than 500 companies in Comunidad Valenciana. This type of request for the mobilisation of the EGF is ever more prevalent in cases of mass redundancies of workers across Europe, as policies have led to the worsening of the crisis. We can therefore only regret the Council’s decision not to extend the ‘crisis derogation’, which increased the rate of EU cofinancing to 65%, beyond 31 December 2011. This means that the countries with the greatest economic and social difficulties – those where the most companies have gone bankrupt and where there is the most unemployment – are those that will least be able to make use of the EGF. We will continue to advocate the increase in EGF cofinancing, especially for countries that are in a fragile state financially, like Portugal, in order to ensure that the national contribution does not exceed 5% of the total financing planned.

 
  
  

Report: Alain Lamassoure (A7-0039/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting in favour. Following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, Parliament is a colegislator in the EU, and its powers are on a par with those of the Council in the ordinary legislative procedure and in the budget procedure. In view of this balance, there is no longer any need to retain Council Question Time in plenary sessions. However, it is important to keep that option open when matters for which the Council is politically responsible are involved, rather than the legislative matters that I mentioned. Moreover, in line with the opinion of the Conference of Presidents on this matter, it is important to retain question hours with the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative and the President of the Eurogroup.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report because after the Lisbon Treaty, Parliament and the Council have equal powers in the ordinary legislative procedure and in the budget procedure and there is no longer a reason to continue to include Council Question Time in its present form in the Agenda. However, I agree with the rapporteur’s position and proposed amendments that it would be sensible to retain the option of putting questions to the Council – during a specific question hour – on matters relating to responsibilities other than those linked to the exercise of its legislative and budgetary functions.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the report by my French colleague from the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), Alain Lamassoure, reaffirming the new balance between the institutions for Parliament’s benefit following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. As you know, Parliament had become a true colegislator in the EU as its powers were on a par with those of the Council of Ministers in the ordinary legislative procedure and in the budget procedure. We, your representatives, are now on a truly equal footing with the ministers representing the national governments. Including Council Question Time on the agenda every part-session is therefore no longer legitimate. At the same time, however, as the report highlights, the Lisbon Treaty ‘created new institutions alongside governments: the European Council and its permanent President, the High Representative and the Eurogroup’. In my view, it is therefore appropriate not only that question hours with the Council of Ministers and with the President of the Commission should continue to be an option, but also that a process of this kind should be provided for with the President of the European Council, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and the President of the Eurogroup.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of this report because I feel that its timing is appropriate, given that both Parliament and the Council have equal powers in the ordinary legislative procedure and in the budget procedure. Taking into account the new institutional balance following the Lisbon Treaty’s entry into force, there is no longer any reason to continue with Council Question Time in its current form. The role of the European Parliament has been considerably enhanced, with it becoming a colegislator within the European Union. The Treaty has also led to the creation of new institutions such as the European Council and its permanent President, the High Representative and Eurogroup. In view of the recent development in interinstitutional relations, I believe that it is imperative for the European Parliament’s Rules of Procedure to be revised. However, I, too, support the view of the rapporteur, which is that the priority at the moment should be to amend Council Question Time. At the same time, I think that it is useful to retain the option to ask the Council questions during a set question time for matters relating to the Council’s responsibilities other than those linked to the exercise of its legislative and budgetary functions.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The Lisbon Treaty perfected – on paper at least – the process of parliamentarisation that has been ongoing for a long time. The European Parliament became a colegislator for the majority of issues, making decisions on an equal footing with the Council. In reality, it still has to fight to see that the rules are applied: sometimes, it seems as though the Member States have not read the Lisbon Treaty. The links between the institutions have been strengthened and it is essential to enhance Parliament’s power of appeal with regard to the Council: we must retain the option of putting questions to the Council –during a specific question hour – on matters relating to responsibilities other than those linked to the exercise of its legislative and budgetary functions. Question hours not only with the President of the Commission, but also with the Vice-President/High Representative and with the President of the Eurogroup should continue to be an option, particularly in the context of the crisis in which these new institutions have been called on to take major political decisions. This contact is essential if Parliament is to take its full place in the balance of power between the institutions and be a central element in public debate and in legitimising the EU with regard to the citizens.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of Mr Lamassoure’s report. I share the rapporteur’s opinion on the need to adapt Council Question Time during the part-sessions following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. I believe it is important that Parliament, which is now on an equal footing with the Council in legislative and budgetary functions, gain as much as possible from the new powers granted to it by the Treaty. This amendment to the regulation is therefore a welcome one as it puts an end to the lack of balance in Parliament’s relationship with the Council. In addition, I note that there will still be the option to ask the Council about its specific responsibilities.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this proposal to amend the Rules of Procedure to take into account the changing relationships between the European Parliament and the institutions representing the national governments, as the Committee on Constitutional Affairs is equally in favour of this amendment, and as this amendment will bring the relationship between Parliament and the institutions representing national governments more closely into line with the institutional balance arising from the Treaty of Lisbon.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) I think that, following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, whereby Parliament has become a colegislator in the European Union and has powers on a par with those of the Council in the ordinary legislative procedure and in the budget procedure, the Conference of Presidents must spotlight this new institutional balance. I concur with the view of the Conference of Presidents that question times not only with the President of the Commission, but also with the Vice-President/High Representative and the President of the Eurogroup, should continue to be an option.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of the proposal for a Parliament decision on amending the Rules of Procedure to take into account the changing relationships between Parliament and the institutions representing the national governments because it was fundamental to update the Rules of Procedure after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, since changes occurred thereafter to the attribution of responsibilities and competences in the EU institutional architecture as regards legislative, budgetary and political competences. Besides, I strongly believe that the European Union needs to strengthen the loyal cooperation between its institutions, in order to increase the effectiveness and the functionality of the EU policy and decision making. With regard to this, I would like to draw attention to the example of the negative experience of the Schengen evaluation reports that made it evident that existing limitations have to be overcome.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report as I believe that, in the light of the new institutional balance resulting from the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, in which Parliament became a colegislator on most matters, keeping Question Time with the Council is unjustified as it currently stands.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) In view of the changes to the institutional balance resulting from the Treaty of Lisbon, the Committee on Constitutional Affairs was broadly unanimous in its view that there was no justification for keeping Question Time with the Council as it currently stands. This amendment does not seek to diminish communication and coordination between the institutions, but merely to adapt this relationship to the new situation and to amend the Rules of Procedure accordingly. Given the current context of the crisis and the multiple challenges that the EU, its Member States and their respective peoples face, dialogue between institutions and their work together is increasingly important.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report by Mr Lamassoure deals with amending the Rules of Procedure to take into account the changing relationships between the European Parliament and the institutions representing the national governments following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, which significantly extended the legislative role of Parliament. However, with the creation of new institutions alongside governments, such as the European Council and its President, as well as the High Representative and the Eurogroup – institutions that have taken on growing political responsibilities – Parliament’s political influence has been effectively diminished, when the desired result is precisely the opposite. I voted in favour of this report because I agree with the rapporteur in the sense that, despite the Council and Parliament exercising their legislative and budgetary functions on an equal footing, Question Time to the Council must be kept because, according to the second sentence of Article 16(1) of the Treaty on European Union, the Council has policy-making and coordinating powers on which it must keep Parliament informed.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The end of Question Time with the Council (which has already happened in practice), as it was conceived, is a result of the changes introduced by the Lisbon Treaty. What is now being proposed is the creation of a new specific question hour on matters relating to responsibilities other than those linked to the exercise of its budgetary and legislative functions. The institutional changes introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, which are frequently praised for strengthening Parliament’s powers, have, in fact, resulted in a weakening of the national parliaments and legislative power structures that are closer to the people and over which they have better control. The national parliaments have, in fact, been relegated to the secondary role of prior supervision of the subsidiarity principle in the European law-making process. The Portuguese Parliament has lost the power to make its own decisions in fundamental areas, and only its participation as an advisory body has increased, but without the right to veto EU decisions with which it disagrees. It is only in highly theoretical and exceptional cases (which have never actually occurred), and only in conjunction with other national parliaments, that it is able to make matters somewhat difficult for the Commission by delaying the legislative process.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) In his letter of 4 March 2011, the President of the European Parliament requested that the Committee on Constitutional Affairs look into a possible amendment to the Rules of Procedure following discussions held in the Conference of Presidents on 17 February 2011. During those discussions, the Conference of Presidents pointed out that, following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, Parliament had become a colegislator in the EU and that its powers were on a par with those of the Council in the ordinary legislative procedure and in the budget procedure. Given this new balance between the institutions, the Conference of Presidents took the view that there was no longer any need for Council Question Time to be included on the agenda every plenary session, as is the case at the moment. On the other hand, the Conference of Presidents does take the view that question hours with not only the President of the Commission, but also the Commission Vice-President/EU High Representative and the President of the Eurogroup, should continue to be an option. If account is to be taken of the development of interinstitutional relationships in recent years, the revision of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure will need to be much further reaching than originally envisaged. With regard to Council Question Time, however, abolishing it in its present form would reflect the shift in the institutional balance. It would nevertheless seem sensible to retain the option of putting questions to the Council, during a specific question hour, on matters relating to its powers other than those linked to the exercise of its legislative and budgetary functions.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) The amendments to the Rules of Procedure, specifically to Rule 116, proposed by this report would not only lighten the burden on part-session agendas; they are also logical and in line with the new institutional framework following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, in which the European Parliament has the role of colegislator. I voted in favour for these reasons.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report on amending the Rules of Procedure to take into account the changing relationships between the European Parliament and the institutions representing the national governments following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty because, after the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force, Parliament became a colegislator in the EU and its powers are on a par with those of the Council in the ordinary legislative procedure and in the budget procedure. Given this new balance between the institutions, it is no longer deemed necessary for Council Question Time to be included on the agenda every part-session, as is the case at the moment. The Conference of Presidents does, however, take the view that question hours with the President of the Commission, the Vice-President/High Representative and the President of the Eurogroup should continue to be an option. Abolishing Council Question Time in its present form would reflect the shift in the institutional balance referred to by the Conference of Presidents. For the reasons set out above, however, it would be sensible to retain the option of putting questions to the Council – during a specific question hour – on matters relating to responsibilities other than those linked to the exercise of its legislative and budgetary functions.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) Following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, Parliament’s powers were on a par with those of the Council in the ordinary legislative procedure and in the budget procedure. Given this new balance between the institutions, there was no longer any need for the agenda to include Council Question Time in its present form. Nonetheless, it seemed essential to retain the option of putting questions to the Council on matters relating to responsibilities other than those linked to the exercise of its legislative and budgetary functions during a specific question hour. I supported the report by Alain Lamassoure.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) The Treaty of Lisbon has established a new balance between the institutions. This balance is based, among other things, on the principle that Parliament and the Council carry out their legislative and budgetary functions on an equal footing. The logical consequence of such an arrangement is the need to adapt Parliament’s Rules of Procedure to the Treaties. There is no doubt about the need to end Parliament’s current right to put questions to the Council which relate to these functions, since in these areas, the two institutions have equal powers and work in close cooperation. The procedure of successive readings and tabling amendments is a de facto mechanism that replaces and strengthens the system of questions which keep a check on the Council. Continued operation of these rules would be an unnecessary duplication of legislative institutions.

The proposed amendment of the Rules of Procedure also provides for Parliament to retain its powers to put specific questions to the Council on the Council’s policy-making and coordinating functions. This is the right solution. It protects Parliament from the Council having too much freedom in this area. It strengthens the democratic supervision of the Council by an institution which is an expression of the will of the EU’s citizens. In view of the wish to democratise the EU, an important part of which is to strengthen Parliament’s position as an institution, such changes should be adopted.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report. Abolishing Council Question Time in its present form would reflect the shift in the institutional balance as a result of the Lisbon Treaty. It would be sensible to retain the option of putting questions to the Council – during a specific question hour – on matters relating to responsibilities other th