Index 
 Previous 
 Next 
 Full text 
Procedure : 2010/2308(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Select a document: :

Texts tabled :

A7-0143/2012

Debates :

PV 21/05/2012 - 17
CRE 21/05/2012 - 17

Votes :

PV 22/05/2012 - 6.2
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2012)0207

Debates
Tuesday, 22 May 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition

7. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
 

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Rita Borsellino (A7-0143/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Mariya Nedelcheva (PPE). (FR) Mr President, the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon confirmed that security is a prerequisite for ensuring the exercise of fundamental rights and creating an area of freedom, security and justice.

The Treaty of Lisbon has thus strongly anchored EU security policy to a specific rule of law. This internal security strategy is a response to the call made within the Stockholm Programme. In order to put in place an effective internal security system, a comprehensive EU analysis of the threats to be addressed must be carried out.

There has been agreement on five priority areas in which the EU can provide added value. However, I would like to point out that even though man-made disasters were not included in the key priorities in the end, they are no less important. Man-made disasters can easily represent a direct, serious and collective threat to the security of European citizens.

Nonetheless, I congratulate the rapporteur and Parliament for having taken a step forward to ensure the security of citizens.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Mr President, the report on the EU internal security strategy makes a number of sensible recommendations for improving security within the EU to ensure that our citizens are fully protected.

I welcome suggestions to strengthen the EU’s internal security strategy in relation to combating the rising threats of terrorism and cross-border crime and those relating to natural and man-made disasters. In these instances, it would be logical for the EU to formulate a coherent unified strategy, rather than have individual Member States trying to tackle such threats alone. I also welcome proposals to strengthen the links with international organisations, such as NATO, and to encourage Member States to communicate their security strategies.

However, the report refers to many initiatives outlined in the Stockholm Programme concerning justice and home affairs, which I do not support. It refers to the creation of a European legal culture in the field of criminal law, and touches on the development of a European policy on asylum and immigration. These are Member State competences and should remain so.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Parliament has become a fully-fledged institutional actor in the field of security policies, and is therefore entitled to participate actively and decisively in the priorities of the internal security strategy (ISS), which is the EU Security Model.

Ms Borsellino’s report sets out the five key areas in which concrete action has been proposed, and it calls for greater judicial and police cooperation between Member States to combat organised crime and terrorism. In my view, it is particularly important to give proper consideration to developing preventive policies, which are key tools for safeguarding a European area of freedom, security and justice.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE).(IT) Mr President, I voted in favour of Ms Borsellino’s report, which addresses the need for a cross-party, multidisciplinary approach to security.

I especially agree with her emphasis on establishing the key areas of the strategy, including the fight against terrorism and organised crime. I do not, however, believe it appropriate to adopt measures to protect intellectual property rights, in that this matter is already the subject of in-depth ongoing debate.

That said, it will be essential to enhance EU judicial and police cooperation through Europol and Eurojust, via a proper implementation of the strategy. At the same time, proper and consistent legal instruments will need to be developed to facilitate the investigative process and the use of evidence.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Morten Messerschmidt (EFD).(DA) Mr President, this report is a fantastic example of blinkered policy. The fact is that, as such, the report reels off a list of the serious problems that we have with international crime in the EU – the mafia, the trafficking of women, drugs trafficking, arms smuggling, and so on – but says not one word about what everyone outside these walls is talking about, which is border controls. The most disastrous thing, perhaps the most disastrous decision that the EU has made over the last number of years, was to prohibit Member States from controlling their own borders.

We do indeed have a free internal market for goods and capital, services, and so on, but our citizens were never asked whether they also wanted an internal market in international crime. I find it striking that, at a time when Germany is carrying out checks on its border with Poland, when the whole of the French presidential elections hinged on border controls, when Sweden has border controls, when, last year, Commission representatives descended on Denmark because we wanted to have border controls, that at such a time, Parliament is capable of adopting a report on international crime that contains not one word about this. It is scandalous!

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE).(IT) Mr President, the European Union’s internal security strategy, launched under the Spanish Presidency, involves action on five major fronts: the fight against organised crime; the fight against terrorism; the fight against cybercrime; border security; and natural disasters. This agenda is tragically topical for my country, which this weekend has suffered two blows in the form of a criminal attack and the violent natural forces unleashed on the Emilia-Romagna region.

I am grateful to Parliament for the solidarity expressed this morning, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank individual Members who have personally expressed their condolences to each Italian MEP.

I believe that the work of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) – and that of the rapporteur, Ms Borsellino – is highly important. In my view, it is vital that these five comprehensive points be further developed as regards the implementation of the integrated security policy approach, cooperation between the different operational levels and, above all, the exchange of information.

I voted in favour, despite not fully agreeing with the omission of natural disaster forecasting, for such events may also be caused by human activities. Nevertheless, I was reassured by yesterday’s intervention by Commissioner Malmström …

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, I would first like to thank the rapporteur for her work. According to Eurobarometer, 40% of Europeans would like the European Union to equip itself with better tools for combating organised crime and terrorism. In the current economic crisis, however, there is a risk that the resources available to fight these threats may be eroded.

Therefore, we must not let our guard down. Above all, we must strengthen coordination between Europol, Eurojust and Frontex in a continual dialogue between European and national institutions.

I take the opportunity provided by this debate to remember, in this 20th anniversary year of the Capaci and Via d’Amelio massacres, the heroic judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who, along with their police escorts, were brutally killed for their relentless fight against mafia and organised crime. May their example be remembered.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, there are very many matters in this report with which I am in agreement. I have always been a supporter of strengthening ties between the European Union and international institutions such as NATO, and of establishing a common strategy for fighting organised crime and carrying on a common fight against terrorism. It is obvious to me, too, that very many of the threats we face today in the field of security are almost exclusively threats of a transnational nature, both within the European Union and also outside its borders. Therefore – in my opinion – it is important for the Member States to be ready to cooperate in this area, and the cooperation should be made as extensive as possible. Unfortunately, I am also a supporter of upholding the sovereignty of nation states, including within the European Union – particularly in such a sensitive area as security – so this was a difficult decision, but I abstained from the vote.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Salvatore Iacolino (PPE).(IT) Mr President, the European Union’s internal security strategies are undoubtedly a fundamental reference point for protecting citizens. It is equally clear, however, that if this section is not allocated sufficient resources to enable these important objectives to be enacted, then security will remain – as it has thus far – a possible but somewhat indefinite option.

Recent events show that security must be guaranteed not only through significant resource allocations but also through strong cooperation based on trust between Member States. The fight against organised crime and terrorism requires strong solidarity between Member States, safeguards for the licit economy, and robust law enforcement against all transnational threats. This demands a prevention-based approach, including border protection and effective enforcement measures to combat organised crime, mafias and terrorism. It is a challenge which, together, we can win.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, the first remark to be made about this own-initiative report on the European Union’s internal security strategy is that it is a very important report because, however much we may regret the fact, the European internal market creates new opportunities for crime. Unfortunately, criminals are also showing that they can be innovative. It does not matter whether we are talking about serious organised crime, terrorism or cybercrime. We need a common strategy to combat these problems within the European internal market.

Therefore, it is important that we have a clear division of responsibilities between the European Union and the Member States and, on the other hand, that they begin to network with one another. I do not want us to give up on this because we need better networking between the Member States in day-to-day life, so that data can be compared and crime combated more quickly.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). – Mr President, I voted in favour of the resolution on the Union’s internal security strategy. I strongly believe that corruption, organised crime, terrorism, radicalisation, cybercrime, challenges to border management and illicit trafficking all represent major threats to the internal security of the European Union and to the lives of its citizens.

Therefore, concrete action must be taken by the relevant bodies in order not only to fight against these threats but also to prevent them. Obviously, reinforcement of this policy must be based on respect for democratic values, human rights and fundamental freedoms. This balance must ensure the security of each human life.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Julie Girling (ECR). – Mr President, the need to examine the robustness of Europe’s internal security has never been stronger. Whilst we see increasing problems with cross-border crime, including people trafficking and cybercrime, which, both in their own special ways, add to the total sum of human misery, we must be careful to develop a very proportionate response.

There is a lot in this report which I can support. I am particularly keen on strengthening the international links and making sure that the communications between Member States are improved. There should be no excuse for failure on the basis of a lack of information. However, there is also much that I cannot support; there are references here to the Stockholm Programme in the areas of justice and home affairs which I do not support. There are also references to European legal culture in the criminal area, which is something that I do not recognise. I believe that Member States need to keep their subsidiarity intact.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, I abstained on this own-initiative report on the EU’s internal security strategy. Though there were many proposals put forward by this report that I would back, there are also several I would reject. I thought that calls for the strengthening of links between the EU and NATO on this issue are a very positive thing – I am the Vice-Chairman of the Parliament’s Delegation for relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly – as would be setting out an EU strategy on dealing with the issue of organised crime within the EU.

An enhancement in our cooperation intergovernmentally in this area can only be seen as a positive thing for our citizens. I took issue, however, with the references within the report to justice and home affairs initiatives put forward in the Stockholm Programme, which I do not agree with, as well as references to a wider single political strategy on asylum and immigration, which my group would not back as this should really be a Member State competence.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Norica Nicolai (ALDE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report because I regard it as a logical option for a coherent European Union strategy. However, I would like to emphasise the link between the internal and external aspects of the security strategy. I believe that this report successfully deals with this link in a coherent manner and also puts forward solutions because it calls on the Council and the High Representative to deal with the neighbourhood partnerships, especially the initiatives on the Union for the Mediterranean, the Eastern Partnership and the Black Sea Synergy.

In this context, cooperation between the European Union, NATO and the OSCE becomes relevant. Cross-border organised crime is not only an issue affecting Europe, and it cannot be tackled and eliminated in a coherent, efficient manner without having a common instrument in this area. I believe that the current crisis must not pose an obstacle to creating this instrument, but quite the opposite.

 
  
  

Report: Cornelis de Jong (A7-0144/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Mr President, the report recognises that criminal law is a highly sensitive policy area, and many Member States feel that their own individual criminal justice systems should continue to serve them best. This is particularly relevant for my Member State, the UK, where the criminal justice system dates back nearly 140 years. It is much more experienced, and thus better equipped, to tackle crime in the UK and beyond.

The report acknowledges that an EU policy in criminal law would not necessarily be more cost-effective, nor would it result in a reduction in crime. Indeed, it asserts that, instead of harmonising criminal law across the EU, it may be more prudent to improve mutual recognition. I was not able to support the report in its current form, as Member States are best placed to coordinate activity directed at combating crime.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the basis was created for the development of criminal law as part of Community law.

Although the mutual recognition of the harmonisation of legislation protecting the principle of the presumption of innocence is important, it is worth emphasising that legislation has to be clear-cut and easily understandable so that it becomes clear to all whether acts amount to criminal offences or not. This especially holds true for directives, since these have to be transposed into national law. Indeed, any lack of clarity could give rise to diverging interpretations of the law.

I therefore believe that close collaboration between the EU institutions as to the principles and methods to be adopted is essential in order to achieve a coherent, high-quality EU strategy on criminal law.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE).(IT) Mr President, I welcome Mr de Jong’s report, which seeks to clarify the extension of the new European area of freedom, security and justice in criminal matters. The discussions under way in the Council are proceeding steadily, with two opposing positions: those who warmly welcome developments and those who are cautious about the emergence of an EU criminal law.

The operational proposals that Parliament has advanced in response to the Council’s views are on the right track, namely, towards a careful examination of the need for, and the consequences of, adopting EU-wide legislation in this sector.

I therefore fully support the request for additional resources to strengthen Parliament’s Legal Service to enable the proposals to be evaluated systematically and in depth. At the same time, in my view, it is essential to promote greater coordination between the institutions on this matter, in order to ensure that future initiatives are based on broad consensus and on Member States’ criminal justice policy requirements.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Morten Messerschmidt (EFD).(DA) Mr President, when reality and ideology cannot be reconciled, it is generally the ideology that is at fault. That came to mind when I read this report, which talks in grandiose terms about the common culture of criminal law that characterises the EU’s Member States, about the fantastic positive aspects of mutual recognition, and so on. Extolling these two facts must undoubtedly be an expression of a very particular European ideology, because out in the real world, the problems involving differences between the criminal law systems of the 27 Member States are massive, and there has been no attempt to reconcile the rules of the different countries to eliminate these problems – rather the contrary. Looking at what has happened in connection with the European arrest warrant, at what happened after joint legislation on terrorism was introduced and so on, it is clear that there are huge problems and, in view of these, we should not be lauding and opening up the way for a common European system of criminal law, but should instead be sending out a call to arms and going in the opposite direction. That is why I voted against this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE).(IT) Mr President, unlike my colleague, I voted for this report, and I congratulate the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and its rapporteur, Cornelis de Jong, for their professional approach. This is a very sensitive subject. We are entering new territory, because it is as a result of the Treaty of Lisbon that we can now begin to speak of EU criminal law.

The rapporteur was right to consider this dimension in his report, to provide a methodological overview identifying guiding principles for the new EU criminal law. He takes a very prudent stance in inviting the Council, the Commission and also Parliament to note that criminal law is nevertheless a major and important restriction on basic rights, and hence a proper approach to it is needed.

I am sure that this report and this invitation by Parliament will be an important guide for those required to act, especially the Council.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, I support Mr de Jong in wishing to develop a common EU legal culture in relation to fighting crime, especially in order to establish a coherent and uniform penal strategy. Crime costs our society too much, in both social and financial terms. It is increasingly a transnational phenomenon, exploiting, among other things, the differences between the various national legal systems.

I, too – with the text of the directive on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography – have sought and obtained greater harmonisation in the fight against child abuse. I therefore believe that it will be useful to harmonise the criminal justice system, with the primary aim of encouraging the practical application of the principle of mutual recognition. Without this, it is difficult to lay the foundations for a strong and credible crime prevention strategy.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Mr President, as with my previous explanation of vote, I have to say that in this case, too, I abstained from voting. I did so because although, on the one hand, I do recognise the necessity of cooperation and for a certain harmonisation of procedures for fighting crime, I am nevertheless of the opinion that it is the Member State which should have sole power to decide the provisions of criminal law in force in its territory.

The procedures and criminal codes in use in the European Union’s 27 Member States reflect differences between them, and there is nothing wrong with this. These differences find their origins in the different cultural, historical and practical contexts of what are, after all, the different countries which make up our Union. So I think that on this very difficult matter, which also involves serious ideological conflicts – because certain things are legal in some countries but not in others – we should respect these sensitivities, leave this matter to the Member States and concentrate on improving cooperation in the field of security under current procedures.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Salvatore Iacolino (PPE).(IT) Mr President, I have supported the de Jong report because it takes account, above all, of a valuable principle: that of the specific character and history of each nation and thus the substantive criminal law of each Member State.

It is also concerned with protecting fundamental rights, respecting the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, and – in a European Union intent on dealing a real and fatal blow to organised crime, terrorism and corruption – allowing the judicial rulings issued by one Member State to be recognised in the others.

In addition, it talks about the goal of harmonisation, with all the premises stated thus far, the definition of offences common to Member States and those guarantees for accused persons, especially under cross-examination, that may become the symbol of a common criminal law in the EU.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). – Mr President, I voted in favour of the report on the EU approach to criminal law. I support the application of the principle of mutual recognition in practice – not so much to extend the scope of EU harmonised law, but rather to promote cooperation between judiciaries which must be equally reliable and share the same level of quality and integrity.

I would like to make a comment following what I heard from my British colleagues in particular. As an MEP from a new Member State, I want to change my domestic judicial system for the better, and it is in my interest to look at judicial systems which work better and are long-established and proven over hundreds of years, so that is why I am voting for EU-level cooperation, through which best practices can be imported into the new Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Julie Girling (ECR). – Mr President, I have abstained on this report for a number of reasons, not least as summed up in its title: An EU approach to criminal law. There is a growing buzz of discussion over the area of criminal law in this Chamber and in the EU generally. That discussion very often does not include enough emphasis on the proper place for Member States’ subsidiarity. This is always a consideration for my political group, and most particularly for my national delegation of British Conservatives.

Of course we should look at the implications of creating such EU criminal law, and the political and economic costs, but we know from so much experience that looking at, reviewing and developing an approach so very often turns into an overweening desire to legislate, regulate and impose. I simply cannot support that. Whilst I see that many of the individual issues in this report are well-crafted and thoughtful, it simply does not outweigh my belief that each Member State is best placed to make its own decisions.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report because I support the creation of a common European legal culture, including in the area of criminal law. It also depends on harmonising legal principles and practices. However, criminal law remains primarily under the remit of Member States.

This is why the proposals made at European level must respect the principles of proportionality and subsidiarity. At the same time, defining common approaches will allow trust to grow between national systems. It will provide greater legal certainty for citizens. Based on this, I draw your attention to Article 9. Uniform minimum standards of protection need to be set for those involved in criminal proceedings. I also endorse the proposal for setting up an interinstitutional working group to ensure coherence in EU criminal law.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, I abstained on the de Jong report on an EU approach to criminal law. I felt that the report was an interesting one, the approach was thoughtful and there were certain bits I could agree with. The rapporteur rightly acknowledges that there are several important differences between the criminal law and criminal proceedings systems of the different EU Member States, and that each has its specific individual characteristics. Nevertheless, I cannot back a report that advocates a unified approach to criminal law across the Member States, as I am convinced that each individual Member State should be competent to deal with these matters.

So I reject ‘Corpus Juris’. Our individual systems of criminal law and proceedings have evolved over many years, and each Member State has its own crime patterns and a legal culture specific to itself. I would therefore propose that our individual criminal justice systems are better placed to deal with crime in our own countries than would be a system imposed from the top down by the European Union.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Norica Nicolai (ALDE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report because it provides a coherent approach to our fairly long-standing initiative, which was launched in Maastricht in 1992, to establish a European criminal law system.

Naturally, this system must clearly take into account the fact that criminal law is an expression of a nation’s civilisation and culture and, under these circumstances, European systems differ completely in this respect. However, this should not stop us from gravitating towards a situation where a coherent approach is required by criminal law institutions. I am thinking, in particular, of financial crimes, market manipulation and business crimes.

In this regard, I believe that it is in all our interests to operate using the same standards and to try to have the same outlook, not only in terms of prevention, but also in terms of tackling this issue, because it is essential to the EU’s coherence. However, I believe that we must retain our diversity in the area of criminal law.

 
  
  

Report: María Irigoyen Pérez (A7-0155/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE).(FR) Mr President, this is good news. The European Parliament has just passed a resolution that will give vulnerable consumers greater protection.

In the first instance, there was a problem with the definition: vulnerable consumers have traditionally been seen as older people, people with a disability or people who cannot easily assert their rights. This is true; in reality, however, things are more complicated and all of us can be vulnerable consumers at one time or another, especially given the advent of new, extremely aggressive selling practices. I am referring, in particular, to the whole area of e-commerce, behavioural advertising, etc. A legal instrument was therefore needed and, in my opinion, it is to be welcomed.

Secondly, while this instrument certainly needed to assert the rights of vulnerable consumers, it also needed to provide them with the means of enforcing them. I think this is the other major advance that this instrument represents, and we should all welcome this step forward by Europe.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Mr President, I welcome the report on strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers as it will give those consumers an added degree of protection when purchasing goods and products across the EU. The proposals put forward in the report are balanced and sensible, particularly in relation to misleading advertising, unfair contract terms and unfair business practices. These measures would also go some way to ensuring that the current differences which exist between products of the same brand in different Member States are eliminated – a problem which many of my Welsh constituents encounter daily.

We need to ensure that all consumers are confident enough when buying products and are protected, by requiring Member States to monitor information which is given to the public and to ensure that the information can be easily understood by all.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, the European Union protects consumers’ wider interests from unfair business practices, misleading advertising and unfair contract terms, yet it is beyond doubt that those consumers who are most vulnerable – because of their age, physical or mental situation, or simply insufficient information – need special protection.

I have therefore voted for Ms Irigoyen Pérez’s text, because I agree that creating a strategy for the rights of the most vulnerable consumers will not only encourage their social inclusion but will also lead to a safer, fairer and more competitive single market.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Morten Messerschmidt (EFD).(DA) Mr President, it is said that in Ancient Greece, when a politician proposed a new law, he had a rope around his neck. This was, of course, a signal that there would be consequences if he proposed a law that proved to be fatal. Fortunately, such practices are now behind us, but I cannot help thinking of it when I read this report dealing with consumer rights. Of course it is nice to secure certain privileged rights for certain vulnerable groups of consumers. On the other hand, one cannot help thinking that had the EU not insisted so zealously and so intensely on total harmonisation in the area of consumer rights, the rules would never have sunk to the level that they are at today. The fact is that Member State after Member State has been forced to create generally poorer rules for consumers, and we are now in a situation in which the EU has to make special rules for vulnerable consumers. Would it not have been better to have simply applied a minimum of harmonisation and left the countries alone to stick with their good rules?

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Paolo Bartolozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, Ms Irigoyen Pérez’s report, which we have voted to support, concerns the need to consider developing a strategy to protect the rights of the most vulnerable consumers, in light of the strategy that the European Commission and the Member States will be required to devise to that end. Consumers may be vulnerable for various reasons, and potentially anyone may be affected.

That is why this group of consumers, along with consumers in general, needs to be protected. A targeted strategy is required that considers the problem in the round while, on the one hand, avoiding creating new forms of discrimination and, on the other, eschewing static, rigid definitions that are unable to embrace all the facets of the matter and the various possible kinds of vulnerability. Specific, targeted protective measures are therefore needed.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Cristiana Muscardini (PPE).(IT) Mr President, we welcome Ms Irigoyen Pérez’s report on strengthening the rights of the most vulnerable consumers. Nowadays, it is not only the youngest, the oldest or the infirm but, indeed, all citizens who are bombarded with information that is not regulated by specific provisions.

It is essential that a new strategy for strengthening the rights of consumers should not confine itself to defending citizens’ legal and social rights of redress but that it should be accompanied by fair, clear and reciprocal measures to ensure a safer and more competitive market.

In approving this report, Parliament has sent a fresh signal to the Council to reopen the debate that has been in limbo for two years on regulating the designation of origin marking of products from outside the EU. Even though it reflects the desire to protect consumers from counterfeiting, this regulation has not yet been debated. Let us hope that the Council will be receptive this time.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, in the absence of accurate and transparent information, not only do we make uninformed choices, but if problems arise, we are reluctant to act or we are simply unable to report infringements, to enforce our rights or, above all, to demand fair compensation.

Complaints procedures hinder us. They are too complicated, especially for the most vulnerable consumers – I am referring to the elderly, children, the disabled or those whose particular social, cultural and economic circumstances render them more exposed and more easily manipulated, such as by false and misleading advertising.

In my view, big business in particular should commit to being more socially responsible, by putting in place systems for complaints and refunds that are easy to understand and use, especially for online products and services.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Jim Higgins (PPE). – Mr President, I welcome this report. I think it is a good start, but we need to go an awful lot further. We need a strategy to protect the rights of vulnerable customers. Online shopping is a very welcome development indeed, but the Internet is also fraught with dangers. Consumers are bombarded with attractive but bogus offers from companies. They look attractive on the surface but, once these fraudulent companies get your credit card details, you are wide open to fraud and exploitation. I think we need to look very closely in relation to how we protect our vulnerable consumers, because this report is good, it is a good start, but we have a long way to go. Again, congratulations to the rapporteur.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Mr President, I endorsed this report. I think that protecting the rights of the consumer is a very important matter, and one which tackles a problem which continues to be a serious menace even in the most developed countries, such as the Member States of the European Union.

However, I would like to talk about an aspect of this issue which for me, as a father of two daughters, is of particular importance – advertising aimed at children, who today are already precisely this kind of vulnerable consumer. This advertising is not only aimed at people who are still young and immature and can easily be manipulated, but unfortunately it also teaches them a very materialistic approach to life. It teaches them that their value is not measured by their achievements at school, but by what toys they have or what clothes they wear. I am a supporter of free speech, and I am also a supporter of freedom for advertising, but I think that if advertising is aimed at adults, it is something completely different than if it is aimed at children and adolescents.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I have also voted in favour of the own-initiative report because strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers is a very important matter. I found one sentence in the report very informative: ‘This report rests upon the principle that all consumers are susceptible to becoming vulnerable consumers over the course of their lives’. This means that one day, this may ultimately affect us.

I would like to add two comments to what previous speakers have said. One is that a uniform internal market with uniform standards is a requirement for consumer protection. Every consumer can then be certain, regardless of what he buys, that it is equally safe and of the same quality in every Member State. Secondly, what the previous speaker said on the subject of advertising is correct. We must make sure that advertising, particularly in the case of vulnerable consumers, does not move in the wrong direction and become misleading.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Julie Girling (ECR). – Mr President, I voted for this report on strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers because I believe it is an important element of creating a single market in Europe which works for the benefit of all citizens and for European business.

We are all vulnerable at some point in our lives, although we may not always wish to acknowledge that, particularly when we see ourselves in our prime. However, the development of the digital economy really does exacerbate this situation. We are all just one keystroke away from making a bad or a wrong decision as consumers and this can be far more difficult to rectify than such a decision made in a face-to-face transaction. This is particularly the case, as has been mentioned, for young people, but let us not forget the older consumers who, whilst they may be trying to welcome online business into their lives, find it creates specific challenges.

This own-initiative report sets out a strategy for strengthening the rights of these people, calling on the monitoring of behaviour and the development of specific protection proposals, and I welcome it.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, I voted in favour of the Irigoyen Pérez report on a strategy for strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers. The report stresses the importance of understanding what it is that makes the consumer vulnerable and picks up on the fact that vulnerability can come from external factors – for instance, I myself was a victim of consumer credit fraud even though I am not vulnerable and I realise that there is very little come-back under our system against this – as well as from those that are inherent in the consumer’s physical and mental situation, and therefore proposes measures for the problems of vulnerability to be addressed on a case-by-case basis rather than a ‘one size fits all’ solution.

I backed the report’s assertion that consumers’ ability to make the best decision by themselves is optimised in a situation in which they have access to all adequate information which is both comprehensible and easily accessible. I therefore back the Commission’s efforts to provide such information to all consumers and feel that this will only result in the production of a fairer and more efficient internal market for all consumers throughout the European Union.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Anna Záborská (PPE).(SK) Mr President, the concern shown by our socialist colleagues for our fellow citizens is almost moving. Until now, I thought that it was sufficient for consumers to have enough information and access to justice if the fundamental principles of a business relationship are violated. However, in the explanatory statement, the rapporteur leads us to believe that consumers either do not understand, are not pushy, or they are unable to complain. They are vulnerable and we need to take care of them. The rapporteur is correct in one respect: Some people really are more vulnerable, such as elderly people or children. Their vulnerability is due to the weakening of family and neighbourhood values. They need intergenerational solidarity, and not officials who do their shopping for them. I support the report, but the problem of vulnerable citizens needs to be addressed in a wider context, because otherwise, it will only get worse and not even European legislation will be of any help.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Mr President, I think it is a source of great regret for many of us who want to see the completion of the single market that it has not yet been completed. But, at the same time, if we want to take the peoples of our constituencies with us, it is important that they have confidence in a single market and they have confidence as consumers.

I think we have all received e-mails from our constituents concerned about the European City Guide scam, where they have paid money to be listed in a directory when they had no idea that they were supposed to pay for that, or from consumers asking for better information or who have bought something on an online site in another country. We have also had the issue of consumers who have seen a product available in other countries but have been unable to buy it on their own market.

Surely it is time that we made sure that we complete the single market, as well as making sure that we give consumers better information and the right to redress any problems that they may have faced, especially when they face a problem buying something on a market in another country, in another EU Member State. We have to restore confidence in the single market and we have to help all consumers.

 
  
  

Report: Simon Busuttil (A7-0153/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Mr President, I voted in favour of this report on the internal market scoreboard, as the scoreboard itself has proved to be a valuable tool in identifying key areas of improvement for Member States with respect to the progress they are making in transposing internal market legislation. It is of concern that only 11 Member States have reached the 1% transposition deficit target that was set by the European Council itself.

I support the rapporteur’s recommendations for the Commission to continue producing reports on Member States’ progress, and I further support his calls for Member States to accelerate transposition and for there to be clearer reporting on infringement proceedings.

It is important to continue to highlight areas that need greater attention to ensure that all EU citizens can benefit from the single market. The single market is the most effective tool we have for restoring growth across the EU in these current economically difficult times. Given that this is the 20th anniversary of the single market, it is only right that we ensure that all internal market legislation is incorporated into national legislation across the EU as soon as possible and as consistently as possible.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Morten Messerschmidt (EFD).(DA) Mr President, time and time again, we hear that the internal market is the thing that will secure growth and stability in the EU Member States, yet what are the realities of the internal market? The reality is that there is a huge difference between when the countries are able to implement the various directives, and when they wish to do so. This means that what was intended to ensure that everyone played by the same rules has, in fact, created 27 different standards. That is quite simply unacceptable. We have 85 directives that have now been adopted by the EU’s institutions and should be applicable law, but which have not yet been implemented in one or more Member States. It means that enterprises in the countries that are good at implementing the rules swiftly, effectively and in a timely manner are placed in a poorer position relative to those in countries that just let it all drift. That is unacceptable. We need more severe sanctions here, otherwise the whole idea of the internal market will become a standing joke. We do not consider that acceptable.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in favour of this report, as did the entire European Conservatives and Reformists Group. We are agreed that Europe today, and not only Europe, is facing what is perhaps the greatest economic crisis in modern history, and it is surely our duty to the citizens of the European Union to do everything in our power to bring this economic crisis, which has already affected very many of our citizens and businesses, to an end. It is certain – in my opinion – that one way to do this is to strengthen the single market, because it is by the single market that we will restore economic growth to the European Union. I think the internal market scoreboard is a good tool for supporting the creation of a single market and measuring the contribution individual EU Member States make to it.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, I voted in favour of the Busuttil report on the internal market scoreboard. This year, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Single Market Act and the organisation of the Single Market Forum. Although we have come a long way, it is still of vital importance that the legislation that is in place for businesses, as well as consumers, is effective.

I backed this report and I welcome the paragraphs that call for a better exchange of best practice between Member States and an improvement in cooperation between the Commission and the Member States, as I feel that this can only lead to a smoother functioning of the single market, which is, after all, the greatest prize of EU membership.

We must also call for more synergy between national administrations in this area, but it is important, too, that we have more commitment from the national institutions in order to ensure that EU internal market directives are implemented on time and effectively, and that they are enforced.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Mr President, in this age of austerity, when governments across the world and across the EU are having to tighten their belts and cut spending, it is important that we come up with initiatives for growth, and give confidence to our electorate that we are seeking ways for growth to create jobs.

At the last summit of EU leaders, in March this year, David Cameron and leaders from 11 other countries sent a letter to Mr Van Rompuy and Mr Barroso calling for a deepening of the single market and an opening up of the services market. Surely it is time to promote initiatives which lead to growth in the services market? Let us not forget that services account for more than 70% of EU GDP, and it is important that we push for the completion of the single market to help consumers and to help businesses across the EU.

Unfortunately, the leaders of France and Germany rejected this and just carried on with the same old way, trudging on, not looking for ways to grow. It is important that they wake up and listen to the leaders who signed that letter.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, the single market was conceived as a vital tool for steering Europe towards sustainable growth and full employment. If fully developed, it could provide a useful antidote to the economic crisis that has gripped Europe and the world for several years now.

To that end, its supporting directives need to be properly transposed, applied and implemented. I therefore agree with Mr Busuttil’s proposals, which emphasise the need to implement these directives in order to be able to exploit the single market’s economic potential.

The SOLVIT network has been shown to be a useful, effective tool for providing clear, timely solutions for citizens and businesses, thus helping to solve the problems associated with the misapplication of competition rules. As a non-judicial entity, the network is ideally placed to operate economically and effectively. I therefore hope that SOLVIT will be further reinforced and promoted to European citizens.

 
  
  

Report: Emine Bozkurt (A7-013/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Mariya Nedelcheva (PPE).(FR) Mr President, I should like to begin by congratulating Ms Bozkurt for the work she has done on this report, which gives a clear account of the situation of women in Turkey. All information and statistics about the current situation regarding women’s rights in Turkish society are valuable and useful.

I voted in favour of this report because it shows us once again that the principle of gender equality and respect for fundamental rights are not being put into practice, in spite of the legislative provisions that are in place. It is a reminder of how important it is that we continue our endeavours to ensure that women no longer have to suffer discrimination and violence because of their gender, not only within the borders of Europe, but wherever they are in the world.

The vision embodied in the European social project is one in which all men and women are masters of their own rights, free from all forms of violence and discrimination and free to develop their full potential as human beings, in an environment of equality.

I therefore urge that we continue along these lines in our relations with third countries, because the European Union has a vital role to play on the international stage and promoting the universal principles of our Charter of Fundamental Rights is a major part of this.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Mr President, I cautiously welcome the report on the 2020 perspective for women in Turkey as it recognises the progress that Turkey has made in women’s rights and it also highlights the continued work that needs to be carried out from now on. It is encouraging to hear that Turkey has newly appointed a Minister for Family and Social Policies who has stated that women’s rights and gender equality will be one of the government’s priorities. In addition to this, a special domestic violence bureau has been set up and I wish them well in their task.

Despite the progress that has been made, violence against women continues and so further efforts need to be made. It is disturbing to learn that 39% of Turkish women have apparently encountered some form of physical violence during their adult lives. I therefore support the Turkish Government and call on it to adopt a zero tolerance policy towards violence against women. Given that Turkey is a candidate country to join the EU, it is even more important for it to meet the Copenhagen criteria before EU membership is achieved.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Morten Messerschmidt (EFD).(DA) Mr President, I think that in reality, we are all finding it hard to tackle the situation that the EU has got itself into as regards Turkey. I know that more and more of the Members of this House are realising that not only is it impossible to complete the process of the accession negotiations, but that in fact, it is resulting in something that we do not want – which is that, in actual fact, relations with Turkey are only getting worse and worse because we are trying to impose models onto the country that large parts of the population there do not actually want; at least, that is how it is perceived in Turkey. That is why we are seeing increasing Islamification, we are seeing power increasingly being centralised and we are seeing democracy being rolled back. Viewed in these terms, this report bears witness to the fact that not only are there many problems, including in the civil sphere, but that the problems are increasing. All this is happening despite the fact that we have been negotiating with Turkey on membership for a number of years and have been having a dialogue with Turkey for even longer, before the country was accepted as a candidate country. Perhaps it is now time to revise this policy, to turn it around and talk about something other than membership.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Jim Higgins (PPE). – Mr President, I am also speaking on behalf of my EPP colleague, Mairead McGuinness. Both of us would like to congratulate the rapporteur and the shadows on a very good own-initiative report, which is concise, succinct and, importantly, sticks to the point.

I especially welcome paragraph 11 which calls on the Turkish Government to investigate the phenomenon of honour suicides. While I welcome the fact that honour killings are now classified as aggravated circumstances – murder, in other words – I am concerned that honour killings have been replaced by honour suicides. I welcome that paragraph 11, for example, calls for further research on this. We need to follow it up vigorously.

I voted against paragraph 41. I am not against paternity leave but, as far as I am concerned, not all EU countries have paternity leave. Therefore, we are not in a position to insist that it happens in Turkey.

Last, but by no means least, I voted against paragraph 45. Again, I am not against maternity leave and I have actively supported the Estrela report. However, I believe that the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality is not in a position to dictate to Turkey on this matter.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Andrea Češková (ECR). (CS) Mr President, this report on a perspective for women in Turkey focuses on all of the important aspects inherently linked to human rights, and therefore I voted in favour of it. Despite the successes achieved in the area of women’s rights in Turkey, violence against women remains a fundamental and as yet unresolved problem. Statistics show that two to three women are killed every day by a husband, family member or former husband. We cannot allow such widespread violations of human rights in Turkey. Honour killings, forced marriages, marriages concluded at an early age and domestic violence are areas still lacking legislation to punish the guilty and protect victims.

Even though some forms of violence are linked to specific regions, we must constantly draw attention to their existence. We know from experience that the mere implementation of a zero tolerance policy is not enough to achieve the objective. It is necessary to have broad public support and a change in mentality regarding the status of women. This is also connected with support for education at all levels and for all children without distinction, in order to put across the fundamental norms of democracy and human rights.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in favour of the Bozkurt report. It is a very good report because, on the one hand, it evaluates the progress Turkey has undoubtedly made in the field of implementing human rights, in this case, the rights of women in particular, but, on the other, it very firmly calls attention to the specific and very painful problems being faced by women in Turkey. I would like here to say something about so-called ‘honour’ suicides, to which reference has already been made. We are entitled to expect that not only will the Turkish Government adopt a clear position on this matter, because it has already taken such a position, but that it will very consistently strive for the elimination of this horrific phenomenon from Turkish society. It is precisely because there are, I think, many honest friends of Turkey in this House, who support its European aspirations, that we are entitled to speak about all these areas which continue to be of such importance and in which Turkey is very far removed from European standards.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Oreste Rossi (EFD).(IT) Mr President, although Turkey has already implemented legislation on women’s rights, in reality, considerable discrimination persists, especially in rural areas. In recognising Turkey’s progress in encouraging women’s involvement in social, economic and political life, the rapporteur also has criticisms to make. Despite this, she urges the Turkish Government to improve and to do everything it can to ensure that all targets are met with a view to Turkey’s accession to the European Union.

I am voting firmly against this report because I believe that a third country cannot even contemplate joining the European Union when it not only fails to respect religious freedoms and citizens’ fundamental rights, but is even conducting a military occupation of northern Cyprus, which is part of the Union.

As for religious rights, I note that the Catholic Church is forbidden from training clergy within the Turkish State; hence, seminaries and Catholic training institutes cannot be opened. If this is democracy …!

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Frank Vanhecke (EFD).(NL) Mr President, I abstained from the vote on this report, much as I do, of course, agree with the majority of recommendations calling for equal rights and equal opportunities for women in Turkey.

Why did I abstain? First of all, because I do find it odd that nowhere in this report was reference made to the crux of the issue, namely, the march in Turkey of a very radical form of Islam, a kind of Islam that is actually stuck in the Middle Ages and where women, by definition, are viewed and treated as subordinate beings.

For that matter, I also consider it unacceptable that we do not have the courage, in this report, as in many others, to link the billions in European subsidies that have been flooding into Turkey for years to strict conditions relating, for instance, to human rights and freedom of expression.

Finally, we really should have the courage to make it plain and clear that Turkey is not a European country, and never has been, does not it have European culture, and that, consequently, a potential accession to the European Union must be rejected.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Julie Girling (ECR). – Mr President, I was delighted today to be able to vote on a report from the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM). This is, for me, a rare occurrence, as so often these reports get bogged down in dogmatic political posturing and important issues are often lost in pointless rhetoric, but in this report we have some clear points being made, both in identifying Turkey’s progress and in detailing where more work needs to be done.

I welcome the tone of the report, which is neither hectoring nor lecturing, and identifies this as clearly a work in progress. I particularly welcome progress in Turkey in the areas of health and education for women and children. The appointment of a Minister for Family and Social Policies is a good sign, and I have been very impressed by her strong public assurances that the Turkish Government is continuing to escalate the issue of women’s rights up its agenda. Of course there is a long way to go, but we should be encouraging the Turkish Government to continue on this trajectory.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). – Mr President, I voted in favour of this resolution because I believe that the European Union should use its influence to support the cause of women in Turkey and promote women’s rights in accordance with the Charter of European Rights. Turkey is the largest country seeking membership in the Union; this is both an opportunity and a challenge.

The accession process is valuable in itself and we must assist accession countries in implementing laws which are consistent with our principles and values, although I have to say that there are Member States where few women are in politics and in high level decision-making positions, so we also have to work in our own Member States.

Coming back to Turkey, women are active members of their communities and must be involved in the decision-making process in all areas. Increased political participation for approximately half of the Turkish population will only increase the country’s wealth and its democratic credentials. I welcome this report and endorse its recommendations.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Mario Pirillo (S&D).(IT) Mr President, despite the progress that Turkey has made on human rights, I regret to say that violence against women is still one of the country’s most pressing problems. The official Turkish statistics are alarming: 39% of Turkish women are victims of violence.

The establishment of the Committee on Equal Opportunities within the Turkish Parliament and the Gender Equality Commission within the Ministry of Education represent a step forward. The recognition of Turkish women’s rights must be an essential part of the negotiations for accession to the European Union. They must be granted the same rights to education, access to employment and to justice that men have.

I voted in favour of the report because I hope that Parliament’s requests will be accepted in full by the European Commission.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, I voted in favour of the Bozkurt report on the 2020 perspective for women in Turkey. It is true that Turkey has made progress recently in the field of women’s rights. I particularly welcome the appointment last year of Fatma Sahin as the new Minister for Family and Social Policies and the work that she has already done to underline the importance of women’s rights as issues for her government to take seriously. The establishment of a new Bureau on domestic violence, responsible for arresting perpetrators and protecting victims, is, I believe, an extremely positive step.

However, there is still room for improvement. I feel that the Turkish Government could take further action in order to prevent early forced marriages, as well as taking more action on the more recent issues of honour suicides or honour killings. But, overall, I do believe that this report takes all these matters into account satisfactorily so I voted in favour of it.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Norica Nicolai (ALDE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report because I think that it provides a fair analysis of the situation of women in Turkey, as well as a fair analysis of the efforts being made by the European Union to implement a gender model that is specific to Europe, but not to Turkey. I believe that this is also why our failure in very many cases to resolve issues and achieve things is due to the structure of Turkey’s model.

What is more important, as I see it, is for us to combat violence against women in Turkey. I welcome the measures implemented by the Turkish Government at an institutional level. However, I think that sustained efforts need to be made at the moment so that these measures can somehow be put into practice. It is unacceptable for us to continue to tolerate these ‘honour’ suicides and ‘honour’ crimes which, in my view, are a heinous act in the 21st century. However, there are issues which could be levelled at our Member States, too. It is difficult to introduce gender tolerance in a country like Turkey.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Philip Claeys (NI).(NL) Mr President, I abstained from the vote on the Bozkurt report because I believe that, while it contains a number of positive elements, it also contains negative ones.

It is important that we, as the European Parliament, stand up for the rights of women, both in Europe and beyond, and thus also in an Asian and Islamic country such as Turkey, where so-called ‘honour killings’ take place and where forced marriages are commonplace. It is good that this report makes reference to this, albeit somewhat reluctantly.

Why, in fact, are we not speaking clearly about the increasing Islamification of society in Turkey? We are talking about a deep cultural groundswell that cannot just be tackled or counteracted through legislative initiatives. It is clear that a country like that does not belong in the European Union, and it is therefore rather outrageous and odd that the report argues for the so-called ‘European perspective for Turkey’.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Anna Záborská (PPE).(FR) Mr President, I am a firm believer in promoting human rights everywhere in the world; however, I also support the principle of the differences between men and women.

I therefore abstained in the vote on this report, as I do not support the ideological approach that the rapporteur and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality have adopted. It appears that the European Union, in the shape of the Commission and Parliament, does not respect the human nature of men and women. This report proves that the EU is trying to change human nature to fit in with the demands of the market. Let Turkey and all the other candidate countries be warned.

This report will be ignored, like several other motions tabled by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, and I find this a great shame.

I am certain that those in power in Turkey will pay little attention to this resolution.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, despite Turkey’s recent efforts and progress, culminating in the meeting between the Turkish Minister for Family and Social Policies and representatives from the Committee on Equal Opportunities, a number of important outstanding gender equality issues remain.

Given that Turkey is a candidate country, the present gap will have to be bridged completely for it to be able to achieve current European Union standards. I am concerned, in particular, by the recent data on the safety and protection of women. It emerges that 39% of Turkish women have been attacked at least once in their lives.

I agree with Mr Bozkurt’s proposal to encourage the Turkish Government to act swiftly to implement the measures needed to reduce the number of attacks. Finally, I would like to stress the importance of access to information and to education in ensuring gender mainstreaming at all educational levels.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Hans-Peter Martin (A7-0440/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since it reinforces the logic that cutting red tape for a more effective and efficient Europe is what really matters for a Europe of growth and jobs. We need a Europe that responds to the challenges of the European Union as a whole and of the Member States individually. By reducing the number of commemorative coins in circulation, this proposal will only simplify the administrative procedures involved and, by virtue of their greater scarcity, increase the value of each commemorative coin.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted for this motion for a legislative resolution, which is in favour of a reduction in the number of commemorative coins in circulation. This will simplify the administrative procedures involved and, by virtue of their greater scarcity, increase the value of each commemorative coin.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. The proposed regulation lays down mandatory provisions for the issuance of euro circulation and collector coins. It also establishes certain volume limits for commemorative euro circulation coins and a consultation procedure prior to the destruction of fit euro circulation coins. The reduction in the number of commemorative coins in circulation will simplify the administrative procedures involved and, by virtue of their greater scarcity, increase the value of each commemorative coin.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report specifies the rules the Member States should observe for euro coins to be valid and in circulation, since the designs of the national sides of euro coins are decided by each Member State. The Member States should be allowed to issue commemorative euro circulation coins to celebrate subjects of major national or European relevance. In order to reduce the number of commemorative coins in circulation, the proposal included in this report will simplify the administrative procedures involved and, by virtue of their greater scarcity, increase their value. I am voting for this report because I believe its content is beneficial and will clarify the necessary rules for the circulation of euro coins.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I wished to support Mr Martin’s report, not only because it proposes the adoption of uniform measures across Member States to ensure legal certainty in the sector, but also because it reminds the European Commission of the need to carry out an impact assessment on the issue of one- and two-eurocent coins, whose production costs may outweigh their actual usefulness.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because apart from ordinary circulation euro coins, in accordance with the rules, EU Member States can also issue commemorative euro circulation coins to celebrate certain subjects. However, in order to ensure that such coins only make up a small proportion of all euro coins in circulation, a certain limit on the number of commemorative circulation coins needs to be set. Reducing the number of commemorative coins in circulation would simplify administrative procedures, such as procedures to protect the euro against counterfeiting. Given the scale of their payment services, credit institutions and other providers of payment services, as well as all other institutions involved in handling and distributing banknotes and coins, have an obligation to ensure the authenticity of euro banknotes and coins which they receive and intend to put back into circulation and to recognise counterfeit money. The reduction in the number of commemorative coins in circulation will give the Member States the opportunity to check more effectively and efficiently the authenticity of euro coins throughout the euro area.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – It is, in many respects, laughable that the Commission is considering the issuance of one-euro banknotes instead of coins. Perhaps it is aware that the currency will soon be worth less than the particular alloy upon which it is minted.

The question arises whether – in these speculative days of potential Greek exit from the eurozone and single-currency collapse – all the euro Member States would be duty-bound to abide by such legislation and potentially waste money on the issuance and circulation of a currency that may soon become obsolete. Perhaps, however, investigating the issuance of paper money is, in fact, a tactic to increase the value of the euro coin. Either way, it seems utterly incommensurate that this matter should be discussed at present.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I believe reducing the number of commemorative coins in circulation will simplify the administrative procedures involved and increase the value of each commemorative coin.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, since it proposes a series of rules on denominations and technical specifications of euro coins intended for circulation. I am in favour of reducing the number of commemorative coins in circulation. Increased scarcity will make them more valuable. This will also simplify administrative procedures.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) I would congratulate the rapporteur on his work. I entirely support his position on reducing the number of commemorative coins in circulation, which will not only cut administrative costs, but will also increase their value.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The objective of this report is to establish ‘common principles for the designs used for the national sides of euro circulation coins’, and for the exchange of information on these designs and their approval. The regulation stipulates that it falls to Member States to draw up a design to be used on the national side of the euro coin, which must be approved by the other Member States before its issue, bearing in mind that euro coins circulate in all participating Member States, although final approval is given by the Commission. It also lays down rules for ‘commemorative coins issued collectively by all Member States whose currency is the euro’.

It is unacceptable that the Portuguese version of this report still had not been made available at the time of the vote in plenary. This is another example of the intolerable failure to respect the principle of multilingualism that we have been denouncing here. Unfortunately, these violations have been occurring more often since the cuts to the translation budget. We warned of their potential effects at the time. As a form of protest, we abstained from the final vote.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Commission Recommendation 2009/23/EC of 19 December 2008 on common guidelines for the national sides and the issuance of euro coins intended for circulation defines common principles for the designs used for the national sides of euro circulation coins and for the mutual exchange of information and approval of those designs. As they circulate throughout the euro area, their national design features are a matter of common interest. They have a common European side and a distinctive national side. The common European sides of the coins bear both the name of the single currency and the denomination of the coin. A clear indication of the name of the issuing Member State should be put on the national side of the euro coin in order to allow interested coin users to easily identify the issuing Member State. The designs on the national sides of the euro coins are decided by each participating Member State. Issuing Member States should inform one another about new national sides well in advance of the planned issue date. To this end, issuing Member States should forward their draft euro coin designs to the Commission, which will verify their compliance with this regulation. I believe it is important that the regulation be amended accordingly.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) The lack of mandatory provisions to govern the issuance and circulation of euro coins may result in different practices among Member States and, therefore, a lack of legal certainty. This report aims to dispel this uncertainty and I therefore voted for it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the resolution on the proposal for a Council regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 975/98 of 3 May 1998 on denominations and technical specifications of euro coins intended for circulation because Member States should be allowed to issue commemorative euro circulation coins to celebrate subjects of major national or European relevance, but commemorative coins issued collectively by all Member States should be reserved for subjects of the highest European relevance. The EUR 2 coin constitutes the most suitable denomination for this purpose, principally on account of the large diameter of the coin and its technical characteristics, which offer adequate protection against counterfeiting.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Syed Kamall (ECR), in writing. – While we spend our time discussing the denomination and technical specifications of euro coins for circulation, we ignore the elephant in the room which is the future of the euro area itself.

The euro area faces a choice. If the leaders of euro area countries want to keep all 17 countries in the euro area, then there have to be fiscal transfers from the richer countries to the poorest. In other words, Germany has to be prepared to cough up the funds to keep Greece within the euro area, in the same way that my own constituency of London subsidises the poorer regions of the UK remaining in the sterling currency union. Otherwise, the leaders have to prepare for the orderly departure of those Members States that are unable to stay in the euro area.

This does not mean the break up of the euro, but a smaller, more economically viable euro area. That means having an exit strategy for countries such as Greece and others on how to re-introduce their own currencies and coins for circulation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing.(PL) Together with my group, I endorsed the report. It should be pointed out that the report underscores the need to evaluate the legitimacy of continuing to issue EUR 0.01 and EUR 0.02 coins and suggests the possibility of issuing EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes. It also specifies the technical parameters for new issues of commemorative and collectors’ coins in the EU.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution which, according to the rapporteur, will lead to a reduction in the number of commemorative coins in circulation, will simplify the administrative procedures involved and, by virtue of their greater scarcity, increase the value of each commemorative coin.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I support the Commission’s proposal as amended. I also agree with the rapporteur’s argument that a reduction in the number of commemorative coins in circulation will simplify the administrative procedures involved. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) It falls to the Member States to decide what designs they intend to put on their coins for circulation. I support the new technical specifications, which will cut red tape in concluding processes and will encourage a reduction in the number of commemorative coins in circulation, so as to increase their value.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The reduction in the number of commemorative coins in circulation will simplify the administrative procedures involved and, by virtue of their greater scarcity, increase the value of each commemorative coin.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report aimed at reducing the number of commemorative coins in circulation, since that should simplify the administrative procedures involved and, by virtue of their future scarcity, increase the value of each commemorative coin.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report specifies the rules the Member States should observe for euro coins to be valid and in circulation, since the designs of the national sides of euro coins are decided by each Member State. The Member States should be allowed to issue commemorative euro circulation coins to celebrate subjects of major national or European relevance. In order to reduce the number of commemorative coins in circulation, the proposal included in this report will simplify the administrative procedures involved and, by virtue of their greater scarcity, increase their value. I voted for this report because I agree with the measures advocated.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The lack of mandatory provisions for the issuance of euro coins may result in different practices among Member States and does not achieve a sufficiently integrated framework for the single currency. In the interests of legal transparency and certainty, the Commission therefore deems it necessary to introduce common binding rules on the basis of Article 133 for the issuance of euro coins. The Commission’s legislative proposal aims, in particular, at establishing specific provisions for commemorative euro coins so as to ensure that such coins remain a minor percentage of the total number of two-euro coins in circulation. At the same time, these limits on volume should allow for the issuance of a sufficient volume of coins to ensure that commemorative coins can circulate effectively. It also aims to establish specific provisions for euro collector coins, which are not intended for circulation and which should be readily distinguishable from euro circulation coins. Euro collector coins should have legal tender status only in their Member State of issuance and should not be issued with a view to their entry into circulation. In addition, euro collector coins are accounted for in the volume of coins to be approved by the European Central Bank (ECB), but on an aggregate basis rather than for each individual issue.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The EUR 2 commemorative coins are specially minted and issued by Member States of the euro area as legal tender. These coins are usually issued to commemorate anniversaries of historic events or to mark current events of special importance. By 2010, 87 different EUR 2 commemorative coins had been minted. The EUR 2 commemorative coins have become collectors’ items.

With this vote, the reduction in the number of commemorative coins in circulation will simplify the administrative procedures involved and, by virtue of their greater scarcity, will also increase the value of each commemorative coin.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Catherine Stihler (S&D), in writing. – I was pleased to support this report, which looks at the issuance of euro coins and notes. The report keeps the door open for consideration of different denominations of euro notes and sets the rules for commemorative coins.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Commission has tabled a draft amendment to Regulation (EC) No 975/98 of 3 May 1998 on denominations and technical specifications of euro coins intended for circulation. Since euro coins circulate throughout the euro area, the design characteristics of the national sides constitute an issue of common interest. I am voting for this report, which aims to reduce the number of commemorative coins, with the intention of thereby simplifying administrative procedures and increasing their value even further. I also believe the European Commission should inform the Member States and the European Central Bank of the conclusions it reaches.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – The rapporteur amended the Commission proposal such that, when new draft designs of euro coins are forwarded by the issuing Member State to the Commission for verification, the latter must inform the other Member States and the European Central Bank of its findings within ten working days of such verification, to which I agree, and therefore I supported this report with my vote.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The objective of this report is to establish ‘common principles for the designs used for the national sides of euro circulation coins’, and for the exchange of information on these designs and their approval. The regulation stipulates that it falls to Member States to draw up a design to be used on the national side of the euro coin, which must be approved by the other Member States before it is issued, bearing in mind that euro coins circulate in all participating Member States, although final approval is given by the Commission. It also lays down rules for ‘commemorative coins issued collectively by all Member States whose currency is the euro’, which ‘should be reserved for subjects of the highest European relevance’, recommending the EUR 2 coin as the most suitable denomination for this purpose.

 
  
  

Report: Rita Borsellino (A7-0143/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report. It strengthens the idea of the European Union’s internal security strategy (ISS) that emerged from the Treaty of Lisbon, which obliges our system to change from a purely intergovernmental policy to an EU policy with a strong parliamentary aspect, from both the European Parliament and the national parliaments, in order to define jointly internal security priorities and strategies. Increasing the role of its democratic organs should be a matter of pride for the European Union, so fundamental rights should be central to the ISS.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report because, thanks to the Lisbon Treaty, internal security cannot just be an intergovernmental policy any more but needs to include an active role of the EP and the national parliaments both in defining the main priorities and in the evaluation of EU policies. Unfortunately, neither the Member States nor the Commission have as yet envisaged any role for parliaments in this process. For this reason, I support the call made in this report for a stronger parliamentary dimension when it comes to the internal security strategy. I also believe that freedom, security and justice are objectives that must be pursued in parallel and that, in order to achieve freedom and justice, security must always be pursued in accordance with the principles of the Treaties, the rule of law and the Union’s fundamental rights obligations. In addition, it is important to underline that the key common threats identified in the internal security strategy, in particular, organised crime, terrorism, corruption and challenges to border management, have interlinked external and internal dimensions. Therefore, a coordinated and coherent action in both areas is required for any response to be effective.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The European Union’s internal security strategy sets out a series of measures for combating all forms of terrorism. This resolution, which was passed by a very large majority, establishes our current priorities. The fight against terrorism and organised crime, including mafias, white-collar crime, tax fraud and corruption, are to remain key priorities of the strategy. On the sensitive issue of border control, the resolution calls for increased cooperation with third countries in order to put an end to the current flaws in the system. It is vital that we put our energies into economic, social and democratic aid for these countries, as this is essential, and the only real long-term solution to the effective operation of the Schengen area.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. The European Parliament is a fully-fledged institutional actor in the field of security policies and it is therefore necessary to ensure its participation in determining the features and priorities of the internal security strategy (ISS) and in evaluating this instrument. The objectives of the ISS are not exhaustive, they should be better defined, and I therefore welcome the proposals on strengthening EU security policy contained in the report. An assessment of the European policy cycle should be undertaken to coordinate actions at national and European level to combat organised crime, as well as an analysis of the threats to be addressed. A parliamentary review of the Stockholm Programme needs to be undertaken and close cooperation with third countries on security issues needs to be guaranteed.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because neither the Member States nor the Commission have as yet envisaged any role for Parliament in this process, despite the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. In the European Union, the Treaty of Lisbon has further consolidated the area of freedom, security and justice in terms of respect for fundamental rights and the different legal systems and traditions of the Member States. EU security policy is strongly anchored to a specific EU rule of law, so the reinforcement of this policy must be based on democratic values, human rights and fundamental freedoms. The key common threats identified in the internal security strategy – organised crime, terrorism and radicalisation, cybercrime, corruption and challenges to border management – have interlinked external and internal dimensions. The Stockholm Programme emphasised that an EU internal security strategy should be developed in order to further improve security throughout the Union and effectively combat organised crime, terrorism and other threats, while respecting fundamental rights, the principles of international protection and the rule of law. Coordinated and coherent action in both areas is required for any response to be effective.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The strategy highlights all the threats faced by the European Union, ranging from terrorism and organised crime to cybercrime and the trafficking of drugs, weapons and human beings. Consideration is also given to both natural and man-made disasters, such as forest fires, and there is also a focus on coordinating efforts in tackling one particular challenge faced by citizens throughout the EU. One important objective is to prevent terrorism and combat the radicalisation and recruitment of Islamist militants.

This should be achieved by drafting a policy for extracting and analysing financial messaging data within the EU, the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (EU TFTP) (2011), setting up a joint European network for raising public awareness about radicalisation, as well as by adopting measures to combat violent extremist propaganda (2011) and consolidating EU transport security policy (2011). The strategy advocates the notion of preventing these activities, both through the efficient exchange of information between EU Member States and by actions aimed at detecting their causes.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) I believe it is necessary to ensure an effective and permanent linkage between the internal and external dimensions of European security in matters relevant for common foreign and security policy (CFSP) activities and priorities, such as global disarmament, non-proliferation, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) risks inside and outside the EU, the fight against terrorism and radicalisation inside and outside European borders and cybersecurity. Coordination of the internal and external dimensions of EU security strategy should encompass close and effective links between services, bodies and regional and thematic departments in a transversal way, and between the relevant services of the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) in order to ensure its effectiveness and coherence with the CFSP. High Representative Ashton should ensure coordination between the relevant Commission and EEAS units with a view to avoiding the unnecessary duplication of work and roles, especially in areas directly related to security issues inside and outside the EU. In this context, I welcome the proposal to establish a framework programme for research and innovation (2014-2020) under the title of Horizon 2020, which should integrate civilian and military capabilities in tasks ranging from civil protection to humanitarian relief, border management and peace-keeping. To this end, the Commission, the EEAS and the Member States should further develop the planned pre-procurement procedure in order to strengthen the link between internal and external security with substantial and coherent civilian and military capabilities.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) Security in the European Union is an important issue, and one which calls for heightened cooperation between Member States. I believe that creating an area of peace and security is an essential prerequisite for continuing with European integration. We need to strengthen control of our external borders, equip ourselves with tools for combating cybercrime and facilitate concerted European action. It was with these aims in mind that I became a member of the special parliamentary committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing. (IT) The very recent attack on the school in Brindisi, whose motives are yet to be established, has strengthened my inclination to vote for this draft report on internal security strategy, since, in my view, one of our top priorities must be to consolidate a sustainable European Security Model in which security is the prerequisite for the free exercise of rights. This would help to create a European social context in which citizens going about their daily business feel that they are living in an increasingly safe environment, due to the operational collaboration between the EU security agencies – Europol, Frontex and Eurojust.

I fully support this draft report because I believe that special emphasis should be given to strengthening the integrated border management system. This would increase the link between the internal and external aspects of security and improve the monitoring of movements into and out of EU territory. In my view, the strategic priorities stated in the document, although not exhaustive, are adequate for achieving the stated aims. I hope that the Commission will commit to report annually on progress towards these objectives.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on the European Union’s internal security strategy because I support strengthening the link between internal and external security, in general, and in cyberspace, in particular.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) I voted against the report, even though it endeavours to maintain a certain balance in its call for respect for fundamental human rights and the principle of proportionality. However, the report is based on the Stockholm Programme and the strategic presence, via the CFSP, of EU forces in neighbouring countries and the rest of the world and, as such, is largely a move in the wrong direction. The report proposes increasing spending on security, interlinking the external and internal dimensions of security and forging a stronger link between EU external policy and organisations such as NATO. Finally, the report refers vaguely to extremist organisations, to the ‘importance of actions directed at countering violent radicalisation in vulnerable populations’ and ‘looks forward to the future work of the EU Radicalisation Awareness Network, with its mission of facilitating knowledge-sharing’. If and inasmuch as the report is alluding with this phraseology to poor sections of society, then its objective is to criminalise their expression and reaction. We also note that political forces on the left are systematically being labelled extremist. However, these issues are addressed by social policies, through education and through a fair distribution of wealth and social equality, not through policing, repression and informants.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The new situation as regards crime is characterised by the existence of extremely mobile and flexible criminal networks active in various jurisdictions and types of crime, supported by new technological trends and the widespread use of the Internet. The EU should be prepared to react appropriately as security threats emerge and evolve, with Parliament involved in setting the political course, and in implementing and evaluating the results. More than ever, there is a huge need for cooperation between Member States to face up to these challenges effectively. Five priorities have been identified for the next five years: combating organised crime, terrorism and cybercrime, and strengthening border management and the EU’s capacity to resist crises and disasters. It is important not just to strengthen the instruments available to the EU for combating crime, but also to implement and apply those that already exist: for example, the Member States still have not fully applied information exchange instruments, and not all the Member States have ratified and applied the various instruments for police and judicial cooperation. Better exchange of information between Europol and Eurojust would also contribute to preventing and suppressing criminal and terrorist activities, etc.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The current proposal seeks to introduce a ‘European Security Model’ by defining an integrated approach not only to crime-fighting but also to natural disasters. Indeed, some threats to internal security – such as terrorism and organised crime – have become increasingly transnational and therefore demand a strategy that transcends national boundaries and bilateral accords. I believe, however, that it is essential to emphasise that such common action must be taken in parallel with, and not instead of, national measures, which, by the principle of subsidiarity, must still represent the first level of action. In congratulating the rapporteur, Ms Borsellino, for her skill and dedication in preparing the report, I also take the opportunity to remember Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, two icons in the struggle against organised crime, who were killed in the space of a few months exactly 20 years ago. I hope that this report will contribute to the cause for which they gave their lives, and on this sad anniversary, I express my support for the rapporteur.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted for the European Union’s internal security strategy, given that the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon has consolidated even further the area of freedom, security and justice in terms of respect for fundamental rights and the different legal systems and traditions of the Member States, and that policies in this area are a shared competence between the EU and the Member States, in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty. In fact, the Treaty of Lisbon has provided EU security policy with a strong foundation governed by a rule of law specific to the EU, thereby laying the basis for developing a security agenda closely shared by the EU and its Member States, and subject to democratic scrutiny at European and national level.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rachida Dati (PPE), in writing.(FR) Security is still a major concern for European citizens. Part of the solution to effective security is to have a common strategy. Organised crime, cybercrime and terrorism are among the many threats that this report encourages us to address. One of the topics it deals with is borders. This is a crucial issue, as we will only create a secure Europe if we have secure borders. This report strives towards greater protection for Europe’s people, while at the same time emphasising our commitment to upholding fundamental rights. That is why I voted in favour of it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) In 2010, the European Union decided to adopt a common internal security strategy in order to fight organised crime, terrorism and corruption more effectively. Within the framework of this strategy, the European Parliament is calling for efforts to be stepped up in the areas of information and border control, which it sees as high priorities. The resolution also emphasises the importance of upholding fundamental freedoms as we tackle security threats. The right to security must go hand in hand with respect for human rights.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing.(FR) I am delighted at the outcome of the vote on this report, which emphasises the need to respect fundamental rights when implementing Europe’s internal security strategy (ISS). This European strategy, which the Commission put forward in November 2010, sets out a series of initiatives on areas such as terrorism, cybercrime and border management. Every aspect of these initiatives must be kept strictly within the bounds of European and international human rights standards.

Today, we have highlighted the priorities that the European strategy should be following. The fight against terrorism and organised crime, including mafias, white-collar crime, tax fraud and corruption, should remain key priorities, with a special focus on freezing the assets of suspected terrorists. In parallel, Member States should also introduce effective legislation to help victims of terrorism and should step up their efforts to prevent acts of terrorism, for example, through early detection of radicalisation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of the report on the European Union’s internal security strategy because I strongly believe that the ever more globalised criminal activities have to be combated as a matter of urgency with a joint effort by all the European Member States. This report, by clearly addressing the logic of subsidiarity driving the EU Treaty regarding criminal matters, calls for an improved synergy between the internal and external aspects of security and highlights the importance of ensuring that measures implementing the ISS are in compliance with the Union’s fundamental rights obligations. I also very positively welcome the capacity of the report to clearly explain how border management and human mobility are not just security issues, but key features of a wider political strategy, that have to involve the security dimension as well as immigration, asylum and development policies. In this sense, free movement and fundamental rights maintain their central importance for the application of ISS dispositions: the EU, as an area of freedom and justice, must keep these as leading principles.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, since it clarifies the importance of a wide-ranging approach to the EU’s security strategy, based on a holistic concept of human security encompassing human rights, freedom, democracy, the rule of law, good governance and peace. With the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the internal security strategy should include a parliamentary dimension and not limit itself to a question of intergovernmental policy, since both parliaments – European and national – play an active part in setting the EU’s priorities and evaluating its policies.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Göran Färm, Anna Hedh, Olle Ludvigsson, Jens Nilsson and Åsa Westlund (S&D), in writing. (SV) We Swedish Social Democrats voted in favour of the report on the European Union’s internal security strategy because we support its main message, which is that the security strategy must focus on the areas where EU cooperation brings clear added value, while at the same time respecting subsidiarity.

Paragraph 19 refers to the development of a European judicial culture. We agree that we need to increase levels of mutual trust between the Member States with regard to judicial issues. However, we believe that this should be achieved primarily by raising the fundamental and procedural rights in the Member States to a uniform level and not by creating an overall European judicial culture.

We do not support increased links between the common security and defence policy (CSDP) and the activities in the area of justice and home affairs (JHA). In addition, we are not in favour of greater cooperation between the EU and NATO.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) We live in a very complex world with diverse threats of various types, such as terrorism, serious international crime, mafias, cybercrime, economic crime, money laundering and corruption, as well as natural disasters and failures of existing infrastructure. Although very different, all these threats jeopardise the security of the European public and, for this very reason, the institutions should have a clear strategy to ensure that the EU remains an area of freedom, security and justice, but also of security. As the report says, the Charter of Fundamental Rights should be the basis of a robust internal security strategy, in line with the principles enshrined in the Treaty, the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Underlying this report are the guidelines of the Stockholm Programme and the path for which the Treaty of Lisbon paved the way. It takes the view that EU security policy must be anchored to a specific EU rule of law, subject to oversight at European level. That is the starting point for developing an ‘EU internal security strategy’ that protects the EU from ‘terrorism and other threats’. Against the current backdrop, many of the possible implications of this vision are clear. This is all the truer when we consider that ‘all security policy must include a prevention component, which is particularly essential in a period in which economic and social inequalities are growing’. It continues, however, by suggesting soon afterwards that ‘EU security measures (...) have to (...) focus on targeted law enforcement and intelligence activities with proven capacity to lower crime rates and prevent terrorist attacks’. Despite a few assertions on human rights and the principle of subsidiarity, the entire report is along the lines of a drift towards security and repression that does not help to tackle effectively the causes of terrorism. The Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left has been stressing its opposition to this vision for a long time. We voted against.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. (IT) I am voting in favour of Rita Borsellino’s report to strengthen the European Union’s internal security strategy. Over the last 30 years, a succession of serious events, such as natural disasters and terrorist and mafia atrocities, has profoundly shaken public opinion, thus hindering economic development, undermining the political integrity of the countries affected, and eroding trust between citizens and institutions. To regain this trust, a broader synergy must be created between social and institutional agents to consolidate the area of freedom, security and justice in terms of respect for fundamental rights. It is no longer useful to examine social phenomena in a local context; we now need to look beyond national boundaries. We must ensure security by maintaining existing strategies and finding innovate ways to supplement them: to be credible, we must earn the trust of the European peoples and address their needs more effectively.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The internal security of the EU and its security policies are priority areas in the policies of the EU. The Lisbon Treaty established the foundations for the development of a security programme. This is divided between the European Union and the Member States, whereby it is subject to democratic oversight at both EU and national levels. The protection of the lives and safety of EU citizens is paramount. Security in the European Union must continue to be strengthened through effective measures to combat serious and organised crime, terrorism, radicalism and extremism, cybercrime and other threats. I consider it essential to strengthen the management of the external borders and increase resilience to natural disasters as well as to man-made disasters. All security measures must also be in accordance with the obligations of the EU in the field of fundamental rights and they must be focused on targeted enforcement of the law; it is essential to prove their ability to reduce crime rates and prevent terrorist attacks. It is also particularly important to create prevention mechanisms and mechanisms that enable us to detect signs of threats with sufficient advance notice. The recent Arab Spring events provide evidence that the Union’s internal security is inextricably linked to the security situation in countries that are located in its neighbourhood. It is therefore necessary to develop a synergy between the EU, third countries and international organisations such as NATO and the OSCE. We should also take a comprehensive approach towards the European Security Strategy.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing.(FR) As the EU pursues its goal to build a European area of freedom, security and justice, it needs a strong internal security strategy. The own-initiative report that we have adopted by a very wide majority therefore stipulates, first and foremost, that this strategy and all measures that are taken must thoroughly satisfy the obligations placed on them in terms of fundamental rights and upholding the rule of law. Our report then goes on to stress that the strategy must be backed by sufficient financial resources in the next budget period, to allow the European Union to actually address these challenges, and to do so in a comprehensive, coordinated and coherent way. Lastly, our strategy sets out five key areas for action in which the EU provides added value, and for which we need greater European cooperation. I am delighted that this report has been adopted.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing.(FR) I supported the own-initiative report by my colleague, Rita Borsellino, as I consider it our responsibility to add a new dimension to the EU’s internal security strategy, both to make it more democratic and to ensure it pays greater attention to fundamental rights. Firstly, the European Parliament, like our national parliaments, must make its voice heard in evaluating and establishing the priorities of a policy that has been left solely in the hands of national governments for too long. Secondly, I believe that respect for human rights is vital if this policy is to maintain its credibility. Lastly, whilst the principle of subsidiarity is unquestionable in the context of such a sensitive policy as security, it is essential that Member States work more closely together, so that they can deal with threats to their citizens’ security as effectively as possible, whilst abiding by the principles of necessity and proportionality.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mikael Gustafsson (GUE/NGL), in writing. (SV) I have voted against the report. The main reason for this is the fact that some of the paragraphs in the report emphasise the importance of a move towards greater federalism in the area of internal security, with Europol and Eurojust being among the instruments used to achieve this. Also, I do not believe that there are sufficient safeguards in this report in relation to the integrity of citizens with regard to IT security issues.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing.(FR) Organised crime is a wide-reaching problem that calls for a concrete, coordinated response by Member States. Organised crime networks extend beyond national borders, and action based on intergovernmental cooperation is required at operational level. The European Union’s internal security strategy, adopted in 2010, sets out five strategic objectives to make the territory of the Union more secure: combating international criminal networks, preventing terrorism, increasing security levels in cyberspace, strengthening border management and increasing resilience to both natural and man-made crises and disasters. It is now time to carry out an initial evaluation of the progress that has been achieved and the areas that can be improved. Parliament was therefore keen to add its point of view, and to stress that the fight against terrorism and organised crime must remain the key priorities of this strategy, whilst fundamental rights, the principles of international protection and the rule of law must absolutely be upheld. Parliament also wished to draw attention to the fact that security policy falls under the shared jurisdiction of the EU and individual Member States, but that it is also important to adhere to the principle of subsidiarity.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. – The UK and Ireland fall largely outside the scope of Title V of Part Three TFEU, and I expect that exemption to be retained after Scottish independence. Nevertheless, Scotland will also retain the right to opt in to individual provisions under that Title. I recognise that many important aspects in the war against serious organised crime and terrorism have added value to be gained by EU-wide cooperation. This report recognises the role of both Member States and the EU in this field and, on balance, I was able to vote in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed the resolution because the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon has further consolidated the area of freedom, security and justice in terms of respect for fundamental rights and the different legal systems and traditions of the Member States. Policies in this area are a shared competence between the Union and the Member States. The Commission communication on the internal security strategy (ISS) for the period 2010-2014 has identified five priority areas in which the EU can provide added value; namely, fighting and preventing serious and organised crime, terrorism and cybercrime, strengthening the management of the external borders, and building resilience to natural and man-made disasters. The EP welcomes the work undertaken in order to set up an ISS and the main principles underpinning the European Security Model as developed in the ISS, especially as regards the reinforced relationship between security, freedom and privacy and cooperation and solidarity between Member States. EU security measures and cooperation have to comply with the Union’s fundamental rights obligations and focus on targeted law enforcement and intelligence activities with proven capacity to lower crime rates and prevent terrorist attacks. It is important to ensure coherence and synergies between the internal and external aspects of security, and it is necessary to ensure that measures and actions implementing the ISS are in compliance with the Union’s fundamental rights obligations, as well as its external policy objectives and international human rights and humanitarian law.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) This own-initiative report by my fellow Member, Rita Borsellino, was adopted in plenary by 503 votes to 55, with 56 abstentions. The report provides an overview of the most urgent security challenges facing the European Union in the coming years, and supports the Commission’s five strategic objectives and the actions proposed in its communication.

However, it also asks the Commission to make the fight against terrorism and organised crime a top priority, and to step up its efforts in terms of responding to natural and man-made disasters.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) In recent years, Member States have often had to face up to events which required exceptional coordination and a previously prepared plan of action for dealing with situations which threaten the security of the citizens. I am not thinking only of terrorist attacks, but also of environmental catastrophes and food crises. Therefore, I consider the creation of a security strategy for the continent of Europe to be a priority matter. There must be a system which coordinates decision-making centres, the action they take and methods of funding the plan for dealing with these unfortunate events.

Another matter is coordination of the European Union’s security strategy with similar plans made by each of the Member States. This is imperative for the efficient operation of the system in the event of a threat. I hope we will never have occasion to check if our strategy for action when faced by a threat is fit for purpose. However, it is always necessary to be prepared for such an eventuality.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Syed Kamall (ECR), in writing. – At a time of concerns over people trafficking and terrorism, no one in this Chamber today can deny the need to support the need for better security for citizens of EU countries.

However, any strategy for the EU’s internal security should be based on cooperation between Member States and not on a ‘one size fits all’ EU strategy that overrides national strategies.

While this report refers to several potential security threats such as organised crime, terrorism, cybercrime, corruption and challenges to border management, it also proposes more ‘Europeanisation’ in the pursuit of better security for our citizens. Unfortunately, this is typical of the debates in this House, where many MEPs believe that whatever the problem, the solution is more Europe!

Instead, we should be stepping up cross-border cooperation not only within the EU, but with non-EU countries. By working together, we can at least try to make countries both inside and outside the EU safer places for citizens across the world.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tunne Kelam (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of the report on the Union’s internal security strategy. The issue to be highlighted here is the need for closer cooperation between the external and internal security dimensions, and it is important that the report has called, once again, for such cooperation to be established. One of the areas in which cooperation between these two security dimensions could be mandatory is cybersecurity. Such cooperation would include practical cooperation among various institutions, Member States, partner organisations and third countries.

I note with regret that while both the Commission communication on the first annual report and the AFET opinion stress the role of cybersecurity, the report in question reduces the issue to that of ‘cybercrime’. The EU institutions and Member States need to realise fully that most current security threats are in the cyber sphere. In the near future, the role of cyber attacks will increase dramatically. It is urgent to mainstream cybersecurity into all areas, making it our primary security concern.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing.(IT) In Italy, the memory is still raw of the tragedy that has struck a secondary school in Brindisi, in which a schoolgirl has died and many people have been injured. This event has reawakened a strong sense of insecurity among citizens about organised crime. We need a European Union internal security strategy to be able to take more agile, coordinated action and to strike at the various criminal nerve centres at European level, thus alleviating concern among Europe’s citizens. Such a strategy is predicated on the active integration of the European agencies, on the security institutions (Europol, Frontex and Eurojust, among others) and on a clear vision of the objectives and critical factors to be addressed. I therefore recommend that a monitoring and control tool be used to oversee the work of the bodies responsible for internal security in order to improve their operational effectiveness and results.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution, which emphasises that freedom, security and justice are objectives that must be pursued in parallel, and expresses the belief that implementation of the EU Charter must be the core of any fully-fledged internal security strategy while recalling that, in order to achieve freedom and justice, security must always be pursued in accordance with the principles of the Treaties, the rule of law and the Union’s fundamental rights obligations.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) Crime is changing and is taking on new dimensions. Likewise, terrorism remains a real threat. Cybercrime continues to grow and is costing EUR 750 million per year according to a recent report from Europol. The security of our shared borders is an ever present challenge. Natural or man-made disasters are increasingly frequent and serious. Faced with the extent of these threats, concerted action is needed. We ought to draw up a clear European framework based on a well thought-out strategy if we are to safeguard the internal security of the European Union. Complementarity between European and national efforts must also be strengthened.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Iosif Matula (PPE), in writing. (RO) In order to tackle the major threats to the European Union’s internal security, a uniform, integrated approach needs to be adopted. This means that a strategy is required providing every European citizen with a more secure environment. However, this security must respect the common values and priorities, as well as human rights, fundamental freedoms, the rule of law and democracy.

The key factors for providing a secure environment for Europe’s citizens must come about through the involvement of European institutions, as well as political, economic and social actors in security strategies, through strengthening the mechanisms for preventing petty crime, terrorism and major crime, as well as through cooperation and solidarity between Member States. At the same time, concrete measures must be adopted to promote democracy, peace and stability in the countries neighbouring the European Union, thereby facilitating the creation of a common area of stability, security and progress. I should mention that all the measures taken to tighten security must have the main beneficiaries foremost in mind: Europe’s citizens.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the Borsellino report. The European Parliament is now a fully-fledged institutional actor in the field of security policies and is therefore entitled to participate actively in determining the features and priorities of the internal security strategy (ISS) and of the EU Security Model and in evaluating those instruments, including through regular monitoring exercises on the implementation of the ISS.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) I notice that this report calls for a knowledge-based analysis of the threats. I associate myself with the request. It is high time that security policy be based on threats which are real and not imagined.

I also notice that the text recommends the allocation of more resources to the fight against corruption as I had recommended last September. I welcome this move. I am again glad to see that the discrepancy between the stigmatisation of petty crime and the weakness of the measures taken against environmental, economic and corporate crime is denounced here.

I cannot, however, vote for a report which supports the strategy of complete securitisation of the Commission. Furthermore, the text talks up cooperation with NATO in internal security matters. I voted against.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The internal security strategy (ISS) for the period 2010-2014 has identified five priority areas in which the EU can provide added value; namely, fighting and preventing serious and organised crime, terrorism and cybercrime, strengthening the management of the external borders, and building resilience to natural and man-made disasters. In any case, I consider freedom, security and justice to be objectives that must be pursued in parallel, so implementation of the EU Charter must be the core of any fully-fledged ISS. In order for us to achieve freedom and justice, security must always be pursued in accordance with the principles of the Treaties, the rule of law and the EU’s fundamental rights obligations. It is the pursuit of these objectives that will make the European Union ISS a success.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The fight against terrorism and organised crime is, and must remain, a vital priority in the internal security strategy (ISS). However, the fight against corruption is equally essential. The EU must know not only how to react, but also how to prevent and interpret. A common system for evaluating threats must therefore be developed, so as to permit the early detection of signs of violent radicalisation or threats. A comprehensive approach is essential to obtain an effective security policy within the European Union. The judicial systems of the Member States should be able to work together in the most effective way, including with the help of Europol and Eurojust. There must be synergies between internal and external aspects of security. Particular attention must be paid to security and border management. Full respect for the primacy of the law and fundamental rights is an essential component and must remain inseparable from this internal security strategy in the EU. A clear division of tasks between EU and national levels is vital. Moreover, Parliament needs to be part of the process as regards EU security policy guidance.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The EP and national parliaments must be at the centre of the process for the definition of internal security priorities and strategies in the EU. A strong democratic dimension is badly needed and fundamental rights must always be the core of the internal security strategy of the EU. Therefore, I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The EU has a highly complex structure. Therefore, a very comprehensive approach is needed to produce an EU security strategy if we are to have one at some point. It is important to be aware that the EU threw away its chances when it relaxed its borders and literally opened its doors to criminals. The EU has become a more unsafe place for us all to live in because it seems to have lost control. We live in an imperfect world and we cannot always make things seem better simply by talking about them. We must not ignore the fact that the Member States are responsible for security and justice and that the EU is therefore interfering in their sphere of authority. If you compare collaboration between the Member States and cooperation at EU level, there is no identifiable added value. It is important to remember as well that there are different legal systems in place (the Anglo-Saxon and the European systems) and that we would be preventing the Member States from exercising their legal rights if we moved to a uniform system. Because of the points I have mentioned, I am unable to vote in favour of this proposal and, therefore, I have voted against it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) There is a clear need to establish an EU internal security strategy which would help to respond in a coordinated, collective and effective manner to various kinds of challenges to internal security. I welcome the provision that freedom, security and justice are objectives that must be pursued in parallel and that the implementation of the EU Charter must be one of the strategy’s essential elements. It is nevertheless regrettable that, at the same time as we are striving to develop a European judicial culture, to ensure the coordination of Member States’ actions regarding the management of the external borders, a framework for the use and coordination of EU and national instruments, there was a very painful case in which, as a result of derogations from EU legislation, a citizen of a third country, suspected of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, and who was arrested in an EU Member State, was released without being passed to the justice authorities of the EU Member State that brought charges against him. This inability to cooperate and a lack of solidarity goes against the spirit of the security strategy developed for the whole EU and undermines the Member States’ opportunities to seek justice. I therefore hope that the mid-term review of the implementation of the Stockholm Programme and other related assessments will take such cases into account so that a similar situation does not occur again.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) The purpose of the European Union’s future internal security model is to protect European citizens and their rights and freedoms. The strategy for a European Security Model, which is also being discussed in the new parliamentary committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering, is a response to the terrorist and mafia threats against which the EU needs to establish principles and mechanisms of protection in order to create a secure social context in which citizens feel safe in going about their everyday lives. What is new this time is that the response capability must transcend national boundaries; indeed, the importance of a common effort organised at EU level is clear.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the report. European security policy is closely bound up with the concept of the rule of law in the EU, as the Treaty of Lisbon makes perfectly clear. Certainly, action to strengthen and apply that policy cannot overlook democratic values, human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is clear from the Stockholm Programme that Europe has achieved a partial reduction in acts that qualify as organised crime, but it has not developed its full potential to respond to this modern-day threat. That is why the next steps, as referred to in the report, must focus on four basic points, namely: firstly, a clear division of responsibilities between the EU and the Member States; secondly, increased competences for Parliament, as provided for in the Treaty; thirdly, securing adequate financial resources to implement the strategy in question under the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020 and, fourthly, completing and codifying acts that qualify as organised crime, which the EU is endeavouring to combat together with the Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the proposals tabled by the European Parliament on the European Union’s internal security strategy (ISS). I would stress the need for Parliament to be recognised as a fully-fledged institutional actor in the field of security policy. It is therefore entitled to participate actively in determining the features and priorities of the ISS and of the EU Security Model, and in evaluating those instruments, including through regular monitoring exercises on the implementation of the ISS, to be conducted jointly by the European Parliament, national parliaments and the Council.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) All security policy must include a prevention component and, in a period in which economic and social inequalities are growing, this preventative aspect is particularly important. Despite the financial restrictions resulting from the crisis we are experiencing, I would stress that it is indispensable to include adequate financial resources in the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020 for implementing this strategy through the related fund.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The own-initiative report on the internal security strategy follows and should be read together with other own-initiative reports in the internal security cluster on organised crime (Alfano/ALDE, resolution P7_TA-PROV (2011)0459 adopted on 25.11.2011), which led to the Special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering (CRIM), and on counterterrorism (In ’t Veld/ALDE, resolution P7_TA-PROV (2011)0577 adopted on 14.12.2011). In recognising that the EU has an additional value in ensuring a high level of security, we should not go along with the dominant discourse that there can be no individual liberty without us all becoming ‘pre-suspects’ and having to accept ‘continued and comprehensive state surveillance’ (as exemplified by the Data Retention Directive, and the PNR, TFTS and borders package proposals) to ensure collective security. The starting point should be an individual’s liberty from the state, and justification of law enforcement measures in the sense of them being both necessary and proportionate in a democratic society. Now that there has been a (partial) transfer of sovereignty from the Member States to the EU in the area of justice and home affairs, we need to redefine ‘checks and balances’ to ensure security measures respect individual freedoms in a supranational context.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing.(IT) The report by Ms Borsellino is, for the most part, deserving of support, since it is fundamental that the fight against terrorism, organised crime and corruption be faced and coordinated across borders. It is also right to provide detailed regulations to protect those people at risk of attacks, and their families, as well as the victims of criminal or terrorist acts.

The fight against the spread of illegal content on Internet sites must not be forgotten, particularly with regard to child pornography sites and those that incite terrorism. A sticking point is that of facilitating freedom of movement, greater solidarity and security at external borders. While I do agree on defence and external border controls, I think it is wrong to force Member States to take in people they do not want and let them circulate freely, just for the sake of solidarity. On these grounds, I have decided to abstain.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing. (IT) This own-initiative report welcomes the work carried out in order to establish a European Union internal security strategy. By virtue of the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon, Parliament is actually entitled to take the lead on this issue, setting priorities and defining the future internal security model. I consider the work carried out by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), and by Ms Borsellino, to be significant. The key areas of European intervention are highlighted here and the primary objective seems to be that of achieving greater cooperation among the Member States’ courts and police, in order to tackle the threats arising from organised crime, terrorism, corruption, cybercrime and also natural disasters. I fully agree with the intention to create a common European area of freedom, security and justice and to adopt a unified strategy for all Member States. I believe that there is a great need to step up efforts in order to improve the consistency of the information and data which is used to assess the risks borne by EU bodies and to guarantee transparency in the methods used, thereby achieving the basic purpose of ensuring full protection of citizens.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Petri Sarvamaa (PPE), in writing. (FI) Ms Borsellino’s report on the European Union’s internal security strategy is a comprehensive reflection of Parliament’s view of the strategic goals and the measures necessary to make the Union safer.

The report identifies key factors that impact on the future. The main objective in the report is to strengthen cooperation between the police and judicial systems within the EU, which is seen as critically important for maintaining and developing security. Special emphasis is given to the clear division of labour among the various authorities.

The report quite rightly urges us to pay more attention to the inextricable link between the internal and external dimensions of security. In plain English, this means all the threats to safety which are traditional (organised crime, violence, unrest) or, just as much, those which are more contemporary in nature, such as environmental, economic and corporate crime.

The report also points out that not only the authorities in the Member States, but also the European Parliament and the relevant EU agencies, must be involved in assessing these security threats, as well as in implementing measures to counter them. The report also very necessarily emphasises the importance of the fight against terrorism, stating that it is one of the priorities of the EU’s internal security strategy.

It is therefore with a feeling of security that I was able to vote in favour of adopting Ms Borsellino’s report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) The key common threats identified in the Member States’ internal security strategy are manifold: from organised crime to terrorism, and from cybercrime to corruption and border management. All these phenomena are interlinked and therefore, coordinated and coherent action in both areas is required for the response to be effective.

In fact, this vote highlights the importance of a comprehensive approach to an EU strategy on security, based on a concept of human security anchored in human rights, freedom, democracy, the rule of law, good governance and peace. Lastly, we need enhanced cooperation with other international institutions responsible for security strategy, such as NATO and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Catherine Stihler (S&D), in writing. – I am pleased the rapporteur has been able to find many areas of compromise with other political parties to deliver a report which takes Parliament’s role into account and updates the EU’s security strategy. The European Parliament and national parliaments must be at the centre of the process for the definition of internal security priorities and strategies in the EU. A strong democratic dimension is badly needed and fundamental rights must always be the core of the internal security strategy of the EU.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michèle Striffler (PPE), in writing.(FR) I welcome the adoption by a resounding majority of the report on the European Union’s internal security strategy. The adoption of this report constitutes an important step in the fight against terrorism and provides for a host of effective tools that can be implemented against all kinds of criminal activities, such as white-collar crime, organised crime, mafia activity or money laundering. The report also calls for the creation of an evaluation system for threats that are common to Member States. Finally, the report calls for the establishment of a centre for the fight against cybercrime and for the budget allocated to the internal security of the EU to be in line with the threats that impact the security of European citizens. These are the reasons why I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Commission proposal sets out the most pressing challenges for European Union internal security policy, which should be integrated into a strategy for the coming years. This strategy is based on five main objectives for combating major crime, organised crime, cybercrime, natural disasters and border security. In this context, combating terrorism also remains a major priority for the EU’s internal security. It also sets out specific actions for the 2011-2014 period, in addition to those already under way, which it is expected could also contribute to strengthening cooperation and the relationship between the internal and external dimensions of European security. I voted for this report for those reasons.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE), in writing. (LT) The rapporteur lists organised crime, terrorism and cybercrime as the main issues of the EU internal security strategy. In Lithuania, the problem of organised crime is a major cause for concern. According to EU statistics, as the economic situation has worsened, the level of crime in Lithuania has grown dramatically. In recent years, the number of crimes involving the possession of drugs has grown by 19%. The Economist Intelligence Unit predicts that this growth in crime will continue in the coming years. In its latest report on crime in Europe, the international policing agency, Europol, drew attention to Lithuanian organised crime. In the report entitled Organised Crime Threat Assessment 2011, Lithuania was mentioned 24 times, mostly in the context of organised crime. By comparison, Estonia is mentioned three times in the report, and Latvia only once. According to the Europol report, Lithuanian organised crime groups have established a drug trafficking infrastructure, developing supply routes and supplier networks in almost all regions of Lithuania. Given that Lithuania is an EU Member State, this is not just a problem for Lithuania but for the whole of Europe. Since 2008, the number of criminal offences in the EU has grown by 7% every year.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Frank Vanhecke (EFD), in writing. (NL) The Borsellino report contains laudable recommendations for a strengthening of internal security in our European Union. It seems to me that, as long as we cling on to the ideological fanaticism of ‘open borders’, we will be fighting something of an uphill battle. Why should the reintroduction of border controls have to be rejected out of hand when so many problems are occurring with illegal activities and crime? And how is it possible, in May 2012, following the elections in Greece and France, which were dominated by these very border issues and the problems associated with Schengen, that we could approve this kind of report without debating this? All of this seems to me a denial of very real problems. The fact that desperate times call for desperate measures is something, meanwhile, that we have been experiencing first hand.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – The EU needs a comprehensive and coherent ISS in order to tackle all forms of threats to freedom, security and justice for EU citizens, including mafias and growing organised crime. The ISS must comply with the Union’s fundamental rights obligations. From the institutional point of view, Parliament needs to be part of the process as regards policy guidance, implementation and evaluation of results. Cooperation with national parliaments (idea of a ‘parliamentary policy cycle’) must be strengthened. Therefore, I supported this report with my vote.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) Ensuring internal security is a key element of EU internal policy. To do this, it is essential to have staff with the appropriate qualifications in the area of the EU’s internal security system, as well as in the areas of IT network security, managing crisis situations and civil security. However, in making these arrangements, we must not forget to maintain a comprehensive approach to European security strategy, the basis of which is a holistic concept of human security based on human rights, liberty, democracy, the rule of law, good government and peace. We need to demonstrate skill in combining a broad approach to human security with relations with third countries, particularly in terms of border management, migration, the fight against organised crime, terrorism and human trafficking. Looking at the recent experience of the Arab Spring, it should be remembered that the internal security of the EU is inseparably linked with the situation in the area of security in its neighbourhood and, in particular, the significance of European Neighbourhood Policy should be emphasised and synergy developed between the EU and its neighbours.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Janusz Władysław Zemke (S&D), in writing.(PL) Broadly speaking, I support the report on the European Union’s internal security strategy, for it is a fact that threats which do occur are international in nature, particularly terrorism, cybercrime and organised crime. So it is necessary to fight not only at the level of individual Member States, but also to coordinate cooperation better within the EU.

However, in relation to this I think that the report is not specific enough in terms of the role of Europol and the EU’s ability to react in the event of natural disasters which may threaten security. I strongly support increasing the EU’s potential to react to disasters. Today, the Union depends mainly on funds which are in the hands of individual Member States. In my opinion, shared resources should also be created at the level of the entire Union, which should, in the first instance, concern transportation potential and the availability of fleets of vehicles and helicopters which would be able to reach disaster sites quickly. The situation with this is not very good today.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report takes into account the stipulations of the Stockholm Programme and the Treaty of Lisbon, particularly as regards the ideas that EU security policy must be anchored to a specific EU rule of law, subject to oversight that they call ‘democratic’, not just nationally, but mainly at European level. As such, an ‘EU internal security strategy’ is being developed that they say serves to protect the EU from ‘terrorism and other threats’. Although this report is ‘moderated’ with a few assertions that human rights and the principle of subsidiarity must be respected, the majority of the report is along the lines of creating a strategy of security and repression. Little emphasis is placed on prevention, with the accent on reinforcing the conditions for punishment which, in the EU, very often means criminalising all social movements and forces that do not allow themselves to be pushed around by orders from the EU, as well as controlling the lives of the public whilst attacking their fundamental freedoms and guarantees. Obviously, we voted against.

 
  
  

Report: Cornelis de Jong (A7-0144/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since criminal law is different from many other areas and, by definition, restricts certain human and fundamental rights of convicted individuals. This report sets out principles and parameters that should be taken into account when developing criminal law, with interinstitutional mechanisms that make them more efficient and respect for the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the United Nations. In my opinion, the European Union could and should be a global bastion for human rights defenders.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report because it clearly defines the principles that should be taken into account when developing an EU approach on criminal law. So far, the European Union has often developed criminal law provisions on an ad hoc basis, thus creating the need for increased coherence. It is fundamental to acknowledge that an EU criminal law should constitute a coherent legislative system governed by a set of fundamental values in full respect of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and of the European Convention on Human Rights. I also believe that the harmonisation of criminal law in the EU will contribute to the development of a common EU legal culture in relation to fighting crime and to a more coordinated action against the most serious crimes. In addition, I would like to stress the importance of the establishment of uniform minimum standards of protection at the highest possible level for suspects and defendants in criminal proceedings in order to strengthen mutual trust amongst the legal systems of the Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The harmonisation of European standards must also be carried out with reference to the law. Our European model is based on values, particularly in the field of criminal law. I therefore approved the adoption of strong criteria in the implementation of the new EU criminal legislation which provides that fundamental principles be recalled: respect for the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality and the absolute respect for the principle of the presumption of innocence. It goes without saying that EU criminal law must respect the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. The EU is committed to offering its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice without internal borders, and with appropriate measures applied to prevent and combat crime. Coherence and high quality in EU criminal law need to be ensured because today it is fragmented and there is still no coordinating authority for all proposals containing criminal law provisions. I welcome the proposal for an interinstitutional agreement on the principles and working methods governing EU criminal law provisions, as well as the call for a clear, coordinating authority within the Commission for all proposals which contain criminal law provisions. It is also important for legal provisions to be crystal clear and to match the existing national systems.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing.(IT) With the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the basis was created for the development of criminal law as part of EU Community law, which, in the past, was the exclusive competence of Member States. Despite the importance of this new provision, I would raise concerns over the risk that a raft of new EU initiatives in the field of criminal law could be an excessive burden for national administrations. Following the recent economic crisis, competent national authorities have fewer financial resources and, as such, there is an increased risk that the adoption of new legislation may not only fail to result in a better application of criminal law, but may also compromise the credibility and efficiency of EU criminal law to the obvious detriment of EU citizens. In my opinion, the European Union should adopt an extremely cautious approach to developing or amending criminal law. In addition, there must be agreement between the EU institutions regarding the principles and working methods to be applied. In order to facilitate cooperation in the future, I would argue that it is essential that the European institutions agree on some kind of common framework, which would include a set of principles governing any criminal law instrument.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because so far, the European Union has often developed criminal law provisions on an ad hoc basis, thus creating the need for increased coherence. A separate space has not been developed for criminal law provisions. In accordance with the Treaty on European Union, the Union pledges to offer its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice without internal borders, in which the free movement of persons is ensured in conjunction with appropriate measures with respect to, inter alia, the prevention and combating of crime. Criminal law provisions can therefore be found in instruments relating to justice and home affairs, but they can also be found in many other policy areas of the Union. There is a need for Parliament to develop its own procedures in order to ensure, together with the colegislator, a more coherent and effective criminal law system of the highest quality. It is not a criminal law provision in itself that may lead to less crime in the EU – the investigation of criminal offences and enforcement of penalties imposed for them is equally, if not more, important. The harmonisation of criminal law in the EU should contribute to the development of a common EU legal culture in relation to fighting crime, which adds up to but does not substitute national legal traditions and has a positive impact on mutual trust amongst the legal systems of the Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The report proposes harmonisation of criminal law in Member States with the aim of establishing a common legal culture for combating crime. Criminal law differs from other areas of the law, specifically because, by its definition, it restricts certain human rights pertaining to the fundamental freedoms of the defendants and/or of those convicted. On many occasions, even though a person is not convicted, the criminal investigation itself may result in them being stigmatised, so that many people will tend to believe that there is no smoke without fire.

To facilitate cooperation in future, the institutions must agree on a certain kind of common framework. Such a framework could include a set of principles governing any criminal law instrument. I also think that such a framework ought to include specific guidelines on the internal procedures within each institution to ensure a coherent approach.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) Although the Treaty now formally contains the basis for new EU criminal law provisions, this does not mean that criminal law has become any less sensitive. The Treaty thus provides an emergency brake procedure, in case a Member State believes that proposed legislation affects fundamental aspects of its criminal justice system. This is an exceptional procedure in the Treaty. The EU approach to criminal law should be based on a realisation that criminal law is different from other legal domains in that, by definition, it restricts certain human rights and fundamental freedoms of an accused or convicted person. In many cases, the freedom of movement is restricted, but even if the offence is only punishable by fines, at least the right to property is restricted. In addition, practical considerations should also be borne in mind. A flurry of new EU initiatives in the field of substantive criminal law may easily overburden national administrations. Proposals must be of such a nature that they can be fully implemented and enforced. Resources of the national competent authorities are limited, especially during the current economic crisis. The danger exists that the adoption of new legislation will fail to produce better enforcement, thus undermining both the credibility and the efficiency of EU substantive criminal law.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – The very proposal to create an EU system of criminal law is chilling. By what authority can Brussels be the arbiter of criminal law when it has been proven so democratically bereft and unaccountable to its 500 million citizens? It lays the foundations for the creation of a European police state – something which no single member of the public in any Member State has ever voted for. We have Common Law in the UK and Scotland whose safeguards are being undermined by the creation of EU criminal law; important safeguards such as our Bill of Rights and Habeas Corpus. Our courts will have to abdicate their duty to serve to protect citizens against unjust accusation and imprisonment if they are forced to kowtow to unelected and undemocratic processes administered by the EU.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The link between the Council, the Commission and Parliament on criminal law matters is crucial. In the future, these institutions will certainly establish a common framework that may include a range of principles serving as the basis for any instrument of criminal law. This framework could include specific guidelines on the internal procedures adopted in each of the institutions with a view to ensuring a consistent approach. I voted for this report because it is a step in this direction.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) Criminal law is a sensitive area in which the differences between the national systems remain substantial. However, the cross-border nature of many offences makes it essential to adopt criminal law measures at EU level in order to prevent criminals from being able to hide behind borders or take advantage of the differences between the national legal systems. The existence of basic rules also contributes to strengthening mutual trust between the Member States, which is essential, not only if there is to be cooperation between the various authorities, but also in order for the principle of mutual recognition to function effectively. We must take advantage of the new opportunities offered by the Treaty of Lisbon for developing EU-level criminal law that is homogenous, consistent and transparent, and that is of genuine benefit for the European public, reinforcing trust in the exercise of the rights to freedom of movement and acquisition of goods and services from other Member States. I am therefore voting for this report, which contributes to the debate on the development of a genuinely common legal culture in the EU for combating crime that can complement the national legal traditions without replacing them and reinforce mutual trust.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the resolution on the EU approach on criminal law. To facilitate cooperation in future, the institutions must agree on a certain kind of common framework. Such a framework could usefully include a set of principles governing any criminal law instrument. In addition, model provisions, as included, for example, in the Council’s conclusions of November 2009, may be added. Such a framework could provide a basis for impact assessments to be prepared by the European Commission, and it could help in drafting appropriate legal analyses for the Council and Parliament. Moreover, it could contain precise guidelines for the internal procedures in each of the institutions aimed at ensuring a coherent approach.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) By voting for this report, we have defended the robust criteria associated with the new EU criminal law, from respect for the principles of proportionality and subsidiarity to absolute respect for the principle of the presumption of innocence. Our objective was to send a message relating to the actions that the Commission intends to take on criminal law.

Any initiative brought about by the European executive must now ensure that the rights of suspects and accused persons be respected, with the Commission envisaging, in particular, provisions relating to protecting EU financial markets, protecting EU financial interests, protecting the euro against counterfeiting or serious breaches of the rules on data protection.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the issue of criminal law at EU level. With the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, criminal law has become an EU competence. Unfortunately, Parliament is not taking on a coordination role and is not competent to tackle all the legislative proposals that include criminal law provisions, since these must be transposed into national law. I take a positive view of the principles and parameters set out in this report to be taken into account when drafting criminal law: the creation of mechanisms intended to facilitate interinstitutional cooperation, the maximum possible respect for the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and other international human rights instruments, and funding for solidarity campaigns relating to human rights.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Criminal law was considered an exclusive Member State competence for many years, which only changed with the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992. Since then, the EU has been creating a series of criminal regulations that are not always incorporated in the most appropriate way. ‘EU criminal law’ currently includes very diverse regulations that are not only instruments of justice and home affairs policy but also encompass the financial sector, fraud, counterfeiting, serious breaches of EU data protection rules, customs offences, environmental offences and certain aspects of internal market policy. These are clearly very diverse areas of policy but, even so, it is crucial to ensure consistency and quality for the effective application of EU criminal law.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) There is a great deal of ground that could be covered in relation to judicial cooperation, to cooperation on criminal investigations and to combating crime. Some steps have been taken in this regard, but others could and should still be taken. The increased movement of people and capital, as well as the various forms of cross-border crime, including economic crimes, make that necessary. Cooperation between Member States should still be extended in the area of policies for preventing high-level economic crime, a field in which the political will to do more and better has been wilting. However, the report goes beyond this approach, proposing harmonisation on criminal matters, which we consider unacceptable. This is an area in which the Member States must retain their sovereignty. We do not accept the harmonisation of criminal policies, nor the constitution of shared codes for criminal matters. We therefore voted against this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) Criminal law is different from other legal domains in that it restricts the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the accused and/or convicted person. Although these restrictions are legal and legitimate, in each case, the issue of proportionality must be considered very sensitively. In legislative proposals governing criminal law, the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality are essential. However, we need to establish minimum standards of protection, and at the highest possible level. Citizens of the EU must be assured that their safety is taken seriously. Harmonisation of criminal law will assist Member States in the fight against crime, and should contribute to the development of a common legal culture and have a positive impact on mutual trust. When creating new legal instruments, however, we must fully respect the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the International Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as well as other international legal instruments governing human rights to which each of the Member States are bound. On the other hand, however, excessive use of legislation leads to a decline in the efficiency of criminal law. The fragmented approach to EU criminal law followed so far cannot be considered to be correct. I consider it our duty to ensure a high-quality and consistent approach, thereby maximising common efforts to combat serious and cross-border crime in particular, as well as crime which threatens the achievement of the objectives of European Union policies.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) The adoption of the Treaty of Lisbon laid the foundations for greater European integration in the field of criminal law. Without prejudice to the rights of Member States, which are not affected by this report, which instead reaffirms their competence in the main areas of criminal law, strengthening the European criminal justice system would help to increase coherence and, as a consequence, certainty. Measures such as strengthening Parliament’s legal advisory service and promoting greater interinstitutional coordination are a step forward in the process of defining guidelines and fundamental principles at EU level, something that is vital for ensuring that new European legislation on criminal matters is properly adopted.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report, which sets out a framework for the future development of an EU criminal policy. In the building of a European area of liberties and justice, the criminal sphere has always been treated somewhat separately since it is a rather sensitive area directly affecting regulatory powers. Yet, at the current time, it is difficult to imagine that criminal law should fall outside the scope of constructing a Europe based on laws. The communitisation of criminal law is a considerable challenge, but also a necessity in terms of large-scale crime and cross-border crime, and this is the issue addressed by this report. Moreover, I welcome the perspectives provided by such communitisation in Europe: firstly, ‘eurocrimes’, as well as the creation of a genuine European Public Prosecutor’s Office, whose remit must go well beyond the mere protection of the financial interests of the European Union.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing.(FR) The harmonisation of criminal law continues to be a sensitive issue. While the Treaty of Lisbon communitarised this matter, to the extent that the Treaty permits the EU to make use of it to strengthen the implementation of its policies, criminal law remains at the heart of national sovereignty and the diversity of national laws does not make the task easy. However, a step must be made in this direction to respond to the concerns of European citizens who do not want the perpetrators of crime to be able to hide beyond borders or exploit the differences between national legal systems.

We must define the minimal rules concerning offences, judicial competences and sanctions. The goal must, above all, be to favour the application of the principle of mutual recognition in practice. Finally, any exploitation of criminal law, by which some would have us believe that the introduction of new rules would enable crime to be beaten, must be avoided. It would merely be for show and would disregard the fact that other tools exist and should be implemented.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. – The UK and Ireland have the choice to opt in to individual measures proposed in terms of an EU-wide approach to criminal law, and I understand that the Scottish Government plays a full role in deciding when it is appropriate to do so. Nevertheless, I consider that certain aspects of the de Jong report would serve to undermine long-standing principles of Scottish criminal law. Accordingly, I abstained on the final vote.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed the resolution on an EU approach on criminal law because the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon has led to more opportunities to regulate this area at EU level, and the aim is therefore to better harmonise the concept of substantive criminal law, and make it clearer and more understandable. However, proposals for EU substantive criminal law provisions must fully respect the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, and criminal law must fully respect the fundamental rights of suspected, accused or convicted persons.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) With the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the pillar structure was abandoned and the basis was created for the development of criminal law as part of EU Community law.

However, it is quite clear that the EU did not develop a separate space for criminal law provisions. Such provisions can be found not only in instruments relating to justice, but also in those relating to home affairs.

This own-initiative report invites the Commission to guarantee a high-quality and coherent EU approach on criminal law. In light of this, the Commission has created an inter-service coordination group on criminal law. In his report, Cornelis de Jong calls for a Commissioner in charge of criminal law matters to be appointed.

Moreover, the report draws attention to the importance of mutual recognition, the harmonisation of protection rules and the respect for the principle of the presumption of innocence.

Finally, it points out that key areas of criminal law must be left to the Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Syed Kamall (ECR), in writing. – Criminal law remains, and should continue to remain, the domain of national governments, and not the European Union.

At the same time, we should be looking at steps for better cooperation between governments and police forces to tackle cross-border crime, including people trafficking, smuggling and terrorism. But it should be on the basis of cooperation and not coercion, and must respect the civil rights of citizens of EU countries.

In 2005, seven EU countries signed the Prüm Convention to share fingerprint, DNA and vehicle licence data, but under the German Presidency in 2008, these measures were subsumed into the police and judicial cooperation provisions of EU law. Unfortunately, the ever Euro-fanatical Labour government of the time in Britain signed up to these changes, It was this sleight of hand that makes me suspicious of any discussions on this subject at the EU level.

So, EU attempts to fight cross-border crime should be based on a respect for cooperation, a respect for civil liberties and a healthy respect for national sovereignty.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Kartika Tamara Liotard (GUE/NGL), in writing. (NL) From a technical point of view, I have no comments to make about this report, and it is a good thing if countries work together to combat cross-border crime. However, Member States must determine their own criminal law and, above all, their own criminal sanctions. There must be no interference from Europe. As the European Parliament, and as representatives of the people, this is a message that we should have sent out more clearly today. Above all, I do not agree with recitals G and M, which relate to the harmonisation of criminal law.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I believe the EU has to take a very careful approach when developing additional or reviewing existing criminal law provisions. Its track record is not perfect, as has been aptly demonstrated by a group of academics, the European Criminal Policy Initiative. They mentioned, inter alia, the use of many cross references in legal texts as a violation of the lex certa principle: legislation has to be clear-cut and easily understandable so that it becomes predictable for all whether an act amounts to a criminal offence or not. This holds even more so for directives, since these have to be transposed into national law and any lack of clarity can lead to diverging interpretations, which can easily enhance confusion instead of reducing it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) By integrating criminal law with community law, the Lisbon Treaty prompts us to act. From now on, we must strengthen existing cooperation in the field of criminal law and rethink our national and European approach. Greater coordination is needed between the European institutions in this area. We must also develop mutual recognition whilst, at the same time, preserving the key principles of criminal law, such as the presumption of innocence.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) The harmonisation of criminal law in the EU should contribute to the development of a common EU legal culture in relation to fighting crime. That is why I agree that harmonisation measures should be proposed primarily with a view to supporting the application of the principle of mutual recognition in practice. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon brought new challenges in the development and integration of criminal law into EU law. As criminal law is an area of the law that can restrict the rights, freedoms and guarantees of the accused and/or the convicted person, we should always bear in mind the necessity test. As such, the EU will have to act very prudently when developing additional provisions or revising existing criminal provisions, so as to ensure that certain human rights and fundamental freedoms will never be affected.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The Lisbon Treaty lays the foundations for new European provisions in the field of criminal law. However, this area remains very sensitive. That is why clear and transparent rules must be established on how and when European criminal law is used. These rules must fully respect the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. It is crucial that any European criminal law legislation guarantees the rights afforded by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, while also respecting the different legal systems and traditions of each Member State. It was necessary to set up an interinstitutional working group within which Parliament will participate in defining the scope and application of appropriate criminal law sanctions at EU level. Within this framework, the information service will be a useful tool for the work of MEPs, thus ensuring the quality of Parliament’s work as a colegislator.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – This report looks into the issue of criminal law having become a part of EU competences with the Treaty of Lisbon. It is clear that criminal law is different from other legal domains in that it, by definition, restricts certain human rights and fundamental freedoms of the accused/convicted person and the Treaty also sees an exceptional procedure – the emergency brake – for the Member States in this area of law; a careful approach to developing EU criminal law has to be taken. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vital Moreira (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the de Jong report on an EU approach on criminal law because it is a good analysis of the state of play in the construction of a European criminal law system, which has been made more important by the Treaty of Lisbon. Indeed, increasing European integration, not just economically but also as regards ‘freedom, security and justice’, is inseparable from the issue of the integration of criminal law and criminal procedure. Furthermore, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which protects the European public from the EU itself, could require criminal protection instruments. The gradual setting out of ‘federal’ criminal law is also an essential pillar in the construction of a genuine European ‘polity’, which is the basis of the constitutionalisation of the European Union.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Cristiana Muscardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) If a judicial area exists in the European Union, even if only partially, as is currently the case, then it is normal, right and advisable for it to develop in the field of criminal law in particular, in order to avoid the inconsistencies we are seeing and to provide Member States and the EU with guidelines aimed at harmonisation. The Commission’s November 2011 document on criminal policy is excellent in my opinion, as is the study by Parliament on harmonisation. The subject is a sensitive one and directly affects the sovereignty of the Member States.

However, there is no doubt that it is necessary to manage this sovereignty jointly in certain areas, albeit with great care and sensitivity. In customs, for example, it is useful for the functioning of the internal market and its users. In criminal law, it would probably avoid certain anomalies that affect hundreds of citizens who are of a different nationality from the state in which it is applied in a non-uniform way: for example, issuing European arrest warrants (designed to combat terrorism) against citizens who move to Germany with their children, thereby automatically changing a civil procedure into a criminal procedure.

If the European approach to criminal law will help eliminate these aberrations, it will be a praiseworthy legal achievement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European Union’s legal system all too often lacks coherence and certainty, especially with regard to criminal law. The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon has brought about a major acceleration of European criminal legislation, so much so that the Commission has already published a communication in favour of a single European criminal law. Clearly there is still a long road ahead but, in spite of resistance from some Member States and procedural difficulties, the process has begun. Parliament, partly thanks to my vote, has judged these first steps positively and has signalled the need for an internal legal advisory service to assess and weigh up the proposals balanced against the law of the Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) The abolition of the EU pillar structure under the Treaty of Lisbon paved the way for closer collaboration at Member State level in terms of criminal law and the European approach to it. One sign of the new policies is that the Treaty now makes provision for an emergency brake procedure if a Member State considers that the proposed legislation would affect fundamental aspects of its criminal justice system. However, the increase in the number of such cases now arising at European level is generating certain practical problems. For example, an abundance of new EU initiatives can easily overload national administrations. This report, which I supported, therefore proposes that specific, very careful approaches be adopted, in order to safeguard consistency and high standards in an area of law which is open to various interpretations and in which there is a very real risk of serious divergences between the Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I share the rapporteur’s concern regarding the risk that adopting new legislation will not lead to better control, thereby damaging the credibility and effectiveness of the EU’s substantive criminal law. This means the EU will have to act very prudently when developing additional provisions or revising existing criminal provisions. I voted for this report for these reasons.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) With the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, a basis has been created for developing criminal legislation and integrating it into EU law. As this is a very sensitive area, so as to ensure the quality and consistency of the EU’s approach to criminal law, it is crucial that the EU institutions improve their respective internal structures and agree amongst themselves on the working principles and methods. I voted for this report because I believe the measures advocated – particularly, the call for an interinstitutional agreement to facilitate cooperation on criminal matters between the Commission, the Council and Parliament – could contribute to consolidating trust between the Member States’ legal systems and developing a common EU legal culture in the fight against crime.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Today, during the plenary session in Strasbourg, we voted on the report by Mr de Jong. This own-initiative report states that in order to guarantee a coherent and high-quality European strategy on criminal law, the three institutions should agree on principles and working methods.

Attention is focused on the importance of mutual recognition, harmonisation of protection standards and the principle of the presumption of innocence. The main areas of criminal law will be the responsibility of the Member States, whilst a ‘coordinating authority’ should be appointed within the European Commission.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The report’s cautious approach to the development of EU criminal law deserves support, given the impact on the rights of suspects/accused persons and convicts and respecting the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. Such a cautious approach also fits with our general preference for crime prevention over repression. Approximating criminal law among the Member States is a very difficult task given its close relationship with social and political choices and the direct impact this has on people’s liberties. Furthermore there are differences in the levels of sanctions and prison regimes (including which part of the sentence is actually served). Therefore here, more than anywhere else, it is important that the legislation containing criminal definitions and sanctions is crystal clear and not open to differences in interpretation, something which is often resorted to in political compromises among the Member States (practice of constructive ambiguity). A coherent approach based on the principles mentioned in the report needs to be followed from the moment EU legislation is envisaged until the moment the draft legislation is negotiated between Parliament and the Council and then implemented in the Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing. (IT) The report by Mr de Jong stresses that in order to guarantee coherent and high-quality European legislation on criminal law, the three institutions must reach an agreement on principles and working methods. I am in agreement with this own-initiative report due to the serious approach that was taken in regulating such a delicate policy area. In particular, I agree with the importance given to mutual recognition, harmonisation of protection standards and the principle of the presumption of innocence. I support the creation of a common European legal culture and of a uniform and coherent strategy as well as the promotion of greater institutional coordination, while ensuring that the main areas of criminal law remain the responsibility of the Member States. The law must be extremely clear and easy to understand, which is why I agree that the European Commission should appoint a specific coordinating authority.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The new Treaty makes it easier for us to adopt criminal laws, in basically all areas of the EU, but, at the same time, requires us to be more cautious when adopting and passing new rules, so as to ensure that fundamental rights and the most traditional principles of criminal law are respected. In my opinion, recourse to criminal prosecution for purely symbolic reasons should be avoided, as well as merely rhetorical appeals to the Charter of Fundamental Rights or other international documents drawn up for their protection.

Amongst the proposals in the document we have voted on this morning, of particular interest to me is the call to allocate additional funds to strengthen Parliament’s legal advisory service, which enables review and systematic evaluation of proposals on criminal matters and the promotion of interinstitutional coordination for the purpose of getting to grips with the issues to be acted on, as well as an evaluation of the effectiveness of existing legislation and the possible impact of the legislation to be adopted.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Søren Bo Søndergaard (GUE/NGL), in writing. (DA) I voted in favour of the report by Cornelis de Jong on an EU approach to criminal law because it sets out a number of boundary markers for criminal law at EU level, including the fact that the subsidiarity principle must be fully respected. At the same time, the report establishes that if EU legislation is to be made at all, the legislation must adhere to a number of basic principles of criminal law. However, my voting in favour should by no means be taken to mean that I support further harmonisation of criminal law at EU level.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Catherine Stihler (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report which proposes mechanisms to facilitate interinstitutional cooperation in the field, ultimate respect for the EU Charter and other international human rights instruments, and the creation of a human rights check.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU has not developed a separate area relating to the provisions of criminal law and these are not just instruments of the field of justice and home affairs, but also many other areas of EU policy. With the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the pillars structure has disappeared and a basis has been introduced for the development of criminal law as an integral part of EU law. It is therefore important to know how to ensure the coherence and quality of a field of the law that seems to include such diverse areas of policy. In order to ensure the EU has a high-quality and consistent approach to criminal law, the three EU institutions mentioned would not only have to improve their internal structures, but also agree amongst themselves on the important working principles and methods.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE), in writing. (LT) We must establish a genuine common justice area in the EU. Citizens must believe that their rights will be defended wherever they are located in the 27 Member States. Recently, the European Commission admitted that ‘for a long time, the EU has tried to build the European criminal justice area with one hand tied behind its back’. In my opinion, there have been many occasions when the EU also covered its eyes with the other hand. The rapporteur states that growing trust is a prerequisite for common recognition throughout the EU of judicial decisions taken in other Member States. Common minimum standards must be set with regard to the right to a fair trial and the rights of the victims of crime in order to increase this trust. This is a problem in Lithuania. Given the many reports published by the European Council on Foreign Relations, judges in Lithuania are part of the problem because they opt for a more complex system which they can manipulate to their advantage, for example, a ‘tax’ for changing the trial date. According to data from a Eurobarometer poll carried out earlier this year, Lithuanians have little confidence in the courts – only 22% of Lithuanians trust the courts.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – The Lisbon Treaty and the abandoning of the pillar structure simplified the path to the development of EU criminal law in the context of the EU as an area of freedom, security and justice. The report highlights the principles of criminal law (principle of individual guilt, legal certainty, non retroactivity, ne bis in idem and presumption of innocence). Moreover, judicial cooperation in criminal law is based on the principle of mutual recognition. To fully apply this principle, some flanking measures are needed to develop and legitimise ‘mutual trust’ – within an EU common criminal legal culture. Among these measures are harmonisation of substantive criminal law (crimes and sanctions) and common uniform minimum standards of protection for suspects and defendants in criminal proceedings and therefore, this report has to be supported, which I did by my vote in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report sets out several general principles governing criminal law and stresses that ‘harmonisation measures should be proposed (...) with a view to supporting the application of the principle of mutual recognition’, whilst supporting ‘the development of a common EU legal culture in relation to fighting crime’. We consider criminal matters an area that falls exclusively to the sovereign actions and policies of the various Member States. As such, we do not advocate the harmonisation of criminal policies and the constitution of shared codes for criminal matters. In this regard, there are other paths to follow and explore in relation to combating crime, such as judicial cooperation, cooperation on investigations and combating crime. Moreover, promoting policies that reduce social inequalities and promote important social, economic and labour rights would play a key role in crime prevention. That is definitely not the path that the European Union has been following.

 
  
  

Report: María Irigoyen Pérez (A7-0155/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since I believe there is an urgent need for a new consumer protection agenda that extols the protection of vulnerable consumers in the European Union. In fact, given the diverse needs, abilities and circumstances of consumers, I consider it crucial that consideration of consumer vulnerability be a key task of this new agenda. Consumers should be given more information and awareness raising campaigns should be put in place.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The protection of vulnerable consumers is a priority and we must therefore call for a genuine European strategy in this area. The rights of vulnerable consumers must be reinforced as much as possible. European legislation, through the decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union, protects European citizens by dealing with their cases on a case-by-case basis. Today, I am therefore in favour of a comprehensive strategy which will prevent unfair commercial practices in the future. The report adopts a sectoral approach to cover the different forms of vulnerability. For example, we should no longer be penalised for the lack of information on complaint and redress schemes.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Liam Aylward (ALDE), in writing. (GA) According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, only one in two consumers is happy with the information provided to them. Vulnerable groups, particularly, have difficulties understanding the options available to them and their rights.

I support what is in the report as regards vulnerable, elderly consumers, particularly in terms of digital services. Since more and more information is being posted online, elderly consumers cannot access it and they find it more difficult now to access resources for implementing their rights. Consumers who have no Internet access, for one reason or another, suffer because they cannot avail themselves of online commercial services or obtain information in relation to their rights. Therefore, a significant portion of the internal market is closed to them, they pay more for products and they depend heavily on other people. Information on consumers’ rights must be provided, not only through official channels, but also through consumer associations and regional offices which are more conspicuous and easier to access for consumers with mobility problems or who do not have access to the Internet.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. The objective of legislation defending EU consumers is to ensure common consumer protection against unfair business practices, misleading advertising and unfair contract terms, but there must be special protection for vulnerable consumers and they must be targeted by a separate strategy. I agree with the calls for the Commission and the Member States to closely analyse consumer behaviour and situations that may place certain groups in vulnerable situations, in order to provide protection for all consumers, regardless of their ability. Many consumers’ vulnerability results precisely from their lack of assertiveness and comprehension of the information they receive or of the options available, or from their lack of awareness of the existing complaint and redress schemes. I therefore welcome the European Parliament’s proposals to pay more attention to consumer information and education campaigns, to simplify complaint procedures and tighten advertising standards, etc.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) European Union consumer policy should be ambitious and should confer a high level of protection on consumers, paying particular attention to the most vulnerable. This report, for which I voted, calls on the Commission and Member States to adopt specific legislative measures guaranteeing adequate protection for vulnerable consumers. This should involve not just the authorities but also companies and suppliers, so as to make the contractual balance more transparent and less opaque. It also draws attention to the vulnerability of older consumers in the context of the digitisation of services. The creation of a strategy to strengthen the rights of the most vulnerable consumers will contribute to their social inclusion and to the move towards a fairer and more tolerant society, as well as to ensuring a more dynamic, safer and more competitive internal market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) Protecting consumers and, even more so, vulnerable consumers, must be seen as the basis for the development of the European project. This own-initiative report proposes real solutions for protecting this principle, which is why I decided to vote in favour of its adoption.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because promoting consumers’ rights and their protection are core values for developing relevant European Union policies, especially for reinforcing the single market, and for meeting the Europe 2020 goals. All consumers, at some point in their life, can become vulnerable because of external factors and their interactions with the market or because they have difficulties in accessing and comprehending relevant consumer information and therefore need special protection. The widely used concept of vulnerable consumers targets a heterogeneous group comprised of persons who are considered as such because of their mental, physical or psychological disability, age, credulity or gender. This concept should also include consumers who are placed in a state of temporary powerlessness resulting from a gap between their individual state and characteristics or their external environment, taking into account criteria such as education, their social and financial situation, or access to the Internet. The ambition for EU consumer policy should be a high level of empowerment and protection for every consumer. In creating a strategy for strengthening the rights of the most vulnerable consumers, it is essential to give them the opportunity to participate in the single market, to contribute not only to the social inclusion of such consumers and to the creation of a more just and tolerant society, but also to a more dynamic, safe and competitive interior market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Current regulations on consumer rights are inadequate, and a better strategy is required to strengthen the rights of vulnerable consumers. The report proposes solutions for problem sectors such as finance, transport and the Internet. In the transport sector, in spite of existing legislation, passengers continue to encounter difficulties on a frequent basis when their trip is cancelled or there are delays, especially people with disabilities.

I think that, as part of the planned revision of EU passenger rights legislation, the situation of vulnerable consumers must be taken into account, especially persons with reduced mobility and disabilities. I believe that devising such a strategy contributes not only to the social inclusion of these consumers, but also to progress towards a more just and tolerant society.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) I welcome and endorse the report, and wish to highlight its balanced, realistic nature. In these areas, there is a high risk of working at cross purposes, whereby laws are made in defence of certain sections of society that actually end up being harmed by unexpected effects of the legislation. Another risk that the report has been careful to avoid is that of ending up serving up an abstract model of the nanny state with the laudable but illusory intention of eliminating the risks connected with carrying out our responsibilities as citizens.

Amongst the praiseworthy recommendations made, I would highlight the protection of consumers against bad practices, which are regrettably widespread in the consumer credit industry, which has exploded along with the crisis. These practices, which promote a reckless attitude to debt, are also harmful in terms of the difficult task of consolidating our public accounts, since lower household debt is an important advantage over, for example, the United States. Protecting vulnerable consumers is morally justifiable but also helps us maintain welfare networks in our countries, which are often called on to deal with the effects of bad practices that harm the most vulnerable.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report by María Irigoyen Pérez on a strategy for strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers. Unfair business practices, misleading advertising and the lack of information about some products have a strong impact on the most vulnerable consumers. Our priority is to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable consumers at all costs. Thus, for this group of consumers to be better included at the heart of the single market, it is worth targeting the causes and improving their protection. In this regard, some sectors such as food, transport, the Internet, liberalised markets, justice and digital services must be subject to increased controls in order to facilitate greater independence for consumers. To this effect, it is worth quickly drawing up stricter rules on advertising for children, making the digital adaptation of services for elderly people an educational process and improving information for those with visual impairments.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) In spite of existing legislation, consumers still frequently encounter difficulties when travelling and often find themselves in vulnerable situations, especially if their journey is cancelled or delayed, and these difficulties are exacerbated when the consumer suffers from a disability. I would therefore like to call on the Commission and the Member States to take the necessary measures to ensure better information provision and access to claim procedures regarding, inter alia, passengers’ rights and transparency of fares. The Commission, in its planned revision of EU passenger rights legislation, must take into account the situation of vulnerable consumers, especially persons with reduced mobility and disabilities, and adapt the compensation levels, criteria and mechanisms, while ensuring that current levels are not reduced. The digitisation of services may mean that consumers who, for various reasons, cannot access or use the Internet, could find themselves in a situation of vulnerability, as they cannot take full advantage of the benefits of online commerce and are therefore excluded from a substantial part of the internal market, paying more for the same products or being dependent on assistance from others. The Commission and the Member States must therefore eliminate the barriers to cross-border e-commerce through the development of an effective policy which pays special attention to the needs of vulnerable consumers in all measures aimed at closing the digital divide.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – The United Kingdom has already established a number of independent bodies and organisations to protect consumers against unscrupulous advertising, misleading product sales and so forth. For example, the Financial Ombudsman regulates the financial sector, while the Advertising Standards Authority determines whether advertising is accurate and appropriate. Currently, the UK Government is looking into the protection of minors from overtly sexualised consumerism and exposure to risks to their well-being. The Office of Fair Trade oversees the protection of British consumers as a whole. Legislation such as the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, the Sale of Goods Act 1979, the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and the Electronic Commerce Regulations 2002 already exist to serve the consumer. Some of the legislation is UK application of EU law. Complaints are made to Consumer Direct, which provides legal advice and redirects individual complaints to the Trading Standards office for investigation. Creating an entire stratum of European law muddies the waters, leaving both consumers and merchants at risk from excessive bureaucracy and a compensation culture. While I agree with the proposals set out in the report, it is my belief that the UK should be the only author of such regulations.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because consumer protection is always an important topic of debate, and certain measures and regulations need to be adopted by the EU to achieve this. In this regard, it is paramount that there are product safety standards and that measures are introduced to protect the rights and interests of consumers, especially against misleading advertising, which presents consumers with an image of the product that does not match the reality. I think that it is relevant to analyse the sectors which make consumers more vulnerable and require an increased level of protection.

These include, in particular, the financial sector (the price and quality of the product must be presented in a proper, sufficiently clear manner), food sector (control over advertising so that it reflects the real product and its benefits), as well as transport or the Internet. Furthermore, consumers must be offered the wherewithal to enjoy to the full the benefits of a deregulated market, enabling them to make an enlightened choice about the most relevant offerings. Last but not least, with a view to increasing consumer confidence in the internal market, it is absolutely vital to ensure appropriate access to judicial or alternative methods of redress, with the development of the latter being essential.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. (FR) Given that they can easily find themselves in situations of vulnerability, consumers must be subject to specific protection measures from European legislators. I therefore welcome the adoption of the Irigoyen Pérez report. I support this initiative, which aims to strengthen the rights of consumers and keep them better informed of the risks that they face. I note that with the increase in web content targeting consumers, we must redouble our vigilance. I believe that the most important thing today is to ensure that these new protection measures are implemented in a uniform way across all Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I support the creation of a strategy for strengthening the rights of the most vulnerable consumers that enables their participation in the single market, thereby contributing, not just to their social inclusion and progress towards a fairer and more tolerant society, but also to ensuring a more dynamic, safer and more competitive internal market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) Europe has 500 million consumers, whose spending accounts for 56% of the EU’s GDP. Empowered consumers, duly protected and in a position to benefit from the single market, can contribute significantly to stimulating innovation and growth within a more dynamic, more efficient and fairer internal market. It is essential that EU consumer policy be able to pay particular attention to the specific needs of the most vulnerable consumers, by means of a specific strategy for increasing their ability to make decisions effectively and independently. It must be borne in mind that all consumers can become vulnerable consumers over the course of their lives, for reasons that may be temporary or permanent, may be inherent to their physical or mental state, or may result from outside reasons like not knowing the language, the use of new technologies, etc. This means the issue of vulnerable consumers should be approached in a horizontal way and take into account their various needs, capabilities and circumstances. Specific measures should be adopted ensuring adequate protection: these should go beyond mere information, particularly in certain areas, such as telecommunications, access to the courts, food, financial services, etc.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) Although supplying appropriate information to consumers is necessary to guarantee their protection, this is not enough in some cases, especially for vulnerable consumers. This report therefore calls on the Commission to consider this, developing protection tools for the most vulnerable categories that go beyond mere information. By adopting the principle that each consumer may, during their lifetime, become a vulnerable consumer, the proposal avoids supplying too rigid a definition of vulnerability. There is also a need for action in the online sector, identified in the motion amongst the at-risk areas, in which the ineffectiveness of age verification systems exposes underage consumers to misleading adverts, and in which social networks allow sellers to promote their own products through targeted advertising, suggesting brands of interest within the social network, taking advantage of social pressure. Since I am sure the guidelines set out in the motion help identify an effective strategy for the protection of consumers, in particular, those who are vulnerable, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE), in writing. (SV) We voted in favour of the own-initiative report on a strategy for strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers. We welcome the fact that the report highlights the importance of subsidiarity and that it does not aim to establish different levels of protection for consumers. Instead, the starting point is a high level of protection for everyone. We believe that vulnerable consumers should be given the same opportunities to make free and informed choices. Therefore, we support self-regulatory initiatives and increased cooperation between the Commission, the Member States and industry in order to give consumers greater power.

We also welcome the fact that the report emphasises the importance of responsible advertising aimed at children on TV and on the Internet, because children are not always able to understand and evaluate the message that is being conveyed. We agree that advertising should not be regulated at an EU level, but, therefore, we believe that it is extremely important for companies to take part in the voluntary initiatives and to comply with the codes of conduct that have been set up.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rachida Dati (PPE) , in writing.(FR) The European project has led to the emergence of a single market: a common area for buying, selling and moving around. Consumers are therefore an integral part of this. As consumers, we can all one day find ourselves in a situation of vulnerability. There is not one vulnerable consumer, but several vulnerable consumers. This report provides a flexible approach to enable protection for all. It recommends, in particular, that children and young people be better protected still faced with advertising for foods that are too fatty, salty, or sugary. The report is also concerned with access to information and complaint procedures for travellers. These are very specific recommendations, which are useful for European citizens, and that is why I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) By voting for this report, we have invited the European Commission and encouraged the 27 Member States to ‘maintain constant and close analysis of social and consumer behaviour and situations that may place certain groups or individuals in vulnerable situations, for instance, by analysing consumer claims’. We have also encouraged them to fight against vulnerability through specific measures, which, where appropriate, will protect all consumers ‘regardless of ability and at whatever stage of life’.

We have particularly insisted on the need to enhance consumers’ awareness regarding product safety, particularly through targeting children and pregnant women, and called on the Commission to carry out a detailed analysis of the impact of misleading and aggressive advertising, particularly on children and adolescents. The EU and its Member States are immediately being asked to invest more in consumer information and education campaigns, since the vulnerability of many consumers derives from their lack of assertiveness, from their lack of comprehension of the information they receive or of the options available to them, and from their lack of awareness of the complaint and redress schemes available to them.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report concerning a strategy for strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers because I believe it is essential to provide an adequate, and therefore updated, approach to consumer protection. This report does precisely this: it calls for an adaptation of the definition of vulnerable consumers which is synchronised with the changing nature of consumption in Europe, not only regarding the goods that are consumed but also the evolving categories of consumers. Given the extraordinary importance of the internal market for the European Union’s economy and growth, a solid and trustworthy legal basis for consumer protection must imperatively be established. Europe should provide itself with effective legislative means to avoid any form of abuse towards its citizens, in particular, the most vulnerable ones. However, it is also fundamental that a right balance between individual freedom and consumer choices is struck. The sectors identified by the report, namely finance, food, transport, Internet, free markets and access to justice, will have to be carefully regulated according to the driving principle of this dossier: consumers are susceptible to becoming vulnerable consumers over the course of their lives.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Consumer rights and their protection under EU law constitute one of the core principles of the workings of the internal market. I consider adequate consumer protection and security key to the smooth running of the markets and to trade; they are an essential condition of competitiveness and growth. Of all consumers, however, some deserve particular protection since they are, for various reasons, considered more vulnerable: children, adolescents, older people, disabled people, etc. While I acknowledge this need, I also think strengthening consumers’ rights essentially involves strengthening the market’s obligations as regards correct information, according to the particular needs of each group.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report follows on from a previous report, by a rapporteur from the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left, focusing on the specific case of vulnerable consumers, a complex concept that it defines in a wide-ranging and comprehensive way. The rapporteur proposes that the European Commission and the Member States develop strategies aimed at reinforcing the rights of vulnerable consumers in areas such as telecommunications, access to the courts, energy, transport, etc. It makes suggestions about, for example, strengthening pre-contractual and contractual information requirements, and a stronger right of withdrawal when the provider or seller has not, inter alia, made the relevant information available clearly and comprehensibly. The ‘vulnerable consumer’ concept also includes children, older people and women. It also suggests paying particular attention to the specific conditions of certain individuals, such as those without access to the Internet or those with disabilities. It also suggests stricter advertising standards, requiring better information about risks and preventing exaggeration of the potential benefits; it even mentions the specific case of financial products. We take a positive view of the fact that the majority of the amendments tabled by our group have been accepted. We voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The promotion of consumers’ rights and their protection create a basis for the development of relevant EU policies and it is important for the achievement of the objectives set out in the Europe 2020 strategy. The consumer may be vulnerable for a number of reasons – because of their mental, psychological or physical disability, age, sex, or credulity, or if they are in a state of temporary powerlessness resulting, for example, from an adverse social or financial situation. Vulnerable consumers require special protection and it is important to take into account their specific needs and enhance their capabilities. Member States must take appropriate measures in this regard and ensure adequate guarantees. The most dangerous areas, where the level of vulnerability has been shown to be greatest, include energy, food, transportation, financial services, access to justice and telecommunications. In order to protect vulnerable consumers, we need to provide them with easily accessible and understandable information. As regards the requirement to provide sufficient information, I believe we need to draw attention to the fact that some categories of consumer are not aware of the existing complaint and redress schemes, especially in cross-border or e-commerce cases. The development of an effective strategy for the strengthening and protection of the rights of vulnerable consumers will ensure their equitable participation in the single market, contribute to their social inclusion, and will additionally guarantee that the single internal market of the European Union will be safer, stronger and more competitive.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) This text is, in my opinion, absolutely worthy of support, for three reasons. Firstly, it proposes reinforcement of the rights of vulnerable consumers through a horizontal approach, that is, by considering the different needs and abilities of consumers, as well as the many circumstances in which they may find themselves. Secondly, I welcome the basic principle underlying the report, whereby all consumers could become vulnerable over the course of their lives, for exogenous or endogenous reasons. Finally, the concrete measures proposed in the report are designed to improve existing tools and their effectiveness, and to ensure the provision of easily available and understandable information for consumers. That is why I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. (HU) The outcome of the vote has made it clear that everyone finds consumer protection important. However, unless we take actual steps, there can be no effective consumer protection, as consumers will continue to feel just as vulnerable as before.

It definitely marks a step in the right direction that the European Parliament intends to continue its consumer-friendly activities, and I also welcome the fact that my fellow Members voted in favour of reinforcing consumer protection. Still, as long as the terms and conditions applied by banks remain incomprehensible to consumers, and as long as there is only a code of conduct rather than binding legislation that restricts banks in amending their contracts unilaterally, the immeasurable gap between consumers and these companies is here to stay.

Similarly, the moratorium on eviction can be considered merely as temporary assistance, as the debtor in difficulty still needs to evacuate his house or flat when the moratorium expires, and consumers cannot hope that their salaries will increase at the same rate as the interests on their loans.

Thus, conciliation bodies, which play an exceedingly important role in the speedy, simple and free settlement of consumers’ legal disputes, must be strengthened in the future. However, in order for this to have an effect on consumer protection, all those important changes that social organisations representing consumer interests have long been pressing for need to be implemented.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) One of the most frequent criticisms levelled at the European Union concerns the democratic deficit, or the lack of opportunities for citizens to influence European decision-making processes. As the only institution whose members are directly elected by citizens, the European Parliament is particularly sensitive to these issues and, in 2010, it adopted the report on the proposal for a regulation on the citizens’ initiative: this is an opportunity for citizens to make their voices heard, and to bring issues of interest to the attention of the European institutions. An early example was seen a few weeks ago, when a committee of citizens living in Austria, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania and Spain presented an initiative to improve EU exchange programmes.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. – The Irigoyen Pérez opinion correctly highlights that well informed, empowered consumers, once offered the proper protections, can be the engine of growth and increased competitiveness for the Union. However, it is clear that consumers in many sectors remain very vulnerable, above all, in relation to financial products. Financial institutions often understate the risk of financial products to retail investors who are not familiar with financial risk. Consumer policy that is fit for purpose should be oriented not only towards providing the relevant legal protection, but also towards strengthening consumers’ power to make their own informed decisions and exercise their rights. The implementation of a comprehensive system of alternative and online dispute resolution for consumers, which would make resolving disputes between consumers and traders quicker, cheaper and easier, is an important initiative in this regard. I would now call on the Commission and Member States to take the necessary further concrete legislative steps to address consumer vulnerability, particularly in relation to the advertisement of financial products and advertisements targeting children and adolescents.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mathieu Grosch (PPE), in writing. (DE) Many debates in the European Parliament concern the protection of consumers. All consumers deserve protection and it is difficult to understand many of the distinctions that have been referred to. Young people and people with specific disabilities are, of course, always highlighted in all the proposals. The aim should be to achieve greater transparency and to produce better descriptions of the responsibilities of those who sell or provide products or services, in the interests of all consumers, including those who are particularly vulnerable.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report, which calls for the establishment of a strategy to protect vulnerable consumers. There may be several criteria determining the vulnerability of consumers, such as age, disability, but also poor understanding of new technologies, which may overwhelm them when faced with the pressures of marketing, misleading advertising, or with unfair contract terms. The rights of European consumers must be adapted to particular situations.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Małgorzata Handzlik (PPE), in writing.(PL) Consumers are a very important part of the single market, and among them are those who require special attention. The assumption that, in fact, all of us can become vulnerable consumers at some point in our lives is a valuable observation which should be taken into account when framing EU policy and, in particular, initiatives aimed at strengthening the single market.

I would like to stress this, for example, in the context of discussion on the development of social enterprises. Alongside business objectives, social enterprises also pursue social objectives, thanks to which they better understand the needs of vulnerable consumers and are able to meet those needs more effectively. Therefore, by recognising the role of social enterprises in the single market we will help improve conditions for particularly vulnerable consumers. In this context, I would also like to stress the need to give better information to consumers in general, and even more so in the case of vulnerable consumers. Reliable information enables consumers to be active and more aware of their rights, and they more readily make use of the procedures provided for them.

In the case of vulnerable consumers, the type of information supplied is of enormous importance, because this group of consumers needs a wider range of information to be able to participate fully in the single market. The report accurately identifies what are currently the most problematic sectors. The identification of areas which may constitute the greatest threat to the security of consumers is an important step on the road to strengthening their protection.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing.(FR) On Tuesday, 22 May, MEPs approved, almost unanimously, the report on strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers. This report postulates that all consumers are susceptible to becoming vulnerable consumers over the course of their lives. The causes may be endogenous (reduced physical or mental abilities such as children, seniors or the disabled) or exogenous (education, etc.). It must therefore be guaranteed that these citizens are properly protected but also made aware of their responsibilities. With this report, Parliament intends to put forward its contribution to the debate launched by the Commission on this subject. It should be highlighted that the Commission published, on the very same day that this report was adopted, its strategy for strengthening consumer confidence, the European Consumer Agenda.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. – This report quite rightly calls for a strengthening of vulnerable consumers’ rights whilst noting that this should be done in a proportionate manner. Certain aspects of consumer law are currently reserved in the UK to the Westminster parliament whilst others fall within the remit of the Scottish parliament. Much of consumer law is now regulated at EU level in the interests of the internal market’s smooth functioning. Westminster’s role in Scottish consumer law is therefore increasingly redundant – and should be brought to an end.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Anna Ibrisagic (PPE), in writing. (SV) We voted in favour of the own-initiative report on a strategy for strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers. We welcome the fact that the report highlights the importance of subsidiarity and that it does not aim to establish different levels of protection for consumers. Instead, the starting point is a high level of protection for everyone. We believe that vulnerable consumers should be given the same opportunities to make free and informed choices. Therefore, we support self-regulatory initiatives and increased cooperation between the Commission, the Member States and industry in order to give consumers greater power.

We also welcome the fact that the report emphasises the importance of responsible advertising aimed at children on TV and on the Internet, because children are not always able to understand and evaluate the message that is being conveyed. We agree that advertising should not be regulated at an EU level but, therefore, we believe that it is extremely important for companies to take part in the voluntary initiatives and to comply with the codes of conduct that have been set up.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on a strategy for strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers because the diversity of vulnerable situations, both when consumers are placed under statutory protection and when they are in a specific situation of sectoral or temporary vulnerability, hinders a uniform approach and the adoption of a comprehensive legislative instrument. The existing legislation and policies in place therefore address the problem of vulnerability on a case-by-case basis. European legislation must address the problem of vulnerability among consumers as a horizontal task, taking into account consumers’ various needs, abilities and circumstances. The rapporteur has addressed specifically the following sectors: the financial sector, food, transport, Internet, liberalised markets and access to justice. Attention is also drawn to the vulnerability of senior consumers, in particular, in the context of the digitisation of services, and because of the added cost that the management of such services poses for brick-and-mortar offices and stores, which means, in many cases, that they pay more for the same products.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Kent Johansson, Marit Paulsen, Olle Schmidt and Cecilia Wikström (ALDE), in writing. (SV) It is important to provide effective protection for all consumers who are buying goods on the European market. The key factor is that consumers have access to straightforward and reliable information about goods and services. The consumers who need effective protection are those who cannot make use of the information that is available. If we make the definition of a vulnerable consumer too broad, we risk reducing the protection available for people who really need special support.

Those of us with liberal views believe that the term ‘vulnerable’ should be based on individuals’ needs and not the group they belong to. Our opinions were not given a hearing during the process of drawing up the report, but we are not voting against it because it highlights an important issue which we believe needs further discussion.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of this report because it contributes to the discussion initiated by the Commission on the protection of vulnerable consumers, particularly in view of the publication of the Consumer Agenda, which aims to define the Commission’s main priorities and future efforts in the area of consumer policy.

As shadow rapporteur on this report, I defended several important points, particularly a clarification of the definition of vulnerable consumers (extending beyond the classic sense, associated with physical or mental disability, to cover the notion of situational vulnerability), the strengthening of the European strategy not only through a development in the legal corpus and effective enforcement of rights but also through consumer empowerment (access to information, consumer education), taking into account vulnerability as a result of the development of new practices associated with new information and communication technologies (behavioural advertising, for example), and finally, the need to make businesses aware of their responsibilities in this area and to recognise the initiatives that they develop in the field of self-regulation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) In the day of the single market, the rights of the European consumer are an extremely important question for all citizens. Many people still do not know their privileges and do not know how to enforce their rights, nor are they familiar with the requirements which should be met by sellers at the point of sale of their products. If consumers did have this information, they would be able to make rapid and appropriate decisions when choosing a product and, if faulty goods were purchased, would be able to recover their money efficiently and easily or exchange the article concerned.

The European Commission stresses the importance of informing consumers of their rights and of the possibility of obtaining a refund or complaining. However, as the rapporteur stresses, an information campaign may not be sufficient help, particularly in relation to consumers who are particularly vulnerable to abuse from sellers. Such consumers include children as well as elderly and disabled people. We should therefore take care to provide the right legal protection to those of our citizens who most need it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Krišjānis Kariņš (PPE), in writing. (LV) I supported the resolution on a strategy for strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers because the people of Latvia would benefit from greater consumer protection in the European Union. We still have different rules in various EU Member States and the degree of consumer protection varies. The resolution emphasises the need to do more in this area. That is to say, we must plug the gaps in the legislation in order to remedy the deficiencies and adapt to the existing situation. However, the most important issue is the differing quality of goods in EU countries. It is no secret that the quality of products of the same brand can be lower in Eastern European countries than the quality of those on sale in Western Europe. This is grossly unfair, and the EU must rectify the situation. That is why I made a proposal that gained support and has been included in the final text of the resolution. Work in this area will continue in the EU, and I shall work on proposals that will protect Latvian consumers and ensure they are included in draft legislation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE), in writing. (SK) Belonging to the European Union ensures a significant degree of protection for consumers by establishing equal levels of safety for numerous consumer goods and by introducing measures to protect consumers’ wider interests from unfair business practices, misleading advertising and unfair contract terms. However, the general concept of ‘consumers’ subsumes a specific category, that of vulnerable consumers, who require special protection. These include children, seniors, the disabled, and also those who are vulnerable due to a lack of knowledge of the language or a lack of education. The creation of a strategy for strengthening the rights of these vulnerable consumers is certainly necessary and I support its immediate development by the Commission.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edvard Kožušník (ECR), in writing. (CS) I am seriously concerned that the proposed method of protecting vulnerable consumers does not amount to a functional model of consumer protection, particularly as it is based on the preferential protection of a specified number of consumers. Consumer protection should always be based on application of the principle of equal treatment in relation to all groups of consumers. In addition, the fact that the group of vulnerable consumers comprises a dynamically changing set of addressees which is very hard to define undermines the entire proposed philosophy of greater protection for vulnerable consumers. This all underlines the impossibility of defining such a group in legislative terms. It is not changed in any way by the fact that the term ‘vulnerable consumer’ has already been used in the directive concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market. Here, however, it is based on unfair competition practices, in relation to which an economic interest can be unambiguously quantified, both in the form of profit and in the form of damages. If this interest is broadened to include health, safety or morality, it will be difficult to define in legislative terms and, consequently, impossible to put into practice.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) The new forms of commerce and different channels for buying products inevitably require a strengthening of consumer rights, in particular, for the most vulnerable. According to Ms Irigoyen Pérez’s report, which I voted in favour of, we have to move in this direction, adopting a wide-ranging approach. Consumer rights can be strengthened through an improved legal corpus, more extensive and easily understandable information campaigns and, furthermore, by making consumers aware of their responsibilities. In this sense, and also considering the results of recent research available to us, particular attention must be paid to buying behaviour with regard to financial products. We find consumers in this sector face the most illegal practices, which should be tackled robustly through greater protective information.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Constance Le Grip (PPE) , in writing.(FR) I supported the own-initiative report by my colleague, María Irigoyen Pérez, on a strategy for strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers. Through this text, Parliament is showing its determination to prevent consumer vulnerability and protect vulnerable consumers. Every European citizen must recognise that everyone is susceptible to becoming a vulnerable consumer over the course of their lives (travel to a foreign country, illness, old age, use of new commercial technology, etc.). I also welcome the fact that the current definition of the notion of a vulnerable consumer has been retained. Changing this notion would have brought about risks for consumer protection. It is essential that such a notion remains balanced, neither too vague nor too precise, so that it can cope with all situations of consumer vulnerability.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report and agree with the rapporteur that the creation of a strategy for strengthening the rights of the most vulnerable consumers, in order to permit their participation in the single market, contributes not only to the social inclusion of such consumers and to advancement toward a more just and tolerant society, but also to ensuring a more dynamic, safe and competitive internal market. However, this specific protection of vulnerable consumers should not, in any circumstances, lead to the creation of two different levels of protection.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I fully agree that the strategy for the rights of vulnerable consumers must focus on reinforcing their rights and ensuring that those rights are effectively safeguarded and enforced, as well as providing consumers with all necessary means to ensure that they can take the appropriate decisions and be assertive, irrespective of the instrument used. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) This report aims to protect ‘vulnerable consumers’. It attempts to define the category of person concerned, but must, in several areas, turn to the evidence: everyone is affected. This is just one step away from admitting that ‘consumers’ are people and that their interests are not guaranteed by free and unfettered competition. This text obstinately refuses to take this step.

It claims that competition ‘benefits consumers if they are properly informed’. Vulnerability must therefore be the result of a simple lack of information. Whilst, of course, it is necessary to better regulate information for people about the products and services that they use, turning the lack of information into the main cause of vulnerability is a sham. The millions of people plunged into poverty by austerity policies and the deregulation of the labour market have become vulnerable. For them, it is impossible to purchase quality products and services, whether they are informed or not. This text is full of good intentions but reveals an obscene social blindness.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) I take the view that defending consumers is always an issue that concerns all of us if we are to be able to continue building an ever-more balanced internal market. To that end, it is imperative to create product safety standards, and measures must be introduced to protect the rights and interests of consumers, especially against misleading advertising that offers consumers an image of the product not compatible with reality. The most sensitive specific sectors are finance, food, transport and the Internet. Moreover, consumers should be given the means for enjoying the benefits of a liberalised market, enabling them to make informed choices. Finally, to increase consumer confidence in the internal market, it is absolutely necessary to ensure better access to the courts.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Though the single market must work to ensure a high standard of protection for all consumers, it must pay particular attention to vulnerable consumers in order to take into account their specific needs. All consumers are susceptible to becoming vulnerable over the course of their lives. The diversity of situations of vulnerability, however, makes it difficult to adopt a uniform approach and general measures. This vulnerability requires special protection and a specific strategy. The capacity of vulnerable people to take optimal decisions independently must be strengthened, information and education must be improved, and they must be allowed access to the same goods and services as all consumers. Particular attention must be paid to people with disabilities as well as to children and adolescents who must be made aware of the risks of aggressive or misleading advertising. The latter are, moreover, particularly vulnerable faced with the use of new communications technologies such as smartphones, online games and social networks. Mention could also be made of elderly people or those in precarious situations who are cut off from the digital world. Faced with all of these situations, flexible legislation is required which is able to adapt to different cases of vulnerability.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The upcoming Consumer Agenda must address the problem of vulnerability among consumers as a horizontal task, taking into account consumers’ various needs, abilities and circumstances. The resolution calls on the EU and the Member States to pay more attention to, and invest more in, consumer information and education campaigns. I consider this initiative as a first step in that direction. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) There should be a uniform level of protection for consumers within the EU and, in particular, protection against unfair business practices, misleading advertising and improper contract terms. Children, adolescents, older people and people with disabilities are, of course, particularly vulnerable. This is also the case with people who do not understand the local language, have a lack of knowledge or are forced to use new technologies with which they are not familiar. The protection must cover not only their financial interests, but also other areas, such as health and safety. In particular, in the case of the failure to fulfil the legal obligation to provide information and of the right of withdrawal, most importantly for cross-border online purchases, there are still problems in enforcing the law. The financial sector remains problematic because of its complexity. Similarly, there is still a lack of price transparency among low-cost airlines, for example. Despite the fact that the basic intentions of this report are good, it remains difficult to enforce these measures on behalf of consumers. Therefore, I cannot vote in favour of the report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Katarína Neveďalová (S&D), in writing. (SK) All European Union citizens might find themselves in the group of vulnerable consumers at some time in their lives. There could be several reasons, but the most common ones include advanced age, or medical or mental disability and, last but not least, there are children, of course. The definition of vulnerable consumers that we have used hitherto has been very general and the report by Ms Irigoyen Pérez is an attempt to improve it. This report therefore focuses on the most pressing issues in this area, such as misleading television and online advertising aimed at children and adolescents, or standardisation of products for the disabled. Other areas can also include telecommunications services, especially mobile services operators, which are increasingly focused on children and adolescents. For this type of service, the overview of charges must be clear, transparent and understandable for everyone. Every day, we come across cases where people have found themselves in not inconsiderable difficulties due to false or misleading advertising, sometimes resulting in bankruptcy or total loss of property. Many companies actually seek out vulnerable consumers, most commonly seniors, in order to deceive them. Their activities are at first sight lawful, but are also morally quite wrong. The sheer number of such cases demonstrates the need to strengthen the rights of vulnerable consumers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for the strategy on strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers, and I consider that the comments made in this report are vital and must be taken into account as part of future regulations as soon as possible. The fact that, according to the most recent Eurobarometer survey, less than 50% of consumers feel that they are properly informed and protected gives particular cause for concern.

Furthermore, another figure mentioned in the report is even alarming: 70% of financial institutions’ and companies’ websites make basic errors with regard to the products on offer, while the costs are presented in a misleading way. Under these circumstances, the problems faced by vulnerable consumers need to be subject to tight regulations and deterrent sanctions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing. (ET) Although citizens of the Member States of the European Union are better protected as consumers than the inhabitants of any other part of the world, we have by no means achieved all of the set objectives. One of the most topical problems in this area is how to guarantee the rights and protection of the most vulnerable consumers. In order to achieve this, the Commission and the Member States should work together to develop an appropriate strategy. Today, it is clear that the awareness-raising work that has been undertaken via campaigns up to now is insufficient, especially for people who simply do not know of or understand the existing options or the mechanisms for complaint resolution and compensation. Developments in recent years have shown that consumer protection and, in particular, the protection of the most vulnerable consumers, need to be improved, above all in the areas of financial services, flights offered by low-cost carriers, Internet advertising and the availability of legal protection. Among other things, we must take a more serious attitude towards ensuring that children, young people and the elderly obtain and understand information in relation to their nutritional choices, with regard to the large-scale campaigns concerning foods with high sugar, fat and salt content.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) Consumers receive thousands of messages a day about various goods and services available, thereby increasing the risk of their becoming more vulnerable in certain sectors, such as nutrition and the financial sector. It is true that the market tries to generate needs among consumers, especially vulnerable consumers, that do not actually exist, thereby attaining its objective through inadequate education and information for consumers about their legal rights. We therefore need a more consistent EU strategy to strengthen the rights of vulnerable consumers. This being so, I voted in favour of this report because it strengthens the participation of consumers in the single market, thereby both ensuring they are protected and creating a more dynamic and competitive internal market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour because I agree with the idea of strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers, whilst closely monitoring social habits and changes in social and consumption behaviour that could make certain groups and/or individuals vulnerable. This should be done in a balanced way involving continuous communication with stakeholders.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. – We need to do more to strengthen the rights of vulnerable consumers. We need a broad and coherent legislative strategy to tackle vulnerability, taking into account the complexity of such situations. Vulnerable consumers must have effective access to alternative dispute resolution, either free of charge or at the lowest possible cost.

The EU, Member States and businesses need to take the appropriate measures to ensure that consumers have access to understandable and comparable information about fees and means of redress, and can easily switch providers, especially in the telecommunication and energy sectors.

We need to have better information and access to claim procedures regarding, inter alia, passengers’ rights and transparency of fares. EU passengers’ rights legislation must take into account the situation of vulnerable consumers. We need to conduct a detailed analysis of the impact of misleading and aggressive advertising on vulnerable consumers, especially children and adolescents.

There must be stricter advertising standards for sophisticated financial products aimed at retail investors who may not have a good understanding of the risks and losses that an investor may incur.

We need enhanced consumer awareness regarding product safety, especially for vulnerable consumer groups like pregnant women and children.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Fiorello Provera (EFD), in writing. (IT) I support Ms Irigoyen Pérez’s initiative, which addresses a key issue for the fair functioning of the market: the protection of consumers’ rights and, in particular, those of the most vulnerable consumers, from unfair practices. We need to increase consumers’ sense of empowerment through accessible and understandable information. This applies to sensitive areas, such as financial products, and in the field of new technologies and social media, where we need to think about how to protect the consumer.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The promotion of consumers’ rights and their protection are core values for the development of EU policy, particularly for reinforcing the single market and pursing the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. However, the umbrella term ‘consumers’ includes a specific category to which particular attention should be paid: vulnerable consumers. This report rightly aims to contribute to creating a strategy for strengthening the rights of the most vulnerable consumers. To this end, it calls on the Commission and the Member States to adopt in their legislation specific measures to ensure appropriate protection for such consumers, especially in those areas where the level of vulnerability has been shown to be greater – finance, food, transport, the Internet, access to the courts, transport and energy) – and, specifically, in the Consumer Agenda and the Consumer Programme 2014-2020. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mitro Repo (S&D), in writing. (FI) I have just voted in favour of the report on strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers. The report is all the more important because of technological development, for example. Technological advances and electronic services are making such rapid progress that not everyone has the chance or ability to keep up with it all. Elderly people, for example, are in this group. Younger consumers are, however, susceptible to the influence of advertising. For this reason, it is very important to protect children and young people, for example, from aggressive, dishonest and alcohol-related advertising.

Ultimately, the internal market, like the EU as a whole, exists for the people. That is why it and economic growth should not be pursued at the expense of vulnerable consumers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) I applaud Ms Irigoyen Pérez for her work. The adoption of this report, having regard to Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer practices in the internal market, and Article 9 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, reaffirms that belonging to the European Union ensures an additional degree of protection for consumers.

This report is based on the principle that all consumers can be considered vulnerable and, in particular, emphasises how the creation of a strategy for strengthening the rights of the most vulnerable consumers, in order to permit their participation in the single market, contributes not only to the social inclusion of such consumers and to advancement toward a more just and tolerant society, but also to ensuring a more dynamic, safe and competitive internal market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The creation of a strategy for strengthening the rights of the most vulnerable consumers, in order to permit their participation in the single market, contributes not only to the social inclusion of such consumers and to advancement toward a more just and tolerant society, but also to ensuring a more dynamic, safe and competitive interior market. However, this specific protection of vulnerable consumers should not, in any case, lead to the creation of two different levels of protection.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this document because greater protection must be given to European consumers, especially the most vulnerable and those at risk of unemployment. To do this, we must act quickly, through a specific and wide-ranging strategy which takes account of social habits and changes in the behaviour of those consumers most at risk.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) I am in favour of the report on the strategy for strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers, as they form a special category of consumers which needs special protection and a specific strategy. This vulnerability can result from both endogenous causes, where the consumer’s vulnerability is the result of temporary or permanent causes that are inherent to the consumer or his or her physical or mental situation, or exogenous causes, namely those caused by external agents such as a lack of information.

I agree with the notion that the reinforcement of vulnerable consumers’ rights does not only entail regulatory development but, above all, efforts to promote consumer empowerment through the provision of accessible and understandable information. I think the new Consumer Programme 2014-2020 should prioritise the reinforcement of vulnerable consumers’ rights, paying particular attention to those with disabilities, for example, reading accessibility for visually impaired persons and the use of universally recognised symbols.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing. (IT) I welcome the report by Ms Irigoyen Pérez, which aims to ensure equal treatment and the elimination of discrimination in the internal market and, in particular, protection of the most vulnerable consumers. This is to be achieved through a targeted strategy which consists of promoting programmes to support consumer information and education, uniform application of standards in all Member States and transparent pricing, especially with regard to e-commerce. We also need stricter rules on advertising, which is misleading at times, and a greater control over the information given to the public in order to avoid buyers making ill-informed choices. Consumers need to be better protected when buying and they must be carefully looked after, by creating legislation on adequate, clear and precise information, which will help achieve a more transparent and competitive single market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Schwab (PPE), in writing. (DE) Fortunately, it has been possible to modify the report on strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers in such a way that there is no uniform definition of when consumers are particularly vulnerable. Instead, the decision must be made on the basis of each individual situation. That is right and proper. All consumers require different levels of protection depending on their age, vulnerability and situation. It is good that the report does not suggest anything different.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) One of the objectives of the European Union is to protect consumers’ wider interests from unfair business practises, misleading advertising and unfair contract terms. In a complex social and economic context, there are some consumers who – for various reasons – prove weaker and more vulnerable than others.

Among the particularly problematic sectors for consumers are the financial sector, food, transport, the Internet, liberalised markets and access to justice. One of the goals of this vote is to clarify the term ‘vulnerable’, so as to harmonise the issue and regulations surrounding it. The creation of a strategy for strengthening the rights of the most vulnerable consumers contributes not only to the social inclusion of such customers and to advancement towards a more just and tolerant society, but also to ensuring a more dynamic, safe and competitive internal market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Georgios Stavrakakis (S&D) , in writing. (EL) Firstly, I should like to congratulate the rapporteur on her exceptional report and to welcome the thrust of the report, the purpose of which is to mainstream the concept of vulnerable consumers across the various legislative and political EU bodies whose purpose is to protect consumers, taking account of the different needs, capabilities and circumstances that apply to them. Most importantly, the report calls for the European Union and the Member States to pay more attention to, and to invest in, consumer information and education campaigns that target the right messages at the right consumer segment. Generally speaking, a strategy for strengthening the rights of the most vulnerable consumers, in order to permit their participation in the single market, contributes not only to their social inclusion and to advancement towards a more just and tolerant society, but also to ensuring a more dynamic, safe and competitive internal market. However, we must ensure that this specific protection for vulnerable consumers does not, under any circumstances, translate into two different levels of protection.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Catherine Stihler (S&D), in writing. – I was thoroughly pleased to support this report. The Socialist rapporteur did an excellent job of highlighting the extensive work that national governments have still to do to ensure that vulnerable consumers are protected. I hope that this report is given the attention it deserves and that we begin to see a crackdown on misleading advertising across all the Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michèle Striffler (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report on the ‘strategy for strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers’. The report mentions the diversity of forms of vulnerability associated with physical or mental disability, but also takes into account the disability associated with a lack of knowledge of the language, lack of education or, simply, the need to use new technology with which the consumer is not familiar. The European Union must guarantee higher standards of protection for all consumers, by introducing measures protecting their interests against unfair business practices, misleading advertising and unfair contract terms. As a member of the Board of Directors of the European Consumer Centre, I fully supported the adoption of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) In November 2011, the European Commission tabled the proposal for a regulation on a consumer programme 2014-2020, intended to make consumer rights central to the single market. I am voting for this report, since it aims to stimulate consumer spending, which accounts for 56% of the EU’s GDP, thereby contributing decisively to restarting economic growth and wealth generation. I believe consumers should be protected from potential situations of commercial vulnerability, that the available information could be improved, and that safety standards guaranteeing that the market works effectively should be developed. At a time of serious budgetary difficulties, I consider it necessary to protect consumers from the financial markets: there should be more regulation of the economy and more information leading to effective financial education should be made available.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the report on strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers. Liberalisation of the markets has increased competition, which can benefit consumers if they are properly informed and able to compare prices and choose their providers. The lack of transparency in the main markets, including in the energy and transport sectors, may cause further difficulties for consumers, in particular when identifying which is the appropriate tariff for their needs, switching providers and understanding the items billed. I call on the Commission and Member States to take the appropriate measures to ensure that all consumers have access to clear, understandable and comparable information about tariffs, conditions and means of redress, and can easily switch providers. In spite of existing legislation, vulnerable consumers still encounter difficulties when travelling. We call on the Commission and Member States to take the necessary measures to ensure better provision of information and rapid access both to claims procedures regarding passengers’ rights and the mechanisms for resolving them. We call, as part of these procedures, for the situation of vulnerable consumers to be taken into account, especially of persons with reduced mobility.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE), in writing. (LT) I welcome the rapporteur’s basic argument that strengthening the rights of the most vulnerable consumers contributes not only to the social inclusion of such consumers and a more just society, but also to ensuring a more competitive interior market. The rapporteur rightly notes that better consumer information is important for reducing the vulnerability of consumers. However, information alone is not enough. A Eurobarometer survey has revealed that Lithuanian consumers need a stronger consumer protection system. The survey showed that only 37% of Lithuanian consumers believe that they are adequately protected by existing consumer protection measures, compared with 59% in the EU. Lithuanian consumers are reluctant to trust government organisations that are supposed to protect their interests. Only 37% of Lithuanians believe that the authorities will protect their interests (compared with the EU average of 54%). Slightly more Lithuanians would trust consumer support associations – 42% of Lithuanians trust independent consumer organisations, which defend their consumers’ rights. The problem, as revealed by the World Bank report, is the fact that consumer organisations receive limited funding from governments, which is not enough. The ideal solution would be for government funding to be supplemented with funding from European agencies or for the latter to work with existing European consumer associations.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – Consumers in the EU still lack sufficient protection; I believe more needs to be done to strengthen their rights, which is why I voted in favour of this report. The report suggests solutions for tackling common problems in sectors such as transport, finance and the Internet, reflecting that the protection and promotion of consumer rights are at the heart of European policies. Existing requirements on product information and product suitability do not do enough to protect vulnerable consumers, especially not the elderly. The report, which has my full support, calls for clear and simple information on products and services. Current rules do not do enough to protect travellers, especially when there are delays or cancellations and fares that are difficult to understand can lead to some consumers paying three times more than others. It is important to strengthen the rights of vulnerable consumers, which is why I supported this report as it calls on the Commission to take vulnerable travellers into account when revising EU passenger rights legislation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – The rapporteur asks for strengthening of the rights of vulnerable consumers in what is considered an essential value in achieving the internal market; it is fundamental to define a framework to ensure the protection of consumers, above all, in situations of sectoral or temporary vulnerability, but with respect for their freedom and right to choose, and therefore this report has to be supported, which I did by my vote in favour. This report is focusing on the fact that vulnerability is greater in the financial sector, food, transport, the Internet, liberalised markets and access to justice.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) Consumer protection is an extremely important aspect of the European Union economy. At the present time, when producers are fighting each other to sell their products (sometimes illegally, sometimes at any cost), the people who buy these products – the consumers – often fall victim to various means of getting round the law and the rights of consumers. Cases of this type concern, in particular, a failure to inform consumers of the precise ingredients of a particular product (in the case of food). Often, consumers themselves are not fully aware of the rights they enjoy to compensation or to make complaints in cases where it is clear they were misled by the producer. In particular, consumers are not aware of their rights in the case of door-to-door sales and online and cross-border commerce. It is hardly necessary to add, here, that disabled people in particular face additional difficulties in ensuring proper enforcement of their rights as consumers, and are often wronged as a result. Furthermore, research shows that groups which are particularly vulnerable because of this feel discouraged from taking action when problems do occur. Therefore, it is very important that permanent information campaigns be conducted in the Member States, as this would make consumers aware of the rights to which they have recourse. I hope that taking such action will lead, in the longer term, to an improvement in seller-consumer relations, so that consumers will not be in a hopeless situation (as is often the case) when disputes arise.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Anna Záborská (PPE), in writing. (SK) The concern shown by the Socialists for poor people is almost moving. Until now, I thought that it was sufficient for consumers to have enough information. In the explanatory statement, however, the rapporteur leads us to believe that consumers either do not understand, are not pushy enough, or they do not know how to complain. They are vulnerable and we need to take care of them. The rapporteur is correct in one respect: some people really are more vulnerable, such as elderly people or children. Their vulnerability is due to the weakening of family and neighbourhood relations. They need intergenerational solidarity, and not officials who do their shopping for them.

 
  
  

Report: Hans-Peter Martin (A7-0439/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report on the issuance of euro coins. I agree with its proposal, since the European Central Bank and the European Commission will be able to consider the issue of EUR 1 and EUR 2 notes in the future, thereby reducing the number of EUR 1 and EUR 2 coins in circulation, and will make the currency more manageable and widely accepted. Finally, and most important of all, as with the report on the issuance of commemorative coins, I would re-emphasise that Europe needs to be more streamlined and effective: if this will lead to administrative simplification, it should be implemented.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) This report concerns the technical specifications concerning the issuance of euro coins. It also calls on the Commission to assess the impact of putting EUR 1 or EUR 2 banknotes into circulation. I supported it, while waiting to read the conclusions of this study.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. I agree with the proposals set out by the European Parliament that the European Commission should conduct an impact assessment on the possible issuance of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes and draft a report setting out the advantages and disadvantages of issuing EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because I think that binding regulations need to be introduced on issuing euro coins in order to guarantee greater transparency. Given that euro coins circulate throughout the entire euro area, their features are a matter of common interest for Member States.

I should point out that having too many banknotes and coins in circulation could result in inflation. In fact, it is the role of the European Central Bank (ECB) to provide stability. In this context, the ECB must control the issuance of euro coins.

I should highlight that reducing the number of commemorative coins will increase their value, while also simplifying the administrative procedures involved. At the same time, I think that Member States should be able to issue collector coins, making them distinct from the coins in circulation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report tackles the question of the issuance of euro coins. Its core concerns are the introduction of mandatory provisions and an integrated framework for the issuance of euro coins in all the Member States, and the increased transparency and security of this process. In this regard, future consideration of the issuance of EUR 1 and EUR 2 notes is suggested, given the benefits this would bring, particularly as regards making the currency more manageable and widely accepted. Moreover, reducing the number of commemorative coins in circulation will also be of benefit because it would increase their value by virtue of their greater scarcity. The report also includes a proposal that the Commission conduct an impact study into the continued issuance of the euro’s 1 cent and 2 cent coins. These proposals are timely and beneficial, so I voted for this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the issue of the optimisation of the euro currency is relevant since the euro has established itself as an important international currency, increasing the need for investment and promoting trade ties. The single currency and monetary policy of the countries of the euro area foster closer trade and financial ties. This increasing economic integration encourages closer coordination of economic policies. Although this report concerns the issuance of euro coins, one possibility for the euro currency in future, which the European Central Bank and the European Commission could also consider, is the issuance of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes. Although the issuance of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes would reduce the number of EUR 1 and EUR 2 coins in circulation, the use of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes would, at the same time, have advantages for Member States: it would increase the currency’s manageability and acceptance and would have a positive influence on European tourism without impairing the value placed on other euro coins. The issuance of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes would increase the value of euro collector coins. The reduction in the number of commemorative coins in circulation would help simplify the administrative procedures involved and, by virtue of their greater scarcity, increase the value of each commemorative coin even more.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) I am in favour of the report, especially the commitment to conduct an impact assessment on the circulation of one and two cent coins and the proposed introduction of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes. As part of the spontaneous adjustments the internal markets are making in response to the crisis, the introduction of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes could have positive effects for consumers, particularly in the states most affected by a fall in demand and especially in certain sectors, such as food and on-demand public services.

It is now accepted that the introduction of EUR 1 and EUR 2 coins in some states has contributed to a rise in consumer prices and an implicit, but no less real in relation to purchasing power, overvaluation, beyond the predetermined value in national currency. As such, a research initiative in this regard, which is also necessary in view of possible coordination with the European Central Bank and national bank authorities, will certainly be very useful in devising internal market recovery strategies in the states most affected by the crisis.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – For once, the Commission seems to have the right idea about the euro – mint fewer coins. Perhaps the Commission should instead consider the possibility that the euro itself may soon become a commemorative coin symbolising the failures of an ideologically bereft supra-national organisation that fell apart. It is likely that within a year, certain Member States may have returned to their own currencies, thus rendering their nation-specific denomination of the euro eventually invalid. I would wholeheartedly implore that such countries do not mint any commemorative coins and seek to mint nationally-determined currencies instead.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I believe reducing the number of commemorative coins in circulation will simplify the administrative procedures involved and increase the value of each commemorative coin.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the issuance of euro coins. Although issuing EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes would reduce the number of EUR 1 and EUR 2 coins in circulation, the use of such banknotes would, at the same time, also benefit Member States. Issuing EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes would increase the manageability and acceptance of the currency and have a positive influence on European tourism without diminishing the value of the other euro coins intended for circulation. Issuing EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes would also increase the value of euro collector coins. Reducing the number of commemorative coins in circulation will simplify the administrative procedures involved, not to mention, by virtue of their greater scarcity, increase the value of each commemorative coin.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because it makes proposals aimed at optimising the euro. I think the issuance of EUR 1 and EUR 2 notes would be positive: first, it would make collector euro coins more valuable and, second, it would make the currency more manageable and widely accepted, which could have a positive effect on European tourism.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) I would congratulate the rapporteur on his work. I entirely support his position on the need to optimise the euro and cut administrative costs.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report states that ‘the lack of mandatory provisions for issuance of euro coins may result in different practices among Member States and does not achieve a sufficiently integrated framework for the single currency’. It also claims that, for the purposes of transparency and legal certainty, binding rules on the issuance of euro coins need to be introduced. Amongst other things, it proposes differentiation between circulation coins and collector coins, which are not, by definition, issued with a view to entering circulation, although they can be brought into circulation at their face value or at a higher value. It proposes that collector coins become legal tender in all Member States and not just their country of issue. Despite the relevance of some of the report’s provisions, we have doubts about others, such as the proposal of questioning the continued issuance of 1 cent and 2 cent coins.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The Council conclusions on euro coins intended for collection, the Commission Recommendation on common guidelines for the national sides and the issuance of euro coins intended for circulation, and the Commission Recommendation on the scope and effects of legal tender of euro banknotes and coins, provide for recommended practices regarding euro collector coins, the issuance of euro coins intended for circulation, including commemorative circulation coins, and consultation prior to the destruction of fit euro circulation coins. The lack of mandatory provisions concerning the issuance of euro coins can lead to Member States adopting various practices which result in a poorly integrated framework for the single currency. In the interest of legal transparency and certainty, we need to introduce binding rules for the issuance of euro coins. It is appropriate and in line with common practice among participating Member States that euro circulation coins, including commemorative circulation coins, should be put into circulation at face value, although a small percentage may be sold at a higher price if produced with a special quality or presented in special packaging. In order to prevent fit euro circulation coins from being destroyed by one Member State while there may be a need of such coins in another, Member States should consult each other prior to the destruction of such coins.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the issuance of euro coins because the ECB and the Commission should consider the possibility of issuing EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes. The issuance of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes would reduce the number of EUR 1 and EUR 2 coins in circulation, would increase their manageability and the acceptance of the currency, and would have a positive influence on tourism. The value of coins would not be impaired. The issuance of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes would increase the value of euro collector coins. The reduction in the number of commemorative coins in circulation would simplify the administrative procedures involved and, by virtue of their greater scarcity, increase the value of each commemorative coin.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) The objective of this regulation is to lay down rules on the issuance of euro circulation coins, including commemorative coins, on the issuance of euro collector coins and, finally, on consultation prior to the destruction of fit euro circulation coins. I supported Mr Martin’s report during the vote in plenary.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing.(PL) Together with my group, I endorsed the report. It should be pointed out that the report underscores the need to evaluate the legitimacy of continuing to issue 1 and 2 cent coins and suggests the possibility of issuing EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes. It also specifies the technical parameters for new issues of commemorative and collectors’ coins in the EU.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) I am in favour of the proposal to issue EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes. Issuing low-value banknotes in place of the current coinage would enhance the perception of the value of money and would probably improve its usage. We should remember that, in the context of a crisis like the one we are facing, the recession in many Member States is also characterised by a lack of confidence in our European currency and by a rise in consumer prices. Therefore, the introduction of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes is an important step towards developing a new monetary policy, which is also achieved through small but significant measures like these.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) In view of the extent of the euro coin’s circulation and use in EU Member States, as well as of the clear definitions on the legal framework in which this process will take place, I support commemorative and collector EUR 1 and EUR 2 coins being issued. I also think that printing banknotes of the same denominations is the way to enhance the currency.

The most important aspect that would benefit from this change is the manageability of these banknotes. Tourists in a country using euros often find it difficult to differentiate automatically between both coins, given their similar shape and colour. This amendment could enable us to provide practical assistance to tourists, thereby benefiting Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report and hope the Commission will respond to its call to conduct an impact assessment on the possible issuance of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report. I particularly agree with the amendment which calls on the Commission to conduct an impact assessment on the continued issuance of one and two cent coins and to conduct an impact assessment on the possible issuance of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Almost 13 years after the introduction of the euro, we can start to reassess the various nuances of issuing the currency. We should conduct studies and make choices that could reduce the costs of issuing the currency. In this case, the issue of EUR 1 and EUR 2 notes could help, as could abolishing 1 cent and 2 cent coins.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – I am not sure that this report is concerned with the issuance of euro coins. One option for the future of the euro currency which the European Central Bank and the Commission could also consider is that of issuing EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes. I am not sure that issuing EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes would reduce the number of EUR 1 and EUR 2 coins in circulation. The use of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes would, at the same time, have advantages for Member States. I am not sure that issuing EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes would increase the manageability and acceptance of the currency and have a positive influence on European tourism without impairing the value placed on other euro coins intended for circulation. I am not sure issuing EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes would increase the value of euro collector coins. Therefore, I abstained.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Firstly, I would like to look at the idea of issuing EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes, which was referred to by Mr Martin. It would have been more sensible to have brought up this idea a few years ago, in order to back up the EUR 1 and EUR 2 coins, but unfortunately, this was not considered at the time.

It would not be fair to the citizens to abolish the 1 cent and 2 cent coins. In the old Austrian currency, 1 cent was 10 groschen, which was not a lot, but it still had a value. If these small coins are abolished, it will result in goods becoming more expensive. We cannot and should not expect the citizens of Europe to accept that, because it is likely that prices will be rounded up. All the citizens of Europe are trying to save and have to think carefully before spending their money to ensure that they do not waste it. It is not possible to vote in favour of this proposal if you have the welfare of the citizens at heart, which is why I have voted against it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing. (ET) I supported this report, as I believed it was important for the Commission to carry out an impact assessment concerning the possible introduction of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes. In many Member States in the euro area, where people’s average wages are significantly lower than the EU average, the potential introduction of these banknotes deserves to be examined more closely. One argument against euro coins is the literally massive weight of our wallets, as if we were still living in the Middle Ages. Of course, EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes are spent more quickly, but I would support the introduction of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes if the Commission’s impact assessment has a positive result; i.e., if it would be less expensive to use paper money than coins, and this would have a positive influence on Europe’s tourism economy.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) The issuance of euro coins has been a controversial topic since the introduction of the single currency. At first there was talk of withdrawing one cent coins and now the debate has begun on changing EUR 1 and EUR 2 coins to banknotes. The proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament aims to demonstrate how the change from EUR 1 and EUR 2 coins to banknotes could have a positive effect on the real economy. In addition to banknotes being easier to handle, there would be positive effects on tourism, as in the European Union it would be much easier to accept and give out EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes. Moreover, it would benefit the Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) The possible issuance of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes – in addition to the coins – has been a subject of discussion almost since the adoption of the common currency. It is a fact that banknotes appear to be more difficult to forge than coins; at the same time, the issuance of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes will benefit the Member States, as banknotes are more convenient to use. At the same time, this would be a positive response to efforts to improve the value of commemorative coins, which the report – which I supported – addresses in depth.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, which aims to optimise the euro, with specific reference to an impact study into the continued issuance of the euro’s 1 cent and 2 cent coins.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, for which I voted, tackles the question of the issuance of euro coins. Its core concerns are the introduction of mandatory provisions and an integrated framework for the issuance of euro coins in all the Member States, and the increased transparency and security of this process. In this regard, future consideration of the issuance of EUR 1 and EUR 2 notes is suggested, given the benefits that would result, particularly as regards the currency’s manageability and acceptance. Reducing the number of commemorative coins in circulation is also suggested, which would be of benefit because it would increase their value by virtue of their increased scarcity. The report also includes a proposal that the Commission conduct an impact study into the continued issuance of the euro’s 1 cent and 2 cent coins.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The second NLE report (under EP consultation) is based on Article 128(2) and is completely uncontroversial. The Commission proposal specifies a certain number of technical characteristics such as the number of stars in euro coins as well as information procedures between Member States related to coin issuance. A final agreement was reached on the COD file in which a few specifications on technical definitions are made as well as a provision requesting the Commission to conduct an impact assessment of the continued issuance of 1 and 2 cent coins. That impact assessment shall include a cost-benefit analysis which takes into account the real production costs of 1 and 2 cent coins set against their value and benefits as well as on the possible issuance of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes. Following this impact, the Commission shall draft a report setting out the advantages and disadvantages of issuing EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes. In addition, each participating Member State may only issue one commemorative euro circulation coin every six months (rather than every year).

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The issuance of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes would cause a reduction in the number of EUR 1 and EUR 2 coins in circulation but, at the same time, the use of banknotes of these denominations would benefit Member States. First, issuing low-denomination banknotes would increase manageability and acceptance of the euro and would have a positive effect on European tourism, without reducing the value of other euro coins in circulation. In addition, it would increase the value of collectible euro coins. For these reasons, I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Article 128(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that ‘The European Central Bank shall have the exclusive right to authorise the issue of euro banknotes within the Union. The European Central Bank and the national central banks may issue such notes’. I am voting for this report, since I believe there should be general mandatory provisions for issuance of euro coins intended to create a sufficiently integrated framework for the single currency. I also take a positive view of examining all the ways that the single currency is valued, but the interests of the Member States and the public should be safeguarded, particularly as regards the costs associated with the possibility that inflation will result from abolishing 1 cent and 2 cent coins.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE), in writing. – Although this is minor legislation, I welcome that it includes my suggestion to bring 1 and 2 cent coins into the political focus, as their social impact is quite low and may cost more than they are worth. The impact assessment will provide for a more thorough analysis on their issuance in order to decide on their viability in the future.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – The report specifies that Member States shall indicate which type of coin (euro circulation coin, euro collector coin or euro commemorative coin) is to be destroyed, as this will directly affect the ceilings established in the provisions on issuance of commemorative euro circulation coins. Specific mandatory provisions for the issuance of euro coins will avoid possible different practices among Member States, to which I agree, and therefore I supported this report with my vote. Its adoption will improve transparency and legal certainty in this regard; the introduction of binding rules is necessary.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Anna Záborská (PPE), in writing. (SK) The introduction of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes should have come much earlier. They were demanded mainly by citizens of Member States with lower labour costs and thus lower wages and prices. We also demanded it in this Parliament when, in 2005, we adopted Ms Sartori’s written statement. However, we had to have an economic crisis before the governments and the Commission began to appreciate money more and, just as I did seven years ago, I fully support the introduction of new banknotes today. At the same time, I believe that a new argument has arisen for the introduction of new banknotes. EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes will help many people affected by the crisis to better cope with the need to save money. For us, banknotes are a symbol of higher value and it is only natural to pay more attention to whether and how to spend them.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report states that ‘the lack of mandatory provisions for issuance of euro coins may result in different practices among Member States and does not achieve a sufficiently integrated framework for the single currency’. It also claims that, for the purposes of transparency and legal certainty, binding rules on the issuance of euro coins need to be introduced. Amongst other things, it proposes differentiation between circulation coins and collector coins which are not, by definition, issued with a view to entering circulation, although they can be brought into circulation at their face value or at a higher value. It is also proposed that the Commission evaluate the continued issuance of 1 cent and 2 cent coins. We have some concerns and doubts about this proposal, particularly as regards the possibility of product price increases by means of what is known as ‘rounding up’ which, if introduced, would have a very negative impact in countries like Portugal. Initially, there was also a proposal for an impact study on the issuance of EUR 1 and EUR 2 banknotes as a means of increasing the value of collector and commemorative coins. However, this amendment did not make it to the final document.

 
  
  

Report: Simon Busuttil (A7-0153/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since I believe the common market can bring many more opportunities for all Europeans, regardless of the region or Member State in which they live. We have already evolved a great deal, but we must evolver further and, to that end, the Member States need to be aware of the importance of quickly and effectively transposing internal market legislation into national law, as well as of doing a good job of implementing it. The national parliaments should strengthen their position as regards the internal market by defining the public’s rights and providing information and help in that regard. That is the only way for the European Union and the internal market to achieve their potential.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The European internal market offers advantages to citizens and businesses on a daily basis. It is therefore important to ensure the correct transposition of EU legislation in our Member States. The internal market scoreboard is among the tools that encourage Member States to improve the quality of and deadlines for transposition of directives relating to the internal market. Another instrument, the Commission’s SOLVIT network, provides Member States with a timely and effective way of resolving problems caused by misapplication of single market rules. I therefore supported the position of the rapporteur, Simon Busuttil, and voted in favour of merging these two instruments, which is essential for the completion of the single market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. Member States’ incorrect transposition of internal market legislation into national law or their inability to transpose legislation hinders the economic interests not just of the Members concerned, but of the EU as a whole. The internal market is a key driver of increased competitiveness and the EU’s economic growth, especially at a time of financial crisis. It is therefore necessary to ensure the transposition of EU internal market legislation into the Member States’ national law and thus contribute to the creation of the single market. I welcome the merging of the SOLVIT and internal market scoreboard reports and the proposal to make the transposition and implementation goals of EU directives tougher.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The publication of the internal market scoreboard has contributed to improving the transposition of related legislation. Despite the considerable progress made since its first publication in 1997, there is still a transposition deficit for EU legislation at Member State level. Some Member States are still not fully meeting their obligations as regards transposing EU legislation in a correct and timely manner. The current average deficit of 1.2% is, once again, above the 1% target agreed by the Heads of State or Government in 2007. This report, for which I voted, advocates a coordinated and cooperation-based approach to improving the workings of the single market through transposition of European legislation. It argues for the creation of support mechanisms in the Member States and calls on the Member States to ensure sufficient staff levels in the SOLVIT centres, whilst also improving the systems of the points of single contact, so as to provide the public with clear and practical information.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the internal market scoreboard has the overall aim of improving the functioning of the internal market. The importance of a functioning internal market was highlighted during the first Single Market Forum in 2011 in Kraków and, in particular, in the Kraków Declaration. This is also reflected in Parliament’s resolution on the outcome of the Single Market Forum in which the single market is described as the most powerful tool for putting Europe back on the path to sustainable growth and job creation. The internal market cannot work properly without the correct transposition and enforcement of the directives that contribute to its functioning. The current average deficit of 1.2% is once again above the 1% target agreed by the Heads of State or Government in 2007. The number of incorrectly transposed directives is also high. The internal market scoreboard consistently provides objective and substantive data on the transposition and implementation of EU legislation in the Member States. This scoreboard is one of the main tools that encourages Member States to improve the quality of their transposition of internal market directives.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) During the current crisis, the single market has a crucial role to play in Europe’s recovery from economic stagnation. However, whenever one or more Member States fail to transpose EU regulations into national law by the specified deadlines, this creates a legal vacuum in the EU, leading to fragmentation. Consequently, the economic interests of all Member States may be affected if one Member State fails to fulfil its obligations.

At the moment, the internal market scoreboard indicates that Member States absolutely need to step up their efforts to transpose EU regulations. During the most recent reference period, 16 of the 27 Member States failed to meet their target of a maximum transposition deficit of 1%, set by EU Heads of State or Government in 2007. This means that, on average, 1.2% of the internal market directives whose transposition deadline has expired are not currently transposed into national law.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE), in writing. (RO) I supported this report because it is comprehensive and of good quality, offering a number of useful recommendations for improving the governance of the single market and making the Single Market Assistance Services more effective. I strongly believe, as I have also said on other occasions, that the recovery of the single market is one of the solutions for emerging from the crisis and returning to economic growth. I would insist once again that Member States need to take the transposition of legislation seriously with regard to the single market, to which they have made a direct contribution. If it is not implemented properly, even the most effective legislation will not deliver the awaited results. This is why I believe that an even more ambitious target of 0.5% is needed rather than 1% for the compliance deficit. In this regard, it is nothing more than a case of Member States taking political responsibility and keeping their word that they gave to the Council. Lastly, I wholeheartedly endorse the report’s recommendations on the Single Market Assistance Services. I believe that they need to continue to be developed and promoted more actively so that citizens and businesses are aware that they exist and use them to a wider extent.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the Busuttil report on improving the functioning of the single market. The measures contained within this report are beneficial to both European businesses and citizens. I support the idea of strengthening the regulatory framework and developing a coordinated approach, guaranteeing clarity and effectiveness. I also welcome the rapporteur’s desire to improve the efficiency and transparency of infringement proceedings.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report on the internal market scoreboard because I agree that a coordinated and cooperative approach should be promoted in order to improve functioning of the internal market through timely and complete transposition of EU legislation. Complete transposition would allow the single market to be strengthened and to function more efficiently.

Given that the definition of the category of SMEs (micro, small and medium) must be economically objective, definite and easy for Member States’ administrations to apply, I am in favour of creating a body led by a representative of the internal market who can operate without political pressure, tackling and resolving any possible violations, as suggested by Mr Busuttil.

I also agree with the reference to SOLVIT, which is an extremely useful tool as it allows Member States to work together in resolving issues regarding misapplication of internal market rules: that is why I believe it is necessary to ensure a good level of financing from Member States, to ensure it functions as best it can.

Finally, I hope that the new tools can increase transparency and allow us to understand the reasons for the partial or lack of transposition by those Member States that do not promptly transpose EU legislation in the area.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I believe the internal market cannot function properly without the proper transposition, application and implementation of related EU directives. It is also crucial that the Member States transpose into national law in a correct and timely manner the legislation relating to the internal market, and that they make every effort to prevent infringements, since these harm the economic interests, not just of that Member State, but also of the EU as a whole.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The internal market was created 20 years ago and is, without doubt, one of the biggest successes of European integration, despite suffering from shortcomings that urgently need to be addressed so that it can fully achieve its potential. Above all, at this time of economic crisis, it is a key driver of increased competitiveness, growth and economic prosperity. The scoreboard enables the monitoring and identification of the Member States’ failures of transposition and application, thereby contributing to improving the internal market. The internal market cannot function properly without the proper and timely transposition, application and implementation of the directives that contribute to its operations. The positive trends with reducing the transposition deficit that had previously been recorded disappeared with the most recent scoreboard and it is regrettable that the 1% target planned in 2007 has been exceeded. Of the Member States, Malta has the best record and Belgium the worst. This trend urgently needs to be reversed, by creating new ways of improving coordination and practical cooperation between the already existing instruments, such as SOLVIT, whilst making infringement procedures faster and more effective. I support the idea put forward by the rapporteur, Simon Busuttil, of creating an independent body within the European Commission responsible for investigating internal market infringements.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  António Fernando Correia de Campos (S&D) , in writing. (PT) There was broad consensus on the report on the internal market scoreboard in the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, demonstrating the support for strengthening the internal market. However, I voted against amendment 1, tabled in plenary by Mr Busuttil, which calls for the Commission to examine the possibility of creating an independent body within the Commission, responsible for taking legal action against internal market infringements and establishing infringement procedures, after obtaining approval from the College of Commissioners. I voted against it because I believe this is a proposal requiring serious and profound debate on the make-up and powers of this body, which was not possible in a parliamentary committee, and because it was a proposal for yet another institution in a field hardly lacking in bodies. Putting this body in place would be complex and would create uncertainty, as Commissioner Barnier said in his speech yesterday. Tackling an issue as complex as this with a last-minute amendment and without time for debate does not seem the most suitable position for advocating and promoting the internal market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the resolution on the internal market scoreboard. Several tools have been created to encourage further the completion of the single market and to measure the contributions of individual Member States towards achieving this goal. The internal market scoreboard is one such tool that encourages Member States to improve the quality and timeliness of their transposition of single market directives. In the latest internal market scoreboard, the European Commission highlights the fact that Malta has the best record on transposing single market directives promptly, while the Czech Republic is at the bottom of the list, albeit making steady progress.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) We will only be able to talk about a true European Union when the single market is actually complete. That seems obvious to me, so I voted for this report. The single market is 20 years old in 2012. That is why the rapporteur stresses that it is crucial to join forces and attempt to overcome the obstacles still preventing full realisation of our internal market, reminding us that the people and companies of Europe are the main beneficiaries of a single market that is up and running and fully operational. That is why this fairly detailed report has been tabled, in which the rapporteur proposes that the Commission and Member States make better use of the existing instruments: the internal market scoreboard, the portals Your Europe and Your Europe Advice, the SOLVIT network, the Internal Market Information System, the Europe Direct information network and the points of single contact. Taking advantage of synergies, and better coordination, monitoring and evaluation of the existing instruments – for example, with regard to the transposition of EU directives, or to members of the public accessing, together or individually, fast and efficient problem resolution mechanisms – will ensure that the public is duly informed about all the benefits provided by the single market and how to overcome obstacles.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) The year 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the single market. It is an opportunity to point out that citizens and businesses are the ultimate beneficiaries of a well-functioning and fully operative single market. This own-initiative report aims to promote a coordinated approach based on cooperation with a view to improving the functioning of the single market through a better transposition and application of single market rules. This report is primarily based on building a more robust regulatory framework for the internal market and delivering the internal market to businesses and citizens by strengthening existing tools.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, since it acknowledges the role of monitoring by the internal market scoreboard (IMS). The single market was described in the 2011 Kraków Declaration as the most powerful tool for setting Europe back on the path towards sustainable growth and job creation. As such, if the internal market is to succeed, it is essential that legislation be transposed and applied better and more quickly. I therefore consider the IMS an important tool for monitoring and identifying problems with the transposition and implementation of EU legislation, thereby encouraging the Member States to transpose internal market directives better and more quickly, particularly in a context of economic crisis.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) In 2012, the single market will be 20 years old, and several tools and instruments have been developed as steps towards its completion over that time. In this period of serious economic and financial crisis, the internal market is the best tool we have for restoring growth to the EU’s economies; it should be put to use properly, effectively and decisively. It is essential to put the internal market at the service of Europe’s people and businesses, so as to boost the European economy, create jobs and improve competitiveness.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This scoreboard is part of the strategy of deepening the EU’s internal market through the increased liberalisation and privatisation of Europe’s economies. This is an instrument that assesses the transposition of the EU’s internal market directives on the basis of purely quantitative criteria, without taking into account the disparities between the EU’s economies or the negative effects being felt in countries like Portugal, which result from the deepening of the internal market along the same lines as it has been following thus far. These consequences are resulting in difficulties for many companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, in the loss of jobs, and in the scaling back of workers’ rights. In the face of these problems, instead of rethinking current policy, they insist on speeding up the policies of liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation that are in place, proposing more penalties and the quicker application thereof to ‘recalcitrant’ Member States. They persist with the tired rhetoric that deepening the internal market will be the miracle cure for the economic and social crisis being experienced in the EU. Deepening the internal market, implementing monetary and budgetary policy based on ‘austerity’, and failing to invest in increased national production and in higher real wages and pensions are the causes of the crisis, not the solution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) The European Union is currently undergoing the worst economic crisis since its inception. This crisis threatens the very foundations of the European economy. The internal market is the best tool we have for restoring growth to the Member States’ economies. Several tools have been developed to further encourage completion of the single market and to measure the contributions of individual Member States towards this goal. The internal market scoreboard is one such tool. This tool encourages Member States to improve the quality and timeliness of their transposition of internal market directives. In the latest internal market scoreboard, the European Commission highlights the fact that Malta has the best record concerning the timely transposition of single market directives while the Czech Republic is at the end of the list, albeit registering steady progress. Delivering a single market for citizens and businesses does not stop at the creation of good legislation. It also entails adequate implementation and cross-border synergy between various national administrations. Without such implementation, business and citizens are not able to enjoy the benefits of the single market. I believe that we should be more determined in the enforcement of European legislation and it is equally important to provide more transparent reporting on infringement proceedings undertaken. There should also be a stronger commitment from national institutions and administrations to ensure correct and timely transposition and implementation of internal market directives.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) I have often voted in favour of the annual report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection. However, this year I think this report is excessively critical of the Member States, which, according to the rapporteur, are all too often to blame for misapplication of directives. While this may at times be true, I would stress that this often happens because of complicated texts which are not explicit, difficult to apply nationally or strongly opposed by citizens, sectors of workers or businesses. In my opinion, this report barely considers the social, political and economic reasons for some cases of non-transposition, nor does it recognise the fact that EU Member States have completely different constitutions and dimensions, some of which internally divide legislative competence between state and regions. For these reasons, I voted against the report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. (HU) I voted in favour of this report because I, too, believe that if we wish to succeed in creating a single market that is open to the world but can, at the same time, rely on its own internal strength, then European-level efforts must be accompanied by appropriate performance at Member State level.

As I already mentioned in my speech at the key debate, our task at this point is to enforce legislation without fear or favour, and we must continue to follow this approach in the future as well. It is very important that we meet citizens’ expectations concerning job opportunities, growth and security. If we wish to keep pace with the changes, we must make our regulatory framework sufficiently flexible, and must accept that not everything can be controlled from Brussels.

Once again, I would like to thank the rapporteur, Mr Busuttil, for his dedicated work, because he stresses the importance of a tool that gives us increased accuracy and transparency when dealing with the instruments of the internal market and with the host of tasks that lie ahead of us.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. – The report focuses on the importance of correct transposition, application and enforcement of the EU directives. While emphasising the recent developments revealed by the internal market scoreboard, we should also acknowledge that some Member States are still failing to meet their objectives of correct and timely transposition of European legislation into national law. In the current economic crisis, Member States should ensure proper and timely implementation and transposition of European directives, especially legislation linked to the single market, which is instrumental in moving Europe towards sustainable growth and job creation. Therefore, more systematic, independent monitoring is needed in order to ensure proper implementation and transposition of single market legislation with the adoption of a more qualitative approach which looks beyond the figures and identifies the reasons for this deficit. The Commission should concentrate more of its efforts on strengthening tools to address informational, legislative and implementation gaps that persist within the single market, such as the SOLVIT network, the Single Market Forum, ‘the 20 main concerns’, which audit the progress of the single market and help citizens and businesses to familiarise themselves with their rights, entitlements and obligations within the single market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Małgorzata Handzlik (PPE), in writing.(PL) The citizens, which means consumers and business people, are a key component of the internal market, and it is them in particular we should have in mind when drafting legislation or making information available. However, they often have problems finding the right information and do not know what opportunities the internal market does, in fact, offer them. This is often caused by information being provided in the wrong way. I do appreciate the work of the Commission in this respect, but the number of portals offering information is often so overwhelming that the citizens get confused and, as a result, do not find the information they need. This is why it is so important to coordinate information tools.

I have already pointed out the problem with efficient provision of information about the single market on numerous occasions. When it comes to the Services Directive, for example, the points of single contact were supposed to improve the situation but, as it turns out, they are not fully operational. The Member States should implement EU legislation in a way which makes the laws we adopt in Parliament useful to the people these laws are intended to benefit – the citizens.

The internal market scoreboard is a good tool for motivating the Member States to transpose legislation efficiently. Unfortunately, the latest scoreboard has shown that the trend in terms of implementation of legislation is negative in comparison with previous years. We should therefore send a clear signal to the Member States that the potential of the internal market can be fully achieved only with real commitment on their part.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. – The internal market scoreboard once again highlights those areas in which Member States are failing to properly implement EU legislation. The internal market is designed to benefit workers, consumers and businesses, and its smooth operating depends on legislation being implemented in a timely and equal manner. I support the conclusions of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I abstained from voting because it is unclear why Member States have fallen behind in the transposing of EU directives into national law, although I agree that the single market is the most powerful tool for putting Europe back on the path to sustainable growth and job creation. The internal market cannot work properly without the correct transposition, application and enforcement of the directives that contribute to its functioning. It is imperative that Member States transpose internal market legislation into national law not only in a timely manner, but also correctly, and failure to comply by a single Member State hinders the economic interests not just of that Member but of the Union as a whole. It is not enough to transpose European directives promptly and correctly, since the proper implementation of EU law is also of major importance. However, in my opinion, the EU should pay more attention to a cause-and-effect assessment as to why one Member State is able to implement the provisions mentioned in a timely manner, while another falls far behind. If we knew the real cause, perhaps we could achieve better results in this area.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) This own-initiative report by my fellow Member, Simon Busuttil, was adopted with 607 votes in favour, and I welcome this. Its objective is to promote a coordinated approach based on cooperation with a view to improving the functioning of the single market through a better transposition and application of single market rules.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sandra Kalniete (PPE), in writing. (LV) This report is a continuation of the work that the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) began in spring 2011, when it approved three reports on improving the European single market. I especially support the rapporteur’s call on the Commission to pay closer attention to the way in which Member States implement EU legislation. It makes no sense if legislation that has been drafted is not implemented at all or is only implemented partially. Also very valuable in my opinion is the call to improve the Your Europe portal, so that consumers and businesses could get all the relevant information in one place. In practice, there are several means of information available to facilitate consumer protection and fair cross-border trade. Unfortunately, public knowledge about these sources of information is minimal. Partly, this is doubtless due to the fragmentary nature of the information, and a single website would make this process easier. Although we use computers more and more, there are still people for whom human contact is important. That is precisely why I welcome the rapporteur’s proposal that a point of contact be established in every Member State, where advice could be obtained about such programmes as SOLVIT, Your Europe Advice, etc. This would involve minimal additional cost, since the points of contact would be located in the European Commission’s own representative offices. Educating people about these issues would help cross-border cooperation, and thus also promote economic growth. Finally, I should like to stress that we must continue our work on improving the single market. That is a growth promoting measure, which the European Union so badly needs right now.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE), in writing.(SK) This year will mark the 20th anniversary of the single market. 2011 saw the adoption of the Single Market Act. Several tools have been developed to further encourage the full operation of the single market, including the evaluation of its results. Delivering a single market does not stop at the creation of good legislation, but its adequate implementation and cross-border synergy between various national administrations are also necessary. The SOLVIT information network was established by the Commission to provide citizens with a timely and effective way of resolving problems caused by misapplication of single market rules. The Commission is considering a specific legal basis for this network, including the allocation of adequate resources to make it operate more effectively. I fully support these plans.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) The internal market scoreboard is a useful tool for constant and timely monitoring of Europe’s economic and business situation. In particular, it is clear how important it is to have an accurate picture of how individual Member States transpose EU directives. Constant, annual or biannual monitoring would give us a precise picture of the application of directives, which would allow the European Union to know how to work in the right direction, inviting the Member States to comply with their own obligations promptly. Lastly, I would like to highlight the importance of the internal market during a crisis that some Member States are experiencing more acutely than others. I believe that finding and strengthening tools of cohesion and cooperation, such as this one, is a good path to take in order to emerge from the crisis.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Constance Le Grip (PPE) , in writing.(FR) I supported the report by Simon Busuttil on the internal market scoreboard. Through this text, Parliament has shown its desire to promote a coordinated approach based on cooperation with a view to improving the functioning of the single market through the better transposition and application of single market rules. All the instruments that favour timely transposition and adequate implementation must be used with infringement proceedings, because the transpositions must benefit European businesses and citizens through a robust internal market. I also welcome the adoption of accelerated infringement proceedings in case of non-transposition on the part of a Member State of a directive and the study on the creation of an independent body within the Commission tasked with pursuing internal market rules infringement cases.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Morten Løkkegaard (ALDE), in writing. (DA) In my view, the internal market scoreboard is one of the most important tools we have for speeding up implementation of the directives in the internal market. In particular, it is my experience that the naming and shaming approach has worked in a satisfactory way, and has made the countries that are lagging behind try a bit harder.

I am happy with the approach taken by the rapporteur, which focuses partly on the regulatory framework and thus the transposition of the directives, and partly on how well such implementation is working for enterprises and citizens. The report points out some problem areas where action can be taken and, unfortunately, the new scoreboard underlines the fact that there are indeed some problems. In the first instance, it is important that we get back below the 1% limit for transposition of the directives and that we reduce the delay, these being some of the challenges indicated by the new scoreboard.

Although the new scoreboard is a step in the right direction, I think we have to consider whether we cannot go even further using this method. I should like to lend my support to the rapporteur’s proposal for the establishment of a unit in the Commission to secure swifter and better implementation of the internal market directives and regulations.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) The financial and economic crisis has hit every sector of our economy, undermining entrepreneurs and the workforce and reducing the purchasing power of millions of European consumers. As it has helped soften the adverse impact, the single market is one of the EU’s main assets in tackling this crisis and will help us emerge in good shape from the situation we are currently in.

This is precisely why using the scoreboard to monitor the progress made by Member States on a frequent, ongoing basis is one of the key factors in encouraging them towards stepping up their efforts. I also think that the scoreboard will speed up the transposition of single market directives, both in terms of quality and timeliness, thereby enabling us to enjoy all the benefits offered by the single market, which include more economic growth and jobs.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – Delivering a single market for citizens and businesses does not stop at the creation of good legislation. It also entails adequate implementation and cross-border synergy between various national administrations. Without such implementation, business and citizens are not able to enjoy the benefits of the single market. In this respect, the Commission’s SOLVIT network provides citizens and businesses with a timely and effective way of resolving problems caused by misapplication of single market rules.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) It is right for the Commission to strive to offer citizens and businesses an integrated virtual package of information and help services. I also agree with the importance of direct human contact and with the proposal to complement these efforts with a single live point of contact for citizens and consumers via the Commission’s representative offices in each Member State. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) This report calls for correlation tables to be made public. That is its sole concern. Beyond this, the text deplores the deficits recorded by Member States in the implementation of directives relating to the internal market of the EU. Most Member States conform to the dogma of free and unfettered competition. I am therefore personally delighted with these deficits. It claims, furthermore, to impose immediate sanctions on those who break the internal market rules and calls on Member States to commit to not exceeding 0.5% transposition deficits for European directives and 0.5% deficits in conforming to them. This report is symptomatic of the EU’s shift towards austerity, which I am fighting. I voted against.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) A prosperous internal market remains the best instrument for emerging from the crisis and minimising its terrible effects. Several tools have been developed to further encourage completion of the single market and to measure the contributions of individual Member States towards this goal. The internal market scoreboard is one such tool that encourages Member States to improve the quality and timeliness of their transposition of internal market directives. Only with an effective and functioning internal market will Europe be able to find a quick escape from the crisis.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – It is important that Member States transpose internal market legislation into national law promptly and correctly and implement such legislation properly in order to consistently pursue the interest of the Union as a whole. It is also important that Member States react to other legal acts as well, for instance, those depriving fundamental citizenship rights in Latvia.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Although the internal market has been in existence for 20 years, it still has obstacles in its path. The aim of the internal market scoreboard is to encourage the Member States to improve the quality and timeliness of the transposition of internal market directives. For example, in the last scoreboard, Malta was praised for its timely transposition of EU legislation. However, legal regulations alone will not guarantee that the internal market functions smoothly. In this context, it is important that the authorities work together across national borders. The report calls for tougher but more realistic transposition and implementation targets. Business consultancy organisations, such as SOLVIT and the European Consumer Centres, are still not as well-known as we would like and there are difficulties in identifying their different areas of responsibility. Even if a well-functioning internal market is important in principle, particularly in times of crisis, the emphasis should be on reducing red tape. As the report does not go into enough detail in this area, I cannot vote in favour of it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) The internal market can do a great deal, but it is definitely not the ultimate answer to the economic crisis and it certainly cannot be the answer if we continue to ignore situations where it has clearly reached its limits. Just one of many examples concerns the bogus self-employed workers in the building trade, who work as wage slaves in Austria and Germany. Frankfurt has become the centre of the ‘Bulgarian industry’. According to German tax investigators, between 10 000 and 17 000 bogus self-employed people are working in Frankfurt. The real figure is probably much higher. This brings major cost benefits for the construction companies, which would have to pay a domestic worker around EUR 35 per hour, whereas the bogus self-employed people generally cost as little as EUR 10. This cannot be what was intended when the internal market was established. While the fundamental freedoms are being exploited to the detriment of domestic companies, subcontractors and workers, the internal market scoreboard serves no useful purpose, regardless of how efficient it is. Since this fact is often ignored within the EU, I have voted against this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) This year, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the European single market but, unfortunately, despite the adoption of the Single Market Act last year, the report assessing the European single market is not positive. Recently, the Member States have never been further from applying what is required by the European Commission. The crisis certainly does not help but the single market is the real battlefield where the crisis must be fought. Parliament therefore hopes that the Member States change their priorities and apply the necessary measures to achieve the objectives of the single market as soon as possible, given that the European Commission’s information portals for citizens and businesses are not enough.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) At a time when there is no fiscal union, the internal market is perhaps the most appropriate EU vehicle for achieving growth rates in Europe’s present economic difficulties. Moreover, a fully and correctly operating single market benefits business initiatives and the public first and foremost. However, faster, more effective and more efficient transposition of EU legislation by the Member States is a key point if the internal market is to be strengthened further. This report, which I supported because it highlights that point, emphasises that all the instruments at the Commission’s disposal for the promotion of timely and high-quality transposition must be used in tandem with infringement proceedings and that the Member States must abandon bureaucratic policies and incorporate secondary EU law into their national legislation quickly and effectively.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on the regulatory framework for the internal market, which aims to be tougher but also more realistic, mainly in terms of the transposition and implementation thereof. The latest results of the internal market scoreboard have shown how Member States are increasingly failing to deliver and the mechanisms presented in this report are intended to prevent that.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. – I voted for the internal market scoreboard because the EU and Member States must take action to eliminate obstacles to a properly functioning single market and bring citizens’ and businesses’ concerns to the fore.

We need to report on the main international market obstacles to citizens and consumers with a disability and arrange for special efforts to be made to remove them. We need to strengthen the points of single contact and provide citizens with clear and practical information to ensure they take advantage of synergies in information at European level, such as Your Europe Advice. We must promote the Your Europe portal in national administrations and develop cooperation between Your Europe and websites of national administrations.

We need more resources dedicated to SOLVIT to deal with social security cases.

Member States need to provide correlation tables outlining how internal market directives are applied in national regulations.

Greater account needs to be taken of the petitions process in order to improve EU legislation and bring it closer to the citizens. We need better and timelier transposition of existing and new legislation, in completing the internal market, which will be an effective way of fighting the current economic crisis.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) At a time when the EU is facing the worst crisis since its inception, it is important to make every effort to realise the full potential of the internal market. In this context, the internal market scoreboard and the SOLVIT network become important tools for monitoring and identifying problems with the transposition and implementation of EU legislation, but also for identifying gaps and bottlenecks in the single market, with a view to encouraging action for an internal market that runs more smoothly.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Today, this House voted in favour of Mr Busuttil’s report on the internal market scoreboard. The rapporteur states that the internal market is the best tool the European Union has to restore growth to the Member States’ economies and that it should be used to its best advantage. In the past, we have seen positive trends which, unfortunately, were not reflected in the latest internal market scoreboard. It is thus necessary to continue striving towards achieving and surpassing ambitious goals: the lowest transposition deficit, the shortest transposition delays possible, and the highest quality transposition.

The Commission has also devoted considerable effort towards providing fast and efficient information portals to ensure that citizens and businesses are well-equipped to benefit from the single market. but these mechanisms often exist in parallel with many others, resulting in a duplication of efforts and insufficient coordination. According to the rapporteur, therefore, the efforts of the European Commission in this area require greater clarity. A stronger commitment is also demanded from national institutions and administrations to ensure correct and timely transposition and implementation of internal market directives.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing.(FR) It is essential to ensure that the single market functions as well as possible if Europe is to be brought back onto the path to growth. Yet, it cannot function correctly without the correct transposition and application of European directives. The internal market scoreboard is extremely useful in this respect as it allows for a regular review of its performance to be carried out. In 2007, the Heads of State or Government focused on the objective of not exceeding a 1% transposition deficit. The deficit currently sits at 1.2%, while, over the course of the last few months, seven Member States have seen their transposition deficits for EU directives increase. I therefore support this report, which, in particular, asks Member States to reduce transposition deficits to 0.5%, calls on the Commission to guarantee that infringements are quickly sanctioned and calls for the adoption of accelerated infringement proceedings. Furthermore, the text emphasises the importance of reinforcing services offered to citizens and businesses in order to help them resolve problems they encounter with regard to the application of European law. In my view, this is crucial.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The European Union is currently undergoing the worst economic crisis since its inception. This crisis threatens the very basis of Europe’s economy. The internal market is the best tool we have to restore growth to the Member States’ economies. We are currently at a time of historic milestones for the single market. 2011 saw the adoption of the Single Market Act and the organisation of the Single Market Forum in Kraków where the European institutions, the Member States and the main stakeholders showed their commitment to a better functioning internal market. 2012 will mark the 20th anniversary of the single market. Let us take this as an opportunity to put our heads together and overcome the obstacles that are holding us back from realising the full potential of Europe’s internal market. Citizens are the ultimate beneficiaries of a well-functioning and fully operative single market. And it is our duty as legislators to deliver on their behalf.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this text because the creation of a single market for citizens and for businesses, as well as coherent legislation, requires strong synergy between various national administrations. This internal market scoreboard is a vital tool for completing the single market, as it encourages EU Member States to quickly transpose the relevant directives.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Olga Sehnalová (S&D), in writing. (CS) I voted in favour of the report on the internal market scoreboard as it provides important feedback on the ability of individual Member States to adopt and implement legislation on the internal market. The internal market cannot function properly without proper implementation of this legislation. Deficits in transposition mean greater delays, creating a gap in the EU’s legal framework and greater fragmentation in the way it functions. Objective and regular progress monitoring in the adoption of legislation made by the Member States will oblige these states to improve their efforts in transposition. Unfortunately, far from all manage to fulfil the plan set by the Commission. My own country, the Czech Republic, reports the weakest results, despite some progress. I therefore firmly believe that 2012, the year in which we mark the 20th anniversary of the single market, will bring an end to delays in the adoption of legislation, and that we will show how serious we really are about supporting the internal market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) Against a backdrop of international economic crisis, the internal market is the best tool we have to restore growth to the Member States’ economies. To date, several tools have been developed to further encourage completion of the single market and to measure the contributions of individual Member States towards this goal. The internal market scoreboard is one such tool that encourages Member States to improve the quality and timeliness of their transposition of internal market directives. This vote highlights the fact that we need to achieve tougher transposition and implementation goals. The latest results of the internal market scoreboard have shown how Member States are increasingly failing to deliver.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Catherine Stihler (S&D), in writing. – Unfortunately, I was not able to support the EPP amendment, which would completely change the way the EU legal system works. There must be more discussion and consideration of such a fundamental change to EU law. However, I congratulate the rapporteur on his work, as the report does a good job in highlighting the shortcomings of legislative transposition. I hope that all governments, including the UK Government, will start to reduce the deficits to below the new target of 0.5%

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The internal market is one of the strategic tools available to the European Union for restoring growth to the economies of the Member States. In recent years, several tools have been developed to improve the internal market and measure the contributions of individual Member States towards this goal. I am voting for this report, because the internal market scoreboard is one such tool that encourages Member States to improve the quality and timeliness of their transposition of the directives in question. At a time when backwards steps are being taken as regards improving the internal market, I consider it crucial that the Member States make efforts to achieve and exceed ambitious targets, particularly as regards failures and delays in relation to transposition of the regulations adopted by the European institutions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report on the internal market scoreboard because this is a tool that encourages Member States to improve the quality and timeliness of their transposition of single market directives. The publication of the internal market scoreboard helps enhance the transposition of EU legislation by providing objective and substantive data on transposition and implementation of these regulations by the Member States. More accurate information is needed on the quality of transposition in order to identify as well the reasons for the failure to transpose legislation. Eighty-five directives remain untransposed in at least one Member State. Two directives are more than two years behind their transposition deadline, in direct violation of the ‘zero tolerance’ target set in 2007, while the number of incorrectly transposed directives remains at an average of 0.8%, despite the fact that the Commission pointed out in the Single Market Act the need for a clear, well-defined compliance deficit policy.

We call on the Commission to provide support to Member States in transposing EU law by developing new tools such as transposition guidelines and a transposition helpdesk. Completing the internal market by transposing existing and new legislation efficiently can provide an effective means of combating the economic, financial and social crisis.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE), in writing. – The enhancement of the single market is, for me, one of the key policy developments at European level. The implementation of best practices into all Member States will not only create a level playing field but also increase their competitiveness vis-à-vis the rest of the world. I support this resolution as I am very much in favour of building a stronger scoreboard to oversee the actions of Member States that fail to transpose or comply with European legislation. The case of Spain is, in that sense, an example of what should not be done. The Late Payments Directive has been widely violated and has worsened the crisis in Spain by destroying thousands of jobs and enterprises due to late payments from the public administration.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE), in writing. (LT) Less than five years ago, Lithuania found itself at the European Commission’s table where there was a discussion about how successfully Member States are transposing the EU’s internal market legislation into national law. The situation today is completely different. The latest figures published by the Commission this month revealed that Lithuania is having particular difficulties implementing single market legislation. As the rapporteur points out, the internal market is the best tool we have to restore Europe’s economic growth. According to the Commission’s latest calculations, full exploitation of the internal market may create approximately 4% growth in terms of GDP over the next ten years. In order to better exploit the opportunities of the single market, to promote growth and create jobs, we need a free and well integrated market, unhindered rights to provide services and less of an administrative burden on business. The meeting on issues affecting the EU internal market held a few weeks ago in Vilnius was a reminder that a digital single market is another area with significant untapped economic potential for Lithuania. Lithuanian consumers are often unable to take advantage of all the benefits of the EU internal market, for example, consumers from Lithuania are unable to acquire goods on the Internet from another Member State because the latter does not sell goods to Lithuania.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Oldřich Vlasák (ECR), in writing. (CS) The internal market is a reliable and effective instrument for securing prosperity and economic growth, and is thus also a means of reducing unemployment. Although the internal market was to have been achieved in the late 1980s and early 1990s, its completion is still not in sight. European cooperation has, in the meantime, moved towards a further phase of integration – monetary and political union – without, however, achieving a single internal market. For example, the services market is still no more than two-thirds liberalised. Excessive regulation continues to hamper the activities of entrepreneurs and thereby also economic growth. The current EU acquis comprises more than 9 000 legislative acts. We therefore need to implement a radical cure. It is good that EU institutions have committed to reducing the administrative burden for the smallest enterprises, but more needs to be done. All legislative proposals and existing regulations should be evaluated in terms of the regulatory burden. It is clear that our interest in meeting objectives in the area of the internal market will not be satisfied if we leave out the implementation of the adopted measures. It is therefore necessary to transpose all existing legislation consistently, as we cannot consider acceptable an average deficit in implementation of 1.2%. Our clear priority must be not only the elimination of barriers, but also compliance with the rules on the EU’s internal market. I have therefore voted in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – The current economic crisis in the European Union has to be fought, and one important step is to focus on the most important instrument, namely, the single market. Synergies between national authorities have to be supported, legal provisions have to be implemented according to the rules and on time, and information has to be given in a more transparent way. SOLVIT contributes to all of this.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European Union is undergoing the worst economic crisis since its inception. The crisis threatens the very basis of Europe’s economy. In the belief that the internal market is a valid tool to restore growth to the Member States’ economies, I have accordingly given my support to the text presented by Mr Busuttil, who advocates tougher transposition and implementation goals because Member States are increasingly failing to deliver.

To achieve the stated objectives and emerge from the crisis as soon as possible, the Member States cannot put the internal market last on their list of priorities. The current difficulties should be a sign that we need to give the internal market due consideration, and should not be used as an excuse to avoid commitments to a fully functional internal market.

 
  
  

Report: Emine Bozkurt (A7-0138/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since I agree with the robust positions expressed by the rapporteur, who has been responsible for dialogue with the Turkish authorities, particularly as regards condemnation of the fact that around 39% of Turkish women have already been the target of violence and that there have been cases with fatal consequences. However, I would stress the progress, specifically as regards the establishment of a specialised domestic violence bureau within the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, and the authorities’ efforts in relation to women’s education and entry into the labour market; these have contributed to the gradual evolution of women’s rights and the right to equality between men and women. I wish to state my view that Turkey has a long way to go as regards fundamental rights and the rights of women, so the European Union should commit fully to a fundamental rights agenda in that country.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. – I support this report because fighting violence against women, including honour killings and forced marriages, remains a major challenge for Turkey. I am particularly concerned by the ineffectiveness of the existing remedies and by the lenience of the Turkish authorities as regards punishing the perpetrators of gender-based crimes. For this reason, it is fundamental that women’s rights and gender mainstreaming are upheld in the new Turkish Constitution. Coordinated action is also needed in the areas of education, work and representation at national and local level. It is important to stress that economic and social underdevelopment in disadvantaged areas of Turkey, as well as problems stemming from immigration, poverty and prevailing patriarchal social structures, aggravate women’s problems and undermine their position.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) As Chair of the Femmes au Centre Association (Women at the Centre), I have advocated genuine equality between men and women for a long time. In this regard, while Turkey wishes to eventually join the European Union, it seems vital to me that respect for women’s rights should be part of the membership conditions. This report is a very detailed analysis of the current situation, of the role of women in civil society, in the labour market and in political participation. For example, the report strongly advocates the passing of a new law on political parties and elections, which could ‘establish a mandatory quota system ensuring the fair representation of women on electoral lists,’ the rapporteur stated. ‘A change in mentality is needed!’

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The situation of women in Turkey has been moving in the right direction in recent years. However, there are still serious failings that need to be overcome. I therefore voted for this report, which stresses that Turkey, as a candidate country, still needs to promote reforms to ensure gender equality. The main positive changes are reflected in the institution of a legislative framework for women’s rights. However, implementation of this legislation is still not at satisfactory levels and there is also a need to step up cooperation between the government of Turkey and civil society, which should be facilitated by the recent creation of the Ministry of Family and Social Policies. Violence against women is one of Turkey’s most urgent problems. As such, a zero-tolerance policy should be applied. The current law should be amended to implement more effective and immediate measures, and to ensure it is uniformly applied by all the competent authorities. Finally, I would stress the indispensable role of the media in changing mentalities to transform Turkish society into one based on gender equality. It is also essential to eliminate the gender gap in secondary education and to continue increasing women’s participation in the labour market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The situation of women in Turkey is still difficult, as it is in a number of other countries around the world. They face discrimination and violence on a daily basis, and recently there has been an alarming resurgence of violence, in spite of existing legislation. According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, 39% of Turkish women have encountered physical violence at some point in their lives, and two or three women are killed each and every day at the hands of their husbands. As in the other countries concerned, the responsibility lies with the authorities to respond and adopt restrictive, effective measures in order to prevent such acts of violence, punish the perpetrators and protect the victims. There is no doubt that education is the way to bring about gender equality, a change in mentality, the empowerment of Turkish women and their inclusion in the social, economic and political life of their country. I therefore welcome the adoption of this report, which gives an account of the situation for Turkish women and sends a message to Turkey, inviting it, as a candidate country, to make women’s rights a priority and to increase its efforts to adopt comprehensive reforms and guarantee respect for fundamental rights in order to fulfil the Copenhagen criteria.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because one of the priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy is inclusive growth involving a greater participation of women both in the labour market and in social and political life. Pursuing gender equality policy contributes to growth and employment. Turkey, as a candidate country, is obliged to abide by the acquis communautaire and to commit itself to respect human rights, including women’s rights and gender equality. Turkey is invited to continue carrying out and supervising the implementation of legislative reform, as well as organising awareness-raising activities to combat violence against women, including domestic violence. Turkey is making limited progress in improving and implementing the legislative framework so as to ensure equal participation by women in social, economic and political life. Sustained further efforts are needed to convert the existing legal framework into a reality because gender equality, fighting violence against women, including honour killings, and combating early and forced marriages remain major challenges for this country. Concerted and coordinated action is therefore especially needed in the areas of violence against women, education and representation at national and local level. Turkey, as a candidate country, must contribute to the implementation of Europe 2020 by committing to guarantee gender equality.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) In a number of aspects, the situation of women in Turkey is still of great concern. With our majority vote in favour of this report, we have condemned violence against women, forced marriages and honour killings. Women’s rights in Turkey must therefore be actively improved with a view to making them compatible with EU law. We want to send a strong signal to the Turkish political authorities encouraging them to implement public awareness-raising policies as quickly as possible and encourage the participation of women in politics. In this regard, the Commission has suggested adopting a mandatory quota system for electoral lists. In a social environment marked by a high rate of illiteracy and low level of education, this positive discrimination measure would enable women to become role models, thereby normalising the part they play in society. Currently, women make up just 14% of the Turkish Parliament. The European Parliament is therefore calling on the Turkish Government to set an example by promoting the role of women and practising equality.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – Whilst I am a proponent of women’s rights internationally and believe in an equal and gender-balanced society, I am uncomfortable with the EU acting as an arbiter of rights and legislation in third countries. Whilst the international community should act together to promote fairness and equality and protect the most vulnerable members of society, the EU, as a largely unelected, supranational undemocratic organisation should not be in a position to speak on behalf of all Member States on the world stage. I understand that the potential accession of Turkey to the EU requires the country to conform to certain standards and ideals. However, I oppose Turkey becoming a Member State of the EU on various grounds and equally do not believe any new Member States should be admitted, as I do not believe in the continuation of the EU in its present format. Issues such as those laid out in the report must be addressed by the Turkish Government, yet I do not believe the EU should be the authority to hold Turkey accountable.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted for the Bozkurt report on the situation of women in Turkey. I am aware that Turkish women are confronted with numerous difficulties within the education system, the labour market and even the family unit. I believe that the situation for women in Turkey may improve if the country transposes the related acquis communautaire. Moreover, Turkish society should respect all its minority groups. The recent sentencing to 10 years in prison of the Turkish member of parliament, Leyla Zana, winner of the Sakharov Prize, shows that there is still a great deal of work ahead.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I believe Turkey, as an EU candidate country, should be called on to support the Europe 2020 strategy targets and to allow women to participate more actively in the labour market. It should also be called on to intensify its efforts to implement wide-ranging reforms, with a view to complying with the Copenhagen criteria, which will help with the modernisation process itself, and to creating an environment of mutual comprehension and respect with the 27 EU Member States; this will enable an exchange of best practices on gender equality between all parties, to the benefit of Turkish women.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the report because I consider that it expresses, in a clear manner, the need for constitutional, legislative and social change in Turkey in order to achieve full equality between men and women and improve the quality of life of women within the framework of a modern State. At the same time, it expresses the need to protect women from physical violence by opening more refuges for abused women, and the need to take action to limit discrimination against women of Kurdish origin and women who choose a different sexual orientation. Another positive point in the motion for a resolution is that it calls on the Turkish Government to support the presence of girls in all levels of education and, at the same time, notes the progress made on this particular issue. Finally, two important sectors in which the participation of women needs to be strengthened are the labour market and political life. The report rightly notes the limited number of women in work, often with minimal labour rights, and the relatively small percentage of women in political life, despite recent progress. To close, I would like to stress that this is a balanced report that introduces an appropriate framework for improving the standard of life of women in Turkey.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE), in writing. (SV) It is important that the debate on the situation of women in Turkey is based on facts and that it recognises the progress that has been achieved. However, it is not the EU’s responsibility to make recommendations on how Turkey should promote equality, whether it should introduce a quota system or what its priorities should be in terms of education and family policy. I welcome the fact that Turkey has made moves to support women’s rights and participation in society, in particular, in schools and on the labour market. We can continue our cooperation in encouraging female entrepreneurs, not just in large cities, but also in rural areas. However, we must show that we respect the country’s culture, traditions and religion and that we are not forcing Turkey to adopt our model. At the same time, these traditions must not be a reason for oppressing women.

I regularly underline the importance of holding a dialogue with the Turkish Government and with members of the Turkish Parliament about the disturbing number of honour killings and about domestic violence against women. It is very encouraging that Turkey has ratified the convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence and has recently passed legislation and introduced action plans. Turkey is aware that the challenge facing it is to change attitudes in society and the view of the role of women and to ensure that these changes are put into practice.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the resolution on a 2020 perspective for women in Turkey. Violence against women is one of the most urgent problems facing Turkey. Two or three women are killed every day by their own husbands, boyfriends, families or ex-husbands. The existing legislation, Law No 4320, does have shortcomings, such as the lack of a mechanism for immediately removing those resorting to domestic violence from the proximity of the woman who has been subjected to this violence. Furthermore, the police, prosecutors and judges are often divided when it comes to the scope of the law and the punishment to be given to the person who has resorted to violence. It is vital that, apart from amending the law with the aim of applying more immediate and efficient remedies in domestic violence cases, this law should be interpreted and enforced in a uniform manner by all the authorities involved in its implementation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) As already happens with other EU policy areas – the European Neighbourhood Policy, trade policy, etc. – it seems absolutely crucial to me that we make our relations with third countries, even candidate countries, conditional on strict observance of our core values as a community of citizens and states. This report on women’s rights in Turkey is an important element of better grasping the context and the cultural, religious and historical situation of this candidate country. It also shows the most recent progress, thereby enabling a clear and objective analysis of the current situation, such as the creation of the Ministry of Family and Social Policies and the Parliamentary Committee on Equal Opportunities, or the progress with the education system and the labour market. However, there is still a long way to go, as the report acknowledges, particularly with regard to combating gender violence, mainly outside the main urban centres; to implementing the ambitious legislative framework already adopted; and to dialogue, monitoring civil society and implementing these measures. I would congratulate the rapporteur on her excellent own-initiative report, for which I voted.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) According to the report, the legislative framework for women’s rights in Turkey has largely been instituted, with legislation intended for the prevention of violence against women, the education of young women, the eradication of illiteracy amongst women and the increased participation of women in the labour market. However, the rapporteur stresses that the actual implementation of this legislation is still not all that effective. As a candidate country, it is important that Turkey go further with its policies for protecting women, enshrining genuine gender equality and guaranteeing the safety, protection and education of women in a society that provides equal opportunities, regardless of gender.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report analyses and assesses what has been done in relation to male-female equality in Turkey. It also suggests a strategy to be followed with regard, inter alia, to the inequalities existing between men and women in that country; to violence between men and women; to women’s problems accessing education; to the creation of shelters for women suffering domestic violence; to improving pre-natal care and institutions, as well as care and institutions for older people; and to data on the situation of women in Turkey. Proposals by our group on the situation of Kurdish women, of women in rural areas, of unemployed women and of women living in poverty have been included amongst the commitments, which we are pleased about. We are also pleased about the paragraph that ‘calls on Turkey to fulfil all its obligations stemming from the EC-Turkey association agreement and its additional protocol, which it has still not implemented for the sixth consecutive year’ because of its implications for the Cypriot problem. We voted for this report for these reasons.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christofer Fjellner and Anna Ibrisagic (PPE), in writing. (SV) We opted to abstain in today’s vote on the report on a 2020 perspective for women in Turkey. Turkey is not a member of the EU and therefore, we should not be calling on Turkey to change its domestic policy.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Turkey is party to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, CEDAW, together with its Optional Protocol, and, at the same time, is committed to respecting human rights and, therefore, women’s rights and gender equality. Its progress in the reform of the legislative framework in order to ensure equal participation of women in social, economic and political life is still limited. Turkish women are exposed to daily discrimination and violence; their human rights and fundamental freedoms are violated. Honour killings are committed, early and forced marriages are entered into and gender-based crimes are perpetrated. The ineffectiveness of the existing remedies and the lenience of the Turkish authorities is striking, and the situation in the country is reaching alarming levels. If Turkey truly wishes to become a fully-fledged pluralist democracy, with respect for and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of both men and women at its core without distinctions of any kind, there must be a re-evaluation of the existing rigid values regarding women’s role in society. If Turkey proves unable to ensure full protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all its citizens, and in doing so is not fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria and failing to ensure democracy and the rule of law on its territory, it can never, under any circumstances, become a full member of the European Union.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. (HU) All Turkish ministries involved are working hard to implement projects aimed at giving effect to legislation on the improvement of women’s living standards. Even more importantly, these ministries are cooperating in the field of gender equality.

At the same time, I must note that the Turkish statistical office published telling data last year: 84 per cent of the 5 million illiterate Turkish citizens over the age of 15 are women. The employment index of women is not too encouraging either: the rate of employment among women is 63.9 per cent in the EU, and only 26.1 per cent in Turkey. Thus, there appears to be a twofold trend in respect of the appreciation and assessment of women in Turkey: globalisation, which gives women more freedom for self-realisation in private and professional life, and religious tradition, which continues to strongly permeate the fabric of society, are both present.

I would like to congratulate the rapporteur on her topical conclusions, and I especially welcome that her report was based partly on secondary analysis and partly on interviews. I hope that the interested parties will make good use of this report and that the positive trend observed so far, as outlined in the report, will continue in the future.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing.(FR) Ms Bozkurt’s report is very enlightening. Indeed, in paragraph 68, it admits that Turkey has still not fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria, which, we have been told over and over again, were essential prerequisites to opening any accession negotiations with any country. Seven years on, it is high time we were concerned. As regards the situation for women in Turkey, whether or not the report is correct, we have shown a great deal of arrogance and hypocrisy. We endlessly repeat our humiliating demands to Turkey, as if accession will no longer be a problem once those demands are met.

People’s mentality cannot be changed with laws. We will not magically turn the Turkish people into perfect little atheist, individualistic and materialistic Westerners by means of texts. What is more, the desire to do so comes from a sovereign contempt for foreign cultures, traditions and civilisations. That is the whole contradiction of the dominant way of thinking here.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mikael Gustafsson (GUE/NGL), in writing. (SV) I voted in favour of the report because it calls for women’s rights and equality issues to play a central role in the ongoing negotiations about Turkey’s possible accession to the European Union. One very positive development is that my amendment, which highlights the particular vulnerability of Kurdish women in Turkish society, has been included in the report. However, I believe that there must be much fiercer criticism and stronger international condemnation of the systematic oppression of the Kurds by the Turkish state. The report should also have highlighted concerns that 500 Kurdish women are currently in prison in Turkey. However, because the report represents a move in the right direction with regard to its recommendations on the human rights of all women and on equality in Turkey, I chose to vote in favour of it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report, which deals with a number of important issues as Turkey continues along the road to EU accession.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE), in writing. (FI) I voted in favour of the report on a 2020 perspective for women in Turkey, as I have been following the situation of Turkish women with some concern for a long time now. The European Parliament is not the only body to have reported on the matter. According to the UN Women report, violence against women in Turkey is more common than in Europe and in the United States. Many women each day are the victims of honour killings. The employment rate among women is also alarmingly low. Fortunately, there is a growing awareness of the issue in Turkey, and NGOs, in particular, have been admirably active in this area. Moreover, the Turkish Government has worked hard to eradicate the problem, something which many EU countries could also learn from. Turkey has an excellent legislative framework for improving the status of women, and the government has drawn up national action plans to eradicate violence against women, improve the education and literacy of women and girls, and provide more employment opportunities for women. For example, the gender gap in basic education has almost entirely disappeared. The biggest problem is implementing the plans, plus the fact that the Turkish Government has not worked closely enough with civil society. Parliament’s report makes proposals on such matters as the education of women and girls, opportunities in the labour market and policy making, as well as violence against women and girls. The report praises Turkey for certain reforms, such as the creation of the post of Minister for Family and Social Policies and the establishment of the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women. At the same time, the report criticises the stereotyping that is deeply ingrained in Turkish society. I do hope that the Turkish Government will, in future, give special attention to the implementation of their action plans.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE), in writing. (DE) This report focuses on the situation of women living in Turkey and on specific measures that should be taken to improve their lives. It covers subjects such as the education system for girls and the opportunities which women have on the labour market and in the political decision-making process, together with the violence suffered by girls and women in some parts of Turkish society. I voted in favour of the report because Turkey is lagging behind in the area of gender equality.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution which calls on the Turkish Government to uphold and strengthen the principles of equality and women’s rights by adopting and amending its legislative framework, including the planned process for a new constitution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Barbara Matera (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report on a 2020 perspective for women in Turkey because Turkey, as a candidate country for accession to the EU, must continue on its path towards greater involvement of women in all spheres of society.

In Turkey, women still suffer from worrying discrimination which urgently needs to be wiped out. I refer, in particular, to violence against women, as two or three women are killed every day by their husbands, boyfriends, families or ex-spouses. The Turkish Statistical Institute even states that 39% of women have encountered physical violence at some point in their lives. The Turkish Government must increase sentences and adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards the perpetrators of such acts.

A further serious source of social marginalisation of women in Turkey is the high rate of female illiteracy which particularly affects rural areas. It is essential that the Turkish Government continues with campaigns aimed at increasing the participation of women in primary and secondary education. Only in this way can we facilitate the participation of women in the world of work and increase the employment rate for women, which is currently at 30%.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) A change in mentality in Turkey is absolutely essential and could transform the patriarchal structure of Turkish society into a structure based on gender equality. The data on violence against women in Turkey and on the female workforce are still alarming to say the least, especially because we are talking about a candidate country for accession to the European Union. I voted in favour of the report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) This report argues for the prevention and punishment of violence committed against women, and particularly for the criminalisation of forced marriages and marital rape in Turkey. It also requests that the Turkish Government allocate sufficient human and financial resources to that end.

I strongly support these proposals and the request that seeks to guarantee the removal of violent spouses and effective access for victims to the courts and to protection measures. I also support the request to fully guarantee equal rights in the employment market and in politics. On the other hand, I am radically opposed to the proposal to promote gender training and the full application of the liberalisation measures included in the EC-Turkey association agreement.

I therefore abstained and would like to point out that the practice of drawing up a report on women’s rights should apply to all candidate countries and all Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) As a potential candidate country, Turkey must observe the EU acquis and commit to respecting human rights, including women’s rights and gender equality. Pursuit of gender-equality policy holds great potential for achieving the Europe 2020 targets by contributing to growth and full employment. Turkey is making limited progress in improving and implementing the legislative framework, so as to ensure equal participation by women in social, economic and political life. We are confident that Turkey will continue down the right path as regards gender equality; let us hope these concerns will be well defined in the new Turkish Constitution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The report states that 39% of Turkish women have encountered violence at some point of their lives; condemns honour killings; asks for training for police officers and protection measures and shelters (only 65 for 70 million people) but also welcomes the setting up of a specialised domestic violence bureau within the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s office. Obviously, there is the need for participation of girls in primary education and pre-school enrolment and the lack of child care. A national action plan to ensure greater participation of women in the labour market and equal pay is also taken up in the report, which also welcomes the increase of women in the current parliament, at present 14.3%. However, we should strive for real equality. I am in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Gay Mitchell (PPE), in writing. – In relation to the free votes on paragraphs 45, 49 and 52, I consider these to be matters of subsidiarity.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) As in the case of so many reform programmes in Turkey, the reforms relating to greater rights for women exist primarily on paper. The (theoretical) will to introduce reforms does not reach as far as rural communities in particular. In the light of the increasing Islamist tendencies, it is hardly surprising that violence against women remains one of the most pressing problems in Turkey. Honour killings are still a common practice. The attitude to honour killings has also resulted in them taking place among the more extreme Islamic immigrant communities in Europe. When you consider how long violence against women was tolerated in European society, the lack of progress in this area is not surprising. At least the subject of violence against women is under increasing discussion in Turkish society. This report calls on the Turkish Government to introduce a zero-tolerance policy towards violence against women. As Turkey’s accession to the EU would not only push the integration capacity of the EU beyond its limits, but would also constantly make it clear to Ankara that in the case of the minorities issue and the freedom of the press, for example, Turkey’s values are totally different to those of Europe, the only honest response is to stop the accession negotiations and begin talks about a privileged partnership. For this reason, I cannot vote in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) The situation of women in Turkey is still far from acceptable. Apart from some strong disparities in terms of education and work, the main worry is still the ‘moral question’, or the status of women in Turkish society. Especially in the countryside, there are still numerous cases of ‘honour killings’, as well as so-called ‘honour suicides’, which are perhaps even more tragic.

These acts, often dictated by religious issues, are completely removed from the reality of Europe. The issue of the situation of women is just one of the many problematic aspects relating to Turkey, which is why we cannot understand how there can continue to be talk of possible accession to the European Union. I hope that the Turkish Government makes every effort so that women reach a true level of equality, but this must not be linked to any fanciful ambition of accession to the European Union, to which I am still very strongly opposed.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) Turkey, like all countries preparing to join the European Union, must respect fundamental rights and bring justice and socio-political development in line with EU parameters. Unfortunately, in this country, there is still much gender inequality which does not comply at all with the parameters set by the EU in the 2020 perspective for women in Turkey. All kinds of violence and infringement of rights happen every day against women, who are killed, mistreated or humiliated owing to a chauvinist mentality and culture, which is, unfortunately, still borne out by statistics. Parliament therefore calls for greater state control, commitment in local policy on the issue of protection of women and gender equality, facilitating their access to education and work.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The rapporteur has conducted in-depth research into the situation of women in Turkey, interviewing numerous members of the public and people from NGOs. She concludes that the plea common to all the input received is for a change in mentality in order to transform the patriarchal structure of the society into a structure based on gender equality. As such, the rapporteur sets out in this report a series of suggestions to enable a change of mentality. I voted for this report for these reasons.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marit Paulsen and Olle Schmidt (ALDE), in writing. (SV) We fully support the initiative for the introduction of equality in Turkey by 2020. However, we are not in favour of the proposal for statutory quotas in political parties and in the electoral system. Political parties are private organisations and if we, as Members of the European Parliament, were to call for legislation of this kind in Turkey, this would constitute interference. Therefore, we chose to vote in favour of the report, but against the proposal for a quota system.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) It is essential that the Turkish Government uphold and strengthen the principles of equality and women’s rights by adopting and amending its legislative framework. I agree with the adopted text’s call for Turkey to fulfil all its obligations stemming from the EC-Turkey association agreement and its additional protocol, which it has still not implemented for the sixth consecutive year. I welcome the increased number of female members of the Turkish Parliament.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – I voted in favour. Europe is going through a transformation in order to return to the pre-crisis growth path and raise its potential to go further, with the Europe 2020 strategy. One of the priorities at the heart of Europe 2020 is inclusive growth with greater involvement of women, as Europe will need all its women by 2020 for a competitive European economy. In this regard, the report invites Turkey, as a candidate country, to support the gender aspect of Europe 2020 by committing to achieve actual gender equality, since Turkey, too, will be facing similar challenges in its ongoing effort to achieve further growth.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this report because gender equality can only be achieved with collaboration from all social partners. The Turkish Government, despite all the initiatives carried out to date, still has a long way to go in terms of women’s rights. In particular, to achieve the ambitious goals set out, the current regulatory system must be changed, introducing more efficient remedies in domestic violence cases, and the competent authorities need to guarantee greater legal consistency.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing. (IT) Turkey is a candidate country for accession to the European Union, and is therefore bound to observe the Community acquis and to commit to respecting human rights, including the rights of women and gender equality, one of the priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy. However, these rights are not always respected in Turkey, a country where violence against women continues to occur day after day. I believe that there is a definite need for a change of course, a transformation of the patriarchal structure of Turkish society and culture. This report calls on the Turkish Government to take concerted and coordinated action to implement legislative measures on women’s rights, their education and participation in politics. Turkey does not do enough to protect women. There are still countless cases of forced or early marriages. Development of better education for all is essential when it comes to fundamental rights.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Joanna Senyszyn (S&D), in writing.(PL) I endorsed the report of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality on the situation of women in Turkey. An extremely important matter in this area is that of violence against women. The Turkish Government has taken steps in the right direction here: it has appointed a new Minister for Family and Social Policies, established a Committee on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women within the Turkish Parliament, opened a domestic violence bureau, reorganised the system of shelters for women, set up telephone helplines and established Women Monitoring Centres. Turkey was the first country to ratify the European Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence. These policies must be continued, but much greater speed is necessary. More action is needed, as are better results.

According to official data, 39% of Turkish women have encountered physical violence at some point in their lives. Some become the victims of ‘honour’ killings, some are forced into marriage, others are subjected to psychological violence. A UN report shows that Turkey has one of the highest rates of violence against women in the world. Amendment of Law No 4320 on the Protection of the Family is needed; the changes made should ensure that suitable means are made available to combat violence and that mechanisms exist which protect victims and punish the perpetrators. Better, more effective action is needed in the fight against ‘honour’ killings and forced marriages. I would like to call on the Commission to carry out systematic monitoring of progress on the adoption and implementation of legislation in Turkey which promotes women’s rights.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) In Turkey, a legal framework on women’s rights is, to a great extent, in place, but it is by no means sufficient. To date, the Turkish Government has enacted laws, by-laws, strategy papers, national action plans and protocols on important issues such as the prevention of violence against women, on the schooling of girls and the eradication of illiteracy among women, as well as increasing women’s participation in the labour market. However, the transformation of this legislation into practice has not been at satisfactory levels.

Furthermore, the lack of cooperation between the Turkish Government and civil society has also been the case in the area of women’s rights, which is particularly regrettable since gender equality can only be achieved with the coordinated efforts of the whole of society. In Turkey, further legislation and a chiefly cultural change are necessary in order for women to acquire the same rights as men.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Laurence J. A. J. Stassen (NI), in writing. (NL) Violence against women, suicide, honour killings, rape, forced marriages: these abominations are the order of the day in Turkey. It is therefore completely incomprehensible that nowhere in the report is there a mention of Islam as the reason for the oppression of women. All references to Islam are scrupulously rejected and swept under the carpet. Thus, the paragraph about the problem of illegal Islamic marriages has been removed by the European Parliament. This confirms how the dreadful position of many women within Islam is systematically denied by the European Parliament. The European Parliament is blinded by a self-created multicultural utopia to which it attempts to cling when it should know better. That is unacceptable. The Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) will abstain because, while the problem of the oppression of women in Turkey is mentioned, its cause is not.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Catherine Stihler (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report and I welcome the rapporteur’s hard work. Turkey has made encouraging progress on gender equality, and this important report will help to guide it in the areas on which there is further progress to be made.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michèle Striffler (PPE), in writing.(FR) The report on a 2020 perspective for women in Turkey gives an account of the position and role of women in Turkish society. It mentions a number of areas in which the situation of women is still highly uncertain. As regards violence against women (two or three women are killed each and every day in Turkey as a result of violence committed by their spouse or a member of their family), the report mentions that Turkey urgently needs to adopt legislation that provides better protection to women who suffer this kind of violence. Furthermore, the Turkish authorities need to make a special effort to improve women’s participation in the labour market, political life and teaching. These are the reasons why I voted in favour of this report. Finally, I would like to point out that I supported paragraph 8 on recognising the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in public life.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alf Svensson (PPE), in writing. (SV) When the European Parliament voted on 22 May about the report on a 2020 perspective for women in Turkey, I chose to abstain. I do not believe that the European Parliament has the right to tell Turkey to introduce legislation on mandatory quota systems in electoral lists. Furthermore, we cannot call on the Turkish Government to make gender equality courses a compulsory part of the curriculum at all levels of education or to set specific pay levels during parental leave. I am very much aware that Turkey has a great deal to do with regard to equality. Obviously, the EU must promote and support this work. However, I believe that lecturing Turkey and calling for legislation which we ourselves do not have is totally the wrong approach.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) As a candidate country, Turkey should commit to respecting the EU acquis, specifically women’s rights and gender equality. Despite limited progress on women’s equal participation in social, economic and political life, there is still serious discrimination against women, and there is a need to implement the legislation already adopted on combating violence against women, including domestic violence, honour killings, and early and forced marriages. In addition to analysing the situation of women in Turkey, this report proposes concrete measures for improving their situation. Levels of violence against women remain extremely high, there are legal loopholes in victim protection and application is not uniform across the authorities involved. Illiteracy, as well as low participation in politics and the labour market, mean there is an urgent need for effective support measures to be applied within institutions and in society as a whole; in particular, there is a need for a change in mentality and for civil society to participate in applying this support. I consider it extremely important that these issues be safeguarded by the new Turkish Constitution and, at the same time that awareness of the importance of gender integration be increased.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the European Parliament resolution on a 2020 perspective for women in Turkey. According to the statistics, 39% of Turkish women have suffered physical violence during their lives. I must say how concerned I am about the severity of violence against women and about the ineffectiveness of the existing remedies and the leniency shown by the Turkish authorities in punishing the perpetrators of gender-based crimes. I welcome the fact that the level of participation of girls in primary education is increasing and that the gender gap in terms of the number of boys and girls in primary education is now almost completely closed. We urge the Turkish Government to take the necessary action to reduce gender inequalities and introduce further measures to ensure that children attend school. I also welcome the rise in the number of female members of the Turkish Parliament, from 9.1% in the 2007 elections to 14.3% following the 2011 elections.

However, the level of representation of Turkish women in politics, managerial positions in public administration and political parties remains low. We call for a new law on political parties and elections aimed at establishing a mandatory quota system ensuring the fair representation of women on electoral lists.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE), in writing. – The situation regarding women’s rights and gender equality in Turkey has been improving – particularly over the last 5 years – but not as quickly as we would have wished. Full gender equality has therefore not been attained yet. It is something that will only be attained when the mentality of Turkish society, and chiefly of Turkish men, changes completely. I agree with the rapporteur that the first initiatives should be taken by politicians and the media, but obviously there is a lot of transversal work to do, and it is important to make a special effort on education, in the labour market and in penal legislation, because all violence against women has to be punished without exception. The Turkish Government should adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards violence against women. With Turkey a candidate country, I will give a vote of hope to Turkish women and encourage its government to adhere to the gender aspect of Europe 2020.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – The legislative framework on women’s rights in Turkey needs to be better supported and better implemented. The Turkish Government should enact laws and by-laws, and issue strategy papers, national action plans and protocols on important issues such as the prevention of violence against women, the schooling of girls and eradication of illiteracy among women, and increased women’s participation in the labour market. However, the transformation of legislation into practice has not been satisfactory until recently. Furthermore, there has been a lack of cooperation between the Turkish Government and civil society in the area of women’s rights – which is especially regrettable since gender equality can be realised only through the coordinated efforts of society as a whole.

Therefore, I supported this report with my vote because I believe and expect that the Turkish Government and its ministries should cooperate in the area of gender equality, bringing projects to life to give effect to the legislation on improving women’s standard of living. This change is still at a preliminary stage, which is why the report, while acknowledging the positive move, is careful in not prematurely absolving Turkey from its past deficiencies.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Ms Bozkurt’s text which, in examining the situation of women in Turkey, highlights the need for a change in mentality which could, in the years to come, transform the patriarchal structure of Turkish society into a structure based on gender equality.

This would be of fundamental importance for putting an end to gender-based violence, increasing women’s participation and empowering women in general. I also agree with the rapporteur in that, for these goals to be achieved and to create a change in mentality, the media must play a more active role.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report analyses and assesses the progress in relation to promoting male-female equality in Turkey during the process of the country’s EU accession negotiations. It also suggests a strategy to follow for combating the country’s inequalities between men and women, violence against women, and women’s problems in accessing education. It proposes the creation of shelters for women suffering domestic violence, so as to improve pre-natal care and institutions, as well as care and institutions for older people, and it stresses the importance of obtaining more data on the situation of women in Turkey. We believe the majority of the amendments we tabled – which referred, for the most part, to the need to pay particular attention to the difficult situation of Kurdish women, women in rural areas, unemployed women and women living in poverty – have been included in the final version of the report.

 
  
  

Report: Zita Gurmai (A7-0148/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report since, if we want to give impetus to a citizens’ initiative – that is, for a European-level group of citizens to be able to invoke the need for a piece of European-level legislation – it is essential to ensure the maximum level of transparency and democracy in this process. I therefore share the rapporteur’s view that hearings should be held by the competent committees whilst participation in the petition is ongoing. Similarly, it would be a step forwards if there were a ‘one-stop shop’ to handle citizens’ initiatives, under the responsibility of the Vice-President, who would ensure a stable atmosphere. A legislative act launched by the citizens is an exceptional indicator of the European Union’s progress as regards the development of democracy, so we should ensure that it is implemented as well as possible.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) The European citizens’ initiative established by the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force on 1 April. As I said in March, this will allow you to take part in developing European legislation. The procedure is simple and it is important that you make the most of this mechanism. The report for which I voted last week specifies, for example, that when the European Commission has published a citizens’ initiative in the register, the President of the European Parliament shall task the parliamentary committee responsible with organising a public hearing in Parliament within three months. In order to help raise awareness of the citizens’ initiative procedure, Parliament’s communication services have prepared a multimedia application detailing the steps to follow in a clear and appealing way. Below is the link to that multimedia application, so make full use of it Europe! http://www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/001eb38200/European-citizens’-initiative.html

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zoltán Bagó (PPE), in writing. (HU) I voted in favour of amending Parliament’s Rules of Procedure with regard to the implementation of the European citizens’ initiative.

I welcome the fact that Parliament’s Rules of Procedure have been clarified. I find it important that in a body such as the European Parliament, the Members of which are elected directly by the citizens, the institution of citizens’ initiatives can be supported as effectively as possible. It is by holding public hearings that the European Parliament can contribute the most effectively to citizens’ initiatives; these must be held within three months from the submission of an initiative to the Commission. I support the Commission’s participation in such public hearings, and agree that the circumstances of the hearings must be laid down in a regulation.

Furthermore, as an MEP, I support the intention to ensure that the organisers of initiatives are heard at the public hearings by MEPs competent in the matter at hand. On the other hand, as a member of the Committee on Petitions, I acknowledge the special role and particular experience of the committee as regards initiatives submitted by citizens.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of this decision because the European Parliament’s Rules of Procedure need to be amended to implement the European citizens’ initiative. Given that Regulation (EU) No 211/2011 came into force on 1 April 2012 and the first citizens’ initiatives had been registered, the European Parliament’s procedures had to be updated to enable it to fulfil its specific role in this process, especially in terms of organising the public hearings. On this basis, I supported the suitable involvement of the Committee on Petitions in organising and holding the hearings, given that it provides the direct, permanent link with citizens, benefiting from considerable experience in communicating with the latter and in handling the issues they raise.

I am pleased that the majority of MEPs endorsed this position and that the amendment concerning the Committee on Petitions’ automatic involvement in the process of organising the hearings, as specified in Article 50, features in the final text. At the same time, I think that it is important that initiatives which do not register a sufficient number of signatures are not overlooked or ignored. I feel that the decision which has been adopted provides an appropriate solution from this perspective.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 15 December 2010, the European Parliament adopted at first reading the report in the proposal for a regulation on the citizens’ initiative. The citizenship initiative will be an important instrument available to European citizens and has the objective of conferring on them the same powers of political initiative as enjoyed by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. In particular, the intention is to provide citizens with a means of being heard, enabling them to submit certain issues of interest to the European institutions. This initiative will complete the direct ties existing between the citizens and the institutions. The European Parliament will be able to contribute to realising these objectives, making use of all the means available to it to support citizens’ initiatives, particularly public hearings. I am voting for this report for those reasons.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Firstly, I welcome the launching of the citizens’ initiatives (ECI), which are a step forward in making the EU more democratic. Several initiatives have already been launched, one of which aims to make water a real public good, and another aims to end roaming fees across Europe; these initiatives deserve recognition. The initiatives that are accepted will be presented at a public hearing in the European Parliament. In my view, it is appropriate that these hearings are to be organised by the committee responsible for that particular sphere. The ECIs are different from the complaints dealt with in the Committee on Petitions. Their aim is to alert the institutions to important issues that require European legislation. Naturally, this does not prevent the Committee on Petitions from being involved in organising these hearings, the aim being to attract as much attention as possible to put these issues on the European agenda. I shall therefore closely follow the progress of the first initiatives launched so as to be sure that the commitments made by the Union – both in the Treaties and in speeches – become a reality.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing. (IT) The citizens’ initiative has the aim of giving citizens powers of political initiative on a par with those already enjoyed by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. This is an important tool that European citizens can use to identify issues to place on the EU’s agenda. The citizens’ initiative enhances the direct link between citizens and the EU institutions, ensuring that the institutions address specific issues. Parliament adopted the report on the proposal for a regulation on the citizens’ initiative by a very large majority, illustrating the broad consensus surrounding this new tool for participatory democracy at European level.

In this context, I think it would be appropriate to set up a ‘one-stop shop’ as a channel for the practical aspects of the citizens’ initiative, exchanging views and engaging in dialogue with citizens, representative associations and civil society. Parliament is called on to help achieve these goals by doing all it can to support the citizens’ initiatives, in particular, by organising public hearings. I therefore hope that Parliament’s Rules of Procedure can be amended quickly so that the necessary measures can be taken in terms of organising and conducting the public hearings concerned.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the citizens’ initiative is a powerful tool for hearing the opinions of people living in the EU on various issues. This initiative, which was first introduced in the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe and then taken over by the Treaty of Lisbon, has the aim of giving citizens powers of political initiative on a par with those already enjoyed by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. The main aim of this new instrument of participatory democracy is to provide citizens with a means to be heard by enabling them to refer various issues of interest to the European institutions. Another aim of the citizens’ initiative is to encourage more active cross-border debates. The European citizens’ initiative will enhance the direct link between citizens and the institutions, ensuring that the EU institutions address specific issues that citizens feel are important. The European Parliament will be able to help achieve these aims by doing all it can to support the citizens’ initiatives which it likes.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) This report by the Committee on Constitutional Affairs sets out the conditions for organising public hearings, which Parliament and the European Commission will hold with the organisers of European citizens’ initiatives (ECIs) having obtained a minimum of 1 million signatures from citizens from at least one quarter of EU Member States. The Committee on Petitions, of which I am a member, will organise the hearings, taking into account the committees responsible for the initiative. As the committee closest to the citizens, the Committee on Petitions has many years of experience in dealing with citizens’ complaints, which justifies its role in the organisation of the ECIs. The ECI is effectively a natural extension of the work of the Committee on Petitions. Furthermore, by assigning management of the practical arrangements to this committee, the institution is offered greater clarity in respect of European citizens. This report also mentions the importance of strengthening the rules on transparency when preparing initiatives as well as the need to simplify procedures. To this end, a practical guide will be drawn up to provide citizens with clearer information regarding the arrangements for the scheme.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) I believe that the citizens’ initiative will be a powerful tool that European citizens can use in identifying issues to place on the EU’s agenda. It was first introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, with the aim of giving citizens the power of political initiative already enjoyed by the Council and the European Parliament. The main aim is to provide citizens with a means to be heard by enabling them to refer specific issues that interest them to the European institutions. The European Parliament will be able to help achieve these aims by doing all it can to support the citizens’ initiatives it likes, in particular, by organising public hearings. In this context, Article 11 of Regulation (EU) No 211/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 on the citizens’ initiative provides that organisers shall be given the opportunity to present a citizens’ initiative at a public hearing. The regulation applies as of 1 April 2012 and Parliament’s Rules of Procedure therefore need to be amended so that the necessary measures can be taken in terms of organising and conducting the public hearings concerned. I think, first and foremost, that a ‘one-stop shop’ needs to be set up in order to simplify the exchange of views and dialogue with citizens, representative associations and civil society. With the necessary administrative support, the Vice-President responsible for matters relating to citizens’ initiatives could take on this role.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zuzana Brzobohatá (S&D), in writing. (CS) Active citizenship is a cornerstone of the democratic development of the states in which citizens live, and thus of the entire EU. The citizens’ initiative will be a powerful tool that European citizens can use to identify issues that they think require legislative treatment. The citizens’ initiative was introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, with the aim of giving citizens the power of political initiative. This report is a step towards strengthening direct democracy, and it will lead to better communications between the institutions of the EU and its citizens. In this way, EU citizens will have the possibility of directly communicating the problems they consider important, and EU institutions will be able to respond directly and in various ways. Such direct links are, in my view, very important, and I have therefore voted in favour of the report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of amending Parliament’s Rules of Procedure with regard to the implementation of the European citizens’ initiative. Following the entry into force of Regulation (EU) No 211/2011, it became urgent to take further steps. I am happy with the adoption of this report as it clarifies and facilitates the conduct of public hearings. I believe that this report helps with better factoring of the citizens’ initiative. I also welcome the adoption of the amendments tabled by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) during the vote in plenary.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I consider it crucial that European citizens have a means of being heard, enabling them to submit issues of interest to them to the European institutions. These issues may include the difficulties that they encounter in their daily lives and which, in their opinion, do not receive due attention or support. The citizens’ initiative will complete the direct ties existing between the citizens and the institutions by ensuring that the institutions of the European Union will examine the specific problems of importance to citizens and will spark wider-ranging debate across the EU’s internal borders.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European citizens’ initiative should bring the citizens closer to the European institutions. This new instrument for participative democracy, provided for in the Treaty of Lisbon, should provide European citizens with the possibility of being heard and of contributing to deciding what issues are to be included in the EU’s political agenda. The European Parliament should contribute to realising these objectives, particularly by organising public hearings, so Parliament’s Rules of Procedure will have to be amended. I support the rapporteur’s proposals concerning the creation of a ‘one-stop shop’, so as to facilitate exchange and dialogue with the public, as well as the proposals on holding hearings in whichever committees are to tackle a given subject. These public hearings will have to take place whenever this citizens’ initiative has gathered more than 1 million citizens’ signatures from at least seven Member States. Once it has, the Commission will then record it in the register and send it to the European Parliament, whose President will have to forward it to the competent committee. The citizens’ initiative will doubtless be a powerful instrument for strengthening the people’s Europe by encouraging more participation and the dynamic exercise of European citizenship.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Treaty of Lisbon introduced European citizens’ right of initiative, giving them the same political initiative rights as the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. Although the European Commission still holds the power of legislative initiative in the strict sense, the citizens’ initiative is an important tool in the hands of European citizens, giving them the power to set the political agenda and to urge the Commission to legislate on issues which citizens think are important. This report helps strengthen this tool for the direct participation of citizens by insisting that public hearings on petitions that satisfy the necessary requirements must be organised by the competent committees, and by creating a single desk to facilitate practical implementation. I believe that involving citizens in setting the agenda is a key part of the democratic process, and that including them in forms of direct democracy helps bring the institutions closer to people and addresses the lack of trust in the European Union, so I voted in favour of the report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rachida Dati (PPE) , in writing.(FR) The European Parliament is the voice of the citizens in the European Union. Thanks to the Treaty of Lisbon, we can go one step further in allowing citizens to participate directly in decision making. The symbol of this participation is the European citizens’ initiative. I voted for this report because it will enable Parliament to bring to bear all its experience and know-how to ensure that citizens’ voices are heard loud and clear.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) One of the most important changes provided for in the Treaty of Lisbon concerning citizen partnership in the legislative process for our Union of peoples and states has reached the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament. Obviously, I am referring to the European citizens’ initiative. It was with immense satisfaction that I voted for this report. I support the provisions it includes, particularly the rules requiring public hearings to be held for presenting citizens’ initiatives, and the creation of a ‘one-stop shop’ – called a ‘point of single contact’ in the report – in the European Parliament to support these initiatives. As they will facilitate the process of guiding/bringing European citizens, the electors, nearer to the European institutions, the elected, these measures will certainly be an indispensable element of properly instructing these European initiative procedures.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on amending Parliament’s Rules of Procedure with regard to the implementation of the European citizens’ initiative since it introduces the provisions necessary for the application of this new European-level instrument for participatory democracy with a view, in particular, to organising and holding public hearings for presenting citizenship initiatives in the European Parliament and creating a ‘one-stop shop’ for supporting citizens’ initiatives.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) It is repeatedly said throughout Europe that there is a gap between the electors and the elected, between citizens and decision makers, in the European Union. Academics and the political institutions are unanimous in this diagnosis, although there is disagreement about the best cures for the problem. The European citizens’ initiative is another attempt to reduce this distance and enable the citizens to be more involved in European issues, which was adopted in the Treaty of Lisbon. It is now time to put it into practice, which requires making the necessary amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament. Without eliciting unwarranted hopes for this initiative, given its actual scope and the resulting limitations, I hope that putting it to good use will enable it to achieve its intended purpose and promote participation and European-level citizenship. I also hope it will be able to bring new voices and initiatives into the political debate too, without replacing representative democracy.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The sole purpose of this report is to amend the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament to accommodate the role forced on Parliament in the so-called ‘citizens’ initiative’. While we agree with holding hearings to debate the subjects tackled by this set-up created by the Treaty of Lisbon, the contradictions and limitations of this particular initiative should be remembered. Specifically, we should remember the demagogical way this was promoted: the attempt to whitewash the impoverishment of democracy, and to make us forget that Europe’s leaders prevented the peoples from having their say on the Treaty of Lisbon. This procedure is now being repeated with the so-called fiscal pact. We should remember that 1 million signatures from a significant number of Member States are required simply to ‘invite’ the European Commission to table a suitable proposal concerning issues on which these citizens think there is a need for an EU legal act to apply the Treaties. In other words, after all the work of collecting signatures and fulfilling the requirements that the draft regulation lays down, there is no guarantee that the citizens’ demand will be considered. Although the amendments to the Rules of Procedure are positive, all they do is provide a framework for Parliament’s participation in this process.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) Parliament adopted the report on the proposal for a regulation on the citizens’ initiative at first reading by a very large majority. This result clearly illustrates the broad consensus surrounding this new tool for participatory democracy at European level. The citizens’ initiative will be a powerful tool that European citizens can use to identify issues to place on the EU’s agenda. It was first introduced in the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe and then taken over by the Lisbon Treaty, with the aim of giving citizens powers of political initiative on a par with those already enjoyed by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. Its main aim is to provide citizens with a means to be heard by enabling them to refer various issues of interest to the European institutions. In essence, it will enhance the direct link between citizens and the institutions, ensuring that the EU institutions address specific issues that citizens feel are important. However, I believe it is essential to point out that not all successful initiatives will result in the Commission bringing forward a legislative proposal. The Commission still has its monopoly when it comes to legislative initiatives and it will be the Commission that has the final say on what action is taken in response to successful citizens’ initiatives. A successful public hearing in Parliament might help a citizens’ initiative to succeed, but it is by no means a guarantee that this will be the case.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) One of the most frequent criticisms levelled at the European Union concerns the democratic deficit, or the lack of opportunities for citizens to influence European decision-making processes.

As the only institution whose members are directly elected by citizens, the European Parliament is particularly sensitive to these issues and, in 2010, it adopted the report on the proposal for a regulation on the citizens’ initiative: this is an opportunity for citizens to make their voices heard, and to bring issues of interest to the attention of the European institutions.

An early example was seen a few weeks ago, when a committee of citizens living in Austria, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania and Spain presented an initiative to improve EU exchange programmes.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of Ms Gurmai’s report to promote the major step forward for European democracy that is the citizens’ initiative, through the European Parliament’s own Rules of Procedure. Even if the Commission still retains its right of initiative, there is a new legislative power which European citizens have already begun to take up since 1 April this year, and for this we should congratulate ourselves. It will now be up to Parliament to hold hearings of those people behind the chosen initiatives in order to increase their chances of ultimately achieving a legislative proposal from the Commission. Members should therefore be able to interact directly with those citizens who have chosen to embark on an adventure which, if it comes to fruition, will enable Europeans to make their voices heard as directly as possible, which I welcome.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marian Harkin (ALDE), in writing. – I supported this report because I agree with the rapporteur’s logic that a ‘one-stop shop’ to deal with all the practical aspects of a given European citizens’ initiative (ECI) is the most appropriate way to ensure that this mechanism enhances European democracy. Ensuring full and timely involvement of MEPs is a positive step towards making ECIs a success, as we represent our citizens on a daily basis and are in tune with their needs and suggestions. I support the idea that the relevant European Parliament Committee would organise a public hearing in Parliament, in conjunction with the European Commission and other stakeholders, where suitable. I particularly welcome the proposal for an enhanced role for MEPs on the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee, which would allow them to be involved with the appropriate lead committee in organising the hearing for a given ECI.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing.(FR) On Tuesday, 22 May, Parliament voted in favour of the conditions under which public hearings must be organised, and which will be held before Parliament and the European Commission by the organisers of European citizens’ initiatives, having first obtained over a million signatures. I welcome the fact that this tool for participatory democracy, unique in the world at a transnational level, continues to be implemented. It came into force on 1 April this year. I would remind you that a committee of European citizens consisting of at least seven citizens residing in at least seven different Member States can now, after collecting over a million signatures, approach the European Commission and ask it to present a legislative initiative in matters within its jurisdiction, and which meet the fundamental values of the Union. The European Commission has already declared half a dozen citizens’ initiatives admissible.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. – The citizens’ initiative offers the people of Europe a new way of properly engaging with the EU’s institutions. I welcome this report amending this House’s rules in order to facilitate the new instrument.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this decision on amending Parliament’s Rules of Procedure with regard to the implementation of the European citizens’ initiative because the necessary steps must be taken to ensure that a point of single contact is set up in the European Parliament which citizens, representative associations and civil society can contact on matters relating to citizens’ initiatives. At all public hearings on European citizens’ initiatives, the Commission must be represented by the Commissioner responsible for the subject matter, or, if he or she is unavailable, then either by another Member of the Commission or by the Director-General responsible for the subject matter. Its Bureau and its Secretary-General must take the appropriate measures to ensure the greatest possible visibility of public hearings on European citizens’ initiatives by providing appropriate facilities, including utilisation of the best available information and communication technologies. I believe that MEPs themselves should participate more actively in hearings on European citizens’ initiatives.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) The purpose of this own-initiative report is to establish clear rules for the implementation of public hearings on citizens’ initiatives. The relevant parliamentary committees of the European Parliament will organise these hearings. The report also calls for the Committee on Petitions (PETI) to be involved in holding these hearings.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing.(PL) I share the opinion that the citizens’ initiative will be a powerful tool that European citizens can use to identify issues to place on the EU’s agenda. I welcome the fact that it was included in the Treaty of Lisbon with the aim of giving citizens powers of political initiative on a par with those already enjoyed by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. It will be a very important instrument in combating the democracy deficit perceived by many of the Union’s citizens. I hope the initiative will mean that their voice will be better heard and that it will help promote wider cross-border debate throughout the EU. We ought not to be afraid of difficult subjects, so the EU should make it possible for its citizens to refer all kinds of issues to the European institutions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE), in writing.(RO) I support citizens’ involvement in the legislative process through the European legislative initiative system. I am in favour of the Committee on Petitions being involved in organising the public hearings, in association with the main committee concerned. I think that the latter’s experience in terms of its interaction with citizens enhances the procedure for implementing the European legislative initiative. I call on the Commission to ensure that the technical details for the online collection of signatures do not pose any obstacles that are inconsistent with the need to ensure transparency and authenticity. The website for downloading the programme needed to collect signatures online is rather user-unfriendly and does not provide complete information for downloading. In addition, some of the programme’s specifications which the organisers are responsible for are mainly suitable for IT experts and people with experience in risk assessment. This is why I ask the Commission to take the necessary measures, whether in the form of a video tutorial or a guide detailing how to make the signature collection programme compatible, so that European citizens can successfully use this legislative initiative.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – The citizens’ initiative will be a powerful tool that European citizens can use to identify issues to place on the EU’s agenda. It was first introduced in the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe and then taken over by the Lisbon Treaty, with the aim of giving citizens powers of political initiative on a par with those already enjoyed by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. Its main aim is to provide citizens with a means to be heard by enabling them to refer various issues of interest to the European institutions. These issues might include problems which people encounter in their daily lives and which they feel are being ignored or with which no support is forthcoming. The citizens’ initiative will enhance the direct link between citizens and the institutions, ensuring that the EU institutions address specific issues that citizens feel are important. Another aim of the citizens’ initiative is to encourage broader cross-border debates within the EU.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing.(FR) The European citizens’ initiative is a major and innovative democratic tool. In order for this instrument to make sense and actually enable European citizens to shape and participate in the European public debate, the conditions of its implementation are crucial. It was essential that the European Parliament’s regulation was amended so that citizens’ initiatives could be presented at public hearings. Parliament is quite rightly the most appropriate forum for this democratic exercise. The committee responsible for the subjects raised by the initiative will organise the public hearing. It is also important that the Committee on Petitions be involved with the public hearings because of its expertise and the complementarity of its activities with the citizens’ initiatives projects.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Iosif Matula (PPE), in writing. (RO) The European citizens’ initiative is one of the most important measures featuring in the Lisbon Treaty, which grants citizens the power to amend the agenda for debates in EU institutions. In future, this action may result in a change to EU law in the relevant policy areas. The European Parliament plays a major role in supporting citizens’ initiatives by being able to organise public debates on topics regarded as eligible, in cooperation with the relevant committees, and which also involve the participation of representatives from the other European institutions. I welcome the proposal for the Vice-President responsible for matters relating to citizens’ initiatives to attend these hearings with the aim of giving this citizens’ procedure greater legitimacy, especially as Parliament is the only institution directly elected by citizens. I think that these debates will enable us to increase the chances of these citizens’ proposals being turned into legislation through having contact with the members of the specialist committees, which play a key role in devising European policies. I also welcome the fact that the role of Parliament’s Committee on Petitions is being reviewed in terms of examining the initiatives which were unable to be submitted to the European Commission due to procedural issues, but which are worthy of consideration.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE), in writing. (IT) The vote on Ms Gurmai’s report marks an important step in the life of the European Parliament and in the process of constructing a people’s Europe. After the adoption of Regulation (EU) No 211/2011 on the citizens’ initiative, which gave the European Parliament the task of organising public hearings for sponsors within three months of presenting the initiative to the European Commission, Parliament’s Rules of Procedure needed to be amended to establish the procedure.

The new Article 197a of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure states that the President of the European Parliament shall task the committee responsible for the subject matter with organising the hearing, together with the Committee on Petitions. The involvement of the latter confirms the willingness to give citizens an open dialogue with Parliament, protecting their centrality in relation to the institutional legislators.

The hearing phase precedes the start of the proper legislative process and lets sponsors explain their initiative and clarify the reasons behind it, in order to give the executive committee a fuller understanding of it. The latter must then set out its political and legal conclusions in a statement. In my capacity as Chair of the Committee on Petitions, I thank the European Parliament for giving us such a responsible task by a large majority.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) Supposed to compensate for the lack of democratic process arranged by the Treaty of Lisbon, the European citizens’ initiative is a sham. It demands that citizens put in an awful lot of work for potentially no result.

This amendment to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure establishes a framework for the organisation of the planned public hearings for the organisers of initiatives who have obtained the million signatures required in at least one quarter of the 27 Member States and in accordance with the quotas imposed per country. It pours contempt on how difficult it actually is to achieve this result. It proposes that Parliament itself decide which of the representatives of the initiative it actually wants to listen to. It proposes having joint hearings for initiatives with a ‘similar subject matter’, this being without the need for prior approval from the initiatives’ organisers. As for initiatives that come to nothing, it reserves the right to monitor their subsequent progress. I voted against this text.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 15 December 2010, a regulation was adopted enabling 1 million European citizens to ask the European Commission to table legislation on a given issue. The rules implementing the ‘citizens’ initiative’, approved today by the European Parliament, state that signatories need to come from at least seven Member States. In Portugal’s case, at least 16 500 signatories will be required to support an initiative. The Treaty of Lisbon created a ‘citizens’ right of initiative’, under which 1 million European citizens can ask the European Commission to table certain legislative proposals. Today, we are going to make the necessary amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament required to make the ‘citizens’ right of initiative’ a reality.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The report invites the President of the European Parliament to undertake all steps necessary to organise smooth running of the public hearings of a successful European citizen’s initiative and proposes amending the European Parliament’s Rules of Procedure accordingly. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mariya Nedelcheva (PPE), in writing.(FR) Today, the European Parliament is sending a clear signal to European citizens, having just strengthened our direct link with them. Citizens now have a powerful tool for participatory democracy which consolidates their involvement in decision making within the Union and which, ultimately, helps strengthen our European democracy.

I voted for this report because I believe in the spirit of initiative and in citizen engagement. I believe in the virtues of organising public hearings at the European Parliament so that this engagement is given a voice. For this reason, I would like to emphasise the crucial role of the Committee on Petitions in organising these public hearings as it does indeed have the most expertise and know-how in this field. I call on the Commission to keep us up to date with the implementation of the citizens’ initiative scheme and of any obstacles encountered by citizens so that we can take the necessary steps, as quickly as possible and without delay, to make it as simple as possible for citizens to use this instrument. I therefore urge all my fellow Members of Parliament to seek to ensure that this scheme actually provides a strong and effective bridge between the day-to-day life of citizens and our work.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing. (ET) I support the recommendations made in Zita Gurmai’s report to amend the European Parliament’s Rules of Procedure. There is extraordinary unanimity that, in order to strengthen participatory democracy in the European Union, mechanisms must be established to ensure that citizens can participate directly in policy making. Once these amendments are implemented, citizens will obtain the opportunity to have their say on determining the topics on the agendas of the EU institutions. In other words, citizens will have the opportunity to hold public hearings on topics that various citizens’ associations consider to be currently relevant and problematic, with the participation of representatives of the relevant spheres of the EU institutions, and with funding envisaged for that purpose. The organising of public hearings would give citizens the opportunity to bring forward – and draw their representatives’ attention to – topics that might otherwise not be on the agenda, but which nevertheless deserve to be examined. This report sets out how, and under whose responsibility, this mechanism would begin to function in the European Parliament.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report proposing amendments to the Rules of Procedure under which Parliament will be able to contribute actively to realising the objectives of the citizens’ initiative, in particular, by making use of all the means available to it and, specifically, by organising public hearings.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alojz Peterle (PPE), in writing. (SL) A few years ago, as a member of the Convention on the Future of Europe, I was pleased to support the idea of a citizens’ initiative. What I support today, however, is the clarification of the parliamentary rules in that regard. I firmly believe that such clarification will benefit European citizens’ initiatives.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Pirillo (S&D), in writing. (IT) The citizens’ initiative introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon is a tool for participatory democracy, which involves citizens in decisions and actively helps to establish the political agenda through a shared path towards stronger European integration. Being able to present the initiative in a public hearing with the direct participation of the relevant parliamentary committee helps to strengthen our dialogue with European citizens, at a particularly difficult time for the solidity of the economy and for consolidation of political Europe. The times we are living in are characterised by the development of Eurosceptic movements, which is why I believe that the initiative is an important step to bring European citizens closer, even physically, to the EU institutions. For this reason, I voted in favour of the amendment to the Rules of Procedure.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Regulation (EU) No 211/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 stipulates that, once the Commission has registered a citizens’ initiative, the organisers shall be given the opportunity to present the citizens’ initiative at a public hearing held at the European Parliament. The main objective of this report is, quite rightly, to introduce the necessary amendments to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure to regulate organising and holding these hearings. I voted in favour because I agree with the content of these amendments.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing.(FR) On 9 May, the Commission registered its first European citizens’ initiative: a petition entitled ‘Fraternité 2020’, which I myself signed to give this youth-focused initiative a helping hand. What indeed could be more relevant than banking on our future generations and strengthening European exchange programmes that have stood the test of time, such as Leonardo, Erasmus or the European Voluntary Service.

The Gurmai report voted on this afternoon is not, in truth, aimed at the issues that citizens want to reclaim for themselves; instead, it looks more at the process and role that the European Parliament will play in promoting this tool of direct democracy. It wisely proposes organising public hearings on the most promising citizens’ initiatives. Given the six petitions already registered in the race for a million signatures, I just hope that the European Parliament will take it upon itself to only support those petitions of general interest, those that are inclusive rather than divisive. Out goes then the initiative ‘uno di noi’, whose questionable objective is to ban all forms of research on embryonic stem cells. When it comes to this type of issue, a more liberal and humanist approach is self-evident.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The European Union has long been criticised for its lack of democracy and its potential remoteness from the real concerns of European citizens. As politicians, we should not rest until we overcome these shortcomings. One tool that may help us here is the citizens’ initiative, which is set to become a powerful tool that focuses on European citizens, who can use it to actually influence the agenda of the EU’s legislative initiatives. Article 11 of the regulation on the citizens’ initiative provides that the European Parliament is competent to hold public hearings of the organisers of each citizens’ initiative. This provides us, as representatives of citizens’ interests, with an important resource to support them in their efforts. Through this report, we are endeavouring to adapt our rules as best we can so that these hearings are completed successfully. I therefore voted for this report and supported the principle of our President appointing the committee responsible for organising the public hearing, while still involving the Committee on Petitions. I hope that the scheme that we have put in place here will contribute to the success of some interesting citizens’ initiatives.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – I voted in favour. The regulation on the citizens’ initiative (Procedure File No 2010/0074(COD) was adopted on 16 February 2010 and applies as of 1 April 2012. It allows for the submission to the Commission of initiatives by Union citizens for any appropriate proposal on matters where citizens consider that a legal act of the Union is required for the purpose of implementing the Treaties, and which has received the support of at least 1 million signatories from at least one quarter of all Member States. The regulation provides for organisers to present the initiative at a public hearing. According to Article 11 of the regulation, the Commission and Parliament shall ensure that this hearing is organised at the European Parliament, if appropriate together with such other institutions and bodies of the union as may wish to participate. For our group, it is vital to ensure workable rules that allow for the proper organisation of the hearings, and proper involvement of the Petitions Committee, where desired, and to avoid a mix-up or alteration of current decision-making powers within the House.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) The European citizens’ initiative, established by the Treaty of Lisbon, entered into force on 1 April 2012 as an example of direct democracy and a useful tool for opening up new horizons for European citizens. Thanks to this initiative, the citizen is put at the centre of the European decision-making process. 1 million citizens, from at least seven Member States of the EU, can ask the European Commission to make a legislative proposal.

I am in favour of the report since the legislative initiative, if well developed, is a real democratic tool. European structures and their members often distance themselves from relationships with territories and citizens: we only need to consider that the Council and Commission are made up of appointed members, and only Parliament is made up of members elected by the public.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) With the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, European citizens have, for the first time, the opportunity to directly suggest new laws: at least 1 million EU citizens from at least a third of the Member States can ask the European Commission to make legislative proposals in its areas of competence. The citizens’ initiative is a power