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Procedure : 2011/2068(INI)
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Texts tabled :

A7-0161/2012

Debates :

PV 23/05/2012 - 16
CRE 23/05/2012 - 16

Votes :

PV 24/05/2012 - 10.4
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


Debates
Thursday, 24 May 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition

12. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
 

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Metin Kazak (A7-0157/2012)

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE). (IT) Madam President, since 1990 the European Union has used macro-financial assistance to provide financial aid in the form of grants and loans or a combination of both to countries with short-term balance-of-payments difficulties. In addition to timeframes that are rather long, difficulties have arisen over the decision-making criteria used, which has made it necessary to propose amendments to the Regulation.

I therefore welcome the proposal introduced in the new regulation, which aims to introduce quicker, more effective evaluation criteria and to agree on clearer rules and conditions for the provision of macro-financial assistance.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Madam President, I do not believe that anyone would object to macro-financial assistance, and when countries are in trouble we want to help them, including financially. On the other hand, we naturally need to attach conditions. The first condition is, of course, that this money should genuinely reach its intended destination, free from corruption. The second condition is that the assistance should involve real economic support, and the third that the emergency situation should be genuine.

Because there was still some need for clarity, including between Parliament and the Commission, I believe it is extraordinarily important that we have postponed a final vote today, so that the relevant committee can once again deliberate on how to make this motion as practical as possible.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I voted for this report because the negative impact of the economic crisis on the countries in the region is still felt. In this context, many countries still need donor support. I agree with the rapporteur that certain changes are needed in terms of macro-financial assistance to third countries. We need clear and transparent rules for a more efficient and faster decision-making process.

At the same time, these rules must be accompanied by the Commission’s capacity to provide case-by-case support. We also need a better strengthening of political conditionality. Moreover, democratic interests should be as important as the economic and financial ones. Macro-financial assistance has contributed to maintaining stability in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood and has positive impact on economy.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Madam President, I voted in favour of the Kazak report on the general provisions for macro-financial assistance to third countries. The report stresses the need for transparency in instances where MFA is granted. But not only must the conditions for these provisions be clear, so too must its usage once the funds have actually been granted.

The External Action Service may well be able now to demonstrate its worth on this particular front, if it is to aid the Commission in its assessment of potential beneficiaries in third countries. Given that it is proposed that the countries benefiting from EU MFA must first sign a Memorandum of Understanding which will commit them to sharing some of the core values of the European Union – including democracy, the upholding of human rights, poverty reduction, fighting corruption and promoting good governance – I believe that the EU MFA may well be a useful tool in helping these countries in other ways other than just on the financial level.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: RC-B7-0235/2012

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE). (IT) Madam President, like all of my colleagues, I firmly condemn the harassment to which Yulia Tymoshenko has been subjected in prison and I sincerely hope that the Ukrainian authorities will ensure impartiality and transparency in the Supreme Court proceedings, which will decide the fate of the former Prime Minister and other politicians currently being held.

Let me add, however, that I am firmly opposed to boycotting the European Football Championships, as called for in recent days by some European politicians. Ethical values have always enabled sport to overcome many barriers and free it from political manipulation. Sport has always proved itself to be a means of achieving equality and brotherhood among peoples.

 
  
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  Norica Nicolai (ALDE).(RO) Madam President, I voted against this report and, in my opinion, Parliament is in an embarrassing situation. We are not a lobby group bound to act in favour of Ms Tymoshenko, but a Parliament that must honour and respect democratic principles. Stability and respect for state powers are vital in a democracy.

I believe we cannot intervene in the final conviction of a person, be it in a third country, while at the same time it is unbelievable that a resolution adopted by this Parliament should mention investigation commissions for the examination of possible restrictions of human rights in the case of Yulia Tymoshenko. I think Parliament should definitely change this attitude, since it is harmful to its status as representative of the people, and refrain from interfering in the judicial system of other countries, including Ukraine; finally, I believe such attitude is detrimental to the image of Parliament.

 
  
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  Marek Józef Gróbarczyk (ECR).(PL) Madam President, I voted in favour of this report, since we should wholeheartedly oppose what is happening in Ukraine and the government’s actions towards Ms Tymoszenko. However, it should also be noted that the Ukrainian Government would not act in this way or be in such a powerful position if it were not for Russian support, and above all the Russian money which can rightly be said to support this regime and its actions. A few months ago, here in the European Parliament, we heard that this Russian money would help the European Union overcome the crisis. Without wishing to draw any negative inferences about Russia’s intentions, I would like to remind everyone that we should not even be considering such a thing. Russia’s approach, in particular as regards the European Union, is a negative one.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Madam President, I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution because it is not just about the Tymoshenko case, but more fundamentally about the fact that every citizen, whether a typical member of the public or a member of the government or opposition, has the right to due process of law and this right has not been upheld in the Tymoshenko case, which is why we must protest and use every democratic means possible to make the world aware.

Secondly, I wanted to stress once again that I voted in favour. I also agree with paragraph 16, which expresses ‘hope for the success of the European Football Championship 2012 in Poland and Ukraine’. Personally, however, I believe that European politicians have no business attending the Championship and should not even attend in a private capacity, as it is impossible to make this distinction.

Play football by all means. Hold the European Football Championship by all means. The politicians should stay away, however.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I voted in favour of this resolution because Ukrainian authorities should cease to prosecute opposition members on political grounds. The former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, is in a very difficult situation, her health problems being aggravated by detention conditions; moreover, other opposition members are imprisoned, unjustly accused and put on trial.

The acts of selective justice we are currently witnessing in Ukraine do not comply with the rules of democracy and the rule of law. The EU must continue to denounce firmly all abuses and call on the Ukrainian Government to respect democratic principles and fundamental rights. We must take a stand for Yulia Tymoshenko, for the other members of the opposition, and, in particular, for all Ukrainians who are entitled to free, fair and democratic elections this autumn.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Madam President, my group was pleased to vote in favour of the resolution on Ukraine. The resolution sends a clear message from our Parliament to Kiev. We will not tolerate the abuses that the Yanukovych regime is perpetrating upon Yulia Tymoshenko and opposition politicians. Gross manipulation of the judicial system, by selective justice, to remove political opposition at a time of elections – the parliamentary elections are due in June – is totally unacceptable to the European Union.

My group, the ECR, is saddened to learn that Mrs Tymoshenko may also now face a murder charge. It is interesting that the US investigators, when they prosecuted ex-Prime Minister Lazarenko, dismissed this allegation regarding Tymoshenko and I am very suspicious of this timing. I have also learned that the country’s Chief Prosecutor has been given direct political orders by the President to pursue their former Premier and other government opponents. So I am now calling upon the England football team to consider boycotting all scheduled Euro 2012 fixtures in Ukraine in protest and to play the matches instead in co-hosting Poland, Ukraine's neighbour.

Ultimately, we want Ukraine to grow into a modern European state and eventually to join the European Union, but that will require much higher standards of political behaviour than we have seen of late.

 
  
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  Jean-Pierre Audy (PPE).(FR) Madam President, this is a point of order under Article 15 of the Treaty on European Union.

Last night there was an informal European Council meeting, and I am sorry that the President of the European Council did not come this morning, in compliance with this article, to report on that meeting.

 
  
  

Report: Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy (A7-0161/2012)

 
  
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  George Lyon (ALDE). – Madam President, today I voted in favour of developing stronger incentives for a more resource-efficient economy across Europe. Green growth through increased innovation, research and development and resource-efficient technologies, together with the right market incentives, have the potential to boost Europe’s growth and competitiveness.

One of the key areas we need to tackle of course is food waste. Today at least 20% of the food produced in Europe goes in the bin; that is indeed a scandal. Both the public and private sectors need to do more to reduce waste along the food chain, but we almost need more research and innovation in the area of bio-waste reuse and recycling.

The report also calls on the Commission to introduce modern nutrient-management techniques in order to reduce nutrient loss and achieve a sustainable intensification of our agricultural production. That is absolutely crucial if we are to continue feeding a growing world population while at the same time reducing the inputs our farmers need to use at the moment. That agenda needs to be at the heart of the CAP reform.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE).(LT) Madam President, I voted in favour of this document and hope that the guidelines it contains are followed. We talk a lot about the sustainable use of resources, we have strategies and have set ourselves objectives to be achieved in the field of green economic growth. It goes without saying that we have opportunities and needs. Satisfying the needs of European Union citizens is inseparable from the sustainable use of resources. I am not just talking about the Earth’s resources, when we are generally talking about the sustainable use of resources, I am also talking about saving money. Sustainable use is only possible by introducing innovations and innovative solutions. We therefore need to pay adequate attention to research and create conditions for the private sector to cooperate with scientists because this would bring about a vibrant innovations sector leading to the sustainable use of resources. I believe that we could learn how to do this, how to create a vibrant innovations sector, from certain countries outside the European Union, in this case Israel, which is excellent at handling cooperation with the research and innovations sectors.

 
  
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  Christa Klaß (PPE).(DE) Madam President, in yesterday’s sitting, I made a strong call for more efficient use of resources and yet I have been forced to vote against the report today as it simply contains too much bureaucracy. There are a lot of technicalities included. We will be faced with even more bureaucracy. We have added new mandatory contributions. We have demanded indicators and statistics. All of this goes far beyond our objective. We have not yet reached a point where we can impose a complete ban on landfill in Europe. Not everything can be reused. Thus, the report has overshot the mark. When it comes to taxation we must also think things over more carefully.

For this reason, I voted against the report, although I would like to emphasise once again: I am in favour of resource efficiency. I am in favour of new approaches. Attempting to introduce them in the area of taxation, however, is simply too much. Unfortunately I made a mistake over the fifth point. I would like it to be known that I actually meant to vote against it.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0233/2012

 
  
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  Anthea McIntyre (ECR). – Madam President, my UK Conservative colleagues and I fully agree with the objective of tackling youth unemployment and believe the EU has a role in assisting Member States, but the best way of tackling this problem is not by micro-managing Member States.

The EU must add value to the work already done by Member States, not duplicate it. For example, the UK has already put in place a series of initiatives in the new Youth Contract, with a commitment of almost GBP 1 billion over the next three years. The EU should promote best practice, ensure proper functioning and completion of the single market and, above all, remove barriers to growth in the form of the red tape which prevents businesses from taking on young people.

We agree with much that is in this resolution. However, we have concerns with other aspects, including: attempts to pre-empt the final outcome of the negotiations on the Maternity Leave Directive; calls to define minimum standards at European level in the area of employment and social affairs; calls for more ambitious sources of additional financing; and calls for the EU Youth Guarantee Scheme to be legally enforceable. Taking these concerns into account, we voted against this resolution.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE).(LT) Madam President, I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution because youth unemployment is one of the most pressing economic problems of recent times. The European Commission’s initiative, which aims to promote youth employability in other EU Member States, is something to be welcomed. The high number of people still registering demonstrates that such a project really was essential. However, I would like to draw attention to another matter – migratory flows are being felt in many European Union Member States that is a considerable number of people of working age are seeking work in other EU Member States. Of course, I am not calling for the creation of barriers to this movement because young people have the right to choose where to work and fulfil themselves, but I nevertheless call for more attention and resources to be paid to measures that would encourage youth entrepreneurship in their own countries, and would encourage employers to create jobs specifically for young people so that those young people are not forced to leave their countries of origin.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). – Madam President, I was pleased to support this resolution here today. I think it is very important, at a time when youth unemployment is higher than we have ever seen in the European Union, that we should be engaging in discussions and undertaking initiatives to try and help reduce it.

We probably have the best-educated potential workforce of young people in the world. They have studied hard, and now they find – right across the European Union – that they cannot get a job. In my country, more than 20% of the youth are unemployed and this is most unfortunate, but at least we are trying to do something about it, and it is important that we create awareness of the initiatives we have, so that young people can avail of them.

On the broader front, it is important that secondary-level schools and third-level institutions should be more geared to the market, particularly in the future, so that young people can engage in courses and follow a direction which will lead to employment sooner rather than later.

 
  
  

Report: Edit Bauer (A7-0160/2012)

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D).(FI) Madam President, it is incomprehensible that Europe has failed to implement one of the oldest principles in EU law, and one for which the Court of Justice of the European Union has granted a direct legal effect. For too long, mere fine words have failed to result in any real action.

I welcome this report, as it contains some concrete proposals for narrowing the pay gap between women and men. More effective legislation is needed to correct the state of affairs, for example in the form of greater powers for equality bodies. To achieve equal pay, the EU must adopt a robust role in improving legislation and coordinating policies.

It is important that the European Parliament continues to have an active role in implementing equality between men and women. Awareness-raising campaigns need to continue, and we should also continue to inform people of their rights. I would like to remind everyone that we as individual Members of Parliament may also have a significant role to play in this work.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Madam President, I voted against the Bauer report on equal pay for men and women. The fact that statistics show that wage discrimination is still very much present throughout the EU is of course extremely concerning, and I feel strongly that there is no place for discrimination in pay matters on the basis of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation in today’s society.

Despite this, I am convinced that employment law covering pay should be the preserve of the national governments of our Member States. I oppose, as do British Conservatives, the notion that laws concerning pay as well as legislation covering related issues such as social security and pensions should be imposed on the Member States by the European Union. I believe that it is an issue for national governments and national parliaments to deal with on behalf of their own citizens.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Madam President, it is sad in one way that we had to discuss this today, but we had an excellent discussion this morning. You would think that in this day and age there would be no difference between the salaries paid to men and women for the same work. But that is how it is, and we must end it as soon as we can. Therefore, it is a good thing that the proposals put before us here today were accepted.

One thing that I was a bit disappointed about was that we did not have a roll-call vote at the end so that we would know how many Members voted in favour and how many against. I know that there was a large majority in favour of this report, but we do not have the figures now and I think that a mistake.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I support this resolution, although the quality of statistic data available should be improved. It is true that the gender pay gap has not decreased significantly over recent years, and large gaps still persist in this area. I call upon the Member States and social partners to promote gender neutral employment policies and equal opportunities in order to ensure equal pay for equal work.

Women’s career should not be affected by pregnancy or maternity leave. Furthermore, society should review wages in professional areas in which women predominate, such as education or health. Finally, of course, I would like to emphasise this: we need many more women in politics and in decision-making positions.

 
  
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  President. – That is certainly true.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0248/2012

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I voted for this motion for a resolution because I believe certain clarifications are needed regarding the measures taken by the Swiss authorities. The legal ground for the introduction of transitional measures is unclear. Moreover, I believe nationality-based quotas that generate discrimination among European citizens should not be accepted. It is necessary to have a clear position from the Commission and an explanation regarding the adopted measures.

I believe the Swiss and EU legislation regarding the internal market should converge. I wish to draw attention to the need of examining measures that hinder the functioning of the internal market within the EU. At the same time, the Commission should provide an assessment of the current situation and concrete answers based thereupon.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Metin Kazak (A7-0157/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, as I agree with the argument that the democratic effectiveness of macro-financial assistance (MFA) should be enhanced through the inclusion of an explicit mention of democratic- and human rights-policy measures in the Memorandum of Understanding, which should be used as conditionality; in other words, it should be possible for third countries not respecting these principles to be subject to penalties or the reimbursement of the funds allocated by the EU. Moreover, there is a need for the MFA to be clearer and more efficient, and for democratic process to be stepped up, including the involvement of Parliament, which should give its consent based on preconditions that must be agreed on before the EU signs a Memorandum of Understanding with a third country.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) European Union macro-financial assistance (MFA) was introduced in 1990 with the aim of providing financial assistance to third countries whose balance of payments was in short-term difficulties. However, the Treaty of Lisbon extended Parliament’s powers and MEPs now codecide on a wider range of subjects. I therefore voted for the harmonisation of the decision-making procedures relating to EU macro-financial assistance. The proposal would also introduce quicker, more efficient and streamlined decision making for individual MFA operations.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. Macro-financial assistance (MFA) was launched in 1990 to grant financial assistance to third countries experiencing short-term balance of payments difficulties. A total of 55 MFA decisions benefiting 23 countries have so far been approved, amounting to EUR 7.2 billion, in the form of grants or loans. It is important to create a formal legal instrument for MFAs to third countries and introduce quicker and more efficient decision making for individual MFA operations. I welcome the proposal to update and clarify some of the rules, particularly on the geographical scope of MFA. As for political conditionality, I agree that when delivering MFA the EU has little regard for political pre-conditions. I therefore welcome the European Parliament’s proposals to pay sufficient attention to the EU’s democratic interests and respect for political conditions, and to reduce or halt the delivery of assistance in cases where these conditions are not observed. I also agree that the EP should give its approval to each MFA decision and monitor the funding allocated effectively.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR), in writing. (PL) The programme of macro-financial assistance for third countries experiencing temporary difficulties with their balance of payments has been in place for over two decades, and is an excellent way of developing mutual relations. This assistance has made a valuable contribution to macro-economic stability, particularly in neighbouring countries. The Treaty of Lisbon made it easier to implement such measures, and I am happy to say that countries including Ukraine and Moldova have benefited in this respect. I hope that this will also be the case for Georgia.

I agree that we need to put in place the right criteria for selecting beneficiaries. Although the programme’s aim is stability and ‘Europeanisation’ in our neighbours, the main recipients should be countries hoping one day to join the EU. A quicker and more effective procedure for deciding whether to grant assistance and a more detailed geographical scope will mean that the policy can be implemented much more effectively in neighbouring countries, and that it may one day play a leading role in the field of macro-financial assistance. I voted in favour of the resolution.

 
  
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  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) For too long the European Union has turned a blind eye to neighbouring countries that show no respect for fundamental rights or democracy. Now that situation must change. Thanks to this resolution, respect for fundamental rights will be a non-negotiable pre-condition for granting macro-financial assistance to third countries. The funds received will have to be automatically reinvested in sectors linked to human rights. Parliament calls on the Commission, through the intermediary of the European External Action Service (EEAS), to monitor closely how the funds are used by neighbouring countries so as to ensure respect for human rights.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this text, which clarifies the rules that must be respected by neighbouring countries in difficulty that wish to benefit from EU financial assistance under the umbrella of macro-financial assistance (MFA). Now that our countries have undertaken more rigorous management of their own finances and public policies, the European Union must equip itself with the crucial resources needed to ensure that its financial assistance has a genuine positive impact on the economic and social development of the countries or territories that receive it, and that its action thus promotes our democratic values and our sound economic and social practices.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report concerns the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down general provisions for macro-financial assistance (MFA) to third countries. EU MFA was launched in 1990 to grant financial assistance to third countries experiencing short-term balance of payments difficulties. So far, a total of 55 MFA decisions benefiting 23 countries have been approved, totalling EUR 7.2 billion, in the form of grants or loans, or a combination of the two. Since MFA is one of the main sources, if not the main source of external finance for third countries, I consider it vital to create a formal legal instrument for granting such aid, so that it is implemented in a streamlined and regulated way.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The EU’s macro-financial assistance has been provided since 1990 as assistance of a macro-economic nature to third countries experiencing short-term balance of payments difficulties. A total of 55 MFA decisions benefiting 23 countries have so far been approved, amounting to EUR 7.2 billion, in the form of grants or loans, or a combination of the two. Until now, the EU has taken MFA decisions based on the basis of the ‘Genval criteria’ of October 2002 which have been subject to case-by-case legislative decisions. Deeming this situation unsatisfactory, the EP’s resolution of 2003 called for a regulatory framework to be drawn up and the Commission’s proposal thus comes as a direct response to this demand. In its staff working paper, the Commission expressed its concerns over the current situation of case by-case legislative decisions, particularly in light of the mandatory eight week consultation of the national parliaments. Although MFA has made a valuable contribution to macro-economic stability in the EU’s neighbourhood, current procedures tend to reduce its effectiveness and transparency. I believe that certain changes will be necessary to establish clear rules and make MFA decision making simpler and more efficient. However, I consider the total removal of parliamentary scrutiny and the introduction of implementing acts for MFA to be unacceptable.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) It is useful in my view to simplify and speed up the macro-financial assistance procedure, just as I agree with the rapporteur on the need to strike a balance between the need for clear rules and allowing the Commission to tailor its assistance to specific situations. Moreover, I welcome the fact that Article 6 of the Commission’s proposal conditions the granting of such assistance to recipient countries that have effective democratic mechanisms, and are based on the rule of law and respect for human rights. For these reasons, my vote will be in favour.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour because the EU’s macro-financial assistance (MFA) was launched in 1990 to grant financial assistance to third countries experiencing short-term balance of payments difficulties. A total of 55 MFA decisions benefiting 23 countries have so far been approved, amounting to EUR 7.2 billion, in the form of grants or loans, or a combination of the two. Eligible countries include candidates for EU membership, potential candidates, ENP countries and, in exceptional circumstances, additional third countries which are politically, economically and geographically close to the EU. Taking its lead from the Genval Criteria, the Regulation makes MFA support conditional on the presence of ‘effective democratic mechanisms, including multi-party parliamentary systems, the rule of law and respect for human rights’. The Genval criteria make MFA assistance conditional on shared democratic, economic and geographical proximity, as well as the existence of an IMF scheme and financial discipline. According to the Commission, the main goals of its proposal are: to create a formal legal instrument for MFAs to third countries, to introduce quicker, more efficient and streamlined decision making for individual MFA operations, to agree rules and conditions among the EU institutions (to make the EP ‘co-owner of the rules’), to update and clarify some of the rules, most notably on the geographical scope of MFA, and also to align decision making for MFA with other external financial assistance instruments.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. (PL) In common with the rest of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, I support the main premises of the Kazak report, which confirms the European Parliament’s position on questions raised previously regarding macro-financial assistance for individual third countries. The initial conditions for granting extraordinary financial aid should be set out clearly, and should include in particular improved transparency as regards use of funds (loans, grants or a combination of the two) and formal political assessments of the status of beneficiaries, carried out by the Commission in cooperation with the EEAS, in order to increase the democratic effectiveness of the EU’s macro-financial assistance and to improve democratic scrutiny of the latter.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE), in writing. (DE) European Union macro-financial assistance was introduced in 1990 to provide financial support to third countries experiencing short-term balance of payment difficulties. To date, macro-financial assistance has been provided on the basis of individual resolutions. This means that each financial assistance operation requires a separate legislative resolution. Since 2003, the European Parliament has continuously called for a framework regulation to allow macro-financial assistance to be processed on a uniform basis. I voted in favour of the report because a formal legal instrument for macro-financial assistance to third countries increases the effectiveness of macro-financial assistance by tightening up the decision-making process. The proposed regulation will also formalise, update and specify the basic rules that apply to macro-financial assistance.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) MFA (macro-financial assistance) requires some revisions at a legal and regulatory level in order to continue carrying out its unique mission, that of supporting third countries, in the most effective and tangible way. MFA should be – and the report moves in that direction – an instrument that is not additional to the work already done by the International Monetary Fund for third countries, but an added value securing the cooperation of European financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). Moreover, assessment of MFA needs to be contingent and take carefully into account the bureaucratic and operational variables that individual Member States put into place, which sometimes cause delays in the use of these funds, thus negating the effects and reducing the effectiveness of MFA.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) The EU is in a position to provide financial support to countries in need of such assistance, but the large number of grants and loans we have provided so far forces us to review existing legislation that allows us to do this in cooperation with the IMF. Starting from this assumption, I support the Commission's proposal to clarify the decision-making procedure, but I do not agree that Parliament should no longer play any role in this process. Parliament must be part of these decisions, at least in its capacity of consultative body; we must be informed of the Commission’s and Council’s decisions. Therefore, I support the proposal of the rapporteur to use delegated acts for each and every case of macro-financial assistance. I also agree that this Regulation should not be simply transitional. Again, I support the idea of the rapporteur proposing an open term, while requiring that the Regulation be reviewed every four years, taking into account the economic changes.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I would like to stress that macro-financial assistance (MFA) must bring EU added value and should apply only where the EU can bring something to the table, rather than functioning as an ‘International Monetary Fund top-up’. Thus, by decoupling MFA from the existence of an IMF scheme, the EU will have greater freedom to provide added value. The EU could, in certain cases, consider taking the lead role in MFA operations. Furthermore, the joint Centre for European Policy Studies and London School of Economics study commissioned by the EP notes that the amount of MFA is often too small to guarantee the implementation of policy measures adopted under the relevant memorandum of understanding. The report therefore proposes that, in most cases, the EU’s contribution should not fall below a minimum percentage, thus ensuring that it is sufficient to secure added value and making it easier for large countries to benefit from MFA.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I find it entirely reasonable that Union macro-financial assistance should be used to provide exceptional financial assistance to third countries that have run into temporary balance of payment difficulties.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Since 1990, macro-financial assistance (MFA) has supported third countries experiencing short-term balance of payments difficulties. This assistance may be granted in the form of grants or loans, or a combination of the two, and has already been granted 55 times to 23 different countries. This report seeks to make MFA more effective, adopting and establishing clear rules and conditions for payment. I agree that it is right to seek quicker and more effective solutions for making use of this instrument, which is essential for helping neighbouring countries that are experiencing difficulties.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing. (ES) I voted against this report because I am opposed to the EU giving financial assistance to certain countries on condition that they make the structural changes to their democratic, government, institutional or party systems that the EU wants. With this macro-financial assistance, the EU is once again interfering in the sovereignty of third countries, which amounts to blackmail. Moreover, the fact that this financial aid always goes hand in hand with aid from the International Monetary Fund shows what kind of reforms will be demanded from those countries: a market economy, labour deregulation and privatisation of the public sector. Under no circumstances can I accept that the EU forces third countries to adopt the very measures that have led us into this crisis.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − The main goals of proposal are: to create a formal legal instrument for micro-financial assistance to third countries; to introduce quicker, more efficient and streamlined decision making for individual micro-financial assistance operations; to agree rules and conditions among the EU institutions (to make the EP ‘co-owner of the rules’); to update and clarify some of the rules, most notably on the geographical scope of micro-financial assistance; to align decision making for micro-financial assistance with other external financial assistance instruments. I would suggest paying attention to countries neighbouring the EU.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) EU macro-financial assistance was introduced in 1990 to provide aid in the event of temporary balance of payment difficulties in third countries. Relevant resolutions were included in the Treaty of Lisbon for Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. The legal basis is now under discussion. This proposal would do away with the need to consult with national parliaments and would lead to a loss of transparency. EU financial assistance is often characterised by a lack of transparency and controls. As the present proposal offers no prospect of an improvement in this regard and could possibly be used to undermine discipline in financial policy by the back door, I have voted against it.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) The EU’s macro-financial assistance (MFA) is an important instrument enabling the EU to help third countries and territories meet the demands caused by urgent economic crises swiftly and by creating added value, while at the same time strengthening commitments to common values with the Union, including democracy, the rule of law, good governance, respect for human rights, the fight against forced child labour, support for sustainable development, poverty reduction, the fight against corruption, as well as to the principles of open, rules-based and fair trade. It is a short-term instrument, usually applied for three years, and may be reviewed if financing needs should be reduced. It is important to establish clear eligibility criteria for third countries and territories and to confer additional powers on the Commission, while ensuring democratic scrutiny, informing the European Parliament properly and in a timely manner and providing an evaluation of implementation every four years.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) The EU has been providing macro-financial assistance (MFA) since 1990 to third countries facing short-term balance-of-payment problems. So far, over 20 countries have received assistance in the form of loans or grants totalling in excess of EUR 7 billion. However, the European Parliament recently asked for a specific framework regulation for MFA and the Commission responded to that request which, among other things, calls for the creation of an official legal instrument and a more effective and rational decision-making procedure in this sector. However, the Commission proposal has a number of omissions and confuses certain actions, for example by allowing the IMF to be involved in such actions to the point at which it basically demotes the EU to a supplementary role. This report highlights these points, which is why I voted in favour of it.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − Abstention. The EU’s macro-financial assistance (MFA) was launched in 1990 to grant financial assistance to third countries experiencing short-term balance of payments difficulties. A total of 55 MFA decisions benefiting 23 countries have so far been approved, amounting to EUR 7.2 billion, in the form of grants or loans, or a combination of the two. In recent years INTA has been involved in granting MFA first under the consultation procedure and, since the Lisbon Treaty, as colegislator. Under the Treaty of Lisbon, the appropriate legal bases for decisions granting MFA are Articles 209(1) and 212(2) TFEU, depending on whether the beneficiary country is a developing country or not. In both cases, OLP applies. Given the diminishing importance of the MFA instrument, we regard any attempt to establish own EU conditionalities for MFA in the EU Neighbourhood and monitor their implementation as an administrative task of for the EU which is out of proportion to the real amounts involved in MFA operations and adding considerable burdens also for the administrations of the receiving countries.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this report because the new general provisions increase the effectiveness of macro-financial assistance (MFA) and specify rules concerning its geographical scope. This regulation proposes setting up a legal instrument for MFA to third countries, bringing the decisions into line with those of other external instruments of financial assistance. The report also establishes a minimum percentage of the contribution of the European Union in the majority of cases, ensuring added value and facilitating the use of MFA to larger countries.

 
  
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  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report. I think it is right that at last we have a general legislative instrument valid for any future macro-financial assistance for third countries. I supported the main proposals made by the rapporteur, even though I did not share his concern regarding the need to involve our Parliament more fully in future measures of macro-financial assistance. In my opinion, the procedure initially proposed by the European Commission, which provided for the involvement of the Council but not of the European Parliament could have been maintained. However, the members of the Committee on International Trade preferred to bring in changes that will make negotiations with the Council very long and difficult to resolve. I express my hope, in any case, that the rapporteur will be successful in the negotiations with the colegislator.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European Union’s macro-financial assistance (MFA), launched in 1990 to grant financial assistance to third countries experiencing short-term balance of payments difficulties, has so far approved 55 decisions benefiting 23 countries, amounting to EUR 7.2 billion in the form of grants, loans or a combination of the two. This vote seeks to achieve the following objectives: to create a formal legal instrument for MFAs to third countries; to introduce quicker, more efficient and streamlined decision making for individual MFA operations; to agree rules and conditions among the EU institutions; to update and clarify some of the rules, most notably on the geographical scope of MFA; and to align decision making for MFA with other external financial assistance instruments.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Commission’s proposal seeks to create a formal legal instrument for granting macro-financial assistance (MFA) to third countries, and to establish quicker, more efficient and streamlined decision making for individual operations. In order to do this, it is necessary to agree rules and conditions among the EU institutions, to update some of the rules on the geographical scope of MFA, and to align MFA decision making with other external financial assistance instruments. Today Parliament adopted a document, for which I voted, stating that the MFA must bring the EU added value, and should only occur where the EU can bring something to the table. For example, by decoupling MFA from the existence of an IMF scheme, the EU will have greater freedom to provide added value, thus allowing it to take the leading role in MFA operations. Therefore, in most cases the EU’s contribution should not fall beneath a minimum percentage, so that it is sufficient to ensure added value and makes it easier for countries to benefit from MFA.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the proposal for a regulation laying down general provisions for macro-financial assistance to third countries. The framework regulation aims at clarifying the rules and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Union assistance. Macro-financial assistance is a tool of Union foreign policy and should serve to enhance the visibility and influence of the Union beyond its borders; it should be used to provide exceptional financial assistance to third countries that have run into temporary balance of payment difficulties. Unlike other Union instruments providing direct support for its external policies (such as the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance, the European Neighbourhood Instrument, the Development Cooperation Instrument, etc.), macro-financial assistance should not be used to provide regular financial support nor have as its primary aim supporting the economic and social development of the beneficiary countries. Macro-financial assistance should include measures to improve the beneficiary countries’ commitment to common values with the Union, including democracy, the rule of law, good governance, respect for human rights, the fight against forced child labour, support for sustainable development and poverty reduction, as well as to the principles of open, rules-based and fair trade. The fulfilment of these objectives should be regularly monitored by the Commission.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) EU macro-financial assistance (MFA) was created in 1990 to provide resources to third countries experiencing temporary balance of payments difficulties. This assistance may be granted in the form of grants or loans, or a combination of the two. The EU’s assistance programme is necessarily associated with financial assistance provided by the IMF, at around 10% of the IMF amount. We voted against this report because MFA is tied to the IMF criteria; the same criteria that are condemning countries to poverty through the financial discipline, structural adjustments, and economic and social conditions that it demands. Financial assistance is predominantly aimed at funding the recommendations made by the IMF and its policy of structural adjustment; that is, its insistence on the very same neoliberal policies that brought about the economic and financial crisis, and are now exacerbating it. Policies of economic cooperation are needed, rather than blackmailing countries in economic difficulties.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: RC-B7-0235/2012

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, as I consider it vital that the Ukrainian authorities ensure full respect for the rights of all prisoners, including Ms Tymoshenko, Mr Lutsenko and Mr Ivashchenko. Moreover, I believe the adoption of a reformed penal code to be positive, as it is a significant step in the process of reforming the legal and judicial system, and of Ukraine’s rapprochement with the EU. I also believe that the establishment of a constituent assembly is a very positive step, as are the efforts to ensure that the parliamentary elections in October 2012 will be free and fair. Respect for fundamental rights and freedoms in Ukraine is a key step towards ensuring that this association agreement will provide a crucial tool for modernisation and a road map for steering domestic reforms and national reconciliation, which will help the country to overcome recent negative trends.

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. − I abstained in the vote on this text because although I support its quest for the reform of the Ukrainian legal and judiciary system, I believe that the linkage between the situation of human rights in Ukraine and the prosecution of Yulia Tymoshenko could be misleading. I support the demand for a fair trial for Ms Tymoshenko, but I dissent from the idea of connecting our relationship with Ukraine with the Tymoshenko case. I am also afraid that this text could give the impression that the former Prime Minister of Ukraine deserves to be supported as if she was a champion of freedom and justice in her country. She is not. As a member of the dominant oligarchy, Mrs Tymoshenko lost an internal fight with people no better than her.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) I was appalled by Ukraine’s attitude and I therefore voted in favour of the joint resolution seeking the ‘unconditional immediate’ release of all Ukrainian political prisoners. Kiev must respect fully the legal and human rights of the defendants and detainees. I am very concerned about the judicial proceedings against former and current high-ranking government officials; it is essential that they respect European standards of fairness, impartiality, transparency and independence. One woman has become the symbol of imprisonment ‘on politically motivated grounds’: former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. As the October parliamentary elections approach, we wish to establish an international election observation mission. As far as Euro 2012 is concerned, all European politicians who wish to attend matches in Ukraine must make their awareness of the political situation in the country publicly clear and seek opportunities to visit political detainees in prison, or attend in a purely private capacity.

 
  
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  Ivo Belet (PPE), in writing. − (NL) I am very pleased that we have today, with a large majority, called on all policy makers who will be going to the European Football Championship in Ukraine to condemn the political situation in that country when they arrive there. We are asking them to publicly voice their concerns regarding the political situation in Ukraine and to use this opportunity to visit political prisoners there, if at all possible. The trial of Yulia Tymoshenko has again been postponed, this time until the end of June, after the European Football Championship in Ukraine and Poland ends. The Ukrainian Government wants to keep the trial out of the spotlight of the international press. However, in so doing, it is achieving the exact opposite of what it intended. I realise that it is best to keep sport and politics separate, but in this case we simply cannot look the other way. On 13 June, the Netherlands will be playing Germany in Kharkiv. The stadium in Kharkiv is two kilometres from the prison where Yulia Tymoshenko is locked up. At this time as politicians and, even, as players, we cannot act as though this is none of our concern.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR), in writing. (PL) In around a fortnight’s time, Ukraine and Poland will host the Euro 2012 tournament and become the centre of Europe. I very much hope that this will be a time when we concentrate on football alone, since this event represents a huge opportunity for both countries to promote themselves, and for Ukraine this will mean drawing closer to Europe. The case of Yulia Tymoshenko has understandably caused outrage, which has overshadowed Kiev’s pro-European ambitions. I am saddened by reports that the former prime minister has been treated wrongly and even brutally, all the more so because I have endeavoured for many years to act as Ukraine’s spokesperson within the European Parliament.

The Council has already refused to ratify the association agreement in view of these events. I hope that the former prime minister’s appeal will be heard fairly and transparently, in accordance with democratic standards. I believe that strong links with Europe are still a priority for the Ukrainian authorities and that they do not intend to drift towards Belarus. I support the resolution.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) The Ukrainian authorities must guarantee the impartiality of the cassation process in the case of Ms Tymoshenko, and must end the use of selective justice targeting political and other opponents. I am suspicious about the fact that the High Specialised Court of Ukraine on Criminal and Civil Cases has postponed its ruling on the cassation appeal in Ms Tymoshenko’s case against the decision of Pechersk District Court in Kiev. In this context, we must warn against the protraction of due legal process. The Ukrainian authorities must ensure full respect for the right of all prisoners sentenced on politically motivated grounds, including Ms Tymoshenko, Mr Lutsenko and Mr Ivashchenko, including the right to adequate medical assistance in an appropriate institution, and the right of unrestricted access to their lawyers and the right to be visited by relatives and other people, such as EU envoys. Ukraine must ensure full respect for the fundamental rights of defendants and detainees, including the right to medical care, in line with international standards. I condemn the use of force by prison guards against Ms Tymoshenko, and I recall Ukraine’s undertaking to examine promptly and impartially any complaints of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution on Ukraine, since Ukraine is a country of strategic importance to the EU, given its size, resources, population and geographical location. Ukraine has a distinctive position in Europe, being a key regional actor which exerts considerable influence on the security, stability and prosperity of the whole continent, and it should therefore take political responsibility. The respect for civil freedoms, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, ensuring fair, impartial and independent legal processes and focus on internal reform are prerequisites for the further development of relations between the EU and Ukraine. At the same time, the sentencing on 11 October 2011 of Ukraine’s former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, to seven years in prison and the trials of other high officials of the former government are unacceptable and represent an act of selective justice, showing serious deficiencies with regard to the independence of the judiciary and the lack of reform in all aspects of the judicial process: prosecution, trial, sentencing, detention and appeals.

 
  
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  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The worrying fate of Yulia Tymoshenko should cause us to reflect on our relationship with Ukraine, a neighbour of the EU that one day hopes to become a Member State. The situation of the former Ukrainian Prime Minister, jailed since November 2010, says a great deal about how justice operates in that country: poor prison conditions, failure to recognise the presumption of innocence, threat to her physical well-being, and so on. Through this motion for a resolution, Parliament seeks to demonstrate that it will never turn a blind eye to a state that does not respect fundamental rights and freedoms, and it calls on the Ukrainian Government to respect the rights of Yulia Tymoshenko.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing.(FR) I welcome the adoption of the motion for a resolution on the political situation in Ukraine. Ukraine is of crucial importance for the EU. The European Parliament must encourage the EU’s direct neighbours to incorporate the Community acquis on human rights, freedom of the press and democracy. It is therefore Parliament’s duty to express concern about and condemn the current abuses in Ukraine, especially the situation regarding Yulia Tymoshenko. Consequently, I am calling for a much-needed reform of Ukraine’s legal and judicial systems to enable them to operate free from any political influence. All those who have been detained on political grounds must be released immediately. They must also be allowed to receive adequate medical assistance to protect their health. As far as Euro 2012 is concerned, through this resolution I am asking all officials who wish to attend matches in Ukraine to do so in a private capacity and to denounce, as far as possible, the political situation in the country.

 
  
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  Ismail Ertug (S&D), in writing. (DE) The Tymoshenko case and political developments in Ukraine in general indicate that democracy and the rule of law still remain values that cannot be taken for granted in today’s Europe and for which we must actively campaign.

The thirst for reform seemed enormous in Ukraine in the period following the Orange Revolution and the country quickly became a perfect example of the success of European neighbourhood policy. In this context I find it extremely regrettable that political life in Ukraine is once again characterised by political trials, political meddling in the administration of justice and state interference.

The response of the European Commission and a number of Member States to the latest events is decisive but by no means excessive. The absence of the most senior Members of the Commission from the European Championship in Ukraine sets down a clear marker, but should not divert attention from the problems in the country and the possible solutions. For this reason I welcome your intention, Mr Füle, to continue with the association process with Ukraine if there are positive developments and, above all, if free and fair elections are held this autumn.

In order to be able to provide positive support for developments in Ukraine in future, European neighbourhood policy must also incorporate the wishes and expectations of the people of Ukraine. Before we intensify our partnership, however, Yulia Tymoshenko must be given fair treatment. Naturally this must take her health into consideration and must be free from all state interference.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) In December of last year, I wrote that the relationship of trust between the EU and Ukraine was at one of its most fragile points, and that the timing of the adoption and ratification of the association agreement that the parties had been preparing, which would allow for a greater rapprochement between the two parties, might be put in jeopardy. Unfortunately, this deadlock has remained. Ukraine should give a clear signal that it intends to deepen its relations with the EU, and to make the issues of democracy, human rights and the rule of law its top priorities in its reform process.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Human rights violations in Ukraine have been debated on various occasions in Parliament. Although Ukraine has expressed its desire to join the EU, the fact is that the negotiation process has not been moving forwards at the desired speed because the Ukrainian authorities have not provided sufficient evidence of wanting to carry out reforms, instead seeking to hinder the process, in particular with regard to making its institutions democratic and ensuring fundamental freedoms. One good example of the lack of respect for fundamental freedoms and guarantees is the case of Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister, who has been imprisoned for political reasons and is in very poor health. I voted for and welcome the adoption of this joint motion for a resolution, tabled pursuant to Rule 110 of the Rules of Procedure, replacing the motions for resolutions by the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), and the European Conservatives and Reformists Group. A country which advocates a European perspective must make progress with implementing democracy. Persecution on political grounds and a lack of respect for the rule of law are unacceptable. Any EU-Ukraine agreement must make absolutely clear that complete respect for the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is essential.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This resolution incorporates aspects of previous resolutions, both about Ukraine and about other neighbouring countries. Once again, it adopts the usual posture of interference and manipulation of events, seeking to bring them into line with its vision of reality so as best to serve the interests of the major EU powers. Yulia Tymoshenko was on the frontline of the colour ‘revolutions’ in Ukraine, driven by support from the EU, the US and NATO. The current regime is stubbornly refusing to fulfil the role that the major powers of the EU, the US and NATO had reserved for the country’s authorities. It should be remembered that Ukraine is pivotal to the geostrategic interests of certain EU powers, particularly in energy terms. What is certain is that the liberalisation and privatisation processes have led to the disproportionate enrichment of a few, under the shadow of the local oligarchy, while all the vast majority of the Ukrainian people have experienced is society moving backwards. There is no mention of that in this resolution: the majority in Parliament has not spoken a single word about it.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. (IT) The conditions under which former Ukrainian Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, has, for months, been imprisoned and suffered various forms of physical and psychological violence are unacceptable. First of all, we must urge the Ukrainian authorities to ensure full adherence to the fundamental rights of their prisoners, guaranteeing fair treatment, adequate medical assistance in an appropriate facility, unrestricted visits by relatives and sufficient access to their lawyers. This situation affects the relationship between the EU and Ukraine; I therefore consider that the authorities in Kiev should not ignore what we are saying in this Parliament, which is yet another position statement following on from numerous interventions from the highest officials of the European institutions and Member States.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) With regard to the situation in the Ukraine, I firmly believe that it is necessary to communicate in a broader context, and not to link the current situation with Yulia Tymoshenko. I am disappointed with the situation in question. That is to say, all measures that the EU is today blaming the Ukrainian Government for could have been carried out by the former prime minister and leader of the opposition. If we criticise the Ukraine, the criticism should be justified and constructive, and focused on measures that benefit all the citizens of the country and that absolutely do not benefit only the imprisoned Yulia Tymoshenko. It is right to strive to build the best possible relations between the European Union and the Ukraine. In my opinion, however, it is not justified to criticise the fact that the former prime minister was accused and subsequently tried for mismanagement of state assets. If there were similar measures in our Member States, I strongly believe that European citizens would appreciate the conviction of political leaders for similar improper and irresponsible management of state assets.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on Ukraine because Ukraine is a country of strategic importance to the EU – its size, resources, population and geographical location give it a distinctive position in Europe, making it a key regional actor which exerts considerable influence on the security, stability and prosperity of the whole continent. A comprehensive reform of some of the judiciary and measures to ensure respect for the rule of law in criminal investigations and prosecutions, including the principle of fair, impartial and independent judicial proceedings, has not yet been implemented in Ukraine. Prosecutions and investigations must be impartial and independent and must not be used for political ends. The protection of human rights and the rule of law must be consolidated. Strengthening the rule of law and an independent judiciary, as well as initiating a credible fight against corruption, are essential not only to the deepening of EU-Ukraine relations but also to the consolidation of democracy in Ukraine. Ukraine must respect fully the legal and human rights of defendants and detainees, including the right to medical care, in line with international standards.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) Ukraine has a special position in Europe that gives it a key role in the region and an influence on the security, stability and prosperity of the continent as a whole. Respect for human rights in Ukraine and for civil liberties, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law is a precondition for any further development of its relations with the European Union. Unfortunately, it is clear that the independence of the judiciary is not guaranteed. I believe that the sentencing of Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Ukrainian Prime Minister, to seven years in prison is unacceptable, not to mention the proceedings against other former government officials, and I therefore decided to support this resolution in plenary.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. − I welcome the EP’s resolution on the case of Yulia Tymoshenko because I believe that the proper place for the leader of the opposition is not in jail, but in the Verkhovna Rada. When we address Ukraine within the EU, we need to be very careful to differentiate between the people of Ukraine and the Ukrainian authorities. Our critical assessment of the ongoing situation is not aimed at the Ukrainian people. Nor would I call the current government our sole ‘target’ of criticism. The system itself is largely at fault – partly as a result of years of failure and negligence to implement reforms. But today, selective justice is indeed at the forefront of Ukraine’s troubles. We need to uphold our cooperation, but continue to voice concerns. Unfortunately, the biggest casualty of what is taking place has been Ukraine’s image.

 
  
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  Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE), in writing. (FI) I voted in favour of the resolution on Ukraine, and Yulia Tymoshenko in particular. I have been following the Tymoshenko case with great concern, and I am delighted that both Parliament and Baroness Ashton have adopted a position on the matter. It is good that the Ukrainian authorities and the European Parliament have decided that medical specialists are to be sent to Ukraine to treat Tymoshenko. I am also pleased that a high-level observer is going to Ukraine to monitor the legal process. The Ukrainian Government should now understand that its selective sense of justice cannot be accepted. Tymoshenko’s treatment is completely contrary to the spirit of the Association Agreement negotiations that are being held. There is a big difference between political responsibility and criminal liability. Furthermore, the Ukrainian authorities should consider the medical and psychological needs of prisoners, such as seeing relatives. Ukraine has shown that it is able to make political, institutional, economic and social reforms. The country must now also show that it can comply with the rule of law, and it must reform its penal system. The country also needs to eradicate corruption and the abuse of power. The Association Agreement being negotiated would act as an excellent road map for modernisation, national reforms and reconciliation. The football championships will be a splendid opportunity for Ukraine to demonstrate its sincerity in the context of the talks.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this resolution, which urges the Ukrainian authorities to ensure full respect for the right of all prisoners, including Ms Tymoshenko, Mr Lutsenko and Mr Ivashchenko, to adequate medical assistance in an appropriate institution; welcomes the transfer of Ms Tymoshenko to hospital in Kharkiv for necessary medical treatment under the supervision of German medical experts; calls on the Ukrainian authorities to create the conditions necessary for her successful treatment in accordance with the advice of the German medical experts; and also asks Ms Tymoshenko to cooperate fully in the prescribed treatment.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing.(FR) The situation of Yulia Tymoshenko and her health are of great concern. The possibility of a boycott of Euro 2012 by European leaders does not seem to be enough. We must send a strong message to Ukraine. The rule of law must be respected. Yulia Tymoshenko has the right to a fair trial. She cannot be detained on political grounds alone, thereby making her the victim of persecution and political revenge. The independence of the judiciary must be preserved and access to proper medical care in prisons must always be guaranteed.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) The recent revelations about the inhumane prison treatment to which the former Ukrainian Prime Minister is being subjected make the situation no longer acceptable for us. With this motion for a resolution, we wish to remind Europe that Yulia Tymoshenko languishes in the Ukrainian prison system, serving an absurd and unjust sentence imposed by an antidemocratic and anachronistic regime. Ms Tymoshenko – whose health, moreover, is extremely poor – must be released immediately.

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European Parliament has decided to take a stand on the Ukrainian question by adopting a joint resolution calling upon the Ukrainian Government to grant the immediate release of Yulia Tymoshenko and opposition politicians, who were jailed after summary proceedings for political reasons and detained in unacceptable conditions. Ukraine is a key country for the EU, but that does not justify any lack of respect for fundamental rights and for the most basic principles of democracy. The resolution makes the strengthening of the neighbourhood policy and the continuation of negotiations for accession subject to Ukraine’s acceptance of certain preconditions. Parliament calls for the holding of free elections and for authorisation to send its own observers to follow all the voting procedures, so as to ensure that they are held freely and fairly and to gain access to the records, where necessary, and later for a process of reform to be initiated in the justice sector and the economy. The issue of taking part in the European Football Championships is deemed irrelevant and perhaps, if they are used for political ends, even counterproductive. This is against a background of evaluating whether it is appropriate to call for a boycott, which President Barroso has already announced he would like to do. I believe that this resolution is an act of political maturity on the part of Parliament.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) We are all aware that Ukraine is a country of strategic importance for the EU due to its size, its resources, its population and its geographical location. Ukraine occupies a unique position in Europe, making it a regional actor of the greatest importance, with a significant influence on the security, stability and prosperity of the whole continent. For this reason, it must assume its share of political responsibility. We must not forget Ukraine’s human rights record, its respect for civil liberties, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, with the incorporation of fair, impartial and independent legal processes, and its focus on internal reform, which are prerequisites for the further development of EU-Ukraine relations. We must therefore condemn the position of the Ukrainian authorities in the Yulia Tymoshenko case, although we are now seeing slightly more openness on their part.

 
  
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  Marek Henryk Migalski (ECR), in writing.(PL) The motion for a resolution on the situation in Ukraine raises the key issue of whether further reforms are needed in Ukraine. It emphasises that future elections must be free, fair and transparent, and this will be the case if leaders of the opposition are allowed to participate in them. It is noted that legislative reform is needed in view of the difficult situation faced by the former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko. At the same time, however, the resolution does not make any call to boycott the Euro 2012 championship in Ukraine, in spite of the fact that several politicians have declared they will not participate in the celebrations. I believe that this is particularly important. Ukrainian society should have the opportunity to integrate with the EU, in line with the principle underpinning the European neighbourhood policy.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − I completely disagree with the text of the resolution and as a sign of protest I was absent during votes on this resolution.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) This motion for a resolution makes justified accusations against Ukraine in relation to a shortfall in the independence of the justice system, insufficient civil freedoms and a failure to respect the rule of law. It consistently fails to mention that these abuses also existed when Yulia Tymoshenko held the office of prime minister, however. The present situation simply reflects the other side of the same coin. This needs to be remembered when condemning the situation in Ukraine. Unfortunately, this is not the case in the resolution. Ms Tymoshenko is portrayed as an innocent lamb who is receiving entirely unjust treatment in every respect at the hands of her evil antagonists. It would be hard to surpass this one-sided assessment of the situation, but the question remains how the EU can possibly know in detail that all the current proceedings are subject to abuse for political purposes. The indiscriminate criticism from the EU makes it relatively easy for those in government in Kiev to dismiss even the most justified accusations by pointing to the partisan support shown for Tymoshenko. The EU is once again making itself a laughing stock by threatening to boycott the European Football Championship. The use of sport as a weapon in political feuding is dubious and should be condemned. As in many other cases, the best thing for the EU would be simply to mind its own business.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this joint resolution, which aims to raise awareness among the Ukrainian authorities on the case of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and in general on the issue of justice in that country. I am not in the habit of intervening in the internal affairs of another state, but in cases where there are flagrant violations of fundamental rights it is impossible to remain indifferent. In Ukraine, the judicial system has been used systematically as a political weapon to eliminate opponents: Ms Tymoshenko’s trial is clear proof of that, and we cannot tolerate such actions by a state that is so close to Europe and with which Europe maintains a large number of relationships in various fields and sectors. Nor do I wish to enter into the controversy over whether or not to boycott the upcoming European Football Championships hosted jointly by Poland and Ukraine; but rather I wonder how it was possible to award them at the time, since we were already well aware of the many democracy-related problems present in the former Soviet republic.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) It is regrettable that Ukraine has seriously failed to understand the EU’s warning and now that we have entered the final straight on the Association Agreement a serious crisis of confidence has arisen. However, we should prevent it from escalating. That would not benefit either side. I believe that the resolution is balanced – it clearly sets out the specific steps that the EP expects Ukraine to take. Ukraine must make immediate efforts and implement fundamental reforms so that it is possible to exit this situation: guarantee a transparent and fair appeal process, abolish relics of Soviet law, carry out legal reform and guarantee freedom of the press and assembly. At the same time the EU must maintain a dialogue and help Ukraine to stay on the path of reforms. The requirements to uphold standards on human rights must be applied consistently and uniformly to all partner countries, regardless of the level of cooperation.

 
  
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  Tiziano Motti (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the resolution on Ukraine because today a strong and symbolic woman languishes sick in a prison cell, who for all of us represents the misuse of the judiciary in a state, Ukraine, which is not a member of the EU but which in the 2011-2013 period will benefit from EUR 480 million allocated by Neighbourhood Policy programmes. Yulia Tymoshenko and her officials, leaders of the ‘Orange Revolution’ against the oppression of the regime, have been deprived of their liberty for speaking out on behalf of the many anonymous citizens who have, unsuccessfully, called for freedom of expression and the right to choose their own lifestyle and political representatives. Ukraine, which will be hosting the Football Championships in a month from now, has a great responsibility towards Europe: to prove that it wishes to address its democratic deficit, a prerequisite for it to be able to apply to become a full member of the European Union.

 
  
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  Katarína Neveďalová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The case of the former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, is successfully attracting the attention of the local and global media. Ms Tymoshenko was the leading representative of the opposition, and also became one of the symbols of the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine. Last year, Ms Tymoshenko was arrested on a charge of corruption in connection with the signing of an allegedly disadvantageous contract for the import of Russian gas. The European Union and the international community have accused the current government of President Yanukovych of politicising the trial. The shadow of suspicion falls on the current president, primarily because of conflicts with Tymoshenko in the past. She lost the 2010 presidential election, in which she stood as Yanukovych’s opponent, and subsequently accused him of falsifying the election results. It is not a simple matter to evaluate the correctness and legitimacy of the proceedings of the Ukrainian courts. In recent months, however, the case picked up such speed that even the planned European Football Championship (EURO 2012) was pulled into the debate. The Football Championship should not be associated with such a political case, and therefore I agree with Commissioner Füle, who has also stated that the event should be linked first and foremost with sport, and not with politics. I firmly believe that this case can be resolved so that it will not continue to jeopardise relations between the EU and the Ukraine.

 
  
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  Wojciech Michał Olejniczak (S&D), in writing.(PL) The recent political events in Ukraine are concerning, especially for those who have a particular interest in Ukraine’s European future. One of the European Parliament’s key tasks is to demand compliance with the democratic standards which are a guarantee of further cooperation with the European Union. We are absolutely justified in highlighting the situation of the former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, but it is also crucial to choose the right methods of exerting pressure on Ukraine.

I am resolutely opposed to mixing politics with sport, and this was the position I took in response to suggestions that the 2014 World Ice Hockey Championship should be taken away from Belarus. I have been greatly alarmed to hear key EU politicians calling for a political boycott of Euro 2012. The Polish delegation in the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D) has called on all Members of the European Parliament to participate in Euro 2012 in Poland and in Ukraine, and under the current circumstances I support this call. The effect of boycotting Euro 2012 would be the opposite of that intended. What Ukrainian society needs today, much more than a boycott of Euro 2012, is European openness and interpersonal contacts. A boycott of Euro 2012 could unintentionally cause an increase in anti-European sentiment. I therefore greatly welcome the fact that calls for a boycott of Euro 2012 have ceased, since this is political common sense.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) An event such as the European Football Championships is an opportunity for unity, peace and brotherhood, to show everyone the culture of the host countries and integration between the peoples of Europe in a festive atmosphere. This is the power of sport, to unite in diversity and this is the motto of the European Union, ‘United In Diversity’. Unfortunately, the situation in Ukraine this time is likely to divide, given that human rights in that country are not fully respected; the case of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko speaks loud. For this reason, the European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling for the end of the ill-treatment to which the former Prime Minister is subjected in prison. This resolution, coming before the European Championships, is not intended as an attempt to boycott them but as a form of pressure calling on the Ukrainian Government to respect justice and human rights.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − In favour. One of our main foreign policy objectives is to enhance and foster relations with Ukraine and strengthen the European Neighbourhood Policy, whose aim is to encourage political, economic and cultural relations between the countries concerned and the EU and its Member States; We underline with this resolution the fact that the signing and ratification of the Association Agreement and its effective implementation will require an improvement in the human rights situation, including decriminalisation of political decisions under a reformed penal code, in the rule of law and in deep democracy, with an end to the stifling of the political opposition and with free, fair and transparent elections.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The recent revelations regarding the inhumane treatment to which the former Prime Minister of Ukraine is being subjected in prison (sentenced to seven years in prison for abuse of power and awaiting trial for embezzlement and tax evasion) make the situation unacceptable for all of us. With this vote, we want to remind Europe that Yulia Tymoshenko languishes in the Ukrainian prison system, serving an absurd and unjust sentence imposed by an antidemocratic and anachronistic regime. Ms Tymoshenko – whose health, moreover, is extremely poor – must be released immediately. For our part, the European Union must act immediately and more effectively than it has hitherto. In Ukraine, it is a fact that there is political manipulation of the judicial system and the only message that the government in Kiev can send to prove otherwise is to free Yulia Tymoshenko.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Ukraine is a country of major strategic importance for the European Union. Within the framework of its external policy and of the European Neighbourhood Policy, the EU is seeking to develop its political, economic and cultural relations with Ukraine. In view of this, Parliament deplores the sentencing of Yulia Tymoshenko, while emphasising that strengthening the rule of law and an independent judiciary, as well as initiating an effective fight against corruption, are key not only to the deepening of EU-Ukraine relations, but also to the consolidation of democracy in Ukraine. For these reasons, I voted for this joint resolution of the European Parliament.

 
  
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  Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE), in writing. − I celebrate the effort and results that our President Schulz got on his visit to Ukraine and welcome the positive predisposition of Ukrainian authorities to accept the proposal of EP, such as sending medical experts to assess the health condition of imprisoned Ms Yulia Tymoshenko and sending an internationally well-respected person to monitor the second trial of the former Prime Minister. The mutual trust between the European Union and Ukraine can only be based on democratic freedoms, transparency, the fight against corruption, respect for human rights, and the unconditional immediate release of all prisoners sentenced on politically motivated grounds. Ukraine has to find the way to carry out these reforms to converge with European values, norms and standards. For all these reasons I will vote in favour of this motion for a resolution.

 
  
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  Zbigniew Ziobro (EFD), in writing.(PL) The case of Yulia Tymoshenko is polarising our relations with Ukraine. Her detention and treatment violate the accepted rules for treating prisoners, and we should demand that representatives of the European Parliament are allowed not just to visit the former prime minister, but also to participate actively in her court hearings. We must negotiate delicately in order to avoid damaging the fragile sovereignty of a country outside the EU and encroaching on its freedom to make and enforce laws. We are also resolutely opposed to attempts to boycott Euro 2012 matches as a way of exerting pressure on the authorities in Kiev.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The comments made in this resolution on Ukraine are voiced by the majority in Parliament whenever the question arises of relations between the EU and the Eastern European countries, and whenever those countries refuse to renounce their sovereignty and fulfil the role that the major powers of the EU, US and NATO have ordained for them. The majority in Parliament are behaving as usual: promoting interference, manipulating events, inventing or exaggerating other events, and praising former or current allies. This is again the case with Yulia Tymoshenko, a woman who was on the frontline of the colour ‘revolutions’ in Ukraine, driven by support from the EU, the US and NATO, and who substantially increased her wealth during the period in which she governed the country. The majority in Parliament has uttered not a word about the processes of liberalisation and privatisation that led to the sudden enrichment of a handful of people and to steps backwards for the vast majority of Ukrainian society, with the complicity and in the interest of the major EU powers. It is also worth remembering that Ukraine is pivotal to the geostrategic interests of the US and the major EU powers, particularly in terms of energy and the geostrategic encirclement of Russia by NATO.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0234/2012

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, in particular with regard to the results of the Fundamental Rights Agency report on homophobia, transphobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. These results demonstrate the need for the Commission to take the appropriate measures, responding to the proposal for an annual report on the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. As it is vital to combat discrimination on the basis of sex or gender, the EU must protect the fundamental freedoms of its people and ensure their protection, guaranteeing full respect for all citizens.

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this resolution because we should send a clear message against homophobia. It is unacceptable that in 2012 in Europe this irrational aversion continues to express itself in different forms, such as hate speech, psychological and physical violence, persecution and murder. I also believe that we must take a clear position to fight any kind of discrimination and unjustified limitations of rights which are often hidden behind justifications based on public order, religious freedom and the right to conscientious objection. For this reason with this text we once again ask the Commission to produce a comprehensive road map for equality on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and ask the Council to unblock the Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, which is blocked due to the objections of some Member States.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) We have adopted a resolution condemning homophobia in Europe. We have called on the Member States and third countries such as Russia and Ukraine to uphold the rights of homosexuals. Finally, we have asked the Commission to speed up its work on the draft directive on non-discrimination.

 
  
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  Kinga Gál, Pat the Cope Gallagher, András Gyürk and Ádám Kósa (PPE), in writing. (HU) The Hungarian delegation of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) holds that there is no place in the European Union for any form of negative discrimination whatsoever, and that all such harassment is condemnable and should be combated. Neither sexual nor ethnic, national or linguistic minorities must be allowed to be persecuted. This is the essence and basis of the protection of fundamental rights.

The reason why despite all this our delegation voted against some of the articles submitted to separate vote and why it abstained from the final vote on the resolution is that the draft resolution contained factual errors and misrepresentations, as well as proposals concerning matters that currently clearly fall within Member State competence based on the principle of subsidiarity. The legitimate fight against homophobia must be separated from misrepresentations by certain political groups.

 
  
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  Carlo Casini (PPE), in writing. (IT) The continued insistence on calling for European documents against homophobia demonstrates that the true objective is different from the apparent one. The principle of equality of all human beings, their dignity and the consequent need to respect everyone’s freedom regardless of their sexual orientation is an accepted fact, on which all parliamentarians agree. It is reasonable, therefore, to suppose, as indeed is clear from the resolution in question, that the objective pursued by the emphatic rejection of homophobia is to make same-sex marriage acceptable.

It is implicit in the text that there is an aspiration to educate children to consider a same-sex relationship as having the same value as marriage, as the foundation of the family and therefore of the state, as recognised by Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We must not confuse the duty to guarantee freedom for all citizens with the state’s promotion of and support for what constitutes its foundation. On this point, educational and cultural aspects play a fundamental role and we must therefore oppose a misguided line of action that will result in public harm.

 
  
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  Emer Costello (S&D), in writing. − I very much welcome this EP resolution condemning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expressing regret that the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender people are not yet fully upheld across Europe, including in a number of EU Member States. LGBT people are too often the target of unacceptable discrimination and sometimes violence. We need first to work on education to combat from an early age sexist prejudice and homophobic stereotypes. Cases of self-harm and suicide among young LGBT teens are warning signs of the urgent need to take action. Studies show that LGBT young people experience bullying at much higher rates than the general student population and they are less likely to seek support from teachers and adults. I welcome the EP’s clear statement that the rights of LGBT people are more likely to be safeguarded if they have access to legal institutions such as cohabitation, registered partnership or marriage, and the call on all EU Member States to consider these. I would urge the Commission to now come forward with a comprehensive road map for equality without discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

 
  
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  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The European Union must be at the forefront of the fight against homophobia in the world. Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people can still be seen in some EU Member States but also in our immediate neighbours, notably in the adoption of unjust laws or the increase in violence. The resolution adopted by Parliament reiterates a number of basic principles and calls on those states to respect human rights and individuals’ sexual orientation. It also encourages different forms of legal recognition for homosexual couples, such as marriage, cohabitation or registered partnership, which ensure better legal protection.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) I very much welcome the resolution adopted by the European Parliament, which strongly condemns all discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity and wholeheartedly regrets that the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are not yet fully upheld in the European Union. I therefore call on the Member States and the Commission to firmly condemn homophobic hate speech or incitement to hatred and violence. Through this resolution, I call on the Commission to ensure that the annual report on the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights includes a strategy to strengthen the protection of fundamental rights in the EU, including full and comprehensive information on the incidence of homophobia in Member States and proposed solutions and actions to overcome it.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The right to freedom and the principle of equality are concepts that underpin Western civilisation and the rule of law. This is why states governed by the rule of law guarantee in their universal declarations and constitutions that nobody can be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation. This has been an essential step forward in the fight against discrimination and homophobia. Unfortunately, however, we are aware that there are still many states that do not embrace these principles and act with veritable barbarism towards men and women merely on the grounds of their sexual orientation. That is why Parliament condemns, and will always condemn, acts of discrimination.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prohibits any discriminatory law or practice related to sexual orientation. However, we have seen violations of the principle of non-discrimination in countries that have signed this pact, as happened recently in St Petersburg, Russia, with the violent attack on a coach carrying lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual activists, and in Kiev, Ukraine, where two leaders of the ‘Gay Pride’ movement were beaten. This joint motion for a resolution was tabled pursuant to Rule 110(2) and (4) of the Rules of Procedure, replacing the motions for resolutions by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left and the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. I voted for this motion, which concerns the fight against homophobia in Europe. Homophobia, like racism or xenophobia, undermines society and is contrary to the provisions assumed by Parliament, including Directives against discrimination and in favour of gender equality. No one can be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation, whether in the workplace or in any other place or Member State. This is a fundamental right and must be respected as such, both in the EU and beyond.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We believe that, in order to achieve an effective policy of equality, it is vital to fight for, create and strengthen measures and guidelines that, among other things, combat all types of discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation. This fight is extremely important in eradicating homophobia and any hateful acts or speech or the defence thereof, and incitement to discrimination, ridicule, verbal, psychological and physical violence, all of which merit our wholehearted condemnation, along with other such acts.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted against the motion for a European Parliament resolution on the fight against homophobia in Europe, as I believe that we should not confuse homophobia, which is of course unacceptable, with family law. As the interpretation of the European Court of Justice confirms, there is not, and there should not be, a single family model, but rather we acknowledge the diversity of national legal schemes, thus excluding the possibility of predominance by EU sources. The European Union, in fact, is a community made up of 27 Member States, 27 different cultures, and 27 different traditions, and we have to protect unity in diversity, while respecting the principle of subsidiarity. The European Union’s task is to foster the harmonisation, rather than the uniformity, of family law.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. The EU will promote and assert these values in its relations with the Member States and the rest of the world. Homophobia is an irrational fear of and aversion to people of a different sexual orientation based on prejudice, similar to racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and sexism. This attitude manifests itself in the private and public spheres and takes various forms, such as hate speech and incitement to discrimination, ridicule, and verbal, psychological and physical violence, as well as persecution and murder, discrimination in violation of the principle of equality, and unjustified and unreasonable limitations of rights. The European Commission has made a commitment to ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the EU, and its representatives have stated that homophobia should have no place in Europe. It continues to manifest itself, however, whether overtly or covertly, in Member States and third countries. I find it regrettable that, even in the European Union, the fundamental rights of people with a different sexual orientation are still not fully respected. Any discrimination, hate speech or violence based on sexual orientation or gender identity is shameful.

 
  
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  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. (HU) The Hungarian delegation of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) holds that there is no place in the European Union for any form of negative discrimination whatsoever, and that all such harassment is condemnable and should be combated. Neither sexual nor ethnic, national or linguistic minorities must be allowed to be persecuted. This is the essence and basis of the protection of fundamental rights.

The reason why despite all this our delegation voted against some of the points submitted to a separate vote and why it abstained from the final vote on the resolution is that the motion for a resolution contained factual errors and misrepresentations, as well as proposals concerning matters that currently clearly fall within Member State competence based on the principle of subsidiarity. The legitimate fight against homophobia must be separated from misrepresentations by certain political groups.

 
  
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  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing. (FR) I co-signed and voted for this resolution on the fight against homophobia in Europe as it was essential for us to send out a strong message against the homophobic laws that have been recently adopted, or are in the process of being adopted in certain countries, particularly at the very heart of Europe, where homosexuality is criminalised. The European Parliament, as a great defender of fundamental rights, had a duty to examine and condemn these extremely worrying laws that demonstrate the increasing homophobia that can be seen today in Europe. It is utterly scandalous that the authorities should justify these laws by saying that they are necessary to protect public morality, while they restrict freedom of expression and are totally discriminatory on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. How is it possible to consider demonstrations, support for, or the mere acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as ‘homosexual propaganda’? For the first time since the last European elections, all of the main political groups have come to an agreement: we are saying ‘no to homophobic laws’ and we clearly condemn any discrimination, hate speech or violence based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

 
  
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  Ágnes Hankiss (PPE), in writing. (HU) I find it sad that the noble and welcome goal of the fight against prejudice based on ethnic, religious or sexual identity is regularly degraded by the political left wing to a tool of vehement and often violent and intolerant political campaigns.

My abstention from the final vote does not mean that I do not agree fully that homophobia is intolerant behaviour that violates the dignity of our fellow human beings. However, I find it unacceptable that this resolution is replete with misrepresentations and falsehoods, and seeks to intervene unscrupulously in legislation that falls strictly within Member State competence. I find it outrageous, for example, that the original text attempts to blame the shameful statements of a Hungarian far-right party on the governing party.

I believe that the former resolution, drafted on behalf of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) by Mr Weber and Mr Busuttil, represents an exemplary document speaking out in support of the protection of human dignity and against all forms of prejudice, while remaining tolerant and balanced and free from any misrepresentations and exaggerations that belong to the domain of political marketing. I sincerely regret that the former resolution will ultimately not be submitted for a vote; I myself would be proud of it even if, knowing the mathematics of Parliament, the left-wing majority would clearly vote it down.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) The European Parliament adopted this joint resolution by 430 votes for, with 105 against and 59 abstentions. Whilst the European Union is founded on the values of non-discrimination, respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, freedom of expression, equality and the rule of law, we must, unfortunately recognise that, increasingly, there is homophobia, hate speech and incitement to violence and discrimination in certain Member States. The European Parliament has sought, via this resolution, to remind people that it strongly condemns any violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and the increasing trend towards homophobia. Whilst the initial objective of this resolution is wholly praiseworthy, I am afraid that its authors have not focused on the issues of homophobia alone and have attempted to widen the resolution to the question of the right to marry. This issue should not appear in a resolution whose initial objective was exclusively to condemn homophobia. Furthermore, this is an issue that falls within the jurisdiction of the Member States. Finally, this resolution has been transformed into a catalogue of irrelevant good intentions. Faced with this lack of rigour and coherence, I opted to abstain in the final vote on this resolution.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this resolution which regrets the fact that homophobia continues to manifest itself in Member States and third countries, including murders, banned Gay Prides and equality marches, public use of inflammatory, threatening and hateful language, police failure to provide adequate protection, violent authorised demonstrations by homophobic groups, and the explicit prohibition of recognising existing same-sex unions.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the joint motion for a resolution on the fight against homophobia, the text of which condemns any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Within the European Union, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people must be protected against hate speech and homophobic violence. Partners of the same sex must enjoy the same protection as the rest of society.

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE), in writing. (IT) The resolution we have voted on is the most appropriate way to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia. I am satisfied with the agreement reached by the groups, which enabled the various motions initially tabled to be combined into a single motion. There is, unfortunately, in many countries a level of ignorance that feeds homophobic feelings. The European Union has reached a mature position on this sensitive issue. It has always promoted the fight against all forms of violence, marginalisation and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. Today’s vote relaunches the European strategy with an invitation to the Commission to review the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia, to include violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and to complete the anti-discrimination package with the introduction of a clear prohibition of discrimination on the same grounds. I disagreed with the reference to the directive on freedom of movement, as it goes beyond the fight against homophobia, once again returning to the age-old question of recognising the effects of civil unions. The Committee on Petitions has been called upon several times to deal with this matter. As the European Commission has always reiterated, this does not fall within the competence of the Union.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) I abstained from the vote on this resolution, as I do not agree with many of its points. At a time when Europe is experiencing major economic difficulties, I do not believe that it is appropriate to address this divisive issue.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing. (ES) I voted in favour of this resolution because it emphatically condemns any discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. It also highlights the fact that in the EU there are occasions when the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are not always fully upheld, and it therefore calls on Member States to ensure that those people are protected from homophobic hate speech and violence, and to ensure that same-sex couples enjoy the same respect, dignity and protection as the rest of society. It continues by urging Member States and the Commission to firmly condemn homophobic hate speech or incitement to hatred and violence, and to ensure that freedom of demonstration – as guaranteed by all human rights treaties – is respected in practice.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The right to be different is a founding expression of human rights. Sexual difference between consenting adults, love between two men or two women or between a man and a woman definitely belongs to the private life to which every human being has a sacred right. The countries of Europe, whether or not they belong to the European Union, must ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are protected against hate speech and homophobic violence and guarantee to partners of the same sex the same respect enjoyed by the rest of society. I condemn any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and deeply regret that the fundamental rights of LGBT people are not always fully recognised in the European Union. The Member States of the European Union should be exemplary in the application and protection of fundamental rights in Europe. I am also deeply troubled by certain laws or decisions that are being used to arrest or fine heterosexual citizens who express support for or tolerance or acceptance of LGBT people and by the fact that these laws legitimise homophobia and, sometimes, violence.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. It is totally abnormal when people are pursued or made fun of because of their religion, nationality, ethnicity, sex, social affiliation, etc. I totally support the report in the part which relates to violation of human rights and limitation of freedoms. However, I think that LGBT people should not impose their affiliation on other people in order not to provoke any anger or hatred from other people. I am against one-sex marriages because it is against the Christian tradition of marriage.

 
  
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  Gay Mitchell (PPE), in writing. − The reason I abstained on paragraphs 3, 9 and Recital L is that certain sections of this Resolution are extraneous to the issue of homophobia. For example, issues of marriage and the recognition of civil status documents are a matter of subsidiarity for Member States only. It does great disservice to the fight against homophobia to be trying to make political capital by introducing issues for which Parliament has no competence when we should be using all our energies to oppose homophobia. I am dismayed that those who say they are concerned with issues of justice do not give attention to areas of grave injustice about which we could do something, such as gendercide when 100 million females are missing from the world’s population, mostly in countries that receive EU funding.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) One of the principles enshrined in the Austrian constitution is that all people should be treated equally unless grounds exist that justify treating them unequally. In principle, each of us can live as we see fit. However, it is also necessary to ensure that no group is given preferential treatment. In view of all the lobbying we are currently witnessing for LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) persons, one might get the impression that this is a favoured social grouping. While the free expression of sexuality is an important right, there are certain circumstances that need to be taken into consideration. Single sex partnerships cannot produce progeny. Children are the result of a relationship between male and female. Accordingly, giving homosexuals adoption rights is completely unnatural and certainly detrimental to the child. Instead we should be thinking of ways to strengthen the family, particularly in the light of the demographic situation in Europe. I wish, however, also to make it clear that I deplore violent attacks and similar incidents against peaceful LGBT demonstrators. As I am opposed to the call for marriage rights for homosexuals for the reasons I have mentioned I have voted against this motion.

 
  
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  Tiziano Motti (PPE), in writing. (IT) I am one of the 59 MEPs who abstained in the resolution against homophobia. Allow me to clarify: abstention does not mean that I disagree on the principle of non-discrimination or am indifferent in condemning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We very much regret that still, within and beyond the EU borders, as is happening in Ukraine, the fundamental rights of LGBT people are not always fully respected, often with developments that restrict freedom of expression and assembly based on misconceptions about homosexuality. In some EU Member States and non-EU countries, such as Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine and Moldova, laws of this kind have already been used to arrest and fine citizens, including heterosexual citizens who express support, tolerance or acceptance towards homosexuals. My abstention does not therefore go against the defence of people’s dignity but shows my rejection of an attempt to use the umpteenth ‘Parliamentary Trojan horse’ to sneak through content that in fact requires a thorough debate in the appropriate forums – which a non-legislative resolution such as the one passed today certainly cannot provide – but habitually parasitises this type of text for purely opportunistic reasons.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. (FR) On 22 April, Ihsane Jarfi, a young man of 32 years of age, was beaten to death in a car by four individuals as he left a bar frequented by homosexuals in the city of Liège. Ihsane Jarfi is the victim of the first homophobic murder in Belgium, an ominous signal in a society where violence and intolerance are becoming common. This shows the importance of today’s vote adopted by such a large majority.

Clearly, we must condemn this intolerable yet dramatically resurgent form of discrimination that is homophobia. We should remember that homosexuality is, above all, a right to live like ‘everyone else’, that it is not merely a sexual preference but rather an integral part of sexual identity. We should remind certain religious dignitaries that the priority is to protect the right of each person to be what they are and not to send homosexuality back to the shadows. We need to re-design education systems to include education in the respect, tolerance and awareness of other people. It is essential to introduce courses on ‘common values, rights and duties’ into the curriculum, from the earliest years, so that the fight against homophobia will, in the future, be successful.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The current situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people is particularly worrying. I am deeply disturbed by the rise of homophobia not only in non-member countries, but also in Member States of the European Union, and more especially by the violent acts against homosexuals that have taken place in Russia and in Ukraine. The European Parliament had a duty to respond: it is important that Europe should set an example of the full recognition of and complete respect for the rights of LGBT people and condemn the promulgation of legislation likely to restrict their freedom of expression and assembly, thus infringing the fundamental human rights established by the Council of Europe and the European Union. Our duty is also to protect these people against any form of hate speech and all forms of discrimination. I therefore voted in favour of this resolution on the fight against homophobia in Europe.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − In favour. We strongly condemn any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and strongly regrets that, in the European Union, the fundamental rights of LGBT people are not yet always fully upheld. We call, therefore, on Member States to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are protected from homophobic hate speech and violence, and ensure that same-sex partners enjoy the same respect, dignity and protection as the rest of society. We urge Member States and the Commission to firmly condemn homophobic hate speech or incitement to hatred and violence, and to ensure that freedom of demonstration – as guaranteed by all human rights treaties – is respected in practice.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) My vote was totally opposed to this resolution because I believe it is absolutely not a European matter to deal with the right of same-sex couples to marry, since this matter, according to the subsidiarity principle, shall be left to the legislation of the Member States. The constitution of my country clearly defines what marriage is and does not provide for any alternatives. Europe cannot interfere in this matter, let alone set out the following, in paragraph 9 of the resolution: ‘considers that LGBT people’s fundamental rights are more likely to be safeguarded if they have access to legal institutions such as cohabitation, registered partnership or marriage; welcomes the fact that 16 Member States currently offer these options, and calls on other Member States to consider doing so’. My opposition is also based on the merits of the case, because while I understand the need to combat discrimination, including sex discrimination, this has nothing to do with the surreptitious indications that this resolution gives that same-sex couples can marry. For this reason, I am opposed to this resolution.

 
  
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  Michèle Striffler (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the joint motion for a resolution on the fight against homophobia, which I co-signed in the name of my political group. Recent developments in certain European countries, relating to restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly that are based upon an erroneous conception of homosexuality, are particularly worrying, and homophobia continues to show itself in various guises, even within the European Union. I deeply regret that the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are still not always fully respected. The European Parliament must strongly condemn any discrimination or incitement to hatred or violence on the basis of sexual orientation. Finally, it is my view that homosexual children should have access to positive and reassuring information about their sexuality. For these reasons, I supported the adoption of the joint proposal for a resolution in its entirety.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Respect for human dignity is one of the fundamental pillars of society. Homophobia should therefore be eliminated, as the right to difference and freedom of sexual orientation should be incontestable. I therefore condemn any and all kinds of discrimination and violence on the basis of another’s personal choices. I believe that it is extremely important that these concepts be enshrined in legislation and in institutions, in particular, through education and raising awareness. No one should be humiliated, mistreated or discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation.

 
  
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  Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE), in writing. − I signed and support this resolution because it is intolerable that today in Europe we still experience violations of freedom of expression, discrimination, racism and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Homophobia is the irrational fear of, and aversion to, male and female homosexuality and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people based on prejudice, and it is similar to racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and sexism. The European Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities, and must respect and uphold and promote these values. I therefore clearly welcome this resolution to stress these principles once more.

 
  
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  Niki Tzavela (EFD), in writing. (EL) I consider it unacceptable in this day and age that discrimination based on sexual orientation still exists. Homophobia must be combated throughout Europe first and in the rest of the world after that. It is a fact that every country in Europe has its own culture and its own rate of adjustment and development and we cannot therefore impose exactly the same laws on every country arbitrarily. Nonetheless, we need a basic European legislative framework that guarantees equality and condemns any form of discrimination and homophobia. Europe needs to set an example to the rest of the world, especially to countries where homosexuals often face even the death penalty.

 
  
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  Geoffrey Van Orden (ECR), in writing. − I have been very encouraged by the generally very tolerant attitude that people in the United Kingdom and other countries now have towards homosexuality and am strongly supportive of the opportunity that homosexual couples now have for legally recognised same sex partnerships. However, I share the concern of many that the institution of marriage, which is the firm foundation on which society is built, has been undermined, and I believe that ‘gay marriage’ is a step too far. In any case I do not believe that the European Union should seek to intervene in the internal social affairs of member countries.

I therefore abstained in the final vote on this resolution.

 
  
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  Frank Vanhecke (EFD), in writing. (NL) It is odd that this resolution does not contain a single word regarding the problem of violence against homosexuals that is seen today in many European countries. This violence is usually the work of young Muslims and it is apparently not politically correct to flag this up and condemn it? That in itself is one reason to abstain from voting on this resolution, but there are others, too. Again, we are going too far here in disregarding the subsidiarity principle. In my opinion, it is best if the people and Member States themselves decide whether or not they want to introduce marriage between people of the same sex and whether or not they want to recognise such marriages contracted in other Member States. After all, this is not a question of discrimination or the lack thereof. So, stop for God’s sake. Stop this European interference and confusion over terminology.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. − I support this resolution against homophobia in Europe. This resolution calls for equality and non-discrimination measures for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, as everyone deserves equal protection under the law. This includes protection from hate speech and violence, discrimination in schools, free movement in the European Union, and indeed we believe same-sex couples are better protected under the law if they have access to legal recognition. In too many countries LGBT people still face discrimination and persecution, which range from ill-treatment and violence to imprisonment, torture, and murder. We believe the resolution voted today will proudly affirm the European Parliament’s commitment to equality and human rights for all.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. − The European Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities, and must uphold and promote these values in its relations with the wider world. I supported with my vote the joint motion for a resolution, believing that its adoption will contribute to the freedom of expression of homosexuality and transgenderism.

 
  
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  Glenis Willmott (S&D), in writing. − I am delighted to have voted in favour of this joint resolution, which reaffirms the European Parliament’s commitment to fighting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, in the wake of worrying developments both within the European Union, in Latvia, Lithuania and Hungary, and in neighbouring states. Non-discrimination, equality and protection of fundamental rights are core European values, and the European Union must therefore take the lead in standing up for LGBT people where they are suffering from hate, violence or discrimination. I regret that the ECR group, which is dominated by the UK’s Conservatives, refused to sign this joint resolution, along with UKIP and its EFD group. Conservative MEPs also overwhelmingly failed to support paragraph 9 on equal marriage. I am concerned that, where other Members of the European Parliament have demonstrated a strong cross-party consensus on this issue, the Conservatives have shown that they do not understand the importance of the fight against homophobia and all forms of discrimination.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The fight for equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a struggle of the utmost importance. The events mentioned in the report merit the fiercest criticism and are part of an extremely worrying situation that calls for reflection and action. We are fighting for another Europe, of workers and peoples; of sovereign nations, equal in rights and duties, where homophobia has no place whatsoever.

 
  
  

Report: Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy (A7-0161/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this proposal, as I believe that the only path towards growth and employment in Europe must be based on a resource-efficient Europe, as this will increase its competitiveness and result in new sources of growth and jobs in various sectors of activity, at a time when these are not being sufficiently exploited within the EU. Moreover, it will result in greater cost savings due to more efficient management of resources, commercialisation and innovative processes over their life cycle. We should follow this path in order to support a Europe that is increasingly efficient and competitive at global level.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing. (IT) The transition to the green economy, as well as being a move towards a low carbon economy with a consequently lower environmental impact, is a ray of hope for our enterprises, first and foremost for those which have invested huge sums in restructuring their production to become environmentally friendly and for those that have focused on innovative technologies and production of environmentally friendly products. It also leads to a reduction in the social costs caused by increasing unemployment rates, especially among young people, as it creates new jobs and at the same time is an incentive to achieve the strategic objectives contained in the Europe 2020 strategy. A recent study by WWF Italy has estimated that funding of EUR 1 billion for sustainable infrastructure and environmental programmes could create 29 000 jobs in agriculture. More targeted investment of the same amount in the renewable energy sector would create 52 700 jobs, or 25 900 in the energy-saving sectors, especially in the construction industry.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) This report concerns the reduction in the waste of resources to strengthen our economy and to protect our environment. As a member of the Parliamentary Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, responsible for this text, I undertake on a daily basis to strike the best possible balance between achieving the European Union’s environmental objectives on the one hand, and increasing the competitiveness of our companies on the other. As this text meets these objectives fairly well, I voted in favour of it. It argues for environmental taxation and demands an end to environmentally harmful subsidies by 2020. Being non-binding and focused on progressive change, it meets our companies’ need for realism. In fact, I believe that we need, not a green revolution, but a progressive development of our economy and our society towards practices that provide increased protection for our environment and, therefore, for our health.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The accelerated degradation of the environment, the destruction of natural capital and the loss of biodiversity that we are condemning today are the result of the over-exploitation of natural resources. Faced with the urgency of the situation, the European Union must react and agree on an increased effort to use resources more efficiently, taking into account the limits of our planet. It seems vital to manage existing resources in Europe more strategically and in a more environmentally-friendly manner. At stake are our own well-being and the interest of future generations, to whom we must pass on the opportunity to enjoy the same advantages that we have had. Therefore, it is crucial to put greater emphasis on information, education and awareness-raising, especially regarding the sorting of waste, reuse and recycling. This encourages more sustainable forms of consumption and has a direct impact on resource-efficient habits This report, which contains ambitious, practical measures that encourage a rational use of resources, seems to me to be going in the right direction. However, as it cannot solely be a strategy at the level of Europe as a whole, it must henceforth win support at national, regional and local levels.

 
  
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  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing. (IT) The global economy is slowly, and unevenly, coming out of the worst crisis and recession it has ever known. While we are dealing with immediate problems such as high unemployment, inflationary pressures or fiscal deficits, it is also a priority to look to the future and devise new ways of ensuring growth in Europe. The challenges are clear: our planet is growing towards 9 billion people in 2050; the number of middle-class consumers will almost double to more than 3 billion people in the coming 10 years; food production will increase by 70% by 2050.

The Road map for a Resource Efficient Europe, in my view, while providing an analysis and outlining the first steps towards a new agenda for growth, does not, however, reflect the necessary sense of urgency. The Commission sets the right direction for building the future of Europe, but is not sufficiently concrete in the steps that should be taken. It is strategically important to define the priorities of a new growth agenda and to push the Commission, Member States and industry towards a more ambitious agenda, one not limited to a merely European dimension but to be embraced at national, regional and local levels as well.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Natural resources are essential for the functioning of European and world economy and for the quality of our life as well. These resources, including raw materials such as fuels, minerals and metals, but also food, soil, water, air, biomass and ecosystems are under increasing pressure. In the context of these changes, a more efficient use of resources will be essential for ensuring growth and employment in Europe. This increased efficiency will create important economic opportunities, will lead to improved productivity and lower costs and will boost competitiveness. A more efficient use of resources will allow us to fulfil many of the EU's objectives and will be crucial if we are to make progress in combating climate change and in fulfilling our objective of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by 80 to 95% by 2050.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) The ‘Road map to a Resource Efficient Europe’ provides an analysis and sets out the first steps towards this new agenda. It does not, however, reflect the necessary urgency. The European Commission indicates the right direction, but is not sufficiently specific in terms of the steps that should be taken. In my opinion, the main challenges are to strengthen cooperation between the public and private sectors, to improve the European use of secondary materials and to create the right incentives for avoiding the production of excessive waste and for contributing to the reuse of waste, and to make resource efficiency and sustainability a top priority in innovation programs both at European and at national level. This is not just a European agenda. The new agenda for future growth should also be embraced at national, regional and local levels. Eurobarometer research shows the willingness of European citizens to play an active role in this agenda. This is possible by consuming more sustainably, by minimising waste, and by improving the collection and sorting of waste. The more efficient use of resources does not have to be a top down exercise, but can be promoted on both sides. Local politicians play a crucial role with regards to citizen participation.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted against the Gerbrandy report on a resource-efficient Europe. I have no particular problem with the general structure of the report, which forms part of the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy. However, I am against the idea that supposed ‘overcapacity' in the European fishing fleet should be deemed a key component of the reform of the common fisheries policy. I would like to point out that, in the absence of data on the European fleet’s capacity, it is impossible to complain of overcapacity in that self-same fleet.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this proposal as I believe that it is up to Parliament to push the Commission, the Member States and industry towards a more ambitious agenda that is not limited to simply following the established road map, but rather first defines its priorities and sets out the criteria for a new agenda for future growth. I also believe that the EU should play a leading role at international level, by pushing for this new agenda for future growth at the Rio+20 summit. The EU should use its political and economic strength to pull other parts of the world in the same direction, towards a green economy. In order to ensure our own well-being and that of future generations, we need to start operating within our planet’s boundaries, and to decouple our economic growth from our resource use.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. − (RO) I voted in favour of the resolution because coordinated measures are required to counter the global gloomy outlook. Our planet is growing towards 9 billion people in 2050, the number of middle-class consumers will almost double to more than 3 billion people in the coming ten years, according to the FAO food production must increase by 70% by 2050, and already now 60% of the world’s ecosystems are degraded or used unsustainably. Europe needs a new agenda for future growth. This new agenda will demand a paradigm shift and a new way of thinking towards our production and consumption patterns. It will require not only technical, but also institutional changes and social innovation.

 
  
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  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. − (RO) I voted in favour of the report on a resource-efficient Europe. Considering the current economic crisis and the alarming increase in food and energy prices, we must endow the European Union with a viable strategy in the field. By investing in green technologies, the European Union not only can create jobs, but also enhance competitiveness and reduce energy dependency. As rapporteur for my political group concerning this dossier within the Committee on International Trade, I have pleaded for reducing and, ultimately, eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers against trade of ecological goods and services.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) I am delighted that this report has been adopted. The initiative, entitled ‘A resource efficient Europe’ is one of the seven flagship initiatives in the Europe 2020 strategy, which aims to promote intelligent, sustainable, inclusive growth.

In addition, this flagship initiative intends to introduce a policy framework to support the transition towards a resource-efficient, low carbon economy, which will help to: boost economic performances whilst enabling the use of fewer resources; search for and create new opportunities for economic growth; intensify innovation and boost the Union’s competitiveness; ensure secure supplies of essential resources; combat climate change and restrict the environmental impact of resource use.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Energy efficiency is one of the flagship objectives of the EU, and its main aspects were detailed in the Commission’s Road map for a Resource-Efficient Europe. Moreover, this issue is one of the pillars of the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and employment. I therefore support all measures that can put Europe on the path to optimising its energy resources. Moreover, this area of the economy can contribute to real expansion, creating jobs and improving the well-being of the European public. However, I believe that it is vital to take full advantage of current legislative procedures in this area before forging ahead with new measures that might overlap with and perhaps even negate the effect of existing measures.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Although the population of some European countries is declining, the reality is that the global population continues to grow. Moreover, gregarious societies continue to decrease, while the number of people with greater resources is increasing, and figures show that the amount of middle-class consumers will double by 2050. This phenomenon is expected to cause a 150% increase in demand for raw materials. In view of this scenario, it is clear that an innovative approach is needed that can simultaneously promote European competitiveness and economic growth, reduce environmental impact, and implement a green economy in which natural resources are managed sustainably. To that end, it is vital that there be close cooperation between the public and private sectors, and better links with academic centres of excellence working on food and energy-efficiency projects. I voted for this report on a resource-efficient Europe because we urgently need to pursue the creation of a green economy, without delay. The EU cannot lose its leadership role in this area, but should rather use this opportunity to create new jobs – green jobs – and increase its exports.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We agree that there is an urgent need to increase resource efficiency. The report contains some recommendations and observations that are certainly positive. Unfortunately, however, this report, like others, is typical of a markedly commercial approach to environmental problems. The stated goal of the report is positive, but we are concerned about the paths that have been chosen in order to achieve it. We also completely disagree with some of the positions adopted throughout the report, such as the creation of a ‘strong common agenda’ between the public and private sector, which is aimed at nothing more than opening the door to processes for liberalising the waste market, with the privatisation of waste collection and management. We also reject several of the tax proposals, under the terms in which they are presented in this report. The report insists on a system in which citizens are accountable, on a number of very different levels, for both the ‘internalisation of external environmental costs in accordance with the ‘polluter pays’ principle’, and in terms of accountability for choosing products that are more sustainable, thereby reducing waste and its impact. This obscures that fact that what is really needed is to change the current models of production and consumption and the economic system underpinning them, namely capitalism: it is intrinsically unsustainable and preys on the environment and its resources.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) It is expected that the number of people on our planet will rise to 9 billion in 2050, and that over the next decade, the number of middle-class consumers will almost double to more than 3 billion people. According to the FAO, food production will have to increase by 70% by 2050, and even today, 60% of the world’s ecosystems are degraded or not used in a sustainable manner. Europe needs a new agenda for future growth that would guarantee Europe a high level of prosperity and quality of life. Parliament’s role is to set priorities and to urge the Commission, Member States and industry to adopt the ambitious agenda. The agenda for future growth means that it we cannot proceed as we have done until now. This agenda will have to be adopted at the internal, regional and local level. From the international perspective, it is the only way forward. The EU should play a leading role and promote this new agenda for future growth at the Rio+20 summit. I consider a transition to a green economy to be essential. In order to ensure our own well-being and give future generations the opportunity to enjoy the same benefits as we do, it is important to start work within the limits of our planet and to decouple economic growth from resource use.

 
  
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  Adam Gierek (S&D), in writing.(PL) We do not have enough resources in the European Union to meet internal consumer demand. What this means is that on the one hand we need to establish a different and more economical model of consumption, and on the other we need to find the right approach to new economic instruments. What we should do is to remove the environmental tax on labour and transfer this burden to resources, energy and materials. This will be a step in the right direction in terms of more efficient use of resources.

We need further changes to tax systems and cooperation within the EU’s single market in order to ensure that Europe becomes more competitive at global level. Investments in the EU, which are essential for development, should take this into account. I therefore voted in favour of Parliament’s own-initiative report, in the hope of a future legislative solution which takes into account Europe’s innovation-friendly market philosophy.

 
  
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  Mathieu Grosch (PPE), in writing. − (DE) It seems that almost all political parties support the idea that we should not just handle resources with care, but must promote renewable energies in particular. Implementation in the various Member States seems far removed from this ‘aspiration’, however. The various majorities in Europe’s governments are all struggling with the same challenge: promoting growth, protecting the environment and avoiding weakening one’s own country with the measures implemented; environmental dumping will be the new challenge and will pose an even greater difficulty at global level than at European level. That is reason enough why these topics need clear decisions in Europe, rather than just declarations of intent.

 
  
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  Françoise Grossetête (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report as our economy and our industry in Europe depend on resources and raw materials, the prices of which are increasingly unstable and access to which is a growing challenge, in a context of fierce international competition.

In order to protect our industrial competitiveness, and also our environment, we must learn to reduce our dependence on these resources, by developing innovation and recycling. I am thinking especially of the rare earths needed for quite a few new technologies, where China holds almost all of the mining potential.

We should also look towards the sustainable exploitation of resources whose potential is still, too often, underestimated. The European Union must encourage its businesses to produce more innovative, more sustainable products. It must also influence consumer behaviour and make consumers more responsible. This is why I support current experiments on the environmental labelling of products, the aim of which is to provide Europeans with credible information on the environmental impact of their consumer choices.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report which stresses the need for the European Union to manage the use of natural resources in a more strategic manner. Faced with the need to find new sources of sustainable economic growth that ensure our energy independence and put an end to social inequalities in access to resources, this report puts forward sound, practical proposals. It especially suggests strengthening the existing action plans to invest in green research and innovation, which are sources of growth and employment, and removing all obstacles to a functioning European market in recycling. The European Union must also set an example in environmental requirements, by extending eco-design to non-energy products and environmental information to mass consumer goods, and by a more systematic use of green public procurement.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on a resource-efficient Europe but today while dealing with immediate problems such as high unemployment, inflationary pressures or fiscal deficits, we have to look to the future and devise new ways of using available resources efficiently. I agree that we must radically improve the European use of secondary materials and create the right incentives for avoiding and reusing waste. We must make resource efficiency and sustainability a top priority in innovation programs both at European and at national level. We must change the way we measure our wealth and economic growth by taking into account environmental sustainability, natural capital and resource efficiency. We must set new product criteria for all products entering the European market by extending the scope of the Ecodesign directive with recycled content, durability and reusability. Only by consuming in a more sustainable manner, reducing waste and improving the collection and selection of waste can we contribute to our own well-being and that of our planet. A more efficient use of resources is an integral part of the green economy. The EU should use its political and economic strength to turn other parts of the world in the same direction. In order to ensure our own well-being and give future generations the possibility to enjoy the same benefits as we do, we must use resources within our planet’s boundaries.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE), in writing. − (DE) The efficient handling of our raw materials is an important step in sustaining competitiveness in Europe. The EU’s lack of resources in many areas needs to be countered with innovative and effective strategies. The greatest challenge is to increase economic output and at the same time to use fewer resources. It is also important that we should not impair the performance of European business through over-ambitious targets, nor do we wish to tell every individual what to do. Our primary aim should be to propose specific measures that provide incentives for making all aspects of life more resource-efficient.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I am pleased that this report has been adopted with a large majority. The world’s population will have increased by 30% by 2050 to 9 billion people. Faced with this estimate, we have to conclude that the way that we currently use resources is untenable. To ensure a more rational and reasonable use of resources, the European Commission insists in its communication on the need to minimise the production of waste, to develop new products and services, to improve stock management, to change consumption patterns and, finally, to optimise production processes and commercial methods, with a view to stimulating technological innovation and promoting employment in the ‘green technologies’ sector. More broadly, the Commission aims to guarantee the transition to a low carbon, resource-efficient economy. The Gerbrandy report welcomes the Commission's approach and calls for coordinated action, for greater awareness amongst consumers and, finally for a European energy efficiency plan up to 2020.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) Last autumn, the European Commission adopted an action plan for a resource-efficient Europe, in which it outlined policy directions and initiatives aimed at guaranteeing sustainable and environmentally friendly economic growth for the EU. Ensuring biodiversity and healthy ecosystems for the citizens of our continent is a huge challenge which already requires concrete and coordinated action under many policies, such as scientific research, production and consumption, transport and construction. It goes without saying that it is also essential to use resources more effectively, by managing natural resources properly and recycling secondary materials effectively. I also agree with the rapporteur that close cooperation with public and private sectors is key to the creation of an appropriate strategy, and action at local level is as important in this regard as efforts at European level.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. (PL) I have reservations about Parliament’s call on the Commission to make proposals by 2014 with a view to introducing a general ban on waste landfill at European level. I am also not in favour of calling on the Member States to introduce an environmental tax. I support the efficient use of secondary materials and the establishment of appropriate measures to encourage waste avoidance. Nevertheless, in some Member States, such as Poland, it will be the average taxpayer that will be hit hardest by bans, environmental taxes and other coercive measures. I do not believe that this has been given due consideration in the Gerbrandy report.

 
  
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  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE), in writing. (SK) The number of people on Earth will rise to 9 billion by 2050. The number of middle class customers will almost double to more than 3 billion people. According to the FAO, food production will have to increase by 70% by 2050, while even today, 60% of the world’s ecosystems are degraded or not used in a sustainable manner. Parliament’s role is to set priorities and to press the Commission, Member States and industry to adopt an ambitious agenda for the use of resources. The transition towards an economy that makes use of waste, a significant improvement in the use of secondary raw materials and the creation of incentives for waste reduction, the inclusion of resource efficiency as a priority of innovation programmes, and the introduction of environmental sustainability criteria must become a strong common agenda for the EU with the aim of attracting the other areas of the world in this direction. I have therefore supported the material and the resolution.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the Gerbrandy report, despite some reservations on certain points in the text that I feel do not take local differences and peculiarities into account, especially in more peripheral areas. The tight deadlines requested for a landfill ban on the one hand respond to renewed calls to respect the guidelines of the Europe 2020 strategy; on the other hand, however, they fail to take into account the evolution of waste disposal processes in some European regions, such as Sicily, which could not in any way meet the new requirements and would thus incur heavy fines.

 
  
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  Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska (PPE), in writing. (PL) The report on a resource-efficient Europe emphasises many worthwhile tasks currently faced by the European Union. It discusses the European strategy for future economic growth and its international dimension, and it highlights the issues of biodiversity, natural capital and ecosystem services. Both the European and the global economy are currently suffering the effects of the economic crisis, but I believe that we should look to the future and develop new programmes, and take advantage of innovative measures which will guarantee economic growth and progress. Europe needs ambitious plans which make allowances for the rapidly changing situation and which emphasise cooperation with Member States, regional authorities and local governments. For these and other reasons I voted in favour of the Gerbrandy report.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − The challenges are clear: our planet is growing towards 9 billion people in 2050, the amount of middle-class consumers will almost double to more than 3 billion people in the coming ten years, according to the FAO food production must increase by 70% by 2050, and already now 60% of the world’s ecosystems are degraded or used unsustainably. What Europe needs is a new agenda for future growth. This new agenda will demand a paradigm shift, a new way of thinking towards our production and consumption patterns. It will require not only technical but also institutional changes and social innovation. The new agenda for future growth will guarantee Europe a high level of prosperity and quality of life. The Road map for a Resource Efficient Europe gives the analysis and sets out the first steps towards this new agenda

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the Gerbrandy report on a resource-efficient Europe. To preserve our natural capital and to invest sustainably for future generations, it is important for us to become more resource-efficient, in other words to reduce the use of resources. The European Commission and the Member States also have to develop recycling and reuse. Advances related to the functioning of the single market ought to support these initiatives. Similarly, we need to improve protection for the forests in the European Union and consolidate the measures to prevent risks, such as forest fires.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I fully agree with the call to establish joint task forces for the three key areas of food and drink, housing, and mobility in order to develop, as soon as possible, European Resource Efficiency Action Plans with clear resource reduction actions. My vote was in favour.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Europe is facing both challenges and great opportunities in relation to the use of its resources. As demand for raw materials surges globally, the EU has the chance to reap the rewards by strengthening raw materials supply and efficiency, while satisfying the needs of EU industry and the raw materials sector. This is why the Commission’s 2008 move to take the lead in efficient resource-use policy was of the utmost importance. However, it is still vital that the Commission and the Member States move towards its quick implementation. I believe that resource policy and resource diplomacy are very important for the EU, not only with regard to industrial policy and international trade, but also as a cross-cutting issue concerning various areas of internal policy, as well as external and security policy. The Commission should therefore pay attention to both this issue and the energy issue. I see this as a task for the European External Action Service.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The economic crisis that the European Union is currently experiencing shows the need to change our growth model. Increasingly, our industries are faced with increasing prices for raw materials. A transition to a resource-efficient economy is becoming inevitable and necessary. To improve the use of their resources, the Member States must remove all obstacles to the functioning of the European market in waste recycling and reuse. The promotion of research and technological innovation in areas such as waste collection and sorting could indeed be a way of maximising our resources. Progressive removal of some ineffective subsidies and their substitution with smart environmental taxation will allow us to stimulate the EU’s competitiveness. The resource efficiency agenda must mainly be applied to three key areas, namely food and drink, housing and mobility. Parliament’s aim, however, is to integrate the concept of resource efficiency in all of the Union’s other policies.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − Moving towards a resource-efficient economy will bring increased competitiveness and new sources of growth and jobs, through cost savings from improved efficiency, commercialisation of innovations and better management of resources throughout their lifecycle. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Alajos Mészáros (PPE), in writing. (HU) Our planet’s population could rise to up to 9 billion by 2050, meaning that food production will need to be increased by 70%, while 60% of the world’s ecosystems are already damaged.

Europe, too, will need to prepare for the changes that will follow; therefore, we need a new agenda for future growth. We must change not only our way of thinking as regards our consumption patterns, but also our wasteful use of resources in production.

Resource efficiency and sustainability must become top priorities in our innovation programmes both at European and national level. A common agenda needs to be established for the public and private sectors, as the transition to a circular economy must be a social challenge in which we are all involved.

The use of secondary resources must be increased radically in the European Union, while waste generation must be mitigated. This, however, will require not only technical, but also institutional changes. The new agenda for future growth could provide Europe with a high level of prosperity and quality of life. Therefore I, too, voted in favour of the first step towards the transition to a more resource-efficient economy.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) It is a fact that the world’s population is growing, while natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce. In order to combat this, we need a new approach in all areas in order to ensure that people can still be provided with food. We also need to bring an end to the pillage of raw materials. Sustainability and resource efficiency are the keywords with which the EU aims to take the lead worldwide. I have abstained from voting because I am not in total agreement with the rapporteur and believe that fine tuning is required right now. If not, we may find ourselves faced with a problem involving unforeseen scenarios that we are unable to respond to.

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing. (ET) In the midst of the continuing economic crisis, Europe and the whole world are at a crossroads where they must decide what path to take in order to ensure that our human and natural environment is sustainable. It is clear that after the economic recession there will be another period of rapid growth, and our economy is already showing signs of revival, which means that Europe needs a new action plan for future economic growth. Achieving resource efficiency by developing different environmental technologies must serve as the motor of the new economic growth, not senseless consumption. The transition to a green economy is unavoidable, and I am glad that several European Union Member States, led by Germany, have understood this, seeing it as an opportunity to develop and invigorate the economy, not as an additional cost. I supported the report for the reasons given above, and I hope that Europe’s green economy can serve as an example to the whole world.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) In line with the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy, the report on resource efficiency is seen as one of the pillars of the European future. Parliament is committed to pursuing the goal of enhancing the use of raw materials and energy and to promoting a low environmental impact economy through targeted investments and innovative technologies, so as to create an economy that is less intensive and more effective by 2050. Recycling, research and innovation, public and private investment and a competitive market are the basis on which this project is built and for which, as we listen to the needs of our citizens, all of us need to strive on a daily basis.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) The unprecedented economic crisis in Europe is, apart from anything else, a warning alarm in terms of the future use and application of its resources. The world population is expected to reach 9 billion and, according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), food production needs to increase by 70 % by 2050, at a time when 60 % of global ecosystems are being degraded and overexploited. Clearly Europe, and with it Greece, obviously need a new agenda and policy for their future development model. In order for that to happen, we need both technical and political and institutional changes in the Member States. In this report, which I voted in favour of, the European Parliament considers that we have a duty to emphasise the need for the Member States to take initiatives, by setting specific priorities in this direction.

 
  
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  Alojz Peterle (PPE), in writing. (SL) I voted in favour of this report because it very specifically defines the way to achieve efficient management of natural resources, in accordance with the targets of Europe 2020. I am pleased that it provides for a very inclusive and planned approach, that it requires the elimination of barriers in the internal recycling market and the abandonment of environmentally harmful subsidies.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. (FR) By adopting today the Gerbrandy report on improving the use of natural resources, the European Parliament has sent out a clear message: the increasing scarcity of resources is a reality, but it is not inevitable.

We can explain this phenomenon: the intensive use of resources in the agricultural policy, the fisheries policy and the industrial policy, speculation on the commodities markets and the marked growth in world consumption. One figure sums up this situation really well: the real price of basic products has increased by 147% since the start of the century.

This is why the war on waste must be one of the Union’s objectives in the coming years, especially in the three key areas of food and drink, housing and mobility. Having been the rapporteur in 2005 on the legislation relating to the green design of electrical consumer goods, I know full well that upstream action in the production chain is the best way to protect our resources.

Another key to success: innovation. How can we justify, for example, that 1% of the world’s energy use is accounted for by leaving technological products on standby? Let us encourage and create conditions so that industrial players take a greater, more effective role in the protection of resources.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Today, we adopted Mr Gerbrandy’s report in plenary here in Strasbourg. Parliament and the Commission have laid ambitious plans to tackle resource use. The Member States must now take up the challenge and strive for efficiency. Parliament’s resolution calls for the gradual elimination of landfill and calls on the Commission to submit proposals to that end by the end of 2014. It should also revise the 2020 recycling targets, which were set in the Waste Framework Directive, and ensure that incineration of recyclable and compostable waste is phased out by the end of this decade.

European industry and consumers have everything to gain from environmentally friendly products. We therefore call on the Commission to propose an update to the Ecodesign Directive to include non-energy-related products and to demand greater durability, recyclability and reparability of goods. Labelling should also provide consumers with instructions on the use of resources and their environmental impact. To improve resource use, the resolution calls on the Commission to establish task forces to develop European resource efficiency action plans in the areas of food and drink, housing and mobility.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − In favour. The challenges are clear: our planet is growing towards 9 billion people in 2050, the amount of middle-class consumers will almost double to more than 3 billion people the coming ten years, according to the FAO food production must increase by 70% by 2050, and already now 60% of the world’s ecosystems are degraded or used unsustainably. What Europe needs is a new agenda for future growth. This new agenda will demand a paradigm shift, a new way of thinking towards our production and consumption patterns. It will require not only technical, but also institutional changes and social innovation. The new agenda for future growth will guarantee Europe a high level of prosperity and quality of life. The Road map for a Resource Efficient Europe gives the analysis and sets the first steps towards this new agenda. But it does not reflect the necessary sense of urgency. We simply cannot afford to take ten, twenty years for the transformation towards a circular economy. The highly competitive world we live in and the spectacular rise of emerging economies do not give us this much time. The European Commission sets the right direction, but is not sufficiently concrete in the steps that should be taken.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for this programme because new production and consumption patterns need to be planned in advance, in terms of their technical, institutional and social implications. Since Europe’s population is expected to double by 2050, economic growth has to be separated from resource use from now on. People must be encouraged to play an active role by consuming sustainably, by minimising waste and by collecting and selecting waste.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) In view of the effects of the economic crisis and the fact that public opinion is highly sensitive to environmental issues, I believe we need to swiftly implement whatever measures are needed to achieve the objectives of making more efficient use of all resources (especially raw materials and energy), favouring the transition to a low carbon economy, encouraging the use of environmentally friendly products (by promoting the use of recycled materials and broadening the scope of ecodesign standards), and fostering investment in innovative technologies (both for producing goods and services and for cutting polluting emissions). I think in the medium term (by 2020) we should lay the foundations for shifting from our current, resource-intensive economy to a technologically more advanced one that has a smaller environmental footprint and is characterised by greater energy and employment security (achieved through the creation of ‘high value-added’ jobs). This transition, which should be completed by 2050, should be accompanied by a system of tax incentives and disincentives aimed at shifting the tax burden from work to resource/raw-material use, hopefully to the benefit of employment. That is why I voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Alf Svensson (PPE), in writing. (SV) In today’s vote in the European Parliament on the report by Mr Gerbrandy about a resource-efficient Europe, I voted in favour. However, in this explanation of vote I want to make it clear that I am not giving my unconditional support to the report. A few of the paragraphs in the original text, such as paragraphs 20, 32 and 55, contain ideas which can be regarded as both reactionary and naïve, particularly from an economic perspective. The subject is an important one and, to a large extent, I share Mr Gerbrandy’s view of the solutions, in particular with regard to the problem of EU subsidies for businesses in the fishing and agricultural industries that cause damage to the environment, the importance of innovations for promoting resource efficiency in Europe and the EU’s responsibility in the global arena. Therefore, I chose to vote in favour of the report, despite the wording of the paragraphs referred to above, which I regard as unfortunate,

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Commission has published two proposals on resource efficiency, namely the Road map to a Resource Efficient Europe and A resource efficient Europe – Flagship initiative under the Europe 2020 strategy. In view of the increased global population and the changes to the consumption of goods in newly developed countries, I consider it necessary to establish an economic-growth agenda aimed at using existing resources efficiently. I am voting for this report, which seeks to achieve a resource-efficient Europe, and it is imperative that greater coordination be applied at local, regional and national level. Greater sharing of best practices in relation to the management of the Structural Funds should be encouraged within the networks of local and regional authorities. Finally, I believe that improving people’s quality of life and ensuring intergenerational solidarity are vital, so that young people can have a richer and more prosperous future in terms of employment opportunities.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. − (RO) I voted in favour of the report on a resource-efficient Europe. I believe that, in order to create a resource-efficient Europe, it is necessary to encourage innovation and research, and at the same time reduce resource use, so as to avoid resource scarcity and rising resource prices. We invite the Commission to streamline the waste acquis and we call on the Commission to make proposals by 2014 for a gradual phasing-out, by the end of this decade, of incineration of recyclable waste. In addition, we call on the Commission to revise the 2020 recycling targets of the Waste Framework Directive. I believe a fair opening-up of global markets to environmental goods and services encourages sustainable consumption, creates export opportunities and new jobs based on the use of new technologies. I call for measures to ensure that the most efficient use of resources is a key consideration within regional policy. I believe resource efficiency should be addressed at regional and local level, taking into account the potential and different development levels of European regions. We urge the Commission to calculate and disclose the costs of environmental damage arising as a consequence of the EU’s agriculture and fisheries policies.

 
  
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  Marita Ulvskog (S&D), in writing. (SV) We Swedish Social Democrats would like to emphasise that, in principle, we take a positive view of a shift to environmental taxation, but we believe there will be problems if the focus is on excessive cuts in income tax. A move to green taxation should not reduce the revenue from taxes and, therefore, affect the redistribution of wealth. Environmental taxes should pave the way for technical innovations and help to create green jobs and fair working conditions.

The report also deals with the need to protect the EU’s forestry industry. Given the differences in forestry throughout Europe, we would like to highlight the importance of allowing the Member States to manage their forestry industries themselves.

 
  
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  Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE), in writing. (LT) I agree with the rapporteur that we need to establish a resource-efficient Europe. This is important for the EU’s economic and ecological security. Efficient use of resources in Lithuania is low. Although the intensity of energy use in Lithuania is in decline it remains very high. According to a report recently published by the European Environment Agency, which is based on OECD statistics, energy efficiency and the effective use of resources is almost 25% lower than the EU average. Smarter, limited use of resources is not only a strategic necessity for Lithuania, but is also an economic opportunity. By using resources more efficiently, establishing clearer long-term policies and generally investing in ecological innovations, we would strengthen the basis for growth and job creation for our citizens and would achieve our climate and energy goals. Compared to other EU Member States, Lithuania is lagging behind in terms of the generation of waste that is more resource-friendly – the generation of municipal waste is about 400 kg per person in Lithuania, 18% higher than the EU average. By consuming in a more sustainable manner, reducing the amount of waste and improving waste collection, resources can be used more efficiently. A Eurobarometer poll carried out earlier this year demonstrated that the majority of Lithuanians would like to play a more active role in using resources efficiently. The time has come for political leaders to do the same.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) Public and private sector involvement in drawing up resource efficiency action plans, removal of barriers to the operation of the European recycling and reuse market, development of clear, measurable economic indicators, expansion of the scope of the ecodesign directive and, above all, greater promotion of research and technological innovation are the key actions needed to make the Union more resource efficient. That is why I voted in favour, although I would like EU legislation to be fully implemented before new initiatives are adopted.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Although the stated objective of this report is positive, it approaches environmental problems in a market-oriented way. We disagree with the creation of a ‘strong common agenda’ between the public and private sectors, as this is aimed at nothing more than opening the door to processes for liberalising the waste market, with the privatisation of waste collection and management. The overriding idea is that citizens are to be made accountable for their choice of products. What is really needed is to change the current modes of production and consumption inherent to the capitalist system, which exploits the environment and its resources for the benefit of the few.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0233/2012

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, as I believe that it is vital to develop strategies and economic and labour-market policies to create more and better jobs for more young people, in order to combat precariousness. I would stress some important proposals for combating unemployment: a strategy set out at EU level, analysing the past of each Member State’s labour market, education and training policies; the creation of a Youth Guarantee securing the right of every young person to be offered a job, an apprenticeship or additional training and combined work after a maximum period of four months’ unemployment; national campaigns to combat early school leaving; improved links between education systems and the labour market, adjusting supply to the demand of more young people; and a European system for the recognition of formal and informal learning. History has already demonstrated to us Europeans that austerity measures merely exacerbate our economic and social situation. The EU should now concern itself with economic growth and employment; otherwise, we will be doomed to fail, and to lose a generation of qualified young people.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing. (IT) The youth unemployment figures are alarming: one in five young people under the age of 25 is looking for a job and cannot find one, and a good 7.5 million young people aged between 15 and 24 are not in employment, education or training. These are the so-called NEETs. In view of that, eight action teams were set up last January for the eight countries with the highest levels of youth unemployment, and one of them was for Italy. What have they achieved so far? I ask because the objectives and measures contained in the new Youth Opportunities Initiative are promising and ambitious, and I would not like them to remain just on paper without providing an effective response to this worrying situation.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The youth unemployment rate reached 22.1% in 2011 and I think that we need a real action plan. I approved the motion for a resolution proposing solid, practical measures to promote job creation and projects for young people. We have proposed a reallocation of structural funds and even the introduction of a ‘Youth Guarantee’ to ensure that young people are not unemployed for more than four months. We must focus on youth, our children, our future. As a specialist in structural funds, it saddens me that 82 billion remain unused and therefore need to be mobilised before the end of next year. If they go unused, these funds will be lost to the regions that have been unable to use them. We have therefore invited the European Commission to reallocate these funds as a priority to SMEs and to projects aimed at young people.

 
  
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  Liam Aylward (ALDE), in writing. (GA) In 2011, the unemployment rate for young people in the EU was 22%, with a rate higher than 40% in two Member States. That means that 5.5 million young people are unemployed in the EU.

The level of unemployment amongst the young in Ireland is three times higher today than in 2008 and we do not know the full extent of the problem due to the high rate of emigration. We are talking about skilled, ambitious young people, who could boost the economy’s competitive potential and growth, and who also have the skills needed to achieve the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy.

In every part of the Union budget cuts are impacting on jobs and skills programmes for young people, and for that reason I welcome what the Commission is doing to ensure the availability of jobs, training or places on further education courses for young people within the first four months of leaving school.

I agree with the request in the motion that those Member States who already have a guarantee in place for young people would cooperate with other countries, like Ireland, in which there is significant unemployment amongst the young.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The watchword is: save the lost generation. With an average unemployment rate of 23.5% in the EU, young people are amongst those most seriously affected by the consequences of the economic and social crisis. In the resolution adopted today, we call on the European Commission to show itself to be innovative when drafting measures to promote youth employment. The Youth Guarantee that it proposed in its latest communication is a good start, as is the willingness to use uncommitted structural funds. We now wait to see these good intentions, which ought to concern all of the Member States, put into practice. The Youth Guarantee should contribute to ensuring that, several months after having left school, young people can take up a traineeship, an internship or an apprenticeship. However, to make this aim more than just talk, we need to make it legally binding. Finally, a not insignificant part of the EUR 82 billion of Structural Funds that remain uncommitted must go directly to supporting projects aimed at young people and also to SMEs, which are the main force in job creation. The distress is real; the need for action is urgent; we have no choice, otherwise we shall soon risk being accused of failing to provide assistance.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) At the moment, one in five young people on the labour market cannot find a job. The youth unemployment rate (over 20%) is twice the rate for the overall active population and almost three times higher than the rate for the adult active population. Under these circumstances, young people who encounter difficulties in finding a job may decide to extend or resume their studies. This is an investment in the future, provided that they obtain the adequate qualifications. Nonetheless, the fact is that many young people take part in neither the job market, nor the education system. In order to successfully face such challenges, Europe must invest in its youth population and put forward immediate and effective actions to prevent and combat the high levels of youth unemployment. I believe it is necessary to implement measures aimed at stimulating economic growth in order to create new jobs, but such measures alone are not enough to tackle the issue of youth unemployment.

 
  
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  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the resolution, because I believe in the necessity for such an initiative, which promotes youth access to the labour market. The fact that the youth unemployment rate within the EU is over 22%, in the context of a growing labour shortage, is a matter of concern. Therefore, I welcome Mr Barroso’s initiative to send ‘Action teams’ to Member States recording the highest youth unemployment rates and I am eagerly waiting to see their proposals on improving youth access to the labour market. Another important issue to be taken into account is that of apprenticeship status. We need minimum standards at European level supporting the provision and take-up of high-quality internships. In most cases, young people are obliged to accept internships as an alternative to a job paid in accordance with their academic studies.

 
  
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  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Unemployment amongst Europe’s young people exploded between 2008 and 2011, rising from 14.7% to 22.8% in three years. In Spain, 50% of young people are affected. For years, the European Parliament has been issuing proposals to put a stop to this scourge that is sapping the morale of our young people. The report suggests, in particular, the introduction of a major investment plan aimed at creating more jobs in the Member States and the release of part of the unused structural funds (EUR 82 billion over the last four years) to stimulate projects that benefit young Europeans. The risk of seeing a ‘lost generation’ is increasingly serious in the EU and it must be fought vigorously by all Member States.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) I welcome the adoption of this resolution which calls on the Member States to introduce national schemes for young people and urges them to take swift practical measures at national level, to ensure that young people are either in a decent job, education or re-training within four months of leaving school.

I believe that it is important to introduce strategies, economic and labour market policies urgently to create more and better jobs for the young, thereby avoiding the precariousness trap of young people having a succession of temporary jobs and unpaid internships not leading to any real improvement in salary and working conditions or to more stable forms of employment.

 
  
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  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) As a consequence of the prolonged European economic crisis, the rate of unemployment among European youths increased from 14.7% in 2008 to 22.1% in 2011. 5.5 million people under the age of 25 are unemployed. The aim of the plenary debate is to call upon the European Commission to adopt measures related to the future and employment opportunities of European youth, as well as to draw attention to the severity of the situation.

In early 2012, the European Commission sent action teams to eight Member States where youth unemployment was significantly higher than the EU average. The action teams were tasked with drawing up action plans to promote youth employment. The French rapporteur calls on the European Commission to report on the progress it has made so far with the help of these action teams, and also addresses a question to the competent Commissioner about what additional means and resources the Commission intends to bring to bear to promote job creation and especially to combat youth unemployment. I supported the rapporteur and the draft resolution which seeks to find a solution to one of Europe’s most crucial problems.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI), in writing. − The rise in youth unemployment is one of the biggest social challenges that we face across the European Union. In my own constituency of Northern Ireland, approximately one in five young people are currently out of work. In a recent study it is estimated that growing youth unemployment costs Northern Ireland around GBP 250 million a year in lost productivity. This equates to a cost of close to GBP 5 million per week to the local economy and is still increasing. Although the major contributing factor to the huge percentage of youth unemployment is the current economic crisis across the EU, there are also various other contributing factors that must be examined. Studies show that around 3% of young people still leave Northern Ireland schools with no formal qualifications and many more do not achieve the necessary qualifications in numeracy and literacy. Failure to attain even basic qualifications leads to significant difficulties in gaining employment and can lead to social problems and disengagement from mainstream society. Therefore it is vital that Member States put in place employment initiatives to boost employment opportunities and give our youth the chance to have a meaningful stake in society.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Youth unemployment is one of the most terrible aspects of the current crisis. It is crucial, therefore, to invest in the education and training of young people in Europe to improve their skills and so combat unemployment and encourage entrepreneurship. That is why I welcome the Youth Opportunities Initiative, particularly its special programmes for supporting and encouraging job creation for younger people, and the European Youth Guarantee, which will allocate EUR 4 million to Member States to help them set up Youth Guarantee schemes. If Europe wishes to achieve the ambitious objectives of the EU 2020 strategy, which has a strong focus on innovation, research and training, it will have to invest in improving the skills of its young people, by opting for education models that are more closely orientated towards their future entry into the labour market.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing.(PT) This motion for a resolution, tabled following the question for oral answer on the Youth Opportunities Initiative, addresses the need to increase the European Union employment rate, particularly the youth employment rate. Many thousands of businesses have gone bankrupt as a result of the economic and financial crisis, millions of people have lost their jobs and unemployment rates have soared to levels never before seen: the EU average rate is over 10%, with youth unemployment more than 22%. These rates vary between Member States, rising to nearly 50% in the countries most affected by the crisis, such as Greece and Spain. I voted in favour of this report because I believe that the EU has to act quickly. About 25 million young people are looking for work and we must harness their potential, including through programmes that enable them to create their own jobs so they are not forced to leave their homelands. In addition, it is necessary to strengthen support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly with regard to access to bank credit and reduced bureaucracy, because it may well be that SMEs will make the greatest contribution to solving this problem.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Youth unemployment in the European Union has reached shocking levels. It averages about 22.4%, though in some countries, such as Portugal, it is much higher. This resolution, which has some positive aspects that we appreciate, comes after the President of the Commission sent letters to the eight Member States, including Portugal, with youth unemployment rates significantly higher than the EU average and ‘Action teams’ were sent to these Member States to prepare youth employment plans. This hypocrisy is also shocking. Youth unemployment in the EU was not inevitable. It is a political decision. It is a decision taken by those, such as Mr Barroso, who impose policies that sow the seeds of unemployment and poverty. Jobs will not be created without a decisive break from the so-called austerity policies that have been backed by the majority of this Parliament.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) After a lacklustre economic recovery since 2010, unemployment is again on the rise, reaching an average of 10%, which the youth unemployment rate in the EU is above 22%. There are relatively large differences in the youth employment situation in the various Member States. In some countries, it is well below 10%, and in the countries that have been hardest hit by the economic crisis, youth unemployment stands at nearly 50%. The debt crisis in Europe has had serious effects in particular on those young people who have not completed their compulsory education or higher secondary school education, and also on those living in economically weaker regions. I firmly believe that the fight against youth unemployment requires greater investment in education and training throughout the EU. In my opinion, mobility and the possibility of working in another Member State may be an important step for young people in gaining better access to the labour market. In this regard, I applaud the Erasmus for All initiative, for example, and consider it proper and necessary to place reasonable emphasis on work experience abroad for students and young people in vocational training in the programme, and in the interest of their subsequently gaining suitable employment.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) Whilst the EU unemployment rate is 10% on average, the rate for young people rose to 22.1% at the start of 2011, compared with 14.7% in 2008, and is approaching 50% in some Member States. I share the observations of this proposal. It is deplorable that, after four years of crisis, EUR 82 billion of structural funds for the period 2007-2011 should remain unused. The Commission ought to redeploy a substantial part of this sum to projects for the young. We would like to achieve a real European Investment Plan that introduces a Youth Guarantee, by creating new jobs, searching for new sources of funding and providing access to high-quality internships. It is also important to coordinate the action of the Member States, whether this be related to training and market needs in the medium and long terms or to sharing best practices, in assessing the impact of the policies pursued, as in Austria, which has successfully introduced a number of guarantees for the young.

 
  
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  Anna Ibrisagic (PPE), in writing. (SV) Today, the European Parliament has voted on the resolution about the Youth Opportunities Initiative. Levels of youth unemployment are high in many parts of Europe. We would like to make it clear that it is the Member States which have the funds, tools and responsibility for shaping labour market policy and for finding solutions to the challenges facing Europe. Initiatives on youth unemployment are, and will remain, a national issue.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour because there is absolutely no question that the economic recession has increased general and youth unemployment, both in Lithuania and throughout the EU. Approximately 5.5 million young people in the EU are unemployed. Many young people are not exploiting their learning potential or are failing to acquire the skills required by employers. Currently 7.5 million 15-24-year-olds are not in education, employment or training. The level of youth unemployment in Lithuania is one of the highest in the EU. In Lithuania one in three young people are unemployed. Only in Spain and Greece is youth unemployment higher than in Lithuania. The level of youth unemployment in Lithuania is 10% higher than the average in EU Member States. In order to really change the situation, we need to improve the conditions for creating jobs, create an attractive business environment, fundamentally change the tax system and encourage initiatives, rather than offering one benefit and then immediately thinking up ten barriers impeding the use of that benefit. Youth unemployment, which is generally recognised as being a particularly serious problem with long-term consequences for a society that is basically raising an unemployed generation, will not be addressed effectively unless together we improve the social environment, establish a favourable mortgage system, and reduce bureaucracy and all other kinds of barriers to people who want to start their own business. In my opinion, an economic growth pact is needed much more at the moment and would be more effective. Austerity measures on their own are not enough to solve the problems today. Investment in economic growth, job creation and, above all, our future – young people – are just as important.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) This resolution was adopted by a very large majority in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. Its main objectives are to intensify the fight against youth unemployment, to design a ‘European Investment Plan’ to allow the creation of new jobs and to reallocate the Structural Funds to benefit projects for young people. I supported this resolution in plenary.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. (PL) In common with the rest of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, I voted against this resolution. I do not agree with the statement that ‘the Youth Guarantee needs to be legally enforceable in order to effectively improve the situation of young people neither in employment nor in education or training’. We must look for solutions to overcome the problem of youth unemployment in the EU, but I do not believe that imposing penalties on the Member States is a good idea.

 
  
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  Krišjānis Kariņš (PPE), in writing. (LV) I supported the motion for a resolution on the Youth Opportunities Initiative, since I consider this initiative to be a good start to reducing youth unemployment in the EU, where youth unemployment currently averages 22%. In Latvia, in 2011, 29.9% of young people were unemployed. The initiative adopted by the Commission calls on Member States to take measures to prevent early school leaving, to help young people develop skills demanded in the labour market, to ensure they obtain work experience and practical training, and to help young people find a decent first job. I believe that every Member State should draw up its own Youth Guarantee scheme that would ensure that every young person obtained either work or practical experience, or began a course of study within four months of leaving school. However, I sincerely doubt whether the EUR 4 million that the Commission is willing to allocate to Member States will be sufficient for such schemes to be put in place.

 
  
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  Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska (PPE), in writing. (PL) Statistics show that there are around 7.5 million people aged between 15 and 24 in the European Union who are neither employed nor in the education system. Youth employment is as high as 50% in some European countries. The economic crisis is undoubtedly one of the reasons for these statistics. The problem is clear to see, and I therefore believe that we must take rapid and effective measures identifying new instruments and opportunities for young people, in particular nowadays, in such a mobile and rapidly changing society.

Concrete structural reforms aimed at job creation should be implemented. We should make use of innovation, European funds and cross-border programmes, and improve education systems. One of the most important instruments is the European Social Fund, which will allow new programmes to be created for young people and enable them to enter the labour market. For these and other reasons I voted in favour of the ‘Youth Opportunities Initiative’.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this report which welcomes the Commission’s initiative to promote the Youth Guarantee initiative and to allocate EUR 4 million to Member States to help them set up Youth Guarantee schemes, which should be supported by active labour market policies helping to close the gap between education and training systems and the labour market, but has sincere doubts that this sum is ambitious enough to help countries facing high rates of unemployment coupled with national budget constraints put in place these types of guarantees.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Member States are being urged to adopt a more coordinated strategy between national education and training plans and labour market needs. I agree with the proposal to adopt a European youth employment strategy supporting companies, welfare organisations, public authorities and other employers in creating decent and quality jobs.

 
  
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  Anthea McIntyre (ECR), in writing. − I fully agree with the objective of tackling youth unemployment and believe the EU has a role in assisting Member States, but the best way of tackling this problem is not by micro-managing Member States. The EU must add value to the work already being done by Member States, not duplicate it. For example, the UK has already put in place a series of initiatives, in the new Youth Contract with a commitment of almost GBP 1 billion over the next three years. The EU should promote best practice, ensure the proper functioning and completion of the single market, and above all remove barriers to growth – the red tape which prevents businesses from taking on young people. We agree with much contained within this resolution. However, we have concerns with other aspects including: attempts to pre-empt the final outcome of negotiations on the maternity leave directive; calls to define minimum standards at European level in the area of employment and social affairs; calls for more ambitious sources of additional financing at European level; and calls for the EU Youth Guarantee Scheme to be legally enforceable. Taking these concerns into account my UK Conservative colleagues and I voted against this resolution.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour, convinced that the alarming rise in youth unemployment is a threat to the economic and social future of many young people in the European Union and forces them to pay a very high price for the crisis. I believe that there needs to be more investment in education and training in the EU to fight youth unemployment and that priority should be given to a more coordinated strategy between national educational and training plans and the requirements of the labour market.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing. (ES) I voted in favour of this report because it welcomes the Commission Communication entitled ‘Youth Opportunities Initiative’, building on earlier Commission initiatives such as ‘Youth on the Move’, ‘New Skills for New Jobs’ and the many initiatives presented in this series of Communications, but it has serious doubts as to whether the scale of the actions proposed is proportionate to the gravity of the current youth unemployment crises experienced in many Member States. This report welcomes the Commission’s initiative to promote Youth Guarantee and to allocate EUR 4 million to Member States to help them set up Youth Guarantee schemes, which should be supported by active labour market policies helping to close the gap between education and training systems and the labour market, but it doubts that this sum is ambitious enough.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The European Union has almost 5.5 million young people without work. Amongst the under-25s, more than one person in every five is unable to find a job. The youth unemployment rate has reached 21%, and the situation gets no better. This is why practical actions must be carried out to resolve this issue of youth unemployment. The Member States must act on the issue of school drop-out rates and encourage the young to develop the skills that our businesses require. It is becoming a matter of urgency that we make the employment market more accessible to the young so that they can get their first job quickly. Investing in a Youth Guarantee is one way of achieving this. However, we must, above all, make smart, wise use of the funds already committed. Indeed, out of a total of EUR 347 billion for the period 2007-2013, EUR 82 billion of European structural funds had not been allocated by January this year. It is essential to use these funds to train the young, so that the European Union is, for them, synonymous with prospects for the future and with hope.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE), in writing. (SK) The average youth unemployment in the European Union of around 20% is double the overall average unemployment rate in the EU. I do not consider 23 million unemployed of the economically active population, of which young people account for 5.5 million, to be an unfortunate statistic, but an appalling reality with not only far-reaching socio-economic implications for the EU, but also psychological consequences for a whole generation of young people. European society needs a high level of employment to maintain the viability of its economy, it competitiveness and, above all, its social security system, which represents a significant proportion of the national budgets of Member States, and whose costs are rising substantially in connection with the aging population. The issue of high youth unemployment looks like a journey into the abyss, and, in my opinion, it must therefore be addressed urgently. For the reasons mentioned, I support the Youth Opportunities Initiative.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − The European Parliament welcomes the Commission’s ‘Youth Opportunities Initiative’ Communication building on earlier Commission initiatives like ‘Youth on the Move’ and ‘New skills and new jobs’ and the many initiatives presented in this series of communications, but has serious doubts as to whether the scale of the actions proposed is proportionate to the gravity of the current youth unemployment crises experienced in many Member States. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Young people are an important part of society. Their education and training should be a central concern for every Member State; after all, the youth are the future of every country. The crisis is just one of the reasons why youth unemployment has increased rapidly, a situation that cannot be sustained in the long term. Young people must be given the opportunity to establish themselves in their chosen career. The basic prerequisite for this is good education and training. In order to ensure this, we must significantly reduce the numbers dropping out from school and vocational training. We should continue to focus our attention on work experience schemes in which young people not only learn new skills, but also receive appropriate payment for their work. In addition, young people who are classified as long-term unemployed suffer from social exclusion, making it significantly harder to get them back to work. Nor should it be forgotten that the social systems operated in European countries will only work as along as the intergenerational contract can be fulfilled. I voted in favour of this resolution because it is our duty to enable young people to get a start in their working lives with no ifs or buts. In addition, I believe it is absolutely essential that we should ensure a high level of education and training in the EU, in order to make young people competitive and to maintain this competitiveness into the future.

 
  
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  Tiziano Motti (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for this resolution, and I am delighted that Mario Monti, the Italian Prime Minister, has this very day promised EUR 8 billion to help young people find work. That is a good sign that European and national policies are in tune with each other. At the beginning of 2011 the average unemployment rate in the European Union was 10%, though it was 22.1% among young people, compared with 14.7% in 2008. In the resolution that has been adopted, we support the Youth Opportunities Initiative put forward by the Commission, but we have major doubts as to whether the scope of the actions proposed is in proportion to the seriousness of the current job crisis facing young people in many Member States. What is needed, therefore, is to launch a European investment plan to create jobs for young people. President Barroso has announced that EUR 82 billion of the Structural Fund budget is still to be allocated. We appeal to him, therefore, to consider our young people a top priority.

 
  
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  Alojz Peterle (PPE), in writing. (SL) I voted in favour of this resolution because I think that, at a time of crisis, we need to pay attention to the younger generation who are facing great employment difficulties.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) In the resolution that has been adopted, we supported the Youth Opportunities Initiative put forward by the Commission, but we expressed major doubts as to whether the scope of the actions proposed was in proportion to the seriousness of the current job crisis facing young people in many Member States. What we propose, therefore, is to launch a European investment plan to create jobs for young people. During the European Council meeting on 30 January 2012, European Commission President Barroso announced that EUR 82 billion of the Structural Fund budget, out of a total of EUR 347 billion for the period 2007-2013, is still to be allocated and could be redeployed. We therefore call on the Commission to use a substantial part of this money for youth employment schemes and to consider the possibility of increasing the percentage of EU support for projects cofinanced with the national governments of those countries with the highest youth unemployment rates: Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Youth unemployment in Europe is a real challenge that we have to face. In some countries affected by the crisis, almost every second young person is unable to find work. These same young people are often also suffering discrimination in the labour market due to their precarious situation. Furthermore, the current economic situation and the period of austerity it has caused offer little hope to the young. The European Parliament has therefore decided to act in favour of youth employment. To this end, we invite the Commission to redeploy a part of the unused Structural Funds to support projects aimed at promoting education, training, mobility and access to employment for the young. We also urge the Member States and the Commission to improve links between the worlds of education and work by better adjusting educational curricula to the needs of the labour market and by offering quality internships offering high-value education and training. I support these proposals and have therefore voted in favour of this resolution.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − In favour. I also want to stress that the employment situation of young people is highly dependent on the overall economic situation. I welcome the Commission Communication entitled ‘Towards a job-rich recovery’ and urge Heads of State or Government in the EU to present as soon as possible a European Investment Plan boosting inclusive, sustainable and job-rich growth. Finally, I also stress that the Youth Guarantee needs to be legally enforceable in order to effectively improve the situation of young people neither in employment nor in education or training and to gradually overcome the problem of youth unemployment in the EU.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) The exponential rise in youth unemployment in Europe, which is currently above 22%, is stifling the future prospects of an entire generation. A revival of youth employment that is both sustainable and good quality needs to be put in place without delay, as the best guarantee against the problems of precariousness and chronic unemployment. Such measures should be part of a wide-ranging support strategy for local communities, businesses, public authorities and social security organisations.

 
  
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  Joanna Senyszyn (S&D), in writing.(PL) I voted in favour of the resolution on the ‘Youth Opportunities Initiative’. There are three issues I regard as particularly important: the situation of young mothers, the link between training and labour market requirements and support under the European Social Fund.

The greatest gap in employment between women and men affects those aged between 25 and 35. Employers do not want to employ young women as they are afraid that they will fall pregnant and become a burden, since they will be less available and the employer will have to pay additional contributions. It is therefore absolutely vital for the state to implement a policy which makes it easier for women to balance work and family life in order to ensure that potential employers are not afraid to employ young women, and to ensure that they do not hit a ‘glass ceiling’. The Member States should offer training which allows professionally active women to work at home. Access to child care in nurseries and pre-schools is also essential.

According to the objectives set out in the Europe 2020 strategy, the Member States must ensure that professional training is better adapted to labour market requirements. Young people must be trained for the future, or in other words with a view to labour market demands.

I would call on the Commission and the Member States to make the best possible use of the Structural Funds, including the European Social Fund (ESF), in order to implement concrete programmes aimed at reducing unemployment among women. EUR 82 billion is available under the ESF until 2013, and the priority should be to increase youth employment levels.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) It is a goal of the European Union to help young people get into the labour market and to enhance the status of interns and apprentices. To achieve this, we need to work urgently on strategies and economic and labour market policies to create more and better jobs for the young, thereby avoiding the precariousness trap of young people having a succession of temporary jobs and unpaid internships not leading to any real improvement in salary or working conditions or to more stable forms of employment. At the same time, we should back up national labour market, education and training policies with a Youth Guarantee securing the right of every young person in the EU to be offered a job, an apprenticeship, additional training or combined work and training after a maximum period of four months’ unemployment.

 
  
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  Monika Smolková (S&D), in writing. (SK) I would like to thank my colleague, Ms Pervenche Berès, for her excellent motion for a resolution, which I supported, and I am very happy that we have started to take concrete steps to address youth unemployment. We have effectively bailed out the banks, which bear substantial responsibility for the current situation, but we are unable to lay down basic rules for youth employment that will finally start contributing to employment. The resolution provides many proposals for addressing youth employment, but I do not think that mobility and the opportunity to work in another Member State will improve access to the labour market, since it will create a problem in both countries. I welcome the Commission’s approach of not obstructing the transfer of EU funds that may be unspent for various reasons unused, allowing the Member States to contribute to young people finding jobs on the labour market. However, I think the most important tasks are to structure education in national programmes in relation to economic needs and to increase the responsibility of companies and businesses in preparing young people for work.

 
  
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  Bogusław Sonik (PPE), in writing.(PL) I voted in favour of the resolution because I believe that it allows the European Parliament to make an important contribution to the debate on ways to fight youth unemployment. National reform plans should make high-quality youth policy a priority, in accordance with the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. In common with previous speakers, therefore, I would like to call on the Member States to concentrate on developing effective and long-term strategies to coordinate education systems with current labour market demands.

The ‘Youth Opportunities Initiative’ is a positive example of an EU measure aimed at reducing the number of early school leavers and promoting vocational training. Yet the EU must be more ambitious with its measures. In order to support more initiatives under the new 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework, greater financial support should be allocated to the fight against youth unemployment. It would be a good idea for the European Commission to reallocate funds that have not been disbursed under the 2007-2013 Financial Perspective to youth programmes and support for professional mobility.

 
  
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  Alf Svensson (PPE), in writing. (SV) Today, the European Parliament has voted on the resolution by Ms Berès from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament about the Youth Opportunities Initiative. This resolution is an initial reaction to the Commission’s employment package, which was presented a few weeks ago. Youth unemployment is a very grave problem in Europe. Despite problematic issues, to say the least, with a legal right for every young person to be offered a job, an increase in the regulation of internships and the creation of a European system for certifying and recognising formal and informal learning, I voted in favour of the resolution, because the problem of youth unemployment is so serious that extraordinary measures are needed.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) According to Eurostat, there were more than 5.5 million unemployed young people in the European Union in March 2012, equivalent to an unemployment rate of 22.6%. The most serious cases are found in Greece (51.2% in January 2012) and Spain (51.1%), with Portugal having a youth unemployment rate of 36.2%. I would like to congratulate the European Commission for the Leonardo da Vinci Programme and the Erasmus First Job and Erasmus for All initiatives. However, it is urgent that new measures are adopted to stimulate youth employment so that European young people have the opportunity to demonstrate their academic and professional skills. It is urgent to restructure the EUR 82 billion of the Structural Fund budget announced by the European Commission so as to stimulate jobs, inject credit into the economy and strengthen the single market. It is also important to adopt the new package of measures announced last month by the Commission with the aim of creating more employment opportunities for young people and supporting entrepreneurship. It is important in the next programming period (2014-2020) to allocate a large part of the European Union’s financial resources to supporting the training and education of Europe’s young people, as well as stimulating the development of programmes that facilitate their entry into the labour market.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the European Parliament resolution on the Youth Opportunities Initiative. Young people are suffering labour discrimination as regards their access to and permanence in the labour market as a consequence of their precarious situation and temporary contracts. I believe mobility and the opportunity to study and work in another Member State could be an important step for young people to gain better access to the labour market. Therefore, the expansion of the ‘Erasmus for All’ initiative is necessary and I wish to recommend that a strong emphasis be put in this programme on working experience abroad for students and young people in vocational training, including in the field of entrepreneurship. I deplore the fact that four years into the crisis EUR 82 billion of the Structural Funds budget under the 2007-2013 multiannual financial framework is still to be spent. I urge the Commission to prioritise redeployment of a substantial part of the EUR 82 billion towards projects for young people, and especially towards small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in order to boost decent employment opportunities for young people. The efficient use of these amounts will help increase youth involvement in the economic and social development of Member States.

 
  
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  Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE), in writing. − Youth unemployment is probably, with our high level of debt, one of the biggest problems we have nowadays in Europe. In Catalonia, where I come from, more than 50% of people under 25 are effectively without a job and not studying. This is a disastrous situation for our societies that see how one of the better educated generations in our history has little chances to join the labour force for the foreseeable future. I support thus this resolution, and I want to specially point out the importance of paragraph 19, where the European Parliament calls on the Commission to prioritise the redeployment of the EUR 82 billion still unused from structural funds into fighting youth unemployment. I hope that the Commission takes this idea very much into account.

 
  
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  Niki Tzavela (EFD), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the Youth Opportunities Initiative, in the hope that, this time, the European Commission and the Council will take the action needed to apply all the measures that we keeping passing. European citizens are bored with reports and motions for resolutions that lead nowhere. They want to see action and results. In Greece, youth unemployment is close to 50 %. As I personally have emphasised on numerous occasions, I am delighted that the initiative includes a proposal to promote the labour mobility of young people throughout the EU, so that they can fill vacancies in countries facing skills and labour shortages. A move such as this would be of vital importance to young people and countries in southern Europe.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. − I supported the resolution on measures to tackle youth unemployment as I believe the EU is necessary to overcome this issue. Devising a ‘European Investment Plan’ to create new jobs, reallocating EU structural funds to projects to create them for young people, and introducing a ‘European Youth Guarantee’ to ensure that they are not without jobs for more than four months, are among the proposals I voted in favour of. Along with fellow MEPs I call on the Commission and Council to set up a European Quality Charter on Traineeships, to ensure their educational value and avoid exploitation. We also welcome the Commission’s plan to present a proposal to the Council on the Youth Guarantee and Traineeship Charter instruments by the end of 2012 and strongly urge Member States to approve the proposals by the end of 2012.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. − I supported with my vote this motion for resolution because I believe that its adoption will promote youth access to the labour market and strengthen trainee, internship and apprenticeship status in its 2010 resolution that called upon the European Commission, the Member States, the social partners and other stakeholders.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. - (PT) This resolution comes after Mr Barroso sent letters to the eight Member States with youth unemployment rates significantly higher than the EU average of 22.4%, including Portugal, and ‘Action teams’ were sent to prepare youth employment plans in these Member States. We are not opposed to the proposals for combating youth unemployment: the Youth Guarantee, the redeployment of part of the unspent Structural Funds budget for 2007-2013 to projects for young people and assistance for SMEs, increased co-financing rates for these eight Member States and implementation of the Maternity Leave Directive. However, at the same time, the resolution also supports the deepening of the single market as a means to create jobs, the incorporation of youth unemployment in the European Semester, a more coordinated strategy between national educational and training plans and labour market needs, and investment in labour mobility. We completely reject these measures, which profoundly undermine the creation of jobs with rights. Jobs will only be created by a decisive break with the so-called austerity policies that the majority of this Parliament have supported through economic governance policies, the Stability and Growth Pact, and the Fiscal Treaty.

 
  
  

Report: Edit Bauer (A7-0160/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. - (PT) I voted for this report, taking note of the latest studies that show that women earn about 16.4% less than men doing the same jobs. We are mistaken if with think that inequality has been consigned to history. The truth is that inequality has even been increasing in some Member States. I agree that the European Commission should reinforce the existing legislation by introducing sanctions to advance the achievement of gender equality and that the European Union should, once again, set an example for the rest of the world.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Equal pay for male and female workers for equal work is a key factor in achieving gender equality, as referred to in the European Union primary legislation. I believe the recommendations set out in this resolution can contribute to reducing the gender pay gap, and also to fighting against gender discrimination, professional segregation or undervaluing of women’s work. I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this report because in 2012 it is unacceptable that women across the European Union earn on average 16.4% less than men. It is appalling that despite the significant body of legislation in force for almost 40 years and the actions taken on trying to reduce the gap progress is extremely slow and in some Member States the gap has even widened. The causes of the persistent high gender pay gap are complex and go far beyond the single issue of equal pay for equal work. These causes include social and economic factors, undervaluing of women’s work, inequality in the balancing of work and private life, traditions and stereotypes. For this reason I believe that the implementation of the principle of equal pay for the same work and for work of equal value is crucial to achieving gender equality and to fighting any kind of discrimination against women.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) As the Slovak rapporteur Ms Bauer, a member of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), my own group, has pointed out, ‘we call on the Commission to address the unjust discrimination against women and to make the legislation on diminishing the gender pay gap more effective.’ I am as outraged as she is to note that the gap is still extremely wide. We had to send out a strong signal. The principle of equal pay is already enshrined in a 2006 directive. Injustices of this nature can no longer be tolerated. As Chair of the voluntary organisation Femmes au Centre (Women at the Centre), I would like to make the point that attitudes have to change, in civil society, in politics and in business.

 
  
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  Zoltán Bagó (PPE), in writing. (HU) I supported this report, which seeks to formulate proposals to perfect legislation on bridging the pay gap between men and women. Additionally, the report proposes the creation of a Europe-wide strategy.

The mean gender pay gap is still 16.4% in the European Union, and in some Member States it is rising. The underlying reasons are complex and interconnected.

I agree with the report’s intention to call on the Commission to review the 2006 Directive on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation. I consider the proposed amendments to be comprehensive and thorough.

The proposal that the European Parliament should introduce a ‘Women and Business in Europe’ prize that would be awarded to employers that promote women, support female managers and practise equal pay is a remarkable initiative.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. - (PT) The principle of equal pay for women and men enshrined in the Treaty of Rome in 1957 is still not being fully respected in the European Union. The latest available data indicate that European women receive, on average, about 17% less than men. The causes of the pay gap are complex and multiple: direct and indirect discrimination, social and economic factors, undervaluing of women’s work, inequality in the balancing of work and private life, and traditions and stereotyping. With this in mind, I voted for the report, which stresses that the Commission should revise Directive 2006/54/EC to improve the effectiveness of European legislation, so that equal pay concepts are made clearer and more detailed, awareness is raised among employers, the availability of statistically rigorous data is improved and, finally, job classification is introduced to enable possible pay discrimination to be identified.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Despite the fact that equal pay has been enshrined in European treaties for almost 40 years, this principle is still not being respected. Women earn on average 16% less than men for equal work. This gap would even seem to be widening in some Member States. Furthermore, no sanctions have been taken to date against employers who fail to comply. This is unacceptable. It beggars belief that the Commission and the Member States have not yet been able to resolve this situation, despite the insistence of the European Parliament. It is high time we had genuine pay equality between men and women. In this respect, I firmly support this report, which urges the Commission to reinforce current legislation and provide effective and dissuasive sanctions. Furthermore, I believe that it is crucially important to focus on female employability, particularly in decision-making posts, as that would appear to the key to closing the persistent pay gap between men and women.

 
  
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  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing. (IT) According to the latest available data, women in the European Union earn on average 16.4% less than men, and the gender pay gap in the Member States varies between 4.4% and 27.6%. Therefore, despite the significant body of legislation in force for almost 40 years and the actions taken and resources spent on trying to reduce the gap, progress is extremely slow. Implementation of the principle of equal pay for the same work and for work of equal value is crucial to achieving gender equality.

Directive 2006/54/EC has contributed to the improvement of women’s situation in the labour market but has not profoundly changed the legislation on closing the gender pay gap. Moreover, preliminary studies show that little or no change has been made to Member States’ legislation. Given the complexity of the issue, I believe it requires not only improvement of the current legislation but also a Europe-wide strategy to address the gender pay gap, as well as strong EU leadership in coordinating policies and promoting good practices.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing.(RO) Equality between women and men is a fundamental right and common value of the European Union. It is also a prerequisite for achieving the EU’s objectives of economic growth, employment and social cohesion within the Union. In the last decades, significant progress has been made to ensure equal opportunities for women and men. This is due primarily to legislation concerning equal treatment, to measures aimed at incorporating the equal opportunities principle into all EU policies, and to specific measures aimed at promoting women. However, current data show that women’s hourly earnings are still on average 15% less than men’s, and this figure remains steady. Eliminating the gender pay gap can help create a more equitable and cohesive society. In this way, women are further empowered and their financial independence is enhanced. Moreover, higher remuneration for women during their active lifetime can lead to creating the premises for reducing poverty levels, especially at the time of their retirement.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) The ‘equal work, equal pay’ principle is part of the system of freedoms on which our systems of civil law are founded. The fact that this principle has only been partially implemented requires us to engage in some honest reflection, such as that which underlies Ms Bauer’s report. Gender equality in the workplace takes on strategic importance in view of two key changes that characterise the contemporary scene: on the one hand the push to increase production and productivity as a way out of the crisis, and on the other the need to reform our welfare systems with an emphasis on subsidiarity and the family. On both fronts, appropriate professional recognition for women is a sine qua non for the profound changes that Europe must undertake to respond to today’s challenges. In a moderate and liberal view of society, the task of gradually implementing the necessary changes would be left to society itself. However, the limited implementation of what is a substantial body of legislation (at EU and Member State level), the back-pedalling on pay alignment and the repeated stalling due in part to the effects of the crisis mean that the problem requires special attention and may be resolved not least through stricter, more effective and more binding measures. I therefore announce that I am voting in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the own-initiative report on equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value. The facts are damning: jobs occupied by women are not valued as much in financial, symbolic or economic terms as those occupied by men. Whether due to social attitudes, occupational segregation or fixed stereotypes, the principle of equal pay has been mishandled by the Member States. We need to understand this problem better, fight stereotyping and share best practice if we are to close the pay gap between men and women, which is a matter of urgency. Consequently, if there is no concrete progress on the legislative front, we will not be able to promote the presence of both women and men in all places where decisions are taken or provide better information. That is why I support the idea of creating provision for collective redress and administrative sanctions for non-compliance with the principle of equal pay for men and women for the same work.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the Bauer report on pay gaps between men and women for the same work. I am convinced that this genuine discrimination against women is a question of society’s attitude, and that the European Parliament, as an institution that represents the Union’s citizens, must show its commitment to changing that attitude. I therefore approve of the implementation of the principle of equal pay, which is simply a matter of common sense. I hope that the Commission will table a proposal very shortly along these lines.

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE), in writing. (SV) It is important to fight for equal pay for equal work for men and women. The European Parliament can play an important role in shaping opinions on the pay gap and can highlight the debate, but it is not the right forum for decisions on pay issues. Therefore, I voted against the recommendations to the Commission on the application of the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value, as it is the responsibility of the Member States to decide on these matters.

 
  
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  Emer Costello (S&D), in writing. − I welcome the Parliament resolution on the issue of narrowing the gender pay gap. It is totally unacceptable that women still earn on average 16.4% less than men in the 21st century.

The EU has been a positive experience in the main for women. Directives on equal pay, anti-sex discrimination, and maternity rights have proven effective tools in the struggle for equality.

However, Member States have been slow to tackle the issue of the gender pay gap through their own national legislation. There is therefore an urgent need to oblige Member States to address the issue through legislation, which would include sanctions where action is not being taken to combat these inequalities.

Moreover, the principle of equal pay must apply to part-time work. Women are more often employed in part-time work than men. The gender pay gap for those engaged in part-time work is almost twice as wide as among full-time workers.

I also welcome the Parliament proposals that Member States consider appointing an Equal Pay Champion to monitor and report on the situation in individual Member States. Having an equal pay watchdog will nudge Member States along and ensure that political will for these proposals does not fall by the wayside.

 
  
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  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The pay gap between men and women is still a worrying reality in Europe. Women earn on average 16.4% less than men, for equal work. This is no longer acceptable. Yet, for the last 40 years or so, the European Union has tried in vain to improve matters in this respect. This innovative resolution has provided us with a new and sensible way forwards in our attempts to reduce these inequalities. It proposes to step up penalties for businesses that fail to comply with the principle of pay equality. They could now face the suspension of any subsidies and also administrative penalties. It is up to the Commission to propose innovative texts and to the Member States to find the right solutions to the pay gap between men and women.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) I am delighted that this report has been adopted. Recent studies show that, in the European Union as a whole, women earn on average 16.4% less than men and the pay gap between women and men ranges from 4.4% to 27.6%, depending on the Member State. It is clear that in spite of the significant body of legislation in force for almost 40 years and the actions taken and resources spent to reduce the gap, progress remains extremely slow (the disparity at EU level was 17.7% in 2006, 17.6% in 2007, 17.4% in 2009 and 16.4% in 2010).

In the Bauer report adopted today, Parliament calls on the Member States to implement and enforce Directive 2006/54/EC consistently, to encourage the private and public sectors to play a more active role in closing the gender pay gap, and to enable the social partners to negotiate plans for equality between men and women at company level, as well as at national and European level.

 
  
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  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) Following the adoption of the European Parliament resolution in 2008, Member States failed to do everything in their power to enforce the principle of equal pay for male and female workers as prescribed therein. The resolution allowed for the application of sanctions and penalties against employers who failed to comply with the principle of equal pay. Member States should make use of all means provided for in the resolution to reduce the existing pay gap between male and female workers.

The aim of the Bauer report is to call on the European Commission to review and amend the directive in force in order to enable us to combat discrimination against women as effectively as possible. The report formulates specific proposals for nine different areas, and calls on the Commission to draw up by 15 February 2013 a proposal for an amended directive that takes these recommendations into account and protects the rights of female employees more effectively. The Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) will support the report at the plenary vote.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. - (PT) Being a committed defender of the principle of equality, I have to support initiatives intended to protect the employment rights of women, such as this report advocating the legitimate principle of equal pay for equal work. Not only does fairness demand equal rights for men and women, but the law should also take account of particular needs related to gender, which for women obviously include areas such as maternity protection and reconciling work and family life. That is why, in addition to equal pay, it is critical to demand that women are not systematically penalised in their careers because of their gender or for being mothers.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The report drafted by Edit Bauer presents a set of recommendations to the Commission on the application of the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value. The principle of gender pay equality is established in the Treaty of Rome. Despite more than 40 years of legislation on this issue, the reality shows there is still much to do. The pay gap is a reality that becomes worse with age, particularly following the birth of the first child. This means that the pensions women receive at the end of their active lives are lower than those for men, so increasing the risk of poverty amongst women. As Europe ages and is in need of measures to increase the birth rate, motherhood and maternity leave should not be prejudicial to women. For this reason, there should be absolute respect for the principle of equal pay for equal work. I welcome the adoption of this report, for which I voted, and I hope that the Member States, following the guidance of the Court of Justice of the European Union, will comply with and enforce the legislation so as to reduce this pay gap, which, according to the OECD, stands at 17.1%.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The report concerns what is, regrettably, a continuing problem. Not only is dealing with it long overdue, but the problem is getting worse in many Member States. The report provides data proving there is a gender pay gap in EU countries and proposals for dealing with this inequality, both through EU policies and in national programmes. We regret the fact that several of the amendments we proposed to this report have not been accepted. They would have substantially improved the document, which is undermined by being incomplete in several areas. For example, this report recognises that individual wage negotiations exacerbate pay gaps, but does not advocate collective agreements as an alternative. Worse still, it includes a paragraph proposing that flexicurity is studied to see how it could combat pay inequality, when it is well known that it exacerbates the problem. Despite this, the report contains various proposals with which we agree: increased women’s pay and increased funding for programmes aimed specifically at combating pay inequality, amongst others. That is why we voted in favour.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) According to the latest provisional and incomplete figures, women across the European Union earn on average 16.4% less than men in the EU and the gender pay gap varies between 4.4% and 27.6% in the Member States. Despite the significant body of legislation in force for almost 40 years and the actions taken and resources spent on trying to reduce the gap, progress is extremely slow, and in some Member States the gap has even widened. The causes include direct and indirect discrimination, as well as social and economic factors, occupational and highly segregated labour markets, undervaluing of women’s work, inequality in the balancing of work and private life, and traditions and stereotyping, including the choice of educational paths, in educational guidance, in access to trades and professions, particularly for girls and women, leading them towards typically female professions, which are less well paid. Implementation of the principle of equal pay for the same work and for work of equal value is crucial to achieving gender equality. I think it is essential to take measures to promote professional and career development under conditions of genuine gender equality. This principle forms part of the concept of corporate social responsibility, which is promoted at international and national level and needs to be developed in all the Member States.

 
  
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  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. (HU) I supported Ms Bauer’s report, as it examines a basic principle that had already been laid down in the Treaty of Rome. It is time to make it clear that just as there must be no differentiation between men and women when it comes to fundamental rights, there must also be no discrimination between male and female workers in any regard, and that includes pay. The report tabled before us offers a very comprehensive and detailed supplementation and analysis of the Commission’s efforts, which have been drafted several times but still suffer from considerable deficiencies in respect of problematic issues that remain in this field, such as job classification, social dialogue, or potential sanctions on certain employers. The inclusion of collective redress among the recommendations of the report is particularly important; the report is very progressive in recognising that although not mandatory, this form of legal remedy, which is becoming increasingly present in several areas, and not just economic ones, is recommended for all Member States in order to allow them to enforce fundamental European policies and values in everyday life.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The issue of equal pay for men and women has been on the political agenda for very many years now, but progress has been extremely slow. That is why I voted in favour of this text, which recommends, amongst other things, laying down stricter penalties for employers who practise pay discrimination of this nature. While I am not in favour of imposing penalties right, left and centre, it is true to say that certain employers today do not comply with rules which were laid down in the past. In 2012, it is no longer acceptable for women to earn around 17% less than men.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) One of the EU’s fundamental principles in the prevention of discrimination is ‘equal pay for equal work’. However, full-time women workers in the EU are paid on average 16.4% less than their male counterparts. Furthermore, poverty suffered by women is continuing to increase and worsens as they get older, particularly upon retirement. At the same time, female students achieve a higher pass rate at school than their male counterparts and 59% of university graduates are women. In spite of half a century of legislation to ensure equal pay for women and men for equal work, it is quite clear that these inequalities still exist today. I voted in favour of the report by my fellow member Ms Bauer, as I believe that, to remedy this situation, we must strengthen current legislation. This injustice is an issue of human rights and economics. The following are some of the proposals to combat these inequalities more effectively: impose sanctions by, for example, blocking the award of European funds if certain criteria are violated; develop pay transparency within companies; support those bodies which fight for greater equality and strengthen their legal powers to impose sanctions.

 
  
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  Kent Johansson, Marit Paulsen, Olle Schmidt and Cecilia Wikström (ALDE), in writing. (SV) We welcome the report on the application of the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value (2011/2285(INI)). However, we do not share the view expressed in the report that ‘a decentralised and individualised system of wage setting should therefore be assessed as a rather worrying development’. On the contrary, individual pay reviews and negotiations should be the norm and will allow us to tackle pay discrimination, provided that they form part of an open and transparent process.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) This legislative report aims to request the Commission to review Directive 2006/54/EC on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation. This directive does still not enable us to eliminate many types of discrimination against women. For instance, the gender pay gap at the expense of women still exists. This report recommends improvements in nine areas, including definitions, work evaluation and job classification, assessment by equality bodies, legal remedy, social dialogue and sanctions. This is a balanced report, which I voted for in plenary. It was adopted by a large majority and I welcome that.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) The results of research show that women are paid an average of around 16% less than men in the European Union Member States, and that this gap is closing extraordinarily slowly. Many cultural, ideological, economic and other factors are responsible for this situation. The complexity of the problem and its many causes make it much more difficult to fight against discriminatory practices in the form of lower pay for the same work carried out by women. Nevertheless, given that EU directives and resolutions lay down the objective of equal treatment for workers of both sexes, including as regards pay, I believe that we should step up all measures aimed at improving compliance with the above-mentioned legislation. One way of achieving this would be to introduce workplace pay audits and publish the audit reports. Bodies involved in promoting and monitoring equality should also play a greater role, since they could provide the victims of employers’ discriminatory practices with support in the form of information and advice. I believe that it is particularly important to raise awareness of the problem under discussion, since it is often pushed to one side in public debate. This means that its significance is wrongly underestimated, which is a direct factor in the lack of improvement as regards women’s situation on the labour market.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. (PL) Like the rest of my group, I abstained from voting on the Bauer report. Although the statistics do not lie, and pay-related discrimination is undoubtedly still a problem, I do not subscribe to the idea of adopting legislation at EU level on employment issues such as pay, or on social insurance issues. I believe that the individual Member States should be responsible for decisions on such matters. This does not change the fact that statistics on the pay gap between women and men are alarming, with the gap varying from 1.9% to 27.6% within the EU.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE), in writing. (DE) Despite the fact that there have been EU legal provisions in relation to equality since 1975, the earnings gap between men and women continues to exist. I support the rapporteur’s call on the Commission to change the directive so that legislation can be made more effective and this unjust discrimination against women can be dealt with appropriately. It is necessary to fight for equality; unfair conditions and treatment cannot be simply accepted. This is the only way to guarantee progress in social development.

 
  
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  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE), in writing. (SK) On average, women in the EU earn on average 16.4% less than men, and the differences in the individual Member States range from 4.4% to 27.9%. This is despite the fact that a legislation limiting the difference has been in force for almost 40 years. The causes of the pay gap are complex, and include direct and indirect discrimination, as well as social and economic factors. They also include the undervaluing of women’s work, stereotypes of choice, and inequalities in work-life balances. According to experts, direct and indirect discrimination is responsible for half of the pay gap. The Europe 2020 strategy aims to increase the employment of men and women aged 20 to 64 years to 75%. There must also be a substantial change in the occupancy of women of managerial positions, and a review of existing legislation. I voted for the report.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) Although the statistics we have are only provisional, the picture they paint of gender equality in the workplace is not encouraging. Women in the European Union earn on average 16.4% less than men for the same work or work of equal value. Moreover, the gender pay gap varies between 4.4% and 27.6%, a huge range that is cause for concern. An urgent commitment is therefore needed to reduce this gap in all areas of employment. Bringing down barriers to access, improving selection criteria, fighting gender discrimination and acting at all levels of work in both the private and the public sectors are the ambitious aims set by the report. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Constance Le Grip (PPE) , in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the own-initiative report by Ms Bauer with recommendations to the Commission on application of the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value. Despite legally-binding European legislation which has been in force since 1975, there is still a real pay gap between men and women. The aim of the report is to compile an inventory of recommendations relating to what appears to be best practice by Member States in order to tackle the gender pay gap in all Member States. Although these recommendations are not binding, I am delighted that the report calls on the Commission to examine, in the context of its forthcoming proposal for a horizontal instrument on collective redress, the inclusion of collective redress against violations of the equal pay principle.

 
  
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  Astrid Lulling (PPE), in writing. (FR) Since 1975, we have had an excellent directive on equal treatment for men and women in terms of pay. It was recast in 2006. All women or even men who feel that they are victims of discrimination may have recourse to it, but they also have to dare to do so.

It is not true to say that no sanctions have been taken against employers guilty of discrimination against women under the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’. In Luxembourg, after 1975, hundreds of millions of Luxembourg francs were paid retroactively to women because the State, a public institution or even a commune had not applied the 1975 directive correctly.

According to this report, in the European Union as a whole, women’s pay is on average 16.4% less than that of men and, depending on the Member State, the pay gap between women and men ranges from 4.4% to 27.6%.

What matters is not the average size of the gap, but what women earn compared to men within the same company, or the same sector if there is a collective agreement, for the same work.

We do not need new European legislation. What we need is to apply the legislation that we already have effectively on the ground. What we particularly need is for the social partners who negotiate collective agreements not to disregard this legislation in future.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this report as I strongly believe in equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) Women in the European Union earn on average 16.4% less than men: that is unacceptable. I agree with the rapporteur on the need for strong EU leadership in coordinating policies, promoting good practices and involving the various actors, such as the European social partners and non-governmental organisations, with a view to creating a Europe-wide strategy to address the gender pay gap.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) I believe it is crucial to apply the principle of equal pay for equal work and for work of equal value to achieve gender equality. This is why I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE), in writing. (SK) I congratulate my colleague, Edit Bauer, for preparing this comprehensive report on the application of the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value. Unfortunately, the sad fact arises from it that the principle of equal pay for equal work for men and women exists at the theoretical, rather than the practical, level, as women earn on average 16.4% less than men in the European Union, and the pay gap between women and men in the Member States ranges between 4.4% and 27.9%. Changes for the better, however, happen too slowly, and the pay gap is even widening in some Member States. Moreover, women students, who account for as much as 59% of all university graduates, achieve greater success in their studies, and yet their subsequent salaries fall far below those of their male colleagues. In particular, large differences can be seen in the salaries of highly-qualified women and men. In terms of the competitiveness of the European economy, which must increasingly focus on innovation, this demotivating approach is an unacceptable waste of human potential. I therefore agree with the rapporteur’s view that a labour market free of stereotypes would contribute to an increase in the gross domestic product of the Member States. Eliminating the pay gap between men and women remains a political priority common to all Member States and European institutions, and I therefore support the presented proposal.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − Women across the European Union earn on average 16.4% less than men in the EU, progress is extremely slow and in some Member States the gap has even widened. Everything has to be done to achieve total equality. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The same wage for the same work should be something that we all take for granted. Unfortunately, things are still quite different in reality in some cases. We need to take action to bring this to a stop. Although this report addresses the problem, it unfortunately confuses different facts. After all, the fact that women still earn less than men is generally not so much because they are the victims of general discrimination, than due to the fact that they are far more likely to have part-time jobs and are less likely to hold management positions. The latter point is quite natural, after all a young mother cannot logically dedicate herself as intensively to her career plans as a man. Nature has allocated the roles quite clearly here, something that left-wing ideology or humanitarianism cannot change. If the same wage is demanded for the same work, then we must also accept different wages for different work. Anyone who accepts more responsibility or offers greater performance must be able to earn more, irrespective of whether they are male or female. Because the report completely denies this logic, calling for conscious inequality of treatment of the sexes, in gender mainstreaming for example, I have voted against it.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) The report on new measures to close the gender pay gap, approved by the European Parliament today, is very important. While we are trying to strengthen equal rights to fair pay for work in Europe, research continues to show the tendency whereby on average women in the European Union earn 16.4% less than men, and in some EU Member States this disparity is even increasing. This is unacceptable. Such results also show that the measures applied until now have not been effective enough and we need to seek measures that could really change the situation. It is necessary to ensure the elimination of discrimination that causes the gender pay gap, the fragmentation of the labour market according to gender, as well as under-valuation of the work women do or deep-rooted stereotypes. It is also undoubtedly the case that employers are largely responsible for this situation in the labour market. I therefore believe that as well as the proposal for EU Member States to monitor more closely the implementation of legislation regulating pay for men and women, there is a need for measures such as sanctions, the limitation of public benefits, subsidies or public procurement procedures. These are necessary measures, which would effectively encourage employers to avoid discrimination and evaluate their employees on the basis of their competence and performance rather than their gender.

 
  
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  Tiziano Motti (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for this report because I find it unacceptable that the gender pay gap in the third millennium should still be 17%. It is a common saying that ‘a woman’s day lasts 27 hours’, referring to her ability to juggle home, work, family and, if there is any time left, leisure. It is unacceptable, therefore, that a woman’s pay does not match her tireless efforts. Today we call on the Commission for new measures to reduce the gender pay gap in all EU policies and national programmes, not least through tougher penalties, administrative fines and disqualification from public benefits and subsidies. There is already a directive, adopted in 2008, which experts consider has become a dead letter because of opposition from national legislators, who have not transposed its main principles. According to Eurostat data, the widest pay gaps are found in Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia, while the smallest are in Belgium, Italy, Malta and Slovenia. ‘A trouble shared is not a trouble halved’ but, if I may say so, as an Italian I am pleased that Italy is already on the right road to closing this gap.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) It is a sad fact that today, decades after women’s emancipation, we are still having to fight for gender equality. The aim of the report by Ms Bauer, which I fully support, is to lay the foundations for European legislation that can ensure equal pay for men and women for equal work. The existing laws are not enough to close the gap between men’s and women’s pay, with the result that women’s average wages, although they vary from one country to another, are always lower. To guarantee equality, therefore, we need transparent information about wage levels, monitoring of Member States to ensure the principle of equal pay, and awareness and dissemination of women’s rights in the workplace.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of this report. Unequal pay between men and women is still a fact of life, with recent official Eurostat statistics confirming the pay gap between the two sexes and illustrating that it ranges from 4.4 % to 27.6 % in the Member States, despite the numerous legislative provisions governing this issue. The proposals for a regulation to introduce job evaluation schemes free from gender bias and discrimination and to create a guidebook which companies and the Member States can consult in order to decide the value of work and compare jobs must be put into practice immediately. It is a primary concern of every Member State to apply both new and previous principles of equal pay to male and female workers, if we are to be able to talk of work of equal value before the end of 2012.

 
  
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  Alojz Peterle (PPE), in writing. (SL) I voted in favour of this report because I firmly believe that we need to revise the directive in question, so that we can eliminate as soon as possible the disparities, that is the discrimination, between pay for men and women.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this report on equal pay for male and female workers for equal work because more needs to be done to promote career development under conditions of genuine gender equality.

We need to broaden women’s career prospects and change education patterns to have a positive influence in addressing the gender pay gap. It is important to assess the impact of flexicurity strategies on the gender pay gap and determine how these strategies can help tackle gender discrimination. Member States, workers’ and employers’ groups need to work together to develop an objective job evaluation instrument to help reduce the gender pay gap.

We need to improve and simplify the procedures already in place for defending the principle of equal pay for work of equal value and prohibit any and all forms of gender-based discrimination. Member States must provide for the possibility of collective redress against violations of the equal pay principle and allow individuals and representative bodies to bring cases on behalf on complainants to court. We should continue to closely monitor the situation in individual Member States and keep national parliaments and the European Parliament informed of, continuing gender-based discrimination, and improvements in equal pay.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. (FR) I am in favour. The principle of equal pay was restated in the 2006 Directive and we were told that we had to take new measures. Since then, nothing has happened. The European Parliament already made very precise proposals in 2008, particularly in relation to taking account of bonuses and other benefits, and the transparency of pay scales. Today, we are repeating these proposals. However, this time the ball is in the Commission’s court. Pay gaps are symptomatic of discrimination against women: regardless of their educational level, income or occupational sector, women are paid less well than their male counterparts. Nowadays, female students achieve a higher pass rate at school, but instead of finding this an asset, they continue to play a secondary role in our economies.

 
  
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  Daciana Octavia Sârbu (S&D), in writing. (RO) According to the latest figures, women across the European Union earn on average 16.4% less than men, and the gender pay gap varies between 4.4% and 27.6% in the Member States, despite the resources allocated to reduce this gap and measures adopted in this respect. The current economic crisis has led to increased unemployment rates among women and, in some Member States, to an increased gender pay gap. It is absolutely necessary to take measures that promote professional and career development under conditions of genuine gender equality. We do not want the principle of ‘equal pay for male and female workers for equal work’ to remain a mere principle on paper; therefore, we must encourage enterprises to put it into practice.

 
  
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  Olga Sehnalová (S&D), in writing. (CS) Application of the principle of equal pay for equal work or equivalent work by men and women is absolutely essential to the achievement of gender equality. At present, women are paid 16.4% less than men in the EU for equal work, while in the Czech Republic they are paid up to 25% less. I have therefore voted in favour of Edit Bauer’s proposal. The current version of Directive 2006/54/EC is, in my view, wholly unsatisfactory in this regard, and there has been no fundamental change in the legislation on eliminating the pay gap. We are therefore asking the European Commission to table amendments as quickly as possible, primarily in relation to analysing the current situation with regard to the evaluation and classification of work, strengthening the social dialogue and introducing sanctions for breaches of this principle.

 
  
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  Debora Serracchiani (S&D), in writing. (IT) The recasting of Directive 2006/54/EC on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation has led to changes in the sector, but much remains to be done to reduce the gender pay gap. That is why I voted for the report on equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value. I believe it is right for the European Commission to put pressure on the national governments to adopt measures aimed at reducing the gender gap and also to provide for sanctions in cases of infringements of the principle of equal pay.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) According to the latest figures, women in the European Union earn on average 16.4% less than men, and the gender pay gap in the Member States varies between 4.4% and 27.6%. Despite the significant body of legislation in force for almost 40 years and the actions taken and resources spent on trying to reduce the gap, progress is extremely slow. The causes of the persistent high gender pay gap are complex, multiple and often interrelated, and go far beyond the single issue of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value. Through this vote we will be seeking to speed up the assertion of the principle of equal pay for men and women.

 
  
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  Csaba Sógor (PPE), in writing. (HU) The principle of equal pay for female and male workers and the objective of eliminating the gender pay gap was laid down by the European Union as early as in 1975, in the Equal Pay Directive. Yet it is common knowledge that the problem persists in all Member States to this day, though the pay gap varies between individual countries; some countries are attempting to implement the principle of gender equality in terms of pay through specific measures.

Finland, for example, introduced equality supplements, Sweden adopted a law that requires employees to conduct pay surveys every three years and address instances of inequitable discrimination, Slovenia and Denmark award companies that fill executive positions with women, and so on.

I therefore believe that the EU should also assist in bridging the pay gap by raising awareness of national good practices and by encouraging their mutual application.

 
  
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  Laurence J. A. J. Stassen (NI), in writing. (NL) The Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) fully supports the ‘equal pay for equal work’ principle. Men and women should be paid the same for the same work. What the PVV opposes is the European Commission, an unelected and undemocratic body, interfering with the national policies of Member States. This report wants to impose EU legislation on Member States, even though they are the best equipped to make policy in order to address pay discrimination. The PVV will abstain from the vote for these reasons.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. (FR) Equal pay for men and women for equal work is a goal that remains to be achieved. It is a primary objective of gender equality, in the broad sense of the term, but it cannot be achieved unless all Member States strive their utmost to reach it. The Commission must be in a position to reinforce existing legislation and impose appropriate sanctions against those who do not comply with it. In the EU, women still earn 16.4% less than men. This is an unacceptable gap that must not continue to widen.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Parliament has asked the Commission to review Directive 2006/54/EC in accordance with the recommendations set out in the annex to this resolution by 15 February 2013 at the latest to address aspects of the gender pay gap issue, including: definitions, analysis of the situation and transparency of results, work evaluation and job classification, equality bodies and legal remedy, social dialogue, prevention of discrimination, gender mainstreaming, sanctions, and streamlining of EU regulation and EU policy. Despite the significant body of legislation in force for nearly 40 years and the actions taken and resources employed in an attempt to reduce the gender pay gap, progress has been extremely slow and in some Member States the gap has even widened. Action by the European Union is, therefore, urgently required. I voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the report with recommendations to the Commission on application of the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value. I believe that, according to European legislation and case-law, employers must apply the same evaluation criteria to all staff, remuneration arrangements must be understandable and transparent, and the criteria applied must take into account the nature and type of work and must be free from discriminatory elements. The concept of ‘equal pay for work of equal value’ must not be biased by a gender-stereotyped approach. Societal roles that have hitherto significantly influenced education and employment paths must be broken away from, and education can and must contribute to eradicating gender stereotypes from society. I welcome the initiative to create the ‘Women and Business in Europe’ prize that could be awarded to employers (undertakings, institutions and authorities) which lead the way in promoting women, supporting female managers and practising equal pay. I welcome the Commission’s Equal Pay Day initiative, first established on 5 March 2011 and celebrated for the second time on 2 March 2012.

 
  
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  Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE), in writing. − I cannot understand how, even today, we still have to call for equal pay for equal work for women in the EU. Somehow I feel ashamed to have this report in the agenda today. We all have mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, friends... we know them, we know how they work, how well they work and we know their competitiveness and efficiency, which is even higher than men in many cases. But unfortunately statistics show that women across the European Union earn on average 16.4% less than men in the EU. The difference is higher for unqualified women. I hope this will be the last time that I have to vote for gender equality in this Parliament.

 
  
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  Frank Vanhecke (EFD), in writing. (NL) First of all, as a matter of principle: we are obviously in favour of equal pay for equal work for men and women. To me, it is just as obvious that women, given their essential role in raising children, deserve additional social protection. Full stop.

Nevertheless, I repeat that we must respect the principle of subsidiarity when it comes to employment law and social security and that we should not be siphoning off more and more powers to the European Union. Yet again, this report is full to the brim with proposals that bring nothing new to the table, but which cost handfuls of taxpayer money. Blob, yet another ‘European Prize’, blob new ‘awareness campaigns’ – and this is all for an issue of which our Member States are definitely aware and for which they are already looking for solutions themselves. I have therefore abstained from the vote.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. − Action needs to be taken when it comes to the principle of equal pay for men and women. Progress in this area has been slow: some Member States have even seen the pay gap become wider. Currently, women across the EU earn 16.4% less than men. In addition to this, the gender pay gap can have an adverse effect on women’s pensions and as a result a larger number of women will live in poverty in their old age. Although there is some legislation in place to deal with the issue of equal pay, more must be done to make sure this is implemented effectively by Member States. I support calls for employers to become more transparent regarding wages, bonuses and other perks paid to staff to ensure that people doing the same job get the same deal. It also goes without saying that the concept of the value of work should be based on qualifications and skills, with the aim of promoting equality between men and women.

 
  
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  Kristian Vigenin (S&D), in writing. (BG) Equality is one of the fundamental values which we Socialists in the European Parliament defend. I supported the report on the application of the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value because I believe that men and women must be equal not only before the law, but they must also receive equal pay for equal work in practice. This is specifically the area where one of the most widespread discriminatory practices is evident, and the majority of victims are women – they receive on average 16.4% less than their male colleagues.

It is particularly important that we approved the proposal to impose sanctions on employers failing to comply with already existing legislation, including administrative fines and depriving them of the right to enjoy State subsidies. For the first time, the notion of having a mechanism for monitoring progress in Member States was also supported by a large majority. The pay for the same work must be the same not only irrespective of gender, but also irrespective of national, ethnic or other background. I hope that this report will enable us to bring about equality in deed, and not just in words.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. − The rapporteur underlines the principle that men and women should receive equal pay for equal work. This principle has been enshrined in the Treaties of the European Community since 1957. This report reiterates the recommendations adopted by the European Parliament in 2008. Equal pay for equal work is the concept that individuals doing the same work should receive the same remuneration. In America, for example, the law states that ‘employers may not pay unequal wages to men and women who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility, and that are performed under similar working conditions within the same establishment’. It is most commonly used in a context of sexual discrimination, as equal pay for women. Equal pay does not simply relate to basic salary but also to the full range of benefits, non-salary payments, bonuses and allowances that are paid. I supported this report with my vote because its adoption will be vital to prevent poverty and social exclusion of women of all age groups.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR), in writing. − I, along with the UK Conservative Delegation, voted against this report. My colleagues and I are firmly committed to closing the gender pay gap. We believe that women must receive equal pay for work of equal value and that women must have equal opportunities in the work place. However, I do not believe that this can be achieved through legislation at the EU level. While this is a non-legislative report, it gives the green light to the Commission to legislate on equal pay and to reinforce this legislation with sanctions. Legislation is bad for business and bad for women as it may ultimately harm women’s employment opportunities. We have seen how EU employment legislation can do more harm than good, no matter how noble the intentions may be. Nevertheless the report highlights how severe the problem of unequal pay remains and the EU must work together to act. We must tackle the inequity of the gender pay gap by sharing best practice, not by imposing top-down legislation.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The gender pay gap in the European Union is still too wide, averaging around 18%. Many actions have been taken and considerable resources have been spent in recent years on trying to reduce the gap, but clearly they have not been enough. I therefore voted in favour of the text that was put to the vote today, as it calls for greater transparency in assessing women’s work, inclusion of the gender dimension and appropriate sanctions to induce the Member States to take the necessary steps in the event of infringement of the principle of equal pay.

 
  
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  Artur Zasada (PPE), in writing.(PL) I voted in favour of the Bauer report in today’s vote. As has been the case repeatedly since 2008, when the European Commission launched an information campaign in several European Union Member States on differences in pay for women and men called ‘Close the gender pay gap’, we have the opportunity to read a report on this issue. Once again we are also able to bemoan the inequalities in the labour market.

Women and men are paid different amounts for the same work. We should publicise the fact that, on average, women throughout Europe are paid around 16.4% less than men. The pay gap between women and men is even greater in certain countries. These discrepancies have a significant impact on women’s earnings throughout their professional careers, and on their pensions. Lower pay means lower pensions and a greater risk of poverty for older women. It is to be welcomed that the European Parliament regards eliminating the pay gap between women and men as a political priority.

 
  
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  Janusz Władysław Zemke (S&D), in writing. (PL) It would appear that equal pay for men and women for the same work or for work of the same value should no longer be an issue in Europe. Yet the facts tell a different story. On average, women in the European Union are paid 16.4% less than men. The problem is that the report by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality notes these regrettable facts but does not in return make any concrete proposals to improve the situation.

In my opinion, a particularly important step would be to change work practices for women who have decided to have children. Their working conditions and hours should be much more flexible, and the principle of equal pay for women and men performing the same work should be rigorously observed. A policy of this kind would be in the interest of everyone, not just women, since it embodies the principle of justice, and above all would increase the fertility rate in Europe and prevent the rapid ageing of our continent.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report provides data proving that there is a gender pay gap in EU countries, along with proposals for dealing with this inequality, both through EU policies and in national programmes. Considering that the gender pay gap in the EU is as wide as 16.4%, this report is clearly relevant and very much needed. We proposed various amendments to this report, some of which have not been accepted. Several shortcomings of the report have not been addressed, such as it recognises that individual wage negotiations exacerbate pay gaps but does not advocate collective agreements as an alternative. In addition, it includes a paragraph proposing that flexicurity is studied to see how it could combat pay inequality, when equality will never be achieved by increasing job insecurity. Finally, it is important to say that, despite the many reports on this issue, the so-called austerity policies supported by the majority in Parliament put enormous downward pressure on wages, which can only lead to pay inequality continuing and getting worse.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0248/2012

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this motion for a resolution as I agree that the Commission should indicate what actions have been undertaken to solve the problems regarding the flanking measures which make it difficult for SMEs from the EU to provide services in Switzerland, and to convince the Swiss authorities to repeal regulations which oblige foreign enterprises providing cross-border services to deposit a guarantee of financial probity. These obstacles put in the way of European companies by Switzerland should be reviewed and corrected so that both the European Union and Switzerland can mutually benefit from the European Union internal market.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I believe that recalling the safeguard clause, together with other measures recently adopted by the Swiss authorities, endangers the progress achieved so far in implementing existing bilateral agreements between the European Union and Switzerland, and at the same time engenders an adverse situation which is favourable to neither citizens nor economic agents in certain Member States of the European Union. It is necessary for the Swiss authorities to revise the adopted measures, so as to ensure an auspicious climate for the further development of Switzerland’s participation in the single market. I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution which deplores the recent decision by the Swiss Confederation to introduce quotas on the number of residence permits granted to nationals of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Even though the Swiss Confederation does not belong to the European Union, under the 1999 Agreement there are not normally quantitative restrictions on long-term residence permits granted to EU citizens. I deplore this decision by the Swiss Confederation which prevents the free movement of people from the countries which have most recently joined the European Union.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) I would like to protest against the decision of the Swiss authorities to reintroduce quotas on the issuing of residency permits to EU citizens who are nationals of the eight Member States that joined the EU in 2004 – therefore including the Czech Republic – thus limiting the free movement of persons introduced under the 1999 Agreement with the EU. I consider this decision to be discriminatory and unlawful, as there is no legal basis for any such national differentiation in the existing treaties between Switzerland and the EU. I would therefore like to call on the Swiss authorities to review their decision and withdraw from invoking the safeguard clause. In this context, I would like to ask the Commission to indicate what actions have been undertaken, since the adoption of the European Parliament’s resolution of 7 September 2010, to solve the problems regarding the flanking measures which make it difficult for small and medium-sized enterprises from the EU to provide services in Switzerland, and to convince the Swiss authorities to repeal regulations which oblige foreign enterprises providing cross-border services to deposit a guarantee of financial probity.

 
  
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  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The European Parliament quite rightly adopted this resolution inviting the Swiss authorities to lift quotas on long-term residence permits granted to nationals of certain EU Member States. The Swiss Government’s current policy in this area is at odds with all agreements signed between the Union and the Swiss Confederation. In this respect, it constitutes a clear barrier to the free movement of persons within Europe. The Commission must make immediate contact with the Swiss Federal Council to put an end to this situation, which penalises thousands of European citizens.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The decision taken by Switzerland is contrary to the move towards convergence between it and the European Union and will result in discrimination against Member State nationals that appears to be neither appropriate nor proportional. Switzerland should fully explain this situation and the Union should demand it be brought to an end as quickly as possible. The European Parliament did well to speak out clearly against this measure. Switzerland and the Union have everything to gain from closer relations and from coordinating policies and positions. They have much to lose from entering into pointless disagreements.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The quotas imposed by Switzerland on the number of residence permits granted to nationals from eight EU Member States (Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary) are not only highly questionable, they are also detrimental to its relationship with the EU. The agreement on the free movement of people and goods is the keystone of the operation of the European internal market and has been very beneficial for the Swiss economy, even helping that country to quickly recover from the economic and financial crisis. Switzerland has breached European non-discrimination legislation by adopting these measures and has stopped the families of many European citizens from being reunited. There has been little progress in nearly two years of negotiations and not even the visit of the Swiss President and Foreign Minister to Brussels has brought the resolution of the problem closer since the proposals announced have still not been presented. I voted for this resolution because I object to the discriminatory attitude of the Swiss authorities and call on the Swiss Government to end this behaviour, which puts the concept of European citizenship at risk just as we approach 2013, declared to be ‘The European Year of Citizens’.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We have to support the criticisms the motion for a resolution makes of the recent measures announced by Switzerland. However, we draw attention to the fact that the resolution exploits this complaint to defend the single market, demonstrating that the concern has less to do with issues of democracy and more to do with intensifying the process of European integration.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The Federal Council of the Swiss Confederation decided to introduce quotas on category B residence permits for stays for up to five years granted to nationals of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary, with effect from 1 May 2012. Switzerland has adopted a number of ‘flanking measures’, accompanying the Free Movement of Persons Agreement, which can hinder the provision of services by EU businesses in Switzerland. According to Court of Justice case-law, many of these flanking measures can only be acceptable if they are proportionate and protect a public interest that is not already protected in the state of origin of the service provider concerned. I think it is somewhat unfortunate that the Swiss authorities have decided to reintroduce quotas on the granting of residence permits for EU citizens who are nationals of the eight Member States that acceded to the EU in 2004, thereby restricting the freedom of movement introduced by the Agreement with the EU in 1999. I believe that, instead of introducing restrictive measures into the existing framework, both sides should take the appropriate steps towards the development of a more appropriate, effective and flexible system of cooperation that would further facilitate the free movement of people.

 
  
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  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. (HU) I find the restrictive labour market measure adopted by Switzerland discriminatory, and my colleagues in Parliament also strongly denounce it. Our approach is clear: we believe that agreements cannot be interpreted in such a way as to discriminate on the basis of nationality, and they must be adhered to even in times of economic difficulty. What is more, Switzerland must also not forget that its economy benefits from the presence of EU citizens.

I hope that it will be promptly established that Switzerland cannot apply such selective measures after 30 April 2011, and that this may accelerate the withdrawal of the decision, which has neither legal nor economic basis, and cannot be justified by the number of EU citizens intending to settle down in Switzerland, either.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I support this motion for a resolution, tabled jointly by the main political groups in Parliament, denouncing the measures recently taken by the Swiss Confederation with a view to restricting the granting of residence permits for stays up to five years for nationals of eight EU Member States. This restriction, by introducing differentiation on the basis of nationality, is not only discriminatory but is also illegal under the 1999 Free Trade Agreement between the EU and the Swiss Confederation. Parliament also calls on the Commission to react to the proliferation of flanking measures which impose considerable restrictions on the work of EU SMEs seeking to provide services in Switzerland.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution on Swiss quotas on the number of residence permits granted to nationals of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary because the Federal Council of Switzerland decided to introduce as of 21 May 2012 quantitative limitations on category B residence permits for stays for up to five years granted to nationals of the countries mentioned. In taking this decision, the Swiss authorities recalled a so-called safeguard clause, enshrined in Article 10 of the 1999 Agreement, which allows them to introduce such temporary restrictive measures if, in a given year, the number of residence permits granted exceeds the average of the previous three years by at least 10%. The Swiss authorities declared that such situation had occurred in the case of nationals of the eight EU Member States and Switzerland has therefore adopted a number of so called flanking measures, accompanying the Free Movement of Persons Agreement (FMPA). It is very regrettable that the Swiss authorities decided to re-establish quantitative limitations on the long-term residence permits granted to EU citizens who are nationals of eight of the Member States that joined the EU in 2004, thus limiting the free movement of people as provided for in the 1999 Agreement with the EU. I consider this decision to be discriminatory and unlawful in that it finds no legal basis for any such national differentiation in the existing treaties between Switzerland and the EU. The Swiss authorities are therefore urged to review their decision and withdraw from the invocation of the safeguard clause. The Commission should examine the compatibility of this decision with the FMPA.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) The Swiss Federal Council has decided to introduce, as of 1 May 2012, quantitative restrictions on the number of category B residence permits for stays of up to five years granted to nationals of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. This is a discriminatory, illegal decision, and there is no legal basis to justify the introduction of national differentiation of this nature under current treaties between the Swiss Confederation and the Union. For this reason we deplore the reintroduction of these quantitative restrictions and we urge the Swiss authorities, with this resolution, to review their decision and retract the invocation of the safeguard clause This resolution was adopted by a large majority in plenary and I welcome that.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. (PL) I regard Switzerland’s decision as discriminatory and unlawful. There is no basis in law for the re-introduction of limits on the number of long-term residence permits granted to EU citizens who hold citizenship of one of the eight Member States which joined the EU in 2004, and this would constitute a restriction on the free movement of persons as provided for under the 1999 agreement with the EU. Article 10 of the 1999 agreement, which contains the safeguard clause to which the Swiss authorities have referred, does not provide for any differentiation on the basis of citizenship. The Swiss authorities should immediately refrain from applying this safeguard clause.

 
  
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  Krišjānis Kariņš (PPE), in writing. − (LV) I supported the motion for a resolution on Swiss quotas on the number of residence permits granted, since I consider that Switzerland’s decision to set quotas for specific EU Member States is unlawful and discriminatory. The Agreement on the free movement of persons concluded between Switzerland and the European Union in 1999 (henceforth referred to as ‘the Agreement’) provides for the possibility of imposing quotas on residence permits if, in a given year, the number of residence permits granted exceeds the average of the previous three years by at least 10%. This provision in the Agreement refers to both employed and self-employed persons of the European Community, not to the nationals of specific Member States. Therefore, to impose quotas on eight specific Member States is unacceptable. Similarly, I am opposed to other rules imposed by Switzerland, such as the guarantee of financial probity being demanded of cross-border service providers, and the intention to impose further rules on service providers, as this could significantly hinder the provision of services in Switzerland by EU businesses. Therefore, the EU and Switzerland should resolve the current situation as quickly as possible and together work out a system that would not impede the free movement of persons and services.

 
  
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  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE), in writing. (SK) On 18 April 2012, the Swiss authorities decided to introduce quotas for the number of category B residence permits granted to citizens of eight countries, recalling a safeguard clause enshrined in Article 10 of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons of 1999 and the related provisions of the Protocol to the Agreement of 2004. I support the EP’s critical resolution stating that the action taken by Switzerland against the eight EU Member States is not in accordance with the aforementioned documents. The EP does not consider it justified in any way to distinguish between the 25 EU Member States according to nationality. EP calls on the Commission to clarify whether the current Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons is an adequate and effective tool guaranteeing equal movement and conditions for all EU citizens and to accede to any changes. I therefore support the EP resolution in full.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) Switzerland’s decision to restrict the number of residence permits (for stays of more than five years) and reintroduce restrictions for Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Hungary, is a violation of the legislation allowing free movement for the citizens of EU Member States. This decision could also have a negative impact on businesses (notably small and medium-sized enterprises) in Switzerland. I support the proposal that calls on Switzerland to revise the text adopted by the government, and I think the existence of the safeguard clause that turns the possibility of implementing new restrictions on the EU into a privilege that Switzerland can use at any moment is a matter of concern. The point towards which Switzerland is heading in its relationship with the EU is not advantageous for citizens of any Member State. The decision to disallow German and Austrian taxis to take passengers to Swiss airports is another proof of this country’s abuse, since it is, once more, not compliant with the FMPA (the Free Movement of Persons Agreement).

 
  
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  Marian-Jean Marinescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution on Swiss quotas on the number of residence permits granted to nationals of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary, because it is unacceptable for Switzerland to decide, through its Federal Council, to introduce limitations on residence permits for citizens of these Member States starting from 1 May 2012. This decision is discriminatory and unlawful, since no legal basis for such national differentiation can be identified in the existing treaties between Switzerland and the EU. Switzerland extended free movement rights to Bulgaria and Romania in Protocol II in 2008. This agreement foresees a transition period of up to seven years. In May 2011, the Swiss Government decided to extend the transitional period for Bulgarians and Romanians until 31 May 2014. This is unfortunate, because the extension of the Agreement to Romania and Bulgaria has led to an increased volume of trade with these countries, and has had a positive impact on Switzerland’s economic growth. I think the Swiss authorities should review the decisions adopted with respect to Romania and Bulgaria, as well as to the other eight Member States which joined in 2004, and withdraw from the invocation of the safeguard clause.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this report, which finds it deeply regrettable that the Swiss authorities decided to re-establish quantitative limitations on the long-term residence permits granted to EU citizens who are nationals of eight of the Member States that joined the EU in 2004, thus limiting the free movement of people as provided for in the 1999 agreement with the EU.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) The decision by the Swiss authorities to reintroduce quantitative limitations on the long-term residence permits granted to citizens of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary is both deplorable and worrying. It runs counter to the principle of free movement as set out in the 1999 agreement signed between the Swiss Confederation and the European Union. There must be greater cooperation and flexibility. However, it is hard to justify the reintroduction of quotas in this way.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) In view of all the restrictions that the Swiss authorities have applied to EU citizens or businesses in several fields, EU-Swiss relations and the future evolution of Swiss participation in the single market require a regulatory framework providing economic operators from both sides with a more transparent and predictable environment.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The motion for a resolution on Switzerland’s quotas for the number of residence permits granted to nationals of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary sets out the European Parliament’s condemnation of the Swiss authorities’ decision to cap the number of long-term residence permits granted to EU citizens from eight Member States that joined the EU in 2004, which obstructs the free movement of people provided for in Switzerland’s 1999 agreement with the EU. I do not believe there is a reasonable legal basis for this decision and so I voted in favour of this resolution.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − The European Parliament asks the Commission to indicate what actions have been undertaken, since the adoption of the Parliament resolution of 7 September 2010, to solve the problems regarding the flanking measures which make it difficult for SMEs from the EU to provide services in Switzerland, and to convince the Swiss authorities to repeal regulations which oblige foreign enterprises providing cross-border services to deposit a guarantee of financial probity.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) A series of EU agreements have been concluded with the Swiss Federation, including in relation to freedom of movement. At the beginning of May 2012, the Swiss Parliament invoked a safeguard clause contained in the agreement and decided to introduce a limit on the number of residence permits issued to Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, Slovenian, Slovak, Czech and Hungarian nationals. For its part, the EU argues that the relevant clause is not applicable in this case because it is disproportionate, regarding it as discriminatory and illegal. The decision on residence rights in its territory is, however, one of a state’s most fundamental sovereignty rights. We must put a stop to the dominant tendency encountered in Brussels of trying to impose an almost open door policy. This is a very good example of how the EU is increasingly seeking to meddle in national affairs. I therefore naturally voted against this motion for a resolution.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted against this motion for a resolution, as I do not think it right for the European Union to interfere in a sovereign state’s free choice of the procedure for granting residence permits. On the contrary, the Swiss Confederation has done well to impose quotas and strict rules: had we done that ourselves in the past, perhaps we would not have been ‘invaded’ by thousands of foreign nationals in search of work, which is often in short supply even for Italians. Switzerland is applying a pragmatic method, a far cry from the false do-goodism of Europe, which advocates open borders for all without carefully assessing the consequences. However, I agree with the point in the report that calls on Switzerland to facilitate access to the Swiss market for European small and medium-sized enterprises. In this instance it would be fair to insist on the principle of reciprocity, because if we open up our internal market we should expect similar treatment in return, as in this case there is no major danger of economic or social dumping.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour. It is important for the European Parliament to make its position clear. It is regrettable that this is not the first instance that we have been forced to examine a case of discrimination against workers from these eight EU Member States. Such tendencies, whereby during the economic downturn there are attempts to scapegoat workers from certain EU Member States, are very worrying. The decision by the Federal Council of Switzerland is sadly based on stereotypes, not economic logic. Instead of recognising the contribution these diligent people make to the country’s economy, Switzerland has chosen the path of violating bilateral agreements with the EU and the spirit of cooperation with the EU. It is unacceptable for there to be a category of EU countries whose citizens are considered second-class or inferior. These countries are still called ‘new EU Member States’ or ‘post-Soviet’, but their performance in dealing with the economic crisis, financial discipline and saving policy is exemplary. The Swiss Government has taken the easiest, populistic route, but in reality it is doubtful whether this measure will have the desired effect. This decision causes unlawful differentiation and discrimination towards the citizens of EU Member States, but will not reduce immigration. It is likely that the flow of immigration will simply change direction, labour costs will increase and there will be a fall in supply.

 
  
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  Alojz Peterle (PPE), in writing. (SL) I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution because I want Switzerland’s attitude towards workers from the new Member States to be fully consistent with the commitments and legal framework agreed between the European Union and Switzerland respectively.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − I voted in favour. The motion for a resolution highlights the discriminatory nature of the new quotas and asks for progress on finding horizontal solutions to adapt agreements to the evolving EU acquis.

In particular, it calls for homogeneous interpretation of agreements, transparency of decision-making processes, independent surveillance, and judicial enforcement mechanisms. Given that the provisions of the agreement refer to ‘employed and self-employed persons of the European Community’, it asks whether it is legitimate to distinguish between Member States. The motion also stresses the importance of proper functioning of the internal market and of deepening ties in order to overcome challenges in future relations between the EU and Switzerland in relation to the internal market.

 
  
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  Vilja Savisaar-Toomast (ALDE), in writing. (ET) In today’s vote, I supported the adoption of the resolution on Swiss quotas on the number of residence permits granted to citizens of Estonia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. It is regrettable that Switzerland is once again not fulfilling its obligations, and wishes to participate in the European Union internal market only on the basis of rules that it finds suitable, and without fulfilling its own obligations. Surprisingly, all eight of these countries are Eastern European countries that acceded to the EU in 2004, and such discriminatory behaviour has no justification whatsoever. All of these countries have fulfilled the obligations they undertook in 2004 in the EU and under the Schengen visa system, and have thus earned equal treatment. I hope that the European Union and its institutions will not renege on the promises made to these countries and their citizens, and that their rights will also be guaranteed in Switzerland.

 
  
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  Monika Smolková (S&D), in writing. (SK) I supported the motion for a resolution on the Swiss quotas on the number of residence permits granted to nationals of eight countries, which include my country – Slovakia. It is inconceivable that in this day and age, we in Europe are divided into good and bad, acceptable and unacceptable. It is unacceptable to differentiate according to nationality. Switzerland has signed agreements with the EU and I consider this violation of the rights of EU citizens to be unprecedented. The actions of the Swiss Federal Council after the adoption of this document were also criticised by the Vice-President of the EC, and she called for an immediate response from the Commission. The commissioner is diplomatic when he consoles us by reminding us of the good partnership in which the EU accounts for 25% of trade with Switzerland. Violations of human rights and contractual rights cannot be justified by trade. We do not allow this for other countries, so why is Switzerland an exception? I believe that, after we have adopted our resolution, Switzerland will review its decision and not draw a dividing line between the EU Member States.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Switzerland’s imposition of unilateral quotas on the number of residence permits granted to nationals of eight EU Member States, introduced on 18 April, contravenes the principles of the Schengen acquis by discriminating on the basis of nationality, specifically of Central and Eastern European citizens. The free movement of people is one of the main achievements of the European area and must not be put at risk for purely political reasons. In addition, Article 10, the safeguard clause, which allows quotas to be unilaterally introduced until 2014, should apply to all 27 Member States together. Further, this clause refers only to employed and self-employed persons and can only be applied if, over the course of a year, the number of residence permits granted exceeds the average of the previous three years by at least 10%. As these criteria have not been fully met, the Swiss authorities cannot argue that the safeguard clause should be applied. I believe that Switzerland should urgently review its position and, for once and for all, end discrimination in its immigration policy.

 
  
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  Rafał Trzaskowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) This motion for a resolution shows that the European Parliament can adopt a very coherent position in situations where discrimination is suffered by EU citizens, including Poles in this instance. Our aim is to make it clear that we will not agree to EU citizens receiving unequal treatment by third countries.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) In reality, movement between European Union countries is not uniform and the decision about this policy must respect the sovereignty of each Member State, which obviously presents no obstacle to the required cooperation on this issue at EU level. While defending the sovereignty of each Member State, however, we have to support the criticisms the resolution makes of the recent measures announced by Switzerland. At the same time, we must also criticise the way the resolution exploits this complaint to defend the single market, demonstrating that the concern has less to do with democracy and more to do with intensifying the process of European integration.

 
  
 

(The sitting was suspended at 12.50 and resumed at 15.00)

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: JACEK PROTASIEWICZ
Vice-President

 
Last updated: 7 December 2012Legal notice