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Procedure : 2011/2284(INI)
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Texts tabled :

A7-0167/2012

Debates :

PV 11/06/2012 - 24
CRE 11/06/2012 - 24

Votes :

PV 12/06/2012 - 6.7
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2012)0237

Debates
Tuesday, 12 June 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition

7. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
 

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Ricardo Cortés Lastra (A7-0159/2012)

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Mr President, one in three people in Latin America still live below the poverty line. Twenty-eight million citizens do not know how to read or write and the IMF estimated an average GDP growth rate of four and a half percent for 2011.

I welcome, therefore, Parliament’s report in defining a new development cooperation with Latin America, as it rightly acknowledges that the EU needs to assist the region in eradicating poverty and to help promote sustainable economic and social development. The EU should work with the region to support development and stability by reducing social inequalities. As Latin America is a growing economic region, it is only sensible that the EU should intensify its role to strengthen existing trade and investment relations with the whole of that region, but particularly Brazil and Mexico, which are important strategic partners for investment and trade respectively.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE). (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the EU is the principal donor of development aid and the principal investor in Latin America, as well as being its second largest trade partner. This collaboration has undoubtedly led to positive results for South America, reducing poverty from 44% to 33% in a single decade, and giving the country the prospect, despite the international economic crisis, of 4% growth for 2012. The cycle of growth in Latin America has generated significant social and economic advances, but in many countries this has not, however, coincided with a fair distribution of income or a reduction in social inequalities. It is for this reason that we call on the European Union to further improve the effectiveness of its aid, in order to promote fairer economic and social growth.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE). – Mr President, this report is an important step towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and the fulfilment of international commitments to human rights, food security and environmental sustainability. Development aid has noticeably reduced poverty in Latin American countries. The global economic and financial crisis has impacted Latin America less than other regions. However, this is a region in which 180 million people live below the poverty threshold.

The EU is the principal donor of development aid, the principal investor and the second trading partner of this region. It is essential that we continue to support those countries. The rapporteur requests that the Commission present a coherent strategy for the gradual withdrawal of bilateral aid to the middle income countries and that will reinforce aid to the LICs, the low income countries. However, there is a danger in this. It is absolutely crucial that we get this right. Withdrawing or redirecting aid too soon could undo all the years of assistance and the good that we have done.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). – Mr President, Latin America is key in global policy, security and trade, yet it is still vulnerable to global risk. It must remain a priority.

The eradication of poverty through sustainable development is vital for good governance, democracy and human rights. We must continue to support this region which, despite making progress in eliminating poverty, still has many living below the poverty line. It is also threatened by violence and insecurity, which jeopardise the sustainability of its own development.

Aid has a positive impact on the region but, for long-lasting change, domestic resources must be developed, tax systems made transparent, corruption and fraud must be eliminated and civil society strengthened.

By increasing the well-being of all people, democratic institutions can regain the public’s trust. We must continue the political and human rights dialogues with Latin America, supporting their economic growth and social development.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, although the economic crisis has not affected Latin America as badly as other regions in the world, since this year it is likely to achieve growth of 4.5%, there are still significant discrepancies between the Latin American countries in terms of wealth, and almost 200 million people live below the poverty line. The EU is the leading investor in the region, and the second largest trading partner after the United States. It is therefore very much in our own interest to take measures which support its development. There would appear to be a justified need to strengthen the EU’s presence in this region as a guarantee that it will follow the right path out of the crisis. Cooperating with average-income countries and supporting them will help them to harness their potential to fight poverty and to promote regional development. The key to ensuring prosperity on both continents is trade, and joint measures to support the fight against organised crime are also urgently needed. I support the resolution.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Mr President, I voted in favour of the report. The European Union and Latin America form a strategic partnership, which should also be based on respect for shared values. Our report notes that one of the key goals of the European Union’s external action is to strengthen democratic order and human rights. I welcome the fact that our report calls for one of our priorities to be protection for victims of crime in Latin America. I would like to ask whether this also applies to situations where the perpetrator of the crime is the state apparatus. I have in mind the criminal Castro regime in Cuba, which persecutes its citizens so that they are collectively the victim of one great criminal – the communist regime in Cuba. I voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, I voted in favour of this report on development cooperation with Latin America. I am, however, slightly concerned by the Commission’s current proposals on the development cooperation instrument, which seeks to reduce bilateral aid from the European Union to 11 middle income countries in Latin America and has entirely removed the provision of basic services from its list of priorities for the region.

Improved political and economic relations with Latin America must continue to be a priority for the European Union. We already have association agreements with Central America, Mexico and Chile, and hopefully soon with Colombia and Peru. Continuing to build on these relationships will bring major benefits to all parties concerned.

I welcome the new Pacific Alliance recently signed between Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia, which is a step in the right direction for more regional cooperation, both political and economic, at a time when the Pacto Andino and Mercosur are clearly floundering.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, Latin America is a real presentational problem for committed Euro-integrationists. Here is a region with great cultural and linguistic homogeneity, and there is a political unity of outlook. In every capital city, you will find statues of Simon Bolivar; you will find the same legal system; you find cultural inter-changeability; people watch each other’s abominable soap operas; they are able to understand each other – even the Brazilians can understand South American Spanish although, rather unfairly, the reverse is not true – and yet they remain independent countries, despite the best efforts of the European Union which has been pouring money into regional cooperation and integration projects. It has done so even to the extent of refusing to sign trade and aid deals with individual states, insisting on block-to-block cooperation.

In fact, whereas the EU takes heterogeneity of nations and creates common political institutions, South America is the opposite. Now guess which one is growing; guess which one has the more successful rates at the moment, despite some of the far Left governments there at the moment. There is a lesson there which is that prosperity comes from competition, diversity, variety and pluralism.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Mr President, we all have to be careful when we talk about a region, because in the same way that I am often critical of those who always want a one-size-fits-all solution for Europe, we should be careful of a one-size-fits-all approach for Latin America. We must recognise that there are countries with varying levels of economic development. If you compare the range from Brazil all the way through to Bolivia, you can see the range of development, and Brazil is clearly a power house.

The second thing, which is important for me as a Member of the European Parliament for London, is that we are host to a very large Latin-American community in London and we should be taking advantage of those diaspora communities to encourage more trade links with their home countries. But we should also make sure that we encourage development based on trade issues and investment, and get away from this ideology that we sometimes see here that if a service is not provided by the state, then it should not be provided at all.

We should be encouraging investment in as many services possible – including in education, health and water – to make sure that people are taken out of poverty and live a better life.

 
  
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  Morten Messerschmidt (EFD).(DA) Mr President, this report strikes me as containing numerous sound ideas. It is a fundamentally attractive idea to want to fight poverty in the world, not least in Latin America. All the initiatives listed are naturally of an attractive nature. When reading the report, however, I cannot help but wonder when the shoe will be on the other foot and it will be Latin America giving the EU advice on how to fight poverty.

Over the last ten years, the Mercosur area, the whole of Latin America, has demonstrated a fantastic ability to create growth and development, fight poverty and so on. Over the same period, we in Europe have seen long-term and youth unemployment grow and the recession spread.

The report states that free trade is the way forward. I agree. Maybe we should consider the same thing here in Europe. We could strip away all the over-regulation, the over-bureaucratisation of the European continent. We could abandon the strained ideological struggle to cling on to the existence of the euro irrespective of the fact that it creates poverty out in the real world. I believe that the day is very close at hand when the Latin Americans will be the ones giving Europe the advice.

 
  
  

Report: Marco Scurria (A7-0166/2012)

 
  
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  Silvia Costa (S&D). (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I very much wish to emphasise the importance of this report on volunteering, and also to congratulate the rapporteur, with whom I had an excellent relationship in the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT), especially to ensure that Parliament’s attention on this issue will not wane now that the European Year of Volunteering is over.

We were hoping – as I had asked previously in my role as shadow rapporteur – for a White Paper on volunteering work, which unfortunately has not been forthcoming. That would have provided an overall comparative framework at European level between the various situations, defining a status for European volunteering work and ensuring consistent fiscal treatment. I find that, despite not having had this, this report does fill a void and looks ahead. It is important to want to strengthen cross-border volunteering and remove the barriers that hamper many volunteers from gaining access to this opportunity and also, in particular, for disadvantaged people who need to be able to get help from volunteers. I think it is vital for us to find out how widespread volunteering is in areas such as cultural heritage, the environment and sport, and to make sure that in European tenders, the work of voluntary associations can be considered as a form of cofinancing for the purposes of being eligible for such tenders.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Mr President, I am hugely supportive of volunteering activities, many of which help ensure a better quality of life for my Welsh constituents. As well as having enormous societal value, they also serve to equip individuals volunteering with important skills which can assist them later in becoming more employable.

Whilst I recognise the importance and merits of promoting cross-border voluntary activities across the EU, and indeed the wider world, I was unable to fully support this report in its current format. I believe that initiatives such as promoting youth volunteering in sport or health and increased cooperation with third countries is of great value. However, I have reservations about the references made in the report concerning its funding. I do not agree that national, regional or local authorities should be mandated to ring-fence funding for organisations involved in volunteering activities.

I also cannot support the recommendation for the creation of a new multiannual programme which would effectively guarantee funds to be available for volunteer projects. In these current economically turbulent times, authorities should be free to determine whether they would like to earmark funds for these voluntary groups or to direct them towards other projects nationally.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE). (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, there are about 100 million European citizens working in various voluntary activities. From major sporting competitions to cultural events, the role played by volunteers is critical. We should also not forget the work done by people who come to offer help and solidarity in the event of major natural or environmental disasters. Volunteering is one of the greatest expressions of active citizenship, an essential activity for the development of values such as democracy and equality within the European Union. For this reason, I hope for the development of high-quality domestic and cross-border volunteering and the removal of any barriers that currently exist.

 
  
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  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE). (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in favour of Mr Scurria’s report which, at the end of the European Year of Volunteering, concretely sets out its objectives and strategies. I fully agree with the aim of increasing the importance of volunteering and promoting cross-border regulation at EU level. Cross-border volunteering is an inexhaustible source of learning and personal growth, contributing to the development of an economically and ecologically sustainable social conscience. To this end, I consider three initiatives proposed in the report to be key: the establishment of a centralised portal on volunteering, the creation of a European Humanitarian Aid Corps and the development of a European Skills Passport. I hope, finally, that there will continue to be a strong common will to invest in an area of such importance that promotes the development of common values and helps the integration process.

 
  
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  Lucas Hartong (NI). (NL) Mr President, Mr Scurria from the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) has found the golden key to getting even more people across to Europe and allowing our continent to be flooded with poorly-skilled people with few opportunities, under the guise of ‘volunteers’. In theory, these people should not then be allowed to take the jobs of West Europeans, but this is what will happen in practice.

After all, immigrants from non-Member States are allowed to enter Europe without visas, get free access to our health care system, as well as the right to benefits, work after the end of their volunteering period and, indeed, have the right to form a family. We as citizens are mainly supposed to show solidarity for this influx of ‘intercultural enrichment’ and then this Parliament finds it strange that citizens are increasingly turning away from Europe. Mr President, we, the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) are not surprised in the least. You just keep up the good work; the European élite state will collapse all the sooner.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE).(GA) Mr President, I would like to talk about a particular aspect, the European year for active ageing and solidarity between generations. The purpose of the year is to raise awareness about how much older people do to contribute to society. Efforts are being made to encourage policy makers and stakeholders at all levels to act, in order to create better opportunities for active ageing and to strengthen solidarity between generations.

Active ageing: that means ageing in good health as full members of society, feeling more fulfilled in our jobs, more independent in our everyday lives and more central as citizens. No matter how old we are, we can still play our part in society and enjoy life more. This is the challenge, even when we are very old. I very much welcome this report.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE). (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, volunteering is a key expression of active citizenship in all spheres of social life. There are some 100 million citizens working in this area which, among other things, contributes to European GDP to the tune of 5%. Volunteering is not just an outstanding opportunity for personal development and training and for strengthening civic values and morals, but also leads to the promotion of European policies and the creation of social capital. Young people, especially, should be more involved in volunteering, because this means increasing the training they receive, and thereby opening up a future of job opportunities. I would therefore really like to congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Scurria, for his truly splendid work.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE). (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, with today’s vote, Parliament is finally giving due recognition to volunteering activities, both domestic and cross-border. The European Skills Passport for voluntary service finally certifies that volunteering is a source of learning, not only from an ethical and personal point of view, but also for citizens’ working lives and professional careers. All voluntary organisations will henceforth have the opportunity to get more information on funding and on European projects, and their involvement will be facilitated by reducing costs and administrative burdens.

Promoting volunteering in all its forms is set to become a priority for the EU in the coming years, a tool to combat racism and prejudice and stimulate intercultural and inter-faith dialogue. This is a tribute to the over 100 million citizens across Europe, who are working on a daily basis on behalf of those who are truly in need. These are values – and this we must never forget – that nourish the foundations of the Europe in which we live and which, day after day, we strive to improve.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Mr President, volunteering is one of the most important ways in which citizens can participate in society. Voluntary activities allow us to provide citizens with the opportunity – or rather allow citizens to provide themselves with the opportunity – to help and to make a real difference without necessarily being involved in politics in the strict sense of the term. I would like to take the opportunity of our debate today on voluntary activities to pay a sincere tribute to the thousands of volunteers who are currently working in my country and in Ukraine to ensure that the Euro 2012 football championship runs as smoothly as possible. I would like to thank them for their efforts, which are a fine example of voluntary activities.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, I abstained on this report on recognising and promoting cross-border voluntary activities within the European Union. I do support the idea generally, as I fully believe that volunteering should play an important part in our modern-day society. I am particularly keen to see more volunteering amongst young people in London, which is the region I represent, and this chimes well with Prime Minister David Cameron’s idea of the big society in the United Kingdom.

However, despite backing its premise, there were aspects of the report itself with which I could not agree. While there may be a call for volunteering to be made easier, I do not agree with the idea that it would be made easier with the creation of a centralised EU portal, as proposed by the rapporteur, or with the establishment of a European Skills Passport, which sounds very bureaucratic. Surely this is something as an issue – the issue of volunteering, even cross-border volunteering – which is best left to the Member States and to local and regional governments to organise amongst themselves rather than being regulated at EU level.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). – Mr President, I welcome this report; I certainly think it was an appropriate follow-on from last year, the European Year of Volunteering.

The report contains a number of very important proposals, first of all, that the ILO Manual on the Measurement of Volunteer Work should be adopted by Member States. This would give us good, robust and comparable data across the EU which could be used by policy makers for making decisions. One of the figures which we already have from the UN satellite accounts is that volunteering contributes between 1% and 5% of GDP. That certainly indicates that not only is it a social good, it is an economic good.

Speaking of the economy, it is absolutely essential that, in these times of austerity, there is no adverse impact on voluntary organisations. They need a certain level of assistance and they have shown that they deliver value for money. For every one euro invested in volunteering, there is a return of between EUR 5 and 8. We must also remember that, while volunteer time is unpaid, it is certainly not cost-free.

So two of the proposals in the report – those on matching funding and VAT exemption – deserve our support.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI). – Mr President, whilst I abstained on this report, I want to make it clear that I fully support the many volunteering activities that take place in my own constituency, in my Member State and indeed right across Europe. As a parent, how many times have I been grateful for the time and energy that volunteers – particularly in the uniformed organisations like the Girls’ Brigade, Boys’ Brigade, scouts etc. – have given to the nurturing of my son and daughter?

In my own constituency of Northern Ireland, volunteering underpins much of community life. It is estimated that 280 000 people in Northern Ireland regularly give their time as volunteers. However, in recent times, it has become a matter of concern that many volunteering societies are reporting an increased difficulty in volunteer recruitment.

In response to this, I am delighted that in March 2012, Northern Ireland’s first ever volunteering strategy was launched. It is my hope that through such strategies, we can continue to nurture and grow our volunteering sector, making it easier for people to contribute their time and views to create the kind of society in which we all want to live.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE).(SK) Mr President, the economic crisis has fully exposed the fact that it is impossible to build solidarity between states in the absence of solidarity between the citizens of those states. This deficit must be overcome and cross-border cooperation between volunteers is one way in which this can be achieved. The European Year of Voluntary Activities 2011 showed us that we can do a lot to promote voluntary engagement at both European and national levels. In the period under scrutiny, it is very important to strengthen, in particular, the social dimension of volunteering and the importance of working life skills gained when undertaking voluntary activities. Introducing a European Skills Passport is not an ideal solution, but it can help not only young people find jobs under these difficult crisis conditions. I congratulate the rapporteur, and I voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). (FI) Mr President, I, too, wish to say a few words about this excellent report drafted by Mr Scurria.

Last year, we celebrated the European Year of Volunteering in the European Union, and it is important that there should be a sequel to it. I might say that, as a result of the work done that year, we know that volunteering is very important. Voluntary work has significance at European level, because it affects more than 100 million Europeans, and, as has been said here on many occasions, it also has a positive impact on the European economy. It accounts for approximately 5% of GDP.

It is also good that we are now going to establish a Skills Passport of this kind. I think of it in particular as something which can be used by young people, and even those of more mature years, to record their various skills, skills which could then be used, for example, when there are major catastrophes and natural disasters. We will know where to find the people we need who have the competence and skills. Voluntary work needs to be acknowledged, and it is very important to promote it.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Mr President, it is important that when we consider volunteering, we actually consider the barriers to volunteering and how we overcome those barriers.

Consider the case, in my own constituency, of a lady who ran a Sunday school for 30 years. Suddenly, she was presented with paperwork by a local official. She decided to close that Sunday school down. Consider a friend of mine who was asked to take part in a volunteer football team for local disadvantaged youth. He was sent paperwork of 150 pages. He turned down the opportunity. Consider the example of a friend of mine who was going to set up an amateur dramatic society in his local village, to encourage the local youth to come off the streets. When he looked at the issue of liability insurance and health and safety issues, he decided it was too much and decided not to set up that scheme.

When you talk to the people affected by them, you find that all these barriers originate from EU legislation and are gold-plated by local civil servants. So, rather than talking about all this bureaucracy of setting up a central portal to encourage volunteering, we should be removing the barriers to volunteering, in order to encourage the benefits to society.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR).(ES) Mr President, we know, as do the people of Europe, where the Spanish rescue package will end. We know this for the simple reason that we saw it happen in Greece and Ireland. It will end in deflation, poverty and emigration. The leaders of the European Union, who are increasingly removed from its people, are making them pay a huge price with the sole motive of keeping alive their project, which is now markedly dysfunctional.

Spain is a great country, with a wealth of resources and people with a winning spirit. Unfortunately, it will not prosper until it is allowed to be independent and manage its economy based on its own interests. The tragedy is not simply that Spain has lost its independence. The real tragedy is that you have prolonged its recession. Spain, you deserve better.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD). (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, this report correctly assesses the critical and beneficial aspects of the world of volunteering and puts forward significant solutions for cross-border cooperation. It is essential, given freedom of movement within the EU, that voluntary organisations are able to carry out their activities without bureaucratic, economic and social obstacles. The proposal to assess skills at a European level and to create a coordinating body for volunteering work is positive, as is the need to improve information networks, training and financial assistance.

One issue that is not discussed, but which I regard as worth investigating, is related to the two major classes of volunteers, that is, those who carry out their activities totally free of charge and those who receive an allowance or salary. It would be good to get a breakdown of the skills and fields of intervention for each of these modes of volunteering which, although different, are equally indispensable.

 
  
  

Report: Ivailo Kalfin (A7-0167/2012)

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Mr President, with the increased prevalence of cybersecurity threats, it is prudent for the EU to develop and review its strategy with regard to key infrastructure projects. Cybersecurity attacks have been known to cause complete havoc across the EU and globally, with their tactics becoming more and more sophisticated.

The effects of an attack can be highly damaging and costly, particularly to businesses, which are often subject to thefts of their intellectual property. My government in the UK has recognised this and listed cybersecurity as one of its top priorities. However, these threats do not recognise national borders, and so I support the EU coordinating efforts to counter large-scale attacks.

As the EU is not alone in being subjected to these attacks, it is sensible to develop a global coordinated strategy and response, along with private companies, to counter them. I urge a global perspective as we develop all these strategies to counter future cybersecurity threats.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, from the communications sector to finance, transport, energy, culture or health, the role played by technology is increasingly important. The growing use of the Internet and digital media makes the problem of cybersecurity a priority for the European Union. Information and communication technologies can, in fact, promote economic and social development only if the existing regulations guarantee users’ safety on matters such as data privacy and intellectual property rights. For this reason, only full international cooperation involving all Member States, institutions and the industries in the sector can establish a robust system, capable of introducing measures that can effectively ensure cybersecurity.

 
  
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  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I fully supported the report by Mr Kalfin, whom I thank for the excellent quality of the work he has done, and agreed with the report’s contents. The Internet is a critical infrastructure. Online attacks can cause serious consequences and safety risks for both businesses and private households. For this reason, I agree on the urgency, highlighted in the report, to develop a reactive, flexible framework to prevent cyber attacks. Since virtuality does not have boundaries, it will be necessary to improve international cooperation and regulations in order to make future strategies effective. In this respect, the European External Action Service (EEAS) can and must play a key role in starting a constructive dialogue with third countries, including, where possible, issues regarding Internet security in the scope of its external relations.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE). – Mr President, the role of technology has increasingly expanded in our everyday lives in all of its aspects, from communication to finance and banking, from transportation to energy, from culture and entertainment to health. Nowadays, with the increasing use of the Internet and computer-based technologies, the security of the Internet stands as one of the highest political priorities for the EU and for the rest of the world.

The EU 2020 strategy included the EU digital agenda as a flagship policy, setting ambitious goals for the technological development of the EU. The increasing use and deployment of innovative ICT technologies and Internet services all rely on cybersecurity and resilience. The next steps to be taken have to be to increase the focus on international cooperation beyond the borders of the EU.

The report is a reaction to the Commission’s 2011 communication on critical information infrastructure protection, where Parliament recognised that the Internet is a critical infrastructure that requires not only protection measures but also the prevention of the Internet attacks that have been repeated time and time again. This has to be a priority.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, it could actually be said that the protection of critical information structures on the Internet is an underappreciated threat. For many people, the Internet is simply a place where information is stored and exchanged. That time has long since passed. Since those days, the Internet now hosts flows of money, there is online banking and, ultimately, security systems for economic activity are also controlled via the Internet. That being the case, we have to deal not only with industrial espionage, but also, to some extent, terrorism. Then there are also groups that simply aim to destroy Internet connections and programmes, just because they want to. We need to put the brakes on such activities as, at the end of the day, this is about all our safety. For that reason, this is an absolutely crucial report.

I endorse what was said by those who spoke before me who said that this is a first step. We need cooperation in the European Union in this regard, but ultimately, we have to think globally, too.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I also agree on highlighting the importance of critical information infrastructures. They are important for safety, for economic and commercial trade and, in general terms, for improving European citizens’ quality of life. However, these critical infrastructures are often not properly protected or upgraded. Just think of the level of sophistication that cyber attacks have reached. It is therefore necessary to make a greater effort to protect these critical infrastructures, including through an integrated approach, both at EU and transcontinental level – namely, the European Union and the United States.

In my opinion, it is advisable, among other things, to create and invest in education on cybersecurity. I am thinking, for example, of internships, university courses and training for students. These are, in fact, activities involving specialised information which, as well as protecting critical information infrastructures, give great opportunities for our youth.

 
  
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  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, information and communication technologies (ICTs) can make a significant contribution to the development of the economy and society. However, to make the most of these potentials, first they need to be made secure. The many disputes regarding existing legislation on data privacy and intellectual property rights enforced in the Internet environment should give us much food for thought.

I supported Mr Kalfin’s proposal because I believe that the potential offered by the web, in terms of both innovation and growth for European enterprises, must not be lost, especially in a highly competitive context such as currently exists at global level. Nonetheless, I want to emphasise that I believe in the need for a rapid implementation of the European programme for critical information infrastructure protection (ECIP), including the creation of the Critical Infrastructure Warning Information Network.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, modern technology plays an increasingly ubiquitous role in our daily lives. We use the Internet to carry out many essential tasks in a wide range of areas, from communications and banking to work, culture and entertainment. Internet security is therefore gradually becoming our top security priority. As we learned from the events in Estonia, cyber attacks can paralyse the state as effectively as a military attack or a disaster. We should also be mindful of the fact that any disruption to the functioning of the Internet may result in significant losses and security hazards, which will have an impact on the situation of European citizens and businesses.

I voted in favour of adopting the report. A coordinated policy and cooperation between all Member States are required in order to take the necessary measures to protect critical infrastructure against cyber attacks and develop national emergency cybersecurity plans. I also support the call for harsher criminal penalties to be imposed for cyber attacks.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR). (PL) Mr President, cyber wars and the possibility that rivalries and brutality could move from real life onto the Internet or into cyberspace would have looked like something out of a sci-fi film 10 or 15 years ago, when the Internet was first becoming popular. Today, they seem entirely possible, and not just in the near future but here and now, as we can see, for example, in the recent report stating that the North Korean regime has invested a great deal of money in training its own cyber terrorists who plan various attacks on the West on behalf of the North Korean communist regime. This shows that international cooperation and fighting potential hazards in cyberspace is one of today’s top priorities, and therefore I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, I voted in favour of the Kalfin report on critical infrastructure protection in terms of cybersecurity against cyber attacks. I believe that the Commission’s approach to this is very serious – this is a very serious issue – and it is the right one. This is something which we as the European Union or, for that matter, the Member States alone, do not have the capacity to face; we need international cooperation.

So I fully back the Commission’s conclusion that we must work harder to form a better global understanding of the risk of cybersecurity on the Internet and to share best IT practice on how to reduce the risk. In order to do this, we must improve communications at every level between private and public sectors, between Member States and international organisations, in particular within NATO, and I therefore back the Commission’s calls for the Member States to set up – if they have not done so already – national cyber incidence contingency plans as well as fully operational computer emergency response teams which will, as well as offering heightened protection, be able to share best practice against cyber attacks, including cyberterrorist attacks, with their counterparts in other Member States and also globally, for that matter.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR).(ES) Mr President, we have reached a paradoxical situation in which the Spanish people have to feed the beast that is killing them. That beast is a financial system corrupted by disastrous decisions. In order to solve the inefficiencies of the State, a macro-state has been created with more inefficiencies and more bureaucracy. In order to convey that ‘whoever does, pays’, the people are rescuing banks that involved themselves in practices that were dubious in terms of morality and sustainability.

Europe is forcing its peoples to collectivise the waste committed by incompetent governments and irresponsible institutions. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr President, is there any sense to this? The fact is that this project needs to be rethought because you have lost control of it.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Mr President, we should all be aware of the range of crimes that could qualify as cyber crimes – from those numerous e-mails that I receive from the widows of African dictators offering me millions of pounds in my bank account if I give them my bank account details, all the way through to viruses aimed at particular services or servers to ensure a denial of service, therefore affecting users and perhaps military installations as well.

But we have to be careful, because in this place, whatever the problem, the solution appears to be more Europe and more regulation. My plea is not to use this very important issue of cybersecurity as an excuse to impose disproportionate costs or measures on companies, and also to make sure that we do not breach our very own data protection laws and the rights of our citizens.

But also, at the same time, why are we using this as an excuse to push something called an EU-wide curriculum on information security? Surely this issue is global and we should be pushing for global coordination, not simply more Europe.

 
  
  

Report: Edit Herczog (A7-0168/2012)

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Mr President, with the global population projected to reach nine billion by 2050, global energy demand is forecast to increase by 40% in the shorter period of now until 2030. So competition for scarce fossil fuels will grow accordingly.

Member States within the EU need to develop and coordinate their energy policies with all strategic partners, particularly given the current challenges we are facing in energy security.

Some Member States are becoming increasingly interconnected with respect to their energy supply already, so a coordinated EU approach may help energy security for the EU as a whole. It is similarly important for the EU to look to a number of new countries to supply its energy, in order to avoid reliance on a small number of suppliers. There is a need to strengthen relationships with key strategic partners, including Russia.

Although I strongly support the importance of diversification and infrastructure development to enhance our energy security, I am unable to support the demand for the Commission to be involved in all Member States’ energy negotiations with third countries, regardless of whether its assistance is required or requested. This is clearly against the principle of subsidiarity. I therefore abstained on this report.

 
  
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  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I supported the report by Ms Herczog, who correctly detects the need for a coherent approach to improve regulatory convergence with neighbouring countries. The fact that Europe is a major purchaser of energy on global markets can, in fact, be seen as a weakness. On the other hand, the fact that we are also the biggest importer could be one of our strengths, if only the EU countries were to take a common negotiating position with third countries. I therefore support the approach proposed by our colleague, in particular, with regard to the three objectives underlying the whole strategy; namely, improvement and coordination at EU level, especially in strategic sectors such as research and innovation, the need for increased diversification of energy sources and, finally, the development of sustainable common policies on a global scale.

 
  
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  Francesco De Angelis (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in favour of this report because only a harmonised and coherent approach by Member States will allow for effective promotion of Europe’s energy objectives externally. If we want to achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy and of the road map for a low carbon economy by 2050, we need to improve our cooperation in terms of energy policy today. From this point of view, both increased diversification of EU supply sources and the development of renewable energy sources will be essential. In this context, effective coordination with industry is crucial in order to encourage in concrete terms the investments able to favour economic growth and development and, at the same time, those able to ensure clean and safe energy. The challenge is open and Europe must play the game for sustainable competitiveness in the energy market.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE). – Mr President, this is a welcome, practical and well thought through report, and I voted for it.

As has been said repeatedly today, the EU is a major importer of energy. What the rapporteur wants to do is to coordinate importation of energy in order to enhance our trading power and our influence. European energy policy needs to focus on coordination of energy market rules. I welcome this.

The EU needs to assume its place as a leader in energy, regulation and importation. The report emphasises better coordination, diversification, energy sustainability and strengthened partnerships with supplier countries.

The report suggests regular coordination among Member States, the Commission and the Council via the Strategic Group for International Energy Cooperation. This will undoubtedly increase our bargaining position in the energy market and introduce and promote competition among suppliers.

The report suggests a sharing of information, using an information-sharing tool, to collect and make available relevant data on energy programmes and projects in third countries.

Energy security is absolutely vital to the European project and I welcome the report.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I, too, voted in favour of this own-initiative report, as energy security is a fundamental part of even our prosperity in the European Union. What this is really about is ensuring secure energy supplies through an appropriate energy mix. Those who have already spoken have already rightly pointed out that this is a focus that we have to have. The other focus is to be as efficient as possible with the energy that we use. That is a second key consideration. I would also like to add a third one, which is that we should try, increasingly, to develop our own energy resources, including through scientific progress. Having to import less energy is, by all means, the most secure energy supply that we have.

 
  
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  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, due to climate change, the steady rise in environmental pollution, industrialisation and the increasing population growth, we are facing global energy challenges. I believe it would be useful to strengthen the external dimension of EU energy policy by taking a clear stance on the diversification of energy sources and routes. I voted in favour of Ms Herczog’s proposal because I think it is essential to guarantee security of supply and, at the same time, to support sustainable production and consumption. I firmly hope, however, that in the future, we will have greater coordination between Member States’ policies and joint action and solidarity in the field of external energy policy and energy security. In this respect, we must recognise the importance of transparency and implementation of the internal energy market.

 
  
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  Eduard Kukan (PPE). – Mr President, energy issues need to be a priority for the EU’s cooperation with third countries as well as for its engagement in international organisations. Here, I would like to stress the importance of the Energy Charter as one of the few international energy organisations in the world. I fully support the call to make better use of the Energy Charter as part of the EU’s external policy, especially in such key areas as straight transit investment and dispute resolution.

The Energy Charter’s practical use will grow significantly when not only Russia but also countries like Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and China are full members. Its rules could facilitate energy trade from northern Africa just as much as the diversification of sources of gas supply and the security of existing ones, notably the southern corridor and Ukraine. In order to achieve this, strong support from the EU, its institutions and Member States is indispensable. The report which we adopted today is a very important step in the right direction and that is why I supported it with my vote.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR). (PL) Mr President, over the past decade, energy has become an instrument of foreign policy. This applies in particular to Russia, since the Kremlin’s foreign policy involves subjecting a number of fuel importers, such as my country, Poland, to political blackmail. Russian negotiations on supplies usually centre on issues which have nothing to do with economic and trade relations in the strict sense of the term. It is wrong for Member States with stronger economic positions to be granted significantly more favourable terms in otherwise identical contracts, since it is proof of discrimination against the others.

The solution that has been proposed is for the EU Member States to adopt a jointly coordinated negotiating position, which will allow all of us to be recognised as strong players on the global energy market. We should be speaking with one voice, especially when it comes to relations with Moscow, since this will significantly improve the position of countries such as Poland, which are dependent on Russian supplies. The diversification of energy supplies is in the interests of my country and the EU as a whole. I therefore support all measures in this area, and would like to ask the House to support investments in the Świnoujście gas terminal.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR). (PL) Mr President, it is 10 years since a very senior representative of the Russian secret service said in public that Russia used Gazprom as a political tool. The past 10 years have proven him entirely right. What we are faced with today is a situation where Russia is using negotiations on gas prices to divide the European Union. Better-regarded countries which enjoy friendlier relations with Russia are rewarded with lower prices. If Russia wishes to exert pressure on certain countries, they are charged more for Russian gas. This means firstly that diversifying gas supplies is very important for the European Union’s citizens, but I also support the report’s proposal for the European Commission to automatically be involved in negotiations with third countries. In order to do so, we need European solidarity, so that those countries which are less powerful in the face of the mighty Russians can count on their stronger Western partners, or, in other words, the European Commission.

 
  
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  Julie Girling (ECR). – Mr President, I abstained on this report for one very important reason. I do not accept that Member States should have a mandatory obligation to involve the European Commission in discussions and agreements on energy generation and supply contracts. It may be appropriate bilaterally. That is up to them.

I would like to specifically mention the bilateral memorandum of understanding signed by the UK and Iceland on 30 May 2012. The two parties have pledged, amongst many other things, to exchange information on development of the deep geothermal sector. This is a clean, environmentally sustainable energy source, an area where Iceland is a clear technological leader globally and has much to teach us. The UK is testing this technology and will greatly benefit from this relationship.

The agreement also explores the possibility of developing electricity interconnection between Iceland and the UK. This is two competent sovereign nations working together to mutual benefit. I see no benefit at all in insisting that these arrangements be approved with the dead hand of the Commission.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Mr President, I think we can see a rationale why, in an increasingly interconnected world, it is important that we look at energy cooperation and coordination – with coordination, not coercion, being the key – particularly when some countries are concerned about over-dependence on Russia for energy supplies.

But when we are looking at energy supplies, we should be looking at diversification and barriers to new supplies. Let us look at issues such as more micro-generation; let us look at how we continue to use fossil fuels by using technologies such as carbon capture to make sure it is used in a clean way; let us look at how we can use palm oil stearin and other non-edible by-products of palm oil to ensure better energy diversification; and let us look at the issue of nuclear power.

But let us also look at bureaucracy getting in the way of supplies. This year in May, British Gas Group pulled out of building a liquefied natural gas terminal in Brindisi in South Italy after 11 years and investing EUR 250 million – because of local bureaucracy.

It is that sort of bureaucracy that does more to harm the supply of energy than anything else. Let us get rid of the bureaucracy instead of giving more power to the Commission and negotiating positions to the Commission.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, with the session drawing to its close, may I, on behalf of all the Members, thank you and your staff for your patience in presiding over it.

We have been working our leisurely way through this voting list oblivious, it seems, to what is happening on our doorsteps. Hundreds of millions of euro are being withdrawn from banks around the Mediterranean. It is now a toss up as to whether Cyprus or Italy will be the next in line for a bailout. We have been told up until now by all the euro optimists that Spain was different from all the other countries because it did not have the same debt level. Well, that is no longer true. It has just increased its liabilities by one hundred billion euro. The money is coming from countries which are themselves running deficits. We are giving ourselves a transfusion from one arm to the other.

 
  
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  President. – Mr Hannan, may I interrupt? You have taken explanations of votes upon yourself, but you insist on talking on a different subject. At the very least, democracy and democratic intervention require that we abide by the agenda. Of course you are entitled to explain your vote, but you must keep to the point. I beg you therefore, even in this very last intervention, to keep to the point. Otherwise, these soliloquies are simply pointless. I apologise for the interruption, please continue.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – In that case, Mr President, I will finish by saying that it is crazy for indebted countries to be guaranteeing debts to other indebted countries ...

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Morten Messerschmidt (EFD).(DA) Mr President, this report is absolutely right to point out that more and more countries regard energy policy as power politics. That being the case, it is actually a very sensible idea that we in the EU, in Europe, should do something to ensure that we are independent instead of, as at present, filling the pockets of potential terrorists with oil money in the Middle East or eastern European oligarchs and their ilk.

If, however, you take a look at the policies that are being implemented in the EU from a purely practical point of view, you will find yourself shaking your head. What do you see? You see wind turbines, solar cells, wave power and so on. Everything we have set up, we have set up in order to generate electricity. Yet is it electricity that we import from the Middle East? Or is it electricity that we import from Russia? No, it is not, and that means that our focus is completely wrong. We should be focusing on what we fill our cars with. We have a great many options in terms of biomass, biogas and others, but we are wasting them, as we are so obsessed with filling the entire continent with the wind turbines, solar cells and wave power that we have.

 
  
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  Linda McAvan (S&D). – Mr President, thank you for your patience for all these explanations of vote.

I just want to draw attention to paragraph 55 of the resolution which we voted on today. My group voted against paragraph 55 because, although we feel we should be developing cooperation with other countries to secure our energy future, we believe we should do so in the context of our commitment to tackle global climate change.

Some of what is said in that paragraph we feel – I feel – does not meet that requirement, so I voted against that paragraph and I also voted against the final report.

We need to look at these issues about oil sands, tar sands and shale gas, but we need to do so looking at our commitment to cut our carbon emissions. We cannot ignore that when we are looking at energy cooperation.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Salvador Garriga Polledo (A7-0189/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of the application as it meets all of the eligibility conditions. Accordingly, Spain is entitled to a financial contribution under this regulation. I note that the footwear sector represents 26% of the total employment in the region of Comunidad Valenciana and is therefore an important contributor to the local economy, which is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises in traditional sectors like textiles, shoes and ceramics.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was established to provide additional aid to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns. At Spain’s request, we have decided to help workers in the region of Comunidad Valenciana who have been made redundant in the footwear industry. This support will amount to EUR 1.6 million. It is vital that Europe should support its businesses and citizens during this period of economic crisis and increased international competition.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this document, which will help provide people made redundant in Spain with a financial contribution from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. The financial contribution will be earmarked for 876 workers made redundant from 146 enterprises involved in the manufacture of leather and related products in the region of Valenciana. This contribution is aimed at supporting the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant due to the global financial and economic crisis. As this application fulfils the eligibility criteria, I welcomed mobilisation of the sum of EUR 1 631 565 from the above fund.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of this report as I feel that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund ought to be mobilised to grant financial aid in response to the application submitted by Spain. The aim of this proposal is to support the reintegration into the labour market of the Spanish workers made redundant in the wake of the global economic and financial crisis. The redundancies in the Comunidad Valenciana region were caused by the radical change in the geographical distribution of footwear production and relocation of manufacturing to third countries. As a result of the rise in imports and fall in exports of footwear within the EU, the number of manufacturers in Spain has dropped by 36%. In addition, 188 footwear manufacturers closed down in the Comunidad Valenciana region. Against this backdrop, I wish to highlight the need for the financial assistance offered by the EU to be made available as quickly and efficiently as possible. I should also stress how important it is to improve the vocational training for these workers, as well as to acknowledge their capabilities and skills.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing.(PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was established in 2006 to provide additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade and to assist their reintegration into the labour market.

The scope of the EGF was broadened for applications submitted from 1 May 2009 to include support for workers made redundant as a direct result of the global financial and economic crisis. As we are currently facing a serious financial, economic and social crisis, with the increase in unemployment standing out as one of the main consequences, the EU must respond using all means available to it, particularly as regards supporting people who are out of work.

I therefore supported this report’s position on mobilising EUR 1 631 565 from the EGF for Spain, in order to support 876 workers made redundant from 146 enterprises in the leather and related products industry in the region of Comunidad Valenciana.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – By pouring money into ailing sectors left stranded by over-regulation and exacerbated by the perpetuated single currency crisis, the EU is effectively writing off an important Spanish industry. Given better flexibility to compete with countries able to manufacture at a much cheaper cost, I have no doubt the Spanish footwear market could flourish. It has a global reputation and is an industry Spain should fight to preserve. The EGF will do for unique industries what bail outs have done for Member States’ economies, which is to weaken their resolve and force them to subsume within a wider European ideology. I would rather see Brussels lift the restrictive and destructive regulation placing a stranglehold on business and allow Member States to leave the single currency than continue pumping liquidity from a centrally harvested fund in return for control.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted for this report advocating support for the Commission proposal on mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for 146 enterprises in the footwear manufacturing industry in the Comunidad Valenciana region of Spain. This support package of EUR 1 631 565 is perfectly in line with the objective that was laid down in 2006 when the EGF was established, and expanded in 2009 by a derogation in response to the crisis, which is to provide support for the recurrent cases of workers suffering directly from the effects of globalisation on their companies’ business. I must point out, however, that Parliament regrets the decision of the Council to block the extension of this ‘crisis derogation’ to the end of 2013.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing.(PT) I voted for this report as I agree with the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for the situation in question, since the conditions set out in Article 2(b) of the EGF Regulation are met and, therefore, Spain is entitled to a financial contribution under that regulation.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing.(PT) While regretting the circumstances that gave rise to this request for support for the region of Comunidad Valenciana in Spain, I underline the importance of the EU being equipped with the appropriate legal and budgetary instruments to provide additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade and to assist their reintegration into the labour market, including support for workers made redundant as a direct result of the global financial and economic crisis.

This is the second application to be examined under the 2012 budget and refers to the mobilisation of a total amount of EUR 1.6 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for Spain (876 workers made redundant in the region of Comunidad Valenciana), a sum that I hope will be quickly mobilised. The Spanish authorities are to be praised for acting quickly in this case. They began implementing the measures ahead of the final decision on granting the EGF support for the proposed coordinated package. I now hope that the interaction between the government, the enterprises and the workers seeking employment will be productive, allowing them to overcome this situation as quickly as possible, in a Member State where unemployment has already reached the troubling level of 24.4% of the working population.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this text, which grants the Spanish region of Comunidad Valenciana European financial assistance to support the reintegration into the labour market of 876 workers made redundant in the footwear industry. This decision illustrates the major role that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund can play in supporting industries in crisis. A strong European Union is one that, above all, protects its citizens when they are faced with life’s uncertainties.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing.(PT) A region that is as dependent on the footwear industry as Comunidad Valenciana cannot fail to feel the effects of international competitors, which have been flooding the European market due to low costs and low product prices. Other regions feel the same competitive pressure and, unfortunately, they have also been afflicted by unemployment. In the case of Comunidad Valenciana, 146 enterprises have dismissed 876 employees. Given that the aim of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund is to reduce the negative impacts of this phenomenon, I agree that the fund should be mobilised to help the workers in the Valencian footwear industry better survive this difficult period in their lives and, where possible, to help their reintegration into the labour market.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing.(PT) This report concerns the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), in accordance with point 28 of the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management.

The EGF was established in 2006 to provide additional support for workers made redundant as a result of major structural changes in world trade patterns due to globalisation. Spain submitted an application (EGF/2011/020 ES/Comunidad Valenciana footwear from Spain) on 28 December 2011 to mobilise the EGF in respect of 876 redundancies in 146 enterprises operating in the NACE Revision 2 Division 15 (‘Manufacture of leather and related products’) in the NUTS II region of Comunidad Valenciana (ES52), which was approved by the Commission on 4 May 2012. Given that the application fulfilled the eligibility criteria, and given the rapporteur’s recommendations, I voted for this proposal to mobilise the EGF (for the second time in 2012) to the sum of EUR 1 631 565 in order to promote the recovery of the business structure in that region and help reintegrate the dismissed workers.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) For the second time this year, the European Parliament has approved the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to support the reintegration of workers made redundant into the labour market in the region of Comunidad Valenciana in Spain. This time, the application concerns 876 redundancies, across 146 enterprises operating in the manufacture of leather and related goods. The mobilisation of EUR 1 631 565 was requested. This adds to the dozens of mobilisations requested in December 2011, prior to the termination of the crisis derogation. Once again, we can only regret the Council’s decision not to extend the crisis derogation, which increased the EU cofinancing rate to 65%, beyond 31 December 2011. This means that the countries with the greatest economic and social difficulties – those where the most companies have gone bankrupt and where there is the most unemployment – are those that will least be able to make use of the EGF. We continue to advocate the increase in EGF cofinancing, particularly for countries in a fragile economic state such as Portugal, in order to ensure that the national contribution does not exceed 5% of the total financing planned. At the same time, however, we will, above all, continue to advocate a reversal of the policies that led to the existence of the EGF and which make its mobilisation necessary.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was established to provide additional support for workers made redundant as a result of major structural changes in world trade patterns due to globalisation and to assist them with their reintegration into the labour market. The interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 allows the release of funds from the EGF within the annual ceiling of EUR 500 million. On 28 December 2011, Spain submitted an application for a financial contribution from the EGF, following redundancies in 146 enterprises operating in the NACE Revision 2 Division 15 (‘Manufacture of leather and related products’) in the NUTS II region of Comunidad Valenciana (ES52). This application was supplemented by additional information provided up to 23 February 2012. As the application complies with all specified requirements, the Commission proposes to mobilise an amount of EUR 1 631 565. I firmly believe that it is appropriate to mobilise funds in order to provide a financial contribution for the application submitted by Spain.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is intended to support the reintegration of workers who have lost their jobs due to the globalisation process of world markets. Spain has seen the closure of 188 enterprises operating in the manufacture of leather and related products sector. This is due to the trend of industry in the EU towards relocation of manufacturing sub-processes to lower labour-cost non-EU countries. Considering all this and considering that Spain has confirmed, on the one hand, that the contribution from the EGF does not replace measures which are the responsibility of companies and, on the other hand, that the planned actions – designed to provide support for individual workers – do not receive assistance from other EU financial instruments, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Europe and its institutions are often depicted as being far removed from the citizens and their concerns and needs. Nonetheless, the European Union regularly steps in to assist ‘distressed areas’ or areas ‘experiencing difficulties’, especially through the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). This week, for example, Parliament has approved support amounting to EUR 1.6 million from the EGF for footwear workers in the Comunidad Valenciana region of Spain. The industry is currently being hit by highly aggressive competition from Asian countries and is faced with making numerous redundancies. I voted firmly in favour of adopting this report. Such assistance is both natural and essential: Europe is based on solidarity, so when one of its Member States is in difficulty, it is perfectly normal to come to its aid.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE), in writing. – I am pleased that this funding for redundant workers in the Spanish footwear industry was approved. This funding will assist in the reintegration of the workers into employment. This funding should prove particularly important as 41% of the redundant workers have only a basic education, while 48% are uneducated or early school leavers. Unless these workers are given an opportunity to upskill or retrain, they will add to the already unacceptably high rate of unemployment in Spain. With unemployment at 24.3%, youth unemployment a staggering 51.5%, and GDP set to decrease by 1.8% this year, Spanish workers need assistance to give them opportunities to find employment or set up their own businesses. In this context, I call on the Council to reconsider its approach on EGF and ask the blocking minority to reconsider, to look at the added value of the EGF, and to remember, in particular, the needs of low-skilled and unskilled workers who lose their jobs.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour because the European Union has set up the appropriate legislative and budgetary instruments to provide additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns and to assist their reintegration into the labour market. In this instance, Spain submitted an application to mobilise the EGF in respect of redundancies in 146 enterprises involved in the manufacture of leather and related products in the region of Valenciana. The footwear sector represents 26% of the total employment in the region of Valenciana and is therefore an important contributor to the local economy, which is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises in traditional sectors like textiles, shoes and ceramics. It has been established that this application complies with the requirements for determining the financial contributions as laid down in Article 10 of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006. The Commission, therefore, proposed to mobilise an amount of EUR 1 631 565.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted for the report by Mr Garriga Polledo in plenary; it was adopted by a large majority, with 542 votes in favour. Adoption of this report in plenary means that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) can be mobilised to come to the aid of Spain, which is currently faced with redundancies in the footwear industry. The mobilisation of this fund comes after Spain lodged an application following redundancies in 146 companies.

 
  
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  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE), in writing. – (SK) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was established to provide additional support for workers affected by the consequences of major structural changes in world trade, within an annual limit of EUR 500 million. 11.5% of Spanish footwear companies are based in the Comunidad Valenciana region, with a 26% share of regional employment. Imports of footwear in Spain during the period 2006-2010 increased by 20% and more than 10 000 jobs disappeared. Spain asks for the refinancing of a coordinated package of personalised services to enable training for specific vocational qualifications, support for job search and outplacement, or the setting up of a new business with a prerequisite for the reintegration of 876 workers back into production. I supported this proposal.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this proposal. One of the criteria for the Commission’s assessment was the evaluation of the link between the redundancies and major structural changes in world trade patterns or the financial crisis. The Spanish authorities describe the redundancies in the Comunidad Valenciana region against a background of radical change in the distribution of footwear production. Third countries, specifically China and India, increasingly dominate the world trade in footwear, and countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia continue to increase their share of world production. The Spanish authorities argue that, according to available data, imports of footwear from non-EU countries into the EU increased almost 6% during the period 2006-2009, while EU exports declined by 16.4% during the same period. As a direct consequence of the fall in exports, the number of footwear producers in the EU27 decreased: in 2008, there were only 24 000 producers in the EU while in 2005, there were still 27 125. This reduction (11.58%) in the number of firms had a direct impact on employment: 78 800 direct jobs – representing almost 20% of the total – were lost in the sector during the period 2005-2008.

 
  
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  Iosif Matula (PPE), in writing. (RO) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) provides considerable support to workers made redundant as a result of structural changes taking place in global trade patterns and, more recently, due to the effects of the economic crisis. The main economic problem facing Spain is the alarming unemployment rate. At present, Spain has an unemployment rate of 25%, which means that more than 5 million are unemployed. The hardest hit areas are the industrialised zones which are gradually losing ground in competing with the emerging countries. I feel that the support provided through EGF funding is important, and it can be compared to a lifeline to help those who have been made redundant. However, the affected workers need further considerable support through the European Social Fund programmes whose aim is to retrain and reintegrate them into the labour market. I voted for this report as I feel that the workers made redundant need this support urgently. The areas hit with redundancies should receive special attention from the authorities in order to attract new investments and support for business opportunities. Renewable energy is one area offering potential for creating jobs. I should point out that the workers made redundant in Comunidad Valenciana are currently building the largest solar park in Europe.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report, which utilises the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund in the sum of EUR 1 631 565 to support 876 workers in developing new skills and finding new jobs after being made redundant from the Spanish footwear manufacturing sector.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU is an area of solidarity, and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) falls within this. This support is essential for helping the unemployed and victims of company relocations which occur in the context of globalisation. An increasing number of companies are relocating, taking advantage of cheaper labour costs in various countries, particularly China and India, with a damaging effect on those countries that respect workers’ rights.

The EGF aims to assist workers who are victims of company relocations, and it is essential for helping them find new employment. In the past, the EGF has been used by other EU Member States. Therefore, it is now appropriate to grant this aid to Spain, which has applied for assistance in relation to 876 redundancies, all targeted for assistance, across 146 enterprises operating in NACE Revision 2 Division 15 (Manufacture of leather and related products) in the NUTS II region of Comunidad Valenciana (ES52) in Spain.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – It is known that this is the second application to be examined under the 2012 budget and refers to the mobilisation of a total amount of EUR 1 631 565 from the European Globalisation Fund for Spain. It concerns 876 redundancies, all targeted for assistance, in 146 enterprises operating in the manufacture of leather and related products in the region of Comunidad Valenciana during the nine-month reference period from 25 January 2011 to 25 October 2011.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) As a result of the credit crunch, many small and medium-sized enterprises found themselves in serious difficulties. The business model of the Comunidad Valenciana is characterised by a high proportion of small and medium-sized enterprises, which predominantly specialise in the manufacture of furniture, shoes, textiles, ceramics and toys. These businesses are concentrated on the outskirts of a limited number of municipalities. The redundancies in the Comunidad Valenciana region were caused by a radical market change in the shoe industry, in which third countries – above all, China and India, but also Vietnam and Indonesia – increasingly dominate the global trade in shoes. Generally speaking, in the shoe industry, most menial processes have been offshored to cheaper, non-EU countries, with only the high-value production steps, such as product design and product marketing, remaining in the EU. I voted in favour of the use of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund as all the criteria for its mobilisation are satisfied.

 
  
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  Katarína Neveďalová (S&D), in writing.(SK) The European Union has established the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund in order to provide additional support for workers affected as a result of major structural changes in world trade patterns.

We are now facing an economic crisis of huge proportions. All Member States are trying to mitigate the effects of this crisis on their populations. As an MEP representing the Slovak Republic, I can confirm that in addition to sustainable growth, the promotion of employment is one of the main tools to combat the crisis. I therefore welcome the adoption of the new draft decision to mobilise the EGF for Spain for the purpose of supporting the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant due to the global financial and economic crisis.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) The Commission has adopted a new proposal for the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund in favour of Spain. The money is to be used in order to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant due to the global financial and economic crisis. Specifically, the proposal relates to 876 workers made redundant after working in the manufacture of leather, leather goods and shoes. I very much support measures to support European workers who lose their jobs as a result of the relocation of industries to low wage economies. For this reason, I voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is used to improve the chances of European companies in difficulty or to incentivise their development towards balance in the European market. This application, for which I expressed my favourable vote, concerns 876 redundancies among 146 enterprises operating in the footwear industry in Comunidad Valenciana, for which a total amount of EUR 1 631 565 has been requested. The application has already received the Commission’s official endorsement, and one of its criteria for assessment is the link between the redundancies and the changes brought about by the financial crisis. Spain has classified these redundancies as the result of the reduction in the trade in footwear due to the domination of China and India.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 4 May 2012, the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for Spain, with the aim of supporting the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the global economic and financial crisis. This is the second application to be examined under the 2012 budget and relates to the mobilisation of the total sum of EUR 1 631 565 from the EGF for 876 redundancies, all of which are targeted for assistance, across 146 companies operating in NACE Revision 2 Division 15 (Manufacture of leather and related products) in the NUTS II region of Comunidad Valenciana (ES52), during the nine-month reference period between 25 January and 25 October 2011. Following an analysis of the process by all of the stakeholders, including the Commission, and given that the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs is involved and approves of the mobilisation of the fund for Spain, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Since its creation in 2006, the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) has played an important role in supporting workers affected by structural changes in global trade patterns and those affected by the current global economic and financial crisis. Since this application meets all requirements, in particular, in that there is a direct causal link between the redundancies and the changes in the structure of global trade, swift action must be taken to improve the situation in the Comunidad Valenciana region.

Therefore, I voted in favour of this report because I consider the measures called for to be appropriate and effective in terms of rapidly reintegrating workers into the labour market.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The economic crisis and the increase in competition from third countries has led to a decline in business for European footwear producers. Exports of shoes from the EU fell by 16.4% between 2006 and 2009. While this affects all EU countries, the impact on Spain is more severe than elsewhere: the number of footwear producers dropped by 36% between 2006 and 2010, resulting in over 10 000 job losses. In the Comunidad Valenciana region, which has been hit hard by the recession, the situation of these producers is particularly concerning. In December 2011, Spain requested that the region’s troubled workers be able to benefit from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund’s assistance. Through the adoption of this resolution, we are agreeing to release over EUR 1.6 million in aid. This will enable us to help 876 former employees of 146 footwear producers to seek employment, through measures such as job search assistance, professional training and support for setting up businesses. I lend my support to this initiative, while once again underlining that supporting industrial manufacturing in Europe has never been more necessary.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. On 28 December 2011, Spain submitted an application to the Commission requesting assistance from the EGF for 876 redundancies in 146 enterprises operating in the region of Comunidad Valenciana in Spain. The Spanish authorities describe the redundancies in the Comunidad Valenciana region against a background of radical change in the distribution of footwear production. Third countries, specifically China and India, increasingly dominate the world trade in footwear, and countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia continue to increase their share of world production. The Spanish redundancies also follow the general trend in the footwear industry in the EU towards delocalisation to lower cost non-EU countries of most manufacturing sub-processes, keeping within the EU only the higher-value tasks such as product design and product marketing. The Commission has established that this application complies with the requirements for determining the financial contributions as laid down in Article 10 of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 and, therefore, on 4 May, it adopted a proposal for a decision to mobilise EUR 1 631 565 in favour of Spain.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I believe it is necessary to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in order to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers in the manufacturing sector made redundant due to the global economic crisis. The Spanish authorities explain the redundancies in the Comunidad Valenciana region by the radical change in the distribution of footwear production: the Asian and Chinese giants increasingly dominate the world footwear trade, whilst Vietnam and Indonesia are increasing their share of production.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The scope of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was broadened for applications submitted from 1 May 2009 to include support to workers made redundant as a direct result of the global financial and economic crisis. In this regard, Spain has been experiencing a deep crisis in the footwear industry due to the impact of the imbalance between imports and exports. This imbalance was bigger than in the EU as a whole, thus creating a huge wave of redundancies following the general trend in the footwear industry in the EU towards relocation to non-EU countries of most of the manufacturing sub-processes. Employment in this specific sector has contracted by 31.80% and 188 enterprises have stopped their activity.

With this vote in favour, I am backing the application to the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the global financial and economic crisis, also aimed at ensuring a rapid procedure with due respect to the interinstitutional agreement between Parliament, the Council and the Commission for the adoption of decisions on the mobilisation of the fund.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 established the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) with the aim of supporting workers that lose their jobs due to structural changes in the context of the global economy. Spain has submitted a request for mobilisation of the EGF for 876 workers made redundant across 146 enterprises operating in the manufacture of leather and related goods in the region of Comunidad Valenciana. I support the mobilisation of EUR 1 631 565, intended to help the reintegration of these workers into the labour market. In particular, I support measures for vocational training which seek to create high-added value jobs within the footwear sector, thereby avoiding the loss of expertise acquired in this sector. It is also important to stress that the EGF should not be a substitute for the legal and financial responsibilities of the Spanish firms, but rather an additional support granted by the EU in order to mitigate the social difficulties that these workers will face.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for the application submitted by Spain (Comunidad Valenciana). Spain has requested assistance for 876 redundancies in 146 enterprises involved in the manufacture of leather goods and footwear. The footwear sector represents 26% of the total employment in the Comunidad Valenciana region and is therefore an important contributor to the local economy, which is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises in traditional sectors like textiles, footwear and ceramics. I should point out that the implementation of this application addressing mass redundancies in a large number of SMEs in one sector ought to provide an example in terms of the eligibility of the self-employed and owners of SMEs for EGF support in the future regulation. I should mention again the institutions’ commitment to ensure a rapid, smooth procedure for adopting decisions on the mobilisation of the EGF, thereby offering support to workers who have been made redundant as a result of globalisation and the financial and economic crisis.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – The footwear sector represents 26% of the total employment in the region of Comunidad Valenciana and is therefore an important contributor to the local economy which is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises in traditional sectors like textiles, shoes and ceramics. The adoption of this report will contribute to the additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade and assist in their reintegration into the labour market.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) It is the second time this year that the European Parliament has approved the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), with the aim of supporting the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the economic and financial crisis, in the region of Comunidad Valenciana in Spain. This time, the application concerns 876 redundancies, across 146 enterprises operating in the manufacture of leather and related goods. The mobilisation of EUR 1 631 565 was requested for them. This case in Spain adds to the dozens of mobilisations requested in December 2011, prior to the termination of the crisis derogation. Once again, we can only regret the Council’s decision not to extend the crisis derogation, which increased the rate of EU cofinancing to 65%, beyond 31 December 2011. This means that the countries with the greatest economic and social difficulties – those where the most companies have gone bankrupt and where there is the most unemployment – are those that will least be able to make use of the EGF. We continue to advocate the increase in EGF cofinancing, particularly for countries in a fragile economic state such as Portugal, in order to ensure that the national contribution does not exceed 5% of the total financing planned.

 
  
  

Report: Francesca Balzani (A7-0181/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I support this report, since it is essential that the European Union provides an effective and crucial response to resolve disasters such as this. At this time, when people throughout Europe are facing enormous difficulties due to factors beyond their control, the EU must speak with a single voice and give substance to the solidarity among the peoples of Europe that is manifest in all of the EU Treaties.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) The EU Solidarity Fund was introduced in 2002 and has an annual budget of EUR 1 billion. It has already been activated nearly 50 times. We voted in favour of the draft amending budget for this fund, which is such a great help when natural disasters occur in Europe.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) The flooding in Liguria and Tuscany in Italy in October 2011 hit these regions badly, caused severe damage to residential homes, businesses and agriculture and disrupted major transport links and the essential public infrastructure networks. According to the Italian authorities’ calculations, the total direct damage caused by the flooding amounts to approximately EUR 722.5 million. I welcome the inclusion of EUR 18 061 682 in the 2012 budget of the EU. I believe that in future, the EU must respond more quickly and effectively by allocating assistance to Member States affected by natural catastrophes, and I therefore agree with the review of the principles on the coordination of the distribution and the allocation of the EU Solidarity Fund.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because I support the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund with the aim of remedying the impact of the flooding which hit both Liguria and Tuscany in 2011. I think that the people affected by the relevant natural disasters must receive support and financial aid. Indeed, it should be granted as quickly as possible in order to improve the population’s living conditions. At the same time, I believe that there should be involvement at both local and regional level through the authorities competent in the relevant field. The aim of mobilising funds must also be to coordinate measures, based on a sufficient evaluation of needs. I would like to stress how important and necessary it is to use the Solidarity Fund effectively to prevent natural and social disasters in future. Against this background, the draft amending budget complies with budgetary discipline and sound financial management.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) Draft amending budget No 2/2012 relates to the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF), for an amount of EUR 18 061 682, to mitigate the effects of flooding in Liguria and Tuscany, Italy, in October 2011. The purpose of the draft amending budget is formally to include this budgetary adjustment in the 2012 budget. The quick release of EUSF financial assistance for those affected by natural disasters is of great importance. As such, it is regrettable that the Council has waited eight weeks for the national parliaments’ information. It is for this reason that this amending budget cannot be adopted earlier than the June plenary.

This report, for which I voted, approves the Council’s position on draft amending budget No 2/2012 and calls on all stakeholders in the Member States – i.e. both at local and regional level, and national authorities – to improve needs assessment and coordination for potential future EUSF applications, with the aim of accelerating, as much as possible, the mobilisation of the EUSF.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament resolution because draft amending budget No 2/2012 relates to the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for an amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations to mitigate the effects of flooding in Italy (Liguria and Tuscany) in October 2011. The quick release of financial assistance through the EUSF for those affected by natural catastrophes is very important. The purpose of draft amending budget No 2/2012 is to formally enter this budgetary adjustment into the 2012 budget. Draft amending budget No 2/2012, as presented by the Commission, proposed an increase in the level of payment appropriations, in the absence of any source of possible redeployment of the required payment appropriations at this early stage in the year. The Council also amended the Commission’s proposal following the identification by the latter of possible sources for redeployment of the required amount, as presented in its transfer request DEC 9/2012.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) It is with sincere satisfaction that I express my vote in favour of the report on draft amending budget (DAB) No 2 for the financial year 2012 relating to the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for an amount of EUR 18 061 682 in appropriations following flooding in Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011.

Given the cost in terms of human lives – six victims in the city of Genoa – and the serious damage caused by subsequent flooding in areas that form a primary logistics hub or in areas of recognised environmental and scenic value, this event has deeply affected not only the local populations, but also wider public opinion.

It is indeed sad that, at the time, the Council did not recognise the conditions of urgency necessary to reduce allocation times, under Protocol 1 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), resulting in today’s emergency solution in the face of the risk of further delays in appropriations being paid. In the general interest, it is important to fine tune the system in light of the painful experience that we have faced, in order to mobilise the Solidarity Fund more quickly and efficiently.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – It is vital during events of natural disaster that nations pull together to help one another. However, I refuse the right of the European Union to act as arbiter for such judgments.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) I welcome Parliament’s approval of this draft amending budget presented by the Commission which aims to provide aid to the Italian regions of Liguria and Tuscany which were severely affected by flooding in autumn 2011. With a proposal to mobilise EUR 18 061 682, there has been real cooperation on the EU Solidarity Fund between Parliament, by whom no amendments have been tabled, the Commission and the Council, so that aid can be provided to the two affected regions as quickly as possible.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report as I believe that it is important that financial assistance be released quickly through the EU Solidarity Fund to those affected by natural disasters.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I welcome with satisfaction the adoption of the resolution regarding the Council position on draft amending budget No 2/2012 of the European Union, aimed at mobilising the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) following flooding in Italy (Liguria and Tuscany) in 2011. I believe that this European instrument is of vital importance, precisely because it can be mobilised when major disasters occur, such as the one that struck Liguria and Tuscany in 2011. I support the wish expressed in the resolution to see the quicker release of financial assistance in the future, since currently, red tape and the lack of coordination between the various competent authorities greatly delay the procedure. Such an instrument can, in fact, be really effective and useful if it can quickly respond to the serious problems resulting from disasters.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this decision which grants financial aid to Italy following the widespread damage caused by flooding in the Italian regions of Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011. To achieve this, unused funds from other programmes will be redeployed in order to avoid increasing the 2012 budget and to ensure a reasonable and responsible use of public money. Through the granting of this aid, the EU is therefore setting an example, by proving its capacity to respond to needs and unexpected events, while at the same time guaranteeing a stable budget.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) In addition to unity in diversity, in Europe we must also cultivate unity in adversity, solidarity and cohesion when there is the greatest need for them. The floods that occurred in Italy in October 2011 are a sad reminder of the need to be more united and attentive to our partners’ needs and problems. The need to come to the aid of disaster-stricken regions motivated the setting out of a draft amending budget containing provisions for granting aid to such regions. I voted to provide EU assistance for those who have lost so much and to make changes to the appropriate financial assistance, so that this aid will fit into the EU’s accounts. I deeply regret the devastation which has struck Italy and I hope European solidarity will continue to manifest itself whenever requested, and that it will manifest itself effectively and with commitment.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) In October 2011, the Italian regions of Liguria and Tuscany were devastated by a natural disaster which caused huge floods, the loss of many lives and material damage costing over EUR 722 million. This report, drafted by Ms Balzani, deals with draft amending budget No 2/2012 of the European Union for the financial year 2012, Section III – European Commission, to enable the aforementioned mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for an amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations following the flooding in Italy.

The Commission, having initially taken the view that there was no possible source for redeployment of the required payment appropriations, subsequently suggested mobilising funds resulting from a European Economic Recovery Plan underspend, which the Council approved. I voted for this draft amending budget, although I agree with the rapporteur that this method must be considered a one-off solution, given its urgency.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The draft amending budget that this report approves relates to the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to mitigate the effects of flooding in Liguria and Tuscany, in Italy, in October 2011. An amount of approximately EUR 18 million in commitment and payment appropriations has been established. The purpose of this amending budget is formally to include this budgetary adjustment in the 2012 budget. The report considers ‘of great importance the quick release of financial assistance through the [EUSF] for those affected by natural catastrophes’, and therefore greatly laments ‘that the other branch of the budgetary authority has waited 8 weeks before taking its position’. Unfortunately, such situations have been arising repeatedly. We voted for the report, since we agree that regions affected by natural disasters of this nature and others should be able to count on prompt EUSF support. The flooding that affected the regions of Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011 caused severe damage to homes, businesses and agriculture and the disruption of major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks. As such, it is important that funding for reconstruction and damage cover be made available as soon as possible to support these populations.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the reports by Francesca Balzani. Following flooding in Liguria and Tuscany, Italy applied for assistance to the European Union; the disaster, being of natural origin, falls within the scope of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF). I would remind you that the Solidarity Fund should be mobilised mainly in cases of major natural disasters with serious repercussions on the living conditions, environment or economy of one or more regions of a Member State. The conditions in the affected areas worsened, as always happens in these situations, because of the tragedy of the lives lost, the large number of wounded people, the families who lost everything and the very serious damage to homes, businesses, agriculture, transport and infrastructures. In these regions, the use of the EUR 18 million released by the fund will therefore help our fellow citizens to regain the peace of mind that they have sadly lost. Finally, let me congratulate the volunteers of the Italian Civil Protection Agency who, in those weeks, as well as currently in Emilia and Lombardy and as always in the past, have shown professionalism and humanity.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations relating to flooding in Italy in October 2011. On 25 October 2011, an extreme weather system centred over north-west Italy led to a vast amount of rain falling within just a few hours. Worst affected were the provinces of La Spezia in Liguria and Massa Carrara in Tuscany. The torrential rains caused widespread damage to residential homes, businesses and agriculture and the disruption of major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks. Parts of the disaster zone concern the area of ‘Cinque Terre’, an integral part of the Italian Riviera and a UNESCO World Heritage site. As a result of this disaster, Italy subsequently submitted an application for financial assistance from the European Union Solidarity Fund. As total damage remains below the normal threshold for mobilising the Solidarity Fund, the application was examined on the basis of the criteria for so-called ‘extraordinary regional disasters’. Based on the above, a region can exceptionally benefit from assistance from the fund where that region has been affected by an extraordinary disaster, mainly a natural one, affecting the major part of its population, with serious and lasting repercussions on living conditions and the economic stability of the region. I believe it is reasonable to release financial assistance to areas affected by disasters through the EU Solidarity Fund.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) Since this amending budget request is necessary to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund for the regions of Liguria and Tuscany, damaged by flooding in 2011, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Ashley Fox (ECR), in writing. – Liguria and Tuscany following devastating floods. This fund is crucial for providing funding to areas which have suffered from natural disasters and other serious crises. However, for this fund to be successful in the future, and for funding to be granted promptly, we need to make its application simpler and more transparent. The unnecessary delay caused by the Commission seeking funding through negative reserves was completely avoidable, and this practice is completely unacceptable to me and the majority of Member States. Thankfully, the Danish Presidency presented a compromise in which the necessary funding was found from a reallocation of under-implemented lines in the European Energy Plan. Although this reallocation is a messy solution, it is preferable to using negative reserves. I hope this money will go some way towards relieving the suffering of those affected by the floods.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because draft amending budget No 2/2012 relates to the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for an amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations to mitigate the effects of flooding in Italy (Liguria and Tuscany) in October 2011. The purpose of draft amending budget No 2/2012 is to formally enter this budgetary adjustment into the 2012 budget. I agree that the quick release of financial assistance through the EUSF for those affected by natural catastrophes is very important, and it is therefore very regrettable that, for the specific case addressed by draft amending budget No 2/2012, the other branch of the budgetary authority has waited eight weeks before taking its position, sticking to its interpretation of Protocol 1 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (deadline for national Parliaments’ information). In future, all stakeholders in the Member States, that is, both at local and regional level, and national authorities should improve assessment of needs and the coordination of the potential mobilisation of funds in order to accelerate, as much as possible, the mobilisation of the EUSF.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) The report by my fellow Member, Francesca Balzani, adopted in plenary on 12 June, will enable aid from the EU Solidarity Fund to be mobilised following flooding in Italy in October 2011. I voted in favour of this report in plenary.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) The floods which hit Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011 caused severe damage to residential homes, businesses and agriculture and the disruption of major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks. My own country has been affected by similar disasters on more than one occasion, and I am therefore aware of how much damage may be caused to agriculture. Both farm animals and crops are at risk and if they are lost, then farmers may suffer a major drop in income. Regions hit by floods rarely manage to overcome their problems alone. Funding is needed to ensure that these areas are revitalised as soon as possible. One of the reasons why the European Union was founded was to help those who need it most, to increase levels of prosperity, and to ensure stable development. Allocating money to such assistance under the Solidarity Fund is a very good way of meeting these objectives.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. (PL) Like the rest of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, I voted in favour of adopting the draft amending budget concerning the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide the sum of EUR 18 million in commitment and payment appropriations in connection with the floods which hit Italy in October 2011. The ECR Group was opposed to using the negative reserve provided for in Article 44 of the Financial Regulation, since we believe that this would be detrimental to transparency. I also agree with the rapporteur that this would not help to solve our current problems, but merely put them off to a later date.

 
  
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  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE), in writing. – (SK) Draft amending budget No 2/2012 concerns the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund for an amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations relating to flooding in Italy (Liguria and Tuscany) in October 2011. The total annual budget available for the Solidarity Fund is EUR 1 billion. The flooding resulted in direct damage amounting to EUR 722.4 million, while the amount of aid is EUR 18.1 million, i.e. 2.5% of the total cost of the damage. The financing of this draft amending budget will be realised through the expected under-implementation of the European Economic Recovery Plan. I voted in favour of the draft.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) I am very pleased by the adoption of the draft amending budget No 2/2012 concerning Italy’s application for assistance from the Solidarity Fund, following the flooding that affected Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011. As we know, this caused severe damage to residential homes, businesses and agriculture and the disruption of major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks. Our vote will enable the sums necessary to allow mobilisation of the Solidarity Fund for an amount of EUR 18 061 682 to be entered in the 2012 EU budget. This amount will provide practical assistance for the people and areas devastated by these events.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for draft amending budget (DAB) No 2 for the year 2012 which covers the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund for an amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations relating to flooding in Italy (Liguria and Tuscany) in October 2011.

 
  
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  Iosif Matula (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report drafted by Ms Balzani on the mobilisation of the amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations from the EU Solidarity Fund for Liguria and Tuscany because I feel that we need to focus our attention on the damage caused by disasters and, at the same time, express our solidarity with the affected regions. We should also think about the victims of these disasters, for whom nothing more can be done at present. Therefore, I express my sympathy for the families who have suffered irrecoverable losses.

The European Union must intervene to mitigate the effects of major natural disasters which have caused substantial damage to residential homes, businesses and agriculture, as well as disruption to major transport links and vital public infrastructure networks in the Liguria and Tuscany regions. I would like to highlight how important it is to increase the fund’s ability to respond so that financial assistance is made available to the states affected by disasters much more quickly. Local, regional and national authorities also have a particularly important role to play in this respect. They need to improve the methods for coordinating applications for the Solidarity Fund.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) Having examined the documents and the timeliness of the Italian Government’s application to mobilise the fund, I fully support the Commission’s decision. I voted in favour of allocating over EUR 18 million for the flooding in Liguria and Tuscany in 2011.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report aims to adopt the draft amending budget in order to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to mitigate the effects of the flooding that occurred in Italy in October 2011. An amount of approximately EUR 18 million in commitment and payment appropriations has been established. The adoption of this report will enable the inclusion of this budgetary adjustment in the 2012 budget. I agree with the rapporteur that ‘the quick release of financial assistance through the [EUSF] for those affected by natural catastrophes’ is important.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – This draft amending budget No 2 relates to the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund in Italy for a total amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitments and payments. I support the assistance to those who suffered in natural disasters. However, I would like to ask why, during mass corruption of electricity in Latvia in 2011, the European Parliament was not concerned about assistance?

 
  
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  Katarína Neveďalová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The flooding that hit areas of Liguria and Tuscany in Italy in autumn last year claimed many victims and caused enormous damage to property amounting to a sum in excess of EUR 700 million. In recent years, the Slovak Republic has also been affected by this element on several occasions, and we are therefore fully aware of the seriousness of the situation. I therefore welcome draft amending budget No 2/2012 for the year 2012, which covers the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund for an amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations relating to the flooding in Italy.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) Mobilisation of the Solidarity Fund is, as always, a way for Europe to show its support for the populations affected by natural disasters. The institutions’ closeness to the citizens can also be expressed in this way. I therefore voted in favour of mobilising EUR 18 million in order to rebuild the areas in Liguria and Tuscany hit by flooding in October 2011 in the hope that our commitment can help rebuild basic public infrastructure. In order to unblock the fund, the predetermined amount will be included in the 2012 EU budget.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The draft amending budget for 2012 covers the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund for an amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations relating to flooding in Liguria and Tuscany, in Italy, in October 2011. Seeing that support for this mobilisation was consensual, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Draft amending budget No 2/2012 relates to the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for an amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations to mitigate the effects of flooding in Liguria and Tuscany, Italy, in October 2011.

The quick release of EUSF financial assistance for those affected by natural disasters is of great importance, and therefore it is regrettable that the Council has waited eight weeks before taking its position. In order to speed up EUSF mobilisation, all stakeholders in the Member States and national authorities are urged to improve assessment of needs and coordination for potential future EUSF applications. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. Draft amending budget (DAB) No 2 for the year 2012 covers the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund for an amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations relating to flooding in Italy (Liguria and Tuscany) in October 2011. It was discussed during the 26 March trialogue, when the Council considered that no urgency justifies a derogation to the Council’s interpretation of Protocol 1 TFEU (eight-week deadline for the national parliament’s information). Parliament then recalled its reservation to the possible use of a negative reserve, as was the case in 2011 – a mechanism which makes provision for redeployments later in the year to avoid providing fresh money – especially in the current context of shortage of payments in 2012 and the close to 100% implementation rates in 2011.

 
  
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  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing. (IT) I obviously voted in favour of the report. On the very day of the terrible events that affected Liguria and Tuscany a few months ago, I submitted an urgent question to the European Commission to draw attention to the tragedy, occurring, in particular, in Genoa, the Cinque Terre region and neighbouring areas. I voted with the moving images of the altruistic spirit of the ‘Angels of the Mud’ who helped the affected populations still fresh in my mind, and with the memory of my sorrow for those who, in those dreadful days, lost their lives or a loved one still vivid.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing.(FR) This vote in favour was a straightforward matter. The Commission’s earlier proposal concerning new resources is well in line with the Joint Declaration on payment appropriations adopted in November 2011. This declaration stated that the Council and the European Parliament would take a position on any draft amending budget as quickly as possible in order to avoid any shortfall in payment appropriations.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Since the quick release of EU Solidarity Fund financial assistance for those affected by natural disasters for an amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations is of great importance to mitigate the effects of flooding in Liguria and Tuscany, in Italy, in October 2011, I voted in favour of draft amending budget No 2/2012, which makes this provision.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report on the mobilisation of the Solidarity Fund following the flooding in the Liguria and Tuscany regions in Italy. The application in question concerns the mobilisation of the amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations from the EU Solidarity Fund to mitigate the effects of the flooding which hit Italy (Liguria and Tuscany) in October 2011. I think that it is important to grant financial aid quickly through the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to those affected by natural disasters. I deplore the fact that the other branch of the budgetary authority has waited eight weeks before taking its position, sticking to its interpretation of Protocol 1 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (deadline for national parliaments’ information). I call on all the stakeholders in the Member States, at both local and regional level, as well as national authorities, to improve how needs are assessed and how future potential applications to the EUSF are coordinated, with a view to mobilising this fund as quickly as possible for those affected.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – The rapporteur considers the quick release of financial assistance through the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to be of great importance for those affected by natural catastrophes. They greatly deplore, for the specific case addressed by draft amending budget No 2/2012, that the other branch of the budgetary authority has waited eight weeks before taking its position. The acceleration and mobilisation of the EUSF are in the focus of this report, with which I fully agree. Its adoption will improve the quick release of financial assistance through the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for those affected by natural catastrophes.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) The floods which hit the regions of Liguria and Tuscany in 2011 took an alarming toll: nine people killed and ten missing. The losses suffered by the two regions have been estimated at over EUR 700 million, after over 330 million cubic metres of water fell during a period of less than six hours. This gigantic amount of rainfall and record breaking cloudburst resulted in the rivers in this part of Italy overflowing their banks. The villages and small towns which lie along these rivers were inundated by a tidal wave of water, mud and stones. An amending budget must be adopted for the Solidarity Fund as a result of this tragedy which hit the citizens of Italy. Natural disasters cause huge losses in the regions where they occur. I am aware that this assistance for Italy will not cover all of the losses suffered by the people living there. However, I hope that it will help in some way to reconstruct the infrastructure in these regions and to return to normal life.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The draft amending budget that this report approves relates to the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to mitigate the effects of flooding in Liguria and Tuscany, Italy, in October 2011. An amount of approximately EUR 18 million in commitment and payment appropriations has been established. This amending budget is necessary in order to include this adjustment in the 2012 budget. We voted in favour, as we agree that regions affected by natural disasters of this nature and others should be able to count on prompt EUSF support. The flooding that affected the regions of Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011 caused severe damage to homes, businesses and agriculture, and the disruption of major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks. As such, it is important that funding for reconstruction and damage cover be made available as soon as possible to support these populations.

 
  
  

Report: José Manuel Fernandes (A7-0182/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, as it is essential that the European Union provides an adequate response and that crises such as this one be resolved. At times like these, when the people of Europe are experiencing great difficulties due to factors beyond their control, the EU must speak with one voice and give substance to solidarity between the peoples of Europe, as is clearly set out in all the EU Treaties.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Prior to last month’s deadly earthquakes in Italy, we came to the view that it was crucial to come to the aid of citizens in the regions of Tuscany and Liguria, which were severely affected by flooding. Through the EU Solidarity Fund, the European Union could provide EUR 18 million towards repairing the damage. This fund, introduced in 2002, has an annual budget of EUR 1 billion. It has already been activated nearly 50 times in order to come to the aid of EU citizens affected by disasters.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) The flooding in Liguria and Tuscany in Italy in October 2011 hit these regions badly, caused severe damage to residential homes, businesses and agriculture, and disrupted major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks. According to the Italian authorities’ calculations, the total direct damage caused by the flooding amounts to approximately EUR 722.5 million. I welcomed the allocation of EUR 18 061 682 in financial assistance from the EU Solidarity Fund, which would help mitigate the effects of the flooding. I believe that in future, the EU must respond more quickly and effectively by allocating assistance to Member States affected by natural catastrophes, and I therefore agree with the review of the principles on the coordination of the distribution and the allocation of the EU Solidarity Fund.

 
  
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  Paolo Bartolozzi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The violent flooding which hit Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011 severely damaged infrastructure, transport networks, businesses, agriculture and residential homes. Faced with this disaster, Italy requested mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund, established in 2002 precisely to provide assistance to disaster-stricken regions.

Our vote in favour of Mr Fernandes’s report will enable the fund to be mobilised – for the first time this year – for a total amount of EUR 18 061 682 for the Italian regions concerned. The importance of all this will be two-fold: as practical assistance with physical reconstruction, and as a symbolic gesture that will remind all Europeans of the value of solidarity, one of the cornerstones on which the European Union is founded.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of this report because I welcome the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund in favour of Italy under the present circumstances. I should point out the need to repair the damage caused by the flooding in the Liguria and Tuscany regions in 2011, affecting residential homes, businesses and agriculture. Major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks also need to be improved as a consequence of this. Given that the Solidarity Fund was set up with the aim of expressing solidarity with the population in the areas affected by natural disasters, I think that it is useful and necessary to mobilise it for the specified purpose. Since the damage caused by flooding is an act of nature, thereby coming under the Solidarity Fund’s scope, I believe that assistance should be granted quickly and efficiently. I endorse the importance of this instrument in mitigating and preventing such social disasters.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Union created the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to demonstrate its solidarity with the populations of disaster-hit regions. The EUSF mainly intervenes in major natural disasters with serious repercussions on people’s living conditions, on the environment or on the economy of one or more regions of a Member State, or of a candidate country for EU accession.

Under exceptional circumstances, the EUSF can also be mobilised for disasters considered ‘regional’: when a region is affected by a disaster that causes damage affecting the majority of its population, and which has serious and prolonged repercussions on people’s living conditions and economic stability. Italy has submitted an application for EUSF mobilisation due to the disaster caused by flooding in Liguria and Tuscany, which caused severe damage to homes, businesses in the agricultural sector and disruption to major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks. The application meets all the eligibility criteria set out in Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002. As such, I voted for the mobilisation of EUR 18 061 682 for Italy.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the Fernandes report on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund. Since 2002, the EU Solidarity Fund has come to the aid of victims of natural disasters. It is a concrete expression of European solidarity; it was recently used to help the Italian region of Abruzzo, which was struck by a severe earthquake in 2009. Today, we have once again decided to support Italy, which experienced major floods in Tuscany and Liguria in 2011. Aid of EUR 18 million will therefore be released to help inhabitants, businesses and the affected regions to repair the damage incurred.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I cannot but support and express my satisfaction at Parliament’s decision today to allocate EUR 18 million to Tuscany and Liguria. I would, however, like to stress that the timing of this action is unacceptable. The eight months that have passed since Italy’s application point to the slowness and inefficacy of an instrument – the Solidarity Fund – which must be reformed as soon as possible.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament report because the Commission proposes to mobilise the European Solidarity Fund in favour of Italy on the basis of point 26 of the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006. This agreement allows mobilisation of the fund within the annual ceiling of EUR 1 billion. This is the first proposal to mobilise the fund in 2012. Alongside this proposal to mobilise the Solidarity Fund in favour of Italy, the Commission has presented a draft amending budget in order to enter in the 2012 budget the corresponding commitment and payment appropriations. Italy applied for assistance from the fund following the flooding that affected the regions of Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011, causing severe damage to residential homes, businesses and agriculture and the disruption of major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks. The disaster has been qualified as of natural origin and therefore falls within the field of application of the Solidarity Fund. The Commission has confirmed that this application complies with the eligibility criteria and has proposed mobilising the EU Solidarity Fund for commitment and payment appropriations.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – It is vital during events of natural disaster that nations pull together to help one another. However, I refuse the right of the European Union to act as arbiter for such judgments.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) The adoption of the Fernandes report is a very good thing in that it will allow the quickest possible repair of the significant damage which occurred in the Italian regions of Liguria and Tuscany during the violent floods in October 2011. This report is in favour of the Commission’s proposal to mobilise EUR 18 061 682 from the EU Solidarity Fund. This interinstitutional agreement is a very good example of solidarity between Member States and once again proves the power of mobilising EU institutions to take concrete action in the interests of EU citizens.

 
  
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  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing. (IT) I am pleased that the European Parliament has expressed its support, as I did, for the report on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund in favour of the regions of Liguria and Tuscany, prepared by Mr Fernandes.

The flooding that affected these regions in October 2011, causing severe damage to residential homes, businesses, tourism and agriculture and the disruption of transport links and essential public infrastructure networks, caused total direct damage amounting to EUR 722.5 million (as estimated by the Italian authorities). Mobilisation of the EUSF for an amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations will make it possible to cover at least part of the costs of the reconstruction of the affected areas and their economic and industrial recovery, especially in order to restore primary infrastructure, including water, gas and electricity supplies.

Although I am happy with this positive outcome which responds to a specific request from areas hit by natural disasters, in the future, I would like to see increasing speed in the assessment and consequent mobilisation of funds for areas in difficulty. Especially at a time of deep economic and financial crisis, moving forward, it must be possible to complete the actual payment of the funds in a shorter timeframe.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour, as I support the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund in response to this situation.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) There has been a dramatic increase in the number and seriousness of natural disasters across the world, such as forest fires, floods and landslides, earthquakes, etc. Unfortunately, the EU and its Member States are no strangers to these kinds of disasters. As such, given the increasing pace of climate change and the increased probability of more frequent and more intense natural disasters, a great deal of solidarity is needed, in particular, as regards aid operations, as well as the rapid mobilisation of the instruments that the EU has at its disposal.

The EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) grants assistance to populations from regions affected by disasters up to a maximum annual limit of EUR 1 billion. Following the flooding that affected the regions of Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011, Italy submitted an application for assistance. The damage caused by this natural disaster amounted to approximately EUR 722.5 million, affecting homes, businesses, farms, transport links, communications and public infrastructure networks. As there are no doubts that this request is eligible, I support the decision to mobilise the sum of EUR 18 061 682 from the EUSF.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) I totally concur with the Commission’s proposal to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund in favour of Italy following the flooding which affected the regions of Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011, causing severe damage to residential homes, businesses and agriculture, and disruption to major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) was created, following the devastating flooding which struck Central Europe in the summer of 2002, as a vehicle for expressing solidarity with the people of EU regions affected by large-scale natural disasters. It has already been activated 48 times, with approximately EUR 2.5 billion having been granted in aid.

The torrential rain and subsequent flooding which affected northern Italy last October, causing severe damage to the coastal regions of Liguria and Tuscany, left us perplexed and apprehensive due to their extreme violence and destructive power. As a Union of Member States, and making use of the instruments in our possession to help people affected by natural disasters, it seems clear to me that the EUSF should be mobilised to alleviate the suffering of affected populations. Finally, I should like to show my appreciation and recognition for the excellent and rapid work on drafting this report by the rapporteur, my colleague Mr Fernandes.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this decision, which will enable the EU to provide financial aid to Italy, following the widespread damage caused by flooding which affected the Italian regions of Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011. These funds will, in particular, enable housing to be rebuilt. By reacting quickly following natural disasters, the European Union is thus demonstrating the solidarity of all of its citizens vis-à-vis the afflicted populations.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of the motion for a European Parliament resolution on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund because this represents urgent action to enable delivery of EU aid to the Italian regions of Liguria and Tuscany, heavily affected by last year’s tremendous floods. The total estimated damages reach the sum of EUR 722 467 000, and the EU action will provide an important contribution of some EUR 18 061 682. I am very much looking forward to seeing the full restoration of the situation in the two Italian regions: the help from the European Union Solidarity Fund will be an important instrument for the restoration of damage to residential homes, businesses and agriculture, and the disruption of major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) is the most appropriate mechanism for seeking to help Member States and their regions affected by large-scale disasters. It is well known that, in the case of Liguria and Tuscany, the flooding which occurred in October 2011 had an enormous impact on local lives and the local economy, justifying the Italian Government’s request for EUSF mobilisation and our approval thereof. Unfortunately, natural disasters are becoming increasingly frequent in Europe. This should lead us to reflect on how we manage natural resources and how we take care that the techniques and technologies we use today do not detract from an understanding of the environment in which we live. I hope that the Italian regions affected by the flooding will be able to make the best possible use of the funds made available to them.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) In October 2011, the Italian regions of Liguria and Tuscany were struck by a natural disaster which caused huge floods, the loss of many lives and material damage costing over EUR 722 million. This report concerns a proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of a total of EUR 18 061 682 from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) in commitment and payment appropriations, following the aforementioned flooding in Italy.

This proposal is in accordance with point 26 of the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 and is accompanied by draft amending budget No 2/2012 in order to include in the 2012 budget the necessary commitment and payment appropriations. To this end, the Commission proposes EUSF mobilisation as a single issue in draft amending budget 2/2012, in accordance with the joint declaration by Parliament and the Council of 17 July 2008. As rapporteur, I welcome the adoption of this report by a large majority, and I hope that the regions affected by the flooding in October 2011 will recover quickly.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted for this report. The decision by Parliament and the Council to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for the populations of Liguria and Tuscany, regions affected by the disaster caused by flooding in October 2011, which caused severe damage to homes, businesses and agriculture and the disruption of major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks, is entirely justified and clearly in line with EUSF objectives. The total damage directly caused by the flooding has been estimated at EUR 722.5 million, and the eligibility criteria for EUSF mobilisation have been verified. The Commission, upon receiving the request for assistance, made provision for aid based on 2.5% of the estimated cost: EUR 18 061 682. As such, there is also a proposal to redeploy this sum in payment appropriations from the budget line established for EUSF mobilisation. Once again, we must draw attention to the excessive delays between the occurrence of the disaster, the decision to mobilise the EUSF and the actual delivery of EU support to the Member States and regions affected. That is why we have been advocating the need to adapt the rules for EUSF mobilisation, so as to make it more flexible and timely.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the reports by Mr Fernandes. Following the flooding in Liguria and Tuscany, Italy applied to the European Union for assistance. The disaster, being of natural origin, falls within the scope of the Solidarity Fund. I would point out that this fund should intervene mainly in cases of major natural disasters with serious repercussions on living conditions, the environment or the economy in one or more regions of a Member State. Conditions in the affected areas were made worse, as always happens in these cases, owing to the tragic loss of human life, the high number of injured people, the families who lost everything and severe damage to residential homes, businesses, agriculture, transport and infrastructure. Therefore, deploying in these regions the EUR 18 million granted from the fund will help our fellow citizens regain the peace of mind which, unfortunately, they have lost. Lastly, allow me to praise the Italian Civil Protection volunteers who, during those weeks, demonstrated professionalism and humanity, just as they have done in recent days in Emilia-Romagna and in Lombardy, and always have done in the past.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 allows for the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund, within an annual ceiling of EUR 1 billion, over and above the relevant headings of the financial framework. The European Union has created a European Union Solidarity Fund to show solidarity with the population of regions affected by disasters. Italy submitted an application to mobilise the fund, concerning a disaster caused by flooding in Liguria and Tuscany. Based on the assessment of the application and taking into account the maximum possible financial support from the fund, as well as the scope for reallocating appropriations under the heading which requires additional expenditure, the Commission proposes that the European Union Solidarity Fund be mobilised to provide the sum of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) The flooding which took place in Italy in 2011 caused extensive structural damage in the regions of Liguria and Tuscany. We need to make a considerable effort to limit the damage suffered by the agricultural, public infrastructure, transport and cultural heritage sectors. I voted in favour for this reason.

 
  
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  Ashley Fox (ECR), in writing. – I voted in favour of the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund to provide much needed aid to Liguria and Tuscany following devastating floods. This fund is crucial for providing funding to areas which have suffered from natural disasters and other serious crises. However, for this fund to be successful in the future, and for funding to be granted promptly, we need to make its application simpler and more transparent. The unnecessary delay caused by the Commission seeking funding through negative reserves was completely avoidable, and this practice is completely unacceptable to me and the majority of Member States. Thankfully, the Danish Presidency presented a compromise in which the necessary funding was found from a reallocation of under-implemented lines in the European Energy Plan. Although this reallocation is a messy solution, it is preferable to using negative reserves. I hope this money will go some way towards relieving the suffering of those affected by the floods.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE), in writing. – I support the mobilisation of the Solidarity Fund in favour of the Italian regions of Tuscany and Liguria which experienced severe floods in 2011. This natural disaster caused catastrophic damage to private homes, businesses, agriculture and public infrastructure, and using EU funds to assist in the rebuilding of these is an excellent example of how the Solidarity Fund can add value to a Member State’s reconstruction efforts. While the amount of funding provided is small in comparison to the total cost of damage caused, nonetheless it is a recognition that the EU will stand in solidarity with all its members in the event of a country or region being struck by a disaster.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed the document stating that the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2012 covers the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide the sum of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations, taking into account the application submitted by Italy to mobilise the fund, concerning a disaster caused by flooding in Liguria and Tuscany.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) The report by my colleague, José Manuel Fernandes, was adopted by 658 votes on 12 June 2012. This will enable the EU Solidarity Fund to be mobilised in order to help Spain and the Italian regions of Liguria and Tuscany, which were affected by serious natural disasters. The adoption of this report will enable commitment and payment appropriations in the region of EUR 18 million to be mobilised in 2012. I supported this report in plenary.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. – (PL) Like the rest of my political group, I voted in favour of mobilising the EU Solidarity Fund. The floods which hit the regions of Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011 caused severe damage to residential homes, businesses and agriculture and the disruption of major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks, and represented a huge tragedy for Italian citizens. The Italian authorities estimate that the total direct damage caused by the flooding amounts to EUR 722.5 million. I believe that our duty in the face of this natural disaster is to show our solidarity.

 
  
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  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE), in writing. – (SK) The Commission proposes to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund in favour of Italy within the annual ceiling of EUR 1 billion. This is the first proposal to mobilise the fund in 2012. The total direct damage caused by the flooding that affected Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011, as estimated by the Italian authorities, amounts to EUR 722.5 million. After verifying that this application complied with the eligibility criteria, the Commission proposed to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund for a total amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations. I supported the submitted proposal.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I supported this Commission proposal to mobilise the European Solidarity Fund in favour of Italy on the basis of point 26 of the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006. The IIA allows the mobilisation of the fund within the annual ceiling of EUR 1 billion. This is the first proposal to mobilise the fund in 2012. In parallel to this proposal to mobilise the Solidarity Fund in favour of Italy, the Commission has presented a draft amending budget (DAB No 2/2012 of 16 March 2012) in order to enter in the 2012 budget the corresponding commitment and payment appropriations as foreseen in point 26 of the IIA.

 
  
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  Barbara Matera (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in support of the application to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund in favour of Italy, with regard to the flooding that affected the regions of Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011, for an amount of EUR 722 567 000. This fund is extremely important for the provision of aid to Member States in the event of natural disasters, but it still needs some improvements to ensure that payments are made quickly. It takes an excessively long time to grant aid, as in this case.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – This report calls for the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund to address flooding in Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011. I support the report and the assistance it should help to provide.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Following the flooding that affected the regions of Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011, causing severe damage to homes, businesses and agriculture, and the disruption of major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks, Italy has applied for assistance from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF). The total damage directly caused by the flooding, as estimated by the Italian authorities, amounts to EUR 722.5 million. The disaster has been classified as of natural origin and therefore falls within the scope of the EUSF.

After verifying that this application meets the eligibility criteria of Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002, the Commission proposed to mobilise the EUSF for a total amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – This application relates to flooding that affected the regions of Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011, causing severe damage to residential homes, businesses and agriculture and the disruption of major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks. The total direct damage caused by the flooding, as estimated by the Italian authorities, amounts to EUR 722.5 million. The Commission proposed to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund for a total amount of EUR 18 061 682

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) In October 2011, torrential rains in Liguria and parts of Tuscany gave rise to severe flooding and landslides. Rivers burst their banks and flooded the narrow streets of the towns and villages, houses and bridges collapsed, and road and rail connections were blocked. The harbour in the little village of Vernazza in the Cinque Terre region, particularly beloved of tourists and home to a little under a thousand people, was completely destroyed. The entire harbour area was flooded with debris, mud and water. In many places, furthermore, the electricity, gas and water supplies were apparently cut off. Estimates put the damage at over EUR 90 million. I voted in favour of mobilising the Solidarity Fund in order to help repair the damage.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) I am pleased that these appropriations have finally been approved for Tuscany and Liguria, severely hit by the flooding that occurred last autumn. This money will certainly help the affected areas recover. My one regret is over the timing; I would, in fact, have preferred a more rapid procedure in order to provide practical assistance as soon as possible. I will therefore do my best to ensure that the EU Solidarity Fund is reformed, making it simpler and quicker, that is, more in line with populations’ needs and requirements. In the meantime, I hope that this money, EUR 18 million in total, will be used immediately and in the best way possible. Over the coming months, I will personally follow the progress of work by returning to the Lunigiana area and to the worst affected towns in order to really assess the use and efficacy of these European funds.

 
  
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  Cristiana Muscardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) When it comes to natural disasters that have claimed victims and destroyed entire towns considered to be ‘tourist gems’, the time used to decide on the procedures and to determine the amount of aid is always too long, though we should acknowledge that both the Italian authorities and the bodies of the various European institutions acted without delay.

I would like to take advantage of this debate to express my hope that the institutions will also act swiftly to contribute to the Italian Government’s costs for the never-ending earthquake in the Emilia-Romagna and Basso Mantovano regions. Not only has the earthquake destroyed homes and artistic and cultural heritage; it has also destroyed factories, industrial warehouses and farms in the dairy, agricultural and agri-food sectors. People want to start working again, so we need to take immediate action to give the administrations of the earthquake-hit areas the right to act outside the Stability Pact.

I hope that the Commission will actively collaborate in order to mobilise the Solidarity Fund according to the amount of direct damage deemed admissible and not based on a guesstimate. We need to get the economy moving in one of the most productive and organised regions in Europe, knowing that each euro will be put to good use.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) Following the flooding that affected the regions of Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011, causing severe damage to residential homes, businesses and agriculture, and the disruption of major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks, Italy has applied for assistance from the Solidarity Fund. Given that the flooding gave rise to severe damage (an estimated EUR 722.5 million in direct damage) and that the damage was caused by a natural disaster within the meaning of the Solidarity Fund, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing. (ET) It is regrettable that the flooding that took place last October damaged the Italian regions of Liguria and Tuscany so severely that the direct damage caused by the disaster was estimated to be EUR 722.5 million. Since it was a natural disaster, Italy is entitled to assistance amounting to EUR 18 061 682 from the budget of the European Union Solidarity Fund for the purpose of eliminating the consequences of the flooding. The Italian flooding is the first such request for assistance this year and, as a result, the budget of the EU Solidarity Fund contains sufficient funds to satisfy this application and maintain a sufficient reserve for the final quarter of 2012. For these reasons, I voted in favour of utilising the Solidarity Fund and I believe that assistance should be provided as soon as possible in order to ensure that life gets back to normal in the regions of Liguria and Tuscany.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Italy has applied for assistance from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) following the flooding that affected the regions of Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011, causing severe damage to homes, businesses and agriculture, and the disruption of major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks.

After verifying that this application meets the eligibility criteria of Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002, the Commission proposed to mobilise the EUSF for a total amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations. Following the rapporteur’s recommendation to adopt the Commission proposal for a decision annexed to this report, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Mario Pirillo (S&D), in writing. (IT) We all remember the extensive damage caused by the flooding in Liguria and Tuscany, which rendered thousands of homes unusable, destroyed networks and infrastructure, and led to the loss of several lives. The economic damage is extremely high. I am astonished that, faced with this emergency, the funds provided for by the Solidarity Fund have not yet been granted. The rapid intervention of the fund is, in fact, essential for its credibility, and we cannot allow mere red tape to delegitimise the instruments that we have put in place. At a time when, following the crisis, citizens are starting to lose faith in Europe, it is vital for the institutions to respond in a timely manner, especially during an emergency.

 
  
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  Tomasz Piotr Poręba (ECR), in writing.(PL) Italy has requested the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund following the floods which hit the regions of Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011, causing severe damage to residential homes, businesses and agriculture, and disrupting major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks. Fewer than two years previously, Central Europe, including my home region of Podkarpackie, had experienced dangerous levels of flooding. In the resolution adopted at the time, the European Parliament called for assistance to be granted to the areas hit by the disaster. All the EU Member States should show solidarity in the face of natural disasters and provide the greatest possible assistance to those in need. I therefore voted in favour of the Fernandes report.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Union created the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to support the populations of regions affected by disasters. Italy has submitted an application for EUSF mobilisation due to the disaster caused by flooding in Liguria and Tuscany, which caused severe damage to homes and agricultural sector businesses, and disruption to major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks. Given that the application meets all the eligibility criteria, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing.(FR) In October 2011, Italy was hit by extremely violent rains. The equivalent of six months’ precipitation fell on Tuscany and Liguria within the space of a few hours, causing unprecedented flooding. Significant material damage was caused by the water, landslides and mudslides: houses were wrecked, water mains destroyed, electricity and telephone lines cut off, roads and motorways damaged, and so on. The Italian authorities have estimated the total cost of the direct damage at EUR 722.5 million, and have submitted an application for aid from the EU Solidarity Fund. With the adoption of this resolution, which I supported, we are approving funding in the region of EUR 18 million with a view to helping to repair the damage caused by these floods and, in particular, to enable the rehabilitation of basic infrastructure, such as water, gas and electricity supplies. The living conditions of the citizens in these regions will thus be returned to normal and economic activity, such as tourism, will be able to resume.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The decision concerns the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) in favour of Italy in parallel to approving a draft amending budget (DAB No 2/2012 of 16 March 2012) to enter in the 2012 budget EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations. Italy applied for assistance from the fund following the flooding that affected the regions of Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011, causing severe damage to residential homes, businesses and agriculture, and the disruption of major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks. The disaster has been qualified as of natural origin and therefore falls within the field of application of the EUSF. The Council considered that no urgency justifies derogation to its interpretation of Protocol 1 TFEU (eight-week deadline for the national parliament’s information) for DAB No 2/2012.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European Parliament is once again catering to the needs of a population sorely tested by a natural disaster. The flooding that occurred in Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011 severely damaged residential homes, businesses and local agriculture, causing over EUR 700 million in damage. This vote finally gives the green light to mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund for a total amount of over EUR 18 million in commitment and payment appropriations. It will breathe life into the local economy which, many months on, is still, in some cases, having to cope with the emergency.

 
  
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  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing. (IT) The mobilisation of funds to help the regions affected by the tragic events in Liguria is a necessity. The European Union Solidarity Fund is a very important instrument that brings Europeans much closer together than many political or legislative initiatives. When casting my vote in favour, my thoughts turned to those people who were bereaved and lost everything in the floods. Given that these events are happening more and more frequently, I think that the time has come, in collaboration with the European Commission, to establish a programme to identify suitable instruments with which to invest in innovation and prevention in Europe.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) In October 2011, Italy submitted an application for assistance with the damage in the regions of Liguria and Tuscany caused by the flooding which severely damaged residential homes, businesses and agriculture, and which disrupted major transport links, thereby damaging essential public infrastructure. This application is a matter of common interest and is raising awareness across the entire European Union. The total direct damage caused by the flooding, as estimated by the Italian authorities, amounts to EUR 722.5 million. The disaster has been qualified as of natural origin and therefore falls within the field of application of the Solidarity Fund. The Commission has proposed mobilising the EU Solidarity Fund for a total amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations. Today, I voted in favour in the hope that these funds will be granted as quickly as possible in order to respect the commitments made previously, and to overcome and resolve the severe difficulties still being faced in the above regions.

 
  
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  Georgios Stavrakakis (S&D), in writing. (EL) Firstly, I should like to congratulate the rapporteur on his report and welcome the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund for the floods in Liguria and Tuscany which caused considerable damage to homes and farming and cut off major transport links and basic public infrastructures in October 2011. The priority from now on is to restore normal living conditions for the people affected by the floods as quickly as possible and to ensure that economic activity resumes quickly in the areas concerned. The EU Solidarity Fund has proven its worth once again in addressing major natural disasters by providing aid to affected States. However, I cannot but express my regret that it has taken eight months since the floods damaged these areas to complete the fund activation procedure. The three institutions therefore need to work to make interventions under the Solidarity Fund quicker and more flexible. This will allow us to ensure that this instrument has real added value.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing.(FR) The very essence of Europe must be solidarity. It was only natural to accept Italy’s application to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund following the flooding which affected the regions of Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011. This disaster caused severe damage to residential homes, businesses and agriculture, and the disruption of major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks. By way of a reminder, the total direct damage caused by the flooding is thought to amount to over EUR 700 million. The floods have been qualified as a natural disaster and therefore fall within the scope of the Solidarity Fund.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Commission has proposed mobilising the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for Italy, following the flooding that affected the regions of Liguria and Tuscany in October 2011, causing severe damage to homes, businesses and agriculture, and the disruption of major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks.

EUSF mobilisation will be for a total amount of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations, and the Committee on Regional Development, to which I belong, has given its constructive support and contribution to EUSF implementation. I voted for this report for those reasons.

 
  
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  Thomas Ulmer (PPE), in writing. (DE) I voted in favour of the resolution. It is necessary and makes sense to support the disaster victims in Italy. The legal prerequisites for EU assistance are in place in this case.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – This report calls on the European Parliament to approve the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on mobilisation of the Flexibility Instrument to provide the sum of EUR 18 061 682 in commitment and payment appropriations to assist Italy hit by severe flooding in 2011 and therefore has to be supported.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) The Solidarity Fund was established on the basis of a decision taken by the Council in November 2002 aimed at allowing the EU to respond to natural disasters. This mechanism allows the European Union to provide financial support to Member States or regions affected by natural disasters. A total of up to 50% of overall eligible losses can be allocated for this purpose. As we know, the regions of Liguria and Tuscany were hit by a natural disaster at the end of last year, which caused enormous losses estimated at around EUR 722.5 million. There can be no doubt that this is reason enough to allow Italy to make use of the abovementioned Stability Fund. The Commission’s proposed funding of EUR 18 061 682 will undoubtedly help to mitigate the effects of the flood, but we should be aware that it may take years to reconstruct these regions. Any funding now received by Liguria and Tuscany is extremely important.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The flooding which affected Tuscany and Liguria in October 2011 exacted a heavy toll: in addition to the deaths and numerous injured, roads and railways were disrupted, homes and businesses were flooded and public infrastructure was severely damaged, with the direct damage estimated at approximately EUR 720 million. I therefore voted in favour of including in the EU 2012 budget commitment and payment appropriations which, by mobilising the Solidarity Fund, will enable us to help the victims of the flooding.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted for the decision by Parliament and the Council to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for the populations of Liguria and Tuscany. These regions were hit by the disaster caused by flooding in October 2011, which resulted in severe damage to homes, businesses and agriculture, and the disruption of major transport links and essential public infrastructure networks. The total damage directly caused by the flooding was estimated at EUR 722.5 million and, as this application meets the eligibility criteria for EUSF mobilisation, the Commission, following the application for assistance, has made provision for aid based on 2.5% of the estimated value, which totals EUR 18 061 682. As such, there is also a proposal to redeploy this sum in payment appropriations from the budget line, established for EUSF mobilisation.

 
  
  

Report: Jan Kozlowski (A7-0187/2012)

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was established to provide additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade. This time, it will provide direct aid to France totalling EUR 24 493 525. As explained by the rapporteur, the total number of workers set to benefit from this series of cofinanced personalised services is 3 582, 1 384 of whom were made redundant from Renault and seven of its suppliers between 1 April 2009 and 31 July 2009, while 2 198 other workers were made redundant by the same eight companies.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this document. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (hereinafter EGF) was created in 2006 in order to provide additional assistance to workers made redundant due to the major structural changes in world trade patterns. During the economic and financial crisis, financial assistance from this fund could also be allocated to people made redundant due to the consequences of the crisis. The EGF Regulation provides that 0.3% of the annual maximum EGF amount may be made available each year for technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission. In view of this provision, I welcomed the allocation of EUR 1.12 million from the EGF, to ensure the proper implementation of the EGF Regulation. However, the Commission must also take into account the European Parliament’s requests, particularly with regard to savings in the areas of administrative and technical support, the creation of a knowledge base and effective monitoring. I take a negative view of the Council’s decision to block the extension of the crisis derogation, under which it was possible to provide financial assistance to workers made redundant as a result of the current financial and economic crisis, and to increase the rate of Union cofinancing to 65% of the programme costs. I believe that, given the difficult economic situation that remains and the high level of unemployment in the Member States, the validity of this exceptional provision needs to be extended.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because I support the rapporteur’s proposal to mobilise EUR 730 000 from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in commitment and payment appropriations to provide technical assistance on the Commission’s initiative. I should stress how important this fund is at a time when workers who have been made redundant need support in their efforts to find a new job. In fact, the role of the EGF is precisely to provide additional support to workers affected by the major structural changes in global trade patterns. This instrument has proved to be useful up until now in mitigating the impact of the economic crisis, as well as in preventing other social disasters. However, I think that EU assistance provided in this respect should be more dynamic, and it needs to be made available as quickly and efficiently as possible. I would like to point out the importance of networking and exchanging information on the fund. At the same time, I think that procedural and budgetary mechanisms ought to be improved in order to mobilise the EGF more quickly.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created in 2006 in order to provide additional assistance to workers affected by the consequences of significant changes in the structure of international trade and to assist in their reintegration into the labour market. Since 1 May 2009, the scope of the EGF has been expanded to include support for workers made redundant as a direct consequence of the economic, financial and social crisis. Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 also provides that 0.35% of the maximum amount of the EGF can be made available each year for technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission.

I therefore voted for this report on the Commission’s request that EUR 730 000 be mobilised from the EGF in order to cover its administrative needs for monitoring the collection of data on applications received and paid, information regarding updating and enlarging the EGF website, the creation of a knowledge base with a view to setting up standardised procedures for EGF applications, administrative and technical support, and the evaluation of the EGF.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund does not work. This application, from the Commission, for funds to cover the cost of technical assistance, is essentially EUR 200 000 of taxpayers’ money to be spent on EU ‘propaganda’. Videos and information leaflets will be produced to highlight the ‘wonderful’ work of the EGF and how its proliferation will help protect the European Union from the realities of globalisation, including EUR 250 000 to be spent on networking activity, or, in other words, a chance for interested parties to have a nice meal at the taxpayers’ expense. The most destructive force placing a stranglehold on European business in the context of a global marketplace is the deluge of regulation emanating from Brussels. I would rather the money be spent on a thorough evaluation of the fund. I will continue to vote against any further EGF funding.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) I am in agreement with the rapporteur, Mr Kozlowski, regarding the decreased sum allocated to technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission through the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. This report, which confirms the Council’s decision to mobilise the sum of EUR 730 000 out of the EUR 1 750 000 which could, in theory, be legally released, takes a sensible position at a time when public money must be managed as efficiently as possible. I should also like to mention that the rapporteur’s proposal was accepted by the Committee on Budgets, while underlining the need for the outright elimination of such specific funds allocated to the European Commission as soon as possible.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) As the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was established to provide additional support for workers made redundant as a result of major structural changes in world trade patterns and to assist them with their reintegration into the labour market, I voted for this report, which proposes EGF mobilisation for the specified amount, at the initiative of the Commission.

 
  
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  Andrea Češková (ECR), in writing.(CS) I voted against this report, mainly because I regard some of the Commission’s planned activities as unnecessary and too costly. Some of the proposals relating to publication of information on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund are, in my view, ineffective and too costly, and the need for them has not been sufficiently proven. No clear data was presented on the impact and efficiency of the information tools funded by technical assistance resources in previous years. I therefore take the view that we lack the inputs to be able to assess whether, and to what extent, it is necessary to push for greater general awareness of, and greater visibility of, the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. I particularly feel that, in relation to the resources required for its implementation, there is little added value to be gained from filming and distributing a promotional video based on a handful of cases recently implemented or completed.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) I agree with the measures which the Commission is proposing to take in connection with the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) because it is an instrument which has been created to provide additional assistance to workers affected by the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns. I believe that Member States must encourage exchanges of good practices and learn, particularly from those Member States which have already put in place national EGF information networks involving social partners and local actors, with a view to having a good structure for this instrument at every level.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, as I agree with the proposal for technical support for the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to the amount of EUR 730 000, although the Commission requested the larger sum of EUR 1.12 million.

As the report highlights, there is scope for savings, which the Commission should use to contain expenditure within the amount just approved. I would also highlight the importance of knowing the impact and efficiency of the information tools funded by technical assistance in previous years and presenting reliable data on the use of those tools. I hope that the negotiations on the new EGF Regulation for the period 2014-2020 will begin shortly and that they will lead to the EU being strengthened in terms of its intervention in this area.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) While Parliament and the Council implemented the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund in 2008 to provide financial support to workers made redundant for economic reasons, the text put to the vote aimed to use part of the allocated sums to cover simple operating costs (monitoring, evaluation of the fund, communication). Given that these expenses do not comply with the fund’s objectives and could be covered by the Commission budget, I chose not to approve this proposal in the interest of responsible management of public funds.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) has been used extensively in recent years as a consequence of the economic and financial crisis which has struck the European Union. This has been exacerbated, inter alia, by the globalisation of trade, the ageing of the population and the obsolescence of certain industries. In the course of its existence and mobilisation, certain imperfections have been detected and it has become clear that procedures need to be streamlined so as to have a positive impact on the lives of the unemployed workers whom it seeks to help. Technical support for the EGF is thus essential. The EU should, as far as possible, maintain the same type of financial allocation for this support so as to not permit backtracking in the way the support is applied, released, monitored and evaluated.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Having seen the severe social impact of the current economic and financial crisis, the EU created the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to provide additional assistance to workers affected by changes in the structure of global trade. This report concerns the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), in accordance with point 28 of the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management (EGF/2012/000 TA 2012 – Technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission), and is the first application in relation to the EGF in 2012.

On 4 April 2012, the Commission adopted a new draft decision on mobilising EUR 1.12 million from the EGF to cover technical assistance for the Commission, comprising monitoring, information, creation of a knowledge base, administrative and technical support, and evaluation. Taking into account the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, and given that it falls within the amount of EUR 1.75 million which can be made available yearly to cover technical assistance for the Commission, I voted for the report.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted for this report. The Commission proposal concerns mobilising EUR 1.12 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to cover the cost of technical support for the Commission. A maximum of EUR 1.75 million can be used each year in order to cover the requirements of implementing the EGF, comprising the following activities: monitoring, information, creation of a knowledge base, administrative and technical support, and evaluation. We consider it positive that the Committee on Budgets adopted the amendments tabled by the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs EGF Working Group. These amendments were made to ask for simplified applications, faster processing of the applications and efficient information tools funded by technical assistance, as well as to state the need for evaluation of the effectiveness of using the ‘crisis derogation’ criterion before approval of the new EGF Regulation for the period 2014-2020.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Point 28 of the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management allows for the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) through a flexibility mechanism, within the annual ceiling of EUR 500 million over and above the relevant headings of the financial framework. According to Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006, the proportion corresponding to 0.35% of the annual maximum amount of the EGF can be made available each year for technical assistance. The proposed contribution for technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission in 2012 is EUR 1 120 000. Following the mobilisation of this amount, the sum of EUR 630 000 potentially remains available in case of further need at a later stage in the year. Considering the maximum possible amount of a contribution from the EGF, as well as the scope for reallocating appropriations, the Commission proposes to mobilise the EGF for the total amount referred to above.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) I am against mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for the technical management of the fund itself. In fact, first and foremost, I believe that the amount requested is inflated and not supported by sufficiently precise financial information. Secondly, in view of the severe economic crisis that we are facing and the serious issue of workers being made redundant, which is affecting several Member States, I believe that the Commission should avoid pointless spending and instead internalise the tasks for which it has requested mobilisation of the fund. The fund can thereby remain available for its primary purpose: helping reintegrate workers made redundant. I voted against for these reasons.

 
  
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  Ashley Fox (ECR), in writing. – I voted against mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for the simple reason that it does not work and is a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money. This application, from the Commission, is for funds to cover the cost of technical assistance, but what does that really mean? It means that we have just voted for EUR 200 000 to be spent on ‘propaganda’. Videos and information leaflets will be produced to highlight the wonderful work of the EGF and how its proliferation will help protect the European Union from the realities of globalisation. Nobody is buying this myth, not least the taxpayer. We have also voted in favour of EUR 250 000 to be spent on networking activity, or, in other words, a chance for interested parties to have a nice meal at the taxpayers’ expense. If we are to spend any money on this pointless scheme, I would prefer that we spent it on a thorough evaluation of the fund. Supporting wasteful funding like this brings this Parliament into disrepute. I want it to go on the record that I voted against this report and will continue to vote against any further EGF funding.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE), in writing. – I am happy to support this proposal as I believe we need to make this investment to ensure the efficient usage of the fund. Furthermore, this efficiency will improve the fund’s added value. The monies will be used to provide information both to workers and to the managing authorities who apply for EGF funds. In regard to workers, it is extremely important that they are fully informed as to what is happening. Also, the managing authorities need the opportunities to learn from best practice elsewhere. Having examined most of the EGF application as part of the EGF working group, it is very clear that some Member States have really good systems in place and this delivers much better outcomes for workers. The sharing of this knowledge and mutual learning is extremely valuable and is facilitated by technical assistance funds.

 
  
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  Jan Kozłowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) I would like to explain my vote on the report on the Commission proposal for the mobilisation of the EGF to provide technical assistance. Firstly, the Commission’s proposal complies with Article 8 of the regulation establishing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. In spite of this, however, the proposal was blocked by a minority in the Council, as a result of which the Danish Presidency drafted a compromise proposal with a figure of EUR 730 000, which is equivalent to the Commission’s average expenditure in previous years. I believe that adopting the Presidency’s proposal is a sensible way to mobilise funds rapidly in order to implement the measures planned by the Commission, in particular, the programme evaluation which is vitally important in the context of the debate surrounding the programme’s future. In addition, I think it is significant that the Council has called for steps to be taken as soon as possible to extend the derogation and to enable support to be granted under the EGF for workers made redundant as a result of the crisis.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I supported this proposal for the mobilisation of EUR 1.12 million from the fund, covering technical assistance for the Commission. According to Article 8(1) of the legal basis, 0.35% of the annual maximum amount of the EGF can be made available each year for technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission. A maximum of EUR 1.75 million can be used each year in order to cover the indicated needs for the implementation of the fund.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – This report helps the European Commission to finance monitoring, information and administrative support, including audit control and evaluation activities necessary to implement the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. Technical assistance is helpful to the smooth running and better functioning of the EGF. I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created to provide additional support for workers affected by the consequences of major structural changes in the patterns of world trade. This report concerns the mobilisation of EUR 1.12 million from the EGF to cover the cost of technical support for the Commission. According to Article 8(1) of the legal basis, 0.35% of the annual maximum amount of the EGF can be made available each year for technical support expenses at the initiative of the Commission. A maximum of EUR 1.75 million can be used each year in order to cover the needs specified for EGF implementation. This budget is intended to finance monitoring, information, administrative and technical support, as well as the audit, control and evaluation activities necessary to implement the EGF Regulation, and is very important in order to assess the correct use of the EGF, as well as its effectiveness.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – On 4 April 2012, the Commission has adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the EGF. It concerns the mobilisation of EUR 1.12 million from the fund, covering technical assistance for the Commission. A maximum of EUR 1.75 million can be used each year in order to cover the indicated needs for the implementation of the fund. According to the Commission’s proposal, this amount is intended to cover the following activities: monitoring, information, the creation of a knowledge base, administrative and technical support, and evaluation

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 4 April 2012, the Commission adopted a new draft decision on mobilising the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), relating to the mobilisation of EUR 1.12 million to cover the Commission’s technical assistance costs. According to Article 8(1) of the legal basis, 0.35% of the annual maximum amount of the EGF can be made available each year for technical support expenses at the initiative of the Commission. A maximum of EUR 1.75 million can be used each year in order to cover the needs that are specified for EGF implementation.

The Commission justifies the transfer of this amount on the basis of covering the costs of monitoring, information, namely, maintaining the EGF website and translation into the official EU languages, the creation of a knowledge base, and administrative and technical support and evaluation. In light of the favourable opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the approval of the Committee on Budgets, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Since its creation in 2006, the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) has played an important role in supporting workers affected by changes in the structure of global trade and those affected by the current global economic and financial crisis. I applaud the fact that Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 sets a maximum amount of 0.35% of the annual amount of the EGF to go to financing monitoring, information, administrative and technical support, as well as putting in place the audit, control and evaluation activities necessary to implement the EGF Regulation.

Furthermore, it incentivises the provision of information and guidance to Member States on the usage, monitoring and evaluation of the EGF, as well as the provision of information on EGF usage to European and national social partners. I voted for this report for the aforementioned reasons.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. On 4 April 2012, the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the EGF. It concerns the mobilisation of EUR 1.12 million from the fund, covering technical assistance (monitoring, information, administrative and technical support and evaluation activities) for the Commission. According to Article 8(1) of the legal basis, 0.35% of the annual maximum amount of the EGF can be made available each year for technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission. A maximum of EUR 1.75 million can be used each year in order to cover the indicated needs for the implementation of the fund. In light of the ongoing debate at the Council about the future of the EGF, the Council has challenged the amount of the technical assistance proposed by the Commission for the first time since the establishment of the fund, arguing that the amount requested by the Commission would cover the start of the next MFF period as well.

 
  
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  Georgios Stavrakakis (S&D) , in writing. (EL) Firstly, I should like to congratulate the rapporteur on his report. The purpose of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is to support dismissed workers, especially in regions and sectors disadvantaged by the globalised economy. According to the EGF Regulation, the limit of 0.35% of the EGF amount can be made available each year for technical assistance. The Commission has asked for EUR 1.12 million for technical assistance in 2012. For its part, the Council proposed that the amount requested for technical assistance should be reduced to EUR 730 000, on the grounds that the future of the EGF in the next multiannual financial framework is still unclear. Even though the European Commission and the European Parliament accepted the Council’s proposal, we should make it clear, for our part, that the negative consequences of globalisation, combined with the continuing economic crisis, provide even more proof of the added value of the EGF as an EU social policy instrument. The targeted financial support which it provides under retraining and reintegration programmes for workers hit by mass redundancies is especially important. Furthermore, the support which it provides is a real expression of EU solidarity.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 established the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) with the aim of supporting workers that lose their jobs due to structural changes in the context of the global economy. The European Commission has the right, on an annual basis, to mobilise 0.35% of the maximum amount of the EGF – that is, EUR 1.75 million – for technical assistance activities including financial monitoring, administrative support, and auditing and control.

As such, an amount of EUR 1.12 million was requested and then reduced by the Council to EUR 730 000, with the justification that there is no need to carry out awareness-raising activities for the present programme when it is already at the end of the financing period. Ultimately, I voted for this report, as I believe the amount in question can assist the European institutions in making every effort to improve the EGF’s procedural and budgetary arrangements.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) on budgetary discipline and sound financial management. I welcome the introduction of the appropriate legislative and budgetary instruments needed to provide additional support to workers affected by the major structural changes in world trade patterns and the economic and financial crisis, and to assist their reintegration into the labour market. I think that assistance provided by the European Union to redundant workers should be more dynamic and ought to be made available as quickly and efficiently as possible. I welcome the creation of a website, available in all the official EU languages, to provide and distribute information on applications, while also highlighting the role of the budgetary authority. I regret that the results of the final evaluation of the EGF will arrive too late to feed into the discussion on the new regulation for the EGF in 2014-2020, especially regarding the effectiveness in using the crisis derogation criterion, since the relevant EGF cases were not analysed in the EGF mid-term evaluation report.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – The EGF is there to help workers suffering from the consequences related to major changes in world trade patterns and to assist them in reintegration into the labour market – the Commission has made this first request to enter specific commitment and payment appropriations in this year’s budget (acc. to IIA of 17 May 2006, p. 28), in order to cover technical assistance, i.e. to cover monitoring, information, administrative and technical support and evaluation.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund is a financial instrument created by the European Union to provide support to people who lose their jobs due to major structural changes in world trade caused by globalisation. However, it should be noted that this type of aid does not always achieve its intended goal, since use of the EGF sometimes only benefits players in the financial markets.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This Commission proposal concerns mobilising EUR 1.12 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to cover the cost of technical support for the Commission. A maximum of EUR 1.75 million can be used each year in order to cover the requirements of implementing the EGF, comprising the following activities: monitoring, information, creation of a knowledge base, administrative and technical support and evaluation. We consider it positive that the Committee on Budgets adopted the amendments tabled by the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs EGF Working Group. These amendments were made to ask for simplified applications, faster processing of the applications, efficient information tools funded by technical assistance, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of using the ‘crisis derogation’ criterion before approval of the new EGF Regulation for the period 2014-2020.

 
  
  

Report: Ricardo Cortés Lastra (A7-0159/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because, although Latin America is one of the European Union’s largest trading partners and a recipient of EU financial aid through the development cooperation instrument, the reality is that extreme poverty still exists in Latin America, where approximately 180 million people live below the poverty line. However, I take a favourable view of this report’s efforts to step up the EU presence in Latin America and the redirection of aid policy. I also think there is a need for customised cooperation; cooperation that is based on each country’s situation and on cross-border indicators. We need to strengthen development cooperation policy, encouraging and reinforcing regional South-South cooperation.

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report because I agree with the need to find new channels of development cooperation between the European Union and the Latin American Region. The EU is the principal donor of development aid, the principal investor and the second trading partner in the region. The EU aid to Latin America throughout these years has contributed positively to the efforts of each country to consolidate their Rule of Law and to reduce their pressing poverty issues. Now is not the time to abandon them but to redirect cooperation where it is needed the most in order to address poverty reduction through the development cooperation instrument and the new partnership instrument.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of strengthening cooperation with Latin America. According to the terms of the Treaty of Lisbon, our objective is to promote sustainable economic and social development. It is crucial to disseminate our democratic values throughout the world. Latin America comprises middle income countries which have achieved notable successes in reducing poverty and inequality through economic growth and political and social reforms. Therefore, although there is still much work to be done in relation to malnutrition, food safety, poverty, life expectancy, and so on, we must expand our fields of cooperation. The average growth rate of these countries is too high for us to overlook them. Europe must take account of these new economic models.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. One of the EU’s foreign policy objectives is to develop relations and create associations with third countries, supporting sustainable development at the economic, social and environmental levels of the developing countries. The Treaty of Lisbon provides that the overall objective of development cooperation is to aim to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable economic and social development, as well as achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. I welcome the European Parliament’s call for new channels of development cooperation between the European Union and the Latin American region while negotiating the next development cooperation instrument for 2014-2020. I agree that we need to help Latin American countries implement more just fiscal policies, strengthen tax-paying capacity and the fight against fraud and tax evasion, target 20% of funds allocated by the EU at education and health programmes and develop various programmes intended to enhance dialogue and cooperation between the EU and Latin America. I believe that the new financing instrument for development cooperation should put most emphasis on combating poverty and achieving the MDGs, particularly encouraging regional, fiscal and tax policies, while boosting social services, science and innovation.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of this report because Latin America needs to turn the fairly promising economic growth it is enjoying into sustainable development. This point was also emphasised in a joint analysis carried out by the OECD and ECLAC on the region’s economic prospects for 2012. Given that the European Union is number one in terms of both donating aid and providing investment in Latin America, it can make a significant contribution to this process. This is why I welcome the proposals to define a new development cooperation policy, with the emphasis on the principle of differentiating and concentrating the aid.

I agree on the need to focus appropriate attention on middle income countries, in line with the European Consensus on Development, as well as with the OECD recommendations. I should stress the importance of economic relations with Latin America and the benefits derived from trade agreements. However, they need to be coordinated with development objectives. At the same time, I call on the Commission to make the programmes for reducing crime and violence a priority. I support the need to place particular emphasis on the specific measures to combat violence against women.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Commission and Parliament are working on the process of negotiating the next development cooperation instrument (DCI) and the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020. This report, for which I voted, seeks to contribute to this process regarding new channels of EU-Latin American development cooperation. It is not acceptable that the explicit mention of basic services has disappeared from the list of priorities in the Commission’s DCI proposal.

The rapporteur therefore insists on maintaining the current commitment of channelling 20% of aid into the key sectors of education, training and public health. We need to give the new DCI proposal added value, not only by means of a quantitative increase in aid, but also, and mainly, by means of a qualitative improvement of the instrument. The new DCI programming must continue to combat climate change, with specific funds and programmes, particularly for adapting vulnerable Latin American countries.

 
  
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  George Becali (NI), in writing. (RO) I am an advocate of the notion that Latin America must be a priority for Europe. The EU-Latin America partnership stands for the fight against poverty, exclusion and discrimination against women and children as strategic priorities. Competition with China is also a reality in this area which we need to face up to. Therefore, I support the notion and voted for the report stipulating that the volume of resources allocated to Latin American countries for development should be maintained for the 2014-2020 period.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because Latin America and the EU have formed a Bi-regional Strategic Partnership based on common values and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Latin America cannot cease to be a priority for the EU, as is reflected in EU-Latin American bi-regional relations, where there have been considerable advances in recent years. The Treaty of Lisbon also provides that the overall objective of development cooperation is to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable economic and social development, including the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015. The region is part of the group of middle income countries that have achieved notable successes in reducing poverty and inequality through economic growth and political and social reforms, but nevertheless, one in three Latin Americans still lives below the poverty line and 10 countries in the region remain among the 15 countries in the world where inequality is greatest. The EU must collaborate with all Latin American countries when leading the South-South Cooperation and the fight against poverty. Social cohesion has been the main objective of the Strategic Partnership since its launch.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Latin America has received financial and technical assistance since the 1960s from the European Union, which is the number one provider of public assistance for development. The aim of EU development and cooperation policy is to combat poverty and social inequality, promote integration into the global economy and consolidate the rule of law. This takes the form of regional and bilateral agreements covering every area of commercial, technical, financial, cultural and political activity. The global economic and financial crisis is having a significant impact on European economies. However, it is noticeable that the crisis has had a less severe impact on Latin America and that the economic growth forecast for 2012 is 4.5%. The IMF clearly states that the uncertainties over global recovery could affect economic growth in Latin America. Despite the positive economic predictions, we are alarmed to observe that this is a region where 180 million people live below the poverty threshold and that 10 countries in the region remain among the 15 countries with the highest level of inequality in the world.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report on defining a new development cooperation with Latin America. As the principal donor of development aid in Latin America, the European Union hopes to further cooperation in this region by promoting dialogue on climate change, innovation and the fight against drugs. Although Latin America has experienced the largest increase in growth in recent years, the region must continue its efforts to consolidate the Rule of Law. This is because, despite progress in terms of social justice and improved living standards, 52 million people live on less than two dollars a day. In this sense, there are many challenges yet to be addressed in the fight against poverty and social cohesion, the promotion of entrepreneurship and private sector development. It is equally important to encourage social services by investing in research and innovation. This new cooperation is also bound to enhance bi-regional relations through the signing of the association agreement with Central America. It also endorses the creation of a mechanism for investment in Latin America and the implementation of the EU-Latin America and Caribbean (EU-LAC) Foundation.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, as I consider it necessary to step up EU-Latin America coordination on achieving the Millennium Development Goals, particularly the actions aimed at combating poverty, job creation and the social inclusion of marginalised groups, as well as at mitigating the impact of climate change on sustainable development, protecting biodiversity, deforestation and agricultural production in Latin America.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) EU-Latin America cooperation is important in a number of areas, in particular development cooperation. It is a region in which 180 million people live below the poverty line and which has the highest inequality levels in the world. In spite of progress made, poverty rates remain very high, and insufficient progress has been made towards achieving six of the Millennium Development Goals, especially with regard to poverty, job creation and social cohesion. We need to rethink and act more efficiently within the framework of our Latin American development cooperation policy, by adopting a different approach to each country, in articulation with our trade policy, that takes into account its specific nature, whilst making available resources through the development cooperation instrument to improve living conditions, to promote equality and decent work, to reform the judicial system, to combat violence and crime, and to conserve biodiversity and sustainable development in the region. In order to achieve these objectives, I consider it essential to involve fully national authorities, regional blocs and civil society in setting priorities and in monitoring the programmes.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) Since middle income countries are a driving force for development and regional integration, and a crisis in these countries hinders the progress of low income countries in these regions, I think that better coordination is required between the European Union and Latin America in terms of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), particularly with regard to implementing the actions aimed at combating poverty, creating jobs and achieving the social inclusion of marginalised groups.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I have chosen not to support this text which proposes setting aside one third of European geographical aid for cooperation and development in Latin America. At a time when EU countries are concerned about their own low growth or even recession, I think it is irresponsible to maintain a high level of funding for a region where growth rates far exceed ours. At a time of sensible management of public funds, EU development aid should go primarily to the countries that need it most.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) EU development cooperation policy should be consistent with other EU policies and, jointly, play a key role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and in fulfilling international commitments on human rights, food security and environmental sustainability. However, defining a new type of development cooperation with Latin America also represents an economic opportunity for Europe. Given Latin America’s economic growth, despite persistent inequality, the EU has an opportunity to ensure mutual benefit in this process of defining a new type of cooperation with Latin America. That is particularly true in view of the EU’s economic circumstances.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) In this globalised world in which money is everything, those who live in the underworld of crime and corruption find fertile ground in developing countries, much of whose populations live below the poverty line. Certain African, Asian and Latin American countries are in this situation. They have economies dependent on narcotic cultivation, they often exploit sex tourism in clear breach of human rights, and they have parallel economies where fraud and corruption are rife. As it is aware of this phenomenon, the European Union, the principal donor of international aid to Latin American countries, has cooperated with other international organisations. It is worth highlighting that the progress made in some countries represents growth in excess of 4% of GDP and they are now in a position to leave poverty behind and move towards development.

I voted for this report on defining a new development cooperation with Latin America which, while continuing to support countries living below the poverty line, changes some cooperation procedures, moving from aid to partnership, and raising the profile of the relationship between the EU and these countries.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report is extensive and not exempt from major contradictions. Although it includes positive points, like rejecting the Commission proposal to change the Generalised System of Preferences and exclude various Latin American countries from that system, its overall vision is still marked by advocating free trade; a viewpoint which we reject and from which we would distance ourselves. Confusion between a development cooperation policy – which is necessary and desirable – and defending the trade interests of European big business is manifest in several points in this report. The concerns expressed at China’s growing presence in the region are revealing. The normal rhetoric surrounding human rights cannot conceal flagrant contradictions. It advocates an association agreement with Colombia, whilst ignoring the country’s persistent problems. It also ignores the criminal embargo that has been imposed on Cuba for decades. A self-serving vision of human rights that we repudiate is once again evident. There is still an undisguised attempt to impose a certain political and economic model, disregarding the sovereignty and the legitimate choices of the peoples, which has led several Latin American countries to break with neoliberalism. We cannot vote for this report.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) One in three Latin Americans still lives below the poverty line. This figure represents 180 million people, of whom 52 million live on less than EUR 2 per day. Ten countries in this region remain among the 15 most unequal countries in the world. Twenty-eight million people in Latin America do not know how to read or write, and malnutrition rates are above 20%. Forty-four million people remain outside the social welfare systems. Although Latin America has recently made significant progress in reducing poverty, recent data on poverty, unemployment and poor social conditions are shocking. According to the Treaty of Lisbon, the overall objective of development cooperation is to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable economic and social development. The European Union should collaborate with all Latin American countries in the fight against poverty and this effort now must remain a priority for the EU. I firmly believe that it is this fight against poverty, reducing inequality and ensuring access to basic services which form the basis of social cohesion, that must remain a priority at all times.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) Given that the report seeks better distribution of development aid, and that, taking into account the recent advances in Latin America, it wishes to see aid redirected towards promoting education and health programmes and towards sectors that have a greater impact on the fight against poverty, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing.(FR) We have been asked to express an opinion on reprioritising our development cooperation with Latin America. I voted in favour of Mr Cortés Lastra’s report as it highlights the need to move towards renewed cooperation with Latin America. This is a chance for the EU to stop with the neoliberal policies of the past. Promoting growth does not provide prosperity for all. Social cohesion is key to this process. Growth and the fight against poverty cannot be systematically linked. The EP will soon be questioned about its approval of the free trade agreement with Colombia and Peru and on the association agreement with Central America. They go completely against the objectives of our development policy. The European Commission has always mistakenly interpreted development policy through the prism of international trade. It is time we turned this logic on its head and focused mainly on coherent development policies in any agreement. The report rightly points out the need for all EU policies to be coherent and for systematic compliance with environmental and social standards, while including civil society.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because the EU’s cooperation and development policy should be defined in close consultation with Latin America in order to achieve a sustainable, fair and well-balanced development policy towards the region. In order to balance Latin American and EU development policy, Latin America must make a special effort to promote its regional political, economic and trade integration. As defined in the Treaty of Lisbon, the overall objective of development cooperation is to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable economic and social development, including the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015. Latin America and the EU have formed a Bi-regional Strategic Partnership based on common values and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Two of the EU’s nine strategic partners in the world are in Latin America (Brazil and Mexico), and the EU is the principal investor and the second largest trade partner, as well as the principal donor of development aid. Most of the people in poverty around the world live in these middle income countries. These countries often face significant inequalities and weak governance that endangers the sustainability of their own development process. Middle income countries play an important role in global policy, security and trade issues, producing and protecting global public goods. Following periods of economic prosperity, they remain vulnerable to global risks of an economic, environmental or security nature. Support for these middle income countries is important in order to achieve the MDGs.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) The European Union is the principal donor of development aid and the principal investor and second largest trade partner in Latin America. Through this own-initiative report, Parliament has chosen to define a new development cooperation which now gives due regard to the situation of each country and is based on broader indicators than income levels, such as economic and technological advances and ECHO’s poverty, vulnerability and crisis index. I supported this report in plenary, which was adopted by a large majority. I welcome this move.

 
  
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  Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE), in writing. (FI) I voted in favour of this report because it represents a new era in the EU’s development policy. Latin America has seen a good deal of political upheaval over the past decades. The fact that some countries in Latin America have risen to become major global economic powers has not worked to the benefit of all. Although absolute poverty has been reduced, inequality within countries has only increased. Furthermore, the success of the economic engines has eluded countries that have not managed to get on the road to economic growth. That is why it is time for the EU to re-assess the needs underlying its allocation of development aid. The EU’s development policy must mean looking at each country’s individual situation and a wider set of indicators than merely average income levels when measuring poverty, especially in middle income countries (MICs). In this process, the targets for sustainable development decided upon at the Rio+20 conference would become the focal point. Cooperation on technology and innovation with MICs is an interesting new area, and one that is still potentially far-reaching. The EU is Latin America’s largest donor of development aid, but changing times dictate that it needs to be readjusted and reallocated.

 
  
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  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE), in writing. (SK) As part of the negotiation process of the next development cooperation instrument (DCI) and the 2014-2020 financial framework, there is a proposal to upgrade the channels of development cooperation between the EU and Latin American regions. Although Latin America has not been significantly affected by the current crisis and is expected to grow by 4.5% during 2012, the existing uncertainties in terms of global economic development could also affect this region. This is a region where 180 million people live below the poverty line and ten countries in the region remain among the fifteen countries with the highest inequality in the world. Since there still have been no rational changes in the guidelines for income, the new proposal for the DCI must place an increased emphasis on policies for redistribution and strengthening social cohesion, which I have supported with my vote.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) Latin America will continue to be a priority for the European Union, which is primarily highlighted by bi-regional relations where there has been substantial progress made in recent years. As a member of Parliament’s delegation for relations with Mercosur, I think that the European Union needs to continue to provide intensive support to the process of developing and stabilising the region, and to devise, in close collaboration with Latin American states, a development policy for the region which is sustainable, fair and balanced. With this aim in mind, I recommend stepping up bilateral dialogue and cooperation in key areas of common interest, such as energy, transport, research, science and technology, as well as good fiscal governance. This entails adapting relations in each individual case in order to reap the biggest mutual benefits. Furthermore, this approach will complement and support the efforts aimed at achieving greater regional integration.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – The EU must continue rising to the current global challenges and improve the efficiency of its aid, but, at the same time, it must commit the necessary resources so that millions of children do not grow up without the possibility of developing their capacities and improving their living conditions. This objective is a goal for everyone and is brought before the EU and all Europeans, despite the crisis, as the most compassionate and humane project ever developed, a responsibility that must be shared and supported by the countries of the region, encouraging regional cooperation and strengthening South-South cooperation.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) The EU development cooperation policy plays a fundamental role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and in the fulfilment of international commitments in relation to human rights, food security and environmental sustainability.

We have made constant progress in our relations with the countries of Central America through the launch of the EU-LAC Foundation, the creation of a Latin American Investment Facility and very important dialogue concerning climate change, innovation, drugs and immigration.

We believe that the time has come to provide new impetus to our development cooperation policy. We need coordinated and customised cooperation that gives due regard to the situation of each country and that is based on broader indicators than those that measure income level. We cannot forget that our strategic association is based on common values and on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and it should be stressed that we have common challenges such as the food crisis, the fight against climate change and the social way out of the crisis that we must tackle by strengthening multilateralism.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I fully support the need to tie progress in relations with Latin America to a coherent development policy. It is necessary to draw up cooperation objectives for each country, concentrating resources on the most vulnerable countries and improving policy coherence for development (PCD). Furthermore, I support the call on the Commission to maintain the volume of cooperation under the financing instrument for development cooperation (DCI) for Latin America at one third of the total geographical amount for the period 2014-2020. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Treaty of Lisbon stipulates that the actions of the EU on the international stage shall be based on the principles of the universality and indivisibility of human rights, respect for human dignity, and the principles of equality and solidarity. It also states that the EU shall attempt to develop relations and create associations with third countries, supporting sustainable development at economic, social and environmental level in developing countries, with the principal aim of eradicating poverty.

It is essential that the EU’s development cooperation policy and, in particular, consistency between EU policies, play a key role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and in meeting international commitments on human rights, food security and environmental sustainability. Within these objectives, cooperation must be advanced between the EU and Latin America, a region of the world that is undergoing rapid development.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing.(FR) In recent years, Latin America has experienced one of the highest growth rates. Yet development aid funds still need to be maintained in the region. This is because one in three inhabitants still lives below the poverty line. Some countries of Latin America are among the most economically and socially unequal in the world; violence is rife and crime rates are soaring. To address poverty reduction, cooperation must be redirected to where it is needed the most. Given the economic and social heterogeneity of countries in the region, differentiated cooperation needs to be maintained. Development aid can only be reduced gradually so that these countries can consolidate their Rule of Law and further reduce the risk of extreme poverty. Latin America shares certain values with the European Union. The two regions have common interests and it is therefore together that we should address the current challenges facing our societies, as we are more interdependent than ever.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The rapporteur insists that, for the EU, reinforcing our presence in Latin America could provide a new impetus towards the way out of the crisis. Therefore, the rapporteur believes in the necessity of a redirection of our development aid policy. Coordinated and customised cooperation is necessary that gives due regard to the situation of each country and that is based on broader indicators than those that measure income level. The rapporteur requests that the European Commission present a coherent strategy for the gradual withdrawal of bilateral aid to the middle income countries, and that it reinforce aid to the low income countries. He also insists on maintaining the current commitment of directing 20% of aid to the key sectors of education, training and public health.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The EU has concluded numerous agreements, and will continue to conclude them. Some of them are welcome; others, however, absolutely must be rejected, in my opinion. While the agreement with Latin America is not perfect – as there are a few points that could have been changed – overall, it is an agreement worthy of support. With this agreement, the EU is making a contribution to integration in Latin America. This agreement makes it possible to create jobs, fight poverty, drive forward political, economic and trade-based integration in the region and other things besides. However, I find it necessary to highlight the absence of a comprehensive EU policy and a regional approach to Latin America in support of South-South cooperation (SSC), and the lack of clear EU policy guidelines in regard to SSC and inter-regional association aiming at the creation of autonomous spaces for coordination and political cooperation among Latin American countries, without European or North American involvement. Given that some are predicting that, by 2015, China’s trade with Latin America will surpass that of Europe, this is something that we need to counteract. There are a few things we can take from this agreement. All things considered, I therefore voted in favour of this agreement.

 
  
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  Katarína Neveďalová (S&D), in writing. (SK) According to the Treaty of Lisbon, the actions of the European Union on the international stage shall be based, inter alia, on the principles of the universality and indivisibility of human rights, respect for human dignity and the principles of equality and solidarity. It is well known that the level of preservation of human rights in some Latin American countries is very low. According to data from the United Nations Development Programme, this is a region in which there are over 180 million people living below the poverty line, and ten countries in Latin America remain among the fifteen most unequal countries in the world. Despite the critical situation in the social field and the field of human rights, the crisis has affected the region much less than, for example, the European Union. The prospects for 2012 are positive and real economic growth could be as high as 4.5 per cent. I agree with the rapporteur, Mr Cortés Lastra, that the new proposal for the DCI should focus mainly on the improvement of redistribution and strengthening of social cohesion. The new DCI should place greater emphasis on combating poverty and should also encourage investment, particularly in education, science and technology.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I support Mr Cortés Lastra’s report on development cooperation with Latin America since I believe that partnerships with third countries are a springboard for the European Union’s market and are, above all, an excellent incentive for developing countries and less fortunate areas that will be able to lay the foundations for growth. The promotion of sustainable economic and socio-political development is the basis for a better future, both for the EU and for its partners. In the case of Latin America, our partners have huge disparities in their wealth and social situation. Therefore, investing, apart from demonstrating a European interest, is also a way to eradicate poverty and unemployment and boost growth in many countries in South America.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) While the Commission and Parliament are working on the process of negotiating the next development cooperation instrument and the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020, this report proposes contributing, in good time, to this process in relation to new EU-Latin America development cooperation channels. Given that Latin America is the most dynamic region of the world in terms of South-South cooperation, I voted for this report. At the same time, I remain aware that agreements could be negotiated which benefit other sectors to the detriment of Europe’s agricultural sector, and it is important to prevent this.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report advocates a new approach to EU-Latin America development cooperation. The overall objective of development cooperation is essentially to eradicate poverty and to promote sustainable economic and social development. Nonetheless, there are major challenges to overcome, which range from reducing violence and crime to promoting education and training. As such, the EU should behave like a global actor, becoming an active member of international society and not just the largest donor in the world. Otherwise, the EU may condemn itself to irrelevance in entire regions, leaving the way open for other global actors to intervene.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Today in plenary, we adopted Mr Cortés Lastra’s report on development cooperation with Latin America. The Treaty of Lisbon stipulates that the Union must seek to develop relations and build partnerships with third countries, and foster the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of developing countries, with the primary aim of eradicating poverty.

In Latin America, 180 million people live below the poverty threshold and 10 countries in the region remain among the 15 countries with the greatest inequality in the world. The collaboration offered by the EU, the principal donor of development aid and the principal investor in Latin America, by means of the signed association agreements and, mainly, by means of development aid, is contributing positively to the efforts of each country to consolidate their Rule of Law and to reduce their pressing poverty issues. Despite the global economic crisis, the EU must continue to support Latin America’s fundamental sectors, such as education and health.

 
  
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  Jean Roatta (PPE), in writing.(FR) The European Union is the principal donor of development aid, the principal investor and the second largest trade partner in Latin America. Latin America has not been hit as hard by the financial and economic crisis as the European economies, with a +4.5% growth outlook for 2012. Unfortunately, 180 million people are still living below the poverty threshold in Latin America. It was therefore important to define a new cooperation with Latin America, in particular, by changing the tools to help this cooperation. Indeed, as the rapporteur recommends, the focus should be on the gradual withdrawal of bilateral aid to middle income countries (MICs) in order to reinforce aid to low income countries (LICs). Faced with the humanitarian and health situation of Latin American countries, it is vital that essential services such as education, training, health and hygiene, removed by the European Commission, are reprioritised. Finally, and as a driving force behind the future of this cooperation, regional policies need to be stimulated in order to reset budgetary and fiscal policies. I voted for this report in order to highlight the need to shift the focus of regional cooperation policies onto urgent health and humanitarian matters.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The Treaty of Lisbon defines that the actions of the Union on the international stage shall be based on, among others, the principles of the universality and indivisibility of human rights, respect for human dignity and the principles of equality and solidarity. It also indicates that the Union shall attempt to develop relations and create associations with third countries, supporting sustainable development at the economic, social and environmental levels of the developing countries, with the fundamental aim of eradicating poverty. The EU development cooperation policy, and especially coherence between Union policies, plays a fundamental role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and in the fulfilment of international commitments to human rights, food security and environmental sustainability.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this report since I believe that increasing Europe’s presence in Latin America could benefit both parties. While the global economic and financial crisis has aggressively affected European economies, the crisis has not been as serious for Latin America, which even has a growth perspective during 2012 of about 4.5%. The collaboration that the EU has granted to Latin America, not least by means of association agreements and development aid, must be used as the basis to consolidate its Rule of Law and take practical action to support the 180 million people who still live beneath the poverty threshold in the South American continent.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing. (IT) The EU-Latin America partnership has always been very strong, both from a cultural and a commercial standpoint. Indeed, the Union is the principal donor of development aid and the principal investor in the area. I voted in favour of the report on development cooperation with Latin America since it clearly and accurately addresses topics important to future collaboration between the EU and Latin America. At this time of economic crisis, we must enhance current EU-Latin America relations. The food crisis, the fight against climate change and social problems are challenges common to both of these areas.

A positive resolution of the above issues will largely depend on the cooperation relationship that will be established in the coming years. Multilateralism and enhanced cooperation are two paths that we must embark upon with determination. Cooperating and collaborating with Latin America, by sending targeted aid, tailored to the situation and to the specific needs of each State, does not mean simply aiming to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). This cooperation will also help eradicate poverty and inequality and boost economic development of the area.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The universality and indivisibility of human rights, respect for human dignity and the principles of equality and solidarity, enshrined by the Treaty of Lisbon, seek to eradicate poverty in addition to strengthening international relations and partnerships. To this end, at this time of deep crisis affecting the whole European Union, relations between the EU and Latin America are vital. Despite 180 million people living below the poverty line in Latin America, GDP is expected to grow by 4.5% during 2012. The EU is the principal donor of development aid, the principal investor and the second trading partner in Latin America.

With this vote, we are backing continued and increased aid for Latin America. Through the proposal for the next development cooperation instrument, we will ensure that we maintain the current commitment to provide 20% of the aid to the crucial sectors of education, training and public health, and do not allow the economic crisis to penalise those who are already victims of extreme poverty. We will thereby give millions of children the opportunity to develop their abilities as they grow up, and to improve their living conditions.

 
  
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  Bart Staes (Verts/ALE), in writing. (NL) What I find positive in the report on defining a new development cooperation with Latin America is the differentiated approach to various countries. Aid to countries with average incomes will gradually be phased out and the criteria for aid will be more objective. From now on, the degree of inequality will also be taken into account. The Gini coefficient will, henceforth, also be included.

The GDP is, indeed, insufficient as a benchmark. Parliament has rightly called for improved social cohesion, a redistribution of resources through a sound fiscal policy, and has considered the autonomy of parliaments, local authorities and civil society in its design of development strategies. Another good thing is that civil society is being asked to play a robust role in the fight against inequality.

In addition, there is also the importance of monitoring the use of financial resources. Several green amendments have strengthened the whole thing. This, inter alia, is about the necessary coherence between trade and development, the importance of regional integration and the demand that the EU does not use the production of agro-fuels as development cooperation. Finally, our suggestions were accepted in order to tackle impunity and to support, politically and financially, the work of the Inter-American System of Human Rights, so that we can address violence against women.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing.(FR) I obviously support this text. In fact, I think that we have a real role to play in meeting international commitments on human rights, food security and environmental sustainability. The European Union is attempting to develop relations and create associations with third countries, supporting sustainable development at the economic, social and environmental levels of the developing countries, with the fundamental aim of eradicating poverty. Union policies play a fundamental role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Although the effects of the global economic and financial crisis on Latin America have been less severe than in other regions, and in spite of positive economic forecasts, this region has 180 million people living below the poverty line and 10 countries in the region among the 15 countries with the highest levels of inequality in the world. The EU is the region’s principal investor and its second largest trade partner, as well as its largest donor of development aid. We need to sign the association agreement with Central America, create a Latin American Investment Facility, and establish dialogue on climate change, innovation, drugs and immigration. Furthermore, proposing the next development cooperation instrument (DCI) can bring added value. The new DCI should lay greater emphasis on combating poverty, inequality and exclusion, and on encouraging regional, budgetary and tax policies. It should also boost basic social services and investment in the areas of science, technology and innovation, in the fight against insecurity, in combating drug production, consumption and trafficking, and in promoting gender equality. I voted for the report for those reasons.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report on defining a new cooperation development policy with Latin America because, according to the Treaty of Lisbon, the overall objective of development cooperation is to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable economic and social development, including the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015. Latin America and the EU form a bi-regional strategic partnership based on common values and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, with Brazil and Mexico being two of the EU’s new strategic partners in the world. The EU is also the principal investor and the second largest trade partner, as well as the principal donor of development aid in the region. The priorities that the EU has in development cooperation and, by extension, with Latin America include energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, transport, protection of biodiversity and support for SMEs. Against this background, the conclusion of an EU association agreement with Mercosur will boost cooperation and development between Latin America and the EU, provided that it is based on the fair trade principle and on respect for international standards relating to labour, the environment, public procurement and intellectual property rights. Latin America-EU trade exchanges are a crucial factor in alleviating poverty and ensuring prosperity on both continents.

 
  
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  Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa (PPE), in writing. – While I have voted in favour of resolution No 2011/2286(INI) on defining a new development cooperation with Latin America, it is of great importance that we realise there are substantial issues that continue to persist. I do commend the rapporteur on the report; however, I do feel that there were some problems that went unaddressed or were perhaps not given enough attention where this was needed.

When discussing the further development of Latin America, we must take into consideration the long history of oppression and society’s reluctance to have faith in governance. One such example is when numerous governments attempted and succeeded in privatising the use of natural streams and rivers used in rural areas for water. Now, every time a citizen goes for a bucket of water, this is taxed and represents a large part of their monthly salary. Many of the companies that own these waters are from the United States. Similarly, since the creation of NAFTA, there have been substantial acts of land grabbing and continued acts of labour exploitation.

I strongly feel that there is much work ahead of us to better improve our development cooperation with Latin America and we must stay diligent and consistent in our pursuits.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – Fostering of social cohesion, strengthening of regional integration, the fight against poverty and the fair distribution of wealth in Latin America are the main focus of this report with which I fully agree. Its adoption will help eradicate poverty and strengthen the democratic system and the defence of human rights in Latin America.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Promoting cooperation and solidarity between countries which encourages the supported countries’ non-dependent development is always important. Nonetheless, and in relation to this report, we cannot help but draw attention to points with which we disagree and whose measures will perpetuate Latin American countries’ dependency, like the free trade agreements supported in this report and challenged by those countries’ workers and producers. Moreover, cooperation should be selfless and not based on motives like competition from Chinese investments in the region. We do not accept the possibility of any link between development support and the intervention of EU external – that is, militaristic – action.

 
  
  

Report: Marco Scurria (A7-0166/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report and would particularly highlight the fact that volunteering contributes directly to the key objectives of EU policies like social inclusion, employment, education, capacity building, citizenship and social solidarity. In order for this to be recognised, we need to encourage the Commission to continue to support volunteering through cohesion programmes, as well as to recognise non-formal and informal learning, which includes the volunteering dimension and the acceptance of this activity at national and European level. However, this necessitates creating national strategies and a clear EU-level legal framework.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Volunteering entails benefits both in terms of personal development and for civil society as a whole. Carrying out cross-border voluntary activities offers European citizens the opportunity to develop new skills needed to improve their employability and to enjoy the experience of cultural and linguistic diversity. I think that Member States need to promote involvement in cross-border voluntary activities, set up a legal framework conducive to volunteering and recognise the rights of volunteers. I believe that it is vital for the competences and skills gained through volunteering to be recognised as non-formal and informal learning and work experience. These are all the reasons why I voted in favour of this resolution.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) The mobility of our businesses, citizens and our children through the European Union should not be hampered by red tape and language barriers. I therefore voted in favour of a report which aims to facilitate the practice of cross-border volunteering. Besides being an incredible opportunity for exchange and learning, volunteering can also contribute to growth and already accounts for almost 5% of GDP in the European Union. We should acknowledge and value the practice of volunteering.

 
  
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  Liam Aylward (ALDE), in writing. (GA) 80% of the European public feels that volunteering is an important aspect of society. Over 100 million people in the EU engage in regular volunteering and generate 5% of Europe’s GDP.

Young and old in the EU engage in volunteering in the following sectors: education, sport, culture, the environment, youth, sustainable development, health, immigration, human rights, corporate social responsibility and the EU’s relations with other countries. It is particularly gratifying to me that my recommendations for implementing a qualifications framework for volunteer sports coaches were accepted. The time and resources being put into the training of trainers must be acknowledged, and the skills in question must be transferable.

To that end, I welcome the proposal for a European Skills Passport for volunteers. This passport will increase mobility in the voluntary sector and create an important and valuable link between informal learning and formal education. Students will now be better off on account of informal learning and skills being recognised under the European Credit Transfer System. That will increase the ability of students to find employment.

 
  
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  Zoltán Bagó (PPE), in writing. (HU) I supported the report entitled ‘Recognising and promoting cross-border voluntary activities in the EU’. In my opinion, this document discusses comprehensively the benefits, results and deficiencies of volunteering in Europe. Even after the end of the European Year of Volunteering (2011), volunteering remains a major aspect of the European Year for Active Ageing (2012) and the European Year of Citizens (2013).

I agree that through their activities, volunteers acquire skills that would be worth summarising in a common ‘European Skills Passport’. This could be used to motivate volunteers or to publicly recognise their experience in this field. Furthermore, voluntary activities also facilitate intercultural learning, as volunteers can learn languages and become acquainted with the local culture where they work. Additionally, as a Hungarian Member of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), I find it important to establish good cooperation with volunteers working in third countries; I am thinking here specifically of Serbia and Ukraine, and the positive effects of the voluntary activities conducted there on democracy and on the promotion of the rule of law.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. 2011 was declared the European Year of Voluntary Activities, which was aimed at drawing the public’s attention to this important area and promoting volunteering, particularly among young and older people. The number of people doing voluntary activities varies greatly across the Member States, and some of these lack a clear legal framework for voluntary activities to promote the growth of volunteering activities and the recognition of the rights of volunteers. Volunteering plays an important role in promoting social change and solidarity between generations, helping older people make the transition from work to retirement, reducing social exclusion and encouraging young people to become more involved in society and social processes. However, in order to reap the full benefits from volunteering, we need to dismantle existing barriers to undertaking voluntary activities, particularly for young people, in the Member States and to promoting cross-border volunteering, and we need to ensure the recognition of skills and competences gained as non-formal learning and work experience. I therefore welcome the call for the Commission to take immediate action and to ensure that the European Skills Passport becomes a reality as soon as possible, ensuring greater social security, particularly for young people, and encouraging them to become more actively involved in volunteering.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because it presents useful proposals which will support volunteering at European level. Since we live in a digital era, I especially support the suggestion made in Article 20 about creating a centralised EU portal. This will enable citizens from any EU Member State to have rapid access to all the information they need, including about cross-border volunteering.

I also support the idea of a ‘European Skills Passport’. I think that it will not only help make use of the experience acquired from volunteering, but will also provide a suitable supplement to the measures for recognising diplomas and professional qualifications at European level. I should highlight the role which volunteering can play not only in the transition to the first job, but also from working life to retirement. I should mention that National Volunteering Week was held for the 11th time in Romania between 14 and 20 May. On this occasion, more than 10 000 people were involved in the activities which took place in 111 locations.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) Initiatives organised for the European Year of Voluntary Activities in 2011 demonstrated the importance of volunteering, a phenomenon which involves approximately 100 million European citizens, who are able to contribute 5% of European GDP. A growing number of EU citizens of all ages participate in various areas, such as education, culture, youth policy, sport, the environment and relations with third countries. Unfortunately, the need for fiscal consolidation is endangering the financial sustainability of many non-governmental organisations, making it necessary to ensure adequate and stable funding and to simplify administrative procedures. The Member States are called on to put in place adequate legal frameworks and draw up national strategies to promote the growth of volunteering activities, whether by recognising the volunteers’ rights or improving information networks.

The Commission is called on to negotiate easier visa regimes for non-EU citizens wishing to enter the EU, and to set up a centralised EU volunteering portal. It is worth noting the support for the Commission’s proposals to create a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps and a European Skills Passport; the combination of these measures is essential for promoting cross-border volunteering. I voted for this report for the above reasons.

 
  
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  George Becali (NI), in writing. (RO) I would like to explain why I voted for this report because I really am an active citizen, I believe in volunteering and sponsorship, and I believe that being influential means you should do good. Although there has been a steady increase in the progress being made on volunteering (2011 was the European Year of Volunteering), the rapporteur thinks that a clear distinction needs to be made between the value of voluntary activities which receive no financial remuneration and profit-making activities. Volunteering must continue to be supported. Creating a centralised EU volunteering portal, setting up a ‘European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps’ and creating a ‘European Skills Passport’ would improve considerably the concept of volunteering and volunteering processes in general. This skills passport will therefore enable volunteering to be given public recognition (even as part of a CV, for instance), and the skills acquired will be able to be used in the future by young people in their education and working life.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I support Mr Scurria’s report, which seeks to ensure that volunteering can develop at European level in new and better-structured ways. It has ambitious but very constructive objectives. Particularly at this historic time for Europe, we need to foster cooperation between the EU Member States and the organisations operating in them, eliminate the red tape that often hinders access to specific activities and recognise the skills that are gained through volunteering. The proposal seeks, in particular, to create a European voluntary corps and a European Skills Passport. The former would train volunteers and subsequently coordinate them, sending them, for example, to various countries to help local groups respond in the event of natural disasters. The latter will be developed based on the existing Europass model.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because initiatives implemented in the European Year of Voluntary Activities Promoting Active Citizenship (2011) were a success at national, regional and European levels, and we therefore need to underline the value of volunteering clearly and unequivocally. 2012, the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations will be another important occasion to reflect on the value of volunteering in everyday life and to give older people the chance to make their own contribution to the growth of solidarity in the community. Volunteering is an informal learning experience suitable for persons of all ages. It offers benefits in terms of personal development, strengthening of democracy, civic values and social solidarity and more active participation in democratic life, intercultural learning and the acquisition of social and professional skills, and contributes to the aims of European Union policies on social inclusion and combating discrimination, as well as on employment, education, culture, development of skills and citizenship. It is an important factor for achieving the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Volunteering makes a direct contribution to the fundamental objectives of the EU’s policies, such as social inclusion, employment, education, skills development and the promotion of citizenship. However, volunteering does not have a clearly defined legal framework, and the skills which volunteers acquire are often not given sufficient recognition. I welcome the decision to devise a ‘European Skills Passport’, as it will therefore ensure that professional qualifications are recognised across borders and citizens will have the chance to keep evidence of the skills and competences acquired through volunteering.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) I would like to congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Scurria, on his excellent work. Indeed, the report addresses a vast, complex topic – the role, importance and future of volunteering in Europe – taking a structured, ambitious approach. Apart from some caveats, such as the one relating to paragraph 9 of the provisions, I think that the report should be adopted for its value as a principle and for a number of references that it contains and points that it stresses, which deserve attention and constructive follow-up action. I would emphasise, among the many requests, the call to recognise a skills passport as a means of certifying voluntary activities.

With a view to achieving subsidiarity and sustainability, volunteering is already an important element in the welfare and personal services system, which state apparatuses will only be able to provide to an ever-smaller degree in the future. Today, volunteering therefore has an educational value that is vital for full and aware contemporary citizenship. It is important to promote transnational mobility as an educational tool in general and, in particular, as a first step towards gaining knowledge and entering a labour market that increasingly spans the continent. Lastly, I believe that greater mobility in volunteering also means more healthy competition, a greater exchange of ideas and increased supply, not just between NGOs, but also when we compare the ways in which Member States capitalise on these civil society resources.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report. 2011 was the ‘Year of Volunteering’, enabling the Commission and the European Parliament to examine the issues of voluntary activities in Europe. Volunteering is an indispensable tool for actively supporting society and keeps the principles of solidarity and democracy in Europe alive. Voluntary activities represent 5% of global GDP: they thus represent real added value to European policies. It is therefore our duty to promote this sector in the future, to adopt a clear legal framework and to simplify administrative procedures. In this respect, I support the various actions proposed, in particular, establishing a centralised EU portal on volunteering and creating a ‘European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps’. A key measure of this report is the development of a European Skills Passport. I think it is important to value the personal and professional skills acquired during these citizen engagements. Furthermore, in order to facilitate cross-border voluntary activities, I believe that our actions must be complemented by the development of a European Statute for Associations.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) I regard volunteering as a source of informal learning and personal development. Cross-border volunteering in particular is an opportunity for the intercultural enrichment of young Europeans. Major sporting events involve an ever-increasing number of European countries in the joint organisation of events, involving thousands of volunteers from various Member States. The need for volunteers also arises, unfortunately, from the natural and environmental disasters that frequently afflict Europe and often have an impact on several Member States at the same time. Volunteers offer help, labour and solidarity, but, in addition to the difficulties caused by the disaster, they also face problems due to language barriers and red tape, and these can be reduced through appropriate European support policies. The need to continue to differentiate clearly and unequivocally between the value of volunteering, provided free of charge, and profit-making activities, still remains, as does the vital need to emphasise the role of volunteering in promoting the principles of identity and common European values, such as solidarity and social cohesion, within the EU and beyond. Following the visibility acquired through the European Year of Volunteering, it is necessary to focus on various specific measures to promote voluntary activities, such as the idea of establishing a centralised EU portal on volunteering with a specific section dedicated to cross-border volunteering, creating a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps and developing the European Skills Passport.

 
  
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  Zuzana Brzobohatá (S&D), in writing. – (CS) The European Year of Volunteering in 2011 contributed to an evaluation of volunteering as an example of active citizenship that deserves maximum levels of support from organisations and institutions in the individual Member States and from the EU. I support the idea of cross-border cooperation in volunteering. It is the only way to transfer experience, different values and new ideas in the area of active citizenship. International cooperation in volunteering should be stepped up, and the free movement of volunteers between individual Member States should be facilitated. This ought to improve cooperation, for example, in cases of natural disasters or in international congresses of young people. Cross-border cooperation contributes to the exchange of active citizens between individual EU states and supports the acquisition of knowledge abroad, leading to individual volunteers identifying themselves more as members of European civil society. For these reasons, I voted in favour of the report on cross-border voluntary activities in the EU.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – This measure calls for a relaxation of visa policy and demands more funding programmes to ensure volunteers have access to social security benefits when in another country. It is essential during times of austerity that matters such as funded volunteering are a national prerogative and are determined on a needs only basis, not imposed centrally at EU level. It is a method by the European Commission to mask the true extent of youth unemployment in afflicted Member States, yet simply shifts the economic toll onto other countries without tackling the real issues at the crux of the problem. It is also my belief that the determination of who lives and works, albeit in a voluntary capacity, and who is entitled to welfare is a matter of sovereign consideration.

 
  
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  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Scurria’s report since it concerns a sector which, despite involving 100 million citizens and 5% of GDP, was virtually unregulated at EU level until last year and therefore needed better regulation. Volunteering is essential to the sectors of sport, protection of the environment, crisis prevention and management, and for defending artistic and cultural heritage.

The communication from the Commission on EU policies and volunteering: Recognising and promoting cross-border voluntary activities in the EU, was an excellent starting point for the preparation of the report that we have adopted today, which praises the role of volunteering in the EU. The report envisages the establishment of several positive instruments, including a portal informing citizens of volunteering opportunities in the various Member States and how to participate in them, a European Skills Passport so that the skills acquired through volunteering may be officially recognised, and measurement of volunteer work based on the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Manual and the United Nations’ Handbook, with a view to obtaining comparable statistics and data providing a clear picture of the significant contribution made by volunteering and of the needs of volunteers throughout the European Union.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, as I believe that volunteering constitutes an expression of active citizenship in all spheres of social life and an essential activity for the development of democratic values, human dignity, equality and subsidiarity, and also because I believe we need to emphasise the role of volunteering in promoting the principles of identity and common European values, such as solidarity and social cohesion, within the EU and beyond.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) Volunteering plays an important role in European economic and social sustainability. It echoes the fundamental values of justice, solidarity, inclusion and solidarity upon which the European Union is based. The success of the European Year of Voluntary Activities in 2011 was evident, and we now need to pave the way for the growth of volunteering activities which directly contribute to the core objectives of EU policy, such as social inclusion, employment, education, skills development and citizenship. As well as making people more tolerant, it creates human and social capital and plays a vital role in the areas of aid and humanitarian cooperation, whether in post-crisis or disaster situations, or in cross-border sustainable development. I therefore argue that the Commission and the Member States should promote volunteering activities by establishing a clear and adequate legal framework for volunteers, and by eliminating bureaucracy and obstacles through, inter alia, easier visa regimes for non-EU citizens wishing to enter the EU for the purpose of volunteering, the creation of synergies with existing organisations, and the creation of the centralised EU portal or European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps provided for in the Treaty of Lisbon.

 
  
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  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for this resolution because I think that we need a clearly defined and suitable legal framework for volunteering in each Member State. We must not overlook the potential offered by volunteering in developing socio-economic cohesion. This is why I believe that Member States must protect the rights of volunteers and provide them with non-discriminatory access to health care and social welfare services. With regard to cross-border volunteering, it is important that elderly people who choose to get involved in voluntary activities in another Member State have unconditional access to information and receive sufficient funding and support appropriate to their status.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) Voluntary activities attract growing numbers of young people every year, which is conducive to both local development and cross-border cooperation. Such cooperation projects play a considerable role in promoting solidarity, active citizenship and intercultural learning because the young volunteers have the chance to study the language and culture of the country where they are working. I think that EU Member States must recognise the benefits of all citizens taking part in cross-border voluntary activities, which offer them the chance to develop new skills and may contribute not only to better integration into the labour market, but also to their mobility.

 
  
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  Rachida Dati (PPE) , in writing.(FR) 100 million, that is the number of citizens involved in voluntary activities. In 2011, Europe placed them centre stage with the European Year of Voluntary Activities Promoting Active Citizenship. In 2012, the European Parliament continues to act to encourage their development and dismantle obstacles that hinder such activities. This is the aim behind the report, and that is why I voted in its favour. One of the key measures that it proposes is the ‘European Skills Passport’. From now on, there will be increased recognition of the competences, skills and professional qualifications acquired through volunteering throughout Europe.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) The initiatives organised last year for the European Year of Volunteering 2011 showed the growing importance of the volunteering phenomenon in Europe, in areas including education, culture, youth policy, sport, protecting the environment, sustainable development, health, immigration, rights advocacy, corporate social responsibility and the EU’s relations with third countries, involving approximately 100 million European citizens and contributing around 5% of European GDP.

Unfortunately, the economic crisis and fiscal consolidation are endangering the financial sustainability of many NGOs and volunteers working every day on increasing active citizenship, solidarity and social inclusion all over Europe, because the financial crisis and the resulting political and economic conditions are having an impact on sustainable funding and on fundraising for these activities. From this own-initiative report, for which I voted and on which I would congratulate the rapporteur, I would highlight support for the Commission’s proposals to create a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps and a European Skills Passport.

 
  
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  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Europeans wanting to get involved in international volunteering all too often face red tape or language barriers. Yet this is an incredible opportunity for citizens to exchange and learn. Nearly 100 million Europeans are involved in volunteering and they contribute about 5% of EU GDP. We therefore need to put an end to the language and technical difficulties encountered by citizens wanting to carry out volunteer work. Powerful and innovative new tools must be developed, such as a centralised European portal offering a full range of volunteer opportunities and recognition of qualifications. Lastly, it is not possible to have volunteers without an organisation. That is why the Commission must move towards the recognition of a European Statute for Associations.

 
  
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  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) Volunteering, as one of the basic principles of the EU, enhances social skills and competences, and thus contributes to democratic development. It facilitates the reinforcement of social solidarity and offers a wide range of experiences, and is therefore for the benefit of not just the volunteers but also the communities involved, and society as a whole. It is clear to us that these voluntary activities, undertaken by individuals on their own volition and motivation, without the intention to make a profit, have positive effects at national, regional, local, as well as European level. Thus, volunteering plays a very important role in the realisation of social capital and development. This type of participation in democratic life solidifies civil values. This is why I find it important to emphasise the elimination of persistent barriers, as indicated in this report, namely, that the national legal systems of certain Member States do not or only partially recognise the practice of volunteering.

We are all aware that due to the economic crisis, voluntary organisations do not have sufficient resources to be able to obtain funding under existing EU programmes. In order for the actors involved to be able to make better use of their cross-border projects, they must be made aware of existing European programmes, in particular, the programmes of ‘European territorial cooperation’ within the cohesion policy, and a national strategy providing an appropriate legal framework for volunteers needs to be established as well. I would also like to mention that such a cooperation would be particularly important in the context of European Neighbourhood Policy as it would allow people belonging to minorities to participate in voluntary activities, which would contribute to their social integration and inclusion.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of the motion for a European Parliament resolution on recognising and promoting cross-border voluntary activities in the EU because of the great contribution that voluntary work organisations make to the EU, the Member States and all the regions of Europe. This report, in particular by urging national, regional and local authorities to ensure stable funding and provide tax incentives, aims at a strengthened recognition of the organisations involved in volunteering activities. It also stresses the importance of ensuring that skills and knowledge gained by volunteers during their work should help them find jobs and receive due recognition as part of their working experience. Moreover, the transnational nature that characterises voluntary work should receive special treatment from the European Union, since it represents one of those issues that actively trigger a dynamic definition of European citizenship. Voluntary work puts transnational European solidarity into motion.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The most basic definition of volunteering is goodwill in action. It is offered without charge, and it is generous, freely given and without strings. It is also an essential pillar of any society, as the work of thousands of volunteers, acting in a formal or informal capacity, in various areas, makes a difference to thousands of lives every single day. There are currently 100 million European citizens working in various voluntary activities, which is an incredibly large number. The rapporteur now proposes improving the conditions for volunteering with the creation of a centralised EU volunteering portal with a specific section dedicated to cross-border volunteering, creating a ‘European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps’ and developing a ‘European Skills Passport’. I broadly agree with the ideas presented by the rapporteur, which are in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which has always looked upon volunteering as a matter of policy, recognising its undeniable social dimension and seeking to present concrete proposals to help volunteers, giving them the dignity and recognition that they deserve. However, I believe that voluntary activities should remain, as much as possible, free and unregulated.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Mr Scurria, follows the Year of Voluntary Activities in 2011, and concerns the need to recognise and promote cross-border voluntary activities in the European Union. In a European Union seeking increasing brotherhood and solidarity, cross-border volunteering is increasingly important, especially if we take into account the economic and financial crisis we are experiencing and the lack of prospects of it coming to an end any time soon. Above all, I would highlight the importance that European institutions want to give this work, with a view to recognising the creation of conditions for citizens to dedicate themselves to this noble cause in any of the following areas: society, the environment and heritage.

As there can be no voluntary work without organisations, it is essential to adopt a legal framework promoting and encouraging the activities of non-governmental organisations, in particular, by exempting them from VAT, simplifying procedures and creating a volunteer passport. As I am aware that a big world is made up of small daily acts, I am voting for this report, and I call on the Member States to encourage volunteering and to measure its impact on the economy.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report is extensive and details many different issues relating to volunteering. We greatly value volunteering and, without downplaying its importance and potential, we do not entirely agree with the perspective presented on volunteering, essentially what it implies in terms of the state’s decreased responsibility for and neglect of the role of public policy in a wide range of areas. Certain risks that the concept of volunteering will be distorted or subverted are not properly addressed. Volunteering cannot, under any circumstances, be used to justify or legitimise situations involving decreased state responsibility, such as teaching that is lacking or deficient in schools, or to extort free work from young people, adults or older people. Nonetheless, we are pleased that almost all the amendments tabled by our group have been accepted. It is important to address problems experienced by volunteers and by NGOs promoting volunteering, in particular, difficulties with funding, bureaucracy, and a lack of recognition for activities carried out. The report has some good paragraphs on increasing funding for associations, communities and others. However, we would distance ourselves from proposals like the European Statute for Associations, under the terms set out here.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Scurria’s report on cross-border voluntary activities in the EU. Following the visibility acquired through the European Year of Volunteering, it is appropriate to focus on specific measures to further promote volunteering. The ‘European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps’ will train people engaged principally in cross-border volunteering. Its creation will make an invaluable and much-needed contribution to society, demonstrating the need to build a Europe based on respect for fundamental rights and the creation of solidarity and welfare, not just within national borders and not just in economic terms. In a constantly changing society such as that in Europe, enhancing solidarity is an asset. It enables us to address and overcome human, social, intergenerational and environmental needs and concerns. Today, the EU has 100 million volunteers who are helping to make Europe and the world a better place, and I am certain that this number is set to rise substantially.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Volunteering is an informal learning experience suitable for persons of all ages; it offers benefits in terms of personal development, strengthening of democracy, civic values and social solidarity. It contributes to the aims of European Union policies on social inclusion, combating discrimination, and increasing employment. It helps to tackle human, social, environmental and intergenerational concerns. Volunteering is an essential activity for the development of democratic values, human dignity and equality. It can often ensure the swift provision of aid when natural disasters occur. Approximately 100 million European citizens work in various voluntary activities. Around 80% of citizens consider volunteering to be an important element of democratic life and a significant means by which each individual can participate in society. Nevertheless, I would like to point out that volunteering must not be an alternative to regular, paid work and must not constitute a reason for the governments of Member States failing to fulfil their social obligations. The promotion of volunteering should not result in volunteering becoming a mandatory requirement. 2013 will be the European Year of Citizens and even in this context, I firmly believe that the promotion of volunteering in the life of European citizens has its place and is extremely important.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) Including in my capacity as Vice-Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education, I support the aims, set out in this report, to promote and develop volunteering, on the one hand, and, on the other, to encourage recognition of the informal skills acquired through volunteering by establishing a European Skills Passport. Moreover, given that the report examines both the positive aspects and the challenges of the current volunteering situation, and proposes good solutions, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) As we saw when the recent earthquakes struck northern Italy, the work done by people engaged in voluntary activities makes a fundamental and unique contribution. There is a European dimension to the voluntary sector. There are, in fact, approximately 100 million European citizens participating in various voluntary activities. It is important that the EU does its part to encourage and strengthen cross-border volunteering, which is an important instrument for improving social cohesion, enhancing integration and solidarity and building a European identity. In particular, Parliament is calling for bureaucratic obstacles to be removed and for the professional skills that volunteers gain during their voluntary activities to be recognised.

 
  
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  Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D), in writing. – Volunteering activities are essential for encouraging citizens to be active in their societies, for enhancing integration and promoting democratic values. In Europe, according to figures from the European Commission, over 100 million Europeans are engaged in voluntary activities; three in ten EU citizens claim to be active in a voluntary activity and close to 80% of respondents consider volunteering an important part of democratic life. In addition to having a clear social impact, volunteering activities also have an economic impact as volunteers can improve their working skills and widen professional qualifications. In fact, voluntary activities alone can add to the production of 5% of European GDP. To continue supporting volunteering activities in Europe, the current report calls on the Commission and the Member States to set a legal framework and define clear rules for volunteering and volunteers in and between Member States. The report suggests using existing programmes, such as the Cohesion Policy and CEV, along with new schemes, such as tax breaks and the ‘European Skills Passport’, to facilitate and promote activities across Europe. Implementing this report could accelerate efforts to build a social and economic citizens’ Europe and therefore I voted in favour of it.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing.(FR) I voted for this report, which aims to strengthen and facilitate cross-border volunteering and to reduce the administrative, legal and linguistic barriers to volunteering. In this report, we call on Member States to set national targets for volunteering and to recognise the rights of volunteers, in particular, by establishing a European statute for volunteering. Our report also suggests introducing an online information portal on issues related to volunteering. 100 million European citizens are currently working in voluntary activities. Volunteering offers an incredible opportunity for exchange and learning, and cross-border volunteering offers great potential for education, employment and citizenship, to improve mutual understanding and help develop a stronger European identity. Volunteering is one way of living as an active European citizen and, being from the only French region that borders three other Member States, that is something close to my heart.

 
  
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  Mathieu Grosch (PPE), in writing. (DE) Following in the wake, inter alia, of the European Year of Volunteering 2011, this own-initiative report is a further step to promote volunteering at European level. The work of volunteering organisations provides considerable support for social, intergenerational and environmental needs in today’s society. It therefore represents active support for society, which it is absolutely necessary to promote.

Those volunteering organisations that operate across borders, in particular, currently face major challenges, including in terms of administration. I therefore very much welcome the fact that this own-initiative report promotes the simplification of administrative procedures and tax breaks for those organisations involved in voluntary activities. The creation of a centralised EU portal on volunteering with a specific section dedicated to cross-border volunteering and a European Statute for Associations will facilitate and promote cross-border work on the part of these volunteering organisations.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour because the Commission is encouraged to make the European Skills Passport a reality as soon as possible because skills acquired during volunteering work are also of considerable significance in working life and provide added value to a CV, and it is clear that volunteering can help young people in their choice of a career. The European Skills Passport will provide for the cross-border recognition of professional skills while making it possible for a record to be kept of competences and skills acquired through volunteering. The passport will be based on the Europass model (European on-line CV) to allow skills to be recorded in a transparent and comparable way: what is required is greater public recognition of volunteering as a useful experience for young people with the aim of acquiring skills that can be used, for example, in education and in work. Volunteering is an important factor in creating social capital, encouraging development and promoting socio-economic cohesion, given the potential of non-formal learning opportunities to help volunteers gain skills that will make them more employable and thus contribute to the Europe 2020 growth strategy.

 
  
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  Cătălin Sorin Ivan (S&D), in writing. (RO) The own-initiative report on the 2011 Year of Volunteering, adopted by the Committee on Culture and Education and at Parliament’s plenary session, provides an assessment of the actions taken by the EU during the course of the last year, which was devoted to the concept of volunteering. In addition to evaluating the report, the Committee on Culture and Education also made recommendations on promoting and facilitating voluntary activities, especially in cross-border situations. I supported this report, both at committee level and in plenary, because I feel that it provides considerable added value, even though it is still only an own-initiative report. The points which it contains are fundamental to the efficient operation of the EU’s volunteering programmes. It stressed the need for funding, both via its own programmes and the Cohesion Fund, as well as for liberalising the visa scheme for non-EU citizens who are interested in doing voluntary activities in the EU.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) At its plenary session in Strasbourg today, the European Parliament voted by a large majority in favour of Mr Scurria’s report on cross-border voluntary activities in the EU.

22.6% of young people are currently looking for a job in the European Union. Nevertheless, we know that their main problem is landing their first job, as they are often rejected on the grounds of a lack of experience. However, many get involved with voluntary activities. The technical and human skills that they acquire in their humanitarian, cultural or sports undertakings are all assets on the job market or for getting onto certain university courses.

It is from this perspective that the Scurria report calls for a European statute for volunteering, for official recognition of qualifications obtained through volunteering, and for the creation of a skills passport that is valid throughout the EU.

 
  
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  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE), in writing. (SK) Voluntary activities enable individuals and associations to tackle human needs and concerns, whether social, intergenerational or environmental. The figures show that there are 100 million European citizens working in various voluntary activities who are able to contribute 5% of European GDP. Eighty per cent of citizens consider volunteering to be an important element of democratic life and a significant means by which each individual can participate in society. The need to continue to differentiate clearly and unequivocally between the value of volunteering provided free of charge, and profit-making activities, still remains. It will promote the establishment of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps, the establishment of a centralised EU portal on volunteering and the European Skills Passport, which I fully support.

 
  
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  Jan Kozłowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) Last year’s European Year of Volunteering clearly showed the key role played by volunteering in promoting and implementing values such as solidarity, social inclusion, human dignity and many others. I am therefore extremely pleased that we are taking further steps aimed at making it easier for volunteers to perform their vital role. I would like to express my thanks in this regard to the rapporteur, Mr Scurria, and to congratulate him on his report. I believe that one of the most noteworthy issues covered in the report is the European Skills Passport, which would serve as evidence of the skills that individuals have acquired while volunteering. I am sure that this tool is a key step towards greater public recognition of volunteering, since it will not only help to raise professional qualifications and thus increase employment chances for volunteers, but also be a major incentive to undertake voluntary activities. I therefore decided to vote in favour of the Scurria report.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for Mr Scurria’s report since I believe that it has set important goals for voluntary activity. Although this activity accounts for 5% of European GDP and involves approximately 100 million people in the EU, it has not yet been regulated at EU level. Volunteering is a valuable activity in human, social and economic terms, given that it complements the welfare policies of the individual Member States. In this regard, a transnational approach to regulation of this activity is highly desirable. I think that it is equally important to highlight the positive effect that volunteering has on young Europeans, especially in terms of professional and personal growth, by expanding the frontiers of the generations who will be called on to lead Europe in the coming years.

 
  
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  Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska (PPE), in writing. (PL) Cross-border volunteering is an engine for the creation of human capital and, above all, a driver for activity and development, particularly among young people. I would like to note that voluntary activities make it possible for us to overcome problems and even major crises. We need merely to harness the human and social energy and the thousands of ideas of all these volunteers. Statistical studies show that there are around 115 million volunteers in the European Union alone. It is apparent that this represents a huge potential which should be sought out, nurtured and promoted. It is also interesting that three quarters of employers prefer to employ candidates with volunteering experience on their CVs. I, for my part, have always supported and encouraged young people to undertake voluntary activities, and I therefore voted in favour of the Scurria report on cross-border voluntary activities in the EU.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – After a full year of initiatives that has seen volunteers across Europe engage in promotion, information and awareness-raising activities, the European Year of Voluntary Activities Promoting Active Citizenship (2011) has just come to an end, passing the baton to 2012, the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. This will be another important occasion to reflect on the value of volunteering in everyday life and to give older people the chance to make their own contribution to the growth of solidarity in the community. In light of the many initiatives and debates during 2011, it has been shown that voluntary activities are a tool for individuals and associations to tackle human needs and concerns, whether social, intergenerational or environmental. Emphasis has been placed on volunteering as an expression of active citizenship in all spheres of social life and as an essential activity for the development of democratic values, human dignity, equality and subsidiarity. Volunteering silently assumes the role of catalyst for social change and is an indispensable tool in encouraging the active support of society.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) In light of the many initiatives and debates during 2011, the European Year of Volunteering, it has been shown that voluntary activities are an expression of active citizenship in all spheres of social life and an essential activity for the development of democratic values, human dignity, equality and subsidiarity.

The figures are clear: approximately 100 million European citizens are working in various voluntary activities and are accounting for 5% of European GDP. We are convinced that cross-border volunteering is a unique and unmissable opportunity for intercultural enrichment for our young European citizens. Therefore, it is our duty to support any initiative that brings together an ever-increasing number of European countries in the joint organisation of events.

Unfortunately, in this area as well, there are continuing problems owing to language barriers and red tape. The latter can be reduced through appropriate European support policies. We must therefore strive to do more and to do better. Among the specific measures, we support the idea of establishing a centralised EU portal on volunteering with a specific section dedicated to cross-border volunteering, creating a ‘European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps’ and developing a ‘European Skills Passport’.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing.(FR) Volunteering is fundamentally involving citizens in a living democracy. Why prevent and restrict it? It is essential to facilitate both national and cross-border voluntary activities through the establishment of a clear legal framework and easier visa procedures for volunteers that meet all the conditions defined by the Member States.

 
  
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  Iosif Matula (PPE), in writing. (RO) I welcome the fact that Parliament has given a new indication confirming the special role that cross-border voluntary activities have at EU level. Apart from acting as a catalyst for creating a common civic spirit, the data featuring in the report indicates that volunteering can contribute up to 5% of GDP. Bearing in mind that around 100 million Europeans are involved in this kind of activity, a more effective regulatory framework is required in the EU. Based on the excellent measures presented by this report, I think that it is extremely useful to create an EU portal with a section devoted to cross-border volunteering, not to mention set up a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps which will select and train people to intervene in the event of natural disasters. Last but not least, introducing a European Skills Passport which is valid for every Member State will offer due recognition for professional qualifications and the skills acquired through volunteering. In addition to the specific benefits volunteering brings, reflected in social cohesion, as a driver for inclusion and a pool of human resources, this activity also has a symbolic role for the EU: it helps mould European citizenship and a common identity.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Scurria’s report. I agree, in particular, with the call for Member States who do not have a clear or adequate legal framework for volunteers to put one in place and to draw up national strategies to promote the growth of volunteering activities, including recognition of the rights of volunteers.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) Volunteering constitutes an expression of active citizenship in all areas of social life, as well as an essential activity for developing democratic values, human dignity, equality and subsidiarity. As such, is should be supported by all the Member States. The figures show that there is a ‘body’ of 100 million European citizens working in various voluntary activities, who are able to contribute 5% of European GDP and who are considered, by 80% of members of the public, to be an important element of democratic life and a significant means by which each individual can participate in society. Volunteering is thus a precious European legacy.

 
  
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  Alajos Mészáros (PPE), in writing. (HU) Cross-border volunteering is an important opportunity for intercultural enrichment for young people. I agree that Member States should recognise the benefits of participation in cross-border volunteer activities, as they provide citizens with new skills, contributing to their employability and mobility and strengthening the development of social inclusion.

Furthermore, I agree that for students, the skills acquired through volunteering should be included in the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System. Volunteering can help young people in their career choices, and the skills acquired have considerable importance in professional life.

The creation of a European Skills Passport would represent substantial motivation for volunteers because it would allow for the official recognition of the skills they acquire, both for professional and learning purposes. The existing information network must be improved in order to make everyone aware of volunteering opportunities. I support the creation of a centralised EU portal, which would include a volunteer resources database and provide information on cross-border volunteering, including the programmes available, their costs and the conditions for participation. In order for a European network and information exchange to be implemented, it is primarily the responsibility of Member States to draw up volunteer programmes across EU borders.

 
  
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  Marek Henryk Migalski (ECR), in writing.(PL) I believe that cross-border voluntary activities are absolutely vital, and there is near universal agreement with the idea of supporting, developing and promoting them. I abstained from voting on the report because of doubts over financial matters, such as the call made to national, regional and local authorities and the EU to ensure appropriate and stable funding. I do not believe that it is necessary to increase funding for voluntary activities; I believe that it is more important to simplify administrative procedures and cut bureaucracy. I would like to emphasise that I am firmly in favour of some of the ideas concerning voluntary activities contained in the report, such as the promotion of these activities among young people, in the field of sport or in cooperation with third countries.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE), in writing. (SK) I am delighted that there is a growing number of kind-hearted Europeans of all ages who are participating in various volunteer activities in the fields of education, culture, youth policy, sport, the environment, sustainable development, health and many other areas. Volunteering is not only a wonderful gift, but also brings benefits to those who offer their services, as, thanks to this, they are able to personally develop and influence events in society, whilst gaining new skills and experience in previously unfamiliar areas. I would like to highlight the positive impact of volunteering on the strengthening of democracy, human rights and civic values, education and culture, and also in combating discrimination and unemployment. Volunteering is simply all about ordinary people being able to accomplish extraordinary things. In the twenty-seven Member States of the European Union, there are around 100 million volunteers and it is estimated that their work contributes up to eight per cent of GDP. For these reasons, I support the report on recognising and promoting cross-border voluntary activities in the EU and I join the call for those Member States that do not have one already to establish an adequate legal framework for volunteers and to develop national strategies to promote the development of voluntary activities, including the recognition of the rights of volunteers.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – Volunteering directly contributes to the key objectives of the EU policies such as social inclusion, employment, education, skills development, citizenship, justice and social solidarity. Volunteers help shape European society and those performing their activities abroad are actively helping to build a citizens’ Europe. Therefore, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Volunteering has a long tradition in many Member States of the European Union. Volunteers make an inestimable contribution to major sports events, just as volunteer fire brigades make an immense contribution to firefighting. In the social sphere, many assistance services would be impossible without the countless hours put in by volunteers. Given the fact that not even the EU emergency number is well enough known, for instance, in the case of a child abduction, it seems to make little sense to introduce a dedicated EU portal for volunteering. Furthermore, the establishment of a ‘European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps’ and the development of a ‘European Skills Passport’ will most likely only result in additional bureaucracy and enormous costs, for which reason I voted against. It is much more important that we should tackle the detrimental effects of the Working Time Directive on voluntary activities, such as on volunteer firefighting – which, under the case-law of the European Court of Justice, is defined as working time in the form of on-call time and readiness for work – so that volunteers in numerous voluntary organisations can once again carry on their work legally.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) Volunteering is a vital resource in our society: there are approximately 100 million volunteers working in Europe who are also accounting for 5% of European GDP. It is therefore easy to see the importance of encouraging and promoting the development of this culture, which focuses on helpfulness and generosity towards others. The report mentions the need to coordinate these activities, including by creating cross-border exchanges, and evaluates the establishment of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps, intended to operate mainly in the case of natural disasters and major events. The development of a European Skills Passport could no doubt be useful as well, since it provides guarantees regarding the professionalism and skill of people working as volunteers. For all these reasons, and in view of the immense and valuable service that volunteers of all ages perform on a daily basis, I decided to support this proposal in the hope that it will further stimulate this fundamental sector.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) Volunteering both in Europe and throughout the world is becoming ever greater in scale. Young people are choosing volunteering for various reasons, both to help those who need help and to expand their horizons and improve their skills, thus improving their future chances of entering the labour market for the first time or returning to it. Unfortunately, bureaucratic or other restrictions do not always allow volunteers to properly exploit their opportunities. It is therefore very important to reduce bureaucratic barriers, which impede volunteering outside a person’s Member State of origin. The inclusion of all voluntary work in the overall period of employment would also be a particularly important step.

 
  
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  Katarína Neveďalová (S&D), in writing.(SK) After the success achieved in 2011, which was the European Year of Voluntary Activities, the European Parliament decided to continue its legacy. It is important to build a consistent EU dimension for volunteering, which would support the development of this field. It is worth noting that more than 100 million European citizens across all Member States and from all age groups are engaged in volunteering. Volunteering is a great source of informal learning, and cross-border volunteering in particular opens up the opportunity for intercultural enrichment for European citizens of all ages. Volunteering is gradually assuming the role of catalyst for social change and is an indispensable tool in the active support of society. As well as being an expression of active citizenship in all spheres of social life, volunteering is also an important tool for the development of democratic values, human dignity, equality and the principle of subsidiarity. It is for these very reasons that I, together with the S&D Group, actively support this report.

 
  
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  Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. – European action on volunteering is necessary. We have to support this comprehensive instrument which promotes European values, intercultural exchanges, the learning of languages, youth employment and active ageing. I consider harmonisation of cross-border volunteering in the EU as important as the Erasmus programme for higher education. In order to promote cross-border volunteering, Member states should apply the same approach. Volunteers need European recognition of their experience, of their new skills, with respect to their work. I support measures proposed by the rapporteur to create a ‘skills passport’ and to include acquired skills in the ECTS. Support for volunteering organisations is necessary as well and I welcome the measures proposed in this document.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) Last year, 2011, was the European Year of Voluntary Activities Promoting Active Citizenship. The EU allocated funds and carried out awareness-raising campaigns to develop peoples’ sense of civic duty to engage in this very important social activity. The lessons learnt from this have been brought together by Mr Scurria in a report on cross-border voluntary activities, which has been adopted by Parliament. The aim of the Committee on Culture and Education is to promote the establishment of an EU portal dedicated to cross-border volunteering, which will not only carry material on jobs and social integration, but will also act as a stimulus for the creation of a qualified, organised humanitarian aid corps, a proper professional body of volunteers serving people in difficulty.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I was actively involved in the European Year of Volunteering, which I chose as the theme for 2011, and promoted activities in the Azores and in Brussels. I am pleased to see that all the initiatives organised for the European Year of Voluntary Activities in 2011 have helped to demonstrate the importance of volunteering, a phenomenon involving around 100 million Europeans, who are able to contribute 5% of European GDP. The times in which we live and the need for fiscal consolidation are endangering the financial sustainability of many non-governmental organisations, making it necessary to ensure adequate and stable funding and to simplify administrative procedures. As such, Parliament is urging the Member States to contribute to that end. I would also highlight the call for the Commission to negotiate easier visa regimes for non-EU citizens wishing to enter the EU, and to establish a centralised EU volunteering portal. I voted for this report for all of those reasons.

 
  
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  Mario Pirillo (S&D), in writing. (IT) With today’s vote, Parliament has shown once again that it fully recognises the importance of volunteering in terms of mutual intercultural enrichment, social inclusion and active citizenship. I would say that it is Europe’s duty to promote and raise the standing of this activity among our citizens. In terms of the creation of social capital and cross-border development, I must stress that by promoting volunteering, the European Union can grasp a precious opportunity to assert and give form to the solidarity and socio-economic cohesion that inspired our founding principles. To that end, I agree with the creation of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps and the introduction of instruments providing for greater recognition of the professional skills acquired.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) In recent times, European citizens have become more aware of the importance of voluntary activities. This awareness is evident in the increasing numbers of citizens involved in these activities, which not only provide personal development and cultural learning, but also contribute to strengthening civic values, solidarity and participation in democratic life. As such, Member States are called on to implement the provisions of Council Directive 2004/114/EC on the conditions of admission of third-country nationals for the purposes of studies, pupil exchanges, unremunerated training or voluntary service. In the same vein, simplification of the procedures for the granting of visas to those wishing to undertake voluntary activities as part of the European Neighbourhood Policy should also be promoted. As such, it is hoped that there will be greater cooperation between volunteers from the European Union’s Member States and third countries, in particular, in the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy. In addition to the primary benefits associated with volunteering, democracy and the rule of law can be promoted in third countries. I voted for this report for the aforementioned reasons.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D), in writing. (FI) Voluntary work frequently succeeds in helping the most vulnerable in society. It is vitally important to remove any obstacles in its path. I therefore voted in favour of this report. If we want our citizens to feel that they belong to Europe, it is essential to facilitate voluntary activities, especially across national borders. Voluntary activities can help prevent social exclusion. It is therefore strange that these activities are still difficult to implement and finance at European level. The measures proposed in the report would help us to strengthen the effects of voluntary activities right from the outset.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Encouraging and recognising volunteering as an essential part of the education of our youth is the key message behind the Scurria report, voted for this afternoon by the European Parliament.

Unlike internships and paid work experience, volunteering is often virtually anonymous given the massive legal constraints that professionals in the sector have to accept. With little supervision, all too often neglected or denigrated, volunteering, however, represents an incredible opportunity for our young students or those starting their career.

Our Parliament especially calls for the promotion of skills associated with volunteering, better integration of these skills in study courses through the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), and improved public funding, in order to recognise volunteering as a real passport to future employment.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) In today’s plenary session in Strasbourg, we adopted the report by Mr Scurria. Our resolution seeks to highlight the role of volunteering in the European Union. Formal recognition of skills acquired during voluntary work can provide added value to a person’s curriculum vitae and should help young people in choosing a career and finding a job. The skills passport could therefore become an essential tool in Europeans’ working lives or in their training.

In addition, national, regional and local authorities are urged to ensure stable funding and to provide tax incentives for the organisations involved in volunteering work. Priority should be given to small organisations with limited resources and to cross-border volunteering work by facilitating access to European programmes and to funding.

Moreover, the creation of a centralised EU portal may help volunteering organisations to disseminate information, improve cooperation and exchange best practice and experience.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Volunteering is an indispensable tool in encouraging the active support of society. It effectively acts as a catalyst for greater social integration. Studies also show that the development of volunteering could help increase European GDP by 5%. Yet, volunteering still faces many obstacles that stand in the way of its development in the European Union. I voted for Mr Scurria’s report as it proposes concrete actions to promote cross-border voluntary activities in the EU; for example, the creation of a European portal that would allow for more effective cooperation between organisations active in the field of volunteering and encourage the dissemination of best practices, or the creation of a European Skills Passport, which could be very useful in that each volunteer would have EU-wide recognition of their qualifications gained through volunteering.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The figures show that there is a ‘body’ of 100 million European citizens working in various voluntary activities, who are able to contribute to the production of 5% of European GDP. Eighty per cent of citizens consider volunteering to be an important element of democratic life and a significant means by which each individual can participate in society. The need to continue to differentiate clearly and unequivocally between the value of volunteering, provided free of charge, and profit-making activities, still remains. So, too, does the essential need to emphasise the role of volunteering in promoting the principles of identity and common European values, such as solidarity and social cohesion, within the EU and beyond. The report sets out many good initiatives that should be followed up and continued in future EU Years. The sets of recommendations are quite reasonable and easy to apply in the Member States as they stand today. But still, on the ‘danger watch’ side, one of the key issues should be to identify the fine lines between ‘volunteering’ and ‘working for free’!

 
  
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  Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid (PPE), in writing.(FR) In the wake of the European Year of Volunteering, I think it is vital that the European Parliament also takes steps forward to make volunteering European. Indeed, volunteers contribute so much in their cultural or environmental activities, their social and local work, that the need to support them is undeniable. Yet, they still face many difficulties. Three out of four Europeans believe that there should be more volunteer programmes. I therefore supported this report, as it proposes the creation of an ambitious European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps, which will train volunteers and send them to do local work. On the other hand, we call for the creation of a European Skills Passport so that volunteering receives proper recognition. Encouraging European volunteering means encouraging European growth, in accordance with the Europe 2020 strategy, and combating youth unemployment. This is because the technical and human skills that they acquire are all assets on the job market or for getting onto certain university courses. Lastly, volunteering can strengthen the sense of citizenship and European identity in all of us.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for the report on cross-border voluntary activities, which was tabled on the eve of the closure of the European Year of Voluntary Activities Promoting Active Citizenship. I believe it fills the existing regulatory gap and marks a step forward in relation to the current situation. The report sets out much-needed objectives, such as removing barriers to volunteers and thus allowing them greater and easier movement, and increasing volunteers’ knowledge in areas such as cultural heritage, sport and health.

Voluntary work, which accounts for 5% of Europe’s GDP, improves the quality of people’s lives, provides considerable added value and adds to the training of young people, who can then look forward to a better career. There are currently 100 million European citizens working in voluntary activities; this is a fundamental expression of active citizenship and an inexhaustible source of learning and personal growth. Voluntary work does entail costs, however, even though it is not paid, and there is therefore a need for tax exemption. Mr Scurria’s report promotes high-quality volunteering within and across national borders, and puts forward important proposals, such as creating a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps and introducing a European Skills Passport.

 
  
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  Andreas Schwab (PPE), in writing. (DE) The valuable work of many European citizens, which is often carried out within the framework of volunteering organisations, is an impressive part of the European social model. I am therefore pleased that, in the wake of the European Year of Volunteering 2011, this report takes a further step towards the recognition of the Voluntary Service. In European border regions in particular, volunteering organisations face administrative and tax law-related difficulties if they seek to operate – in the European spirit – in multiple EU Member States. We therefore need not only an EU portal for volunteering, but also simplifications in the administrative sphere in order to bolster these initiatives, as they are a good thing for Europe.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) Volunteering is an expression of active citizenship in all areas of a person’s life. It is a catalyst of social change, raises awareness in society and fosters personal development. A great many natural and environmental disasters affect the European Union, and countless volunteers come from every part of Europe to offer their help, labour and solidarity, regardless of the barriers of language and bureaucracy that exist within our multifarious Union. Cross-border volunteering is, above all, an opportunity for intercultural enrichment for young European citizens.

By voting in favour, I support the idea of setting up a centralised EU portal on volunteering with a specific section dedicated to cross-border volunteering; the creation of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps with the aim of selecting, training and sending volunteers wherever they are needed; and the development of a European Skills Passport to ensure Europe-wide recognition of professional skills acquired through volunteering.

 
  
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  Monika Smolková (S&D), in writing. (SK) We all encounter volunteering every day in all spheres of social life. People of all ages are active as volunteers, whether in the social sphere or in sport, and they often fail to reflect on the value ​​that their work generates. They work selflessly, helping people in need. The work of volunteers has long exceeded national borders and therefore, the promotion of cross-border voluntary activities at EU level is required. Volunteering contributes to tolerance between people, helps the poor and those who are socially deprived or sick, but also, without volunteers, it would be impossible to organise many sporting and cultural activities. I therefore supported the motion for a resolution in order to secure future funding for volunteering projects and structures so that cross-border cooperation between voluntary activities may be supported by EU policies.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing.(FR) We are living in times of crisis and even though we should be more united than ever, individualism reigns. For a whole year we have been promoting volunteering, because what can be more worthwhile than that? The need to continue to differentiate clearly and unequivocally between the value of volunteering, provided free of charge, and profit-making activities, still remains.

So, too, does the essential need to emphasise the role of volunteering in promoting the principles of identity and common European values, such as solidarity and social cohesion, within the EU and beyond. This resolution therefore has my full support.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report aims to review 2011’s European Year of Voluntary Activities Promoting Active Citizenship and, simultaneously, to strengthen volunteer support measures inside and outside the EU. Volunteering is an activity which instils core values in citizens, namely, the promotion of solidarity and equality, which draws out the individual’s more humanist side, through active participation in society at all levels. It is thus essential not to forget the importance of the Year of the Volunteer and the application of support measures. As such, the rapporteur proposes the creation of ‘a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps’ which works with already existing institutions and structures; a portal centralising all volunteering-related information inside and outside the EU; tax incentives, especially to smaller organisation with scarce financial resources; the creation of a special status for organisations which facilitate cross-border volunteering; and the creation of a European Skills Passport, which validates voluntary experience as part of informal training. Volunteering constitutes the purest form of active citizenship and a key element of citizens’ personal development. It deserves to be supported and developed.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report on recognising and promoting cross-border voluntary activities in the EU. Volunteering is an informal learning experience suitable for persons of all ages, offering benefits in terms of personal development, civic values, social solidarity and participation in democratic life. We call on Member States which do not have a clear and adequate legal framework for volunteers to put one in place and devise national strategies to promote volunteering activities, including recognition for volunteers’ rights, as well as to focus on this sector when devising future policies, programmes and funding. National, regional and local authorities and the EU must pay particular attention to disadvantaged young people, especially people with disabilities, so that they can participate in volunteering activities and receive appropriate educational and financial support. We propose setting up a centralised EU portal, in cooperation with organisations and associations working in this sector, to include a database of volunteering best practice and a section on cross-border volunteering. The portal must provide information on the programmes available, their costs and the conditions for participation, as well as information on administrative formalities, the legal and fiscal aspects of volunteering, barriers encountered in accessing programmes and the best ways to tackle them.

 
  
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  Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE), in writing. – I will support all the initiatives that promote the development of social solidarity, civic values, community management, social inclusion and combating discrimination. Whereas volunteering is an informal learning experience, where you can join people of all ages, all Member States should make an effort towards developing and financing volunteering programmes and activities. As volunteering can only bring positive things to society, there should be no borders that can limit this activity. That is why I will vote in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Thomas Ulmer (PPE), in writing. (DE) I voted in favour of this report. Voluntary activities must be possible on a cross-border basis in Europe. The ‘European Skills Passport’ now proposed abolishes further obstacles. The European Voluntary Service is already used by thousands of people today. We expect a further increase in volunteer numbers and regard this project as extraordinarily successful. There are also new opportunities here for the retired to pass on their skills and experience within the community.

 
  
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  Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE), in writing. (LT) The percentage of people undertaking voluntary activities in Lithuania is much lower than in other EU Member States. According to a European Commission report, less than 10% of Lithuanians volunteer from time to time, compared to 40% of Austrians, Swedes and Britons. The majority of Lithuanians who volunteer are mostly aged 15-19 and this is connected with school activities. The Lithuanian rate is also much lower than the EU average (23%). In some cases, the difference is huge – more than 15% of Irish and Finnish people volunteer in sport. In Lithuania, the rate is just 0.1%. Why is the rate of volunteering so low in Lithuania? This is partly linked to the poorly developed voluntary sector in Lithuania. A Vilnius University survey revealed that 26% of Lithuanians do not know where and how to participate in voluntary programmes. Lithuanians lack guidance and structures from those running the country who have neglected civil society. I believe that voluntary opportunities are important for Lithuanian society as an expression of citizens’ participation in all areas of social life. Voluntary activities are important for the development of democratic values, human dignity and equality.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of this resolution, which calls for a legal framework and clear rules for volunteering and volunteers in all Member States. It is important that volunteering is recognised throughout the EU as it makes an essential contribution to our society. It is also especially important to ensure that the sector continues to make this contribution, and in order to do this, support must be given to fund the volunteering sector through cohesion policy. Without a doubt, the skills gained through volunteering add value to a CV and should be recognised as a way of making people more employable. This resolution, which has my full support, also highlights the need for the skills and knowledge gained through volunteering to be recognised in order to help volunteers as they look for employment.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) A few months after the end of the European Year of Volunteering (2011), Parliament has almost unanimously adopted a report on volunteering, which has a wealth of findings and proposals.

I am pleased that a number of my amendments have been included and, in particular, the one reiterating the call for a European Statute for Associations after the Commission’s lengthy silence on the matter, and the call for the concept of grants to associations to be clarified in order to sustain the funding of associations, who are often the first victims of budget cuts.

I have one regret: that the vast majority of MEPs rejected the proposal to abolish visas for volunteers. There is always the same ridiculous anti-immigrant obsession, when Parliament had no intention of imposing any obligation on the matter. We should be pleased that the opportunity of relaxing these visas has still been maintained.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – The adoption of this report will promote the growth of volunteering activities, including the recognition of the rights of volunteers, will ensure quality, protection and equal access for everyone, and will devote more attention to this sector in their future policy making, programmes and financing.

 
  
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  Janusz Władysław Zemke (S&D), in writing. (PL) I voted in favour of the European Parliament’s resolution on recognising and promoting cross-border voluntary activities in the EU since I believe that this is a key issue in view of the number of citizens of all ages involved in volunteering, a number which is growing year on year. Voluntary activities allow citizens to acquire skills which make them more employable and help boost economic growth during the ongoing economic crisis, for example, by effectively limiting unemployment. It is also vital for a clear legal framework to be established at EU level regulating voluntary activities. At the same time, however, it should not be possible for volunteers to be exploited by being asked to perform tasks which could be carried out by a paid employee. In addition, it is particularly important for the Member States to adopt appropriate regulations ensuring legal security and certainty for volunteers in respect of insurance issues, since this would undoubtedly act as an added incentive for people to volunteer.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Volunteering activities face a number problems, both for the volunteers and the non-governmental organisations promoting volunteering, in particular, difficulties with funding, bureaucracy, and a lack of recognition for activities carried out. Those problems must be resolved and this report suggests some solutions. However, we cannot help but disagree with exceptions that view volunteering as an opportunity for ‘employability’, which encourages companies to promote volunteering among its employees and which supports the recognition of volunteering as a ‘professional experience’. Voluntary experience should be carried out on one’s own initiative, not due to a lack of employment. Furthermore, it should never replace jobs and job creation.

 
  
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  Milan Zver (PPE), in writing. (SL) I am pleased that the vast majority of members today supported the report by the Italian MEP, Marco Scurria. Such broad political support indicates that the various political groups are well aware of the exceptional importance of volunteering to social development. Volunteering contributes to solidarity and social cohesion, to boosting civic activities, and is one of the most important forms of informal learning, as volunteers gain new knowledge and skills from the work they do. Last but not least, it is an expression of compassion for our fellow human beings – the value of which is often overlooked in the world today. Last year, which was dedicated to volunteering, also connects to this year’s European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity. I agree with Mr Scurria that volunteering and solidarity are quietly taking on the role of catalysts for the social change that we need so badly. I was also pleased to endorse the report in order to support specific measures, such as the European Skills Passport and the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps. These and other measures will facilitate the work of 100 million European volunteers, bring further recognition of their contribution to society and attract new volunteers to their ranks.

 
  
  

Report: Ivailo Kalfin (A7-0167/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report as I believe that growing digital innovation and computer-based technologies have increasingly made cybersecurity a priority. I welcome the present proposal for a comprehensive EU cybersecurity strategy, which should prioritise the security and protection of critical information infrastructure and prevent attacks on systems, stepping up the European Union’s participation in global cybersecurity.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The development of digital services and infrastructure at EU level is not only an upshot of the increase in the importance of these communication media and work tools for European citizens, in terms of both quality and quantity, but also a vital component in the European policies for stimulating economic growth and competitiveness. The security of IT infrastructures is a vital element for achieving the objectives set out by the European Union’s Digital Agenda and Europe 2020 strategy. Without a more secure digital environment, both Europe’s economies and citizens stand to suffer.

I welcome the report’s conclusions and support the guidelines for development and action described therein. Increasing the security of the IT infrastructure and, by extension, the security of European citizens cannot be achieved without any flexible strategies for promoting cooperation between the public and private sectors. Only this cooperation process, which brings together governments, economic agencies and citizens, will enable vital sectors such as financial services, health, food security and water supply to be protected effectively against the new threats. I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. – I abstained in the vote of this text because it proposes a comprehensive strategy to fight something that many experts do not consider a serious threat. Cyberterrorism is indeed an exaggerated threat and, for this reason, I believe that Europe should not consider this issue as a priority vis-à-vis most serious security matters.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Cyber attacks are no longer only something you see in the movies like ‘The Matrix’; they are now a reality and especially in Europe. I voted in favour of the report on information infrastructure protection. It covers several topics, including cybercrime, data protection, but also the protection of our children. What we now need are minimum standards of resilience.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. Today, the Internet and computer technologies are becoming an integral part of economic, political and social development and the security of the Internet therefore stands as a high political priority for the European Union and the rest of the world. The EU 2020 strategy included the EU Digital Agenda, setting ambitious goals for the technological development of the European Union. Technological development and the use and deployment of technologies rely on their security and trust, which needs to be increased. With this in mind, I welcome the proposals to establish a well-functioning network of national CERTs (computer emergency response teams), develop national cybersecurity strategies, ensure effective coordination between national and relevant EU agencies through the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) and implement EU programmes to increase Internet security that have already been adopted.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because security and trust are the basic conditions for achieving the Europe 2020 strategy targets for smart growth. Indeed, the aim of the Digital Agenda is to increase EU competitiveness by consolidating information and communications technology. Nowadays, with the upsurge in Internet use, the task of developing a high level of security is becoming increasingly important. Disruption to the Internet entails major risks because it can affect a large number of European citizens and businesses. This is why it is vital to improve cyber risk assessment and management. Sustained efforts are also required to implement efficient mechanisms for preventing cyber attacks. Given their complex nature and their ever-growing sophistication, the coordination of measures is paramount. The EU must pursue a coherent approach to resolving security-related problems.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) With the increasing use of the Internet and computer-based technologies, Internet security should remain one of the highest political priorities for the European Union and the rest of the world. Available law enforcement data for cybercrimes suggest major increases in several European countries. This report, for which I voted, calls for the regular updating of minimum resilience standards for preparedness and reaction against disruptions, incidents, destruction attempts or attacks. It urges the European Network and Information Security Agency to coordinate and implement annual ‘EU Internet Security Awareness Months’ every year. It recommends that the Commission propose binding measures designed to impose minimum standards on security and resilience and to improve coordination among national computer emergency response teams. The report also suggests that the Commission launch a public pan-European education initiative, geared towards educating and raising awareness among end-users about potential online threats. It calls on the Commission to table a legislative proposal for further criminalising cyber attacks. Making the Internet more resilient is only possible with a system of international cooperation and international standards.

 
  
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  George Becali (NI), in writing. (RO) The rapporteur believes that the issue of Internet security is relevant, and he is right. This is why he is proposing that the measures which have been adopted so far, such as Directive 2008/114 on the identification and designation of European critical infrastructures and the assessment of the need to improve their protection, or the Commission’s communication from 2009 entitled ‘Protecting Europe from large-scale cyber attacks and cyber disruptions: enhancing preparedness, security and resilience’, must be maintained and even developed at the same rate as technological progress. In order to achieve this, the rapporteur thinks that a reactive, flexible, innovative and long-term framework is needed as this method can achieve effective interaction between governments, businesses and all the other stakeholders. I voted in support of this whole idea.

 
  
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  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing. (IT) The role of technology has increasingly expanded in our everyday lives in all its aspects, from communication to finance and banking, from transportation to energy, from culture to health. With the increasing use of the Internet and computer-based technologies, the security of the Internet stands as one of the highest political priorities for the European Union. The EU 2020 strategy, launched in 2010, included the EU Digital Agenda as a flagship policy, setting ambitious goals for the technological development of the European Union. I agree with the rapporteur that the increasing deployment of innovative technologies relies on certain crucial aspects: security, resilience and trust. I also believe that Internet disruption might lead to substantial losses and security risks, affecting a very large number of European citizens and businesses. I therefore draw the Commission’s attention to the need to continue to increase the security of cyberspace in the European Union, not least through an efficient system of international cooperation among the Member States and transparent international standards. Efficient interaction between governments, businesses, civil society and all other stakeholders is vital in this context.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted for the report by Mr Kalfin because I consider it fundamentally important to support and develop the EU’s CIIP (critical information infrastructure protection) initiative, which aims to strengthen the current ICT infrastructure protection system at national and European levels by drawing up guidelines with the support of the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA).

In today’s world, the interdependence and interconnectedness of the socio-economic fabric is increasingly dependent on technology and the Internet, which need to be secure and reliable. It is crucial to protect the global net and the most effective way to do so is to secure efficient interaction between governments, businesses, individuals and other stakeholders. That will only occur effectively when an efficient system of international cooperation is in place.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the role of technology has increasingly expanded in all aspects of our everyday lives from communication to finance and banking, from transportation to energy, from culture and entertainment to health. The full capacity of information and communication technologies (ICTs) can only be deployed if users have trust and confidence in their security and resilience, and if existing legislation on matters such as data privacy and intellectual property rights is enforced effectively.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) In 2007, Estonia was paralysed by a massive cyber attack. In 2008, the US Department of Defense reported over 50 000 attacks. The list of attacks compiled by the Center for Strategic and International Studies shows that targets hit in Europe in 2011 alone included the UK Ministry of Defence, the BBC, the Norwegian National Security Agency, a major Dutch certifying body, the German Federal Police, the EU carbon trading market and the French public administration in the run-up to the G20.

Stefano Mele, the Italian scholar, recently summed up the impact of possible attacks on critical transport, energy and water infrastructure and security systems, including in terms of human lives. That is without counting the unseen toll that cybercrime exacts every year, which amounts to some USD 20 billion for private businesses alone.

The report addresses the concerns raised by this scenario by giving timely advice and suggesting measures that can be implemented swiftly, not least to protect our economies and the freedoms and rights of citizens, particularly in paragraphs 10, 20, 32, 38 and 39. I am therefore voting in favour.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) With the increasing use of the Internet and computer-based technologies, Internet security stands as one of the highest political priorities for the European Union and the rest of the world. The EU 2020 strategy, launched in 2010, included the EU Digital Agenda as a flagship policy, setting ambitious goals for the technological development of the European Union. The increasing use and deployment of innovative ICT technologies, such as fast and ultra-fast fixed and mobile Internet and cellular networks, smart grids and Internet services such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things, all rely on one simple, but crucial aspect – security, resilience and trust. Developments to date show that Internet security is an important issue. It is obvious that the Internet constitutes critical infrastructure, and that Internet disruption might lead to substantial losses and security risks, affecting a very large number of European citizens and businesses. Furthermore, the rapid development of technology requires that the prevention of Internet attacks, remedial reactions and the resilience of the global network should be based on a comprehensive, reactive, flexible, innovative and long-term framework. This framework needs to ensure efficient interaction between governments, businesses, individuals and all other stakeholders. Last but not least, increased Internet resilience will be possible only when an efficient system of international cooperation and international norms are in place

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – Whilst the matter of cybersecurity is ever pressing in today’s online environment and is an issue, due to the very nature of the worldwide web, which must be addressed via international cooperation, I would not trust a European Quango to exercise control in this area. Matters of free speech, the determination of what constitutes illegal activity and ways in which the Internet should be regulated are extremely sensitive and demand a careful handling that does not impinge upon the freedoms of the individual or sovereign law. While there is an urgent call for tighter regulation of the Internet, this is being used as a tool to promote ‘more Europe’ and thus more regulation, representing a significant power shift to Brussels.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted for the Kalfin report on critical information infrastructure protection. The exponential growth of the Internet has now made it an essential part of everyday life for citizens and for economic activity. It is therefore essential that the European Union places digital strategy at the heart of its political priorities. The report clearly sets out the crucial issue of cybersecurity. With this in mind, Parliament, quite rightly, calls for the introduction of a system of international cooperation and norms, as well as the development of a comprehensive, reactive, flexible, innovative and long-term framework to ensure efficient interaction between different users of the Internet and to establish a system for the notification of security breaches in critical sectors. It was also with these aims in mind that I became a member of the special parliamentary committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report as I consider it crucial to strengthen critical information infrastructure protection with the aim of enhancing overall public security and of improving public perception of security and trust in protective measures adopted by governments. This strengthening must also ensure durable integration of European research to maintain and enhance European excellence in this area.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Internet and new information and communication technologies (ICT) are currently crucial drivers for social interaction, cultural enrichment and economic growth. However, trust in the use of ICT depends on guarantees given in terms of security and resilience as well as the effective application of data privacy and data protection legislation, net neutrality and intellectual property rights protection.

There has been a major increase in cybercrime in several European countries. Furthermore, recent cyber incidents, disruptions and attacks against the information infrastructure of the EU and the Member States clearly demonstrate the need to establish a robust, innovative and effective critical information infrastructure protection (CIIP) system, based on full international cooperation and minimum resilience standards among the Member States. It is essential that the Member States set up national cyber incident contingency plans, as well as durable integration of European research with procedures and adequate mechanisms for ensuring better coordination among competent national authorities and making their actions more consistent. I support establishing 24/7 continuity of CIIP services for each Member State, as well as setting up a common European emergency protocol.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) In recent years, the Internet has become a tool which is used with increasing frequency in our everyday lives, both professionally and personally, with its whole infrastructure expanding enormously at European and global level. Any disruption to this network could cause substantial losses for administrative bodies, businesses or ordinary citizens. Therefore, I think that a common policy is required to protect these infrastructures, and that computer emergency response teams (CERT) also need to be set up, even to the extent of devising and implementing national cybersecurity strategies. Last but not least, it would be useful to include systems in the areas of health care, food, water supply, nuclear research and the nuclear industry among the sectors targeted for cooperation between EU Member States and third countries with the aim of developing warning systems and exchanging good practices.

 
  
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  Rachida Dati (PPE) , in writing.(FR) The Internet is now at the heart of the lives of citizens and businesses. So that it can be used securely, we need a robust digital environment. This report proposes concrete measures to improve security, the prevention of attacks and the resilience of this crucial structure of our economy. I therefore voted in favour of it. In particular, I support the approach adopted by the report associating Internet security with user confidence. I think that the proposal to raise European citizens’ awareness of digital security issues through events, guidance, advice and initiatives in education and training is vital.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) The Internet and telecommunications provide us with vast areas for exchange and discovery; they offer promising sources of growth and jobs for our future economy; however, they also represent a real challenge in terms of security, considering the threats to the data disseminated. That is why I voted for this text, which supports strengthening the EU policy on cybersecurity, for a safer Internet and safer communications that serve our citizens, our consumers and our businesses.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of the motion for a European Parliament resolution on critical information infrastructure protection – achievements and next steps: towards global cybersecurity, because I truly believe that it would be impossible to achieve the ambitious goals of the Digital Agenda for Europe without a resilient and secure Internet system. The EU must imperatively have a comprehensive Internet security strategy and this report, in particular by calling on the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to assess the implementation of the CIIP action plan and urging the Member States to establish well-functioning national/governmental CERTs and national Internet security strategies, properly addresses this fundamental need. In addition, the focus on the role of international cooperation for the development of a shared approach for tackling cybersecurity issues with all like-minded countries assumes a central relevance in the adopted report, which also maintains that Internet security issues should be included in the scope of the future EU’s external relations.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) In recent years, the dependency of information infrastructure has grown exponentially, becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks, which are particularly serious when directed at institutional infrastructures and companies. Recent attacks exposed the vulnerability of institutions and networks which we would have formerly considered duly protected, or revealed the need for strategies guaranteeing cybersecurity. As the report states, ‘The increasing use and deployment of innovative [information and communications technologies], such as fast and ultra-fast fixed and mobile Internet and cellular networks, smart grids, but also Internet services, such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things, all rely on one simple, but crucial aspect: security, resilience and trust’. The use of all these technologies, which are increasingly essential for institutions, companies and members of the public, depends, in large measure, on implementing a clear strategy which can guarantee that this information infrastructure is safe.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) In the globalisation era in which we live, in view of the increasing use of new information technologies, it is understandable that Internet security is a priority for the European Union and its Member States. From transport systems to industry and services – whether legal, financial, military or others – it is essential to guarantee security in accessing Internet services, seeing as we are dealing with critical structures whose collapse would jeopardise not only the functioning of the Member State in question, but also the functioning of the European Union itself. Since no Member State is self-sufficient in this area, we need to implement policies and regulatory measures which ensure the functioning of the internal market and increase network safety with cross-border surveillance and prevention mechanisms. In spite of alert systems, we know that cyber attacks have occurred. It is essential that we protect ourselves, not only from cyberterrorist attacks, but also from potential violations of the public’s privacy and the dissemination of confidential data, which compromise Member States’ security. As I believe and trust in new technologies, I voted for the report drafted by Mr Kalfin on critical information infrastructure protection towards global cybersecurity.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) As regards so-called global cybersecurity, the Commission has defined a set of instruments, among them the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection and the Critical Infrastructure Warning Information Network, which this own-initiative report approves, thereby promoting their implementation. We acknowledge the importance of guaranteeing the public the security and protection necessary for Internet usage as well as infrastructure guaranteeing the service. However, we disagree with security-oriented strategies and policies restricting freedom of expression and movement online. The report proposes a strong role for the European External Action Service in this area. It seeks, ‘on a permanent basis, to include Internet security issues in the scope of its external relations, inter alia, when designing various financing instruments’, aligning political orientation and action in legal matters with ‘US counterparts’. Moreover, it advocates coordinated positions in international forums under the aegis of the promotion of ‘core values’, in which NATO, the United Nations and the World Bank are involved, among others. We are bound to point out that so-called ‘global cybersecurity’ is part of a new strategic NATO concept, which the majority in Parliament supports. We voted against this report for all of these reasons.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) The role of technology has increasingly expanded in our everyday lives. With the increasing use of Internet and computer-based technologies, the security of the Internet stands as one of the highest political priorities for the European Union and the rest of the world. In the field of information and communication technologies, the issue of security is particularly important. The technologies used are justified, especially as concerns the safeguarding of economic progress. Legislation on important matters such as the protection of intellectual property rights or data privacy must be enforced more effectively in the Internet environment. By strengthening the digital agenda, creating conditions for robust growth and the creation of technology-based jobs, we can significantly boost the competitiveness of the European Union. However, it is imperative that in the digital environment, we ensure, above all, a high level of security. The rapid development of technology requires that prevention of Internet attacks, remedial reactions and the resilience of the global net should be based on a comprehensive, reactive, flexible, innovative and long-term framework. Last but not least, increased resilience of the Internet is only possible when an efficient system of international cooperation and international norms is in place.

 
  
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  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) According to recent estimates, it is calculated that 73.8% of people living in the more developed countries use the Internet regularly. We have to start with facts like these to understand the role that the Internet plays in everyday life. There is another significant fact, however, which is that about 1 million people fall victim to online crime every day. The magnitude of these figures means that strong measures are needed to raise levels of security for users. By adopting the report today, Parliament is firmly demanding a legislative framework that will simplify interactions and the exchange of information between governments. At the same time, since the Internet is global in nature, Parliament believes a system of international standards should be created to enhance its stability and reliability. The European Union has, for years, been committed to increasing security for online activities and the report adopted today is yet another step towards ever more secure Internet use.

 
  
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  Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D), in writing. (PL) Technology plays an ever-increasing role in all areas of our everyday life. Millions of Europeans work using the Internet: they study, communicate and go shopping online, they do online banking and manage their domestic finances online. As online activity increases, so do threats to Internet security, which has become a priority for EU policy. Today, over 75% of households have Internet access and 36% use the Internet for banking. The issues of appropriate safeguards and building trust in online services must therefore be treated seriously and must be regulated at EU level. The 2008 directive on the identification and designation of European critical infrastructures and the creation of the European Cybercrime Centre, which will begin its operations in January 2013, provide a solid basis for further action to improve the security of our citizens in cyberspace. The European Commission estimates that every day, about 1 million people become victims of cybercrime and losses caused by this illegal international activity reach a staggering USD 388 billion. Abuse of the Internet is a common phenomenon and, even though we are talking about a virtual world, the effects are very real. For this reason, we should treat this matter as a priority. The Internet is an inseparable part of our lives, which is why regulations concerning online behaviour should catch up with the real world as quickly as possible.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this document because nowadays, with the increasing use of the Internet and computer-based technologies, the security of the Internet stands as one of the highest political priorities for the European Union and the rest of the world. The increasing use and deployment of innovative technologies, such as fast and ultra-fast fixed and mobile Internet and cellular networks, smart grids, but also Internet services, such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things, all rely on one simple, but crucial aspect – security, resilience and trust. It becomes obvious that the Internet is a critical infrastructure, and that Internet disruption might lead to substantial losses and security risks, affecting a very large number of European citizens and businesses. Furthermore, the rapid development of technology requires that prevention of the Internet attacks, remedial reactions and the resilience of the global net should be based on a comprehensive, reactive, flexible, innovative and long-term framework. This framework needs to assure an efficient interaction between governments, businesses, individuals and all other stakeholders. Last but not least, increased resilience of the Internet is only possible when an efficient system of international cooperation and international norms is in place.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) Ivailo Kalfin’s report was adopted by 573 votes to 90, with 26 abstentions. It is an own-initiative report in response to the Commission’s communication in 2011 on critical information infrastructure protection (CIIP), which assesses and describes the next steps.

Through this own-initiative report, the European Parliament is calling for Internet protection measures and, in particular, the prevention of cyber attacks and the resilience of the global network. It is also calling for the introduction of a system for the notification of security breaches in critical sectors and increasing the resilience of the Internet. I supported this report in plenary during voting on 12 June.

 
  
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  Tunne Kelam (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of Mr Kalfin’s report as I agree in principle with the rapporteur’s conclusions that the EU is in urgent need of a global cybersecurity strategy, a strategy that will contain both internal as well as external aspects. We understand the need for clear and harmonised definitions, principles and instruments to efficiently address the challenges regarding Internet security and, more broadly, cybersecurity. The latter should not be seen as a problem hovering somewhere between today and tomorrow. Concentrating on it is a task for today. In particular, the Member States have to realise that cybersecurity is a horizontal issue that penetrates all areas of governmental, business, military and civilian action. I hope that the report just adopted will contribute to the deepening of general awareness of the urgency of cooperation and sharing.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) In today’s economic and commercial world, the Internet is a key factor in economic activities and practices which, only a few decades ago, were carried out in different ways and by different means. As the Internet penetrates ever more widely into the majority of daily activities, from business to personal use, and from access to government data to data storage itself, it is becoming increasingly necessary to strengthen its structure and protect its users. That is why I support the implementation of critical information infrastructure protection (CIIP) and any policy designed to ensure greater security and privacy for the sensitive data circulating on the web, so as to make the web a virtual place where one’s actions are increasingly protected by the safeguards of the real world.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution, which calls on the Commission to propose an EU framework for the notification of security breaches in critical sectors such as energy, transport, water and food supply, as well as in the ICT and financial services sectors, to ensure that relevant Member State authorities and users are notified of cyber incidents, attacks or disruptions.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) The role of technology today has increasingly expanded in our everyday lives in all its aspects, from communication to finance and banking, from transportation to energy, from culture and entertainment to health. With the increasing use of the Internet and computer-based technologies, cybersecurity stands as one of the highest political priorities for the European Union and the rest of the world. The increasing use and deployment of innovative technologies rely on a simple, but crucial aspect: security, resilience and trust.

All the Commission’s recent regulatory measures do not exhaust the efforts to increase the security of cyberspace in the Union. We agree with the rapporteur’s position on that. The rapid development of technology requires that prevention of Internet attacks, remedial measures and the resilience of the global net should be based on a comprehensive, reactive, flexible, innovative and long-term framework. This framework needs to ensure efficient interaction between governments, businesses, individuals and all other stakeholders. The European Union also has to play its part. We have to realise that increased resilience of the Internet is only possible when an efficient system of international cooperation and international norms is in place.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing.(FR) When cybercrime is on the increase, it is vital that we protect critical information infrastructure and provide an appropriate level of information security. To fully benefit from technological advances, security must be our uppermost concern. For example, Member States should set up national cyber incident contingency plans.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I fully support the call for the Member States to set up national cyber incident contingency plans and to include key elements such as relevant contact points, provisions of assistance, containment and repair in the event of cyber disruptions or attacks with regional, national or cross-border relevance. I also think it is crucial to encourage coordinating measures at national level, which would help to ensure better coordination among competent national authorities and make their actions more coherent. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The role of technology has been constantly increasing in our everyday lives, in all of its aspects, from communication to finance and banking, from transportation to energy, from culture and entertainment to health. As such, cybersecurity is one of the principal concerns and political priorities for the European Union and the rest of the world. Nonetheless, the rapid advances in all information technologies and the emergence and development of new technologies greatly complicate this task. We need to make every effort at global level to protect critical information infrastructure.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Our current dependency on information infrastructures has increased exponentially. The Internet and digital systems drive productivity, encourage innovation and stimulate growth and quality jobs. However, with these innovative technologies come cyber attacks, which are becoming more and more frequent and highlight the vulnerability of our computer networks. Such attacks are particularly serious when they affect institutional infrastructure or that of our businesses. This is a scourge which transcends borders and it can only be dealt with through stepping up and improving the coordination of national measures. It is vital that we develop an effective European strategy on computer security for secure information sharing within the European Union. However, the EU is not alone in these attacks, and it would therefore be useful to prepare a coordinated strategy on a global level to combat future threats.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – With the increasing use of Internet and computer-based technologies, the security of the Internet stands as one of the highest political priorities for the European Union and the rest of the world. This report proposes a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy for Europe, defining the missing norms for the main security concepts (critical information infrastructure protection, attacks on information systems, etc.), as well as for separate bodies. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) ‘Towards global cybersecurity’ is certainly a topic worthy of a great deal of discussion, in order to achieve a sensible solution. It is of great importance for all of us, particularly in current times. Every person who uses the Internet must be protected against attacks. The ‘global security’ approach is the right way to go, as attacks from cyberspace are global in nature and do not just affect individual countries. It is therefore important to achieve consistency with international law, which will be very difficult. This is where I see the main problem. I also believe that all major databases that contain sensitive personal data, such as those of the EU and Member State governments, or those of financial and health care institutions, should be regarded as part of the critical information infrastructure, and that the protection of such data must be ensured according to the highest possible standards. Furthermore, it is also important to take the necessary steps to protect critical infrastructure against cyber attacks, and to provide funding therefore, in order to prevent access to critical information infrastructure. As I still see a few inconsistencies here that stand in the way of obtaining a viable result, I abstained from the vote.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) As events a few years ago in Estonia demonstrated, and as regular attacks by hackers against the websites and databases of important state and private institutions show, we are entering a new era when threats to our security are becoming virtual rather than physical. I therefore agree with the report in that we need to devote greater attention to this and we need to pool common EU forces and promote cross-border cooperation, ensuring the protection of critical infrastructure – not just physically but in computer networks. At the same time, I would like to remind you that this protection must be proportionate to other values recognised and protected by the European Union – above all, the protection of personal data and privacy.

 
  
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  Katarína Neveďalová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The Internet and information and communication technologies (ICT) are generally playing an ever-increasing role in our lives. The increasing use of these forms of technology applies increasingly to fields such as finance and banking, and involves the constant on-line shifting of personal and, in particular, very important data. It is for this very reason that Internet security stands as one of the highest political priorities of the European Union and the rest of the world. The increasing use and deployment of innovative ICT technologies, such as fast fixed and mobile Internet and cellular networks, smart grids, but also Internet services, such as cloud computing, all rely on a simple, but crucial aspect: security, resilience and user-friendliness. The growth of ICT is very fast, and this is mirrored by an increase in the risks associated therewith. It is obvious that the Internet is a critical infrastructure and that its disruption might lead to substantial losses and security risks, affecting a very large number of European citizens. It is for this very reason that the rapid development of ICT requires that prevention of Internet attacks, remedial reactions and the resilience of the global net should be based on a comprehensive, reactive, flexible, innovative and long-term framework.

 
  
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  Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. – Cybersecurity is increasingly becoming a concern for Members States and for ordinary citizens. The EU tries to achieve a better connectivity among the EU states and its citizens, so naturally it has to take the necessary measures to protect them as well. It is an inclusive issue balancing between the respect for human rights and the need to intervene. I voted in favour of this report because I consider particularly important the cooperation and information sharing among EU Member States regarding the fight against cyber crimes. Information technologies make people in Europe and all over the world closer. Challenges do not respect borders and we have to harmonise the international cybersecurity environment. I support the proposal to advance the legislation on cyber crimes. In order to ensure a due level of protection and security, the EU has to manage risks, not just respond to challenges.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) In 2009, the Commission adopted a communication on ‘Protecting Europe from large-scale cyber attacks and cyber disruptions: enhancing preparedness, security and resilience’. The adoption of the report on critical information infrastructure protection for global cybersecurity reflects the Commission’s proposals and the demands of a new and increasingly technological world. Financial transactions, business, sensitive data, information systems and everything associated with the Internet all need protection. Ensuring such protection requires international cooperation, and so we hope that the institutions and governments will cooperate effectively in enforcing the Union’s security measures. The Internet is a critical infrastructure, and its disruption might lead to security risks that seriously affect a large number of European citizens and businesses.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) Given the increasing penetration of technology into everyday life and given the exposure to it of minors and social groups in need of protection, Internet security is a critical political priority in the European Union. All European initiatives, such as the Digital Agenda, the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection (EPCIP), Directive 2008/114/EC and the communication entitled ‘Protecting Europe from large-scale cyber attacks and cyber disruptions’ include efforts to increase the security of cyberspace in the Union. This report, which I supported, calls on the Commission and the Member States to take the necessary initiatives, so that technological developments are combined with the creation of a protective framework, in a bid to prevent rather than correct security problems.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The security of the Internet remains one of the principal concerns and political priorities for the European Union and the rest of the world. The Europe 2020 strategy, launched in 2010, included the EU Digital Agenda as a flagship policy, setting ambitious goals for the technological development of the European Union. The increasing use and deployment of innovative information and communication technologies rely on one simple, but crucial aspect: security, resilience and trust. Rapid technological development requires that preventing Internet attacks, remedial reactions and the resilience of the global net be based on a comprehensive, reactive, flexible, innovative and long-term framework. I voted for this report, and would highlight the call made in this report to the Commission and the European Network and Information Security Agency to participate in the main stakeholder dialogues to define technical and legal norms in cyberspace at international level.

 
  
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  Fiorello Provera (EFD), in writing. (IT) The increasing use of the Internet and computer-based technologies makes Internet security a priority. The use and deployment of innovative information and communication technologies (ICT), such as fixed and mobile Internet and cellular networks, smart grids, Internet services such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things, all rely on one simple, but crucial aspect: security, resilience and trust. I am therefore in favour of this EU critical information infrastructure protection (CIIP) initiative to enhance ICT security and resilience at both national and European levels.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) I congratulate Mr Kalfin on his work. Having regard to its resolution of 5 May 2010 entitled ‘A new Digital Agenda for Europe: 2015.eu’ and its resolution of 15 June 2010 entitled ‘Internet governance: the next steps’, by adopting this report, Parliament is seeking to enhance the security of cyberspace in the Union and put the issue of Internet security under the spotlight.

Parliament is also highlighting the fact that it is now obvious that the Internet is a critical infrastructure and that its disruption could lead to risks and losses affecting a very large number of European citizens and businesses. In particular, it calls for a comprehensive, flexible, long-term framework that involves the development of technologies to ward off Internet attacks and ensures efficient and secure interaction for all stakeholders.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Against. The report brings confusion: confusing critical information infrastructure protection (CIIP), cybersecurity, and the security of networks with the fight against cybercrime – and beyond. CIIP protection is confused with the fight against cybercrime, itself assimilated to the fight against anything illegal committed with a computer. The report therefore inserts inappropriate references to infringement of IPR. This is contrary to the Internal Security Strategy Resolution (lead: Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, voted in May 2012, rapporteur Borsellino) which explicitly states that IPR enforcement is NOT a part of cybersecurity (e.g. measures on road safety cannot and should not address the problem that cars can be misused for bank robberies). Prioritising an unnecessary rapprochement with the US (while the EU is cooperating very successfully with other partners, e.g. Australia).

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) On-line data sharing and acquisition is growing at a tremendous rate. Current technologies allow private companies and public authorities around the world to use personal data when doing their work. The development of innovative technological applications will be badly affected unless serious countermeasures are adopted. The Internet is now a critical infrastructure. Any large-scale disruption would entail serious security risks affecting a very large number of European citizens and businesses. The rapid development of this technology demands effective policies to prevent Internet attacks, and the resilience of the global net should be based on a comprehensive, reactive, flexible, innovative and long-term framework.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) I am in favour of the text of the report in that it aims to enhance the security and resilience of ICT infrastructure at both national and European levels. The use and deployment of innovative ICT technologies require ever greater security and reliability. In line with the principles set out by the European Digital Agenda, I believe the European Union should crucially adopt significant measures to establish an efficient system of international cooperation designed to improve Internet resilience and thereby protect consumers and businesses.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Internet is the primary information tool used by millions of people around the world every day. Its strategic significance means that the European Union should pay particular attention to it, and regulation and protection of the Internet from external attacks are subjects of extreme importance. All the countries of Europe, in conjunction with private businesses, need to make a coordinated effort to try to contain and neutralise any cyber attacks.

I voted in favour of Mr Kalfin’s report because a large number of European citizens and businesses are at risk of cyber attacks every day. The report proposes effective solutions to the problem. One such solution would be to implement a global plan whereby the interaction of the governments, businesses and individuals involved would prevent cyber attacks from happening and render the Internet more secure and protected. Information security is key to European security. Europe cannot, and must not, forego the need to protect user data and intellectual property.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) Technology, including information technology, is playing an increasingly important role in all areas of our daily lives, from communications to finance and banking, from transport to energy, and from culture to health. The European Union has to pay particular attention to the lag between the exponential growth of innovation and the slower growth of security systems designed to protect the sensitive data of European citizens and businesses located in the Union.

Prevention of Internet attacks, remedial measures and the resilience of the global net should be based on a comprehensive, reactive, flexible, innovative and long-term framework so as to fall within the EU 2020 strategy as one of the Union’s key policies. By voting in favour, we are underlining the importance of protecting Europe’s cyberspace, which can only be achieved through cooperation between the Member States’ governments, businesses and all other stakeholders, and through joint international legislation.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the text by my esteemed colleague, Ivailo Kalfin, because his text is a step in the right direction. The Internet has become one of the cornerstones of the world. Yet, like any stone, some parts may be harmful and may be sources of danger for both companies and individuals. Obviously, we need to encourage the prevention of cyber attacks (as would anyone really want an intruder in his house or shop?). Updates in European legislation also need to keep pace with technology, which is only possible if the various Member States cooperate fully.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Technology has assumed an increasingly important role in various sectors of the European economy and in the public’s everyday lives, the European Commission having launched an emblematic initiative called the EU Digital Agenda, which is outlined in the Europe 2020 strategy. I am voting for this report, which aims to introduce a high level of security and resilience in information and communication technology services and networks, adopting new security standards for critical information infrastructure. The objective is to improve the protection and knowledge of security breaches in specific sectors of the European economy. I nonetheless believe that the European Network and Information Security Agency must assume a more active role in matters relating to cybersecurity, as well as carrying out pan-European exercises which guarantee greater security for companies and citizens.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the European Parliament resolution of 12 June 2012 on critical information infrastructure protection – achievements and next steps: towards global cybersecurity. We call on the Commission, in cooperation with Member States, to assess the implementation of the CIIP action plan and urge Member States to organise national computer emergency response teams (CERT), develop national cybersecurity strategies, organise regular national and pan-European cyber incident exercises, and contribute to the development of a European cyber incident contingency plan by the end of 2012. We welcome the current proposal for reviewing ENISA’s mandate and for expanding the agency’s tasks. We call on the Commission to put forward, by the end of 2012, a comprehensive Internet security strategy detailing the principles, goals, methods, tools and policies (both internal and external) required to streamline national and EU efforts, and to establish minimum resilience standards among Member States to ensure a safe, continuous, robust and resilient service, whether in connection with the critical infrastructure or general Internet use.

 
  
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  Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE), in writing. – Whereas information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the Internet environment are an important part of our lives, users need to have confidence in the security of the system, as regards privacy of data and intellectual property rights. This is not only about our personal information; it is also about companies’ information and State security, which must be protected. I will support all the measures that the Commission and the Member States are taking in order to protect critical infrastructure from cyber attacks.

 
  
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  Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE), in writing. (LT) Cybercrime is a big problem for Lithuania – not just for our public institutions but also for ordinary citizens. The cyber attack carried out against the Bank of Lithuania a few months ago demonstrated that Lithuania has failed to learn from previous attacks on our institutions four years ago, which temporarily paralysed the government and industry. More than 55% of Lithuanians use Internet banking services and shop or plan their holidays online. As Internet use increases in everyday life, so does organised crime in Lithuania, and such crimes have an impact on the whole of Lithuanian society. According to data from a study carried out by Yahoo, Lithuania has one of the highest rates of Internet fraud in the world, alongside Nigeria, Colombia and Romania. Another new report revealed that organised crime groups sell credit card details for EUR 1, and bank account details for EUR 60. This is not just Lithuania’s problem. Around a million EU citizens become the victims of computer crimes every day. The anti-virus software manufacturer Norton estimates that cybercrimes cost almost USD 388 billion each year. As the rapporteur notes, the perpetrators of cybercrimes are invisible and often go unpunished. Only coordinated action will help stop the perpetrators and reduce cyber dangers.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – I fully support the proposals in this report for a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy for Europe. Cyber warfare is a real threat and Europe’s critical information infrastructure must be protected from cyber attacks, which could potentially harm citizens and businesses. International cooperation was highlighted in the report as an essential element in order to keep Europe safe from online threats. Better education about online threats is also vitally important and the report calls for the Commission to launch an education initiative that would ensure Internet users throughout the EU are aware of potential threats.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – This report takes into consideration that all previous developments set out to increase the cyberspace security in the European Union show that the issue of Internet security is relevant and of importance. The development in this field demands, among other things, the prevention of Internet attacks. An efficient interaction between all stakeholders – governments, business and individuals – is important and has to be ensured.

 
  
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  Janusz Władysław Zemke (S&D), in writing. (PL) The European Parliament’s resolution on critical information infrastructure protection is timely. We live in an age where the Internet and information and communication technologies have an ever-greater impact on all areas of people’s lives and where they promote the integration of many communities and support economic growth. Unfortunately, they have also become a target for cybercrime, which is expanding rapidly and constantly moving into new areas. I believe that our aim should be to create an effective mechanism to counteract these negative developments by way of international cooperation and that rapid response teams should also be set up by individual Member States to react to specific incidents in order to minimise the effects of attacks that pose a risk to Internet security and also to provide effective protection against the unauthorised use of information and communications technology that is used by the state administration and the military.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We acknowledge the importance of guaranteeing the public the security and protection necessary for Internet usage as well as infrastructure guaranteeing the service. Nonetheless, we strongly disagree with adding the points made here to a set of security-oriented strategies and policies which are profoundly detrimental in terms of employment, restricting freedom of expression for these same populations. A strong link is established between these European External Action Service measures, through which it seeks, ‘on a permanent basis, to include Internet security issues in the scope of its external relations, inter alia, when designing various financing instruments’, aligning political orientation and action in legal matters with ‘US counterparts’. Moreover, it advocates coordinated positions in international forums under the aegis of the promotion of ‘core values’, in which NATO, the United Nations and the World Bank are involved, among others. Regarding these ‘core values’, it must be said that so-called ‘global cybersecurity’ is part of a new strategic NATO concept, planning to orchestrate war after war alongside and in tandem with the US, its main partner, justified by a range of political and geostrategic arguments. We voted against for all of these reasons.

 
  
  

Report: Edit Herczog (A7-0168/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report as I believe that greater coordination is urgently needed between the Member States and the European Union for working together to increase the EU’s global influence on energy and securing the energy supply. The European Union needs to perform its duties and speak to the world with one voice, not only in the area of energy, but in all matters that we may call ‘global’. Otherwise, it risks losing bargaining power and its political credibility internationally.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Strengthening the external dimension of the EU’s energy policy will provide the EU with secure, sustainable and accessible energy. I think that Member States’ policies in this area need to be coordinated better and there must be closer cooperation between the Council, Commission and European External Action Service on matters relating to the common external energy policy so that the European Union has a better negotiating position in relation to third countries. I voted in favour of this resolution.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the idea of common purchasing of energy raw materials by Member States. We now face serious issues with competition for energy resources and monopolies in the field of production. We need to deepen energy cooperation in Europe and beyond our borders. The rapporteur, Edit Herczog, states that ‘a better exchange of information is imperative. Big energy suppliers are aware of different data on their European consumer countries, but we do not have any information within the EU about each other. It would strengthen our position in the international buying markets. New legislation is needed on how countries provide this information and how it should be used, because it is confidential’.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. It is very important to ensure that cross-border energy infrastructure within the Union is fully developed and that energy policy is an integrated part of EU foreign policy. The EU is a major purchaser of energy on global energy markets and, in order to give the Union a strong international voice in its energy relations, there is a need for a well-functioning internal market that can create more competition among external partners. I welcome closer cooperation with supplier countries and international organisations, as well as the expansion of the links between the European energy network and neighbouring countries (the Western Balkans, Eastern neighbours, Caspian countries, North Africa and the Middle East) by building new interconnectors. I agree that the EU should concentrate its efforts in the area of research, development and innovation.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because the European Union needs to successfully achieve the task of diversifying sources and transport routes to guarantee energy supply security. With this aim in mind, coordination and consistency are required between external, energy and trade policy. Romania thinks that the Black Sea offers major potential in achieving energy security in Europe, providing a gateway to Central Asia and the Caspian region. One specific example of this is the AGRI interconnection project for transporting liquefied natural gas, as well as the cooperation on energy initiated with Turkmenistan. At the same time, my country supports major projects such as the Nabucco gas pipeline and the Southern Corridor because their implementation will enable not only the European energy market to become diversified, but also the current level of dependence on certain energy sources or routes to be reduced. Romania also attaches particular importance to the interconnection of energy grids with neighbouring states. Indeed, according to estimates, the gas deposits discovered in the Black Sea will allow Romania to achieve energy independence within a timeframe of three to four years.

 
  
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  George Becali (NI), in writing. (RO) I, too, like the rapporteur, endorse the view that Europe is a major purchaser of energy on the global markets. This offers an advantage because, if the EU adopted a firm, joint stance in its negotiations with third countries, we would be a powerful player in the market. I believe that more attention needs to be focused on research, development and innovation. A common approach on research is required within the EU because the results from it may be more effective, profitable and dynamic than if they were produced individually by each Member State.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Looking to build a strategy for a secure, sustainable and competitive energy supply is well-intentioned. Despite this proposal, I decided to vote against this report. This is mainly due to the fact that one paragraph mentions shale gas when I am one of those in France who strongly opposes the issuing of licences for shale gas exploration. Fracking, which is the only technique used to date, does indeed pose irreversible problems and global threats to the environment, in particular, to our water supply. However, this paragraph calls for the development of new strategic partnerships in view of the development of new, unconventional energy technologies – in other words, a call to take advantage of the opportunities for exploring shale gas, a target which I do not approve of when establishing a European energy strategy.

 
  
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  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing. (IT) Europe is a major purchaser of energy on global markets. I believe that when defining European energy policy, we should focus on finding the common approach, extending our sphere of influence beyond Europe’s borders alone, particularly in the field of energy market rules. There is a need for a well-functioning internal market that can create more competition among our external partners. It is my view that ensuring reliable and cost-competitive access to global energy supplies is fundamental to supporting Europe’s competitiveness and energy security, not least in light of the EU’s existing policy objectives set by the 20-20-20 energy climate package. A coherent and coordinated approach by Member States, the Commission and the Council will allow for effective promotion of the EU’s energy objectives externally and will result in an improved negotiating position with regard to third countries. Research, development and innovation (R&D&I) is strategically important in this context: coordinating all the research efforts within the EU Member States can result in quality research which is more efficient, cost-effective and dynamic than if it were carried out individually by each Member State.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the current common global energy challenges and implementation of the EU’s ambitious energy and climate change objectives require common, effective and equitable action by the European Union on the international stage, in particular, by strengthening the external dimension of its energy policy and taking a unified stance in order to increase diversification of energy sources, enhance security of supply and support sustainable production and consumption. The EU can, and should, build on existing priority areas of engagement in external energy policies. Only a fully integrated European energy market functioning on the principle of solidarity can sufficiently address the challenges of security of energy supply stemming from the differences in composition and share of energy imports in the various Member States.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) The report deals very thoroughly with the topics outlined by the Commission. I voted in favour, not least because of the report’s approach. The content and analytical predictions are tightly presented and the report is firmly rooted in the principle of a common policy based on energy solidarity and cooperation, as a strategy for promoting the values of political stability and global security.

While ways should be found to involve the EU more closely in negotiations between Member States and third countries, there is also a pressing need in a sensitive global market such as this to establish firm guidelines with regard to key supplier and consumer countries, including the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) or, closer still, Turkey as a strategic hub, especially in relation to technological and market developments, as it has already invested heavily in the clean coal and liquefied natural gas sectors.

Lastly, I would like to highlight the courageous positions adopted in paragraphs 86 and 106 as the basis for my vote in favour. They characterise the EU’s commitment to prioritising universal values and human rights over any circumstantial considerations or purely economic, albeit important, appraisals.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. (FR) We urgently need to adopt a strategic approach to ensure that we have a secure, sustainable and competitive energy supply. The depletion of the EU’s internal fossil fuel resources is going to increase its dependence on energy imports, despite increasing input from renewables, energy efficiency and research on energy technologies. I am in favour of a common external energy policy, based on solidarity. We must increase our diversification and rethink our strategic cooperation with the main energy producing countries. Ensuring security of supply for the European Union would enhance the EU’s capacity for foreign policy action and its credibility as a global actor, including in the field of climate change.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) Europe is a major purchaser of energy on global energy markets. Ensuring reliable and cost-competitive access to global energy supplies is fundamental to supporting Europe’s competitiveness and security in relation to the EU’s existing policy objectives set by the 20-20-20 package and the long-term commitment to the decarbonisation of our economy by 2050. Only a coherent and coordinated approach by Member States, the Commission and the Council will allow for effective promotion of the EU’s energy objectives externally and will result in an improved negotiating position vis-à-vis third countries. I ascribe key importance to research, development and innovation (R&D&I). Within the EU, pooling our research efforts can result in high-quality research which is more efficient, cost-effective and dynamic than if it were carried out individually by each Member State. Similarly, we should look to cooperate more closely in R&D&I with third countries, in order to maximise these advantages internationally.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – It is vital during a time of decreasing fuel supplies which entails sensitive inter-country negotiation on the share of resources that nations may act independently to decide how best to sustain energy security domestically. The EU now controls all aspects of UK energy policy, taking away our independence in this most vital of areas, from the imposition of nuclear safety rules and the formation and regulation of new energy trade partners. Fuel is as important to the preservation of society and the economy as food supply and thus has the ability to expose importing countries to hard bargaining from those countries with resources to share. The Commission wishes to be involved in the energy negotiations of all Member States with third countries, which is clearly against the principle of subsidiarity.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report, which aims to find solutions to consolidate the internal energy market. The European Union needs to establish a broader regulatory framework and to emphasise key concepts such as sustainability, energy viability, better coordination among European networks, and diversification of energy suppliers, sources and routes. I note that this report received the full support of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament and the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

 
  
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  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for Ms Herczog’s report because I agree with the call to enhance the security of our energy supply. The European economy largely depends on energy and raw material imports from third countries, leaving it open to the risks that this system entails. While diversifying our energy mix so as to increase the proportion of renewables is a valid option, it cannot, by itself, provide a satisfactory solution to the problem.

I am therefore certain that the European Union should strengthen its negotiating position by improving coordination among Member States, increasing the number of suppliers and encouraging broader cooperation between the public and private sectors. Such measures will make imports more stable and less susceptible to the constant changes in the balance of power that have so often put them at risk. To that end, investment is needed at Union level; the decision-making process must be optimised; and we must support the rapporteur’s proposal to grant the Commissioner for Energy a strong mandate in any negotiations of major strategic importance.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, as I believe that ensuring reliable and cost-competitive access to global energy supplies is key to supporting Europe’s competitiveness and security in light of the EU’s existing policy objectives set by the ‘20-20-20’ package and the long-term commitment to the decarbonisation of our economy by 2050. I also believe that combined efforts in terms of research, development and innovation (R&D&I) at EU level can result in quality research which is more efficient, cost-effective and dynamic than if it were carried out individually by each Member State. Similarly, we should look to cooperate further on R&D&I with third countries, in order to maximise these mutual advantages internationally.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The availability of secure, sustainable and competitive energy is of great importance for the economy, industry and EU citizens, and is a key European political objective. It is noteworthy that the EU imports more than 60% of its gas and more than 80% of its oil, facing increasing competition for fossil fuel resources, including from emerging countries and energy producing countries. Moreover, the EU’s dependence on energy imports is likely to increase over the next decade as its own fossil fuel resources are depleted. Experience has shown that bilateral energy relations individually established between Member States and third country suppliers and transit countries may result in the further fragmentation of the internal market rather than strengthening diversified energy supply and competitiveness. As such, I believe a fully integrated European energy market functioning on the principle of solidarity and addressing the challenges of energy supply is vital. Only a consistent and coordinated approach by the Member States, the Commission and the Council will realise a strong external position as regards the EU’s energy objectives and ensure an improved negotiating position vis-à-vis third countries.

 
  
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  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for this resolution because I think that we need to improve energy supply security. On the one hand, the Commission needs to provide a clearer definition of ‘energy solidarity’ among EU Member States, while, on the other hand, external energy suppliers, routes and supply sources need to be properly diversified. According to estimates, the global demand for energy will rise by 40% by 2030. In addition, the EU’s dependency on energy imports could increase, in turn, in spite of the efforts to achieve energy efficiency and utilise renewable energy sources. The Nabucco project could have helped achieve the necessary diversification of energy supply sources. Unfortunately, there is no visible progress leading to the implementation of this ambitious European project.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) Europe has set itself ambitious targets through the 20-20-20 package and made a long-term commitment to decarbonising the European economy by 2050. In order to achieve these targets, there is a key role to be played by research, development and innovation. Therefore, I think that the European Union and Member States need to step up their efforts in this area to achieve an effective, dynamic level of research activity. Such cooperation will make it possible to achieve better results than those achieved individually by each Member State. Last but not least, continuing the cooperation with third countries on research development and innovation is beneficial as it will allow the European Union to remain a major global player, including as part of partnerships within international forums: the EU-Russia and EU-US dialogue, the Energy Charter, the Energy Community process and relations with other international bodies concerned with energy and climate.

 
  
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  Rachida Dati (PPE) , in writing. (FR) Our energy needs are enormous and are continuing to grow, and a significant proportion of that energy has to be imported. Energy security is a challenge that we have to tackle together. This report contributes to the discussion on the need to develop ambitious joint external action in the field of energy and how this action should be developed. I welcome the emphasis placed on relations with the countries of the Caspian region, especially Azerbaijan. It has a very open position regarding, in particular, the infrastructure projects that we wish to develop in the region and a commercial partnership, from an energy but also a political perspective, that is continuing to grow.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted for this report, which supports a coordinated, effective external policy by the EU Member States in the area of energy supply. If it speaks with one voice, the European Union will be in a better position to secure its supply from commercial partners which, in the past, have sometimes used energy as a political weapon. It will also be in a better position to influence the prices offered and, as a result, defend more successfully the interests of its consumers.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of the motion for a European Parliament resolution on engaging in energy policy cooperation with partners beyond our borders: a strategic approach to secure, sustainable and competitive energy supply, because it addresses the crucial challenges of the Union’s energy policy in its foreign relations, carefully taking into account the main aspect of security of energy supply. Europe plays a key role in the global energy market, especially in terms of consumption. Energy policy, therefore, must align the geopolitical and strategic role of the European Union with its energy needs. This report, by creating a more coherent and coordinated approach by the Member States, the Council and the Commission in shaping and achieving the Union’s goal in this field, strengthens the position of the EU in negotiations with third countries. In addition, the report stresses the importance of Parliament being appropriately involved in the consultation processes relating to energy policy, in line with Article 194 TFEU. This is of paramount importance for enabling democratic involvement when defining such crucial policies of the Union, which will surely have a major impact on the quality of our citizens’ lives.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on energy policy cooperation with partners beyond our borders since it argues that the EU needs to act in a coordinated manner which enables the setting out of a common position in negotiations with third countries, thereby guaranteeing the security of the energy supply.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The events of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ have further highlighted the energy dependency from which the European Union currently suffers and the insecurity recently afflicting some of its suppliers. It is clear today that this excessive dependency constitutes a significant strategic weakness and that without a consistent, joint response by the Member States to the challenges they face, they will most likely remain restricted and further subject to external pressures. Some Member States’ excessive dependency on a restricted group of suppliers increases their exposure and weakness. The increased diversification of internal and external energy sources and the composition of national and European ‘energy mixes’, which group together energy from a large number of sources to allow for competition, should be encouraged. Such is the importance of the energy issue, which should increasingly be viewed as one of Europe’s greatest priorities. As such, effectively pursuing a common policy in this area should be encouraged.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The rapid technological development that we have witnessed in recent years has led to a significant increase in global energy consumption. In spite of a growing focus on the exploitation of renewable energy sources, the truth of the matter is that we continue to be very much dependent on so-called ‘fossil fuels’. Ms Herczog’s report deals with ‘Engaging in energy policy cooperation with partners beyond our borders: a strategic approach to secure, sustainable and competitive energy supply’. While our energy partners to the east and the south are important, the European Union must not stop buying from other markets and demanding compliance with EU criteria, especially regarding the exploitation of raw materials and environmental protection. These partners must have as comprehensive an approach as possible to guarantee stable energy flows. I voted for this report, as I am aware of the importance of the role of energy in all of these areas. I therefore hope that the EU will speak with one voice on energy and will support technological development in the area of renewable energy and installing the necessary equipment, thereby contributing to revived economic growth and job creation.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This entire report is based on the idea of implementing and strengthening the internal energy market, the undeniably negative consequences of which have been exacerbated, in particular since the creation of the Energy Community in 2006, which established the internal electricity and gas market. This path cannot be disassociated from the liberalisations and privatisations which have taken this important, strategic sector of the economy away from the public sphere, with all the resulting constraints, in particular, for countries with weak economies such as Portugal. Against the current background of EU energy dependency and the trend towards population growth and consumption over the coming decades, this document does not hide its concerns about future energy supply. As far as the powers of the EU and its large corporations are concerned, it is vital to ensure this supply, not for reasons of essential public interest, but for the reason which determines its options, and indeed its actions: to continue capitalist accumulation. As such, it does not disguise its unrestrained imperialistic ambitions at the service of those who want to continue furthering the interests of the European Union and its external policy, as they have always done, and now to do so using the important instrument created by the Treaty of Lisbon: the European External Action Service.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Europe is a major purchaser of energy on global energy markets. In addition, there is a realistic assumption that global energy demand will increase by 40% by 2030, mainly in non-OECD countries. The EU’s dependence on energy imports will rise significantly over the next decade, mainly due to the depletion of fossil fuel resources. This will happen despite increasing input from renewables, energy efficiency and research into energy technologies. Global competition for fossil fuel resources from emerging economies will therefore logically intensify. I therefore believe that when defining European energy policy, it is important to focus on the pursuit of a common approach and extend our sphere of influence beyond Europe, particularly in the field of energy market rules. There is a clear need for a well-functioning internal market, and we should be promoting convergence with our neighbours, especially in the field of regulation. I firmly believe that the EU’s high and increasing import dependency calls for a policy that fully reflects this current development. This policy must be based on solidarity, strategic cooperation and on the promotion of indigenous renewable energy sources.

 
  
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  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) The lack of a common energy policy has been harming the European Union for years: we spend over EUR 400 billion every year on importing energy produced by others. Strong measures are clearly needed. While respecting each country’s specific circumstances, it is important to increase coordination between Member States so that the European Union can speak with one voice when dealing with international suppliers, thereby strengthening its negotiating position. At the same time, we need to diversify our energy supply routes and increase information sharing. Creating a coordinated energy policy at EU level is the right path to take so that Europe’s citizens can reap the benefits of a reliable and competitive energy policy.

 
  
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  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing. (FR) As regards this road map for energy cooperation with third countries, the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance succeeded in having a number of amendments incorporated, notably on reducing dependence on imports through greater input from renewable energies, the need to align the long-term climate and energy policy objectives, the need to ensure sustainable energy supply at local level in developing countries, and the need to be more sceptical about the use of agrofuels. However, I could not vote for this report, which promotes shale gas and oil sands and which supports projects such as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER).

 
  
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  Mikael Gustafsson (GUE/NGL), in writing. – I have voted against the final vote on the Herczog report. Although I am in favour of cooperation with third countries, and especially developing countries, in the area of R&D cooperation and data sharing of know-how transfer on clean and renewable energy sources, as stated in §78, and although I am generally in favour of an EU energy policy based on clean and renewable energy sources without dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear energy, I cannot agree with any further spending of funds on ITER or any other fusion research, further reliance and investment in nuclear energy, and I definitely do not agree with energy exploration in the Arctic region.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour because today, energy has become a strong weapon of foreign policy. Given its importance for our everyday lives, energy should principally be a commodity and not used as a foreign policy tool. The EU should also take into account all aspects concerning our security of energy supply. Europe is a major purchaser of energy on global energy markets. While this can be seen as a weakness, it can also be one of our strengths: we are the biggest importer, and if we used this in a coordinated manner at EU level, and took a firm, common negotiating position with third countries, we would nearly always be in a good bargaining position and could exert our power as a strong market player. When defining European energy policy, we should focus on finding a common approach, extending our sphere of influence beyond Europe’s borders, particularly in the field of energy market rules. There is a need for a well-functioning internal market that can create more competition among our external partners. We should be promoting regulatory convergence with our neighbours. Ensuring reliable and cost-competitive access to global energy supplies is fundamental to supporting Europe’s competitiveness and security in light of the EU’s existing policy objectives set by the 20-20-20 package and the long-term commitment to decarbonisation of our economy by 2050. A coherent and coordinated approach by Member States, the Commission and the Council will allow for effective promotion of the EU’s energy objectives externally and will result in an improved negotiating position vis-à-vis third countries.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) The report by Edit Herczog proposes improvements aimed at consolidating the internal energy market. It calls for expansion of the links between the European energy networks and neighbouring countries and for a wider regulatory framework.

In order to improve the coherence and stability of Europe’s external energy policy, Parliament also proposes the creation of a Strategic Group for International Energy Cooperation, which would allow regular coordination between Member States, the Commission and the Council.

Finally, the report emphasises key concepts such as better coordination, diversification, energy sustainability/viability and stronger partnerships with supplier countries.

 
  
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  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE), in writing. (SK) Given its huge importance for our everyday lives, energy should principally be a commodity and not used as a foreign policy tool. At the same time, however, it is important that the European Union takes into account all aspects concerning our security of supply. The EU is a major purchaser of energy on global markets. While this can be seen as a weakness, it can also be a strength: we are the biggest importer, if we use this fact in a coordinated manner in the position we adopt towards other countries. We should find a common approach and extend our sphere of influence beyond the borders of the EU, particularly in the field of energy market rules. There is also a need for a well-functioning internal market that can create more competition among our external partners, including regulatory convergence with our neighbours, which I fully support.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Ms Herczog’s report, which has the merit of highlighting certain specific aspects of our energy policies and relationships with non-EU partners. It focuses, in particular, on the subject of security. This topic is of major significance, especially in light of the changes and developments in how energy products are supplied. Similarly, the report raises the issue of environmental safety, which deserves increasing attention. The points concerning cooperation and solidarity which emerge from the first paragraphs of this report are of great interest as they fully reflect the spirit of the European Union.

 
  
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  Kartika Tamara Liotard (GUE/NGL), in writing. – I voted ‘against’ in the final vote on the Herczog report. Although I am in favour of cooperation with third countries and especially developing countries on the area of R&D cooperation and data sharing on know-how transfer on clean and renewable energy sources as stated in §78, and although I am in general in favour of an EU energy policy based on clean and renewable energy sources without dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear energy, I cannot agree on any further spending of funds on ITER or any other fusion research, further reliance and investment in nuclear energy, and I definitely do not agree with energy exploration in the Arctic region.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) Energy policies are a priority for the European Union, and the steps being taken to expand relations in cooperating with as many EU neighbouring countries as possible must be encouraged and taken extremely seriously. However, I note with dismay that the negotiating process for extending the Energy Community with states like Turkey or the countries in the Southern Mediterranean is slow and difficult, even though prompt measures are required to expand the European energy system, based on strategic cooperation. I also think that we need to focus our attention now on initiatives promoting urgent cooperation in the area of clean energy from renewable sources, against a backdrop where the global population is expected to rise, which will increase energy consumption significantly in the next 20 years.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report and would like to underline that sustainable energy is a key driver of development, and reiterate its call for a specific ‘energy and development’ programme with a special focus on renewable, energy-efficient, small-scale and decentralised energy solutions and the promotion of capacity development and technology transfer in order to ensure local ownership. The report notes that large-scale renewable energy schemes may be necessary in order to meet in a sustainable way the growing energy demand from urban centres and industry, particularly in emerging countries; it calls for such schemes to adhere, in all cases, to the highest social and environmental criteria.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) It is crucial for the EU to give priority to securing and developing internal fossil fuel sources, especially the significant reserves recently discovered in the Mediterranean Sea, which would reduce European dependence on energy imports. I agree with the rapporteur that energy policy must be an integrated and prominent part of the common foreign policy and should be elaborated and implemented in synergy with other policies that have an external dimension.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The energy dependency from which the European Union currently suffers and the recent insecurity of some of its suppliers are increasingly worrying. It is becoming ever clearer that excessive dependency is negative if not well used, and it can only be well applied if there is a strategic approach to the energy market which is consistent between and common to all the Member States. As such, we must focus on a true common energy policy.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The European Union already imports more than 60% of its gas and 80% of its oil. As highlighted in the report by Edit Herczog, the EU’s dependence on energy imports is likely to increase over the next decade. In light of this situation, Europe must establish a strategy for cooperation beyond its borders in order to secure its energy supply. Indeed, if the EU as a whole, as a major energy purchaser, defends a common position in this area, it could reap benefits for its interests in the negotiations with border countries. In order to strengthen their geopolitical independence and energy security, the Member States must promote a genuine internal energy market that can withstand external pressures. A secure energy supply also requires diversification of suppliers. In order to diversify its energy sources, the EU must continue to build the infrastructures provided for in the Energy 2020 strategy. Over time, it will also benefit from more strategic energy cooperation with third countries, notably through the Nabucco project and the Africa-EU Energy Partnership.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE), in writing. (SK) A sustainable energy supply is essential for economic development. Energy is therefore one of the strategic areas requiring tactical negotiations focused on security of supply and sustainability. A proper energy mix, in which renewable sources of energy are beginning to break through, along with energy efficiency and other small-scale solutions, do not, however, form part of a comprehensive response to the issue of energy dependence of many Member States on energy supplies from outside the EU. In my opinion, the European Union should not only cultivate its relations with its traditional partners, such as with Russia, but should gradually establish a deeper strategic energy cooperation with the littoral states of the Black and Caspian Sea, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Central Asia. Naturally, we must also not neglect improvements to the functioning of the internal market in which, unfortunately, many obstacles to competition remain, thus undermining the attractiveness of the EU market in the eyes of non-EU suppliers and investors. I agree with the view that the EU and its Member States must ensure an internal energy market that can withstand external pressures and attempts to use the supply and price of energy as a tool of foreign policy pressure. For this reason, I am of the view that when planning the EU budget, resources should be increased in relation to projects interconnecting the energy markets in the EU and for improving European gas and electricity infrastructure networks.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – This report calls for increased cooperation and coordination at EU level on energy policy in order to speak with one voice to the rest of the world and with key suppliers and transit countries of energy. It states that if the EU were able to agree common negotiating positions with third countries, then we would nearly always be in a good bargaining position. The report also highlights the need for diversification of suppliers, the need for new and improved energy infrastructure and the export of our know-how and technology to help third countries and spread the highest environmental and safety standards throughout the world.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) In recent years, energy supplies have been repeatedly used as a form of political leverage, as exemplified by the gas disputes in the freezing depths of winter. Collaboration in the subdomains of energy policy, for example through joint procurement, in order to obtain favourable conditions, could certainly make sense, yet on principle, I cannot vote in favour of further national competences being handed over to Brussels. This is all the more so the case since – as the past has shown – the EU has a tendency to acquire competences via the back door. It is also impossible not to get the impression that the liberalisation of the energy market has not brought with it anything like what the EU promised. Not only do the subsidies vary sharply, in the energy field in particular, as the Member States favour different energy sources – some favour environmentally friendly technologies, others nuclear power – there is also a sharp variation in respect of different focuses when it comes to energy infrastructure. As I fear that nuclear power could be promoted here via the back door, I voted against this report.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) In today’s world, energy is becoming global – we import both sources of energy and energy itself from third countries. However, energy is very closely linked to the environment: natural resources are used during extraction, production and energy transmission and there is an impact on the environment. This impact is also felt in EU Member States. When cooperating with third countries, it is therefore important to aim to ensure that they comply with the relevant environmental standards. Above all, I am talking about nuclear energy, the environmental impact of which can be catastrophic in the event of an accident. One of the most important issues of the EU’s cooperation with foreign partners in the field of energy is therefore the guarantee of a high level of nuclear security that satisfies EU standards when new power plants are constructed, or existing ones are renovated or simply operated in third countries. This should be a prerequisite when importing energy into the European Union from nuclear power plants in third countries.

 
  
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  Katarína Neveďalová (S&D), in writing.(SK) Europe is the largest purchaser of energy on global energy markets. This position is, to some extent, a very great handicap. The reason is the constant creation of energy dependence on third countries. It is precisely because of low self-sufficiency that the relationships with our partners – energy suppliers – are very important. Member States are the largest importers, and if we use this fact in a common and coordinated manner at EU level and adopt a firm negotiating position with third countries, we will almost always be in a good bargaining position as a strong market player on the demand side. Thus, ensuring reliable and cost-competitive access to global energy supplies is fundamental to supporting Europe’s competitiveness and security in light of the EU’s policy objectives set out in the 20-20-20 package. This is also necessary in order to achieve our environmental objectives, such as the fulfilment of the commitment to the decarbonisation of the economy by 2050.

 
  
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  Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. – Given the Union’s high dependence on energy imports, increased diversification of supply sources and transit routes and the development of EU sources of renewable energy are an urgent and essential element supporting the Union’s external energy security policy. Energy policy must become an integrated and prominent part of the common foreign policy and should be elaborated and implemented in synergy with other policies that have an external dimension. I voted in favour of this report because I agree that external energy policy cooperation must contribute to the promotion of the core values of the Union, including responsible use of natural resources, the fight against climate change, and comprehensive protection of the environment, promote establishing peace and be coherent with the Union’s foreign policies. I support the rapporteur in that the Commission should monitor and enforce the highest international safety standards of nuclear power plants in countries neighbouring the EU using all available instruments and treaties. The EU should again call on the neighbouring states to perform comprehensive EU nuclear safety and risk stress tests.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) The common energy policy is the future that we all want for Europe. Unfortunately, our energy efficiency depends on other countries: the European Union’s energy imports amount to something like EUR 400 billion a year, which is why it needs a policy of energy cooperation with third countries. The report adopted by Parliament aims to guarantee a secure, sustainable and competitive energy supply. Moreover, partnership provides the opportunity to cooperate with countries outside the EU in developing new projects for the Union’s energy policies, from sustainability to efficiency via clean energy. Another objective is a common energy policy that goes beyond the interests of individual Member States to meet Europe’s common energy needs, through common routes of access to energy infrastructure corridors.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) Energy is one of the most important preconditions to a climate of economic growth and prosperity in the EU and, hence, in Greece. Apart from each Member State’s potential to exploit its soil/subsoil and alternative sources in this direction, the EU’s security of supply still largely depends on the outside. This European dependence is both a weakness and a strength. It is a weakness because there is no energy self-sufficiency and it is a strength because, as the leading global energy importer, good terms can be negotiated with suppliers. However, as well as securing reliable and cost-competitive access to global energy supplies, it is very important to strengthen the competitiveness and security of Europe or to ensure that the best possible use is made of Member States’ own resources, means and reserves. This is the thrust of the report, which I voted in favour of.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, which recommends energy policy cooperation with partners beyond our borders. Europe is a major purchaser of energy on global energy markets. While this can be seen as a weakness, it can also be one of our strengths: we are the largest importer, and if we were to use this in a coordinated manner at EU level, and took a firm, common negotiating position with third countries, we would nearly always be in a good bargaining position as we could exert our power as a strong market player on the demand side. A common negotiating approach, extending our sphere of influence beyond Europe’s borders, particularly in the field of energy market rules, could be helpful for all. I voted in favour of this process, and would highlight this among other proposals.

 
  
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  Jean Roatta (PPE), in writing. (FR) As the world’s largest importer of energy, it is now time for the European Union to define a European energy policy in order to provide more effective guidelines for energy use, both within and beyond our borders. The report emphasises, in particular, certain key concepts such as better coordination, diversification, energy sustainability/viability and stronger partnerships with supplier countries. Priority is given to important areas such as the major energy networks and infrastructures, strategic dialogues and international partnerships. It is also important to be able to exchange information, with the establishment of a platform for that purpose, and learn about European and third-country projects in the field of energy. I voted for this report in order to support a vital aspect: improving cooperation with third countries on energy and infrastructures. This multilateral cooperation will help to consolidate the partnerships with third countries in several areas; innovation and research into building reliable networks and facilities will ensure that the European Union has a diversified supply.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Against. A general problem is that the report fails to acknowledge the need for the EU to take a different approach to energy security. It is instead enforcing the somewhat mistaken point of view that the EU (now and in the future) is a heavyweight on the international energy market and that the solution to increasing concerns regarding security of supply should be handled by securing fossil imports through diversification of sources and routes via the expansion of import infrastructure and a convergence towards more EU-coordinated contract negotiations. The serious problem of the EU’s increasing dependency on fossil imports and the necessary means to avoid this negative development is only briefly focused on in the report. Specific proposals from the Greens to address these issues by focusing on a strategic alliance on green technologies with nations in similar import-dependent situations and/or with a green agenda was blended in the compromises into poor wording on cooperation on clean coal, CCS and nuclear and fusion research (there is also a specific paragraph welcoming ITER, of course). In addition, the suggestion that more room and resources should be given to renewables, energy efficiency, smart grids and energy poverty in the Energy Community Treaty Secretariat was rejected in the vote.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European Union is one of the largest energy importers in the world. I believe, therefore, that if it coordinated the various negotiating positions with third countries, it could increase its bargaining power as a major purchaser. It needs to adopt a common approach in this area so as to extend its sphere of influence beyond the borders of Europe, especially in terms of the energy market. What the European Union needs in this respect is a market that can create competition among its external partners and promote convergence with its neighbours.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) Having taken part in the working groups engaged in laying the foundations for a common energy policy, under the guidance of the previous President of this House, Mr Buzek, it is only natural that I support this own-initiative report on energy policy cooperation. If the European Union could coordinate energy purchases, including oil and gas, and represent the buyers in dealings with third countries, it could get much more favourable terms and more guaranteed supplies. The important point is that the decision to grant the EU such a role must be made independently by the Member States, which, under the Treaty, are entirely responsible for energy supply. Ensuring reliable and competitive access to energy supplies is fundamental for Europe’s competitiveness and for maintaining the best possible bargaining position with regard to third countries.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing. (IT) The subject of energy security is vitally important in the policies of the European Union. The EU spends over EUR 400 billion on energy imports every year, and so its dependence on third countries is self-evident. Coordinating the Member States; diversifying energy suppliers, routes and sources; extending Europe’s sphere of influence beyond its borders; sharing information on energy data and projects in third countries; and developing partnerships with suppliers and international organisations are the key points on which the new European energy policy should be based. If we put these guidelines into practice alongside everything the European Union is doing in terms of energy efficiency and developing new forms of energy, we will be in a position to achieve a secure, sustainable and competitive energy policy. Much remains to be done before we have a proper common energy policy, but there is no doubt that Parliament intends to move firmly in that direction.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) Energy is a shared asset of the citizens of the Union, amongst other things, but, in the last decade, it has become a foreign policy tool. Europe’s dependence on the global markets for its energy supplies puts it in a weak position but, at the same time, provides it with bargaining power. If the whole Union used this role in a coordinated manner and took a firm, common negotiating position with third countries, we would nearly always be in a good bargaining position on the demand side. By adopting this report, we are underlining the importance of finding a common approach in our dealings and dialogue with countries beyond our borders, not only in terms of competition but also in promoting regulatory convergence with our neighbours in line with the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy.

 
  
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  Søren Bo Søndergaard (GUE/NGL), in writing. (DA) I voted against the Herczog report in the final vote as I can neither support further funding for EU participation in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) or further dependence on, and investment in, nuclear power. At the same time, I disagree with energy exploration in the Arctic region.

However, my negative vote does not change the fact that I support cooperation with third countries, especially developing countries, in relation to research and development on low carbon technologies and innovation, and data sharing on know-how transfer, including in the field of clean and renewable energy sources, as set out in paragraph 78. Similarly, I support clean and renewable energy sources that are not dependent on either fossil fuels or nuclear power.