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Procedure : 2012/2628(RSP)
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Texts tabled :

B7-0301/2012

Debates :

Votes :

PV 13/06/2012 - 9.5
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2012)0249

Debates
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition

10. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
 

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Christofer Fjellner (A7-0054/201)

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, the Commission has proposed a review of the scheme of generalised tariff preferences that the Union has granted to goods entering the European market from developing countries since 1971. Although the new criteria put in place in order to benefit from the preferences will reduce the number of beneficiaries by about half, I believe that this system continues to represent a real opportunity for these countries to increase their international trade, generating revenue which can be used to increase income and implement policies for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty.

 
  
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  Cristiana Muscardini (PPE).(IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, we are happy with the arrangement reached in trialogue negotiations for the new scheme of generalised tariff preferences (GSP), due to both the complexity of the regulation and its political worth and the differences which have characterised the debate. In the current climate, European small and medium-sized enterprises that share industrial sensitivities, particularly in the areas of textiles, tanning and agriculture, must be given the chance to compete in international markets through careful evaluation of the different kinds of preferential treatment given to our main partners by the Union.

We cannot allow countries that have shown they have a competitive economy, like Brazil, Russia and Argentina, to receive help entering the European market by means of reduced tariffs at the expense of our manufacturing sector, which, for years, has been suffering the consequences of the financial crisis and protectionist choices on the exports and contracts of these third countries.

We are therefore in favour of greater monitoring of differentiation, thus avoiding showing favouritism to countries with offensive interests in strategic European sectors, and we welcome strengthening of the safeguard clause to also cover textile products. We would also like to thank the rapporteur for his excellent work.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD).(IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, I appreciate that the number of countries benefiting from this scheme is notably reduced. It is right and proper to offer support through favourable trade policies only to those states that truly find themselves in difficulty, concentrating it where our intervention could be of the greatest benefit.

According to current calculations, Pakistan should be one of these new beneficiaries. This is a country with a highly developed textile sector, partly thanks to economic and social rules which heavily penalise our businesses. I come from Prato, a city that was one of the main textile districts in Europe and which, in recent years, has seriously suffered from unfair competition from Asia. I am therefore opposed to this agreement including Pakistan, just as I was opposed to cutting import duties for this country because of the 2010 floods. Aid for trade must be targeted, but it absolutely cannot cause the decline of entire manufacturing sectors in Europe, which could occur with the recent invasion of textile products from Pakistan.

 
  
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  Julie Girling (ECR). – Madam President, I voted in favour of this proposed update to the scheme of generalised tariff preferences. This is a key instrument being used to help developing countries participate in international trade. Trade is vital for growth. Without income from exports, developing countries cannot put into place either the physical or democratic infrastructure which is necessary for sustainable democratic growth.

If resources are not available through trade, this funding is only available through aid. Trade, not aid, is the right way forward. Of course, this report is not perfect, but I support the general message from Parliament that trade preferences with developing countries should be maintained and developed.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Madam President, I, too, voted in favour of this report on generalised tariff preferences as a means of promoting economic growth through trade in developing countries. I strongly believe that, since it came into force in 1971, it has had an overall positive impact.

It is extremely encouraging that the least developed countries are able to participate in international trade in this way and are thus able to support their own poverty reduction schemes and their own sustainable development projects through the additional export revenue that this generates and by easier access to EU markets.

Of course, it is also important that we also reasonably defend EU industries, at the same time as providing benefits to third countries. So we must remember to create the right balance in this regard with a level playing field. Politically, I generally support the idea that trade preferences rather than aid handouts are an extremely useful tool for promoting economic development and growth in those less developed countries outside the European Union.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Madam President, it was only last July that we had the stress tests of all the European banks and we were told that there was no problem in Spain – certainly none that the national government could not look after.

We have now had a bailout of EUR 100 billion and Spanish ten-year bonds were at their highest level since the single currency was launched, so the only impact of this bailout has been to burden every Spanish household with a further EUR 15 000 debt that they did not have last week. Where does the money come from? It has come from the other members of the eurozone, including Cyprus and Italy and so on.

Europe is giving itself a transfusion; it is taking blood from one arm and pumping it into the other arm, but the tube is leaking. The liquid is coming out en route. My friends, when are we going to understand that you do not solve a debt crisis with more debt? The euro is the problem, not the solution. We are treating the tumour when we should be treating the patient.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Madam President, I was happy to support my group on all aspects of this report. It was readily accepted in the end, and that is good. I am pleased that the European Union is giving so much aid to developing countries, and that is greatly to our credit. One of the ways we do this is through trading.

And with regard to trading, I think the changes here are desirable. Certain countries are coming off the list, I think about 80 out of 120 are remaining on it, and certainly some of those countries should have been taken off the list before now, particularly at a time of economic crisis – and Mr Hannan referred to the difficulties in many countries at the moment – when we have to think of our own SMEs, our own companies. Having reduced numbers in this scheme is good for those countries and it is good for the European Union.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I, too, voted for this report because it proposes a suitable approach for revising the scheme of generalised tariff preferences. The GSP is one of the main tools which help the EU achieve its foreign and development policy objectives. We must therefore ensure that the latest reform enables it to retain and fulfil even better the specified role. With this in mind, I support the rapporteur’s position on preserving the structure of the proposal tabled by the Commission.

I agree, in principle, to reducing the number of countries eligible for generalised tariff preferences. However, I think that a special clause is needed for states which have signed a free trade agreement. I also support the mandatory review of the regulation after 10 years. This is a suitable period of time to allow an effective evaluation of the system’s operation.

 
  
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  David Campbell Bannerman (ECR). – Madam President, I voted for this as I believe that trade, rather than aid, is a better way to assist less developed countries to prosper.

However, I want to make a wider point about tariff reduction and trade agreements relevant to all of us. Here, we see preferential access to the EU single market being given to nations which are not members of the EU but which get reduced – or even zero – tariff walls from the EU customs union. Yet they do not have to sign up to financial contributions to the EU or to a whole body of law, the acquis, and can trade pretty freely. It goes to show how far we have travelled from the 1970s world of high tariffs and menacing trade walls and how much has been achieved by the WTO and GATT in reducing barriers to trade around the world. We can all benefit from much looser trading relations and lower tariff walls.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Madam President, one of the biggest myths about trade and international trade is that countries trade with each other.

Countries do not trade with each other. It is people and businesses who trade with people and businesses in another country for mutual benefit. What can governments do? They can either get in the way or they can facilitate that trade. The best way of facilitating that trade is by simply getting out of the way. But what do governments and what do institutions such as the EU do? They get in the way with tariff barriers and non-tariff barriers.

Surely the best way to help people in less developed countries is to remove all these trade barriers and to make sure that entrepreneurs in those countries can create wealth. Otherwise, if we stop them creating wealth in their own countries, they lose hope and they seek to leave those home countries and they emigrate to our countries, and then we complain about immigration.

As a development economist once said to me, either you take our goods and services, or you take our people, so let us help entrepreneurs in poorer countries.

 
  
  

Report: Jean-Paul Gauzès (A7-0172/2012)

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, today’s vote in Parliament completes the package on European economic governance approved at the end of 2011. The continuation of the crisis affecting the whole of Europe has made it necessary to strengthen economic and budgetary surveillance of those Member State whose financial stability in the euro area is at risk, giving the Union’s supervisory bodies the power to intervene with appropriate preventative instruments if necessary.

 
  
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  Ewald Stadler (NI).(DE) Madam President, doing the right thing at the wrong time is wrong too. The rules that are being proposed here should have been passed at least 15 years ago for there to be any point to them. It is clear that they are no longer of any use today. It is too late for Greece and Cyprus, it is too late for Portugal, it is too late for Spain, and it is probably too late for Italy. It is no use continuing to gloss over the issue: the euro has failed. That is not just my opinion, but apparently it is also the opinion of Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, who gives the euro no more than three months at most. What good is this resolution today going to do? I had no hesitation in voting against this resolution, quite simply because it comes too late, it is wrong and it can no longer mask the failure of the euro project. The euro, as an historical project of this European Union, has failed. By now, we ought to have reached the stage of admitting that economic facts cannot be politically denied any longer.

 
  
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  Cristiana Muscardini (PPE).(IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, this legislative proposal gives rise to confusion because it would give the Commission greater powers of control over the fiscal policy of euro area countries, but with no greater democratic control in return. Greater powers mean states have less sovereignty and this is all very well, but not if control is not transferred to Parliament. The democratic deficit will increase if Parliament does not have a stronger role.

The second reason for confusion is the budget cuts and the rigid austerity policy imposed by the executive, with no investment proposals designed to create growth and development except for the amendments which luckily were passed in this Chamber. We have established that up to now, the policy has been disastrous: tax increases, reduced consumption, increased unemployment, collapse of businesses, young people out of work, and so on. It would be irrational and harmful to continue in this direction. Consider the Delors White Paper of 1993: 19 years have passed since then and we are worse off than before.

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE).(IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in favour of this report because I believe that it is still important for Parliament to have its say on a document which I hope can be brought to the attention of governments at the forthcoming important meeting on 28 and 29 June. With the vote on Mr Gauzès’s report, we, as Parliament, have said that we cannot accept increasingly strict surveillance without balancing out these powers in the direction of democratic participation. Parliament must be involved. It is important and commendable that the link between surveillance and conditionality of financial aid programmes should be strengthened, but it is just as important that the conditions for this to happen are established in collaboration with those who represent the people of Europe.

 
  
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  Petri Sarvamaa (PPE). (FI) Madam President, without a strong and decisive integrated approach to economic policy in the European Union, the entire European mission of peace and well-being is doomed to failure.

In the last two years, we have seen how individual measures are inadequate. We need a structural solution. The report drafted by Mr Gauzès on the economic and budgetary surveillance of Member States experiencing difficulties in the euro area is part of this greater and vitally important structural solution.

We are going through an historically difficult stage on the path to a better tomorrow. On this path, we now need everything we can obtain to take us towards greater joint responsibility. The Member States cannot tackle the problems in the global economy alone, so we must implement all solutions that promote economic integration. For these reasons, crucial as they are from the perspective of Europe’s future, I voted in favour of this report and for the deeper economic integration that it supports.

 
  
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  Gianluca Susta (S&D). (IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to explain my vote also in relation to Ms Ferreira’s report, because it seems to me that it is the right time to overcome the contradiction between growth and austerity, which is at risk of becoming outdated.

Today, we have spoken in favour of growth and, at the same time, in favour of recovery. There is a contradiction when we say that we do not want to adopt a report like Mr Gauzès’s, on which I abstained for reasons I will explain, and then at the same time we call for a consolidated European budget and fiscal union. We need fiscal union, we need to monitor the budgets of Member States and, at the same time, encourage growth with the amendments we have presented and voted for in Ms Ferreira’s report.

I therefore believe that we have done something important. We have done it even though Mr Gauzès’s report contains an article – Article 10 – which sends a negative message to the markets, as it concerns controlled default procedures, which we should not even talk about at the moment because we have to show the European public that we want to move forward with the euro and with greater integration.

 
  
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  Salvatore Iacolino (PPE).(IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in favour of this document, as well as the other document with which it forms the ‘two-pack’, because I believe that they could be important in creating both stability and growth. However, these alone are not enough. In any case, we believe that at a time of serious crisis such as that which the European Union is facing, Parliament should take on an even more courageous role than it has so far, and we believe that development, employment and the labour market go hand in hand with a mechanism for surveillance of the budgetary policy of each Member State, because discipline is extremely important.

The European debt redemption fund could prove to be a useful tool, as could the annual coordinated public debt issuance framework. The European Investment Bank has a greater role in order to achieve budgetary, political and fiscal union, which are the essential objectives for growth and development, the need for which we are fully feeling and noticing at the moment.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Madam President, the European Union is a community project; it is an economic union, a political union and also a union of values. It goes without saying that if someone has got into trouble, then the countries of the European Union should help each other out. Naturally, that requires clear rules of engagement. I believe that the rules of engagement are important not just for the recipient of the assistance, but also for the party giving the assistance. Naturally, we also have to be in a position to check up on the conditions and the rules of engagement decided on.

I think it is also equally important that we establish what actually happens if, for whatever reason, the rules that we previously set are not adhered to. This may mean that some Member States, if they want to receive assistance, then have to relinquish certain of their own powers or that the Commission can intervene where necessary. That is why, in the final analysis, I voted in favour of this report, this motion, because for me, it is an important part of the overall solution.

 
  
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  Dimitar Stoyanov (NI).(BG) Madam President, I also voted for the Gauzès report for one sole reason.

Our current practice is to apply double standards to the countries which are members of the euro area and those countries which are Member States but do not use the euro by imposing the requirements for a moderate deficit on their budgets, as the Commission is able, under the procedure for admitting new countries to the euro area, to punish those countries which still use their national currencies, whereas there have been no such cases so far involving the countries which have already adopted the euro.

It also transpires that those of us still outside the euro area are paragons of financial discipline, while the problem countries which are broke and now need to take out loans turned out to be inside the euro area.

This is also why I supported this report, thinking that it will remove these double standards between both groups, and I hope that we will also continue to operate like this from now on.

 
  
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  Julie Girling (ECR). – Madam President, I abstained from voting on this report today because I do not believe that as a representative of a non-eurozone Member State, I should be interfering in the internal economic functioning of those countries which are part of the eurozone. However, I do believe that those countries which are part of the eurozone should start to get themselves sorted out.

I also believe that it is important that my delegation encourage eurozone countries to act responsibly. It is, of course, too late. The eurozone needs to sort itself out, but there is no sign that this is happening with anything like the urgency which is required.

There is no better example of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted than the way European leaders have behaved during this crisis. Rules which should have been in place years ago are changed on a daily basis. We see magnificent examples of shirking responsibility, cries of ‘not me, it was him’ that would be more appropriate in a kindergarten playground. I hope it works, and it gives me no pleasure to say that I doubt it will.

 
  
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  Daniël van der Stoep (NI). (NL) Madam President, a monetary union made up of 17 different societies is doomed to fail. That is exactly what we now see happening. Financially well-functioning countries, such as the Netherlands, Germany and Finland, are paying for complete mismanagement, corruption and self-enrichment from the southern Member States.

The Netherlands should leave the euro immediately and introduce its own currency next Friday, after the markets close. Such a currency would have to be pegged one-to-one to the euro until the following Monday morning, after which we should be looking for a more stable currency to peg it to. Transferable transactions could then immediately be pegged to pound sterling or the US dollar. Anything is better than the euro.

Monetary sovereignty is of national interest for the northern Member States if we do not want to keep paying the southern Member States’ debts until the end of time.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR).(ES) Madam President, the Spanish 10-year bonds have reached their highest level since Spain’s entry into the euro. It is clear that the markets have not received the bailout as simply as was hoped. The rescue has achieved something, however: that the Spanish now owe EUR 100 billion more than they did last week. The Spanish people are perfectly aware of something that bureaucratic pride stubbornly wishes to ignore. The rescue will lead to the same outcome as in Greece and Ireland: more poverty, deflation and despair.

The Spanish are going to see how the value of their savings drops and how their debt totals rocket. Despite the fact that Brussels enjoys opacity and people not asking questions, here is a query: Madam President, when are those who accept the risk of jumping from an aeroplane without a parachute going to be left to fall?

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I voted for this report because suitable measures need to be taken to restrict the levels of excessive debt and avoid future crises. I welcome it against the backdrop of the financial crisis and sovereign debt facing the states in the euro area. The Stability and Growth Pact needs to be strengthened further to safeguard financial stability and economic growth within the euro area. I should stress the importance of protecting Member States from the potential adverse impact of serious financial upheaval. Combining the ‘six-pack’ with the two new reports is intended to achieve precisely this result.

I also think that the economic and social problems caused by the crisis need to be looked at as a whole. Therefore, not only should Member States’ budgetary situation be taken into consideration, but also the investment required to improve it.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Madam President, when you look at the make-up of the eurozone, what we have is an economic project that was actually doomed to failure from the start – a bankruptcy machine, as some have called it. You have 17 countries, one currency, one set of interest rates, but 17 different spending decisions.

If you look at the lessons from successful currency unions, what keeps them together? You have fiscal transfers from the richer parts of the currency union to the poorer parts of the currency union. Therefore, we have a choice. We can keep the eurozone together in its current form, but then you have to have the transfers from the richer countries, Germany and the Netherlands, to the poorer countries. But what will the voters in those countries say? They will ask why they should pay for the less disciplined countries.

The other choice is to allow those countries that cannot economically viably stay in the eurozone to leave in an orderly fashion. The eurozone then does not break up altogether and you have a smaller, more viable eurozone. Failing to choose either course could lead to a disorderly break-up. Actually, it is a course that could be avoided if politicians were to act responsibly.

 
  
  

Report: Elisa Ferreira (A7-0173/2012)

 
  
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  Markus Pieper (PPE).(DE) Madam President, I rejected the report on the ‘two-pack’, but not because I do not believe in the need for stricter, clear rules on the path to fiscal union. Naturally, if the EU wants to survive, then it needs a new basic framework of confidence and stability. No, I rejected the report because this debate is being misused by those who think it can be used to pass a road map for the communitarisation of European debt and to bring in eurobonds at the same time.

Ladies and gentlemen, debt redemption funds and eurobonds will prevent national reforms and extend the agony of debt. That would poison European cohesion. The glue that holds us together has always been freedom, values and reciprocal responsibility. We cannot have the EU unilaterally imposing burdensome responsibilities on a few countries. The population of Austria, of the Netherlands, of Finland and Germany will never accept that, and candidate countries for the euro will also see it as a great deterrent. I am genuinely in favour of stability, but I am against unilateral burdens.

 
  
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  Ewald Stadler (NI). (DE) Madam President, the same as I said regarding the Gauzès report applies to this report, mutatis mutandis – particularly as regards its virtuality. Mr Kamall of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group is absolutely right when he says that this euro currency was doomed to failure from the start, simply because economies with vastly differing trade balances – think, for example, of Germany, Austria and Greece – were bundled together in a currency area. No country has ever been destroyed by devaluations or revaluations. There are, however, countries in economic history that have been destroyed by their debts coupled with a trade deficit. That is the problem that this report by Ms Ferreira is not in a position to resolve.

We simply have to recognise what Paul Krugman said two days ago, when he commented in an American newspaper that the political élites of Europe are always ready to take action to protect the banks, but are not willing to adopt a policy that protects their citizens and puts the economy back at the service of people. That is precisely what is clearly expressed in this report. For this reason, I voted against.

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE).(IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, unlike my colleague, Mr Pieper, and for precisely the opposite reasons, I voted in favour of this report. With the two proposed regulations presented last November, the Commission said that if we want to achieve real risk sharing, we need to share more responsibility beforehand.

Through the votes cast in this Chamber on Ms Ferreira’s report, in particular, on the amendments with which we have started to pave the way for the redemption fund, project bonds and the separate consideration of investments, Parliament has reaffirmed the same concept, simply in the reverse order. If greater sharing of responsibility is what we want, we must share the risks. In other words, if we want strengthened governance and budgetary surveillance, we must also introduce forms of issuance which are tied to public debt and the risk must be shared.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Madam President, unfortunately, I was unable to vote in favour of this report. Nobody doubts that we need budgetary consolidation and a programme for growth and employment. So far, so good. However, the impact of new instruments should be checked before they are used. I find it extremely regrettable that this review mission for eurobonds and the debt redemption fund was more or less deleted from the report. It seems to me that a lack of knowledge is being covered up with actionism, and actionism can lead directly to disaster.

My second point concerns honesty. Naturally we need a programme for growth – nobody is objecting to that; but we should deal with this honestly. If people write that they want to invest 1% of gross domestic product every year in a growth programme – in other words, that we would yet again have to pay something alongside the European budget – then they are quite simply not being honest with our citizens. That is why, unfortunately, I had to reject this report.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). (The speech began mid-sentence as the microphone was off) (FI) ... has become a crisis for the euro and for European integration as a whole, one that is affecting not just ordinary people, but also the reputation of all of Europe. Closer monitoring and coordination of economic policy are essential measures if we are to avoid such crises in the future.

More stringent budgetary discipline is a welcome sequel to the ‘six-pack’ adopted last December. In order to get through the crisis, we need to implement measures that promote growth and employment. For this reason, it is important that the recommendations for the budgets of the Member States are not detrimental to investment that creates growth, nor should the requirements for growth be allowed to water down the objectives agreed for budgetary discipline.

A crisis always has its social dimension, which should be taken into account. It is important to safeguard education and health care. At present, the priority agenda should be the promotion of employment, and it is for this very reason that I supported the report.

 
  
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  Dimitar Stoyanov (NI).(BG) Madam President, I voted in favour of this report for the very same reasons I also gave a short time ago for the Gauzès report, in other words, to get rid of the double standards being applied between various Member States.

At the same time, however, I wish to state that I support what Mr Callanan, Chair of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, said this morning to the effect that Member States, or at least their governments and peoples, must have the opportunity to express their opinion as to whether they want to continue being part of the single currency system with the euro, or whether they would prefer to go back to their national currencies and, therefore, with a more flexible policy now, look for other ways to resolve their problems.

This right that European citizens have, citizens of every single Member State, must be guaranteed, and no country should be made to remain in the euro area at any cost. When its citizens make such a decision, it must be left of its own free will to quit the euro area and pursue its own independent financial policy.

 
  
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  Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou (PPE).(EL) Madam President, budgetary discipline is necessary for the stability of our common currency and the credibility of the euro area if we are to achieve viable growth and employment. The Gauzès and Ferreira reports strengthen this framework, especially the preventive aspect. The current crisis in the euro area proves how important it is that we prevent budgetary derailment in the Member States. That is why the New Democracy group voted in favour of these reports. At the same time, our group voted in favour of Amendments 27 and 67 on eurobonds and the creation of a redemption fund for joint debt coordination and management, with responsibility shared among the Member States. The creation of a growth facility is an important element in those amendments. It is high time for, and we urgently need, ambitious policies and instruments at European level that will stimulate investment and growth initiatives and generate exponential value and stability in the Member States’ initiatives and policies to increase growth and employment rates.

 
  
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  Julie Girling (ECR). – Madam President, I took the unusual step of voting rather than abstaining on this eurozone report for several reasons. Most of all, I really wanted – yet again – to use the opportunity to express my opposition to a financial transaction tax which – yet again – found its way into a report before this Parliament. There are, I am sure, some good things in this report, but Parliament is talking about tidying up the system and ignoring the real issue.

We hear that the Commission is busily preparing plans to cope with eurozone membership default. We hear Commissioners dropping hints in the media and Parliament is, as usual, completely behind the curve, proving yet again its irrelevance in these matters.

Why are we not discussing the real point here, which is how we are going to go forward? We are like rabbits in the headlights. We are just not seizing the agenda, and are just following the bureaucrats.

No doubt people will be beating their breasts and wailing in this Chamber in months to come about how we have dealt with the issue of default countries, and yet we are just not taking the opportunity to deal with it at the right time.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR).(ES) Madam President, it is painful to see a vibrant and joyful country consumed by the deepest social depression. Despite this, I would like to send my most heartfelt hopes to the Spanish people. Spain, there is a way out; you can experience another golden age, one in which dreams are fulfilled. The way out is through confidence in your citizens and in your entrepreneurs. The way out is a greater culture of effort, and fewer rewards and bailouts for those who have not wanted to take responsibility for disastrous investments; the way out involves less and not more state involvement.

I do not believe in spending a large amount of everyone’s resources to save just a few, nor do I believe in a macro-state that means another level of bureaucracy. Madam President, I believe in Spain.

 
  
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  Sampo Terho (EFD). (FI) Madam President, the ‘two-pack’, like the ‘six-pack’ before it, will not work in the way that was hoped for. The ‘two-pack’ will not cure the present crisis. Instead, it will promote undemocratic surveillance, control over Member States from above, and joint accountability for debt, resulting in loss of morale and transfers of income within the Union. In a word, the ‘two-pack’ will promote the development of federalism.

I myself cannot support the notion that the EU should move in a direction for which I know we would not have a mandate from the citizens of Europe.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Madam President, undoubtedly, this was a controversial report. That was clearly to be seen in the debate we had in the EPP Group last night, and again today in what my colleagues said. Be that as it may, it contains good points, and I hope that a good solution is found when it goes forward for further discussion.

There is an urgent need for discipline in the countries, especially as regards financial expenditure. Therefore, I was delighted that my own country passed the referendum two weeks ago by a large majority: 60% in favour. I think that great credit is due to the three major parties – Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil – for the leadership they showed. I hope that the other countries will ratify the Treaty soon also and that we will succeed in resolving the euro’s problems.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Madam President, first we had the ‘six-pack’ and now we have the ‘two-pack’. Some say that adds up to the ‘eight–pack’ but, whatever it means, actually we have not really done anything, have we?

We need look no further for inspiration than the rapper of the same name – 2Pac. He actually had some very interesting things to say about this. In his song ‘Changes’ he says: ‘Come on, come on, I see no changes’. Some people in some countries suffering at the moment ‘wake up in the morning and … ask … is life worth living?’.

2Pac said ‘you see the old way wasn’t working so it’s on us to do what we gotta do to survive’. If only the leaders of the eurozone countries would do what they ‘gotta’ do: either go for a full Union with fiscal transfers from the richer countries to the poorer countries, or allow those countries which cannot viably stay in the eurozone to leave. But, as 2Pac himself said, I see no changes.

 
  
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  Martin Kastler (PPE).(DE) Madam President, I voted against the Ferreira report for a number of reasons. Reading our newspapers in Germany – only today, one of the big dailies says that the German chancellor is asking whether anybody still sticks to the rules in Europe, or they say that Cyprus is the next candidate for a bailout – I ask myself: ‘What next?’. Just as the previous speaker said that after the ‘six-pack’ comes the ‘two-pack’, I believe that after the ‘two-pack’ will come the ‘zero-pack’, because we no longer know how it is actually supposed to work. I am very concerned that we, the elected representatives, will be the last to find out the secret plan that the European Commission and the institutions have for how we carry on with Europe. I am firmly convinced that in the future, we will have to consider how we carry on at all.

The mood among the population of my constituency is so bad that it is clear: we want to help, but we also want to have rules, and those rules should be adhered to and checked. I cannot therefore vote for further debt, for a Europe of debt, a transfer union, which is what we already have in many areas. I am against eurobonds. I am also against project bonds, because I do not think that they will help us to act usefully in this area in the future and make progress together. I hope, however, that at some point, the European institutions will tell us transparently and openly about this so-called secret plan, so that we find out what it involves.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0303/2012

 
  
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  George Lyon (ALDE). – Madam President, today, I and my colleagues voted for this resolution on the multiannual financial framework (MFF).

I want to make it clear that we do support a substantial reform to how the EU is funded, including a move to own resources, allowing a substantial cut in Member States’ contributions – although we do not believe the flawed Commission proposal for a financial transaction tax is part of that solution and we voted against that particular line. However, I want to make it very clear that we do not support any reduction in the UK rebate on a unilateral basis.

The MFF is an important tool for investment and growth across Europe, with 94% of spending taking place in Member States’ backyards. However, the size of the budget must take account of the tough financial times that we live in.

We need a budget that is realistic and able to tackle the problems Europe faces. If we are to have a tight budget, it is essential that the EU has greater flexibility on how we manage it to allow us to incentivise more efficient and more effective spending. Our priorities are clear: a realistic MFF budget with the flexibility to spend it effectively and efficiently on boosting growth across Europe and creating jobs.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Madam President, I voted in favour of the report, quite simply because it also represents the basis on which serious negotiations can be resumed not just with the Commission, but also, and above all, with the European Council. Quite simply, I consider it unfair the we, as Parliament, are, on the one hand, set off down the route of having to decide on new reforms in the new financial period of 2014-2020 as regards the Cohesion Fund, as regards – in particular – also European agricultural policy, without knowing exactly how much money is actually in the war chest. I do not consider this particularly fair and, quite simply, I expect this resolution to jolt things into action, so that the Member States tell us once and for all how much money is actually available. Reliable funding is, after all, the basis for being able to plan reliably and bring about any kind of stable reforms.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR). – Madam President, governments across Europe are trying to bring public spending under control. So why do the European institutions think they should be exempt from tightening their belts?

A British think-tank recently revealed that the Commission now employs more officials to deal with education and culture than to work on the internal market. That is a disgrace.

The European Union must refocus its efforts on the single market and ensure that EU taxpayers are getting a fair deal.

I have explained to this House many times my opposition to the EU financial transaction tax. I am equally opposed to the introduction of EU VAT. More Europe is not the answer to the current crisis. More taxes are never the answer to any crisis.

I cannot support this report.

 
  
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  Dimitar Stoyanov (NI).(BG) Madam President, when we were debating the multiannual financial framework at earlier stages in this very Chamber, the Commission declared to us that it would make those who were responsible for the financial crisis pay for inflicting it on the peoples of Europe. It was stated and promised that this would be achieved through a financial transaction tax, which I support.

At the same time, we can, nevertheless, see that there is also the intention now in this resolution, which is obviously still at a very early stage, to impose a new EU VAT. However, when VAT is levied, its burden basically falls on the very ordinary man in the street, in other words, on those who have the fewest resources. This means that we have debated financial transactions for years on end, yet, all of a sudden, it has turned out that the own resources burden will again not be shouldered by those who caused the crisis, but yet again by the ordinary European taxpayer. However, since both these points appeared together (one which I support and the other which I firmly oppose: the introduction of VAT), I abstained on this report.

 
  
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  Julie Girling (ECR). – Madam President, regrettably, I was unable to vote for this resolution today and, regrettably, the rest of the House was unable to vote for the resolution from my Group. We find ourselves, as ever, at an impasse.

I always try to look at this sort of issue from the point of view of my constituents. My constituents want a few questions answered. They want to know why the Commission is not preparing a significant reduction in its expenditure when it is calling for fiscal austerity throughout Member States. My constituents want to know why this Parliament, which they have elected me to attend, is not calling for a significant reduction in its expenditure. They want to know why we are living in a different universe, and they are going further and further away from accepting that there is any relevance at all, or any benefit at all, to being part of either the European Union or this Parliament. That is regrettable.

 
  
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  Daniël van der Stoep (NI). – Madam President, the multiannual financial framework is something to be cherished. It gives the Member States ultimate control over this money-hungry Parliament. The Heads of Government have more realistic views on priorities than the unelected Members of the Commission and Members of this Parliament.

I hope that we will see a drastic decrease in funding for the failed EU project and that more money will come back to the taxpayers. Dutch citizens and taxpayers have, for too long, been the ATM machine for dysfunctional Member States. As the largest net contributors per capita, we are more aware than any other country that the system needs to change. This Parliament has to realise that it is not fictional money it is spending, but money brought up by the peoples of Europe, who are sick and tired of this puppetry Parliament and its continuous desire to spend more and more money on bogus projects.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Madam President, almost exactly 100 years ago, from the city of Southampton in my constituency, the Titanic made her maiden voyage. It is an irresistible message for many in this House and to many observers outside.

There are so many natural similes to draw about icebergs and scrambles for lifeboats and the hubris of saying that a vessel was indestructible and so on, but you know me, you have heard me in this Chamber many times before: I abhor the cliché, I disdain the easy metaphor.

Let me instead focus on a different aspect of the sinking of that vessel, which was the behaviour of the band leader, Wallace Hartley, who, we are told from several witness accounts, played a hymn as the ship went under the water, the old hymn ‘Nearer my God to thee’, which had been introduced by his father, who was a Methodist choirmaster, to their Lancashire congregation.

I wonder whether the reason he did that was not because he was soothing himself. In times of great panic, some people run around like ants, but others go back to what is familiar and there he was playing his elegy, his funeral threnody with the notes he had learnt as a boy.

Are we not doing something similar? Hundreds of millions of euro are being withdrawn in a bank run across the Mediterranean. The system is about to crash and we are legislating about a common definition, upon the phobia about company boards having quotas of women and so on. Why are we doing it? Because it makes us feel good. Regulation is what makes us feel good. Regulation is what makes us feel comfortable. Therein is our tragedy.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Madam President, I was happy to support this report, but I and my colleagues in Fine Gael then abstained in connection with item 3 of the votes because we are concerned about tax matters.

At the same time, there were 517 Members in favour and 74 against. That is a large majority in favour. The sooner the talks produce a result, the better.

The sooner we have definition and certainty regarding the MFF, the better, particularly for the CAP, CFP, Horizon 2020, etc. We also need some clarity regarding own resources. President Barroso was again talking about it this morning.

As the former British Prime Minister, Edward Heath, said, it is time for us to take the Community approach rather than a nationalistic approach. To paraphrase the rapper, Mr Kamal, I might say ‘come on, come on, we do need to see some changes’.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I voted for this resolution as the EU budget is an important tool which generates growth and new jobs. It can put the European economy back on the right track, while also fostering economic and social cohesion. I think that the budget needs to play a strategic role, reinforcing the EU’s position as a global player. At the same time, I would like to emphasise how important it is as part of achieving the EU’s political objectives.

I must highlight that there should be a balance between the income from own resources and expenses. The multiannual financial framework must be flexible enough to adjust the budget’s resources to the current circumstances. In this context, reforming the own resources system could result in greater fairness, thereby helping create a transparent, predictable and accountable framework.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Madam President, at a time when governments not only in the EU but across the world are struggling with enormous debts and having to tighten their belts and looking at ways they can cut their spending – and rightly so, because we have all allowed the debt to grow out of control – we have all forgotten the lesson of Mrs Thatcher in the 1980s, who said that we should all remember the housewife’s rule that we should never spend more money than we have coming in.

Governments across the EU, and governments across the world, forgot that lesson and thought that the solution to more problems was to carry on spending more money than they actually have. As we reflect on the crisis, as we reflect on the problems in our Member States, what do we see the EU doing while countries tighten their belts? We see the EU asking for more money from taxpayers, asking for it to spend more taxpayers’ money that they do not have, hoping that it will solve problems when all it will do is increase the mountain of debt. It is time we learnt the lessons.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0297/2012

 
  
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  Morten Løkkegaard (ALDE).(DA) Madam President, I abstained from the vote on the resolution on EU trade negotiations with Japan just now, not because we in the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe do not want to see the agreement in question, but because we believe that the resolution adopted will actually help delay the process.

For us in the ALDE Group, there is no doubt that the way out of the crisis is growth and trade, free trade, and now is therefore the time that the EU must get started with the negotiations with Japan on a trade agreement.

Today, Parliament voted on a joint resolution proposed by the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), and the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance. We believe that this resolution, in the form in which it has ended up, will delay the start of these negotiations, which is to the benefit of neither the EU nor Japan.

Rather than discussing interinstitutional disputes, we Liberals would like to get the negotiations under way with Japan about this trade agreement based on the mantra that growth is something that you trade, rather than buy, your way to. A free trade agreement with the world’s third largest economy has an enormous potential, and I hope that all parties understand that, so that we can get started on negotiating a trade agreement right away.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Madam President, I voted in favour of this report, quite simply because trade can also be a factor in adding value, if it is conducted fairly. I think this motion for a resolution clearly underlines once again the fact that trade must naturally be of benefit to both sides. Quite simply, it is also a matter of both sides making a few concessions. As far as I am concerned, this requirement is met in the motion, and I therefore voted in favour and I now also hope that the negotiations will be conducted successfully so that a so-called free trade agreement is not solely detrimental to the European Union. I expect our partners in Japan to make significant concessions too.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Madam President, I voted against this progress report on EU trade negations with Japan as I do not believe that our negotiations in this regard should be delayed any further. The scoping exercise which was carried out relating to the potential for EU-Japan free trade agreements has identified many key areas on both sides. Both sides are now prepared to start discussions and this has shown clearly that Japan is ready to commence negotiations.

Indeed, Japan has already delivered on a number of non-tariff barriers by eliminating them. So, given the fact that Japan has already embarked on negotiations with ASEAN and the USA in these matters, any further delays by the European Union now would mean running the risk of being seriously left behind once negotiations actually start. EU FTAs with countries as far apart as Mexico and South Korea have been a great economic success story, so I hope that the European Union can now conclude FTA deals with India and Japan, which are the two great democracies of Asia.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE). – Madam President, I voted for this particular resolution today. I think the first thing we have got to do is to congratulate the people of Japan on their resilience and the manner in which they have bounced back after the earthquake and the tsunami of March 2011. As a highly developed economy and as a major global trader and investor, Japan is an important partner for the EU. Japan is the world’s third largest national economy, accounting for around 1.3% of the world’s population and around 9% of the world’s GDP.

However, it is important – and I stressed this when we discussed negotiations on trade relations with China – that Japan remove regulatory barriers to trade as a precondition for launching further negotiations on the EU-Japan trade agreement. I agree with the previous speakers, I agree with Mr Jahr, I agree also with the other two speakers, that what we need to do is to get down to business immediately.

Trade is crucial if we are to rescue ourselves out of the economic morass in which we find ourselves at present, so I welcome the resolution. Today is a good day, but let us get on with the business.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). – Madam President, I have always been fascinated by Japan. I think its people’s sense of industry, enterprise and willingness to face calamities – as my colleague Mr Higgins mentioned in regard to the earthquake and tsunami last year – are most admirable. Of course, as the world’s third largest national economy, it is important that we trade with them. They are our sixth largest trading partner. We are their third largest trading partner. So obviously the closer the ties are, the better.

In the last ten years, there have been four important agreements with Japan. This needs to be developed into a full FTA. There are issues regarding IPR, public procurement and maybe investment that need to be looked at, but Japan has shown a willingness to deal with all these issues. It is important now that we have an openness of approach and that we try to reach a full FTA with Japan, in the interests of our own economy, in the interests of their economy and in the interests of democracy.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I voted for this resolution because a trade agreement can provide substantial benefits to both parties. However, the interests of European industry must be taken into account and protected in this process. Therefore, before initiating negotiations, a number of problem issues need to be resolved. I am referring, in particular, to the non-tariff trade barriers applied by Japan which create an imbalance in relations with European economic operators. The car industry is among those hardest hit.

This is the reason that I, too, endorse the proposal for postponing the decision on initiating the negotiations for a trade agreement. I believe that Parliament must have the chance to express its view on this subject, following an analysis carried out within the specialist committee. I call on the Council to respect the point of view expressed by Parliament.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Madam President, as the shadow rapporteur for the ECR Group on the EU-Japan negotiations, I thought it was very important that we send a strong signal that we want to commence negotiations with Japan.

Of course there are concerns about whether Japan has tackled some of the non-tariff barriers and whether they are able to do so, but surely the best way forward would have been to start negotiations because we always have the option of saying that the Japanese have not done enough and therefore we will not sign the agreement.

All we do by adopting the stance that we have adopted in delaying the start of negotiations is create bad will, or not enough goodwill, between us, and we have to make sure that we do not use that option too often, because Japan has other areas to negotiate with. It has started to negotiate the TPP – the Trans-Pacific Partnership – with the United States, and it is negotiating with other Asian countries.

Let us make sure that after this delay, hopefully in the autumn, we give the Commission the mandate to start negotiating so we all benefit from the free trade. It is time that governments got out of the way and allowed people in businesses in the EU to trade with people in businesses with Japan.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: RC-B7-0277/2012

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Madam President, ever since Guinea-Bissau gained independence in the 1970s, the county’s political situation has been marked by permanent instability, chaos and constant conflict between the civil authorities and the military. This has resulted in a profound crisis which has affected the whole country and caused high levels of poverty among its citizens. A further cause for concern is April’s military coup, which was carried out on what was practically the day before the presidential election and made conduct of the election impossible.

I would like to condemn this shameful incident, and I would like to ask the European institutions to use diplomatic means to stabilise the situation in Guinea-Bissau and restore the civilian administration. Only democratically elected representatives of government can expect international recognition and support for the process of building a healthy state from the bottom up. Upholding constitutional order and bringing peace to Guinea-Bissau is vital to Europe’s interests because of the need to block the international drug smuggling route which runs through the country from South America. I support the resolution.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Madam President, I very rarely agree with Mr Bielan, but this time it is with a certain amount of surprise that I realise we have a very similar attitude to what is happening in Guinea-Bissau. I, too, support this resolution, and voted for its adoption.

Guinea-Bissau is a country which is, unfortunately, a very important link in a certain chain – a chain used by drugs cartels to send drugs to Europe. If only for this reason, it is a country which must attract the particular interest of the European Union, although it should also attract our interest because – as I have often stressed in my speeches, and this is something we probably too often forget – for many people throughout the world, the European Union is a symbol of freedom and democracy. We must be – and people in very different countries expect this of us – an international organisation and a Union which sets standards in democracy.

The military coup we witnessed recently in Guinea-Bissau, which brought a halt to the presidential election, is a sad consequence of all that has happened since Guinea-Bissau achieved home rule and became independent from Portugal. Since that time, a constant conflict has been in progress between soldiers loyal to military governments and attempts to reactivate or to establish civil society.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: RC-B7-0281/2012

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). (FI) Madam President, I supported the joint resolution. The recent culmination of tensions between Sudan and South Sudan has driven the countries to the brink of war.

The issue of how commercial advantages and raw materials might be divided up in the countries’ border regions was left mostly unresolved when South Sudan gained independence. The countries must be persuaded to sit down at the negotiating table. Above all, a political solution to the crisis needs to be found.

The United Nations must propose a viable, comprehensive solution in the form of the road map published in May. The ball is now in the court of these two countries, but the presence and visibility of both the UN and the EU in the region is necessary. The European Union should closely support regional and international actors, so that the terms and conditions of the UN road map, in particular, can be implemented without delay. The EU must stress the importance of ending the violence in both countries.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Madam President, all of us in the House know that President al-Bashir is the subject of an arrest warrant charging him with genocide. The international community still does not know what to do about the fact that Sudan is headed by a man who should not be allowed to function in a normal democratic world. On the other hand, South Sudan – a country which has huge natural resources and opportunities for development which frankly are probably unrivalled throughout Africa – is still a country where the incidence of infant mortality, poverty and other tragic circumstances is among the highest in the world. Therefore, I think it is important for the European Union to take action to mitigate a situation which today has reached a critical state. Armed hostilities and exchanges of fire at the border between South Sudan and Sudan are increasing, although, of course, we all considered the peaceful separation of the southern provinces of Sudan and their declaration of independence to be a success. I think, therefore, that this resolution is a good one, and I voted in favour of its adoption.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0301/2012

 
  
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  Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL). – Madam President, the negotiation and conclusion of the EU free trade agreement with Colombia and Peru has rightly caused great opposition from trade unionists and from civil society organisations in both Europe and in Latin America. The human rights and workers’ rights situation, particularly in Colombia, remains extremely alarming, despite the claim from President Santos that his government represents a major departure from the vicious anti-worker and anti-indigenous peoples government of President Uribe.

Colombia still remains one of the most dangerous places in the world for a trade unionist to be active: 55 human rights defenders were killed or disappeared in 2011 alone, an increase of 40% compared with 2010. For example, Manuel Ruíz, leader of the Curvaradó peasant community, who was included in the special protection programme by the government, was murdered together with his 15 year-old son on 23 March of this year.

The resolution which has been approved by Parliament is meant to raise some of its concerns before giving consent to the free trade agreement. I obviously share those concerns. However, this resolution cannot serve as a fig leaf for giving consent to an FTA which will largely benefit European corporations.

 
  
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  Metro Repo (S&D). (FI) Madam President, I supported the resolution. The European Union is the second largest trading partner for Colombia and Peru. A trade agreement will be of enormous benefit to both countries in the field of industry and fishing, as the Peruvian President said today.

The European Union is a community of values, based on a respect for the principles of human rights and democracy. This obligation also extends to the Union’s trade policy. It is vitally important that the EU implements its foreign and trade policy with reference to its values. Business is not just about business: the situation in the countries that we trade with must be taken into account as a whole.

Both Colombia and Peru need to continue their work in acknowledging and implementing human rights obligations and environmental protection. These are not obligations imposed by the European Union: they are each country’s own international obligations. The trade agreement with Colombia and Peru is becoming an important example of what sort of trade partnerships Europe is prepared to agree on and on what terms and conditions.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Madam President, trade relations with the countries of South America are an important factor in EU economic policy. In addition, a commitment to promote human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law – a commitment of this kind is also mentioned in the resolution – is always an important condition for effective dialogue with foreign partners. This means that the efforts of these countries’ governments to establish a legal framework and mechanisms of dialogue with civil society – where such things do not exist – should be supported. All the measures being taken by the Peruvian and Colombian authorities to combat poverty, violence, corruption and drug trafficking deserve recognition. Therefore, I voted to adopt the resolution.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE). – Madam President, what is in this agreement? Well, what we have in this agreement basically deals with tariffs, investments, public procurement, services and sustainable development. What is the advantage? Obviously, there is a mutual advantage for both sides. It will certainly have a positive advantage in terms of trade for both parties. The EU will increase its presence in these dynamic and growing markets, which have produced an increase in GNP of around 1% in each country.

However, I abstained on this particular vote today. I abstained because, as has been said previously, there is a major human rights problem in the shape of the murder of trade unionists, particularly in Colombia. The situation is that trade unionists have been murdered and are being murdered by the day. Yesterday, my colleagues Gay Mitchell and Mairead McGuinness and I met with the Colombian Attorney General. We emphasised the fact that something would have to be done. He quoted the figure that between 2010 and 2011, there was a 50% reduction in trade union murders. Much done, but an awful lot more to do.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Madam President, I endorsed the agreement because, having observed Colombia for many years, I think it is a country which should be held up as an example of how to cope with enormous problems effectively. Colombia today is a truly different country from the one it was 10-15 years ago. This is, in large measure, due to the very effective Presidency of President Uribe, whose leadership brought peace and the opportunity for development to a great many Colombians. I think that our free trade agreement with Colombia opens the way to opportunities for still faster growth of the country, faster reduction of poverty and also – something which should be stressed here, because we must not close our eyes to Colombia’s problems – an effective fight against what is still the greatest problem in Colombia today, the country’s huge production of drugs. If opportunities for trade with the European Union allow many of the people of Colombia’s villages and rural areas to change from producing drugs to some other activity – something we will enable them to do by opening European markets – this will also contribute to fighting effectively against the terrible evil of drug production in Colombia.

 
  
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  David Campbell Bannerman (ECR). – Madam President, I abstained on this report as it is another classic case of the right idea but in the wrong place.

Of course we all want to see better human rights records around the world. I personally raised the issue of human rights with President Santos of Colombia last year and I was impressed with his commitment to improve human rights in a country which has suffered from 50 years of guerrilla warfare.

But this is to confuse political agreements about political measures with trade agreements, which should be about jobs and market access. Trade agreements are not trade agreements when they become weighed down with non-trade issues.

No matter how worthy those issues are, it is not desirable or effective to confuse the two, nor can you switch trade agreements on and off like light switches, as this report suggests, so that every accusation on human rights leads to the suspension of the agreement.

That is a recipe for chaos, confusion and misery, for lost jobs and lost opportunities, and we cannot afford that, especially not at this time.

 
  
  

Report: José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra (A7-0174/2012)

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD).(IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, the proposal to appoint a Special Representative for Human Rights comes from the Treaty and from a series of requests made by Parliament. Although the appointment will be made by the Council at the proposal of the High Representative, it is essential that Parliament and the Commission also have their say on this matter. We are also asking to be able to participate in the election procedure and to have responsibility for monitoring the representative’s conduct through hearings before the competent committee. The Special Representative for Human Rights should have to provide an annual report on their activity to the Council, the Commission and Parliament. However, I hope that the new representative appointed will know how to separate the protection of human rights from financial interests, because I do not believe the overly tolerant behaviour of many states towards China is acceptable – for example, the attitude towards human rights violations in Tibet – just because China is an economic power.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). (FI) Madam President, the EU’s foreign policy has been adrift for the last few years. This is partly due to the establishment of the new European External Action Service.

The European Parliament has repeatedly called for the appointment of a special EU representative for human rights. Nevertheless, I fear the worst: that the candidate who is actually the most qualified for the position will not be chosen once again. Europe deserves a human rights representative selected on the basis of his or her qualifications and not because he or she has the right political connections or as a result of political wrangling. The Finnish Government has a capable woman for the job: Astrid Thors, an honorary Member of the European Parliament.

The role will be a particularly responsible one. The special representative must be expected to improve the visibility and consistency of the Union’s human rights policy. The EU’s human rights profile needs a global figurehead; it needs a face to represent it. For this reason, I also voted in favour of this important report.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Madam President, I abstained on the report on the appointment of an EU SR for human rights. I remain uncertain about the need for the creation of such a new post, as important human rights dialogues are already frequently being held by the EU with all our global partners. Of course, there might be benefits to having a dedicated EU representative appointed to promote the strengthening of democracy, international justice and freedom of expression throughout the world, but, in my view, the case has not yet been fully made.

However, I am also concerned that the recommendations by Parliament are too broad, and that the mandate that they will provide for will be too flexible and too far removed from the original proposals submitted by the Council. I am also concerned that the creation of such a position would have implications for the EU budget, especially at a time when we need to be making cuts, rather than creating new posts and spending more money.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I voted for this report because the new EU Special Representative for Human Rights must live up to the expectations he or she generates. With this in mind, he or she needs a clear, comprehensive mandate to ensure that European policies in this area are consistent.

I endorse the idea that the special representative should chair high-level dialogues on human rights. This will guarantee a coherent, uniform approach in the EU’s relations with other countries. I also think that the person taking on this function must become the natural point of contact for the other international and regional organisations. At the same time, there must be a close relationship with Parliament. By this, I mean primarily not only organising the initial hearing, but also exchanging opinions on an ongoing basis as part of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0276/2012

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD).(IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, the European Union has always accepted all international agreements regarding the arms trade. I believe that we should regulate the sector by giving operators a clear and common regulatory framework. It is also important and necessary to distinguish between weapons for military use or possible military use, which must be regulated separately, and weapons for sporting or recreational use. If this is not done, the European manufacturing sector, in particular, that of civilian and sporting weapons, will be penalised.

Once again, Europe risks failing to protect our small and medium-sized enterprises which export arms all over the world and which could see more constraints applied unilaterally by legislation that puts a weapon for sporting use and a tank in the same category. Fortunately, this morning we rejected an amendment by a political group proposing a ban on exporting any type of weapon, without considering in the slightest the damage this choice would have done to our economy.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Madam President, we come across instances of illegal arms trading on a regular basis. The conspicuous lack of transparency and specific international legal measures concerning the transfer of conventional weapons or their components is sure to lead to political instability and the escalation of armed conflicts, as well as to terrorist attacks and a growth in the significance of organised criminal groups. All the above factors result in unnecessary loss of life and the suffering of millions of people throughout the world. In view of the fact that practically every country in the world is involved in the arms trade, and because the value of this trade is steadily rising in spite of the crisis, it is essential to regulate this area at global level. I therefore support the very important call in the resolution for the speedy negotiation, and urgent adoption and entry into force, of a comprehensive UN treaty on this matter. However, irrespective of the result of these negotiations, the European Union should consistently support action which leads to stabilisation of the arms trade, with the help of diplomatic measures, consultations and an appropriate information policy.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Madam President, I voted in favour of this resolution on negotiations on the UN Arms Trade Treaty as I believe the arms trade can only be properly regulated at a global level.

It is important to note that the arms trade plays a significant role in contributing to economic growth and creates many jobs in the European Union, including in my country, the United Kingdom. However, the arms trade in its unregulated and non-transparent state seriously threatens local, national and international peace and stability and also undermines democracy, the rule of law and sustainable development through fuelling, tragically, armed conflict, organised crime and terrorism.

The creation of internationally agreed standards to ensure that conventional weapons are only imported, exported and transferred for appropriate use would, I believe, have a very positive impact. Thus, I back these calls for a resolution that is legally binding, in order to establish common international standards. It is revealing that the only UN member opposed to this move is Zimbabwe.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Madam President, the arms trade is a serious moral problem for civilised nations. On the one hand, the production of weapons is an important factor in the economies of many of the European Union’s Member States and is the source of many jobs, because we know of course that weapons are simply a necessity – democratic countries need these weapons to ensure protection from the evil which still exists in our world. On the other hand, however, we are aware that a large part of the arms trade today also supplies a variety of dictatorships and terrorist organisations – organisations which are nothing more than criminal groups. For this reason, global control of the arms trade would appear to be essential, and so it was with complete conviction that I endorsed the resolution.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: RC-B7-0280/2012

 
  
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  Zoltán Bagó (PPE).(HU) Madam President, I myself was part of the European Parliament delegation to the Election Observation Mission dispatched to Kinshasa on 28 November 2011 to monitor the legislative process and presidential elections in the Congo. I was there to personally observe the votes. I can state on the basis of my own experience that there were serious problems with the electoral process, namely, irregularities and fraud. Voter registration was lacking, the counting of votes lacked transparency, and there were incidents of violence in some places. Following its stay in the Congo, our Election Observation Mission formulated recommendations intended for the provincial and municipal elections, which, to this day, have not taken place. I find it crucial for the legal framework of elections to be respected, especially in a country with such a large population and in which the massive turnout at the November elections was proof of the demand for free elections.

The publication of the results was followed by uproar in the streets of Brussels as well, where Congolese citizens living in Belgium gave voice to their disagreement through vandalism.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Madam President, I voted in favour of this resolution on the follow-up of the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has succeeded, five months after holding elections – that admittedly were of questionable conduct and fairness – in forming a new government. However, all things said and done, the Congolese people did turn out to vote in huge numbers, which demonstrates their deep enthusiasm for the building of a genuine democracy in their large nation.

But it is not just the election process that is necessary for the building of a true democracy. The new government, led by President Kabila, must now commit itself to the social and economic development of this vast mineral-rich country and to upholding the population’s basic human rights. With the reports of continued human rights violations, in particular, mass rapes, the DRC still has a long way to go and must start to make significant progress in the criminal investigations into these atrocious crimes and the enforcement of criminal justice.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Madam President, free and fair elections are the foundation of democratic governments. The presidential and parliamentary elections held in November last year, despite the assistance of the European Union and the involvement of a large number of observers, have given rise to numerous doubts both among the people of Congo and in international opinion. It is also disturbing to hear of violations of human rights, particularly those which have taken place with the involvement of members of the Congolese army. While I do accept the results of the recent elections, I would like to draw attention to the need for continued commitment to the process of establishing a fully democratic political system in Congo. I appeal to the Republic’s current authorities to give attention to the recommendations for reform of the electoral mechanism referred to in the final report of the European Union’s Election Observation Mission, reforms which are being demanded by the opposition. All the irregularities revealed during the course of the elections should be unequivocally condemned. I would also like to call the attention of the Congolese authorities to the urgent need to bring an end to the violence among the civilian population, and to guarantee security and the rule of law. I voted to adopt the resolution.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR).(PL) Madam President, the European Union provided a fairly large sum – over EUR 50 million in total – to finance the monitoring and conduct of the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Today, unfortunately, while we do accept the results of the elections, we are not able – unfortunately we are not able – to verify that the results are genuine. This is a fundamental problem when it comes to what is, in many ways, a very important country from our point of view. However, there are other problems which are, in fact, more important. I refer to the mass rapes being committed in the Republic of Congo, which we are told are being committed – and this is reliable information – with the involvement of the Congolese army. So it would appear that this resolution was a necessary one. I think the resolution was also hoped for by very many people in Congo, who would like the country to move in a democratic direction – the direction it deserves, and as indeed is deserved quite simply by every country in the world.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I voted for this resolution because Congo has not emerged completely from the spiral of violence and instability which has been affecting it for so long. Clashes continue in the eastern part of the country between the rebel groups and armed forces. The security situation has deteriorated again, causing the civilian population to be displaced. As I have confirmed in other similar cases too, under these circumstances, the priorities must be to stop the acts of violence and deliver emergency humanitarian aid. In order to achieve this, full compliance with the arms embargo is vital.

Democratic progress must also be encouraged in Congo, along with the process of stabilisation. In this regard, the recommendations made by the EU Election Observation Mission must be implemented in full so as to avoid a recurrence of irregularities at future elections.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Inés Ayala Sender (A7-0188/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this appointment because the Committee on Budgetary Control has evaluated the qualifications of the proposed candidate, with particular reference to the conditions laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and because, at its 4 June 2012 meeting, the Committee on Budgetary Control held a hearing for the Council’s proposed candidate for the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because I feel that Iliana Ivanova has the qualifications and experience required to perform the function of a member of the Court of Auditors of the European Union in an effective and suitable manner. Ms Ivanova has considerable experience in auditing, management and financial reporting in both the public and private sectors. This experience is supplemented by her work in Parliament, especially as a member of the Committee on Budgetary Control. At the same time, I think that Ms Ivanova gave convincing, well-argued answers to the questions in the specific questionnaire, including on topics relating to independence and integrity. I think that they guarantee the impartiality and objectivity with which she will perform her future function. Last but not least, I feel that the experience gained by Ms Ivanova as an MEP will prove to be conducive to interinstitutional communication and coordination at EU level.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament report because the Committee on Budgetary Control welcomed the nomination of Iliana Ivanova as a Member of the Court of Auditors. The Committee evaluated the credentials of the nominee, in particular, in view of the requirements laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Iliana Ivanova has 12 years of professional and political experience in the public as well as in the private sector related to financial management, auditing and reporting. She was mostly dedicated to matters of financial management and reporting and further developed her professional experience at premier banking and financial institutions. In 2009, Iliana Ivanova became a member of the European Parliament and full member and Vice-Chair of the Committee on Budgetary Control. She also worked as rapporteur on a number of dossiers in the Committee on Budgetary Control: the 2010 EIB annual report, the regulation on the Hercule III Programme to promote activities in the field of the protection of the European Union’s financial interests, the regulation on the financing, management and monitoring of the common agricultural policy, the opinion on innovative financial instruments in the context of the next multiannual financial framework, etc.

 
  
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  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) Iliana Ivanova was nominated for Member of the European Court of Auditors by the Bulgarian Government. A Member of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), Ms Ivanova has been an MEP since 2009, and has been Vice-Chair of the Committee on Budgetary Control, Vice-Chair of the Special Committee on the Financial, Economic and Social Crisis, Vice-Chair of the Delegation for Relations with the People’s Republic of China, a member of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, and a substitute member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.

In the Committee on Budgetary Control, this Bulgarian MEP has demonstrated her competence on several occasions, having been rapporteur for the following reports: the 2010 Annual Report of the European Investment Bank, the regulation on the Hercule III Programme to promote activities in the field of the protection of the European Union’s financial interests, and the regulation on the financing, management and monitoring of the common agricultural policy. Within the Committee, this Bulgarian PPE Member was responsible for the opinion on innovative financial instruments, and the study concerning the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism and the European Stability Mechanism.

Between 2007 and 2009, Ms Ivanova was Municipal Councillor of the city of Sofia and a member of the Committees on Budget and Finance, European funds and Environment. Previously, she had worked in the United States, and prior to that she had been Coordinator for international financial institutions in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of Bulgaria between 1999 and 2002.

The European Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control heard Ms Ivanova at its meeting of 4 June 2012 and, at the subsequent vote, the vast majority of Committee Members supported the Bulgarian candidate.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) I wish Iliana Ivanova every success in her mandate for the important task entrusted to her, and I am convinced that she will carry out the duties for which she is being appointed with great dedication and skill.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The purpose of the European Court of Auditors (ECA), constituted by the courts of auditors of the Member States, is to verify the sound financial management of the funds provided for the EU by taxpayers, within the rules laid down in EU law. The Court comprises a representative of each Member State, who choose their president from amongst their number. It is currently chaired by the Portuguese Dr Vítor Caldeira. This report by Inés Ayala Sender recommends that we approve the appointment of Iliana Ivanova to the post of member of the Court of Auditors. In view of the training and experience of the candidate nominated by the Council and of the opinion of the Committee on Budgetary Control, I am voting for the appointment of Bulgaria’s Iliana Ivanova as a member of the ECA. In view of the importance of the ECA’s role in the transparency of European accounts, I hope the new member’s mandate will go well, since her success will be a success for the European public as a whole.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Since 2009, Iliana Ivanova has been Vice-Chair of the Committee on Budgetary Control, Vice-Chair of the Special Committee on the Economic, Financial and Social Crisis, Vice-Chair of the Delegation for Relations with China, a member of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, and a substitute member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. In the past, she has acted as Councillor on the Sofia Municipal Council, and has also worked at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Republic of Bulgaria as a coordinator for international and financial institutions. In the past, she also worked in a number of foreign institutions and companies as financial analyst and business development expert. The Committee on Budgetary Control considered the qualifications of the proposed candidate. The European Parliament delivers a favourable opinion on the Council’s nomination of Iliana Ivanova as a Member of the Court of Auditors and, at the same time, instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and, for information, to the Court of Auditors, the other institutions of the European Union and the audit institutions of the Member States.

 
  
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  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. (HU) In the light of the financial crisis, major national supervisory institutions, as well as the European Court of Auditors and the European Parliament, should endeavour to cooperate closer than ever before, in order to be able to appropriately assess the quality of the utilisation of EU funds. I voted in favour of the appointment of Iliana Ivanova because it was she who, as a member of the Committee on Budgetary Control, initiated that hearings be held regarding matters of budgetary control concerning financial instruments (EFSM, ESM, EFSF) that affect the aforementioned institutions. I believe that this could represent a first step in the right direction. Since controls of the new instruments aimed at combating the credit crisis were performed, in part, by national control institutions, sometimes through the European Court of Auditors, and since it is the responsibility of the European Parliament to represent democratic scrutiny on behalf of the public in this process, it seems self-evident to hear all viewpoints that outline the major challenges Europe must face in connection with the aforementioned stability mechanisms at a common discussion. Additionally, my Bulgarian colleague has earned the respect of our fellow Members through her comprehensive work and excellent reports, and has demonstrated through her professional competence that she is fit to fill the position to which she has been appointed. I congratulate Ms Ivanova, and wish her all the best for her work in Luxembourg.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted for the report on the nomination of Ms Ivanova as a Member of the Court of Auditors for six years. This nomination, approved by a large majority of the European Parliament, follows the regulatory procedure, that is to say, prior consultation of the European Parliament before any Council decision, which will be based on the proposals made by each Member State.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of the nomination of Iliana Ivanova as a Member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Court of Auditors is an institution that monitors the European Union’s income and outgoings to verify their legality, as well as verifying sound financial management. It operates with complete independence. In this spirit, the appointment of the individuals of which it comprises must be governed by criteria of capability and independence. As such, on the Council’s initiative, individuals from several EU countries have been put forward for the Court of Auditors. The candidate has submitted her curriculum vitae, completed a written questionnaire and been interviewed by the Committee on Budgetary Control. She argued her case well enough to demonstrate that she would perform her duties capably and independently if appointed to the Court of Auditors. I therefore voted for the appointment of Iliana Ivanova.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – Unfortunately, neither her biography nor work experience convinced me of Iliana Ivanova’s ability to fulfil her responsibilities efficiently. I abstained.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the appointment of Iliana Ivanova to the post of member of the Court of Auditors. My decision is based on all the information presented for this choice, including her answers to the questionnaire for candidates for membership of the Court of Auditors, annexed to this report, as they show she complies with the criteria laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the need for members of the Court of Auditors to be fully independent. I therefore welcome Iliana Ivanova’s appointment.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Section 7 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) establishes the Court of Auditors as one of the EU institutions. It was created in 1975 to audit the European Union’s accounts and improve its financial management. The Court of Auditors can carry out audits of any person or organisation with responsibility for managing EU funds and present its conclusions in the form of written reports, which are sent to the Commission and to the governments of the Member States. The Member States present a proposal to the Council, which approves the list of members of the Court of Auditors following consultation with Parliament. I am voting for the appointment of Iliana Ivanova as she fulfils all of the conditions set out in Article 286(1) TFEU.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) Despite her youth, Ms Ivanova has gained professional experience in banks, multinational companies and the Bulgarian Government, which has allowed her to acquire skills in financial management in both the public and private sectors. Considering her curriculum vitae and her work as Vice-Chair of Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control, I believe she is ideal for nomination as a Member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
  

Report: Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (A7-0186/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for these recommendations because I agree with their substance as regards the EU’s role in the UN, particularly as regards global governance; peace and security; reform of the Security Council; development issues, including sustainable development; climate change; human rights; justice; and support for democracy. However, it is regrettable that no agreement has been reached on setting up a parliamentary assembly for the United Nations.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. I welcome closer cooperation between the EU and the UN General Assembly, which enables the EU to strengthen its global role by putting its views across more clearly and effectively. I welcome the proposals set out that we need to develop a long-term strategy targeting the UN’s membership and thus enhance the visibility of the EU’s actions, involve civil society and international and regional organisations in cooperation between the EU and the UN General Assembly and mainstream human rights in all aspects of the UN’s work. It is also important to build partnerships in the area of conflict prevention and civilian and military crisis management with the UN, the OSCE, the African Union and the Arab League, and to ensure that the share of overall European aid earmarked for development is not reduced and retains a poverty focus.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because, as a global player with major responsibilities, involvement and visibility, the European Union must adopt clear, coherent positions coordinated at UN level, enabling it to achieve the fundamental objectives in terms of peace and security, human rights and development. The EU needs to be constantly involved in reinforcing global governance by supporting the UN as a key aspect of effective multilateralism. At the same time, the process of reforming the UN needs to continue with the aim of ensuring greater legitimacy, efficiency and responsiveness. I should stress the importance of strengthening the operational partnership to guarantee the effectiveness of the peacekeeping and building missions, especially in cases where the civilian capabilities of the common security and defence policy (CSDP) offer support to UN missions. I think that the EU needs to continue to develop its mediation capacities in order to maximise its constructive impact in preventing and resolving conflicts. I call on the High Representative and the EEAS to pay more attention to this area. I welcome the provisions on the gender aspect and on the involvement of women at every stage of the peace process, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1325/2000. I believe that the EU must be involved even more actively in implementing it globally, including via partnerships with other states.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament report because, in an international organisation like the United Nations, there is a growing need for common rules and decision-making mechanisms in order to jointly address emerging global challenges and the negative impact of the global economic crisis. In order to remain a key player in an increasingly multipolar world in need of global concerted action, in accordance with the Treaties, the European Union Member States are obliged to coordinate their action in international organisations and at international conferences. The European Union is also committed to effective multilateralism with a strong United Nations at its core, since this is essential in order to address global challenges. Justice and the rule of law are pillars of sustainable peace, guaranteeing human rights and fundamental freedoms. A solid and stable EU-UN partnership is therefore fundamental to the work of the UN under all three pillars – peace and security, human rights and development – and is also key to the EU’s role as a global actor.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) The United Nations is naturally subject to scrutiny which is sometimes tainted by partiality or by political prejudices. However, it is impossible to downplay the recurring problems of legitimacy and adequacy in light of the established episodes of maladministration and the history of weakness regarding global challenges and the need for coherence concerning universal values such as peace and civil, religious and economic freedom.

The report directly addresses these two issues, working on the commendable premise that a stronger partnership with the EU could strengthen the United Nations in a wide range of activities such as cooperation, conflict prevention, peacekeeping and promoting models of governance, which, while preserving different cultural traditions, respect human and civil rights, with the positive effect of global stabilisation.

With regard to the United Nations, the EU, despite the difficulties of the integration process, is more cohesive in terms of culture, philosophy of government, constituent values and strategic interests. In this regard, it seems reasonable that the EU, considering its financial and operational contribution to the United Nations, should work to take on a more assertive role on the international stage. I therefore voted in favour of the report’s recommendations.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted for this resolution, which calls for greater international efforts aimed at ensuring that all human rights agreed under UN conventions are considered universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. We must also better integrate support for democracy into the EU’s external action and support democratic governance through its different financial instruments.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this text, which calls for European diplomacy to have a stronger influence on United Nations decisions and actions. Our common commitment to human rights, and to the values of peace, security and freedom, should enable the European Union to contribute to the development of democracy, peace and prosperity throughout the world, working in a complementary and coordinated manner with the Member States.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The United Nations does not reflect the reality of 1945 but that which the winners of the Second World War still thought existed at that time. Its inability to change means the UN will run the risk of its survival being called into question. While it is true that the worlds of the Cold War and of the period of US dominance could coexist with a Security Council devoid of true military, demographic, economic and cultural representativeness, its ability to carry on in present times is far more doubtful. The attainment by vigorous states in the South and East of the status of emerging powers, along with the speed of the media and the ease of their access by the peoples, demand a new approach. The best way of symbolically enshrining this new understanding may involve expanding the number of permanent members of the UN Security Council, and strengthening the way in which the European Union operates and its Member States cooperate within the UN.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report by Mr Lambsdorff, of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, concerns a proposal for a European Parliament recommendation to the Council on the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). EU participation in the UNGA is always an important moment of political involvement in an international-level coordination and supervisory institution, so preparations for it should be equal to this huge responsibility. I voted for this report because it aims to improve the conditions under which the EU participates in the UNGA, whose widely supported Resolution 65/276 reinforces the EU’s observer status. It is also crucial to provide information about the commitments made by the Member States on the United Nations Human Rights Council institution building package and the outcome of the review process. I hope EU participation will contribute decisively to preparing a post-2015 development framework in the context of the Millennium Development Goals, of international level sustainable development and of international humanitarian aid for populations whose survival is at risk for political or climate reasons.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This is a report from which obvious contradictions emerge. Although it is true that it defends international law, the UN and its ‘global governance’ role are hard to square with the positions advocated by NATO, the G8, the G20, the IMF and the WTO. These forums, amongst others, pervert the world order for which the UN’s creation paved the way and seek to establish a new order dominated by the major imperialist powers. Advocating ‘respect for, and the promotion and safeguarding of, the universality and indivisibility of human rights’ cannot be squared with complacency about Israel’s state terrorism against the Palestinian people or the occupation of and killing of civilians in Afghanistan, to name but a few. We reject the well-worn aspiration of some, expressed more than once here, of obtaining a seat for the European Union on an expanded Security Council, designed to confer on the EU state legitimacy that it does not have.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) Common international values and norms aim to ensure peace, the protection of human rights, security and prosperity in the world, and to share the benefits of globalisation among all on a more equitable basis. There is a growing need for common rules and decision-making mechanisms in order to jointly address emerging global challenges and the negative impact of the global economic crisis. I am of the view that the European Union needs to strengthen its cohesion in order to remain a key player in an increasingly multipolar world in need of global concerted action. A solid and stable EU-United Nations partnership is fundamental to the work of the UN under all three pillars – peace and security, human rights and development – and is also key to the EU's role as a global player. The European Union and the UN are natural partners in peace and state building, and together provide a framework for collective peace and state building efforts. However, I also believe it is important to better integrate democracy support into European external action, and to support democratic governance through its different financial instruments using the resources of the EU delegations whenever possible. It is equally important for the EU to work with the UN and other partners globally and locally to enhance the rule of law, foster independent media and build and strengthen democratic institutions that can deliver.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) By adopting the report containing a proposal for a recommendation to the Council on the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the European Parliament is affirming its desire to create a solid and stable partnership between the United Nations and the European Union. I welcome that desire. It is essential that we coordinate the EU’s action to the fullest extent possible, by putting across unified positions and strengthening the coherence and visibility of the EU as a global actor at the UN, and by consolidating its contribution to the work of the UN.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution, which calls for action to strengthen international efforts aimed at ensuring that all human rights agreed under UN conventions are considered universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated; to help strengthen national capacities for the fulfilment of international human rights obligations; and, in this connection, to stress the need to secure the right of freedom of religion and belief for all.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. (IT) We are calling on the Council to implement any kind of initiative to strengthen the coherence and visibility of the European Union as a global actor at the United Nations and we call on it to work closely with the Member States towards improving coordination, transparency and the exchange of information.

To advance effective multilateralism in foreign policy is not only one of our main goals but also one of the Union’s overriding strategic concerns. Therefore, we must engage more actively with strategic and other bilateral and multilateral partners, especially the USA, in order to promote effective solutions to problems which affect both EU citizens and the world at large, including the poorest and most vulnerable.

We must therefore strengthen the operational partnership and promote the strategic coherence and effectiveness of peace building efforts in order to strengthen EU mediation and dialogue capacities. Our international efforts must be aimed at ensuring that all human rights agreed under our Treaties and under United Nations conventions are considered universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report. In particular, I agree with the need to strengthen international efforts aimed at ensuring that all human rights agreed under United Nations conventions are considered universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. We should also help strengthen national capacities for the fulfilment of international human rights obligations. Lastly, it is right to stress the need to secure the right to freedom of religion and belief for all.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) At this time of crisis we are experiencing, the EU needs to step up its cohesion and be a cornerstone of the international political scene. Given the importance of a solid and stable EU-UN partnership to the work of the UN, the EU must fight on all fronts to strengthen the international criminal justice system, to guarantee better protection and recognition for human rights, to promote the culture of democracy and the rule of law, and to assume a leading role on climate issues, supporting biodiversity and protecting the climate in developing countries.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The report put forward the annual EP recommendations to the Council regarding the 67th UN General Assembly; notably, the role of the EU at the UN, global governance, peace and security, reform of the Security Council, development issues, including sustainable development and climate change, and human rights, international justice and democracy support.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The Middle East peace negotiations that took place in Washington in autumn 2010 are further evidence of the EU’s dwarf-like status in external policy. Although it is officially part of the so-called Middle East Quartet, alongside the US, the UN and Russia, we do not even have a place at the negotiating table, let alone being allowed to speak. This insignificance does not seem to bother Brussels any longer, because Europe has long enjoyed playing the role of paymaster. It seems that the principle of ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’ does not apply to the EU, which is always ‘concerned’ or ‘shocked’ at the risks to peace that arise or at existing injustices. Rather than imagining ourselves to be a giant in external policy in the context of the Treaty of Lisbon, it would have been better at the outset to clarify issues surrounding appropriate representation of the European Union at the United Nations, including the speaking rights of its main representatives or the tabling of motions. After all, the European Union is not a country, and the people of Europe do not want it to become one. Since the EU does not deal with these basic problems, I abstained from voting on this report.

 
  
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  Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. – I support the report containing detailed recommendations for improvement of the global governance helping to promote EU values, preserve our world and improve quality of life for millions of people. The European Union is one of the world’s biggest democracy, peace, human rights promoter and development supporter. We have to use opportunities offered by the UN at the global level to strengthen our foreign policy and achieve its goals more effectively. On the other hand, the EU can increase the effectiveness of the UN. The EU should take advantage of its experience, take a leading role in strengthening cooperation between different UN organs and other stakeholders and put this common potential into action. The joint global action is needed in many fields in many places in the world.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the European Parliament’s recommendations to the European Council on the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly because I agree with their content, particularly strengthening the coherence and visibility of the EU as a global actor at the UN, thereby meeting the expectations of UN members regarding the ability of the EU to act and deliver in a timely fashion.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report includes a proposal for a European Parliament recommendation to the Council on the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. It concerns various issues, but the most significant is that regarding EU-UN relations. The intention is to step up further the EU’s role in the UN, both through increased representation in its specialised institutions and agencies, and through the development of stronger public diplomacy. It also focuses on issues relating to maintaining and consolidating global peace and human rights. As regards the former, the intention is to promote the role of ‘mediation’ and strengthen the international criminal justice system. With respect to human rights, it provides for greater efforts at international level to ensure that all the human rights accorded under the UN conventions are considered universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. Finally, it aims for greater integration of EU development policies at all levels, always taking into account protecting human rights and environmental protection. I voted for this report for the above reasons.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Deemed adopted without a vote (Rule 97(4)).

 
  
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  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing. (FR) The European Union and the United Nations (UN) share common values and norms aimed at ensuring peace, security and the protection of human rights around the world. Moreover, the EU and its Member States are the largest financial contributors to the UN, funding 39% of its regular budget and more than 40% of its peacekeeping operations. However, cooperation between the two organisations is still not clearly defined. In the report adopted in plenary this week, which I supported, we called on the Council to clarify and strengthen the EU’s relations with the UN, in particular, with its General Assembly, which will meet for its 67th session at the end of the year. That international meeting will be the EU’s opportunity to affirm its role as a leader in a world in which concerted action is increasingly necessary.

 
  
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  Joanna Senyszyn (S&D), in writing.(PL) I endorsed the resolution on a European Parliament recommendation to the Council on the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly. I consider the defence of human rights to be of particular importance. Efforts should be made to achieve the adoption in 2012 of a resolution banning female genital mutilation worldwide and on continuing efforts in relation to the call for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. It is also important for there to be continued support for action on the rights of the child, free media, religious tolerance and to eradicate torture, including adoption of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on Torture. The Union should emphasise its commitment to the work of the UN Human Rights Council by co-sponsoring statements and declarations. The appointment of an EU Special Representative for Human Rights will raise the Union’s status in the international arena in the field of human rights. Therefore, at the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Union should announce this appointment and say that the special representative’s mandate will include cooperation with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Council.

I would also like to draw attention to the need for women to be involved in building and maintaining peace around the world. With regard to this, we should strive to achieve the implementation by all UN Member States of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which addresses the issue of gender in the context of conflict prevention, peacekeeping operations, humanitarian assistance and post-conflict reconstruction.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) With regard to the proposal for a European Parliament recommendation to the Council on EU priorities for the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly, I believe that a post-2015 international global framework should be set out with the following essential objectives: to improve the implementation of innovative financing mechanisms to meet climate change goals, assessing first the successes and failures in respect of the current goals achieved and not achieved; to make a wholehearted commitment to the goals set at Rio+20; to reiterate the commitment to food security in member countries and to stimulate productive capacity in agriculture, infrastructure, new businesses, access to technologies, human and social development in least developed countries; to support fully the core role played by the United Nations, and particularly by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) In the report adopted today, the European Parliament makes some recommendations to the Council regarding the European Union’s position in the United Nations system, with particular emphasis on issues of global governance, of peace and security, of international justice, of human rights, of support for democracy, of development, and of climate change, environmental protection and sustainability. I would also stress Parliament’s insistence to the Council that a common interpretation be reached regarding how the European Union participates in the work of the General Assembly and that progress be made towards a consensual reform of the Security Council, so as to make it more legitimate. I voted for this report for those reasons.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the European Parliament recommendation to the Council on the 67th session of the UN General Assembly. The EU needs to strengthen its cohesion in order to remain a key player in an increasingly multipolar world in need of concerted global action. I think that the EU needs to coordinate actions to the maximum possible extent, present common positions and improve its coherence and visibility as a global player at the UN. The EU and its Member States are among the largest financial contributors to the UN system. The EU27 fund 39% of the UN’s regular budget and more than 40% of UN peacekeeping operations. I think that it is important to ensure that the share of overall European aid channelled through the EU budget is not reduced and retains its focus on combating poverty and hunger. Taking into account the EU’s support for the ‘Education for All’ initiative and its commitment to playing a role in global health, 20% of all EU assistance needs to be earmarked for basic social services, with a special focus on free, universal access to primary health care and education.

 
  
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  Geoffrey Van Orden (ECR), in writing. – This report sets out the case for the EU as an independent actor at the UN, which I and fellow British Conservatives have consistently opposed. The EU is neither a nation state nor a member of the United Nations, and the EU’s intention (in the words of the report) ‘to develop a long-term strategy targeting UN membership’ goes completely against UK Government policy and the wishes of the British people. Under no circumstances should European Member States of the UN, still less members of the Security Council, allow the EU to demand (in the words of the report) ‘the defence of the positions and interests of the EU in the UN Security Council’ by those Member States which are members of that body. As a matter of principle, I therefore opposed this report.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – The EU needs to strengthen its cohesion in order to remain a key player in an increasingly multipolar world in need of global concerted action. The EU is committed to effective multilateralism with a strong UN at its core, since this is essential in order to address global challenges. A solid and stable EU-UN partnership is fundamental to the work of the UN under all three pillars – peace and security, human rights and development – and is also a key to the EU’s role as a global actor.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) At a time of crisis like the one we are experiencing, the European Union needs to strengthen its cohesion in order to remain a key player in international politics. Considering the importance of a solid and stable EU-UN partnership to the work of the United Nations, the Union needs to commit itself on several fronts in order to strengthen the international criminal justice system, provide better protection and recognition of human rights, promote the culture of democracy and the rule of law and to take the lead in global climate governance by supporting biodiversity and climate protection in developing countries.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) As it is not possible to highlight all the – many – important issues included in this report, we would underline the hypocrisy of those claiming to defend international law, the UN and its ‘global governance’ role, at the same time as they support its perversion and hijacking, specifically through the role of NATO, the G8, the G20, the IMF, the WTO and other forums aimed at rolling back the democratisation of international relations represented by the creation of the UN and at a world order dominated by the major imperialist powers. Once again, they are hypocritically invoking ‘respect for, and the promotion and safeguarding of, the universality and indivisibility of human rights’ and the need to strengthen them at international level, when they violate these rights or are complicit in the violation thereof every day, through their support for Israel’s state terrorism against the Palestinian people, and the occupation of and killing of civilians in Afghanistan, to name but a few. They support the ‘responsibility to protect’, which can be translated as deepening the processes of intervention, aggression and violation of national sovereignty whenever the interests of the major world powers are at stake. They also defend a state legitimacy that the EU does not have, with the already tired aspiration of obtaining a seat on the expanded UN Security Council.

 
  
  

Report: Christofer Fjellner (A7-0054/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because the European Union has been awarding non-reciprocal trade preferences since 1971, in the form of reduced duties for goods imported into the European market from developing countries through the generalised system of preferences. However, in this area, it is particularly important to draw attention to the fact that the new legislative proposal is intended to focus on the import preferences of the developing countries in greatest need. In practice, this means that preferences are withdrawn from some countries, thereby increasing the value of the preferences for those who remain in the scheme, a process which could be called ‘preference consolidation’; that seems like the most suitable approach to me, in fact.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. The existing generalised scheme of tariff preferences (GSP scheme) dates back to 2008 and I therefore believe that it should be improved and adapted to today’s realities. The aim of this trade instrument is to enable developing countries to participate more fully in international trade and thereby generate additional export revenue. Several important changes to the scheme should be adopted, with the aim of concentrating import preferences on those developing countries most in need. I agree that preferences should be withdrawn for countries which have an alternative preferential arrangement and countries which are classified by the World Bank as high-income countries. I also believe that the GSP scheme should not apply to certain products if they become too competitive on the EU market. As for poorer countries, I agree that preferences for these should be increased and product coverage extended. On the subject of GSP+, I agree with the new criteria laid down by the Commission and it is important for more countries to be involved in the GSP+ scheme.

 
  
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  Erik Bánki (PPE), in writing. (HU) The purpose of the scheme of generalised tariff preferences is to use preferential customs tariffs to allow access to the EU market for those developing countries that need it the most. The current regulation, however, essentially covers all non-European countries other than the developed member countries of the OECD. Among the countries covered there are several that have more competitive economies than the EU or which are granting their own export companies subsidies contrary to WTO rules. Coming into effect in 2014, the new system will cut down the number of countries eligible for reduced customs tariffs to less than half. This will allow us to ensure that it is developing countries truly in need that can enjoy preferential treatment. This is why I, too, voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament report because the generalised scheme of tariff preferences (GSP scheme) is one of the EU’s trade instruments for promoting sustainable development and poverty reduction in developing countries, and ensuring respect for human rights. The European Union has granted non-reciprocal trade preferences in the form of reduced tariffs for goods from developing countries when entering the European market through the GSP scheme since 1971. It is part of its common commercial policy. The aim of this key trade instrument is to enable developing countries to participate more fully in international trade and thereby generate additional export revenue to support income growth and the implementation of their own sustainable development and poverty reduction policy strategies. The latest scheme dates back to 2008 and is now due for review. While maintaining this general structure, the new legislative proposal introduces several changes to the import scheme from developing countries, with the aim of concentrating import preferences on those developing countries most in need. In practice, this means that preferences are withdrawn from some countries, thereby increasing the value of the preferences for those who remain in the scheme.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The EU’s scheme of generalised tariff preferences was introduced in the 1970s, with the aim of the preferences granted being for the common trade policy to complement the development cooperation policy for the benefit of the developing countries, providing a system of preferential tariffs granted unilaterally by the EU to products originating from these states. The generalised scheme of tariff preferences (GSP) is based on three fundamental rules: the preferences are general, non-reciprocal and non-discriminatory. This means that the EU offers low customs duties or duty exemptions to 178 countries and territories, granting special benefits to the least well developed 50 countries and to states which implement the labour and environmental protection standards. The GSP system may have a longer-term impact inasmuch as it makes the countries eligible for preferences more attractive as locations for inward processing, encouraging foreign direct investors who would like to export to the EU market in the future. In general, trade experts have found it difficult to identify another positive impact from the trade preferences on GSP exports, apart from the transfer of the revenue which comes with the duty-free import of goods.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) The report, which I support, completes the brave step of rationalising and adapting the scheme of generalised tariff preferences (GSP) to changed economic and geopolitical circumstances, while also protecting their inherent incentives for development and cooperation, and therefore, ultimately, for stability and security. While, for many countries, GSP beneficiary status has been bypassed through free trade agreements with the EU, in other cases, being a GSP beneficiary was clearly an outdated legacy no longer in line with the goals of the system.

The sensitive issue of the so-called GSP+ countries remains, but this can be dealt with in the light of our experience of this reform, just as there will be ongoing changes to the enforcement of the provisions of the delegated acts, including during the five-year review. Likewise, it is desirable for all possible care to be taken in regional monitoring of the implications of the possible inclusion of parties to free trade agreements and countries with GSP status. I am sure that any shortcomings will be quickly identified, partly thanks to careful monitoring of thresholds and the competition posed by imports. Overall, this instrument has come out leaner and more transparent than before, and is certainly in step with economies undergoing relatively rapid change.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) The generalised scheme of preferences (GSP) should, first and foremost, be a tool for development and, in that context, I consider it right that the new GSP regime submitted by the Commission no longer covers high-income or upper middle-income countries. It therefore excludes most Latin American countries and countries such as Algeria, South Africa, Gabon, Namibia and most of the Caribbean islands. Meanwhile, economies as powerful as those of India, China, Indonesia and Thailand would continue to be eligible for the GSP, albeit temporarily. Accordingly, it seems unfair to make GDP per capita the sole eligibility criterion for the GSP, thereby penalising small countries despite the high levels of poverty they may face. The Commission should therefore, in my view, give serious consideration to using a combination of more indicators and criteria. The Commission should also, in my opinion, clearly identify the parties authorised to provide further information on monitoring mechanisms, introduce a transparent system of benchmarks, carry out a clear human rights impact assessment, adapting EU trade policies to protect those rights, and take greater account of the specific role of EU delegations.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – While I wholeheartedly applaud global efforts to lift developing countries out of poverty via the establishment of strong trade links, the difficulty with establishing a pan European model is that it denies individual Member States the ability to adapt markets and charge importation tariffs that meet their individual needs

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. (FR) I welcome the fact that Parliament adopted the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences without distorting the original structure proposed by the Commission. I note that the trialogue with the Council and the Commission helped us to move in the same direction and meet Parliament’s objectives, particularly for the most sensitive issues, such as the clauses on the textile sector.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I believe the European Union should support developing countries which share a common need for development, which are at similar economic development levels, and which are not classified by the World Bank as high-income or medium/high-income or do not have a very high or high human development index. The generalised system of preferences will certainly contribute to these countries achieving higher levels of development. Moreover, this scheme will ensure greater consistency between internal and external EU policy.

 
  
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  Françoise Castex (S&D), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this text, which reviews the scheme of generalised tariff preferences (GSP). The European Union has granted trade preferences to developing countries since 1971. These provisions are regularly adapted to take account of each country’s economic growth. Today’s vote is the first review of this system under the codecision procedure. In fact, we could barely have hoped for the compromise agreed with the Council, given the vastly differing positions of the Member States. For French Socialists, this text succeeds on two key issues: ensuring that the large emerging countries no longer benefit from preferential access to the EU market and facilitating exports from the poorest countries. This new trade regime will therefore enable us to provide better support to developing countries and it will be a step forward in our fight for fair trade as it will officially exclude the emerging countries almost entirely.

 
  
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  Ole Christensen (S&D), in writing. (DA) My reasons for voting in favour of the Fjellner report on tariff preferences for developing countries are set out below.

In order for these countries to benefit from what they grow or produce, this access is necessary. The slimming down to the 80 poorest countries has many positive aspects, as it bolsters the economies and competitiveness of those countries. At the same time, the agreement supports the implementation of those countries’ own strategies for sustainable development and combating poverty.

The Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament managed to have a longer transitional period instituted for those countries leaving the scheme. We attempted to obtain a majority in favour of a somewhat more flexible scheme that would take greater account of the inequality in the countries (the Gini coefficient) and other development criteria (the human development index) when deciding which countries to include in the scheme.

The agreement represents the best possible compromise, and it is important that negotiations on the agreement have been completed. When it comes to countries that are no longer covered by the scheme, negotiations are to be carried out directly between the EU and these countries. It is, furthermore, a positive thing that the scheme is flexible, so that countries can join if their poverty conditions deteriorate.

 
  
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  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the legislative resolution on applying a scheme of tariff preferences as I feel that this framework needed to be revised. Removing high-income and upper middle-income beneficiary states from the list, along with those which already have a preferential bilateral agreement with the EU, means that we can ensure that countries which have achieved a high level of development are not given an unfair advantage.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) I think that the aim of this key trade instrument – the generalised scheme of tariff preferences – must be to enable developing countries to participate more fully in international trade, thereby generating additional export revenue to support income growth and the implementation of their own sustainable development and poverty reduction policy strategies.

 
  
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  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) In order to allow the poorest countries to participate in global trade, the European Union has applied a scheme of generalised tariff preferences (GSP) since 1971. This mechanism allows products from less developed countries to enter the European market at lower prices by exempting them completely or partially from customs duties. However, the global economy has changed a great deal in the past 40 years. Some emerging countries that previously benefited from the GSP, such as Brazil, China and Russia, no longer face the same problems in terms of participating in trade. The new mechanism will concentrate on the countries that are most in need, so it is a step in the right direction. A second major advance is the establishment of an incentive arrangement known as ‘GSP+’. It will benefit the countries that work to ensure sustainable development and promote human rights.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this text, which seeks to make the customs benefits offered by the European Union more effective by focusing efforts on 80 developing countries rather than the 170 it covers today. The application of these preferential tariffs should help to promote the global trade, economic growth and social development of the countries that are most in need, while preventing other foreign companies from benefiting as a result and competing unfairly against European products on the internal market.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) The European Parliament has endorsed the proposal for a regulation put forward in spring 2011 by the Commission to update the EU’s scheme of generalised tariff preferences (GSP) in order to reflect the changes that have taken place to the structure of global trade. The next GSP, which will enter into force on 1 January 2014, will no longer grant tariff preferences to countries classified as high-income or middle-income countries on the World Bank index. Consequently, countries whose per capita income has exceeded USD 4 000 for four years will no longer benefit from reduced or zero tariffs for exports to the EU: they include countries that produce and export oil (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, etc.). The review reduces from 176 to 75 the number of countries that can benefit from preferential access to EU markets. I welcome the adoption of this report, which I believe to be fair: the next GSP will exclude high-income countries and pay more attention to the most deprived countries. Those are the countries that we must help first and foremost.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of the draft European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences because it improves the coherence and coordination of the Union’s aid for the development of the poorer countries in the world. I positively welcome the interconnection made between the concessions granted to those countries and the need for improvements, on their side, concerning human rights, labour rights and sustainability. This represents, in my view, the best way to guarantee the delivery of help to the people, by building up, at the same time, more trustworthy governance systems in their countries, which will result in a better future and more reliable partnership. Unfortunately, the suggestion made by the S&D Group to include more low-income countries in the generalised scheme of preferences (GSP) did not get enough support from other political groups. This report, nevertheless, is the result of a good compromise, which I am confident will manage to deliver a significant contribution to the development of those countries more in need.

 
  
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  Göran Färm, Anna Hedh, Olle Ludvigsson, Jens Nilsson, Marita Ulvskog and Åsa Westlund (S&D), in writing. (SV) We Swedish Social Democrats believe that it is right for the EU not to give trade preferences to wealthy countries like Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Russia. However, we do not believe that it is fair for GDP per capita to constitute the only condition for whether or not a country is to be included in the generalised scheme of tariff preferences (GSP). We do not consider the classification by the World Bank to be adequate. The EU should instead also take account of other factors indicating how vulnerable the countries are when classifications are made, such as diversification, integration into world trade and ranking on the United Nations Development Programme’s human development index. We support the fact that those countries covered by the ‘Everything But Arms’ (EBA) scheme, which is aimed at the 50 or so countries that the UN designates as the world’s least developed countries, are not affected by the amendment of the GSP.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Since 1971, the European Union has been awarding non-reciprocal trade preferences, in the form of reduced duties for goods imported into the European market from developing countries through the generalised system of preferences. This method is an integral part of the common commercial policy, in line with the general provisions governing EU external action. For this very reason, and because aid to developing countries in the form of lower tariffs should affect the maximum possible number of countries needing it, I advocate keeping the same calculation criteria for identifying beneficiaries.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) In 1968, the United Nations conference on trade and development recommended the creation of a generalised system of preferences (GSP) under which countries considered more developed would support developing countries by granting trade preferences. The European Community was the first to implement a GSP scheme in 1971 and it has proved to be one of the key means of cooperation on poverty reduction relating to international trade. Around 176 countries have benefited from the GSP, but there is a need to revise it by introducing new rules, new conditions and more incentives. This report by Mr Fjellner concerns the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council for applying a new scheme of generalised tariff preferences. I voted for this proposal because, without jeopardising the EU’s economic interests, it supports developing countries that defend EU values by incentivising their exports. Although its scope as regards products covered has now been increased, the new programme (GSP+) includes tougher requirements, such as the 27 relating to respect for human rights and environmental protection.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) For decades, the EU has been guaranteeing developing countries the chance to export products to the EU without reciprocity. This was not motivated solely by development but also by self-interest, since it stabilised the prices of essential goods, particularly agricultural products and so-called ‘commodities’, in general. Developments have been taking place and distinctions made within this system, seeking to benefit the less developed countries more. However, all this has been jeopardised by submission to the rules of the World Trade Organisation, one of the institutional pillars of international level neoliberalism, and by the emergence of free trade as a means of colonising the economies of developing countries.

The new regulation now being proposed will see the EU move from a wider ranging system of trade preferences between industrialised countries or blocs to a more restrictive one. Many countries will be excluded from the non-reciprocal preferences system, which is not unconnected to unacceptable pressure and blackmail to force acceptance of free trade agreements, as is happening with Ecuador. On the other hand, in the interests of the EU powers, benefits are being expanded for some countries, which could have a negative impact on countries like Portugal, where sensitive sectors, such as textiles or clothing, carry significant weight. We voted against.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) The European Union has granted trade preferences to developing countries through the generalised system of preferences (GSP) since 1971. This system is one of the key EU trade instruments assisting developing countries in their efforts to ensure core human and labour rights, reduce poverty and promote sustainable development and good governance in developing countries. Thanks to increased trade, many developing countries and export sectors have successfully integrated within the global marketplace. In order to ensure a better safeguarding of the EU’s financial and economic interests and to enhance legal certainty, stability and predictability, the administrative procedures for safeguard mechanisms are being improved. The new regulation is premised on enhanced transparency and predictability, including applicable procedures and rights of defence. I am confident that it will better safeguard the EU’s financial and economic interests and will enhance legal certainty and stability. It is important to bear in mind that preferential access to the EU market is one of several enablers that sustain development through trade. What the new GSP Regulation seeks to achieve is greater simplicity, predictability and better targeting of the EU GSP scheme so as to maximise its effectiveness; all of the proposed modalities are also in line with the United Nations’ priorities for combating global poverty.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I fully supported the review of the scheme of generalised tariff preferences, which was examined for the first time since 1971 under the codecision procedure. This text succeeds on two key issues that are particularly important for Social Democrats: ensuring that the large emerging countries no longer benefit from preferential access to the EU market and facilitating exports from the poorest countries. I am therefore pleased that this new trade regime will, in the long run, enable us to provide better support to developing countries as part of our fight for fair trade, as it officially excludes the emerging countries almost entirely from this scheme. I welcome this message to the ultra-liberals as it goes against the approach that promotes excessive competition, which must now give way to the sound and balanced development advocated by the Socialists.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. (FR) The scheme of generalised tariff preferences offers preferential duties, notably customs duties, for developing countries. This system, set up in 1971, is a necessary mechanism in an increasingly competitive global economic and trade environment. While Europe is in the midst of an incredibly dramatic crisis, some developing countries have been experiencing significant growth and become very competitive. That is why we need to update the scheme by focusing on the least developed countries and tightening up the eligibility criteria, e.g. compliance with 27 international conventions on human, labour and environmental rights. It is now up to the Commission to apply this tool and ensure a fair balance, in line with the realities on the ground, rather than focusing solely on a mechanical application of the criteria laid down in the different regimes (GSP, GSP+, Everything But Arms).

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) I supported the report by Mr Fjellner reviewing the scheme of generalised tariff preferences (GSP). Through this trade agreement, the European Union will offer 80 countries and territories preferential access to the EU market in the form of reduced customs duties on the products they export to that market. It is an essential tool for our external and development policies. I also welcome the extension of the GSP+ criteria, which make trade benefits subject to the ratification of basic conventions on human, labour and environmental rights. This is an essential and effective means of promoting the European Union’s values.

 
  
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  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE), in writing.(SK) The European Union has granted non-reciprocal trade preferences in the form of reduced tariffs for goods from developing countries when entering the European market through the generalised scheme of tariff preferences since 1971. In 2009, the value of EU imports under this scheme amounted to around EUR 60 billion, representing 4% of total EU imports. New rules approved by the Lisbon Treaty under the ordinary legislative procedure should reduce the number of beneficiaries from 186 countries to 80. The so-called more advanced developed countries, which are currently the biggest beneficiaries, accounting for around 40% of preferential imports into the EU, will be removed. The new regulation will also include a set of safeguard and surveillance measures, and the procedures that trigger the safeguard clauses and decision-making procedures have been redefined. I fully support the proposal.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) The scheme of generalised tariff preferences required clarification in order to improve the current situation and standardise the enforcement of these procedures, while also being sensitive to the particular characteristics of the individual Member States. As such, it is important to introduce assessment and monitoring mechanisms that allow the tariff preferences to be applied and adapted according to changed economic, social and technological circumstances. My vote in favour is therefore intended to offer encouragement to continue down this road, as well as not to lose sight of the changing conditions in our increasingly globalised markets. This way, it will be possible to avoid favouring or disadvantaging Member States, which could find themselves in really tough competition.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution, which aims to concentrate the benefits of the GSP scheme in the poorest countries in the world.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) Even though we must monitor the effects of these measures closely in future, I support Mr Fjellner’s proposal that the review of the GSP scheme should seek to extend benefits to poorer countries which remain in the scheme in order to increase the development potential.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this new generalised system of preferences (GSP) for imports from developing countries because it is a more balanced and more demanding scheme than the current one. The main improvements are halving the number of beneficiary countries to concentrate on the countries in the greatest need and toughening up the requirements for benefiting from GSP+, which is a more beneficial scheme. Despite these positives, I am bound to express here my opposition to easing the conditions for accessing GSP+, which will enable large economies like Pakistan, which are very competitive in some sectors, to access it – if they meet the other conditions relating to human rights and the rule of law – at the expense of poorer countries and to the cost of Europe’s own textile industry, particularly in Portugal.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – For the first time, this regulation will be subject to the ordinary legislative procedure, following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. Therefore, it will enable developing countries to participate more fully in international trade and thereby generate additional export revenue to support income growth and the implementation of their own sustainable development and poverty reduction policy strategies. Preferences will be withdrawn from some countries, thereby increasing the value of the preferences for those who remain in the scheme, a process which could be called ‘preference consolidation’. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) As far back as 1964, there were loud calls from some developing countries for trade preferences to improve their economic situation. In 1968, after an agreement was reached, a generalised system of preferences (GSP) was introduced. The European Economic Community introduced the GSP in 1971 and other nations like the United States followed suit. The temporary granting of trade preferences sought to achieve the following goals: an increase in developing countries’ export revenues through diversification of the exported products, promotion of industrialisation and an acceleration of economic growth in the developing countries. Furthermore, the GSP was intended to ensure that the products favoured originated in developing countries. To date, the GSP represents one of the most important EU instruments in the area of trade and it is monitored by the European Commission. However, I am unable to vote in favour of the report because the amendments proposed do not seem to be fully thought out.

 
  
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  Vital Moreira (S&D), in writing. (PT) The delegation from the Portuguese Socialist Party (PS) voted for the new generalised system of preferences (GSP) for imports from developing countries since it is a more balanced and more demanding scheme than the current one because, first, it halves the number of beneficiary countries to concentrate on the countries in the greatest need and, second, it toughens up the requirements for benefiting from GSP+, which is a more beneficial scheme. This positive overall stance does not, however, mean we have abandoned the objections we have been expressing since the start to relaxing the conditions for accessing GSP+, which will enable large economies like Pakistan, which are very competitive in some sectors, to access it – if they meet the other conditions relating to human rights and the rule of law – at the expense of poorer countries and to the cost of Europe’s own textile industry. Although the special safeguard clause obtained by Parliament for textiles and clothing satisfactorily defends European industry, we believe, on principle, that European generosity towards third countries cannot come at the cost of the economies of the less competitive Member States.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) As this is the first time that the regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council applying a generalised system of preferences is being adopted using the ordinary legislative procedure, and in view of the major changes being proposed, I share the rapporteur’s aim of providing for a revision thereof five years after it comes into force and a limited duration of 10 years, rather than the unspecified duration proposed by the Commission. That will, in fact, be a significant improvement on the current situation, since this period is long enough to ensure stability and predictability for economic operators. As such, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Since 1971, the European Union has been awarding non-reciprocal trade preferences, in the form of reduced duties for goods imported into the European market from developing countries through the generalised system of preferences (GSP). The latest scheme dates back to 2008 and is now due for review. For the first time, this regulation will be subject to the ordinary legislative procedure, following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. The purpose of this important trade instrument is to enable developing countries to participate more fully in international trade, thereby generating additional export revenue to support income growth and the implementation of their own sustainable development policy and poverty reduction strategies. I therefore voted for this report.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) I congratulate Mr Fjellner on his work. The adoption of this report, having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade and the opinion of the Committee on Development, represents Parliament’s desire to introduce several changes to the import scheme from developing countries, with the aim to ‘concentrate import preferences on those developing countries most in need’.

The product coverage should therefore be extended to some products of particular value to developing countries, while taking care to avoid eroding the preferences of the least developed countries on products essential for them. Furthermore, the proposed reform highlights two basic requirements: the need for a more targeted graduation system and further promotion of core human and labour rights, and principles of sustainable development.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Against. Greens/EFA amendments related to adding vulnerability criterion, longer transition periods, deleting exclusion if country restricts raw materials exports, deleting frogs legs and nuclear machines from beneficiaries of GSP were all rejected.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) Developing countries need to participate in international trade, since an increased presence would allow them to generate additional export revenue to support income growth and the implementation of sustainable development and poverty reduction strategies. This review must now extend the benefits to poorer areas above all others, increasing the development potential and incorporating products of particular value to developing countries.

 
  
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  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing. (FR) The scheme of generalised tariff preferences (GSP) has existed in Europe since 1971 and its benefits have been clear for all to see. All that remained was to adapt it to the global economic situation: some countries that were classified as less advanced have become very competitive in recent years. The new GSP criteria mean that they will no longer be able to benefit from preferential tariffs, while the least developed countries will be able to profit more from them. That is why I voted for the amendments at this part-session. I also welcome the improvements to the follow-up and monitoring of the GSP+, under which the additional tariff preferences are now subject to 27 basic conventions on human, labour and environmental rights. This is an issue that I raised in my November 2011 report: trade can be a means of promoting the EU’s essential values if, and only if, the EU has the ability to ensure that they are respected. The review of the mechanism for withdrawing preferences takes the right approach. The adoption of this report will also allow the proposal to be finalised and enter into force by the end of the year.

 
  
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  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted against Mr Fjellner’s report, even though the Commission’s proposal is, without doubt, an improvement on the previous scheme of generalised tariff preferences, and despite the fact that the Council introduced a number of additional restrictions for the GSP+ scheme during negotiations with Parliament. Unfortunately, however, a country such as Pakistan – a serious threat to EU textile businesses, which continue to hold strong – would soon be able to benefit from the GSP+ scheme. I do not think that is a good thing. We ought to have further limited access to these trade preferences. That is why Lega Nord voted against.

 
  
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  Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid (PPE), in writing. (FR) Since 1971, as part of its common commercial policy, the European Union has offered preferential trade tariffs (GSP) to certain developing countries in order to stimulate their economic growth. However, some emerging countries are now competing with Europe on the global markets so those benefits are no longer justified. The updating of the GSP will reduce the number of countries benefiting from preferential access to EU markets from 176 to around 75. It will also reduce the total value of imports under the preferential scheme by some EUR 20 billion. We are also strengthening another special regime, known as the GSP+, which offers additional benefits but with conditions: the countries will have to prove that they comply with 27 international conventions on human rights and sustainable development. In adopting this proposal for a regulation, our aim is to help the countries that really need our help, encouraging them to adopt our values, but also to reinforce our trade defences against our direct competitors.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Commission has proposed to revise the scheme of generalised tariff preferences, which has been in force in the EU since 1971, with regard to non-reciprocal trade preferences for goods that enter the EU market from developing countries. Despite the fact that the new preferences criteria will cut the number of beneficiaries by around 50%, I think this system does act as a real lever to increase the gross domestic product of developing countries and results in actions to deal with the problems in these countries, while also genuinely tackling poverty.

 
  
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  Francisco Sosa Wagner (NI), in writing. (ES) I completely abstained from the vote as I did not have time to review the amendments and the voting list. They were not available for review until the end of the day prior to the vote.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Since 1971, the European Union has been awarding non-reciprocal trade preferences, in the form of reduced duties for goods imported into the European market from developing countries through the generalised system of preferences (GSP). The purpose of this trade instrument is to enable developing countries to participate more fully in international trade, thereby generating additional export revenue to support income growth and the implementation of their own development policy and poverty reduction strategies. The proposed revision of this system provides for important changes, not least reducing beneficiaries to 80 countries, excluding countries whose annual income per capita exceeds USD 4 000 for three consecutive years, introducing a system of grading products by sector and extending the GSP+ to a greater number of countries. I support the new architecture that has been proposed, and I voted in favour in the European Parliament.

 
  
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  Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE), in writing. – The European market with more than 500 million citizens is the biggest in the world, bigger than the USA or Japan. That gives us more political power and strengthens our position as a soft power in the world in negotiating with third countries under better conditions. Having said that, it is important for me to use this tool to better implement what we think is better for third countries – democracy, freedom of the press or greater separation of powers – while opening up our markets to their products. That, of course, should not be against our industry and agricultural activity, which should be protected to compete on an equal footing with third countries. All initiatives that go in the direction described above, which give more power to the EU to protect and defend our living standards in the rest of the world, should be backed.

 
  
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  Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE), in writing. (LT) I very much agree with the rapporteur’s proposal to promote aid for the poorest countries and, at the same time, tighten safeguard measures intended to protect the EU’s textile and clothing industry against cheap imports from third countries. This is long overdue and, as the rapporteur observes, it is the first time that the European Parliament has used the power conferred on it by the Treaty of Lisbon to legislate on the generalised scheme of tariff preferences. Lithuania’s textile industry, which employs 25 000 people, continues to rank among the cheapest manufacturers in the EU. The changes proposed in the report would help the Lithuanian textile industry to increase its competitiveness. Lithuanian textile manufacturers play an important role in our economy – they export more than 80% of their production. Nevertheless, in recent years, they have not exploited their full potential. The tradition of high-quality industrial production in Lithuania is linked to strategic transport and logistics infrastructure and this means that the Lithuanian sector could do better. I very much agree with my colleague from the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe that we need to update the tariff scheme so that it reflects the latest changes in the global economy, for example, by withdrawing preferences for EU imports from countries on the World Bank’s per capita income list (including Brazil, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar).

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) Since 1971, the European Union has granted tariff preferences to certain developing countries to make it easier for them to export some of their products to the EU, without any reciprocal arrangements. More recently, the EU established a system known as the generalised scheme of tariff preferences (GSP+), under which the countries that commit to a certain level of respect for human, democratic and environmental rights obtain additional trade benefits. This system does not actually benefit the EU from a trade perspective, but it would be a political choice to destroy it in order to comply with WTO rules and another step closer to allowing market forces alone to prevail. Clearly, they cannot tolerate any more exceptions, even when the aim is to support the poorest countries on the planet. This new GSP+ scheme is therefore going to restrict the number of least developed countries (LDC) that benefit from it and it will no longer include the particularly fragile small island states, which is something that my Reunionese colleague, Younous Omarjee, strongly denounced. I therefore voted against this report in order to condemn this new hypocrisy of the European Union in the area of development.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Adoption of this regulation will see the EU move from a wider-ranging system of trade preferences between industrialised countries or blocs to a more restrictive one. This means that many countries will be excluded from the non-reciprocal preferences system, which is not unconnected to unacceptable pressure and blackmail to force acceptance of free trade agreements. On the other hand, in the interests of the EU powers, benefits are being expanded for some countries, which could have a negative impact on countries like Portugal, where sensitive sectors, such as textiles or clothing, carry significant weight.

 
  
  

Report: Jean-Paul Gauzès (A7-0172/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report. Despite the austerity measures the Commission intends to implement, great progress has been made. Some of the significant achievements of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament in ensuring that austerity would not be as unjust or harsh as was being proposed include: only the Stability and Growth Pact being obligatory rather than the benchmark of 0.5% of the deficit; the inclusion of multiple clauses, under which social dialogue must be respected; the need for profound analysis of procedures relating to macro-economic imbalances; and the Commission’s obligation to verify the consequences of taxation.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) As indicated by the recent development in the euro area, the increasing interdependence between European states as the effects of the recession deepen is the main challenge which the European Union needs to face up to in the short term. The possibility of economic and fiscal problems in one state having an extremely severe impact across the whole EU is a major vulnerability which must be resolved by means of a set of pragmatic, effective public policies. The current number one priority is to restore the credibility of monetary union, and several of the solutions proposed in these reports may make a crucial contribution to achieving this desired objective. At a time when the experience of recent years has shown the paramount importance of decisive measures which have been taken promptly, adopting procedures for supervising the financial stability of states facing economic problems is one of the solutions expected from the European authorities by the international markets and investors. The legislative package must be bolstered by the procedures put forward by MEPs, aimed at ensuring the stability and credibility which European states need, and preventing promptly the difficulties from potentially spreading to other economies. I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. Excessive national debt can have dramatic consequences, both within the countries concerned and for the other Member States of the European Union. In order to avoid serious economic and social consequences and ensure financial stability and economic growth in the euro area, there is a need for serious measures and I therefore agree that the ‘two-pack’ debated here should also be adopted alongside the ‘six-pack’. I believe that the Member States should consult with the Commission in advance on important economic or fiscal policy reforms to make it possible to assess the potential impact for the euro area as a whole. It is important to align the preparation of national budgets by setting a common timetable for all countries, which should ensure that countries drawing up budgets take the European recommendations and national reform programmes into account in a timely manner. Furthermore, a euro area member that is experiencing significant economic difficulties should present the Commission with a detailed borrowing plan.

 
  
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  Erik Bánki (PPE), in writing. (HU) I voted in favour of the two additional economic governance packages that are part of the system of economic governance because, in addition to further reinforcing the timely supervision of the draft budgets submitted by euro area Member States, in particular, by Member States in financial difficulty, they also allow for the operation of a pre-emptive crisis prevention mechanism. The packages intend to achieve this by requiring, among other things, reinforced information provision in order to ensure that Member States with financial stability issues and excessive deficit report on the development of their budget deficits in time. The aim of this mechanism is to prevent negative financial situations from rippling over to the entire European Union economy.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Commission proposals to complete the economic governance package are intended to ensure the conditions for enhanced supervision and protection of the Member States targeted with financial assistance and/or threatened with difficulties or instability. Following on from the financial crisis and the sovereign debt crisis that have debilitated Europe, this report learns lessons and proposes solutions for stability and growth based on preventative measures enabling early resolution of the problem instead of fixing already established problems. It stipulates that, when a Member State is experiencing grave difficulties, it should have enhanced supervision – which will depend on the severity of the financial difficulties and the assistance accorded to countries – and everything possible should be done to prevent contamination of other economies. Any countries failing to comply should also have the guarantee of legal protection and will have an adjustment programme that will be monitored by the Commission and other competent bodies. I voted for this report, since it is an element of reinforcing stability and confidence in euro area countries, which are pivotal to a sustainable recovery and to laying the foundations for growth in Europe.

 
  
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  George Becali (NI), in writing. (RO) The experiences which our countries have gone through between 2008 and now indicate to us that our rapporteur is right when he suggests that the states in the euro area require increased supervision. In addition, speed is of the essence and measures need to be adopted promptly. We are aware that the procedures in our institutions are lengthy and take up a great deal of time. This is why I voted in favour of responsibility being restored to the Commission and of the Council being able to repeal the decision by a simple majority vote within 10 days.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) I essentially approve of the Commission proposal that a Member State whose currency is the euro be subject to enhanced surveillance when it is experiencing – or is at risk of experiencing – severe financial disturbance. Such a state should be swiftly returned to a normal situation and the other euro area Member States should be protected against possible negative spillover effects. The decision-making procedure should be adapted. In order for action to be taken swiftly, it should be the Commission’s responsibility to take the necessary decisions, including placing a Member State under the enhanced surveillance procedure. The Council should be able to repeal such a decision by a simple majority vote within 10 days. I also agree with the proposal to create a system of legal protection applicable to a Member State which is at risk of being, in the near future, in a persistent state of default. The Commission should have the possibility, after consulting the Council, of deciding to place the Member State under a legal protection arrangement which would entail, in particular, the suspension of ‘close-out netting’ or ‘credit event’ provisions.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – Thus far, all responses to the eurozone crisis have only deeper entrenched afflicted Member States in the mire, spread the credit issues virally by inter-relating economies and co-managing bailouts and exacerbated the lack of manoeuvrability held by any one country to steer out of economic turmoil. I strongly opposed the ‘six-pack’ controls brought forward by the Commission and also vehemently reject the latest ‘two-pack’ response which seeks to strengthen EU control of Member State finances via intrusive surveillance. The ongoing economic problems are enabling the European project of federal integration to be forced along at a pace and are being exploited, if not extenuated, to this end. Whilst I agree that growth should be the focus to enable single currency members to climb out of fiscal crisis, I do not believe this can be done with the euro intact and believe the aim now should be to relinquish the single currency, dismantle the eurozone and release Member States to forge necessary and nation-specific courses of action to redevelop trade and industry and tackle unemployment.

 
  
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  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing. (IT) In order to achieve economic stability within the euro area, we have adopted the ‘two-pack’: two reports which, together with the ‘six-pack’ adopted last September, complement the package of European austerity and governance reforms.

I voted in favour of the report by Mr Gauzès, which I consider crucial for achieving genuine growth. It must be Europe that sparks this growth, not only in order to launch a finance facility for the industries that drive EU growth, such as infrastructure and research, but also in order to allow Member States to maintain their commitments. The instruments for growth are: forms of debt mutualisation which could take their lead, for example, from the European redemption fund proposed by the German Council of Economic Experts in November 2011; bonds issued by the EU financial institutions, for investment in infrastructure subject to a golden rule excluding them from deficit calculations; the creation of a European system of bank deposit insurance, avoiding ‘runs’ on euro area banks. This vote is an important step towards a true monetary, economic and political union.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I support the European economic governance – the so-called ‘six-pack’ – adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in 2011, and because I think the grave economic and social situation in which certain Member States find themselves could have been avoided had it been possible to trigger early and specifically guided action.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The consequences of the financial crisis in terms of financial stability and economic growth have been very serious, contributing to a severe deterioration of the public deficits and indebtedness of the Member States. Unfortunately, a growing number of Member States are needing bailouts, so there is an urgent need for enhanced supervision. It is a shame that this ‘two-pack’ was not adopted before, since prevention by means of early action specifically aimed at preventing a Member State’s indebtedness would have been preferable to correction with robust austerity measures, which can have serious consequences for economic growth and job creation.

We have to learn lessons from the financial and sovereign debt crisis we are facing and propose solutions. This proposal is another initiative to increase budgetary discipline, intended to complete the economic governance package, and stipulates that a Member State in difficulties should be targeted with enhanced supervision, thereby helping to ensure its quick progress towards normality. As the intensity of the economic supervision should be proportional and appropriate to the severity of the financial difficulties, there should be a guarantee of legal protection and Commission monitoring.

 
  
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  Emer Costello (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of the ‘two-pack’ because I believe that to ensure the euro works for everyone, we do need better economic governance at European level, and a good compromise on this has been reached between the political groups, with which we can now negotiate with Council. We have to reduce our debts and deficits but one-sided fiscal consolidation will not end the crisis and must be combined with growth. I therefore welcome the support for a growth instrument mobilising 1% of GDP each year for infrastructure investment, and the emphasis on prioritising investments in education, health and areas that have growth and jobs potential. I welcome the support for a debt redemption fund and a eurobonds road map, the requirements to respect national practices and institutions for wage formation and the right to take collective action (the ‘Monti clause’), the role of the social partners and civil society, and on tackling bankers’ bonuses. I have set out my positions on the FTT on 23 May 2012 (A7-00352/2011) and on the CCCTB on 19 April 2012 (A7-0052/2012) and I refer to those explanations of votes in relation to the ‘two-pack’ resolutions.

 
  
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  Andrea Cozzolino (S&D), in writing. (IT) I decided to vote against the report by Mr Gauzès because, once again and for the umpteenth time, it employs a rationale that I did not and do not think is valid and that, as time has gone on, has played a crucial part in the worsening of Europe’s economic and social situation.

I have fought and I contest the theory that the underlying cause of the crisis is to be found in the high number of countries that have been unable to put their budgets in order. On the contrary, the facts demonstrate that this is a crisis of growth and of a lack of investment. Confronted with this reality, the recipe put to us once again is mistaken and will once again prove to be counterproductive. In the past, we have fought hard against this outlook, opposing and voting against the ‘six-pack’. Since then, faced with a deterioration in the economic and, above all, social situation, rather than championing a change of direction and a radical change of gear, we have been going backwards, casting out the economic analyses which, in reality and in contrast to those from the right which have put us in this situation, we know to be right and potentially capable of putting a stop to what is becoming an irresistibly slippery slope.

 
  
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  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report in keeping with the group line and the political understanding reached between the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament and the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) to support both the Gauzès and Ferreira reports.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) This proposal which, together with the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on common provisions for monitoring and assessing draft budgetary plans and ensuring the correction of excessive deficit of the Member States in the euro area, constitutes what is known as the ‘two-pack’, enhances the previously adopted ‘economic governance package’. The purpose of this specific regulation is to ensure the conditions for enhanced supervision and protection of the Member States targeted with financial assistance and/or threatened with difficulties or instability, using preventative measures that enable resolution of the problem in advance. This is another step in the right direction. This represents more Europe and more integration; a course towards a common future. It is the path of shared economic and environmental growth and development, peace, prosperity and happiness, like the last 55 years. The vast majority of the European public do not seem to have grasped this reality, however, because of the times of economic, financial and fiscal crisis we are experiencing.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I supported the adoption of this measure, which strengthens the surveillance of countries in the euro area that are experiencing difficulties. The Commission and the governments of the euro area must be aware of the exact situation in neighbouring countries that are in crisis so that their financial assistance can be as tailored and effective as possible. Stronger surveillance is also a means of ensuring that the countries in question are properly implementing the reforms needed to stabilise their situation and to prevent any threat, because of their lack of responsibility, to the euro area economies as a whole.

 
  
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  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) As the Member of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) responsible for the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs on the report, I believe that the protracted economic and financial crisis has resulted in some Member States finding themselves in extremely difficult situations. In order to combat the imbalances that have developed, the European Union intends to introduce reinforced economic and budgetary control for these Member States, which will be able to ensure that the Member States concerned can solve their economic and budgetary problems. However, we must not forget that the new, stricter control procedures to be introduced could easily entail side effects that could put the economies, societies and labour markets of the Member States concerned in an impossible situation.

The application of the new procedures must always be subject to comprehensive consideration of the economic and social problems caused by the crisis. We must prevent existing problems from escalating even further and leading to even greater budgetary problems or causing a slowdown in the growth of the Member States affected and, by extension, the entire EU. The motions for amendments which I submitted in relation to the report, as well as my votes in Committee and plenary, were based on this consideration. After all, we cannot focus solely on the budgetary situations of countries; we must also take into account labour market and social implications, and must bear in mind all fundamental EU documents and all objectives of the EU, including the need to implement the targets for employment rates and for the fight against poverty set out in the Europe 2020 strategy.

Withdrawing funding from countries in difficult budgetary positions could result in the retention of the discrepancies between core and peripheral countries, and such a decision could impact the growth outlook of the entire EU. Any unfounded suspensions and sanctions are contrary to the fundamental values of the European Union and, in particular, the idea of solidarity. Member States should by no means be punished for macro-economic imbalances with withdrawals of funding, and sanctions should only be applied if the European Commission has ascertained through thorough case-by-case investigations that the Member State in question failed to fulfil its obligations. In the absence of a careful and comprehensive examination of the problems, the withdrawal of any amount of Community funding is unacceptable, as it punishes those Member State beneficiaries that hold the key to economic recovery and growing employment.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The economic and financial crisis has forced the Member States to adopt measures restricting consumption, cutting wages and postponing the retirement age. Some EU Member States have not managed to emerge from the crisis by these means alone and have had to request financial help from the European institutions to obtain the support of certain bodies, such as the European Financial Stability Facility, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank. The crisis is an ‘octopus’, whose tentacles threaten to reach a number of European countries. After Ireland, Greece and Portugal, it went on to Spain and is now hovering over Italy. Measures urgently need to be created to check its advance, since we know that the consequences of one Member State’s indebtedness can have an impact on another, and even globally, because the corrective measures are slow acting. I voted for this report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the strengthening of economic and budgetary surveillance of Member States experiencing or threatened with serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability in the euro area, which sets out new procedures, such as enhanced powers for the Commission and the qualified majority rule.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report is part of the so-called ‘two-pack’, presumably, a complement to the previous ‘six-pack’, and concludes the legislative framework of what is known as economic governance. It sets out provisions for strengthening the ‘economic and budgetary surveillance of Member States experiencing or threatened with serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability in the euro area’.

What is incredible is how they admit to being in the process of transposing provisions from the recent fiscal compact to EU secondary legislation. It should be recalled that the fiscal compact still has not even been ratified and is, furthermore, a legal aberration, drafted outside the law of the EU itself, despite the fact that it encompasses the European institutions. The rapporteur believes that ‘it should be the Commission’s responsibility to take the necessary decisions, including placing a Member State under the enhanced surveillance procedure’. As with the other report in this ‘two-pack’, the intention is clear and out in the open: to bring the Member States even further under control, in such a way as to lead to the establishment of colonial style relations. Naturally, we voted against.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) The financial crisis that has hit the world over the last three years has seriously damaged economic growth and financial stability and provoked a strong deterioration in the government deficit and debt position of the Member States. The serious economic and social consequences which are currently being experienced by many countries could have been avoided in the past by the adoption of effective measures. However, at that time, the European Union did not have the necessary instruments. This situation must be put right with a combination of six pieces of legislation from 2011 – the package on European economic governance – as well as two new pieces of legislation, the so-called ‘two-pack’. We need to strengthen the original legislation. I believe that preventive action is, in any case, preferable to taking corrective measures. A Member State with significant financial problems should be subject to enhanced surveillance, even if such problems are still only a threat. Surveillance must be commensurate to difficulties already encountered or impending and should take due account of the financial assistance received. We should ensure a smooth return to a normal situation for a country that is experiencing or threatened with severe financial disturbance. The consequences of excessive national debt can be frightening. I firmly believe it is important to be able to prevent a Member State with financial difficulties from transferring its problems to the rest of the euro area. To ensure financial stability and economic growth, the ‘six-pack’ should be amended accordingly.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this resolution. I must say that I am very sad to see the negative repercussions of this social depression, if we can call it that, and I am firmly convinced that we must act promptly to avoid a worsening of the global economy. The Treaty requires economic matters to be seen as an issue of common interest, with policies inspired by the need for healthy finances that cannot compromise the functioning of the economic and monetary union. The Stability Pact itself highlights the need to create incentives for prudent budgets, obviously avoiding excessive public deficits and strengthening surveillance. This surveillance allows us to identify risks as well as possible and take responsibility promptly. As the Commission has said, the EU must take shared responsibility, which I think also involves risk sharing. That is the only way we will be able to ensure coordinated and well monitored budgets.

 
  
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  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. (HU) This report on the economic surveillance of euro area Member States experiencing serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability fits well into the common system of economic governance, as I truly believe that after the ‘six-pack’ on economic governance, the second economic governance package, which further elaborates on the practical aspects of fiscal discipline, is timely and essential for giving Europe a chance to initiate long-awaited growth. The crisis management experience of the past months has clearly revealed that without fiscal discipline, not only can we not talk about actual economic growth; we cannot even talk about actual economic performance. The report tabled before us foresees not only the fulfilment of minimum requirements but also financial assistance to Member States in difficulty through the European Stability Mechanism, and although the final vote was postponed in order to allow the commencement of the trialogue with the Council and the Commission on the text adopted at first reading, I supported the amended text just as I did at the Committee vote.

 
  
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  Mathieu Grosch (PPE), in writing. (DE) This report and the whole subject make it clear that a coordinated financial and economic policy is of great importance for the EU.

It is very important to reach agreement at first reading, in order to save valuable time. We need to make it clear to the citizens of Europe that we must all consider it important that the clear rules on budgetary discipline are respected, but also that initiatives are taken to promote growth.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I abstained on this report because, although the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament succeeded in removing the ‘golden rule’ and the 0.5% structural deficit limit, proposed by Mr Gauzès in his initial report, the widespread use of reverse qualified majority voting is an unacceptable risk: it gives the Commission too much power, allowing it to decide alone which countries should be subject to surveillance.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this document because excessive national debt can have dramatic consequences, both within the countries concerned and for the other Member States of the European Union. What is at risk is the euro area’s reputation, rather than its existence. The Commission’s proposal complements the package on European economic governance (the so-called ‘six-pack’) adopted by Parliament and the Council in 2011. The broad thrust of the proposed regulation is that a Member State whose currency is the euro should be subject to enhanced surveillance when it is experiencing, or is at risk of experiencing, severe financial disturbance. This should ensure its swift return to a normal situation and protect the other euro area Member States against possible negative spillover effects.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) The two reports known as the ‘two-pack’ were put to the vote in plenary. I voted for both of them during the voting on 13 June 2012. The ‘two-pack’ is further progress in the area of budgetary surveillance. It complements the ‘six-pack’, a legislative package adopted by the European Parliament in September 2011 that contains measures to strengthen economic governance. The first report, by Jean-Paul Gauzès, relates to the strengthening of economic and budgetary surveillance of Member States experiencing or threatened with serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability in the euro area. It states that once a state is placed under protection, it cannot be declared to have defaulted. In addition, the country’s creditors must make themselves known to the Commission within two months. Loan interest rates will also be frozen.

 
  
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  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE), in writing. (SK) This draft regulation on the strengthening of economic and budgetary surveillance of Member States experiencing serious difficulties is set against the background of the financial crisis and the sovereign debt crisis now confronting the European Union. The Commission’s proposals complement the ‘six-pack’ on European economic governance adopted by Parliament and the Council in 2011. The broad thrust of the Commission proposal provides for a Member State, whose currency is the euro, to be subject to enhanced surveillance when it is experiencing – or is at risk of experiencing – severe financial disturbance. In order for action to be taken swiftly, it should be the Commission’s responsibility to take the necessary decisions, including placing a Member State under the enhanced surveillance procedure. The Council could repeal such a decision by a simple majority vote within 10 days. I supported the draft as amended by the EP.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) The first anniversary of the Arab Spring was marked a few months ago. The nascent democracies of Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt are still struggling to find their own forms of democracy and the necessary legitimacy among their people. The difficulties faced by the economies of these countries require Parliament and, in general, the European Union, to adopt policies in line with our values of solidarity. In the past, I have spoken out against actions to help these countries by abolishing duties on certain agricultural products, as in the controversial issue of the EU-Morocco agreement. However, I am criticising the method, not the end goal. Accordingly, in this particular case, I voted in favour because I think that extending the geographic scope of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s operations is an important step. That, however, is contingent on us keeping in mind the real needs of these countries, providing a level of investment that does not have negative repercussions on the economies of the Member States.

 
  
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  Marine Le Pen (NI), in writing. (FR) The two proposals for regulations known as the ‘two-pack’ were adopted this morning in the European Parliament by a large majority.

The European Commission’s powers of budgetary surveillance of the Member States have been strengthened. That is called taking over. The national budgets will thus be examined by the European Commission and the other EU Member States and the structural reforms needed to consolidate the public accounts will have to be carried out.

Member States that do not cooperate with what Brussels decrees will be automatically fined. This is the end of the States’ budgetary sovereignty, the next logical step after losing their monetary sovereignty.

As Mr Barroso said, we now need to build the political union if we do not want to collapse. The tone has been set. The political coup d’état of the Brussels technocracy, with the complicity of Parliament and the European governments, is under way. The people, powerless to act, are going to witness the end of their freedom. Obviously, I am opposed to the adoption of these two proposals for regulations.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) Drawing up measures for monitoring the economies and budgets of the states in the euro area facing financial turmoil is undoubtedly an important step as part of averting situations involving a serious, long-term, financially destabilising impact which automatically have an adverse ‘domino’ effect on other Member States, whether inside or outside the euro area. However, what I regret is that these measures ought to have been taken much earlier. As a result, situations could have been avoided or remedied in some Member States experiencing financial imbalance, such as Greece at the moment, which is going through a crisis, along with severe economic and budgetary difficulties, but which will be hard to resolve without having a strong impact on other countries too. At the same time, I think that stringent legislation with this aim in mind encourages dialogue between the various European institutions so that they can decide in a responsible, coherent manner on the most suitable means of financial aid to be provided to the states in trouble.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE), in writing. (RO) This regulation is appearing against the backdrop of the financial and sovereign debt crises which the European Union is currently facing. Several Member States (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and, this week, Spain too) have requested financial assistance. I support the Commission’s proposal which stipulates that a Member State which uses the euro as its currency must be subject to increased supervision when experiencing or at risk of experiencing severe financial upheaval. The situation needs to be quickly restored to normality and the other Member States in the euro area need to be protected against any negative spillover effects.

My country, Romania, is not part of the euro area yet, but its economy is closely bound to that of the countries which have adopted the single currency. Therefore, any imbalance in the euro area is also felt immediately on the Romanian markets. This is why I think that the countries which are not part of the euro area or are in the process of joining (Romania would like to join the single currency) must also be involved in the codecision process.

 
  
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  Thomas Mann (PPE), in writing. (DE) Last year, Parliament, the Commission and the Council agreed on the ‘six-pack’ in the conciliation procedure. This tightens up the rules in the Member States in favour of effective debt reduction and limitation of new debt. Today, this significant step is followed up by another: the ‘two-pack’. More effective coordination and control of national budgets provides a basis for avoiding economic imbalances. We do not need less Europe, we need more of it – in the interests of all the euro area countries. A uniform timetable must be developed for all budget planning which is harmonised with the European Semester. The fiscal pact, the ‘six-pack’ and the ‘two-pack’ belong directly together. They cannot be subject to variations in mood or opinion polls. The defamation of the necessary path of austerity, which was reached by consensus, and the glorification of a growth path is pure polemic. Only when budgets have been cleaned up and reforms implemented can we invest effectively for the medium and long term. The Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) has supported growth thinking for years, and this was and remains the basis of the Europe 2010 and Europe 2020 strategies. In other words, this is nothing new at all. We can only sensibly invest our citizens’ money in training, education, infrastructure and the fight against unemployment when we have a sound budgetary basis. We need growth with substance that is not financed on tick.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution. The worsening financial situation worldwide caused a marked downturn in growth in the Union and serious budgetary problems for its Member States. But while coordinating the Member States’ economic and social policies may well be one solution to these problems, a certain number of principles must be observed in the process.

Coordination cannot focus solely on the Member States’ budgetary situation and must take into account investment in the labour market and in improving the social situation. State investment in training or research to make a country more competitive, an effective social protection system and social minima are all ways to fight poverty and maintain internal consumption – and thereby better resist crises – and should be viewed positively.

Coordination must be consistent with the democratic principles of the Union. Parliaments wherein sit elected representatives, whether the European Parliament or national parliaments, must be kept fully and regularly informed in the same way as the Commission or the Council.

Coordination cannot run counter to national and EU principles on social dialogue. Fundamental rights to collective bargaining and to strike action cannot be called into question by the structural reforms and job market reforms advocated by the Member States.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the ‘two-pack’. I agree with the text put forward by this House’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. Preventive checks on Member States’ budgets are necessary: it is right to demand greater austerity. This also applies to the redemption fund and the separate consideration of investments.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – I abstained both on the referral back to Committee and on the final vote of this report. Although I am in favour of the so-called ‘two-pack’, I abstained due to concerns in relation to Amendment 26, which states that the Commission shall examine, and the Council shall address, the negative spillover effects generated by other Member States, which would include the field of taxation. It is also unclear whether or not Amendments 8, 49 and 54 are aimed at such taxation policy matters, which remain the competence of Member States.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) This report exacerbates the provisions of the ‘six-pack’ and the Treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism that is currently being ratified. It gives the European Commission, an unelected body, the power to subject any Member State in the euro area to austerity plans and surveillance missions, which it alone will determine. The Council will only be able to repeal these decisions within 10 days and by qualified majority.

The text sets out the broad guidelines for the future adjustment programmes, too. They will also have to promote free competition, particularly in the area of public procurement. To cap it all, this text would apply to the countries that already receive ‘financial assistance’ and it therefore changes the conditions under which those countries could free themselves from the supervision of the troika.

As regards the ‘legal protection’ proposed, it would only come into effect in 2017 and would focus on reimbursing the countries’ debt interest without any legitimate grounds. I voted against this report and I condemn it.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) With the vote on this report and the report by Elisa Ferreira, Parliament is completing the European economic governance package, adopted at the end of 2011. This crisis that continues to afflict the whole of Europe requires the strengthening of economic and budgetary surveillance of Member States to safeguard the stability of Europe and, principally, the euro area. Approval of these rules strengthens the EU’s power of intervention, enabling it to intervene where necessary and making available to it adequate means for doing so.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing. (ES) I voted firmly against this report as it will exacerbate the conditions that were already imposed through the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union. It provides the Commission with the power to control whether or not euro area Member States comply with the austerity plans. The text also details the next austerity plans, which should promote free competition, especially with regard to public services.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The enhanced surveillance consists mainly of reporting on the financial situation of its financial institutions, on the carrying out of stress tests, and on providing further information on macro-economic imbalances. The risk of the Greek scenario will diminish to the maximum extent. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Gay Mitchell (PPE), in writing. – The Fine Gael MEPs abstained both on the referral back to Committee and on the final vote. Even though we are in favour of the ‘two-pack’, we had no choice but to abstain due to our concerns in relation to Amendment 26, which states that the Commission shall examine and the Council shall address the negative spillover effects generated by other Member States, including in the field of taxation. It is also not clear that Amendments 8, 49 and 54 are not aimed at such taxation policy matters, which remain the competence of Member States.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) What has already been said regarding the Ferreira report also applies in this case. New rules to limit debts in the euro area countries will achieve just as much as the old ones; in other words, nothing. Moreover, one cannot pass regulations telling a sovereign state how much debt it can have at any particular time. Of, course, it must also be liable for this debt – something that has been suspended since the euro crisis. These rules are designed solely as a basis for joint and several liability in the euro area and, consequently, they are to be rejected in their entirety. Nor is it the task of the EU or of other northern EU states to pass various measures associated with the ‘surveillance’ of budgets that could result in or have already resulted in civil war-like conditions in the southern Member States. We have to deal with the root causes of the problem, which means dissolving the euro in its present form and/or restricting it to the more stable countries. All the other countries could then reintroduce their original currencies and then decide on and implement those measures that, although they will undoubtedly be hard, offer the country in question a chance of recovery. The euro provides no possibility of recovery for the deficit countries. It is merely prolonging the agony and dragging healthy states down into the abyss with them.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted against this report on surveillance of Member States experiencing financial difficulties because we cannot permit unrepresentative third-party institutions lacking any democratic legitimacy to even think about setting the Member States’ economic and financial policies, even including legal safeguards in this area.

The Commission should limit itself to pointing out which road to take and which objectives need to be achieved, while the various Member States must remain free with sovereign control over how to act, because there are major differences between them and Brussels cannot possibly have a solution that is right and fair for all of them. Moreover, this is another proposal on economic governance, which comes just a few months after similar measures on the same subject. We are continuing to up the dose in an attempt to save this ailing euro area, but I really do not think this can be the right prescription.

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing. (ET) I supported the adoption of this report as I consider it important to improve supervision over countries suffering from financial difficulties. The rapporteur’s proposals to simplify supervisory procedures, giving the Commission a larger role in decision making, and to create a system of legal protection for Member States that are threatened by default or suspension of payments, are an important addition to the Commission’s proposals. I would point out, with regret, that Europe should have implemented these measures several years ago, as we would then have been able to avoid the problems that some countries are unfortunately experiencing. Better late than never, of course, and there is hope that with the implementation of this regulation and the European economic governance package (the package of six legislative proposals) approved by the European Parliament and Council in 2011, Europe will emerge from this economic crisis stronger than before.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I agree, for the most part, with the Commission proposal, which provides for a euro area Member State being the subject of enhanced supervision when affected – or threatened – by severe financial disturbances. These are measures to re-establish normality quickly and protect the other euro area Member States against potential negative consequences.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) This proposal for a regulation on the economic and budgetary surveillance of Member States experiencing or threatened with serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability in the euro area comes against the backdrop of the financial crisis and sovereign debt crisis currently being faced by the European Union, taking lessons from it and proposing possible means of solving it. The package of six legislative acts needs to be strengthened to ensure, simultaneously, financial stability and economic growth in the euro area. As such, the intention is for euro area Member States to be the subject of enhanced supervision when affected – or threatened – by severe financial disturbances, and for a legal protection scheme to be created to apply to any Member State at risk of being, in the near future, in an enduring state of default or suspension of payments. Excessive national debt can have dramatic consequences, both within the countries concerned and for the other Member States of the European Union. Preventative action at an early stage is preferable to corrective measures that intervene in the process late; perhaps too late.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Today in plenary, we adopted Mr Gauzès’s report on a plan to strengthen economic and budgetary surveillance of Member States experiencing or threatened with serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability in the euro area.

Mr Gauzès notes that the serious economic and social consequences being experienced today by certain Member States could have been avoided if early, targeted and preventive action could have been taken. At the time, however, the European Union did not have the necessary instruments, but this will now be put right with a combination of the package on European economic governance (the ‘six-pack’) and two new pieces of legislation (the ‘two-pack’), providing for a Member State whose currency is the euro to be subject to enhanced surveillance when it is experiencing – or at risk of experiencing – severe financial disturbance. It should be the Commission’s responsibility to take the necessary decisions, but the Council could repeal them by a simple majority vote within 10 days. The report also proposes the creation of a system of legal protection applicable to a Member State which is at risk of being in an enduring state of default or suspension of payments.

 
  
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  Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid (PPE), in writing. (FR) In 2008, a financial crisis in the United States led to a global economic crisis. Today, we must not allow Greece’s difficulties to ravage the euro area. Moreover, and most importantly, we must not allow the Greek crisis to happen again. We have the same currency. Our economies are much too closely linked for decisions to be taken unilaterally. We therefore need economic governance of the euro area. These reports lay down measures that strengthen the Commission’s powers as regards the surveillance of the national budgets and enhance democratic control by consolidating the role of the European Parliament. In addition, a new rule would empower the Commission to place a country on the verge of default under legal protection in order to give it more clarity, stability and predictability in tackling its problems. By adopting this proposal for a regulation, we are sending a clear signal to the Council. The time for short-term measures and last-chance meetings is over.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The economic and financial crisis that began in 2008 requires deeper reflection on the economic and social problems that it has caused. The procedures for budgetary and economic surveillance of Member States must take account of the marked downturn in growth in the Union and the serious budgetary problems for its Member States. By voting in favour, I therefore offer my support for the goals that the entire EU must pursue, not focusing solely on the budgetary situations of the Member States, but instead using this mechanism to drive investments in the labour market and public investment in training and research in order to boost Member States’ competitiveness, as well as consumer incentives to maintain a steady gross domestic product to better resist the crisis.

 
  
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  Alda Sousa (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report is one of the famous ‘two-pack’, part of the economic governance package. The report being debated is the expression of the ideas behind an intergovernmental treaty enshrining an ideological dogma and makes anti-cyclical policy illegal, replacing it with a technical selection criterion that is controversial and very easily manipulated. That is why I voted against.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. (FR) How can we adopt a text that does not even attempt to resolve the capital flight in the banking sector and the financing of debt? Without that, Europe will never recover. It is true, however, that the text offers some progress, especially the section on eurobonds, thanks mainly to the campaigning of the European Socialists.

However, I noticed during the debates that the philosophy of blind austerity, of ‘finance is everything’, of an almost dehumanised economy is still firmly entrenched in the minds of many of my colleagues with different political leanings.

How much longer do we have to wait and how many more lives will be ruined before some people face up to their responsibilities and agree to combat speculation effectively, establish a tax on financial transactions and a ratings agency that is not controlled from afar by the multinationals, and protect pension funds?

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) In November 2011, the European Commission tabled a proposal to the European Parliament and the Council with the goal of setting out measures to strengthen the economic and budgetary surveillance of euro area Member States experiencing or threatened with serious financial stability difficulties and/or receiving, or potentially in receipt of, outside financial assistance. I am voting for this report, since I consider enhanced supervision of the euro area countries necessary in order to prevent the financial stability difficulties of one Member State from contaminating the rest of the euro area and the EU as a whole. I believe the Member States should give the Commission and the Council advance warning of their plans to issue public debt, so that the European Commission will be able to coordinate better and work towards a more coordinated economic policy. Finally, I agree with the rapporteur on not suspending the Structural Funds in the period 2014-2020 if a Member State fails to comply with its adjustment programme, since there are other economic and financial mechanisms that should be adopted to this end.

 
  
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  Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE), in writing. – I have voted in favour of this legislation as I am satisfied with the final text we achieved during the negotiations. It strengthens the economic governance framework of the EU and continues to frame in our legislation the utmost importance of fiscal discipline, and enhances surveillance for those countries experiencing financial assistance. I am satisfied also by the major role for the Commission and Parliament’s increased participation in the surveillance process.

 
  
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  Dominique Vlasto (PPE), in writing. (FR) At a time when Greece and Spain can no longer finance themselves adequately on the markets, their European partners must understand that they can no longer spend recklessly and that the control of their sovereignty and their future is now at stake. Our political family succeeded in ensuring that this common sense principle prevailed in this text, which endorses the new crucial deficit control objectives, contained in the Stability and Growth Pact. From now on, Member States in the euro area that do not abide by their commitment to limit debt to 60% of GDP and adopt reasonably balanced budgets will be subject to greater surveillance and a public accounts consolidation programme. In my view, this new method of supervising budgetary discipline and correcting deficits will be our saving grace in many respects. It will ensure a climate of financial stability that is essential for restoring confidence, which is the real driving force behind growth. Finally, it will prevent future generations from having to bear alone the brunt of a debt that they did not incur and give them the chance to control their own destinies.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) The current economic crisis, which has had a huge effect not just on the EU, but also on the entire world economy, has been a major factor in slowing economic growth. The European Union is currently trying to tackle the difficult economic situation. However, the effects of these efforts vary depending on the Member State concerned. The biggest struggle with the crisis is so far being experienced by the peripheral countries of the EU, or what are known as the PIGS countries – Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain – as well as Ireland and also Cyprus, which is more and more often being mentioned in this connection.

The ever greater budget deficits and the growth in bond yields of particular Member States (Greek bonds have now reached a level of nearly 30%), as well as the problems facing the banks, have prompted these countries to ask the European institutions for financial assistance. These requests have made the authorities in Brussels decide to introduce greater economic and budgetary supervision of Member States which need financial assistance to help them fight the crisis. The ‘two-pack’, or legislation tightening the Commission’s supervision of national budgets, will mean the European Commission will have very great powers in setting these budgets.

In my opinion, the placing of ever greater powers in the hands of a single body may, in the long term, prove to be a very dangerous trend. I think that when budgets are controlled at national or even regional level, they are managed more effectively. Furthermore, the proposed measure is somewhat belated and will not deliver what is expected of it. That is why I am voting against the resolution.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Like the Ferreira report on the other component of this ‘two-pack’, this report also proposes several amendments to setting out that, ‘in defining and implementing its policies and actions, the Union is to take into account requirements linked to the promotion of a high level of employment’. These intentions are nothing more than a dead letter when included in the logic of the policies of which this ‘two-pack’ is part: making ‘austerity policies’ permanent by cutting public investment and public services, cutting wages and benefits, and promoting privatisation. Those are the exact opposite of the growth in employment and the economy that is required. Moreover, the so-called ‘enhanced surveillance procedure’ is nothing more than an anti-democratic coup d’état against the democratically elected institutions of national sovereignty, which therefore lose the ability to make decisions on economic instruments as important as budgetary policy.

 
  
  

Report: Elisa Ferreira (A7-0173/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because I am very much in favour of introducing a new chapter entitled ‘Establishment of a road map for enhanced economic policy coordination, a growth facility and a framework for enhanced debt issuance’. This chapter calls for the Commission to table a proposal for a counter-cyclical instrument of 1% of GDP to increase growth and to present a report establishing a road map towards euro area stability bonds. It also calls for the immediate establishment of a requirement for the Member States to report ex ante on their public debt issuance and sets out a proposal for a European redemption fund based on joint liability.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. I agree that further Union mechanisms for the coordination and surveillance of Member States’ budgetary and economic policies need to be put in place. I agree that the Member States must comply with the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) and improve coordination of their fiscal policies. Member States should follow prudent fiscal policies in good times to build up the necessary buffer for bad times.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because I think that Member States’ budgetary decisions require additional monitoring. Consolidating economic governance in the EU, especially in the euro area, is vital at the moment. In this context, detecting and remedying macro-economic imbalances must be carried out promptly. I welcome a common budgetary timeline and rules-based budgetary frameworks being established. It is also important to have synchronised monitoring of policies, in keeping with the excessive deficit procedure, so as to consolidate budgetary discipline. I should also point out that budgetary surveillance must comply with the European Union’s overarching objectives. This means that consideration also needs to be given to providing suitable social protection, and greater importance has to be attached to the level of employment. I should stress that the EU’s budgetary policy must be in line with the Europe 2020 strategy so as to ensure smart, sustainable growth.

 
  
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  George Becali (NI), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the rapporteur’s proposal. A common budgetary timeline, rules and supervision are all needed.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) I am not an enthusiastic supporter of the idea that Member States should be obliged to submit reports to the Commission and the Eurogroup in advance concerning their plans for issuing government bonds. Under the approved proposal, the submission of reports is to be harmonised in terms of form and content and specified by the Commission in cooperation with the Member States, with the Commission having the main role and the last word. In my view, this measure would amount to substantial interference in national powers in the budgetary area. It would be a definite step towards budgetary union, and this would constitute qualitative change on such a scale that, in my opinion, it would require an amendment of the Treaties. In any case, I have doubts as to whether the Commission is the right body to supervise the issuing of government bonds. If this process is introduced, the supervisory role should be assigned to a body that can guarantee independence and unquestionable competence.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – This legislative proposal paves the way for an unprecedented shift of fiscal power centrally to Brussels, enabling the Commission to set budget thresholds, opening up the potential of euro area debt instruments, encouraging EU-wide taxation, bringing forth a financial transaction tax that would seriously damage the City of London and render Europe globally uncompetitive and forging binding rules on Member State budgets and EU bonds. No single EU citizen has voted for, this, no single EU citizen wants this and it is abhorrent that legislation, which, in effect, would render the eurozone a federal super state, has occurred above any democratic recourse to the hundreds of millions of people it would negatively affect.

 
  
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  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the ‘two-pack’, which, together with the ‘six-pack’, complements the austerity and governance package for economic stability. I also supported a number of important – I think vital – amendments on real and effective growth, which must begin in Europe in order to allow Member States to maintain their commitments to Europe. These measures for growth include: forms of debt mutualisation, a European redemption fund as proposed by the German Council of Economic Experts in November 2011; bonds issued by the EU financial institutions, for investments in infrastructure that would be subject to a golden rule excluding them from deficits; a European system of bank deposit insurance. This vote is an important step towards a monetary, economic and also political union.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I agree with the amendments to the text tabled in committee, which set out common provisions for monitoring and assessing draft budgetary plans and ensuring the correction of the excessive deficits of the Member States in the euro area.

 
  
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  Daniel Caspary (PPE), in writing. (DE) I would like to second what Thomas Ulmer said in explanation of his vote.

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE), in writing. (SV) We Swedish Conservatives and Christian Democrats voted today in favour of the proposal for a regulation concerning new rules for budgetary monitoring among the Member States in the euro area. The proposal contains many important tools for ensuring budgetary discipline among the Member States of the euro area, the importance of which has been highlighted, in particular, by the developments of recent years. During the process, proposals concerning common borrowing and an EU fund for investments corresponding to a percentage of GDP have been introduced, which will only lead to a further build-up of debt. We voted against these particular parts. The proposal from the Commission, on the other hand, concerns tools and frameworks on which it is important to take a decision, particularly given the current situation. We therefore voted in favour of the remaining parts of the proposal. We trust that those parts concerning increased debt, which do not belong here, will not come up again in Parliament’s final reading. We therefore voted in favour of the proposal for provisions for monitoring and assessing draft budgetary plans and ensuring the correction of excessive euro area Member State deficits.

 
  
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  Emer Costello (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of the ‘two-pack’ because I believe that to ensure the euro works for everyone, we do need better economic governance at European level, and a good compromise on this has been reached between the political groups, with which we can now negotiate with Council. We have to reduce our debts and deficits but one-sided fiscal consolidation will not end the crisis and must be combined with growth. I therefore welcome the support for a growth instrument mobilising 1% of GDP each year for infrastructure investment, and the emphasis on prioritising investments in education, health and areas that have growth and jobs potential. I welcome the support for a debt redemption fund and a eurobonds road map, the requirements to respect national practices and institutions for wage formation and the right to take collective action (the ‘Monti clause’), the role of the social partners and civil society, and on tackling bankers’ bonuses. I have set out my positions on the FTT on 23 May 2012 (A7-00352/2011) and on the CCCTB on 19 April 2012 (A7-0052/2012) and I refer to those explanations of votes in relation to the ‘two-pack’ resolutions.

 
  
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  Andrea Cozzolino (S&D), in writing. (IT) I decided, albeit reluctantly, to vote against the report because I think it is totally insufficient and inadequate for dealing with the pressing and mounting problems that this social and economic crisis has forced upon us. I decided to vote against because I think the growth measures that the report introduces are completely insufficient. Without even considering that the golden rule, albeit in a minimalist and even innocuous form, was rejected, the other growth measures also do not seem much compared with the straitjacket of austerity and the blind respect of budgetary restraints.

The redemption fund, the groundwork for eurobonds and Heading 3 have been approved by a very narrow majority, due to the staunch opposition of conservatives, who, having obtained approval for austerity measures, have done everything to boycott all references to investment. That says a lot about what the Council’s attitude will be. We must find the courage to relaunch our ideas and initiatives with fresh vigour. If not, we will be complicit in the vacuity of the conservatives and their inability to improve Europe’s future prospects.

 
  
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  Jürgen Creutzmann (ALDE), in writing. (DE) The German Free Democratic Party (FDP) in the European Parliament has spoken out clearly in favour of the introduction of a debt redemption fund. However, participation in such a fund must be associated with clear and strict rules, such as were contained in the proposal made by the German Council of Economic Experts to the German Government in autumn 2011. Watering down the criteria for participation is neither productive nor effective. Linking the introduction of a debt redemption fund with the eurobonds project and the treatment of economic imbalances is unfair, and is rejected by the FDP in the European Parliament in the strongest possible terms.

 
  
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  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the Ferreira report, in keeping with the line followed by my political group, so that we should remain consistent with our vote on the ‘six-pack’. We support the same principles: we are against austerity and in favour of investment in human capital by creating new jobs. At the same time, I find it disappointing that the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) has decided to vote against the ‘golden rule’ proposed by my colleague, Elisa Ferreira, which would no longer have been used to calculate public investments to measure the deficit and debt of a country within the Stability and Growth Pact. This would have allowed states to invest more without being afraid of being penalised.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report sets out measures ensuring greater coordination of the Member States’ budgetary policy. It therefore stresses the need for robust public finances and financial stability as a means of increasing price stability, and strong, sustainable growth if the EU’s sustainable growth and employment goals are to be achieved. I completely support the priority identified, which is ensuring that the economic policies of certain Member States will not negatively affect the others and that the Economic and Monetary Union runs smoothly. The report is positive overall and there is consensus about its importance for the euro area and the EU as a whole. I would only stress that some issues, such as European debt mutualisation and the specific measures for fostering investment and growth in Europe, while crucial, should be discussed in the documents produced for those ends and not in this report. The ‘two-pack’ adopted today represents one of the fundamental pillars of building economic and financial stability in Europe, founded on a new policy for generating prosperity and growth in the euro area and the European Union as a whole.

 
  
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  Luigi Ciriaco De Mita (PPE), in writing. (IT) The ongoing global crisis has made clear the lack of political involvement in supra-national economic governance, especially in the European Union. When, way back in 1988-1989, European leaders took the brave decision to begin convergence of the Member State economies with a view to the single currency, both by completing the internal market and by coordinating the Member States’ economies, it was made very clear, from a pro-EU point of view, that this objective could only be fully achieved by twinning the pillar of monetary governance, under an autonomous European Central Bank, with the pillar of economic governance exercised by Commission, Council and Parliament. Only the two pillars together could underpin the future of the European Union. However, this sharing of responsibilities has to be combined with the sharing of opportunities and economic results. Just as, at the national level, varying rates of regional economic growth are balanced out by single-state governance, including by joint participation in the public debt, the same should happen at European level in relations between Member States, which should evolve, making shared, cooperative and reciprocal destinies a reality. I think that this report and the amendments that have been adopted are in line with this view.

 
  
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  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Several advances should be highlighted. The debt pooling objective has been clarified. With the redemption fund, initially proposed by the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, the States will transfer any debt amounts over 60% of GDP. These pooled sums, totalling EUR 2 300 billion, will be repaid over 25 years, allowing for the creation of eurobonds, which we have desired for many months.

Parliament has proposed establishing a growth instrument to mobilise 1% of Member States’ GDP over a period of 10 years, that is to say, around EUR 100 billion, to be invested in European infrastructure. Although some people talk about financial stability and fiscal consolidation and others talk about growth, we really need both. The Member States are massively in debt and the European Union therefore needs to invest in order to become competitive once again. It should go further, for example, by calling for European savings.

We ensured that these tools were effective by reintroducing the Community method. As with the ‘six-pack’, economic dialogue with the European Parliament has been established. That restores democratic legitimacy to the decisions which, for a long time, were taken between governments.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this text, drawn up the Socialist MEP Ms Ferreira because it supports the draft regulation establishing a golden rule for the Member States’ public finances.

 
  
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  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) As the Member of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) responsible for the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs on the report, I find it important to point out that the European Commission is expecting Member States to take steps which, if not taken with due caution, could lead to a downturn in economic growth and employment in these countries. We are living in difficult times, but we must not forget about such common goals as Europe 2020 or the EU employment and job creation strategy. Both the Commission and the Council treat employment and growth as priorities, since they are the key to enabling Europe to recover from the crisis while implementing strict fiscal measures. The responsibility to find a solution for managing the employment-related and social tensions caused by the crisis also lies with us here in Parliament.

Harmonisation and stricter control of the budgetary policies of euro area countries is essential to ensuring the long-term viability of the monetary union. However, as I already stressed in my opinion, it is also vital for Member States to be able to retain their budgetary sovereignty, which is one of the most important tools for Member State economic governance. It is exceptionally important for euro area accession to remain a clear goal for all Member States not using the euro, but the stricter budgetary control and coordination should apply to them only after their accession to the euro area. As regards the practice of budgetary monitoring, it must be emphasised that non-euro area countries, too, should be involved in the procedure. It is crucial that the reports be discussed at fora where all 27 Member States are represented; the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs would be a suitable choice for this role.

It is welcome that some Member States, including Hungary, have already incorporated a sovereign debt ceiling in their constitutions; the Hungarian Constitution states the following: ‘Parliament shall not adopt a State Budget Act that would result in sovereign debt exceeding half of GDP’.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report concerns the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on common provisions for monitoring and assessing draft budgetary plans and ensuring the correction of the excessive deficits of the Member States in the euro area. The Member States’ concern for fiscal discipline and correcting excessive deficits has been leading to reduced consumption and, as a result, to many companies going out of business, to the loss of tax revenues, to increased unemployment and, necessarily, to an upsurge in the numbers of newly poor. I voted for this report because, amongst its suggestions, enhanced supervision to monitor and assess the Member States’ plans to prevent excessive debt levels and contagion – because prevention is better than cure, not least because of the sluggish effects of the measures adopted – sits alongside the need to change the direction of the agenda, until now geared towards austerity, towards economic growth and job creation. The creation of eurobonds, the advocating of an ambitious investment plan in line with the Europe 2020 strategy, and the strengthening of the Community method will stimulate smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, so I welcome them.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report is part of the so-called ‘two-pack’, presumably a complement to the previous ‘six-pack’, and concludes the legislative framework of what is known as economic governance. It aims to control the Member States’ budgetary and economic policies, unacceptably pursuing the withering of sovereign national institutions.

This is an unusual and profoundly anti-democratic concentration of economic and political power in the EU institutions, particularly the Commission. It is being backed by the usual suspects: the right and the centre-left. With this report, the latter is once again making its now commonplace attempts to label with the word ‘growth’ policies and strategies that are the very antithesis of growth and, above all, the antithesis of any prospect for sovereign, just, or sustainable development. In this context, the proposals concerning stability bonds – following the pattern already proposed by the Commission and even taking the same name – and the redemption fund are more for propaganda purposes than proposals with any practical effect, or at least none that is not going even further with the Commission’s original proposal on obligations to be met by the Member States regarding their budgetary processes. In other words, the intention is to bring the Member States even further under control, in such a way as to lead to the establishment of relationships of dominance with a veritably colonial air.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this regulation. The main reason for doing so was that, for the first time, we saw a legislative text that really lays the groundwork for new and essential mechanisms for securing sovereign debts and building towards growth. Here, contrary to the view of my group – the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) – I had no hesitation in voting in favour of eurobonds and the redemption fund. I voted in favour of the amendment on the golden rule, which would exclude investments from deficit calculations, and I regret that it was not carried. The way things are now, it is time to take urgent action: no more blind austerity; we have seen that it cannot work by itself. We need to mutualise debt while calling for austerity and, above all, we need to support growth before it is too late. The EU must take shared responsibility which, I think, also involves risk sharing.

 
  
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  Christofer Fjellner, Gunnar Hökmark, Anna Ibrisagic and Alf Svensson (PPE), in writing. (SV) We Swedish Conservatives and Christian Democrats voted today in favour of the proposal for a regulation concerning new rules for budgetary monitoring among the Member States in the euro area. The proposal contains many important tools for ensuring budgetary discipline among the Member States of the euro area, the importance of which has been highlighted, in particular, by the developments of recent years. During the process, proposals concerning common borrowing and an EU fund for investments corresponding to a percentage of GDP have been put forward, which will only lead to a further build-up of debt. We voted against these particular parts. The proposal from the Commission, on the other hand, concerns tools and frameworks on which it is important to take a decision, particularly given the current situation. We therefore voted in favour of the remaining parts of the proposal. We trust that those parts concerning increased debt, which do not belong here, will not come up again in Parliament’s final reading. We therefore voted in favour of the proposal for provisions for monitoring and assessing draft budgetary plans and ensuring the correction of excessive euro area Member State deficits.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union requires that Member States regard their economic policies as a matter of common concern, that their budgetary policies be guided by the need for sound public finances, and that their economic policies do not risk jeopardising the proper functioning of Economic and Monetary Union. The Treaty allows the adoption of specific measures in the euro area which go beyond the provisions applicable to all Member States in order to ensure the proper functioning of the Economic and Monetary Union. Setting up a common budgetary timeline for Member States whose currency is the euro should better synchronise the key steps in the preparation of national budgets, thus contributing to the effectiveness of the European Semester for budgetary policy coordination. Biased and unrealistic macro-economic and budgetary forecasts can considerably hamper the effectiveness of budgetary planning and consequently impair commitment to budgetary discipline. By contrast, forecasts from independent bodies can provide unbiased and realistic macro-economic forecasts. At the same time, closer monitoring should ensure early correction of any deviations indicative of the excessive deficits of the Member States. I also believe that with a gradually enhanced monitoring procedure, it will be possible to contribute to better budgetary outcomes to the benefit of all Member States whose currency is the euro.

 
  
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  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. (HU) This report concerning the fiscal discipline of euro area Member States with excessive deficit fits well into the common system of economic governance. I truly believe that after the ‘six-pack’ on economic governance, the second economic governance package, which further elaborates on the practical aspects of budgetary discipline, is timely and essential for giving Europe a chance to initiate its long awaited economic growth. The text discusses important details, including not only additional data provision and reporting obligations for Member States suffering from serious budgetary imbalances, but also positive technical assistance for these countries, such as ‘reinforced surveillance’ by the Commission and timely Commission recommendations for flawed draft budgets. I did not support the motions for amendments on individual stability bonds and on a redemption fund because, on the one hand, I did not consider them to be closely related to the subject of European fiscal discipline and, on the other, they proved to be exaggerated and not well enough elaborated on several points. The report tabled before us foresees the fulfilment of minimum requirements, and although the final vote was postponed in order to allow the commencement of the trialogue with the Council and the Commission on the text adopted at first reading, I supported the amended text just as I did at the Committee vote.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the report by Elisa Ferreira because it incorporates proposals that were long rejected by the European conservatives, such as growth facilities and the implementation of a road map for the introduction of eurobonds, which are needed now more than ever to curb speculation. I regret, however, that due to the opposition of the conservatives and liberals, it was not possible to adopt an amendment allowing public investment expenditure to be excluded when calculating the debt and deficits of economies under pressure.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. (FR) On Wednesday, 13 June, the Members of the European Parliament voted on the two reports known as the ‘two-pack’, which complement the package of six legislative acts aimed at strengthening economic governance. The text by Ms Ferreira, which gave rise to most debate, seeks to strengthen the Commission’s role in examining the budgets of the Member States. As a result, the Commission will be able to ask a Member State to present a new budgetary plan if its trajectory strays too far from the requirements of the Stability and Growth Pact. The adoption of both reports should allow us to provide broad guidelines for the two rapporteurs who will have to negotiate the regulations with the Member States and the Commission. Nevertheless, the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, using unseemly tactics, succeeded in incorporating amendments on the creation of a redemption fund for countries’ debt amounts above 60% of GDP. While the debate on debt pooling remains open, some Members have expressed their support for a mechanism that is unclear. The European Parliament must now impose a principle that, nevertheless, is far from having unanimous support in this House.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because each of the Member States whose currency is the euro should consult the Commission and other Member States whose currency is the euro before the adoption of any major fiscal policy reform plans with potential spillover effects, in order to make it possible to assess the possible impact for the euro area as a whole. They should consider their budgetary plans to be of common concern and submit them to the Commission for monitoring purposes in advance of the plans becoming binding. The Commission should be in a position, if necessary, to adopt an opinion on the draft budgetary plan which the Member State and, in particular, budgetary authorities should be invited to take into account in the process of the budget law adoption. Member States whose currency is the euro and which are subject to an excessive deficit procedure should be monitored more closely to secure a full and timely correction of the excessive deficit. A closer monitoring should ensure early correction of any deviations from the Council recommendations to correct the excessive deficit.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) The two reports known as the ‘two-pack’ were put to the vote in plenary. I voted for both of them during the voting on 13 June 2012. The ‘two-pack’ represents further progress in the area of budgetary surveillance. It complements the ‘six-pack’, a legislative package adopted by the European Parliament in September 2011 that contains measures to strengthen economic governance. The second report, by Elisa Ferreira, lays down common provisions for monitoring and assessing draft budgetary plans and ensuring the correction of excessive deficits of the Member States in the euro area. This report aims to make it compulsory for the 17 Member States to consult the Commission before taking any economic measures with potential spillover effects on their neighbouring States.

 
  
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  Wolf Klinz (ALDE), in writing. (DE) The German Free Democratic Party (FDP) in the European Parliament has spoken out clearly in favour of the introduction of a debt redemption fund. However, participation in such a fund must be associated with clear and strict rules, such as were contained in the proposal made by the German Council of Economic Experts to the German Government in autumn 2011. Watering down the criteria for participation is neither productive nor effective. Linking the introduction of a debt redemption fund with the eurobonds project and the treatment of economic imbalances is unfair, and is rejected by the FDP in the European Parliament in the strongest possible terms.

 
  
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  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE), in writing. (SK) In November 2011, the European Parliament and the Council formally adopted the legislative package aimed at reinforcing economic governance in the EU and the euro area. This package was made up of six proposals: Four of them deal with fiscal issues, including a reform of the Stability and Growth Pact, while two new regulations aim at detecting and addressing emerging macro-economic imbalances within the EU and the euro area. The Commission's proposal for a regulation sets out additional monitoring requirements for national budgetary policies, in particular, the provisions relating to the setting up of a common budgetary timeline, rules-based fiscal frameworks as well as the strengthened surveillance of Member States subject to an excessive deficit procedure. I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Britta Reimers and Michael Theurer (ALDE), in writing. (DE) The German Free Democratic Party (FDP) in the European Parliament has spoken out clearly in favour of the introduction of a debt redemption fund. However, participation in such a fund must be associated with clear and strict rules, such as were contained in the proposal made by the German Council of Economic Experts to the German Government in autumn 2011. Watering down the criteria for participation is neither productive nor effective. Linking the introduction of a debt redemption fund with the eurobonds project and the treatment of economic imbalances is unfair, and is rejected by the FDP in the European Parliament in the strongest possible terms.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report but consider the following amendment to be vital: ‘the Commission shall present a report establishing a road map towards euro area stability bonds. It shall also present a proposal for a euro area sustainable growth instrument aiming at mobilising approximately 1% of GDP per year over a period of ten years, including an increase in the capital of the EIB and project bonds, to be invested in European infrastructure including science and technology. The instrument shall aim at creating the necessary conditions for sustainable growth in order to ensure the proper functioning of economic and monetary union and to safeguard the stability of the euro and thereby the sustainable coordination of Member States’ budgetary discipline’.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – Although I supported this report, I voted against Amendment 31, which contains references to a financial transaction tax and the CCCTB, since taxation matters remain the competence of the Member State.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) This report proposes that all of the Member States in the euro area be monitored by the European Commission. It makes all States with excessive deficits subject to enhanced surveillance by it. It requires all States to list for the Commission all of the provisions in their draft budgets. The Commission will be able to amend them. Its amendments will have to be adopted by the national parliaments or they will have to pay a fine. The text also includes many provisions of the budgetary pact that is currently being ratified. It thus requires the States to submit all investments to the Commission for validation and establish ‘automatic correction mechanisms’ if they do not comply with the budgetary adjustments envisaged by the Commission. In addition, the report establishes the ‘economic partnership programme’ provided for by the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance for all countries that are subject to an excessive deficit procedure. I voted against this barrier to democracy.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) With the vote on this report and the report by Jean Paul Gauzès, Parliament is completing the European economic governance package, adopted at the end of 2011. This crisis that continues to afflict the whole of Europe requires the strengthening of economic and budgetary surveillance of Member States to safeguard the stability of Europe and, principally, the euro area. Approval of these rules strengthens the EU’s power of intervention, enabling it to intervene where necessary and making available to it adequate means for doing so.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing. (ES) I voted against this report as it proposes that the Commission monitor euro area Member States. It places Member States with an excessive deficit problem under the increased surveillance of the Commission, obliging them to specify budgetary provisions, monitoring as such, and to modify them if the Commission does not agree. As it stands, countries will lose their national sovereignty. To my understanding, this is a fully-fledged coup that I cannot accept under any circumstances.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – This Commission proposal aims at setting up a common budgetary procedure and timeline for Member States and to go beyond the ‘six-pack’ by further monitoring Member States whose currency is the euro and that are in excessive deficit procedure (ex ante and ex post reinforced surveillance). In future, it will allow avoiding counterfeiting of accounting documents of EU Member states. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Gay Mitchell (PPE), in writing. – The Fine Gael MEPs voted in favour of this report. We agreed with our group and voted against Amendments 27 and 67. In Amendment 27, it is not clear that it is essential that a redemption fund be established. There are a number of ways in which sovereign debt instruments can be supported at EU level. Also, the formulation of debt issuance plans as proposed in Amendment 67 is not practical, as Member States’ debt issuance offices need to maintain discretion in choosing when to access markets. However, we voted against Amendment 31, as it contains references to the FTT and the CCCTB.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The proposal for a regulation tabled by the Commission contains additional provisions regarding surveillance of the budgetary policy of the Member States and sets out a common budget timetable as well as stricter surveillance of the budgetary decisions of the Member States. This sounds good, but it is old wine in new bottles. The Stability and Growth Pact, which, moreover, was the condition on which Germany consented to the euro, had the same objective. So far, this has been breached more than 80 times. Why should things be any different with the new objectives? The wording alone, which states that ‘the enforcement of budgetary surveillance should always be subject to overarching objectives of the EU and, in particular, to the requirements of Article 9 TFEU related to the promotion of a high level of employment, the guarantee of adequate social protection’, expressly bears witness to the fact that, right from the outset, there has been no consideration of this whatsoever. The countries concerned will always find a reason why they should not meet the objectives. Moreover, the sanction mechanisms are entirely ineffectual. The regulation is therefore not worth the paper it is written on.

 
  
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  Sławomir Witold Nitras (PPE), in writing.(PL) The legislative proposals being put to the vote today are a continuation of the process of increasing the economic integration of the Member States in the euro area and represent a significant improvement in the system of economic governance. Tightening both budgetary supervision and the Commission’s role in this supervision, particularly in relation to the Member States included in the excessive deficit procedure, as well as harmonising and increasing the transparency of the process for adopting budgets in the Member States in the euro area, will help enhance the credibility of national fiscal policies, which will improve economic coordination in the euro area and secure it against further shocks which may come in the future. It should also be noted that the benefits resulting from implementation of the proposal under discussion will not be felt for some time. Therefore, we should not stop looking for short-term measures. One such measure is definitely the establishment of a redemption fund. Establishing such a mechanism would mean indirect mutualisation of the public debt of the Member States in the euro area, which, as a result, would reduce market pressure and make it easier to refinance the countries concerned. However, in view of the significance of its consequences, this idea needs to be formulated in greater detail and subjected to closer analysis.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I should like to salute the commitment and dedication that the rapporteur demonstrated in producing this report, seeking consensus amongst the 27, but not failing to protect the interests of her home country. The work she has done was necessary. Several of the measures proposed urgently need to be implemented and we all hope they will make a decisive contribution to improving the economic situation throughout the EU.

 
  
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  Herbert Reul (PPE), in writing. (DE) I and many of my colleagues in the German conservative group (CDU/CSU) of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) voted in favour of the ‘two-pack’ in order to ensure that the central issue of budgetary consolidation, and thus the stemming of the sovereign debt crisis, becomes binding on everyone, once and for all. However, we decisively reject paragraphs 27 and 67 because they are irresponsible. Eurobonds are not appropriate; on the contrary, they jeopardise budgetary discipline. Debt redemption funds and growth funds make equally little sense.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I think this regulation is a good idea because it sets out a number of additional monitoring requirements for national budgetary policies, proposes a common timeline and calls for closer monitoring of budgetary decisions of Member States subject to an excessive deficit procedure. Budgetary policy should be in line with the Europe 2020 strategy, whose goal is to overcome the crisis and drive the economy towards smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, combined with high employment, productivity and social cohesion.

 
  
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  Petri Sarvamaa (PPE), in writing. (FI) In order to prevent a future financial and economic crisis similar to the current one, we need a more coordinated policy in the euro area. To prevent imbalances in the public finances of the Member States, it is especially important to obtain adequate information in sufficient time on how budgets are being drafted. The fundamental idea that an independent agency outside the Member States (the European Commission) is needed to monitor budgets is understandable and acceptable, in the light of events in recent years.

The report by Ms Ferreira, which is part of the ‘two-pack’, tries to achieve this aim. However, some strange elements were incorporated into the fundamental idea during the Committee preparations for Ms Ferreira’s report. These include the call for the creation of a redemption fund (Amendment 27) and, in particular, the call for a growth fund, for which an investment of up to 1% of GDP (EUR 140 billion) over ten years is being proposed (Amendment 67). I voted against Amendments 27 and 67, but in favour of the report as a whole, because of its important basic aim to achieve more stringent financial discipline in the euro area. I was also confident about voting for the report as a whole because I do not believe that Amendments 27 and 67 have much chance of success in the trialogue negotiations between Parliament, the Council and the Commission.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) In total, the legislative package designed to strengthen EU and euro area economic governance, as adopted in November 2011 by Parliament and the Council, contains six proposals. Four of the proposals are on financial issues, while two relate to current macro-economic imbalances in the euro area. I voted in favour of measures on increasing surveillance of countries with a major budget deficit and the Commission’s request to step up the provisions on national budget policies. In addition, I would emphasise the need for these changes to be aligned with the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, which is partly designed to help overcome the crisis in the EU and drive its economy towards smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

 
  
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  Alda Sousa (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The report makes timid statements of intent about a road map towards the hypothetical introduction of eurobonds. I support these aspects of the proposal but, with things moving at this rate, they will be clearly insufficient for providing an alternative to austerity-based adjustment programmes. I voted against for these reasons.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) In November 2011, the European Commission tabled a proposal to the European Parliament and the Council with the goal of setting out measures to improving monitoring of budgetary policies in the euro area that complement the measures already set out in the European Semester, the multilateral supervision system for budgetary policies and the procedure for correcting Member States’ excessive deficits. I am voting for this report, since I think there is a need to improve conditions for price stability and promote increasing financial stability that will contribute to realising the EU’s growth and employment goals. I am in favour of setting a joint budgetary timetable for the euro area Member States that will lead to increased synergies, will facilitate the coordination of economic and financial policy, and will enable the European Commission to draft recommendations intended to eliminate existing macro-economic imbalances.

 
  
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  Alexandra Thein (ALDE), in writing. (DE) I was unable to vote in favour of the Ferreira report because of Amendments 68, 27 and 67. In its proposal to the German Government in autumn 2011, the German Council of Economic Experts demanded clear and strict rules on participation in a debt redemption fund (Amendment 67). Whatever one’s general position on such a debt redemption fund, which was not even foreseen in the Commission proposal, these participation criteria have been greatly watered down in the report that has now been adopted. Moreover, linking the introduction of a debt redemption fund with a road map for eurobonds or stability bonds and the treatment of economic imbalances is unfair and inappropriate.

 
  
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  Marianne Thyssen (PPE), in writing. (NL) The European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) is pleased that the ‘two-pack’ has been approved. We are hoping to get the negotiations with the Council off to a quick start now in order to finalise the dossier even before summer. My group is also satisfied that essential elements of the fiscal treaty have been included in the ‘two-pack’ and that the Growth and Stability Pact will remain in full force. Budgetary vigilance remains necessary in order that we can restore trust, but also in order that we do not leave our debts of today for tomorrow. Parliament will not only vote today on the strengthening of budgetary coordination; it will also send out a signal that it is time to make progress in the field of budgetary integration as well.

A debate on the merits of feasibility and timing of, and conditions for, instruments for joint debt issuance – eurobonds, temporary redemption fund or variants thereof – is in order. We welcome this debate if it is conducted seriously and if the proposals do not lead to more problems than they solve. Confidence will remain the keyword for the coming months and years, the required bridge between savings and growth. Persisting with a European strategy of confidence, i.e. a commitment to sound public finances, a healthy banking system, economic growth and employment and a socially just society: that is the best way out of the crisis.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report on monitoring and assessing draft budgetary plans and ensuring the correction of the excessive deficits of the Member States in the euro area. In defining and implementing its policies and actions, the EU takes into account the requirements in terms of promoting a high level of employment, guaranteeing adequate social protection, combating social exclusion, as well as the requirements for a high level of education, vocational training and health protection. I think that proper attention must be paid to the EU’s strategy for economic growth and employment and how it is implemented by Member States via their national reform programmes. The medium-term fiscal plans contain an updated projection of multiannual expenditure as a percentage of GDP for public administrations and their main components, as well as for multiannual targets and commitments on expenditure, with the aim of achieving the objectives included in the EU strategy for economic growth and employment. It is essential that the common budgetary plan timeline is compatible with the Member States’ budgetary timeframes. Furthermore, strengthening economic governance should include closer and more timely involvement from the European Parliament and national parliaments.

 
  
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  Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE), in writing. – I am very much pleased to say that I have voted in favour of this report. Besides reinforcing fiscal discipline and European coordination, it includes some ideas that I have pushed forward like making all Member States put in place independent fiscal councils to audit public budgetary execution, undertaking cost-benefit analysis on all reforms and investments projects. What is more, the European redemption fund has been adopted. This was the key issue for me, as it is a realistic instrument to mutualise part of the debt from Member States and make the euro an irreversible currency. To put in place the ERF is fundamental to solve the debt crisis.

 
  
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  Thomas Ulmer (PPE), in writing. (DE) I have voted in favour of the report for now, out of solidarity with my group. The final vote has yet to take place, and I will then vote against it if it has not by then been made unambiguously clear that a debt redemption fund and eurobonds will not be introduced by the back door. The current review must clearly show that the Member States’ own liability is not eroded. We cannot allow those who are prudent and conscientious to be penalised, while those with no discipline benefit from this. We need to deal with the roots of the problems that caused the crisis, which are debt and a lack of budgetary discipline or anarchic conditions in some countries, with taxes not being collected. As a result, the long-term future of the entire Union is in question.

 
  
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  Johannes Cornelis van Baalen (ALDE), in writing. – Hans van Baalen of the Dutch People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) has abstained from the amended proposal and legislative resolution concerning the Ferreira report. He and his colleague Manders of VVD do not accept a redemption fund or an FTT.

 
  
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  Josef Weidenholzer (S&D), in writing. (DE) Neoliberal politics led us into the crisis. The problems associated with the financial crisis cannot be solved using the same methods that gave rise to them. We need a coordinated economic policy, with solidarity, which puts people at the centre, not the market. The Ferreira report, which contains both rules for setting up a debt redemption fund and a timetable for the introduction of eurobonds, is an important step towards a coordinated economic policy and to combat the macro-economic problems in Europe. Sustainable growth will only come about if we give up this single-minded policy of austerity.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) Never before has the European Union had such acute economic and financial problems. A slowdown in the economy, rising unemployment and the ever greater budget deficits of some of the Member States (Greece currently has the biggest problem, but the signals coming from Spain continue to get worse) have prompted the European institutions to try, to a certain extent, to use the situation to increase their powers, which, in any case, are already considerable. I am thinking here of the European Commission. The proposal to monitor budgetary plans and ensure correction of excessive deficit in the Member States in the euro area is intended to do just this. It is sufficient to mention the ‘two-pack’. Countries which apply for financial assistance should, of course, be subjected to closer surveillance. However, the measure proposed by the Commission does not serve the cause of democracy, and is intended to lead to an ever greater dependence of the Member States on Brussels. I do not think such a measure will live up to expectations. That is why I am voting against the resolution.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The original Commission proposal follows on from the previous package – the ‘six-pack’ – and further strengthens economic governance. It is also an attempt by the European Commission to include the ideas of the fiscal compact in EU secondary legislation. First and foremost, this alone constitutes an enormous breach of Union law, since the fiscal compact was signed outside the EU legal system and is therefore not enshrined in its primary legislation. However, this ‘setback’ does not seem to concern the Commission or the majority in this House. The goal is to ensure compatibility between budgetary policy and procedures for preventing and correcting excessive macro-economic imbalances through closer monitoring of national reform programmes. In other words, what is being set out here is the continuation of so-called austerity policies with everything they imply – cutting public investment and public services, cutting wages and benefits, and promoting privatisation – beyond the establishment of mechanisms transferring to supranational institutions budgetary policy matters that should be the exclusive competence of the Member States and their sovereign bodies. The proposed debt mutualisation instruments are an attempt to obscure the obvious – and unacceptable – blackmail and violations of democracy included in this package.

 
  
  

Reports: Jean-Paul Gauzès (A7-0172/2012) and Elisa Ferreira (A7-0173/2012)

 
  
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  Bastiaan Belder (EFD), in writing. (NL) Unfortunately, the strengthening of budgetary surveillance by the Commission has proved necessary. I therefore support the Commission’s proposals. These should contribute to a timely correction of excessive deficits. However, I am opposed to the other elements that have been inserted in the Ferreira report: eurobonds, a redemption fund, a growth facility of 1% of gross domestic product and the financial transaction tax. That is the reason why I cannot agree with this report.

The Gauzès report confines itself to the actual topic in that it increases surveillance of Member States in financial difficulties. As far as this report is concerned, I object to the weakening of the involvement of the International Monetary Fund in determining the sustainability of public debt. That is an essential element and, for that reason, I will abstain from voting on this report.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. (FR) It is now time to restore the confidence of our citizens. It is absolutely crucial if the European Union is to survive. Although there are positive aspects in this ‘two-pack’, which complements the economic governance package, I abstained on both the Gauzès report and the Ferreira report. If we are not capable of explaining to the citizens the added value and justification for implementing these measures, I do not see how we are going to be able to emerge from the multidimensional crisis we are currently experiencing. Adding measures on top of measures without any agreement on the type of project we want to build together will get us nowhere. I therefore abstained more because I am sceptical about the type of action proposed, rather than because I completely disagree with the substance: I support some of the provisions in these reports, such as the idea of a redemption fund, a road map for eurobonds and enhanced coordination of budgets and national debt issuance.

 
  
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  Kent Johansson, Marit Paulsen, Olle Schmidt and Cecilia Wikström (ALDE), in writing. (SV) Europe is at an important crossroads. It is a question of deepening our cooperation – moving towards deeper political and economic integration or asking some countries to leave the euro area. We are convinced that the way out of the crisis is deeper political and economic cooperation. In order for this to happen, we need an economic policy that will lead to sound and stable government finances and greater economic growth. We therefore welcome the two legislative proposals, the ‘two-pack’, which will further tighten up economic surveillance in the euro area. The rules for budgetary surveillance need to be tightened up and complied with by those countries with large budgetary deficits and excessive public debt.

The Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe advocates the introduction of a redemption fund. We support this idea because this sort of fund could create appropriate conditions to allow those countries with a large amount of public debt to remain in the euro area. The fund must have strict terms and conditions and it must run for a limited period in order for it to work. It cannot therefore be compared with the introduction of eurobonds. The redemption fund could be an important part of the puzzle when it comes to solving the debt crisis in Europe and ought to be evaluated carefully.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. (ES) Abstention. Mr Gauzès and Ms Ferreira try to introduce key elements in their reports, but they do not modify the neoliberal structure that is killing the euro. In fact, it strengthens the Commission’s surveillance over those countries receiving international bailouts such as Spain. Under no circumstances can reports be supported that reinforce the already criticised fiscal compact and ‘six-pack’, and do not give rise to a real anti-cyclical policy and the effective protection of social rights. Essential aspects that we have been demanding for some time are included, however, such as the road map towards the eurobonds, aspects of collective bargaining, the assessment of the social impact of the adjustment plans, and the fact that countries with recapitalisation loans (such as Spain) are not directly bound to macro-economic adjustment plans. However, the positive aspects may be ‘too little, too late’ if the Council does not complement them with sufficient political ambition.

 
  
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  Andreas Schwab (PPE), in writing. (DE) I voted in favour of the Gauzès report and the Ferreira report because I believe that it is very important to regulate the fiscal pact for Europe and the euro area by means of secondary legislation.

Nonetheless, I do not consider it helpful for the Ferreira report to demand a debt redemption fund when, at the same time, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs is working on a report that evaluates all the issues surrounding a better European response to speculation in the markets.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) This week, the European Parliament adopted two regulations known as the ‘two-pack’. These texts are part of the arsenal that is battering Europe today. They take the same approach as the European budgetary pact, which enshrines the golden rule, and the ‘six-pack’, the Treaty’s older brother, which, in principle, aims to integrate austerity into European law with the European Semester, which allows the Commission to monitor the national budgets. The first report, by Mr Gauzès (Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), French), aims to strengthen economic and budgetary surveillance of Member States experiencing or threatened with serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability in the euro area. The report by Ms Ferreira (Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Portuguese) lays down common provisions for monitoring and assessing draft budgetary plans and ensuring the correction of excessive deficits of the Member States in the euro area. I regret that the Ferreira report was adopted by a large majority (501 votes to 138, with 36 abstentions), thanks to the support of the S&D Group and the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance. The few amendments on growth and eurobonds do not change the thinking behind it, which remains deeply austere and anti-democratic, despite the sprinkling of fine words such as growth and employment.

 
  
  

Report: Slavi Binev (A7-0142/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because its goal is to extend the sphere of operations of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development into the countries located in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean basin, as well as Jordan. This report is part of the response the European Union should be giving to the Arab Spring, in order to facilitate the region’s move towards democratically stable and reliable systems. The European Union’s goal of being a bastion of human rights should be applied in cases like this.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. We need to respond to the events of the Arab Spring in the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean and their hopes of transition towards properly functioning democracy. I welcome the geographical extension of the work of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to include these countries. I believe that projects financed by the EBRD in these countries will lay a strong foundation for open market economies. As the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries are very different from the former Eastern Bloc states where the EBRD has traditionally operated, I believe that before beginning work, the EBRD must carry out a strict country technical assessment. I agree that, while awaiting the entry into force of the amendment to the agreement establishing the EBRD on the inclusion of the countries of the Mediterranean, we should amend Article 18 of the agreement establishing the EBRD to allow the EBRD to carry out operations financed from Special Fund resources.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because I, too, support the extension of the geographic scope of the operations of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. The main purpose of the EBRD is to contribute to progress and economic reconstruction. Therefore, the aim of this report is to support the transition to a market economy and promote the spirit of enterprise as well as private initiative in the relevant countries. The political and economic situation in the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean has led to a strategy being devised by the EBRD which is aimed at a multi-stage approach, adapted to the specific requirements of the relevant countries. I should point out that the Bank ought to contribute to the transition to energy efficiency and to an open, inclusive market economy, while also taking into account the social, civil and human rights situation. At the same time, I think that the principles of prudential banking, transparency and combating fraud should also be taken into account in EBRD activities.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was created to support the development of market economies from Europe to Central Asia following the collapse en masse of the communist regimes. The EBRD currently continues to carry out actions facilitating the transition to market economies, and promoting private enterprise and entrepreneurial spirit in the Central and Eastern European countries, thereby contributing to their economic reconstruction. The intention now is to extend the EBRD’s activities to the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. In view of the events of 2011 in Mediterranean partner countries, the Commission and the High Representative have presented the EU’s political and economic support for the region, which includes the possibility of expanding the EBRD’s area of operations to neighbouring countries in the South, making use of its extensive experience of promoting the transition to market economies. The European Parliament and the G8 group have also invited the EBRD to change its statutes so as to be able to participate in this financial assistance process. I voted for this report because I believe the EBRD’s experience can be put at the service of the transition of these Mediterranean countries, thereby promoting multi-party democracy, pluralism and market economics.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because in contributing to economic progress and reconstruction, the purpose of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will be to foster the transition towards open market-oriented economies and to promote private and entrepreneurial initiative in the Central and Eastern European countries which are committed to and applying the principles of multi-party democracy, pluralism and market economics. The EBRD has accumulated unique experience in supporting public and financial sector reform, promoting small and medium-sized enterprises, and the privatisation of state companies in its current countries of operations. The events of 2011 in our partner Mediterranean countries call for a robust policy response from the European Union, signalling the strong political and economic support of the EU to the region that includes an option for extending the EBRD’s mandate to cover the countries of the Southern Neighbourhood, building on its experience over the last 20 years and fostering transition towards open market-oriented economies. The scope of the EBRD’s operations should be extended to the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean and the use of Special Funds should be allowed in potential recipient countries so that the EBRD can function more effectively. One of the main objectives targeted by this proposal is ‘to promote prosperity beyond the EU’.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) Articles 1 and 2 of the statute of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) set it apart from other regional investment banks, due to its goals of providing assistance in the transition towards full democracy, underpinned by strong Western structures, through expansion of the private sector and the ordered conversion of centralised, state economies (including oligopolies) into mature and functioning market economies.

The countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean tick many of the boxes for which the EBRD was established. For example, there is the importance of state industry in their economies, which acts as a brake on growth and often gives rise to inefficiency and corruption; a state of affairs which, by the way, has been systematically exploited by radical and Islamist political organisations. Since EU Member States are generally among the leading trade partners in the area, the benefits of reconfiguring the EBRD to support cooperation policies in the region is quite clear, particularly in terms of stabilisation, growing the middle classes and promoting a moderate, reform-driven culture. Accordingly, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – The report intends to extends the scope of the EBRD into the Middle East in the East and South Mediterranean area, costing billions during a period of economic hardship when, in fact, the EBRD should have been wound down once Central Europe was fully integrated within the EU.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted for the Binev report on the proposal to amend the mandate of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in order to extend its geographic scope to the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. The European Union must support the pluralistic and democratic transition in that region as well as economic development and liberalisation in the wake of the hopes raised by the Arab Spring. The report underlines the need to adopt a calibrated approach that takes into account the specific characteristics of each country and territory.

 
  
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  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Binev’s report on the activities of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) because I support the proposals he has put forward. The EBRD was established off the back of the collapse of the Soviet bloc, with a view to helping Eastern European countries to recover after years of oppression. Now that many of these countries have become part of the great European family, it is the perfect time to look at other nearby areas.

Today, especially following the recent events that saw a political revolution on the southern shore of the Mediterranean, with the fall of many regimes that had dominated recent decades, the need to extend proper support to these countries has become clear. I think we need to step up our collaboration with those countries turning out to be strategic partners in trade and even politics, by encouraging and supporting initiatives stimulating the gradual move to efficient and inclusive market economies, thereby allowing these people to enjoy the fruits of progress that they have been denied for too long.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I agree with the amendments to the text tabled by the Commission for the agreement establishing the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) extending the geographic scope of EBRD operations to the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean.

 
  
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  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the legislative resolution because I am pleased with the outcome of the trialogue conducted with the Commission and Council. Parliament has amended the proposal tabled by the Commission so that it includes aspects concerning the effective implementation of the principles of international law in relation to corporate liability, employees’ rights and access to information about the environmental impact of the projects funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). As shadow rapporteur for my political group in Parliament, the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, I also introduced the requirement for the bank to expand its scope of action to finance projects which are socially just and environmentally sound, and in keeping with the spirit of the Millennium Development Goals.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) The European Union would like to support the efforts of the countries in the Southern Mediterranean as the region makes the transition to a market economy and pluralist democratic society. Extending the area of activity of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to the region means putting into practice this support offered by the EU and the international community for the hopes encouraged by the Arab Spring. I think that the EBRD’s support is conducive to projects whose aims include promoting sustainable development, eliminating poverty, protecting the environment and human rights, not to mention encouraging the private sector, with a focus on developing the entrepreneurial spirit among young people.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) Last November, my report on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) – unanimously adopted by this House – stated that it ‘welcomes the work carried out by the European Investment Bank [...] and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) [...]; supports the modification of the EBRD’s statutes in order for the Southern neighbourhood partners also to be eligible for its assistance and wishes to ensure that the EIB and the EBRD [...] are brought into a fruitful relationship based on cooperation, not driven by competition’. Moreover, my first report on the Review of the ENP – Southern Dimension, of 7 April 2011 – also unanimously adopted – invited the EBRD to change its statutes in order also to participate in financial assistance for these countries, as evidenced by Recital 1a of the resolution adopted today. I would add that, as Chair of the Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries, I have also been an advocate of increasing the EBRD’s area of operations in various forums, inside and outside the EU. It was therefore with enormous personal satisfaction, and with the pleasure of having contributed actively and positively to realising this increase in the EBRD’s area of operations to the countries of the South, including Jordan, that I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I supported the adoption of this text, which authorises our European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to help our Mediterranean neighbours to rebuild their economies, and thus their democracies. The EBRD, like what it did in Eastern Europe after the collapse of communism, will, in fact, allow the European Union to promote economies that are more open, more liberal and, consequently, more effective, accompanied by political and democratic advances. These are values at the heart of our European project.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report is intended to expand the area of operation of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to cover the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. It should be remembered that, when it was created in 1990, the geographical area in which the EBRD operated only encompassed the ex-Soviet bloc. However, in view of the recent developments resulting from the Arab Spring, the EU has taken the view that the EBRD should also start covering that area. I would therefore congratulate the rapporteur on his work. I entirely support his position on pursuing socially inclusive energy-efficiency projects, provided that their cornerstone is respect for human rights.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), created in 1991, was the first EU financial institution to be created to support economic development in Europe following the break-up of the Soviet Union. Essentially, the EBRD supports the development of the local sector: small and medium-sized enterprises, individuals, towns, regional cooperation, innovation, job creation, energy, environmental projects, etc. This report by Slavi Binev concerns the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on amendments to the agreement establishing the EBRD extending the geographic scope of EBRD operations to the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. Initially intended to support countries in Central and Eastern Europe, following the so-called ‘Arab Spring’, the intention now is to expand its geographic area of influence to the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, including Jordan, so as to support these countries’ transition to open market economies and promote private enterprise. I support and welcome this expansion, as I already mentioned when the proposal to increase the EBRD’s share capital from EUR 20 billion to EUR 30 billion was adopted.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The goal of this Commission proposal is to extend the sphere of operations of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) into the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, as well as Jordan, so as to provide these countries with financial assistance. Since its establishment in 1990, the EBRD has assisted the Central and Eastern European countries in their transition towards open market-oriented economies and the promotion of private enterprise and entrepreneurial spirit. As such, the EBRD was an instrument serving one purpose: expanding and consolidating capitalist production relationships into Europe.

Now, following the Arab Spring, an unequivocal response from the EU is being demanded. The Commission has tabled this proposal, which constitutes part of the demanded political response. We advocate the establishment of cooperative relationships with the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, and measures to aid their development. These could include facilitating access to sources of funding that could support development boosting investment. However, we are not unaware of the more general context – clear from this report – of EU attempts to use the EBRD to interfere politically and economically in these countries, and to clear the way towards new and promising markets for European multinationals.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing.(SK) The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was established in 1990 to support the development of market economies from Central Europe to Central Asia following the widespread collapse of communist regimes. The European Union, together with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and all EU Member States at that time, were founding members. In response to the 2011 events in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region, in March 2011, the Commission and the High Representative presented a joint communication signalling the EU’s strong political and economic support for the region that included an option for extending the EBRD’s mandate to cover the countries of the Southern Neighbourhood. In its resolution of April 2011 on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy – Southern Dimension, the European Parliament invited the EBRD to change its statute in order to participate in the financial assistance process. As the Board of Governors of the EBRD voted in favour of the necessary amendments to the agreement establishing the EBRD, this will enable it to expand the EBRD’s region of operations to the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. In carrying out its activities in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region, the EBRD should be encouraged to continue its close engagement with the EU and to develop a close cooperation with the EIB and other European and international public financing institutions.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour because I think that extending the mandate of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development could aid development in the region and reduce migration to Europe from the countries concerned.

 
  
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  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. (HU) I voted in favour of the report because, similarly to its past role in Central and Eastern European countries, the EBRD’s renewed role could now be a decisive influence in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region. At that time, the aim of the bank was to facilitate the transition to a market economy after the collapse of communism, giving the countries concerned a chance for economic development and a new start. Today, its task is similar, as it now focuses on supporting countries which, after revolutionary sentiments and the fall of a regime, made similar commitments to the principles of multi-party democracy, pluralism and market economy. At the same time, the report is correct in pointing out that since there are major differences between the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region and Central and Eastern European countries in terms of their economic and political situations, the EBRD should follow a new approach and a new methodology which take sufficient account of the characteristics of the region. In respect of its new field of activities and methodology, the bank should be encouraged, in particular, to apply appropriate control to ensure that in addition to supporting the private sector, its activities also contribute, in line with Community policies and the Millennium Development Goals, to social justice, sustainable development, the eradication of poverty, the comprehensive protection of human rights and the implementation of international laws on environmental protection.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. (FR) The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, initially created to support the development of the market economies of Central Europe and Central Asia after the collapse of the communist regimes, has since had its mandate extended to the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean in order to support them during their transition to market economies and democracy. As a colegislator, the European Parliament was invited to give its opinion on the extension of the EBRD’s mandate. The Members thus voted in favour of a phased approach adapted to the special situation of the countries of the Mediterranean region. As a result, the EU representatives in the governing bodies of the EBRD should encourage the bank to take measures to promote social inclusion and energy efficiency as well as civic and human rights. Since the events of the Arab Spring, the EU has put in place a whole series of measures to support the economic and political reforms in the Eastern and Southern Mediterranean countries, where the situation is still fragile. This is therefore a new initiative that should be welcomed.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour because, in May 2011, the G8 leaders launched the Deauville Partnership to help the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean in their transition towards free, democratic and tolerant societies and called on the EBRD to extend its geographic scope in order to leverage its experience and support the transition of those countries to embrace the principles of multi-party democracy, pluralism and market economy. Bearing in mind the fragility of the economies of the new countries and the social inequalities which were one of the root causes of the turmoil of the Arab Spring, the representatives of the Union in the governing bodies of the EBRD should encourage the EBRD to broaden its focus on private sector development, in order also to contribute, through its financing, to the achievement of socially and environmentally sustainable societies, as elaborated in the relevant Millennium Development Goals. In particular, the representatives of the Union in the governing bodies of the EBRD should encourage the EBRD’s contribution to the transition towards energy-efficient, socially inclusive, open market economies, while taking into account the social, poverty, civil and human rights context.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) This report provides for the extension of the agreement establishing the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. This extension reflects the European Union’s strong support for the transition in those countries towards market economies and pluralistic societies. That transition was encouraged by the Arab Spring. I supported this report, which was adopted by the European Parliament by a large majority.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) Adopting a new, EU-level economic governance model is an essential step for lifting the entire continent from the mire of this crisis. Proposals like the ‘two-pack’, designed both to provide support and to ensure careful surveillance, offer real answers during the difficult period that we, together with 500 million other EU citizens, are going through at the moment. I voted in favour of this report because I think that legal protection for countries at risk of default is needed like never before. Furthermore, it works hand in hand with the proposal for economic surveillance, which must not be seen as a tout court restriction, but as a way to protect the economic and social interests of the entire European Union. Lastly, these initiatives cannot resolve the situation on their own. They must be accompanied by new, decisive EU-wide measures. Above all, we need to adopt policies that no longer signify austerity, but usher in growth and development, such as combating youth unemployment, which is a critical problem faced by our society and a barrier to genuine development.

 
  
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  Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D), in writing.(PL) Extending the geographical scope of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development operations is usually done for important economic and social reasons. We have just such a case here – support for democratic change in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. Extending the geographical scope of EBRD operations to this region will help create new opportunities for investment and development by offering assistance in selecting development strategy as well as by the provision of cofinancing. In spite of the crisis, the Union is in an incomparably better situation than the countries of this region. The help which is given, if it lives up to expectations, will also create new and better economic opportunities for the Union and will increase Europe’s popularity in the countries concerned.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) The upshot of the events which gave rise to the Arab Spring has been not only to bring democracy to the states in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, but also to provide the opportunity to initiate a dialogue and long-term cooperation with the European Union’s organisations, which cannot but benefit the relevant countries, with a view to their rapid, sustainable reconstruction. This is why including these countries within the operational scope of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will definitely facilitate the transition to an open market economy, as well as encourage cooperation with European Union Member States in various economic sectors, including the energy sector, which is of paramount importance in the current global context. On the other hand, I am concerned about the possible consequences which might result from extending the geographic scope of the EBRD’s operations, in particular, concerning disruption caused by various actions carried out by these states either fraudulently or with a lack of transparency, as the transition process from a closed communist regime to an open, democratic system is not easy or without its risks.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this report. The EBRD’s expansion to the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean is an expression of the Union’s and the international community’s support for the hopes, encouraged by the Arab Spring, of a transition in that region towards market economies and pluralistic democratic societies.

 
  
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  Barbara Matera (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of extending the scope of the activities of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, such as Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordon. These countries are crucially important in the preparation of investment projects to create inclusive markets for people and investment schemes for energy development and eco-sustainability, which will set a good example for other Arab countries.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development should be encouraged to undertake a tailored approach in each country, taking into consideration factors such as the revolutionary context, the role of extremist forces and the role of the military and the monarchic political structures.

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was created to assist Eastern and Central European countries of the former Soviet Union in the transition to a market economy in the wake of the collapse of the communist regimes. In contrast to other international multilateral banks, which require the mediation of national governments, the EBRD can invest directly in shareholdings, merchant banking and venture capital. Extending the EBRD’s mandate to the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean is, without doubt, in line with the events in that area in late 2011, commonly known as the Arab Spring. The EU cannot withdraw its support for the difficult transition under way and must use its own financial instruments to promote economic and social growth among the populations concerned.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The events and social convulsions that recently affected the African and Asian countries of the Mediterranean basin mean those countries need EU support. Adequate support for these countries is crucial, since they play an important role, not just politically, but also commercially. I therefore voted for this report aimed at expanding the activities of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing. (ES) This report proposes to extend the geographical scope of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) operations to the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean to provide these areas with financial assistance after the ‘Arab Spring’. Since its establishment, the EBRD has assisted countries in their transition towards market economies. I have abstained from the vote on this report because, although I agree with financial assistance for countries on the Mediterranean shoreline, I do not agree with the transition of these countries towards market economies, without also considering the democratic deficits and the social and environmental impact of projects financed by the EBRD, which focus on promoting market liberalism.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The objective of this proposed regulation is to extend the geographic scope of operations for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. The aim is to incorporate countries that are located on the Southern and Eastern shoreline of the Mediterranean and Jordan as well, as the country is closely related to the countries on the shoreline. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The task of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has so far been to provide the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and those in the Commonwealth of Independent States with financial support as they move towards a free market economy with private and entrepreneurial activity, focusing on the promotion of competition, privatisation and entrepreneurship. Consequently, capital has been used mainly to support banks, industrial enterprises and businesses, particularly start-ups. The financing is used to support the obtaining of cofinancing and direct foreign investment and to mobilise domestic capital. The investment is mainly in private enterprises, generally jointly with business partners. In addition, the bank provides technical partnership and cooperates with international financial institutions and with international and national organisations. I did not vote in favour of the report because I am of the view that the existing activities have already provided great incentives for fraud and expansion of the geographic scope of EBRD operations would therefore not be appropriate.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this proposal, which aims to extend the activities of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to some Mediterranean countries. The EBRD was originally created to aid the development and conversion of Eastern European countries which were leaving behind decades of the socialist economic model. It has to be said that it did quite well in this area, achieving satisfying results. Over the years, the scope of the EBRD’s activities has expanded quite significantly, covering many central Asian countries, right up to Mongolia.

It therefore seems more than sensible for the EBRD to be able to work in a number of countries much closer to home, where support could result in development and, meanwhile, act as a brake on future waves of migration. Of course, action needs to be accompanied by specific guarantees of transparency and of respect for well-defined rules, which are essential, particularly in this area, which is yet to be fully stabilised.

Lastly, the EBRD’s capital will not increase, with funds instead being reallocated from other areas that are much further from Europe and from our interests. That was a non-negotiable condition of our support of this initiative.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour. The EU actively seeks to help the countries of the Arab Spring maintain the direction and dynamics of economic and social reforms. Following the extension of the EBRD’s mandate to operate in the Mediterranean countries, we will have another instrument with which the EU will contribute to the realisation of these societies’ expectations. The experience gained by the EBRD while working in the transition period in Eastern European and Central Asian countries is valuable and can be adapted by establishing priority areas of action and the main risk. Particular attention should be paid to transparency, sustainability, promoting equal opportunities and reducing social exclusion.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was originally set up as a response to the great political and economic changes in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Since 1991, two years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the EBRD has assumed the task of supporting the transition to democratic pluralism and a market economy in Central and Eastern Europe and the successor states to the former Soviet Union. The EBRD finances investment projects in the private and public sectors. There are certainly serious points for criticism in some of the major countries where the bank does its work – for example, in Russia and Ukraine, but also in Hungary – and we must push for emphasis to be put on the mandate to promote democracy that is laid down in the statutes of the EBRD. It has not been possible to exclude existing incentives for fraud and corruption in its existing operations, which is why I did not vote in favour of expanding the geographic scope of EBRD operations.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) The role of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is to incentivise renewed economic and trade activities by rebuilding infrastructure and services where necessary. The EU must beware of the events in the countries of the Southern Mediterranean, which have historically been hugely important trade partners. These cross-border areas need fresh incentives for economic and socio-political growth in the wake of the Arab Spring. Europe’s interests are served by backing and assisting reconstruction and growth, by rebuilding the socio-economic fabric to help stimulate investment and prevent illegal immigration. That is why I approve of extending the geographic scope of the EBRD to the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Putting the experience of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development at the service of the transition of Mediterranean countries, thereby promoting multi-party democracy, pluralism and market economics, seems like a solution for the EU to contribute to progress and economic reconstruction in those countries. I voted for this report for that reason.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) In this report, the Commission throws its weight behind extending the geographic scope of the operations of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, so as to encourage the region’s countries to move towards market economies and pluralistic societies. First of all, the idea is for the EBRD to foster the transition towards open, market-oriented economies and to promote private enterprise and entrepreneurial spirit in the Central and Eastern European countries which are committed to and applying the principles of multi-party democracy, pluralism and market economics. It also advocates more intervention in the areas of energy efficiency, of the struggle against poverty and of human rights protection, so as to increase social cohesion. I therefore voted for this report.

 
  
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  Jean Roatta (PPE), in writing. (FR) On 30 September 2011, the Board of Governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) voted in favour of the necessary amendments to the agreement establishing the EBRD to enable it to expand its region of operations to the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. The report by Mr Binev explains that, in response to the political and economic situation in the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, the EBRD has developed a phased approach to the start of its activities. This report gives the European Union much more room for manoeuvre in its cooperation with the countries surrounding the Mediterranean. In fact, the EU representatives in the EBRD should encourage the bank to contribute to the transition towards open market economies by promoting social inclusion and energy efficiency, while taking into account the social, poverty, civil and human rights context. My work at European level has exactly the same goal: that of helping and supporting the Mediterranean countries during their democratic transitions following the wave of revolutions associated with the Arab Spring and during their political and economic transitions.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Against. The EU should be doing all within its power to support the promotion of democratic and economic change in North Africa but doing so through the outdated EBRD is the wrong approach to take. There are a number of institutions better placed to support change in the region, whether at European level – for example, the European Investment Bank (EIB) – or at international level – for example, the World Bank. We should be focusing on maximising the efficiency of our support through these existing institutions rather than creating multiple structures, which undermine the effectiveness of our aid. The EBRD is a fossil of a bygone era. It lacks any form of democratic scrutiny, unlike the EIB and the World Bank. It also has a record of supporting unsustainable projects in the countries in which it works, with recent evidence showing its support for projects promoting fossil fuels is increasing. For these reasons, the Greens opposed changing the mandate and believe EU governments should also rethink the proposals.

 
  
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  Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid (PPE), in writing. (FR) The extension of the mandate of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to the Mediterranean is, in my view, our response to the geostrategic revolution that has taken place in that region since 2011 and the Arab Spring. The EBRD was set up in 1991 after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet bloc, and its mandate has always been to support countries in their transition to market economies and democracies with a view to ensuring stability and security at the Union’s borders. Here, we need to take into account the upheaval in the Mediterranean countries in 2011 and help them to ensure lasting and safe transitions, like those experienced by the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. I therefore believe that it is absolutely essential, in adopting this report, to follow the example of the G8 and that of the EBRD’s 61 shareholders, who are all in favour of this extension to a new South. This new mandate will have economic, security and diplomatic benefits for both sides of the Mediterranean and will consolidate the EU’s role as a leading partner in the Mediterranean basin.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council to extend the geographic scope of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s operations to the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. The reason I did so was because I am in favour of opening up markets via the promotion of private and entrepreneurial initiative in the Central and Eastern European countries which are committed to and applying the principles of multi-party democracy.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The objective of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is ‘to foster the transition towards open market-oriented economies and to promote private and entrepreneurial initiative in the Central and Eastern European countries which are committed to and applying the principles of multi-party democracy, pluralism and market economics’. I am voting for this report, since I believe the EBRD should start operating in the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, in the same way as it currently does in Central and Eastern European countries. The intention is to support the efforts of more countries in their transition to open and market-oriented economies, and to promote private enterprise and entrepreneurship. I think expanding the EBRD’s regional activities symbolises European Union support for countries’ transition to a more democratic and pluralistic economy. However, we believe that, prior to any intervention, the EBRD should carry out a detailed technical evaluation of the extant economic and political conditions in the country in question, so as to maximise the financial aid it will make available.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the decision on amendments to the agreement establishing the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) extending the geographic scope of EBRD operations to the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. Since its establishment in 1991, the EBRD has assisted Central and Eastern European countries in their transition to an open market economy and in promoting private initiative and the entrepreneurial spirit. In response to the economic and political situation in the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, the EBRD has devised a gradual approach to initiating its activities, which will take into account the region’s specific features. This is why the geographic scope of the EBRD should also include the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean in order to promote similar objectives. EU representatives in the management bodies of the EBRD should encourage the EBRD to extend its activity for developing the private sector in order to contribute as well, through the financing it grants, to achieving a socially and environmentally sustainable society. The EBRD must be encouraged to contribute to the transition to an open market economy which is energy-efficient and socially inclusive, while also taking into account the social, civil and human rights situation.

 
  
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  Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE), in writing. – Speaking as a European and Mediterranean Member of the European Parliament, the extension of the geographic scope of the EBRD to the southern and eastern part of the Mediterranean is more than welcome. Given the work that has been done by the EBRD and the need to enhance economically this geostrategically important part of the south and east of the continent, continuing the work should be a priority for everyone, as it is for me. Giving the opportunity to those countries to better reach the socio-economic levels that we have achieved in the western part of Europe will also bring more stability to Europe as a whole and, last but not least, more coherence to our Mediterranean policy.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) Extending the financial support instruments established to help the countries of Eastern Europe to the countries of the Southern Mediterranean may seem like a good idea. However, in this instance, doing so for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) can only be cause for concern. The approach of that financial institution is very clear: ‘transition towards open market economies and the promotion of private and entrepreneurial initiative’. We have seen the economic and social results of that approach in the countries of Eastern Europe, including those countries that are now EU Member States. That is the approach that we want to impose on the Southern countries, but I have persistently spoken out against it, using the example of Tunisia in particular. Forcing those countries to adopt ultraliberal approaches that have proved to be so pernicious in our Member States is the best way to shatter the hope generated by the what are known as the Arab Spring revolutions, which were driven by social demands. That is why I voted against this report.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The recent social turmoil that has affected the African and Asian countries on the Mediterranean have made it necessary for the European Union to provide proper support to those countries that play an important role in terms of political stability as well as trade. Accordingly, I voted in favour of Mr Binev’s report, which proposes to extend the activities of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to Mediterranean countries, such as Jordan, allowing local populations to enjoy benefits that have long been denied them.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The goal of this Commission proposal is to extend the sphere of operations of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, as well as Jordan, so as to provide these countries with financial assistance following the so-called Arab Spring, and it states that this means a ‘strong political and economic support of the EU to the region’. We argue that this support should be given within a framework of solidarity, the objectives of which should be the independent and sovereign development of the supported countries, and not EU political interference in those countries. As such, we do not support the report’s premises advocating detailed analysis of the political and economic conditions of the country in question, ‘including possible transition gaps in that country’s commitment to the principles of multi-party democracy, pluralism and market economics’.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0303/2012

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because it stresses that the EU budget is an investment budget with a strong leverage effect, given that 94% of its appropriations are dedicated to stimulating economic growth and jobs, making it a very strong tool for increasing strategic investment with European added value and putting the European economy back on track. The EU budget now plays an even more crucial role, since it makes a major contribution to national budgets for recovery from problems, on the path to consolidation.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. It will be impossible to meet either the EU’s political goals or the Europe 2020 strategy, which is supposed to help the Union recover from the crisis and create jobs, without adequate financing from the EU budget. It is very important for the EU budget to show an appropriate balance between revenue from genuine own resources and expenditure and I therefore believe that the European Parliament is not prepared to give its consent to the next MFF regulation without political agreement on reform of the own-resources system. I welcome the proposals to enhance budgetary flexibility across headings, as well as between financial years within the MFF, and thus ensure that budgetary resources can be appropriately aligned with evolving circumstances and EU priorities. I believe that before the Council formally submits its proposals, the European Parliament and the Council should negotiate their political positions.

 
  
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  Bastiaan Belder (EFD), in writing. (NL) The Commission is proposing to increase the EU budget for the 2014-2020 period compared to the current budgetary framework, in view of the crisis, among other factors. Moreover, Parliament wants to have its own resources so that it is less dependent on Member State contributions. These measures are based on two misconceptions. Economic growth is not for sale. In addition, Parliament thinks that money does not need to be earned before it can be spent. Economic growth can only be facilitated by creating the right conditions.

A healthy economic structure and reforms are indispensable. As long as they are missing, EU measures will not encourage growth sustainably. In the Council, moreover, there is a chasm between net contributors and net recipients, who also call themselves the Cohesion Group, which, I understand, the President of the Commission, Mr Barroso, has joined. I would ask the Commission to adopt a more neutral position in this matter.

Incidentally, this raises the question of whether the EU is capable of dealing responsibly with new economic powers and budgetary matters. A Union that claims to be representing its citizens is unreliable if it proposes to increase the EU budget at a time of drastic cuts in the capitals.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The European Union’s budget is an investment budget; let us all be clear on that. The Union is not in deficit: the budget plays – or should play – a vital role in implementing this investment strategy that we strongly advocate. I therefore supported this resolution on the EU’s own resources because, in the budget negotiations on the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), it is extremely important for Parliament to speak with a strong, united voice on the new system of own resources that is to be established. We stress here that Parliament will not give its consent to the MFF unless there is agreement on own resources, with an end to rebates and other correction mechanisms, in order to ensure a more transparent, fair and sustainable budget. We are determined to make the EU budget an instrument for investment and growth, and we are prepared to make full use of our power of codecision to that end.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament resolution because, pursuant to Article 311 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Union must provide itself with the means necessary to attain its objectives and carry through its policies, and its budget is to be financed wholly from own resources. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for the creation of new and genuine own resources. Pursuant to Article 312(2) TFEU, the Council is required to adopt a regulation laying down the multiannual financial framework (MFF), acting unanimously, after obtaining the consent of Parliament. The European Union budget’s appropriations are dedicated to stimulating economic growth and creating jobs as well as promoting the EU’s role as a global actor. However, it needs to be stressed that the European Union budget is an investment budget with a strong leverage effect. Despite its limited size, the EU budget pools resources, acts as a catalyst and provides economies of scale and cross-border effects to achieve commonly agreed EU political objectives. Furthermore, the EU budget represents a very strong tool to increase strategic investment with European added value and put the European economy back on track, generating growth and employment while aiming to foster economic and social cohesion throughout the Union.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – It is astonishing that while Brussels creates legislation to bind Member States’ spending to tight austerity measures, the call from the Commission is for an ever increasing budget. Nobody is as nonsensical to presume that an increasing EU budget will toll heavily upon national deficits, adding to the very government spending Brussels is demanding be reduced by cutting public sector jobs and services. As a result, people’s lives are deteriorating, in some Member States at an astonishing rate, while the EU builds up financial buffers to be able to swoop in and hand out golden envelopes to struggling nations and by doing so, coerce the general population to perceive the EU as not only a good institution, but a vital one. The raft of legislation being written up in Brussels at the moment is perpetuating the financial crisis for the sake of a Brussels power grab. Whoever has the money has the power. What about slashing the EU budget and, in doing so, cutting the vast contributions made by Member States? To afford the EU’s dreams of becoming a super state and world power, the ability to raise revenue must also be ascribed, despite under the treaties, the EU budget is obligated to be ‘financed wholly from own resources’.

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt and Anna Ibrisagic (PPE), in writing. (SV) We Swedish Conservatives today voted against the joint resolution on the multiannual financial framework and own resources. In the resolution, Parliament expresses its support for a financial transaction tax, a new EU VAT and new own resources for the EU as one of the cornerstones for the financing of the next long-term budget. Own resources involve the taxation of citizens. If the EU is granted the right to set taxes, the balance of power between the Member States and the EU will change. We do not want to transfer Sweden’s right of taxation to a majority in the Council and the European Parliament. The EU can meet its commitments, fulfil its new areas of responsibility and, at the same time, create the conditions for jobs and growth by prioritising. More money for the EU in the form of own resources, transaction taxes and new VAT is not a strategy that will help Europe out of the crisis, nor is it the right way to finance the EU’s next long-term budget.

 
  
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  Emer Costello (S&D), in writing. – One of the main conclusions of the 2010 National Economic and Social Council (NESC) report ‘Re-finding Success in Europe’ was that Europe’s success in achieving its core goals was of ‘critical importance’ to Ireland’s sustainable economic and social development. In short, when Europe succeeds, Ireland succeeds. We have to ensure that the EU budget gives us the means to achieve the targets set in the EU 2020 strategy, such as raising the employment rate to 75% and reducing the numbers at risk of poverty by 20 million. The EU budget currently equals just 1% of Member States’ GNI. Those who argue it should be frozen or reduced, and who oppose efforts to introduce new revenue streams, should spell out which EU policies they would cut – CAP, regional aid, education support, development aid, etc.? The treaties state that the EU budget must be ‘financed wholly from own resources’. There are very important issues, including for Ireland, to be addressed but the proposed reforms of the current system, such as by introducing a FTT, could help reduce Member States’ contributions from 75% to 40% by 2020, saving Ireland approximately EUR 500 million annually. These proposals deserve serious consideration.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) I think that the European Union budget must strike an appropriate balance between own resources relating to the multiannual financial framework and expenditure as required by the Treaty, thereby supporting the consolidation efforts made by Member States.

 
  
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  Cornelis de Jong (GUE/NGL), in writing. – I cannot support the resolution on the multiannual financial framework and own resources as it gives credence to the austerity agenda in the Member States. Furthermore, I cannot support its call for an increase in the EU’s own resources, which are aimed at reducing the share of Member State-based contributions, as this will diminish the democratic accountability of the EU as well as the redistributive nature of the financing system.

My decision was, consequently, to vote against the resolution. However, I support Parliament’s role in the process and my vote does not in any way constitute support for the Council’s proposal.

 
  
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  Luigi Ciriaco De Mita (PPE), in writing. (IT) A local authority has the utmost political autonomy when it achieves total control on tax matters, and therefore has total economic and financial control over deciding its budget. Unfortunately, the serious delay in achieving this level of autonomy is particularly clear with regard to the agreement on the multiannual financial framework. During this very process, European and pro-European ambitions and responsibilities clash with the selfishness of the Member States, resulting in increased national and nationalist sentiment. It is regrettable that the political mentality that always made the common European interest a priority has been lost, replaced by an accountant’s mentality where what is given to the European budget and what is received nationally under ‘community’ policies are continually set off against one another. The EU will only reach its full political potential by boosting its powers on budgets and taxing genuine own resources, including through eurobonds and a financial transaction tax, and boosting its resources, so that they are suited to meet the challenges and political objectives that it aims to pursue and achieve. It seems to me that this joint resolution is heading in that direction.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) Today, the European Parliament stated that it was not prepared to give its consent to the next regulation on the multiannual financial framework (2014-2020) ‘without political agreement on reform of the own resources system, putting an end to existing rebates and other correction mechanisms and leading to more transparency, fairness and sustainability’. That is, in essence, the warning we have sent to the Council with the adoption of a resolution on the EU’s multiannual financial framework and own resources. I fully support that message. I also reiterated my call for a robust EU budget for the 2014-2020 period. We must not forget that the EU budget is an investment budget with a strong leverage effect, given that 94% of its appropriations are dedicated to stimulating economic growth and jobs and the Union’s role as a global actor. The EU budget plays, and must continue to play, a strategic role, in parallel with the budgetary consolidation measures currently imposed on national budgets.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of this resolution as I think that the European Union needs a substantial budget for the 2014-2020 period, befitting the increasingly ambitious objectives which it is also assuming and, in particular, given the Europe 2020 strategy. Against the backdrop of the economic and financial crisis, the European Union is increasingly in need of investment and inclusive social policies. This is why it is important that the next financial framework makes an important contribution to these objectives and, in particular, provides a suitable budget for the cohesion policy. At the same time, the European Union must readjust its budget towards attracting more own resources, especially by introducing a financial transaction tax.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the resolution on the multiannual financial framework and own resources because I believe it is only with a robust EU budget that Europe will be able to overcome the crisis and achieve its growth and jobs targets. I think an agreement on the upcoming multiannual financial framework 2014-2020 also needs to provide for a reform of the own resources system that includes a proposal on the financial transaction tax.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Taking the current financial, economic and social situation in the EU into due consideration, it is increasingly necessary that the institutions respond with responsibility and moderation to the requirements of the extremely serious situation we are experiencing, and that they employ rigorous budgetary management procedures with a view to making savings. It is important to note, however, that the EU budget has an important leverage effect on the European economy, since 94% of its appropriations are used to stimulate the economy and create jobs, so it is essential to the much-needed relaunch of the European economy, in parallel with the Member States’ budgetary consolidation. It is also essential to make better use of EU funds by achieving more efficient management and less wastage.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This motion for a resolution was tabled by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance and the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left, following the statements by the representatives of the Council and the Commission pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure, and concerns the multiannual financial framework (MFF) and own resources. On 8 June 2011, in line with the Europe 2020 strategy, the European Parliament adopted a resolution entitled Investing in the future: a new multiannual financial framework (MFF) for a competitive, sustainable and inclusive Europe. Part IV, entitled ‘Organisation and structure of the financial framework: A structure to reflect priorities’, mentions the structure of the next MFF, which should ‘facilitate both planning continuity and flexibility within and between headings, and avoid the failures of the current MFF, particularly with regard to shortfalls in subheading 1a ‘Competitiveness for Growth and Employment’, subheading 3b ‘Citizenship’ and heading 4 ‘External relations’’. I voted for this motion for a resolution since it uses various directives and initiatives, such as the ‘six-pack’ and the ‘two-pack’, to orient the next MFF towards growth and jobs, and proposes a genuine system of own resources by creating a financial transaction tax.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This resolution insists that ‘political positions agreed by the European Council be negotiated between Parliament and the Council [...] before the Council formally submits its proposals with a view to obtaining Parliament’s consent on the [multiannual financial framework] regulation’. This is how Parliament normally does things: proving it is still alive, but then resigning itself to its also normal role of simply echoing what the Council says. It also legitimises the barbaric so-called austerity measures implemented in several countries, such as Portugal, against which we are struggling. It reiterates its faith in the neoliberal Europe 2020 strategy, which we reject and are fighting. It supports and reiterates the political priorities of the European Parliament report on the financial perspective 2014-2020, against which we voted. It praises the EU budget and its priorities, which we rejected and to which we proposed alternatives. It advocates a 40% cut in the Member States’ contributions based on their gross national income by 2020, which we consider unacceptable because it jeopardises the budget’s redistributive role. These constitute more than enough reason to vote against.

 
  
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  Mikael Gustafsson (GUE/NGL), in writing. – I cannot support the resolution on the multiannual financial framework and own resources as it gives credence to the austerity agenda in the Member States. Furthermore, I cannot support its call for an increase in the EU’s own resources, which is aimed at reducing the share of Member State-based contributions, as this will diminish the democratic accountability of the EU as well as the redistributive nature of the financing system. My decision was consequently to vote against the resolution. However, I support Parliament’s role in the process and my vote is not in any way a support for the Council’s proposal.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) In the context of the negotiations on the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) 2014-2020, as a Member of the European Parliament, I joined with my colleagues to send a strong message to the Council: Parliament is not prepared to give its consent to the next MFF regulation without political agreement on reform of the own resources system. Of course, Parliament’s room for manoeuvre in this area is very restricted. To meet the challenges of economic recovery, however, it is crucial for the European Union to equip itself with a solid budget, which implies, in particular, a 5% increase in the Community budget in respect of the 2013 amount. We also call on the Council to respect Parliament’s codecision powers for sectoral policies.

 
  
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  Anna Hedh, Olle Ludvigsson, Jens Nilsson, Marita Ulvskog and Åsa Westlund (S&D), in writing. (SV) We believe that the EU budget needs to have sufficient resources to be able to finance the commitments that have been decided upon. At the same time, we would like to emphasise that the EU ought, as far as possible, to have an attitude of restraint and provide these resources by means of redistribution within the existing EU budget. We would prefer to see the agricultural budget reduced in favour of the priorities of research and development, conversion to green energy, regional development, etc. set out in the Europe 2020 strategy.

We also believe that it is very important to improve the efficiency of the EU’s administrative expenditure, and one way of doing this is to increase the transparency of the process for distributing and using this expenditure.

We are open to a reform of the current rebate system – which is enormously complicated – if this reform contributes to greater transparency and provided that Sweden is not disadvantaged. We do not believe that this should be made conditional upon approval of a new long-term budget, however. Neither do we believe that new own resources should be introduced. However, a change in this system does not give the EU a direct right of taxation; the Treaty does not provide for any such competence for the Union. Any change to the own resources system also requires the approval of all Member States in order for it to enter into force.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) The EU needs a solid budget to attain its political and economic objectives. I supported the resolution on the multiannual financial framework, adopted by 541 votes for, 100 against and 36 abstentions. In this resolution, Parliament insists that the 2014-2020 budgetary framework provides enhanced budgetary flexibility in order to ensure that budgetary resources can be properly aligned with evolving circumstances and priorities. I therefore voted against the resolutions proposed at the same time by the European Conservatives and Reformists (EDR) and the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group (EFD), which did not meet this objective.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted against this resolution as I do not believe that an FTT should be used for own resources.

 
  
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  Barbara Matera (PPE), in writing. (IT) The EU budget is a powerful tool for increasing European strategic investments that can boost growth and employment, as well as give impetus to the Union’s economic development and social cohesion. In order for that to be possible, we need adequate appropriations for the period 2014-2020 and to uphold, during negotiations with the Council, the guidelines set out at the SURE Committee meeting of last June. The new multiannual financial framework (MFF) will have to be flexible as time goes on, so that it can be used to respond quickly to unexpected crises and to channel resources where they are most needed.

I do not think Parliament should approve the MFF without a proper political agreement on the introduction of a budget funding system based on own resources, as per the Treaty of Lisbon. Otherwise, how would we explain to the people of Europe that the institutions do not respect the content of the Treaties?

 
  
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  Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this resolution because we cannot allow Europe’s governments to freeze Parliament completely out of the negotiations for the financial perspective 2014-2020. In this unprecedented crisis, when it is essential to reaffirm solidarity, the European Council is singing from the same austerity hymn sheet. In this resolution, Parliament advocates its full right to participate in negotiations; it demands an increased European budget, which should help the countries in greatest difficulties and should create more and better jobs. Parliament reiterates its desire to do away with the major Member States’ under-the-table deals, putting an end to the ‘correction mechanisms’ and ‘rebates’ of the United Kingdom and others. We need a financial transaction tax that obliges those who caused the crisis to start paying for it. What we do not need is austerity, euphemistically called ‘budgetary consolidation’ in this resolution. What we do not need is to reduce the Member States’ contributions to the European budget. What we need is more Europe; more solidarity.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this resolution. The EU’s budget must show an appropriate balance between revenue from genuine own resources and expenditure as required by the Treaty. It is right not to approve the regulation that sets the next multiannual financial framework in the absence of a political agreement on reform of the own resources system, putting an end to existing rebates and other correction mechanisms and leading to more transparency, fairness and sustainability.

 
  
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  Kyriakos Mavronikolas (S&D), in writing. (EL) The EU needs a strong budget if it is to attain its political objectives. The long-term budget should be flexible enough to deal with the new challenges and contributions from national funds should be replaced by other forms of financing. The framework of the 2014-2020 budget should provide ‘enhanced budgetary flexibility both within and across headings, as well as between financial years within the MFF, in order to ensure that budgetary resources can be appropriately aligned with evolving circumstances and priorities’. The lack of flexibility in the current system has made it extremely difficult to deal with new challenges. The smaller the budget, the greater the need for reallocation of resources to address unforeseen events.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of the final text of this report. However, I abstained on Paragraph 3 – split votes 3, 4 & 5 – which refer to proposals by the Commission on the issue of an EU own resources system, including a financial transaction tax (FTT) and a new EU VAT system, since taxation policy matters are a Member State competence.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) It has always been the EU’s goal to achieve the best possible living conditions for its 500 million citizens. Achieving that requires an innovative budget concerned with the new realities of globalisation. Following the crisis, Europe’s governments, businesses and families are more sensitive to how their money is spent. The European Union must do the same through the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020, carefully choosing where to cut and where to invest for future growth.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – EU budget does not fulfil its intended purpose as an investment budget with a strong leverage effect; under 45% of the budgeted spend falls under heading 1, sustainable growth, with the remainder being earmarked for other purposes which have little to do with strategic investment in Europe. The EU 2020 strategy has been set as a substantial objective to support sustainable growth, competitiveness and employment in Europe and was approved by the 27 Member States, but the failure of the Lisbon Strategy on which it is based does not lend any credibility for the EU 2020 strategy.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) We do not need an inflated EU budget, particularly not one funded by EU taxpayers, which is completely lacking in any awareness of the need for austerity measures, which will bring about a further increase in the Brussels bureaucracy and which will rob the net contributors of their last pennies. In the countries that are fighting to avoid state bankruptcy, the people are having to make great sacrifices. The citizens of the net contributors, too, have had to tighten their belts as a result of having had to finance the various pointless excessive rescue efforts from their national budgets. In this difficult situation, the multiannual financial framework proposed is obscene. While potential savings remain ignored, I can only reject the multiannual financial framework in the strongest possible terms.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) At present, the structure of the European Union budget is particularly complicated. I therefore agree entirely that it should be simplified as much as possible. It is also crucial to abandon exceptions that have come about for historical reasons because, with the change in both the size of the EU and the degree of integration, they are basically no longer relevant. It is important for the instruments introduced recently to be universal. For instance, the tax on financial transactions will only achieve its goals if it is applied throughout the European Union. On the other hand, any clauses must be based on objective criteria. For example, when determining the cost of collecting own resources, the increased customs administration costs faced by Member States with external EU borders should be taken into account.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) It is unacceptable for the European Union to demand that each of its Member States reduce its deficits and spending, while at the same time proposing an increased budget. While the Member States are instructed to make cuts in every area and to lower their budget deficits accordingly, the European Commission wants to increase the 2013 budget by 6.8%. There is no question that this must be rejected. Even if a lot of money is supposed to flow back into the countries through programmes to promote growth and new infrastructure projects, the Commission’s plans do not exactly show it to be willing to make cuts. I can quite understand the criticism levelled by some countries, those that are absolutely against this, who say that their own contribution to the EU budget is too high. We all have to make cuts and keep our budgets in order, and it is therefore unacceptable for the EU bureaucracy to become even more inflated and for even more spending to arise. Calling for budget increases in this difficult situation is not beneficial, which is why I, too, voted against the multiannual financial framework.

 
  
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  Wojciech Michał Olejniczak (S&D), in writing.(PL) In fighting to overcome the financial crisis, the European Union should show solidarity in the way it invests, and the costs of this investment should be borne collectively. These two factors are inextricably linked. The fact that the resolution stresses the investment-oriented nature of the EU budget is extremely important. Despite the fact that the EU budget constitutes barely 2% of all public spending in the Union’s 27 Member States, it translates into significant levels of development within the Union (94% of the money from the EU budget is used for stimulating economic growth) and a stronger position at world level.

I also welcome the fact that Parliament is trying hard to allocate the appropriate resources to pay for cohesion policy – policy which is crucial from the point of view of our country – and infrastructure projects. On the other hand, it is also important that the costs of running the EU are borne collectively. Therefore, it is important that the resolution has emphasised the need for a sustainable budget by reforming the own resources system, ending all ‘rebates’ and exceptions, and increasing the flexibility and transparency of the way money is spent. In view of these aspects of the resolution, I decided to vote for its adoption. I welcome the fact that the European Parliament has united to issue an unequivocal statement on the European Union budget.

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing. (ET) I supported the joint resolution by five groups in the European Parliament on the multiannual financial framework and own resources, considering the need for a more transparent and flexible financial framework and genuine new own resources. I therefore also supported proposals that emphasised the need to create new own resources, for instance, a financial transaction tax, in order to develop the European economy and our common welfare. It is altogether fair and necessary to introduce this tax, given that the financial sector, which was one of the main causes of the financial crisis, has received significant state support to overcome the effects of the financial crisis but has not contributed enough towards that objective itself. I believe that it is extremely important and elementary that the objectives and policy areas of the multiannual financial framework should be agreed upon before resources are allocated to them. The European Parliament and Council should also hold negotiations regarding all matters connected with the multiannual financial framework in order to achieve a comprehensive agreement.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this motion for a resolution because I, too, believe the goals and policies of the multiannual financial framework (MFF) should be agreed before figures are assigned to them, and that Parliament and the Council should hold fully fledged negotiations on all MFF-related issues prior to assigning figures and making final adjustments to the entire MFF package.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) The resolution adopted today proposes a flexible multiannual budget to tackle new challenges and the replacement of national contributions with other types of resources to fund the Union’s budget. The lack of flexibility in the current system makes it very difficult to react quickly to new challenges. The lower the budget, the greater the need to be able to redistribute resources to deal with unexpected events.

According to the Treaties, the EU budget should be completely funded by own resources. This House believes that reforming the current system and adding new sources of funding, such as a financial transaction tax or a new EU VAT regime, would reduce the share of Member States’ gross national income-based contributions to the EU budget from 75% to 40% by 2020. We are not prepared to approve the regulation that sets the next multiannual financial framework in the absence of a political agreement on reform of the own resources system, putting an end to existing rebates and other correction mechanisms.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The European Union needs a solid budget to attain its political and economic objectives. By voting in favour of this resolution, this is the message I would like to send to the Council, which will shortly debate the EU 2014-2020 draft budgetary framework. In my view, there should be enhanced budgetary flexibility, both within and across headings, as well as between financial years. That would mean that budgetary resources can be appropriately aligned with the evolving circumstances and priorities. Furthermore, the EU budget should be financed by alternative sources of income from, in particular, a proportion of the revenues from a tax on financial transactions or even a European VAT. As the text of the resolution says, without political agreement on the own resources of the EU budget, Parliament is not prepared to give its consent to the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) regulation. Finally, what I would particularly like to see is for the Council to recognise fully the role of Parliament as codecider in these negotiations and to act accordingly. Parliament is determined to make its voice heard and the Council should be ready for this.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. (ES) I voted in favour. Daniel Cohn-Bendit has made it clear that without an increase in the EU budget and its own resources, none of the speeches on political sovereignty have any worth. The current banking, economic and political crisis requires an even more European approach, but a democratic Europe that can apply policies to reactivate the economy. It is therefore essential that the EU budget reflects the true willingness of political, fiscal and banking union. We, the Group of the Greens, request that the EU budgets have their own line of funding through elements such as taxes on financial transactions, on carbon and on mobile telephony. Through these three taxes, the EU’s own resources would increase by EUR 40 billion or EUR 50 billion and policies for growth and job creation could therefore be implemented.

 
  
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  Kârlis Ðadurskis (PPE), in writing. – The EP adopted resolution on the multiannual financial framework and own resources sends a clear signal to the EU leaders before their first discussion of the 2014-2020 budgetary plan. The EU budget is a very strong and strategic tool to put the European economy back on track and to meet the political ambitions of the EU; however, the budgetary consolidation measures currently imposed on national budgets must be taken into account. Therefore, I welcome the proposals on the reform of the own-resources system as they are aimed at reducing the share of Member States’ GNI-based contributions to the EU budget from 75% to 40% by 2020, thereby contributing to the consolidation efforts of Member States. The next long-term budget should as well provide greater flexibility to cope adequately with evolving challenges and priorities amongst the financial years within the MFF.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Europe 2020 strategy was primarily created to promote sustainable growth, competitiveness and employment in Europe, and was adopted in order to deal with the current economic and financial crisis that Europe has been suffering since 2008. In order to achieve optimal results for sustainable growth and development on the ground, solidarity and cohesion, priority should be given to the improvement of synergies between all funds of the EU budget that have an impact on economic development. By voting in favour, I therefore voice the need to harmonise the use of funds assigned to the Europe 2020 strategy, so that it is transparent and ensures coherence between its objectives and the funds allotted to it at national and EU level. This means that it must strike a good balance between revenues and expenditure, while leaving space for flexible management given the unpredictability of how the world might change.

 
  
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  Søren Bo Søndergaard (GUE/NGL), in writing. (DA) I voted against the motion for a resolution on the multiannual financial framework and own resources as the report supports the slash and burn policies in the Member States of the EU that hit ordinary workers. What is more, I do not support the EU budget being funded by own resources by means of an EU levy on goods (VAT) or a tax on financial transactions. Own resources would limit the democratic control of the EU’s budgets and limit the redistribution of resources from rich to poor regions. I support a version of a tax on financial transactions – the so-called Robin Hood tax – where the income goes to the Member States to support the funding of welfare and to combating climate change and poverty in developing countries. I also support Parliament’s role in the process, and my vote in no way represents support for the Council’s proposal.

 
  
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  Alda Sousa (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this resolution because we cannot allow Europe’s governments to freeze Parliament completely out of the negotiations for the financial perspective 2014-2020. In this unprecedented crisis, when it is essential to reaffirm solidarity, the European Council is singing from the same austerity hymn sheet. In this resolution, Parliament advocates its full right to participate in negotiations; it demands an increased European budget, which should help the countries in greatest difficulties and should create more and better jobs. Parliament reiterates its desire to do away with the major Member States’ under-the-table deals, putting an end to the ‘correction mechanisms’ and ‘rebates’ of the United Kingdom and others. We need a financial transaction tax that obliges those who caused the crisis to start paying for it. What we do not need is austerity, euphemistically called ‘budgetary consolidation’ in this resolution. What we do not need is to reduce the Member States’ contributions to the European budget. What we need is more Europe; more solidarity.

 
  
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  Alf Svensson (PPE), in writing. (SV) The EU budget should be used for something that can provide European added value. That is one of the cornerstones of the work on the budget, and it is also this that should guide the distribution of the common funds that are available to the Union. So far so good. Unfortunately, the resolution also contains passages that I am unable to support to the same degree. They concern the welcoming of the financial transaction tax, which I am certain will be damaging for Sweden and Europe, and new own resources for the EU. Far too often, own resources mean a tax that is to be paid directly into the EU budget. More money for the EU in the form of own resources is not automatically an approach that will help Europe out of trouble and difficulties. Neither does it seem reasonable, in the context of the EU budget, to disregard the difficult economic considerations and problems of – very many – individual nations. Despite what I see as very problematic wordings, I chose to vote in favour of the resolution.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this resolution because I believe the European Union budget 2014-2020 is still demonstrating its rigour. The overall amount proposed for the next seven years is EUR 1.025 trillion, or 1.05% of the EU’s gross national income (GNI), in commitment appropriations, and EUR 972.2 billion, 1% of the EU’s GNI, in appropriations. It is important to stress that the budget is geared towards realising the Europe 2020 strategy, and that around 94% of financial appropriations are geared towards supporting growth and jobs, in particular, the EUR 336 billion spent on cohesion policy and the EUR 80 billion spent on research and innovation. The EUR 50 billion Connecting Europe Facility will be extremely important in financing cross-border projects in the energy, transport and information technology sectors, while the EUR 19 billion for the Erasmus for All proposal demonstrates that the European Union is concerned about the future for new generations. Finally, I should like to re-emphasise how important it is that the new own resources – VAT and financial transaction tax – be approved, which will enable a 40% reduction in the Member States’ contributions to the European budget by 2020.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the European Parliament resolution on the multiannual financial framework and own resources. I voted for paragraph 3, which states that Parliament insists that the EU budget should strike an appropriate balance between own resources and expenditure as required by the Treaty. The next multiannual financial framework (MFF) cannot be adopted without political agreement on reform of the own resources system, putting an end to existing rebates and the other correction mechanisms and leading to greater transparency, fairness and sustainability. We welcome the legislative proposals drafted by the Commission on 29 June 2011 on the reform of the own resources system, including the proposal on a financial transaction tax (FTT) and a new EU VAT as own resources. These measures are aimed at reducing the share of Member States’ GDP-based contributions to the EU budget to 40% by 2020, thereby contributing to the consolidation efforts made by Member States. I voted against Amendment 4, which removes from the text the section which insists on the principle of unity as part of the EU budget, stressing that all EU policies and programmes should be included in the MFF with appropriate funding, thereby contributing to transparency, predictability and accountability.

 
  
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  Rafał Trzaskowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) Parliament’s emphasis on the principle of ‘nothing is decided until everything is decided’ is a response to the Council’s attempts to make decisions about the EU’s long-term budget in a way which challenges Parliament’s prerogatives. In the case of Poland – because Parliament is well-disposed to Poland – it is simply dangerous.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – Economic recovery and investment in jobs and growth must be the priority for the next multiannual financial framework. The EU budget needs sufficient resources if the EU 2020 strategy is to succeed. If Europe is to emerge from the crisis, the main focus should be job creation, and smart and sustainable growth as well as economic and social cohesion. I also believe that the EU budget needs a degree of flexibility in order to deal with unexpected situations and I reiterate the call made in this resolution to increase flexibility in the next MFF. However, I was not able to give my full support to this resolution due to two issues. Firstly, although I fully support an FTT, I do not think we should be committing this revenue to EU own resources at this stage. Secondly, I cannot support scrapping the UK rebate without a firm promise that there will be serious reform of the common agricultural policy. For these reasons, I decided to vote against the resolution as a whole.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) The multiannual financial framework, also known as ‘financial perspectives’, sets a medium-term programme for the Union’s main budgetary priorities. In that sense, it is a key element. However, this motion for a resolution on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) stresses that ‘the EU budget needs to play a strategic role, in parallel with the budgetary consolidation measures currently imposed on national budgets’ (B7-0303/2012, paragraph 1), thus legitimising austerity measures. Even though the austerity policies imposed by the European Union have been undermining economies and social structures, the text submitted to the vote of Parliament dares to claim that ‘94% [of EU appropriations] are dedicated to stimulating economic growth and jobs and the EU’s role as a global actor’ (ibid). Worse still, even though the Council is constantly checkmating the European Parliament in budgetary powers, this text merely asks for ‘the political positions agreed by the European Council [to] be negotiated between Parliament and the Council’ (paragraph 5). I therefore voted against this resolution, which supports the austerity policies that destroy the peoples of Europe.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – EU funding should be reformed by creating a TFF and a European VAT. If reforms are carried out, the contributions of Member States could be reduced by between 40 and 75%. The EP stated its position on its resolution 8 June 2011 and called for efforts against freezing or reducing the budget and asked to identify clear priorities or political projects which could be dispensed with altogether, despite its European added value to overcome the current crisis (EU budget is needed to create growth vs. austerity).

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The point of the European Union is to provide an ‘added value’ for its 500 million citizens. To achieve this, it needs an innovative budget that is in line with the new reality of globalisation and that meets the challenges of today by creating opportunities for tomorrow. In the wake of the crisis, European governments, businesses and families are being very careful as to how they spend their money. As such, the European Union is required to do the same through the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020, taking a close look at where to make cuts and where to invest in order to drive future growth.

 
  
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  Zbigniew Ziobro (EFD), in writing.(PL) During this very serious crisis, the European Union needs to improve the tools which are of most importance for the Union’s function. This is why it is so important to increase spending on cohesion policy in the new budget for 2014-2020. Cohesion policy enables us to maintain the emphasis on partnership and investment in the EU budget. The increased amounts allocated in this budget will be a positive stimulus for the EU economies and a clear signal that the EU has stopped treating the central and western parts of Europe differently. The budget should be financed by Member States’ contributions and the proceeds of a financial transaction tax. I do not agree with the introduction of an EU climate tax or to the proposals for a rise in the price of greenhouse gas emission quotas established for industrial entities. During a crisis, placing an additional burden on industry is like walking a tightrope across a precipice blindfolded.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This resolution is founded on the goal of demanding that ‘political positions agreed by the European Council be negotiated between Parliament and the Council [...] before the Council formally submits its proposals with a view to obtaining Parliament’s consent on the [multiannual financial framework] regulation’. While this position may be important, we are bound to disagree with establishing as its basis the report by the Special Committee on Policy Challenges and Budgetary Resources for a Sustainable European Union after 2013 – which proposed freezing the EU budget until 2020 – and with reforming the own-resources system with a view to reducing national contributions to the EU budget, to legitimising ‘budgetary consolidation’, otherwise known as austerity policies, and to recommending the Europe 2020 strategy as one of the ways out of the crisis.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0278/2012

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) According to the European Commission, ‘The European Union has a small budget, but with a big impact for Europe’s citizens. The Commission’s proposal for a multiannual budget for 2014-2020 responds to today’s concerns and tomorrow’s needs. It focuses on priority funding at the EU level that provides true added value’. I voted against this resolution since, unlike the rapporteur, I believe the EU budget meets its initial objective of contributing to greater economic growth and job creation. Moreover, I am in favour of the proposals for own resources tabled by the European Commission, particularly the financial transaction tax and revenue from VAT.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0279/2012

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) In the multiannual financial framework, the sums allocated to the individual development of the regions – cohesion policy – have decreased, but the overall sums going into economic, social and territorial cohesion have increased, owing to the Connecting Europe Facility. By contrast, the sums allocated to the common agricultural policy – Agriculture and Rural Development – have decreased, demonstrating that the European Union is not investing in the first-sector economy. I agree with the rapporteur that the EU budget is an investment budget with a strong leverage effect and can represent a very strong tool to increase strategic investments with European added value consistent with an approach aimed at creating growth and jobs. However, I voted against this motion for a resolution because I disagree with the rapporteur about own resources. I take a positive view of the proposals on the financial transaction tax and a new EU own resource from VAT.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0297/2012

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this resolution concerning EU-Japan negotiations because I do not think there are sufficient reasons for the Commission to consider the opening of negotiations valid, simply on the basis of a report containing both parties’ levels of ambition. I agree with the position of the majority of the Members of the European Parliament, which does not give assent to opening negotiations, since the Commission’s assessment exercise for this process is not sufficient. As such, I propose that the Council does not authorise the opening of trade negotiations until the European Parliament has stated its formal position on the proposed negotiating mandate, on the basis of a report by the committee responsible, which would constitute the EU respecting the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution. At the 20th EU-Japan Summit held on 28 May 2011 in Brussels, the decision was made to start bilateral discussions with a view to defining the scope and level of ambition of negotiations on the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA). I welcome the European Parliament’s position that the Council should not authorise the opening of negotiations until Parliament has stated its position on the proposed negotiating mandate on the basis of a report from the committee responsible.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this European Parliament resolution because the Council and the Commission have noted that Japan’s capacity to remove regulatory barriers to trade is a precondition for launching negotiations on the EU-Japan trade agreement, thus fostering closer economic integration between the two strategic trading partners. Furthermore, at the 20th EU-Japan Summit held in May 2011 in Brussels, the summit leaders decided that the two sides would start discussions with a view to defining the scope and level of ambition of such negotiations. A scoping group was set up to assess the shared understanding on the scope and level of ambition of the potential trade negotiations between these two economic partners, Japan and the European Union. While expressing its intention of strengthening its economic integration so that economic relations, which could be beneficial to both parties, are as close as possible, the European Parliament therefore proposes asking the Council not to authorise the opening of negotiations until Parliament has stated its position on the proposed negotiating mandate on the basis of a report from the committee responsible.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. (FR) The 20th EU-Japan Summit in Brussels, on 28 May 2011, gave the green light to launching discussions with a view to defining the scope and level of ambition of such negotiations on the EU-Japan trade agreement. However, the EU must remain firm and obtain the removal of regulatory barriers to trade, without which we will find ourselves back in the same kind of negotiations as we had over the EU-Korea agreement. A group was given the task of assessing the shared understanding on the scope and level of ambition of the potential trade negotiations between Japan and the EU. Until the European Parliament has stated its position on the proposed negotiating mandate, we do not wish the Council to open negotiations. Too much is at stake for European industry not to remain extremely vigilant over the safeguard clauses that must be provided in this type of agreement.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – I do not support any EU trade negotiation with third countries which result in the annulment of national BITs and restrict all Member States to EU negotiated terms and conditions for trade. It is important for competitiveness for countries to be able to establish unique and idiomatic trade deals and not relinquish sovereign trade decisions under EU proposals. I therefore could not vote against any call to postpone such negotiations.

 
  
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  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the resolution on trade negotiations between the European Union and Japan. Like many of my colleagues, I think that no negotiations on a free trade agreement should be initiated as long as Japan is reluctant to make concessions on non-tariff barriers. Prior to authorising the start of negotiations, the Council must therefore respect Parliament’s role as colegislator on international trade and wait for the latter’s formal position on the negotiating mandate.

 
  
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  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) While the European Union seems to want to conclude increasing numbers of trade agreements with its trading partners, some countries are not as enthusiastic about entering into negotiations. This is the case with Japan, which is not yet prepared to remove non-tariff barriers to its public procurement markets, pharmaceutical products and automotive industry. It would therefore be premature for the European Union to enter into trade negotiations with Japan today. Consequently, the Council should not be too hasty in giving a mandate to the Commission to begin these negotiations. Account must also be taken of the opinion of Parliament on current trade barriers in Japan before launching official negotiations.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Japanese authorities have proved to be slow in coming to the table and there have been frequent doubts about their desire to reach a lasting agreement with the European Union in the short term. I consider this future agreement very important for both parties, so I think the EU should do everything it can to promote concrete progress in this regard. I also believe Parliament cannot be frozen out of this process and its opinion thereon cannot be ignored.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This motion for a resolution, tabled following a Commission statement, concerns EU-Japan negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA). The excellent relations between the EU and Japan are very important for both parties. Indeed, at EUR 49 billion, Japan is the EU’s sixth largest trading partner, while the EU, at EUR 69 billion, is Japan’s third largest trading partner. Considering the EU’s balance of trade deficit, it is essential that Japan lift many of the obstacles it imposes on European imports, particularly non-tariff barriers, the failure to open up public procurement to EU companies that harms our small and medium-sized enterprises, and protectionism towards the Japanese automotive industry. If there is no progress on negotiations, or if the results are not satisfactory, they should be broken off. I voted to establish a new FTA, but it is crucial that the final result be beneficial to both parties and not favour just one; that is, Japan.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The European Parliament has been even more in favour of the European Commission opening trade negotiations on establishing a free trade agreement with Japan than the Commission itself is. In view of the repeated requests, the European Commission has, in turn, requested that Japan meet certain conditions for opening up the market, even before starting the negotiations.

At the end of May, in Brussels, representatives of the EU and Japan reached an initial definition of the scope and reach of the negotiations. The Commission is now preparing to propose a mandate for the Council giving the green light for these negotiations. This resolution just calls on the Council not to adopt a position on a negotiating mandate before Parliament has set out its own position. However, it is not hard to imagine what that position will be. Over time, it will become clearer what interests and contradictions are at play in this process. In this case, however, unlike with other countries, the interests of the EU powers and their economic interest groups – such as the German automotive industry – could find in Japan an undesirable competitor rather than good market opportunities. This factor will certainly have a bearing on how the process unfolds.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) ?In 2009, the EU and Japan represented together more than a quarter of global GDP and more than 20% of global trade. Japan and the EU are significant investors in each other’s economies with a combined volume of foreign direct investment worth EUR 200 billion in 2009. The EU and Japan are facing common challenges, such as the political and economic rise of China, economic slowdown in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, decreasing demographics, and a pressing need to access raw materials and energy sources, as well as ensuring the price stability thereof. Open and fair trade is a powerful tool to create more growth and societal well-being. Although the EU and Japan generally have low tariffs on goods, bilateral trade volumes between the EU and Japan lag behind the bulk of the EU's trade exchanges with its other main trading partners. I believe it is important to strengthen trade relations between the EU and Japan and to remove non-tariff barriers to trade and investment, including numerous restrictive rules and regulatory measures for EU companies in accessing the Japanese market. I also believe that an EU-Japan free trade agreement would not only yield benefits in terms of an increase in the bilateral trade in goods and services, but would also foster cooperation in terms of the EU’s horizontal priorities.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) On 31 May, the European Union and Japan concluded a scoping exercise for a future trade agreement. A number of preconditions for the opening of negotiations had already been required last year by the European Union from Japan. In this context, Parliament, by this resolution, requests from the Council a deadline for assessing whether these conditions have been met before giving a negotiating mandate to the Commission. These conditions largely related to the removal of a certain number of non-tariff barriers and the opening of its public procurement to European companies. This resolution was supported by 517 votes in Parliament and I welcome that.

 
  
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  Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D), in writing.(PL) I welcome the fact that trade negotiations have been started with Japan, one of the world’s biggest economies. Japan is in an exceptional economic situation: public debt is almost twice as high as GDP, but this is almost exclusively internal debt. In the past, Japan has reached a high level of economic development. Currently, Japan is a region of moderate growth, but has very well-developed tools for protecting access to its internal market. A good feature of this agreement is that the EU wants the principle of reciprocity and has specified strategically important areas of cooperation. This is a case in which we have given a precise definition of our objectives and of areas for trade cooperation and the tools to be used, and have taken great care over upholding the Union’s interests. These are important reasons for voting in favour, with the expectation that this matter will come back to Parliament again in September.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I supported this resolution but want to put on record that a good and ambitious FTA with Japan could be a win-win for both parties.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) In view of the conditions clearly set out in the resolution, I agree with the decision not to authorise the opening of trade negotiations until Parliament has stated its position on the proposed negotiating mandate, on the basis of a report by the committee responsible. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) In 2010, the total amount of bilateral trade between the EU and Japan, the third largest economy in the world in GDP terms, was worth EUR 120 billion. Japan is the EU’s sixth largest trading partner and the EU Japan’s third largest trading partner. There is, however, significant untapped trade potential. As such, EU-Japan trade relations need to be stepped up by focusing on the removal of non-tariff barriers to trade and investment, including numerous restrictive rules and regulatory measures for EU companies in accessing the Japanese market. This means the EU-Japan free trade agreement has great potential for benefiting both economies. That is why the EU should, at the proper time, give the Commission any conditions that it feels need to be included in the agreement being negotiated.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – European Parliament asks the Council not to authorise the opening of trade negotiations until Parliament has stated its position on the proposed negotiating mandate, on the basis of a report by the committee responsible. I am in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) In principle, it is a good idea to want to discuss trade negotiations with a strong export power such as Japan and to conclude an agreement on this. Both sides will profit from such negotiations or from the agreement. However, some Members are now complaining that Japan’s duty is too high and they therefore want to defer the negotiations, although it was decided more than a year ago (on 28 May 2011) that we wanted to or should start negotiations. It is not acceptable that some now want to delay this promising ‘cooperation’ even further. It is up to each country to create duties and to specify how high that duty will be. There are duties in the EU, too, which I imagine do not suit everybody. The EU wants to force things upon the countries of Europe, but Japan is not in Europe. It is unacceptable to want to impose rules on a country such as Japan, telling it how high it may set its duty. The EU should not exceed its powers and force things upon a non-EU country. I am therefore advocating that these negotiations be started immediately, in order to expand and increase trade between the EU and Japan for the benefit of both sides. Although I am fundamentally in favour of this agreement, I voted against this motion because it provides for a further postponement of the negotiations.

 
  
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  Vital Moreira (S&D), in writing. (PT) I abstained from the vote on the motion calling on the Council not to authorise the opening of trade negotiations with Japan because it seems to me that it could be counterproductive and could run counter to Parliament’s own interests. Indeed, if the Commission has already announced that it is going to request the Council’s mandate, the most likely outcome is that the Council will ignore Parliament’s request, not least because there is a political commitment in that regard. If that happens, as well as being disregarded by the Council, Parliament will lose the opportunity that it had to tell the Commission in advance about the substantive conditions that Parliament thinks should be included in the negotiating mandate, which would then give it the authority to react if these conditions are not respected, including to threaten to withhold its final consent from the treaty.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) At the 20th EU-Japan Summit, which took place in Brussels on 28 May 2011, the summit leaders decided that the two parties would start talks to set out the scope and level of ambition of these negotiations. To that end, a group was created to define the scope, so as to assess the shared understanding on the scope and level of ambition of potential EU-Japan trade negotiations. As such, I voted for this resolution, which calls on the Council not to authorise the opening of trade negotiations until Parliament has stated its position on the proposed negotiating mandate, on the basis of a report by the committee responsible.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) This motion for a resolution concerns the EU-Japan trade negotiations, with a view to closer economic integration of these two strategic partners. Following the 20th EU-Japan Summit, which took place in Brussels on 28 May 2011, the summit leaders decided that the two parties would start talks to set out the scope and level of ambition of these negotiations, which essentially concern Japan’s scrapping of regulatory barriers to trade. Since these negotiations could constitute an excellent window of opportunity for the EU, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. As expected, the resolution passed as proposed by the PPE/S&D/Greens/GUE with a solid majority of 517 : 74 : 89. Only ALDE and the ECR voted against or abstained. All ALDE/ECR amendments were rejected by the same margin of some 500+ votes. Hence, the resolution only contains the call for the Council not to approve any negotiation mandate to the Commission regarding a free trade agreement with Japan until Parliament has stated its position. The Commission’s proposal for a negotiation mandate to the Council is expected to be issued around 25 June. The Committee on International Trade will draw up a content resolution reacting to the Commission’s proposal for a mandate, to be ready for plenary in October.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) The EU’s desire for a multicentric network of relationships is driving the formation of new partnerships in the East. The new global economic order requires Europe to bolster both its multilateral and bilateral approaches. Bearing that in mind, we need to create the best possible conditions for developing new strategic arrangements with Japan. Negotiations are the main way to stimulate our economy, showing how the crisis can be overcome with fair, intelligent trade. The removal by Japan of regulatory barriers to trade is a precondition for launching negotiations on the trade agreement, thus fostering closer economic integration between the two partners.

 
  
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  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing. (FR) Japan has been identified by the Commission as one of the EU’s strategic partners. High-level discussions between the EU and Japan have been in place since the beginning of the 1990s but have not, to date, yielded conclusive results. The sectors identified as being of common interest for the Commission and the Japanese authorities are sensitive for European industry and for French industry. That is why I voted in favour of this resolution, which calls on the Council not to authorise the opening of negotiations until Parliament has stated its position on the Commission’s proposed negotiating mandate. I believe that Parliament must have the right to scrutinise the content of these negotiations.

 
  
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  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this resolution. Parliament must be able to influence the mandate it will receive from the Commission to negotiate with Japan. I also believe that a free trade agreement with Japan is impossible and harmful to our economy. We risk ending up with an agreement like the one signed with South Korea, which would cause major damage to Europe’s car industry.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The existing bilateral relations between the Union and Japan are part of a network of international relationships designed to grow our internal market and which, in my view, need to be maintained or even stepped up in the light of the economic stagnation the EU is currently suffering. I therefore voted in favour, but wish to call attention to the need to protect small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe, given the economic and financial crisis ongoing since 2008, so that the importance of this network does not wane as our economy recovers.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Removing barriers to trade is an essential condition for the success of any trade relationship between the two partners and is particularly important at the start of EU-Japan trade negotiations. It was agreed at the Brussels Summit on 28 May 2011 to start talks with a view to trade negotiations. Parliament is now, with my support, requesting that the Council does not start those talks until Parliament has given its position as regards that mandate.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report on EU trade negotiations with Japan. Japan’s capacity to remove regulatory barriers to trade is a precondition for launching negotiations on the EU-Japan trade agreement, thereby fostering closer economic integration between the two strategic trading partners. During the 20th EU-Japan Summit held on 28 May 2011 in Brussels, the summit leaders decided that the two sides would start discussions with a view to defining the scope and level of ambition of these negotiations. I welcome the fact that a group has been set up to assess the shared understanding on the scope and level of ambition of the potential trade negotiations between Japan and the EU. I call on the Council not to authorise the opening of trade negotiations until Parliament has stated its position on the proposed negotiating mandate, based on a report drafted by the relevant committee.

 
  
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  Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE), in writing. – From an economic point of view, in general, I have always defended the idea that deepening trade relations with third parties gives more economic opportunities to everyone. If Japan produces certain car components more efficiently that we do in Europe, we should give them the chance to distribute these in Europe so that we, as customers, may benefit. Nonetheless, all this should be based on equal opportunities for both sides, in other words, to the European companies and their skilled workers as well.

 
  
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  Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa (PPE), in writing.(PL) I voted in favour of the European Parliament resolution on EU trade negotiations with Japan. I think that for the time being, the Council should not authorise the opening of trade negotiations until Parliament has stated its position on the proposed negotiating mandate on the basis of a report by the Committee on International Trade. This would be pursuant to Rule 90(2) of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure.

Japan’s capacity to remove regulatory barriers to trade is a precondition for launching negotiations on the EU-Japan trade agreement, because this would facilitate closer economic integration between the two strategic trading partners. The report on the state of ongoing work on the scoping exercise reveals the existence of numerous problems, particularly concerning the scope of public procurement for railways, as well as in other areas. Unfortunately, this shows there is a lack of conformity with one of the provisions of last year’s joint resolution – a resolution which points to the need to eliminate non-tariff barriers.

It should also be stressed that a temporary deferral of authorisation for negotiations until Parliament has stated its position on the subject in the form of a report by the Committee on International Trade would be helpful from an institutional point of view because this would strengthen the position of the often marginalised European Parliament.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – The EP does not authorise the opening of the trade negotiations with Japan until the responsible committee will state its position. A scoping group was set up in order to share understanding on the scope and level of ambition of the future trade agreement between Japan and the EU. Japan shall show more engagement on removing regulatory barriers to trade.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: RC-B7-0277/2012

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because, following the democratic elections that were held, the president and prime minister elected by universal suffrage were obliged to flee the country by a coup d’état. I believe that the EU should send a clear signal of zero tolerance as regards attacks on democracy. The EU should intervene to demobilise the military and re-establish democracy; this should be done in cooperation with international partners.

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. – I support this resolution because we must condemn the coup d’état in Guinea-Bissau and ask for the immediate restoration of constitutional order. The arbitrary arrests and harassment of activists and politicians protesting against the government established by the coup leaders are unacceptable. I also would like to underline that the political crisis is diverting attention away from the needs of the population and precipitating a humanitarian crisis. We must bear in mind that Guinea-Bissau’s economy is one of the poorest and most dependent in the region, with international aid accounting for 80% of the State budget.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report on the resolution to end the illegal rule of the junta in Guinea-Bissau and prevent a possible humanitarian crisis. We need to stop the usurpation of power by the military junta in Guinea-Bissau, the main transit country for cocaine from Latin America, which may contribute to an intensification of the transit of drugs to Europe. The Council should consider the EU’s possible involvement in conflict resolution by returning a mission under the European security and defence policy, which would provide the reinstated administration with support in the area of the rule of law as soon as the legitimate authorities regain the legitimate power that was unlawfully taken away from them. I believe that the EU should cooperate with regional and international organisations and help civilians facing shortages of food and medical assistance.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 12 April 2012, members of the Guinea-Bissau armed forces seized power, detaining the interim president and the prime minister. This illegitimate military coup d’état occurred on the eve of the campaign for the second round of the presidential elections and has been widely condemned by the international community. Guinea-Bissau has been experiencing political instability for several decades, leading the country into a profound political, governance and humanitarian crisis. This resolution, for which I voted, vehemently condemns the illegitimate seizure of power by the Guinea-Bissau armed forces and calls for the immediate re-establishment of the constitutional order and the rule of law. It demands the immediate freeing of all citizens, some of whom are public officials, held by the rebel soldiers and absolute respect for their physical integrity, as well as calling for an end to violence, pillaging and intimidation. It supports the EU’s desire to cooperate with the Economic Community of West African States, as well as its regional and international partners, on instituting an effective partnership that contributes to the pacification and long-term stabilisation of Guinea Bissau.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – While I wholly support a call for democracy in Guinea Bissau and also condemn the recent military coup, I do not permit the European Union as a wholly undemocratic and largely unelected body to be the arbiter of such judgments on the global stage.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 12 April of this year, a military force illegitimately seized power by force in the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, on the eve of the second round of the presidential elections. This deepened the political crisis that the country was experiencing, leading to a profound crisis of governance, with severe social, economic and humanitarian consequences for the public. I utterly condemn this illegal seizure of power by the military, which has plunged the country and its institutions into unprecedented instability, thereby jeopardising the democratic rule of law. I also condemn the military’s interference in politics and in the freedom of the people of Guinea-Bissau to choose their legitimate representatives. It is crucial that the European Union, the United Nations and the entire international community coordinate their efforts to restore normality in Guinea-Bissau, thereby enabling the restoration of the constitutional order, the rule of law, the fundamental freedoms and rights of Guinea-Bissau’s people, and the country’s democratic and sustainable development. The dispute must, insofar as is possible, be resolved peacefully with the fewest possible consequences for the public well-being, without breaching their guarantees and freedoms.

 
  
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  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Since the military coup of 12 April, the opposition in Guinea-Bissau is still facing violent repression. Our first responsibility must be to call for calm and dialogue. However, the main leaders in Guinea also have the responsibility to do their utmost to prevent a new outbreak of violence in a country which has suffered from this only too much since its independence. Since the start of events, the international community, Europe, of course, and also the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), have spoken with a single voice. They have taken action by taking sanctions against the transitional government, set up by the former junta without the participation of the former party in power, and against those individuals supporting actions which threaten peace, security and stability in Guinea-Bissau. This pressure must continue and the planned measures must be implemented. We must not, under any circumstances, relax in our efforts until the situation is stabilised. It is the responsibility of the UN, the African Union and the European Union to act tirelessly to restore calm and dialogue.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 12 April, soldiers in Guinea-Bissau conducted a military coup d’état that removed the president and prime minister from office. This joint motion for a resolution on the military coup d’état in Guinea-Bissau was tabled following a statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, replacing those tabled by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left and the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance. First of all, I should like to express my solidarity with the suffering people of Guinea-Bissau, which has lived for years tormented by the social and political instability that periodically plunges the country into civil war. The international community, and the European Union in particular, cannot remain indifferent to the situation being experienced in this country where soldiers deprive the people’s legitimate representatives of office, perpetrate clear human rights violations, and allow looting and drug trafficking. Given that the EU has a partnership agreement with Guinea-Bissau, I call on the European authorities to do everything they can towards the swift restoration of democratic legality, the freeing of political prisoners, the return to office of elected officials and the resumption of the electoral process that was under way.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The resolution vehemently condemns the military coup d’état in Guinea-Bissau, and suggests important principles and guidelines for overcoming the current situation: rejecting any attempt to legitimise the coup d’état. It advocates the re-establishment of the constitutional order and the conclusion of the electoral process interrupted by the coup d’état, as well as respect for the physical integrity of all public officials and other citizens being detained and arbitrarily persecuted, their release and an end to violence, pillaging and intimidation.

In addition to all this, we are also pleased that the paragraph we proposed on rejecting ‘any outside attempts to exploit the present situation and hence to undermine the sovereignty of Guinea-Bissau’s people and the territorial integrity and independence of Guinea-Bissau’ has been included. However, we repudiate the other groups’ insistence on including in the resolution certain points that could conflict with this principle, specifically by paving the way for outside intervention in the country. The call for urgent aid measures to tackle the humanitarian situation in the country is also important. Any mission to the country under the aegis of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) or any other organisation should have a clear and precise mandate from the UN of supporting the country’s sovereign institutions, whilst respecting the sovereign will of these institutions, international law and the UN Charter.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) As a result of the military coup d’état of 12th April, the interim President, Raimundo Pereira, and the Prime Minister, Carlos Gomes Júnior, were dismissed, and the National Assembly was dissolved. Looting, human rights violations, arbitrary detention and the violent suppression of peaceful protests are taking place in Guinea-Bissau. The political crisis is diverting attention away from the needs of the population and accelerating the humanitarian crisis. Reports from non-governmental organisations working on the ground are alarming, according to which the illegal government composed of those who carried out the coup continues, with increasing intensity, to violate human rights, in particular, by suppressing civil liberties such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of movement and freedom of association. I consider the arbitrary detention, imprisonment and cases of harassment of activists and politicians who protest against the government of self-appointed putschists to be equally deserving of condemnation. I firmly believe that it is essential that the perpetrators of human rights violations be punished for their actions, and that those responsible for violations of the constitutional order be brought to face justice. In this context, I consider the sanctions adopted by the European Union to be justified, and it is no less important that the UN Security Council carries out its threats if the constitutional order is not restored. I am of the opinion that it is important that the fight against impunity and support for the socio-economic development of Guinea-Bissau become priorities in a long-term strategy that takes into account the context and situation at the regional level.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour because all persons involved are urged to immediately stop their violent illegal actions and the army’s pledge to abide by Guinea-Bissau’s constitution is recalled. As we know, on 12 April 2012, members of the armed forces forcibly seized power in Guinea-Bissau and held both the interim President, Raimundo Pereira, and the Prime Minister, Carlos Gomes Júnior. This illegitimate action occurred the day before the beginning of the electoral campaign for the second round of the presidential elections in Guinea-Bissau. The military coup was widely condemned by the international community. Guinea-Bissau must therefore immediately reinstate the constitutional order and the rule of law and conclude the electoral process, including legitimate elections, so as to enable the people of Guinea-Bissau to decide on their future by free and fair elections. Fundamental freedoms need to be fully restored and guaranteed, including freedom of expression and the press, freedom of assembly and association and freedom of movement. All international partners need to continue to closely monitor the situation in Guinea-Bissau and need to be prepared to review the appropriateness of the measures adopted, including the need for them to be increased, while doing their utmost to avoid any negative effects on the population.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) Parliament has condemned by a large majority and with a great degree of firmness the military coup in Guinea-Bissau on 12 April 2012 before the second round of presidential elections, and I welcome this. Democracy and the rule of law must be re-established immediately so that this country can decide on its future at the ballot box. By the same token, I regret the continuity of the self-proclaimed government and support the decision of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to impose sanctions, given that negotiations have not proved sufficient for a return to the rule of law.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution, which demands the immediate reinstatement of the constitutional order and the rule of law and the conclusion of the electoral process, including the legislative elections, so as to enable the people of Guinea-Bissau to decide on their future by free and fair elections.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) It is important to vote in favour of this resolution, in order to urge all those involved to immediately stop their violent and illegal actions and recall the army’s pledge to abide by Guinea-Bissau’s constitution. It is also crucial for the international community to exert all the necessary influence and to provide all the support required to ensure there is a thorough investigation of these unlawful actions and that those responsible are brought to justice.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU has an obligation to condemn the actions of the soldiers in Guinea-Bissau, demanding the restoration of the democratically elected bodies and the restarting of the electoral process that was under way.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing. (ES) I voted in favour of this resolution. In April this year, a military coup took place in Guinea-Bissau. This resolution condemns the coup and demands the immediate reinstatement of the constitutional order and the rule of law and the conclusion of the electoral process, including the legislative elections, so as to enable the people of Guinea-Bissau to decide on their future by means of free and fair elections. The resolution also demands the full restoration and guarantee of fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and the press, freedom of assembly and association, and freedom of movement.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – Nothing surprising, it is another ‘coup d’état militaire’. But coups d’état can be proper and improper. This one is improper.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Guinea-Bissau, which is situated in West Africa, is one of the world’s poorest countries. On 12 April 2012, the day the election campaign was to begin in the country, there was a military coup in which both interim President Raimundo Pereira and Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior were removed from office and arrested. This was a severe blow for the population because the country’s instability, which had already endured for decades, became even worse. In addition, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposed sanctions on the state, which are likely to cause further damage to the already fragile economy for a long period to come. Nonetheless, these sanctions might be a way to stop the methods that the military is using against the population and which infringe their human rights. I voted in favour of the resolution because I feel that the EU must also do all it can to allow political stability to return to Guinea-Bissau in order to avert humanitarian disasters in the medium term that would, in turn, be the start of significant migration.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this resolution on Guinea-Bissau, from which I would stress the call for the international community immediately to take concrete and suitable steps because of the humanitarian situation in Guinea-Bissau. In particular, we should remember the internally displaced persons and refugees, the risk of epidemics, and the threat to the food security and health of the people of Guinea-Bissau.

 
  
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