Index 
 Previous 
 Next 
 Full text 
Document stages in plenary
Select a document: :

Texts tabled :

B7-0408/2012

Debates :

OJ 03/07/2012 - 14

Votes :

PV 04/07/2012 - 7.15
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


Debates
Wednesday, 4 July 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition

8. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
 

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou (A7-0190/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Vicky Ford (ECR). - Mr President, I opposed the report on the attractiveness of investing in Europe. Investment is key to our economic growth. To be competitive we need investment, but unless we are competitive we lose it. To help our small businesses become competitive, I have campaigned urgently for them to be excluded from large bits of EU legislation, but that is not in this text.

I am also concerned that larger long-term investors like pension funds and insurance companies face unintended burdens from some of Europe’s legislation on the financial sector. The Committee on International Trade and the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy agreed with me, but this did not make it into the text.

Instead, this text calls for further coordination of employment and social policies. We know that when we coordinate at EU level our policies become even more restrictive and not less. The only investor that will be left in Europe is the state, and the state has run out of money.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Patrizia Toia (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I just wanted to add my voice to the plaudits this report has garnered from the House in relation to the need to strengthen the European Union’s standing as a place where it is possible to invest, produce, and produce in line with our conception of an economy that is inclusive as well as socially and environmentally sustainable.

I think a number of parts of this measure are really helpful, while others could be added. I do think it is important to grasp this opportunity and work even harder to enhance our attractiveness through regional marketing policies and openness, which represent the region’s proposition for a productive, industrial, manufacturing and services economy that, as it originates in the region, is respectful of the environment. This regional approach together with EU policies along the same lines are what we need to attract investment and growth.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Francesco De Angelis (S&D) . – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, attracting investment in Europe requires concrete measures and courageous reforms. We need to ensure free and fair competition between enterprises. In a globalised and crisis-hit economy as we have at present the main thing we need to do is make businesses more competitive and increase their capacity for growth and job creation; jobs are the most important thing of all. Europe must once again become an attractive place in which to invest and work. The current crisis is a global one, and Europe must play its part to make business stronger, more competitive and above all more attractive.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the European Union must address its weaknesses and accentuate its strengths in order to attract local and international investment, driving growth and cohesion.

The European Union is the largest trading area in the world and receives significant foreign investment, although less than before, due above all to investors becoming discouraged not only by problems related to the crisis, but also by the many issues affecting the EU market.

I therefore share Ms Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou’s call for a Commission communication on promoting the attractiveness of investing in Europe. The objectives are: to improve the functioning of the single market; to use the Structural Funds; to maximise the advantages of cohesion policy; to ensure stability; to improve access to financing; to promote project bonds; and to bring about greater research into innovation.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR). - Mr President, we need to take advantage of the single market in order to attract more investment in the EU. All too often the only kind of investment which the EU wants is to promote public investment.

EU funds do not necessarily increase our global competitiveness. The EU already has a high-quality human capital and a predictable business environment. As a former businesswoman I know that is not enough to attract new ventures. We need to give businesses what they want, namely less red tape and lower taxes. This report recognises that high taxation is damaging the EU’s competitiveness but, if we are serious about attracting foreign direct investment, then what we must really do is liberate the economy from excessive bureaucracy.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Diane Dodds (NI). - Mr President, as we strive for economic recovery in Northern Ireland, we face the challenge of attempting to rebalance our local economy by moving away from a reliance on the public sector for employment. It is, therefore, vital that Northern Ireland PLC can offer incentives to foreign companies to attract them to set up in the province and to bring with them investment and job creation in the private sector.

It is, therefore, deeply concerning that the Commission is proposing quite radical changes to the rules surrounding these incentives, as part of the post-2013 regional aid guidelines. Of particular concern is the size of FDI companies eligible for regional aid funding. This situation is compounded in Northern Ireland by the fact that my constituency is the only part of the United Kingdom to share a land border with a euro zone country, and one which has a corporation tax rate of 50% less than the UK one. In recent times in Northern Ireland, we have seen companies like the New York Stock Exchange and Citigroup come to Belfast. Under the post-2013 rules, these companies could not have come.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Mario Pirillo (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, in order to attract investment, the European Union must set up a political and legal framework based on objectives for sustainable growth, as per the Europe 2020 strategy. High-quality products and a strong propensity for research and innovation are the strong points of our economy; if they are to play a more important role then they need a true internal market, where businesses can compete openly.

The Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs 2014-2020 must provide a real opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises. We need to create a new energy model that is not conditioned by the rising price of oil and can offer European businesses affordable energy access. The creation, as set out in paragraph 16, of a European observatory capable of monitoring the reduction of tax and bureaucratic barriers, and the implementation of cohesion policies, is an interesting idea.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Seán Kelly (PPE). - Mr President, I think the key word here is attractiveness and from my discussions with companies and business outside the European Union they are finding it less and less attractive to come into the European Union because of over-regulation and lack of consistency across the states in applying regulation.

Having said that, they said the first way to deal with a problem is to recognise it. At least we are addressing that today and there are some very good proposals in this document especially as regards utilising our banks – the EIB and ECB – as well as macro-regions and the potential for more research and development and innovation.

(GA) But, enough said. I have serious doubts about one proposal, the CCCTB (common consolidated corporate tax base). My country can not be satisfied with that, because it will further disadvantage us as we remain in trouble.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, it is very obvious why people are not investing in Europe: our costs are too high, our labour market is too rigid, our taxes are too high. We are witnessing an epochal shift in power and wealth. We still look at these old maps which have Europe at the middle, we do not realise the extent to which the centre of gravity has shifted to the Pacific.

And the reason it has happened is very easily identified. For 500 years the secret of Europe’s success was our diversity, our variety, our pluralism, the fact that instead of becoming a single empire we remained a plurality of competing states, each trialling new ideas, each striving to outdo its competitors.

The tragedy of our generation is that, just as the great civilisations of Asia have learnt the secret of decentralisation, we in Europe are going in the opposite direction. We are following the Ming, Mogul, Ottoman path towards more uniformity, more bureaucracy, more taxation and more harmonisation. There is nothing inevitable about this. We are the authors of our own poverty. ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.’

 
  
  

Report: Miloslav Ransdorf (A7-0183/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Adam Bielan (ECR). - (PL) Mr President, enlargement of the free trade area by means of association agreements is a priority for European Union policy. The growing importance of Eastern Partnership countries makes it particularly important for us to focus attention on this area, even more so when, in the light of events in Northern Africa, we have been placing greater emphasis recently on relations with the South.

For these countries, free trade is the principal tool for integration with Europe and it also provides a stimulus to undertake economic reforms that are often difficult. In supporting this resolution, I declare my support for increasing EU activity in its relations with our eastern neighbours. Trade integration requires enormous efforts both from ourselves and from the associated countries but, over the long term, this will bring measurable benefits to everyone. Another important factor is the influence that this will have on the growth of civil society and on raising the standard of living in this part of Europe. An issue whose importance for security cannot be overstated is the accession of Ukraine and Moldova to the Energy Community Treaty.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, I voted in favour of this report. It is vitally important that the Eastern Neighbourhood Partnership (ENP) remains effective for these five countries in our eastern neighbourhood.

It is clear to me that the EU must continue to advertise its free market liberal economic model to the east, lest more retrograde economic forces prevail there. DCFTAs will not only encourage trade flows between the EU and Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, but will also force a necessary liberalisation of their internal economies and, hopefully, more democracy.

I specifically welcome the report’s conclusions that the Arab Spring has diverted our attention from eastern partner countries whose exact economic and geopolitical situation continues to change in ways in which we must be aware of now, such as the growing influence of China in that region and also the competition posed by the Eurasian Economic Community with Central Asia.

It is especially important to keep Ukraine on board as the general political drift in that country is not favourable to western interests. Ukraine’s record on human rights and democracy, already sullied by the Tymoshenko incarceration case, is set to deteriorate further if the proposed ban on discussing LGBT issues takes place.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR). - Mr President, I believe the EU is primarily a commercial block and we should be trading as effectively as possible with our global partners, which is why I supported this report. However, it groups together a number of different countries at various stages of economic and political development and I have yet to be convinced of the added value of the Eastern Partnership.

Since their liberation from Communist oppression the former Soviet states have embraced democracy and the free market with differing degrees of success. We cannot possibly compare Georgia, which has one of the most progressive and liberal economies in the world, with Belarus which is lumbered with a Soviet-style command economy. Even countries like Ukraine, once considered a promising partner for the EU, has political problems and is undermining economic growth.

I support more trade with the countries of the Eastern Partnership. However, we must be cautious that the one-size-fits-all approach does not work for six extremely different countries.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, it is a truth rarely admitted in this Chamber that the European Union can be a remarkably uncomfortable trading neighbour. The countries of the former Soviet Union now find themselves in the position in which a number of ex-Warsaw Pact states found themselves in the 1990s, where they are squeezed between two large dirigiste trading blocks.

When you talk about partnership agreements with countries in the Caucasus, or in the Balkans, we are remarkably reluctant to open our markets to the things that they do best: coal, steel, textiles and above all agriculture. Instead of offering them a straightforward free trade deal, we try to draw them into the euro-nexus of subsidies and support and regulation. This is the last thing they need; these are countries with educated and industrious work forces, with a relatively low cost of living and with the opportunity to export their way into the market through cheaper exports. All they need is the ability to sell freely and without hindrance.

 
  
  

Report: Paolo De Castro (A7-0158/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Salvatore Iacolino (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted for and have supported this measure, because I think it is in line with the overall strategy to develop a sector that is still really struggling and is affected by huge market volatility, environmental challenges and the need to ensure environmental safety.

I would say that the limit on aid to individual farmers is right, that the incentives for greening to help these new processes develop and inject competitiveness into the sector are good, and that so is the support for young people. This is an important, meaningful programme that also affects small entrepreneurs. What we really need is development.

Simplified, leaner procedures that ensure direct payment are vital, to ensure that a sector that finds itself in great difficulty has a chance for real development. That is why I voted in favour and why I have supported an intervention that also allows for direct payments to young farmers to give them a chance and an opportunity to take the initiative and develop their business, which could bring significant results in terms of employment that the European Union cannot ignore.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Mitro Repo (S&D). - (FI) Mr President, I voted in favour of the report, because it is important for Parliament to adapt the common agricultural policy to the terms of the Treaty of Lisbon. I hope that, when the administrative burden on the Member States is lightened as a result of the reforms proposed in this report, more attention will be given to the real issues.

One of the critical questions in agriculture is the age crisis that the sector is facing. Agricultural entrepreneurs under the age of 35 account for just 6% of the total in Europe, and one in three is over 65. The ageing population of agricultural producers is a threat, not only to food production in Europe, but also to the sector’s profile as a profession for those of all ages. It is not just about the production of food: it is also a matter of policy on land use and employment.

We need to show support for agricultural entrepreneurs, especially those who are young and just starting out, for, without them, European agriculture has no future. We need to do more to ensure that measures are taken in all Member States to support young farmers. They should not have unequal status simply because of where they live.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Ashley Fox (ECR). - Mr President, the economic picture across Europe is very bleak. Most Member States, including the United Kingdom, are increasing taxes and cutting expenditure. They are doing this to reduce debt.

In Britain the coalition government inherited an annual deficit of GBP 160 billion when we came to office in 2010. In the last two years we have cut this by a quarter. My constituents do not enjoy the harsh medicine, but they understand it is necessary after 13 years of Labour taxing, spending and borrowing too much.

The European Union must act responsibly when we set our budget for next year. Our spending should be subject to the same discipline that we expect from the Member States. Taxpayers will not understand the demand from the Commission that the EU increase its expenditure by 7% at a time when expenditure is being cut at home. Calls by this Parliament for Europe to have more money whilst we face austerity at home will reduce further the reputation of the EU in my constituency.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, the common agricultural policy is the European Union in microcosm.

We have created a system where any market mechanism was deliberately suppressed; a system based on subvention, on state support, on guaranteed prices; a system which penalises us all as taxpayers – we are forced to pay for the production of food for which there is no market – and penalises us all over again as consumers by driving up food prices; a system that makes harder the settlement of a general global free trade deal, but that fails to deliver for farmers. The slowest growing part of the European economy, and that is saying something these days, is agriculture, because enterprise has been overtaken by a system which encourages people to look to the state for every rise in life.

But of course it has succeeded in one objective: it has created a corpus of people who see themselves as dependent on Brussels, and that is why I say it is the European Union in microcosm. The system has become a racket. It has become a way of redistributing money from everybody else to the people who, one way or another, are earning their livelihood from it.

 
  
  

Report: Paolo De Castro (A7-0161/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Adam Bielan (ECR). - (PL) Mr President, speaking as a representative of a key region for the Polish agricultural sector, I support any measure to stimulate development in rural areas. This report will provide the basis for next year’s negotiations concerning reforms to the common agricultural policy. A coherent approach by Parliament will also help to ensure that delegated acts in the area of agriculture will be used in all possible instances.

The Regulation gives the Commission executive powers for the presentation and approval of rural area development programmes. It also introduces some significant simplifications that will reduce administrative burdens, for example reducing the number of annual reports on the progress of work as well as joint reports relating to rural area development. Proposals have also been made to simplify mutual compliance controls, and rules for using advisory services have been modified. In addition, I fully agree with the rapporteur’s negative opinion of the attempt by the Commission to remove support for producer groups in the fruit and vegetable sector.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Salvatore Iacolino (PPE) . – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, this measure also falls within a wider context of a joint strategic framework on agriculture. It is an important intervention that ties in with the others also adopted in today’s sitting.

We have, however, observed – including in light of the information provided by Mr De Castro – that the Council’s stance on opposing delegated acts constitutes an unwarranted removal of Parliament’s competences and powers. Inter-institutional dialogue would, instead, force the Council to take a more flexible stance.

Simplification on EU funds and the possible use of the Structural Funds are important issues, as are the preservation of ecosystems, better organisation of the agri-food sector, improved attractiveness of farmers for investment and better development of skills tied to the results achieved.

 
  
  

Report: Paolo De Castro (A7-0322/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, decisions concerning the criteria for granting aid to European farmers and concerning export refunds and minimum export prices for agricultural products must no longer be made behind closed doors. The Council can no longer take decisions on Commission proposals on its own, as it did in the past. All matters relating to agriculture must be decided on in a proper legislative procedure. This has been the law since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and must also be taken into account in the adaptation of the old comitology procedure to the new distribution of powers in agricultural policy. That is also what the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development is demanding. With this package of reports by our committee chair, we have ultimately taken a good decision, and Parliament is also ensuring that we are not only asserting the powers that have been bestowed upon us by the Treaty of Lisbon, we are also defending them.

 
  
  

Report: Giovanni La Via (A7-0209/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE) . – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, Mr La Via’s text on the financing of the common agricultural policy aims to streamline the complex European bureaucracy in the agricultural sector. In particular, the amendments on the expenses to be funded by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund and the recovery proceedings do offer simplification, by eliminating two Council regulations and hence cutting the administrative burdens faced by the Member States. Therefore, I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Daniel Hannan (ECR).(ES) Mr President, there has not been a single bailout package whose consequences have, in principle, justified it. Despite this, the response of the European bureaucrats always ends up being a bigger bailout package.

Ladies and gentlemen, a debt crisis cannot be resolved with more debt. The recent bailout package has not solved the Spanish debt crisis but rather aggravated it, adding up to EUR 100 billion more to the country’s liabilities.

The harsh truth is that we have witnessed the damaging consequences of a fever for artificially cheap credit. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but we are rectifying the disastrous consequences of that fever and, once we have finished, we will be able to return to growth, following the path of good, common sense.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report because of its legal, financial and operational importance. In order to implement the Treaty of Lisbon, the categories of specific acts need to be defined clearly for each situation. I am thinking in particular of delegated acts.

At the same time, we must not forget that the common agricultural policy is the most important chapter in the EU budget. Therefore, any changes must be aimed at making the system simpler and efficient. This will enable us to provide support to farmers, while cutting red tape and removing complicated procedures. In this context, I support the amendments tabled by Mr La Via on the expenditure to be financed by the EAGF and the recovery procedure. I hope that both the Commission and Council will adopt a constructive attitude to come up with an agreement.

 
  
  

Report: Martin Häusling (A7-0215/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE) . – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, discussing delicate issues like the authorisation of products and substances for use in organic production is really the same as talking about protecting the health of European citizens. Indeed, it is important to meet consumer expectations on the quality of organic products on the European market, just as it is important to ensure adequate application of rules by the authorities, bodies and operators concerned. That is why I voted in favour of the report by Mr Häusling.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, although I opposed the Treaty of Lisbon it is now clear that European Union law must conform, albeit reluctantly, with its contents, so in the case of organic products and the regulation of such products, along with my political group I accept the use of delegated acts and therefore voted in favour of this proposal. The committee should of course include representatives from Member State governments and technical experts.

It is quite appropriate that technical prescription of organic labelling should be handled by the Commission. I welcomed Amendment 4 in particular, which specifically stated that the process of alignment of the Treaty of Lisbon should unburden organic farmers of excessive red tape through the simplification of the EU law in this area.

It is to be hoped that the Commission will take this opportunity now to support organic farmers, as I do every day I do my shopping in my local supermarket.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE). – (SK) Mr President, the legitimate interests and expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products require the adequate application of rules by the state organisations, private organisations and operators concerned. However, the current rules are not sufficiently clear, and so consumers often find themselves in situations that may threaten or harm their health and may even lead to epidemics.

The reliable functioning of the single market and trade therefore requires that clear rules be adopted and conditions be established for the application of regulations on organic production and the labelling of organic products. I agree that it is necessary to clearly define the substances for use in organic production, the production methods for processed food, and the conditions of application of the prohibition on the use of GMOs and products produced from or with the aid of GMOs.

In the interests of legal certainty for consumers, the labelling rules, and the requirements and specific criteria as regards presentation, composition, labelling size, and logo design for organic products in the European Union should be unified.

 
  
  

Recommendation: David Martin (A7-0204/012)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Ewald Stadler (NI).(DE) Mr President, I feel an urgent need to clarify the fact that, following the application for referral back to committee and the motion for deferral, a certain amount of confusion has arisen. I heard from your announcement that we would vote on the agreement itself, which is why my colleagues and I voted against it, because we are firmly convinced that we should not conclude this agreement. Numerous reasons for this have, of course, already been given.

The report by Mr Martin, however, provides for Parliament’s refusal to agree to the conclusion of the agreement. In other words, we would have to support the report. I therefore feel the need to clarify the fact that I have rejected this Commission draft and the draft of the Council on the conclusion of a trade agreement – I reject ACTA – and therefore I would have supported the Martin report itself had it been put to the vote.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Joseph Cuschieri (S&D). - (MT) Mr President, I would like to refer to the report of a colleague of mine, David Martin, on behalf of the Committee on International Trade regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

I voted in favour of the rapporteur’s recommendation, that is, against ACTA, because I believe that in light of the agreement that was drawn up, the European Parliament cannot guarantee adequate protection to European citizens. To fight against counterfeiting and to strengthen Intellectual Property Rights, namely trademarks, patents and copyrights, is laudable, however not if it is done in the way that is being advocated through ACTA. I condemn the process that led to the signing of this agreement. Transparency was lacking from the very start of the negotiations and no consultations took place with civil society. A number of recommendations that were tabled by the European Parliament were rejected. I agree with the conclusions of David Martin’s report and I too believe that this agreement needs to be rejected by this Parliament.

I firmly believe that the European Commission needs to come up with new proposals and replace ACTA with a new agreement, one which will above all guarantee that the privacy and human rights of our European citizens are respected and not infringed upon.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Josef Weidenholzer (S&D).(DE) Mr President, ACTA represents more than just the agreement itself; it is an example of a wrong and unprofessional policy from which we should all learn. The legitimate concern of protecting European industry from product piracy is one that should in principle be supported, as our competitive advantage does not lie in low unit labour costs, but instead is knowledge-based. In order to have achieved this, however, we would also have had to involve China and India in such an agreement and, above all, we should not have overloaded it with demands from the music and entertainment industries. Most importantly, we should not have allowed Internet service providers to be turned into some kind of deputy sheriffs. The question of copyright is too important to be regulated by means of a trade agreement. This was an attempt to solve the problems of the 21st century using the methods of the 19th century. In particular, the Commissioner responsible has failed. He totally disregarded Parliament in an outdated cabinet policy style. Mr De Gucht should draw the appropriate conclusions from this and step down from the office that is clearly too much for him.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Mitro Repo (S&D). - (FI) Mr President, I voted against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). It is symbolically apt that the path that ACTA has taken should end at this plenary in Strasbourg, since the European Parliament, of course, represents 500 million citizens and consumers, as well as their interests. It is important to remember that the ACTA Treaty, which has now been rejected, nevertheless addressed problems that were found to exist. In the solutions that it proposed, however, there was scope for improvement and clarification. The Treaty had muddled two completely separate issues.

Since ACTA has failed, it is vitally important to propose alternative European solutions both for counterfeit products and intellectual property rights (IPRs). This is ultimately about European jobs and European competitiveness, which counterfeiting and IPR violations undermine. In my opinion, today Parliament sent a strong message that not just anything goes.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, above all we need to guarantee the fundamental rights of citizens, democracy, freedom of expression and free access to the Internet. However, we must not ignore the commitment – which must be strong – to combat counterfeiting, piracy and the violation of intellectual property. One only need think of the enormous turnover in fake medicines, which can be lethal for citizens’ health.

I abstained, because it would have been better to vote after the pronouncement of the Court of Justice of the European Union, and because the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has many weaknesses. First of all, China, India, Russia and Brazil – where many counterfeit goods come from – are not party to the agreement, while ACTA also provides for unclear processes and excessive sanctions which could impose restrictive measures on citizens’ freedom on the Internet, thereby violating fundamental rights.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Frédérique Ries (ALDE).(FR) Mr President, like most of my Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe here in the European Parliament, I voted against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) proposal. Of course, that does not mean that protecting intellectual property is not one of the cornerstones of liberal doctrine; on the contrary. However, the main error of those who initially proposed the ACTA was to think ‘global’: clearly, we do not protect a song or film from illegal downloading in the same way as we protect citizens from counterfeit medicines, for example.

In my view, there are three lessons here for the future, because we believe that an international anti-counterfeiting agreement is essential. Saying no to the proposal today, as we have done, means listening to the position of civil society and calling for greater cooperation between the Commission and Parliament, which has been reiterated many times. Saying no to the proposal today also means asking the European Union to speak with a single voice to ensure that creators receive fair recompense. Must we point out again that five Member States, including Germany and the Netherlands, have not signed this agreement? Finally, saying no today means calling for negotiations with China and India that are as transparent and broad as possible: they are the countries responsible for most counterfeit products, and need I remind you that this counterfeiting costs Europe 100 000 jobs every year?

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Kristian Vigenin (S&D).(BG) Mr President, I would like to say to those 15 000 plus Bulgarian citizens who wrote to me about the ACTA that my colleagues and I from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament voted against this anti-counterfeiting agreement.

I want to be clear: intellectual property and copyright must be protected. However, this cannot happen at the expense of restricting freedom on the Internet, the only place where everyone is equal. I am pleased that the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the S&D Group adopted a clear stance against the ACTA from day one. The European right also showed today how little they are interested in the citizens’ voice and how divided they are on this key issue.

I am surprised at the Commission’s persistence in continuing to defend the ACTA in spite of the clear opposing stance adopted by Parliament and the mass turnouts at the protests across Europe in dozens of European cities.

Ladies and gentlemen, the ACTA is dead. Admit your own mistakes in the negotiations and start the whole thing from scratch, the right way this time.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Julie Girling (ECR). - Mr President, the ACTA file, for me personally, has been a very difficult one on which to come to a decision. My preferred route would have been to refer it back to the committee until the judgement of the ECJ was available, but this was rejected democratically, and I therefore reluctantly abstained.

I would like to make it clear that I do support rigorous, defensive intellectual property. I also deplore the proliferation of counterfeiting, particularly in safety-critical areas such as medicines and car parts. It is regrettable that these two issues have been conflated in the ACTA regulation.

But I also have considerable misgivings about the level of powers proposed for various authorities and the level of intrusion into citizens’ lives that could be possible, depending on the interpretation of the report. So I therefore find it impossible to support the complete rejection and I find it impossible to support the complete embracing of this report. I think that it needs further work, but it is not a case of it being completely dead. Maybe the ACTA is dead, but we still have to go out there and find ways of promoting and supporting our intellectual property in Europe.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Edward Scicluna (S&D). - Mr President, I voted to reject the ACTA treaty and for victory for freedom on the internet.

ACTA has been flawed from the start. It was negotiated in secret and we only learned of it through Wikileaks nearly three years into the talks. It is also clear from the minutes of the negotiating meetings that the Commission did not take a strong stance on behalf of the EU.

But the main problem with ACTA is its ambiguity. The sanctions are draconian and it is unclear how they would be applied. Accountable internet service providers would have sweeping new powers to monitor our internet use. People could lose their internet connection and face criminal prosecution for sharing downloaded music with their friends.

Intellectual property is one of the most valuable commodities of the European economy and we need to have clear rules to protect the rights of authors and performers alongside data privacy. ACTA does not do this. The Commission must go back to the drawing board.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Bendt Bendtsen (PPE).(DA) Mr President, I voted today to postpone the vote until the court has issued its opinion. The majority did not want to do this. I was then forced to vote in favour of ACTA. I do not think that the agreement is perfect, and I do not think that it restricts freedom on the Internet, but European undertakings lose an enormous amount of money every year and a huge number of jobs are lost as a result of counterfeiting and illegal copies of products. We adopted the Creutzmann report yesterday in respect of taking action within the EU’s borders to stop copies and counterfeits, but that is not enough. Crime must be stopped at source, and we need international regulations that enable us to enforce legal protection by means of customs control, injunctions and the possibility of applying civil liability. India and China are not involved in ACTA, and it is now becoming even more difficult to exert pressure on these countries in international trade agreements. I have to say that these days they are laughing all the way from New Delhi to Beijing.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, Europe’s comparative advantages cannot just be in manufacturing or natural resources but also in the marketing of proprietary information and intellectual property. This is the core of our economic model and I strongly support measures against counterfeit products.

However, there are many aspects of this ACTA resolution which gave grounds for concern. It was a shame that the US drafters conflated physical goods, e.g. counterfeit medicines and car parts, with digital content, since the latter is so much more difficult to protect from copyright theft and requires a different approach from the former.

There are also civil liberty concerns and questions regarding the draconian measures envisaged in this resolution. The ECJ was reviewing these at the time, which is why I was in favour of referring it back to committee.

The other issue which gave me a lot of concern was the fact that it is not a global thing, bringing on board China and India which are the source of much counterfeit in the world. So overall, like all other Conservatives, I abstained.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Dimitar Stoyanov (NI).(BG) Mr President, as a representative of the Bulgarian National Democratic Party, I voted against adopting ACTA. This was obviously prompted by the fact that our citizens actually hugely opposed this agreement, protested against it and expressed their desire for it not to come into force.

However, this is also down to the way in which the actual proposal was basically agreed: in secret, behind closed doors, without providing sufficient information. The basic conclusion which can be drawn is that the United States attempted to impose the US police state in Europe. However, Europe’s citizens rebelled against this and, thankfully, their reaction was also reflected in our decision today.

However, what actually concerns me the most is that, if our citizens had not come out onto the streets, would all of us now speaking out against adopting this agreement have had the same opinion? We should look at these issues more seriously and not go along with everything that the Commission tells us because this is why we were elected: to control the Commission and always do the right thing, and not only when there is public discontent.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Mr President, like Julie Girling and Charles Tannock, I voted first for this report to be cancelled and, when that was not accepted, I abstained at the final vote because I feel it is right and proper to wait until the Court of Justice of the European Union comes to a decision before we come to a decision here.

Having said that, one thing I could not understand about this agreement is that it is supposed to be dealing with counterfeit goods, and as 95% of these goods are coming from China, and to a lesser extent India, and those countries are not a party to this agreement, I just wonder how effective it would have been anyway.

When I asked this question I was told this was a ‘coalition of the willing’. I would say more a ‘coalition of the innocent’, and the guilty are let off scot-free.

So now that we have a chance to go back to the drawing board we should first deal with China, and to a lesser extent India, in the area of counterfeit goods, which are costing us EUR 250 billion and hundreds of thousands of jobs, and then move on to other matters.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I abstained from voting on this report because we ought to have waited for the judgment from the Court of Justice of the European Union before voting. I surf the Internet a lot and I would not like my access to the online service to be restricted. I too would like my rights to be defended, and my personal data to be protected appropriately. Therefore, I understand the concerns which ACTA has raised for many citizens. However, perhaps they have also been raised by a lack of information because, at the same time, we are bombarded by counterfeit products. They have an impact on our finances, pose a danger to our health and provide unfair competition for European manufacturers. Therefore, we need an international treaty to combat counterfeiting. This is why I regard today’s decision as being hasty.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE). - (FI) Mr President, this is a rather different explanation of vote, because I would like to explain why I did not vote at all. I did not even abstain, because I am unhappy with the entire process for dealing with the issue of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

I did have an opinion on the matter: that, whatever the case, we need protection against piracy. We need an international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to protect intellectual property rights. This House, I believe, made itself look ridiculous by adopting a position on ACTA before its unanswered questions had been dealt with by the Court of Justice of the European Union. The decision should have been deferred to allow us to take a decision based on facts. Now our email inboxes have become full with a lobbying campaign spreading the wrong information.

I would now like to correct a few factual errors. ACTA does not regulate use or freedom of the Internet. ACTA will not lead to border checks on computers carried by airline passengers or to control of the Internet. ACTA will not result in the adoption of a ‘three strikes penalty for online infringements. ACTA will not prevent poor countries from purchasing cheap medicines. All the safeguard clauses and derogations under EU legislation or the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) will remain fully in place, and so on. The list could well go on, but my time has run out.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Zuzana Roithová (PPE). (CS) Mr President, I would like to explain why it was a good thing that the European Parliament did not wait for the statement of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Following the adoption of the Treaty of Lisbon, we have the power to judge whether any international agreement complies with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) failed that test – this was said in all of the committees – due to the insufficient guarantees resulting from the ambiguous wording of the obligations, the poor guarantee of the right to a fair trial, the lack of transparency and the consequent violation of the right to the proper administration of public affairs, and the risk of a violation of the right to the protection of privacy and communications. Generally, however, it was mainly due to the considerable legal uncertainty it created with regard to the scope of its key provisions, where even the leading academic experts in Europe were unable to agree on their impact.

Waiting for the Court would prolong the uncertainty in this area, and would also undermine public confidence in the fact that the European Parliament represents European citizens and is an independent body. The Court of Justice of the European Union cannot replace the role of the European Parliament.

After the Court of Justice of the European Union had expressed its opinion, moreover, the ACTA would surely produce greater fragmentation of the market and of national laws as far as human rights are concerned. It would have a negative impact on European citizens and businesses, rather than on professional counterfeiters. There were many such reasons in favour of rejection, but the fight against counterfeits goes on, of course, and we must take a very strong line, particularly when it comes to negotiating the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive.

 
  
  

Report: Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos (A7-0163/012)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, Council Regulation No 73/2009, which provides the rules for the current system of direct payments to farmers, will be superseded by other proposals under the common agricultural policy (CAP) reform for 2014-2020 In its proposals for the multiannual financial framework and the CAP for 2014-2020, the Commission is proposing to make use of a new crisis reserve to address additional financing needs resulting from unexpected agricultural crises.

The net ceiling in 2013 for EU Member States would be equal to the value of the net ceiling in 2012, with the adjustments deriving from grubbing-up in 2012 and the appraised transfer of the wine envelopes to the single payment scheme.

I agree with the solution contained in the report and therefore I voted in favour of Mr Capoulas Santos’s proposal, because I think we need to maintain the current financial structure for 2013 in order to ensure continued levels of payments and to support agricultural development in an effective way.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Julie Girling (ECR). - Mr President, you might imagine the horror which British MEPs felt when we first saw the Commission’s proposals for what looks like a very routine adjustment for one year, only to discover that the voluntary modulation mechanism, much used in the UK, and indeed only necessary because of the appalling settlement on Pillar 2 in the last CAP, had been left out.

So I very much welcome the pragmatic support by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development for reasserting this right for the UK for the last year of the financial framework. Without it we would not be able to deliver what are, I think, fairly uniformly recognised in the European Parliament as good – in many cases exemplary – agri-environment schemes delivering biodiversity and environmental benefits across the UK.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Diane Dodds (NI). - Mr President, for the majority of farmers in Northern Ireland, direct payments account for a large percentage of business income and are key to maintaining adequate cash flows. The smooth transition to the new CAP post-2013 is key, and it is important that farmers’ incomes are sustained. Rural development spending must also be maintained in the transition period, especially for spending which has been earmarked for countryside management and less-favoured area payments.

A lack of investment and support for the farming community over a short period of time will have a negative impact on rural communities and businesses. The Commission must allow for Member States to take the appropriate action to prevent this from taking place.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Seán Kelly (PPE). - Mr President, what Ms Dodds said about Northern Ireland applies equally to Southern Ireland, and I concur with her. Direct payments are crucial for the development of agriculture, and particularly for the maintenance of the family farm. Any transition has to be done on a gradual basis. Above all, we have to think of the long-term consequences. We are in a position where the world population is now seven billion, and likely to go to nine billion over the next 20 or 30 years. There is not going to be any more land created in that time, so we have to ensure that our policies firstly preserve family farms and – in particular – that productivity is rewarded and encouraged. If we move too quickly away from that, then we are going to be damaging European agriculture and also inhibiting our hopes of ending poverty in the world.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report because I think that it is important for the current financial structure also to be maintained for next year. Establishing net ceilings will ensure continuity in the levels of payments for farmers, while the adjustment mechanism similar to modulation will help achieve this objective. In my view, we also need to take into account the consequences arising from phasing in the direct payments in the new Member States. This is why it is good that there will be no adjustments for Romania because the process is still not complete in my country. At the same time, the value of the net ceilings for Romania will not change either next year. I think that a transition mechanism for 2013 would be beneficial and could ensure an easy switch to the future reformed system.

 
  
  

Report: Giovanni La Via (A7-0215/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  George Lyon (ALDE). - Mr President, I did not vote for the budget mandate for 2013 in today’s vote. The Commission’s proposal for a 6.8% increase is based on the forecast from Member States of the amount of EU expenditure they think they will need for 2013. Of course the majority of the budget – 94% of the EU budget – is spent in the Member States’ own backyards, yet many in the Council are now saying that the forecast for the increased spending is too high. They are disputing their own figures supplied by their own managing authorities.

If we are to have a serious discussion on how much EU spending is needed for 2013 then we need to clarify Member States’ forecasts and agree between the institutions what the right figures are. We also need to examine whether there is scope for savings in the budget and agree various options to be put on the table. It is also important that this Parliament makes a contribution towards finding savings, and I am sure that the working group looking into this will come forward with some concrete suggestions.

I hope that the Commission, the Council and Parliament’s Committee on Budgets can work together to bottom out the Member States’ estimates so that we can have a robust set of options on the table which will allow us to make an informed decision on the spending levels needed for 2013.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR). - Mr President, the EU budget is EUR 130 billion. That is 13 followed by ten zeros. It is a number so large that it is almost incomprehensible. Yet, for the Commission this colossal figure is simply not enough. The Commission, like Oliver Twist, would like to ask for more. But, like Oliver Twist, the Commission is in the poorhouse.

Many Member States are tightening their belts and reining in public spending. So why should the Commission be immune to austerity when it so quickly imposes it on others? We need regular evaluation of the EU budget to ensure that all spending is achieving its desired outcome. A 6.8% increase is simply not acceptable. We need to freeze the EU budget and to look to make cuts where possible.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Julie Girling (ECR). - Mr President, I voted against this report as I do not believe that Parliament should be giving a mandate for negotiation at trilogue of a budget with these levels of increased spending. At a time when national governments all over Europe are having to take drastic and sometimes socially divisive decisions to reduce public spending, it is impossible to support an increase in spending across the EU via this budget.

We are missing a golden opportunity to review the way in which budgets are put together. We need to be more flexible in looking at Member States’ needs and looking for ways to save money. All kinds of innovative programmes are coming through Member States, but they never seem to permeate through to this level.

We here in the European Parliament could achieve a real increase in public support and we could really make inroads into public perception of our activities if we were simply to grasp this nettle and get on with delivering a budget that the people of Europe could support.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Diane Dodds (NI). - Mr President, the budget negotiations provide an opportunity for this Parliament and EU leaders to restore some degree of credibility against the backdrop of the continuing economic crisis which engulfs the eurozone and the rest of Europe. A modicum of credibility can be restored if we, as MEPs, accept that we too must exercise budgetary restraint.

I have said this often in this House but I will repeat it once again: it is simply not realistic, it is not sensible and it is not equitable that, while Member State governments exercise economic prudence at home, Brussels argues for the right for greater budgets. Where is the responsibility? Where is the leadership and the example that the EU can show at this time?

In the United Kingdom confidence in the EU is at an all-time low. While we persist with vanity projects like the European House of History or the waste of travelling between two places of work, Strasbourg and Brussels, then that will not change.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, British Conservatives have consistently called for the EU to do less, but do it better. Therefore I could not vote for this resolution, giving a mandate to take to the budgetary trilogue which would have endorsed the Commission’s unrealistically inflated and actually unfounded budgetary proposals.

The draft budget for 2013 astonishingly calls for a 6.8% increase on the figure of GBP 100 billion a year, a figure that looks totally incongruous set against the current climate of EU-wide austerity. In a time of widespread fiscal consolidation by Member States, it makes no sense to propose anything other than a spending freeze, if not a reduction. This will be widely interpreted as the institutions living in a parallel universe of their own fashioning.

My constituents in London should not have to endure the prospects of more EU spending and largesse whilst every other tier of national government in my country makes cuts to its budgets, resulting in many jobs being cut in public services. I agree with Ms Dodds that perhaps we should close down the Strasbourg parliament. That would be a huge saving to the budget, if only we could get consent for this from France and Germany.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Georgios Koumoutsakos (PPE).(EL) Mr President, my explanation of vote concerns the La Via report on the 2013 budget and, specifically, the mandate for the trilogue on the 2013 draft budget. I wish to refer specifically to the amendment tabled by the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left to paragraph 20 about a single seat for the European Parliament.

I voted against that amendment, because we need to respect the institutional order as set out in the EU Treaties. At the same time, however, we need to state that the economic environment, the economic difficulties faced by Europe as a whole and, more importantly, by its citizens, make this a very important matter politically and we must clearly review it. We cannot spend a lot of money when a large number of European citizens are suffering daily from the economic situation. We therefore need to reconsider this. At this stage, of course, we have respected our institutional obligations.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Andrea Češková (ECR). (CS) Mr President, I was unable to support this report. Europe is currently facing a serious financial and budgetary crisis. It is time we realised that EU resources must be used as efficiently and effectively as possible.

A total sum of EUR 748 million has been earmarked for decentralised agencies in 2013. The total contribution has thus increased by 3.2% or EUR 24 million compared to 2012. Even though this increase is logically connected with the start-up of eight new agencies and also with an expansion in the activities of seven agencies, I believe there should be no general increase in the contribution to these agencies.

The main reason is that research aimed at identifying areas of duplication and overlapping activities of existing agencies has not yet been completed. Personally, I firmly believe that there a number of agencies that, based on the similarity of their activities, could be merged, particularly in a period when we cannot allow further wastage of the EU's budgetary resources.

 
  
  

Report: Marit Paulsen (A7-0216/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Andrea Zanoni (ALDE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in favour of the report on the welfare of animals because it introduces important concepts for a better future for animals and European citizens. Issues including a new directive to protect dogs and cats, the violation of the directives on zoos and laying hens by many Member States, and maintaining the March 2013 deadline for cosmetics tested on animals must be addressed urgently and as a matter of priority.

We also need to provide for mandatory labelling for meat from animals barbarically slaughtered without being stunned. We must adopt an EU law on animal welfare and set up a body that monitors whether the Member States enforce the rules on the industry.

We can and we must, however, do much more for animal welfare. Modern, civilised Europe can no longer tolerate barbaric, uncivilised and backwards practices such as vivisection, hunting or bullfighting. Let us renounce these absurd activities right now, for a Europe that is more respectful of animals and more respectful of the views of its citizens, who are often much more far-sighted, caring and sensitive than national and EU authorities.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  George Lyon (ALDE). - Mr President, I was pleased to support Marit Paulsen’s report. I think that she deserves credit for producing a very balanced report that deals with some very sensitive issues where there are strong feelings on both sides of the argument. I welcome her emphasis on enforcement rather than on the need for more rules. I also welcome her suggestion of legally enforced milestones for new EU legislation in the future, because our experience of both the egg ban and the ban on battery cages, which was introduced last year, was that the Commission was utterly powerless when faced with a situation where many Member States appeared to be dragging their feet in enforcing that legislation. We are about to see a rerun of that same fiasco again with the ban on sow stalls and tethers for pregnant pigs.

We need to give the Commission more teeth to be able to step in earlier and enforce legally enforced milestones to ensure that Member States do comply in future with deadlines for introducing bans relating to animal welfare.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Agnès Le Brun (PPE).(FR) Mr President, the report by Marit Paulsen on the Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals seems to have struck a balance and takes into account the needs of agricultural production. I therefore voted in favour despite being somewhat reluctant at the start.

For many years, livestock farmers have been improving their practices in order to respond to consumer demands. This resolution puts forward some very interesting proposals to give this animal welfare policy added value for animal protection but also, and above all, for European production. It advocates a new approach to our trade policy, putting the emphasis on promoting the high standards met by our farmers. In terms of consumer negotiations and information, the quality of our production must be highlighted in order to combat distortions of competition.

This report also emphasises the need to align the animal welfare strategy with the desire to safeguard productivity. Animal welfare must be protected, but on the basis of sound scientific proof, and it must not lead to an unnecessary increase in what is already an extremely heavy regulatory burden.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Mitro Repo (S&D). - (FI) Mr President, I voted in favour of this report, because animal welfare must figure in everything that we do. Financial considerations should not take priority over humane treatment.

Legislation on animal welfare must be simplified and harmonised. Furthermore, it must be based on researched data. What is most important for the practical implementation of animal welfare, however, is the effective enforcement of legislation. Even good legislation is of no importance if it is just a dead letter.

In addition to supervising legislation effectively, the Member States must ensure that there are appropriate sanctions for violations. This is especially important in animal transport, another area where there is where often non-compliance with existing legislation.

The European Union is a community of values, and animal welfare has intrinsic value. The legislation should also be extended to pets and stray animals.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, animal welfare is both an ethical and a public health objective, because more specific rules on animal health can help avoid the spread of disease under the ‘One Health’ principle, and therefore also ensure greater food safety, which goes hand in hand with product quality and with boosting the competiveness of European agriculture, even if there is also the issue of unfair competition. Indeed, we need to ensure equal conditions for European farmers and to protect the EU agri-food industry from unfair competition from third countries by demanding the same standards for imported products and animals. In conclusion, I say ‘stop’ to the indiscriminate and barbaric use of animals as test subjects and massacres of strays.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, protecting animal welfare standards is part of and complementary to sustainable development policy. European institutions, as signatories to the agreement on sustainable development, must do all they can to ensure these standards are adequate. The deterioration in the state of health of wild animals could result in an increased spread of contagious diseases to domestic animals and, at the same time, have an adverse effect on public health;

I voted in favour of Ms Paulsen’s proposal, since I think the current regulations need to be better enforced, with special focus on the animal transport sector. I welcome the inclusion in the strategy of a European animal welfare framework law and join in Ms Paulsen’s call for this law to be clearly formulated, followed by a consultation with all relevant parties.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Julie Girling (ECR). - Mr President, regrettably I was not able to support this report.

There are many welcome aspects, particularly the call for a new regime to deal with compliance with animal welfare advances, such as the rules on sow stalls which come into force at the end of this year. It is vital to devise a system that allows us to take action to expedite compliance before a deadline is reached. The debacle of this year’s Laying Hens Directive must simply not be repeated. I welcome Ms Paulsen’s attempts to come up with a strategy for that. I also welcome the call for equivalent welfare standards on all imported animal products as a significant step forward for livestock farmers and human health.

However, I regret the inclusion in this report of a call to extend the scope of Europe’s animal welfare strategy to pets and wild animals. I believe that these are Member State issues and will not benefit from European interference. If you look at the way in which we have put into place the European Zoos Directive and the complete lack of enforcement in Member States, I have no confidence at all that wild animals and pets will get any more attention.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Diane Dodds (NI). - Mr President, supporting and encouraging meaningful animal welfare advances is important to both the consumer and the producer. I think it is important to note from a purely production point of view that a well cared-for animal is a more productive animal. There is always a need for safeguards and updating of legislation as a result of developments in science, but equally important is the need for adequate monitoring and surveillance of the current legislation.

In Europe we must have a level playing field for all producers. We are all aware of animal welfare standards which have been put in place where some Member States have blatantly been non-compliant and little action has been taken in the form of punishment or redress. This has been recently demonstrated in the debacle over the continued use of battery cages for hens, and is facing us again in relation to sow stalls. This puts those Member States and producers that have complied at a competitive disadvantage, which is unacceptable in the single market.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, I voted in favour of the Paulsen report as a firm supporter generally of animal welfare across the Union. It is vital that the EU should have a cohesive and effective science-based strategy in defending and advancing animal welfare. I agree with the report’s conclusion that lack of compliance and non-harmonised standards across Member States not only distort farming competition, for example over the laying hens issue and the sow stalls issue, but also put animal welfare generally at risk and make our WTO demands for third countries to fall into line much less credible.

It is disappointing to learn that the enforcement of existing rules has remained lax. It is, however, heartening that this report envisages future legislation to fill in the rather large gaps in EU animal welfare law, most notably in the field of dairy cows. I would also like to take this opporunity to register my support for the maximum journey time of eight hours and 500 km for the transport of live animals, with some derogations, and for the general principle of ‘on the hook’ rather than ‘on the hoof’. However, I agree with my colleague that the issue of managing stray dogs is far better left to the Member States to legislate on.

 
  
  

Motions for resolutions: B7-0407/2012, B7-0408/2012, B7-0409/2012, B7-0410/2012

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Patrizia Toia (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, following the initial comments on the European Council, now the time for simplistic interpretation has begun, which is a mistake because important progress was made. For example, the destructive link between banks and public debts has been broken and we have a plan – albeit a weak one – on employment and jobs. The European institutions seem once again to be infused with a spirit of resurgence and renewed progress towards political unity, after so much slowness and dragging of feet, and a desire for real progress towards greater integration.

In this vein, yesterday saw a display of real unity between Parliament and the Commission. There were no winners or losers, but an undeniable, new institutional and political vitality compared to the diarchy of the past, which was the negation – the very antithesis – of the European spirit. Many countries showed initiative and a desire to act, not to create new, exclusive alliances, but to build a shared consensus that is respectful of all Member States. This is the path towards political unity, without which any form of banking, fiscal or monetary unity will be totally inadequate.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Ewald Stadler (NI).(DE) Mr President, I have rejected all of the motions for resolutions, except the one tabled by the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group, which I supported. I would like to explain why I did this, further to the comments I made yesterday regarding the Council document.

Let me reiterate: with all of these proposals, which I already criticised yesterday, this gang of four is attempting to use the crisis in Europe to establish a European superstate by the back door. However, this Council meeting was the 19th meeting of cluelessness. I come now to further proof that this European Union is simply a fair weather programme and it cannot cope with crises: the proof is this proposal for banking supervision. Why should banking supervision work when the supervision of the Member States by the European Union in respect of compliance with the Maastricht criteria is already not working? Who would share this optimism? In other words, the next failure is already on the cards. All of this is intended to serve to ensure that in future, circumventing the Treaty establishing the ESM, the banks will be financed directly. We only need to consider the fact that, during the current ratification procedure, the Council itself is already breaking the rules with its own proposals for direct financing of the banks. That is outrageous.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Diane Dodds (NI). - Mr President, amid the continuing crisis, yet another summit, yet another set of short-term fudges that buoy the market for a moment and then begin to unravel soon after. At the same time the people of Europe continue to suffer.

In Italy in May, 36.2% of young people were out of work. In Spain, that number is 51.1%. In all of this summitry, the fundamental issue of the lack of competitiveness has not been answered. Significantly – and very worryingly – in this whole process, the importance of national democracy has been diminished. In this House this week, we have heard demands for people to be quiet after a summit. Surely this House, being directly elected by citizens, should recognise that national governments – having pursued the proper ratification of ESM – have the right to raise questions when those rules are changed. I fear that we will soon be discussing another spike in this continuing crisis.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL). - Mr President, last week the Irish Taoiseach arrived home from the summit proclaiming a tremendous victory for the Irish people. The Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said that the deal lifts the bank debt burden from Irish taxpayers. They were both very long on rhetoric and very short on detail, and when you read the detail it is not very enlightening. There is one sentence dealing with Ireland in the statement, which simply says that the Euro Group will examine the situation of the Irish financial sector.

It is as clear as mud. The summit has not provided any solution for the crisis. It does not deal with the unsustainable debt facing the Irish people, the Greek people, the Portuguese, Spanish, Italian people, and it does not tackle the collapse of private-sector investment that has taken place across Europe of EUR 300 billion in the course of the crisis. At the same time, the profits are going up and the richest corporations are hoarding EUR 3 trillion in liquid assets.

Radical socialist measures are needed to deal with the crisis. That means repudiating the debt. It means a capital tax on those uninvested profits, public investment to create jobs and, crucially, taking the key sections of the economy into democratic public ownership in order to be able to plan a way out of this crisis and redevelop the economies in a sustainable way.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Mitro Repo (S&D). - (FI) Mr President, this week there has been intense and profound discussion on the achievements of last week’s EU Summit. There have even been doubts expressed in the press and among the Members here as to whether anything of any real import was actually achieved at the meeting in the end. I would like to believe that something was achieved, but Europe needs to promote closer cooperation. We either sink together or we steer the European ship towards a better future. In any case, we already have what is a kind of two-speed Europe. Those countries that want to develop and strengthen their cooperation must be allowed to do so.

It is a regrettable fact that several Member States see the Summit as a contest in which to further their own interests, and nothing more. National interests are in this way taking priority over European cooperation. This is an unfortunate, dangerous phenomenon. The European Union is facing what is perhaps the most serious crisis in its history. Now the crisis is about its very existence.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Silvia Costa (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, we must acknowledge that the European Council of 28 June represented an important political step forward, finally bucking the trend of years of repatriation of EU policies and delays in the process of strengthening and completing the Union’s institutional and economic framework to accompany the single currency.

It is now irresponsible of certain governments or political groups to question or threaten to veto the decisions that have been taken, which I hope will be confirmed and fleshed out at the next Ecofin Council meeting. Such behaviour also risks negating Parliament’s efforts to push ahead with common objectives, namely boosting own resources, investment, jobs and growth.

Thanks above all to the efforts of our political group and the work of the Italian and French Governments – together with the Spanish Government – the ‘golden rule’ and the Tobin Tax are now on the agenda, but a renewed push for greater political and economic integration in the European Union should be there as well.

 
  
  

Report: Jürgen Klute (A7-0197/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Mitro Repo (S&D). - (FI) Mr President, I have just voted in favour of the report on access to basic banking services. Although the use of cash is rapidly diminishing, some 7% of the adult population of the EU still do not have a bank account. The reason why around six to seven million of these 30 million consumers do not have a bank account is that the banks have not agreed to let them have one.

Not having a bank account gives rise to basic problems for people in their everyday lives, when, for example, they go shopping, have to pay bills or enter into accommodation agreements. Furthermore, it is incredible that some banks are unwilling to open a bank account for a consumer even when they are presented with a currently valid contract of employment. In some cases, this is a serious problem, especially for employees from a migrant background.

We must rid ourselves of such discrimination and also persuade the banking sector to assume some social responsibility. For this reason, I enthusiastically support this report, which promotes the status of EU citizens and the internal market.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Adam Bielan (ECR). - (PL) Mr President, this report was prepared in reaction to the problems experienced by citizens trying to open a bank account in another Member State. The objective, which is sensible, is to standardise the rules and to make it easier to use banking services. However, the solutions presented diverge from the initial concept, which focused on improving access to basic payment services in the European Union. First of all, the report recommends that the Commission should not begin work – which is planned for the beginning of next year – on a draft directive for this service sector. Many other recommendations contained in the report will in reality constitute a direct or indirect threat to the Union’s banking sector. One issue that requires discussion is whether the suppliers of payment services should bear the cost of an information campaign to raise awareness about the right of access to the new product, especially in view of the fact that they will incur considerable costs for employee training. For this reason, I voted against this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I fully endorse this resolution. I believe that every European citizen should have access to a basic bank account, for free or for a modest charge, because:

1. the annual opportunity cost of not having access to a payment account is estimated at roughly EUR 250 per consumer;

2. access to basic payment services is, in particular, a prerequisite for access to jobs, for health-care services and housing.

Furthermore, factors such as level or regularity of income, employment, credit history, level of indebtedness, individual situation regarding bankruptcy or turnover should not be taken into account for opening a basic payment account. In particular, access should in no way be conditional upon purchasing other products or services, such as insurance or an additional account.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Diane Dodds (NI). - Mr President, thank you for your great patience today.

I am sure that for many of my UK colleagues – and particularly those other UK MEPs representing Northern Ireland in this House – the timing of this report is rather ironic in light of the banking failures of the RBS Group and the particular plight of Ulster Bank customers in my own constituency.

The technical problems that have consequently affected so many Ulster Bank clients, with no access to bank accounts for several weeks and problems with direct debit facilities, serve to highlight how important simple banking transactions have become to our everyday lives. The situation in my constituency has caused great anger, particularly since in Great Britain customers of RBS have had these problems resolved, whilst Ulster Bank customers will have to endure further weeks of misery.

Tellingly too, it has also served to highlight how banks seek patience from their clients at all times, even when they are at fault. But when clients default on their responsibility, even slightly, those penalties are severe and entirely disproportionate. It is time for the banks to regain trust from their customers and ethical banking will do much to help this.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Claude Turmes (Verts/ALE). - Mr President, I want to congratulate you for your perseverance and hope that you have not been too hungry during this time.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Paolo De Castro (A7-0158/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because I support the alignment process suggested to tackle financial provisions for 2013 for the Member States that have acceded to the EU since 2004. I am happy with the way direct payments are to be gradually introduced: it is suitable for enabling those Member States to grant – in a non-detrimental way – Commission permission for transition and national support for farmers in 2013. As such, this report represents the real interests of its beneficiaries.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) In order to prevent European Union legislation from becoming too complicated and technical, the Treaty of Lisbon modernised the system for delegating certain powers to the European Commission in the case of minor legislative changes. This enables us to avoid a full-text revision that would involve repeating the whole legislative process. As regards the common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy and establishing certain support schemes for farmers, I voted in favour of certain adjustments and approved the simplifications that will benefit farmers. Our aim was to reduce the administrative burden and give Member States the option to exempt farmers not applying for area-related payments and declaring only small areas from the requirement of an area declaration.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this report because I believe that current legislation needs to be brought into line with the new legal reality. I should stress in particular the need to establish some common rules for the direct support schemes for farmers. At the same time, I think that any amendments must be aimed at simplifying the system to reduce the administrative burden on Member States. Indeed, the fact that states will be able to grant farmers certain exemptions will provide greater clarity and legal certainty. The common agricultural policy is the most important section in the EU budget. This is why I think that establishing an agreement should be a priority and, in this regard, both the Commission and Council should adopt a constructive attitude.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 providing the rules for the current system of direct payments to farmers should be superseded by the CAP reform proposals for 2014-2020, which are due to apply as from 1 January 2014. While Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 continues to apply in 2013, there are some financial provisions, which only run until 2012. In addition, calendar year 2013 corresponds to financial year 2014, and therefore falls under the new multi-annual financial framework of 2014-2020. This proposal has been produced to deal with the financial provisions for the 2013 transitional period. The main purpose of the proposal is to set net ceilings for direct payments for the calendar year 2013 by establishing an adjustment mechanism similar to modulation, so as to ensure continuity in payment levels while taking into account the phasing-in of direct payments in the new Member States and the cessation of voluntary modulation. In order to safeguard the continuity of support for farmers in 2013, this act must enter into force by 1 January 2013. It should also be borne in mind that the Commission proposal has been prepared on the premise that the alignment proposal COM(2010) 539 would be adopted first. Account should therefore be taken of this on-going procedure, possibly through additional amendments, at the time of adopting this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The comitology system, which was based on the classic comitology procedures and the regulatory procedure with scrutiny, has been abolished by the Treaty of Lisbon. The new system is made up of a two-tier structure consisting of delegated and implementing acts, which enables the Commission to exercise its implementing and execution powers.

The Commission’s proposal is properly drafted in terms of its content, and given the new legal reality, I think that the current legislation must be brought into line. This is why I support this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this proposal for a regulation because I consider it consistent with the overall development strategy for a sector that is still in trouble; a sector dominated by great market volatility, by environmental challenges and by the need for environmental security. Simplified and functional procedures that guarantee direct delivery, to ensure support – which is in great difficulties at the moment – capable of real development: that is why I voted in favour. That is the reasoned argument that enables direct payments to young farmers, to give them a chance and an opportunity for the entrepreneurial spirit and development that could have a significant impact on employment levels.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Casa (PPE), in writing. The establishment of support schemes for farmers under the CAP is important for ensuring adequate standards of living for farmers as well as good food quality and fair prices for consumers. Given changes to the EU's comitology system, I am in favour of these amendments to Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I think that adapting the current legislation to the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon is of paramount importance, particularly in the areas where the relevant legislation was not adopted using the codecision procedure, which also means agriculture.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I supported the adoption of this text, which tangibly implements the Treaty of Lisbon in the important case of aid to farmers and strengthens the powers of European citizens, who, through their representatives in Parliament, will be able to express their position through the drafting and monitoring of European regulations. The text also seeks to simplify procedures and reduce administrative costs so that the strengthening of European law is no longer synonymous with complexity and additional expenditure.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on ‘common rules for direct support schemes for farmers’ because it includes measures aimed at updating agricultural legislation to the new provisions, thereby ensuring greater legal clarity and certainty, and aligning this Regulation with the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) There have been various amendments to existing legislation aimed at adapting it to the Treaty of Lisbon since the latter came into force. Agricultural matters were bound to undergo such revisions and incorporate the drafting considered most suitable and compliant, not just with the letter, but also with the spirit of the Treaty of Lisbon. I hope issues relating to competences and the division thereof between the European institutions will not cut them off from the need to act together so as best to serve the public. I also hope the envisaged simplification will translate to concrete events that will improve the lives of farmers and reduce the – not always reasonable – bureaucratic burden weighing down on them.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report by Paolo De Castro concerns a proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 establishing common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy and establishing certain support schemes for farmers. The Treaty of Lisbon has changed the old comitology system, thereby increasing the powers of Parliament, which now has the right to veto delegated acts. That system has been replaced by a two-tier system of delegated acts and implementing acts, so there needs to be an alignment with the existing body of legislation. Since the Commission proposals are balanced, in view of the report by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development demanding delegated acts in direct payments to farmers, and given that the current proposal provides for simplification of Regulation (EC) No 73/2009, particularly as regards the legislative environment and reducing the administrative burden on the Member States, I voted for this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report forms part of the ‘Joint Debate – Alignment with the Treaty of Lisbon’, involving a series of reports by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, which amends the legislative text from the old comitology system using the two-tier structure imposed by the Treaty of Lisbon, which consists of delegated acts and implementing acts, enabling the Commission to exercise implementing powers without consulting Parliament. The report aims to amend the proposal for a Regulation establishing common rules for direct support schemes for farmers: ‘the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union should be delegated to the Commission to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of Regulation (EC) No 73/2009’. The three issues arising here are the use of delegated acts to amend annexes to the Regulation, when rights are conferred on farmers, or when there could be negative consequences whenever there is a need to preserve the consistency of a legal text. The intention is to simplify the Regulation and some aspects of that simplification could be positive, particularly exempting farmers from area declarations when the areas are smaller than one hectare. However, we are concerned that some decision levels handed to the Commission will not benefit small farmers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The Treaty of Lisbon abolishes the old comitology system, which was based on the classic comitology procedures (advisory, management, regulatory) and the regulatory procedure with scrutiny. This system is now replaced with a two tier structure, consisting of delegated and implementing acts (the former including Parliament’s right of veto), which enable the Commission to exert powers in implementation and execution. Thus, the existing body of legislation has to be aligned to this new legal reality. One of the first proposals is the alignment of the present proposal for a regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 establishing common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy and establishing certain support schemes for farmers. The proposal contains modifications in terms of alignment, but also provides for simplification of the Regulation. The proposal also includes a number of provisions aimed at simplifying the current legislative environment and easing the administrative burden for Member States. I would like to express support for the proposed modifications in order to achieve better legal clarity and certainty.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the resolution on the proposal because the existing body of legislation is thus aligned with this new legal reality. One of the first proposals is the alignment of the present proposal for a regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 establishing common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy and establishing certain support schemes for farmers. The proposal contains modifications in terms of alignment, but also provides for the simplification of Regulation 73/2009. The proposal also includes a number of provisions aimed at simplifying the current legislative environment and easing the administrative burden for Member States. These amendments concern cross compliance, as well as the possibility for Member States to exempt farmers not applying for area-related payments and declaring only small areas (less than 1 hectare) from the requirement of an area declaration. They will mainly concern livestock producers without any eligible land to apply for area-related payments. It is judged that the number of farmers who could be affected is difficult to predict, but it can be assumed that it will be limited, bearing in mind the continued decoupling of livestock payments and transfer to area-related payments. This amendment represents a cut in the administrative burden for certain Member States. It should help achieve better legal clarity and certainty.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) The rules on direct support for farmers must be updated with regard to the Commission’s delegated and implementing powers. As a result, in an emergency the Commission will be able to use delegated acts to amend the annexes to the Regulation and adopt new measures. It will also be able to use implementing acts to grant specific targeted support for Member States. The European Parliament adopted this report by a very large majority and I welcome that.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. I voted in favour of this report. As part of a package of four technical dossiers aligning the existing CAP rules with the Treaty of Lisbon, this dossier deals with the rural development programme of the CAP and is significant because it focuses on the issue of delegated or implementing acts and how they should be applied to the different provisions included in the existing regulation. As with most agriculture dossiers I am satisfied that the European Parliament has sought to ensure that delegated acts and therefore the ordinary legislative procedure are used in as many cases as possible.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jacek Olgierd Kurski (EFD), in writing. I was pleased to see the large majority with which this vote passed. One common market should see truly common rules in agriculture. In keeping with the spirit of equality and solidarity, the product of the labour of one farmer should be held in the same esteem as that of another. I call upon all actors in the European Union to accelerate progress towards the equal treatment of EU workers in the agricultural sector and look forward keenly to the day when disparities in treatment across the Union will be eliminated.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. – (RO) In recent years, Member States have called for the number of reports submitted to the Commission to be reduced. According to the current regulations, the summary reports must be submitted every two years, which gives a total of three reports. Consequently, the new proposal takes into account the recommendations made by Member States and restricts the number of reports to two. I think that, apart from the simplifications on reporting, the amendments relating to cross-compliance and the use of counselling services are a particularly important simplification, which will help considerably ease the administrative burden for Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this proposal on common rules for direct support schemes for farmers.

The Treaty of Lisbon abolishes the old comitology system, which was based on the classic comitology procedures (advisory, management, regulatory) and the regulatory procedure with scrutiny. This system is now replaced with a two-tier structure, consisting of delegated and implementing acts (the former including Parliament’s right of veto), which enable the Commission to exert powers in implementation and execution. Thus, the existing body of legislation has to be aligned to this new legal reality.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. This week the decision on payments to farmers of the Latvian Republic for the year 2012 was taken. Neither the European Commission nor the majority of Members of European Parliament are concerned about the fact that the issue remains unsolved and it is still very far from the tangible fairness. Declaring the perfection of democracy and transparency of approaches to the problem of discrimination of farmers is pure populism. Meanwhile Netherlands' farmers receive in average three times higher direct payments than Latvian. I am sure that such practice of double standards can lead to social explosion and mass protests from Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian farmers' side. I call on the Commission and the European Parliament to equalise the level of direct payments to all farmers in all EU Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report, which has two objectives: on the one hand, to adapt the existing legislation to the new Treaty provisions on the Commission’s implementing powers, and on the other hand, to simplify the current procedures by reducing the administrative burden on Member States. This proposal will thus help to strengthen legal clarity and certainty, thereby consolidating the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon and benefiting European farmers and citizens in general.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution. Given the new comitology system provided for by the Treaty of Lisbon it is appropriate to grant the Commission the right, by means of implementing acts, to adopt a mechanism for allocating certain specific support. I therefore welcome the proposal that the Commission should be able to decide, without the assistance of the Committee for Direct Payments, which Member States fulfil certain conditions regarding the suckler cow premium and which do not, and also authorise new Member States to complement, subject to certain conditions, any direct payments.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) As a result of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the powers attributed to the Commission pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 should be aligned with Article 290 and Article 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. As such, I voted for the report on the alignment of common rules for direct support schemes for farmers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) Following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the powers conferred on the Commission pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 must be aligned with the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Said alignment is set out in this proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 establishing common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy and establishing certain support schemes for farmers. I have voted in favour, in order to simplify the current legal framework, reduce the administrative burden for Member States and ensure greater legal clarity and certainty.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Franck Proust (PPE), in writing. (FR) With this report, we are showing that Europe can react quickly. Legal specifications must remain the tools of our policy, rather than becoming insurmountable obstacles. It was absolutely crucial to align the legislation, particularly for the agricultural sector, which has suffered a great deal in recent years. It is time for Europe to lead the way by regulating agricultural markets so that excessive fluctuations do not further damage their financial situation. The CAP reform already offers a new framework, notably through the use of contracts.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report concerns the alignment of this proposal for a Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 establishing common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy, and also simplifying that Regulation. Fundamentally, the intention is to align the existing body of legislation with the new provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon concerning the exercise of the Commission’s implementing powers. The proposal also includes a set of provisions aimed at simplifying the current legislative environment and easing the administrative burden for Member States. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. The rapporteur considered that the procedure defined in Article 11 of Regulation No 73/2009 (financial discipline mechanism) may no longer be applied without the involvement of the European Parliament, in light of the Treaty of Lisbon provisions on the CAP and the budgetary procedure. These amendments which concern cross-compliance, as well as the possibility for Member States to exempt farmers not applying for area-related payments and declaring only small areas (less than 1 hectare) from the requirement of an area declaration, will mainly concern livestock producers without any eligible land to apply for area-related payments. The amendment reduces slightly the administrative burden for a few Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) I am also in favour of this report, since it makes changes in terms of alignment and simplification. The Treaty of Lisbon abolishes the old comitology system and replaces it with delegated acts and implementing acts. One of the first proposals for alignment establishes common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy and establishes support schemes for them. The report looks at the Commission’s proposal and proposes recourse to delegated acts only in specific cases. In terms of simplification, the proposal includes a series of provisions on the current legal framework and a reduction in the administrative burden for Member States, such as the possibility of exempting farmers who do not submit applications for area payments or only declare areas of less than a hectare from having to declare their areas.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. Ι voted in favour of this proposal because it establishes common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy and certain support schemes for farmers. It also includes a number of provisions aimed at simplifying the current legislative environment and easing the administrative burden for Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) This votes sees the adoption of a series of measures designed to simplify the current legal framework and reduce the administrative burden faced by Member States. The changes mostly affect farmers whose land is not eligible to receive area payments. The new proposal includes changes in terms of alignment and also simplifies the regulation. Although it is hard to predict how many farmers will be affected by this change, we can presume that it will not be very many, if we bear in mind the increasingly marked tendency to move away from payments per animal and towards area payments. In any case, the change brings a reduction in red tape for some Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) In September 2010, the European Commission tabled a proposal for a regulation intended to lay down common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy. I am voting for this report because I support the set of provisions aimed at simplifying the current legislative environment and easing the administrative burden for Member States. These amendments concern cross compliance, as well as the possibility for Member States to exempt farmers not applying for area-related payments and declaring only small areas – less than one hectare – from the requirement of an area declaration. Finally, I believe the European Commission should adopt acts pursuant to Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, but should consult experts during the preparatory work.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Georgios Toussas (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) 2013 is a transitional year of preparation and adaptation to the new CAP 2014-2020, which will have even more catastrophic consequences for small and medium-sized holdings and agricultural production, by boosting large capitalist agricultural undertakings. The proposed transitional provisions contained in the Commission regulation and the European Parliament report for the transition to the new CAP do nothing in essence to change the anti-farming policy of the CAP. There is barely even a feasible facility for transitional national support for countries with a large public debt and deficit, in order to provide farmers with national resources. As a result, inequality within the EU is increasing, in keeping with the capitalist growth model, poor farmers are being ousted more quickly and further support is being given to large-scale farmers, thereby paving the way for the ‘new’, even more anti-farming CAP.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. In the European Commission’s legislative proposals on the new CAP, it was proposed that direct payments should be better targeted, including specifically to young farmers through an annual top-up of direct payments representing up to 2% of the national envelope for the first five years after installation. I support both the mandatory aspect of the young farmer top-up in Pillar I of the new CAP and the higher co-financing ratio and improved measures for the Pillar II sub-programme including young farmers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr De Castro’s text, which brings in a series of measures designed to simplify the current legal framework and reduce the administrative burden faced by Member States. Among other things, the changes relate to cross-compliance and the possibility for Member States to exempt farmers who declare less than a hectare of land from the area declaration obligation. Lastly, I would like to point out the decision of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, which, in the absence of an agreement with the Council, has decided with today’s vote to send a strong message ahead of the forthcoming negotiations on reform of the common agricultural policy.

 
  
  

Report: Paolo De Castro (A7-0161/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since the Commission is proposing to extend the current funding possibilities to all Member States to support the setting up and administrative operation of producer groups, but this proposal considers it discriminatory to exclude support for producer groups in the fruit and vegetable sector, and I clearly agree with that. In order to avoid different interpretations of Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005, it seems useful to allow Member States that have opted for regional programs to calculate the automatic cancellation of financial resources at Member State level. In order to harmonise European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Regional Development Fund, I also agree with the suggestion that the VAT for non taxable persons – that is, public institutions – be made eligible for an EAFRD contribution, which could certainly be very helpful for Europeans living in rural areas.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Regarding the report on the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, I approved the wish to improve its efficient and targeted use with regard to the treatment of beneficiaries, through delegated acts. In general, the requirements to qualify for this aid have been lowered. At times, the European Union seems too complicated, so we need to simplify procedures. Here, the number of annual progress and summary reports under Rural Development is reduced, Cross Compliance controls are facilitated and the rules for the use of advisory services are changed. These elements should contribute to ease the administrative burden for the Member States and simplify the lives of beneficiaries.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this agreement because it is particularly important for this regulation to be brought into line with the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. A clear distinction needs to be made between implementing acts and measures, on the one hand, and delegated acts, on the other. I support the Commission’s proposal as, in my view, its aim is to make effective, constructive use of the available funds. They must be properly targeted at the beneficiaries who are eligible.

I also welcome the measures and regulations on simplification, aimed at ensuring that the scheme runs better. Indeed, harmonising EAFRD and ERDF is particularly important in this context. I would also like to stress the need to reinforce governance in this area, thereby enabling all the stakeholders to take an active part in the decision-making process.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr De Castro’s report because I approve of the simplifications to the current regulation, which aims to partly relieve Member States from the administrative burden relating to the process of aligning Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, to the new rules brought in by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because according to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) the current Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 (as one of the first proposals) has to be aligned based on the principle of distinguishing between measures of an implementing nature and measures of a delegated nature of the Commission’s current implementing powers which were adopted on the basis of Regulations (EC) No 1974/2006 and No 1975/2006. The Commission proposal suggests ensuring efficient and targeted use of funds, establishing a level playing field for beneficiaries, and this is mostly covered in the proposal by delegated acts. Other provisions regarding concrete details of programmes, measures and rules are covered in the proposal by implementing acts, which are to be adopted by Member States. It is essential to ensure that the current funding possibilities to support the setting up and administrative operation of producer groups are extended to all Member States, without discriminating against producer groups in the fruit and vegetables sector. Also in order to avoid different interpretations of Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005, it seems useful to allow - for Member States, which have opted for regional programs - the calculation of the automatic cancellation of financial resources at Member State level.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Food security is an issue which has always been a global concern, and agriculture is the only branch of production which can guarantee food security for mankind, reserves for export and supplementary domestic stocks. The Commission’s proposal ensures efficient and targeted use of the funds with regard to the treatment of beneficiaries.

I welcome the introduction in the current regulation of some elements of simplification which provide for the extension of Natura 2000 support to the areas referred to in Article 10 of Directive 92/43/EEC, and the reduction in the number of annual progress and summary reports on rural development.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) With this report, we are showing that Europe can react quickly. The legal specifications must continue to be the tools of the policy that we implement rather than becoming insurmountable obstacles. It was absolutely crucial to align the legislation, particularly for the agricultural sector, which has suffered a great deal in recent years. It is time for Europe to show the way by regulating the agricultural markets so that excessive fluctuations do not further damage their financial situation. The common agricultural policy (CAP) reform already offers a new framework, notably through contractualisation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, which includes the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon for the specific case of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and increases the powers of the European public, whose position is being defended via the development and monitoring of European regulations by their representatives in Parliament. The text also ensures the simplification of procedures and the reduction of administrative costs: no more will increased European legislation be synonymous with complexity and cost.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Casa (PPE), in writing. It is important to make the appropriation of funding fair amongst different sectors of rural development. I am in agreement with the opinion of the Rapporteur on these matters and therefore have voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) It is important for Parliament that in the new open legislative context of the Treaty of Lisbon, the new provisions concerning the Commission’s powers of execution and implementation must be adapted to the Treaty’s text.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the adoption of this text, which consolidates the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon for the specific case of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and strengthens the powers of European citizens, who, through their representatives in Parliament, will be able to express their position on the preparation and control of European regulations. The text also seeks to simplify procedures and reduce administrative costs so that the strengthening of European law is no longer synonymous with complexity and additional expenditure.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on ‘support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development’ because I think there is a need to update agricultural legislation to the new provisions, particularly as regards delegated acts, which are necessary for the proper functioning of the system established by the legislator, and implementing acts, in order to ensure a uniform application of the regime in the Member States and prevent unfair competition.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Parliament should set out a robust common position on the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. This position should be brought closer to that advocated by the European Commission. That is the only way it will be possible to make sustained progress in negotiations with the Council.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report by Paolo De Castro concerns the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The Treaty of Lisbon has changed the old comitology system, thereby increasing the powers of Parliament, which now has the right to veto delegated acts. That system has been replaced by a two-tier system of delegated acts and implementing acts, so there needs to be an alignment with the existing body of legislation. In order for the institutions to run more smoothly, the Council and Parliament can delegate the implementation of certain acts to the Commission, for a five-year period and notwithstanding the right to revoke that delegation. Given that the Commission proposal ensures efficient and targeted use of EAFRD funds and that certain simplification measures – such as extending Natura 2000 support to the areas referred to in Article 10 of the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) – are being introduced, and in view of the report by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, I voted for this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) As regards alignment with the Treaty of Lisbon, the Commission is proposing, in general terms, to ensure efficient and targeted use of funds with regard to the treatment of beneficiaries, which is mostly covered in the proposal by delegated acts. Other provisions regarding concrete details of programmes, measures and rules are covered in the proposal by implementing acts which are to be adopted by Member States. As regards simplification, the proposal makes several positive suggestions, particularly extending Natura 2000 support to areas referred to in Article 10 of the Habitats Directive, reducing the number of annual progress and summary reports concerning rural development, and facilitating cross-compliance controls. The rules for the use of advisory services are also changed. Furthermore, it extends to all Member States the funding possibilities to support the setting up and administrative operation of producer groups, harmonises the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Regional Development Fund, and proposes that the VAT for non taxable persons – that is, public institutions – be made eligible for an EAFRD contribution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 confers powers upon the Commission to implement some of the provisions of that Regulation. As a consequence of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the powers conferred upon the Commission under Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 need to be aligned to Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Pursuant to Article 290 of the Treaty (delegated acts), the legislator may, where appropriate, delegate to the Commission the power to adopt generally applicable non-legislative acts that supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of the legislative act. With regard to Article 291 of the Treaty (implementing acts), the legislator confers upon the Commission the power to adopt uniform conditions for implementing legally binding acts of the European Union. In addition, certain simplifying elements are being introduced to the current Regulation; support under the Natura 2000 system is being extended to the areas referred to in Article 10 of the Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora; and, similarly, in the rural development programme, the number of annual progress reports and summary reports is being reduced, controls of cross-compliance are being simplified, and the rules for using consultancy services are being simplified. These elements should help reduce the administrative burden on Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on the proposal because some elements of simplification are introduced in the current Regulation, Natura 2000 support is extended to areas referred to in Article 10 of Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) (these are legal elements of the proposal), the number of annual progress and summary reports under Rural Development is also reduced, cross compliance controls are facilitated and the rules for the use of advisory services are changed (these elements should help ease the administrative burden for the Member States). Besides this, as a (legal) element of simplification an incentive element should be introduced for measures approved under Article 43 of the Treaty (cofinanced measures within RD).

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) Regulations on rural development by the European Agricultural Fund should be clarified in the light of the introduction of implementing acts and delegated acts by the Treaty of Lisbon. The conditions for exercising the delegation of power must therefore be specified. Moreover, aid to support rural development should only be granted to farmers or associations who devote an essential part of their working time to agricultural activities and derive from them a significant part of their income. I voted in favour of this report, which was adopted by Parliament by 645 votes in the July part-session.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. My group was in favour of the committee's approach of supporting the use of delegated acts in as many instances as possible. As we know, the recent trilogues were inconclusive with no agreement possible, largely due to a number of horizontal issues which crossed through all four main pieces of legislation. For this reason, the Rapporteur decided to go to plenary to highlight Parliament's position and outstanding issues will be negotiated as part of the full CAP reform trilogues that will take place next year. For this reason, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this proposal as according to the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) the current Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 (as one of the first proposals) has to be aligned based on the principle of sorting the current Commission implementing powers which were adopted on the basis of Regulations (EC) No 1974/2006 and No 1975/2006 between measures of implementing nature and measures of delegated nature.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report, which has two objectives: on the one hand, adapting the existing legislation to the new Treaty provisions on the Commission’s implementing powers, and on the other hand, simplifying the current regulations (reducing the number of annual progress and summary reports required under Rural Development, simplifying Cross Compliance controls and the rules for the use of advisory services …). This proposal strengthens legal clarity and certainty, thereby consolidating the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon and benefiting citizens, and will enable more efficient and targeted funding.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Cristiana Muscardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) By voting in favour of the various reports on the common agricultural policy (CAP) presented today in this Chamber, we want to reaffirm the importance for Parliament of moving ahead with the alignment of the legislative procedures set out in Article 290 of the Treaty, giving the Commission the power to adopt delegated acts on reforming the CAP, which had been blocked on several occasions by the Council. This procedure is an essential part of the attempt to boost rural development and farming in our territory.

We therefore welcome Mr De Castro’s proposal, which aims at an effective, targeted use of funds from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) for the various beneficiaries. We are, however, sorry to see that, in the extension of funding opportunities for producer groups to all Member States, the fruit and vegetables sector has been left out, because it plays a key role in European agriculture and the health of our consumers. We would point out that the fruit and vegetables sector contributes to preservation of the environment, economic growth and the creation of many direct and indirect jobs that, in many areas of the Union, have suffered as a result of the current economic crisis. We hope the Commission can resolve this problem and add the fruit and vegetables sector to the EAFRD beneficiaries.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) It is very important to establish a mechanism, which would ensure that no producer groups are discriminated against and that all of them can take advantage of the support provided under equitable conditions. Furthermore, following a thorough analysis a compromise must be found to prevent disharmony between environmental provisions and local development. The proper use of these funds would swiftly and effectively help address issues of economic investment and environmental protection.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on aligning the scheme for support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development with the Treaty of Lisbon, pursuant to Article 290 and Article 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union makes a distinction between the powers delegated to the Commission to adopt non-legislative acts of general application to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of the legislative act and the Commission’s power to adopt uniform conditions for implementing legally binding Union acts. I voted in favour of the proposal in order to ensure effective and targeted use of funds in terms of the treatment of beneficiaries, while also giving the Commission the task of making further changes to ensure the correct functioning of the system proposed by the legislature.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report concerns the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. Fundamentally, the intention is to align this text with the new provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon concerning the exercise of the Commission’s implementing powers. It also proposes to extend to all Member States the current funding possibilities to support the setting up and administrative operation of producer groups. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. Natura 2000 support is extended to areas referred to in Article 10 of the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC); also the number of annual progress and summary reports under RD is reduced; cross-compliance controls are facilitated and the rules for the use of advisory services are changed.

Besides this as a (legal) element of simplification, an incentive element should be introduced for measures approved under Art.43 TFEU (cofinanced measures within RD). That means that aid which is granted retroactively in respect of activities which have already been undertaken by the beneficiary and miss the incentive element would therefore be prohibited and a starting date of eligibility should be provided.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) With regard to the current regulation, the Commission can adopt delegated acts in order to introduce exceptions to the rule that no rural development support should be granted to schemes eligible for support under common market organisations. I am in favour of Mr De Castro’s report, which suggests ensuring effective and targeted use of funds in terms of the treatment of beneficiaries covered by delegated acts. The regulation brings in simplifying measures, which need to be accompanied by an incentive element for measures approved under Article 43 of the Treaty (cofinanced measures on rural development). The Commission rightly proposes to extend to all Member States the current funding possibilities to support the setting up and administrative operation of producer groups. The report considers it discriminatory to exclude support for producer groups in the fruit and vegetables sector.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. I voted in favour of this report because it proposes to extend to all Member States the current funding possibilities to support the setting up and administrative operation of producer groups.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) This vote proposes to extend to all Member States the current funding possibilities to support the setting up and administrative operation of producer groups, but the rapporteur, Mr De Castro, considers it discriminatory to exclude support for producer groups in the fruit and vegetables sector. The goal is to ensure efficient and targeted use of funds with regard to the treatment of beneficiaries, which is mostly covered in the proposal by delegated acts. Other provisions regarding concrete details of programmes, measures and rules are covered in the proposal by implementing acts which are to be adopted by Member States. In order to harmonise the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Regional Development Fund, VAT for non-taxable persons such as public institutions is made eligible for an EAFRD contribution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The goal of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) is to make the agricultural and forestry, environmental, and landscape sectors more competitive, to improve quality of life in rural areas, and to diversify the rural economy. The EAFRD is intended to complement national, regional and local activities contributing to EU priorities. It is the European Commission and the Member States that oversee the EAFRD’s coherence and compatibility with EU support measures. I am voting for this report because I agree that the aid to which this article refers should only apply to farmers or farmers’ associations that devote an essential part of their working time to agricultural activities and derive from them a significant part of their income. So as to ensure greater consistency and uniformity in the application of EAFRD rules, I very much support the suggestion that each Member State should establish a national rural network involving regional and local representatives. However, the European Commission should lay down rules concerning the establishment and operation of those networks.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the legislative resolution on the proposal for a regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The proposal for a regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 is intended to extend the scope of the measure on producer groups, reduce the number of summary reports and simplify their content as part of strategic monitoring, facilitate the use of advisory services in a more personalised manner, and monitor the cases failing to respect cross-compliance. According to this regulation, the advisory service to farmers will cover at least one or more of the statutory management requirements and good agricultural and environmental conditions provided for in Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 and, where relevant, one or more of the occupational safety standards based on EU legislation. Parliament has requested that work carried out on a time and materials basis as part of rural development measures by the ultimate beneficiaries using the manpower, materials and equipment which a firm has available should also be eligible for EAFRD contributions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. If we are to keep producing locally-grown, high-quality food for European citizens then generational renewal in the sector must be secured and the downward trend in young farmer numbers must be reversed. That is why it is crucial that the top-up in Pillar I stays mandatory for all Member States, just as the co-financing ratio in Pillar II stays favourable: the future of the Common Agriculture Policy is dependent on an effective Common Installation Policy.

Today’s reports have given the European Parliament an opportunity to back important measures to promote generational renewal in the sector, and the young farmers of Europe are counting on other MEPs to mirror Mr Capoulas Santos’ support for measures to enhance demographic sustainability as well as to encourage Member States to endorse such a crucial policy for generational renewal in European agriculture.

 
  
  

Report: Paolo De Castro (A7-0322/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report and would stress, from the outset, that the adoption of this regulation is particularly urgent. The upcoming substantial reform of the single common market organisation, within the framework of the general common agricultural policy reform, would be unreasonably burdened if the Commission alignment proposal were still open. The guiding principle is that a balance should be achieved between the need for the Commission to act efficiently and expediently and the powers Parliament and the Council have under the Treaty of Lisbon with regard to the legislative process. I am also voting for the various cross-cutting amendments intended to reflect the common understanding reached between the institutions on the use of delegated acts, as well as the recent entry into force of the Regulation laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) The European Union has established common rules regarding agricultural markets. These rules relate in particular to public interventions on markets, quota and aid schemes, marketing and production standards as well as trade with third countries. Over and above the legal changes that need to be implemented, I approved the rapporteur’s recommendations stressing the importance of early adoption of the new common market organisation (CMO) regulation to ensure stability of the markets and an adequate standard of living for the farmers that we need to support here in Parliament, every day.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this report because I think that updating this regulation is of paramount importance. This will allow a clear distinction to be made between delegated powers granted to the Commission for adopting non-legislative acts and those granted for adopting implementing acts. At the same time, the Single Common Market Organisation must take into account the current differences between the Commission’s delegated and implementing powers.

In my view, the new regulation should be adopted as quickly as possible to address the urgent problems and disquiet about the Single Common Market Organisation. In this context, the general reform of the common agricultural policy should progress as normal and should not be obstructed or hindered by other additional problems. I believe that there must be a balance and effective cooperation between the Commission and Parliament so that the legislative process runs under optimum conditions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I am in favour of the report by Mr De Castro on establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and establishing specific provisions for certain agricultural products (Single CMO Regulation). This vote is a matter of responsibility to ensure that we do not bog down the major reform of the single common market organisation with an unwarranted burden in the event that negotiations are still ongoing over the Commission’s alignment proposal, all the while bearing in mind that there is still a great deal of work to do on this issue.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because it is essential to align Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 on the single common organisation of agricultural markets with the new distinction between delegated and implementing powers of the Commission introduced by Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). This proposal includes, for the sake of completeness, the proposals for modifications of Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 already separately submitted by the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council. The proposed alignment of Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 with the new requirements is based on the Commission’s classification of its existing powers as ‘delegated’ and ‘implementing’ under Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 against the background of the implementing measures adopted by the Commission on the basis of its current powers. In order to ensure a balance between the need for the Commission to act efficiently and expediently and the powers Parliament and Council have under the Treaty of Lisbon with regard to the legislative process, the new regulation needs to be adopted as soon as possible. The upcoming substantial reform of the Single CMO (in the framework of the general CAP Reform) would not thus be unreasonably burdened with a still open negotiation on the Commission alignment proposal still under consideration.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) It should be remembered that we need to align Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 establishing a single common market organisation with the new distinction between delegated and implementing powers of the Commission introduced by Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; the proposal confers the right to legislate and the power to set out the key elements of the common organisation of agricultural markets. The legislator retains the power to set out the conditions and criteria for determining aid, export refunds and the minimum export price. I am voting for the proposal.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Casa (PPE), in writing. I am in agreement with the Commission's proposals with regard to the common organisation of agricultural markets but I also believe that they need to consider the distinction between delegated and implemented acts. Therefore I support the Rapporteur's conclusions and am in favour of these amendments.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I think that in a situation where Parliament and the Council are on an equal footing with regard to the common agricultural policy, it is important that delegated acts are the preferred procedure, provided, of course, that the technical conditions are met for them.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the adoption of this text, which consolidates the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon for the specific case of common rules regarding agricultural markets. Strengthening Parliament’s supervisory powers on European regulations enables European citizens to express their position through their representatives in Parliament.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on ‘a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural product’ because I think current agricultural legislation needs to be updated to the new provisions, pursuant to the Treaty of Lisbon.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) With the Treaty of Lisbon, Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 on a single common market organisation (Single CMO Regulation) needs to be adapted to the distinction between delegated and implementing powers of the Commission introduced by Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Article 290 enables the legislator to delegate to the Commission the power to adopt non-legislative acts of general application to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of the legislative act. Article 291 of the TFEU enables the Member States to adopt all measures of national law necessary to implement legally binding EU acts. The proposal on which we are currently voting is to adapt the Single CMO Regulation, including several amendments intended to make it more comprehensible and effective.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) All alignment exercises are fundamentally technical, but they include a certain political sensitivity and always elicit some controversy. I therefore welcome the fact that this issue has been debated in the European Parliament before the debate on reforming the common agricultural policy. The Treaty of Lisbon has changed the old comitology system, thereby increasing the powers of Parliament, which now has the right to veto delegated acts. That system has been replaced by a two-tier system of delegated acts and implementing acts, so there needs to be an alignment with the existing body of legislation. This report, by Paolo De Castro, concerns the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products. I voted for this report which advocates increasing the competences conferred on Parliament by the Treaty of Lisbon and urges the Council to share responsibilities to a greater extent, from which the public as a whole will benefit.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Part of the ‘Joint Debate – Alignment with the Treaty of Lisbon’, which consists of adopting delegated acts and implementing acts, enabling the Commission to exercise implementing powers without consulting Parliament, this report is an element of updating the Regulation ‘establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products’. As such, the legislator fixes the objectives of market-intervention measures, production-limitation systems and aid schemes. Similarly, the legislator lays down the principle of establishing a system of import and export licences, the fundamental elements of the rules concerning marketing and production and the principle of application of sanctions, reductions and exclusions. Although the content of the report focuses on a technical adaptation, the rapporteur tackles important and positive issues: the facilitation of cross-compliance controls, thereby alleviating the administrative burden on the Member States; the rejection of discrimination against fruit and vegetable producers; and VAT eligibility for the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková-Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The objective of the Commission’s proposal is to align Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 on the Single Common Market Organisation with the new differentiation between delegated and implementing powers of the Commission introduced by Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In addition, this proposal includes for the sake of completeness the proposals for modifications of Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 already separately submitted by the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council. Articles 290 and 291 TFEU establish a clear distinction between, on the one hand, the powers delegated to the Commission to adopt non-legislative acts and, on the other, the powers conferred on the Commission to adopt implementing acts. The proposed alignment of Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 on the new requirements is based on the definition of the existing Commission powers as ‘delegated’ and ‘implementing’ based on the implementing measures adopted by the Commission on the basis of its current powers. The proposal therefore gives the legislator the power to define the essentials of the common organisation of markets. I believe that it is necessary and important to achieve a balance between the need for the Commission to act effectively and efficiently, and the powers available to the Council and Parliament under the Treaty of Lisbon in the context of the legislative process.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the resolution on the proposal because the Commission proposal aims to align Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 on the Single Common Market Organisation (CMO) with the new distinction between delegated and implementing powers of the Commission introduced by Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In addition, this proposal includes, for the sake of completeness, the proposals for modifications of Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 already separately submitted by the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council. The proposal provides the legislator with the power to define the framework of the CMO. For example, the objectives of the market intervention measures, of the systems of production limitation and of the aid schemes are fixed by the legislator. Similarly, the legislator lays down the principle of establishing a system of import and export licences, the fundamental elements of the rules concerning marketing and production and the principle of application of sanctions, reductions and exclusions. The legislator also provides for the existence of specific provisions for individual sectors. The guiding principle is that a balance should be achieved between the need for the Commission to act efficiently and expediently and the powers Parliament and Council have under the Treaty of Lisbon with regard to the legislative process.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) The report aims to align the existing regulation with the regime of delegated acts and implementing acts. Delegated acts and implementing acts are powers granted to the Commission by the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. This update is not intended to affect the powers originally provided for. In effect, the Commission is given the power to determine the amounts through implementing acts, while the legislator is still responsible for defining the conditions and criteria for setting the amounts of aid, export refunds and minimum prices. I voted in favour of this report, which was adopted by Parliament by a large majority in the July part-session.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this proposal which strikes the right balance between the need for the Commission to act efficiently and expediently, on one hand, and the powers Parliament and the Council have under the Treaty of Lisbon with regard to the legislative process, on the other.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted for this report which aims to adapt the Council Regulation to the new Treaty provisions on the implementing powers of the Commission. This proposal strengthens legal clarity and certainty, thereby consolidating the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon, and will make the single common market organisation more accessible to all stakeholders.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) It is very important for legislation on the single common organisation of agricultural markets to be made simple, transparent and as clear as possible for citizens. Furthermore, in every case the decision to adopt delegated acts must be taken carefully and only in specific and limited cases. We must stop any abuse of this right. I believe that in order to guarantee the necessary quality of delegated acts and the opportunity to implement them, the Commission must constantly consult experts in the Member States and take due account of their opinion.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for adapting Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 establishing a single common market organisation with the new distinction between delegated and implementing powers of the Commission introduced by Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) I would point out the need to align Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 on the Single Common Market Organisation (CMO) with the new distinction between delegated and implementing powers of the Commission introduced by Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The proposal provides the legislator with the power to define the essentials of the CMO. I am voting in favour of the proposal, so that the powers over defining conditions and criteria for fixing aid amounts, export refunds and minimum export prices remain with the legislator.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The goal of this European Commission proposal is to amend Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 on the single common market organisation (CMO) to the new provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon concerning the exercise of the Commission’s implementing powers. Fundamentally, the guiding principle is that a balance should be achieved between the need for the Commission to act efficiently and expediently, on the one hand, and the powers Parliament and the Council have under the Treaty of Lisbon with regard to the legislative process, on the other. It should be noted that the adoption of this Regulation is particularly urgent. In fact, it is important to bear in mind that the upcoming substantial reform of the single CMO, within the framework of the general common agricultural policy reform, would be unreasonably burdened if the Commission alignment proposal were still open.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. The rapporteur, and the AGRI Committee voting in favour, consider that the Commission proposal on the Single CMO has not respected the principle that Article 43(3) TFEU needs to be interpreted restrictively. They consider that defining conditions and criteria for fixing aid amounts, export refunds and minimum export prices should remain with the legislators, leaving to the Commission only the fixing of amounts through implementing acts.

Therefore in the report he deleted all provisions related to Article 43(3) TFEU and replaced them by the respective content laid down in the Commission proposal for a Council Regulation (which reproduces the corresponding provisions of the existing Single CMO Regulation No 1234/2007). This approach is more pragmatic and also sensible from a procedural point of view (lege artis).

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. I voted in favour of this proposal as a reform of the single CMO is important. I strongly believe that a balance will be achieved between the need for the Commission to act efficiently and expediently, on one hand, and the powers Parliament and Council have under the Treaty of Lisbon with regard to the legislative process.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) At a time when economic uncertainty and market volatility are dictating everything, the support of the EU is essential for reviving the competitiveness of our agricultural sector on a global scale. Even despite the economic crisis that has been dragging on since 2008, Europe remains the largest trading bloc in the world and therefore the EU must intervene to accentuate its strengths. I voted in favour to show my support for the need to achieve some fundamental goals, namely improving the functioning of the single market, ensuring wise use of the Structural Funds, maximising the benefits of cohesion policy, ensuring stability and improving access to funding. All of this must be brought about by cutting back the procedures that make the law and the red tape faced by Member States so unwieldy and only serve to dissuade investment by farmers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The goal of the European Commission proposal is to establish a single common market organisation, aimed at clarifying the Commission’s current ‘delegated powers’ and ‘implementing powers’. This proposal provides the legislator with the essentials of market-intervention measures, such as production-limitation systems and aid schemes, fixed by the legislator. I am voting for this report because I believe the legislator needs to define the key elements of the common agricultural policy and of taking the political decisions that shape its structure, instruments and effects. The intention is thereby to describe specific rules for certain agricultural products, such as beef or butter. So as to ensure the smooth running of the scheme established by this Regulation, due attention should be paid to regional and local authorities, island, sparsely populated and mountainous regions, and the outermost regions, so as not to aggravate the constraints that such regions already face.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the legislative resolution on the proposal for a regulation establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products (Single CMO Regulation). The proposal aims to update Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 on the Single Common Market Organisation (CMO) to take into account the distinction between the delegated and implementing powers of the Commission introduced by Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In addition, the new proposal for a regulation also includes the proposals for amending Regulation No 1234/2007 to make the Single CMO clearer and more accessible to all the stakeholders. This regulation covers all the fundamental elements of the Single CMO. In certain cases, setting prices, levies, aids and quantitative limitations is inextricably linked with these fundamental elements. In order to stabilise the markets and provide the population in agricultural areas with a fair standard of living, a system was devised for supporting prices, differentiated according to sectors, along with the introduction of direct support schemes. This procedure allows, on the one hand, the various needs of each sector and, on the other hand, the interdependencies between sectors to be taken into account.

 
  
  

Report: Giovanni La Via (A7-0209/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since I agree with some amendments concerning delegation conditions: period of delegation, timeframe for objecting to a delegated act, extension of that period, committee procedure, etc. I would stress the importance of the amendments being introduced, but especially those relating to the expenditure to be financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and the recovery procedure, because replacing two Council Regulations and decreasing the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States constitutes a simplification. These amendments contribute to more efficient and swifter funding for beneficiaries. I would fervently restate that the European Union should move towards increasing simplification as regards EAGF funds: let us not forget that the regions need that, since they normally wait long periods before being able to put their funding to use and implement the necessary measures.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) In order to prevent EU legislation from becoming too complicated and technical, the Treaty of Lisbon modernised the system for delegating certain powers to the Commission in the case of minor legislative changes. That enables us to avoid revising a text entirely by going through the whole legislative process. Should all existing legislation then be adapted to this new legal reality? I approved the proposed amendments which once again aim to decrease the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States. Europe must be more accessible and I work there every day!

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because in accordance with the Common Understanding on practical arrangements for the use of delegated acts approved by the Conference of Presidents on 3 March 2011 and Regulation No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council, laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers, some amendments should be introduced as regards the conditions of the delegation (period of delegation, timeframe for objecting to a delegated act, extension of that period, committee procedure and so on). Under the Treaty of Lisbon, the harmonisation of Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 with the new rules contained in the Treaty is based on the classification of the provisions adopted by the Commission as delegated powers and implementing powers pursuant to that Regulation. The amendments relating to the expenditure to be financed by the EAGF and the recovery procedure constitute a simplification in that they replace two Council regulations and result in a decrease in the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report on the financing of the common agricultural policy (CAP). I support the proposals to amend the conditions of the delegation (period of delegation, timeframe for objecting to a delegated act, extension of that period, committee procedure and so on.). This report aims to simplify the regulation on the financing of the common agricultural policy by classifying the provisions into delegated powers and implementing powers. The amendments relating to the expenditure to be financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and the recovery procedure also constitute a simplification in that they replace two Council regulations and result in a decrease in the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States. With this in mind, I think it is important to prepare for the reform of the European common agricultural policy.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) This text concerns the funding of the common agricultural policy and aims to rationalise the complex bureaucracy of the European farming sector. In particular, the amendments relating to the costs to be financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund so as to guarantee the recovery procedure constitute a simplification, since they scrap two Council Regulations, thereby decreasing the administrative burden on Member States. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I agree with the importance of switching to the new system and of Parliament’s prerogative to control the Commission’s initiatives using delegated acts.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the adoption of this text, which consolidates the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon for the specific case of our important common agricultural policy (CAP) and strengthens the powers of European citizens, who, through their representatives in Parliament, will be able to express their position on the drawing up and control of European regulations. The text also seeks to simplify procedures and reduce administrative costs so that the strengthening of European law is no longer synonymous with complexity and additional expenditure.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on ‘the financing of the common agricultural policy’ because I believe the amendments tabled concerning the expenditure to be financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund and the recovery procedure represent a simplification, since they replace two Council Regulations and decrease the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States, thereby aligning this Regulation with the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The amendments to Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 aim to adapt it to the Treaty of Lisbon and fully to set out the scope and limits of the powers enjoyed by the Commission, thereby enabling it to ensure the proper functioning of the scheme laid down therein. The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon has been eliciting doubts in relation to the scope of delegated acts and how they are used, and to Parliament’s intervention. I believe everyone would win if the delegation conditions were clear and enabled adequate monitoring, translating into more transparent processes and decisions and into increased monitoring, not least by Parliament. The common agricultural policy accounts for too great a share of the EU budget for it to be any other way.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) We could say that farmers, particularly small-scale farmers, are the poor relations of our society. Despite their immeasurable contribution to creating and maintaining a healthy environment by preserving ecosystems, the truth is that farming is very unprofitable and not at all attractive. Only 6% of Europe’s population works in agriculture and a third of those are aged over 60. Without the involvement of young people, farming has no future. We therefore have to step up the stimuli for rural areas within the framework of the common agricultural policy. The Treaty of Lisbon has changed the old comitology system, thereby increasing the powers of Parliament, which now has the right to veto delegated acts. That system has been replaced by a two-tier system of delegated acts and implementing acts, so there needs to be an alignment with the existing body of legislation. This report has been much-debated and agreement on horizontal alignment is impossible because a majority in the Council can always block an implementing act. Nevertheless, Parliament cannot renounce its prerogatives in areas as sensitive as these, so I voted for this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková-Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) Under the Treaty of Lisbon, the harmonisation of Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 with the new rules contained in the Treaty is based on a classification into delegated powers and implementing powers of the provisions adopted by the Commission for the application of that Regulation. Based on the criteria defined in Articles 290 and 291 for each type of act respectively, the rapporteur carefully scrutinised the Commission’s proposal and identified areas where the conditions for delegated acts were met. Consequently, the proposal was scrutinised on the conditions of implementing acts. It is appropriate to amend and supplement the conditions of the delegation in accordance with the Common Understanding on practical arrangements for the use of delegated acts approved by the Conference of Presidents in March last year and Regulation 182/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers. The simplification will be reflected in the repeal of two Council regulations and a decrease in the number of administrative tasks incumbent on Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the resolution on the proposal because under the Treaty of Lisbon, the harmonisation of Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 with the new rules contained in the Treaty is based on the classification of the provisions adopted by the Commission as delegated powers and implementing powers pursuant to that Regulation. The Committee carefully scrutinised the Commission proposal and identified areas where the conditions for delegated acts were met. Consequently, the conditions for implementing acts were scrutinised. The rapporteur proposed some amendments as regards the conditions of the delegation (period of delegation, timeframe for objecting to a delegated act, extension of that period, committee procedure, etc.) in accordance with the Common Understanding on practical arrangements for the use of delegated acts approved by the Conference of Presidents on 3 March 2011 and Regulation No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council, laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers. The amendments relating to the expenditure to be financed by the EAGF and the recovery procedure constitute a simplification in that they replace two Council regulations and result in a decrease in the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) The report aims to align the existing regulation with the regime of delegated acts and implementing acts, which are powers granted to the Commission by the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. This update is not intended to affect the essential provisions originally provided for. The report provides amendments to the Regulation exclusively regarding the conditions of the delegation, namely the period of delegation, the timeframe for objecting to a delegated act, the extension of that period and the committee procedure. I voted in favour of this report, which was adopted by a very large majority by Parliament.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this proposal. The amendments relating to the expenditure to be financed by the EAGGF and the recovery procedure constitute a simplification in that they replace two Council regulations and result in a decrease in the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution because it is above all very important to ensure that legislation on the financing of the common agricultural policy is clear and comprehensible to citizens. The principle of legal clarity and certainty must be properly implemented, while constantly taking account of legitimate expectations. Furthermore, the implementation of legislation should not cause an additional administrative burden for the Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on aligning the scheme for financing the common agricultural policy with the Treaty of Lisbon for each type of act, on the basis of the criteria set out in Articles 290 and 291.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) In accordance with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the alignment of Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 with the new rules contained in the Treaty is based on classifying into delegated powers and implementing powers the provisions adopted by the Commission pursuant to that Regulation. Considering the amendments on delegation conditions and the resulting simplification and reduction in the red tape faced by Member States, I have voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Following the Treaty of Lisbon, there was a need to align Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 with the new provisions concerning the exercise of the Commission’s implementing powers. In this context, a number of amendments have been tabled concerning delegation conditions, including period of delegation, timeframe for objecting to a delegated act, extension of that period and committee procedure; these are in line with the common understanding on practical arrangements for the use of delegated acts approved by the Conference of Presidents on 3 March 2011 and with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers. Amendments are also intended, relating to the expenditure to be financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund, which themselves constitute a simplification, since they replace two Council Regulations and decrease the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. I voted in favour of this proposal because the amendments relating to the expenditure to be financed by the EAGF and the recovery procedure constitute a simplification in that they replace two Council regulations and result in a decrease in the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The adoption of this text is of the utmost importance because it encapsulates our agriculture policy – the most important heading in the EU budget. The amendments to Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 aim for simplification and efficiency, which translates into genuine help for farmers and reduced bureaucracy, eliminating complex and burdensome procedures for Member States. In the hope that both the Commission and the Council will take a constructive approach, so that an agreement may be found, I have voted in favour of the amendments proposed by Mr La Via.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The goal of the European Commission proposal is to identify the delegated powers and define the implementing competences conferred on the Commission by Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005, and to establish the correct procedure for adopting the acts in question. I am voting for this report because I believe the European Commission should have powers to ensure the existence of uniform conditions for applying the common agricultural policy (CAP) Regulations. Moreover, the amendments relating to the expenditure to be financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund and the recovery procedure constitute a simplification in that they replace two Council Regulations and decrease the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States. In the next EU budget programming period 2014-2020, the CAP is aiming to make the farming sector more competitive and ensure healthier and better-quality food for the European public.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. It is not by chance that a policy to which an important part of the EU budget is allocated is the one that regulates the rural development of large areas of the EU and guarantees that farmers can continue producing in compliance with certain requirements that are designed to protect consumers and the environment.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing. (PL) At a time when the financial framework of the European Union has not been decided, it is difficult to speak about financing the common agricultural policy. It is not difficult to see that we are discussing the future of the common agricultural policy without knowing the future budget of the Union. This has not stopped us from creating new challenges for farmers. We are giving them additional responsibilities, such as the obligation to look after the environment, without paying any attention to the fact that we still do not know how much money farmers will receive to meet these challenges.

In order to be able to plan agricultural policy sensibly, we have to know the European Union’s budget. The present discussions are not about a real common agricultural policy, they are just empty words. In all the complexity of this situation, what is particularly important is to finance the common agricultural policy, and this is an indisputable fact. For this reason I decided to support this document by voting in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zbigniew Ziobro (EFD), in writing. (PL) The common agricultural policy is an ineffective and harmful tool that serves primarily to subsidise large and wealthy farms. For years its rules have breached the Union’s fundamental law, which speaks about the equality of Member States. For this reason, the basic rule according to which rich farmers from the West receive more than twice the level of subsidy received by their colleagues in Central and Eastern Europe should be changed. Making payments equal would be a breakthrough for which millions of citizens are waiting and it would be a new opening that would make it possible to use available funds better and more effectively. I too am waiting for these changes.

 
  
  

Report: Martin Häusling (A7-0215/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because it aims, above all, to update current legislation in line with the new provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon, which accorded Parliament new powers. This proposal will contribute to the smoother running of the market and aims to prevent unfair competition.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. I voted in favour of the report regarding organic production and labelling of organic products. We, Members of the European Parliament, encouraged the Commission to adopt specific rules, measures and conditions necessary for the application of this Regulation in order to better take account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products and to ensure the adequate application of rules by the authorities, bodies and operators concerned and the proper functioning of the single market and trade. It is very important that all Member States adopt all measures of national law necessary to implement the regulation and to ensure high quality of organic products.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) In order to prevent EU legislation from becoming too complicated and technical, the Treaty of Lisbon modernised the system for delegating certain powers to the Commission in the case of minor legislative changes. That enables us to avoid revising a text entirely by going through the whole legislative process. Amendments may be needed in order to take account of scientific or technical advances, a new fact, or to adapt quantitative data. Here we are talking about organic production and the labelling of organic products. As the rapporteur points out, delegated acts will ‘better take account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products and ensure the adequate application of rules by the authorities, bodies and operators concerned and the proper functioning of the single market and trade’.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this proposal on the alignment of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products. The aim of the proposed alignment is to better take account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products and to ensure the adequate application of rules by the authorities and operators concerned and the proper functioning of the single market and trade. It is essential to relieve organic farmers of the burden of unnecessary red tape.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this report because I support that this regulation must be brought properly into line with the Treaty’s provisions as soon as possible so as to take into account the differences between implementing measures, on the one hand, and delegated acts, on the other. This adjustment is particularly important, especially with regard to organic and green products, with the aim of paying more attention to consumer’s expectations in terms of the relevant products’ quality.

This means that the rules, measures and conditions required to implement the regulation effectively will be adopted by the Commission using delegated acts. I think that this can ensure the single market will function properly and make trade more efficient. I would like to stress the importance of applying this regulation uniformly across the whole EU so as to prevent any problems or discrepancies arising.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I decided to support the report by Mr Häusling because it embraces and develops a number of principles that I think are essential in terms of organic production and labelling of organic products: taking account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products, ensuring the adequate application of rules by the authorities, bodies and operators concerned, and safeguarding the proper functioning of the single market and trade.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because in order to take better account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products and to ensure the adequate application of rules by the authorities, bodies and operators concerned and the proper functioning of the single market and trade, it is necessary, by means of delegated acts, to adopt specific rules, measures and conditions applicable to this Regulation (for example, the authorisation of products and substances for use in organic production, their inclusion in a restricted list or the withdrawal from that list for the purposes of Articles 16 and 21; the processing methods for processed food; the conditions of application of the prohibition on the use of GMOs and products produced from or by GMOs; the labelling rules and other aspects). No amendments concerning the proposal for the Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products linked to the classification of delegated and implementing acts are proposed. According to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) the current Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 has to be aligned based on the principle of distinguishing between measures of an implementing nature and measures of a delegated nature. This proposal is one of several Commission proposals for the approximation of legislation in order to adapt agricultural legislation to new provisions, as provided for in the Treaty of Lisbon.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Organic farming is a dynamic sector and, in the country I come from, it has enjoyed steady growth in recent years, both in the crop and animal production sectors. One of the prerequisites for developing organic farming is to promote the green concept so as to make consumers aware of the benefits of eating organic products so that they will pay a higher price for fresh products whose quality is guaranteed by an inspection and certification system.

In order to achieve this, I think that we need to give greater consideration to consumers’ expectations about the quality of organic products and also ensure that the rules are applied by all the operators involved and, last but not least, that the single market and trade are functioning properly.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the adoption of this text, which incorporates the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon as regards the specific case of the production and labelling of organic products. It enhances Parliament’s supervisory powers over European legislation, thereby enabling the public to express their opinions through their representatives.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Casa (PPE), in writing. To serve the expectations and health of consumers, the quality of organic products must be regulated. Ensuring the quality of organic products cannot be achieved without the application of necessary rules, which must be implemented by the designated authorities. I support the Rapporteur's additions to promote and facilitate this and therefore am in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I think that we need to take into account consumers’ expectations about the quality of organic products to ensure that the rules are applied properly by the relevant authorities, agencies and operators, and that the single market and trade are functioning properly.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the adoption of this text, which consolidates the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon for the specific case of the production and labelling of organic products. Strengthening the supervisory powers of Parliament on European regulations enables European citizens to express their position through their representatives in Parliament.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on ‘organic production and labelling of organic products’ because it includes measures that guarantee the quality of organic products and adequately apply the rules for the entities, bodies and operators in question, thereby ensuring that the internal market and trade work properly.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) sets out the distinction between delegated powers and implementing powers. Article 290 enables the legislator to delegate to the Commission the power to adopt non-legislative acts of general application to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of the legislative act. Article 291 of the TFEU enables the Member States to adopt all measures of national law necessary to implement legally binding EU acts. In the proposal we have just adopted, the Commission performed a rigorous repartition between the more general provisions of Article 290, establishing additional elements, and the more technical elements of Article 291, which are very much connected with the discretion that Member States enjoy in implementing this measure. For this very reason, no amendments are proposed to the drafting of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products as regards the classification of delegated and implementing acts.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The main concern of Members of this House is public health and well-being. When we debate delicate issues in the field of organic production, what is at stake is protecting European consumers as regards the products in circulation in the EU. Since it has come into force, all legislation has had to be aligned with the Treaty of Lisbon, which involves changing the old comitology system, which has now been replaced by a two-tier system: delegated acts and implementing acts. This report by Mr Häusling concerns a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on organic production and labelling of organic products. Although we are adapting legislation to the Treaty of Lisbon, it is essential not to disappoint consumers of organic products: we must create clear labelling conditions that enlighten and inform people, but that free these products from all unnecessary bureaucracy. I voted for this report and I hope that the Commission will soon table a proposal to improve the Organic Farming Regulation as regards the substances that may be used for this type of farming.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report aims to align this regulation with the Treaty of Lisbon. The legislative text from the old comitology system is now being aligned using the two-tier structure imposed by the Treaty of Lisbon, which consists of delegated acts and implementing acts, enabling the Commission to exercise implementing powers without consulting Parliament. According to the rapporteur, so as better to take into account consumer expectations regarding the quality of organic products, the Commission uses delegated acts to adopt the specific rules, measures and conditions necessary for applying this regulation. These include the authorisation of products and substances for use in organic production; the processing methods for processed food; the conditions of application of the prohibition on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and products produced from or by GMOs; and the labelling rules, requirements and specific criteria as regards presentation, composition, size and design of the EU organic logo as well as the conditions and rights of its use. As experience has borne out, particularly as regards GMOs, these are areas in which the Commission has been defending the rights of corporations rather than those of the public and consumers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) In order to better take account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products and to ensure the adequate application of rules by the state organisations, private organisations and operators concerned and the proper functioning of the single market and trade, the Commission will, by means of delegated acts, adopt the specific rules, measures and conditions necessary for the uniform application of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 in all Member States. It should be empowered to adopt implementing acts in accordance with Article 291 of the Treaty and, similarly, it should be empowered to adopt implementing acts regarding the attribution of code numbers under the control regime, the indication of origin for the products and uniform rules on the exchange of information to be sent by Member States, third countries, state control authorities and private control agencies or made available by the Commission, or the publication of that information, as well as for the recognition of third countries and state control authorities and private control agencies for the purposes of equivalence and compliance. For the sake of clarity, the wording of the references to the European standard EN 45011 or ISO Guide 65 should be harmonised with other relevant EU acts. I therefore consider it justified to amend and supplement Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 accordingly.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on the proposal because according to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) the current Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 has to be aligned based on the principle of distinguishing between measures of an implementing nature and measures of a delegated nature. Article 290 of the TFEU allows the legislator to ‘delegate to the Commission the power to adopt non-legislative acts of general application to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of a legislative act’. Legal acts adopted by the Commission in this way are referred to in the terminology used by the Treaty as ‘delegated acts’ (Article 290(3)). In order to take better account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products and to ensure the adequate application of rules by the authorities, bodies and operators concerned and the proper functioning of the single market and trade, the Commission will, by means of delegated acts, adopt specific rules, measures and conditions necessary for the application of this Regulation (for example, the authorisation of products and substances for use in organic production, their inclusion in a restricted list or the withdrawal from that list for the purposes of Articles 16 and 21; the processing methods for processed food; the conditions of application of the prohibition on the use of GMOs and products produced from or by GMOs; the labelling rules, requirements and specific criteria as regards presentation, composition, size and design of the organic logo of the European Union as well as the conditions and rights of its use, in accordance with Title IV and so on).

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) The report aims to align the existing regulation with the regime of delegated acts and implementing acts, which are powers granted to the Commission by the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. This update is not intended to affect the essential provisions originally provided for. In order to better take account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products and to ensure the proper functioning of the single market and trade, the Commission shall adopt the measures necessary for the application of this regulation. These measures include in particular the authorisation of products and substances for use in organic production and the labelling rules. I voted in favour of this report, which was adopted by a very large majority by Parliament.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. As we well know, the issue on how decisions authorising certain products and substances are taken (by means of delegated or implementing acts) is a horizontal one. In case of organic farming products the authorisation procedure is even more general, because there is no application by individual operators. Authorisations are done in a general manner by the Commission upon a request of a Member State. The Commission has proposed in Article 16(1) and 21(1) to authorise these substances by means of delegated acts. Although Parliament supported this position, the Council has changed these provisions to implementing acts. The position of the European Parliament in the third reading on Art. 16 and 21 was to move the list of substances into annexes of the basic act which will then be modified by the ordinary legislative procedure. The ECR is in favour of the committee's approach of supporting the use of delegated acts in as many instances as possible. For this reason, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) In accordance with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), this report calls for the alignment of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007, based on the principle of sorting between measures of implementing nature and measures of delegated nature. In order to better take account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products, the Commission has adopted specific rules for the application of this regulation Accordingly, the Commission has drawn a clear line between the provisions and I am therefore voting in favour of the resolution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. – (RO) The regulation being discussed, albeit technical, is particularly important as organic production accounts for 5% of the agricultural area of the EU and for sales worth EUR 18 billion (certified organic products). The amendments made to the previous regulation relate to the requirements for producers and the authorisation of certain products, the EU organic logo and aspects relating to the audit carried out by the control bodies and authorities. However, I believe that this revision of the regulation is aimed at purely administrative aspects. We need to continue in the future to take far-reaching action to simplify the regulations for the benefit of farmers and producers in the organic production sector.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this proposal and share the point of view of the rapporteur on this proposal. The Commission has drawn an accurate distinction between more general provisions, establishing additional elements (Article 290) and more technical elements that are very much connected with the discretion that Member States enjoy in implementing this measure (Article 291).

Therefore no amendments on the classification of delegated and implementing acts are proposed to the proposal for a regulation to amend Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution. For reasons of legal certainty and clarity the regulation currently in force must be aligned based on the principle of distinguishing between measures of an implementing nature and measures of a delegated nature. The expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products will thus be better taken into account. Furthermore, the authorities and other operators concerned will be able to apply the rules more effectively and favourable conditions will be created for the smooth functioning of the single market and trade. I believe that it is appropriate to entrust the Commission to adopt, by means of delegated acts, specific rules, measures and conditions necessary for the application of this regulation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) This regulation seeks to introduce special rules to safeguard the quality of organic products, the proper application of the rules by the relevant authorities, operators and undertakings, the seamless operation of the single market and trade and proper information for consumers. There has, in fact, been an abundance of complaints, including in Greece, about non-organic products being labelled as organic, and this is duping consumers and distorting the market. In this report, which I supported, the European Parliament ratifies the Commission’s executive powers to safeguard uniform conditions for the measures taken by the Member States in order to safeguard proper labelling of organic products.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Pursuant to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the current Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 should be aligned on the basis of the principle of distinction between implementing acts and delegated acts. I therefore voted for this report, which aligns the aforementioned Regulation with Articles 290 and 291 of the TFEU.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) According to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the current Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 has to be aligned based on the principle of sorting between measures of implementing nature and measures of delegated nature. The Commission shall, by means of implementing acts, adopt the necessary provisions aiming at reaching a uniform application of this Regulation in the Union, in particular relating, for example, to details and specifications regarding the content, form and way of notification, submission and exchange of information. Considering that the Commission has done an accurate repartition between provisions, I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alojz Peterle (PPE), in writing. (SL) I voted in favour of the Report on the proposal for a regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products because I support the Commission’s intention to introduce clearer rules for both producers and consumers. On the basis of these rules, consumers will find it easier to assess the quality of products and produce.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Pursuant to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the current Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 should be aligned on the basis of the principle of distinction between implementing acts and delegated acts. In this proposal, the Commission performed a rigorous repartition between the more general provisions of Article 290, establishing additional elements, and the more technical elements of Article 291, which are very much connected with the discretion that Member States enjoy in implementing this measure. Therefore, no amendments are proposed to the drafting of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products as regards the classification of delegated and implementing acts. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. In order to better take account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products and to ensure the adequate application of rules by the authorities, bodies and operators concerned and the proper functioning of the single market and trade, the Commission shall, by means of delegated acts, adopt specific rules, measures and conditions necessary for the application of this Regulation (e.g. the authorisation of products and substances for use in organic production, their inclusion in a restricted list or the withdrawal from that list for the purposes of Articles 16 and 21; the processing methods for processed food; the conditions of application of the prohibition on the use of GMOs and products produced from or by GMOs; the labelling rules, requirements and specific criteria as regards presentation, composition, size and design of the organic logo of the European Union as well as the conditions and rights of its use, in accordance with Title IV etc.)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. I voted in favour of the proposal because it takes into account the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products and it ensures the adequate application of rules by the authorities throughout the European Union.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) Since it has been impossible for the Council and Parliament to reach an agreement on cross-cutting issues (which are connected in various dossiers on alignment) during informal trilogues, all files on alignment in the agricultural sector, which we have discussed in this Chamber, will no longer be dealt with individually, but will instead be covered under the process to reform the CAP and the four legislative packages that we are amending in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. These negotiations have not resulted in an agreement primarily because of the Council’s reluctance to accept application of Article 290 on delegated acts, in accordance with the Commission’s proposal. In the Committee on Agriculture, we therefore decided to vote on all the reports in plenary separately, so as to confirm the position adopted in committee. I hope my and my colleagues’ vote in favour will send a strong signal to the Council ahead of the forthcoming negotiations on reform of the CAP.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) lays down that the current Organic Farming Regulation should be aligned on the basis of the principle of distinction between implementing measures and delegated measures. According to Article 290 of the TFEU, the legislator should ‘delegate to the Commission the power to adopt non-legislative acts of general application to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of the legislative act’. I am voting for this report, since I believe delegated acts set out by the Commission aim to improve consumer expectations of organic products, to ensure the entities, bodies and operators in question properly apply the rules, and to guarantee that the internal market and trade work properly. I also consider it crucial that the Commission’s preparatory work for implementing acts continue to involve reference to consultative groups, so that the voices of stakeholders and NGOs can be heard in a regular and structured way.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report on organic production and labelling organic products. I think that operators need to comply with the production regulations established at EU level, as well as with the measures and conditions required to implement them. To implement this regulation, the Commission needs to have the authorisation to adopt implementing acts for assigning code numbers under the control scheme, indicating the origin of products and providing uniform rules on the exchange of information to be sent by Member States, third countries, control authorities and control bodies. It is important to publish this information and the information about recognising third countries, control authorities and control bodies for the purposes of equivalence and compliance. I think that the European Union organic production logo can be used for labelling, presenting and advertising products which fulfil the requirements stipulated by this regulation. This regulation must be applied uniformly in the EU, especially the methods and conditions which need to be taken into account for online certification, with the aim of ensuring transparency by exchanging information quickly, efficiently, accurately and cost-effectively.

 
  
  

Report: Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos (A7-0204/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since it is essentially a legislative-alignment proposal resulting from the requirements of the Treaty of Lisbon, which gave Parliament codecision powers on agricultural legislation. I therefore support the Commission being able to use implementing acts, so as to prevent unfair competition in the market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) In order to prevent EU legislation from becoming too complicated and technical, the Treaty of Lisbon modernised the system for delegating certain powers to the Commission in the case of minor legislative changes. Here, the proposal is limited to only the amendments needed for this adaptation and I approved this alignment.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this report because I believe that current legislation needs to be adapted as quickly as possible to the new legal reality. Therefore, the regulation on the scrutiny carried out by Member States of transactions forming part of the system of financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund also needs to be modified appropriately. In this regard, I support the Commission’s proposal aimed at the consistent use of the provisions on delegated acts and implementing acts. I should stress, at the same time, the importance of aligning this regulation with the provisions of the Treaty regarding implementing powers. I should highlight the importance of this adjustment in the current context, against the background of the forthcoming reform of the common agricultural policy, which should be carried out under optimum conditions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because this proposal is one of several Commission proposals for the approximation of legislation in order to adapt agricultural legislation to new provisions, as provided for in the Treaty of Lisbon. The alignment procedure concerns Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In order to update existing provisions, taking into account the legal reality, it is essential to check the provisions of the regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 485/2008 on scrutiny by Member States of transactions forming part of the system of financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund. Based on the criteria defined for each type of act, the Commission proposal was carefully scrutinised and areas were identified where the conditions for delegated acts were met. Consequently, the conditions for implementing acts were scrutinised. Inconsistencies were not observed. The use of delegated and implementing act provisions in these articles is appropriate. However, parts of the wording of articles relating to delegation do not correspond to neither the standard wording for these articles agreed in the draft Common Understanding, nor to formulation agreed upon by the institutions in Regulation No 438/2010, and these therefore need to be amended.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 lays down rules for the current system of direct payments to farmers, which will be replaced by other proposals in the reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP) for 2014-2020. In its suggestions for the CAP multiannual financial framework 2014-2020, the Commission proposes using a crisis reserve to tackle the need for additional funding due to sudden farming crises. I am voting for the solution included in the report, so I voted for the proposal by Mr Capoulas Santos because I believe we need to retain the existing financial structure to be used in 2013, so as to ensure continuity of payments and levels of support for effective agricultural development.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Casa (PPE), in writing. Changes to the EU's comitology system render certain parts of Council Regulation (EC) No 485/2008 out of date. It is important that legislation concerning the European Agricultural Guarantee be modified to ensure the efficiency of the system's financing. With this in mind, I support the Rapporteur's proposals and am thus in favour of these amendments.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I think that this new system with a two-tier structure consisting of delegated and implementing acts (the former including Parliament’s right of veto), which enables the Commission to exercise its implementing powers, is excellent.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this proposal for ‘transition’ between the financial provisions for 2013 concerning Member States who have acceded to the EU since 2004 because I believe we should prevent a cut in support in 2013 for any sectors benefiting until 2012 from additional direct national payments, since such a possibility is not available for 2013.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Issues pertaining to EU legislative acts, chiefly their delimitation, have occupied a significant proportion of this sitting. I understand why that is and that we are attempting systematically to make the EU legal system consistent and sufficiently comprehensible. It is an essentially formal process, but it has to be done because of the extent to which the material consequences of a potential failure in adaptation could harm the balance of power within the EU and, more seriously, jeopardise the public’s rights.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) I should like to start by congratulating Mr Capoulas Santos on his excellent report on the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 485/2008 on scrutiny by Member States of transactions forming part of the system of financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund. The Treaty of Lisbon has changed the old comitology system, thereby increasing the powers of Parliament, which now has the right to veto delegated acts. That system has been replaced by a two-tier system of delegated acts and implementing acts, so there needs to be an alignment with the existing body of legislation. All alignment exercises are fundamentally technical, but they include a certain political sensitivity and always elicit some controversy. I therefore welcome the fact that this issue has been debated in the European Parliament before the debate on reforming the common agricultural policy. I voted for this report and I am of the same view as that expressed in almost all the speeches regarding the need for Parliament to adopt a firm and cohesive stance on defending its role of scrutinising comitology, in line with its new status of co-legislator.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The Treaty of Lisbon abolishes the old comitology system, which was based on the classic comitology procedures (advisory, management, regulatory) and the regulatory procedure with scrutiny. This system is now replaced with a two tier structure, consisting of delegated and implementing acts (delegated acts include Parliament’s right of veto), which enables the Commission to exert powers in the implementation and execution of acts. The valid legislation must therefore be aligned to this new legal reality.

One of the first proposals is the alignment of this proposal for a regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 485/2008 on scrutiny by Member States of transactions forming part of the system of financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund. The proposal is limited to modifications required for alignment only. Under the Treaty of Lisbon, the powers conferred upon the Commission pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 485/2009 need to be aligned to Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which distinguishes between two types of Commission acts—delegated acts and implementing acts. Parts of the wording of the articles relating to the delegation do not correspond to the standard text for these articles, as agreed approved in the Common Understanding, or to the formula agreed by the institutions in Regulation 438/2010, so I believe that they should be amended and supplemented.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the resolution on the proposal because the proposal amends Regulation No 485/2008 by including one provision on delegated acts (Article 1(2) - establishment of a list of measures to which the regulation does not apply). The first sentence of Article 1(2) of Regulation No 485/2008 contains a reference to Regulation No 1782/2003, which is no longer in force and has been replaced by Regulation No 73/2009, and as this provision has not been modified by the proposal, an amendment is necessary. The Treaty of Lisbon abolishes the old comitology system, which was based on classic comitology procedures (advisory, management, regulatory) and the regulatory procedure with scrutiny. This system has now been replaced with a two-tier structure, consisting of delegated and implementing acts (the former including Parliament’s right of veto), which enable the Commission to exert powers in implementation and execution. Thus, the existing body of legislation has to be aligned to this new legal reality. One of the first proposals is the alignment of this proposal for a regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 485/2008 on scrutiny by Member States of transactions forming part of the system of financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund. The proposal is limited to modifications for the purpose of alignment only.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) The report aims to align the existing regulation with the regime of delegated acts and implementing acts, which are powers granted to the Commission by the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. This update is not intended to affect the essential provisions originally provided for. In addition, the report provides a clarification of the text with regard to the conditions of delegation of acts. I supported this report, which was adopted by Parliament by 654 votes in the July part-session.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jacek Olgierd Kurski (EFD), in writing. I note the near consensus (95%) with which this vote passed. I cannot but conclude that European deputies share my strong support for European agriculture and wish to see the sector continue to thrive.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I supported this proposal. The Treaty of Lisbon abolishes the old comitology system, which was based on the classic comitology procedures (advisory, management, regulatory) and the regulatory procedure with scrutiny. This system is now replaced with a two-tier structure, consisting of delegated and implementing acts (the former including Parliament’s right of veto), which enable the Commission to exert powers in implementation and execution. Thus, the existing body of legislation has to be aligned to this new legal reality.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report. It supports the Commission proposal, which limits itself solely to the amendments needed to align the system of financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund with Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) Following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the powers conferred upon the Commission need to be aligned with the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), based on distinguishing between delegated powers and implementing powers. Given that some of the wording of the articles on delegation does not correspond to the standard wording for these articles agreed in the draft Common Understanding, nor to the wording that was agreed upon by the institutions in Regulation (EC) No 438/2010, and therefore needs amending, I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report concerns the proposal for a Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 485/2008 on scrutiny by Member States of transactions forming part of the system of financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund. Fundamentally, the intention is to align this text with the new provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon concerning the exercise of the Commission’s implementing powers. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) In December 2010, the Commission tabled a proposal for a regulation on scrutiny by Member States of transactions forming part of the system of financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF). This proposal aims to identify the Commission’s delegated powers and implementing powers conferred under the aforementioned regulation and to establish the correct procedure for adopting the acts in question. I am voting for the report tabled by Mr Capoulas Santos, which ensures uniform application of rules and provisions common to all EU Member States, thereby preventing market disparities in terms of EAGF funding.

 
  
  

Reports: Paolo De Castro (A7-0158/2011, A7-0161/2011 and A7-0322/2011), Giovanni La Via (A7-0209/2011), Martin Häusling (A7-0215/2011) and Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos (A7-0204/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Cornelis de Jong (GUE/NGL), in writing. I abstained on the Agriculture reports on alignment. These reports align the existing body of agricultural legislation to the new legal reality, which is the system of delegated and implementing acts. Reports which use delegated acts are those on which the parliament has a right of veto.

Although I am opposed to the Common Agricultural Policy, I recognise that the principle of protecting Parliament’s right of veto, where it has been legally given (in the Treaty of Lisbon), is a principle that needs to be protected. This principle will go beyond agricultural reports. Because of this, because I do not wish the Commission to make decisions in which Parliament should co-legislate, I abstained on these reports.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing.(IT) The huge delays in adapting the package of basic regulations on the common agricultural policy (CAP) to the Treaty of Lisbon are down to the Council’s intransigence and the deferral of the Polish Presidency, which prevented us from finalising the agreements that had earlier been made. Today, we once again find ourselves faced not just with the old regulations in the package, but also with new texts on the CAP and with voting on alignment to the Treaty of Lisbon, as approved in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development in April 2011. The changes introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon – abolishing the old comitology system, allowing the Commission to exercise implementation and enforcement powers that amend the role of the Council, which, acting on a proposal by the Commission, can adopt measures to set prices, levies, aid and quantitative limitations – show us the important role of Parliament even more. Accordingly, we need to align the body of laws to the new framework, bringing in an alternative system that is in keeping with Articles 290 and 291 and allows Parliament to act to protect farmers, land, products and agricultural markets.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mikael Gustafsson (GUE/NGL), in writing. I abstained on the agriculture reports on alignment. These reports align the existing body of agricultural legislation to the new legal reality, which is the system of delegated and implementing acts. Reports which use delegated acts are those on which the parliament has a right of veto. Although I am opposed to the Common Agricultural Policy, I recognise that the principle of protecting Parliament’s right of veto, where it has been legally given (in the Treaty of Lisbon), is a principle that needs to be protected. This principle will reach beyond agricultural reports. Because of this, because I do not wish the Commission to make decisions in which Parliament should co-legislate, I abstained on this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing. (PL) Once the Treaty of Lisbon came into force, the legislative procedure used to date, namely comitology, was replaced by a system comprising delegated acts and implementing acts. Under delegated acts, the European Commission can adopt non-legislative documents of lesser importance that add to or modify already existing laws. However, implementing acts are used for legislation that must be introduced in all Member States on the same conditions.

For us, as Members of the European Parliament, the most important issue is the participation of the European Parliament in decision making and in monitoring the implementation of legislation. In this regard it is the delegated acts that give us greater powers; here we can specify conditions according to which the European Commission can introduce laws (in the case of implementing acts, the European Parliament is in a certain sense removed from any further work once the decision has been taken). For this reason, too, I believe that we should move in the direction of classifying as many dossiers as possible as delegated acts, which will give us greater ability to review and inspect projects that have been adopted. Of course this brings with it greater administrative involvement and it may be necessary for the European Parliament to increase its ‘processing’ power, meaning the employment of legal experts and other staff that can assist in adapting our everyday work to the new procedures.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. This is one of several Commission proposals on alignment aiming to update the actual agricultural legislation to the new provisions as foreseen in the Treaty of Lisbon. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted, along with the overwhelming majority of my colleagues, for the whole package proposed by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development regarding alignment with the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon. This package is not only important because of the provisions it contains, but especially because it defends our new powers as codecision-maker in the area of agriculture and rural development, granted by the Treaty. Parliament must defend these powers it has and exercise them according to the mandate given by the electorate, especially now when the major debates on the future of the CAP are going on.

 
  
  

Recommendation: Gianluca Susta (A7-0176/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because it aims to ensure the preservation of commitments previously made as regards EU-Russia trade. This is a partnership that should also be viewed in the light of the new legal framework arising from Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. I voted in favour of the resolution on EU-Russia agreement on the preservation of commitments on trade in services. This EU-Russia agreement contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement must be viewed in the light of the new legal framework arising from Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation. As a result of that accession, Russia will become a country that is relatively open to foreign services. Although Russia has agreed to lower its barriers to trade and investment and to grant more favourable treatment than it did previously to foreign service providers in 11 sectors covering professional services, IT services, construction, postal services, telecommunications, media, transport, distribution, tourism and travel, and financial services, we, Members of the EP, urge the Russian Government to make major adjustments in the Russian law, in particular trade and competition law and customs regulations, in order to be able to implement those concessions. The EP and all European community expect that the commitments made by Russia would not only provide new business opportunities for EU firms; they would also improve the business environment – not least as regards non-discrimination and free competition – for EU exporters and investors already working with Russia.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Negotiations about Russia joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have been going on for almost two decades. It is almost a done deal; all that remains now is for the Russian Parliament to vote on approval of WTO membership before the end of July. This week, I approved several agreements which are more advantageous to the European Union than those resulting from WTO rules. EU firms should have more favourable arrangements under this agreement which will improve the conditions of service providers who establish themselves in that country.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this proposal on the conclusion of the new bilateral Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Russia on trade in services replacing the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement concluded in 1994. With Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation and according to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), trade in services will be liberalised and foreign service providers will have substantially greater access to the Russian market. It is important for the EU and Russia to update the bilateral commitments entered into almost 20 years ago so that the EU secures additional trade concessions over and above those available under the multilateral regime, and preserves the current commitments on access to the Russian market for EU service providers in the maritime trade and the temporary movement of natural persons for business purposes sectors.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this resolution because concluding the EU-Russia agreement on preserving the commitments on trade in services is part of the new legal framework produced by Russia joining the WTO, enabling the Russian market to become more open to services from the European Union and better conditions for European economic operators already present on the Russian services markets, thanks to the provisions on non-discrimination and free competition. European service providers will gain substantial benefits at a time when exports in this area generated a turnover of EUR 22.6 billion in 2010, accounting for 20% of the EU’s total exports in Russia.

In addition, the bilateral agreement will allow European investors to continue to enjoy a more favourable preferential scheme than that offered by the multilateral trade scheme in two areas (maritime trade and the temporary movement of natural persons for business purposes) where the current commitments to the EU under the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement signed in 1994 are stricter than those Russia is also going to adopt after officially joining the WTO.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Adam Bielan (ECR), in writing. (PL) Mr President, Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation offers new possibilities in relations between the European Union and Russia. However it also means that existing bilateral agreements may be subject to change, since Russia now becomes a country that is much more open as regards the international exchange of services. Thus service providers in European Union countries have greater opportunities to access the Russian market, which has a significant impact on Poland, as an immediate neighbour. It is encouraging to hear the undertaking of the Russian Government to reduce trade barriers as well as barriers to investment in key service sectors which, as an example, means full access for computer or construction services. Services relating to land and water-borne transport have also been opened to foreigners. Another important issue is the simplification of movement of persons between companies. I support both this and other resolutions concerning the multilateral package regulating the accession of Russia to the WTO. At the same time I am counting on full liberalisation of the Russian market in the future.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Susta’s recommendation as the Russian Federation’s accession to the World Trade Organisation requires it to commit to amending trade agreements with other countries that subscribe to the principles of free trade. The agreement to ease restrictions in the Russian services sector will bring great benefits for the European Union in a sector that now represents 20% of European exports to the Russian Federation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report on the EU-Russia agreements on trade in services contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. By becoming a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Russia has committed to implement a more open economic liberalism through bilateral trade agreements with the European Union. These agreements represent real progress in the sense of greater openness in certain sectors to foreign suppliers. Russia has also committed to promoting a wider range of services and a higher quality of service. It should be noted that these structural changes require adjustments to Russian law, in particular in commercial law and competition law. Through this report, the European Union wants to send a strong signal of support to Russia in pursuit of these reforms, which bode well for a strengthening of trade relations.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report which calls for the preservation of a more favourable EU-Russia bilateral regime than the one adopted at international level. As a result of its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Russia has agreed to liberalise its trade system in numerous service sectors. However, in the areas of maritime trade and the temporary movement of employees for business purposes, Russia’s commitments do not go as far as those it made in the existing bilateral agreement with the European Union. I therefore welcome the adoption of this report, which is a step further in the defence of our interests.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the adoption of this agreement because it represents a new stage in trade cooperation with Russia since it joined the World Trade Organisation. The opening up of the Russian services market – telecommunications, insurance, tourism, transport, etc. – to foreign competition is a genuine challenge, both for Russian consumers, who benefit from a wider range of improved services, and for EU businesses, which will find new markets.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the adoption of this agreement, which represents a new chapter in trade cooperation with Russia once it joins the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The opening up of the Russian services market (telecommunications, insurance, tourism, transport, etc.) to foreign competition poses a real challenge, both for Russian consumers, who will benefit from an increase in supply and better quality services, and for our European businesses, which will have new opportunities.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) Considering the fact that the relations between Hungary and Russia will have a long-term influence on both the economic development of the region and, if these relations are further deepened, the region’s political stability, I support the report and commend Russia for agreeing to eliminate barriers to trade and investment, and to grant more favourable treatment to service providers in 11 sectors. Hungary is among the eastern regions of the European Union, and its geographical position is one of the reasons why it has a stake in an agreement with Russia. In the trade-related sections of the ‘New Agreement’ between the European Union and Russia that is currently being negotiated and will replace the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement concluded in 1994, the conditions of the bilateral commitments entered into nearly 20 years ago should be updated, in particular in order to secure additional commitments from Russia in modes 3 and 4 under the chapter on trade in services and the right of establishment. That chapter should also consolidate the rights of EU service providers setting up operations in Russia. If these conditions are met, then I can do nothing but support this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the EU-Russia agreement on the preservation of commitments on trade in services because I believe this partnership and cooperation agreement should be seen in the light of the new legal framework resulting from Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation, specifically through the ‘new bilateral agreement’ aimed at obtaining additional commitments giving firmer guarantees to European service providers when they set up in Russia.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The opening up of the Russian market is always a good sign for the European Union. Its accession to the World Trade Organisation is good news, as well as an important opportunity for Europe. Despite the multiple issues that remain and the informal obstacles to increased liberalisation of trade with Russia, I think this is another step in the right direction. We can now clearly see, not only Europe’s great dependence on Russian energy, but also the prospects of success for European services companies in Russia. Despite the natural suspicions held throughout so many years in a climate of confrontation, I believe we will benefit if we manage to promote greater integration between the two parties and if the EU is able to make Russia into a strategic partner of the first order. Both the EU and Russia currently face major geostrategic challenges that would be more easily overcome if both opted to harmonise their positions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This recommendation concerns the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Government of the Russian Federation relating to the preservation of commitments on trade in services contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), in view of Russia’s application for membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Russia is a strategic partner of the EU that, by joining the WTO, is opening itself up to foreign services after around 20 years of timid reforms to privatise and liberalise its national economy. Although gradual, this opening up will enable foreign service providers to invest in sectors like construction, IT, professional services, telecommunications, transport, postal services, the media, distribution, tourism and travel, and financial services. I welcome Russia’s accession to the WTO and the resulting benefits, as well as the fact that, under this new agreement, which will replace the PCA of 1994, the EU will still benefit from a more favourable system as regards maritime trade and the temporary movement of natural persons for business purposes.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The conclusion of this agreement is a long-awaited step forward for big business in the major EU powers. The process of Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation involves a process of liberalisations and privatisations in a number of areas, particularly services, thereby opening up its market to foreign investment. Russia’s services market started developing only in the 1990s after the end of the Soviet Union, following the victory of the counterrevolution, which dismantled a major state-owned services sector.

With this agreement, Russia is giving up part of its sovereignty and undertaking to bring an end to almost all preferential national treatment, so as to enable EU big business to access its services market. The beneficiaries of this agreement concluded by the EU are the same as ever: big companies in the major EU powers, for which it creates ‘new business opportunities’ in an area in which they will have a competitive advantage. Those who gain nothing and lose everything from this agreement are the same as ever: the workers in this sector threatened with redundancy, the small and medium-sized enterprises threatened by competition from the sector’s major monopolies, and working-class consumers who are seeing higher prices and lower quality. For all these reasons, we are compelled to vote against.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The EU-Russia agreement regarding the preservation of commitments on trade in services contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement must be viewed in the light of the new legal framework arising from Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation. The schedules for the liberalisation of trade in services included in Russia’s multilateral WTO accession package will give foreign service providers substantially greater access to the Russian market. Russia has agreed to lower its barriers to trade and investment and to grant more favourable treatment than it did previously to foreign service providers in 11 sectors covering professional services, IT services, construction, postal services, telecommunications, media, transport, distribution, tourism and travel, and financial services. Currently, trade in services accounts for approximately 20% of EU exports to Russia. The commitments made by Russia will not only provide new business opportunities for European firms; they will also improve the environment for exporters and investors from the EU already working in Russia, not least as regards non-discrimination and free competition. Greater competition should increase the supply and raise the quality of services in Russia in a large number of sectors, which could make it easier for all European companies established in Russia to do business. I think it is right for Parliament to approve this agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on the conclusion of the agreement because the EU has to conclude a bilateral agreement with Russia in order to secure additional bilateral trade concessions over and above those available under the multilateral regime. In many service sectors, the trade liberalisation commitments made by Russia go further than the arrangements that have applied to date to EU firms under the terms of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement signed in 1994 and implemented since 1997. The European Union would continue to enjoy more favourable arrangements and greater preferences than available under the multilateral regime. This bilateral agreement details the preferential treatment that is to be granted exclusively to the EU. The agreement does not require the European Union to make any new commitments. This agreement should also consolidate the rights of EU service providers setting up operations in Russia.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) As a result of its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Russia has made a number of commitments to the General Agreement on Trade in Services. However, at multilateral level, Russia has achieved case-by-case liberalisation in some sectors. This case-by-case approach to the commitment is not feasible within the framework of EU-Russia relations. The purpose of this agreement is therefore to maintain a more balanced bilateral regime than the one adopted at multilateral level and one which favours the interests of the European Union. Parliament has adopted this report and I welcome it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. Hopefully, as a result of accession to the WTO, Russia will become a country that is relatively open to foreign services; nevertheless, today major restrictions on imports of services and the establishment of foreign service providers remain in place in Russia. The EU-Russia agreement regarding the preservation of commitments on trade in services contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement should be viewed in the light of the new legal framework arising from Russia’s recent accession to the WTO. Russia's commitments to reduce market access restrictions and put an end to almost all national treatment may have potential benefits for the European Union. For this reason, the EU should continue to monitor how Russia improves its business environment. I voted in favour of this recommendation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE), in writing. (DE) The accession of Russia to the World Trade Organisation and the resulting framework conditions will provide more opportunities for European business. The new version of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement will not only improve access for businesses, it will also improve the position of those businesses that are already established in Russia. I welcome this agreement, as I see it as additional means for improving the position of Europe’s small and medium-sized enterprises in Russia.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I welcome this proposal which should help improve access for EU companies to the Russian market for services. The Russian market remains very restrictive and is not in line with their new obligations since becoming WTO members.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing.(FR) As I have already said before, Russia is one of the EU’s most important partners in many regards. The numerous political and economic agreements that have been signed with our Russian neighbour are proof that the EU considers it to be a key partner on the international stage. Russia is also the EU’s third biggest trading partner. We have just approved three resolutions on trade agreements with Russia which favour EU firms. Russia’s imminent accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which will improve access to the Russian market, has played a huge part in these agreements. By becoming a member of the WTO, Russia will reduce its tariffs, which currently average 9.5%, to about 6% by 2015.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. The EU-Russia agreement regarding the preservation of commitments on trade in services contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement must be viewed in the light of the new legal framework arising from Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation. I am in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted for this report because I want bilateral cooperation between the European Union and Russia that is fairer, whereas at multilateral level Russia has achieved case-by-case liberalisation in some sectors. Russia has agreed to liberalise its trade system as part of its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This agreement underlines the scope of its commitments that will not only improve the situation of Russian consumers, who will benefit from better services, it will also provide new business opportunities for EU firms, and for EU exporters and investors already working with Russia. I therefore welcome the fact that Parliament has adopted this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mariya Nedelcheva (PPE), in writing. – (SK) As a result of the recent accession of Russia to the World Trade Organisation, it is necessary to establish a new legal framework for relations between the EU and Russia regarding the preservation of commitments on trade in services contained in the Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation. Russia is one of the largest economies in the world, a country full of new opportunities and challenges. For this reason, therefore, I consider the reciprocal bilateral agreements will contribute not only to the interlinking of the EU and Russian economies but will also ensure the balanced economic growth of both contracting parties. Liberalisation of trade in services was one of the conditions for the accession process of Russia to the WTO. I therefore firmly believe that the strengthening of mutual cooperation between the EU and Russia will help to improve the perceptions of foreign service providers and facilitate access to the Russian market for European companies. What is crucial in this collaboration will equally benefit the Russian Federation. The agreement must, however, be concluded on the basis of common interests and awareness of mutual rights and obligations. The creation of such a stable business environment by means of the new Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation between the EU and Russia will help to gain further additional concessions. Compared to the multilateral system based on bilateral agreements, the rights of European service providers should be clearly confirmed.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Kristiina Ojuland (ALDE), in writing. I voted in favour of the report consenting to the preservation of commitments on trade in services contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

With its accession to the World Trade Organisation, Russia has made a commitment to reduce market access restrictions in many areas and put an end to favouring national companies over foreign companies. On the one hand I would like to see prompt and effective implementation of those reforms, yet on the other hand I would hope that successful liberalisation of the economy spills over into liberalisation of society. Improving the access of European companies to the Russian market will hopefully pave the way to European business culture.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this agreement on further commitments on trade in services, thanks to which the European Union will continue to enjoy more favourable arrangements. Trade liberalisation will give many services sectors more rights. I believe that it is appropriate and essential for the EU to conclude a bilateral agreement with Russia because more trade concessions will be given than available under the multilateral regime. It should be noted that it is important for the current commitments on access to the Russian market for EU service providers to be preserved in the services sectors of maritime trade and the temporary movement of natural persons for business purposes.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Since it is a consensual agreement, I voted for Parliament’s legislative resolution of 4 July 2012 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Government of the Russian Federation relating to the preservation of commitments on trade in services contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) By becoming a member of the World Trade Organisation, Russia will become a country that is relatively open to foreign services, giving foreign service providers substantially greater access to the market. The commitments made by Russia will not only provide new business opportunities for EU firms; they will also improve the business environment – not least as regards non-discrimination and free competition – for EU exporters and investors already working with Russia. So that the EU may continue to enjoy more favourable arrangements than those available under the multilateral regime, I voted in favour of the conclusion of the ‘new bilateral agreement’ between the European Union and Russia.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU-Russia agreement regarding the preservation of commitments on trade in services contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement must be viewed in the light of the new legal framework arising from Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The process of liberalising the trade in services included in Russia’s multilateral WTO accession package will give foreign service providers substantially greater access to the Russian market, in particular telecommunications, tourism, transport and the financial sector itself. I voted in favour because I believe this will not only provide new business opportunities for EU firms, but will also improve the business environment – not least as regards non-discrimination and free competition – for EU exporters and investors already working with Russia.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. With the accession of Russia to the WTO in December 2011, the EU needs to align specific rules it maintained bilaterally within the framework of the EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with the prevailing WTO law. This dossier carries out this alignment in the field of trade in services.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. I voted in favour because the inclusion of Russia in the WTO will allow the opening of the Russian market to foreign services. In this case Russia will grant more favourable treatment to foreign suppliers than it did before, and the EU has the greatest interest in signing this Agreement as one of Russia's largest trading partners.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Susta’s report. These openings by Russia, even if due to its imminent accession to the World Trade Organisation, are clearly good news. Russia is a very important market for our companies. Reciprocity, in the name of reciprocal development, must be guaranteed and I believe it will yield good results.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) means the country will gradually open up to foreign services. Russia has thus agreed to lower its barriers to trade and investment and to grant more favourable treatment than it did previously to foreign service providers in 11 sectors, covering professional services, IT services, construction, postal services, telecommunications, media, transport, distribution, tourism and travel, and financial services. The most noteworthy commitments include the concessions granted in the telecommunications sector, with the phasing out over a four-year period of the current 49% limit on foreign participation in the share capital of telecommunications groups and the decision to apply the terms of the Agreement on Basic Telecommunications Services. In the financial sector, the commercial presence of foreign insurance firms on the Russian market will be authorised, subject to a number of restrictions, nine years after Russia’s accession to the WTO. This vote thus approves the agreement between the European Union and Russia relating to the preservation of commitments on trade in services.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing.(FR) My vote on Mr Susta’s text was a ‘yes … but’. This was because EU firms should have more favourable arrangements under this agreement. It is one of three trade agreements that do not prejudice the EU’s new commitments and which should even improve conditions for producers who rely on raw materials coming from Russia. The agreement on trade in services offers new opportunities for EU shipping agencies trying to establish themselves in Russia. It also grants preferential access to employees of European service companies going to work in Russia with a view to starting up a business there. It provides for a minimum quota of 16 000 work permits a year for this purpose. However, it is important that Russia keeps its commitments and ensures that workers’ rights are respected: the credibility of the European Union is at stake.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU-Russia agreement regarding the preservation of commitments on trade in services contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement must be viewed in the light of the new legal framework arising from Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation. Officially, in a large number of service areas, Russia has also undertaken to reduce market access restrictions and put an end to almost all national preferential treatment, so as not to discriminate against foreign operators. The most noteworthy commitments include the concessions in the telecommunications sector, the authorisation of the commercial presence of foreign insurance firms on the Russian market nine years after accession, and the opening up of transport services – in particular maritime, road and inland waterway services – to foreigners. I voted for this recommendation for these reasons.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. The inclusion of Russia in the WTO will allow the opening of the Russian market to foreign services; Russia will grant more favourable treatment than before to foreign suppliers in eleven sectors covering, inter alia, professional services, construction, telecommunications and financial services. We must not forget that currently trade in services represents approximately 20% of European exports to Russia.

This means that the EU has a special interest in signing this Agreement to keep the commitments that the EU is already enjoying; Russia’s commitments will not only create additional business opportunities for European companies, but will also improve the situation of European exporters and investors currently working with Russia.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the agreement whereby the EU and Russia commit to the reciprocal liberalisation of services. In particular, with this agreement Russia undertakes to amend its national legislation to bring its laws in many sectors in line with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and its status as a member of the WTO. In the trade-related sections of the agreement that is currently being negotiated and will replace the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement concluded in 1994, it will be vital for the bilateral commitments to be updated, in order to secure additional commitments from Russia.

 
  
  

Recommendation: Pawel Zalewski (A7-0175/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting in favour. The European Union has negotiated this bilateral agreement to have a mechanism for compensating car-component manufacturers if EU exports decline because of that agreement. As this agreement is also associated with commitments to the World Trade Organisation, the EU must support it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. − I voted in favour of the resolution on EU-Russia agreement on trade in parts and components of motor vehicles. The EU has negotiated this bilateral agreement to have a compensation mechanism for the EU car components producers if the risk of falling EU exports of such products to Russia materialises as a result of the application of Russia's automobile investment programme until 2018. The EU must adopt this agreement because it is tied to its WTO commitments. To ensure that the scheme benefits its producers immediately, it must do so before the Russian Federation joins WTO. I support the position of the rapporteur that the survival of trade-distorting measures in Russia after its WTO accession is regretful, but it is important to stress that the EU producers of automobile components will benefit from a compensation scheme in case their exports to Russia fall significantly. We, members of the EP, call for a close monitoring of the evolution of the trade relation in vehicles and their components between the EU and Russia and, if necessary, for renegotiating the terms of the compensation scheme.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Negotiations about Russia joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have been going on for almost two decades. It is almost a done deal; all that remains now is for the Russian Parliament to vote on approval of WTO membership before the end of July. This week, I approved several agreements which are more advantageous to the European Union than those resulting from WTO rules. EU firms should have more favourable arrangements under this agreement which will improve the conditions of automobile parts manufacturers in the EU.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) Following the Russian Federation’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation it is essential for the EU and Russia to conclude bilateral agreements to secure additional and complementary bilateral trade concessions for the European Union. The bilateral agreement would be beneficial to both parties as an incentive for useful trade and investment. However, there is concern that Russia’s accession package condones the existence of some trade-distorting measures, such as Russia’s automobile package, which prescribes localisation of automobile manufacturers in Russia (resulting in discriminatory treatment of imported auto parts and components and restriction of imports). It is essential to ensure that such measures are removed in future.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this resolution because the EU-Russia agreement on trade in parts and components of motor vehicles is tied to its WTO commitments. In addition, it offers a compensation mechanism for car component manufacturers in the European Union if the export of these products to Russia is likely to fall due to the implementation of the Russian investment programme in this area until 2018. If this risk becomes a reality, it is important to be able to preserve the preferential terms for European exporters, especially as, at the moment, it is difficult to assess how the trade in cars and car components is going to develop between the EU and Russia in the coming years.

Apart from the measures implemented as part of the investment programme, additional factors may cause the volume of trade in this sector to rise or fall, including both the global growth in demand for cars and the development of the infrastructure in Russia. This is why I endorse the approval of this compensation mechanism, which will support car and car component manufacturers in the EU in the event of significant falls in exports in this area.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Zalewski’s recommendation as it is up to the European Union to counter the practice of relocation where this damages the productive fabric of the Member States in favour of a third country, in this case the Russian Federation. I therefore agree with the need to protect European automobile manufacturers from the obligation to sign agreements with Russia that are unfavourable to the European Union and provide for the production of a high number of automobiles in Russia, since that would lead to a significant fall in exports from the European Union to Russia and, as a result, a major economic loss for the Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report on the agreement between the European Union and Russia on trade in parts and components of motor vehicles. This agreement establishes a safety mechanism for the European Union in the event of falling EU exports of automobile components to Russia. In effect, this safeguard will lead to further tariff reductions should the Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) in place in Russia to support local companies in the automotive industry until 2018 result in falling EU exports.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the adoption of this text which follows Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). However, the European Union should demand that our Russian partner comply as quickly as possible with the own-capital rules issued by the WTO, so that mutual benefits and restrictions can be applied to this trading partner in the end.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the adoption of this text following Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). However, the European Union must demand that our Russian partner complies as quickly as possible with the rules of equity laid down by the Organisation, so that we can finally demand reciprocal benefits and restrictions from this business partner

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) Hungary considers car manufacturing to be a high-priority strategic industry; this is one of the reasons why I support this report, as it illustrates the importance of the matter extremely well. Over the past few years several major automotive companies have moved their production to Hungary, creating several jobs. I for one recognise the generally positive effect of the Russian Federation’s joining the World Trade Organisation, because it further contributes to the legal securing of bilateral trade concessions. At the same time I find it regrettable that Russia’s accession package condones the existence of some trade-distorting measures, such as Russia’s automobile trade-related investment measures package, which are very largely prohibited under the WTO TRIMs Agreement. Indeed these trade-related investment measures prescribe the localisation of automobile manufacturers in Russia (resulting in discriminatory treatment of imported auto parts and components and restriction of imports) while linking this obligation to investment-related special privileges for the import of automobile components (reduction or abolition of import duties). Maintaining such mechanism is detrimental to both the EU and Russia. For the EU the stakes are extremely high, as its automobile industry represents 2.3 million jobs for car manufacturing and 10.3 million indirect jobs. Besides, easier access to this market would be very beneficial to EU producers, including Hungary, as Russia is a fast-growing market in the sales of automobiles.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Current forecasts for the opening up of the Russian market following its accession to the World Trade Organisation are contradictory. The motor-vehicle industry as a whole is expected to gain, on the one hand, but the exports of parts and components are expected to decline, on the other. Distortions in the market for motor-vehicle parts and components introduced by the Russian authorities are just cause for concern, not just for the EU sector, but also for political decision makers. Providing for a mechanism to compensate for a potential drop in exports to Russia could turn out to be, not just advisable, but necessary. It falls to the EU to monitor the implementation of this agreement clearly and in detail.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The slow and gradual opening up of the Russian Federation’s economy over the last few years has fostered above-average economic growth, placing Russia in the group of emerging economies, alongside Brazil, India and China. This growth led Russia to apply for World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership. Russia’s WTO accession conditions, approved by the Council, were agreed in November 2011 and provide for a special system, favourable to the Russian Federation until 1 July 2018. There is a real risk to the European motor-vehicle industry, which accounts for 2.3 million jobs directly and 10.3 million indirectly. Although the Russian motor-vehicle market is expanding rapidly and could be an excellent business opportunity for the companies of the European sector, there is no guarantee of that. I voted for this recommendation on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the bilateral EU-Russia agreement on trade in parts and components of motor vehicles, since it includes a mechanism for compensating EU producers of motor-vehicle components if their exports to Russia decrease significantly.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This agreement is yet another example of the contradictory process of Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). With this agreement, Russia is ensuring that the EU trade in motor-vehicle parts and components in Russian territory does not jeopardise the industry existing in certain regions of the country. To that end, it aims to ensure the retention of the current system for the motor-vehicle industry, continuing to restrict motor-vehicle and component manufacturers’ access to the Russian market beyond the needs of its domestic market. For its part, the EU is applying pressure by invoking Russia’s accession to the WTO and is demanding compensation mechanisms, so as not to jeopardise the profits of major exporters. For the immediate future, it remains positive that Russia is attempting to establish and defend this industry in regions where it has traditionally been established, by maintaining production and retaining jobs until at least 2018. At the end of this period, its national production will be exposed to foreign competition – in particular, EU production – whose installed production capacity may be at an advantage, thereby threatening the loss of jobs and the end of production in many regions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The Russian Government has, for several years, sought to attract foreign producers of motor cars and related components to its territory to compensate for the decline of its own car industry and to provide jobs for the workforce in this sector. According to the terms of Russia’s accession to the WTO, agreed in November 2011 and approved by the European Council, its automobile investment programme will be exempt from the obligation of ensuring that all laws, regulations and other measures related to trade and investment applicable in the Russian Federation are consistent with the provisions of the WTO Agreement, including the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures, until 1 July 2018. The EU must adopt this agreement because it relates to its WTO commitments. Russia’s entry into the WTO will, among other things, entail implementing other commitments brought by membership, such as reforms in related regulatory areas and customs tariff reductions, which would bring considerable benefits to the EU producers. Finally, external worldwide factors such as global demand for automobiles and world growth, as well as domestic aspects in Russia such as the evolution of infrastructures and the business climate, may all have an impact on the growth of trade in automobiles and vehicle components between EU and Russia that is positive or negative and difficult to estimate.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Adam Gierek (S&D), in writing. − (PL) The EU exports about USD 9 billion of car parts to Russia. Investors who are involved in infant industries in the automobile sector in Russia are exempted for a transition period from the general WTO rules because of high start-up costs and lack of competitiveness. This means that Russia, which is joining the WTO, can apply temporary protective customs duties. However, extending this period excessively and/or the use of returns to scale by Russian producers, for example by extending markets to Kazakhstan and Belarus, could result in a decrease of imports from the EU and in effect a delocalisation of production.

In order to avoid this eventuality, the agreement provides for a transition compensation mechanism by which Russia, when importing these parts and assemblies from the EU, will reduce the customs tariff by the amount of any reduction in these imports, once this reaches 3% of certain thresholds. On the other hand, companies in that country were or may still be subsidised by the state, which could increase their competitiveness artificially. For this reason a compensation mechanism is required. This is also a signal to EU producers to invest in innovation during the transition period or for example to increase returns to scale. The agreement is beneficial for EU industry and for this reason I voted in favour. It would be good if the Union’s customs zone learned from the Russian example and defended the EU’s economy more effectively.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on the conclusion of the agreement because the EU has negotiated this bilateral agreement to have a compensation mechanism for EU car components producers if the risk of falling EU exports of such products to Russia materialises as a result of the application of Russia’s automobile investment programme until 2018. The EU must adopt this agreement because it is tied to its WTO commitments. In order to ensure that the scheme benefits its producers immediately, the EU must do so before the Russian Federation joins the WTO. The assumption behind this agreement is that there is a risk of falling EU exports of automobile components to Russia. However, the European Commission argues that the EU car sector in general will gain substantially more business opportunities in Russia after WTO accession. The conclusion of such a safety mechanism indicates a paradox: stakeholders, including EU negotiators, do not have a clear picture of the future trends of the bilateral trade relations in cars and automobile components.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) As a result of its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Russia is exempt until 2018 from the obligation to apply all the measures set out in the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs). These exemptions could impact negatively on the competitiveness of European manufacturers of parts and components of motor vehicles in favour of those based in Russia. In this context, the agreement calls for mechanisms that will ensure reduced tariffs to European exporters. These mechanisms will be triggered in the event of any fall in European exports. I voted for this report, which was adopted in plenary by a large majority and I welcome this.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE), in writing. (DE) This agreement between Russia and the EU will support the European automotive sector in the event of a reduction in EU exports to Russia as a result of the application of Russia’s automobile investment programme. I am therefore in favour of this agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this proposal. While regretting the survival of trade-distorting measures in Russia after its WTO accession, I appreciate that the EU producers of automobile components will benefit from a compensation scheme in case their exports to Russia fall significantly. The rapporteur also calls for a close monitoring of the evolution of trade relations in vehicles and their components between the EU and Russia and, if necessary, for renegotiating the terms of the compensation scheme before the end of the phasing out of the TRIMs.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − The EU has negotiated this bilateral agreement to have a compensation mechanism for the EU car components producers if the risk of falling EU exports of such products to Russia materialises as a result of the application of Russia's automobile investment programme until 2018. I am in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I believe that it is appropriate and beneficial for the EU to conclude an agreement with Russia on trade in parts and components of motor vehicles. Above all, it is one of the EU’s WTO commitments. Furthermore, the compensation mechanism set out in it will ensure that the application of the automobile investment regime does not lead to a fall in imports of parts and components of motor vehicles from the Union to the Russian Federation. The application of the agreement will therefore be of undoubted benefit to the manufacturers of these and will provide substantially more business opportunities in Russia.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I have no objection to the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the EU, of the Agreement between the European Union and the Government of the Russian Federation on trade in parts and components of motor vehicles between the European Union and the Russian Federation, so I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) Russia’s accession package condones the existence of some trade-distorting measures, such as Russia’s automobile Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) package, which are very largely prohibited under the World Trade Organisation’s TRIMs Agreement. Indeed these TRIMs prescribe localisation of automobile manufacturers in Russia (resulting in discriminatory treatment of imported auto parts and components and restriction of imports) while linking them to investment-related special privileges for the import of automobile components (reduction or abolition of import duties). Maintaining such mechanisms is detrimental to the EU and to Russia. In order to encourage the growth of trade in cars and automobile components between the EU and Russia, I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Russian Federation’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has a very positive effect, since it establishes a regulated system of multilateral trade. However, its scheme for foreign investments in the motor-vehicle sector, initiated in 2005 (‘TRIMs 1’) and extended to car components in 2006, was made more stringent in 2010 (‘TRIMs 2’), to the point that it would have been, upon Russia’s accession to the WTO, declared contrary to the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures. This made it necessary to conclude bilateral agreements with Russia to secure legally additional and complementary bilateral trade concessions. As such, the EU has negotiated this bilateral agreement to have a compensation mechanism for EU car-component manufacturers if the risk of falling EU exports of such products to Russia materialises as a result of Russia applying its motor-vehicle investment programme until 2018. I voted for this report for the aforementioned reasons.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. The Russian Government has, for several years, sought to attract foreign producers of cars and car components to set up shop on Russia’s territory to compensate for the decline of its own car industry and to provide jobs for the workforce in this sector. Its regime for foreign investments in the automotive sector – initiated in 2005 and extended to car components in 2006 – was made more stringent in 2010, to the point that, upon Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization, it would have been declared contrary to the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs). However, according to the WTO accession protocol, Russia has until July 2018 to bring these measures into conformity with WTO rules.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. I voted in favour because the EU car sector in general is supposed to gain substantially higher business opportunities in Russia after the WTO accession.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing.(IT) This agreement with Russia is positive and I wholeheartedly voted in favour. I hope, though, that these events help the Commission understand that the Union must consider providing at least the same level of protection for its own industrial system as our international partners do. This agreement is positive, but it does not resolve the difficulties that our companies in the sector have faced and are still facing in order to be able to continue production in Europe. The Commission must listen to their needs and safeguard jobs in the 27 Member States of the Union.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) The Russian Government has for several years sought to attract foreign producers of automobiles and related components on its territory to compensate for the decline of its own car industry and to provide jobs for the workforce in this sector. Russia is a fast-growing market of sales of automobiles to which easier access would be very beneficial to EU producers. Currently Russia represents just 8% of EU total exports of these products. I voted in favour of the agreement with the Russian Federation on automobile components. The whole EU automobile industry, which represents 2.3 million jobs for car manufacturing and 10.3 million indirect jobs, will benefit significantly from it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing.(FR) My vote on Mr Zalewski’s text was a ‘yes … but’. This was because EU firms should have more favourable arrangements under this agreement. It is one of three trade agreements that do not prejudice the EU’s new commitments and which should even improve conditions for producers who rely on raw materials coming from Russia. The agreement on automotive components protects European auto parts manufacturers affected by the Russian measures still in force, even after Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). These measures provide foreign car manufacturers with incentives to relocate to Russia and could put Russian imports of foreign auto parts at a disadvantage. According to the agreement, if EU exports of automobile parts fall below the threshold of 3% per year, Russia will reduce its import duties on these components by a proportional amount. However, it is important that Russia keeps its commitments and ensures that workers’ rights are respected. The Union’s credibility is at stake.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Indrek Tarand (Verts/ALE), in writing. I welcome the agreement on trade with spare parts for cars. Anyone who has experience with Russian cars, knows well that they demand spare parts all the time. I do hope that in the context of this agreement, Russian military people will understand that "Mistral" ships provided to them by the French Government, are actually meant for delivering spare parts to the customers, if needed - quickly by helicopters, not for creating tensions with Russia's neighbours on the Black Sea or the Baltic Sea.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Russian Government has for several years sought to attract foreign producers of motor vehicles and related components on its territory to compensate for the decline of its own car industry and to provide jobs for the workforce in this sector. The Russian Federation’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) made it possible to declare this investment contrary to the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures, which forbids any investment measures in goods production with trade-restrictive and distorting effects. However, according to the terms of Russia’s accession to the WTO, its motor-vehicle investment programme will be exempt from the obligation to ensure that all laws, regulations and other measures related to trade and investment and applied in the Russian Federation are consistent with WTO provisions. As such, the EU has negotiated this bilateral agreement to have a compensation mechanism for EU car-component manufacturers if the risk of falling EU exports of such products to Russia materialises as a result of Russia applying its motor-vehicle investment programme until 2018. I voted for this agreement in Parliament for the aforementioned reasons.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the conclusion of the Agreement between the EU and Russian Government on trade in parts and components of motor vehicles. The EU has negotiated this bilateral agreement to have a compensation mechanism for car component manufacturers if EU exports of such products to Russia decline as a result of the implementation of the Russian car investment programme until 2018. Triggering the compensation mechanism (Article 5) entails that, if EU exports of some car parts and components to Russia fall by 3% during a 12-month period compared to a benchmark calculated on the basis of EU exports to Russia in 2010, Russia must allow the import of parts and components of EU origin at reduced import customs duties in quantities equal to the decrease in EU exports. The compensation mechanism is applied for a minimum period of 12 months and is subsequently reviewed once every 12 months. In exceptional economic circumstances, measured by a significant fall in the total number of new car sales in Russia in the year when the mechanism was triggered, compared to the preceding year, as defined in the agreement, the compensation mechanism does not apply. Russia will administer the compensation quotas by means of an import licensing system.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. The fact of Russia joining the World Trade Organization has not prevented the maintenance of some trade-distorting measures, among them the requirement that foreign car manufacturers are located in Russia, encouraging job creation, in return for privileges related to the importation of car parts – a situation that certainly hurts European industry. Although the deadline to remove this measure is July 2018, the EU has negotiated a bilateral agreement to provide a mechanism for compensating EU producers or automotive components that are affected by a possible decline in exports to Russia.

 
  
  

Recommendation: Inese Vaidere (A7-0178/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since it concerns adaptation to the rules to which the Russian Federation committed as part of its accession to the World Trade Organisation. The proposal has already been unanimously adopted in committee, making it consensual, since it merely concerns adaptation to a new legislative framework.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. I voted in favour of the resolution on EU-Russia agreement on the introduction or increase by the Russian Federation of export duties on raw materials. The Agreement is an important step in stabilising the trade relationship between the EU and Russia, which might serve as a substantial improvement in trade relations. Russia exports numerous raw materials for which there is a high demand in the EU. In the context of Russia's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the country has committed itself to gradually reducing or eliminating its existing export duties. However, not all the essential goods are covered by Russia's commitments in the WTO accession. For this reason, the EU has negotiated a separate agreement to ensure that no additional export duties are applied on raw materials important for the EU. I support the rapporteur that despite this step forward, the agreement has several important shortcomings and has to be considered as a temporary solution until it is replaced by an adequately strong Treaty.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Negotiations about Russia joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have been going on for almost two decades. It is almost a done deal; all that remains now is for the Russian Parliament to vote on approval of WTO membership before the end of July. This week, I approved several agreements which are more advantageous to the European Union than those resulting from WTO rules. EU firms should have more favourable arrangements under this agreement which will improve the conditions of manufacturers that rely on raw materials coming from Russia.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this agreement between the EU and Russia on the export duties for raw materials introduced or increased by the Russian Federation. The EU has a major import interest in these raw materials for which there is a risk of tension in global supplies. As the EU is Russia’s biggest trading partner and investor, it is essential to reach an agreement on further trade aspects, by applying the principle of reciprocity and the commitments made by Russia during WTO accession. It is important to ensure that a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement is guaranteed in the longer term, establishing strict and binding bilateral trade principles.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this resolution because the EU-Russia agreement on the introduction or increase by the Russian Federation of export duties on raw materials is sufficient to protect the EU against additional restrictions in terms of export duties. At a time when the Russian Federation thinks that it can apply new export duties or additional ones to products not included in the WTO Schedule of Concessions and Commitments on Goods, it is important for the EU to obtain guarantees bilaterally that increased duties will not be introduced on raw materials which are of major existing or potential interest. This applies particularly to raw materials for which Russia has more than 10% of global production or exports, and for which there is a risk of tension relating to global supplies.

Although the rapporteur noted a number of shortcomings with regard to the commitments made by the Russian Federation through this Agreement, it is still useful as a stop-gap until a stricter treaty on trade in raw materials is concluded with the Russian Federation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of Ms Vaidere’s recommendation as this agreement will guarantee that duties on wood exports enforced up to now by the Russian Federation will be reduced. European businesses in the sector will benefit from this agreement, although Russia can continue to apply high rates for certain kinds of wood.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) While I welcome Russia’s commitment to gradually reduce or eliminate export duties on certain raw materials, I see that Russia is nevertheless allowed to introduce new tariffs on any products not listed in the schedule to its protocol of accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). That is why I voted for this bilateral agreement which introduces an additional list of raw materials, with the same commitments as those in the WTO list. I notice that this list includes certain agricultural products, minerals or derivatives from animal products, which are a major cause for concern to the EU.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour because it demonstrates a common desire to reinforce and rebalance our partnership with Russia. However, the EU and Russia should now respect their commitments, thereby promoting the establishment of fair conditions for trade with the EU, particularly as regards trade in raw materials.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted for this agreement, which expresses our shared desire to strengthen and rebalance our partnership with Russia, when it joins the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Russia must now honour the commitments made and therefore support the introduction of fair trading conditions with the EU for our raw materials supply.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) I consider the agreement discussed in the report as temporary, and I am looking forward to the new, sufficiently solid agreement on trade in raw materials between the EU and the Russian Federation to replace it.

The list in the Schedule that, in the understanding of Russia, does not preclude any new or additional export duties on any of the very important raw materials that are not included in the Schedule – for which the EU, not incidentally, has major import interests either existing or potential, and for which there may be a risk of problems with international supplies – is not suitable.

At the same time I would like to stress that neither the language nor the wording of the agreement is sufficiently precise, and they could give rise to misunderstandings on certain points.

In case Russia, despite its ‘best efforts’, applies new or additional export duties on any of the raw materials listed in the agreement and does not accept any solutions proposed by the EU during the consultations with the European Commission, there are not many tools for the EU to enforce this agreement and protect the EU’s interests. Following the spread of the Schmallenberg and Bluetongue viruses, Russia imposed an import ban on livestock products from all EU Member States, even though such a ban is in a clear breach of the rules of the World Trade Organisation.

This ban signals that not much has changed in Russia’s approach despite its accession to the WTO. I support the report, because it highlights the importance of the issue.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The rapporteur has rightly expressed her concern about this agreement’s lack of legal certainty and the absence of dispute-resolution mechanisms; this situation allows Russia free reign in interpreting what it covers and limit’s the EU’s ability to assert its interests if Russia increases its export duties on raw materials. Despite this warning, the rapporteur believes – rightly, in my view – that the Chamber should adopt this agreement. After its adoption, we should closely monitor its application, in the hope that the caveats I have set out will not be borne out by reality and that Russia will show itself faithful to the spirit of the agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Although political relations between the EU and the Russian Government are sometimes fairly troubled in relation to human rights violations, and although this Parliament has adopted motions for resolutions condemning those violations, the truth is that Russia is a very important partner for the EU, whose accession the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will contribute significantly to improving institutional and trade relations therewith. Inese Vaidere’s proposal for a recommendation concerns the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the agreement in the form of an exchange of letters between the EU and the Russian Government relating to the introduction or increase of export duties on raw materials to which Russia committed during its WTO-accession negotiations. In view of the recommendation of the Committee on International Trade, and since it is crucial that this agreement be concluded before Russia ratifies the WTO accession agreement, I voted for this recommendation because I believe that, although it is a temporary agreement, it will improve and stabilise EU-Russia trade relations.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) In view of Russia’s domestic struggle and the need for convergence between the interests of the country’s various economic interest groups, its government is seeking to postpone the future impact of the ‘obligatory’ liberalisation of important sectors of the economy as part of the process of its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This agreement enables Russia to maintain, by means that are not entirely clear, its sovereignty over setting the export duties currently applied to raw materials.

The report states that this agreement is not enough and needs to go further; the intention is clear. Russia has more than 10% of global production of these raw materials, or more than 10% of global exports. The EU has major import interests, either existing or potential. A binding agreement or the guarantee of a faster liberalisation process could be more beneficial to the EU’s big companies, whose costs for importing products that are often crucial to the industry of many EU countries would thereby be reduced. We advocate the inalienable right of Russia or any other country to exercise sovereignty over their resources, in particular natural resources, and to levy whatever export duties it considers in the country’s best interests, regardless of WTO rules.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) In the context of its accession to the WTO, the Russian Federation has committed to gradually reduce or eliminate its existing export duties on a list of raw materials. These commitments regarding export duty rates have been included in Russia’s Schedule of Concessions and Commitments on Goods. The urgency and importance of a legally binding agreement on raw materials is strongly supported by the recent ban on import of livestock from all the EU Member States imposed by Russia, following the spread of the Schmallenberg and Bluetongue viruses, despite the fact that such a ban is a clear breach of the rules of the World Trade Organisation. This ban signals that not much has changed in Russia’s approach, even after its accession to the WTO. Without a strong, legally binding bilateral agreement on raw materials, the EU will have no certainty that similar protectionist measures will not be employed in the future. The EU is Russia’s biggest trading partner and investor. An appropriately serious commitment to the implementation, without delay, of the reforms required by the accession to the WTO, reciprocity and a commitment in negotiations towards a mutually beneficial new agreement are therefore expected, particularly in the fields of energy, trade and investment. I am of the opinion that Parliament should give its consent to the conclusion of the Agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on the conclusion of the agreement because under this bilateral agreement, the Russian Government commits to ‘make its best efforts not to introduce or increase export duties for the raw materials listed’ in the agreement. If it wishes to apply export duties on these products, Russia will have to consult the European Commission at least two months in advance with a view to arriving at a solution taking into account the interests of both sides. The EU is Russia’s biggest trading partner and investor. An appropriately serious commitment to urgent reforms required by accession to the WTO, and reciprocity and commitment in negotiations towards a mutually beneficial new agreement are therefore expected, particularly in the fields of energy, trade and investment. This agreement should therefore be seen as a temporary solution to be replaced by an adequately strong treaty on trade in raw materials between the EU and the Russian Federation, possibly as part of the new agreement, which is currently under negotiation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) Within the framework of its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Russia has committed to gradually reduce or eliminate the export duties that it currently applies to certain raw materials, as listed in the schedule to its protocol of accession. However, certain raw materials fall outside the scope of these commitments. That is why Ms Vaidere’s report provides an additional list of raw materials that will now become an integral part of the commitments between the EU and Russia. I voted in favour of this report adopted in plenary in July 2012.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE), in writing. (DE) With this agreement, Russia has made a commitment not to levy any new or additional export duties on raw materials. This commitment applies to a number of raw materials, which are listed in the agreement. This will clearly be beneficial for European small and medium-sized enterprises. Greater attention must be paid to any subsequent agreement, however. I am in favour of this agreement and have therefore voted accordingly.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. – (RO) Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation provides numerous benefits for the European Union, especially with regard to the import of raw materials to Member States. However, the issue of export duties applied by Russia is an obstacle preventing optimum relations being established in terms of economic cooperation. If Russia were to give certain assurances about removing import duties on the widest range possible of raw materials from the largest number possible of sectors of activity, it would strengthen economic relations between both sides, and the EU would reinforce its role as the main investor in this country’s market. This is why I think that the emphasis needs to be placed on observing the principle of reciprocity in trade relations between the EU and Russia through regulation and implementing specific measures benefiting both sides, especially in vital sectors of activity such as energy or mineral resources.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I welcome this proposal.

The urgency and importance of a legally binding agreement on raw materials is strongly supported by the recent ban on imports of livestock from all the EU Member States imposed by Russia, following the spread of Schmallenberg and Bluetongue viruses, despite the fact that such a ban is in a clear breach of the rules of the World Trade Organisation.

The European Commission has already demanded immediate lifting of the restrictions by Russia, but finds itself rather limited in its capacity to protect EU consumers’ and producers’ interests and respect for the WTO regulations. This ban signals that not much has changed in Russia’s approach, regardless of its accession to the WTO. Without a strong, legally binding bilateral agreement on raw materials, the EU will have no insurance against similar protectionist measures in the future.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − In the context of the process of its accession to the WTO, the Russian Federation has agreed to reduce its currently applied export duty rates on raw materials, including wood products. There is no achievement from Mrs. Vaidere. Empty speech, many epithets, lack of sense. I abstained.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this agreement following Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Russia has committed to gradually reduce or remove the export duties that it currently applies to a list of raw materials. Raw materials not included on this list could still be subject to new restrictions. This report therefore provides an additional list, encouraging the introduction of fairer trading conditions between the EU and Russia with regard to the supply of raw materials.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Kristiina Ojuland (ALDE), in writing. I voted in favour of the report that covers raw materials, which are not listed in the Schedule of Concessions and Commitments on Goods in connection with Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that this agreement is only intended to serve as a temporary measure before the conclusion of the new EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. The future agreement should include an extensive and watertight chapter on trade in raw materials. Explicit treaties, just like strong fences, make good neighbours.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome the conclusion of this agreement on the export duties for raw materials introduced or increased by the Russian Federation. Attention should be drawn to the fact that the agreement provides a comprehensive list of raw materials for which the EU has a major import interest. It is therefore very important for Russia, the EU’s biggest trading partner and investor, not to introduce or increase export duties for these raw materials for which there is a risk of tension in global supplies. However, given some of the agreement’s shortcomings, I believe that it should only be seen and applied as a temporary solution to be replaced as soon as possible by a strong, comprehensive and clear treaty on trade in raw materials between the EU and the Russia.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Russian Federation relating to the introduction or increase of export duties on raw materials, because it is a measure considered beneficial to the EU economy.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) In the context of its accession to the World Trade Organisation, the Russian Federation has agreed to reduce its existing export duties on raw materials, including wood products. For certain types of wood, namely some coniferous wood species, Russia has introduced tariff-rate quotas. A specific quota share has been allocated to exports to the EU. In order to avoid further consecutive increases of wood export duties applied by Russia and in order to be able to manage provisions on the application of tariff-rate quotas, I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) This bilateral agreement with the Russian Federation was negotiated within the framework of its process of accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). In this context, the Russian Federation has committed to reduce gradually or eliminate its existing export duties. Under the bilateral agreement, the Russian Government commits to make its best efforts not to introduce or increase export duties for the raw materials listed in the agreement, since they are commodities in which the EU has major import interest, either existing or potential, and over which there is a risk of tension in global supplies. Therefore, if it wishes to apply export duties to these products, Russia is obliged to consult the Commission at least two months in advance, with a view to reaching a solution that takes into account the interests of both sides. We therefore expect an appropriately serious commitment to the reforms required by accession to the WTO, without delay, to reciprocity and to negotiations towards a mutually beneficial new agreement, particularly as regards energy, trade and investment.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. This bilateral agreement with the Russian Federation was negotiated in the framework of the process of the Federation’s accession to the World Trade Organization. It was submitted to Parliament for consent, which is a prerequisite for the official conclusion of the agreement by the Council.

In the context of its accession to the WTO, the Russian Federation has committed to reducing gradually or eliminating its existing export duties on a list of raw materials. These commitments regarding export duty rates have been included in Russia’s Schedule of Concessions and Commitments on Goods. However, the Russian understanding is that the list in the schedule does not preclude any new or additional export duties on any raw materials not included therein. It is in order to prevent such new export duty restrictions that the EU negotiated this agreement with Russia.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. I voted in favour because this bilateral agreement with the Russian Federation was negotiated in the framework of its accession process to the World Trade Organization. It is important that the European Parliament has been seized for consent, which is a prerequisite for the Council to officially conclude the agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing.(IT) Raw materials are one of the most sensitive issues. It is a good thing for the EU to negotiate with Russia, one of the largest holders of natural raw materials, in order to guarantee vital procurement for our industry. Similar agreements should also be concluded with countries such as China. I voted in favour of Ms Vaidere’s report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) In the context of its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Russian Federation has committed to gradually reduce or eliminate its existing export duties on a list of raw materials. These commitments regarding export duty rates have been included in Russia’s Schedule of Concessions and Commitments on Goods. Numerous products are not listed in Russia’s Schedule of Concessions and Commitments on Goods. The list contained in this agreement is thus considerably long, covering very important raw materials. Those are raw materials, which are not listed in Russia’s WTO Schedule on Goods, for which Russia has more than 10% of global production or more than 10% of global exports, for which the EU has major import interest. With these comments on the matter, I voted in favour of the agreement for the introduction or increase of export duties on raw materials.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing.(FR) My vote on Ms Vaidere’s text was a ‘yes … but’. This was because EU firms should have more favourable arrangements under this agreement. It is one of three trade agreements that do not prejudice the EU’s new commitments and which should even improve conditions for producers who rely on raw materials coming from Russia. During its negotiations for accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Russia agreed to restrictive export duties for 80% of the raw materials that it exports. According to the agreement, Russia shall consult the European Union at least two months in advance and negotiate with it before increasing its export duties on many products. The agreement provides the best temporary solution for imports of raw materials that EU manufacturers need the most. However, I deeply regret that the commitments made by Russia in this agreement do not go far enough. It should therefore be replaced in the short term by a binding treaty on trade in raw materials.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) This bilateral agreement with the Russian Federation was negotiated as part of is process of accession to the World Trade Organisation, in the context of which the Russian Federation has committed to reduce gradually or eliminate the export duties it currently applies. This commitment regarding export duty rates have been included in Russia’s schedule of concessions and commitments on goods. Numerous products are not listed in this schedule and this agreement includes a fairly long list, covering very important raw materials that are not listed in the aforementioned schedule, but for which Russia has more than 10% of global production or more than 10% of global exports. These are raw materials for which the EU has major import interest and for which there is a risk of tension in global supplies. They include, inter alia, agricultural products and seeds, numerous chemical, ferrous and energy products, minerals, cotton derivatives, and animal products. They are raw materials in relation to which the Russian Government commits to make its best efforts not to introduce or increase export duties. I voted for this agreement for these reasons.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the resolution on the decision on the conclusion of the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the EU and the Russian Federation relating to the introduction or increase of export duties on raw materials. The bilateral agreement with the Russian Federation was negotiated as part of the process of its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and can be officially concluded after Parliament has given its approval. As part of its accession to the WTO, the Russian Federation has committed to gradually reduce or eliminate its export duties on a list of raw materials. These commitments regarding export duty rates have been included in the Russian Federation’s Schedule of Concessions and Commitments on Goods. Numerous products and raw materials for which the Russian Federation has more than 10% of global production or more than 10% of global exports are not included in this schedule. Under the bilateral agreement, the Russian Federation commits to make its best efforts not to introduce or increase export duties for the raw materials listed in the agreement. If it intends to apply export duties on these products, the Russia Federation will consult the Commission at least two months in advance ‘with a view to arriving at a solution taking into account the interests of both sides’.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Inese Vaidere (PPE), in writing. (LV) The main benefit is Russia’s pledge that export duties shall not be established or increased for these raw materials. In the event that Russia would like to do so, it must consult the Commission at least two months in advance.

At the same time, the EP report contains also some criticism of the agreement. Firstly, Russia only commits to ‘make its best efforts’ and to ‘consult’ the Commission. Such wording is not binding enough. Secondly, no bilateral dispute-settlement mechanism is foreseen in the agreement. Therefore, the agreement should be seen as a temporary solution. A more legally binding agreement must be concluded; it must be included in the new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Russia and the EU.

Although the agreement does not fully eliminate the possibility of unpredictable behaviour from Russian partners, it is an important guarantee that economic relationships with Russia will become more stable and predictable.

As the EP rapporteur, I urged my colleagues to support the agreement and myself voted in its favour. I believe it is a positive temporary solution until a more legally binding agreement is concluded.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. In the context of its accession to the World Trade Organization, the Russian Federation has pledged to reduce or phase out its current export duties for a list of raw materials. However, the list does not prevent the establishment of export duties on new or additional materials not included on it. Among such materials are agricultural products and seeds, tobacco, chemicals, ferrous metals and energy minerals, etcetera – all materials very important for EU. The EU has negotiated this agreement with Russia to avoid the establishment of new restrictions on export duties. Under the bilateral agreement the Russian Government is committed to doing everything possible not to introduce or increase export duties for raw materials listed in the agreement; in this way, if Russia wants to apply export duties on such products, it will consult the Commission.

 
  
  

Recommendation: David Martin (A7-0204/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting against this draft agreement, above all for reasons linked inter alia to the definition of ‘commercial-scale’, to the use of criminal penalties under the terms suggested by the agreement, to the excessive policing of the Internet, to potential breaches of privacy and to civil liberties. However, I believe that other measures protecting intellectual property will have to be adopted.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Eric Andrieu (S&D), in writing.(FR) We Socialists have always denounced the lack of transparency in the negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and our fight to refuse this agreement has steadily been gaining ground in Parliament, where five parliamentary committees have rejected it. There was therefore only one responsible answer that we could give to citizens regarding the ACTA: for Parliament to reject it in plenary. Despite the numerous delaying tactics by the right, and the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) in particular, that is exactly what we have done here today and I am delighted. Parliament therefore remains at the forefront of protecting the most stringent European standards on fundamental rights. I wish, in this respect, to acknowledge the work of my predecessor, Kader Arif. The ACTA was the worst possible response to what is a real problem: an agreement that has no effect in beating the scourge of counterfeiting, but, what is more, a potentially dangerous agreement for the fundamental freedoms of European citizens with its massive legal uncertainties. In addition, many other concerns were raised about neutrality, about open access to the Internet, about access to generic drugs or about the protection of geographical indications. Clearly, it did not come up to scratch.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. I supported the proposal to postpone the vote until the Court of Justice of the European Union gives its legal assessment, requested by the Commission. I regret that majority of the EP rejected ACTA. Rejecting ACTA without trying to address concrete concerns, after years of negotiations, does nothing to handle serious threats to European jobs and enterprises ACTA intended to solve. Large-scale infringements of intellectual property rights cost Europeans hundreds of thousands of jobs and many millions in lost revenues. Vote against ACTA also diminished possibilities to fight counterfeit medicines which pose serious threats to the health of European patients. European Union does not have many natural resources which could bring substantial revenues. Our main resource is our people and intellectual products created by them, which must be protected. With regard to our citizens, ACTA was an instrument to protect their intellectual property rights and I regret that the European Parliament rejected it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. I am against this agreement and therefore I support this resolution. I believe the main problem of this text is its vagueness and the uncertainty over its interpretation. As a Member of the European Parliament I have the duty to guarantee adequate protection for citizens’ rights. I totally agree on the need for an international agreement to step up the fight against counterfeit products. The debate is whether ACTA is the right vehicle to do that. And my answer is not. I also would like to stress that the presumed primary beneficiaries of the agreement, the artistic communities and software creators, seem particularly divided on the potential benefits of the agreement. In addition we must condemn the total lack of transparency throughout the negotiations on ACTA. The Commission could have done a lot more to keep Parliament informed about ongoing negotiations and this mistake is for us unacceptable.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) I decided to abstain from the vote on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) for two reasons. Firstly, as proceedings are still pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union, I think I should wait for its conclusion before I make my mind up. This is not just common sense; it is also out of respect for the rule of law and for effective collaboration between institutions. Secondly, while ACTA does not provide a perfect solution to counterfeiting, it is still a constructive proposal that aims to protect innovation, jobs and our businesses. By defending intellectual property rights, ACTA is also protecting us. I should remind you that counterfeiting destroys 30 to 40 000 jobs each year in France and close to 100 000 in Europe. That is why, in the absence of any certainty as to the compatibility or incompatibility of the agreement with Community law, and with the current crisis, I felt that I could not make an informed decision without full knowledge of the facts and that is why I chose to abstain.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Erik Bánki (PPE), in writing. (HU) There have been heated debates recently about certain new provisions of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement regarding online piracy. This is because many believe that these rules violate the freedom of speech and expression, and the freedom of information. The Hungarian delegation to the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) believes that a satisfactory and reassuring answer must be given to these concerns of citizens and civil organisations, and we therefore supported the European Commission’s decision to have the Court of Justice of the European Union issue an independent legal opinion on the compatibility of this international agreement with EU law and on the matter of the violation of liberties. In line with this, the group of Hungarian Members within the PPE Group supported that the European Parliament postpone its decision until said opinion is issued. The Hungarian delegation to the PPE Group believes that we should pay attention to the complaints expressed by numerous citizens and civil organisations in connection with the agreement. Since these could not be settled, the delegation made the responsible choice in light of these concerns and legal uncertainty, and voted against the conclusion of the agreement. The Hungarian delegation to the PPE Group is of the opinion that to treat the fight against piracy and the fight against counterfeiting together was a flawed concept from the beginning. Our delegation continues to urge action against counterfeiting. Due to the influx of counterfeit foreign goods, tens of thousands of jobs are in jeopardy, and counterfeit drugs are endangering the health of citizens.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a new international agreement aimed at establishing a general international framework to combat counterfeiting and piracy. The problems which ACTA seeks to address are real and growing: cases relating to intellectual property rights have been costing European companies EUR 250 billion and destroying 185 000 jobs, every year. Nevertheless, the text of ACTA has unwanted consequences and the rapporteur concludes that the text is not sufficiently precise with regard to individual criminalisation, to the definition of ‘commercial-scale’, to the role of Internet service providers or to the possible interruption of the transit of generic medicines. Moreover, if ACTA aims to combat piracy and counterfeiting, its negotiations should and must include countries like India, China and Brazil, where the most serious breaches of intellectual property rights occur. This means the intended benefits of ACTA are clearly outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties. I voted for this report recommending the rejection of ACTA for the aforementioned reasons and because Parliament cannot ensure adequate protection for the rights of European citizens.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zoltán Bagó, Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz, Béla Glattfelder, András Gyürk and Csaba Őry (PPE), in writing. (HU) There have been heated debates recently about certain new provisions of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement regarding online piracy. This is because many believe that these rules violate the freedom of speech and expression, and the freedom of information. The Hungarian delegation to the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) believes that a satisfactory and reassuring answer must be given to these concerns of citizens and civil organisations, and we therefore supported the European Commission’s decision to have the Court of Justice of the European Union issue an independent legal opinion on the compatibility of this international agreement with EU law and on the matter of the violation of liberties. In line with this, the group of Hungarian Members within the PPE Group supported that the European Parliament postpone its decision until said opinion is issued. The Hungarian delegation to the PPE Group believes that we should pay attention to the complaints expressed by numerous citizens and civil organisations in connection with the agreement. Since these could not be settled, the delegation made the responsible choice in light of these concerns and legal uncertainty, and voted against the conclusion of the agreement. The Hungarian delegation to the PPE Group is of the opinion that to treat the fight against piracy and the fight against counterfeiting together was a flawed concept from the beginning. Our delegation continues to urge action against counterfeiting. Due to the influx of counterfeit foreign goods, tens of thousands of jobs are in jeopardy, and counterfeit drugs are endangering the health of citizens.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ivo Belet (PPE), in writing. – (NL) Counterfeit goods do terrible damage to our economy. The European economy suffers EUR 8 billion worth of damage from such goods every year. Sadly, it is a problem that is also growing exponentially. Online, on the Internet, too, we need to join battle to put a stop to piracy.

Unfortunately, there has been a great deal of concern and confusion about this. Many Internet users fear that their Internet access could be cut off if they download a film or an album in what has become known as the ‘informal economy’, yet that is absolutely not on the agenda. The perception is different, however. The fear is widespread, and we therefore need to provide an answer to it.

Today, I still do not understand why we are not awaiting the judgement of the highest court in Europe in order to obtain a definitive answer. This, I am sad to say, is a missed opportunity. We are throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The biggest victim of this situation is the creative sector itself. We are now just leaving it to its fate.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing.(FR) I welcome the rejection of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), an international agreement negotiated with a certain lack of transparency with such a vast scope and such uncertain legal consequences that it provoked an unprecedented reaction from citizens. There is no doubt that the engagement of millions of European citizens - more than 2.5 million signed the petition against ACTA – played an important part in the changing political debate on this issue and in its rejection by Parliament. This is a point scored for European democracy and we should applaud those citizens who rallied round: when they take hold of an issue, no matter how difficult, they are contributing to democratic debate and influencing the final result. ACTA was problematic both in form and in content. First of all, it was astonishing that an agreement of this kind on the fight against counterfeiting and intellectual property rights could be entered into without China. We should not forget the method used, namely negotiations conducted by the Commission, which largely overlooked the public debate. Finally, there are still many concerns about its content, notably respect for individual liberties: for instance, there was talk of forcing Internet service providers to disclose the identity of Internet users suspected of illegal downloading.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing.(IT) I voted against adoption of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) for several reasons: first of all, I do not believe it is an effective solution to the fight against counterfeiting because the signatory countries as a whole account for just 5% of global counterfeiting, while it will not cover emerging economic powers like Brazil, Russia, India and China, where there is very considerable counterfeiting; secondly, there is no reference to geographical indications and so the Italian and European quality agri-food sector will not be protected, thus providing no benefit for ‘Made in Italy’. These are the main considerations that led me not to support the ACTA Trade Agreement in plenary.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report aimed at rejecting the conclusion of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on behalf of the EU. The ACTA is an important trade agreement which addresses commercial-scale counterfeiting and online piracy by coordinating global enforcement of existing copyright violation laws. However, the ACTA text is insufficiently precise as regards the measures to be introduced against individuals, the definition of ‘commercial-scale’, the role of Internet service providers and the possible interruption of the transit of generic medicines. The benefits of this future international agreement are therefore far outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I decided to abstain from the vote on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) for two reasons. Firstly, as proceedings are still pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union, I think I should wait for its conclusion before I make my mind up. This is not just common sense; it is also out of respect for the rule of law and for effective collaboration between institutions. Secondly, while ACTA does not provide a perfect solution to counterfeiting, it is still a constructive proposal that aims to protect innovation, jobs and our businesses. By defending intellectual property rights, ACTA is also protecting them. I should remind you that counterfeiting destroys 30 to 40 000 jobs each year in France and close to 100 000 in Europe. That is why, in the absence of any certainty as to the compatibility or incompatibility of the agreement with Community law, and with the current crisis, I felt that I could not make an informed decision without full knowledge of the facts and that is why I chose to abstain.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Françoise Castex (S&D), in writing.(FR) I voted against this useless and dangerous text, whose only worth is that it has instigated pan-European debate and highlighted the democratic checks in place in Europe to tackle the relentless lobbying of some of the large multinationals. Today, not only have we voted against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), we have actually voted for European democracy. Showing little regard for the EU’s Treaties, citizens and democratic principles, the Commission has been negotiating the ACTA behind Parliament’s back since 2007. The exploitation of the Court of Justice of the European Union is just the latest blatant disregard for the democratic balance which we at the European Parliament uphold. The European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht, must now take responsibility, responsibility for his failings, his words and his method of working.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Emer Costello (S&D), in writing. I rejected ACTA because I believed that the advantages of the agreement were far outweighed by potential threats to civil and individual liberties that it contained. I had problems with ACTA in relation to both the substantive matter and procedural issues. ACTA deals with both physical goods, like Manchester United strips, and virtual goods, like digital music. I think that an instrument that deals with both physical goods and virtual goods is too broad to effectively tackle the issue of counterfeit. ACTA in its current format is like taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Procedurally, the European Commission dealt with ACTA badly. As a parliament, we could have raised these issues with the Commission had we been consulted. Unfortunately we weren’t given this chance. With regard to intellectual property rights, I have huge sympathy with the artists and their representative bodies, who are very concerned about online piracy. I believe that the European Commission should now seek to draw up legislation related to intellectual property because I believe that for Europe to remain competitive it has to protect its intellectual capital. But I think that ACTA was the wrong way to go about doing that.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zuzana Brzobohatá (S&D), in writing. (CS) An Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement should protect intellectual property, save jobs, encourage research and at the same time develop and strengthen European exports. I would like to point out that intellectual property rights protection and the fight against counterfeiting are of fundamental social importance, in my opinion, and it is therefore necessary to provide the appropriate legal measures. At the same time, however, I would like to say that I unequivocally reject a restriction on Internet freedom and free access to information, except for the transmission of child pornography, which must be severely punished. I take a critical view of the long regime of secrecy shrouding the actual process of creating the agreement, and of the open questions that remained unresolved at the time of voting. For example, there is the basic option of customs intervention in small quantities of goods of a non-commercial nature transported in passengers’ personal baggage. The relatively ambiguous text of the agreement is another critical point. The interventions in question might occur, of course, on the territory of other signatory states based on the agreement. I consider this to be in conflict with civil rights, according to which such interventions should be possible only on the basis of a court order. As a result of these factors, I did not support the agreement in the sitting.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I agree that we need a new international agreement to combat counterfeiting and piracy. Breaches of intellectual property rights are estimated to cost EUR 250 million and destroy 185 000 jobs per year in Europe alone. By trying to cover everything, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) confuses goods and products with the free movement of information on the Internet. According to the rapporteur, this has unwanted consequences as regards individual criminalisation, the definition of ‘commercial-scale’, the role of Internet service providers and the possible interruption of the transit of generic medicines. If ACTA aims to combat piracy and counterfeiting, its negotiations should and must include countries like India, China and Brazil, where the most serious breaches of intellectual property rights occur. This means the intended benefits of ACTA are clearly outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties. For these reasons, and because I am convinced that this is the best way to defend the rights of the European public, I am voting for the Martin report, which recommends rejecting ACTA.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michel Dantin (PPE), in writing.(FR) After an amazing campaign of misinformation, Parliament has rejected the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Just one article concerned Internet users. The prime purpose of the text was to protect us against counterfeiting, in particular intellectual property. By rejecting it, we have paved the way for the relocation of jobs outside Europe and for an upsurge in the black economy, child labour and other forms of exploitation. Congratulations to those responsible for this failure.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rachida Dati (PPE), in writing.(FR) This agreement reflects the need for greater protection of intellectual property rights on a global scale: it is an essential tool for innovation and growth in Europe. The fears expressed by many citizens have focused on the risks that this agreement poses to fundamental rights. To respond to these fears, it was important to ask the Court of Justice of the EU to rule on the compatibility of the agreement with the European Treaties, and in particular with the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Pending this decision, postponement of the vote would have been the right decision. As this postponement was rejected, I preferred to abstain from approving the agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) seeks to solve real problems that have been worsening in recent years: the international trade in pirated and counterfeit goods is estimated to be worth over EUR 250 billion. However, there have been some doubts about ACTA’s scope, in particular as regards offences in the digital environment and the role of Internet service providers in identifying these offences. The rapporteur highlights some of these doubts, adding that ACTA will have to include countries like India, China and Brazil, where the most serious breaches of intellectual property rights currently occur. I voted against ACTA and for the report. However, I think it is absolutely necessary immediately to launch a wide-raging debate about a new agreement, involving so-called ‘civil society’. This should use the ACTA text as its basis, but should obviously revise the part about protecting intellectual property rights in the digital environment, as the only way of protecting our most innovative industrial sector. Why not spilt ACTA into two and immediately start the legal process of debating and adopting the chapters other than the ‘digital environment’? We would save a lot in terms of time and efficiency.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Parliament rejected the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) proposal by a large majority. The Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe played a key role in this decisive vote, which should be the kiss of death for the ratification process. I welcome this logical result. How could we have been satisfied with an agreement that is supposed to combat counterfeiting but is not signed by the two biggest producers of counterfeit goods in the world, China and India? It is essential to protect intellectual property rights if we want to revitalise the creation, research and innovation of European companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. The Commission must adopt an offensive position and put in place, without delay, a mechanism for a new agreement within the framework of the World Trade Organisation in conjunction with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), including China and India. Indeed, there are signs that those countries want to be more involved in the fight against counterfeiting, for example, on 26 June the members of WIPO, including China, signed the Beijing Treaty. It is inconceivable that in the future this type of international agreement would not be negotiated in complete transparency by informing and consulting all stakeholders, starting with citizens and their representatives.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), signed by the Union with 10 of its partners, has for a number of months had considerable media and political coverage, given the issues involved in the fight against counterfeiting, but also the impact it could have on online practices. I therefore hope that the European Parliament can make its decision calmly and in full knowledge of the facts, once the Court of Justice of the European Union has given its legal opinion on the text. That is why I abstained in the vote, which should have been held after the Court had ruled.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe de Villiers (EFD), in writing. (FR) Our old francs used to display the following line: ‘Forgers will be punished by hard labour for life’.

Forged notes, like fake and pirated products, damage the entire economy.

The protection of intellectual property rights drives technical innovation and represents fair recompense for researchers and artistic creation. It is absolutely essential to defend intellectual property.

This anti-counterfeiting agreement negotiated by the European Commission is unsatisfactory in many respects. It deals largely with border controls, but the EU has done away with its internal controls and has not really strengthened its external controls.

Moreover, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) focuses on the spread of counterfeiting and clearly does not put enough emphasis on the counterfeiters themselves. In any event, it happens without them.

In short, ACTA’s legitimate objective is overshadowed by a poor method, a lack of clarity, overly diverse goals and, thus, uncertainty as to its effectiveness and consequences.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. − I voted in favour of Parliament’s recommendation to reject ACTA, because I believe it is not a suitable tool for the European Union in responding to the tasks for which it was called.

Despite the central need to protect our market and our customers from counterfeit goods from outside the Union accessing the market, the need to defend the Intellectual Property Rights regime, also in the digital environment, and the fundamental need for a global approach on this matter, ACTA unfortunately raised more perplexities than guarantees. The European Union will have to find better instruments to address the surely basic issues touched upon by the agreement.

Not only did the European Data Protection Supervisor publish a very negative opinion on the agreement but also, and more importantly, the opinions expressed by four parliamentary committees (ITRE, DEVE, LIBE, JURI), state their evident concerns about ACTA.

Finally, I strongly believe that the unprecedented public campaign against the agreement, which ended up in a petition containing more than 2.4 million signatures, cannot be left unheard by the democratically elected body of the European Union. The European Parliament represents the interests of the citizens of Europe.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The struggle against counterfeiting is a priority, and international cooperation is key to achieving that objective. However, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been eliciting significant doubts about potential breaches of fundamental rights and threats to civil liberties, which cannot and must not be discounted. As such, and since the Commission has submitted ACTA to the Court of Justice to assess the agreement’s compatibility with the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, I think it is appropriate that Parliament await the Court of Justice’s judgment before voting on whether to adopt or reject ACTA. I abstained from the vote on ACTA for that reason and out of respect for jurisdictional decisions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This recommendation by David Martin concerns the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) between the European Union and its Member States, Australia, Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Mexican States, the Kingdom of Morocco, New Zealand, the Republic of Singapore, the Swiss Confederation and the United States of America. Although preserving intellectual property rights – the basis of many Europeans’ livelihoods – is essential, and while combating piracy and counterfeit products originating mainly in emerging economies is a priority, this proposal should be criticised for breaching fundamental rights of access to the Internet. I believe the EU should have reviewed the Intellectual Property Rights Directive and adapted EU Internet law before negotiating this agreement. It is noteworthy that, while ACTA aims to combat piracy and counterfeiting, its negotiations have not included countries like India, China and Brazil, where the most serious breaches of intellectual property rights occur. I therefore voted against ACTA.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This brings to a close – for now – the rocky road followed by the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). This process has mobilised a considerable body of public opinion throughout Europe, and elsewhere, prompting public debate about ACTA and reporting some of its dangers and consequences. This mobilisation and these debates were all the more important, since the Commission has spent the entire process avoiding democratic debate and scrutiny, and conducting negotiations with great secrecy; that alone is reason enough for our mistrust of ACTA’s content. We believe counterfeiting needs to be combated, in particular the counterfeiting which has been going on in the EU of products such as Port wine – and other wines – or textile products, which hits Portugal so hard, and which is inextricably bound up with the policies of the EU itself in relation to, for example, farming and trade. However, we cannot support – and we stoutly condemn – an agreement establishing measures to monitor and spy on the public, ranging from monitoring of computer data through Internet service providers to checking personal baggage. This is an unacceptable breach of the public’s privacy, which violates the free movement of information and knowledge. Furthermore, this agreement could have implications for areas as varied as access to medicine and seeds.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) Negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement began in June 2008 and concluded in November 2010 after 11 rounds of negotiations. As with all international agreements, the European Commission, acting on a mandate from the Council, was the negotiator on behalf of the European Union. As the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is a ‘mixed agreement’ covering competences at both EU and Member State level, the Member States were represented at the negotiations by the rotating presidencies. The Agreement was concluded between the European Union, Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the US. The Agreement, as defined by the negotiators, is a trade agreement that addresses counterfeiting for commercial purposes and online piracy by coordinating the global enforcement of existing copyright violation laws. The problems that it seeks to address are real and growing. Counterfeiting and piracy have increased substantially, and continue to do so. The intended benefits of this international agreement are far outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties. Given the vagueness of certain aspects of the text and the uncertainty over its interpretation, the European Parliament cannot guarantee adequate protection for citizens’ rights in the future, after the Agreement enters force. This is one reason why it is not recommended that the European Parliament consents to its conclusion.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing. (FR) I have spoken in Parliament about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on several occasions, primarily to condemn the lack of transparency in the negotiations, and thus the Commission’s methods, which indeed it often uses when negotiating international agreements that are harmful for European nations. I will, of course, vote against this agreement, but it has not been the only attempt at European level to quash the freedom of the Internet, under the guise of respect for intellectual property rights or the fight against cybercrime. In the first case, we give in to certain industrial lobbies that are fond of their excessive profits, and in the second, we confuse real crimes (terrorism, human trafficking, paedophilia) with downloading some mp3 files. These persistent attacks on the Internet, the last place where we have freedom of expression and information on this continent, is not just suspect; it is symptomatic of the Soviet-style aspect of the Europe of Brussels, which seeks to control not only our food and our behaviour, but also our thoughts and our opinions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. I voted against consenting to the conclusion of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). I am committed to offering innovators and rights-holders appropriate protection – indeed, a resolution I voted for in November 2010 highlighted this very point – however, we must also have appropriate safeguards to guarantee citizens’ privacy and fundamental rights. In addition, the negotiations on ACTA were carried out without any real transparency, and repeated calls to involve MEPs and civil society organisations more closely were largely ignored. Furthermore, we should not require internet service providers to be the ‘sheriffs’ of the internet. This would be akin to asking Post Offices to monitor or filter letters on behalf of rights-holders.

Given the huge groundswell of opposition from citizens and civil society, I carefully considered how the ACTA agreement would impact on Malta’s citizens, consumers and SMEs before I voted. Unfortunately, as it stands, the agreement simply leaves too many gray areas open to interpretation. Given the ambiguity in the text, this is far from ‘smart’ regulation. It is not clear how the agreement would affect citizens in areas such as privacy and freedom of expression.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing. (FR) I voted resolutely against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) because the Agreement contained too many uncertainties and posed too many serious risks to the fundamental rights of Europeans. The benefit of ACTA, however, was that it tackled some real challenges: protecting intellectual property rights against counterfeiting and piracy, and setting out some real issues for enterprises, creation and intellectual property rights in Europe and in the world, which are essential. However, the negotiations on the agreement did not reconcile these requirements with the protection of citizens’ individual freedoms and fundamental rights. The outcome of the vote could not have been any different. It is an historic vote because it is the first time that the European Parliament has rejected an international trade agreement since the Treaty of Lisbon came into force.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Françoise Grossetête (PPE), in writing. (FR) I regret that today, without even waiting for the opinion of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Parliament refused to endorse an international instrument that aims to combat counterfeiting more effectively. This Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) does not seek to redefine the scope of protection of intellectual property rights, such as patents and trademarks, but to coordinate the mechanisms for protecting those rights to make the fight against counterfeiting more successful. I would point out that international trade in counterfeit goods totalled around USD 250 billion in 2009. The number of cases identified in Europe has increased by 920% in 10 years. That probably represents a loss of around 2.5 million jobs. As for pirating, in Europe there are 1.4 million SMEs (out of a total of 22 million) that work in the film, music and book industry. Contrary to popular belief, the idea was never to restrict citizens’ access to the Internet, and it certainly was not to put individuals under surveillance. The aim was to create a coherent global framework and to ensure that in our countries we have proper protection for intellectual property in order to preserve our businesses and our jobs.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I voted against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) because it became very clear during the discussions that the Agreement was incompatible with the values and rules of European law, which I defend as a Member of the European Parliament. As regards the form, it was impossible to support the outcome of extremely opaque negotiations when the rights of European citizens are at stake. As regards the substance, the Agreement is contrary to the Charter of Fundamental Rights because some of its articles pave the way for surveillance of Internet users, including innocent users, which would be an infringement of the law.

With numerous instances of vague wording, it did not offer the legal certainty required to prosecute cases of intellectual property rights violations. Although combating counterfeiting is a legitimate goal, we still need an instrument that is truly effective in that area; ACTA does not offer us that given the absence of important partners such as China and India. Above all, we must defend the fundamental freedom of our citizens to express themselves.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. (FR) Like 38 of my fellow MEPs, I chose to support the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the main goals of which – creating a framework for the fight against counterfeiting, safeguarding thousands of jobs and protecting our SMEs – were obscured due to the reinforcement of fears, fuelled by well-organised networks, regarding the threat of violation of our citizens’ fundamental freedoms. Although I understand those concerns, I regret that they were exploited politically. Parliament’s Legal Service confirmed on two occasions that the Agreement was compatible with the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, the Treaties and the Community acquis. The European Ombudsman stated that the negotiations had proceeded normally. The Commission had referred the matter to the EU Court of Justice to enable it to rule on the Agreement’s compatibility with the Treaties. That ruling has not yet been handed down, yet Parliament has buckled under the pressure of its detractors. This Agreement did not seek to criminalise Internet users or enforce surveillance by Internet access providers. It sought to protect jobs, 40 000 of which are lost each year, and protect SMEs, which are threatened by this unfair practice.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this agreement because unintended consequences of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) text are a serious concern. The benefits of this international agreement are far outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties. Given the vagueness of certain aspects of the text and the uncertainty over its interpretation, the European Parliament cannot guarantee adequate protection for citizens’ rights in the future under the ACTA. I do not therefore welcome the conclusion of the ACTA. It should be noted that not only the Committee on International Trade, but four other parliamentary committees, which prepared an opinion on this issue, refused to consent to this agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Cătălin Sorin Ivan (S&D), in writing. – (RO) The only acceptable way in which we can respond to citizens’ concerns is to reject the agreement. The agreement arouses numerous suspicions about the effects of implementing it, with the majority of them relating to the way in which ACTA could result in censorship of the Internet and the violation of the rights guaranteeing the confidentiality of personal data and freedom of expression. As long as there is even the slightest suspicion that ACTA could pave the way for the violation of citizens’ fundamental rights, the agreement must be stopped and reconsidered.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Peter Jahr (PPE), in writing. (DE) The debate concerning ACTA has dominated the media and Internet landscape throughout Europe for a long time. Rarely has a subject got the public as agitated as the current discussion on copyright has. The goal of our discussions in Parliament was to have a comprehensive, public and, above all, factual debate. In my view, this should also have included waiting for the assessment of the Court of Justice of the European Union before making a final decision. I therefore abstained in today’s vote. One thing should not be forgotten, however: counterfeiting results in considerable losses for European industry every year. I therefore support an agreement that aims to prevent these criminal activities. Therefore, we need to make another attempt at reaching an international agreement, but one which clearly must be compatible with European standards.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Danuta Jazłowiecka (PPE), in writing. (PL) There is no doubt that the ACTA agreement attempts to resolve real problems in the global economy. The scale of breaches of copyright is immense and no one can deny this. European companies are losing out on this too and, to be frank, no one is able to estimate the real costs. However, I voted against the ACTA, as this agreement is not a good solution for this problem. The potential threat to civil rights significantly exceeds the planned benefits accruing from its conclusion. No one knows how individual provisions would be interpreted and no one can guarantee that these would not impact on individual Internet users. This is a sufficiently important issue that the European Parliament should act to defend citizens’ rights and freedoms. This is something that we should bear in mind when voting on this agreement. If the European Commission and the governments of certain Member States believe that it is necessary to protect the interests of European businesses, then they should find a new instrument. First of all, however, they should make sure that in future negotiations there is real participation by the European Parliament as well as by public stakeholders. It should be remembered that the main source of failure in this agreement is the method in which it was prepared. If, right from the beginning, an attempt had been made to work out a compromise that took into account the interests of all parties, then today we would have had a global understanding to protect our economy and not a Europe-wide discussion about threats to civil liberties.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) The fight against counterfeiting is a priority. Europe’s economy and the health of its consumers is at stake. The Court of Justice of the European Union was asked to rule on the Agreement’s compatibility with citizens’ rights, so I believe that it was entirely senseless to reject it so hastily. That is why I voted for the report, first and foremost. Unfortunately, it was rejected by a large majority of 420 votes. Secondly, I chose to support the Agreement because, after a detailed analysis, I felt that it respected the fundamental rights of our fellow citizens. The vote provoked aggressive reactions towards MEPs who voted yes, including me. That aggressiveness, through intimidation and anonymity, is unacceptable. I would therefore ask my critics to examine the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement properly from the point of view of the protection of intellectual property but also the protection of individual freedoms. Finally, I would like to reiterate, on the one hand, that the very essence of democracy is freedom of thought and expression and to state, on the other, that votes are never imperative.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Krišjānis Kariņš (PPE), in writing. (LV) I voted to postpone this matter. As a majority in Parliament found it necessary to decide the matter immediately, I abstained in the vote on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, as I believe that, before taking the decision, it is necessary to review all legal aspects associated with the enforcement of this agreement with regard to freedom of speech. The European Union and Latvia wish to see intellectual-property rights protected in a way that ensures revenue and secure trade conditions for our entrepreneurs in other countries of the world. The legislation must be made such as to ensure both preservation of the freedom of speech and efficient protection of property rights. As there are those in society that have concerns that this agreement may restrict freedom of speech, its compliance with European Union law should be reviewed by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Martin Kastler (PPE), in writing. (DE) Along with a large majority in Parliament, I have voted against the ACTA. Today it is a case of ACTA ad acta. Tomorrow it will be a new start for increased market protection. In its current form, the ACTA was beset with too many errors and a lack of clarity. It confused people and resulted in a large amount of public pressure in the social networks and new media, the latter being something positive. I also still find it annoying that for years the ACTA was kept secret and was only made public at a late stage following intensive pressure from the European Parliament. We MEPs were expected to rubber stamp everything in a fast-track procedure. That is not acceptable. Many mistakes were made that we can only correct by making a completely new start. The clear ‘no’ to ACTA is, for me, an unqualified ‘yes’ to global protection against ‘commercial-scale counterfeiting and piracy’, which is actually the key concern of the agreement. Without effective, global coordination of copyright protection, Europe has a great deal to lose. Intellectual property is Europe’s most valuable raw material. Our decision today clears the way for the development of a new, better and transparent agreement under European leadership. This process can and must take place in dialogue with all ‘stakeholders’ – with the focus on people and ethics.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE), in writing. (DE) I voted in favour of postponing the vote on the ACTA and have thereby abstained. The Commission has asked the Court of Justice of the European Union for an opinion on the ACTA. I would have liked to have waited for this opinion, as it could have shed some light on a few things that were unclear. Many question remained unanswered to the end. However, decisions should only be made once all the facts are on the table. That was not the case with the ACTA, however. That is for the reason for my abstention.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jacek Olgierd Kurski (EFD), in writing. I am proud of the result of the vote of the European Parliament to reject ACTA. Coming from a country that has known only too well the brutal tyranny of state oppression, censorship and control I well appreciate the vital importance and beauty of free speech. The internet serves as a wonderful forum to promote free speech. By facilitating the exchange of opinions between citizens, the internet promotes debate and brings us closer to the ideal of a democratic society of citizens who feel their voice is heard. It is for this reason that dictatorial regimes around the world fear it so and try to limit its advance. Few other issues in recent years have provoked as much indignation among European citizens as this attempt to limit their hard-won right to speak freely. For the first time, Parliament has stood up and blocked an international agreement negotiated by the Commission and the Member States. I can think of no better or more appropriate role for Parliament than to act as an instrument of democratic control over a frequently faceless and distant executive. Long may Parliament continue to be responsive to European citizens and to defend their freedoms.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean Lambert (Verts/ALE), in writing. I supported the Rapporteur today in his proposal to reject ACTA. The Greens have been an integral part of the campaign to raise awareness of the problems we see within this Treaty, for individual rights and the protection of some of those most in need.

Concerns about the draconian and disproportionate penalties linked to copyright infringement in the proposed Treaty are well-known. I am deeply concerned that governments and the Commission have put themselves in the position where ACTA is the subject of an ECJ ruling concerning its compatibility with Fundamental Human Rights. I am also concerned at the potential problems arising for generic medicines – essential for improved healthcare for some of the world’s poorest people. I look forward to future Treaties being given the same rigorous scrutiny as ACTA has received.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Constance Le Grip (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which seeks to protect Europe’s internal market from counterfeit products. Although this text was not approved by Parliament, I defended the importance of such an international agreement for Europe in terms of safeguarding competitiveness, innovation and jobs. Counterfeiting today is responsible for the loss of EUR 6 billion for our businesses and 40 000 jobs, and it poses significant risks to the health and safety of our citizens. At this time of crisis, the Agreement offers real protection for our economy. I also regret that Parliament went ahead with its vote before hearing the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which was asked to rule on the Agreement’s compatibility with the Treaties and fundamental rights. That is why I had initially voted in favour of the report on the ACTA. The protection of our Community space is a major issue that we have to acknowledge.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Astrid Lulling (PPE), in writing. (FR) Before voting on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), Parliament should have waited for the opinion of the Court of Justice of the European Union, to which the Commission had referred the matter. Unfortunately, a large majority of MEPs did not support this reasonable proposal by my political group.

It was therefore with regret that I abstained during on the vote on this Agreement, which I support in principle. A binding agreement among 31 parties against the illegal production and distribution of physical or virtual products subject to copyright would undoubtedly be a vital legal instrument in ensuring better protection and promoting our innovative businesses in the area of intellectual property.

I acknowledge that some articles require more precise wording, for example, in the definition of an offence involving an act on a commercial scale or the definition of a wilful act.

The populist arguments about respect for privacy and disclosure of information, however, only confirm my belief that they are not based on a full understanding of the text of the Agreement.

In conclusion, this Parliament has again missed an opportunity to behave like an informed and reasonable legislator, giving in to a campaign of disinformation the like of which I have never witnessed in my political career.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Thomas Mann (PPE), in writing. (DE) Following many conversations with Internet users, artists, publishers and media representatives in recent weeks, I have just voted against the ratification of the current proposal for the ACTA Agreement. In my view, the following objections raised by citizens are justified: the potential intensive monitoring of users by Internet service providers, the powers of competent authorities in ratifying states being too far-reaching and the risk posed to healthcare provision, in particular in developing countries, by the restriction of trade in generic medicines. An examination of the ACTA Agreement by the Court of Justice of the European Union to check its compatibility with fundamental rights prior to the final vote in Parliament was, unfortunately, rejected. I am very definitely in favour of a detailed clarification by this Court. My vote against ACTA today is directed solely at the vagueness of numerous passages and the lack of sincerity, transparency and readiness to engage in dialogue of many of the people involved in the legislative process over recent months. I expressly support the core idea of ensuring the protection of copyright and the safeguarding of innovative, high quality products. However, when a large proportion of EU citizens are so strongly opposed to a law, politicians must meet these concerns with a high degree of openness and due diligence. I therefore welcome the majority decision of the European Parliament.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Bogdan Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz (PPE), in writing. (PL) Mr President, I voted against ACTA as I believe that the Agreement created an imbalance between the rights of creators and producers and the rights of Internet users. It is important that people who share files for private purposes or with their acquaintances do not feel threatened or have concerns about the consequences of such sharing. I also believe that, at the level of the European Parliament, we should react decisively against any attempts to pass measures of this kind.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I welcome the rejection of ACTA by the European Parliament. I hope the Commission will draw lessons from this rejection and seek to involve Parliament fully in the early stage of trade negotiations. Agreements struck behind close doors are always likely to be bad deals. Openness and transparency must be the Commission’s Leitmotif for future talks.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jiří Maštálka (GUE/NGL), in writing. (CS) I firmly believe that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) does not represent progress in the area of intellectual property rights (IPR), but, on the contrary, preserves the current dismal state of affairs. We need to realise that IPR protection must be viewed in future through a completely different lens, and that the protection of these rights must be balanced with the public interest in intellectual property being accessible to as many people as possible at a reasonable price. We cannot be satisfied only with protection and repression, without at the same time building a future system for distributing or sharing intellectual property that is acceptable, particularly financially, so that there is no brake on the development of society in all of the areas affected through an unreasonable and overly broad protection of IPR. In this context, the ACTA is a wholly deficient and one-sided product. The second reason for rejecting the ACTA is the possibility of it being misused for the development and clandestine preparation of environments for criminalising users, especially of the Internet. No form of protection of private rights should become a basis for interfering in a right that is far more important, such as the possibility of disseminating and obtaining information, including access to e-government, since we are already witnessing this form of repression in some EU states. Last but not least, we should not overlook the public opposition, since we must not ignore the opinion of EU citizens in approving legislation that may have long-term and entirely unforeseen effects.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Barbara Matera (PPE), in writing.(IT) I abstained from the vote on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). I abstained because the Court of Justice of the European Union, following the European Commission’s request for a ruling on the compatibility of the agreement with the EU Treaties and citizens’ fundamental rights, has still not given a ruling. It will be between 14 and 20 months before the Court gives its ruling. I feel it is important that a body like the Court of Justice of the European Union has its say on issues that involve workers’ rights and international trade. However, I agree that adopting this kind of agreement can be important for guaranteeing innovation, creativity and for protecting European workers. The sale of counterfeit drugs or fake fashion products is unacceptable as they create disadvantages and unfair competition for businesses in the sector as well as being hazardous to citizens’ safety, since they are often produced with materials and production techniques that do not comply with European safety standards.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) I welcome our citizens’ interest in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and I listened carefully to all of their concerns and worries, but as a Member of the European Parliament, I am obliged, first and foremost, to serve the general interest. The general interest means combating counterfeiting, which in France costs thousands of jobs, reduces the turnover of our businesses by several billion euros and deprives the state of millions of euros of tax revenue. Counterfeit goods also pose a real threat to the health of European consumers. In the current context of economic crisis, and in light of these arguments, the decision by some of my colleagues to reject ACTA so hastily, without waiting for the verdict of the Court of Justice of the European Union, is, in my view, completely unreasonable. I agree with the analysis of the legal opinions of Parliament’s Legal Service and firmly believe that we could implement ACTA while respecting the fundamental rights of our fellow citizens. That is why I voted in favour of this Agreement, as I did in my previous votes.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Iosif Matula (PPE), in writing. (RO) Providing better protection for the intellectual property rights belonging to European producers involved in global trade is of paramount importance. Eliminating counterfeiting in the commercial sector and online piracy will enable us to help boost economic activity. At the same time, it will reduce the risks to people’s health posed by the consumption of counterfeit medicines, for example.

However, the way in which the ACTA aims to protect copyright raises some doubts, especially as the negotiations on this agreement have been conducted in a far from transparent manner. The benefits which the text will produce appear to be far less than the potential dangers to civil liberties. The vagueness of certain aspects of the agreement and the uncertainty about its interpretation, which may lead to abuses committed by the authorities, must give us food for thought.

In these circumstances, as representatives of Europe’s citizens, we cannot guarantee suitable protection for fundamental rights based on ACTA, and many of the agreement’s terms need to be clarified. Consequently, the ACTA text can only receive Parliament’s vote when the grey areas on the agreement’s scope and the protection of personal freedoms are cleared up in order to avoid any undesirable interpretations.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Hans-Peter Mayer (PPE), in writing. (DE) ACTA is not an instrument aimed at abolishing freedom on the Internet or at criminalising Internet users. These and similar claims have been made in thousands of serial emails that I have received recently. It is instead a trade agreement that serves to protect intellectual property not only in the EU, but also in 10 other states, including the United States and Japan. I nevertheless voted against ACTA, because the copyright laws on which the agreement is based are outdated and do not take sufficient account of the development of the Internet. I am in favour of protecting intellectual property and of combating counterfeiting and piracy, as the European economy is based primarily on inventions, creativity, brand exclusivity and a technological edge and, therefore, on intellectual property. We should, however, hold a debate on the European intellectual property laws first in order to reform these. The broad discussions on ACTA have shown that this subject should be discussed in depth. I see an opportunity here to bring about a consensus through the provision of comprehensive information. If it can be made clear to people that jobs and the development of our economy are dependent on the protection of intellectual property, including and in particular on the Internet, then citizens will understand that this protection is necessary and needs to be exported to other states.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Gesine Meissner (ALDE), in writing. (DE) Since a postponement of the vote on the ACTA in order to be able to evaluate and take into account the pending ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union was not possible, I abstained from voting. With regard to tackling product piracy and strengthening copyright, ACTA is something that I could support. Nevertheless, the fears and concerns of a section of the population, which feels its freedoms will be restricted by ACTA, must be taken into account. For that reason, the decision of the Court of Justice would have been an important decision-making criterion for me.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE), in writing. – (SK) The protection of intellectual property is, in advanced democratic societies, one of the recognised rights of authors, and the state has an interest in protecting rights that lead to the development of science and art, as well as research and development. Unless the appropriate measures are adopted to protect intellectual property rights, Europe, and therefore its citizens, will lose more than EUR 8 billion per year. The European economy focusing on the creation of new, innovative solutions is suffering from an influx of counterfeit goods from abroad, where companies do not hesitate to copy European products and then send their poor substitutes onto the European market. The hysteria surrounding the ACTA that we have witnessed in recent months, however, was based on a large number of untruths and attempts to deliberately mislead citizens about the true content of the Agreement. In my opinion, the protection of intellectual property is the protection of the competitiveness of the European economy and, at the same time, the protection of the jobs of people working in research and innovation. Organised groups of a commercial nature profit from counterfeiting, and this Agreement is therefore directed against them. On the other hand, ordinary citizens suffer from the fact that the state budgets do not receive billions of euro in duties and taxes, which could for example be used in healthcare and education.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. The Anti-counterfeiting trade agreement (ACTA) is a multinational treaty aimed at establishing international standards for intellectual property rights enforcement. The agreement aims to establish an international legal framework for targeting counterfeit goods, generic medicines and copyright infringement on the internet. It was signed in Tokyo in January by the EU and its Member States. In May, the Commission referred ACTA to the Court of Justice of EU for a legal opinion. The controversies surrounding ACTA are well known as MEPs have faced an enormous amount of lobbying. From the outset our group has fully acknowledged the many serious concerns that EU citizens and civil society have expressed about rhe ACTA. However, due to the vagueness of the ACTA text I cannot support it. The are the following doubts on the text: the definition of "commercial-scale", the related use of criminal sanctions, the role of Internet Service Providers in 'policing' the internet, the potential infringement on civil liberties and online privacy, potential impact on the transit of generic medicines, the treatment of counterfeited goods and piracy in the same way (both need to be tackled, but with appreciation of the differences between the two copyright violations).

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Gay Mitchell, Mairead McGuinness, Jim Higgins and Sean Kelly (PPE), in writing. Fine Gael MEPs abstained on the vote of the ACTA agreement in view of the decision pending at the Court of Justice of the European Union assessing whether the ACTA is incompatible with the EU’s fundamental rights and freedoms. We prefer to give ourselves the opportunity to consider the outcome of the Court ruling before voting on the agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Protection of intellectual property is a justified concern, particularly as in this case it also concerns Europe’s competitiveness. With the ACTA, the participating nations and confederations of states want to establish international standards in the fight against product piracy and copyright infringements. However, there is a concern that this could also severely restrict the freedom of individuals on the Internet. As things stand, too many vague wordings are creating legal uncertainty for citizens. Internet service providers would de facto be obliged to monitor their customers’ data traffic and to notify any misdemeanours immediately. I voted against the ACTA agreement, as it is as yet unclear how privacy can be ensured. In addition, there is a danger of severe restrictions on the freedom of information on the Internet. Furthermore, it is unacceptable for a matter that will in reality affect each and every citizen to have been negotiated behind closed doors. The ACTA agreement has a lot of inbuilt pitfalls, as a result of the large number of vague provisions for example, which leave the agreement wide open to abuse.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vital Moreira (S&D), in writing. (PT) As the adjournment has been rejected, I voted in line with my belief in relation to the merits of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) – which gives an essential international dimension to protecting intellectual property rights – and to the groundlessness of objections to ACTA on the basis of civil liberties. First, intellectual property rights are themselves fundamental rights, protected by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Second, no matter how much freedom the Internet may give, that does not include freedom to commit piracy and to counterfeit goods. Third, ACTA does not affect the freedom of Internet users, but only the freedom to provide commercial-scale pirated content or counterfeit goods. Finally, ACTA is not self-executing, does not confer rights or impose obligations on anyone, and does not criminalise anything: it can only be implemented with domestic legislation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing.(IT) The fight against commercial counterfeiting and computer piracy is certainly an important challenge, but we need to be very careful as to how this is implemented and interpreted. Firstly, I am perplexed that an agreement of this scope does not cover those countries where most infringements of rights and commercial safeguards are committed, namely China, India and Pakistan. Moreover, Russia and Brazil are also not included in this agreement, yet these are places which cannot really be overlooked in many ways. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has also raised serious doubts because it is potentially harmful to individual rights and freedoms, as well as curbing free access to the Internet. For all these reasons, I therefore voted in favour of the report, while rejecting the text of the agreement. However, I hope that negotiations can soon resume to find a more broadly supported solution to combat the scourge of counterfeiting, without repeating the errors and the shortcomings of ACTA.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted in favour of postponing the vote on the ACTA Agreement, thinking that it would have been useful to have a sensible, serious debate on this subject, as well as find out the view of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Given that the request to postpone the vote was rejected by plenary, I voted against the Agreement as a result of the particularly large number of views against it which I received during the last few months from citizens in Romania and other EU Member States. I do not believe that ACTA is a bad agreement. I do not believe either that it is a good agreement. However, I believe that we need to be concerned about the fears expressed by people about the possible violation of their rights and freedoms.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Niebler (PPE), in writing. (DE) I abstained in today’s vote on the ACTA agreement, because I believe that we should wait for the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union on ACTA. The intention is for the Court to carry out a definitive examination of whether the agreement changes existing European law. I have read the agreement myself and I believe that this is not the case. In 2010, the EU seized 103 million products at its external borders that were most probably counterfeit products. For the first time the estimated value of the equivalent genuine products was also quoted, this being more than EUR 1 billion. In view of these incredible figures, I believe that we urgently need to work even more intensively to combat product piracy in order to safeguard the competitiveness of our European industry. A global agreement on the protection of intellectual property is therefore essential.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sławomir Witold Nitras (PPE), in writing. (PL) The trade agreement aimed at combating the trade in counterfeit products aroused controversy right from the start. The final agreement contains many vague clauses, formulated in a very general manner, allowing for a broad interpretation. ACTA was created in a way that differed from standard democratic legislative procedure. The aim of the agreement was to bring about better enforcement of intellectual property rights at international level, but the agreement in the form proposed by the European Commission arouses serious concerns regarding respect for civil liberties. This agreement creates a threat to consumers’ privacy, weakens innovation and slows down the flow of information. I am not opposed to the concept of protection for intellectual property, but the system for protecting this property should take into account the interests of both creators and consumers in a more balanced way. In my opinion, ACTA is not an appropriate solution to the problem and for this reason I voted against the agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Wojciech Michał Olejniczak (S&D), in writing. (PL) The ACTA issue is one of the watershed moments in the history of the European Parliament. For the first time in history, young citizens understood just how important is the institution of the European Parliament. The spontaneous grass-roots protest movement against ACTA is a generational event that has breathed new life into democracy. Its participants understood that ACTA could only be blocked on the European level. They understood that the blocking of ACTA on the level of any of the Member States would not de facto stop the provisions of this agreement from coming into force. This decision could only be taken effectively on the level of the European Parliament.

Appropriate lessons should be learned from the ACTA issue. First of all, I fully agree with David Martin, the ACTA rapporteur, that ‘law negotiated and pushed through in secret is generally bad law’. For this reason future negotiations should be completely transparent. Secondly, copyright needs to be adapted to the age of the Internet. A law that a whole generation cannot understand will certainly fail sooner or later. It would be just as well for this to happen sooner and, when creating a new solution, attention should be given both to the creators and the consumers of culture. As a member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, I have been opposed to ACTA right from the start. In the light of the above I have also voted against the ratification of this agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Doris Pack (PPE), in writing. (DE) Like many of my fellow Members, I, too, was unable to vote in favour of the agreement, at least not at the present time. Unfortunately, the pragmatic course of action proposed by my group was not supported by the majority in the House and postponement of the plenary decision was rejected on feeble grounds. In my view, this is not an appropriate way to establish policies. The opportunity to create an agreement about which no doubts remain from a text with parts that are in need of clarification, and one that even I could have supported, has been blithely squandered. We should have let the Court of Justice of the European Union do its job and then – if necessary – pressed for legal clarifications. In this way, we would have been able to ensure legal certainty for all EU citizens. Thus, after many years of intensive efforts and negotiations, we are right back where we started. The arguments of most of the opponents of the agreement fluctuated between hysteria and – partly deliberate – disinformation of the general public. The scare stories often – and sometimes even when the person concerned knew better – referred to things that were never part of the agreement or that had long since been removed. We should have urgent need of such an agreement. Since the remaining points of criticism relating to the chapter on the Internet can no longer be cleared up, however, the only option left for me in the end was to abstain.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted against such an agreement because combating piracy and copyright and the document before us aimed at legalising total spying on citizens, trampling on personal rights and freedoms, are two different things and have nothing in common. With the entry into force of such an agreement there will be restrictions on Internet freedom and citizens’ personal rights, as well as interference in their private lives and I am convinced that there is a very real basis for such fears of theirs. Attention should be drawn to the fact that the lack of a judicial decision and legal guarantees that the ACTA does not infringe any treaties or fundamental human rights is another very serious argument for not voting in favour of such a treaty.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which was concluded to protect intellectual property from counterfeiters and illegal distribution because it may restrict Internet freedom. I also took this decision because of the thousands of emails I received urging me to vote against the ACTA. I feel that the decision on the ACTA is a political issue. I therefore agree with my colleagues in the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats who resisted the proposal from Members of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) to postpone the vote until receipt of the conclusions of Court of Justice of the European Union evaluating the consequences of the ACTA. I agree with rapporteur David Martin from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, who noted that certain provisions of the ACTA are at odds with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union because they do not fully guarantee rights to a private life and the protection of personal information. Although it is important to combat counterfeiting and piracy, Internet service providers should not play a policing role. We have to protect artists and their work but we cannot allow Internet freedom to be violated. Such opposition should not mark the end but mean the beginning of a general debate on how to defend intellectual property in the European Union.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) ‘Piracy’ and counterfeiting cause considerable financial loss and distress to creators and clearly need to be combatted at international level. At the same time, however, efforts to address this problem should not restrict fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression, the promotion and exchange of ideas and property rights, a position which I have repeatedly supported in the European Parliament. Bearing that in mind and the fact that the Court of Justice of the European Union has not yet considered and ruled on the compatibility of the agreement with the fundamental freedoms and rights enshrined in Union legislation and given that it was not feasible to adjourn the vote in plenary, I voted against the ACTA, so that it would come back with the necessary improvements and amendments, especially regarding protection of freedom of expression on the internet. I therefore await a ruling by the Court of Justice, once the agreement has been referred to it by the College of Commissioners, and look forward to further initiatives and proposals from the Commission to protect copyright and intellectual property.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Before the vote on this report, one of my colleagues suggested returning this document to the Commission because he thought it needed to be improved, but that idea was rejected. This document includes two issues that should be separated: the serious problem of counterfeiting and the issue of online piracy. Since the original document should have been structured differently, I voted in favour of returning it. I abstained on principle from the final vote on the serious problem of counterfeiting, which has been costing European companies EUR 250 billion and destroying 185 000 jobs, every year.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alojz Peterle (PPE), in writing. (SL) I voted against ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement), because it is too vague, because it allows widely different interpretations of the implications of its adoption and because it does not address the main sources of counterfeiting. We need to address the issue of protecting intellectual property, which is extremely important for the European Union, in a different way.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Cristian Dan Preda (PPE), in writing. (FR) I abstained from the vote on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement because I think that, first and foremost, we should have allowed the Court of Justice of the European Union to give its opinion on the legality of the Agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Franck Proust (PPE), in writing. (FR) I welcome our citizens’ interest in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and I listened carefully to all of their concerns and worries, but as a Member of the European Parliament, I am obliged, first and foremost, to serve the general interest. The general interest means combating counterfeiting, which in Europe costs more than 100 000 jobs every year, robs our businesses of EUR 230 billion and deprives the states of millions of euros of tax revenue.

Counterfeit goods also pose a real threat to the health of European consumers. In the current context of economic crisis, and in light of these arguments, the decision by some of my colleagues to reject ACTA so hastily, without waiting for the verdict of the Court of Justice of the European Union, is, in my view, completely unreasonable. I agree with the analysis of the legal opinions of Parliament’s Legal Service and firmly believe that we could implement ACTA while respecting the fundamental rights of our fellow citizens. That is why I voted in favour of this Agreement, as I did in my previous votes.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) addresses commercial-scale counterfeiting and online piracy by coordinating global enforcement of existing copyright violation laws. Counterfeiting and piracy have increased substantially and continue to do so. The consequences of the growth in these illegal activities range from economic losses to health and safety dangers. The European Union has much to lose without efficient and enforced global coordination in copyright protection. However, the intended benefits of this international agreement are far outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties. Given the vagueness of certain aspects of the text and the uncertainty over its interpretation, the European Parliament cannot guarantee adequate protection for citizens’ rights in the future under ACTA. Furthermore, if ACTA aims to combat piracy and counterfeiting, its negotiations should and must include countries like India, China and Brazil, where the most serious breaches of intellectual property rights occur. I therefore voted for this report, which recommends rejecting ACTA.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Herbert Reul (PPE), in writing. (DE) The German conservative group (CDU/CSU) believes that ACTA is, in principle, appropriate. However, the Commission has asked the Court of Justice of the European Union about this. Consequently, we need to wait for the Court’s response before we can make a final decision as to whether to vote for or against the agreement. We therefore voted in favour of postponing the vote on the agreement and we abstained in the vote on the report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing. (FR) In Europe, creation, research and innovation are being held back. A major factor in promoting growth is restoring confidence among all of the parties concerned and, in that respect, it is obviously vital to protect intellectual property rights. However, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (a trade agreement negotiated by the EU and its Member States, the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Switzerland to improve the implementation of anti-counterfeiting laws at global level) is not the solution. This Agreement was drawn up outside the multilateral bodies such as the WTO and the supposed counterfeiting countries are not party to it (85% of goods that infringe intellectual property rights come from China and it is not a signatory). Moreover, there are many ambiguities in the definitions in the text, which leads us to fear that respect for privacy and protection of personal data are not guaranteed, and that is unacceptable. These are the reasons why I refused to support the conclusion of this Agreement. I am pleased that, following Parliament’s rejection, neither the EU nor any of its Member States will be able to sign up to the Agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. Against. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has today been consigned to history. The Greens/EFA Group has been voicing its concerns about this agreement since the outset of the shadowy negotiations, along with an ever-growing number of citizens. We welcome the support of a decisive majority of MEPs for rejecting ACTA today: this is the just and democratic response to the mass mobilisation against the agreement by citizens across Europe.

In addition to concerns about data protection and internet freedom, there were equally legitimate concerns about the potentially far-reaching implications of ACTA for fundamental rights, freedom of establishment and access to vital medicines. We welcome the fact that we can now move on from this sorry chapter. This vote is a milestone for European democracy and for the political debate on intellectual property protection in the digital age.

The EU must now begin an honest debate on intellectual property rights. A good start would be to recognise that there can be no sweeping, once-size-fits-all approach to intellectual property enforcement. Instead, there is a need to assess the different challenges facing different economic sectors and different aspects of intellectual property, and to develop individual solutions for these sectors. At EU-level, one of the priorities to that end should be finally tackling the much-needed reform of EU copyright law.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) should have been an agreement capable of tackling counterfeiting and piracy without limiting citizens’ freedoms; it should not simply have prevented unfair competition for industry and protected intellectual property rights. Unfortunately, the text examined by the Commission and Parliament did not cover the issues most deeply felt in Italy, namely protection of the protected designation of origin and of geographical indications, or the main counterfeiting countries: China, Brazil and India. The text was so inconsistent that the competent committees, the Committee on International Trade and the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, rejected it, just as a favourable report was rejected in the Committee on Legal Affairs and an unfavourable report was approved in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. Clearly, in such a negative situation, this measure, which, to be valid, needs to be approved both by the EU Member States and by third countries, could not be adopted in plenary. I decided to abstain because, although I believe the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement protects our businesses and companies, I believe the text in question harms human freedoms and is not suitable for attacking counterfeit markets. This is partly because it does not cover categories of products such as agricultural products, which I think should be protected.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing. (FR) I decided to abstain from the vote on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) for two reasons. Firstly, as proceedings are still pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union, I think that I should wait for them to be concluded before I make a final decision. This is not just common sense, it is also out of respect for the rule of law and for effective collaboration between institutions.

Secondly, while ACTA does not provide a perfect solution to counterfeiting, it is still a constructive proposal, which aims to protect innovation, jobs and our businesses. By defending intellectual property rights, ACTA is also protecting them. I should remind you that counterfeiting destroys 30 to 40 000 jobs each year in France and almost 100 000 in Europe. That is why, in the absence of any certainty as to the compatibility or incompatibility of the Agreement with Community law, and given the current crisis, I felt that I could not make an informed decision without full knowledge of the facts and I chose to abstain.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing.(IT) I voted against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). One of those most responsible for this blow to the Union’s credibility is Commissioner De Gucht. I believe that, instead of insisting on this agreement, he should have resigned. On several occasions, Parliament asked to have the issue of geographical indications included in ACTA, but Commissioner De Gucht was not able to negotiate this with his counterparts. The doubts over the infringement of fundamental rights are too serious to approve such an agreement. The fight against counterfeiting deserves bespoke measures and above all the involvement of those countries, particularly Asian countries, which bear the most responsibility for this huge disaster for our businesses.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid (PPE), in writing. (FR) In 2005, global trade in counterfeit goods totalled USD 200 billion, not including digital products, according to OECD estimates. For the first time, on 1 October 2011, 22 Member States signed an Agreement with eight countries from the United States to Morocco, including Japan and South Korea, to put an end to trade in counterfeit goods, which threatens the economic viability of businesses and consumer safety.

We need to be aware of the historic importance of this Agreement. However, concerns were raised about respect for the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. It would have been sensible to wait for the opinion of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which is the most appropriate authority for dealing with this issue. It was with this in mind that I voted to postpone the vote. Unfortunately, the other political groups felt that the Court’s opinion was not needed to decide the fate of the text. In this context, I decided to base my vote on the positive opinions of Parliament’s Legal Service and to vote in favour of greater protection for intellectual property in global trade.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Daciana Octavia Sârbu (S&D), in writing. ACTA has rightly been the subject of a lengthy debate here in the European Parliament. It is our duty, as the single directly elected European institution, to ensure that fundamental rights such as the right to privacy and the right to freedom of expression are safeguarded.

In the course of our discussions we came to the conclusion that the concerns about ACTA, expressed in a series of protests and campaigns across the globe, were entirely justified. This is why my group voted to reject the agreement. We must find an alternative way to address the challenges of digital piracy and counterfeit products which does not infringe the fundamental rights of the individual and which follows an open, transparent public debate.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilja Savisaar-Toomast (ALDE), in writing. (ET) I voted against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) today, for several reasons. Firstly, no additional and serious efforts were made before the ACTA negotiations to thoroughly consult with all of the stakeholders and take their opinions into consideration. In addition, I cannot support administrative conduct that does not observe the European Union’s strict requirements regarding transparency and good governance. Secondly, it does not measure up to the principle of legal clarity, because it leaves great opportunities for interpretation, and as a result the terms and conditions of the agreement may differ greatly from one country to another. At the same time, some clauses of the agreement seek to regulate domestic matters to an excessive degree. Thirdly, in the area of Internet availability, this is a fundamental right, and Internet service providers should not have control over the Internet. Internet freedom must be guaranteed, and I certainly do not approve of any gathering and saving of customer data and activity habits by Internet service providers. While I am indeed against all manner of piracy and theft of intellectual property and recognise that there are now many problems in this area, this agreement is unfortunately not something that would improve the situation, but would indeed make it worse.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Birgit Schnieber-Jastram (PPE), in writing. (DE) In my opinion, the most sensible thing to do in order to resolve the problems with the ACTA in its current form, particularly from the point of view of development policy, would be to postpone the vote. As this was not supported by the majority, I decided to abstain from voting. This is intended, on the one hand, to make it clear that I support the legitimate goals of the agreement and, on the other, to take account of the concerns that exist, for example with regard to simplified seizure procedures for generic medicines at border controls, which have not been dispelled by the Commission’s informal promises. Involvement of the developing countries in the negotiation process would also have been desirable.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Bogusław Sonik (PPE), in writing. (PL) I voted against the ACTA because this agreement restricts the right to individual freedom. It is incompatible with the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Furthermore, ACTA is much too drastic a method for enforcing property rights, leaving aside the right to online freedom. In my opinion, piracy should not be supported but the way that the ACTA draft is written raises many concerns. There are many general provisions, little that is specific, an unclear message – this is what lawyers themselves say. This project is a form of silent control over Internet users, in effect a breach of the right to free speech. Blocking valuable and legal content on the Internet is no guarantee against piracy. The ACTA clauses can be interpreted in different ways and, for this reason, they have created a great deal of controversy. People are describing it as a kind of surveillance of the Internet and its users.

The virtual world has always been a location for free exchange of ideas and the ACTA wants to put limits on this right. The ACTA does not just mean controls over the Internet but also poses a threat to our economy by restricting the development of creativity not just online but also in science and technology. If the ACTA were adopted, we would have thousands of persons suspected of illegal online activity, many of whom would be innocent and unnecessarily investigated. Loss of the independence that the Internet provides would be harmful to the creativity of society. I would call for a balanced policy to safeguard copyright and to combat the trade in counterfeit goods, which also takes into account the right to civil liberties.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michèle Striffler (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) because I believed that it was foolish to vote before the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union on the ACTA’s respect for fundamental rights. The negotiations lacked transparency, some parts of the text are controversial and it is not sufficiently clear that the individual rights of Internet users are respected. Nevertheless, I support the fight against counterfeiting, which in France costs thousands of jobs and deprives the state of millions of euros of tax revenue. Counterfeit goods also pose a real threat to the health of European consumers. It is therefore essential to come up with a new legal framework and to negotiate it in complete transparency, with civil society in particular.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. (FR) At lunchtime today in Strasbourg, the Members of the European Parliament rejected the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) by a large majority of 478 votes to 39. The death of this anti-freedom and highly toxic Agreement is a victory of democracy over the lobbies, of truth over manipulation. It is the last nail in ACTA’s coffin: ‘Alea ACTA est!’ It made no sense to sign an international agreement on counterfeiting that did not include China or India: it would be like countries with no access to the sea signing a maritime agreement.

Finally, it was unacceptable to support a vague Agreement from which the authors deliberately excluded all democratic bodies and thus the citizens of Europe, too. From that point of view, this issue will have had the benefit of highlighting the European Parliament’s crucial role in defending citizens’ interests.

However, it is important to note that, although it gave the wrong answers, ACTA asked the right questions. On the one hand, we now need to work on reforming EU laws to combat this scourge of counterfeiting, which harms consumers, the economy and job creation. On the other hand, we need to update the legislation on intellectual property.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a new international agreement aimed at establishing a general international framework to combat counterfeiting and piracy. The problems that the ACTA seeks to tackle are real and growing, and have resulted in high costs for European companies and the destruction of many jobs in Europe. Nevertheless, the text of the agreement has unwanted consequences and the rapporteur concludes that the text is not sufficiently precise with regard to individual criminalisation, to the definition of ‘commercial-scale’, to the role of Internet service providers or to the possible interruption of the transit of generic medicines. Furthermore, if the ACTA aims to combat piracy and counterfeiting, its negotiations should include countries like India, China and Brazil, where the most serious breaches of intellectual property rights occur. This means the intended benefits of the ACTA are clearly outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties. I voted against the ACTA for the aforementioned reasons and because Parliament cannot ensure adequate protection for the rights of European citizens.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Britta Thomsen (S&D), in writing. (DA) We, the Danish Social Democrats in the European Parliament, chose to abstain with regard to the ACTA. We recognise the need to protect copyright and to combat piracy, but we could not support the ACTA in its current form. For one thing, there are a number of unclear and imprecise elements in the agreement, for example how enforcement will