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Procedure : 2012/0023(COD)
Document stages in plenary
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Texts tabled :

A7-0164/2012

Debates :

PV 10/09/2012 - 29
CRE 10/09/2012 - 29

Votes :

PV 11/09/2012 - 10.11
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2012)0314

Debates
Tuesday, 11 September 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition

11. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
  

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Claude Turmes (A7-0265/2012)

 
  
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  Andrea Zanoni (ALDE).(IT) Mr President, the current global economic and environmental crisis requires us to make choices to save resources.

With the Energy Efficiency Directive adopted today, we can achieve important goals, such as tackling the problem of climate change and the scarcity of fossil fuels, including coal and oil; cutting the annual cost of buying fuel, which amounts to EUR 400 billion, by making a potential saving of EUR 50 billion per year; reducing Europe’s dependency on Russia and OPEC countries, from which we import gas and oil; reducing air pollution, which, in some regions of Europe, currently poses an unfortunately unresolved threat to the health of millions of European citizens; creating new jobs and benefits for small and medium-sized enterprises, including installers and the building sector, which is currently going through a very serious crisis.

I therefore welcome the rules introduced for the renovation of public buildings and for four-yearly energy audits, which are compulsory for all large enterprises. This is one of the many steps Europe needs to take. However, we need to do more: we must set ourselves more ambitious targets and take measures that are more binding on all Member States.

 
  
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  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE).(IT) Mr President, I voted in favour of Mr Turmes’s report, which paves the way for adoption of a directive that will finally make it possible to overcome the differences between Member States with regard to energy efficiency.

Though it does not change the non-binding nature of the goal of energy efficiency set by the climate and energy package of 2008, the directive imposes on suppliers and distributors compulsory annual saving schemes in terms of final consumption.

According to the Commission’s figures, the measure will bring about a total saving of around EUR 20 billion in the costs of investment in energy generation and distribution. This is vitally important and will help reaffirm the Union as a global player, since the future geopolitical balance will be primarily decided by policies on the supply and use of energy resources.

 
  
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  Markus Pieper (PPE).(DE) Mr President, on behalf of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), I should like to make a comment on the voting procedure for the minutes. The proceedings have clearly given rise to some confusion as regards the German translation – the rapporteur has also become involved in this – which is contrary to the spirit of the negotiations. The text was negotiated in English. On behalf of the PPE Group, I should therefore like to make it clear that the terms ‘cost effective’ and ‘cost efficient’ are to be used in the sense of the German word ‘kosteneffizient’. The term used by the language service, ‘kostenwirksam’, does not correspond to the spirit of the negotiations, nor is it sufficiently clearly defined. We therefore expect that, as in the case of the Buildings Directive, the terms ‘cost effective’ and ‘cost efficient’ will be uniformly translated by ‘kosteneffizient’. Should this not be the case, we urgently call for this to be changed in the translation. I should like to refer to a letter to the Tabling Office signed by all German-speaking members of the PPE Group, the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament and also the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe – in other words, a clear majority of the German-speaking Members. They cannot all have misunderstood it.

 
  
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  Salvatore Iacolino (PPE).(IT) Mr President, I voted in favour of this dossier because I believe that the issue of energy efficiency, together with sustainability and competitiveness, can certainly be an essential instrument in a particularly difficult process, such as this one.

We need sustainable growth that has to involve small and medium-sized enterprises and that can be used as a virtuous cycle, including through innovative green technology. All this must be achieved through a culture of design that makes the best use of these resources, channelling them towards building refurbishment, which, in particular, requires the full and appropriate use of EU cohesion funds. One third of buildings in Europe were built after 1973, which is clearly significant.

It is possible to act within this context, including by means of better training and design that is consistent with the aims of the provision.

 
  
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  Francesco De Angelis (S&D).(IT) Mr President, energy efficiency is one of the pillars of EU climate policy. That is why today’s vote is particularly important. It is the result of a satisfactory and timely agreement in terms of the content, in that it obliges the Member States to prepare a strategy based on indicative national targets that take account of EU objectives and, at the same time, enables energy companies to comply with energy saving requirements in accordance with the principle of reasonable flexibility.

The goal of a 20% increase in energy efficiency by 2020 is therefore within reach. I believe that credit is due, above all, to this House, because if the most disruptive Member States within the Council have at last accepted this good compromise, that is due to the tenacity with which Parliament’s negotiators, starting with the rapporteur, safeguarded these goals. This is an important step for the creation of green jobs and, ultimately, to boost competitiveness and sustainability.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I, too, voted in favour of the motion, although I have certain qualms about doing so. In the end, however, I was won over by the conviction that, firstly, it is necessary, and secondly, that our resolution opens up the possibility of putting cost efficiency at the heart of things. It is not about saving energy at any cost, but rather it is, above all, about the whole thing adding up. If it adds up, if we create the necessary framework conditions with as little red tape as possible, then we will have the famous win-win situation in which the economy takes a leap forward and we create new job opportunities in what is known as the green economy. Let me repeat, however, that we need an alliance with the economy so that the whole thing is worthwhile and sensible.

 
  
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  Mario Pirillo (S&D).(IT) Mr President, an excellent compromise has been achieved which puts Europe on the right track to achieve the goals of the climate package.

One of the successes is having maintained the target of 3% in relation to the energy efficiency of public buildings, an ambitious target at a time of economic crisis, which has great environmental value and will act as a lever for the EU’s economic growth.

The directive lays the foundations for redesigning energy saving strategies, for which both private and public operators will need to call on experts in the sector, without whom the established goals will be difficult to achieve. That therefore paves the way for encouraging national training programmes for audit and energy saving experts.

 
  
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  Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE). (FI) Mr President, the Energy Efficiency Directive had good intentions, but the final outcome is unfair. Once again, the Member States are being treated on an unequal basis, as no attention is being paid to what has already been done. In practice, the countries that have already sorted out their problems properly are being penalised by ever more stringent targets, while the estimated targets are the same, whichever point you start from.

I represent here today the country that is footing the bill for this directive, Finland. Finland is facing a bill of hundreds of millions of euro a year, for both consumers and businesses. Since we are ahead in measures taken to ensure efficiency, continued attempts at efficiency will be even more expensive.

At the risk of sounding cynical, the decision that has now been taken will, in fact, encourage those who have sorted out their problems properly to end their current action to boost energy efficiency and to resume again at the start of 2014. This does not reflect the spirit of good legislation and, for that reason, my country’s parliament also proposed a notification regarding the directive.

For all these reasons, I found it impossible to support this proposal for a directive. I also hope that this House will consider at what point we actually have to resort to the undemocratic first reading agreement short cut procedure.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE). (LT) Mr President, in the European Union, we all recognise that efficient consumption of energy contributes to combating climate change and to environmental conservation. However, it is very important that this area brings undoubted benefits for the economy.

In order to make our buildings highly energy efficient, new jobs are created and commissions increase in the construction sector. Most importantly, the money saved due to the reduction in energy consumed can be transferred to other sectors.

The text of the document proposed by the Commission was rather ambitious – above all, in the sense of binding energy saving targets. I understand that the situation varies across the Member States and perhaps Member States need flexibility as proposed by the European Parliament. However, the so-called compromise that has now been reached with Member States to make these targets simply indicative shows that Member States lack political will or, for other reasons, do not want to adopt common agreements. This is particularly typical of the large European Union Member States.

Often, Member States need a push to achieve certain objectives – that is exactly how binding energy targets could have been set. Unfortunately, so far we are going round in circles.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report as the consumption of energy must be reduced. This has to be done to tackle the challenges and restrict dependency on fossil fuels.

My country has set itself the aim of cutting primary energy consumption by 19% by 2020. However, this is a highly ambitious target, while also being very difficult to achieve. The main thrust of action is aimed at making the system of producing and distributing energy more efficient, as well as informing the public. The Structural Funds have an important contribution to make in this regard, and monitoring progress ensures that the project is implemented correctly and consistently, and meets the specified indicators.

I think that priority access should continue to be given to renewable energy and investments in this area. Romania is increasingly encouraging this form of energy and intends to continue to promote renewable energy sources by using the green certificates.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, no business needs to be told to look for energy efficiency, nor does any householder need to be told to keep his bills down. There is a wonderful mechanism for driving energy efficiency already and it is called the market. What we are doing in this House when we talk about energy efficiency is precisely the opposite. We are intervening through subsidies and other market distortions, thereby creating not only a financial crisis but an energy crisis, because we are intervening in the natural flow of supply and demand.

Why are we doing it? Not in response to an identified crisis but in order to flaunt our virtue. The difficulty, as so often, is that MEPs cannot resist meddling, cannot resist scratching at something in order to show how very concerned they are. I have observed before that Shakespeare has something to say about every subject, including MEPs who cannot help legislating in energy policy: ‘What’s the matter, you dissentious rogues, that, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion, Make yourselves scabs?’.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Mr President, I welcome the fact that in looking at the whole debate on climate change and energy production, we are also looking at energy efficiency. Quite often, this is the forgotten element of this whole debate – this wider debate – on climate change and alternative sources of energy.

We do need to incentivise businesses, customers and others towards energy efficiency. That is absolutely right. But, as my colleague said previously, do we need to do this through taxpayer subsidy? Do we need to do it in this way or should we rely on the crucial elements of the market which will drive people naturally towards this? We should be encouraging insulation, smart metering and regeneration technologies but, at the same time, we should not meddle where it causes more problems.

The EU is telling the British Government that it has to increase its VAT on insulation products. So, while on the one hand we are discussing energy efficiency and claiming that we are promoting energy efficiency, by what we actually do through taxation policy we are reducing the incentives for energy efficiency.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, cooperation and coordination in energy efficiency policies could actually bring added value, provided they are not binding on the Member States. But this is an area where you could bring financial savings to the consumer by making things cheaper. I agree with Mr Hannan that the market is important.

There would be less environmental pollution, with the emission of certain toxic noxious gases, if the power stations could be more efficient. There could also be fewer greenhouse gas emissions, but I also think that there is a danger sometimes of being over-reactive, as with the abolition of the incandescent light bulb. The imposition of mandatory CFL light bulbs is something that irritated me no end. They cannot be dimmed, so you cannot make them more efficient. They give off UV light, which potentially causes cancer in people with certain conditions of the skin, and they release toxic mercury into the environment. This was like using a sledge-hammer to crack a nut, because you could have actually used the market – made them cheap and available – and people would therefore have switched to them on a voluntary basis. But to make it mandatory was something that made the EU very unpopular in my constituency of London.

 
  
  

Report: Hélène Flautre (A7-0266/2012)

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, on several occasions, Parliament has asked that the fight against international terrorism be conducted with full respect for human dignity and fundamental freedoms. The EU’s policies on security and the fight against terrorism are based on police cooperation and on effective intelligence.

That is why I think it is right to call on the Member States to investigate whether there are any secret detention centres or any human rights violations on their territory, provided that these investigations are based on sound legal grounds and not on media and public speculation.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). (FI) Mr President, apologies – I had mixed up two cards. More than a decade has passed since the terrorist attack on New York in 2001, which triggered the war against international terrorism. The CIA’s programme of secrecy has meant that more than 3 000 terror suspects have been abducted and, on the grounds of extraordinary rendition, flown to secret prisons, often to be tortured.

Unfortunately, however, we in Europe are just as guilty. It is a contradiction that, while the European Union heavily criticises the United States for its secret transportation of prisoners by air, for the prison camps at Guantánamo, and for the brutal interrogation practices employed with terror suspects, it has been unwilling to investigate its own role in this. This is by no means a trivial matter.

The report also calls on Finland to disclose all necessary information on all suspect planes associated with the CIA and its air transportation programme. I doubt if any very murky secrets about CIA flights would be found in the archives of the EU countries. I do, however, wonder greatly why Europe lacks the will to clean up its own back yard.

 
  
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  Norica Nicolai (ALDE).(RO) Mr President, I wanted to take the floor to explain why I voted for this report, because it is one of the few balanced, realistic reports on a subject which has been debated not only by politicians, but by civil society as well.

We carried out a parliamentary inquiry in my country, Romania, and, based on the evidence available at that time, we excluded the existence of detention centres, but we did not exclude that transfers went on. In this context, I welcome the option relating to the need to review the Chicago Convention on civil aviation and the Tokyo Convention on criminal offences committed on board aircraft. There are several obsolete international legal mechanisms which did not allow Member States to carry out effective inquiries and which will probably cast doubt on the replies received as part of the inquiries already completed.

Apart from this, there is still the need for a European counter-terrorism mechanism to be approved by all Member States.

 
  
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  Krisztina Morvai (NI).(HU) Mr President, I naturally voted in favour of the report, which essentially reveals that the United States is on the rampage against fundamental human rights under the pretext of the war on terror, with the involvement of several European countries. I have experience with the bizarre and terrifying results this can have, including in Hungary. I am referring to the case of Mr Budaházy, which I have often mentioned here in the past. Mr Budaházy is a well-known opposition leader in Hungary. His criminal trial has been going on for more than four years, with gross violations of fundamental procedural guarantees. He had been on remand for two and a half years, which the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg found to be unlawful, requiring the Hungarian State to pay compensation to Mr Budaházy.

Yet this member of the opposition is still being held under house arrest. And on what grounds? The threat of terrorism! We must obviously reject this completely and put an end to the rampage.

 
  
  

Report: Kyriacos Triantaphyllides (A7-0048/2012)

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, at a time when migration flows are most often mixed, including migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, a tangible commitment to ensuring that asylum policies are effective and efficient is essential.

The harmonisation of standards of protection, effective practical cooperation and increased solidarity, not only between EU Member States, but also between the EU and non-EU countries, are therefore key to creating an area of protection wherein the rights of asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection are duly respected and promoted. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in favour of the report by my colleague, whom I thank for the excellent quality of his work and for his valuable suggestions.

Despite the ongoing harmonisation of standards of protection and asylum, we still have a long way to go before creating that concept of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibilities enshrined in Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Indeed, the Dublin system places disproportionate expectations on those Member States constituting entry points into the EU.

I therefore agree with the priorities identified by the rapporteur on practical cooperation, technical assistance and financial solidarity. On this latter issue, I think it is absolutely necessary to make the best use of the complementarities between the different EU funds available, in order to translate solidarity into concrete action, including financial incentives for relocating beneficiaries of international protection.

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE). – Mr President, today, the Swedish delegation voted in favour of the report on intra-EU solidarity because we do support burden sharing and mutual assistance among all Member States.

However, the compromise reached is not balanced. First of all, our work on asylum has to be based on correct facts. Although the report is based on a notion that only countries on the external border are subject to extreme pressure and that they are the ones receiving the largest number of asylum seekers, this is not the reality. Asylum seekers enter Europe not only by sea, and second-line countries – where their final destination is – should also be taken into account.

I would just like to take an example. In Sweden, we are now receiving a thousand people from Syria every week and, of course, we feel enormous solidarity towards them. So external borders and absolute numbers cannot be the only criteria for receiving support and financial aid. It should also be clearly stated that relocation should be on a voluntary basis for the Member States who want to participate in the programmes and, of course, the people concerned should be asked for their views.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, it was reported over the summer that the United Kingdom was drawing up contingency plans to close its borders in the event of a refugee crisis caused by a sudden collapse of the single currency. Journalists are addicted to this story; they deal in drama, so they love the idea that the crisis has to be presented as a choice between some cataclysmic fall and a solution. But I suggest that there is a third option.

What if people simply carry on becoming gradually poorer? This is not some fanciful theory of mine, indeed it has already started. Our constituents are worse off than they were a year ago; they were worse off then than the year before. We could be in for years and years of progressive dilapidation. When you go to the southern countries in the eurozone, the signs are that much clearer. It need not be a catastrophe. It need not be the end of Atlantis. It could simply be the end of Atlas Shrugged: a shabby, miserable, demoralising slide into darkness. This is the way the West ends. Not with a bang, but with a whimper.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Mr President, one of the constant criticisms we have of EU policies is that, whatever the problem, the solution always tends to be more Europe. When we look at an issue, such as the highly emotive one of asylum, an issue where people facing persecution seek refuge in our lands, why are we playing politics and continuing this one-size-fits-all idea and playing with people’s lives?

We should look at and understand the individual policies of individual governments. Governments themselves and local communities have to consider the impact of new people coming into the country on existing community cohesion, including the impact on existing immigrant communities. So, when the UK Government, or any other elected government, says that it has a policy and that it has decided on what is a sustainable number of people to allow in, considering the impact on local communities, it should be allowed to continue that policy and should certainly not be told by the EU, or any other body, that it should allow more room. We should depend on the wise decisions of the national elected governments.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). – Mr President, I voted for this report in view of the important commitment made by the European Union in setting up a common asylum procedure and status for people who have been granted international protection. The establishment of a common European asylum system will increase the solidarity and also the accountability of Member States and non-EU countries in the harmonisation of protection standards.

We are committed to offering a safe environment to vulnerable people, but this cannot be achieved without practical cooperation and effective allocation of responsibilities between Member States, complemented by financial solidarity. I want to stress that solidarity and responsibility go hand in hand if we want to offer real protection, international protection, to those vulnerable people.

 
  
  

Report: Lara Comi (A7-0069/2012)

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the compromise reached between the Council and Parliament, after a year of tough negotiations, is a starting point to help boost the revival of the internal market. Indeed, the use of standards will help European businesses to obtain certificates of conformity and safety for their products and services more quickly and more cheaply than at present.

The simplifications envisaged will be particularly important for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), given that Member States will have to facilitate the participation of SMEs on standardisation committees and SME access to the standards.

 
  
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  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to congratulate Ms Comi for her work and for the excellent quality of her report.

Standardisation is one of the twelve levers to boost the internal market and will play a key role in helping to achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.

Indeed, the new regulation will enable European businesses to obtain certificates of conformity and safety for their products and services more quickly, using a technically updated, flexible and effective system. This will benefit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular, enabling them to reduce production costs and administrative burdens, and raising their profiles in the single European market.

That said, we will need to continue encouraging voluntary consultations between industry, public authorities and other stakeholders, so as to ensure that the development of standards and regulations is transparent and can be updated over time.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, this regulation is the result of the resolution adopted by Parliament two years ago on the future of European standardisation. It underscores the role of standards as the driving force of innovation, and also their role in ensuring that the single market provides a high level of consumer protection. An important feature is the inclusion of a number of significant amendments which make it possible to enhance the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in standardisation work. Furthermore, increasing the participation of national public authorities and societal stakeholders, including consumers’ organisations, will facilitate the standards development process and improve the clarity of standards. The inclusion of service standards in the legal framework of European standardisation will contribute to a significant improvement in the quality and security of this sector of the economy, and will also contribute to its harmonisation, transparency and competitiveness, with clear benefits for consumers. The report includes the proposals from the public consultation conducted by my committee, so I endorsed it with complete conviction.

 
  
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  Cristiana Muscardini (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, this satisfactory compromise leads to a technical upgrade of the European standardisation system, bringing in one that is more balanced, effective and relevant to the real needs of businesses.

Dealing with the slowness of the standard-setting process and the issue of under-representation of small and medium-sized enterprises is a worthy achievement. We should also highlight the creation of a notification system, by which businesses will be informed in advance of the Commission’s intention to introduce significant standards and the extension of the scope of the regulation to these standards, with regard to all those services that account for 70% of EU GDP.

We voted in favour because it is an important policy instrument that ensures the proper functioning of the internal market of products for the protection of consumers and the environment, for innovation and for social inclusion.

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE). – Mr President, today we have approved an important step towards the completion of the single market. This is the most effective way to promote growth in Europe at a time of economic crisis, so we should not underestimate the importance of this legislation. Although technical, it is crucial for our companies and consumers in their daily lives. In a rapidly changing world, standards must ensure interoperability and keep pace with technological developments. We also need to have effective tools to drive innovation and boost the competitiveness of European companies in global markets.

I therefore welcome the fact that standards will continue to be bottom-up, market driven and voluntary. We have adopted a framework that will help develop European standards. We have been pressing hard for better, more flexible regulation, and we are removing unnecessary administrative burdens and increasing transparency. I think it is important that this will really facilitate the participation of SMEs and ensure access to user-friendly standards for all. I hope we will continue to work together to implement all the aspects of the Single Market Act effectively.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report as reviewing the European standardisation system must resolve the current problems and consolidate EU policy in this area.

Standardisation has a strong impact on economic activity and influences growth and productivity. It is one of the measures proposed for revitalising the single market. This is why it is important to provide clear, easy-to-use standards so as to make it easier for all operators to participate. More attention needs to be paid to SMEs in particular, who should have greater involvement in this process. In this regard, I welcome the rapporteur’s proposals for improving SMEs’ participation in, and access to, the standardisation process.

Introducing standardisation in the services sector will also facilitate international trade, competitiveness and innovation. At the same time, I welcome the standards for services because they will reduce trade barriers and afford consumers greater protection.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, just before the vote, my friend and colleague, Chris Davies, said that I had to read Niall Ferguson’s book ‘Civilisations’. It is actually a book I had already read, and the thesis in it is not especially new. The idea that Europe flourished because it was a diverse, competing plurality of states rather than a single empire on the oriental model has been well-rehearsed by historians, by Alan Macfarlane, by Paul Kennedy, by Eric Jones, indeed by Adam Smith. It is a pretty old theory. Or, if you think I am being too Anglocentric about this, also by Montesquieu and Tocqueville, both of whom understood that the stasis inherent in uniformity, as it existed in the great ancient monarchies, is bad for growth and bad ultimately, therefore, for living standards.

Now I am sure you can tell where I am going with this argument. In trying to get on top of wars, the founders of the European Union also smothered the competition, the diversity, that had been the basis of the greatness of European civilisation. Our generation is living through a tragic reversal whereby just as China and India learned the virtues of the dispersal of power, Europe is going down this Ming, Mogul, and Ottoman road towards uniformity, taxation and decline. Our mistake and our tragedy.

 
  
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  President. – Thank you, Mr Hannan. Your disquisitions get ever more elaborate.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Mr President, it is important, when we look at the idea of standards, that we understand what we are trying to achieve. Of course it is often good for the consumer, and often good for industry, to be able to have the certainty to produce the standards that others can work towards. But with standards, there is also the other side of the issue: What does it do to innovation? How do we come up with those standards? We have to be wary of those who lobby loudest for their particular standards in order to stifle the competition and to crowd others out of the marketplace. We have to be careful of the rent-seeking behind this.

We also have to be careful that we are not so keen on our own standards that, when it comes to global agreements and trade practices, one man’s standard becomes another’s non-tariff barrier or technical barrier. Surely the best way for most of these products to be developed is to allow the market to provide the standards and then allow the best standards to win out. Then the bodies can agree after negotiation on the best standard, rather than imposing it too early and crowding out the players that you do not want to flourish.

 
  
  

Report: Sophie Auconie (A7-0199/2012)

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, food safety is, without doubt, one of the main concerns of European citizens.

In 1997, after the spread of mad cow disease, the EU had adopted strict rules on the identification and traceability of cattle. The text we are debating today would amend the legislation in force, even though it does present limits as regards provisions relating to voluntary labelling. It would make it possible to obtain more reliable data through a system of electronic identification of bovine animals and enhance its traceability system.

 
  
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  Cristiana Muscardini (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, removing voluntary beef labelling in Europe means arbitrarily choosing to go against safety and quality for our products.

In an effort to simplify, we must not cut down on useful information to the detriment not only of consumers who buy the meat, but also of those European farmers who use labelling to differentiate and market their products. For some time now, we have been arguing that origin must be marked in order to defend production and purchasing power.

We therefore oppose a proposal that would bring us back to the status quo prior to this labelling, which has made it possible today to achieve excellent results both in organisational terms for the entire value chain of the industry, and in terms of communication to the end consumer of the meat.

We want a safer Europe, more attentive to the needs of consumers, to quality, to food safety and to rural development.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, as you so aptly put it, this report concerns cows. ‘How can he get wisdom that holdeth the plough, and that glorieth in the goad, that driveth oxen, and is occupied in their labours, and whose talk is of bullocks? He giveth his mind to make furrows; and is diligent to give the kine fodder’. It is perhaps appropriate that I pause at this stage and thank the interpreters who have been very patient with my flights into Jacobean English over many years. What a tragedy that now, the descendent of that honest man giveth his mind to fill in forms and is diligent to meet the latest directives coming out of the common agricultural policy.

As the rural year comes to revolve around bureaucracy rather than the natural seasons, we have seen not just a rise in prices for consumers and a rise in taxes to sustain the system but also, bizarrely, a depreciation of output in the countryside. A system designed to help stimulate food production has ended up damaging both the farmer and the consumer. Here you have a microcosm. What is wrong with state control? The sooner we get out of the common agricultural policy and design a policy tailored to meet the needs of our countryside, the better for all concerned.

 
  
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  President. – Was that The Bible? The King James version?

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report because food safety is particularly important and the safety of consumers is crucial in this respect. The electronic identification of bovine animals is of vital importance and helps improve them.

I endorse the amendment to the current legislation to better reflect the most recent technological advances. At the same time, adapting the legislation will strengthen the traceability system, which will become faster and more accurate.

I also think that the labelling of beef should be simplified. This will remove the administrative burden and make the procedure easier. I also believe that electronic identification should not be imposed on livestock farmers, but should remain voluntary. Therefore, consumers will be protected and small farmers will avoid unfair formalities. The proposal will also boost the sector’s competitiveness and improve its commercial prospects.

 
  
  

Report: Linda McAvan (A7-0165/2012)

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, public health is an issue which affects every citizen of the Union, and is an area of work in which the European institutions should be involved. The worrying information which appears from time to time about problems connected with the operations of pharmaceutical firms makes it necessary to provide constant clarification of the principles of pharmacovigilance and of the rules governing the cooperation of all Member States on this matter, particularly because the review carried out by the Commission revealed significant flaws in the current legal system.

Public interest leads me to support the proposed amendments, in particular, the increase in the number of cases requiring the automatic procedure when a Member State considers suspending or withdrawing a pharmaceutical product from sale. Furthermore, provisions making the actions of drug producers more transparent and the longer list of medicines subject to additional post-authorisation monitoring are essential today. I hope that the new legislation will help improve the safety of patients, and this hope was expressed in the common position of all the parliamentary groups. I voted to adopt the report.

 
  
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  Paolo Bartolozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to express my appreciation for the adoption of this report that, once again, draws the attention of the European Union to the protection of health and to the protection of citizens.

With this report, we have, in fact, re-addressed the issue of surveillance of medicinal products, following the adoption of Directive 2010/84/EU and Regulation (EU) No 1235/2010 amending the directives on pharmacovigilance.

Since the so-called Mediator case, indeed, there has been a need to address the shortcomings identified by the tests conducted in this regard, and to refine the existing system, especially with regard to information requirements and notification of stakeholders and to the list of medicinal products subject to strengthened pharmacovigilance.

The amendments introduced, although modest in their scope, complement and reinforce the legal framework outlined previously in favour of greater transparency and efficiency and improved product safety standards, thus benefiting the health of European citizens.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE). (SK) Mr President, freedom also means the opportunity to make the wrong decision. Unfortunately, we often unreasonably restrict it when we adopt draft legislation that hinders business and constrains the economy and the market. But laws and regulations are sometimes justified. For example, the State must guarantee food and drug safety, otherwise irreparable damage can be done to health and lives.

I am glad that we are able to quickly correct legislation that was not strict enough. At the same time, however, I am filled with indignation that there exist companies and people who, for the sake of profit, sacrifice the lives of patients who trust them. In the case of Servier, there could be 500, or even 2 000, victims. Unfortunately, we can do nothing to save these people now, but I believe that we can save thousands of others.

 
  
  

Report: Linda McAvan (A7-0164/2012)

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, as a medical doctor, I support these measures strongly. In 2010, it was decided that EU rules governing pharmacovigilance had to be revised and a stress test was carried out on the legislation which demonstrated weaknesses in the system, which now need addressing.

These current proposed changes aim to close dangerous loopholes to protect our patients in Europe. In particular, they seek to meet the need for an automatic, urgent EU-wide procedure in cases where a Member State or the Commission considers that serious adverse side effects have occurred and therefore, there is a need to prohibit the supply of a particular medicine. They also seek to clarify the transparency obligations on pharmaceutical companies, namely, that companies are obliged to inform the European Medicines Agency, which is a very successful agency based in my own region of London, when a medicinal product is deemed to be harmful and this agency is then, in turn, obliged to inform all Member States without undue delay. So pharmacovigilance is a good thing and it is something which can be done well at EU level.

 
  
  

Report: Satu Hassi (A7-0038/2012)

 
  
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  Marek Józef Gróbarczyk (ECR).(PL) Mr President, I could not support this report because of its unfair treatment of shipowners from the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel, requiring them to use fuels with a maximum sulphur content of 0.1% from 2015. Shipowners from countries which are part of Sulphur Emission Control Areas have appealed for Parliament to postpone the date for the introduction of these provisions until 2019, when, in other parts of the world, ships sailing outside SECAs will be able to use fuel containing no more than 0.5% sulphur. The proposed legislation will cause the price of marine fuel to rise by 70%. This will mean vessels operating in short sea shipping will be completely unprofitable. The sulphur content of marine fuels does have to come down, but a reasonable date should be chosen for this to happen. These reductions could lead to bankruptcies among shipowners and cause the loss of a great many jobs.

 
  
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  Andrea Zanoni (ALDE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, today is a very important day for the health of European citizens. Indeed, this is, without doubt, one of the most important reforms of the entire parliamentary term when one considers the beneficial impact it will have on the health of European citizens.

From today, the EU has stricter regulations and is establishing new upper limits on the sulphur content of marine fuels, which contain air pollutants that are estimated to cause as many as 50 000 premature deaths in Europe.

For Northern European countries – the so-called Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs) – a maximum sulphur content in fuels of below 0.1% comes into force from 2015 while, for all other countries, the limit will be 0.5% from 2020.

We should no doubt have aimed higher; these new limits should have applied across the whole of the European Union. What price life, though? That is what thousands of European citizens are wondering in cities with major ports like that of my beautiful mistreated Venice, whose inhabitants and whose works of art are constantly being poisoned by smoke from the stacks of great ships. Well, thanks to Europe, that smoke will now be a little less black.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD).(IT) Mr President, I am opposed to the proposal for a directive because, once again, the European Union, in relation to the environment and the climate, wants to be top of the class. Unfortunately, this attitude leaves us in a position of clear competitive disadvantage in the global market, while the environmental benefits are of negligible impact.

The text, which is the product of the trialogue, is better than the one approved by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), but it goes beyond the requirements laid down by the Marpol convention (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships): the detention of a vessel in the event of infringements has not been transposed; in other words, it is for the vessel to demonstrate good faith regarding the acquisition of fuel; it is impossible to understand why open sea ferries are subject to more stringent limits than those set internationally; in addition, the ban on selling fuel with a sulphur content of over 3.5% in the EU amounts to a competitive disadvantage for European suppliers.

Why does the Commission not act consistently and apply duties to the goods of those third countries which use fuel with a high sulphur content, damaging the environment as a whole? Does it not realise that continuing to impose restrictions on our enterprises favours unfair competition?

 
  
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  Jan Kozłowski (PPE).(PL) Mr President, I voted to adopt the report on the proposal for a directive on the sulphur content of marine fuels because I think that in its present form, it is a balanced document which takes account of key environmental questions as well as the importance of maintaining the competitiveness of European shipping. I support the view that air quality standards should be the same throughout the European Union, and I am pleased that this view is reflected in the report.

I think, too, that allowing inbound vessels from countries outside the European Union to use fuel with a higher sulphur content only until 2020 is a good step towards maintaining competitive conditions. I think it is very important to ensure that the Member States have access to training and programmes which help people understand emission abatement methods, and also to monitor the risk of a shift from sea- to land-based transport.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, I voted in favour of this report. It is my view that, given the harmful effects of sulphur dioxide emissions, not only to respiratory health in humans but also to the environment, the sulphur content of marine fuels must continue to be closely monitored at EU level.

Whilst various measures have already been taken internationally to reduce the sulphur content for marine fuels, for instance, those done through the IMO, the new directive goes further by ensuring that the Commission is able to assess the impact of enforcing the 0.1% limit for all EU waters, as well as committing to a reduction of the current 4.5% limit outside EU SECAs to only 0.5% by 2020. Furthermore, the new directive now imposes fines on those who surpass the limits. I believe that this is indeed a positive step forward and it is in keeping with my party’s environmental policy to protect the environment for future generations and to improve our own quality of life and well-being.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). (FI) Mr President, it could be said that the Sulphur Directive is fundamentally an issue of health versus industry. It is absolutely right, in itself, to lower sulphur emissions, but health and environmental protection should not be introduced at any cost.

I could have cast my vote for or against, but this time the disastrous consequences of emission limits for Finnish industry carried more weight. The directive also treats the Member States of the EU unequally and distorts competition in the internal market. The rules on transition with respect to emission limits should be the same for all the sea areas of Europe and, for that reason, I voted against the report.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). (FI) Mr President, I voted against this report. Obviously, we all think that the environment must be looked after and that sulphur limits should be lowered. However, this must take place in all European sea areas at one and the same time, and preferably globally, of course. At present, it only concerns the Baltic Sea.

We know about the problems of the Baltic Sea, and we know that eutrophication is a huge problem there. It is not actually due to sulphur now, but, of course, this decision will result in a dramatic weakening of the competitiveness of Finnish industry. This will distort competition within the European Union. That is why I would have liked the scope of this directive to extend to the whole of Europe at the same time, and so the deferment until 2020 would have been good, because it is not fair from the perspective of the internal market either that some countries should pay far more for their exports than others. In this sense, fairness could be achieved by including the whole of the European Union within the scope of the Sulphur Directive at one and the same time.

As has already been said, this will mean a bill to Finnish industry of more than EUR 800 million a year. Finland is an economy that is dependent on exports, and, in this respect, I would have liked the scope of this directive to extend to the whole of the European Union at the same time. For that reason, I voted against it.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report because it will allow us to gain important benefits for both our health and the environment. Air quality standards can be achieved by reducing sulphur emissions from ships. Restricting atmospheric pollution could also help prevent tens of thousands of premature deaths every year. Maritime transport has a significant impact on air quality and can help provide an effective solution to the problems relating to pollution.

The benefits to public health will greatly outweigh the estimated costs. The directive will also help ensure a level playing field in terms of competition and foster innovation and resource efficiency. I should stress that reducing marine emissions will also provide great economic benefit.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution RC-B7-0346/2012

 
  
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  Norica Nicolai (ALDE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this resolution because I think it is important in view of the current challenging situation for both the Commission’s agenda and Parliament’s agenda. I think that the Commission’s future concerns, particularly relating to the economy, are vital for the EU’s future.

If we want more Europe and greater cohesion, the Commission has a chance of achieving this next year in the legislative and decision-making projects it has also set out only by working alongside Parliament. I supported, in particular, the amendments calling on the Commission to involve Parliament more in implementing next year’s agenda, as failure in the projects envisaged by the Commission could be crucial to the EU’s well-being and, in particular, it could create, if you like, a deficit of democratic dialogue not only between citizens and the bodies of the European Union, but also between the Commission and Parliament.

 
  
  

Report: Marina Yannakoudakis (A7-0223/2012)

 
  
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  Rebecca Taylor, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, while acknowledging the efforts of the rapporteur to take a balanced line, the ALDE Group felt obliged to abstain in the final vote today due to conservative and religious views dominating the final report to the detriment of patients who face shortages of tissues and cells in many Member States.

Currently, in many Member States, there are too few donors and too many people waiting for tissues and cells, particularly spinal marrow, gametes, cornea and skin. This report was an ideal opportunity to address this serious health problem, but the focus on other issues means it has sadly fallen short in this respect.

A number of provisions were adopted today that threaten the already insufficient supply of tissues and cells in many Member States, including calling on Member Sates to require that donors be anonymous except in the case of a donation from a living person to a relative, thus potentially preventing, for example, an EU citizen from choosing to donate to a friend in need. The ALDE Group does not see the need to further restrict donation rules when we have shortages of tissues and cells in over half the Member States.

Another point was calling on Member States to promote only public cord blood banks, thus ignoring the existence of well regulated private cord blood banks in some Member States, awareness of which should also be promoted in the interests of promoting the donation of cord blood for the benefit of patients.

As regards the call for European standards and requirements for private stem cell banks but not for public cell banks, the ALDE Group believes that all stem cell banks should be required to meet the same high standards of safety and quality and that imposing higher standards only on private banks could further hinder access to much-needed tissues and cells. Calling for the Commission to revise Regulation (EC) No 1394/2007 to guarantee the application of the principle of unpaid donation, the ALDE Group believes that in order to avoid undermining the quality and safety of donated tissues and cells, it is vital to encourage various models of donation developed by both public and private sectors and to ensure reasonable reimbursement of donors. This vote does not send the right message to scientists or patients.

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE).(IT) Mr President, having in mind the more than 60 000 people awaiting transplants and the 10 people, on average, who die every day because they have not managed to get an organ, I voted for this report. I believe that the initiative being put forward by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), supported by the work of Ms Yannakoudakis, is more relevant than ever.

At the very difficult times we are currently experiencing both in Europe and worldwide, many desperate people are fuelling the deplorable practice of the commercialisation of organs. We increasingly hear reports of European citizens who, in order to cope with the serious problems of everyday life, put their own organs up for sale on the Internet or through other channels.

Through this report, the European Union is setting out to combat an extremely difficult situation, a sort of unsustainable Wild West. Once again, we are saying ‘enough’ – because, unfortunately, the laws making this trade illegal are not sufficient – once again, we are saying ‘enough’ to trafficking in organs and the illegal market and instead, we are seeking to promote life and health among citizens.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, as a doctor, I am particularly enthusiastic about the proposals to break down the barriers to sharing donor registries across the European Union, which will, of course, contribute to the fight against cancer and other life-threatening diseases. I am also pleased with the emphasis placed by the rapporteur – who happens to be my London colleague Marina Yannakoudakis – on the ethics of donation, taking the view that the human body should not be a source of financial gain. The report thus rightly rejects the practice of an open market for tissues and cells, but importantly, it goes on to stress that donors across the Union deserve fair and reasonable compensation for their efforts.

There is also emphasis on the requirement for greater traceability and transparency in the donation process across the EU. The report equally encourages Member States to build on existing examples of best practice in those countries, for example, the renowned cord blood collection scheme in the UK run by NHS Blood and Transplant and the famous Anthony Nolan Trust. I am also pleased to say that the final report crucially resisted calls for a ban on private storage clinics anywhere in the European Union.

 
  
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  Norica Nicolai (ALDE).(RO) Mr President, I abstained from voting on this report, even though I think it is important and marks progress compared to the old directive. However, I do not believe that it offers the best solutions. The report takes a unilateral approach based on a certain type of ethics which advocates donation. However, for religious reasons and from a perspective which I would consider deeply religious, these ethics are not compatible with valuing human life.

I believe that the discriminatory schemes which it introduces and the double standards with regard to private and public donation schemes are not right and tend, in actual fact, to hamper the purpose of this directive, which means the attempt by some of us to save other human lives with their organs. I believe that identical standards were required for both state and private schemes.

I believe that unpaid donations must be favoured, but we cannot discourage either these donations made in return for payment when this does not affect the moral good and the principles of good. I also believe that we need to encourage the concepts of presumed consent, with Member States being free to try different options, and we should not impose a standard option on Member States.

 
  
  

Report: Mikael Gustafsson (A7-0235/2012)

 
  
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  Norica Nicolai (ALDE).(RO) Mr President, I would like to take the floor to present the voting option for this report for which I was shadow rapporteur. I would like to highlight two points. Apart from this being a subject which did not add very many new insights to this own-initiative report, I believe that it contains several recommendations which I feel are extremely important in terms of the option we have to involve women in the green economy, which is a hypothetical one because, unfortunately, the green economy is not the norm, nor is the presence of women in this economy the norm either.

However, the appeal to the Commission to promote gender equality in the rules for accessing European funds, the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund is, in my view, one of the solutions for promoting women in this kind of economy. Ongoing professional training along with an environmental aspect would also provide the second solution. Lastly, the gender aspect when implementing European directives ought to be taken into account when Member States are implementing this option in their own legislation.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report because I think that the transition to a green economy is one of the EU’s main objectives. Unfortunately, the way in which this transition is achieved fails to take into account the gender aspect. Adapting environmental policies to the gender aspect must take into account the fact that women generally develop a more environmentally friendly attitude. There must also be some recognition that women and men have unequal access to certain resources. I believe that we need to improve how women access the business technologies needed to gain high-skilled jobs in the green economy.

All the programmes and projects launched should feature indicators to assess their gender-specific impact. I call on the Commission and Member States to devise such indicators.

 
  
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  Andrea Češková (ECR).(CS) Mr President, although I support gender equality in all areas, and I therefore oppose any form of discrimination, I was unable to support this report. In my opinion, it contains several declarations that are insufficiently substantiated, such as the statements on the difference between women and men when it comes to consumption or the use of public transport and private means of transport.

The report also calls for objectives to be addressed or regulated at national level, including education or health care, for example. Just as in other reports, however, I did vote in favour of the points relating to sexual and reproductive health rights.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR). – Mr President, we need more jobs and we need greener energy. I hope the green economy can help drive economic growth.

We must ensure that both men and women benefit from this growth. But what does this report call for? An improvement in women’s transport opportunities, among other things. What nonsense. I do not see women abandoned on the streets of Strasbourg, forsaken by men-only buses and trams. Perhaps the rapporteur thinks that women need improved transport because, according to the report, women do not affect the environment in the same way as men. Again, what nonsense.

Time after time, the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality tries to turn everything into a feminist issue. This is bad for women and it hurts the reputation of both the committee and the EU. I call on my fellow members of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality to stop the nonsense once and for all. Not everything is a male plot to do a woman down.

 
  
  

Report: Iratxe Garía Pérez (A7-0246/2012)

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE).(IT) Mr President, I voted for this report. I welcomed the work done by Ms García Pérez and I supported the request for an own-initiative report by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) because I believe – as I have had occasion to say several times in this Chamber – that it is important to work on the process of cultural growth in order to counter the disparities that still exist in our social fabric between men and women.

This report analyses, in particular, the gap between the two genders in the tertiary sector and takes a step forward which I believe is important and which convinced me to vote for the report. The step it takes is to call upon Member States, trade unions and employers to adopt a uniform evaluation grid that will finally make it possible to overcome, or at least to restrict, the pay gap between men and women.

 
  
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  Norica Nicolai (ALDE).(RO) Mr President, I, too, supported this report, but for completely different reasons to my colleague. I feel that this is one of the serious analyses of the gender inequality which persists on the labour market, and specifically in the services market.

Women are employed in 10% of the 130 professions considered accessible to everyone on the labour market, generally in those with low qualifications, which I feel sounds an alarm bell in terms of access and creating a certain type of poverty among women in the labour market. I also consider it significant that the wage gaps which persist in this sector are highlighted.

However, what is certain, apart from these observations, is that not only the solutions advocated in the report, but also those advocated in the Commission’s options are not the ones to provide a response in terms of solving this problem. I believe that, by adopting such reports, we will only end up sounding the alarm bells about real situations which have existed for a very long time. This may hinder both our approach and that of the Commission on this matter.

 
  
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  Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL). – Mr President, the EU likes to claim that it is a fort for progress in relation to women’s rights. However, it is EU-led austerity programmes and neoliberal policies that are disproportionately increasing hardship for women workers. These programmes are resulting in mass job losses, together with attacks on wages and conditions in the service sector, particularly in retail. A majority of the unemployed workers in the EU are now women. Women are also disproportionately hit by savage budget cuts, targeting vital public services and social welfare. We have seen this in Ireland with the scandalous cuts to single parent allowances, to home helps and the threatened cuts to child benefit.

Women workers in the service sector have been one of the most active sections of workers taking action against redundancies and attacks on their conditions. In Ireland, we have seen this with the recent strikes and occupations in La Senza, Thomas Cook, EBS and Laura Ashley. The trade union movement must now organise in the service sector to fight against low pay and job losses, and for decent working conditions with improved maternity and paternity leave and decent public services.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR). – Mr President, this report states that gender stereotypes are impeding women from realising their full potential. It is possible for women to be CEOs, brain surgeons, concert pianists and even MEPs. It is also possible for women to stay at home and raise a family, perhaps picking up a part-time job in the service sector along the way. This report looks down its nose at the service industry and insults all the women and men who work in this sector. This report also suggests that women are treated differently by employers because they are more likely to interrupt their careers in order to have children. Well, regrettably, this may be true to an extent. If it is true, though, why does the rapporteur call for the Council to unblock the Maternity Leave Directive? Twenty weeks’ fully paid compulsory leave will reduce young women’s chances of getting a job.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Bendt Bendtsen (A7-0232/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because the workers from the shipyard have been made redundant, and because their specialised technical experience makes it hard for them to apply for jobs in other industries. As these 550 workers will run into great difficulties finding work, I consider it essential to provide them with personalised measures supported by the submitted sum from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). These situations jeopardise the European public’s social and economic well-being, and we should take that into account. The EGF does not just use compensatory measures to adapt our economy to the global economy, but, above all, it protects citizens and businesses in difficulties, which should be taken into account in times of crisis. As such, the EGF goes some way to attenuating some of the harmful consequences of the current economic, financial and social crisis taking place in Europe, in response to which it falls to us to act.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Created in 2006, the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) aims to help towards the reintegration of workers who have lost their job due to changes in world trade patterns. In 2009, its scope was broadened to include victims of the financial crisis. This request, put forward by Denmark, is intended to help 550 people recently made redundant and meets the European criteria. I therefore voted in favour of this request.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report on the mobilisation of support from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). This support will be mobilised for 550 workers made redundant at the Odense Steel Shipyard. The shipbuilding workforce in Europe declined by 23% over the past three years. The aim of the EGF is to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant due to the global economic crisis. I therefore welcome the proposal to mobilise the sum of EUR 6.455 million from the EGF reserve in order to support workers made redundant in the Danish shipbuilding sector.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of this report because I think it is a good decision to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for Denmark. This means that workers made redundant in the wake of the global economic and financial crisis will be supported in the process involving their reintegration into the labour market. I welcome the additional support provided to them as a result of the structural changes in global trade patterns. I should stress that the global shipbuilding market has been particularly hard hit by the economic crisis, reflected in a significant decrease in the workforce in this sector. The employment situation in Denmark has also deteriorated considerably, while the unemployment rate has reached extremely high levels. In this climate, I believe that mobilising the fund with the aim of boosting the economy is a more than welcome step.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created in 2006 in order to provide additional assistance to workers affected by the consequences of significant changes in the structure of international trade and to assist in their reintegration into the labour market. Since 1 May 2009, the scope of the EGF has been expanded to include support for workers made redundant as a direct consequence of the economic, financial and social crisis. As we are currently facing a serious financial, economic and social crisis, one of the most important consequences of which has been increased unemployment, the EU must respond using all means available to it, particularly as regards supporting people who are out of work. I therefore voted for this report, which concerns the mobilisation of EUR 6 445 104 from the EGF for Denmark, with a view to supporting the 550 eligible workers out of the 981 made redundant from Odense Steel Shipyard, in its capacity as the primary enterprise, and from four downstream suppliers and producers.

 
  
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  Nora Berra (PPE), in writing.(FR) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created in order to support European workers who have lost their job. It enables them to reintegrate into the labour market. Exceptionally, the financial and economic crisis has been deemed sufficient grounds for a Member State to submit an application for assistance. The crisis-hit shipbuilding sector in Denmark has seen one wave of redundancies after another. In an effort of solidarity towards this sector, we have released EUR 6.4 million of assistance.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE), in writing. (ES) I voted in favour of this report as it means mobilising funds which will help Denmark in relation to 981 redundancies, 550 of which are to be the recipients of this aid, from the Odense Steel Shipyard and four of its suppliers. The general employment situation in Denmark declined sharply between 2009 and 2010 and this aid from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund is seeking to help that company.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted for the motion for a resolution by Mr Bendtsen because I support the allocation from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) of EUR 6 455 104 requested by Denmark, with reference to the four-month period from May to August 2011. This is for 981 Danish workers made redundant by the shipbuilding enterprise Odense Steel Shipyard, 550 of whom will be able to benefit from the EGF.

The Danish application fulfils the EGF criteria since it demonstrates the correlation between the structural changes in progress in the abovementioned enterprise as a result of the current financial crisis and the redundancies carried out.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). The fund was created with the aim of providing additional support to workers suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in global trade patterns. I therefore support the mobilisation of EUR 1.12 million for the creation of a knowledge base, administrative and technical support, and a final assessment of the EGF.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – I regret that in Denmark, 981 workers have been made redundant with some 550 targeted for assistance in relation to the Odense Steel Shipyard and in four suppliers and downstream producers related to the primary enterprise. Redundancy is challenging on any individual and their family and rising unemployment is changing the face of society and breeding levels of poverty unacceptable in 21st century Europe. Yet it is EU fiscal policy, including austerity demands and the inept handling of the euro crisis, that is part author of this script. It is thus suspect that while with one hand, Brussels continues to undermine and weaken national economies through flawed single currency policy, they are, with the other, willing to provide hand outs to those stricken by its effects. It should be the priority and prerogative of national governments, with the optional aid of sympathetic third countries, to deal with the major structural challenges many countries are currently facing in the wake of the global financial crisis. To continue to endorse the mobilisation of the Adjustment Fund is to permit the perpetuation of Brussels undermining national economies.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this proposal to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), in accordance with point 28 of the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 between Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management, because the conditions for EGF mobilisation have been met. It concerns application EGF/2011/008 DK/Odense Steel Shipyard, Denmark.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) I support the way the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) has been mobilised to help the workers made redundant from Odense Steel Shipyard in Denmark. This is the fourth mobilisation of the EGF in 2012. In recent decades, the European shipbuilding industry has been losing a significant amount of market share to Asia. This sector is being rocked by the global economic and financial crisis, and has seen the number of people employed there decline by 23% over the last three years. I also regret that Denmark is one of the countries compromising negotiations on the EGF after 2013, since it has applied for mobilisation of the fund several times. Finally, I would re-emphasise that the EGF was born out of a 2005 Commission communication: European values in a globalised world. It was against that backdrop that President Barroso sent a letter to the EU Heads of State or Government and to Parliament, proposing the creation of the EGF. Seven years later, the effects of the crisis are not just still with us, but are getting worse, which clearly demonstrates the importance of a Europe of solidarity and with effective resource redistribution between Member States. It is a shame that these examples are not replicated in other European mechanisms.

 
  
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  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is an instrument for supporting workers who have fallen victim to the crisis and changes in the world economy. The global market for shipbuilding is one of the main areas that has been hit hard by the crisis. It declined by 20% between 2008 and 2009. European shipbuilders have, for several years, had to face increasingly strong competition from Asia in particular. Therefore, the European Union will mobilise EUR 6.5 million to help 550 Danish shipyard workers who have been made redundant. These funds will be used, in particular, to finance new professional training and support programmes for entrepreneurship.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this text, which grants the Danish town of Odense European financial assistance in order to support the reintegration into the labour market of 981 workers made redundant in the shipbuilding sector. This decision illustrates the major role that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) can play in supporting economic sectors in crisis. A strong European Union is one that, above all, protects its citizens when they are faced with life’s uncertainties.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing.(FR) I welcome the vote that was passed on Tuesday in favour of an intervention by the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for Danish workers. An estimated EUR 6.4 million will be devoted to assistance and training programmes for 550 Danish workers who were made redundant from the shipbuilding company Odense Steel Shipyard and four of its suppliers and downstream producers. This sector has been hit hard by competition from Asian countries. Cofinancing from local authorities, an operational obligation of the EGF, will total EUR 3.4 million.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on ‘mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund’ because I believe Denmark meets the application conditions, in view of the 585 redundancies in Odense shipyard because of relocations to lower-cost non-EU countries.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This is the second time that Parliament has approved the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for this same company: Odense Steel Shipyard, from the shipbuilding sector. The aim is to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant in the Danish city of Odense as a result of the global economic and financial crisis. In October 2010, 1 356 workers were made redundant. This time, the closure of the shipyard has led to the redundancy of 981 workers.

The annual report of the Community of European Shipyards’ Associations shows that labour in Europe’s shipbuilding industry has declined by 23% in the last three years. This is the result of capitalist globalisation and the policies that have been supporting it, imposing competition between workers and the general devaluation of the workforce. More and more people are being made redundant as the social and economic crisis deepens, particularly, but not exclusively, in productive sectors. That is why we still advocate extending the ‘crisis derogation’, which increased the rate of EU cofinancing to 65%.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) On 4 June 2012, the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the EGF in favour of Denmark in order to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant due to the global financial and economic crisis. This is the fourth request to be reviewed within the framework of the 2012 budget, and relates to the mobilisation of a total sum of EUR 6 455 104 from the EGF for Denmark. It concerns 981 redundancies, of which 550 are targeted for assistance. The Commission has concluded that the application meets the conditions for deploying the EGF as set out in Article 2(a) of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006, and was submitted within the deadline of 10 weeks referred to in Article 5 of that regulation. The interinstitutional agreement allows the mobilisation of the fund within the annual ceiling of EUR 500 million

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), in accordance with application EGF/2011/008 DK/Odense Steel Shipyard from Denmark. Pursuant to Article 6 of the EGF Regulation, EGF money should support the reintegration of individual redundant workers into employment. EGF assistance can only cofinance active labour market measures which lead to long-term employment. Assistance from the EGF must not replace either actions, which are the responsibility of companies by virtue of national law or collective agreements, or measures restructuring companies or sectors. The industrial structure of the local economy is characterised by a high share of employment in manufacturing, particularly in metallurgy. Many jobs in this industry have already been lost to other countries with lower wages. The shipyard workers being dismissed have great technical expertise, which is difficult to apply in other industries in Funen or even across Denmark. Many of them have worked in the shipyard all their lives and their parents may have worked there too. I therefore welcome the fact that, in order to provide workers with speedy assistance, the Danish authorities decided to embark on implementation of the measures ahead of the final decision on granting the EGF support for the proposed coordinated package.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund has been created in order to provide additional assistance to workers suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns. Denmark argues that shipyards in Europe over the past decades have been losing substantial market shares to Asia. Assisting workers impacted by the closure of the Odense Steel Shipyard therefore falls well within its remit.

 
  
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  Barbara Matera (PPE), in writing. – The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was established in 2006 as a support system for workers impacted by global structural change in trade patterns. Denmark’s application in respect of the Odense Steel Shipyard notes that the country’s workforce is highly concentrated in manufacturing and metallurgy, but has lost business because many global market shares have been transferred to Asia. By mobilising the EGF with an amount of EUR 6 455 104, workers will be helped to return to the labour market, which is especially important because these employees have highly specialised training in their field which it is nearly impossible to apply in other industries. For these reasons, I voted in favour of Mr Bendtsen’s report.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for Denmark following 981 redundancies in the shipbuilding sector. The EUR 6.5 million of assistance for 550 workers will help them to find work in other sectors.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) I am abstaining out of consideration for the Danish workers who have been sacrificed on the altar of globalisation. Given the situation into which they have been plunged as a result of the neoliberal policies advocated by the European Union and the derisory amount of this handout, one might be inclined to vote against. However, the little that is being given may help to ease their suffering.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Denmark submitted an application for mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) on 28 October 2011. It concerns 981 redundancies (of which 550 are targeted for support) that occurred in the company Odense Steel Shipyard, as the main enterprise, and in four subcontractors and downstream manufacturers in Denmark during the four-month reference period from 1 May 2011 to 31 August 2011. The application complies with the requirements for determining the financial contribution as laid down in Article 10 of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006. The Commission therefore proposes to mobilise the amount of EUR 6 455 104. In the spirit of active European solidarity, the EGF should, therefore, be mobilised in order to provide a financial contribution for the application submitted by Denmark. I therefore voted in favour of the application.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is a very important European Union instrument. Set up to try to resolve controversial economic issues, it offers enterprises experiencing difficulties the possibility of recovery, or at least of protecting their employees and, as a result, their employees’ families. In the case of the Odense Steel Shipyard, the EUR 6.5 million to be sent to Denmark, due in part to my vote, will cover 1 000 redundancies issued by the firm as a result of dismissals resulting from the worldwide decline in shipbuilding, the major structural changes in world trade patterns and the financial crisis.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 4 June 2012, the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for Denmark, with the aim of supporting the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the global economic and financial crisis. This is the fourth application to be examined under the 2012 budget and refers to the mobilisation of a total amount of EUR 6 455 104 from the EGF for Denmark. It concerns 981 redundancies, 550 of which are targeted for assistance, from the enterprise Odense Steel Shipyard, in its capacity as the primary enterprise, and from four downstream suppliers and producers in Denmark, during the four-month reference period from 1 May 2011 to 31 August 2011. Given that this case has been examined by all the stakeholders, especially the Commission, and that the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs supports mobilising the EGF for Denmark, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Commission’s application, the fourth to be examined under the 2012 budget, refers to the mobilisation of a total amount of EUR 6 455 104 from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for Denmark, and concerns 981 redundancies, of which 550 are targeted for assistance, in Odense Steel Shipyard, in its capacity as the primary enterprise, and four suppliers and downstream producers in Denmark during the four-month reference period from 1 May 2011 to 31 August 2011. The proposal therefore meets the conditions for deploying the EGF as set out in Article 2(a) of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006, and was submitted within the deadline of 10 weeks referred to in Article 5 of that regulation. I would also like to emphasise the importance of ensuring a fast procedure, in accordance with the interinstitutional agreement, on adopting decisions relating to the mobilisation of the fund, and so I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing.(FR) As the global shipbuilding industry has been hit hard by the crisis (it declined by 20% between 2008 and 2009), and European shipbuilders have been losing market share to their Asian competitors for decades, the workers in this sector find themselves in a difficult situation. To cope with this, and to help the 550 workers made redundant by the Odense Steel shipbuilder or their suppliers, Denmark has applied for assistance from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). Convinced of the usefulness and the need for assistance from the EGF for these unemployed workers, I supported the release of EUR 6.5 million. This sum, supplemented by the Danish Government, will fund programmes that will help them to find employment in other sectors. Although I support EGF assistance for redundant workers, I deplore the fact that the Danish authorities are among those that are threatening the future of the EGF after 2013, when this country has already benefited from this fund on several occasions. I hope that the fund can be extended beyond what is currently planned. I call on the Council and the Commission to act on this matter.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund has been created in order to provide additional assistance to workers suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns. According to the provisions of point 28 of the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management(1) and of Article 12 of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006(2), the fund may not exceed a maximum amount of EUR 500 million, drawn from any margin under the global expenditure ceiling from the previous year, and/or from the cancelled commitment appropriations from the previous two years, excluding those related to Heading 1b. The appropriate amounts are entered into the budget as a provision as soon as the sufficient margins and/or cancelled commitments have been identified. As concerns the procedure, in order to activate the fund, the Commission, in case of a positive assessment of an application, presents the budgetary authority with a proposal for mobilisation of the fund and, at the same time, a corresponding request for transfer. In parallel, a trialogue could be organised in order to reach an agreement on the use of the fund and the amounts required. The trialogue can take a simplified form.

 
  
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  Georgios Stavrakakis (S&D) , in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the report on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for Denmark, in order to provide support for 550 people made redundant from the Odense shipyards and from the four suppliers and downstream producers. These redundancies were caused by globalisation of the economy and the relocation of shipyard activities to Asia. Clearly, the adverse impact of globalisation highlights even more the added value of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund as an instrument of EU social policy. The targeted financial support which it provides under retraining and reintegration programmes for workers hit by mass redundancies is especially important. Furthermore, the support which it provides is a real expression of EU solidarity. Finally, the case of Denmark illustrates in the best possible way that this financing instrument is not limited to countries facing economic and budgetary challenges and can be equally useful in helping to reintegrate people made redundant into the labour market even in economically robust countries. This, in turn, underlines the importance of this fund and proves the need to maintain it during the forthcoming multiannual financial framework 2014-2020.

 
  
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  Alf Svensson (PPE), in writing. (SV) I voted today in favour of two reports on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. Since 2009, I have, as a rule, abstained or voted against all proposals for the mobilisation of this fund because I believe that the fund is not the right instrument to use to help workers affected by structural changes. The fund has now grown, developed and made an impact. It exists and will continue to exist for the foreseeable future. From now on, I will adopt a position in each individual case in relation to whether they meet the very strict requirements made of the applicants with regard to cofinancing and long-term employment measures, something which these two cases do. Thus, it is a case of making the best of the situation.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this text. It is normal to make our financial contribution following the direct redundancies at Odense Steel Shipyard. These redundancies represent 2% of the local workforce. The closure of a shipbuilder, which has just added to indirect job losses, is another economic tragedy, but it is also and, above all, a social tragedy.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 established the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) with the aim of supporting workers who have lost their jobs due to structural changes in the context of the global economy. I agree with the request for mobilisation of the EGF made by Denmark in relation to 981 redundancies, 550 of whom are potential beneficiaries of aid, from the company Odense Steel Shipyard and from four suppliers and producers. I believe that the Commission should mobilise EUR 6 455 104 to help these workers from Danish shipbuilding enterprises back into work. The financial package just adopted should be channelled into supporting assistance measures in the areas of vocational guidance, individual training and general information provision through specific employment channels.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for the Odense Steel Shipyard in Denmark. The application concerns 981 redundancies in the Odense Steel Shipyard as the primary beneficiary and in four other suppliers and producers in Denmark in the period from May to August 2011.

The Danish authorities argue that shipyards in Europe, over recent decades, have been losing substantial market share to Asian companies. The global financial and economic crisis then adversely affected the situation in the global shipbuilding market so that, according to the Community of European Shipyards’ Associations (CESA), European companies saw their order books decline between 2008 and 2009. According to Eurostat, the general employment situation deteriorated sharply in Denmark during 2009 and 2010. Unemployment rose from an unusually low rate of 3.4% in 2008 to 7.6% in 2010. I therefore think that it is important to mobilise the EGF for Denmark in order to facilitate the redundant workers’ reintegration into the labour market.

 
  
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  Niki Tzavela (EFD), in writing. – I voted for the mobilisation of the EGF in favour of Denmark in order to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant due to the global financial and economic crisis.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (ALDE), in writing. (DE) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund is there to provide additional support to workers who are suffering the effects of globalisation and to help reintegrate them into the labour market. The application from Denmark has been reviewed. It concerns 981 redundancies. The general employment situation in Denmark worsened greatly in 2009 and 2010. It meets all the requirements and therefore it was right to vote in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) This is not Denmark’s first application for mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. Several previous applications have been successful, under both trade-related and crisis-related criteria. However, Denmark is among the countries undermining the future of the EGF after 2013. These countries are blocking the extension of the crisis derogation and decreasing the financial allocation to the Commission for the EGF for 2012 while, at the same time, Denmark is proposing a relatively expensive package of personalised services amounting to EUR 11 737 of EGF support per worker. This led me to vote against the proposal.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The crisis that has affected Europe has not spared the countries of northern Europe: in Denmark, the general employment situation has deteriorated significantly and unemployment rose from a record low of 3% for the year 2008 to a high of 7% in 2010, with serious repercussions, particularly in the steel sector.

The shipyard workers being dismissed have a high level of technical expertise, which is difficult to apply in other sectors. Without significant retraining, it will therefore be very hard for them to find new employment. For these reasons, I voted for the application on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in favour of Denmark.

 
  
  

Report: Juan Andrés Naranjo Escobar (A7-0233/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since the construction sector in Europe is facing great difficulties, particularly in Spain, where the property boom had damaging economic consequences for the country, for its citizens and for its companies, at a time of economic crisis. The case put forward in this report concerns 836 redundancies from 377 companies in the construction sector between January and October 2011, leaving 320 workers facing great difficulties in finding work. I am voting for this report on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund since it should serve for the very purpose of alleviating the economic and social consequences of the crisis.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Created in 2006, the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) aims to help towards the reintegration of workers who have lost their job due to changes in global trade patterns. In 2009, its scope was broadened to include victims of the financial crisis. This request, put forward by Spain, is intended to help 320 people recently made redundant and meets the European criteria. I therefore voted in favour of this request.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report on the mobilisation of support from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). This support will be mobilised for 836 workers made redundant in the Aragón region of Spain. There is a decline in demand for construction in Spain: the number of building permits granted in Spain decreased by 75.6% in 2009 and 82.8% in 2010 compared with 2007. The aim of the fund is to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant due to the global economic crisis. I therefore welcome the proposal to mobilise the sum of EUR 1.3 million from the EGF reserve in order to support workers made redundant in the Spanish construction sector.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of this report because I think it is a good and necessary decision to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for Spain in the current context. The aim of mobilising this fund is to provide additional support to facilitate the reintegration into the labour market of the workers who have lost their jobs due to the financial and economic crisis which has had a global impact.

In Spain, the construction industry has been particularly severely affected by the crisis, and the loans granted to this sector have decreased sharply. There has also been a fall in demand for new houses due to a lack of consumer confidence and liquidity. Indeed, there has also been a huge rise in unemployment. Against this background, I believe that the fund needs to be further mobilised to tackle the decline facing the sector.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created in 2006 in order to provide additional assistance to workers affected by the consequences of significant changes in the structure of international trade and to assist in their reintegration into the labour market. Since 1 May 2009, the scope of the EGF has been expanded to include support for workers made redundant as a direct consequence of the economic, financial and social crisis. As we are currently facing a serious financial, economic and social crisis, one of the most important consequences of which has been increased unemployment, the EU must respond using all means available to it, particularly as regards supporting people who are out of work. That is why I voted for this report concerning the mobilisation of EUR 13 000 000 from the EGF for Spain, with the aim of supporting the 320 eligible workers out of the 836 made redundant by 377 enterprises operating in the construction sector in the region of Aragón.

 
  
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  Nora Berra (PPE), in writing.(FR) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created in order to support European workers who have lost their jobs. It enables them to reintegrate into the labour market. Exceptionally, the financial and economic crisis has been deemed sufficient grounds for a Member State to submit an application for assistance. The crisis-hit construction sector in the Spanish region of Aragón has seen one wave of redundancies after another. In an effort of solidarity towards this sector, we have released EUR 1.3 million of assistance.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE), in writing. (ES) I supported this report, which brings European Globalisation Adjustment Fund aid to Aragón Construction in order to deal with 836 redundancies, 320 of which are targeted for assistance. Due to the low density of the population in the majority of the area affected by this application and due to the risk of depopulation, the redundancies have an extremely negative impact on the region and could jeopardise the efforts made to encourage the population to stay in the area.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this application for the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) since it does not present any critical issues and the application fulfils the eligibility criteria laid down.

The amount involved is EUR 1 300 000 requested by Spain to provide support to the 836 workers made redundant, of which 320 are targeted for assistance from the EGF, who were working in the building industry for the firm Aragón Construction in Spain.

 
  
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  Zuzana Brzobohatá (S&D), in writing. – (CS) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was originally established for the duration of the 2007-2013 programming period by Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006. It has annual resources of EUR 500 million. The aim of the fund is to help workers who have been laid off due to the major changes in the structure of world trade brought about by globalisation. Through cofinancing, an effort is made to facilitate their return to employment. Since 2009, the scope of the EGF has been extended to help workers laid off as a result of the global financial and economic crisis. I therefore voted in favour of releasing funds for the company concerned in Spain.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – I regret that in Spain, 528 workers have been made redundant by 323 construction firms. Redundancy is challenging for any individual and their family, and rising unemployment is changing the face of society in Spain and breeding levels of poverty that are totally unacceptable in 21st century Europe. Yet it is EU fiscal policy, including austerity demands and the inept handling of the euro crisis, that is part-author of this script. It is thus suspect that while, on the one hand, Brussels continues to undermine and weaken the Spanish economy through flawed single currency policy, it is, on the other hand, willing to provide hand-outs to those stricken by its effects. In essence, policy making in Brussels is crushing domestic ability to provide pastoral care for its peoples, in terms of jobs, social provisions and welfare, yet allows the EU to step in to subsume these roles. It should be the priority and prerogative of national governments, with the optional aid of sympathetic third countries, to deal with the major structural challenges many countries are currently facing in the wake of the global financial crisis. To continue to endorse the mobilisation of the Adjustment Fund is to permit the perpetuation of Brussels’ undermining of national economies.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this proposal to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), in accordance with point 28 of the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 between Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management, because the conditions for mobilisation laid down in the EGF Regulation have been met. It is application EGF/2011/017 ES/Aragón.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) In the light of the structural changes in international trade, it is vital that the European economy be able to implement effectively instruments to support workers affected in this way, and to retrain them with a view to assisting their swift reintegration into the labour market. As the Commission acknowledges in its plan to relaunch the European economy, the crisis has caused an abrupt decline in the construction sector, and there is clearly a positive correlation between increased numbers of redundancies and changes in the patterns of world trade. I therefore voted to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for the region of Aragón, Spain. However, I would re-emphasise that mobilising funds via the EGF cannot replace measures that are the responsibility of firms under national legislation or collective bargaining agreements, and that, since they are aimed at helping workers, these funds should not be allocated to restructuring companies or sectors of economic activity.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this text, which grants the Spanish region of Aragón European financial assistance to support the reintegration into the labour market of 836 workers made redundant in the construction sector. This decision illustrates the major role that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) can play in supporting economic sectors in crisis. A strong European Union is one that, above all, protects its citizens when they are faced with life’s uncertainties.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing.(FR) Parliament has endorsed assistance for Spanish workers from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). Following the opinion of the Commission (June 2012) and that of the Committee on Budgets of the European Parliament (July 2012), we have approved this assistance, which amounts to more than EUR 7.7 million, by a very large majority. At the end of 2011, Spain asked for support from the EGF for 320 workers made redundant from small construction companies in the Aragón region. The reason: this sector had been particularly hard hit by the financial crisis and the recession that followed. The Aragón region, for its part, will contribute EUR 700 000 to support programmes for new jobs. I welcome this.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report proposing the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for Spain. This application concerns workers made redundant from the construction sector and includes measures intended to reintegrate 320 workers into the labour market.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This is the third time that Spain has requested support for the Aragón region from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). The previous occasions related to supporting the motor-vehicle and retail sectors, and their stated aim was to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the global economic and financial crisis. It should be noted that unemployment has risen sharply in Aragón and that, at the end of 2011, the number of people registered for state unemployment benefit was around 100 000. A tormented region in a country being savaged by the austerity decreed by the centres of power of an EU whose policies do nothing more than pile crisis on crisis and unemployment on unemployment. In this context, we can once again only lament the Council’s decision not to extend the ‘crisis derogation’, which increased the EU cofinancing rate to 65%. This means that the countries with the greatest economic and social difficulties – those where the most companies have gone bankrupt and where there is the most unemployment – are those that will least be able to make use of the EGF. We continue to advocate increased cofinancing for the EGF, particularly for countries in a fragile economic state such as Portugal, in order to ensure that the national contribution does not exceed 5% of the total funds provided for.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) On 18 June 2012, the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the EGF in favour of Spain in order to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant due to the global financial and economic crisis. This is the fifth request to be reviewed within the framework of the 2012 budget. It relates to the mobilisation of a total sum of EUR 1 300 000 from the EGF for Spain. It concerns 836 redundancies, of which 320 are targeted for assistance. The Commission has concluded that the application meets the conditions for deploying the EGF as set out in Article 2(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006, and was submitted within the deadline of 10 weeks referred to in Article 5 of that regulation. Due to the low population density in most areas covered by the application, and because of the risk of depopulation, redundancies have a very negative impact on the region.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), in accordance with application EGF/2011/017 ES/Aragón Construction from Spain. The Commission has already recognised in its Economic Recovery Plan that the construction industry in the EU had seen demand plummet as a result of the crisis. Available data confirms the significant downturn in the construction sector, which fell in the EU27 for eight consecutive quarters from the start of 2009, compared with the same period of the previous year, mainly due to the decrease in private investment in the residential sector. In 2009, construction output in Spain followed the same negative trend as the EU27 average. However, in 2010 and the first half of 2011, the downturn in the Spanish construction sector was further exacerbated. Due to the low population density in most of the territory concerned by this application and the risk of depopulation, layoffs have a highly negative impact on this region and might jeopardise the efforts made to encourage the population to remain in this region. Furthermore, the EGF has already intervened in five cases of dismissals in the construction sector.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this proposal. The Commission concluded that the application meets the conditions for deploying the EGF. One of the criteria for the Commission’s assessment was the evaluation of the link between the redundancies and major structural changes in world trade patterns or the financial crisis. Spanish authorities argue that the construction sector has been severely affected by the crisis. Loans to the construction sector and to individuals have been drastically reduced and the demand for new houses has decreased due to declining consumer confidence and the lack of liquidity. The Commission has recognised in its Economic Recovery Plan that the construction industry in the EU had seen demand plummet as a result of the crisis. The arguments presented in previous cases concerning the construction of buildings sector, and in which the redundancies were a direct result of the crisis, remain valid. The territory concerned by the redundancies is the autonomous community of Aragón.

 
  
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  Barbara Matera (PPE), in writing. – Spain’s application for the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for the construction sector in the NUTS II region of Aragón addresses redundancies caused by the current economic crisis. The financial and economic crisis has greatly impacted Spain’s construction industry due to a lack of demand for new construction. This trend is in line with the falling demand for new construction that exists throughout Europe, but the condition of the housing market has degraded at an even more rapid pace in Spain. A mobilisation of the EGF for an amount of EUR 1 300 000 will allow workers that had been employed in construction to diversify their skills, which will alleviate some of the burden of unemployment in Aragón. I voted in favour of Mr Escobar’s report for these reasons.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for Spain in order to help 320 workers made redundant by small construction companies to find new jobs. The amount of European assistance is EUR 1.3 million.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) I am abstaining out of respect for the Spanish workers who have been ill-treated by globalisation and budget cuts. Given the situation into which they have been plunged as a result of the austerity and ultraliberal policies advocated by the European Union, one could feel entitled to vote against the derisory handout that Eurocracy is reluctantly granting them. However, the little that is being given may relieve their suffering.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing. (ES) I voted in favour of this report even though I believe this mechanism to be clearly insufficient in the face of the defenceless position of millions of Spaniards with regard to the tragedy of unemployment. It is nothing more than a palliative measure, which does not in any way solve the serious consequences of the redundancies that are taking place under the pretext of the economic fraud that we are experiencing. Disguised under the umbrella of the crisis, this is being used to justify an unprecedented step backwards in terms of workers’ rights, as demonstrated by the fact that companies are being allowed to make redundancies even when they are still making profits.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Spain submitted an application for financial assistance from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) on 28 December 2011 as a result of redundancies in 377 enterprises in NACE Revision 2 Division 41 (building construction) in a NUTS II region, namely, in the region of Aragón (ES24), and supplemented this application with additional information by 23 March 2012. The application complies with the requirements for determining the financial contribution as laid down in Article 10 of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006. The Commission therefore proposes to mobilise the amount of EUR 1 300 000. In the spirit of active European solidarity, the EGF should, therefore, be mobilised in order to provide a financial contribution for the application submitted by Spain. I therefore voted in favour of the application.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 18 June 2012, the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for Spain with the aim of supporting the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the global economic and financial crisis. This is the fifth application to be examined under the 2012 budget and refers to the mobilisation of a total amount of EUR 1 300 000 from the EGF for Spain. The application relates to 836 redundancies, 320 of which are targeted for assistance, which occurred in 377 enterprises in NACE Revision 2 Division 41 (building construction) in the NUTS II region of Aragón (ES24), during the nine-month reference period from 31 January 2011 to 31 October 2011. Given that this case has been examined by all the stakeholders, including the Commission, and that the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs is associated with and supports mobilising the EGF for Spain, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Commission’s application, the fifth to be examined under the 2012 budget, refers to the mobilisation of a total amount of EUR 1 300 000 from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for Spain, and concerns 836 redundancies, of which 320 are targeted for assistance, in 377 enterprises in NACE Revision 2 Division 41 (building construction) in the NUTS II region of Aragón (ES24) during the nine-month reference period from 31 January 2011 to 31 October 2011. The proposal therefore meets the conditions for deploying the EGF as set out in Article 2(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 and was submitted within the deadline of 10 weeks referred to in Article 5 of that regulation. In view of the fact that during the years 2008 and 2009, unemployment increased dramatically in Aragón, and continued its upwards trend in subsequent years, I voted for the proposal.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Unemployment has increased dramatically in Aragón in recent years: the region had 40 000 unemployed people in 2008 and around 100 000 in 2011. Of these, 15% were workers made redundant in the construction sector. In December 2011, Spain applied for assistance from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in order to address this situation and to help workers who had been made redundant by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in this sector in Aragón to find work. I supported the release of such assistance to help these workers who found themselves in difficulty. This EUR 1.3 million, supplemented by the Spanish Government, will help to finance a number of activities, including training, advice and job-search assistance. As the economic crisis continues, I strongly condemn the Council’s decision not to extend the exemption that allows the EGF to provide financial assistance to workers made redundant as a result of the current financial and economic crisis. The EGF is normally reserved for those who lose their jobs as a result of major structural changes in world trade patterns. I call on the Council to reconsider its decision as quickly as possible.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – The Commission has presented a transfer request in order to enter specific commitment appropriations in the 2011 budget, as required in point 28 of the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006. The trialogue on the Commission’s proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the EGF could take a simplified form, as provided for in Article 12(5) of the legal base, unless there is no agreement between Parliament and the Council. According to an internal agreement, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) should be associated with the process, in order to provide constructive support and contribute to the assessment of applications from the fund. EMPL has decided to table amendments to the report, as well as the traditional letter of opinion, which reflect their position and constructive input. The Joint Declaration of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, adopted during the conciliation meeting on 17 July 2008, has confirmed the importance of ensuring a rapid procedure with due respect to the interinstitutional agreement for the adoption of decisions on the mobilisation of the fund.

 
  
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  Georgios Stavrakakis (S&D) , in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the report on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for Spain, in order to support 320 people made redundant from 377 enterprises in the construction sector in the region of Aragón. The economy in this particular region has been hard hit, as the globalisation of the market has had an adverse impact on important sectors of the economy, such as construction. This situation, in conjunction with the problems faced by the automotive sector in that region, has made Aragón one of the most economically fragile regions in Spain. The adverse impact of globalisation, in conjunction with the economic crisis that continues to grip Spain, illustrates even more the added value of the EGF as an instrument of EU social policy. The targeted financial support which it provides under retraining and reintegration programmes for workers hit by mass redundancies is especially important. Furthermore, the support which it provides is a real expression of EU solidarity. The Spanish regions are in the process of rationalisation and drastic cutbacks. EGF support will help in the fight against unemployment, without putting any significant pressure on efforts to restructure under the Spanish national budget or the region’s budget.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this text. Unemployment has increased dramatically in Aragón. By the end of 2011, the number of workers registered in the public labour offices was close to 100 000, of which 15% were workers made redundant in the construction sector. In addition to this, Aragón had been hit hard in the past by mass dismissals. Europe’s role is to support, where possible, the victims of the crisis, of whom there are still too many.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 established the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) with the aim of supporting workers who have lost their jobs due to structural changes in the context of the global economy. Spain has submitted a request for mobilisation of the EGF for 836 workers made redundant, 320 of whom are eligible, from 377 enterprises in the building construction sector in the Spanish region of Aragón. I support the mobilisation of EUR 1 300 000, in order to help the reintegration of these workers into the labour market. In particular, I support measures for vocational training which seek to create high-added value jobs within the footwear sector, thereby avoiding the loss of acquired expertise in this sector. It is also important to stress that the EGF should not be a substitute for the legal and financial responsibilities of the Spanish firms, but rather an additional support granted by the EU in order to mitigate the social difficulties that these workers will face.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for the Aragón region in Spain. Spain submitted an application to mobilise the EGF for 836 redundancies in 377 enterprises in the building construction sector in the Aragón region, in the period January-October 2011.

The Commission has recognised in its Economic Recovery Plan that the construction industry in the EU had seen demand plummet as a result of the economic and financial crisis. The number of building permits granted in Spain decreased by 75.6% in 2009 and by 82.8% in 2010 compared with 2007, while the number of buildings started decreased by 52.2% in 2009 compared with 2008 and by 76.7% compared with 2007. The Spanish authorities argue that the redundancies in the construction sector will aggravate the unemployment situation, which has already deteriorated as a result of the financial and economic crisis in recent years.

During 2008 and 2009, the unemployment rate increased dramatically in Aragón, from 40 000 unemployed to 80 000. I support the mobilisation of the EGF with the aim of reintegrating into the labour market the workers made redundant in the construction sector in the Spanish region of Aragón.

 
  
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  Niki Tzavela (EFD), in writing. – The construction sector has been severely affected by the crisis in Spain, but also in many other EU Member States. The main reason for this is that loans have been drastically reduced, thus creating a sudden drop in demand for new houses. Furthermore, I voted on the mobilisation of the EGF in favour of Spain in order to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the global financial and economic crisis.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) There is no doubt that the crisis has done great harm to the construction sector in the European Union. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was established to provide additional support to workers made redundant as a direct result of the crisis. EGF support should be allocated primarily to training and job search activities as well as to training programmes. It should not be used to improve unemployment benefits. However, in the coordinated package prepared by Spain, this is precisely the nature of the financial incentives to be offered to encourage participation. Unemployment benefits are the responsibility of national, not EU institutions. I therefore voted against the report.

 
  
  

Reports: Bendt Bendtsen (A7-0232/2012), Juan Andrés Naranjo Escobar (A7-0233/2012)

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Christofer Fjellner, Gunnar Hökmark and Anna Ibrisagic (PPE), in writing. (SV) We voted today in favour of two reports on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. Ever since the fund was set up in 2006, we have always abstained from voting because we were opposed to the fund from the outset, as we do not believe that this fund is the right instrument to use to help workers affected by structural changes. The fund has now grown, developed and has its own impact. It exists and it is not going to disappear in the foreseeable future. Therefore, we will now adopt a position in each individual case in relation to whether they meet the very strict requirements made of the applicants with regard to cofinancing and long-term employment measures. In both of these cases, we believe that the applications meet these requirements. Within the framework of the work on the 2013 budget and the long-term budget, we will continue to support more effective and longer-term instruments to increase employment, cope with structural changes and increase flexibility on the labour market.

 
  
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  Ashley Fox (ECR), in writing. – This fund costs the taxpayer EUR 500 million every year. This EUR 500 million comes from our Member States and, more importantly, our constituents. While some of the applications to this fund may be worthy, more could be achieved if this money were returned to the Member States. The process for this fund is too bureaucratic. A company has to submit an application to the national government, which then, in turn, applies to the Commission, which judges whether the application is worthy or not. If it is deemed worthy, the Commission submits the application to the budgetary authority, and then finally we are required to vote on something we are far, far removed from. National governments and local authorities are better placed to decide on whether they need to use such funds, and how they should be applied. They are also accountable to their citizens for the taxes they levy to pay for such expenditure. I therefore voted against this report.

 
  
  

Report: Claude Turmes (A7-0265/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report. I think that investing in innovative energy technologies capable of providing jobs, wealth, sustainability and autonomy compared with importing fossil fuels is an important strategy for the European economy’s recovery. Although the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) has steadfastly advocated reducing investments, my group has been able to do work whose results are reflected in this report: a strong directive aimed at helping towards a 20% cut in energy consumption by 2020, as set out by the Commission in the Europe 2020 strategy as a path towards green, smart and sustainable growth, and aimed at tackling the lack of energy sources by creating jobs with a view to economic growth in the EU.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The EU has set ambitious standards in terms of energy efficiency. However, according to the assessments made, the extraordinary potential for energy savings and efficiency is not sufficiently utilised. The measures already adopted by Member States have proven to be inadequate in terms of removing the obstacles still hampering the market and regulation. This is why the Energy Efficiency Directive is so important, because it establishes a common framework for promoting energy efficiency in the EU by 2020 and beyond.

I wish to commend, in particular, the provisions on the long-term building renovation strategy and those on the funding schemes for energy efficiency measures. We perhaps wanted, of course, an even more ambitious directive so that the 20% target could actually be achieved by 2020. However, we must also realise that adopting this directive marks a major step on the part of the European Union and we have the chance to turn it into a valuable economic opportunity.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) By adopting this directive on energy efficiency, Parliament has sought to strengthen its commitment to the fight against climate change. Ensuring that Member States improve energy efficiency by 20% is crucial if the EU is to remain a leader on environmental issues. I supported this text, the main measures of which are to insulate public buildings, carry out energy audits and mobilise funds to facilitate this transition. Together with the development of renewable energies and the reduction in CO2 emissions, energy efficiency represents one of the areas with the greatest potential for progress in the fight against climate change.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this proposal on energy efficiency. The EU spends around EUR 400 billion a year on energy imports. We therefore need to take all the measures necessary to enable us to promote efficient and sustainable energy use and contribute to guaranteeing energy security and reducing energy dependence on third countries. I welcome the directive’s binding targets at EU and national level to achieve a 20% energy efficiency target by 2020, which would help improve not just the Union’s energy security, but would also contribute to the EU’s economic recovery. I agree that energy saving systems should be established in the Member States to achieve energy efficiency and public bodies should be obliged to purchase energy-efficient buildings. The provisions included in this directive on the introduction of smart meters will help to better protect EU consumers against unreasonable energy price increases and will raise consumer awareness of actual energy consumption and energy prices.

 
  
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  Ivo Belet (PPE), in writing. (NL) With this new directive, we are taking a big step forwards in terms of achieving the Europe 2020 climate targets. This is not only good in terms of further reducing CO2 emissions; investments in energy efficiency will also promote jobs and energy costs for businesses and consumers will decrease. By providing better information on the energy bill and through initiatives undertaken by energy suppliers to save 1.5% in energy each year, we will all be encouraged to consume energy in a more conscious way.

Member States should set the example. Every year, 3% of central government buildings will need to be renovated in order to make them more energy efficient. This will undoubtedly provide an impetus for employment. The long-term strategies for the renovation of residential and commercial buildings which Member States need to draw up will undoubtedly contribute to this.

Admittedly, this Energy Efficiency Directive could have been more ambitious. It is a compromise and there is certainly still work to be done. However, it is clear that we are on the right track in order to ensure a better environment, more jobs and reduced energy dependence.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Finally, we have binding measures for energy efficiency. We should welcome this. Indeed, we are not in a position to achieve the targets that we have set for ourselves at present. There are exemptions of course, and some measures are still voluntary, but even so, the agreement reached at first reading enables us to turn certain elements of the Energy Efficiency Plan into binding measures. Energy companies will have to reduce their sales to industrial and domestic consumers by at least 1.5% per year. Each Member State will have to ensure that 3% of the floor area of government buildings is renovated every year, in accordance with the directive on the energy performance of buildings. Finally, EU countries will have to submit an action plan at regular intervals. While Parliament would have liked to go further on these issues, we should remember that it is the Council and therefore the Member States that have made this text less ambitious. The text remains, all in all, resolutely positive in the current context of energy transition.

 
  
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  Nora Berra (PPE), in writing.(FR) I welcome the adoption of the Turmes report on energy efficiency. Having previously been a purely political matter, the target of a 20% reduction in the EU’s energy consumption by 2020 is now binding. It adds to the targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% and of increasing the share of renewable energies in energy consumption to 20%. The directive thus makes provision for a 3% renovation rate for public buildings, energy saving programmes for public services and energy audits for large companies. The report also proposes that Member States should submit national targets to the Commission next May.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR), in writing.(PL) The European Union’s Member States spend over EUR 400 billion on energy imports every year, creating significant dependence on foreign suppliers. I welcome all measures intended to increase energy efficiency, save resources and reduce this high level of dependence. Support for enterprises in the EU which produce energy is fully justified because it helps increase Europe’s competitiveness in the world, and inside the EU it helps develop this and other branches of the economy and creates jobs. In view of steadily rising energy prices, it is in the interests of European consumers to ensure that these costs are kept under control. The objective stated in the directive of achieving an absolute reduction in energy consumption must therefore be incorporated in strategies for the management of energy. I hope that well thought-out and effective economy measures will mean that during the crisis, we will be able to protect household budgets, which are currently under great strain. I support the report.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE), in writing. (ES) I voted in favour of this report because I entirely support the establishment of a joint framework of measures for promoting energy efficiency within the EU in order to ensure that we achieve the headline energy efficiency target for the Union of 20% savings by 2020 and to pave the way for further improvements in energy efficiency beyond that date.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The European Union is increasingly exposed to instability and rising prices on the global energy markets, as well as to the consequences of the situation where the oil and gas reserves are gradually ending up being monopolised by a limited number of owners. Competition between energy suppliers will not be enough to keep energy costs in check.

Another important aspect is the situation regarding residential and industrial buildings which account for more than 40% of primary energy consumption in Europe. Increasing energy efficiency in buildings is an absolute must in order to achieve the important environmental protection targets, on the one hand, and to reduce the ever rising energy costs for the users of the buildings, on the other. This is why I think that the policies and measures adopted must result in a complete reduction in energy consumption, which will lead to a decrease in the overall cost of energy for consumers, thereby freeing up income for the EU’s citizens and businesses and cutting public sector expenditure.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the main objective of EU environmental policy is to reduce the amount of dangerous and harmful gas emissions and other emissions. Promoting energy efficiency is the best means of doing this. Energy efficiency may help to bring costs for efficient products and services down and increase the business opportunities for the industries involved. The decision adopted by the Heads of State in 2007 set the target of increasing energy efficiency by 20% and this is a key element of the 2050 Low Carbon Road map. In order to achieve this target, the Member States should deliver national action plans, which are decisive and specific, and the Commission must have the right to assess and amend them. A European methodology should also be laid down based on a model allowing the different situation in the Member States to be assessed. A correction factor linked to the economic situation of the country should also be applied to avoid a situation where the model is difficult to implement for some countries and not decisive enough for others. It is worth mentioning that the objective of energy efficiency is not only inseparable from the regulation of the activities of every citizen and SME, but from the provision of incentives, such as the creation of an energy saving support system. However, national incentives need to be clearly defined so that they are not seen as illegal State aid.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) It is easy to find points of convergence with a report as complex as this, and I would like to say right away that I voted for it.

Many of the recommendations seem to be convincing in terms of not ‘wasting’ the crisis, or, in other words, interpreting energy efficiency as one aspect of a structured response to the crisis. Therefore, it is an excellent idea to make legislative thinking, individual incentives, the promotion of competition and excellence in the construction and facilities industries all converge on the aim of efficient buildings.

Promoting a redevelopment of significant proportions of the building stock, both private and public, through the involvement of and support for economic forces and enterprise, a concrete commitment on the part of the public authorities and the participation of families, produces many results: in environmental terms, it contributes to achieving the targets as set out in the Europe 2020 strategy; it could be a factor helping to revitalise our economies, because it is based on values of know-how and the quality of enterprises; it helps families and consumers, affected by the pervasive and knock-on effects of the fuel price rises or increases in tax on resources; it promotes research and development, without indulging in attractive but dangerous utopias of negative growth; it contributes to security and stability, easing energy dependence on supplies that are located, for the most part, in politically volatile areas.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the directive on energy efficiency. As the 20% energy saving targets set by the Commission and adopted by Member States as part of the EU 2020 strategy appear to have run out of steam, it was necessary to reassess and adapt them to more suitable feasibility criteria. These new measures aim to make additional savings and, at the same time, highlight the need for energy efficiency. Binding measures have thus been drawn up to get Member States more closely involved: cost-effective approaches to building renovations are required, and energy efficiency should become a key factor when awarding contracts. I also support the move to make regular energy audits compulsory for large companies.

 
  
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  Arkadiusz Tomasz Bratkowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) The report on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on energy efficiency and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC contains an analysis of several key questions which are going to decide the future of Europe. The EU faces the huge challenge of its growing demand for electricity, among other reasons, because of the way the new Member States are developing. According to the International Energy Agency, in 15 years, Poland will need 50% more energy that it is currently able to produce. Rigorous EU standards on CO2 emissions and the need to implement renewable energy technologies make it difficult to produce energy in such amounts.

Europe also faces the challenge of increasing its energy efficiency by 20% by the end of 2020 (conclusions of the European Council of 4 February 2011). Unfortunately, achievement of this objective is not made easy by numerous internal and external factors, including the economic crisis and the competition facing Europe on every side in the field of transport or heavy industry. We currently face a challenge which is forcing us to grow faster while doing less damage to the environment, which is not easy to do. Outdated infrastructure and technologies are causing huge losses and contributing to high levels of emissions, but to change this situation, it is necessary to invest. Apart from this, consideration should also be given to creating instruments which would help the citizens reduce their energy consumption.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – The proposals lean towards increasingly centralised and punitive measures that would essentially burden the taxpayer, indirectly and directly, to fund energy efficiency targets stipulated by the EU. While energy efficiency is paramount in the light of decreasing resources and increasing fuel prices, with energy deficit seeing many European countries depend upon fuel importation that undermines and weakens national economies, creating a pan-European policy is only likely to backfire and see the burden of cost passed onto the public via legislation that fails to appreciate and accommodate specifics of particular industries or regions. Costs enforced upon utility companies will simply be passed down to the consumer, as will the results from energy audits on large enterprises if not handled effectively. While the rapporteur acknowledges the need to protect consumers against unjustified price rises, and the role of local governance in actuating energy efficiency, these principles stand in direct contradiction to the proposition of centralised targets and to the identification that ‘levies or obligations on all customers or retailers can raise substantial and constant funding’. I would not trust Brussels to forge a centralised energy efficiency strategy that would avoid deep and divisive consequences.

 
  
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  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for the proposal for an Energy Efficiency Directive, presented by Mr Turmes. I fully support the aim of closing the gap in order to meet the 20% reduction target of energy consumption by 2020 by laying down a common framework for energy efficiency, without setting binding targets. I am convinced that the provisions in this measure will significantly contribute to tackling the economic crisis, creating more opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the construction sector and an increase in jobs. The main benefits will include lower CO2 emissions and a resulting reduction in waste, and investment and innovations designed to achieve the targets will be encouraged. I would particularly like to emphasise that this agreement is the fruit of a good compromise which, when transposed by Member States, will make it possible to achieve the targets already set, leading to greater efficiency, more innovation and a reduction in costs, including for public administrations. I would like to voice my appreciation of the fruitful negotiations that resulted in constraints being laid down while leaving a certain degree of flexibility to Member States in terms of application. The Commission will have a monitoring role and, with its assessment report on the application of the directive in 2014, will check on the state of progress.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I believe there is a need to adopt ambitious policies combating climate change and resource scarcity. Energy efficiency has been proving to be the cheapest and fastest way of reducing CO2 emissions. I also consider it essential to adopt measures aimed at reducing the EU’s external debt in relation to energy, at increasing its geopolitical independence and energy security, and at keeping energy costs under control and achieving sustainable growth in the EU.

 
  
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  Françoise Castex (S&D), in writing.(FR) Parliament has today approved a directive on energy efficiency that should enable us to aim for energy savings of 20% by 2020, which represents considerable progress. I particularly welcome the fact that the directive specifies a series of compulsory measures that contribute to the goal of energy efficiency. These include renovating public buildings, a strategy to encourage investment in renovating housing stock and commercial premises, cogeneration, energy saving certificates, and so on. The Commission has also agreed to publish a list of additional sectoral initiatives in order to ensure that the overall target of 20% energy savings by 2020 is really achieved. The course has been set; it is now up to Member States to implement this directive as quickly as possible.

 
  
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  Andrea Cozzolino (S&D), in writing. (IT) Negotiations on energy efficiency measures are proving increasingly difficult and complex, particularly because of some large Member States which are not always fully prepared to support ambitious agreements and perspectives which, in the short term, may give rise to costs and negative effects on their competitiveness. In this case too, despite some improvements, we are faced with a directive which, although it contributes to achieving the 20% energy efficiency target by 2020, will not be sufficient in itself (a result between 15 and 17% is estimated). In our view, there will thus have to be an increased commitment to ensuring that long-term perspectives and requirements find a way to establish themselves in the face of the selfish interests which, in the short-term, can have a strong influence on Member States’ governments and, in particular, at a time of acute economic crisis. A structural and lasting solution to this crisis must instead be sought in measures that address and solve the roots of the serious issue of energy poverty. We need to think afresh about the way out of this situation. It is not possible to return to the production and consumption models that preceded the crisis and therefore we need to be ambitious and courageous in order to create new opportunities and new jobs.

 
  
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  Tadeusz Cymański (EFD), in writing.(PL) I abstained in the vote on the directive on energy efficiency. On the one hand, legitimate objectives were presented in terms of reducing the costs of energy. On the other hand, a system of ‘energy-efficient public procurement’ is being created, for which a very high price will ultimately be paid by the taxpayer.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) I think it is beneficial that Member States are encouraged to use cogeneration more, as the potential of this process still remains untapped at its real level across the European Union. On the other hand, Member States must encourage long-term investments aimed at renovating residential and commercial buildings – belonging both to public and private sector institutions – by using cost-effective renovation solutions and taking into account the different building types and climate zone they belong to.

 
  
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  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The European Union has set itself the target of reducing its carbon emissions and energy consumption by 20% by 2020. In order to achieve this target, it is essential that concrete measures are implemented, such as renovating public buildings, developing energy saving programmes or enforcing regular compulsory energy audits for large companies. If these measures are properly implemented, the European Union will achieve savings of EUR 50 billion each year. Increased energy efficiency will not only enable us to protect the environment, but it will also help to boost the economy and create new jobs by stimulating the research and innovation sectors.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the adoption of this report, which responds to a real recognition by EU citizens of the need to adapt our societies in order to significantly reduce energy waste, in accordance with our past commitments.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing.(FR) On Tuesday, a very large majority voted in favour of a directive that should enable Europe to improve its energy efficiency by roughly 15% between now and the end of the decade. The stakes were high. The text, which should be transposed into the law of the Member States by early 2014 at the latest, forces Member States to renovate 3% of public buildings each year, with a view to increasing their energy efficiency. It is worth noting, however, that as a result of pressure from several countries, and given the current state of public finances in Europe, local and regional administrative buildings – which represent 12% of offices in Europe – will not be subject to this requirement. On the other hand, European energy suppliers will have to take measures to reduce their customers’ energy consumption by 1.5% each year between 2014 and 2020. The directive also forces Member States to adopt national energy efficiency plans, which will be submitted to the Commission. If these plans are not sufficiently ambitious, then the Commission will be able to impose binding measures on them from 2014.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because I think that the new directive on energy efficiency marks important progress towards achieving the Europe 2020 strategy targets, both in the energy sector and for reducing pollution. It is vital that new investments in energy efficiency are economically sustainable and do not give rise to undesirable spin-offs, such as increasing energy costs for end consumers.

In addition, I think that it is important for these investments also to cover the private housing sector as in many Member States, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, this causes huge energy losses. The same also applies to the production infrastructure and the transportation of energy, which need to be modernised to restrict collateral losses.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This directive constitutes an opportunity for Europe to honour the energy and climate commitments made by the Heads of State or Government in March 2007 and February 2011. The objective is to increase energy efficiency in the EU by 20%, which will lead to a saving of 368 million tonnes of oil equivalent against the trend by 2020. I believe the EU cannot fail to hit its energy efficiency target: if it does, it will also fail as regards climate change, energy security, environmentally friendly growth and social protection. The renovation, every year, of 3% of the total floor area of heated and/or cooled buildings owned by the state or occupied by the central government, as well as the installation of smart meters that help consumers to improve their behaviour as regards energy efficiency, are some examples of things this directive aims to introduce with a view to increasing energy efficiency. I would stress that this directive encourages the Member States and the regions to use the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund to invest in energy efficiency measures.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We argue that it is imperative to take significant steps to increase energy efficiency and, in general, to rationalise energy consumption. This requires profound changes to take hold, first and foremost, by changing the dominant economic model at international level. Continuing with the same principles that have been guiding EU energy policy, such as liberalising the energy markets, will not have the desired effect. The goal in the so-called ‘market economy’ is to produce and sell, increasing supply and inducing demand; this underlies unsustainable energy consumption. This explains, in part, why efficiency is the poor relation of European energy policy. There are a number of positive aspects of the report, particularly its statement that energy efficiency is ‘a major element in ensuring the sustainability of the use of energy resources’, and its mention of smart meters, of energy-efficient buildings, and of concern for small and medium-sized enterprises. Nonetheless, it is missing the crucial element: a break with neoliberal policies to enable energy efficiency that does not try to paper over the crisis and the ever greater energy poverty in Europe.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Energy efficiency is the most cost-efficient way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other emissions related to fossil fuels. It makes us less dependent on energy imports, for which the EU currently pays more than EUR 400 billion per year. By investing in energy efficiency, the EU is reducing its dependence on Russia and the OPEC states and investing in European industries. Small and medium-sized businesses in particular – including installation and construction companies – would benefit. This directive is Europe’s chance to honour the Heads of State’s energy and climate commitment of March 2007 and 2011: realising a 20% rise in the EU’s energy efficiency will lead to a reduction against the trend of 368 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) by 2020. A common EU approach is necessary to reinforce energy savings, energy efficiency and innovation, achieve economies of scale and reduce the bureaucratic burden in all Member States. EU energy efficiency policy will build on existing and well-functioning regional and national policies while leaving the necessary flexibility to take account of local and national specificities.

 
  
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  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) The political agreement reached is ambitious. The legislative proposal is an important instrument which, although of a non-binding nature, introduces energy efficiency measures which ought to allow the European targets in the energy and climate package to be attained in terms of reducing energy consumption by 20% by 2020. In addition, we hope that the package will make it possible to stimulate economic growth, increase the competitiveness of enterprises and create jobs. I welcome the fact that this package incorporates the concerns imposed by the economic crisis in terms of budget constraints by introducing a level of flexibility which is well adapted to certain contexts such as the Italian situation, without forgetting environmental sustainability.

 
  
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  Adam Gierek (S&D), in writing.(PL) The Commission did consider the impact on the market and finally decided quite rightly to take action to improve energy efficiency, but the report has, in fact, failed to address this subject properly. Objective criteria are needed for measuring the real gross efficiency of the Member States, both at micro-economic and macro-economic levels. The macro-economic aspect should be examined by looking at the rate of growth, calculated as the year-on-year difference in primary energy consumption per unit of GDP per capita for each country, divided by baseline consumption per unit of GDP per capita and expressed as a percentage. Energy policy, as it was defined when the Member States adopted the very worthy 20-20-20 objectives in 2007, has been distorted by the Climate and Energy Package, which introduces unfair competition by discriminating against countries whose energy mix is dominated by coal as a source of primary energy. The Climate and Energy Package represents a departure from economic realities: the Member States are being forced to pursue different objectives at the same time. We do not have an optimal, step-by-step, economically advantageous route to achieving the 20-20-20 objectives. If, alongside responsibility for developing the energy mix, policy objectives are also put in the hands of the Member States, it will result in greater squandering of primary energy and in higher emissions of CO2 than could otherwise realistically be achieved. It is, however, a question of confidence, and a crisis of confidence is where we find ourselves today. For these reasons, I did not endorse the report.

 
  
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  Robert Goebbels (S&D), in writing.(FR) I did not vote in favour of the Turmes report because the compromise between the Council and the rapporteur was reached with no regard for the democratic rules that should govern the European Parliament. Based solely on the vote held in the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the rapporteur and the rapporteurs for the opinion of the various committees have negotiated a compromise that is far removed from Mr Turmes’ initial ambitions. More importantly, however, neither individual Members nor Parliament as a whole were able to exercise their right of amendment in order to improve the directive. Parliament had no choice but to vote for or against the proposed text as a whole. I voted against it, all the more so since I believe that the directive could have been improved had the rapporteur not chosen to negotiate behind closed doors and with a complete lack of transparency.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing.(FR) As we know, Europe has been trapped in a crisis for more than four years and is implementing all possible measures and mechanisms in order to put an end to it. However, the crisis should not overshadow other priorities, such as energy issues. The European Union had committed to achieving a target of 20% energy efficiency by 2020. This is an ambitious but not unattainable target, provided that we invest more in sectoral energy efficiency measures. That is why I welcome the adoption at first reading of the directive on energy efficiency, which, once implemented by Member States, will help to stimulate green growth and employment and to fight against waste. In practical terms, public buildings will have to be adapted in order to improve their energy performance, large companies will have to carry out energy audits, energy suppliers will be required to encourage their customers to make savings and so forth. Finally, the directive encourages the development of cogeneration in inaccessible or rural areas. Cogeneration is a technique that enables the production of heat as well as electricity using different energy sources (such as natural gas, coal or biomass).

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this proposal because energy efficiency is the most cost-efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other emissions related to fossil fuels. Energy efficiency also makes us less dependent on energy imports, for which the EU currently pays more than EUR 400 billion per year. By investing in energy efficiency, the EU will reduce its dependence on Russia and the OPEC States and, in such a case, will be able to invest more in European industries. Energy efficiency is a central objective for 2020. It is key to achieving our long-term energy and climate goals and also the most cost-effective way to reduce emissions, improve energy security and competitiveness and keep energy costs down. The energy challenge is one of the greatest tests faced by Europe today. Not only do rising energy prices and increasing dependence on energy imports have a negative impact on consumers, they also jeopardise our security and competitiveness. Key decisions have to be taken as a matter of urgency to slash spending on energy and emissions and mitigate climate change.

 
  
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  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE), in writing. (SK) Achieving an energy saving of 20% will require the EU to invest EUR 800-1 200 billion in the next decade. The pay-back period of the investments is usually between four and eight years and they will create numerous jobs and trigger innovation. It is possible to involve EU funding sources, as well as private sources, including on the basis of revolving funds. Other resources of around EUR 400 billion may be achieved by 2020 directly from energy savings. An important source of savings may be the renovation of buildings which account for 40% of the EU’s energy consumption. The estimated annual rate of building renovations of 2% would have to increase to 3% if the target of a 1.5% yearly end-use energy saving obligation in the EU is to be achieved. I fully support all measures aimed at saving energy in the EU.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) The efforts made on energy saving, according to the data available to us, are not yet sufficient to achieve the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050, as compared with 1990. The report does well to highlight this problem and to set out solutions to try to implement an energy plan that is sustainable and has measurable targets. In this regard, all productive sectors, not just the private sector, are identified as agents for greater energy efficiency. Public buildings, for example, play a fundamental role from this perspective and they should be renovated in order to meet the minimum energy performance requirements and to move closer to the gas emissions reduction targets.

 
  
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  Agnès Le Brun (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report, which is particularly important with regard to the proper use of our energy resources. Indeed, this European directive imposes binding energy saving measures, particularly through the renovation of public buildings and energy audits for all large companies. This 20% reduction in energy consumption will enable the European Union to save EUR 50 billion each year. The adoption of this text is a step in the right direction. In France’s case, it will enable us to step up our efforts, initiated by the previous government, to reduce energy costs and to promote renewable energies. This text was adopted by 632 votes to 25, with 19 abstentions.

 
  
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  Constance Le Grip (PPE) , in writing.(FR) We voted in favour of the directive on energy efficiency by a large majority. On 8 March 2011, the Commission presented a new Energy Efficiency Plan (EEP) that specifies measures for achieving additional savings in energy supply and use, while establishing a common framework for promoting energy efficiency within the EU for 2020 and beyond. This directive requires that Member States set energy efficiency targets that take into account the overall target of 20%. However, while energy efficiency is a real prerequisite for economic efficiency, the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) felt that it was also necessary to take into account the realities facing our companies and encouraged the rapporteur to accept the compromise proposed by the Council. Member States, industry and public bodies have been given greater flexibility. Member States should nonetheless put incentives in place for citizens and companies. We therefore support a gradual transition and flexible measures so that Member States can adapt in a way that suits their industrial structure and economy.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) The European Union needs to take action as soon as possible to secure its future energy provision and protect its interests in this area. Energy efficiency measures play a crucial role in achieving this by guaranteeing that the climate and energy targets set are achieved at the lowest possible cost.

I think that additional pressure needs to be applied to local and regional representatives to get them to comply with the EU guidelines set out and, at the same time, we must provide considerable financial support to devise projects. The smart use of EU funds for the forthcoming 2014-2020 programming period will enable us to achieve the 20% energy efficiency target and, by extension, the European Union’s objectives on sustainability and competitiveness. Furthermore, decreasing consumption through energy efficiency is the most sustainable way of reducing dependency on fossil fuels and will enable us to bring about a significant drop in imports of approximately 25%.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report and agree with the rapporteur that a common EU approach is necessary to reinforce energy savings, energy efficiency and innovation, achieve economies of scale and reduce the bureaucratic burden in all Member States. I agree also that an EU efficiency policy will build on existing and well-functioning regional and national policies while leaving the necessary flexibility to take account of local and national specificities.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the directive on energy efficiency, in order to achieve the European target of a 20% reduction in energy consumption by 2020. The measures adopted are varied and include a range of mechanisms relating to building renovations, standards applicable to public procurement, energy saving requirements, transport and distribution. In setting national indicative targets, Member States should demonstrate their commitment and choose the most effective measures in order to contribute towards this joint European effort.

 
  
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  Iosif Matula (PPE), in writing. (RO) Setting targets for a 20% cut in carbon emissions by the end of this decade entails not only effort but also numerous benefits. Energy efficiency is beneficial in terms of reducing energy consumption costs significantly. At the moment, the EU retains its role as global leader for energy efficiency, but, in order to compete successfully with the emerging economies, it will reinforce this position by supporting European companies operating in the green technologies sector.

The aim of the EU’s energy efficiency policy must be to utilise efficiently the energy potential offered by EU regions. Consequently, Member States have the task of submitting action plans as part of their national development strategies. The Structural Funds and national contributions which are intended to finance energy efficiency projects should be a priority of the cohesion policy.

Supporting SMEs with the aim of enhancing sustainable technologies brings immediate benefits by cutting costs significantly. The role of local and regional initiatives is to promote investment in green technologies and to attract private investment. Innovative financial instruments can help boost private capital with a view to trading emissions.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for the report. I agree with the clarification of the fact that the EU is spending more than EUR 400 billion per year to import energy. Realising the minimum 20% energy savings target will not only enhance our energy security but also reduce by at least EUR 50 billion per year the wealth transfer from EU economies to energy producing countries.

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for the report by Mr Turmes because I believe that one of the most important areas to encourage, at both European and national levels, is that of energy efficiency. Against this background, I very much appreciated the excellent work done by my fellow Members, which has made it possible to identify priority areas for encouragement. The difficulty in achieving the targets set by the Commission for 2020 means that the EU and all the Member States must be able to fully commit themselves to setting an example and seeking solutions capable of making energy consumption efficient. In addition, I believe it is right to lay down the required regular audits in order to intervene where and when necessary. This is both in order to optimise the present and to look to future goals with renewed vigour.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) The only progress contained in this report is the introduction of binding energy efficiency targets. Unfortunately, this progress is made meaningless by the narrow and unrealistic vision of energy efficiency proposed in the text. It does away with the requirement to factor into energy efficiency calculations the total amount of primary energy consumed by each product or service and its impact on the planet. Worse still, it exempts nuclear power stations from energy efficiency analyses. Add to this the validation of the carbon market and that of free competition between energy companies, and you get a high environmental cost for our ecosystem. I voted against.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing. (ES) I voted in favour of the adoption of this report on energy efficiency because I think we need to redouble our efforts to achieve more efficient energy systems as, alongside orienting energy policy towards renewable energy sources, energy efficiency is one more way to increase security of supply and reduce CO2 emissions. This resolution will represent a positive step towards achieving the target, which, in itself, is insufficient, of reducing energy consumption in EU Member States by 20%. For these reasons, I supported the report, while taking into account the fact that seeking energy efficiency must go hand in hand with other energy measures, such as, for example, a radical change in energy production, including the gradual closure of all nuclear power stations.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE), in writing. (SK) The European Union and all its Member States face challenges arising from the limited energy resources in the EU, and therefore also from a dependence on energy imports from outside Europe. Energy efficiency is not only a valuable means of mitigating the negative effects of climate change through the cost-effective reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, but also a way of increasing energy security and moving towards a competitive, energy-efficient economy. I believe, therefore, that EU programmes such as Horizon 2020 for science and research should pay attention to innovative technological solutions in the sectors related to energy efficiency. In this way, we would also manage to create new skilled jobs. I agree with the approach that, when setting indicative national energy efficiency targets, the Member States should be able to take account of national circumstances and adapt specific incentives to improve energy efficiency to them.

 
  
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  Ana Miranda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – This essential legislation is not only crucial for achieving our energy security and climate goals; it will also give a real boost to the economy and create jobs. Crucially, it will reduce the sizeable and growing cost of our dependence on energy imports – EUR 488 billion in 2011 or 3.9% of EU GDP – which is particularly stark in crisis-hit countries. Policy at EU and national level must now be reoriented with a view to swiftly implementing and fully maximising the benefits of these new rules, which are a concrete tool for responding to the economic crisis. This includes mobilising European funds to support energy efficiency and savings, as well as creating training programmes – notably with a youth focus – with a view to creating employment in the sector and tackling unemployment. This is essential legislation, and I voted in favour of it.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Energy efficiency is a key element of the flagship initiative ‘A resource-efficient Europe’, which was announced within the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy. As the Commission’s communication ‘Road map for moving to a competitive low carbon economy by 2050’ shows, energy efficiency is one of the aspects of a low carbon economy that can help create new jobs in the short and medium term, through more intensive training, through further education and through programmes for better acceptance of new technologies, as well as through R&D and entrepreneurship. This proposed directive emphasises that the switch to a more energy-efficient economy will also improve the competitiveness of industry in the Union, thereby promoting economic growth and creating high-quality jobs in a number of sectors related to energy efficiency. That is obviously to be welcomed. Nonetheless, the fundamental question arises here as to whether global warming can actually be mitigated or limited by the planned measures. In view of the fact that this is primarily a natural phenomenon, it must be assumed that the proposed measures will mean substantial additional costs for public budgets and for companies which, in the end, will have no effect. All this at a time of crisis. I therefore voted against the proposed directive.

 
  
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  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of this report, which I feel is particularly important, especially at the moment with the rising price of oil and heated debates about the use of agricultural products for producing energy. I regard in particular the provisions on developing efficient power grids and promoting cogeneration as important because this provides a future solution for meeting local heating and electricity needs. This solution is extremely suitable for rural areas where large resources of timber are available. The report marks progress in terms of European energy saving policy, which is a measure we must continue.

 
  
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  Wojciech Michał Olejniczak (S&D), in writing.(PL) Increasing energy efficiency is one of the best methods for combating climate warming. I think the measures currently being taken to improve the energy efficiency of residential buildings are extremely beneficial. In Poland’s case, the financial assistance being made available for insulating buildings and replacing windows has produced one of the most visible signs of Poland’s membership in the European Union. Public opinion is unequivocal in its approval. So I welcome the proposal for a directive on energy efficiency, which includes a requirement that each year, the Member States renovate 3% of the total floor area of heated and/or cooled buildings owned and occupied by government institutions.

I regret that Parliament did not manage to push through its proposal for the renovation of all public buildings and not just central government buildings. On the other hand, the approach which has been adopted is an important step towards achieving the objectives on greenhouse gas reductions. An extremely important feature is that the directive reduces the gap preventing us from reaching the objective of a 20% saving in energy by 2020. We can now guarantee that we will be able to reduce energy consumption by 15%. If the former rules were still in force, only a 9% reduction could realistically be expected. This is a result which falls far short of expectations and needs. For these reasons, I decided to endorse the report on energy efficiency.

 
  
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  Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. (LT) The report on energy efficiency is one of the EP’s most significant tasks in the current parliamentary term. It is a very important piece of legislation for EU citizens and companies, helping to combat the economic crisis and unemployment. The EU does not have direct measures to reduce global oil and gas prices, but it can help to reduce energy consumption. This directive will also create two million jobs for small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly in the construction sector. This is also crucial for young people. Energy efficiency not only saves money, but also protects the environment leading to fewer emissions. I voted in favour of this report because it is particularly important for EU citizens living through difficult times. An increase in the price of energy resources has a particularly painful impact on EU Member States that are still in a difficult economic situation and the weakest layers of their societies. It is important that this directive is not just seen as a document promoting energy efficiency. It is also important to save energy resources in everyday life.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) The text that has just been adopted repeals a directive from eight years ago which, in the sphere of research and development, industry and energy, means that it is an old and obsolete piece of regulation. In line with the EU 2020 targets, the proposal for a new directive seeks to reduce the European Union’s energy use by 20%. Energy saving, environmental protection and sustainable growth will be safeguarded by specific provisions that will channel energy companies towards better control, partly through the use of new technologies. This will limit firms’ wastage without constraining individual Member States too much. Energy efficiency means savings on energy costs, an increase in security and specialisation and development of industries and, for these reasons, we can only back these targets.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) It is widely accepted that policies for combating climate change and resource scarcity are needed. I agree with the objective of keeping energy costs under control and achieving sustainable growth for the EU, so I voted for this report. In fact, specialists consider energy efficiency one of the most effective and least burdensome ways of reducing CO2 emissions. I therefore think this policy is important, as is the adoption of measures increasing the EU’s energy independence and reducing its external debt in relation to energy.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) It is vital to achieve the European Union energy efficiency targets, since, in the event of failure, the EU would also fall short in terms of its targets on climate change, energy security, green growth and social protection. A common EU approach is therefore necessary to reinforce energy savings, energy efficiency and innovation, achieve economies of scale and reduce the bureaucratic burden in all Member States. In addition, in view of the fact that EU efficiency policy will build on existing and well-functioning regional and national policies while leaving the necessary flexibility to take account of local and national specificities, basing itself on pre-financing of efficiency measures and triggering technological, financial and social innovation, I voted for the proposal.

 
  
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  Alojz Peterle (PPE), in writing. (SL) Finally, we are seeing signs of binding measures that, together with mandatory austerity measures, will help improve the outlook on energy in the European Union. I am pleased that the directive is also binding on public institutions that are large consumers of energy. I will therefore be voting in favour of the strategic objective of energy conservation.

 
  
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  Tomasz Piotr Poręba (ECR), in writing.(PL) The European Union spends over EUR 400 billion every year on importing energy and, in many cases, Member States are dependent on a single source, particularly in the case of gas. Therefore, I fully support the proposal to reduce energy consumption by using it more efficiently, which will lead to reduced dependence on third countries and deliver benefits to ordinary citizens. This is a very important matter for all the Member States, because not only can it generate substantial financial savings, it can also reduce the use of natural resources. For these reasons, I decided to endorse the EU directive on energy efficiency.

 
  
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  Teresa Riera Madurell (S&D), in writing. (ES) Energy efficiency is one of the most affordable ways of increasing our energy security. This directive will firstly create jobs, the majority of which will be in the construction sector, which has suffered enormously in terms of jobs as a result of the current economic crisis. Moreover, we are talking about jobs with very significant local roots.

Secondly, this directive will help to combat the energy poverty that many homes are currently facing. Thirdly, it will help save on energy imports and therefore, at the same time, it will reduce our external energy dependency. There is no need to point out the impact of that dependency on our trade balances.

Finally, it is significant that it will act as a considerable incentive to research and innovation in the area of efficiency and will encourage our businesses to be more competitive in a context in which there is to be major global competition for increasingly scarce energy resources.

These are the reasons why I voted in favour of a directive which, nevertheless, could have gone much further in using the public authorities as an example and demanding a greater commitment from them to increase the energy efficiency of their buildings.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. As my colleague and rapporteur, Mr Turmes, has said, this essential legislation is not only crucial to achieving our energy security and climate goals, it will also give a real boost to the economy and create jobs. Crucially, it will reduce the sizeable and growing cost of our dependence on energy imports – EUR 488 billion in 2011 or 3.9% of EU GDP – which is particularly stark in crisis-hit countries. Policy at EU and national level must now be reoriented with a view to swiftly implementing and fully maximising the benefits of these new rules, which are a concrete tool for responding to the economic crisis. This includes mobilising European Union funds – such as the Structural Funds, project bonds and European Investment Bank funds – to support energy efficiency and savings, as well as creating training programmes – notably with a youth focus – with a view to creating employment in the sector and tackling unemployment.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for this document because I am convinced that a net reduction of 20% in energy consumption in the EU could save EUR 50 billion per year.

This ambitious target can be achieved only through new mandatory measures to save energy, such as measures to renovate public buildings, energy saving plans for public enterprises and energy audits for all large enterprises. This decision is doubly important: not only is it fundamental in order to achieve our energy security and climate targets, but it will also give a strong boost to the economy and create new jobs.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) This directive, to which we were strongly opposed at the beginning of the legislative process, so much so that we submitted an alternative resolution, asking the Commission to withdraw its proposal and to reformulate it because it impacted on the right of individual Member States to decide upon the conditions for using their energy sources, has been significantly amended.

The changes made in the trialogues with regard to the texts produced by the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) increase the level of flexibility for Member States, industry and public bodies, considerably lowering the level at which sights had been set. The rapporteur, who was strongly opposed to the changes, has accepted the compromise, despite the fact that the attainment of the 20% energy efficiency target cannot be fully guaranteed, because a more ambitious position would have jeopardised the agreement.

Since what we were asking for in our alternative resolution has, in fact, been granted, we voted for the report, even though we continue to have doubts regarding the application of the directive.

 
  
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  Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid (PPE), in writing.(FR) I welcome this report, which advocates compulsory measures to reduce energy consumption in all Member States. Energy efficiency, in addition to its environmental benefits, is an incredible booster for growth and employment and is crucial to our energy independence. The directive will enable us to reduce the increasing cost of our dependence on energy imports –EUR 488 billion in 2011 – which weighs down our trade balance, penalises our companies and erodes households’ purchasing power. Member States should set an example and implement a 3% annual renovation rate for buildings of public bodies. As for large companies, they will be required to carry out energy audits. Structural Funds and other EU financial instruments will be of precious help towards financing this energy efficiency. It is vital that we make this a priority area of future operational programmes.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The text we adopted this morning proposes a further reinforcement of the measures submitted by the Commission, inserting them within the viewpoint of European energy policy in 2050, and also granting demands regarding financial support for programmes/investments for efficiency measures. I believe that the sections of the proposal that are particularly worthy of support are where it pays special attention to the identification of energy efficiency targets, the exemplary role of the public sector, mandatory schemes for energy efficiency and the promotion of efficient heating and cooling systems, with particular reference to cogeneration and efficiency in the transmission and distribution of energy. Finally, according to the Commission’s estimates, in the face of an increase in costs of approximately EUR 24 billion per year for investments in the energy efficiency sector, the legislative proposal would lead to an overall reduction in the costs of investing in energy generation and distribution and the costs of the ‘energy bill’, amounting to approximately EUR 20 billion for the 2011-2020 period. For all these reasons, I voted in favour of the directive.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this text. We fought, in particular, on three main ideas: 1. All measures to ensure the achievement of the Union’s target of 20% must be binding, unless all Member States were to impose national binding targets of at least 20% – and, in this case, Member States would be allowed more flexibility in designing measures. 2. All Member States must establish ‘2050 building road maps’, addressing, inter alia, the issues of social housing and reducing energy poverty. 3. An extensive renovation rate of 2.5% per year must be implemented for all publicly owned buildings (representing energy savings of at least 70%).

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Commission has tabled the ‘Energy 2020’ initiative, placing energy efficiency at the core of the EU energy strategy for 2020. The communication also outlines the need for a new energy efficiency strategy that will enable all Member States to decouple energy use from economic growth. The EU has been playing a leading role in the international-level negotiations on improving energy efficiency, since all actions and measures adopted will have an impact on climate change, on energy security, on environmentally friendly growth and on social protection. I am voting for this report because I believe the EU should adopt a common approach, increasing energy saving and energy efficiency, whilst investing in new products and innovative services, in inter-company economies of scale, and in cutting the red tape present in all Member States. I would also argue that European efficiency policy will be based on existing regional and national policies that have been meeting with success, since there should be enough flexibility to adapt to the needs and specific situations of the Member States and regions.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) The European Union objective of increasing energy efficiency by 20% is one of the five headline targets of the Europe 2020 strategy. Energy efficiency is also one of the key priorities of the European Union’s energy policy for the coming years as it is the most viable and quickest way of increasing supply security and an effective way of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which are responsible for climate change.

Achieving the energy efficiency targets will boost the competitiveness of European industries, contribute to economic growth and create jobs. Energy efficiency may also mean lower energy bills for ordinary citizens, as well as a reduction in energy poverty, which can be achieved by adopting and funding measures for improving energy efficiency.

I support the need for Member States to use and increase the funds allocated to energy efficiency, especially through the Cohesion Fund, Structural Funds and the European Regional Development Fund, as well as through specific European financial instruments such as the European Energy Efficiency Fund. Furthermore, I think that it is useful for Member States to set up a national energy efficiency fund with the aim of supporting national energy efficiency initiatives.

 
  
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  Thomas Ulmer (PPE), in writing. (DE) I voted in favour of the report, but with gritted teeth. Dirigiste measures are mentioned here that are more appropriate to a communist system than to a system of democratic authority. The basic idea is correct and, through substantial efforts, Mr Pieper, the shadow rapporteur for the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), has been able to prevent something even worse. We will see where this is leading when it is implemented.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of this resolution, which will implement a number of significant energy-saving measures. Thanks to this directive, energy consumption will be reduced by 15%, representing an improvement on current legislation, under which a reduction of only 9% would be possible. Not only will this resolution ensure that energy efficiency targets are more likely to be met, it will also boost jobs and economic growth in Member States, with the mandatory renovation of 3% of central government buildings set to create millions of jobs all over Europe. This resolution, which has my full support, will also help to reduce energy costs for citizens. This is particularly important at a time when many are going without heating or electricity owing to the effects of the economic crisis.

 
  
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  Dominique Vlasto (PPE), in writing.(FR) High energy costs, pollution and climate change are just a few of the many reasons for us to support strong initiatives to ensure energy efficiency in our social and industrial models. This does not mean going back to the time of candles or initiating a trend of decline; instead, it means adopting modern methods and concrete objectives to rationalise our consumption, both individually and collectively. That is precisely the aim of this regulation, which I supported, and which sets objectives for Member States to achieve by 2020. This recommendation is in keeping with the idea of the energy and climate package, that is, to achieve energy savings of 20% over the next eight years. Achieving energy efficiency, in my view, involves encouraging the small everyday efforts, such as opting to use public transport over cars or keeping an eye on household energy use. However, it also requires public authorities to implement an extensive programme to ensure the implementation of insulation and environmental standards in buildings: that is where the main potential for improvement can be found. We have the required technology and know-how; the only thing missing is political will. That is how the EU will continue to set an example and, above all, that is how we will truly achieve a new form of green growth.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (ALDE), in writing. (DE) Energy efficiency fundamentally also concerns the areas of climate change, energy supply, green growth and social protection. If we are to limit global warming, we need ambitious measures – and energy efficiency can make a beneficial and speedy contribution to this. Moreover, energy efficiency can also have a positive impact on the economy.

 
  
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  Glenis Willmott (S&D), in writing. – The directive will set binding measures to ensure we are sticking to our 2011 Energy Efficiency Plan, which will enable the EU to reduce energy consumption by 15% by 2020, bringing us closer to our 20% target. Better energy efficiency in the EU will help to lower both emissions and the cost of energy for consumers, as well as reducing the EU's reliance on foreign imports of gas and oil. Ensuring that 3% of central government buildings will have to be renovated every year will not only improve the energy efficiency of those buildings but also help to boost the construction industry and create jobs. The directive also places an obligation on energy companies to make savings of 1.5% annually until 2020. The final directive did not go as far as we Socialists and Democrats would have liked – for example, we were pushing for annual renovation targets on all public buildings – but is nevertheless a good start.

 
  
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  Hermann Winkler (PPE), in writing. (DE) I feel that this directive is a classic case of ‘We have prevented something worse, but it is not good’. The European Commission’s proposal on energy efficiency had very strong traits of the planned economy about it: I find the idea of annual energy saving targets for energy companies – in this case, savings of 1.5% of their energy sales to end customers year on year, without exceptions or substitution measures – very reminiscent of our former East German planned economy under communism. Nonetheless, we as the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) were able to prevent the worst of it, as in the case of the energy saving target. Nonetheless, there is a more flexible catalogue of measures that could be used to achieve this aim, such as tax relief for investments in energy efficiency. In addition, initially, only central governments must renovate 3% of their public building stock, not all of public administration – which would include the local authorities, for example. I stand by my criticism of both the content and the process. The main thing we must ensure at the moment is that our enterprises and our citizens have affordable electricity available and that we do not wave through the next do-gooder directive in a knee-jerk process – a directive that was already fully negotiated before Parliament as a whole could do anything with it. For these reasons, I voted against this report, even though I am very grateful for the work and efforts put in by my colleague, Markus Pieper.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR), in writing. – Energy efficiency is important, not least because our citizens are facing rising power bills. I supported this report because ultimately, it was balanced and did not introduce burdensome requirements on business which would have driven companies out of the EU and cost jobs. We need incentives to encourage more energy efficiency, not draconian penalties. This is why I am aghast at the Commission’s decision to threaten the UK with legal action in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over reduced VAT on energy saving materials. VAT was reduced to 5% on energy efficiency products in the UK in order to tackle fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions. This is exactly the kind of spur we need to encourage the installation of energy efficiency measures such as double-glazing or loft insulation. The Commission’s challenge is not only muddle-headed, but also mistaken: the reduced VAT rate is beyond the scope of the EU’s VAT Directive. If the EU really wishes to embrace energy efficiency, it should – rather than penalise Britain – encourage other Member States to introduce similar schemes.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing.(IT) Mr Turmes’s report introduces a raft of energy saving measures – including obligations for retraining, constructing public buildings and the development of cogeneration technology – which the Member States will have to implement in order to achieve the energy efficiency targets for 2020.

Considering not only the difficult economic situation that Europe is in, but also the efforts already made by European businesses in the field of energy efficiency, I think the text adopted today is a good compromise. The measures laid down should make it possible to meet commitments under the climate package. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Zbigniew Ziobro (EFD), in writing.(PL) The report on energy efficiency, which was debated earlier today, is one of few parts of the Europe 2020 strategy which does not have a detrimental effect on the economy. However, as with other features of the strategy, reducing energy consumption by 20% is also very expensive for the Member States, particularly during an economic crisis. Therefore, the increase in energy efficiency should principally be a matter of better efficiency in insulating residential buildings and of increasing energy efficiency in industry, including an improvement in the efficiency of energy transmission.

Deployment of smart grids and modernisation of existing ones is a strategic and exceptionally expensive exercise. In Poland, most power lines are over 30 years old, so their modernisation, essential to comply with the requirements of the directive, is an extremely expensive exercise, and the provisions of the directive we have voted on do not include sufficient funding for such work. Furthermore, they do not make any concessions to the EU’s new Member States. Implementing this directive may therefore prove to be problematic and far more expensive than is assumed in the EU’s analysis.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We agree with the general objective of increasing energy efficiency. However, it is regrettable that the much-ballyhooed target of 20% by 2020 – one of the five core objectives of the failed Europe 2020 strategy – is far from being achieved. The same principles – liberalisation of the energy market, and subsidised private production from renewable energy sources – are still guiding EU energy policy, so it is no surprise that the target is unlikely to be hit because so-called market rules rarely result in energy efficiency. The neoliberal workings of the economy involve producing and selling, increasing supply and inducing demand; the effect of that is not to reduce consumption of the good produced. There are several positive aspects of the report: smart meters, energy-efficient buildings, and the concern for small and medium-sized enterprises. However, were the intention a measure to help consumers in a period of crisis, we would need to regulate the prices charged by the companies supplying energy services, which make large profits. The report does not meddle with the interests of these monopolistic companies, placing the onus for energy efficiency exclusively on the consumer.

 
  
  

Report: Cecilia Wikström (A7-0230/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, since it falls solely to Parliament to decide whether or not to waive immunity, and because Parliament can take into account the position of the Member in question when deciding whether or not to waive his immunity. As such, and given that the facts of the case, as manifested in the submissions to the Committee on Legal Affairs, indicate that the alleged activities do not have a direct connection with Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa’s performance of his duties as a Member of this Parliament, meaning that he was not acting in the performance of his duties as a Member, I support the decision to waive Mr Wałęsa’s parliamentary immunity.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of the request for waiver of the parliamentary immunity of Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa as he was not acting in the performance of his duties when he was involved in the traffic accident of September 2011, which is the reason for the waiver request. The Member himself put forward this request to allow the swift completion of investigations into the incident.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) On 20 April 2012, the Public Prosecutor of the Polish Republic forwarded a request for a waiver of the immunity of Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa in connection with criminal proceedings concerning an alleged offence under the Polish Act of 20 May 1971 establishing a Code of Offences and the Road Traffic Act of 20 June 1997. These related to a traffic accident on 2 September 2011 in Poland in which Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa was involved and in which he was severely injured. Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa declined to be heard by the Committee on Legal Affairs, but has indicated that he prefers a quick conclusion of this issue and is of the opinion that his immunity should be waived. The facts of the case as presented in the submissions indicate that the alleged activities do not have a direct, obvious connection with Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa’s performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament. In the case in question, therefore, Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa was not performing his duties as a Member of the European Parliament.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I followed the rapporteur’s recommendation on the waiver of Mr Wałęsa’s immunity.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of waiving the immunity of Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa, as requested by Mr Wałęsa himself. Immunity must ensure freedom of political action, not prevent the proper functioning of the justice system in the event of common law proceedings. I would ask for mine to be waived, if it were necessary.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Parliament has been asked to waive the parliamentary immunity of our fellow Member, Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa, in connection with legal action concerning an alleged offence under the Road Traffic Act in relation to a traffic accident. Given that the facts of the case, as manifested in the submissions to the Committee on Legal Affairs, indicate that the alleged activities do not have a direct connection with Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa’s performance of his duties as a Member of this Parliament, it has been decided to waive his parliamentary immunity. I voted for this report for these reasons.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) Having regard to the request for waiver of the immunity of Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa, forwarded on 20 April 2012 by the Public Prosecutor of the Polish Republic in connection with legal action concerning an alleged offence and announced in plenary on 23 May 2012, and whereas the Public Prosecutor of the Polish Republic has requested the waiver of the parliamentary immunity of a Member of the European Parliament, Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa, in connection with legal action concerning an alleged offence, and Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa declined to be heard by the Committee on Legal Affairs, but has indicated that he prefers a quick conclusion of this issue and is of the opinion that his immunity should be waived, I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The request relates to a traffic accident in which Mr Wałęsa was severely injured. Mr Wałęsa has indicated that he would prefer a quick conclusion to this issue and is of the opinion that his immunity should be waived.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the waiver of immunity. The Public Prosecutor of the Polish Republic made this request following an alleged offence under the Polish Act of 20 May 1971 establishing a Code of Offences and the Road Traffic Act of 20 June 1997 in relation to a traffic accident on 2 September 2011 in Poland, in which Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa was involved and in which he was severely injured. Wishing to settle the issue, Mr Wałęsa himself expressed his wish to see his immunity waived.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Public Prosecutor of the Polish Republic has requested that Parliament waive the parliamentary immunity of our fellow Member, Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa, in connection with legal action concerning an alleged offence. In view of the position of the Committee on Legal Affairs and since the facts of the case, as manifested in the submissions to the committee, indicate that the activities do not have a direct connection with the performance of his duties as a Member of this Parliament, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) In this particular case, I did not have a moment’s hesitation in voting to waive the immunity of a Member of the European Parliament. Opinion is united that this decision will help speed up the process of clarifying the circumstances of the accident and enable the guilty party to be identified. Another fact which had great bearing on this decision is that the matter concerns activities which are not connected with Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa’s performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament.

 
  
  

Report: Francesco Enrico Speroni (A7-0229/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because, as with the other report for this sitting, it falls solely to Parliament to decide whether or not to waive immunity, and because Parliament can take into account the position of the Member in question when deciding whether or not to waive his immunity. As such, and given that the facts of the case, as manifested in the submissions to the Committee on Legal Affairs, indicate that the alleged activities do not have a direct connection with Birgit Collin-Langen’s performance of her duties as a Member of this Parliament, meaning that she was not acting in the performance of her duties as a Member, I support the decision to waive Ms Collin-Langen’s parliamentary immunity.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of the request to waive the parliamentary immunity of Birgit Collin-Langen because, at the time of the events giving rise to the request, she was not yet a Member of the European Parliament and the Committee on Legal Affairs has thus not found any direct links with her role in the European Parliament.

The Member herself requested the waiver with the aim of enabling the authorities to conduct the investigation into the use of public funds and procurement for a flower show in 2008 in Bingen, Germany, where the Member was mayor, more swiftly.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The request by the Senior Prosecutor relates to proceedings concerning an alleged offence under Section 331 of the German Criminal Code, which states that ‘A public official or a person entrusted with special public service functions who demands, allows himself to be promised or accepts a benefit for himself or for a third person for the discharge of an official duty shall be liable to imprisonment not exceeding three years or a fine’. Birgit Collin-Langen has been heard by the Committee on Legal Affairs, where she asked for a quick conclusion of this issue and declared that her immunity should be waived. The facts of the case date back to 2006-2008 and the alleged activities do not have a direct, obvious connection with Birgit Collin-Langen’s performance of her duties as a Member of the European Parliament. Birgit Collin-Langen was therefore not acting in the performance of her duties as a Member of the European Parliament, and the facts set out in the explanatory statement do not constitute a case of fumus persecutionis.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I followed the rapporteur’s proposal on the waiver of Brigit Collin-Langen’s immunity.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of waiving the immunity of Birgit Collin-Langen. My vote is consistent with the desire expressed by Ms Collin-Langen to see that justice is done. Immunity must ensure freedom of political action, not prevent the proper functioning of the justice system in the event of investigations concerning alleged offences in relation to a previous office.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Parliament has been asked to waive the parliamentary immunity of a Member of this House, Birgit Collin-Langen, in connection with legal action relating to an alleged offence. Ms Collin-Langen has had a hearing, at which she asked for a quick conclusion of this issue. It has therefore been decided to waive her parliamentary immunity. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) At the sitting of 14 June 2012, the President announced, under Rule 6(2) of the Rules of Procedure, that he had received a request dated 27 April 2012 from the Senior German Prosecutor in Koblenz concerning the waiver of the parliamentary immunity of Birgit Collin-Langen with reference to Articles 8 and 9 of the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union. The President referred this request to the Committee on Legal Affairs under Rule 6(2). Birgit Collin-Langen was heard by the Committee on 10 July 2012, in accordance with Rule 7(3). On the basis of the recommendation of the Committee on Legal Affairs to waive the parliamentary immunity of Birgit Collin-Langen, I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. As the facts of the case date back to 2006-2008, when Birgit Collin-Langen was not acting in the performance of her duties as a Member of the European Parliament, the Committee on Legal Affairs agreed to waive the immunity.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing.(FR) We voted in favour of waiving the immunity of Birgit Collin-Langen. The waiver was, in fact, requested by the Senior Prosecutor in relation to proceedings concerning an alleged offence. Ms Collin-Langen does not oppose this request, as she wishes for a quick conclusion to the issue.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Parliament has been asked to waive the parliamentary immunity of a Member of this House, Birgit Collin-Langen, in connection with legal action. In view of the position of the Committee on Legal Affairs, and given that the alleged activities do not have a direct connection with the performance of her duties as a Member, I voted to waive her immunity.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) With regard to my decision to endorse the request for waiver of the immunity of Birgit Collin-Langen, I think that since the matter concerns events which took place several years ago, it is in the interests of Parliament’s work and the transparency of our rules to allow the German authorities to conduct an objective and fair investigation. Furthermore, the Member herself has said she would like to bring about a quick conclusion of this issue, and the only way to do this is for her to be present when the case is heard in court.

 
  
  

Report: Hélène Flautre (A7-0266/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report. I would re-emphasise that anti-terrorist strategies can be effective if conducted in strict conformity with human rights obligations, particularly the right to a fair and equitable trial. Even considering the extremely sensitive nature of anti-terrorism policies, I think that only genuine reasons of national security can justify secrecy. Under no circumstances can state secrecy supersede fundamental and inalienable rights, so it will never be possible for arguments based on such a situation to limit states’ legal obligation to investigate serious breaches of human rights. There also needs to be provision for guarantees to prevent the Member States from disrespecting human rights when implementing their anti-terrorist policies, despite having declared their desire to comply with international law. Not all the Member States have yet met their obligation to investigate serious breaches of human rights relating to the CIA programme. The report regrets the delays with completely clearing up this case, so as to give the victims full and rapid redress, including the offer of apologies and the provision of compensation, where appropriate.

 
  
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  Charalampos Angourakis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The report is a blatant attempt to deceive the people. It refuses to condemn the governments of certain countries, including Greece, which demonstrably had an active role and cooperated with the CIA and the US in the abduction, illegal detention and torture of ‘terrorist suspects’ and in maintaining secret prisons in their territory. It even goes so far as to call on the bourgeois governments involved in the crimes to investigate themselves, supposedly in order to get to the truth, which has been proven and is known to everyone except the European Parliament. The Greek Communist Party reaffirms its position that the European Parliament committee in question and the reports which it has drafted are hypocritical and are aimed essentially at defusing popular disapproval and covering up the responsibilities of the governments of the EU Member States. The real aim of the so-called ‘fight against terrorism’, led by the EU and the US and various secret services, is to strike at the class movement that questions the exploitative capitalist system and the way in which grassroots freedoms and democratic rights are being reduced and trampled underfoot.

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report because I believe that any counter-terrorism strategy should be conducted in strict compliance with human rights obligations. This Parliament has repeatedly and strongly condemned ‘extraordinary rendition’, detention without trial, secret prisons and torture. I believe that the EU commitment to human rights must be reflected in all policy areas in order to be credible. For this reason, with this text, we call on Member States to investigate whether there are secret prisons on their territory or whether operations have taken place whereby people have been detained under the CIA programme in facilities on their territory. With regard to ‘state secrecy’, I strongly believe that only genuine national security reasons can justify secrecy, which is, in any case, overridden by fundamental rights obligations that cannot be derogated from, such as the absolute prohibition on torture.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Parliament has called for EU Member States to investigate their involvement in illegal extraditions of suspected terrorists carried out by the CIA between 2002 and 2004. As I myself am convinced that the EU should be a model for transparency, I voted in favour of this report, which calls for light to be shed on these possible violations of fundamental rights. Without questioning our support for our allies, it is our duty to make sure that the European Union remains a model with regard to the protection of human rights.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Following on from Parliament’s inquiry into illegal flights operated by the CIA, which fall outside of any framework capable of ensuring minimum fundamental rights, MEPs are, with this report, calling for the necessary conclusions to be drawn both politically and legally. Fundamental rights are a cornerstone of our collective project here in Europe. Yet, from 2001 to 2005, the CIA carried out no less than 1 000 illegal flights in which 12 Member States were directly involved. We must see this task of achieving transparency through and urgently fill in the legal vacuums which allowed such abuses to occur. I therefore supported this report, which aims to give legitimacy back to the EU’s discourse on human rights.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing.(IT) I abstained from the vote on the report by Ms Flautre because I believe that, despite the results achieved by collecting various data on the location of sites where prisoners were illegally detained by the CIA in Europe, there is a great deal of inconsistency in the EU on the issue. Many Member States are not seriously investigating human rights violations connected with CIA operations within the EU, in terms of the transportation and detention of prisoners. I regret the lack of communication, transparency and implementation of investigative methods on the part of certain Member States.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) Through the adoption of this report, which I supported, it was our intention to send a strong signal to Member States, so that we in the European Union can make progress towards a more effective area of security, justice and freedom that is closer to European citizens. There is no longer any justification for the European Union to participate in CIA-led anti-terrorism programmes as it did in the wake of the attacks of 11 September 2001, nor for the transfer and detention of persons suspected by the CIA of terrorism to be allowed in Member States. The fight against terrorism must be a priority for the European Union, but this fight must in no way be carried out at the expense of respect for human rights, which is one of the inalienable values of the EU.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – Whilst UKIP stands against the illegal transportation and detention of prisoners by third countries, we cannot vote in favour of this report, as to do so would endorse in numerous ways the authority of the EU in foreign affairs and human rights, where such powers should not be granted. It also would lead to general oversight of matters by the EU if followed through in its entirety. It is the prerogative of national judicial authorities to open independent inquiries into alleged CIA secret detention sites and flight connections and conduct criminal investigations into such matters, but it should not be within the scope of the EU to demand the disclosure of the findings or command that investigations take place.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I consider rigorous and transparent proceedings, scrupulous compliance with EU rules and full respect for international agreements essential.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) I voted ‘in favour’ of the report because I consider that it exerts the necessary pressure both on the EU institutions and on each individual Member State to continue with investigations to ascertain the level of illegal abduction, secret detention and torture by the American secret services (CIA), with the assistance and acceptance of European states, in breach of every concept of international law and respect for human rights. The motion for a resolution expresses in the clearest possible way the wish of the European Parliament that human rights should not be sacrificed in the fight against terrorism, that terrorist suspects should not be tried under a special judicial procedure, that the US administration should close the Guantánamo base immediately and that UN resolutions on human dignity in general should be respected. It also calls on the European Council to acknowledge the very obvious fact that European Treaties were violated during illegal transfers of detainees by the CIA via European territories, to investigate the cases in question, and to ensure that they do not reoccur. Finally, it rightly urges the Temporary Committee of the European Parliament to take action to further investigate cases in the event of unnecessary delay on the part of the European Council.

 
  
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  Tadeusz Cymański (EFD), in writing.(PL) As we all know, half the countries of Europe allowed the CIA to use their airspace to carry out secret operations in the European Union. We are talking here about Member States such as Germany, Spain, Portugal, Finland and Poland. This does not and must not allow us to conclude that these countries have no regard for the humanitarian achievements of international law or do not respect human rights standards. In particular, the governments of individual countries had to make decisions after the terrorist attacks in New York, London and Madrid. The use of special measures seemed at that time to be essential. The suggestion made in the report that those suspected of being the leaders of terrorist organisations should have been given the same legal privileges as are enjoyed by suspects in our own criminal cases is mistaken.

Furthermore, the report makes an unfair evaluation of those decisions but does not say what should have been done instead. We all respect the universal nature and indivisibility of human rights, but we also have to know the difference between a common criminal and a terrorist who plans and carries out a suicide attack on a military target or innocent civilians. For this reason, I could not endorse this report.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing.(FR) On this occasion of the painful 11th anniversary of the attacks on New York’s Twin Towers, Parliament took a new look into the issue of the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in certain European countries by the CIA (with a particular focus on Lithuania, Poland and Romania), and called on these Member States to shed as much light as possible on secret detention programmes implemented by the CIA in Europe in the wake of the events of 11 September 2001, and on human rights violations committed in this context. In other words, this is about investigating in order to establish the possible existence in these countries of secret prisons or facilities, where persons may have been detained under a secret CIA rendition programme. It is indeed quite clear that there are still some grey areas with regard to this matter. The resolution approved in this sense calls for the Commission to create a framework, by the end of 2012, allowing full light to be shed on these activities.

 
  
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  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Eleven years on from the events of 11 September 2001 and the United States’ declaration of war on terrorism, there are still many grey areas with regard to the issue of secret CIA prisons in Europe. The fight against terrorism requires a determined commitment from the European Union and its main international partners. It is vital that the 27 Member States implement effective measures to improve the everyday security of EU citizens, and that they conduct investigations to rule out any risk of an attack. This process must be transparent and must not violate human rights. The European Union is an area in which the law is fully applicable and in which Member States cannot be involved in illegal activities. Secret detention must only be possible on the grounds of national security, and acts of torture must not be allowed on EU territory.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I abstained from voting on this report because, although I fully endorse the principle that the protection of human rights should not be jeopardised for any kind of security reason, even relating to counter-terrorism, I still think that the report exceeds the strict scope of the legitimacy which Parliament can assume, by accusing certain Member States directly of collaborating illegally with the CIA without providing in return any objective evidence and arguments.

Investigations into possible secret CIA flights and detentions must be carried out in Member States which have not already done so, while investigations already carried out in countries such as Romania, and the conclusions drawn by them, must be acknowledged. Furthermore, Parliament must not replace the authorities in investigating and enforcing the law, but should see to it that the latter legally fulfil the duties incumbent upon them.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because it argues that anti-terrorist strategies can be effective if conducted in strict conformity with human rights obligations, particularly the right to a fair and equitable trial. The investigations currently being conducted by the Member States must be guided by robust, legal evidence, and by respect for national legal systems and EU legislation, not just by information provided by the media or by public opinion.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report has the virtue of drawing attention to the heinous fact, now irrefutable, that the CIA used the territory of a number of EU countries to transport people who, without any charge or arrest warrant, were transported to the US military base in Guantánamo and to various countries, where they were tortured and, according to some reports, murdered in some cases. This fact is all the more serious because there is a dense web of silence and complicity surrounding the bilateral agreements between the Council, the Member States, the US, NATO and the CIA. They all involved illegal and arbitrary detention, torture, and the mistreatment and forced disappearance of hundreds of people as part of the supposed War on Terror. While we support this report, we do not share the federalist perspective that shapes it, seeking to set up the Council as judge of the Member States and involving the Commission in ensuring ‘accountability for human rights violations committed in the context of the CIA programme’. Nor do we agree with the uncritical approach to NATO – which is in this up to its neck – and its role as an organisation whose history demonstrates its links to terrorism, particularly state terrorism.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing.(IT) The resolution on the alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA focuses on an issue that continues to cause controversy, including in Italy. Collating flight data managed by Eurocontrol suggests that there is an illegal system that has led to suspicious disappearances, which is unacceptable. All responsibilities need to be established so that there is no recurrence of similar cases in the future. The fight against terrorism in the EU should be conducted in compliance with EU law and the sovereignty of the Member States, which have the right and the duty to prosecute those suspected of terrorism and bring them to trial.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Union is founded on a commitment to democracy, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity and international law, not only in its internal policies, but also in its external dimension. The EU’s commitment to human rights, reinforced by the entry into force of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the process of accession to the European Convention on Human Rights, must be reflected in all policy areas in order to make EU human rights policy effective and credible. The instruments governing the EU’s common foreign and security policy mandate an absolute ban on torture and also entail an express obligation to investigate allegations of torture and to provide remedies and reparation. EU guidelines on torture provide the framework for the EU’s efforts to prevent and eradicate torture and ill-treatment in all parts of the world. Secret detention, which is a form of enforced disappearance, may amount, if widely or systematically practised, to a crime against humanity.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing.(FR) I voted firmly in favour of this report, which, once again, strongly condemns the inadmissible practices of ‘extraordinary rendition’, secret prisons and torture, and, above all, EU Member States’ complicity in these CIA ‘programmes’. We have been demanding, for years now, that Member States involved in such activities conduct thorough, impartial and independent inquiries into the failings and abuses which occurred, and demanding that the European Union bring its action in line with its values. In this new report, we restate these demands. More detailed enquiries must be carried out and responsibility must be determined. The adoption of this report is a new step towards remedying these inadmissible practices. However, much work still remains to be done in order to establish the truth and acknowledge all of the violations which were committed.

 
  
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  Timothy Kirkhope (ECR), in writing. – The ECR believe that human rights are universal for all and that torture is unacceptable in all circumstances.

However, whilst we support the full and independent inquiry into the alleged involvement of Member States in the detention and transportation of prisoners in European countries by the CIA, we believe that it is for Member States to first carry out their own investigations before judgment is made by the European Union or the European Parliament. Equally, we do not believe that it is for the European Union to make recommendations on the functioning of Member States’ security services.

 
  
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  Agnès Le Brun (PPE), in writing.(FR) It has now been five years since Parliament adopted its final report on the illegal activities of the CIA in Europe. However, Member States are still reluctant to the idea of revealing what happened. This lack of transparency is preventing us from shedding light on alleged human rights violations. The idea that secret detention, without trial, took place on EU territory undermines the founding principles and moral authority of our institution. I voted in favour so that the situation can be clarified, but also to reiterate that respect for human rights is one of the founding principles of the European Union, which no one may violate.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of this resolution, which rightly stresses the need to provide guarantees in order to avoid, in the future, any infringement of fundamental rights when anti-terrorism policies are implemented.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report condemning extraordinary rendition, secret prisons and torture, which breach the rights to liberty, security and humane treatment. Thus, Member States faced with credible allegations should make every effort to provide the necessary clarification and determine responsibility where necessary.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing.(IT) Full application of the human rights clauses of agreements with third countries is fundamental in relations between the EU and its Member States and those countries. We need to review the way in which governments cooperate with dictatorships’ apparatus of repression in the name of countering terrorism. Security sector reform must ensure a clear separation between intelligence and law enforcement functions.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) This text calls for an end to the US special services’ interference in the European Union. It recalls that the systematic use of secret detention constitutes a crime against humanity for which the United States and complicit governments may be tried. It deplores NATO’s role in secret detentions carried out on EU territory. It calls for an end to special procedures for persons suspected of terrorism and calls on the US authorities to repeal the power of indefinite detention for suspicion of ‘terrorism’. It recalls that state secrecy does not prevail over fundamental rights. It is for all of these reasons that I endorsed this text, even though I regret that it does not more strongly condemn NATO and the US authorities’ interference in European affairs in general.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing. (ES) I believe this resolution to be very important, not only because it is continuing to stress the need for an effective and independent investigation into the CIA programme of flights, detentions and secret prisons, but also because it establishes clear foundations in terms of EU foreign affairs. I agree with the resolution’s recognition of the value of transparency for the democratic control of governments when it states that ‘in no circumstance does state secrecy take priority over inalienable fundamental rights’ and that therefore ‘arguments based on state secrecy can never be employed to limit states’ legal obligations to investigate serious human rights violations’. The resolution also rightly raises the need for human rights to be strictly respected at all times in the fight against terrorism, which I support, as under no circumstances and under no pretext can the fight against terrorism be conducted, as it was in this case, outside the international legal framework, nor can it violate human rights in any way. For all these reasons, I voted in favour of this resolution.

 
  
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  Ana Miranda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – I voted for this resolution, which demands that EU Member States open independent investigations and sends a strong signal that calls for independent investigations into these secret prisons will not go away until the full truth comes to light. As an MEP from Galicia, which is deeply compromised in the area of human rights, I am very concerned that European countries may have assisted in the extra-judicial detention and transportation of detainees. This is particularly worrying if it turns out to be the case that these people were transported on to third countries where they faced torture. EU governments have obligations under international law and EU law. There is a political, a legal and also a moral responsibility to uncover the truth about any collusion in extraordinary rendition. We cannot expect the rest of the world to take us seriously on human rights unless we are willing to practise what we preach.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) It is scandalous that we have still not taken all the necessary steps resulting from the participation of some EU Member States in the illegal prisoner transports and the operation of secret prisons by the CIA, the US foreign intelligence service. While the EU plays the role of head teacher when it comes to human rights elsewhere in the world, it applies extremely low standards to itself. In any case, the participation of EU Member States, such as Poland and Romania, in CIA practices which violate human rights casts a gloomy light on the EU’s self-styled community of values. The scandal surrounding the CIA flights and secret prisons shows that, when a choice has to be made between the two, cosying up to the US is apparently more important to us than respect for fundamental human rights. By adopting this attitude, the European Union is making itself complicit in human rights abuses by the US, which are carried out under the supposed mantle of fighting terrorism. For this reason, I voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) Violations of human rights cannot be tolerated or justified. I therefore congratulate those countries which have investigated this issue seriously and welcome the fact that the European Parliament has devoted significant attention to it. Both facts and rumours surrounding the transportation and illegal detention of suspects, which took place or may have taken place, weaken the efforts of the fight against terrorism and the Member States’ prestige. It is important that the search for the truth is based purely on the facts, not assumptions. I believe that if new facts should come to light at any point, even those investigations that have now been completed should be relaunched. Nevertheless, at some point, we should have all the answers in this affair and a line should be drawn under it.

 
  
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  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted against this resolution because some of the conclusions are superficial and risky to say the least. I am totally in favour of guaranteeing human rights and personal freedoms for all citizens, even for those suspected of committing crimes. However, the statements about the alleged incidents must be based on truthful information from credible sources and cannot be based on simple allegations.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) Respect for fundamental human rights is a top priority for me and combating terrorism can only be effective if it is carried out in strict compliance with human rights commitments and, in particular, the principle of a fair trial. The ‘extraordinary renditions’ mentioned in the report, which possibly included abductions, transportations, detention without trial, disappearances or secret incarceration and torture, must therefore be condemned. Extensive investigations into the exact extent of participation by some EU Member States in the practices of the United States authorities and, in particular, those of the CIA which have taken place within the territory of the EU are absolutely necessary. It is scandalous that we have still not taken all the necessary steps resulting from the participation of some EU Member States in the illegal prisoner transports and operation of secret prisons by the CIA. I welcome the fact that Parliament has called on the governments of the EU Member States to launch investigations and have voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. (LT) In this report, the European Parliament expresses its opinion on allegations based on certain testimonies: illegal CIA flights were apparently operated and Guantánamo detainees accused of terrorism were imprisoned without due process in nine EU Member States. Rapporteur Hélène Flautre of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats states that when preparing the report, certain EU Member States obstructed free and independent investigations by MEP delegations, which aim to guarantee justice for victims. She says that those Member States are covering up crimes in the name of the need to keep state secrets. Violations of EU law should not be justified by the fight against terrorism. After all, the world sees the European Union as the greatest defender of human rights. I agree with the rapporteur that the EU Member States not only have to investigate matters fully, but also have to facilitate additional independent inquiries by EU institutions. It is important for those persons responsible to be identified and for compensation to be paid for damage suffered. I voted in favour of this report because it calls for judicial cooperation among EU Member States to be improved in criminal cases and for the European Commission to ensure that cooperation is pursued.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I think the EU should ensure full compliance with its international obligations and proper implementation of its policies and external policy instruments, such as guidelines on torture and human rights dialogues.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) Having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), in particular, Articles 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 21 thereof, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular, Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 18 and 19 thereof, and the European Convention on Human Rights and the protocols thereto, as well as the relevant UN human rights instruments, and whereas Parliament has condemned the US-led CIA rendition and secret detention programme involving multiple human rights violations, including unlawful and arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, violations of the non-refoulement principle and enforced disappearance, and it has repeatedly and strongly condemned illegal practices including ‘extraordinary rendition’, abduction, detention without trial, disappearance, secret prisons and torture, I voted in favour of the motion.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour. As my colleague and rapporteur, Hélène Flautre, said, today’s vote is a victory for Parliament. It upholds Parliament’s demand for truth over denial and oversight. It ensures that the democratic founding principles of the European Union prevail over nationalist and partisan considerations. The report supports the existence of an extensive secret and illegal system responsible for acts of torture and enforced disappearances. It builds on new evidence, generated in particular by flight data provided by Eurocontrol.

The report urges Member States to start genuine legal proceedings of a thorough and transparent nature. Every Member State has its share of responsibility and everyone involved holds a piece of the truth. The Commission and the Council must create momentum for justice at pan-European level. The Council must acknowledge the facts. The Commission must draw up a clear and concerted plan for monitoring national inquiries. This report was awaited by victims, their lawyers, international organisations for the protection of human rights, NGOs and journalists who have continually provided evidence of and documented crimes committed in the name of our security.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of this resolution because I believe that the EU Member States must conduct full investigations into whether there were secret prisons or facilities on their territory where people were held under the CIA’s secret rendition and detention programme in the early years of this century.

Only genuine national security reasons can justify secrecy. That it is why it is necessary to resume national investigations in order to shed light on this affair.

 
  
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  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing.(FR) Some EU Member States allegedly allowed the transportation and detention of prisoners by the CIA on their territory, under a secret programme. Faced with such serious allegations, national parliamentary inquiries were initiated. However, strong political and diplomatic pressure prevented politicians from working in a fully independent manner and from making progress with their investigations. I am convinced that transatlantic cooperation between security and intelligence services is essential, particularly in the fight against terrorism. However, nothing justifies human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law being flouted with impunity. Therefore, in plenary, I voted in favour of the resolution calling for the Member States concerned to assume their responsibilities and give their support to the independent inquiries as quickly as possible. The territorial integrity of the EU and the coherence of our action with regard to human rights and democracy are at stake.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing.(FR) We voted in favour of this text. We in Parliament have, once again, condemned the US-led CIA rendition and secret detention programme. Indeed, multiple human rights violations have been reported, including unlawful and arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, violations of the non-refoulement principle, and enforced disappearance.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Five years have already passed since Parliament’s Temporary Committee on the Alleged use of European Countries by the CIA for the Transportation and Illegal Detention of Prisoners concluded its work without determining who is responsible. The committee calls on the Member States involved to conduct independent investigations and disseminate all the necessary information. Combating terrorism and global insecurity cannot violate respect for human dignity and the democratic values on which our society is based.

 
  
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  Thomas Ulmer (PPE), in writing. (DE) This report is an important one and correct in its content, so I voted in favour of it. Although combating terrorism is important, we expect the United States to show respect for human rights and to behave appropriately towards its allies and other friendly nations. These issues need to be cleared up beyond ambiguity once more. Human rights are not negotiable, either.

 
  
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  Geoffrey Van Orden (ECR), in writing. – This report addresses the alleged involvement of some EU Member States in the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA. I voted against the report as I do not agree with the thrust of the text, including calls for greater involvement of EU institutions in national investigations, and the opportunity it provides to snipe at our closest ally, the United States. I fully believe that countries should respect the international body of law to which they are a member. However, calls for the European Council to issue declarations; hold hearings with so-called ‘EU security agencies’; and ‘to give its full support to the truth-finding and accountability processes in the Member States by formally addressing the issue at JHA meetings, sharing all information, [and] providing assistance to inquiries’ are wholly misplaced. Both counter-terrorism policy and the oversight of security services, are – and should remain – strictly a matter for national authorities, not the EU.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) The report by Hélène Flautre is a very good follow-up to the 2007 report, which provides information on the status of the European Union and Member States which may have been involved in this programme, with regard to acknowledging human rights violations of an unprecedented level. Despite the pressure exerted by certain Member States and by some of their MEPs, the report reviews new allegations of Member State involvement which we were not aware of in 2007, as well as the true situation regarding inquiries conducted in Member States and the obstacles encountered by them. Human rights violations can never be tolerated, especially when they are committed by EU Member States that like to give lessons to the rest of the world in this field. No political realism is valid in this area, and even the fight against terrorism does not justify such abuses. The credibility of the European Union and its Member States is at stake. Much work still remains to be done in order to establish the truth about this programme and acknowledge the multiple violations which have been committed.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) I would like to draw attention to the fact that the report contains a number of inaccuracies. This may mean that European Union Member States and their partners which have said they will host former Guantánamo detainees will not fully comply with what has been agreed about affording rapid and professional support in terms of living conditions, health and facilitating access to documents, and, in particular, about enabling families to be reunited and the exercise of the rights attributed to people who have been granted political asylum.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report has the virtue of drawing attention to the heinous and irrefutable facts that the CIA used the territory of a number of EU countries to transport people who, without any charge or arrest warrant, were transported to Guantánamo and various countries, where they were tortured and even murdered. These facts are still being obscured by a web of silence and complicity surrounding the bilateral and multilateral agreements concluded between the Council, the Member States, the US, NATO and the CIA, concerning illegal and arbitrary detention, torture, and the mistreatment and forced disappearance of hundreds of people as part of the supposed War on Terror. While we support this report, we do not share the federalist perspective that shapes it, seeking to set up the Council as judge of the Member States and involving the Commission in ensuring ‘accountability for human rights violations committed in the context of the CIA programme’. Nor do we agree with the uncritical approach to NATO and its role as an organisation whose history demonstrates its links to terrorism, particularly state terrorism. For our part, we have been warning about this issue since 2005 and demanding explanations from the Portuguese Government in relation to it. We will carry on in that vein.

 
  
  

Report: Kyriacos Triantaphyllides (A7-0248/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report. I would re-emphasise that the EU has undertaken to complete the creation of a common European asylum system (CEAS) in 2012 by establishing a common area of protection and solidarity, based on a common asylum procedure and a uniform status for those granted international protection. I consider the CEAS an evolutionary step in European policy, which will bring harmonisation of standards of protection, which is under way through the modification of Member States’ legislation and practical cooperation enhanced through the European Asylum Support Office. It is now important to tackle head on the third pillar of the CEAS by giving substance to the notion of solidarity and responsibility sharing, enshrined in Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which constitutes an essential horizontal component of the CEAS. In other words, the CEAS is important specifically because it aims to be a comprehensive solidarity framework wherein Member States are assisted in improving the quality of their asylum systems with a view to ensuring the full respect of asylum seekers’ rights, which would ensure, by the same token, proper implementation of the asylum acquis.

 
  
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  Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL), in writing. – I supported report A7-0248/2012 on enhanced intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum because it contains an important critique of the current EU asylum system and stresses the need for change. However, my vote in favour of the report should not be seen as support to the report’s call for further harmonisation at EU level within the field of asylum.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing.(IT) Clearly, the humanitarian crisis happening in the Middle East will have serious repercussions for Europe and, in particular, those Member States bordering the Mediterranean, such as Italy. Effective action is required to improve coordination between Member States, through appropriate sharing of responsibilities to ensure that their own asylum systems meet both European and international standards and, in addition, through the fair distribution of asylum seekers. According to the latest Eurostat estimates, Italy received 2 210 new requests for asylum in the first quarter of 2012 alone. On average, asylum seekers are very young, 67.2% being between the ages of 18 and 34 and 17.9% being minors. I welcome the establishment of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and the creation, as from 2014, of the Asylum and Migration Fund (AMF). These are very useful tools for taking targeted action to support states that bear huge burdens and responsibilities, and to support asylum seekers and the international protection that they hope for in a better future.

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. – With this text, we reiterate that the right to international protection is a fundamental right enshrined in international and EU law and complemented by a series of additional rights and principles, such as the principle of non-refoulement, the right to dignity, the prohibition of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment. For this reason, Member States must ensure that fair and efficient asylum systems are put in place in order to respond to varying asylum flows. Member States also have the obligation to oppose with all means the rise of xenophobia and racism in Europe. A first step to fight the negative and misinformed assumptions about asylum seekers and refugees could be enhanced through the organisation of awareness raising campaigns on the actual situation of beneficiaries of international protection.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) EU Member States are some of the countries which grant asylum the most often to those in need of international protection. By voting in favour of this resolution, Parliament intends to allocate more resources to this policy. The implementation of joint processing of asylum applications and the strengthening of the European Asylum Support Office are needed. This should help to address the need for solidarity between Member States and thus encourage them to cooperate more closely.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report setting out proposals on enhancing intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum and improving EU asylum policy. One of the EU’s main priorities in establishing a common European asylum system (CEAS) is to provide assistance to Member States facing high numbers of asylum applicants. In 2011, the EU received more than 300 000 asylum applications – 16.2% more than in 2010. I agree that we need to support those Member States whose asylum systems have a very large caseload of applicants by introducing an instrument to relocate asylum applicants or asylum beneficiaries from Member States facing a particular burden to other EU Member States. I agree that we need to inform Member States and civil society about EU funds for asylum policy and provide information related to eligibility criteria and application formalities. It is important to regularly and frequently evaluate Member States’ asylum systems in order to rectify their deficiencies and it is important for the European Asylum Support Office to provide Member States with practical support on this issue.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU committed to completing the common European asylum system (CEAS) in 2012, which will be underpinned by three pillars: harmonisation of standards of protection, by further aligning the Member States’ asylum legislation, effective and well-supported practical cooperation, and increased solidarity and a sense of responsibility, not only among EU Member States, but also between the EU and third countries. Ensuring the good functioning of the CEAS is particularly important when migration flows are most often mixed, including migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and vulnerable persons. In this regard, this report argues that Member States, local authorities and civil society should be informed about the different EU funds which can be used for asylum purposes. Member States’ asylum systems should be regularly and frequently evaluated to identify best practices as well as deficiencies. Member States should demonstrate solidarity towards one another and share responsibility, including through measures such as joint processing of asylum applications and the relocation of beneficiaries of international protection. I voted for this report for those reasons.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the European Union is committed to completing by the end of this year the establishment of a common European asylum system (CEAS), setting up a common area of protection and solidarity. The CEAS is underpinned by three pillars, and we now need to tackle one of them head on, i.e. implement the notion of solidarity and responsibility sharing. This solidarity framework aims to guarantee that the rights of asylum seekers are fully taken into account and to help Member States improve their asylum systems and thus ensure the proper functioning of the CEAS and implementation of the asylum acquis. In an efficient CEAS, Member States, authorities and citizens should be informed about the different EU funds which can be used for asylum purposes. Furthermore, information on eligibility criteria and legal formalities is also very important. Member States’ asylum systems could be regularly evaluated to identify best practices as well as deficiencies and to facilitate the elaboration of specific solutions. Solidarity and the sharing of responsibility among Member States are also very valuable, particularly as regards the relocation of beneficiaries of international protection and the processing of asylum applications. It is very important to make the best use of the EU funds available because only then will solidarity turn into action and we therefore need to introduce financial incentives for relocating beneficiaries of international protection.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The European Union would like to be an area of democracy. This is why I think that a common policy on the right of asylum is required. This policy is in line with the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 and the Protocol of 31 January 1967 on the status of refugees, as well as with other treaties in this area. This common system enables EU Member States to undertake to guarantee people seeking to obtain refugee status in the EU a level of protection based on high standards and in keeping with these obligations. EU Member States will provide asylum seekers, beneficiaries of international protection and members of their families with access to a form of protection, justice, social integration and the labour market, in full compliance with the principle of non-discrimination.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing.(IT) Experience in this field teaches us that loosening the constraints of responsibility and solidarity between the Member States invariably leads to a losing game, in which occasionally an individual country, often a country bordering the Mediterranean, cannot cope with a sharp rise in flows of refugees and is held up as a bad example.

The ensuing emotional climate is a breeding ground for opposing rhetoric and for displays of that particular kind of residual egotism, inherited from an age in which European countries clashed with each other rather than worked together.

I therefore welcome the report which, with exemplary clarity, tackles unresolved issues regarding the common European asylum system (CEAS). In particular, I would point out the recommendations in point 47, which, if turned into specific measures, would make it possible to unite the Member States in an effective obligation of shared responsibility and mutual solidarity, ensuring – and this is the fundamental goal – that the tragic situation of asylum seekers is dealt with on an appropriate scale, with humanity, reason and realism.

It also would not be inappropriate to reconsider aspects of legislative alignment on legal immigration, a closely related issue, whose problems have direct repercussions on the reception and asylum system.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report on enhanced intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum. I particularly encourage Member States to make use of the possibilities available under the European Refugee Fund in terms of undertaking targeted actions for the improvement of their asylum systems.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – The prospect of enhancing what is confusingly called intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum is essentially a move to centralise decision making on the placement of asylum seekers which contravenes domestic prerogative on immigration and settlement policy. While it is essential all countries play their part in the accommodation of genuine asylum seekers and the international community must work together to protect vulnerable persons, I greatly fear placing the power to relocate asylum seekers in the hands of the European Union. The forging of tighter cooperation between countries on the management of refugees should happen between national governments or by international supranational bodies and charities that are already endorsed to deal with such matters. The establishment of a permanent intra-EU relocation mechanism would create a precedent allowing the European Commission to essentially determine who lives where, representing a gross infringement upon sovereignty. While certain countries are under greater pressures than others to accommodate asylum seekers and there is sense in promoting burden sharing between nations, the processing of applications for residency must continue to be done solely at Member State level and should never become the preserve of the unelected European Commission.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report, which aims to complete the establishment of a common European asylum system (CEAS) by giving substance to the notion of solidarity and responsibility sharing. Indeed, it is, in my view, important that the European Union has resources to support Member States facing disproportionate pressures and costs in the field of asylum. I support the report’s four areas of focus, which are practical cooperation and technical assistance, financial solidarity, the allocation of responsibilities and mutual trust at the heart of a renewed governance system. Moreover, I agree with the idea of identifying potential shortcomings in Member States’ asylum systems in order to ensure the full respect of asylum seekers’ rights.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The common European asylum system (CEAS), which the EU committed to completing in 2012, is underpinned by three pillars: harmonisation of standards of protection, by further aligning the Member States’ asylum legislation; effective and well-supported practical cooperation; as well as increased solidarity and a sense of responsibility, not only among EU Member States, but also between the EU and third countries. Harmonisation of standards of protection is under way through the modification of Member States’ legislation and practical cooperation is to be enhanced through the European Asylum Support Office. It is now important to tackle head on the third pillar of the CEAS, by giving substance to the notion of solidarity and responsibility sharing. I voted for this report because it aims to establish a genuine area of protection, wherein the rights of asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection are duly respected and promoted.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) We urgently need a common solution that guarantees uniform respect for asylum seekers and promotes their fundamental rights, whilst also enabling a response to the problems resulting from the disproportionate pressures and costs to which some Member States are subjected because of, above all, their geographic location. This will only be possible through shared responsibility, with equitable and just sharing of the benefits and burdens.

Genuine solidarity among the Member States requires implementation of a series of measures, based around four axes: practical cooperation and technical assistance, financial solidarity, attribution of responsibility, and improved instruments of governance. It is important, however, not to forget that there can be no solidarity without responsibility: it falls to each Member State to put its house in order, so as to prevent repercussions in other Member States. It is essential that there be a climate of reciprocal trust. That is why it is so important to change Schengen governance, so as to ensure proper application of the Schengen acquis and to increase trust in the EU’s ability to tackle jointly and in a spirit of solidarity the problems relating to border checks. This will contribute decisively to facilitating Member State participation in initiatives of solidarity as regards asylum.

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Christofer Fjellner and Anna Ibrisagic (PPE), in writing. – We voted today in favour of the Triantaphyllides report on intra-EU solidarity because we support burden sharing and mutual assistance among all Member States in the field of asylum. However, the compromise reached could be more balanced. While the report is based on the notion that only countries on the external border are subject to extreme pressure and that they receive the largest number of asylum seekers, this is not the reality. Asylum seekers enter Europe not only by sea; countries of final destination – like Sweden – should be taken into account as well. The external borders and absolute numbers of asylum seekers should not be the only criteria in order to receive more support and financial aid. Relocation among Member States should be voluntary for Member States and should concern only people that have already been granted asylum, with their consent, and not asylum seekers. As we work together to achieve a common asylum system by 2012, it is important that we base our legislative work on facts with a balanced and inclusive approach.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I support the motion for a resolution on enhanced solidarity in the field of asylum and on the translation of solidarity and responsibility sharing into concrete measures. A common area of protection and solidarity based on a common asylum procedure and uniform status for people who have been granted international protection must be given effective support by aligning further Member States’ legislation, practical cooperation and increased solidarity and responsibility.

The commitment made by the EU to establish a common European asylum system (CEAS) this year is especially important as the migratory flows are increasing, triggered by the economic crisis, climate change and, above all, by the impact of the Arab Spring. There are states in the Mediterranean region facing the strain of migration which they cannot cope with without support from EU Member States and whose duty it is to share their challenges with regard to asylum.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) We are homing in again on the solidarity aspects of the asylum policy in the wake of recent events, such as the serious socio-economic crisis in several EU Member States which are hosting waves of asylum seekers and are in the position of being unable to manage this problem as efficiently as they would like. All these aspects obviously require major changes to be made to asylum policy at European Union level. A common approach in this area must be added, and there must be a consistent show of solidarity on asylum policy among Member States and between them and the EU’s agencies.

Finally, improvements in this regard need to be made as soon as possible and in every area, but especially in terms of harmonising legislation, both by making better use of budget resources and by improving the allocation of powers among Member States.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) On Tuesday, we voted in favour of a non-legislative motion for a resolution on enhanced intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum. This resolution concerns future measures for the resettlement of refugees in the EU and the strengthening of EU resources allocated to asylum policy. We called, in particular, for the Commission to take into consideration, in its upcoming legislative proposal for a permanent and effective intra-EU relocation mechanism, the use of an EU distribution key for the relocation of beneficiaries of international protection. The system would take better account of beneficiaries’ best interest and integration prospects, as well as objective indicators, such as Member States’ GDP, population and surface area. This EU distribution key could help Member States which are facing disproportionate pressures on their national asylum systems or during emergency situations. We also called for the Commission to investigate the feasibility of developing an EU system for relocating asylum seekers as well as for enhanced financial solidarity in this sensitive area and more resources for the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), located in Malta.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on ‘enhanced intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum’ because I am in favour of creating a common European asylum system (CEAS). I welcome the creation of an inclusive area of protection and solidarity based on the CEAS, wherein the rights of asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection are duly respected and promoted.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report draws attention to the extremely serious problems faced by immigrants today. Even in doing so, it falls far short of a true description of the enormous gravity of the situation. Asylum applications in EU Member States are still increasing and there are very few positive responses. The Dublin Regulation is far from meeting the needs of a more humanist approach to this issue. The EU still ignores the situation of many millions of human beings who are fleeing hunger and war, and seeking dignified lives and work for themselves and their families. Millions of human beings are coming up against the EU’s repressive policies, one of the expressions of which is the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex). They are fleeing chronic poverty. They are fleeing a political and economic situation that is often tragic and to which EU policy has been contributing. To ignore this situation or pretend not to see it is to be complicit. The EU – and the majority in Parliament – is and has been complicit.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) 2012 is the year during which the European Union has committed to completing the establishment of a common European asylum system (CEAS), setting up a common area of protection and solidarity based on a common asylum procedure and uniform status for people who have been granted international protection. Ensuring the good functioning of the CEAS is particularly important in times when migration flows are most often mixed, including migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and vulnerable persons such as unaccompanied minors. Flows of asylum seekers and migrants have their own specificities which cannot, under any circumstances, be neglected or amalgamated. Establishing a solidarity framework will not absolve Member States from complying with their international as well as their European obligations in terms of asylum, but it will equip the CEAS with specific instruments and procedures aimed at supporting and assisting those Member States facing disproportionate pressures and costs in the field of asylum, mainly due to their geographical or demographical situation.

 
  
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  Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. – I am in favour of this dossier as I believe that it strengthens both the common European asylum system (CEAS), as well as the Dublin II Regulation. While the Dublin II Regulation works at avoiding situations where asylum seekers are sent from country to country and other abuses, I believe this report gives further substance to the notion of solidarity and responsibility sharing between Member States which would work to ensure Member States across the Union step up and comply with their international and EU obligations in terms of asylum. Furthermore, such an initiative ensures Member States would be equipped to improve the quality of their asylum procedures and have in place an adequate framework to ensure asylum seekers’ rights are fully respected. However, if Europe wants a holistic asylum system, it must understand that very often, asylum seekers are victims of political repression, of organised crime or of economic poverty. Thus, initiatives must also involve the countries from which these immigrants depart, and must address the problems, especially economic problems, of the immigrants’ countries of origin. The more serious the situation becomes, the greater the citizens’ loss of faith in European institutions.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing. (FR) By adopting this own-initiative report, we wanted to send a clear message – separately from the negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council on the asylum package – that the Dublin II system, whose faults and limitations have become clear, needs to be reformed. Our message is twofold: it emphasises both responsibility and solidarity. This is because it is fundamentally necessary to increase solidarity among European states in the area of asylum, as has become clear following the recent migratory flows following the events in Tunisia, then in Libya and now in Syria. More than ever, Europe needs a genuine common European asylum system, and there is an urgent need to implement European directives on asylum in order to make our European asylum system credible and efficient.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the report on enhanced intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum. It was important to send out a clear message to the Member States and to the Commission concerning the approach that Parliament now wants to take in this area. Although the principle of solidarity is not a new one, we have struggled to give it a concrete implementation. The Union’s inability to respond in a consistent and efficient manner to the consequences of the Arab Spring has further underscored the lack of mutual trust among the Member States. In this context, there can – and must – be a multi-faceted approach to solidarity, based on enhanced practical cooperation, targeted financial aid and a fair division of responsibilities. In addition to solidarity, however, we need to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of their responsibilities. Mutual trust – the driving force behind solidarity – cannot be revived and stimulated unless each country fulfils its responsibilities and obligations in the area of asylum. That is the kind of approach that we are arguing for: an approach based on both solidarity and responsibility.

 
  
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  Mikael Gustafsson (GUE/NGL), in writing. – I supported report A7-0248/2012 on enhanced intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum because it contains an important critique of the current EU asylum system and stresses the need for change. However, my vote in favour of the report should not be seen as support to the report’s call for further harmonisation at EU level within the field of asylum.

 
  
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  Agnès Le Brun (PPE), in writing. (FR) The European Parliament has adopted a resolution with the aim of taking into account the interests of asylum seekers as well as the needs of Member States in terms of solidarity. This resolution complements previous mechanisms and allocates more resources to this reinforcement. Furthermore, the European Asylum Support Office will also be granted wider powers so that it can promote closer cooperation between the countries of the European Union. By adopting this report, the Members of this Parliament have understood their responsibilities on this topic, which I welcome. I voted in favour of this report, which adheres to the spirit of developing joint projects between the Member States. In addition to this device, a sufficient level of resources will be made available to the Asylum and Migration Fund.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I agree with the rapporteur that establishing a solidarity framework will not absolve Member States from complying with their international as well as their EU obligations in terms of asylum, but that rather it will equip the CEAS with specific instruments and procedures aimed at supporting and assisting those Member States facing disproportionate pressures and costs in the field of asylum, mainly due to their geographical or demographical situation. In other words, a comprehensive solidarity framework wherein Member States would be assisted to improve the quality of their asylum systems in order to ensure the full respect of asylum seekers’ rights would ensure, by the same token, the proper implementation of the asylum acquis and therefore the very functioning of the CEAS.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing.(IT) Ensuring the good functioning of the common European asylum system (CEAS) is particularly important in times when migration flows are most often mixed, including migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and vulnerable persons such as unaccompanied minors. It is right to stress that asylum and migration flows have respective specificities which cannot, under any circumstances, be neglected or amalgamated. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) This report denounces the logic of the Dublin Regulation. It argues in favour of distributing asylum seekers and the beneficiaries of international protection. It emphasises that distributing people in this way is one of the most concrete expressions of the solidarity that is supposed to be at the heart of European integration. I support the proposal contained in the report to introduce a key for distributing refugees on the basis of objective criteria and to make all transfers to another State conditional on the agreement of the refugees concerned. I also support the emphasis on ensuring that Frontex adheres to the UN principle of non-refoulement. I am disappointed, however, that this report does not revisit the concept of ‘country of origin’ and proposes to apply dubious criteria for the allocation of additional funds. I will vote in favour, as I agree with the central ideas of the report.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing. (ES) I voted in favour of this report because I believe it highlights the need for a change in the current logic underlying the common European asylum system, clearly demonstrating the need for asylum within the EU to be governed by real and effective principles of solidarity. I also consider this resolution to be important because it sets the Commission and the Member States straight about the erroneous way in which their asylum policies are currently designed. I also voted in favour of this resolution because, among other points, it clearly highlights the need for the Member States to respect and fully accept their responsibility for ensuring compliance with international and European asylum rules and goes one step further in supporting effective and uniform application of the Union acquis in this area in order to ensure high levels of protection across the EU.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The common European asylum system in its present form is moving in a worrying direction. As long as the Union refuses to finally admit that it cannot accommodate every single economic migrant from every corner of the world, hundreds of thousands more will continue to hit the road. When we pass measures such as a mass amnesty for illegal immigrants or the Schengen Treaty, whose weakness was most recently demonstrated by the abuse of tourist visas, the inevitable result is tens of thousands more refugees. This is putting the entire Schengen system at risk of collapse. Greece, Italy and Malta are obviously not capable of securing the EU’s external borders and Schengen newcomers often fall short in their efforts once admitted to the zone. Other Member States are then forced to pay the price – in the name of internal solidarity within the Union. The EU actually needs to upgrade Frontex into an effective border management agency. As this report completely ignores the reality, all I can do is reject it.

 
  
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  Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL), in writing. – I voted in favour of the report on enhanced intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum. The report makes a number of relevant points and observations on the failures and insufficiencies of the Dublin Regulation. I also support the rapporteur’s view that any relocation of refugees within the European Union can only take place on the basis of respecting asylum seekers’ rights and the need for their consent. A rights-based approach and the defence of people’s rights to asylum, a life in dignity and without fear of repression must be the priority of any asylum policy. I also support the view that gender-based reasons for seeking asylum must get greater priority. However, I fundamentally disagree with the call for sufficient resources for border protection in paragraph 22 of the report. I continue to defend the position that the root causes that force people to leave their home countries need to be addressed and fought, not the refugees themselves.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) The development of a common European asylum system has posed significant challenges for the European Union. Europe is unable to accommodate all the economic migrants that come here and Mediterranean countries like Italy, Greece and Malta are unable to secure their external borders effectively. Therefore, steps must be taken to ensure that Frontex finally becomes a well-functioning border control agency. The asylum system in Europe should not be allowed to become a vehicle for mass immigration and it is clear that there need to be strict principles in EU asylum laws which protect, above all, the legitimate interests of EU citizens. Furthermore, it needs to be a system that analyses the causes of migration in a global context. Most migrants leave their home countries mainly because of the lack of opportunities there and the EU would be well advised to analyse these factors and to do more to encourage the refugees’ countries of origin to establish a fairer economic system. As long as we in Europe fail to recognise that, thousands of refugees who have no right to asylum under existing law will continue to pour into Europe. I did not support the report because it fails to take account of all of these considerations.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, as I support establishing a genuine area of protection, wherein the rights of asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection are duly respected and promoted.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) In 2012, the European Union has committed to complete the establishment of a common European asylum system (CEAS), underpinned by three pillars: harmonisation of standards of protection, by further aligning the Member States’ asylum legislation; effective and well-supported practical cooperation; as well as increased solidarity and a sense of responsibility, not only among EU Member States, but also between the EU and non-EU countries. Considering that harmonisation of standards of protection is under way through the modification of Member States’ legislation and practical cooperation is to be enhanced through the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), it is now important to tackle head on the third pillar of the CEAS by giving substance to the notion of solidarity and responsibility sharing, enshrined in Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and that is why I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. I agree with the rapporteur’s approach and so co-signed five of the rapporteur’s amendments. In addition, four more amendments were submitted that were taken aboard by the rapporteur and included, apart from the one regarding climate change that was not adopted; climate change will become the biggest driver for population displacement in the coming years, due to sudden or gradual alterations in the natural environment related to sea-level rise, extreme weather events, and drought and water scarcity; therefore, our group expressed concern with the growing link between climate change and conflict, while emphasising the need to address the issue of climate refugees in the context of EU relocation and resettlement schemes as well.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this document because the relocation of internationally protected persons within the European Union should take account of their best interests and the need for solidarity between Member States.

That is why more appropriations are required for asylum policy, for the joint processing of asylum applications, and for a stronger role to be played by the European Asylum Support Office.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing.(IT) We are facing an historic moment in which migration flows are mixed and we have to deal with asylum applications by land and by sea. I voted in favour of the report on enhanced solidarity in the field of asylum as it is a concrete commitment to guarantee suitable and effective asylum policies. The report outlines better harmonisation of protection and asylum standards and increased solidarity between Member States, which is to say, mutual assistance and responsibility sharing between Member States in order to ensure rights are promoted and respected. I agree with the priorities identified by the rapporteur: practical cooperation, technical assistance and financial solidarity, and I also believe it is necessary to make use of the complementarity of EU funds.

 
  
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  Søren Bo Søndergaard (GUE/NGL), in writing. – I supported report A7-0248/2012 on enhancing intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum because it contains an important critique of the current EU asylum system and stresses the need for change. However, my vote in favour of the report should not be seen as support for its call for further harmonisation at EU level within the field of asylum.

 
  
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  Alf Svensson (PPE), in writing. (SV) Today, Parliament voted on an own-initiative report on enhanced intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum. The aim is to be able to provide additional assistance in those countries that need extra help at the moment. It is also important to emphasise the responsibility of the individual countries.

For many people, Europe represents the dream of a life in peace, freedom and safety. Thus, when we discuss asylum policy, we are talking about people’s desire to realise these fundamental values. It is therefore regrettable that these people are repeatedly referred to as problems and ‘burdens’, as in this report. It is also important to emphasise that every single country, for purely humanitarian reasons, must have the right to show radical solidarity, and that the talk of harmonisation should not mean that a country steps aside or does not feel motivated to show human kindness. We ought to urge all countries to pursue an asylum policy that entails respect for human rights and freedoms. Despite certain problematic wordings, I chose to vote in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report. Solidarity is an essential component – in fact, the essential component – of the common European asylum system (CEAS). It is a fundamental principle of Union law according to which the Member States must share both advantages and burdens in a fair and equitable manner. Without solidarity, Europe no longer has any meaning. This solidarity, however, must go hand in hand with responsibility, and the Member States must ensure that their asylum systems are able to meet the standards established by international and European law.

The provision of support for implementing the asylum procedures in a spirit of solidarity and shared responsibility must be seen as a way of helping the Member States to respect their obligation to provide international protection to those who need it, as well as to help third countries that receive the greatest number of refugees, with the aim of enhancing the common area of protection in general.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report aims to complement the common European asylum system as regards greater responsibility sharing and increased solidarity, among the Member States, and between the EU and third countries. The objective of this instrument, created in 2012, is to create a common area of protection and solidarity, with a common asylum procedure and a uniform status for those granted international protection. The asylum-related activities of the European Asylum Support Office play a predominant role in harmonising European standards and identifying the failings of the Member States’ asylum systems. More technical support, more coordination between existing funds, more training, identification of shortcomings and sharing of best practices are essential for a genuine common asylum policy.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the resolution on enhanced intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum because I think that solidarity is one of the European Union’s fundamental values. The basic principle of the common European asylum policy is enshrined in Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

I support the creation from 2014 of a simpler and more flexible Asylum and Migration Fund (AMF) and the need to allocate sufficient resources to support the protection of asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection. I also consider it necessary, in the context of reforming the allocation of funds in the internal affairs area for the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020, to allocate sufficient resources for border protection in order to achieve greater solidarity in this area too. Laying solid foundations for mutual trust among Member States is especially important as it is a quintessential link between mutual trust, the development of the common European asylum system and genuine, practical solidarity.

I think that the early warning mechanisms introduced to detect and resolve potential problems before they trigger a crisis may provide a valuable tool.

 
  
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  Geoffrey Van Orden (ECR), in writing. – I voted against the Triantaphyllides report on EU ‘solidarity’ on asylum. The report is another mistaken step taken by Brussels in the direction of setting up a common European asylum system. I do not support such a system, which is a further step in empowering the EU, would make it more difficult for the UK to refuse bogus asylum claims, and lead to further abuse of the asylum system. I have always said that immigration and asylum policy must remain a UK Government competency, and I strongly oppose any move towards further EU interference, which will only make matters worse.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) The report by my colleague, Mr Triantaphyllides, has been adopted by a large majority. This report comes at an opportune moment in the laborious discussions on asylum policy and the creation of a common European asylum system, discussions which have been going on for years. It sends a clear message to the Commission and the Member States by giving them concrete guidelines for achieving genuine solidarity on asylum in the European Union. The report argues that the relocation process must take the interests of asylum seekers into account when they are distributed among the Member States. During the debates on this report, the Commission stated that the number of asylum seekers had been falling for ten years, basing this on the fall in the number of asylum seekers arriving on European territory. We know all too well what is going on here and how ‘Fortress Europe’ is being constructed to the detriment of migrants’ rights and the international obligations of the EU Member States. This report also allows us to stigmatise the ‘upping the ante’ approach of certain Member States. Let us hope that the Commission will hear this message and rapidly bring forward a legislative proposal that will put an end to the political games of which asylum seekers are bearing the brunt.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) The report on enhanced intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum contains sentiments which are close to my own. I decided, however, to abstain from voting because I am certain that particular Member States have lacked sufficient determination to strengthen their own asylum systems, counting instead on the European Parliament to do this for them. Solidarity must go together with responsibility, but after reading this report, I am not sure that this is happening.

 
  
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  Janusz Władysław Zemke (S&D), in writing.(PL) The resolution on enhanced intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum is an expression of efforts to harmonise standards of international protection by further adaptation of Member States’ legislation and encouraging the Member States to engage in more effective cooperation. I agree with the report on setting up a common European asylum system. This is particularly important in view of the growing size of migration flows and the fact that they are composed of mixed groups, including migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and vulnerable persons such as unaccompanied minors.

These proposals, however, require introduction of the resolution’s recommendations on the work of the European Asylum Support Office. This will enable effective resolution of problems experienced by Member States at the Union’s external borders, which arise when there are disproportionate numbers of people applying for asylum, for example. It will also allow efforts to be concentrated on long-term preventive objectives and on exchange of information and experience.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report restricts itself to describing the situation of immigrants, which is enormously serious. Asylum applications in EU Member States are still increasing and there are very few positive responses, since the Dublin Regulation is far from meeting the needs of a more humanist approach to this issue. The EU still ignores the situation of many millions of human beings who are fleeing hunger and war, and seeking dignified lives and work for themselves and their families. They are coming up against the EU’s repressive policies, one of the expressions of which is the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex). They are fleeing chronic poverty and seeking what is denied by politicians with a common thread in their countries and the EU: exploitation. They are fleeing a political and economic situation that is often tragic and to which EU policy has been contributing. To ignore this situation or pretend not to see it is to be complicit. The EU – and the majority in Parliament – is complicit when using the historical relationships of dependence on peripheral countries to impose free trade agreements, when this promotes interference and war that leads to the destruction of these countries.

 
  
  

Report: Lara Comi (A7-0069/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because I think this proposal aimed at revising and replacing the existing legal framework for European standardisation strengthens Europe’s commitment to products and services. The benefit of this proposal, recast during negotiations with Parliament, is that it has increased the involvement of social partners and other stakeholders in improving the proposal for a regulation. In my opinion, it is of critical importance that two key issues have been introduced relating to union involvement and to limiting European standardisation in the area of services, in which the Commission cannot confer the right to negotiate, conclude or implement collective agreements in the standardisation mandate. The standardisation of products and services in the EU needs to be transparent and based on the involvement of key players, so as to achieve innovation and competitiveness in the market, at the same time as protecting fundamental social principles.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing.(IT) Standardisation is one of the 12 levers of the Single Market Act and plays a central role in the proper functioning of the European market. It guarantees the protection of consumers and of the environment and, at the same time, the competitiveness and innovation of our enterprises. I welcome the work done by Ms Comi and the compromise reached between Parliament and the Council after a year of negotiations, and so voted in favour. At last, enterprises and national bodies will have a transparent and effective instrument with a reduced administrative burden. Enterprises represent 99.9% of the productive fabric in Italy alone, and will finally be able to: participate in standardisation committees; use standards to obtain conformity and safety certificates for products and services quicker and at less cost; be informed in advance, by means of a notification system, when the Commission intends to submit standards.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Continuing the efforts in terms of institutional cooperation on standardisation is one of the tools which the European Union can use to boost the economic competitiveness of the operators in its territory, as well as technological progress and innovative capacity. Similarly, thanks to its indirect positive influence on reducing prices and enhancing the quality of European products, the standardisation process helps achieve a high level of consumer satisfaction.

Support for the standardisation process can make a positive contribution to the European Union’s efforts to combat the impact of climate change and to bolstering the activities of small and medium-sized enterprises in Member States, which form the largest group of economic operators on the continent. National and European authorities must remember that, in promoting their efforts to enforce standards, consideration must also be given to the benefits of creating an inclusive society.

For these reasons, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) Standardisation has proved to be an invaluable tool both within the European Union and in relation to our international trading partners. In such a rapidly changing market as the new technologies market, it was therefore crucial to enable clear and firm rules to be established for businesses: for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular, but also for all businesses involved in the market. By reaching an agreement with the Council on this report within a year, Parliament is allowing for the unification of the single market, making it more consistent and more stable for the economic actors of the Union.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the establishment of the European standardisation system. Standardisation is particularly important for building a common internal market, ensuring the business competitiveness of both the EU and individual Member States, removing trade obstacles and ensuring appropriate health protection and market access for safe products. We need to remove existing deficiencies which currently prevent us from ensuring product safety and which create different levels of consumer protection in different Member States. The laying down of uniform standards at European level is especially important in the field of rapidly developing technologies and innovations. I welcome the proposals to encourage the involvement of SMEs and Member States’ public authorities in the standards development process. Standards need to be comprehensible and easy to use. I agree that standards need to be harmonised in the services sector, where there is a lack of standards.

 
  
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  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing.(IT) I believe that the compromise reached between the Council and Parliament, after more than a year of negotiations, is a decisive step forward towards a more balanced and effective European system of standardisation that corresponds to the real needs of European enterprises.

The impact caused by the new regulation can only be fully understood if we consider that standards are an instrument for the competitiveness of all enterprises and, in particular, for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which, by using them, can obtain conformity and safety certificates for products and services quicker and at less cost.

In particular, I welcome two aspects of the new proposal: the creation of a new notification system through which European enterprises will be informed in advance when the Commission intends to submit standards, and the extension of the scope of the regulation in question to standards concerning all services, which account for more than 70% of EU GDP.

Another positive element is the fact that the new legislation will oblige Member States to facilitate the participation of SMEs in standardisation committees and their access to standards.

 
  
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  Nora Berra (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of adopting the new standardisation rules that are needed to relaunch the single market. These new rules, which make up one of 12 pillars of the Single Market Act, will allow us to respond to three problems: the slow process for the adoption of standards, the under-representation of the interests of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and civil society actors, and the prevalence of standards adopted by non-European organisations in information and communication technologies.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the review of European standardisation will attempt to preserve its various existing successful elements, remedy its deficiencies, and strike a balance between the European, national and international dimensions. Given the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for the European economy, we need to strengthen the involvement of SMEs in standardisation and facilitate their access to standards, which should be comprehensible and easy for them to use. I believe that it is very important for European standards to be developed within a reasonable period of time, in particular, in those areas where standards are needed quickly in order to meet the requirements of public policies and rapidly changing market conditions. Member States should therefore send representatives to take part in all national technical committees because standardisation is an important tool of EU legislation and public policies and only then can we ensure the proper functioning of legislation in the areas covered by the new approach. The services sector, for instance, is very important economically and has a lot of potential, but there is still a lack of standards in this area. Their development would promote harmonisation in the services sector, increase the competitiveness, quality and transparency of European services and promote consumer protection and innovation.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Standardisation plays a key role in the smooth functioning of the internal market. Having harmonised European standards helps ensure the free movement of goods within the internal market, while also boosting companies’ level of competitiveness within the European Union. Although standards help improve the quality and safety of goods considerably, great progress has not been made in the services sector. I think that devising European standards for services will bring greater harmonisation in this sector, resulting in more transparent, higher quality and more competitive services in Europe.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing.(IT) The Commission has tackled an issue that has historically been a cornerstone of European integration and the report acknowledges that importance. I therefore voted in favour and I congratulate Ms Comi for effectively summing up such a sensitive issue.

I should point out the urgency of bringing the standardisation times of the European institutions into line with those of industry and, in a broader sense, of society. Innovation in this field, resulting from agreements within sectors including through forums, is certainly a sign of life, but this activity cannot be left to an entirely private process: without an institutional stimulus, it would be difficult to overcome technical and regulatory obstacles and market fragmentation.

Moreover, a rather disorganised network of standards arising from trade relations, negotiated beyond the sphere of action of the European standardisation organisations (ESOs), could cause market distortions. The impetus for standardisation naturally comes from society and from the market and meets requirements in terms of development, reduced costs for businesses, and increased value of products and services, which are very clear to consumers. It would be rather strange if the European institutions were to marginalise themselves in this area.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. (FR) Standardisation is an engine of growth: it simplifies the administrative burden that businesses face, lowers their production costs, and puts their innovative products onto the market more quickly. That is why I voted in favour of this report, which simplifies the system at an administrative and financial level while guaranteeing a high level of transparency. We want to involve small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as representatives of environmental organisations, consumers and civil society in the development of these standards, so that we can guarantee that the opinions of end users, in particular, those with specific needs such as disabled and elderly people, are taken into account and that products respond to their needs. These new rules will also permit increased compatibility with the international standardisation system, thus stimulating the competitiveness of European businesses on the world stage. From 1 January 2013, these new rules will apply directly to the Member States.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – The proposal to standardise goods and services across the EU equates to a raft of regulation that would certainly impact on small businesses in ways that is unprecedented. While certain areas of standardisation, such as creating standard fit phone chargers, may seem logical, bearing in mind the difference between the three-pin UK socket and common European two-pin socket, it becomes apparent that even what may appear rational standardisation would face many hurdles that would prove to be both costly and almost impossible to enforce. It also opens up other sectors to regulation that do not need to come under the remit of such a broad-reaching effort to centralise all services and manufacturing under one European umbrella jurisdiction.

 
  
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  Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE), in writing. – I support this first reading agreement which is an important step forward for the EU standardisation system. I particularly favour the introduction of rules aimed at facilitating the involvement of SMEs in standardisation activities, especially taking into account the fact that SMEs provide a vital contribution to the EU economy. Moreover, I commend the fact that the rapporteur has fully understood the importance of enhancing the degree to which both public authorities in Member States and social stakeholders participate in European standardisation, since I believe it is of the utmost importance that all interests be equally represented in such a relevant field. Also, I fully support the proposal of a consultation phase between the Commission, the ESOs and the relevant stakeholders prior to issuing the mandate, as it will considerably accelerate the standard-setting process while, at the same time, ensuring that the market relevance of the standard is maintained. I also favour the proposed performance-based simplification of the current EU funding system in support of standardisation, as I believe it will help reduce the irrational waste of resources caused by the current lump sums-based system.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the Comi report on the proposal for a regulation on European standardisation. I believe that standardisation is an essential tool for ensuring, among other things, the proper functioning of the single market for goods, a higher level of protection for consumers and the environment, and an increase in innovation and social inclusion. I think it is important that the modernisation of the ‘standardisation package’ preserves the many fruitful aspects of this system, remedies its deficiencies and finds a fair balance between the national, European and international dimensions.

 
  
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  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of Ms Comi’s report on European standardisation as I believe that it brings significant benefits for the European Union and the Member States. The provisions of the regulation are aimed at achieving the goals of greater efficiency, competitiveness of the market and swiftness in drafting European standards with greater transparency and applicability. In particular, the regulation focuses on social inclusion, on participation and consultation of stakeholders, and on services, paying particular attention to the role of small and medium-sized enterprises. In this regard, I believe it is appropriate to place special emphasis on the fact that standards are important for the competitiveness of enterprises, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, and they are vital for development. This regulation will enable small and medium-sized enterprises to cut costs and to increase their competitiveness on the European market, thus increasing their participation in and access to standards, allowing them to have a say in establishing standards. Finally, this regulation will bring about the following main benefits: better interaction between markets; more transparency; improved standards; facilitation and simplification of the work of enterprises and an improved quality of life for consumers. It will play a vital role in the completion of the internal market and in achieving genuine economic and monetary union.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE) , in writing.(IT) In order to be able to use a telephone’s battery charger somewhere other than where we normally live, the plug socket needs to be compatible. A train that wants to travel beyond its own state has to be able to run on suitable rails.

These examples show how standards are a vital part of our everyday lives and that it is important to guarantee the interoperability of different technologies so that they can be used to their best effect. This regulation, for which I was rapporteur, makes the standardisation system more efficient, improves citizens’ quality of life, and makes our businesses more competitive, thus strengthening the whole European market.

I really am very pleased with the result achieved in a short space of time and through complex negotiation between the various stakeholders and, above all, that it has received such broad support in Parliament. I am certain that this new instrument will have a significant effect on reviving the market and promoting our businesses.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) The European standardisation system must take into account the ever growing number of small businesses in Europe, especially craft and micro-enterprises, which form the basis of the economy in many European states. On the other hand, it is important to be able to take the views of these enterprises and micro-enterprises into account when devising standards and adapting them to current developments in every area. I also think that it is beneficial to adapt the provisions in this area in an appropriate manner so that all these players can implement European standards properly.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) This standardisation process was the first of 12 measures launched by the Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier, as part of his strategy for relaunching the single market. I consider European standardisation a prerequisite for the smooth running of any European market that aims to be single. A single market that is transparent and uniform as regards rules and the standardisation of the products sold therein was one of the main objectives of the EU’s founding countries, when they created the European Coal and Steel Community and then the European Economic Community. For too long, we have had British, German French, Spanish, Italian or Swedish standards for industrial products, for example, competing with each other and – surprisingly – with the very European standards created for the entire EU. It is also surprising that, within a ‘single market’, the imperial system coexists with the metric system. I therefore favour any legislative initiative that leads to the creation of common market rules. That is the only way that we will move towards the intended Union of peoples and states, without any form of barrier, technical or otherwise.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report, which calls for increased harmonisation of the standards in force within the European Union. By adopting these measures, we are once again helping our entrepreneurs by simplifying exports of products manufactured on our territory. The return to growth can only take place if we give real support to those who make up the economic fabric of our countries.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on the European standardisation system because it is aimed at tackling pivotal issues requiring profound analysis, thereby facilitating debates with the Commission, as well as at striking the right balance between the national, European and international dimensions.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The rapporteur argues that standardisation ‘helps to boost the competitiveness of enterprises by facilitating, in particular, the free movement of goods and services’ and increases ‘competition and lower output and sales costs’. As such, standardisation is considered a step towards consolidating the single market, free competition and, that being the case, the divergences and asymmetries resulting therefrom. Another issue we are concerned about is the intention of developing European standards in the service sector, as provided for in the Services Directive, which the report states ‘should generate further harmonisation in the service sector, increasing the transparency, quality and competitiveness of European services’. This idea is intrinsically bound up with the intention of liberalising the service sector. This liberalisation of services is, in turn, intrinsically bound up with the assault on public services and the social functions of the state, and it could have serious implications for various countries, specifically those with weaker social situations, thus exacerbating the crisis that we are currently experiencing, not least in Portugal. Naturally, we acknowledge the importance of standardising products and processes in contemporary economies and societies. However, the commercial philosophy underlying this report worries and concerns us.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council aims to increase the positive effect of European standards on the functioning of the market, economic growth, innovation and the competitiveness of firms. Standardisation contributes to many aspects of economic activity, particularly in terms of growth, productivity and the opening of markets. Among other things, the proposal seeks to shorten the standardisation process in cases where standards are drafted at the request of the Commission, to ensure that SMEs and societal stakeholders are properly represented in the standardisation process, and to make the application of information and communication technology standards more widespread, thereby improving interoperability and increasing the number of standards on innovative and rapidly developing production technologies, such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and nuclear technology, and also stepping up the consolidation of existing legislative frameworks. New legislation should be drafted that will consolidate previously introduced directives on standardisation policy and update these directives. The proposal will consolidate existing EU standardisation policy and introduce new elements to take account of new challenges.

 
  
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  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE). in writing. (HU) Considering the rapid advances in technology and innovation, the establishment of uniform standards at European level is particularly important. In order to ensure the competitiveness of the European Union and that safe products are placed on the market, these uniform standards must be valid and applicable in all Member States. I agree with the acceleration of standardisation, but it should be a fundamental criterion that this process should by no means come at the cost of quality. The primary aim should be accelerating the process in terms of administration; measures in this regard should be implemented jointly by the standardisation bodies and the Commission. There is much potential in European standardisation in respect of supporting both legislation and public policies. I appreciate that the report recognises this potential and stresses that the development of standards should move towards new areas, such as services. As Ms Comi mentioned, the new European model must facilitate European innovation and sustainable development. I completely agree with this. As we can see, standardisation, coupled with the principle of mutual recognition, plays a central part in the proper functioning of the internal market. Additionally, it contributes to the protection of the health and safety of European consumers, and to environmental protection. These are some of the reasons why it is important that we support this report, and I for one did so with my positive vote.

 
  
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  Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. – I fully support the report on European standardisation, aimed at revising and replacing the existing legal framework on European standardisation by simplifying rules and accelerating the standard-setting processes, especially in the fast-developing ICT sector. However, alongside the process, we need to ensure cooperation and balanced representation of all stakeholders in the system at national and EU levels, so as to ensure transparency, clear division of responsibilities and consistency of the standards across Europe. Improving transparency, consultation and involvement of the relevant parties in the process are crucial elements needed to guarantee that standards are useful and truly market-driven tools preserving fundamental and social principles. The focal point of the standardisation process should be the involvement of SMEs in the standardisation activities, particularly in the work of national standardisation bodies. National standardisation organisations should promote and facilitate the access of SMEs to standards and their development by applying special rates and providing bundles of standards at a reduced price. Member States should also consider exempting micro-businesses from payment for these services.

 
  
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  Małgorzata Handzlik (PPE), in writing.(PL) Standardisation plays a key role in the functioning of the single market. Harmonised European standards help ensure the free flow of goods and enable businesses in the EU to be more competitive. The introduction of legislation intended to enhance the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in the standard-setting process is something which I think is particularly important. The very low participation of SMEs in the standardisation process gives rise to the fear that the interests of these groups are not properly reflected in the standards. So I think we must support the involvement of SMEs in standardisation by identifying appropriate policies and introducing good practices, for example, but also by introducing European standards which are comprehensible and easy to use. It should be stressed that standardisation affects the safety of consumers, giving them clear information about the standard of the product concerned. Therefore, it should also be a priority to increase consumers’ participation in the standardisation process.

I think a very good feature is the inclusion of standards for services in the legal framework on European standardisation. This is something new, but the great variety of services available means that standardisation of services will certainly have a positive impact on further efforts to build and strengthen the single market. Specifying certain standards which businesses could use to evaluate the quality of services is certain to help improve competitiveness. More effective consultations with all interested parties, greater transparency and extending standardisation to services is a rational direction for the development of legislation on European standards.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this proposal. European standardisation is beneficial in that it helps to boost the competitiveness of enterprises by facilitating, in particular, the free movement of goods and services, network interoperability, means of communication, technological development and innovation. European standardisation also reinforces the global competitiveness of European industry. Standards produce significant positive economic effects, for example, by promoting economic interpenetration on the internal market and encouraging the development of new and improved products or markets and improved supply conditions. Standards thus normally increase competition and lower output and sales costs, benefiting economies as a whole and consumers in particular. Standards may maintain and enhance quality, provide information and ensure interoperability and compatibility, thereby increasing safety and value for consumers.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing.(PL) I endorsed the report. I fully agree with the rapporteur that standards should be comprehensible and easy to use so that they can be better implemented by all users. In referring to users, I am thinking primarily of small and medium-sized enterprises, which form the backbone of the European economy. Unfortunately, their involvement in standardisation does not always reflect their economic importance. This happens because standards are not always designed so as to take account of the characteristics and environment of small enterprises, micro-enterprises and small craft businesses. Therefore, we need to take steps to enable SMEs to play a full part in the elaboration of standards, and we also need to ensure that SMEs have easier access to standards.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing.(IT) Ms Comi’s work on such a wide-ranging and complex issue is praiseworthy for its succinctness and for making proposals on the issue. It is highly desirable to have European standardisation that is as standardised and harmonised as possible and which takes account of the structures of the European system. The standardisation system affects the activity of enterprises and their competitiveness. It is therefore vital to move towards cutting red tape and making the industrial fabric a participant in decisions concerning European standardisation. If operators are fully involved in this important decision-making process, it will only benefit the Community as a whole and all services provided to consumers and citizens.

 
  
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  Agnès Le Brun (PPE), in writing. (FR) In order to lighten the administrative burden on businesses, this Tuesday, the European Parliament adopted a European standardisation process. This will mean that businesses can obtain standard solutions to technical problems more quickly. They will also be able to reduce their production costs, promote good practices and stimulate competitiveness and growth. I voted in favour of this report on European standardisation. This will allow us to revise and merge several existing directives. This report is part of the EU 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. During the negotiations, Parliament emphasised the importance of involving small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as representatives of environmental, consumer and civil society organisations in developing these standards. By acting in consultation with these various parties, we will be able to ensure that the opinion of end users is taken into account.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) In a society where economic sectors evolve quickly and products have ever shorter lifecycles, the role of European standardisation is to ensure the functioning of the internal market by supporting competitiveness and guaranteeing a high level of consumer protection. However, I am concerned that standardisation in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector is not extensive enough, even though this sector is permanently expanding. Although there are disparities between Member States in terms of using ICT resources in different sectors of activity, I still think that harmonised standardisation is needed at EU level, even in this area. I believe that, in the long run, in-depth regulation of this activity will have tangible, beneficial results for the industry and, by extension, for the way in which competition develops in the internal market.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this report and the Commission’s proposal to review the European standardisation system taking due account of Parliament’s request for a revision aimed at preserving the many successful elements of the system, remedying its deficiencies, and striking the right balance between the national, European and international dimensions.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the report on European standardisation. The contents of this report will allow important steps forward to be made in a specific and necessary area for the single market. European standards enable us to ensure continuity between a national and a European market. They thus offer new prospects for growth and a future for our businesses. However, in order to carry out these functions, the system must be modernised and must guarantee transparency and the representation of all stakeholders, in particular, small and medium-sized enterprises.

 
  
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  Iosif Matula (PPE), in writing. (RO) ‘EU unity in diversity’ is a compromise which brings benefits, but also creates numerous obstacles to the same degree. This is why the public and economic sectors, in addition to the players who defend the interests of civil society, need to standardise services in order to make things operate more efficiently. European companies need to improve their ability to adapt to a changing global economy.

Standardisation can provide proper support, especially for SMEs. This is why they need to be taken into account when drawing up standardisation criteria. The low level of interest shown by public authorities in participating in the process of devising European standards causes delays and helps maintain the disparities between the EU’s regions.

In the area of public procurement, harmonising procedures is a priority and, in this regard, digitisation plays an important role. I think it is a priority to get the social players involved in establishing the standardisation criteria.

Creating the common framework supporting workers’ safety and rights, people with disabilities and measures aimed at increasing sustainability helps improve social standards in the EU.

I support this report because I think that the standardisation process is vital for attracting investment from third countries. Potential investors are not very keen on the European markets’ diversity and the lack of links between them.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) It is important that this report be adopted because we need to quickly and simply adjust and ease the regulations for all those who are often overshadowed. Indeed, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often struggle to deal with regulations that have been designed without taking them into consideration.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) This report fails to call for the obligatory participation of Members in the process of European standardisation. Even worse, it argues for implementing the single market in services through European standardisation or, if necessary, the WTO standardisation of services. I will vote against this report.

 
  
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  Vital Moreira (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this legislative proposal on the standardisation system – the Comi report – because it represents great progress in the convergence and harmonisation of the specifications of products and services within the EU. It also eliminates barriers to movement and competition within the internal market. In fact, this is a piece of what is known as the ‘Single Market Act’, announced by the European Commission last year, aimed at consolidating the single market. Standardisation establishes a level playing field in inter-company competition, eliminates national borders, expands companies’ markets, reduces production costs, better defends consumers, and makes the EU economy more externally competitive. Moreover, internal standardisation boosts EU initiatives and efforts to expand standardisation internationally, whether through bilateral trade agreements or through bilateral instruments. Increasing amounts of international trade depend on the convergence of regulatory standards and the removal of ‘non-tariff’ barriers.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this report because it outlines new priorities and addresses deficiencies in this important sector.

First of all, the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the European standardisation process is at last being fostered, thus fully involving the true manufacturing force of the EU. The importance of consulting consumer associations when drawing up standards should also be underlined, and this can be of great help, especially for people with specific needs, such as the disabled.

We therefore hope to have more transparent and representative standardisation, first and foremost to help meet the needs of individuals and smaller businesses.

Of course, more could have been done, for example, proposing that micro-enterprises have free access to regulatory standards. I myself have received a number of complaints from small-business owners who have objectively struggled to meet the costs involved in obtaining these documents that are so essential for their manufacturing processes.

However, there are high research costs which have somehow to be covered; we can therefore regard the text adopted today as a good compromise – as to how it will actually be applied, we will, in any case, have to return to this in more detail at a later stage.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report welcoming the Commission proposal to review the European standardisation system, taking due account of Parliament’s request for a revision aimed at preserving the many successful elements of the system, remedying its deficiencies and striking the right balance between the national, European and international dimensions.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) Taking into consideration the findings of the Expert Panel for the review of the European standardisation system (EXPRESS) report and the responses to the Commission’s public consultation on the current legal framework of European standardisation, the basis for a revision of the standardisation system has now been built. Stressing the importance of easy access to standards, which would enable enhanced participation by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), public authorities and societal stakeholders in the standardisation process, and with the aim of preserving the many positive aspects of the system, while remedying its deficiencies, I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the regulation, which improves the use of technical standards in the services and telecommunications sectors.

This new regulation will provide European businesses with more immediate access to standard solutions to technical problems, which will cut manufacturing costs, facilitating the spread of best practices and increasing competitiveness. The new regulation, which aims to modernise the so-called process of ‘standardisation’, simplifies the whole system in terms of administration and finance, providing a high level of transparency.

I think the biggest success concerns ensuring the participation of small businesses and consumer representatives, environmental organisations and civil society, which will be consulted throughout the standards development process. This is a very important point, as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), owing both to their small size and to language problems, struggle to play an active part in the system, even though they are, in fact, the economic base of our European system.

Moreover, this new legislation makes European standards even more compatible with international ones, thus improving the global competitiveness of EU businesses.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the regulation aiming to modernise the European standardisation process by simplifying the current system at an administrative and financial level, while guaranteeing a high level of transparency. The report aims, in particular, to improve the use of standards in the services sector and in the information and communication technology sector. Thanks to these new measures, European businesses will be able to obtain standard solutions to technical problems more quickly, which will allow them to reduce their production costs. These measures will also allow for enhanced compatibility with the international standardisation system. This report will thus contribute to improving the competitiveness of European businesses and to stimulating growth. The Commission has estimated that standards have an impact on the growth of the EU amounting to more than EUR 35 billion per year. During the course of the discussions, I paid particular attention to the involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the development of standards, as well as the involvement of consumers – particularly vulnerable ones – in order to ensure that the opinion of end users is taken into account and the products are responsive to their needs. The final text seems to me to be sufficiently balanced, and I support it. The regulation will enter into force at the start of 2013.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. On 1 June 2011, the European Commission adopted a ‘Standardisation Package’ composed of a proposal for a regulation aimed at revising and replacing the existing legal framework on European standardisation, an impact assessment and a communication providing a strategic vision for European standardisation for the next decade. The proposed regulation builds on two general public consultations held in 2009 and 2010, the work of the Expert Panel for the review of the European standardisation system (EXPRESS), the White Paper on Modernising ICT Standardisation in the EU – The Way Forward, and the European Parliament resolution of 21 October 2010 on the future of European standardisation. The purpose of this draft report is to cover the key issues that require close consideration in this proposal so as to facilitate the discussions in the committee. While the rapporteur reserves the right to table more amendments after having further examined the Commission’s proposal and conducted further consultations, her intention at this stage is to generate a fruitful discussion in the committee and she looks forward to further suggestions.

 
  
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  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing. (IT) I supported the legislative proposal on European standardisation tabled by Lara Comi as it set itself the important goal of amending a whole series of guidelines in a technical field, standardisation, that is of great importance for the business world. Following this measure, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be directly involved in developing new standards owing to the lower access rates. In addition, in the process of drawing up standards, there is also room for consumers through their associations.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing. (IT) The new regulation on European standardisation is a satisfactory compromise reached after a year of tough negotiations. I believe that standardisation is a key step on the road to achieving the objectives outlined in the Europe 2020 strategy and to boosting the internal market. This regulation will help European businesses to obtain certificates of conformity within a constantly updated system, products will be safer, services faster and costs lower. All this is advantageous, particularly for previously under-represented small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which will now be better represented and which will now incur lower costs and fewer burdens in general. The regulation does include among its objectives the elimination of bureaucratic barriers and increased transparency, as well as consumer and environmental protection.

 
  
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  Olga Sehnalová (S&D), in writing. (CS) I supported the draft regulation on European standardisation, as it marks an important step towards modernising the development of European standards. This is not only a prerequisite for increasing the competitiveness and economic growth of European firms on the global market, but also a further step towards bringing the idea of a fully functional single market to completion. I also welcome extending involvement in the process of developing standards to a wider circle of consulted parties – consumer representatives, civil society and social partners. All of these must be fully-fledged members of the dialogue, as they are the ultimate users of products and services and are, at the same time, best able to describe their own specific needs. Functioning European standards will not only mean consumer satisfaction, but will also boost consumer confidence in the single market. Last but not least, we must not forget small and medium-sized enterprises, which may be discriminated against and may even face problems with survival as a result of the non-transparent development and adoption of standards involving a high administrative burden. I am therefore pleased that the representatives of these businesses will also be able to take part in standardisation activities through consultations.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report. The regulation on standardisation that has been adopted enriches the current legislative framework and provides businesses with a useful tool for achieving harmonisation in the single market. The establishment of clear rules which have the same force in all the countries of the Union will mean that our market can operate on the basis of common production criteria. Through the benefits of simplification, two areas necessary to the development of our free market area will be enhanced: the competitiveness of businesses and the protection of consumers. These two elements in combination are essential for harmonising the European system of production, although we need to exclude social services for citizens. On the one hand, common standards will improve the market; on the other hand, we cannot allow a situation to arise in which the standards applied to consumer goods are also applied to services for citizens. It is up to the Member States to set criteria for the organisation, management and financing of social security and health services; the standardisation process must not be used to regulate the primary needs of citizens. This restriction represents a victory for the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament; together, we have safeguarded citizens’ right of access to services.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Commission has tabled a proposal for a regulation on European standardisation whose objective is to improve the method of setting out standards and the corresponding application thereof to the EU. I am voting for the process of European standardisation because I believe it will make Europe more competitive, defend consumer rights, respond to climate change, and increasingly open Europe up to new markets. At a time of economic and financial crisis, the existence of contradictory national standards, or the lack of harmonised standards, leads to higher transaction costs and unit costs because of the need to create separate batches. I would also argue that we need to pay particular attention to small and medium-sized enterprises, which face a range of problems regarding standards and European standardisation. It also needs to be ensured that standards relating to information and communication technology are drafted by European standardisation bodies, not other entities.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the legislative resolution on the proposal for a regulation on European standardisation because I think that European standardisation can help boost the competitiveness of enterprises by facilitating the free movement of goods and services, network interoperability, means of communication, technological progress and innovation. The main purpose of standardisation is to define voluntary technical or quality specifications which can be complied with by products, production processes or by current or future services. Standardisation can relate to different aspects, such as different classes or dimensions of a particular product or the technical specifications of the product or service markets for which compatibility and interoperability with other products or systems are vital.

The fundamental principles recognised by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in the area of standardisation, namely, the principles of coherence, transparency, openness, consensus, voluntary application, independence from particular interests and efficiency, must form the basis for European standardisation. In keeping with these fundamental principles, it is important that all the relevant stakeholders, including public authorities and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), are properly involved in the standardisation process at national and European level. National standardisation bodies should encourage and facilitate the stakeholders’ involvement.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – This new regulation sets the rules for cooperation between national and European standardisation bodies and the European Commission. This will ensure clarity and help avoid administrative problems with a view to allowing firms to get quicker access to standard solutions to technical problems. This modernisation in the development process for EU standards will enable firms to cut production costs. It will help in the spread of best practice, and it will also boost competitiveness and drive growth. I fully support this regulation as voted by the European Parliament, and I am especially pleased that small firms, representatives of consumers, and environmental and civil society bodies will now be consulted during the development process.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (ALDE), in writing. (DE) Standards in the service industry and ICT support the dissemination of practices and innovations. The entire system of administration and finance will now be simplified, thereby ensuring a high level of transparency. This will increase the competitiveness of European companies in the global market. This is the first legislative proposal adopted by Parliament under the Single Market Act and its rules will come into force on 1 January 2013.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) A review of the European standardisation system is essential. The system contains many elements which should be considered successful and retained. However, it also has certain deficiencies which must be remedied. A review of the current system should enable a balance to be struck between the European, national and international dimensions.

It is also essential to ensure that both public authorities and societal stakeholders, such as consumers and workers, participate in European standardisation. It is important, too, that the European standardisation process be more transparent, and also that it ensure financial stability. These considerations led me to endorse the resolution.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The concept of European standardisation implies cooperation between industry, the public authorities and other stakeholders. This report argues that standardisation ‘helps to boost the competitiveness of enterprises by facilitating, in particular, the free movement of goods and services’ and increases ‘competition and lower output and sales costs’. These standards and EU standardisation are used as political instruments that guarantee the flow and operation of the single market, promoting free competition and, thereby, deepening divergences between countries. We are also concerned about the intention of developing European standards in the service sector, as provided for in the Services Directive, which the report states ‘should generate further harmonisation in the services sector, increase the transparency, quality and competitiveness of European services’. On the contrary, the liberalisation and privatisation of services will have negative consequences for the peoples of the Member States, particularly those with weaker social and economic situations, such as Portugal.

 
  
  

Report: Sophie Auconie (A7-0199/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because I believe food safety is one of the European public’s main concerns. European legislation should therefore ensure the best possible protection, through the updating and strengthening of provisions whenever necessary. As such, following the bovine spongiform encephalopathy crisis, the EU adopted strict rules on the identification and traceability of bovine animals back in 1997. I agree with the rapporteur, who welcomes the Commission’s legislative proposal, which will enhance the safety of beef for consumers. I would stress that the rapporteur proposes a number of additional clarifications to each of the three sections of the proposal, which I consider important. As regards electronic identification, it makes it possible to obtain more reliable data, thus strengthening the traceability system and enhancing food safety. As regards simplification of labelling and, in particular, updating the Commission’s competences, it is important that, no later than five years after the entry into force of this regulation, it submits to Parliament and the Council a report and, where appropriate, relevant proposals for implementing this regulation and the necessary progress.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing. (IT) A number of contradictions have emerged from the proposal for a regulation as the provisions contained therein bring benefits, on the one hand, through electronic identification of bovine animals that makes it possible to speed up their registration and thereby their traceability. On the other hand, they take a few steps backwards by justifying it as a way to reduce the costs and administrative burdens incurred by the Member States and by operators who choose voluntary labelling. We have made great efforts, in recent years, to achieve optimal health protection for our citizens, trying to provide the consumer with information to help increase added value and product quality. We have also tried, through voluntary labelling, to counter industrial anonymity and counterfeiting in the beef sector. Why undo all the work that has been done? Why abolish voluntary labelling, when its very voluntary nature means no one is forced to apply it?

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) During these tough economic times which EU Member States are enduring, it is inappropriate to burden farmers with additional administrative requirements. Farmers have enough challenges which they need to face without having other burdens on top of this. At the same time, however, food safety is one of the main issues of concern to Europe’s citizens.

The electronic identification of bovine animals makes it possible to obtain more reliable data, while also strengthening the traceability system. Member States will be able to decide whether the requirements will be applied on a compulsory basis in their territory. I believe that this is an excellent solution and I endorse the rapporteur’s approach and the solution tabled by the Commission; hence the reason I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) In order to ensure the best possible food security, all cattle are monitored from birth until slaughter, and must carry ear tags with a reference number. That is what we refer to as the traceability of meat. Given the progress achieved through the technique of electronic identification, my report proposes progressive and harmonised development of this technology on a voluntary basis; thus, only for cattle farmers who want it. In five years, we will take stock of this development. We will see, then, if it is a good idea to make electronic identification obligatory, replacing conventional identification through ear tags. As regards the other part of this report – the labelling of beef – my report recommends simplifying the procedure to allow the use of optional mentions on meat packets. For example, this affects information relating to the breed of the animal or the rearing method. Too often, the European Union is perceived as restrictive. On this subject of labelling beef, the European Parliament recommends making the lives of farmers and workers in the cattle sector easier. I will now begin the negotiations with the European ministers.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. The system for the electronic identification of bovine animals is aimed at improving their traceability. Electronic identification will help to ensure greater food safety in the EU and strengthen control of the spread of animal diseases. Electronic reading will open up opportunities to not only ensure that beef products are as safe and hygienic as possible and to manage outbreaks of infectious diseases, but also to promote this sector’s competitiveness. I agree that electronic identification should remain a voluntary measure, but the expansion of the market in electronic devices must result in lower prices so that this identification method becomes the norm.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted against the amended proposal by Ms Auconie because I believe that abolishing voluntary beef labelling is a senseless and counterproductive decision, both for consumers and for farmers.

This proposal levels out the market, favouring an industry based on anonymity and counterfeiting, to the detriment of those farmers who focus on quality. Citizens have a right to know what they are buying and what they are eating: that is why I reiterate my vote against the amended proposal.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because European citizens are concerned about food safety and European legislation must ensure the safety of beef for consumers. The market in electronic devices for the identification of bovine animals should therefore be expanded because only then will it be possible to obtain more reliable data and strengthen the traceability system. This would help guarantee food safety, would speed up the registration of bovine animals and mechanise some tasks. Beef labelling is a very heavy administrative burden. Therefore, it should be simplified and provisions on voluntary labelling deleted.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Food safety is one of the main issues of concern to Europe’s citizens. European legislation must therefore guarantee them optimum protection by means of up-to-date, more stringent provisions whenever necessary. Following the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) crisis, the European Union introduced strict rules in 1997 on the identification and traceability of bovine animals. The electronic identification of bovine animals makes it possible to obtain more reliable data, while also strengthening the traceability system and food safety. It also makes it possible to speed up the registration of bovine animals, automate some tasks and boost the effectiveness of herd management. I think that a debate is needed about whether this measure should be compulsory or voluntary and that the costs which should be borne by farmers need to be quantified.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the report on electronic identification of bovine animals. The extension of this technology allows us to enhance the current system in relation to the traceability of bovine animals and foodstuffs by making the system operate more quickly and more precisely. It also aims at making progress in the reduction of administrative charges and the improvement of disease prevention. In the long term, this type of innovation will have an effect on the competitiveness of the sector and is thus a welcome innovation.

 
  
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  Arkadiusz Tomasz Bratkowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) Greater use of electronic technologies in agriculture is inevitable. Farmers today have to adapt the methods used in production to the requirements and needs of the consumer. Consumers increasingly want to know more about the products they buy, but in the case of raw products such as beef, it is hard to be sure because there are great variations in the conditions under which this meat is produced. The system of electronic identification and registration of bovine animals – using a special ear tag, a chip inserted under the skin or a strap fitted to the animal’s leg – makes it possible to ensure food safety and improve control of the spread of disease among animals. Besides this, I can see many other advantages of this kind of system.

The introduction of electronic identification on a wide scale will mean a reduction in unnecessary bureaucracy by enabling all data to be copied and transferred automatically in digital form. As the system develops, the producer could use it to maintain records of individual animals, including a history of diseases suffered, feed used and vaccinations given. The use of an electronic registration system has many possibilities, but a basic condition for its implementation is to ensure the existence of an appropriate IT infrastructure and a body of suitably qualified people who have a thorough knowledge of the technology involved and who can make decisions on ethical questions concerning the storage and transfer of information held by the system. I think this task should be given to the EU institutions.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – It is essential bovine EID is introduced on a voluntary basis and is not, as some Members of this Parliament urge, subject to a report in five years to consider compulsory EID. The UK cattle ID system works perfectly well, so the choice to upgrade should be an individual decision based upon working preferences. It should be made without fear of penalty under cross compliance if equipment is subject to error. Sheep tagging brought a host of problems that persecuted British farmers whose equipment was especially vulnerable to the elements. Cattle in the UK are often out to grass for at least six months, so tag loss is inevitable. There is a crisis in the dairy industry, while the beef market is only just seeing a small recovery after years of being in the red. Both are subject to pressures from rising feed costs and cheaper foreign imports and would suffer from any punitive measures levied by the Commission.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I consider it crucial to make beef safer for consumers, and because I think that, as the situations of European cattle farms are very diverse, electronic identification should remain optional for farmers; at the very least, interested Member States should have the option of imposing it in their territory.

 
  
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  Minodora Cliveti (S&D), in writing. (RO) The aim of this proposal is to address major challenges with regard to adopting emerging technology for the electronic identification of bovine animals, simplifying the provisions for labelling beef and updating the rules governing the powers conferred on the Commission. It is about ensuring that legislation on the identification and traceability of bovine animals is clear and enforceable, and about optimising food safety. Current legislation needs to be adapted, particularly in order to recognise electronic identification as an official method of identifying bovine animals. It is essential to harmonise technical standards in order to prevent this identification method from possibly developing in a chaotic manner and to ensure interoperability between national provisions.

I call for the provision of information to those operating the animal identification and registration system, firstly, to be ‘free of charge to the recipient’, in order to protect small farmers and other operators in the ID system and, secondly, to be renewable ‘as often as necessary’ in order to take account of the changes to this regulation. In order to prevent trade from being hindered within the internal market, the Commission must inform Member States about the provisions adopted on the territories of those Member States which have opted for compulsory electronic identification.

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE), in writing. (SV) I voted in favour of the report on electronic identification of bovine animals as it aims to reduce red tape and the administrative burdens of farmers and because this modern technology will guarantee a higher level of food safety. Use of the new electronic labelling of animals will make it easier to quickly withdraw or check infected meat using the databases that will be set up. At the same time, I think it is good that use of the electronic labelling by farmers will be voluntary. It entails costs, and it should not be something that they are directly forced into doing.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Food safety is one of the European public’s concerns and we have to ensure it. Consumer information should be clear, objective and the result of a simple, unbureaucratic process. Voluntary labelling of beef is clearly important, since it prevents the profusion of erroneous consumer information on issues like breed, husbandry and the processing of the meat; consumer information regulations should respond to this. Beef is an extremely sensitive product as regards the EU market, very vulnerable to pressure from third countries with fewer animal welfare and husbandry requirements. I think the labelling system should be improved, but with concrete rules and a clear system of checks that is the same for all Member States, whilst retaining the idea of an EU system that prevents various activities that promote distortions of competition. In other words, it should be obligatory for all Member States, as is the case for poultry and eggs.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This regulation aims to pave the way for deleting the provisions on the voluntary beef labelling system. It sets out some general rules for framing and protecting consumers and public health, and which guarantee their trust using objective information that can be verified by the competent authorities and understood by consumers.

We did not vote for the amendments tabled because we think they weaken consumers’ information rights. We are in favour of recognising the differences in farming systems and practices and in sectoral organisations between the Member States, meaning that the latter should be able to decide whether or not to introduce electronic identification (EID) in their territory, including beef sector organisations in the discussion, and taking into account the potential impact on small farmers. We also have some concerns and doubts about the implications of the process of receiving direct aid. Nevertheless, we are pleased about the care taken that, where EID is faulty, the technological breakdown will not lead to farmers being financially penalised. The rapporteur acknowledges that ‘there are practical problems which continue to hinder the effective operation of EID, especially with regard to the accuracy of the technology’.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. (IT) I am dissatisfied by today’s vote on beef labelling. Although it was only by a few votes, we were unable to keep voluntary labelling. A specific request from the entire Italian supply chain, which rightly expressed concern, given that abolition involves a financial loss for farmers – many have already invested in and successfully use this tool – as well as a competitive disadvantage compared with other markets, as Italian production is characterised by its quality. The fact that the rapporteur has decided to refer the text back to the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) bodes well, considering that in Council, a majority block may form to reintroduce compulsory labelling systems to defend the principles of quality and traceability.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Food safety is one of the main concerns of European citizens. European legislation should therefore guarantee them optimum protection by means of rules that are updated and strengthened whenever necessary. The electronic identification of bovine animals makes it possible to obtain more reliable data, thus strengthening the traceability system and enhancing food safety. The aim is to ensure that legislation on the identification and traceability of bovine animals is clear and enforceable and thus to achieve the optimal level of food safety. Sufficient information will lead to greater consumer confidence.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) I wanted to emphasise the importance and the serious situation that would arise should the voluntary beef labelling system be abolished, so I voted so that this system would not be terminated. If Parliament’s position were to be become final following negotiations with the Council, this would lead to a serious lack of transparency for the consumer and a lowering of product quality, as voluntary labelling allows 24 types of additional information to be entered all the way along the value chain and not just the generic ‘useful information’ of mandatory labelling: country of birth, of husbandry and of slaughter. I very much hope that during negotiations, the Council does not opt to abolish the voluntary labelling system.

 
  
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  Ashley Fox (ECR), in writing. – Rules brought in during 2010 require all sheep farmers to electronically tag their sheep. As a consequence, they face financial penalties if they do not achieve 100% accuracy of recording. Yet, the technology at their disposal is not yet 100% accurate. This situation is completely unacceptable. The Commission now wishes to extend electronic identification to bovine animals. However, it seems to have learned from the negative experience of sheep farmers, and has chosen to introduce bovine identification on a voluntary basis. This is a far more pragmatic approach, allowing all stakeholders to benefit, and as such I can support this measure. Given the shambles surrounding the electronic identification of sheep, and the considerable financial impact on farmers, it is imperative that, whilst adhering to the agreed EU technical standards, Member States have control over its introduction to bovine animals.

 
  
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  Françoise Grossetête (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of Parliament’s position on the negotiations with the Council because I think that it achieves a good balance between respect for producers and modernising the identification of bovine animals and meat labelling. We must, of course, ensure simple and practical traceability, as well as increased choice for consumers: that is why we must promote electronic identification of bovine animals, which will enable increased rationalisation of the identification process. We must not forget, however, that we are in a period of crisis: we must not force producers to make investments which are too costly, even if they give us the best health conditions in the world. It would be irresponsible to subject small producers to such unnecessary expense when they have already been put in a precarious position by the current economic situation. As regards meat labelling, it is important to combat excessively heavy administrative burdens. As well as being able to ensure that information is true and verifiable, producers must be able to provide details that can help consumers in their choices. It is natural that we should move towards uniform rules for beef and other meats.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. (FR) In preparation for the negotiations with the EU agriculture ministers, the European Parliament has clarified its position on the electronic identification of bovine animals. Technical progress has been made in the process for identifying bovine animals, but it remains imperfect. Deficiencies remain, and this calls for a gradual adjustment on the part of our farmers. That is why it was essential to ensure that they do not feel disheartened by the ever more burdensome bureaucratic rules emanating from Brussels. Electronic identification of bovine animals will therefore only apply to farmers on a voluntary basis. In five years, an assessment will be carried out in order to decide whether or not it is appropriate to introduce obligatory electronic identification of bovine animals. As for labelling, obligatory information on the origin of animals will not be altered. On the other hand, Parliament is calling for optional information on the quality of beef (breed, husbandry, etc.) to be simplified and brought in line with the labelling rules for other types of meats.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this document because we need to ensure that legislation on the identification and traceability of bovine animals is clear and enforceable and thus to optimise food safety. Food safety is one of the main concerns of European citizens. The electronic identification (EID) of bovine animals makes it possible to obtain more reliable data, thus strengthening the traceability system and enhancing food safety. It also makes it possible to speed up the registration of bovine animals, mechanise some tasks and boost the effectiveness of herd management. The development of this emerging technology should therefore also be promoted. Current legislation should be adapted, particularly in order to recognise EID as an official method of identifying bovine animals. It is also essential to harmonise technical standards in order to prevent this identification method from developing in a chaotic manner and to ensure interoperability between the national systems. However, because the situations on cattle holdings in Europe vary widely, EID should remain optional for farmers unless the Member State in question opts to make it compulsory on its territory. Farmers are encouraged to choose this technology rather than being forced to do so.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) I supported the report by my colleague, Sophie Auconie, which was adopted by a large majority. I welcome this result. The partial adoption of this report (no vote on the final legislative resolution) will allow Sophie Auconie to launch interinstitutional negotiations with the Council so that we are able to reach an agreement at first reading.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) For the electronic identification of bovine animals to be effective, and to ensure that it works in the interests of both farmers and consumers, the system needs to be transparent and easy to use. A modern electronic system will enable yet more precise verification of data and this, in turn, will give consumers access to safer food. It is essential that implementation of the system remains optional, so that the new technology does not hit farmers who only have small numbers of these animals. A system of this kind will enable zoonotic infections to be further reduced. If disease does occur, the system will facilitate identification of the focus of the disease.

For the system to be even more effective, it is necessary to introduce a number of measures which will simplify procedures. Many producers encounter obstacles in registering cattle because they do not have the right equipment or technical skills or because their equipment or Internet connection fails in some way. It is therefore essential to extend the time allowed for registration of an animal, to enable everyone to register within the required time and to prevent numerous financial penalties.

 
  
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  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE), in writing. (SK) Food safety is a major concern of European citizens. The electronic identification of bovine animals makes it possible to obtain more reliable data, thus strengthening the traceability system and enhancing food safety. It also makes it possible to speed up the registration of bovine animals, mechanise some tasks and boost the effectiveness of herd management. I therefore support the development of this new technology. Current legislation should be adapted appropriately in order to recognise electronic identification as an official method of identification. It is also essential to harmonise technical standards in order to prevent this identification method from developing in a chaotic manner and insufficient interoperability between the national systems.

 
  
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  Agnès Le Brun (PPE), in writing. (FR) The report by my colleague, Sophie Auconie, on electronic identification of bovine animals has received the approval of this House. I welcome the adoption of this report, which I supported because it guarantees better monitoring of the measures introduced. It also improves consumer confidence while ensuring that the administrative burden on producers is reduced. By advocating the simplification of beef labelling and the harmonisation of electronic identification for these animals, her report is embarking on a major project.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of this proposal. Food safety and traceability are extremely important issues for the general public.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the report on electronic identification of bovine animals, which will enable the improved traceability of beef, but without creating a disproportionate burden on this sector, as this is a voluntary measure. However, electronic identification certainly constitutes an important technological advance in terms of greater food security.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) Food safety is one of the main concerns of European citizens. European legislation should therefore guarantee them optimum protection by means of rules that are updated and strengthened whenever necessary. For this reason, I supported the adoption of this report.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) As a member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, I agree that the main criteria applying to food for consumers are high standards of quality and safety. I therefore welcome the document, which aims to further enhance the safety of beef for consumers. The advantage of the system for the electronic identification of bovine animals is the possibility to trace and obtain reliable data on food that reaches consumers. The document also states that this system would assist farm management and should therefore be aligned with those already in operation in the Member States. This is another step towards achieving food safety for EU consumers.

 
  
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  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted against the amendments stipulating the removal of voluntary labelling of beef because Europe’s citizens are entitled to have as detailed information as possible about the products which they are buying. I am in favour of simplifying this system, but not of getting rid of it. Provided that they do not cause excessive red tape, voluntary labelling systems must be encouraged in every area of food production.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Although I voted for most of the report, I voted against the draft amendments to the regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1760/2000 as regards electronic identification of bovine animals. This regulation aims to delete the provisions on voluntary beef labelling. I attach great importance to this system, which enables specification and evaluation of issues such as breed, feed and husbandry; these are as important to consumers as they are to farmers, who highlight these issues for reasons of commercial gain. In Portugal, the effort made by farmers, who have seen voluntary implementation of these systems – which require the competent authorities to approve reams of specifications, as well as checks and specific labelling – as benefiting national production could be frustrated if those systems cease to exist.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) Given that databases compliant with Directive 64/432/EEC containing information on cattle do not currently take into account the advent of technology for the electronic identification of bovine animals and that the revision of Regulation (EC) No 1760/2000 fosters a gradual and harmonious development of this new technology, we also need to tailor the data collection principles in question, making them compatible with the new methods of identifying bovine animals. Taking into account the additional objectives of simplifying the provisions on beef labelling – although these aspects are covered by horizontal legislation and powers in this area should not therefore be conferred on the Commission – and upgrading the powers conferred on the Commission, recalling, however, that the delegation of powers may be revoked at any time by the European Parliament and the Council, I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Against, because the results are too mixed. Adopted: our amendments introducing labelling provisions for beef derived from cloned bovine animals or descendents of cloned animals – very good. Electronic identification (EID): Standards for EID shall be harmonised (delegated acts). MS can keep the current system, but are also allowed to make compulsory the use of one electronic identifier besides traditional means of identification (see briefing enclosed). In five years, the COM shall submit a report on feasibility of mandatory EID everywhere in the EU, accompanied by a legislative proposal if appropriate (ENVI amendment adopted). Very bad: The existing approval system of voluntary labelling of beef products is abolished. At present, any operator who wants to indicate information which is additional to the obligatory information on their labels has to send a specification to the competent authority of the Member State, which has to approve the reliable functioning of the labelling system. This approval system, ensuring that consumers can trust what is indicated, is abolished according to the amendments adopted today. Only general food labelling legislation shall apply to voluntary beef labelling, which is not enough for a sensitive product like beef.

 
  
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  Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted for this report because I believe that my colleague, Sophie Auconie, has managed to find a balanced and constructive position on the rules relating to cattle identification. The traceability of cattle in its current form was introduced after the mad cow crisis in 1996, which made clear the need for complete traceability from farm to fork. The current system of traceability for bovine animals does work. It is considered to be a simple system which is well-received on the ground. However, in order to keep the identification process up to date with technological innovations, the rules provide for a gradual, harmonised development of this technology, but only for those farmers who want to participate. To allow farmers time to adapt, an assessment will be carried out after five years to determine whether it is appropriate to make electronic identification chips compulsory.

 
  
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  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing. (IT) I decided to vote against the report on the amended proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards electronic identification of bovine animals and deleting the provisions on voluntary beef labelling. In fact, I believe it is wrong to abolish the labelling system, which is optional, blaming administrative burdens that each farmer can optionally decide whether or not they wish to incur. On the contrary, such a labelling system has proved to be effective, enabling consumers to make informed choices regarding their purchases, by ensuring that additional information is provided in a harmonised and certified manner. Its abolition would favour less transparent producers.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) In Italy, as in most European countries, there are many operators who have been investing for years to comply with European beef labelling regulations. The goal of this important instrument is to provide useful information on the animal (such as breed, gender, feed, age, etc.), enabling consumers to make conscious, informed choices regarding their purchases. Its success is now evident across Europe. The removal of these voluntary labelling provisions would leave a vacuum which would then be filled by a proliferation of different voluntary beef labelling systems without adequate and sufficiently rigorous monitoring arrangements. This would also risk creating uncertainty among operators. For these reasons, I voted against all those amendments that seek to oppose the continuation of the voluntary beef labelling system.

 
  
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  Francisco Sosa Wagner (NI), in writing. (ES) In this matter, while the traceability of the origin of meat is a measure that promotes food safety and quality, I do not think it is entirely appropriate in the current situation, particularly with regard to its effects on small farms.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. (FR) I voted against this report. Given that food security is a topic of major concern among European citizens, we must require the Member States to modernise their identification and traceability measures in accordance with a definite timetable. It will increase consumer confidence if we provide consumers with more information on what they are consuming. However, Amendment 46, added by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, which practically does away with voluntary beef labelling, is completely unacceptable and so I cannot vote in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) I agree with the rapporteur who received the Commission proposals on introducing voluntary electronic identification of bovine animals. I think legislation needs to be adapted to acknowledge electronic identification as an official method of identifying bovine animals, taking into account that the use of technology in this area is growing and becoming more widespread. This technology will have a range of benefits for those who wish to use it, most notably in the areas of traceability and herd management. However, it is important that, as the use of electronic identification in bovine animals becomes more widespread, technical standards be harmonised throughout the EU.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report on the electronic identification of bovine animals and deleting the provisions on voluntary beef labelling. The electronic identification of bovine animals makes it possible to obtain more reliable data, while also strengthening the traceability system and food safety.

Current legislation needs to be adapted, particularly in order to recognise electronic identification as an official method of identifying bovine animals. The tracing of beef to source via identification and registration is a prerequisite for origin labelling throughout the food chain. These measures safeguard consumer protection and public health, and promote consumer confidence. Using electronic identification systems could streamline traceability processes through automated and more accurate reading and recording in the holding register. Furthermore, it would enable animal movements to be registered automatically in the online database, thereby improving the system’s speed, reliability and accuracy. Using electronic identification systems would improve the management of direct payments to farmers granted per animal, through applying better controls and reducing the risks of payment errors.

 
  
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  Dominique Vlasto (PPE), in writing. (FR) It is with great satisfaction that I welcomed the rejection of the obligation for electronic identification of cattle, supported by a number of Members who had obviously not been considering the interests of farmers. This measure aroused indignation and concern among farmers, which I shared and which led me to intervene with the Commission to make it aware of this incomprehensible situation. The additional cost and the administrative surcharge created by this technique would have led to the disappearance of many farms, particularly small farms and those located in mountain areas, which would not have been able to respect this obligation, while they are nevertheless an essential part of our heritage, our rural fabric and biodiversity. Although the reinforcement of the legal arsenal can be understood given the imperatives of traceability and food security, from stall to plate, this must not be done to the detriment of the liberty which is inherent to the profession of farmer, especially since the traditional techniques (tattooing, plastic tags) have demonstrated their reliability and durability. I am therefore pleased that, even by a slim majority, the optional nature of electronic identification of cattle will henceforth be the rule, and that this will be developed exclusively on a voluntary basis.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) When I look at the details of this document, I am reassured by the huge amount of work done and the number of amendments proposed by the Commission, as well as by the advanced state of research and development systems in agriculture. I agree with most of the opinions which have been expressed, and am certain that when it is introduced, this technology will yield a number of benefits. However, I decided to abstain from voting because I am not certain as to whether allowing utilisation of the electronic identification of bovine animals to remain optional, without specifying a final deadline for its introduction, might not slow down implementation of the system in the European Union’s poorer Member States.

 
  
  

Report: Linda McAvan (A7-0165/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report. I consider it essential, in future, to prevent any possible mistakes existing in pharmacovigilance laws, so as to protect patients and facilitate greatly the withdrawal of dangerous medicines. This report is particularly important because the pharmacovigilance legislation in force lays down the rules on medicine safety and the monitoring thereof once they have been cleared for sale on the European market. This legislation was a great institutional step forward for Europe, regardless of one specific case that calls it into question. As such, by increasing pharmaceutical companies’ responsibilities, by requiring greater transparency and by calling for an automatic and urgent EU-level evaluation, this report serves to clarify dubious cases and will certainly contribute to achieving the goals proposed for it.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) Parliament has adopted new amendments to the European legislation on pharmacovigilance to prevent the marketing of harmful medicines in the European Union. Many will recall the Mediator scandal, where the legislator had to intervene to ensure the safety of Europe’s citizens. By denying the Member States any room for manoeuvre, the urgent procedure will now be automatic, as the Commission wished. Moreover, the level of transparency demanded of companies has been raised greatly, requiring them to justify any voluntary withdrawal of a medicine or the refusal to renew a medicine.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report, which is aimed at adopting new measures to help strengthen pharmacovigilance throughout the EU and ensure greater safety of medicines across the EU. Monitoring the safety of medicines is aimed at determining and evaluating the side effects of medicines, thus stopping unsuitable medicines from entering the market. The need to ensure the safety of medicines arose following the 2011 inquiry in France into the drug Mediator produced there, the effects of which are thought to have led to the death of between 500 and 2 000 people across the EU. I therefore welcome the strengthening of medicine safety, particularly the obligation to make public a list of the medicinal products for which marketing authorisations have been refused, revoked or suspended, the supply of which has been prohibited or which have been withdrawn from the market, as well as other measures to protect patients provided for in the directive.

 
  
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  Erik Bánki (PPE), in writing. (HU) I gladly gave my vote in support of the report as this proposal provides an excellent example of the fact that the so often criticised EU legislative process is capable of quick response to the challenges of practical life, especially when the protection of public health is concerned. In connection with the case at hand, the European Commission immediately identified the remaining weaknesses of pharmacovigilance and made proposals for the necessary amendments, on which the Council and Parliament managed to come to an agreement, allowing the amendments to enter into force as early as 2013.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Whilst the Mediator affair has revealed severe shortcomings in the area of medicine safety, I welcome the agreement that we have ratified today at first reading. This pharmacovigilance package meets an additional safety requirement. This requires an amendment to the 2001 directive to reinforce the legal framework: to create an automatic urgent procedure, to increase the transparency obligations for companies and to provide for a blacklist of medicines subject to additional surveillance. These are the new features of this reform which, we hope, will be able to make up for the shortcomings and boost the reliability of the European medicine system.

 
  
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  Nora Berra (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of modifying the 2010 European directive on pharmacovigilance. This revision comes in the wake of the Mediator scandal. What does Parliament want here? Specifically, we want reinforcement of the obligations that apply when a medicine is withdrawn: from now on, whenever a medicine is to be withdrawn in a Member State, all the European health authorities will have to be notified and provided with a justification for the withdrawal. If there is any suspicion of a risk to health, then, in addition to the withdrawal of the product, an assessment will be carried out to anticipate the potential consequences of the product not functioning properly. We no longer want to have to wait until there is an emergency before we resolve the problems. Finally, it will be possible to look up all medicines subject to enhanced surveillance on a publicly available list – a measure that we have already voted for in France. This duty of transparency seems to us to be essential to restore confidence between citizens, health authorities and pharmaceutical laboratories.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because it is very important to ensure improved safety of medicines at EU level. We therefore have to strengthen the role of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in collecting and immediately acting on signal detection and enhance cooperation between Member States. The additional amendments to the directive are needed to ensure that the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee can manage its workload and to ensure that patients and health care professionals are fully involved in improving the pharmacovigilance system. Firstly, there must be a clear declaration on the withdrawal of a marketing licence or decision not to reapply for a licence. A list must be made public annually detailing the medicinal products for which marketing authorisations have been refused and the reasons for such action. Secondly, the marketing authorisation holder must also submit a notification if he or she has taken action in a third country because it would be useful for regulators to know if a company withdraws, does not renew or otherwise halts a marketing authorisation in a third country. Thirdly, a drug fact box should be created for the benefit of consumers so that they understand the usefulness of the drug as well as possible risks.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) The effects of harmful drugs drag on for decades, with significant implications in terms of social impact, not to mention thousands of personal tragedies: the effects of dangerous drugs prescribed in the 1950s and 1960s are still visible today.

We have a moral duty to make maximum use of the potential provided by the scientific and regulatory instruments at our disposal, so as to prevent, as far as possible, any suffering and damage to health. This is also in the interests of an industry that makes a significant contribution to our economies and that must not be criminalised per se, where specific responsibilities lie with a small number of private managers.

For this reason, the four amendments to the directive, suggested by the Commission, are entirely reasonable and appropriate: they speed up the introduction of verification procedures and make it easier to prevent the marketing of potentially dangerous drugs, and help bring out into the open any trace of possible misconduct by companies marketing drugs that later prove to be harmful.

The supplementary provisions proposed by the rapporteur are hallmarked by greater involvement of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and complete transparency for consumers and for the medical and scientific community as a whole. I therefore voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the report on pharmacovigilance. This surveillance measure, implemented by the Commission and the supervisory authorities in 2001, was reformed in 2010, partly as a result of the Mediator affair. I particularly support the introduction of the following measures: the introduction of an automatic urgent procedure when a medicine is withdrawn from the market, the creation of a new trigger mechanism for this procedure, the introduction of a transparency obligation for businesses (which must declare if there are any safety reasons for the voluntary withdrawal of a medicine), and the drawing up of an exhaustive list of medicines subject to additional surveillance.

 
  
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  Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE), in writing. – I support this first reading agreement which will enhance pharmacovigilance within the EU. I particularly favour the introduction of the activation of an automatic urgent procedure allowing the Commission to withdraw from the market a pharmaceutical drug if risks for public safety are detected. I truly believe that more efficient and transparent procedures need to be put in place, especially since the Mediator scandal in France has dramatically highlighted how the lack of uniform and rational rules on this issue can severely harm EU patients’ safety. I particularly commend the fact that the rapporteur has fully understood the importance of ensuring that the highest possible level of protection is equally granted to all EU citizens, also in line with the actual Commission orientation. I also wish to express my full support to this agreement as far as the need for further clarification of transparency obligations on companies when they withdraw a drug is concerned: in the aforementioned Mediator scandal, the French company Servier withdrew Mediator from Spain, claiming it was for commercial reasons, thus severely delaying investigations that might have helped save a number of lives estimated between 500 and 2 000.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, as I agree with the main thrust of a document aiming to strengthen the EU-level pharmacovigilance system.

 
  
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  Françoise Castex (S&D), in writing. (FR) We must detect, assess and prevent the undesirable effects of medicines that are put on the market in the European Union, and we must do so at European level. Following the Mediator affair, the Commission implemented a ‘stress test’ which allowed us to identify weaknesses in current legislation. The present revisions are the result of this process. The improvements made today are numerous: most notably, the introduction of an automatic urgent procedure, the creation of a new trigger mechanism for the urgent procedure and the clarification of the transparency obligation of companies. The European regulation marks a significant step towards increased health security for Europeans, and we welcome that.

 
  
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  Minodora Cliveti (S&D), in writing. (RO) Parliament and the Council have agreed to review the rules regulating pharmacovigilance at EU level by adopting Directive 2010/84/EU.

A range of measures are required leading to improved safety of medicines at EU level by strengthening the role of the European Medicines Agency in collecting data and acting on signal detection, along with a series of other measures such as:

- clarifying companies’ obligations in terms of transparency – when companies voluntarily withdraw a medicine or do not reapply for a marketing licence, they must specifically declare if this is due to a safety concern;

- providing a drug fact box – a brief description of essential/necessary facts and details about the medicine, which are required by the patient to understand the usefulness as well as the possible risks of the medicine, and how to use it in a safe and proper way;

- publication by the agency every year of a list of the medicines for which marketing authorisations have been refused, revoked or suspended, whose supply has been banned, or which have been withdrawn from the market, including the reasons for such action.

 
  
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  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The Mediator health scandal will at least have served to make us aware of the overwhelming need to improve pharmacovigilance in Europe – that is, the surveillance of medicines and the prevention of the risk of undesirable effects, potential or actual, resulting from their use. In 2009, France decided to withdraw this medicine produced by the Servier laboratory, which caused the death of 500 to 2 000 people, according to estimates. Since 2003, it has been withdrawn from the market in Spain and in Italy, at the request of the laboratory. From now on, when a medicine is voluntarily withdrawn from the market in a Member State, the precautionary principle will apply, and the medicine will be temporarily or permanently withdrawn from the other European countries. Businesses will also be obliged to declare whether the voluntary withdrawal of a medicine or the non-renewal of its licence was due to safety reasons.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) Since it is essential to ensure optimum protection for European patients, the Union has a duty to do all it can to ensure that there is a proper balance between pharmaceutical advances and economic activities. It is important to draw the lessons from every past error and adapt the legislation as best we can to improve everyone’s safety. That is why I voted in favour of this text, which, following the Mediator affair, provides better protection for our fellow citizens.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) We have ratified by a large majority the amendments made to the European legislation on pharmacovigilance. The aim of these amendments is to compensate for the shortcomings of the new regulation and new directive (that came into force in July 2012), following the sadly famous Mediator scandal. The amendments made to the European texts, which are of the utmost importance as regards public health, will reinforce the European system for detecting and assessing potential problems with medicines in all of the EU Member States. The new rules, which result from an ordinary legislative procedure with the Council of Ministers, will come into force in 2013.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the Pharmacovigilance Directive because it introduces proposals that will contribute to closing existing loopholes, improving protection of the ill, and facilitating the identification and withdrawal from the market of medicines presenting a risk to public health.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report by Linda McAvan concerns the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2001/83/EC as regards pharmacovigilance. In December 2010, Parliament and the Council agreed a revision of the rules governing pharmacovigilance at EU level by adopting Directive 2010/84/EU and Regulation (EU) No 1235/2010. The range of measures adopted in this new legislation will lead to improved safety of medicines at EU level by strengthening the role of the European Medicines Agency in collecting signs and acting on them, and to increased cooperation among Member States. I think European patients should be better informed about the medicines that they ingest and the secondary effects thereof. The new legislation provides for, inter alia, the creation of a European web portal and national portals on the safety of medicines and methods for patients to notify the national authorities when adverse reactions occur. In this regard, the benefits of working with 500 million people, rather than each Member State working individually, are clear.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Pharmacovigilance has been under review since December 2010, with a view to its implementation from this year, so as to make medicines safer at EU level by increasing the role of the European Medicines Agency in evaluating, detecting and preventing adverse reactions to medicines, as well as to increase cooperation between Member States. As we have stated in previous reports on this very subject, there are aspects of the changes under way that could improve the workings of this mechanism for evaluating, detecting and preventing adverse reactions to medicines. This need for improvement was made obvious with the tragic outcome of the Mediator case, involving a diabetes medicine that caused the deaths of 500 to 2 000 people.

Pharmacovigilance is unquestionably an important subject, particularly as adverse reactions to medicines are the fifth most important cause of hospital deaths in the EU, responsible for an estimated 197 000 deaths a year. We insist on the Member States continuing to play a key role in the EU pharmacovigilance system. The competent authorities in the Member States should therefore continue to act as the clearing house for all spontaneous reporting of adverse drug reactions.

 
  
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  Ashley Fox (ECR), in writing. – Following the failure of pharmacovigilance rules to prevent a French drug causing unnecessary deaths, there is a clear case for toughening up these rules and ending existing shortcomings. These unfortunate deaths could have been avoided. This report helps close loopholes by improving transparency rules for companies, allowing post-authorisation safety studies, and introducing automatic urgent procedures for known risky medicines. I support this report and first reading agreement with the Council which will help save lives in the future and make our pharmaceutical market safer for all consumers.

 
  
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  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) The legislative proposal stems from a desire to ensure that certain provisions are observed, as not doing so would result in serious risks to health. Recent cases have, indeed, demonstrated the urgent need to improve the system of surveillance of medicinal products in order to strengthen the system currently in place. The agreement that has been reached is, therefore, a clear signal of our intention to address the shortcomings of the previous system. The vote in this House demonstrates a desire to establish a European system to evaluate potential problems with medicinal products. The new legal framework will allow for better monitoring of businesses: at last, companies withdrawing a drug from the market will not be able to hide behind ‘business reasons’, but will be forced to provide accurate and precise explanations.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) Following the scandal surrounding Mediator, which was responsible for 1 000 to 2 000 deaths in France, it has seemed particularly urgent to revise the systems of pharmacovigilance in the European Union, which have a number of profound shortcomings. It is for this reason that I support the work carried out by my colleague, Ms McAvan, to improve detection of dangerous medicines and to speed up their withdrawal from the market. We have a duty to provide measures enabling us to prevent other dangerous medicines from becoming commercially available in the European Union. In addition, we must also consider the question of the influence that the laboratories wield and the pressures that they exert on the administrative authorities.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. (FR) In 2010, the European institutions agreed to revise the rules regulating pharmacovigilance with a view to implementing the legislation in 2012. This new legislation reinforces the coordinating role of the European Medicines Agency and improves the ‘signal’-based detection system that reveals potential problems and the system for follow-up at European level. Since then, the Mediator scandal has led us to reinforce once again the pharmacovigilance measures. That is the conclusion that emerges from the analyses (stress tests) carried out following the scandal. The European Parliament has set itself the objective of improving the protection of European citizens’ health. In order to do this, it estimates that we must redouble our efforts in the detection of risks and prevent them as much as possible. In order to be more efficient, however, better cooperation at European level is necessary.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2001/83/EC as regards pharmacovigilance. I welcome this amendment because it aims to further strengthen the pharmacovigilance system at EU level. The five additional amendments proposed serve to clarify wording, ensure that the workload of the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee remains manageable, and to ensure that patients and health care professionals are fully involved in improving the pharmacovigilance system. Enhancing cooperation between Member States will ensure improved safety of medicines at EU level and will also avoid adverse effects such as in the Mediator case.