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Procedure : 2012/2048(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Select a document: :

Texts tabled :

A7-0328/2012

Debates :

Votes :

PV 20/11/2012 - 6.20
CRE 20/11/2012 - 6.20
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2012)0431

Debates
Tuesday, 20 November 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition

8. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
 

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

- Report: Tadeusz Zwiefka (A7-0320/2012)

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Madam President, the Brussels I Regulation was undoubtedly one of the most successful pieces of EU legislation in that it laid the foundations for a European judicial area and promoted legal certainty for European citizens. The recast of this Regulation affects fundamental areas for the development of European justice, including the extension of the jurisdiction rules to disputes involving defendants domiciled in third countries and choice-of-court agreements. I believe that adopting the new Regulation will guarantee more robust protection for consumers and provide greater legal certainty within the internal market, and that is why I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I voted in favour of the report because the free circulation of judgments is an objective which is vital for the consolidation of the European Union. I believe that this motion will remove the obstacles to the process of recognising and enforcing judgments in civil and commercial matters in another Member State. Extending the provisions to citizens of third countries who are inside the Union is also very important.

At the same time, the introduction of choice-of-court agreements will make judicial proceedings more efficient. This means that the court chosen by the parties to settle a dispute will always have priority. This will simplify proceedings and reduce costs. We must give citizens and companies within the Union the opportunity to settle their disputes as swiftly and efficiently as possible.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). - Madam President, the European Court of Human Rights has decided in numerous cases that the right of access to a court would be illusory if a contracting state’s domestic legal system allowed for a final binding judgement to remain on paper and not be enforced to the detriment of one party.

The right of execution of a judgement derives from the essential principle of the rule of law. We need to unify the rules on the conflict of jurisdiction in civil and commercial matters in all EU Member States. The exequatur for all civil and commercial judgements must be abolished. This will be a significant step forward in access to justice for citizens and businesses. The measure will simplify the procedure which allows a claimant who has obtained a judgement from a Member State to enforce that judgement in any other Member State. This would be totally to the benefit of our citizens.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Madam President, as you will know, the United Kingdom has given notice that it intends to opt out of most of the justice and home affairs issues controlled currently by the European Union. If anybody does not understand why, let me introduce you to a young man called Andrew Symeou whom I visited in Athens a couple of years ago when he was detained under house arrest, who was a victim of what was very obviously a case of mistaken identity, as was established when the case finally came to court and was thrown out almost immediately. But in the meantime, this young man, who had gone to Greece celebrating his A-Level exams, had lost three years of his life, 11 months of them spent in one of the most unpleasant prisons in Europe. How do you give that back to a boy of that age? We complain about the length of detention – there was a great row in Britain about 42 days being too long. He was three years without the case so much as coming to trial.

My country’s greatest gift to the human race, our supreme export, was the concept of the rule of law and habeas corpus and the freedom of the individual and all of the things that go with the conception of the law being above the government rather than a projection of the wishes of the state. This is not some abstract issue of sovereignty: this is about the law being a protector of the individual and not an instrument of the government.

 
  
  

- Report: Jan Mulder (A7-0269/2012)

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Madam President, we all know how important it is to guarantee the safety of citizens within the Member States. The proposal in question, on which I voted in favour, seeks to reduce the frequency and impact of terrorist attacks by limiting access by the general public to widely used substances which in high concentrations can also be used to manufacture explosives. I consider the introduction of a duty to report suspicious transactions of these substances to be very worthwhile, while I note that the tonnages concerned by the proposal, which is directed at wholesalers, retailers and Member States, are small compared to the total amounts sold.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D).(FI) Madam President, I voted in favour of this report. When what we have in the balance is people’s safety on the one hand and individual freedoms on the other, the situation must be evaluated in the light of the acceptability of the objectives and the principle of proportionality.

Even though the basic approach of the report is to restrict individual rights and increase state control, what we have here is an important legislative proposal by which it will be possible to prevent individual terrorist attacks in the future. Nor, probably, will it be difficult to justify the acceptability of such an objective to the general public. From the aspect of effective prevention of terrorism, it is important that the Member States comply with common statutory provisions which are also effectively carried out in practice.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). - Madam President, I voted for the report on the marketing and use of explosives precursors. It follows and supports the Commission’s approach in restricting access by the general public to 15 high-risk chemicals in concentrations that can be used for the manufacture of home-made explosives. The free movement of goods will not suffer from this measure.

For instance, eight substances listed in Annex I may continue to be sold in concentrated form but only if the buyer presents a licence granted by a national competent authority. The sale of other substances would remain restriction-free but be better controlled. Wholesalers and retailers would be obliged to report any suspicious transactions. I also welcome the decision to support the Commission’s approach involving setting up a more harmonised licensing system instead of a dual system as proposed by the Council. By limiting access by the general public to these 15 substances, the regulation should reduce the frequency and impact of terrorist attacks.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Madam President, of course the explosion that everyone is expecting now is a monetary one. Journalists and observers love to portray things in dramatic terms, so we are given a choice between solving the euro crisis or some blast that will explode it. There is, of course, a third – and, it seems to me, likelier – option, which is that we just carry on getting gradually poorer, as most of our constituents have been doing these past two or three years. We are condemning people to wretchedness and squalor and emigration because we are not allowing countries to price their way back into the market and adjust their monetary policy to their own needs.

The real explosion that we risk is not one of the financial system but one of our democratic system, when people find that it does not matter how they vote because the decisions that most tangibly impact their lives come from remote Brussels institutions. That might be an explosion which is not controllable but which blasts the entire European system of representative government to sparks and splinters.

 
  
  

- Report: Birgit Collin-Langen (A7-0343/2012)

 
  
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  Giommaria Uggias (ALDE).(IT) Madam President, with this report Parliament is recognising how quickly the consumer credit market is changing. The financial crisis is also a credit crisis and the massive reduction in loans granted to families affects businesses and the whole economy. If the Commission could intervene to increase access to cross-border credit, which is currently too low, accounting for only 2 % of total credit in the EU, many Europeans who are currently unable to obtain loans in their own countries because of the economic problems of those countries could obtain them in other Member States, thereby guaranteeing the effectiveness of the single market for which the European institutions are fighting so hard to overcome national boundaries.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). - Madam President, I support this agreement between the European Parliament and the Council. As a fully functioning market economy we need to open up national markets in the economic sector of consumer credit. Accomplishing this will promote competition, eliminate market distortions between operators and improve the functioning of the internal market. However, statistics show that cross-border consumer credit has not increased in years. Some legal and practical barriers still remain.

I am supporting this proposal to further harmonise and improve the consumption of consumer credit. It is very important in terms of strengthening the internal market in the area of consumer credit with regard to cross-border transactions. In addition, it includes a high level of consumer credit protection, which is extremely important in order to promote confidence in purchasing consumer credit. Thus, economic growth and investment greatly depend on the adoption of this directive.

 
  
  

- Report: Danuta Jazlowiecka (A7-0263/2012)

 
  
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  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE).(IT) Madam President, I voted in favour of Ms Jazłowiecka’s report, which lets us take an important step forward in the current debate on the economic recovery of individual Member States. While balancing the Member States’ budgets is a priority on the one hand, targeted social investment is also needed to prepare individuals, families and businesses for the change of economic climate and the demands of the employment market. As well as the sustainability of public finances, the Member States should also be focusing on how to create sustainable, quality jobs, on how to invest in training and updating of skills, and on fighting poverty and social exclusion. Hence the need for, and perhaps urgency of, a coordinated approach to social investment and therefore a Social Investment Pact for the whole of Europe.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D).(FI) Madam President, I voted in favour of this important report. Ensuring European competitiveness in the future will require the commitment of social investments, particularly now during this time of financial crisis. When correctly implemented, social investments increase employment and the well-being of citizens. For this reason, they should not be seen merely as expenses but rather as investments in the future.

What is particularly important is to invest in measures to promote employment. Both young people and the long-term unemployed need support as they move into working life. In addition, attention needs to be paid to the quality of working life, and to how people cope with work-related stress. In my opinion, the idea of an agreement on social investment is highly welcome.

 
  
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  Emer Costello (S&D). - Madam President, last Friday in Dublin I had the honour of launching a Leonardo da Vinci-funded training project called Motives. The Motives project promotes the wider social returns of workers involved in training and retraining, and the project has developed a tool for measuring the return on social investment or ROSI. The social investment approach taken by the Ballymun Centre is, I believe, one that should be more widely replicated across Europe in the years ahead.

Fiscal consolidation on its own will not end the crisis and will only work if combined with growth. Enlightened social investment policies make a tangible difference not only in raising employment levels but also in promoting high-skilled quality jobs. Social investment policies will help to prepare people for change rather than just trying to repair the damage after the event.

I supported the Social Investment Pact, which promotes the progressive social, jobs and educational targets of the Europe 2020 strategy, and I was very pleased to do so.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). - Madam President, I support this report which sets out an initiative of the Commission on combating the currently stagnant EU economy. This report calls on Member States to arrange for a system of investment, education and employment targets in coordination with the EU 2020 goals. The Social Investment Pact will contain enforcement mechanisms to ensure that each nation is meeting its goals and to stimulate economic growth. The current unemployment rate in the EU’s 27 Member States is now above 10 %, up from 7.1 % in 2008. Youth unemployment is far worse: it is currently over 20 %. This report calls for actions that will help alleviate some of the economic problems the Union is now facing. We must ensure that the labour market improves, growth is stimulated and that an improvement in employment opportunities is sustainable.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE). - (SK) Madam President, Slovakia has had very bad experience in the past with the implementation of social investment. Owing to high costs, a lack of transparency in the allocation of subsidies and unclear outcomes, social enterprises have become synonymous with the ineffective waste of public funds. Each of us is concerned about high unemployment, particularly among young people. However, that does not mean that it is necessary to begin to spend billions of euros to give people work, the outcomes of which will be of no interest. If by chance there is interest, this will only be because they will be competing in price terms with functioning businesses thanks to subsidies. Such distortion of the labour market does not solve problems – it creates them. The state is unable to judge which business plan is good and which is not. We learned this during the communist era.

 
  
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  Danuta Jazłowiecka (PPE).(PL) Madam President, the changing economic situation and the battle with the economic crisis are giving rise to a need for changes in the European labour market and in education systems. The European Union should draw up a plan for social investment, or targeted actions aimed at activation of European society, consisting in investment in individuals and individual families and social groups. This is why, in the report adopted today, of which I am author, I am inciting Member States to sign what is called a social investment pact, which will promote, among other things, investment in lifelong education, cooperation between business and schools and occupational excellence in the workplace, and special training in sectors affected by a shortage of workers. Social investment should be aimed at instilling enterprise and self-reliance, which as a result of certain aspects of social policy are currently dormant, in us right from pre-school age. To this end I voted for this report, and it was also to this end that I drew it up, and from here I would like once again to thank all my colleagues who worked with me on it.

 
  
  

- Report: Wim van de Camp (A7-0445/2011)

 
  
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  George Lyon (ALDE). - Madam President, I had some grave concerns about the original proposals contained in these reports. The Commission’s original plans were going to require off-road farm bikes used in the agricultural industry and the forestry industry to be built to the same specification as on-road bicycles or quads, as you would call them. That would have had disastrous consequences for the safety and the stability of farm quads. They would be less stable on steep ground, more likely to tip over and indeed they would be unable to perform the day-to-day functions which are necessary when used by farmers and indeed foresters. It would also have dramatically increased the costs of the bikes. Common sense has prevailed, though, and off-road bikes will now be built to a separate specification from on-road bikes, recognising that they are used in dramatically different types of terrain. These changes reflect Parliament’s willingness to listen to and act on the genuine concerns of our citizens about the contents of the proposals and rather than turning a deaf ear to them, they have amended them and that is why I voted for them today.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Madam President, on a point of order, I spoke to you before the beginning of the explanations of vote and you agreed to call me on the Ilchev Report because it was not under Rule 138 on the agenda. I requested an explanation of vote and then I was told it was under Rule 138 and you ruled that I could speak, and now you have passed it by.

 
  
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  President. – The Rules of Procedure stipulate that when there is no debate on the subject, there is no explanation of vote. Therefore I am afraid that under the Rules I cannot give you the floor. I am sorry.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE).(GA) Madam President, I voted for this report and I am very satisfied with the work that has been done by the rapporteur, Wim van de Camp. The rapporteur, himself, rides a motorbike and I think that that is very important in terms of the report. He understands the issue. I believe that Mr van de Camp has achieved a fair balance. This touches on one of Parliament’s main objectives: road safety. I am particularly pleased with the emphasis on the anti-lock brake system and the combined brake system, and on the requirement for properly fitted daytime running lights. We know that motorbike riders are eight times more likely to be involved in an accident than drivers of other types of vehicles. We Europeans must work together to reduce the number of deaths on our roads.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE).(IT) Madam President, I voted in favour of this report because I have been following its journey very closely and I think that the rapporteur has done an excellent job, both technically, as regards the ability to grapple with such a complex subject, and also politically, for giving us this final text after so much discussion and paring down. In particular, partly because they safeguard manufacturers’ production cycles, I think advanced brake systems – combined braking systems or anti-lock braking systems – are a good thing, and a better level of safety has been achieved, which was one of our main objectives. At the same time, account has been taken of the technological differences and the different performance and cost of various subcategories of motorcycle. The environmental impact study for the 2020 stage, which leaves the way open for the Regulation to remain up to date with the latest technological discoveries, is also worthy of praise. Lastly I am pleased to point out the market surveillance aspect, and thus compliment the rapporteur once again.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). - Madam President, this proposal finally adds several long expected regulations to the L-category vehicles market. Currently these vehicles account for a high level of pollution. They are also dangerous compared to other vehicle types: two-wheeled power vehicles account for 16% of driving-related deaths in the European Union while accounting for just 2% of total kilometres driven.

I welcome this proposal because it sets out better safety standards such as multi-standard anti-lock brakes along with tougher emission standards to reduce the environmental impact. This will ensure that these vehicles become safer for their operators and friendlier for the environment, and lives will be saved.

 
  
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  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Madam President, this proposal for a regulation aims to simplify the current legal framework and to establish new administrative and technical requirements for the type-approval of new L-category vehicles, of which there are currently around 30 million in Europe. Until now, the 2002 Framework Directive and 14 other directives referring to it set out the requirements in a rather convoluted legislative framework that is happily being replaced by a consolidated text. A refined vehicle categorisation achieved by introducing more appropriate subcategories, more severe emission limits, the mandatory introduction of anti-lock brake systems on some types of vehicle and the automatic headlight-on system to improve the visibility of L-vehicles are just some of the innovations to be introduced thanks to this report. The benefits to be gained in terms of safety, environmental protection and improved functioning of the internal market are beyond doubt and because of this I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Madam President, the current complex type-approval structure is above all a source of considerable and to a large extent unjustified expense imposed on businesses, and thus indirectly on customers. The European Commission’s proposal concerning simplification of procedures is therefore a step towards reducing the costs borne by citizens. The report also contains the required solutions, for example a standardisation of requirements relating to exhaust gas emissions and the introduction of systems to prevent unauthorised tampering with vehicles. The inclusion of agricultural four-wheel vehicles within the scope of the regulation concerning tractor units should also have the effect of improving road safety. Thanks to the efforts of my political group, universal use of an anti-lock braking system in motorcycles only covers high-powered two-wheel vehicles, and will thus not affect those with a larger engine and scooters. An assessment of the consequences has revealed that the existing cheaper braking systems are adequate for these vehicles. The durability requirements for motorcycles and the schedule for the introduction of the new provisions have also taken our comments into account. I am consequently supporting this report.

 
  
  

- Report: Pier Antonio Panzeri (A7-0446/2011)

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE).(GA) Madam President, I voted for this report on agricultural and forestry vehicles. As I said last night in the debate on this report, I am reasonably satisfied that the rapporteur has reached a good enough balance in order to avoid red tape. I believe that this report is good for the environment, for the internal market and for the cross-border market for these agricultural and forestry vehicles, and I hope that it will help to create a competitive market for these vehicles in the European Union.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE).(IT) Madam President, I congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Panzeri, for this important result, which gives us a regulation that will have a significant impact on the agricultural and forestry vehicles market. Firstly, its simplification of the legislation: the Regulation will replace 24 existing Directives and will allow harmonisation within the Member States through its direct effect on national legal systems. In addition, by laying down common European-wide technical requirements for these it should increase the market’s competitiveness. The introduction of new technologies including anti-lock braking systems and electronic stability control systems will certainly help to improve the safety of these vehicles. As rapporteur for the previous regulation on European standardisation, I think the decision to set standards for technical services and the procedure for assessing them, through delegated acts adopted by the Commission, is absolutely right.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). - Madam President, I rise on this occasion to support the proposal of the European Parliament and the Council, as the manufacturers, suppliers and aftermarket stakeholders, including the trade unions, think the completion of the internal market in this area is a good idea. More specifically, harmonisation regarding the rules and regulations between all vehicles will enhance competition within the European Union. The Machinery Directive will enable better monitoring of third-party products entering the European Union. Furthermore, harmonisation will foster occupational and vehicle safety as well as environmental protection. Thus this proposal will limit market distortion from third-party products while improving our own industries.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Madam President, the multiplicity of legal regulations we currently have relating to the manufacture of agricultural and forestry vehicles has given rise to a complicated system of market surveillance in this regard. The Commission’s proposal to have these matters covered by a single regulation would therefore appear to be the optimum solution, and for that reason I supported the resolution. The proposal most worthy of comment is that of having virtually all types of tractor covered by a duty of type approval, with this requirement not relating to manufacturers of trailers or towed equipment. It is worth pointing out, however, that possession of an EU type approval will permit a vehicle to operate throughout the EU. The introduction of some differentiation between tractors with regard to their speed will also enable more precision to be brought to bear in regulations that are unclear in this respect. Additional requirements will thus only affect higher-speed machines. The virtual elimination of unfavourable conditions of competition in the case of off-road vehicles, manufacturers of which will be able to obtain type approval in all category T types, will be of major significance. Farmers will consequently not be burdened by the potential unjustified costs of any changes to vehicles.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE). – (RO) Madam President, I voted in favour of this report because it is essential for a high level of road safety and environmental protection to be ensured. By this means, we will be able to help the internal market function better. Simplifying the existing legislation will make the sector more competitive. Harmonised standards for the manufacture of agricultural and forestry vehicles are needed.

At the same time, we need a common framework for the marketing of products. This will contribute to the application of the new regulations and compliance with them. Unlimited and non-discriminatory access to information concerning vehicle repairs and maintenance is very important. I believe that the right balance guaranteeing free access to technical information must be struck. I also believe that we should have regard to all causes for concern relating to consumer protection and fair competition.

 
  
  

- Report: Sampo Terho (A7-0304/2012)

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE). - Madam President, I fully agree with the Commission Green Paper for an integrated European market for card, internet and mobile payments. The paper aims to get more competition, more choice, more innovation and more payment security, as well as customer trust. However, customer trust is something that needs to be earned. Standardisation of the security of payments is a must. As common technical standards are developed, so too must common security payments be. Market-based self-regulation of security payments is an absolute non-runner and the Commission must legislate for this. The rapporteur also acknowledges the benefits of promoting and increasing card, internet and mobile payments in order to offer consumers and businesses an opportunity to have access to more convenient, more secure, faster, more variable, flexible and cost-effective payment methods, but we need legislation.

 
  
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  Giommaria Uggias (ALDE).(IT) Madam President, I am expressing my opinion and my vote in favour of the matter under discussion because the burgeoning of means of payment and the widespread use of ‘e-money’ demand rules that reflect the times and that reconcile the drive towards greater openness to the internal market with the need for transparency. There are some positive aspects to this, which have an impact on the fight against laundering money from unlawful activities and on tax evasion, which is an unfortunate feature of many Member States. However, we need to look at this in greater detail. I think it is essential that we understand the potential problems that multilateral interchange fees could cause as regards competitiveness, with costs and surcharges that discourage greater use of e-money, and some hidden interchange fees that could do the opposite of making for an open, competitive and transparent market system.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE).(IT) Madam President, I voted in favour of this report because I think that it addresses one of the main technological challenges of the next few years: reconciling the need to reduce what is needed for everyday life to just a few items without compromising security. The use of mobile phones as a payment method is already gaining ground in other parts of the world, particularly where banks have not yet managed to organise a network of cash dispenser machines. In Europe these technologies would allow traceability, helping to fight theft and fraud, and at the same time they would help to consolidate the internal market by making cross-border payments easier in areas with different currencies. Particular attention should quite rightly be paid to security, to preparing standards and to interoperability. While on the one hand, consumer confidence is vital, this should also be backed up by protection and security.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). - Madam President, this report proposes the further integration of the European card, internet and mobile payment market. With the ever-expanding use of non-cash payments through cards, there is an increasing need to develop a system that is both consistent and efficient. With proper EU oversight the card market will be able to reach its full potential. This would be achieved by the further integration of the market to alleviate problems associated with the transfer of payments among Member States with different policies.

This resolution serves to provide integration without fundamentally changing the market. Cross-border standard payments and payment security are both provided for by this resolution. A further goal is to foster competition by decreasing multilateral interchange fees and surcharges. Unnecessary or artificially inflated fees are technical obstacles that must be removed. In doing so, we will increase the efficiency of and competition on our market.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE). - (SK) Madam President, I wish to comment on online card and mobile payments.

Technical progress opens up new possibilities in the internal market. The gradual replacement of card payment systems by other electronic and mobile means of payment has a huge potential to increase not only the volume but also the diversity of e-commerce in the European Union. A smoothly functioning modern digital economy and cross-border e-commerce, and primarily legal certainty for consumers and traders, requires the creation of secure and efficient payment systems within the European digital market. In my opinion, we should focus on common security standards whereby standardisation should not hinder economic competition and the development of innovation. On the contrary, the European Commission should focus its efforts on increasing competition in the digital market and the card payment market, in which two non-European providers of card payment services are still dominant.

 
  
  

- Report: Saïd El Khadraoui (A7-0354/2012)

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). - Madam President, I rise to affirm this proposal. If banks are left unregulated in regard to shadow banking, then this lack of regulation will further destroy the economy. For instance, shadow banking accounted for EUR 21 trillion in 2002 and then jumped to EUR 51 trillion in 2011. In other words, shadow banking now represents 25% to 30% of all banking activity.

Placing shadow banking under the common regulatory framework will increase stability across the European Union’s banking system. Direct regulation such as establishing bank reporting requirements is a valuable tool for tackling shadow banking activity. I support this report because lack of oversight in regard to shadow banking contributed to the current financial crisis and the current banking system needs a lot of patchwork in the area of shadow banking if we are to fight the financial crisis in the EU in an efficient way.

 
  
  

- Report: Silvia Costa (A7-0353/2012)

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR). - Madam President, children with their natural curiosity and superior technological skills are stumbling across or seeking out pornographic material on the internet. Violent and degrading material is easily available and this is having disturbing consequences on our children. Use by children of social networking sites is also making it easier for sexual predators to groom youngsters. When I worked on legislation on sexual exploitation of children I was pleased to support measures aimed specifically at preventing grooming. I also supported plans to block access to sites which contained child abuse images.

Now, usually I am allergic to EU legislation, but the internet has no borders. As such I am able to support most of the suggestions included in this report. I especially support encouraging internet service providers to promote self-regulation, including codes of conduct for identifying and deleting illegal content. ISPs should also help parents by providing network filters and make it easier for the filters to be employed. I am pleased to have supported this report.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE). - Madam President, young Europeans are online for 88 minutes a day and, in the case of 15-to-16-year-olds, you are talking about two hours. This starts at an average age of nine. As has been said previously, the internet can be very dangerous for inexperienced and naive web surfers who face various risks such as the violation of privacy, the commercial or other use of their profiles, health dangers, dependence phenomena and a distorted relationship with reality and their own identity.

Harmful online content with strong connotations, as the previous speaker said – violence, discrimination, sexism and racism – is a features of the modern social media. In Ireland in the last two months we have had several suicides, including the case of two young girls aged 13, who actually hanged themselves because of bullying. The EU’s Safer Internet Programme is excellent and has a good budget. We need it right up to 2014, but we must strengthen it.

 
  
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  Giommaria Uggias (ALDE). – Madam President, I voted in favour of the Costa report against the wishes of my group, and I wanted to explain why this was. I believe the report covers most aspects of the fight against threats to children from the digital world. Protecting children is an urgent matter in a changing technological world, where family, schools and the education system are not always taking the necessary measures to prevent its harmful effects. There is plenty to do, but it was the positive aspects of this report that made me vote for it.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE).(IT) Madam President, I congratulate Ms Costa for the excellent job she has done and for choosing the right time to talk about this tricky matter. Now more than ever, new technologies are presenting a risk to the safety of personal data, particularly when we are not fully aware of the consequences of sharing certain information. It is therefore highly likely that those who are both most exposed to these technologies and least mature when it comes to using them are making mistakes. More and better education are clearly part of a general strategy to increase protection but at the same time, fighting illegal and harmful content must also be used as a way of reducing the risks associated with children being citizens of the digital world.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D).(FI) Madam President, I voted in favour of this important report. I would also like to focus on a number of important additional considerations. Today’s children are born into a world where computers, the internet and social media are a natural part of everyday life; however, children and young people fail to recognise the dangers of the internet, and the risks relating to child protection, in the same way as adults. This sets up new challenges for us all regarding the protection of children and young people.

Online communities also act as an arena for inappropriate contacts and bullying. Child protection in the digital world requires not only supervision by the authorities but also effective and collaborative educational work involving parents, schools and civil society. At school, children must also be taught essential skills for a digital world, and consumer education is also important. Parents, ultimately, are in the best position to monitor and protect their offspring, and so they too must be informed of the dangers of the digital world and how these can be prevented.

 
  
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  Emer Costello (S&D). - Madam President, I want to commend the rapporteur for this excellent report, which recognises the potential of the internet in the education and socialisation of children on the one hand while at the same time seeking to protect children from the harmful aspects of the internet. Children face many dangers in the digital environment, from sexual predators, illegal and unethical advertising to cyber bullying, and indeed there have been two cases recently in Ireland of suicides due to cyber bullying.

The digital environment by its nature fosters a culture of anonymity and secrecy. 49% of young people go online from their bedroom; 16% of young people have admitted to using a fictitious profile; 27% of 9- to 12-year-olds declare themselves to be older than they are when they are online and, worryingly, 50% of young people say that they find it easier to express themselves online rather than face to face. I particularly welcome the proposal for an educational alliance between the family, school and civil society in understanding the digital world and developing a responsible digital citizenship while identifying and developing strategies for dealing with the dangers of the internet. Finally, I believe that the schools eTwinning programme could play an important part in the development of such an alliance on a transnational basis. I was happy to support this report.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). - Madam President, almost 15% of internet users aged between ten and seventeen receive some form of sexual solicitation. Last October a French teenager committed suicide after being the victim of blackmail on a famous social network, Facebook. Though it proves to be an asset for the education sector we can see that the use of the internet involves substantial risk to the privacy, dignity, safety and even the life of children and teenagers.

Member States must transpose and implement as soon as possible Directive 2011/92/EU on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. At the EU level, I welcome the creation of the new cyber security agency based at Europol and I call for adequate resources for its child protection team. A top-down approach alone is not enough: children and teenagers must receive the information and training to be able to protect themselves online. EU programmes such as the Safer Internet Programme are very positive.

 
  
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  Emma McClarkin (ECR). - Madam President, the age of the internet has brought us many opportunities, but also many dangers, especially for our children. I would like to state my support for cooperation between Member States when taking action on the protection of minors using audiovisual and online services. It is an area I feel passionate about and where I feel there is a vast potential to expand cooperation and work towards more effective and coordinated measures to protect children in the digital world.

I congratulate the rapporteur, Mrs Costa, on her own-initiative report and welcome her recommendations. We need collaboration at a European level and between public institutions and internet service providers in order to protect minors using the internet. Additional technological options, for example the blocking of access by children to harmful content, as well as the promotion of self-regulation by service providers, are also to be welcomed.

Finally, media education for minors is an initiative which I fully support, giving minors themselves the tools to navigate their way around these services safely. We must protect our children online.

 
  
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  Alajos Mészáros (PPE).(HU) Madam President, since our children spend an increasing amount of time on the internet, in many cases the internet plays a more defining role than the family or the school. Besides completing exercises for school, young people take advantage of the other opportunities offered by the internet. Many are members of some social community, and so they give information about themselves on their profiles. As they frequently use the internet by themselves, without supervision, children are exposed to various dangers in relation to violations of data protection, risks to health and addiction. First and foremost it is the job of the family and the schools to prepare children for the critical use of digital technologies. With a view to taking a stance against inappropriate content I support the efforts of Member States to elaborate strategies and standards that protect children from content that is not appropriate for their age. I agree that we need to ensure continuity for the Safer Internet Programme and protect children from online crime. This is why I voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE). - (SK) Madam President, the increasing access of children and young persons to the internet places higher demands on the teaching of responsibilities, primarily by parents. Better protection of children on the internet is achieved mainly by informing parents and teachers. In the field of prevention of juvenile delinquency in Slovakia we have had good experience with the programme ‘Do you know what your child is doing now?’ This programme is aimed at alerting parents to the risks to which their children are exposed. I support the extension of similar programmes also to the field of the internet. At the same time, however, I reject the notion that the state should take responsibility for training children out of the hands of parents. Efforts should be focused on media education so that children and young people, with the help of parents and teachers, may take responsibility for their actions in relation to the internet and develop their e-skills.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE). (SK) Madam President, a child’s sensitive psyche faces a number of negative impacts from external digital media, especially the internet, from an early age.

It is often the case that when engaged in innocent surfing more than a third of children come into contact with material that is highly inappropriate and of a violent or sexual nature which is harmful to child development; they are also exposed to bullying. As a physician, I firmly believe that we should effectively prevent such a high level of danger and adverse influence which children face on the internet by means of an adequate interconnection of legal, technical and educational measures. The best remedy is adequate prevention, and we must therefore educate minors to protect themselves from these risks so they do not become easy prey to abusers and paedophiles who may be lurking around the internet. In this respect the inclusion of media education for parents and teachers in primary and other schools in the form of special seminars would certainly help.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I voted in favour of the report because we need to become more involved in the development and education of minors. I believe that responsibility for avoiding risks lies primarily with parents, but also with internet service providers. Everyone must protect minors when they use the internet, and internet service providers must find solutions which will prevent children under 18 years of age from accessing harmful material. I have in mind the development of filters making it possible to check users’ ages.

Child pornography remains a major problem with regard to internet access for minors, and to this end, the Member States must transpose the Directive on combating the sexual abuse of children as urgently as possible. Those who facilitate the production and distribution of such material must be brought before the courts, without exception.

 
  
  

- Report: Heinz K. Becker (A7-0305/2012)

 
  
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  Giommaria Uggias (ALDE).(IT) Madam President, I voted in favour of the text adopted today, which stems from the Commission Communication of 2011 on Social Business Initiative. The Europe 2020 strategy lies ahead, and with it we will need to provide answers to the ever-increasing need for social services, for example in the health and nursing sectors, and to estimate the demographic trend we have to deal with. However, this must be accompanied by a high degree of innovation and experimentation, the success or failure of which is a matter for the European institutions to evaluate within a set timescale, so we can see whether this initial approach could bring about improvements and can continue to develop this type of enterprise effectively in the longer term.

We need to bear in mind that the nature of this type of business is very specific, having to reconcile economic growth with solidarity. For this reason I voted in favour, so that this constructive approach can be a basic pillar of a new society that reclaims the meaning and value of a job where humans are central to society in a new, integrated kind of humanism.

 
  
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  Emer Costello (S&D). - Madam President, the primary purpose of social enterprise is to make a positive social impact. Social enterprises, particularly in the health and social care services and in the green economy, are now a major feature of European society and are indeed an integral part of the European social model. They account for two million enterprises, ten percent of all European enterprises; they employ 11 million people or six percent of all workers in the EU.

Social enterprises are therefore important drivers of sustainable development, social innovation and inclusion and indeed the participation of marginalised groups. I believe that they have a major role to play in achieving the social, employment and educational targets of the EU 2020 Strategy. It is therefore important to create a favourable climate for social enterprises and it is important that we have the political framework and the financial support necessary for social enterprises to both survive in the current crisis and to thrive.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). - Madam President, we need a favourable climate for social enterprises and innovation. Social enterprises employ 6% of the entire EU workforce, or over 18 million people. They provide social services in areas such as health and education that are beneficial to society. Social entrepreneurs are innovators and key players in the social economy and must be protected. A stronger social enterprise economy will help accomplish the goals of the Single Market Act as well as the Europe 2020 Strategy. They need support that is specifically designed for their benefit. This support may come from EU-supported banking, funds and microcredit. We must make sure that the measures suggested by this proposal will ensure just that.

 
  
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  Alajos Mészáros (PPE).(HU) Madam President, the demographic changes pointing towards an ageing society are prompting an increase in demand for social services, first and foremost in health care and nursing care. Social enterprises employ more than 11 million people today in the EU. Thanks to their innovative potential they contribute to creating new jobs in various areas of employment, such as health care, nursing care, education and training, culture or tourism. They can help integrate vulnerable groups into the labour market. For a social enterprise to enjoy rapid growth and development, the two main requirements are committed personnel and additional financing. We have to increase awareness of these financing opportunities and make them more accessible to young enterprises. Giving financial support to social entrepreneurs not only contributes to creating jobs, but these activities also give meaning to the lives of many people. I support the Commission’s proposal and voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE). - (SK) Madam President, I am very much in favour of the social aspect of entrepreneurship as well as the ability and willingness of businesses and entrepreneurs to participate in helping those in need. If, however, by social enterprises we mean those that are focused not on profit, but on the achievement of measurable positive social impacts, as stated in the report submitted, these are no longer enterprises, but social activities. We should therefore not seek new ways to artificially support such activities and make them competitive with enterprises seeking profit. We should focus on supporting this activity by simplifying legislation, increasing social recognition and reducing the tax burden.

 
  
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  Mojca Kleva (S&D).(SL) Madam President, social enterprises have a hard time obtaining finance and gaining access to loans, one of the fundamental conditions for the establishment and development of such enterprises. Even access to public funds and Structural Funds is frequently hampered by the excessively rigid or bureaucratic system.

Their situation is exacerbated by the inadequate recognition of and familiarity with the system of social enterprises, which is beset by unfounded stereotypes. For this reason we need to advertise clearly the possibilities for financing social enterprises at all levels, and to simplify the implementation of state-aid rules concerning social and local services.

Reform of the EU’s public procurement rules also provides a good opportunity to improve respect for social standards.

I myself receive written questions almost every week in my office regarding the possibility of financing social enterprises, and the interest is truly enormous. I therefore support very strongly, and am decisively on the side of, policies geared towards social enterprises.

 
  
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  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE).(IT) Madam President, I voted in favour of Mr Becker’s report, which provides a better framework for the contribution of social businesses to solving the current crisis. Social enterprises are unfortunately often seen as a sort of appendage to traditional forms of business, based exclusively on the maximisation of profit. Social enterprises, on the other hand, have a fundamental role to play in the development of markets and the European economy. They enable innovative responses to be made to economic, social and environmental challenges, through sustainable development, social inclusion and territorial cohesion. I therefore support the proposal to set up a Social Entrepreneurship Fund, which meets the primary objective of not exposing these businesses to unregulated competition, guaranteeing them adequate financial support and facilitating their market integration.

 
  
  

- Report: Marianne Thyssen (A7-0339/2012)

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR). - Madam President, this report considers the only genuine economic and monetary union to be a federal one. I voted against this report because I believe it will deprive national parliaments of their rightful say in the budget of their own country. Already we have seen Brussels trying to control national purse strings as the EU tries to claw its way out of the economic misery, but – tighter control by an EU treasury over Member States’ budgets? Seriously? Not a good idea.

We have seen how the Stability Pact has failed to prevent the implosion of the euro. We must also resist proposals for the EU budget to be funded from its own resources, including a financial transaction tax. Again, not a good idea. If the euro area chooses to go ahead with some form of banking union, I hope it will ignore the recommendations of this report.

 
  
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  Ewald Stadler (NI).(DE) Madam President, I voted against this report. Never before have the European Union and its institutions been so powerful, and never before have both the European Union and the institutions of the Union been so unpopular amongst the citizens of the individual Member States.

One of the reasons for this can also be found in this report. I would like to cite just a few examples from a whole list of such reasons. Citizens were promised that they would not have to foot the bill for this financial crisis, but that the private sector would pay. Precisely the opposite is being proposed here: a new fiscal socialism.

There are calls for a banking union. That is nothing less than an admission of helplessness. Instead of a union of citizens we are now creating a union of banks. Citizens are increasingly getting the feeling that this Union is only there for the banks and no longer for them. This is a new form of a Commission- or Council-led Europe that is becoming entirely detached from and moving away from its citizens.

The banking union is only covering up the problem that to date we have still not been able to get the financial crisis under control. This banking union lies outside the European legal system. It is based only on a Council decision that actually even conflicts with the European Stability Mechanism Treaty. I could provide a whole list of such examples. There is no option but to reject this report.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). - Madam President, I support the creation of an economic, monetary and fiscal union. We have created a common market and a single currency, yet we do not have a unique political decision. The European People’s Party has consistently advocated closer economic integration as an answer to the current financial crisis.

Today I would like to refer to two recommendations in the Thyssen report that I find particularly relevant: recommendation 2.7 on ensuring the democratic oversight of the European Stability Mechanism, and recommendation 4.2 on European financial backstops.

As the rapporteur on the 2010 discharge of European agencies, I do have an insight into the spending of EU money. We cannot create a help fund for Member States without ensuring that this money is spent in a correct, efficient and justifiable way. We are talking about substantial amounts of money with many political interests at stake. We must be clear on who is responsible for control and oversight. The European Parliament has proved that it can take this responsibility seriously. We have taken a leading role in the fight against corruption and conflicts of interest. We must continue to support measures to stamp out potentially ambiguous practices.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I voted in favour of this report because economic and monetary union must lead to sustainable growth and a high level of employment of the labour force. We need more Europe, but to that end, greater parliamentary involvement is also needed.

The majority of the Member States are in a difficult economic situation, and this is precisely why an urgent decision on the future and the direction in which the Union will continue to move is needed. We need a climate which is good for entrepreneurs and investors, and the creation of jobs and guaranteeing of decent conditions are pivotal in overcoming the current problems.

Europe must move in the direction of a democratic federation of nation states which can develop a coherent economic policy and a foreign policy which is relevant on the international stage.

 
  
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  Mojca Kleva (S&D).(SL) Madam President, I support the report on Economic and Monetary Union. We have reiterated countless times here in Parliament that the adopted rules on macroeconomic imbalance and on binding supervision of budgetary discipline in the euro area must be supplemented with criteria for success in the area of employment and social protection.

I am pleased that Ms Thyssen’s report clearly calls for the setting up of a social pact for Europe to promote youth employment and ensure common minimum social standards for all Europeans, social protection, and equal conditions for labour throughout the European Union.

The social pact must be the fifth pillar of the new EU architecture. On this point I merely wish for this report from the European Parliament to make its way to the desks of all political representatives of the Member States and the Council, and for it to be taken seriously by the European leaders, headed by Mr Van Rompuy.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE). - (SK) Madam President, this House has long been convinced of the need to transform the European Union into a federation as rapidly as possible.

Even though I also represent people who recognise the tremendous benefit of European integration, many of the demands within the present report fill me with concern. I have not voted in favour of this report, because it seems to me as if this Parliament wants at all costs to outpace natural evolution, whilst using the threat of the ongoing economic crisis. At the same time, considerations of a common fiscal policy, banking union, etc., are based on the assumption that citizens of Member States feel a sense of mutual solidarity. However, such solidarity exists only when people share common values, but as our daily experience shows, the debate on common European values will remain open for a long time to come, at least until discrimination against and intolerance towards Christians ceases.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

- Report: Tadeusz Zwiefka (A7-0320/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I support this report, since I think that the Brussels I Regulation provides clear rules for access to justice and is of major significance for citizens and businesses. In an ever more globalised world, in which European citizens live and work outside the European Union, it is essential to protect their fundamental right of access to justice as well as to avoid discrimination on the basis of domicile. I would also point out our efforts, as members of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, to introduce proposals for a new rule on jurisdiction for disputes concerning industrial action, for individual work contracts, for disputes concerning the infringement of privacy and the right to legal personality. These proposals strengthen an essential aspect since, beyond the simple rights of citizens in a globalised world, we also need to examine labour disputes and their socio-economic consequences for workers, so that in this way we shall be moving towards a fairer Europe.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. − I voted in favour of the resolution which signifies a breakthrough in an almost two-year negotiation on a new set of rules governing the jurisdiction of courts in civil and commercial matters. I support the rapporteur in believing that the new regulation will provide conditions for judgments to flow freely within the EU. The procedure will be quicker and simpler for the citizens, thus saving consumers and businesses more than EUR 47 million per year. This report falls perfectly in line with the concept of the Single Market where free movement of goods and resources is already functioning. Now it will be ensured that European citizens will have an easy and fast way of exercising their rights as the regulation introduces a number of changes designed to increase legal certainty and facilitate access to justice.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. − (RO) I would like to congratulate the rapporteur on the efforts made during the negotiations, because through this regulation citizens and businesses in the European Union will have access to a consistent legal framework which will allow civil and commercial judgments pronounced by the competent courts to be recognised and enforced promptly in a Member State other than the one in which the judgment was pronounced, and by this means they will be able to derive full benefit from rights gained in court. I support the change proposed by the rapporteur, that of abolishing exequatur for civil and commercial judgments, because this means that any judgment obtained in a Member State will automatically be recognised in any other Member State, and this will lead to a significant improvement in the access to justice guaranteed to citizens and businesses, contributing at the same time to the acceleration of the judicial process. I believe that this proposal is also important for European consumers, who are among the main beneficiaries of this reform in the field of judicial cooperation. It is essential that their right to take legal action against the other party to a contract in the courts where the former are domiciled is always guaranteed.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of this report, which serves to strengthen judicial mechanisms for businesses and consumers. Issues of jurisdiction and recognition of judgments between Member States are of key importance in the single market context. This text means that consumers, particularly in a legal dispute between a consumer and a business, will always be able to choose to go to court in the Member State where they are domiciled. This is possible under the principle of protection of the weaker party.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this proposal to recast the Brussels I Regulation of 22 December 2001, which forms the basis for cooperation in civil matters within the EU. Even though the Regulation has been successful, there are still certain difficulties in its application (barriers to the free circulation of judgments, complexity of cross-border litigation, etc.) that need to be eliminated. I agree with the proposals set out, such as the proposal to abolish the procedure for the declaration of enforceability of a judgment in another Member State (exequatur), a procedure that prevents the free circulation of judgments and takes up a lot of time and resources. The current Regulation applies only in cases where a defendant is domiciled in the EU. I agree with the proposal to give citizens and companies within the EU the opportunity to sue defendants from third States. I also agree with the abolition of provision that obliges the courts of the Member States to decline jurisdiction in favour of the court first seised as such a provision allows the parties in a dispute to first contact a court where the dispute is not justiciable, thus delaying the proceedings. I agree with the other proposals set out in the report.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. − (IT) I support Mr Zwiefka’s report analysing the Commission proposal to update Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2001 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, also known as ‘Brussels I’. The report not only proposes changes to enhance the effectiveness of arbitration agreements within the Member States and to avoid parallel proceedings in the courts or arbitral tribunals but it also firmly opposes the abusive litigation tactics identified by studies conducted in this area by the Commission.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this report as it aims to update the provisions of the Regulation on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. The Regulation is generally recognised as one of the most successful pieces of EU legislation. On the basis of this Regulation, it is intended that judgments can be invoked not just in the Member State of origin but throughout the EU, providing that an authentic copy of the judgment and a certificate issued in the prescribed form are produced. In this recast Regulation, the Commission is also proposing that the Regulation’s jurisdictional rules be applied to third-country defendants, thereby displacing the existing grounds of jurisdiction in such cases. It is important to note that the Commission also proposes special rules aimed at avoiding parallel proceedings and abusive litigation tactics. The Regulation should still not apply to arbitration. The recast Regulation irons out some of the difficulties encountered over the last decade in this field, and that is a positive development.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of the report on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. This report is a recast proposal amending the Brussels I Regulation in favour of European consumers. In fact, this recasting produces a genuine turning point at the heart of the legal framework of our single market: from now on, consumers will be able to take legal action in their European country of origin against a seller or company located outside the EU. In addition, any judgment given in one Member State will automatically be recognised in all of the others.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) After 2 years of intense and complex negotiations, I am delighted that it has finally been possible to reach an agreement, which I regard as generally positive. The Brussels I Regulation of 2002, which is the matrix for judicial cooperation in civil matters within the EU, will thus be revised, making it possible to determine the most appropriate jurisdiction for resolving a cross-border dispute and facilitating recognition and enforcement of judgments given in another Member State. Despite the major improvements introduced by this Regulation, there are still deficiencies that need to be ironed out in order to facilitate cross-border litigation and the free circulation of judgments within the EU, having regard to the development of a genuine European area of justice at the service of citizens and businesses. There is no doubt that among the 27 Member States that share the single market, the exequatur procedure has become a mere formality, in addition to making the cross-border litigation process more time-consuming and costly. I therefore agree that it should be abolished and that, for reasons of legal certainty, there should be no exceptions, although it is essential to retain safeguards to protect rights of defence. I also think that the efficiency of the choice-of-court agreements has been substantially improved.

 
  
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  Rachida Dati (PPE), in writing. – (FR) The single market is also achieved through legal decisions being properly implemented throughout Europe. This text means that consumers, first and foremost, will be better protected and better able to enforce their rights. It was with that aim in mind that I voted in favour of this proposal for a regulation that will allow continued development of a genuine European judicial area.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of this text, which strengthens protection of consumers by granting them additional rights in the event of a legal dispute with a business, particularly if the latter is based outside EU borders. The European Union has a duty to implement increased protection of its citizens by making recognition of judgments common to all Member States.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this report since I think it is essential to recast Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 in response to the recommendations made by various experts on this matter. Revision of the Regulation should help to remove the obstacles still present in the European area of justice which make it difficult to apply the principle of mutual recognition.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) I am aware of the enormous importance of Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 in the area of private international law and of the need to have an appropriate legal framework to enable recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. The recognition and enforcement of judgments outside the Member State that delivered them is fundamental for protecting the interests of citizens and businesses and for legal certainty in the internal market.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The report under consideration, drawn up by Mr Zwiefka, focuses on the proposal to recast the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. The law on enforcement of a decision is a fundamental guarantee for defending citizens’ rights. There is no point in bringing a legal case, in view of the costs in terms of time and money if, once the judgment is known, it is not possible to enforce it. I therefore welcome Parliament’s adoption of this regulation approximating the national legal systems – after three years of discussion – and I am hoping that the process will be concluded at the next European Council meeting to be held in December; that will make it possible to have free circulation of judgments, thus helping to consolidate the European Union. Its extension to citizens residing in third countries is very important, since it will enhance the effectiveness of the courts, by simplifying cases and reducing costs. I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution which constitutes a reform of the legal systems, bringing swifter and less costly justice.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The Commission’s proposal suggests amendments to and a recast of the current Regulation (EC) No 44/2001, removing some parts which it considers would present ‘obstacles to the free movement of judicial decisions in line with the principle of mutual recognition’. To that end, it proposes – and the rapporteur supports this – abolishing the exequatur procedure, that is, it advocates that a judgment given by a court in one Member State must compulsorily be recognised by another Member State without recourse to any other expedient. This is another step towards the harmonisation of legislative procedures, posing a threat to independent national judicial powers. This lies within the sphere of national sovereignty, which we believe cannot be relinquished, which is why we did not support the report.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. - (SK) On 21 April 2009, the Commission adopted a report on the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. The report concluded that, in general, the operation of that Regulation is satisfactory, but that it is desirable to improve the application of certain of its provisions, to further facilitate the free circulation of judgments, and to further enhance access to justice. Since a series of amendments are to be made, that Regulation should, in the interests of clarity, be recast. The Union has set itself the objective of maintaining and developing an area of freedom, security and justice, inter alia by facilitating access to justice, in particular through the principle of mutual recognition of judicial and extra-judicial decisions in civil matters. For the gradual establishment of such an area, the Union is to adopt measures relating to judicial cooperation in civil matters having cross-border implications, particularly when necessary for the proper functioning of the internal market. In order to attain the objective of free circulation of judgments in civil and commercial matters, it is necessary and appropriate that the rules governing jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments be governed by a legal instrument of the Union which is binding and directly applicable. This Regulation is one of the most successful pieces of EU legislation and its recast is of considerable importance.

 
  
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  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. − (HU) I voted in favour of the report by Mr Zwiefka as it raises a good number of issues regarding legal certainty. I also believe that we need to improve the efficiency of jurisdiction agreements as this will avoid ‘abusive tactics’. The report also deals with enforceable judgments that were adopted in the Member State where the original procedure was conducted. We have to work towards ensuring that an enforceable judgment can be enforced in other EU Member States without requiring any intermediate proceedings. I believe we also have to improve the efficiency of court of arbitration agreements to ensure that the will of the given parties is fully asserted. I am sure that if the proposals made in the report are implemented this will be a significant boost to legal certainty.

 
  
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  Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D), in writing. − (PL) I am pleased to see the results of many months of negotiations on the new principles of jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments. The most important element of the new regulation is the potential for automatic recognition of cross-border judgments relating to civil and commercial cases issued in different Member States. Previously the cost of confirmation of judgments varied, depending on the country, between EUR 2 000 and 12 000. The removal of this time-consuming and very costly procedure will lead to a saving of more than EUR 47 million a year, and will also lead to quicker and easier assertion of their rights by EU citizens. It is also important that Member States have retained the right to suspend or refrain entirely from the enforcement of a judgment if it is not concordant with the State’s legal order. The extension of procedures to allow the filing of actions by a company or an employee of a company from outside the Member States, which is additionally proposed in the report, will significantly facilitate the assertion of rights in disputes of an international nature. I agree with the rapporteur that this is a good step along the road towards simplification and standardisation of European legal rules, to enable them to come into line with the challenges posed by the single market. The new regulation, which reinforces the current legal framework, not only eases access by EU citizens to the administration of justice guaranteed by Article 23 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, but also means that it will be more comprehensible to them, and less costly, which is an excellent reflection of trends towards the creation of a more transparent and friendly EU law.

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. − I voted in favour of this report which forms a valuable instrument in Scots law and will give added certainty to Scottish businesses. Scotland benefits greatly from being part of the EU and will be able to contribute even more when we are an independent Member State.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this document. Regulation No 44/2001, with its predecessor the Brussels Convention, is one of the most successful pieces of EU legislation; it laid the foundations for a European judicial area, has served citizens and businesses well by promoting legal certainty and predictability of decisions and is used as a reference and a tool by other instruments. The recast of this Regulation is therefore of considerable importance. The proposal in question does not include any substantive amendments other than those identified as such. As regards such changes and the codification of the unchanged provisions of the earlier acts together with those amendments, the proposal contains a straightforward codification of the existing texts, without any change in their substance, in order to ensure a more efficient and rapid recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this proposal. The recast Regulation irons out some of the difficulties encountered over the last decade in this field, and the abolition of exequatur for all civil and commercial judgments is a significant step forward in terms of access to justice for citizens and businesses.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. − (IT) We are pleased with the recast of this Regulation, which is now one of the most effective acts of EU legislation, since it definitively lays the foundations for a European judicial area for the benefit of citizens and businesses, and promotes legal certainty and the predictability of decisions. Among its many points we support the abolition of exequatur proposed by the Commission, since we believe that a judgment enforceable in the Member State of origin should be enforceable and enforced elsewhere in the EU upon production of an authentic copy and a certificate in the prescribed form issued by the court of origin, without any intermediate procedure. The abolition of exequatur for all civil and commercial judgments is a significant step forward in access to justice for citizens and businesses. Lastly, we believe that the question of whether the rules of the Regulation should be extended in the near future is necessary and we think that, in the meantime, wide-ranging consultation and political debate is required. At this juncture, we therefore propose that rules be included in the Regulation to introduce only a partial reflexive effect for disputes in the field of insurance contracts.

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE), in writing. − (IT) The Zwiefka report on the recast of the Regulation on the recognition of judgments in civil and commercial matters is a courageous and admirable step forward with respect to the Commission proposal. The premise is that judicial cooperation between the Member States is a necessary prerequisite for promoting the internal market. It is impossible to maintain a common European area without coherence between the exercise of a right and its protection. Parliament’s proposal to overcome the obstacle, expensive in terms of both money and time, of the enforcement procedure required to enforce in one Member State a judgment given in another Member State represents a significant act of responsibility in European integration, that has been executed with great competence and without overlooking respect for fundamental safeguards. The report proposes the abolition of exequatur while maintaining control of respect for the right to adversarial proceedings, the principle of the formal final judgment and the fundamental values of the legal system in which the judgment is to be enforced. The path shown by Mr Zwiefka is the right way to go, and for this reason I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) For the sake of protecting the interests of citizens and businesses, and in order to have legal certainty on the internal market, the recognition and enforcement of judgments in other Member States is essential. That is why it is fundamental to approve this report in order to provide a legal framework to enable the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − The regulation provides clear rules for access to justice and is of utmost importance for citizens and businesses. In an increasingly globalised world where EU citizens live and work outside the EU the reflexive effect is vital to defend their fundamental right of access to justice, and not to discriminate on grounds of domicile. It is vital also to implement the resolution of 11 March 2004 on non-citizens in Latvia. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. − (DE) With the Regulation the EU’s intention is to increase legal certainty for citizens and businesses. In place of exequatur, the judgment is to be regarded as if it were given by the courts of the Member State of enforcement. Under certain circumstances a review of the judgment may be applied for at the courts of the Member State of origin. With regard to cross-border litigation in particular it is important that the right to a fair trial is not impaired in any way. However, this principle must not degenerate into a mere instrument of appeal either. That is no easy undertaking. I took this into account in my vote.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. − (LT) Closer integration of the European Union meant that what was formerly just an economic union is now slowly developing the characteristics of a political and fiscal union. Different legal traditions alone make the creation of a common judicial area a lengthy process. For this reason, the Regulation on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters that was passed in the European Parliament today is an important step towards ensuring that people, citizens and companies in the EU save both time and money in the preparation of procedural documents and the carrying out of sentences.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I believe that the abolition of exequatur for all civil and commercial judgments is a significant step forward in access to justice for citizens and businesses. Abolition of the bureaucratic exequatur procedure will also dismantle certain existing barriers in international agreements. It should be noted that appropriate implementation of the provisions of this Regulation will strengthen the internal market and breaking down bureaucratic barriers that result in companies incurring additional expenses and experiencing legal uncertainty.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. − (IT) The recast of the Regulation on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, the ‘Brussels I’ regulation, is a very important base for the development of single European legislation. I believe that the text is a major step towards cracking open national legislation to make it into a single system that can bring substance to European law by making it effective and giving it certainty through the management of jurisdiction on an international scale. Faster, more dynamic and comparative enforcement of European law is thus achieved to assist citizens in different circumstances.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Regulation (EC) No 44/2001, with its predecessor the Brussels Convention, is one of the most successful pieces of EU legislation in judicial matters. Both documents laid the foundations for a European judicial area, have served citizens and businesses well by promoting legal certainty and predictability of decisions, and they are used as a reference and a tool by other instruments. The European Commission proposed the recasting of the instrument in question in order to improve it. The European Parliament gave its opinions and supported some of the measures proposed by the Commission. In view of that, since this report brings improvements to the said legal instrument, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. − (IT) Having regard to the fact that Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 laid the foundations of a European judicial area, it has served citizens and businesses well by promoting legal certainty and predictability of decisions and is used as a reference and a tool by other instruments. The recast of this Regulation is therefore of considerable importance because it eliminates some of the difficulties encountered in the last ten years in this sphere. Bearing in mind that the abolition of exequatur for all civil and commercial judgments is a significant step forward in access to justice for all citizens and businesses, and while underlining the need to improve the effectiveness of arbitration agreements in order to give full effect to the will of the parties, I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. − This regulation has my support as it provides straightforward rules on the access to justice for our citizens and businesses. The implementation of a clear and consistent rule of law throughout Member States is of the upmost importance as it allows citizens to trust their legal system, and rest assured that policy will be followed in a similar manner throughout the European Union. The regulation sets out that a judgment given in one Member State is to be recognised without special proceedings being required. In today’s world, where increasing numbers of people move between Member States, it is a great comfort to know the states will consistently enforce the rule of law. Many achievements will be accomplished by this regulation including explicit reference to the rights of workers enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and protective rules towards individual employees will be greatly improved. In these times, there has been considerable concern over the workers’ rights, especially when it comes to industrial action, and it is vital that the legal system which is in place protects and respects these rights. The regulation is thus of great significance in terms of the development of EU law.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − In favour. After two years of negotiation, an agreement has been reached. Consumers will be among the main beneficiaries of this reform. Consumers benefit from the principle of the protection of the weaker party. This means that in a legal dispute between consumers and business, the consumer may always choose to go to court in the EU Member State in which he/she is domiciled. This principle currently applies only to legal relationships inside the EU. Thanks to this reform, a consumer will also be able to bring to court in his home EU country a seller/company from outside the EU. This is a major success for our Group.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing. − (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Zwiefka’s report because I believe that judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters constitutes a fundamental legal basis in view of the objective of strengthening the single market. This Regulation is important because, while it lays down civil and commercial provisions at EU level, it establishes with certainty which court will have jurisdiction for settling cross-border disputes. Another positive aspect of the report is the decision to maintain mechanisms that protect the rights of defendants and consumers, in line with the principle of protecting the weaker party.

 
  
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  József Szájer (PPE), in writing. − (HU) The adoption of the Brussels I Regulation is extremely important with regard to creating a unified European judicial area. The purpose of the regulation is to foster closer cooperation between the authorities of Member States, eliminating the barriers that arise from differences between the various legal and public administration systems, and thereby promoting everyone’s right to justice. The revision of the Brussels I Regulation is a success story for European consumers, enterprises and the whole of the single market. The new regulation benefits the majority of citizens and companies by facilitating legal certainty and making resolutions more predictable. One significant result is the abolition of exequatur, i.e. the procedure for declaring resolutions enforceable. Following this decision, an enforceable ruling in the Member State where the original proceedings were conducted will now be enforceable in other Member States without any intermediate procedure, thereby accelerating the free movement of court judgments. It makes it possible to resolve disputes quickly, fairly and efficiently, which is a boost to the cross-border trade of small and medium-sized enterprises and therefore also to growth.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of this text. For the internal market to function properly, we must have clear rules on jurisdiction, and also improve and speed up the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. Speed of proceedings and legal certainty are, in this regard, key requirements at a time when increased trade between individuals and economic operators in different Member States means that disputes are increasing.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Parliament has today adopted at first reading a proposal for a regulation on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. The document adopted approves the European Commission’s position, adding, however that the recognition of judgments should also include the recognition that the guarantees accorded to defendants should be upheld, enabling them to appeal against the judgment should their right to a fair trial be infringed. Moreover, Parliament’s view is that consumers should be the main beneficiaries of this reform. Thus, the consumer, regarded as the weaker party in a court case, may choose to appeal to the court of the Member State in which he or she is domiciled. I therefore voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. − (RO) I voted in favour of the Resolution of the European Parliament on the proposal for a regulation on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. I believe it is important to achieve the Union’s objective of maintaining and developing an area of freedom, security and justice, inter alia by facilitating access to justice, in particular through the principle of mutual recognition of judicial and extra-judicial decisions in civil matters. Certain differences between national rules governing jurisdiction and the recognition of judgments hamper the sound operation of the internal market. Provisions to unify the rules of conflict of jurisdiction in civil and commercial matters, and to ensure rapid and simple recognition and enforcement of judgments given in a Member State, are essential. This regulation shall apply in civil and commercial matters whatever the nature of the court or tribunal. It shall not extend, in particular, to revenue, customs or administrative matters or to the liability of the State for acts or omissions in the exercise of State authority.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (ALDE), in writing. − (DE) Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 (along with its forerunner, the Brussels Convention) is one of the EU’s most successful legal instruments. It laid the foundations for a European judicial area, promoted legal certainty and predictability of decisions and is used as a reference tool by other instruments. The recast version is of considerable importance. Agreement has been reached on points including the abolition of exequatur, the extension of the Regulation’s jurisdiction rules to defendants domiciled outside the EU and choice-of-court and arbitration agreements. The Committee on Legal Affairs is satisfied with the compromise reached with Council, as it corresponds to Parliament’s position in all major points. The abolition of exequatur for all civil and commercial judgments is a significant step forward in access to justice for citizens and businesses.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing. − (PL) The introduction of a new section in the regulation on jurisdiction over industrial actions will improve access to justice, inter alia by making it possible for employees to bring actions against multiple defendants in the employment area under Article 6(1). I have therefore voted for this regulation.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The Commission’s proposal, on which this report gives an opinion, proposes amendments to and a recast of the current Regulation (EC) No 44/2001, in order to remove some parts which it considers would present ‘obstacles to the free movement of judicial decisions in line with the principle of mutual recognition’. It therefore proposes abolishing the exequatur procedure, that is, the rapporteur agrees with the European Commission in supporting the view that a judgment given by a court in one Member State must compulsorily be recognised by another Member State without recourse to any other expedient. This new procedure constitutes another step towards the harmonisation of legislative procedures, which goes against independent, national and sovereign judicial powers; that is why we did not support this report.

 
  
  

- Report: Jan Mulder (A7-0269/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I support this report, since the purpose of this Regulation is to restrict the general public’s access to high-risk chemicals which have the potential to be used to produce home-made explosives. I think that in today’s world we must adopt an ever more preventive approach in order to protect Europe’s citizens. The crisis and austerity, as well as the international climate and the geo-strategic situation of Europe, place an obligation on us to take precautionary measures for the sake of the well-being of the population in general. We cannot step aside from the present European and world reality: some fear, frustration and disturbance, since instability took over the economy and thus society as a whole in a large part of Europe, which is living under extreme austerity measures. In addition, it should be stressed that Europe, as an international player with a foreign policy, must be alert to possible attacks and other terrorist acts against the population in general due to political and cultural principles, values and ideas. We must therefore, at all costs, protect the safety and well-being of the people of Europe.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) Like a large majority of MEPs, I voted in favour of this report, which seeks to reduce access by the general public to high-risk chemicals that could readily be misused to make home-made explosives. The aim here is to improve traceability and thus increase the effectiveness of work done by Member States to combat terrorism.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted for the proposal to limit access by the general public to chemicals that may be used to make home-made explosives, thereby reducing the threat of attacks and increasing the level of security for EU citizens. Legislative and non-legislative measures regarding trade in such substances are not harmonised in the EU and while the purchase of a certain substance might be controlled in one country, the same substance can still be bought in another country. It is essential to ensure harmonised purchase controls for these substances throughout the EU, thereby reducing the possibility for terrorists to use the different safety rules of the EU Member States to their advantage. Furthermore, harmonised rules would be beneficial to wholesalers and retailers. I agree with the proposals regarding the possibility of purchasing substances in concentrations higher than those set out provided that the buyer presents a licence to purchase that substance. I agree with the proposal that any transaction deemed to be ‘suspicious’ on any ‘reasonable’ grounds should be reported to a single national contact point.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. − (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Mulder’s report on regulating the marketing of explosives precursors. All chemicals previously sold freely but that can be used to make the homemade explosive devices often used in terrorist attacks when mixed together in the right way, are defined as explosives precursors. These substances are currently accessible to European consumers by various means. The report therefore seeks to harmonise current legislation on the matter by establishing that consumers can buy, for domestic use, products at chemical concentrations below given thresholds but that anyone requiring higher concentrations will be issued with a purchasing licence and a record of their purchases will be kept in special registers.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this report as this proposal seeks to reduce the frequency of terrorist attacks and limit legal access to substances (and mixtures thereof) which in high concentrations can be used to manufacture home-made explosives. It is important to note that the stricter rules for purchasing certain substances will not affect specialists or companies that use these substances for legitimate purposes. It is also stressed that the rights of individuals to privacy will be respected when substances are sold in high concentrations to the general public, which is only possible when the buyer presents an end-user licence. To summarise, access by the general public to explosive chemicals in concentrated form will be restricted, while free movement of goods will continue to be guaranteed and individual rights will continue to be protected.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of the report on the marketing and use of explosives precursors. This report is part of the European Union’s counter-terrorism strategy. It emphasises harmonised rules concerning the making available on the market of substances or mixtures that could be misused for the illicit manufacture of explosives, with a view to limiting their availability to the general public. I also support the decision to prohibit the sale of certain chemicals to the general public, based on defined concentration limits. However, being able to obtain them, on an exceptional basis, will be conditional on presentation of a permit, in the form of a licence to purchase. In addition, the report ensures that personal data required for the granting of a licence will be processed in accordance with Directive 95/46/EC.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of the Mulder report on the marketing and use of explosives precursors. In line with European counter-terrorism strategy, it seems necessary to restrict access by the general public to high-risk chemicals that could readily be misused. I welcome the idea of improving controls aimed at preventing suspicious transactions.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Commission’s proposal seeks to reduce the frequency and impact of terrorist attacks by restricting access by members of the public to specific substances in general use but which can also be misused as explosives precursors. Professional users of these materials and business-to-business sales would not be affected. I voted in favour of this report, since I support actions to combat terrorism and agree with the overall rationale for the proposal.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I support the compromise reached with the Council at first reading, which should make a significant contribution to reducing of the risks of illicit use of certain chemicals, widely available on the market and accessible to the general public. In 2006 we adopted the REACH Regulation, which covers chemicals from a safety perspective, but issues of security relating to chemical precursors to explosives were, by way of exception, outside its scope. We must not forget that home-made explosives, made from certain chemical precursors that are easily accessible to the public, are, according to Europol, the preferred tool for perpetrators of terrorist attacks. We urgently need to adopt a common EU approach in order to prevent different levels of regulation resulting in security gaps and distorting the functioning of the internal market. Only thus shall we manage to significantly reduce the risk of the misuse of certain chemical precursors to produce home-made explosives, prohibiting unauthorised sales of certain chemicals above specific concentration thresholds to members of the general public. This regulation should also be accompanied by a whole set of measures to be taken by the chemical industry and the retail sector to enhance security and raise awareness in the entire supply chain.

 
  
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  Rachida Dati (PPE), in writing. – (FR) As a result of this preventive measure, we are improving controls over certain chemicals that can be used as explosives precursors. What is targeted here is primarily the manufacture of home-made explosives, which were used in recent terrorist attacks, notably the July 2011 attack in Norway. I particularly support the emphasis placed on equal sharing of costs between all stakeholders: this measure concerns our safety but it must not place an undue burden on our businesses, particularly SMEs.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of this text, which serves to limit access by the general public to certain specific substances in general use but which can also be misused as explosives precursors. The European Union has a duty to prevent any terrorist act within its borders. That is achieved through greater cooperation between Member States. Citizens face terrorist threats; their safety must therefore be guaranteed by enhanced legislation.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. – (FR) On Tuesday 20 November the vast majority of MEPs declared themselves in favour of the report presented by Jan Mulder to restrict individuals’ access to chemicals. If the text is adopted by the Council, it will become much more difficult to buy large quantities of chemicals that could be used to make home-made bombs. While this is clearly not sufficient guarantee to prevent, with absolute certainty, the making of home-made bombs, it is nevertheless, in my view, a significant step in the right direction.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this report, since I support the implementation of measures that help to reduce risks and that restrict the general public’s access, as regards selected highly-concentrated chemicals. It is essential to control access to certain articles, such as precursors to home-made explosives which, apart from being dangerous, are frequently used by terrorists and other criminals to perpetrate their attacks.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The proposal we are voting on today consists of a regulation restricting the general public’s access to specific substances that could be misused as explosives precursors. Although I tend to favour legislative frameworks that do not restrict individual freedom, I think that, in some circumstances, protecting overall security calls for some restriction on that freedom. That is the case here, where protecting citizens against terrorism suggests that restrictions should be imposed on the marketing and use of products that could be used to make explosives.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) With the widespread use of new information technologies and the advent of the internet, we are just a click away from a set of data that, if they fell into unscrupulous hands, could pose a threat to the safety of persons and property. We all remember the massacre (85 dead) which took place in Norway, on the island of Utøya, to be more specific, involving young people taking part in a Labour Party summer camp, as well as the detonation of a car bomb that killed seven people in the Norwegian capital only two hours beforehand. The ease with which we are able to access privileged information and certain dual-use products encourages terrorist activity and we must urgently restrict such access, since the security of States and citizens is at stake. I voted in favour of the report drawn up by Jan Mulder on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the marketing and use of explosives precursors, because we need measures applying across the Member States to prevent indiscriminate and uncontrolled access to substances that can be used to make home-made weapons. Since terrorism and criminality are cross-border phenomena, I know that this will be a major step towards avoiding new terrorist attacks within the European Union.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Important steps need to be taken as regards the marketing and use of explosives precursors – steps concerning levels of safety for workers and environmental protection, in particular. This report seeks to make progress in that direction, but is not without limitations and contradictions. We find it positive that there is provision for a safeguard clause to allow any Member State so wishing to apply stricter measures for certain substances or mixtures of substances, and to decide not to allow the general public to have access to any of the substances in question. Once again we would criticise the vision of ‘the free movement of chemical substances and mixtures within the internal market’ and of the need to ‘remove distortions of competition’ underlying the report.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. - (SK) The Action Plan on Enhancing the Security of Explosives, adopted by the Council in April 2008, called on the Commission to establish a Standing Committee on Precursors to consider measures and prepare recommendations concerning the regulation of explosives precursors available on the market, taking into account their cost-benefit effects. Subsequently, the Committee identified various explosives precursors that are susceptible to being used to commit terrorist attacks and recommended appropriate action at Union level. Some Member States have already adopted relevant laws, regulations and administrative provisions. In some Member States, however, these are divergent and may cause barriers to trade within the European Union. I therefore consider it justified to harmonise them in order to guarantee the free movement of chemical substances and mixtures within the internal market, while ensuring a high level of protection of the safety of the general public. Since the objective of this Regulation, namely limiting access by the general public to chemicals that may be used to make home-made explosives, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can, by reason of the scale of the action, be better achieved at Union level, the European Union may adopt measures in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, this Regulation does not go beyond what is necessary to achieve those objectives.

 
  
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  Ágnes Hankiss (PPE), in writing. − (HU) Given that the retail and wholesale distribution of chemical materials is both risky and alarming from a security perspective – in relation to technologies and products with more than one purpose – I lend my full support to all efforts aimed at tightening licensing procedures. However, it is important to emphasise that these efforts will only be successful if the ultimate outcome has certain risk benefits for the consumer as well. Thus, recognising the situations of workers in the various economies, we have to realise that the scope of activities subject to licensing should be regulated at distributor level. In the light of this I welcome all efforts designed to facilitate the harmonisation of activities between national licensing authorities – alongside strict reporting requirements and permanent operational supervision – thereby helping to improve and develop the legal certainty of bilateral consumer protection.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I voted for this proposal. This proposal is for a Regulation restricting access by members of the public to specific substances in general use but which can also be misused as explosives precursors. It seeks to reduce the frequency and impact of terrorist attacks by limiting access by the general public to, and reporting suspicious transactions of, widely and legitimately used substances (and mixtures thereof) which in high concentrations can also be used to manufacture explosives. The proposal is directed at wholesalers, retailers and Member States. Chemical manufacturers already have controls and voluntary reporting codes in place for weapon and drug precursors, for instance, and should not be materially affected by these proposals. Success will depend upon actions by competent authorities with respect to the gathering and sharing of relevant information.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. − (IT) The Regulation on the marketing and use of explosives precursors requires the adoption of a series of practical measures aimed at a clearer delimitation of the current safety limits. For this reason I voted in favour of Mr Mulder’s report. In the light of serious and tragic incidents such as the Oslo massacre, the need to make it more difficult to procure explosive substances is understandable. I therefore believe that some of the proposed new rules, such as the ban on the purchase by members of the public of 15 types of explosive, are a step in the right direction since they define more clearly the boundaries of a subject that deserves great attention.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I welcome this proposal. It seeks to reduce the frequency and impact of terrorist attacks by limiting access by the general public to, and reporting suspicious transactions of, widely and legitimately used substances (and mixtures thereof) which in high concentrations can also be used to manufacture explosives. The proposal is directed at wholesalers, retailers and Member States. Chemical manufacturers already have controls and voluntary reporting codes in place for weapon and drug precursors, for instance, and should not be materially affected by these proposals. The tonnages involved are small compared to the total amounts sold. There are no concerns with respect to worker health or environmental exposure. Success will depend upon actions by competent authorities with respect to the gathering and sharing of relevant information.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) In principle, I am against legislation that might curb individual freedom; however, in some cases it is necessary. Such is the case with the current report, which restricts the general public’s access to certain substances which might be misused as explosives precursors. What is at stake here is protecting citizens against terrorism, which is the reason for the restrictions adopted here on the marketing and use of certain products that can be used to make explosives.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) Home-made explosives are part of the terrorist arsenal. Chemicals harmless in themselves and accessible to the general public could be used in the manufacture of fearsome explosive devices. It is important, therefore, to limit access by private users to high-risk chemicals by means of a licencing system and registering transactions. As national rules differ from one Member State to another, the proposal will serve to establish common rules for the European Union as a whole in order to fight terrorism better. The illicit manufacture of home-made explosives should be made more difficult by setting concentration limits for substances that can be used as explosives precursors. The proposal will not, in itself, serve to stop all terrorists or guarantee total protection, but it will significantly limit access to such products.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − The purpose of the regulation is to restrict the access of the general public (private users) to high-risk chemicals suitable for easy misuse in producing home-made explosives. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. − (DE) Instructions on making explosives in which pharmacies are recommended as sources of supply are still circulating on the internet. We are therefore not only repeatedly seeing cases in which young people are paying for their curiosity in relation to explosives with severe injuries, but, in addition, the police have in the past found chemicals obtained through pharmacies that had been used to make illegal explosives for criminal and/or terrorist purposes. It is impossible to close every loophole. Intervening unnecessarily in people’s private lives in the name of combating terrorism should therefore be avoided in this area too. I voted to that effect.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. − (DE) The fact that handling fireworks can be extremely dangerous is not sufficiently clear to many people. We are therefore repeatedly seeing situations in which accidents occur or there is a high risk of explosion, due to people, often young people, experimenting with highly explosive substances, such as fireworks. The relevant instructions can also be found on the internet. It can by no means be relied upon, however, that the procedures described on the internet for making the substances in question are correct, which means that in themselves they present a considerable danger to the ‘do-it-yourselfer’. The danger of explosives is therefore a highly sensitive issue and one that needs to be made clear. It is about much more than combating terrorism, as called for in the report. It is about the duty to provide balanced and in-depth information to the public, rather than intervening in their private lives. I weighed up all these considerations and abstained from voting.

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing. − (ET) I voted in favour of this report because measures must be taken to reduce the frequency and impact of terrorist attacks in order to prevent risks to European citizens. Although certain explosives precursors are used for legitimate purposes, I find it reasonable to monitor and document their use and sale in high concentrations. At the same time, access by the general public to these substances should be limited to ensure their legitimate use by professional users and businesses only. Avoiding the risk of terrorism is essential, but it should be kept in mind that individuals’ right to privacy must be fully respected and such regulations should not exceed those limits. I supported the adoption of the relevant provisions.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) To help prevent terrorist attacks, reduce their frequency and reduce divisions in the internal market, there has to be a flexible regulatory mechanism that could respond rapidly to changes. It should be noted that terrorists are increasingly using home-made explosive devices, usually made with home-made explosives, the precursors for which can be easily purchased in retail stores or over the internet. In view of this, I agree with the proposal to set effective and proportional controls to ensure the security of citizens. Firstly, access by the general public to substances which in high concentration can be used to manufacture explosives needs to be limited. Furthermore, manufacturers and retailers should take more responsibility regarding their traded goods and ensure that any suspicious transactions are promptly reported to the appropriate institutions.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. − (IT) The safety of citizens and the prevention and fight against terrorism must be given consideration even from a legislative point of view. Controlling and/or prohibiting the purchase of substances considered dangerous because they could be used to make homemade explosives does not amount to restricting the freedom of consumers but to guaranteeing their safety by means of transparency in the market for such products. The Regulation for which I voted intends to restrict public access to particular chemicals by using a system of tracing and/or recording of purchases. The Member States must comply with the conditions of sale required by the Regulation.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing.(EL). The European Parliament’s report corresponds to the regulation proposed by the Commission on public access to specific substances which are in general use but can also be used as explosives precursors. The Union is called upon both to protect the free movement of goods and to ensure that citizens are safe from possible illegal use of such substances. This regulation, which I voted for, clearly regulates the concentration levels which make these substances inactive as far as the production of home-made explosives is concerned, and precisely sets out the legal framework for their distribution and use. In any event, however, the enforcement and satisfactory effectiveness of these measures depends on the Member States and the level of cooperation which they develop in this area.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Commission’s proposal is for a Regulation restricting access by members of the public to specific substances in general use but which can also be misused as explosives precursors. To protect the free movement of goods, eight substances listed in Annex I may continue to be sold in concentrated form under a licence granted by a national competent authority for a documented legitimate purpose or, without a licence, at concentration levels which render them ineffective for the manufacture of home-made explosives. Since the proposal is balanced and well-founded, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. − (IT) Because specific chemical substances in general use can also be misused as explosives precursors, it is necessary to restrict access by members of the public to these substances, and thus reduce the frequency and impact of terrorist attacks. Because I agree with the list of eight substances (and mixtures thereof) in Annex I to the proposed Regulation, for which the controls indicated therein are mandatory, and because I consider it reasonable to allow sales in high concentrations to the general public to continue only under licence for legitimate uses, while underlining the fact that the proposal should not affect professional users of these substances or business-to-business sales, I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) This proposal aims to restrict access by members of the public to high-risk chemicals which can be misused to produce home-made explosives. The proposal seeks to reduce the frequency and impact of terrorist attacks by limiting access to raw materials and reporting suspicious transactions of substances that, in high concentrations, can also be used to manufacture explosives. To that end, the proposal forbids the sale to the general public of certain chemicals above the concentration limits set. Sales of substances with higher concentrations will be permitted only to users who can provide documentary evidence that they have a legitimate need to use the chemicals. The report also proposes, as regards sales of those chemicals and mixtures thereof, a series of obligations, in particular on the subject of reporting suspicious transactions. The Annex to the Regulation clearly distinguishes between substances and the maximum concentration limits for those substances. This proposal is in line with the objectives of EU policies laid down for the EU’s Counter-terrorism Strategy, with the EU’s Action Plan on Enhancing the Security of Explosives and with the Stockholm Programme – An open and secure Europe serving and protecting citizens. I therefore voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. − (IT) I congratulate Mr Mulder on the job he has done. With the approval of this text, having regard to the Commission’s proposal to the European Parliament and to the Council, Parliament today wanted to express its support for the possibility of making the sale of ‘ingredients’ for homemade explosives more difficult and better controlled. By means of this restriction, Parliament wants to hit out at terrorist organisations like the one that struck recently in Norway, which have in the past used and do currently use these substances to perpetrate attacks on governments and people. Although some products that contain these substances will continue to be sold without restriction, there will strict and careful controls on their distribution and everyone from wholesalers to retailers will have to report any ‘suspicious transactions’ to the relevant authorities, for example if a customer wants to buy a large quantity of a particular product.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of this report on the marketing and use of explosives precursors, which, in my view, strikes a reasonable balance: it seeks to improve public safety while causing the least possible disruption to the smooth operation of the internal market. This is a tricky area, particularly as numerous apparently harmless products are used in making home-made bombs responsible for attacks. I supported Parliament’s position on this matter, particularly in relation to purchasers being able to obtain a licence to purchase explosives precursors and to strengthening control through sale, since sellers would then have to notify any ‘suspicious transaction’. Lastly, I am a supporter of the labelling requirement for professionals wishing to make explosives precursors available to the general public, with the product indicating clearly that its purchase, possession and use are subject to restrictions.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − In favour. The Commission’s proposal is for a Regulation restricting access by members of the public to specific substances in general use but which can also be misused as explosives precursors. To protect the free movement of goods, eight substances listed in Annex I may continue to be sold in concentrated form under a licence granted by a national competent authority for a documented legitimate purpose or, without a licence, at concentration levels which render them ineffective for the manufacture of home made explosives. A further seven substances are listed in Annex II where no licences or concentration levels apply. However for all 15 substances, and indeed for sales of any other substance or mixture not specifically listed in these Annexes but identified by the Commission from time to time as having been used for the manufacture of home made explosives, any transaction deemed to be ‘'suspicious’ on any ‘'reasonable’' grounds should be reported to a single national contact point. Professional users of these materials and business-to-business sales would not be affected. The rights of individuals to privacy must be fully respected.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. − I voted in favour of this proposal because it restricts access by members of the public to specific substances in general use but which can also be misused as explosives precursors. Furthermore in protecting the free movement of goods, the proposal suggests that eight substances listed in Annex I may continue to be sold in concentrated form under a licence granted by a national competent authority for a documented legitimate purpose or, without a licence, at concentration levels which render them ineffective for the manufacture of home-made explosives.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing. − (IT) The purpose of the proposed legislation concerning the marketing and use of explosives precursors is to restrict access by members of the public to fifteen substances in high concentrations, which are dangerous because they can be used to make homemade explosives. I therefore voted in favour of Mr Mulder’s report, because I believe it could help to prevent potential terrorist attacks and consequently is a very important step to guarantee citizens’ safety. I think it is important, in the case of some categories of substance, for public access to be authorised by setting up a licence system harmonised at European level, and for other categories I think this access needs to be accompanied by reporting and traceability of suspicious transactions.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. − (IT) I consider the decision to restrict public access to a few substances commonly used until now, but where their improper use could be a threat to public safety, to be a priority. Some freely available substances could be used as explosives precursors. To protect the free movement of goods, it will be necessary to guarantee that these substances can be marketed but their sale must be tightly regulated. The reduction of the volumes sold will be minimal but will be instrumental in ensuring that the motivation for this decision – the fight against terrorism – is respected. It can be achieved through a system of checks that prevent the sale of high concentrations, enabling the lawfulness of the final use to be checked. For the reasons I have explained, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of this report so that substances or mixtures that could be misused for the illicit manufacture of explosives are regulated in a harmonised and non-differentiated way by the Member States. In particular, I stress the urgency of formulating rules to ensure, at national and Union level, workers’ safety and protection of the environment, which are not covered by this regulation.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 18 April 2008, the Council decided to set up a Standing Committee on Precursors to consider measures and prepare recommendations concerning the regulation of explosives precursors available on the market, taking into account their cost-benefit effects. The Committee identified some explosives precursors that are susceptible to being used to commit terrorist attacks and called for appropriate action at Union level. I am voting in favour of this report, since I think it necessary for the Member States to adopt legislative measures for some substances that have an illicit use, thus ensuring similar or greater protection against the illicit use of explosives precursors. I also think that this regulation is essential for establishing European rules concerning placing on the market, possession, use and introduction into the EU. It is a positive step to limit the availability of these resources to the general public and to ensure appropriate reporting of suspicious transactions throughout the supply chain.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. − (RO) I voted in favour of the position of the European Parliament at first reading with a view to the adoption of the regulation on the marketing and use of explosives precursors. The illicit manufacture of explosives should be made more difficult by setting concentration limits for certain explosives precursors. Below these concentration limits, the free circulation of these explosives precursors is ensured subject to a safeguard mechanism. Above these concentration limits access for the general public to these explosives precursors should be restricted. The Regulation on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures provides that substances and mixtures classified as hazardous should be correctly labelled before being placed on the market. In addition, economic operators, including retailers, shall either classify and label such substances or rely on the classification made by an up-stream actor in the supply chain. It is thus appropriate to provide in this Regulation that all economic operators, including retailers, who make available to members of the general public substances restricted under this Regulation should ensure that the packaging indicates that the purchase, possession or use of that substance or mixture by members of the general public is subject to a restriction.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (ALDE), in writing. − (DE) The proposal seeks to reduce the frequency and impact of terrorist attacks by limiting access by the general public to, and reporting suspicious transactions of, widely and legitimately used substances (and mixtures thereof) which in high concentrations can also be used to manufacture explosives. The proposal is directed at wholesalers, retailers and Member States.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing. − (PL) The proposal seeks to reduce the frequency and impact of terrorist attacks by limiting access by the general public to widely and legitimately used substances (and mixtures thereof) which can also be used as explosives precursors. That is why I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Artur Zasada (PPE), in writing. − (PL) I familiarised myself with the content of the regulation with some interest. In my country, a case of a threat caused by explosives has continually been on the front pages of the newspapers in recent days. This was because the special services had arrested a man who was planning an assault on the Polish authorities using explosives. I voted most definitely in favour of the document. Security is one of the most important values for society in the European Union and we must provide it. This is particularly true right now, at a time when we are particularly exposed to terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, I am pleased that in the regulation the author took into account the fact that some chemical compounds are widely used for legal applications by ordinary users. In the light of this, while leaving a proper safety margin for citizens, the document does not impose non-commensurately rigorous restrictions. This means that the provisions will not have a negative impact on the economy or civil liberties, while at the same time they will effectively make it difficult for potential assassins to gain access to hazardous substances. I trust that the European Commission, the relevant agencies in the Member States and the international services will continue to monitor the market for these substances. It is important that their market is properly monitored, so that a new substance may be added to the annex at the appropriate time, or so that a given substance may be deleted from the annex as appropriate.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) In a context where there is still a private monopoly on production, improving the ‘free movement of chemical substances and mixtures within the internal market’ and removing ‘distortions of competition’, while ensuring a high level of protection of workers’ safety and protection of the environment is difficult, if not impossible. It has long been known – and reality shows us – that pursuing maximum profit is incompatible with the necessary rationality of production and distribution of production by human effort. Explosives precursors are no exception to the rule. This proposal, following on from many others which have successively passed before Parliament, is aimed at improving conditions only for big business in that sector by laying down harmonised rules. Despite this, we think it is positive that, within the framework of liberalisation, a safeguard clause has been provided to allow any Member State so wishing to apply stricter measures for specific substances or mixtures of substances and to decide not to allow the general public access to any of the substances in question.

 
  
  

- Rapport: Dagmar Roth-Behrendt (A7-0359/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am in favour of this regulation, as proposed by the Commission, which provides, in connection with the accession of Croatia, for a derogation to the general rules on the recruitment of European Union staff. As was done when the twelve new countries joined in 2004 and 2007, the Commission now proposes to do the same for Croatian citizens. The proposed regulation allows, until 2018, for certain recruitment competitions to be reserved for Croatian nationals. This five-year period does not seem excessive. I would point out that as Europe grows larger we must adapt to that enlarged Europe, allowing fair representation for Croatia, so that it may be able to become more readily and more rapidly integrated into the mechanisms and operation of the European institutions and policies.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of this report, which seeks to allow specific recruitment of Croatian nationals to the European institutions. This report simply applies the principle of representation in force within the European Union, since Croatia will join us in 2013. Such a procedure was also put in place for the previous enlargements of 2004 and 2007.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted for the proposal regarding special measures in connection with the accession of Croatia that will allow the employment of Croatian nationals only. The proposed regulation allows, until 2018, for certain recruitment competitions to be reserved for Croatian nationals. In particular, these competitions will be for essential Croatian linguistic staff as well as for generalist administrators and assistants. It is essential to create employment conditions for citizens of acceding countries that would allow those countries to be appropriately represented in the European Union. Because this regulation is urgent, as it should be in place at the latest by the time Croatia joins the European Union, I agree with the Commission’s proposal without amendment.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. − (RO) I voted in favour of the report because I believe that in the context of accession to the European Union, Croatian citizens will need to receive derogations so that they can be employed within institutions of the Union. This is made all the more important by the fact that translators, interpreters, editors and proofreaders of Croatian origin will need to be employed so as not to impair the institutions’ capacity to work in Croatian, which will become an official language of the Union.

Since a similar procedure was adopted for the accessions of the last 12 Member States of the Union, I believe that the same can now be done for Croatia. It is important for there to be a fair representation of nationalities within the European institutions. For that reason, the employment of Croatian citizens must begin immediately after the effective date of accession to the European Union.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) In view of the accession of Croatia to the European Union, this report provides for a derogation to the general rules on the recruitment of EU staff. This derogation is necessary because the rules contained in the Staff Regulations of Officials provide that recruitment must be open to all EU citizens, regardless of nationality. The proposed regulation allows a five-year period, until 2018, for certain recruitment competitions to be reserved for Croatian nationals, with the proviso that they will only be able to be recruited from the actual date of accession. Traditionally, when countries have joined the Union, the requirements have been temporarily adjusted in order to allow for ‘positive discrimination’ in favour of acceding countries, allowing them to be appropriately represented. This was done when the twelve new countries joined in 2004 and 2007. That is why I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted for this report in which Parliament provides, in connection with the accession of Croatia, for a temporary derogation to the general rules on the recruitment of European Union staff that would ensure that recruitment is open to all European Union citizens. It is important to note that this was done when the twelve new countries joined in 2004 and 2007, and the Commission now proposes to do the same for Croatian citizens. Croatians will only be able to be recruited from the actual date of accession; any Croatian staff employed before that date will, for the time being at least, have the status of contract staff.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of the report on special temporary measures for the recruitment of officials and temporary staff of the European Union. On the eve of Croatia’s accession, the regulations concerning the general rules on recruitment of European Union staff must be amended on a temporary basis to open up recruitment to Croatian nationals. I support adjusting these access conditions as a matter of urgency, particularly for linguists, given that Croatian is about to become one of the EU’s official languages.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) This regulation provides, in connection with the accession of Croatia, for a derogation to the general rules on the recruitment of European Union staff. This derogation is necessary because the rules on recruitment contained in the Staff Regulations of Officials provide that recruitment must be open to all EU citizens, regardless of nationality. Traditionally, the requirements have been temporarily adjusted when countries have joined the Union, in order to allow for ‘positive discrimination’ in favour of acceding countries, allowing them to be appropriately represented amongst the staff of the European Union without undue delay. I voted in favour of this report because I agree with the general line it takes.

 
  
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  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. − (HU) The proposed regulation allows, until 2018, for certain recruitment competitions to be reserved for Croatian nationals. This regulation was applied for all countries in the run-up to accession, and therefore in 2004 and in 2007. The general rules on the recruitment of European Union staff allows all European Union citizens to apply for any post with an EU institution, regardless of nationality, but since Croatia is not yet a member of the European Union this provision will take effect at the latest when Croatia actually joins the EU, to ensure, by means of temporary adjustments to the requirements, that the country joining is appropriately represented amongst the staff of the European Union without undue delay.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this report because I think it is necessary to review the regulation on procedures relating to the recruitment of nationals of countries acceding to the European Union, in this case as a result of the accession of Croatia to the European Union, scheduled for 1 July 2013.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 1 December 2011, I congratulated the Croatian people on their future accession to the European Union and I expressed the wish that the accession of Croatia to the Union would bring new reforming zeal to the Balkan States which are still not part of the Union and to the European Union itself which, as is widely known, is experiencing difficult times. Almost a year later, the Union is preparing to receive the first Croatian officials, a circumstance warranting support and justifying the exception to the rule on equality between the nationals of the Member States in recruitment competitions. I hope that Croatian officials will swiftly and easily become integrated, enriching still further our diversity in unity, so central to the European project.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. − (PT) The report under consideration drawn up by Ms Roth-Behrendt, focuses on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council introducing, on the occasion of the accession of Croatia, special temporary measures for the recruitment of officials and temporary staff of the European Union. Although the Staff Regulations of Officials provide that ‘recruitment must be open to all European Union citizens, regardless of nationality’, those requirements have been temporarily adjusted when new Member States have joined. This was done when the twelve new countries joined in 2004 and 2007. With the accession of Croatia scheduled for 1 July 2013 and, since new linguistic staff are needed (translators, interpreters, press officers, etc.), as well as generalist administrators and assistants, I am voting in favour of this proposal so that certain recruitment competitions may be reserved, until 2018, for Croatian nationals, in accordance with the previous instruments adopted for the accessions in 2004 and 2007.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The regulation proposed by the Commission puts forward, in connection with the accession of Croatia to the European Union, a derogation to the general rules on the recruitment of European Union staff which provide that recruitment must be open to all European Union citizens, regardless of nationality. This derogation aims to ensure that both forthcoming competitions and some that have already been launched should essentially be intended for Croatian linguistic staff, as well as generalist administrators and assistants. This procedure follows the pattern laid down by previous instruments adopted for the accessions of other countries in 2004 and 2007 and we have no objections.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. - (SK) On the occasion of the accession of Croatia on 1 July 2013, special temporary measures should be adopted to derogate from the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Union. Given the relative size of the country acceding and the number of persons potentially involved, these measures, albeit temporary, should remain in force for a substantial period. The most suitable expiry date appears to be 30 June 2018. I believe that given the need to make the planned recruitments as soon as possible after accession, this Regulation should be adopted before the actual accession date, or by no later than the date of accession of Croatia to the European Union. Otherwise, recruitment to linguists’ posts in particular will be jeopardised, impairing the institutions’ capacity to work in Croatian, which will then be an official language.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this document. This document deals with the accession of Croatia to the European Union in 2013. It provides for a derogation to the general rules on the recruitment of European Union staff. This was done when the twelve new countries, including Lithuania, joined in 2004 and 2007, and the Commission now proposes to do the same for Croatian citizens. The proposed regulation allows, until 2018, for certain recruitment competitions to be reserved for Croatian nationals. In particular, these competitions will be for essential Croatian linguistic staff (translators, interpreters, editors, proofreaders and press officers) as well as for generalist administrators and assistants.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. − (IT) I believe that the adjustment of the rules on the recruitment of officials and temporary staff of the European Union on the accession of Croatia on 1 July 2013 was a necessary measure. I therefore think that adopting some derogations for Croatian citizens, in accordance with European rules that allow Member States’ citizens to be recruited by EU institutions, is logical and appropriate.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this proposal. This regulation, as proposed by the Commission, provides, in connection with the accession of Croatia, for a derogation to the general rules on the recruitment of European Union staff. This is necessary because the rules on recruitment contained in the Staff Regulations for Officials provide that recruitment must be open to all European Union citizens, regardless of nationality.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The accession of Croatia to the European Union makes it necessary to adopt this report. In order to make it possible to recruit the first Croatian officials to the European Parliament, we need to adjust the rules for recruitment in the light of that need. That is why I am voting in favour.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − It allows the recruitment of Croatian officials on a national basis. I am in favour.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I believe that recruitment must be open to all European Union citizens, regardless of nationality. We should make every effort to ensure favourable conditions for ‘positive discrimination’ in favour of acceding countries. This will create the necessary conditions for these states to be appropriately represented in the European Union and the capacity of certain institutions to work in Croatian will be ensured. I also agree with the proposal to reserve certain recruitment competitions for Croatian nationals for a five-year period, in particular competitions for essential Croatian linguistic staff.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this report which provides for positive discrimination in favour of Croatian citizens as regards the general rules on the recruitment of European Union staff. This derogation is necessary, in connection with the accession of Croatia, because the rules on recruitment contained in the Staff Regulations of Officials provide that recruitment must be open to all European Union citizens, regardless of nationality. There can be no objection, since the provisions are clear and indisputable and follow the pattern laid down by previous instruments adopted for the accessions in 2004 and 2007.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. − (IT) Since the rules on recruitment contained in the Staff Regulations for Officials provide that recruitment must be open to all European Union citizens, regardless of nationality, a derogation from the general rules on the recruitment of European union staff is necessary in connection with the accession of Croatia. Bearing in mind that this derogation was applied when the twelve new countries joined in 2004 and 2007, and stressing the urgency of this regulation, which should enter into force at the latest by the date of Croatia’s accession to the European Union, particularly to avoid compromising the recruitment of linguistic staff – as this would affect the institutions’ ability to function in Croatian, which will become an official language at this point – I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) This proposal for a regulation provides for a derogation to the general rules on the recruitment of European Union staff. The rules contained in the Staff Regulations of Officials provide that recruitment must be open to all citizens of the EU, regardless of nationality. However, the recruitment requirements may be temporarily adjusted when countries join the Union, in order to allow for ‘positive discrimination’ in favour of acceding countries, allowing them to be appropriately represented amongst the staff of the EU. That is the intention now in the light of Croatia’s accession. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − In favour. Technical vote. This regulation, as proposed by the Commission, provides, in connection with the accession of Croatia, for a derogation to the general rules on the recruitment of European Union staff. This is necessary because the rules on recruitment contained in the Staff Regulations for Officials provide that recruitment must be open to all European Union citizens, regardless of nationality. Traditionally, the requirements have been temporarily adjusted when countries have joined the Union, in order to allow for ‘positive discrimination’ in favour of acceding countries, allowing them to be appropriately represented amongst the staff of the European Union without undue delay.

 
  
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  Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (PPE), in writing. − (PL) The report confirms moves aimed at preparing the recruitment procedures for European institutions prior to the accession of Croatia to the European Union on 1 January 2013. It is important for the administration to be ready for the enlargement process, in order to enable new Member States to achieve equal representation in Brussels as soon as possible. Poland also benefited from such provisions in 2004.

 
  
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  Csaba Sógor (PPE), in writing. − (HU) The accession of Croatia next year is an important step in what has been a long process that testifies to the strength and unity of the European Union. It shows that in an unprecedented time of crisis the EU is not becoming insular, it is capable of continuing the work it has begun and it is not listening to those who believe that the enlargement process is progressing more quickly than it should. However, we must not rest on our laurels as without integrating the Western Balkans there will never be definitive stability in the former states of Yugoslavia, and without these countries Europe will never be complete. The enlargement has to continue towards the Western Balkans, giving a clear and unambiguous perspective through the accession process. We have to set out what we require and on this basis achieve steady growth in bringing our economies, legal systems, societies and policies together. The example of Croatia demonstrates that our work will bear fruit.

 
  
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  József Szájer (PPE), in writing. − (HU) I vote in favour of Croatia – as a newly joined country – receiving positive discrimination to ensure it is appropriately represented amongst the staff of the European Union without undue delay, with particular regard to staff speaking Croatian.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. – (FR) This regulation is quite urgent, as it should be in place at the latest by the time Croatia joins the European Union; otherwise, recruitment to linguists’ posts in particular will be jeopardised, impairing the institutions’ capacity to work in Croatian, which will then be an official language. Croatians will only be able to be recruited from the actual date of accession; any Croatian staff employed before that date will, for the time being at least, have the status of contract staff.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) This regulation aims to introduce a derogation to the general rules on the recruitment of European Union staff by means of positive discrimination in favour of Croatian citizens in connection with Croatia’s entry into the Union. That exception will remain open until 2018, making it possible to launch competitions reserved solely for Croatian nationals. This relates to linguistic staff, (translators, interpreters, editors, proofreaders and press officers) as well as administrators and assistants. Since accession is scheduled for 1 July 2013, I am voting in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. − (RO) I voted in favour of the regulation introducing, on the occasion of the accession of Croatia, special temporary measures for the recruitment of officials and temporary staff of the European Union. This regulation provides, in connection with the accession of Croatia, for a derogation to the general rules on the recruitment of European Union staff, which provide that recruitment must be open to all European Union citizens, regardless of nationality. The requirements have been temporarily adjusted when certain countries have joined the Union, in order to allow for ‘positive discrimination’ in favour of acceding countries, allowing them to be appropriately represented amongst the staff of the European Union. I welcome the Commission’s proposal to do for Croatian nationals what was done in 2004, when 12 new countries acceded, and in 2007. The proposed regulation allows, until 2018, for certain recruitment competitions to be reserved for Croatian nationals. I welcome the organisation of competitions for the recruitment of Croatian linguistic staff (translators, interpreters, editors, proofreaders and press officers) as well as for generalist administrators and assistants.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (ALDE), in writing. − (DE) This regulation provides, in connection with the accession of Croatia, for a derogation to the general rules on the recruitment of European Union staff. This is necessary because the rules on recruitment contained in the Staff Regulations for Officials provide that recruitment must be open to all European Union citizens, regardless of nationality. This was done in 2004 and 2007. It covers, among other things, Croatian linguistic staff as well as generalist administrators and assistants. This Commission proposal should be adopted without further ado, given that the provisions are clear and unobjectionable and that they follow the pattern adopted for the accessions in 2004 and 2007.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The regulation proposed by the Commission puts forward, in connection with the accession of Croatia to the European Union, a derogation to the general rules on the recruitment of European Union staff which provide that recruitment must be open to all European Union citizens, regardless of nationality. However, in this connection, both forthcoming competitions and some that have already been launched should essentially be intended for Croatian linguistic staff, as well as generalist administrators and assistants. This procedure follows the pattern laid down by previous instruments adopted for the accessions of other countries in 2004 and 2007 and we have no objections.

 
  
  

- Recommendation: Anna Rosbach (A7-0319/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am in favour of this report, as I believe that the Offshore Protocol is an important protocol to the ‘Barcelona Convention’ for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean. These protocols cover a wide range of exploitation activities, as well as the removal of installations, harmful substances, coordination at regional level and provisions on safety, contingency planning and monitoring. As well as the above, we also need to bear in mind the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and other accidents that demonstrate how important it is to adopt this report, in order to promote not only safety but also sustainable governance of exploitation activities in conjunction with appropriate international cooperation.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) This report, for which I voted, creates obligations for the Member States concerned (including France) to take all necessary measures to protect the Mediterranean Sea. That means, in particular, limiting, as far as possible, the levels of pollution of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil in the context of operations to exploit resources that could be put in place.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted for the proposal for the accession of the European Union to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil (the ‘Offshore Protocol’). The Offshore Protocol covers a wide range of exploration and exploitation activities, permit requirements, removal of abandoned or disused installations, use of harmful substances, safety provisions, etc. In order to ensure the safety of these activities in the Mediterranean Sea and avoid accidental oil spills, a policy of sustainable governance of oil and gas offshore activities is clearly needed. The effects of such accidents are not limited to a single region and so I agree with the proposals that the European Union should promote international cooperation to improve offshore safety and response capability in all countries that have signed the Protocol.

 
  
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  Erik Bánki (PPE), in writing. − (HU) Accidents which have occurred in recent years, such as the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, have once again highlighted the need for stringent security rules and regulations along with supervision for any marine activity related to the extraction of oil and gas. As we are seeing an increasing number of new exploration activities for fossil fuels within the European Union too, it is important for EU legislation to keep abreast of these trends. On this basis I voted in favour of the proposal to ratify the Mediterranean Sea Protocol as this confirms the Union’s commitment in this direction at international level as well. It should be noted, however, that the regulation will only be complete if it not only declares the ‘polluter pays’ principle but also provides appropriate financial security to ensure that any damage caused by a potential industrial disaster can indeed be paid for by the polluter.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. − (RO) I voted in favour of this report because I believe that there is a need for increased safety in offshore oil and natural gas exploitation. The recent accidents in the Gulf of Mexico highlight this need. I consider that a policy of sustainable governance of offshore activities is more than welcome. In this context, I support the Commission’s proposal and believe that the Union should promote international cooperation in order to improve the safety of offshore activities. At the same time, I wish to underline the importance of maintaining an optimal environmental situation and avoiding tragic consequences in future. The ratification of the Protocol would constitute significant progress towards this and would help to ensure an optimal level of cooperation.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 27 October 2011 the European Commission published a proposal for a Council decision on the accession of the European Union to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil, known as the ‘Offshore Protocol’. Although it entered into force on 24 March 2011, to date the protocol has not been signed or ratified by the European Union. Recent accidents, especially the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, have highlighted the need for increased safety of offshore oil and gas exploitation activities along with the need for a policy of sustainable governance of oil and gas exploitation activities and the promotion of international cooperation to improve offshore safety and the response capability of all involved parties. Bearing in mind that the European Parliament, in its resolution of 13 September 2011 on facing the challenges of the safety of offshore oil and gas activities, already stressed the importance of bringing the Offshore Protocol fully into force, I voted in favour of this recommendation.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. − (IT) I support Ms Rosbach’s report on accession to the ‘Offshore Protocol’, part of the ‘Barcelona Convention’ for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean, to which all EU Mediterranean coastal Member States are Contracting Parties. The Protocol has proved to be an effective instrument for protecting the environment, by carefully regulating exploration and exploitation activities, permit requirements, the use and removal of harmful substances, and provisions on safety, contingency planning and monitoring.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted for this proposal because on 27 October 2011, the Commission published a proposal for the accession of the European Union to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil (the ‘Offshore Protocol’). The need for increased safety of offshore oil and gas exploitation activities has been dramatically highlighted by recent accidents, most notably by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The planned response to the situation at EU level includes a Commission proposal, currently under discussion, for a Regulation on safety of offshore oil and gas prospection, exploration and production activities.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of the report on accession of the European Union to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil. In fact, I view ratification of the protocol as a major step in international cooperation to improve offshore safety and response capability in the Mediterranean.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this report because I think it is crucial to increase the safety of offshore oil and gas exploitation activities, as recent accidents have so dramatically highlighted, most notably the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing.(EL). I voted for the report on the accession of the EU to the Offshore Protocol to the Barcelona Convention, which protects the Mediterranean against pollution from offshore exploration and exploitation of the sea bed. Although the risks of such mining operations cannot be fully eliminated, the ‘Offshore Protocol’ is an instrument which provides safety standards for the protection of the marine environment, and standards for environmental impact assessment and environmental responsibility. Much stricter safety standards would, of course, be needed for the Mediterranean, because this is a particularly sensitive area in view of its semi-enclosed nature and significant seismic activity, and because exploration and exploitation operations in the area are steadily increasing. For its inhabitants, the Mediterranean plays a vital role in their everyday lives, and I believe that, beyond the environmental aspect, the ratification of the Protocol by the EU will allow us to work harmoniously with our non-EU Mediterranean partners, ensuring better protection of this sea for all users. The fact that Mediterranean states which are on poor terms with each other are cooperating under the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols proves to what extent protection of the environment can contribute towards peace and international cooperation.

 
  
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  Minodora Cliveti (S&D), in writing. − (RO) I consider that the European Union needs to sign up to the Offshore Protocol in order to protect the marine and coastal environment in the Mediterranean Sea and to promote international cooperation with a view to sustainable governance of offshore activities. The scale and severity of the accident on the Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and other dramatic accidents make it necessary to ensure a high level of safety in oil and gas prospecting and production. An increasing number of offshore exploration and exploitation activities are being pursued in the Mediterranean Sea, and the region is particularly vulnerable owing to its half-closed configuration and significant seismic activity. The aim of the Offshore Protocol is to increase the safety of offshore exploration and exploitation activities and to protect the marine environment in the Mediterranean Sea. It stipulates the requirements that must be met before commencing these activities, the requirements for the removal of abandoned or decommissioned facilities, the use and removal of harmful substances, and measures relating to safety, planning for emergency situations and monitoring.

 
  
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  Rachida Dati (PPE), in writing. – (FR) The Mediterranean Sea is particularly vulnerable to pollution. We must therefore pay it particular attention, and that means tighter rules to prevent accidents and remedy those that do occur. I therefore welcome adoption of this text, which will allow the EU to conclude an important protocol to the Barcelona Convention. It will form the basis of better international cooperation to improve offshore safety.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of adopting this protocol, which seeks to ensure improved safety of activities in the Mediterranean Sea and better protection of the Mediterranean ecosystem. I also see it as important to improve coordination between the countries of the Mediterranean Basin in order to improve our response capability, since we are reminded all too often that borders are not adequate barriers to stop pollution.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I am pleased that Parliament has given its accord to ratification by the European Union of the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution, or Offshore Protocol. As already stated by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, it is essential to do everything possible to avoid oil or gas accidents in the Mediterranean like the one involving the Deepwater Horizon platform and to ensure increased safety of oil and gas exploitation activities. While this protocol will not, on its own, solve the problem of sustainable management of Mediterranean resources, it is a first step in this direction, which must be followed by others.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Union has tried, in its internal and external action, to be a force for promoting quality of life for its citizens and protection of the environment and nature. The Mediterranean Sea is included in that concern, and measures are needed to protect it against pollution. The Offshore Protocol relates, specifically, to cases arising from excessive exploration and exploitation. Although it is a party to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean, the European Union has still not signed or ratified the above-mentioned protocol. I believe that the Union must do all in its power to combat offshore pollution and it must seek the best technical solutions to the problems confronting the Union and the Member States in this matter. Should it become necessary to improve the content of the Protocol, that must not detract from the protection due to the Mediterranean.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil (Offshore Protocol) adopted on 14 October 1994, is one of the protocols to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean. The Protocol covers a wide range of exploration and exploitation activities in the Mediterranean. That offshore oil and gas exploration activity was dramatically highlighted by recent accidents, most notably the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Offshore activities in the Mediterranean are likely to increase due to the discovery of new reserves of fossil fuel. A policy of sustainable governance of oil and gas offshore activities is clearly needed in order to avoid accidents of this type. An accident would have immediate large-scale effects on a semi-closed sea such as the Mediterranean, causing tragic consequences for its economy and its fragile ecosystems, and undermining the efforts made by EU Mediterranean coastal Member States to achieve and maintain good environmental status in their marine waters as required by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report is in favour of the EU’s accession to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil. The Protocol requires the Parties to take, individually or through bilateral or multilateral cooperation, all appropriate measures to prevent, abate, combat and control pollution in the Mediterranean Sea area including the waters, the continental shelf, and the seabed and its subsoil resulting from (oil and gas) exploration and exploitation activities, by ensuring that the best available techniques, environmentally effective and economically appropriate, are used for this purpose. The Protocol covers permit requirements, removal of abandoned or disused installations, use and removal of harmful substances, liability and compensation requirements, as well as provisions on safety, contingency planning and monitoring. The experience of accidents which have occurred over the years – with the accident in the Gulf of Mexico presenting the most recent and tragic case – has shown that offshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation require effective measures for regulation and control to protect workers, populations and ecosystems, placing them above the profits of the multinationals in the sector. We voted in favour.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. - (SK) On 27 October 2011, the Commission published a proposal for a Council Decision to approve the accession of the European Union to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil (the ‘Offshore Protocol’). The need for increased safety of offshore oil and gas exploitation activities has been dramatically highlighted by recent accidents, most notably by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. A policy of sustainable governance of oil and gas offshore activities is clearly needed. The planned response to the situation at EU level includes a Commission proposal, currently under discussion, for a Regulation on safety of offshore oil and gas prospection, exploration and production activities. In fact, the European Parliament already expressed its position in its resolution of 13 September 2011 on facing the challenges of the safety of offshore oil and gas activities, where it stressed the importance of bringing fully into force the un-ratified 1994 Mediterranean Offshore Protocol, targeting protection against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation.

 
  
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  Gaston Franco (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I welcome the approval of the European Union’s accession to the Offshore Protocol. This attests to the need for increased safety and sustainable governance of oil and gas activities in the Mediterranean. The Barcelona Convention mechanism supplements the commitments made by the EU in the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Union for the Mediterranean through the flagship initiative for de-pollution of the Mediterranean, ‘Horizon 2020’. In addition to the ‘sensitive areas’ investment programme for the Mediterranean, supported by the European neighbourhood and partnership instrument, other EU programmes deserve a mention: strengthening the capacities of environmental authorities, systems for sharing information on the environment, sustainable water management, cooperation on urban development and dialogue and various other research projects. It is important for the next multiannual financial framework 2014-2020 to put EU support for de-pollution of the Mediterranean on a long-term footing. The priorities must include combating pollution by plastic residues, which are poisoning marine ecosystems.

 
  
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  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE), in writing. − (IT) Following the discovery of new reserves of fossil fuels in the Mediterranean Sea, offshore activities in the area are likely to increase in the next few years, hence the need to regulate them. Approving a body of laws governing the exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf, the seabed and its subsoil is important to guarantee safety and protect the environment. The European Parliament has expressed its opinion of the ‘Offshore Protocol’ to the ‘Barcelona Convention’. Today’s vote demonstrates once again the desire to build an ever safer and ‘greener’ Europe.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I voted for this proposal because on 27 October 2011, the Commission published a proposal for the accession of the European Union to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil (the ‘Offshore Protocol’). Adopted on 14 October 1994, the Offshore Protocol is one of the protocols to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean, commonly known as the ‘Barcelona Convention’, signed in 1976 and amended in 1995. The European Union and all EU Mediterranean coastal Member States are Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, together with 14 other Mediterranean countries. The Offshore Protocol covers a wide range of exploration and exploitation activities in the Mediterranean, as well as permit requirements, removal of abandoned or disused installations, use and removal of harmful substances, liability and compensation requirements, coordination with other Parties of the Barcelona Convention at regional level as well as provisions on safety, contingency planning and monitoring. The Protocol entered into force on 24 March 2011, following its ratification by six contracting parties (Albania, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Cyprus and Syria), and so far has been neither signed nor ratified by the Union. The accession of the Union to the Protocol requires, under Article 218(6) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the consent of the European Parliament.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I welcome this proposal. The need for increased safety in offshore oil and gas exploitation has been dramatically highlighted by recent accidents, most notably by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Offshore activities in the Mediterranean are likely to increase due to the discovery of new reserves of fossil fuel, and an accident of this kind could have immediate large-scale effects on a semi-closed sea such as the Mediterranean, causing tragic consequences for its economy and its fragile ecosystems, and undermining the efforts made by EU Mediterranean coastal Member States to achieve and maintain good environmental status in their marine waters, as required by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. A policy of sustainable governance of oil and gas offshore activities is clearly needed.

 
  
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  Barbara Matera (PPE), in writing. − The Offshore Protocol against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed of the Mediterranean Sea is an important part of the Barcelona Convention which serves to help a number of Member States in the EU. This protocol allows for international cooperation in regard to oil and gas exploitation in the Mediterranean Sea, establishing requirements for exploration and technology which will improve the safety of these processes and help to safeguard against any negative environmental impact. For these reasons, I voted in favour of the recommendation Ms Rosbach made on the accession of the EU to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. − (IT) The need for increased safety of offshore oil and gas exploitation activities has been dramatically highlighted by recent accidents. It is therefore right that Parliament approves the European Union’s accession to the ‘Offshore Protocol’.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (FR) The Mediterranean is one of the parts of our ecosystem that need preserving and where highly rigorous regulations apply in terms of vessels not discharging hydrocarbons. Development of oil prospection and exploitation, in particular, represents a grave danger to this ecosystem, already much weakened by being a closed sea and by numerous pollution sources. This Offshore Protocol does not make it possible to prohibit the development of offshore platforms, but it does serve to control them better and hence limit their effects. I see this protocol as not yet enough but as a step forward, which I support.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The need for increased safety of offshore oil and gas exploitation activities has been dramatically highlighted by recent accidents, most notably by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Offshore activities in the Mediterranean are likely to increase due to the discovery of new reserves of fossil fuel and an accident of such kind could have immediate large-scale effects on a semi-closed sea such as the Mediterranean, causing tragic consequences for its economy and its fragile ecosystems, and undermining the efforts made by EU Mediterranean coastal Member States to achieve and maintain good environmental status in their marine waters. I therefore voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) The importance of preserving the environment, alongside economic development, is quite clear, especially when it concerns a semi-closed sea like the Mediterranean. I am a firm believer in the principle of always ensuring entrepreneurial freedom so that it is able to develop anywhere and at any time. However, entrepreneurial freedom must still be combined with safety measures. That is the only way for the natural environment to be preserved and for businesses that are not based on short-term profit but grow over time and have long-term objectives to operate.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − The Offshore Protocol is one of the protocols to the ‘Barcelona Convention’ for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean: it covers a wide range of exploration and exploitation activities, as well as permit requirements, removal of installations, harmful substances, coordination at regional level, and provisions on safety, contingency planning and monitoring.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. − (DE) A policy of sustainable governance of oil and gas offshore activities is clearly needed. The planned response to the situation at EU level includes a Commission proposal, currently under discussion, for a Regulation on safety of offshore oil and gas prospection, exploration and production activities. However, it is clear that the transboundary consequences of an accident in the Mediterranean Sea would most likely not be limited to EU countries. Therefore, the EU should promote international cooperation to improve offshore safety and response capability of all involved parties. Ratifying the Offshore Protocol would be a major step in this direction, and would also constitute an important leverage to ensure a good level of cooperation and the continued concrete commitment of all Mediterranean countries to the achievement of the maximum possible safety of offshore activities. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I voted for this proposal on the accession of the European Union to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil. We must make every effort to ensure the safety of offshore oil and gas exploration. Given the scope of these activities in the Mediterranean Sea and their potential negative effects on the economy, the ecosystem and environmental protection, a policy of sustainable governance for these activities is essential. It is also essential to cooperate more efficiently at international level and establish the essential environmental protection and safety standards. Only by working together and fulfilling our obligations can we ensure offshore environmental protection in cases of major accidents in the EU.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. − (IT) The use of natural resources undoubtedly requires constant monitoring by the competent authorities. Limiting pollution and forced exploitation of an area is essential to safeguard its ecosystem. For this reason I voted in favour of the accession of the European Union to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil. Recent research has revealed new reserves of fossil fuels under the seabed of the Mediterranean Sea, paving the way for new offshore extraction activities, so better regulation of these activities is necessary to protect the environment.

 
  
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  Pier Antonio Panzeri (S&D), in writing. − I voted in favour of the draft European Parliament legislative resolution on EU accession to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil. The Protocol entered into force on 24 March 2011, following its ratification by six contracting parties (Albania, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Cyprus and Syria), and so far has neither been signed nor ratified by the Union. Given that, following the discovery of new reserves of fossil fuels in the Mediterranean, offshore activities are likely to increase, a potential accident could have immediate large-scale effects. For this reason I think that the EU’s ratification of the Offshore Protocol would constitute important leverage to ensure a good level of cooperation and the continued concrete commitment of all Mediterranean countries to the achievement of the maximum possible safety of offshore activities.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing.(EL). The European Parliament report, for which I voted, comes in the wake of the well-known Barcelona Convention, which was signed in 1976 and amended in 1995. Under this Convention, the European Union and all the EU Member States bordering the Mediterranean comply with basic principles for the protection of the Mediterranean (licensing, removal of abandoned or decommissioned installations and harmful substances) and take responsibility for the marine environment. Offshore activities in the Mediterranean are likely to increase due to the discovery of new reserves of fossil fuels, both in Cyprus and in Greece, and therefore the offshore operations of oil and natural gas extraction will need to be managed in such a way as to prevent accidents which would have a direct and large-scale impact in a semi-enclosed sea such as the Mediterranean. Greece is therefore committed to this, and the actions which it is already promoting for the exploitation of its wealth-generating resources are in keeping with the agreements which it has signed.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) In October 2011 the Commission published a proposal for a Council decision on the accession of the European Union to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil. The Protocol, also known as the ‘Offshore Protocol’, covers a wide range of exploration and exploitation activities in the Mediterranean as well as permit requirements, use and removal of harmful substances, liability and compensation requirements, and provisions on safety, contingency planning and monitoring, amongst others. Since offshore activities in the Mediterranean are likely to increase due to the discovery of new reserves of fossil fuel, there is an urgent need for increased safety of oil and natural gas extraction activities. I voted in favour of this report because I agree that the Protocol in question is fundamental for improving the sustainability and safety of offshore activities and, consequently, for protecting the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from the exploration and exploitation of fossil fuels.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. − (IT) The need for increased safety of offshore oil and gas activities has been dramatically highlighted by recent accidents, most notably by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Since offshore activities in the Mediterranean are likely to increase due to the discovery of new reserves of fossil fuel, and an accident of such kind could have immediate large-scale effects on a semi-closed sea such as the Mediterranean, causing tragic consequences for its economy and its fragile ecosystems, and undermining the efforts made by EU Mediterranean coastal Member States to achieve and maintain good environmental status in their marine waters, sustainable management of the offshore activities of the oil and gas sector is clearly necessary. In the hope that the EU will promote international cooperation to improve offshore safety, I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Union and all its Mediterranean coastal Member States, together with 14 other Mediterranean countries, are Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean, commonly known as the ‘Barcelona Convention’. One of the protocols to the Barcelona Convention, known as the ‘Offshore Protocol’, deals with the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil. The Protocol entered into force on 24 March 2011 and some Member States who are Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention have already announced, in recent months, their intention to ratify the Protocol. However, the EU has neither signed nor ratified it. So, with a view to promoting international cooperation to improve the safety of offshore exploitation, the EU’s ratification of this Protocol is an important step, particularly if we take account of the need to respond to the foreseeable increase in offshore activities in the Mediterranean due to the discovery of new fossil fuel reserves, and in order to guarantee a policy of sustainable governance of offshore oil and gas exploration, exploitation and production activities. I therefore voted in favour of the EU’s accession to the Protocol.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − In favour. On 27 October 2011, the Commission published a proposal for a Council Decision to approve the accession of the European Union to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil (the ‘Offshore Protocol’). Adopted on 14 October 1994, the Offshore Protocol is one of the protocols to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean, commonly known as the ‘Barcelona Convention’, signed in 1976 and amended in 1995. The European Union and all EU Mediterranean coastal Member States are Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, together with 14 other Mediterranean countries.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. − (IT) I support the text of the report on the ‘Offshore Protocol’ because I believe there is a need for increased safety of offshore oil and gas exploitation activities, especially following the dramatic accident in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Offshore activities in the Mediterranean are likely to increase due to the discovery of new reserves of fossil fuel, and an accident of such kind could have immediate large-scale effects on a semi-closed sea such as the Mediterranean, causing tragic consequences for its economy and its fragile ecosystems, and undermining the efforts made by EU Mediterranean coastal Member States to achieve and maintain good environmental status in their marine waters as required by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. In view of the importance of this Protocol on exploration and exploitation in the Mediterranean, the removal of harmful waste and the removal of disused installations, I hope that it will be complied with and implemented with provisions on safety and monitoring.

 
  
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  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of accession of the European Union to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea, since it will provide a tighter framework for activities linked to exploitation of fuel reserves in the Mediterranean Sea. It advocates increased cooperation and coordination on a regional scale, and these are the solutions for sustainable governance and effective protection of the environment, even though offshore activities are likely to grow rapidly in the coming years. Accession is, moreover, a further step in bringing together the two shores of the Mediterranean, to which I am committed and for which I work under my mandate as an MEP. I therefore cannot but welcome this protocol entering into force in the near future.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. − (IT) I consider the EU’s accession to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil (the ‘Offshore Protocol’) to be necessary for the purpose of ensuring more effective management of the inherent risks of offshore activities. Since the Member States are required to ensure that a good environmental status is maintained in their marine waters in the Mediterranean, I am in favour of the EU’s participation in increasing the safety of offshore exploration and exploitation activities. While stressing the need for international cooperation to develop stricter safety standards, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR), in writing. − It is vital for us in the European Union to develop our plentiful resources, particularly in straitened times, but we must do so safely, sustainably, and with the minimum of harm to our environment. The area around the Mediterranean is not only one of the most beautiful regions of the world, but the sea represents a financial and cultural centre for millions of people. If we allow it to become polluted, or worse, from the very necessary efforts to boost oil and gas extraction, then we put at risk not only the way of life of myriad cultures, but the development of some of the poorest parts of Europe. This is one area where the EU really can make a difference in the southern neighbourhood: our partners in North Africa share a sea as well as the aspirations that go with it, and we must use the Offshore Protocol to develop a truly coordinated approach to regulation, monitoring and inspection which aims not only to profit the region, but also to protect it.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. – (FR) I am very aware of matters concerning nature conservation. I therefore voted in favour of this text. A policy of sustainable governance of offshore oil and gas activities is, in my view, essential! The need for increased safety of offshore oil and gas exploitation activities has been dramatically highlighted by recent accidents, most notably by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010: offshore activities in the Mediterranean are likely to increase due to the discovery of new reserves of fossil fuel, and an accident of such kind could have immediate large-scale effects on a semi-closed sea such as the Mediterranean, having tragic consequences for its economy and its fragile ecosystems, and undermining the efforts made by EU Mediterranean coastal Member States to achieve and maintain good environmental status in their marine waters as required by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

 
  
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  Salvatore Tatarella (PPE), in writing. − I am very pleased that the Chamber has voted in favour of the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil. The Protocol covers exploration and exploitation activities, the issue of permits, the removal of installations and provisions on safety in the Mediterranean. A protocol was necessary because managing these activities is not a matter only for the European Union, but also for all the other countries with Mediterranean coastline. Since the Gulf of Mexico accident in 2010, we have all been aware that a similar disaster in the Mediterranean could have devastating consequences. Not only is the Mediterranean a practically closed sea, but its ecosystem is unique for its size and diversity. The Mediterranean is also a source of economic wealth for many countries that make a living from tourism and the sustainable exploitation of the coast. We should therefore make sure we are providing maximum protection for tourism and for this very fragile ecosystem by ensuring a good level of cooperation among Mediterranean countries to achieve the maximum possible safety of offshore activities. I hope that the European Parliament in future will promote an even more stringent legislative initiative on this issue.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil, signed in October 1994, is part of the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean, signed in 1976, to which the European Union and all EU Mediterranean coastal Member States are Parties. The signature and ratification of the Protocol by the Union, in accordance with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, are subject to approval by the European Parliament. The opportunities the sea offers us, in particular investment in Blue Growth, mean we should give attention to certain activities that could destroy the marine environment. For these reasons, this Protocol points out areas for supervision activities and duties falling to the Contracting Parties, in particular with regard to exploration and exploitation of the seabed and its subsoil. We must not shirk our responsibility as regards conservation of the marine ecosystem.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. − (RO) I voted in favour of the legislative resolution on the accession of the European Union to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil. The Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean, commonly known as the ‘Barcelona Convention’, was initially signed in Barcelona in 1976 and amended in 1995. One of the protocols to the Barcelona Convention relates to the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil. The European Union has neither signed nor ratified the Offshore Protocol. It is therefore necessary for the Union to ratify this Protocol. One of the objectives of the European Union’s environmental policy is to promote, at international level, measures intended to resolve regional environmental problems. With regard to the Offshore Protocol, it is particularly important to consider the high probability, in the event of an accident in a semi-closed sea such as the Mediterranean Sea, of cross-border effects on the environment. The European Union must therefore take all measures necessary to support the safety of offshore exploration and exploitation activities and to protect the marine environment in the Mediterranean Sea.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of this report on EU accession to the Offshore Protocol. This is one of the protocols to the Barcelona Convention of 1976. It covers a wide range of exploration and exploitation activities, as well as permit requirements and liability and compensation requirements, and also removal of abandoned or disused installations and harmful substances. Adopted in 1994, when the approach to environmental issues was different, this protocol may have its shortcomings when it comes to outlining a sustainable management system for offshore activities. Nevertheless, a policy of sustainable governance of offshore oil and gas activities is needed. It is clear that the transboundary consequences of an accident in the Mediterranean Sea would not be limited to EU countries. Therefore, the EU should promote international cooperation to improve offshore safety and the response capability of all involved parties. In anticipation of the Regulation on safety of offshore oil and gas prospection, exploration and production activities, currently under discussion, ratification of this protocol is a step in the right direction.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (ALDE), in writing. − (DE) Adopted on 14 October 1994, the Offshore Protocol is one of the protocols to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean. The European Union and all EU Mediterranean coastal Member States are Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, together with 14 other Mediterranean countries. The Offshore Protocol covers a wide range of exploration and exploitation activities in the Mediterranean as well as permit requirements, removal of abandoned or disused installations, use and removal of harmful substances, liability and compensation requirements, and safety matters. The Protocol entered into force on 24 March 2011, following its ratification by six contracting parties, and so far has been neither signed nor ratified by the Union. The accession of the Union requires the consent of the European Parliament. An accident could have large-scale effects on the economy and fragile ecosystems. A policy of sustainable governance of oil and gas offshore activities is clearly needed, also to protect the environment against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing. − (PL) The oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 was a very clear illustration of the need to increase safety and the need to conduct a policy of sustainable management of actions in relation to undersea deposits of oil and gas, aimed at protection from pollution arising from exploration and exploitation activities. I therefore voted for this protocol.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. − (IT) Oil and gas prospection, exploration and production activities in the Mediterranean are likely to increase due to the discovery of new reserves of fossil fuels, making necessary the sustainable management of these offshore activities. Besides having tragic economic consequences, a potential accident could undermine the efforts made by EU Mediterranean coastal Member States to maintain good environmental status in their marine waters. The ratification of the Protocol therefore represents significant progress towards this, being a solid base for guaranteeing a good level of cooperation and a continued concrete commitment of all Mediterranean countries to the achievement of the maximum possible safety of offshore activities.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report, on which we voted in favour, consents to the European Union’s accession to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil. As the world has unfortunately experienced, the various accidents that have occurred over the years, for example the accident in the Gulf of Mexico, have shown that offshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation entail grave dangers and require effective measures for regulation and control to protect workers, communities and ecosystems, placing them above the profits of the multinationals in the sector.

 
  
  

- Recommendation: Ole Christensen (A7-0358/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am in favour of this report, since I think that, above all, it is in the interest of both parties to conclude a new Protocol. A new Protocol that decides on the fishing opportunities for the subsequent year, taking into account scientific advice, the precautionary approach, the needs of the fishing industry and the minimum quantities for maintaining Greenlandic fishing activities, is consistent with the aims of the common fisheries policy and I therefore think it is a positive Protocol for both parties.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) Adopted by the European Parliament by a large majority vote, this Protocol governs the relations between the European Union and Greenland regarding fishing. I supported this fair and well-balanced text, since it takes into account the objectives of sustainable fishing promoted by European Union environmental policy.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted for this agreement with Denmark and Greenland. The scope of this agreement includes the buying of fishing rights for EU vessels and promotion of responsible and sustainable fisheries policies. The agreement will rule out any risk of depleting local stocks or damaging local fishing communities, which, on the contrary, should benefit from targeted assistance programmes financed by the EU financial compensation. The Agreement is coherent with the aims of the common fisheries policy and will be of mutual benefit to both Greenland and the EU. I agree with the proposals that Parliament should also be given the opportunity for a closer monitoring all along the implementing process of the multiannual sectoral support programme. The effect of the sectoral support measures for the local economy and the coastal communities should be thoroughly assessed by the Commission at the expiration of the new Protocol.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. − (RO) I voted in favour of this recommendation because the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Greenland has proved to be a success and I believe that it should continue to be supported and promoted through a new protocol. It represents a key component of the cooperation between the EU and Greenland and of Nordic cooperation in the fisheries sector which has brought a large number of benefits for both parties. I regard the financial contribution envisaged by the new protocol for the 2013-2015 period as appropriate and believe that it will guarantee a responsible and sustainable sectoral policy for Greenland in the fisheries sector.

I also welcome the addition to the new Protocol of the suspension clause in case fundamental human rights or democratic principles are violated. I believe that this is essential for the effective operation of the Agreement.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The first partnership agreements with Greenland were established following its withdrawal from the European Community in 1985. The Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) between the European Union and the former Home Rule Government of Greenland was adopted on 28 June 2007 and sets out the yearly fishing opportunities and financial contributions until 31 December 2012. Empowered by the Council mandate of 19 July 2011, the European Commission has held three rounds of negotiations Government of Greenland, including representatives from the Government of Denmark. On conclusion of these negotiations, a new Protocol was initialled on 3 February 2012, covering a period of three years starting on 1 January 2013. The current Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Greenland is consistent with the aims of the common fisheries policy and with the principle of sustainable fisheries and it has been of great mutual benefit to both parties. I therefore voted in favour of this recommendation.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of the report as in it Parliament approves the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community on the one hand, and the Government of Denmark and the Home Rule Government of Greenland, on the other hand. With the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, increased powers have been conferred on Parliament regarding the fisheries partnership agreements: under Article 218(6)(a) TFEU Parliament now has to give its consent to the conclusion of any such agreement. The first fisheries partnership agreement with Greenland was established after its withdrawal from the EC in 1985, on the basis that the Community could retain its traditional fishing rights by paying an annual financial compensation in return. Under the new Protocol, the Joint Committee will decide on the fishing opportunities for the subsequent year, taking into account scientific advice, the precautionary approach, the needs of the fishing industry and the minimum quantities for maintaining Greenlandic fishing activities. Vessel owners’ contributions will be defined in fixed prices for each stock, replacing the previous licensing system. I believe that the positive effect of the sectoral support measures for the local economy and the coastal communities, particularly in relation to local job creation, will prove over the long term and should therefore be thoroughly assessed by the Commission at the expiration of the new Protocol. Parliament should also be given the opportunity for a closer monitoring all along the implementing process of the multiannual sectoral support programme.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of the report on fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community on the one hand, and the Government of Denmark and the Home Rule Government of Greenland on the other hand. The aim of this report is to renew the previous Partnership Agreement, which expires at the end of 2012, and to extend it from 1 January 2013. I support this Protocol, which specifies the granting of fishing possibilities by Greenland to European fleet operators for the period from 2013 to 2015 for a range of species.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this report, since I think that the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Greenland is consistent with the aims of the common fisheries policy and with the principle of sustainable fisheries and it has been of great mutual benefit to both parties.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this report because I support a responsible and sustainable fisheries agreement, based on thorough assessments of the available resources, between the European Union, the Government of Denmark and the Home Rule Government of Greenland.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The conclusion of bilateral fisheries agreements with third countries, known as ‘Fisheries Partnership Agreements’, is a key element of the external dimension of the common fisheries policy. Acting beyond the mere buying of fishing rights for EU vessels, these agreements commit the contracting parties to promoting responsible and sustainable fisheries policies based on thorough assessments of the available resources. In this respect, I therefore agree that the current Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Greenland is consistent with the aims of the common fisheries policy and with the principle of sustainable fisheries and that it has been of great mutual benefit to both parties.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Ole Christensen gives us a recommendation on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community on the one hand, and the Government of Denmark and the Home Rule Government of Greenland, on the other hand. The European Union, with its 500 million consumers, is the community that is the biggest global consumer of fish, so it needs to meet its requirements by fishing in waters outside its own territorial waters. For its part, Greenland’s economy is highly dependent on fisheries and the export of fishery products, specifically to the European Union. In 2010 exports to the EU amounted to 92.7 % of total exports. However, the balance of trade is clearly in the EU’s favour. I voted in favour of the recommendation, since, in addition to making it possible for the EU fishing fleet to continue to fish in waters under the protection of the Government of Denmark and the Home Rule Government of Greenland with effect from 1 January 2013, it ensures protection of fishery resources by promoting a responsible and sustainable fisheries policy.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The first fisheries agreement between the European Community and Greenland was signed in 1985, one year before Portugal joined the Community. Fishing in Greenland’s waters is yet another example of how national interests were left out of account in the accession negotiations and the subsequent integration of national fisheries into the common fisheries policy. Portugal is one of the European countries with the longest and richest histories of fishing in those waters. Nevertheless, the fishing opportunities granted to Portugal under that agreement, in the name of a relative stability that never recognised the historic Portuguese presence in those waters, strongly discriminate against our fleet. In the agreement which has now expired, Portugal was not in a position to make effective use of the quota of 1 000 tonnes of halibut. The national vessels (bottom-set longline) that travelled to Greenland did not manage to exploit the stock effectively. In the new agreement Greenland made available to the EU a new quota of 2 000 tonnes of demersal redfish, from the stocks which grew up between Iceland and the Greenlandic Exclusive Economic Zone. In the forthcoming negotiations a fair distribution of that quota between the Member States is now required, recognising the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Portuguese fleet, which has suffered such obvious discrimination and harm.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. - (SK) Greenland originally joined the European Communities (EC) as a part of Denmark in 1973, but left the EC following a referendum in 1985. Today, Greenland is one of the overseas countries and territories (OCT) of the Union, within the meaning of Article 355(2) TFEU. Greenland’s economy is highly dependent on fisheries and the export of fishery products to the EU. The first fisheries partnership agreement with Greenland was established after its withdrawal from the EC in 1985, on the basis that the Community could retain its traditional fishing rights by paying an annual financial compensation in return. The FPA between the EU and the former Home Rule Government of Greenland was adopted on 28 June 2007 with the current Protocol, which sets out the yearly fishing opportunities and financial contributions until 31 December 2012. Empowered by the Council mandate of 19 July 2011, the European Commission has held rounds of negotiations with the Government of Greenland to renew the Protocol due to the expiration of the current Protocol on 31 December 2012. On conclusion of these negotiations, a new Protocol was initialled on 3 February 2012 covering a period of three years starting on 1 January 2013. I believe that the current Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Greenland is coherent with the aims of the common fisheries policy and with the principle of sustainable fishery and that it is of great mutual benefit to both parties.

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. − The fishing industry is a vital part of Greenland's economy and the money they receive from the EU for fishing rights is not inconsiderable. Unlike many of the EU external fishing arrangements, the agreement with Greenland is truly beneficial to both sides. I accordingly voted in favour.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this agreement. The first fisheries partnership agreement with Greenland was established after its withdrawal from the EC in 1985, on the basis that the Community could retain its traditional fishing rights by paying an annual financial compensation in return. The Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and the former Home Rule Government of Greenland was adopted on 28 June 2007 with the current Protocol, which sets out the yearly fishing opportunities and financial contributions until 31 December 2012. The protocol is due to expire on 31 December 2012 and I support the renewal of the agreement as it will decide on the fishing opportunities for the subsequent year, taking into account scientific advice, the precautionary approach, the needs of the fishing industry and the minimum quantities for maintaining Greenlandic fishing activities.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this Report. This new Protocol provides for an EU financial contribution of EUR 17.85 million per year to Greenland in return for fishing rights.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. − (IT) I support the conclusion of the Protocol. The Agreement is of benefit to both parties. The text is completely consistent with the aims of the common fisheries policy and with the principle of sustainable fishery.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (FR) The objectives of this new protocol are to prioritise the protection of the environment through the sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources. It guarantees that scientific advice will be taken into account. The interests of Greenland fisheries are secured, as well as those of the EU’s fishermen. I vote in favour of the protocol.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Fisheries Partnership Agreements are a key element of the external dimension of the common fisheries policy. Thus I think that the current Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Greenland is consistent with the aims of the common fisheries policy and with the principle of sustainable fisheries and that it has been of great mutual benefit to both parties. I think, too, that it is an important cornerstone in cooperation between the European Union and Greenland and in the Nordic cooperation on fishery resources. I am therefore voting in favour.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − Under the new Protocol, the Joint Committee will decide on the fishing opportunities for the subsequent year, taking into account scientific advice, the precautionary approach, the needs of the fishing industry and the minimum quantities for maintaining Greenlandic fishing activities. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) The new Protocol will further strengthen mutual cooperation in the fishing sector and will ensure implementation of responsible and sustainable fisheries policies. It will allow the EU fleet to fish in non-EU waters, maintain a European presence in distant-water fisheries and protect the interests of the European fisheries sector and of consumers. It should be noted that it is very important to ensure that fishing opportunities to be used are supported by credible scientific data and knowledge. Furthermore, taking account of environmental, social and economic concerns, the rational exploitation of fishery resources must be strengthened. Given the above, it is essential to constantly monitor whether the EU compensation is appropriate and whether sparing use of Greenland’s fishery resources is encouraged.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The first fisheries partnership agreement (FPA) between the EU and Greenland dates back to 1985, which shows the importance of the fisheries there for the fleets of certain European countries. The setting out of the fishing opportunities within the scope of the current FPA is based on scientific advice and the Protocol is consistent with the aims of the common fisheries policy and with the fundamental principle of sustainable fisheries. The Protocol is considered to be of great mutual benefit to both parties and includes a significant EU contribution, more than 20 % of the yearly financial contribution, earmarked for improving and implementing sectoral fisheries policies in Greenland, with a positive impact on the economy of the coastal communities and at the level of job creation. Since I think that the FPAs help to strengthen cooperation and the EU’s strategic presence in the waters of third countries, and that the current Protocol is favourable to the fleets of some European countries, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. − (IT) Since bilateral fisheries agreements with third countries, termed ‘Fisheries Partnership Agreements’ (FPA) are a key element of the common fisheries policy (CFP) external dimension because they commit the contracting parties to promoting responsible and sustainable fisheries policies, the current FPA with Greenland is coherent with the aims of the common fisheries policy and with the principle of sustainable fishery. While underlining the fact that Greenland’s economy is highly dependent on fisheries and on the export of fishery products to the EU, and that the fisheries sector generates 6 500 jobs (17 % of total employment), and while recognising that the current Agreement has been of great mutual benefit to both parties and is also a cornerstone of cooperation between the EU and Greenland, I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The first partnership agreement with Greenland was established after Greenland’s withdrawal from the European Community in 1985, giving the Community the possibility to retain its fishing rights in exchange for a financial contribution. Since the agreement is due to expire on 31 December 2012, the European Commission, with the authorisation of the Council, has concluded, after three rounds of negotiations, the work for a new Protocol which provides for an EU financial contribution of EUR 17.85 million per year. The Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Greenland is consistent with aims of the common fisheries policy and with the principle of sustainable fisheries and it has been of great mutual benefit to both parties. In view of the above, I voted in favour of concluding the Protocol.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − Abstention. The agreement with Greenland is unusual in many respects. It is with an ex-member of the EU. It is with a northern country yet follows the model of southern agreements in exchanging financial compensation for fishing rights. Finally, it was the first one to begin the now general approach of specifying amounts of money for fishing quotas and distinct amounts for fisheries development aid. The primary beneficiaries of the agreement are the northern Member States (Germany, UK, Lithuania, Poland, Estonia), with the southern ones much less than usual (Spain, Portugal). Many of the quotas obtained from the agreement are used by the EU in trade with Norway and Iceland (the EU may trade the capelin it receives from Greenland to get redfish from Iceland, for instance). The protocol with Greenland gives access to thirteen stocks (many of which are deep-sea species that are highly vulnerable to commercial exploitation), some of which are heavily overexploited. Some of these fisheries are mixed fisheries where fish is caught by bottom trawlers which have important by-catch levels. As a result of these problems, and combined with the fact that Greenland is heavily dependent on fisheries and the money it earns from it, we abstained on FISH.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. − (IT) I believe that the conclusion of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community, the Government of Denmark and the Home Rule Government of Greenland offers an opportunity to improve the sustainability, financial management and transparency of fisheries. I support this partnership agreement to maintain and strengthen the fisheries relationship between the European Community and the Home Rule Government of Greenland by establishing a dialogue between the various local stakeholders, in order to guarantee support for the responsible exploitation of fishery resources in Greenland’s fishing grounds. I also consider particularly significant the provision for closer economic cooperation in the fishing industry to protect the interests of everyone involved. I voted in favour so as to maintain the current priorities of the fisheries policy.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. – (FR) This Fishing Partnership Agreement with Greenland appears to be coherent with the aims of the common fisheries policy. One thing to which I attach some importance is the fact that this agreement is aligned with the principle of sustainable fishery. It has mutual benefits for both parties and is an important cornerstone in the cooperation between the EU and Greenland and in the Nordic cooperation of fishery resources.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Greenland is one of the overseas countries and territories of the European Union, within the meaning of Article 355(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Bilateral fisheries agreements with third countries are important in strengthening the external dimension of the common fisheries policy. These ‘Fisheries Partnership Agreements’ (FPA) commit the contracting parties to promoting responsible and sustainable fisheries policies based on thorough assessments of the available resources. I agree with this report which establishes a fisheries agreement between the EU and Greenland for the 2013-2015 three-year period, thus making it possible to buy fishing rights for EU vessels. Greenland should receive annual financial compensation of the order of EUR 17.85 million.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. − (RO) I voted in favour of the report on the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community on the one hand, and the Government of Denmark and the Home Rule Government of Greenland, on the other hand. The Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Greenland was established after the latter’s withdrawal from the EC in 1985, on the basis that the Community could retain its traditional fishing rights by paying annual financial compensation in return. The Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and the former Home Rule Government of Greenland was adopted on 28 June 2007 with the current Protocol, which sets out the yearly fishing opportunities and financial contributions until 31 December 2012. Greenland’s economy is highly dependent on fisheries and the export of fishery products to the EU. In 2012, exports to EU markets amounted to EUR 331 million (92.7 % of total exports), while imports from the EU were nearly twice as high (EUR 641 million). The fisheries sector generates 6 500 jobs, but only 2 000 full-time jobs are offered directly by the fish catching sector. I welcome the renewal of the Protocol for a three-year period from 1 January 2013.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (ALDE), in writing. − (DE) The conclusion of bilateral fisheries agreements with Third countries is a key element of the common fisheries policy. Beyond the mere buying of fishing rights for EU vessels, these agreements commit the contracting parties to promoting responsible and sustainable fisheries policies. Greenland’s economy is highly dependent on fisheries and the export of fishery products to the EU. In 2010, exports to EU markets amounted to EUR 331 million, while imports from the EU were nearly twice as high. The fisheries sector generates 6 500 jobs. This agreement is of great mutual benefit to both parties and is important for the Nordic cooperation in the area of fishery resources.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing. − (PL) The conclusion of bilateral fisheries agreements with Third countries, termed ‘Fisheries Partnership Agreements’ (FPA), is a key element of the common fisheries policy (CFP) external dimension. These agreements commit the contracting parties to promoting responsible and sustainable fisheries policies, so I too voted in favour.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. − (IT) Greenland is one of the 26 overseas countries and territories with which the EU has a Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA). The domestic fisheries sector is the economy’s most significant earner, accounting for 13 % of direct gross value added and 17 % of employment (including processing and other linked activities). The fishery sector accounts for 88 % of tangible exports, almost all of which are to the EU. The current agreement, which came into force in 2007 and expires on 31 December 2012, foresees fishing opportunities for cod, redfish, Greenland halibut, Atlantic halibut, shrimp, capelin and snow-crab. The new protocol will cover a period of three years starting from the adoption of the Council decision on the protocol’s signing and provisional application, and consists of a continuation of the terms of the previous protocol, with some changes in fishing opportunities and the addition of a suspension clause in case fundamental human rights or democratic principles are violated.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The first fisheries agreement between the European Community and Greenland was signed in 1985, one year before Portugal joined the Community. Portugal was one of the countries with a strong tradition and history of fishing in the Greenland area that saw its interests severely damaged by the reduction in fishing opportunities there. With this new agreement, Greenland has made available to the EU a new quota of 2 000 tonnes of demersal redfish, and we hope that there is now a fair distribution of that quota between the Member States, recognising the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Portuguese fleet, which has suffered such obvious discrimination and harm.

 
  
  

- Report: Carlo Casini (A7-0352/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I agree with this report which provides for amendments to the Directive in terms of allowing European citizens residing in Member States of which they are not nationals to vote in European elections. I think it is another decisive step towards the achievement of a genuine European political space, although supervision and control mechanisms are needed in order to prevent double voting. I also think that we must not forget that the concept of European citizenship will reach its full potential only when there is mobility and residence in Member States other than the Member State of nationality that affords all citizens the same rights, irrespective of their origin and location within the European area.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) My fellow Members and I gave this technical report broad support. It aims to simplify and strengthen the right to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals. Its speedy adoption by the European Parliament should enable it to be implemented in time for the next elections in 2014, if the Council supports it.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the report on the right to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals. According to EU law, EU citizens residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals have the right to vote or to stand in European Parliament elections subject to the same conditions as citizens of the respective state. It is essential to ensure, however, that no citizen may vote more than once or stand as a candidate in more than one Member State in the same election. I agree with the amendment of Directive 93/109/EC, which lays down means of preventing such a practice. The proposal aims to replace the obligation for Member States to exchange information about nationals entered on electoral rolls or standing as candidates with more simple measures that offer the necessary guarantees and deterrents. I agree with the proposal that citizens wishing to stand as a candidate should be obliged to provide an official declaration that they are not disqualified from standing.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. − (RO) I voted in favour of this report because I consider that the procedures for citizens who do not reside in the state where they stand as candidates for elections to the European Parliament needed to be simplified. It is important for checks on the right to stand as a candidate to be performed by Member States and for them to become an automatic procedure for every candidate in elections. This will encourage people to stand as candidates, and voters will be given the opportunity to choose between more candidates. Not least, simplifying the procedures can be a step towards uniform regulation of the right to vote in elections to the European Parliament. Greater harmonisation in the way in which elections to Parliament are held will be necessary in future.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of the report as this Council directive provides that EU citizens residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals have the right to stand in elections to the European Parliament. This document makes some modest improvements to the current situation in terms of administrative convenience for the prospective candidate and for the states concerned. It is expected that these small yet important reforms can be made operational in time for 2014.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of the report on the right to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals. I support this small step and hope that these administrative changes will be applied in time for the 2014 European elections.

 
  
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  Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE), in writing. − (RO) I voted in favour of this report because it clarifies and simplifies the procedure for standing as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals. This is essential in the current context of the EU, in which migration from one Member State to another is an extremely common practice. As a result, those who are in this situation need a clear and simple process in order to be guaranteed one of the fundamental rights of a democratic entity – that of being able to stand as a candidate in elections. I also welcome the fact that both the Council and the European Parliament will make efforts to ensure that the Directive will be operational in time for the 2014 elections.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted for the Casini report on the right to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament. However, I think we need to address some problems related to double voting and double candidature. While the new proposal does not meet Parliament’s ambitious objectives, it does improve the current situation in terms of administrative convenience.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) Parliament’s original intention was to open the way for candidates to stand in more than one constituency at the same election. This licence is permitted by the 1976 Act on Direct Elections but in practice not regulated for in EU secondary legislation (or in most national laws). I voted in favour of this report since I think that, while the new draft does not meet Parliament’s more ambitious goals, it does make some modest improvements to the current situation in terms of administrative convenience for the prospective candidate and for the States concerned.

 
  
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  Emer Costello (S&D), in writing. − I welcome the adoption of the Casini resolution on the right to vote and stand in EP elections for EU citizens living in other Member States. The proposed changes would make it easier for citizens of other Member States to vote and to stand in EP elections in their Member State of residence, for example by removing the current obligation upon them to apply to their Member State of origin for a certificate proving that they have not forfeited any of their civic rights; the ‘burden of proof’ will now lie with the electoral authorities in the Member State of residence. I particularly welcome the proposals that future Commissioners should be chosen as far as possible from newly elected MEPs, and that Member States designate both a male and a female candidate in order to ensure gender balance within the next Commission.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. – (FR) The common market must not only be an economic and social area but also a political one: it is important that the European Union makes it easy for European citizens to take part in European elections in a different state to their home state. Therefore, I am pleased to see the implementation of simplified procedures in this regard after several years of blockage at the Council level. We absolutely must ensure that these measures can be implemented in 2014.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this report because I support the harmonisation of Member States’ electoral systems, which would, for example, make it possible for candidates in European elections to stand in a Member State other than their own. It is incomprehensible that the current differences between electoral systems should often prevent citizens from exercising their right to vote owing to bureaucratic problems. However, the Directive must ensure that no one votes more than once or stands in more than one Member State in the same election.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The issue of the right to stand or vote in European elections for citizens residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals remains rather controversial and raises important practical questions, not merely theoretical ones. I believe that any changes to the electoral systems and the way in which Members of the European Parliament from the various Member States are elected, must be approached with the greatest care. I therefore recommend that all amendments should be restricted to the minimum necessary for bringing elected members closer to the electorate and that we should avoid using technical issues for political ends. That said, I think that the majority opinion today is that, if the national parties standing for election to the European Parliament agree, they could include on their lists citizens of other Member States and this possibility should not be hindered. Issues of timely verifiability to guard against double voting or double candidature deserve considerable attention.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Since the European Union is an area of free movement of persons and goods, more and more citizens are taking up residence in a Member State other than their Member State of origin, which gives rise to some legal issues regarding European elections. When the last European elections were held in 2009, this matter was discussed but no agreement was reached. With new elections approaching, the Council is submitting for the approval of the European Parliament a draft Council directive amending Directive 93/109/EC of 6 December 1993 as regards certain detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals. The new Directive allows candidates to stand for election in their Member State of residence, although candidates are required to indicate in their application their last address in the home state to make sure that relevant information is given by the home state. If elected and found to be in error later, measures will be taken to prevent candidates taking up their seat. Since we urgently need to adopt these amendments and in view of the favourable opinion of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, I voted in favour of this draft Council directive.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report approves the Council’s text which aims to facilitate some aspects of eligibility to stand and vote in European Parliament elections for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals. The content of the report cannot be separated from the gradual attempts to confuse and break the link that Members of the European Parliament have to each Member State and to their reality and their community; this could destroy the peoples’ sovereignty – the right to decide upon their present and their future in accordance with their rights and aspirations. This path will inevitably lead to impoverishment of political and democratic rights and freedoms, to the strengthening of the European parties (linked to and dependent upon funding and upon respect for the rules and principles of the EU), to an attempt to reduce still further the number of Members elected by each country, thus truncating plurality of party representation. The intention is clear: to exclude from institutional representation, by administrative means, the parties that pose a threat to the interests of big business and the major powers that dominate the EU institutions, thus creating a political system totally subjugated to the interests and needs of big business and the major powers, bringing greater exploitation and denying the peoples their right to development.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. - (SK) The Commission report on the application of Council Directive 93/109/EC laying down detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to vote and stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals revealed the need to amend certain provisions of the Directive. The Directive provides that no person may vote more than once or stand as a candidate in more than one Member State at the same election. The difficulties, which jeopardise the operability and efficiency of the information-exchange arrangements, could be overcome only by harmonising the rules on entry in the national electoral rolls. Such measures would be disproportionate in relation to the objective pursued. I therefore believe that the exchange of information should accordingly be abolished but the obligation for the voter or candidate to produce a declaration undertaking to exercise his or her right to vote or to stand as a candidate only in the Member State of residence should be maintained. A routine check of all the votes and of all the candidacies would be disproportionate to the problems identified, and would be difficult to implement. Member States should accordingly target their checks on the situations where there is a greater probability of double voting or double candidature.

 
  
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  Mathieu Grosch (PPE), in writing. − (DE) This report deals with a question raised during the last European Parliament elections in 2009, namely whether candidates can stand for election in a Member State of which they are not nationals. Originally, it was not only the right to stand as a candidate that was addressed, but also the right to vote. Due to resistance from the Council, however, this report now deals only with the right to stand. What matters is not where MEPs originally come from, but how willing they are to work on behalf of a particular region. Nowadays, many EU citizens decide to leave their country of origin and set up home in another country. If people take this decision, in my opinion there is no reason to prevent them from becoming politically active there. I therefore welcome the – albeit modest – improvement in terms of administrative convenience provided for in this report. This relates to the administrative authorities, who are required to verify whether or not somebody has been disbarred from standing as a candidate in their own state. This simplification should be made operational in time for the 2014 elections.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of this report in order to enable its rapid adoption by the Council and to inform citizens of the EU residing in a Member State of the European Union of which they are not nationals of the eligibility rules for the next European elections in 2014. Certainly the text requires some improvements in terms of administrative convenience for the prospective candidate and for the states concerned. However, I am sorry to see that the Council has still not been able to reach agreement on the voting rights of these persons and believes it is necessary to examine the possibility of allowing candidates to stand in more than one constituency at the same election to the European Parliament regardless of residency qualifications, which is permitted by the 1976 Act on Direct Elections but in practice not regulated for in EU secondary legislation (or in most national laws).

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this document. On 12 September 2012 the Council adopted a text which it intends to adopt as the Directive amending Directive 93/109/EC on the right to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals. Parliament’s original intention was to open the way for candidates to stand in more than one constituency at the same election. However, disagreements in Council on this matter, and on regulating the right to vote in states of residence, caused no action to be taken in time for the 2009 elections. Now the Council has dropped the more thorny matter of voters’ rights and concentrates only on alleviating some of the burden placed on national authorities in verifying whether or not somebody has been disbarred from standing as a candidate in their own state. While the new draft does not meet Parliament’s more ambitious goals, it does make some modest improvements to the current situation in terms of administrative convenience for the prospective candidate and for the states concerned.

 
  
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  Constance Le Grip (PPE), in writing. – (FR) In the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, of which I am the Vice-Chair, the Council of the European Union consulted us on the text amending the Directive of 1993 on the right to vote and stand in elections to the European Parliament for EU citizens residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals. The objective of this was to take account of certain problems connected with double voting and double candidature. We approved this proposal because it contained modest but sensible reforms, and we hope that they will be in place before the 2014 elections. It is an improvement because, for example, it reduces bureaucracy for candidates who want to stand in their state of residence when it is not necessarily their home state.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I welcome this report which aims to ease the requirements for citizens of the Union residing in an EU state of which they are not nationals to stand as a candidate in the election of the European Parliament.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. − (IT) Our intention was to open the way for candidates to stand in more than one constituency at the same election. However, disagreements in Council, including on regulating the right to vote in states of residents, caused no action to be taken in time for the 2009 elections. While the new draft does not meet Parliament’s more ambitious goals, it does make some modest improvements to the current situation in terms of administrative convenience for the prospective candidate and for the states concerned. We therefore welcome the Council’s draft to ease the requirements of citizens of the Union residing in an EU state of which they are not nationals to stand as a candidate in the election of the European Parliament. We recall, nevertheless, our firm wish to open the way for candidates to stand in more than one constituency at the same election regardless of residency qualifications as well as to improve the regulation of a general right to vote in states of residence. The use of the simplified procedure is justified by the hope that the modest but sensible reforms will be in place in time for 2014.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. − (IT) I voted in favour of the Casini report. I support the approval of the Council’s draft and the fact that the simplified procedure was used to issue a swift positive opinion so that the reforms will be in place in time for 2014.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (FR) This report makes it possible for every European citizen to vote in and stand for the European elections, regardless of their Member State of residence. In this sense this is a significant step forward. I vote in favour.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) This issue has created some controversy within the European Union. Everything concerning changes to the rules in force in electoral systems and the way in which Members of the European Parliament are elected must be approached with care. This report follows that line, which is why I voted as I did.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) I am in favour of the draft Council directive amending Directive 93/109/EC of 6 December 1993 as regards certain detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals. The amendment brought alleviates some of the burden placed on national authorities in verifying whether or not somebody has been disbarred from standing as a candidate in their own state. This amendment will facilitate the situation in terms of administrative convenience for the potential candidate and for the states concerned.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. − (DE) The amendment of Directive 93/109/EC concerns the exercise of the right to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals. According to this report, this is to be made easier, which in principle is a welcome development. If you read the report more closely, however, you realise that the grounds for exclusion are being tightened, as now an individual decision by an administrative authority can also deprive citizens of the right to stand. As the judicial remedies, stages of appeal and legal protection are generally less extensive for the person concerned under administrative law than under civil law, this extension of the grounds for exclusion, which can now also cover more minor offences, and consequently also the amendment of the Directive, must be rejected.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) Democracy is unimaginable without elections. Therefore it is essential to resolve all issues relating to voters’ rights and remove all legal barriers to a successfully functioning democracy at both national and EU level. Elections have to be democratic and citizens must have a right to vote and stand in elections. This applies in particular to European Parliament elections and the respective rights of EU citizens residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals. It is commendable that provisions in the directive will alleviate some of the burden placed on national authorities and improve the current situation in terms of administrative convenience for the prospective candidate and for the states concerned. However, we should be putting more effort into reaching a compromise regarding a reform of the mechanism to prevent double voting.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this report on certain detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals. The Committee on Constitutional Affairs decided to use the simplified procedure to issue a swift positive opinion on the Council’s draft without amendment in the expectation that the reforms, viewed as modest but sensible, particularly on eligibility criteria and smoothing the procedures for standing for election, will be in place in time for 2014.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. − (IT) Having regard to the fact that on 12 September 2012 the Council adopted a text which it intends to adopt as the Directive amending Directive 93/109/EC on the right to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals, Parliament should now take note of the Council’s draft to ease these requirements. While I wish to emphasise that Parliament’s original intention was to open the way for candidates to stand in more than one constituency at the same election, but that in practice this is not regulated for in EU secondary legislation and no action was taken in time for the 2009 elections, and while I therefore hope that the new draft will be made operational in time for the 2014 elections, I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 12 September, the Council adopted a text concerning the adoption of the Directive amending Directive 93/109/EC laying down detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to vote and stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals. At the same time, the Council decided to consult Parliament again. While the new draft falls short of Parliament’s ambitions, it does make some modest improvements to the current situation, alleviating some of the burden placed on national authorities to verify whether somebody has been disbarred from standing as a candidate in their home state. It would be convenient to have these proposals in place before the next elections in 2014. Therefore, and without prejudice to continuing to stress the need to adopt more ambitious measures (such as the possibility of double candidature and the possibility to allow the state of residence not to recognise disqualifications by the home state), the rapporteur recommends a positive opinion on the report, leaving the discussion of these issues to the next Convention. Since I agree with that view, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − In favour. In 2006 the Commission proposed amendments to Directive 93/109/EC regarding certain detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to vote and stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for EU citizens residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals. The Commission wanted to ease the burden on the information exchange system caused by the prevention of double voting as well as an easing of the burden caused by the information that candidates wishing to stand in elections in another Member State need to provide by replacing the need for a formal attestation by a formal declaration. Parliament delivered an opinion in 2007 which went further and intended to open the way for candidates to stand in more than one constituency, something which is permitted by the 1976 Act on Direct Elections but not regulated for in EU law or in most national laws. The committee decided to agree to use the simplified procedure to issue a swift opinion without amendment in the expectation that the modest reforms will be in place for the 2014 elections.

 
  
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  Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (PPE), in writing. − (PL) The report confirms the changes to the Directive on the right to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals. Article 18 of the EU Treaty guarantees that any EU citizen may stand for election to the European Parliament in any EU country. This is an important aspect of European citizenship that was established by the Maastricht Treaty 20 years ago. The changes made to the Directive introduce practical solutions that facilitate the implementation of this Treaty provision in practice.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. − (IT) The amendment of Directive 93/109/EC on the right to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals has been the subject of an important debate. I view as an important and necessary step the removal of obstacles to the possibility of standing in elections in exercise of the rights associated with citizenship of a Member State and I believe the amendments under examination could be instrumental in bringing about political change in the EU. I voted in favour so that the administrative procedures for potential candidates can be simplified and the necessary requirements can be eased.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. – (FR) It is important to relax the obligations imposed on EU citizens residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals who stand as candidates in European Parliament elections. We must allow candidates to stand in more than one constituency at the same election to the European Parliament, regardless of residency qualifications, as well as improve the regulation of a general right to vote in states of residence.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Despite the fact that this draft directive on the right to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament does not meet all the European Parliament’s objectives since the Council did not give its support, it presents important amendments to enter into force in time for the next European elections in 2014. Thus the main objective is to alleviate some of the burden placed on Member States, namely as regards verifying whether somebody has been disbarred from standing as a candidate in their own state. I voted in favour of the draft report but I think that the debate on voting rights, in particular reforming the mechanism to prevent double voting, must be rethought.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. − (RO) I voted in favour of the amendment to Directive 93/109/EC on the right to vote and stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals. The right of all citizens of the Union to vote and stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament in their Member State of residence is recognised under Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The Member State of residence may check whether the citizens of the Union who have expressed a desire to exercise their right to stand as candidates there have not been deprived of that right in their Member State of origin through an individual judicial decision or an administrative decision, provided that the latter can be subject to judicial remedies. To facilitate communication between national authorities, the Member States should designate a contact point responsible for communicating information concerning candidates. The Directive requires that when submitting applications, Union nationals must produce an attestation from the competent administrative authorities of their home Member State certifying that they have not been deprived of the right to stand as candidates in that Member State or that no such disqualification is known to the authorities.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (FR) I voted for this report on the Directive regarding the right to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals. Parliament’s original intention was to enable candidates to stand in more than one constituency at the same election. This licence is permitted by the 1976 Act on Direct Elections but in practice not regulated for. Disagreements in Council on this matter have prevented action from being taken in time for European elections. The Council has concentrated on alleviating some of the burden placed on national authorities. In essence, this consists of verifying whether or not somebody has been disbarred from standing as a candidate in their own state. Therefore, we are far from meeting Parliament’s ambitious goals. There are just some modest improvements to the current situation in terms of administrative convenience for the prospective candidate. However, with the ordinary legislative procedure it was not possible to obtain more from the Council if we wanted some improvements at the next European elections in 2014.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (ALDE), in writing. − (DE) This concerns the right to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in an EU state of which they are not nationals. Parliament’s original intention was for candidates to be able to stand in more than one constituency at the same election. One of the chief revisions to the earlier drafts is that the Directive now only covers the right to stand. In conclusion, it can be said that the draft on election to the EP has been simplified. To ensure that the modest but sensible reforms will be in place in time for 2014, the simplified procedure should be used and approved.

 
  
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  Janusz Władysław Zemke (S&D), in writing. − (PL) The next round of elections to the European Parliament, in June 2014, is drawing near. At a time when eurosceptic views are on the rise, we should be particularly concerned that EU citizens take part as extensively as possible in the elections, and that Parliament’s mandate is as strong as possible. One procedural restriction on participation in the elections is the difficulty of voting in a country where electors have their place of residence but of which they are not nationals. This is a growing group of people who are seeking work or receiving education in other countries. Unfortunately the directive that is on the table provides no solution to this problem. It does not extend the right to vote, but merely introduces administrative changes to make things easier for potential candidates. In other words, it makes it easier to stand for election, but it does not support implementation of the right to vote, which is based on the potential to play a real part in elections. Consequently this solution is far from satisfactory.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report approves the Council’s text aimed at facilitating some aspects of the procedure for establishing the right to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State other than their own. The pretext applied here, as part of a broader strategy, is the impoverishment of political and democratic rights and freedoms, the strengthening of the European parties, and an attempt to reduce still further the number of Members elected by each country. We could not support this report.

 
  
  

- Report: Birgit Collin-Langen (A7-0343/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I support this report since I think it is necessary, above all, to guarantee a high level of consumer protection with regard to credit in order to improve financial inclusion, on the one hand, and to increase consumption and growth on the European market, on the other hand. In my opinion, this Directive, by focusing on the key elements concerning consumer rights, is an essential step for re-establishing consumer confidence in banks. Thus we need to improve transparency and information for consumers and, more specifically, on the rates charged, in order to provide better financial education.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. − (RO) One of the fundamental principles of the single market is precisely the harmonisation of legislative conditions in order to make trade more efficient. The shaping of this legislative framework for consumer credit will firstly eliminate differences in terms of regulation, thereby offering consumers a far wider range of services and offerings. Secondly, through such initiatives, the common market becomes a concrete reality with real coverage, which lends substance to the mechanisms and institutions of the European Union. It is, however, equally important for consumer protection to be prioritised at all times during the process of expanding trade or the scope of credit services. I support the adoption of the report and believe that it is imperative for the Member States to take decisive action so that consumers will be better informed about the products and services available to them.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I supported this report, which aims to strengthen protection for European consumers with regard to consumer credit and has been adopted by the European Parliament. It provides a review of the two years since the adoption of the Directive and sets out Member States’ successes and failures. The report states that it is not necessary to amend the Directive but that access to information should be facilitated for consumers, especially with regard to cross-border credit involving different currencies.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted for this proposal, which aims to guarantee a high level of consumer protection and strengthen the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. In trying to improve the cross-border consumer credit market, it is essential to better inform consumers about the opportunity to obtain consumer credit in other Member States and about the rights of consumers when concluding such contracts. I agree with the call for supervisory authorities to require financial institutions to provide consumers with personalised, complete and easily understandable explanations regarding the risks involved in foreign currency lending. The advertising and marketing practices of financial institutions have to be strictly monitored in order to avoid the spread of misleading or false information. I agree that the provisions on calculating the annual percentage rate of charge should be applied uniformly in all relevant EU legal instruments. I agree that the Commission should present an assessment report on the implementation of the Directive and a full assessment of its impact regarding consumer protection.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Consumer Credit Directive has two objectives: guaranteeing a high level of consumer protection and strengthening the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. Whilst on the one hand it is true that the harmonisation of some aspects of credit law has significantly raised the level of consumer protection in Europe, on the other hand, the increase in the cross-border take-up of consumer credit would seem to have been insignificant. This may be because only a few institutions offer cross-border consumer credit and because the market as a whole has been in decline in recent years as a result of the crisis. As regards the implementation of Directive 2008/48/EC on credit agreements for consumers, some problems were noted, in particular, failure by some Member States to transpose all or some of the provisions of the Directive by the deadline set. Many Member States have extended the scope of the Directive to cover other financial products. This report, which I supported, calls on the Commission to review the way the Directive has been transposed and urges the Member States to apply it correctly. It also recommends a detailed assessment of the impact of the Directive, on the basis of which, consideration should be given to the amendments required.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR), in writing. − (PL) Because some countries have failed to adhere to the deadlines for transposition of regulations concerning the functioning of financial institutions, there is coming to be a need to monitor their implementation with a view to securing the interests of consumers. Further clarity is needed at least as far as the discrepancies associated with interpretation of the period for withdrawal from a credit agreement are concerned. Particular attention needs to be devoted to the exertion of pressure on financial institutions to make them provide consumers with exhaustive information that is comprehensible and meets their needs regarding the risk of taking out loans in foreign currencies before any agreement has been signed. Last year’s review on consumer credit websites revealed – in the case of almost half of these sites – a lack of mandatory information, chiefly relating to costs and the duration of agreements, and consequently information of exceptional importance. The increasing popularity of SMS loans is also deserving of attention; although it has many advantages, it can quite often lead the potential client into a particular situation with no exit. We should strive to ensure that there is effective protection for consumers in this area. I support the report.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. − (IT) I support the report by Ms Collin-Langen, the purpose of which is to check the state of implementation of the Consumer Credit Directive 2008/48/EC, for the purpose of protecting consumers and strengthening the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. The report looks in detail at a few issues that make transposition of the Directive into the legal systems of individual Member States difficult, such as the short transposition deadline, the vast scope of the Directive and the need to adapt the reality of individual economic, social and national budget situations, which are often slightly if not completely different. Trying to use the same solutions for all 27 Member States is not only a mistake; it is even counterproductive. Finally, the report also looks at consumer rights and the effects that the economic crisis is having on individuals and families throughout Europe.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted for this report as this Directive has two objectives: guaranteeing a high level of consumer protection and strengthening the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. The current situation regarding fundamental rights when obtaining credit in Europe remains almost unchanged as the take-up of cross-border consumer credit has indeed decreased in recent years. It is believed that this could have been the result of the financial crisis. It is also important to note that the obstacles to the take-up of cross-border consumer credit are more likely to be linked to the language barrier or the lack of any personal relationship with the financial institution concerned than to legal considerations. Furthermore, these procedures involve both national legislators and financial institutions in individual Member States, so even though the Commission has put forward guidelines on the interpretation of the concept of ‘annual percentage rate of charge’, they are not legally binding.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of the report on the implementation of the Consumer Credit Directive 2008/48/EC. This report reviews the first two years of the application of the Directive by Member States and highlights the progress made and delays in its application. The main aim of the Directive is to facilitate cross-border credit by closing the gaps in different national legislations. In addition, we need to increase our vigilance to ensure that information is made available to European citizens, especially on the risks involved in taking out a loan in a foreign currency for consumers who choose cross-border credit and on insurance costs.

 
  
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  Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE), in writing. − (RO) The Consumer Credit Directive has undoubtedly increased consumer protection, which is welcome. On the whole, I believe we can be satisfied with the implementation process and I do not believe that the Directive currently needs to be revised. As this report suggests, the priority should be to ensure proper implementation in the Member States. The ‘sweep’ operation carried out by the Commission has been particularly useful in identifying problems with implementation.

Sustained efforts must be made to ensure that the provisions of the Directive with regard to information about offers in advertising material are not presented in a misleading way. In addition, consumers must be better informed about the risks of obtaining credit in a foreign currency due to exchange rate fluctuations. Not least, I believe it is important for consumers to be better informed about the opportunity to obtain credit in another Member State. This will probably boost cross-border credit and will favour the creation of an internal credit market, which is currently inadequate, even if there are other reasons for this situation, such as language.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Consumer Credit Directive has two objectives: guaranteeing a high level of consumer protection and strengthening the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. There is no doubt that the definitive harmonisation of some key aspects of credit law has significantly raised the level of consumer protection in Europe. The increase in the cross-border take-up of consumer credit would seem to have been insignificant, however. This may be because only very few financial institutions offer cross-border consumer credit and because the market as a whole has been in decline in recent years as a result of the financial crisis. I voted in favour of this report because I think it is important to strengthen consumer protection and the internal consumer credit market.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. − (RO) I too welcome the Commission’s initiative of conducting a study on the cross-border impact and effects of cross-border cooperation on the internal market and consumer protection. Consumers in cross-border areas must be better informed as to how they can obtain consumer credit in another Member State when purchasing goods for long-term use or cars, or for other purposes, such as with regard to their rights when entering into such a contract, especially where the credit is in a currency other than that of the recipient’s country of residence.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of this report, which improves consumer protection against advertising abuses and omissions in the information supplied by some credit agencies. The new Consumer Credit Directive will make it easier for consumers to access information. We are still hearing too many stories about families crippled by debts, through their own naivety but also because the commitment they were making was concealed when they took out a loan. Consumer credit should answer our fellow citizens’ one-off needs but credit companies should be transparent with their clients in order to avoid forcing them into a vicious circle.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this report that calls on the Member States to implement fully Directive 2008/48/EC in order to guarantee a high level of consumer protection and to strengthen the internal market in cross-border consumer credit.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Consumer Credit Directive was approved by Parliament in 2008. It aimed to harmonise various aspects of consumer credit legislation for contracts between 200 and 75 000 euros. The harmonisation sought to reduce the differences between national legislations and to guarantee greater and better comparability between information on consumer lending conditions in the various Member States in order to facilitate cross-border loans. The intention now is to assess the implementation of the Directive (since the deadline for its transposition was 2 years ago) and to check the need to amend it, which the rapporteur rightly does not recommend.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The functioning of the internal market should be instrumental in helping European Union citizens to overcome the current economic and financial crisis, which is also a crisis of lack of access to credit. It is therefore essential to improve access to cross-border credit, strengthening the functioning of the single market, boosting confidence in this area and avoiding the possibility of speculation. The report by Birgit Collin-Langen on the implementation of Directive 2008/48/EC on credit agreements for consumers aims to harmonise Member States’ legislation to give maximum protection to consumers in this area. It is essential for the legal rules on credit agreements for consumers to be applied uniformly throughout the EU. I voted in favour of this report since we need to encourage cross-border transactions by means of greater legal clarity, better information for citizens on rates and other charges, more effective procedures and greater consumer safety.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report examines the implementation of the Directive on consumer credit agreements, adopted in 2008. The Consumer Credit Directive has two objectives: guaranteeing a high level of consumer protection and introducing a common legal framework for consumer credit agreements. It is about facilitating the opening up of national markets and promoting cross-border consumer credit in order to strengthen the internal market and thus also the monopolistic concentration in that sector. We recognise the positive aspects of the report, in particular the reference to the problems relating to consumer protection, such as the lack of information, SMS loans, the lack of consumer protection, the need for strict monitoring of advertising and marketing practices. We appreciate the concerns and considerations expressed in the report in this respect. Finally, to sum up, the report contains two contradictory aspects: the positive and necessary consumer protection and the negative considerations on the single market.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. - (SK) The Consumer Credit Directive has two objectives: guaranteeing a high level of consumer protection and strengthening the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. There is no doubt that the definitive harmonisation of some key aspects of credit law has significantly raised the level of consumer protection in Europe. However, some Member States failed to transpose all or some of the provisions of the directive by the deadline set. The main reasons were the short deadline (two years) and the scale of the process. A large number of provisions had to be changed or introduced for the first time in a very wide variety of areas, including consumer protection, general rules governing credit and access to databases. These procedures are very complex and involve both national legislators and financial institutions. I think it would be appropriate in future to allow them more time, by setting a three-year transposition deadline. I also believe that the Commission should now review the way the directive has been transposed and urge the Member States to apply it correctly. Eventually it would be appropriate to assess in detail the legal and practical impact of the directive and, on that basis, give consideration as to what, if any, amendments are required.

 
  
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  Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing. – (FR) This is a logical consequence of the single market: citizens can take out loans in a country other than the one where they reside. Precisely because of this opportunity, a Member should indeed be concerned about the protection of a consumer who has benefited from this opportunity but who confronts practices which are, certainly, similar to those in his or her own country but which are, nevertheless, special and strange. The problem is that there are not many cross-border loans, because of the language barrier and the lack of any personal relationship with the lender. That is just common sense. Consumers, who often regard bankers, together with insurers and mobile telephone providers, as the top three crooks and thieves, are not enthusiastic about doing business with one of them who does not speak their language and is not very clear about the clauses that cause problems. In this context, the Commission’s desire to allow practices that do not interest anyone seems dogmatic. It amounts to abandoning people’s common sense in favour of a utopia. This is why, despite everything, I abstained in defence of the consumers you claim to be protecting.

 
  
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  Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. − I have voted in favour of the Consumer Credit Directive as I believe it works two-fold, in guaranteeing high levels of protection to consumers, and by strengthening the internal market. It is safe to say that the harmonisation of credit law has substantially improved the level of consumer protection within the EU, and can prove to be a useful tool for the EU to continue to fight barriers such as those linked to language which currently hamper the full realisation of the Single Market and to further help the EU to overcome the current financial and economic crisis.

 
  
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  Mathieu Grosch (PPE), in writing. − (DE) Companies that offer consumer credit must provide consumers with clear and accurate information about their offerings. However, the implementation of the EU Consumer Credit Directive, as undertaken by the Member States by the middle of 2010, leaves something to be desired. It was established that on 70 % of websites on which financial institutions are offering consumer credit agreements, key information is missing or the presentation of costs is misleading. This is even more important in the case of cross-border credit, for which easily comprehensible information on foreign currency lending and the costs of additional services is essential when choosing credit. I very much welcome the fact that the existing deficiencies in the implementation of the Consumer Credit Directive have been exposed. This once again constitutes one of many examples of situations in which the EU has created, out of 27 different sets of national regulations, a single Directive that is intended to benefit consumers, but the Member States have failed to implement it correctly and as a result the purpose of the Directive, namely to protect consumers, has fallen by the wayside.

 
  
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  Małgorzata Handzlik (PPE), in writing. − (PL) Consumer credit is often a key aspect in raising citizens’ standard of living. Unfortunately, unclear principles, a lack of information or even consumer-unfriendly regulations mean that this instrument cannot actually always be utilised in full. As a result of the Consumer Credit Directive, consumers will acquire a high level of protection, and the internal market in cross-border consumer credit will be strengthened. Thus a good instrument is in effect; unfortunately it will be unable to fulfil its aims if it is not properly and effectively introduced into the national legal order of Member States. I support the report because I fully concur that the proper transposition of EU law by Member States, without unnecessary delay, is absolutely necessary for consumers to be effectively protected, and for the single market to function properly in this respect. The issues that have turned out to pose particular problems in the transposition process are those of advertising, information conveyed prior to conclusion of an agreement, early repayment and calculation of the annual rate of interest. Some Member States have also failed to adhere to the transposition deadlines. My view, then, is that the European Commission should carry on monitoring transposition and insist that Member States apply the directive properly.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I am pleased to see the adoption of the report on consumer credit, which aims to evaluate and assess transposition of the Directive since 2010. The single market has enabled consumers to access cross-border loans. The objective of this Directive is to harmonise the systems for contracts worth between EUR 200 and 75 000. However, the success of this practice has led to abuses: the Commission has become aware that 70 % of the websites of financial establishments it checked failed to include relevant information in their advertising material and certain items of information in the credit offer itself, as well as omitting information on the cost of auxiliary services such as insurance accompanying the loan application. The report also warns against the expansion of SMS loans – micro-loans granted over the internet or by SMS – an issue to which Member States should pay special attention.

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. − The Consumer Credit Directive offers vital protection to citizens across Europe. Some of the problems that have emerged have related not to the substance of the Directive but rather to its transposition and enforcement. I therefore believe that this report calls for the correct things.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this document. This document has two objectives: guaranteeing a high level of consumer protection and strengthening the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. Opening up national markets in the important economic sector of consumer credit, promoting competition, addressing different levels of consumer protection, removing potential competition distortions between market operators and improving the functioning of the internal market are political tasks incumbent on the EU and are in the interests of consumers and creditors. Improving the cross-border consumer credit market would generate European added value by boosting the internal market. This could be achieved by better informing consumers about the opportunity to obtain consumer credit in other Member States and about their rights when concluding such contracts.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − The Consumer Credit Directive has two objectives: guaranteeing a high level of consumer protection and strengthening the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. There is no doubt that the definitive harmonisation of some key aspects of credit law has significantly raised the level of consumer protection in Europe. The increase in cross-border take-up of consumer credit would seem to have been insignificant, however. This may be because only a very few financial institutions offer cross-border consumer credit and because the market as a whole has been in decline in recent years, as a result of the financial crisis. What is more, obstacles to the take-up of cross-border consumer credit are more likely to be linked to the language barrier or to the lack of any personal relationship with the financial institution concerned than to legal considerations. The Commission should now review the way the directive has been transposed and urge the Member States to apply it correctly. Stakeholders should then be given time to get used to the new rules and gain experience of the way they are applied. Thereafter a detailed assessment should be carried out of the legal and practical impact of the directive and, on that basis, consideration given to what, if any, amendments are required.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. − (IT) The Consumer Credit Directive has two objectives: guaranteeing a high level of consumer protection and strengthening the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. We believe that the definitive harmonisation of some key aspects of credit law has undoubtedly significantly raised the level of consumer protection in Europe. The increase in the cross-border take-up of consumer credit would seem to have been insignificant, however. This may be because of the financial crisis. We are therefore asking the Commission to review the way the Directive has been transposed and urge the Member States to apply it correctly. Stakeholders should then be given time to get used to the new rules and gain experience of the way they are applied. We agree with the rapporteur that a detailed assessment should then be carried out of the legal and practical impact of the Directive and, on that basis, consideration be given to what, if any, amendments are required.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) At this time of economic crisis, the most appropriate way of boosting the economy and productivity is through consumption. Since household consumption is the basis of general consumption, it is even more important to ensure a) consumer protection and b) continuing consumption. This is possible only through the existence of measures common to the member countries. Given the cross-border nature of the take-up of credit, it is important that information on both the potential and the risks of consumption is made available. In this respect, I find the measures are wholly adequate, consisting as they do of (1) imposing on financial establishments the duty of providing consumers with personalised, complete and easily understandable explanations regarding the risks involved in foreign currency lending well before they are tied to a contract; and (2) calling for credit institutions to take special care when granting consumer credit loans with a term of longer than five years and not to provide consumer credit which is secured by the consumer’s house where the consumer does not have an adequate wage or salary.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. − (IT) Improving the cross-board consumer credit market would generate European added value by boosting the internal market. I agree with the rapporteur that there is no need to revise the Directive, but that instead priority should be given to ensuring that it is correctly transposed and enforced. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (FR) This report attempts to justify competition between consumer credit organisations within the European Union. It draws no conclusion from the finding that these types of organisations are not following the obligations imposed on them to provide clear information to citizens and are forcing them into over-indebtedness. It merely proposes that we control them better. Even worse: it compares such credit to other financial products and welcomes their opening up to competition. I vote against this inept report.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Consumer Credit Directive has two objectives: guaranteeing a high level of consumer protection and strengthening the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. There is no doubt that the definitive harmonisation of some key aspects of credit law has significantly raised the level of consumer protection in Europe. The harmonisation of legislation has been of great benefit to consumer protection as regards consumer credit agreements, which is why I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Ana Miranda (Verts/ALE), in writing. (PT) This report sets out basic guidelines for building a financial system at European level capable of providing consumers with correct information. Availability of consumer credit places financial sector facilities at the disposal of national economies but, at the same time, it could entail risks if appropriate practices are not respected. That is why I support the rapporteur’s request in calling on the Commission to assess the extent of compliance with information duties in contracts governing consumer credit. Furthermore, I am in favour of the proposal to extend consumer protection to short-term credit, provided over the internet or other types of quick credit (for example SMS loans) which are not currently covered by the directives in force. In conclusion, increased consumer protection can only be positive in this matter. Bad practices (which led some Member States to extend the scope of Directive 2008/48/EC to other financial products, such as mortgages) have disastrous consequences at a time of economic crisis.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − A high level of consumer protection in the fields on consumer credit is the key for improving financial inclusion and for boosting consumption and growth within the internal market. The legislation should be drafted; there are too many directives. I abstained.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. − (DE) Banks in the euro area are becoming increasingly cautious with regard to lending. For house-building loans the standards were tightened again during the last quarter, and the same applied to a slightly lesser extent to the granting of consumer credit. Time and again there is controversy about bank fees that banks should not actually be charging. Many banks are still demanding processing fees for consumer credit that they are not permitted to charge, as the processing of the credit application is not a bank service for the customer, but – like the credit check – is carried out in the bank’s own interests. These problems are not dealt with in the report reviewing the Directive. I therefore abstained from voting.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this document. False or misleading pre-contractual information and advertising as well as abuse of contracts are a source of great concern in the Member States. Providing consumer credit to persons in low-income, higher-risk groups further deepens social divisions between citizens and households. It is worrying that an investigation carried out by the European Commission in 2011 found that 70 % of the financial institution websites checked provided too little information in their consumer credit advertising. For this reason, information on consumer credit that emphasises possible changes in payments and the consequences of insolvency should be spread more actively. I agree with the call to extend the existing level of consumer protection to lower-value, short-term consumer credit that currently falls outside the scope of the Directive. An irresponsible attitude by both parties and inadequate consumer education can cause significant problems for households even if they borrow sums that are particularly small.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. − (DE) The lack of confidence on the financial markets is unfortunately growing and globally banks are also lending less and less. Very few financial institutions are actually offering cross-border consumer credit. However, politicians cannot be let off the hook entirely, as differences in confidence in the EU institutions constitute an important criterion for cross-border banking activities within the euro area. The 2011 review by the Commission of 562 consumer credit websites that is mentioned in the report also provides food for thought. The outcome of this review was as follows: on 46 % of the websites checked mandatory information was lacking in the advertising material, on 43 % clear information concerning the overall costs, the duration of the agreement and certain credit-related costs was lacking, and on 20 % the presentation of the costs was misleading. In the current implementation phase the national authorities are contacting the firms concerned and calling on them to remedy the shortcomings identified. As there are still many unclear points to be clarified and the share of cross-border consumer credit agreements is dwindling to almost negligible, I abstained from voting.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) It is essential to extend consumer protection at both national and EU level. Efficient consumer protection practices in the credit sector are some of the most important conditions in ensuring financial stability. I believe that special attention should be paid to short-term credit provided through various communication media. First of all, excessive risk should be prevented altogether. It is also essential to provide consumers with comprehensive and easily understandable information on the risks involved in borrowing. Furthermore, by using legal acts, it should be ensured that when a consumer decides to withdraw from a contract, no additional charges are incurred. It should be noted that the objectives set out in the Directive cannot be fully achieved unless they are suitably transferred to and implemented in the Member States.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this report on the Consumer Credit Directive, which has two objectives: guaranteeing a high level of consumer protection and strengthening the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. The definitive harmonisation of some key aspects of credit law has significantly raised the level of consumer protection in Europe. The increase in the cross-border take-up of consumer credit would seem to have been insignificant, however. This may be because only very few financial institutions offer cross-border consumer credit and because the market as a whole has been in decline in recent years as a result of the financial crisis. What is more, the obstacles to the take-up of cross-border consumer credit are more likely to be linked to the language barrier or to the lack of any personal relationship with the financial institution concerned than to legal considerations. This revision seeks to resolve some problems noted during the review, namely: advertising, pre-contractual information, contractual information, right of withdrawal, early repayment and calculation of the annual percentage rate of charge.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. − (IT) There is no doubt that the definitive harmonisation of some key aspects of credit law has significantly raised the level of consumer protection in Europe. The increase in the cross-border take-up of consumer credit would seem to have been insignificant, however. This may be because only very few financial institutions offer cross-border consumer credit and because the market as a whole has been in decline in recent years, as a result of the financial crisis. While stressing the importance of a review by the Commission of the way the Directive has been transposed and that it has been correctly applied by the Member States, and also of the importance of a detailed assessment of the legal and practical impact of the Directive and, on that basis, whether any amendments are required, I voted in favour of the motion.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Consumer Credit Directive has two objectives: guaranteeing a high level of consumer protection and strengthening the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. Whilst, on the one hand, the harmonisation of some aspects of credit law has raised the level of consumer protection in Europe, on the other hand, cross-border take-up of consumer credit seems not to have increased since the Directive entered into force. This may be because of the effects of the economic recession or because only very few financial institutions offer cross-border consumer credit. Before proposing any required amendments, the Commission should review the way the Directive has been transposed and urge the Member States to apply it correctly, and should present to Parliament and the Council an assessment report on the implementation of the Directive and a full assessment of its impact as regards consumer protection, taking into account the consequences of the financial crisis and the new EU legal framework for financial services.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) At a time when Belgium, one of the six founder members of the European Union, has just drawn up its 2013 budget without an ambitious plan to boost growth and consumer purchasing power, the European Parliament is adopting a motion for a resolution on consumer credit contracts. This vote is important for consumer protection. The countries of the European Union were supposed to have implemented this Directive by 11 June 2010. However, some Member States, including Belgium, have delayed the transposition of all or some provisions of the Directive. This delay is essentially due to the short transposition deadline, i.e. two years, and the scope of the legislation involved. As a reminder, this Directive has two objectives: 1) to guarantee a high level of consumer protection and 2) to strengthen the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. Parliament is calling on the Commission to address the transposition of the Directive and is asking that its impact on citizens be clearly assessed in the context of the financial crisis we are experiencing. It is a preventative measure full of good sense.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. − In favour. The Consumer Credit Directive was adopted in 2008 with the purpose of enhancing convergence between the national provisions regarding consumer credit (see also here attached our briefing note from the adoption of the directive in 2008). This is of course a very important legislation in particular in view of the fact that credit problems were central in the current economic crisis (even though they concerned more mortgage credits, which are not covered by the consumer credit directive). The main provisions of the directive concern pre-contractual and contractual information to consumers, a harmonised period for the right of withdrawal (14 days), protection in case of early repayments and an obligation to assess consumers' creditworthiness. The directive applies to consumer credits (not mortgage) between EUR 200 and EUR 100 000. Greens/EFA share the Rapporteur’s main messages. We had tabled an amendment in IMCO to highlight the risks of credits made in foreign currencies, in case of fluctuations in the value of these currencies. This amendment was adopted in the IMCO Committee. Therefore we voted in favour of the Report.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. − I voted in favour of this report because the Consumer Credit Directive has two objectives: guaranteeing a high level of consumer protection and strengthening the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. There is no doubt that the definitive harmonisation of some key aspects of credit law has significantly raised the level of consumer protection in Europe.

 
  
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  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing. − (IT) I voted in favour of the own-initiative report by Ms Collin-Langen. The text adopted by the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection is a balanced text that seems to take account of the real reasons why some of the Directive’s objectives have not been achieved. However, I would have given greater consideration to the impact this crisis has had on citizens and the consequent widespread mistrust of consumer credit. Within the European Union, the situation can vary significantly from Member State to Member State. I agree with the rapporteur that there is absolutely no need at this time to revise the Directive, which was adopted only a few years ago.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing. − (IT) I think that Ms Collin-Langen’s report reflects well the speed of change of the credit market. I voted in favour because I think it could have a positive effect on growth and investment. Its effectiveness is due to the fact that it simultaneously pursues two objectives: to guarantee a high level of consumer protection and to strengthen the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. The importance of approving this report lies in its ability to harmonise some key aspects of credit law, which has enabled better protection to be given to European consumers.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. − (IT) In a period of economic crisis in Europe, it is necessary to introduce a higher level of consumer protection and the strengthening of the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. With this vote, both of these objectives can be met, by harmonising some key aspects of credit law that have undoubtedly made it possible to significantly raise the level of consumer protection in Europe. In 2011 the Commission carried out a review of 562 consumer credit websites. The outcome was as follows: on 46 % of the websites checked mandatory information was lacking in the advertising material, on 43 % clear information concerning the overall costs, the duration of the agreement and certain credit-related costs was lacking, and on 20 % the presentation of the costs was misleading. There also needs to be a focus on transparency and clarity in advertisements for consumer credit products.

 
  
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  Monika Smolková (S&D), in writing. - (SK) When additional taxes were introduced for banks in my country, Slovakia, analysts and bank officials responded by stating that they had a planned profit which, if compromised, would increase bank charges and clients would once again lose out. Therefore, as part of free trade and services, I welcome the possibility of cross-border consumer credit. The Consumer Credit Directive creates not only a common European legal framework, but also competitiveness in the overall cost of credit. Slovak banks, which were privatised as debt-free concerns and without any liabilities with high packages, now offer consumer and mortgage loans which are 25 % more expensive than, for example, banks in Italy. I can therefore see that as part of cross-border consumer credit competition this Directive will greatly benefit the strengthening of the cross-border internal market in consumer credit and I look forward to the creation of legal and technical measures that would create a standard sheet that would enable the consumer to reliably compare offers from different credit providers. I anticipate that there will now follow a close evaluation of the legal and factual point of view and the Member States will be faced with an urgent challenge to apply it correctly.

 
  
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  Bart Staes (Verts/ALE), in writing. − (NL) Although there is still work to be done, the 2008 Consumer Credit Directive contains all the elements necessary for the improved protection of consumers of banks and other credit providers. That is the conclusion of the interim evaluation report that is before us here and for which I voted. The directive governs the (pre)contractual information for consumers, a harmonisation of the period of reflection (14 days), protection in the event of early repayment of debts and the requirement to check beforehand the creditworthiness of consumers. The interim evaluation indicates problems with the transposition of the directive. There are specific problems regarding the obligation to provide information: not all lenders inform the consumer correctly or they provide too much detailed information that is no longer comprehensible. The right to change one’s mind is not always observed, there is still no uniformity in the checking of the creditworthiness of customers and there is the increasing problem of SMS loans, particularly to vulnerable groups and young people. The possibility of early repayment works reasonably well. I follow the reasoning of the rapporteur that all elements are contained in the Directive but that better supervision of the transposition and implementation of the law is required.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. – (FR) As the Member responsible for consumer protection, I believe that the Consumer Credit Directive has two objectives of fundamental importance for consumers: a high level of consumer protection and strengthening the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. The Commission must now address the transposition of the Directive and insist on its correct application in the Member States. Finally, an in-depth assessment must be made of the repercussions of the Directive at the legal and practical levels before, where applicable, proposing amendments to the Directive based on this assessment.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) I believe that improving the cross-border consumer credit market would generate European added value by stimulating the economy. Consumers therefore need to be better informed about the opportunities to access consumer credit in other Member States. Unfortunately, cross-border consumer credit accounts for less than 2 % of the total credit market, despite the fact that the definitive harmonisation of some key aspects of credit law has significantly raised the level of consumer protection in Europe. I am voting in favour of this report because I believe it is essential to safeguard consumer rights, and make it easier to obtain consumer credit in Member States other than the home State and to buy products from anywhere in Europe.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. − (RO) I voted in favour of the resolution on the implementation of the Consumer Credit Directive 2008/48/EC. The Consumer Credit Directive has two objectives: guaranteeing a higher level of consumer protection and strengthening the market in internal cross-border consumer credit. In the consumer credit report, Parliament seeks a higher level of consumer protection. One of the purposes of the Directive was to ensure the availability of information – thus facilitating the operation of the single market also in the field of credit. I believe it is necessary to evaluate whether the number of cross-border transactions is increasing. I stress the importance of making consumers aware that, should they exercise their right of withdrawal from a contract where the supplier or service provider directly receives the sum corresponding to payment from the credit provider through an ancillary contract, no fees, commissions or other costs shall be borne by the consumers in relation to the financial service provided. We call on the Commission to present to Parliament and the Council an assessment report on the implementation of the Directive and a full assessment of its impact regarding consumer protection, taking into account the consequences of the financial crisis and the new EU legal framework for financial services.

 
  
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  Patricia van der Kammen (NI), in writing. − (NL) The Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV) is against patronising rules and regulations, but in favour of protecting the Dutch consumer in the European Union. Therefore the members of the PVV in the European Parliament voted in favour of the Directive on credit agreements for consumers.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (ALDE), in writing. − (DE) The Consumer Credit Directive has two objectives: guaranteeing a high level of consumer protection and strengthening the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. Individual problem areas include the transposition deadline, scope, advertising, pre-contractual information, right of withdrawal, early repayment and SMS loans. The Commission should now review the way the Directive has been transposed and urge the Member States to apply it correctly. Stakeholders should then be given time to get used to the new rules and gain experience of the way they are applied. Thereafter an assessment should be carried out of the legal and practical impact of the Directive so that amendments can be made. In order for better service to be offered to consumers, the report should be approved.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing. − (PL) The Consumer Credit Directive will assist in achieving a high level of consumer protection and a strengthening of the internal market in cross-border consumer credit, and so I have voted in favour of the Directive.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. − (IT) I voted in favour of Ms Collin-Langen’s report, which has two objectives: guaranteeing a high level of consumer protection and strengthening the internal market in cross-border consumer credit. There is no doubt that the definitive harmonisation of some key aspects of credit law has significantly raised the level of consumer protection in Europe. The increase in the cross-border take-up of consumer credit would seem to have been insignificant, however. This may be because only very few financial institutions offer cross-border consumer credit and because the market as a whole has been in decline in recent years, as a result of the financial crisis. What is more, the obstacles to the take-up of cross-border credit are more likely to be linked to the language barrier or to the lack of any personal relationship with the financial institution concerned than to legal considerations.

 
  
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  Roberts Zīle (ECR), in writing. − (LV) The own-initiative report prepared by the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection is to be supported, since it is a successful addition to the Consumer Credit Directive already in force in the European Union. The report includes a couple of important recommendations which could strengthen consumer rights protection in the EU Member States. For example, in many states consumers are quite often not aware of the risks and costs that might arise if they opt in favour of loans in another currency. Therefore, among other suggestions, the report recommends that Member States’ consumer rights supervisory authorities should require financial institutions to provide consumers with personalised, complete and easily understandable explanations regarding the risks involved in foreign currency lending.

The report also calls on the Member States to extend the existing level of consumer protection, since the directive as currently in force does not provide for consumer protection for loans of less than EUR 200. This call is welcome, since in many states, particularly in eastern Europe, micro-lenders are starting to become increasingly active and are offering small-scale short-term loans at enormous interest rates.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report examines the implementation of the Consumer Credit Directive adopted in 2008. The Directive has two objectives: guaranteeing a high level of consumer protection and introducing a common legal framework for cross-border consumer credit agreements. It is therefore a matter of opening up national markets and promoting cross-border consumer credit in order to strengthen the internal market; we are against that on principle and because of the profound negative consequences for the Portuguese economy. However, there are also positive aspects to consider, in particular the reference to the problems relating to consumer protection, such as the lack of information, SMS loans, the lack of consumer protection and the need for strict monitoring of advertising and marketing practices. Thus, although the opening up of the credit market is a bad thing, since it will inevitably tend towards monopolisation of the financial market, we can only agree with some of the warnings sounded about consumer protection.

 
  
  

- Report: Danuta Jazlowiecka (A7-0263/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am in favour of this report, pointing out that austerity measures are not sufficient to overcome the crisis. Fiscal consolidation must be accompanied by a strategy of social investment. On the social level, the employment and education targets of the Europe 2020 strategy have not been sufficiently achieved in the majority of Member States. The Member States should therefore consider the Social Investment Pact, since it sets out investment goals and stresses the need for control mechanisms for social and employment policies. Furthermore, alarmingly high youth unemployment figures require immediate measures. I therefore repeat that the European Union needs social governance in order to counterbalance purely economic governance.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. − (RO) The economic and financial crisis has directly affected the living standards and expectations of European citizens. Equally, it may be said that the economic trend has also had a negative impact on the capacity of the Union and the Member States to achieve the sustainable development targets of the Europe 2020 strategy. Issues such as workforce retraining, the adaptation of the labour market to the new economic realities, reform of national pension systems and combating poverty and social exclusion require renewed efforts. I believe that the difficult current context calls for streamlining and prioritisation in spending. In so far as the European Union’s targets for 2020 still take priority, education system targets, labour market objectives and social integration objectives can be achieved within a far more efficient financing framework. I support the introduction of measures to control spending much more rigorously, which provide a further guarantee of the efficiency that we need at the moment.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) This report, which I support and which is broadly supported by the European Parliament, paints a picture of the social situation of the European Union. It is a genuine appeal for coordination in the field of social investment. As rapporteur on European Social Entrepreneurship Funds, I have followed this vote with interest and welcome its result.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted for this report on the Social Investment Pact, which sets social investment targets. Targeted social investments could help individuals, families and societies to adapt to changing economic conditions and labour market demands. I agree that the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 should contain appropriate budgetary resources to support social investments in the EU. I also support the call on the Commission to develop a scoreboard of common social investment indicators for monitoring the progress made in the Member States. I agree that Structural Funds should be supportive of social investments. It is essential to invest in education, health care, social protection, the labour market, etc.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) This report, adopted by a single vote, has not been top of the bill in today’s debates but it emphasises fundamental issues: investment in human capital as an indispensable condition to create the future of our European societies. It is partly because of the lack of investment in education and training that there is a) a persistent gap between skills and labour market demands and b) a high level of structural unemployment. Young people must be at the heart of social investment strategies. We must respond to different social risks and to needs that are not being met. Social entrepreneurship is one essential component of social investment; this is why this report must be read together with the one we have supported on the promotion of enterprises and social innovation. Reconciling social and economic goals, creating ‘activating welfare states’ and policies to promote growth and employment, is the path we should now follow in order to come out of the current crises on top.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE), in writing. − (ES) The financial crisis and the measures adopted to put an end to it, based solely on austerity, are throwing up figures that speak for themselves. In Europe, the removal of social protection and the recession are threatening to impoverish 80 million Europeans, while the number of homes in which no one is able to work is rising at an alarming rate along with the desperation of young people who cannot access the labour market. Therefore, it is now essential that we mobilise public investment once and for all in a decisive way in order to generate social and economic benefits to support human capital. What is described as social spending, and in particular programmes that support reintegration into the labour market, are not spending, but investments.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. − (IT) I abstained from the vote on Ms Jazłowiecka’s report on the Social Investment Pact because, although the report acknowledges the deep economic, social and employment crisis affecting Europe and identifies common objectives we can work on, such as fighting youth unemployment, coordination between the worlds of tertiary education and work, the establishment of more stable models for pension systems, and support for SMEs, it merely analyses the situation rather than proposing convincing action that can be taken to achieve these objectives.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of the Jazlowiecka report. I am convinced that, in this period of crisis, the social, employment and educational objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy should be pursued, now more than ever. In parallel with healthy public finances, I believe that targeted social investments should be made in order to return to sustainable growth. This is why I support the conclusion of a Social Investment Pact.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) So far, the majority of responses to the crisis have been based on short-term goals, aimed mainly at restoring sustainability to public finances, which is crucial to the EU economy. We should not, however, neglect the negative effects that these austerity measures could have on employment and competitiveness in Europe, so we need to complete them with growth- and employment-friendly measures, in particular well-targeted social investment. I voted in favour of this report because I think it is imperative, in order to bring back sustainable growth in Europe, to respond with well-targeted social investments that aim at preparing individuals, families and societies to adapt to changing economic conditions and labour market demands; helping the unemployed, especially the long-term unemployed, to get back to work; creating sustainable and quality jobs; investing in education and training, improving educational outcomes and achieving a better match between academic and professional qualifications and labour market demands.

 
  
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  Minodora Cliveti (S&D), in writing. − (RO) In the context of the economic crisis, the negative effects of the austerity measures taken by the Member States on employment and competitiveness in Europe must be borne in mind. It is important to take measures which facilitate economic growth and employment, such as well-targeted social investments which prepare citizens to adapt to changing economic conditions and labour market demands. While securing sustainability of public finances, Member States should equally focus on helping the unemployed, and the long-term unemployed in particular, to get back into work; creating sustainable and high-quality jobs for both women and men; and improving work productivity. At the same time, investment in education and vocational training must be supported and the skills of graduates and workers must be matched with labour market demands. The balance between flexibility and job security and the reconciliation of family and professional life needs to be enhanced. The Member States must take the necessary measures to reform the pension system and to create good working conditions until as advanced an age as possible in order to prevent poverty and social exclusion.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The unemployment rate in the European Union rose to more than 10 % in January 2012 as a consequence of the economic and social crisis. Europe has high unemployment levels, especially among younger people. Europe’s current economic and financial crisis will have long-lasting effects. This means that economic growth, employment, social investment and public savings will all be affected as long as the crisis lasts. Since, in recent years, the public sector has taken on a great debt burden, and since the majority of responses to the crisis have been based mainly on short-term goals, measures will be needed to promote employment, growth and competitiveness with a view to the future. Well-targeted social investments are imperative in order to achieve better education and training outcomes in the European Union, since they remain inadequate to meet labour market needs. One of the most important features of social investments is that they can combine social and economic goals, so that they are investments which pay dividends in the future, provided they are well applied. I should therefore like to see the European Social Model modernised and would recommend a restructuring of social policies at national level and, in this context, a greater focus on social entrepreneurship.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. − (RO) I too support the rapporteur’s proposal for the Member States of the Union to sign a ‘Social Investment Pact’ with the aim of developing a mechanism tailored to the current economic and financial crisis which will improve the implementation of the social, employment and education targets of the Europe 2020 strategy. At the same time, I regard as beneficial the proposal to develop a standard number of social investment indicators which will make it possible to monitor the progress made by each Member State.

 
  
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  Rachida Dati (PPE), in writing. – (FR) We should have clear objectives in social, employment and educational terms, since they are the cornerstone of our future growth. Europe should make more progress in this direction and this report sets clear foundations for renewed ambitions to combat the crisis and the changes in the employment market. I voted for this report because it adopts a balanced position between the short-term requirements of responding to the crisis and the long-term challenges of the sustainable modernisation of the European Social Model.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. – (FR) We cannot respond to the economic and social crisis currently affecting Europe solely by instituting stricter budgetary criteria. Although this is necessary, we must also inspire hope in all our citizens by providing them with employment and a dignified life. Therefore, I am pleased that Parliament has voted in favour of a renewed approach to social investments in Europe that considers social investments not as sterile costs or expenditure but as investments, the dividends of which will benefit the entire community.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. − I voted in favour of the Report on Social Investment Pact as I believe that is a good response to the crisis. The idea set forth in this agreement shall be an exit strategy from the economic and social crisis. A crisis that is still a real threat to the stability of many European Union countries which are facing enormous problems, especially in terms of unemployment. Even more worrying are the rate of youth unemployment and the chronic lack of jobs among people with low but also high qualifications. The crisis requires not only to remodel social policies of the Member States but also to actively transform the welfare state, in a state that invests in people, in a state that provides citizens with the tools and incentives, in a state gives them a chance to build a real career and a real future.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this report because I support increased social spending in the EU. We should not, however, neglect the negative effects that austerity measures have on employment and competitiveness in Europe, so we need to complete them with growth- and employment-friendly measures, such as well-targeted social investments.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Unemployment is one of the main problems under discussion in the EU at this time and we urgently need to find strategies to create sustainable employment without again plunging the States into debt. The current trajectory of public debt in most Member States in the euro area is unsustainable, which is why we need to reduce our dependence on credit, which is achievable only by cutting State spending. However, whilst it is essential to reduce debt and put the public accounts in order, it is also necessary to complete such measures with real incentives for growth, competitiveness and employment, in order to bring growth back to Europe and to end the recession. In this context, I think we could and should make a targeted study of the proposal on the Social Investment Pact mentioned in this report. This pact could make it possible to improve the way the implementation of social and employment policy is managed and its linkage to the goals set out in the Europe 2020 strategy.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The report under consideration drawn up by Danuta Jazłowiecka deals with the Social Investment Pact as a response to the economic and financial crisis affecting most Member States of the European Union, posing a threat to its stability and leading to a high unemployment rate, above all among young people. The crisis must spur us on to foster the creation of skilled jobs under the Europe 2020 strategy, which entails a coordinated approach to social investment. Implementation of the recommended measures will enable progress in the economies of the Member States. By investing in social policies, we are giving people the possibility to take part in the labour market, thus reducing the social exclusion to which they might fall victim. I voted in favour of this report because I think that the Social Investment Pact is in line with the needs of the most deprived families and communities. In addition to trying to consolidate public finances, we must seek to respond to people’s needs in order to give them the quality of life that they lack.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The rapporteur follows the line taken by those responsible for this crisis as to the solution for getting out of it: combining the so-called austerity measures and budgetary consolidation with an investment strategy for sustainable growth and employment. The usual trick of trying to mix oil and water. Based on that humbug, the proposal is to have a process of transition from the ‘active welfare state’ to what is dubbed the ‘activating welfare state’. Proposals that are made, it must be said, with a straight face and a pained expression since such is the concern about the ‘welfare state’. There is only one ‘welfare’ measure needed, to be taken by the workers and peoples of Europe: to throw these policies, entailing state buck-passing and the shrugging off of the State’s social functions, to the rubbish bin of History. The saga goes on: the promotion of precarious labour relations (flexicurity), the increase in the retirement age, the privatisation of public services – the creation of social investments – to be included in the National Reform Plans and, in general, in the EU’s macro-economic and budgetary monitoring strategies. Rubbish. Nothing but rubbish.

 
  
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  Christofer Fjellner (PPE), in writing. − (SV) We Moderates in the European Parliament have today voted for a report on a Social Investment Pact. However, we have done so with the reservation that we believe decisions concerning social policy should be taken at national level and fall within the competence of the Member States.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. - (SK) The current economic and financial crisis will undoubtedly have long-term effects on the European economy, employment rate, public savings and social investments in Europe. The majority of recent and current responses to the crisis are based on short-term goals aimed mainly at bringing back the sustainability of public finances, which is crucial to the EU economy. As a consequence of the economic and social crisis the unemployment rate in [January 2012 stood at more than 10 % in the EU 27]. As a consequence of the crisis, the pressure on social assistance schemes has increased in many countries and the revenues for pension schemes, employment benefits or healthcare systems have dropped considerably. The majority of recent responses to the crisis seem to lack a social and employment policy dimension. The first attempt to create a coordinated EU response towards employments and social policies in Europe, the Lisbon Strategy together with the European Employment Strategy, failed to deliver due to weak governance and unfortunately, from what we can observe, the success of the Europe 2020 strategy is uncertain and requires stronger engagement from Member States. I share the view that the recently developed economic governance and macroeconomic surveillance should be supplemented by monitoring of employment and social policies. I also consider it to be justified for the Member States to sign a ‘Social Investment Pact’ through which they could create better governance and control mechanism over implementation of the employment, social and education goals of Europe 2020.

 
  
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  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. − (HU) The report should be supported, as in addition to the reforms of public finance and budget austerity measures it is extremely important for Member States to employ policies at the same time that are fundamentally based on economic growth and job creation. Because of the economic and financial crisis, however, these objectives require key social investments and employment-friendly measures, and what is more, at EU level. Thus the notion that budgetary and economic policy cooperation and monitoring should be complemented in future with additional employment and social policy elements is one that should be supported, including, of course, scoreboards that track proper use and appropriate investment results as well as the more targeted utilisation of Structural Funds.

 
  
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  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE), in writing. − (IT) The crisis is having long-term effects on employment rate, public savings and social investments in Europe. The majority of responses to the crisis are short term, aimed mainly at restoring sustainability. However, we should be looking further ahead: we should not neglect the negative effects that these austerity measures could have on employment and competitiveness. That is why employment-friendly measures, such as well targeted social investments, are necessary.

 
  
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  Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. − I believe that long-term economic growth and prosperity depends on investing in far-reaching and all-encompassing social reforms. The Union will never be able fully break away from the financial crisis if it does not view recovery from a social angle to the same extent that it does from a fiscal or economic viewpoint. Austerity measures are as important as a proper well thought-out plan for social investment and growth – one system cannot function without the other, austerity measures alone will not work, this has already been proven. Tackling poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, shortcomings in our educational systems on the one hand and promoting social inclusion and assistance on the other hand is the way forward. The European social model is based on solidarity, equality, social justice and human rights. Putting into place a sound social investment pact, together with investment in innovation and research as well as a social competitive Single Market, will bring economic returns and help lift Europe out of the crisis in the medium term but most importantly in the long term.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. – (FR) Clearly, austerity measures are not enough to end the economic crisis we are undergoing, which is why we need a strategy of investment. This is the message contained in this report, to which I have lent my full support. In effect, we need a Social Investment Pact under the Competitiveness Pact, one that specifies the genuine priorities in terms of social governance, mainly to combat youth unemployment and to create sustainable, high-quality jobs. This pact should be the chance to show the people who have been constantly suffering the most every day from the crisis and carrying the cost of the austerity measures adopted throughout Europe that public social investment policies will create a better future.

 
  
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  Gunnar Hökmark and Anna Ibrisagic (PPE), in writing. − (SV) We Moderates in the European Parliament have today voted for a report on a Social Investment Pact. However, we have done so with the reservation that we believe decisions concerning social policy should be taken at national level and fall within the competence of the Member States.

 
  
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  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. − This report rightly states that social investments should ‘be treated not only as spending but primarily as investments’. I wholeheartedly agree with those sentiments and am proud to represent a party which remains committed to such investments. The people of Scotland unfortunately must endure a government at Westminster committed to stopping these investments – and a Labour opposition in Scotland intent on destroying the social contract with the people of the country.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I agree with the document because the current economic and financial crisis will have long-lasting effects not only on economic growth but also on employment rates, public savings and social investments in Europe. The majority of recent and current responses to the crisis are based on short-term goals aimed mainly at bringing back the sustainability of public finances, which is crucial to the EU economy. In this context we should, however, not neglect the negative effects that these austerity measures could have on employment and competitiveness in Europe and complete them with growth- and employment-friendly measures such as well-targeted social investments. Europe is facing extremely serious problems with youth unemployment, which together with ever more difficult school-to-work transition creates risks of detachment from the labour market and of losses of human capital in the longer term. Another pressing issue is the situation of low-skilled workers who face constantly decreasing labour demand due to the sectoral change towards higher technology and knowledge-intensive activities as well as the increasing number of people living in poverty and being at risk of social exclusion. It is imperative to respond to the above challenges with well-targeted social investments that aim at preparing individuals, families and societies to adapt to changing economic conditions and labour market demands. It is an important part of the European economic and employment policies and the EU’s responses to the crisis.

 
  
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  Cătălin Sorin Ivan (S&D), in writing. − It is my opinion that we should not neglect the negative effects that these austerity measures could have on employment and competitiveness in Europe. We should complete them with new measures that will target social investments. I agree that social problems, employment and education are not sufficiently addressed by the majority of Member States. The ‘Social Investment Pact’ sets investment targets and reinforces necessary control mechanisms with regard to social and employment policies. I votes in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Lívia Járóka (PPE), in writing. − Beside the short term objective of re-establishing the stability and sustainability of European public finances, consolidation measures need to be matched with a definite focus on social investment and employment policy. Targeted social investments are needed on the one hand to help families and individuals adapt to the changing economic environment, and on the other hand to contribute to the creation of sustainable jobs and supporting all European citizens that are excluded from the labour market – with special regard to the young and the long term unemployed – in returning to work. Social investments have proven to be excellent tools for matching skills available in education and training with the demands of the labour market as well as for reconciling the goals of economic and social policy. The exchange of good practices in this field should therefore be fostered by the European Commission and Member States should consider tax advantages for social enterprises and for investors in social businesses. Furthermore, social enterprises should be made an investment priority within the framework of the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. − (IT) We are in a period of deep economic crisis that requires a major effort in terms of both social and political cohesion. The unemployment rate, especially among young people, the difficulties small and medium-sized enterprises are experiencing in obtaining credit and the competitiveness of our businesses are just some of the vital areas in which action is needed as quickly as possible to try to find a way out of the crisis. This text, on which I voted in favour, sets itself the task of coming up with some potential solutions to the problem. It calls upon the EU for cohesive joint action to make the efforts national governments are demanding of European citizens effective. I believe, however, that none of these legislative proposals will be properly implemented without the adoption of an adequate multiannual financial framework aimed at achieving growth and employment in the EU. I therefore hope that the negotiations between the Member States soon take a turn for the better for the revitalisation of Europe.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. − (RO) One of our main aims, as representatives of the citizens of the European Union, is to make economic growth in Europe sustainable once again. It is our duty to give society the help it needs to adapt to the constant and difficult economic changes and to labour market demands, and we need to offer an efficient response taking the form of well-targeted social investments. Because of the unemployment rate, which is continuously rising, we must focus on getting the unemployed back into work and creating sustainable new jobs which, most importantly, can be assessed by as wide a range of members of the social class in difficulty as possible. I believe that more attention needs to be paid to the difficult situations which arise in cases of youth unemployment. In my opinion, the European Commission should support apprenticeship schemes and an increase in the number of apprentices, following the example of the dual education and vocational training system in countries such as Germany or Austria, which is an essential component in the transition of young people from study to the labour market. In addition, I am glad that the majority of my proposals appear in Ms Jazłowiecka’s report, which is a comprehensive report on this delicate issue.

 
  
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  Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska (PPE), in writing. − (PL) Last month unemployment in Europe topped the 25 million mark for the first time, and almost 80 million Europeans are threatened with poverty and social exclusion. In some countries this percentage is mainly made up of individuals aged between 18 and 24. The situation is really very difficult, and so the creation of new jobs is one of the most important priorities of the European Union. The key issues for the development of Europe appear to be to increase employment, especially among young people, to make it easier to transfer from education to work, to invest in enterprise and to promote and facilitate the establishment of people’s own business ventures. One way in which this will be made possible is through the Social Investment Pact, which I voted in favour of today. This Pact envisages a series of actions aimed at increasing the competitiveness of European workers, a significant increase in the number of new jobs for young people through, for example, the introduction of incentives for employers to employ graduates and the creation of good conditions for the development of businesses. Thank you very much.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I voted for this report which ‘calls on Member States and the Commission to take all possible measures to improve education systems at all levels by: putting strong emphasis on early childhood development strategy; creating an inclusive school climate; preventing early-school-leaving; improving secondary education and introducing guidance and counselling, providing better conditions for young people to successfully access tertiary education or to gain direct access to the job market; developing instruments aimed at better anticipating future skills needs and at strengthening cooperation between educational institutions, business and employment services; improving recognition of professional qualification as well as developing National Qualifications Frameworks’.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. − (IT) The current economic and financial crisis will undoubtedly have long-term and intense effects not only on the European economy but also on the employment rate, public savings and social investments in Europe. We believe it is imperative to respond to these difficult challenges with well-targeted social investments. While securing the sustainability of public finances, Member States should equally focus on productivity, work distribution, education and training. Social investments are important to restore a proper employment level and to improve Europe’s competitiveness. They should thus be treated not only as spending but rather as investments that will give real return in the future. There is therefore a pressing need to create a coordinated EU approach. We invite the Member States to sign a ‘Social Investment Pact’ through which they can create a better governance and control mechanism for implementation of the employment, social and education goals of Europe 2020. We also call on the Commission and the Council to make sure that the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 currently being debated contains appropriate budgetary resources necessary for social investments in Europe.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. − (IT) Small and medium-sized enterprises have an important job creation potential and play a crucial role in the transition towards a new, sustainable economy. It is necessary to call upon the Commission to take all possible measures to encourage and assist Member States to sign the ‘Social Investment Pact’ and to introduce evaluation of employment, social and education goals in the European Semester 2013. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE), in writing. − (IT) I fully support the political message that Parliament intends to give the Commission and the Member States with the Jazłowiecka report and consequently I voted in favour. The economic and financial crisis cannot be tackled by cutting into the strategic employment, education and social sectors. To revive the economy, the Europe 2020 strategy needs to give space to these sectors by including them in its priority objectives. Social, employment and education policies are the backbone on which any formula for economic recovery should hang. There is no escaping them.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (FR) This report shows how disastrous the Lisbon strategy and the austerity measures implemented in the European Union have been. However, it draws no conclusions from this and approves the austerity measures under the pretext of their being ‘necessary efforts’. Its central thesis of a Social Investment Pact, which is ‘intriguing’ in itself, is immediately rendered null and void by the scaled-down objective for such investments (‘addressing emerging social risks and unmet needs’) and by the fact that the report regards public-private partnerships as a social investment. This report, with its fine sentiment, is yet another sham. I vote against.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The current financial crisis will continue to bring serious problems to the European economy, affecting the level of employment in particular. The restrictions on Member State budgets have not made it possible to implement measures encouraging job creation. We therefore urgently need to develop a coordinated approach at EU level aimed at social investments. This ‘Social Investment Pact’ aims to bring about better governance and control mechanisms as regards the implementation of the social, education and employment goals of the Europe 2020 strategy. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE), in writing. - (SK) The unemployment rate in the EU has increased to an average of more than 10 % in 2012, and in many regions the rate is nearly 20 %. Unemployment has affected particularly young people, the low-skilled and the long-term unemployed. With unemployment, of course, the poverty rate rises, which for young people ranges around the European average of 22 %. For Member States this means an increased burden on social security systems and an increase in public spending, from which one can infer weaker economic growth, and even deepening recession. It is with regret that we can conclude that most Member States have not given enough attention to the social, employment and education fields, and in this respect I would detect a certain failure of the Lisbon Strategy. It is therefore necessary for Member States to set up a mechanism for the effective implementation of the goals of the new Europe 2020 strategy. At EU level, we must ensure that the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020 contains appropriate budgetary resources necessary to encourage and support social investment. I therefore believe that in the next programming period we must clearly preserve the volume of the budget for the Structural Funds, in particular the European Social Fund, in order to continue to support social investments and their priorities that reflect the specific needs of Member States.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. − Budget consolidation needs to be complemented by a social investment strategy (reference to our call for a Social Pact / possible Social Investment Pact as part of our Social Pact). We need social governance to counterbalance economic governance.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. − (DE) Across Europe, the economic crisis has had an impact not only on the labour market, but also at a social level. People who have lost their jobs are clearly finding it more difficult to get back into employment than in the years before the crisis. This means that the risk of long-term unemployment is becoming ever greater, which in turn makes it increasingly difficult to re-integrate citizens into the labour market. Added to this is a relatively high level of youth unemployment, the cause of which can primarily be attributed to the fact that, according to surveys conducted in 2010, 14 % of all young jobseekers are early school leavers and therefore lack qualifications. I did not vote in favour of the report, as I do not agree with the rapporteur that Europe-wide measures are the appropriate means of tackling the issue. In my view, the individual Member States must take appropriate measures that are in keeping with the infrastructure and the social and education system in the country in question.

 
  
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  Vital Moreira (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of Ms Jazłowiecka’s report proposing a Social Investment Pact because, apart from giving an accurate analysis, it is extremely opportune. I have long maintained that the increasing economic integration of the Union by means of strengthening the internal market needs to be matched by equivalent progress in the Union’s social integration, in order to avoid both competition in the social area and social dumping (in order to artificially increase economic competitiveness) and also to counterbalance the negative social impact (in terms of poverty and unemployment) of the internal market on the most vulnerable economies and countries. Therefore, in addition to establishing the common basic standards needed for social protection at the level of the entire European Union, the idea of a social investment pact is especially opportune when the objectives of fiscal consolidation are so negatively reflected in cuts in public investment in education, health and social protection. Social cohesion must be taken seriously as a constitutional guarantee of the Union.

 
  
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  Katarína Neveďalová (S&D), in writing. - (SK) One of the most significant impacts of the current economic and social crisis on society is the continuously rising unemployment rate in the EU Member States. It is the younger generation that is most affected. Students who are currently graduating from university are encountering various obstacles preventing them from fully participating in the workforce. Whether it is because of a lack of jobs, employers’ requirements for high qualifications or the natural aging of the population, the consequences of the crisis are unimaginable. Young people must tackle them alone. However, there is a rule that states that the longer a young person is unemployed, the more complex and more difficult it is to get any kind of job. The economic and social consequences of youth unemployment are alarming. Without work, it is absolutely impossible to plan for the future, develop skills or participate in community life. If we do not protect the interests of the younger generation, what future awaits us? For these reasons, I urge all relevant actors to focus on better allocation of public funds and to ensure a sufficient share of funds in the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020 for the support of employment, job creation and support for educational programmes and professional qualifications, which could bypass the risks arising from the crisis. By guaranteeing investment in the social sector we will contribute to a better rate of youth employment and a balance in the labour market.

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing. − (ET) I voted in favour of this report. It is essential to ensure an adequate employment rate in the future and improve the EU’s competitiveness, and social investments play an important role here.

The economic and financial crisis affects not only the economy but also the employment rate and social investments in Europe. Until now, the proposed solutions have focused on short-term goals and ignored social and employment policy as a means of improving economic performance. In a situation where the EU unemployment rate exceeds 10 % and young people in particular are suffering the effects of unemployment, and where the number of working European citizens in relation to the number of citizens over 65 years of age has fallen critically, problems must be addressed through social investments. Preparing the whole of society to adjust to the changing economic environment must be the goal here. We should invest in people; the Member States should pay more attention to assisting the unemployed in every way, creating sustainable jobs, investing in education and reforming the pension systems. Furthermore, the Member States should sign the Social Investment Pact to ensure compliance with the approved Europe 2020 strategy.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I believe that every Member State should sign the Social Investment Pact because during the crisis, young people have suffered most. First of all, young people must be offered barrier-free access to the labour market and good working and living conditions. It is very important that the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 contains appropriate budgetary resources to support and encourage social investments in Europe. Particular attention needs to be paid to the use of the Structural Funds. It is also very important to improve youth access to financing and, in cooperation with business communities, create business support programmes for young people.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing.(EL). I voted for this report. Sometimes the mistaken view is expressed that social investments are linked with a lack of growth, or a lack of production. This is a serious error. Social investment is investment against poverty, against exclusion from opportunities; it is investment in skills and qualifications; investment in humanity. Consequently its value and its importance are not simply linked with growth; above all, it brings multiple returns in the future. This is because if a family or a human group is given the opportunity to work or the opportunity to escape marginalisation and social exclusion, then, in addition to the economic benefit which undoubtedly results from one person’s employment, there is a further benefit. Our fellow citizen who is unemployed and is therefore an unproductive unit of society is transformed into a healthy and productive member of society who has something to contribute. Therefore, social investments are investments in human beings and in social cohesion. They must be seen as such, especially in these critical times, when the crisis in Europe, in addition to being an economic crisis, is in many cases a social crisis and a crisis of values.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The majority of recent and current responses to the crisis have been based on short-term goals, aimed mainly at restoring sustainability to public finances, which is crucial to the EU economy. However, the current crisis will undoubtedly have profound effects in the long term, not only on the European economy but also on employment levels, public savings and social investments in Europe. In this context, we should not neglect the negative effects that these austerity measures could have on employment and competitiveness in Europe, so we need to complete them with growth- and employment-friendly measures, in particular well-targeted social investments. That is the aim of this report which, amongst other measures, seeks to lay the foundations for well-targeted social investments aimed at preparing individuals, families and societies to adapt to changing economic conditions and new labour market demands. That is why I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. − (IT) The majority of recent and current responses to the crisis are based on short-term goals aimed mainly at bringing back the sustainability of public finances, which is crucial to the EU economy. However, the current economic and financial crisis will undoubtedly have long-term and intense effects not only on the European economy but also on the employment rate, public savings and social investments in Europe. It has therefore become necessary to complete these austerity measures with growth- and employment-friendly measures such as well targeted social investments that aim to prepare individuals, families and societies to adapt to changing economic conditions and labour market demands. While stressing the importance of social investments because they cover a wide range of policies and are a means of restoring a proper employment level in the future and improve Europe’s competitiveness, I voted in favour of the motion.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. − I support the Social Investment Pact as it addresses the new social risks faced by the European Union as a result of the economic crisis. While fiscal consolidation remains a priority, it is highly important that future development is not hampered by neglecting social policy. Issues of employment and education must not be forgotten as Member States strive to meet budgets. By committing fully to the social pact, a state will ensure a stronger, brighter future for the next generation. The pact sets out investment targets and goals in terms of combating youth unemployment and problems with the current social assistance schemes. While financial stability is important, it must be acknowledged that budget consolidation must be complemented by a social investment strategy. Without the maintenance of strong social policies, we will not be able to create sustainable jobs, restore the faith of many citizens in national and European institutions, nor can we pave the way towards greater stability in the future.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Annual Growth Survey published by the Commission shows that the social, education and employment policy goals of the Europe 2020 strategy have not been sufficiently addressed by the majority of the Member States. In order to restore sustainable growth, well-targeted investments in line with the objectives set out in the report on the Social Investment Pact are essential. As well as sustainable public finances, Member States should focus on helping the unemployed, creating jobs and improving productivity at work. We will still need to invest in training, to improve education and to reform pension systems. Finally, it is also essential to make every effort to combat poverty and social exclusion. The Member States should therefore be called on to ensure that the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 contains appropriate budgetary resources to stimulate and support social investments in Europe, and that the available funding, especially the European Social Fund, is supportive of social investments.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – (FR) In favour. With more than 11 million jobs in the European Union and one in four enterprises starting up in this sector, the social economy is a genuine way out of the crisis. Enterprises in the social economy contribute significantly to the European Social Model and to achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, especially in terms of a) combating poverty and exclusion, and b) employment and innovation. We must enable these enterprises, in their various legal forms (mutual societies, cooperatives, etc.), to access sufficient, sustainable funding. This is why we are supporting investment priorities for the social economy in the European structural funds (FEDER, FSE).

 
  
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  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing. – (FR) The current economic and financial crisis is having a negative impact on economic growth, employment rates, the level of poverty and social exclusion. In particular, the unemployment rate increased from 7.1 % in 2008 to more than 10 % in January 2012 in the EU 27; and, in 2011, the rate of poverty among 16- to 24-year-olds was 21.6 %. I have supported this resolution on the Social Investment Pact because it emphasises the fact that the crisis requires a modernisation of the European Social Model and rethinking of national social policies. In response, the resolution proposes specific measures such as the creation of a European social label and sets clear guidelines for Member States.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing. − (IT) The consequences of the current economic and financial crisis will drag on for a long time yet, having a negative effect on the European economy, the employment rate, public savings and social investments in Europe. In addition to this, austerity measures aimed at restoring the sustainability of public finances are having a negative effect on employment and competitiveness in Europe. I support this report, which I see as a very important step forward. I think that this difficult situation requires a coordinated EU approach and I recognise the need for measures aimed at promoting employment, stimulating growth and relieving economic problems, such as encouraging proper social investments that guarantee the creation of skilled jobs and continuing vocational training.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. − (IT) The current economic and financial crisis will undoubtedly have long-term and intense effects not only on the European economy but also on the employment rate, public savings and social investments in Europe. As a consequence of the economic and social crisis the unemployment rate in January 2012 stood at more than 10 % in the EU-27. What is more, Europe is facing extremely serious problems with youth unemployment, which creates risks of detachment from the labour market and losses of human capital in the longer term. With this vote, in order to bring back sustainable growth in Europe, we are reacting with well-targeted social investments that aim to prepare individuals, families and societies to adapt to changing conditions and labour market demands.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. – (FR) We are undergoing a serious economic and financial crisis that risks having intense long-term effects for many citizens. The European economy, employment rates, public savings and social investments in Europe are suffering the direct consequences of the downturn. Most of the recent and current responses to the crisis are based on short-term objectives intended to restore the sustainability of public finances, which is an essential element for the EU’s economy. In this context, however, we should not neglect the negative effects that these austerity measures could have on employment and competitiveness in Europe and complete them with growth- and employment-friendly measures such as well-targeted social investments.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The current economic and financial crisis has led to the closure of a number of businesses and consequently thousands of European citizens have lost their jobs. This social scourge has worsened lately and, however much help the Member States provide, it always ends up not being enough given the lack of career opportunities to deal with this scourge. I support this report as I believe that social investments should be a key part of the economic and employment policies of the European Union and the Member States in the face of the crisis. I agree with the rapporteur and urge the Member States to consider signing a ‘Social Investment Pact’, which can serve as a basis for the creation of a reinforced control mechanism to improve efforts to meet the employment, social and education targets of the Europe 2020 strategy. Lastly, I support facilitating social entrepreneurship projects and access to microfinance for vulnerable groups and those furthest away from the labour market. These are some of the measures that will enable new jobs to be created that are sustainable and thus able to ride out the constant ebb and flow of economic cycles.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. − (RO) I voted in favour of the Social Investment Pact. In 2011 the rate of poverty among 16- to 24-year olds in Europe was 21.6 % on average, and young people are more likely to be in precarious fixed-term or part-time employment, and are also at a higher risk of unemployment. Social investments should be an important part of EU and Member States’ economic and employment policies, and of their responses to the crisis, in order to achieve the employment, social and education objectives set out in the Europe 2020 strategy. All public social and health services, education services and related services sourced from private service providers, among others, can be considered social investments. I reiterate that they have been determined in agreements as falling under national competence. Facilitating and focusing on social entrepreneurship and access to microfinance for vulnerable groups and those furthest away from the labour market are essential elements in the context of social investment, in that they allow the creation of new sustainable jobs, often causing permanent changes in the economic cycle.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. − I voted in favour of this timely report, which recognises that the austerity measures favoured by so many Member States must also be complemented by investment in social and employment schemes. It is vitally important to address and alleviate rising unemployment and increasing poverty, problems now endemic across the EU. I also welcome the emphasis that this report places on the need to tackle youth unemployment in particular, calling on Member States to create sustainable jobs whilst maintaining a balance between job security and flexibility in the labour market. This report urges EU countries to prioritise social investment strategies as well as fiscal consolidation as a response to the financial crisis, a stance I fully support.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (ALDE), in writing. − (DE) The current economic and financial crisis is having profound, long-term consequences for the European economy, the employment rate, national treasuries and social investments in Europe. As a result of the crisis the pressure on social security systems in many countries has increased and income from pension, unemployment and health systems has fallen sharply. High long-term unemployment rates will further intensify this trend. Unfortunately the majority of recent responses to the crisis lack a social and employment policy dimension. Social investments should contribute to European financial and employment policy as a key component and represent a response by the EU to the crisis. There is a pressing need to create a coordinated EU approach to social investments. The report should therefore be approved.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing. − (PL) Social investments are important to ensure a proper level of employment in the future and to improve Europe’s competitiveness. As they aim at reconciling social and economic goals, they should be treated by governments not only as spending, but rather as investments that will give real return in the future. It also seems that the crisis requires from Member States that they rethink their social policies and make a transition from ‘active welfare state’ to ‘activating welfare state’ which invests in people and gives citizens instruments and incentives rather than only responding to emerging damages caused by market failure. Taking the above into consideration we should make sure that social investments are an important part of the European economic and employment policies and the EU’s responses to the crisis. This is why I too voted in favour.

 
  
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  Artur Zasada (PPE), in writing. − (PL) I would like to congratulate my colleague Ms Jazłowiecka on an excellent piece of work. I voted most definitely in favour of accepting this report. Development of the public economy, in its broader sense, may be very helpful at times when it is not only the homeless, the long-term unemployed or the disabled who are out of work and with very limited means on which to live. The crisis, which affects both employers and employees, means that the situation on the labour market is becoming unstable. At times of crisis and a continuous reduction in employment, more and more citizens are threatened by poverty.

Public enterprises, social cooperatives and occupational activity centres have the task of making a profit, which is then targeted at the implementation of social goals or the development of the local community. These are therefore useful instruments which help to solve social problems that are important to all of us. A public enterprise may also constitute an opportunity for young people who cannot get onto the labour market. As my colleague Ms Jazłowiecka correctly pointed out in the report, social policy in EU countries has to change dynamically and bring in effective and lasting ways of resolving social problems. Social investments are the best example of such an action, and every effort should be made to ensure that such strong entities can prosper in a free market and become an effective means of avoiding social exclusion.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The solution the rapporteur puts forward to the problem of the economic crisis is an incorrect one – combining ‘austerity’ and ‘budgetary consolidation’ measures with an investment strategy for sustainable growth and employment, without taking into account the fact that they contradict each other, pure and simple. Based on this idea, she suggests a process of transition away from an ‘active welfare state’ to what she dubs an ‘activating welfare state’. What this concept really means is the State divesting itself of any responsibility in terms of guaranteeing social rights, in particular as concerns providing public services, placing the emphasis on individual responsibility, the creation of private social services – in other words, the privatisation of public services –, the championing of precarious labour relations (flexicurity) and an unacceptable increase in the retirement age, chomping at the bit to destroy yet another social right won by workers. In this way, the rapporteur maintains that the privatisation of public services will lead to economic recovery – the creation of ‘social investment’ – and that these should be included in the National Reform Programmes and, in general, the EU’s macroeconomic and any budgetary surveillance strategies. The path towards worsening workers’ living conditions will always be unacceptable to us.

 
  
  

- Report: José Bové (A7-0286/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I support this report as I believe an information policy that is more dynamic and tailored to the new requirements for agricultural products is an important element towards the new, post-2013 common agricultural policy, which is currently under discussion. Moreover, this report highlights the main objectives of the future policy for promoting agricultural products, assuming that they represent European added value. It incorporates them into a more appealing, easier-to-manage policy, with better synergies between different promotion instruments and public and private stakeholders in the agricultural sector.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution as I believe that agricultural products, especially traditional European food products, should be better promoted in and outside the EU. I agree with the rapporteur that particular attention should be paid to traditional European food products that are authentic, varied and tasty for the consumer. The European Union must try to export a model of sustainable agriculture, as well as its products. As in other areas, consumers also buy ‘ideas’ when they select what kind of food to buy. An obvious example lies in ‘fair trade’ products. I believe that, in order to promote competitiveness of EU agricultural products, ambitious measures should be employed that enhance the prestige of EU agriculture companies.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. − (RO) The success of the European Union’s common agricultural policy calls for much more consistent action in product promotion and consumer information. European agriculture has huge potential to become an essential economic factor for development. Consolidating this dimension of promotion and information in order to establish European products in traditional and emerging markets is equally important. Without doubt, improvements need to be made to the current framework for the promotion of agricultural products and information regarding production processes. A functional and efficient compromise needs to be reached between the need to make the European economy more productive and competitive and the imperative of better promotion of European agricultural products and better information for European consumers. Institutional factors such as the strict nature of sanitary regulations, rules on compliance in terms of environmental impact or a high level of innovation are all advantages which are worth exploiting in order to support European farmers.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) By voting for this report, I wanted to support the European initiative to strengthen the visibility of and access to information on agricultural products for European citizens. Making the public aware of agricultural work and the production and distribution methods of these agricultural products is crucial. Since the agricultural sector has the potential to be a strong and vibrant sector for growth, particularly in rural areas, it should receive our support.

 
  
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  Liam Aylward (ALDE), in writing. − I voted to support this important report which clearly identifies that the Union’s promotion policy should reward farmers and food promotion actions where substantial efforts have been made to implement production systems which respond to the new challenges European farmers face. At less than 1 % of total CAP spending, it is clear that promotion is grossly overlooked. If we want consumers to be fully aware of the high quality excellent produce produced by European farmers to the highest standards then we must communicate this information to them clearly, simply and in a manner that they can use and respond to. The agri-food sector is a strong sector and one that has the potential to be the catalyst for economic growth in many Member States. In Ireland alone the agri-food industry is flourishing, food and drink exports increased by 12 % last year, reaching close to EUR 9 billion. It is an innovative industry, which should have its efforts supported and bolstered by a strong promotion policy that is accessible to producers, understood by consumers and effective in the market.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted for this proposal regarding the review and evaluation of the promotion strategy for EU agricultural products. It is essential to make current promotion measures for European agricultural products simpler and more coherent, thereby increasing agricultural incomes, creating employment and generating growth. Information and promotion policy aims to use the development of global demand to promote interest in EU produce among consumers in third countries. Effective promotion policy is necessary to stimulate EU agriculture, guarantee food security and the sustainable use of natural resources and create employment in rural areas. EU products are highly diverse and meet particularly high standards and food security levels. It is essential to promote them both within and outside the EU, as well as to increase their export. I support the proposal to more clearly define a promotion policy and to encourage authentic, traditional products. I also agree with the proposal to finance products that are consistent with the model of sustainable agriculture and to no longer finance measures to re-establish confidence after food scandals.

 
  
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  Erik Bánki (PPE), in writing. − (HU) I am fundamentally in agreement with the contents of the report. From a Hungarian perspective I think it is important to emphasise the point that targets an increase in the amount of funding which can be spent on promotion and information measures. For the purposes of increasing efficiency it seems expedient for these CAP funds to be restricted only to state-owned and state-run organisations. To this end I voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. − (RO) I voted in favour of the report as I believe that promoting products specific to the European Union is particularly important, especially in the context of the economic crisis. Consumers are currently looking for maximally diverse and authentic products, which is why I believe that they should be as well informed as possible about their options. The best way of doing this is to organise general consumer awareness campaigns within the EU and in external markets with regard to production quality standards and certification systems. The Commission will have a very important role in coordinating these measures both within the internal market and outside the Union, and the technical support which it will provide is essential.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE), in writing. − (ES) I agree with the principles expressed in this report on strengthening promotion and information policies on quality agricultural products, both in the external market and, especially, in the internal market. We need a major effort to give producers efficient access to the value chain and the income derived from it. There are clear mechanisms for doing this, for example short marketing chains, training, innovation and the intensive application of information and communication technologies to marketing. This is a basic requirement in order for farms to be profitable. The deviation from this course is behind the problems affecting the common agricultural policy. The income problems compensated for in this way could be alleviated if the profits from sales did not largely remain in the hands of distributors who have nothing to do with the production sector.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. − I voted in favour of this motion because these promotion measures will make EU agricultural policy clearer and will cover all agricultural products that meet the quality standards. Based on this working methodology food safety will be better ensured. The motion lists a host of important measures including working to implement the fruit and milk in schools program, along with measures to ensure quality wine is marketed to an adult audience with necessary information on consumption. Also very important this motion calls for the state of origin of EU products to be indicated. This will help protect MADE IN BRAND and other EU products overseas from faux versions.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I voted in favour of this report as in this document, Parliament calls for a clearer definition of promotion measures for agricultural products. Historically promotion measures were put in place to deal with agricultural surpluses, and, later on, food crises. The scheme currently has an annual budget of slightly more than EUR 50 million and its beneficiaries are trade and branch organisations. Support for the promotion of fruit, vegetables and wine is only one of the six potential objectives of operational programmes. These actions also aim to provide school children with a better idea of how food is produced and what life is like in rural areas, by taking them out to meet farmers. Pedagogic promotion activities should go beyond explaining the benefits of eating products like fresh fruit and vegetables towards explaining the CAP itself.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted for the report on promotion measures and information provision for agricultural products. Currently, the common agricultural policy contains a large range of measures to promote the consumption of agricultural products. Therefore, I support the drawing up of a modernised, more suitable framework, especially for external markets, that would increase the number of outlets for European agricultural products and contribute to retaining jobs in the primary sector.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. – (FR) The common agricultural policy currently contains a large range of measures intended to promote the consumption of agricultural products. I am convinced that a modernised, more suitable framework would increase the number of outlets for European producers, thus contributing to growth and employment in the EU. This is why I voted in favour of the report on promotion measures and information provision for agricultural products.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The common agricultural policy currently has a variety of promotion instruments at its disposal that were put in place for different reasons and for various types of beneficiaries. The next step now is to define more clearly a promotion policy that serves to stimulate and reward: the production of specific products included in quality schemes and farming practices which produce fewer CO2 emissions, protect biodiversity and are better suited to maintaining the quality of soils and water supplies. I voted in favour of this report as I believe that the strategy advocated is correct and involves great added value for Europe.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The common agricultural policy has a raft of promotion instruments at its disposal that were put in place for different purposes and aimed at different beneficiaries. However, the overwhelming majority of these measures were put in place in the past to deal with agricultural surpluses and, later, food crises. However, at this point in time, these measures need to be refocused on the current problems. It should be emphasised that the agri-food sector is in a position to become strong and vigorous and could well contribute a great deal towards economic growth across the Member States. In this regard, information and promotion measures must be clear and should cover all products that are included under European quality standards. The Union’s promotion policy must help the farming and food sector become more competitive at the global level and promote European food diversity. The internal and external markets should be given equal attention, as both encompass producers and consumers. Special attention should be accorded in the budget to improving information and promotion instruments. European farmers are depending on a significant increase in their market share in order to guarantee the food industry a prominent position in the EU’s economy and trade.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. − (RO) I consider that it is now time to more clearly define a policy to promote agricultural products and a strategy to promote the tastes of Europe which will stimulate and reward both the production of specific products included in quality schemes, and farming practices which produce fewer CO2 emissions, protect biodiversity and maintain the quality of soils and water supplies.

 
  
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  Rachida Dati (PPE), in writing. – (FR) Europe has outstanding agriculture: consumers can be proud of the quality of their food. The geographical origins of our products are a stamp of assurance envied around the world: we can be sure, both inside and outside our borders, that they will provide us with stronger growth, broaden our European tastes and protect the environment.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of this report to enhance the value of European agricultural products. The European Union must support the agricultural sector, which is still a major player in the European economy. Moreover, above and beyond these economic considerations, it is now essential to enhance the value of the products of our farmers, who are unquestionably promoting Europe throughout the world and contributing to the maintenance of proud traditions.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this report as I believe we need a policy which serves to stimulate and reward the production of specific products included in quality schemes and farming practices which produce fewer CO2 emissions, protect biodiversity and are better suited to maintaining the quality of soils and water supplies.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) I can only welcome the European Commission’s Communication on promotion measures and information provision for European agricultural products, along with supporting the main points it makes: the creation of higher European added value in the food sector, a more appealing and assertive policy in terms of its environmental impact, greater synergy between the different promotion instruments and simpler management of promotion. I believe the Union’s promotion policy is legitimate and important, internally, at the local and regional levels, and on expanding world markets. It is a key strategy for the profitability and sustainability of the agricultural sector and the incomes of all European farmers.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The common agricultural policy has a variety of financial instruments at its disposal to promote agricultural products, such as Council Regulation (EC) No 3/2008 (EUR 50 million), operational programmes in the fruit and vegetable sector (EUR 28 million in 2009), support for the promotion of wine in third countries (EUR 236 million in 2012), the School Fruit and School Milk Schemes (EUR 170 million for 2013), support for promotion activities by producer groups (EUR 29 million for the 2009-2013 period), etc. I welcome the adoption of the report drafted by José Bové on promotion measures and information provision for agricultural products, in particular on a strategy for promoting the tastes of Europe which should be ‘authentic, varied and tasty for the consumer’. In this regard, I support, in particular, the action under the School Milk and School Fruit Schemes, as well as the creation of a model of sustainable agriculture for the EU, thus benefiting our farmers and helping to overcome the current economic and financial crisis.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Despite the positive aspects of this report, such as defending the importance of local and regional markets and the promotion of products, it is still contradictory, because it supports and values the current agricultural production model – the same model that has laid waste to the agricultural sector in a number of countries, in particular to small-scale agriculture and family production, compromising their sovereignty and food security. The statement that the ‘success of European farmers will depend on their ability to increase their market share’ is a telling apology for the ‘productivist’, export-based models that sacrifice food quality, security and sovereignty for the ‘competitiveness’ of a few large farms. We do not agree that the indication of European origin should prevail as the main indication of product origin either in the internal market or in third countries. Indicating the national origin, as we now well know, is crucial in supporting, highlighting and promoting national production, shorter supply chains and the operation and value of local and regional markets. These are important (albeit insufficient) measures to help strike an agri-food balance in countries with the highest deficits, such as Portugal.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. - (SK) The European Union, which has extremely diverse, high-quality production and guarantees a high level of health security, has all the resources necessary to benefit from the projected growth of global demand as long as it highlights its strengths through a better targeted and more ambitious promotion policy. In addition, on the internal market, consumers should be made more aware of the quality and diversity of the range of products available. The aim of the legislative proposals currently being negotiated relating to the present issue for the post-2013 period is to enable this policy to contribute fully to the Europe 2020 strategy by supporting agriculture that guarantees food safety, the sustainable use of natural resources and the dynamism of rural areas as well as growth and employment. An efficient promotion policy is key to reaching these objectives. The reform of the common agricultural policy is aimed at improving the organisation of the production, sustainability and quality of agricultural products. I believe it is necessary to accompany this with a promotion policy that makes it possible to deploy the entire potential of the food sector in order to foster European economic growth and employment.

 
  
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  Mariya Gabriel (PPE), in writing. − (BG) I voted for this report because it is a step towards the more active promotion of European products in the local market, as well as the pan-European and external markets. I do think, however, that in order to be more ambitious in promoting quality products that are linked to specific production methods, geographical origins, traditions or cultural contexts, they need to be more actively promoted not only in local markets but also across the whole of the European Union. I am pleased that my fellow Members agree with me that the increasing demand for organic products calls for more active stimulation of their production and promotion. I believe that to achieve these two things, namely the production of more quality and organic products, it is necessary that we first consider the types of agriculture that prevent the loss of biodiversity, such as the beekeeping sector. That is why I am voting for this report as a sign of my support for the rapporteur’s opinion that it is now time to more clearly define a promotion policy which serves to stimulate and reward the production of specific products included in quality schemes and farming practices which protect biodiversity.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. – (FR) Europe, through the diversity of its regions and cultures, now has the opportunity to offer a variety of high-quality agricultural products. The common agricultural policy proposes promotion and information instruments on these agricultural products that should be developed and adapted to demand, while taking into consideration the constraints already imposed on our farmers. This is the purpose of Mr Bové’s report, broadly amended by my political group and adopted on Tuesday 20 November. The rules on food safety and health, environmental conditions and animal well-being are stricter in Europe than in the rest of the world. These are the conditions required to respond to the concerns of consumers alarmed by the mad cow crisis and E. coli. The flip side of imposing these conditions is to offer quality products that will be suitable for promotion in Europe and the rest of the world, especially in the emerging markets. Our agricultural heritage in Europe is unique, due to the variety and quality of the products on offer. Now we must find new outlets worldwide in order to contribute to the growth of the agricultural sector.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) The common agricultural policy (CAP) currently has a variety of promotion instruments at its disposal that have been put in place for different reasons and with various types of beneficiary. Although historically promotion measures were put in place to deal with agricultural surpluses, and, later on, food crises, it is considered that it is now time to more clearly define a promotion policy which serves to stimulate and reward the production of specific products included in quality schemes and farming practices which produce fewer CO2 emissions, protect biodiversity and are better suited to maintaining the quality of soils and water supplies. Promotion policy should, as far as possible, concentrate on financing projects which cater to both of those broad objectives, which are, in many cases, compatible. An implicit objective must be to increase farmers’ incomes by placing the focus on products where supply management tools are permitted. Promotion measures should draw attention to traditional European food products that are authentic, varied and tasty for the consumer. That vision is relevant both for internal and external promotion. The European Union must try to export a model of sustainable agriculture, as well as its products. Individual projects must obviously be financed under Rural Development Policy, which can be tailored to local conditions, rather than under Regulation 3/2008, which has more cumbersome rules for applicants. I have voted for this proposal.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE), in writing. − (DE) I voted in favour of the Bové report, as the high-quality food products that Europe produces under strict environmental conservation, animal welfare and health requirements need strong marketing for a promising future. In addition to the existing promotion measures for information initiatives, such as the School Milk Scheme, I am advocating ambitious measures to promote agricultural products. These will help the agricultural sector to achieve its full potential in terms of economic growth, job creation and the dynamism of rural areas. Strengthening sales promotion measures will also increase the competitiveness of European products on the global market, as the European production model for food products, which is based on diversity, quality, traditional production methods and geographic authenticity, is increasingly in demand.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. − (IT) I fully supported this report, which I think takes an important step towards a new concept of the role that promotion measures and information should play in Europe’s agricultural system. The approach that emerges from the text we voted on today is one of greater awareness of the concepts of quality, food safety and product origin, combined of necessity with those of business profitability and market globalisation. The challenges facing those working in the farming and food industries should find a response in the intentions and values expressed in this motion and the one on the common agricultural policy for 2014-2020, whereby the ‘made in Europe’ label represents safe foods and wines for consumers and profitability for producers.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. − (RO) The European Union has one of the biggest heritages in the world in terms of diversity of agricultural products, and this fact must be exploited and made widely known within and outside the European Union. To this end, the European quality schemes (protected designation of origin (PDO), protected geographical indication (PGI), organic labelling and traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG)) must be promoted, not only among consumers but also among producers, with the characteristics that make them different from other products and the benefits of their production, purchase and consumption being underlined. In addition, in order to create a European dimension, all promotion actions financed directly by the European Union for products or groups of products should feature slogans and common values established by the Commission. It is essential for us to convey a clear and easily identifiable message to consumers.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. − I voted against this report because I do not support its call to increase significantly EU funding for promotional measures for agricultural products. I am also strongly against the promotion of alcohol through EU funds.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing. − (IT) I agree with the rapporteur that the time has come to define more clearly a promotion policy which serves to stimulate and reward. Promotion policy should, as far as possible, concentrate on financing projects which cater to both of those broad objectives, which are, in many cases, compatible. An implicit objective must be to increase farmers’ incomes by placing the focus on products where supply management tools are permitted. Promotion measures should draw attention to a ‘taste of Europe’ that is authentic, varied and tasty for the consumer. The European Union must try to export a model of sustainable agriculture, as well as its products. Much more needs to be done, in particular in the context of the School Milk and School Fruit schemes, to bolster grassroots activities aimed at directly showing school children how food is produced and what life is like in rural areas, by taking them out to meet farmers. Pedagogic promotion activities should go beyond explaining the benefits of eating products like fresh fruit and vegetables to explaining the common agricultural policy itself.

 
  
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  Barbara Matera (PPE), in writing. − I voted in favour of Mr Bové’s report on promotion measures and information provision for agricultural products because it expands an important and necessary portion of the common agricultural policy (CAP). While the CAP currently has several types of promotion measures in place, it is important to expand these measures to encourage economic growth in the agri-food sector. The European agri-food sector has the ability to prosper and assist economic stabilisation in the Member States, and developing more extensive promotion measures both for the internal European market and for external market shares. For these reasons, it is important that local, regional, and external promotion measures are adopted, with the focus placed on short food-supply chains and local farming systems.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. − (IT) I agree with the rapporteur that equal attention should be given to internal and external market promotion, since both are of benefit to producers and consumers. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) This Commission initiative is important for promotion measures and information provision for European agricultural products. This new policy should focus on the following two aspects: the production of specific products included in quality schemes; farming practices which produce fewer CO2 emissions, protect biodiversity and are better suited to maintaining the quality of soils and water supplies. Promotion policy should, as far as possible, concentrate on financing projects which cater to both of those broad objectives, which are, in many cases, compatible. An implicit objective must be to increase farmers’ incomes by placing the focus on products where supply management tools are permitted. That is why I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Alajos Mészáros (PPE), in writing. − (HU) The foundation of the EU’s promotion policy has to be better defined. Awareness of the opportunities inherent in local production and short food supply chains must be raised by implementing promotional measures. Developing short food supply chains and local markets can create jobs at local level, and local farming systems will restore added value for farmers. European farmers and producers are facing new challenges and have to apply production systems that adapt to these challenges, such as climate change, lower soil fertility and biodiversity. Promotion activities have to focus more on quality and on products produced at local level. Consumers within the EU are increasingly interested in the tastes of quality products as well as those that have come about through tradition. This is why I support the move to draw attention to a diverse programme of the tastes of Europe that meets consumers’ tastes too, within the framework of promotion measures. I also believe it is important for the individual promotion and information activities to bring citizens and producers together. As part of school programmes providing fruit and milk for pupils, for example, children can be brought closer to the work of agricultural producers. By visiting farms and facilities they can gain first-hand experience of the food production process and how the common agricultural policy works.