Go back to the Europarl portal

Choisissez la langue de votre document :

 Index 
The Week
25-02-2004(b)
Spring Summit - Improving the EU's economy
Call for action on Lisbon strategy
Shipbuilding - temporary defence mechanism
Support for Court case to clarify Stability Pact
President Stjepan MESIC: Croatia should join EU soon
Death of Boris Trajkovski, President of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Firm and consistent policy needed towards Russia
South Caucuses region: a more active role for the EU
Nuclear disarmament
First reading agreement reached with POPs
Trans-European Networks' Quick Start Programme
Value for money in administrative costs for the enlarged EU
British budget rebate under scrutiny
Changes to the EU's 2004 budget
Go-ahead for EC-Macao agreement on unauthorised residents
Approval of agreement with China on tourist visas
Internal EU Staff regulations
Subsidiarity report needs to be refocused
Go-ahead for protocol on liability for nuclear accidents
Follow-up to the White Paper on a New Impetus for European Youth
Role of schools in providing access to culture
Rural development funding
Changes to the Agenda
One minute interventions

European Council

Spring Summit - Improving the EU's economy
 
Motions for a resolution on the preparation of the spring summit 2004
Doc.: B5-0102/2004, B5-0105/2004, B5-0107/2004
Debate: 25.02.2004
Vote: 26.02.2004

Vote

Parliament adopted a joint resolution of the EPP-ED, PES and ELDR groups on the forthcoming Spring Summit. On economic and monetary aspects, MEPs urge Member States to include in their fiscal policies an overall strategy based on increased investments in human resources, innovation, research and development, with a special focus on education, skills, lifelong learning, renewable energy and environmentally friendly technology. The House welcomes the European Growth Initiative as a catalyst to speed up the implementation of the Lisbon strategy, and as a long-awaited signal aimed at boosting confidence, and moreover recalls the essential role of private investment in increasing productivity, growth and employment. As to industrial aspects, MEPs consider that the European Council must put a twin emphasis on employment and on global competitiveness, stressing that competitiveness is not only a matter of cost-cutting by companies but of ensuring that European industries operate in framework conditions, including better company law and corporate governance, that favour enterprise and adaptability.

On employment aspects, the House reaffirms the relevance of the Lisbon strategy. MEPs see therefore the need to speed up the implementation of the Lisbon agenda for closer coordination of EU and Member States' economic, employment, social and structural policies and stresses the necessity of structural reforms with a clear roadmap and strict deadlines. On environmental aspects, MEPs oppose the reduction in the number of indicators by comparison with the list adopted for the purposes of the 2003 Spring Council, which the Commission's Communication on Structural Indicators (COM(2003) 585) drastically reduces, and urge the Council to take into account biodiversity indicators in order to be able to assess the attainment of EU commitments made in the Sixth Environmental Action Programme to halt biodiversity loss by the year 2010 in the EU, and in the Plan of Implementation adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development by 2015 globally. MEPs are concerned, moreover, that the plan to establish the indicators for a period of three years does not guarantee sufficient flexibility to take into account new facts, policy revisions (e.g. Sustainable Development Strategy in 2004) or the time that new policies take before an impact can be observed.

Finally, MEPs emphasise the need to involve fully the European Parliament so that the open co-ordination method has greater democratic legitimacy and so that the Lisbon follow-up is not purely intergovernmental.

Debate

Dick ROCHE, T.D. spoke for the Irish Presidency of the EU. Ireland was giving, he said, the highest priority to the Lisbon strategy, acutely aware that the halfway point to the 2010 target was fast approaching. While there had been progress in areas such as energy liberalisation and the internal market for services, it was now necessary to step up the pace of reform if Europe was to take full advantage of the economic recovery now underway.

There were two overriding priorities, he said: sustainable growth, and more and better jobs. Competitiveness was essential to withstand global challenges and ensure a vibrant internal market. Achieving a single market in the financial services sector was particularly important, as this could lead to more and cheaper capital being available leading in turn to more growth. The wider services sector, the motor of growth in recent years, would be encouraged through finalising the services action plan; completing the internal market would help companies to expand and provide better services to consumers.

The EU, said Mr Roche, must still make the transition to being a leading knowledge based economy: there were currently only 5.7 researchers per 1000 employees, in the US the figure was 8.7, in Japan 9.1. Private sector investment in human capital was 3 times higher in Japan and 5 times higher in the US. Everyone involved needed to work for a dynamic solution, including targeted support and incentives for business research and development. It was vital to attract researchers to the EU and retain them: the draft directive on third country researchers was one way to help. Better regulation was also important: a plan was being developed to tackle this over the present and next 3 presidencies, removing unnecessary burdens on business while ensuring protection for consumers.

The aim of more and better jobs would be tackled through a strategy based on the Wim Kok employment task force report. Its aims would be to increase adaptability, labour force participation and investment in human capital. The target of 60 per cent female participation in the labour force was on track to be met if progress continued through family friendly working conditions and the removal of pay differentials. The aim of 50 per cent participation among older people was more difficult: the present figure was only 40.1 per cent of 53-64 year olds participating. Another 7 million jobs were required to achieve this target, so the right legal and financial incentives needed to be in place.

These reforms needed the support both of employers and trades unions if they were to be a success. If everyone worked together, the Lisbon strategy would build a better future for all. The new Member States with their recent experience of economic transformation had a lot to offer.

The prize, concluded Mr Roche, was great. In the slogan of the Irish Presidency, 'Europeans working together' could ensure a better quality of life for all our citizens.

Commissioner Pedro SOLBES MIRA stated that he found these annual debates on the Commission's economic strategy "very useful". On the positive side, he said that despite weak growth in the EU, 6 million jobs had been created. He also welcomed the spread of the Internet as well as increased employment and, in particular, female employment levels. The Lisbon process, he stated, contributed an extra 0.5 per cent to EU economic growth annually. As to the problems, he commented that the internal market remained, to an extent "fragmented", due to poor implementation of directives by the Member States. Nevertheless, the Commissioner stated that the "Lisbon process was a good and the correct strategy." More had to be done, in particular, in the areas of increasing investment in research and development, increasing the EU's competitiveness as well as on schemes to extend working life. The Commission and Member State governments were responsible for putting in place the correct regulatory framework. He stressed the importance of energy, transport, research and development and telecommunications cross-border networks. The Commission would have to make further progress on reviewing the TENS guidelines, on environmental technology as well enabling, what he called "active ageing."

He disagreed with Christa RANDZIO-PLATH (PES, D) that there was an increasing gap between the Lisbon objectives and the Commission's broad economic policy guidelines. As to Roberto Felice BIGLIARDO's (UEN, I) report on Public finances in Economic and Monetary Union (2003), he stated that the Commission was reviewing the Stability Pact "and there were many possible areas for improvement." He also stated "that it was possible, due to problems in the Member States, that the Lisbon 2010 goals may not be achieved."

Commissioner Viviane REDING stressed the importance of the social and human aspects of the Lisbon strategy and pointed out that 20% of all students leave school without any qualifications. Human resources, she said, were the most important resource. Mrs Reding also stressed the importance of life-long learning - pointing out that only 10 per cent of the workforce presently used this opportunity. Increased spending on education and training, she said, were essential for the Lisbon goals to be achieved. Investment in education, training, research and development, she pointed out, were 4 times higher in the US and two times higher in Japan. Mrs Reding underlined the Commission's strategy to increase investment in R&D in the EU from the present 1.9 per cent to 3 per cent by 2010. Mrs Reding also stressed the need for attracting the best students in to the EU and to stop "the brain-drain" to the US. The Commissioner stated that the Commission would be bringing forward a new proposal in the summer to attempt to deal with some of these challenges.

For the EPP-ED group, Françoise GROSSETÊTE (F) called for the development of a solid macroeconomic policy for the enlarged EU. There was a need to reduce costs and favour the freedom to work and invest, with a focus on high technology investment, if we were to catch up with the US and stem the brain drain. Any progress would be made thanks to entrepreneurs and SMEs, so the tax system needed to be favourable to them.

Structural reform was vital to increasing employment. With 15 million jobs to find, there was a need for a dynamic and innovative approach. The demographic deficit also needed to be addressed, in part through a well managed immigration process. On the environment, she called for rigorous and realistic measures, noting that her group had proposed that all legislation should be subject to impact studies.

Enrique BARÓN CRESPO (E), for the PES group, said this debate was now an annual ritual. We should not forget, he said, about the European social model, solidarity and sustainable development. Good intentions were not enough, it was necessary to implement them, clearing the blockage on capital taxes and tackling monopolies. Noting the conclusions of a recent meeting of three Member States in Berlin, he noted the support for a super-commissioner charged with economic governance. Perhaps this meant the Member States had changed their minds on other aspects of the Convention they opposed?

He concluded by asserting that reform was not just about dismantling the social progress made in the past. The Irish, Dutch and Danish experience showed that a high level of social protection could go together with a highly competitive economy.

For the ELDR group, Graham WATSON (South West) warned that Europe was stuck in second gear as the US moved ahead and the Far East was in the overtaking lane. If Europe was now accelerating it was because of a slope in the road rather than the power of its engine. More and better employment was the only route to social cohesion. It was vital to tackle structural reform while things were going well, and not fall into the trap of failing to get leverage on bad times during the good, which is what had killed the Stability Pact. The only European social model which mattered, he said, was one which preserved our prosperity for the future, allowing people to work the hours they chose and making work pay, including for women and older people in the labour market.

He said that it was vital to deliver on the initiatives already taken, with two many agreed measures going unimplemented in the Member States. The ELDR group expected, he said, to see progress on the recognition of qualifications, on the framework directive for services and on the financial services action plan by the time of the elections.

Ilda FIGUEIREDO (P), for the GUE/NGL, stated that not one of the Lisbon goals had been achieved. The Commission was embarked on a "neo-liberal agenda where more of the same liberalisation is foreseen in the areas of transport, energy and postal services." She called for an urgent and fundamental re-thinking of the Lisbon process as well as the replacement of the Stability Pact with an "employment pact."

Pierre JONCKHEER (B), for the Greens/EFA group, explained that the economic situation varied considerably from one Member State to another. He welcomed the Danish, Swedish and Finnish economic models and called on the Commission to examine how these countries economies had developed. He also stressed the need to vary policy, and the degree of liberalisation, if any, from one sector to another. Finally, he questioned whether liberalisation actually led to lower prices and greater supply and not just to the creation of oligopolies and increased profit.

Gerard COLLINS (Munster) for the UEN group welcomed the progress made in achieving the Lisbon goals and stressed the importance of investing in research and development making it easier for small business to be created for example. He also called for EU's customs policy to be modernised and for all new EU proposals for legalisation to go through strict impact assessment requirements.

William ABITBOL (F), for the EDD group, questioned whether the Commission really knew what the economic reality actually was. He said the EU "was the sick man of globalisation" citing a decrease in the EU's industrial exports. He also stated that the euro had caused more damage than good to the European economy and stated that it was now clear that the Stability Pact was "dead."

Benedetto DELLA VEDOVA (I), a non-aligned Member, was tired of hearing the same mantra on the Lisbon goals. If the EU was serious about growth, he said, then it had to fundamentally question why 40-50 per cent of its budget was being spent on agriculture. He also said that the EU governments had to examine public spending including their spending on the respective civil services.
The rapporteur on the broad economic guidelines for the EU, Christa RANDZIO-PLATH (PES, D), said the challenge was to change our societies while keeping those things which made us 'Europe.' Despite wide support, the provisions of the Delors White Paper of 1993 on economic reform had never been implemented. It was not good enough for the Member States to plead that there was a lack of funds. They should be working together to tackle tax and VAT fraud, which could raise hundreds of millions. Talk of investment should not focus only on the European Investment Bank, but also on the revival of the idea for Eurobonds. The Spring Summit, she said, needed to create confidence, but also make a priority of investment in the environment, sustainable growth and lifelong learning, as well as social services such as childcare to help the work-family balance. The steps taken so far by EU governments were not enough. It was time for Europe to pull itself up by its bootstraps.

Roberto Felice BIGLIARDO (UEN, I), the rapporteur on public finances within the Economic and Monetary Union, noted the slowing growth over the last few years, to the point where the European economy was practically stagnating. The real question about the Stability and Growth Pact was whether there could be stability without real growth. He urged the existing and the new Member States to keep or put their budgets in order. France and Germany were making real efforts on structural reform, but this was taking time to take effect. The Lisbon strategy was falling behind: there was a need for more investment in research and a policy on unemployment which would provide secure jobs for young people. Finally, he called for Parliament's own contributions to have more weight in the EU's economic analysis.

Jill EVANS (Greens/EFA, Wales) stated that the Spring Summit should consider the issue of sustainable development as its top priority. She criticised governments for their lack of ability to implement the Lisbon strategy. Making reference to the recent meeting of the French, British and German governments and to the efforts of the Irish Presidency, Mrs Evans called for more attention to be give to achieving "a sustainable society, better pay and conditions for workers as well as a more equal distribution of wealth."

Brian CROWLEY (UEN, Munster) stressed the importance of having a degree of flexibility to respond to the changing economic circumstances. Since 1996, he recalled, the EU, through the Stability and Growth Pact, had managed to create good levels of economic growth which had translated into job creation.

Proinsias DE ROSSA (PES, Dublin) said the EU's was on the "cusp of a whirlwind of change" with enlargement, a possible new constitution, reform of the Stability and Growth Pact, reform of the structural funds as well as changing the broad policy guidelines. He questioned however, whether the EU was capable of fully living up to these challenges pointing to the Member States trying to "protect their labour markets" and their reluctance to spend more on the EU's budget. If there was a need for a "super-Commissioner for economic growth" as the UK, France and Germany had called for then, he stated, there was also a need for a "super-Commissioner" for social inclusion. "Joined-up government is not an EU strength" he said. Lastly, Mr De Rossa called for initiatives and incentives for growth including a well-protected and hence motivated workforce.

Theresa VILLIERS (EPP-ED, London) stated that there had been some progress in achieving the Lisbon goals but there had also been some steps backwards. More flexible EU labour markets were essential and these would not be created by introducing the temporary workers directive nor by removing opt-outs on the working time directive. The Commission had also overreacted on the question of the REACH proposals on chemicals, in the end such measures would lead to increased business costs and less jobs.

Commissioner Solbes, in his response to the debate, agreed that there was still room for improvement. However, he said it was not useful to compare the US and the EU given their different starting points and structures as well as the differences in the levels of economic and monetary union. "The Lisbon process is still valid and a more productive Europe is required" the Commissioner declared. Sustainable development and social guarantees all had to be worked into the equation of economic growth. It was also a question of the Member States' political will to implement reform and co-ordinate fiscal policy. The questions of increasing debt, a growing and ageing population in Europe would serve up new economic challenges. Finally, the Commissioner said that everyone agreed with the diagnosis. He also pointed out that the EU's budget was only about 1% of Gross National Income and what the EU could do was limited.

Thanking all the Members who had taken part in the debate, Mr Roche summed up by emphasising his agreement that good intentions were not enough. The whole process needed to be focussed, he said. The Lisbon strategy belonged to the people of Europe, and there were many stakeholders to be engaged in the process. He welcomed all the comments on the importance of education, research and the research environment, noting that researchers are the seed capital of the knowledge based economy. He concluded with an affirmation that the Lisbon strategy was not a dry academic concept, but something vital to the lives of the 450 million citizens in the EU's soon to be 25 Member States. It deserved focus and energy, and this was what the Irish Presidency aimed to bring to it.

Press enquiries:
Paula Fernández Hervás
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74768
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 42535
e-mail :   econ-press@europarl.eu.int
&
Press enquiries:
Constanze Beckerhoff
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73780
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 44302
e-mail :   empl-press@europarl.eu.int


Economic & Monetary Affairs

Call for action on Lisbon strategy
Christa RANDZIO-PLATH (PES, D)
Report on the situation of the European economy, report on the broad guidelines for economic policies
(2003/2135(INI))
Doc.: A5-0045/2004
Procedure : Own-initiative
Debate : 25.02.2004
Vote: 26.02.2004

Vote

MEPs adopted an own initiative report from Christa RANDZIO-PLATH (PES, D) on the broad policy guidelines for the European economy. This report highlights the lack of progress on the Lisbon strategy and calls on Member States to undertake a co-ordinated strategy on structural reform. It points to over-regulation and lack of co-operation in all areas of the Lisbon strategy and, given the decline in investment in recent years, calls for incentives to encourage the private sector to pour more resources into R&D. Lastly, Parliament says that, to boost productivity and investment, EU public expenditure should rise above the current limit of 0.8% GDP.

Press enquiries:
Paula Fernández Hervás
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74768
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 42535
&
Elina Viilup
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74794
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 31056
e-mail :   econ-press@europarl.eu.int


Shipbuilding - temporary defence mechanism
Christa RANDZIO-PLATH (PES, D)
Report on the proposal for a Council regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1177/2002 concerning a temporary defensive mechanism to shipbuilding
(COM(2004) 26 – C5-0061/2004 – 2004/0008(CNS))
Doc.: A5-0056/2004
Procedure : Consultation
Debate : 25.02.2004
Vote: 26.02.2004

Vote

Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution concerning a temporary defensive mechanism to shipbuilding.

Press enquiries:
Paula Fernández Hervás
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74768
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 42535
&
Elina Viilup
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74794
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 31056
e-mail :   econ-press@europarl.eu.int


Support for Court case to clarify Stability Pact
Roberto Felice BIGLIARDO (UEN, I)
Report on the communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on public finances in EMU – 2003
(COM(2003) 283 – C5–0377/2003 – 2003/2151(INI))
Doc.: A5-0044/2004
Procedure : Own-initiative
Debate : 25.02.2004
Vote: 26.02.2004

Vote

Parliament adopted an own-initiative report on public finances in EMU – 2003.

Press enquiries:
Paula Fernández Hervás
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74768
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 42535
&
Elina Viilup
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74794
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 31056
e-mail :   econ-press@europarl.eu.int


External Relations

President Stjepan MESIC: Croatia should join EU soon
Address by Mr Stjepan MESIC, President of the Republic of Croatia
26.02.2004

President COX welcomed the President of the Republic of Croatia, Stjepan MESIĆ, to the Chamber, noting that the pleasure of doing so was tinged with sadness at the death of the President of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in a plane crash. President Mesić's visit, he said, came at a crucial and defining time for the EU, with the renewal of Parliament and Commission - and for the relations between the EU and Croatia. He noted that the European Parliament was the first to ratify the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Croatia. This was a time to move from ambitious declarations to action plans and meeting the criteria: "Our common goal is to see Croatia a member of the EU," he said. He noted that this was a major challenge both in terms of making progress in particular policy areas, but also in exercising partnership with the country's near neighbours and wider Europe, in showing respect for the rule of law and the Hague tribunal. He praised Mr Mesić for showing his personal commitment by testifying at the tribunal, and also for his courageous act of leadership in the joint action with President MAROVIC of Serbia and Montenegro in respectively apologising for what had happened over the last decades. This was not a populist move, but one which showed the leadership which was needed in the region, concluded President Cox.

President Mesić began his address by expressing his sadness at the death of President TRAJKOVSKI. This was a human loss, but also had consequences for the security of the region. Mr. Mesić had been due to meet him that very afternoon. He promised to continue working to achieve Mr Trajkovski's goal of integrating the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia into the EU.

Mr. Mesić stated that membership of the European Union was the chief foreign policy objective of the Republic of Croatia. This strategic goal enjoyed, he said, the support of the political parties and public opinion: "Our goal is Europe. But not just a membership of the European Union. Our primary objective is to reach and maintain the standards that prevail in Europe. We are fully aware of the difficulties that this adjustment entails. However, the adjustment is necessary, so that one day Croatia may actively participate in European institutions as an equal member."

Mr Mesić noted that like some of the countries joining the EU in May, Croatia had only recently become independent. However, he continued, unlike these countries, Croatia had to face, in its recent past, a war imposed upon it: "The ravages of war have left deep wounds – primarily in people, but also in huge material losses. Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes and an equal number were left homeless." The country was faced with major challenges of physical reconstruction, but also that of establishing trust and confidence, tolerance and co-existence leading to a lasting reconciliation. "This," he said, "was the task that was by far the most difficult, as it required us politicians to take clear and firm positions and decisions."

He said work was continuing on the reform of public administration and gave an assurance that Croatia wanted to co-operate with the Hague Tribunal, and to continue working on the return of refugees, reform of the judiciary, protection of minorities, and regional co-operation.

Specifically on the Hague Tribunal, Mr Mesić said he wanted to state "resolutely and unequivocally that we consider co-operation with the ICTY to be in the interest of all of us who live in what was once Yugoslavia. Such co-operation makes it possible to individualize guilt and to prosecute individuals for crimes committed during the war. This is the only way to end the practice of collective guilt, whereby the crimes committed by individuals are shifted onto the whole nation." He also stated that once reform of the judiciary was complete, Croatian courts would be able to deal with outstanding war crimes cases.

He said Croatia was using every opportunity to secure the return of refugees regardless of their ethnicity, but pointed to the practical difficulties involved, including the slow pace of rebuilding housing and the need to find employment for returnees.

Mr Mesić said he was proud of the progress made in normalising and improving relations with both Serbia and Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The only way to address political and security challenges in the region, he said, was through democratically elected governments with a pro-European orientation. But it was necessary to prove such an orientation through action and commitment to European democratic standards: "The example of Croatia, as a stable country in the region, proves this point."

He expressed Croatia's willingness to take an active role in furthering regional co-operation under the Stabilisation and Association Process. He continued: "Croatia has advocated an individual approach, i.e. the assessment on each country's merits, from the very beginning. We believe that Croatia’s example and its accelerated progress towards the membership of the EU will encourage other South-eastern European countries to tackle the key issues that are now an obstacle on their way towards the European Union." Mr Mesić called for the creation of a separate European Parliament delegation for co-operation with Croatia, which would, he said, confirm a new, advanced stage of relations between Croatia and the European Union.

He stated that Croatia has a high esteem for the support of the European Parliament and for the understanding it has shown for its efforts to get closer to the European Union: "In its resolutions, the European Parliament has repeatedly welcomed Croatia’s application for EU membership, thus showing also its support for Croatia’s intentions and goals."

Despite the 1st May enlargement, he said the unification of Europe would not be completed until all the SAP countries become members of the European Union and until Europe is united in its geographical borders. EU membership was the only way to remove instability in South East Europe: "Once the borders which provoked the recent bloody war in this part of the world are removed, the question of who lives on which side of the borders becomes irrelevant."

Mr Mesić rejected the concept of a “new Europe” and an “old Europe.” He said we were witnessing is the emergence of a “coming Europe”, a concept that rather than being conducive to internal European and trans-Atlantic differences, builds a European Union of the future based on the good traditions of the ”Europe of the past.” This ”coming Europe” could, he said, offer at least two good reasons to the young democracies for joining it: political stability and economic competitiveness. For Croatia, these two reasons were sufficient to dispel all doubts about the benefits of European unification.

Croatia, he said, had always been part of Europe – culturally, historically and geographically: "By developing new standards, we now try to build Croatia on the values of those nations in which democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech, respect for minority rights and human rights are viewed as the inheritance of the past decades. We do not see democracy as a static level of achievement but rather as a continuous process, as constant advance to new horizons of freedom."

Although Croatia did not take part in the Convention on the future of Europe, he said the developments had been followed with great interest: "We are convinced that the Member States will overcome their differences and reach an agreement on the Constitutional Treaty that will make the enlarged European Union efficient and capable of responding to the challenges it faces." He also referred to the debate on the next Financial Perspective, pointing out the need to allocate adequate financial resources enabling rapprochement and integration of the countries which will become candidates or new Member States. He said the new constitutional and budgetary framework must reflect the true nature of the commitment to include all European states in the European family, thus ensuring the further advancement of the European integration project, which would include Croatia, as well as other SAP countries.

Mr Mesić stressed that Croatia "strongly relies on the European Parliament as an institution that will support its integration into the EU. I am convinced that in its Recommendation to the Council on the application by Croatia for the membership in the EU, the European Parliament will recognise the progress made by Croatia in fulfilling the Copenhagen and other relevant criteria and the reforms that are taking place in the country." He was convinced that this would give an impetus to the Commission in its Opinion which he hoped would be published in spring, enabling the European Council in June to take new strategic political decisions on Croatia. "Naturally, the Croatian authorities and the citizens of my country are looking ahead to candidate status and the opening of the accession negotiations. I am convinced that the citizens of Croatia will soon be in a position to vote in elections for the European Parliament and that Croatian MPs will have their seats in the European Parliament."
Although not a numerically large nation, Croatia, he said, "brings you the joys of the Mediterranean, the civilizational values of Central Europe, the toughness of hard stone, the serenity of the Slavonian plains and above all, the open and noble heart and outstretched hands of friendship and co-operation."

He concluded with the hope that the words of Robert Schuman would prevail: ”We do not unify countries, we unite people.”


Death of Boris Trajkovski, President of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

President Pat COX told members that he had just learned of the death of the President of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Boris Trajkovski. President Trajkovski had been killed in a plane crash while travelling to a meeting in Mostar. President Cox said he had known Mr Trajkovski as a personal and political friend for some time. He had brought reconciliation to his homeland and worked for it in the region. He was a true European, a warm-hearted man and a former distinguished visitor to Parliament.

President Cox expressed the deep sympathy and solidarity of Parliament to the government and people of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. He also spoke of determination to keep alive Mr Trajkovski's vision for his country's European destination, as this would pay him the best possible tribute.

MEPs marked their respect by rising for a minute's silence.


Firm and consistent policy needed towards Russia
Bastiaan BELDER (EDD, NL)
Report with a proposal for a European Parliament recommendation to the Council on EU-Russia relations
(2003/2230(INI))
Doc.: A5-0053/2004
Procedure : Own-initiative
Debate : 26.02.2004
Vote: 26.02.2004

Vote

Parliament adopted an own-initiative report on EU-Russia relations. The report levels a critical gaze upon relations between the EU and Russia, calling on the Council to review its strategy and ensure that the partnership with Russia is based to a greater degree on respect for shared values. No exceptions should be allowed to this rule, says the House. The debate of this report coincides with the assessments being drawn up by the Council and Commission in preparation for the review of the EU's common strategy towards Russia, which will be discussed at the European Council in March.

Far from seeking any break with the strategic goals of the EU's current Russia policy, the report calls for greater consistency in the positions and measures taken by leaders of the Member States, the Council and the Commission. MEPs criticise the fact that "uncoordinated statements by leaders of Member States rendered negotiations with Russia on Kaliningrad transit excessively difficult" and that after the last EU-Russia summit "spectacular statements on Chechnya" were made "which went straight against" well-established EU positions.

The report recommends that the European Council bases its revised policy on the following objectives: ensuring good neighbourly relations by appropriate border management and better cross-border cooperation in the fight against crime and illegal migration; promoting human rights, democracy, independent media, the development of civil society, the rule of law and transparency; cooperating in resolving the conflicts in the south Caucasus and encouraging disarmament and non-proliferation; exploiting the potential for increased trade, including in energy products; and supporting efforts to improve public health and other aspects of social development in Russia.

MEPs also question the EU's role in the Chechen conflict, which has resulted in 200,000 deaths in the last 10 years out of an initial Chechen population of a million inhabitants, as well as tens of thousands of dead amongst the Russian troops. They believe the lack of dialogue on Chechnya is "morally and politically indefensible" as well as incompatible with the wish to deepen cooperation on internal and external security. They express deep concern and urge the Russian authorities to investigate the disappearances, reports of torture and other crimes and to bring the perpetrators to justice. They also call on Moscow to authorise visits by the UN and to allow humanitarian agencies to work in Chechnya. The Council is asked to encourage a resumption of dialogue between the Moscow authorities and all representatives of Chechen society.

The importance of Russia, as an immediate neighbour of the EU, will increase further following enlargement. Parliament calls on the Council not to accept Russia's refusal to extend the application of the partnership and cooperation agreement to include Estonia and Latvia. It also demands that Russia ratify without delay the border agreements negotiated with these two countries.

MEPs believe that the deportation of the entire Chechen people to Central Asia on 23 February 1944 on the orders of Stalin constitutes an act of genocide. The House asks the Council to instruct the Commission and the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy to study the Peace Plan presented by Iiyas Akhmadov, and to present their conclusions to the Council and the Parliament to prepare detailed proposals for alternative approaches to the conflict, fully taking into account important aspects of the conflict such as its deep historic roots, the lack of interest in ending it on the part of actors who under the current semi-anarchic conditions in the republic can conduct lucrative unofficial and criminal economic activities there, the sociological characteristics of Chechen people, the need for massive reconstruction efforts and the possibility of the EU contributing thereto if requirements for the aid to be effective can be met, the terrorism aspect and, indeed, legitimate Russian security concerns.

Finally, MEPs recommend that the Council pay special attention to the Kaliningrad region and welcome the commitment shown by Russia to rapid implementation of the agreement on transit of persons. MEPs express the hope that more effective EU-Russia co-operation on social, environmental and economic development projects in the region can be achieved.

Press enquiries:
Joëlle Fiss
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73840
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 41075
e-mail :   foreign-press@europarl.eu.int


South Caucuses region: a more active role for the EU
Per GAHRTON (Greens/EFA, S)
Report with a proposal for a European Parliament recommendation to the Council on EU policy towards the South Caucasus
2003/2225(INI))
Doc.: A5-0052/2004
Procedure : Own-initiative
Debate : 26.02.2004
Vote: 26.02.2004

Vote

The House adopted an own-initiative report on EU policy towards the South Caucasus.

Press enquiries:
Joëlle Fiss
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73840
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 41075
e-mail :   foreign-press@europarl.eu.int


Nuclear disarmament

Motions for a resolution on nuclear disarmament: Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference in 2005 - EU preparation of third NPT PrepCom (New York, 26 April - 7 May 2004)
Doc.: B5-0101/2004, B5-0104/2004, B5-0105/2004, B5-0106/2004
Debate: 11.02.2004

Vote : 26.02.2004

Vote

Parliament adopted a resolution on nuclear disarmament reaffirming its position that the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is of vital importance for the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons and that therefore every effort should be made to implement the Treaty in all its aspects. MEPs recall that the EU’s objective is the complete elimination of nuclear weapons and expects the declared and undeclared nuclear weapon states to engage actively with this issue and to make further progress towards reducing and eliminating nuclear weapons. The House calls upon the EU and its Member States - in a spirit of ‘effective multilateralism’ and solidarity and in pursuit of the EU Strategy Against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction - to form a common front at the NPT PrepCom and the NPT Review Conference in 2005, and make a positive contribution to the discussions. It urges that their statements attach special importance to new initiatives on nuclear disarmament and the revitalisation of the UN Conference on Disarmament. MEPs call upon the EU to work with its international partners to develop and promote principles to prevent terrorists, or those that harbour them, from gaining access to weapons and materials of mass destruction. Parliament also calls upon the Council and the Commission to use the experience of Euratom to set up a programme aimed at preventing the proliferation of nuclear materials, technology and knowledge in the world.

MEPs also call on the EU to work with its international partners to develop and promote a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.

The House stresses the importance and urgency of signature and ratification, without delay and without conditions and in accordance with institutional processes, to achieve the earliest possible entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty. It calls on the Council and the Commission to insist on this in the dialogue with those State partners which have not yet ratified the CTBT and/or the NPT. MEPs reiterate their call upon the USA to stop the development of new generations of battlefield nuclear weapons (bunkerbusters) and to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The House calls upon all states, and nuclear weapon states in particular, not to provide assistance or encouragement to states which may seek to acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, in particular those states which are not parties to the Non-proliferation Treaty. Parliament also recognises the positive moves made by Iran in signing the additional protocol on nuclear material standards and hopes that the Majlis will ratify the text within a reasonable period. Finally, MEPs welcome Libya’s intention to renounce nuclear weapons programmes and to welcome unconditional inspections.
Press enquiries:
Joëlle Fiss
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73840
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 41075
e-mail :   foreign-press@europarl.eu.int


Environment

First reading agreement reached with POPs
Pernille FRAHM (EUL/NGL, DK)
Report on the proposal for a European Parliament and Council regulation on persistent organic pollutants and amending Directives 79/117/EEC and 96/59/EC
(COM(2003) 333 – C5-0273/2003 – 2003/0119(COD))
Doc.: A5-0017/2004
Procedure : Codecision (1st reading)
Debate : 25.02.2004
Vote: 26.02.2004

Vote

The production and use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), as well as trade in these substances must be phased out, and health and environment put first. This was the message Parliament sent when adopting a first reading compromise to a proposed regulation on POPs. MEPs tightened up the measures the Commission is proposing the EU should take to comply with the global Stockholm Convention on POPs, signed in May 2001. The political compromise was reached with the Council after Parliament's Committee on the Environment adopted a report by Pernille FRAHM (EUL/NGL, DK) in the middle of January.

By adopting the compromise at the first reading of co-decision Parliament ensured that the regulation can enter into force quickly. In the compromise negotiations MEPs were able to tighten the regulation and have a certain POP, HCH (including lindane) prohibited by the end of 2007 at the latest. Parliament also established detailed provisions regarding waste containing or contaminated by any of these pollutants. Parliament tightens the regulation by saying that disposal or recovery operations that may lead to recycling or re-use of the pollutants should be prohibited. On the other hand, Parliament gave the Member States more freedom on waste disposal in exceptional cases. One amendment obliges the Member States, when preparing their national implementation plans, to give the public early and effective opportunities to participate in the process .

The best known POP is DDT. Others include aldrin, chlordane, hexachlorobenzene, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, toxaphene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), chlordecone, hexabromobiphenyl, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/PCDF).

Press enquiries:
Leena Maria Linnus
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 887 63969
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 42825
e-mail :   envi-press@europarl.eu.int


Transport

Trans-European Networks' Quick Start Programme
Motion for a resolution on the failure to consult Parliament in connection with the TEN Quick Start projects
Doc.: B5-0103/2004
Debate: 25.02.2004
Vote: 26.02.2004

Vote

The European Parliament adopted a resolution tabled by EPP-ED, PES, ELDR, Greens/ALE and UEN in which it expresses its strong disaproval of the Council having developed a so-called Quick Start Programme on trans-European transport priority projects without consulting the European Parliament.

On 11 November 2003, at the request of the October 2003 European Council, the Commission submitted a report on the "European Growth Initiative" which included a "Quick Start Programme of actions to be taken within the priority projects listed in the guidelines for the Trans European Transport Network".

Parliament recalled in the strongest terms that the determination of TENs priority projects in Annex III of Decision 1692/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on community guidelines for the development of the TENs was governed solely by the co-decision procedure between Parliament and the Council in accordance with Article 251 of the Treaty.

Parliament's rights had now been neglected, which was inadmissible. The overwhelming majority of the House therefore stressed that any arbitrary setting of priorities listed in Annex III could not be accepted. The timing and funding of the individual projects within Annex III depended solely on the prescribed criteria, such as each project's state of maturity in planning, funding and construction terms.

In an oral question to the Council Paola COSTA (ELDR, I), the chairman of the Transport Committee, stressed that the Commission's communication was therefore not a legally binding instrument and that Parliament should not take it into consideration in the context of the current legislative procedure concerning the revision of the TENs guidelines.

In the debate, President-in-Office Dick Roche could not convince MEPs that Council had respected the codecision procedure. Although questioned by several MEPs, the President-in-Office did not want to answer specific questions on the involvement of Parliament. He refused to say whether or not Council had respected the codecision procedure.

Press enquiries:
Ton Huyssoon
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73856
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 42408
e-mail :   region-press@europarl.eu.int


Budgets

Value for money in administrative costs for the enlarged EU
Wilfried KUCKELKORN (PES, D)
Report on the guidelines for Sections II, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII (A) and VIII (B) and on the European Parliament's preliminary draft estimates (Section I) for the 2005 budgetary procedure
(2004/2002(BUD))
Section I - European Parliament
Section II - Council
Section IV - Court of Justice
Section V - Court of Auditors
Section VI - European Economic and Social Committee
Section VII  - Committee of the Regions
Section VIII (A) - European Ombudsman
Section VIII (B) - European Data Protection Supervisor
Doc.: A5-0062/2004
Procedure : Budgetary
Debate : 25.02.2004
Vote: 26.02.2004

Vote

The House adopted a resolution on the European Parliament's preliminary draft estimates (Section I) for the 2005 budgetary procedure.

Press enquiries:
Fabienne Gutmann-Vormus
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 72649
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 40650
e-mail :   FGutmann@europarl.eu.int


British budget rebate under scrutiny
Jutta HAUG (PES, D)
Report on the proposal for a Council regulation amending Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1150/2000 implementing Decision 2000/597/EC, Euratom on the system of the Communities' own resources
(COM(2003) 366 – C5-0326/2003 – 2003/0131(CNS))
Doc.: A5-0063/2004
Procedure : Consultation
Vote : 26.02.2004

Vote

The House adopted by 334 votes in favour, 72 against with 47 abstentions a non-binding resolution on the system of the Communities' own resources.

Press enquiries:
Fabienne Gutmann-Vormus
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 72649
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 40650
e-mail :   FGutmann@europarl.eu.int


Changes to the EU's 2004 budget
Neena GILL (PES, West Midlands)
Report on the estimates of the European Parliament for an Amending Budget of the European Union for the financial year 2004 (new Staff Regulations)
(2004/2013(BUD))
Doc.: A5-0072/2004
Procedure : Budgetary
Vote : 26.02.2004

Vote

The House adopted a resolution on the estimates of the European Parliament for an Amending Budget of the European Union for the financial year 2004 (new Staff Regulations).

Press enquiries:
Jean-Yves Loog
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73636
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 44652
e-mail :   budg-press@europarl.eu.int


Justice and Home Affairs

Go-ahead for EC-Macao agreement on unauthorised residents
Sérgio SOUSA PINTO (PES, P)
Report on the proposal for a Council Decision concerning the signing of the Agreement between the European Community and the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation
(10641/2003 – C5-0490/2003 – 2003/0054(CNS))
Doc.: A5-0096/2004
Procedure : Consultation
Vote : 26.02.2004

Vote

The House adopted by 355 votes in favour, 65 against with 4 abstentions a non-binding resolution concerning the signing of the Agreement between the European Community and the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation.

Press enquiries:
Danny de Paepe
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73605
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 42531
e-mail :   libe-press@europarl.eu.int


Approval of agreement with China on tourist visas
Sérgio SOUSA PINTO (PES, P)
Report on the proposal for a Council Decision concerning the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the European Community and the National Tourism Administration of the People's Republic of China on visa and related issues concerning tourist groups from the People’s Republic of China
(COM(2003) 790 – C5-0029/2004 – 2003/0299(CNS))
Doc.: A5-0101/2004
Procedure : Consultation
Vote : 26.02.2004

Vote

Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution concerning the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the European Community and the National Tourism Administration of the People's Republic of China on visa and related issues concerning tourist groups from the People’s Republic of China.

Press enquiries:
Danny de Paepe
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73605
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 42531
e-mail :   libe-press@europarl.eu.int


Social and Employment Policy

Internal EU Staff regulations
Malcolm HARBOUR (EPP-ED, West Midlands) & Manuel MEDINA ORTEGA (PES, E)
Report on the amended proposal for a Council regulation amending the Staff Regulations of officials and the Conditions of Employment of other servants of the European Communities
(COM(2003) 721 – C5-0575/2003 – 2002/0100(CNS))
Doc.: A5-0078/2004
Procedure : Consultation
Vote : 26.02.2004

Vote

Parliament adopted a report on the Council regulation amending the Staff Regulations of officials and the Conditions of Employment of other servants of the European Communities under the Consultation procedure.

The House adopted the majority of the amendments tabled by the Legal Affairs Committee and thus decided that the Regulation shall enter into force on the 1st of May 2004 in order to coincide with the date of accession of the new Member States. Parliament also voted in favour of allowing the institutions to organise internal competitions for each function group on the basis of qualifications or tests - however it was felt that these competitions should only be open to members of the temporary staff of the institution; in order to qualify for the competitions, participants will be required to have a minimum of 10 years of service in the role of temporary servants. Although Parliament backed the Commission proposal that the contracts of contract staff may be concluded for a fixed period of at least three months and not more than five years, but may be renewed, the House adopted an amendment specifying that if the cumulative duration of the initial contract and successive renewals exceed five years, any further renewal shall be for an indefinite period.

Press enquiries:
Miriam Orieskova
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74864
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 31054
&
Tanja Rudolf
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74897
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 31053
e-mail :   lega-press@europarl.eu.int


Constitutional Affairs

Subsidiarity report needs to be refocused
Diana WALLIS (ELDR, Yorkshire and the Humber)
Report on the Commission report "Better Lawmaking 2002" pursuant to Article 9 of the Protocol on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality (10th report)
(COM(2002) 715 – C5-0007/2003 – 2003/2009(INI))
Doc.: A5-0048/2004
Procedure : Own-initiative (without debate)
Vote : 26.02.2004

Vote

Parliament adopted an own-initiative report on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality (10th report).

Press enquiries:
Miriam Orieskova
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74864
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 31054
&
Tanja Rudolf
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74897
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 31053
e-mail :   lega-press@europarl.eu.int


Public Health and Consumer Affairs

Go-ahead for protocol on liability for nuclear accidents
Neil MacCORMICK (Greens/EFA, Scotland)
Report on the proposal for a Council decision authorising the Member States which are Contracting Parties to the Paris Convention of 29 July 1960 on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy to ratify, in the interest of the European Community, the Protocol amending that Convention, or to accede to it
(14305/2003 – C5-0611/2003 – 2003/0150(AVC))
Doc.: A5-0036/2004
Procedure : Assent
Vote : 26.02.2004

Vote

The House gave its assent to authorise the Member States which are Contracting Parties to the Paris Convention of 29 July 1960 on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy to ratify, in the interest of the European Community, the Protocol amending that Convention, or to accede to it.

Press enquiries:
Miriam Orieskova
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74864
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 31054
&
Tanja Rudolf
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74897
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 31053
e-mail :   lega-press@europarl.eu.int


Youth and Education

Follow-up to the White Paper on a New Impetus for European Youth
Lissy GRÖNER (PES, D)
Report on the Communication from the Commission to the Council - Follow-up to the White Paper on a New Impetus for European Youth - Proposed common objectives for the participation and information of young people, in response to the Council Resolution of 27 June 2002 regarding the framework of European cooperation in the youth field
(COM(2003) 184– C5-0404/2003 – 2003/2127(INI))
Doc.: A5-0081/2004
Procedure : Own-initiative
Debate : 25.02.2004
Vote: 26.02.2004

Vote

The House adopted an own-initiative report on the White Paper on a New Impetus for European Youth - Proposed common objectives for the participation and information of young people, in response to the Council Resolution of 27 June 2002 regarding the framework of European cooperation in the youth field.

Press enquiries:
Pernilla Jourde
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 72420
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 43411
&
Borbely Boglarka
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74845 
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 31114
e-mail :   cult-press@europarl.eu.int


Role of schools in providing access to culture
Vasco GRAÇA MOURA (EPP-ED, P)
Report on the role of schools and school education in maximising public access to culture
(2002/2268(INI))
Doc.: A5-0080/2004
Procedure : Own-initiative
Debate : 25.02.2004
Vote: 26.02.2004

Vote

The House adopted an own-initiative report on role of schools and school education in maximising public access to culture.

Press enquiries:
Pernilla Jourde
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 72420
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 43411
&
Borbely Boglarka
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74845 
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 31114
e-mail :   cult-press@europarl.eu.int


Agriculture

Rural development funding
Joseph DAUL (EPP-ED, F)
Report on the proposal for a Council regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1257/1999 on support for rural development from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF)
(COM(2003) 806 – C5-0032/2004 – 2003/0312(CNS))
Doc.: A5-/2004
Procedure : Consultation
Vote : 26.02.2004

Vote

The House adopted by 325 votes in favour, 28 against with 25 abstentions a non-binding resolution on support for rural development from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).
Press enquiries:
Maria Andrés Marìn
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73603
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 44299
e-mail :   agri-press@europarl.eu.int


Other items

Changes to the Agenda
25.02.2004

At the opening of the sitting, the House adopted the following changes to the agenda on the proposal of the President:

The Council and Commission statements on the Spring Summit were combined in a joint debate with consideration of the report from Christa RANDZIO-PLATH (PES, D) on the broad economic guidelines and that from Roberto Felice BIGLIARDO (UEN, I) on public finances in the EMU.

The debates on the Wilfried KUCKELKORN (PES, D), Lissy GRÖNER (PES, D), Vasco GRAÇA MOURA (EPP-ED, P), Pernille FRAHM (EUL/NGL, DK) and Christa RANDZIO-PLATH (PES, D) (shipbuilding) reports were debated after 7pm on Wednesday The reports from Adeline HAZAN (PES, F) on joint flights for the removal of illegal immigrants and the report from Janelly FOURTOU (EPP-ED, F) on intellectual property rights were postponed to a future sitting.

Joseph DAUL's (EPP-ED, F) report on genetic resources in agriculture was withdrawn from the agenda. Additional votes without debates took place on the report from Malcolm HARBOUR (EPP-ED, West Midlands) and Manuel MEDINA ORTEGA (PES, E) on the EU Staff Regulations, two reports from Sérgio SOUSA PINTO (PES, P) on agreements with Macao and China, the report from Neena GILL (PES, West Midlands) on the EP budget estimates, the report from Jutta HAUG (PES, D) on the Communities' own resources and on a draft resolution on nuclear disarmament.


One minute interventions
 
25.02.2004

Mary BANOTTI (EPP-ED, Dublin) informed the House of a major seminar held in Dublin on HIV/AIDS. She compared the growth of the disease to the Black Death in the 14th century and urged recognition of the serious and deadly nature of the problem. President Pat COX (ELDR, Munster), who had attended the meeting himself, responded that he would ensure the final declaration of the seminar was circulated to leaders of the political groups and discussed by the Conference of Presidents.

Baroness Sarah LUDFORD (ELDR, London) reported that the latest Eurobarometer survey had shown immigration to be one of the top 4 issues concerning EU citizens. She criticised the failure of Member States to meet their treaty obligations to adopt a common asylum and immigration policy and for making, what she called "a complete mess" of the issue of free movement for citizens of the new Member States. With the growth in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and the arguments regarding headscarves in France, there was a dangerous situation. She asked the President to call on EU leaders at the Spring Summit to ensure these issues were discussed with sensitivity and tact to avoid a success for extremists at the June elections.

Proinsias DE ROSSA (PES, Dublin) told the House that he had recently returned from the West Bank, where he had been shocked by the conditions imposed on Palestinians by the building by Israel of a security barrier. This was not being built along the Israeli border, but completely surrounding Palestinian towns and villages, leaving entry and exit available only to those with permits, he said. Mr De Rossa called for the EU to take a stand on the issue in the Hague court case: Israel was free to build a barrier anywhere it wished on its own territory, he said, but this one was a recipe for the continued destabilisation of the Israeli state, as it was imprisoning, criminalising and dehumanising the Palestinian people.

Nirj DEVA (EPP-ED, South East) highlighted the suffering caused by the earthquake in Morocco. He called on the Commission to act quickly to provide help via the EU Humanitarian Aid Office, ECHO. President Cox responded that he was in communication with the Moroccan authorities to offer Parliament's sympathy, and called on the EU to show effective solidarity.

Agenda of plenary session Strasbourg 8-11 March 2004

Monday 8 March 2004 (5pm to 10pm)

5-10pm
             ▪ Opening of part-session and order of business
             ▪ Oral questions by Anna KARAMANOU (PES, GR) on gender equality
             ▪ Report by Marianne ERIKSSON (EUL/NGL, S) on the sex industry in the European Union
***II  ▪ Report by Lissy GRÖNER (PES, D) on DAPHNE II
             ▪ Report by Regina BASTOS (EPP/ED, P) on reconciling work, the family and private life
             ▪ Report by María Elena VALENCIANO MARTÍNEZ-OROZCO (PES, E) on the situation of women from minority groups in the EU
             ▪ Report by Karin JUNKER (PES, D) on population and development

             ▪ Joint debate - drug trafficking
*    Report by Arie OOSTLANDER (EPP-ED, NL) on constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties in the field of drug trafficking
*    Report by Marjo MATIKAINEN-KALLSTRÖM (EPP-ED, FIN) on the convention on the suppression by customs administrations of illicit drug trafficking on the high seas

*  ▪ Report by Patsy SÖRENSEN (Greens/EFA, B) on short-term residence permits for victims of trafficking
*  ▪ Report by Christian Ulrik von BOETTICHER (EPP-ED, D) on the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at External Borders

Tuesday 9 March 2004
(9-12pm; 3-5pm; 9pm-12 midnight)

9-12noon

             ▪ (Possibly) Votes on requests for urgent procedure (Rule 112)
***I  ▪ Report by Marit PAULSEN (ELDR, S) on official feed and food control
***I  ▪ Report by Herbert BÖSCH (PES, A) on the protection of the Community's financial interests

             ▪ Joint debate - Budget 2004
                   • Report by Jan MULDER (ELDR, NL) on the amending budget 1/2004
*    Report by Joan COLOM I NAVAL (PES, E) and Reimer BÖGE (EPP-ED,
                         D) on the 6th Euratom framework programme
***I    Reports (x3) by Joan COLOM I NAVAL (PES, E) and Reimer BÖGE
                         (EPP-ED, D) on enlargement

             ▪ Joint debate - Subsidies
***II    Report by Christa PRETS (PES, A) on youth programmes
***II    Report by Doris PACK (EPP-ED, D) on education and training programmes
***II    Report by Ulpu IIVARI (PES, FIN) on cultural programmes

             ▪ Joint debate - Rules of procedure of the European Parliament
                   • Report by Richard CORBETT (PES, Yorkshire and the Humber) on restructuring the European Parliament's Rules of Procedure
                   • Report by Giorgos DIMITRAKOPOULOS (EPP-ED, GR) on statute and financing of European political parties

             ▪ Joint debate - Community law
                   • Report by Neil MacCORMICK (Greens/EFA, Scotland) on monitoring the application of Community law
                   • Report by Manuel MEDINA ORTEGA (PES, E) on simplifying and improving Community regulation

             ▪ Report by Bill MILLER (PES, Scotland) on the internal market strategy: prioriies 2003-2006
***I  ▪ Report by Hans KRONBERGER (IND, A) on the quality of ambient air
***I  ▪ Report by Luis BERENGUER FUSTER (PES, E) on electromagnetic compatibility
***I  ▪ Report by Astrid THORS (ELDR, FIN) on eco-design requirements for energy-using products
***I  ▪ Report by Bernd LANGE (PES, D) on pollution from natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas engines

12noon-1pm

             ▪ Votes
                   • Texts on which debate is closed
5-5.30pm

             ▪ Commission communication
5.30-7pm

             ▪ Question Time (Commission)

Wednesday 10 March 2004
(9am to 12pm; 3-5.30pm; 9pm-midnight)

9am-12 noon

             ▪  Council and Commission statements on the preparation of the European Council (Brussels, 25/26 March 2004)

             ▪ Joint debate - Enlargement/candidate countries
                   • Report by Elmar BROK (EPP-ED, D) on the comprehensive monitoring report on the candidate countries
                   • Report by Geoffrey VAN ORDEN (EPP-ED, Eastern) on Bulgaria
                   • Report by Baroness Emma NICHOLSON (ELDR, South East) on Romania

***II  ▪  Report by Theresa VILLIERS (EPP-ED, London) on markets in financial instruments
***I  ▪  Report by Peter SKINNER (PES, South East) on information about issuers of traded securities
*  ▪  Report by Olle SCHMIDT (ELDR, S) on VAT on services provided in the postal sector
*  ▪  Report by Othmar KARAS (EPP-ED, A) on the common system of taxation for mergers and transfers of assets of companies of different Member States
*  ▪  Report by Godelieve QUISTHOUDT-ROWOHL (EPP-ED, D) on the EU-Israel agreement on scientific and technical cooperation
***II  ▪  Report by Nick CLEGG (ELDR, East Midlands) on protection against unfair practices in air services from third countries
***I  ▪  Report by Peter Michael MOMBAUR (EPP-ED, D) on the security of natural gas supply
***I  ▪  Report by Jan DHAENE (PES, B) on civil aviation security
***I  ▪  Report by Paolo COSTA (ELDR, I) on the implementation of the International Safety Management Code
*  ▪  Report by Paolo COSTA (ELDR, I) on the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF)
***II  ▪  Report by Jim NICHOLSON (EPP-ED, Northern Ireland) on insurance requirements for air carriers
***I  ▪  Report by Philip Charles BRADBOURN (EPP-ED, West Midlands) on the development of the trans-European transport network

12noon-1pm

             ▪  Votes
                         • Texts on which debate is closed

5.30-7pm
             ▪  Question Time (Council)

Thursday 11 March 2004
(10-12noon; 12-1pm; 3-4.30pm)

10-12noon

*  ▪ Report by Joseph DAUL (EPP-ED, F) on support schemes for farmers
*  ▪ Report by Lutz GOEPEL (EPP-ED, D) on adapting the Acts of Accession to CAP reform
*  ▪ Report by Vincenzo LAVARRA (PES, I) on COM in olive oil and table olives
*  ▪ Report by Joke SWIEBEL (PES, NL) on European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia
             ▪ Report by Karin JÖNS (PES, D) on health care and care of the elderly
***I  ▪ Report by Marie-Hélène GILLIG (PES, F) on social security schemes for people moving within the Community

12noon - 1pm

             ▪ Votes on texts on which debate is closed

4.30-5.30pm (at the end of the preceding debates or 4.30pm at the latest)

             ▪ Debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law (Rule 50) [one hour maximum]

5.30pm (or at the end of the preceding debates)

       ▪ Votes

                         • Motions for resolutions concerning debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law (rule 50)
                   • Texts on which debate is closed


EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

Editors:

Richard Freedman

Secretariat:

Sarah Donohoe

 

Ralph Pine

 

Annette Kronlins

 

Tel. 41448/4294

 
   

Brussels:

Strasbourg:

PHS 4C87/4C85

IPE3 F02/001

B-1047 Brussels

BP1024, F-67070 Strasbourg

Tel. (32-2) 284 29 41

Tel. (33) 3 88 17 47 51/37 85

Fax (32-2) 284 65 15

Fax (33) 3 88 17 93 55

 

e-mail: presse-en@europarl.eu.int

Internet: http://www.europarl.eu.int/press/index_publi_en.htm

 

Close: Thursday, 26 February 2004


Political groups in the European Parliament
As at 27.02.2004

 

B

DK

D

GR

E

F

IRL

I

L

NL

A

P

FIN

S

UK

Total

EPP-ED

5

1

53

9

28

21

5

34

2

9

7

9

5

7

37

232

PES

6

2

35

9

23

18

1

16

2

6

6

12

3

6

29

174

ELDR

5

6

   

3

1

1

8

1

8

   

5

4

11

53

EUL/NGL

 

3

7

7

4

15

 

6

 

1

 

2

1

3

 

49

Greens/
EFA

6

 

4

 

4

9

2

2

1

4

2

 

2

2

6

44

UEN

 

1

     

4

6

10

     

2

     

23

EDD

 

3

     

9

     

3

 

 

   

3

18

IND

3

     

1

10

 

11

   

6

     

1

32

Total

25

16

99

25

63

87

15

87

6

31

21

25

16

22

87

625

Changes in the last 60 days

Outgoing Members

Incoming Members

Joaquim MIRANDA (EUL/NGL, P) as at 31.01.2004
Yves PIÉTRASANTA (Greens/EFA, F) as at 02.02.2004
Joan COLOM I NAVAL (PES, E) as at 25.02.2004

Sérgio RIBEIRO (EUL/NGL, P) as at 09.02.2004
Marie-Françoise DUTHU (Greens/EFA, F) as at 11.02.2004
Jacqueline ROUSSEAUX (ELDR, B) as at 19.02.2004

Political groups

EPP-ED

European People’s Party and European Democrats (includes the British Conservatives, 1 Ulster Unionist MEP, Fine Gael from Ireland and 1 Irish Independent MEP)

PES

Party of European Socialists (includes the British Labour Party, 1 SDLP MEP and 1 Irish Labour Party MEP)

ELDR

European Liberal, Democratic and Reformist Group (includes the British Liberal Democrats and 1 Irish Independent MEP)

Greens/EFA

Greens/European Free Alliance Group in the European Parliament (includes the British and Irish Greens, the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru)

EUL/NGL

European United Left/Nordic Green Left (no UK or Irish members)

UEN

Union for Europe of the Nations (includes the Irish Fianna Fail members)

EDD

Europe of Democracies and Diversities (includes the members of the UK Independence Party)

IND

Independents (includes 1 Democratic Unionist MEP)

Last updated: 1 March 2004Legal notice