Index 
The Week
04-07-2005(s)
President of the European Parliament "horrified by the terrorist attacks on London"
European Parliament holds one minute's silence for Filip Adwent
No directive on software patents
Cohesion Policy 2007-2013 - EP priorities ahead of budget agreement
Cohesion Fund - Increased resources and support for outlying regions
European Regional Development Fund - VAT out, sustainable housing in
New cross-border cooperation policy
MEPs support Global Action against Poverty
For a mine-free world
Increase cooperation and coordination of aid actions
President Ciampi of Italy in formal address to MEPs
Parliament rejects report on ECB
Tackling the €uro popularity deficit
Improving efficiency of cross-border clearing and settlement
Ban on six phthalates
More money for the environment
Security of electricity supply - agreement between Parliament and Council
Maritime Transport Protocol with China
Call for a UN peace-keeping force in Iraq
Condemnation of attack on media independence in Belarus
Srebrenica - 10 years on
EU-Far East relations
Strengthening the European Social Fund
Turkey urged to enforce legislation on women's rights
Equal opportunities for men and women
Impact of funding reforms on fishermen must not be ignored
Law applicable to non contractual obligations
Protection of passengers in car crashes
Opening up the textile market but only on equal terms
Pollutant release and transfer register
Flame retardants: MEPs challenge the Commission
Mandate for budgetary conciliation
Bulgarian and Romanian Observers in EP on 26 September
EU-Canada agreement on transfer of travellers' personal data
Agreements with Switzerland on Schengen and the asylum system
Salaries and allowances of Europol staff
Illegal logging - EP criticises "slow progress"
Agriculture in the outermost regions
Condemnation of Zimbabwe oppression
Trafficking in children in Guatemala
Condemnation of human rights situation in Ethiopia

Statements

President of the European Parliament "horrified by the terrorist attacks on London"
 
Statement by President Borrell
07.07.2005

Parliament President Josep BORRELL held one-minute's silence after news of a coordinated series of attacks in London on Thursday morning, 7 July.

President Borrell made the following statement to Parliament:

"In the last hour, reports have reached me of what now appears to be a co-ordinated series of attacks on London's transport system. Explosions have been detonated on three buses and four tube stations and there are already confirmed deaths and terrible injuries. Reports of attacks are continuing to arrive every few minutes.

On behalf of the Parliament, I want to express our condolences to the families of those who have died and express our solidarity to those who are injured and suffering the consequences of these barbaric acts.

As President of the Parliament, and also as a citizen of a country which experienced only last year the horror of this kind of multiple attack, I want to send, on behalf of the Parliament, a message of solidarity to the British people.

We all stand with you today, and we will never let the atrocities of terrorism defeat the values of peace and democracy in Europe."


European Parliament holds one minute's silence for Filip Adwent
04.07.2005

President of the European Parliament Josep BORRELL opened the plenary session by calling for a minute's silence in memory of Filip ADWENT (IND/DEM, PL) who died in a car crash along with his mother, daughter and father on Saturday, 18 June. He paid tribute to him, describing him as a "high quality MEP known for his sense of justice and conviction". He expressed his condolences to Mr Adwent's wife and family and said that he will be greatly missed.


Internal Market

No directive on software patents
Michel ROCARD (PES, FR)
Report on the Council common position for adopting a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions
(11979/1/2004 – C6 0058/2005 – 2002/0047(COD))
Doc.: A6-0207/2005
Procedure : Codecision (2nd reading)
Debate : 05.07.2005
Vote : 06.07.2005

Vote

There will not be any EU legislation on the computer-implemented invention. Parliament rejected, by 648 votes to 14 with 18 abstentions, the so-called software patent directive, putting an end to a passionate three year debate.

Before the vote, rapporteur Michel ROCARD (PES, FR) said Parliament was split fifty-fifty on the issue and all political groups decided to reject the text rather than risk a result they could not accept. He added: "There is collective anger throughout the Parliament because of the way the directive was handled by the Commission and the Council," recalling the contested approval of the common position.  He said the vote is a clear invitation to the Commission and the Council to show full respect to the EP in future. He concluded that "this legislation is not mature for adoption."

Commissioner Benita FERRERO-WALDNER reacted to the vote by saying that without the directive, patents on computerised inventions will continue to be granted by national offices and by the European Patent Office, with no harmonisation and thus allowing possible different interpretations of the rules.

During the debate on Tuesday, Commissioner Joaquín ALMUNIA told MEPs: "Should you decide to reject the common position, the Commission will not submit a new proposal." Attention now moves to the proposed directive for a Community patent, currently in discussion in the Council, mentioned by a number of MEPs as the appropriate legislative instrument to address the issue of software patentability.

According to the co-decision rules, the negative vote means the end of the legislative procedure and the fall of the directive.

The common position, if approved, would have allowed patenting of computer-implemented inventions. This outcome was advocated by big software firms, which argued that patents would encourage research spending and defend European inventions from US competition. On the contrary, the directive was criticised by supporters of "open source" software, mainly smaller companies, who claimed copyright already protects their inventions and were afraid that patenting would raise legal costs.

Debate

Rapporteur Michel ROCARD (PES, FR) said three things were at stake as this long parliamentary battle came to an end: free movement of ideas, respect for competition and refusal of monopolies, and protection of individuals and small businesses against domination by multinational corporations.

No-one, said Mr Rocard, wants patents on software itself. Silicon Valley had managed without patents for twenty years - copyright protection had been enough. "What is immaterial is not technical and should not be patentable," he said. A sensor that sends data to software or sends a signal from software should be patentable, but not the software itself, he said. The problem was when software was part of a new invention where the only difference is a change in the software: "Things have gone off the rails, when the European Patent Office calls that technical. We now have patents granted on teaching methods, sales methods and surgical guides."

He said such "abuses" should lead us to return to principles and the law. Big corporations were afraid of losing their protection, but the costs of patents were rising. "Freedom is better," said Mr Rocard, saying that those who opposed his position showed the weakness of their arguments by resorting to insults about returning to the middle ages. It was time to reconcile law with consistency and clarity. He called on corporations to adjust to this new situation.

Political group speakers

Piia-Noora KAUPPI (FI) for the EPP-ED group criticised the fact that the Council common position did not include any of the European Parliament's first reading amendments. She called for support for the EPP-ED "moderate" amendments which seek to tighten up the directive. Mrs Kauppi also criticised the European Patent Office. The directive, she said, should allow the development of "open-source" software and enable businesses to flourish and patents should be available quickly. Mrs Kauppi stated that it was "likely" that conciliation would be needed and warned that the Parliament could still reject the whole directive as "no directive would be better than a bad directive".

Maria BERGER (AT) for the Socialists thanked Michel Rocard and Arlene McCarthy (PES, UK) as the two rapporteurs on the directive. The Council had been inflexible in adopting its common position. Mrs Berger questioned whether this was the right way to legislate. The EU needed a properly functioning European patent system easily accessible by both large and small companies. Mrs Berger stated that she backed the proposed amendments from Mr Rocard.

Toine MANDERS (NL) for the ALDE group stated that the European Patent Office, based in Munich, has recently granted "pointless patents" and there was a consensus that these should not have been granted. Article 52 of the Munich Convention, he said, was legally clear and he questioned why this was being disputed. There should be, he said, democratic control of the European Patent Office and this directive was not the correct method to legislate.

Evelin LICHTENBERGER (AT), on behalf of the Greens/EFA group, said that while everyone agreed on the need for innovation in the Information Technology field, particularly to protect SMEs and enable them to develop, the dispute over amendments risked leaving the backdoor open to the patenting of software. If the common position were to be approved, the gates would flood open for the whole patent system as "ideas would become market objects", leaving SMEs with no chance to keep up. It was simply too costly for them to defend patents. She said it was important not to bow to pressure from an industry that wants the full patentability of software and called for support for the 21 amendments favouring a free market with open competition: "We need to develop European innovation".

For the GUE/NGL group, Ilda FIGUEIREDO (PT) said the stakes were particularly high in this debate. The Council's common position was unacceptable, as it ignored completely Parliament's amendments. "You cannot patent ideas and knowledge," she said, "We should reject the Council's common position. That is the only way to stop moving down this dangerous path." There would be serious repercussions if the right to write software was concentrated in a few large corporations. Small companies, she said, would need to hire teams of lawyers to check they were not contravening any patents, but they would not have the deep pockets of multinationals.

Thomas WISE (UK) spoke for the Independence and Democracy Group. He said computer entrepreneurs were independent spirits and they rejected restricted monoliths like the EU and this directive. But, he said, Mr Rocard's amendments were not trying to block the directive, they accepted the basic principle of harmonisation. "We will vote to reject the directive completely. I have always said that if the EU is the answer it must have been a silly question. Now that is patently obvious!"

Brian CROWLEY (IE) for the UEN group paid a personal tribute to the efforts of Mr Rocard, but he said that the debate on this issue seems often to be totally unconnected to the real world. "Innovation is the key to our economies. Ideas need protection. A free-for-all would mean no protection, with US and Japanese companies able to patent European ideas. Patents are not a sword, they are a shield." He said 62 000 jobs in Ireland were based in small computer innovation businesses, and all these SMEs favoured the common position.

The non-attached member Bruno GOLLNISCH (FR) said software patents would be a death sentence for SMEs and independent software developers. The EPO had contradicted the spirit and the letter of the Patents Convention, granting 30 000 patents which were trivial and often ill-founded. Computers used language - and that should not be patented, particular combinations of words could be protected by copyright. The Commission and Council wanted to kill innovation, he said.

British and Irish speakers

Sharon BOWLES (ALDE, UK) stated that the need for this directive was based on improved territorial cohesion for patents. She welcomed the fact that software claims would be excluded from the directive. Mrs Bowles stated that Member States should ensure that the unauthorised supply or import of a computer program which is an essential element of a product or process validly claimed should constitute an infringement. This would mean that a patented invention remained the method/apparatus but an importer (eg from China) would be in the same legal position as those within the Member State.
Mrs Bowles condemned the proposed amendments from Mr Rocard saying they would only protect personal computers. Computer implemented inventions were used in all areas of industry. Mr Rocard's proposed amendments were "simplistic" and, if adopted, would cripple industry.

Kathy SINNOTT (IND/DEM, IE) said this was an important issue for her constituents in Ireland and she had received literally bags of correspondence urging her to vote one way or the other. What was at stake was the ownership of ideas. In software, the great ideas of yesterday were the building blocks of the great ideas of tomorrow. She said: "A lone programmer can write an interesting programme and then let others have it for a fee or put it up as open source software. This has driven innovation up to now, but would this continue if each programmer needed a team of patent lawyers?" She called on MEPs to vote for all amendments proposing freedom from patentability.

Arlene McCARTHY (PES, UK) said Europe had the opportunity to lead the world with good patent law, but there was disagreement about how to achieve this. The law should be tightened to avoid the patenting of software and business methods, but patents were needed to protect the ideas of European innovators. "SMEs need patent protection to ensure their ideas are not ripped off by giant companies." Individual programmers, on the other hand, should not have to deal with a mass of trivial patents. A good patents system would enable Europeans to challenge US dominance - India too was now to allow patents on embedded systems.

Andrew DUFF (ALDE, UK) said the strategic challenge was to create a framework to stop the spread of software patentability. It would be a tactical mistake to reject the common position altogether: "Without legislation the industry would be at the mercy of the EPO, the courts and WTO panels. That would be costly, legalistic and confusing." The conciliation procedure would be the best way to achieve a first class law, he said.

Simon COVENEY (EPP-ED, IE) stated that it was a complex technical subject and there had been "heavy" lobbying supporting and opposing the common position. The proposed directive did not, he said, bring in a new patenting system for the EU. It did, however, aim to harmonise the 25 national patent offices in the EU. Mr Coveney said that it was not possible to say the directive was based on a simple split between large companies and SMEs. Small and medium sized enterprises were to be found, he said, on both sides of the argument. The directive would not make it possible, he said, to patent software as opposed to the current US system; copyright exists to protect software. Inter-operability was also essential allowing "open-source" software to flourish. Finally, Mr Coveney said it was likely that the whole directive would be rejected in the vote.

Malcolm HARBOUR (EPP-ED, UK) said the proposed directive's objective was to clarify and harmonise existing patent law. Companies were receiving patents in one country but not in another. He questioned whether the draft directive would achieve this objective, as much of the proposed text was opaque and went in the wrong direction. He stated that the proposed directive may be outdated and companies should be able to protect, for example, their instructions that operate digital technologies. He wondered whether it was not time to start again.

Press enquiries:
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(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 31389
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Regional Policy

Cohesion Policy 2007-2013 - EP priorities ahead of budget agreement
Konstantinos HATZIDAKIS (EPP-ED, EL)
Report on the proposal for a Council Regulation laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund
(COM(2004)0492 - 2004/0163(AVC))
Doc.: A6-0177/2005
Procedure : Assent
Debate : 05.07.2006
Vote : 06.07.2005

In adopting a report with 574 votes in favour 45 against and 44 abstentions in response to the Commission proposal laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), European Social Fund (ESF) and the Cohesion Fund, MEPs key positions are: that 0.41% of Community GDP should be earmarked for cohesion policy; a rejection of any significant modification to the overall architecture of the Commission proposals, including attempts to renationalise all or part of EU regional policy; cohesion policy to be ring-fenced from negotiations on the financial perspective or attempts to make drastic cuts in EU spending.

Specifically on financing, Parliament adopted a paragraph which calls for "a political solution providing for special compensation to be established for those regions or Member States that face substantial financial losses, due to the disparities caused by the implementation of the Commission proposal regarding the allocation of financial resources." Parliament believes that the uncertainty surrounding the financing of structural policies might further undermine citizens' confidence in the European project. The House urges the European Council to take a decision on the financial perspective as early as possible, and in any event before the end of 2005, in order to ensure that an adequate period is allowed to European regions and Member States for the preparation of the new operational programmes.

Eligibility criteria - support for convergence regions

Of interest to some Member States is the inclusion of housing costs as eligible for financing. MEPs are broadly opposed to any attempt to classify expenditure not related to investment, such as housing costs, as eligible for Community co-financing. However, they believe that the costs of renovating social housing aimed at saving energy and protecting the environment should be eligible.

Parliament also takes a clear stance on the potential penalties for company relocations, expressing strong support for the Commission proposal to impose financial penalties on firms which have received EU funding but then decide to relocate. Parliament advocates monitoring systems to quantify the economic and social costs of any relocation so that penalties may be set accordingly. It calls for legal measures to ensure that firms receiving Community funding do not relocate for a "long and predetermined" period.

MEPs oppose any reduction in the ceilings for state aid to convergence regions, including those which are victims of the "statistical effect" (whereby EU average GDP has decreased following enlargement, causing some countries and regions to drop below the eligibility threshold for Objective 1 financing for the EU's poorest regions). Parliament calls for statistical effect regions to have a funding level of 85% of the resources provided to the full convergence regions at the beginning of the funding period, which will reduce to 60% by 2013.

As to transparency and the fight against corruption, MEPs note that the Commission and the Member States have joint responsibility for the Structural Funds. It calls on the Member States to make annual declarations of assurance that EU taxpayers' money has been spent in a regular, legal and transparent manner. MEPs want these declarations to be signed by the finance minister of each Member State. The Commission, should, say MEPs clearly define what it means by "irregularity" for reporting purposes by Member States.

Other issues raised by the Parliament include support for the outermost regions (Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands), special mention of Malta and Cyprus and the abolition of the Commission's arbitrary 150 km limit for defining maritime regions eligible for cross-border co-operation programmes.

Parliament only has the power of assent (i.e. the power to approve or reject the entire Commission proposal without amendment). However, rapporteur Konstantinos HATZIDAKIS (EPP-ED, GR) used Rule 75 (3) of Parliament's Rules of Procedure which allows Parliament to draw up an interim report setting out the House's priorities before a final decision on assent is taken by the Parliament.

Press enquiries:
Richard Freedman
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73785
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 41448
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Cohesion Fund - Increased resources and support for outlying regions
Alfonso ANDRIA (ALDE, IT)
Report on the proposal for a Council Regulation establishing a Cohesion Fund
(COM(2004)0494 - 2004/0166(AVC))
Doc.: A6-0178/2005
Procedure : Assent
Debate : 05.07.2005
Vote : 06.07.2005

MEPs back the proposed increase in the Cohesion Fund from €18 billion (for the period 2000-2006) to €62.99 billion and call for a balanced distribution between the eligible sectors of the environment and transport infrastructure, coupled with some flexibility in intervention by the Fund. MEPs also stress that the new Financial Perspective must ensure that current policy challenges can be met. Chief among these is the reform of cohesion policy. MEPs believe 0.41% of the EU’s Gross National Product (GNP) is the appropriate level for this purpose. Parliament adopted a report on the new Cohesion Fund 2007-2013 with 580 votes in favour, 45 against and 47 abstentions.

Following the Union’s enlargement on 1 May 2004, the Cohesion Fund applies to the 10 new Member States until the end of 2006, as well as to the three Member States eligible at the end of the 2000-2006 period (Greece, Portugal and Spain). To benefit from the Cohesion Fund, a Member State's per capita Gross National Income (GNI) must be less than 90% of the Community average national income, which is the case for all the new Member States.

Parliament does not call for a transitional mechanism for phasing out aid granted to beneficiary Member States whose per capita gross national income (GNI) is more than 90% of the Community average. However, MEPs consider that "a political solution should be sought for the Union territories that will be excluded in future as a result of enlargement."

Parliament calls for the inclusion in the regulation of an explicit reference in favour of people with disabilities and it wants projects financed by the Cohesion Fund to provide for the removal of barriers and obstacles of every kind.

MEPs also want the Commission to take into account the specific characteristics of outlying Member States and island Member States eligible under the Cohesion Fund, given that they suffer from natural and demographic handicaps.

This report was also drawn up under Rule 75 (3) of the Parliament's Rules of Procedure as currently the Parliament only has assent powers on the Cohesion Fund.

Press enquiries:
Richard Freedman
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73785
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e-mail :  region-press@europarl.eu.int


European Regional Development Fund - VAT out, sustainable housing in
Giovvani (Claudio) FAVA (PES, IT)
Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Regional Development Fund
(COM(2004)0495 – C6 0089/2004 – 2004/0167(COD))
Doc.: A6-0184/2005
Procedure : Codecision (1st reading)
Debate : 05.07.2005
Vote : 06.07.2005

In adopting a legislative resolution on the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), by 605 votes in favour, 37 against with 13 abstentions, Parliament decided that VAT costs should not be eligible for financing from the ERDF. On housing costs, MEPs said the costs should also be excluded, except for expenses which relate to renovation of social housing with a view to saving energy and protecting the environment.

The Commission's proposal clearly stated that neither VAT nor housing were eligible for a contribution from the ERDF. Despite several MEPs advocating the inclusion of VAT, the House reached a position supporting the Commission's proposal to exclude VAT.

MEPs enlarged the scope of the regulation, saying it should cover urban and rural areas, areas dependent on fisheries, outlying and island regions, trans-frontier regions, mountain areas and those with serious natural or demographic handicaps.

Mr Fava's report also stresses the importance of reducing the digital divide through the ERDF. It says funding should be made available for promoting access to and efficient use of information and communication technology by smaller firms, by setting up infrastructure in the most remote regions, supporting access to networks, the establishment of public Internet access points, equipment and the development of services and applications, including action plans for very small and craft businesses.
On this regulation, Parliament has codecision powers with the Council. This serves as Parliament's first reading and the Council should now come to a common position during the British Presidency. The budget and the start date for the release of funds depend on an eventual agreement on the EU financial perspective 2007-2013.

Press enquiries:
Richard Freedman
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73785
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e-mail :  region-press@europarl.eu.int


New cross-border cooperation policy
Jan Marian OLBRYCHT (EPP-ED, PL)
Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on establishing a European grouping of cross-border cooperation (EGCC)
(COM(2004)0496 – C6 0091/2004 – 2004/0168(COD))
Doc.: A6-0206/2005
Procedure : Codecision (1st reading)
Debate : 05.07.2005
Vote : 06.07.2005

Parliament gave strong backing to a new way of promoting territorial cohesion within the EU in a legislative report adopted with 662 votes in favour, 31 against and 15 abstentions. The new financial instrument enables the setting up of cross-border groupings which will be able to access EU funding and should address the traditional legal and administrative problems encountered in the management of cross-border programmes and projects.

The aim of the proposed regulation is to overcome existing obstacles hindering cross-border co-operation. The regulation allows the creation of cooperative groupings in the EU territory, invested with legal personality. The groupings are to be regulated by a convention agreed between the participating national, regional, local or other public authorities.

The Commission had proposed to call these new groupings "European grouping of cross-border cooperation (EGCC)". However, Parliament insisted on the name "European grouping of territorial cohesion (EGTC)" and says they should support European territorial co-operation in three areas: cross-border, inter-regional or trans-national.

Some €14.3 billion had been initially allocated by the Commission for this proposal on cross-border co-operation for 2007-2013. As with the other Structural Funds, the final amounts will depend on the eventual agreement on the overall EU budget for 2007-2013.

Press enquiries:
Richard Freedman
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Development & Cooperation

MEPs support Global Action against Poverty
Motions for resolutions - Global call to action against poverty: Making Poverty History
Doc.: B6-0398/2005, B6-0402/2005. B6-0403/2005, B6-0406/2005, B6-0407/2005, B6-0410/2005
Vote : 06.07.2005

Vote

MEPs say the battle against poverty in the world is a matter for everyone. They welcome the UK Presidency’s commitment to prioritise development and the fight against poverty with a special focus on Africa. They also note the critical role that civil society organisations have to play and welcome the initiative of the worldwide alliance ‘The Global Call to Action against Poverty’ which brings together more than 600 NGOs from around the world.

Parliament welcomes the G8 commitment to debt cancellation for Highly Indebted Poor Countries, but they warn that "debt relief is no panacea in the fight against poverty." Other measures are also needed, such as improving the quality and efficiency of aid, the fight against corruption and greater transparency.

MEPs support the increase in EU aid spending approved by the Council on 16-17 June. However, they call for better use of existing aid, notably through the reorganisation of priorities to focus on the Millennium Development Goals. They say the EU and its Member States should devote at least 20 per cent of their aid to health and education projects.

The EU should also ensure that its internal policies are compatible with its international commitments. For example, during negotiations at the WTO, it should, along with other industrialised countries, give developing countries better access to its markets - whether for agriculture, industry or services - and set a timetable for the abolition of agricultural export subsidies.

Finally, to improve the visibility of the EU's development aid activity, MEPs want the Union to fund a number of particular causes, such as vaccination of children and the fight against malaria, in partnership with the relevant organisations.

White Band Make Poverty History Campaign in the European Parliament

President BORRELL explained that the white ribbon wrapped around the plenary Chamber signified Parliament's support for the Make Poverty History campaign. Noting that Wednesday's debate on Africa would coincide with the G8 summit in Gleneagles, he said it was now Parliament's turn to show its support and send an "ambitious message" to the summit. "Combating poverty is the objective of development policy in the EU and this year is the year to do it". He called on all MEPs to sign a second white ribbon in a show of solidarity against poverty, which UK MP Hilary BENN will took to Gleneagles.

Press enquiries:
Armelle Douaud
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74779
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For a mine-free world
Motions for resolutions - A world without land-mines
Doc.: B6-0414/2005, B6-0423/2005, B6-0425/2005, B6-0427/2005, B6-0429/2005, B6-0440/2005
Vote : 07.07.2005

The European Parliament adopted a joint resolution on landmines which seeks, ultimately, to achieve a universal ban by endorsing measures to halt the use, production and proliferation of mines.

MEPs call on all States to sign and ratify the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, and call on states not party to it to take steps to clear mine-affected areas and provide support for survivors.

MEPs want the USA to reconsider joining the Convention and further call on the USA not to take measures that would violate the Convention, including the production, trade in or use of any munitions that would meet the definition of anti-personnel mines and the delivery of anti-personnel mines to EU Member States and other friendly countries. They call on China to stop its production, as well as Russia who should also stop using landmines in Chechnya.

The House calls on the three remaining members of the enlarged EU to accede to and ratify the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty without delay. The Nairobi Action Plan should be fully implemented by all parties if the Convention’s humanitarian and disarmament aims in the period 2005-2009 are to be achieved.

Further measures recommended by MEPs include: the mainstreaming of Ottawa Convention requirements into development programmes with third countries where landmines are an obstacle to development, a broader interpretation of the concept of 'anti-personnel landmine' to include accidental detonation, a strengthened approach by all parties and Member States to mines and assistance for victims, increased resources for mine action, EU action against companies involved in landmines and those investing in them, and strengthened European leadership in global disarmament.

Press enquiries:
Armelle Douaud
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Increase cooperation and coordination of aid actions
Gabriele ZIMMER (GUE/NGL, DE)
Report on the impact of the lending activities of the European Community in developing countries
(2004/2213(INI))
Doc.: A6-0183/2005
Procedure : Own-initiative
Debate : 06.07.2005

Parliament adopted an own-initiative report on the impact of the lending activities of the European Community in developing countries.

Press enquiries:
Armelle Douaud
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74779
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 43806
(32) 0498.983.588
e-mail :  deve-press@europarl.eu.int


Statements

President Ciampi of Italy in formal address to MEPs
Address by Mr Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, President of the Italian Republic
05.07.2005

The President of Italy Carlo Azeglio CIAMPI was warmly welcomed by Parliament President Josep BORRELL at the start of the formal sitting. He was praised by President Borrell for his contribution to European construction and his "lucid passion for building Europe as a guarantor of peace, democracy and economic development". Noting the current period of disenchantment in Europe, he welcomed President Ciampi's symbolic and timely presence.

President Ciampi thanked the House and President Borrell for the warm and affectionate welcome in the "highest forum of European democracy". He began by saying that Europe was more than just an economic union. "Europe is not and cannot be just an economic free trade area. It is primarily a political area, a constitutional organism which links to, complements and completes our own national constitutions". It was because of this unity that Europe was strong enough to recover from the 'no' votes. He warned against the temptation to question the very idea of Europe. The French and Dutch referendums were a "scapegoat for a more general disenchantment" over exclusion from the decision-making process and lack of economic growth, he said. And Europe needs a Constitution, he stressed. Quoting the Spanish philosopher, Jose Ortego Y Gassett, he said "A Union needs a skeleton of cohesion policies - physical, social and economic." In this spirit, he called for greater cohesion in the Union, adding that distortions and disparities in living conditions between countries were not acceptable.

His address was at one point interrupted by a group of Northern League MEPs waving their flag before they were escorted out of the Chamber on the demand of President Borrell.

He went on to say there was a lack of political will among national governments which hindered major Community projects, before urging Europe to re-launch its commitment to major programmes, like Galileo and Erasmus, push for a single seat at the UN and a security and peace policy, and formulate "avant-garde" initiatives for an enlarged Europe.

He concluded by renewing his commitment to Europe and called on all not to let the period of reflection turn into a period where Europe is forgotten. "Long live Europe. Long live the European Union".


Economic & Monetary Affairs

Parliament rejects report on ECB
Kurt Joachim LAUK (EPP-ED, DE)
Report on the 2004 Annual Report of the European Central Bank
(2005/2048(INI))
Doc.: A6-0203/2005
Procedure : Own-initiative
Vote : 05.07.2005

By a nine vote majority, MEPs rejected a report from the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee which was strongly supportive of the policies and practice of the European Central Bank. The vote on the report by Kurt LAUK (EPP-ED, DE) was 287 in favour, 296 against and 41 abstentions.

The report praised the ECB's policy of concentrating on its prime objective of maintaining price stability and thereby contributing to achieving sustainable economic growth. Before the final vote, amendments calling for the ECB to lower interest rates had been rejected by the plenary.

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Tackling the €uro popularity deficit
Jules MAATEN (ALDE, NL)
Report on the implementation of an information and communication strategy on the euro and Economic and Monetary Union
(2005/2078(INI))
Doc.: A6-0197/2005
Procedure : Own-initiative
Vote : 05.07.2005

MEPs are calling for a concerted campaign to convince the public of the benefits of the euro. This comes in an own-initiative report drawn up by Jules MAATEN (ALDE, NL) and adopted by 493 votes in favour to 117 against with 14 abstentions.

The report lists a large number of benefits of economic and monetary union - price stability, reduced transaction costs, greater price transparency within the euro zone, reduced price volatility on the international currency markets and protection against external shocks, historically low interest rates, low mortgage rates and easier travel.

In Parliament's view, "the euro is possibly the most successful European project ever launched" but MEPs are also aware that a certain section of the European public "purports to have a negative perception of the euro... and this tendency is on the rise". They therefore say the single currency must remain a communication priority for the EU, the benefits of which must "continue to be sold and explained to the public at length", using modern marketing techniques to get the message across. A particular effort needs to be made in small towns and remote areas. The European Central Bank should provide an annual quantitative analysis of the benefits of the euro for ordinary citizens

MEPs say it is important to consider the concerns form the three non-euro countries of old EU15, calling on the Commission to help the governments of the UK, Sweden and Denmark "in their quest to win over a sceptical public, if these governments so wish."

On the other hand, the report says the Commission should concentrate its efforts on helping the new Member States to prepare their citizens for adoption of the euro by undertaking an intensive information campaign, and to supervise its implementation where such a campaign has already started. MEPs say a requirement of dual pricing three months before introducing the euro and up to 12 months afterwards can help reduce people's fears of euro-induced price rises and put pressure on businesses not to use the conversion as a pretext for price rises. Experience from malpractices of this sort in the current euro area should be used in future entrants to prevent such behaviour. More generally, the EU should support 'twinning' arrangements between ministries of finance and central banks of present and future euro members to help spread good practice. The report calls on the Commission to draw up reports on best practices and encourage national, regional and local authorities to establish local reporting centres where anyone can report any abuse, such as unwarranted price increases.

Parliament also asks the Commission to analyse the excess of €500 notes in circulation, warning of the risks associated with such a high value note with regard to money laundering and crime. It queries the relevance of keeping such notes, given the rise in electronic trading in transactions.

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Improving efficiency of cross-border clearing and settlement
Piia-Noora KAUPPI (EPP-ED, FI)
Report on clearing and settlement in the European Union
(2004/2185(INI))
Doc.: A6-0180/2005
Procedure : Own-initiative
Debate : 06.07.2005

Clearing and settlement is the plumbing of the financial system. Roughly speaking, it concerns the activities whereby financial institutions deal with the consequences of trade in securities, calculating who owes what to whom and ultimately transferring ownership of the security concerned. The European Commission is carrying out an impact assessment to identify the comparative benefits of regulatory and non-regulatory options to reduce the cost of cross-border transactions. There is significant scope for increased efficiency in cross-border clearing and settlement of securities transactions, where there is a multiplicity of domestic systems in play.

MEPs adopted by 470 votes in favour to 20 against with 82 abstentions a report by Piia-Noora KAUPPI (EPP-ED, FI), which is intended to be Parliament's contribution to the Commission's development of policy in this area. The report highlights that inefficiencies in cross border transactions arise due to national differences of legal nature, technical requirements, market practices and tax procedures, and in some cases due to restrictive market practices. It says efforts to encourage integration should focus on bringing down costs of cross-border clearing and settlement, ensuring that systemic or other risks are properly managed and regulated, encouraging integration by removing competitive distortions and ensuring proper transparency and governance arrangements.

The report does not come out for or against a new directive, but it says that if the Commission does decide to propose legislation, it should focus on: re-confirming and strengthening access rights in order to ensure fair and non-discriminatory access to central clearing and settlement service providers; strengthening passporting rights for providers of clearing and settlement services supported, when needed, by regulatory convergence; allowing for transparency and enabling market forces to work effectively; achieving consistency of regulation, supervision and transparency to enable providers of clearing and settlement services to manage systemic risk and anti-competitive behaviour; establishing a functional approach to the regulation of different players, which takes into account the different risk profiles and competitive situations of different entities; introducing definitions that are coherent and consistent with existing market practices and with the terms used globally and within the EU.

MEPs argue that the removal of the 15 barriers identified by the Giovannini reports is essential. They say fiscal barriers are one reason for higher cross-border costs, and support efforts to reduce these.

Among other points made in the report, Parliament criticises the adoption by CESR-ECSB (Committee of European Securities Regulators and the European System of Central Banks) of standards in this area - they reaffirm that such standards should not pre-determine EU legislation and call for an effective means of providing parliamentary scrutiny for the work of CESR in clearing and settlement. The report also urges the Commission to make pro-active use of its general competition powers to prevent abuse of dominant positions by any of the big players in the clearing and settlement market.

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Environment

Ban on six phthalates
Antonios TRAKATELLIS (EPP-ED, EL)
Report on the Council common position for adopting a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending for the twenty-second time Council Directive 76/769/EEC on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations (phthalates in toys and childcare articles)
(5467/1/2005 – C6 0092/2005 – 1999/0238(COD))
Doc.: A6-0196/2005
Procedure : Codecision (2nd reading)
Vote: 05.07.2005

Parliament voted in favour of a permanent ban on six phthalates in toys and childcare articles. Phthalates are used to soften plastic. Since 1999, the use of six types of phthalate has been temporarily banned in the manufacture of toys and childcare articles for children under the age of three because of their carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic effects.

The plenary approved the compromise reached by the rapporteur, Antonios TRAKATELLIS (EPP-ED, EL), with the Council just after the second reading vote that took place on 14 June in the Environment Committee. From now on, three phthalates - DEHP, DBP and BBP - are totally banned for use in any toys or childcare articles where their concentration exceeds 0.1% by mass of the plasticised material. Before 1999, concentrations of up to 30% sometimes occurred. The three other phthalates - DINP, DIDP and DNOP - are banned, for the same concentrations, in toys and childcare articles which children could put in their mouths whether or not they are intended for this use. The ban also applies irrespective of the age categories. Besides toys and childcare articles, Parliament also calls on the Commission to look at other types of material containing these phthalates, especially in the field of healthcare.

In the debate which preceded the vote, rapporteur Antonios Trakatellis called for the application of the precautionary principle in this case, given that "the risk assessment is not yet complete", and he was pleased with the concessions Parliament was able to get from the Council, which, in its common position, favoured authorising the second category of phthalates for children above the age of three, which will not now be the case.

On behalf of the European Commission, Günter VERHEUGEN said that the application of the precautionary principle was in keeping with the principle of proportionality. He added that the Commission would examine the question of fragrances, which Parliament had raised in first reading, as part of the next revision of the directive on toys. MEPs fear that manufacturers' use of aromatic products to mask the naturally unpleasant odour of phthalates encourages children to put the articles into their mouths, thereby swallowing toxic substances.

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More money for the environment
Marie Anne ISLER BÉGUIN (Greens/EFA, FR)
Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the Financial Instrument for the Environment (LIFE +)
(COM(2004)0621 – C6 0127/2004 – 2004/0218(COD))
Doc.: A6-0131/2005
Procedure : Codecision (1st reading)
Debate : 07.07.2005

Talking about the environment and sustainable development is all very good, but providing the budget needed to act is better. That is the substance of the report on "Life +" adopted by the European Parliament. The report by Marie Anne ISLER BEGUIN (Greens/EFA, FR) was adopted with 520 votes in favour, 52 against and 15 abstentions. MEPs ask for a substantial increase in the budget proposed by the European Commission for environment policies during the years 2007-2013.
The Commission proposed 2,190 million euros. The EP asks for 9,540 million, in order to integrate at least one third of the budget needed to finance the Natura 2000 projects. In its proposal, the European Commission wanted Natura 2000 - the European ecological network of 18 000 sites established to protect biodiversity - to be financed mainly via structural and rural development funds. MEPs fear that this approach would create competition between economic priorities at the expense of environment.
Until now, many different programmes related to environment policy coexist in the European Union. LIFE, Forest Focus, sustainable urban development programme, and other ones, have their own procedures, the management of which demands considerable resources. In order to increase their efficiency and to simplify their management, a single Financial Instrument for the Environment will be created: "LIFE +". The rapporteur, Mrs Isler Béguin deplored the fact that the European Commission proposal intended to delegate a major part of the responsibilities and the management of the funds to the Member States. The plenary agreed and called for a greater role for the European Commission and for the Parliament. The Commission may decide to entrust part of the budget implementation to national authorities but, in the view of MEPs, the Commission should be responsible for following up, validating and assessing this implementation and should report to the European Parliament.

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Energy

Security of electricity supply - agreement between Parliament and Council
Giles CHICHESTER (EPP-ED, UK)
Report on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning measures to safeguard security of electricity supply and infrastructure investment
(COM(2003)0740 – C5 0643/2003 – 2003/0301(COD))
Doc.: A6-0099/2005
Procedure : Codecision (1st reading)
Debate : 04.07.2005

Parliament adopted a legislative resolution on the security of electricity supply and infrastructure investment. Parliament adopted several amendments to the Commission proposal, which are acceptable to the Council. As the plenary approved the proposed amendments, the procedure can be concluded at the first reading stage.

The purpose of the Commission proposal is to set up an internal framework within which Member States will define general, transparent and non-discriminatory policies on the security of electricity supply compatible with the requirements of a competitive single market for electricity. The Commission believes that, in order to support the necessary investment, Member States must adopt a stable regulatory framework. Particular priority should be given to interconnections between Member States so as to enable increased competition between existing businesses.

MEPs believe the directive's primary objective should be safeguarding the security of the electricity supply so as to ensure the proper functioning of the EU's internal market for electricity.

The House wants to limit the competences of the regulatory authority concerning the building of interconnections. According to the Parliament, transport network managers should regularly provide the regulatory authority with a document detailing their investment projects for the establishment of an adequate level of trans-border interconnection. The regulatory authority should be able to impose economic sanctions on the transport network managers, order them to complete the transport projects by a fixed date and launch tenders for the work to be executed by a contractor.

The Commission proposal follows the power cuts in Italy in 2003. It underlines the fact that for an internal electricity market to function properly, major investments are needed in transport networks. These investments are also necessary for the network to be able to confront growing demand without businesses and citizens suffering frequent power cuts or general electricity breakdowns.

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Transport

Maritime Transport Protocol with China
Paolo COSTA (ALDE, IT)
Report on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion of a Protocol amending the Agreement on Maritime Transport between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the People’s Republic of China, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia, and the Slovak Republic to the European Union
(COM(2004)0864 – C6 0180/2005 – 2004/0290(CNS))
Doc.: A6-0205/2005
Procedure : Consultation
Vote : 05.07.2005

Parliament adopted the report by Paolo COSTA (ALDE, IT) on the Agreement on Maritime Transport between the European Community and its Member States and the People's Republic of China without amendment.

Due to enlargement and the accession of ten new Member States to the EU, a Protocol must be agreed amending this agreement. This protocol is to be concluded by the EU Council which acts unanimously on behalf of the Member States. The Commission and the Chinese representatives in Brussels initiated this draft report in September 2004.

Given the technical character of the document in question, Parliament could give its opinion without a plenary debate under Rule 131 of the Rules of Procedure.

Press enquiries:
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External Relations

Call for a UN peace-keeping force in Iraq
Giorgos DIMITRAKOPOULOS (EPP-ED, EL)
Report on the European Union and Iraq - a framework for engagement
(2004/2168(INI))
Doc.: A6-0198/2005
Procedure : Own-initiative
Debate : 06.07.2005
Vote : 06.07.2005

Foreign troops in Iraq should be replaced by a UN peace-keeping force, the European Parliament said in a resolution adopted by 345 votes in favour, 109 against and 167 abstentions. The EU should promote a new Security Council resolution to this end. MEPs also advocated the setting up of an independent Commission, consisting of UN, EU and Iraqi experts, to investigate past human rights crimes.

MEPs stressed the need to look forward, but did express their concern over the deteriorating security situation and their sadness at the thousands of civilians and 1700 foreign troops who have died since the beginning of the invasion. They hoped that "the lessons learned from the Iraq war will lead to more multilateral, democratic and results-oriented conflict management worldwide in the future". MEPs recognised that the fall of the "repressive" regime of Saddam Hussein had paved the way towards a peaceful, secure and democratic future for the Iraqi people. But in view of the present insecure situation, the international community, MEPs felt, "has a moral and political duty to respond". A new UN resolution should provide for the possibility that countries not taking part in the war participate in the training of Iraqi armed forces and police.

EU assistance should remedy the shortcomings of the past and bring about a better understanding of Iraqi society. The future political institutions of Iraq should reflect the will of the Iraqi people and preserve the country's unity in a federal state. Democratisation, the rights of minorities and of women, and the rule of law were still seen as matters of concern by MEPs, although they also signalled a number hopeful developments, such as the fact that the government comprises members of the Sunni minority and that the Transitional National Assembly consists of 31% women. The EU should make a serious commitment to aid the general elections slated for December, by financing electoral assistance and sending observers. It should also offer its assistance in the drafting of a new constitution. Iraq's neighbouring countries could also play an important role in the process of pacification, preserving Iraq's unity and building the democratic process, MEPs said.

Parliament said that EU reconstruction aid should be aimed at providing basic services such as primary healthcare, education, clean drinking water and proper sanitation and work actively with the Iraqi authorities in the fight against terrorism. It expressed its surprise that reconstruction funds are partly administered by the World Bank and not entirely by the UN. Furthermore, the Iraqis should have full control over their oil production.

Press enquiries:
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Condemnation of attack on media independence in Belarus
Motion for resolutions on the political situation and independence of the media in Belarus
Doc.: B6-411/2005, B6-413/2005, B6-420/2005, B6-424/2005, B6-426/2005, B6-428/2005
Vote : 07.07.2005

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the political situation and the independence of the media in Belarus.

MEPs offer sound condemnation of the regime's "indiscriminate attacks" on media freedom, which have included arbitrary arrests, ill-treatment of detainees, disappearances, politically motivated persecution and "other acts of repression that flout the basic principles of democracy and the rule of law".

In view of this situation, MEPs call on the Council and Commission to create a complex, multi-annual programme of support for the independent media in Belarus, which Parliament should be consulted on. This support should include assistance to repressed journalists and their families, a programme of scholarships and traineeships for independent journalists, and support for the broadcasting of independent radio and television programmes from abroad.

MEPs want the EU to take strong action against the Belarus regime for media persecution, and envisage a possible visa-ban list for implicated Belarussian authorities. They consider the expulsion of democratic youth from universities and colleges to be an affront to democratic values and human rights, and call on Belarus to stop these measures.

The House stressed that EU-Belarus relations depend on the country making progress towards reform and democratisation, including with regard to the provision of objective, free and transparent media. MEPs thus recommend that the Council and Commission work with Russia towards formulating a common approach for democratisation in Belarus.

Press enquiries:
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Srebrenica - 10 years on
Motions for resolutions - The Balkans: 10 years after Srebrenica
Doc.: B6-0395/2005, B6-0397/2005, B6-0401/2005, B6-0404/2005, B6-0408/2005, B6-0409/2005
Vote : 07.07.2005

The European Parliament today adopted a joint resolution on Srebrenica, ten years after the massacre where more than 7,000 unarmed Bosnian Muslim men are thought to have been killed by Bosnian Serb forces in the UN-proclaimed safe haven.

MEPs strongly condemn the massacre and want the Council and Commission to ensure sure that the tenth anniversary of the act of genocide is adequately remembered. The resolution calls for urgent action on the part of the Republika Srpska and Serbia-Montenegro to locate Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic so that they can be brought to justice and denied the popular support MEPs consider to be an obstacle to reconciliation. MEPs remain seriously concerned at the lack of recognition of the crimes, despite the recent airing of Srebrenica video footage which led to a number of arrests. In order to secure justice, they want closer ties with the EU, including continuation of the process of integration with the EU, to be conditional upon full cooperation with the ICTY. The EU and Member States should also give full practical support to the search for truth and the path towards reconciliation.
The House calls for modification of the Dayton agreement for the purposes of the EU integration process. MEPs consider improved economic and social conditions to be the key to stable development in the region and call for the EU to accord top priority to this area. MEPs stress that the lessons learned from Srebrenica and the wars in the former Yugoslavia should serve as the basis for a strengthened EU Common Foreign and Security Policy: They further urge the UN and the relevant international institutions to put into practice the lessons learned from this failure and to be truly prepared for future peacekeeping missions.

MEPs continue to support the applicant and potential applicant countries of the Balkans in their preparation for membership, and call for adequate instruments and funding in this regard during the next financial perspective.

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EU-Far East relations
Motions for resolutions on relations between the EU, China and Taiwan and security in the Far East
Doc.: B6-0394/2005, B6-0396/2005,
B6-0399/2005, B6-0400/2005, B6-0405/2005
Vote : 07.07.2005

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on relations between the EU, China and Taiwan and security in the Far East.

Seriously concerned about the tensions among various countries in the Far East, MEPs call on China and Taiwan to establish mutual trust and respect and to seek common ground so as to create conditions for lasting peace and stability in the region. MEPS recommend, in particular, that China and Taiwan put in place the necessary political basis for a peaceful and steady development of cross-Straits relations and resume dialogue on those relations, that they strengthen economic exchange and cooperation and push forward the 'three direct links' across the Taiwan Strait (mail, transport and trade).

The House criticises China's anti-secession law as a violation of international law and an obstacle to its declared goal of 'peaceful national reunification'. MEPs call for the maintenance of the arms embargo on China in view of concerns over the human rights situation and cross-Straights relations. In this regard, Parliament calls on China to ratify promptly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

MEPs wish to see Taiwan better represented in international organisations and call for support of Taiwan's application for observer status in the World Health Organisation. They urge North Korea to rejoin the NPT and resume six-party talks and call on the governments of Japan, China and the Korean peninsula to begin a dialogue towards reconciliation that will ultimately lead to lasting peace and stability in the region. To this end, the House encourages bilateral agreements and a concerted effort towards reconciliation among all countries in the Far East.

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Social and Employment Policy

Strengthening the European Social Fund
José Albino SILVA PENEDA (EPP-ED, PT)
Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Social Fund
Doc.: A6-0216/2005
Procedure : Codecision (1st reading)
Debate : 05.07.2005
Vote : 06.07.2005

While the European Parliament, in general, support the Commission's proposals concerning the European Social Fund (ESF) for 2007 to 2013, Members want to strengthen some aspects like social inclusion, non-discrimination and gender equality. They want trans-national cooperation to be promoted as well as innovative actions. The ESF should support information and awareness-raising measures targeting the public with the aim of fighting discrimination and promoting equal treatment. In general the Member States should inform the population and the relevant stakeholders about activities eligible for financing by the ESF.

The draft ESF regulation for 2007 to 2013 provides a focussed framework for ESF interventions throughout the EU. It lays down specific provisions concerning the type of activities which may be financed by the ESF. The Commission's proposal says ESF actions may differ depending on whether they relate to the 'Convergence' or the 'Regional Competitiveness and Employment' objective. In the convergence objective more action especially to expand and improve investment in human capital, and action aimed at developing institutional capacity and the efficiency of public administrations, should be eligible for funding. Under both objectives, the ESF will provide support with a view to anticipating and managing economic and social change. Parliament wants to extend the action planned under the convergence objective to all cohesion countries (all new member states, Portugal, Greece and Spain).
The ESF is the major financial instrument of European social policy. It contributes to the economic and social cohesion objective set out in article 158 of the EC Treaty, by supporting policies and priorities aimed to achieve progress towards full employment, improve quality and productivity at work, and promote social inclusion and cohesion, in line with the guidelines and recommendations under the European Employment Strategy.

Press enquiries:
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Equal Opportunities / Women's Rights

Turkey urged to enforce legislation on women's rights
Emine BOZKURT (PES, NL)
Report on the role of women in Turkey in social, economic and political life
(2004/2215(INI))
Doc.: A6-0175/2005
Procedure : Own-initiative
Debate : 05.07.2005
Vote : 06.07.2005

Respecting human rights, including women’s rights, is a sine qua non for membership of the European Union. Human rights, including women’s rights, should be right at the top of the agenda for the negotiations with Turkey, say MEPs in a own-initiative report drafted by Emine BOZKURT (PES, NL), adopted by 573 votes to 19, with 32 abstentions.

Women's rights and gender equality are embedded in the Community's basic principles and in much legislation which Turkey has to accept if it is to join the EU. MEPs emphasise that Turkey's progress in the field of legislation now needs to be implemented in practice.
The report emphasises the key role of civil society in pushing for the recent legislative reforms. MEPs believe that the whole political class, religious communities and the media must be involved if democratic change is to be achieved.

Among other concerns is the involvement of Turkish women in politics, which remains weak - only 4.4% of members of parliament are women and around 1% of representatives at local level. Parliament suggests that the political parties should review their party structures and adopt adequate strategies to reach a better balance of women and men in elected assemblies, including positive measures such as quotas

Violence against women is another issue raised in the report. MEPs call on the Turkish Government to take action to protect women at risk, such as providing easily accessible healthcare and legal support and protection. According to local NGOs, in 1995 almost all women living in slum areas of Ankara had experienced domestic violence, while of 1,259 women interviewed between 1990 and 1996, 88% claimed to be living in a violent environment.

Press enquiries:
Lena Kraft
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Equal opportunities for men and women
Angelika NIEBLER (EPP-ED, DE)
Report on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation
(COM(2004)0279 – C6 0037/2004 – 2004/0084(COD))
Doc.: A6-0176/2005
Procedure : Codecision (1st reading)
Debate : 05.07.2005
Vote : 06.07.2005

With the average wage differential between men and women in the EU at 16 percent, the European Parliament is calling for measures to promote equal opportunities for men and women. Parliament has adopted a first reading co-decision report from Angelika NIEBLER (EPP-ED, DE) on a European Commission proposal to recast the directive on equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and work. The revised directive would simplify, clarify and modernise Community law by merging seven existing directives and incorporating case-law of the European Court of Justice into legislation.

The European Parliament supports the goal of recasting the directive, but also seeks to make some substantial changes and improvements. MEPs want to clarify that parental leave is an individual right of each parent. They wish to ensure that any less favourable treatment of a woman who is pregnant or on maternity leave should also be considered as discrimination. And MEPs require Member States to ensure that the social partners promote flexible working arrangements with the aim of facilitating the reconciliation of work and private life.

Press enquiries:
Lena Kraft
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Fisheries

Impact of funding reforms on fishermen must not be ignored
David CASA (EPP-ED, MT)
Report on the proposal for a Council regulation establishing a European Fisheries Fund
Doc.: A6-0217/2005
Procedure : Consultation
Debate : 05.07.2005
Vote : 06.07.2005

Parliament adopted a report by David CASA (EPP-ED, MT) urging changes to Commission plans to reform the system of financial aid to fishermen. MEPs accept the principle behind the plans - to conserve fishing resources - but believe the reform's socio-economic impact must be looked at too.

Under the Commission proposal, the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) will replace the current Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG). The EFF, which will cover the period 2007-2013, will allocate a total of €4,963 million over that period for the 25 current Members States plus Bulgaria and Romania. The EFF will deal with five areas: adjusting the Community fishing fleet; fish-farming, processing and marketing; measures of common interest; sustainable development of coastal fishing areas; technical assistance.

The rapporteur presented a package of amendments which focuses on the following issues: the permanent withdrawal of vessels from fishing, the financing of fishing equipment and investment in aquaculture.

On the withdrawal of boats from fishing, the Commission proposal would only allow subsidies for scrapping vessels or re-assigning them to non-profit making purposes. MEPs want to widen the scope of this policy. They say public subsidies should be given for the scrapping of vessels or re-assigning them to non-fishing activities, or for creating joint ventures or for exports for non-fishing purposes. And MEPs want the Fund to be allowed to make lump-sum payments to crews of the vessels concerned.

On the financing of fishing equipment, MEPs would put special emphasis on smaller and older boats. They say funding should be "for fleet renewal aimed at the replacement of vessels with an overall length of less than 12 metres" and on replacing "vessels older than 20 years which are not operating safely" The Commission proposal makes no mention at all of "fleet renewal" or vessels "eligible for replacement".

On aquaculture, Parliament wants EFF investments to cover all parts of the production chain, including the construction of new installations and the expansion and modernisation of existing installations and mussels dredgers, especially to increase production of species with good market prospects, provided they are technically and financially viable and do not generate excess production capacity.

On the sustainable development of coastal fishing areas, MEPs disagree with the Commission, which wants the fund to invest only in communities with more than 100,000 inhabitants.

Lastly, in a bid to help young fishermen, MEPs suggest paying individual premiums to individuals under 35 who can prove they have worked as fishermen for at least five years (or have undergone equivalent training) and who are becoming owners or part-owners of a second-hand fishing vessel for the first time.

Press enquiries:
Nikos Salliarelis
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74076
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 32017
e-mail :  fish-press@europarl.eu.int


Internal Market

Law applicable to non contractual obligations
Diana WALLIS (ALDE, UK)
Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations ("Rome II")
(COM(2003)0427 – C5 0338/2003 – 2003/0168(COD))
Doc.: A6-0211/2005
Procedure : Codecision (1st reading)
Debate : 05.07.2005
Vote : 06.07.2005

Parliament adopted the legislative resolution.

Press enquiries:
Federico de Girolamo
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 31389
Mobile: (32) 0498.983.591
e-mail :  lega-press@europarl.eu.int


Trade

Protection of passengers in car crashes
Enrique BARÓN CRESPO (PES, ES)
Report on the proposal for a Council decision on the accession of the European Community to United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regulation No. 94 on provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants in the event of a frontal collision and Regulation No. 95 on provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants in the event of a lateral collision
(COM(2004)0672 / 7590/2005 – C6 0209/2004 – 2004/0243(AVC))
Doc.: A6-0218/2005
Procedure : Assent
Vote : 06.07.2005

Parliament gave its assent to the accession of the EC to the regulation.

Press enquiries:
Armelle Douaud
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74779
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 43806
Mobile: (32) 0498.983.588
e-mail :  inta-press@europarl.eu.int


Opening up the textile market but only on equal terms
Tokia SAÏFI (EPP-ED, FR)
Report on textiles and clothing after 2005
(2004/2265(INI))
Doc.: A6-0193/2005
Procedure : Own-initiative
Debate : 07.07.2005

Parliament voted by 260 votes in favour, to 117 against with 16 abstentions to postpone the vote on this report to the next plenary session

Press enquiries:
Armelle Douaud
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74779
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 43806
Mobile: (32) 0498.983.588
e-mail :  inta-press@europarl.eu.int


Environment

Pollutant release and transfer register
Johannes BLOKLAND (IND/DEM, NL)
Report on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the UN-ECE Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers
(COM(2004)0635 – C6 0062/2005 – 2004/0232(CNS))
Procedure : Consultation
Doc. A6-0170/2006
Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the establishment of a European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register and amending Council Directives 91/689/EEC and 96/61/EC
(COM(2004)0634 – C6 0130/2004 – 2004/0231(COD))
Procedure : Codecision (1st reading)
Doc. A6-0169/2005
Vote : 06.07.2005

The European Parliament has adopted today two reports by Johannes BLOKLAND (IND/DEM, NL) on pollutant release and transfer register. The first one is about the UN-ECE protocol on pollutant release and transfer register (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) and has been adopted without any amendment as this international agreement cannot be amended by the EP. This Protocol is the first legally binding multilateral agreement, beyond the borders of the EU, on pollutant release and transfer registers.

The second Blokland report was also adopted, with a number of compromise amendments agreed between the representatives of the European Parliament and the Council with a view to a first reading conclusion of this regulation. The amendments add technical precision and strengthen free access to information.

This new regulation incorporates the relevant parts of the protocol into European law. In order to ratify the UN-ECE Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) Protocol, the existing more limited European Register has to be replaced by a comprehensive European PRTR, including reporting on more pollutants, more activities, releases to land, releases from diffuse sources and off-site transfers. The overall objective is to enhance public access to environmental information through the establishment of a coherent, integrated, European-wide PRTR, thereby also contributing to the prevention and reduction of pollution, delivering data for policy makers and facilitating public participation in environmental decision making.


Flame retardants: MEPs challenge the Commission
Motion for a resolution on hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment
Doc.: B6-0392/2005
Vote : 06.07.2005

The "comitology" procedure is throwing up another conflict between MEPs and the European Commission. This time the dispute is over whether to scrap restrictions imposed two years ago on the use of decaBDE, a brominated flame-retardant used chiefly to ensure that electric and electronic devices, such as televisions and computers, do not burst into flames. The Commission wants to lift the restrictions but on Wednesday, MEPs adopted a resolution opposing this plan.

In another resolution of 12 April on dangerous substances, Parliament had already criticised the Commission for its abuse of the comitology procedure. This is a procedure by which the power to take decisions on mainly technical matters is delegated to the European Commission, which is assisted for this purpose by a whole range of committees of national representatives. Parliament, however, has a right of scrutiny and has one month in which to make its opinion known.

The plenary believe the Commission has clearly exceeded its implementing powers and they are calling on the Council to oppose the proposal. They dispute the scientific basis of the Commission's proposal and believe the restrictions should stay in place. A scientific advisory committee of the Commission itself also takes this view. Brominated flame-retardants can have toxic effects on health and the environment. Some of them, penta- and octaBDE (*), were in fact completely banned two years ago. Parliament fought up to the conciliation stage to win a ban on octaBDE and restrictions on decaBDE, pending - for the latter - more precise risk assessments. The assessments carried out do not convince MEPs and they note that less toxic substitute products exist.

(*) Pentabromodiphenyl ether, octabromodiphenyl ether, decabromodiphenyl ether, etc., depending on the number of bromine atoms present in the chemical structure of the molecule.

Press enquiries:
André Riche
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73840
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 40992
Mobile: (32) 0498.983.585
e-mail :  envi-press@europarl.eu.int


Budget

Mandate for budgetary conciliation
Giovanni (Gianni) PITTELLA (PES, IT)
Report on the mandate for the 2006 budget conciliation procedure before the Council's first reading (2006 budget)
Doc.: A6-0223 /2005
Procedure : Budgetary
Vote : 06.07.2005

The report was adopted without amendment.

Press enquiries:
Jean-Yves Loog
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 76712
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 44652
Mobile: (32) 0498.983.589
e-mail :  budg-press@europarl.eu.int


Enlargement

Bulgarian and Romanian Observers in EP on 26 September
Motions for resolutions on the situation in Bulgaria after the elections - Progress made towards accession by Bulgaria and Romania with a view to the next progress report
Doc.: B6-0443/2005, B6-0445/2005, B6-0446/2005, B6-0447/2005, B6-0448/2005
Vote : 07.07.2005

In adopting this resolution by 360 votes in favour to 79 against with 125 abstentions, Parliament confirmed the decision by its presidium to take in observers from Bulgaria and Romania on 26 September. Some MEPs had raised doubts about the timing of the observers' arrival, which will be well in advance of the actual accession by the two countries. Parliament decided, however, to stick to the same format as with previous enlargements and welcome the observers shortly after the signing of the Accession Treaties. The Accession Treaty for Bulgaria and Romania was signed last April. Bulgaria will send 18 observers and Romania 35.

Meanwhile, Parliament stressed in its resolution that it will continue to follow closely Bulgaria's and Romania's progress and pointed out that it gave its approval of the accession treaties on condition that the Council and Commission fully involve Parliament in any possible decision on a postponement of Bulgaria's and Romania's accession by a year.

Press enquiries:
Marjory van den Broeke
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 74337
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 44304
Mobile: (32) 0498.983.586
e-mail :  foreign-press@europarl.eu.int


Justice and Home Affairs

EU-Canada agreement on transfer of travellers' personal data
Sophia Helena IN'T VELD (ALDE, NL)
Report on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion of an Agreement between the European Community and the Government of Canada on the processing of Advance Passenger Information (API)/Passenger Name Record (PNR) data
(COM(2005)0200 – C6 0184/2005 – 2005/0095(CNS))
Doc.: A6-0226/2005
Procedure : Consultation
Vote : 07.07.2005

The European Parliament rejected the EU-Canada agreement on the use of personal data provided by airlines to the border authorities of Canada. MEPs felt that the signature of such an agreement should be postponed until the Court of Justice takes a final decision on a very similar procedure between the EU and USA on the transfer of data, even if they agreed in principle with the content of the Canada agreement.

Parliament also claimed that for this kind of agreement, MEPs should use the assent procedure instead of the consultation procedure as it is the case now.

Even if they decided to reject the Council initial proposal for these procedural reasons, MEPs consider the content of the agreement with Canada to be an "acceptable balance" between ensuring security and protecting personal data. They argued during the debates in the Civil Liberties Committee that the agreement to transfer personal information from citizens who travel into Canada would be acceptable, since Canada has a good legislative system on data protection and because the use of such data would be strictly limited.

Content of the agreement
The Canadian government passed new legislation last year to set up the obligation to collect personal data from travellers who fly into the country. Among the measures adopted, Canada introduced from February 2005 fiscal penalties to airlines in case of non-compliance. However, the penalties were suspended for European airlines during the negotiation on the agreement, which will in principle be applied from July 2005. This fact explains the urgency of the full Parliament to give its opinion during the current plenary session, even if the rejection of the agreement by MEPs is not binding on the Council's final decision.

Once the agreement is finally signed, the Canadian border authorities will have access to the data collected in all passports -full name, date of birth, country of citizenship, etc. - and also to the Passenger Name Records (PNR), which is all the additional information that some airlines keep from their clients including -previous journeys, cars and hotel reservations, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, residential addresses, credit card information, religious or ethnic data, etc. -.

EU-USA agreement
The negotiation approach by the European Parliament is similar to that regarding the EU-USA agreement. In 2003 and 2004, MEPs adopted a number of critical resolutions, expressing serious concerns with regard to the use of PNR data. In particular, the EP stressed that using PNR data is far from being effective in the fight against terrorism and that there was a serious risk of violating the data protection principles.

Subsequently, in August 2004 the European Parliament brought an action before the Court of Justice for the annulment of the EU-US agreement, judgement on which is still pending.

Press enquiries:
Maria Andrés Marìn
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73603
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 44299
(32) 0498.983.590
e-mail :  libe-press@europarl.eu.int


Agreements with Switzerland on Schengen and the asylum system
Timothy KIRKHOPE (EPP-ED, UK)
Reports:
1. on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion on behalf of the European Community of the Agreement between the European Community and Switzerland concerning the criteria and mechanisms for establishing the State responsible for examining a request for asylum lodged in a Member State or in Switzerland
(13049/2004 – COM(2004)0593 – C6 0240/2004 – 2004/0200(CNS))
2. on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Agreement between the European Union, the European Community and the Swiss Confederation concerning the latter's association with the implementation, application and development of the Schengen Acquis
(13054/2004 – COM(2004)0593 – C6 0241/2004 – 2004/0199(CNS))
Doc.: A6-0201/2005
Procedure : Consultation
Debate : 06.07.2005

Parliament decided to return this matter to the Civil Liberties Committee for further analysis.

Press enquiries:
Maria Andrés Marìn
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73603
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 44299
(32) 0498.983.590
e-mail :  libe-press@europarl.eu.int


Salaries and allowances of Europol staff
Claude MORAES (PES, UK)
Report on the initiative by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg with a view to adopting a Council decision adjusting the basic salaries and allowances applicable to Europol staff
(5429/2005 – C6 0037/2005 – 2005/0803(CNS))
Doc.: A6-0139/2005
Procedure : Consultation
Vote : 07.07.2005

Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution on the salaries of Europol staff.

Press enquiries:
Maria Andrés Marìn
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73603
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 44299
(32) 0498.983.590
e-mail :  libe-press@europarl.eu.int


Agriculture

Illegal logging - EP criticises "slow progress"
Motion for a resolution - Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade
Doc. B6-0412/2005
Vote : 07.07.2005

In adopting this resolution, Parliament voiced its concern at the "extraordinarily slow progress in implementing the different commitments" of the EU action plan for Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), which aims at tackling illegal logging. The Member States and the Commission are therefore urged to comply "without delay" with their commitments. Further disappointment comes from the Commission's failure to draft "comprehensive legislation to prohibit the import of all illegal timber, regardless of the country of origin, and to promote sustainable forest management worldwide", as requested by the EP's Industry committee in June 2004. Finally, the EP insists on being "fully involved and informed" on the progress made in negotiations on FLEGT partnership agreements with timber-producing countries.
 
The FLEGT action plan stems from a commitment taken by the EU at the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002. FLEGT was the Union's response to the governments' pledge to crack down on illegal logging that contributes to deforestation.

More information can be found at this Commission's webpage: http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/theme/forest/initiative/index_en.htm, whilst the full communication on FLEGT can be found here:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/theme/forest/initiative/docs/Doc1-FLEGT_en.pdf

Press enquiries:
Jean-Yves Loog
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 76712
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 44652
Mobile: (32) 0498.983.589
e-mail :  budg-press@europarl.eu.int


Agriculture in the outermost regions
Duarte FREITAS (EPP-ED, PT)
Report on the proposal for a Council regulation laying down specific measures for agriculture in the outermost regions of the Union
(COM(2004)0687 – C6 0201/2004 – 2004/0247(CNS))
Doc.: A6-0195/2005
Procedure : Consultation
Debate/Vote : 07.07.2005

Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution, by 59 votes in favour to 14 against and 3 abstentions for specific measures for agriculture in the outermost regions of the Union.

Press enquiries:
Jean-Yves Loog
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 76712
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 44652
(32) 0498.983.589
e-mail :  budg-press@europarl.eu.int
Human Rights


Condemnation of Zimbabwe oppression
Joint motion for a resolution on Zimbabwe
Doc.: B6-0416/2005, B6-0421/2005, B6-0430/2005, B6-0432/2005, B6-0434/2005, B6-0439/2005, B6-0442/2005
Vote : 07.07.2005

The European Parliament adopted a joint resolution on Zimbabwe, condemning the MUGABE regime for the intensification of its oppression of the Zimbabwean people and demanding an immediate end to the regime's mass forced evictions.

MEPs call for the establishment of an international committee of inquiry to investigate the use of food and shelter as political weapons and deplore the refusal of other African governments, particularly South Africa, SADC and the African Union to criticise Mugabe's actions or to take action against his regime. They further deplore the failure of the Council to respond to Parliament's consistent calls for increased pressure on the Mugabe regime.

They insist that aid must be made available to the Zimbabwean people through non-governmental organisations and call on the Commission to do its utmost to ensure that the delivery of aid is not hampered by the Mugabe regime.

Parliament recommends a number of other measures. These include: the closure by SADC of its regional peacekeeping training centre in Harare, the appointment of an EU Special Envoy for Zimbabwe, UN Security Council consideration of the extent to which those responsible for the oppression taking place in Zimbabwe can be held accountable, the Council's closure of loopholes in existing EU targeted sanctions and its clear commitment to their rigorous enforcement on the part of all Member States, including the curtailment of all economic links with Zimbabwe that directly benefit the regime (such as trade with farms controlled by regime members), the identification and imposition of measures against those providing financial backing for the anti-democratic activities of the regime (in cooperation with the United States and Commonwealth countries), and the prevention of family members of Mugabe's "henchmen" from gaining access to employment and educational institutions in EU Member States.

MEPs welcome the release of Roy BENNETT from prison but deplore his appalling treatment at the hands of the Mugabe regime and call for the release of the other 30,000 innocent victims imprisoned following 'Operation Drive Out Rubbish'. They ultimately call for Robert Mugabe to stand down and for the establishment of a transitional government in Zimbabwe involving opposition groups and other persons of goodwill in order to restore acceptable standards of governance in Zimbabwe and remedy the broken economy and human rights situation

Press enquiries:
Richard Freedman
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73785
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 41448
e-mail :  rfreedman@europarl.eu.int


Trafficking in children in Guatemala
Joint motion for a resolution on Guatemala
Doc.: B6-0415/2005, B6-0419/2005, B6-0431/2005, B6-0435/2005, B6-0436/2005, B6-0438/2005
Vote : 07.07.2004

The European Parliament adopted a joint resolution on Guatemala in which they condemned trafficking in children, the existence of an organised crime network with international connections engaging in the kidnapping of children, the substitution of documents, the alteration of public records, and the operation of clandestine 'nurseries', as well as abuses relating to documents authorising adoptions, and the growing number of international adoption agencies offering children for sale.

MEPs call on Guatemala to enact specific legislation on adoptions, to apply the Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption, and to adopt suitable measures to prevent profiteering from international adoptions. They further call for the Public Prosecutor's Office to take out penal proceedings against the child-trafficking networks. And to support children and adolescents in Latin America, a global plan of priority actions should be launched, in line with UNICEF measures.

The House wants the government of Guatemala to take the necessary measures to ensure that murders of women no longer go unpunished, and to take a proactive stand on women's rights. Also called for is the Guatemalan government's support for the actions of the Office of the Counsel for Human Rights, its recognition of the legitimacy of the work of the human rights activists and their protection, and an investigate into the recent cases of attacks on the headquarters of social organisations.

MEPs welcome the initiative of the government of Guatemala in promoting the establishment of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and congratulate the Government and Congress on their ratification of the corresponding Convention. They ask for authorities to cooperate closely with the Office, and economic and political support should be provided by the Commission.

The House repeats its recommendation to the Commission, as made in its resolution of 10 April 2003, that the EU's future strategy for Guatemala for 2007-2013 should include social cohesion, the right to food, rural development and reform of the system of landholding and land use, as priority areas for future EU cooperation policy, with an emphasis on eliminating illegal adoptions, firm support for human rights, ending impunity, respect for the rights of indigenous peoples, and promotion and protection of women's rights and the rights of the child.

Press enquiries:
Richard Freedman
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73785
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 41448
e-mail :  rfreedman@europarl.eu.int


Condemnation of human rights situation in Ethiopia
 
Joint motion for a resolution on the human rights situation in Ethiopia
Doc.: B6-0417/2005, B6-0418/2005, B6-0422/2005, B6-0433/2005, B6-0437/2005, B6-0441/2005
Vote : 07.07.2005

The European Parliament has adopted, by 80 votes in favour to 0 against and 2 abstentions, a joint resolution on the human rights situation in Ethiopia.

MEPs condemn the violent repression against civilians, opposition leaders and supporters and the killing of at least 36 persons during protest demonstrations on 8 June following the postponement of the final results of the general elections on 15 May 2005. The House expressed its fullest sympathy and solidarity to the people of Ethiopia and its condolences to the victims’ families, and hope that an impartial commission of inquiry will determine who was responsible and bring them to justice.

While welcoming the recent release of some 4,000 detainees, as well as the government's announcement that the detainees at the Ziway military camp will now have access to their families and to the International Committee of the Red Cross, MEPs are calling for the freeing of journalists and others who are held without charge, and for those arrested to be treated in strict conformity with Ethiopian law and the Ethiopian Constitution, in accordance with international law on human rights.

The House welcomed the fact that opposition groups and international observers are able to be present at the process of hearing the electoral complaints, with a view to arriving at uncontested results, and insists that the 10 June agreement be scrupulously respected. To this end, MEPs want the European Union to continue to contribute to a peaceful and democratic solution to the Ethiopian political crisis, in particular by supplying observers to the process of inquiry into the contested results.

MEPs call on the EU and the international community to stay vigilant and to do their utmost to contribute to a peaceful solution to the current tensions and not to allow the Ethiopian democratisation process to come to a halt. They also call on the Ethiopian government to put an immediate end to the restriction of reporting of opposition activities and messages in public media, and call for a code of conduct for the press to be put in place rapidly, in consultation with the media.

Press enquiries:
Richard Freedman
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73785
(Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 41448
e-mail :  rfreedman@europarl.eu.int


I.S.S.N. 1609-3054

Political groups in the European Parliament
Situation as at: 11.07.2005

 

EPP-ED

PES

ALDE

Greens / EFA

GUE / NGL

IND / DEM

UEN

NA

Total

BE

6

7

6

2

     

3

24

CZ

14

2

   

6

1

 

1

24

DK

1

5

4

1

1

1

1

 

14

DE

49

23

7

13

7

     

99

EE

1

3

2

         

6

EL

11

8

   

4

1

   

24

ES

24

24

2

3

1

     

54

FR

17

31

11

6

3

3

 

7

78

IE

5

1

1

 

1

1

4

 

13

IT

23

15

12

2

7

4

9

5

77

CY

3

 

1

 

2

     

6

LV

3

 

1

1

   

4

 

9

LT

2

2

7

     

2

 

13

LU

3

1

1

1

       

6

HU

13

9

2

         

24

MT

2

3

           

5

NL

7

7

5

4

2

2

   

27

AT

6

7

1

2

     

2

18

PL

19

10

4

   

9

7

4

54

PT

9

12

   

3

     

24

SI

4

1

2

         

7

SK

8

3

         

3

14

FI

4

3

5

1

1

     

14

SE

5

5

3

1

2

3

   

19

UK

27

19

12

5

1

10

 

4

78

Total

266

201

89

42

41

35

27

29

730

Recent Changes: Outgoing Members     Incoming Members

Brice HORTEFEUX (EPP-ED, FR) - 02.06.2005
Armin LASCHET (EPP-ED, DE) - 04.07.2005

Jean-Pierre AUDY (EPP-ED, FR) - 11.06.2005
Jürgen ZIMMERLING (EPP-ED, DE) - 06.07.2005

Political groups

EPP-ED

Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats (includes the British Conservatives, the one Ulster Unionist MEP and Fine Gael from Ireland)

PES

Socialist Group in the European Parliament (includes the British Labour MEPs and the one Irish Labour Party MEP)

ALDE

Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (includes the British Liberal Democrats and one independent MEP from Ireland)

GREENS/EFA

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

GUE/NGL

Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left (includes the two Sinn Fein MEPs)

IND/DEM

Independence and Democracy Group (includes 10 UKIP MEPs and one independent MEP from Ireland)

UEN

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

NA

Non-attached MEPs

Last updated: 18 August 2005Legal notice