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Úterý, 11. ledna 2005 - Štrasburk Revidované vydání

12. Doba vyhrazená pro otázky (Komise)
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  Die Präsidentin. Nach der Tagesordnung folgt jetzt die Fragestunde mit Anfragen an die Kommission (B6-0001/2005).

Teil I

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin.

Anfrage Nr. 26 von Jacky Henin (H-0505/04)

Betrifft: Wegfall der Quoten auf dem Textilsektor

Im Anschluss an den Vorschlag, den die Kommission am 26. Oktober angenommen hat, fallen mit 1. Januar 2005 die Quoten für die Einfuhr von Textilerzeugnissen.

Diese Entscheidung wird in der Europäischen Union schwerwiegende Auswirkungen in Bezug auf eine Umstrukturierung der Branche und auf die Arbeitsplätze haben. Wirtschaftsexperten der Region Nord-Pas-de-Calais gehen bereits davon aus, dass allein in dieser Region 9.000 der 29.000 Arbeitsplätze, die direkt mit dieser Branche verknüpft sind, verschwinden werden.

Es sind menschliche Tragödien, die sich daraus für die betroffenen Arbeitnehmer und ihre Familien ergeben werden.

Welche konkreten Unterstützungsmaßnahmen wird die Kommission ergreifen, um in jenen Regionen der Europäischen Union, in denen die Textilindustrie eine wichtige Rolle spielt, die Arbeitsplätze zu erhalten und die Beschäftigungsmöglichkeiten auszubauen, insbesondere mit Hilfe der Strukturfonds und im Hinblick auf den Kampf gegen die Verlagerung von Arbeitsplätzen innerhalb und außerhalb Europas?

 
  
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  McCreevy, Commission. Honourable Members, I am responding to this question on behalf of my colleague, Mr Mandelson, who is unable to be here today as he is currently on his way to India.

The WTO Agreement on Textile and Clothing, which established a ten-year period for the elimination of the quotas, expired on 31 December 2004, and trade in textile and clothing products is henceforth subject to the general WTO rules.

Quota removal is likely to reshape the export of textile and clothing and global outsourcing trends. There may be a substitution effect among suppliers to the advantage of the countries that are able to offer a full range of products, economies of scale, competitive prices and efficient services. The impact of abolishing quotas will indeed be considerable, though it is difficult to assess at this stage. Moreover, it is likely to vary greatly depending on country conditions, the ability to achieve competitive advantages in the higher value added production segment and domestic policy responses. Sustained efforts are needed to help upgrade the skill levels of workers, improve the quality of their jobs and empower social partners at all levels to address the many challenges in the sector.

As far as Europe is concerned, this sector definitely has assets for the future. Investment, a move upmarket and world leadership in the fashion industry have made Europe the world's biggest exporter of textiles and its second biggest exporter of clothing.

The Commission believes that this entails a three-pronged response: monitor the level of imports into the EU, help the sector strengthen its competitiveness and remain a key industry in the EU, and keep a special focus on the poorest and more vulnerable developing countries. The Commission communication of 13 October 2004, entitled 'Textiles and Clothing after 2005', is a key element of this strategy. This communication was a response to the set of recommendations by the High Level Group on Textiles and Clothing, in which trade unions were represented.

On structural funding and relocation processes, the participation of the textile and clothing sector in multisectoral programmes should provide an efficient framework for supporting the sector, allow for diversification of production and ultimately serve the economic interests of the regions in question.

In addition, the Commission proposes that in all future programmes, Member States should reserve an amount of 1% of the Structural Fund’s annual contribution for the 'Convergence' objective and 3% of the Structural Fund’s annual contribution for the 'Regional competitiveness and employment' objective, to cover unforeseen local or sectoral crises linked to economic and social restructuring or to the consequences of trade opening.

 
  
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  Henin (GUE/NGL). Madame la Présidente, permettez-moi d'exprimer dans cette enceinte ma solidarité la plus sincère à l'égard des millions de salariés qui vont voir leur vie brisée, pour satisfaire, encore une fois, une minorité de nantis.

Oui, les économistes de la Fédération internationale des syndicats – si la Commission ne le sait pas, eux le savent – parlent de la destruction de trente millions d'emplois, en Europe, au Maghreb, au Sri Lanka, en Indonésie pour un million d'entre eux. Comme si ce que venaient de vivre certains de ces pays ne suffisait pas, il faut les aider à s'enfoncer un peu plus. Il est, je le dis avec force, de la responsabilité et du devoir de la Commission, du Conseil et du Parlement d'arrêter ce désastre social.

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin.

Anfrage Nr. 27 von Robert Evans (H-0509/04)

Betrifft: Sklaverei bei der Schokoladeherstellung

Der Kommission muss das Problem der illegalen Zwangsarbeit von Kindern im Kakaoanbau bekannt sein.

Der Großteil der Weltproduktion an Kakao stammt aus Westafrika, wo davon ausgegangen wird, dass über 200.000 Kinder unter gefährlichen Bedingungen auf Kakao-Farmen arbeiten (Internationales Institut für tropische Landwirtschaft, Juli 2002). Die europäischen Verbraucher sind mit der Möglichkeit konfrontiert, dass ein Teil der von ihnen verzehrten Schokolade unter Rückgriff auf Zwangsarbeit hergestellt worden ist.

Kann die Kommission mitteilen, welche Initiativen ergriffen worden sind, um zu gewährleisten, dass in Europa verzehrte Nahrungsmittel vom Geschmack der Sklaverei befreit werden?

 
  
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  McCreevy, Commission. Honourable Members, I am responding to this question on behalf of my colleague, Mr Michel, who is unable to be here this afternoon, as he must attend the donors' conference on the tsunami disaster.

On this issue, the approach of the Commission is twofold. Firstly, on the one hand, we support the initiatives and programmes of the ILO. Secondly, we reinforce the capacity of the countries in the region to implement the relevant Cotonou provisions and different Economic Community of West African States protocols and initiatives in the area of child protection.

The International Labour Organisation, through its International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour, launched in 2000 a new initiative called 'Combating Trafficking in Children for Labour Exploitation in West and Central Africa'. In 2003 a 'West Africa Cocoa/Commercial Agricultural Programme to Combat Hazardous and Exploitative Child Labour' was added, focusing in particular on cocoa farming.

The Commission has a strategic partnership with the ILO, in which the fight against child labour is a priority. In that context, a programme of EUR 15 million under the ACP funds is currently under consideration. The objectives would be, inter alia, firstly, to establish a sustainable mechanism to prevent children from carrying out all sorts of labour in the agricultural and other sectors. Secondly, to strengthen the capacity of national and community-level agencies and organisations in planning, initiating, implementing and evaluating action to prevent and progressively eliminate child labour. Thirdly, to remove all children involved in work in the cocoa sector, to prevent children at risk from entering such work, and to improve the income-earning capacity of adult family members, particularly women, through social protection schemes.

ECOWAS is active as a regional organisation in the fight against child labour. In addition to the Cotonou provisions on trade and labour standards, the ECOWAS Heads of State have adopted a declaration and a plan of action to fight child exploitation, and ECOWAS has recently set up a child unit in its secretariat. The 9th EDF Regional Indicative Programme will provide capacity-building to this new unit within ECOWAS, with a view to promoting the effectiveness of its work.

 
  
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  Evans, Robert (PSE). I thank the Commissioner for giving me information on the ILO and various other organisations and activity which is already in the public domain. I wonder whether the Commission is actually considering a more positive agenda with regard to companies who are making profits out of this at the moment, by perhaps insisting that unless European companies – and do not forget that Europeans and North Americans consume most of these cocoa products – can give a guarantee that they are not making their products and profits on the back of child labour, then they cannot import them into Europe. Has the Commission considered that and will the Commission consider it?

 
  
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  McCreevy, Commission. The Commission believes that the framework of the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and the 77 ACP countries gives real opportunities to address the human and social aspects of this practice, as well as the corruption element that may be linked to it, through political dialogue and support for good governance in ACP countries. Moreover, it considers that poverty and the lack of local opportunities are amongst the main reasons for exploitative child labour and child trafficking. The poverty- reduction approach through EU development cooperation is a sound basis for tackling the problem as it gives priority to equitable growth and to better access to education.

Finally, the Cotonou Agreement represents an important step forward in promoting CLS in bilateral agreements. Article 50 includes a specific provision on trade and labour standards, which reaffirms the commitments of the Parties to international CLS as defined by the relevant ILO Conventions.

 
  
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  Harbour (PPE-DE). Is the Commission aware of the fact that the world Chocolate Manufacturers Association concluded an agreement back in 2001 specifically to deal with this issue? Would the Commission therefore undertake to look at the report that is due in the middle of this year from the international chocolate manufacturers, commend them on the work that they have been doing and encourage them to continue to develop their certification programme?

I am at a loss as to why chocolate has been singled out in this respect because there are many other food products being sourced from Third World countries where the same issues pertain – labelling issues and quality standards are very important across the whole of the sector.

 
  
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  McCreevy, Commission. I will certainly bring Mr Harbour's comments to Mr Michel's attention.

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin.

Anfrage Nr. 28 von Bogusław Sonik (H-0572/04)

Betrifft: Unterbrechung der Ausfuhr von Lebensmitteln aus den neuen Mitgliedstaaten nach Russland

Im Zusammenhang mit der Drohung, die Ausfuhr von Lebensmitteln aus Polen und den anderen neuen Mitgliedstaaten nach Russland zu unterbrechen und zu erschweren, sollte die Europäische Kommission unverzüglich Unterredungen mit der Russischen Föderation aufnehmen. Die Aufnahme von Gesprächen sollte dazu dienen, die Kontrollen zu erleichtern, zu normalisieren, zu beschleunigen und die zugehörigen Kriterien zu präzisieren. Der Standpunkt der Europäischen Kommission, das Problem der tierärztlichen Kontrolle durch die Dienste der Russischen Föderation sei eine interne Angelegenheit der genannten Staaten, ist empörend. Eine solche Behauptung bedeutet eine Diskriminierung der neuen Mitgliedstaaten in den internen Beziehungen der Union, denn die Mitgliedstaaten haben keine Möglichkeit, in veterinärrechtlichen Angelegenheiten im Zusammenhang mit der Einfuhr von Waren aus Drittländern selbstständig zu entscheiden. Insofern wird ohne eine Verständigung mit allen Partnern eine Lösung des Problems unmöglich sein. Diese Situation ist der Europäischen Kommission nicht unbekannt, denn sie „unterstützte“ schon Gespräche Frankreichs mit den Vereinigten Staaten in einer ähnlichen Angelegenheit.

 
  
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  McCreevy, Commission. I am responding to this question on behalf of my colleague, Mr Kyprianou, who is unable to be here today, as he is unwell.

The Commission has made all reasonable efforts to avoid disruption in exports of animal and plant products from the European Union to Russia. This potential disruption arises from Russian insistence that EU exports meet its specific import requirements.

For animal products, there was the concrete concern that trade would be totally blocked from 1 January 2005. From this date, in fact, Russia insists on a single set of sanitary certificates for imports. However, negotiations led by the Commission on behalf of the EU have averted this risk.

As regards plant products, where a similar risk to exports could materialise from 1 April 2005, the Commission intended to start negotiations as soon as the risk emerged, and asked the Council to endorse this. Following a debate among Member States on the basis of this request, the AGRI Council in December 2004 agreed and the Commission immediately started negotiations on these issues on behalf of the EU. The Commission is confident that this will lead to a successful outcome.

The honourable Member can be assured, therefore, that although the Commission has very little competence in relation to export requirements in third countries, it has expressed its willingness and has been proactive in view of helping to solve this kind of problem and, as soon as the Commission was given the green light from the Council, it engaged in timely negotiations.

In the course of negotiations, no distinction has been made between the new and former Member States. However, Russia has insisted on inspecting all establishments in the new Member States which have requested approval for export. The Commission has highlighted that these same establishments have been approved for intra-EU trade following the enlargement process. It has also pressed for the inspection process to be carried out as quickly as possible.

Overall, this situation has undoubtedly led to disruption in the trade of these Member States with Russia, and it is not made easier by the fact that Russia is not a member of the WTO and does not therefore consider itself bound by the rules of the WTO.

The honourable Member may rest assured that the Commission has involved all Member States in the efforts to avoid trade disruption, in particular the new Member States. These efforts are continuing and the Commission will continue to defend the Community interest.

 
  
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  Sonik (PPE-DE). Panie Przewodniczący, Panie Komisarzu! Sytuacja jest bardziej dramatyczna, niż odpowiedź, której udzielił Pan Komisarz. Od 1 maja Rosja żongluje i nie przyjmuje towarów z Polski w odwecie za to, że niektóre kraje, takie jak kraje bałtyckie, nie przyjęły importu z Rosji ze względu na warunki sanitarne, jakich wymaga Unia. A państwa członkowskie nie mają możliwości samodzielnego decydowania w sprawach weterynaryjnych związanych z importem produktów z krajów trzecich. Proszę o pilną interwencję w tej sprawie.

 
  
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  McCreevy, Commission. As I stated in my reply, the Commission has treated this matter with considerable urgency, when we asked the Council to give us the go-ahead and when we engaged in negotiations. The honourable Member is correct that it imposes certain major difficulties on some of these countries and the Commission will do its very best to achieve a satisfactory solution. However, I must stress the limits of what we can achieve. Hopefully, with goodwill on all sides, the matter can be brought to a satisfactory conclusion in the near future.

 
  
  

Teil II

Anfragen an Kommissar McCreevy

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin.

Anfrage Nr. 29 von Proinsias De Rossa (H-0515/04)

Betrifft: Dienstleistungen im Binnenmarkt

Es gibt weitverbreitete Besorgnis darüber, dass der Vorschlag für eine Richtlinie über Dienstleistungen – insbesondere die Bestimmung über das „Herkunftsland“ – zu Sozialdumping und zu zunehmenden Verschlechterungen bei der Erbringung von Dienstleistungen führen könnte.

Wird die Kommission ihren Richtlinienvorschlag jetzt zurückziehen und einen Konsultationsprozess einleiten, der darauf abzielt, auch unter Berücksichtigung der Notwendigkeit einer Rahmenrichtlinie, mit der die Erbringung von qualitativ hochwertigen Dienstleistungen von allgemeinem Interesse/öffentlichen Dienstleistungen ermöglicht wird, einen ausgewogeneren Vorschlag vorzulegen?

 
  
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  McCreevy, Commission. The Commission wishes to stress that removing internal market barriers is not tantamount to undermining the quality of services, or that the Services Directive will lead to social dumping – quite the contrary.

As regards the protection of workers, the proposed directive does not affect the existing Community acquis, namely the Posted Workers’ Directive from 1996. This directive provides that posted workers, including temporary workers, enjoy, irrespective of the law applicable to the employment relationship, a number of important protective provisions concerning working conditions in force in the Member State where the worker is posted. Therefore, companies cannot use this proposal in order to establish themselves in low-wage countries to circumvent the social protection of the host Member State.

In addition, the proposed directive reinforces the control of posted workers because it establishes a system of cooperation between Member States and obliges the country of origin of the service provider to assist the authorities of the host Member State in the supervision of working conditions. The proposed directive will thus help to prevent social dumping.

The Commission does not share the concern that the directive will lead to a 'race to the bottom' in service provision. First, the country of origin principle only applies to the temporary cross-border provision of services. For services provided via an establishment in another Member State – for example a hospital or a home for the elderly – the service provider will have to comply with all the relevant rules in that Member State.

Second, the country of origin principle is embedded in harmonisation and enhanced administrative cooperation between Member States. Moreover, a number of derogations from the country of origin principle cover, for instance, the applicable working conditions in the context of posting of workers, consumer contracts, health and safety on building sites and public health.

Finally, the Commission wishes to stress that the proposed directive does not require the liberalisation or privatisation of services which are currently provided at national, regional or local level by the public sector or public entities. Neither does the proposal affect the freedom of the Member States to define what they consider to be services of general economic interest and how they should be organised or financed.

Furthermore, it does not affect Member States' ability to maintain appropriate regulations concerning the quality, availability and performance of services of general interest, or other regulations ensuring consumer and user rights. It is also important to note that the proposal does not prejudge the work on, or the outcome of, specific Community initiatives, in particular the follow-up to the White Paper on services of general interest.

The Commission has committed to a genuine dialogue with both co-legislators and interested parties with a view to finding solutions to specific areas of concern. To date, the need for a major step forward in opening the internal market has not yet been validly contested.

I am confident that also the honourable Member would like to see companies, consumers and workers enjoy the benefits of an open and competitive integrated services market. We are all aware of the economic and social challenges facing the European Union. Bearing in mind the importance of the services sector, the proposed directive will contribute significantly to addressing these challenges.

 
  
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  De Rossa (PSE). Firstly I would like to welcome the Commissioner to his first Question Time in Parliament. I look forward to more.

I am a little bewildered by the Commissioner's reply. His reply indicates that this directive will do nothing, that it is not going to affect any of the areas about which we have expressed concern. He says it will only apply to temporary cross-border provision of services. In what way, then, will this directive lead to a competitive integrated services market? If it is simply to provide for the provision of temporary cross-border provisions, how does it lead to a competitive integrated services market?

 
  
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  McCreevy, Commission. As I pointed out in my reply, the country of origin principle applies only to the temporary cross-border provision of services. The rest of the directive deals with any other areas. If services are provided via an establishment in another Member State, the service provider will have to comply with all the relevant rules in that Member State.

I should like to point out to the honourable Member that I would accept that the Services Directive is very ambitious: it aims to provide an overarching framework. I am aware of the concerns of many Members of this Parliament and people outside this Parliament. I am very conscious that it has raised the political temperature in a number of Member States. I have entered into an open and constructive dialogue with Members, and I will continue to do that. I look forward to future communications from your rapporteur to assess parliamentarians' views within the committee responsible.

 
  
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  Harbour (PPE-DE). Would the Commissioner agree that it is vitally important for Members of this House to understand the huge variety of discriminatory and anti-competitive practices that Member States currently apply against service providers? It would be very helpful if you could explain these in more detail to Members of this Parliament who persist in describing this directive in the entirely unjustified terms you have so convincingly dismissed in your answer of 'social dumping' and a 'race to the bottom'. There is no evidence whatsoever that either of those things will happen, and it would be helpful if the job creation facet inherent in this directive were properly communicated.

 
  
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  McCreevy, Commission. I certainly agree with the honourable Member that the opportunities for job creation from an opening-up of the services market throughout Europe are immense. Various studies have been initiated, and there are great opportunities for job creation. Given that services account for well over 60% of the Union's GDP, it is clear that any improvement in the services area is going to lead to an increase in wealth and jobs for people in the Union.

I agree with the honourable Member that many anti-competitive practices exist in lots of Member States that prevent the real opening-up of the services market. The services directive is attempting to open up the services area to the benefit of everybody in Europe. But having said that, and in reply to the earlier question from Mr De Rossa, I am also conscious of the specific concerns expressed by Members. Hopefully, during the parliamentary process and other processes we will be able to tease these concerns out further.

 
  
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  Martin, David (PSE). If you take the qualifications that the Commissioner expressed in his answer to the first question at face value, it is clear that this directive would not apply to the UK health service, which is based on care that is free at the point of use. If we can take his reassurances at face value, why does he not simply exclude health from the scope of this directive?

 
  
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  McCreevy, Commission. The approach that I have adopted with the European Parliament and others who have raised concerns is to have those concerns and problems put on the table and into a document. I would not wish to start with a list of the items I think should be removed. That would not be the correct approach.

I accept that this is a very ambitious document, what we are trying to achieve is worth fighting for. People come to various issues in this House from various perspectives, with their own experiences and political and economic philosophies. What we all have to accept is that if Europe is to meet the challenges of the future and keep the social protection model and other things that we aspire to and want in Europe, we have to ensure that the European economy grows. Standing still is not an option. The Services Directive attempts to open up this particular market. As I pointed out in reply to Mr Harbour, services make up the bulk of the European Union's economic activity, therefore it is a goal well worth fighting for.

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin.

Anfrage Nr. 30 von Brian Crowley (H-0528/04)

Betrifft: Zielvorgaben von Lissabon

Zu Beginn des Jahres 2004 hat die Europäische Kommission einen Vorschlag für eine Richtlinie über Dienstleistungen als wichtigen Beitrag zur Verwirklichung der Strategie von Lissabon vorgelegt. Dieser Vorschlag hat eine umfassende Debatte ausgelöst, wobei sowohl entschiedene Unterstützung als auch energischer Widerstand seitens bestimmter Kreise geäußert wird.

Welche Schlussfolgerungen zieht die Kommission aus den Reaktionen, die der Vorschlag ausgelöst hat?

Könnte die Kommission erklären, warum sie sich dafür entschieden hat, einen Vorschlag mit einem derart breiten Anwendungsbereich vorzulegen, und warum sie ein so großes Gewicht auf die Rolle des Landes der Niederlassung des Dienstleistungserbringers legt? Warum hat sich die Kommission nicht für einen Ansatz nach einzelnen Sektoren entschieden?

Welche Rolle spielt der Dienstleistungssektor für die Wirtschaft der EU, und welcher Anteil entfällt auf grenzüberschreitende Dienstleistungen? Welche konkreten Ergebnisse, die für die Zielvorgaben von Lissabon relevant sind, hofft die Kommission mit diesem Vorschlag zu erzielen?

 
  
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  McCreevy, Commission. As the honourable Member has pointed out, the proposed Directive on services in the internal market is at the heart of our efforts to reform the European economy. Services account for approximately 70% of EU GDP and employment. The removal of internal market barriers in the area of services, as foreseen by the proposal, is essential for meeting the growth and employment targets which lie at the heart of the Lisbon Agenda. The potential economic opportunities arising from this proposal are indeed huge. This has been underlined by recent Dutch economic research which shows that implementation of the proposal in its current form could result in an increase in bilateral trade and direct foreign investment in commercial services by 15% to 35%.

The Commission has proposed a horizontal directive for several different reasons. First, a broad range of services are dealt with because many of the barriers identified are common to various service activities.

The most efficient way to address these barriers is in a horizontal way. Secondly, a large scale and detailed harmonisation process through sectoral directives would be unnecessary, unrealistic and inconsistent with better regulation and subsidiarity principles. Thirdly, the services proposal takes into account the specificity of certain activities, proposes specific harmonisation where this is deemed necessary and adopts a phased approach to implementation.

It is clear that the proposal has provoked a great deal of discussion. However, this is exactly what a proposal this ambitious and far-reaching can be expected to do. It shows that the proposal is addressing some very important questions. At the same time, this also means that there is a lot of work to be done to achieve a common goal.

The country of origin approach is a central element of the proposal, as far as the cross-border supply of services is concerned. It eliminates the problem of cross-border services being subject to a multitude of different rules. This will stimulate the offer of cross-border services and improve the competitiveness of the EU economy.

The country of origin approach is in particular essential for SMEs, who do not have the means to establish a subsidiary or an office in another Member State and therefore can export their know-how only by the temporary cross­border provision of services. I wish to note, however, that the country of origin approach does not apply for services provided through a fixed commercial presence in the host country.

At the same time, I wish to reiterate that the country of origin approach does not operate in isolation. Over and above the specific harmonisation foreseen for certain activities, the proposal also foresees the further development of administrative cooperation between Member State authorities and administrations. This harmonisation and cooperation will generate the degree of confidence between Member States required for the effective application of the country of origin approach.

Finally, a number of derogations are foreseen for services demonstrating a particular sensitivity because of the need to protect consumers, public health or public security, or where the current divergence of Member States' legislation does not allow the application of the country of origin approach.

As pointed out in my earlier reply, the Commission is confident that the proposal is the best way to allow the economic potential of the services sector to materialise, in the interest of our workers, our consumers and our companies.

 
  
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  Crowley (UEN). I also wish to welcome Commissioner McCreevy to his first Question Time in Parliament and to re-emphasise at the outset that I am fully in favour of the Lisbon Strategy and objectives because they can create greater wealth and employment within the European Union.

However, turning to his reply, one of the biggest hindrances to cross-border trade and protection of the country of origin principle is the idea of a one-stop shop for registration of a company, that is if one Member State approves a company to provide that service in that Member State, it should be reciprocal in all other Member States, because the same basis for decision-making under the internal market rules should apply.

 
  
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  McCreevy, Commission. The country of origin approach which lies at the heart of the Services Directive will allow for the circumstances Mr Crowley has outlined. As I said in my reply, it will allow companies to operate in another Member State without having to go through a multitude of further tests. That is the basis of the country of origin principle as it would apply to the circumstances outlined.

 
  
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  Mitchell (PPE-DE). I also welcome the Commissioner to his first Question Time in this House.

I should like to ask him, in relation to competitiveness and economic capacity – aspects of the Lisbon Agenda – if he would confirm that he shares my view that structural labour problems need to be addressed, especially when Europe is compared to the United States? In this regard, would the Commissioner agree that access by women to the workplace – which is greatly restricted in the EU compared to the situation in the US, in part because of the lack of affordable childcare facilities – needs to be addressed? Will the Commission address this issue?

 
  
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  McCreevy, Commission. I welcome Mr Mitchell's contribution, but would like to point out that the matters referred to come under the remit of my colleague, Mr Spidla. Mr Mitchell has gone into further problems relating to growth within the European Community. The Lisbon process is about addressing these matters and, as you will be aware, Mr Barroso has made the Lisbon Agenda his top priority for our period in office.

I note what the honourable Member has said regarding access by women to the labour market and his comments about childcare. I am sure other colleagues in the Commission will address these matters.

 
  
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  Cederschiöld (PPE-DE). Jag vill också välkomna kommissionär McCreevy. Det är uppenbart när det gäller tjänstedirektivet att alla inte har förstått varför det behövs. Därför tycker jag att det vore lämpligt, och kommer också att fråga kommissionären om det inte också vore lämpligt, att ta fram en exempelsamling som tydligt visar hur företag i konkreta termer har hindrats från att bidra till ekonomisk utveckling. Ett exempel: ett franskt företag som vill producera gravstenar hindras av tyskar och utsätts för böteshot.

Kan kommissionären komma tillbaka med en lista på alla dessa mängder av problem, som vi har sett i SOLVIT och i andra sammanhang, som företagen utsätts för och som hindrar ekonomisk utveckling, en konkret lista?

 
  
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  McCreevy, Commission. We have produced such a document and I shall gladly send a copy of it to the honourable Member.

 
  
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  Martin, David (PSE). Madam President, I know how hard it is to chair these sessions, but I wonder what relevance that supplementary had to Mr Mitchell's original question? Mrs Cederschiöld seemed to have jumped back to the previous question. I know my colleague Mr De Rossa had a genuine supplementary on the previous question and was refused the floor!

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin. Das Thema, Herr Kollege, ist offensichtlich von hohem Interesse für das gesamte Haus. Es hatten sich sehr viele Kolleginnen und Kollegen gemeldet und ich kann bei der Aufrufung der Fragestellerin oder des Fragestellers natürlich nicht vorher wissen, worauf sich eine Nachfrage bezieht. Vielleicht diskutieren sie das doch noch einmal mit der Kollegin.

Wir haben diesen zweiten Teil der Anfragen an die Kommission ohnehin schon überzogen, sodass die Anfragen 31 bis 33 nicht mehr erörtert werden können. Sie werden schriftlich beantwortet, und wir kommen dann zum nächsten Block unserer Anfragen.

Anfragen an Kommissarin Ferrero-Waldner

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin.

Anfrage Nr. 34 von Luis Yañez-Barnuevo García (H-0506/04)

Betrifft: Bildungsprogramme in Lateinamerika nach dem Gipfeltreffen der Staats- und Regierungschefs in Costa Rica

Auf dem ibero-amerikanischen Gipfeltreffen der Staats- und Regierungschefs wurde in San José de Costa Rica vergangenen November beschlossen, die Bildungsprogramme als Schlüssel für die Entwicklung der Länder Lateinamerikas zu fördern.

Ist dies auch eine günstige Gelegenheit für die Kommission in den Beziehungen der Europäischen Union zu Lateinamerika?

 
  
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  Ferrero-Waldner, Kommission. Frau Präsidentin! Ich darf auch sagen, dass es meine erste Fragestunde ist, aber ich freue mich darauf. Es ist immer gut, wenn man in die Details gehen kann.

Ich spreche jetzt Englisch.

 
  
  

This was a question on education, which is indeed a very important sector in the framework of the Commission's relations with Latin America. The importance of this sector has been stressed by the Heads of State and Government of both regions in Rio, in Madrid, in Guadalajara and at various different summits, calling in particular for the reinforcement of regional cooperation at the level of higher education.

The Commission is currently implementing cooperation programmes at national, subregional and regional levels in the field of education worth about EUR 300 million. In particular the Commission is financing two regional programmes in the field of higher education. One is the Alfa programme – America-Latina Formación Académica, and the other is the Alban programme – America-Latina Becas de Nivel.

The Alfa programme promotes cooperation between higher education institutions and other relevant organisations in the two regions with a view to human and institutional capacity-building, mobilising the civil society of both the EU and Latin America regions as a whole and therefore creating and reinforcing lasting bonds. Alfa 1 covers the period 1994-1999 and Alfa 2 the period 2000-2005.

Concerning allocations, Alfa 1 has a budget of EUR 32 million and Alfa 2 a budget of EUR 42 million.

The Alban programme was launched in 2002 at the EU-Latin America Madrid summit, thereby responding to the recommendations of the Rio de Janeiro summit. The programme awards scholarships to Latin American nationals for education training at master and doctorate levels in institutions in the EU, as well as for higher training for professionals from Latin America in organisations in the Union.

At regional and national level, several education projects are being implemented, notably in basic education. It is worth noting that the EUR 74.6 million programme is dedicated to education in the context of the programme for reconstruction and rehabilitation in Central America following Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

In Nicaragua the Commission is contributing to the improvement of the education sector through budget support totalling EUR 62.5 million.

 
  
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  Yañez-Barnuevo García (PSE). Señora Presidenta, en primer lugar doy la bienvenida a la Comisaria, señora Ferrero, que une a su apellido de adopción hispano su dominio del español y su conocimiento de América Latina. Su respuesta me ha satisfecho. Era lo que quería saber sobre el apoyo de la Comisión a los programas de educación y, especialmente, al instrumento al que me refería en mi pregunta, que es la Cumbre de Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno de Iberoamérica, que componen los países de habla española y portuguesa de América Latina, más España y Portugal.

Le reitero las gracias, señora Comisaria. En el futuro tendremos ocasión de hablar más de estos temas.

 
  
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  Ferrero-Waldner, Commission. Since the answer has already been given, I have nothing to add.

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin.

Anfrage Nr. 35 von Bart Staes (H-0510/04)

Betrifft: Entscheidet der Zufall über die Entwicklungszusammenarbeit?

Durch die Kampagne „Überlässt Du dem Zufall die Entscheidung? – Europa nicht!“ gibt die Kommission den Europäern zu verstehen, dass Europa viel Geld für Entwicklungszusammenarbeit aufbringt. Die Erklärung von Kommissionsmitglied Ferrero-Waldner zu dieser Kampagne zeigt, dass die Welt ein besserer Ort werden soll, offensichtlich in erster Linie für die Europäer, und dass die Entwicklungszusammenarbeit in erster Linie zu Stabilität in „unmittelbaren Nachbarländern“ führen soll. Die Armutsbekämpfung wird diesem Ziel untergeordnet.

Kann die Kommission mitteilen, ob diese Vorgehensweise, die in erster Linie auf eine bessere Sicherung Europas abzuzielen scheint, statt nachhaltige Lösungen für die Entwicklung der Dritten Welt zu bieten, mit der Entwicklungsagenda der Entwicklungsländer und mit Artikel 177 des Vertrags in Einklang steht, ferner mit den Zielsetzungen des Millennium-Projekts der Vereinten Nationen?

 
  
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  Ferrero-Waldner, Commission. As the Commission pointed out when it launched the poster campaign, the priorities of European Commission development cooperation are: to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty; promote sustainable development; build democracies; contribute to the integration of developing countries into the world economy; support good governance and promote respect for human rights.

The Commission is committed to helping developing countries achieve the development goals of the millennium. However, there are important objectives and activities that go far beyond the millennium development goals. For example, promoting peace and security and also supporting institution building.

A comprehensive, integrated approach is therefore essential in achieving sustainable development, as made clear also by the Treaty on European Union in Article 3, which emphasises the importance of assuring consistency of external policies and instruments in the context of external relations, security, development, economic and trade policy. This is also clearly stressed in the 2004 annual report on the Community's development policy.

The Community's external actions, including assistance, are further adapted to the diversity of our partner regions and countries. The European neighbourhood policy is an expression of such a comprehensive and integrated partner strategy. Similarly, our relations with the larger developing countries in Asia and Latin America in particular cover a broad range of objectives. In this context, it is clear that bringing concrete benefits to our partners will make the world a better place, not only for the people directly benefiting from EC assistance but also for European citizens. However, this does not change the overriding objective of the development policy of the European Commission, that is to eradicate poverty.

 
  
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  Staes (Verts/ALE). Voorzitter, ik ben blij met het antwoord van mevrouw de Commissaris, want ik moet wel zeggen dat ik eventjes schrok toen ik haar verklaring van 2 december las. Daarbij kon namelijk de indruk worden gewekt dat de doelstellingen die ze in haar woorden aangaf niet strookten met de millenniumdoelstellingen.

Wij hebben het er al eerder over gehad in de Commissie begrotingscontrole, mevrouw de Commissaris. Ook hier hebt u zich begeven op het terrein van de ontwikkelingssamenwerking. Louis Michel is commissaris Ontwikkeling en ik denk dat er een goede afstemming zal moeten komen, ook in de uitspraken die worden gedaan, om te verhinderen dat uw uitspraken in de bredere context van de millenniumdoelstellingen verkeerd worden begrepen. Ik zou willen vragen dat u daarover met de heer Michel inderdaad zeer goed overleg pleegt.

 
  
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  Ferrero-Waldner, Commission. Thank you for acknowledging that this campaign is going to the right development goals. It underlines the key sectors of the external assistance policy, as defined in the development policy communication and in the development goals.

There are seven elements to the seven priorities of the European Commission intervention. One is prosperity, achieved by trade and the private sector. Second, security, which is being achieved via justice and regional cooperation. Third is freedom, achieved by human rights and good governance. Fourth is food: food security and rural development. Fifth, water: the water initiative protecting sustainable development. Sixth, education: education systems and access to schools. Lastly, the EuropeAid message – 'partnerships improving lives worldwide' – evokes the how and why of external assistance. With regard to scope, the campaign is reaching out to over 150 countries worldwide. It is establishing long-term partnerships, and its approach is to focus on ownership of projects in partner countries. Priority areas results are also to be focused upon: there must be a demonstrable impact on people's lives. This campaign has really gone to the heart of what we want to do and comes under the umbrella of the overall goals.

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin.

Anfrage Nr. 36 von David Martin (H-0553/04)

Betrifft: Anhaltende Verstöße Israels gegen die EU-Israel-Protokolle

Wird die Kommission angesichts der anhaltenden Verstöße Israels gegen die EU-Israel-Protokolle die Aussetzung dieser Abkommen in Erwägung ziehen?

In dem Assoziationsabkommen werden „dem Grundsatz der wirtschaftlichen Freiheit und den Grundsätzen der Charta der Vereinten Nationen“ Bedeutung als „eigentliche Grundlage der Assoziation“ beigemessen.

Im regelnden Teil wird in Artikel 2 eindeutig festgestellt, dass „die Beziehungen zwischen den Vertragsparteien ebenso wie alle Bestimmungen des Abkommens … auf der Achtung der Menschenrechte und der Grundsätze der Demokratie, von denen die Vertragsparteien sich bei ihrer Innen- und Außenpolitik leiten lassen und die ein wesentliches Element dieses Abkommens sind“, beruhen.

 
  
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  Ferrero-Waldner, Commission. In response to your call for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, it is the Commission's judgement that measures such as sanctions would make the Israeli authorities less, rather than more, responsive to the efforts of the international community to promote a lasting solution. This is at a time when the EU is seeking to have a very constructive role in ensuring that the withdrawal from Gaza takes place in a positive climate, in cooperation with a new, and now democratically-elected, Palestinian leadership. I fully recognise the frustrations of those seeking to promote the peace process when confronted by Israel's expansion of its settlement activities.

The European Commission has regularly expressed its concerns not only at the continuing terrorism and violence but also at the route of the separation barrier and the expansion of settlements. Our wish is to address these issues through dialogue. The Commission is seeking to develop relations with Israel and the Palestinians through the European Neighbourhood Policy, through support for Palestinian reforms and the development of political dialogue with Israel.

The action plan adopted for Israel includes measures to strengthen dialogue and cooperation on the importance of adherence to international law and the need to preserve the perspective of a viable, comprehensive settlement, which involves minimising the impact of security and counter-terrorism measures on the civilian population.

It is the Commission's view – and I believe this is shared by the Member States – that measures to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement would therefore be counterproductive.

 
  
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  Martin, David (PSE). I fully accept what the Commissioner says about the changing circumstances. Since I tabled this question, Mr Abbas has been elected as leader of the Palestinians and we have seen Mr Peres join the Israeli Government. That gives us some hope for dialogue between the two sides.

However, I would ask her, in her new role, to keep this Protocol under constant review and to keep the pressure on Israel to observe the contents of the Protocol. I know that in the past the Commission has taken action on products that have come from East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. I ask her to continue to monitor the situation to ensure that products from those areas are not labelled as 'products of Israel'.

 
  
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  Ferrero-Waldner, Commission. I can assure you that the Commission will certainly do that, because just before Christmas we had such a Council meeting. This has of course been one of the important issues in the Council so we will try to do our best to get both parties to abide by their obligations.

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin.

Anfrage Nr. 37 von Justas Vincas Paleckis (H-0559/04)

Betrifft: Die neue Nachbarschaftspolitik und Belarus

Am 9. Dezember erklärte das für die Außenbeziehungen und die Europäische Nachbarschaftspolitik zuständige Kommissionsmitglied anlässlich der Billigung der ersten Aktionspläne der neuen Europäischen Nachbarschaftspolitik durch die Kommission, dass das Ziel die Schaffung eines Freundeskreises um die Grenzen der erweiterten Union herum sei. Von den sieben Ländern, mit denen die ersten Aktionspläne geschlossen wurden, verfügt lediglich die Ukraine über unmittelbare Landesgrenzen mit dem erweiterten Europa. Belarus dagegen, das gemeinsame Grenzen mit drei neuen Mitgliedstaaten der EU hat, ist nach Aussagen des Kommissionsmitglieds zu undemokratisch, um in dieses Programm aufgenommen werden zu können.

Gedenkt die Kommission, interne Maßnahmen zu ergreifen, um das Problem Belarus zu lösen? Beabsichtigt sie, Vorschläge zur Schaffung eines horizontalen Hilfsprogramms der EU zugunsten der Menschenrechte und der Demokratie zu berücksichtigen oder Funk- und Fernsehsendungen von den Nachbarländern aus auszustrahlen? Ist vorgesehen, eine Delegation der EU in Minsk einzurichten und einen Beauftragten der EU für Belarus zu ernennen? Solche Initiativen würden zur Bildung einer Zivilgesellschaft in Belarus beitragen und ermöglichten es, zugunsten einer Demokratisierung Einfluss zu nehmen, ohne einen Zusammenstoß mit dem dortigen Regime zu riskieren.

 
  
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  Ferrero-Waldner, Commission. The Commission underlines that the European Neighbourhood Policy framework is very important, and it wants to reinforce further the relationship between the enlarged European Union and its neighbours, including Belarus.

A key principle of the 'Ring of Friends' is forging joint ownership. The Union cannot impose its policy on anyone, but it is ready to convince its neighbours of the benefits of the ENP. The Union is offering closer cooperation across the spectrum of its relations – from political dialogue to economic integration – on the basis of commitment to common values. This offer is, in principle, also valid for Belarus.

Through the ENP, the Union is ready to reinforce its lasting commitment to supporting democratic development in Belarus. If and when fundamental political and economic reforms take place, it will be possible for Belarus to be fully involved in the ENP, with all the benefits that would bring. Under current conditions, however, there can be no fully-fledged ENP action plan for Belarus. The October 2004 parliamentary elections and the referendum were important milestones for Belarus under the ENP, but, unfortunately, Belarus failed to achieve them. However, there remains a clear prospect for deepening relations, including under the framework of the ENP, provided that fundamental reforms are carried out.

At present, a key element – and this is also an issue in EU policy towards Belarus – is to support civil society and the process of democratisation. In addition, Belarus will continue to be able to benefit from the relevant regional, cross-border and thematic programmes. The Commission is stepping up its effort to coordinate assistance for democratisation and civil society.

Moreover, the Commission is also looking – and here I want go into detail – into the possibility of supporting civil society and the democratic process in a flexible manner. In the first place, the assistance should be operational and managed in the country concerned. But the Commission does not a priori exclude specific situations where a project would be implemented mainly outside Belarus. The modalities for doing so need to be carefully considered in the light of the relevant rules and regulations.

Support for independent media and information dissemination is among the key priorities of EU assistance. A radio or television station broadcasting to Belarus outside the country is an interesting idea, but requires further clarification as to whether such an initiative could be supported by EU funds under the existing rules and regulations.

As to the question of opening a delegation in Belarus, it must be borne in mind that the EU has limited resources for extending its network of fully-fledged delegations. Belarus is covered by the European Commission delegation in Kiev, which has a technical assistance office in Minsk. The Commission will look into the possibilities of allocating, within the existing structures, additional human resources for work in Belarus. At the moment, opening a European Commission delegation in Minsk is not, however, being considered.

 
  
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  Paleckis (PSE). Frau Kommissarin! Ich gratuliere Ihnen auch herzlich zu Ihrer ersten Fragestunde. Aus Ihren ausführlichen Antworten ziehe ich die Schlussfolgerung, dass die Kommission wirklich ziemlich aktiv in Belarus arbeiten wird. Eine Frage: Glauben Sie, dass es möglich ist, auch unter jetzigen Umständen mit den derzeitigen Behörden in Belarus zu kooperieren?

 
  
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  Ferrero-Waldner, Kommission. Frau Präsidentin! Mit den Behörden können wir derzeit sicher nicht kooperieren. Aber was wir können, ist eben – und das habe ich ausgeführt –, die Zivilgesellschaft besonders fördern, aber auch vor allem mit der akademischen Gesellschaft arbeiten. Ich darf Ihnen sagen, dass wir drei Workshops mit nichtstaatlichen Organisationen und auch mit möglichst vielen Nachbarstaaten planen, um zu sehen, was wir im Detail tun können. Denn wir glauben auch, dass die Förderung der Zivilgesellschaft derzeit die einzige Möglichkeit ist, die uns bleibt, um in Belarus eine Änderung herbeizuführen.

 
  
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  Kudrycka (PPE-DE). Dziękuję bardzo. Pani Komisarz, wydaje się, iż rzeczywiście bardzo ważne jest włączenie krajów sąsiadujących z Białorusią do wspierania rozwoju społeczeństwa obywatelskiego na Białorusi. Te programy akademickie, a także programy związane z wolnymi mediami mogą być tylko realizowane z krajów sąsiednich. Jeśli można znaleźć projekty, które mogłyby dofinansowywać tego typu działania, wydaje się, że będzie to najlepsza droga do tego, aby w przyszłości można było już nawiązywać współpracę z prawdziwymi, demokratycznymi rządami na Białorusi.

 
  
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  Ferrero-Waldner, Commission. First I should like to point out that I have already answered, in principle, the question of the media. I clearly pointed out the Commission's opinion for the time being. However, with regard to projects and money I can give you some examples: the EU's support for civil society is to be strengthened; the EU's TACIS programme – which amounts to EUR 10 million for Belarus in 2005 and 2006 – will focus on support for civil society, independent media – exactly what you wanted us to focus on; higher education cooperation including exchanges of students and professors; and alleviation of the consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe. The provision of information to the general public with regard to the European Union and the European Neighbourhood Policy will also be strengthened. In addition, the Tempus Programme will finance exchanges of young Belarusian university students abroad, curriculum development on European studies and capacity-building in local universities.

As I said, Belarus is indeed eligible under the New Neighbourhood programmes. It will therefore benefit from the European Neighbourhood Policy instrument as of 2007.

Finally, the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights – the EIDHR – will have a more active role in Belarus in the years to come. In 2005-2006 Belarusian applicants will be able to apply for support under two campaigns: 'fostering a culture of human rights' and 'promoting democratic processes'.

 
  
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  Onyszkiewicz (ALDE). Chciałbym się upewnić, czy Komisja Europejska ma świadomość tego, że programy edukacyjne, bardzo zresztą potrzebne, są jednak pod kontrolą władz białoruskich. W związku z tym nie mogą być traktowane jako czyste wsparcie demokratyzacyjnych procesów na Białorusi. Chciałbym się spytać, czy w świetle tego, o czym mówiła Pani Komisarz, w ramach programu EIDHR będzie przeznaczona jakaś suma na wsparcie niezależnych inicjatyw na Białorusi, zważywszy na to, że do tej pory przez kilka lat ani jedno euro nie było przeznaczone na ten cel z tego funduszu.

 
  
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  Ferrero-Waldner, Commission. As I said before, we will have three workshops. The last of them will be in Lithuania, which invited the Commission to work together with some neighbouring countries on new ideas and strategies; on what can be done with NGOs and others. I will certainly take up this suggestion in those workshops to see what can be done, but it must fit into the framework of the regulations that are there. However, we will certainly consider that.

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin. Die Anfragen 38 - 41 werden schriftlich beantwortet, wobei ich darauf hinweisen möchte, dass die Anfragen 39 und 40 hinfällig sind, weil sie Gegenstand der Tagesordnung der Sitzung sein werden.

Anfragen an Kommissar Frattini

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin.

Anfrage Nr. 42 von Dimitrios Papadimoulis (H-0511/04)

Betrifft: Telefonabhörungen ohne Richterbeschluss

Nach Berichten der seriösen Tageszeitung „Vima“ vom 5. und 7.12.2004 ist ein Abhörnetz italienischer Dienste entdeckt worden, die Gespräche über Mobil- und Festnetztelefone griechischer Bürger in Griechenland abgehört haben. Dies wird auch in dem Dokument der Staatsanwaltschaft von Bari (Italien) bestätigt, das von der Zeitung wiedergegeben wird. Es hat sich gezeigt, dass das Abhörnetz eingerichtet worden ist, ohne dass ein entsprechender richterlicher Beschluss der griechischen Justizbehörden vorlag, wobei führende Vertreter der griechischen Polizei und der Dienststelle für die Verfolgung der Finanzkriminalität erklären, dass „sie nachträglich davon unterrichtet wurden, dass ein solches Abhörnetz von italienischen Behördenvertretern eingerichtet worden war.“

Gedenkt die Kommission, die italienischen und die griechischen Behörden um Informationen in dieser Angelegenheit zu ersuchen? Ist ihr bekannt, ob bislang irgendein Protest der griechischen Behörden wegen der – ohne Richterbeschluss – durchgeführten Abhörung griechischer Bürger durch italienische Behörden vorliegt? Ist die Abhörung von Telefongesprächen von Bürgern eines Mitgliedstaats durch die Behörden eines anderen Mitgliedstaates ohne vorherigen richterlichen Beschluss des erstgenannten Staates zulässig?

 
  
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  Frattini, Vice-President of the Commission. The Commission has not been informed of any deposition by the Greek authorities concerning any of the facts mentioned by the honourable Member. Since phone taps always require an assessment of the proportionality of the potential infringement of fundamental rights in relation to the public interest served by such measures, permitting phone taps as a means of conducting criminal investigations are in most cases subject to a court warrant. When the competent authorities of one Member State in the course of criminal investigations in their own country need to carry out taps on phones or telecommunication services located in another Member State they must follow the procedures that have been put in place for that purpose.

The European Commission obviously does not have the means to judge the behaviour of independent judicial authorities. The main European instrument providing for this situation is the 2000 Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Member States of the European Union. Until such time as this Convention enters into force, Member States can have recourse to the 1959 Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and to Council of Europe Recommendation (85)10 concerning letters rogatory for the interception of telecommunications.

 
  
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  Παπαδημούλης (GUE/NGL). Κυρία Πρόεδρε, κύριε Επίτροπε, σας καλωσορίζω μεν αλλά με αφήνετε κατάπληκτο! Είναι αδιανόητο η Επιτροπή να αποφεύγει να σχολιάσει μία βαριά παραβίαση βασικών κανόνων προστασίας προσωπικών δεδομένων. Είχαμε τηλεφωνικές υποκλοπές στην Ελλάδα σε βάρος Ελλήνων πολιτών από ιταλικές υπηρεσίες ερήμην όλων των ελληνικών αρχών. Κύριε Επίτροπε, πριν από λίγες εβδομάδες ήσασταν υπουργός της ιταλικής κυβέρνησης. Είναι δυνατόν να μη σηκώσατε το τηλέφωνο να ρωτήσετε και την ιταλική κυβέρνηση και την ελληνική τι έγινε;!

 
  
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  Frattini, Vicepresidente della Commissione. Mi scuso con l'onorevole parlamentare, ma posso soltanto ripetere che la Commissione non ha avuto informazioni su questo caso. Ad ogni modo, la Commissione non ha titolo legale per giudicare una violazione che, se commessa, sarebbe stata commessa da un'autorità giudiziaria indipendente e non da un'autorità governativa di uno Stato membro. Ci sono degli strumenti giuridici a disposizione, io li ho ricordati: in particolare le raccomandazioni del Consiglio d'Europa e la Convenzione sulla reciproca assistenza sempre del Consiglio d'Europa.

 
  
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  Μαυρομμάτης (PPE-DE). Κυρία Πρόεδρε, κύριε Επίτροπε, νομίζω ότι εδώ υπάρχει ακόμη ένα λάθος ή κάτι που σας διαφεύγει. Τον περασμένο Δεκέμβριο οι εφημερίδες "Reppublica" και "Corriere della Sera" αναφέρθηκαν εκτενέστατα σε υποκλοπές τηλεφωνημάτων, είχαν μάλιστα ειδικά σχεδιαγράμματα ενός μηχανήματος το οποίο διαπράττει αυτό το έγκλημα, εντός εισαγωγικών ή εκτός εισαγωγικών, αυτό δε το μηχάνημα υπάρχει κάπου στο Μιλάνο ή στη Νότια Ιταλία. Απορώ λοιπόν πώς δεν το έχετε ήδη διαπιστώσει και εσείς, για να κάνετε σήμερα τις σχετικές παρατηρήσεις.

 
  
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  Frattini, Vicepresidente della Commissione. Certamente quello che dice l'onorevole è corretto. I giornali italiani hanno riportato alcuni fatti, tuttavia la Commissione può e deve rimanere nell'ambito dei suoi poteri giuridici, tra i quali non rientra quello di sottoporre né ad investigazioni né ad azioni il comportamento di autorità giudiziarie. Vi sono strumenti, anche all'interno degli Stati nazionali, che permettono di sottoporre ad un procedimento un magistrato, che ha compiuto un'attività illegale, ma questo ovviamente non può avvenire su richiesta della Commissione.

 
  
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  Martin, David (PSE). Commissioner, regardless of the facts of this case, when you next meet the justice ministers, will you make it clear to them that, under the various international conventions you mention and in the spirit of membership of the European Union, it is unacceptable for the authorities of one Member State – be they political or judicial – to carry out phone tapping in another Member State, without the express approval of that Member State?

 
  
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  Frattini, Vicepresidente della Commissione. Onorevole, lei ha perfettamente ragione e questa è certamente la strada giusta. Come probabilmente sa in Italia spetta, da un lato al Ministro della giustizia, dall'altro all'organo di autogoverno della magistratura, agire contro i magistrati che hanno commesso atti contro la legge. Questa sollecitazione è stata certamente da me trasmessa al Ministro della giustizia italiana.

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin.

Anfrage Nr. 43 von Claude Moraes (H-0522/04)

Betrifft: Jahresbericht der Kommission über Migration

Welche Ansicht vertritt die Kommission in bezug auf die Reaktionen auf den Jahresbericht der Kommission über Migration (Juli 2004), wie u.a. der Auffassung von Sachverständigen – beispielsweise von SOLIDAR (Katrin Hugendubel) und der Sozialen Plattform von NRO –, wonach es schwierig sei, "bewährte Verfahren" im Bereich der Integrationspolitik zu ermitteln, da sich die Gegebenheiten in den einzelnen EU-Mitgliedstaaten so stark voneinander unterschieden?

 
  
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  Frattini, Vice-President of the Commission. It is certainly true that there are different approaches to integration represented in the Member States. Concept and practice varies due to a number of factors: different immigration histories and variations in the roles of government and civil society with respect to integration policies are just two examples.

The Commission consistently stressed that integration policy was by definition an area where subsidiarity is at stake. On the other hand, all Member States adhere to human rights standards and shared values such as equality anti-discrimination, solidarity, tolerance, etc..

Through the ongoing exchange of information and experience, particularly through the work of national contact points for integration, we are now seeing a certain degree of convergence with respect to policy approaches, goals and targets. This was confirmed in December with the adoption by the Council of common basic principles on integration.

The publication by the Commission in November 2004 of a handbook on integration for policy makers and practitioners, which brings together examples of good practice from throughout the Union on introduction programmes, civic participation and integration indicators, illustrates that there are many common problems and shows how much we can learn from each other. Best practice must be taken for what it is: ideas, lessons to be learned and suggestions which can inspire and inform policy makers in the definition of the policies required.

 
  
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  Moraes (PSE). I thank the Commissioner for that clear answer. I know from the previous debate that you take the issue of integration seriously.

The Commission has a real impact on integration policy and a direct role, for example, in the enforcement of existing directives, which are crucial to integration – I refer explicitly to the Employment Directive and the Race Equality Directive. The Commission has played a strong role in trying to enforce these directives. They remain unimplemented in at least two Member States that I am aware of. Will you use your powers in office to enforce such directives, which play such an important part in the integration process? You have that power.

 
  
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  Frattini, Vice-President of the Commission. Yes, of course the Commission has such power, and I can reassure you that the Commission will use all its power to guarantee, stimulate and encourage Member States to fully implement all directives in the common European interest.

 
  
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  Muscat (PSE). Signor Commissario, userò la vostra lingua madre per essere diretto su una questione datata: quella dell'immigrazione illegale. Gli sbarchi dei clandestini non attenderanno certo che noi abbiamo una strategia comune prima di continuare nel Mediterraneo. Di sicuro, se non continuano anche adesso, è perché i disperati sono in fondo al mare. Allora voglio chiedere cosa sta facendo la Commissione e che cosa è previsto nel futuro prossimo per aiutare paesi sulla frontiera dell'Unione europea - mi riferisco in particolare al mio paese, Malta - per fornire aiuto, per accogliere in modo decente i clandestini? Quanti fondi saranno stanziati per questo?

 
  
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  Frattini, Vicepresidente della Commissione. Il tema dell'immigrazione illegale è uno di quelli che la Commissione considera prioritari. Mentre prepariamo azioni politiche e soluzioni europee comuni, come lei ha osservato, ci dobbiamo preoccupare anche del dramma quotidiano delle persone disperate. La Commissione può e deve agire, ed agirà, per garantire che siano rispettati i diritti fondamentali delle persone che entrano nel territorio europeo, ovviamente anche quelle che entrano in modo illegale: il diritto al rispetto della vita umana e della sua dignità non è questione di differenze giuridiche.

Detto questo, le politiche strategiche debbono essere accelerate. Non possiamo approfittare di un ritardo per continuare a permettere un afflusso illegale, dobbiamo subito rispettare i diritti fondamentali delle persone e contemporaneamente preparare le politiche comuni di accoglienza, da un lato, e di prevenzione contro l'illegalità, dall'altro lato.

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin.

Anfrage Nr. 44 von Ignasi Guardans Cambó (H-0523/04)

Betrifft: Terrorismus

Im Rahmenbeschluss des Rates vom 13. Juni 2002 zur Terrorismusbekämpfung wurden die Mitgliedstaaten aufgefordert, in bestimmten Bereichen, die mit der Terrorismusbekämpfung zu tun haben, Rechtsvorschriften zu erlassen, um angesichts der bestehenden Gefahren gemeinsame Definitionen festzulegen. Gemäß Artikel 11 dieses Rahmenbeschlusses hatten die Kommission und der Rat bis Ende 2003 zu prüfen, welche spezifischen Maßnahmen von den Mitgliedstaaten gegen den Terrorismus getroffen wurden.

Diese Texte wurden schließlich von der Kommission am 8. Juni 2004 (KOM(2004)0409/endgültig) und vom Rat am 12. Oktober 2004 (11687/2/04/rev. 2) vorgelegt. In beiden Berichten wird sehr klar und sachlich festgestellt, dass die Mitgliedstaaten untätig geblieben sind und die im Rahmenbeschluss des Rates festgelegten Ziele nicht umgesetzt wurden.

Die Kommission verfügt über keine verbindlichen Instrumente, um die Umsetzung der Rahmenbeschlüsse durch die Mitgliedstaaten einzufordern. Wie will die Kommission jedoch, um die Glaubwürdigkeit Europas bei der Terrorismusbekämpfung zu gewährleisten, eine echte europäische Politik der Terrorismusbekämpfung vorantreiben und erreichen und daher sicherstellen, dass die Mitgliedstaaten ihre Zusagen in Bezug auf Maßnahmen im legislativen Bereich erfüllen?

 
  
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  Frattini, Vice-President of the Commission. According to Article 34 of the Treaty on European Union, framework decisions are binding upon the Member States as to the result to be achieved but leave to the national authorities the choice of form and methods. However, framework decisions 'shall not entail direct effect'.

Whereas, within the first pillar, the Commission has the authority to initiate an infringement procedure against a Member State, this possibility does not exist within the Treaty on European Union. The situation described by the honourable Member certainly does not facilitate the Commission's role, but it does not prevent it from producing a broad range of policy initiatives, which have been the basis for the policy definition of the Union in the important area of the fight against terrorism.

The Commission has been playing this role very actively in establishing in June 2004 the revised action plan on combating terrorism, in updating it in December 2004 and in implementing more than half of the respective measures. This is also evident from the submission, in October 2004, of four communications covering different aspects of the prevention, preparedness and response to terrorist attacks and from the adoption, in the same year, of a communication on mutual access to data relevant to the fight against terrorism and of several classified documents in the field of consequence management and the protection of critical infrastructures.

The Commission in general and President Barroso and I in particular are determined to work in close cooperation with Council presidencies to maintain the fight against terrorism. This is very high on the agenda of the Council, including that of the JHA Council and the European Council comprising the Heads of State and Government.

 
  
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  Guardans Cambó (ALDE). Conosco bene il quadro giuridico nel quale si può muovere la politica antiterroristica europea per quel che riguarda la Commissione e lei lo ha descritto benissimo. Ma se non vogliamo fare un'ipocrisia collettiva, bisogna chiamare le cose con il loro nome. Il nome è che si fanno grandi convegni, dove si trovano tutti i presidenti di governo, dopo fanno la conferenza stampa, presentano una decisione, dopo questa decisione non succede niente. E' la Commissione stessa che lo ha ammesso l'8 giugno del 2004. Allora la domanda è: cosa farà la Commissione politicamente per mettere questo in pratica?

 
  
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  Frattini, Vicepresidente della Commissione . La Commissione inizierà ad illustrare alla fine di questo mese al Consiglio informale dei ministri degli interni e della giustizia il piano d'azione per attuare la strategia dell'Aia. Il piano d'azione sarà presentato in maggio di quest'anno e io auspico che sia approvato dal Consiglio europeo in giugno.

Il piano d'azione contro il terrorismo conterrà misure ed indicazioni concrete, scadenze precise per gli Stati membri e obblighi vincolanti per una politica comune di rafforzamento della cooperazione, degli scambi d'informazione, della protezione delle vittime degli attacchi terroristici. Queste sono le misure che la Commissione intende preliminarmente sottoporre a questo Parlamento, cosa che noi faremo all'inizio del mese di febbraio, quindi ben prima di formulare la nostra proposta, raccoglieremo poi la voce di questo Parlamento sulle proposte concrete.

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin.

Anfrage Nr. 45 von Bill Newton Dunn (H-0524/04)

Betrifft: Weitergabe und Sammeln von Daten über Verbrechen in der Union

Wie weit sind die Vorschläge der Kommission für standardisierte Kriterien für die Weitergabe und das Sammeln von Statistiken über Verbrechen in der Europäischen Union gediehen?

Solange es kein derartiges System gibt, ist es für die Strafverfolgungsbehörden schwer, sich ein klares Bild über das Ausmaß der Tätigkeit der organisierten Bandenkriminalität zu machen, und daher ist es sehr schwierig, wirksam gegen diese Banden vorzugehen.

 
  
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  Frattini, Vice-President of the Commission. The Commission agrees that the absence of comparable crime statistics makes the development of an effective EU law enforcement policy more difficult.

The Commission is working on a draft action plan on EU crime statistics. Member State crime statistics experts are being consulted on this draft action plan, which will be presented in the form of a Commission communication in the spring of 2005. The two main blocks of the draft action plan are: first, the setting up of appropriate coordination machinery to ensure that Member States, the Commission and other key actors are part of the process of working towards common data-gathering methods and harmonised definition; the second element concerns the implementation of developing comparable statistics. This will include many different components, to be developed over a period of time, such as definitions of crime types and an inventory of definitions where there is already EU-level agreement.

The Commission, in close cooperation with Europol and other providers and users of EU crime statistics, is developing this project on a step-by-step basis in accordance with Member States' ability to provide relevant data. The Commission's draft action plan was discussed with European directors of social statistics in September 2004. It was agreed to set up a task force to examine appropriate statistical methods for monitoring crime. This task force will begin its work in May 2005.

I should also mention that the Commission is providing support for work being undertaken to measure statistically the quality and effectiveness of the judicial process. A seminar on this subject, co-financed by the EU's AGIS Programme, was hosted by the Italian Ministry of Justice in Rome in October 2004.

 
  
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  Newton Dunn (ALDE). Thank you, Commissioner, for staying to answer the question. I am very grateful that you recognise the urgency of this problem because with open borders across the Union, organised crime is free to operate and to prosper, while our police forces are national and cannot cross the frontiers. So we have a real problem. I am glad that you are treating this with considerable urgency.

Could you tell us who will be responsible for the coordinating machinery? Will this be done by Europol or will it be done by the Commission – or maybe a new agency?

 
  
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  Frattini, Vicepresidente della Commissione . Non credo che si possano e si debbano istituire nuovi organismi; credo che questo settore debba vedere, da un lato un indirizzo strategico, direi politico, della Commissione, dall'altro, la possibilità di impiegare diversamente Europol che, come tutti sappiamo, sta cercando di sviluppare le sue funzioni e le sue missioni. La Commissione intende stimolare proprio questa progressione, questa crescita delle funzioni di Europol. Questo è sicuramente uno dei settori in cui un lavoro si può fare.

 
  
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  Sbarbati (ALDE). Signor presidente, vorrei esprimere alcune considerazioni: qui ci sono colleghi che come me sono qui dall'inizio della seduta, hanno posto domande scritte e non hanno trovato la possibilità di avere una risposta in Aula e per poi controbattere eventualmente con un'ulteriore domanda, se erano soddisfatti o meno.

Credo che sia opportuno che la presidenza e gli uffici giuridici valutino meglio la questione del Tempo delle Interrogazioni e pensino bene quale tempo, quante interrogazioni in questo tempo possono essere soddisfatte, perché non si può costringere un deputato a stare in Aula tutto questo tempo e non avere poi la soddisfazione di avere una risposta immediata e diretta dal Commissario competente.

Credo che la situazione meriti un approfondimento da parte dei servizi del Parlamento, è assolutamente inammissibile che si possa verificare una situazione di questo tipo.

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin. Frau Kollegin! Für das Abhalten der Fragestunde haben wir in der Geschäftsordnung ganz klare Regeln. Vorhin haben sich sehr viele Kolleginnen und Kollegen zu einem Themenbereich zu Wort gemeldet, da konnte ich nicht allen das Wort erteilen. Das Hauptproblem scheint mir zu sein, dass viele Kolleginnen und Kollegen sehr lange nachfragen, die 30 Sekunden nicht einhalten und wir dadurch natürlich oft in Zeitverzug geraten. Ich werde an das denken, was Sie gesagt haben. Ich möchte mich recht herzlich bei Ihnen allen bedanken, insbesondere noch einmal bei Herrn Kommissar Frattini, dass er bereit war, so lange mit uns gemeinsam hier im Plenum die Fragestunde abzuhalten.

Die Anfragen Nr. 46 bis 76 werden schriftlich beantwortet.

 
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