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Tuesday, 7 June 2005 - Strasbourg OJ edition

21. Explanations of vote

- Report: Laperrouze (A6-0134/2005)


  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The report by Mrs Laperrouze, together with the Commission’s proposal, sets out priorities for the trans-European energy networks on the basis of the creation of a more open and competition-based internal energy market, one that is beholden to the principles of competition. As we know, the privatisations in the sector were justified by the so-called Lisbon Strategy, to which we have always been opposed.

Occasional concerns with consumer protection and with the use of renewable energy are raised, yet those play second fiddle to the concerns of the market, or in other words, the interests of the large economic groups and the multinationals operating in the sector. We are opposed to that objective.

In the meantime, of course, we speak of universal access to services and the obligation to provide public services, yet this only serves to underline the need to build and maintain energy infrastructure – as defined by the Commission, and based on opinions and plans drawn up by the Member States – so as to enable the internal market to operate efficiently, with due regard to the procedures for consulting the people affected, and without detracting from the strategic criteria and the above-mentioned criteria and obligations added by Parliament. Despite all of this, the funding is still meagre.


  Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) We recommend that the EU countries cooperate on cross-border issues on which EU cooperation can add value in relation to what can be achieved within existing international cooperation structures. We have chosen to vote in favour of the overall report on trans-European energy networks, because this is an important cross-border European issue.

We support those amendments that open the way for limited top-down government. We welcome the idea of using the EU’s existing structural funds to finance the costs involved in this type of cooperation.


  Sérgio Marques (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) I should like to congratulate Mrs Laperrouze on the important and timely report on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down guidelines for trans-European energy networks and repealing Decisions No 96/391/EC and No 1229/2003/EC. I support this report, especially in that it proposes common rules for the European gas and electricity market, in which the environment is an ever-present factor and the safety of the electricity supply is guaranteed in each of the Member States, regions and territories.

Incorporating the new Member States’ energy networks into trans-European networks will undoubtedly facilitate the cohesion process in the enlarged EU. Nonetheless, when new infrastructure is built, maintained or enhanced, the environmental impact must be taken into account and procedures must be followed for the prior notification and consultation of the people affected, as laid down in Community and national legislation.

The EU’s dependence on one single source of energy supply might have ramifications for its external policy and might restrict its role on the international stage. It is therefore essential for technological development in European industry that new sources of alternative energy be developed.


- Report: Rothe (A6-0130/2005)


  Daniel Caspary, Werner Langen and Herbert Reul (PPE-DE), in writing. (DE) Increasing energy efficiency is an important aim for many reasons.

This is why we support all reasonable efforts to ensure that energy is used efficiently. The present Rothe report, however, only partly satisfies this requirement. It proposes too much bureaucracy, too much centralism and questionable methods of increasing energy efficiency in Europe.

Despite all these misgivings, we shall approve the report at the first reading, because the benchmarking approach, which we favour, is included as an option. We call on the Council and the Commission to embrace the benchmarking system in place of the uniform percentage targets and to proceed quickly to make the necessary preparations for the implementation of such a system so that there will be no need to apply uniform percentage targets, even for an introductory period.

If this line is not followed, we shall vote against these binding percentage targets at the second reading.


  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We naturally endorse the goals of greater energy end use efficiency and of renewable energy contributing 20% of overall energy consumption in the EU. We accordingly support measures aimed at achieving this objective and therefore voted in favour of most of the rapporteur’s proposals.

It is interesting to see how Parliament deems the public sector capable of providing a lead in this area, and thus sets more ambitious goals for the sector.

We object, however, to the emphasis on liberalising the market in the area of energy efficiency, in particular domestic consumption, from July 2007, as contained in a number of the rapporteur’s proposals. We voted against those proposals.


  Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) Increased energy efficiency is an important part of the strategy for achieving the Kyoto Protocol’s objectives. We do not, however, believe that the EU should set detailed objectives in terms of energy savings or specify how these are to be achieved. The EU can and should intervene in genuinely cross-border environmental issues, but it must not dictate energy policy objectives. Our vote against the European Parliament’s report does not imply support for the Commission’s original proposal.


  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) If we wish to make real energy savings – and this ought to be our wish – that swim against the tide of increased energy use, both in developing and developed countries, one of our main tasks will be to warn the citizens of the impact of excessive energy use. Making people aware of the problems is the best way to involve them in the necessary solutions.

As such, the proposals put forward in this report, particularly those concerning awareness-raising, among both public and private users, of the benefits that can be derived from saving energy, will prove to be extremely useful.


- Report: Brepoels (A6-0108/2005)


  Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) We are open to the idea of the EU countries creating a Web-based portal where the Member States make relevant environmental indicators available.

We take a critical view of those wordings that open the way for the EU to implement similar measures within other policy areas. The rapporteur has not clearly specified which areas are in the running and to what degree. We also take the view that the report provides too much detailed regulation and that the Member States are called upon to make data available within too many areas. The basic geographical conditions vary from one Member State to another. The same types of information and indicator are thus not relevant to all countries.

For the aforesaid reasons, we have chosen to vote against Parliament’s report. We believe that the Commission’s proposal is less far-reaching and better worded than the report presented by Parliament.


  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) Data sharing between Member States makes an important contribution towards building a widespread and strongly-rooted feeling of trust between all concerned, and is naturally useful in and of itself. In this particular case, the data that can be obtained in this way is both cross-border in nature and can be used for cross-border purposes. For this reason, namely the objective of sharing data, I am naturally in favour.


- Report: Skinner (A6-0146/2005)


  Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) The June List supports institutional competition and therefore regrets that the Commission has considered it necessary to regulate this market too. At present, the legislation applies where reinsurance is written, meaning that the market players themselves choose which legislation is most appropriate. It is not to citizens that the directive primarily offers protection. Instead, it concerns regulations governing financial institutions and trade between companies (B2B). These players carry out their own risk assessments on a daily basis and do not need further EU legislation.

Not being able to vote against the Commission’s proposals, we therefore choose to abstain from voting.


  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. As I did at the Committee stage, I supported today the compromise package as commended to us in the Skinner Report.

Financial services make a very substantial contribution to the economy of Scotland, and re-insurance, whether directly or indirectly, affect Scottish-based enterprises and consumers.

I welcome this proposal, which makes progress towards a Europe-wide system of re-insurance provision and regulation, as well as providing an opportunity to tackle the situation in the USA, where vast amounts of capital are tied up because of their collateral requirement leading to extra costs currently being passed on to consumers.

The rapporteur is to be congratulated for his work on this document.


Report: Schierhuber (A6-0145/2005)


  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted in favour of the report before us because it improves on the Commission’s proposal, and indeed includes some of the proposals that we tabled. It is true that, on certain issues, we could have gone further, especially with regard to the amounts generated by modulation and implementing them in support measures for the agriculture and forestry sectors, and with regard to the increase in support for farmers receiving the least aid. If the Commission were at least to take this resolution on board, however, that would be a positive step.

Doubts remain as to including measures aimed at nature conservation and at the Natura 2000 network in the support programme for rural development, especially because there is no indication that doing so would prevent a reduction in the budget allotted to rural development. The ongoing debate is not promising, and everything points to cuts taking place, thus leading to a policy that will fail to promote economic and social cohesion, jobs and social inclusion.

It is known that we are opposed to cofinancing and the liberalisation of the farming market, given that this is at variance with a policy of promoting a form of rural development in which the populations are settled and in which family farming and small and medium-sized holdings are supported, a policy based on respect for the diverse character of the different Member States of the EU.


  Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) We are completely opposed to this report and believe that, in terms of its individual parts, it is quite absurd. We absolutely cannot support the report’s proposal to increase the appropriations in relation to the Commission’s proposals. We wonder why the Member States cannot manage to develop their rural areas themselves? Or is the general intention behind the EAFRD based on a desire for others to foot the bill?

Reasons in terms of distribution policy as to why the rich countries should help the poor countries in the EU may be adduced but, in that case, the poor countries should decide for themselves how the aid is used.

Amendment 29 refers to the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. This proposal has now been defeated and can no longer be referred to.


  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. I welcome this report, and the comments of the rapporteur, on the importance of ensuring a healthy rural economy.

Successful agriculture and forestry industries in Scotland are essential contributors to the viability of our many rural communities. The geography of Scotland means that many of our rural areas are Less Favoured Areas which require specific support measures.

EU support can play an important part in assisting rural businesses to meet the many competitive challenges which they face. I hope that the future budget of the EU will provide adequately for rural development programmes, and that the UK and Scottish Governments will enable the full potential benefits to be realised.


  Sérgio Marques (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) I should like to congratulate Mrs Schierhuber on her timely report on the proposal for a Council regulation on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

I agree with the rapporteur that Parliament must oppose attempts to reduce the amounts earmarked for rural development.

The intensity of the proposed aid for the outermost regions should be kept at current levels.


  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) One of the most important aspects of the common agricultural policy, namely its financing, has yet to be decided upon. I have therefore voted in favour of this report regardless of the outcome of the debate on the Financial Perspective.

European policy on this issue should in fact be more rural than merely agricultural, comprising a series of measures and axes that form a coherent policy for the rural world. This is my view and the thrust of the view expressed in the report.

The financing of these policies should form part of the debate on the Financial Perspective, in which we shall have the opportunity to assess the necessary amounts. For the time being, I shall merely express my support for a simplification model that seeks a coherent policy for a space that is diverse, yet sufficiently homogenous to be treated as a whole.


  Andreas Mölzer (NI). (DE) Mr President, according to a study, governments have spent more than 191 billion dollars on the war on terrorism in 2005. This expenditure is set to snowball over the next ten years. Forty-four per cent of this amount has been spent by the United States on military and police operations, for example. It remains somewhat questionable, however, whether the anti-terrorism strategy has been succeeding. A prime example of this spurious success is Iraq, which has become a breeding ground for terrorism in the wake of the war.

We have hitherto confined ourselves to treating the symptoms instead of trying to root out this evil. As a result, extremists have benefited from ignorance and misjudgement of Islam to recruit ever-increasing numbers of militants, many of whom are drawn from the lower strata of the Muslim population. This is where we have to focus our efforts; we must adopt new ways of thinking and follow new paths.


- Report: Duquesne (A6-0160/2005)


  Charlotte Cederschiöld, Christofer Fjellner, Gunnar Hökmark and Anna Ibrisagic (PPE-DE), in writing. (SV) The Moderate delegation has today voted in favour of this report. We wish to make it clear that we are, however, opposed to setting up a European register of convictions.


- Report: Alvaro (A6-0174/2005)


  Inger Segelström (PSE), in writing. (SV) The proposal presented by Sweden, Ireland, France and the United Kingdom on the retention of communications traffic data is aimed at improving cooperation in matters of criminal law. We fully support that aim since it is important for the Member States and the Community to provide the crime prevention authorities with adequate tools for carrying out their work.

Sweden has had great success in fighting crime and clearing up serious individual crimes by using retained traffic communications data. The same also applies to certain other Member States. The need for, and reasonableness of, the draft framework decision has not, however, been sufficiently clarified by the four Member States. It is therefore necessary for the four Member States and/or the Commission to come back with good examples of when the retention of communications traffic data has been very important to the prevention, investigation, detection and bringing to court of crimes and punishable offences, including terrorism. It is also necessary for them clearly to show the reasonableness of, and need for, legislation in this area, given the possible consequences for privacy it would entail.


- Reports: Duquesne (A6-0162/2005 and A6-0160/2005) and Alvaro (A6- 0174/2005)


  Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) The June List is in favour of increased cooperation between the Member States in combating terrorism and other serious cross-border crime. These are, however, what are known as third pillar issues, concerning intergovernmental police and legal cooperation, and decisions concerning them have to be taken by the Member States in the Council and not by supranational EU institutions. It is thus for the national parliaments, and not the European Parliament, to assess the results of negotiations and call for responsibility to be accepted. The June List cannot therefore support Parliament’s amendments, in spite of the fact that we would have supported the contents of several of them if we had been sitting in the Swedish Parliament.

Where report A6-0162/2005 is concerned, we support Sweden’s initiative in the Council concerning a Framework Decision on simplifying the exchange of information and intelligence between law enforcement authorities of the EU.


- Report: Bösch (A6-0151/2005)


  Anna Hedh (PSE), in writing. (SV) We support most aspects of Mr Bösch’s report on the fight against fraud. The fact that the variety of tax rates on tobacco in the EU Member States leads to problems involving cigarette smuggling is a known fact, mentioned in paragraphs 33 and 36. We agree with these statements, but we are opposed to further reductions in tobacco taxes. Reduced prices for tobacco increase consumption and have a harmful effect on public health. We believe there are better ways of getting to grips with the problems of smuggling. Nor can we support the view that customs authorities should be equipped with mobile units or that the EU agency for the external borders should also conduct customs investigations.


  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Despite the technical aspect that the rapporteur attempted to introduce into this report, the issue has a major political part to play in the unrestrictedly ‘open and competition-based market’ that is being sought.

In the approach to this issue, underlying political issues keep coming to the surface, resulting in issues that are – or can be – politically different being lumped together.

Protecting the Communities’ financial interests by ensuring that management is not wasteful and fraudulent belongs to one category, and combating fraud (albeit with a common zone on fraud within the ‘Communities’ bodies), which comes in the form of various kinds of tax evasion, parallel and black markets and trafficking of various kinds, belongs to a quite different one.

Among the many important points raised in the report, I should like to highlight the fact that the Member States have been given new responsibilities, whilst having some of their previous responsibilities removed, by means of permanently disqualifying and dismissing public workers and hiring private firms to do some of this work.

As regards this important political issue, I should like to express my criticism of the ‘delegation to private firms of missions of the European public service’ as stated in the report.


- Report: González (A6-0164/2005)


  Carl Lang (NI), in writing. – (FR) Terrorism was once the weapon of the Communist revolutionary international. It is now used by the Islamic revolutionary international, whose objective is the destruction of western civilisation and the establishment of Islamic republics throughout the world and particularly in Europe. In fact, through mass Muslim immigration, our governments have imported the politico-religious civil war raging in North Africa and in the Middle East into Europe.

By means of terror – violent or not – Islamists want, on the one hand, to control the Muslim masses for the purposes of revolution and, on the other hand, to paralyse our nations. The electoral defeat of the Aznar government in Spain, which was considered to be hostile to Islamists, just days after the attack carried out by Moroccan immigrants on 11 March 2004, formed part of this strategy. The same applies to the assassination of the Dutch film maker Theo Van Gogh.

Demands to wear the Muslim headscarf and to have halal menus in school canteens represent the early stages of this process of subversion. Mass terrorism is the final stage of that process.

Until we have recognised the reality of this danger, Islamic terrorists will pursue their revolutionary jihad.


  Charlotte Cederschiöld, Christofer Fjellner, Gunnar Hökmark and Anna Ibrisagic (PPE-DE), in writing. (SV) The Moderate delegation has today voted against setting up a European Public Prosecutor's Office as proposed by Mrs Díez Gonzáles in the report on the proposal for a European Parliament recommendation to the Council on the EU anti-terrorism Action Plan.

The Moderate delegation believes that public prosecutors’ offices should operate at national level.


- Report: Oreja (A6-0166/2005)


  Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) Prevention, preparation and response in connection with terrorist attacks are important and necessary measures. That such work should lead to the EU having to define and implement a European political project does not, however, make sense. The victims of terrorism can be supported in better ways than by setting up further EU authorities. We are, moreover, opposed to exploiting terrorist acts and other tragic events to extend the power and influence of the EU institutions.

The June List has therefore voted against the report.


  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report fails to tackle the underlying causes of terrorism, such as the serious deterioration in the world’s situation, the spiral of violence fed by the militarisation of international relations, the attacks on the sovereignty of states and people – in other words, state terrorism – the exploitation caused by unbridled capitalism, the inhuman deterioration in social inequality and the millions of human beings living in abysmal conditions.

Under the pretext of the ‘fight against terrorism’, it proposes to create and reinforce an entire information network, and to set up security organisations that are centralised at European level – imposing ‘supranational’ structures in order to bypass cooperation between sovereign countries – thereby promoting repressive measures that form part of broader strategies to perpetuate an unjust world order, based on the permanent use of force, of the arms race and of economic and financial domination.

Hence the unacceptable agreements between the EU and the United States concerning the exchange of personal data, the unacceptable criminalisation of organisations fighting for the fundamental rights of a people, such as the right to sovereignty and independence and the unacceptable attacks on sovereign countries.

Consequently, our group voted against.


  Athanasios Pafilis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The package of eight reports being presented today to the European Parliament details the so-called EU strategy for combating terrorism, in the aim of strengthening the policy to serve big business against the rising grass-roots movement and the peoples' resistance to imperialism.

The Oreja report endeavours to substantiate the need to escalate this policy and pass to the stage of preventive action against terrorism, in line with the American imperialist doctrine of preventive war.

At the same time, it uses 'Islamic terrorism' to neatly introduce an expanded definition of terrorist action and terrorist groups, by which it of course means the movements and organisations which are contesting or fighting to overturn the present regime.

This report also makes an obvious effort to create a climate of disorientation of the workers by posing the question of 'terrorism' as the greatest danger, so that the proposed autocratic measures are accepted and there is grass-roots consent to the constitution of new repressive bodies and mechanisms.

The workers and peoples of Europe will react to the painful efforts of the EU to step up its repressive measures and mechanisms against the grass-roots movement with disobedience and insubordination at national level and by strengthening their fight and coordination to overturn them.


  Tobias Pflüger (GUE/NGL), in writing. (DE) The Oreja report – A6-0166/2005 – on a proposal for a recommendation from the European Parliament to the Council on terrorist attacks: prevention, preparation and response(2005/2043(INI)), as part of the anti-terrorism package adopted in the European Parliament today, also pursues the aim of creating a legal area where the weapons with which war on terrorism is waged include mutual recognition of court judgments, police measures and exchanges of information between police forces and between intelligence services. As a result, fundamental rights are liable to fall by the wayside. This approach, in fact, has come under increasingly heavy criticism in the Member States since the establishment of the European arrest warrant, because the fairly harmless-sounding formula ‘mutual recognition’ turns out, on closer inspection, to be a very potent instrument. A person’s extradition to another Member State of the EU, for example, closes the door on the possibility of judicial review.

The most critical points of the Oreja report are:

- the aim of an ‘exchange of information between police forces and between intelligence services’,

- the aim of an ‘exchange of information regarding suspected terrorists and their organisations with third countries and international organisations’, and

- the aim of encouraging ‘the increasing specialisation of Europol and Eurojust in the fight against [...] terrorism’.

Democratic control of prosecuting authorities, effective protection of personal data and the horizontal division of powers do not feature at all in this regime.


- Report: Lambridinis (A6-0161/2005)


  Athanasios Pafilis (GUE/NGL), in writing.(EL) The report is fully harmonised with the endeavour to disorientate and terrify the peoples on the pretext of terrorism.

It adopts the relevant Commission communication calling on the Member States to prepare (including in cooperation with private security firms) lists of installations which are considered to be 'critical infrastructures' (private, government, public utility) in the following sectors: energy, communications, banks, healthcare, food, water, transport, public administration etc. The major industries – as owners and as associations, such as the Association of Greek Industries – are being upgraded as equal partners with the state in a sector which (on the face of it as least) comes solely with the jurisdiction of the state. They will have access to all the information on possible risks of 'terrorist attacks' and will help to process the anti-terrorism strategy. All this will be incorporated into a 'European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection (EPCIP), while for the collection and exchange of any information which will contribute towards the early warning system for crises and emergencies, another spy network (ARGUS) will be created.

The above measures, in conjunction with the European terrorism law, aim apart from anything else to create preconditions so that any form of fight used by the workers' and grass-roots movement in their struggle can be considered as terrorist action.

The rapporteur's endeavour to include risks from natural disasters and the references to respect for fundamental rights are an alibi for passing the new autocratic measures.


- Report: Duquesne (A6-0165/2005)


  Charlotte Cederschiöld, Christofer Fjellner, Gunnar Hökmark and Anna Ibrisagic (PPE-DE), in writing. (SV) The Moderate delegation has today voted against setting up a European register of criminal sentences. For the same reason, we have voted against the report as a whole.


- Reports: Díez Gonzalez (A6-0164/2005), Mayor Oreja (A6-0166/2005), Lambrinidis (A6-0161/2005), Borghezio (A6-0159/2005), Duquesne (A6-0162/2005, A6-0160/2005 and A6-0165/2005) and Alvaro (A6-0174/2005)


  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) Terrorism, let there be no doubt, is the dictatorship of this century, and it should be fought unstintingly.

In recent years, events have led to a gradual awakening, which this debate shows has neither worn off nor lost its focus.

We know that there is a threat against our way of life, our society and the freedom we enjoy. We are also aware that our greatest virtues – such as freedom, respect for the individual and solidarity – can lead to weaknesses in the fight against terrorism. It is therefore essential that we strike a constant balance between what we must sacrifice and the elements that are indispensable to preserving our way of life.

In this context, in light of the progress that has been made, the widespread commitment, the difficulties encountered, the need for amendments and the warnings of the shortcomings that still exist, the debate on this and the other reports in the plenary session should be addressed from a similar perspective. After all, there has been a clear sign here that there is awareness; awareness of the risk, awareness of the need for action to be taken and of what cannot and should not be demanded, even in the name of the fight against terrorism.

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