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Debates
Thursday, 27 October 2005 - Strasbourg OJ edition

12. Explanations of vote
  

- Draft general budget of the European Union – Financial Year 2006

 
  
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  Agnes Schierhuber (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, today, at the first reading of the general budget, I voted against Amendments 543, 301, 344 and 345 on the grounds that they draw no distinction between breeding animals, production animals and animals for slaughter. I speak not only for myself but also for Austria when I say that I am opposed to the export of live cattle for slaughter, but as there is no difference in valuation between breeding animals and animals for slaughter, the abolition of export subsidies amounts to the destruction of European production and of cattle farmers’ livelihoods.

Secondly, I voted in favour of Amendment 99 on the grounds that the Common Market Organisation for tobacco still exists and is in force.

 
  
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  Jan Andersson, Ewa Hedkvist Petersen, Inger Segelström and Åsa Westlund (PSE), in writing. (SV) We want the budget to contribute to sustainable social, economic and environmental development for the EU in accordance with the Lisbon Strategy. In the vote, we have therefore chosen to support those amendments that accord priority to research, development and education. We do not, however, wish to support those amendments that would give more money to direct agricultural aid, since such aid is already disproportionate and leads to inefficient agriculture that harms the environment and that, through the dumping of surpluses, helps widen the gap between the world’s rich and poor.

Nor do we wish to provide money for aid for tobacco cultivation since this directly contributes to public health problems. We believe that this aid should quickly be phased out with a view to its being completely abolished before long. The money thereby saved could be spent, for example, on measures designed to reduce the use of tobacco and people’s dependency on it. We want to see direct aid to sugar producers reformed, since we cannot in the long term support production that is in large part superfluous. We do not, however, want producers in developing countries to lose their livelihood, and we have therefore voted in favour of transitional aid to compensate them until they have had time to convert to other forms of production.

 
  
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  Hélène Goudin, Nils Lundgren and Lars Wohlin (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) The June List believes that the EU budget should be limited to 1.00% of the Member States’ average gross national income and therefore supports the Council’s position in principle. The 2006 budget is the last budget within the present financial perspective, which is why it is additionally unfortunate that the European Parliament should be trying to promote its own positions prior to the forthcoming negotiations by proposing hefty increases. We have therefore chosen to vote against all the increases proposed by the European Parliament, at the same time as having welcomed the few savings proposed in the form of amendments by one or other of the budget committees or by individual Members.

There are further unfortunate budget items, but the June List particularly regrets the high amount of aid for the EU’s agricultural policy, Cohesion Fund and fishing industry, as well as those budget items providing aid to various forms of information campaign.

 
  
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  Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE), in writing.

Amendment 263:

This budget line would have given an authorisation to use funds to communicate the benefits of the euro. As Scotland, as a current part of the UK, is not a member of the euro I have accordingly abstained as this is not a matter for me.

Amendment 440:

This budget line would have extended the translation facilities of the ACP assembly to include all languages, as opposed to the current working languages of that assembly. While I would in principle support the extension of translation on the basis that all languages are of equal dignity, the costs of this move to such a vast number of languages would be prohibitive. It would also, I suspect, be unnecessary as the current system has worked well enough up till now.

 
  
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  Catherine Stihler (PSE), in writing. It is a real pity that Parliament today has voted to maintain tobacco subsidies. Half a million EU citizens die needlessly each year from tobacco related illnesses. It is only through concerted action that we can fight against the tobacco industry and protect public health.

 
  
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  Corien Wortmann-Kool (PPE-DE), in writing.(NL) I hereby declare that I voted in favour of the amendment about CESI 446 concerning budget line 04030302.

 
  
  

- Report: Pittella (A6-0309/2005)

 
  
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  Richard James Ashworth (PPE-DE), in writing. British Conservative policy is firmly committed to ensuring that budgetary commitments should not exceed 1.0% of GNI contributions. We would like to see an EU that spends taxpayers' money wisely on initiatives that support the Lisbon objectives while eliminating fraud, mismanagement and wasteful spending such as tobacco subsidies.

For these reasons, we have voted against amendments or proposals that would breach the 1.0% ceiling without, in our view, contributing to the promotion of sustainable growth and jobs in Europe. However, we do support projects that will encourage the development and supply of new-generation energy solutions.

 
  
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  Niels Busk and Anne E. Jensen (ALDE), in writing. (DA) The Members of the European Parliament from Denmark’s Liberal Party voted against Amendment 7, tabled by Mr Bonde on behalf of the Independence and Democracy Group. The Liberal Party is opposed to the export of live animals and has voted against budget line 05 02 13 04. Mr Bonde’s proposal cannot, however, be implemented in practice and must be considered unrealistic and ill thought-out.

 
  
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  Proinsias De Rossa (PSE), in writing. I support the Pittella Report including Amendments 3004 & 3005, which restore €12 million of the 2006 funding for PEACE 11 to the technical assistance/innovative actions budget-heading. The Member States must ensure the budgetary flexibility required in no way endangers continued full funding of PEACE 11, as envisaged last year when funding for that programme was guaranteed into 2006.

The Socialist Group played a key role in securing €108 million for Ireland's Peace 11 programme for 2006, and continues to pledge its full support for the programme. John Hume, a former member of the Socialist Group was the architect of the PEACE programme and its contribution to reconciliation has been enormous. If we are to succeed in bringing communities together from both sides of the sectarian divide continued funding for the PEACE programme is crucial

We must also support the SDLP campaign for a PEACE 111 programme by earmarking €200 million in the 2007-2013 budget. I hope Minister Noel Tracy takes this up urgently and all Member States ensure smooth administration of arrangements for finalising the PEACE 11 funding, and guarantee continuing funding for a PEACE 111 programme for 2007-2013.

 
  
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  Ana Maria Gomes (PSE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of the scrapping of tobacco production subsidies. I feel that tobacco production, a key component in the tobacco industry, should no longer be subsidised. The harmful impact of tobacco use on public health (over 500 000 deaths per year due to illnesses linked to tobacco use), and in turn on the economies of the Member States and the EU, leads me to conclude that the EUR 100 000-plus spent on subsidies to these producers under the CAP is morally, politically and economically indefensible. To my mind, tobacco production and the tobacco industry should not only lose our support but should gradually, but quickly, be eliminated. Parliament must exert pressure on the Member States and the Commission to effect such a change, through the EU budget that it adopts.

Naturally, I am sensitive to the problem of the 3 500 jobs that depend on tobacco production in Portugal. I therefore believe that efforts to convert this industry must be redoubled, in order to guarantee jobs and the economic survival of producers in Portugal and all of the European tobacco-producing countries. In this regard, I support all of the financial backing that can be given to them, on the part of Community or national institutions. To persevere with the policy of European subsidies, however, represents ...

(Explanation of vote abbreviated in accordance with Rule 163 of the Rules of Procedure)

 
  
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  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The purpose of this explanation of vote is to condemn the hypocrisy of the majority in Parliament, which, having previously approved plans to set up a ‘Community programme’ with ‘adequate resources’ for the textiles and clothing sector, ‘especially’ designed to help the ‘least favoured regions’, with support for ‘research, innovation, vocational training and the SMEs’, has now rejected a clear proposal aimed at putting this programme into practice under the Community budget for 2006. In other words, the majority in Parliament is guilty of shameless inconsistency.

From our perspective, we are bitterly disappointed at the rejection of proposals which we tabled and which enjoyed the support of various Members of this House. They were aimed at:

- creating a pilot project for action in the textiles and clothing sector with a view to the future creation of a Community programme;

- creating recovery plans for fisheries resources, in light of the social and economic impact of the closed seasons;

- and promoting multilingualism, not least in the ACP-EU parliamentary assemblies.

We also campaigned for the adoption of other proposals that we tabled, aimed at reforestation and forest fire prevention, the preservation of cultural heritage, and support for cooperation amongst SMEs.

 
  
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  David Martin, (PSE), in writing. In the budget vote I voted for CAP reform, for cuts in Tobacco subsidies, for the end of the transport of lives animals over 8 hours, against cuts in the Northern Ireland peace programme and for assistance to ACP banana and sugar producers.

 
  
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  Claude Moraes (PSE), in writing. I voted for Heading 3 of the Budget Vote today because I want to add no less than 200 million euros in payment appropriations to a range of budget headings for the Lisbon strategy which the Council reduced at first reading.

The main areas which would boost EU competitiveness include increases for programmes to support small and medium-sized companies, but above all for the 6th framework research programme. The payments for education programmes are also increased, by 35 million euros for Socrates, 20 million euros for Leonardo da Vinci and 3 million euros for e-learning, which I fully support.

 
  
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  Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE), in writing. I voted to delete this budget line because I do not believe that we should in this day and age be refunding the export of live animals, often in dreadful conditions. I accordingly voted to end this practice.

 
  
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  Georgios Toussas (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (EL) The Communist Party of Greece is categorically opposed to the anti-grass roots preliminary draft budget of the European Union for 2006.

Its approval by the members of the Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats, the social democrats and so on marks the intensity of the anti-grass roots attack by the European Union and urban governments in the Member States against the working and grass-roots classes, in order to increase the profits of euro-unifying big business.

It is an 'escort' of the anti-grass roots, reactionary action plan being discussed at the informal summit in England to extend capitalist restructurings within the framework of the Lisbon Strategy, make drastic cuts to social benefits, agricultural production and small and medium-sized enterprises and transfer resources to strengthen the military capitalist mechanisms.

Tobacco farmers are in the firing line with cuts of EUR 1 billion. On the pretext of identifying tobacco farming with the anti-smoking campaign, Community tobacco is being proclaimed dangerous and imported tobacco is being proclaimed 'innocent'. These decisions by the EU on the anti-grass roots reform of the CAP are also trampling over the limited support for agriculture up to 2013.

While unemployment and poverty are increasing exponentially and there are huge requirements for public health, education and so on, capital is being transferred to communications policy in order to camouflage the imperialist and anti-grass roots nature of the EU.

The fight by the workers' movement against the draft budget needs to include the entire anti-grass roots policy of the EU.

 
  
  

- Report: Dombrovskis (A6-0307/2005)

 
  
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  Niels Busk and Anne E. Jensen (ALDE), in writing. (DA) The Members of the European Parliament from Denmark’s Liberal Party voted against Amendment 4, tabled by Mr Bonde on behalf of the Independence and Democracy Group. The Liberal Party is in favour of reforming the reimbursement of travel expenses, so that all reasonable and necessary travel expenses are refunded. Mr Bonde’s proposal is, however, absurd and could not be implemented in practice.

 
  
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  David Martin (PSE), in writing. I wish to record that I abstained on amendments dealing with travel allowances at cost because I believe this is covered in the Member's Statute.

 
  
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  Mechtild Rothe (PSE), in writing. (DE) Whilst the Members of this House belonging to the SPD are in favour of a statement of travel expense that reflects the costs actually incurred, we will not agree to any amendment calling on the President to break the House rules.

 
  
  

- Report: Jäätteenmäki (A6-0280/2005)

 
  
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  Marie-Arlette Carlotti (PSE), in writing.(FR) In one month’s time in Barcelona, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership is due to be radically reformed on the basis of a number of forceful ideas.

Firstly, in the fight against poverty, a Mediterranean version of the Millennium Development Goals needs to be drafted and funded and progress made with solidarity structures comparable to those found in European regional policy.

Promoting democracy and human rights has to be at the heart of the partnership by practically implementing Article 2 of the Association Agreements and by bringing into widespread use the sub-committees on human rights.

The fight to eliminate discrimination against women and to promote gender equality has to be the subject of a specific and priority policy area for the EU. It is women who will act as the vehicles for genuinely bringing together the different peoples and cultures around the Mediterranean basin.

Common responses to the issue of immigration are required. Let us put a stop to the hypocrisy and cynicism. Let us not think about keeping our hands clean while we let our southern partners do the dirty work. We have to lay the foundations for shared management of migratory flows by adopting a generous and united approach to the issue of the movement of persons in the Mediterranean area.

We require an ‘area of sustainable development’ in the Mediterranean, with a programme aimed at eliminating pollution in the Mediterranean Sea by 2020, along with a precise timescale in which this is to be carried out.

(The explanation of vote was abbreviated in accordance with Rule 163 of the Rules of Procedure)

 
  
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  David Martin (PSE), in writing. I welcome this report. I would like the Barcelona Process and structures to be used to a greater extent to encourage dialogue and interaction (economic, social cultural, educational, technical etc) between Israel and its neighbours. I am convinced this is the only way that the peoples of this region will be able to live in peace. There can be no security behind barriers.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Recently, in the course of one night, over 1 000 black Africans tried to storm the border of Melilla as a means of finding their way into the ‘promised land’. The attempt cost an untold number of them their lives, while large numbers of others surrendered themselves into the merciless clutches of the people-traffickers who, as ever, dangle before them the prospect of Europe, the land of milk and honey of which they dream.

So it is that desperate people find themselves forced into a hopeless situation, not least since they often have no prospect of returning home. It has to be said, though, that local decision-makers must bear their share of responsibility for the tragedy, in that they encourage this development by surreptitiously granting residence to illegal immigrants en masse.

An excessively liberal and naive attitude towards illegal immigration, lamentably exemplified not least by the recent ‘Kiev Affair’, far from helping anyone, does nothing but create more problems, primarily by benefiting people-traffickers and others who engage in organised crime.

Uncontrolled population growth will further swell the flood of economic refugees on Morocco’s borders and off the coasts of Italy and Malta, necessitating not only an EU-wide approach to the problem but also action to dispel the unrealistic images of paradise Europe in the countries from which the refugees come, to the end that we may free up the resources to improve living conditions on the ground. It is for precisely that reason that it is so important to retain the Barcelona process as a means of combating poverty and to press on with the development of the action plans specific to each country.

 
  
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  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The purpose of the Barcelona Process was to act as a turning point in relations between the EU and its southern neighbours and, in turn, as a framework for a concerted and mutually supportive development of the Mediterranean countries.

As the process celebrates its tenth birthday, its implementation needs to be adjusted and enhanced, to help the partnership to face current challenges and to adapt to a modified regional and international environment.

By combining bilateral and regional levels of economic and social dialogue, as well as opportunities for interaction, the Barcelona Process helps to strengthen ties and to build confidence between peoples.

I feel that the most pertinent point is the proposed setting up of a Euro-Mediterranean Free-trade area, which is scheduled for 2010 and which will cover some 40 countries and around 700 million consumers.

There is no doubt in my mind that a relationship based on an enlarged free trade area will be a more effective one. Furthermore, the boost that the southern countries’ economies will receive might contribute towards the region’s development and, in so doing, help, for example, to prevent the kind of migratory tensions that we have seen recently.

I voted in favour of the Jäätteenmäki report.

 
  
  

- Situation in Azerbaijan (B6-0558/2005) and report: Jäätteenmäki (A6-0280/2005)

 
  
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  Hélène Goudin, Nils Lundgren and Lars Wohlin (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) We believe that the EU has an important role within its immediate surroundings in promoting democracy and human rights. Both resolutions are concerned, however, with countries and areas that cannot be regarded as being in the EU’s immediate vicinity. Clearly, the aim is to promote the EU’s role in the sphere of foreign and security policy. Other organisations – for example, the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe – are suited to these purposes. The latter two organisations should be given priority when it comes to election monitoring and the protection of human rights within Europe.

In the light of the above, we choose to abstain in the final vote on the two resolutions. We have, however, chosen to support a number of proposals not, in our view, related to the EU’s foreign and security policy. These include the proposals to set up a free trade area between the EU and the Mediterranean region by 2010 and to develop cooperation with a view to civil and environmental protection.

 
  
  

- Report: Mavrommatis (A6-0276/2005)

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Although this report refers to the work of the previous Ombudsman during the mandate that has come to a close, we welcome the way in which he carried out his work. He sought to bring the citizens’ complaints to the attention of the institutions, and in some cases, managed to resolve those complaints.

He also tabled proposals aimed at ensuring that the European institutions in question respond more promptly, which if accepted may enhance the Ombudsman’s ability to take action and resolve the citizens’ problems.

Furthermore, we agreed with the rapporteur that there needs to be greater cooperation between the European Ombudsman and Parliament’s Committee on Petitions, and that efforts should be made to give greater prominence to people’s rights.

Hence our vote in favour.

 
  
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  David Martin (PSE), in writing. I welcome this report which rightly praises the ombudsman during 2004. The Ombudsman has show diligence and forcefulness in dealing with complaints from the EU citizens regarding the activities of the EU institutions. He is proving to be a true champion of citizens rights to fair and open treatment by the Institutions.

 
  
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  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) Europe is facing a crisis of dialogue with its citizens. The European Ombudsman continues to receive complaints that do not fall under his mandate.

It therefore strikes me as vitally important that dialogue be re-established with the citizens, whereby the powers of the institutions are explained clearly and simply.

The European Ombudsman has taken initiatives in this respect and must continue to do so. Moreover, by proposing to step up cooperation with his national or regional counterparts and measures to promote the highest standards of European public administration, the current Ombudsman has shown us that he is well aware of his role.

Lastly, I wish to point out that it is crucial to maintain the impartiality of this influential body, which acts as a conciliator between the European public administration and the citizens and offers extrajudicial remedies.

I therefore voted in favour of the Mavrommattis report.

 
  
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  Georgios Toussas (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (EL) The institution of the European Ombudsman was decided at the Maastricht summit and has been applied for 10 years. Its purpose is to investigate complaints of maladministration by the institutions of the ΕU and by the governments of the Member States.

It is clear that this institution serves the need to embellish the EU in the eyes of the citizens, to shift reactions to the anti-grass roots policy towards harmless channels; in other words towards whether the privatisation of everything, the abolition of workers' wage and social rights, the policing and repression of trade union and political action and so on are being well or badly administered.

Good administration and anti-grass roots/anti-democratic policy are irreconcilable.

We do not underestimate the suffering of the workers from cases of maladministration or the value of facilitating their relations with the 'Brussels bureaucracy' or the governments of the Member States. However, the institution has very little to do with the broad grass-roots classes, was not created to resolve their problems and is used to buffer dissatisfaction with the anti-grass roots policy itself and with the administrative means used to impose it.

In order to pave the way for resolving the worsening problems of the workers, the fight by the working, grass-roots movement against the anti-grass roots policy of the EU needs to be stepped up overall.

 
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