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Procedure : 2005/2206(INI)
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Debates :

PV 15/03/2006 - 9
CRE 15/03/2006 - 9

Votes :

PV 16/03/2006 - 9.4
CRE 16/03/2006 - 9.4
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


Verbatim report of proceedings
Thursday, 16 March 2006 - Strasbourg OJ edition

11. Explanations of vote

Report: Trakatellis A6-0030/2006


  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The Commission has put forward a programme of Community action in the field of health and consumer protection, combining two previous programmes in these fields on the premise that this would harness the energies of both. This overlooks the fact, however, that the two programmes overlap in terms of objectives, strategies and instruments.

On 30 June 2005, the Conference of Presidents decided, however, to split this programme once again. Accordingly, this report refers solely to the health programme, which in any event had a restricted scope and low funding levels.

There is nothing more important than health, of course, and protecting it is of interest to everyone, without exception. Against this backdrop, the report before us in Parliament today broadens these powers and proposes to increase both overall funding, and specific funding for measures to be pursued.

We are aware that it will still fall well short of what is required to satisfy demand and the interest aroused by this programme, yet we voted in favour of the report, as it improves considerably on the Commission’s proposal.


  Hélène Goudin, Nils Lundgren and Lars Wohlin (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) The report recommends that the EU set up a separate Community programme in the field of health for the period 2007–2013. The European Parliament advocates that the budget for this programme should be EUR 1 200 million (the Commission advocates one of EUR 969 million). The June List is of the firm view that health issues fall essentially within the competence of the individual Member States.

Quite a few of the objectives that the rapporteur would have the programme include for example, that of combating ill health caused by tobacco, alcohol and poor diet are ones that the Member States can pursue independently. In other words, insufficient account is being taken of the principle of subsidiarity.

Obviously, international cooperation is necessary in connection with, for example, viral epidemics and complex medical issues. International cooperation should, however, mainly take place through multilateral agreements and within the framework of the work already being done by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

We are opposed to appropriating additional resources for this purpose and, on the basis of the above-noted reasoning, have chosen to vote against this report.


  Françoise Grossetête (PPE-DE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this text.

I am particularly concerned about the growing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics. This poses a real threat. It is advisable, therefore, to increase research in this area and to provide information for patients explaining the dangers of inappropriate use of these medicines.

One of the great advantages of the European Union lies in the exchange of data, and particularly in the area of rare diseases. On this point I expect there to be increased efforts to encourage synergies.

This programme of action is also an opportunity to consider patient mobility. There are some absurd situations in Europe. I met a patient who lives in Strasbourg and who, in order to treat the particular type of cancer from which she is suffering, has to go to Marseille, when the same type of therapy is available five kilometres from her home. That establishment, however, is in Kehl, Germany.

Furthermore, it is essential for funding to be equal to developments.

Finally, there is one point that I cannot support: that is, complementary or alternative medicine. These practices are not medicine, but surely an alternative to medicine. The European Union must focus on the essentials, and it is not appropriate for it to contribute funding to these kinds of practices.


  David Martin (PSE), in writing. I support the Community's action plan on public health. I believe it is a commodity of prime importance and its protection concerns everyone without exception.

The objectives of the programme protect citizens against health threats, promote policies that lead to a healthier way of life and contribute to the development of more effective and efficient health systems.

I particularly support the challenge to all to contribute to ensuring more effective prevention, improved health services, and a better quality of life. Bridging the gaps between existing differences in Member States' health services, in combination with synergy between the national health services, should be acknowledged as an important aspect of the programme.


  Evangelia Tzampazi (PSE), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of Recital 3b (new) on the definition of the duration of a healthy life, even though I consider that the English version of the text is wrong, in my opinion, to use the phrase 'disability-free life expectancy indicator', unlike the Greek translation, which presents no such problem.

I wish to emphasise that disability does not imply inability; it implies a different state of health, which should be taken into account when processing and applying all Community policies and programmes.


Report: Graefe zu Baringdorf (A6-0033/2006)


  Duarte Freitas (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The purpose of this Commission proposal is to replace Regulation (EEC) No 2082/92 on certificates of specific character for agricultural products and foodstuffs with a new text introducing a number of simplifications and clarifications, in compliance with WTO rules.

I appreciate the need to amend Community legislation in this area. I agree with the thrust of the Commission proposal and shall be voting in favour of the Graefe zu Baringdorf report.

In the report, I should like to highlight, and shall be voting for, Amendments 6 (whereby a Member State can request any other information, provided this is duly justified) and 13 (setting a deadline for private inspection bodies which are already in existence to seek accreditation).


  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The specific character of agricultural products and foodstuffs has enjoyed Community protection since 1993. This has ensured that traditional products with specific characteristics, in terms of their manufacture and preparation, have been accorded their due value.

The report before us introduces a great many simplifications and clarifications, in relation to procedures and the responsibilities of the different authorities involved in examining applications submitted.

This instrument is important because not only does it mean that products are accorded their due value, but also because consumers are protected against unfair practice, thereby ensuring that trade is pursued fairly.

This instrument will help create added value in the European rural area, and in so doing build new areas of interest to tourism. This will have very positive socio-economic knock-on effects both for tourism-related activities and for growth and territorial cohesion in the Union.

I should lastly like to point out that it is vital that our traditional products are accorded their due value, rescued, where necessary, and protected, because it falls to us to pass on our heritage to future generations.


  Carl Schlyter (Verts/ALE), in writing. (SV) I think that designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs are often helpful because, in contrast to the dominance of the WTO’s trademark giants in the global market, they boost and develop local production and trade. I am, however, opposed to the EU’s deciding about compulsory labelling for these goods. That is a matter that, in the future too, should be voluntary.


Report: Graefe zu Baringdorf (A6-0034/2006)


  Jean-Pierre Audy (PPE-DE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report on the proposal for a Council regulation on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs because it was becoming urgent to adapt our system of protection for producers of regional specialities to the constraints of the World Trade Organisation, as the negotiations in Hong Kong (China), in December last year, have demonstrated. We must be ready to fight on this issue because some countries, notably the United States of America and Australia, who are the cause of the problem, will not just give in. We have to give better access for nationals from third countries to the European system and give them equal rights with citizens of the European Union in terms of making requests or objections. All things considered, the European Union must defend geographical indications with all its might in the face of the World Trade Organisation because they are a determining factor in the creation of added value. Finally, in the application and in the light of almost 300 requests still pending, the services of the European Commission must act more quickly in recognising these safeguards.


  Mario Borghezio (NI), in writing. (IT) We voted in favour of the report on the proposal for a Council regulation because, with this report, the EU is establishing a system of protection for the producers of ‘regional specialities’ in the context of agricultural foodstuff production. It is in fact extremely important for our producers in the Po valley that the scope of such a system of protection is properly regulated in terms of protecting both the designations of origin and the geographical indications of agricultural products.

In this context we intend, however, to emphasise the need for a specific protective measure to be introduced with the aim of supporting the extremely important European floriculture sector, which can be seen in its full glory in Padania and, more specifically, in the province of Imperia.

I must indeed point out the serious fact that the measures aimed at liberalising customs duties have ended up benefiting the floricultural production of non-EU countries such as Israel, Kenya, Colombia, Ecuador, Zimbabwe and South Africa, which have seen an exponential increase in their market share, to the detriment of European production.

There is therefore a need to renegotiate the policy of international agreements on imports and specifically to renegotiate in such a way that

- no tariff concessions will be granted for the production of third countries that fail to comply with European standards on employment (including child labour), the environment, taxation...

(The explanation of vote was abbreviated pursuant to Rule 163 of the Rules of Procedure)


  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Protected geographical indications (PGI) and designations of origin (PDO) of agricultural products and foodstuffs make a significant contribution to improving standards of living for communities in rural areas of the EU, including Portugal.

By disseminating the idea that the existing regulations are incompatible with international trade agreements, not least the notorious Trade-Related Intellectual Property Services (TRIPS), the USA and Australia are exerting unacceptable pressure. The WTO’s own court of arbitration has ruled that, broadly speaking, they are indeed compatible with WTO obligations.

That being said, the EU has been forced to improve market access for third countries. In turn, the Commission is attempting to make adjustments, which, in most cases, Parliament decided to improve upon, to help protect farmers and the rural world.

Broadly speaking, we accept these improvements, and this explains why we voted in favour. We feel it is crucial that PDO, PGI and traditional specialities guaranteed be defended.


  Duarte Freitas (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The purpose of this Commission proposal is to replace Regulation (EEC) No 2082/92 on certificates of specific character for agricultural products and foodstuffs with a new text, laying down clearer and simpler rules, in compliance with the decision adopted by the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body in response to complaints submitted by the USA and Australia. The deadline for compliance is 3 April 2006.

As I appreciate the need to amend this Community legislation, I agree with the thrust of the Commission proposal and shall be voting in favour of the Graefe zu Baringdorf report.


  Christa Klaß (PPE-DE), in writing. (DE) In a world of globalisation, standardisation and universal access to food, awareness of our origin, our tradition and ultimately also of our culture is a good and firm foundation on which we can build and further develop. European tradition and European origin are a unity in diversity. And that diversity distinguishes Europe, its regions and especially its people. The people have adapted to their regional conditions, which differ greatly. They have given rise to traditional ways of life and traditional products. We associate quite particular ideas and expectations with traditional and geographical labels.

Today our products are traded all over the world. However, that makes it necessary to regulate these products, which go out into the world rather as ‘ambassadors’ for a town or region. We must ensure that whatever is behind a good name continues to be good. And we must ensure that there continues to be a link between the name of a product and its origin in a particular region. All this must be regulated as simply as possible, but effectively. This report serves that objective in every respect.


  Jean-Claude Martinez (NI), in writing.(FR) Inspired by the French AOC, the European legal tool for the protection of our agricultural products, with labels such as PGI, is at the very heart of the agricultural conflict between Europe and the Anglo-Saxon countries. For the United States, agriculture has to be industrial, with logos and brand names, wine included. For Europe, agriculture is primarily a quality, family-run concern with land whose produce is protected in its geographical origin. Symbolic of this is wine, born of fermentation and a sign of civilisation, while in Australia it is an industrial commodity.

At the WTO the conflict between the United States and Europe, the southern hemisphere and Europe, the Anglo-Saxon world and Europe, is a real clash of civilisations between the sickle and McDonalds. In Hong Kong, however, the Commission did not even bring up the matter of the multilateral register for labels of origin to protect our small farmers’ wines in competition with big wine merchants.

In Geneva, at the end of April, to continue to reduce agricultural tariff protection and to allow the dumping of 1.2 million tonnes of meat from the southern hemisphere and those Australian liquids, factory-coloured, wooded, fruited, sweetened and called wines, is to destroy our agricultural identity of which the PGIs are a tool.


  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The protection of geographical indications and designations of origin of agricultural products and foodstuffs enables the producers concerned to safeguard the production, processing and preparation of a product of a particular origin, via the registration thereof.

In the context of the need to amend regulations, and in light of the WTO’s ruling in arbitration, this report improves these instruments, which have made a significant contribution to market access at higher prices, and have served to create jobs in rural areas of Europe. Furthermore, there have been very positive socio-economic effects for tourism-related activities.

Europe has ancient traditions which are hugely appealing for tourists. Port wine and Roquefort cheese are European products that set the standard around the world. Naturally, it is important to set out clearly what information is to be provided to the consumer, not only in order to protect these products but also to provide the right to raise objections.

I wish to highlight the clarification of the division of powers between the Member States and the Commission, underlining the need for Union activities always to comply with the subsidiarity principle. This will help to ensure that maximum benefit is derived from the measures provided for.


Reports: Graefe zu Baringdorf (A6-0033/2006) and (A6-0034/2006)


  Hélène Goudin, Nils Lundgren and Lars Wohlin (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) Geographical indications and designations of origin are sources of enrichment for Europe. It is life-enhancing to share culinary traditions. At the same time, account has to be taken, however, of the disadvantages of these designations. We do not want designations of origin to be used for protectionist purposes. For a couple of centuries in their new homelands, emigrants from Europe have produced foodstuffs and drink whose traditions they have brought with them from their countries of origin. The European Union needs, within the World Trade Organisation, to show understanding of such traditions and of the fact that generic names and designations of origin can sometimes come into conflict with each other.

The European Parliament’s two reports on this subject are only supplementary proposals in accordance with the consultation procedure. We do not believe that they have very much to add - better though it is that some proposals be put forward than not be - and believe that this subject should be dealt with by the Council of Ministers. We also firmly reject the idea that an EU authority could be given the task of monitoring geographical indications and designations of origin. We believe that, on this particular issue, we must rely on the authorities in the Member States.

We have thus chosen to vote against both reports.


  Roger Knapman (IND/DEM), in writing. We are voting against this report as we want to keep our sovereignty on the registration of the agricultural products. The application process is over-bureaucratic. We can not accept a Community agency with responsibility for the registration procedure. However, we believe that Member States should be responsible for the registration procedure. We do not want to have a Community label as well. We want to protect clotted cream just as the Greeks want to defend their feta. but to be even-handed. We do not understand why, provided labelling is clear, such as in the case of Yorkshire feta, which is quite clearly not Greek feta, we cannot allow both of these products to coexist in British food stores. We do not think that harmonisation is a positive idea.


Report: Brok (A6-0025/2006)


  Bernd Posselt on behalf of the PPE-DE Group. (DE) Mr President, I will speak for two minutes on behalf of my Group. My Group has asked me to give an official explanation of vote on the Brok report.

Articles in the press have given the impression in many parts of Europe that the European Parliament has backtracked on its call for Croatia to quickly be given full membership, something on which it has voted several times. As you know, our Group has strongly advocated starting accession negotiations with Croatia and bringing them to a successful conclusion before the 2009 European elections. On behalf of my Group, I would like to say that we stand by that objective unequivocally and that it is quite clear from the Brok report that Croatia is an accession candidate that meets the criteria exceptionally well.

There are a few points of criticism, it is true, but I would not like to think that Croatia is somehow a candidate for the new structure of multilateral cooperation proposed in the Brok report. That is not the case. Croatia is a Central European country that really ought to have been accepted into the European Union in 2004 and which largely satisfies the criteria. Our criticism is of details that are only criticised in a country that is relatively close to accession, whereas in Turkey not even the abolition of torture is guaranteed.

I would therefore once again like to make it absolutely clear on behalf of my Group that Croatia is a candidate for accession. It must be judged by what it has achieved. It really should be separated from accession negotiations with Turkey and given clear prospects for accession, and that before the end of the decade.

(Applause from the right)


  Andreas Mölzer (NI). – (DE) Mr President, it is well known that many empires in history fell because they grew too quickly and were unable to control their conflicting cultures and movements within that growth. A debate about the European Union’s ability to admit new members is therefore in my opinion long overdue. We must not forget that the name European Union itself implies a clear limit simply with the term Europe. We must also be clear in our minds that Europe rests on a foundation of Christian values. That in itself is a reason why I agree wholeheartedly with Mr Posselt with regard to Croatia.

On the other hand, it must nevertheless be said that the events of the recent past in particular show that the belief in boundless tolerance, which is so widespread today, is misguided. Tolerance ought to work both ways, but so far, in our increasingly multicultural society, that tolerance has taken the form of Muslim immigrants expecting the Christian host countries to adapt and increasingly demanding it with violence. In the accession negotiations, Turkey has repeatedly shown its true face briefly, for example in the Cyprus agreement with threats of punishment for supposed insults to the state and now also in the dispute over the cartoons. It is time the truth finally dawned on the last of the starry-eyed supporters of enlargement that we must set clear European limits.

(Applause from the right)


  Charles Tannock (PPE-DE). – Mr President, like most of my British Conservative delegation colleagues, I voted in favour of Mr Brok’s excellent report and I congratulate him. Nevertheless, my party opposes the Constitutional Treaty for the European Union and therefore we voted to delete paragraph 6, as it is clear that the current wave of enlargement from 15 to 25 Member States has worked extremely well under the Nice formula, without an EU Constitution.

British Conservatives believe that the previous five waves of enlargement have been a success story, as will the accession of Romania and Bulgaria, in all probability scheduled now for 1 January 2007. Enlargement beyond that can be accommodated by new intergovernmental conferences. We as Conservatives believe in a wider, looser European Union of cooperating nation states, hence our overall support for Mr Brok’s excellent report.


  Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE-DE). – (FI) Mr President, I would like to state separately that I voted in favour of Amendment 13 in Mr Brok’s resolution, which calls for the racist and anti-Semitic Grey Wolves organisation to be declared illegal. The organisation is responsible for repeated terror attacks on Christian and Jewish institutions in Turkey. The wording is strong, of course, but this is an unfortunate reflection of reality. This group terrorises people just as Hitler’s gangs did before he came to power; not on such a large scale, but with the same arrogance and using some of the same methods. In my opinion, the problem deserves the attention of this Chamber. Jewish communities and Christian churches have become targets of physical and spiritual terrorism at the hands of the Grey Wolves, and the matter calls for international attention.



  Jan Andersson, Anna Hedh, Ewa Hedkvist Petersen, Inger Segelström and Åsa Westlund (PSE), in writing. (SV) We Swedish Social Democrats want to see an open EU in which solidarity is the rule and which welcomes new countries into membership on the basis of the Copenhagen criteria. We therefore regret the fact that the report focuses too much on the EU’s own capacity for absorption, because it can give the impression that the European Parliament questions the EU’s ability to include more Member States. The EU’s own capacity for absorption is ultimately dependent on the EU’s willingness to include more Member States. We also view with concern the widespread inclination to exclude countries from membership on the basis of, for example, their economic situations.


  Georgios Dimitrakopoulos (PPE-DE), in writing. (EL) We MEPs of Nea Dimokratia would clarify that the second part of paragraph 43 of the report does not express our views on this specific matter.


  Hélène Goudin, Nils Lundgren and Lars Wohlin (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) This own-initiative report discusses the important issue of the EU’s continued enlargement.

The June List is, in principle, well disposed to continued enlargement of the EU, provided that the proposed Member States share the fundamental values that constitute the basis of the EU in terms of what it stands for. These include, above all, human rights, democracy and the principle of the state governed by law. When it comes to legislation not concerned with these values, nation states are sovereign.

The rapporteur also proposes a very considerable increase in the budget, corresponding to approximately SEK 25 billion, and that is something to which we object.

We have therefore voted against the report.


  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Although the Union is still digesting the ten countries that joined in 2007, with Bulgaria and Romania on the way, the wheels have been set in motion as regards the accession of Turkey and the Balkan countries, such is the insatiable appetite; this after the proactive involvement in the destruction of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

From out of the fug of ‘political correctness’, the true objectives of such a race always emerge, namely the establishment of a free trade area and the sharing of natural resources in exchange for practical incentives; in other words, economic domination and exploitation of these people and their countries by the large economic and financial groups from the major EU powers, with Germany at the front of the queue. This is no coincidence, given that Germany, in conjunction with the USA, is the dominant force in the region and is involved in the military occupation thereof.

How about this for interference in a sovereign state by the majority in Parliament? ‘draws attention... to weaknesses… such as excessive state intervention in the economy and the complex rules… in public administration which are hampering development in the private sector and in the field of foreign direct investment.’

Note also the support for the division of Serbia, circumventing international law, in calls for ‘a Kosovo whose territorial integrity is safeguarded by the UN and the EU…

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


  Richard Howitt (PSE), in writing. The European Parliamentary Labour Party supports a positive attitude towards future EU enlargement, in particular honouring commitments made to candidate and potential candidate countries. In this respect, it is inappropriate to propose other 'operational possibilities' in paragraph 10 of the resolution, as relations with neighbouring countries are clearly covered by the Accession Process and the European Neighbourhood Policy.


  Cecilia Malmström (ALDE), in writing. (SV) On 1 May 2004, the EU was enlarged to include ten new Member States from Eastern and Central Europe. With the help of the EU’s carrot and stick approach, countries that were previously behind the Iron Curtain were turned into democracies with market economies. It was an historic event. We must now fulfil our pledges regarding continued enlargement of the EU to include countries such as Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia. However, we must also be receptive to new membership applications. Those countries that fulfil the requirements must be allowed to become Member States.

Today, we are voting on a strategy paper for continued enlargement, which contains a proposal that the EU define its geographical borders. That is something I shall vote against. The borders cannot be closed. Defining Europe’s borders would be interpreted by, for example, the Ukrainian people, currently poised between democracy and dictatorship, as a case of our slamming the door in their faces. That would be an historic setback.


  Athanasios Pafilis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The report, the Council and Commission decisions and the debate in the European Parliament coincide with the 7th anniversary of the dirty US-ΝΑΤΟ-ΕU war against Yugoslavia and the organised murder of Milosevic. The plans of the European and American imperialists and executioners of the Balkans, which were to annex and create protectorates subordinate to the EU and imperialism and allow Euro-unifying capital to plunder their wealth-producing resources, are being revealed in an insulting manner. Already, the situation of the Balkan peoples is drastic and it will worsen when they join the ΕU. Competition and the new round of border changes are creating new tensions.

The Kommounistiko Komma Elladas, repeating its position against the ΕU and its enlargement, will help to galvanise the fight of the peoples against the European and American imperialism that imposed the occupation of the area.

For the FYROM, it repeats that the problem relates to imperialist interventions and border changes, with the stirring up, also, of minority issues, actions on which Nea Dimokratia, Panellinio Socialistiko Kinima and Synaspismos have kept quiet or consented to in the past, focusing their attention on the name of the neighbouring country. Any demagogic crowing and political adjustments by the other parties are an attempt to disorientate the people and launder the huge political responsibilities which they have in going along with imperialism.


  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The Brok report on enlargement is an excellent snapshot of the applicants for the next round of EU enlargement. More importantly, however, it is also a warning of the difficulties posed by future enlargements.

In this regard, I feel that two ideas should be made clear.

The first of these is the ‘constitutional impasse’. Given the need for clarification, or even reorganisation, of the institutional structure before any new enlargement, it would also appear that the citizens and political leaders should not be restricted to one sole institutional/constitutional solution to enlargement.

The ‘absorption capacity’ factor is increasingly becoming one of the fundamental criteria. The prospect of accession and the neighbourhood policy have helped in the democratisation and development of potential candidate countries, but that in itself is not sufficient. The EU must also be ready to welcome new partners and this must form part of a drive to guarantee the same conditions for those who join, as opposed to a selfish approach on the part of those who are already members. This is a responsible approach to addressing the need to have European citizens sign up to the enlargement process.


  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Today, Parliament has given its opinion on the strategy for managing future enlargements of the European Union.

Enlargement ‘reunions’ with our brothers in Europe – Bulgarians, Romanians, Croats, Macedonians and others, arbitrarily separated from us after Yalta. They are as destined to join us as the European Union is to integrate them. It is not the substance that I am contesting, but the form and the timescale, and that is the reason why I voted for paragraphs 5 and 6.

It is time for the European Union to enter into a proper debate about its own borders. This is something it carefully avoided doing throughout all the work of the Convention. It is a black hole in the Constitution that has amply fuelled scepticism and anxiety. Avoiding unpleasantness is an attitude unworthy of us and of our electors, and asking for a debate does not make us ‘refuseniks’ against enlargement.

A Europe without borders is of no use to those who want a European power.

Our borders may be geographical, historical and moral, of course, but they are necessary to preserve a model, a vision and common values.


  Geoffrey Van Orden (PPE-DE), in writing. I am a strong supporter of enlargement of the EU. While the report contains much with which I agree, I cannot support the negative slant given to Turkey, in particular the inaccurate statement in paragraph 31 that Turkey is in some way obstructive within NATO. Furthermore, along with other British Conservatives, I am profoundly opposed to a European Constitution and cannot accept the language of paragraph 6.


62nd session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR, Geneva) (B6-0150/2006)


  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) A resolution was adopted yesterday to set up the Human Rights Council, replacing the Human Rights Commission.

This process has been characterised by the USA’s attempts to create an instrument that it can manipulate, so that it can justify its policy of interference and aggression in sovereign peoples and states. It is a process in which the USA, always placing more and more demands, has sought to impose as many of its conditions as it can. The USA had wanted it to be worse still and for this reason alone we voted against.

Among many other modifications and aspects that could be expanded, I wish to highlight that the new Council has a reduced number of countries, down from 53 to 47 (the USA wanted 30). Its members are elected by the UN General Assembly, via an absolute majority (the USA and the EU wanted a voting system in which they and their allies had the power of veto), although restrictions had been sought.

This is a process that for some is merely the first step, as part of a broader drive, on the part of the USA and its allies, to dominate and manipulate the UN.


  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) In the context of the vote on the joint resolution on the 62nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC, Geneva), I wish to mention what I consider to be a possible solution, albeit not an ideal one, as regards one of the most significant points raised in the debate.

One of the UN's biggest shortcomings on human rights has always been the lack of legitimacy of some of its Human Rights Commission members, especially when they have chaired it. The list has been well-documented and I do not feel the need to repeat it here. The outcome, namely the method of electing the members of the future Human Rights Council, does not guarantee that this will not happen again, but at least represents an attempt effectively to legitimise its members, and this should be acknowledged.

I also feel that this is an opportunity to reinforce the idea that EU Member States and their allies should try to set an example on human rights, in their own countries or in their international relations.


Preparations for the COP-MOP meeting on biological diversity and security (Curitiba, Brazil) (B6-0170/2006)


  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted in favour of this resolution, although we feel that some of its points are unclear and somewhat incoherent. We feel that biological diversity must be protected and that there should be the broadest possible global agreement on the protection of biodiversity. The Convention on biological diversity gives practical form to this. Accordingly, the EU and its Member States must take an appropriate stance at the Conference of the Parties taking place in Curitiba, Brazil, at the end of the month.

We know, however, that equally important, if not more so, is the need to stem the loss of biodiversity, by incorporating the aims of the Convention into development policy in Community policies such as agricultural and forest policies aimed at halting the spread of GMOs, supporting family farming and traditional forestry, as this is the best way of protecting biodiversity.

Marine biodiversity must be saved from destructive practices. Traditional coastal fishing, the best protection for biodiversity, must be supported.

Lastly, previous resolutions on the issue must be taken on board, particularly regarding the fight against the illegal felling of trees and the trade in those trees.


  Robert Goebbels (PSE), in writing. – (FR) I voted against the resolution on the Curitiba conference on biodiversity. Parliament is making a big mistake in confusing biodiversity and genetic engineering.

All the diversity of living things is the result of changes in the genetic structure of all living organisms. Those people who, in Europe, continue their reactionary battle against transgenic agriculture do not want to know that it causes no harm to human health in the rest of the world. In 2004, nine million small farmers cultivated almost 90 million hectares of GMOs in the world, while in the European Union of 25, 11 million small farmers cultivated 97 million hectares, of which some tens of thousands consisted only of transgenic crops.

Europe is in the process of losing another battle.


  Athanasios Pafilis (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (EL) We agree with the majority of the findings, which confirm the deterioration of the environment, the destruction of forest ecosystems and the continuing loss of biodiversity. We also agree with many of the proposals, except for those which are referred to within the framework of the existing legal order, because in many states, as in Member States of the ΕU, these things are happening legally. For example, the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agricultural production and in the production of foods which threaten the environment and biodiversity was liberalised under Community regulations. Forests are being commercialised under Community regulations, with the result that they are being destroyed even faster, and so forth.

We disagree radically with the proposal in the motion for a resolution which 'calls on the European Commission and the Member States to show leadership and conviction, by agreeing to and facilitating concrete measures for the protection of biodiversity, both domestically and internationally', because it is like asking the wolves to look after the sheep. They are calling on those responsible for the destruction to lead according to their own policy.

We call on the grass-roots movement and its organisations (trades union, ecological organisations, agents and so on) to fight to impose measures and policies which will prevent any further deterioration of the environment, destruction of forests or loss of biodiversity.


  Marie Anne Isler Béguin (Verts/ALE). – (FR) Mr President, the protection of biodiversity is a fascinating subject. My group, the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, is completely satisfied with the resolution that was approved by a very, very large majority of the European Parliament and it is completely satisfied also that Parliament is sending to the eighth Conference on biodiversity, three years after Kuala Lumpur, a delegation that will defend the protection of biodiversity. With this in view, ladies and gentlemen, I should like to remind you of some basic principles that are all too often forgotten here in this Parliament.

Food safety depends on three things: water, soil and phytogenetic diversity, and only 12 plant varieties, including wheat, rice, maize and potatoes provide virtually 80% of the energy requirements of the world’s population. It is a great temptation, therefore, for industry to acquire the monopoly on seeds by making use of technologies derived from biotechnology.

Consequently, we call on the Council of the European Union, which will be present, to support the moratorium that is currently in place on trials and commercialisation of genetically modified varieties in order to restrict their use. Put more simply, ladies and gentlemen, the Terminator must not re-emerge in the guise of some biotechnological innovation.

Furthermore, in order to limit the invasive nature, for our ecosystems, of varieties of biotechnological origin, biological diversity must be protected by protocols that force researchers to carry out their experiments in confined areas.

In conclusion, we must remember that the fight against the erosion of biodiversity presupposes some action on conservation. Of course, it is not a matter of putting away biodiversity in test tubes, but rather of allowing indigenous populations, which, moreover, we support, to continue to make use of their traditional expertise and of their supremacy over genetic resources.

It has to be recognised that here too, money is the sinews of war. I shall therefore be asking you also to support the Global Environment Facility. We know very well that, in the case of Natura 2000, if the European Union does not allocate money to this network, biodiversity will not be protected. In the same way, if we do not give money to the Global Environment Facility, nature conservation will be, once again, nothing more than a tissue of fine words spoken in plenary.

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