Full text 
Procedure : 2005/0102(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Select a document :

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 04/04/2006 - 16
CRE 04/04/2006 - 16

Votes :

PV 05/04/2006 - 5.6
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


Verbatim report of proceedings
Wednesday, 5 April 2006 - Strasbourg OJ edition

7. Explanations of vote

- Calendar of part-sessions for 2007


  Timothy Kirkhope (PPE-DE), in writing. I and my British Conservative colleagues have long supported attempts to ensure that the European Parliament has only one official seat, and that it should be Brussels. The cost to the taxpayer of the Strasbourg seat is estimated at around £150 million per annum. This is a gross waste of public funds. British taxpayers deserve to have value for money.

We want to carry out our work on behalf of our constituents where it is most effective and cost efficient, namely in Brussels. The cost of having to maintain parliamentary operations in both Strasbourg and Brussels has now become indefensible, and we will continue to campaign to have Parliament sit only in Brussels in future.


- Report: Roure (A6-0064/2006)


  Hubert Pirker (PPE-DE).(DE) Mr President, I voted in favour of the Roure report on the grounds that it constitutes a very positive initiative in favour of greater security. For the first time, the cooperation of liaison officers posted by Member States to serve in third countries is put on an institutional footing and specifically regulated. For the first time, too, the cooperation of liaison officers with Europol liaison officers and their coordination by Europol liaison officers in the third countries is assured. Moreover, Member States facing potential threats from states in which they have no liaison officers, can be supplied with early information through liaison officers of other Member States.

The institutionalisation of the cooperation of liaison officers adds to security around the European Union and in its immediate neighbourhood. This is in the public interest and in the interest of security within the European Union.


  Carlos Coelho (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) This proposal follows the assessment of Decision 170/2003, under which cooperation is stepped up between the Member States as regards the posting of liaison officers in third countries and international organisations.

I endorse the idea of introducing the amendments needed to ensure that the current practice as regards the use of Europol liaison officers is covered and is legally binding.

In this way, liaison officers from the Member States should establish and maintain direct contacts with the local authorities in the host State or the international organisation, with a view to facilitating and expediting the collection and exchange of information, which should in turn be passed on to Europol.

The objective is to help establish a spirit of European cooperation between police authorities, in other words, a Community approach to tasks assigned to liaison officers and direct exchange of information between those officers and Europol central command. This will help raise the consistency and effectiveness of the tasks assigned to these officers, and prevent problems of lack of coordination, cooperation and even overlapping.

I therefore support the amendments tabled by the rapporteur and hope that agreement can be reached at first reading.


- Report: Takkula (A6-0076/2006)


  Philip Claeys (NI). – (NL) Mr President, the tenor of the programme of the Takkula report perfectly mirrors official Europe’s arrogant, condescending attitude following the referendums in France and the Netherlands. The dim-witted French and Dutch had not got the message and had to be re-educated. The perfect representative of this arrogant elite is Commissioner Michel, who literally stated that the public is not always right and that in cases like these, the politicians should map out the route.

The present ‘Citizens for Europe’ programme fits into this dubious communication and information strategy. By investing hundreds of millions of euros in all manner of meaningless, politically correct projects and organisations, the Commission wants to bring the citizens closer to the Union, or so it says. Ironically, the document also refers to Plan D that stands for democracy, dialogue and debate, but in the same month that the plan was presented, accession negotiations were opened with Turkey, although it was common knowledge that the majority of the people in Europe are opposed to this. This is exactly the kind of hypocrisy that is meeting with resistance from an increasing number of Europeans.


  Jean-Pierre Audy (PPE-DE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report by my fellow Member, Mr Takkula, on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing for the period 2007-2013 a programme to promote active European citizenship. It is crucial to highlight this original feature of European integration, which consists in providing Europeans with dual national and European citizenship.

The Member States’ ability to harbour common ambitions at the same time as upholding our values is strictly dependent on the involvement of the people in European integration. We must therefore all work towards this, particularly the MEPs in contact with our colleagues from the national parliaments, who represent the national citizenship of those living in the Member States.

European citizenship is the binding force that must be promoted everywhere, together with the pride of belonging to a project that is unique and special in the world: the integration of the European Union, which is not a nation but the creation, in peaceful circumstances and by democratic means, of a humanist civilisation.


  Gerard Batten, Graham Booth, Derek Roland Clark, Roger Knapman, Michael Henry Nattrass, Jeffrey Titford and Thomas Wise (IND/DEM), in writing. UKIP has voted against amendments 62 and 63 on the ‘Citizens for Europe programme’ because they believe that the proposed projects, for which they have every sympathy, should be organised and funded at national level.


  Charlotte Cederschiöld, Christofer Fjellner, Gunnar Hökmark and Anna Ibrisagic (PPE-DE), in writing. (SV) The Swedish Conservatives have today chosen to abstain in the vote on the Citizens for Europe report. The report emphasises constructive solutions such as the importance of disseminating knowledge about the victims of Nazism and Communism. It is also good that the EU institutions provide information about their activities and about the rights and duties attendant on European citizenship. We disapprove, however, of increasing the EU’s financial appropriations earmarked for shaping opinion with a view to developing a European identity. A European identity develops through meetings between people and through more thoroughgoing cooperation, not through public institutions’ efforts to shape opinion.


  Edite Estrela (PSE), in writing. (PT) I abstained from the final vote on this report because Amendments 62 and 63, to which I put my name, were not adopted. To my mind, this attempt to rewrite history is appalling. The victims of fascism and other dictatorial regimes that have been in power in Europe in the recent past must not be forgotten. To vote against Amendments 62 and 63 is a historical and political mistake.

Given that the main objective of this new programme is to promote the values, conquests and cultural diversity of Europe, to bring EU citizens closer together, thereby strengthening the links that bind Europe’s citizens and institutions, and to promote cohesion between Europeans, one cannot omit the victims of fascism, or overlook the importance of the historical conquest of freedom and democracy, without which countries like Portugal would not have been able to form part of the European project.


  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The promotion of citizenship entails much more than simply strengthening democracy and political and social integration in Europe, which the report claims to advocate. The promotion of citizenship entails encouraging the citizens to become involved in defining the policies that affect them directly and indirectly. This can be achieved, inter alia, by means of the following: equal opportunities for men and women; promoting high-quality, inclusive state education; the right to work and to work with rights; the right to free, high-quality healthcare; the right to culture; access to the law; access to decent housing; and peace. This is, in fact, a list of the economic, social and cultural freedoms, guarantees and rights enshrined in the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic.

We feel that people’s individual and collective identity is formed by their collective memory and that this must be brought to the fore, so that we can all be aware of where we come from and define where we want to go.

We regret, however, that the adopted report will serve to contaminate European history and that the majority in Parliament has opted to contaminate the collective memory on which the identity of current and future generations will be based. For example, they rejected the proposals on supporting initiatives in honour of the victims of fascism …

(Explanation of vote abbreviated in accordance with Rule 163(1) of the Rules of Procedure)


  Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) We are not at all well disposed towards some of the amendments by the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education.

The report is based primarily on an attitude of apparent incomprehension faced with the low turnout in the 2004 European Parliament elections and the fact that the draft Constitution was voted down in referenda in France and the Netherlands. The ‘Citizens for Europe’ programme will not help to change the political situation.

We are opposed to increasing this programme’s budget over and above the EUR 235 000 000 set aside for 2007–2013, as recommended in Amendment 36. The aforesaid sum is already too generous.

The work in relation to local amateur sports clubs smacks of contempt for people. In the same way, we note that, important as it is for Europeans to preserve their memories of dictatorships and tragedies in their history, this should happen at national level. It is not something for Eurocrats in Brussels to become involved in.

We have therefore voted against this report.


  Anna Hedh (PSE), in writing. (SV) I am well disposed towards the report to the extent that it is about EU citizens needing to become more aware of, and informed about, the EU and the opportunities they have to exercise influence. I also support the rapporteur’s view that the programme should be accessible to everyone and not just be addressed to well-educated and privileged groups. However, I am critical of the wordings that refer to the new Constitution and of the aspiration towards a common European citizenship.


  Timothy Kirkhope (PPE-DE), in writing. I and my British Conservative colleagues agree that there is widespread alienation towards European institutions on the part of the citizens of the EU. This was demonstrated by the 'No' votes in the French and Dutch referendums on the EU Constitution. It is also demonstrated by the low voter turnout at the 2004 European elections.

We believe that the European institutions need to become more transparent and accountable to the electorate. They must also become more efficient and cost-effective. Parliament and the other institutions need to operate in a way that gains trust and respect. This report approaches those problems in fundamentally the wrong way. It will further undermine confidence in the EU with its call for a budget of nearly EUR 300 million of taxpayers' money to be spent on arbitrary projects that seek to impose an artificial European identity.

We wish to make clear that British Conservatives are strongly in favour of solemn acts of remembrance and commemoration of the evils that Nazism and Stalinism inflicted on millions of people in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. However, we believe that such acts are matters for individual Member States and their peoples.


  Sérgio Marques (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) Europe's citizens feel very disillusioned and detached from the institutions and the process of European integration. The rejection of the Constitutional Treaty in France and the Netherlands has brought this situation into even sharper relief. In this context, the Commission has put forward its ‘Citizens for Europe’ programme aimed at promoting European values and active European citizenship.

The programme provides for the implementation of measures that will bring European citizens together in order to share and exchange experiences, opinions and values, to encourage debate and reflection on European citizenship, via cooperation between civil society organisations, to hold high-visibility events, to carry out studies and surveys, and to bolster other information and dissemination instruments.

Broadly speaking, I endorse the amendments tabled to this report, especially as regards the title of the programme. The title ‘Europe for the citizens’ reinforces the idea that Europe should act as a means of meeting the citizens’ aspirations and not the other way around.


  Athanasios Pafilis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) Through the 'Citizens for Europe' programme, the Commission and the European Parliament are unleashing a brainwashing campaign against the peoples of Europe in order to combat increased displeasure at and condemnation of its policy and the questioning of the EU itself.

Its ideological arsenal rests on two pillars: on sanctifying capitalist barbarity, as the only way forward for the peoples, and on anti-communism, by reintroducing through the back door the 'memorandum' equating fascism with communism.

With appropriations of EUR 235 million to pay for and pay off all manner of eulogists and propagandists of the European one-way street, it is mobilising the mechanisms constructed years ago and so-called NGOs to cultivate a positive climate and sow delusion in the people as to the character and policy of the EU. A similar mission is being given to the reconciled leaders of trades union, so that they can conceal beneath the title 'Citizens of Europe' the major and irreconcilable class differences between the capitalists and the working class.

The MEPs of the Kommounistiko Komma Elladas voted against the report. As far as the amendment referring to the condemnation of Nazism and the dictatorships of Europe are concerned, we abstained from the vote, because it does not refer to the dictatorships of Spain, Portugal and Greece by name and is formulated such that socialist regimes could be interpreted as dictatorships.


  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) As we know, the EU is enduring a difficult time. Fresh challenges are appearing on various fronts; weak economic growth has had a social impact and has posed global challenges to which we have yet to find solutions. The biggest challenge we now face, however, is that of the citizens’ opinion of the European project. The increase in scepticism and the clear lack of satisfaction with the project of European integration is widening the gap between the citizens and the political decision-makers. We therefore need to rethink the way in which Europe’s democratic institutions communicate.

I feel that this programme is an important tool in raising awareness of European values among all citizens. It features a range of citizens’ projects, support for the provision of information to European civil society, and the holding of high-visibility events and other events that will help to raise knowledge of the European memory.

The European project is characterised by respect for diversity and cultural wealth. This is achieved by means of measures that deepen the cohesion between Europeans that is vital if we are to complete the internal market and achieve the sustainable growth and development of our societies.

I therefore voted in favour of this report.


  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing.(FR) I obviously support this report aimed at bringing the citizens and the European institutions closer together, which is something of an objective, if not a necessity in today’s Europe of ever-increasing scepticism.

This report introduces new lines of thought in relation to communication, to citizens’ projects with a transnational dimension and, above all, to a duty of ‘active European remembrance’, which is a unifying initiative aimed at commemorating the victims of the mass deportations and exterminations carried out under the Nazi and Communist regimes. I voted against all attempts to water down the text, some Members having been keen to refer to other forms of totalitarianism in Europe. The atrocities committed by these two regimes, and suffered by the nations of Europe as a whole, are at the root of European integration, and it is crucially important that we do not trivialise them.

Over and above this initiative, our role is to inform, to meet, to hold dialogues, to convince, to ensure that each citizen is aware of how Europe manages its daily affairs, to strengthen the feeling of belonging to Europe, to fight against any form of retreat into nationalism, to make Europe’s added value a reality and to point out the fact that the European idea represents the brightest idea of the 20th century.

Let us remember that, at a time when some of us are beginning to have doubts, the rest of the world is dreaming of Europe.


  Lydia Schenardi (NI), in writing.(FR) The ‘Citizens for Europe’ programme is nothing other than a propaganda tool designed to benefit the European Union. This report notes that the Constitutional Treaty was rejected in France and the Netherlands and that Europeans are sceptical about enlargement, meaning enlargement to include Turkey. Yet, far from drawing conclusions from this scathing disapproval, this report seeks to ‘re-educate’ the citizens! An initiative such as town twinning, which has been proving its worth for a long time now, is shamelessly hijacked, while millions of euros will be poured into communication circles and communication actions.

One amendment, Amendment 14, even encourages actions at Community level! Referring to actions in the field of sport, the report points out, and I quote, ‘In this way, passive or even euro-sceptical citizens can be reached’. You actually intend to hunt down those Europeans who, unlike you, are not deluding themselves. The made-up expression “active” European values’, as promoted by this report, has no meaning whatsoever. A value is neither active nor passive, it is not a device that we can switch on and off, unless we do what you do, and behave like ideologues.


- Report: Prets (A6-0061/2006)


  John Attard-Montalto (PSE).(MT) Thank you, Mr President. First of all, I wish to thank all those Members, amounting to 30% of Parliament, who, out of respect for my country, heard the speech given by the President of Malta. However, I am today standing up to explain the vote in relation to the report on the Cultural Capital of Europe. There was a misunderstanding yesterday. I was supposed to speak but, for some reason, was not given the opportunity to do so. In fact, what I wanted to say was that I abstained, as did my Maltese fellow Members from the Delegation of the Socialist Party, because, of the new Member States, our country was bottom of the list of countries that might be nominated and, of all the Member States including the two new countries set to join the Union, was next to the bottom of the same list. I think it unfair that Malta should have been allocated a position in which at least twelve years have to elapse before it can be nominated. Thank you.


  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted in favour of the rapporteur’s amendments, which improve upon the Commission’s original proposal and which safeguard Portuguese interests. A case in point is the recasting of Article 13 awarding a European Capital of Culture to Portugal in 2012.

It also simplifies the administrative procedures for selecting and monitoring ‘European Capitals of Culture’, and ensures that the appraisal is carried out according to the new, more inclusive criteria. As regards the programme, the only requirement is that it must be consistent with the Member State's domestic cultural strategy or policy.

Accordingly, diversity and the particular characteristics of the cultural heritage of each EU Member State will, in our view, be brought to the fore and dialogue between the various cultures will be facilitated.


  Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) We are well disposed towards the basic idea of the European Capital of Culture event. However, we see, at the same time, how the event would take on new dimensions in view of the organisation surrounding it and the EU’s commitments.

The idea of the European Capital of Culture is a good one, so good in fact that it could be funded in many other ways, for example through local sponsorship. Financial resources from the European Union should not be necessary to this project’s survival.

We are therefore voting against the report but are not opposed to the actual idea of the European Capital of Culture.


  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Receiving the title 'European Capital of Culture' is meant to – and should – considerably improve a city’s image, but European Capital of Culture status should not primarily be about a year-long festival in the city and short-term marketing of local culture. Newcastle and Bilbao have shown that culture can also have a long-term effect.

In times when budgets are being pared to the bone, the follow-up costs for new prestige projects are often neglected. The proposed Internet portal, as a tool for exchanging information and providing assistance, could be used to avoid problems in the organisation and implementation of the year of culture before they arise. It could, at a much earlier stage, avoid applicants unnecessarily spending millions on elaborate advertising campaigns without actually getting the grant in the end, or even, as in the case of the former capital of culture Weimar, having to close down the city museum because of major financial losses.

In 2009, the title of Capital of Culture will go, once more, to an Austrian provincial capital – Linz. The preparations are already underway, and it remains to be seen whether they are being made with the necessary foresight.


  Athanasios Pafilis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The restructuring of the institution of the European Capital of Culture comes within more general efforts to integrate and homogenise the cultural fabric of each country, in the aim of creating a single support for 'European culture' which will contain a mixture of subculture, a folkloric presentation of national cultures and modern commercial constructs.

My country's experience from Athens in 1985 and Thessaloniki in 1997 is miserable in the cultural and economic sector. Exorbitantly expensive, historically disconnected, superficial cultural programmes run by venture companies, agencies and sponsors on vulgar, commercial/profit-making criteria which overshadowed any enlightened exemptions. Mundane events, rich buffets and tasteless celebrations that marginalised or repulsed anything progressive in Greece or in neighbouring countries. That is the 'European cultural model', which also operates as a source of massive profit for various companies.

The proposed amendment maintains the same character, transferring the cost to the Member States, strengthening supervision and control by the ΕU and calling on the people to pay at national level the businessmen and the cost of the EU policy to impose the European subculture and the 'values' of capitalist barbarity. We are voting against the report, calling on the workers and people of art and culture to rise up in opposition.


  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) Since it was set up in 1985, the ‘European Capital of Culture’ programme has helped to bring Europe’s citizens closer together, by highlighting the wealth, diversity and characteristics of Europe's cultural heritage.

The programme’s huge success with the citizens has helped to strengthen the European dimension and socio-economic development in the selected cities.

These benefits can increase exponentially if we take new measures, forming a basic methodology that will enable us to establish synergies that would otherwise not be possible. An example of this is the creation of a website with information on the cities awarded European capital of culture, the existing contact networks and exchange of experiences – a strategy that should be extended to all Community programmes. I should also like to say that, with its innovation and success, this programme was the inspiration behind proposals that I tabled, and that were adopted by Parliament, aimed at creating a European Destination of Excellence, which will also help promote Europe worldwide.

I therefore voted in favour of this report.


  Carl Schlyter (Verts/ALE), in writing. (SV) This decision does not involve any new costs but gives the new Member States and the enlargement countries the opportunity to choose Cultural Capitals. Cultural cooperation is something that can give people knowledge of, and respect for, each other and is something positive. The Commission’s power is limited, and it is countries and cities that are responsible for working things out.

All this is encouraging, unlike the EU legislation that is forced on people and that limits their democratic opportunities for active participation. I therefore voted in favour of the proposal, despite its containing a certain amount of woolly Euronationalism.


- Report: Őry (A6-0069/2006)


  Hubert Pirker (PPE-DE).(DE) Mr President, I am giving this explanation of vote on behalf of the delegation from the Austrian People's Party.

We voted against the report because it calls for the currently applicable transitional periods for the free movement of workers to be abolished. We voted against this because we expect the accession treaty, which all countries – including the new Member States – signed, to be retained, including its transitional provisions to protect the Austrian labour market. This is quite justified, because statistics show that the number of workers from the new Member States has already doubled in the last two years.

The delegation from the Austrian People's Party opposes the report because, both now and in the future, only Austria can and will decide how long the entry restrictions guaranteed under the accession treaty will be retained in the interests of the Austrian workforce – it could be for up to seven years.


  Oldřich Vlasák (PPE-DE).(CS) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, in view of the fact that Commission communication COM 2006 on the functioning of the transitional measures shows that the influx of workers from the EU-10 states into the states with open labour markets has not been at all great and, on the contrary, according to the experts, has had a positive effect by increasing output and improving the economy, and also in view of the fact that the transitional periods have clearly contributed to an increase in the numbers of illegal workers, I consider approval of the report by Mr Őry as a significant initiative which should help to open up labour markets fully in states throughout the European Union. Only in this way can we fulfil all of the freedoms set out in the Treaty establishing the European Community, and give a boost to the entire EU economy. I have therefore voted for the approval of this report.


  Zita Pleštinská (PPE-DE). – (SK) The free movement of people and access to labour markets constitute one of the pillars of European integration. Unless we uphold this principle in conformity with the basic values of the Community, we will not catch up with the United States, even if America were to come closer to us; nor will we succeed in slowing down the Asian juggernaut.

I firmly believe that the concerns of some of the EU 15 countries are groundless, and it is deplorable that they do not accept the recommendations from a European Commission report that has been drafted in accordance with the accession treaties. On the other hand, we must praise the decisions taken by those countries that will be opening their labour markets during the European Year of Workers’ Mobility.

For these reasons, the Öry report should be viewed not so much as a bogeyman, but more as a simple guide on how to achieve the gradual fulfilment of the revised Lisbon Strategy goals. It is an attempt to ensure equal rights for the old and new Member States in a united Europe. For this reason, I have voted in favour of the report.


  Andreas Mölzer (NI).(DE) Mr President, there were transitional provisions when Greece and Portugal joined the EU, too, to enable the labour markets to adapt to the new situation. It follows that this is not a way of branding the new Member States as second-class states. Moreover, the transitional provisions are also welcomed by the new Member States to the east, inasmuch as they also serve national interests there. In view of the high levels of unemployment, particularly in Austria and Germany, and of the increasing pressure on the low pay sector, freedom of movement for workers right now would be completely irresponsible.

We are already having to deal with large numbers of people pretending to be self-employed, some of whom are evading taxes and social contributions. Until companies stop relocating to the low-tax economies in the east and trying to extricate themselves from tariff agreements, and until the market has adapted to the new situation or appropriate accompanying measures have been put in place, complete freedom of movement for workers would be irresponsible. That is why I voted against this report.


  Hynek Fajmon (PPE-DE). – (CS) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the four European freedoms, that is to say the freedom of movement for goods, services, capital and above all persons, have always been among the things that people valued most highly about the European Union. It is therefore incomprehensible, unjust and discriminatory that people from eight new Member States, including the Czech Republic, still do not enjoy the same rights in this respect as citizens from the other EU states. The reasons for restricting this fundamental European freedom are entirely unfounded and nonsensical. The examples of the United Kingdom, Sweden and Ireland show that labour markets are not under any threat. I am pleased that other states are to open their labour markets as well, and I trust that they will be doing so very soon. We need a Union in which all citizens share the same rights and the same obligations and not a Union where some are equal and others more equal, as in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. I have therefore voted in favour of Mr Őry’s report.


  Milan Cabrnoch (PPE-DE).(CS) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, along with other MEPs from the Civic Democratic Party I have backed the report from my colleague Mr Őry on the free movement of workers. We fully respect the right of individual Member State governments to decide on temporary restrictions in respect of the free movement of workers, within the context of the Accession Treaty. We also appreciate the decision of Great Britain, Ireland and Sweden not to make use of this right and we welcome the decision from the governments of Finland, Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal to end these restrictions. We are convinced that there are no objective reasons for restricting freedom of movement for workers within the European Union. The political reasons for restricting this freedom, however, appear just as compelling to the old Member States as the free movement of workers is important to the new Member States. We have therefore backed a call to all governments to scrap restrictions on the free movement of workers within the European Union.


  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The vote on this report on the transitional arrangements restricting the free movement of workers on EU labour markets is indicative of the contradictions in Parliament.

On the one hand, MEPs claim to defend the free movement of workers and to want to put an end to the unfair situation in which workers from the new Member States find themselves.

Yet when this free movement might lead to equal rights, they vote against, which means that they only want freedom of movement when it leads to low salaries and the loss of rights.

As such the proposals that we tabled were unfortunately rejected, which were as follows:

- believes it is crucial to put an end to the serious exploitation of workers in a number of EU countries arising from the illegal work to which many workers from new Member States and some older ones such as Portugal are subjected.

- stresses the need for effective monitoring and constant action aimed at ending discrimination, unequal treatment and illegal work, and the need to promote equal rights of workers and to apply the same labour and social legislation to all persons working in a Member State, regardless of their EU country of origin.

Hence our decision to abstain.


  Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) We defend an efficient internal market and fully support the free movement of workers within the EU. This is one of the fundamental freedoms under the EC Treaty. The free movement of workers helps to create more jobs and to strengthen the EU’s competitiveness. We are proud that Sweden is one of the three countries not to have introduced any transitional rules.

We regret that the Heads of State or Government decided to introduce transitional arrangements in the accession agreement with the ten new Member States. At the same time, we respect the fact that individual Member States choose to act on the basis of the opportunities provided by the accession agreement entered into.

In the report, the European Parliament calls on the Member States to abolish the current transitional arrangements. We believe that this issue should be decided on by individual Member States at national level. We are thus opposed to the European Parliament shaping opinion with a view to influencing the Member States to take a particular line on this important issue.

Nor do we believe that the EU should carry out information campaigns concerning the free movement of workers. We have every confidence that the respective national authorities can carry out this task satisfactorily. We also question the proposal to introduce a scheme for ‘the systematic monitoring of migration of workers within the EU’ and to provide the necessary funds for this purpose (paragraph 11).

We have chosen to vote against this report.


  David Martin (PSE), in writing. From 1 May 2004, three ‘old’ Member States (Ireland, the UK and Sweden) opened up their labour markets without restrictions to nationals of the ‘new’ Member States. The other Member States of the EU-15 have opted to apply national restrictions under the transnational arrangements.

In the UK, after the labour market was opened up, 60 000 job seekers arrived from the new Member States in 2004; the two sectors chiefly concerned were agriculture and fisheries. Given the high number of vacancies, the influx certainly did not increase unemployment in those two sectors. On the contrary, the immediate effect it had was of improving the profitability and competitiveness of the businesses concerned, raising their productivity and strengthening their financial position.

In macroeconomic terms, the policy of opening up the labour market translates into a marked increase in the British growth rate. According to the expert reports available, migration of workers from the ten new Member States has helped to increase production and create new jobs and has substantially reduced the number of illegal workers. I welcome these positive benefits.


  Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL), in writing.(NL) Supplementing the free movement of capital with the free movement of labour is hailed as an act of solidarity. The reverse is true in practice, though. It reinforces exploitation and creates unnecessary conflict among workers from different Member States.

Rushed implementation leads in the receiving countries to insufficient control of the application of minimum wages and collective labour agreements. Despite the restrictions that apply until 2011, employees from new Member States are already being used in order to force down labour costs. A study carried out by my party, the Socialist Party in the Netherlands, has shown that the influx of workers from new Member States has resulted in people being pushed aside in the labour market, unfair competition for small businesses, cheap labour being exploited, bad housing and working conditions and wages under EUR 3 per hour. Many Dutch lorry drivers have already been replaced by Polish drivers.

According to a study which the Socialist Party carried out among contractors in the Hague region before, many building companies are also badly affected by unfair competition from Eastern European countries, against which the Dutch trade unions mounted a campaign in March. In the countries of origin, there is already a shortage of qualified employees in some sectors. As my party campaigns against such a neo-liberal free market, I will be voting against the Öry report.


  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The report on the transitional arrangements restricting the free movement of workers on EU labour markets is a timely one, as it coincides with the publication of the Portuguese, Spanish and Finnish decision to scrap the barriers that have been in place since 1 May 2004.

The free movement of workers is a core element of the EU, in that it represents what is generous about the Union and is indicative of the actual construction of a common area.

There was a time when the inhabitants of Eastern Europe wanted to escape from their countries but were unable to do so. Nowadays there is certainly hope for a better future for those countries, and the expectations engendered by accession have led to a belief that their national economies can develop, as events have borne out. What is more, the countries that have removed restrictions, such as the United Kingdom, Ireland and Sweden, have not witnessed major increases in their migratory flows in comparison with other Member States – some, mostly temporary, work permits have been granted – and have in fact confirmed that these immigrants have had a positive effect on their economies, as has been well documented.


  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing.(FR) I am obviously, as a matter of principle, in favour of opening up labour markets in the EU-15 to workers from eight new Member States.

In 2004, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Sweden opened up their borders without restriction. Two years later, a Commission report is defending this political approach, with figures to support it: there are fewer migrants than anticipated and they are filling jobs left vacant in certain sectors.

However, since we cannot allow ourselves to be naively optimistic, I am also in favour of the provisional measures taken in this area by the majority of the Member States. That is why I support the Belgian Federal Government’s decision to keep certain conditions of access to the job market until 2009 at the latest.

These restrictions are limited in scope and do not apply to the independent professions, such as shopkeepers, craft workers and liberal professions, which have enjoyed total freedom of establishment ever since enlargement.

First and foremost, these restrictions are limited in time, and deal with both the real situation on the ground and the sometimes unfair competition between European workers and employers. We must give the ‘unprepared’ Member States time to implement the registration and monitoring structures that are needed in order to enable workers to move freely outside of their countries of origin.


  José Albino Silva Peneda (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) We recently celebrated 20 years of Portugal’s accession to the European project. From the outset, Portuguese workers saw their freedom of movement restricted by barriers put up by Member States fearing disruption to their labour markets.

History is repeating itself and workers from the eight new Member States from the east are now experiencing the same ordeals.

I voted in favour of this report because it has been shown that, just as in 1986, migration from these countries has had positive effects on the economies of the Member States that have decided to open up their labour markets. Those countries have found that there are no longer any valid reasons for maintaining such restrictions to freedom of movement. It is precisely restrictions of this nature that foment illegal work and the exploitation of workers.

Above all, this is a matter of solidarity towards the new Member States.

The EU must not respond to the challenges of the world with the kind of nationalism and protectionism practised in some of its Member States. All European workers are needed to improve business competitiveness and thereby increase economic growth in the EU.


  Bart Staes (Verts/ALE), in writing.(NL) I support the Öry report on the transitional regulation which restricts the free movement of workers in EU labour markets, and I do so because I share the view that it would be preferable if all Member States, including Belgium, were to abolish transitional measures.

The three countries that have opened their borders have not been faced with a large-scale migration flow. Meanwhile, we have proof that transitional periods lead to considerably more moonlighting and feigned self-employment, which puts wages under pressure and causes employees to be faced with bad and unfair working conditions.

The restriction of the free movement of employees from the new Member States is discriminatory, leads to exploitation and bears witness to short-term thinking that is out of touch with today’s reality. This report can ensure that by abolishing the transitional periods, social rights are no longer blocked and the road for a social and just Europe is cleared.

What is crucial is that a European labour market is created where there is equal pay for equal work, that equal working conditions should apply and that all employees should be guaranteed equal access to social rights. At the same time, the social inspectorates must also be reinforced and cooperate transnationally.


  Gary Titley (PSE), in writing. This report on the free movement of workers identifies the improved profitability and competitiveness of businesses in Ireland, Sweden and the UK – countries that have opened their labour markets.

The British experience has shown that the UK was right to take the bold step of opening up its labour market. British growth and productivity rates have proven that fears about opening EU labour markets are unfounded.

A single market cannot function properly whilst labour markets remain protected and sealed off. The UK has shown how free labour markets, coupled with proper social protection, can boost a prosperous economy. This has led to the longest period of sustained economic growth in living memory in the UK.

The European Parliamentary Labour Party believes that European labour markets should be open, like the UK's, and should not fear tides of immigration.

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