Full text 
Procedure : 2005/2214(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Select a document :

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 15/05/2006 - 15
CRE 15/05/2006 - 15

Votes :

PV 16/05/2006 - 10.3
CRE 16/05/2006 - 10.3
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


Tuesday, 16 May 2006 - Strasbourg OJ edition

11. Explanations of vote

- Report: Daul (A6-0142/2006)


  Charlotte Cederschiöld, Christofer Fjellner, Gunnar Hökmark and Anna Ibrisagic (PPE-DE), in writing. (SV) The Commission proposes removing customs duties for certain varieties of unpolished rice from India and Pakistan, a development we think is excellent. We Swedish Conservatives are therefore voting in favour of the proposal.

At the same time, retained quotas are proposed for a number of other varieties of rice from the United States and Thailand in accordance with the agreements concluded by the Commission with the individual countries.

We believe that all the customs duties on rice should be removed, since duties are to the detriment of the exporting country, consumers within the EU and general economic development.


  Duarte Freitas (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The text of Council Regulation (EC) No 1785 needs to be amended in order to incorporate the amendments to the arrangements for importing rice arising from the agreements established between the Commission and India (Council Decision 2004/617/EC of 11 August 2004), Pakistan (Council Decision 2004/618/EC of 11 August 2004), the United States of America (Council Decision 2005/476/EC of 21 June 2005) and Thailand (Council Decision 2005/953/EC of 20 December 2005).

These agreements established customs arrangements for imports on the basis of the nature of the product and the quantities imported, authorising the Commission to derogate Regulation (EC) No 1785/2003 for a transitional period. As this derogation was due to expire on 30 June 2006, there is a pressing need to amend the text of the regulation in force.

I therefore endorse the Commission’s proposal and support the Daul report.


  Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) We have voted against this report. We believe that, in principle, the trade in rice should be free, thereby reducing consumers’ household expenditure.


- Report: Guerreiro (A6-0133/2006)


  Duarte Freitas (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) Broadly speaking, I am in favour of the adoption of this document.

The collapse of the Fisheries Agreement between the EU and Angola was inevitable in view of the obligations created when the new legal framework came into force in Angola, which run counter to the EU’s principles on fishing agreements with third countries.

I support the idea of making the current Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance more flexible and the derogation measures put forward in this proposal. I also feel however that, in the name of reciprocity, the EU should be aware of the fishing activities of Community vessel owners who stand to benefit from these measures.


  Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) The Commission’s proposal differs from most proposals concerning fisheries agreements with third countries because, instead of extending the agreement or introducing a new protocol, the EU is cancelling the current fisheries agreement with Angola. The June List consistently votes against extensions to fisheries agreements and thus welcomes the cancellation of this agreement. We have thus voted in favour of this report.

The reason why the agreement is being cancelled is that the Commission has certain views on the Angolan legislation concerning biological aquatic resources. The rapporteur regrets that the Community and the Angolan authorities have not succeeded in reaching an agreement. We regret, rather, that the EU still intends to conclude destructive new fisheries agreements and to extend existing agreements.

The Commission and the European Parliament do not appreciate that the fisheries agreements with third countries have harmful consequences for the populations of the countries in question. We thus have a quite different perspective to the rapporteur when it comes to our approach to the EU’s fisheries agreements with third countries.


  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) In addition to the loss of fishing opportunities, of jobs and of the added value associated with fishing activities, the denunciation of the agreement will mean that vessels that depend on fishing off Angolan waters will have to be converted.

Regrettable though this denunciation is, we must look into other viable possibilities for the vessels in question to be able to operate in other areas or under other fisheries agreements. New fishing opportunities or opportunities already in existence that are not being used must be negotiated. Alternatively, vessels in Angola could stay by means of setting up joint ventures. That way, jobs can be kept and vessels saved from scrapping.

Measures must therefore be taken to facilitate the conversion of these vessels, for example by exempting them from having to pay back construction or modernisation aid obtained during the previous ten years, and temporary tie-up aid awarded under the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance.

Joint enterprises or other types of joint venture with a third country should be based on genuine cooperation projects that are mutually beneficial. The relocation of the fleet and the fishing industry from Community countries should not be encouraged, with the loss of jobs and economic activity that that implies, both upstream and downstream.


- Report: Karas (A6-0153/2006)


  Othmar Karas (PPE-DE).(DE) Mr President, the report on the place of supply of services has to do with the taxation of services for persons who are not liable to tax, and resulting as it does from the Commission’s report – submitted as long as three years ago – on the amendment of the rules relating to the taxation of services rendered to taxpayers, it relates to the business-to-business sector.

There are a number of reasons why this House has not made any substantial amendments to it. The first is that the Commission proposal constitutes a coherent framework for the amendments to the sixth Value Added Tax Directive, which were proposed all of three years ago. Secondly, this framework achieves a good compromise between taxation at the place of consumption and European businesses’ ability to administer this tax. Thirdly, the proposal is an important step towards the reform of the European VAT system in a changed environment. Fourthly, we hope that the Council will adopt this regulation together with the proposal for the establishment of a one-stop shop for businesses, which will make it possible for European businesses to have less bureaucracy to deal with.


  Astrid Lulling (PPE-DE), in writing.(FR) Following the rather inglorious episode involving the Services Directive, another attack on the country of origin principle, this time with regard to the VAT payable on services, would be one more step in the wrong direction. If the ideas set out in Mr Karas's report are put into practice, this will have negative and dangerous repercussions, because the Commission and many of the countries in the Council want the place of consumption to be the determining factor for the provision of services, rather than, as now, the place from where the service is provided. However, abandoning the country of origin principle would create a complex, bureaucratic, uncontrollable and therefore impracticable system.

Taking account of the place of consumption goes against the principles that, until recently, governed the VAT system applicable at Community level. The Member States need stability and predictability so that they can manage their public finances. Given that Community legislation was put in place very recently regarding, for example, e-commerce, it is quite unreasonable to suggest turning it all upside down.

I therefore voted against the Karas report.


- Report: Speroni (A6-0156/2006)


  Esko Seppänen (GUE/NGL). – (FI) Mr President, Police Officers Michaelis and Proske claim that our fellow Member Mr Pflüger used the word ‘shithead’, or ‘Arschkopf’, in connection with a demonstration in Munich. Mr Pflüger says that this word is simply not in his vocabulary. Accordingly, I would like to say that Mr Michaelis and Mr Proske are real shitheads – Arschköpfe - in claiming that our fellow Member said this. For that reason, I voted against this report.


  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The decision taken by the majority in Parliament to lift the parliamentary immunity of Mr Pflüger, an MEP from the German Party of Democratic Socialism and a Member of the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left, is highly significant.

This is an unprecedented, blatantly political decision, which sets an alarming precedent, as it came in response to Mr Pflüger’s participation in a demonstration about the so-called ‘Munich Security Conference’, which takes place every year in that German city.

This is the fourth time that Mr Pflüger has had accusations levelled at him in relation to his participation in this demonstration. In 1999, the Munich Court withdrew its allegations. In 2003, the proceedings were cancelled. In 2004, the police went as far as to offer a formal apology. This case refers to 2005, when Mr Pflüger took part in the demonstration for the first time as an MEP.

The application to lift parliamentary immunity was submitted by the Ministry of Justice of the Federal Republic of Germany. Subsequently, Parliament adopted this application via the proposal tabled by Mr Speroni of the Italian Lega Nord. Reading the report by the Committee on Legal Affairs reveals how incomprehensible and alarming this decision was.

Hence our vote against.


- Report: Poli Bortone (A6-0122/2006)


  Richard Seeber (PPE-DE).(DE) Mr President, while I, in principle, welcome the compromise on which we have voted today, it must not be forgotten that primary responsibility for addressing the problem of obesity, especially among children, rests with the state. Consumers do, of course, need to be mature and well-informed if they are to take the right decisions, but even so, we should not seek refuge in unrestrained regulation at European level and end up imposing things on business and industry that they cannot actually afford. So, let us say ‘yes’ to information, but, please, can the state now take some action to address the obesity problem in a rational way?


  Andreas Mölzer (NI).(DE) Mr President, it is surely also the task of the European something-or-other Union to do something to counteract the spread of illnesses closely connected with the way we eat, but I do believe that what the European Union needs to do in the face of Europeans’ pronounced scepticism about genetic engineering and the ruling recently handed down by the WTO is to push for studies of the medium and long-term damage to health done by genetically modified food, in order that the public may be, at last, rather less in the dark about it.

While we are on this subject, we cannot of course overlook the contamination of some foods by radioactivity, which persists even twenty years on from Chernobyl, and the effects of which have as yet not been sufficiently researched.


  Jan Andersson, Anna Hedh, Ewa Hedkvist Petersen, Inger Segelström and Åsa Westlund (PSE), in writing. (SV) We Swedish Social Democrats should ideally have liked to have seen Parliament support the stronger proposals in both the Commission’s original proposal and the Council’s common position. It has not, however, been possible to reach an agreement containing these proposals.

We believe that the compromise reached is the best outcome we can achieve right now. The compromise considerably strengthens consumer protection and makes it simpler for consumers to make healthy choices, if that is what they wish to do. We therefore supported the compromise and voted in favour of all aspects of it.


  Gérard Deprez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Today, following a real battle, we have been able to reach an agreement between Parliament and the Council for regulating the claims made on food products and, contrary to all expectations, to have done so no later than at second reading.

I am delighted about the fact.

The wording we have voted in favour of has – at least – a dual objective: that of preventing certain improper claims or forms of advertising and that of preventing obesity.

It is a practical achievement to have adopted the wording concerned. It demonstrates to Europeans, who appear increasingly to doubt the value of our project of European construction, that our continent is making daily progress and producing practical rules to improve their daily lives – in the event, by enabling them to make conscious choices about what they eat. In short, it shows people that Europe is actually of some use.

The fact is, appropriate labelling is indispensable to consumers and, personally, I am delighted that, from now on, the packaging of a product that may be ‘low in fat’ but that also has a ‘high sugar content’ will have to have both facts stated on the same side, equally visible.


  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The report adopted today represents an improvement on the text adopted at first reading, in that it tightens the conditions for using nutrition and health claims. A varied and balanced diet is a prerequisite for good health, and products taken separately are of less importance than diet as a whole.

Nutrition and health claims, however, must be scientifically substantiated, in light of all the available scientific data and the testing that has taken place, which formed part of the adopted proposals, and to which our group lent its backing. We regret, however, the adoption of an exceptional amendment on nutrient profiles.

Although the adopted compromise fell short of expectations on certain points, it does offer some protection and information to consumers, and seeks to safeguard the rights of SMEs.


  Christofer Fjellner, Gunnar Hökmark and Anna Ibrisagic (PPE-DE), in writing. (SV) Explanation of vote in relation to the report by Mrs Poli Bortone on a draft regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on nutrition and health claims made on foods.

The Commission’s draft regulation on nutrition and health claims is based on a number of assumptions about which we have our doubts: the assumptions not only that what is healthy is a matter of absolute truth and that sales pitches and advertisements are harmful and should be regulated but also that people’s eating habits can be controlled through political decisions. Finally, there is an assumption that the EU has a political task to perform in this area.

None of these assumptions is valid. There is no absolute truth about what is harmful or beneficial. New discoveries are made, and old truths are re-examined, which is why it is quite inappropriate to use political decisions to force people into behaving in a particular way. Political decisions can neither guarantee that people have a balanced diet nor determine how beneficial or otherwise individual products are in their contexts. Each person must accept responsibility for his or her own diet on the basis of his or her own assumptions. Products based on new discoveries must be given a chance to establish themselves in the market so that they might compete successfully with existing products.

At present there is no opportunity for voting against the Commission’s proposal. That is why we choose to vote in favour of the European Parliament’s proposal, which contains fewer regulations than both the Commission’s proposal and the Council’s position.


  Duarte Freitas (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The purpose of this proposal by the Commission is to plug gaps and to propose a European strategy for the coming years as regards information to consumers on the food products that they consume.

Clearer, more accurate and more concise information could help consumers to alleviate problems such as cardiovascular conditions and obesity.

The compromise amendments adopted have substantially improved an initial proposal that I felt was inadequate and insubstantial.

The inclusion of imported products, the special attention to products for children, the facilitated access for SMEs, the exclusion of fresh foods sold unpacked and the ban on health claims for alcoholic beverages (more than 1.2% by volume) will make this a tougher and more complete directive.

I endorse the Commission’s proposal and the Poli Bortone report.


  Christa Klaß (PPE-DE), in writing. (DE) Despite long debates and a great deal of effort at persuasion, we have not managed to regain our grip on reality. What is crucial is not the composition of a particular food, but the whole picture involving the interplay of healthy and balanced diet suitable for people when considered in terms of their specific situation as regards activity, age and gender.

Any profile ought to take all these things into account, but, as these factors are constantly changing, we have to realise that there are no such things as nutrient profiles and that, instead, the only way open to us is that of education and upbringing, what rural German women call ‘learning to handle everyday life’, and which is best communicated through the family and school and general education. I also hope that the ‘traffic light’-style labelling to which consideration is still being given is no more than a witless joke.

Who knows, though, what can occur to ‘such clever people’? One example of this approach’s divorce from reality is that no such information may appear on drinks, such as wine, with an alcohol content in excess of 1.2% by volume. On the one hand, then, scientific profiles are demanded, while on the other, the dissemination of scientific knowledge is prohibited.

Wine is also governed by existing EU regulations, and that must also apply in this case. Our debates may well have been lengthy, but it is evident from the compromise that they did not go on long enough. I supported the amendments in the hope that they might make this squalid compromise tolerable.


  Marie-Noëlle Lienemann (PSE), in writing.(FR) Although I approve of the compromise wording in relation to the directive on nutrition and health claims, which contains a number of improvements – in particular, Article 4 which requires a scientific analysis to be carried out before any health claim is made – I have nonetheless been anxious to vote against all the Amendments (90, 66, and 17) presenting genuine risks to public health. It would be dangerous for food products still to bear claims that, by not presenting the complete picture, could mislead consumers.

Thus, it is unacceptable to highlight on a product the words ‘sugar-free’ when this same product might prove to have a high fat content.

There is an ever-increasing incidence of obesity in Europe, affecting more and more children. It is vital to fight this scourge by not encouraging people to overeat and by no longer pulling the wool over the eyes of consumers. On the contrary, consumers should be directed towards balanced products.


  David Martin (PSE), in writing. I welcome this report, which should lead to more honest and understandable food labelling. It should also make it difficult for companies to brand their products in a misleading way.


  Jean-Claude Martinez (NI), in writing.(FR) It is a good thing to want to monitor nutrition claims in order to prevent the purveyors of cholesterol and diabetes from selling their highly sweetened drinks and high-fat food under cover of excessive claims concerning the energy they provide.

It is, however, unacceptable to do as the Commissioner did yesterday and also to target wine in one’s efforts to promote health and to combat obesity and alcoholism. Wine is emphatically not a form of alcohol manufactured through industrial processes but a drink produced through the natural fermentation of fresh grapes. In Europe, wine is not water plus chemicals plus flavourings, as it is in the self-styled wineries of California or Australia, but a food produced from fermented grapes.

It must, then, be possible to say so. It must be possible to make claims about the nutritional and health benefits of wine, with its antioxidants. Otherwise, what is the explanation for the fact that the geographical area covered by vineyards is also the area in which civilisation has taken root, while the geographical area covered by the health-obsessed, eugenically inclined Nordic countries is also the home of drunkenness, skinheads and cyclical depression, a place where not a single cultural miracle of any significance has taken place?


  Linda McAvan (PSE), in writing. Labour MEPs welcome today's agreement on nutrition and health labelling of foods. We accept that this is a compromise package and there are some elements, particularly on Amendment 66, where we have reservations. We would have preferred the common position text, which allowed no derogations. However, the new law represents a major step forward in food labelling for consumers and improves the overall regulatory framework. It is on this basis that we supported the compromise package.


  Angelika Niebler (PPE-DE), in writing. (DE) I reject the regulation on nutritional and health information in the version adopted by the Member States.

The regulation provides that, in future, nutrient profiles must be compiled for all foodstuffs. Food must then be advertised with claims relating to health and nutritional value only if those claims have previously been verified in a procedure standardised across Europe.

It has to be said, though, that the rules that are intended to combat wrong dietary habits represent a major technical and bureaucratic imposition for the food manufacturers, without going to the roots of the problem. Obesity cannot be combated effectively by means of regulatory intervention, but only by changes in eating habits and lifestyle; what is called for is less time spent in front of the television or the computer, and more movement.

Taken as a whole, the regulation also treats consumers as if they were helpless and concedes them no capacity to take decisions for themselves.

The European Food Authority’s standardised procedure for approving health-related claims is objectionable, being a superfluous bureaucratic monster and, above all, a burden on our small and medium-sized businesses. Large companies find it much easier to cope with the extra outlay involved in applying for approval, but the additional costs jeopardise small and medium-sized businesses’ very existence.

This law frustrates all efforts at reducing bureaucracy and the proposals for ‘better lawmaking’.


  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing.(FR) I had the opportunity to express my point of view yesterday evening during the debate on Mrs Poli Bortone’s report. I wish, however, to explain why I voted as I did on Amendment 66, the notorious disclosure clause.

I am opposed to calling Article 4 and the nutrient profile into question in any way. In my view, this compromise is therefore the worst sort of hypocrisy whereby it is permitted to make nutrition claims for food with high sugar, salt or fat content as long as the high content of these substances is indicated on the label. To put it bluntly, it makes it legal to give false descriptions.

For example, ‘non-fat’ lollipops can happily be described as such, even if they are also ‘pure sugar’. And who cares if they give children tooth decay?

If, in spite of that, I have abstained from voting, it is because of what is contained in the remainder of the report. Firstly, we have come a very long way indeed from our vote at first reading which purely and simply killed off the nutrient profile. Moreover, many uncertainties have been removed, especially for SMEs. What is more, there is still a ban on health claims for alcoholic products. Finally, I am convinced that we should not obtain anything better by the end of a long and expensive conciliation procedure. Politics is partly about accepting compromises.


  Karin Scheele (PSE), in writing. (DE) This has been a highly contentious issue ever since the Commission submitted its proposal, and the majorities for it in this House have been very narrow, going right back to first reading. I am among the minority that regards the Commission’s proposal as a very good one and has supported it from the very beginning of the debate. The Common Position is very good too, and the compromise on nutritional values now achieved at second reading is the lowest common denominator still capable of being supported.


  Kathy Sinnott (IND/DEM), in writing. The Parliament has voted to eliminate unsubstantiated claims on foods and drinks, especially products marketed to children.

The EU was concerned that a food would, for example, be advertised as 'low fat' which might have lots of sugar or salt in it or conversely as 'low salt' which was high in something else.

The aim is truth in advertising. In an ideal world it would be achievable but the problem is that producers must give evidence of health claims made for their product. Scientific evidence as understood by the legislation involves expensive trialling which will cost more than small producers can afford.

Another problem is that though the nutritional profiles that will be required by law on all products will be a step in the right direction they will fail to distinguish the quality of the fat, sugar and salt in the food or drink.

The nutritional profile will not distinguish between the bad fats that damage us and good fats necessary for health and growth, and similarly with salts and sugars.

For myself, I want a complete list of ingredients and a mention of any nutrient-damaging process like irradiation, bleaching, saturation etc. to which the ingredients were exposed.


  María Sornosa Martínez (PSE), (in writing). (ES) The Spanish Socialist Delegation welcomes the adoption of this report, which will reconcile various requirements for health protection and correct information for consumers with the aim that the industry should not bear excessive costs.

We do, however, wish to declare that our intention was to vote in favour of Amendment 49, which ultimately failed, as we think that it is an amendment of crucial importance to the Spanish Socialist Delegation, because of what it means for fermented drinks of agricultural origin (beer and wine) and for food use in a country such as Spain.


  Marc Tarabella (PSE), in writing.(FR) This report, on which we have voted at second reading, entails improvements where health considerations are concerned, but a number of the amendments amount to a real retrograde step.

This is clearly the case with Amendments 17, 66 and 90, which are aimed not only at legalising products high in fat, sugar or salt but also authorise claims that mislead consumers.

I am very sorry that the aforesaid amendments, which significantly undermine the relevance of the document, have been adopted, and I regret their having been the subject of a compromise that I have no hesitation in referring to as dubious.


  Marianne Thyssen (PPE-DE), in writing.(NL) As a fledgling MEP, my very first phone call to the Commission was about a proposal in preparation of a European law on health and food claims. This was 14 years ago now. Even then, it was realised that legislative action was needed at Community level, and so an agreement about a specific legal text so many years down the line is not a day too soon.

The result is one to be proud of, for it strikes the right balance between, on the one hand, the consumer’s interest and right to health protection and information and, on the other, the requirement not to place an excessive burden on industry.

Both the solution with regard to food profiles and the notification procedure prove that we achieved this in an adult manner.

Consequently, this result receives my unqualified support.


- Report: Scheele (A6-0078/2006)


  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted in favour of the compromise proposals at this second reading, because we feel it is important that there should be a high level of protection for consumers regarding the addition of vitamins, minerals and other substances to foods, which we must ensure do not pose a danger to public health.

In December 2005, the Council did not incorporate into the common position that it adopted some important amendments adopted by Parliament last May. We therefore deem it important to enshrine once again the bio-availability – meaning available to be used by the body – of vitamins and minerals. Otherwise, consumers will be misled and may even put their health at risk.

Furthermore, safe maximum quantities for vitamins and minerals must be set and information for consumers must be made easy to understand and useful.

We regret the fact that other positive amendments were not adopted, but we hope that they will at least be taken on board by the Council.


  Jörg Leichtfried (PSE), in writing. (DE) I endorse the directive on the addition of vitamins, minerals and certain other substances to foods.

I believe it to be vitally important that the various national regulations on the addition of vitamins and minerals, and of certain other substances, to foodstuffs, should be harmonised. What has become evident from these long drawn-out debates is that the Member States differ very strongly among themselves not only as to the necessity of the addition of such nutrients for a balanced diet, but also on the basis of their own differing traditions.

Although this report deals only with the voluntary addition of vitamins and supplements, it is important to remember that the manufacturers’ sole intention in adding vitamins and minerals must be to do so with nutritional and health considerations in mind.

The ‘other substances’ must be defined specifically and, with the protection of the consumer in mind, it follows that a negative list must also be drawn up.

What is required – and will continue to be required – most of all is that the consumers be protected and kept informed, since it is they who, in cases of doubt, will be harmed, whilst the manufacturers will make a profit.


- Report: Maat (A6-0140/2006)


  Glyn Ford (PSE), in writing. I welcome this report on the measures needed to protect the elver industry in Europe. Changing tastes and a collapse in stock have transformed what was a local, cheap seasonal delicacy into a luxury product, almost exclusively for export to the Far East. The life-cycle of elvers is still not properly understood with gluts and shortages alternating in a not fully understood pattern. Yet the drop of stock levels over past decades seems to be outside the normal range of variation. If action is not taken, this small but locally important industry may die. I support the restriction on fishing, while agreeing with the Commission the need to identify when bans will fall needs investigation, as yields vary with the phases of the moon and not days of the month. I also support limits on exports to protect stocks, which I am sure the WTO will support, and financial help from the EU to ensure rivers remain open for the passage of elvers. We may have to revisit this issue in future, but at least we are finally taking some action.


  Duarte Freitas (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) I welcome this report, although I feel that it could have set itself more ambitious objectives.

First and foremost, I should like to highlight the fact that there is great variation between the river basins in the different Member States where this species exists. Consequently, different strategies and measures are needed to ensure the effective recovery of these stocks.

Accordingly, I welcome the fact that it has been left to the Member States to propose their own recovery plans.

I also believe that the EU must support the measures that each Member State deems appropriate for repopulating the various river basins. This includes, for example, the construction and/or adaptation of barrier-crossing mechanisms along rivers.


  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The Commission’s main objective in tabling this proposal for a regulation to recover eel stocks is to set up national Eel Management Plans.

The proposal is intended to guarantee a 40% escape rate of adult silver eels from each river basin, an objective that will be difficult to meet. The proposal also treats all Member States in the same way, without taking account of their particular characteristics.

It is also proposed that there be a ban on fishing eel during the first 15 days of the month, which is excessive and would have a major socio-economic impact. These measures would have to be met by July 2007, a relatively short space of time.

In this regard, Parliament’s proposals strike a better balance and rectify some of the worst aspects of the Commission’s proposal, thereby helping to contribute towards the recovery of eel stocks.

The report replaces the ban on fishing in the first half of every month with a season in which the fishing effort is reduced by half. It also raises the 40% escape rate objective. It gives Member States the opportunity to operate solely in relevant river basins. Furthermore, the deadline for implementation has been extended to 2008. All of which gives greater powers to the Member States.


- Report: Varela Suanzes-Carpegna (A6-0163/2006)


  James Hugh Allister (NI), in writing. I voted today against the EC-Morocco Partnership Agreement on fisheries because I am not satisfied that all steps were taken in respect of this agreement, which could and should have been taken to protect the sovereignty and rights of Western Sahara. Instead, intended ambiguity prevails so as to facilitate Morocco's abuse of Western Saharan waters and to avoid facing up to its illegal claim to the territory.


  Jan Andersson, Anna Hedh, Ewa Hedkvist Petersen, Inger Segelström and Åsa Westlund (PSE), in writing. (SV) Today, the European Parliament voted in favour of the EU entering into a fisheries agreement with Morocco. We Social Democrats voted against the agreement. We believe that the fisheries agreement should not extend to include Western Saharan territory because Morocco has been occupying Western Sahara since 1975.

We believe that the agreement contravenes international law because there are no guarantees that it will benefit the Western Saharan population, which has not helped design the agreement.


  Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos, Fausto Correia, Edite Estrela, Emanuel Jardim Fernandes, Elisa Ferreira, Manuel António dos Santos e Sérgio Sousa Pinto (PSE), in writing. (PT) The Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and Morocco sets out the principles, the rules and the procedures governing economic, financial, technical and scientific cooperation in ‘Moroccan fishing zones’ (Article 1).

Article 2(a) defines the term ‘Moroccan fishing zone’ as ‘the waters falling within the sovereignty or jurisdiction of the Kingdom of Morocco’.

The vote in favour by the Members who have signed the report before is naturally based on the definition in Article 2.


  Duarte Freitas (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) Broadly speaking, I am in favour of the adoption of this document.

The new agreement provides for a significant reduction in the number of fishing licenses awarded to the Member States. The number is to fall from 500 to approximately 100, with the loss of some important categories of fish, namely crustaceans and cephalopods.

In any event, I still believe it important for the Community fleet, and the Portuguese fleet in particular, to continue to be able to fish in Morocco under a Partnership Agreement.

In this regard, the broader interests of the common fisheries policy in the area of international fisheries have been safeguarded, and some important commitments have been made in the area of managing fisheries resources and the fight against illegal fishing.


  Ana Maria Gomes (PSE), in writing. (PT) I should like to vote in favour of a Fisheries Agreement between the European Community and Morocco, but I must vote against it. This is because amendments were not adopted that were aimed at excluding from the scope of the Agreement the waters and fisheries resources of Western Sahara, a non-autonomous territory under United Nations Resolutions 1514 and 1541, which has been occupied illegally by Morocco since 1974. Consequently, to my mind, the Agreement – and the corresponding legislative proposal by the Commission – violates international law.


  Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) The EU is again to enter into a fisheries agreement with an African state. We have on several occasions pointed out how damaging these agreements are. Those countries with which the EU enters into such agreements are deprived of the opportunity to develop their own efficient fishing industries. What is more, the EU’s fishing fleet is partly responsible for depleting fish stocks, something pointed out by both Swedish authorities and environmental organisations. Moreover, these agreements are expensive for taxpayers in the EU Member States. They amount, in actual fact, to direct subsidies to the fishing industry.

This agreement in particular is especially objectionable because Morocco has been occupying Western Sahara illegally for many years. The International Court of Justice in The Hague has pointed this out. What it means is that Morocco has no ultimate control over its natural resources, including its fisheries resources.

By entering into a fisheries agreement with Morocco, the EU is indirectly recognising this occupation and the human rights violations constantly committed by Morocco in Western Sahara.

We have voted against the report in today’s vote.


  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We regret the rejection of two amendments, which, in compliance with international law, specifically excluded the waters off Western Sahara from the fisheries agreement before us, restricting the Agreement to the waters north of the 27°40' N'' parallel.

An even more worrying aspect of its rejection is the fact that the Commissioners involved and some MEPs consider Morocco to be the de facto administrator of Western Sahara, a view that runs counter to international law. Furthermore, experience of previous Agreements has shown that ports in Western Sahara have been captured and used without the rights and interests of the Sahrawi people being safeguarded.

I wish to emphasise, as the Polisario Front has done, that the United Nations reiterated condemnation of the exploitation and looting of natural resources and of all economic activity taking place to the detriment of communities in colonised or non-autonomous territories where such people are denied their legitimate rights to their natural resources, in its legal opinion on Western Sahara and its natural resources of 29 January 2002. As far as the UN is concerned, this exploitation and looting is illegal and a threat to the integrity and prosperity of these territories.

Hence our vote against.


  Mary Honeyball (PSE), in writing. The European Parliamentary Labour Party is concerned over the impact of the proposed fisheries agreement on the position of Western Sahara and the prospects for resolving that long-running conflict.

For this reason Labour MEPs supported the amendments that would exclude Western Sahara from the scope of the agreement and voted against the agreement when the exclusion amendments fell.


  Jamila Madeira (PSE), in writing. (PT) Following the report on the Partnership Agreement between the EU and the Kingdom of Morocco on fisheries resources, I should like to vote for the most appropriate regulation for the area’s environmental sustainability. In this respect, the Agreement is crucial. Both for the EU and for me personally, however, the issue of human rights is also crucial. That being the case, United Nations resolutions must always take precedence in this regard. It is clear to me that the purpose of this Agreement is to cover sea areas and territories that are not under dispute and concerning which there are no sovereignty issues, and no others, because no state should be allowed to make use of resources that are not under its sovereignty or jurisdiction, to the detriment of the self-determination of other groups.


  David Martin (PSE), in writing. I voted against the EC-Morocco fishing deal because the people of Western Sahara are still under Moroccan occupation and have had no say over the agreement which allows fishing in their territorial waters. I believe that the Saharawi people should have rights over their territorial waters. It is for this reason that the EC-Morocco fish agreement should not include the waters of Western Sahara, as the people have no power to opt in or out of the agreement. I do not support an agreement on trade that violates the rights of other communities to determine the use of their own resources.


  Claude Moraes (PSE), in writing. In voting on this report I am extremely concerned about the impact of the proposed fisheries agreement on the position of Western Sahara and the prospects of resolving that long-running conflict. This is a campaign which some of my London constituents have been working with me on, under the guidance of the UK-based War on Want charity. For this reason I supported amendments that would exclude Western Sahara from the scope of the agreement and voted against the agreement when the exclusion amendments fell.


  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) I wish to make two brief explanations as regards this vote.

I should first like to speak about Western Sahara. Mindful of the fact that this agreement addresses the issue in the usual manner, that is to say, following the tradition of not tabling any amendments to the European position, and the fact that the Commission’s legal services have decided that it does comply with international rules, I feel that it is inappropriate to raise objections regarding the Western Sahara situation here.

As for the actual question that we are addressing, the fact that it has finally been possible to reach agreement on this issue is to be welcomed, although I must express my disappointment that the final outcome is not very favourable to Portuguese interests. All in all, however, everything points to this being the best solution, because it is a workable solution. I therefore voted in favour.


  Karin Scheele (PSE), in writing. (DE) In omitting from the fisheries agreement any reference to the territories of the Western Sahara occupied by Morocco, the European Parliament is sending out an important political message. I tabled amendments to that end, but, as these amendments have not been adopted, I have voted against the report.


  Kathy Sinnott (IND/DEM), in writing. Because of the rejection of all amendments which would have prevented European illegal fishing in the waters of Western Sahara I have voted against this resolution.

I am concerned that this agreement in its current unamended form will allow European boats (including Irish boats) to fish in the waters of Western Sahara, a territory illegally occupied by Morocco. If the agreement is implemented, the EU will be violating international law and helping to prolong a conflict which has already lasted for 30 years.

The International Court of Justice and successive UN resolutions have made it clear that Western Sahara is Africa’s last colony, with a right to self-determination for its people. Morocco is not recognised as the administrative power. It has been clearly stated that no other country has a right to exploit the Saharawi resources without the permission of the Saharawi people.


  Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE), in writing. Mr President, the plight of the people of the Western Sahara will not be improved by the exporting of our own disastrous fisheries policies to their territory, under illegal occupation by Morocco. It is a poor show that the EU, usually a guardian of the rule of law, is in this case using technicalities and weasel words to justify making ourselves in effect complicit in an illegal occupation. I voted against this poor report and am saddened that the House approved it.


- Report: Frassoni (A6-0089/2006)


  Jean-Pierre Audy (PPE-DE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report by my fellow Member, Mrs Frassoni, on the recent reports by the European Commission on monitoring the application of Community law. This report was keenly awaited in the wake of the Interinstitutional Agreement of December 2003. Known as Better Lawmaking, the agreement was aimed at reducing the volume of Community law at the same time as simplifying it and was designed to ensure that the legislation was properly applied everywhere, this being a necessary condition of creating an area of justice. Unfortunately, it has to be said that the Member States are bad at transposing Community law. Worse, they apply it badly and do so with an impunity in which the European Commission is complicit. It should be remembered that it is the Member States that are responsible for monitoring the application of Community law. Everyone can see the degree to which the present system does not work and how it helps create a gulf between, on the one hand, European integration and, on the other, Europeans, who are aware of the injustice of this situation every day. I wonder if the time may not have come to consider creating a European body of independent inspectors with the task of monitoring the application of Community law in the Member States.


  Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing.(FR) What the reports voted on today reveal are the growing number of difficulties in applying Community law and the proliferation of cases submitted to the European Court of Justice.

On 31 December 2003, it emerged from the 21st report of the Commission that 3 927 offences were being examined, compared with 2 270 in 1999 and only 124 in 1978. This is partly because of the large amount of Community law but also because of the large quantity of sanctions that the European Commission can impose on any Member States reluctant to apply Community legislation.

The issue of applying Community law is, above all, a political issue and not a legal or technocratic one as a number of people think and state that it is. In fact, what mainly happens is that the problem of existing conflicts between European power and forms of national sovereignty is concealed. In this connection, the recent decision - of 13 September 2005 - by the Court of Justice of the European Communities which, for the first time and independently of any legal basis, has made criminal law a Community matter is symptomatic of the way in which this institution has developed. It is, then, understandable why Member States are reluctant to apply Community legislation that they have not chosen.


  Sérgio Marques (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The monitoring of the application of Community law falls to the Commission, as ‘guardian of the Treaties’. The Commission is informed of any case of non-compliance with the Community Treaties, and cautions and sanctions the Member States responsible.

The Commission’s annual reports on the application of Community law indicate the progress made by the Member States in transposing directives, with the purpose of ensuring efficient monitoring of the application of the law. This monitoring does not consist solely of an assessment of the transposition in quantitative terms, but also an assessment of the quality of the transposition.

As regards the objectives of improving European policy by making it more transparent, the Commission has stated that its objective is to reduce the volume of legislation and to get rid of ineffective legislative acts, which is not the same thing as deregulation.

I agree with the rapporteur that the Commission’s services need greater human and financial resources if it is to enhance its ability to deal with violations. I also welcome the creation of coordination points in each Member State for issues relating to transposition, the application of Community law and coordination with national ministries and regional and local authorities.


  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) Although there is an extraordinary amount of Community law, both in force and at the preparatory stage, sometimes of doubtful need, it is possible to monitor both the transposition stage and the entry into force stage of new law.

As the report says, it takes the Community institutions, and in particular the Commission, an extraordinary amount of time to monitor the application of European law. This is especially regrettable given that it reduces the effectiveness of the mechanism, and deprives it of virtues as important as enabling Member States to honour their obligations within the time allowed.

Another important aspect of this process is that close monitoring of the difficulties of transposing/applying the law should represent an opportunity to improve the quality of Community law, especially as the process of so doing is already under way, as the report underlines.


  José Ribeiro e Castro (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) In view of the number of cases in which the transposition of Community law into national law has been delayed or has not taken place at all, the legislator needs to ensure that its application is monitored appropriately, and, more importantly, to simplify it and to ensure that the subsidiarity principle is upheld.

I feel that the application of Community law will remain inadequate until Community law is made clear and comprehensible, and until the Community acquis as a whole is made easier to understand. Without good Community legislation, it will be very difficult to apply Community law properly.

I warmly welcome the Commission President’s proposal to promote a major drive to cut down the amount of legislation and to make law-making more efficient on the part of the Community’s institutions. Sometimes less is more.


  Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE), in writing. Mr President, I congratulate my group colleague Mrs Frassoni on this excellent report, which while perhaps not the talk of the town nonetheless deals with a crucial area of the Union's competence. It contains a number of sensible proposals to make our law making more effective in terms of how it actually affects our citizens, which at this time of increasing scepticism over the workings of the EU is often not paid sufficient attention, and I was pleased to support her today.


- Report: Doorn (A6-0082/2006)


  Francesco Enrico Speroni (IND/DEM). – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in favour of this report, albeit while expressing my doubts about the amendment that refers to the Treaty establishing a European Constitution.

That Treaty was not actually approved, but rather rejected by means of popular referendums in France and the Netherlands, with the leave of Mr Napolitano, the newly elected President of the Italian Republic, who, in his inaugural speech, championed the cause of that Treaty, having forgotten that he was above the parties. That Treaty, in fact, was indeed approved by the Italian Parliament, but not unanimously. He who declares himself above the parties should not support something that has divided the Italian Parliament.


  Jean-Pierre Audy (PPE-DE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the excellent report by my colleague, Mr Doorn, on a motion for a resolution of the European Parliament on the application of the principle of subsidiarity. The way in which European legislation is applied continually creates a gulf between European integration and the nations. It is therefore a matter of urgency to bring about the vitally needed consistency between Community law, its transposition by the Member States and its practical application. Any pointless legislation should be repealed, and necessary legislation properly applied. I am in favour of the idea of the European Parliament being closely involved in monitoring the application of European law by the Member States.


  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) Of all the issues raised in this report, the one that deserves the greatest attention is the impact assessment of Community law.

As I have previously stated, in spite of constant and perhaps excessive amounts of legislative output, it is possible to monitor closely the Community institutions’ legislative output and more importantly the impact thereof. This is an area that should always be high on the agenda.

In this regard, subsidiarity is very much a relevant factor, which, in its broadest form, should be one of the cornerstones of lawmaking in the EU. This is perfect for subsidiarity, whereby the needs of each country are catered for, and close links between the authorities and the citizens are maintained.

That being said, this principle is obviously inappropriate for a great many situations that should be approached at Community level. Yet this is also a key feature of this principle. I should lastly like to mention the importance of recognising the role of the national parliaments, which is vital to a good legal outcome. Without prejudice to the other elements, these are the key elements for better lawmaking.


  José Ribeiro e Castro (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) As I have said on previous occasions, in addition to having long been a vital requirement and one that ought to be given greater prominence, the subsidiarity principle is a cornerstone that sorts out the true pro-Europeans, those who are loyal, both in word and in deed, to the theme and the motto of the draft Constitutional Treaty – ‘United in Diversity’.

The EU must give the highest prominence to decision-making at the level closest to the citizens, must assess the new laws it adopts and must ensure that existing laws are simplified on the basis of intelligibility, appropriateness and proportionality.

I feel that the EU will benefit if it opts to make laws based on quality rather than quantity, and properly involves the national parliaments, and any other directly interested parties, in the process, in such a way that they can make their opinions heard at the appropriate time and can table alternative proposals.


  Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE), in writing. Mr President, I congratulate Mr Doorn on this report as I believe subsidiarity, properly applied, could make the workings of the EU so much more transparent to the citizen. Coming from Scotland, it saddens me that the Scottish Parliament is responsible for so many areas of life yet is effectively shut out of the EU deliberations as the definition of subsidiarity too often effectively stops at the member state capital. I believe this report represents a step forward, but we in the EU still have our work to do.


- Report: McCarthy (A6-0083/2006)


  Jean-Pierre Audy (PPE-DE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report by my fellow Member, Mrs McCarthy, on a motion for a resolution of the European Parliament on the implementation, consequences and impact of the internal market legislation in force. The way in which European law is applied continuously creates a gulf between European integration and the nations. It is therefore a matter of urgency to bring about the vitally needed consistency between Community law, its transposition by the Member States and its practical application. Any pointless legislation should be repealed, and necessary legislation properly applied. I am in favour of the idea of the European Parliament being closely involved in monitoring the application of European law by the Member States. Given the problems there are in applying Community law, I also wonder if the time may not have come to consider creating a European body of independent inspectors. Directly attached to the European Union, it would have the task of monitoring the application of Community law in the Member States, and this with a view to ensuring that the internal market operates as it should.


  Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing.(FR) One of the reasons why European directives and other documents are not applied by EU Member States – a reason that, curiously enough, has not been referred to in any of the reports – has to do, in particular, with the way in which they are adopted. Indeed, such non-application is the unfortunate effect of extending qualified majority voting to the Council, as states that have been in a minority in refusing, for reasons of their own, to adopt a text will, quite naturally, have difficulty in applying it within their own territories.

All this obviously creates genuine legal insecurity for all the institutions, countries and peoples. Priority needs to be given, then, not only to rapidly codifying the Community legislation in force but also to defining and limiting the powers of various EU bodies, the European Court of Justice included, which have created such large quantities of law. In that way, the Member States would no longer have to suffer the consequences of too large a number of unduly constricting legal or jurisprudential standards.


  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The Commission’s ‘better lawmaking’ initiative is a vital factor in obtaining the trust of EU citizens, consumers and businesses. This trust is based on their experience or on their understanding of European law and the impact thereof on their day-to-day lives. Accordingly, in the context of the internal market this must be translated into effective, high-quality lawmaking that does not hamper innovation or give rise to unnecessary distortions and costs, in particular for SMEs, the public authorities or voluntary groups.

Our lawmaking should therefore help to open up trade opportunities for businesses, to broaden the options for consumers and the citizens, and to protect environmental, social and consumer rights. If we do not do this, we shall be swimming against the tide, against the Lisbon Strategy, against growth and jobs and against the internal market.

I therefore voted in favour of the McCarthy report.


- Report: Gargani (A6-0080/2006)


  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We endorse the repeal of irrelevant and obsolete acts in Community law, the purpose of which is to simplify the regulatory framework, so that decisions are appropriate, clear and effective and do not undermine the subsidiarity principle. I feel that the subsidiarity principle ought to be brought more to the fore in this report so that there are no doubts that it is being upheld throughout the process.

We trust, however, that this objective will not be used to undermine certain principles that protect the citizens’ fundamental rights, including social rights and workers’ rights.

We also advocate an amendment of the current interinstitutional agreements governing the quality of EU law.

We therefore voted in favour of the report, although we have some reservations on some points, and actually oppose others, on account of their ambiguous wording, as has already been mentioned.


  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) Broadly speaking, I warmly welcome the report we are discussing and voting on, and the Commission communication on which it is based.

The endeavour to analyse and review the Community’s legislative framework is a proposal that should be promoted with the aim of simplifying the regulatory environment, a vital prerequisite for greater legal certainty for both the citizens and lawyers. It also represents an opportunity to simplify the regulatory environment, a crucial factor in the development of economic activity.

There is one point in the report and the Commission communication with which I do not entirely agree. The notion, put forward in both texts, that legislation via regulation is increasingly more virtuous than via directives is not one that I accept. On the contrary, despite the difficulties involved in transposing directives, I take the view that they are a means of lawmaking that uphold an idea of Community that I hold dear. This view does not mean that I reject regulations or fail to recognise their obvious usefulness.


  Carl Schlyter (Verts/ALE), in writing. (SV) I am abstaining from voting. There are certainly positive aspects to the report, for example its call for the Council to become more open, but it otherwise focuses too much on growth and reduced costs when it should instead highlight sustainable development and greater cost effectiveness. Reducing costs is not an end in itself because it may lead to a constant undermining of public budgets. Cost-effectiveness is a better objective.


- Report: Kaufmann (A6-0143/2006)


  Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing.(FR) It is excellent that useless and harmful legislative texts that contradict other Community provisions or that, above all, are incompatible with the much touted principles of subsidiarity and proportionality can be withdrawn from the legislative world. Any satisfaction that might be felt evaporates quickly, however, faced with a description of the exorbitant legislative powers wielded by the Commission. This institution – which, I would take this opportunity to point out, has absolutely no democratic or electoral legitimacy – can, as and when it sees fit, withdraw or modify a legislative proposal, inform or not inform Parliament of the reasons for its decision and take account, or not take account, of Parliament’s opinion. In short, it can do what it wishes.

Worst of all, Parliament is happy with this state of affairs, which it acknowledges. Admittedly, it vaguely threatens to censure the Commission in cases where the latter might genuinely go too far. We know, however, that, even at the worst moments of the scandals that tarnished the Santer Commission, it has never had the political courage to disown the institution symbolic of the European superstate. The fact that a technocracy is exercised with the tacit agreement of a parliamentary assembly does not change the nature of that technocracy.


  Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) We have chosen to abstain in the final vote on this resolution designed to display an opinion.

Our basic view is that the Council of Ministers should be a stronger political force than the other EU institutions, since the Council of Ministers represents the Member States in an EU that we see as a form of intergovernmental cooperation. This means that, in our view too, the Council of Ministers should have the right to put forward legislative proposals, just as the Commission has.

Nor do we share the view expressed in paragraph B of the draft report, which calls on the Commission to think twice before withdrawing 68 legislative proposals thought not to be in keeping with the objectives of, for example, the principles designed to produce better legislation. We believe, as a matter of straightforward principle, that it is good for the Commission to try to slim down its huge catalogue of legislative proposals at EU level.


  Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) The issue raised by the communication before us deserves a broader scope and should not be confined to the issue of legal basis and the Commission’s limits on the withdrawal of legislative proposals.

I feel that the main issue before us is that the previous situation led to a range of legislative processes in a state of limbo that no longer had any reason to exist, but that had also not been repealed.

In addition to a debate on the powers of the different institutions, what is needed is an investigation into what is routine and bureaucratic in the Community’s legislative procedures. What is more, the fact that between them Parliament and the Council have more than 500 documents awaiting the attention of the legislators is an issue that is worthy of our attention and concern. The EU does not need to legislate a great deal in order to be relevant. What it needs to do is to legislate well in order to be useful.

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