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Antradienis, 2006 m. gegužės 16 d. - Strasbūras Atnaujinta informacija

15. Klausimų valanda (klausimai Komisijai)
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  Presidente. Segue-se o período de perguntas (B6-0207/2006).

Foram apresentadas as seguintes perguntas à Comissão.

Primeira parte

 
  
  

Pergunta nº 48 do Deputado Michl Ebner (H-0360/06)

Assunto: Carácter anti-concorrencial da publicidade a toques de telemóveis

Num acórdão proferido em 6 de Abril de 2006 no processo “I ZR 125/03”, o Tribunal Federal Alemão considerou a publicidade a toques de telemóveis em meios de comunicação social utilizados fundamentalmente por crianças e adolescentes como sendo, em parte, anti-concorrencial. Como argumento foi, inter alia, aduzido o facto de esta publicidade agressiva se dirigir a um grupo-alvo que necessita de protecção particular e é inexperiente em matéria de transacções comerciais.

Ora, a publicidade a toques, jogos, etc., para telemóveis não se restringe à Alemanha, sendo, sim, extensiva também aos outros Estados-Membros.

Tenciona a Comissão intervir neste domínio no intuito de proteger as crianças e os adolescentes? Que diligências se propõe empreender? Existirá um prazo dentro do qual tenciona intervir nesta matéria?

 
  
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  Mariann Fischer Boel, Member of the Commission. Mr Ebner refers to the need to protect children and young people from aggressive advertising for ringtones, mobile phones, games, etc. and asks whether the Commission intends to take action on this.

The recently adopted Unfair Commercial Practices Directive bans aggressive commercial practices and gives specific protection to children and young people. If a commercial practice is specifically aimed at a particular group of consumers such as children, its impact will be assessed from the perspective of the average member of that group. Furthermore, the directive bans direct pressure on children to purchase.

The Distance Selling Directive also protects consumers who purchase goods and services at a distance, in other words with no face-to-face contact. It includes provisions on prior information. When providing that information, the supplier must have due regard for the protection of minors.

The Commission has already launched a review of eight of the consumer directives, including the Distance Selling Directive. Issues such as those raised by Mr Ebner will be addressed in the review. A communication on the review will be published this autumn.

 
  
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  Michl Ebner (PPE-DE). – Frau Kommissarin, zuerst herzlichen Dank für die ausführliche und doch sehr versichernde Stellungnahme Ihrerseits. Sie hatten erklärt, dass im Herbst erste Daten zur Verfügung stehen werden. Gibt es auch einen weiteren Zeitplan, sodass man absehen kann, wann effektiv verschärfte Normen in Kraft gesetzt werden können, die in diesem Bereich, wie ich auch Ihren Ausführungen entnommen habe, sicher nötig sind? Könnten Sie mir zu diesem Zeitplan, der nach dem Herbst festgelegt wird, noch Informationen geben?

 
  
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  Mariann Fischer Boel, Member of the Commission. The deadline for the transposition of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive into national law is 12 June 2007, and the new laws must be applicable in the Member States from 12 December 2007.

In accordance with the better regulation principles, the Commission will work closely with the Member States during this transposition period in order to facilitate timely and correct dispositions and uniform applications.

I hope that answers the honourable Member’s question.

 
  
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Pergunta nº 49 do Deputado Nicholson of Winterbourne (H-0362/06)

Assunto: A necessidade de padrões mínimos comuns para as crianças da Europa

Nos termos do n° 1 do artigo 20° da Convenção de Nações Unidas sobre os Direitos da Criança, “a criança temporária ou definitivamente privada do seu ambiente familiar ou que, no seu interesse superior, não possa ser deixada em tal ambiente, tem direito à protecção e assistência especiais do Estado”. É, porém, evidente que os padrões de “protecção e assistência especiais” proporcionados às crianças necessitadas diferem consideravelmente de país para país. Com efeito, há alguns Estados-Membros (incluindo os economicamente mais desenvolvidos) que perpetuam práticas antiquadas e de baixa qualidade ao nível da prestação de cuidados infantis, as quais, em muitos casos, podem mesmo causar danos psicológicos e neurológicos às crianças. Um exemplo particularmente preocupante é a utilização prolongada e sistemática das chamadas “camas com grades” como forma de limitação de movimentos nas instituições públicas.

Neste contexto, que iniciativas está a Comissão a desenvolver para fazer face à necessidade de se criar padrões mínimos comuns para a prestação de cuidados às crianças europeias?

 
  
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  Vladimír Špidla, člen Komise. Vážený pane předsedo, vážené poslankyně, vážení páni poslanci Evropského parlamentu. Úmluva OSN o právech dítěte stanoví, že stát zabezpečí náhradní péči dítěti dočasně nebo trvale zbavenému svého rodinného prostředí nebo dítěti, které ve svém vlastním zájmu nemůže být ponecháno v tomto prostředí. Úmluva také podporuje využívání jiných možností než je umístění dětí do ústavu, kdykoliv se takové možnosti nabízejí.

Existuje celá řada důvodů, proč děti pobývají v ústavech mimo svou rodinu. Může to být proto, že se o ně rodiče nemohou starat kvůli nemoci, smrti či trestu odnětí svobody nebo proto, že jsou děti v takovém zařízení chráněny před zneužíváním či zanedbáváním, popř. je v těchto zařízeních poskytována náležitá péče dětem postiženým či nemocným. Také zde mohou být umístěny děti z důvodů delikvence, protispolečenského chování nebo páchání trestné činnosti. Těmto skupinám je společné, že jim hrozí často velmi vysoké riziko sociálního vyloučení, a je nutné vynaložit velké úsilí, aby u nich nedošlo k trvalému vyloučení a chudobě. Je třeba také poskytnout nezbytnou podporu pro jejich řádný rozvoj a integraci do společnosti.

V současné době si můžeme jen obtížně učinit přesný obrázek o využívání ústavní péče v Evropě, neboť nám chybí srovnatelné údaje. Komise však zaznamenala, že velkou část velkých tradičních ústavů začíná postupně nahrazovat krátkodobější péče, a obecně se upřednostňuje znovusjednocování rodin či zajišťování pěstounské péče v nové rodině.

Životním podmínkám dětí a mladých lidí v Evropské unii je věnována stále větší pozornost. Evropská rada na svém zasedání v březnu 2006 vyzvala členské státy, aby přijaly opatření k rychlému a podstatnému snížení dětské chudoby a aby poskytly všem dětem rovné příležitosti bez ohledu na jejich sociální původ. V akčních plánech pro sociální začlenění, které členské státy předložily Komisi, byly děti, jimž hrozí chudoba a sociální vyloučení, označeny za prioritní skupiny. Některé členské státy stanovily pro snížení dětské chudoby konkrétní cíle na vnitrostátní úrovni. Komise si je vědoma skutečnosti, že v některých členských státech Evropské unie jsou v zařízeních pečujících o duševně či tělesně postižené děti i dospělé nadměrně používány omezující prostředky, ať již farmakologické nebo fyzické, což Komise považuje za nevhodné.

Nedávno vydané sdělení Komise o postavení zdravotně postižených osob v rozšířené Evropské unii klade velký důraz na deinstitucionalizaci péče o osoby se zdravotním postižením. Společenství má ovšem v této oblasti jen omezenou působnost, a proto Komise podporuje využívání celé škály nástrojů, mezi něž patří program proti diskriminaci, národní akční plány pro sociální začlenění a Evropský sociální fond. Komise také připomíná, že zanedlouho zveřejní sdělení o činnosti Evropské unie na podporu a ochranu práv dítěte.

 
  
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  Nicholson of Winterbourne (ALDE). – Thank you for that very exhaustive, full and explanatory statement, Commissioner. I welcome the statement and I am grateful to you for giving so much attention to the position of those who are excluded from society, particularly when they are minors. I salute your determination to pursue a policy of inclusion across Europe.

However, may I draw his attention to the Daphne-funded analyses, recently conducted surveys focusing particularly on long-term institutional care, averaging 13 months, of children under three years of age, which is the time when they are most likely to be damaged neurologically. I might perhaps send you those reports, Commissioner. I believe another one is about to start.

My final point is that the use of caged birds in some of the existing Member States is definable as inhumane and I hope to take that topic up with you personally as well. Thank you, Commissioner, I am most grateful to you.

 
  
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  Vladimír Špidla, člen Komise. Vážená paní poslankyně, vážený pane předsedo, pokud jde o zprávu DAFNE, samozřejmě se s ní velmi rád seznámím a seznámím se rád s každou zprávou a každými objektivními údaji, které nám umožňují postoupit na tomto poli. Už jenom to, že studie je financovaná prostřednictvím programu DAFNE, je signálem, že Evropa v této věci postupuje důsledně a snaží se dosáhnout cíle. Otázka deinstitucionalizace je otázka prvého řádu a myslím si, že jakékoliv úsilí, které dokážeme ještě dodatečně vyvinout, je v pořádku a je potřebné.

Pokud jde o otázku užívání klecových lůžek, myslím si, že máte pravdu, že v některých zemích tato lůžka vybavená sítí užívána jsou a že je často sporné, zda nejsou nadužívána nebo dokonce využívána pouze pro pohodlí personálu. Problém – po mém soudu – není úplně tolik s technikou jako obecně s restriktivní kulturou, která je v některých zařízeních a v některých zemích stále ještě přítomná více, než odpovídá vysokým humanitárním standardům, které se snaží Evropská unie prosadit, protože stejně nelidské zásahy vůči psychice člověka můžete docílit i použitím farmakologických prostředků, jsou-li použity bez odpovídající indikace a na základě restriktivní kultury. Ano, tuto restriktivní kulturu považuji za potřebné vymítit a potírat v rozsahu Evropské unie a celkem vzato není úplně tak důležité, v jaké technice se manifestuje. Máte pravdu, že klecová lůžka v některých zemích mohou být problémem, zaznamenal jsem ale s jistým uspokojením, že ne v mnoha, ale přeci jenom v některých zemích je výrazná tendence k odbourání této metody.

 
  
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  Richard Seeber (PPE-DE). – Herr Kommissar! Wir wissen, dass in Rumänien die Kinderbetreuung im Argen liegt, das hat auch die Kommission in den Fortschrittsberichten festgestellt. Nunmehr scheinen andere Probleme in den Vordergrund zu rücken. Ist dieses Problem jetzt behoben bzw. gelöst oder hat die Kommission einfach ihren Fokus verschoben? Wie sieht es im Bereich Kinderbetreuung in diesem Beitrittsland aus?

 
  
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  Vladimír Špidla, člen Komise. Komise samozřejmě z tohoto velmi důležitého bodu nespustila pohled. V každém případě lze zaznamenat výrazný pokrok, i když v některých oblastech, což je například problematika mezinárodní adopce, se stále ještě vedou velmi intenzivní diskuze. Komise v žádném případě neopustila myšlenku věnovat pozornost právům dítěte, protože jsem zcela přesvědčen o tom, že Evropská unie má jistou povinnost sociální odpovědnosti a že tato odpovědnost se samozřejmě musí realizovat i v rámci přístupových jednání, proto nepřipadá v úvahu, že bychom toto téma podceňovali.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI). – Herr Kommissar! Immer wieder schocken uns bekannt gewordene Fälle von Kindesmisshandlung. Leider schreiten die Behörden oft nicht rechtzeitig ein, und aufgrund mangelnder Zusammenarbeit kann es Monate dauern, bis Richter gestatten, ein Kind aus der Umgebung herauszuholen, in der es misshandelt wurde. Welche Maßnahmen plant die Kommission, um künftig Fälle von Kindesmisshandlung besser zu erkennen und rascher Abhilfe zu schaffen?

 
  
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  Vladimír Špidla, člen Komise. Přirozeně je nutné zaznamenat, že otázky, které se týkají potírání zneužívání dětí, jsou v národní pravomoci. Prodlužování těchto případů, dlouhé lhůty, špatné odhalování apod. je povíce záležitost národních orgánů. Je těžko možné z úrovně Evropské unie zasahovat do této oblasti přímo. Je možné do oblasti zasahovat v rámci projektů Evropského sociálního fondu, v rámci specializovaných projektů, v rámci diskuzí, výměny informací a toto činíme se značným úsilím. Myslím si, že velmi důležité je také rozvinout a dále pokračovat v rozvíjení iniciativy, která především spadá do pravomoci mého kolegy komisaře Frattiniho a která se týká potírání obchodu s lidmi, potírání násilí v rodinách atd. I v tomto směru se Evropská komise snaží zformulovat v prvé řadě alespoň výměnu definovaných dat, aby bylo možné porovnávat situace v jednotlivých členských státech a na základě toho formulovat určité přístupy. Přesto stále platí základní princip, že sociální věci, včetně těchto mnohdy tragických a citlivých věci, jsou v národní pravomoci, tzn. jestliže nějaký případ nebyl za dlouhou dobu vyřešen, je to daleko víc otázka národního orgánu než otázka Evropské unie, ale přesto ten díl, který je v naší pravomoci a v našich možnostech, musíme využít zcela.

 
  
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  Elizabeth Lynne (ALDE). – I am part of the advisory council for the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre and we have been raising the issue of caged beds for a number of years now. But you are quite right – it is not just a question of caged beds; it is restraints on the beds, the use of pharmaceuticals and, more importantly perhaps, it is the lack of community care spaces.

Could you please do all in your power, particularly with the Green Paper on mental health coming to the end of its consultation period on 31 May, to address the issue of community-based care and getting people away from institutionalised care, not just for children but for people with mental health problems as well.

 
  
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  Vladimír Špidla, člen Komise. Vážená paní poslankyně, nepochybně je Váš názor v naprostém souladu s názorem Komise, který byl vyjádřen i v příslušných komunikacích. Naše cesta vede k deinstitucionalizaci, tzn. k přenesení co největší míry péče na úroveň obcí, Společenství a samozřejmě i rodin. Myslím si, že v této situaci musíme také velmi přemýšlet nad tím, jakou podporu poskytneme rodinným příslušníkům nebo lidem, kteří třeba nejsou přímými rodinnými příslušníky, ale přesto převzali péči o někoho jiného. Když o tom běžně uvažujeme, uvažujeme o podpoře finanční, ale podle mého názoru je třeba poskytnout i jistou formu kvalifikace, protože nepochybně je pro rodiny, které musí převzít takovouto odpovědnost, velmi důležité, když znají základní ošetřovatelské metody, základní principy, kterými se postupuje, stejně tak meze, které tato péče může přinést. To jsou naprosto nesnesitelná etická muka, když máte pocit, že ještě můžete jít o krok dál, a reálně to už možné není, čili usnadnit i z tohoto hlediska péči těm, kteří pomáhají. V podstatě to je jádro strategie Komise: přejít od institucí, které jsou často nehumánní, které často mají restriktivní kulturu, které nejsou ve své struktuře schopny akceptovat individualitu a kvalitu života těch jednotlivých lidí, kteří jsou s nimi v kontaktu, směrem k obcím, k přirozeným společenstvím a samozřejmě rodinám v širším slova smyslu.

 
  
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Pergunta nº 50 da Deputada Neena Gill (H-0374/06)

Assunto: Informação e consulta dos consumidores sobre a questão dos OGM

Numerosos são os eleitores que me têm escrito a propósito da proposta da Comissão no sentido de autorizar um teor de 0,9% de OGM em produtos rotulados com a designação de "orgânicos". De acordo com um recente estudo do Eurobarómetro, os OGM surgem referenciados entre os cinco problemas ou perigos principais que os cidadãos europeus associam com a alimentação.

As preocupações dos meus eleitores são de dois tipos: por um lado, o facto de já se autorizar a presença de 0,1% de OGM em produtos rotulados com a designação de "orgânicos", sem que eles disso tivessem conhecimento. Por outro lado, o facto de essa percentagem ter registado um aumento para 0,9%. Poderá a Comissão garantir que foi levada a cabo uma investigação adequada sobre os efeitos a longo prazo dos OGM? E que informações pode a Comissão fornecer que sirvam para que eu assegure os meus eleitores de que esse aumento não terá quaisquer consequências para a saúde?

 
  
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  Mariann Fischer Boel, Member of the Commission. The Member’s question gives the impression that the Commission has proposed to increase the acceptable level of adventitious contamination of organic products with GMOs from 0.1% to 0.9%. I am very happy to have the opportunity to clarify this matter, because the issue has been raised both with myself and with my services on many occasions and in many different fora. In my view, the concerns are based on a misunderstanding of our proposal and of existing legislation regarding organic products and GMOs. To read our proposal as ‘to allow 0.9% of GMO content in products labelled organic’ is a clear misinterpretation. I should like to explain why.

Not all consumers are aware of this, but currently there is no specific legislation on permissible GMO thresholds in organic products, there are no permissible GMO thresholds in organic products. The existing organic production rules ban the deliberate use of GMOs or GM-derived products without laying down any threshold for the unintended presence of traces of GMOs. There is, therefore, no question of these rules ‘already permitting a 0.1% contamination of GMOs in products labelled organic’, as the honourable Member stated in her question.

These rules date from a period when GMOs were not generally cultivated or imported. This situation has obviously now changed. The proposal of the Commission maintains the ban on the deliberate use of GMOs or GM-derived products. However, we propose that an operator may rely on GM labels when assuring that no GMOs enter his/her production.

These labels provide for effective evidence as, today, GMOs or products derived from GMOs generally have to be labelled as GM according to Community legislation. This de facto means that the same 0.9% threshold for the unintended presence of GMO traces applies to organic products as to other products.

We believe that if we tried to impose a stricter labelling threshold for organic products, this would simply make life much more difficult for organic producers, because we realise that complete purity is unattainable in practice. Even so – and I would like to stress this – it does not mean, as the honourable Member states, that the proposal ‘increased the level of permitted GMO contamination to 0.9 %’. The operator will have to continue to take all appropriate steps to avoid the presence of GMOs!

What, on the contrary, would really change under our proposal is that a product labelled as GM could no longer be labelled as organic at the same time if the 0.9% threshold is exceeded, which is in fact possible today under the present legislation.

On the health aspects, it has to be considered that GMOs may only be placed on the market following a specific case-by-case authorisation procedure. The European Union has arguably the most stringent and tough risk assessment and authorisation procedure for GMOs in the world, and that covers both environmental and health aspects. For this reason, the discussion about unintended presence of GMOs does not relate to safety issues.

In conclusion, I really must emphasise once again that in relation to the adventitious contamination of organic products by GMOs, the proposal under discussion at present amounts to a very important tightening-up of the rules and not, as it has often been suggested, a weakening. This is very important. It is really a tightening-up of the situation.

 
  
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  Neena Gill (PSE). – Thank you, Commissioner, for that very comprehensive clarification of a complex issue. As you appreciate, GMOs are in the top five of real concerns of European citizens, and public opinion in Europe is very sceptical about GM products and is very worried about ‘Frankenfoods’.

The issue for us is: one, we have to get the right information out there and, two, how do we assure that with the Commission proposals, as you have outlined, this information reaches the public at large? I can read you a number of emails that I have received in which people are very concerned. Recently the WTO confirmed the ruling against the EU in the case of GMOs. What implications are there for this in what you have just stated as the policy?

 
  
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  Mariann Fischer Boel, Member of the Commission. Then I am quite sure we received the same emails. Therefore, today is a great opportunity for me to clarify some of the misunderstandings.

I believe the most essential step was that we were able to agree in the Council in November 2002 on the traceability and labelling of GMOs. That was crucial. The final outcome might not have satisfied everybody, but it was important that products that are produced directly from a GM product – for example, tomato ketchup produced directly from GM tomatoes – must be labelled. Therefore, consumers can actually choose whether they want to buy those products. Farmers can now avoid, for example, soybeans that have been produced by GM methods and buy the conventional type of feed for their animals. That was a major achievement.

The WTO dispute we had with the United States does not change anything.

 
  
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  John Purvis (PPE-DE). – I wonder if the Commissioner would be helped in her information campaign if she were to tell us how much it would cost producers of organic food to reduce the ceiling from 0.9% to 0.1% on GMO content. What would it cost the organic producers? What would it cost their customers, and what would be the impact on availability of organic food for the customers? Can she give me those figures?

 
  
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  Mariann Fischer Boel, Member of the Commission. No, but I can give you an idea of the consequence: if we were to reduce the ceiling to 0.1%, it would have dramatic consequences for organic producers. It would be so expensive that, in my judgement, the availability of organic products to the consumer would be reduced dramatically, because the price would be out of proportion to the price the consumer is prepared to pay. To give you a clear figure is simply impossible, but we have calculated and made it clear that if anyone did wish to reduce the ceiling to 0.1%, that would have a serious impact on the survival of organic farmers.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI). – Frau Kommissarin! Bis dato fehlen uns noch Langzeitstudien zu den Auswirkungen genetisch veränderter Organismen. Plant die EU angesichts der ausgeprägten Gentechnikskepsis der Europäer und des kürzlich erfolgten WTO-Urteils, Studien über mittel- und langfristige gesundheitliche Schäden, die durch Genfood verursacht werden, durchzuführen?

 
  
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  Mariann Fischer Boel, Member of the Commission. Before allowing the import or the growing of any GM product, the European Food Safety Authority has to have the possibility to go through all the details – both from a health point of view and from an environmental point of view – to calculate the risk or the consequences for either health or the environment. So, from my point of view these two areas are covered by all EFSA’s efforts to try to have the ruling in place before allowing either import or growing.

 
  
  

Segunda parte

 
  
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  Presidente. Dado referirem-se ao mesmo assunto, as perguntas 51, 52 e 53 serão respondidas conjuntamente.

Pergunta nº 51 da Deputada Maria Badia I Cutchet (H-0328/06)

Assunto: Regulamento comunitário que visa reduzir as tarifas internacionais de itinerância da telefonia móvel

Em primeiro lugar, o autor da pergunta deseja felicitar a Comissão pela sua iniciativa de elaborar um regulamento comunitário para reduzir as tarifas internacionais de itinerância da telefonia móvel, que considera um importante passo rumo a um governo não apenas político mas também económico da União Europeia.

Efectivamente, é necessário eliminar as tarifas de itinerância excessivas. O ano 2006 é o ano Europeu da mobilidade dos trabalhadores, e a União Europeia, na sua tentativa de fomentar a mobilidade europeia, quer a nível laboral quer a nível geral, deve evitar que os utentes de telefonia móvel tenham de pagar uma tarifa mais cara de telefonia móvel por telefonarem a partir do estrangeiro.

Como muito bem sabe a Comissão, nesta fase, em termos de preços de mercado, a estada dos europeus fora do seu país de origem é penalizada, variando os preços das chamadas em itinerância entre os utentes dos diferentes países europeus.

No sentido de garantir o respeito pelo novo regulamento dos critérios e princípios não só da competitividade e do mercado interno mas também da Carta dos Direitos Fundamentais da União Europeia, poderia a Comissão explicar as bases em que tal regulamentação será feita?

Pergunta nº 52 do Deputado Ó Neachtain (H-0336/06)

Assunto: Redução dos preços do "roaming" na Europa

No entender da Comissão, quando tempo faltará ainda para a entrada em vigor a redução dos preços do “roaming” para os consumidores europeus e qual será a redução a aplicar ao referido tarifário?

Pergunta nº 53 do Deputado Gay Mitchell (H-0340/06)

Assunto: Tarifas de roaming internacional

Pode a Comissão indicar quais os procedimentos específicos actualmente em curso na segunda e última fase das consultas sobre a regulamentação que visa reduzir as tarifas de roaming internacional?

 
  
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  Viviane Reding, Member of the Commission. We all know that the international roaming prices are very high. Parliament and the national regulatory authorities have drawn our attention to that fact several times. They have called for action at EU level to solve the problem, and rightly so, because the high roaming costs prevent citizens and businesses conducting cross-border activities from benefiting fully from the internal market.

As a first step, in October 2005 I launched a website to provide consumers with transparency on prices. At the same time I publicly declared that six months later I would benchmark the progress. Should there not be a drastic price reduction, I would regulate. In March 2006 we compared the roaming prices to their level of autumn 2005. We saw that in 19 Member States the prices were more or less stable, in four Member States they had gone up. On that basis I announced a regulation and we started public consultation. The public consultation came to an end on 12 May. We had 150 contributions. My services and I are now analysing those contributions, and will draw our conclusions and present them together with an impact assessment before summer 2006. At the same time, in July, the Commission will present a draft regulation.

I have noticed that in the meantime, understanding that the Commission will act, some market players have announced price reductions. That is a very interesting move and is in the interests of our consumers.

 
  
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  Maria Badia i Cutchet (PSE). – Quiero agradecerle a la señora Comisaria esta iniciativa —ya lo hice cuando preparé la pregunta— y también las explicaciones que nos ha dado, que demuestran el grado de interés y preocupación que realmente suscita este tema.

Quisiera resaltar aquí la necesidad de poner en marcha este Reglamento cuanto antes. Usted ya lo ha explicado, pero creo que se trata de una cuestión importantísima, precisamente para el fomento de la movilidad europea, de la movilidad laboral y de la movilidad general. Espero que este Reglamento vea la luz lo más pronto posible.

 
  
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  Seán Ó Neachtain (UEN). – I would also like to thank the Commissioner for her initiative to date and her efforts in this regard, but I would like to ask her if it is the intention of the Commission to reduce the roaming charges completely? In the internal market procedure, why should there be a difference? We should have the same charges throughout Europe. This would, I believe, be the remit of the Commission and I would expect that to be the intention.

 
  
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  Gay Mitchell (PPE-DE). – I should like to express my thanks to the Commissioner. Roaming prices for a four-minute call still vary from as little as 20 cents for a Finnish consumer calling from Sweden to EUR 13.05 for a Maltese consumer in Latvia. Revenues from international roaming charges total about EUR 10 billion and regulation should save the consumer between 40% and 60%. Could the Commissioner confirm that it is her intention that whatever regulation is needed will pass into law by summer of next year?

 
  
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  Viviane Reding, Member of the Commission. I would like to thank honourable Members for their help in this matter. It is indeed a very important matter, not only for our citizens who want to take advantage of mobility, but also for workers. I am thinking most of all of the small- and medium-sized businesses that send their workers on trans-border activities. This is very heavy on those businesses, so we should try to bring the roaming prices down to the real costs. That is why we will now have to analyse what we have received as input with these 150 contributions.

I announced in March that my intention is to switch to the home price tariff. Under which conditions this will happen is something I am considering at the moment on the basis of the inputs to the consultation. I can assure Parliament that the intention is to put a regulation before the Commission in July and then it will be in the hands of Parliament and the Council to see whether they can use the fast-track procedure to get this regulation accepted. Once this regulation is accepted it will go directly into implementation and that means, I believe, that before summer or in summer 2007 consumers and workers could profit from much lower roaming tariffs.

 
  
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  Piia-Noora Kauppi (PPE-DE). – As you can see, getting rid of roaming charges is one of the Commission’s most popular initiatives. I would like to return to the first question from Mrs Badia I Cutchet. She asked about the legal basis of this regulation. What will the legal basis be and how will you cooperate with DG Competition on this initiative?

 
  
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  Viviane Reding, Member of the Commission. The DG Competition makes ex post regulations on the basis of a complaint that has been introduced, whereas the Internal Market and Services DG can work on the markets in ex ante regulations. Here we are talking about Article 95. I have consulted with the legal services to find out if Article 95 is the right basis. I will certainly continue to do so throughout the process. I am convinced and satisfied by the answers from the legal services that Article 95 provides an appropriate basis for our proposal.

 
  
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  Sajjad Karim (ALDE). – Commissioner, yesterday I was reading a British paper whilst I was travelling to Strasbourg. It is a rather lengthy journey, so I had plenty of time on my hands. I read an article setting out all the telephone providers’ arguments as to why you do not understand their objections.

Is it not the case that those same companies benefit from access to the single market and from the European Union whilst foisting charges upon EU citizens? Is this not another example of the European Union standing up for the interests of European consumers over the overwhelming power of monopoly companies?

 
  
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  Viviane Reding, Member of the Commission. The internal market works to the advantage of businesses, big and small, and consumers. The fact is that the internal market has worked to the advantage of developing the GSM system, which has become a world standard. We are very proud of that. But the anomaly is that although our citizens have one of the best – if not the best – telephone systems in the world, both fixed and mobile, nevertheless when they cross a border they are somehow punished for doing so and cannot take advantage of the common market. That is exactly why I thought it was indispensable for the Commission to step in.

I am not the regulating kind of Commissioner; I always prefer the market to solve the problem by itself. That is why the market had been warned a long time in advance. It had been warned by Parliament; it had been warned by the national regulators; it had been warned several times by the Commission, and it did not move. The Commission had to resolve to put a regulation on the table before the first market forces began to move a little in the right direction. I believe that it is time the Commission gave back the advantages of the internal market to the small and medium-sized businesses and to our consumers.

 
  
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  Malcolm Harbour (PPE-DE). – I would like to join in the praise for the tough stand the Commissioner has taken, but I want to reinforce what she said about not wanting to over-regulate. Can she confirm that she has taken real notice of the European regulators, who have, I think, been fairly critical of her initial approach and are being very cautionary about what she is proposing to do? Would she please confirm to me that she is not intending to impose regulation in the marketplace that would require operators to deliver services below cost, because that would mean low-income users of mobile phones subsidising the premium rates of customers such as MEPs?

 
  
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  Viviane Reding, Member of the Commission. I have the impression that at the moment the low-income consumers are subsidising the consumers in large industries which are able to negotiate special prices with the mobile operators. We would like to reverse that position and see fair prices based on markets and cost for the consumer, not the unfair prices we have now. Most of all, we would like to give back to the consumers the advantages of the common market and promote mobility rather than being a barrier to it.

I have read the advice of the European Regulators’ Group with great interest and I am working very closely with that group. It shares my objective, which is to bring about substantial reductions in international roaming charges. Our services are meeting members of the group today to discuss with them the details of how this should be done. That is why I am unable to give details of our regulation at the moment, because I have to see everything that is on the table – 150 contributions – and to listen to the national regulators. Having done that, I will draw up a paper on a draft regulation for the Commission and I am sure that Parliament will discuss this paper thoroughly later on this summer.

 
  
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Pergunta nº 54 do Deputado Brian Crowley (H-0330/06)

Assunto: Utilização mais segura possível da Internet

Pode a Comissão indicar que iniciativas leva a cabo para promover a utilização mais segura possível da Internet na Europa?

 
  
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  Viviane Reding, Member of the Commission. The Commission is pursuing several initiatives to promote the safest possible use of the Internet in Europe. Since 1996 the Commission has been active in the fight against illegal content such as child pornography, or racist content, as also in the protection of children from accessing legal but harmful content such as adult pornography, violent content and gambling.

Parliament is examining the Commission’s proposal to update the Television Without Frontiers directive in order to cover all audiovisual media services. A basic canon of rules will then apply to all audiovisual content, whatever the means by which it is distributed, including television and the Internet. These will relate to safety, protection of minors, prohibition of incitement to hatred, and include some qualitative restrictions on advertising targeted at minors.

We also have a recommendation on protection of minors and human dignity in audiovisual and information services, which provides guidelines for national legislation about electronic media. On the basis of this recommendation, in 2005 we launched the Safer Internet Plus programme. That programme has established a network of 21 hotlines throughout Europe, which enable the general public to complain about illegal content found on the Internet. These hotlines investigate and refer complaints to the appropriate organisations, police, Internet service providers or hotlines in other countries.

We also have a network of 23 awareness-raising projects, which provide advice to children, teenagers, parents and educators about the risks of the Internet and the way to deal with them. This is done either directly with the help of brochures, websites and TV spots or through the intermediary of multiplier organisations like schools. Then there is the filtering and parenting software, which is a key means to protect children from accessing harmful content. The Commission will provide guidance to parents on the effectiveness of filtering software and services. A study is under way and due to be completed by December this year.

The Commission is also actively involved with the Internet and the mobile phone industry with a view to promoting self-regulation as a means of limiting the flow of harmful and illegal content. The Commission has taken legislative measures against spam, spyware and moleware, which are also viruses. A full list of these will be communicated to the honourable Members.

I would also like to say that at international level the follow-up conference to the World Summit on the Information Society will tackle all these negative aspects of the new technologies. Let me say today that I am sure that with the help of Parliament the Safer Internet Day in spring 2007 will become a real important awareness-raising day in all our Member States.

 
  
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  Agnes Schierhuber (PPE-DE). – Frau Kommissarin! Ich möchte mich sehr herzlich für Ihre Antwort bedanken. Ich finde es auch sehr positiv, dass der Weltinformationsgipfel wieder stattfinden soll. Glauben Sie jedoch, dass die von Ihnen ergriffenen Maßnahmen wirklich ausreichend sein werden? Welche Maßnahmen planen Sie, wenn sich dieses schlimme Material trotzdem weiterhin im Internet befindet? Werden die Erziehungsberechtigten und Verantwortlichen auch entsprechend geschult und sensibilisiert, auch von Seiten der Kommission?

 
  
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  Viviane Reding, Mitglied der Kommission. Herr Präsident! Leider hat Frau Schierhuber Recht: Es gibt diese schlimmen Materialien im Internet, und es wird sie auch weiterhin geben. Wir kämpfen so gut wie möglich dafür, sie aus dem Internet zu entfernen, aber es handelt sich um ein world wide web und wir haben nicht überall Zugang zu diesen contents. Deshalb ist das Wichtigste, sowohl die Erziehungsberechtigten als auch die Schulen mit den notwendigen Informationen zu versorgen, um die Kinder auf das vorbereiten zu können, was sie im Netz finden werden.

In diesem Sinne werden alle unsere Informationskampagnen und Sensibilisierungskampagnen im Frühjahr 2007 in einen – wie ich hoffe – sehr erfolgreichen Safer Internet Day einmünden. Ich würde mir auch wünschen, dass uns das Europäische Parlament unterstützt, indem die Parlamentarier in ihren Wahlkreisen diesbezügliche Initiativen ergreifen. Eine koordinierte Aktion wäre sicherlich europaweit im Interesse unserer Kinder.

 
  
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  Seán Ó Neachtain (UEN). – I should like to thank the Commissioner. However, considering that to date the prohibition of these unwanted sites has not been so successful, what confidence do you have that your proposals will eradicate such undesirable sites from the Internet?

 
  
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  Viviane Reding, Member of the Commission. As I have already said, it is a worldwide web and everybody can submit content to it. That is why we need not only to raise the awareness of educators and parents but also to lobby internet providers, as I do regularly, to take responsibility and to establish self-regulatory measures.

I really believe in self-regulation in that field. If many stakeholders self-regulate, there will be a result. In the revised Television Without Frontiers Directive, the basic values of our societies will also apply to the Internet. This will be of the utmost importance, and responsibility will lie with those working in online services.

 
  
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  Gay Mitchell (PPE-DE). – Commissioner, you cannot control what is on the web, but you can control access in the following way.

With the advent of broadband, the Internet is on all the time. A lot of new computers have just one password to turn on the computer and do not have a separate password to control access to the Internet. Therefore children can wander in, broadband is on and they can access the Internet straight away. If there was simple control on access and more passwords on computers themselves, then parents, schools and others would have greater control. I ask you to look at that issue, particularly as broadband means the Internet is on all the time.

 
  
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  Viviane Reding, Member of the Commission. We have a real problem with the new technologies, which is that for the first time in human history maybe children know more than parents and educators. That is why we have to provide parents with very simple software, simple filters and parenting devices so that they can take their responsibility. That is why we have launched a study to find out what filters and services exist for parents. At the end of the year, when we present this study, it will be most beneficial to organise an awareness-raising campaign on those filters in order to inform parents what they can do to help their children. Very often parents are lost in such cases because they are not very familiar with technology – at least not as familiar as the new generation is.

 
  
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  Presidente. As perguntas 55 a 58 receberão uma resposta escrita .

Por não se encontrar presente o seu autor, a pergunta nº 59 caduca.

 
  
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Pergunta nº 60 da Deputada Margarita Starkeviciute (H-0366/06)

Assunto: Serviços financeiros na ronda de Doha da OMC

Na UE, a atenção política dedicada às negociações da OMC tem apresentado uma tendência a centrar-se na produção agrícola e têxtil, ignorando até certo ponto as bem mais importantes potencialidades económicas dos serviços comerciais, incluindo os serviços financeiros.

A falta de acesso ao financiamento, incluindo uma vasta gama de produtos financeiros inovadores, prejudica o crescimento económico nos países em desenvolvimento, especialmente no sector das PME, ao passo que os Estados-Membros da UE não podem explorar as enormes potencialidades dos serviços financeiros.

Que medidas adoptou a Comissão para integrar compromissos GATS novos e reforçados, em matéria de serviços financeiros, nas solicitações bilaterais e multilaterais que dirige aos seus parceiros comerciais da OMC?

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. Let me assure you that the Commission is well aware of the significant economic potential of commercial services, including financial services. This is an important part of the WTO negotiations and it has not been ignored, even if it has received less publicity than other parts.

The Commission has highlighted the importance of access to finance in developing countries on many occasions, for example in a communication that it co-sponsored last year in the WTO.

Financial services are clearly one of the European Commission’s priorities in the services negotiations and, therefore, figure prominently in the European Commission’s bilateral services requests. Furthermore, the European Community was one of the co-sponsors of the recently tabled financial services plurilateral request and is particularly active in plurilateral and bilateral negotiations with our trading partners in Geneva.

Unfortunately, the offers in financial services on the table so far are mostly disappointing. This applies particularly to many countries in Asia. Certain ASEAN members, with very low existing commitments, have not made any financial services offers and larger players, such as China and particularly India, also have room to improve their offers.

In short, most of our main requests in financial services have not been addressed by our trading partners. That is why the Commission will continue to press very hard and at all levels to convince our trading partners of the need to correct the situation by submitting substantially revised offers in July this year.

 
  
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  Margarita Starkevičiūtė (ALDE). – Aš labai apgailestauju, kad Komisijos narys P. Mandelsonas negalėjo atvykti, ir nenorėčiau užduoti klausimą, kuris galbūt būtų jūsų sričiai ne tiek žinomas.

Manau, kad jūsų darbe pasitaiko, kad jūs galite pasakyti, ar Komisija svarsto galimybes išplėsti finansinių paslaugų dialogą. Todėl, kad dabar toks įspūdis, kad viskas sutelkta į žemės ūkio produktus, į tekstilę, o iš tiesų, pakeitus prekybos struktūrą, finansinių paslaugų sektorius kaip tik gali padėti pakeisti prekybos struktūrą.

Ar Komisija daug laiko skiria finansinių paslaugų plėtros ir vystymo svarstymams?

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. Yes, we do that and we impress on our trading partners the need to correct this situation. We believe that they are in a position to submit substantially revised offers concerning financial services by July this year. We will continue to insist on it but, as you know, trade negotiations are bilateral and plurilateral negotiations: we need to receive this offer from them and we are trying hard to put pressure on them to make such offers.

 
  
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  David Martin (PSE). – I am aware that Commissioner Mandelson has pushed financial services quite hard and I am pleased to hear from the Commissioner that he is intending to do so. Does he agree with me that it is somewhat ironic that a country like India, which has call centres from European companies selling insurance, mortgages, loans and other financial services to Europeans, denies those very services to its own people, and will he press India in particular to reform its protectionist system for financial services?

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. We are asking the Indian authorities to improve access to these services and I hope they will comply with our request.

 
  
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  Γεώργιος Παπαστάμκος (PPE-DE). – Θα εντείνει η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή τις πιέσεις προς τις αναδυόμενες οικονομίες και προς τις προηγμένες αναπτυσσόμενες χώρες για να ανοίξουν τις αγορές τους στις υπηρεσίες; Αυτό είναι το κεντρικό ερώτημα και πιστεύω ότι για την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση θα πρέπει να ισχύσει η συμμετρία μεταξύ του ήδη συντελεσθέντος ανοίγματος των αγορών της Ένωσης στον αγροτικό τομέα αφενός, και του αντίστοιχου ανοίγματος των άλλων χωρών στους τομείς των υπηρεσιών γενικότερα, αφετέρου. Αυτό θα πρέπει να ισχύσει και για την πρόσβαση στην αγορά των μη αγροτικών προϊόντων.

Χωρίς αυτές τις προϋποθέσεις ο Γύρος της Ντόχα δεν θα έχει σύμμετρο αποτέλεσμα. Δεν θα υπάρχει ισορροπία σε ό,τι αφορά τα αποτελέσματά του.

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. I can confirm what I already said. We are working all the time with those countries so that they improve or strengthen the services offered, including financial services. It is part of our negotiation strategy. It is not that we are only taking a defensive position on agriculture; we are active in all areas that concern the trade negotiations. We firmly believe that trade concessions should be reciprocal.

 
  
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Pergunta nº 61 do Deputado Bart Staes (H-0299/06)

Assunto: Biocombustíveis

Em 8 de Março último, a Comissão publicou a sua estratégia para a promoção dos biocombustíveis (COM(2006)0034 final). Contudo, esta estratégia não é totalmente convincente sob o ponto de vista social e ecológico. É necessário, por exemplo, organizar uma certificação obrigatória dos biocombustíveis para assegurar que todos os biocombustíveis colocados no mercado satisfaçam determinados critérios sociais e ecológicos para poderem beneficiar de um tratamento fiscal favorável. Além disso, é contraproducente que a Comissão sugira que, em troca da utilização de biocombustíveis, os fabricantes de automóveis tenham de efectuar menos esforços para desenvolver e colocar no mercado veículos que consumam menos combustível.

À luz destes problemas, como tenciona a Comissão assegurar a integridade ecológica da utilização de biocombustíveis?

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. Biofuels are needed for two main reasons. Firstly, our energy security depends on developing alternatives to oil. Among the solutions that can be put into practice today, there is none with the same potential as biofuels. Secondly, the transport sector is not contributing enough to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Biofuels can significantly contribute to this aim.

The EU has decided to achieve rapid development of biofuels use. The Biofuels Directive, adopted in 2003, set a reference value of a 2% market share for biofuels in 2005 and 5.75% in 2010, compared with a 0.2% share in 2000. In adopting national indicative targets under the Directive, Member States have been somewhat less ambitious, but, overall, the target is a share of about 1.4% in 2005.

In the light of this, the review of the functioning of the Biofuels Directive, which the Commission is due to carry out this year, is particularly important. We have just launched the public consultation exercise for this review. The public consultation poses a number of questions. First of all, will the 5.75% objective for 2010 be achieved through the present policies and measures? If not, what can be done to ensure that the objective will be achieved? Should the Community set objectives for the share of biofuels in 2015 and 2020? The Commission has taken no position on these questions so far.

Turning to the question of environmental impact, it is important to start from the basis that biofuels bring a number of environmental benefits. However, it is also true that their production can have some adverse effects on the environment. I believe that second-generation biofuels can have even greater environmental benefits and their introduction should be accelerated as much as possible.

The Commission will make sure, therefore, that the promotion of biofuels continues to bring benefits in environmental terms, as well as the benefit of security of supply. For that reason, as part of the review of the Directive, the Commission is asking for views on the introduction of a certification system. This could ensure that only biofuels whose cultivation meets required environmental standards count towards objectives in the Directive. The initial reaction of environmental NGOs, fuel suppliers and other stakeholders has been encouragingly positive.

As regards car manufacturers' obligations, carmakers have voluntarily agreed to limit average CO2 emissions from new cars to 140g per km by 2008/2009. The Commission does not consider that the use of biofuels should in any way reduce the objectives agreed upon with the car industry.

 
  
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  Bart Staes (Verts/ALE). – Dank u, commissaris, voor uw antwoord. Ik ben heel blij dat de Commissie werk wil maken van een verdere verduurzaming van onze mobiliteit. Dat is absoluut noodzakelijk. Ik neem nota van uw engagementen, maar ik wil u het volgende vragen. Het gaat niet alleen over de productie van biobrandstoffen hier in de Europese Unie, het gaat ook over de productie en eventueel de aankoop van biobrandstoffen van buiten de Europese Unie. En daar bereiken ons toch berichten dat die productie onder niet zo gunstige omstandigheden gebeurt: kaalslag van het Amazonewoud, sociale uitbuiting, overmatig gebruik van pesticiden. Wat zal de Commissie daaraan doen?

En dan hebt u geantwoord op mijn vraag inzake de automobielindustrie. Maar een vraag waarop u niet geantwoord hebt: moet de automobielindustrie er zich niet toe verplichten om ook wagens te gaan produceren die minder gebruiken? Dat is immers toch de inzet van het debat. Minder brandstoffen ...

(de spreker wordt onderbroken door de Voorzitter)

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. The same environmental sustainability standards should apply outside the Union as well. As I said in my answer to the first question, we should look upon the issues in our trade negotiations.

The development of biofuels should not be at the expense of the rainforests. It must also be done in a sustainable way. I believe that we have all the means to follow that path.

On the car industry’s obligation to make more efficient engines and more efficient cars, we will follow that path as well. It does not replace the other path, however: they are two separate tracks going in the same direction – security of supply, competitiveness and sustainability. But on the matter of improved standards for cars, the answer is the use of biofuels. Only both combined can give the necessary result.

 
  
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  David Martin (PSE). – Firstly, I welcome your reply, Commissioner. I would urge you along the route of certification. You are right, it would be quite wrong if, for example, the use of palm oil led to the destruction of forests in Indonesia. So I would push you in that direction.

The other problem we have with biofuels is that while we are getting cars produced that can take biofuels and getting drivers willing to drive the cars, there is still a great difficulty in most parts of Europe in finding petrol stations that will stock biofuels and enable the consumer to take advantage of this ecologically friendly system. Will he do what he can to encourage more petrol companies to have a biofuel pump in their stations?

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. We recently adopted the biomass action plan and a communication on biofuels. Both these documents have been discussed in the Council and there is definitely a need for Member States to pursue a more proactive policy to bring biofuels onto the market. The Commission encourages this as far as it can, but many measures could be introduced by Member States themselves. It is not for the Commission to ensure that there are enough petrol stations stocking biofuels. For example, I wish there were more of them in Brussels.

 
  
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  Agnes Schierhuber (PPE-DE). – Herr Kommissar, ich bin sehr froh, dass endlich europa- und weltweit erkannt wird, dass wir die Unabhängigkeit von den politisch instabilen Regionen brauchen, aus denen die Europäische Union zum großen Teil ihre Energie bezieht. Meine Frage an die Kommission ist folgende: Wird die Kommission auch auf die Motoren-, Auto- oder überhaupt die Kraftfahrzeugindustrie einwirken? Wir wissen heute, dass Biokraftstoffe ohne Verestherung hergestellt werden können, nur müssen die Motoren entsprechend gebaut sein, damit man mit beiden Kraftstoffen fahren kann. Gibt es auch Überlegungen in diese Richtung?

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Mitglied der Kommission. Ich glaube, zurzeit braucht zur Erreichung unserer Ziele in der Motorenindustrie nichts gemacht zu werden, weil die Beimischung zulässig und in kleinen Mengen technisch möglich ist. In Zukunft brauchen wir natürlich mehr Flexibilität. Die Autoindustrie wird unserem politischen Trend folgen.

Das Wichtigste zurzeit ist, zu zeigen, dass die Europäische Union wirklich dazu bereit ist. In Wirklichkeit sind nur sehr geringe technische Änderungen erforderlich, um den Einsatz von Biotreibstoff zu erhöhen. Das wichtigste Ziel sollte sein, in möglichst vielen Mitgliedstaaten Biotreibstoff auf den Markt zu bringen, was noch nicht überall der Fall ist. In einigen Staaten ist dies bereits der Fall. Deshalb ist die Kommission sehr bemüht, die Staaten, die noch nicht genügend unternommen haben, dazu anzuhalten, ihre eigenen Ziele zu erreichen.

 
  
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Pergunta nº 62 do Deputado Bernd Posselt (H-0301/06)

Assunto: Dependência energética

Quais são as próximas medidas a tomar pela Comissão para reduzir a dependência da União Europeia das importações de gás e petróleo da Rússia?

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. I think this will be rather a long answer because it cannot be answered in just a few sentences.

I would like to start by saying that today Russia plays a very important role in securing Europe’s energy supplies. Currently Russia provides almost 30% of the EU’s oil imports and 45% of our gas imports. Or, to be more exact, 25% of our consumed gas. As a result, Russia is the largest single external energy supplier.

A considerable amount of our Iranian imports are also provided by Russia, so the EU and Russian markets for crude oil and oil products, as well as natural gas, are tightly interlinked with numerous pipelines, maritime and rail links and numerous contracts that our companies have concluded with Russian suppliers.

A broad relationship and energy dialogue was established between Russia and the Commission in 2000. Moreover, the common economic space agreed during the EU-Russia Summit in May 2005 includes cooperation in a wide range of energy-related activities. So the energy dialogue aims to discuss issues related to energy policy and market developments, infrastructure developments, and EU-Russia cooperation in multilateral energy fora. I believe that Russia will remain an important supplier for the EU in the future.

Taking into account the expected growth of energy consumption in the EU, I expect Russia to continue to supply around 25% of the gas consumed in the EU which, in absolute terms, would mean an increase in supplies. The European Union and many countries worldwide are becoming ever more dependent on imported hydrocarbons. I would like to reiterate that in the long term there are only three countries that have a lot of natural gas resources: Russia, Iran and Qatar. At the same time, the EU will import 70% of its energy in 2030, compared with 50% today.

Over time, the remaining fossil fuel resources will become more concentrated, as I said, in a rather small number of countries. As a consequence, energy interdependence is becoming a global issue, with major shared concerns, such as increased demand for limited resources in the world, the lack of investment in new production and the climate change issues.

Therefore, a broad range of actions at EU and Member-State level are required to address these challenges. It has been highlighted in the Green Paper. I have just highlighted one of the actions in my answer to the honourable Member’s previous question about biofuels. That is one of the actions that we indicate.

The Green Paper emphasised opportunities, such as policies to improve first of all energy efficiency and energy savings, as well as enhancing the market penetration of renewable energy sources. It also highlighted external policy options, such as strengthening the framework for energy relations between the EU and Russia in order to give more confidence to both sides, as well as policies and measures to diversification of the geographical sources and transportation routes of external energy supplies to the EU.

In this context, it is important to underline that the EU is making continuous efforts to improve energy relations with other energy-producing organisations – such as OPEC, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the countries of the Caspian Basin and north Africa – as well as with the consuming regions in the framework of the International Energy Forum, the International Energy Agency, G8 and through bilateral agreements and dialogues.

This policy of diversification is not directed against our current suppliers: it is a necessity dictated by the global energy security challenges and by the challenge posed by global warming and other environment-related issues.

Together with the Austrian Presidency of the European Union, I recently sent a letter to the Russian Energy Minister, Mr Khristenko, on the issue of energy cooperation and in particular gas interdependency. In this letter we reiterated the importance the EU attributes to deepening energy relations with Russia, the EU’s most important energy supplier. Furthermore, we stressed that the importance the EU attaches to diversifying sources of supply should not be interpreted as limiting deliveries of Russian gas to the EU market, particularly as demand for gas in Europe is forecast to rise.

In this relationship with Russia, the EU is promoting such principles as market reciprocity, fair transit conditions through Russia and third-party access to infrastructure in Russia. Therefore, the short answer to the questions that have been asked is that we are looking for diversification, but it is extremely important to establish measures on the demand side, because only with demand-side measures, energy efficiency and savings can we actually establish our energy independence more strongly and, at the same time, look towards our goals of sustainability and competitiveness.

 
  
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  Bernd Posselt (PPE-DE). – Herr Kommissar! Ich halte die Politisierung von Gazprom durch Präsident Putin für genau so gefährlich wie die Politisierung der OPEC vor dreißig Jahren durch einige Golfstaaten. Daher ist die Energieunabhängigkeit sehr wichtig. Könnte man deshalb nicht noch stärker auf die Förderung von Heizmaterialien setzen, die aus nachwachsenden Rohstoffen, also aus Biomasse, aus Elefantengras und auch aus Getreide entstehen? Hier könnte sich Europa aus eigener Kraft versorgen.

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Mitglied der Kommission. Natürlich! Das ist ein Schwerpunkt. Ich habe wahrscheinlich nicht so viel darüber in meiner Antwort gesagt. Wir müssen unsere eigenen Ressourcen so gut wie möglich nutzen. Natürlich wird auch die verfügbare Biomasse und auch die Wind- und Wasserkraft nicht genügen, sondern es müssen auch die energiewirtschaftlichen Beziehungen zu Russland und den OPEC-Staaten bestehen. Aber dennoch ist meine heutige Antwort: Wir müssen zu Hause alle unsere Hausaufgaben machen, denn nur auf solche Weise können wir unser Ziel erreichen.

 
  
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  Justas Vincas Paleckis (PSE). – Gerbiamas Komisijos nary, ačiū už jūsų platų atsakymą ir aš sutinku, kad Rusija yra svarbus energijos tiekėjas ir dialogas su Rusija tikrai reikalingas energetikos srityje.

Tačiau yra tokia gera rusiška patarlė, kad Dievas saugoja tą, kuris pats saugojasi. Ir Europos Sąjungai tikriausiai reikėtų turėti omenyje kai kuriuos oficialius pareiškimus iš Maskvos.

Norėčiau, kad jūs pakomentuotumėte, Komisijos nary, tokį oficialių asmenų pareiškimą, kad esą Rusija nukreips savo energijos šaltinius į Aziją, jeigu Europos Sąjungos narės neįvykdys tam tikrų sąlygų.

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. I followed President Putin's last address to the nation. He emphasised two issues that concern energy: first, he said that Gazprom has shown remarkable progress since he addressed the issue of energy efficiency. It is very important that Russia recognised that. He also said that Russia could play an important role in the creation of a common European energy policy. As regards the Gazprom announcement, I consider it one of the companies that have a monopoly. None of them would ever be willing to give their monopoly up. As regards diversification, we should accept that Russia will look for the most lucrative market. If the price is better in China, I am afraid it will try to sell the gas to China. The United States has higher prices and, with the development of LNG, competition between big consumers will grow. But, at the same time, I believe that the existing infrastructure that brings Russian gas to the European Union and highly diversified gas use in the European Union will make the European market very attractive to Gazprom and Russia in general. We are anticipating, as a result of dialogue, that Russia will follow in the gas sector the path currently being followed in the oil sector. That brings benefits to Russia and at the same time supplies the market well. I hope our dialogue will be able to bring about such a result. I know it is not easy but that is our goal. Geographically we are the best market and historically our companies have had very good relations. At the same time, I take very seriously the announcement by Gazprom that they would like to build a pipeline to China. That is no big surprise.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE-DE). – On the question of reducing the European Union’s dependence on gas and oil imports from Russia, I would ask you, Commissioner, to elaborate on two issues. Firstly, is the EU in a position to counter the Russian pipeline monopoly in the transportation of oil and gas from Central Asia to Europe? Secondly, is the European Union able to secure reciprocity and greater transparency on the part of Russia’s energy sector?

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. The first question was about gas transport from central Asia to Europe. There are two paths that we are following. One is definitely related to the Energy Charter and transit protocols under which such rights could be enjoyed. As for the other, I recently visited Kazakhstan to find out about the building of a trans-Caspian pipeline that can independently bring gas towards the European Union, bypassing the Russian gas transit system.

As regards transparency and relations, at this stage there is some reciprocity. In the EU Gazprom is treated as a company that has a complete pipeline monopoly in production and transport. So it is clear that whenever a situation in the internal market is evaluated, then it is evaluated on all aspects.

We are looking for more transparency and more mutual understanding. In October this year, we will have a conference on energy policies. It is also fairer to the Russian side also to ask questions as to what Europe’s views are and how far Europe is going in creating a common energy policy. It is also clear that they do not always have all the information and understanding as to what our goals are. Our goals are fair trade in these resources and fair markets. That, from my point of view, is beneficial not only for us, but also for Russia.

That is how I see that the best results could be achieved.

 
  
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  Presidente. As perguntas que, por falta de tempo, não obtiveram resposta obtê-la-ão ulteriormente por escrito (ver Anexo).

O período de perguntas à Comissão está encerrado.

(A sessão, suspensa às 19h30, é reiniciada às 21 horas)

 
  
  

VORSITZ KAUFMANN
Vizepräsidentin

 
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