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Procedure : 2005/0263(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Select a document :

Texts tabled :

A6-0332/2006

Debates :

Votes :

PV 29/03/2007 - 8.4
CRE 29/03/2007 - 8.4
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2007)0091

Debates
Thursday, 29 March 2007 - Brussels OJ edition

9. Explanations of vote
PV
  

Report: Ulmer (A6-0332/2006)

 
  
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  Jean-Pierre Audy (PPE-DE), in writing. – (FR) I have voted in favour of the report by my colleague Mr Ulmer on the amendment of various directives on medical products.

The term ‘medical products’ covers a wide range of products including syringes, spectacles, diagnostic equipment, small devices capable of being implanted, medical imaging technology, etc., and it became a matter of absolute necessity to enhance competitiveness and medical safety in this sector. In order to do this, the present legislative framework, consisting of three directives which define the basic requirements to which medical equipment must conform, needed to be improved, particularly as regards, inter alia, clinical evaluation, transparency, the monitoring of markets, custom-made devices, the use of human tissue and coordination between independent bodies.

The practical provisions that we have adopted in this document will improve the harmonisation of this highly complex and diverse sector by making the rules applicable to it clearer and simpler. It is worthy of note that many industrial companies in this sector operate on the global market and so it is necessary that efforts be made to encourage the process of international cooperation, especially through the harmonisation of standards.

 
  
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  Hiltrud Breyer (Verts/ALE), in writing. (DE) Today’s first-reading agreement on medical products misses the great chance for a ban on highly hazardous substances in them. That the stonewalling by the EU Member States has made it possible for substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic to reproduction to continue to be used even when safe alternatives have long been available is a poor show.

These clear limits on the use of hazardous soft PVC in ventilation tubes, stomach probes and infusion devices have been long overdue, for these materials contain high concentrations of the softening agent DEHP, which is toxic to reproduction and dangerous particularly to babies, children and dialysis patients, with premature babies taking in a dose of DEHP that is up to 200 times in excess of the norm.

One glimmer of hope is that the obligation to label hazardous softeners has been adopted, thus making it possible for medical personnel to take the conscious decision to use products not containing soft PVC, and consumers to actively demand that they do so. Producers are also being made subject to more stringent obligations to justify why medical products with soft PVC can be used on children and pregnant women.

This is, in any case, no more than a temporary solution, for the Commission has, this week, at last recommended – on the basis of a risk assessment going back as far as 2001, that the use of DEHP in medical products for certain groups of people at risk be prohibited. This ban may well be long overdue, but it is a case of ‘better late than never’ and the Commission must submit a proposal for legislation by the end of the year at the latest.

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

Although it is regrettable that the proposal for the prohibition of medical products containing substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction has been defeated, this compromise does nevertheless constitute a decisive first step, one that will help to eliminate the use in medical products of toxic chemical substances that are then found in the bodies of patients. The legislation will require that makers of medical equipment label them when they contain phthalates, which belong to a family of chemical substances used to soften plastic.

The European Union has classified the phthalate DEHP as a substance toxic to human reproduction, and there is serious concern about the possibility of it finding its way from the apparatus into patients, babies and dialysis patients in particular.

The labelling of products will alert doctors to the risk of their patients being exposed to them, and those responsible for buying equipment for hospitals will easily be able to identify those plastic goods without DEHP that are already available on the market. Manufacturers will be required to provide explanation of the risks vulnerable patients involved in the use of the equipment containing toxic chemical substances and to suggest precautionary measures.

 
  
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  Richard Seeber (PPE-DE), in writing. (DE) Now that the European directive on medical products has been revised, I wish to say that I am in favour of the European Parliament’s advocacy of a logical separation of regulation and of ‘reprocessing’ being regulated in a separate directive. As representatives of the people, we must do more to make regulations rational and comprehensible, resisting the temptation to force different regulations under a single heading. What the Commission must do now – and as soon as possible rather than in three years’ time – is to put forward a proposal for a separate directive.

Our rapporteur Mr Ulmer, whom I also want to thank for his outstanding work, has made it possible for a sound and even-handed compromise to be reached on the hazardous chemicals in medical products. I am sure that everyone will agree with me that medicines should not contain harmful substances, or, if they do, should contain as few as possible, and so we must aim to effectively phase out all substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic to reproduction.

It is with specific reference to those that I should like once more to highlight the indispensability of proper product labelling. I do not think that the Commission has made the right choice in opting for labelling using the ‘Global Medical Device Nomenclature’. The code makes it inevitable that costs will arise and be incurred primarily by European manufacturers and the general public, to the detriment of competition and to no great benefit to patients.

 
  
  

Report: Vincenzi (A6-0058/2007)

 
  
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  Bruno Gollnisch (ITS).(FR) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, Mrs Vicenzi’s report aims at the harmonisation of rules, specifically those relating to the derogations that EU flag States can accord from the standards laid down by the International Labour Organisation and the International Maritime Organisation.

Highly laudable though this objective is, the reality is that it does not resolve all the problems that need to be dealt with. It is a matter of common knowledge that the essential problem with merchant shipping is that of flags of convenience; one thinks in particular of the way in which a state such as Liberia, while existing in a state of total anarchy, is able to possess one of the largest fleets in the world, over which it is evidently unable to exercise any kind of real control.

A stop must be put to this utterly aberrant situation, which is a cause of social dumping, and consideration must be given to what safety conditions are actually in place. To be sure, the state in question still determines the conditions subject to which it grants or refuses the use of its flag, and the rules it applies to those vessels that do so, and to their crews, but that freedom is no more and no less than the right of states to refuse access to their territorial waters, to their exclusive economic zones and to their internal waters to vessels evidently in breach of the minimal rules and which represent a danger to the security of riparian states.

It is in this direction that we would like to see our Parliament’s thinking move.

 
  
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  Jim Allister (NI), in writing. I voted against the Directive on the responsibility of Flag States because it merely adds to the weight of EU regulation on shipping, but without addressing the real problem, which lies in the performance of non-EU flags with large fleets. EU States are IMO-compliant and thus are not the problem.

I also reject this Directive on the basis that it undermines the sovereignty of Member States by transferring competence to the Community. Each Member State is already obligated as parties to IMO Conventions; this is enough and how it should remain.

 
  
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  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report forms part of the Third Maritime Safety Package, which is broadly aimed at preventing accidents and at combating the consequences of those accidents.

Member States are required to ensure that ships on their national registers conform to international standards. Any initiative taken at EU level to promote maritime accident prevention and combat should not undermine this obligation.

On the basis of this premise, we broadly agree with the measures proposed. For example, Member States must check compliance with international rules and standards when registering ships in their register by means of documentary evidence; they must draw up and implement a monitoring and inspection programme for ships under its flag; and they must ensure the training and oversight of surveyors and investigators.

The Community must, however, contribute to the financial resources needed to carry out and enforce these measures, something that is not made clear in this proposal.

With the recent Erika and Prestige accidents still fresh in the memory, we feel that the proposals put forward in this area must be subject to major debate, in which workers in the sector and the public as a whole are involved.

 
  
  

Report: Savary (A6-0055/2007)

 
  
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  Emanuel Jardim Fernandes (PSE), in writing. (PT) Following the Erika and Prestige accidents, the latter in 2002 close to the edge of Portugal’s exclusive maritime area, the EU has drawn up a number of legislative proposals aimed at preventing such disasters, or at least minimising their impact, and at discovering what happened and who was responsible.

This excellent report by Mr Savary, which I voted for, concerns one of these proposals. I feel it is vital, as it establishes a minimum level of common rules for all Member States as regards the shipowners’ civil liability and financial guarantees (which can be extended to anyone else responsible), and others aimed at preventing accidents and ratifying certain international conventions, such as the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea and the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage.

I also welcome the proposal to set up a solidarity fund aimed at ensuring that even ships not covered by any form of financial guarantee offer adequate protection and financial compensation.

 
  
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  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report forms part of what is known as the Third Maritime Safety Package, a series of legislative measures aimed at preventing accidents and pollution, and at dealing with the consequences of those accidents.

The purpose of this proposal is to establish a system of civil liability of shipowners in the event of damage to third parties and to set out rules aimed at preventing accidents.

Most importantly, it calls on all Member States to become contracting parties to various international conventions and to introduce improved compensation for the victims of accidents and the ship’s crew. The report also proposes that a solidarity fund be set up to compensate the victims of damage caused by ships not covered by a financial guarantee certificate, given that such compensation does not have to be provided by the Member State in which the accident took place. It is the responsibility of the Member States to ensure compliance with all criteria and to impose sanctions in the event of their violation.

These are fundamentally positive measures, which we support. The possibility remains open, however, that in the future, the responsibility of checking falls to a Community body proposed in this report – the Community office – rather than the Member States, and we have serious doubts about this.

 
  
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  Peter Skinner (PSE), in writing. Whilst one may agree with the approach of making third-party responsibility a standard approach, there are apparent inconsistencies which need to be addressed before one can proceed.

Chief among these is the fact that the LLMC Convention has not been ratified by Member States, which is why there is an urgent need for the EU to act. The Council needs to affirm its commitment to the Convention at Member-State-level by ratification before it can offer a proper criticism of EU competence in this area which it questions.

 
  
  

Report: Aubert (A6-0061/2007)

 
  
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  Richard Corbett (PSE). – Mr President, in organic farming consumers set great store by the use of natural substances rather than synthetic ones. Synthetic nitrogen fertilisers should not be used.

However, there is no reason whatsoever to ban natural mineral fertilisers or any other kind of natural mineral fertiliser, such as nitrogen fertilisers. That is why I regret that Amendments 168 and 169 to this report, tabled by Mr Tarabella, were not adopted. It seriously weakens the logic of the position that we have adopted and I hope that, with the matter being referred back to committee, the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development will look at this issue again.

 
  
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  Jan Andersson and Anna Hedh (PSE), in writing. (SV) We have voted against certain amendments concerning reduced percentages for GMO labelling of organic products. Even though we essentially believe that organic products should be GMO-free, we are concerned that different limits for organic and other foods might be disadvantageous to organic production.

We believe that GMOs should be handled with care and that measures should be taken to reduce the risk of accidental contamination. We do not wish, however, to create an unnecessarily heavy burden of proof that might lead to reduced organic cultivation.

 
  
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  Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos, Fausto Correia, Edite Estrela, Emanuel Jardim Fernandes, Elisa Ferreira, Jamila Madeira and Manuel António dos Santos (PSE), in writing. (PT) Although the Commission’s proposal for a regulation and the report adopted in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development represent a positive overall contribution towards defining the common principles and rules applicable to organic production, which are essentially aimed at improving consumer confidence, a number of shortcomings remain, in our view.

Nevertheless, given that we feel that the issue of the contamination of organic products by genetically modified organisms is a crucial issue and given that the amendment tabled by the Socialist Group in the European Parliament – a sensible, realistic proposal to set a maximum limit of 0.1% only if included by accident – was adopted, we voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Françoise Castex (PSE), in writing. – (FR) I have voted in favour of the motion that the Aubert report on organic production and the labelling of organic products be sent back to the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.

It is necessary that the threshold for accidental contamination by GMOs should not be the same as in conventional agriculture, that is to say around 0.9%, for one would thereby be making the de facto admission that contamination can no longer be prevented and that it cannot be guaranteed that a product is GMO-free even if certified organic.

I supported the proposal in this regard from the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, according to which the presence of GMOs in organic products would have to be limited solely to unforeseeable and technically unavoidable amounts to a maximum of 0.1% and that the term ‘organic’ was not to be used to describe products contaminated accidentally by GMOs in excess of a detectable threshold of 0.1%.

Finally, I endorse the motion that a different legal basis be found for this matter relating to organic farming. Having hitherto been a ‘consultant’ the European Parliament intends to become a ‘codecider’ where problems such as this are concerned, and that will constitute progress.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) 70% of European consumers are known not to want to consume genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The fact that this regulation authorises the presence of up to 0.9% of GMOs in organic products is unacceptable, and constitutes a body blow for organic farming. To tolerate the 0.9% of GMOs contamination proposed by the report (or the 0.1% that some proposed, which was accepted in plenary) means accepting GMOs contamination of organic products, which will undeniably have consequences for consumers, and which constitutes a serious, unacceptable threat to the organic production industry.

Consumers choose organic products because they are produced more sustainably, without the use of pesticides and completely GMO-free. To accept the introduction of GMOs, even in very small quantities, is tantamount to hoodwinking consumers and will have serious consequences for the environment and for people’s health in general.

In contrast with the path proposed by this report, and its ‘productivist’ model, what we need are more sustainable forms of agricultural production, based on the production diversity of each country and each region and on placing greater value on small and medium-sized farmers and family farming.

 
  
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  Duarte Freitas (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) I feel that products labelled ‘organic’ should not contain any percentage of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Consumers have the right to such a guarantee when they buy a product labelled ‘organic’.

Most importantly, if products with a GM percentage of 0.9% were labelled organic there would be a risk of seeing another kind of labelling, GMO-free, which would undermine the status of organic farming.

I therefore voted for the amendments aimed at a complete ban on the use of GMOs in organic farming and in the labelling of organic products.

I also voted for the amendment incorporating products such as salt, wool, preserved fish, cosmetics, food supplements and essential oils into this regulation, given that these products are linked to the natural environment during at least one stage in their processing.

 
  
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  Mathieu Grosch (PPE-DE), in writing. – (FR) The new regulation will replace Regulation 2092/91/EEC on organic farming.

The main cause of concern is still the presence of GMOs in products bearing the ‘organic’ label; the Commission had provided for a tolerance of 0.9% of GMOs present, even though quantities of them can be detected from 0.1% upwards. We need to be cautious about GMOs in general, and it is above all necessary that consumers be properly informed about what they consume and use. It is, then, absolutely vital that due heed be paid to the expectations of those consumers who opt for an organic product, in other words, that they should be able to be certain that their product contains no GMOs.

I am therefore glad that this House has, in the Aubert report, introduced the 0.1% threshold, and I call on the Ministers of Agriculture in the Council to respond to the outcome of this vote by conducting an in-depth review of the regulation.

I wish to add that I also endorse Parliament’s call for the regulation to be adopted by codecision of the Council and Parliament, which I expect the Commission to endorse, since the opinions of elected representatives must count for more than those of civil servants.

 
  
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  Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) Organic production is very important from both the environmental and health points of view. However, we have voted against the report because we believe that agricultural products should be sold in a free market without interference at EU level. We are convinced that free market forces, headed by informed European consumers, will themselves successfully manage the urgently needed conversion to organic agriculture that is sustainable in the long term. We also believe that this development will be accelerated and that it will have greater impact if the labelling of organic products is left to the national parliaments.

 
  
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  David Martin (PSE), in writing. I voted in favour of this report as it will strengthen the provisions of the Commission proposal on the labelling and production of organic food. I am supportive of the use of the European logo (‘EU ORGANIC’) for items containing 95% organic ingredients and the requirement for operators in third countries to provide their national authorities with a certificate issued by a competent Community control body.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) The majority of the European public (58%) is still showing its suspicion of genetically modified foodstuffs. Europeans’ scepticism about the presence of GMOs in conventional agriculture may be taken as an endorsement of organic farming.

It is essential, then, that the European Union should encourage organic farming in response to growing consumer demand, for it also represents a move towards the drastic reform of the CAP in the direction of truly sustainable development.

What Mrs Aubert’s report reminds us is that, if organic products are to be promoted, certain rules of common sense must prevail. For a start, there must be opposition to the Commission’s proposal for a regulation the same level of accidental contamination – 0.9% – would be laid down as applicable to the different sectors.

Then, and as a contrary measure – one demanded by the organic sector and already put in place by numerous European states and regions – the level for the accidental presence of GMOs must be set as low as possible, that is to say at 0.1%, that being the point at which their scientific detection becomes possible.

Finally, the ‘polluter pays’ principle must be applied, since it is out of the question that organic farmers should be made to foot the bill for the risks involved in the coexistence of the two forms of agriculture.

 
  
  

Report: Catania (A6-0052/2007)

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (ITS).(DE) Mr President, in voting in favour of the Catania report, I am bearing in mind the fact that the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship is to be held in Austria, for I do believe that a number of regrettable developments are making themselves felt in professional football. Not only are there instances of fraud, dubious financial practices and unfair competition, which we now have to combat in a determined manner at EU level, but readiness to commit acts of violence in connection with football is breaking all bounds, with a few so-called fans keeping hundreds of police officers on tenterhooks – officers who may be needed elsewhere and who cost a great deal of money.

The sensible thing to do would be to stop hooligans at the border, and stadiums should have separate entrances and exits for the various groups. Not only do banners and placards inciting violence need to be banned, but considerably stiffer penalties for such disturbances of the peace are also needed.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) Unfortunately, violent acts committed at football matches are not isolated incidents, but rather a repeated phenomenon in recent years, for example at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and the recent incidents in the national leagues of Italy, Spain, Croatia and England.

It is therefore necessary to adopt the appropriate measures to ensure that such sports events can be held as peacefully as possible, without gratuitous violence and racism.

I therefore support this initiative by the Republic of Austria to update the Decision providing for the setting up in each Member State of a national football information point acting as the contact point for the exchange of police information in connection with football matches.

It is vital for the competent bodies to work more closely with one another and to professionalise the exchange of information. Furthermore, each Member State should be allowed to carry out an effective risk assessment.

Prevention must be the priority, rather than the enforcement-led approach and the use of riot police in stadiums that has become the most common method of combating football violence.

 
  
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  Stephen Hughes (PSE), in writing. In voting for the Giusto Catania report (A6-0052/2007), I very much hope to see a marked improvement in international cooperation between police forces to counteract violence associated with football matches.

Innocent fans and families from Middlesbrough were caught up in violence in Rome in March 2006 on the occasion of the Middlesbrough/Roma fixture during the European Cup. Three fans were stabbed during unprovoked attacks by Roma fans. Parliament’s Petitions Committee considered a petition from Middlesbrough fans last autumn. I very much regret that, a year after the violence in Rome, the chairman of the Petitions Committee has still not received a reply to a letter he sent to Italy’s Interior Minister seeking assurances that the mistakes which allowed the violence to happen would be avoided in the future.

I very much hope that, even at this late stage, the Minister will take the opportunity to reply and convey a clear apology to the people of Middlesbrough.

 
  
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  David Martin (PSE), in writing. I voted in favour of the Catania report to improve police security at football matches. I support the reinforcement of the role of national information points as the contact point for the exchange of police information in connection with violence at international football matches. I strongly believe, however, that any transfer of personal data must be protected by existing privacy laws and can never be used for other purposes.

 
  
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  Martine Roure (PSE), in writing. – (FR) Modern-day football has a real problem with security at international matches, and it is a fact that Europe has to contend with violence in football stadiums, particularly when European or international fixtures are held. In order to avoid tragedies, or battles between hooligans, the European Union has had the idea of creating a network with information on the possible risks of violent outbursts of this kind, and so European solidarity and foresight will play a very important part in ensuring the safety of those members of the European public who attend matches.

We must not allow ‘fake’ supporters to cause football’s values to be seen in a bad light, and this report facilitates the creation of national football information points as places where information may be exchanged with the purpose of preparing and taking appropriate steps to maintain order at footballing events. Such information may relate to individuals who represent, or may represent, a risk to public order and safety.

Many outbreaks of recurrent and persistent violence at football matches have changed these sporting occasions’ role as something to go and see; the European Union cannot allow that to go unchallenged.

 
  
  

Report: Lagendijk (A6-0067/2007)

 
  
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  Eugen Mihăescu (ITS). – Marele Napoleon spunea: „Dacă este posibil, este ca şi făcut, iar dacă este imposibil, se va face oricum.” Aşa este şi cu Serbia, şi cu Kosovo. Sunt naţionalist şi mă interesează Serbia mai mult decât politica. Kosovo este inima naţiunii şi nu poate fi smulsă din pieptul Serbiei decât cu riscuri nebănuite.

Filozoful francez Régis Debray a vorbit primul, fiind martor la tragedia Serbiei în momentul atacului de către forţele care erau împotriva ei. Europa nu poate să rişte o instabilitate în Balcani. Monsieur Athisaari nu ne spune adevărul. După cel de-al doilea război mondial, în Kosovo erau 15% albanezi şi 85% (majoritatea) erau sârbi. Albanezii erau veniţi de peste munţi, din Albania. Thaçi şi ai lui, maoişti crescuţi de Enver Hoxha şi Mehmet Shehu, se folosesc de doctrina divide et impera. Este paradoxal, pentru că vor să întemeieze o Albanie compusă din bucăţi rupte din teritoriul Serbiei, Macedoniei şi Greciei. Americanii care învaţă geografia făcând războaie ştiu mai bine unde se găseşte America, dar nu ştiu unde se găseşte Kosovo. Din fericire, trecutul nu vrea să treacă.

 
  
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  Димитър Стоянов (ITS). – Гласувах против доклада относно бъдещето на Косово, защото ми омръзна да слушам колко зле и дискриминирани са албанците. Никой не е пресметнал колко много сърби бяха избити и изхвърлени от Косово от албанските главорези. Колко православни църкви бяха унищожени и превърнати в складове и в конюшни от тези наркотрафиканти, които това е основното нещо, с което се занимават, трафик на наркотици.

Аз искам да ви припомня `99 година, защото в момента сме пред най-светлия християнски празник за православните християни, Великден. `99 година натовските бомбардировачи потъпкаха и се погавриха с този християнски празник, като не спряха своите бомбардировки, а продължиха да хвърлят своите клъстерни бомби, предназначени не срещу инфраструктурата, а да убиват хора и при това ги надписаха с обидни надписи спрямо православното християнство.

Европа трябва да спре да се меси на Балканите, защото предизвиква само по-лоши неща. Оставете Балканите на мира.

 
  
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  Zita Pleštinská (PPE-DE). – (SK) I have supported Joost Lagendijk’s report on the future of Kosovo and the role of the European Union. I agree with the rapporteur’s view that the action of the European Parliament should be unified and clear, as it is our future EU border and territory that are at stake. Everybody understands that the current situation is unsustainable and that further tactful and patient negotiations are necessary, including a large measure of European involvement.

I view the Ahtisaari document as an initial basis for discussions and efforts aimed at achieving a compromise. Europe must adopt a position that unambiguously points towards an agreement. I strongly believe that the final solution cannot be imposed under the threat of radicalisation in Kosovo or Serbia, but that it must reflect the interests of the people of Serbia as well as the Kosovo Albanians.

The two peoples must not live in hatred, as hatred breeds violence and is an obstacle to the region’s stability and security. I believe that the European Parliament’s report will send a strong message, offering the Western Balkans a European perspective, and leading to an acceptable compromise based on respect for international law and European democratic values. We MEPs from the new Member States know particularly well what a great motivation the prospect of EU accession was for our countries in carrying out many political and economic reforms. There can be no way back to the period before March 1999, and therefore I believe in a future agreement ensuring peace and stability in the Western Balkans.

 
  
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  Árpád Duka-Zólyomi (PPE-DE). – (SK) I have voted in favour of the document on Kosovo for several reasons. The proposal for controlled sovereignty backed up by a permanent international presence once a final decision has been taken by the Security Council is a particularly important solution. At the same time, the creation of a society made up of citizens enjoying equal rights is the only proper way to go.

I fully support the idea of ethnic minorities and communities having equal rights, as well as clearly defined rights to preserve and develop their identity and their own public administration. At the same time I strongly support the idea of ensuring maximum rights and security, that is, extensive autonomy for the Serbian community.

The European Union will be playing a key role in the process, and therefore it is necessary to prepare a clear strategic action plan. On the other hand, our task should be to emphasise the prospect of a future for the Balkans, or Serbia and Kosovo, in the European Union. However, in order to achieve this goal it is necessary to ensure peace and stability in the region. We must work to ensure that the countries of the Balkans become part of the European Union. Failing that, our Community will remain incomplete.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (ITS).(DE) Mr President, I, too, voted against the Lagendijk report, and I did so on the grounds that it strikes me as thoroughly dangerous to say that the potential for negotiations has now been exhausted and that the independence of the province of Kosovo is to be called for. I regard that as a dangerous experiment.

The present situation reminds me forcefully of that which prevailed at the beginning of the Croatian war, which, indeed, began with the proclamation of Croatia’s independence. If we do not tread very carefully here, and, in particular, if we fail to have ready-made and real solutions to hand against the possibility of the withdrawal of the UN administration causing a power vacuum, either the Serbs will want to protect their countrymen, or the Kosovo Albanians will want self-determination for themselves, and then, in no time at all, we will not only have nullified whatever progress and rapprochement there have been, but we may well also turn out to have destabilised the whole region. It is for this reason that I have cast a ‘no’ vote.

 
  
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  Jan Andersson and Anna Hedh (PSE), in writing. (SV) We support the UN’s peace efforts in Kosovo and Matti Ahtisaari’s work. We chose to vote against wording to the effect that sovereignty for Kosovo is the best way to achieve stability and a political solution for Kosovo. We do not believe that this is the right report in which to address this issue, and we think that it would be stupid to chain ourselves to such a wording in the current situation, even though it expresses a desirable goal for the future.

 
  
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  Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) The June List believes that the Kosovo issue needs to be resolved through the UN, a process that is, indeed, currently under way. Were the UN then to ask the EU to play an important role in the matter, we would be positively disposed towards the idea.

This report contains a number of constructive wordings, but it also contains many poor ones. We object, for example, to the European Parliament wanting to have supervisory responsibility when it comes to the issue of establishing Kosovo’s status. That is not a matter for the EU.

The hope is also expressed that a pro-European government might be formed in Serbia. That may be desirable, but it is the Serbian people that choose their government, and that fact needs, in the name of democracy, to be respected, whatever the outcome.

Moreover, it is not for the European Parliament to have views on the Member States’ attitude in the Council of Ministers or on how the Member States should act in the UN Security Council.

Because we considered that there were too many poor aspects to the report, we voted against the report as a whole in today’s vote.

 
  
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  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The extremely serious situation in the Balkans, and in particular in the Serbian province of Kosovo, is the result of a long process of interventionism, aggression and military occupation promoted by the EU and the USA, which have imposed their domination on the region by exploiting genuine conflicts and difficulties.

The situation in Kosovo is particularly significant. Following NATO’s military aggression, the USA and the EU created a protectorate and installed strategic military bases in that Serbian province, in flagrant violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

The solution to Kosovo’s future imposed by Martti Ahtisaari, the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy, is along the same lines. He is proposing the end of Serbian sovereignty over part of its territory, and the (pseudo-) ‘independence’ of Kosovo under EU and USA occupation. This will be achieved by means of the so-called ‘civil’ presence of the EU within the framework of the European security and defence policy, bolstered by the troops of NATO and of an ‘international civil representative’ with full powers.

We feel that the solution to the Kosovo situation should encompass compliance with international law and the sovereignty of Serbia, which, let us not forget, is guaranteed under Resolution 1244. Any other (incorrect) solution could lead to unpredictable consequences in this strategic region.

Hence our vote against the report.

 
  
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  Richard Howitt (PSE), in writing. The European Parliamentary Labour Party supports this resolution, in particular the strong support given to the UN process and the endorsement given to the Special Envoy for Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari, and his Comprehensive Proposal for a Kosovo Status Settlement. We abstained on amendment 13, however, because its language is not consistent with the Ahtisaari plan and it is therefore unhelpful whilst discussions are still ongoing in the United Nations Security Council.

 
  
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  David Martin (PSE), in writing. I voted in favour of this report on the future of Kosovo and the role of the EU. In order to secure the objectives of a peaceful, self-sustaining Kosovo, the EU should have a role in the current international negotiations for a settlement. In particular, I support the UN-led drive to determine the final status of Kosovo, and the Ahtisaari proposal in particular.

 
  
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  Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL), in writing. (NL) The subject of Kosovo may divide political parties, but the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left, to which I belong, and the associated parties were unanimous in their opposition to the war which NATO waged against Yugoslavia in 1999, for the objective of this war was not to liberate Kosovo, but for the outside world to extend its sway over Serbia and Montenegro. Even now, some of my colleagues fear that the USA is using the problem of Kosovo to break up European countries into small military protectorates, and they quote international law, which stipulates that without prior approval of the state that loses its territory, no new states can be formed, in the process.

If we follow this reasoning, then many of the present European states, including Greece, Belgium, Bulgaria, Ireland, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, are also illegal. I would rather draw a comparison with the gaining of independence by former European colonies such as Indonesia, Algeria or Angola, which, in their fight for it, were backed by the European Left. If democracy and equal rights for the inhabitants of Kosovo make it necessary for them to gain their independence, then the Left should lead the way rather than trail behind. I also recognise the right to self-determination on the part of the Serbian residents, who are a majority in Kosovska Mitrovica and the northern tip of Kosovo, and who would like to return to Serbia permanently.

 
  
  

Report: Ville Itälä (A6-0069/2007)

 
  
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  Astrid Lulling (PPE-DE).(FR) Mr President, I voted against this report on the guidelines for the budget procedure on the grounds that, like its predecessors on the European budget, it contains remarks with which I am not in agreement on the subject of our places of work, which, I would remind the House, are laid down in the Treaty. I am not among those who, as this report exaggeratedly puts it, ‘deplore the geographical dispersion’ of our administration among our three places of work. I do not see that the geographical arrangements of this House have had any adverse effects – quite the contrary, in fact.

I object to paragraph 33, and in particular to the proposition concerning the number of missions undertaken by our staff within the three places of work. I know that the administration is very careful about the money it spends on this. I am not in favour of inviting the Secretary-General to present, between now and 1 July of this year, a report on the missions undertaken by staff within the three places of work; he has, as we do, other things to do, and I am not falling for this.

The underlying intention has to do with what is described as an attempt at rationalisation, with the object of emptying Luxembourg and Strasbourg of their importance as places of work. I can do no other than underline my disapproval of the absurd scheme mentioned in paragraph 40 for the suspension of the further growth of our real estate and for Parliament to refrain from any extension of its buildings. Our property policy, which involves us in buying the buildings we need in order to function properly instead of renting them, has saved the taxpayer a great deal of money – thousands of euros, in fact – and I can only say that I am astonished that most of the members of the Committee on Budgets do not seem to understand, or do not want to understand, that we will, in 2008, have to avail ourselves of the room for manoeuvre around the 20% ceiling in order to anticipate property expenditure. You, Mr President, are aware, and it is important that it should be said, that this practice with real property expenditure makes considerable savings possible, and it is the taxpayer who benefits from them.

 
  
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  Glyn Ford (PSE), in writing. I voted for this report and amendments on a statute for Members' assistants and amendments calling for reduced energy costs for, amongst other things, Parliament's car fleet. Unfortunately, it was defeated. I will be interested to see if those who voted for the amendment who have some control over the choice of vehicle they use, namely Group leaders, put their ideals into action or continue to use their current 'gas guzzlers'.

 
  
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  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Although not the guidelines for what might be termed the EU’s main budget – the Commission’s budget – this is still an indicator of the priorities and perspectives for next year.

As regards the guidelines for the institutions’ budget for 2008, it is forecast that this should remain close to the levels of previous years as regards the policy on staff.

Although Parliament has called for a series of reports on the development of recruitment policy and the status of recruited staff, nothing has yet materialised. It is with concern that we have increasingly witnessed the replacement of permanent contracts with service contracts, workers not having permanent working contracts after dozens of years’ service and the ‘transfer’ of many workers to temporary employment undertakings.

The reality is that what is being promoted is precarious labour relations with the destruction of workers’ rights, the much-trumpeted (and false) ‘New Social Europe’ to be applied to workers in the European Parliament …, the utterly unacceptable ‘flexicurity’.

 
  
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  David Martin (PSE), in writing. I voted in favour of this report on the 2008 budget guidelines which focused on making communication more efficient in the European Parliament in order to raise awareness among EU citizens. In particular I support the specific focus placed upon informing the local and regional media. Another key aspect of this report was the adoption of a real and meaningful statute for Members’ assistants. I believe such a statute will contribute to improving the quality of Members’ activities.

 
  
  

- Report: Lamassoure (A6-0066/2007)

 
  
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  Czesław Adam Siekierski (PPE-DE). – (PL) Mr President, today’s vote ended the first stage in the work to secure the future of our own resources. In my opinion, it is the very first stage of the process and, although I do not share many of the opinions expressed, I did vote in favour of the report, as I think that much can be changed further down the line.

The proposed own resources system should be transparent and fair. We should make good use of the lessons drawn from the European Union budget review which is scheduled for 2008 and 2009 and of the priorities that we will set for the Union for 2013 onwards. Finally, we must keep to the fundamental principle of the Union, namely cohesion, and therefore raise the development levels in the least developed regions. Particular attention needs to be paid to the system for funding food and energy security and environmental problems.

 
  
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  Jim Allister (NI), in writing. I voted against the Lamassoure Report on Own Resources because it seeks to advance the notion of statehood for the EU by setting in motion a process of sovereign financing leading to the ultimate absurdity of EU taxation. Moreover, its assault on the wholly justified “British Rebate” demands of my constituents that they should become even more generous benefactors of the grasping EU, with all its profligate waste. With the UK already losing over GBP 4 billion net per annum in funding the EU we have no more to give.

 
  
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  Jan Andersson and Anna Hedh (PSE), in writing. (SV) We think that the report is good overall. We have chosen, however, to vote against all the wordings concerning an EU tax. We also chose to support cofinancing within the framework of the EU’s agricultural policy.

 
  
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  Liam Aylward, Brian Crowley, Seán Ó Neachtain and Eoin Ryan (UEN), in writing. We, the Fianna Fáil delegation, have rejected the Lamassoure Report for the following reasons:-

Most importantly, the reform discussed by the Rapporteur is a clear stepping stone to EU harmonised tax to which the Irish Government is absolutely opposed.

In actual fact, the majority of the European Parliament today voted in favour of authorising the European Union to revoke the fiscal sovereignty of each Member State enshrined in the Treaties for a limited time at any time. We cannot accept this. On, the contrary, the Fianna Fáil delegation voted with 153 other Parliamentarians stressing the inviolable right of each Member State of self-determination in respect of taxes, noting that unanimity is required amongst Member States in order to introduce any type of European tax and stressing that every Member State has the right of veto in this matter.

In addition, the current financial package was a hard won agreement, advantageous to Ireland and this Report would seek in the future to reform this type of funding. Ireland has only benefited from former Financial Perspective Agreements. Furthermore, poorer countries would be disadvantaged and in our opinion, a direct EU tax from the pockets of citizens would be frowned upon by Irish and EU citizens.

 
  
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  Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos, Fausto Correia, Edite Estrela, Emanuel Jardim Fernandes, Elisa Ferreira, Jamila Madeira and Manuel António dos Santos (PSE), in writing. (PT) We voted against the third part of point 25 of the Lamassoure report for two main reasons:

Firstly, as Portuguese socialists, we cannot accept any attempt to scale back that most common of European policies, and what is being proposed is tantamount to renationalising the CAP.

The cofinancing proposal, that is, to have the Member States partially finance the budget of the first pillar of the CAP, is unjustified because there are other solutions under which the Council’s financial commitments undertaken in October 2002 could be honoured without the need for a contribution from the national budgets of the 15 EU Member States prior to the 2004 enlargement.

By way of an alternative to cofinancing, ceilings could be established for aid individually awarded to farmers – along the lines of the US model, in which the limit is set at USD 250 000 – along with ‘compulsory modulation’, whereby there is a percentage reduction of aid to the biggest beneficiaries of direct aid from the CAP, thereby generating the savings needed to honour the commitments.

Secondly, because there is an irreparable contradiction in the wording of this point. At the same time as making a solemn promise not to renationalise the CAP, it also proposes an end to the current system of complete Community funding by introducing national cofinancing, which is precisely the main instrument for renationalising the CAP, given farmers from Member States with the biggest budgets will be placed at a major advantage over farmers from Member States with the smallest.

 
  
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  Françoise Castex (PSE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of the Lamassoure report on the future of the European Union's own resources.

The effect of the present system is to make the EU’s Budget too dependent on what the nation states want, and I endorse the rapporteur’s analysis according to which this system has, over the course of time, become too complex and, above all, unsuited to meeting the new challenges facing the EU, thus making necessary a return to a proper system for own resources as provided for in the EU’s founding treaties.

I welcome the proposal for the abolition, as a first step to this end, of all forms of rebate and compensation awarded to the Member States and for the direct funding of the EU Budget by the temporary use of a tax already in place in the Member States, which would be the best way of ensuring that the EU is funded in a viable way that is also acceptable to the national parliaments.

I did, however, vote against the resolution’s paragraph 25, which was rejected by a narrow majority. Although I do not in fact want to reopen a debate on the creation of a new system of finance, I am opposed to the idea that one should consider setting in motion, in the EU-15, a process of mandatory cofinancing of the CAP, which would end up returning the premier common European policy to the national level.

 
  
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  Proinsias De Rossa (PSE), in writing. I supported the Lamassoure Report on the future of European Union Own Resources because I believe it is a good contribution to the urgently needed wider debate on EU spending. A budget of 1% of GDP is simply insufficient to meet Europe’s political challenges, including the promotion of a strong social and research dimension. A minimum of 3% is required. These issues should be central to the revived efforts to reform the Treaties.

 
  
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  Emanuel Jardim Fernandes (PSE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this report because I consider the current system of the EU’s own resources to be lacking in transparency, efficiency and fairness, based as it is almost exclusively on contributions from the Member States. Reform is urgently required. Otherwise we run the risk of exacerbating the budgetary imbalance and inequality created by the failure to recognise that a better Union can only be achieved through more and better policies, including at budgetary level, accompanied by adequate resources.

Having spoken about this issue to the Committee on Regional Development, which submitted its opinion to the Committee on Budgets, I tabled some amendments which were subsequently adopted by a large majority. These amendments were aimed firstly at establishing a direct link between the EU and its citizens via the payment of part of an existing tax so as not to increase the heavy tax burden on the European taxpayer, and secondly at putting an end to budget rebates for certain countries, many of which enjoy prosperity levels above the European average, such as the United Kingdom.

Lastly, I also proposed that future considerations on the EU’s own resources should take account of the special tax provisions in the Treaties relating to the EU’s outermost regions.

 
  
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  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Parliament is intending to open up the debate on the EU’s own resources, bringing forward the discussion set to take place in 2008/9. This is made possible by the review clause laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement for the financial perspective 2007/2013.

Criticising the current system, which it had previously sanctioned, and questioning the Council’s unanimity rule required for any change, Parliament is proposing eventually to feed part or all of revenue from taxes already imposed in the Member States directly into the EU budget, whilst keeping open the possibility of introducing new taxes for this purpose. This is because, as far as the national parliaments are concerned, ‘in the short term it is still too early to have a genuinely European tax’.

We reject any attempt to introduce European taxes, either directly or covertly, either in the short or long term.

We feel that a fair system of own resources should be based on national contributions commensurate with the relative wealth of each country (based on GNI), in such a way that the tax burden will be similar for all citizens of the different EU Member States, ensuring that the Community budget performs an appropriate role of redistribution, with the priority placed on genuine convergence and effective economic and social cohesion.

 
  
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  Anne E. Jensen and Karin Riis-Jørgensen (ALDE), in writing. (DA) We voted in favour of the report because it offers a practical way of escaping from the present complicated system governing the EU’s own income, involving rebates and special arrangements. Countries’ right of self-determination in the tax sphere must, of course, be respected in any new system. Moreover, it is important for a new source of income for the EU not to mean higher taxes.

 
  
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  Marie-Noëlle Lienemann (PSE), in writing. (FR) I abstained from voting on Mr Lamassoure’s report on the grounds that I am not in favour of the cofinancing of the first pillar of the CAP as referred to in paragraph 25, which opens the door to the inevitable renationalisation of one of the few truly common policies. I might add that this idea has already been put forward – but quite rightly rejected – at the time of the 2000 Berlin Agreement.

It does not appear to me to be well-advised to give the CAP – which is supposed to be fairer and more compatible with sustainable development – a new direction on the basis of its being cofinanced by the Member States.

 
  
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  Diamanto Manolakou (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) In the report on the future of the EU's own resources, the ΕU is preparing to extend the swingeing tax policy of the governments of the Member States. The brunt of the cost of promoting the anti-grassroots policies of the European Union will be paid for by the workers.

Basic measures proposed, such as increasing VAT and the energy consumption tax from 2014 onwards, will make the workers even worse off. In Greece, the one point increase in VAT and the constant repricing of energy have made it even more difficult for grassroots families to make ends meet.

The constituent element of the correction of budgetary imbalances referred to in the report is a reduction in spending in the agricultural sector, which means even more small- and medium-sized farms will go out of business. This is presented as a fairer distribution of resources. At the same time, the EU is allegedly strengthening its policy on terrorism but is in fact strengthening its attack on the personal rights and freedoms of the peoples.

The communication policy of the EU is being put on a need-to-know basis in a bid to cultivate a 'European conscience'; in other words to subjugate the workers to anti-grassroots policies.

The report talks of the indirect revenue of the Member States through the policies of the ΕU. This is a gift from the capitalist ΕU to capital. The workers just see their standard of living deteriorate.

 
  
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  David Martin (PSE), in writing. I voted in favour of this report proposing a reform of the own-resources system which will emphasise equality between Member States. The current system is complex and not transparent to the public and I am therefore glad that it will be reformed.

 
  
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  Jean-Claude Martinez (ITS), in writing. – (FR) Unlike the ECSC, which funded itself from own resources in the true sense of the word, the European Union, having virtually ceased, as a consequence of global free trade, to collect customs duties, which now account for no more than 9.8% of its resources, the European Budget is provided for in the same way as any other unremarkable state-funded inter-governmental organisation, that is to say by a cash contribution on the basis of GNP, amounting to 73.8% of the Community’s resources.

Today, the resources have reached a ceiling of 1.24% of GNP, and that is where they are going to stay. It is simply provided that, after 2014, a new system will come into play, one derived from the traditional federal solution of sharing the yield from a tax between the EU and the nation states. A selection of twelve taxes has been proposed to be divided up in this way, ranging from VAT to the Tobin tax and the eco-tax on companies.

It is the system adopted in France between 1791 and 1917, with percentages added to the state tax in order to fund local communities.

If the EU were to have a policy of large-scale investment in health, research, the universities and the railways to replace the Malthusian approach set out in Article 104(c) of the Treaty of Maastricht, the support of the public at nation-state level would make possible either their funding by means of loans or even indeed a hypothecated tax made appetising by its benefit to society.

 
  
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  Olle Schmidt (ALDE), in writing. (SV) I abstained from voting on Mr Lamassoure’s report on the future of the European Union’s own resources. I agree that the EU’s system of income and expenditure needs to be reformed and made more transparent, but this report goes too far. I maintain that the EU should be funded through membership fees and I do not wish to see any trend towards an EU tax.

 
  
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  Andrzej Jan Szejna (PSE), in writing. (PL) I am voting in favour of Mr Alain Lamassour’s report on the future of the European Union’s Own Resources.

It is an important part of the preparations for a thorough review of all aspects of European Union funding and expenditure, as the current system of own resources is fundamentally flawed.

This system covers four different sources of funding and a series of discount mechanisms. It should be borne in mind that nearly 70% of the European Union's income does not come from its own resources, but instead from funds paid in directly from national budgets. Moreover, in view of current budget deficits, in particular those of the larger Member States, we cannot guarantee that the European Union has sufficient resources to implement all the strategies related to its policies.

The European Union needs an effective and transparent funding system. The aim of reforming the Community income should be to create real own resources for the European Union. These resources should be based on existing taxes levied in the Member States, which would contribute to the Union’s budget. In my view we should also consider the possibility of introducing a real European Union tax.

 
  
  

- Report: Belet (A6-0036/2007)

 
  
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  Jaroslav Zvěřina (PPE-DE).(CS) Thank you, Mr President. Along with the other MEPs from the Czech Civil Democratic Party (ODS), I voted against the Belet report, because I feel it is a rather premature step towards a debate on the possible harmonisation of the complex area of professional football in the Member States.

The report promises to establish what it calls a European football model. Such a model, however, scarcely exists. There can be no doubt that professional football nowadays is a huge globalised phenomenon, and to try to regulate it in some way from a European perspective is not, in my view, a particularly good idea. Parliament is not yet some kind of global management organisation capable of solving the world’s problems.

I completely agree with the parts of the report that deal with the clash between professional football and our administrative and economic rules. I cannot, however, accept the parts of the report that propose to regulate areas that do not fall within the EU’s competence. This relates primarily to the proposal to create specifically targeted monitoring bodies. Thank you for your attention.

 
  
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  Richard Corbett (PSE). – Mr President, despite reservations on one or two items in it, Labour MEPs voted in favour of the Belet report. This is because the thrust of the report is to help the footballing authorities deal with some very real problems facing them by ensuring that European laws adopted for other purposes do not get in their way when they are dealing with these problems. In other words, it is quite the opposite of what the previous speaker said. We are not trying to harmonise the rules relating to football or to take control of football. We are trying to give the football authorities some extra space so that they can deal with their problems themselves.

In this context, I would like to add that I was very surprised that Mr Heaton-Harris tabled an amendment given to him by a lobbyist from Real Madrid. The effect of allowing the individual sale of TV rights by individual clubs, instead of collectively by a league with redistribution to all clubs, will now be felt in Spain alone among the 27 Member States. It not only destroys sporting competition within the Spanish League – because Barcelona and Real Madrid will get a billion euros each over the next few years – it also distorts sporting competition at European level by giving those clubs an unfair advantage over the clubs in every other league in Europe. I am astonished that Mr Heaton-Harris should have tabled such an amendment.

 
  
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  Jan Andersson and Anna Hedh (PSE), in writing. (SV) We supported the report on the future of professional football in Europe. It is, in the main, a constructive report that addresses, amongst other things, the problems associated with small football clubs’ need for better financial conditions for developing young players. The report also addresses the issue of national teams being able to use players free of charge. Other important matters dealt with by the report are efforts to combat violence on the terraces, racism, drug-taking, corruption and the exploitation of young players. We believe that the EU should cooperate with the governing football associations at national and European levels, such as UEFA, in order to solve these problems.

We cannot at present, however, see any need for new legal instruments to solve the problems, with the exception of a possible directive concerned with players’ agents. Nor can we see any need for the Member States to amend their social and tax legislation on the grounds that the differences between countries create problems regarding cross-border transfers of players. Moreover, we interpret the concept of ‘enforced prostitution’ in the report as comprising all prostitution, because all prostitution takes place under some form of compulsion.

 
  
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  Derek Roland Clark (IND/DEM), in writing. UKIP does not accept that the EU has competence over sport and opposes this report as a whole in order to defend the rights of all EU Member States and their clubs and supporters, and to keep politics out of sport.

Accepts that revenues from broadcasting rights are largely determined by the size of national broadcasting markets.

Rejects trade union, "supporters' trust" and EU rule over sport. Supporters back winning teams, not those with a good committee.

Opposes interference in FIFA and UEFA decision-making.

Supports insurance for national team players.

Opposes the flying of the EU flag and the playing of the EU anthem at football matches. There is no EU team. Switzerland will co-host Euro 2008.

Opposes EU involvement in club finances.

Supports improving education for young players outside EU jurisdiction.

Supports nations within Member States having their own team (e.g. Scotland).

Rejects the Independent European Sports Review.

Supports Member State cooperation to combat football violence, but categorically rejects EU jurisdiction as the EU has no competence over Justice and Home Affairs.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report contains a number of positive aspects, but we have some reservations regarding the final wording of some points.

We feel that it is necessary to take account of the approach to professional football. It is wrong to boil everything down to the context of organised competition, whereby the most important aspects of football are cast aside, namely the fact that it is a game and the fact that it contributes towards the development of children and young people in terms of their ability to think ahead, to use their imagination, to work with others and to express themselves, and in terms of knowledge and awareness of themselves and of others.

The artificial separation between professional and amateur sport (which emerges in some games, even competitive ones, in which the participants have different professions and occupations) undermines the rights that ought naturally to arise from the responsibilities inherent to professional football, with all of its clubs, the fans, the boards of directors, the sports associations, and the rules, regulations and structures. This is happening right now and while it carries on we must not bury our heads in the sand and pretend that everything is fine.

We must therefore strive to create the conditions, without paternalism, whereby professionals can defend their rights in an industry in which there are risks of major wear and tear to the body and of premature social exclusion.

 
  
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  Glyn Ford (PSE), in writing. I will be voting in favour of Mr Belet’s report which follows, I believe, the best interests of the game in Europe, backing broadly UEFA’s own views on the issue. I do this despite UEFA’s recent blatant discrimination against the country of Gibraltar which I represent. The last UEFA meeting rejected Gibraltar’s application for membership despite the fact its population is the same as San Marino – a long time UEFA member – and that the Dutch Antilles, a colony, participated in the Finals of the third world cup in 1938.

I also support the block sale of TV rights by national leagues to mitigate the growth of financial disparities between clubs, but not the block purchase of such rights which give a monopoly to a single broadcaster who exploits that monopoly to the detriment of the viewing public.

Equally, football cannot be exempted from European legislation to enable a limited number of clubs to increase their profits at the expense of the rest. Relaxation of rules must serve the public good not private profit.

 
  
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  Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) This report should not have been dealt with by the European Parliament at all. The issue concerned is one for the national football associations and the organisations with which they cooperate, as well as for each of the national parliaments.

We also object to the fact that the draft report refers, for example, to the draft European Constitution, which has already been rejected in two referendums in Europe. We object, moreover, to the proposals that a legal framework at EU level should be devised for football and that consideration should be given to introducing a European legal status for sports companies.

The June List is therefore voting against this report.

 
  
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  David Martin (PSE), in writing. I voted in favour of this report about the future of professional football. In particular I support the call on the Commission to clarify the legal status of football and I support the recommendation that efforts be made to assure greater transparency and good governance in the European professional football. For me the existence of a separate governing body for Scottish football – i.e. the Scottish Football Association – is important, and I support the Verts/ALE amendments to ensure that such independent governing bodies are maintained as they are without being incorporated into a UK-wide football association.

 
  
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  Eoin Ryan (UEN), in writing. I support the stance of UEFA’s former President Lars Olsen who commented that one of the greatest challenges facing professional football is that of players’ agents. Taking into account the recommendations of the recent Stevens report in the UK, I believe it is necessary for strict standards and criteria to be implemented for transactions carried out by players’ agents. The current system allows for dual representation and lacks financial transparency, particularly for transfers outside of Europe. Therefore the bottom line is that either UEFA regulates and amends the current situation, or the Commission will be called upon to present a directive on a common agents’ licensing system.

One of the main objectives of this report is to highlight ways of stimulating competitive balance in football. I believe that the Charleroi case currently before the European Court of Justice, if successful, will have a significant negative impact on the competitiveness of smaller international football associations in Europe. I am adamant that clubs should release their players for national duty without entitlement to compensation. Therefore I support the call upon to the Commission to back the development of a collective insurance system for players.

 
  
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  José Albino Silva Peneda (PPE-DE), in writing. (PT) Football is a universal passion, whether in the modern sophisticated metropolises of the West, in the Australian Outback, in the outer reaches of the Pacific, in tiny villages in Central Asia or in deepest Africa.

As well as a passion, football is one of the most powerful universal languages.

It is these characteristics – the passion and the universal language – that give football its strength and its extraordinary capacity to bring people together.

Football has enormous potential, which cannot be ignored, to channel this strength not only into a spectacle, and into its own legitimate economy but also into social causes, with equally universal scale and reach.

I endorse this report and would like to point out that although football’s governing bodies might have a legitimate wish to defend their own sports procedures, applying to the civil courts, even when not justified in sports terms, they cannot be penalised by disciplinary regulations.

I would therefore call on football’s governing body to review its statutes in order to seek a proper balance between, on the one hand, the legitimate right of all sport actors to appeal to the civil courts, and, on the other, the normal functioning of competitions.

 
  
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  Peter Skinner (PSE), in writing. There are many challenges facing professional football within the European Union. There is a need for greater transparency and democracy within the game’s governance structures. Support should be given to home-grown player systems. However, I believe we should recognise the autonomy of sport and its right to self-governance.

 
  
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  Jeffrey Titford (IND/DEM), in writing. UKIP does not accept that the EU has competence over sport and opposes this report as a whole in order to defend the rights of all EU Member States and their clubs and supporters, and to keep politics out of sport.

Accepts that revenues from broadcasting rights are largely determined by the size of national broadcasting markets.

Rejects trade union, "supporters' trust" and EU rule over sport. Supporters back winning teams, not those with a good committee.

Opposes interference in FIFA and UEFA decision-making.

Supports insurance for national team players.

Opposes the flying of the EU flag and the playing of the EU anthem at football matches. There is no EU team. Switzerland will co-host Euro 2008.

Opposes EU involvement in club finances.

Supports improving education for young players outside EU jurisdiction.

Supports nations within Member States having their own team (e.g. Scotland).

Rejects the Independent European Sports Review.

Supports Member State cooperation to combat football violence, but categorically rejects EU jurisdiction as the EU has no competence over Justice and Home Affairs.

 
  
  

Report: Tabajdi (A6-0037/2007)

 
  
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  Danutė Budreikaitė (ALDE). – (LT) When the EU was enlarged in 2004 with the admission of ten new Member States, discriminatory conditions were agreed in relation to implementation of the common agricultural policy (CAP). A transition period of nine years was applied to new Member States. The first year's aid amounted to only 25% of that received by the old Member States. This has had repercussions in the competitive environment between the new and old EU countries in the agricultural produce market.

The strongest message of the report was that the new countries have not had a negative effect on the agricultural produce of the old countries in the market. What of the effect on the new countries? Only Poland was mentioned – and the Commission is reluctant to come to grips with its problems.

Lithuania has lost its traditional flax market because of the CAP. Lithuania was obliged to reduce assistance to flax growers one-and-a-half times. Flax crop decreased twice.

The old Member States were given advantageous conditions for access to the produce markets of the new Member States. I think the report does not sufficiently reflect the actual situation, and therefore, I have voted against implementation of the CAP in the new Member States.

 
  
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  Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. (SV) We believe that the common agricultural policy should be abolished. It is absurd to induct new Member States into an out-of-date system and get them used to that system’s rules and subsidies. That being said, we are in favour of financial support for the EU’s new Member States. This must, however, be channelled towards neglected regions and directed at education, infrastructure and legal institutions.

 
  
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  Diamanto Manolakou (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (EL) When they integrated, the 10 new Member States had to abolish their export subsidies and duty on imports from the 15 Member States of the ΕU, opening up their markets to exports and investments by the ΕU of the 15. As a result, trade and industry in the ΕU of the 15 extended its markets and investments to the agricultural and food sector of the 10 new Member States.

The consequences are set out in the report, with future reductions in agricultural spending, which means masses of small- and medium-sized farms in the new Member States will go out of business. Of course, at the same time, subsidies to small- and medium-sized farms in the old Member States are being cut.

The winners therefore from enlargement are trade and industry, mainly in the old Member States, and the losers, perhaps to a different degree, are small- and medium-sized farms in both the new and the old Member States of the ΕU.

The report states that the number and role of cooperatives is inadequate in the new Member States and that there is a shortage of producers in the food-processing industry. It deliberately fails to mention that one of the basic preconditions to accession set by the ΕU for the former socialist countries was the closure of the cooperatives of producers which prevailed in the rural economy and the privatisation of state cooperative agricultural product processing industries, a precondition which directly serves the interests of trade and industry at the expense of small- and medium-sized farms and consumers.

That is why we voted against the proposal.

 
  
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  David Martin (PSE), in writing. I voted for the report which calls on the European Commission to take more account of the needs of the new Member States in its decisions on the common agriculture policy. The needs of new Member States range from major efforts to comply with Community health and hygiene rules to higher production costs. I believe the low level of direct aid received by these countries is creating unequal conditions of competition and I am glad that we are pushing the Commission to look into this.

 
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