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Utorok, 22. mája 2007 - Štrasburg Revidované vydanie

15. Hodina otázok (otázky pre Komisiu)

  Presidente. Segue-se o período de perguntas (B6-0018/2007).

Foram apresentadas as seguintes perguntas à Comissão.

Primeira parte


  Presidente. Pergunta nº 30 do Deputado David Martin (H-0301/07)

Assunto: Consequências negativas dos objectivos da UE no domínio dos biocombustíveis

83% da produção mundial de óleo de palma provém da Indonésia e da Malásia. Em parte como resposta à crescente procura de biocombustíveis pela UE, tanto a Indonésia como a Malásia procedem ao abate de grandes áreas de floresta - em muitos casos, florestas tropicais com elevado valor ambiental - para aí plantarem palmeiras para a produção de óleo de palma. Tem a Comissão conhecimento de que, segundo um recente relatório da ONU, 98% destas florestas poderá desaparecer até 2022? Está a Comissão ciente das consequências da desflorestação para a fauna local, como, por exemplo, para muitos orangotangos que acabam em centros de reabilitação, sendo pouca a esperança de libertação e regresso ao seu meio natural? De acordo com um grupo de pressão neerlandês, cerca de 50% do espaço para novas plantações é obtido mediante a seca e a queima de terrenos ricos em turfa, o que liberta enormes quantidades de dióxido de carbono.

Como pode a Comissão conciliar o objectivo da UE de reduzir em 20% as emissões de dióxido de carbono até 2020 com o possível aumento destas emissões na Indonésia e na Malásia (segundo o mesmo grupo de pressão, a Indonésia é o terceiro produtor mundial de CO2)? Quais são as intenções da Comissão no que se refere à introdução de um rótulo ecológico para os óleos de palma "sustentáveis"? Tenciona a Comissão examinar a possibilidade de proibir a importação de biocombustíveis para a UE?


  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. The Commission fully shares the Honourable Member’s concern about deforestation and peat land draining in South-East Asia. It is aware of the link with the fast-growing demand for palm oil. Production of palm oil is growing at about 9 % per year; more than 80 % of the production comes from Malaysia and Indonesia.

In deciding how to tackle this problem, it is essential to have a clear picture of the supply of and demand for palm oil. About 1% of the world’s biofuels came from Indonesian and Malaysian palm oil in 2006. The main use of palm oil today is in food and other non-energy sectors. Only 1% of palm oil production from Indonesia and Malaysia was used for biofuel production in 2006.

However, demand for bioenergy is likely to rise in the future, and not only in the European Union, and that leads to increased production of palm oil for biofuels. Having said that, the Commission is aware that, if nothing is done, the increasing demand for biofuel, linked to the proposed Community biofuel target for 2020, could create additional environmental pressures, which would be contrary to the sustainable approach supported by Parliament, the Commission and the Council.

Today, no mandatory certification exists that will guarantee that tropical rainforests or peat lands in South East Asia are not suffering from the production of palm oil, regardless of its use. Within the framework of its legislative proposal, the Commission will therefore include a biofuel sustainability scheme designed to ensure that the biofuel sector plays its part in tackling this issue.

The Commission is currently working on the design of this scheme. It aims to include measures to deter the conversion of both tropical forests and peat lands for biofuel production, as well as measures to deter the use of production methods that are inefficient in greenhouse gas terms. These measures will apply to domestically produced biofuels as well as imported biofuels. In view of the above, any attempt to deal comprehensively with the impact of oil palm cultivation on the environment would need to take into account oil palm production for all end users.

The Commission, the Council and Parliament have all expressed support for a balanced approach to biofuels in which domestic production and imports will both contribute to meeting the huge requirement, but production will be carried out on a sustainable basis.


  David Martin (PSE). – Thank you, Commissioner, for that reply. Do you accept that the objective of the biofuels policy of the European Union is to reduce global emissions, not just European Union emissions? My concern and the concern that lies behind this question is that if we only measure the emissions from biofuels in Europe and not the emissions involved in the production and shipping of those biofuels, we might not actually be contributing to the reduction in global emissions.

I am pleased to hear what the Commissioner said about the sustainability scheme. Will the Commission look at how we can distinguish between good and bad biofuels from the point of view of emissions?


  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. I definitely agree that our global scheme is to fight global emissions of CO2 and for this reason we are certainly looking at the carbon footprint of biofuels use.

At the same time, if the biofuels produced in one region would have to be transported to another region, we cannot artificially forbid this. For this reason, our scheme should include that the best biofuels are the more rewarded with the support and in this way it is a part of the scheme that will not encourage transporting palm oil to supply our market.

Additionally, I believe it is extremely important to understand that we need to work in parallel towards a way of protecting peat lands and rainforests. Because, whatever we do, we perhaps will be sustainable. There will be other regions that will just go for palm oil.

So, in the negotiations which are to start in Bali, we need to work towards a scheme for protecting the rainforests, as well as looking at how to encourage the planting of more forests on the Earth, not for palm oil for our transport, but for less CO2 emissions from transport as a whole.


  Danutė Budreikaitė (ALDE). – Pirmininke, gerbiamas Komisijos nary, aš norėjau pasiteirauti, kaip biodegalų gamyba, jos augimas gali paveikti maisto rinką. JAV kukurūzai, kurie naudojami biodegalams gaminti, yra žymiai brangesni už grūdus. Ar tolimoje perspektyvoje, pereidami prie tokio atsinaujinančio energijos šaltinio, mes neturėsime krizės maisto produktų rinkoje?


  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. It is a justified question. There is a lot of land in the European Union that is not being used. Therefore much of this land could be used for producing biomass, not only for biofuels but also for producing heat, for cooling or for producing electricity. A number of countries have a situation that is sustainable; they produce 12 % of their electricity from biomass. At the same time, they also produce biofuels. So there is potential for using that land. If I look at the second generation of biofuels, there is land that could be used for producing biofuels.

The Commission has calculated that the European Union could cover 14% of its needs, even if we do not import biofuels from other parts of the world.

Concerning the increase in the price of food products, this is influenced by many elements. You mentioned the example of maize. The price of corn is decided on the global market and it has been highly affected by the severe drought in Australia and the potential growth in the United States. There is some correlation if the farmer is given the choice of using his land for producing either biofuels or basic foodstuffs. But I believe the market will respond appropriately and, if our sustainability scheme that will encourage the production of biofuels with fewer CO2 emissions is put in place, there will be a balance in this market.

I have never said that we will be able to replace all the oil we use with biofuels. There is potential both in the European Union and globally, but it will never replace all the oil we use. At this stage I would say that it is not a question of food prices or the use of biofuels, because globally biofuels are used on a very small scale and they definitely have not had any impact at this stage on the price of foodstuffs.


  Reinhard Rack (PPE-DE). – Herr Kommissar, Sie haben zu Recht darauf hingewiesen, dass es durchaus Sinn macht, dafür zu sorgen, dass auf Brachland in Europa nun Pflanzen angebaut werden, aus denen man Treibstoffe gewinnen kann. Ein aktuelles Problem ergibt sich dabei bei der Produktion von Braugerste, weil die Förderung für die Produktion von Biokraftstoffen es für den Landwirt attraktiver macht, hier andere Produkte anzubauen. Somit hatten wir im eigenen Land, in der eigenen Wirtschaft Probleme, für einen nicht ganz unwichtigen Wirtschaftszweig – die Produktion von Bier – die entsprechenden Grundstoffe zu erzeugen.


  Andris Piebalgs, Mitglied der Kommission. Man könnte fragen, was wichtiger ist: Nahrung oder Energie? Als wir uns noch selbst mit Erdöl und Erdgas versorgen konnten, war die Situation eine andere. Heute müssen wir alles importieren. Wir wissen, dass auch global die Nachfrage nach Erdöl und Erdgas steigt. Und doch möchten wir das gleiche Niveau an Komfort halten. Das bedeutet, dass ein Teil unserer Bemühungen in die Produktion von Energie fließen muss. Wie gesagt: Zurzeit haben wir so viele Möglichkeiten und Reserven, dass wir all diese Möglichkeiten ausschöpfen müssen.

Doch müssen wir auch klug sein und nicht irgendetwas machen, wofür wir später teuer bezahlen müssen. Die Schemen, die wir entwickeln, bedeuten einen ersten Schritt. Wir haben alle Möglichkeiten, diese Schemen so zu gestalten, dass es für die Nahrungsmittelindustrie zu keinen großen Schwierigkeiten kommt.


  Presidente. Pergunta nº 31 da Deputada Danute Budreikaite (H-0303/07)

Assunto: Acordo entre os Estados-Membros da UE e a Rússia no domínio da energia

Com a publicação, pela Comissão, do 'pacote energético', em Janeiro de 2007, foi dado novo ímpeto aos esforços de alguns Estados-Membros no sentido de um abastecimento de recursos energéticos procedentes da Rússia mediante a conclusão de acordos bilaterais ou trilaterais com esse país.

A Rússia, a Grécia e Bulgária assinaram um acordo sobre um oleoduto que ligará o Mar Vermelho ao Mar Egeu. A respectiva construção deverá ter início em finais de 2007, devendo encontrar-se concluída em 2011.

A Hungria, conjuntamente com a empresa russa "Gazprom", procederá à construção do gasoduto "Energia Azul", que, partindo da Turquia, atravessará a Bulgária e a Roménia. Esse gasoduto seguirá o traçado previsto pela UE para o gasoduto "Nabucco". O novo acordo com a Rússia denomina-se "Acordo sobre a diversificação do abastecimento de gás".

Qual a posição da Comissão relativamente a uma tal diversificação do abastecimento energético, visto que o fornecedor é a mesma "Gazprom"? Qual o impacto eventual de tais acordos na execução da política comum da UE no domínio da energia?


  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. These are issues that we have discussed previously: how to supply the European Union with sufficient energy resources. As you know today 50% of our energy supplies are covered by imports and we know that in the future the percentage will be even higher. It could be 65%, with more than 80% of gas being imported and even more oil, with over 90% being imported.

For this reason we will continue to work with all traditional suppliers. For gas it is Russia which today provides 27.5% of our supplies. Oil is supplied by Norway at 14% and Algeria at 12.5%. For this reason, we are interested in strengthening ties with traditional suppliers and obtaining more supply routes. Supply routes that deliver gas and oil are exposed to danger. I would mention a recent explosion in the Ukrainian gas pipeline system. That certainly had an impact on transport but, because there were other ways of delivering gas, it did not affect the EU internal market. However, it is very clear that having more supply routes is more beneficial for consumers.

EU dependency on Russia should not be over-emphasised because it is clear that, with Russia having the biggest gas resources as well as being one of the countries with the biggest oil resources, it is natural that supplies from Russia are topping our import list. The Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline is in my opinion a very important project because it bypasses the Turkish Straits. In this way, it reduces first of all the possibility of an environmental disaster and secondly it is an additional supply route to channel oil that is produced north of the Caspian to European markets. So, for this reason, this project also got support from the Commission because it is an additional supply route and it does not increase our dependence on Russia.

At the same time it is very important to diversify; first because relying on one supplier gives the monopoly supplier a chance to dictate the price but also because it gives an opportunity to influence consumer choices. For this reason the European Union has actively diversified its supply. One of the areas where we have been getting supplies this year is the Caspian Sea and Shah-Deniz in Azerbaijan, where we have established very good cooperation from the countries surrounding Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

Nabucco will be the next project that will be implemented. Nabucco is a more ambitious project. It will take a bit more time but we are well on track to obtaining supplies from this source through the fourth potential gas supply corridor. At the same time we are also diversifying oil supplies because a project has also been announced from Samsun to Ceyhan, an additional oil supply project that again will bring oil from the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea region towards the European Union.

We are encouraging cooperation with these countries around the world because, even if there are three big suppliers to the gas market – Russia, Iran and Qatar – there are other suppliers who could increase supplies. Norway will increase supplies to the European Union in the next few years by close to 50%. The same is happening with Algeria, which will provide additional supplies and more and more LNG terminals are coming on-stream.

For this reason, I believe that we should continue to work with Russia. We should continue to buy energy resources because, for Russia, the EU is the best possible market because it is the closest market and mutual ties have existed for some time, but for security of supply it is important to diversify.

Additionally, I would like to stress two further elements because it is never the case that you can rely only on imports. It is important to develop energy sources inside the European Union, to be extremely energy-efficient and to build internal energy infrastructure whether it be pipelines or electricity transmission lines. The European Union is very active in all these areas, even if we always recognise that each country decides on its own energy mix. But, through the instruments of the internal market and through the instruments given us by European legislation, we are encouraging the use of local resources and being very energy-efficient.


  Danutė Budreikaitė (ALDE). – Gerbiamas Komisijos nary, dėkoju už atsakymą ir suteiktas viltis, kad mes visgi rasime ir kitų, alternatyvių energijos šaltinių, nes, kaip minima mano pateiktame klausime, ir, atsižvelgiant į dabartinę situaciją, akivaizdu, kad ir kokie bebūtų susitarimai, viename gale vamzdžio, bet kurio, ar naftos, ar dujų, yra Rusija. Lietuvai Rusija nustojo tiekti naftą, tą patį daro ir Latvijai. Todėl labai pasitikėti šiuo šaltiniu negalime. Tačiau prašyčiau, kad visi dėtume bendras pastangas siekdami greičiau įgyvendinti projektus dėl kitų, alternatyvių energijos šaltinių.


  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. Well, I always advise Member States to be active. I hope that they hear what you are saying and what I am saying because it is always important for Member States to cooperate among themselves and look for alternatives. Theoretically, if there is a need, the Baltic States could use one additional energy terminal.

But it is the governments that should decide how to diversify and how to cooperate and how to get interconnection. I am very glad that we have managed to interconnect the Baltic countries’ market with Finland. Now the big task is to achieve interconnection with Poland and in the future with the other Nordic countries. This would also eliminate the risk of a possible disruption of supply from one direction affecting the whole country.


  Paul Rübig (PPE-DE). – Herr Kommissar! Mich würde interessieren, wie im Bereich der Transeuropäische Netze (TEN) die finanzielle Unterstützung gesichert werden soll. Gibt es einen Terminplan, wann für diese TEN-Leitungen – wie z. B. Nabucco oder Bluestream – tatsächlich Mittel fließen, und könnten Sie sich vorstellen, dass der Zeitplan für die Überprüfung 2008 entsprechend vorbereitet wird?


  Andris Piebalgs, Mitglied der Kommission. Die Kommission wird in diesem Bereich nur teilweise unterstützend tätig, weil uns im Haushalt nicht so viele Mittel zur Verfügung stehen. Natürlich unterstützen wir die Gesellschaften und die Unternehmen, die dort Geld investieren können. Es ist eine wirtschaftlich sehr interessante Sache, in Energietransport zu investieren. Zurzeit kann ich sagen, dass der Zeitplan für Nabucco mit 2012 festgelegt ist. Die Kommission hat bereits eine begrenzte finanzielle Unterstützung geleistet, aber auch die politische Unterstützung ist wichtig. Der Koordinator für dieses Projekt wird in den nächsten Monaten bekannt gegeben, natürlich in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Europäischen Parlament.

Ich glaube, dass wir nach der Annahme des Energiepakets die Möglichkeit haben, zu dieser Frage zurückzukommen, wenn die Haushaltsperspektive diskutiert wird. Meiner Meinung nach gibt es auch die Notwendigkeit, mehr Mittel für Transeuropäische Energienetzwerke zu reservieren, weil es Richtungen gibt, die strategisch wichtig und gleichzeitig für die Wirtschaft nicht so profitabel sind. Deshalb brauchen wir mehr Geld. Aber wir haben noch Zeit, all das zu analysieren und einen Vorschlag vorzubereiten.


  Justas Vincas Paleckis (PSE). – Thank you for your answers, Commissioner, they are really impressive.

I would like to ask you whether the Commission has noticed that Russia has never created difficulties as regards supplying ‘old’ EU Member States with oil and gas, whereas with Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary and other new EU Member States, there have been many difficulties. What do you think about these first- and second-class forms of treatment?


  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. There are two explanations for this. First of all, sometimes new Member States’ policies have not been very clear as regards diversification; at least some of the new Member States have not tried to encourage as much diversification as could be possible, thereby becoming more dependent on one supplier, Russia.

Secondly, I do not think that Russia does this on purpose; it is just because those countries are the first in line whenever supplies are disrupted and, as they are more exposed than older Member States in terms of diversification of supply, they are affected more. Member States should do much more and invest more in the diversification of the energy mix, of supply routes and of suppliers.

Furthermore, when the infrastructure is affected, those countries are the first to have a problem because the historical networks were constructed precisely to connect Russia, as a supplier, with those countries, as consumers. That is why this perception exists, but I would repeat that diversification is the key to avoiding this state of affairs, and every country should embark on diversification in order to minimise any problem that may arise in the transport of supplies. I believe also that the suppliers would then take more care to deliver in the best possible time and to repair the networks as soon as possible if any leaks occur.


Segunda parte


  Presidente. Pergunta nº 33 do Deputado Claude Moraes (H-0298/07)

Assunto: Sítios Web de incitamento ao ódio

Qual é o ponto de vista da Comissão sobre a proliferação de sítios Web que incitam ao ódio, com destaque para os sítios que promovem e incitam ao ódio racista, anti-semita e anti-roma, nalguns casos com indicação de nomes e pormenores de contacto relativos a activistas que poderão, desse modo, ser escolhidos como alvo?

Tem a Comissão conhecimento de iniciativas parlamentares, no Reino Unido e noutros países, para resolver o problema desse tipo de sítios Web? A Comissão propõe algumas iniciativas semelhantes?


  Franco Frattini, Vice-President of the Commission. Racist and xenophobic violence and hate speech are a very sad reality all around Europe. According to the 2006 annual report of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, the majority of Member States have recorded an increase in racist violence and other racist crimes over the past few years.

The Commission has always rejected and condemned in the strongest possible terms all manifestations and expressions of racism, regardless of their source and form of manifestation. A measure to fight racist speech is perfectly compatible with freedom of expression if – and only if – it respects Article 10(2) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

I would be the first to admit that defining the border between safeguarding freedom of expression and defining racist speech as a penal crime is not an easy task and that it requires careful consideration. However, I am convinced that there is no contradiction in simultaneously protecting people against racist speech and making sure that freedom of expression remains one of the key pillars upon which our societies are founded.

This is the spirit in which the Council reached a political agreement on 20 April 2007 on a framework decision aimed at ensuring that racism and xenophobia are punishable in all Member States by effective, proportionate criminal penalties. This framework decision requires Member States to criminalise intentional conduct, such as public incitement to violence or hate towards a group of people or persons belonging to a group defined on the basis of race.

Incitement to violence or hatred will also have to be made punishable throughout the EU if committed by public dissemination or distribution of pictures. Distribution in this context means disseminating action by any means of transmission, including through websites.

I am not aware of any parliamentary action in the UK or in other Member States to tackle those websites. However, the framework decision is expected to lead to the adoption of new legislation, at least in certain Member States, to address racist crimes, including those committed via the internet.


  Claude Moraes (PSE). – Commissioner, your answer clearly reflects the efforts that you put into the framework decision on racist crimes and you are clearly saying that that this kind of cybercrime has hit websites which, if they were in the printed word, would be deeply offensive to everyone in this House. Now that they are on the web they are equally as offensive. Do you feel the framework decision will do the job adequately or do you feel that the cybercrime communication, which again is current, may be a way forward or do you believe it is just a question of asking Member States to implement adequate laws which will cope with an accelerating rise in the most offensive sites which excite racial hatred and violence based on difference?


  Franco Frattini, Vicepresidente della Commissione. Signor Presidente, onorevoli deputati, a mio parere questa decisione quadro è adeguata. L'abbiamo adottata dopo cinque anni di discussioni politiche e secondo me oggi la vigilanza dovrà essere sugli Stati membri affinché la traspongano in modo integrale e rapido e, soprattutto, affinché la pratica applicazione di queste regole sia effettiva. Oggi la Commissione ha adottato una comunicazione generale sui reati cibernetici la quale sottolinea la necessità di una rete europea tra tutte le autorità di polizia per accertare se internet, questa straordinaria e positiva rivoluzione, venga utilizzato, come purtroppo accade, da criminali. Abbiamo infatti osservato che i crimini razzisti e l'incitamento alla violenza sono in crescita in Europa.


  Andreas Mölzer (ITS). – Herr Kommissar, ein weiterer, meines Erachtens nicht zu vernachlässigender Aspekt in dieser Frage ist die Vielzahl der von fundamentalistischen Moslems betriebenen antiwestlichen Propaganda- und Hassseiten im Internet, auf denen zum Kampf gegen die westliche Welt und deren Ideale aufgerufen wird. Ist sich die Kommission dieser Aktivitäten bewusst und gibt es Maßnahmen, auch hier gegenzusteuern?


  Franco Frattini, vice-président de la Commission. Cet aspect sera au cœur de la discussion qui va avoir lieu dans deux jours, cette semaine donc, au sein du G8, où l'Union européenne et les autres partenaires vont, précisément, aborder la question de l'incitation à la violence et au terrorisme sur le Web et les sites Internet. La piste que je propose d'explorer consiste à criminaliser les comportements de ceux qui incitent concrètement à des activités criminelles terroristes et qui exploitent le réseau à cette fin. Ma proposition va être présentée au Conseil de ministres d'ici quelques mois.


  Hubert Pirker (PPE-DE). – Herr Vizepräsident der Kommission! Ich habe eine Frage, die sich auf das Internet und indirekt auf den Terrorismus bezieht. Als Maßnahme gegen Terrorismus wurde die Richtlinie zur Vorratsdatenspeicherung erlassen.

Ist es richtig, dass Wertkarten-Handys, Webmail-Betreiber, wie etwa Hotmail oder auch private Server davon nicht erfasst werden können? Damit ist ein relativ großer Kreis beschrieben, den auch terroristische Netzwerke nutzen könnten, um diese Erfassung zu umgehen. Worin liegt jetzt der konkrete Mehrwert dieser Richtlinie zur Vorratsdatenspeicherung?


  Franco Frattini, Vicepresidente della Commissione . Signor Presidente, onorevoli deputati, il valore aggiunto di questa direttiva è quello di permettere la registrazione, non il contenuto, della telefonata, solo il fatto che una telefonata è avvenuta da un certo posto, ad una certa ora, da un certo telefono. Questo come tutti sanno, è stato utile per l'individuazione concreta del movimento di alcuni criminali e di alcuni sospetti terroristi.

Ovviamente con le tecnologie dobbiamo riuscire a individuare anche coloro che si servono di tecnologie più avanzate, cioè provider privati o a esempio schede SIM che non sono state formalmente registrate. Ma questa è una questione di tecnologia. Nella comunicazione di oggi sui reati cibernetici propongo una conferenza europea con il settore privato e con l'industria che si terrà a novembre, a Bruxelles, nella quale si farà il punto proprio sulle tecnologie applicate alla sicurezza per proteggere l'uso corretto della rete internet.


  Presidente. Pergunta nº 34 da Deputada Glenis Willmott (H-0300/07)

Assunto: Linha telefónica de emergência a nível da UE para vítimas de prostituição forçada

Na sequência das pressões exercidas pelo Parlamento Europeu em Junho de 2006, o Comissário responsável pela Justiça, Liberdade e Segurança referiu-se a planos de criação de uma linha telefónica (multilingue) de emergência a nível da UE para vítimas de prostituição forçada. A referida linha teria por objectivo fornecer uma primeira ajuda às vítimas de tráfico, permitindo-lhes falar com um interlocutor imparcial e encorajando-as, por essa importante via, a procurar aconselhamento e apoio. Como obstáculo à criação dessa linha foi referida a dificuldade em conseguir um acordo entre todas as companhias telefónicas dos então 25 Estados-Membros.

Que medidas adoptou a Comissão para tornar essa linha de emergência uma realidade e que progressos foram eventualmente conseguidos para obter a participação das companhias telefónicas nesse projecto?


  Franco Frattini, Vice-President of the Commission. As you know the Commission and I personally are committed to fully implementing the European action plan against trafficking in human beings which I proposed here at the beginning of 2006 and which this Parliament endorsed. This action covers the protection of victims of trafficking. Its implementation requires close cooperation between Member States, institutions and civil society organisations. The action plan should be regarded as a long-term programme which will guide continuous EU action in the near future and in any case far beyond summer 2007.

I consider free telephone helplines as a valuable mechanism, offering advice to victims in need. They are particularly useful to spread confidence. I am committed to setting up without any delay a hotline for victims and those vulnerable to trafficking, covering all Member States in the European Union. You may know perhaps that on 15 February 2007 we adopted, as a Commission, a decision which requires Member States to reserve a range of six-digit national telephone numbers for single freephone numbers all beginning with 116 for services with social values. One of the many subjects to be covered could be telephone hotlines for victims of trafficking in human beings.

The above decision has already reserved the number 116000 for hotlines to report missing children. I will discuss the latter project in more detail at a Conference on an International Day for Missing Children which will be held in Brussels on 25 May, and at the Conference on the Rights of the Child, to be held in Berlin on 4 June 2007. ‘116’ numbers can be compared with the emergency number 112 in that they will give access to national or local organisations providing the service in question in the Member State in which the call was placed.

We have launched a public consultation for identifying other services which would benefit from single European freephone numbers. This consultation was open for proposals until 20 May. This is expected to lead to other numbers being reserved for other services later in the year. Making them operational, allowing for citizens to be able to call these numbers, will then be the task of Member States, their telecom regulatory authorities and telephone operators.

The reservation of a common number and the creation of a network of hotlines is the first practical step to support victims. In addition to setting up a network of hotlines we seek to improve the assistance to victims of trafficking by other means too. My firm commitment to the issue is confirmed by the fact that the 2007 budget establishing a specific programme to fight against crime foresees four projects in the field of prevention and fight against crime in specific areas, including trafficking. We are also supporting the creation of a European anti-trafficking day, which aims to increase the visibility of the problem connected with trafficking. The initiative will take place on 18 October this year. We are highly committed to raising awareness and reinforcing policy means in order to provide quality services for those in need of assistance.


  Glenis Willmott (PSE). – Thank you for that very comprehensive answer, Commissioner, but you give your opinion on whether you feel that the EU’s efforts to tackle forced prostitution during the World Cup in Germany were successful, and what lessons can be learnt from this experience for future international sporting events held in Europe, such as the 2012 Olympic Games which are to be held in London?


  Franco Frattini, Vicepresidente della Commissione. Posso dirle che abbiamo completato una valutazione dei risultati della cooperazione di polizia durante i mondiali di calcio in Germania, renderemo pubbliche le conclusioni e poi ci sarà un dibattito, il quale, secondo me, dovrà coinvolgere pienamente il Parlamento europeo.

Consideriamo l'esperienza dei mondiali in Germania un caso di scuola positivo. Probabilmente siamo riusciti a prevenire il trasporto verso il territorio europeo di alcune migliaia di giovani ragazze destinate alla prostituzione. Abbiamo avuto una cooperazione con 12 paesi membri dell'Unione europea. La Germania e la polizia tedesca hanno svolto un lavoro eccellente. Abbiamo offerto le conclusioni che renderemo pubbliche come contributo per gli altri eventi sportivi futuri in Europa. Posso dirvi che esiste un'interessante attenzione della Repubblica popolare cinese in relazione allo svolgimento dei giochi olimpici di Pechino 2008. In altri termini è un'esperienza giudicata utile come modello.


  Richard Seeber (PPE-DE). – Herr Kommissar! Ich halte das für eine ausgezeichnete Initiative, aber wie machen wir den Opfern klar, dass sie diese Nummer nutzen können? Hat die Kommission die für die Verbreitung dieser Information erforderlichen Mittel eingeplant? Wie stellen Sie sicher, dass es in der Praxis wirklich funktioniert? Bei den Opfern, z. B. jungen Frauen aus Russland, handelt es sich ja zumeist um Personen, die keine EU-Sprache sprechen. Wie stellen Sie in der Praxis sicher, dass diese Hotlines auch funktionieren – meist besteht ja sehr starker Zeitverzug – und man nicht in eine Warteschleife geschaltet wird und vielleicht erst nach einer halben Stunde eine passende Antwort bekommt?


  Franco Frattini, Vicepresidente della Commissione. Certamente abbiamo affrontato ed esaminato questo problema operativo: il primo numero, precisamente il 116000, sarà destinato ai bambini. Lo renderemo noto con una pubblicità in tutte le sedi: nelle scuole, negli aeroporti, nelle stazioni, con la diffusione di pubblicazioni che spiegheranno in modo estremamente semplice che esiste un numero e chi risponde a quel numero non parlerà solo la lingua del paese dove la telefonata viene fatta. Stiamo estendendo progressivamente la possibilità, prevista anche dal contratto dei concessionari che svolgeranno il servizio, che si parlino almeno tutte le lingue ufficiali dell'Unione europea. Ovviamente dobbiamo pensare anche a lingue come quella russa. Per ora, come prima fase, l'aggiudicazione della concezione avverrà prima delle ferie estive, cosicché questo telefono possa essere consultato fisicamente e avvieremo una pubblicità massiccia. La stessa cosa faremo quando gli altri numeri, diversi dal 116000, verranno attribuiti con determinate priorità, tra cui sicuramente quella delle vittime della prostituzione forzata.


  Justas Vincas Paleckis (PSE). – Pirmininke, gerbiamas Komisijos nary, jūs tikrai pristatėte išsamią kovos su nusikalstamumu programą, kalbėjote apie kelias ypatingas telefono linijas – „hotline“. Aš norėčiau paklausti, ar tų linijų gausa nesukels tam tikros painiavos? Ir ar, sakykim, paskambinusios „112“, galės prašyti pagalbos priverstinės prekybos žmonėmis aukos?


  Franco Frattini, Vice-President of the Commission. This special number, 116000 for example, will replace all the national hotlines, so there will be only one number. In my country there is now one number and in France there is another one. In the near future there will be only the number 116000 for missing children, and so on. All these special European numbers will replace national numbers, of course.


  Arlene McCarthy (PSE). – Mr President, on a point of order, I have to object to the way the questions are being handled. Members take the time to draft questions, submit them six to eight weeks in advance, and then you do not take those questions because you give the floor to other Members who wander in, look at the list and may have a fleeting interest in the question. You have taken up time with two questioners or people who have not taken the time to question the Commissioner properly. I object to that on the basis that I have taken the time to draft proper questions and I would like an answer from the Commissioner so that I can also follow up with the press on those issues.

In future Members will not want to table questions if this is the way you intend to conduct Question Time.


  Presidente. Senhora Deputada, a sua questão é pertinente, mas eu estou apenas a cumprir o Regimento.

Por não se encontrar presente o Deputado Marc Tarabella, a pergunta nº 38 caduca.


  Presidente. Pergunta nº 39 do Deputado Marco Cappato (H-0289/07)

Assunto: Acesso à comunicação para as pessoas com deficiência

Que iniciativas está a Comissão a lançar ou tenciona promover para facilitar o acesso das pessoas com deficiência aos instrumentos de comunicação, com especial referência ao acesso à rede de banda larga, aos SMS, a chamadas vídeo a preços adequados para pessoas surdas, à legendagem das transmissões televisivas a partir das transmissões de serviço público e de informação política e eleitoral, e a adopção gratuita da assinatura digital?


  Viviane Reding, Member of the Commission. In answer to the Honourable Member's question, I should like to say that the European Union’s strategy in terms of people with disabilities has been laid down in the Disability Action Plan of 2003-2010, where access to ICT is a priority. You might also know that one of the pillars of the i2010 Action Plan is inclusion. On that basis, the Commission adopted a communication on e-accessibility in 2005 and a communication on e-inclusion is in preparation for the end of 2007 and in this text there will be a proposal for new actions when appropriate.

We are not only working on concrete actions in that way, we are also encouraging our research efforts in the direction of developing new methodologies and new services for the disabled. We also have the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme – the CIP – which supports our ICT policy with pilot projects and so on and so forth. Several actions are proposed on e-accessibility and on something that will become very important in the future – ICT for the elderly. Very often they are the people, because there are people with disabilities and very often the elderly have those disabilities too and they represent a very high future percentage of our population. That is why ICT for the elderly for ambient living will become one of the strong elements of our future policies, not only in theory but also in research and in practical implementation.

We are also supporting standardisation on e-accessibility. For instance, we have taken an initiative to harmonise at EU level the accessibility requirements for public procurement in the ICT domain through an EU standard, because we believe that common standards can facilitate the development of accessible ICT products by the industry, leading to more uptake which also means to lower prices. Therefore the one is linked to the other.

There are also some vertical issues. In June 2006 we will propose strengthening the right of disabled users to access emergency services and introducing a Community mechanism to address e-accessibility issues. We will have an opportunity to discuss those problems with Parliament when together we will try to find a solution for the universal service. There will be a public consultation on the scope by the end of 2007 or the beginning of 2008 – I do not know yet exactly when – but that will be the time for Parliament and our main stakeholders to come forward with proposals to see what we are going to do with the universal service.

A very concrete problem should be solved the day after tomorrow, because then the Council is going to accept the European Parliament’s amendment at its meeting concerning the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. Parliament introduced an amendment on subtitling, improving accessibility for people with disabilities to audiovisual media services. I hope the Council will accept this and then the new policy will go also in this direction.

The question of digital signatures will gain in importance as secure electronic communications are developing between commercial and public service providers and users. The Commission will look at this issue in the follow-up to the European Electronic Signatures Directive and the e-government Action Plan, also bearing in mind people with disabilities.

I can just tell you in a very personal way that the various presidencies of the European Union have all held a congress or an exhibition – something official and public – to show how the results of the research have been put into practice. I have always thought that this was a very good example to be taken up in our e-government activities, which are there to be proposed by the Commission and the European Union, but they have to be implemented by local governments most of all and by regional and national governments. I have seen the enthusiasm with which regional and local governments in particular have taken up the results of our work to provide practical help for the disabled people living in their region.


  Marco Cappato (ALDE). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, ringrazio il Commissario per la risposta molto dettagliata e sistematica delle politiche in atto. Vorrei in particolare ringraziare per il collegamento fatto, nei termini in cui intendevo farlo io, sulla questione del rapporto stretto tra le tecnologie per aiutare le persone disabili e quelle che invece possono aiutare le persone anziane.

Vista la tendenza demografica europea, con una popolazione che invecchia sempre di più, come media, la rivoluzione tecnologica può dare risposte di un'ampiezza sociale enorme. L'ultimo punto, che volevo portare alla sua attenzione è che per alcune persone completamente immobili e in grado di parlare magari soltanto con il movimento degli occhi simili tecnologie sono non solo un problema, un aiuto, sono un modo per realizzare un diritto civile fondamentale, la libertà di espressione.


  Viviane Reding, Member of the Commission. There are many technologies and many techniques that can be utilised in order to help in this respect. I really believe that the ageing of the population will first need a response from us on the societal level, but this response on the societal level is also an opportunity for the European industry, because if our industry gets the societal response from the policymakers, from those who are responsible in areas, in regions, in countries and at European level, then they can start to market systems, services and items for the elderly. I believe that this will not only help our society but also our economy.

So this is a turning point. It is also a question of growth and jobs, because, if we get it right, we can export systems on the societal level, as well as commercial items and services, outside of Europe. So I really believe that all those elements are working closely together for the betterment of our society and of our economy.


  Presidente. Pergunta nº 40 do Deputado Georgios Papastamkos (H-0296/07)

Assunto: Separação nos mercados de telecomunicações electrónicas

Num discurso recentemente pronunciado em Bruxelas, a Comissária Reding defendeu que o sector das telecomunicações na UE deve seguir o método europeu de separação entre as infra-estruturas e os serviços para que haja uma verdadeira concorrência no sector das infra-estruturas terrestres. Como instrumento principal para o legislador nacional propõe a "separação jurídica entre as infra-estruturas de rede a os níveis dos serviços". No entanto, a Comissária não exclui até a total separação operacional para os mercados das telecomunicações electrónicas.

Poderá a Comissão aprofundar um pouco mais o que entende por "método europeu"? Considera que o Organismo de Telecomunicações da Grécia se integra na categoria a que poderia ser aplicada a separação total?


  Viviane Reding, Member of the Commission. The honourable Member asked me what I mean by the expression ‘our European way of separation’. We currently have a framework for telecoms that provide regulatory tools or remedies to the NRAs in cases where markets are not competitive, and in its review of the framework the Commission will be looking at ways of strengthening the single market for telecom services.

One possible innovation is to work more closely on remedies, because remedies are sometimes either not applied or not applied swiftly, which is the same problem. We have also analysed that one possible tool as a remedy could be functional separation, which means separating the network business of a dominant market player from the part of the business that provides a service to the end customers.

This functional separation can provide the right incentive to providers of network services not to discriminate between customers for wholesale services. This can in turn mean that the conditions for real competition in the telecom markets are improved.

So we are not speaking here about forcing dominant players to sell off part of their businesses, as has happened in other parts of the world – for example in the United States with AT&T. We would not like to go in that direction, and that is why I am talking about ‘the European way’. It would then be for each national regulator to assess the condition in its own Member State before considering such a remedy. This has already been done in Britain with Openreach, so that is one example which we have in that case.

The honourable Member also asked about Greece. In the case of Greece it would then be the Greek regulator, on the basis of national law in line with the updated EU framework, to take account of competitive conditions and all other relevant factors in the Greek market, and then to propose – or not – such a remedy if he thought it to be necessary and in the interests of the Greek market.


  Γεώργιος Παπαστάμκος (PPE-DE). – Ευχαριστώ την κυρία Επίτροπο για την απάντησή της. Έχω όμως την αίσθηση ότι, στην πράξη, έχουμε 27 διαφορετικά ρυθμιστικά συστήματα στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση. Σε ό,τι αφορά τις ηλεκτρονικές επικοινωνίες, απέχουμε πολύ από το να μιλούμε για μια πραγματική εσωτερική αγορά.

Εσείς ασφαλώς κάνετε πολύ μεγάλη προσπάθεια στον τομέα αυτό. Η ρυθμιστική αυτή αβεβαιότητα ή, να το θέσω διαφορετικά, η πολυδιάσπαση προκαλεί αβεβαιότητες για επενδύσεις, προκαλεί αβεβαιότητες στον ανταγωνισμό, αβεβαιότητες στην καινοτομία και, βεβαίως, δημιουργεί ελάχιστες θέσεις εργασίας.

Το ερώτημά μου είναι: μπορούμε να μιλούμε για μια ευρωπαϊκή βιομηχανία τηλεπικοινωνιών χωρίς μια πανευρωπαϊκή ρυθμιστική συνοχή;


  Viviane Reding, Member of the Commission. The honourable Member is absolutely right. For the time being we do not have a European market for telecoms. I think that has to be changed, because the only way for Europe to stay strong in matters of telecommunications – and Europe is strong, we are really one of the leading forces on the world market in this – is to get rid of 27 sometimes conflicting regulatory systems and come to one system which makes sense and which will also permit cross-border services and investments to take place, and enable us to have big European players which will work across several countries. So we are now working towards opening the market for international roaming. Parliament is going to decide on that tomorrow, and that is always a sign to show where we want to go in the future.

I will certainly come forward with a proposal for the reform of the e-communications package in order to get this European market to function, not to get rid of the national regulators – I think that we still need them because they know their market best – but in order to get not harmonisation, but logic in the remedies which they propose and which have to be applied swiftly so that there is a level playing field between the different markets and so that the cross-border activities of the industries can take place without being blocked by a lack of market opening in other markets.


  Presidente. Pergunta nº 41 da Deputada Katerina Batzeli (H-0310/07)

Assunto: Quadro europeu para uma utilização mais segura dos telefones móveis pelas crianças e adolescentes

A entrada em vigor do Quadro europeu para uma utilização mais segura dos telefones móveis pelas crianças e adolescentes, adoptado a 6 de Fevereiro pelas principais empresas do sector na UE, é saudada como um primeiro passo importante para garantir a protecção dos menores contra certos riscos decorrentes da utilização de telefones móveis; considera-se mesmo que esta política deve ser integrada na Comunicação da Comissão "Rumo a uma estratégia da UE sobre os direitos da criança" (COM(2006)0367 final).

Que meios considera a Comissão apropriados para a aplicação deste quadro a nível nacional de modo a garantir a sua aplicação e controlo efectivos por parte dos pais, professores e responsáveis pelos menores? Dado que este quadro europeu é um código de auto regulamentação das empresas europeias, de que modo irá a Comissão participar na supervisão da sua correcta aplicação nos Estados-Membros e avaliar a sua eficácia? Quais as competências das autoridades nacionais de regulamentação no que diz respeito à elaboração dos códigos nacionais de auto regulamentação, o mais tardar até Fevereiro de 2008, e à supervisão da sua aplicação? Considera a Comissão oportuna a adopção futura de uma iniciativa legislativa comunitária vinculativa para os Estados-Membros e as empresas, dado que a auto regulação por si só não pode ser suficiente?


  Viviane Reding, Member of the Commission. I think that, if I have heard correctly, this question has already been partially answered by my colleague Mr Frattini who also spoke on this subject. The fact that he partially answered this question clearly shows that it is the Commission as a whole that is worried about the development of our society and the Commission as a whole that takes measures to move ahead in this area.

On 6 February this year, 15 leading European mobile operators and content providers united to sign a European framework for safer mobile use by younger teenagers. That is a voluntary agreement; it is a memorandum of understanding whereby the mobile industry, together with the GSM Association of Europe, agrees to monitor, publish and translate codes on their website, both those which already exist and those which will be adopted. These self-regulatory codes will then, for instance, help parents or grandparents or educators to understand what the problems for children using third-generation mobile phones might be. This agreement came out of the discussion in a high-level group that I convened, which included children’s organisations, consumer organisations and bodies for content classification, as well as regulatory bodies. The memorandum of understanding sets out a number of principles and requires signatories to work towards implementation through self-regulation at national level.

When we signed this together and we held a press conference, I said that I had confidence in the signatories. I will give them one year, until February or March next year, in order to implement that. Then we will come back to the subject and we will see if they have implemented it. If they implement it – fine – then maybe we will have discussions about possible corrections or future projects. If our expectations are not met, the Commission will then consider the introduction of specific measures.


  Κατερίνα Μπατζελή (PSE). – Ευχαριστώ πολύ την Επίτροπο για την απάντηση. Ουδείς εδώ αμφισβητεί για τον ρόλο της Επιτροπής στο σημαντικό αυτό θέμα. Θα ήθελα να υποβάλω στην Επίτροπο δύο ερωτήσεις, περισσότερο για διευκόλυνση της συζήτησης. Θεωρώ ότι πρόκειται για ένα εθελοντικό μνημόνιο – όπως ανέφερε η ίδια – και αναμένεται μία αυτορρύθμιση του τομέα. Θα έλεγα λοιπόν ότι η Επιτροπή θα πρέπει στην ουσία να ξέρει τί θα αξιολογήσει μετά τον Φεβρουάριο του 2008:

Θα προτρέψει δηλαδή τα κράτη μέλη να προχωρήσουν σε ορισμένους κοινούς κώδικες για να μπορούν να παρακολουθούν το θέμα αυτό; Θα κωδικοποιήσει και θα αναλύσει τις βέλτιστες πρακτικές κατά κράτος μέλος;

Τέλος, ποια είναι η επικοινωνιακή πολιτική προς τους γονείς οι οποίοι έχουν αμάθεια σ’ αυτόν τον τομέα και ποια κοινοτικά προγράμματα μπορούν να χρησιμοποιηθούν προς ενημέρωσή τους;


  Viviane Reding, Member of the Commission. Thanks to the preparatory work it has done, the Commission has brought the mobile operators to take this initiative because the mobile operators understood very well that the Commission would not stand still and not do anything.

We had seen in our recent surveys that there are many children who use mobile phones – in fact the majority of children over 12 years old. Most of all, camera phones and the location services can be a problem; for instance in the UK 10% of respondents say they had an unpleasant image taken of them, 17% of the kids feared that the image was posted online and forwarded to others, and 14% had experienced cyber-bulling. In Save the Children Finland’s survey, 30% of 7 to 15 year olds had experienced bullying through their mobile phones.

So we know that there is a problem, but this does not mean that we have to push the parents now into saying ‘no more mobile phones for our kids’. That would be the wrong reaction. That is why it is so important that for instance the access for control for adult content should be available and that there be awareness-raising campaigns for parents and grandparents – who often buy mobile phones for their grandchildren – and for the children themselves.

It is important that the classification of commercial content according to national standards of decency and appropriateness is taking place, and that, as Commissioner Frattini has explained, the fight against illegal content on mobiles is really carried out. We decided no later than today in the Commission to establish this fight against illegal content. What we are speaking about here is not the illegal content as such, it is the dangers which can occur for children, and here the awareness-raising campaigns are the most important. We will monitor what is happening in that field, and we will monitor what the signatories of this memorandum of understanding have agreed upon. I have the European framework for safer mobile use by younger teenagers and children with me; I can hand it over to the Member and then she can see if this is taking place in her country, for instance, and I would be very grateful if she would inform me about that.


  Presidente. Pergunta nº 43 do Deputado Bernd Posselt (H-0288/07)

Assunto: Situação na Voivodina

Nos últimos anos, ocorreram reiteradamente na Voivodina ataques brutais contra membros de minorias, tendo-se procedido sistematicamente à instalação de refugiados sérvios em povoações cujos residentes pertencem a minorias, a fim de as tornar maioritariamente sérvias. Por outro lado, existiram verbas da UE que não chegaram aos respectivos destinatários, por exemplo, para a formação de professores de línguas minoritárias.

Poderia a Comissão indicar se foi posto cobro a estes abusos e que análise faz, em termos globais, da evolução na Voivodina?


  Olli Rehn, Member of the Commission. The Commission has been monitoring the situation in Vojvodina very closely. We have urged the authorities to tackle inter-ethnic incidents promptly. We have encouraged the authorities to promote good inter-ethnic relations and to preserve Vojvodina’s multi-ethnic and multicultural model.

As noted in the November 2006 progress report on Serbia, the inter-ethnic situation in Vojvodina has improved. There has been a decrease in the number of incidents. No significant incident has been reported in the first few months of 2007. The authorities have taken a number of measures concerning the official use of minority languages and scripts as well as the representation of minorities in the judiciary and police.

Improvements have also been recorded concerning education. The importation of Albanian- and Hungarian-language text books for use in Vojvodina has been approved. A Hungarian-language teacher-training faculty has been set up in Subotica, which has been operational since October last year. These measures obviously need to be further developed and complemented.

We have noted, however, that there has been no progress in the adoption of new legislation on the national councils for the minority groups, and problems persist in the area of information in minority languages. Therefore, we have requested that the Serbian authorities take further effective action on these matters.


  Bernd Posselt (PPE-DE). – Herr Kommissar, ich hätte zwei Fragen. Zum einen: Wie sieht es mit den leider stattfindenden systematischen Ansiedlungen von serbischen Flüchtlingen aus Bosnien und auch aus dem Kosovo aus, die die ethnische Zusammensetzung des Gebiets sehr verändern, etwa in der großen ungarischen Gemeinde Temerin bei Novi Sad? Die zweite Frage: Was ist mit den Lehrerbildungsanstalten, die mit EU-Mitteln für die Rumänen, Slowaken und Ruthenen eingerichtet werden sollten, was jedoch ins Stocken geraten ist? Sind die inzwischen eingerichtet?


  Olli Rehn, Member of the Commission. As regards Mr Posselt’s supplementary question concerning EU assistance to Vojvodina and its relation to minority rights, while it is not possible to extrapolate exactly the total amount of aid given to the autonomous province of Vojvodina, the territory has received significant EU assistance, which has been directed to those needs to which Mr Posselt referred.

We have based our economic assistance on the following considerations: history, i.e. post-war reconstruction, notably as regards the Sloboda Bridge; geography, through integrated border management; and the economy.

Vojvodina is a relatively wealthy area compared with other areas of Serbia. Therefore, even though it occupies 25 % of the area of the republic and has 20 % of the population, Vojvodina has absorbed 36 % of the credit line that the EU has earmarked for SMEs.

All in all, it is clear that we are using this economic assistance for the purposes to which Mr Posselt referred, and I can assure him that this money is well used for the protection of minorities and their rights.


  Reinhard Rack (PPE-DE). – Herr Kommissar, Sie haben zu Recht darauf hingewiesen, dass sehr viel EU-Fördergelder zum Schutz von Minderheiten und speziellen Anliegen der Union ausgegeben werden. Wäre es nicht auch möglich oder ist es nicht auch notwendig, sicherzustellen, dass entsprechender politischer Druck auf Serbien ausgeübt wird, in seiner Politik bestimmte Missstände gar nicht erst entstehen zu lassen bzw. seine Politik dahingehend zu verändern, dass wir nicht später mit EU-Geldern sanieren müssen?


  Olli Rehn, Member of the Commission. I agree with the Honourable Member that we have to use political methods in parallel with economic assistance. That is what we have been doing as regards Vojvodina. We have raised these issues with the Serbian Government. Now, as the country has a new democratic government which is reform- and Europe-oriented, I expect that we have an even better chance of making our voice heard and ensuring that our concerns are taken into account in Serbia as regards Vojvodina’s position.

The new Constitution of Serbia contains detailed provisions concerning human rights and the protection of minorities. However, it contains some ambiguities in relation to the scope of territorial decentralisation. The new Serbian Parliament will have a key role in implementing the Constitution soundly, especially in enhancing the protection of minorities, as well as establishing forms of local self-government that are in line with European standards. In this respect it is certainly positive that, thanks to the revision of the electoral law, ethnic minority parties now have several seats in the new Serbian Parliament.


  Zsolt László Becsey (PPE-DE). – Mivel én közvetlenül a Vajdaság mellett születtem, talán felhívnám a valós szituáció néhány kérdésére is a Biztos urat. Az egyik az az, hogy nem probléma-e, hogy a Vajdaságban az őshonos magyar kisebbség gyakorlatilag még mindig háborús bűnösnek számít? Antigoné joga ott nem érvényesül, tehát nem temethetik el a halottakat, meg sem emlékezhetnek róluk.

Vagy az nem probléma-e, hogy sehol nincs arányosság sem a foglalkoztatás, sem a privatizáció, sem az állami intézmények, sem az oktatás területén? És jó volna, hogyha újra válaszolna Bernd Posselt úrnak azon kérdésére, hogy mi van az erőszakos betelepítésekkel. Egyébként szívesen felajánlom azokról az újabb incidensekről szóló teljes listát Olli Rehn úrnak, amelyek csak az utóbbi időben történtek.


  Olli Rehn, Member of the Commission. Concerning the position of the Hungarian minority in Vojvodina, we have, as I said in our progress reports, analysed its situation very carefully. We have also discussed the issue with the Serbian authorities, who have underlined that they are committed to increasing the participation of people from national minorities in the police and judiciary, but they claim that there is often a lack of interest from qualified candidates. In my view, it is important that we continue this political pressure or political encouragement.

At the same time, once we solve the problems that have caused internally displaced persons to migrate, then we have better chances of avoiding the kinds of problems to which you referred. I am of course referring in particular to the issue of the Kosovo status talks. There must be a well-managed status settlement, and I am confident that, once we have that, there will be no destabilising effects on ethnically mixed areas such as Vojvodina. That is why we urge all those concerned to show a sense of responsibility. The Commission’s firm view is that no parallel can be drawn between Kosovo and Vojvodina.


  Presidente. Pergunta nº 44 do Deputado Dimitrios Papadimoulis (H-0290/07)

Assunto: Aplicação da Convenção sobre o Direito do Mar por parte da Turquia

Na sua resposta à pergunta (E-0802/07), a Comissão afirma que a Convenção sobre o Direito do Mar faz efectivamente parte do acervo comunitário, que a Turquia será obrigada a adoptar e aplicar aquando da sua adesão à União Europeia. No entanto, a sua resposta a uma pergunta anterior (E-4160/06) sobre o mesmo tema, a Comissão tinha declarado que esperava que a Turquia, aquando da sua adesão à União Europeia, tivesse já adoptado e posto plenamente em prática o acervo.

Poderá a Comissão indicar por que mudou de posição num período de seis meses? Será que a Turquia terá de adoptar e aplicar a referida Convenção "aquando da sua adesão à União Europeia"? ou "deverá ter adoptado e posto plenamente em prática o acervo aquando da sua adesão à União Europeia"? Poderá a Comissão expor os fundamentos jurídicos da sua posição?


  Olli Rehn, Member of the Commission. The Commission has not changed its position at all as regards Turkey’s acquis communautaire obligations. There is no contradiction between the two answers the honourable Member refers to, which, on the contrary, reflect the very same approach. Like all other candidate countries, Turkey is expected to implement and enforce the acquis communautaire by the time of accession, that is, at the latest at the time it joins the European Union.


  Δημήτριος Παπαδημούλης (GUE/NGL). – Κύριε Επίτροπε, το τελευταίο διάστημα συμβαίνουν πολλά δυσάρεστα πράγματα με την Τουρκία. Ο τουρκικός στρατός παρεμβαίνει ανοιχτά στις πολιτικές εξελίξεις. Η Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία δέχεται απειλές γιατί, εφαρμόζοντας τη Σύμβαση για το δίκαιο της θάλασσας, προωθεί μαζί με όμορες χώρες την εκμετάλλευση της αποκλειστικής της οικονομικής ζώνης. 160 Κούρδοι υποψήφιοι, ανάμεσά τους και η Λεϊλά Ζάνα, αποκλείονται από τις επικείμενες εκλογές.

Σέβονται αυτές οι ενέργειες το κοινοτικό κεκτημένο; Μήπως ήρθε η ώρα η Επιτροπή να μιλήσει μια γλώσσα πιο καθαρή και πιο αυστηρή προς την τουρκική ηγεσία;


  Olli Rehn, Member of the Commission. The questions raised by the Honourable Member are extremely important, but they are somewhat beyond the scope of this particular question. Unfortunately, time will not allow me to respond in detail. However, I would like to underline that it is important that we are both fair and firm with Turkey in order to break the negative spiral in relations between the European Union and Turkey.

By ‘fair and firm’ I mean that we have to be fair by keeping our word, sticking to the commitment that, if Turkey meets all the conditions of EU accession, it can join the Union. At the same time as being fair and credible we can be firm and rigorous, and we can expect Turkey to carry out reforms and respect citizens’ rights so that, for instance, the Kurdish question can be addressed or women’s rights, trade union rights and freedom of expression can be enhanced in Turkey thanks to the credible prospect of EU accession.

So we have to be fair and firm at the same time with Turkey.


  Presidente. Pergunta nº 45 da Deputada Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou (H-0340/07)

Assunto: Crise política na Turquia e perspectivas de adesão

Nos últimos dias, a ensejo da eleição do Presidente da República, a Turquia mergulhou numa crise política profunda, que suscita sérias dúvidas quanto ao funcionamento das instituições democráticas. O Tribunal Constitucional decidiu a anulação da primeira volta das eleições, decisão que foi vivamente contestada pelo Governo. O Primeiro-Ministro declarou que o sistema parlamentar se encontrava bloqueado, solicitando uma antecipação das eleições, enquanto o Estado-Maior General do Exército advertiu que intervirá para impedir a eleição do islamita Abdullah Gül ao cargo de Presidente.

De que modo avalia a Comissão a situação descrita, num país candidato à adesão? O Comissário Olli Rehn, responsável pelo Alargamento, declarou que as Forças Armadas devem respeitar a autonomia dos processos democráticos, que a União Europeia assenta nos princípios da liberdade, da democracia, do Estado de direito e da independência do poder político em relação ao poder militar, salientando a necessidade de respeito desses princípios, que constituem um elemento central dos critérios de Copenhaga, para a adesão de um país à UE. Entende a Comissão que tais intervenções do exército estão em conformidade com as exigências do acervo comunitário? Que consequências poderiam ter para o processo de adesão da Turquia? Será possível contar com uma nova reacção da Comissão se a situação não evoluir em conformidade com os princípios democráticos da UE?


  Olli Rehn, Member of the Commission. The Turkish Government respected the ruling of the Constitutional Court and took the measures to implement it. This was important for the political stability of the country, regardless of the events that led to the ruling.

To this end of political stability, the majority party submitted to the Grand National Assembly a proposal to hold early general elections. Subsequently, the Grand National Assembly agreed by a broad majority that the early parliamentary elections would be held on 22 July 2007.

The Commission expects that the parliamentary, and subsequent presidential, elections will be carried out democratically in an atmosphere of responsible debate and political stability. As regards the role of the military, I have often said that I have a high regard for the Turkish armed forces in the fulfilment of their duties of defending their country and contributing to international peace, but, as I stated after the statement by the Chief of Staff at the end of April, the military must leave the remit of democratic decision-making to the democratically-elected bodies of Turkey.

It should be self-evident that if any country wants to join the European Union it should respect all democratic principles, including ensuring democratic leadership of civil military relations, and, in my view, this is fully compatible with secular democracy, or democratic secularism, which is anchored in the Turkish Constitution.

Once the new Parliament is elected and a new government takes office, it will be crucial for Turkey to revitalise and relaunch fully the legislative work and implementation of the reforms that enhance the rule of law and fundamental freedoms in the country.


  Ρόδη Κράτσα-Τσαγκαροπούλου (PPE-DE). – Κύριε Επίτροπε σας ευχαριστώ για την απάντησή σας. Πράγματι, αναγκαστήκατε για μια ακόμη φορά να επαναλάβετε αυτά που έχετε πει πολλές φορές στην Τουρκία, όπως ο ίδιος αναφέρατε, για τη στάση που πρέπει να τηρήσει ως υποψήφιο μέλος της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης.

Ήθελα να ρωτήσω εάν αυτή η κρίση δεν φανέρωσε κάτι περισσότερο, εάν δεν φανέρωσε μια αδυναμία. Εσείς δεν χρησιμοποιήσατε άλλα μέσα για να προσεγγίσετε τους πολιτικούς και τους στρατιωτικούς παράγοντες;

Διότι, υποθέτω, τις παραινέσεις τις έχετε απευθύνει επανειλημμένως και δημόσια και κατά τις επαφές σας.

Με την ερώτησή μου θα ήθελα να διευκρινιστεί εάν έχετε παρέμβει σε μεγαλύτερο βαθμό εξαιτίας της σοβαρότητας της κρίσης και των στοιχείων που αυτή αποκαλύπτει.


  Olli Rehn, Member of the Commission. Thank you for this very important question, Mrs Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou. In fact, I talk a lot with the Turkish Government – some people in Europe think that it is too much! But in times of the political or constitutional crises which Turkey has undergone and, to my mind, is going through during this crisis phase, it is particularly important that we maintain a channel of communication and discuss intensively with the Turkish Government and with all the relevant players in Turkish society in order to make clear what the expectations of the European Union are, if and when Turkey wants to become a member of the European Union. Of course, democratic leadership of civil and military relations is one of these cornerstones.

As the Commission stated very clearly in early May – after my statement concerning the political intervention of the Turkish military in the tense situation – that the European Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law and the supremacy of democratic, civilian power over the military. If a country wants to become a member of the Union, it needs to respect these principles. This is the core of the Copenhagen criteria for EU accession. This has been made very clear to the Turkish Government and those involved in politics in Turkey, as well as through the Turkish media to the Turkish citizens. I do not think that a higher volume helps. Instead we need clarity and precision and, concerning our statement, it cannot get any clearer than our statement of 2 May.


  Κωνσταντίνος Χατζηδάκης (PPE-DE). – Κύριε Επίτροπε, δεν ανήκω σ’ αυτούς που θέλουν η Τουρκία να είναι μια ανεξέλεγκτη δύναμη στην περιοχή. Από την άλλη πλευρά, διερωτώμαι ποιο συνταγματικό δικαστήριο οποιασδήποτε δημοκρατικής χώρας, όχι μόνο στην Ευρώπη αλλά σε ολόκληρο τον κόσμο, θα αποφάσιζε ότι για την εκλογή του Προέδρου της Δημοκρατίας χρειάζεται απαρτία δύο τρίτων!

Μ’ αυτόν τον τρόπο, η εκάστοτε αντιπολίτευση σε οποιαδήποτε χώρα μπορεί να ελέγχει την εκλογή του Προέδρου της Δημοκρατίας.

Η Επιτροπή, στην ανακοίνωσή της ανέφερε ότι σέβεται το κράτος δικαίου και τους κανόνες του και δεν θέλει να παρέμβει στην Τουρκία. Πρόκειται όμως για κράτος δικαίου; Δεν νομίζω ότι ήταν ισορροπημένη η ανακοίνωση της Επιτροπής.


  Olli Rehn, Member of the Commission. Thank you for this follow-up question, Mr Hatzidakis, and for your own question, in which you called the Commission statement ‘excessively indulgent’. You also called for a more explicit message.

I must say that, as a Commissioner, as I said before, I do not believe in high-volume or megaphone diplomacy. I believe in clarity, precision and consistency. In this regard I think we do not disagree with the honourable Member, because, as I said before, we have repeatedly underlined the importance of the supremacy of democratic civilian power over the military. At the same time it is also important that we keep the accession negotiations alive and we make practical progress with them, because what the nationalists really want in Turkey is to cut the accession negotiations. I do not want to give this present to the nationalists of Turkey. It is much better to strive towards the EU accession of Turkey, keep the accession process alive and move towards the shared objective, because that is the way for Turkey to become a more European, more democratic country, where the rule of law and fundamental freedoms are respected.

As regards your reference to the Constitutional Court, I understand the reasoning of your question and we have also taken note of the ruling which was issued by the Constitutional Court. I would like to quote what was said on 2 May by the College of Commissioners when we discussed this matter and we made our position clear to the Turkish Government and Turkish public. We said, ‘regardless of the unfortunate events leading to the ruling, this legal decision by the Constitutional Court should now be respected by all parties, because the respect of state institutions is essential to ensure political stability’. That is rather clear language.

We also stated that, ‘under these circumstances, the European Commission welcomes the announcement of holding new parliamentary elections soon in order to ensure political stability and democratic development in Turkey’. Again, it cannot get any clearer than that.


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

O período de perguntas está encerrado.

(A sessão, suspensa às 20h05, é reiniciada às 21h00)



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