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It-Tlieta, 10 ta' Lulju 2007 - Strasburgu Edizzjoni riveduta

16. Ħin tal-mistoqsijiet (mistoqsijiet għall-Kummissjoni)
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  Presidente. Segue-se o período de perguntas (B6-0133/2007).

Foram apresentadas as seguintes perguntas à Comissão.

Primeira parte

A pedido do Comissário Verheugen, o período de perguntas começará pela pergunta nº 28.

 
  
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  Presidente. Pergunta nº 28 do Catherine Stihler (H-0493/07)

Assunto: Consulta sobre a informação ao paciente

Poderá a Comissão indicar como tenciona consultar formalmente as organizações de consumidores para a elaboração do relatório sobre as práticas correntes em matéria de informação aos pacientes, tal como está previsto no artigo 88º bis da Directiva 2004/27/CE(1)?: "No prazo de três anos após a entrada em vigor da Directiva 2004/726/CE, a Comissão, após consulta das organizações de doentes, de consumidores, de médicos e de farmacêuticos dos Estados-Membros e de outras partes interessadas, apresentará ao Parlamento Europeu e ao Conselho um relatório sobre as práticas actuais em matéria de informação - nomeadamente por Internet - e sobre os respectivos riscos e benefícios para o doente"?

 
  
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  Günter Verheugen, Vizepräsident der Kommission. Herr Präsident, Frau Abgeordnete! Gemäß Artikel 88a der Richtlinie 2001/83/EG erstellt die Kommission derzeit einen Bericht über die gegenwärtigen Praktiken, wie Patienten über Arzneimittel informiert werden. Der Bericht wird eine zusammenfassende Darstellung des gegenwärtigen Standes enthalten, jedoch noch keine politischen Leitlinien oder Vorschläge, die nach Artikel 88a erst in einem zweiten Schritt zu entwickeln sind. Sobald die Endfassung des Berichts vorliegt, wird er umgehend dem Rat und dem Europäischen Parlament vorgelegt.

Im Rahmen der Vorbereitung haben die Kommissionsdienststellen in umfassender Weise Verbände von Patienten und Verbrauchern, die Mitgliedstaaten und andere Interessenträger konsultiert. Entsprechend dem üblichen Verfahren wurde die Öffentlichkeit mehr als zwei Monate lang konsultiert, und zwar von April bis Juni dieses Jahres. Der Entwurf ist auf der Webseite der Generaldirektion Unternehmen und Industrie veröffentlicht worden, und es wurde um Stellungnahme gebeten.

Bis jetzt sind bereits mehr als fünfzig Beiträge eingegangen, und täglich kommen noch einige dazu. Zehn dieser Beiträge stammen von Verbänden der Patienten und Verbraucher. Dies belegt nachdrücklich, dass Verbraucherverbände wie auch alle anderen Interessenträger sowie die allgemeine Öffentlichkeit die Gelegenheit hatten, ihre Ansichten und Beiträge zu diesem Bericht mitzuteilen, und sie haben das auch umfassend getan.

Die eingegangenen Antworten werden sehr sorgfältig geprüft, und auf der Grundlage dieser Prüfung wird im Abschlussbericht die beste Strategie zu erwägen sein, um allen europäischen Bürgerinnen und Bürgern gleichen Zugang zu möglichst aussagekräftigen Informationen über Arzneimittel zu verschaffen.

Ich möchte Ihnen versichern, Frau Abgeordnete, dass diese Frage mir persönlich sehr am Herzen liegt, dass ich alles tun werde, um diesen Prozess so schnell wie möglich zum Abschluss zu bringen, dass es aber ganz entscheidend ist, dass wir Vorschläge machen, die sich auf umfassende Informationen und auf eine umfassende Konsultation der Öffentlichkeit stützen, und dass nach meiner Auffassung in dieser Frage Genauigkeit, Präzision und Qualität eindeutig wichtiger sind als die Geschwindigkeit.

 
  
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  Catherine Stihler (PSE). – Thank you, Commissioner. I think there is great concern over how parties have been consulted. Many of us here feel that there should be no change to the current legislation, i.e. keep the ban on direct consumer advertising and no backdoor routes to direct advertising of pharmaceuticals. We need to allow more consumer involvement in the pharmaceutical forum with a focus on what patients and ordinary consumers want and need to know rather than what industry wants to provide. Therefore, will the Commissioner consider changes to the timetable adopted to allow for appropriate consideration of all alternative points of view and to address the problem of information in a patient-centred way with patient-centred solutions?

 
  
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  Günter Verheugen, Vizepräsident der Kommission. Frau Abgeordnete! Ich möchte Ihnen zunächst versichern, dass wir in der politischen Bewertung völlig übereinstimmen: Wir dürfen das Tor zu Produktwerbung im Bereich von verschreibungspflichtigen Medikamenten nicht öffnen! Mit meiner Mitwirkung wird das auch nicht geschehen. Es kann nur darum gehen, den Patienten objektive, umfassende, neutrale Informationen bereitzustellen, und zwar in einer Art und Weise, die die Patienten nicht verwirrt, die dafür sorgt, dass alle Patienten gleichen Zugang zu diesen objektiven und neutralen Informationen haben.

Das Problem, das wir heute haben, besteht ja darin, dass es Patientengruppen gibt, die via Internet und andere moderne Kommunikationstechnologien Zugang zu allen möglichen Informationen haben. Aber viele Patienten haben diese Informationen nicht, und das ist ein Zustand, den wir beseitigen müssen.

Ich möchte noch einmal ganz eindeutig klarstellen: Die Grenze zur Produktwerbung wird nicht überschritten werden! Und es wird ganz klar festgelegt werden, an welchen Regeln und Kriterien sich die Informationen, um die es geht, orientieren müssen.

Was den Zeitplan angeht, so sagte ich ja bereits, dass die Konsultationsphase abgeschlossen ist. Wir arbeiten wirklich mit Hochdruck daran, jetzt auf der Grundlage dieser Konsultation den Abschlussbericht fertigzustellen. Ich habe Ihnen bereits zugesagt, dass ich alles tun werde, um das zu beschleunigen. Es wird auf jeden Fall noch in der zweiten Hälfte dieses Jahres geschehen.

 
  
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  Presidente. Pergunta nº 26 do Brian Crowley (H-0467/07)

Assunto: Luta contra o desemprego dos jovens e o desemprego de longa duração na UE

A Comissão pode indicar que medidas tomou este ano para lutar contra o desemprego dos jovens e o desemprego de longa duração na União Europeia e para garantir que os cidadãos da UE que estão desempregados tenham acesso a acções de formação de qualidade no domínio das tecnologias da informação?

 
  
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  Vladimír Špidla, člen Komise. Vážený pane předsedo, vážení páni poslanci, vážené dámy poslankyně, trh práce v Evropě se všeobecně zlepšuje a zlepšuje se způsobem, který je velmi rychlý a naprosto zřetelný. Ještě nikdy nepracovalo v Evropě tolik lidí a za dlouhou dobu poprvé známe tak nízká čísla o nezaměstnanosti. Zůstává ovšem pravdou, že přetrvává vysoká míra nezaměstnanosti mladých lidí, která je víceméně dvojnásobná v porovnání s průměrnou mírou nezaměstnanosti v Evropské unii. Nezaměstnanost mladých je v prvé řadě záležitostí členských států v rámci jejich politik pracovního trhu. Na druhé straně je zřejmé, že k řešení tohoto problému může přispět i Evropská unie.

Zásadní úloha Evropské unie spočívá v podpoře členských států v těchto dvou oblastech:

– koordinace a sledování vnitrostátních politik členských států v oblasti zaměstnanosti v rámci Lisabonské strategie a

– finanční podpora, zejména pak prostřednictvím Evropského sociálního fondu.

Rámec pro koordinaci politik nabízí přepracovaná Lisabonská strategie. Komise pečlivě sleduje vnitrostátní politiky zaměstnanosti. V nejnovější společné zprávě o zaměstnanosti Komise a Rada podtrhly naléhavou potřebu zlepšit situaci mladých lidí na trhu práce. Ačkoli se členské státy zavázaly k tomu, že mladým lidem budou nabízet nový začátek, většina z 4,6 milionů mladých nezaměstnaných v prvních šesti měsících nezaměstnanosti nezíská ani nabídku pracovního místa, ani nabídku vzdělávání či odborné přípravy. Navíc mladí lidé, kteří zaměstnání najdou, mívají často nejisté smluvní podmínky. Komise se domnívá, že jde o znepokojivý stav a doporučila členským státům, aby situaci mladých lidí zlepšily, a to zejména kroky v oblasti vzdělávání a odborné přípravy.

Podle názoru Komise by se měly podnikat kroky zejména v těchto třech oblastech:

zaprvé sociální začlenění: sociální začlenění je zásadním prvkem udržitelného rozvoje v Evropě. Komise bude nadále podporovat aktivní začleňování, založené na tom, že se lidem na okraji pracovního trhu poskytne možnost integrace na trhu práce, programy zajišťující odpovídající minimální příjem a přístup ke kvalitním sociálním službám;

zadruhé celoživotní vzdělávání, protože je nepochybné, že vzdělání plodí vzdělání a lidé, kteří jsou vzdělání a mají vyšší kvalifikaci, mají i lepší přístup k celoživotnímu vzdělávání než lidé, kteří by je nejvíce potřebovali, tj. lidé s nízkou kvalifikací nebo starší lidé se zastaralými dovednostmi. Komise v souvislosti s Lisabonskou strategií vydala členským státům několik doporučení v oblasti vzdělávání a odborné přípravy, zejména pokud jde o předčasné ukončování školní docházky a zvýšení úrovně vzdělání, kterého Evropané dosahují. Chtěl bych konstatovat, že referenčním cílem Evropské unie je docílit, aby předčasné ukončování školní docházky pokleslo pod 10 %, avšak v současné době toto číslo je 15,2 % a v některých zemích je ještě významně vyšší. Právě omezení předčasného ukončování školní docházky je podle našeho názoru jednou z hlavních cest jak zlepšit možnosti mladých lidí na trhu práce. Dalším doporučením, které Komise poskytla, je podpora geografické mobility. Jsme v situaci, kdy se spolu s nezaměstnaností vyskytuje v některých regionech a odvětvích nedostatek pracovních sil. Je proto třeba mladé lidi vybízet k tomu, aby těchto pracovních příležitostí využívali;

další možností je finanční podpora Unie prostřednictvím Evropského sociálního fondu. Unie vedle koordinace politik podporuje snahy členských států v oblasti modernizace trhu práce. V období 2007–2013 členské státy obdrží celkem 72,6 miliard eur k financování reforem vnitrostátního trhu práce. Více než 90 % této částky bude přímým příspěvkem na dosažení lisabonských cílů. Investice do lidského kapitálu, která představuje jednu třetinu rozpočtu Evropského sociálního fondu, je nejdůležitější prioritou pro období 2007–2013. Dalších 30 % této částky bude vyhrazeno na sociální začlenění znevýhodněných skupin.

Prostřednictvím Evropského sociálního fondu již bylo dosaženo těchto konkrétních výsledků: každoročně přibližně 2 miliony lidí vstoupí do zaměstnání poté, co využili podpory některého z projektů Evropského sociálního fondu. V roce 2007 se projektů Evropského sociálního fondu zúčastní okolo 25 % nezaměstnaných v EU. Podpory projektů Evropského sociálního fondu každoročně využije okolo 1 milionu lidí, kteří jsou sociálně vyloučeni či znevýhodněni. Zhruba 4 miliony lidí prostřednictvím Evropského sociálního fondu absolvují každoročně odbornou přípravu v rámci programů celoživotního vzdělávání.

Vzhledem k tomu, že jak už jsem zdůraznil, problematika nezaměstnanosti mladých lidí přetrvává, hledá Komise další účinnější cesty. A proto právě teď Komise dokončuje návrh sdělení, který se bude týkat začleňování mladých lidí do vzdělávání, zaměstnávání a společnosti a jehož přijetí kolegiem je stanoveno na září tohoto roku. K tomuto sdělení bude připojen pracovní dokument útvaru Komise o zaměstnanosti mladých lidí.

Dámy a pánové, jak jsem již zdůraznil, otázka nezaměstnanosti mladých lidí je samozřejmě především otázkou členských států, jejich politiky zaměstnanosti, jejich politiky vzdělávání a podobně, avšak Evropská unie nemůže zůstat nečinná a také nezůstává nečinná.

 
  
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  Brian Crowley (UEN). – Mr President, I thank the Commissioner for his response. In the short time available to me, I will focus on three specific areas.

First of all, with regard to youth unemployment, we see that there is a huge skills shortage, not just in the areas of the internet, communications or technology, but also in terms of the traditional skills used, for example, by carpenters, electricians, stonemasons and so on. There does not seem to be any new initiative to try and enforce extra training out of resources in there.

Secondly, with regard to the mobility question, there are barriers that are put in place that affect young people, in particular, in travelling to get jobs and have their qualifications recognised where they have them.

Thirdly, and finally, with regard to long-term unemployment, back-to-work schemes are important, allowing people to retain some of their social rights and thus helping them integrate back into the work system again. What proposals are there for that in particular?

 
  
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  Vladimír Špidla, člen Komise. Tyto dva body jsou samozřejmě mimořádně důležité a bylo by možné velmi široce na ně odpovídat, ale přesto mi dovolte, abych se zabýval odpovědí velmi stručně. Samozřejmě, že v rámci aktivní politiky zaměstnanosti v rámci Evropského sociálního fondu se zaměřujeme na otevírání kvalifikací a správně jste zdůraznil, že kvalifikace nejsou jenom čistě intelektuální, ale že jsou i v řadě oborů řemeslných a dalších činností. Proto je velmi důležité, že Komise v současné době v rámci fóra pro restrukturalizaci připravuje fórum, které se bude zabývat pracovním trhem budoucnosti, tzn. pracovním trhem s pracovními místy, která bude možné dlouhodobě považovat za stálá nebo přicházející, a součástí našeho úsilí bude samozřejmě zformulovat i odpovídající požadavky kvalifikační, odpovídající moduly pro získávání kvalifikace a metodu jak tuto rovnováhu mezi budoucností pracovního trhu a kvalifikacemi pružně a vytrvale sledovat.

Pokud jde o mobilitu pracovní síly, opět je celá řada dílčích bodů a dílčích cest, kterými bychom chtěli podpořit mobilitu. Myslím, že nejdůležitější je cíl, který zpracovává můj kolega Ján Figel, to jest projekt politiky uznávání kvalifikací, tzn. uznávání kvalifikací nikoli jenom v oborech, ve kterých se již kvalifikace uznává, nýbrž i v kvalifikacích ostatních, tzn. i v kvalifikacích řemeslných. Myslím si, že pokud v tomto projektu postoupíme, výrazně usnadníme situaci mladých lidí na trhu práce.

 
  
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  Presidente. Pergunta nº 27 do Olle Schmidt (H-0487/07)

Assunto: Refúgio para escritores e jornalistas perseguidos

A União Europeia tem a obrigação de apoiar um debate aberto em sociedades fechadas e ditaduras. Num número excessivo de países, porém, a liberdade de expressão continua a estar associada ao risco da própria vida. Em todo o mundo, jornalistas e escritores são perseguidos, raptados e assassinados. A liberdade de expressão é importante para que as ditaduras dêem lugar a sociedades abertas e democráticas. A Comissão poderia enviar um sinal claro da importância da liberdade de expressão, oferecendo um refúgio temporário a escritores e jornalistas perseguidos na sequência de restrições à liberdade de expressão. Recentemente, o governo dinamarquês propôs uma medida neste sentido.

Está a Comissão disposta a tomar a iniciativa de oferecer um refúgio na União Europeia aos escritores ameaçados de perseguição em consequência das restrições à liberdade de expressão?

 
  
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  Franco Frattini, Vice-President of the Commission. The conditions under which third-country nationals can be granted international protection like refugee subsidiary protection status in a Member State have been harmonised at Community level. In fact, the Qualification Directive 2004/83/EC imposes on the EU Member States concerned the obligation to grant refugee status to third-country nationals who seek protection on the grounds of a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of political opinion.

In this context, the concept of political opinion encompasses any opinion concerning matters on which the state, government or society is engaged, going beyond identification with a specific political party or recognised ideology.

Member States are therefore obliged by virtue of EU law to offer protection to journalists and writers who, as a result of exercising their freedom of expression, have in their countries of origin a well-founded fear of persecution in the form of a threat to their life, physical freedom or other serious violations of their human rights.

The Commission welcomes any initiatives by individual Member States to raise the level of protection granted to writers and journalists persecuted as a result of restrictions on their freedom of expression.

 
  
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  Olle Schmidt (ALDE). – Det är ett positivt svar. Jag vill med min fråga uppmana kommissionsledamoten att ta ett initiativ tillsammans med medlemsstaterna för att få till stånd en mer reglerad form och se till att författare och journalister som har möjlighet att komma till Europa också får göra det. Jag tycker att det är vår skyldighet med tanke på den oerhört svåra situation som råder i världen. Låt mig påminna kommissionsledamoten om att förra året mördades 113 personer som jobbade i medievärlden, 807 sattes i fängelse, nästan 1 500 personer blev fysiskt attackerade, 56 kidnappade, 18 författare dödades, 144 fängslades. Det är hög tid att agera. Man skulle kunna tänka sig ett stipendium på EU-nivå som kommissionsledamoten tog initiativ till.

 
  
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  Franco Frattini, Vicepresidente della Commissione. Signor Presidente, ben volentieri rispondo all'onorevole deputato. Poiché la direttiva è in vigore, tutti gli Stati membri sono obbligati a rispettarla. Un aspetto su cui si può fare probabilmente di più è quello dell'informazione e della comunicazione verso i paesi d'origine: lì probabilmente vi è scarsa conoscenza delle possibilità offerte dalla legge europea di trovare protezione quando si è un giornalista e si è a rischio.

Per quanto riguarda i programmi di comunicazione, tutti gli Stati membri debbono sapere che la Commissione europea è pronta non solo a cofinanziarli ma anche a promuoverli. Quindi una migliore conoscenza per una migliore applicazione di una direttiva che esiste esattamente nei termini che Le ho descritto.

 
  
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  Jörg Leichtfried (PSE). – Herr Präsident! Ich möchte anmerken, dass ich diese Anfrage des Kollegen ausdrücklich unterstütze, denn in Ländern, wo zuerst Bücher verboten und verbrannt und dann die Menschen, die diese Bücher schreiben, verfolgt werden, weht nicht der Geist, der die Europäische Union beflügelt und vorantreibt! Ich dehne die Frage noch etwas aus: Ich bin der Meinung, dass diese Menschen nicht nur besonderen Schutz brauchen, sondern dass es der Europäischen Union ein Anliegen sein müsste, dass das, was sie schreiben, auch weiterverbreitet werden kann, dass es weitergetragen wird, um genau diese Diktaturen, unter denen sie leiden, zu beseitigen. Erwägt die Kommission, diese Menschen dahingehend zu unterstützen, dass sie sich nicht nur hier aufhalten dürfen, sondern dass das, was sie tun, auch gefördert wird?

 
  
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  Franco Frattini, Vicepresidente della Commissione. Signor Presidente, noi abbiamo già immaginato addirittura dei programmi per far conoscere le opinioni di persone che, nei loro paesi, vengono definite scrittori dissidenti, in modo da promuovere la diffusione di idee liberali e democratiche. Il nostro obiettivo finale è quello di far conoscere tali idee proprio nei paesi da cui questi scrittori o questi giornalisti provengono.

È nostro compito diffondere i valori democratici al di là dei confini europei e credo che sia giusto farlo anche utilizzando la voce di scrittori e di giornalisti coraggiosi, che debbono essere protetti in Europa ma le cui idee devono essere conosciute anche nei paesi da cui sono fuggiti. Quindi in linea di principio sono d'accordo con tale impostazione.

 
  
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  Jim Allister (NI). – When we think of persecuted and threatened journalists, it is difficult not to mention the recent release of Alan Johnston in Gaza, which was welcomed by us all. Would the Commission agree, however, that a careful balance has to be struck in ensuring that terrorist organisations, such as Hamas, are not enhanced or rewarded for a role in delivering that which never should have happened, namely, the removal of the liberty of a brave journalist like Alan Johnston? Would the Commissioner care to comment on that?

 
  
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  Franco Frattini, Vicepresidente della Commissione. Signor Presidente, è evidente che su questa impostazione l'Europa si è già espressa per voce dei Ministri degli esteri dell'Unione europea: la liberazione delle persone rapite è un dovere che diplomaticamente impegna l'Europa.

La liberazione di Alan Johnston è stato un atto da noi apprezzato ma, ovviamente, come Lei ha detto, nessuno ritiene di dover ricompensare Hamas che, come tutti sanno, è tuttora nella lista delle organizzazioni terroristiche.

Ciò detto, è evidente che quello che a noi preme maggiormente è che vengano salvate vite umane e che i giornalisti possano svolgere la loro attività, anche in aree difficili e in zone di conflitto o ad alto rischio, altrimenti verrebbe meno la missione propria di un giornalista, che è andare anche dove è pericoloso e riferire quello che ha visto e sentito.

 
  
  

Segunda parte

 
  
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  Presidente.

Pergunta nº 29 do Stavros Arnaoutakis (H-0500/07)

Assunto: Risco de extinção das reservas de peixe no Mar Egeu

Segundo estudos científicos publicados, as reservas de peixe no Mar Egeu estão a diminuir perigosamente pondo as zonas de pesca em risco de esgotamento. Esta situação agrava-se com a não aplicação de medidas efectivas para a gestão sustentável das actividades da pesca, bem como pela utilização incontrolada de artes e práticas de pesca que danificam significativamente os ecossistemas das zonas de reprodução/renovação das reservas pesqueiras.

A Comissão Europeia tem a tarefa imediata de proteger esta região contra o desenvolvimento destes fenómenos, por um lado para manter pelo menos as reservas e por outro, para proteger os pescadores costeiros que vivem da pesca. Como tenciona a Comissão fazer face a esse grave problema?

 
  
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  Joe Borg, Member of the Commission. I thank Mr Arnaoutakis for his question concerning the Aegean Sea and its fisheries resources. It will be recalled that the Council of Ministers adopted the proposed regulation concerning management measures for the sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources in the Mediterranean Sea in late 2006. That regulation consequently entered into force in January 2007. The Commission believes that the regulation represents a fair and vigorous response to the problems raised by the honourable Member as far as both demersal and small pelagic species are concerned. For other highly migratory species like bluefin tuna, the Community also recently adopted new legislation that will contribute to improving the conservation status of these stocks.

Let me underline here that establishing management measures is, however, not enough if adequate implementation and follow-up of the measures are not carried out. Both Member States and fishermen’s organisations have a fundamental role to play in this respect. The Commission will be very attentive to ensure proper enforcement of all the measures. It is for this reason that on 2 April 2007 I wrote to the Ministers of the Member States concerned to assess where we stand as regards the application of the regulation a few months after its adoption. My departments will continue to monitor the situation and the implementation by the Member States of the various provisions contained in that regulation.

In addition to Community measures that may be further complemented in the future, it is also fundamental to promote fisheries management measures in the framework of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), so that Mediterranean countries that are not members of the European Union can also contribute to the sustainability of marine living resources.

Active participation of Member States’ scientists in the proceedings of the GFCM Scientific Advisory Committee is an important way to achieve this. In the case of the Aegean Sea, it is primarily the responsibility of Greece and Turkey to ensure adequate scientific cooperation in order to provide sound scientific advice for fisheries management.

In order to facilitate and promote further scientific cooperation in the Mediterranean eastern basin, the Commission, together with Greece and Italy, is planning to support a new FAO regional project named EastMed.

 
  
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  Σταύρος Αρναουτάκης (PSE). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, ευχαριστώ τον κύριο Επίτροπο για την απάντησή του και θα ήθελα να του καταθέσω ότι στο Αιγαίο, και μέσα στη Μεσόγειο γενικά, δραστηριοποιούνται αλιείς κρατών μελών της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης αλλά και τρίτων χωρών.

Ωστόσο οι Έλληνες και οι κοινοτικοί αλιείς της περιοχής υφίστανται όλους τους περιορισμούς και εφαρμόζουν τις κοινοτικές οδηγίες σε αντίθεση με τους αλιείς των τρίτων χωρών, που αλιεύουν χωρίς περιορισμούς και πολλές φορές ανεξέλεγκτα.

Τι προτίθεται να κάνει η Επιτροπή για να δώσει μια άμεση λύση στο πρόβλημα αυτό;

 
  
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  Joe Borg, Member of the Commission. Yes, as I said, the Commission can intervene directly with regard to the management of fisheries within Community waters, in particular involving Community fishers. In that regard I made reference specifically to the Mediterranean regulation, which has just come into effect and we are monitoring it closely in order to see that there is proper implementation.

Obviously the Mediterranean Sea, and your part of the Mediterranean Sea, involves third countries with whom we have relationships. With Turkey in particular there is the association relationship, and Turkey is also a candidate for membership. With regard to fisheries, we try to work closely with these third countries in other fora which are responsible for the management of fisheries in the Mediterranean, in particular the GFCM, which is the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean. As regards highly migratory species there is ICAT, which is the commission that has responsibility for blue fin tuna, in particular, and swordfish. Here we are trying to work closely with third countries who are also members of these fora in order to push forward common regulatory measures. In that way we are trying to maintain and establish as level a playing field as possible.

Obviously it is essential that European Union take the lead, and therefore in establishing our own regulatory regime for fisheries in Community waters, we set the example and do our utmost to see to it that third countries with fishing rights in the Mediterranean adopt similar measures through GFCM or ICAT so that our fishers would not be prejudiced as a result of having more stringent fishing rules for the management of the fishery.

 
  
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  Reinhard Rack (PPE-DE). – Wir haben in der vergangenen Woche in Ihrem Heimatland Malta von Problemen der küstennahen Fischerei in einem anderen Teil des Mittelmeers gehört. Gibt es hier spezielle Möglichkeiten, Programme und Strategien, um vor allem die küstennahe Fischerei und den Schutz der ansässigen Fischer in besonderer Weise zu fördern?

 
  
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  Joe Borg, Member of the Commission. Coastal fishing in the Mediterranean is a particularly sensitive issue, given the fact that the Mediterranean fishery is somewhat more specific than fisheries one would find in the North Sea, for example, which principally comprises mixed fisheries. Therefore, one cannot be as selective as one would like to be and the measures that apply in the Mediterranean are based more on technical measures than on setting total allowable catches and quotas.

However, having said that, the Mediterranean fisheries policy has introduced regulations, for the first time, that are quite tough in order to regulate Mediterranean fisheries and in particular coastal fisheries. There is a requirement on the part of Member States to draw up management plans for fisheries with regard to the coastal dimension and, in particular, measures relating to the types of gear used, as well as measures relating to minimum landing sizes.

We are now monitoring the implementation of this regulation, as I said in my reply to the question. This was adopted just at the end of last year and came into effect at the beginning of this year. The timeframes are being introduced during the course of this year and next year. I hope that within the timeframes set in the regulation, the Member States will have the necessary measures in place so that we will be able to have a much more sustainable fishery in the Mediterranean, especially with regard to coastal fisheries.

 
  
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  Μαρία Παναγιωτοπούλου-Κασσιώτου (PPE-DE). – Συγχαίρω το συνάδελφο Αρναουτάκη για την ερώτησή του και ευχαριστώ τον Επίτροπο για την απάντηση. Ερωτώ όμως ποιοι είναι οι όροι εισαγωγής και εμπορίας στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση των αλιευμάτων από αλιείς τρίτων χωρών;

Η αυξημένη αλιεία σημαίνει και αυξημένη ζήτηση λόγω προσφορότερων τιμών. Δεν είναι μόνο ο τρόπος αλιείας.

 
  
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  Joe Borg, Member of the Commission. The rules applicable to the importation of fish are regulated under the general provisions relating to WTO negotiations and the WTO regime. There are certain elements whereby, with regard to fisheries in particular, there is not total liberalisation and, therefore, there are certain measures to protect the Community industry. However, one needs to see how the discussions will unfold during the course of this year in order to see what further liberalisation concerning imported fisheries products will occur.

Having said that, however, it is important to underline that we will submit measures later this year to fight illegal fishing. Under these, if fish are caught by vessels operating under a third-country flag and those vessels cannot prove that the fish have been caught sustainably – in other words, within, for example, quota limits and within the parameters of the rules applicable in different regional fisheries management organisations, such as, in the case of the Mediterranean, the GFCM – then those fish will be considered illegal and authorisation will not be given for them to be landed in the Member State where they would have been landed. This would provide us with a very effective measure, which, I hope, will help us curtail the landing of illegally caught fish.

 
  
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  President. Pergunta nº 30 do Marie Panayotopoulos-Cassiotou (H-0452/07)

Assunto: Protecção dos direitos da criança nas relações externas da UE

A comunicação da Comissão sobre uma estratégia europeia para os direitos da criança publicada a 4 de Julho de 2006 considera, no quadro da unidade temática "situação global" que cerca de 300.000 crianças combatem como soldados em mais de 30 conflitos armados em todo o mundo. Se bem que fosse desejável que a questão das crianças soldado estivesse resolvida e que as situações extremas de violação dos seus direitos tivessem diminuído, a imprensa internacional refere-se com frequência ao fenómeno de recrutamento de crianças soldado com exemplos concretos em África e na Ásia.

Como encara a Comissão, no âmbito das suas relações externas, o fenómeno da utilização de crianças soldado em operações militares? Que medidas concretas se propõe tomar para que o combate ao recrutamento militar de crianças seja uma prioridade da sua agenda política nas suas relações com os países que forçam as crianças a participar em operações militares? Como irá a Comissão encorajar a aplicação do Protocolo anexo à Convenção das Nações Unidas sobre os Direitos da Criança, para que os Estados respeitem a condição de se abster de recrutar pessoas com menos de 18 anos para receber instrução militar e participar em conflitos armados?

 
  
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  Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the Commission. The Commission not only thoroughly and strongly condemns the recruitment and the use of children in armed forces and groups, it is also actively contributing to a sustained international effort using all the available means in combating this phenomenon. And we are working actively, both at the policy level and also through our different funding instruments, to promote the rights of the child in armed conflict.

There are three levels here. One is the policy level. The European Union has established a particularly robust basis to work on these issues. Since 2003, several important policy documents have been adopted including the EU guidelines on children and armed conflict, the EU concept for support for this disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration and the checklist for integration of the protection of children affected by armed conflict into ESDP operations and, finally, the Commission communication towards an EU strategy on children’s rights from 2006.

Now, in our political dialogues with partner countries, we regularly raise issues related to children’s rights. For example, we raised with the Lebanese Government the ratification of the optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We also urge states that have not yet done so to ratify and fully implement the statute of the International Criminal Court which classifies enlisting children as a war crime. And we have been financially supporting the recent revision of the Cape Town principle, resulting in February of this year in the adoption of the Paris principles. Furthermore, we also continue to work with and actively support the UN’s special representatives for children in armed conflict, UNICEF, OHCHR, UNHCR and other non-governmental bodies.

Secondly, we have made this issue a high priority in our assistance efforts at individual country level, for instance, with regard to projects on disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programmes, for instance, in Sudan or with regard to prevention of child recruitment in Colombia or demobilisation, reintegration and prevention of recruitment of child soldiers. That has facilitated the demobilisation of more than 3000 children.

Finally, within the new European instrument for democracy and human rights, we have also earmarked an amount of EUR 6.8 million for 2007 to 2010, aiming to protect children’s rights in armed-conflict situations.

 
  
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  Μαρία Παναγιωτοπούλου-Κασσιώτου (PPE-DE). – Ευχαριστώ την κυρία Επίτροπο για την απάντησή της. Θα ήθελα όμως να με πληροφορήσει ποιες είναι οι συγκεκριμένες δράσεις υποδοχής τέτοιων παιδιών εντός της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης.

 
  
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  Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the Commission. As I just said, we have quite a number of these different guidelines and we are implementing the guidelines that are there. I just mentioned, for instance, the EU strategy on the rights of the child. This is done first by political dialogue. Secondly, we are also helping them with their own strategies. That means we are working with the individual countries and we are also supporting financially the recent revision of the Cape Town principles. As I said, that resulted in the Paris principles and we are also officially expressing political support for those guidelines.

So we are trying to work on all the different fronts by helping the countries but by also using our own projects.

 
  
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  Presidente. Pergunta nº 31 do Bernd Posselt (H-0460/07)

Assunto: Estratégia para a região do Mar Negro

Qual é a situação da estratégia externa da UE para o desenvolvimento da região do Mar Negro, e que papel desempenham, nesse contexto, as questões relacionadas com os direitos humanos, a segurança e a política externa em matéria de energia?

 
  
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  Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the Commission. This is a question on the strategy of the Black Sea region. Beyond the three EU Member States, the Black Sea region comprises seven other countries covered by European Union policies: one is the neighbourhood policy, the pre-accession process in the case of Turkey is the second, and then we have the strategic partnership with Russia. These, and mainly the European neighbourhood policy, determine our strategy towards the region as a whole.

Promoting prosperity and stability is therefore one of our main goals, and we offer substantial cooperation programmes. Recently we have, as you know, put forward a Black Sea synergy initiative that has just been adopted under the German Presidency.

The region is of key importance to us, particularly for EU energy supplies – not only security of energy supplies but also diversification. We are also promoting a dialogue with all the Black Sea countries on energy security to provide a transparent framework for production, transport and transit, not only in a regional context but also to enhance our own energy security and supplies through diversification.

We are also working on upgrading the existing energy infrastructure and on promoting the development of new infrastructure in the context of a Caspian Sea-Black Sea-EU energy corridor. There are also all the human rights standards as set out by the Council of Europe and the OECE that also apply to all the Black Sea states. We therefore want to improve human rights standards, but we also want to support and strengthen democratic structures and civil society in particular. This is key.

Finally, security is the third point and, in particular, the ‘frozen conflicts’ that present a huge challenge. We hope that active EU involvement in ongoing efforts to address these conflicts will provide an opportunity to resolve them in the not too distant future.

 
  
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  Bernd Posselt (PPE-DE). – Frau Kommissarin! Vielen Dank für die sehr ausführliche und umfassende Antwort. Ich habe noch zwei Ergänzungsfragen. Erstens: Wir beschäftigen uns am Donnerstag in einer Dringlichkeitsdebatte mit Transnistrien. Wie beurteilen Sie die Lage in Moldau?


Die zweite Frage bezieht sich auf das Spannungsfeld der drei südkaukasischen Staaten, wo ja in den letzten Tagen und Wochen viel stärkere Spannungen – so etwas wie Stellvertreterkonflikte – entstanden sind. Ist die Kommission hier vermittelnd aktiv?

 
  
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  Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Mitglied der Kommission. Zuerst zu Transnistrien und Moldau: Wir hatten erst vor kurzem einen wichtigen Dialog mit Präsident Voronin persönlich, und ich möchte Ihnen sagen, dass wir sehr eng mit Präsident Voronin zusammenarbeiten, selbstverständlich im Rahmen unserer Nachbarschaftspolitik.

Wir wissen, dass Gespräche zwischen Voronin und Präsident Putin stattgefunden haben, aber wichtig ist, dass dies in die 5+2-Gespräche, die wir führen, einmündet. Auf unserem Weg bemühen wir uns sehr, Moldau jede mögliche Unterstützung zu geben. Es gibt immer wieder Menschenrechtsfragen, die anzusprechen sind — das habe ich auch persönlich gemacht, sowohl in einem Brief an Präsident Voronin als auch direkt in unseren Gesprächen —, aber wir müssen dieses Land, das das ärmste Land in Europa ist, unbedingt unterstützen, und das tun wir auch mit unseren Programmen.

Was die Spannungen im Südkaukasus betrifft: Es ist richtig, dass es stärkere Spannungen gibt. Wir haben immer wieder darauf hingewiesen, dass eine Lösung der Konflikte in Südossetien, Abchasien, aber natürlich auch Nagorno-Karabach nur möglich ist, indem man einen verstärkten, intensivierten politischen Dialog führt. Wir stehen in sehr engem Kontakt mit den verschiedenen Sonderbeauftragten des Hohen Vertreters, und wir haben die Nachbarschaftspolitik in den Dienst der Schaffung des richtigen Umfeldes gestellt, um einen Lösungsansatz zu finden.

Während in Nagorno-Karabach eine Chance gegeben war, die der Präsident leider noch nicht genutzt hat, wobei wir aber alle hoffen, dass es vielleicht einen Durchbruch gibt, und während wir in Südossetien gewisse Verbesserungen erkennen, sehen wir auf der anderen Seite in Abchasien immer größere Probleme und müssen hier ganz besonders wachsam sein.

 
  
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  Reinhard Rack (PPE-DE). – Frau Kommissarin, Sie haben in Ihrer Antwort auf die Frage des Kollegen Posselt eine Reihe von wichtigen Politikbereichen erwähnt. Ich möchte ein weiteres Thema ansprechen: Die Situation am Schwarzen Meer hat dazu geführt, dass wir nun auch dort eine wichtige Außengrenze der EU haben. Das wirft Fragen bezüglich der legalen ebenso wie der illegalen Grenzüberschreitung auf. Gibt es hier im Bereich der Visapolitik, der Immigrationspolitik, aber auch der Verhinderung der illegalen Immigration Möglichkeiten?

 
  
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  Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Mitglied der Kommission. Ich darf dazu sagen, verehrter Herr Abgeordneter, dass wir es hier mit verschiedenen Staaten zu tun haben. Zum einen handelt es sich um die neuen EU-Mitgliedstaaten Bulgarien und Rumänien, die einen entsprechenden Beitrag zur gemeinsamen Formulierung der EU-Migrationspolitik leisten.

Aber wir haben natürlich auch andere Länder, wie z. B. das Bewerberland Türkei. Wenn es so weit ist und diese Frage als Kapitel abgehandelt wird, hat die Türkei den acquis zu akzeptieren und zu übernehmen.

Die Beziehungen zu einigen dieser Länder sind Teil der Nachbarschaftspolitik, und hier nehmen wir vor allem zwei Bereiche in Angriff: auf der einen Seite gewisse Visaerleichterungen, auf der anderen Seite aber auch die Frage der Rückübernahmeabkommen, um der illegalen Migration vorzubeugen bzw. sie so weit wie möglich zu stoppen.

 
  
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  Danutė Budreikaitė (ALDE). – Aš norėjau paklausti dėl Bulgarijos Kozlodujaus 3 ir 4 bloko uždarymo. Nors taip buvo įsipareigota Stojimo sutartyje, kaip jums atrodo, ar, dabar esant tokiai energetinei situacijai Europoje ir pasaulyje, tikslinga uždaryti ekonomiškai veikiančią, gerai veikiančią ir saugią elektrinę arba jos blokus?

 
  
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  Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the Commission. I would say that this is one of the important reasons for having this Black Sea synergy cooperation and for having the Economic Council of the Black Sea as the instrument for bringing this cooperation forward. We would like to see, on the one hand, our partner countries, the neighbourhood countries and, on the other hand, our own Member States, working closely together with the candidate country, that is Turkey, but then particularly also with the strategic partner, i.e. Russia.

We are at the very beginning of this new policy and I think this policy has to grow. There was a very important meeting in Istanbul which I hope henceforth will provide the opportunity for intensifying and deepening our cooperation. However, I think that it is too early to make an assessment just now. Now is the time to go forward and see what we can achieve, but this is clearly the intention.

 
  
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  Presidente. Pergunta nº 32 do Evgeni Kirilov (H-0479/07)

Assunto: A situação das enfermeiras búlgaras e do médico palestiniano na Líbia

Poderá a Comissão informar sobre a actual situação das enfermeiras búlgaras e do médico palestiniano na Líbia, na sequência da recente visita da Comissária Benita Ferrero-Waldner e do Ministro alemão dos Negócios Estrangeiros Frank-Walter Steinmeier a este país? Poderá a Comissão retirar algumas conclusões desta situação e apresentar uma análise política da forma como as negociações com as autoridades líbias deverão continuar a ser conduzidas?

 
  
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  Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the Commission. Mr President, the case of the Bulgarian and Palestinian medical personnel is one of my top priorities. During the visit to Libya, together with Foreign Minister Steinmeier, who was at that time the President-in-Office of the Council, we recorded progress in the discussions with the Libyan authorities and with the representatives of the children’s families. It appears that we are now getting closer to finding a solution based on human solidarity that might produce results.

The families and the Government have been constructive, and we have confirmed our readiness to take into consideration continuing the Benghazi Action Plan in favour of the children and, in particular, in favour of the Benghazi Centre for Infectious Diseases and Immunology.

Now we are waiting for the verdict of the Supreme Court that is expected tomorrow, on 11 July, but this will not be the end because another step is planned before the Libyan High Judicial Council.

We are in very close contact with the Libyan authorities and of course we hope that there will be a positive outcome to the story, but we are not there yet.

 
  
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  Евгени Кирилов (PSE). – Г-жо комисар, благодаря на Вас и на немското председателство за огромните усилия, които положихте.

Вие, г-жо комисар, характеризирате тези преговори като деликатни. Обикновено често казвате така. Всъщност търпение и деликатност проявява Европейската комисия. Либийският режим, който не иска да търси истинската причина за СПИН-епидемията до този момент, не проявява деликатност и си е намерил за тази цел дългосрочни заложници. Той драстично нарушава човешките права на европейски граждани вече 8 години и развива удобната му теза за независимото либийско правосъдие. А то е толкова независимо, колкото например са либийските медии, които за този период не посмяха нито един път да представят другата гледна точка, за разлика от българските и европейските медии.

Попитах Ви за политическата оценка, защото този процес е политически. Логично е за утрешното заседание на съда в Либия и неговото решение, както и за всички решения до сега, либийските власти да носят отговорност. Бих желал да Ви попитам: „Имате ли алтернативен план за действие (председателят се опитва да го прекъсне.), ако Либия продължи да използва преговорите за удължаването на агонията на медицинските сестри и палестинския лекар?“

 
  
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  Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the Commission. I would like to say that I am for the first time hopeful that there might be positive movement. But for the moment we are not yet there, as I said. We do not want to have a plan B because we really want to work for what we have been trying to do: help the Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian medic find their freedom again.

The next days will be crucial. We will be very attentive and we have offered the Libyan authorities the opportunity of really having a mid-term plan for working towards a Benghazi centre that will not only be a centre for the town, but will also be a regional centre and a centre for HIV/AIDS treatment for that part of sub-Saharan Africa.

So let us hope and let us work together in order to find a good solution.

 
  
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  Glyn Ford (PSE). – This case really is an outrageous one. My colleague, David Martin, was one of the first to raise this issue in the last Parliament, before 2004. Yet we are still here. The Libyan Government has to recognise that this has threatened to sour relations permanently between the EU and Libya, which is a great pity given that Libya has just come out of the cold. I welcome your proposal for a Benghazi centre. I hope the decision tomorrow is the right one. If not, I hope that the High Judicial Authority will be able to make the right decision. But if not – and I understand you do not want a plan B now – will you come back to us with further proposals for action if we do not get the right decision in the last two opportunities we have?

 
  
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  Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the Commission. I would like to say again that the Libyan authorities see more and more that they too would like to have good relations with the European Union. I think they have understood how important it is to get out of isolation and, and that this case is still an obstacle.

Tomorrow the Supreme Court will most probably come forward with its verdict, but we also know – and I think it is important to emphasise this – that this will not be the end of the road. There will still be the political decision of the High Judicial Council.

If there is no solution, we will certainly come back and we will have to see what has to be done. But as I said before, I have a cautious optimism this time. Let us hope, let us not only cross our fingers but work together as much as we can. And this is what we will do right up to the last minute. I can assure you of that.

 
  
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  Bogusław Sonik (PPE-DE). – Pani Komisarz! Chciałbym poprosić, aby uniknąć sytuacji, w której Unia Europejska wzorem Stanów Zjednoczonych będzie płacić haracz, jak ten, który swego czasu wymagany był przez pułkownika Kadafiego w zamian za wypuszczenie pielęgniarek i lekarza, kiedy to żądano pieniędzy, wysokiej stawki za uwolnienie ofiar. Nie powinniśmy do tego dopuścić.

 
  
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  Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the Commission. I do not want to go into any details of what we are talking about with the Libyan authorities. However, I can assure you that there is no ransom to be paid. Our sole strategy from the outset has been to say that there is solidarity with the Libyan people, and especially with the children that have been affected. There is also solidarity with their families. We also think it is sometimes a possibility to convert a risk or a difficult situation into a chance. The chance could be that this Benghazi Centre could not only be a centre for treating those children and their families, but also a centre of excellence in the future for the region, and even maybe for a part of sub-Saharan Africa. I can absolutely assure you there is no ransom being paid.

 
  
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  Presidente. Pergunta nº 35 do Georgios Papastamkos (H-0453/07)

Assunto: Energia nuclear na região dos Balcãs

Que projectos foram transmitidos á Comissão relativos à construção de novas centrais nucleares nos Estados-Membros da UE da península dos Balcãs e, de um modo geral, do Sudeste da Europa? Dado o gradual encerramento dos reactores da central de Kozloduy e a simultânea construção em Belene, construção, como se apresenta a carta energética da região? Tendo em conta as reservas suscitadas pelo historial de intensa e forte actividade sísmica da região, considera a Comissão que a energia nuclear seja a solução estratégica correcta e responsável para resolver as necessidades em energia dos países da região?

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. With respect to the region in question, there is one notification on the construction of a new nuclear power plant and one commitment on closure. On 27 February of this year, Natsionalna Elektricheska Kompania (National Electric Company) notified the Commission, under Article 41 of Euratom, of its investment project. The notification concerns the construction of a new third-generation VVER-1000 nuclear plant in Belene (Bulgaria).

The closure of units three and four of Kozlodui nuclear power plant, as an integral part of Bulgaria’s Treaty of Accession to the European Union, is also happening. The Commission, in its role as Guardian of the Treaties, will oversee the correct implementation of the relevant clauses of this Treaty. The closure of these units should not cause major energy supply concerns. The Community assistance for decommissioning, based on the Treaty of Accession, also covers measures consequential to the closure of the reactors in the field of replacement capacity, energy efficiency and supply actions.

In addition, in the opinion of both the Commission and the World Bank, new base load investments are needed throughout the whole region. However, there are no particular structural problems in generation at present.

The Commission has consistently underlined that it is for each Member State to decide whether or not to rely on nuclear power for the generation of electricity. Should Member States decide to invest in new nuclear power generation, the Commission will exercise available powers to ensure that new investment projects meet the highest standards of safety, security and non-proliferation, as required by the Euratom Treaty.

On the seismic issue, pursuant to Article 37 of Euratom, Bulgaria is required to provide the Commission with general data relating to the plan for the disposal of radioactive waste. This will apply to the new nuclear power plant in Belene. The submission of this data is due at least six months before any discharge authorisation of radioactive effluents is granted by the Bulgarian competent authorities. On the basis of this data, and after consultation of the Article 31 Group of Experts, the Commission will deliver an opinion. The latter will check whether the implementation of the plan, both in normal operation and in the event of accident, is liable to result in a radioactive contamination of the water, soil or air space of another Member State. As the Commission review also covers accidental scenarios, the general data to be provided by Member States should contain information on the degree of seismic activity in the region, on probable maximum seismic activity and on the designed seismic resistance of the nuclear installation.

 
  
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  Γεώργιος Παπαστάμκος (PPE-DE). – Ευχαριστώ τον κύριο Επίτροπο για την απάντησή του.

Κύριε Πρόεδρε, συμπληρώθηκαν είκοσι χρόνια από την τραγωδία του Τσερνομπίλ, με ανυπολόγιστο αριθμό περιπτώσεων άμεσου ή έμμεσου αργού θανάτου. Ούτε η Παγκόσμια Οργάνωση Υγείας ούτε η Επιτροπή έχουν δώσει στη δημοσιότητα αξιόπιστα στοιχεία σχετικά με αυτή την τραγωδία.

Πρόσφατα δημοσιεύθηκε στην Ελβετία μια μελέτη με τη βραχυγραφία Pegasos που συνδέει το σεισμικό κίνδυνο με την πυρηνική ενέργεια. Η μελέτη αυτή είδε το φως της δημοσιότητας στη Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

Διαθέτει η Επιτροπή στοιχεία πιθανοτήτων ανάλυσης σεισμικού κινδύνου; Αυτά τα στοιχεία περιμένουμε και όχι το αν κάθε κράτος μέλος είναι ελεύθερο να έχει ή να μην έχει πυρηνική ενέργεια.

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. According to the Euratom Treaty, we must deliver an opinion. We definitely will require all the necessary data from the companies which would like to build the nuclear reactor and, in our opinion, we will give the matter due thought on the basis of the information that we receive from the authorities.

 
  
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  Paul Rübig (PPE-DE). – Sehr geehrter Herr Kommissar, es liegen noch immer zwei Richtlinien beim Rat, die sich mit der Entsorgung beschäftigen. Ich glaube, dass diese Richtlinien, die von der Kommission vorgeschlagen und vom Parlament stark unterstützt wurden, jetzt endlich einer Weiterbehandlung bedürfen. Sehen Sie eine Chance, dass mit der Liberalisierung des Energiemarkts auch die Konditionen für die Endlagerung und die Dekommissionierung gemeinsamen Standards unterworfen werden?

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. Unfortunately, I do not see the link with liberalisation and how it would influence the position of a Member State. A much stronger instrument of influence is the high level group on the treatment of safety and nuclear waste, because this is the way to proceed and to gather together all the member countries – those that have nuclear power and those that do not – and to really push these issues forward. The liberalisation of the market will not have any effect, because nuclear energy is a part of national energy mix and each country would like to make its own decisions.

It is a highly sensitive political issue, so I believe that market liberalisation will have no influence on this type of decision. Countries that normally oppose the use of nuclear power will not change their mind. Those countries that use nuclear power continue to use it. Therefore, I believe that the best way to promote the directive is to work in a high level group of all 27 Member States and, in this way, to establish a broader consensus on establishing higher nuclear safety standards and better treatment of nuclear waste.

 
  
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  Danutė Budreikaitė (ALDE). – Norėjau pasiteirauti apie galimybę sukurti Juodosios jūros dimensiją. Turime Šiaurės dimensiją, į kurią sėkmingai buvo įtraukta Rusija ir laikomasi susitarimų (kartais Rusija jų nesilaiko). Ar galima būtų šiuos Šiaurės dimensijos elementus panaudoti Juodajai jūrai ir tuo pačiu turėti kompleksinį požiūrį į visas problemas?

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. The main reason for closure was doubt about safety levels. It was well debated during the whole pre-accession strategy, and a decision was taken by the Bulgarian authorities based on the safety evaluation. The closure is not about supply or lack of it, but about safety. That is why I believe there is no way we can compromise on this. If it was for any other reason, such as excess of power – but it was not, it was only for safety reasons, recognised by Bulgarian authorities when they subscribed to the Treaty. Moreover, this Treaty has been ratified in all the Member States, meaning that not only have the governments that signed it made an obligation, but this obligation has been endorsed by the citizens of all other Member States. In my opinion there is no new data that would allow us to come back to this decision.

 
  
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  Presidente. Pergunta nº 36 do Dimitrios Papadimoulis (H-0474/07)

Assunto: Manutenção das reservas de combustíveis na Grécia

A Comissão grega da concorrência, com a sua decisão 334/V/2007 adoptada depois de examinar o mercado dos produtos petrolíferos, apresentou uma série de medidas e propostas em que é feita uma referência particular à manutenção das reservas. A Comissão grega da Concorrência já tinha, numa consulta pública, constatado problemas com o regime de manutenção das reservas: "Com o actual regime jurídico de manutenção de reservas de segurança, impedem-se, de facto, as importações de produtos petrolíferos e, portanto, a concorrência a nível da refinação é limitada às duas unidades de refinação locais. Isto acontece porque não enfrentam fortes pressões da concorrência dos preços (inferiores) de importação, o que faz com que as duas refinarias locais cobrem preços às empresas de comercialização de combustíveis na Grécia mais elevados que nos outros Estados­Membros da UE apesar do baixo custo do petróleo bruto de que beneficiam as companhias de refinação locais".

Adoptou o governo grego as medidas propostas pela Comissão grega da concorrência? Como comenta a Comissão o regime de manutenção de reservas em vigor e as soluções propostas? Tenciona a Comissão fazer diligências junto do governo grego para que adopte as propostas supra, e outras, para reforçar a concorrência?

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. The existing EU legislation leaves it up to Member States to decide the system of stock maintenance. The EU legislation imposes certain obligations on stock levels. It does impose requirements on internal arrangements to keep those stocks apart from some general conditions which apply to stockholding arrangements such as the principles of fairness, non-discrimination and transparency.

On the basis of the information provided by the Greek authorities, the European Commission considers for the time being that there is no evidence to justify an infringement procedure in relation to the stockholding arrangements undertaken in relation to the directive.

Taking the above into consideration, the Commission will continue to monitor regularly the level of stocks held in Greece in order to ensure levels required by EU legislation. At the same time, the European Commission would like to point out that in 2001 the European Court of Justice decided that a stockholding arrangement in Greece, not regulated by the above-mentioned directive, breached Article 28 of the European Community Treaty on the free movement of goods. The case was closed after the Commission was informed that the Greek authorities complied with the judgement of the Court of Justice.

However, if there are new elements which would amount to a breach of Article 28, such as banning or inhibiting imported goods, the European Commission would examine this new detailed information.

 
  
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  Δημήτριος Παπαδημούλης (GUE/NGL). – Κύριε Επίτροπε, τα νέα στοιχεία είναι οι προτάσεις της ίδιας της ελληνικής Επιτροπής Ανταγωνισμού, η οποία λέει ότι τα σημερινά υψηλά επίπεδα αποθεμάτων που επιβάλλει η ισχύουσα νομοθεσία στην πράξη απαγορεύουν τις εισαγωγές έτοιμων προϊόντων και διευκολύνουν ολιγοπωλιακές καταστάσεις, καθώς κυριαρχούν δύο εταιρίες διύλισης πετρελαίου στην Ελλάδα.

Η Ελλάδα έχει μία από τις υψηλότερες τιμές προ-φόρων για τα καύσιμα στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση.

Το ερώτημα είναι: Θα κάνετε μία παρέμβαση προς τις ελληνικές αρχές για την εφαρμογή αυτών που προτείνει η ελληνική Επιτροπή Ανταγωνισμού ή προτιμάτε το ρόλο του Πόντιου Πιλάτου;

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. The Commission carries out its duties very responsibly, and we really monitor the level of stocks and the arrangement. At this stage, we have no evidence that Greece is in breach of legislation on stocks. If we receive new information that Greece is in breach of that legislation, we will launch infringement proceedings immediately. At the same time, it would be wrong to equate stocks with higher prices, because stocks have a very minimal influence on the price level of petroleum products.

 
  
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  Presidente. Pergunta nº 37 do Justas Vincas Paleckis (H-0480/07)

Assunto: Oleoduto "Družba"

Em Julho do ano passado, a Rússia suspendeu o fornecimento de petróleo à Lituânia e à Letónia através do oleoduto "Družba". Desde há quase um ano que não temos quaisquer informações oficiais sobre os motivos da suspensão e as perspectivas de os fornecimentos serem retomados. A Rússia apresenta como justificação o facto de estar ainda em curso o estudo económico e técnico sobre a reparação do oleoduto "Družba", no termo do qual se verificará se é rentável para a Rússia reparar o oleoduto ou se deve ser construído um novo oleoduto Unečia – Velikije Luki – Primorsk. Segundo os peritos, o Governo russo tomou já a decisão política de renunciar ao oleoduto "Družba", dado que o novo oleoduto ofereceria à Rússia a possibilidade de não ter de fazer transitar o petróleo através de território bielorrusso e polaco para, em vez disso, o transportar directamente para a União Europeia através do porto de Primorsk, no Mar Báltico. Tal contradiz a estratégia da UE de transportar menos petróleo por via marítima, a fim de evitar as consequências ecológicas negativas, e terá consequências significativas para o aprovisiomento de petróleo de oito Estados, entre os quais se contam seis Estados-Membros da UE, a saber, a Lituânia, a Polónia, a Hungria, a Eslováquia, a República Checa e a Alemanha.

Em Março, os Chefes de Estado e de Governo da UE declararam que o objectivo da política energética era garantir a segurança do abastecimento dos Estados-Membros da UE com fontes energéticas e a diversificação da respectiva infra-estrutura. A desactivação do oleoduto "Družba" significará um malogro claro desta política europeia. Que medidas concretas pensa a Comissão adoptar para obviar a esta situação? Quais são os prognósticos e as recomendações da Rede dos Correspondentes de Segurança Energética (NESCO)?

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. Since the beginning of the disruption of oil supplies via the Druzhba pipeline, the European Commission has asked the Russian side to provide transparency and information about envisaged steps to remedy the situation. This transparency was repeatedly requested by letter and in several bilateral meetings up to the highest level, including the last EU-Russia Summit in May of summer this year. The Commission notes the resolution of the Russian Government of 21 May 2007 to go ahead with the preparation for the construction of a pipeline from Unecha to the Primorsk terminal on the Baltic, a development which could presumably lead to reduced deliveries via the Druzhba pipeline.

The possibility of further increases in oil exports via Primorsk underline the importance of a strong legislative framework for maritime safety and environmental risks related to the tanker traffic and effective implementation of that framework. The Baltic Sea is a focus of particular attention, its establishment of traffic lines, monitoring of single hub tanker traffic by the European Maritime Safety Agency – EMSA. In the dialogue on transport, it has been agreed that maritime safety is one of the most important subjects.

The Commission considers that pipeline transport of oil is preferable to tanker transport when there is maritime safety or environmental risks. Such risks need to be taken into account by investors and promoters. In March 2007 the European Council endorsed an energy policy for Europe containing an extensive action plan which sets out the strategy. The strategy should be assessed as a whole. Security of supply should be achieved by advances in several parts of the action plan, notably the establishment and functioning of the internal energy market and solidarity arrangement between the Member States within the market. These also include the diversification of energy, making an effort in terms of energy efficiency and last, but not least, work towards a strong single voice in external energy relations.

The network of energy security correspondents set up in May has just started preparing its work but it will be a very good instrument in the future in assessing the external supply risks.

 
  
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  Justas Vincas Paleckis (PSE). – Thank you, Commissioner, for your comprehensive answer. In Lithuania, the people and also the government very much appreciate the efforts of the Commission but, nevertheless, the Druzhba pipeline does not function. I am afraid to say that the Russian side is not willing to cooperate. What is the role of the Network of Energy Security Correspondents in this story?

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. As for the Druzhba pipeline there is no other instrument that continues to keep this question on the agenda. Nesco really cannot help: its role is to prevent or anticipate the disruption of supplies and it therefore cannot provide the necessary information.

We are not asking too much. We need clear data and commitments. Will they use the pipe? If so, when do they expect to use it? We are not asking for secret data. We are just asking normal questions that good neighbours should exchange because it is not related to security of supply. We are saying that it is a good idea to use the pipeline because it stops congestion on the seas and diminishes environmental risks.

We are all hoping that the pipeline will be back in use as soon as possible and, if necessary, we would be willing to provide whatever support was necessary. Therefore, Nesco has a very limited role in this because it is an instrument for alleviating supply risks.

 
  
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  Paul Rübig (PPE-DE). – Herr Kommissar, wir haben bei verschiedenen Pipelines Koordinatoren eingesetzt, die sich um diese Pipelines kümmern. Glauben Sie, dass es auch für die Druschba-Trasse eine gute Lösung wäre, einen Koordinator zu benennen?

 
  
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  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. For oil, we have not, so far, had trans-European energy networks. I would say it is high time to reconsider this because we have undervalued supply risks concerning oil. So we should bring oil back into our energy debate in this House, as well as in the Council and in the Commission.

We are now preparing a study evaluating all the risks of oil supply, which parts of the world we get it from, what role is played by congestion, where the risks come from etc. I believe at some stage we should move to promote particular projects. One very obvious oil project where we would like to promote development is the reversal of the flow of the Odessa-Brody-Płock-Gdańsk pipeline because it brings oil from the congested Black Sea region to its markets. This is a project I can already mention where I would envisage the need for such a coordinator, but today the legal framework does not apply to oil.

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

O período de perguntas está encerrado.

(A sessão, suspensa às 19h10, é reiniciada às 21 horas).

 
  
  

PRESIDENZA DELL'ON. MARIO MAURO
Vicepresidente

 
  

(1) JO L 136 de 30.4.2004, p. 34.

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