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L-Erbgħa, 6 ta' Mejju 2009 - Strasburgu Edizzjoni riveduta

14. Ħin tal-mistoqsijiet (mistoqsijiet lill-Kunsill)
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  Presidente. − Segue-se o período de perguntas (B6-0231/2009).

Foram apresentadas as seguintes perguntas ao Conselho.

Temos presente o Senhor Ministro Kohout em representação do Conselho. Aproveito para me congratular pela decisão tomada hoje pelo Senado checo, que abriu boas esperanças à ratificação futura do Tratado de Lisboa.

 
  
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  Presidente. − Pergunta n.º 1 do Deputado Manuel Medina Ortega (H-0205/09)

Assunto: Protecção da criação cultural europeia

Face à debilitação da criação cultural europeia devido à multiplicação de cópias não autorizadas de produtos dessa criação, quais as medidas propostas pelo Conselho para proteger efectivamente esses produtos?

 
  
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  Jan Kohout, President-in-Office of the Council. − Mr President, thank you for your kind words addressed to the Czech Republic and to the Senate. We are also very pleased that the green light for the Lisbon Treaty is now much stronger than it was a few hours before.

In response to the first question, I would like to say that the Council shares the concerns expressed by the honourable Member relating to the need to comprehensively address the problem of piracy of protected works. This issue has been identified as a policy priority by both the European Parliament and the Council in the context of the overall effort to protect and foster innovation of European creators and consequently the competitiveness of the European economy.

The European Parliament and the Council have adopted Directive 2004/48/EC, which puts in place a Community framework for the enforcement of intellectual property rights and are currently working on a proposal for a directive on criminal measures, aimed at ensuring enforcement of such rights.

The legislative framework already in force provides for a solid base for the Member States to pursue effective protection of intellectual property rights, including by fighting piracy. Moreover, the European Community and the Member States are participating in ongoing negotiations, such as the draft anti-counterfeiting trade agreement, in order to render the protection of intellectual property rights more effective at international level.

On 25 September 2008, the Council adopted a resolution setting down concrete actions to be taken by the Member States and the Commission in the context of a comprehensive European anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy plan. Moreover, the Council adopted in November 2008 a set of conclusions in response to the Commission communication of January 2008 on creative content online in the single market, highlighting, amongst other things, the need to promote and facilitate legitimate online offers of copyright-protected material as an important means of effectively fighting piracy.

In the customs field, the Council has adopted Regulation (EC) No 1383/2003 concerning customs action against goods suspected of infringing certain intellectual property rights and the measures to be taken against goods found to have infringed such rights. This regulation sets out the conditions under which the customs authorities may intervene in cases where goods are suspected of infringing intellectual property rights and the steps to be taken by the authorities when goods are found to be illegal.

In particular, the Community has concluded a series of customs cooperation agreements, like the agreement recently concluded with China, in order to improve and facilitate cooperation with the customs authorities of third countries, inter alia for the fight against counterfeited and pirated goods. These agreements are practical means and methods of cooperation between the European Community and the customs authorities of partner countries. These agreements are constantly implemented and updated in the framework of the Joint Customs Cooperation Committees established under these agreements.

At multilateral level, the Council actively contributes to the work undertaken under the auspices of the World Customs Organisation.

Lastly, on 16 March 2009, the Council adopted a resolution on the EU customs action plan to combat intellectual property rights infringements for the years 2009-2012, following on from the abovementioned Council resolution of 25 September 2008.

The Council remains open to examining any future initiatives that would aim at reinforcing the fight against counterfeiting and piracy so as to provide more comprehensive protection to right holders. The Council appreciates all similar efforts by the European Parliament to the same end.

 
  
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  Manuel Medina Ortega (PSE). - Muchas gracias, señor Presidente, por su respuesta. Creo que, en efecto, el Consejo entiende cuál es el problema, pero yo querría insistir y preguntarle al señor Presidente en ejercicio del Consejo, si el Consejo tiene conciencia de que en este momento la creación cultural europea está bajo mínimos.

El Derecho de la Unión Europea en materia de protección a la creación cultural es propio de un país subdesarrollado y, en consecuencia, nuestra producción cultural está alcanzando niveles de países subdesarrollados. Esto se ve, sobre todo, en el sector del audiovisual, donde en este momento la mayor parte de la producción se produce fuera de Europa, en Estados Unidos principalmente, porque es un país que protege la creación cultural. Si Europa no la protege, no tendremos creación cultural. ¿Es consciente el Consejo de la responsabilidad que le incumbe en este momento?

 
  
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  Paul Rübig (PPE-DE). - Meine Frage betrifft Folgendes: Frau Trautmann wurde ja heute mit ihrem Kompromissänderungsantrag zum Telekom-Paket hier im Parlament überstimmt, das heißt also, dass sie Präsident Sarkozy mit seiner Lösung „Three strikes – out“ in Position gebracht hat. Wie beurteilt die tschechische Präsidentschaft die heutige Abstimmung im Europäischen Parlament in Bezug auf die europäischen Kulturschaffenden, die ja ihre Rechte im Internet verteidigen wollen?

 
  
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  Jan Kohout, úřadující předseda Rady. − Pane předsedající, jenom bych chtěl ubezpečit ctihodného pana poslance, že Rada si uvědomuje, že se jedná o závažnou činnost, která skutečně ohrožuje kulturní bohatství Evropanů a Evropské unie. Myslím, že z toho výčtu opatření, kterými se Rada v minulých měsících a v minulých letech zabývala, je evidentní, že tato problematika byla a zůstává další prioritou, a to i v rámci toho komplexního evropského plánu, který stanovil konkrétní akční cíle, jako je např. zřízení Evropské observatoře k monitorování padělatelství a pirátství. Myslím si, že v tomto smyslu je třeba říci, že Rada si uvědomuje svoji odpovědnost, uvědomuje si závažnost problému a je odhodlána v této věci konkrétně pracovat. Pokud jde o telekomunikační balíček, předsednictví předchozí i naše investovalo do této otázky velmi mnoho energie. Vyjadřujeme lítost nad tím, že nebyl schválen kompletní kompromis včetně tohoto protipirátského ustanovení, a dovolte mi jenom, abych vyjádřil naději, že po dalších řízeních nakonec ke schválení tohoto dohodnutého telekomunikačního dojde. Nicméně je mi z těchto důvodů, které byly zmíněny váženým panem poslancem, líto, že dnes tento balíček neprošel.

 
  
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  Presidente. − Pergunta n.º 2 do Deputado Gay Mitchell (H-0207/09)

Assunto: Alterações climáticas

Tendo em conta o bem conhecido cepticismo do presidente checo, Václav Klaus, acerca das alterações climáticas, o Conselho assegura que será respeitada a opinião da esmagadora maioria dos cidadãos e Estados-Membros da UE, que apoiam a veracidade científica das alterações climáticas provocadas pelo Homem, especificamente no que respeita à preparação da Cimeira sobre o Clima, em Copenhaga, e à iminente presidência sueca?

 
  
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  Jan Kohout, President-in-Office of the Council. − Last March the Council and the spring European Council further refined a new position for the international climate change negotiations, in particular in view of the Copenhagen Conference.

At this meeting of 19-20 March 2009, the Council stressed its conviction that the economic crisis and the policy measures in response to it provide an opportunity to achieve the necessary economic reforms and at the same time speed up reforms towards a safe and sustainable low-carbon resource-efficient economy.

The Presidency conclusions of the European Council of March this year stated that the European Union remained committed to playing a leading role and bringing about the global and comprehensive climate agreement in Copenhagen in December this year, designed to limit global warming to below 2° Celsius.

To this end the European Council recalled the EU’s commitment to a 30% emission reduction as its contribution to such an agreement, provided that other developed countries commit themselves to comparable emission reductions and that advanced developing countries contribute adequately according to their responsibilities and respective capabilities. The European Council will further discuss these issues at its June meeting.

 
  
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  Avril Doyle (PPE-DE), deputising for the author. – I would like to thank the Czech Presidency for the chairing of the committee and their views on this.

As I asked one of your colleagues before, could I have assurances now, as we approach the critical meeting that will be the UNFCC COP-15 in Copenhagen this December, that we will have the enthusiastic support of the Czech Government for an adequate and fully equitable global agreement to reduce carbon emissions worldwide?

You started your Presidency with the reputation of being climate-sceptics. Can you confirm now that you are converts and that you fully agree with the legislative climate and energy package that was passed overwhelmingly last December by this Parliament?

 
  
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  Jan Kohout, úřadující předseda Rady. − Pane předsedající, v odpovědi na položenou otázku bych především chtěl říci, že jsme nikdy nebyli, pokud jde o českou vládu a Českou republiku, skeptičtí vůči klimatické změně. Myslím, že to, co jsem řekl ve svém vystoupení, tzn. že březnová Evropská rada přijala jakési závěry, že předchozí Evropské rady za účasti české vlády přijaly určitá opatření a že vláda s těmito závěry souhlasila, v žádném případě nemůže indikovat, že by tato vláda, ta, která je v demisi i ta nová, která bude nastupovat v pátek tohoto týdne, v této věci jakýmkoli způsobem měnila názor. V tomto smyslu můžu říci, že budeme sledovat cestu, která byla předložena nebo nastíněna předchozími Radami, a je naší ambicí, aby na příštím červnovém summitu Evropská unie, pokud jde o přípravu mandátu Evropské rady nebo rámce pro jednání do Kodaně, skutečně udělala maximum, aby se Evropská unie při všech problémech nebo obtížích, které s tím souvisejí, posunula na červnovém summitu dopředu. Já jsem v otázce cítil jistý odkaz na pana prezidenta, ale můžu vám říci se vší rozhodností a ctí, že před dvěma dny v Praze proběhl summit s Japonskem, kterému za Evropskou unii předsedal pan prezident Klaus. A pokud jste zaznamenali cokoli, co by narušilo jednotnou Evropské unie v oblasti klimatu, dejte mi prosím vědět, ale nic takového nenastalo. Proto považuji tyto obavy za pochopitelné, ale v zásadě ne zcela oprávněné a doufám, že jsem tyto obavy rozptýlil.

 
  
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  Presidente. − Pergunta n.º 3 da Deputada Avril Doyle (H-0210/09)

Assunto: O Tratado de Lisboa e a República Checa

Pode o Conselho fazer um comentário sobre o eventual prazo para a ratificação do Tratado de Lisboa pela República Checa?

 
  
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  Jan Kohout, úřadující předseda Rady. − Pane předsedající, ale už v úvodu svého dnešního vystoupení jste oznámil a gratuloval České republice k tomu, že Senát dnes výraznou většinou schválil Lisabonskou smlouvu, čili si myslím, že to je v tuto chvíli nejlepší odpovědí na položenou otázku.

 
  
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  Avril Doyle (PPE-DE). - Thank you to the Czech Minister and congratulations through him to the leader and all the members of the Czech Senate. Now both the upper and lower houses have voted to approve the ratification.

You may look at me as an Irish Member of this House and say: is this the pot calling the kettle black? We have a job yet to do in Ireland. The Poles and the Germans also have a bit of tidying up to do.

But can I ask you to indicate when and if your President Klaus is likely to accept the wishes of the upper and lower Houses and approve – or sign off, if you like – the full ratification of the Treaty? Again, thank you. I am delighted with today’s result in your Senate.

 
  
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  Paul Rübig (PPE-DE). - Herr Präsident! Ich gratuliere der tschechischen Ratspräsidentschaft zur Entscheidung im Senat. Trotzdem muss ich feststellen, dass wir in Europa natürlich mit vielen Bereichen des Zusammenspiels zwischen den Institutionen unzufrieden sind und deshalb diesen Reformvertrag in den letzten acht Jahren verhandelt haben. Wäre es vielleicht möglich, auch in Tschechien eine Debatte zu führen, was tatsächlich an diesem Vertrag stört und welche Alternativen Herr Präsident Klaus der europäischen Bevölkerung anbieten könnte, um die derzeitige Unzufriedenheit, auf die er ja lautstark hinweist, zu überwinden, und welche Lösungsansätze er sehen würde? Derzeit ist nur bekannt, dass er die Reform verhindern will, aber keine positiven Vorschläge unterbreitet.

 
  
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  Bernd Posselt (PPE-DE). - Herr Präsident! Nachdem Präsident Klaus aus reiner Egozentrik dem nationalen Ansehen seines Landes geschadet hat, möchte auch ich der tschechischen Präsidentschaft gratulieren und sagen: Es war eine erstklassige Präsidentschaft und ich bin glücklich, dass sie mit der Ratifikation des Vertrags, was das Parlamentarische betrifft, endet.

 
  
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  Jan Kohout, úřadující předseda Rady. − Pane předsedající, děkuji za slova uznání a gratulace ke schválení Lisabonské smlouvy Senátem. Pan prezident Klaus má své názory a my je v České republice respektujeme jako názory, které patří k tomu demokratickému spektru názorů. Pokud jde o diskuzi k Lisabonské smlouvě, ta probíhala velmi intenzivně, a proto Senát schválil Lisabonskou smlouvu až teď a právě na základě té dlouhé diskuze, která se k této věci vedla. Ta většina, tzn. že 54 senátorů z 80 přítomných hlasovalo ve prospěch této smlouvy včetně senátorů za stranu ODS, to je za stranu, kterou kdysi pan prezident Klaus zakládal, svědčí o tom, že je zde v rámci České republiky eurorealizmus, je zde velmi silný pocit spoluodpovědnosti za Evropu, za Evropskou unii a vůle pokračovat v procesu evropské integrace a aktivně se na ní podílet. Pokud jde o ústavní pořádek schválení oběma komorami Českého parlamentu, je skutečně předpokladem k ratifikaci, která je završena podpisem pana prezidenta. Ústava v této věci nedává žádné termíny, ale já bych nerad, aby se o termínu, kdy bude Smlouva podepsána panem prezidentem, v tuto chvíli spekuloval. Situace je pro nás v tuto chvíli výrazně nová i v samotné České republice. Nám spadl velký kámen ze srdce a máme samozřejmě velikou radost a budeme samozřejmě vést další konzultace, jednání o tom, aby finalizace ratifikace byla dokončena v co nejkratší možné době.

 
  
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  Presidente. − Pergunta n.º 4 do Deputado Bernd Posselt (H-0213/09)

Assunto: Croácia, Macedónia e Europa do Sudeste

Quais são, no entender do Conselho, as possibilidades de concluir, ainda este ano, as negociações de adesão com a Croácia, de indicar, ainda este ano, a data de início das negociações com a Macedónia e de precisar as perspectivas europeias dos Estados do Sudeste Europeu, incluindo o Kosovo, situado que fica entre a Croácia e a Macedónia?

 
  
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  Jan Kohout, President-in-Office of the Council. − Mr President, the negotiations with Croatia have entered an important and demanding phase. Since the start of these negotiations, 22 chapters have been opened, of which seven have been provisionally closed. Forecasts of the conclusion of the negotiating process cannot be made. As you know, the advancement of the negotiations is mainly guided by Croatia’s progress in preparing for accession in addressing opening and closing benchmarks, as well as in meeting the requirements of the negotiating framework and fulfilling Croatia’s obligations under the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.

The implementation of the revised Accession Partnership is also important to prepare for further integration with the European Union. Full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, including access to documents, remains essential in line with the negotiating framework. In this context, it is worth recalling that the Council has repeatedly stated that, in accordance with the negotiating framework and the Accession Partnership, efforts towards good neighbourly relations must be continued – in particular work on finding solutions to bilateral issues with neighbouring countries, especially border issues.

The Presidency regrets that the border issue with Slovenia is affecting the pace of Croatia’s accession negotiations and the progress on the ground does not match the former progress registered. As you know, the Presidency, together with the former and incoming Presidencies and the Commission, has made significant facilitation efforts to make progress on this issue. Furthermore, the April General Affairs and External Relations Council held a useful discussion to take stock of the situation.

Concerning the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, I would like to recall the decision of the European Council of December 2005 to grant it the status of candidate country, taking into account in particular the requirements of the stabilisation and association process and criteria for membership and implementation of the priorities in the Partnership, the substantial progress made in completing the legislative framework related to the Ohrid Framework Agreement, as well as its track record in implementing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, including its trade-related provisions since 2001.

According to the European Council of June 2008, further steps by the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in its progress towards the EU will be possible, provided that the conditions set out in the December 2005 European Council conclusions, the Copenhagen political criteria and the outstanding key priorities of the Accession Partnership are fulfilled. Maintaining good neighbourly relations, including a negotiated and mutually acceptable solution on the main issue, remains essential. Holding free and fair elections is crucial. According to the preliminary assessment of the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission, elections held on 22 March and 5 April were organised thoroughly and met most international commitments and standards.

This is an important step forward for democracy in the country. We encourage the new President and the Government in their efforts to achieve progress in their country, to the benefit of all citizens, and the Government for concentrating on the reform agenda, such as the strengthening of the rule of law, economic progress and the fight against corruption and organised crime.

Concerning other countries of the Western Balkans, very considerable progress has been made towards EU membership over recent years but this has also been uneven and huge challenges remain. The Council is willing to support efforts to meet these challenges, in particular by implementing the Stabilisation and Association Agreements and by granting considerable financial support. The Stabilisation and Association Process remains the overall framework for the European perspective of the Western Balkans. By making solid progress in economic and political reform and by fulfilling the necessary conditions and requirements, the remaining potential candidates in the Western Balkans should achieve candidate status according to their own merits, with EU membership as the ultimate goal.

In December 2008 Montenegro filed its membership application. On 23 April this year the Council asked the Commission to prepare its opinion on the application so that the Council can then take further decisions. On 28 April Albania applied for EU membership. Applications from other countries might be received at a later stage.

The Council recalls the European Union’s willingness to assist the economic and political development of Kosovo through a clear European perspective, in line with the European perspective of the region. The Council welcomes the Commission’s intention to present, in autumn 2009, a study examining means to further Kosovo’s political and socioeconomic development. The Council is committed to strengthening people-to-people contacts, such as lifting the visa requirements when the benchmarks defined in the visa liberalisation road maps are met, as well as further promoting student and young professional exchanges.

While strengthening the ownership principle, the EU stresses the importance of regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations among the Western Balkan countries. Regional cooperation and the European agenda are linked. The more Western Balkan countries cooperate with each other, the more they integrate within European structures. This is because regional cooperation contributes to a shared understanding in the region and to finding solutions for issues of common interest, such as in the fields of energy, transport, trade, the fight against organised crime and corruption, refugee return and border control.

 
  
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  Bernd Posselt (PPE-DE). - Vielen Dank für die sehr gute und sehr ausführliche Antwort!

Drei ganz kurze Zusatzfragen:

Erstens: Halten Sie es für denkbar, dass noch unter der tschechischen Präsidentschaft neue Kapitel mit Kroatien eröffnet werden?

Zweitens: Werden Sie noch in diesem Jahr ein Datum für Mazedonien nennen?

Drittens: Wie sieht der Zeitplan für die Visa-Erleichterungen aus?

 
  
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  Jan Kohout, úřadující předseda Rady. − Pane předsedající, pokud jde o první otázku týkající se odblokování negociačního procesu. Jak už jsem v úvodním vystoupení řekl, na minulém zasedání Rady pro všeobecné záležitosti a vnější vztahy byl jeden z bodů věnován právě této problematice. My si myslíme a jsme přesvědčeni, že ještě během stávajícího předsednictví dojde k takovému pokroku, k takové dohodě, která by skutečně umožnila, aby ty negociační kapitoly, které jsou již připraveny k uzavření, byly uzavřeny. Pohnout s tou zablokovanou situací je od samého počátku jedním z velkých úsilí tohoto předsednictví. Rýsuje se zde cesta ven, my doufáme, že akceptovatelná pro všechny zúčastněné, která by umožnila, aby negociační pokrok mohl pokračovat.

Pokud jde o otázku týkající se Bývalé jugoslávské republiky Makedonie (FYROM), je třeba říci, že v tuto chvíli nepředpokládáme, že by během stávajícího předsednictví k něčemu takovému, jako je stanovení data či jiné upřesnění, mohlo dojít. Nepředpokládáme, že by k vízové liberalizaci došlo ještě během prvního semestru tohoto roku, ale věříme, že do konce tohoto roku nebo od počátku příštího roku nastane situace, kdy občané řady zemí západního Balkánu, které jsou blízké splnění či splňují předpoklady, tzv. benchmarks, budou moci cestovat z některých zemí západního Balkánu do Evropské unie bez víz. Bylo to zde několikrát zdůrazněno, že přibližování zemí západního Balkánu Evropské unii je jednou z priorit našeho předsednictví. Věnujeme tomu velké úsilí a v těch dvou měsících, které nám zbývají do konce, chceme této prioritě věnovat stále stejné, ne-li větší úsilí.

 
  
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  Presidente. − Pergunta n.º 5 do Deputado Claude Moraes (H-0215/09)

Assunto: Proteger os mais vulneráveis da crise económica

Nas conclusões da sua reunião de 19/20 de Março, o Conselho Europeu declarou que para enfrentar o impacto social da actual crise económica, "deverá ser prestada especial atenção aos mais vulneráveis e aos novos riscos de exclusão."

De que forma está o Conselho empenhado em proteger os mais vulneráveis, tais como os novos migrantes, as pessoas idosas, as minorias étnicas, as pessoas com deficiência e os sem-abrigo, de modo a evitar que sejam empurrados para as margens da sociedade?

 
  
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  Jan Kohout, President-in-Office of the Council. − As the honourable parliamentarian has said very well the joint report on social protection and social inclusion, which was submitted to the European Council meeting on 19-20 March, stresses the need for appropriate social policies, not only to mitigate the adverse social impact on the most vulnerable but also to cushion the impact of the crisis on the economy as a whole.

This implies adjusting benefits, where needed, to safeguard appropriate support for recipients. In particular comprehensive active inclusion strategies that combine and balance measures and inclusive labour market access to quality services and adequate minimum incomes need to be implemented.

A boost must be given to Member States’ efforts to implement comprehensive strategies against poverty and social exclusion of children, including accessible and affordable quality childcare.

Sustained work is required to tackle homelessness as an extremely serious form of exclusion, to promote the social inclusion of migrants and to address, for example, the multiple disadvantages the Roma people are facing and their vulnerability to social exclusion.

Vigilance is also needed as new risk groups, among them young workers and labour market entrants, as well as new risks, may emerge.

As regards the specific situation of older people, ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities, the Council has already adopted legislation aiming to protect these and other vulnerable groups from discrimination. Council Directive 2000/78/EC establishes a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation and prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation as regards employment and occupation. Council Directive 2000/43/EC implements the principle of equal treatment between persons, irrespective of racial or ethnic origin, in a wide number of areas including employment, self-employment, vocational training, social security, education and access to goods and services, including housing.

In addition, the Council is currently examining a new Commission proposal that aims to extend the protection against discrimination even further. The proposal for a Council directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation would extend the protection against discrimination based on religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation to areas beyond employment. On 2 April 2009 the European Parliament voted in favour of the Commission’s proposal under the consultation procedure, and discussions on the draft directive are ongoing in the Council.

Allow me also to recall that last spring the Council and Parliament successfully negotiated a first-reading agreement on the Commission’s proposal to establish a European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion in 2010. At the time, few of us could have guessed the scale of the coming economic crisis. However, with the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that the Commission, Council and Parliament were absolutely right to focus on the problems of poverty and social exclusion.

Finally the Council is also examining a set of draft conclusions on equal opportunities for women and men of the age 50-plus generation, tabled by the Czech Presidency. It is expected that these conclusions will be adopted by the Council in June. This will be another opportunity for the Council to reaffirm its commitment to ensuring that our older citizens can live active lives and age with dignity.

Within the framework of the current EU Presidency, the Conference on Social Services entitled ‘Social services: a tool for mobilising the workforce and strengthening social cohesion’ was held in Prague in April this year. The conference stressed the importance of social services for active inclusion of people endangered by social exclusion and excluded from the labour market.

The social services sector, due to economic and demographic changes on the one hand, becomes the important field of new job opportunities, in particular for women and older workers and, on the other hand, it helps the social services users themselves to hold down their jobs.

The conference introduced basic starting points for further all-European discussions on the role of social services in society. Although the ways of providing social services, sharing competences and the conception of financial sustainability are different in EU Member States, there was a good deal of consensus among the speakers at the conference on the role and goals of social services.

In the conference conclusions, which will be further elaborated and then negotiated with the aim of adoption by the EPSCO Council in June, the role of social services as an essential instrument for social policies is stressed.

The necessity of the integrated manner in conceiving and delivering social services and taking into account individual needs of clients is underlined as well. The important role of public authorities in guaranteeing quality, access and sustainability of social services is mentioned and it is stated that investing in social services, in particular during the present financial and economic crisis, pays and can strengthen the growth potential and the cohesion of economies and societies. The importance of informal care is pointed out and so-called ‘shared care’, a combination of both formal and informal care, seems to be optimum and most effective.

In the conference conclusions, the importance of the promotion of a system of lifelong training and capacity-building for assuring the quality of services is mentioned. Last but not least, the protection of rights, dignity and special needs of social services users is emphasised.

 
  
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  Emine Bozkurt (PSE), Plaatsvervangend auteur. – Voorzitter, ik wil de Tsjechische minister hartelijk danken voor het beantwoorden van mijn vraag. Ik ben blij te horen dat in uw antwoord op de vragen over het bestrijden van de toename van armoede en sociale uitsluiting bij de meest kwetsbare groepen, de uitbreiding van de richtlijn van antidiscriminatie bij goederen en diensten een prominente plaats inneemt. Daar wil ik mijn waardering voor uitspreken.

Mijn vraag aan u is of dit ook betekent dat de tekst die wij als Parlement in april hebben goedgekeurd, de volledige steun geniet van het Tsjechische voorzitterschap en wat de concrete acties zijn die u als voorzitter hebt ondernomen om zo spoedig mogelijk deze richtlijn ook door de lidstaten, door de Raad aangenomen te krijgen? Hartelijk dank alvast.

 
  
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  Justas Vincas Paleckis (PSE). - Aš irgi norėčiau padėkoti už išsamų atsakymą. Socialinės atskirties problema yra labai plati, daugiabriaunė. Ir, mano manymu, kad dabar daugeliui žmonių tiesiog iškyla išgyvenimo problema. Ar Taryba nesiruošia padidinti pagalbos maistu? Pagalba maistu yra irgi labai svarbus dalykas dabar, kai krizė įsisiautėjo ir tam, man atrodo, reikėtų skirti daugiau dėmesio.

 
  
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  Jan Kohout, úřadující předseda Rady. − Děkuji za ocenění mé předchozí odpovědi i za to, že jsem se snažil dát skutečně vyčerpávající odpověď na položenou otázku. K doplňující otázce je třeba říci, že v tuto chvíli nejsem v situaci, kdy bych mohl zcela jasně odpovědět, nicméně je třeba říci, že všechny otázky, které souvisejí se sociální exkluzí, a ty, které souvisejí s bojem proti chudobě právě v období krize, jsou samozřejmě na agendě a jsou velmi intenzívně projednávány v pracovních skupinách Rady, a to včetně směrnice, kterou jste zmínila. Pokud jde o potravinovou pomoc, možná jsem úplně přesně nepochopil zaměření otázky, na Radě hovoříme o potravinové pomoci především rozvojovým zemím, tzn. těm, na které má hospodářská a finanční krize a i ta předchozí potravinová krize největší dopad. Pokud jde o situaci v rámci Evropské unie, nic takového diskutováno není. Nicméně uvědomujeme si odpovědnost Evropské unie ve vztahu k těm nejméně úspěšným nebo těm, kteří potřebují pomoc právě v této situaci daleko více, a bude to i na agendě zasedání ministrů pro rozvojovou spolupráci.

 
  
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  Presidente. − Pergunta n.º 6 da Deputada Marie Panayotopoulos-Cassiotou (H-0217/09)

Assunto: Pacto Europeu para o Emprego

Como avalia o Conselho a proposta de adopção de um Pacto Europeu para o Emprego, que poderia constituir um importante instrumento para a preservação da coesão social bem como para a promoção do desenvolvimento e da recuperação económica da UE que sofre das consequências da crise mundial?

 
  
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  Jan Kohout, President-in-Office of the Council. − The Council has not received any proposal from the Commission for a European employment tax. Therefore the Council is not in a position to answer the specific points raised by the honourable Member on this issue. However, the Council shares the concerns expressed by the honourable Member in her question and considers that it is important to preserve social cohesion and to promote the growth and economic recovery of the European Union, which is suffering from the effects of the global crisis.

In this framework, the Presidency would like to recall that Member States remain, in the first instance, responsible for designing and implementing the employment policies. Nevertheless, the Council pays special attention to these employment policies, especially now that Europe is facing a financial economic crisis and adopts new early employment guidelines in accordance with the Treaty.

In this sense, the Presidency would like to recall that in December last year the European Council decided an overall European economic recovery plan to address, inter alia, employment issues resulting from the financial crisis. The plan consists of immediate budgetary measures amounting to EUR 200 billion comprising, on the one hand, Community measures amounting to EUR 30 billion and, on the other hand, national measures that would amount to EUR 170 billion.

The European Council also supported the idea of rapid action by the European Social Fund in support of employment, especially for the benefit of the most vulnerable groups in the population, such as supporting flexicurity policies and policies easing job transition periods, and giving Member States the opportunity, where necessary, for reprogramming European Social Fund expenditures in order to strengthen their employment strategies.

It is also to be recalled that, in addition to the European Social Fund, the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund also provides Community assistance to complement national actions, including actions at regional and local levels. This fund, created by the Council in 2007, addresses specific European-scale crises caused by globalisation and provides one-off, time-limited individual support geared directly to redundant workers.

A revision of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund is under way and the European Council of March 2009 called for a swift agreement to be reached. The Council welcomes the agreement for a first-reading adoption of this revision and goes by today’s vote in plenary.

The European Council of March also agreed upon some additional measures such as the following: removing barriers while preventing the creation of new ones and achieving a fully operational internal market; further reducing administrative burdens; improving framework conditions for industry in order to maintain a strong industrial base and for businesses with a special focus on SMEs and innovation; encouraging partnership between business, research, education and training; and stepping up and improving the quality of investment in research, knowledge, and education.

Finally the Presidency would like to recall that the initiative of the current Presidency, an Employment Summit, will be organised on 7 May in Prague. Yesterday the Czech Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, Mr Vondra, had the opportunity to speak at this plenary on this issue on behalf of the Presidency.

 
  
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  Μαρία Παναγιωτοπούλου-Κασσιώτου (PPE-DE). - Κύριε Πρόεδρε, ευχαριστώ τον Προεδρεύοντα του Συμβουλίου για την απάντηση. Ακριβώς στο ίδιο μήκος κύματος ήταν άλλωστε και η δική μου ερώτηση. Όλα αυτά τα μέσα που προγραμματίζονται κατά διαστήματα -και ιδιαίτερα με αφορμή την κρίση- δεν θα έπρεπε να συντονιστούν κάτω από μια ομπρέλα, αυτό που ονομάζω "σύμφωνο για την απασχόληση", προκειμένου να αποδώσουν καρπούς στους ευρωπαίους πολίτες οι οποίοι ακούνε μεν για εκατομμύρια ευρώ -αναφερθήκατε σε 200 δισ.- δεν βλέπουν όμως τα χρήματα αυτά να μετατρέπονται σε αποτελεσματικές ενέργειες οι οποίες θα τους δώσουν διέξοδο στην ανεργία και την ανέχεια;

 
  
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  Jan Kohout, úřadující předseda Rady. − Pane předsedající, já mám plné sympatie pro to, co tady bylo řečeno, a jsem přesvědčen, že nastávající summit, tzv. job summit v Praze, bude dalším momentem, který vytvoří a přinese jisté iniciativy, ke kterým se bude moci vrátit červnová Evropská rada a které budou směřovat právě k tomu, o čem jsme mluvili, tj. otázkám dopadů ekonomické a hospodářské krize na zaměstnanost.

 
  
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  Presidente. − Pergunta n.º 7 do Deputado Justas Vincas Paleckis (H-0219/09)

Assunto: Cuidados de saúde no estrangeiro

A proposta de directiva relativa à aplicação dos direitos dos doentes em matéria de cuidados de saúde transfronteiriços (COM(2008)0414), cuja apreciação por parte do Parlamento Europeu está prevista para Abril, contém disposições comuns sobre as modalidades de reembolso das despesas médicas no estrangeiro. O objectivo dos deputados ao Parlamento Europeu é o de assegurar, tanto quanto possível, que os doentes dos países da União Europeia recebam cuidados de saúde no estrangeiro (por exemplo, mediante ao reembolso antecipado das despesas médicas mais elevadas, a fim de evitar que certos cuidados fiquem reservados aos ricos), enquanto, no Conselho, a tendência é para limitar esses direitos, bem como permitir que sejam os Estados-Membros a decidir que cuidados de saúde no estrangeiro pretendem reembolsar aos seus cidadãos.

No entender do Conselho, como poderão as posições contraditórias do Parlamento Europeu e do Conselho conciliar-se? Que compromissos serão possíveis?

 
  
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  Jan Kohout, President-in-Office of the Council. − Mr President, the Presidency, building on the work carried out by the French Presidency, is pursuing actively discussions on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border health care.

The Presidency’s objective is to find solutions that will strike the right balance between the rights of the patients in cross-border health care and the responsibilities of the Member States for the organisation and delivery of health services and medical care.

As the Presidency stated during the plenary debate of 23 April 2009, patients travelling to other Member States should receive full information and high-quality health care. But it is also important to make sure that the directive fulfils the principles of clarity, legal certainty and subsidiarity. Discussions are still ongoing in the Council, so it is impossible to predict whether a political agreement can be reached under the current Czech Presidency. However, the current discussions in the Council suggest that a system of prior authorisation is likely to be limited to specific types of health care. It will be an option for Member States, which they may or may not use. This possibility was recognised by the European Court of Justice under certain conditions.

The Council is also considering accompanying any system of prior authorisation with measures aimed at transparency and full information of the patients about their rights related to receiving cross-border health care.

On the other hand, the directive sets a minimum level of what the Member States have to guarantee to their patients as regards the reimbursement of the costs of cross-border health care. It is the same amount which would be incurred for the same treatment in their home Member State. Nothing prevents Member States from providing their patients who receive cross-border health care with a more advantageous form of reimbursement, even in advance. However, it depends on the Member States’ national policy.

Nevertheless, in cases where the person really needs to receive planned treatment in another Member State and there are objective medical reasons for that, there is already in existence Regulation (EC) 883/2004, under which the patient will receive health care without actually bearing costs himself.

According to the report voted in Parliament’s plenary on 24 April 2009, the European Parliament has also recognised the prior authorisation system as a planning and management tool if it is transparent, predictable, non-discriminatory and subject to clear information for patients.

The Council will study all the amendments with care and will consider how to take account of them in its common position in order to reach an agreement in second reading.

 
  
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  Justas Vincas Paleckis (PSE). - Dar kartą ačiū už išsamų ir, sakyčiau, viltingą atsakymą. Ir labai gerai, kad suvienodinamos, vis dėlto, sąlygos gauti ir namie, ir užsienyje medicininę pagalbą. Tik, aišku blogai, kad daug kas priklausys nuo piniginės storio. Ir tie pacientai, kurie negalės padengti skirtumo tarp išlaidų namie ir užsienyje, nelabai galės tuo pasinaudoti.

Aš norėčiau paklausti. Perėmus pirmininkavimą iš Prancūzijos, visgi, Čekija yra nauja šalis. Ar buvo kažkokių skirtumų vertinant šią problemą tarp naujųjų ir senųjų valstybių narių?

 
  
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  Jan Kohout, úřadující předseda Rady. − Pane předsedající, děkuji za doplňující komentář pana poslance. My ho bereme na vědomí a budeme ho brát v potaz. Myslím, že upozornil na jeden důležitý problém, ale v tuto chvíli danou otázku nelze nějakým způsobem jednoznačně a jednoduše vyřešit, ale vnímám to jako problém, kterému by se měla Rada v dalších jednáních k těmto otázkám věnovat.

 
  
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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 reservado ao Conselho é dado por encerrado.

Em nome do Parlamento, gostaria de agradecer à Presidência checa e ao Sr. Ministro a sua colaboração.

(A sessão, suspensa às 20 horas, é retomada às 21 horas.)

 
  
  

PRESIDE: MIGUEL ANGEL MARTÍNEZ MARTÍNEZ
Vicepresidente

 
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