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Il-Ħamis, 21 ta' Jannar 2010 - Strasburgu Edizzjoni riveduta
1. Ftuħ tas-seduta
 2. Relazzjonijiet UE/Tuneżija (dibattitu)
 3. Dibattiti dwar każijiet ta' ksur tad-drittijiet tal-bniedem, tad-demokrazija u ta' l-istat tad-dritt
  3.1. Attakki riċenti kontra l-minoritajiet reliġjużi fl-Eġittu u l-Malażja
  3.2. Ksur tad-drittijiet tal-bniedem fiċ-Ċina, b' mod partikoli l-każ Liu Xiaobao
  3.3. Filippini
 4. Avviż mill-President: ara l-Minuti
 5. Kalendarju tas-sessjonijiet: ara l-Minuti
 6. Approvazzjoni tal-Minuti tas-seduta ta’ qabel: ara l-Minuti
 7. Ħin tal-votazzjonijiet
  7.1. Attakki riċenti kontra l-minoranzi reliġjużi fl-Eġittu u fil-Malażja (votazzjoni)
  7.2. Ksur tad-drittijiet tal-bniedem fiċ-Ċina, b'mod partikolari l-każ ta' Liu Xiaobao (votazzjoni)
  7.3. Filippini (votazzjoni)
  7.4. Strateġija Ewropea għar-reġjun ta' Danubju (votazzjoni)
 8. Spegazzjonijiet tal-vot
 9. Korrezzjonijiet u intenzjonijiet għall-vot: ara l-Minuti
 10. Miżuri ta' implimentazzjoni (Artikolu 88 tar-Regoli ta' Proċedura): ara l-Minuti
 11. Deċiżjonijiet dwar ċertu dokumenti: ara l-minuti
 12. Dikjarazzjonijiet bil-miktub imniżżla fir-reġistru (l-Artikolu 123 tar-Regoli ta' Proċedura): ara l-Minuti
 13. Tressiq ta' testi adottati matul is-seduta attwali: ara l-Minuti
 14. Dati tas-seduti li jmiss: ara l-Minuti
 15. Interruzzjoni tas-sessjoni
 ANNESS (Tweġiba bil-miktub)


  

Elnököl: PÁL SCHMITT
Alelnök

 
1. Ftuħ tas-seduta
Vidjow tat-taħditiet
  

(Az ülést 10.00-kor nyitják meg.)

 

2. Relazzjonijiet UE/Tuneżija (dibattitu)
Vidjow tat-taħditiet
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  Elnök. − A következő pont a Bizottság nyilatkozata az EU-Tunézia kapcsolatokról.

 
  
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  Neelie Kroes, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, I would like to thank Parliament for inviting me to take part in the discussion on Tunisia.

EU-Tunisia relations are governed by an association agreement signed in 1995. By the way, Tunisia was the first Mediterranean county to sign such an agreement and it has since then made significant advances.

In international relations Tunisia is close and a reliable partner for the EU. The views it expresses and the positions it takes within international organisations and in other fora are moderate and balanced. It is cooperative on issues such as security and migration and has good relations with its neighbours in the southern Mediterranean region. Furthermore, it has always played a constructive role towards regional integration in the Maghreb.

Tunisia takes an active part in the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Commission’s periodic reports on implementation by Tunisia of the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan are clear in their assessment: Tunisia has achieved progress in a number of cooperation areas, including the action plan.

Economic reforms have progressed, allowing for a steady growth of the Tunisian economy as well as of trade volume with the EU. Important results have been achieved in the social field, in areas such as health care, education, the fight against poverty and the protection of women’s rights.

On the other side, the reports also highlight shortcomings, in particular in the areas of justice, freedom of expression and association.

Political dialogue with Tunisia has been continuous on all the subjects covered by the action plan, which are addressed in 10 subcommittees and in working groups. The EU-Tunisia Association Council has already met several times and the next meeting is scheduled in the next few months.

On 1 January 2008, Tunisia became the first southern Mediterranean country to have a free trade area with the EU for industrial products, two years in advance of the date foreseen. The EU is Tunisia’s first trading partner: 72.5% of its imports come from the EU and the EU is the destination for 75% of its exports. EU financial cooperation amounts to some EUR 75 million to EUR 80 million per year, for which Tunisia has proved to have a good absorption capacity.

Negotiations have also been launched on the gradual liberalisation of trade in services and the right of establishment, as well as on agriculture and fishery products. The conclusion of these negotiations, together with approximation of the relevant legislation, will mark a new stage in relations between the EU and Tunisia and progress towards the integration of the Tunisian economy in the EU single market.

Tunisia has requested that its relations with the EU be given a new impetus through an advanced status. We believe that such an endeavour is in the interests of the EU. We also expect that Tunisia will show a real drive towards more democratic reforms and freedom of expression. Without progress in the important area of human rights, the country’s important achievements that I have mentioned would anyhow be perceived, despite their significance especially by regional standards, as incomplete.

In conclusion, I would like to say that we judge relations between the EU and Tunisia as solid and friendly and that we believe that there is indeed a potential for further strengthening of those relations.

 
  
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  Elnök. − A következőkben a képviselőcsoportok felszólalásai következnek.

 
  
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  Ioannis Kasoulides, au nom du groupe PPE. – Monsieur le Président, partenaire dans le contexte de l'Union pour la Méditerranée, le premier pays à conclure l'accord d'association, le premier qui soit doté d'un plan d'action pour la mise en œuvre de la politique de voisinage, la Tunisie contribue à la stabilité de la région; ce pays, comparativement en avance sur l'égalité des genres et sur la protection de la famille et de l'enfant, attend maintenant des négociations pour un statut avancé du partenariat.

Dans les accords susmentionnés, il y a des clauses sur la démocratie, l'état de droit et les droits de l'homme. Des procédures sont prévues pour dialoguer et pour pousser en avant ces sujets très sensibles et importants pour nous au Parlement européen. Si l'on veut des résultats tangibles, si on ne les obtient pas nécessairement à travers la polémique et la critique, il faut être soucieux d'éviter le parrainage, de convaincre que nous parlons en tant qu'égaux et non pas comme des supérieurs et des inspecteurs, de montrer que nous sommes aussi préparés à nous enquérir des soucis et des sensibilités de nos partenaires.

Dans un tel contexte, je suis certain que le gouvernement tunisien répondra avec des pas concrets en avant sur les domaines en discussion.

 
  
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  Pier Antonio Panzeri, a nome del gruppo S&D. – Signor Presidente, signora Commissario, onorevoli colleghi, se dovessimo dare un giudizio sulle relazioni esistenti tra Unione europea e Tunisia il giudizio non può che essere positivo, anche per la stabilizzazione della regione.

È vero, sul piano economico si sono registrati progressi importanti e anche dal punto di vista sociale ci sono segnali incoraggianti. Tuttavia, sul piano politico, dopo le elezioni presidenziali del 25 ottobre scorso si pone il problema di accompagnare con maggiori atti concreti il percorso delle riforme democratiche. Come sappiamo, nel perseguire la sua politica esterna, l'Unione europea ha l'obiettivo di sviluppare e consolidare la democrazia, lo Stato di diritto, il rispetto dei diritti umani e delle libertà fondamentali.

La Tunisia ha preso impegni importanti nell'ambito del piano d'azione della politica di vicinato in materia di democrazia, di governance e di diritti umani. Il piano d'azione stabilisce una serie di priorità e fra queste un'attenzione particolare dovrebbe essere accordata all'attuazione e al consolidamento delle riforme, al rafforzamento del dialogo politico e della cooperazione, in particolare in materia di democrazia e di diritti umani, di politica estera e di sicurezza.

È in questo quadro che bisogna operare il rafforzamento delle istituzioni, che permettono di aumentare la partecipazione alla vita politica delle varie componenti della società tunisina, di sviluppare maggiormente il ruolo della società civile, di continuare il sostegno ai partiti politici per allargare la loro partecipazione al processo democratico, di rendere possibile ancor di più il rispetto delle libertà di associazione, di espressione e il pluralismo dei media.

Noi siamo convinti che questi obiettivi possono essere raggiunti ed è logico aspettarsi dei passi in avanti in modo concreto. Il nostro impegno è quello di salvaguardare la relazione di amicizia che lega l'Unione europea alla Tunisia, consolidando il legame esistente anche in vista del confronto che potrà aprirsi attorno all'ipotesi di statuto avanzato per questo paese. Ma servono davvero passi concreti in avanti da parte della stessa Tunisia.

 
  
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  Louis Michel, au nom du groupe ALDE. – Monsieur le Président, Madame la Commissaire, chers collègues, je voudrais d'abord remercier et féliciter Mme la Commissaire pour la position de la Commission. Je m'inscris totalement dans cette position, qui me paraît beaucoup plus raisonnable que ce qui a motivé – je ne sais pas sur la suggestion de qui – ce débat aujourd'hui.

La Tunisie est le premier pays, cela a été dit, de la région euroméditerranéenne à avoir signé un accord d'association. C'est un partenaire actif dans la politique de voisinage de l'Union européenne. Il est bon de rappeler, comme M. Kasoulides l'a fait, qu'elle est le seul pays méditerranéen à avoir, depuis le 1er janvier 2008, des relations de libre échange avec l'Union européenne. Cette coopération fonctionne très bien.

C'est un pays qui témoigne d'une excellente capacité d'absorption. La Tunisie a réalisé des progrès substantiels, qui se sont traduits par un très bon niveau de développement avec des résultats socio-économiques reconnus par les institutions internationales. Sur le plan économique, la Tunisie a réalisé un taux de croissance moyen de 4,6 % au cours de la période 2002-2008. De surcroît, elle a réussi à alléger le fardeau de sa dette.

Sur le plan social, il n'est pas juste d'ignorer les progrès réalisés, notamment en faveur de la femme. Les indicateurs sont éloquents, 59 % des étudiants dans l'enseignement supérieur sont des filles. L'enseignement obligatoire est généralisé pour les femmes de 6 à 16 ans. Les femmes constituent près du quart de la population active en Tunisie.

J'admets que ce bilan ne peut évidemment pas occulter la nécessité impérieuse d'encourager les autorités tunisiennes à progresser davantage sur la voie de la gouvernance et des droits de l'homme; on sait bien que des efforts restent à faire. Comme d'autres intervenants, je suis préoccupé par cette question, au nom des valeurs démocratiques qui sont les nôtres. Mais il faut aussi rappeler que nous ne sommes pas seuls à porter ces valeurs. Ces dernières vivent aussi au sein de la société tunisienne, qui est une société dynamique et proeuropéenne.

C'est pour ces raisons que nous devons soutenir la demande de la Tunisie d'accéder à un statut avancé au sein de ce partenariat avec l'Union européenne. Et je pense que c'est dans ce dialogue-là que nous trouverons le cadre approprié pour inciter nos partenaires à progresser davantage sur la voie de la gouvernance.

Le débat, nous devons le mener avec nos partenaires, évidemment, sans complaisance, mais sans sombrer, non plus, dans cette forme d'acharnement moralisateur dont l'Europe a trop souvent le secret et qui, souvent d'ailleurs, est contreproductive.

Je ne suis évidemment pas insensible à des cas particuliers sur lesquels d'aucuns s'interrogent. Nous avons le droit, évidemment, d'interpeller nos partenaires sur les situations qui nous paraissent inacceptables, mais je veux dire, pour terminer, que la Tunisie a réussi à forger un système politique fondé sur le principe de la séparation entre la religion et l'État.

La puissance publique, en Tunisie, a la capacité d'offrir un ensemble de services de base à la population, que d'autres pays de la région n'ont toujours pas pu mettre en œuvre, et je crois qu'il est bon de le rappeler aussi. Je suis donc extrêmement optimiste sur l'avenir des relations entre la Tunisie et l'Union européenne, du moment que ça se passe dans le respect mutuel, entre des partenaires qui se respectent et qui s'entendent sur l'essentiel.

 
  
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  Hélène Flautre, au nom du groupe Verts/ALE. – Monsieur le Président, je suis impressionnée par les discours que je viens d'entendre, de la commissaire jusqu'à mes collègues. Je crois qu'on a vraiment un travail à faire pour avoir une appréciation juste et objective de la situation actuelle en Tunisie.

Quand je vous entends, franchement, j'ai l'impression d'entendre des intellectuels occidentaux parler avec bonheur, il y a plusieurs dizaines d'années, de la réussite économique et sociale dans les pays de l'URSS, avec une incapacité totale d'aller voir sur place ce qu'y sont nos valeurs communes. Que sont nos valeurs communes, Monsieur Michel? Ce sont les droits de l'homme, la démocratie et l'État de droit.

Vous avez tous dit, à juste titre, que la Tunisie était notre partenaire le plus ancien en matière d'accord d'association; et c'est vrai. Et c'est pourquoi tout cela est très inquiétant, parce qu'il ne s'agit pas de lacunes, Madame la Commissaire, ni de petits pas, step by step. Non. Il y a une dégradation massive et continue des droits de l'homme et de la démocratie en Tunisie. Pouvez-vous me citer un seul journal qui a été autorisé depuis vingt ans, un seul parti qui a été autorisé depuis vingt ans, un seul syndicat qui a été autorisé depuis vingt ans? Non.

La vérité, c'est que les libertés fondamentales sont proprement bafouées systématiquement et, avec elles, nos propres engagements. Il ne s'agit pas de donner des leçons de morale, il s'agit de faire respecter les valeurs de l'Union européenne et de respecter les engagements que nous avons pris à travers la signature de cet accord d'association.

Aussi, je réclame au moins une analyse partagée. Je pense qu'on a travaillé beaucoup pour obtenir un débat, mais il serait certainement plus utile de s'employer à mettre sur pied une vraie délégation, qui aille véritablement rencontrer cette société civile en Tunisie et les différentes composantes de cette société civile, pour dresser le bilan du harcèlement continu que subissent les défenseurs des droits de l'homme, les étudiants, les syndicalistes, les travailleurs, les avocats. Des putschs ont été organisés à peu près dans toutes les associations qui manifestaient une certaine autonomie à l'égard du pouvoir. Je crois donc que vous êtes en plein délire.

Je comprends bien, à travers vos interventions, pourquoi vous n'avez pas envie de voir la réalité tunisienne. Vous n'avez pas envie de voir la réalité tunisienne, parce que vous trouvez qu'il y a des intérêts économiques, parce que vous trouvez qu'il y a des intérêts dans la lutte contre le terrorisme, parce que vous trouvez qu'il y a des intérêts dans la lutte contre l'immigration illégale en jeu. Tout cela, vous l'avez dit de la manière la plus claire, et vous ressassez des avancées qui datent de Bourguiba sur l'égalité entre les hommes et les femmes et sur la famille. Enfin, ça date de Bourguiba. Aucune avancée depuis cette époque.

Je crois donc que, si nous ne voulons pas nous insulter nous-mêmes, insulter les accords que nous signons, insulter la politique de voisinage, insulter les valeurs de l'Union européenne, si nous ne voulons pas insulter tout cela, nous ne pouvons certainement pas proposer un statut avancé à la Tunisie. Alors là, je vous dis tout net, proposez cela et renoncez à toute exigence et à tout engagement en matière de droits de l'homme et de démocratie avec tous les pays de la Méditerranée; tel sera le résultat garanti.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, Tunisia is a friend and ally of the European Union, a prosperous, progressive, modern and meritocratic secular society unique in the Arab world. Tunisia also rightly takes an uncompromising approach to Islamist jihadi extremism.

A multiparty political system is fast taking shape in Tunisia and it is a country where women are fully equal members of their society. Why then do we seek to alienate Tunisia and its 10 million people? Perhaps because of jealousy at its success, perhaps because it is small and possesses no oil, so, no, there is no economic leverage on the EU, unlike Libya or Saudi Arabia.

In my view, those who have engineered this debate are making a deliberate effort to sabotage much of the progress in EU-Tunisia relations in recent years. It is especially galling that this debate is occurring at the same time as a visit of Tunisian parliamentarians to Strasbourg who are, I think, sitting up there watching this debate.

Tunisia needs our support, encouragement and dialogue, not a constant stream of senseless invective. It is bitterly ironic that the Left, who claim to be so much in favour of women’s rights, attack Tunisia despite the fact that this country offers women opportunities and freedoms unprecedented anywhere else in the Arab world.

The fact that the Tunisian authorities prohibit the wearing of the hijab in public places indicates their determination to protect Tunisia’s values of secularism, tolerance and liberty. We should respect Tunisia as our Euro-Mediterranean advanced partner.

 
  
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  Elnök. − Nálam ugyan nem jelezték, hogy van itt tunéziai delegáció, de integettek, amikor Ön elmondta. Tisztelettel köszöntöm Önöket ott a karzaton.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat, au nom du groupe GUE/NGL. – Monsieur le Président, Mesdames et Messieurs, chers collègues, personnellement, je me félicite de l'organisation de ce débat sur la situation des droits de l'homme en Tunisie. La gauche unitaire européenne/gauche verte nordique y a largement contribué. De tout temps, j'ai défendu les droits de l'homme, mais les droits de l'homme sont les mêmes partout à travers le monde.

Je regrette que ce débat n'ait pas été accompagné du vote d'une résolution. Les paroles passent, seuls les écrits restent. Plus ancien partenaire de l'Union, la Tunisie reçoit les aides les plus importantes, par tête d'habitant, parmi les pays du Sud, et c'est un acteur zélé de la mise en place de la zone de libre-échange sur le pourtour méditerranéen, à tel point que ses dirigeants commencent à réclamer leurs dividendes et à demander à bénéficier d'un statut avancé.

Je partage totalement les propos d'Hélène Flautre et l'effarement qu'elle a manifesté devant certains propos. Les accords de partenariat de l'Union comportent désormais des clauses relatives à la démocratie et aux droits de l'homme. Celles-ci doivent être examinées avec la même vigilance que les clauses économiques. Or, le rapport de la Commission, Madame la Commissaire, sur la mise en œuvre de la politique de voisinage, ne peut pas être satisfaisant en la matière. Il y a un vrai "deux poids, deux mesures".

Le 25 octobre dernier, M. Ben Ali a été réélu pour son cinquième mandat, avec plus de 89 % des voix. Ce seul chiffre montre l'état de la démocratie dans ce pays. Une démocratie verrouillée, où les défenseurs des droits de l'homme, les magistrats, les avocats, les journalistes – bref tous ceux qui osent ne pas soutenir le régime – sont harcelés, emprisonnés, et même torturés, pour certains d'entre eux.

Depuis septembre dernier, c'est une véritable dérive policière et répressive du régime qui est mise en place. Le cas de Taoufik ben Brik, jugé samedi prochain, en témoigne. Mais on pourrait aussi parler de Sawyer Maclouf, de Fahem Boukadous, condamnés, l'un pour avoir parlé des conditions environnementales de son pays, et l'autre de manifestations ouvrières dans son pays.

Oui, telle est la situation sociale de la Tunisie. Des défenseurs des droits de l'homme comme Kamel Jendoubi, Sihem ben Sedrin, Sana ben Achour, Kemais Chamari, sont victimes d'une campagne de presse honteuse. Sadok Chourou croupit dans une prison depuis seize ans, Radia Nasraoui, qui fait son travail d'avocate, est traînée dans la boue, entravée en permanence dans son métier.

Des étudiants sont arrêtés, arbitrairement condamnés, comme d'autres. On retire les passeports, on ne les renouvelle pas, on interdit à certains militants des droits de l'homme de sortir du territoire pour venir témoigner. Les réunions des associations indépendantes du pouvoir sont interdites, on contrôle leurs visiteurs, et je n'ai pas le temps suffisant pour faire un vrai bilan de la réalité de la politique sociale.

Pourquoi le gouvernement tunisien tarde-t-il tant à répondre au rapport de l'ONU? Pourquoi avoir refusé d'accueillir des observateurs de l'Union européenne si les élections sont si démocratiques que ça? Les faits sont là, ils sont de plus en plus dénoncés par les journaux de nos pays.

La Commission et le Conseil doivent en tenir compte. La Tunisie doit tenir ses engagements en matière de démocratie et de droits de l'homme. Il n'est pas acceptable, effectivement, d'aller de l'avant sur un statut avancé. Oui, je suis pour l'égalité des partenariats! Oui, tous les pays du monde doivent être traités de la même façon, mais à condition de tenir leurs engagements. Je m'arrêterai là, Monsieur le Président.

 
  
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  Gerard Batten, on behalf of the EFD Group. – Mr President, Tunisia’s situation is overall a positive one it seems. They have the most stable society in North Africa. They have what is technically a democracy, though possibly only a semi-democracy by Western standards, but we should not criticise them for that, since they have made much progress. There is an official policy of working towards full democracy, and Tunisia is a stable society with a high level of personal security. This has been achieved by the suppression of their Islamist extremists and Communists, which is a price well worth paying. Its official policy is the pursuit of cultural unity – the creation of one nation. This is a lesson that many European countries – including mine, the United Kingdom – could well learn.

Economically, they are progressing. Only 7% of the population lives below the poverty line. It has one of the best health standards among countries in North Africa, with a relatively high life expectancy. Politically, their Constitution limits the number of seats a party can hold in the Chamber of Deputies, with 20% of seats being reserved for minority parties. This looks positively enlightened when compared to the ‘first past the post’ electoral system used in the United Kingdom, which in my opinion is a conspiracy against the voter to keep the Conservative and Labour parties in and everybody else out. So maybe we should learn something from the Tunisians.

Speaking of the UK, my party, the UK Independence Party, came in for some criticism from some Islamic extremist and supposedly liberal quarters last week when we proposed a plan that people’s faces should be uncovered in public buildings, and in private buildings if those concerned wish to impose such a condition. But look at what Tunisia did. Law No 108 bans the hijab, which goes much further than anybody else has proposed. The Religious Affairs Minister, Boubaker El Akhzouri, has slammed the hijab as running counter to the country’s ‘cultural legacy’, regarding Islamic dress as ‘a foreign phenomenon’ in society. Well that is very interesting, coming out of an Islamic country. The more I find out about Tunisia, the more positive an impression it makes. But I have seen some figures which indicate that EUR 70 million is to be spent on key projects in the EU neighbourhood scheme. My constituents, who are some of the poorest in London, cannot afford that kind of expenditure. We want trade, friendship and cooperation with Tunisia but not at the price of robbing the taxpayer in the UK. Let us help them increase their democracy and develop prosperity and, if they would like to take some free advice, let them keep well away from the European Union and preserve their freedom and independence.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI). - Herr Präsident! Die Handelsbeziehungen zwischen der EU und Tunesien sind eng und vielschichtig. Tunesien, das jährlich etwa 80 Millionen Euro an finanziellen Zuwendungen erhält, gilt als Musterbeispiel für erfolgreiche Entwicklungspolitik. Das Land hat sich im Maghreb als Schwellenland eine Spitzenposition erarbeitet, als erstes Land am Mittelmeer eine Freihandelszone mit der EU verwirklicht und profitiert davon mit solidem Wirtschaftswachstum. In den Überlegungen zur EuroMed-Roadmap für den Handel nach 2010 und die Zusammenarbeit mit den Maghreb-Ländern soll die tunesische Republik demnach eine konstruktive Rolle spielen.

Nun könnte man also meinen, es wäre alles eitel Sonnenschein, wenn da nicht jener Paragraph wäre, der europäische Hilfe im Rahmen von Partnerschaftsabkommen an die Wahrung der Menschenrechte koppelt. Und genau hier haben wir den Widerspruch, dass jenes Geld, mit dem die tunesische Wirtschaft angekurbelt werden soll, auch zur Finanzierung und Unterstützung eines diktatorischen, antidemokratischen Apparats verwendet wird. Das ist ein Problem, das wir generell bei unserer Entwicklungs- und Assoziierungshilfe haben. Hier gilt es, anzusetzen, denn es kann nicht sein, dass die EU Menschenrechtsverletzungen auch nur indirekt fördert, weder in Tunesien, noch im Kongo und natürlich auch nicht im Beitrittskandidatenland Türkei.

 
  
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  Salvatore Iacolino (PPE). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, la Tunisia, come tutta la regione del Maghreb, rappresenta un'area strategica rilevante. Ha un'enorme potenzialità di crescita ed è area attrattiva di forti interessi, non soltanto economici, soprattutto europei.

Anche di recente sono stati attivati programmi con l'Unione europea che tendono alla cooperazione transfrontaliera. È tempo quindi di rilanciare, semmai, i rapporti intrapresi dall'Unione europea con i paesi africani frontalieri, a cominciare proprio dalla Tunisia, valorizzando appieno le potenzialità di quest'area e sostenendone il relativo sviluppo sociale ed economico, tuttavia in un quadro di libertà e di sicurezza.

Il legame fra i popoli del Mediterraneo è l'elemento portante per dare coesione e forza ad un ambizioso programma di sviluppo economico e sociale. Sul piano politico si può dire che la Tunisia è un paese dove la democrazia è ancora relativamente giovane, ma il piano di azione definito sembra in linea con le attese dell'Unione europea.

La nascita di nuovi partiti e una discreta presenza femminile in Parlamento in seguito alle elezioni di fine ottobre 2009 certificano un significativo avanzamento della partecipazione democratica. Va in ogni caso potenziata e difesa la libertà di stampa così come le pari opportunità uomo-donna e più generalmente i diritti fondamentali della persona.

È in questo contesto che si può agevolare il completamento del percorso intrapreso dalla Tunisia rimuovendo ogni possibile limite alla piena espansione in quel territorio della persona umana e tutto questo all'interno di uno statuto più avanzato.

La centralità della Tunisia nel Mediterraneo e il processo di modernizzazione avviato in quel paese impongono un approccio serio ed equilibrato che porti ad una compiuta affermazione dei valori in cui l'Unione europea crede. Sulla strada della democrazia il Parlamento europeo oggi più che mai non si può permettere errori.

Il dialogo costruttivo ed una diplomazia attenta possono invece consolidare ulteriormente un rapporto destinato ad essere rafforzato in un paese che in alcuni settori – giustizia e libertà di associazione – dev'essere aiutato a crescere, ma un paese, lo ripeto, che è assolutamente centrale e nevralgico nella politica di stabilità del Mediterraneo.

 
  
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  Carmen Romero López (S&D). - Respetar a Túnez es también respetar a su oposición democrática, la que intenta articularse y la que es reprimida, a su sociedad civil, que es también la oposición del futuro. Por eso, yo quiero saludar a los parlamentarios que están aquí ahora, que nos acompañan en esta sesión, pero también quiero saludar a los parlamentarios que lo pueden ser en el futuro y que hoy son amenazados o que pueden ser encarcelados. Por eso, nos parece que es muy importante que esa sociedad se articule y que su oposición democrática se respete también, a pesar de que no esté articulada en el presente.

Hemos conocido nosotros en España –puedo decirlo yo, como eurodiputada española– una sociedad en la que a su oposición democrática se la torturaba en épocas de dictadura y se la reprimía. La oposición, cuando no es terrorista, cuando es democrática, tiene unos valores, que son los valores del futuro. Por lo tanto, a esa oposición que hoy no está articulada, pero que es democrática y que lucha por esos valores de la transición tunecina y de la consolidación de esos valores, hay que ayudarle, también en su articulación.

Hay que ayudarle también, para que sean los líderes y los protagonistas del futuro, posiblemente en la oposición, o en el Gobierno, pero la alternancia es fundamental en una sociedad democrática.

Por eso, esa escalada de violencia que contemplamos en el presente, y que puede agudizarse en el futuro, no es la mejor tarjeta de presentación para un estatuto avanzado.

Nosotros sabemos que Túnez ha sido un socio de la asociación mediterránea, con vocación mediterránea y con vocación democrática, y por eso queremos que también en este periodo contribuya a esa consolidación democrática y se pueda articular, para que realmente pueda ser un socio leal y un socio que contribuya a que el Mediterráneo sea una zona emergente y una zona con valores democráticos.

Ése es nuestro deseo de futuro y eso es lo que deseamos para Túnez.

 
  
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  Tomasz Piotr Poręba (ECR). - Panie Przewodniczący! Tunezja to bez wątpienia partner, z którym powinniśmy podtrzymywać nasze relacje w ramach Unii na rzecz Regionu Morza Śródziemnego oraz na płaszczyźnie bilateralnej. Pamiętając jednak o kwestiach gospodarczych powinniśmy bardziej jako Unia Europejska domagać się w tym kraju przejrzystości procedur demokratycznych i rządów prawa.

Pomimo tego, iż Tunezja jest krajem stabilnym to nie jest niestety krajem, gdzie przestrzegane są wszystkie standardy demokratyczne. Międzynarodowe organizacje pozarządowe informują, że siły bezpieczeństwa stosują tam tortury wobec więźniów i działają bezkarnie pozostając pod ochroną wysokich rangą urzędników. Wolność mediów i wolność słowa są drastycznie ograniczone, a sytuacja dziennikarzy określana jest jako jedna z najgorszych wśród wszystkich krajów arabskich. Represje często mają tło religijne. Coraz bardziej niepokoją prześladowania mniejszości chrześcijańskiej. Rząd w Tunisie nie toleruje przejawów sprzeciwu i istnienia niezależnej opozycji.

Pamiętając, że Tunezja była pierwszym krajem śródziemnomorskim, który podpisał umowę stowarzyszeniową z Unią Europejską musimy domagać się stanowczo przestrzegania zawartych w niej postanowień. Warunkiem dalszej współpracy z Tunezją musi być poszanowanie w tym kraju praw człowieka i demokratycznych standardów.

 
  
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  Dominique Baudis (PPE). - Monsieur le Président, chers collègues, pour échapper aux caricatures – nous en avons entendues quelques-unes ce matin –, j'aimerais rappeler quelques éléments objectifs concernant la Tunisie, pays partenaire de l'Union européenne.

La situation sociale a évolué très favorablement, avec une progression spectaculaire du revenu moyen par habitant et, désormais, l'immense majorité des Tunisiens entrent dans les critères définissant l'appartenance à la classe moyenne. Plus de 90 % des Tunisiens bénéficient d'une couverture sociale et plus du quart du budget de la Tunisie est consacré à l'éducation, si bien que ce pays fait partie des tout premiers à avoir atteint les objectifs du millénaire en matière d'enseignement primaire.

Enfin, M. Michel l'a rappelé tout à l'heure, les droits de la femme sont reconnus et garantis. À l'université, les étudiantes sont plus nombreuses que les étudiants, 40 % des professeurs sont des femmes, le quart des députés, ou des élus locaux, ou des journalistes, sont des femmes. Bien des pays pourraient envier de tels résultats.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D). - Monsieur le Président, je veux, de mon côté, joindre ma voix à celles qui se sont déjà exprimées pour dénoncer la situation particulièrement préoccupante dans laquelle se trouve le journaliste et écrivain Taoufik Ben Brik en Tunisie.

Après plusieurs arrestations de journalistes, de syndicalistes, malmenés et victimes de violences, après le refoulement de journalistes étrangers au moment de l'élection présidentielle, la répression se poursuit contre des opposants politiques et défenseurs des droits humains. Après un procès bâclé, un éloignement carcéral rendant difficiles les visites de sa famille, Taoufik Ben Brik est laissé dans un état de santé qui fait craindre pour sa vie.

Comment ne pas voir dans cette situation un acharnement contre une personne qui dérange? Il ne suffira donc pas de valoriser les échanges économiques comme solde de tout compte. Il me semble en revanche indispensable que l'Union européenne réagisse rapidement et fermement en demandant la libération de Taoufik Ben Brik et d'autres prisonniers d'opinion.

La situation des droits de l'homme en Tunisie s'est dégradée de façon alarmante. Elle altère le travail de coopération de l'Europe avec ce pays, et l'amélioration concrète de cette situation constitue une condition à l'ouverture de négociations sur un statut avancé UE-Tunisie.

 
  
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  Michael Gahler (PPE). - Herr Präsident! Wir haben gute Grundlagen für unsere Zusammenarbeit mit Tunesien. Das Assoziationsabkommen und das Freihandelsabkommen sind genannt worden. Die Kommissarin hat gesagt, wir reden über die Integration der tunesischen Wirtschaft in den Binnenmarkt. Das ist wirklich so weit, wie man mit einem Land außerhalb der EU kommen kann, und von daher ist dies eine stabile Grundlage. Tunesien ist ein solider und freundlicher Partner mit einem Potential für die weitere Stärkung der Beziehungen, um noch einmal die Frau Kommissarin zu zitieren.

Gerade weil wir diese engen Beziehungen haben, können wir auch alle Punkte, die uns vielleicht in der einen oder anderen Form Sorgen bereiten, mit den Kollegen ansprechen. Ich selber stehe auch im Dialog mit den Kollegen, die sich hier auf der Tribüne befinden, und mein Eindruck ist, dass wir über alles reden sollten.

Wir sollten in dem Zusammenhang jedoch nicht das Kind mit dem Bade ausschütten. Wir haben in Tunesien auch eine Situation, dass dieses Land, als arabisches Land, was sich sekular entwickeln will, von Extremisten bedroht wird. Und wenn man gegen islamistischen Extremisten vorgeht, dann habe ich dafür auch Verständnis.

Was aber andere betrifft, denke ich, dass wir mit dem Dialog, den wir fortgesetzt führen, vorankommen werden. Mit Tunesien können wir über alles reden, weil es ein verlässlicher Partner ist. Deswegen freue ich mich auf die Fortsetzung unseres Dialogs.

 
  
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  Cristian Dan Preda (PPE). - Monsieur le Président, comme cela a déjà été souligné, la Tunisie est un partenaire important de l'Union; on a également mentionné et rappelé le volet extrêmement important que représente, en Tunisie, le côté social. Je voudrais encore ajouter à cela des aspects politiques qui sont significatifs parce que, comme cela a été dit, c'est une société qui pratique le multipartisme, même limité, avec un quota pour l'opposition, sans doute, mais c'est tout de même du multipartisme. Il y a aussi l'égalité des genres qui a été mentionnée.

Dans tous nos pays, dans les pays d'Europe, tous ces côtés politiques s'accompagnent de la liberté de la presse, et c'est ce qui fait la différence, en fait, parce qu'en Tunisie, cette liberté existe, mais elle est limitée, et l'on a, effectivement, des journalistes qui sont en difficulté.

La question qui se pose est la suivante: est-ce que le rapprochement de l'Union pourra augmenter cette liberté ou pas? De mon point de vue, le rapprochement de l'Union pourrait aider la Tunisie à compléter les progrès sociaux réalisés par des avancées politiques extrêmement importantes.

 
  
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  Harlem Désir (S&D). - Monsieur le Président, Madame la Commissaire, vous avez dit espérer que la Tunisie ferait des progrès en matière de réformes démocratiques et de liberté d'expression. Et vous avez raison, parce que ce serait tout simplement conforme à l'accord d'association et aux engagements qui ont été pris par la Tunisie, vis-à-vis de l'Union européenne.

C'est pourquoi je suis très surpris des propos tenus, aussi bien par M. Baudis que par M. Michel, qui semblent vous encourager à faire l'impasse sur cette partie de notre relation et de notre coopération avec la Tunisie, et de renoncer finalement à l'article 2 de l'accord d'association.

Et on est très loin, effectivement, d'un respect de ces engagements, si l'on en juge par le sort, déjà évoqué par ma collègue Sylvie Guillaume, réservé au journaliste indépendant Taoufik Ben Brik, emprisonné depuis le mois d'octobre dernier, au terme d'un procès au cours duquel ses avocats et la procédure n'ont en rien été respectueux du droit. Et, à sa privation de liberté inacceptable s'ajoutent un état de santé dégradé, une restriction du droit de visite.

Je vous demande donc, Madame la Commissaire, si la Commission va intervenir, dans le cadre du conseil d'association, en faveur de M. Taoufik Ben Brik, pour demander sa libération immédiate et faire en sorte que sa situation, son état de santé - au moins sur un plan humanitaire – puissent être pris en compte?

 
  
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  Malika Benarab-Attou (Verts/ALE). - Monsieur le Président, j'ai rencontré, le 14 janvier, des membres de la délégation tunisienne lors d'un échange franc et nos visions respectives ont fait l'objet de débats.

Franco-algérienne, je suis une maghrébine convaincue et je milite pour un Maghreb uni, pluriel et démocratique. La question des droits de l'homme est essentielle pour moi et elle est l'une des valeurs fondamentales de l'Union européenne. Le débat sur cette question, telle qu'elle se pose en Tunisie, est indispensable et pertinent.

J'ai rencontré, hier matin, l'épouse de M. Ben Brik, qui mène une grève de la faim, ainsi que des militants du réseau euroméditerranéen des droits de l'homme, et je suis inquiète. Il apparaît que la vie de M. Ben Brik est en danger, du fait de sa maladie et des conditions de sa détention. Vous comprendrez que si ce risque se concrétisait, la responsabilité des autorités tunisiennes serait grande.

Au-delà des relations commerciales, les questions sociales doivent être prises en compte. Le phénomène des jeunes Tunisiens qui viennent se jeter dans la Méditerranée est le fruit d'une société fermée qui n'offre aucune perspective à sa jeunesse. Le rempart contre l'intégrisme et les enjeux économiques ne doivent pas être des prétextes pour bafouer les droits de l'homme. Aujourd'hui, une avancée réelle dans ce domaine est essentielle dans le domaine des droits de l'homme. Il ne s'agit pas d'un acharnement moralisateur, mais d'une urgence que l'Union européenne doit soutenir.

 
  
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  Alf Svensson (PPE). - Ofta dras länderna i norra Afrika över en kam, och då missgynnas, enligt mitt sätt att se, Tunisien grovt.

Det har här talats om jämställdheten. Den är enastående i Tunisien i jämförelse med många andra arabiska länder, lagstiftningen till skydd för barn och kvinnor likaså. Universiteten har som redan påpekats fler kvinnliga än manliga studenter och den materiella standarden har ökat. Infrastrukturen är i gott skick. Efter valet har parlamentet valt, eller utsett, ett utskott för mänskliga rätigheter.

Tunisiens vilja att samarbeta med EU bör vi verkligen ta fasta på. När Tunisien nu har en delegation som besöker Bryssel och Strasbourg, och vädjar om stöd i arbetet för att främja mänskliga rättigheter och utveckla och fördjupa förbindelserna med EU, så vore det enligt min uppfattning i strid med EU:s principer att inte möta dessa önskemål positivt och vidareutveckla relationerna.

 
  
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  Rosario Crocetta (S&D). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, per me che vado dal 1982 in Tunisia due-tre volte l'anno e il 6 gennaio scorso da cattolico sono entrato a sentire la messa, come faccio regolarmente, mi risulta veramente difficile pensare alla Tunisia come un paese che opprime la libertà religiosa.

Ci sono dei problemi, però guai a guardare questi paesi, paesi che cercano una via di sviluppo, con l'occhio dei paesi occidentali, perché se noi utilizzassimo questo parametro, i parametri che stamane qualcuno sta utilizzando nei confronti della Tunisia, probabilmente alcuni paesi europei non potrebbero entrare all'interno dell'Unione perché il livello di violenza e di negazione delle libertà che c'è in alcuni paesi europei è superiore a quello che c'è in Tunisia.

Allora, la questione è partire da un fatto concreto: che ci troviamo di fronte a un paese che ha abolito l'integralismo islamico, che cerca di portare avanti una politica di cooperazione e di pace con l'Europa, che cerca di evolvere. Ci sono dei problemi: io credo che il modo per risolvere questi problemi è intensificare il dialogo e l'amicizia e aiutare questi paesi a fare di più.

 
  
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  Neelie Kroes, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, I am grateful to the honourable Members for being so open and straightforward and for making their remarks in such a way that, although certain groups have differing approaches, the emphasis is on how we can find a solution.

Having said that, I want to start by making one remark in answer to the statement made by Mr Désir. He referred to a remark by Louis Michel. I am sure that Louis Michel can speak for himself, but we were on the same team in a former life, so to say, so I know what line he takes on this issue. If Mr Désir is saying that the suggestion is that we do nothing, that is not the impression I got, and I sincerely hope that you did not get that impression from my opening remarks either.

There is indeed a difference in approach. Some are just calling for dialogue on an equal footing, and Mr Kasoulides advocates that. There have been calls for links of friendship. All these approaches imply sitting around a table discussing issues and trying to reach a mutual understanding on how to solve a couple of issues that we all agree on. There is no doubt about that, for human rights and freedom of speech are indeed a very important and essential part of any agreement.

Having said that, I would like to touch upon a couple of the issues that were raised. Firstly, reinforced institutions. What we are trying to promote and encourage in all the meetings that are held or planned over the coming months is the establishment of a regular dialogue as a means of achieving essential progress in terms of human rights and democracy.

In the course of the next couple of months there will be a meeting of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, and you can be sure that there will be a dialogue of substance, which will deal with the issues that we are all concerned about and how to approach them.

On the question of human rights violations in Tunisia, speakers have regularly referred to the fact that Tunisia has been criticised for its record on human rights. Since the presidential and legislative elections of October last year, there has been an intensification of repression against opposition parties, journalists and human rights activists. The international community has made it quite clear that that type of behaviour by the authorities is unacceptable and contrary to Tunisia’s international commitments. So, to reiterate what I have said already, within the EU there should be no misunderstanding: commitments are commitments, and we have to maintain that line.

Tunisia must indeed show stronger commitment to fundamental common values such as respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law. It should by the way also respect its own international commitments in that field. The Commission will pursue our policy of engagement and dialogue on those issues, particularly in the framework of the bodies created by the association agreement.

At the same time, the EU is providing support in order to improve governance and promote reforms in the field of justice through cooperation and technical assistance. It is our priority to make progress with Tunisia in that area, for example by actively promoting human rights activists and civil society organisations under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights.

Efforts are also being made in the field of judicial cooperation The EU is providing EUR 17.5 million to fund a technical assistance project for the modernisation of the judiciary. That has been criticised by some Members of this Chamber because it provides funds for the President of Tunisia’s justice system.

The project has many components. These include training for judges and lawyers, technical support for the courts, infrastructure and improved information for citizens. When the project is complete we will assess the outcome. I certainly agree that working in that area exposes us to certain political risks. Nonetheless, if we want to encourage reform, we need to act; otherwise, EU cooperation will be confined only to the economic sector. We all agree that that is not the right approach, and would be inconsistent with our own general policy objectives as regards relations with Tunisia.

On the issue which Mrs Flautre and Mrs Vergiat were touching upon, the advanced status of Tunisia, I consider that priority should be given to the continuation and reinforcement of dialogue with Tunisia. We are aware that it is an important ally of the EU in the region and has achieved considerable progress in terms of economic and social modernisation. Perhaps it comes down to whether one regards the glass as half-full or half-empty. Having said that, we believe that we need to continue our policy of supporting those forces in Tunisia that are working for the political, economic and social modernisation of their country. We are in favour of Tunisia’s proposals with a view to strengthening the relationship between the two partners. The Council and the Commission will look into these issues very carefully, and I am prepared to report any further developments to you.

On the other hand, while it is in the EU’s interest to reinforce relations with Tunisia, I consider that the granting of advanced status should entail strong commitment on the part of Tunisia in terms of human rights and governance, so there will be no ‘free lunch’.

 
  
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  Elnök. − A vitát lezárom.

Írásbeli nyilatkozatok (149. cikk)

 
  
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  Edward Scicluna (S&D), in writing. – This debate seems to me to be untimely at a moment when the dialogue between Tunisia and the EU is resuming at both Commission and Parliament level. Dialogue with the Commission has included the programming of several subcommittees’ meetings within the framework of the Tunisia-EU Association Agreement (including the Human Rights and Democracy Subcommittee), while dialogue at the level of the European Parliament took the form of the recent visit in Brussels of an important Tunisian parliamentary delegation representing four political parties represented in the Tunisian Chamber of Deputies, and with the Tunisia-EP Interparliamentary Meeting scheduled for March 2010 in Brussels. At a time when important and constructive dialogue between Tunisia and the EU is resuming, I think it is unfortunate to have held a debate that could undermine progress. Let us ensure that Tunisia and other non-EU states conform to EU standards in the economic, social or political sphere. But let us do that in a well-planned and structured dialogue.

 

3. Dibattiti dwar każijiet ta' ksur tad-drittijiet tal-bniedem, tad-demokrazija u ta' l-istat tad-dritt

3.1. Attakki riċenti kontra l-minoritajiet reliġjużi fl-Eġittu u l-Malażja
Vidjow tat-taħditiet
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  Elnök. − A következő napirendi pont vita hat, az egyiptomi és a malajziai vallási kisebbségek elleni közelmúltbeli ügyekkel kapcsolatos állásfoglalásra irányuló indítványról.(1)

 
  
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  Marietje Schaake, author. − Mr President, in the week of Egyptian Orthodox Christmas, an attack took place killing and wounding 20 Coptic Egyptians. Although the attack can be seen as a criminal act of individuals, various other troubling incidents require our ongoing focus on respect for all minorities in Egypt.

Violence and hatred cannot be accepted in the name of religion. People have a universal right to freedom of religion as well as freedom from religion. Ethnic and religious diversity asks for a vigilant society that is able to reconcile differences in open debate, a society where people of any background or conviction know that their freedoms are guaranteed.

An open society can only be realised when the separation of religion and state is implemented in the constitution and throughout the system of government. Security measures cannot be the only means to manage a pluralist society. Yet state emergency laws have been in place in Egypt for the past 28 years. A free debate is perhaps the most powerful medicine against extremism and violence. Therefore, freedom of expression, both online and offline, can be seen as the Egyptian Government’s best tool to resolve tensions in society.

It is therefore very difficult to understand or accept that around 30 activists, politicians and bloggers were arrested by government forces while travelling to the southern Egyptian town of Naga Hammadi to express their condolences to the families of those killed during the sectarian violence. The arrests are a particularly striking example of what has become a pattern of the Egyptian Government’s interference in citizens’ rights to freedom of expression.

Something is desperately wrong when people are treated like criminals merely for attempting to show sympathy and solidarity with fellow countrymen. In too many cases, the argument of maintaining public order is abused. Since 2008, Egyptians have been unable to get an unregistered phone line, but the control is not total. New rules are now in force, under which users of Wi-Fi have to pay for a connection, for which they need to provide an e-mail address to have a password and a username sent. This allows for active control of users by the government. Moreover, a draft law is under debate in the parliament about net regulation, providing for prison sentences for ‘publication of multimedia content without government permission’.

Yet the Egyptian Constitution says, ‘freedom of expression or freedom of opinion is guaranteed. Every individual has the right to express his opinion and to publicise it verbally or in writing or by photography or by other means within the limits of the law’. Self-criticism and constructive criticism are the guarantee for the safety of the national structure.

I urge the Egyptian Government to refrain from introducing emergency laws limiting fundamental freedoms in light of the sectarian tensions present. An adequate response to crimes committed in the name of religion is only appropriate. However, this should not be used as a reason to repress the population as a whole, with laws limiting free speech and expression. Only when fundamental freedoms are safeguarded by the Constitution and all layers of legislation are free will an open society in Egypt be possible. The Egyptian Government should lead its citizens on this road to freedom, and Europe should be its strongest partner in this.

 
  
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  Fiorello Provera, Autore. − Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, la risoluzione che ho presentato prende spunto da alcuni fatti tragici avvenuti recentemente in Egitto e in altri paesi del mondo – proprio ieri in Nigeria – per proporre all'attenzione di questa assemblea una situazione sempre più grave e intollerabile di persecuzioni e uccisioni nei confronti delle comunità cristiane.

Non si tratta di una risoluzione contro il governo egiziano, che si è attivato per assicurare alla giustizia i responsabili, ma di un momento di riflessione su un problema vasto e preoccupante. Ogni anno migliaia di cristiani sono uccisi nel mondo, Vietnam, Corea del Nord, Cina, Nigeria, Malesia e milioni di altri sono perseguitati nei modi più diversi per la loro fede nella loro vita quotidiana. Questi attacchi crescono di numero e di virulenza nel silenzio o nell'indifferenza e meritano provvedimenti urgenti.

Innanzitutto l'impegno di tutti per far cambiare il clima di odio religioso che si sta diffondendo e favorire la tolleranza e l'accettazione delle diversità. L'Europa conosce bene la tragedia delle guerre che per secoli hanno contrapposto cattolici e protestanti, senza parlare dell'Olocausto ebraico. Proprio per la sua storia l'Europa deve impegnarsi su questo fronte.

Un'altra iniziativa potrebbe essere la verifica delle legislazioni nazionali, nell'ambito delle quali troviamo norme persecutorie nei confronti dei cristiani o di altre minoranze religiose. La collaborazione delle organizzazioni non governative potrebbe essere molto utile in questo progetto, ma anche laddove esiste un diritto alla libertà religiosa bisogna vigilare affinché questo sia concretamente attuato.

Questo dibattito potrebbe essere l'occasione per lanciare la proposta di realizzare un rapporto del Parlamento europeo sulla libertà religiosa nel mondo.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro, Autore. − Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, è la libertà religiosa, infatti, il tema di questa risoluzione, non quindi una crociata identitaria o il tentativo di mettere in difficoltà questo o quel governo, ma la denuncia del fatto che oggi, nel mondo, accade di morire perché si crede in Cristo o si è discriminati perché la mia fede è diversa dalla tua.

Tutti i gruppi politici si sono trovati perciò concordi sull'esistenza di un problema di libertà religiosa e sull'esigenza di affrontarlo in modo serio e costante nella comunità internazionale.

Chiediamo quindi al Consiglio e alla Commissione e soprattutto all'Alto rappresentante per la politica estera, di prestare un'attenzione particolare alla situazione delle minoranze, inclusa quella cristiana, affinché vengano supportate e intraprese iniziative volte a promuovere il dialogo e il rispetto tra le comunità, sollecitando tutte le autorità religiose nella promozione della tolleranza e stroncando sul nascere gli episodi di odio e di violenza.

 
  
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  Véronique De Keyser, auteur. − Monsieur le Président, ce qui s'est passé en Égypte aurait sans doute pu se passer ailleurs. Une voiture passe à la sortie d'un lieu de culte copte, tire dans la foule. Bilan: sept morts (six coptes et un policier). La réaction des autorités égyptiennes est rapide. Le procureur général décide – et je cite – que les trois accusés des événements de Naga Hamadi seront traduits devant la Cour d'urgence de sécurité de l'État pour meurtre par préméditation.

En Malaisie, c'est le nom d'Allah que les communautés chrétiennes et musulmanes se disputent, avec pour conséquence le sac et le pillage d'églises.

Ces faits divers, qu'on pourrait qualifier de banals, trouvent des résonances ailleurs, partout dans le monde, y compris en Europe. La montée de l'intolérance et du fanatisme religieux met en péril une liberté essentielle, la liberté de conviction de chacun, qu'il soit religieux ou agnostique. Partout dans le monde, des crimes contre les minorités, qu'elles soient chrétiennes, juives, musulmanes, sont perpétrés. Partout aussi dans le monde, des hommes et des femmes laïcs sont assassinés ou emprisonnés parce qu'ils ne respectent pas des rites, des dogmes ou des pratiques religieuses, dont ils se sont affranchis.

En tant que laïque, je soutiens fermement cette résolution, qui est un appel à la tolérance et non une stigmatisation de l'Égypte ou de la Malaisie. Mais au-delà des cas qui sont évoqués, je voudrais rappeler le devoir d'un État soucieux de la libre expression de ses citoyens. Selon moi, un État laïc, dans sa structure, est la meilleure garantie de l'espace nécessaire à la diversité des convictions de chacun. C'est sous cette forme qu'il protège le mieux les citoyens et favorise le dialogue entre les communautés.

 
  
  

PRESIDE: ALEJO VIDAL-QUADRAS
Vicepresidente

 
  
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  Ryszard Antoni Legutko, author. − Mr President, the information about violence against Christians in Egypt and Malaysia is just the tip of the iceberg. There are three points I want to raise.

First, Christians have become the victims of brutal violence in many countries of the world, not just two. Second, Christians have become the single most persecuted religious group in the world. The numbers are astounding – in the millions, not thousands or hundreds of thousands. Third, the reaction of European societies, European governments and the EU has so far been unsatisfactory: timid, faint-hearted, pusillanimous, politically correct, or no reaction at all.

We must act resolutely, or else those who persecute Christians will think they have our tacit blessing. Do we really want this?

 
  
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  Heidi Hautala, laatija. − Arvoisa puhemies, on valitettavaa, että maailmassa on niin paljon erilaisia konflikteja, jotka pukeutuvat uskontojen hahmoon. Tässä yhteydessä on sanottava, että hyvin monensuuntaisia fundamentalistisia virtauksia esiintyy maailmassa kristinuskon, islaminuskon ja monen muun uskonnon kanssa. Henkilökohtaisesti olen havainnut buddhalaisuudessa vähemmän tällaisia fundamentalistisia pyrkimyksiä, mutta on tärkeää, että joka kerta Euroopan parlamentti ottaa kantaa asiaan, kun tällaisia väkivaltaisuuksia ilmenee uskonnollisten ryhmien välillä.

Haluaisin kuitenkin sanoa, että eilen parlamentin tietoon on saatettu, että 33 ihmisoikeuspuolustajaa on mielivaltaisesti pidätetty, kun he lähtivät tukemaan tässä päätöslauselmassa tarkoitettuja kristittyjä kopteja, jotka joutuivat väkivallan kohteeksi. Haluaisin nyt Egyptin viranomaisille sanoa, että meidän on syytä huolehtia siitä, että tällä tavalla ei estetä ihmisiä osallistumasta toisten puolustamiseen. On vaadittava, että missään olosuhteissa ihmisoikeuspuolustajia ei vangita ja heitä ei kohdella epäoikeudenmukaisesti. Tässä tapauksessa kiistämättä tapahtui sitä, että näitä 33:a koptien puolustajaa kohdeltiin vankilassa epähumaanisti. He olivat epäinhimillisissä olosuhteissa.

Toivon, että parlamentti kohdistaa jatkossa aina kulloiseenkin uskonnolliseen ryhmään kohdistuviin väkivaltaisuuksiin huomionsa, eikä kiinnitä huomiota ainoastaan kristittyjä kohtaan tapahtuviin vainoihin.

(Suosionosoituksia.)

 
  
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  Bernd Posselt, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident! Tunesien, Ägypten und Malaysia haben eine große Tradition der Toleranz! Dafür stehen Namen wie der Staatsgründer von Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, oder Präsident Sadat, dessen Rede hier im Europäischen Parlament eine Magna Charta des christlich-islamischen Zusammenlebens war.

Gerade deshalb müssen wir die Regierungen dieser Länder in ihrem Kampf gegen den islamistischen Extremismus und gegen antichristliche Übergriffe unterstützen. Wir in Europa haben natürlich als mehrheitlich christlicher Kontinent schon die Pflicht, uns speziell für die Christen in aller Welt einzusetzen, denn wer sollte dies tun, wenn nicht wir.

Aber selbstverständlich geht es um Religionsfreiheit an sich, und ich möchte z. B. der malaysischen Regierung danken, dass Seine Majestät, der Yang di-Pertuan Agong, und der Premierminister schon am 9. Januar klar Stellung bezogen haben. Wir wünschen uns, dass sie in ihrem Kampf für religiöse Toleranz Erfolg haben, die in diesem Land vorbildlich ausgeprägt war und ist und die wir in Ägypten, in Tunesien und in Malaysia bewahren müssen als Partner, die ein offenes Wort sagen, wenn es um Menschenrechte geht.

 
  
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  Peter van Dalen, namens de ECR-Fractie. – Voorzitter, een essentieel onderdeel van de mensenrechten is de vrijheid van godsdienst. Wat we helaas zien, is dat christenen het bijzonder moeilijk hebben in veel landen waar het islamitische geloof dominant is. Dat is onder andere het geval in Egypte. Koptisch-orthodoxe christenen, maar ook rooms-katholieke en protestante christenen en joden worden in Egypte structureel achtergesteld. Moslims die bijvoorbeeld christen worden, blijven onderdrukt. Dat blijkt dan uit hun identiteitspapieren. Daarin blijft dan staan dat ze moslim zijn, want geloofsafval is er bij wet verboden.

Met name de laatste tien à twintig jaar is het geweld tegen Kopten enorm toegenomen. Er zijn al meer dan 100 aanslagen geteld waarbij duizenden slachtoffers zijn gevallen. De opstelling van de Egyptische regering vind ik slap. Er zijn drie mannen opgepakt, maar over het algemeen wordt het geweld tegen christenen gedoogd. Ik roep Raad en ook Commissie op direct met Egypte in overleg te treden, zodat de regering daar een andere weg ingaat. Doet Caïro dat niet, dan vind ik dat dit gevolgen moet hebben voor onze bilaterale betrekkingen met Egypte.

 
  
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  Joe Higgins, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. – Mr President, all who are committed to democratic rights and freedom of religious expression will condemn outright the murder of Christians in Egypt and also the firebomb attacks on Christian churches in Malaysia. We should also note the growing numbers of attacks on religious minorities in Europe itself and equally condemn that.

In Malaysia, the tactic of divide and rule on racial and religious lines has long been used by various elements of the economic and ruling elites. The present National Front government is guilty of hypocrisy in this regard: while publicly proclaiming a ‘One Malaysia’ policy claiming to embrace all religions and minorities, it manoeuvres behind the scenes, using religious and racial divisions to try and bolster its own position among the majority Muslim Malay population, as it did in relation to the ‘Allah’ ruling.

There are also huge divisions economically in Malaysia. It is the most unequal society in South-East Asia. The current government rules on the basis of crony capitalism. This is the result, with exploitation rife in the workplace, trade union rights severely limited. The best background for religious freedom and democracy in Egypt and Malaysia and elsewhere is, indeed, economic justice and democracy, where wealth and power are in the hands of the big majority of working people and the poor and removed from major corporations and crony capitalists.

 
  
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  Daniël van der Stoep (NI). - Voorzitter, gisteren is in Nederland een verschrikkelijk politiek proces begonnen tegen onze partijleider Geert Wilders. Als Nederlands parlementariër en fractievoorzitter van de Partij voor de Vrijheid in het Nederlandse parlement wordt hij vervolgd voor het uiten van zijn mening. Geert Wilders wordt vervolgd door de linkse elite omdat hij Nederland, Europa en de wereld waarschuwt voor de fascistische ideologie, die de islam heet. Een ongehoord schandaal is het.

Voorzitter, de islamisering van Nederland en Europa bedreigt de Europese joods-christelijke en humanistische cultuur. En daar waar velen, ook in dit Parlement, achterover leunen en de tsunami van de islamisering over zich heen laten komen, vecht de Partij voor de Vrijheid voor die Europese cultuur. Voorzitter, de barbaarse daden die hebben plaatsgevonden in Maleisië, Egypte en op vele plekken op aarde, bijvoorbeeld deze week nog in Nigeria, zijn het gevolg van de intolerante fascistische ideologie die de islam heet. In islamitische landen worden niet-moslims stelselmatig vernederd en vermoord. De gebeurtenissen in Maleisië en Egypte kunnen niet worden bezien als losstaande incidenten, maar vinden hun oorsprong in de ideologie die respect eist, maar het niet geeft. Dit Parlement kan ervoor zorgen dat deze verschrikkelijke gebeurtenissen nooit in Europa zullen plaatsvinden door zij aan zij met de Partij voor de Vrijheid te strijden tegen de islamisering van Europa. Wij nodigen daar iedereen voor uit.

 
  
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  Filip Kaczmarek (PPE). - Panie Przewodniczący! Dość często mówimy w Parlamencie o różnego rodzaju fobiach i ich negatywnych skutkach społecznych. Mam na myśli ksenofobię i homofobię. Niestety te dwa przypadki nie wyczerpują katalogu fobii. Istnieje również fenomen nazywany „christianofobią” - fobią na chrześcijaństwo. Podobnie jak w przypadku innych fobii, również tutaj skutki społeczne są negatywne, a czasami tragiczne i właśnie z tego powodu powinniśmy zajmować się przypadkami łamania praw chrześcijan w różnych miejscach świata.

Zajmujemy się wyznawcami różnych religii, a nawet tymi, którzy są osobami niewierzącymi. Również chrześcijanie nie mogą być pozbawieni naszej troski. Czynimy tak, bo wolność religijna jest jedną z podstawowych wartości Unii Europejskiej. Dlatego właśnie potępiamy i będziemy potępiać wszelkiego rodzaju przemoc, dyskryminację i nietolerancję wobec kapłanów czy wyznawców różnych religii. Przemoc dokonywana ze względu na wierzenia ofiary jest obrzydliwa i bez wątpienia zasługuje na naszą krytykę.

 
  
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  Konrad Szymański (ECR). - Panie Przewodniczący! Wolność religijna jest prawem potwierdzonym w międzynarodowych i europejskich konwencjach praw człowieka od ponad 50 lat. Jednocześnie od wielu lat mamy do czynienia z rosnącą falą nienawiści na tle religijnym, która dotyka najczęściej chrześcijan na całym świecie. Miejsce antychrześcijańskiego komunizmu zajmuje dziś przede wszystkim wojowniczy islam. Egipt i Malezja mają konstytucyjne gwarancje wolności religijnej, jednak pod presją radykalnych środowisk islamskich wolność religijna chrześcijan nie jest dostatecznie chroniona przez tamtejsze rządy.

Unia Europejska wyposażona w nowe instrumenty polityki zagranicznej musi w większym stopniu zająć się przeciwdziałaniem chrystofobii, która jest podglebiem pobić, grabieży i mordów. Tylko ideologiczne uprzedzenia powodują, że Unia Europejska czyni to dziś z wahaniami. Stawką jest nasza wiarygodność.

 
  
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  Bogusław Sonik (PPE). - Panie Przewodniczący! Chciałbym poprzeć ideę kolegi Provery, który mówił o tym, że powinno powstać sprawozdanie na temat wolności religijnych. Chciałbym przypomnieć, że w poprzedniej kadencji złożyłem wraz z Mario Mauro propozycję sporządzenia sprawozdania na temat sytuacji chrześcijan w krajach, gdzie stanowią mniejszość, w krajach głównie islamskich. Niestety Prezydium Parlamentu nie przyjęło tej propozycji, ale może warto. Ponawiam ten wniosek tutaj.

Rezolucja, którą dzisiaj przyjmujemy, powinna mięć zdecydowany wydźwięk. Mniejszość koptyjska stanowi 10% egipskiej populacji, lecz nawet gdyby stanowiła 0,5%, to rolą Parlamentu Europejskiego jest reagować, zwłaszcza w sytuacji, gdy tak drastycznie łamane są prawa człowieka.

Z uwagą przeczytałem list skierowany przez marszałka Zgromadzenia Ludowego do przewodniczącego Buzka. W swoim liście zapewnia on, że wydarzenia o których mówiłem miały charakter incydentalny. Trudno mi w to uwierzyć. Koptowie są prześladowani w Egipcie od wielu lat. Postarajmy się tym razem, by nasza pomoc dla uciskanej mniejszości nie skończyła się na pustych deklaracjach.

 
  
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  Ryszard Czarnecki (ECR). - Panie Przewodniczący! To nie tylko Egipt, nie tylko Malezja, ale także w Afryce Sudan, Nigeria, szereg innych państw, także szereg państw Azji i społeczeństw traktują chrześcijan jako zło konieczne, a czasem jako wroga. Nie ukrywajmy tych faktów, nie zachowujmy się jak struś, który chowa głowę w piasek. To realny problem i Parlament chrześcijańskiej Europy, chrześcijańskich tradycji i dziedzictwa musi tutaj zabierać głos.

Ale też uderzmy się we własne piersi. Przed chwilą mój przedmówca słusznie mówił o grzechach zaniechania Parlamentu zeszłej kadencji. Przypomnę debatę sprzed kilku tygodni, gdy słusznie potępialiśmy ataki, opresje, jakich doświadczyła ujgurska, muzułmańska mniejszość w Chinach. Ale wówczas niektóre grupy polityczne odrzucały poprawki, które służyły podkreśleniu, że również chrześcijanie w Chinach cierpią, są dyskryminowani. Nie może być tak, że bronimy niektórych mniejszości religijnych, a innych bronimy trochę mniej lub wcale.

 
  
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  Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE). - Arvoisa puhemies, olemme kuulleet useista lähteistä huolestuttavia uutisia kristittyihin kohdistuneista rikoksista Egyptissä ja Malesiassa. Malesian osalta haluaisin ensinnäkin ilmaista syvän huolemme kirkkoihin kohdistuneista hyökkäyksistä perinteisesti suvaitsevassa ja maltillisessa maassa.

Toiseksi haluan nostaa esiin islamilaisten kansalaisjärjestöjen esimerkillisen työn uskonnollisen suvaitsevaisuuden puolesta. Malesian pääministerin lausunnot liittyen Allah -sanan käyttämiseen rohkaisivat julkisen tyytymättömyyden osoittamiseen kristittyjä yhteisöjä kohtaan. Islamilaisten kansalaisjärjestöjen esimerkillinen suhtautuminen ja jyrkkä julkinen kanta ministerin lausuntoihin on kuitenkin rauhoittanut tilannetta. On ikävää ettemme saaneet kirjattua sitä lopulliseen päätöslauselmaamme, sillä mielestämme huomioimme täällä liian harvoin myönteisiä asioita. Eikö muslimeja sovi myös kiittää, kun aihetta on?

Uskonnollista suvaitsevaisuutta täytyy edistää sekä poliittista valtaa pitävien taholta että ruohonjuuritasolla. On yhtä lailla tärkeää havahtua laiminlyönteihin kuin huomioida edistysaskeleet ja tarjota tukea niihin.

 
  
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  Dominique Baudis (PPE). - Monsieur le Président, les actes de criminels fanatiques, qui ont tué des chrétiens d'Égypte, ne peuvent pas être imputés à tout un peuple et à son gouvernement. Ce serait injuste de rendre l'Égypte et les Égyptiens responsables de cet abominable massacre, dont les auteurs vont être jugés.

Ne confondons pas les actes d'un criminel et la politique d'un pays! Ne faisons pas l'amalgame entre des fanatiques et toute une population! Enfin, en prétendant nous interposer entre les chrétiens coptes d'Égypte et leurs compatriotes musulmans, nous donnons des arguments aux extrémistes, qui cherchent à présenter les chrétiens d'Orient comme des agents de l'Occident.

 
  
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  László Tőkés (PPE). - Egészen friss a hír, hogy néhány nappal ezelőtt az egyiptomi karhatalom több kopt jogvédő aktivistát tartóztatott le, akik a karácsony ünnepén Nádzs' Hammádi településen meggyilkolt kopt keresztények közösségének védelme és támogatása céljából utaztak a véres események helyszínére. A muzulmán többség irányában részrehajló egyiptomi hatóságok a kopt kisebbség ellen irányuló erőszakos cselekményeket minimalizálni próbálják, és íme a keresztények jogos önvédelmét is diszkriminatív egyoldalúsággal gátolják. Ez ellen ez Egyesült Államok kormánya is haladéktalanul felemelte szavát. Annak ismeretében, hogy az Egyiptom őslakóinak számító kopt keresztény közösség közel másfél évezrede sokszor kegyetlen elnyomásnak van kitéve, az Európai Közösségnek a jelenleginél is határozottabban és egyértelműbben kellene fellépnie védelmükben.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE). - Ďakujem, že sa tu znovu upozorňuje na porušovanie slobody vyznania v niektorých krajinách tak, ako už v roku 2007 a 2008. Pýtam sa, či je to slabosť alebo ľahostajnosť EÚ pri dôslednejšom presadzovaní dodržiavania ľudských práv v tejto oblasti. Stále počúvame tie isté sťažnosti a navrhujeme tie isté opatrenia.

Egypt aj Malajzia patria medzi krajiny, kde kresťania žijú v extrémne nebezpečných podmienkach, sú perzekvovaní, vyháňaní zo svojich domovov, unášaní, vraždení, sú zatvárané ich kostoly. Deje sa to od Magrebu až po Irán, ale aj v Indii, Číne, Pakistane a mnohých ďalších. Kresťanov prenasledujú väčšinou extrémistické prúdy. Je to ale nebezpečenstvo pre všetkých kresťanov, židov aj všetkých moslimov. Žiadam predstaviteľov EÚ a jednotlivých delegácií Európskeho parlamentu, aby využili všetky možnosti k zlepšeniu dialógu, k náboženskej tolerancii a rešpektu, ako aj spolužitiu rôznych kultúr.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). - Arvoisa puhemies, olen erityisen huolestunut Egyptin tilanteesta sen tähden, että siihen liittyy historiallisia, etnisiä ja valtiollisia taustoja. Todella koptikristityt ovat vieläkin huomattava vähemmistö. Egyptissä noin 10 prosenttia, kahdeksan miljoonaa, kuuluu koptikristittyihin, ja juuri sen vuoksi, että he ovat entinen valtaväestö, he ovat ylpeitä tästä ja myös orientaalisesta kristillisestä traditiosta. Tämän tähden viime tammikuun joulujuhlassa tapahtunut provokaatio oli erityisen räikeä ja harkittu. Lisäksi monia koptinaisia on väkivallalla painostettu vaihtamaan uskontoa ja on tapahtunut raiskauksia ynnä muita.

Egyptin tilanne on erittäin huono esimerkki muille maille, joissa on mahdollisuudet samanlaiselle koston kierteelle, ja juuri tämän tähden EU:n pitää olla valpas ja on puututtava heti ja korostettava rauhanomaista vuoropuhelua uskontojen välillä.

 
  
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  Ivo Vajgl (ALDE). - Ko se zgodi umor in to umor na verski osnovi, je seveda vse drugo, kot to, da se zgrozimo in obsodimo, komajda primerno.

Mislim pa, da je to, da se je zgodil nov incident in nov zločin na Bližnjem vzhodu, pravzaprav odsev nekih splošnih razmer in večkratne nepozornosti do verske svobode in do spoštovanja drugačnih. Govorim o tem, da se te verske vrednosti ne spoštujejo na različnih straneh.

Razlog, zakaj je ALDE predlagal, da se ta razprava odloži oziroma, da se loči razprava o spoštovanju človekovih in verskih pravic v Egiptu in Maleziji, je bil ta, da je treba z določeno občutljivostjo obravnavati države posamično, in Egipt gotovo ni eden izmed najbolj vpijočih primerov verske nestrpnosti, prej nasprotno.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, sadly there has been a general climate in the Islamic world of increasing jihadi militancy aimed at non-Muslim communities in their midst – in particular, and more often than not, this means the Christians.

The Copts, who represent one of the oldest Christian churches in the world, have a large diaspora in London, which I represent. Their leaders have come to me and complained of a worsening situation, regrettably, in Egypt, orchestrated by the Muslim Brotherhood. In spite of the best efforts by President Mubarak’s government to protect them, matters have deteriorated.

We witness a similar story with the Assyrian Christians in Iraq, the Christians of Palestine and Pakistan, and now, as we see for the first time, even in Malaysia.

This House has – for too long, in my view – ignored Christian minority rights in the rest of the world, but they look to the European Union and to the United States for protection. So I welcome this resolution.

 
  
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  Gerard Batten (EFD). - Mr President, the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities is growing in Islamic countries. Christians who have lived in countries such as Egypt and in the Mediterranean area for almost 2 000 years are increasingly being persecuted and driven out of their ancestral homelands. This is because of the growing power of intolerant fundamentalist and extremist Islamist ideology – Islamo-fascism.

The persecution of Christian minorities and others across the Islamic world is vastly under-reported by the West’s media. The media should not only report the persecution as it happens but they should explain to the general public the reasons why it is happening. They should explain who is doing this, namely Muslim fanatics, and why they are doing it – because of the intolerant and violent fault lines in Islamic ideology.

Democratic governments worldwide should put maximum diplomatic pressure on countries such as Egypt to suppress this intolerable persecution.

 
  
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  Neelie Kroes, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, the Commission is deeply shocked and saddened by what happened on Coptic Christmas Eve in Nagaa Hammadi in southern Egypt, the tragic deaths of six Copts and a Muslim policeman in a drive-by shooting.

We are positive that the authorities took rapid action to find and arrest those suspected of committing this awful crime, and a thorough investigation and bringing those responsible to justice will send a clear signal that violence based on religious influence is not acceptable in Egyptian society.

Egypt’s Constitution provides for freedom of belief and free practice of religion. However, we do hear complaints of discrimination against the Copts and against other religious minorities such as the Bahá’í in the workplace and by the judicial system. We are aware of difficulties encountered by several Christian converts, such as Maher El-Gohary and Mohammed Hegazy, in Egyptian courts. We raised those issues in our regular political dialogue with Egypt.

We understand that the Government is seeking to address some of the grievances of the Copts, for instance by removing the obstacles that delay and limit the building and refurbishment of churches. We welcome and encourage such moves and urge the Government to identify and tackle the root causes of religious tensions in Egyptian society and to end all forms of discrimination against those belonging to other religions.

The acts of vandalism against churches in Malaysia following a High Court ruling on the use of the word ‘Allah’ give rise to serious concerns. The Government as well as the opposition, including the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party and 130 Muslim NGOs, have all strongly condemned those attacks. The Government has increased security measures to safeguard all places of worship and has also reconfirmed its commitment to protect Malaysia’s social and religious harmony and a culture of religious and ethnic diversity.

The Malaysian Federal Constitution states that Islam is the religion of the Federation but other religions may be practised in peace and in harmony in any part of the Federation.

We encourage the authorities to initiate as soon as possible an all-encompassing inter-faith dialogue with all religious beliefs to promote mutual understanding so that Malaysia can continue to develop peacefully in ethnic and social harmony. In that regard, the Malaysian Home Ministry has a particular responsibility to explain thoroughly and objectively to its citizens the issue at stake.

We strongly condemn all acts of intolerance against any person because of his religion of belief wherever they occur. Unfortunately no country is immune from this. We call on public authorities to fully protect all religious communities, including Christians, from discrimination and from repression.

The Commission gives high priority to freedom of religion or belief as central tenets of the EU’s human rights policy by raising the issue in political dialogue with countries where the problem persists, by supporting local human rights projects and by actively promoting freedom of religion or belief at the UN forums.

 
  
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  El Presidente. − Se cierra el debate.

La votación tendrá lugar a las 12.00 horas.

Declaraciones por escrito (artículo 149 del Reglamento)

 
  
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  Carlo Casini (PPE), per iscritto. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, nell'esprimere il voto favorevole sulla risoluzione comune sottolineo la particolare gravità delle violenze compiute in Malesia per una questione esclusivamente nominalistica.

È oggettivamente sicuro che sia i cristiani sia i musulmani credono in un solo Dio che è Dio di tutti gli uomini credenti e non credenti. Il fatto che sia chiamato con parole diverse è assolutamente secondario. Pretendere che il Dio musulmano sia solo musulmano e perciò possa essere invocato soltanto dai musulmani, con un nome tradizionalmente musulmano significa tornare alla visione ancestrale e tribale, secondo la quale esisteva un Dio per ciascun gruppo umano. Contraddire cioè l'idea monoteista che rende grandi e vicine le religioni universali che, come il Cristianesimo e l'Islam, si oppongono all'idolatria ed il politeismo.

Non meno grave è la persecuzione dei copti in Egitto. Sulle sponde del Mediterraneo sono fiorite le religioni monoteiste, le quali pretendono di essere e sono forze di fraternità e di pace. È invece drammatico che proprio sulle sponde del Mediterraneo a Gerusalemme, città sacra per chi crede in Dio, Allah e Jahvé, si trovi il focolaio più grande di conflitti.

Proprio l´Egitto è il paese più forte dell'area dove cristiani e musulmani devono convivere pacificamente per un ruolo pacificatore in tutta l'area del sud del Mediterraneo.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), por escrito. – Apoio a proposta de resolução comum sobre os recentes ataques contra comunidades cristãs porque condena de forma veemente todos os tipos de violência, discriminação e intolerância com base na religião e convicção. Considero vital apoiar todas as iniciativas destinadas a promover o diálogo e o respeito mútuo entre comunidades e que procurem garantir direitos fundamentais, tais como, a liberdade de pensamento, de consciência e de religião.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), por escrito. – Homens e mulheres por todo o mundo continuam a sofrer as mais brutais formas de perseguição simplesmente porque crêem em Deus do mesmo modo que este é venerado do Atlântico aos Urais. Depois da China, Índia, Iraque, Paquistão, Turquia, Vietname, entre outros, o Parlamento Europeu denuncia hoje o acossamento dos cristãos no Egipto e na Malásia.

A Europa assiste a tudo isto com relativa indiferença. Há até quem invoque o respeito pela cultura e pela liberdade de culto alheias em defesa desta inacção. O silêncio sobre este assunto, verdadeiramente espantoso numa Europa de matriz, cultura e tradições imbuídas da fé cristã, ameaça tornar-se ensurdecedor…

Recordo, a este título, as palavras do Cardeal-Arcebispo de Bolonha sobre anteriores perseguições e que ilustram à saciedade o espírito do nosso tempo: “Mais depressa se preocupam com o futuro dos ursos polares do que com a vida ameaçada de milhares de cristãos”.

 
  
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  Jacek Olgierd Kurski (ECR), na piśmie. – Rok 2010 to kolejny rok, który rozpoczyna się krwawym prześladowaniem chrześcijan w wielu miejscach świata. Jako Parlament Europejski nie możemy być bierni wobec tych zbrodni i aktów przemocy. Sytuacja chrześcijan jest również dramatyczna w takich krajach, nie wymienionych w dzisiejszej rezolucji, jak Korea Północna, Irak, Indie czy Sudan. Nasilają się ataki na katolików w Wietnamie Jako parlamentarzysta z Polski, kraju o głębokiej tradycji chrześcijańskiej i kraju o długiej tradycji poszanowania i wspólnej egzystencji wielu wspólnot religijnych wyraża solidarność z rodzinami ofiar. Władze Egiptu i Malezji muszą zagwarantować chrześcijanom i członkom innych wspólnot i mniejszości religijnych możliwość korzystania ze wszystkich praw człowieka i podstawowych wolności pod groźba sankcji ze strony Unii Europejskiej. Z tego powodu powinniśmy poprzeć rezolucję w sprawie niedawnych ataków na wspólnoty chrześcijańskie.

 
  
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  Csaba Sógor (PPE), írásban. – A közelmúltban Egyiptomban és Malajziában történt keresztény közösségek elleni támadásokat két különböző nézőpont alapján is értékelhetjük. Elsőként azt kell kihangsúlyoznunk, hogy az Európai Unió, mint a demokrácia és a jogállamiság magas szintjét elért európai államok közössége a vallási tolerancia, az emberi és kisebbségi jogok szellemében nem hagyhatja szó nélkül a hasonló esetek előfordulását, a világ bármely államában kerüljön is sor erre. Világossá kell tennünk a velünk továbbra is jó kapcsolatok fenntartására törekvő kormányok számára, hogy az egyetemes emberi jogok széles körben elfogadott normáit Európa számon kéri partnerein, és a kapcsolatok jövőbeni alakulására hatással lehetnek az emberi jogi problémák. Ezzel párhuzamosan nem szabad elfeledkeznünk az Európai Unió területén előforduló jogsértésekről sem.

A vallási tolerancia, az emberi és kisebbségi jogok – ideértve a kisebbségi egyházakhoz tartozó egyének jogait – egyes esetekben az Unió tagállamaiban is további bővítésre szorulnak. Ha Európa példát akar mutatni a világnak, nem engedheti meg magának, hogy a területén bárkit is diszkrimináció érjen vallási meggyőződése, etnikai származása vagy nemzeti kisebbséghez tartozása miatt. Láthatjuk, hogy az érvényben lévő jogszabályok szerint Egyiptomban is biztosított a vallásszabadság, a gyakorlatban viszont ennek ellenkezőjét tapasztalják a keresztények. Sajnos hasonló esetekre, a törvények és a mindennapi gyakorlat közti megfelelés hiányára az Unió tagállamaiban is találunk példát.

 
  

(1)Lásd a jegyzőkönyvet.


3.2. Ksur tad-drittijiet tal-bniedem fiċ-Ċina, b' mod partikoli l-każ Liu Xiaobao
Vidjow tat-taħditiet
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  El Presidente. − El punto siguiente es el debate sobre siete propuestas de resolución relativas a violaciones de los derechos humanos en China, especialmente el caso de Liu Xiaobao(1).

 
  
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  Renate Weber, author. − Mr President, last month Mr Liu Xiaobo, the very well-known writer and political activist, was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment for ‘incitement to subvert state power’. He was arrested over a year ago after drafting Charter 08, a charter which was signed by more than 10 000 ordinary Chinese citizens, demanding the most normal things in a democratic society: the right to free speech, open elections and rule of law.

The prosecution of Mr Liu Xiaobo, based solely on his peaceful initiatives, and the judicial harassment he faced are undoubtedly incompatible with internationally acknowledged norms of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Therefore we should call strongly for Mr Liu Xiaobo’s unconditional release, which should take place immediately.

In the last few years, relations between the European Union and China have focused mainly on the economic dimension, which has overshadowed the country’s democratic record and the gross human rights violations which have systematically occurred in China.

A few days ago, for the first time, a police official admitted that the famous human rights lawyer and 2008 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Mr Gao Zhisheng, had gone missing after a year in the Chinese authorities’ custody. Many people fear that he might be dead. A few weeks ago, the Chinese Government disregarded an EU appeal not to execute a British citizen.

It is particularly disturbing to see how the Chinese Government ignores its international commitments in the field of human rights. One is entitled to wonder why, under these circumstances, China submitted its candidacy to the UN Human Rights Council – was it simply to legitimise the way it suppresses human rights?

In April 2009, the Chinese Government issued a national human rights plan, a lengthy document which appears to be nothing but a piece of paper. There must be no doubt. This House, the European Parliament, has the obligation to thoroughly evaluate the results of the EU-China human rights dialogue.

 
  
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  Tunne Kelam, author. − Mr President, China has demonstrated impressive economic progress. However, part of this progress has been achieved by the use of methods that are in flagrant conflict with universally accepted human norms. Hopes that events like the Olympic Games would motivate the Chinese authorities to show more respect for democratic norms have proved vain. On the contrary, acts of repression have increased and we need to draw conclusions from this fact.

Today the European Parliament voices concern over the fate of the prominent human rights activist and scholar, Liu Xiaobo, signatory of Charter 08, which urges constitutional reform and the safeguarding of human rights. This Charter has been bravely co-signed by more than 10 000 Chinese citizens. Last month Lui Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment. We ask today for his immediate and unconditional release. We express our solidarity with the peaceful actions of Chinese citizens in favour of democratic reforms and the safeguarding of human rights, to which the Chinese Government has committed itself.

 
  
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  Véronique De Keyser, auteur. − Monsieur le Président, les résolutions d'urgence sont toujours un exercice difficile parce que, bien souvent, plutôt que de traduire une urgence humanitaire, elles reflètent une impuissance politique. Le name and shame que nous pratiquons chaque mois est un recours ultime. Il signifie clairement que tous les autres instruments de dialogue et de pression se sont révélés inefficaces et que, faute de pouvoir agir, on dénonce.

Dans le cas de la Chine, je ne suis pas sûre que multiplier les résolutions d'urgence comme nous le faisons – mars 2009, novembre 2009, janvier 2010, plus le projet d'une autre résolution en mars 2010 – soit productif. Non pas que je sous-estime la difficulté de ce pays à gérer sa transition vers la démocratie, mais parce que je crois que revenir sans cesse à la charge, ce n'est pas se tromper de cible, c'est se tromper de stratégie. Il y a d'autres instruments politiques plus convaincants.

J'ai été la première à demander des résolutions sur les Ouïgours et à espérer éviter ainsi, en vain hélas, des exécutions capitales. Je soutiens, au nom de mon groupe, Liu Xiaobao, ce dissident de Tiananmen, condamné récemment, dont le seul crime est d'être épris de démocratie, mais je refuse de clouer tous les deux mois la Chine au pilori, tout simplement parce que cela ne la fera pas plier. Bien au contraire! Car cet acteur commercial incontournable, ce pays qui a un siège permanent au Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies, qui est en pleine croissance et en pleine évolution démocratique, dont nous avons besoin pour lutter contre le changement climatique, ce pays doit être un partenaire, à qui on dit ses quatre vérités, mais qu'on respecte pour les efforts qu'il engage. C'est ce respect qui manque dans la résolution.

C'est pour ces raisons politiques que mon groupe a retiré sa signature. Mais pour qu'il n'y ait aucune ambiguïté sur la question des droits de l'homme, auxquels je tiens au moins autant que vous, mon groupe votera en faveur de tous les amendements qui s'y rapportent. Quant à l'issue finale du vote, elle dépendra des amendements que nous avons déposés.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat, auteur. − Monsieur le Président, la Chine est un grand pays, riche de son histoire, et dont les capacités de développement sont immenses. La tenue des jeux olympiques à Pékin, l'année dernière, n'a pas eu les résultats que certains avaient escomptés.

Les relations que l'Union européenne est en mesure d'entretenir avec ce pays revêtent une importance toute particulière. Il est de notre devoir, en tant que parlementaires européens, de dire haut et fort ce que nous trouvons important et ce qui n'est pas supportable.

Or, la situation des droits de l'homme dans ce pays n'est pas supportable. Le cas de M. Liu Xiaobao, coupable de réclamer des réformes démocratiques dans son pays avec plus de 10 000 de ses compatriotes est, à cet égard, exemplaire. Oserai-je dire qu'à mes yeux, c'est plutôt un exploit que de permettre une telle mobilisation dans ce pays?

Nous devons exiger la libération de M. Xiaobao et de tous ceux et de toutes celles qui, comme lui, sont harcelés, emprisonnés, pour avoir commis un seul crime, celui de défendre les droits de l'homme, et notamment l'un des plus fondamentaux d'entre eux, la liberté d'expression.

Tout récemment, comme l'a dit un de mes collègues, un citoyen britannique a effectivement été exécuté, alors qu'il était déficient mental. C'est la première fois qu'un Européen est exécuté en Chine depuis plus de cinquante ans. Oui, la liberté d'expression est bafouée chaque jour un peu plus, comme vient de nous le révéler Google, qui a pourtant la réputation d'être, sinon l'opérateur qui protégerait le mieux – du moins le moins mal – les internautes.

On sait que, pour s'installer en Chine, les opérateurs doivent, à la demande des autorités chinoises, installer des logiciels de filtre, ce que même Google avait fini par accepter. Nous ne pouvons pas accepter qu'un gouvernement opère des actes de piratage sur l'internet et empêche les internautes de s'exprimer.

Les institutions européennes, dans leur ensemble, doivent réagir. Les internautes chinois doivent pouvoir accéder à des informations non censurées. L'Union européenne se doit de soutenir les entreprises du secteur de l'internet qui refusent d'aider les autorités chinoises à censurer l'internet ou, pire, à arrêter les défenseurs des droits de l'homme, les démocrates ou, plus simplement, les journalistes, comme ce fut le cas avec M. Xiaobao en avril 2005.

Enfin, mes chers collègues, je ne peux terminer mon intervention sans vous demander de ne pas oublier les morts de Tiananmen, plusieurs centaines de jeunes Chinois ont trouvé la mort dans la nuit du 3 au 4 juin de 1989. C'était il y a vingt ans, un triste anniversaire, que nous nous serions honorés de commémorer en rendant hommage à ces jeunes victimes. Mais tous les événements de 1989 n'ont pas eu droit à la même attention.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock, author. − Mr President, the fact that yet again in this House we are debating human rights abuses in China indicates that the Communist authoritarian leadership of Beijing remains determined to suppress any political dissent.

However, that fact should not stop us from raising these issues in Parliament. I believe not only that we have a duty to do so, but that we owe it to the victims of human rights abuses in China such as Liu Xiaobo, most of whom have been denied a voice. This is why we are debating this matter again today.

Indeed, the award of the Sakharov Prize in 2008 to Hu Jia showed the world how seriously we MEPs take the issue of human rights in China. We take it seriously because China really matters. Its vast size and global outreach, its military muscle and economic power compel the EU to seek a strategic partnership based on mutual respect and security.

Perhaps eventually our relationship with China will also be based on our common values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law: we can but hope. I think all of us hope, nevertheless, to see the day when we will really see this in practice in the People’s Republic of China. It has been suggested that such ideals are somehow alien to Asia. I always look to democratic Taiwan and vast India with its democratic secular traditions, where these flourish in a free society, to basically put a lie to the idea that the PRC cannot be democratic.

 
  
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  Heidi Hautala, laatija. − Arvoisa puhemies, merkittävää Liu Xiaobaon tapauksessa on nyt se, että jopa 10 000 ihmistä on avoimesti ilmaissut hänelle tukensa, ja mielestäni Euroopan parlamentin on todettava näiden ihmisten rohkeus ja kiitettävä heitä siitä.

Samalla meidän täytyy muistuttaa siitä, että Kiina itse on antanut lupauksia ihmisoikeustilanteen kohentamisesta. Kiina pyrki YK:n ihmisoikeusneuvoston jäseneksi sanomalla, että se tulee olemaan sitoutunut ihmisoikeuksien edistämiseen ja suojeluun ja että Kiina tulee pitämään yllä ihmisoikeuksien korkeimpia vaatimuksia. Nämä ovat siis Kiinan omia lupauksia YK:n edessä ja näihin meidän on viitattava.

Tässä päätöslauselmassa myös puhutaan EU:n ja Kiinan välisistä ihmisoikeusdialogeista, ja vaikka kuinka haluaisimme olla optimistisia, niin lopputulos kuitenkin on se, että näistä ihmisoikeusdialogeista ei ole juurikaan ollut hyötyä. Meidän täytyy myös Euroopan unionin toimielinten kesken pohtia, miten me voimme parantaa omaa strategiaamme, kuinka voimme saada Kiinan ymmärtämään, että sen sitoumukset ihmisoikeusasioissa ovat meidän yhteinen asiamme ja niistä riippuu ratkaisevasti meidän yhteistyömme tulevaisuus.

Loppujen lopuksi voimmekin kysyä, miksi Kiinan suhteen Euroopan unionin politiikka on niin hajanaista ja epäjohdonmukaista ja mitä me voimme sille tehdä? Euroopan parlamentti varmasti omalta osaltaan tukee komissiota, että pääsemme uuteen strategiaan Kiinan kanssa.

 
  
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  Cristian Dan Preda, în numele Grupului PPE. – Cuvintele nu ar trebui privite ca nişte crime, iată ce a susţinut Liu Xiaobo în Carta 08, manifestul politic pe care l-a iniţiat şi care a fost susţinut, aşa cum s-a spus, de mii de chinezi. Pentru o asemenea afirmaţie, ca şi pentru susţinerea constantă a drepturilor omului, Liu Xiaobo a primit 11 ani de închisoare şi doi ani de privare a drepturilor politice. Această pedeapsă este, cred eu, un sindrom al intensificării campaniei duse de autorităţile chineze împotriva apărătorilor drepturilor omului. O dovadă e şi faptul că, aşa cum s-a anunţat în această dimineaţă, Tzu Yong Jun, lider al mişcării din Piaţa Tiananmen a fost condamnat, la rândul său, la 9 ani de închisoare.

În consecinţă, eu consider că este esenţială abordarea subiectului drepturilor omului în cadrul următorului summit Uniunea Europeană - China, aşa cum precizează articolul 9 din rezoluţie. Consider, aşa cum sugera şi doamna Hautala mai devreme, că este insuficient instrumentul dialogului pe drepturile omului: această problematică a drepturilor omului trebuie tratată în cadrul summit-urilor, pentru că, până acum, dialogurile nu au dat rezultate.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, the European Union is now negotiating a new framework agreement with China, which will set a further path for the development of economic relations with the country.

Those relations are very tight, but we must not close our eyes before repeated human rights violations and with respect for the rule of law.

The European Union must strengthen the EU-China human rights dialogue. This dialogue, established in 2000, proved to be inefficient. The EU, and especially the High Representative, should ensure coordinated and effective EU common foreign policy towards China. Respect for human rights must serve as a basis for this policy.

 
  
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  Helga Trüpel, im Namen der Verts/ALE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident! Als China die Olympiade bekommen hat, habe ich nach allen Versprechungen Chinas, die Menschenrechtssituation zu verbessern, im Vorfeld auch gehofft, dass dies vielleicht eintritt.

Aber während und nach der Olympiade mussten wir leider feststellen, dass es nicht zu einer Verbesserung, sondern zu einer Verschlechterung der Menschenrechtssituation gekommen ist. Und jetzt, nach dem Urteil gegen Liu Xiaobao, müssen wir sogar sehen, dass eine Homosexuellen-Party von der Polizei verboten wurde, dass offensichtlich für Dissidenten, Menschenrechtler und Homosexuelle eine politische Eiszeit in China droht.

Wir fordern deswegen die sofortige Freilassung von Liu Xiaobao und von anderen Menschenrechtlern, und wir fordern vor allem China auf – wenn es ein anerkannter Partner der internationalen Gemeinschaft werden möchte –, dass es sich von seinen hysterischen Zensurmaßnahmen und Überwachungsmethoden verabschieden soll.

Das gilt natürlich insbesondere auch für das Internet. Wir können politisches filtering im Internet nicht akzeptieren. Es ist ein wesentlicher Teil der fundamentalen Rechte, dass die Meinungsfreiheit in allen Staaten der Welt verteidigt werden muss. Menschenrechte sind ein universales Gut und unteilbar, egal ob hier bei uns, in den USA, im Sudan oder in China. Daran muss sich die Chinesische Republik gewöhnen, wenn sie wirklich eine andere Rolle spielen will.

Ich bin zutiefst der Überzeugung, dass wir als Europäer im Rahmen unserer offiziellen Beziehungen bei den Gipfeltreffen – gerade weil wir ein Interesse an Zusammenarbeit in den Bereichen Klimaschutzpolitik, Umweltpolitik und Regulierung der Finanzmärkte haben – China klarmachen müssen, dass es dringend seine Menschenrechtspolitik ändern muss.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana, a nome del gruppo EFD. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, uno dei problemi più rilevanti che riguardano i diritti umani in Cina è lo sfruttamento dei lavori forzati nei laogai, i campi di concentramento cinesi.

Questa questione, oltre ad essere una vera e propria schiavitù moderna, interessa concretamente anche l'economia europea. È infatti sicuro che vi sia moltissima merce proveniente dal mercato cinese che è prodotta dai detenuti nei laogai, con evidente abbattimento dei costi della manodopera e conseguente concorrenza sleale nei riguardi della merce europea.

Basandosi anche sull'esperienza degli Stati Uniti, che già hanno approvato alcune leggi per il divieto delle importazioni di merci cinesi prodotte nei laogai, l'Europa può e deve fare il possibile affinché venga impedito l'accesso al suo interno di merci prodotte parzialmente o totalmente dal lavoro forzato.

Per prima cosa si deve intraprendere una campagna di sensibilizzazione dell'opinione pubblica sulla questione; si deve poi pretendere che tutti i prodotti importati in Europa abbiano gli stessi parametri di igiene e sicurezza richiesti ai produttori europei e introdurre una normativa sull'etichettatura che consenta la tracciabilità dei prodotti.

Inoltre si deve chiedere agli imprenditori che investono in Cina di seguire regole precise riguardanti i diritti dei lavoratori. Infine bisogna costituire delle norme e soprattutto farle rispettare, affinché vi sia il divieto assoluto di importare merci prodotte con il lavoro forzato.

Sono convinto che solo così possiamo veramente aiutare il popolo cinese nella lotta per i diritti umani. In caso contrario rimarremo dei complici che non vogliono la libertà di queste persone.

 
  
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  Edward McMillan-Scott (NI). - Mr President, I have the honour to be the European Parliament’s Vice-President responsible for democracy and human rights. Rightly, the resolution focuses on Liu Xiaobo, the principal author of Charter 08. An English version is available on my website charter08.eu.

After my last visit to Beijing in May 2006, all the dissidents with whom I had contact were arrested, imprisoned and in some cases tortured, Hu Jia, for example, who is still in prison and needing medical treatment. In particular Gao Zhisheng, who reportedly has disappeared after three and a half years in prison, under house arrest and under torture, which caused him twice to try and commit suicide. Gao’s open letters to the regime in 2005 set the tone for Charter 08. His investigation into the persecution of the spiritual Buddhist group, Falun Gong, led to widespread support across China. I believe the authorities should now produce Gao Zhisheng and release him.

Nobody should be in any doubt that the European Parliament will not give up on reform in China, and of course in Tibet.

 
  
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  Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE). - Arvoisa puhemies, on sietämätöntä, että kaupalliset intressit ovat vetäneet pidemmän korren EU:n ja Kiinan suhteissa ja vaatimukset ihmisoikeuksien kunnioittamisesta ja demokratiakehityksestä on pantu suunnilleen kohteliaiden tervehdysten osuuteen.

Olen mielenkiinnolla seurannut hakukoneyhtiö Googlen rohkeutta ja suunnitelmia lopettaa yhteistyö Kiinan viranomaisten kanssa, mitä internetsivujen suodattamiseen ja sensurointiin tulee, ja jopa lähteä maasta. Samalla Google peräänkuuluttaa näkyvästi sananvapautta kiinalaisille internetin käyttäjille.

Jaan kollegoideni huolen Liu Xiaobaon sekä muiden kiinalaisten mielipidevankien kohtelusta ja toivon, että neuvosto ja komissio ottavat Xiaobaon tapauksen esille seuraavassa EU:n ja Kiinan välisessä huippukokouksessa. Parhaillaan neuvoteltavissa sopimuksissa tulee näkyä, että kauppasuhteiden kehittäminen Kiinan kanssa on jatkossa kytketty tehokkaammin poliittiseen dialogiin ja ihmisoikeuksien kunnioittamiseen.

 
  
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  Gesine Meissner (ALDE). - Herr Präsident! Wir haben schon verschiedentlich darüber gesprochen, was die richtige Variante sein könnte, um mit China zu sprechen, um China unter Druck zu setzen, weil an China ganz offensichtlich vieles abprallt. Frau De Keyser hat gesagt, dass ihre Fraktion deswegen die Unterschrift zurückgezogen hat. Ich denke, dass das nicht der richtige Weg ist. Wir sollten gerade als EU, die die Menschenrechte in der Charta der Grundrechte und im Lissabon-Vertrag festgeschrieben hat, nicht nachlassen, immer wieder auf Grundrechtsverletzungen hinzuweisen. Andere Wege haben wir im Moment nicht. Wenn uns etwas Besseres einfällt, würde ich sofort mit dabei sein, das zu unterstützen.

Aber es geht ja nicht nur um Liu Xiaobo, es geht auch um Gao Zhisheng, der verschwunden ist und von dem man jetzt hört, er habe angeblich Selbstmord begangen. Alle nehmen an, dass er wahrscheinlich zu Tode gekommen ist, auf welche schlimme Art auch immer. Das ist nicht hinnehmbar. Wir haben bei den Olympischen Spielen gemerkt: Wenn man nach China geht und dort Kontakt aufnimmt, dann ändert sich dadurch überhaupt nichts an der menschenrechtlichen Situation. Wir haben das alle gehofft, aber es hat nicht funktioniert. Darum sollten wir mit unseren Dringlichkeitsappellen nicht nachlassen.

 
  
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  Neelie Kroes, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, the EU has clearly expressed its deep concern at the disproportionate sentence against the prominent human rights defender Liu Xiaobo of 11 years’ imprisonment for his role as the author of Charter 08, a blueprint for democratic and rights-based reform in China, and for publishing a number of essays relating to human rights issues on the internet.

We attach great importance to freedom of thought and expression: cornerstones, as we are all aware, of our democratic system. The verdict against Mr Liu is entirely incompatible with the right to freedom of expression enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory. We are also attached, by the way, to the protection of the right to sexual expression and orientation, as mentioned by Mrs Trüpel.

The EU attempted to observe the trial, and we deeply regret that our observers were barred from the courtroom. The details of the trial, which we have nevertheless been able to learn, indicate clearly that Mr Liu was not afforded the opportunity to present a proper defence and that he did not receive a fair trial. The EU will continue to call on the Chinese Government to unconditionally release Mr Liu and to end the harassment and detention of other signatories of Charter 2008.

Our overall policy towards China is one of constructive engagement in the framework of our strategic partnership. On several occasions in the past, we have welcomed China’s progress with regard to social and economic rights, as well as the recent launch of China’s human rights action plan, but, on the other hand, there are extremely serious concerns with regard to civil and political rights and a number of recent developments, such as those that the honourable Members of this House have raised in the draft resolution.

The EU’s commitment to human rights is conveyed during our regular political contacts and, in particular, during our human rights dialogue with the Chinese authorities. The last session, as you are aware, was on 20 November last year in Beijing. The strength of our relationship allows us to discuss those matters frankly. Last year, at the 12th EU-China Summit in Nanjing, human rights were raised, both during the discussions and in the press conference.

Mrs Vergiat and Mrs Korhola touched upon the cyber attacks against Google. The Commission thinks that this is another worrisome development in the framework of freedom of expression in China. We are obviously monitoring the situation closely. We understand that there are ongoing consultations between the company and the Chinese authorities. We will remain vigilant in case similar attacks target EU companies.

Let me reassure this House that we will continue to raise those issues, including at the highest level, recalling the international human rights obligations of the People’s Republic of China. We also recall the Chinese constitutional guarantees on freedom of expression. We all share the goal of a more open, transparent China, adhering to international standards on human rights and working together to address global challenges. To achieve this, we must continue to work on the development of our strategic partnership.

I would like to react to a question from Mrs De Keyser. Regarding the execution of the British citizen, Akmal Shaikh, the European Union has condemned in the strongest terms the execution of Akmal Shaikh. It deeply regrets the fact that China did not heed repeated calls by the European Union and one of its Member States for the death sentenced passed against Mr Shaikh to be commuted.

 
  
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  El Presidente. − Se cierra el debate.

La votación tendrá lugar a las 12.00 horas.

Declaraciones por escrito (artículo 149 del Reglamento)

 
  
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  Cătălin Sorin Ivan (S&D), în scris. – Dreptul la viata, dreptul la libertate de expresie si gândire se afla la temelia construcţiei europene si a vizunii noastre asupra lumii. Când unul dintre partenerii noştri, in cazul de fata China, incalca aceste drepturi in mod repetat, suntem obligaţi sa reacţionam. Nu trebuie sa o facem insa urmând modelul "shame and blame", sa acuzam China si sa ignoram diferenţele de cultura si civilizaţie care ne despart. Rezoluţia de fata, privind violarea drepturilor omului in China, in special in cazul lui Liu Xiaobo, este o dovada de abordare simplista a problemelor cu care se confrunta societatea chineza. Poziţia noastră nu a fost nicidecum împotriva principiului de inviolabilitate a drepturilor omului din spatele rezoluţiei, la care aderam fara rezerve, ci asupra modului in care acesta a fost transmis. Pentru a obţine rezultatele pe care le dorim, avem nevoie de menţinerea unui climat neconflictual intre noi si China. Doar in felul acesta putem contribui la o evoluţie a Chinei către o societate cu profund ataşament fata de importanta respectării drepturilor omului.

 
  
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  Anneli Jäätteenmäki (ALDE), in writing. – ‘Don’t be evil’ is the well-known motto of Google. There has been criticism regarding their policy in China over the years, questioning the motto. Human rights groups have accused Google of helping the Chinese Government in repressing its citizens and particularly human rights activists. Apparently Google will be less evil in the future. Their decision to start to operate an unfiltered search engine in China deserves the warmest congratulations. By announcing the change in their China policy, Google risks profits from the biggest internet market in the world and potentially abandons almost 400 million users. In this particular case Google has proved that a big multinational company can really stick to its ethics policy. Having its founders still aboard directing the company, Google has every chance of reflecting its core values and beliefs in its every action in the future. And, if Google continues to prosper, it will prove that there is no inherent conflict between making money and acting in a sustainable and human way.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), por escrito. – A violação dos direitos humanos na China, tem sido recorrente e não pode deixar de ser condenada. O facto da UE ser um dos principais parceiros económicos da China aumenta-nos a responsabilidade na condenação de todas acções que violem os direitos de qualquer cidadão e principalmente daqueles que neste pais defendem a liberdade de expressão e os direitos humanos. É muito importante que a República Popular da China respeite e honre os compromissos assumidos perante o Conselho de Direitos do Homem.

 
  
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  Alajos Mészáros (PPE), písomne. – Čím je jedna krajina geograficky väčšia a hospodársky nezávislejšia, tým je od nej náročnejšie vyžadovať dodržiavanie ľudských práv. Považujem za neprijateľné, že Európska Únia vo svojich vzťahoch k Číne dáva opakovane do popredia ekonomické záujmy. Takmer na každom stretnutí vyššej diplomatickej úrovne si len nesmelo dovolíme pripomenúť problém porušovania ľudských práv v tejto krajine. V Európe máme za sebou žiaľ bohaté negatívne skúsenosti týkajúce sa praktík komunistických režimov v rámci potláčania ľudských práv. Preto ostávam presvedčený, že počet prípadov porušovania ľudských práv je ďaleko vyšší, ako sme informovaní. Z tohto dôvodu je nanajvýš nevyhnutné a naliehavé, aby sme aj za cenu ekonomickej a politickej obete dokázali primäť Čínu k rešpektovaniu ľudských práv. V opačnom prípade vývoj danej situácie v Číne môže mať nepriaznivý vplyv na celkový vývoj politickej situácie v Ázii, s následným dopadom na celkovú svetovú ekonomiku a politiku.

 
  
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  Wojciech Michał Olejniczak (S&D), na piśmie. – Głosowałem za rezolucją potępiającą łamanie praw człowieka, ponieważ nie możemy tolerować i godzić się na ich łamanie ani jako ludzie, ani jako obywatele. Postępowanie godzące w ludzi, w ich wolność i określone wiele lat temu prawa jest sprzeczne z fundamentami, na których powstawały zachodnie demokracje. Dialog, który został podjęty między Unią Europejską a Chinami w roku 2000, nie przyniósł spodziewanych efektów. Powinniśmy sobie więc zadać pytanie, czy zrobiliśmy wszystko co mogliśmy zrobić i jeżeli odpowiedź będzie negatywna, zastosować się do zapisów rezolucji dotyczących efektywności współpracy gospodarczej. Niech prawa człowieka staną się podstawą dialogu między Unią a Chinami i niech interes ludzi stanie ponad interesem ekonomicznym.

Aresztowanie i skazanie Liu Xiaobo, działacza pokojowego, obrońcę praw człowieka wzywającego do większej demokratyzacji Chin, jest wyraźnym sygnałem, że nasze dotychczasowe działania nie są efektywne. Dlatego warto podjąć poza rezolucjami kroki, które umożliwią większe poszanowanie tego, o co walczy Liu Xiaobo, tysiące Chińczyków, a także wiele osób na świecie.

Trzydzieści lat temu zostały zapoczątkowane w Chinach reformy, które pokazały światu, że coś się zmienia, że można wykonać pewną pracę na rzecz społeczeństwa. Dzisiaj oczekujemy tego samego. Dzisiaj chcemy mieć za partnera państwo respektujące zasady, które są dla nas fundamentalne.

 
  

(1) Véase el Acta.


3.3. Filippini
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  El Presidente. − El punto siguiente es el debate sobre seis propuestas de resolución relativas a Filipinas(1).

 
  
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  Fiorello Provera, Autore. − Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, è ormai una triste abitudine la serie di uccisioni che avvengono in tutto il mondo per motivi politici, religiosi eccetera, ma si rimane stupefatti per l'inumanità con la quale sono state uccise cinquantasette persone in fila durante una riunione politica per sostenere una candidatura presidenziale nelle Filippine.

Un massacro attuato a freddo da un gruppo armato in nome di una rivoluzione di cui si fatica a capire il senso. Questa uccisione di massa non è peraltro un fenomeno isolato in questo paese, che conosce aree di rivolta armata che durano da anni anche per motivi religiosi come nella regione di Mindanao.

Oltre alle doverose espressioni di cordoglio per questi fatti sanguinosi, credo si debba offrire una collaborazione forte al governo filippino per capire in quale modo l'Europa possa essere utile a risolvere le forti contraddizioni e le contrapposizioni armate che insanguinano questo sfortunato paese.

 
  
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  Martin Kastler, Verfasser. − Herr Präsident, sehr geehrte Damen und Herren! Das Massaker am 23. November letzten Jahres in der Provinz Maguindanao auf den Philippinen war ein schwarzer Tag für die Menschenrechte und ein barbarischer Terrorakt. 57 Tote, vergewaltigte Frauen, Verletzte – sie sprechen eine blutige Sprache. Als Journalist fällt mir besonders auf, dass unter den Toten 30 Journalisten waren. Laut der renommierten International Crisis Group wurden in keinem dokumentierten Fall jemals mehr Journalisten auf einen Schlag ermordet. Aus diesem Grund ist es angebracht, seitens des Europäischen Parlaments deutliche Worte zu finden, wie wir dies heute im Entwurf einer Entschließung tun.

Allerdings fordern wir als EVP, den vorliegenden Text an drei Stellen durch getrennte Abstimmung zu entschärfen, denn wir sollten die philippinische Regierung bei ihrem Kampf gegen Terror und Gewalt unterstützen und deshalb auf zu anklagende Bemerkungen gegenüber der Regierung verzichten. Daher beantrage ich im Namen der EVP, gesondert über Erwägungsgrund F abzustimmen. Dieser klagt die Philippinen an, Zitat: „alle Anzeichen eines nicht funktionierenden legalen Systems“ aufzuweisen.

In Ziffer 2 möchten wir die Unterstellung von so genannten anfänglichen Verzögerungen bei der Aufklärung streichen.

Schließlich wird in Ziffer 6 behauptet, dass es Verschwundene gebe, die in philippinischen Gefängnissen sitzen. Auch dies ist derzeit eine nicht bewiesene Unterstellung und sollte unserer Meinung nach gestrichen werden.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock, author. − Mr President, this horrendous crime in Maguindanao is undoubtedly deserving of our strongest condemnation. It reveals the extent to which lawlessness has taken root in some parts of the Philippines.

There are many reasons for this depressing development: the dispersed nature of the islands of the Philippines archipelago, the weak central government, corruption, poverty and an ongoing Islamist terrorist insurgency supported by al-Qa’ida in the south.

This crime, apparently politically motivated, therefore must be seen in its wider social and historical context. We should not disregard the efforts that the Philippines Government has made to develop a more democratic political culture in the past 25 years following the fall of the kleptocratic dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Nor should we underestimate the existentialist threat posed by the terrorists of Abu Sayyaf and how they are destabilising the whole of the society that makes up the Philippine state.

Constructive engagement and targeted assistance offer the best chance of helping the Philippines, a country which shares our common values in many ways, in order to enable them to embed the rule of law in central and in local government.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella, auteur. − Monsieur le Président, Madame la Commissaire, chers collègues, en novembre dernier, j'ai eu l'occasion de recevoir au Parlement européen Mme Edita Burgos, la maman de Jonas Burgos. Ce jeune Philippin a été enlevé par des hommes armés dans un centre commercial très fréquenté de Manille, le 28 avril 2007. Depuis ce jour, sa famille, ses proches, n'ont plus aucune nouvelle de lui. Jonas Burgos fait partie des centaines de personnes disparues ou tuées aux Philippines. Des meurtres sont commis en toute impunité et les auteurs sont très rarement poursuivis en justice.

À l'aube des élections de mai 2010, nous craignons une augmentation des crimes et des enlèvements à l'encontre de toutes les personnes qui ne sont pas en accord avec le pouvoir actuellement en place. À ce titre, nous condamnons le massacre de Maguindanao, du 23 novembre dernier, et souhaitons que la lumière soit faite sur les meurtres et cas de tortures subis par le convoi d'Ismaïl Mangudadatu.

 
  
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  Rui Tavares, Autor. − Senhor Presidente, as Filipinas foram, há pouco mais de duas décadas, uma grande esperança para todo o mundo quando iniciaram uma vaga democrática na Ásia que nos permitiu ganhar esperança nos direitos humanos naquela área. Ganhar esperança de aumentos nos direitos dos trabalhadores, nos direitos dos estudantes, nos direitos da população e numa normalidade eleitoral e democrática naqueles países.

Não podemos deixar agora que a distracção do mundo permita que a situação da democracia nas Filipinas se deteriore. Há aspectos muito perturbantes nos últimos anos, de corrupção e, nomeadamente, de violência e assédio directo às oposições durante as eleições.

O mais perturbante de todos eles foi o massacre de Maguindanao, de que fala a nossa resolução, no qual foram assassinadas 46 pessoas, que seguiam na caravana eleitoral do candidato da oposição, Sr. Mangudadatu, e que aparentemente terá sido chacinada – esta caravana – por um grupo de gente ligada ao clã que domina a província de Maguindanao, o clã Ampatuan.

Entre outras coisas, gostaria de chamar a atenção para que 30 jornalistas foram assassinados neste massacre. É o maior massacre de jornalistas de sempre na História mundial.

Nós não podemos permitir – e aparentemente a própria Câmara está distraída daquilo de que se está a falar aqui, o que é uma pena – não podemos permitir que a distracção do mundo deixe que as Filipinas resvalem para uma situação em que deixem de ser conhecidas pelos melhores exemplos na democracia, como há duas décadas e meia, e passem a ser conhecidas pelos piores.

É urgente investigar este massacre, é urgente exigir à Presidente Gloria Arroyo, de cujo partido é o clã Ampatuan, que leve as investigações até ao fim, e é importante que nas Filipinas saibam que a Europa está atenta e acompanha a evolução naquele país.

 
  
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  Barbara Lochbihler, Verfasserin. − Herr Präsident! Der Anlass dieser Dringlichkeit ist die brutale Ermordung von 57 Menschen, die eine Politikerin begleitet haben, die sich auf dem Weg zur Registrierung als Kandidaten für die Wahlen zur Provinzgouverneurin befand. Die Täter gehören einer lokalen Miliz an, und es waren Vertreter der örtlichen Polizei dabei.

Diese brutale Attacke ist ein extremes Beispiel für den schon seit Jahren bedrohlichen Anstieg von politisch motivierten extralegalen Hinrichtungen und des Verschwindenlassens, ohne dass diese schweren Verbrechen aufgeklärt worden wären.

Die Regierung hat keinen erkennbaren Willen gezeigt, dem entschieden entgegenzutreten. Von hunderten von Fällen wurden nur zwei aufgeklärt, darunter befindet sich kein einziger hoher Beamter, der strafrechtlich verfolgt wurde. Der UN-Sonderberichterstatter zu extralegalen Hinrichtungen schreibt 2008: "Die Tötungen haben führende Mitglieder der Zivilgesellschaften eliminiert, darunter Menschenrechtsverteidiger, Gewerkschaftler und Befürworter von Landreformen. Sie haben Akteure der Zivilgesellschaft eingeschüchtert und den politischen Diskurs des Landes eingeschränkt."

In diesem Klima bereiten sich die Philipinen auf die Wahlen im Mai vor. Es steht zu befürchten, dass es zu mehr politischen Morden kommt. Deshalb ist es von absoluter Dringlichkeit, dass die philipinische Regierung wirksame Maßnahmen ergreift, um dies zu beenden.

Ich möchte einen mündlichen Änderungsantrag ankündigen: Im Paragraph 6 steht: to release all these apearances, who are still in captivity. Das möchten wir ersetzen durch: "to make every effort to ensure, that all who have been abducted are safely returned to their families."

 
  
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  Justas Vincas Paleckis, S&D frakcijos vardu. – Jeigu vidutinis europietis, paklaustas apie tai, kas vyksta Filipinuose, tikriausiai nesugebėtų atsakyti, ir jis sakytų, kad televizija nieko nerodo, ten tikriausiai viskas ramu. Tačiau politinės žudynės, klanų pjautynės, gyvų žmonių laidojimas, žudymai grandininiais pjūklais, karo padėtis − tai yra Filipinų kasdienybė. Visai neseniai 57 žmonės buvo nužudyti, tarp jų − pusė žurnalistų, t. y. daugiausiai žuvusių žurnalistų, jeigu imant net ir pasaulio mastu. Raginame vyriausybę, reikalaujame, kad ji vis dėlto sustabdytų tokius reiškinius, kad paleistų asmenines armijas ir padarytų pagaliau galą nebaudžiamumui. Tai ypač svarbu rinkiminiam laikotarpiui, kuris dabar artėja.

 
  
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  Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D). - Panie Przewodniczący! Prezydenckie i samorządowe wybory na Filipinach zaplanowano na 10 maja. Teraz należy podjąć wszelkie działania, by zapewnić, iż będą to wybory uczciwe. W pierwszej kolejności należy ustalić winnych listopadowego zabójstwa grupy 57 dziennikarzy, członków rodziny i współpracowników Esmaila Mangudadatu, kandydata na gubernatora w prowincji Mindanao. Jak dotąd tamtejszy wymiar sprawiedliwości nie wykazał się determinacją w odnalezieniu sprawców tej masakry. Popełniono tak wiele błędów w prowadzonym śledztwie, iż niemal usankcjonowano uprawianie polityki za pomocą siły. Rząd Filipin musi wreszcie stawić czoła osobom ze świata przestępczego, którzy przy okazji ostatnich kampanii wyborczych dokonali tak wielu porwań na tle politycznym oraz zamordowali już ponad stu kandydatów.

Ponadto Filipiny powinny podjąć starania, by sprawnie wykorzystać środki dostępne w ramach programu na rzecz sprawiedliwości Unia – Filipiny, stworzonego w celu wzmocnienia systemu sądownictwa oraz budowy społeczeństwa obywatelskiego. Majowe wybory będą zatem nie tylko sprawdzianem sprawności filipińskich władz, lecz również skuteczności naszych instrumentów pomocowych.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE). - Muy brevemente. Simplemente quisiera recordar que estamos en un año nuevo, con un Tratado nuevo, pero con las mismas malas costumbres de antaño. Seguimos echando en falta la presencia del Consejo en este tipo de debates de urgencias y seguimos echando en falta también este diálogo interinstitucional que nos debería permitir dar respuestas a ese tipo de casos.

En el caso concreto de Filipinas, debo recordar, una vez más, que –a pesar de que no se trata de una situación con el impacto que tienen otras, como el caso de Haití– el hecho de que, en la última década, haya habido casi mil personas desaparecidas o muertas señala que hay un problema estructural y que requiere medidas estructurales.

No podemos estar actuando siempre en base a los titulares. Tenemos que responder en base a los problemas, y el hecho de que, en estos momentos, los principales afectados sean defensores de derechos humanos y periodistas significa no solamente que no podemos silenciar estas situaciones, sino también que hay que actuar de una forma contundente ante las mismas.

 
  
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  Ryszard Czarnecki (ECR). - Panie Przewodniczący! Wizytówką Unii Europejskiej jest obrona praw człowieka. Bardzo żałuję, że ta wizytówka nie jest ważna dla prezydencji hiszpańskiej, że nie ma dzisiaj, w tej chwili, przedstawicieli Rady. To sytuacja bardzo niepokojąca, wręcz skandaliczna. Mówimy o prawach człowieka, chcemy ich bronić, tymczasem nie ma tutaj przedstawicieli Rady, nie ma przedstawicieli kraju, który kieruje Unią Europejską w najbliższym półroczu. To rzeczywiście sytuacja absolutnie nie do przyjęcia.

Bardzo krótko, bo wszyscy chcemy głosować: Filipiny to kraj o dziedzictwie chrześcijańskim odwołującym się do kultury po części europejskiej. Zwłaszcza w tym kraju powinny być przestrzegane prawa człowieka, ponieważ na tym kontynencie często nie są one przestrzegane. Musimy głośno mówić, solidaryzować się z tymi wszystkimi, którzy są dyskryminowani na Filipinach. Rolą Parlamentu Europejskiego jest zabieranie głosu w tej sprawie.

 
  
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  Neelie Kroes, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, I am representing the High Commissioner and I am representing the Commission.

The massacre in Maguindanao on the island of Mindanao on 23 November last year in which 57 people were killed has highlighted long-standing human rights issues in the Philippines related to the disappearance or unexplained killing of citizens and the effective impunity for the perpetrators in the past.

On this occasion the Government has acted swiftly and has taken decisive action to prosecute the perpetrators. That is very welcome. It is important to break the culture of impunity about such killings and to put an end to them.

The Government has taken some important steps in strengthening human rights. The current administration of President Arroyo has abolished the death penalty and with ASEAN has advocated including human rights provisions in the recently adopted ASEAN Charter.

An objective still to be achieved is ending the 40-year-old conflict with Muslim rebels in Mindanao on the basis of a peace deal that is fair to all sides. There appears to be renewed progress, and hopes have risen for agreement later this year. It should be noted that the massacre in Maguindanao took place between political families – all Muslim by the way – and that as such it was not related to intercommunal conflicts.

The EU has a well -established dialogue with the Government of the Philippines where both sides discuss a wide range of issues, including human rights. We are also negotiating a PCA with the Philippines which will include important human rights commitments. We actively support the Government in its efforts to improve respect for human rights.

In agreement with the Government we have launched an ‘EU-Philippines Justice Assistance Mission’. This is a very timely action aimed at capacity-building for the Philippines judicial authorities, including police and military personnel, to help them investigate cases of extrajudicial killings and to prosecute those guilty of murder. We shall also put in place a monitoring system to develop confidence. EPJUST has an initial duration of 18 months and is funded under the Instrument for Stability, but can be extended. Furthermore, we have ongoing projects at local level to promote respect for human rights. These include monitoring of the implementation of international commitments, actions to support the ratification of the Rome Statute of the ICC and voter education.

The EU is also helping in the Mindanao peace process for the moment, mainly through support for social services and confidence-building activities, but we stand ready to do more if the process advances.

 
  
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  El Presidente. − Se cierra el debate. La votación tendrá lugar a continuación.

Le recuerdo a la señora Lochbihler que no olvide presentar su enmienda oral en el momento apropiado, durante la votación.

 
  
  

PRESIDENZA DELL'ON. GIANNI PITTELLA
Vicepresidente

 
  

(1) Véase el Acta.


4. Avviż mill-President: ara l-Minuti
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5. Kalendarju tas-sessjonijiet: ara l-Minuti
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6. Approvazzjoni tal-Minuti tas-seduta ta’ qabel: ara l-Minuti
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7. Ħin tal-votazzjonijiet
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7.1. Attakki riċenti kontra l-minoranzi reliġjużi fl-Eġittu u fil-Malażja (votazzjoni)

7.2. Ksur tad-drittijiet tal-bniedem fiċ-Ċina, b'mod partikolari l-każ ta' Liu Xiaobao (votazzjoni)

7.3. Filippini (votazzjoni)
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  Barbara Lochbihler, author. − Mr President, we would like to replace the sentence in paragraph 6 which reads: ‘to release all disappeared who are still in captivity’.

Instead we would like to introduce: ‘to make every effort to ensure that all who have been abducted are safety returned to their families’.

 
  
 

(L'emendamento orale è accolto)

 

7.4. Strateġija Ewropea għar-reġjun ta' Danubju (votazzjoni)
  

(La seconda parte è respinta)

 

8. Spegazzjonijiet tal-vot
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Dichiarazioni di voto orali

 
  
  

Proposta di risoluzione B7-0031/2010

 
  
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  Filip Kaczmarek (PPE). - Panie Przewodniczący! Głosowałem za przyjęciem rezolucji w sprawie europejskiej strategii dla regionu Dunaju, bowiem uważam, że Unia Europejska potrzebuje takich regionalnych strategii. Jestem przekonany, że ich implementacja może mieć bardzo pozytywny wpływ na rozwój regionalny, a w konsekwencji może wpłynąć na życie mieszkańców tego regionu i polepszyć jakość tego życia. A przecież to mieszkańcy Unii Europejskiej są celem naszych działań, i Parlamentu, i Unii Europejskiej. Dlatego głosowałem za przyjęciem rezolucji.

 
  
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  Bernd Posselt (PPE). - Herr Präsident! Ich begrüße die Donaustrategie als etwas zutiefst Europäisches. Sie verbindet ein Gründungsland der EU, nämlich Deutschland, mit den beiden neuesten Mitgliedsländern, nämlich Bulgarien und Rumänien. Sie verbindet das nächste Kandidatenland, nämlich Kroatien, mit einem Land, das sich um den Kandidatenstatus bemüht: Serbien. Ich bin froh, dass man auch die Tschechische Republik und Montenegro und einige andere mit einbinden will, die historisch und auch geografisch dazugehören, obwohl sie nicht unmittelbar an der Donau liegen.

Ich bitte aber, bei alldem Bayern nicht zu vernachlässigen. Bayern wäre, wenn es unabhängig wäre, nach Rumänien der zweitgrößte Staat an der Donau. Bayern hat ein besonderes Interesse an dieser Donaustrategie. Deshalb bin ich dankbar und glücklich, dass wir diese Donaustrategie nunmehr vorantreiben.

***

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, we see once again how the European Union elevates appearance over substance, how it elevates motive over outcome. We have just voted through a series of resolutions condemning human rights abuses in China. What, though, is the European Union doing in the real world? We are isolating Taiwan; we have agreed in principle to sell weapons to the Communist regime in Beijing; and we are collaborating with it to create a rival to the American system of GPS, which President Chirac refers to as ‘technological imperialism’.

See how hypocrisy has been elevated into a governing principle! We bleat about human rights, and then we funnel money to Hamas. We refuse to deal with the anti-Castro dissidents in Cuba, we disregard democracy within our own borders when referendums go the wrong way, but we convince ourselves that we are still the good guys because – look at the text of our resolution on human rights!

We are now going to have the extraordinary spectacle of sending Baroness Ashton as our foreign representative to Iran and Cuba and these places to tell them that their democracy is inadequate, when she has never once in her entire career subjected herself to the ballot box, or invited her fellow countrymen to vote for or against her.

I shall finish, if I may, by congratulating the good people of Massachusetts for taking a stand against excessive taxation and excessive government. It was the people of Massachusetts who began the revolution in order to get away from the idea that taxes could be levied without popular consent. We need such a revolution again here in Europe.

 
  
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  Mirosław Piotrowski (ECR). - Panie Przewodniczący! Chcę wyrazić zadowolenie z przyjęcia przez Parlament Europejski rezolucji dotyczącej ataków na mniejszości chrześcijańskie. Posłowie do Parlamentu Europejskiego nie mogą milczeć wobec ataków na mniejszości chrześcijańskie na świecie, dotyczy to bowiem podstaw i korzeni narodów Unii Europejskiej. Aby nasz głos brzmiał wiarygodnie powinniśmy byli dzisiaj przyjąć dwie poprawki naszej grupy EKR dystansujące się wobec orzeczenia Europejskiego Trybunału Praw Człowieka w sprawie krzyży. Żałuję, że tak się nie stało, bowiem musimy przypominać o zasadniczej roli, jaką odgrywa chrześcijaństwo w kształtowaniu europejskiej tożsamości historycznej i kulturowej i promować oraz chronić te wartości na świecie, a także u nas w Unii Europejskiej.

 
  
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  Presidente. − Collega, l'ho fatta parlare anche se non ne avrebbe avuto diritto perché le dichiarazioni di voto sono ammissibili soltanto sulla Strategia per il Danubio e non sulle risoluzioni d'urgenza. Comunque lei ormai ha parlato, quindi lo dico per le prossime occasioni, non ci sono dichiarazioni di voto sulle urgenze. Quindi lo dico anche per gli oratori che si sono iscritti: la dichiarazione di voto può essere effettuata solo sulla Strategia europea per il Danubio.

***

 
  
  

Dichiarazioni di voto orali

 
  
  

Proposta di risoluzione B7-0031/2010

 
  
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  Ryszard Czarnecki (ECR). - Panie Przewodniczący! Też chciałbym mówić o dyskryminacji chrześcijan w Afryce i w Azji, ale będę mówił oczywiście o strategii dotyczącej kwestii niesłychanie ważnej. Przypomnijmy: Dunaj to druga co do wielkości rzeka Europy po Wołdze. Dunaj płynie przez dziesięć państw europejskich, a w jego dorzeczu znajduje się aż siedemnaście państw. Jest to oczywiście kwestia pewnej odpowiedzialności, pewnego wyzwania dla Unii Europejskiej, także dlatego, że część z tych krajów dotkniętych jest obecnie bardzo silnym kryzysem. Mówię także o krajach członkowskich Unii Europejskiej. W ten sposób Unia Europejska pokazuje pewną solidarność. Mam nadzieję, że będzie tak również w przypadku innych sytuacji.

 
  
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  Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D). - Panie Przewodniczący! Głosowałem za rezolucją dotyczącą strategii dunajskiej. Dlaczego? Otóż to świadczy, iż Unia Europejska jest otwarta na regiony specyficzne, na regiony, które mają taką cechę wspólną jak np. długa przepływająca przez nie rzeka. Wyrażam także satysfakcję, że poprawki, które były zgłoszone przez grupę EKR nie zostały uwzględnione. To uczyniło naszą rezolucję bardziej przejrzystą. Chciałbym, żeby w ślad za tą rezolucją poszło także skupienie się na innych regionach charakterystycznych, w tym być może na korytarzu odrzańskim.

 
  
  

Dichiarazioni di voto scritte

 
  
  

Proposta di risoluzione B7-0031/2010

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), por escrito. Congratulo-me com as conclusões do Conselho Europeu de 18-19 de Junho 2009, através das quais se solicita à Comissão Europeia a elaboração uma Estratégia Europeia para a região do Danúbio até 2011 e manifesto o meu voto favorável à proposta de resolução aqui apresentada. A região do Danúbio enfrenta vários desafios e uma estratégia para esta região irá melhorar a conectividade e os sistemas de comunicação, preservar o meio ambiente e fomentar o crescimento, a criação de emprego e a segurança. É importante que a Comissão tire partido da experiência operacional adquirida com a estratégia para o Mar Báltico e que se baseie na determinação dos governos e dos cidadãos dos Estados-Membros e das regiões para ultrapassar desafios urgentes e comuns. É igualmente importante tornar esta estratégia compatível com a Estratégia da UE para 2020 e o relatório da Comissão intitulado "Regiões 2020" para fazer face aos grandes desafios que a Europa enfrenta como a globalização, as tendências demográficas, as alterações climáticas e energia (utilização e abastecimento). Exorto ainda o Parlamento a desenvolver um processo de reflexão sobre o futuro da política de coesão europeia e a pensar novas possibilidades estratégias para outras regiões tendo em vista a adaptação destas às mudanças e às novas pressões dum mundo global.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), în scris. − Consider că importanţa consolidării unei strategii a Uniunii Europene pentru regiunea Dunării va facilita acţiunea externă a Uniunii în vecinătatea sa imediată, subliniind potenţialul acesteia de a contribui la stabilizarea regiunii sud-est si est-europene prin implementarea unor proiecte concrete pentru dezvoltarea economica și sociala a acestor regiuni. Prin asumarea de către statele membre riverane Dunării a responsabilităţii promovării la nivel comunitar a propunerii de creare a acestei strategii pentru regiunea Dunării, se confirmă capacitatea de a contribui într-un mod concret la promovarea de iniţiative majore, capabile să asigure continuarea construcţiei europene.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), în scris. − Am votat favorabil rezolutia comuna a Parlamentului European privind Dunarea pentru elaborarea cat mai urgenta a unei strategii europene pentru aceasta regiune. Aceasta strategie va intensifica considerabil cooperarea inter-regionala si va avea drept obiective: dezvoltarea si modernizarea atat a transportului fluvial pe axa Rin/Meuse-Main-Dunare, cat si celui rutier si feroviar din spatiul dunarean; dezvoltarea si utilizarea eficienta a resurselor regenerabile de energie in vederea reducerii emisiilor de carbon si cresterii securitatii energetice; protejarea mediului prin implementarea de proiecte menite sa restabileasca si sa protejeze ecosistemele din regiune; absorbtia eficienta a fondurilor comunitare si atragerea investitiilor, promovarea turismului, toate acestea facand parte din strategia Europa 2020.

Pentru Romania aceasta Strategie va avea un impact benefic in special asupra conectivitatii tarii la retelele europene de transport, protectiei patrimoniului national al Deltei, dezvoltarii socio-economice a localitatilor situate in bazinul dunarean s.a.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), por escrito. Acreditando firmemente que o pleno desenvolvimento da União Europeia apenas se faz com políticas adequadas ao desenvolvimento de todas as suas regiões, respeitando as suas diferenças, necessidades e especificidades;

Considerando que a coesão territorial implica criar diferentes estratégias para as diferentes regiões, potenciando um desenvolvimento sustentável, num contexto de respeito pelo ambiente e de aproveitamento económico das suas potencialidades;

Tendo em conta que as estratégias macrorregionais se destinam a promover, com os recursos existentes, o desenvolvimento regional equilibrado da União;

Não esquecendo a importância estratégica, territorial, ambiental e cultural do Danúbio na Europa Central, voto favoravelmente esta proposta de resolução para uma estratégia da UE para a região do Danúbio.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), por escrito. Esta resolução defende uma estratégia para a região do Danúbio com uma lógica territorial estruturada por este importante rio e potencia o desenvolvimento sustentado e integrado de uma região que abrange 14 países europeus.

A estratégia prevista permitirá uma política coordenada e integrada, atingindo efeitos sinergéticos, promovendo a coesão, favorecendo o crescimento económico e a competitividade, enquanto se protege o meio ambiente.

A modernização dos portos, a melhoria da navegabilidade do rio, com corredores de mercadorias e interconexão e intermodalidade com o Mar do Norte, a melhoria da qualidade da sua água, a protecção de toda a bacia do Danúbio e, nomeadamente, dos ecossistemas que integram a Rede Natura 2000 são objectivos a atingir e compatibilizar.

Assim, a Comissão deve lançar rapidamente um amplo processo de consulta com todos os países ao longo do rio Danúbio de modo a que a referida estratégia se defina até ao fim do corrente ano e se compatibilize com o próximo quadro financeiro plurianual.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), por escrito. Concordamos com a criação de uma estratégia para a região do Danúbio, baseada numa consulta prévia e na cooperação entre os países e regiões que se situam ao longo do seu leito, que promova a coesão económica e social nessas regiões e, sem prejuízo das primeiras, promova a coesão territorial. A estratégia apresentada solicita a melhoria da situação ecológica do Danúbio, assim como a elaboração de um plano global para a conservação e a reconstituição das unidades populacionais naturais.

Revela, ainda, ser uma estratégia positiva na proposta de melhorar o ambiente multicultural da região do Danúbio, o diálogo cultural, e a protecção do património cultural e histórico. Entendemos, como referido no documento, que a implementação desta estratégia não deve interferir nas competências dos governos regionais e locais, devendo assentar numa base de cooperação entre os países e regiões que coexistem nesta região.

 
  
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  Jacek Olgierd Kurski (ECR), na piśmie. − Wypracowana przez nas i przegłosowana dziś strategia na rzecz regionu naddunajskiego umożliwia promowanie współpracy regionalnej i transgranicznej. Dorzecze Dunaju łączy obecnie aż dziesięć krajów europejskich – Niemcy, Austrię, Słowację, Węgry, Chorwację, Serbię, Bułgarię, Rumunię, Mołdawię i Ukrainę – z których większość to państwa członkowskie i kraje aspirujące do UE. Z tego powodu region naddunajski jest istotnym elementem łączącym rozmaite programy w ramach unijnej polityki spójności oraz programy na rzecz krajów kandydujących i objętych europejską polityką sąsiedztwa. To co dziś uchwaliliśmy jest pewnym schematem wsparcia strategii obszaru dorzecza Dunaju, ale to czy program pozostanie na papierze czy tez ta makieta wypełni się treścią zależy czy znajda się dodatkowe środki które nie będą godziły albo nie będą umniejszały puli środków przeznaczonych na politykę spójnościową w poszczególnych krajach. Mam nadzieję, że spójna strategia na rzecz regionu naddunajskiego przyczyni się do wzrostu dobrobytu, zrównoważonego i trwałego rozwoju, wygeneruje nowe miejsca pracy oraz bezpieczeństwo w regionie.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), în scris. − Am votat in favoarea elaborării strategiei de dezvoltare pe Dunare prin care cerem Comisiei sa elaboreze acest document cat mai repede, luand in considerare consultari concrete cu experti din domeniu si din regiunile relevante, cu identificarea de resurse financiare si includerea tarilor non UE. Strategia trebuie sa se axeze pe aspecte referitoare la: protectia mediului si calitatea apei, potentialul economic si retele de transport trans-europene. Rezolutia privind Strategia Europeana pentru Regiunea Dunarii accentueaza rolul si importanta consultarilor largi cu actorii locali pe care Comisia Europeana trebuie sa le organizeze astfel incat sa fie reprezentate cat mai fidel interesele cetatenilor.

De asemenea, Rezolutia precizeaza ca este necesar ca orice strategie a macro-regiunilor sa fie incorporata in cadrul politicii de coeziune, aceasta fiind politica coordonatoare la nivelul Uniunii Europene. In plus, va fi necesara analiza valorii adugate generate de acesta Strategie din perspectiva coeziunii teritoriale europene. Consider necesara corelarea strategiei TEN-T (TransEuropean Network of Transport), unde Dunarea este inclusa la punctul 18, cu noua strategie de dezvoltare teritoriala si economica, pentru ca dezvoltarea sa aiba loc in mod coeziv.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), por escrito. Face à importância estratégica da região do Danúbio pela sua localização, é muito importante o estreitamento das relações com todos os países dessa região, com principal incidência para os que ainda não são membros da UE, para que no futuro venham a integrá-la num esforço de alargamento. É, assim, crucial a aplicação de todas as recomendações aprovadas nesta proposta de resolução para que até ao final de 2010 já exista uma proposta de estratégia da UE para a região do Danúbio.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), schriftlich. Die Strategie für den Donauraum stellt ein sinnvolles Modell für die Koordinierung von EU-Maßnahmen für dieses zusammenhängende Gebiet dar. Neben Fragen, die den Fluss selbst betreffen, wie die Verbesserung der Wasserqualität und der ökologischen Situation, könnte es auch in wirtschaftlicher und verwaltungstechnischer Hinsicht durch das von der Kommission auszuarbeitende Programm zu Synergieeffekten kommen. Der vorgelegte Bericht hat dazu einige gute Vorschläge gemacht, weshalb ich dafür gestimmt habe.

 
  
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  Wojciech Michał Olejniczak (S&D), na piśmie. − Głosowałem za przyjęciem rezolucji w sprawie europejskiej strategii na rzecz regionu naddunajskiego. Spójność terytorialna jest jednym z priorytetów Unii Europejskiej zapisanym w traktacie lizbońskim. Działania strategii na rzecz regionu naddunajskiego dotyczą wielu obszarów wsparcia, takich jak polityka społeczna, kultura i edukacja, ochrona środowiska, infrastruktura i trwały rozwój gospodarczy. Sam fakt dużego wpływu strategii i jej rozwiązań na wymienione obszary dowodzi, że strategie regionalne powinny być tworzone i wdrażane. Region naddunajski potrzebuje strategii, potrzebuje wsparcia i naszego działania, ponieważ dotyczy wielu państw europejskich. Sześć z nich to państwa członkowskie UE, a pozostałe są potencjalnymi kandydatami. Oddziaływanie tego regionu jest ważne też dla innych państw, które nie są bezpośrednio z nim związane.

Ideę tworzenia regionów funkcjonalnych – makroregionów – zapoczątkowała Strategia dla regionu Morza Bałtyckiego. Strategia naddunajska, tak jak inne planowane strategie makroregionalne UE, mają przede wszystkim na celu umocnienie integracji poprzez współpracę na szczeblach regionalnych i lokalnych. To niezwykle ważne, aby w opracowywaniu i realizacji uzgodnionych rozwiązań rządy, samorządy, organizacje pozarządowe i obywatele, współdziałali z Unią Europejską, którą przecież tworzą razem z nami.

 
  
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  Artur Zasada (PPE), na piśmie. − Na poparcie zasługuje każda inicjatywa wspólnotowa, która zmierza do koordynacji i wzmocnienia inicjatyw regionalnych oraz przyczynia się do pogłębienia współpracy gospodarczej, poprawy infrastruktury transportowej, a także ochrony środowiska naturalnego. Strategia na rzecz Regionu Naddunajskiego potwierdza wzrost znaczenia makroregionalnego podejścia do polityki regionalnej Unii Europejskiej. Dzięki przegłosowanemu dziś dokumentowi zacieśnione zastaną więzi między starymi, nowymi oraz ewentualnymi przyszłymi członkami UE z jednej strony, z drugiej zaś Europą Środkową a Regionem Czarnomorskim. Wierzę, że w niedalekiej przyszłości podobne uznanie zyska koncepcja korytarza opartego o linię Odry. Połączyłby on Morze Bałtyckie z Adriatykiem, biegłby od Szwecji przez Polskę, Czechy, Słowację, Węgry aż po Chorwację.

 
  
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  Presidente. − Non è possibile collega. Ho già spiegato che non si può fare un intervento di dichiarazioni di voto sulle risoluzioni d'urgenza. Si può fare soltanto sulla Strategia europea per il Danubio. Vi chiedo scusa, ma non è una mia volontà.

 

9. Korrezzjonijiet u intenzjonijiet għall-vot: ara l-Minuti

10. Miżuri ta' implimentazzjoni (Artikolu 88 tar-Regoli ta' Proċedura): ara l-Minuti

11. Deċiżjonijiet dwar ċertu dokumenti: ara l-minuti

12. Dikjarazzjonijiet bil-miktub imniżżla fir-reġistru (l-Artikolu 123 tar-Regoli ta' Proċedura): ara l-Minuti

13. Tressiq ta' testi adottati matul is-seduta attwali: ara l-Minuti

14. Dati tas-seduti li jmiss: ara l-Minuti

15. Interruzzjoni tas-sessjoni
Vidjow tat-taħditiet
  

(La seduta è tolta alle 12.45)

 

ANNESS (Tweġiba bil-miktub)
QUESTIONS TO COUNCIL (The Presidency-in-Office of the Council of the European Union bears sole responsibility for these answers)
Question no 10 by Mairead McGuinness (H-0498/09)
 Subject: Misleading business directory companies
 

What advice can the Council offer to the thousands of European citizens who fall victim to misleading business directory companies such as the European City Guide, operating from Spain, and others?

Can the Council give this House an assurance of the EU's commitment to ending practices of misleading business-to-business advertising?

 
  
 

The present answer, which has been drawn up by the Presidency and is not binding on either the Council or its members as such, was not presented orally at Question Time to the Council during the January 2010 part-session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The Honourable Member can be fully confident of the Council's commitment to fighting against forbidden practices of misleading advertising, whether in business-to-business or in business-to-consumer transactions, and notably to insist on the complete implementation and effective enforcement of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive 2005/29/EC (which covers business-to-consumer relations) and the Misleading Advertising Directive 2006/114/EC, which covers business-to-business transaction and would apply to cases raised by the Honourable Member.

However, it is the responsibility of national courts and authorities to strictly and effectively apply these provisions.

It is not therefore for the Council to comment on allegations of unfair practices in individual cases.

Finally, the Honourable Member's attention is further drawn to Article 9 of Directive 2006/114/EC, which requests Member States to communicate to the Commission all measures taken in implementation of the Directive. No indication has so far been provided to the Council by the Commission that there are any problems or shortcomings with the implementation of the Directive in any Member State, and the Commission has not submitted any proposals for additional legal measures.

 

Întrebarea nr. 11 a doamnei Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (H-0500/09)
 Subiect: Protecţia infrastructurilor de comunicaţii electronice şi a datelor cu caracter personal
 

Consiliul Ministerial Transporturi, Telecomunicaţii şi Energie din 17-18 decembrie 2009 a inclus, în concluziile sale, necesitatea de a dezvolta o nouă agendă digitală pentru Uniunea Europeană, care să urmeze planului i2010. Astfel, Consiliul UE a subliniat importanţa dezvoltării de soluţii pentru identificarea electronică a utilizatorilor de mijloace şi servicii electronice, care să asigure atât protecţia datelor cu caracter personal, cât şi protecţia vieţii private.

Aş dori să întreb Consiliul care sunt măsurile pe care le are în vedere pentru a fi incluse în viitoarea agendă digitală a UE cu orizont 2020 şi, mai ales, care sunt măsurile pe care le are în vedere pentru protecţia infrastructurilor de comunicaţii electronice şi pentru dezvoltarea unor soluţii de identificare electronică, care să asigure atât protecţia datelor cu caracter personal, cât şi protecţia vieţii private ?

 
  
 

The present answer, which has been drawn up by the Presidency and is not binding on either the Council or its members as such, was not presented orally at Question Time to the Council during the January 2010 part-session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Much is already being done in the field of electronic identity. Within the Seventh Research Framework Programme, several new projects related to identity management were started, and there are also EU co-funded projects under the Information and Communication (ICT) Policy Support Programme of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP). The recently adopted review of the Regulatory Framework for electronic communications and services also improves the situation as to citizens' rights to privacy.

The Honourable Member will also recall the work done by the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), set up to enhance the capability of the EU, the Member States and the business community to prevent, address and respond to network and information security problems.

On 18 December 2009, the Council adopted conclusions on "Post-i2010 strategy - towards an open, green and competitive knowledge society", underlining the importance of developing solutions to electronic identification that guarantee data protection and respect citizens’ privacy and better control of their online personal information. Moreover, the Council adopted a resolution on collaborative European approach on Network and Information Security stressing the importance of an enhanced and holistic European strategy for network and information security.

In its conclusions and in the resolution, the Council invites the Commission to come with proposals. A new digital agenda, to which the December conclusions were a contribution, is expected already this spring.

The Council is ready to work to reinforce network security. The future development of the Internet and of new and attractive services depend to an important extent on these issues. We shall examine any new Commission proposal with great attention.

 

Question no 12 by Brian Crowley (H-0502/09)
 Subject: Fortuna land scam
 

Many investors from Ireland have lost significant amounts of money in a dubious investment scheme established by a Spanish company located in Fuengirola. What actions can be taken, either at national level or EU level, to assist these investors, many of whom have lost their entire life savings, to recoup their investments?

 
  
 

The present answer, which has been drawn up by the Presidency and is not binding on either the Council or its members as such, was not presented orally at Question Time to the Council during the January 2010 part-session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

We understand the concerns of all investors who have lost their savings, and also of those who invested under the auspices of the entity mentioned by the Honourable Parliamentarian.

That being said, it is now up to the relevant competent authorities of the Member States concerned by this or other similar situations to take the necessary measures in order to proceed to their investigation and ultimately help investors which have been hurt.

The Spanish authorities have indeed started criminal investigations in this area, but it is not for the Presidency of the Council to comment on them.

 

Question no 13 by Pat the Cope Gallagher (H-0504/09)
 Subject: The review of the EU Solidarity Fund
 

A proposal to simplify and improve the EU Solidarity Fund (2005/0033) has been kept on hold by the Council since the European Parliament adopted it at first reading in 2006. Europe has suffered severe weather patterns more frequently in recent years. For example, recent flooding in Ireland caused considerable damage to many homes, businesses, farms, roads and water supplies. It is essential that the reform of the EU Solidarity Fund is prioritised.

What measures will the incoming Presidency take with a view to unblocking the situation in the Council?

 
  
 

The present answer, which has been drawn up by the Presidency and is not binding on either the Council or its members as such, was not presented orally at Question Time to the Council during the January 2010 part-session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The European Union Solidarity Fund was created in response to the extraordinary flooding disaster that hit central Europe during the summer of 2002. On 6 April 2005, the Commission submitted to the Council a Proposal for a revision of the Regulation, which would in particular widen the scope to non-natural disasters, lower the threshold for the damage incurred in consequence of the disaster, and include an additional political criterion. In its opinion of May 2006, the Parliament approved this proposal with some amendments.

Nevertheless, after examination of this proposal, discussions in the Council led to the conclusion that there was not sufficient support for the revision of the Regulation as proposed by the Commission.

 

Zapytanie nr 14 skierowane przez Ryszard Czarnecki (H-0507/09)
 Przedmiot: Zmiana struktury demograficznej krajów członkowskich UE
 

Czy Rada zauważa fakt znaczącej zmiany struktury demograficznej krajów członkowskich UE? Chodzi tu zarówno o szybkie starzenie się społeczeństw "27"-ki, jak również duży wzrost imigracji spoza krajów europejskich.

Czy Rada ma zamiar przygotować projekt wspierania polityki pronatalistycznej, prorodzinnej na terenie UE, aby te tendencje odwrócić?

 
  
 

The present answer, which has been drawn up by the Presidency and is not binding on either the Council or its members as such, was not presented orally at Question Time to the Council during the January 2010 part-session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The demographic challenge is one of the main long-term challenges of the Union. It is indeed closely linked to the family issues as stressed by the Honourable Member.

That being said, Member States remain responsible for the design and the implementation of their specific decisions in the area of family policies. In the field of social policy, according to the Treaties, the Union may support and complement "the activities of the Member States, through initiatives aimed at improving knowledge, developing exchanges of information and best practices, promoting innovative approaches and evaluating experiences"(1).

However, demographic and social issues, including family issues where appropriate, remain on the agenda of the Council. On 30 November 2009, the Council endorsed Opinions prepared by the Social Protection Committee and by the Employment Committees on the future post-2010 Agenda of the Union considering that prolonging working lives and promoting better reconciliation of work and private life will remain essential"(2) for the Union's post-2010 Strategy and that ageing and globalisation remain among the crucial challenges of the European Employment Strategy(3).

Moreover, in its Conclusions(4), the Council recognised "that due to demographic changes, the proportion of working age population is expected to decrease over the next decades and that Europe will go from four people of working age supporting one elderly person to only two. In this context, policies to strengthen gender equality and to improve the reconciliation of work, family and private life are key for reaching commonly-set targets of higher employment rates as well as for fulfilling the objectives of economic growth and social cohesion in the European Union".

Lastly, in its programme in the employment and social fields(5), the Spanish Presidency acknowledges that demographic ageing is starting to be approached in Europe not only as a challenge but also as an opportunity to social policies.

It considers that the moment is ripe for the EU to adopt an initiative for the promotion of active ageing; for example, it supports the possible Commission's decision to declare 2012 the European Year of Active Ageing and Intergenerational Relations. Furthermore, will organize a Conference on Active Ageing in La Rioja (April 29-30/ 2010).

The Spanish Presidency will also promote the joint work of the Member States to better respond to the important social and demographic changes being faced by the Member States, through, for example, a more intense exchange of information, mutual learning and best practices. Emphasis will be put both on various initiatives towards reconciliation of work and personal and family life, and on raising employment levels, especially for older workers.

 
 

(1) Article 153(2)(a) of TFEU
(2) Doc. 15859/09
(3) Doc. 15529/09
(4) Adopted by the Council EPSCO of 30 November 2009, doc. 16214/09.
(5) Prepared jointly by three Spanish Ministries, i.e. those of Labour and Immigration, of Health and Social Affairs, and of Equality.

 

Question no 15 by Laima Liucija Andrikienė (H-0002/10)
 Subject: Implementation of the Spanish Presidency's priorities in the field of EU - Latin America relations
 

One of the key priorities of the Spanish Presidency is the EU – Latin America relations.

What would the Spanish Presidency like to achieve in the field of international trade with Latin America?

Will the Free Trade Agreement with countries like Colombia and Peru be concluded during the Spanish Presidency? What are the most important problems still to be solved?

 
  
 

The present answer, which has been drawn up by the Presidency and is not binding on either the Council or its members as such, was not presented orally at Question Time to the Council during the January 2010 part-session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The strengthening of EU - Latin America relations is indeed one of the key priorities of the Spanish Presidency.

In the draft 18 month program(1) of the Spanish and future Belgian and Hungarian Presidencies, the Presidency trio underlined that strong emphasis should be placed on the conclusion of the Association Agreements with the Central American region, the Multiparty Trade Agreement with the Andean countries, as well as on the resumption and advancement of negotiations for the Association Agreement with Mercosur.

With regard to negotiations on an Association Agreement with Central America, discussions are taking place with the Central American Countries on a tentative calendar for a resumption of negotiations with a view to their conclusion by April of this year. We have notably to see in this regard how the situation in Honduras evolves in the coming months following the recent events in this country.

Regarding specifically the "Multi-parties trade agreement" (Free Trade Agreement) with Colombia and Peru, negotiations are well advanced and the Spanish Presidency will make every effort to conclude them during the first semester 2010. The next round is taking place in Lima this week. A number of issues still need to be solved, such as trade issues (market access, rules of origin, intellectual property issues) and the introduction of the so-called "political clauses" (on human rights and on weapons of mass destruction). However, both Colombia and Peru have demonstrated their willingness to compromise, so prospects for a satisfactory outcome of the negotiations are good. If an Agreement is reached in the very next future, procedures to be signed in the margins of the EU-LAC Summit in Madrid on 17-18 May will be launched.

The role of the European Parliament in the process leading to the conclusion and entry into force of the above mentioned international agreements is determined by the new provisions of the Lisbon Treaty in accordance with the legal basis of the agreement.

When negotiations with Mercosur were suspended in 2004, good progress was already achieved on political dialogue and cooperation. The EU as a whole and the Spanish Presidency in particular attaches great importance to a re-launching of negotiations, which could be resumed if the proper conditions are given. These latter have to be carefully checked before taking the relevant EU decision for resumption of negotiations.

 
 

(1) Doc. 16771/09

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 16 του κ. Γεωργίου Τούσσα (H-0004/10)
 Θέμα: Επικροτεί η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση την ηρωοποίηση των ναζί
 

Στις 18/12, λίγες ώρες πριν η κυβέρνηση της Γεωργίας προβεί στην ανατίναξη αντιφασιστικού μνημείου στην πόλη Κουταΐσι, κατατέθηκε στην Γ.Σ. του ΟΗΕ ψήφισμα που καταδικάζει την επιχείρηση δικαίωσης του ναζισμού που ακολουθούν ορισμένες χώρες της Ευρώπης και κράτη μέλη της ΕΕ, όπως οι Βαλτικές χώρες κ.α., που αναγορεύουν σε ήρωες τις φασιστικές συμμορίες των «Βάφεν SS», ενώ με κυβερνητικές αποφάσεις γκρεμίζουν και αποκαθηλώνουν μνημεία της αντιφασιστικής αντίστασης και νίκης των λαών. Υπέρ του ψηφίσματος τάχθηκε η συντριπτική πλειοψηφία των χωρών μελών του ΟΗΕ (127) ενώ το καταψήφισαν μόνο οι ΗΠΑ με στήριξη των 27 κρατών μελών της ΕΕ που απείχαν.

Ερωτάται το Συμβούλιο: Η στάση αποχής της ΕΕ στο ψήφισμα αυτό συνιστά επιδοκιμασία και πράξη στήριξης της ηρωοποίησης και αποκατάστασης των φασιστικών συμμοριών και συνεργατών των ναζί εγκληματιών πολέμου σε κάποια κράτη μέλη της και άλλες χώρες της Ευρώπης; Επιδοκιμάζει η ΕΕ και το Συμβούλιο την κατεδάφιση των μνημείων της αντιφασιστικής νίκης σε κράτη μέλη της και άλλες χώρες; Η άρνηση της ΕΕ να καταδικάσει την ηρωοποίηση των φασιστών εγκληματιών κατά της ανθρωπότητας εντάσσεται στην ανιστόρητη προσπάθεια εξίσωσης του ναζισμού με τον κομμουνισμό;

 
  
 

The present answer, which has been drawn up by the Presidency and is not binding on either the Council or its members as such, was not presented orally at Question Time to the Council during the January 2010 part-session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The European Union has always made clear its strong commitment to the global fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. This was reiterated in the statement made by the Swedish Presidency, on behalf of the EU, to explain its decision to abstain in the vote at the 64th Session of the General Assembly Third Committee on the resolution concerning the "Inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance".

As indicated in this statement, throughout negotiations on the text the EU expressed its strong readiness to find ways to ensure that the resolution would present a real and serious response to contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

Unfortunately, however, some of the most serious concerns expressed by the EU and other delegations were not taken into account. As in previous years, instead of comprehensively addressing the human rights concerns related to racism and racial discrimination, one of the most serious of which is the resurgence of racist and xenophobic violence, the draft text pursued a selective approach, disregarding these serious concerns and in effect deflecting attention from them.

A particularly regrettable example of the shortcomings in the text is the use of inaccurate citations from the Judgment of the Nuremberg Tribunal

Crucially, the text also failed to reflect the fundamental consideration that the combat against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance must be in line with the provisions of Articles 4 and 5 of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, and not undermine other recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Finally, the text of the resolution sought to undermine the freedom of the UN Special Rapporteur to report to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly on all aspects of contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia.

For all these reasons, the EU took the decision to abstain.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 17 του κ. Χαράλαμπου Αγγουράκη (H-0005/10)
 Θέμα: Σύλληψη δημάρχου της Ναζαρέτ
 

Στις 29 Δεκέμβρη έγινε επίθεση με χειροβομβίδα στο σπίτι του Ραμέζ Ζεράισι, δημάρχου της Ναζαρέτ, συνεργαζόμενου με το ΚΚ Ισραήλ στο Δημοκρατικό Μέτωπο για την Ισότητα και Ειρήνη.

Η επίθεση συμπίπτει με την επέτειο της δολοφονικής ισραηλινής επίθεσης στη Γάζα με όξυνση της επιθετικότητας του ισραηλινού κράτους, ενώ πολλαπλασιάζονται τα φαινόμενα αντικομμουνιστικών και αντιδημοκρατικών επιθέσεων. Την ίδια περίοδο, απαγορεύονται δημόσιες εκδηλώσεις και διώκεται ο βουλευτής και μέλος του ΠΓ του ΚΚ Ισραήλ Μοχάμαντ Μπαρακί για την αντιπολεμική του δράση.

Καταδικάζει το Συμβούλιο τις αντικομμουνιστικές, αντιδημοκρατικές επιθέσεις του Ισραήλ;

 
  
 

The present answer, which has been drawn up by the Presidency and is not binding on either the Council or its members as such, was not presented orally at Question Time to the Council during the January 2010 part-session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

I would like to thank the Honourable Member of the European Parliament for his question.

Violent attacks against citizens, whether they are public servants or not, and irrespective of their political views, constitute criminal acts that must be investigated and prosecuted through due judicial procedures. Furthermore, any politically motivated violent attacks with political motivation are irreconcilable with the basic democratic values of the European Union, notably freedom of expression and political orientation, non-discrimination and the rule of law. This applies equally in cases where citizens are persecuted for political reasons by their governments or services of the state apparatus.

As to the incidents to which the Honourable Member refers to, there is no evidence of political motivation in either the hand grenade attack against the Mayor's house in Nazareth, which is now under criminal investigation by the Israeli police, or the prosecution of Knesset Member Muhammad Barakeh, who has himself chosen not to invoke his parliamentary immunity. The conflict in Gaza at the beginning of 2009 was the subject of a number of statements by the EU, including by the Council, that emphasised inter alia that all parties needed to respect human rights and comply with international humanitarian law.

I would like to assure the Honourable Member that the Council attaches particular importance to to democratic values and principles and is ready to condemn their violation where appropriate and where there is sound evidence.

 

QUESTIONS TO THE COMMISSION
Question no 18 by Liam Aylward (H-0488/09)
 Subject: Product safety and recalls
 

In light of the recent safety concerns raised regarding certain push buggies and children's toys sold in the European Union, what action is the Commission taking to ensure that European consumers, in particular children, are protected and that product recalls do not become increasingly necessary?

Furthermore, what can the Commission do to ensure that product recalls on faulty or unsafe goods are conducted as effectively and speedily as possible in order to ensure minimum disruption to consumers?

 
  
 

Toys and children's products are no like other consumer products. Safety of toys and children's products is one of the highest priorities in the consumer product safety portfolio.

The Commission has undertaken recently a wide range of activities aimed at raising the level of safety of toys and children's products in Europe. The Commission has promoted legislation and standards, boosted with financial support cross-border market surveillance actions, cooperated with the toy industry and engaged with our international partners.

The new Toys Safety Directive 2009/48/EC(1) was adopted on 18 June 2009. Thanks to our constructive debates, the Directive now contains reinforced safety requirements and is open to be adapted rapidly to newly identified risks, in particular as regards chemicals.

The safety of articles used for the general care of children, such as prams or baby cots, is governed by the General Product Safety Directive 2001/95/EU(2). The Directive sets a general obligation for all operators in the supply chain to make available on the market only safe products. The safety of children is also one primary concern in the enforcement of this legislation.

Several European standards set the benchmark. The relevant standard for the safety of toys will have to be revised to follow the new Toy Safety Directive. An assessment recently was made of several child-care articles, which commonly accompany feeding, sleeping, bathing or relaxing of babies and young children. As a result, the Commission will imminently request the adoption of new European safety standards for bath-assisting articles, such as baby bath tubs or bath rings, and products in the sleeping environment of children, as part of a wider action in this area.

The Commission has given €0.5 million to boost coordinated surveillance action focusing on toys for young children since the end of 2008. Authorities from 15 European countries have already tested 200 samples of toys to check the risk of small elements (including magnets) and heavy metals. Toys proven to be non-compliant and dangerous are being withdrawn from the market.

The Commission also called the toys industry to step up their actions in order to ensure that only safe toys are manufactured and sold on the European market. Two voluntary agreements with Toy Industries of Europe and representatives of toy retailers and importers, engaged the industry in a number of activities, such as providing education and training or developing guidelines which will help companies to set up appropriate safety check systems.

In the area of international activities, the cooperation with China has already resulted in hundreds of dangerous toys and childcare articles blocked at Chinese borders and numerous export licenses withdrawn by Chinese authorities. Toy Safety experts of the EU, China and also the US discuss toys safety, common concerns, possible actions and scope for convergence of the respective requirements on a regular basis.

As the business operators are in the first place responsible for the safety of their products, they should always take a proactive approach to identify potential problematic issues at the production stage. When incidents happen, appropriate procedures should be in place to quickly organise a well targeted recall. Many companies take seriously their responsibilities stemming from the product safety legislation and act swiftly. However, as certain players are not capable of carrying out proper risk management, the national enforcement authorities should be guaranteed the necessary resources to monitor their actions and order additional restrictive measures if those taken on voluntary basis could be considered as delayed or insufficient to address all risks. This is why the Commission warmly welcomes the strong interest and leadership role taken by the IMCO Committee in the debate on reinforcing market surveillance for consumer safety.

 
 

(1) Directive 2009/48/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 on the safety of toys, OJ L 170 of 30.6.2009.
(2) Directive 2001/95/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 3 December 2001 on general product safety, OJ L 11 of 15.1.2002.

 

Întrebarea nr. 20 a doamnei Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (H-0501/09)
 Subiect: Cadrul European pentru facturare electronică (e-invoice)
 

În 2007, Comisia Europeană a lucrat împreună cu un grup de experţi, reprezentanţi ai instituţiilor bancare, ai companiilor, precum şi cu institutele de standardizare, pentru a identifica barierele existente şi pentru a defini un cadru european pentru a trece la utilizarea facturilor electronice.

În 2008, Comisia Europeană a înfiinţat un Task Force având ca mandat definirea, până la sfârşitul anului 2009, a unui Cadru european pentru facturarea electronică. Având în vedere avantajele pe care un astfel de cadru european le-ar aduce atât pentru întreprinderi, cât şi pentru administraţiile financiare/fiscale, aş dori să întreb Comisia care este rezultatul activităţii grupului de experţi mandatat în 2008 cu dezvoltarea acestui cadru şi, mai ales, care sunt măsurile pe care Comisia intenţionează să le adopte, precum şi calendarul de implementare al acestora pentru dezvoltarea şi implementarea unui Cadru european pentru facturare electronică (e-invoice) ?

 
  
 

Compared to paper invoices, electronic invoices offer substantial economic advantages for companies of all sizes. However, most of the potential offered by e-Invoicing remains untapped, especially among SMEs, because of the continued existence of regulatory and technical barriers to its full deployment. The Commission set up an independent Expert Group at the end of 2007 whose task was to propose a European E-Invoicing Framework (EEIF) that would support the provision of e-Invoicing services in an open, competitive and interoperable manner across Europe.

The Expert Group has completed its work and adopted its final report, incorporating the proposed EEIF, in November 2009. Key barriers for the uptake of e-Invoicing identified by the Expert Group include: inconsistent regulatory requirements for electronic invoices across EU Member States, in particular regarding acceptance of e-Invoices by tax authorities for VAT purposes; insufficient technical interoperability between existing e-Invoicing solutions; the lack of a common content standard for e-Invoices. To tackle these issues, the proposed EEIF includes a code of practice for legal and fiscal compliance which is aligned with the revised VAT Directive proposed by the Commission. Furthermore, the EEIF contains a set of recommendations for interoperability and guidance on content standards. The Framework is based on a set of business requirements with a particular focus on SMEs.

The Expert Group report has been published on the Europa website by the European Commission and its recommendations are currently subject to a public consultation which is open to all interested stakeholders until the end of February 2010(1). The results of the public consultation and the recommendations of the Expert Group will also be discussed at a high-level conference on e-Invoicing which is currently planned for April 2010 under the auspices of the Spanish Presidency.

On the basis of the Expert Group report and the public consultation, the European Commission will assess whether further initiatives are called for, especially to eliminate obstacles at EU level, in order to capture the benefits for competitiveness of moving to e-Invoicing across the whole of Europe. On the basis of the results of this assessment, the Commission will consider which further steps should be taken to promote the uptake of e-Invoicing by autumn 2010. Moreover, the Commission would like to remind its proposal on the revision of the VAT directive notably as regards the acceptance of electronic invoicing which is currently discussed by the co-legislators..

 
 

(1) http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/newsroom/cf/itemshortdetail.cfm?item_id=3875&lang=en

 

Anfrage Nr. 21 von Bernd Posselt (H-0480/09)
 Betrifft: Stellenwert der beruflichen Bildung und Austausch
 

Was tut die Kommission, um den Stellenwert der beruflichen Bildung gegenüber der akademischen Ausbildung in der EU zu verbessern, und welche Zukunftsperspektiven hat der grenzüberschreitende Austausch von Jugendlichen im Bereich der beruflichen Bildung?

 
  
 

The Commission promotes participation in education and training, both general and vocational, especially taking into account the growing training needs of the society after the crisis and in terms of ageing of population.

In the framework of the so called Copenhagen process the Commission, together with the Member States, has been working hard to increase the quality and attractiveness of vocational education and training (VET).

A central part of the process is the development of http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc40_en.htm" to enhance mutual trust, transparency, recognition and quality of qualifications, making the mobility of learners between the countries and between the education systems easier.

The most important of these tools are the http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc44_en.htm" , http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc46_en.htm" , the http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc50_en.htm" and the http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc1134_en.htm" .

The http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-programme/doc82_en.htm" (LdV) strand of the http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-programme/doc78_en.htm" provides important financial support for the implementation of the VET policies as well as for cross-border mobility of learners and teachers in VET. In 2008, altogether 67.740 persons were able to benefit from a mobility period through the LdV programme. However, as this represents only about 1 % of the total target population, a strong support by the national, regional or local actors and stakeholders is also needed in order to make mobility the norm rather than the exception. Within the EU 2020 initiative the Commission is reflecting on a new ambitious Youth on the Move initiative, which should boost the learning mobility of young persons at all levels of education.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 22 του κ. Νικόλαου Χουντή (H-0482/09)
 Θέμα: "Στημένοι" αγώνες ποδοσφαίρου, αρνητικά πρότυπα για την νεολαία
 

Έκθεση της «Union des Associations Européennes de Football (UEFA)» αποκαλύπτει σκάνδαλο με στημένους αγώνες ποδοσφαίρου της περσινής αγωνιστικής περιόδου. Είναι φανερό ότι τέτοια γεγονότα δίνουν αρνητικά πρότυπα στην νεολαία διαστρέφοντας το νόημα του αθλητισμού, που παραμορφώνεται μέσα από τα τεράστια ποσά που διακινούνται με τον «τζόγο» και τα στοιχήματα.

Λαμβάνοντας υπόψη το άρθρο 165 παρ.2 της Συνθήκης για την λειτουργία της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, το οποίο αναφέρει ότι «η δράση της Ένωσης έχει ως στόχο: … να αναπτύσσει την ευρωπαϊκή διάσταση του αθλητισμού, προάγοντας την δικαιότητα και τον ανοιχτό χαρακτήρα των αθλητικών αναμετρήσεων και τη συνεργασία μεταξύ των αρμόδιων για τον αθλητισμό φορέων, καθώς και προστατεύοντας τη σωματική και ηθική ακεραιότητα των αθλητών, ιδίως των νεότερων μεταξύ τους.» ερωτάται η Επιτροπή:

Έχει ερευνήσει την υπόθεση, και πώς την σχολιάζει; Ποια μέτρα αναμένει η Επιτροπή ότι θα πρέπει να λάβει η UEFA απέναντι στις ομοσπονδίες, τις ομάδες, τους παράγοντες και τους αθλητές, που ενέχονται στο σκάνδαλο; Δεδομένων των τεράστιων ποσών, που «τζογάρονται» κάθε χρόνο σε νόμιμα ή παράνομα στοιχήματα και τα οποία αποτελούν μόνιμο κίνητρο για το «στήσιμο» αθλητικών γεγονότων, τι μέτρα προτίθεται να λάβει η Επιτροπή;

 
  
 

Match fixing undermines the social and educational functions of sport. It distorts the ethos of professional as well as grass-roots sport, as it represents a direct threat to the integrity of sport competitions. Match fixing episodes are often associated to illicit gambling and corruption and they typically involve international criminal networks.

Due to the worldwide popularity of sport and to the trans-frontier nature of images from sporting events and of gambling activities, the dimension of the problem often goes beyond the remit of national authorities. In line with article 165 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which states that the action of the Union must promote fairness in sporting competitions and cooperation between bodies responsible for sports, and following calls from sport stakeholders the Commission will address the issue of match fixing as it risks undermining the value of sport in Europe.

In this context, the Commission has consulted UEFA with regard to the recent match fixing scandal under investigation by the German authorities. The Commission has offered UEFA its support in raising awareness about match-fixing related problems at EU level.

Regarding illicit gambling, the Commission is not aware of any match fixing allegations against reputable European operators. Its services are, in the context of their work on the internal market for licit cross-border sports betting services, monitoring a number of Member States' regulatory bodies who are working closely with licit on-line sports betting service providers to detect illegal activities. Moreover, bookmakers themselves in order to attract customers have put in place self-regulatory early-warning systems with sports federations to detect fraudulent activities taking place within individual sporting events.

Regarding the wider problem of corruption, the Commission is in the process of establishing a mechanism for monitoring Member States' efforts to fight corruption both in the public and in the private sector.

The Commission will support the sport movement and other relevant stakeholders (such as betting companies and media) in their efforts to stem match fixing episodes at European level. In this respect, the Commission is supportive of types of partnership where sports stakeholders have been working with betting companies to develop early warning systems aimed at preventing fraud and match-fixing scandals in sport. They are an example of good governance in the field of sport betting.

The Commission will also support cooperation between the private and public sector in order to find the most effective ways to address match fixing and other forms of corruption and financial crime in European sport.

 

Anfrage Nr. 23 von Ernst Strasser (H-0497/09)
 Betrifft: Geplante Maßnahmen im neuen Kompetenzbereich Sport
 

Mit dem Inkrafttreten des Vertrags von Lissabon fällt der Bereich Sport in den Zuständigkeitsbereich der Europäischen Union.

Welche Maßnahmen zur Unterstützung, Koordinierung oder Ergänzung der Maßnahmen der Mitgliedstaaten in diesem Bereich gedenkt die Kommission in den nächsten 12 Monaten zu treffen?

 
  
 

Concerning the implementation of the new sport provisions, it is the Commission’s role to propose suitable action allowing for the achievement of the objectives outlined in the Treaty. The Commission's guiding principle will be to ensure the EU added value of any proposed actions. More specific, individual actions will be decided by the incoming new Commission.

Before preparing its proposals, the Commission will probably organise a broad public consultation in the first half of 2010, including a focused debate with the Member States and the sport movement. Future proposals can be expected to reflect the results of such consultation and debate and will further draw on the experience gained with implementing the 2007 White Paper on Sport(1) on societal, economic and governance issues. On this basis, the Commission proposals for EU action will certainly aim, inter alia, at the promotion of good governance and of sport’s social, health and educational functions. 

The implementation of Preparatory Actions in the field of sport in 2009 and 2010, as proposed by the European Parliament, already provides support from the EU budget to multi-actor activities in areas such as health, education, equal opportunities, anti-doping and volunteering and will certainly help the Commission to propose suitable topics for the Sport Programme.

The Commission will cooperate closely with Parliament and Council to ensure the coherent implementation of these new competences.

 
 

(1) COM(2007) 391 final

 

Spørgsmål nr. 24 af Morten Messerschmidt (H-0474/09)
 Om: Tyrkiets trusler om indrejseforbud for Geert Wilders
 

Den tyrkiske regering truer med at afvise en hel delegation af hollandske parlamentarikere, såfremt Frihedspartiets Geert Wilders deltager i besøget, der skal finde sted i januar 2010.

Tyrkiets trusler synes efter spørgerens opfattelse groteske i betragtning af, at den hollandske delegation besøger et land, der søger om optagelse i EU, og som dermed må forventes at have en grundlæggende forståelse for værdier som demokrati og ytringsfrihed.

Ikke desto mindre er det Tyrkiets udenrigsminister, der tilhører det islamistisk orienterede regeringsparti, som er ophavsmand til truslen.

Mener Kommissionen, at den tyrkiske regerings trusler om at nægte en folkevalgt hollandsk politiker indrejse i Tyrkiet er udtryk for den oplyste og demokratiske tankegang, som må forudsættes at være en af grundpillerne for et lands optagelse i EU, og finder Kommissionen endvidere, at dette stemmer overens med Københavnskriteriernes krav om demokrati, retssamfund samt menneskerettigheder?

Der henvises til artiklen "Tyrkiet truer Wilders med indrejseforbud" i Jyllands-Posten den 26.11.2009.

 
  
 

In December 2009 a delegation of Members of the Lower Chamber of the Dutch Parliament cancelled a planned visit to Turkey.

The reason put forward for the cancellation was the statement by a Turkish government spokesperson as regards the planned participation of Mr Geert Wilders, Member of the Lower Chamber of the Dutch Parliament. On the basis of this statement, the delegation had concluded that they would not be received by the Turkish government.

Subsequently, the Chairman of the EU Harmonisation Committee of the Turkish Grand National Assembly declared that the Turkish Parliamentarians regretted the cancellation of the visit.

The Commission is not aware that Turkey intended to refuse to Members of the Dutch Parliament access to its territory.

Furthermore, the Commission does not see any link between the said cancellation and the Copenhagen criteria.

 

Question no 25 by Jim Higgins (H-0475/09)
 Subject: Pan-European training and support for unemployed graduates
 

Given the shocking level of unemployment among recent graduates (throughout Europe), has the Commission considered a pan-European training and support network for such graduates? The advantages of such a scheme are numerous: graduates would be afforded the opportunity to gain vital work experience, adapt their knowledge to meet the practicalities of working life, avoid ‘brain drain’ and contribute to society while utilising their education.

 
  
 

The Commission has been giving priority to tackling unemployment of young people under the Lisbon Strategy and the European Employment Strategy, well before the crisis hit. The Commission has identified key challenges in collaboration with the Member States which undertook to step up action to foster the labour market integration of young people as part of the European Pact for Youth in 2005. In this context, particular attention should be paid to improving transition from education to the labour market, for example through strengthening links between education systems and the labour market, and developing practical training in companies ('traineeships').

Even before the crisis hit and although Member States have started to take action in this area, many young graduates have encountered difficulties in entering the labour market. In the aftermath of the crisis, unemployment of young people has increased dramatically and more so than any other groups on the labour market.

In the preparation of the EU’s main policy agenda for the future ("EU2020"), due attention should be paid to promoting labour market access of young people and the creation of new jobs. Furthermore, mechanisms should be improved to ensure effective policy delivery. The Commission identified a number of key areas for action in the EU 2020 consultation paper of 24 November 2009, including promoting the acquisition of new skills, fostering creativity and innovation, and developing entrepreneurship. The EU 2020 strategy will also build on EU policy cooperation in the fields of education and youth policy through the "Education and Training 2020" and "Youth 2010-2018" work programmes.

The EU has put in place a number of tools to help young jobseekers, including under the EURES initiative: a section of the EURES Web Portal is dedicated to job opportunities for graduates(1). Furthermore, the Member States can use the European Social Fund (ESF) to implement reforms of their education and training systems. For the 2007-2013 period, EUR 9.4 million have been allocated to promoting the development of lifelong learning systems and a further EUR 12.4 billion to increasing participation in education and training throughout the life-cycle.

In the context of the initiative launched by the Commission to develop and strengthen the dialogue and cooperation between Higher Education and the world of work (COM(2009) 158 final: A new partnership for the modernisation of universities: the EU Forum for University Business Dialogue), the Commission in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic and the Masaryk University is organising a Thematic Forum in Brno on 2-3 February 2010 where existing and possible actions, launched in cooperation by higher education institutions, companies and public authorities as reply to the current crisis, will be presented and discussed.

 
 

(1) http://ec.europa.eu/eures/main.jsp?lang=en&acro=job&catId=7576&parentId=52

 

Zapytanie nr 26 skierowane przez Sławomir Witold Nitras (H-0483/09)
 Przedmiot: Strategia współpracy w dziedzinie bezpieczeństwa energetycznego i solidarności w ramach traktatu lizbońskiego
 

Wobec wejścia w życie 1 grudnia 2009 roku traktatu lizbońskiego, który jako pierwszy traktat uwzględnia i reguluje wspólną politykę bezpieczeństwa energetycznego oraz solidarności państw członkowskich na tej płaszczyźnie, pragnę zapytać Szanowną Komisję o strategię oraz wizję owej polityki w świetle nowego traktatu.

Chciałbym zapytać, jakie działania planuje Komisja zabezpieczające państwa członkowskie przed możliwością wstrzymania dostaw gazu przez państwa trzecie? Chciałbym zapytać o harmonogram działań inwestycyjnych w infrastrukturę energetyczną, która jest istotnym elementem w strategii bezpieczeństwa, oraz czy Komisja posiada plany rozwoju owej infrastruktury w kierunku północno-południowym?

 
  
 

The EU’s energy policy has been developed so far on the basis of several different Treaty articles. The Lisbon Treaty provides for the first time a comprehensive basis for the further development of EU energy policy. Security of supply is clearly stated as one of the objectives and the policy is to be developed and implemented in a spirit of solidarity.

The approach to energy security, set out in the 2nd Strategic Energy Review, has been endorsed by the Member States. Thus, the reduction of vulnerability to gas supply disruptions by cooperation and the further development of interconnectors within Europe should underpin a strong EU voice in external energy dealings. Cooperation within Europe is primarily through a well-functioning internal energy market with common standards and adequate infrastructures, as in the proposed Regulation on security of gas supply. As regards solidarity, this must be established well before any crisis occurs among the Member States and among the companies likely to be concerned. Member States need to work together in advance on risk assessments and preventive action, including on infrastructure development and emergency plans. Regional cooperation is particularly important for crisis management. The Commission’s role will be mainly to help and coordinate; it can assess the situation, declare a Union emergency, rapidly deploy the monitoring taskforce, convene the Gas Coordination Group, activate the civil protection mechanism, and crucially, mediate with third countries. The Commission hopes for early agreement on the proposal for a Regulation.

Investments in energy infrastructures are needed, notably for security of supply. The provisions of the 3rd internal energy market package are already improving infrastructure planning in Europe, including its energy security dimension. The proposed Regulation on security of gas supply puts forward an infrastructure standard and the European Energy Programme for Recovery is directing financial support to energy infrastructure projects, including some €1.44 billion on gas interconnections, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals, storage and reverse flows. The Trans-European Energy Networks Programme will be reviewed during 2010 to ensure that it is properly focused on the EU’s energy infrastructure to respond to the internal market needs and to enhance security of supply.

North-South interconnections in Central and Eastern Europe were identified in the 2nd Strategic Energy Review as an energy security priority. This work is being developed, also in the context of the Energy Community Treaty. North-South interconnections are also prominent in the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan, agreed by the relevant Member States and now being pursued.

 

Interrogazione n. 27 dell'on. Erminia Mazzoni (H-0484/09)
 Oggetto: Introduzione di una fiscalità di vantaggio per agevolare lo sviluppo di alcune regioni economiche
 

Considerati l'articolo 87, paragrafo 1 e paragrafo 3, lettera e), del trattato CE(1), come pure il paragrafo 37 della risoluzione del Parlamento europeo 2005/2165(INI)(2), nonché la sentenza C-88/03(3) della Corte di giustizia delle Comunità europee, ritiene la Commissione di voler definitivamente superare la posizione rigida che assume la fiscalità di vantaggio regionale/locale incompatibile con il divieto comunitario di aiuti concessi dagli Stati, soprattutto riguardo alle modalità di accertamento del requisito della selettività territoriale, autorizzando la concessione di aiuti di natura fiscale, quando questi siano destinati ad agevolare lo sviluppo di alcune attività o di alcune regioni economiche?

Ritiene inoltre la Commissione che tale evoluzione interpretativa possa essere recepita introducendo nel regolamento (CE) n.1083/2006(4) la possibilità di considerare la fiscalità agevolata compatibile con le regole di equilibrio del mercato?

 
  
 

The Commission reminds the Honourable Member that according to Article 107, paragraph 3, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), formely 87 of the EC Treaty, the Commission can declare compatible "aid to promote the economic development of areas where the standard of living is abnormally low or where there is serious underemployment" as well as "aid to facilitate the development of certain economic activities or of certain economic areas, where such aid does not adversely affect trading conditions to an extent contrary to the common interest".

In this respect, in accordance with the "Guidelines on National Regional Aid for 2007-2013", the Commission has already approved the Regional Aid Map, which indicates which Regions are indeed eligible for regional aid under Article 107, paragraph 3, of TFEU(5).

As to the question whether the Commission intends "once and for all to abandon the inflexible view that regional and local tax concessions are incompatible with the Community ban on State aids, especially as regards the arrangements for determining regional selectivity", the Commission would like to recall that, according to the recent case-law in the Azores(6) and Basque Countries(7) cases, a region is considered as being "autonomous" within the meaning of State aid rules when all three criteria concerning the institutional, procedural and the economic and financial autonomy are fulfilled. Moreover, as laid down by the jurisprudence, regions which are autonomous within the meaning of the said case-law, can adopt fiscal measures which are general in nature without thus infringing the State aid rules. It remains to be seen if and which Regions are institutionally, procedurally, economically and financially autonomous.

That being said, the Commission would like to stress that any specific fiscal rules for some Regions only, are likely to constitute State aid in the meaning of Article 107, paragraph 1, of the TFEU.

On the other hand, in the Commission view, Article 107(3)(e) of the TFEU mentioned by the Honourable Member doesn't offer a specific legal basis to promote regional development. The Commission considers, on the contrary, that appropriate measures taking into account the needs of less developed areas are already in place, or can be put into effect on the basis of existing State aid block exemption regulations, or can be notified on the basis of Article 108(1) of the TFEU (formerly Article 88 of the EC Treaty) and assessed under Article 107 (3) (a) or (c) of the TFEU.

As regards Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006(8), under Article 54.4 it states that "for State aid to enterprises within the meaning of Article 107 of the TFEU, public aid granted under operational programmes shall observe the ceilings on State aid". Therefore, for any fiscal measure likely to constitute State aid, the managing authority shall ensure its compatibility under the rules governing State aid under Article 107 of the TFUE. The Commission reminds the Honourable Member that Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006(9) is intended to lay down general provisions on the Structural Funds rather than to determine the compatibility of State aid measures.

 
 

(1) "Possono considerarsi compatibili con il mercato comune: […] e) le altre categorie di aiuti, determinate con decisione del Consiglio, che delibera a maggioranza qualificata su proposta della Commissione."
(2) "Il Parlamento [...] sostiene pertanto un approccio più efficiente alla concessione degli aiuti regionali, che si concentri sugli investimenti nelle infrastrutture e sugli aiuti orizzontali nelle regioni svantaggiate o meno sviluppate dell'Unione europea, compresa l'introduzione di condizioni fiscali vantaggiose per periodi transitori non superiori a cinque anni".
(3) "Un ente regionale o territoriale, nell'esercizio di poteri sufficientemente autonomi rispetto al potere centrale, stabilisce un'aliquota fiscale inferiore a quella nazionale ed applicabile unicamente all'interno del territorio di sua competenza, il contesto giuridico rilevante per valutare la selettività di una misura fiscale potrebbe limitarsi all'area geografica interessata dal provvedimento, qualora l'ente territoriale, in virtù del suo statuto e dei suoi poteri, ricopra un ruolo determinante nella definizione del contesto politico ed economico in cui operano le imprese".
(4) GU L 210 del 31.7.2006, pag. 25.
(5) For Italy, see Commission Decision of 28 November 2007, case N 324/2007
(6) See judgement of the Court of justice of 6 September 2006, case C-88/03, Portugal v. Commission
(7) See judgement of the Court of 11 September 2008, cases from C-428/06 to C-434/06, Unión General de Trabajadores de la Rioja
(8) OJ L 210, 31.7.2006
(9) Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 of 11 July 2006 laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999, OJ L 210, 31.7.2006

 

Question no 28 by Struan Stevenson (H-0485/09)
 Subject: Derogation for Shetland from the electronic identification requirement for ovine and caprine animals
 

As a remote island with a population of only 22 000 Shetland has only one point of entry and currently all sheep and cattle moved on to the island are examined by a vet, have their identities recorded and are blood-tested. In this way, Shetland is already well equipped to trace animal movements quickly and effectively and therefore the recording of individual sheep movements through electronic identification (EID) within Shetland would place a heavy burden on producers and would offer no additional benefits for disease control within the UK or Europe. Implementing EID will only serve to force the few remaining Shetland sheep farmers, many of whom keep their flocks in the most remote locations and would therefore incur the highest adjustment costs, out of business.

In the light of these adequate animal health arrangements as regards traceability and disease control and of Shetland's isolated geography, would the Commission therefore agree to a derogation from the EID regulation for Shetland?

 
  
 

Council Regulation (EC) No 21/2004(1) introduced the principle of individual traceability for sheep and goats using a step by step-approach. However, the Commission has already introduced a number of measures via Comitology to further facilitate the smooth implementation of the requirements on electronic identification that will apply to animals born after 31 December 2009.

In particular, the measures adopted by the Commission in August 2009 will demonstrably reduce costs in particular for keepers with small herds. It is now possible to read the animals at the critical control points (e.g. market, slaughterhouse or assembly centre) instead of at the farm of departure. This recent amendment was particularly welcomed by the United Kingdom sheep industry.

However, the current rules do not empower the Commission to grant derogations from the basic provisions of the Regulation, such as those requested by the Honourable Member.

 
 

(1) Council Regulation (EC) No 21/2004 of 17 December 2003 establishing a system for the identification and registration of ovine and caprine animals and amending Regulation (EC) No 1782/2003 and Directives 92/102/EEC and 64/432/EEC, OJ L 5, 9.1.2004.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 29 του κ. Γεωργίου Παπανικολάου (H-0490/09)
 Θέμα: Προγράμματα εκμάθησης γλώσσας για τους μετανάστες
 

Ο χρόνος προσαρμογής και εν συνεχεία ένταξης των μεταναστών σε μία κοινωνία εξαρτάται σε μεγάλο βαθμό από την εκμάθηση της γλώσσας της χώρας στην οποία διαμένουν. Η γνώση της γλώσσας είναι αναγκαίο εργαλείο για την επαγγελματική και κοινωνική ένταξη των μεταναστών, συμβάλλει στη μείωση της περιθωριοποίησης και της αποξένωσης και μπορεί να αποβεί προς όφελος τόσο των μεταναστών όσο και των χωρών υποδοχής.

Διαθέτουν τα κράτη μέλη της ΕΕ επαρκή προγράμματα εκμάθησης της γλώσσας του κράτους που φιλοξενεί τους μετανάστες; Και αν ναι, ποια από αυτά χρηματοδοτούνται από την ΕΕ; Τι στοιχεία διαθέτει η Επιτροπή για την εφαρμογή τέτοιων προγραμμάτων από την Ελλάδα;

Διαθέτει ποσοτικά στοιχεία για προγράμματα τέτοιου είδους, όπως o αριθμός των επωφελούμενων μεταναστών και η αποτελεσματικότητα των προγραμμάτων αυτών;

Θεωρεί ότι πρέπει να ενταθούν τέτοιου είδους προσπάθειες; Kαι αν ναι, με ποιον τρόπο;

 
  
 

According to Article 165 TFUE Member States are fully responsible for the content of teaching and the organisation of their education systems and their cultural and linguistic diversity. National programmes for immigrants are the remit of national authorities and data concerning these programmes should be requested to national authorities(1).

According to the data gathered by Eurydice, language support for non-native children is provided in the education systems of all Member States.(2) Moreover, two thirds of the 2009 national reports on the implementation of the Education and Training 2010 programme(3) refer to specific measures to support language development for children and young people from a migrant background, and twelve national reports refer to compulsory language courses for immigrant adults.

In the field of education and training the mission of the European Union is to contribute to the development of quality education by encouraging cooperation between Member States and, if necessary, by supporting and supplementing their action. The promotion of language learning and linguistic diversity is a general objective of the Lifelong Learning Programme 2007-2013 (LLP). While the LLP is practically open to all persons and bodies involved in education or training, it is each of the LLP participant countries which fixes the conditions for the participation of non nationals of LLP participant countries in its actions and projects. Currently the following language learning oriented activities may be supported by the LLP, either as a component among others of a project or as its main theme: partnerships between schools and regions (in sub programme Comenius) or between adult education organisations (sub programme Grundtvig); assistantships for future teachers and in-service teacher training (Comenius); linguistic preparation for mobility in Europe (Erasmus and Leonardo); student placements (Erasmus); language learning adult workshops (Grundtvig); multilateral projects, networks and conferences (Comenius, Erasmus, Leonardo, Grundtvig, Key Activity Languages).

The Commission also supported the acquisition of the language of the host country for adult migrants in the past through other channels, e.g. the European Social Fund (ESF). The Greek 2009 national report on the implementation of the Education and Training 2010 Programme refers to the educational programme “Teaching Greek as a Second Language to Working Immigrants”, administered by The Institute for the Continuous Education of Adults (IDEKE), which provided Greek language training to 15.873 persons during the period 2004-2008. Similarly, the 2009 implementation report for the National Reform Programme for Growth and Jobs mentions an ongoing programme for learning of Greek at certified vocational training centres for 8,400 unemployed immigrants-repatriated persons.

The Commission believes that efforts to teach the host countries languages to migrants should be intensified at national level. In its recent Green Paper "Migration & mobility: challenges and opportunities for EU education systems"(4), the Commission highlights the importance of language learning for integration and social inclusion. In its Conclusions on the education of children with a migrant background,(5) the Council invites Member States to develop adequate policies for teaching the host country language, as well as considering possibilities for pupils with a migrant background to maintain and develop their mother tongue.

 
 

(1) Some data on these subjects can be found in the following Eurydice studies:
http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/key_data_series/095EN.pdf
http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/ressources/eurydice/pdf/044DN/044_EL_EN.pdf
(2) http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/key_data_series/105EN.pdf
(3) Draft 2010 joint progress report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the “Education & Training 2010 work programme”. COM(2009)640 final; SEC(2009) 1598
(4) COM(2008) 423 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2008:0423:FIN:EN:PDF and http://ec.europa.eu/education/school21/sec2173_en.pdf
(5) http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/educ/111482.pdf

 

Vraag nr. 30 van Saïd El Khadraoui (H-0492/09)
 Betreft: EU-steun bij het opvangen van intra-EU-migratie
 

Het bestrijden van discriminatie is een kerntaak van de EU. Discriminatie van bepaalde bevolkingsgroepen kan immers leiden tot vluchtelingenstromen binnen de EU. Dit is exact het probleem waar de stad Gent mee kampt. In de afgelopen drie jaar heeft Gent een instroom gezien van vluchtelingen, voornamelijk Roma, ten belope van bijna 2,5% van haar totale bevolkingsaantal.

Dit stelt problemen voor het sociale vangnet dat de stad kan bieden, zoals uiteengezet in de brief die de Commissie in november heeft ontvangen (2009-2174-01).

Kan de EU steun geven om intra-EU-vluchtelingen op te vangen? Welke verdere actie zal de Commissie nemen om zulke situaties aan te pakken en te voorkomen?

 
  
 

The European Union plays an important role in combating discrimination against Roma people through a wide range of legislative, policy and financial instruments at is disposal.

Firstly, Directive 2000/43/EC(1) prohibits discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin in the field of employment, education, social protection (including health care) and access to goods and services. The Commission ensures that the Directive is implemented correctly and effectively in the Member States.

Secondly, the Commission promotes policy co-ordination between Member States in the area of social protection and social inclusion through the so-called 'Social Open Method of Co-ordination'. The Social OMC is based common objectives at EU level and a set of indicators to measure progress. The Commission and the Council regularly assess and report on progress through the Joint Reports on Social Protection and Social Inclusion. The Commission draft 2010 Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion will be adopted shortly for submission to the Council of Ministers in March 2010 under the auspices of the Spanish Presidency of the Council.

Thirdly, EU Structural Funds, notably the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), provide financial support for projects tackling exclusion of Roma people. Further to a request of the European Council, the Commission presented a Staff Working document providing an overview of the Community Instruments and Policies for Roma Inclusion in July 2008(2). A follow-up report will be presented ahead of the 2nd Roma Summit to be held in Cordoba on 8 April 2010.

As regards Flanders, the Commission stresses that both the ESF and the ERDF can support projects to promote integration of Roma people. Under the 2007-2013 programming period, priority 2 of the ESF operational programme for Flanders focuses on promotion of social inclusion of disadvantaged groups through tailor-made assistance. Measures include tailored guidance and training, validation of competences and skills, work experience and workplace training. Under Priority 4 of the ERDF programme in Flanders, small-scale urban projects at neighborhood or district level in Antwerpen and Gent can be financed.

It is worth noting that the selection of projects co-financed under the ESF or the ERDF lies, by virtue of the principle of subsidiarity, within the remit of the Member States or the competent managing authorities under the conditions laid down in the operational programmes. The Commission therefore invites the Honourable Member to contact the competent managing authorities in Flanders for more detailed information.

Insofar as the Roma people arriving in Belgium originate from non-EU countries and apply for asylum or are granted refugee or subsidiary protection status, EU assistance may also be available to Belgium under the European Refugee Fund (ERF)(3). One of the central objectives of the ERF is to support and encourage the efforts made by Member States in 'receiving, and in bearing the consequences of receiving, refugees and displaced persons'. Financial assistance may, for example, be given to national projects aimed at enhancing accomodation infrastructure or services for asylum seekers or beneficiaries of international protection.

 
 

(1) Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin  OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22–26
(2) SEC (2008) 2172
(3) Decision No 573/2007/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 23 May 2007, OJ L 144/1.

 

Въпрос № 31 на г-жа Илияна Малинова Йотова (H-0493/09)
 Относно: Приемане и настаняване на затворници от затвора на САЩ в Гуантанамо в държави-членки на ЕС
 

Българската общественост е силно обезпокоена, че от България е поискано да настани затворници от затвора на САЩ в Гуантанамо. Такава молба е отправена официално от САЩ до българското правителство. Безпокойството идва от факта, че липсва информация за евентуалните споразумения между САЩ и ЕС за критериите и взетите мерки по осъществяването на този процес.

Смятаме, че подобно решение крие опасност от терористични атаки срещу България, както и срещу всяка държава от ЕС, която приема затворници от Гуантанамо.

Във връзка с това, бих желала да попитам Европейската Комисия какви конкретни ангажименти е поела за приемането и настаняването на затворници от затвора на САЩ в Гуантанамо в държавите-членки на ЕС след неговото затваряне?

Не е ли необходимо Европейската комисия да съобщи как точно и при какви условия това следва да се осъществява, в случай че са поети такива ангажименти?

 
  
 

The European Union (EU), including the Commission, has consistently called for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Through the Justice and Home Affairs Council Conclusions of 4 June 2009 and the annexed information exchange mechanism as well as through the Joint Statement of the European Union and its Member States and the United States of America (USA) on the Closure of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility and Future Counter-Terrorism Co-operation of 15 June 2009, the EU established a framework to support the closure of Guantanamo.

Both agreements clearly state that the decisions on the reception of former detainees and the determination of their legal status fall within the sole responsibility and competence of a receiving Member State or Schengen associated country. The Commission has not made any commitments as regards the admission and accommodation in EU countries of prisoners from the USA’s Guantanamo Prison after its closure.

 

Interrogazione n. 32 dell'on. Francesco De Angelis (H-0494/09)
 Oggetto: Ristrutturazioni aziendali e futuro dei lavoratori europei
 

Un numero sempre più consistente di imprese e di siti industriali europei in crisi hanno potuto beneficiare del sostegno dell'UE in fatto di riconversione e formazione del quadro dipendente. Nondimeno, dopo aver beneficiato dei contributi del FSE, alcune realtà industriali hanno poi disatteso gli impegni precedentemente assunti. È, questo, il caso dello stabilimento di Anagni della Videocon, che impiega attualmente circa 1.400 dipendenti, i quali, in assenza di una assunzione di responsabilità da parte della proprietà indiana, il prossimo 21 dicembre verranno messi in Cassa integrazione guadagni e nel corso del 2010 potrebbero essere licenziati.

Quali iniziative immediate intende la Commissione assumere per scongiurare la chiusura dello stabilimento di Anagni e degli altri stabilimenti soggetti a riconversioni che, sebbene annunciate e finanziariamente sostenute dall'UE, non hanno prodotto effetti tangibili sul piano della ripresa produttiva di quei siti?

 
  
 

The Commission is aware of the impact of the unprecedented economic crisis which is hitting the Member States, including Italy where the AGNANI factory is located.

The Commission has proposed a series of measures aimed to limit the impact of the crisis on the social and employment situation in the EU. In this connection, under the European Economic Recovery Plan(1), the Commission has proposed i.a. to modify the rules of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund(2). Furthermore, the Commission has proposed to modify Regulation No. 1083/2006 on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund as regards certain provisions related to financial management.

The Commission recalls that it does not have the competence to prevent or interfere in companies' restructuring decisions, unless there is a breach of Community law. The Community legal framework provides for several Community directives which lay down procedures of information and consultation of workers' representatives and which may be applicable in the event of closures of companies, in particular Council Directive 98/59/EC(3), Directive 2009/38/EC(4) and Directive 2002/14/EC(5).

The information provided by the Honourable Member does not enable the Commission to assess whether there has been a breach of Community Law in this case. In any case, the Commission recalls that it is up to the competent national authorities, notably courts, to ensure the correct and effective application of the national transposing rules of these Directives in view of the specific circumstances of each case and to ensure the fulfilment of any employer's duties in this regard.

As far as the contributions received from the European Social Fund are concerned, the Commission will assess whether the conditions are met in order to intervene through the competent national or regional authorities with a view to recovering the sums granted.

Lastly, it is unclear if the case referred to by the Honourable Member complies with the requirements of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). The Commission has neither received an application for assistance from the EGF concerning this case, nor has it had informal discussions with the Italian authorities about such an application.

Only upon receipt of an application can the Commission analyse the case and propose a contribution to be agreed by the Budgetary Authority. In any case, assistance from the EGF is strictly targeted at the workers affected and cannot in any circumstances benefit the enterprise, or influence its decision concerning the possible closure of the factory.

 
 

(1) COM (2008) 800 final
(2) COM (2008) 867 final
(3) Council Directive 98/59/EC of 20 July 1998 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies,  OJ L 225, 12.8.1998
(4) Directive 2009/38/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 on the establishment of a European Works Council or a procedure in Community-scale undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings for the purposes of informing and consulting employees (Recast),  OJ L 122, 16.5.2009
(5) Directive 2002/14/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2002 establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees in the European Community,  OJ L 80, 23.3.2002

 

Question no 33 by Mairead McGuinness (H-0499/09)
 Subject: Decrease in bee populations
 

Can the Commission outline what action it has taken in response to the European Parliament's Motion for a Resolution on the situation in the beekeeping sector, adopted on 20 November 2008 (P6_TA(2008)0567)? Can the Commission comment on the recently published EFSA study on bee mortality (03.12.2009)? Does the Commission have any immediate plans to act on the report’s recommendations?

 
  
 

The Commission is well aware of the problems of the beekeeping sector underlined in the European Parliament Resolution of 20 November 2008 [B6-0579/2008/P6_TA-PROV(2008)0567].

The Commission has already taken several actions as regards the health of bees, and it has in particular:

reviewed the regulation on residue limits of veterinary medicines in foodstuffs; this should help to increase the availability of veterinary medicines for bees

proposed a new Regulation concerning the placing on the market of plant protection products in which, amongst others, the existing criteria for the acceptability as regards the exposure to honey bees laid down in Directive 91/414 have been further reinforced. That Regulation has been adopted meanwhile by the European Parliament and the Council

for relevant insecticides already approved, conditioned the authorisation with strict risk mitigation measures to be implemented by Member States

supported several research projects for a total funding of about 5 million EUR.

The Commission has also established an internal co-ordination platform to ensure synergies and optimal use of resources.

Following a request of the Commission, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has recently published a study on the mortality in bees and its causes in the EUThe EFSA study identifies that multiple factors such as disease agents, climate change, use of pesticides and veterinary drugs are involved in colony losses. However, the relevance of many of the factors involved remains unclear. The BEE DOC research project starting in March 2010 is expected to provide more information on this question. The EFSA report also highlights that Member States have very different surveillance systems in place for bee mortality and diseases and this hampers a better understanding of the health problems affecting bees.

In this regard, in the next months the Commission intends to discuss with experts, stakeholders and the Member States's competent authorities the establishment of an EU reference laboratory for bees and of a network at EU level for a more harmonised surveillance of the health of the bees.

The Commission aims to sustain bees and other pollinators through the promotion of habitat connectivity and the integration of the biodiversity policy into other policy sectors. Rural development programmes provide several measures which are relevant also to beekeepers, including advisory services, training, support for modernisation of holdings and different types of agri-environmental measures favourable to bees.

As explained above, the Commission has already taken several actions and will continue to do so to tackle the health problems of bees, taking into account the new scientific information that will be available.

 

Question no 34 by Brian Crowley (H-0503/09)
 Subject: Assistance for medical professionals
 

Would the Commission be willing to investigate the possibility of establishing an EU-wide programme to assist medical professionals who suffer from addictions or stress-related illnesses?

 
  
 

Stress, addictions, including the abuse of alcohol, and mental health problems have indeed become one of the key challenges at EU-workplaces. Stress can lead to mental disorders, such as burnout and depression, which can strongly reduce the ability of people to work, often over long periods. Stress is the second most reported work-related health problem in the EU, after back pain.

In some Member States, mental disorders have become the leading cause of work disability and early retirement. The productivity losses caused by mental disorders are enormous. They were estimated to account for EUR 136 billion in 2007.

There is evidence that stress, addiction and burnout are also widespread among health professionals. In fact, it seems that health professionals are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health problems than professionals in other sectors. High pressure at workplaces, low feedback on performance and lack of emotional support could contribute to this.

The health sector is one of the greatest employers in the EU. In an ageing society, the availability of a sustainable health workforce, which is itself enjoying good health, is of increasing importance.

Therefore, the Commission agrees on the importance of assisting medical professionals in tackling addictions, stress and other mental health problems.

The Commission does not however have the competence and the resources to set up an EU-wide assistance programme which would specifically target health professionals.

Instead, the EU's role should lie in the following areas:

- raising awareness about healthy workplaces making good business sense;

- increasing awareness and disseminating data about health challenges for health professionals;

- highlighting best practice and developing guides for responding to them;

- encouraging the social partners in the health care sector to carry out the mandatory workplace risk assessment under the Framework Directive 89/391/EEC(1) and to implement the EU-level social Framework Agreements on work-related stress (of 2004) and on violence and harassment (of 2007).

In fact, a great number of relevant activities have already been carried out, or are ongoing or planned. These include the previously mentioned social policy initiatives as well as activities of the Bilbao Agency and the Dublin Foundation.

During 2010 the Commission will consider the conclusions contained in the Report of the consultation on the Green Paper on the EU Workforce for Health, which was published on the Commission's Public Health website in December 2009. The Commission will reflect on the results of this public consultation to see how the EU can contribute to tackling the challenges facing the European workforce for health, and, in early 2011, will organise a conference on "Mental Health in workplace settings" under the European Pact for Mental Health and Well-being.

Through these initiatives and activities, the EU sends important signals and lends significant support to all workplace actors, including the professionals in the health care sector and their representative social partner organisations.

 
 

(1)Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work, OJ L 183, 29.6.1989.

 

Question no 35 by Pat the Cope Gallagher (H-0505/09)
 Subject: Mackerel fisheries
 

When does the Commission envisage that the amendment to the Council Regulation (EC) No 1542/2007(1) on landing and weighting procedures for herring, mackerel and horse mackerel to include areas VIII a, b, c, d, e, IX and X in the scope of that regulation will be adopted, and from what date will it apply?

In light of ICES scientific advice showing that the southern component for mackerel over the last few years has been consistently overfished by Spain by at least twice its quota, what control measures and investigation procedures does the Commission intend to put in place to ensure that this practice does not continue, and will a payback system be put in place?

 
  
 

The Commission will treat the amendment of Commission Regulation (EC) No 1542/2007 on landing and weighing procedures for herring, mackerel and horse mackerel with urgency as soon as the new College of Commissioners is in office.

Furthermore the Commission is pleased to inform the Honourable Member that allegations on possible overfishing have been the subject of high level contacts between the Commission and Spain. The Commission has expressed its grave concerns with respect to the alleged overfishing and Spain was urged to treat the matter seriously.

Spain has reacted positively to the Commission's concerns and has closed last year's fishery for southern mackerel as from 10 June 2009. Commission Regulation (EC) No 624/2009 of 15 July 2009 establishing a prohibition of fishing for mackerel in VIIIc, IX and X; EC waters of CECAF 34.1.1 by vessels flying the flag of Spain has enshrined the closure in EU law. Provisional catch figures communicated to the Commission by Spain did not indicate the need to initiate a payback procedure.

The Commission would like to ensure the Honourable Member that it will endeavour to undertake further inquiries into this matter and that it will do its utmost to avoid a future overfishing of the southern mackerel stock.

 
 

(1) OJ L 337, 21.12.2007, p. 56.

 

Zapytanie nr 36 skierowane przez Ryszard Czarnecki (H-0506/09)
 Przedmiot: Stabilność rynku finansowego w Polsce
 

Europejski Bank Centralny w dn.18.12.2009 r. opublikował półroczny raport nt. stabilności finansowej w strefie euro, wskazujący, że banki ze strefy euro będą musiały podjąć 187 mld rezerw w 2010 r., przy czym jedną z dwóch głównych przyczyn wymienia straty wynikające ze złej sytuacji ekonomicznej w Europie Środkowej i Wschodniej (CEE). W tym kontekście komentarz Wall Street Journal do raportu EBC wymienia z nazwy Unicredit.

Czy Komisja nie uważa, że praktyki biznesowe i procedury księgowe w Grupie Unicredit prowadzą do ukrywania rzeczywistych strat finansowych, co w średnim i długim okresie może narazić stabilność systemu finansowego w UE? Myślę tu o sztucznym podtrzymywaniu wyników i płynności Unicredit Ukraina przez Bank Pekao SA poprzez tzw. rolowanie złych długów i ciągłe zwiększanie finansowania, co budzi moje zaniepokojenie o stabilność rynku finansowego w Polsce, gdyż Pekao SA dotąd nie podjął wymaganych prawem europejskim (MSSF) rezerw na swoje inwestycje na Ukrainie.

Czy drenaż finansowy spółki córki Pekao SA przez spółkę matkę Unicredit zgodny jest z prawem UE? Czy narzucanie spółkom córkom w ramach tzw. "Projektu Chopin" (Polska, Rumunia, Bułgaria) niekorzystnych kontraktów z protegowaną przez Unicredit Pirelli Real Estate SpA w sytuacji jaskrawego konfliktu interesów Prezesa Unicredit, Alessandro Profumo (w momencie podpisania kontraktów pełnił funkcję w Radzie Dyrektorów spółki z Grupy Pirelli), nie doprowadza do naruszenia zasad konkurencji w UE?

 
  
 

One of the key objectives of the European Union is to create a common legal framework for the EU financial sector aimed at ensuring robust prudential oversight, transparency and sound governance of market participants. A common legal structure is essential for financial stability and fair competition of the European financial sector.

Accordingly, the EU has adopted several legislative acts, such as the: "Capital Requirement Directive" (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32006L0048:EN:NOT" (1)) which lays down rules in relation to the [taking up and pursuit of the] business of credit institutions, and their prudential supervision; the IAS Regulation (Regulation 1606/2002/EC(2)) which obliges listed companies to apply the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for their consolidated financial reports and the Directive 2006/43/EC(3) which requires financial reports to be audited by authorised external auditors.

In the aftermath of the financial crisis the Commission has significantly stepped up its efforts to enhance financial stability also through its membership of the Financial Stability Board and, more specifically, by many new important proposals such as, for example, on credit rating agencies, securitisation, the supervision of cross border banking groups and a general overhaul of the EU supervisory architecture based on the De Larosière report. Many of the Commission's proposals have already been adopted in a single reading thanks to the close and constructive co-operation between the Parliament and the Council.

Moreover, the Commission is also working on other initiatives that will enhance the ability of the banking sector to absorb economic shocks. For example, the Commission will shortly consult on tightening the quality of regulatory capital, new liquidity requirements as well as countercyclical buffers for banks.

While the Commission is closely monitoring the correct and timely implementation of EU laws by Member States the enforcement of these laws and the supervision of market behaviour of individual financial institutions is the sole responsibility of the national authorities.

As regards any potential impact of the Unicredit Group's business practice on the financial market stability in Poland, the Commission, without taking a position on this specific case, would point out that:

1. although Bank Pekao SA is part (a subsidiary) of UniCredit Group, it is supervised by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF). Moreover, as a licensed Polish bank, it must always meet the minimum EU solvency requirements on a stand alone basis;

2. as far as the stability of the banking sector is concerned, Poland has established a specific Committee for Financial Stability, consisting of the Minister of Finance, the Governor of the National Bank of Poland and the Chairman of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority;

3. UniCredit Group is subject to the supervision of the Italian authorities (Banca d'Italia and Consob);

4. UniCredit as an Italian bank, and, like all the other European listed banks, is required to prepare its consolidated financial reports according to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) adopted by the European Union under Regulation 1606/2002/EC which provide a high level of transparency.

From a company law point of view, it has to be noted that that there is no rule in EU law that prohibits asset transfers between a subsidiary and its parent company or establishes specific conditions for any such transaction. Notably, the project of a so-called Ninth Company Law Directive(4)which was meant to regulate relations within a cross-border group of companies was finally abandoned in the context of the 2003 Company law Action Plan(5), in view of the lack of support from Member States and the business communities that did not see the need for such a comprehensive framework. However, transactions between parent companies and their subsidiaries are considered related party transactions and are therefore subject to disclosure obligations. Thus, these transactions need to be disclosed in the companies' financial statements, in accordance with International Accounting Standard (IAS) 24 which requires that an entity shall disclose the nature of the related party relationship as well as information about the transactions and outstanding balances necessary for an understanding of the potential effect of the relationship on the financial statements.

Apart from these disclosure duties, the rules of the so-called Second Company Law Directive(6) on distributions to shareholders apply to all public limited liability companies, independently of whether they form part of the same group of companies or not. Article 15 of that Directive requires inter alia that the distribution must not lead to reducing the net assets of the company below the amount of the subscribed capital plus the legal reserves and thus protects the financial stability of the company.

Concerning the suggestion that UniCredit was "draining of funds" its Polish subsidiary, the Commission is not aware of any particular problems in this regard. The available statistics suggest that international banks indeed decreased somewhat their exposure vis-a-vis the Polish banking sector during the second half of 2008 and in early 2009, but then they increased it again in the second quarter 2009. This suggests that the decrease of exposure – possibly including the relation between UniCredit and Pekao – may have been temporary, linked to the decline in credit. The Commission will continue monitoring developments in this area.

Finally, with specific regard to the concern raised about the possibility that UniCredit behaviour could have been "not in breach of EU competition rules", from the information contained in the question it appears that the EU competition rules, notably the antitrust rules, are not the appropriate instruments for tackling the issues raised in the question and alleged practices of UniCredit or its executives. Indeed, the issues at stake do not relate either to a collusion or to an anti-competitive agreement between undertakings or to any abuse of a dominant position.

 
 

(1) Directive 2006/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2006 relating to the taking up and pursuit of the business of credit institutions (recast), OJ L 177, 30.6.2006.
(2) Regulation (EC) No 1606/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 July 2002 on the application of international accounting standards, OJ L 243, 11.9.2002.
(3) Directive 2006/43/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2006 on statutory audits of annual accounts and consolidated accounts, amending Council Directives 78/660/EEC and 83/349/EEC and repealing Council Directive 84/253/EEC, OJ L 157, 9.6.2006.
(4) Draft Commission Proposal for a ninth Directive pursuant to Article 54(3)(g) of the EEC Treaty relating to links between undertakings, and in particular to groups (III/1639/84).
(5) Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament - Modernising Company Law and Enhancing Corporate Governance in the European Union - A Plan to Move Forward (COM(2003)284 final).
(6) Second Council Directive 77/91/EEC of 13 December 1976 on coordination of safeguards which, for the protection of the interests of members and others, are required by Member States of companies within the meaning of the second paragraph of Article 58 of the Treaty, in respect of the formation of public limited liability companies and the maintenance and alteration of their capital, with a view to making such safeguards equivalent, OJ L 26, 31.1.1977.

 

Vraag nr. 37 van Ivo Belet (H-0001/10)
 Betreft: Bodyscanners
 

De Nederlandse overheid gaat nog in de loop van januari 2010 millimeter wave scans of bodyscanners inzetten op de luchthaven van Schiphol, met name voor de vluchten naar de V.S. De scanners zijn nodig omdat ze gevaarlijke stoffen en vloeistoffen kunnen detecteren.

Is de Commissie van mening dat de beslissing van de Nederlandse overheid verantwoord is omdat de veiligheid van de passagiers prevaleert op hun absolute recht op privacy?

Onder welke voorwaarden zijn volgens de Commissie bodyscanners aanvaardbaar? Volstaat het dat de gescande lichaamsbeelden niet kunnen worden opgeslagen of doorgeseind?

Welke bijkomende initiatieven plant de Commissie op korte termijn om de veiligheid van passagiers, met name op vluchten naar de V.S., te garanderen? Is de Commissie bereid in de komende weken een regeling inzake bodyscanners voor te leggen?

 
  
 

No EU rules have been adopted concerning the use of body scanners as possible method to screen passengers before boarding. Legally, Member States are entitled to introduce body scanners for trials or as a more stringent security measures(1).

Security can only be achieved through a multi-layered approach. Body scanners, because of their effectiveness, might be part of this multi-layered approach, as long as privacy, data protection and health requirements are satisfied. Aviation security is also embedded into a broader approach, because airport security measures are merely the last line of defence.

The Commission is considering, in close contact with the Parliament and the Council, the need for a European approach which will ensure that the introduction of body scanners will meet the privacy, data protection and health requirements.

Operational standards for body scanners must be designed so as to be compatible with fundamental rights requirements as incorporated in EU law including data protection. Any intrusion in passengers' privacy must be proportionate and well justified, which implies a careful assessment. Adopted measures must be strictly limited to the minimum necessary to meet an identified threat risk. Conditions could include the following: limited storage facilities strictly excluding any use or recuperation of the image once the passenger has been cleared; low resolution of body areas not identified as containing potential threat items, or 100% remote reviewing without any but preset automated contact with the actual screener. The option to use body scanners at airports may come with an obligation to use the latest available privacy enhancing technology in order to minimise the privacy intrusion. Furthermore, any operation of body scanners will have to be accompanied by comprehensive information to passengers. And finally, any technologies to be used must not pose a health risk. In this context, it is worth noting that such technologies exist.

In the coming weeks and months, the Commission will continue its considerations and assessment regarding potential new security measures and their compatibility with fundamental rights requirements, and assess the effectiveness of measures and instruments already available. It will be only on the basis of this assessment that the Commission might propose EU measures on the use of body scanners.

It is therefore not likely that the Commission will propose legislation on body scanners within the next few weeks.

 
 

(1) Without a legal basis in EU law, body scanners may not replace existing means of screening performed in line with presently applicable EU legislation, except for time-limited trial periods.

 

Question no 38 by Laima Liucija Andrikienė (H-0003/10)
 Subject: Further implementation of the Baltic Sea Strategy
 

The Baltic Sea Strategy was one of the key priorities of the Swedish EU Presidency.

How will the Commission continue implementing the Strategy under the new trio of Presidencies (Spain, Belgium and Hungary) during the upcoming 18 months?

What steps does the Commission plan to take in the near future and in the longer term in order to establish a strong basis for the implementation of the Baltic Sea Strategy?

 
  
 

The Commission is committed to taking forward the successful implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, in close partnership with the Member States.

The Council of the European Union – General Affairs Council – retains responsibility for assuring the overall political direction of the Strategy. This will involve making recommendations on the basis of reports from the Commission to the Member States and stakeholders. Other Council formations may address specific issues within the Strategy, and the European Council will be updated periodically on progress.

Preparation and servicing of the General Affairs Council discussions will be undertaken by the Commission in line with the Commission's monitoring, co-ordination and reporting responsibilities with regard to the Strategy. In order to ensure that the Commission is in possession of all relevant information about the progress and development of the Strategy, certain structures and procedures will need to be put in place with the involvement of the Member States and other stakeholders.

In particular, the Commission will convene a High-Level Working Group of Senior Officials from all Member States to consult with on the progress of the Strategy. This Group will be able to invite additional members as appropriate, whether from key stakeholders such as inter-governmental organisations or from policy ministries. The Group will advise the Commission on the content of the regular report to be prepared on the Strategy and on recommendations for any necessary adaptations to the Strategy and its Action Plan.

The work on the ground in implementing the Strategy will be carried out by the 15 Priority Area Coordinators and the 80 flagship Project leaders. The Priority area Coordinators come mainly from Member State ministries while the Flagship Project leaders may also come from regions, universities, international organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Their task will be to ensure that the Strategy moves from words to action. The Commission will provide the necessary support to enable these key actors to fulfil their tasks.

The Commission will also organise an annual forum already in 2010 to maintain the high visibility and forward momentum of the Strategy. The forum will involve the Commission and other EU Institutions, Member States, regional and local authorities and inter-governmental and non-governmental bodies and is intended to be open to the public. This first forum will allow the Commission to check whether the structures which have been put in place are functioning effectively or if changes are necessary.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 39 του κ. Γεωργίου Τούσσα (H-0006/10)
 Θέμα: Τραγικός θάνατος εννέα ναυτεργατών στο Aegean Wind
 

Τραγικό θάνατο βρήκαν εννέα ναυτεργάτες, ανήμερα των Χριστουγέννων, από πυρκαγιά που ξέσπασε στο 26 χρονο υπό ελληνική σημαία πλοίο Aegean Wind. Το νέο αυτό ναυτικό «ατύχημα» προστίθεται στα άλλα πολύνεκρα όπως του «Ε/Γ-Ο/Γ Express Samina», τα «Φ/Γ Δύστος» του «Φ/Γ Iron Antonis» του “Errica”, του “Prestige” κ.α.. Τα κράτη μέλη και η ΕΕ προσαρμόζουν την ναυτιλιακή τους πολιτική στις απαιτήσεις της ανταγωνιστικότητας και της κερδοφορίας των εφοπλιστών, και αγνοώντας τα δίκαια αιτήματα των ναυτεργατών επιτρέπουν να ταξιδεύουν υπερήλικα – υποσυντήρητα πλοία, εντατικοποιούν την εργασία των ναυτεργατών, μειώνουν τις οργανικές συνθέσεις και επιβάλλουν εξοντωτικά ωράρια 16-18 ωρών την ημέρα με ολέθριες συνέπειες για την ασφάλεια της ζωής στη θάλασσα.

Γνωρίζει η Επιτροπή αν το Aegean Wind πληρούσε τους στοιχειώδεις κανόνες ασφαλείας που θα απέτρεπαν την απώλεια ζωής των ναυτεργατών; αν το πλοίο ήταν εξοπλισμένο με τα απαραίτητα συστήματα πυροπροστασίας, πυρασφάλειας και κατάσβεσης και αν αυτά λειτουργούσαν κανονικά; Υπάρχει ενημέρωση και εκτίμηση για τα αίτια του θανάτου των ναυτεργατών από την ΕMSΑ;

 
  
 

The general cargo vessel Aegean Wind caught fire in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Venezuela on 25 December 2009, killing nine and injuring five out of the 24-member crew. The Commission deplores the loss of lifes and the injuries and commends the Venezuelan authorities for their assistance in particular to the injured crew members.

As the accident investigation under the responsibility of the Greek authorities is ongoing, the Commission is not in a position to make any statement on the origin of the accident. However, all class certificates have been issued at the last special survey in 2007 and are valid until 2012 after having been recently endorsed in June 2009. Likewise, surveys for statutory certificates on board the ship have been performed as recently as June 2009, endorsing the validity of all statutory certificates required under the SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) and MARPOL (MARitime POLlution) conventions. Finally, the ship has been issued with a new Safety Management Certificate in March 2008 with a regular validity for five years. Furthermore, it should be noted that the vessel was regularly inspected by Port States and that it had never been detained during at least the last 10 years. The last inspection on 14 October 2009 in Texas by the United States (US) Coast Guard did not reveal any deficiency.

At present, Member States are obliged by international legislation to investigate accidents if there are lessons to be learnt. The accident to which the Honourable Member refers, has to be considered as a very serious casualty within the meaning of Article 3 of Directive 2009/18/EC(1) establishing the fundamental principles governing the investigation of accidents in the maritime transport sector, which is part of the third maritime safety package. For such casualties, the directive foresees an obligation for the Member States to organise a safety investigation carried out by an independent organisation in order to determine the causes of the accident and to identify measures designed to prevent similar events in the future. The Member State will have to publish the relative report within one year. The transposition period for this Directive ends on 17 June 2011. While the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) does not have any role in the investigation of marine casualties, EMSA collects information on marine casualties provided by the Member States and from commercial sources. Following the transposition of Directive 2009/18/EC, Member States will have to notify all marine casualties and incidents through the European Marine Casualty Information Platform (EMCIP) managed by EMSA.

Regarding hours of work onboard ships, the Commission wishes to point out that Directive 1999/63/EC(2) on the organisation of working time of seafarers establishes both a maximum number of hours of work, fourteen hours in any 24 hour period and 72 hours in any seven-day period, and a minimum number of hours of rest, ten hours in any 24 hour period and 77 hours in any seven-day period.

 
 

(1) Directive 2009/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 establishing the fundamental principles governing the investigation of accidents in the maritime transport sector and amending Council Directive 1999/35/EC and Directive 2002/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, OJ L 131, 28.5.2009.
(2) Council Directive 1999/63/EC of 21 June 1999 concerning the Agreement on the organisation of working time of seafarers concluded by the European Community Shipowners' Association (ECSA) and the Federation of Transport Workers' Unions in the European Union (FST) - Annex: European Agreement on the organisation of working time of seafarers, OJ L 167, 2.7.1999.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 40 του κ. Χαράλαμπου Αγγουράκη (H-0007/10)
 Θέμα: Διώξεις στελεχών του Κόμματος Δημοκρατικής Κοινωνίας DTP
 

Δυο μέρες μετά τα συγχαρητήρια της ΕΕ στην Κυβέρνηση της Τουρκίας για την πορεία «εκδημοκρατισμού» της χώρας και την πρόοδο στην επίλυση των προβλημάτων με την κουρδική κοινότητα, το Τουρκικό Συνταγματικό Δικαστήριο αποφάσισε να θέσει εκτός νόμου το Κόμμα Δημοκρατικής Κοινωνίας (DTP). Επιπλέον, το δικαστήριο επέβαλε πενταετή στέρηση πολιτικών δικαιωμάτων σε 37 στελέχη του κόμματος και αφαίρεσε τη βουλευτική ιδιότητα του Προέδρου του Κόμματος Αχμέτ Τουρκ και της Αϊσέλ Τουγλούκ. Μάλιστα, σύμφωνα με καταγγελία του δημάρχου του Diyarbakir, μετά από συντονισμένη επιχείρηση των τουρκικών αρχών, 81 μέλη του κόμματος συνελήφθησαν και κρατούνται, ανάμεσα στα οποία 9 δημοκρατικά εκλεγμένοι δήμαρχοι.

Καταδικάζει η Επιτροπή τέτοιου είδους ενέργειες που στοχεύουν να τρομοκρατήσουν και να εμποδίσουν την πολιτική δράση καταπατώντας βάναυσα τα θεμελιώδη δημοκρατικά δικαιώματα των Τούρκων πολιτών;

 
  
 

The Commission has expressed serious concerns following recent developments, such as terrorist attacks in the Southeast, the closure of the Democratic Society Party – DTP and the arrest of members of this party, including mayors. The Commission believes that these developments do not create the right conditions for the effective implementation of the democratic opening, which the Turkish government launched in the summer of 2009.

The Southeast of Turkey needs peace, democracy and stability that can bring about economic, social and cultural development. The democratic opening aims at raising democratic and living standards for all Turkish citizens. It has raised hopes that, after decades of violence, the Kurdish issue can be addressed through dialogue and within the framework of Turkey's democratic institutions. The success of this initiative requires the participation and support of all political parties and all segments of society.

At the same time, the Commission condemns terrorism in the strongest possible terms. The Commission also invites all parties involved to do likewise and work within the framework of Turkey's democratic institutions to enhance the rights and freedoms of all Turkish citizens irrespective of their ethnic, linguistic, religious or cultural background.

The Commission will continue to follow closely the situation, on the basis of the relevant provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the recommendations of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe regarding the Turkish legislative framework and practice as regards the closure of political parties. In this regard, the Commission reiterates that Turkey's legislation on political parties needs to be brought in line with European standards.

 
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