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Procedure : 2008/0211(COD)
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Texts tabled :

A7-0230/2010

Debates :

PV 08/09/2010 - 4
CRE 08/09/2010 - 4

Votes :

PV 08/09/2010 - 6.1
CRE 08/09/2010 - 6.1
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2010)0308

Debates
Wednesday, 8 September 2010 - Strasbourg OJ edition

7. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
  

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Recommendation for second reading: Elisabeth Jeggle (A7-0230/2010)

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE).(PL) The progress of science is a condition for economic development, and innovative research is therefore the basis of new and better methods which benefit the economy in general and people in particular. However, the costs related to this must not be treated lightly. The welfare of living beings should be the most important thing in the economy. If people do not respect natural laws, or if they interfere with them too much, nature may resist. This is why the recommendations adopted today are so important. I voted in favour of their adoption, because it is a good compromise. On the one hand, the directive makes it possible to conduct essential scientific research while, on the other, it reduces, as much as is possible, the suffering of the animals used in this research.

 
  
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  Romana Jordan Cizelj (PPE). (SL) The European Animal Testing Directive from 1986 is in real need of updating. I am not pleased with the fact that the new legislative proposal still permits the testing and suffering of animals, but I voted in favour of the directive nonetheless. Why?

Largely for three reasons. The first reason is that the proposal permits animal testing only in situations where human welfare outweighs animal welfare. This is about human dignity and the human right to health and medical treatment, about the human right to the best possible treatment. The second reason is that, under the new directive, significantly fewer animals will be used for testing than before. The third reason is that the animals that will still undergo testing will have better living conditions and will be taken better care of.

Naturally, I would like to see animal testing become completely unnecessary in the near future.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, animal welfare is a subject which the people of Europe feel very strongly about. Therefore, I am very pleased that our rapporteur, Mrs Jeggle, has succeeded during the course of long negotiations in bringing about a significant improvement in the welfare of experimental animals.

The aim of the new directive is to ensure that animal experiments are replaced and reduced to the absolute minimum that is necessary. These tests will only be permitted if there are no alternatives, but they will be subject to very strict regulations. This represents a good compromise between animal welfare and freedom of research. For the first time, we will have a high level of animal welfare throughout Europe. This is a major success. Now we have to make sure that all the Member States implement the new directive promptly.

 
  
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  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, on this sensitive subject of the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, I believe we have succeeded in finding a good compromise between the demands of those who carry out research using animals and welfare standards for animals used or intended for use for scientific purposes.

That is why I voted in favour of Mrs Jeggle’s report. At the same time, I endorse the obligation on Member States to refrain from using animals whenever European Union legislation recognises other experimental methods or strategies for achieving the same result.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE). – Mr President, I want to congratulate Elizabeth Jeggle for her work on this issue of testing and the use of animals.

I voted in favour of this, because I believe it is the most pragmatic solution to a problem that we have in updating the 1986 legislation.

Can I say that this is important for animal welfare, but also for the continuation of research in the European Union. We risk pushing scientists and research into medical conditions outside our borders where there is less regulation, so while we do need to improve the regulation and indeed the welfare of animals used in testing in research institutions and universities, we also need to guarantee that the research can continue.

We talk all the time about encouraging young people into science and spending more on research and innovation, and this does involve the use of animals. But let us protect them to the best possible extent, and we will do that with this legislation.

 
  
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  Jens Rohde (ALDE). (DA) Mr President, the Danish Liberal Party has voted in favour of the report on animal experiments. It is no secret that very strong arguments have been put forward on both sides of this issue. There are those who believe that the rights of the animals have priority. We, on the other hand, believe that society also has the right to see progress in the development of medicines and the treatment of diseases. Our task is, of course, to ensure that we strike the right balance. Animals must be treated appropriately, but our researchers must have the tools they need to develop new forms of treatment and to cure serious diseases. The report drawn up by Mrs Jeggle strikes a very precise balance and we are therefore of the opinion that it is worth voting for. We also fundamentally believe that it is a good thing that we can now at last move on from the legislation that dates all the way back to 1986.

 
  
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  Mario Pirillo (S&D).(IT) Mr President, (...) reach agreement at second reading on this controversial report on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. I voted in favour of the agreement because it seems to be a balanced text that protects animals without threatening scientific research.

The agreement emphasises the fact that research using animals should be allowed where it is not possible to proceed by means of scientifically satisfactory experimentation. The legislation is clear: it establishes criteria for the treatment of animals for scientific use and requires the Member States to ensure that the number of animals used in projects is reduced to a minimum.

Without this report, there is no point in repeating that Europe needs more and more scientific research.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). – Mr President, I would like to congratulate Elizabeth Jeggle, and all of those involved, in reaching this balanced compromise on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.

Indeed, the European animal welfare movement welcomes the prompt adoption of the agreed compromise. I believe the adopted text will bring about direct and tangible animal welfare benefits while, at the same time, it will allow essential medical research to continue in Europe, which hopefully will deliver new, innovative and effective treatments.

The compromise that we have reached today is also an important step towards harmonising European regulations on animal experimentation and that, in itself, I think, is very important.

Finally, it is a humane response which has established upper threshold limits for pain, and it does put an obligation on the Commission to inspect animal testing institutions where there is due reason for concern.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). (FI) Mr President, I, too, voted in favour of Mrs Jeggle’s directive on animal protection, and I believe that it is very important that we in the European Parliament also give our serious support to the protection of animals.

In this connection, however, it is worth remembering, too, that this proposal is a good compromise that combines the protection of animals with scientific research. Nevertheless, we still need animal experiments to some extent, because no alternatives to them have been discovered. It is very important, however, to ensure that they take place in the right conditions and that they cause as little harm, pain and suffering as possible.

This is an excellent step forward, as we know that the previous directive dates back to 1986. I hope that it will be implemented in all the EU Member States and that we therefore adopt a harmonised practice which promotes animal protection but also provides opportunities for advances in scientific research.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE). (SK) I very much appreciate the work of Mrs Jeggle, but I cannot support the text of the directive, because neither the Council nor the Commission has guaranteed a prohibition on the use of human embryo cells to save animals. The directive is proof of the fact that, as people, we feel responsible for the other living creatures on the Earth, but it also bears sad witness to the fact that we do not value human life highly. We are prepared to restrict the use of monkeys for research only to cases involving the preservation of a species or a threat to human life. Even then, research is permitted only if it can be shown that no other method would be appropriate. However, we are incapable of providing similarly strict protection to human foetuses, unborn children or even genetic information. This report unfortunately made me feel rather as if I were living on the Planet of the Apes.

 
  
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  Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D).(PL) I endorse the measures proposed for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. I think they are sensible and balanced measures which are appropriate to our times and the aspirations of our civilisation. I must, however, admit that during the vote I made a mistake. By mistake, I voted in favour of the first amendment, whereas I was in favour of rejecting all the amendments, hence my statement.

 
  
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  Sirpa Pietikäinen (PPE). (FI) Mr President, I did not vote in favour of referring the legislation on animal experiments back to committee, because I do not believe that the outcome would have been any better afterwards. I did, however, vote in favour of the three proposed amendments.

In my view, it is very worrying that in Europe in actual fact, we are virtually taking a step backwards in the matter of the protection of animals used for experiments. In several Member States at present, there are better methods already in place for obtaining the results of research, without using animals for experiments. This practice would actually slow down the development of alternatives.

Similarly, studies show that the use of primates, even in extreme circumstances, does not produce the result for human health that is assumed in the arguments given in the proposal.

 
  
  

Report: Csaba Őry (A7-0235/2010)

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE).(IT) Mr President, the debate on the new Europe 2020 employment guidelines is taking place in the midst of the economic crisis, which will undoubtedly have a profound impact on the labour market for several years to come.

The current crisis has revealed the absence of any effective mechanisms for reacting promptly to the signs of a crisis. It shows, therefore, how necessary the coordination of the European Union’s economic policies is, provided it is strengthened and made effective. The crisis has also highlighted the close interdependence between the Member States’ economies in terms of markets and employment. I would argue, therefore, that the efforts made by the European Union and the Member States to attain the Europe 2020 targets require a strong commitment to ensuring that investments in sustainable economic growth also facilitate the creation of sustainable jobs.

The strategy should prevent any further economic and social collapse through close coordination with structural and cohesion policy. Indeed, if we wish to ensure that these new policy guidelines are effective, appropriate consideration has to be given to ensuring that the socio-economic disparities between Member States and between the regions are overcome. The EU Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund of the current programming period and any future EU funding instruments have a crucial role to play in this regard.

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in favour because I am convinced that this is the right decision overall. Nonetheless, I am not entirely satisfied, because we could surely have been more ambitious, particularly on the question of young people’s and women’s access to work and on the adoption of flexicurity as a means to fight job insecurity, which is a scourge throughout Europe. I admire the work done by the rapporteur, despite the short time she had available.

The attempt at simplification is certainly a positive point, in that a new, simpler format is proposed for the employment guidelines, of which there are now four, which clearly identify the targets set out in the Europe 2020 strategy. Equally positive in my view is the attempt to take account of the mistakes made in the past, which have led to a partial failure to meet the Europe 2010 targets.

Another positive point in this document is that it contains interesting suggestions for developing the idea of reinvesting work with its function of representing humanity’s right to progress, rather than being merely a means of survival.

 
  
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  Alajos Mészáros (PPE).(HU) Thank you very much, Mr President, but I did not understand my name clearly due to the translation. In the wake of the financial crisis, the economies of several Member States of the European Union remain vulnerable. This is why every effort should be made to ensure sustainable growth and strengthen the job-creating potential of European economies. In addition, we must also keep in mind demographic changes, globalisation, and the introduction of new technologies. I feel it is very important for the next employment strategy to create a balance between immediate issues arising from the crisis and long-term challenges. Europe’s employment policy plays a key role in overcoming the difficulties we are facing. I also agree with the rapporteur that quality education and lifelong learning can be of strategic importance in tackling unemployment. I can only support this proposal and I would like to congratulate Csaba Őry on his excellent report.

 
  
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  President. – Mr Mészáros (Meh-tsá-rosh), we have the pronunciation of your name as I have just given it. If that is wrong, please tell us how you like it to be pronounced.

 
  
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  Alajos Mészáros (PPE). – ‘Mészáros’ (Méh-sah-rosh) ‘Alajos Mészáros’. It is not easy. Thank you very much.

 
  
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  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE). (SK) I fully support the guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States, as adopted by the European Parliament. Work and employment must be the key outputs of any successful economic policy. Linking growth and job retention to the development of a green economy will, at the same time, also put in place the preconditions for preventing climatic and environmental problems. The natural disasters that have been occurring for many years, especially the floods in various parts of Europe, show that some new sustainable jobs can also be created in the area of constructing flood defences. The money spent on maintenance of water courses, maintenance and construction of public drains, drainage canals and retention structures will surely be substantially lower than the cost of dealing with the consequences of flooding.

 
  
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  Giommaria Uggias (ALDE).(IT) Mr President, our emergence from the financial crisis and the onset of the economic recovery that is characterising the European Union, albeit at varying speeds, are unfortunately occurring to the detriment of jobs and workers.

This trend stands in stark contrast to the Commission’s programme, which this House has adopted, and the approach of the specific Europe 2020 programme, which foresees the need for economic growth to be necessarily accompanied by signs of inclusiveness. The integrated guidelines that we have adopted today are a highly positive step in that direction, including the seventh, which calls on the Member States of the Union to reduce structural unemployment by means of concrete actions.

We must always bear in mind that work lies at the basis of entire legal codes, including Italy’s, Article 1 of which states that ‘Italy is a democratic Republic based on work’, and that work also lies at the basis of human dignity.

 
  
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  Tunne Kelam (PPE). – Mr President, I support the integrated guidelines which address the unemployment problems in the Member States.

At the same time, any solutions should incorporate a quality dimension. As President Barroso yesterday pointed out, there are four million job vacancies in Europe today. Mostly, these vacant jobs require a skilled labour force. I urge the Commission, therefore, to introduce without delay the proposed European Vacancy Monitoring System, which should also include a European skills passport.

The all-European target should guarantee our continent a skilled workforce. In addition, we need courage to drastically reduce the administrative and non-tariff barriers for SMEs.

 
  
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  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in favour of this report since I agree with the rapporteur’s approach. On the one hand, he supports the reduction in the number of integrated guidelines proposed by the Commission while, on the other, he specifies that this smaller number of guidelines and common targets for Europe cannot and must not guide the policies of the Member States on account of their clarity and operational usefulness.

Moreover, I agree with the part in which the rapporteur states that, if Europe 2020 is to be effective and the employment guidelines in that context efficient, appropriate consideration has to be given also to ensuring that the socio-economic disparities between Member States and between the regions of Europe are overcome, not least through the use of the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). – Mr President, the real issue surrounding Mr Őry’s excellent report on the employment guidelines is whether the Council will take the recommendations into consideration.

Last night, I was pleased to hear the Belgian Presidency commit to looking at the Parliament’s recommendations. I would say to the Council that it is crucial that they take on board many of the really excellent recommendations in Mr Őry’s report – in particular, I think, those referring to improved governance. Everybody agrees that the open method of coordination was certainly not effective with regard to the Lisbon agenda. We need to ensure that the targets and sub-targets contained are monitored and evaluated against the EU 2020 objectives.

I am pleased that amendment 62 was accepted as, if implemented, I think that will help to ensure that there is a reduction in regional disparities. Finally, I fully support the concept that employment-enhancing growth should be based on decent work, as promoted by the ILO.

 
  
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  Czesław Adam Siekierski (PPE).(PL) It is to be welcomed that the European Commission submitted the proposal on the Europe 2020 Integrated Guidelines which we have adopted in Parliament, today. In view of the current global economic situation, it is a good step, which shows the commitment of the EU institutions and their assumption of responsibility for the economy and employment. It is also to be welcomed that in establishing the guidelines, the need to maintain coherence and transparency was not forgotten. Measures such as increasing labour market participation, reducing structural unemployment, developing a skilled workforce, promoting job quality and lifelong learning, increasing the numbers of people in higher education and combating poverty and social exclusion must be put into effect as a matter of urgency, because they ensure a sustainable economy and strengthen job creation potential. The report is right in saying that it is necessary to facilitate the creation of sustainable jobs when making investments in sustainable economic growth, and also to ensure that the socio-economic disparities between Member States and between the regions are overcome. In summary, I would like to express the profound hope that Europe 2020 will produce the results which are expected of it, particularly in the area of employment policy.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, thirty years ago, the countries of – let us call it ‘old Europe’, the 15 Member States of the EU as it stood prior to the enlargement to the ex-COMECON countries, accounted for 36% of world GDP. Today, that figure is 25% and in 10 years’ time, it is scheduled to be 15%.

Now why is this happening? We cannot put it all down to the rise of Asia. The share of world GDP occupied by Canada and the US has remained fairly steady over the same period.

The truth is that we have burdened ourselves with higher taxes, with more restrictive regulations, with more intrusive regulators and licences and inspectors and bureaucrats and clerks. It may have made sense when the main competition was coming from within this continent. It makes no sense in a world where we are competing with China and India.

All the more reason for your constituents and mine to raise their eyes to further horizons, to abandon this cramped and dwindling regional customs union and to rediscover the global vocation which our fathers took for granted.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Mr President, let us start with the positive aspects of this report. I think it is very important that we all support the idea of life-long learning. For too long and for too many years, you had one chance at exams, and that decided – at a particular age, at the age of 11 or of 18 – your future.

It is very helpful, in an age of ever-changing economies where certain sectors can disappear overnight, that our citizens are able to engage in life-long learning. But at the same time, we should look at the bigger picture.

Quite often in this Chamber, we talk about the idea of a social Europe. But that phrase ‘social Europe’ is often a cover for policies that actually inhibit job creation – that add more burdens to SMEs, those engines of growth across Europe – and make it more difficult to create jobs.

Let government get out of the way of the small businesses. Let them create jobs, wealth and prosperity for all.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution RC-B7-0494/2010

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE).(IT) Mr President, I asked for the vote on this motion for a resolution to be brought forward; I am one of its signatories and I voted in favour of it. I must admit, however, that I would have expected and was hoping for something more from this Parliament.

I agree that it was an urgent decision, but it was also a very important decision. It was urgent in order to save the life of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, and it was very important for this Parliament, because we cannot go on condemning, denouncing, deploring and stigmatising and yet carry on behaving in the same way and having the same attitudes towards countries like Iran. This time, I think Iran has shown greater arrogance towards the international community, the Member States and Europe’s institutions. It is indifferent to any complaint or any appeal.

The situation today has changed and become more serious, because over the last year, the behaviour of Iran has worsened considerably and events have occurred that have run counter to the commitments adopted by the Iranian Government at an international level.

More stringent measures and sanctions towards that country should, in my view, be adopted both by the individual Member States and by the European institutions. We cannot continue to have diplomatic relations with a state that does not accept or even listen to the appeals made by the European Union.

 
  
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  President. – In my long experience in the European Parliament, I have never known such a huge majority in favour of a resolution of this type, with one vote against, 22 abstentions and more than 600 in favour. I think you have achieved the message you were seeking to send. Thank you anyway.

 
  
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  Tunne Kelam (PPE). – Mr President, I, of course, supported this resolution. This is just one more statement in support of saving the life of Mrs Sakineh Ashtiani.

Sadly, this is not an isolated case. Up to 300 women have been stoned to death since the present clerical terrorist regime took power 31 years ago. It also continues with public hangings, including those of minors. We should do our utmost to save the life of Mrs Ashtiani but, even if we succeed in doing this, the nature of this regime, in all probability, will not change. Therefore, we need to support without reservation those brave people in Iran – and there are millions of them since last summer – who are trying to replace the present regime with an open, non-militant and democratic one. We should not be afraid of trying to do this.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE). – Mr President, I echo your words and compliment Ms Mazzoni for her work on this resolution, which I fully support.

In all the hustle and bustle of this week in Strasbourg, the one meeting which was the most important was, sadly, the one that I had the least time for. That was the women from Iran, who are here looking for support for their colleagues and for this resolution.

But I was very glad to meet with them and to make a commitment of support. It is staggering – but perhaps noteworthy – that we received many more e-mails on the issue of animal welfare than we did on this issue about human life. I just make that remark for what it is worth.

I think we should say, because we were asked to use this word in particular, that many of the women who are condemned to execution by stoning and otherwise are condemned for the crime of mohareb, which literally means someone at war with God. But actually, all that these women have done is to protest against a dictatorship in their country and to desire to bring about change for the better for themselves and to restore their rights in that particular country.

So I stand here in support of those women. There is very little that I can do, but I think this Parliament, in its huge vote today, speaks volumes, and I hope it will make a difference.

 
  
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  Cristiana Muscardini (PPE).(IT) Mr President, this resolution is the first important step for Parliament to learn to use every single act in every sitting to continue this battle, which today consists of saving Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani’s life, but, most of all, means fighting an oppressive, utterly inhumane regime.

I believe, however, that the Commission and the Council should be more proactive and decisive in future, and every word spoken in this Chamber should be like a stone placed at the feet of those who carry out the stoning, so as to build a wall of shame around them and obliterate them from human society. Sakineh must be saved, and with her the women and men around the world who are still falling victim to this barbaric cruelty, which is unheard of even among the wildest and most primitive animals.

It is the beast, meaning the Devil, that today moves the hands and lips of unworthy leaders and false holy men, whom the Omnipotent has already damned without any chance of grace. They should realise that if they do not stop now, their time will be marked forever, and ours will be too if we are not always careful to help the victims of a barbaric society.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). (FI) Mr President, I voted in favour of this report and I really hope that it will help to save the life of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani. I am a little sceptical, as many others here are too, because, unfortunately, we know that totalitarian states like Iran, for example, simply do not listen to our appeals.

I am also rather concerned that, to echo the words of another speaker, hardly anything has been said here about human rights, but a good deal has been said about the rights of animals. Of course, that is also an important issue, but these things should be put in the proper perspective. A crucial task of the European Union is to defend human rights and fundamental values.

I genuinely hope that this report can contribute to the promotion of our commitment to raising the issue of human rights and highlighting their importance, even in totalitarian countries such as Iran, thereby bringing to an end these brutal death sentences once and for all.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). – Mr President, as you rightly pointed out, the virtual unanimity of the vote here today is very significant. I was pleased to be one of those who voted in favour of the resolution.

Let me say, firstly, that I am not the protesting type. I have certainly never worn a T-shirt of this nature before, but the disproportionate proposal to penalise somebody and punish them by death for an alleged offence is so despicable, so revolting, so barbaric, so disproportionate and so nauseating that I felt I had to do something. Hopefully the message will get through to the Iranian authorities that this is outdated and it must end.

Political pressure and public protest have brought an end to capital punishment in many countries. Hopefully, our protest here today will end this appalling situation. As Mr Kelam said, 300 people have already been stoned to death, which is appalling. This must end and we must do everything we can to ensure that it does.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Mr President, on the motion about Iran. We all share the same concern, and as you, Mr President, just said, the result shows the overwhelming feeling here in this Chamber right across the political spectrum.

Our concern is about the fact that these two ladies are not being afforded due legal process, and not only that, but when they try to employ lawyers, the lawyers themselves are persecuted and driven away from the country.

We see a government that has a complete disregard for democracy, a government that ignores the results of the elections and then beats up the people and kills the protesters who want to see more democracy.

We also see the persecution of people of other religions, of the Christian faith, of the Baha’i faith.

But I would also like to point out very quickly one other person that we should be thinking about and that is Ibrahim Hamidi, who was accused of homosexuality. The fact that a person can be persecuted for his sexuality is a stain on the character of that country.

Let us hope that one day soon, that regime will be overthrown.

 
  
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  President. – I would like to thank you all. As Vice-President responsible for Human Rights and Democracy, I completely endorse the remarks that have been made. Having witnessed so-called Iranian justice a few years ago in person, I can only express my horror at the current situation in Iran and hope, like all of you, that it will soon end. I hope also that the single vote against the resolution was a mistake and that in fact, we were unanimous.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, the Iranian revolution of 1979 will one day be seen as an epochal event, on a par with the French Revolution of 1789 and the Russian Revolution of 1917. Like those, it immediately spilled out from behind its borders and sought to replicate itself around the world. Like those, it made no acknowledgement of the principles of sovereignty or territorial jurisdiction.

The signature act of the ayatollahs was the siege of the American Embassy. Even in the Second World War, when mutually opposed ideologies fought to extirpate each other, the sanctity of diplomatic legations was respected. What the ayatollahs were doing was signalling that the old rules did not apply to them and that they answered to a different authority. They have carried on as they started, disregarding any notion of territorial jurisdiction, sponsoring their militias and their terrorist organisations. From the Gulf to the Lebanon, to the Silk Road khanates, to the Balkans, they have struck at civilian targets as far away as London and Buenos Aires.

I cannot help feeling that we would be in an even stronger position to condemn them if we had more respect ourselves for the principle of territorial jurisdiction and, indeed, democracy. I hope that those Members who have spoken very sincerely and movingly about the lack of representative government in Iran will apply the same high standards the next time we have a referendum within the European Union.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Recommendation for second reading: Elisabeth Jeggle (A7-0230/2010)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this report as I believe that it will update the existing directive, which dates back to 1986, and because it also aims to improve the balance between the interests of the research sector and greater protection for animals used for scientific purposes. In view of this, I also believe that it is vital to come to a compromise which aims to promote the advancement of alternative methods to the use of animals and ensures their increased welfare, without compromising progress within the sector.

The most important points agreed in this report relate to aspects of animal welfare which are being replaced with the aim of advancing alternative approaches which do not involve the use of live animals. It is also aimed at introducing a process of classifying the methods used on animals based on levels of pain, setting a maximum limit of pain, and applying the directive through a more effective system of control. The lack of monitoring sometimes has meant that there were experiments for which there were alternatives to using animals, but that animals nevertheless continued to be used, especially in basic experiments that were not aimed at proving scientific hypotheses.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Given the diversity of national laws and the poor level of animal protection in some Member States, greater harmonisation of the rules on the use of animals for scientific purposes is now necessary. As our rapporteur, Mrs Jeggle, has pointed out, a balanced compromise has been reached with the Council. Indeed, in parallel to the protection of animals, it is very important to ensure that research continues to play a vital role in the fight against disease. I therefore voted for this report and, like my colleagues in the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), I rejected the amendments tabled by the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I supported this important agreement. The protection of animals used for scientific purposes is really a very difficult subject, as it is necessary to take into account the interests of a number of different stakeholder groups, sometimes with opposing views and needs. I believe that an appropriate balance has been found in the agreement. In the agreement most attention was paid to promoting the alternatives to animal testing and improving the conditions animals are held and used in. We also managed to retain the observations made by the European Parliament at first reading on the reduction of administrative burden and the continuity and viability of European research and industry still relying on the use of animals. There is a need for further promotion of alternatives to animal testing. In response an EU reference laboratory for the validation of alternative methods, supported by Member States' efforts to bring in further resources in terms of suitable specialised laboratories, is envisaged. I believe that this resolution strikes the right balance between the needs of the industry and research community whilst upgrading and harmonising the animal welfare standards for animals used or intended to be used for scientific purposes.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I applaud the European Union’s concern about the welfare of animals in general and of those used for scientific purposes in particular. However, in light of the European Union’s huge enlargement and the technical progress made, a new directive needed to be adopted which will attempt to standardise the practices involved in the treatment of animals. Animal protection and ensuring their proper treatment are a community value which has a unanimously approved protocol devoted to it. The EC directive from 1985 endeavoured to eliminate the discrepancies between Member States’ provisions laid down by law and administrative acts relating to the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes. However, the discrepancies between Member States have widened since the relevant directive was adopted, especially as the EU has accepted new members since then.

The resolution adopted by Parliament will narrow the differences between the level of protection afforded animals used for scientific purposes in Member States at a time when we are all aware that this practice is a necessity for protecting the health of humans and animals, as well as for the environment. This resolution marks a step towards achieving the unanimous objective of doing away with experiments on live animals for scientific purposes in their entirety as soon as this becomes possible thanks to the discoveries which will be made.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The use of animals in scientific research is associated with discoveries of great social impact, with increased longevity, and with human welfare. With science as it currently is, the complete abolition of animal testing is impossible. It is therefore imperative to guarantee the animals still being used the maximum possible protection and welfare, taking into account the goals of the experiment.

I believe that this revision of the legislation makes higher standards that reinforce animal protection necessary. With this directive, the European Union will improve its standards applicable to the welfare of animals used in scientific experiments, since it plays a significant role in reducing the number of animals used in experiments and requires the use of alternative methods wherever possible, whilst ensuring fair competition conditions for the EU’s industrial sector and reinforcing the quality of investigation undertaken in the EU. The result of today’s vote has revealed a general consensus on the need to improve conditions for the animals required for scientific research and safety tests, whilst at the same time maintaining a high standard of research and intensifying efforts to find alternatives to animal testing.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) Any civilised society recognises animals as living beings which share our existence, and that any pain and suffering to them should be prevented as far as possible. However, I recognise the need for animals to be used in scientific experiments to test new medicines and therapies or to allow scientific research to be translated into discoveries which help to heal illnesses or reduce suffering and increase the life expectancy of human beings.

The great diversity in legislation and the lack of adequate protection in certain Member States have required the adoption of a directive which sets out minimum standards, without prejudice to Member States which ensure greater protection for the animals involved. The negotiations between Parliament, the Council and the Commission were not easy, but they succeeded in producing a text that I believe is broadly balanced, and one which deserves our support. This is a step forward which should be welcomed, even though some points could have had a better outcome.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) I am pleased that this report has been approved because experiments on great apes such as chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans will, from now on, be strictly prohibited. The text also stipulates that animal experimentation should be replaced, as far as possible, by scientifically satisfactory alternative methods. Lastly, the text calls for any pain and suffering inflicted on animals to be minimised. From now on, animals may be used only in experiments intended to advance research into human beings, animals and diseases (cancer, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease). The adoption of this report is one more step towards ensuring the protection and welfare of animals used for scientific purposes.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of the report on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes as I believe that the compromise reached with the Council represents the best possible balance between the needs of scientific research in terms of the protection of human health and the welfare and rights of animals.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) As has already been mentioned by the parties involved, the text that we are to adopt today is a satisfactory compromise between the various interests at play, and has been reached following long negotiations between the institutions involved: Parliament, the Commission and the Council. I believe that in civilised societies, there is no question that the use of animals for scientific purposes must be adequately regulated, as it is in Europe. We are here to discuss adequate regulation of their use, which is crucial for scientific progress and the discovery of new procedures, treatments and medicines that will be a great asset to our civilisation and a benefit to everyone in the future.

It appears that this regulation cannot be excessive in the protection that it affords to animals; otherwise, this would compromise scientific study and research. When making my choice, I choose the people who will benefit in the future from the results which we are allowing to be studied and researched with the help of today’s animals. If the proposal which we are approving today allows advances in the study of neurological diseases, auto-immune disorders or cancer, I believe that we will all benefit from it.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. − (PT) Every year, almost 12 million animals are used in scientific procedures in the 27 Member States. It is important that every effort is made to reduce the number of animals used in such experiments to the indispensible minimum. The most pragmatic approach to achieving this consists of using alternative methods, since, with science as it currently is, the complete abolition of animal testing is impossible.

Directive 86/609/EEC regarding the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes was adopted in order to harmonise animal-testing practices in the EU. However, some Member States have set out ambitious goals while others have limited themselves to applying minimum rules. Therefore, the aim of this resolution is to correct this inequality. Fair conditions for the EU’s industry and its scientific community must be ensured, whilst simultaneously reinforcing the protection of the animals that are still used for scientific purposes, pursuant to the Protocol on Protection and Welfare of Animals annexed to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In the field of animal testing, there must be better promotion of the development, validation, acceptance and application of alternative methods, and the principle of the three Rs of animal testing – replace, reduce and refine – must be applied.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We believe that in this field, as in others, the establishment of common minimum levels of protection in legislation should not prevent a Member State from adopting more advanced and stricter measures of protection, if it so wishes. For this reason, we voted in favour of the proposed amendment on this matter. We believe that it is important to further develop techniques and methods which allow animal experimentation to be avoided, as we have stated in debate, but more is needed.

It is also important to disseminate such techniques and allow them to be taken up by most R&D institutions, including national scientific and technological systems with comparatively lower levels of development. Any legislative framework in this field must take this requirement into account, but we do not believe that the proposed changed can fully guarantee this. The European Union will have to play an important role in this field to promote cooperation between the scientific and technological institutions and systems in different countries, including third countries.

 
  
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  Robert Goebbels (S&D), in writing.(FR) I voted for the compromise between Parliament and the Council on strengthening the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. The health needs of human beings sometimes require the sacrifice of animals. The use of animals will have to be strictly regulated. However, it is hypocritical to demand ‘that animals are killed with a minimum of pain, suffering and distress’. These are human concepts transposed to animals which, in their natural environment, are killed by other carnivorous animals or are slaughtered in abattoirs to provide food for humans. This world is not a paradise; there will always be death in the wings.

 
  
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  Françoise Grossetête (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported this agreement for a second reading because we must respond to the reality of biomedical research and to patients’ needs while, at the same time, improving animal welfare.

Fortunately, the number of animal experiments has fallen significantly over the last few years because European research is moving towards the aim of finding alternative solutions. Unfortunately, we know that these solutions are not available in certain cases, and so we have to resort to animal experimentation, in particular, on non-human primates. This is the case, for example, with all the neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Ensuring this research is conducted in Europe is our only guarantee of a high level of animal welfare protection. Concern for an animal’s pain during an experiment ensures that good results will be obtained. This is why we must prevent any relocation of animal experimentation outside Europe.

 
  
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  Nadja Hirsch (ALDE), in writing. (DE) I cannot support the animal experiments directive in its current form. It is true that this version is more progressive that the old directive from 1986. However, in comparison with the huge scientific and technical advances made over the last 24 years, the measures for replacing animal testing seem very feeble. There are too many exceptions. In addition, the wording is weak and allows too much scope for interpretation and implementation. It is also absurd that Member States cannot put in place animal welfare measures which are stricter than those required by the EU. Market distortion is given as the justification for this.

This sends the wrong message to the citizens of Europe, to the research community and to industry. On the one hand, the state must take into account the changes in citizens’ ethical awareness. On the other hand, more pressure must be exerted on the research sector and on industry. No one wants to put the status of Germany or Europe as a research location at risk, but investment costs are not a valid argument for postponing the further development and use of methods which do not involve laboratory animals.

 
  
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  Anneli Jäätteenmäki (ALDE), in writing. (FI) I voted in favour of the directive on animal experiments, because the outcome could have been a lot worse for the welfare of animals. The directive adopted today is one step forward for animal welfare.

The directive must now be made a part of national legislation and implemented consistently as speedily as possible in the various Member States. The old directive dates back to 1986, so it is now high time the welfare standards of animals used for experiments were updated all over Europe.

In the future, it will be important to increase investment to develop alternatives to animal experiments. Thank you.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in support of the Jeggle report because it represents the product of intense and lengthy work, during which the rapporteur was able to strike important compromises on a subject as difficult as this, on the use of animals in experimentation.

I was not in favour of referring it back to the competent standing committee, because precisely that committee, of which I am a member, greatly valued and agreed with the work of my colleague, Mrs Jeggle. Research must go on; it is important for the development of medicine and health and for the prevention of many diseases.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I am disappointed at the final text of this report, and particularly that the amendments tabled to strengthen the animal welfare provisions were not adopted. It is time clear regulations were laid down to move towards restrictions on the use of non-human primates, a ban on the use of wild-caught animals, an unequivocal obligation to use non-animal alternative methods when scientifically available, and a ban on experiments which involve severe and prolonged suffering. At the very least, Member States should be able to go beyond the EU minimum requirements and implement stricter animal welfare laws. While this report will improve the existing legislation, it did not go nearly far enough and for this reason, I abstained on the final vote.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted for this compromise because it ensures a good balance between better protection of animals used in experimentation and the pursuit of scientific research. Animal experimentation helps in the fight against numerous serious illnesses; nevertheless, it must be regulated so that unnecessary animal suffering is avoided. The current directive dates back to 1986 and thus needed to be significantly improved.

The new text now includes a requirement to obtain prior authorisation for animal experimentation, which will involve a project assessment and a harm-benefit analysis, and establishes a strict inspection and verification system. Today’s vote is the outcome of extensive efforts by the rapporteurs, my colleague, Mrs Jeggle, and my former colleague, Mr Parish, who worked on the text during the previous parliamentary term. The results of the vote in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development already reflected the quality of the final text.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The adoption of this report, following tough negotiations between the involved parties, is a balanced compromise that safeguards both the animals used for scientific purposes and the need to use them, in order for important discoveries to be made and developments achieved relating to technologies and therapies to be used in the future to cure many illnesses that affect civilisation. That is why I voted as I did.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) The interaction of science and nature for the good of development is always the subject of much debate. Today, the European Parliament adopted an important document regulating scientific research with animals. This document will ensure a positive balance between animal protection and scientific research and provide for several important aspects, ensuring the protection of animals used for scientific research. Sceptics maintain that this directive contradicts animal protection principles and that there are many doubts over the use of animals for scientific purposes. However, under the latter directive, it is obligatory to assess the need to use animals and possible alternatives before each test. Each Member State is also obliged to establish national committees to take care of animal welfare and ethical aspects. I voted for this document because I believe that animal testing should be controlled more strictly, although we should not forget the inevitable scientific progress in various areas and the continuity of scientific research.

 
  
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  Tiziano Motti (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted contrary to the directions of my group on the directive on animal experimentation, even though I fell into the position of supporting scientific research, which I do. This directive is strongly unfavourable to animals. It ‘widens’ the threshold of acceptable pain during experiments from ‘light’ to ‘moderate’; it allows experimentation on stray dogs and cats, leaving it at the discretion of researchers whether to carry our experiments on animals without administering anaesthetic or painkillers; it allows use of the same animal more than once, even in painful procedures; it allows social animals such as dogs and primates to be kept in isolation; and it allows the chest to be cut open without analgesics and experiments on live animals for teaching purposes. I have the human sensitivity to find needless cruelty unacceptable and the political sensitivity to understand that if Europe had not approved this directive, some scientific research would inevitably have moved elsewhere. This European directive represents a serious backward step to which Member States will be obliged to adapt their national regulations. I believe that an amended version favourable to the animal world, supplemented by greater incentives for scientific research performed in Europe, would have been the real solution for a society that loves to call itself civilised.

 
  
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  Cristiana Muscardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) The directive on animal protection ensures equal conditions for companies and researchers by harmonising procedures among countries, but it does not attempt to achieve true protection for animals. In fact, the few rules requiring the adoption of replacement methods have been reduced.

There are numerous gaps, and it ought to encourage the use of more advanced experimental methods that can take the place of animal experiments: in vitro methods, computer simulations of human metabolism, etc. It should also acknowledge the fact that it is often not possible to extrapolate results from one species to another, as eminent scientists have stated.

For obvious reasons, it is not possible to propose the complete abolition of vivisection, but I call for amendments to the text so as to include non-invasive practices and to ban the use of animals for medico-legal investigations and for teaching, while preventing exceptions to the humane method of killing and the ban on the use of endangered or wild animals by setting up a European guarantee committee.

Europe should say ‘No’ to pointless experimentation. All too often, the same experiments that have already been performed and funded are proposed again solely to gain further funding. We have received confirmed reports of experiments carried out on animals that have had their vocal cords cut. Science tells us that a large proportion of the experiments carried out on animals cannot be proposed again for the treatment of human beings.

 
  
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  James Nicholson (ECR), in writing. – I voted for this report even though I realise that, for some, this new directive does not go far enough. I believe, however, that the compromise reached between Parliament and the Council represents the best possible balance between protecting animals, on the one hand, and allowing scientific research to continue, on the other. Voting against this report would have meant that we would have go back to the previous 1986 directive which definitely does not offer the same protection for animals. Existing UK legislation on animal welfare is among the strictest in the world and while the UK will not be able to legislate further in this area, our standards will be allowed to remain exceptionally high rather than be lowered.

 
  
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  Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. (RO) As a result of new knowledge which has come to light about the ethological aspects of housing laboratory animals and of new applications for the use of animals, especially in the field of genetic engineering, revision of Directive 86/609/EEC has become an urgent priority, even though its adoption was an historic achievement at that time. Considerable progress has been made since then, especially with regard to the introduction of the ‘3Rs’ principles (replace, reduce and refine).

I welcome the widening of the directive’s scope of application in the following respects: inclusion of foetal forms of susceptible animals and species of invertebrates, along with fundamental biological research; introduction of humane slaughter methods and provisions for national inspections as part of the directive; evaluation and authorisation of projects using animals, including their retrospective evaluation; transparency by publishing non-technical information about the projects, implementation standards and guidance at national level, as well as implementation and statistical reports. I voted for this report as it contains a proposal aimed at ensuring equal conditions throughout the EU for industry and the researcher community, while also strengthening the protection for animals still used for scientific purposes.

 
  
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  Teresa Riera Madurell (S&D), in writing. (ES) As coordinator of my group, the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, in the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, I would like to express my satisfaction on the adoption by Parliament of the agreement reached during the Spanish Presidency of the Council with respect to the updating of this important directive, which regulates the treatment to be given to animals which, of necessity, must be used for scientific purposes in order to further science in different areas of knowledge.

It is a balanced agreement, which is the result of an extensive negotiation process between the unavoidable needs of the scientific world for the advancement of knowledge, especially in areas such as the health sciences, to which our committee is particularly sensitive, and the need to protect the animals. I have to say that both sides are further strengthened by this reform that we have adopted. It is important to point out that the agreement reached also covers the commitment to working to find and promote other lines of research and alternative methods which will enable the complete replacement of the use of live animals in laboratories in the future, without being detrimental to the necessary advancement of science.

 
  
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  Zuzana Roithová (PPE) , in writing. (CS) I support the measure, which limits or moderates the suffering of animals that are being used for scientific purposes. Preference should be given to methods other than animal experiments for verifying the effects of new medicines and for scientific studies. However, this does not mean that we should allow human embryos to be used as an alternative method in the interests of protecting animals. I am sorry that the Council deleted just such a limiting clause for alternative methods from the draft adopted by the European Parliament at first reading. Decision making in these ethically sensitive areas falls within the competence of the Member States, and regulation at the national level varies enormously from country to country.

In the Czech Republic, the use of embryonic stem cells for scientific purposes has been permitted by law since 2006, despite the fact that successful biomedical results have, on the contrary, been made possible by research using stem cells from foetal tissue and not from embryos. The fact that we have not voted on the draft directive of the Council for the second reading today in Strasbourg, or have not adopted any resolution, means that the Council’s draft will enter into effect after its publication in the Official Journal regardless of the position of the majority of MEPs.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – While the revised legislation will introduce some improvements to current EU rules on animal testing, it simply does not go far enough and, in some cases, weakens the current laws. Serious concerns highlighted throughout by the Greens/EFA group have been ignored and we regret that MEPs today failed to support our attempts to redress these concerns. Crucially, the new laws will fail to ensure that alternatives to animal testing are used whenever possible.

This will mean animals will suffer needlessly in scientific tests even though alternatives exist. Worryingly, the new laws would also prevent Member States from adopting more ambitious rules on animal testing at national level. The Greens/EFA group wanted to ensure national governments maintained this right. We also seriously regret that stricter rules on the use of non-human primates were not adopted.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) It is easy to take a stand against animal experimentation, because nobody likes to see animals suffering or being vivisected for scientific purposes, but we are legislators and cannot give in to the emotion of the moment. If we were to limit the use of animals in scientific tests too much, we should realise that those tests would have to be done on human beings.

We cannot imagine that a new active principle, drug or chemotherapy system would not be tested on animals first because, as I have already said, the alternative would be to use patients as guinea pigs. We should also bear in mind that the pharmaceutical companies have no interest in using guinea pigs, and primates in particular, unless it is strictly necessary, given the high costs involved in such experiments.

 
  
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  Debora Serracchiani (S&D), in writing. (IT) I voted against the agreement reached at second reading by Parliament with the Council on the draft directive on the use of animals in scientific experiments.

I am not saying ‘No’ to the advance of research but I am calling for a reduction in animal suffering, since the revised directive proposes some practices that go against that aim, such as the possibility of experimenting more than once on the same animal. Moreover, I believe the use of other satisfactory scientific methods that do not require the use of animals should be developed further.

 
  
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  Catherine Soullie (PPE), in writing. (FR) I approve of the result of the vote on the text referring to the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. It may not be perfect, but the Jeggle report seems to me at least to offer a good compromise; a compromise, moreover, that has won the support of the Eurogroup for Animals.

The wording allows us effectively to limit tests causing pain to animals, while avoiding a diversion of research, and hence also of innovation, outside the Union, with the resulting loss of many jobs. As Vice-President of the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals, I am moreover convinced that it is more valuable to keep animal experimentation on our territory, where it is strictly regulated, than to leave it to third countries, where sanitary conditions and respect for animal life often leave much to be desired.

 
  
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  Bart Staes (Verts/ALE), in writing. (NL) I regret that the majority of members have rejected the three proposals put forward by the Greens for a modification of the directive and stricter national rules, for an incentive for alternative testing methods and for a further curb on the use of primates. The new animal testing legislation is seriously flawed. Member States will no longer have the freedom to adopt stricter rules on animal testing. This restriction of national discretion serves no useful purpose. Animals will become victims of the internal market’s toe-the-line dogma. Nevertheless, it is important that Member States dare lead the way. Without national pioneers, many European animal welfare rules, such as the ban on animal testing for cosmetic purposes, would never have come about.

The new directive improves the control of companies and institutions which breed, market or use laboratory animals. However, the wording of the requirement that alternative test methods should be used where they are available carries less of the force of an order than that used in the previous directive. This is a missed opportunity to reduce animal suffering and to improve the quality of research. The new rules fail to acknowledge the progress that has been made in developing alternatives to animal testing, which are, incidentally, often more reliable than animal tests.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – I am disappointed that measures to strengthen rules on animal testing did not go further. Key measures which would have committed Europe to the reduction and replacement of the use of animals in experiments were not included in this legislation. This was a missed opportunity and much more could have been done to protect animals, including allowing Member States to adopt higher welfare standards than other countries. I am concerned that this directive will prohibit the UK from adopting higher standards in the future. In addition to this, procedures to regularly review the use of animals in scientific experiments were not included. I am pleased however, that vital research into new medicines and diseases can continue.

 
  
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  Janusz Wojciechowski (ECR), in writing.(PL) I regret that the Council directive has been adopted in its final form without the provision adopted by the European Parliament in May 2009 which said that experiments on stem cells and human embryos cannot be used as alternatives to experiments on animals. Quite apart from the wording of the directive, I think that this kind of approach, I mean the substitution of experiments on animals with experiments on human organisms, should not be used.

 
  
  

Report: Csaba Őry (A7-0235/2010)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of the guidelines for employment policies in Member States on the understanding that they should stress the importance of the need for a high level of qualifications for the effective promotion of a good level of employment and income, especially with regard to the new economy, where there will be a strong focus on new sectors and new skills.

A high level of employment should be possible both for highly qualified people, who can be a key tool for research and development, but also for people with education levels below the EU average. The Member States thus have an important role to play in retraining, promoting education and providing new opportunities for lifelong education.

It is worth noting that for a good level of employment and full progress at EU level, it must be ensured that those who strive to improve their qualifications are given real job opportunities and allowed to retrain if necessary. A strong focus on career guidance in accordance with present and future needs may be the way to get us back to high levels of employability.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Although the economic climate remains fragile in most Member States, there are encouraging signs of the revival of economic growth. This is why efforts need to be focused in order to guarantee consolidation of the potential for creating jobs and to support the population in finding and doing them. In April 2010, the European Commission proposed a new series of employment policy guidelines in Member States. These, along with the general economic policy guidelines, provide the integrated guidelines for implementing the EU 2020 strategy aimed at smart, sustainable growth, which is conducive to inclusion.

The four guidelines for employment are: increasing labour market participation and reducing structural unemployment, promoting social inclusion and combating poverty, improving the performance of education systems at all levels and developing a skilled workforce. Mr Őry’s report supports the approach proposed by the Commission, but provides a number of clarifications and some additional information. This is why I voted for it.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) In April 2010, the European Commission presented a proposal for guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States, as part of the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy. In his report, Mr Őry, a member of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), supports the Commission’s proposals, and adds some elements which I find to be necessary. Thus cohesion policy, which had been neglected by the Commission, must be fully incorporated in employment policies. Even though European competence in employment matters is still limited, the EU must not be satisfied with a passive role, and must make best use of the instruments at its disposal (cohesion policy, the Globalisation Adjustment Fund, open method of coordination). I therefore fully support the guidelines of this report.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted for this resolution. Faced with the rapidly spreading phenomenon of an ageing society, we must take measures both at Member State and EU level to combat the social exclusion of older people and age-based discrimination. We must ensure that Member States provide comprehensive support to older people, above all, by creating conditions for the establishment of a high quality health and social care system. We must also ensure that Member States contribute to the provision of long-term care services and implement the information and prevention policy for older people, with particular attention to food. To ensure the successful implementation of the planned objectives, it is essential to establish a sustainable long-term care service funding system. In turn, the European Commission should make efforts in order to ensure acceptable healthcare standards for all European citizens, irrespective of their material situation.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The Europe 2020 strategy, presented in March 2010 by the European Commission, is designed to set the course of the EU for the next decade.

Although we can only regret the fact that the European Parliament was not involved in drawing up the strategy, which was the work of Mr Barroso alone, there is one area in which Parliament can have its say: the integrated guidelines on employment. The 10 guidelines concern the creation of more and better jobs, the strengthening of decent work, and an improvement in education and training systems.

For this reason, along with the majority of my fellow Members, I voted today, Wednesday, 8 September 2010, for a report that defines these objectives and by means of which we can, in particular, demand a better use of the European Social Fund, and insist on the need to pay greater attention to low-income workers and to the fight against social exclusion, as well as on the need to guarantee access to quality and affordable public services. Finally, if we want this strategy to be truly inclusive, we must ensure coherence between these guidelines and cohesion policy.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted for this report because the new 2020 guidelines for the employment policies of the EU Member States will have a major impact on the labour market over the next few years. I am delighted that, through the amendments proposed to the European Parliament, it has been possible to lay down clear objectives and to provide for specific measures in the Commission’s proposed employment guidelines. Of course, reducing unemployment, ensuring minimum wages and combating poverty and social exclusion remain the most important priorities in employment policy in all Member States. I also agree that one of the main goals is to achieve equal pay for equal work and ensure equal working conditions for all workers.

I agree with Parliament’s proposals that we must initiate employment policy measures devoted to the most vulnerable groups, because poverty affects these people first and worst of all. I also call on the Commission and the Member States to draw greater attention in the employment guidelines to young people and older workers who face discrimination in the labour market.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The current economic crisis will definitely have a profound impact on the employment market in the coming years. There are initial signs of economic recovery and the revival of economic growth. However, it is expected that the economic crisis’s impact on employment has not yet reached its peak. This is why I welcome the efforts being made now to guarantee a sustainable recovery and strengthen the European economies’ job creation potential, and help people find work. European states also face challenges linked to significant demographic changes, exacerbated by the globalisation process, while the scenario where the number of taxpayers contributing to national budgets is in steady decline does not look very promising.

With the 2020 agenda on the table, with its targets for adopting new technologies to cut carbon emissions, the employment strategy should be drawn up not only for the short term, but for the medium and long term as well. This strategy must obviously be devised alongside measures for boosting the employment of young people under 25, the age group currently facing unprecedented unemployment rates.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) I wish to explain my vote on this report because I believe the subject of this report is of vital importance to the future of the labour market in Europe.

This proposal contains general economic policy guidelines on employment to be implemented within the European Union. The economic crisis is not over and is dragging on behind the employment crisis.

While it is true that there are encouraging signs of recovery, the job market remains substantially closed and the number of unemployed is still very high. There are differences across Europe, however. In Spain and Greece, for example, the number of people out of work is worrying and mostly affects young people. In my country, however, as luck would have it, but also thanks to the good measures adopted by the Italian Government, the number of jobless has not risen so dramatically. One has to acknowledge that the Italian Government has been at the forefront in promoting flexibility and dynamism in the job market, and that recipe seems to be working.

Some governments that are over-inclined to defend workers’ rights have allowed their own workers to lose their jobs. Being more flexible and ready for a competitive new labour market saves jobs instead, and creates economic conditions that encourage the appearance of new ones.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) I voted against the Őry report, despite the fact that it contains some important amendments by the left, such as the need to safeguard gender equality, and despite the fact that it improves the Commission text. I voted against the report because it abides by the philosophy of a flexible market and even calls for more flexibility and the strategic use of flexicurity on the labour market which, as we know, operates directly against the workers.

The report also considers that, in order to get out of the financial crisis and apply growth policies, restructuring is needed on the basis of full exploitation of the internal market and the removal of ‘legal obstacles’. However, behind this unclear wording, a lack of protection for workers’ labour rights remains a possibility.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I support the Őry report and welcome the opportunity that it brings. Within the scope of Agenda 2020, the establishment of general guidelines was urgently needed on economic policy (Article 121, Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), but also employment policy (Article 148). The economic crisis that we are experiencing at present exacerbates social problems and lends greater urgency to the need to set out effective and sustained employment policies. I agree with the rapporteur on the proposals to take stronger measures to raise the level of employment for men and women in Europe.

The report has helped to strengthen issues that had not been given sufficient emphasis, such as: 1. reducing unemployment among the most vulnerable groups, including young people, by increasing levels of education, reducing dropout rates and pulling people out of poverty; 2 ensuring equal treatment and pay for equal work in the same workplace; and 3. involving regional and local authorities, parliaments and social partners in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of these programmes, particularly in the setting of targets and indicators.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Lisbon strategy states that the European Union must improve its productivity and competitiveness through its workforce.

This objective has not yet been completely achieved in that the unemployment rate is still high. It is important to analyse the problems that have made full employment slow down. Eliminating discrimination based on gender, race, ethnic origin and religion would be a remarkable step forward, which would allow especially young people and women to become more competitive in the job market. Women also face the difficulty of reconciling motherhood and work: improving company crèches, granting part-time work when requested, and allowing women to look after their sick children without having to worry about losing their jobs would be useful measures to help women play their dual role.

Another group that needs protection is young people, who are liable to have no job security for years: they have plenty of ability and theoretical knowledge, but they lack practical experience. Schools need to look more closely at what companies want and prepare students for the world of work. Companies, in turn, must invest in the new generations by giving them the chance to develop their careers.

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Christofer Fjellner, Gunnar Hökmark, Anna Ibrisagic and Alf Svensson (PPE), in writing. (SV) We have today, 8 September 2010, voted in favour of the report (A7-0235/2010) on the proposal for a Council decision on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States: Part II of the Europe 2020 Integrated Guidelines (2010/0115(NLE)). However, we would like to stress that there are parts of the report that we do not agree with, for example, proposals aimed at the detailed regulation of the Member States’ labour market policy, supranational control of the Member States’ trade and industry and EU regulation of minimum wages. By so doing, we wish to stand up for the principle of subsidiarity. We would, however, like to emphasise that much of what is contained in the report is good. For example, we obviously support the principles of the equal treatment of men and women and equal pay for equal work.

 
  
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  Marielle De Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Parliament has given its opinion on the integrated guidelines on employment. The 10 guidelines are aimed at creating more and better jobs, strengthening decent work, and improving education and training systems. Parliament has intervened to ensure that the European Social Fund is used more effectively, that greater attention is paid to poor workers and to the fight against social exclusion and that access to affordable, high quality public services is guaranteed.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) The situation in the job market is unquestionably the main cause for concern among our citizens. The job market continues to deteriorate, with an unemployment rate peaking today at 9.8%.

The employment guidelines represent an essential means of stimulating structural reforms, as much as a means of gauging the impact of reforms to be made; and all this as much in the framework of the 2020 strategy as in the context of the new coordination of economic policies that is being put into place. It is therefore crucial to take hold of these issues, but it is just as crucial to ensure that reforms are as appropriate as possible.

It is one thing to have guidelines. It is quite another, however, to see them implemented correctly by the Member States. To this end, it seems to me to be particularly essential to reaffirm the role of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) in the 2020 strategy and in economic governance, and to ensure that EPSCO is fully involved in the reforms to be undertaken, so as to ensure the viability of our social model and the best economic governance model for the EU. I am convinced of the imperative need to rebalance the employment and social pillar in the context of European decision making.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of this report because it advocates policies that promote active ageing, gender equality, equal pay for men and women, and access to protection and social and professional benefits for women. Bearing in mind the increased difficulties in integrating more women into the labour market, it is becoming necessary to implement policies that also promote the reconciliation of work and family life.

 
  
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  Göran Färm, Anna Hedh, Olle Ludvigsson and Marita Ulvskog (S&D), in writing. (SV) We have today voted in favour of the report on guidelines for employment, but would like to point out that we have noticed important discrepancies in different language versions. We voted in favour of the Member States ensuring adequate minimum incomes as stated in the English version of the amendment. Unfortunately, this has been translated in the Swedish version as ‘minimilön’, meaning ‘minimum wage’.

Wage levels do not fall within the competence of the EU, and we have therefore assumed that the Swedish version is wrong. We have also chosen to vote in favour of the report in spite of references to ‘high taxes’ as obstacles to growth, without any definition of ‘high taxes’ being given. Taxes do not fall with the competence of the EU either, and we believe that there are many examples of tax-funded activities that make a significant contribution to growth.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) As I said about the report of my colleague, Mrs Gruny, which was voted upon last July, society has evolved, the world has changed, and labour relations have to change too. I firmly believe that this is the case, and so I am pleased that Parliament has advocated more flexible working patterns as a way of fighting unemployment. In addition, as I have had responsibilities in government in the field of education, I am pleased to see that this proposal places special emphasis on education and qualification for workers. In fact, this is a commitment that should be taken very seriously in the context of the EU 2020 strategy. Given that the crisis has meant that the number of unemployed people in Europe has increased from 16 million in 2008 to 23 million in 2010, any exit strategy has to involve the recovery of jobs. This is only possible if there is a clear focus on innovation, flexible working and new models for work and training for more young people for an increasingly competitive market.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The backdrop for the new guidelines on employment in 2020 is the economic crisis, whose effects will continue to have a negative impact on the labour market over the coming years. We have immediate problems with unemployment and, at the same time, long-term challenges: specifically, demographic change, globalisation and the adoption of new low-carbon technologies. It is therefore very important for there to be a European employment strategy that solves the most urgent problems arising from the crisis, as well as those that emerge in the medium and long term.

The application of the principles of flexicurity, quality education, lifelong learning and combating structural unemployment constitute indispensible prerequisites to the achieving of common objectives and goals regarding economic growth and social wellbeing. Therefore, the implementation of the Europe  2020 strategy should begin now. The EU Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund for the current programming period should already be starting to follow this strategy. It is important for agriculture and the rural world to be given emphasis in this strategy. Cohesion goals must be pursued and synergies created between cohesion policy and other sectoral policies.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted against this resolution, as it ignores the main causes of employment, job insecurity and poverty, and because the proposals which we re-tabled in this Chamber were rejected. Those included:

- The Commission should recognise that it is necessary to change the existing macro-economic policies by suspending the Stability and Growth Pact and putting a stop to the processes of privatisation and liberalisation, with a view to prioritising the creation of quality jobs with rights for all workers and better salaries, reducing poverty levels and increasing social inclusion and progress.

- Undeclared work should be addressed through stricter controls by work inspection, along with tax measures for people with low incomes.

- The Council should agree on a compromise at EU level to bring an end to homelessness by 2015 and prepare integrated policy measures which ensure affordable access to quality housing with an adequate energy supply for all.

Our proposal for the inclusion of a new directive on gender equality was also rejected. This advocated that Member States should increase female employment, while fully respecting the rights of women and eliminating all inequalities, by means of specific gender equality objectives, gender-oriented integration and specific policy actions.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing. (FR) At a time when the unemployment rate is reaching 9.8% in Europe, at a time when the labour market situation is continuing to worsen, at a time when not all the effects of the economic crisis have yet become apparent, the European Union must implement an ambitious European employment strategy. The European Parliament has therefore adopted, as part of the EU 2020 strategy, guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States: 10 guidelines on job creation, job quality, youth employment, the employment of persons belonging to vulnerable groups, the fight against social exclusion and the importance of putting the European Social Fund to best use. These may be very ambitious goals, but they are first and foremost guidelines which have to be implemented, now and in the future, by the Member States, as well as a strong message from the European Parliament to the Member States, at a time when employment is the most important concern and anxiety for our fellow citizens.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I voted for the Őry report on the guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy. This text lays considerable emphasis on the need to prioritise the fight against unemployment against a backdrop of economic and social crisis. The text focuses on several points: the employment rate must be brought up to 75% throughout the entire Union within the next 10 years, and a particular effort should be made for the most vulnerable groups in the labour market: young people, older people, unskilled women, people with disabilities and people with migrant backgrounds, as they are most likely to suffer recruitment- and employment-related discrimination. The text also recalls the fundamental concepts of decent work and the fight against poverty.

 
  
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  Małgorzata Handzlik (PPE), in writing.(PL) The guidelines for employment policy for the next 10 years show that the services sector is going to be one of the areas in which the most jobs will be created. For these jobs to be created, favourable conditions must exist for businesses in relation to the services they offer, and this includes cross-border services. Therefore, I would like to stress that the Services Directive can support employment policy, if only its transposition by the Member States is improved.

The directive creates new possibilities for businesses, but if it is applied well, it will also have a beneficial effect on labour markets. Therefore, I endorse the proposals adopted in the report. The services sector is going to need mobile workers who are suitably prepared and qualified, and for this we need changes to education and training systems and to employment policy.

 
  
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  Elie Hoarau (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) I voted for this report. As the elected representative of an overseas region, I am more than familiar with policies favouring employment and combating poverty as French Overseas Departments have the lowest employment rates in France (43.9% for example in Réunion compared with 62.3% in all EU Member States).

Taking this figure of 10% in 2014 and increasing it to 75% in 2020 is something I have always fought for, especially because it is aimed mainly at young people in difficulty, women and people with disabilities. The proposal also looks at poverty and aims to reduce the number of citizens living below the poverty line by 25%. These objectives should mobilise all social and political forces, both French and European, so that the state can implement the necessary resources to achieve them within the timescales set.

 
  
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  Alan Kelly (S&D), in writing. I supported this consultation because I feel it is very important for the Member States of the EU to ensure that adequate minimum incomes are achieved above the poverty line. It is also vital to strengthen the equal treatment and equal pay for equal work clause whenever possible.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The current economic crisis is the major variable to be considered when we are talking about new guidelines for employment in 2020, since it will have a very significant impact on the labour market over the coming years. Although we have some data pointing to a recovery for some activities in the EU, the economic situation in the great majority of Member States still remains very fragile.

On the other hand, the full effects of the current crisis in terms of unemployment still have not been felt, so many thousands more will lose their jobs as a result of it. This means that the great challenges that are being posed are demographic change, globalisation and the adoption of new technologies, including low-carbon technologies. Therefore, European employment strategy for the next decade must be concerned, not just with the most urgent problems arising from the crisis, but also those that emerge in the medium and long term. That is why I voted as I did.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. (LV) I agree completely with the rapporteur, Mr Őry, and hence I supported this legislative resolution. I particularly welcomed the Council’s Amendment No 12, which notes that it is important to fight events that slow down economic growth, including the bureaucratic burden and high taxes. I do not remember a previous occasion when the European Parliament has talked about the bureaucratic burden and high taxes.

There are few people who give any consideration to the fact that irrational and illogical taxes can render any economic system ineffective. Today, in a country such as Latvia, the tax system has led to a crisis. Thanks to a bureaucratic and botched tax system, Latvia has lost more than EUR 10 billion. I supported this legislative resolution in the hope that it will begin the great task of optimising taxes in the territory of the EU.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Employment policy is vital both for the economy and for social peace. It is therefore in the interests of each nation to make its own decisions on appropriate measures. However, the large degree of variation in the individual Member States makes a standardised package of measures impossible. Labour market participation of 75% is, in some Member States like Poland, Malta and Hungary, which currently have a level below 60%, complete fantasy. Also for Austria, which has a level of around 70%, is it highly questionable whether a higher level of labour market participation is compatible with the freedom of choice available in connection with bringing up children or the protection of domestic workers against wage dumping by cheap foreign workers. For these reasons, I decided to vote against this report.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. − (DE) The idea that it is possible to combat unemployment effectively in an ultra-liberal European Union is an illusion. Therefore, I have voted against Mr Öry’s report.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Őry’s report because I agree with its approach and its final message.

The proposal underlines the importance of increasing the number of people active in the labour market, so as to help bring down structural unemployment and to pay particular attention to lifelong learning. A key role is reserved for education through improvements to the current educational systems, encouraging young people to go on to higher education. There will be many new efforts in the years to come to promote social inclusion and the fight against poverty more effectively.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) On 27 April 2010, the Commission tabled a proposal for the Europe 2020 Integrated Guidelines setting out the framework for the new strategy and reforms to be undertaken by the Member States.

The debate on the new 2020 employment guidelines is taking place in the midst of an economic crisis that will undoubtedly have a profound impact on the labour market for several years to come. Despite some encouraging signs that growth is returning, the economy remains fragile in most Member States. Therefore, direct effects of the crisis on unemployment have still not been fully felt. Consequently, all efforts have to be made to secure a sustainable recovery and to strengthen the job creation potential of the European economies, as well as to help people into employment.

It is therefore very important that a European employment strategy for the next decade tackles and strikes a balance between the pressing immediate challenges resulting from the crisis and those of a medium- to longer-term nature.

 
  
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  Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. (RO) As part of the European Union’s 2020 strategy, Romania has committed, along with other Member States, to achieving a 75% employment rate by 2020. As a result of this overall objective, an employment rate of 69-70% will need to be achieved in Romania by 2020. I must mention that the employment rate in Romania in 2010 is 63.6%, with a European average of 67.4%.

Against this background, I call on Member States to draw up reform programmes which will contribute to:

- labour force participation through policies promoting gender quality and equal pay, with the aim of narrowing the gender pay gap to 0-5% by 2020;

- boosting the employment rate through measures encouraging participation in working life, especially for ethnic minorities, including Roma;

- the adoption of stringent measures aimed at discouraging an economy based on undeclared work, which causes numerous adverse effects on the European labour market, instead of promoting measures aimed only at protecting labour in Member States’ internal markets;

- opening up labour markets completely to workers from new Member States.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing. (FR) While the full impact of the economic crisis on unemployment rates has not yet been felt, implementation of an ambitious European strategy on employment is essential.

I approve the target set by the Council to increase labour market participation to 75% of the European population between now and 2020, but more needs to be done. We could, for example, set a target of raising employment rates among the more vulnerable groups, such as young people aged between 15 and 25 years, older workers, unskilled active women, or people with disabilities. Or we could even further reduce school drop-out rates to below 10%.

What is more, I think specific policies should target the difficulties encountered by the long-term unemployed in entering the job market, and I call on the Council to equip itself with the resources to reduce this by at least 10% over the next 10 years. To achieve this, as suggested in Mr Őry’s report, at least 25% of all long-term unemployed should participate in an active labour market measure in the form of advanced training, education and/or occupational redeployment.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – The report adopted today is a landmark for the EU’s employment guidelines. MEPs have voted to include a proper social component to the guidelines for the first time, including measures to deal with poverty and the working poor, as well as to address youth unemployment and integrate marginalised and vulnerable groups into the labour market. EU governments and the Belgian EU Presidency must take heed of the message delivered today by the European Parliament and commit to making their employment policies more socially inclusive.

Specifically, national governments must follow up on Parliament’s demand to take measures to improve work-life balance and gender equality. Huge efforts are needed in this respect in order to raise the participation of women in the labour market to 75% by 2020.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) The report adopted today is an important instrument for promoting new employment policies under the Europe 2020 strategy.

It is important to emphasise that the text calls on the Member States to take decisive action to raise employment levels, and particularly to foster mobility among young people. The objective of creating new and better jobs, reducing unemployment and raising the employment rate of the active population to 75% must be the target to reach in the coming years. The active population must become the focus of any economic development policy for the European Union. Without work, any kind of plan for the future – such as travelling, buying a house or having a child – becomes a pipe dream, unlikely to be fulfilled.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) We cannot agree with this report because it seeks to encourage the implementation of measures designed to facilitate access to employment for certain groups, in particular, the Roma.

We cannot accept that, instead of defending the rights of those who live in their own country, we should be facilitating matters for people who, in many situations, are merely guests. Clearly, during times of crisis, each state must facilitate matters for its own citizens, perhaps with projects aimed at those who find themselves in difficulties or out of work.

 
  
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  Joanna Senyszyn (S&D), in writing.(PL) I endorsed the report on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States: Part II of the Europe 2020 Integrated Guidelines. In view of the fact that the unemployment rate in the EU is 9.6%, it is imperative to intensify and rationalise employment policy in order to create new jobs. In Poland, EU support has benefited thousands of people who are now in employment. The money available for this purpose is not always spent wisely. The lack of properly specified guidelines means that many projects are carried out on an ad hoc basis. As a result, training sessions are not always adapted to the real situation and the same people often attend several times. Therefore, I endorse the Commission’s initiative in this area. These guidelines, developed as they were during the crisis, will be put to the test in the next few years. On these guidelines will depend whether the Union overcomes the crisis and whether the new jobs which are created meet the current and future needs of the labour market.

It is important, too, to monitor the effectiveness of the guidelines by collecting particular statistical data on the effectiveness of measures taken on the basis of the guidelines. Only in this way will we see the real influence of EU financial resources on reducing unemployment in the Union. This will, in turn, allow any changes which might be necessary in this area to be made. I appeal, too, for special emphasis to be placed on support for the mobility and employment of women, young people, elderly people and disabled people.

 
  
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  Bart Staes (Verts/ALE), in writing. (NL) Despite some encouraging signals suggesting renewed growth, the economic situation remains fragile. Europe must therefore ensure sustainable recovery, strengthen the job-creating potential of the European economies and help people into work. The advice of the Report on Employment Guidelines is clear: more women, senior citizens and young people in work, less poverty and better education. That is what the EU wants to achieve by 2020. For those reasons, I give the report my support. It contains guidelines which will allow people to better combine work and caring responsibilities, for example, through flexible working hours and accessible childcare. That is a concrete policy and one that will help women enter the labour market. Parliament also wants the countries of the EU to improve their social security systems and ensure a decent income, so that there can be a reduction in poverty and people find that it pays to enter work. Finally, continued pursuit of the objectives of cohesion policy will eliminate socio-economic differences between the Member States and the regions. If the Commission now rigorously ensures that Member States really do base their policies on the guidelines, Europe’s plans for 2020 will not merely be empty words.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The discussion on the new guidelines for employment in 2020 comes at a time when thousands of families all over Europe are facing the tragedy of unemployment as part of the economic crisis. These guidelines, as part of the Europe 2020 strategy, encompass both general guidelines for economic policy and employment policy.

The report that we voted upon today, which I supported, is aligned with the European Commission’s proposal, although the rapporteur has taken care to ensure that these guidelines are clear and useful to the Member States in setting out policy. The promotion of employment will come about automatically through sustainable economic growth, the adaptability of companies and workers to new situations, the attainment of high levels of education, especially among younger people, ongoing training that meets the needs of companies, and the involvement of social partners in all these processes.

This is what the rapporteur has tried to do in setting out goals in order to increase and improve employment, increase levels of education, reconcile work and family life, and reduce the student dropout rate, along with the proportion of the population living in poverty.

 
  
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  Georgios Toussas (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The Commission guidelines on employment and the related report by the European Parliament form part of the EU’s anti-grassroots strategy, the EU 2020 strategy and its ‘integrated guidelines’. They form a single framework for the anti-labour policy of the EU which is already being rolled out and has to be promoted in an even more decisive and coordinated manner in all EU Member States.

They focus around efforts by monopoly capital to cheapen labour to the lowest possible limits, as the prerequisite to securing profits during the current capitalist crisis. In order to achieve this objective, the EU, the bourgeois governments and the political forces of capital in the Member States and in the European Parliament are roundly promoting the following in the employment guidelines: a longer working life, an increase in the retirement age, using demographic ageing and the ‘viability’ of national insurance systems as a pretext, ‘flexicurity’ and flexible, temporary, part-time work as the norm, thereby sweeping away all vested labour rights, the adaptation of education systems to the training of employable workers to meet the needs of capital, a pool of cheap scientific labour/paid intellectuals for business and a new network on the limits of destitution for extreme cases of poverty, so as to prevent social uprisings born of brutal exploitation.

 
  
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  Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE), in writing. (LT) Ladies and gentlemen, this report rightly observes that it is important to raise the level of employment and increase labour market participation. It is important both for our economy and our society. It is also important not to sacrifice quality for quantity, by failing to address the situation of the working poor, either at national or EU level. There is a significant group who work, but whose disposable income is insufficient for them to escape poverty. The economic recession has turned this into a problem for the whole of Europe and the situation is particularly difficult in Lithuania.

These tendencies are reflected very well in the minimum wages received by workers and the widespread reduction in wages as a severe austerity measure. People without a higher education are particularly vulnerable. According to EU statistics, the risk of poverty for a working person without a higher education is 16% – double the average in Lithuania and eight times more than for an employee with a university education. Unfortunately, this gap is much greater in Lithuania than anywhere else in the European Union. The issue of poverty among working people has not been sufficiently discussed by the Member States, including my country. We need more studies on this problem and specific measures to reduce the poverty of working people.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution RC-B7-0494/2010

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of the joint motion for a resolution on the human rights situation in Iran. I did this because I believe that the sentence of death by stoning handed down to Sakineh Ashtiani is a clear violation of Iran’s international obligations. Regardless of the facts, this type of punishment can never be justifiable or acceptable. Torture, illegal detention, physical and sexual violence and impunity for state agents continue to be widespread practice in many countries. This raises serious doubts about the impartiality and transparency of the court proceedings in those places. The continuing persecution of ethnic and religious minorities, along with the persistent criminalisation of free sexual relations between adults, is unacceptable.

In this situation, it is up to us, as European defenders of the human rights and democratic values which form the basis of our institutions, to bring every possible pressure to bear on the Iranian authorities to reassess processes like this. This pressure has already borne fruit, as the Iranian Government has announced that it has suspended the sentence of death by stoning against Sakineh Ashtiani. I must pay tribute to the courage of all the Iranian men and women who are struggling to defend their basic freedoms.

 
  
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  Charalampos Angourakis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The European Parliament has hastened to declare its support for imperialist plans in the Middle East and for the undisguised military threats by Israel, the US and NATO against Iran. On the pretext of the barbaric death penalty by stoning passed on Sakineh Mohammad-Ashtiani and the unacceptable persecution of the grassroots movement, all the political groups in the European Parliament have, in a rare display of unanimity, adopted a resolution to step up imperialist intervention in Iran. The Greek Communist Party did not support the resolution, because it has nothing to do with the solidarity needed in the fight by the working class against the reactionary and backward-looking regime which, on the contrary, is strengthened by sanctions and such resolutions. It is telling that the debate in the European Parliament was decided immediately after representations by the Israeli Embassy in Brussels, which called on it not to address infringements of human rights in Israel and to turn its attention instead to Iran.

The European Parliament’s sensitivity on the issue of human rights is the fig leaf for the aggressive foreign policy of the EU and its crimes against workers, immigrants and peoples. The fight against NATO, the EU and the imperialist unions is becoming more and more necessary if the people are to win rights and freedoms and determine their own fate.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old Iranian woman, is at risk of being stoned to death for adultery and for conspiring to murder her former husband. As an MEP and Chair of the Femmes au Centre (Women at the Centre) Association, I am incensed at this sentence, which everyone believes to be arbitrary. Indeed, this decision flouts the most fundamental human rights: it fails to respect the right of defence and human dignity. Still today, in some countries, two types of justice exist side by side: women are sentenced and tortured in violation of their fundamental rights, and by men, who hold all the power. I am pleased that Parliament’s resolution calling on the Iranian regime to change its mind over this sentence was adopted almost unanimously, as this gives it considerable clout. We now expect real progress to be made with regard to human rights in Iran.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution. Iran continues to be the country carrying out the highest number of executions each year. I therefore strongly support the European Parliament’s position which severely condemns the death penalty and urges the Iranian authorities to abolish the use of the death penalty, to eliminate all forms of torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, and to end the persecution of human rights defenders. I support the European Union’s goal of promoting human rights worldwide and the implementation of related support programmes, such as the EU-funded European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights. This instrument, which has a budget of EUR 1.1 billion for 2007-2013, aims to ensure respect for human rights and democracy throughout the world. The Commission and the Council, together with other international organisations, should therefore continue to actively prepare additional aid instruments in order to actively defend Iran’s human rights activists.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) The joint resolution has my full support, as a political representative, but still more as a woman. Iran today is a country that symbolises the violence of radical Islam and fanaticism against women and their basic rights. With this resolution, we rightly call on the Islamic Republic and its leaders to respect the international human rights conventions, which Iran is legally bound to respect. The case of Sakineh, together with the others contained in the text that we have voted for, confirms that today, Tehran may not only be found in complete opposition to modern political and cultural values, but also places itself on a plane of illegality with regard to international norms, failing to comply with binding agreements on the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The resolution is firm, rightly firm, at a time when we should make Iran feel all the force and pressure of which this institution is capable, so that the international movement to stop the executioner of the Islamic Republic achieves its desired effect. I therefore voted decisively in favour.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The international community has won a small victory, offering still a glimmer of hope, in the case of the woman in Iran sentenced to death by the barbaric method of stoning. The sentence has been suspended for the moment, but this is ultimately meaningless. This is why the efforts of all members of the international community must be continued, with the aim of having the death penalty banned in states like Iran where people’s lives are at the mercy of warped, archaic laws.

The European Union must continue to condemn and exert pressure on states where there is no respect for human life and human rights mean nothing. There are people in Iran who risk their life and personal safety every day, fighting for greater freedom and more democratic rights. International associations and bodies show their support for these people. However, when faced with an oppressive regime caught in a time warp, like the one in Tehran, the battle is going to be difficult and protracted. No one should pay with their freedom because they have expressed their views openly against a regime or some leaders. The European Union must get actively involved in its role as an exporter of freedom and respect for people and their rights.

 
  
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  Andrew Henry William Brons (NI), in writing. – I have abstained on this motion. However, I would have voted for the (ECR) motion B7-0499/2010. Of course, I agree with the sentiments that stoning to death (or any other death sentence) for adultery is completely unacceptable even for Muslim countries that might wish to prohibit such conduct by law. Whilst I am not in favour of using the criminal law to enforce moral conduct between consenting adults, I respect the right of other countries to take a different view, as long as they do not use disproportionate and savage sentences. I am also alarmed at the use of the criminal law against political dissent, either in Iran or those countries in the EU that are guilty of this.

All defendants facing serious criminal charges should be entitled to legal representation and there should be safeguards against inappropriate police conduct before trial. I do not believe that it is for the EU to tell Iran that it must never use the death penalty in any circumstances. If this motion is not to be counter-productive, it must be measured and appeal to reform-minded members of a very conservative society. This motion will offend even pro-reform Iranians.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) Sakineh Ashtiani is the face of the executions in Iran, and the symbol of the injustice of the country’s judicial proceedings and its violation of fundamental rights. I wish to add my voice to those of the international solidarity movements that are demanding that the sentence be quashed and Sakineh Ashtiani freed immediately: to demand her freedom is also to fight for equal rights for women, and for freedom of expression and to actively participate in a free society. I strongly support antidiscrimination causes and, in particular, the cause of Iranian women, and would stress Sakineh Ashtiani’s role at the forefront of the struggle for democracy, equality and rights in Iran. The courage and determination of Iranian women are an inspiration for all of us.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The theocratic dictatorship in Iran sows hatred and preaches intolerance. Its inflammatory rhetoric in favour of the destruction of Israel and its nuclear programme, which persists without control or international supervision, are threats to world peace. The Islamic courts apply barbaric laws that are, in themselves, a denial of justice, placing women in a situation of virtual slavery.

Unfortunately, the case of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani is not unique, and we need to support all the other women sentenced to death without respect for human dignity, women’s rights and human rights. I would like to reaffirm my opposition to the death penalty and call upon the Iranian authorities, in accordance with UN resolutions 62/149 and 63/138, to declare a moratorium on executions pending the abolition of the death penalty. I condemn the arrest and urge the immediate release of Zahra Bahrami, a citizen of the Netherlands who was travelling to Iran to visit her family, and who was detained during the Achoura protests on 27 December 2009 and has been forced to make televised confessions admitting the allegations against her.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of the joint resolution on human rights in Iran, to which I put my name, as I feel that it is ethically imperative to put pressure on the Iranian authorities to desist from committing this heinous crime. I am proud to have been born in the country that led the way in abolishing the death penalty. Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani has not committed any crime, yet she has been arrested and sentenced to death by stoning, and is constantly humiliated and whipped. I would like to express my deep concern at the constant reports of persecution perpetrated by the Iranian authorities against political opponents and the advocates of human rights, especially against women and young students. This is a clear violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and an abuse of judicial powers.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Gratuitous and disproportionate violence not only offends our European sensibilities, as it collides head-on with the body of values and rights which originate in the West and today are, thankfully, part of world heritage. Among these cases loom those of violence against women who, in certain societies, are often used as a weapon or spoil of war, as decorative objects or as beings without rights or the ability to act autonomously, condemned to being an aberrant and undefended minority.

Unfortunately, there are still states and countries that persist in endorsing appalling practices against women and imposing cruel, brutal and clearly disproportionate punishments against them. These feed cultures that oppress, degrade and humiliate women simply for being what they are. Precisely because I believe in the complementary nature of the sexes based on their natural differences and equal rights, I cannot but condemn these despicable practices in the strongest possible terms.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We are opposed to the death penalty in any country, be it the USA, Iran, or any other country in the world. We are also against all forms of torture, no matter where they take place, including in Iran and CIA-controlled prisons. Thus, we urge Iran to spare the life of Sakineh Ashtiani and stop stoning women, young people and others. We therefore voted in favour of this resolution.

We would, however, like to stress that when it comes to the struggle for democracy to be respected in Iran, defending the rights of those who continue to struggle for social justice, progress and democracy in this country cannot, under any circumstances, be used against Iran’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and its power to decide on its future. Much less can they be used to justify intervention and interference that does not respect the country’s territorial sovereignty.

 
  
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  Pat the Cope Gallagher (ALDE), in writing. (GA) Death by stoning ought never to be accepted or supported. I call on the Iranian authorities to revoke that penalty imposed on Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani and to review the case.

 
  
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  Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D), in writing.(PL) There are still three months left until the end of 2010, and the judicial system of the Islamic Republic of Iran has this year already managed to pass 2 000 sentences of capital punishment. On the optimistic assumption that the last quarter does not bring a single further such sentence, and also assuming that we know of all such sentences, this means that every day, five Iranian citizens are informed that they are soon to lose their lives. In the morning, it may be Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani who, in 2006, was condemned to death by stoning for adultery. At noon, it may be the turn of Mohammad Mostafaei, the human rights lawyer who fled Iran for fear of arrest and repression. In the afternoon, the next victim of the Iranian regime may be Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is fighting for a reduction in the numbers of death sentences handed down to minors, while in the evening, for taking part in a street protest, the next person to be arrested is the Dutch citizen Zahra Bahrami.

Finally, and fifthly, the Iranian authorities take their next victim – unknown to us – during the night in a secret raid.

Therefore, we categorically demand the abolition of capital punishment in Iran, the lifting of the sentence of stoning on Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani and the release from detention of Zahra Bahrami. We would also like to note that Iran is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 18 of which states: ‘Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.’

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I voted for the resolution on human rights in Iran, in particular the cases of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and Zahra Bahrami, as the situations of these two women are tragic. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who has been sentenced to death by the Iranian Government, is threatened from one day to the next with execution by the utterly barbaric ritual of stoning. What country, in the 21st century, can write in black and white in its penal code the size of the stones that should be thrown at a convicted prisoner in order to kill them? Iran is that country. Only the involvement of the international and political community has been able to prevent stoning over the last few years, and it alone will be able to make the Iranian Government give way. We have a duty, as politicians, as citizens, as human beings, to prevent what is nothing less than a murder.

 
  
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  Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE), in writing. (FI) I have voted for the motion for a resolution RC­B7­0494/2010 on the human rights situation in Iran because I believe that the European Union must make it clear to the world that an existence fit for a human being, political rights and fair treatment are the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of what country they happen to be born in. Having read the resolution, everyone with a healthy conscience will be in a position to see why the subject provokes strong feelings in Europe, so I do not think it is necessary to start pulling it to pieces separately in this review.

Although, at the moment, it is a patent example of poor human rights, and one that should serve as a warning to everyone, the situation in Iran should not allow us to ignore the fact that there are similar and even more serious problems almost everywhere in the Third World. There is particularly systematic oppression on a major scale in regions affected by Sharia law.

I am aware that the position of the European Union and the western world on human rights has been common knowledge for some time now, though with no significant progress being made in the matter. For this reason, I think it is important that the European Union continues to put pressure on Iran and other problem countries in matters of human rights in the future.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) What is happening in Iran regarding human rights is absolutely reprehensible and the EU, as a defender of human rights worldwide, cannot remain indifferent and must show the full extent of its disgust at the various sentences of death by stoning that have been taking place in the country in for several years. The EU must send a clear signal that this sort of practice cannot take place in a country that wishes to be respected and aims to maintain normal diplomatic relations with all the Member States of the EU. That is why I voted as I did.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. (LV) I voted in favour of the joint resolution on the human rights situation in Iran because I wholeheartedly support its substance. Ahmadinejad’s dictatorship has dragged the state system and state power in Iran back to the Middle Ages. We must remind the Iranian regime that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not just fine words. I voted for this resolution because the Islamist fanatics do not want to understand the meaning of international law. We must bring about the abolition of the death penalty in Iran and rescue Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani and Zahra Bahrami from the hands of the religious terrorists who have perverted the law into an instrument of terror against their own people.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the resolution in the hope that this barbarism will stop and that the human rights of all women and men in the situation concerning Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani will be respected. I should like to stress that what we are witnessing derives from the application of fundamentalist Islamic law, which some people would also like to introduce into our democratic Europe.

The penalty of death by stoning is actually a form of torture. In recent years, hundreds of women have been stoned to death in Iran for the crime of adultery, and at least 40 more people are in prison awaiting the same fate. That is not to mention the thousands of women arrested for political reasons who are often tortured and executed.

 
  
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  Cristiana Muscardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Every word spoken in this Chamber should be like a stone placed at the feet of those who carry out the stoning, so as to build a wall of shame around them and obliterate them from human society.

Sakineh must be saved, and with her the women and men around the world who are still falling victim to this barbaric cruelty, which is unheard of even among the wildest and most primitive animals. It is the beast, meaning the Devil, that today moves the hands and lips of unworthy leaders and false holy men, whom the Omnipotent has already damned without any chance of grace. They should realise that if they do not stop now, their time will be marked and for them, there will be no peace either now or forever more.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the draft resolution and I am pleased that this House voted almost unanimously for it. It is occasions like these that show the persuasive strength of democracy.

The mobilisation of people throughout Europe and particularly in Italy in support of Sakineh should be strongly endorsed, and I hope the situation in Iran improves. I think one of Parliament’s primary roles is to be a beacon of hope for all victims of breaches of human rights. I hope the Iranian regime will rethink its policy, have greater respect for women, and set up a more transparent and less medieval judicial system.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Words are sometimes not enough when faced with barbarity, ignominy and utter contempt for the most fundamental of human values. Faced with the heavy stones of the obscurantists, it now falls to the democrats of the world to save Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani.

Ever since the mullahs reintroduced stoning in 1979, 300 people have been massacred – there is no other word for it – as a result of mock trials, not to mention the hangings of minors, homosexuals and political opponents. These include followers of Baha'i, whose only crime is not sharing the same religion as those in power in Tehran.

Here is the weight of our words, then, the weight of this international mobilisation to which the European Parliament has just added its voice this afternoon. Sakineh’s beautiful face now embodies the fight for women’s rights in Iran and, furthermore, the defence of all victims of oppression.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. (ES) The resolution we have just adopted makes clear our emphatic censure of the sentencing to death by stoning of the Iranian citizen, Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani. Regardless of the actions she is accused of, it is impossible to justify or accept a sentence of death by stoning. Moreover, the Members of this Parliament ask the Iranian authorities to set aside the sentence and review the case.

The text, which was adopted by 658 votes in favour, 1 against and 22 abstentions, also asks the Iranian Government to reconsider Zahra Bahrami’s case, and ‘immediately grant her access to a lawyer and consular assistance, release her or grant her due process’. Likewise, the Members of this Parliament call on Tehran to halt the execution of Ebrahim Hamidi, an 18-year-old charged with sodomy.

The European Parliament expresses its consternation at the fact that along with Afghanistan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Nigeria, ‘Iran continues to be one of the very few countries that still practise stoning’. In this sense, it calls on the Iranian Parliament to pass legislation outlawing ‘the cruel and inhuman practice of stoning’. Furthermore, the Iranian Government should declare a moratorium on executions pending the abolition of the death penalty.

 
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